Health & Nutrition

Winter Wellness: Tips for Staying Healthy in Winter

Do you find the following things show up more during winter? Congestion, sinus infections, coughing, asthma, sluggishness, excessive sleep, weight gain, high cholesterol, fluid retention in tissues (edema), aching joints, poor circulation, migraines, sadness, and even depression.

If you know you’re prone to suffering from some of these symptoms, keep reading, because by making just a few changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you find greater wellness as we enter the cooler months.

Avoid cold, heavy and uncooked foods

These types of foods include cold meats, cheese, ice-cream, and yoghurt. They are the typical “bad comfort food” we reach for when we get colder. Instead, go for light, cooked and warm meals with plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Try to include pungent tastes such as chilli, pepper, cumin seeds, garlic and onions as they help to stimulate your digestion and absorption, reduce fat, clean tissue and sharpen those senses. These will warm you up in a different way to the not-so-great comfort foods so you’ll still get that pleasure you crave from eating them. Similarly, include bitter tastes such as olives, spinach, eggplant, and turmeric. They are light, anti-inflammatory and super cleansing.

Do not sleep after you have just eaten! 

As tempting as it is, this is a huge cause for weight gain especially in the evening.

Drink warm water or herbal water

Drinking hot water is something to get used to all year round to naturally aid digestion and flush toxins out of the body. It’s not about quantity, but more about frequency and ideally every 15 minutes you should take a sip. You can also add ginger and lemon to assist. Ice cold drinks (and foods) will put out the digestive fire and constrict the body’s channels.

Protect from cold and wind

Especially if you live and work out in the open or by the beach where the winds are higher. Wind can really damage skin and lips especially can get sore from wind exposure. Dermeze Treatment Ointment (available at most chemists) is great for treating dry skin, including lips.

Massage your body daily

Massage strengthens the nervous system, detoxifies the body, stimulates the immune system and improves lymphatic flow. It’s important to use a heating oil such as organic black sesame seed oil, especially in winter to warm up the body. Don’t forget our SMR techniques and tools too.

Steam it up

Try steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil or special medicated oil. Pop boiling water into a bucket, add a few drops and start breathing it in. This helps clear the head of congestion and any other blockages. We sell DoTerra premium essential oils in studio.

Exercise everyday

If you feel you are prone to gaining weight in winter then you need to start doing some stimulating and vigorous types of exercises to create heat in the body and work up a sweat. This will assist in clearing natural sluggishness and burn up all that stored energy so that it doesn’t turn to bulk. Don’t ditch Pilates class because it is too cold to get out of bed! You’ll regret it later.

Check out our class prices and book in your next session.

Practice deep breathing

Try to take 10-15 deep, slow breaths at least three times a day, even more if you can. This is a great way to calm the nervous system when feeling emotional, stressed or anxious, and help to create awareness in all areas of your life, particularly eating.

Pilates and Co Healthy Recipe

Healthy Recipe: Spinach & Parmesan Crustless Quiche

We’ve teamed up with Sam Rice at The Midlife Kitchen who has just launched her new blog stealthhealthblog.com to bring you a super delicious and nutritious recipe each month.  This month she offers up the perfect recipe for colder months – it seems like naughty, comfort food but it’s packed with nutrients, low calories and lots of taste (winner)!

When you are watching the calories, which I do from time to time – usually after the holidays or a ‘big’ weekend – this is just the ticket! All the goodness of eggs and spinach but with no pastry to up the sat fat and calorie count. But I promise you, there is no compromise on taste!

SERVES: 4

KITCHEN TIME: 10 mins prep, 25 mins cooking

INGREDIENTS

½ a butternut squash, deseeded and sliced (roast a whole one as it’s always good to have leftovers!)

4 eggs

300ml semi-skimmed milk

200g spinach, washed

100g red onion, small dice

1 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp wholemeal flour (or for GF use ground almonds)

½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)

Sea salt

Black pepper

50g Parmesan, grated

PREP TIP: To cook this I use a deep rectangular tray (20cm x 15cm approx.) and cover the entire interior with one piece of baking parchment (make sure it comes up higher than the top of the tin). When cooked and cooled you can just lift the whole thing out. Alternatively, just use a lined, round cake tin.

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Whisk together the milk and eggs in a jug. Wilt the spinach on a low heat in a large frying pan and squeeze out any excess water with the back of a spoon, place in a large bowl. In the same pan fry the diced red onion for a couple of minutes in a drop of olive oil. Sprinkle the flour or ground almonds over the onions to coat and then add to the bowl with the spinach. Now pour the egg mix into the bowl and add the chilli flakes, season well with salt and pepper and stir everything together. Pour the mixture into a prepared tin (see Prep Tip), top with the grated Parmesan and bake for 25 minutes. Leave to cool slightly and then cut into 6 squares, then cut each square into two triangles or if you’ve used a round tin, cut into slices like a cake.

SERVING TIP: This is lovely eaten warm but can also be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days, a great option for packed lunches and picnics. Some moisture can escape after a while so store in a Tupperware with a layer of kitchen roll underneath.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

What are the Best Essential Oils for Immunity?

As the colder weather fast approaches so too does cold and flu season. It’s always a good time to start strengthening your immunity, but right now it’s essential. Just because people around you are coming down with a virus or flu, it doesn’t mean you have to as well! As big fans, and sellers of doTerra essential oils, we love how much oils can help (and easily be incorporated into your everyday life) to help ward off the sniffles and inflammation.

There are many natural ways to boost immunity, and essential oils are a great place to start. The more you learn about the incredible healing properties of pure essential oils, you realise just how powerful they really are for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Here are five detoxifying and immune boosting essential oils we recommend you try:

Frankincense

Frankincense is often referred to as the King of essential oils because of its array of health benefits. Known for its power at boosting immunity,  it can even help your body produce more white blood cells to strengthen the immune system even more. Further on, it’s anti-inflammatory, promotes relaxation, balances moods and supports smooth, radiant skin. Try rubbing Frankincense onto your hands and feet after a long day of work.

Lemon

Lemon has a wondering detoxifying and flushing effect on the system. A great way to include the essential oil derived from lemon is first thing in the morning upon waking. Add a few drops into a warm glass of water and drink within 10 minutes of jumping out of bed. This simple and natural detox drink will improve regularity of your digestive tract, assist daily bowel movements, promote a healthy appetite, help manage weight and flush toxic build-up from your body.  

Oregano

This essential oil is a natural antibiotic and is very useful at strengthening the immune system and fighting off stomach virus’ and flu. Try adding a few drops into a diffuser or mix it in with a body oil such as organic cold-pressed coconut oil and rub it into your hands and feet before going to bed.

Lavender

Lavender is renowned for its calming and soothing effect on the body and mind which in turn will assist in a better night’s sleep, allowing your body to heal, strengthen and restore. Diffuse the oil in your bedroom before going to bed or add a few drops together with Epsom salts into a warm bath to not only pull toxins out of the body but relax you in the process.

Eucalyptus

The oil pulled from the Eucalyptus plant is wonderful for any respiratory symptoms such as allergies, infection and congestion due to its anti-bacterial properties. Try some good old fashion steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil by popping a few drops into a bucket of boiling water and inhaling it in through your nose.

Remember to ask in studio about our doTerra Oils. doTerra has an incredible product called doTERRA On Guard® Protective Blend which includes rosemary, eucalyptus and more. It’s one of their best sellers and can even be used on surfaces throughout the home as a non-toxic cleaner.

Healthy Recipe: Asian Carrot and Coriander Soup

We’ve teamed up with Sam Rice at The Midlife Kitchen who has just launched her new blog stealthhealthblog.com to bring you a super delicious and nutritious recipe each month.  This month it’s all about winter warming soup.

Carrot and coriander is a classic taste combo which I absolutely love but we are living in competitive culinary times and so I’ve brought it bang up-to-date with an Asian twist. The extra goodies I’ve added are ginger, star anise and chilli and because I love the texture so much in soup I’ve also added some butternut squash. I’m going to be so bold as to say that I prefer this creation to the original, I hope you’ll agree.

SERVES: 4

KITCHEN TIME: 15 mins prep, 40 mins cooking

INGREDIENTS

½ a butternut squash, deseeded and sliced (roast a whole one as it’s always good to have leftovers!)

5 large carrots, topped and tailed (no need to peel)

1-2 large red chillis, deseeded (go for 2 if you like it spicy)

1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 litre of vegetable stock from a cube

A large handful of fresh coriander, washed and roughly chopped

A generous tbsp of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 star anise

Sea salt

Black pepper

PREP TIP: You can always roast the veg in advance and keep in the fridge until you are ready to make the soup.

METHOD:

Place the butternut squash, carrots, red onion and red chilli in a roasting pan and roast for half an hour in the oven at 180˚C, turning over a couple of times during the roasting process – if they look a bit dry add a splash of water. In the meantime heat 1 litre of water in a large saucepan and crumble in the stock cubes, stir until dissolved. Add the coriander, ginger and star anise to the stock and let it simmer very gently until the roasted veg are ready. Add the roasted veg to the stock and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Allow the soup to cool slightly before blending with a hand-held stick blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste, season with salt and pepper and serve.

SERVING TIP: If you like it a bit hotter you can always sprinkle over a few dried, red chilli flakes to serve. I also love a spoon of plain Greek yogurt swirled in at the end (obviously not if you are vegan or dairy-free!).

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.


Healthy Recipe Indian Spiced Omelette

Healthy Recipe: Indian Spiced Omelette

We’ve teamed up with Sam Rice at The Midlife Kitchen who has just launched her new blog stealthhealthblog.com to bring you a super delicious and nutritious recipe each month.  This month it’s all about having a fabulous breakfast, so why not try this Indian Spiced Omelette Wrap?

“I am on a constant mission to find new ways to eat eggs. Once I realised they were the key to powering me through my mid-morning munchies they have become an almost daily ritual. Hard to believe that not so long ago we were being advised to eat just one egg a week! Happily, those days are long gone, and I honestly don’t think you’ll find a more sensational way to eat them than this, so let’s get cracking!”

SERVES: 2

KITCHEN TIME: 10 mins prep, 5 mins cooking

INGREDIENTS:

1 tsp light olive oil

2 spring onions, sliced

1 tomato, diced

½ red pepper, diced

4 eggs, whisked in a bowl

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp turmeric

Sea salt

Black pepper

PREP TIP: You can chop up the veggies and whisk up the eggs with the spices the night before. Keep in Tupperware in the fridge overnight ready to spring into action the next morning.

METHOD:

Add the cumin and turmeric to the whisked eggs and combine well. Bring a large, non-stick pan to a medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the spring onion, tomato and red pepper for 1-2 minutes, just to soften. Remove from the pan to a bowl. Now add half the egg mixture to form a layer over the base of the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper to season. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then loosen from the pan with a turner and flip over to cook lightly on the other side for 30 seconds. Remove the egg wrap to a plate and make a second egg wrap with the remainder of the eggs. Divide the veggie mixture between the two wraps, roll up and cut in half to serve.

SERVING TIP: A blob of Greek yogurt and a few chilli flakes are great additions to your wrap.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Healthy Recipe: Piña Colada Smoothie

We kick off our Summer 6-week Challenge this week, so we thought we’d share some healthy food – a recipe from the latest meal guide to get you in the summer spirit. This smoothie is full of goodness and the perfect breakfast or lunch option.

 

INGREDIENTS

– 1 scoop Bananas & Cream PranaOn Protein Powder

– large handful frozen organic pineapple chunks

– 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (our favourite is Pure Harvest Coco Quench)

– 5 large mint leaves or tbsp PranaOn Mint Super Greens

 

METHOD

Add all the ingredients into a blender or smoothie maker and blend until smooth.

Try some of our other healthy food recipes.

 

Belinda Survilla is the Pilates & Co. studio manager and takes regular classes at the Miami studio, including orientation.

We undertake the 6-week Challenge every season. Keep an eye out for our next one. It’s lots of fun and a great way to kickstart your Pilates practice.

Fig, Walnut & Ginger Uncookies

Recipe: Fig, Walnut & Ginger Uncookies

Perfect for Christmas or any time of the year, these cookies are the cookie that you don’t cook! They are great for entertaining and just for having when you need a little yummy snack with a cuppa. This healthy Fig, Walnut & Ginger Uncookies recipe is courtesy of the new cookbook The Midlife Kitchen which is full of ‘health-boosting recipes’, from one of our favourite foodie Instagram feeds by the same name. Enjoy!

Yield: 10-12, Active Time: 15 minutes, Total Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

200g dried soft figs

2 tbsp water

Juice of a lime

50g walnuts, crushed

2 tbsp LSA or ground almonds

1 tsp fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 tsp ground cinnamon

A pinch of sea salt

Coating: more LSA or ground almonds

 

METHOD

Put everything in a food processor and whizz. You may need to use a spatula between pulses to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated. You can make the ‘dough’ as chunky or as smooth as you like – I prefer it a little chunky.

If the mixture is too dry add a little more water; if too wet add more LSA or ground almonds. It should be soft but not too sticky.

Take a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and form into a small disc/cookie shape, approximately 3-4cm in diameter.

Coat each uncookie in more LSA or ground almonds.

Chill for 30 minutes or so before eating to firm up and make them deliciously chewy. Uncookies will keep in the fridge for up to a week but I can assure you that they won’t hang around that long!

 

HEALTH TIP

Don’t be put off nuts because they are relatively high in calories – they’re full of protein and fibre to keep you feeling full, so you’ll probably eat less overall. Studies have shown that people who consume nuts are less likely to be overweight than those who don’t.

 

Recipe extracted from The Midlife Kitchen, by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice – available on Booktopia, Dymocks and from all good bookshops.  Follow on Instgram @midlifekitchen

Middle Age Spread Midlife Kitchen

Recipe: Middle Age Spread

This recipe takes 10 minutes and will be the most productive 10 minutes of your week guaranteed. Because you will be left with a spread you can use for toast, vegetables and crackers (in fact use your imagination) that is so delicious and also super healthy. This healthy Middle Age Spread recipe is courtesy of the new cookbook The Midlife Kitchen which is full of ‘health-boosting recipes’, from one of our favourite foodie Instagram feeds by the same name. Enjoy!

Yield: 500 grams, Active Time: 10 minutes, Total Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 250g bag of spinach

1 400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

A small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground coriander and 1 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

Sea salt

Fresh, ground black pepper

 

METHOD

Wilt the spinach in a frying pan on a low heat for 2 minutes. Drain and use kitchen towel to remove any moisture.

Place the spinach in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and pulse to a semi-smooth texture. 

This can be eaten warm, or cold from the fridge, where it will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

HEALTH TIP

Butter beans are the star here, providing protein, healthy carbs and a brilliant fibre fix. This benefits the cardiovascular and digestive systems, as well as priming energy levels.

 

Recipe extracted from The Midlife Kitchen, by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice – available on Booktopia, Dymocks and from all good bookshops.  Follow on Instgram @midlifekitchen

Can you do Pilates While Pregnant?

Pilates is famous for being an effective and enjoyable method of movement but is it really suitable during pregnancy and post-partum? The simple answer to this question is – absolutely!

Contrary to popular belief, Pilates does not ‘focus’ on abdominal strength. It focuses on full body movement because the whole body needs to be uniformly strong and flexible to be in peak condition. What’s the point in having a rocking 6 pack if your gluteal muscles aren’t strong enough to help you off the couch?

The need for a strong and flexible body does not diminish once pregnant. Current research (ASCM Guidelines for Exercise Testing and prescription) shows that moderate exercise 3 to 4 times per week is ideal for healthy pregnant women. The recommendation states, “Dynamic, rhythmic physical activities that use large muscle groups are ideal.” – Pilates anyone? All women who are pregnant and healthy are encouraged to exercise throughout their pregnancy however movement will need to be modified throughout pregnancy based on symptoms, discomforts and abilities of the individual.

I find small group sessions of 1 – 3 participants utilising the reformer, Cadillac and wunda chair to be the most enjoyable and effective classes for pregnant and post-natal clients. These sessions are so great because of the vast amount of modifications available for all stages of pregnancy. These variations in the movement are so valuable not only because it allows flexibility in the movement being taught but also because it means that you will never get bored during class. The Cadillac, chair and reformer allow movements to be performed standing, side lying or sitting once supine (lying on your back) is not an option for you. We offer these small group classes along with our group reformer classes at Pilates & Co. Modifications to suit your stage of pregnancy are offered in both types of class.

AVOID DURING PREGNANCY:

  • Lying flat on your back after 16 weeks. This ensures that venous obstruction does not occur
  • High humidity
  • Isometric muscle actions i.e. weighted holds
  • Contact sports
  • Quickly increasing physical exercise (especially if sedentary)
  • Overstretching, due to the release of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol

TO-DO DURING A HEALTHY PREGNANCY:

  • Good movement
  • Time outdoors
  • Gentle Pelvic floor exercises – don’t overdo it!
  • Time to relax
  • Trust your body
  • Nurture and nourish yourself
  • Stay hydrated
  • Listen to your body – you are a unique and beautiful individual. No comparisons or self-judgment are needed.

Pregnancy is not a condition or disorder, however, if you have not been active previously or have any contraindications for exercising during pregnancy, it’s necessary to check with your doctor before joining a class.

Belinda Survilla is a mother of 3 and Manager of Pilates & Co. and regularly teaches Pilates reformer, reformer HIIT, clinical small group and private sessions at the studio. Belinda found the benefits of practising this wonderful method of movement invaluable, allowing her the strength and confidence to take back her health.  instagram @belindasurvilla

Healthy Protein Ball Recipe

Recipe: Leila’s Goji Berry Protein Balls

We celebrated our birthday last month and everyone was raving about studio assistant Leila’s delicious protein balls that were served up at the party. She’s kindly shared the recipe! These are so easy, quick and good for you, that you’ve no excuse to grab the ingredients and get cracking now. They’re the perfect little snack to keep in your bag and have after a workout at the studio (with a big glass of water) to crush any post-exercise cravings.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of oats

1 cup of almonds

1 cup of coconut

½ cup of goji berries

1 cup of dates

2 scoops of Prana On Protein (Leila uses chocolate. Prana On is available in the studio for purchase).

5 tablespoons of milk (oat, coconut or almond)

Cinnamon or mixed spices

Coconut oil

 

METHOD

Blend oats, almonds, goji berries and dates separately.

Mix everything in a bowl until it is all mixed and you can’t see the oats anymore. Use coconut oil on your hands to make the bowls and put coconut around.

 

Leila Burate is the Pilates & Co. studio assistant and you’ll see her around the studio keeping it tidy, working out and signing up our new members.