Self-Care Sunday – Digital Detox

The latest topic in my Self-Care Sunday series is that of learning to digitally detox! This is something that is becoming increasingly necessary in the age of social media domination in which we live.

Studies have shown that the average digital device user can check theirs as many as 85 times a day. This can often add up to an unbelievable daily amount of five hours! Often we use our devices for short bursts of time, such as sending a message, making a phone call or searching for information. However, many people also often spend extended periods of time browsing the internet on their devices, playing online games, and engaging in other digital activities. Although this can sometimes seem relaxing, we are really increasing our dependence on our devices and paying less attention to our real life relationships, pursuits and responsibilities. 

There are many reasons why it may be super necessary for you to go on an extended digital  detox, but also it is something that you can do regularly for short periods of time. Leaving your devices alone for a whole day is a great way to disconnect and get your time back, but you can also try scheduling periods during the day where you go without them. This could be 30 minutes, an hour, two hours or maybe more…the point is that you are disconnecting from technology and focusing your time and attention on other things. 

In the following video I share a tried and tested method for encouraging yourself and those around you to detox regularly from digital devices. You can do the activity that I discuss at home when you are with your family, and also when you are out with friends or co-workers.

I have put together a downloadable PDF for you to look at alongside this video, and you can click here to enter your email address and receive this download!

Also, if you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we move towards the end of 2017!

Spotting the Signs of Ill Health

Staying on top of your health is super important if you are to help to lower your risk of illness and maintain your energy levels. You may initially think that this is quite difficult to do, especially given the large amounts of conflicting advice in regards to health and wellness. However, there are some key things that you can look out for! Continue reading Spotting the Signs of Ill Health

Simple Self-Care

We all know that our own self-care and wellness should be at the top of our priority list. However, how often is this actually the case? Many of us seem to believe that we have to seriously set time aside from our normal daily routine to embrace wellness practices – but this is simply not true!

It actually takes minimal effort to incorporate certain self-care activities into your schedule, and they will soon become second nature – requiring no forethought at all! When you reach this point you will notice that you are more likely to feel relaxed and focused during your days.

Breathing

Breathing is seriously under-rated as a tool for stress relief and can be used anywhere at any time to rebalance your thoughts and your emotions. A simple technique to start is to stop whatever it is that you are doing, close your eyes and begin breathing deeply and slowly. Count each breath in and try not to allow any thoughts, anxieties or feelings to enter your mind. At this moment, counting your breaths is the only thing that you need to concern yourself with and everything else can take a back seat. Try to reach at least 20 breaths each time you do this, and if you have the time then go on for longer! Even if you do not feel particularly stressed out then I suggest you do this several times a day.

Detox Digitally

You are probably already aware of how much stress your digital devices cause you. Constantly checking messages and scrolling through your various social media feeds can not only be quite time consuming, but also emotionally draining. If it’s not possible for you to go the day without your smart phone, then at least try to have extended periods away from it. Make sure you always turn it off before bedtime and do not take it to bed with you!

Ritual Teatime

Having a time set aside for drinking herbal tea and reflecting on your day is a great way to unwind and care for yourself in the evening. You can use this time to enjoy your favourite brew whilst you process the events of the day just passed. Turning this into a mini ceremony by yourself helps your mind to appreciate the importance of this time spent alone caring for yourself.

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2017!

How Stress Affects Your Health

Our mental wellbeing has a huge impact on our physical health and taking care of yourself should involve practices related to both of these things! If your mind is frequently busy with negative thoughts and stress then you will observe that your energy and general health will decrease over time. It is often difficult to measure how much stress a person is experiencing, and for that reason it is regularly dismissed from being a health concern. However, that does not mean that you should take your stress levels any less seriously. Stress can cause some serious changes in your body that can actually be quite dangerous. Being aware of this can help you to understand why it is important to avoid stressful situations and reach resolutions to conflict quickly.

Stress has the potential to change how your genes function. This means that during periods of extreme stress the way your body stores fat can change, your immune system can become compromised and visible signs of aging can increase. When your immune system is affected in this way, you are more likely to develop infections, especially ones that can lay dormant such as cold sores.

Research has shown that those who experience high levels of stress as children can have dramatically altered responses to stress as adults. This means that these people might find certain situations harder to deal with than those who were not exposed to this early in life. High stress levels can actually damage certain parts the brain, such as those responsible for memory. During incredibly intense periods of time, the brain will often trigger adrenal shutdown in order to preserve as much energy as possible for its own function. Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc in your life and will drastically diminish your energy levels. The simplest of tasks, such as getting out of bed for more than a few hours, can seem incredibly difficult.

Studies have proven that the body’s ability to detoxify prescription drugs is negatively affected by stress. Similar studies have also shown that a person is much more likely to crave fatty, sugary foods during periods of moderate to extreme stress. If your lifestyle is causing you to compromise your nutrition then you will experience these negative effects much more rapidly.

As you can see, keeping your stress levels to an absolute minimum should be a priority in your life if you want to remain a positive and productive person. Distancing yourself from toxic relationships and negative influences should be an immediate action. You can also look to activities such as yoga and meditation in order to promote relaxation and optimum health! Check out my previous post on How to Make Time for Meditation for tips on getting started.

Win a Radiance Cleanse Gift Box!

As I’ve discussed before on my blog, I believe juice cleansing to be an amazing way to detox your body and restore the natural balance. The nutritional value of drinking fresh organic fruit and vegetable juices is incredible. When incorporated into your diet frequently, these juices can soon make noticeable changes to your energy levels and overall wellbeing.

Making your own juices is fantastic fun but can be time consuming. If you want to give your body some juice love but simply don’t have the time, then a Radiance Cleanse delivery can do all of the legwork for you!

What is a Radiance Cleanse?

beauty-diagonalFounded in 2009, by Clare Neill and Christina Agnew, Radiance is the creation of these two women who know firsthand the dramatic nutritional benefits of juicing. Having both personally experienced the life changing effects of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, they pioneered the UK’s first organic juice cleanse programme that is available to be delivered anywhere in the country. They use only the highest quality, raw organic products to create their amazingly delicious juices.

How to win a gift box!

So, Radiance and I have come together to give you the chance to check  out these amazing juices absolutely free! The Health Box contains six different juices (Cashew Milk, Pure Greens, Power Green, Alka Green, Super Green and Vital Green) which you can sample at your own pace over two to three days. The health box will be delivered to the lucky winner for free at the end of the competition!

So, to give your start to 2014 the extra boost you might need as January comes to an end, get involved in my social media competition to win The Health Box for yourself. Become a super-active social media advocate for health, wellness and well, just feeling good! If you already write your Facebook statuses, post on Twitter and Instagram daily then this will be a walk in the park….

All you have to do to be in the running is follow these simple steps. Firstly, connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (if you haven’t already!) Then tweet or post a healthy picture or motivational image of your choice with the following message –

@juliemontagu and @radiancecleanse My #healthy today is………

And then include an image that says it all! It could be a motivational quote, your favourite workout pose or your favourite healthy foods – the list is endless! It just needs to be your healthy moment for that day. The more you join in the online conversation, the better your chances of winning this gorgeous Radiance Cleanse Gift Box!

Remember to Follow or Like both Julie Montagu and Radiance Cleanse (Facebook & Twitter) so that you can link to them in your status.

I will notify you of your win via email so it’s also imperative that you sign up for my mailing list to receive the exciting news of the Radiance Cleanse winner! Good luck!

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Oils?

Oil can be a big problem to dieters and it is something that I recommend all of my clients try to use less off if they are trying to lose those last 5 – 10 pounds. The harsh reality is that cooking oils are highly processed using manufacturing methods that are highly destructive to oil molecules.

According to Udo Erasmus, author of the book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, oils are typically pressed or solvent extracted from seeds and nuts, using a process where they are de-gummed, refined, bleached, and deodorized. The thing about this process that many people don’t realize is that valuable ‘minor ingredients’ including antioxidants, phytosterols, chlorophyll, flavor molecules, color molecules, lecithin, and other oil-soluble beneficial molecules are removed too.

how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodieWhat we just discussed applies to the cooking oils you may purchase in a store, or find in packaged food, or consume in French fries from a fast food restaurant. But what about when you cook at home with something like olive oil? Unfortunately, olive oil has a fatty acid composition (largely Omega-9) that’s NOT highly resistant to high heat. Meaning, its structure gets damaged and becomes partially toxic when cooked at high heat. It is also not a whole food anymore. Olives are whole foods found in nature, but olive oil is processed, with the oil separated from the fiber and rest of the whole food that it came from. While it may not be as bad as common cooking oil, olive oil is far from the ideal solution to cooking with oil. So what’s the answer?

While this fat trigger is everywhere – from cooking oil, to packaged foods, used at restaurants and more – there are some simple steps you can take to avoid it.

First, stop cooking with oil. I know that may seem radical, but it’s possible to steam your vegetables or cook grains without using oil. You can even stir fry your vegetables lightly with water or vegetable broth in a “non-toxic” non-stick pan to avoid using oil. Then, if you want a little oil with your food, you can add it later. This way, you’re enjoying the food you want, without denaturing and making the oil toxic in the process.how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodie2

Another option is to ONLY cook with coconut oil, which is composed largely of medium-chain fatty acids that don’t denature the same way polyunsaturated oils do. This is especially important if you must fry something or cook at high heat. It’s unarguably better to use coconut oil than cooking at high heat with a less stable vegetable oil that will break down more readily.

The third and final option is perhaps the most radical, but worth considering. It is simply to give up oils all together if you really want to lose those last 5-10 pounds. For instance, I watch the amount of oils I consume – I find that it’s too easy to overdo fat when using them, and I don’t think they’re fundamentally necessary. When I do cook with oil, it’s always coconut oil.

how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodie4When I want some healthy fats in my diet, I”ll have a small avocado, or some whole nuts and seeds. Or perhaps a little coconut meat. Even the dressings I make and recommend to clients are oil-free.

Whatever option you choose here, the most important thing is that you reduce this fat trigger to the best of your ability and when you do cook, use small amounts of coconut oil instead or water. You’ll automatically reduce your intake of empty calories, detox faster, feel lighter, improve your digestion, reduce acne or skin blemishes, shed weight, and just plain feel better.

Seven Cancer Fighting Foods

Combining an active lifestyle with a healthy diet is a great way to defend your body against many forms of cancer. Some cancers develop due to genetic factors however the way you take care of yourself can play a part in preventing the onset. By incorporating a wide variety of plant based foods into your meals you can stay on top of your health! Include these seven foods in a balanced diet to help your body defend against cancer and a huge range of other health issues.

Berries
Berries

Berries

Antioxidants are great for stopping those free radicals from travelling around your body causing damage and berries are absolutely crammed full of them. Although it’s never possible to completely avoid toxins, it is possible to put up a good fight and berries are a great weapon for this. There’s so many different types of berries that you’re bound to find a selection that you love!

Garlic

Studies have shown that garlic is especially great for inhibiting the growth of cancer in the prostate, colon, stomach and bladder. Garlic will also give your immune system a boost and work to detoxify the body. You can include it in soups, stir fries, salads – in fact, practically any dish!

Garlic
Garlic

Kale

Kale is full of fiber and studies show that it is most effective in preventing cancer of the colon, stomach and lungs. Kale is a delicious addition to many meals but if it’s not your thing, then you can also get similar nutritional goodness from other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

Spinach  Spinach is fantastic and works to prevent cancer when carcinogens enter the body. Research has shown that consuming spinach will decrease the chances of tumours occurring and growing. Spinach is delicious with salads or as an accompaniment to many main meals.

seven_cancer_fighting_foods_mushrooms_the_flexi_foodie
Mushrooms

Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are full of compounds that aid the liver in the detoxification process. Several of these compounds also work to stimulate the production of enzymes which protect against carcinogens. Broccoli sprouts are three-four day old broccoli plants which have been likened in flavour to the radish. These awesome sprouts will also help with lowering cholesterol levels and can be easily grown at home.

Mushrooms

Because of their ability to suppress the enzyme in the body which converts testosterone into estrogen, mushrooms are great for inhibiting breast cancer. They also contain lentinan which is thought to prevent tumour growth. Certain types of mushroom, like shitake, are also fantastic for kick-starting the immune system.

Turmeric

Turmeric

Turmeric is predominantly used in curry dishes but can also be used to flavour many other meals. Curcumin is the component of turmeric which makes it of such great value to our health. Studies have shown that curcumin helps in the fight against cancers such as that of the mouth, intestines, breasts, skin, and stomach and is also especially useful for treating colorectal cancers.

When it comes to preventative medicine, plant-based foods are a great way to go! You can have effective control over your health and your body just by making some simple lifestyle and dietary choices. Try it for yourself and see the difference!

Wowsers Wheatgrass – a GIY (grow it yourself!) post

Okay, so I have been SO excited about this post for over a week now (10 days to be exact)!  Nearly freaking out! I just couldn’t wait to get started on writing about how to Grow Your OWN Wheatgrass!  It’s simple, fun, inexpensive and self-fullfilling!  Need I say more?  If you’ve got kids (I’m happy to hire one of mine out for the day :)), they will love watching this magical grass grow right before their BIG eyes!  And to be perfectly honest, I was excited to see the photos that my husband took of each cool stage of growth.  I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed posting it!

To start, make sure you get some good wheatgrass seeds – look online, they’re everywhere! Take 250g of the seeds and soak them overnight or a good 8-12 hours.

ImageOnce soaked, rinse and then allow the seeds to sprout first before planting.  To do this, put the seeds into a muslin pouch for 2 days,  a glass jar will do fine too!  Make sure you rinse the seeds 3 times a day during those 2 days of sprouting.  ImageOnce those cute seeds have formed their adorable tails, you are ready to plant them!  I used a 9×13 tray, filled it with soil (basic potting mix or top soil work great) and then gently placed the seeds on top of the soil, not in the soil.  To keep them wet, you gotta water them and cover them up for the next 3 days.  I used another tray to cover them but a tea towel is fine too.  During these 3 days, water them heavily in the morning.

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 When the grass has grown about 1-2 inches in length, you can then uncover those gorgeous blades and watch them grow even more.  Little hint:  I don’t advise having the grass in direct sunlight though.  Just find a good spot in your kitchen that doesn’t get too much of it.  Living in London, that’s not too hard! Over the next several days, watch your amazing creation grow to around 8- 10 inches and then it’s ready to be cut, juiced and gulped!
ImageIf you don’t know the SHAMAZING benefits of Wheatgrass, then keep on reading.  There are SOOOO many to list that I could write a novel about Wheatgrass!  But instead I’ve listed my top EIGHT favourite benefits!Image
1. Wheatgrass juice contains up to 70% chlorophyll, which is a huge blood builder.  YUP, these chlorophyll molecules so closely resemble our bloods haemoglobin. The only major difference is that the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium as its central atom and our blood contains iron.  Other than that, these guys chlorophyll and haemoglobin are nearly identical.
2. The Chlorophyll in Wheatgrass contains awesome enzymes which helps to slow down the ageing process.  Am all over that one!
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3. Yucky bacteria and toxins are stopped and flushed out by our best friend Chlorophyll.
4. Chlorophyll, yes, can be extracted from a lot of plants, but wheatgrass is SUPERIOR because it has been found to have over 100 elements needed by us!
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5. Carrot juice and fresh fruit juices are great at detoxing the body, but once again Wheatgrass is superior in the detoxification department!
6. 1 ounce of Wheatgrass juice is equal to 2 pounds of dark, green leafy veg therefore, it naturally shuts off the appestat in the brain.
Image7. Wheatgrass is jam packed with vitamins and minerals, including 13 essential ones, dozens of trace elements and enzymes, rich in protein and contains 17 amino acids: the building blocks of protein.
8. And lastly, this juice aids in skin problems such as eczema or acne, can be gargled for a sore throat, improves digestion and keeps the hair from graying (OMG – love that!)
ImageSo, there you have it – Wheatgrass really packs a punch, right?!  And this is just a glimpse of the many benefits of Wheatgrass.  So, run out now, get your seeds and start your glorious growing!  Your body will LOVE you for it!
For any nutritional advice, head to my Website Here and/or if you liked this post then why not Like my Facebook Page!