What is it about September and October that often has us all feeling just a little overwhelmed or burnt out.
Back into the routine of school for mummies brings a sense of relief from endless summer days filled with activities but with the sting in the tail of new school uniforms and costly school equipment.
Or the change of seasons, busier commutes, saying good bye to lighter evenings and drops and dips in temperature bring with it the bugs and nasties causing more tiredness and dreaded colds and flu.
So how the heck do you try to stay healthy and fit during this time?
Here are some of my tips that I follow to ensure I keep my workout mojo and those bugs at bay:
1 Build your immune system
You can’t workout if you are sick. You can’t do much in fact if you are sick. So you need to take a proactive stance when it comes to building up your immune system. And here are three low cost investments you should be taking to do just that:
Probiotics (with added Vitamin C is my recommendation) from Optibac is essential for your gut health which is where your immune system is built and is only £12.99 and my recommended one is here >
Antioxidants and phytonutrients in forms of dried capsules of 17 different fruit and vegetable powders also known as Juice Plus capsules from only £1 a day which is cheaper than buying a punnet a blueberries a day and based on how many times we throw out fresh fruit and vegetables each week. Find out more here >>
Vitamin D (with K), this is an important on so many levels but let’s look at the key factors in relation to disease:
It reduces your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
- decreases your chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 findings published in Circulation
- helps to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu, according to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- Vitamin D also fights depression: Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.
In another study of people with fibromyalgia, researchers found vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were also experiencing anxiety and depression.
Consider adding vitamin D supplements to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight or prevent heart disease.
In one study, people who took a daily vitamin D supplement did not lose a significant amount of weight, but were able to improve their heart disease risk markers.
In another study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite suppressing effect.
Here is the one that I take, click here>
Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs in America today. Echinacea is a Native American medicinal plant named for the prickly scales in its large conical seed head, which resembles the spines of an angry hedgehog (echinos is Greek for hedgehog).
Today, people use echinacea to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu, and reduce symptoms, such as sore throat (pharyngitis), cough, and fever. Many herbalists also recommend echinacea to help boost the immune system and help the body fight infections.
- Several laboratory and animal studies suggest that echinacea contains active substances that boost immune function, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. For this reason, professional herbalists may recommend echinacea to treat urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast (candida) infections, ear infections (also known as otitis media), athlete’s foot, sinusitis, hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis), as well as slow-healing wounds. Preliminary studies in the lab suggest echinacea may help inhibit colon tumors when combined with cichoric acid. One study even suggests that echinacea extract exerted an antiviral action on the development of recurrent cold sores triggered by the herpes simplex virus (HSVI) when taken prior to infection.
- Whether or not echinacea helps prevent or treat the common cold remains controversial. Some studies have shown that the herb can make you feel better faster. Others suggest that echinacea has no impact on a cold at all. Several clinical trials have shown that people who take echinacea as soon as they feel sick reduce the severity of their cold and have fewer symptoms than those who do not take the herb. One study of 95 people with early symptoms of cold and flu (such as runny nose, scratchy throat, and fever) found that those who drank several cups of echinacea tea every day for 5 days felt better sooner than those who drank tea without echinacea.
- A review of 14 clinical trials found that echinacea reduced the odds of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by 1 to 4 days. However, some experts dispute these findings claiming there were several weaknesses in the analyses. Echinacea preparations tested in clinical trials differ greatly. It is important to choose a high-quality echinacea supplement, and to use echinacea as early as possible in the course of a cold, with multiple doses per day for the first few days. Talk to your health care provider for recommendations.
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2. Wear a scarf
I know this one sounds basic or maybe common sense but I promise you if can have a great impact on your immune system and your ability to stave off colds and flu and here is why. In Chinese Medicine they say you should always wear a scarf. In fact, when my friend was at the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, her professors were constantly telling the students to wear scarves. Pathogens such as cold and wind invade the body at the back of the neck, so it is very important to keep that area protected. Even if it is sunny, bring a scarf along!
3. Do what you can, where you can
You don’t have to workout in a gym to burn calories or build lean muscle. This is why I love kettlebells. You can reap the strength building and fatloss benefits of just 50 kettlebell swings in a day at home which you can do throughout the day and even 5 minutes of yoga stretching will help you to feel calmer and sleep better. Break down your exercise or movement into 10 minute increments throughout the day if you need to… these micro-movements will build up and help you to stay active and keep you fit.
4. Drink tea, not coffee
You really must resist drinking coffee when you are tired. Why? Because coffee is like a credit card for your energy. You have to pay the bill sometime and that sometime is called Adrenal Fatigue. I go into detail with this in the Warrior Goddess Body Book but let’s just say here that you are already putting your adrenal glands under a lot of stress with every day life but add to that the stress of caffeine and sugar has on these small overworked glands and it’s not a wonder you are feeling burnt out. Try replacing your early morning coffee with a green tea, hot water and lemon or ginger tea instead.
5. Eat the same 5 warming, healthy comfort foods over and over again
For some reason, people think eating the same food over and over again is bad for you or boring. But to be honest with you I love it. Not only is it easily to shop for, prepare and eat, you get the satisfaction of knowing what you are going to eat and the predictability of it. Additionally for those of us tracking macros for building muscle and shredding fat, it means less calculations and there is actually nothing wrong in it nutritionally as long as they are balanced meals. So why not rotate 5 of my favourite warming comfort foods into your weekly rotation most of these are part of the 28 Day Warrior Goddess Body Plan Recipes:
- Smoky Black Bean Chilli
- Sweet potato and butter bean Chilli
- Chick pea curry
- Quinoa Porridge
- Spicy Veggie Sausages and Bean Casserole
6. Switch from green smoothies to green porridge
I did this recently and have to say although it may look and sound weird, it tasted amazing. I added a scoopful of my Super Greens from The Protein Works to my gluten free oats which I took a pic of and showed on my Instagram. It didn’t change the taste of the porridge I use which does have an existing flavour (Nature’s Way Maple or Apple and Cinnamon) but did give my now warm breakfast all the benefits of what I usually get in my green smoothie. You can find out more about Super Greens Powder here >>
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7. Your new friends: lemon, ginger and apple cider vinegar
Let me introduce you to your new friends this Autumn and Winter:
Lemon is amazing especially first thing in the morning with hot water but also in cold water and squeezed onto foods. But why do you need to make Lemon your friend?
The health benefits of lemon include treatment of throat infections, indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, rheumatism, burns, obesity, respiratory disorders, cholera and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin care. Known for its therapeutic property since generations, lemons help to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and it is considered a blood purifier.
Lemon juice, especially, has several health benefits associated with it. It is well known as a useful treatment for kidney stones, reducing strokes and lowering body temperature during fever.
So what do you think of that, eh? New friend?
Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress- nausea and morning sickness too. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus and even added to a detox bath. A good sweat may do a lot more than simply assist detoxification. German researchers have recently found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections. Investigators have isolated the gene responsible for the compound and the protein it produces, which they have named dermicidin. Dermicidin is manufactured in the body’s sweat glands, secreted into the sweat, and transported to the skin’s surface where it provides protection against invading microorganisms, including bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of skin infections), and fungi, including Candida albicans.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The body constantly strives to achieve a state of equilibrium. Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level. Research shows that higher acid levels (lower pH level) lead to a lack of energy and higher incidences of infection. Hence, my desire to sip some a few times a day for a natural boost of energy. This miracle vinegar helps to break up mucus throughout the body and cleanse the lymph nodes. Believe it or not, research suggests that ACV can help with allergies because of its ability to reduce mucus and sinus congestion. When reducing the effects of allergies, it can also help stave off sinus infections and their related symptoms, such as sore throats and headaches. In the 28 Day Warrior Goddess Body Plan we offer a way to turn this into a Detox bomb you can enjoy to benefit from this for your health and energy.
With all these low cost and low effort ways to stay fit and healthy, you will regain your energy before you know it and be able to ensure you have a healthy and fun autumn and Christmas period.
Mind Body Wellness Alchemist
Creator of Warrior Goddess Kettlebell Training
Author of Warrior Goddess Body Book