SUPERFOODS TO SUPERHEALTH BY DR JOHANNA WARD
BY SARA DARLING
There is much to be said about eating yourself fitter. But when you’re not feeling particularly motivated, and need a little nudge, this engaging and informative guide from Dr Ward will awaken your senses, and potentially add twenty years on to your life!
It’s pretty hip to be vegetarian at the moment, but there is science backing up the plant based revolution. Picking up the life manual “Superfoods to Superhealth” by Dr Ward is certainly an eye opener to the harm that the typical western lifestyle of excess sugar, refined carbohydrates, salt, additives, preservatives, chemicals, processed foods and high animal protein, which are evident in most grocery store processed foods, and pollute our bodies in our everyday life.
Providing an indispensable guide to vegetable nutrition that’s geared toward practical use, Dr Ward examines the free radicals that damage our cells that cause ageing and cancer. However, this is not a fact that the public is typically aware of, and we still indulge in food that is critical in the advancement of obesity, diabetes, dementia and heart disease. This handbook offers simple diet-change solutions that can prevent these illnesses from attacking our immune system.
It's common knowledge that we need to eat a diet containing plenty of vegetables, and stores often inform us when products are one of our ‘five a day’, but Dr Ward goes one step further, and uncovers the myths of superfoods. From kale to broccoli to nuts to cherries and chia seeds. Fans of superfoods are aware that they contain a lot of iron/ vitamins/ fibre/ antioxidants - but that doesn’t mean your body gets superpowers if you eat more than you need, especially if you’re already getting enough from other sources. It’s like trying to make your car go faster by putting in more petrol- not at all necessary, and a waste of money!
Seaweed on the other hand, is a rare example of a non-animal product that is rich in vitamin B12, which makes it an important food for vegans who don’t want to take supplements. Thus, for this small group of people who choose to have a nutrient deficiency, but hate pills, seaweed is a kind of superfood. For everybody else, however, it is just tasty and healthy (as part of a balanced diet).
And we all know that too much cholesterol is all bad, but monounsaturated fat, which helps to protect your cardiovascular system is vital in a healthy diet. Take inspiration from oily fish, nuts, uncooked olive oil and sunflower oil, and mix them up!
Dr Ward gives easy to follow motivation for readers to meet their goals and live a healthy life. the book also gives practical insight into what to do with this new knowledge, including easy to follow stress management, meditation, sleep and relaxation exercises, along with some easy to follow recipes for optimum taste and goodness.
Breaking down a life changing goal is never going to be easy, but by dipping into lifestyle management, motivation, and discipline in a way that will not only affect the reader, but the wider world, Dr Ward aims to integrate healthy eating with healthy living. With the book providing a fully integrated view of health which involves the mind, body, and spirit.
It is equally important to care for your mental health, Depression, can be the secondary result of sleep deprivation to zinc deficiency, so rather than reaching for psychiatric pills, a change of diet might be your first port of call. Set out to debunk common health myths, Dr Ward debunks myths on how the health of the mind affects the health of the body.
Offering a thorough dissection of what our bodies actually need, the book, akin to a bible for anyone who cares, provides intelligent and sustainable food choices for the next generation, with a practical guide on how to adhere to the life choices, and cut down on things that pollute our bodies including which are all culprits in the modern food system and share the blame for our declining health.
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Editor: Emma Rice
The malty taste of the maca makes this creamy smoothie absolutely delicious. Maca is known as “the fountain of youth” in its native Peru. Maca root powder is rich in a number of nutrients, including vitamin C, copper and iron, it also contains many bioactive plant compounds. I've added some optional collagen powder here for the promotion of cellular renewal and repair.
Generous handful spinach
½ frozen banana
¾ cup frozen strawberries
½ avocado for extra creaminess
2tsp maca root powder
2tsp hemp seeds
1 scoop collagen powder
1 ½ cups of your favourite nut milk
Place all of the ingredients into your blender of choice, whizz until smooth and enjoy !
CASA SPA IS THE PLACE TO GO FOR A HAMMAM
BY SARA DARLING
Step inside some rather attractive Riad doors, and enter the steamy, exotic, scented boudoir of Casa Spa, and prepare to get hot and naked! I can’t say I’ve done that before in the middle of the day In central London...but all in the name of investigative journalism!
However I have had a Hammam massage before. In Turkey, but the whole experience in Casa Spa was already a lot more sophisticated. I was guided to the changing rooms and told to pop on my bikini and a towel; I was then taken downstairs, to the most authentic Moroccan tiled basement I have seen outside Marrakech; Mosaics, mirrors, trinkets, as well as a pillow strewn chill out room beckoned… but I wasn’t ready to chill out just yet! I hadn’t even started…
The Moroccan Hammam has been around for centuries and is celebrated in Islamic countries for its healing, cleansing and purifying benefits, both on a spiritual and physical level. With a focus on breathing and blood circulation, I was quite looking forward to a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Wearing a bikini and towel, I was led to a private steam room, and and was smothered in a chocolate body mask. Left alone, the steam was turned up, and I enjoyed the sensation for about fifteen minutes, until my therapist came into wash me down with fresh icy water. The equivalent of a freezing shower! Then I received a thorough application of black olive soap infused with Argan oil, which was softening on the skin, and ensured that all the chocolate was removed. This was followed by the exfoliating scrub, using a black mineral clay which is fantastic for the skin. Be prepared for a gentle pummelling, but it's so worth it to rejuvenate the skin and get rid of the dead cells.
I had the option to follow this with a full body massage, but I opted for a facial. After a shower and a fresh towel, I was led to the beauty room, and dozed in and out of slumber whilst enjoying an hour long face pampering session. Consisting of a face mask, exfoliation, deep cleanse, moisturise and a mini massage, along with soothing background music, the gentle strokes of my masseuse took me to another dimension.
It’s hard to describe the sensation post Hammam, as it is an experience that affects you through to your core; But taking time out on the authentic, candle lit chillout beds, with a peppermint tea, was the icing on the cake. In fact I was relaxed I could have easily fallen asleep for a few hours in there!
Thankfully when I did motivate myself to leave, it was one of those balmy evenings in London, so my walk to the tube was more like gliding on air! Highly recommended for a treat.
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AND, EMBRACE YOUR INNER MERMAID!
By Sara Darling
Remember the plump soft skin you had as a ten year old. It’s not easy is it? But even as an adult, you can be in control of your skin’s plumpness with one of IMAGINE SKINCARE masques. After sampling the I MASK firming transformation mask about six weeks ago, I can’t promise the skin of your youth, but I did erase my pre-late nights, drink and party skin, after each relaxing twenty minutes! And 48 hours later, the skin (my largest organ fact) was still glowing….AND I got to feel like a shiny blue mermaid whilst wearing it!
Face masks are often neglected until a super fad comes along, and along with it the horror stories (hello charcoal ‘actual’ face peeling mask!) But the trend started with good intentions, and the idea of peeling off your impurities is pretty productive.
However, finding a mask that delivers is a different thing. First you have to be able to cope with the scent, which will be splattered all over your face for 15-20 minutes, then it needs to come off as easily as it goes on, and not need scrubbing, or leave you raw or chalky, and the icing on your face (or cake) is seeing instant results.
The first time I tried the Imask, I was hooked. I now I have a turn my phone off, pamper me session where I can enjoy some ‘me’ time with my tube of magic, which I indulge as a weekly habit.
The IMAGINE range offers a unique insider’s insight into beauty and skincare, with all the products are developed by medical professionals, which are proudly powered by smart botanicals rather than unnecessary chemicals, to formulate a full range for all types of skin. The Imask fuses pepper berry plant and jojoba beads along with hyaluronic acid, which are both gentle on the skin, nourishing, and great collagen producers- they smell really good too!
If your cushion cheeks are sagging and they need a bit of TLC, the I mask will bring back some of your cheekiness after one use!
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Article: Viv Da Silva
With social media taking a front seat in the way we all communicate, it’s no shock that the average Briton checks their phone every 12 minutes, our phones have become our number one sidekicks!
Personally I had begun to feel social media becoming a slow trap into the false expectations of how I needed to present myself. However I wasn't prepared to let go of my daily dose of my favourite cultural influencers and so I decided to utilise my phone in helping me monitor my progression in stabilising my mental health.
I started practising the meditative tool of visualisation using vision boards is a great way to set intentions, I wanted to deepen this further and incorporate my device (as I refuse to part with my sidekick) to create a visual timeline. Using Instagram to create food, wellness and creative highlights allowed me to visually see how consistent I am in showing up for myself or engaging in activities centred around well being.
I don't post everyday, which is great because I don’t find myself aimlessly posting and it gives me time to really consider my relationship which social media, and it’s influence in what and how I post. So my tip for anyone who wants to build healthy relationships with devices or social media platforms, use it to do what you love! Share your interests, try to incorporate at least one well being focus on your social media. Don’t worry if the feelings of embarrassment creep in, I found that the honest you is the best you, so don't be afraid to share your magic with the world, you’ll be amazed at the like minded individuals who will flock and support your journey with you.
Article: Viv Da Silva
We often hear the phrase “Eat the rainbow” being bandied around, yes it makes our plates look beautiful and oh so instagramable but what are the actual health benefits to eating an array of colourful foods ?
Simply put each colour in fruits and vegetables is caused by specific phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural chemicals that help protect plants from environmental threats and these colours indicate an abundance of specific nutrients.
Red fruits and vegetables contain the phytochemicals lycopene and ellagic acid. These powerful nutrients are known for their cancer-fighting effects as well as reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease while improving skin quality.
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids including beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body known to promote healthy vision and cellular growth. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables also play a role in immune function alongside reducing the risk of heart disease.
Greens are one of healthiest foods we can eat being rich in lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K — an essential nutrient for blood and bone health. Green fruits and vegetables support the immune system, assist in detoxification and boosting our energy and vitality.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients, anthocyanins and resveratrol known for anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties. Studies show that the bio-active phytochemicals in berries work to repair damage from oxidative stress and inflammation. Blue and purple fruits and Vegetables are anti-inflammatory and help keep us youthful.
White and brown produce may not be as vibrant in colour as other foods, however they still contain phytonutrients including anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane, allicin and quercetin. White and brown fruits and vegetables are thought to protect against certain cancers, aid bone strength and are heart healthy.
By Emma Rice
Article: Viv Da Silva
Have you ever heard the phrase don't burn bridges ? It is one I have always associated with people, but what if it could be applied to cluttered emotions we let fester over time? What if we could harmoniously control our emotions as they transition between positive and negative. On my journey to a healthier mind, I often feel as though I am playing wack-a-mole with my negative habits and the feelings which created the habit if reacting to myself in unkind way.
‘Building a bridge’ with our emotions is based mainly on meditation and visualisation techniques. Whenever I experiences negative feelings I picture myself on a bridge between my dark and happy experiences, first telling myself that I am okay to feel this and I begin to assess the nuances in my behaviour patterns and triggers that appear to bring me back to those feelings. This I find helpful in that whenever I notice a downfall in my mood I am able to quickly pinpoint it and combat it out.
Using the visualisation of the bridge as a way to become a third party to my own feelings helped me realise that I had previously found it hard to come out of my distressing moments because I didn't think I had any good moments in my life. By creating good moments such as attending a free local concert, trying a tea tree peel mask and being consistent in my hobbies I am building a stronger sense of happiness that assists me in walking along the "bridge to my positivity’’ without bashing myself for having negative feelings.
FINDING NIRVANA WITH SWEAT AND SOUND
BY SARA DARLING
Sometimes you find a yoga class that’s so good you don't want to tell anyone else about it.
But sooner or later you realise that sharing is powerful, and you want to shout it from the rooftops. The Sweat and Sound collective is a mixture of secrecy and sharing. A private member's yoga club if you like, where you work out to live music, in an exclusive location which is only announced the day before the event.
Keeping it low-key is part of the intimacy of the event, and means that it can be a personal journey for all participants. With each event meticulously themed, with equipment and snacks provided, clients just have to turn up to get transported into a secret hideaway.
Along with an adrenaline-boosting workout, Sweat & Sound experiences showcase the subtle art of creating an emotional experience and the power of sharing. Even if you come alone, back to back mediation with your neighbour is much more rewarding than doing it by yourself.
Founded by Ariana Alexander-Sefre, a dancer with over twenty years’ experience, Sweat & Sound offers a unique fitness experience which is a source of enlightenment as well as being endorphine busting, using two non-discriminatory things in the world – sport and music.
Joining one hundred other yoga bunnies in the stunning surroundings of St George’s church in Holborn, was a magical experience; With live music coming from Ailsa Tully, and yoga guru Hannah Mae leading the practice, the class was transported into Paolo Coelho’s story of The Alchemist, whilst flowing through the moves.
From the mystical plains of Andalusia to the pyramids in Egypt, the focus was on harnessing our intuition, and recognise our heart's truest desires which was a great focus during the progressive yoga moves, and listening to beautiful live music from the three piece band was as uplifting as relaxing.
Followed by wind down meditation, we layered up and were offered drops of vegan skincare, Five Dot Botanics to rub on the skin, which were filled with nourishing botanical nutrients and further absorbed by the frequency of the music.
When the practice ended, it was as it something new had been reignited in me. Energised, focused and ready for anything, I supped a CBD tea, and floated home.
Join up and join the revolution here
Zen and the art of sanity maintenance
Article: Christina Harnois
When I tell people I am going on a silent meditation retreat their reaction is usually ‘I could never do that!’. My response is ‘Of course you could, in the right context you would and maybe you should’.
So here I am in the Alsace region of France attending a 4-day silent retreat at the Soto Zen Monastery Ryumon Ji. This is a very special retreat or sesshin celebrating the birth of Buddha and the 20th anniversary of the temple itself.
These retreats are open to the initiated and uninitiated alike. Resident Zen Buddhist monks and nuns share their practice with those looking to ancient wisdom for ways to improve their lives today.
Be prepared this is not a vacation where you will spend your time relaxing and smelling the roses (although the grounds of the temple are filled with beautiful flowers), the schedule is rigorous to say the least. The wake-up bell sounds at 4am, an ungodly hour in day to day life but in the context of this retreat a perfectly peaceful and appropriate way to start the day.
The day begins with the first of six hour and a half long meditation sessions. In this Japanese Buddhist tradition Zazen, a seated meditation, consists of sitting silent and still and becoming a witness to your thoughts. The posture is precisely defined, with clear instruction on how to hold your body, arms and how to angle your gaze.
The zazen sessions are punctuated with traditional ceremonies, imagine a room of 70 people chanting sutras to the beat of ceremonial drums, bells and Tibetan bowls. The atmosphere is electric, the vibrations create a collective energy that is heavy in the space and lingers within.
Each day the group takes time to do communal chores, known as samou, for the upkeep and daily running of the temple. Free time is usually spent enjoying the grounds and resting, there is little time for superfluous tasks that often take up so much of our daily lives.
Every activity is structured and ritualised, the meals themselves are an exercise in mindfulness with chanting, choreographed movements and almost synchronised eating.
Remember all the above is done in silence.
If this all seems austere and suffocating I assure you it is quite the opposite. The structure is there to support you and allow the ego self to fade into the background. The environment creates space to rest our minds from the mundane din of thoughts and sensory overload experienced in the modern world.
When you feel like you need a mental, emotional and spiritual reboot a meditative retreat such as this is definitely a jump-start in the right direction.
We tend to identify ourselves with our thoughts and emotions. This form of mediation practice teaches us to dissociate the self from these thoughts, take a step back and become aware of them as an external construct. Allowing our internal dialogues, images and sensations to flow past us and we become the observe of your own stream of consciousness. This creates a space of stillness allowing the light of oneness to shine in.
As Zen master Kodo Sawaki Roshi said ‘Zazen is to tune into the universe’.
So Well So Zen So Edited
For more information on Zen Buddhism and the Ryumon Ji Temple itself please have a look at their website. Subscribe to their youtube channel (some of the videos are subtitled in English)
Soto Zen Temple Ryumon Ji: www.meditation-zen.org/en
youtube channel: www.youtube.com/user/Kankyo2308
Article by SoWell Editor Emma Rice
One of the things I love the most about travelling to another part of the world is the opportunity to explore the natural beauty ranges on offer from small companies whose primary purpose is to provide us with clean products with which to beautify ourselves.
Upon a recent trip to Canada I stumbled across this fabulous brand K’pure who’s mission is to share their love and passion for all-natural, non-toxic and cruelty-free products.
The creator of K'pure Natural Body Care Karen Johnson explains that her business happened by accident a few years ago when her youngest son was a newborn, an appointment with her family naturopath revealed that he had abnormally high levels of aluminium and plastics in his system. It appeared that the commercial deodorant and lotions she had been using loaded with heavy metals and synthetic ingredients were making their way into her breast milk, this is where her quest for natural skin and body care began.
I fell in love with the brands energising essential oil spray aptly named “keep going” which given the nature of my trip was totally on point ! Keep Going is a refreshing blend of lemon and spearmint essential oils, organic witch hazel and coconut oil making it the perfect hydrating facial toner, believe me it was a saviour on the long haul flight !
It is important to remember that the skin is our largest, and most permeable organ. Pretty much anything we put it's surface will be absorbed into our bloodstream and therefore distributed throughout the body. Once chemicals find their way into our system, they build up over time as typically we lack the necessary enzymes to break them down.
The best way to view our beauty products is to avoid putting anything on our face and body that we wouldn't put in our mouths.
Staying positive, healthy, focussed and self-aware, both internally and externally.