3 tips to maximise sleep during winter

Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health. Lack of sleep can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. 

Habits and lifestyle choices that are unhealthy, leave you tossing and turning at night and can affect our mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight.

Follow these 3 tips to maximise your sleep during winter, boost your health, and improve how you think and feel each day.

Tip 1: Light affects your sleep pattern

Make sure you turn off the main lights in your bedroom, use a few lamps or dimmer switch instead before bedtime. Ban all electronic devices from your bedroom. Your body needs to learn that dimming lights, brings drowsiness and darkness means sleep. Avoid bright screens 1 – 2 hours before bedtime.

Get into a routine of going to bed at the same time each night. This helps set your body’s internal clock and will optimise your sleep quality. Choose a bed time when you feel tired, and don’t go beyond this. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally, without an alarm.

Tip 2: Stay warm, not hot

In winter you may be tempted to pile on the blankets and layer-up, turn up the heater and switch on the electric blanket. We need to stay warm, but not over heat, or your body will miss the slight temperature drop that occurs, and that signals sleep.

Your body temperature starts to drop a few degrees, when you fall asleep. This subtle temperature drop, allows your body to divert some of the energy it uses, to maintain your waking temperature, to better power the important repetitive tasks it performs at night.

Tip 3: Avoid winter comfort foods

Lack of sunlight in winter, can causes you to crave stodgy and sweet foods. Stodgy and sweets foods cause an aroused state, and can disrupt the natural process of sleep.

Exposure to sunshine, naturally manufacture vitamin D, and in turn boosts your serotonin levels. A major driving force behind carbohydrate and sugar cravings, is a low level of vitamin D, which affect seratonin levels in the brain.

Make the autumn to winter transition easy!

Simple ways to feel well, as you withstand the changeable weather.

Autumn is the time to gather inward, to nurture and support your body and slow down in readiness for the stillness of winter. Allow time for inner reflection to develop awareness, so you understand what is no longer serving you. See what you need to let go off, and strip back as winter arrives, so you can be ready to rebirth in springtime.

Nature’s powerful cycles can destabilize us, especially the cold and potent force of gusty winds. This can have an emotional effect also, and we may feel depressed, nervous or experience self-doubt.

Implement these dependable tips now!

Clear your surrounding

Keep the air clean in your home in autumn, so you are ready to close doors and windows in the cooler months to come. Open the windows when you can, to catch the last bits of fresh air, before it’s too cold. Create a clean space to spend winter in, and add colour to brighten your surroundings.

Have live plants in your home, as they maintain good oxygen levels and negative ions in the air: many plants, such as cactus also help to offset the effects of EMF’s (electromagnetic fields). These plants are particularly good to place in areas of high EMF’s, such as beside the computer.

Positive ions can contribute to many health issues, such as allergies, anxiety, emotional upsets, fatigue, depression, headaches, irritability, and immune dysfunction. Salt or selenite lamps, are an easy way to neutralize the positive ions in the air in your home.

Essential Oils

In autumn, an increase of illness can occur, due to not slowing down and not getting enough rest and good nutrition. If you are experiencing fatigue or sinus problems, use a steam bath with eucalyptus essential oil added for extra benefit. Stop eating foods that can increase phlegm, such as dairy foods (milk, cheese, cream).

Transitional foods

Introduce modest amounts of pungent foods, which help clear out the mucous in your lungs and intestines. Add garlic, ginger, and coriander, mustard, onions, broccoli, radish, daikon, and seaweeds.

The soundest way to create a shopping list for the autumn-winter transition, is to cross reference the autumn and winter seasonal produce. Choose foods from both seasons and eat more of these foods.  See the Seasonal_Produce_Guide

Be Active, but keep it gentle

Boost your immunity and increase the oxygen levels in your blood with exercise. This helps you feel more positive, energetic and alert, but make sure you don’t go beyond a comfortable limit, or you will deplete your vitality.

Yoga, tai chi, qi gong, a brisk walk, hike or bike will increase lung health and help you feel grounded and balanced in autumn. Breath and stretch often. Avoid heavy aerobic activity, especially outdoors.

Stay rooted in your purpose

As the temperature drops and the plants lose foliage, their energy returns deep into the roots. We, like plants, can thrive during the autumn months if we focus on our purpose.

Step back, and think about what truly brings value to your life. Consider setting some intentions, for what you need. Move deeply into these in winter, dig deep. That way, once spring comes along, you will be ready to blossom.

Natural sleep cycles

As the days shorten and plants shed their leaves, it’s clear that nature is signaling us to nourish ourselves, slow down, and get extra quality sleep. Take care of your sleep hygeine, to improve the quality of your sleep, and also your waking hours.

Going to bed at the same time each night, helps your body prepare for bedtime. Diffusing calming essential oils, like chamomile, lavender, or geranium to prepare your body for deep rest. Aromatherapy can be a powerful tool to support personal healing. Use beneficial bedtime bath salts, or an aromatherapy cream rubbed on your feet before bed.

Enjoy the full beauty of autumn – let go, inspire and feel free

Rose & Geranium Bites

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup desicated coconut

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup cashew meal

dried rose petal

15 drops of geranium oil

5 drops of rose oil

METHOD

Melt coconut oil, mix all other ingredients with it. Spoon into chocolate mounds, refrigerate for 1 hour. Pop bites out of the mould, and keep in a container in the fridge, as the coconut oil melts at room temperature. Enjoy!

Spicy Tahini Cookies

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup tahini

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 – 1/3 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp almond milk at room temperature

1/2 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp almond meal

1 tsp cardamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Mix tahini, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, almond milk and combine well. Do not over-mix, or the tahini will over thicken.

Add the other ingredients and mix gently.

Shape into round cookies, flatten with a folk.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, cool for 2 minutes, then remove from the baking sheet onto a rack to cool completely.

Autumn Wellness Secrets


Welcome to AUTUMN, traditionally the season of harvest!

Our bodies begin to harvest and gather energies inward for the colder winter months and move it down, which is a Yin quality.

AUTUMN is the season for clearing any excess heat from the body, and then starting to warm it from the inside to prepare for the colder months. In the Chinese Medicine concept of the Five Elements it correlates to the Metal Element, which allows us to efficiently let go of what is not necessary, and store only what is needed for winter.

This element relates to the lung (which intakes breath) and large intestine meridian (which out flows waste products).  When out of balance this can manifest as bronchitis, shortness of breath, cough, allergies, nasal congestion, emphysema, colds, sore throat, constipation, diarrhea, spastic colon and abdominal pain.

In autumn we need to learn how to reconnect to the natural rhythm of our breathe and with love let go of our pain, discomfort and/or grief, embracing this energy and then letting go of that which no longer serves us. Emotionally we may feel depressed, we are stubborn (inability to ‘let go’), feel isolated and negative instead of tranquil, inspired, spontaneous and fresh!
If we observe and are in harmony with the spirit of the season, we can see that Nature moves into a period of rest, we too must be cautious not to overexert. The time for “putting it all out there” – the Summer – has passed. Now is the time to contain ourselves, acting and speaking only when necessary, exerting our will quietly and calmly.

InnerClarity_AutumnLogo

5 steps to prepare your body for autumn.

As the summer light begins to wane, and you can feel the quality of autumn in the cooler air, it’s time to prepare you body.

The arrival of autumn signals the end of the yang energy of summer, and we move inward with the yin energy in this season. This is a perfect time to detoxify your body, and restore your internal balance while boosting your immunity, before it becomes colder.

Each season gives us an opportunity to prepare our body, mind and spirit for the months ahead.

5 steps to prepare your body for autumn.

  1. Release the heat in your body from summer, avoid caffeine,alcohol, refined sugar, salt and hot spices such as chilli, cayenne pepper and paprika.
  2. Eat warming foods that are seasonal, as raw cold foods create dampness in the body, so mucus forms, which we don’t want in our bodies during the colder months. Access the seasonal good guide here.
  3. Slow down just like nature is beginning to do. Return to simple routines, and introduce structure to help you be purposeful.
  4. Add a self-care ritual such as a dry body brushing to stimulate circulation and exfoliate any dry skin from summer. Add a simple self massage routine to hydrate your skin.
  5. Spend time in nature to connect to yourself and the season. In autumn the leaves fall from the trees, and the energy of the plant comes back to its roots after the full flowering of summer.

Autumn is a wonderful season to step up your self care, and embrace all that season has to offer us. There’s truly no better time than now to start harvesting the benefits of self-love and self-care.

Spring Clean your Lymphatic System

As the weather becomes warmer, one of the key areas of the body to support in spring, is the lymphatic system.  If your lymphatic system is flowing smoothly, this is vital to easy weight loss, immune strength, improved feelings of well-being, and more vitality.

The lymphatic or lymph system involves an extensive network of vessels that pass through almost all our tissues to allow the movement of a fluid called lymph. Lymph fluid circulates through the body in a similar way to blood.

There are about 600 lymph nodes in the body. These nodes swell in response to infection, due to a build-up of lymph fluid, bacteria, or other organisms and immune system cells.

The primary lymph organs are the spleen, thymus, tonsils, and adenoids. The lymph nodes throughout the body filter out bacteria and toxic waste, and the lymphocytes (white blood cells) attack the bacteria.

The lymphatic system plays a key role in the immune system, fluid balance, and absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients.

A healthy lymphatic system helps purify the blood through the largest mass of lymph tissue in the body, the spleen. The spleen fights infection and destroys worn-out red blood cells in the body. By cleansing your lymphatic system, your spleen is able to handle these retired red blood cells.

Here is what the lymphatic system look like:

So how do you know if your lymphatic system needs a detox? 

Here are some signs that your lymphatic system is struggling:

  • cellulite
  • ear infections
  • eczema and psoriasis
  • fatigue
  • fibromyalgia
  • fluid retention
  • muscle and joint stiffness
  • poor immunity
  • raised lymph nodes
  • repeated sinus infections
  • sore throat
  • tonsillitis

If you’re suffering from any of the above issues, chances are that you will benefit from a lymphatic cleanse.

Here are 6 ways to kickstart your lymphatic system into action:

1. Exercise

Yoga, or walking in the fresh air, are fantastic for getting the lymph moving. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can make a huge difference.

Try Natural Harmony Yoga with Danae or Ilana or Andrea for pre-natal Yoga.

2. Massage, Reflexology, Essential Oils

A combination of Massage, Reflexology and Essential Oils has a profound effect on cleansing the lymphatic system.  Key essential oils such as black pepper, cardamon, cypress, grapefruit, fennel, lemon, mandarin, rosemary can help. But each person’s body is unique, so it’s best to see an experienced therapist, who understands how the body works.

You can book a session with me!

3. Dry skin brushing

Use a dry skin brush every morning, to help improve circulation and lymphatic flow. Start at the extremities and brush towards your heart in an anti-clockwise direction for best results.

4. Food

Buy organic fruit and vegetables, to eliminate extra toxins. Eliminate diary, as it produces mucous which increases lymphatic stagnation. Increase berries, citrus fruit, greens, healthy fats such as sunflower, pumpkin, chia and flax seeds.

5. Hydrate

No matter which organs you are detoxifying, water is the key to removing toxins from your body. Try it with a teaspoon of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, which aids detoxification as it breaks up mucus throughout the body and cleanses the lymph nodes to allow for better lymph circulation. Use herbal teas such as Red Clover, Echinacea, Fennel and Lemongrass. It’s extra important with the lymphatic system, as the lymphatic fluid moves slower when you are dehydrated.

6. Breathe

It may sound simple, but deep breathing exercises are a powerful way to get the circulation and lymph moving. And breathing is fantastic for your mind too, helping to reduce stress and improve mental clarity. Set aside a few minutes every day to relax, and breathe.

Love your lymph!

Zesty Grapefruit Almond Cake

For a zesty afternoon tea, this full of flavour Grapefruit Almond Cake is gluten and diary free, and delicious!

*Note: you could use orange or mandarin if you prefer

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups almond meal

3 tablespoons of poppy seeds

3/4 teaspoon gluten free banking powder (Bob’s Mill)

4 large eggs, separated

2 heaped tablespoons of honey (you can add a little more if you like a sweeter flavour)

1/2 cup virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil

Zest of 1 grapefruit

1 tablespoon of grapefruit juice

Peeled and sectioned grapefruit segments for decorating

20 drops of grapefruit essential oil (optional)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/4 cup sliced almonds for decorating the top, before or after cooking

Method

  1. Pre-heat the over to 180C and lightly oil the bottom and the sides of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Combine almond flour, poppy seeds and baking powder in a large bowl and stir well.
  3. Use an electric hand mixer to beat the egg yolks, grapefruit zest, olive or melted coconut oil, essential oil (if using it), and honey until creamy.
  4. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl on high, with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the dry ingredients, until well combined.
  6. Fold 1/3 the egg whites in gently, stirring until it is incorporated into the mixture, then repeat twice more, retaining as much volume as possible.
  7. Fold white vinegar lightly into the mixture. The vinegar will act with the baking powder, so that the cake continues to rise as it is cooking.
  8. Pour the batter into the cake pan, scatter almonds on the top if desired before cooking, or wait until after.
  9. Bake for 40-45 mins until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  10. If you find the top is browning too quickly, cover the cake with aluminium foil and return it to the oven.
  11. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

You can make a frosting by heating 2-3 teaspoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of grapefruit zest and 1 tablespoon of grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced by one third.  Add 1/2 cup raw cashews, coconut oil and cook for another few minutes until the coconut oil has melted. Remove mixture from the heat, and let it cool for 15 minutes. Blend at a high speed in a food processor until it is silky smooth. Refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours, then use to frost the cake, or add a spoonful on top to serve.

Grapefruit essential oil uplifts and revives, balances the central nervous system, stimulates lymphatic and vascular circulation, and boosts metabolism.

 

Aromatic Lemon Myrtle Biscuits

Healthy Aromatic Lemon Myrtle Biscuits have the classic flavour of Australian Lemon Myrtle!

A crunchy biscuit, they offer a satiating balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats. A tasty munch in the morning or afternoon with a cup of tea.

The fresh burst of lemon myrtle essential oil helps to calm and relax and aid concentration,  adding an extra therapeutic layer, to these already crunchy, tasty snacks!

Lemon Myrtle Biscuits

Ingredients

1 1/5 cup almond meal

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup pure organic extra virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup chopped raw macadamia nuts

1/2 to 1/3 cup honey

2 tsp dried culinary lemon myrtle

20 – 25 drops of lemon myrtle essential oil

Method

  1. Pre-heat the over to 165C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
  2. Crush lemon myrtle in a mortar and pestle, or put into plastic bag and pound with a glass or jar.
  3. Mix almond meal with baking soda, dried lemon myrtle and macadamia nuts until well combined.
  4. Warm coconut oil and add honey, then add lemon myrtle essential oil last.
  5. Use your hands to mix together the wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Transfer to the fridge and let it rest for 10 minutes, then remove and roll into small balls.
  7. Flatten them a little, and place on baking paper on the baking tray, allowing room between each one to spread.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges and tops are turning golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes, before removing to a cooling rack.
  10. Makes about 24 small biscuits.

Lemon Myrtle calms, relaxes, and improves concentration.

It is an antiseptic and antiviral, boosts immunity, and helps irritable digestive upsets.

 

3 Irresistible Aromatic Protein Balls

A perfect snack, these irresistible aromatic protein balls, are a healthy bite-size superfood energy ball!

They offer a satiating balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats, and can be fully customized and portable.

You can pair one or two with a piece of fruit to add extra fibre and hydration, after exercise or activity. Make them ahead of time, and have them handy in the fridge to save you not only money, but also having to waste time reading ingredient lists of commercially made bars and bites.

The added aromatherapy essential oils add an extra therapeutic layer, to these already irresistably yummy snacks!

Zesty Lemon

A quick and easy to make recipe, that takes no time at all to make and is loved by everyone for its zesty taste!

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashews

I cup desiccated coconut

Zest of 1 large lemon (or 2 small)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon of honey

10 – 15 drops of pure therapeutic lemon essential oil

Extra desiccated or shredded coconut for rolling in and you can add tumeric powder to give it a bright yellow colour!

Method

  1. Place the ingredients into a food processor or equivalent, in the order listed above, blending until the mixture resembles a sticky crumb consistency. Don’t over-blend, or you will end up with a paste, versus a mixture that you can roll in your hands, which has a bit of texture.
  2. Use your hands to shape the mixture into bit-size balls.
  3. Roll the balls into the extra desiccated or shredded coconut, and place in a container in the fridge.
  4. Serve, eat, enjoy!

Lemon essential oil refreshes, cools, produces clarity of thought. Improves cardiovascular, immune, digestive systems.

 

Orange Refresh

These crunchy, protein packed, sweet fresh citrus tasting protein balls, are cheery and full of goodness!

Ingredients

1 cup roasted almonds or 1/2 cup roasted almonds and 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 to 1 cup roasted carob powder depending on how much you like the taste of carob

Carob has a caramel, sweet taste, with a similar consistency to cocoa powder. It is a healthy chocolate substitute, and a source of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, calcium, magnesium, iron and other minerals. Unlike chocolate, it does not interfere with calcium absorption. If you don’t like to taste enough, you could add decaff coffee or chicory based coffee for it to taste more chocolatey.

Zest of 1 large orange (or 2 small)

Juice of 1/2 orange

1 tablespoon of honey or pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon of crushed cardamon or cinnamon (optional)

2 tablespoons of mixed seeds e.g. chia, flax, hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin

10 drops of pure therapeutic grade sweet orange essential oil

Extra  carob powder, flaked almonds or sesame seeds for rolling in

Method

  1. Place the roasted almonds, carob powder, orange zest and juice, honey or maple syrup, spices and essential oil into a food processor. Blend until the mixture has a sticky, nutty, textured consistency. Don’t over-blend, or you will end up with a paste, versus a crunchy textured mixture.
  2. Stir in the mixed seeds by hand.
  3. Use your hands to shape the mixture into bit-size balls.
  4. Roll the balls into the extra carob powder, flaked almonds or sesame seeds and place in a container in the fridge.
  5. Serve, eat, enjoy!

Orange essential oil encourages a positive outlook. Calms nervous states, digestive system and good effect on viral infections.

 

Pick-me-up Peppermint

Refreshingly minty, these nutty balls are a great in the afternoon or evening, when you need a pick-me-up!

Ingredients

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup raw almonds, brazil or walnuts

2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 cup cocoa or carob powder

1 tablespoon of honey or pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of mixed seeds e.g chia,flax, hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin

10 – 15 drops of pure therapeutic grade peppermint oil

Extra cacoa powder,  sesame seeds or cocoa nibs for rolling in

Method

  1. Place the peanut butter, nuts, tahini, cocoa or carob powder, honey or maple syrup, fresh mint, vanilla extract and essential oil into a food processor. Blend until the mixture has a sticky, nutty, textured consistency. Don’t over-blend, or you will end up with a paste, versus a crunchy textured mixture.
  2. Mix in the mixed seeds by hand.
  3. Use your hands to shape the mixture into bit-size balls.
  4. Roll the balls into the extra cocoa or carob powder, sesame seeds or cocoa nibs and place in a container in the fridge.
  5. Serve, eat, enjoy!

Peppermint essential oil relieves nervous states and mental fatigue. It helps the respiratory and digestive systems,  and muscular aches & nerve pain.