The 4-week challenge for a healthy lifestyle

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I spent January like most people keeping myself busy and not thinking too much about limitations. A big help in distracting myself was my four week healthy lifestyle challenge that I did online. I had four different experts give their advice and had weekly live sessions. I’m going to share some of my favorite pieces of advice from the Challenge here, and I have a lovely scrambled egg recipe too.

What works for one may not work for everyone

I heard a brilliant phrase during this challenge: “Genetics loads the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger”.

Cathy Dunleavy, Health and Wellness Coach, has done a great job sharing her views on approaching health from a very personal perspective. She reminded us that everyone is different and will respond to changes depending on their personal circumstances. We process a lot of food in different ways. What might work for one might not work for another. Cholesterol was an area that Cathy focused on and was very keen on an individual approach that took many variables into account. One simple tip Cathy gave was to really try to propagate the veggies – the recipe shared today has a nice addition of spinach which is a good start!

Gut Health and the Benefits

Gut health and biomes are one area that I find really interesting. You develop your microbiome based on what you eat. These are small microorganisms in our gut that we rely on to keep our gut healthy. Try to add plenty of fiber for a healthy bowel. Another great way to do this is to include fermented foods in our diet. We all know that vegetables and fruits are good for you, and even spices and herbs are beneficial for introducing antioxidants. In fact, antioxidants literally wipe up free radicals in our bodies – many of which are the product of stress. Try to put a big emphasis on grains like rice, (brown basmati, whole grain, or even white) quinoa (a wheat product), couscous, etc. All of these can be easily incorporated into your diet and have very beneficial effects.

Snacking at night

Hands up if you are guilty of eating shitty food at night. I know I am! For me personally, it’s one of two things. Either I haven’t eaten enough during the day or I can look for cookies out of habit or boredom. It is a good idea to have some “real” food first. This is a great way to tell if you are simply hungry after a busy day that you may not have eaten enough. A second recommendation for late night snacking out of habit is to change our relaxation ritual. For example, if you are pampering yourself for your evening, try to sit in a different chair than you normally sit to enjoy the snack. This can trigger a different response in the brain. By changing this, you are breaking a habit and creating new neurological pathways that the brain no longer associates with sitting in a particular place to eat or eat. Instead of rewarding yourself with snacks, try other tactics, such as: For example, call a friend or distract yourself in any other way that you enjoy.

A good night’s sleep is a performance booster

In my previous career as a professional athlete, there was a big focus on sleep quality as a performance tool. In the years since I retired, it’s an area that I have to struggle with all the time, but I feel so much better when I sleep well. Lack of sleep negatively affects so many different aspects of your life.

A good tip shared during our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge relates to when to eat: ideally, your last main meal should be no later than two hours before bedtime. A good food tip is to eat kiwifruit (which naturally contain serotonin) and pistachios before bed as a nightly, healthy, sleep-inducing snack. Make sure the pistachios are raw (i.e. not salted or sweetened) for real benefits.

Keep moving

I had two live workouts every week for Derval.ie members in January

The two workouts are very different and differ from two different trainers. However, a common theme is to keep moving while exercising. If you plan to exercise for 30 minutes, make sure that those 30 minutes count. If you need breaks in the exercise, try not to stop completely, even if you simply march in place. No matter what your fitness level, exercise will benefit you. So don’t think about it and get this body moving. You can do it!

Health tip: If you are watching your cholesterol and normally include eggs in your diet, try using egg whites and limiting your use of the egg yolk.

Wellness tip: Write down a list of the habits you want to change or think of new healthy habits you want to build. Take some time to plan out some actions you can take to help you achieve these goals and habits.

“Posh” scrambled eggs

Served: 3

Ingredients:

  • 200 g baby spinach
  • 6 free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • Tablespoon. real butter
  • Drop of milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 100g smoked salmon, good quality

Method:

1. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until wilted for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a small pan with a thick bottom over low heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes until the eggs look almost cooked

3. Remove from heat and add a drop of milk to finish cooking and keep eggs nice and creamy. Season.

4th Serve the eggs with the smoked salmon and spinach on a plate. Enjoy immediately.