June 2015 archive

IS IT HOT IN HERE!?

lady drinking water in profile

Let’s chat about the dreaded Hot Flushes.

At HC HQ, we’ve both just started to notice the odd little warm sensation at the same time as our heart starts to beat a little faster. So far, our flushes have been fairly mild and haven’t lasted more than a few minutes (thank goodness!) but we know that there are plenty of women out there who have much stronger flushes and are feeling totally overwhelmed by them.

As with everything perimenopausal, we strongly believe that hot flushes aren’t something to be embarrassed about (after all, 50% of the population will get them at some point!), but rather something to be tackled head-on. Let’s show these flushes that they’re messing with the wrong chicks!

So, what can you do to reduce the severity and frequency of a flush? Here are our top tips:

  • Try cutting out / down foods that can trigger a hot flush – common culprits are hot drinks, chocolate, hot spicy food, and alcohol (boo!)
  • Try meditation. Stress is a key trigger of hot flushes. We’ve been meditating 10 minutes a day and are feeling starting to feel the benefits (we’ll be discussing this in more detail very soon – watch this space!)
  • Breathe deeply. If you feel a flush coming on, sit still for a minute, breathing in for the count of 4, hold your breath for 2, and then breathe out for 2
  • Drink a cold glass of water as soon as you feel a flush coming on
  • Take herbal supplements – Black Cohosh gets great reviews, but also try Red Clover, Dong Quai and Sage
  • Dr Marilyn Glenville, a leading expert in women’s nutrition, vitamin E and vitamin C with bioflavonoid can greatly reduce flushes

And finally, layer your clothing. If a hot flush comes on, taking a layer off can help to control body temperature

Remember vitamins and herbal remedies do not work immediately or might not be right for you. Try one give it a month or two, if not try something else.

Please let us know your story and what has worked for you, we love to hear from you.

Carol and Tina

Watercolour photo of a pinky red heart

 

 

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SPARKLE FROM WITHIN

girl holding a sparklergirl holding a sparklerThis week’s blog is all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle long-term.

Here at HC-HQ, we firmly believe that what you put into your body shows on the outside, hence our term “sparkle from within”.

We just love the idea of everyone walking around sparkling “How?” we hear you ask. Never fear, we’re on hand with our top tips for helping you to maintain your inner and outer loveliness. Health is wealth, right chicks!

ANTIOXIDANTS

You’ve probably heard this word bandied about a lot in any discussions about healthy foods, but you may not know what antioxidants actually are. Well, they’re mainly found in vegetables and fruit – particularly the ones that are brightly coloured – and contain anti-ageing properties that fight ‘free radicals’ (the nasty substances produced by environmental pollutants like car fumes and preservatives that can make you susceptible to cancer, heart disease and premature ageing). The more antioxidants you consume, the slower you’ll age, inside and out. Yikes, pass me the rainbow salad!

Here’s a list of foods that are high in antioxidants to help fight those naughty free radicals and make you sparkle from within (and the good news is that these foods are all pretty yummy so it’s easy to increase your intake of them):

  • Vitamin A – apricots, sweet potatoes, watermelon, chilli pepper, lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes
  • Vitamin C – dark leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli), citrus fruit (fat juicy oranges, lemons and lines), peppers, tomatoes and berries, (think juicy strawberries, blackberries and blueberries)
  • Vitamin E – brown rice, lentils, nuts and seeds
  • Beta Carotene – red and yellow peppers, carrots, mango and broccoli

Selenium – fish, shellfish, red meat, chicken, brazil nuts, onions, brown rice

So stock up chicks, and before long you’ll be sparkling from within. Why not try for 28 days and see how you feel.

Let us know, we love to hear from you.

Love Carol and Tina

Watercolour photo of a pinky red heart

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Wheat free – is it just hype, or should we really ditch the gluten?

girl running in a field of wheat

What’s the deal with wheat? One minute we’re told that it’s good for us, the next we’re told that it’s not. Confused? We were, so we thought we’d do a bit of digging. Here’s what we found…

Growing up, most of us probably ate wheat at most meals: breakfast was cereal or toast, lunchtime was a sandwich, and dinner would often have included a sizeable side of pasta or bread. So what, if anything, was wrong with that?

To understand whether wheat is good, bad or indifferent, we need to know what it is and how it affects our bodies. So, let’s start with the basics. Wheat is a type of grass grown all over the world and, once picked, is made into flour which is used to make bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits and cereals.

Wheat contains high levels of sugar – two slices of toast contain more than six teaspoons! When we digest wheat, we convert the proteins into exorphins – these are like the endorphins you get after running. So after consuming wheat products, we get a short high, followed by a low where we feel tired, and start craving more wheat products for energy. And so the cycle repeats itself.

The cycle – poshly called “wheat dominance” – will cause weight gain around your middle, and can cause skin problems, migraines, joint pain and even heart disease. It also can produce symptoms that mimic the menopause, including mood swings, weight gain and food cravings. That daily sandwich isn’t quite so appealing now, is it, chicks? Erm, nope!

It’s always important to eat a healthy diet, no matter where we are in the lifecycle, but given the changes that our bodies experience during the peri/menopausal years, reducing our wheat intake now just makes sense.

Why not eliminate it for two weeks and see how you feel? What have you got to lose…other than your love handles?

At HC/HQ…..

We’ve found that cutting out all the white stuff works best for us, so no more white pasta or white bread. If we’re craving bread, we eat rye bread – it has more nutrients than white bread, and doesn’t have the same affect on your blood sugar levels. Note: don’t be put off that rye bread is a very dark brown colour, it’s seriously tasty, particularly with a dollop of homemade hummus and tomatoes, or a mashed avocado. Yum!

Cutting out wheat does require you to shift your mind set. Lots of people struggle with breakfast, but the toast and cereal has to go – think protein at every meal.

We love gluten-free oats, sweet potatoes and quinoa, and always fill up on our veggies.

Try it, we promise you will feel better…

Let us know what you think xx

Love

Carol and Tina xx

Watercolour photo of a pinky red heart

 

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WHAT TO EAT???

fruit and yoghurt breakfast

Nutrition is an interesting topic, but it can be a tad confusing, especially when the experts disagree – eat this, don’t eat that, eat some of that but only a little…phew, brain ache!

Here at HC-HQ, we use the 70/30 approach – which means that we’re good roughly 70% of the time (avoiding carbs, dairy, sugar and processed meals), and 30% of the time, we’re more relaxed about what we eat. We find that this approach means that we can have the occasional food treat without feeling guilty, yay! But of course it’s all about finding your own balance, and what works for you.

In particular, we try to steer clear of gluten. It does mean waving goodbye to some yummy foods like bread and pasta, but it also means waving goodbye to your love handles – go gluten-free for a week or two, and you’ll notice how you feel less bloated, and start to lose inches from your middle.

We know how hard it is to cut out some of these foods, but as tasty as they are, we find that they always leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable and wanting more – are we right, chicks? And there are lots of great alternatives – wholemeal rice is okay, spelt spaghetti is good and have you tried cauliflower rice? Honestly, it’s completely delicious and has exactly the same texture as regular rice. Give it a try!

Sugar’s another one that has to go. Did you know that it can give you wrinkles, argh??!! That’s a massive reason to say a big goodbye to it. It also has zero nutritional value, is bad for your teeth, and triggers the stress hormone cortisol, which causes irritation and anxiety. No thank you!

Those of you who follow our blogs will know that we are just a little bit obsessed with baking sweet treats that are sugar free. They really do taste delicious and, better still, they mean that you can have that yummy treat without all the downsides of sugar – so there really is no excuse not to cut it out.

We also try to cut down our intake of caffeine. Caffeine dehydrates you and can increase that dreaded cortisol level again, which plays havoc with your mood.
Okay, that’s enough of what not to eat, let’s talk about what you can! We don’t advocate calories counting here at HC-HQ, yippee! There really is no need to when you eat clean foods, foods that are high in protein and, of course, plenty of veggies. Enjoy a treat meal every week, just not a treat meal every day. And don’t forget about the water – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It’s great for your skin and it gives you energy.
Each meal should contain a protein. Our favourite breakfasts (at the moment) are either protein pancakes with berries and a little maple syrup or homemade granola with soya yoghurt and berries, which are so easy and quick to make.
We find that if we can make a good choice at breakfast, good choices are easier to make throughout the day. Lunch is usually something simple like an avocado with scrambled eggs, a quick veggie stir-fry, or leftovers from last night’s dinner. Dinner is always protein (often fish) with lots of veggies or salad; one of our favourite quick and cheap meals is homemade tomato sauce with cannellini beans, cauliflower rice, chicken and broccoli. Yum!
Of course, no one is perfect, and if you fall off the wellness train don’t waste time worrying about it, just jump back on.
You don’t have to change your whole diet in one go, even just small changes will make a positive difference. Sugar was the last thing we gave up, and we did both fall off the wagon towards the end of last year, but we started again in January without any guilt.
We have found the key to eating more healthy food choices is to plan plan plan. If you have everything in that you need, it’s easier to stick to your healthy menu.
We can 100% promise if you eat this way, you will lose weight – especially around the middle, have more energy, fewer mood swings, sleep better, and look amazing…. win win win and happy happy happy!
Let us know how you get on… we love to hear from you.

Lots of love Carol and Tina xxx

Watercolour photo of a pinky red heart

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