Even on our hottest days this summer I stayed chilled. Strolling down Melbourne’s hot streets wrapped in my Chilly Pashmina Cooling Towel. I was wondering what all the fuss was about. And at night, as a person with NO AIR CON and just a fan, I was cool enough to sleep.
With this in mind I am now your local Chilly Pashmina Cooling Towel supplier!
How to use it:
You can wear it like a sarong, or around your shoulders or wrap up your head. It even looks cool just scrunched up to scarf size; sorta like James Bond coming out of the sauna look. It’s a good size, being 70 x 150 cm.
It’s, oh, so versatile. Even with the cooler mornings I am wearing it as a scarf or around my shoulders, it folds ups easily in my bag for when I need it later in the day when the sun is hot.
How does it work?
Just wet it, wring it and wave it to shake out any excess dripping water. The rest of the water stays in the cloth and gradually evaporates out. Keeping you oh so cool.
The colour range suits all tastes with: Spring green, Royal purple, Sunset orange, True blue and, for Melbourne, of course, Ebony black.
Even better; it’s SPF50. So it’s still pretty good sun protection.
How to get one:
Email Judy on:
Cost: $50 plus p&H
Be chilled in the heat like me with a chilly pashmina cooling towel!
This session on Gut Health run by Lindy Cook was very well received by our community.
Lindy gave an excellent talk on the subject pitching it at just the right level. Lindy has a huge amount of knowledge that she packages brilliantly together for the public audience. The library received very positive feedback from audience members who felt more confident that they could make constructive changes in their lives to improve their health.
Lindy is a great speaker and so generous with her time answering questions after the talk. The powerpoint slides are also excellent.
Whoa! Chillout has some exciting new programs to start the new year. We have Lindy’s two marvellous nutrition workshops; happy foods to elevate your mood; and ways to improve your gut. Joanne teaches how to be relaxed and positive. And, I have introduced a short enjoyable Chi Kung exercise set that is easy to learn and easy to do for the rest of your life.
I’m so happy to introduce these new programs, I know the world benefits when we each make an effort to lift our game. And to top it off there is a delicious recipe, beetroot and cashew spread, courtesy of Sandra Dubs, My Wholefood Community (http://www.mywholefoodcommunity.com/index.php/misc-recipes).
Happy Foods Workshop – Lindy Cook
This session uncovers the links between mental health, diet, behaviour, gut health and lifestyle. Specific foods and nutrients are discussed that boost the feel good neurotransmitter serotonin, our immunity and our sense of wellbeing. With one in four Australians experiencing anxiety and one in eight experiencing depression at some point in their lives, this workshop is relevant to all.
Gut Health Workshop – Lindy Cook
Most of us have heard about gut health and maybe know the basics, but what’s all the fuss about? Gut health is not just about digestion; how happy our belly is effects everything from our mood, brain function, sleep, weight, allergies and immune system. This workshop offers practical dietary and lifestyle tips to nourish and support your gut microbiome, supporting good health, wellbeing and productivity.
Be relaxed Be peaceful Be positive Workshop – Joanne Jackett
It is widely recognised that a positive attitude is important. When our words are positive, our actions and perceptions are positive, there are many benefits to ourselves and others. When we are in a positive state of mind our body feels relaxed and free, we are able to connect with an abundance of energy. Practicing relaxation techniques is a key component to developing positivity. It allows the brain and nervous system to take time out.
Tai Chi Chi Kung Workshop – Judy Crowe
In this session you will learn 18 energy enhancing exercises called Shibashi. The exercises are synchronised with abdominal breathing and take 20 minutes to perform, add some cool down, all up 30 minutes. With this small time investment you will soon discover why millions of people all over the world are enjoying this health exercise. Mind/body relaxation, improved balance, and an enjoyable workout for the rest of your life.
Beetroot Cashew Spread
Cashews: 1 cup
Beetroots, peeled and cut: 1
Parsley-minced: ½ cup
Coriander-minced: ½ cup
Celery, diced 1 stalk
Red onion: ½
Turmeric-ground: 1 tsp
Miso: 2-3 TBS to taste or use
Soak cashews in water to cover by 2cm for minimum 1 hour but 5 hours is best for creamier spread. Drain.
Place drained cashews, peeled and cut beetroots, carrots, fresh parsley and coriander, onion, celery, miso turmeric, cumin into high power blender.
Add filtered water in top of blender (through holes in cap) to desired consistency
It’s pretty hard to avoid not having a few extra drinks at this time of year, it goes with the territory. While it’s important to remember to keep your alcohol intake moderate and stay well hydrated by keeping your water intake high, there are also numerous herbs and foods that will support the livers detoxification pathways and regeneration of cells.
Herbs such as St Mary’s Thistle and Schisandra have regenerative qualities, while dandelion root, globe artichoke and golden seal get the bile moving to break down some of those extra fats you might be indulging in and ensure your detox pathways are fired up and working well.
As always, my favourite way to look after your liver
is through the use of ‘food as medicine’.
Cruciferous vegies such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and bok choy help support the detoxification process of the liver. There really is a good reason to eat extra kale this time of year!
Include foods rich in the liver’s favourite nutrients (lipotropics) to support fat metabolism –choline and inositol (whole grains, legumes, egg yolks and lecithin, methionine (garlic, onion, legumes, eggs, yoghurt and sardines and carnitine (avocado, fish, beef and chicken).
B Vitamins (raw nuts and seeds, wholegrains and vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables and legumes).
‘Good’ fats generally improve liver function, support blood sugar regulation keeping us feeling full for longer, reduce inflammation and enhance our immunity. Think oily fish, nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seed oil, coconut oil, olives and legumes. ALWAYS check your fish is sustainably sourced. Our oceans are incredibly depleted and we need to do our bit to help conserve those that are left.
Dandelion root tea is a natural liver tonic. With a slightly coffee-like taste, it can be drunk with your choice of milk or ‘black’. The bitterness stimulates digestion, enhances the detoxification role of the liver and can improve bowel function. Try making your own chai dandelion for extra digestive support and deliciousness.
With the colder months upon us, now is the time to nourish and warm your body from within with the foods you eat, working in harmony with nature and the winter season.
One way of achieving this goal is to flavour your foods with pungent herbs such as ginger, garlic, cayenne, turmeric and small amounts of chilli. These foods gently heat the body and stimulate the circulation while garlic has the added benefit of fighting both bacterial and viral infections and breaking down mucous.
Garlic is a great natural remedy for colds and flu, add it to your cooking or mix it with lemon, warm water and honey for a really powerful immune system kick.
Another way of protecting your body from the winter chill is to ensure your foods are ‘warm’ or heated rather than served cold. Winter is not the time for salads or too many cold fruits. Always add ginger to any fresh juices and stew fruits (served warm) to harmonise the cold element.
Cook up hearty, nutritious soups and stews filled with as many vegetables you can manage. A big pot of organic chicken and vegetable soup (with added garlic and ginger of course) is a nourishing winter feast and another great way to aid recovery from illness.
Seasonally, winter is a time to eat root vegetables. Higher in energy-giving carbohydrates, our bodies need this fuel to keep the inner winter fires burning. Choose from sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin and beetroot.
The orange vegetables are naturally high in betacarotene, an antioxidant that helps protect all the mucous membranes of the body, including the lungs. Smokers can help reduce the risk of lung cancer by consuming higher levels of betacarotene.
Beetroot gently enhances liver function thereby aiding digestion and helping to relieve constipation. It is considered a natural ‘blood tonic’, and can help boost iron levels.
These delicious foods can be roasted, blended into dips, stewed, added to soups or steamed.
Fruits tend to be better suited to the warmer weather.
However, the deliciously sweet, Australian navel orange is in season. High in vitamin C and alkalising to the body, oranges make a great winter fruit. Start the day with a fresh orange, carrot and ginger juice. This will keep your immune system primed and fight off any potential colds and flu. Include some of the pith from oranges in your juice as this helps ensure vitamin C is well absorbed and gives extra anti-viral action.
Remember to choose organic or biodynamic foods whenever possible. Not only are you ensuring your food has maximum nutritional value, your body does not have to break down the cocktail of pesticides, chemicals and additives found in conventional foods that are linked to so many chronic disease states.
Organic foods contain on average 50% more vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients! Plus, knowing you are doing your bit to support our environment is a great feeling.
Winter Abundance Bowl
Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce
2/3 cup brown rice
1/3 cup green lentils
¼ – ½ tsp. sea salt
1 head broccoli
1 medium sweet potato (leave the skin on if it’s organic!)
2 cups shredded red cabbage
juice of ½ lemon or lime
drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil
Combine rice and lentils in a medium bowl, cover with water and wash well, rubbing grains and legumes together. Drain and repeat until water is clear. Cover with water again and soak overnight / for up to 8 hours, if possible. Drain and rinse.
In a medium saucepan place the rice and lentils, plus 1½ cups water (if soaked – add 2 cups water if un-soaked), and sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook covered until water has been absorbed and rice and lentils are cooked through (about 30-45 minutes depending on if you soaked the grain or not).
While the rice and lentils are cooking, chop the broccoli into florets and the sweet potato into bite-sized cubes. About ten minutes before the grains have cooked (check the water level before adding veggies – if it’s dry, add a little more liquid), add the sweet potato. After five minutes, add the broccoli on top of the sweet potato.
While the rice and lentils are cooking you can also blend together the sauce (see below) and prepare the cabbage: Shred cabbage using a mandoline or sharp knife. Toss with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt. Toss to combine.
To assemble the bowl, simply spoon in the cooked rice and lentils with the steamed veggies, add the cabbage on the side and pour sauce over. Give thanks for the abundance and enjoy.
Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce
Makes 2 cups
1 cup/150g pumpkin seeds
3 cloves garlic
knob of fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
¾ -1 cup /175- 250 ml water
¾ tsp. fine grain sea salt
¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
cayenne pepper to taste
1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast pumpkin seeds, stirring every so often, until they begin to pop. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. In a food processor, pulse to mince garlic and ginger. Add cooled pumpkin seeds and blend on high until sand-textured. Add remaining ingredients (start with ¾ cup water) and blend, scraping down the sides periodically. Add remaining water as needed to suit your desired consistency. Season to taste. Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
NOTE: This recipe makes quite a lot of sauce, but as it keeps for five days it’s a wonderful thing to have on hand to dress salads, roast veggies and cooked whole grains. You can easily make half the amount if you know you won’t eat it all in before it spoils.
RAW VERSION: You can also make a raw version of this sauce. To do so, soak the pumpkin seeds for 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse well. Skip step 1 in the instructions and carry on with the others.
The globe will unite for World Sleep Day® on March 17, 2017 to host activities incorporating the slogan, ‘Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life.’
We all know the story, lying in bed wide awake in the wee hours of the night, unable to sleep and dreading yet another day ahead feeling exhausted and flat.
Just as the sun begins to rise you finally drop off, only to be rudely awoken by the sound of your alarm.
Or do you find it hard to get to sleep, tossing and turning wishing you could just stop thinking and fall into a deep refreshing sleep?
Lack of sleep and associated fatigue seems to be the curse of the modern age.
Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but insomnia can keep them from getting the sleep they need. With around 1/3 of Australians suffering from a sleep issue of some sort there is no doubt there is plenty of ‘counting sheep’ going on every night around our country.
Just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight.
Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you won’t be able to work, learn and create at a level even close to your true potential.
If you are struggling to get a good night’s kip, these tips can help get you sleeping more soundly and ready to embrace life again feeling energized and focused. Start getting the sleep you need to boost your energy, efficiency and creativity.
To drop off we must cool off, literally. The body temperature and the brain’s sleep-wake cycle are closely linked. That’s why hot summer nights can cause a restless sleep. Studies have shown that the optimal conditions for sleep are a slightly cool room and a lower core temperature. So make sure your bedding is appropriate for the time of year, the heating is not switched too high or have a luke warm shower if you are finding it difficult to cool down.
Step Away From Your Phone (iPad, Lap Top, Device…)
That’s right, switch off and unplug! Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet. Why? The blue wavelengths produced by your smartphone and other gadgets (and energy-efficient LED light bulbs) significantly suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy, according to University of Basel research. They also keep your mind stimulated and active, making it harder to unwind and sleep.
Breath In, Breath Out, Let it Go…
Relaxation techniques are one of the most effective ways to increase sleep time, fall asleep faster, and feel more rested in the morning. Visualizing a peaceful, tranquil scene and gradually relaxing every muscle in your body can help calm a busy mind or try a short meditation 20 minutes before bed. Meditation sends signals to your sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response telling it that it’s all right to relax and can help you let go of the worries and problems from your day.
Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath and then reading a book or listening to soothing music. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime carried out away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from the activities of your day.
Enjoy this Restful Sleep Meditation by Joanne Jackett, Chillout Yoga and Meditation Teacher.
Nourish your Adrenals
Your stress response, often known as ‘fight or flight response’, is powered by the hormone cortisol – secreted by the adrenal glands. This mechanism is intended to save your life when we are under threat and once the threat passes, return to normal. The problem is that in our busy world prolonged stress can leave our body’s thinking we have a never-ending emergency, the cortisol remains high and adrenal fatigue sets in.
Stress and adrenal function affect sleep, particularly the circadian pattern of cortisol. When we are managing stress effectively, cortisol should rise in the morning to give us energy for the day. By the time we are ready to hit the hay, it should drop, making it easy to fall into a deep, refreshing sleep. However, if it remains elevated at night we find it hard to unwind and slumber, instead feeling slightly wired, edgy and anxious – exactly when we need to find our Zen.
Ultimately you must get sleep if your adrenals are to get stronger. Natural remedies are brilliant at resetting your stress hormone levels and inducing calm in an uptight body. Try taking a mix of herbs such as Withiania, Chamomile, Oats, Rhodiola and Ginseng during the day to keep your body calm then add in the more powerful soporific tonics half an hour before bed. Think Valerian, Zizyphus, Passionflower and Jamaican Dogwood. Of course these need to be prescribed by a qualified Naturopath.
Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Adrenal fatigue may have another outcome in the poor sleep cycle– low blood sugar. Cortisol plays an important role in maintaining blood sugar (glucose) levels around the clock.
However, during adrenal fatigue cortisol levels may not work effectively to maintain blood glucose levels. If your brain detects low blood sugar levels at night it may make it difficult to get to sleep or have you waking in the middle of the night. An internal alarm is set off so you can wake (or get up) and refuel.
Make sure you eat a balanced diet during the day with protein at most meals and a good serve of complex carbohydrates. Skip the simple sugars from sweets and processed foods that cause your blood sugar levels to swing and energy to flag.
Having a healthy snack before bed can help fortify the body’s nighttime energy reserves. Make sure your snack contains protein, unrefined carbohydrate, and high quality fat, such as half a slice of whole grain toast with almond butter, a serve of yoghurt with chopped nuts and blueberries or a slice of cheese on a whole grain cracker.
Food As Medicine
Without doubt what you eat affects how you sleep. One of the keys to a restful night’s sleep is to get your brain calmed rather than revved up. Some foods contribute to restful sleep; other foods keep you awake.
Studies show even being mildly deficient in magnesium can affect your sleep quality. Given one of the major constituents of the adrenal glands is magnesium and we tend to burn through it when under stress, it is a fair assumption to make that a high degree of our population s deficient in this important nutrient. Magnesium comes in a wide range of foods, from nuts and seeds, to leafy greens and grains:
Nuts and seeds – raw almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, pumpkin, (pepitas) and sesame seeds.
Green leafy vegetables –kale, silver beet, chard and spinach.
Whole grains – quinoa, wheat, buckwheat and rye are not only high in magnesium but other nutrients too.
Dark Chocolate – feel like a treat? Raw Cacao is also high in magnesium and makes a great guilt free treat. Just don’t eat it too close to bed time, the caffeine can keep you awake!
Tryptophan is a precursor to the sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin. This means tryptophan is the raw material that the brain uses to build these relaxing neurotransmitters and will help make you sleepy.
Eating carbohydrates with tryptophan containing foods makes this calming amino acid more available to the brain. So cutting the carbs at night may not be the best thing for someone who is struggling to get a good nights in! Eating a high-protein meal without accompanying carbohydrates may keep you awake, since protein-rich foods also contain the amino acid, tyrosine, which perks up the brain.
Food sources of tryptophan include red meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes, soybeans and soy products, tuna, shellfish, and turkey. Try having a serve of natural, full cream yoghurt with a handful of nuts mixed before bed to enhance your tryptophan levels naturally.
So we all know regular exercise helps promote deep sleep. It helps relieve muscle tension and stress build up in the body. A couple of key points to note are; don’t exercise too late at night. As already mentioned, your body needs to be cool in order to sleep. The increased adrenaline can also make switching off harder. The other key point is to include exercise as a regular part of your daily routine. A recent studied revealed that while long-term exercise does help alleviate insomnia, it needs to be a regular habit. Unfortunately, only exercising once a week or for a short burst will not necessarily induce those nods you are craving.
Get Your Yoga On
A few low-key yoga moves can signal to your brain that slumber is coming. It is also a beautiful way to lower stress levels, calm the mind and relieve the tensions of the day and can be an effective natural sleep remedy. Certain resting and inversion poses can be particularly helpful for combating restlessness and insomnia, especially when practiced in the evening just before turning in. A Harvard study found that daily yoga for eight weeks improved total sleep time and the time it took to fall asleep.
Cut the Caffeine
It is a bit of a vicious cycle. You feel so tired during the day you desperately need a coffee, especially mid afternoon, to keep you going. Then that night, although you are exhausted, for some reason you just can’t drop off (again). When you are not sleeping well and feeling burnt out you need to nourish and calm your body, not keeping pushing it to fire on all cylinders with caffeine – I always liken it to flogging a dead horse.
Aim to stick to just one, morning caffeinated drink daily (excluding the nasty coke and pepsi drinks) and if you are really struggling with your sleep, it is time to cut it out and switch to chamomile or other herbal teas to stop stressing your adrenals.
That also means no nibbling on dark chocolate after dinner. Caffeine products, such as coffee, tea, colas and chocolate, remain in the body on average from 3 to 5 hours, but they can affect some people up to 12 hours later. Even if you do not think caffeine affects you, it may be disrupting and changing the quality of your sleep. Avoiding caffeine within 6-8 hours of going to bed can help improve sleep quality.
Lose the Booze
Drinking alcohol close to bedtime can lead to a night of restless sleep. Although many people think of alcohol as a sedative, it actually disrupts sleep, causing nighttime awakenings.
To sleep well we need a calm, healthy, well-nourished body.
Did you manage to STOP then remember to BREATHE? (refer to Blog below)
Don’t be put off if you didn’t get round to it as often as you wanted to. It is all part of the Practice to just keep on trying. ‘Keep on keeping on’.
Remember that until you are familiar with the action of STOPPING and you acknowledge that you are actually allowing yourself to stop, then breathe, this next stage can wait even a little longer.
When you do STOP and BREATHE you are being completely Mindful, so you see there is success and progress every step of the way.
So now comes the interesting part. STILL THE MIND.
I’m sorry to say that rarely, if at all, is the mind completely still. That is not to say that during the process of moving towards stillness there will not be moments or glimpses of stillness. This is where the quality of Patience now comes into it. Once you begin to recognise the spaces of stillness in between thoughts, you enter a place within yourself, removed from the outer world of distraction and restless thoughts. Be content to rest in that stillness.
Once you are living with the awareness of stopping and breathing and feeling stillness, then the practice of mindfulness can be applied to many situations in everyday life. It is very difficult to be mindful of anything if the mind is racing.
Given the chance, our body and mind is very good at catching on to what serves us well.
So ‘keep on keeping on’.
There are so many techniques and practices given to help arrive at this point of STILLNESS. My suggestion is not to get overwhelmed by anything that is remotely complicated. Keep it simple.
You will arrive at that point of stillness if you practice those first two steps. Practice sincerely and regularly. Once you start it gets easier.
If you are not listening already, try the Relaxation track on my Peaceful Living album (see below) You can listen free of charge!
Tune in again next week and in the meantime…..enjoy the stillness.
It seems that Mindfulness is the answer to just about everything these days.
Well pure and simply….One could say that it is. From personal experience I can say, that with Mindfulness, its not the outer world that we can change, but we do have the potential to change how we are on the inside.
In my yoga classes I focus on mindfulness of every breath, every movement and every thought.
For the mind, just like the body, needs training. Holding these three aspects with gentle awareness, no judgement or criticism opens the way towards self nurturing and returning to balance on all levels. This is the practice, because in real terms that is what you have to do…..Practice.
One of my very early teachers once said to me…”It’s not like taking a pill, you have to work on it, you have to make an effort.”
Finding room for ‘practice’ in your life can seem daunting as the first thing that comes to mind is ‘when am I going to find the time?’
After many years of endeavouring to implement positive changes in my life I can say that transitioning takes willpower and patience. So stay tuned for I have tips for building those qualities too.
Just for now, accept the status of ‘Beginner’, even if you’re not actually a beginner. Allowing yourself to be a beginner is really quite liberating.
I’d like to share three simple steps from the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.
You Stop 2. You Breathe 3. You still your mind
Now remember that you are a ‘Beginner’. For now don’t go beyond Step 1 for a few days.
You STOP. This is where the willpower and patience comes into it. Its our usual habit to want to move to the next thing. But first you need to feel what it is really like to STOP. It doesn’t matter if you only stop for a few seconds at first, you are planting the seed each time you do it (try 3 or 4 times a day) and your awareness/mindfulness around that action deepens.
As you become aware of your physical stillness the most natural thing then arises…
You BREATHE…… Be MINDFUL of taking 3 to 5 natural breaths just as the body demands.
Stay tuned for the next instalment. With love from Joanne …