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Summer is approaching fast. This means beach, sun, fun, refreshing cocktails, bikini time. Most women I know tend to freak out around this time of the year because their body will be more exposed. We can no longer hide our bits in our cuddly winter attire. We must say goodbye to the baggy wool jerseys and hello to the skimpy summer clothes. I know it can be a daunting thought, but I am a firm believer that confidence is everything and ladies, we must embrace and appreciate what mama gave us! We don’t need crazy diet plans; no eating after 5pm crazy tips and pretty much living in the gym. This season is about becoming healthier and getting into shape not necessarily about losing weight. There are a few health tips that I have been following for years during the summer period specifically, but also all year long. Years back, I studied Ayurveda, which is an Indian medical system. I know it sounds really intense and so formal, but it’s actually a practice of living a healthy lifestyle consistently. Throughout my studies, I came across many different practices, which helped me maintain a healthy body and mind. Remember, that when our body is healthy, our mind becomes clearer which means we are happier. The same goes for when our mind is not in a good state, our body will suffer also, and therefore we must always maintain a balance. We all have different types of bodies, and what may work for you, may not work for another person. However, the things I am about to share with you serve well for most people.
DRINK THE GOODS
The best and most easiest healthy practice I have come across is the drinking of herbal teas. The most powerful cleansing one is WHITE TEA. It is basically a purer form of green tea, which we know is a fantastic antioxidant. This also helps with your digestion, particularly if you tend to bloat or have a tendency towards constipation. It also helps increase focus and induces a feeling calmness, doing wonders for your nervous system. I drink about 3 cups of white tea a day; but remember you can also drink green tea if you don’t have white. Another great tea treat for summer and for your health is peppermint tea. It has a cooling effect, so although it may be warm whilst you drink it, this tea will actually cool your body. Make sure you follow the 8 glasses per day of water rule. WATER is a must during the hotter days because we become dehydrated very quickly. The best thing is to always have a water bottle with you. For the alcoholic nights, I prefer to drink punches in summer with fresh fruit and whatever you fancy.
There is one product in my beauty cupboard which I will never, ever give up; in fact, I have quite an obsession for it. My coconut oil tub goes everywhere I go. I use it all the time. I am a huge fan of organic skin care products, and this one cannot get any more natural. Coconut oil is fantastic for summer because again, it has a cooling effect. It keeps the skin hydrated and looking good. Contrary to popular belief, no you will not look oily and greasy. When you apply it on your body/face make sure you rub it in properly. If anything, it will give you a healthy glow. I apply it on my face and all over my body every morning and night. It’s really important to hydrate your skin before you go to sleep, so always apply it at nighttime also. Once a week, I massage coconut oil through my hair and let it sit over night. In the morning I wash it off. It will make your hair stronger and healthier and most importantly it will give it a shine no other product can achieve.
I am going to share with you one of my biggest and best trusted beauty secrets…. Sesame oil! Haven’t heard of it? Look it up. Ok so sesame oil has a detoxifying property meaning that when we use it, our pores actually open up and get rid of the toxins in our body. Sesame oil has a very strong smell and it can stain your clothes. But because it’s so detoxifying, you must apply it, leave it on the body for ten minutes and then shower, you must shower after! So once you shower, you won’t have to worry about any of that. If you are allergic to nuts, it’s a definite no no.
WALK THE WALK
Before I came to England from New Zealand, I used to have to plan daily walks with my dogs because over there we drive everywhere. Here, I have learned that people walk almost everywhere, so I am quite happy about that. The best way to keep the body in shape is to walk. It’s good for the muscles, good for the mind being in fresh air; it’s a great activity for all year around. You don’t have to be a runner or an athletic type of person to have a toned body (keep in mind that you should increase the speed, not just stroll). Get out and about and start walking. Apart from the fact that it burns a great amount of calories, isn’t it nice to be able to smell the fresh air? It makes us happier. The best thing about it too is that you can get your friends involved and it could actually become a social weekly thing. (no stopping at the pub for a glass of wine on the way home) Need motivation? Looking good always makes us want to get out and about, so invest in some stylish exercise essentials and really comfortable trainers. If you have a smartphone, have a look at some apps which you can download to help you keep track on the number of steps you took, map your journey, heart rate adviser etc.
STRETCH IT UP
There is nothing better for the body than a good old stretch. Best time to do it is in the morning, as you step out of bed. Why? Well it only makes sense; you have been almost immovable for the last 7 hours or so, causing the muscles to cramp. By stretching first thing in the morning, your circulation and blood flow will increase at a healthier rate, making you feel more refreshed and ready for the day. It will also help you feel calmers and happier throughout the day, and can help reduce symptoms of stress. Stretching may also free you from possible injuries throughout the day.
I don’t usually follow a specific diet. I probably tried them all but soon realized that a diet doesn’t last very long, but a healthy lifestyle is a conscious choice and it can last forever. Include healthy options like kale, celery, cucumbers, lean meat, fish in your food routine. For fruits, you can usually get away with anything that’s in season, however blueberries are detoxing and really good for digestion. The secret behind healthy healthy eating is to use spices like coriander (good for the heart and releases cramps), cumin (supports the liver and relieves gas), basil (aids digestion), cinnamon (improves circulation), and the King of all spices, Turmeric. Why? Because it kills bacteria, purifies blood and it is a great anti-oxidant. They say you should include a spoon of it in your dinner every night. The thing with spices is that they all have properties so getting to know which ones work for you, would be a great start to your new healthy lifestyle. If you have questions about other spices, feel free to comment. Try avoiding deep fried foods and heavy ones in general like potatoes, breads, and fatty meats because they are really hard to digest. This means that your digestive system will work extra hard and will still not be able to break down all the food, which means toxins will form (a reason why detoxes are good, to flush all the remaining bits out).
FAKE THE BAKE
Having lived in New Zealand for most of my life, I have quickly learned the damage sun can do to the skin. Please don’t ever underestimate the power of the sun. Tanning is perfectly fine, if you are using a really good sun block skin protector. I am a fan of tanned skin and because I believe it’s important not to expose the skin to too much sun, I choose to fake it. I use an organic fake tan with Moroccan oil. My skin still looks healthy and glowing without having to be in the sun. Don’t forget to invest in a really good lip balm, again with a high SPF and also a nail strengthening coat, which contains all the vitamins to keep your nails looking healthy and shinny.
Every week, usually on Sundays I prepare a facemask. Because it’s summer, we tend to be out and about more often, so the skin needs some proper TLC at least once a week. Most of the time, I make my own because you can never go wrong with products which are 100% natural. I tend to go for the avocado and olive oil mix, however sometimes I crush cucumber slices and add a few crushed slices of an orange and add a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Always leave it on for about 15 minutes then wash off. During the 15 minute wait, I suggest you give your feet some love too and soak them in hot water with a drop of lavender essential oil.
Always take in consideration that looking good and feeling great are two different, but very closely related things. Always focus on your health and your own state of being. When you are happy, the world is suddenly a better place.