August 17, 2016No Comments

Wellness….WHAT?! – #WellbeingWednesdays

Wellness wooden sign on a beautiful day

Many of us work through life trying to achieve 'wellness'. But what is wellness? Is it the juice detox everyone is doing? Is it being able to sit in a cross legged position and 'ohm' at the top of my lungs for hours on end? Is it being outside?

What does Wellness even mean?

Every time you read a piece of media, or a medical study there is more advice of what is good for you, what is bad for you, what you haven't realised you're even consuming or ingesting and we can get so confused with trying to do the best things for our bodies that often we just give up and go right back to what we were doing before.

It's hard working towards 'Wellness'. All you want is for someone to show you a big sign saying 'Wellness this way', but that's not how it works. What is good for me, might be bad for you and may be essential for someone else.

The way I deal with it is to try and work towards feeling better, being healthier but also not taking life too seriously. You can get so caught up with being healthy all the time that you end up resenting the lifestyle, and yourself trying to achieve the unachievable. We live in a world where plastics, pollutants and chemicals are part of every day life. Yes you could try and eradicate them from your life but you'd have to live in isolation to achieve it and where's the fun in that?

Take it one day at a time and one element of your life at a time. For me, my journey started with fitness. I found things that I loved to do and just focused on those. I do them regularly enough that they become a habit. Equally if I skip them for a week, I have a mildly guilty feeling but I know I'll get back to them next week so it's no big deal.

Then I moved onto food and this was my HARDEST part. I LOVE food. I LOVE eating food. I LOVE cooking and exploring food. Most importantly I LOVE big quantities of food. So to find out how to change a lot of that I had to figure out the best way to be healthy, still enjoy the food I eat with it's flavours and the quantity but eat foods that are better for me. Vegetables, fruits, grains, beans.

Next came skincare and home life. I've never really been a big skincare person as having psoriasis has always dictated what I use. But finding Tropic and it's range of natural products has changed all of that. And I'm now experimenting with the cleaning products we use at home and finding ways to change those slowly but surely.

The last thing is my way of life. Spending more time outside, in nature. Potentially trying to grow my own fruit and vegetables, although living in London that's not always possible. I have however started doing exactly that in my office in Central London. We have a small roof terrace where there are all kinds of goodies growing. Cabbage, rocket, lettuce, sunflowers and lots of herbs! All of my own doing which isn't too bad for a first try.

My point is you can work towards being healthier, being happier in small steps. Don't try and leave your life and go off and live on a remote island and you'll live until you're 200. Just do it in small ways, and do things that you enjoy and you'll be sure to get where you want to be.

Ciao for now x

July 5, 2016No Comments

Yoga is only for women – #TalkToMeTuesdays

Anyone who knows me knows I am particularly random. I like doing random activities and I like meeting and talking to random people. I don’t have a problem trying anything out, which is why some of my fitness passions come from activities traditionally linked to female activities, Zumba, Pilates and Yoga just to name a few.

It’s because of this attitude that I have got into yoga. It’s crazy how many times I ask men to come along with me to yoga and how many times they have excuses. Yoga isn’t for me is the most commonly used phrase, but I’ve also had lots of ‘yoga is for women’.

Now, it’s true that I like random things but yoga is not random. If you don’t really understand yoga and understand how good it can be for anyone, regardless of age, sex, conditions or a million other things then you really should educate yourself.

Rather than find yoga emasculating, I actually find yoga maculating. In order to perfect a yoga technique you have to have strength, balance, focus and determination. None of that is attributed to only one type of person. In order to hold a pose I need to focus on me. Yogi’s or just general yoga practitioner can be from every walk of life and the feeling I have after a good yoga session is euphoric at times.

I like all yoga, but I LOVE tough yoga. Tough yoga is yoga that makes me sweat (without the heat needing to be on!). It’s yoga that takes me much longer to hold a pose because I am trying to move my body into exactly the right pose while still being relaxed and still focusing on my breath. Tough yoga needs a strength, not just physically but mentally and that’s why I LOVE it.

So yea, I find it hard to have patience with men who say yoga is only for women. Maybe you should stop making excuses and get to a class? Let’s see if you can hack it 😛

Ciao for now x

March 12, 2016No Comments

Superfood Hand Therapy

Superfood Hand Therapy

This is the first of a series of videos that will be coming your way. This is for one of my absolute favourite of the Tropic products, the amazing Superfood Hand Therapy.

Every one of us uses hand cream on a regular basis and on average it takes just 26 seconds for the ingredients to get into your bloodstream. Do yourself a favour today and switch to a paraben free choice and stay healthy.

Drop me a line for more details or check out my personal shop tropicskincare.co.uk/shop/melbennardo

Ciao for now x

February 3, 2016No Comments

World Cancer Day – 4th February

Tomorrow, 4th February 2016, is World Cancer Day and today I wanted to post about cancer and how it has affected me personally.

This post is not related to my fitness as much but it does relate to health and keeping healthy and the impact good nutrition can have on your body.

Like most people these days, cancer has made a profound and devastating impact on myself and my family. We have lost a number of people closest to us to various forms of cancer. It can hit anyone at any time, any background, any age, any religion. Cancer does not discriminate.

The strongest memory I have of cancer is something that I find quite hard to talk about but I'm going to try and put into words for you now.

In my late teens, my uncle was diagnosed with cancer. At the time I didn't really understand what that meant. I assumed it meant he was ill and there would be medication, perhaps some tough treatment but that would be it.

It wasn't. For those that haven't been there the entire way through someones falling to cancer, the news that it is terminal and that all they can do is try and ease the suffering until the time comes, there is no way to describe it. The realisation that someone can go from seeming just fine, their normal self to barely being able to be coherent, to moving or to doing much for themselves in an exceptionally fast time is heartbreaking.

I watched this big, manly man who had always been in my life pale in comparison to what he was just weeks, months and years before. It was like watching a movie on fast forward and the knowledge that there was nothing I could do about it but watch.

That's not to even guess what the person going through it is feeling. How they feel being told they have been diagnosed with cancer, how they feel being told it's terminal, how they feel going through endless sessions of chemotherapy and cocktails of medicine to all be told it's for nothing and they are giving an expiry date. A date when the doctors would be surprised if they are still around the day after. Just let that sink in for a minute.

So the news came it was terminal and obviously everyone makes time to try and say their goodbyes. I remember this part so vividly. It was half term the week after, I finished school early on the Friday and was meant to be going to the hospital the Saturday, the day after. I had no idea why but something inside me was telling me I wanted to visit that day. I asked Mum and she wasn't sure, she said she'd moved stuff around so she wasn't sure if she could get there with me and my uncle hadn't been great that morning when she spoke to my aunt so maybe it was worth waiting until the day after. Something inside me kept pushing and in the end we went on Friday.

It was both the most horrible and best experience I can honestly say I've ever had. Horrible because my uncle was there, pale, skinny, barely coherent, hooked up to machines trying to keep him coming. He didn't know who we were. I watched my mum try and talk to her brother and get no response and although she was trying to hold it in for me she couldn't and the tears came. I watched this man who had picked me up and taken me to school just months before, struggle to form words, struggle to recognise his sister.

We stayed. We tried to chat. We tried to make light and joke. Then we came to say goodbye. That was when it became the best experience. I held his hand and kissed him goodbye and for a split second, just one he looked at me with his eyes and knew me. Really knew me. I don't know how to describe it other than he knew and I felt more than heard him say goodbye.

That night we got the call that my uncle had passed away. If I had waited until Saturday I wouldn't have got the chance to say goodbye.

Cancer hits and when it hits it hits hard. There are definitely some positive stories and they should be rejoiced and celebrated but there is also so much we are exposed to day in and day out that helps cancer thrive. Chemicals, plastics, processed foods the list goes on.

What I have taken away from my experience with cancer however, is knowledge. There are so many things we can do every day to reduce our likelihood of cancer and help our bodies to cope with the every day stresses. Eating better, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake, using and eating natural whole foods, changing our toiletries and makeups to those containing no chemicals and made only from plants, yoga, meditation just to name a few!

So take some time today to make a small change. Maybe it's change one product you have at home to a chemical free one, eat less processed foods, start exercising. It doesn't matter but do something. We can stop cancer but it takes all of us being more aware and using the knowledge that is out there.

Ciao for now x

January 31, 2016No Comments

Day 31 – a month in summary

This month has been an outstanding one. Since leaving my banking job at the end of November, December was pretty quiet but January has seen things gain a huge amount of momentum.

I've given you a few recipes, explained some of the moves we use in our upcoming choreography and tried to explain the basics of protein, carbs, fats, fibre and loads of other bits that should be useful to you when thinking about your food intake.

Not only that but you've been on the journey with me as I've started to teach yoga to children and become an ambassador for an amazing range of skincare products.

Hopefully there has been lots for you to learn and you've enjoyed doing so as I've certainly enjoyed writing it and listening to how you've all used my posts or written comments on them.

I will still be writing posts but probably not with as much frequency so keep watching this space and keep enjoying them!

Ciao for now x

January 30, 2016No Comments

Day 30 – Travelling and eating well

This post is more relevant today as I've decided to head off to Paris for the weekend and one of the hardest things about travelling is eating right!

When you're away it's easy to fall into the habits of bread, excessive carbs, ice cream, cake, sweets etc and that's fine now and again but be careful you don't reverse all the hard work you do day in and day out by pigging out.

I have had experiences in the past where I go crazy, enjoy all the things that I haven't been eating back at home and then I feel lethargic, reluctant to go out and explore or even crazily take a nap while I'm in a beautiful new place.

Here are a few top tips from me for staying healthy while on the go:

  1. Travel time - try to plan and pack something for the journey. I find that is the hardest time to eat well because most of the time flights, trains, buses or even drives are starting really early in the morning and you just want something to eat and don't have much time to make something. Make it the night before and try to be as good as you can. I had a Eurostar this morning at 8.10 am which meant I had to be up for 5.30am (to be functioning even slightly!). Last night I boiled two eggs, made a home baked baguette and inside put a mashed avocado and some fresh home baked ham (I roast a whole joint then slice it and freeze the slices in small packets to use at a later date). Not only that but when I made my morning smoothie yesterday morning I made double the quantity and simply drank that today. All that was done at 6am this morning, very blurry eyed was to eat the baguette and drink the smoothie in front of the TV while I mentally woke up and packed my stomach full of good things to start the day.
  2. Learn some basic language - let's be clear here I'm not suggesting you learn the entire language but if there are specifically things you don't like or really love then learn that word. My favourites are the word for vegetable, avocado and fresh juice. That way you might still want to be a bit naughty but you can't go wrong if you've asked for some grilled vegetables on the side. Equally if there is something you specifically don't like then learn it! No point complaining there are mushrooms in your meal if you didn't learn the word for mushrooms which was staring at you from the menu description!!
  3. Research some cool restaurants - have a look online and see what restaurants are around. Not all of them have to be super healthy but you can normally check out menus online and see what foods people offer so why not plan a little bit about where you could go for an evening.
  4. Have fun and treat yourself - don't get too caught up in trying to be good the entire time you are away. Yes you shouldn't go crazy and eat 5 cakes in a day either but give yourself a treat, you are on holiday. Try not to stress too much about it but equally do not be counting calories.

That's all for now but if you know you are going away then you have a checklist of things to do for your trip anyway....plan your food as part of that checklist!

Ciao for now x

  
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