Health benefits of Herbal Tea

Tea. We have been drinking it for centuries and then some. It is what warms us up when we’re feeling low and acts as a support system that comes in a mug when you need it. It is your best friend. Especially herbal tea.

Herbal Tea: Whilst it’s not something that I consume every day, it is, however, a huge part of my diet throughout the week. Herbal tea can with everything from easing a cold to help fight off infection. I tend to drink fennel, peppermint, chamomile & honey, nettle, lemon and ginger and detox teas for their medicinal qualities. I opt for raspberry & echinacea, blood orange rooibus and hibiscus for its delicious flavours.

The benefits of herbal tea

Peppermint

Known for its remedial qualities to the symptoms of abdominal gas and bloating so it makes for the perfect drink after your meals. It can also help with muscle spasms. Peppermint is a great choice for when you are ill aswell as it warms the body internally, causing you to sweat and thus combatting your common colds.

ginger

When added with lemon, this spice makes for a powerful tag team against your cold. It fights off the germs. It is also good for kicking nausea’s butt and can help settle an upset stomach.

chamomile

This is my go to sleepy tea. It is widely known for its calming and sedative qualities. It not only helps with insomnia but it can also aid with indigestion after a meal. It’s anti-bacterial approach helps you feel refreshed from within.

rooibus

I first discovered this tea whilst volunteering in South Africa; it is now a frequent occupier on my shelf. It is high in vitamin C and ahs antioxidant properties that can help with eczema. Rooibus tea is also caffeine free which makes it a perfect brew for those late hours  when you don’t want caffeine keeping you awake.

hibiscus

This tea is a refreshing drink. It soothes and warms you just in the right places. It lowers blood pressure and is high in vitamins. I often drink it when im feeling a bit on the low side.

 

What is your favourite herbal tea?  Comment below.

Water: Why you should be drinking more of it.

I started the year by setting myself some New Years resolutions. One of them was to drink more water. I’ve successfully increased my intake with each new day this month and I haven’t partaken in any alcohol drinking to cause any further dehydration. Dehydration is a common symptom for many of life’s issues.

It makes sense to drink more H20. Our own bodies are made up of between 70-80% of water. It is so overlooked. We need it to function properly. Most people recommend drinking at least 8 glasses a day however I recommend you using this as a guideline and listening to your own body. Some days you might need more.

Health benefits

1. Water flushes out toxins

It gets rid of waste through sweat and urination. It helps you feel replenished and can help reduce the risk of kidney stones and UTI’s.

2. It increases energy and relieves fatigue

It helps you think, focus and concentrate more through out your day. This leads to you being more productive in getting thing set done. You won’t feel sluggish. It helps you stay alert and it also raises your energy levels.

3. Water promotes weight loss

It removes by-products of fat and can help to reduce your hunger. It raises your metabolism and contains zero calories.

4. It improves your complexion

H20 moisturises your skin from the outside it. It keeps it fresh and glowing and keeps you looking young forever. Say goodbye to your wrinkles and pick up a glass.

5. Water boosts your immune system

It helps fight against the flu, cancer and other illnesses eg. Heart attacks. If our body is made up of mostly water then to keep it working properly it makes total sense to keep supplying ourselves with it, right?

6. It maintains regularity

It helps aid in digestion after meals and prevents constipation. It keeps us functioning internally.

7. Water is a natural headache preventer

Nobody likes headaches. EVER. It helps prevent and relieve headaches which are more often than not caused by dehydration ie. lack of water intake. Stay hydrated this year.

8. It puts you in a good mood

When the body is working at its best then so are you. You feel happy and on top of the world. For me it makes me feel refreshed and brand spanking new. I feel healthy and so should you.

9. Water prevents joint pain

Our joints need lubrication and water helps this. It also helps the muscles to be more elastic meaning that we relieve ourselves of joint pain. You’re less likely to be injured when your joints are getting the required nutrients they need,

10. It saves you money

It is free. It comes from your tap. Even if you don’t like plain water there  are plenty of products in store that you can buy that are cheaper than your typical medium latte from Starbucks and it’s  way healthier for you.

 

Make one of your goals this year to drink more water.

Why you should be meditating in 2018

Meditation isn’t just for yoga mums and monks.

Seriously, meditation is for everyone. The act of meditation is essentially training to be more mindful and mindfulness helps you be fully present in the moment and not worrying about the past or the future. It is unique. It is unique to you. As a practitioner you get to choose how you meditate and its completely special to you. Your method might work for you but they wont for somebody else and thats ok. The practice comes in many forms: Mindful meditation which I do and Transcendental Meditation (TM) which I also do from time to time. TM is where you repeat mantras to yourself in life.

A perfect app for this would be Headspace. It combines both mindfulness exercises and meditation. It prompts you each day and can take as little as 10 minutes each day. All you have to do is sit back and relax. There is an abundance of resources out there for you to use as guidance when your just starting out.

But why should you add meditation into your life?

Oprah does it and so should you – since oprah encouraged meditating as a practice into her workplace she said “People who used to have migraines, don’t. People are sleeping better. People have better relationships. People interact with other people better. It’s been fantastic.”

It makes you happier – Think about it. What’s better than a clear mind free of any troubles or doubts? Meditating and mindfulness techniques are a pathway of self- healing and they help to ground you more, making you more connected to the world around you and to yourself. It improves all kinds of relationships.

It reduces stress and anxiety – Anxiety currently affects 1 in 14 people worldwide. The aim of meditation is ultimately to have a silent mind. Sounds like a dream right. Through meditation you learn to think of your thoughts as separate from yourself. That way you can throw away these thoughts when they jumble through your mind. We all face stress in our lives and a lot of it is unnecessary. When meditating you gain more control over your body, mind and your emotions.

It helps you focus –  A clear mind makes you more productive. It not only helps improve your focus but it helps improve your concentration and your memory too. Meditation is a discipline in itself and so when you are faced with a task this self discipline helps you focus more on the task at hand.

It improves your sleep – It has been proven that it does indeed help with insomnia. Meditation enters you into a state where you are fully relaxed and content, allowing for a better night’s sleep.

It’s free –  You can do this anywhere and everywhere at any time of the day. I like to do it of a morning or late at night before sleep.

Meditation helps you gain control of your life and that’s why you should be meditating in 2018.

Fabrizio Verrecchia

 

Weight Gain: My Story, My Struggle, My Size

Weight – No matter what age you are, this is something we ALL struggle with. Even saying the word weight has negative connotations with it. My struggle happens to be weight gain. It’s alien to me and always has been.

I’m one of those people who’s mantra when it comes to my weight is “I eat so much crap yet never seem to put any weight on” much to people’s envy this is sadly true.

For the most part of my life anyways.

Since the age of 14, I’ve always been under 9 stone or slightly above. My eating habits have never been right – I’m a big snacker. I could easily get through the day on cups of tea, biscuits, toast and tea (dinner for those who call it dinner). Through high school I almost never had breakfast and I was lucky if I ever bought myself lunch. I was just never hungry or so I was telling myself I wasn’t. Instead I’d opt for a flapjack or I’d ‘treat’ myself to ‘Chicken Burger Friday’ – that was a requirement.

Now though, I realise the error in my ways. I physically and mentally just cannot survive on that routine anymore. I’ve been depriving myself for years, even if I didn’t know it at the time. I think for a part of my life I had some form of eating disorder subconsciously. All of that has to STOP.

My weight last year

After travelling SE Asia, I came back home a stone lighter than what I originally was. This freaked me out. I started in September with the mindset to get fit, healthy and stronger and this included a much overdue weight gain. To achieve this, it meant that I had to put myself on a calorie surplus diet.

So what is a calorie surplus???

Often hitting 3000 calories as a target a day. Some days this just wasnt possible and I was naughty by not sticking to my plan. I joined the gym and started seeing improvements, however, by the end of October I had manage to get closer to the 10 stone mark and keep the weight on – a FIRST ever!!!

Throughout November I was involved in a touring project Seussical and sadly I wasn’t looking after myself as well as I should have. Meaning that I had lost a few pounds in the process. I felt deflated however I was still above 9 stone so that was the main thing.

My weight in 2018

I’m setting myself a challenge: By the end of 2018 I will be 11 stone. That is my ideal weight.

As part of my resolutions I’m going to be prioritising my meals a lot more and making sure I’m getting the right types of food. I will be gymming more and with the addition of my flat mate, Brendan, on the same journey as me I’m sure I’ll be a lot more motivated to actually make this happen.

I believe in myself.

Weight-jan-2018

Weight will be a series of progress pics and posts on my journey to a stronger and healthier George in 2018.

Jennifer Burk

What is a Calorie Surplus?

In essence a calorie surplus is a way of effectively consuming more calories than you naturally burn. Thus leading to weight gain in the form of muscle or body fat. A calorie surplus is required if you ant to gain weight. To gain muscle you must be training equally as rigorous.

What is a calorie surplus? – The maths

As stated above, a calorie surplus is a way of consuming more calories than you normally would burn. If you eat 3,000 calories each day and burn 2,500, you’ve created a surplus of 500 calories each day. This is then transferred into muscle or body fat depending on your exercise routine.

Gaining weight requires a consistent weight surplus. It’s through consistency that you see results.

What is body fat?

Everybody has it. Our body stores energy as body fat. Especially when you’re on an excessive calorie surplus. Muscle growth is limited to approximately 10-15 pounds a year so anything over this gets stored by the body as fat. If you’re gaining fat as opposed to muscle then you’re probably eating too much. Keeping your surplus at a moderate level (500 excess calories above how much you burn eg. 3000 calories for every 2500 burnt) will help resolve this issue.

Healthy ways to create a calorie surplus

While it remains true that a larger calorie surplus leads to faster weight gain, that doesn’t mean you should be eating anything and everything you can get your hands on. Be smart about it and make the right choices.

You should be eating foods that are high in complex carbs, lean proteins and unsaturated fats: 100% whole wheat bread/pasta, brown rice, chicken, turkey, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, low fat/fat free dairy products and vegetable oils (particularly extra virgin olive oil).

You should be avoiding foods high in simple carbs, sugars and saturated/trans fats: fruit juice, soda, doughnuts, muffins, candy, potato chips and white bread (refined flour).

 

 

5 ways to deal with stress… especially at Drama school.

Stress is inevitable. If we don’t recognise this and learn to deal with stress it can over run our own lives. It can stop our sense of productivity and serve as a constant distraction to both our minds and our lives. At drama school, stress levels are often heightened due to the pressures we go through every day. Some caused by others and some by ourselves. I believe, us as performers in training and performers in profession, are quite hard on ourselves in terms of expectations and goals. Whilst its neccessary to set ourselves goals in prospect of progress, sometimes it all gets on top of us. Especially when you add auditions, drama, assessments and the battle against pirouettes in the mix. Fortunately there are ways to deal with stress and ways to minimise it. Here are 5 ways in which you can angle it more effectively.

1. Talk about your feelings with your peers

Establishing a strong relationship with your cohort of classmates/friends is essential in terms of feeling comfortable with one another. They are there with you through everything. They experience your experience. You go through the same emotions. The ups and the downs. They’re the ones who are going to pick you back up when you’re at your lowest. It’s much better to get things out in the open and talking to your friends about your worries will be extremely beneficial to you. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

2. Meditation and massage

Taking just 15 minutes out of your day to relax and look after your body can do wonders for your mind and your mood. Meditation leads to increased concentration meaning that distractions are less frequent. Equating to a longevity of productivity. In class we sometimes massage our peers to relieve any tension or soreness from the muscles. After a long day, this is exactly what you need. Sometimes in life you’re so busy in your tasks that you forget to take care of yourself and your well being. Meditation is a fun way of regaining that balance back in your life and you can do it anywhere, whether it be lying down on your bed to sitting down during your lunch break.

3. Laugh and see the positives

As mentioned here, you have to deal with negativity in life and that can come down to seeing the positives out of every situation. The more accepting you are of positivity the more positive experiences you will become apparent to. It draws you in. Just like laughter does. There’s nothing better than to be in a fit of giggles and trying to tame your uncontrollable hysteria is what makes it even funnier. Simply by smiling and having a laugh with your friends you automatically feel better. It’s uplifting and its better for your mindset. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Way to go right! 

Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. We’ll have the summer body looking great in no time!

4. Have your ‘healthy escape’

What’s really important is making sure you take the time to get away from it all. You need time to do the things you enjoy, the things that make you happy. Every once in a while you need a little TLC and its ok to indulge in that whatever it may be. It may simply just going for a coffee with your friends or taking that extra dance class; after all, exercise releases endorphins in the body that trigger a positive feeling. For me I find comfort in writing my blog, it’s a way for me to vent but it’s also a way for me to do something I actually enjoy doing. Another way I ‘escape’ is through yoga. I highly recommend taking a class – it works wonders for your whole body.

5. Get plenty of sleep

Ensuring you get enough sleep each night is vital in terms of your health. Just by waking up feeling well-rested can set the tone for your day within 30 minutes. Your work is at your best when you are fully rested and missing out on those crucial zzz’s can lead to unhappiness within your work and day to day life. Avoid consumption of caffeine, sugar and alcohol before bed as these can effect your sleeping pattern. Make sure you get into a routine of going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. Over time this gets easier to do. For now though its time to turn of your technology and get the sleep you very much deserve.

Dealing with negativity

Negativity affects every single person throughout their life and its something we all have to go through in order to grow. We are at times our own worst enemy. We stop ourselves from putting ourselves out there and grabbing opportunities just because of our negative thinking and our self-doubt. It defeats us at times but we get through it eventually.

I’ve chosen a profession that is constantly open to negativity and criticism. Musical Theatre. You’re constantly under scrutiny – sometimes it’s a good thing but sometimes it’s very bad. The most important thing is how you deal with those negative criticisms in your life. In my experience the first thing is to accept, or rather acknowledge them no matter how hard-hitting they may be. Then you need to view them as an opportunity for change. You can recognise whether this is something you need to work on and grow from or you can filter out the negativity that you can’t change about yourself because after all an opinion is just an opinion. One person might love that same thing the other person hates about you. You can’t please everybody.

This is the same in everyday life. What’s really important is that you don’t become the victim and lose yourself in a world that’s trying to put you down at times. You can’t lose everything you believe in and everything that makes you YOU just to fit the expectation of others. Stay true to yourself. This is when you’ll be at your happiest.

There comes a point in life where you learn to step away from it all. You have to step away from the negative thinking and general negativity in order to enhance your own being. I’m a strong believer in – what you put out into the world or what you surround yourself with really does affect you and your life. If your constantly being weighed down by it all, even when it’s not your own problems its very easy to be involved in others when offering advice, sometimes you just need to take a step back and put your priorities first. Avoid it at all costs because it really can make you feel overwhelmed and it reflects in your actions and mood over time.

My message is this: Negativity is everywhere but that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to its web of weight. You can acknowledge its existence and choose to deal with it in a way that suits you. Whether it be acceptance for growth and critique or simply avoidance of drama and negative thinking, replacing it with positivity and mindfulness.

For more on this click here.