10 Reasons Not To Skip Breakfast

Integrated Wellbeing - Food Matters - breakfast

Are you ever tempted to skip breakfast?  Here are 10 good reasons why that’s not a good idea …

1. Stress

Ever wake up feeling stressed about the day ahead? It could be that your “feel good” hormone (serotonin) levels have dropped and need a boost. Breakfast that includes oats and/or whole grain will lift serotonin levels, as well as provide you with a great source of the B vitamins that are essential for energy.

2. Mood

Sometimes when we wake up and our sugar levels are low (after all, it can be as long as 12 hours since the last meal), we can feel out of sorts. Eating a nutrient-rich breakfast will also help lift your mood.

3. Hunger

Choose breakfast that has a low Glycaemic Index (low GI indicates the rate at which the carbohydrates you eat are turned into sugar and released into the bloodstream as energy). Having persistently high blood sugar increases risk of type 2 diabetes and heart attack, as the number of destructive free radicals are raised in the body.

Eating lower GI carbohydrates such as oats and whole grain food help keep blood sugar levels in check which should help you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer. This approach to the most important meal of the day will also help you avoid the craving for high calorie, high sugar snacks mid-morning. Ghrelin, the hormone in the body responsible for increases in appetite, will remain lower during the day if you eat a satisfying breakfast and as a result you’re more likely to experience a steady feeling of fullness throughout the day.

A nourishing breakfast will also have an impact on levels of insulin, glucose, and fat in your blood, which can help lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

4. Hydration

Breakfast is a great opportunity to boost your hydration levels with a drink of nutrient-packed juice, smoothie (add a higher percentage of veggies than fruit to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels) or herbal tea. Check out my Get up and Go Green Smoothie recipe (link). Avoid too much caffeine which can cause irritability and also acts as a diuretic.

We all know how important it is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but we often forget if our routine is interrupted. 

Best practice is not to let yourself get thirsty, but take plenty of sips through the day, so have an easy to carry eco-friendly glass drinking bottle with you. I never go anywhere without mine and I do try to drink at least the recommended 2 litres per day (that does include juices and herbal teas). As a rule, the more active we are in our daily lives, the more fluids we need to take on board.

5. Immunity

Breakfast is also a great opportunity to nourish ourselves with the nutrients that help maintain a healthy immune system and help us protect against and recover from illness, such as the A, B and C vitamins, as well as minerals such as zinc. Consuming freshly made vegetable juices and smoothies is a perfect nutrient-dense way to start the day (add a small handful of cashews or almonds to your favourite smoothies for protein and vital nutrients such a magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and calcium which will also help you feel fuller longer).

6. Concentration

Skipping breakfast can contribute to feeling foggy-headed and an inability to concentrate properly – not great when we know we have a busy day ahead of us.

After an overnight fast, the brain craves some carbs to alleviate tiredness, help concentration and stay focused at work.

Add oats and flaxseeds to your smoothie – honestly, the oats work really well!

7. Memory

The old grey matter needs a helping hand in the mornings too as a low GI breakfast refuels the brain cells that depend on glucose, by elevating blood sugar levels. This approach will help when we need to process and manage complex and challenging information as well as with the formation and retrieval of memories.

8. Weight

A nutritious, low GI breakfast helps to manage hunger and energy levels through the morning and at the same time encourages us to consume an overall lower number of daily calories as well as manage body fat levels.

9. Metabolism

Surprisingly to some, having breakfast actually gives the metabolism the encouragement to get going in the morning and helps us burn calories more efficiently.

Studies also show that eating the same amount of calories during the day, but switching the main meal from dinner to breakfast, actually aids weight loss.

The biological process that the body follows over a 24-hour cycle is called our circadian rhythm. Metabolism is impacted by this rhythm so the time of day we eat can have a big impact on the way our bodies process food.

10. Energy

Choosing a low GI breakfast will release energy slowly through the morning and help maintain energy levels. This in turn will affect our choice of food at lunchtime. If our energy levels don’t slump too much, we are far less likely to choose a high calorie, often high sugar meal.

 

The recipe for my current favourite breakfast option – the Integrated Wellbeing Bircher Muesli – is here: Bircher Muesli Recipe

And you can watch the accompanying video from the Integrated Wellbeing kitchen here: Chrissie TV – From the IW Kitchen

 

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

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

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 in 2016

Chrissie Tarbitt, Why Meditate?

This is just a quick reminder that my yoga classes at the lovely Ocean Physio studio in Woodbury begin again in January.

The first classes of the new term are on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st January 2016.

Classes are kept intentionally small (with no more than 10 students) to ensure maximum benefit.  All times are the same as last term.

Spring Schedule

  • Wednesday mornings (60 minutes): 7.15 – 8.15 am
  • Thursday mornings (60 minutes): 9.30 – 10.30 am

Prices are unchanged too. Adult classes are £8 for a 60-minute class or £42 for a 6-week block.

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).

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 chrissie[at]integratedwellbeing.co.uk.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Superfood Smoothies: What’s All The Fuss About?

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On a recent flight back from holiday, I sat next to a really interesting guy and, as we talked about mind, body and food matters, we laughed as we shared our passion and enthusiasm for all things juice and smoothie related – yet with a fundamental difference. As he was describing the daily concoction of stuff he added to his early morning smoothie, from apple cider vinegar to maca powder (both of which I’m sure have great beneficial properties!) along with a suitably diverse bunch of vegetables, he admitted that no-one else in the family would go near it! When Hippocrates stated over two thousand years ago, “Let medicine be thy food … ”, I don’t think he meant that our food should taste like medicine!

My love affair with juices and smoothies began several years ago when I was constantly on the go, often with very early morning starts which meant that I was eating on the run and, as a result, I was really missing my “5 a day”.

That’s a whole new article on my “road warriors survival kit”, but for another day ☺. Enough was enough, I was constantly tired, often irritable, my digestive system was complaining at the lack attention and I was catching colds and bugs. I had to find a solution. So I did my research, bought a pretty pricey (but soooo worth it) Vitamix blender (www.vitamix.com) and began to experiment.

Juices and smoothies are both loaded with nutrients, give you an energy boost, and taste fabulous. But they’re not the same thing. The difference lies in the machines used to make each drink. Now, I don’t want to get too bogged down here with the differences between juices and smoothies, but it’s probably worth a quick explanation of the key ones.

Juices

To make fresh homemade fruit or vegetable juice, you need a juice extractor. The juice is the water and most of the nutrients that have been separated from the fibrous pulp in those fruits and vegetables.

Smoothies

Smoothies require a blender or Vitamix machine. This is what I use as it’s multi-functional and its high speed motor ensures that the pulp that’s left in the smoothie is palatable and digestible. Unlike a juicer, we add liquid such as fresh juice, milks (both dairy and non-dairy versions), along with fresh fruits and/or vegetables that are processed into a purée in the blender, so the resulting drink is thick and smooth. We can also add extra nutritional items such as wheat grass, maca powder, spirulina and nuts, among many others.

Greenie_1

In my experience, having been through a few machines of both types over the years, you do get what you pay for so I encourage you to do your research, read reviews and go for the best you can afford – oh, and measure the height of these gadgets – especially if they need to fit underneath overhead cupboards in the kitchen!

 

So what are the benefits of Juices and Smoothies?

A sure way to get our 5 a day (the new recommendations are to exceed this daily amount):

In order to get the most benefit from eating vegetables, it’s best to eat them raw. Of course, it can be difficult to eat large quantities of raw vegetables, so drinking your fruits and vegetables daily is relatively easy. I take a flask with me if I’m travelling so I can drink it before I get to my destination if on a long journey. Tip – add a few ice cubes or frozen fruit (fantastic for fruit smoothies and a cheaper way of buying some fruits) to the smoothie mix before blending so it stays cool for your second helping when you arrive at the office.

Supports your immune system:

Vegetable juices, green smoothies and fruit smoothies provide your body with a very concentrated source of nutrients and enzymes, particularly when organic vegetables are used, that support our immune function and help detoxification. Also phytochemicals, antioxidants and other immune enhancing vitamins and minerals are concentrated in juices and smoothies in an easy to absorb form. All these help to detoxify the body and boost your immune system.

Aids recovery after illness:

Veggies are generally lower in sugar and higher in nutrients and enzymes than fruits, so vegetable juicing/blending is an especially good way to nourish the body and accelerate your recovery after an illness.

Improves digestion:

The body can quickly and more easily absorb larger amounts of nutrients from liquid foods than from solid foods because the process of digestion that is necessary when you eat whole foods is simplified. Fresh juices and smoothies are an easy way to get the beneficial enzymes that aid digestion into the body. Proper digestion is just as important as nutrient concentration – undigested nutrients cannot be utilized by the body.

Supports any weight loss plan:

Juices and smoothies for weight loss, particularly when vegetables are emphasized, is one way to ensure that you choose a healthy weight loss plan that does not sacrifice good nutrition. Remember, fruit contains a lot of sugar so it’s important to go easy on the all-fruit smoothies (maybe just one a day to begin with to ensure you have room for the veggie ones!) especially when trying to lose weight. Monitoring our sugar intake will also avoid the energy spikes many of us experience throughout the day which lead to cycles of short bursts of energy followed by tiredness, followed by sugar cravings. With that in mind, I always start my day with predominantly vegetable blends. (More on this in later posts.)

Be warned, once you start, you’ll be hooked and so will your partner and any children in the family!

Sure, not all my favourite recipes are liked by everyone in the household, but that’s fine by me as I get to choose what goes into mine, safe in the knowledge that they won’t disappear from the fridge ☺.

Check out my current favourite smoothie recipes here in our Food Matters section, and get ready to experiment! I’d love to hear how you get on so leave a comment below or drop me an email. I’ll be sharing further recipes over the coming weeks, but feel free to send me your favourites too.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

chrissie-signiture