Healthy tips from Leonardo da Vinci

Recently I came across a short article, describing the wonderful artist, Leonardo da Vinci.  Although times have changed tremendously and our world is filled with electronics, electricity, and so on, maintaining a healthy lifestyle has not changed. I have written about healthy eating habits, exercising and general well-being before.  Today I decided to share, with you, the healthy tips from the artist himself.

  • Do not eat when you have no appetite; and dine lightly;
  • Chew your food well;
  • Whatever you are eating, should be well-cooked and of simple ingredients;
  • He who takes medicine is ill advised;
  • Beware of anger and stuffy air;
  • Stay standing a while after you have eaten;
  • Do not sleep at midday;
  • Mix your wine with water and take little sips at a time;
  • Never drink wine on an empty stomach, nor between meals;
  • Neither delay nor prolong your visit to the toilet;
  • If you exercise, let it not be too strenuous;
  • Do not lie on your back when you sleep;
  • Make sure you are well covered when you sleep;
  • Rest your head and keep your mind cheerful;
  • Avoid wantonness.

Here are my thoughts on Leonardo’s tips.  If you are unsure whether or not you are really hungry, then drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes.  If you are hungry, your stomach will let you know, but many times we are not really hungry; but thirsty.

Chewing your food well is important, because the saliva must mix with the food in order for it to be broken down and used, by the intestines.  When we don’t chew properly, we tend to feel bloated after a meal and/or uncomfortable.  Many Yogis believe that you should chew each bite 40 times! 

There is a saying: “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”  Indeed, this is not always viable, as many households are out the whole day, thus dinner-time is the main meal of the day.  I think the best tip, that I can give here, is to eat dinner (if possible) before 20:00; preferably before 19:00.

Taking medicine…the jury is still out when it comes to traditional vs pharmaceutical medicines.  I do not want to step into a hornet’s nest, so to speak, but I am a firm believer in the natural, holistic medical practises.  Homeopathy, for example, don’t just treat the symptoms, but also the cause of the illness (allergy).  Many people are prescribed too many medicines without doctors checking to see if the medicines clash or not.  If you change your lifestyle, then you are halfway there.  However, there are certain illnesses that require medical intervention and that is ok.  As long as you know what the pros and cons are of the medicine, you should be fine.

Ahh yes; I have written blog posts re anger and how to get rid of it; not to carry it with you but to forgive and forget.  Too much anger is not only detrimental to your body, your health and your emotional state, but it can cause havoc in your everyday relationships as well.  Never go to bed angry; always clear the air if you were in a fight.  Otherwise, you will either have a bad night’s sleep (as it is stuck in your subconscious mind) or, what will you do if something happens and you don’t get the chance to apologize?  Then guilt follows and that is just as bad as anger.

There is a German saying, that says “after you have eaten, you must stand or walk a thousand steps.”  This is good advice, because it will help the digestive system to work at optimum level, especially if you had a big Sunday-lunch!  This, I believe, is also why Leonardo didn’t believe in taking a nap at midday.  It is better to go for a walk, or stand a while, after your lunch, for example, than to nap.  Why?  Because the body’s clock does certain things at certain times of the day.  In the daytime, for example, the body needs the food for energy to carry you through the day.  In the evening, when we (if possible) have lighter meals, then the body uses the food not just for energy, but to nourish the cells and organs.  If you do take a nap, try not to nap for more than 20 minutes.  A power-nap is 10 minutes and does wonders to “recharge your batteries.”

Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach – that is self-explanatory!  Mixing your wine with water?  Some will say yes, others no way!  However, drinking it slowly and not gulping it down, is, of course, far better and more polite.

When you need to go to the restroom, go.  Regular bowel movement is also important; listen to your body at all times.

Exercising:  strenuous or not strenuous?  I believe both form of exercise routines is good for you; the main thing to remember is to do what you can and, if you do have an injury, to be careful with certain exercises.  For example, if you have knee injuries or knee problems, rather walk, swim or bounce on a trampoline, instead of running.

Leonardo didn’t believe that it is good for you to sleep on your back.  Many people, however, do find it comfortable.  I personally prefer to sleep on my side; again, you choose what works for you.  And yes, do make sure you are well covered; especially during winter. It is important, as he believed, to “rest your head.”  Quiet the mind, let go of worries, stress and anything that is bothering you.  Meditate or have some quiet-time, before you close your eyes. 

Clearing the mind is important for a good night’s rest, otherwise you will wake up the next morning feeling as if you never slept.  At the end of each day, think of at least 5 things that you are grateful for.  Whether it is being grateful for what you have, or whether it is what happened during the day, always say thank you for what you have.  Being grateful for what you have will make you more positive and change your outlook in life.  It will also “rewire” your brain and make your mind more cheerful.

The last tip that Leonardo gave, was to avoid wantonness.  This, I believe, is self-explanatory, but very true.  Leonardo da Vinci lived in an interesting time of our history, although not always an easy time period. It was a time of renewal, which I believe, that we are heading to.  The above tips were written, by Leonardo, in 1515, four years before his death.  He was an artist, scientist, inventor, mathematician, engineer, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer.  A man before his time!

Creating a bedroom-oasis

Recently I read an article, by Kim Williams (a creative behaviour strategist), who said that people create spaces on an intelligent subconscious level.  Whether it is the bedroom, bathroom, living space or kitchen in our homes, each space should align with what we like and be inviting, yet peaceful, at the same time.  Bedrooms are mainly used for sleeping and/or getting dressed.  However, in some smaller spaces, one part / nook of the room is often converted into a small office space.  When we are designing and decorating our bedroom, there are a few things to consider (apart from the colour-scheme, type of furniture and layout of the room).

Functionality is key when you design and decorate the room.  A bachelor’s bedroom will look quite different than that of a couple’s bedroom, for example.  Deciding what experience you want, what mood (atmosphere) you want to create, is another important factor.  Do you want it to be romantic, luxurious like a hotel room or tranquil?  When you and/or your partner have decided what the functionality and feel of the room will be, then you can go ahead and choose the décor, style and colour scheme.

The energy and flow of the room is important.  When you pay attention to where you sit or stand in a room, it will give you insight into how you move through your space.  When there is a good flow of energy throughout your spaces, then you can easily achieve the mood you want.  Keeping in mind that some rooms can restrict you with the layout of the furniture, you can still achieve what you want by choosing the right pieces of furniture and colour schemes.

Getting inspiration from magazines, books and the internet, will help you to “put together” your room.  Looking at the shapes, lines, colours, patterns and layout of rooms, are key when it comes to designing a room.  you can also take “bits and bobs” from different pictures and make your own designer board, before buying everything.  Whether it is your bedroom or any other living space in your home, it is important to choose pieces (or add pieces to what you already have), that you can live with for a few years. 

Using less expensive pieces can elevate a look; just know where to shop and what to look out for.  When it comes to your bedroom, make sure to spend money on a good quality bedframe and mattress.  The side tables don’t have to “break the bank;” neither the scatter cushions, lights, and so forth.  When you get tired of the colour scheme, for example, you can either buy new covers for your scatter cushions, a new duvet cover or change your lampshade.  If you are good at DIY, you can make your own things; even just painting a picture frame will change the look.

Depending on the size of your home, some bedrooms can be multifunctional.  Some people use it as a dressing room, others as an office space or exercise-area.  If you are using it as an office space, for example, make sure that your dressing table can also double as a desk.  Colour and accessories can make or break a room, especially when it is multifunctional.  Make sure to keep the area tidy, use boxes or baskets for storage.  A blanket-box, for example, at the end of the bed, can store blankets and/or anything else you don’t need every day.

A key element, when planning the room, is having fun.  It doesn’t matter if you combine the “old” with the “new” (whether it is old and new furniture pieces, or a painting).  You must create a space where you would feel comfortable, would invite you in, where you not only relax, but also am happy.  Furniture, colour and the types of accessories we use, must all fit together like a puzzle.  If there is something that is outdated or doesn’t fit into your mental picture, rather replace or redo it.

A bedroom is not just a place where we sleep.  It is a place where people like to read a book, work on their computer, get dressed, and so on.  Indeed, it is a space where we spend many hours sleeping, but even then, the room must be inviting, relaxing and have a good flow of energy.  There is nothing worse than not having a good night’s sleep – the colours you choose, where you place your furniture and how the space looks, all play a role when it comes to having a good night’s sleep.  Therefore, make sure to plan your space before you make changes or start decorating.  In previous blog posts I have written about the art of Feng Shui, as well as minimalism.  No matter what your style; make sure that it reflects you and/or your partner’s style.  Let the energies flow in a positive way and enjoy your space!

Homemade remedies for colds and coughs

There are many natural remedies, that have been used (and are still being used), by hundreds of people around the world.  Many of the ingredients in natural remedies can be found in your kitchen cupboard and/or your vegetable- and herb garden.

Natural painkillers (found in most kitchen cupboards) include:

Garlic (for earache), Apple Cider Vinegar (for heartburn), Cherries (for joint pain), Peppermint (for sore muscles), Water (for injury pain), Cloves (for toothache), Turmeric (for chronic pain), Pineapple (for bloating), Horseradish (for sinus pain) and Blueberries (for urinary tract infections).

Some of the above can be added to recipes, whilst some can be made into a tincture or poultice.  Turmeric, combined with cinnamon, for example, is not only good for chronic pain.  It is also great as an anti-inflammatory (the turmeric) and stabilizes cholesterol (cinnamon).

Today I would also like to share with you, 2 recipes that I got off a natural remedies-group.  The first one is a remedy for colds and flus; the other for coughing.

Colds and flu:

Ingredients

Juice of ½ a lemon

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

Pinch of black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

2 garlic cloves, finely cut

Double the amount of ginger, finely cut

1 teaspoon real honey

2 x 1000mg vitamin C (powder)

2 x Zinc tablets, finely pressed

¾ lukewarm water

Add all the ingredients in the lukewarm water and stir well.  Take a sip or 2, stir, and repeat.  This mixture can be taken for up to 4 times per day.

Natural cough syrup:

Slice 1 onion and put it into a glass bottle.  Put brown sugar over the onion.  Repeat this combination until the bottle is full (almost full).

Leave it overnight; it will form a syrup.

You can take 2 teaspoons full, as needed. 

This is also safe for children, but make sure to decrease dosage if the child is still small.

Another good, natural cough remedy, is fresh pineapple juice.  Pineapple has loads of bromelain and vitamin C in, which is wonderful to give your immune system a boost.  Don’t forget, the chicken-broth that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers spoke about, also works well!

More tips to keep your brain alert and healthy

Apart from eating oily fish or taking an Omega-oil supplement, watching your diet, exercising and making sure to get rid of stress, what else can you do? Here a few, interesting, tips.

Rosemary oil: there is an old saying, “rosemary for remembrance,” that is still valid today. Putting one / two drops of rosemary oil on each foot, will clear your mind and help you to think clearly. It is proven that rosemary improves your alertness, recall and overall cognitive performance, by increasing blood circulation to the surface of your brain. Make sure, however, not to do this when you go to bed; unless you want to lie awake all night!

Fatty acids (DHA), like Omega-oil, affects the very architecture of your brain. This, in turn, affects your emotional, mental and physical performance. The fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in particular, is the important one, as this is concentrated in certain areas of the brain that require a lot of electrical activity. Cold water fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, are good sources. However, if you don’t eat a lot of fish, use a supplement, as you need 400 – 800 mg a day. For optimum synthesis of fatty acids, add a vitamin B-supplement; 400 – 800 mg a day.

Taking Ginkgo biloba is also a good supplement to boost blood flow to the brain. It improves elasticity, supplies nutrients and takes toxins away.

We all know that smoking is bad for our health, just like drinking too much caffeine and eating plenty of junk / processed / ready-made meals. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels, prevent sleep and dehydrates you. It is one thing to have 2 cups of coffee per day, for example, but when you drink only coffee and more than 2 cups per day, it can become a serious health problem. Alcohol is another substance that is toxic to your cerebellum, which controls coordination and the speed of processing information. Your brain is 80% water; 8 – 10 glasses of water is important.

When you are thirsty it is a signal of your body that it is already starting to dehydrate! The main thing is: there is nothing wrong with drinking coffee, Ceylon tea or alcohol. It is the amount that counts; as is the size of the wine glass! The Europeans drink 1, maximum 2, glasses of wine with their meals; and that is it. It is not necessary to “finish the bottle” once it is open.

Instead of trying to remember everyone’s name, address, telephone number, and so on, make use of a diary in your handbag, on your phone or on your laptop. Life is just easier if you have a “birthday list” written down somewhere, for example.

Mediation and practising yoga are wonderful ways to not only relax, but also stimulate the brain, increase circulation and lift your overall mood. In a study done in 2003, it was noted that, by only meditating for 12 minutes a day, the brain function improved drastically. Not only did it reduce the cortisol (stress hormone) levels, but it also stimulated the circulation to the brain and activity in the frontal lobe. This is wonderful for attention and focus, as well as uplifting your mood.

Yoga, in general, teaches the body and mind to connect; it teaches the pupil to become aware of what is going on inside the body, to work with the breath and to breathe more deeply. Pilates is also another form of linking body and mind, but Yoga takes it a step further. In Yoga, there are certain poses that one does to either relax and unwind, or stimulate and energize both body and mind. Downward Facing Dog will help to “pick you up” when you are feeling foggy and tired. It calms the mind / scattered thoughts and helps you to focus. Standing in this pose, your head is lower than your heart, which helps to bring oxygenated blood to the brain. When you do this pose, you can do it with either bent or straight legs; do remember to look towards your hands or keep your head centred. Don’t look at your feet and relax your shoulders and jaw.

Biofeedback, Body Talk, Core Regeneration Therapy and Regression, are just a few of many techniques that people use today to get rid of the deep-seated stress triggers that is stuck in the subconscious mind. If you are unsure about it, speak to someone who has gone for such a therapy-session and do make sure that the therapist is well-qualified. We are made to function as a unite and, if one part of the unite is out of sync, then the rest of the body is too. For me personally, I think the key to keeping your brain functioning at optimum level for as long as possible, is a good diet, exercise, getting rid of stress and not to grab a tablet (if you don’t have too). Instead, practise the above and eat healthy.

Use it…or lose it? Or maybe not!

Many elderly people start to lose their short-term memory as they get older.  I have often wondered why and, in my opinion, it comes down to a couple of reasons: Not having a fixed schedule anymore (for example, go to work, pick up the kids), can be one reason.  The other might have to do with our diet, what we do to stimulate our brain and/or medication.  Another factor that plays a role is stress.  As we know, long-term stress can and will, create havoc to your physical-, emotional- and psychological health.  In today’s rushed environment, our bodies are often overstimulated with too much caffeine, junk food, and other substances.  Having a stressful job or living somewhere where there is crime, can raise our cortisol levels, thus leading to memory problems.

However, all is definitely not lost and there are plenty of advice that will help you not only to get rid of your stress, but also keep your brain sharp and active; no matter what your age!  Meditation, relaxation, doing yoga or going for a walk (without your cell phone and/or earphones), will do wonders for body, mind and soul.  We cannot really relax indoors / outdoors and connect with nature, if we are “hooked” onto our cell phones, laptops and/or earphones.  There is nothing more relaxing than to be in nature, listening to and observing your surroundings.  Indeed, playing classical music is fantastic!  Not only to relax, but also to boost your brainpower and memory.  It is a well-known fact, proven over and over again, that Baroque music especially, is fantastic when you are studying and/or need to concentrate.

Use memory tricks and learn a new skill.  For example, the word “BEBMOT,” can be used to remember to buy bread, eggs, butter, milk, oats and tissues.  Using visualization can also help.  Imagine your bread is on the fireplace, the eggs are in your bathtub, the butter is in a vase, the milk is on the table, the oats are on your bed and the tissues are in the fridge!  Something silly will trigger the brain to remember; the same way if you link things by association.  Writing down what you need to buy is also a good idea, especially if the list is quite long.  Learning a new skill, like knitting or playing bridge, is another way to stimulate the mind and keep the brain functioning at optimum levels.  Doing crosswords, doing art (colouring in) and/or practising a musical instrument, are also ways to help boost your memory.

Having an organized routine makes all the difference.  Decide the night before what you are going to wear the next day; pack the lunch boxes the night before; have a “to do-list” and tick it off as you finish one job after the other.  If there is anything on your list that you haven’t done or finished, relax.  Tomorrow is another day.  Make time to “declutter” your mind.    Whether it is by taking a hot shower / bath with candlelight, or sitting down with a nice cuppa and/or soft, relaxing music, meditating, or going for a jog / walk / exercising before going home, there are many ways to get rid of stress and unwind.

As mentioned earlier, exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body.  Doing crosswords, sudoku, reading, socializing with friends, learning a new skill or language, building a puzzle, learning to play a musical instrument, doing art or dancing, are all “exercises” for your brain.  Every time you learn something new or do something that challenges your mind, your brain forms new connections between the neurons.  Being in a job that you not only love, but that also challenges you mentally, is also important.  There is nothing worse than to be in a job that is not mentally stimulating, emotionally draining and/or plain boring!

Exercising the body has a direct link to a healthy mind.  When you exercise it increases the oxygen and nutrients to the brain, the organs and stimulates the flow of energy.  When you don’t exercise, smoke, eat junk foods regularly and/or drink alcohol often, you not only deprive your body from the vital nutrients it needs to stay healthy.  You also deprive your brain from “brain food.”  Indeed, taking a supplement like Omega-3 is good, but you cannot only take supplements and not look after your diet and not exercise.  We are made to move; our bodies want to move to make sure it gets oxygen in and to help the lymphatic system to get rid of toxins.

Getting back to stress.  We all know that stress is not always good; especially long-term stress.  Not only does it affect our mood, cause anxiety and/or depression, but it can also affect the neurons in the brain.  As mentioned earlier you can do many things to get rid of stress.  However, if you still find yourself stressing too much, then best to get help.  Body Talk or Core Regeneration might help; talking to someone is also good.  Remember; you have a conscious- and subconscious mind.  The subconscious mind is like the hard drive of a computer:  it stores everything you think, everything you (or someone else) says and cannot differentiate between what is true and what is not true.  Thus, something like Core Regeneration or Body Talk, can help you to get rid of the deep-seated “triggers” that causes the stress.  Try it, before you grab the anti-depressant pills – after all, you cannot live on these pills all your life!

Lastly; breathing plays a huge role in all of the above.  The deeper and slower you can inhale and exhale, the better.  Not only will more oxygen circulate throughout the body, but it will automatically calm you down and help you to relax.  If you are in a situation where you cannot go outside, for example, to “catch your breath,” then try closing your eyes for a couple of seconds.  Take a slow, deep breath in and think / visualize being somewhere else.  Slowly exhale and consciously relax your muscles; especially the tense-areas.  Visualization / imagination is a great tool to help you relax, destress and unwind, no matter where you are!

Pest-control; the natural way

In today’s blog I am going to steer away from health & fitness, and look at how you can keep pests like ants, spiders, mice and other bugs, away from and out of your house.  I haven’t tried all of it yet, as I don’t have to worry about some bugs.  However, I would love to hear from my readers what they have used and/or what works and what doesn’t. 

Many different pest-repellents can be easily bought at the grocery store.  However, if it is not made from natural, biodegradable substances, it can cause more harm than good.  Not just to the environment, but also to you, your family and/or pets.  Did you know that many of the “synthetic” pest-repellents can cause allergies, headache, diarrhoea, mental confusion, weakness, loss of reflexes, unconsciousness and even death!  Here is the list I found on YouTube – maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.  But I think give it a try!

  • Peppermint oil:  many people in the UK uses this to keep out spiders.  Mice and ants also don’t like the smell.  You can dilute it a little bit with water, or use it as is, by placing some oil on cotton balls and leaving it where the “creepy crawlies” like to be;
  • Basil:  cinnamon and lemon-basil will keep certain Anopheles Gambia complex (mosquitos carrying malaria) away;
  • Lavender:  mosquitos, moths, house flies and fleas don’t like lavender;
  • Catnip:  ants, mice and mosquitos don’t like catnip.  If you don’t want the neighbour’s cat to come into your garden, then make sure NOT to plant catnip!
  • Rosemary:  flies and mosquitoes do not like the smell of rosemary;
  • Eucalyptus essential oil:  spiders will stay clear of your home if you use eucalyptus essential oil;
  • Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda):  roaches don’t like bicarbonate of soda;
  • Marigold flowers:  flies and mosquitos will stay clear of your home and, planting marigolds in-between your vegetable patch, will keep “creepy crawlies” from eating your veggies;
  • Dryer-sheets:  the verdict is still out – some say this repels mice, others say it doesn’t;
  • Peanut butter:  will keep mice at bay;
  • Aluminium foil:  the sound it makes deter mice as their sensitive ears don’t like it;
  • Borax:  ants, rodents, termites, roaches, spiders and even mould, can be kept at bay when using borax.  Do, however, make sure to use gloves and a mask as the fumes are toxic.  Rather stay clear if you or anyone in your home is allergic and careful if you have pets;
  • Steel wool and copper mesh:  these are 2 of the things that mice cannot chew, so place it in the areas where they like to come into your home;
  • Cayenne pepper:  sprinkling cayenne pepper in your garden will deter wild animals from eating your plants (for example rabbits and squirrels), as well as deter ants and roaches;
  • Neem:  neem- & coconut oil can keep different types of mosquitos away, especially those carrying malaria.  You can either apply the oil onto your skin, burn or heat the leaves;
  • Lemon thyme:  also good at keeping mosquitos at bay.

I am not sure whether lavender will deter ants, I must be honest.  My neighbour has a lavender-bush on the side of his veranda and he still complains about ants!  However, I think it depends on what type of lavender and that the oil has a stronger scent than the bush!  Who knows?  What I do know is that, according to many people living in the UK, peppermint oil works for spiders – and that is great!! 

Let me know what you think and/or used that works…

The benefits (and wonders) of Rebounding (bouncing)

In my previous blog post, I wrote about rebounding (bouncing).  When you bounce on a trampoline, you bounce approximately 100 times a minute.  At the top of each bounce, your entire body, including your clothes and hair, are weightless (gravity / no gravity).  Being at the top of your bounce (in the air, so to speak), makes you weightless as there is no drag / pull from gravity.  A second later, when you hit the trampoline again, your body, clothes and even your hair, weighs double – also known as “double impact!”  Thus, the result is that, 100 times per minute, you are experiencing between 2 and 4Gs.  Every single cell in your body is being squeezed or “massaged” and this is what activates the lymphatic system.

Bouncing invigorates the body, mind and spirit.  It oxygenates, detox, nourishes and allows nutrients to be more easily absorbed by the cells.  Humans, like everything and everyone else in nature, is made up of energy.  When you bounce, you are generating bio-electricity!  This makes you feel alive and, if you think about it, children laugh when they bounce!

Another benefit of bouncing is muscle toning.  As explained in the above paragraph, the pull between gravity and no-gravity.  Being on a trampoline, it doesn’t matter that your body weight doubles, coming down, because of the springs of the trampoline.  Keeping your knees slightly bent at all times, when you bounce, is important.  Together with the give-and-take of the trampoline and springs, rebounding puts no strain or stress on your joints (unlike jogging).  Everyone can rebound, regardless of health and age.  One can even place a wheelchair-bound person’s feet on the trampoline and get someone to bounce.  People suffering from arthritis, osteoarthritis and even those who had hip replacements, can benefit from bouncing.

Rebounding can also help with: 

Minimizing occurrence of colds, allergies and digestive problems;

It boosts your energy levels, aiding in concentration as well as sleep;

Tones the glandular system;

Strengthens the muscular / skeletal system;

Increases lung capacity for better breathing and establishes an equilibrium between available and oxygen needed by tissues;

Improves quality of sleep, relaxation and concentration / focus;

Helps the body to burn more calories during the resting metabolic rate, thus aids in weight problems;

Expands fuel storage-capacity (increase of mitochondria count within the muscle cells that is essential for endurance);

Aids in maintaining a more alkaline pH in the body (the more the body can get rid of toxins, the less chance for arthritis, gout and other acid-related health issues);

It protects the joints from chronic fatigue and injuries due to exercising on a hard surface;

It lowers cholesterol-levels, triglyceride-levels, pulse rate and blood pressure;

Improves circulation and assists in rehabilitation of heart problems (boosts red cells that carrier oxygen);

Promotes tissue repair and can slow down atrophy in the ageing process;

Brings relief to headaches, back pains and/or neck pains;

Improves balance and coordination (regardless of age).

Rebounding is just fantastic.  Two minutes is the equivalent of 6 minutes of running, 10 minutes of swimming and 22 minutes of walking!  A study was done a year or 2 ago.  One person was bouncing and another was running on a treadmill.  After only 30 minutes of bouncing, the person on the trampoline’s heart rate, oxygen levels and cardio-levels, were exactly the same as the person running on the treadmill for an hour! 

It is never too late and you are never too old, to start rebounding.  There are many kinds of trampolines on the market; some with a sidebar and others not.  Most of the mini-trampolines have got legs that can be taken off for easy storage.  Just make sure you are buying from a reputable brand, that it is good quality, that the frame is sturdy, the mats of high quality and the springs are strong.  If you have never done this before, start off slowly and find your rhythm.  Start with 2 or 5 minutes a day, then do it for longer as you get more used to it.  In the beginning you might have mild dizziness and/or “wobbly” legs, when getting off, as your body adapts to the G-force. 

Always breathe deep and slowly and stand still for a few seconds, before you get off the rebounder.  Remember to stretch afterwards (especially the legs) and drink water.  The water is important as it helps the lymphatic system (that was kickstarted by the bouncing), to flush out the waste and toxins.  Whether you just walk / mark on the rebounder, or bounce, always listen to your body.  No matter how long / short the first few sessions are, it is a start.  Soon enough, you will be bouncing without noticing the time!  I, for one, am very happy to see that it is coming back, because it works!

“Unlike our heart which pumps blood throughout our body, the lymphatic system does not have a specific pump of its own.  It relies on muscular contraction from movement and exercise, as well as gravitational pressure and deep breathing to work.  When we’re active, we pump it – when we sit, it slows right down.  Considering this, it becomes clear why there is so much sickness and disease in the world today.  Cars, computers and tv’s have literally turned us into sitting ducks!”

The joys of bouncing

Ever wondered why babies like to bounce?  Instinctively they know that it is good for them; and for digestion!  What am I talking about, you might wonder?  I am talking about your lymphatic system, also known as the “waste-basket” of the body.  The lymphatic system helps the body to get rid of toxins and other waste in the body.  Bouncing or rebounding as it is called in many countries, are a fantastic way to help the lymphatic system to get rid of all the toxins and waste.  When you are bouncing (either on a Pilates ball, sitting down, or on a trampoline), gravity comes into play.  It is this G-force that kicks the lymph’s valves into action.

Bouncing is not just great fun; it is also a fantastic way to boost the lymphatic system, detox the body and boost your immune system.  it is one of the safest ways to get fit, loose weight, tone your body and get the heartrate up.  When the lymphatic system doesn’t function optimally, your cells rapidly become susceptible to degeneration, for example fatigue, headaches, allergies, weight problems, premature ageing, as well as chronic and acute illness and disease.

According to lymphologists, your body’s 60 trillion cells are like jellies and, ideally, the cells should sit snugly together in a “dry state.”  This means that there shouldn’t be excess fluid surrounding the cells.  When the cells are in this “dry state,” the loss of energy, disease and degeneration cannot, theoretically, happen.  The lymphatic system is responsible for not only removing toxins, but also any excess fluid, thus it is often referred to as the “garbage bin.”  When the lymph doesn’t work properly, excess fluids (which includes dead cells, nitrogenous wastes, fat, viruses and heavy metals), start to collects or “pool” around the cells.  This is known as a “wet state” and is a good environment for degeneration and/or disease to thrive in.  Unlike the heart, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump (although it has valves).  Muscular contraction through exercise and movement, combined with gravitational pressure and deep breathing, are needed to help the lymph work at optimum level.

Rebounding came into the fitness arena years ago and has resurfaced again.  Mini-trampolines (and even Pilates-balls) are used in homes and gyms alike.  There are even mini-trampolines with a sidebar; for those who struggle with balance, as well as trampolines with a net around for young children.  When you bounce on a mini-trampoline (or a big one), it is always important to remember to keep your knees slightly bent.  When you are bouncing, without even lifting your feet off the trampoline, enough momentum is used to get your heartrate up.  Unlike jogging, which is very hard on the knees and ankles, the bouncing takes any pressure, strain and impact off the joints, thus preventing injury.

For many years, health practitioners all over the world were endorsing rebounding as a means of getting healthy and staying fit, whilst protecting your ankles, knees, hips and backs.  NASA was one of the first to use it for the astronauts – when they are in space, there is no gravity.  When they come back to earth, gravity sets in.  To counter the side-effects (if I can call it that), the astronauts bounced on trampolines.  This pull and push between gravity and no gravity, is what helped the astronauts to adapt being back on land. This sparked the idea of developing rebounding as a form of rehabilitation and/or exercise-routine, for all ages.  Pat Mueller, from the University of Minnesota, said “rebounding is the exercise of the future.  I’ve seen a lot of sports fads come and go, but this thing (rebounder) is phenomenal.”

When Rebounding took off, there were instructors, books, DVDs, and the like, that advertised it as an aerobic exercise-form.  However, it should not just be seen as another exercise-tool; rather as a “health- “device.  When you are bouncing, every single cell is being exercised – every muscle, organ, bone, and so on.   Rebounding / bouncing is often called “cellular aerobics,” because it regenerates your whole body at a cellular level and is a phenomenal way to detox. 

Do you remember when you bounced on your bed?  Yes, your parents didn’t like that, but you did it any way!  Why?  Because, instinctively, you knew that it made you feel happy.  Without even realizing it, the bouncing helped to cleanse your whole system on a cellular level and every one of your 60 trillion cells, got a massage!  There is a saying that a healthy baby is a “bouncing baby” and when you are happy you “jump for joy.” Bouncing has made a comeback and it is great news. Next week I will write more about the benefits of bouncing (rebounding).  In the meantime, if you have a trampoline or Pilates-ball at home, try it out.  You will soon notice the difference bouncing makes; even if you start off with just 10 minutes a day!

Beauty fixes; the natural way

Did you know that there are foodstuffs that you can use as masks, hair products, and so on?  I am sure you do. In today’s blogpost, I am only going to mention a few natural ingredients, found in products and/or kitchen cupboards alike.  In many products today, natural ingredients like avocado, coconut oil, macadamia oil, and so on, are added to body- and hair products.  We will also look at a few products that you should add to your diet, to nourish and replenish the skin from the inside.

Avocado:  used in many hair- and beauty products alike.  It is full of fatty acids that helps the skin’s natural moisture barrier and it fights redness and irritation.  Used as a mask, or as a bath oil, it lathers the skin whilst targeting dry areas.

Kale:  packed with vitamins, kale, together with cucumber, broccoli, Aloe Vera and green tea, helps to combat free radicals and nourishes the skin.  Next time you go shopping, look out for a skincare brand that has kale in.

Blueberries:  suffering from an oily skin and/or wrinkles?  Then be on the look out for products that contain blueberries.  Loaded with antioxidants, it defends your complexion against free-radical molecules, caused by environmental exposure, which causes ageing.  Blueberries are also rich in essential fatty acids; thus the berries nourish and smooth your face.

Pomegranate:  a wonderful source of polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), that helps to protect you against sun exposure.

Grapefruit:  traditionally, grapefruit oil and extract have been used to ease muscle fatigue, acne and fluid retention.  But it also aids in toning the skin, increases circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system and can help to regulate body weight.

Walnuts:  a handful of walnuts not only contains your daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids, but also encourages healthy skin renewal. If you don’t like walnuts, cashews, almonds and brazil nuts are just as good.

Red pepper:  it contains a lot of vitamin A, which aids in the repair of body tissue, nourishes the eyes and calms dry, scaly skin.

Broccoli:  an excellent source of alpha lipoic acid (ALA), broccoli contains anti-inflammatory ingredients and can soften the look of stretch marks.

There are many other foodstuffs and herbs that are used in beauty- and/or body products.  Mother Nature is full of wonderful products that more and more brands are starting to use.  If you have a sensitive skin or suffer from allergies, make sure to test it on a small area of your skin first; especially if you have never used it before! 

Bananas

I don’t know about you, but I love eating bananas; especially when they are still firm.  If they start to get too ripe for my liking, I simply bake a banana bread or some banana muffins!  Or use it in a smoothie.  Bananas are packed with many “hidden” nutrition and is often to go-to snack for athletes and gym bunnies alike.  Did you know, for example, that bananas contain 3 natural sugars?  Sucrose, Fructose and Glucose, combined with fibre.  Unlike an apple, bananas give you an instant, substantial boost of energy.  Researchers have proven that 2 bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout!  Bananas not only provide an energy-boost, but also help overcome and/or even prevent a number of conditions / illnesses.

  • Depression:  in a recent study done by MIND, it was found that those suffering from depression, immediately felt better after eating a banana.  How come you might wonder?  Because bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that the body converts into serotonin (the “happy- “hormone), which helps you to relax.
  • PMS:  instead of using pills / tablets, eat a banana instead.  Vitamin B6 (found in bananas) regulates blood glucose levels, that affects your mood as well.
  • Anaemia:  bananas can stimulate haemoglobin-production in the blood due to its high iron-content.
  • Blood pressure:  bananas are very high in potassium yet low in salt; the perfect foodstuff to beat blood pressure.  The US Food and Drug Administration has allowed the banana-industry to allow people to know that bananas reduce the risk of blood pressure and strokes.
  • Brain power:  at a school in England, UK, 200 pupils were given bananas as breakfast, at break and for lunch, in a bid to help them during exams.  Research showed that the potassium-packed fruit boosted their brain power by making the pupils more alert.
  • Constipation:  due to their high fibre-content, bananas can help to restore normal bowel action, without the need of using laxative.
  • Hangover:  a quick and easy way of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with some honey.  The fruit calms the stomach, the honey builds up depleted blood sugar levels and the milk soothes and re-hydrates the system.
  • Heartburn:  bananas have a natural antacid effect, so try eating a banana should you suffer from heartburn.
  • Morning sickness:  by snacking on a banana, not only will it keep morning sickness at bay, but it will also keep your blood sugar levels up.
  • Mosquito bites:  next time a mosquito bites, rub it with the inside of a banana peel!  Not only does it reduce swelling, but it also eases the irritation.
  • Nerves:  packed with B-vitamins, it calms the nervous system. 
  • Overweight and at work?  Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found that people who work under pressure, often reach for chips and/or chocolates as a snack.  The results of the study found that you should reach for high carbohydrate foods every 2 hours, instead of chips and/or chocolates, in order to keep your blood sugar levels even and to stave off obesity.
  • Ulcers:  because of its soft texture, eating a banana is a good choice if you suffer from any intestinal disorder.  Not only does the fruit neutralize over-acidity, but it also reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
  • Temperature control:  Many cultures believe that bananas is a “cooling” fruit, which can lower the emotional and physical temperature of expectant mothers.  In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure that their baby is born with a cool temperature!

As you can see, bananas can be used for many ills.  Compared to an apple, a banana has 4 times more protein, 2x more carbohydrates, 3x more phosphorus, 5x more vitamin A and iron and 2x more minerals and vitamins.  It is also rich in potassium and, when you have the option of eating organic bananas, choose the latter.  If you like your bananas riper, then that is also a good option.  If you are like me, and you don’t like it when the fruit is too ripe, then look for those that are yellow but firm.  It doesn’t matter if there is a bit of green colour around the stem and/or bottom tip; just make sure not to eat it when it is still very green.  If the bananas are too ripe, then make a smoothie, bake a banana bread or some muffins!