What Katy Louise Did...

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Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.

Monday 25 February 2013

How to detox in 1 minute! My pre-breakfast 'power cleanse'

In addition to my 'power porridge' breakfast I posted about yesterday, I meant to mention this lot too, which precedes the porridge...

DETOX TRIO: Forever Living Aloe Vera Gel, a lemon, and Herb Farmacy detox tincture provide a healthy 'flush' to my system each morning! (note the irony of the 'death by chocolate mug - I ought to get one that has a healthy message on it instead!)

I've been taking Forever Living aloe vera gel (foreverliving.com) for a couple of years now and can't rate it highly enough (I'm not paid by them to say this either). It's probably the only supplement, of all the liquids and pills I've tried, that has an almost immediately noticeable effect, and definitely seems to work better than the capsule form.
If you're eating your breakfast you may want to avert your eyes at this point.... but aloe really keeps you regular! I think it's important to include all types of health when wanting to be fit and healthy, inside and out, so bowel health ought to be discussed more than it is. After all, the beautiful and much loved Audrey Hepburn died of colon cancer, and even now it gets far less attention than other cancers.

Multitude of health benefits:
Anyway, taking aloe is just great for so many other reasons too: it keeps the body lubricated, including joints, and is an anti-inflammatory, meaning it's working to lessen the effects of any acid-forming foods you might be eating (dairy, meat, sugar - all the usual culprits). I take 10ml of it neat first thing in the morning, and yesterday added my Bodyism Beauty Food powder to it, having wondered whether I might be killing some of the goodness by adding it to my heated porridge. (bodyism beauty food)
I've also been adding this Herb Farmacy detox tincture (herbfarmacy.co.uk to hot water and squeezing the juice of half a lemon into it. The combination provides a great kick start to the liver and to peristalsis, thereby also aiding the elimination of waste.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Get better skin with my power-packed porridge

Want to set yourself up for the day with one of the most nutritious breakfasts ever? Try my ‘power porridge’, which will help you stave off the wrinkles and feed your skin, build muscle, stay regular, and stay filled up until at least, well, 11am (I have to snack frequently!). I ought to soak the oats overnight to make it creamier but I never remember to, though I advise it.

Here’s how I make it:

SUPER FOODS: My tub of linseeds and jar of raw cacao nibs (some of whic are in the coffee grinder), with Bodyism beauty food supplement, Minvita Baobab powder, and Comvita Manuka UMF15 honey - just some of the ingredients I add to my hearty bowl of porridge in the morning!

1)   OATS: Simmer a handful of oats in water. Sometimes I use almond or coconut milk. I know Irish steel-cut oats are meant to be the best – they are less processed – but I tend to use cheap ones because the steel-cut variety have too much husk still in the mix, which gets between my teeth!
2)      APPLE: Cut up an apple and add this to the porridge, along with two small scoops of baobab powder (it’s an amazing super food and beats oranges and goji berries for vit C, has more iron per gram than red meat, is packed full of antioxidants and has high levels of potassium and magnesium). At the moment I’m using Minvita Baobab (minvita.co.uk).
3)      SUPER GREENS: Next, I add a tablespoon of Bodyism’s Beauty Food (bodyism.com) which is a green powder packed full of marine collagen peptides; super greens such as spinach, broccoli and barley grass, which alkalise the body (too much acidity leads to illness); MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane) which is my new fave ingredient as it helps with the formation of collagen, elastin, cartilage and keratin; green tea extract to help cleanse the liver; aloe vera, which is an anti-inflamatory; beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that’s said to help control of sugar cravings, which I need at the mo having ditched it for lent, and loads more.
4)      LINSEEDS AND CACAO: Then, I’ll blitz some dark linseeds and raw cacao nibs in a coffee grinder until powdery, and add that to the green gloopy porridge. Cacao is high in magnesium, which I read is important for healthy muscle tissue, and it’s generally lacking in our diets. Linseeds (also called flaxseeds – took me ages to work out they were the same thing!) are also high in omega 3 and 6, and fibre.
5)      NATURAL SWEETENER: If I don’t use the cacao, I’ll often add cinnamon or coconut sugar/lucuma/gurana/cocoa powder from Essential Living Foods (essentiallivingfoods.com).
6)      MORE WATER! I always end up having to add more water as I go along, as the oats soak it all up.
7)      PROTEIN POWER: Depending on whether I’m planning to exercise that day, I might add half a cup of protein, either whey or hemp powder (highernature.co.uk). Sometimes I add the hemp anyway as it’s full of omegas, which are good for the skin, as well as iron.
8)      HONEY: After only about five minutes, I pour it out into a large bowl and add a dollop of manuka honey, currently the Comvita UMF15 variety, which has strong antibacterial powers. (comvita.co.uk)

Et voila! My nutritious, power-packed porridge. It may look pretty gross with thanks to the green powder (sometimes I just add pure chlorella, which I’ve been using for ages and which is now all the rage thanks to supermodels Miranda Kerr endirsing it thedetoxshop.net), however, it tastes great. I can’t eat plain porridge anymore!  
I rarely stay this healthy for the rest of the day, but since it’s lent and I’m on my sugar ban I’m doing pretty well. This morning I walked into town and bought some sugar-free raw chocolate bars. Well, a girl can't completely give up her cocoa fix! More on those bars in a later post...

Monday 18 February 2013

Do you listen to your body?

It's 6.30pm and I'm in bed. Why? Because I expended 90% of my energy yesterday travelling around London and then dancing until 10.30pm at a salsa night. I loved every single juicy minute of it, but now I'm paying the price, and I knew in advance that I would.

Bodily rhythms
Ever since attending a workshop about menstruation a couple of years ago and finally working out the connection between a woman's cycle, emotions and energy (yes, it took 20 years for the penny to drop about why I'd sometimes cry the day before my period) and how each seven days is linked to a different season, I've had more awareness of the my mind/body connection. Check out the workshop here www.flyinginspiration.co.uk.
For example, in 'winter', which is the menstruation phase, a woman ought to be chilling out, taking care of herself, not pushing and striving etc, where as when she's in her 'summer' phase, i.e. ovulating, she's more vibrant, vivacious and energetic. 
Someone else who teaches about women's health and cycles is Dr Christiane Northrup. I'd highly recommend her books to anyone (www.drnorthrup.com)

Feeling energised
Two weeks ago I was in my 'summer' and had been on a spiritual workshop in London by the lovely people who created the books and retreats called F**k It! The ultimate spiritual way (ignore the profanity, their teaching truly is spiritual www.thefuckitlife.com). After that, I was really feeling up for dancing, yet I'd neglected to take my Latin shoes with me. Ironically, I'd automatically put them into my bag but then changed my mind and taken them out for some reason, rationalising that I'd be too tired to go after the workshop (another case of intuition being right but left-brain analyser not listening). But rather than feeling tired, I was energised by the weekend's activities and talks, and hesitated to get the train home, wishing I could magic up my shoes and a new top just so I could go.

Not listening to my body
So, this weekend, knowing it was two weeks later and hence my insular, time-to-rest 'winter' time, I ought not have planned so many activities. But I seem to love living life back to front: doing things when I ought not, and not doing things when I really should be getting my arse into gear!
And, as a result of overstretching myself, energywise, I'm now in bed, pressed up against a hot water bottle (not a hot guy, sadly) having eaten nothing but three packets of Yu fruit drops for dinner an hour ago. I'll have to save the blog I had planned to write, all about Strictly Come Dancing, to another time. That and the rest of the Vipassana meditation entries.

Right, I'd better sign off before I ....... Zzzzzzzzzz

Sunday 10 February 2013

Life's Etch A Sketch moments

Just a quick post - I know I've yet to finish my saga about the Vipassana retreat, which I shall do - but I wanted to mention the death early last week of Andres Cassagnes who invented Etch A Sketch, which I heard on the radio. That toy had to have been one of the most advanced, innovative things of the mid 80s, looking like a TV with its grey screen and two buttons, one for up and down, one for left and right. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etch_A_Sketch
With those buttons, you drew whatever shapes you could manage, most of which consisted of zigzaggy lines; trying to do anything curved was nigh on impossible, and you could forget about circles.
But I loved it. I had three coloured transparencies that would lay over the screen so as to 'play games' with the Etch A Sketch if the normal was of using it got too boring.
And then, when you'd finished creating a picture of a house, a boat, or whatever other scribble came to mind, you just picked the whole thing up and shook it vigorously until all the little iron filings, of which the lines were made, fell back to the bottom (or the side, or wherever they went) to quite literally 'wipe the slate clean'.

Etch-A-Sketch end of the world
The reason I found it odd hearing about Casssagnes's death on the radio last week was that only a few days before, I'd replaying in my mind an Eddie Izzard sketch - he's my all-time fave comedian - from his Glorious tour where he describes the famous bible story of Noah's Ark as God's 'Etch-a-Sketch end of the world' moment. He jokes about how God must have realised there were one or two design flaws in the human and animal kingdoms, and so sent a massive flood to wipe everything out and start again, hence the Etch A Sketch reference. Watch from 4mins 20second (though I'd of course recommend watching the whole thing: www.youtube.com)

The urge to shake things up
And why mention this? Well, because I often wonder what it would be like to have my own Etch-a-Sketch moment. To really shake things up big style, not just the odd tweak here and there, and start over again. I think I must be like Carrie from Sex and the City, who, when things seem to be running too smoothly in all areas of her life, feels the need to create drama somehow. On the surface, everything is pretty darn good in life: good job with good salary (for Colchester), nice place to live, good friends, supportive family, health, etc etc. But yet.... what is that bubbling up from within? The ambitions of youth batted aside as being too 'outrageous' and 'not sensible'. A longing, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz (which I watched last night) to see foreign lands, experience new things, push the boundaries of my comfort zone. I know Dorothy, as with all the heroic adventurers in those types of tales, ultimately realises everything she wanted or needed was right under her nose all along (www.youtube.com) and knowing that kind of makes you wonder why bother go anywhere or do anything. But without those experiences, the traveller would not gain the wisdom or insight to move up to a new level of understanding.

2013: the year of new starts and/or completion
And so, is it time for an 'Etch A Sketch' moment? How about you? Do you feel 2013 is poised to be a year of changes? I also read the number 13 represents completion of sorts; I for one have noticed a few themes recurring already this year, and that cropped up at the end of 2012, in the forms of people, places and ideas resurfacing from 2008 or earlier. Are things coming around again to finally be completed in some way? Feels like it. And I just so happen to have begun reading Robin Sharma's The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, which has a chapter on overcoming fear. Perhaps I picked up this book now for a reason.

The man who invented Etch-A-Sketch may have died, but his toy will live on, as will the notion of shaking things up to start all over again. Sometimes, it's just necessary...