Warm Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad

Integrated Wellbeing, Food Matters, Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Salad

Now that summer’s here, it’s time to mix up your salads and try something different.

This easy recipe for my warm sweet potato and quinoa salad is not only yummy but a nutritious veggie meal with carbs, protein and healthy fats thrown in!  And for those who like to support local growers and minimise food air miles, check out The British Quinoa Company in Shropshire.

The quantities below are for a salad that serves 2 people.

Salad Ingredients

  • quinoa (1 cup)
  • sweet potato (1 large)
  • courgette (1 large)
  • mixed salad leaves (4 handfuls)
  • cashew nuts (1 cup)
  • avocado (1 large)
  • cherry tomatoes (12)
  • fresh mint / coriander (1 small handful)
  • balsamic dressing

You can use a pre-made or shop-bought dressing but I prefer to make my own before each meal using the ingredients below. It really is easy and you can adjust it each time to your own taste.

Dressing Ingredients

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Dijon mustard
  • ground black pepper
  • tiny pinch of Stevia (or your own favourite plant-based sweetener)

Process

Start with the quinoa and the sweet spud. Once they’re prep’d and cooking, you can get on with the other stuff.

  • Rinse and cook the quinoa as normal then set to one side
  • Peel, dice and steam the sweet potato
  • Grate or spiralize the courgette
  • Dry toast the cashews on a gentle heat in a pan or skillet for no more than 5 minutes (either using them whole or roughly chopped, whichever you prefer)
  • Dice the avocado
  • Quarter the cherry tomatoes

Place all the ingredients (except the cashews) in a large salad bowl, then add the dressing and toss thoroughly.

Toss it well so that everything has a coating of that gorgeous dressing and quinoa.

Finally, sprinkle your toasted cashews on the top, and serve!

I’d love to hear your favourite summer salad recipes so we can try them at Integrated Wellbeing here in sunny Devon, so please post links or recipes below.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Mindfulness For Athletes

DSC00006

Just “go with the flow” – seems like a ridiculous thing to suggest to fitness professionals or indeed to our clients! After all, we’re encouraged to have goals, to have plans, to beat a PB and, by definition, we’re pretty energetic individuals impatient for results.

This is the first in a series of articles I was invited to write for Personal Trainer Magazine and was originally published in April 2015.

For many years my life used to be ALL about deadlines and goals; I thought by making sure I had my running shoes in my suitcase, multivits, energy bars and my sachets of wheatgrass at the ready would be me sorted. I could still train for that half marathon, work long hours and be fit and healthy – wrong!

Enter stage – mindfulness practice

Ever wondered what the heck it is? Or, what’s that got to do with you or your clients? Mindfulness-based stress-reduction has been around for several decades as a therapeutic tool. By turning our attention to what is actually happening in the present, we’re able to see the situation for what it is, allowing us to have absolute control over how we react in any given moment. That’s mindfulness in a nutshell. We are invited to simply be aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different.

The benefits of introducing this practice into our daily lives as fitness professionals are huge: we learn to relax (allowing the body to heal), we learn not to dwell on the last bad training session or match, which can seriously affect our performance (it’s gone, it’s in the past!) and once we have a plan in place, we learn that the “how we get the results” doesn’t always come about in the way we expected.

How to get started?

The first stage is learning to relax. Try this the next time you’re feeling frazzled after a full day of coaching or weary from over-training. Take 10 minutes to sit or lie down undisturbed (we can all find 10 minutes) and connect with your breath. Inhale and exhale deeply, using all of the muscles involved in breathing: the abs, diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and up into the chest, noticing any areas of tension in the body and allowing yourself to simply relax. Just notice any thoughts that come into your mind, allow them to come and go (you can’t stop your mind having thoughts, but you can become an observer rather than a participant in them). With this technique, you’ll automatically switch on the parasympathetic part of your nervous system allowing you to relax naturally. You wait, 10 minutes will soon become 15 and so on.

Yes, it takes practice, but the rewards are instant and exponential. Every few minutes that we choose to direct our attention to the breath and relax into the body, is like having a 30-minute power nap, only much quicker and longer-lasting.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Mindful Eating

mindful eating, maind matters, integrated wellbeing

When clients come to me for advice about healthy eating, I first like to address their current eating habits and help them understand why they make the choices they make.

So how do we bring mindfulness to our eating habits? By shifting our focus from what we feel we “should” be eating (which immediately creates a certain level of anxiety, tension in the body and feelings of deprivation when we avoid what we crave), to bringing real awareness into how we make the choices we make.

Here’s my 5-step strategy for getting you started with a more mindful approach to healthy eating:

As with anything, it takes practice but, in the long-term, the rewards are so much greater than the stresses of yo-yo dieting.

1. What are the triggers?

Notice what’s going on around you when you feel that compulsive urge to go for the packet of biscuits (or whatever your thing is) and find yourself eating the whole lot.

2. What thoughts are you having?

When you feel the need to eat what you innately know isn’t going to nourish you, look at the thoughts you’re having in that moment. What is it about those biscuits that you think is going to make you happier?

3. What sensations do you feel in the body?

Are you feeling stressed, tense, anxious? Where in the body are you feeling that tension?

4. Observe without judgment!

Just notice what thoughts you’re having and the sensations in your body. Whether you still eat the biscuits or not doesn’t matter. Noticing and observing without beating yourself up is really the key at this stage.

5. Take action!

In that moment of awareness, ask yourself, am I really hungry … or am I actually just thirsty, bored, a bit stressed?

It’s in that moment that it becomes possible to respond differently to the triggers:

  • Perhaps have a glass of water or a cup of tea instead;
  • You may need to relax; taking a few full deep breaths and exhaling slowly for a minute or so immediately triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which so often will remove the reason for reaching for the biscuits in the first place;
  • If it’s boredom, then put your trainers on and go for a power walk or run. Moving the body is one of the best ways to shift negative energy!
  • Even if you wouldn’t normally write “stuff” down, we all know the power of seeing our goals written, so just jot down any observations, say, for a week. I’ve found this hugely helpful both personally and when coaching clients. Seeing a pattern emerge can so often bring about a lightbulb moment.

Understanding why we make the choices we make, is a fast-track way to implementing long-term changes to any patterns of behaviour as we are empowered to respond positively rather than react in an unconscious negative way.

Bring a degree of mindfulness to your eating habits for a week and notice the difference. And if this post interests you, please check out our other Mind Matters posts here on Integrated Wellbeing.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Yoga with Chrissie

ocean physiotherapy, yoga studio

I’m looking forward to starting the new autumn yoga term on Wednesday 9th September. I’ll continue to teach two adult yoga classes each week in the custom-built, under-floor heated studio at the Ocean Physio and Rehab Clinic in Woodbury near Exeter, Devon with a brand new, additional class exclusively for teenagers on Thursday evenings.

All classes are suitable for beginners and those at intermediate level, combining the traditional Hatha style with elements of the more therapeutic Yin and restorative yoga.

Classes are kept intentionally small (with no more than 10 students) to ensure maximum benefit.

Autumn Schedule

  • Wednesday mornings (60 minutes): 7.15 – 8.15 am
  • Thursday mornings (60 minutes): 9.30 – 10.30 am
  • Thursday evenings (teenagers) (60 minutes): 5.45 – 6.45pm

Prices for adult classes are £8 for a 60-minute class or £42 for a 6-week block.  The cost of the 6-week course exclusively for teenagers is £42.

I still have a few available slots for private yoga tuition for individuals or small groups, either at the Woodbury studio or in your own home (where appropriate).

Yoga For Teenagers

My new Yoga for Teenagers course (exclusively for those aged 13 to 19) is a 6-week course starting on Thursday 10th September through to Thursday 15th October inclusive. These 1-hour classes will be held on a Thursday evening in the lovely studio at Ocean Physio from 5.45pm – 6.45pm. . There will be a maximum of 10 places and bookings will be taken on a first come first served basis. The cost of the 6-week course is £42.

Not only does yoga help to build strength and core stability, but it has been incredibly successful in helping students through stressful situations such as exam times.

The classes will include some great breathing and relaxation techniques which, over time, will provide an outlet to enable students to focus on one thing at a time – not something that necessarily comes naturally to many of us as we live in a culture that has raised us to love multitasking. Yoga also helps youngsters gain more awareness of their bodies (including postural habits) which is a particularly important skill for those involved in a competitive sport, but of course relevant to all.

Please email me directly with any questions or to reserve a place on this course.

You’ll find the Ocean Physio & Rehab studio at:
Woodbury Business Park, Woodbury, Devon, EX5 1AY

For class reservations, please call Ocean on 01395 239455. For other yoga or class content queries, drop me a line at info@integratedwellbeing.co.uk

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Women Inspiring Women Awards

Chrissie Tarbitt, Integrated Wellbeing, Devon, Exeter, WIWA, Women Inspiring Women Awards 2015

Although I’m not one to go chasing accolades, I was thrilled to be crowned “Rising Star / Woman To Watch” in the national Women Inspiring Women Awards 2015 at their annual awards ceremony in Birmingham earlier this month.

I know that a number of you kindly voted to keep me on the short-list and I’m very grateful for that.

The Women Inspiring Women Awards, now in their 4th year and sponsored by a leading national network for female entrepreneurs, seek to find and celebrate great female role models – those who bring out the absolute best in others and make a difference in their respective communities.

I was on a short-list of 8 very strong candidates from across the UK and hadn’t even thought about preparing an acceptance speech. I’m absolutely delighted that the judges recognised the importance of spreading the wellbeing message to a wider audience.

With thanks, love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Team WattCycle – June 2015

Team WattCycle

The racing season is in full swing and the Team WattCycle men and women are going great guns! As proud sponsors of such a dynamic team of cyclists, here are a few of our highlights of the last couple of months.

April

April saw Jenn Batey and Ellen McDermott make their National Series debut in the two-day Tour of the Reservoir in County Durham, competing against elite pro’s from many major teams, Chris Sleath finish a fantastic 4th in the Tour of Northumberland cat. 3 race, Paul Dixon and James Wilson on the podium in the CD NE Evening Series, Rob Wallace secure what would be the first of many podium finishes in an under-16 race, and the Team have 5 top 20 finishers in a large field for the 90k Phillip Russell Memorial Road Race in Middlesbrough. The month ended with Ellen McDermott’s sprint for 2nd in the Activcity Edinburgh Ingliston Crit to secure her cat. 2 rider status.

Team WattCycle

Ellen & Jenn – Tour of the Reservoir

Team WattCycle

Chris Sleath – Tour of Northumberland (pic: Iain Robertson)

 

Duathlon

Aside from road racing, Hazel Wright donned a GB age group tri suit for the first time to compete at the European Duathlon Championships (sprint distance), Nikki Parker-Bell put in a great performance at the Stockton Duathlon, and Anna Weaver won her Duathlon to qualify for the GB Age Group Team for the World Championships later this year in Australia.

May

May started with Women’s Team Manager Karen Poole and Anna Weaver racing in the Tour De Yorkshire amongst a large international field.

As the month progressed there were podium finishes for several WattCycle riders, including Chris Tidd, Robert Wallace, James Wilson and Paul Dixon.

Ellen McDermott rode alongside some top international riders in the televised Pearl Izumi Tour Series, the biggest circuit race series in the UK.

Angela Hibbs won her third race of the season in the NE Championship Series, with Karen Poole in 2nd place, and Nikki Metcalfe and Hazel Wright in the top 10.

Team WattCycle, Body Matters

Angela Hibbs & Karen Poole on the podium again!

Team WattCycle, Body Matters

Hannah Farran, winner, Northumberland Triathlon

Towards the end of May, Karen and Nikki secured top 10 positions in the National Masters Championships. Hannah Farran put in an amazing performance to take 2nd place at the Nottingham Triathlon. Karen put in another strong attacking performance at the Doncaster Crit, taking 5th. Pam Greer secured 1st place in a 25m TT, and Angela won a 10m TT with another PB for the season.

June started in similarly impressive style with Hanna winning the Northumberland Triathlon, Karen racing strongly in the Tour of Cambridgeshire to qualify for the World Masters Championships, and Ellen riding in Bradley Wiggins’s support races at the Olympic Velodrome when he secured the One Hour world record!!!

Keep up to date with the Team through the summer via their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, and we’ll post another update here as the season progresses.

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

A Great Relaxation Technique

chrissie tarbitt, integrated wellbeing, body matters

I love this simple breathing technique called Anuloma Viloma or alternate nostril breathing. It’s been used by yoga practitioners for millennia.

Simply by practising a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing for a few minutes each day, you can calm your nervous system, boost your thinking and improve sleep. It’s also great preparation for any meditation practice.

I’ve uploaded a short “how to” video to the Chrissie TV section of the site to help get you started.

Traditionally done in a comfortable cross-legged position, you can just as effectively sit on an upright chair (dining room or kitchen chair rather than a squidgy sofa) with feet firmly on the ground.

DSC00974ADSC00981A

 

 

 

 

 

 

It really is such a portable relaxation technique and, okay, you might feel a bit odd doing it at your desk at work but, you never know, others might be intrigued and want to join in!  If I’m in need of some time out, I take myself to my bedroom or hotel room (in the past when I’ve been away on business, my hotel room has provided a great sanctuary in between meetings, even if only for 5 minutes) and a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing gets me back on track.

Why?

Ancient yogis discovered that by isolating the breath this way on the left and right sides, we can reset the balance in our autonomic nervous system i.e. between our rest and digest and fight or flight sides of the brain.

Just try it – what have you got to lose?

I promise you, once you have the hang of it, you’ll want keep it handy in your stress-busting toolkit.  Use the video at Chrissie TV to guide you through the first few sessions.

Give it a go now and let me know how you get on!

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Alternate Nostril Breathing (An Introduction)

Embed HTML not available.

Chrissie Tarbitt of Integrated Wellbeing demonstrates the alternate nostril breathing technique, Anuloma Viloma.

(Almost) 50 Shades Of Green

Super Green Spring Broth, Integrated Wellbeing, Food Matters, Chrissie Tarbitt

Winter needn’t be the only time we enjoy great veggie soups and stews. Here’s my recipe for a peppery Super Green Spring Broth that works well all year round.

This recipe was inspired by the contents of a recent organic veg box delivery from our friends at Able & Cole, so don’t be afraid to experiment with what’s in your larder or fridge on any given day.  Apart from the ingredients, all you’ll need is one large pan, a pint jug and a stirring spoon!

The quantities below should serve 2 – 3 people.

Ingredients

  • leeks (2 large or 3 small, chopped)
  • celery (3 sticks, chopped)
  • cabbage (½, finely shredded)
  • broccoli (1 head, cut into bite-size pieces)
  • peas (1 cup)
  • watercress (1 handful, roughly chopped)
  • spinach (1 large handful)
  • butter beans (1 tin)
  • garlic (1 clove, diced)

Stock & Seasoning Ingredients

  • organic vegetable stock (1 pint)
  • Tamari soy (1 – 2 teaspoons)
  • Dijon mustard (½ teaspoon)
  • thyme (½ teaspoon, fresh or dried)
  • cayenne pepper (a pinch)
  • turmeric (¼ teaspoon)
  • coconut oil (1 teaspoon) (∗optional)
  • olive oil (1 tablespoon)
  • apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • fresh coriander or flat leaf parsley (to garnish)

Process

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan
  • Sautee the leeks, garlic & thyme
  • Add the celery and turmeric and stir until the celery softens
  • In a jug, mix the pint of stock, the Dijon mustard, a few twists of black pepper, the apple cider vinegar, a pinch of cayenne pepper & a few dashes of Tamari soy
  • Add the shredded cabbage and the contents of the stock jug to the main pan, and simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes
  • Then add the chopped broccoli
  • Simmer for a further 5 minutes or so, until the cabbage & broccoli are almost cooked through
  • Now add the watercress, the spinach & a cup of cooked peas
  • Add a teaspoon of coconut oil (∗optional) and simmer for a few minutes
  • Season (to taste) with sea salt & black pepper
  • Serve & garnish with a handful of freshly-chopped coriander or flat leaf parsley

I hope you like the Integrated Wellbeing Super Green Spring Broth as much as I do!

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Top 3 Stress Busters

Chrissie Tarbitt, Integrated Wellbeing

Although April was the official “stress awareness month”, we all know the importance of keeping a check on our stress levels throughout the year.

One of my recent articles for Personal Trainer Magazine featured my tried and tested top 3 stress-busting tips. Though written with gym-goers and exercise fanatics in mind, I reckon they provide a good reminder to all of us.

Let’s first look briefly at what stress is and how it affects our minds and bodies.

Under normal conditions, our stress response is there to protect us. During the “fight or flight” response, the surge of cortisol (the hormone released when we’re under stress) helps us react appropriately in an emergency, but levels should then return to normal.

Many of us now experience an almost permanent state of hyperarousal that can lead to many ailments and diseases as well as poor sleep, poor diet and aches and pains, as we have a tendency to bury stress deep inside our bodies, perpetuating the cycle.

So, what’s the answer?

Well, as an enthusiastic advocate of mindfulness, I know from experience that in order to gain freedom from the cycle of stress, we must learn to cultivate awareness. Awareness provides us with the “space” in which we don’t run away from thoughts, feelings and sensations in the body. Through becoming the observer of our stress triggers, we learn to take better control of our reactions.

Take a mindful approach to the following (and be honest with yourself):-

Sleep

Be under no illusion, if you want to maintain a healthy fitness regime and be on top of your game, you need between 7 and 9 hours of “quality” sleep each night.

If the honest answer is that you have bad sleeping habits, start with one or two things to improve upon, such as having a relaxing bath before bed and committing to going to bed at the same time for a whole week.

Keep the goals simple and achievable.

Nutrition

We all know that what we eat can affect our moods. Avoid eating addictive carb and sugar-loaded foods when under stress (a tricky one, I know, as that’s exactly the time when we reach out for the unhealthy snacks!).

Commit to a month of eating a healthy, balanced, mostly anti-inflammatory diet (i.e. 80% fresh veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds) and bring awareness to how that makes you feel.

Notice how reducing your caffeine, sugar and refined carbs intake impacts your stress levels.

Exercise

Are you training too hard? Now, this is a really tricky one to get honest about! We all know that a great workout makes us feel good afterwards, but for the next month I challenge you to bring real awareness to your training programme. Are you including some quality recovery and relaxation time?

If you find it difficult to have rest days, commit to attending one class a week that encourages awareness of the body and breath through slow, flowing movement such as yoga, qi gong or tai chi.

PLEASE do yourself a massive favour and try it – each week I get new guys coming to my Integrated Wellbeing yoga classes who have never done anything like it before, and they keep coming back for more as they really see the benefits!

I’d love to hear how you get on with these suggestions, and to hear of your own stress-busting tips, in the comments box below.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing