Water is life
This quote by Loren Eiseley is the perfect description for the first subject of my Beautiful Intention healthy living plan, which is water.
Over the course of the past year, water has been a powerful theme of life in South Africa. The ongoing, severe drought in the Western Cape has taken it’s toll on the people, animals and landscape crying out for water. At the same time, other areas of the country suffered violent floods that destroyed homes and took lives.
The fires that devastated Knysna were calmed eventually by water and it’s water that now restores life where there was ashes.
Water is the driving force of all nature and that includes humans. It even helps to make wine! So you see, it really is magic!
Drink plenty of water
It’s a message we hear very often and not without good reason. Taking the most important parts of our bodies into consideration, the brain and heart are made up of 75 percent water, lungs around 85 percent, muscles and kidneys consist of 80 percent water.
In order to have the body function optimally it stands to reason that the water balance must be well maintained.
What are the benefits of drinking more water?
There are a multitude of benefits associated with drinking a good amount of water every day.
- Starting your day with a large glass of water gives your metabolism a wake up call!
- Drinking water is proven to raise your metabolic rate substantially.
- Aids digestion by clearing the colon and improves movement of food through the digestive system, less bloating.
- Keeps skin hydrated and free of toxins.
- Prevents headaches – dehydration is a major cause of headaches and even migraines.
- Boosts brain function and productivity for better focus and clarity.
- Increases muscle function and energy.
- Drink water to control appetite – drinking water an hour to 30 minutes before a meal will help you feel satiated without overeating. Drinking water often throughout the day will keep snack attacks at bay.
- Improved flow of nutrients and distribution of hormones throughout the body, ensuring that you function and therefore feel your best!
How do you find ways to make it easier for yourself to remember to drink more water and actually stick to it?
I have a particular routine that I follow which makes it much easier for me. This includes the following:
As soon as I manage to pry my eyes open and peel myself out of bed (it’s not that I don’t want to rise and shine, I just really love my bed) the first thing on the agenda is a large glass of warm water.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I pour about a quarter glass of hot water, stir in a teaspoon of raw honey and two tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Top it up with tap water and drink. Then I follow that up with another glass of water.
There are a few reasons why I start with this and not because of it’s celeb status. Growing up, my grandmother did the same thing every day and the smell of ACV reminds me of her in the kitchen every morning. Things we grow up with tend to stick. Lemon and honey in water is another favourite of mine.
It’s not just for nostalgia though. Research is not always 100% conclusive as to all the benefits of apple cider vinegar however it has been used medicinally for centuries.
I will definitely not claim that it’s a magic potion but it has been proven to have various benefits in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle overall. Some benefits are:
- Regulating blood sugar, assisting breakdown of starch
- Enzymes found in the unfiltered ACV aid digestion
- Acetic acid can increase the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and minerals from food
- It’s antibiotic and antimicrobial and especially when combined with honey and water can soothe coughs and alleviate allergy symptoms
- Antioxidants are good for healthy skin
Important to note never to drink apple cider vinegar undiluted. 2 Tablespoons is a maximum daily amount which you can easily also ingest with salads or fish, equally good and much better than 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise!
Further to this it’s also very important to do your own research before starting anything new and consult a doctor if you have any kind of pre-existing condition. A well balanced article I found about apple cider vinegar is here, should you want to start looking through more information.
Getting the 3 litres in
General consensus is that an adult should be drinking about two litres of water each day, however for weight loss you should have at least three.
I find it helps me to keep a 1,5 litre bottle with me, finishing the first one before lunchtime and then refill. I easily have my share of water this way, especially when I have a desk day.
We’re lucky to have the luxury of clean and safe tap water in Jozi and my personal preference is water from the tap or at room temperature. Of course you can chill it, add fresh lemon or berries (not artificially flavoured water) to make it more interesting for the tastebuds.
I also like to have either black rooibos tea or Senna tea, which counts towards water too as well as having their own tea-licious health benefits.
Yes, frequent bathroom trips will be part of the journey at first but the bladder will adjust soon enough. Think of it as a little exercise and a chance to stretch your legs.
One small step for the body… one giant leap to beautiful wellness! If you don’t manage it right away please don’t beat yourself up. Remember to be gentle… tomorrow is another chance to be better.
With that, I think my well of wonderful water wisdom has run dry!
Please let me know if you have any tips for drinking water, or how you prefer to drink your water. Feel free to ask any questions here or via email.
If you’re finding the series valuable, share the message on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Remember to invite your friends and family to follow along and feel their best too!
Intention is an idea formed in the heart
This series is inspired by my personal Intention for 2018. I have spent over a year now working on living life with positive intention and this has involved many hours of research, listening to podcasts and Ted Talks, reading and just really expanding my own world of knowledge and experience. It has had such a phenomenal effect on my life and outlook.
Whether the subject is food, mindfulness, physical health, parenting etc. years of personal study (and experience) have formed each droplet of water that comprises my little fountain of wisdom. I am still constantly learning, always soaking up more information and absolutely loving the exploration.
One of my wishes for 2018 is to share more with my family, my friends and of course my readers, things that I believe will help us live a more beautiful, positive life. Your thinking absolutely creates your reality and it’s so important to love both your body and mind, taking the most special care of both of them in order to be the best you that you can possibly be.
Once you have started with yourself, then you can share it with those around you.
Intention is more than wishful thinking, it’s willful direction.
Looking and feeling healthy
My goals for 2018 with regards to business and development are going to take an immense amount of energy. This body of mine had better be strong and ready for what my mind has planned!
Having my own business does mean having the flexibility to be available for my family when they need me too and this year they are going to have the best me, present and jumping up and down if necessary. Just don’t expect any running! Let’s not cross the line here…
So I am starting with me
And you can start with you, along with me!
This is not about being supermodel skinny or perfectly ripped and toned… that’s not what this is about. This is about realistically, in my lifestyle and with my resources, feeling happy and healthy and being the best ME.
I could stand to lose a little roll or two and after the December splurge I am looking forward to getting back on track!
I like to think that I generally have healthy eating habits and a positive attitude towards food and I instill the same in my family. We eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables, meats and fish. We don’t avoid carbs but I try to include a variety of grains for them and cut out the gluten for myself.
Unfortunately, chronic pain is a part of my life. Fibromyalgia is a disorder associated with muscle, joint and nerve pain as well as severe fatigue, memory problems and a variety of other issues that often make me feel like a really old lady.
Further to that, I also have degenerated discs in my lower back which come with their own special bag of tricks for me.
I take daily medication to relieve the nerve pain and some other symptoms but other than that I prefer to manage the conditions without too much medication.
A critical factor is avoiding inflammatory foods such as gluten, sugar and dairy. I will explore the how’s and why’s of everything in more detail in separate posts.
This healthy eating plan is suitable for everyone and anyone! I am also not advocating any particular “diet”, neither will I call this a diet. It’s a lifestyle change with positive, healthy intention at the core, following guidelines and research that simply make sense – eat good food and stay away from the bad stuff! In a nutshell.
Together with my meal plan and weekly shopping list, it fits seamlessly into a busy family lifestyle.
Meals are flexible and adaptable so that you don’t have to cook separate meals. Recipes are super easy and cooked in a flash! Everything you need to make life less complicated and more delicious.
The main points of my healthy lifestyle plan will all be explained in upcoming posts, but are essentially the following:
- Drink water! 3 litres per day.
- No sugar
- No gluten
- Limited dairy
- Fresh ingredients in their natural form
- Affordable and easily accessible… okay just normal ingredients. I may have the odd chia seed but you won’t find any pea protein powder or kombucha in my kitchen.
- Mediterranean diet – closest to the way my family normally eats and red wine is included!
- Quick, easy, delicious!
- Fibre is essential.
- Omega 3 and Vitamin D supplements.
- Have a treat now and then, be gentle with yourself. Do this because you love yourself, not to punish yourself.
- Stretch, chill, smile!
Some small changes can make a huge difference. I hope you will be joining me on this adventure and more than that, I hope that you will be inspired and that I will be able to add just a teeny tiny bit of value to you.
We’re going to feel positive, eat positive, live positive and love the beautiful life we live.
Remember that Beautiful Intention is not just a healthy diet, it’s a holistic lifestyle focusing on loving yourself (body and mind), your family and the world we all live in and simply loving this beautiful life.
Inspiration from everywhere
Has Summer forgotten about us? Wherever you go lately, people are discussing how strange the weather has been. Of course we won’t complain about the rain, we just wish we could send some of ours down to Cape Town to alleviate the drought… which reminds me of the campaigns I’ve seen all over Social Media, making travellers aware of the restrictions in place. If you are heading to Cape Town this December, one of the campaigns you can follow on Twitter is #waterwisetourismCT with very helpful tips and updates for conscious water usage.
The inspiration for this particular week’s meals therefore came from everywhere but the weather! My eldest son came back from a holiday with his father on Monday and got to choose dinner… and so it became Pizza Monday! In my opinion, any week that starts with pizza can only be a great week!
The Meal Planner
Download your meal planner here and click on the recipe name below for the printable recipe card.
Tuesday’s recipe came from the lovely people at Pauli’s Food Co. I often rave about their sauces but this is the first time that I decided to try one of their recipes. There are so many delicious ideas on their blog as well and I was fortunate enough to be given quite a few of their recipe cards on my last visit to them. This Pauli’s Tomali Marinaded Chicken Pieces was one of them.
My Low Carb Cottage Pie has somewhat celebrity status in our house. It’s completely flop proof (I promise) and I have a few different variations of the same recipe. I have done a vegan cottage pie using lentils and sweet potato, of course there’s the regular potato mash version which is the perfect comfort food and when looking for some low carb inspiration I just added a little twist and topped it with sweet potato mash instead.
Thursday’s dinner popped into my mind as I was walking through the isles of the grocery shop, listening to a very chirpy rendition of Jingle Bells.
This Chicken & Red Pepper Pesto Pasta includes some spinach to add some healthy greenery to your gut. I used Ina Paarman’s Red Pepper Pesto and this is a dish you can literally serve up in 15 minutes!
There are so many options for pasta now and you can find just about anything to suit your dietary preference. Use some wholewheat pasta, gluten free pasta or even butternut spaghetti to change it up.
I shall call this one Fridge Friday, as the inspiration really came from the fridge. I had cooked some beetroot that was waiting to be roasted, had some carrots and hey presto! Kassler Chops & Roast Carrot, Beetroot and Lentil Salad
On the day, I ended up using Canellini beans instead of lentils, which were still tasty but I would have preferred lentils I think.
Over the next few weeks I will be trying out some “Festive” recipes. To help me with some inspiration for those, let me know what makes a festive recipe for you? Is it something that takes hours to cook like a turkey with all the sides? Is it summery and light (if you’re in a Summer Christmas zone like us, of course)?
Drop me a little note in the comments below or give me a shout on any of my social media! Love hearing from you as always!
…as what’s on the chairs.
I lost a friend last week. We had been friends since varsity days and had some crazy times, fun times, shared some great moments, laughed together and cried together as you do. Living in different places eventually we didn’t see eachother much but we were definitely always in minds and hearts, happy to share in happy moments etc… always taking for granted that we would get together soon. Suddenly she was gone… and all I can see in my mind is her huge smile and hear her laughter.
If I could share a bowl of popcorn with her around a table, I would be happy. It’s not what’s on the table, but what’s in the chairs that matters.
Sleep sweet my friend…My maat van yster en plaat 🙂
Where to find inspiration?
Our quick and easy meal plan for last week was really made up by the scruff of it’s pants! It did still come out very well but I have to say that with the weather being as odd as it has been the last few weeks, I found it quite hard to come up with inspiration. When it’s hot and sunny I would think of fresh and summery ideas. When it’s cold I would go for warm comfort food. I pushed through though and went mostly on what I had around the house already.
It was also SuperDad’s birthday and the guest of honour gets to choose whatever they want for dinner. He gave his vote to Blake, who decided on chicken leg and potatoes. Mamma played with the idea and waved my little wand (spoon) to come up with the week’s most popular recipe, which was grilled chicken and smashed potato salad. It received a big thumbs up from this adorable little boy, whose mommy sent me these gorgeous pictures of him absolutely loving his meal.
I have to add that we are all raving about his awesome Lego eating set! If you want to rush out and get yourself one, head over to Makro. I couldn’t find it online, but they can be found in store. Certain items also available at TakeAlot. The range is from Placematix and comes with cutlery as well.
Easy as Pie… so to speak
I find pie quite daunting to make, actually. In any case, my recipes must always be easy and quick to make so that’s where I start when looking for ideas. It does narrow things down.
Onwards and upwards to the yummy business!
Fish, rice and veg is plain, simple, the easiest thing ever and you can add any vegetables of your choice. I have a few rice lovers around so plain rice with anything is always a winner. Gluten free of course and adding the chickpeas gives an extra protein boost.
Mamma’s MomentTime seems to be absolutely spinning past us and these past weeks have gone by in a blur. I have been so super busy between business and blog (definitely not complaining) that when I find a spare moment it’s gold, it’s so precious and I wouldn’t waste it on negativity.Yet, I see people who still manage to complain about anything and everything. Do they not see that by focusing on all the negativity, they are creating more negativity in their own lives? Try, for just one day, not to complain and instead find something positive to focus on. See how it changes your perspective and even your reality.
I have been spending a lot of time delving into articles, books and podcasts about mindfulness and the neurology of how the mind actually affects our physical bodies.
The mind is so incredibly powerful and the words you speak to yourself have a huge impact on your life experience.
Be kind to yourself!
It is Mandela Day in South Africa on 18 July 2017, which would have been Nelson Mandela’s 99th birthday.
In honour of his legacy, we encourage each person to devote 67 minutes of their time to charitable causes, giving back, making a change in communities and supports local causes.
Having had the privilege of meeting the great man twice in my life, I completely support this initiative and I also know that his legacy is not limited to action on one day of the year. We should be doing good, in any way we can, wherever we are, every single day.
Whether it’s smiling at someone who looks like they might be having a tough day, letting someone go ahead of you in traffic, donating used things that you don’t need anymore… share love everywhere! The world needs more love!
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you imagined.
If not now, then when?
This morning I listened to a Ted Talk that gave me goosebumps. Diana Nyad is the first person ever to swim from Cuba to Florida. Since the 1950’s, many of the world’s best swimmers had tried and failed to conquer the 180km swim.
On her fifth attempt at age 60, she finally succeeded and delivers an incredible talk about how she “boldly and fearlessly” went after her dream.
This is a relatively short talk, but so eloquent and powerful that it leaves a lasting, intense impression on listeners.
My favourite quote from it is when she talks about the team motto for the year, which was “Find a way”. Please do yourself a favour and watch the talk here.
Close to home
A motto which I teach my boys is “Never give up” and I have often experienced the effect of the perseverance it has created – whether in schoolwork, a soccer goal in the last minute, or actually hearing my son say “Mommy, I kept telling myself never to give up!”.
To me, whether you are bold and fearless, quietly confident, or approach every new challenge with childlike excitement, what matters is that you chase your dreams and never, ever give up!
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For anyone who needs this today… keep going.