Easy Hummus With A Twist

Red pepper & watercress hummus, recipe, integrated wellbeing

Hummus is not just yummy and incredibly versatile; it’s high in fibre and a great way for vegetarians and vegans to get protein.

There are loads of different versions available in deli’s and supermarkets but there’s nothing quite like making your own.  And it really isn’t tricky!

My most recent hummus recipe experiment was a real hit at home, so I thought I’d share it on what is apparently International Hummus Day!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1/4 of a red pepper
  • 1 handful of watercress (including stalks)
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1 small handful of coriander
  • 1 glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 generous squeeze of lemon
  • Sea salt & black pepper for seasoning (to taste)

Process

Nothing tricky here. Put it all in a food processor and whizz it up until smooth.

Tip

For a more textured end product, hold back a handful of chickpeas. Once the food processor has done its magic, add the final chickpeas and give the machine a quick ‘pulse’. That last handful will be chopped in but leave you with a slightly coarser hummus.

There’s no end of different versions you can make. Get creative.  Have some fun!

Please share your own favourites in the comments box below.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Yoga Retreats & Holidays

Michelle Bartolo, Gozo Retreats

I’m a self-confessed lover of the seasons, but not in equal measure.  I have nothing against winter and I’m lucky enough not to be affected by a lack of morning and evening light.

That all said, the air of optimism and increase in energy around me at this time of year is infectious.

Spring has definitely sprung!   I’m loving being able to go for early morning walks, watch the sunrise over the estuary where I live and, on beautiful clear evenings, enjoy sunsets that we would normally expect on some exotic summer holiday!

Topsham, Goat Walk, sunsetTopsham, Goat Walk, flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing beats a walk in nature to dust off any vestiges of winter blues and I highly recommend going for a paddle if you live near water for instant grounding.  I promise you, not only your feet, but your whole body will thank you for it as you invite any stagnant prana/chi to leave achy joints and muscles, not to mention the shift in your mental state, helping us to view the world through a more positive lens.

All this talk of prana (our vital life force) and nature has me thinking ahead to yoga retreats and summer meditations on the beach.

A dear yoga teacher friend has invited me to co-host a gorgeous wild eco retreat in Southern France with her this summer and I’m already looking at various retreat centres in my favourite part of Spain, Andalucía, to take students for 2018 retreats (more on this in a later post). 

You don’t have to be an experienced yogi to enjoy your first yoga holiday.  My husband often tells friends of his first ever foreign yoga adventure in which he thought he was just accompanying me to keep me happy. His intention was in fact to drink nice coffee and read lots of books while I indulged my passion.  However, he was gently persuaded by our gorgeous yoga teacher, Michelle Bartolo of MichelleBartoloYoga.com, to give it a go.  To cut a long story short, by day three, 5 one and half hour sessions later, he was totally hooked.  He said he felt inches taller (this is a guy who is already 6’ 4”) and that he hadn’t slept so well in years!

The benefits of yoga have been widely written about, but if you’ve never been on a yoga holiday or retreat, I urge you to take the plunge – the effects will be exponential and equal to at least 6 months of going to a regular weekly class. 

Go with a friend or partner or if you decide to go on your own, you won’t be the only one.  I have tried all three ways and enjoyed each experience for different reasons.

A few things to look out for when choosing the right place for you:

  • A yoga holiday tends to be just that; you have yoga in the mornings and evenings and are often left to please yourself during the day with the option of organised outings or workshops.
  • A yoga retreat quite often means more participation in the preparation of food, clearing up etc. 
  • Check out the style of yoga by looking at the biographies of the host teachers involved.  If you’re used to a gentle hatha flow type of class, then you may not find that a week of dynamic Ashtanga meets your needs. 
  • There are themed holidays too, such as combining yoga with a sport you’re passionate about, specialist cookery classes or mindfulness and meditation workshops. 

There’s a huge amount of variety and of course wonderful destinations to choose from.  It’s definitely worth investing in the research before taking the plunge.  Finally, I would also check out the accommodation:  Are you happy to share with a stranger of the same sex (the cheaper option of course) or do you definitely want your own space?

There’s something for everyone out there and, in my experience, the teachers are very keen to ensure you have the best experience possible so don’t be shy about contacting them and asking for clarification.  If it’s luxury you’re after, then a campsite in the forest ain’t going to cut it after all!

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

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)

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