Tune into your intuition and choose clever wellness tweaks to retain your zest through winter and focus on prevention to beat ever-stronger flu strains.

A = Awareness and Ayurveda

Tune into what your body and mind need daily and understand that this changes constantly. And you’re on your way to being optimally healthy and maintaining homeostasis. This is the all important process of regulating body temperature and balancing acidity/alkalinity (ph) so it responds optimally to external environmental conditions.

One way to do this is to garner tips from Ayurveda - the world’s oldest health system from India, dating 5 000 years back. With its emphasis on the links between dietary, physical and psychological habits and nature’s seasons, universal energy and our lifestyles, it’s useful for general immunity and chronic illness. Especially those linked to lifestyle like coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammations, bronchial asthma, obesity and Type II Diabetes. 

Quantum Healing, Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine (R232, Kalahari.com) by Dr Deepak Chopra, provides insight into how Ayurveda can promote wellness and help heal. Originally a New England endocrinologist who searched for answers - when he saw patients in his own practice who completely recovered after being given only a few months to live – Chopra was named one the top 100 heroes and icons of the century and the ‘poet-prophet’ of alternative medicine by Time magazine. He visited South Africa in March (see YouTube).

Take these Ayurvedic steps to balance mental, physical and emotional aspects in winter, says Ayurvedic tip-filled website, wiseliving.co.za:

  • Rise with the sun around 6:30am.
  • Massage with warm sesame oil and rinse off in the shower. It’s warming and benefits every constitution in winter. And offsets the tendency of cold, aching and cracking joints.
  • Add fresh grated ginger root to warm water to relax the digestive system, balance the appetite and aid stimulate healthy bowel movement.
  • Choose brisk morning walks, vigorous yoga and breathing exercises.
  • Eat warm cooked food - mildly spicy, slightly salty and nourishing. To stimulate digestive fire so it works effectively.
  • Oats porridge, barley or rice with cinnamon, cloves and honey is a winning breakfast. Honey is heating and drying and helps to clear mucus.

 B = Brain Train

It may happen sooner or later for you, but generally if you’re around 40, you’re not alone if you feel the need to sharpen the pencils in your brain, so to speak.

Introducing Luminosity.com which uses games (used in research for decades) to improve cognitive abilities based on common neuropsychological and cognitive tasks, and challenges including new tasks, developed by a team of neuroscientists and game designers. It helps to know that it’s never too late to reshape, rewire and jump-start your brain. This is now a fact, thanks to findings in the field of Neuroplasticity (how the brain is capable of change) that contradict what scientists used to believe – that once we reached adulthood, our cognitive abilities became immutable.

Like a physical personal trainer, Luminosity pushes you to expand the limits of your mental abilities (like memory, brain speed and flexibility and problem solving) and stay challenged. Fifteen minutes a day provides the perfect brain-refreshing break from work.  The games are fun, energising and never boring. And it’s exhilarating to feel your brain stretch (similar to stretching your muscles when you exercise) to cope with the gradually increasing levels of challenges.

 One of the most interesting challenges involves route-planning in a simulated taxi and drop off situation game, based on findings that London taxi drivers develop significantly good forward-planning abilities. Also works well for moms who have school lift club drop offs to plan...

www.Luminosity.com offers a week’s free trial. 

C= Cold-pressed juice

Inspired by the London juice-bar trend and her interest in nutrition, 26 year old Samantha Eldridge researched juicing as an excellent way to include extra nutrition into a busy lifestyle. In January 2015, she opened Bliss Juicery, downstairs at The Colony Centre in Craighall Park, Johannesburg. Prior to which she ran a juicing operation from home on the weekends, outside her 9-5 job in corporate finance.

Samantha explains explains why it’s great to incorporate juicing into your lifestyle and to help build immunity in winter.    

Q: Why juice?

You can consume a much more considerable amount of nutrients in one fresh cold-pressed juice than you may in a single sitting of eating food. It's quick and gives our bodies’ easy access to vitamins and minerals.

Q: What’s the difference between cold-pressed fresh juices and normal fresh juices, made at home?

The more common method of juicing at home is known as the ‘centrifugal’ method. It’s a much faster process, which spins the fruit and vegetables and results in quite a bit of heat during the process.  The combination of the heat and the extra air the fruit and vegetables are exposed to destroys some of the nutrients. The cold-pressed method results in a much more nutrient-dense juice, with these lasting longer, due to the slower juicing process.

Q: What varieties does Bliss offer, how fresh are they, how long do they keep for?

 Greens; pineapple-based tropical options; carrot-based 'Earths'; beetroot-based ones and a seasonal juice, which currently is watermelon.  With ginger and mint added, it’s by far my favourite right now. We make fresh juices daily and bottle them immediately to ensure a shelf life of up to three days.

Q: Tell us about the nut milks.

We started with the these to add a bit of extra protein in our juice cleanse programmes as the juices/nut milks replace your normal food and meals during the (one, three or five-day) cleanse period. These include home-made almond milks (vanilla, cacao, coconut and chai almond) and are also a delicious snack or breakfast on the go.

Q: When’s best to drink juice – first thing in the morning, through-out the day?

It depends whether you want the juices as a meal or just as a snack. Personally, if I ‘m looking to replace a meal with a juice, I prefer to replace breakfast - combining green juice with a cup of coffee.  Sometimes I add a juice as my snack in between breakfast and lunch. If it’s an afternoon snack, I always eat a couple of nuts too, as I get a bit hungry in the afternoon. In terms of absorbing the most nutrients - first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach is best.

Greens Juice, R38 for 500mls, Bliss Juicery

Q: Any precautions if you’re new to juicing?

 If you’ve got a sensitive stomach, ease into juicing, not anything too rich to start with - so none of the strong greens at first. Otherwise if you love greens, to avoid drinking them too quickly, I suggest drinking through a straw.

 Q: What are the best juices to drink in winter to help fight off colds and flu/improve immunity?

Ginger, ginger, ginger.... and greens! Ginger acts as a natural antibiotic and the greens are a fantastic flush of nutrients... If you are feeling a bit flu-ish, I suggest our Greens 2 (Spinach, celery, cucumber and apple) and ask us to add a touch of ginger.

 Q: Recommend any books explaining the benefits of juicing?

 My favourite is by Julie Morris called "Superfood Juices". (R220, www.Kalahari.com)

For more information email Samanthaeldridge88@gmail.com.

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