Eight healthy lifestyle goals for the Cape Town girl for 2016

With the start of a fresh new year comes an intense feeling of motivation and determination … am I right? Now is the perfect time to set yourself some healthy lifestyle goals for the year ahead! I’ve rounded eight of my top healthy lifestyle goals for the Cape Town girl for 2016 to help you get your list started!

 

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#1: Do a juice cleanse

I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously guilty of stuffing my face with all things sugary and processed over the holidays! The best way to eliminate toxins and clean out your system is by doing a juice cleanse. You’ll be amazed at how fresh and energised you’ll be left feeling at the end of your green juice binge! One-Juice and Orchard on Long both offer some fantastic and affordable juice cleanse programmes. To read about my latest juice cleanse experience, go here.

#2: Go on hikes

Our city has an abundance of natural beauty to offer … and what better way to take it all in than by going on a hike? Make it your goal to hike a new trail once every two or three months. What better way to get fit than by breathing in all of Cape Town’s beauty at the same time? Start with a hiking trail that’s not too intense, such as Lion’s Head or Elephant’s Eye, and then move onto more serious trails, such as Table Mountain.

#3: Stock up on healthy eats

Contrary to popular belief, healthy food can actually be delicious! Put it this way … I’ve never met a jar of nut butter or a frozen fruit smoothie I didn’t like. Stock your cupboards with some delicious and nutritious treats from some of our local heath food stores like Wellness Warehouse and you’ll see for yourself how easy it is to get into a healthy eating routine!

#4: Visit a farmer’s market

Looking for fresh, organic produce to create healthy meals? Then your local farmer’s market is just the place to visit. Markets like the Oranjezicht City Farm Market and Root 44 market both have loads of fresh and flavourful fruits, vegetables, meats, jams and baked goods on offer. And, yes, you can be totally sure that everything is 100% organic or grass-fed.

#5: Invest in a blender

While a quality blender can be pricy, it’ll help you whip up delicious and nutritious drinks up in a snap. You can pack pretty much anything into a smoothie … kale, broccoli, celery, or anything you don’t quite enjoy the taste of in solid form. Sipping on a smoothie is the quickest and easiest way of taking in all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs function optimally. And, yes, green smoothies taste better than they look – I promise.

#6: Try high-intensity interval training

Strong is the new skinny, isn’t it? And that’s exactly why you must try high-intensity interval training (HIIT)! This intense yet ever-so-rewarding form of exercise helps build a healthy heart, increase your metabolism, burn fat and build muscle. Plus, it’s loads of fun! Simply find a friend to tag along and hit one of our local studios, such as SWITCH Playground or SWEAT 1000.

#7: Meditate

Meditation is a wonderful way of relaxing your mind and body while becoming more in tune with your spiritual self. Until you try it, you won’t believe the incredible benefits that it brings to your health, such as lowered stress levels, improved core strength and promotion of heart health. You can practise yoga in your home, at the gym, at a yoga studio, or even on Sea Point Promenade. Join the Yoga on the Prom by Greenpop Facebook group here for more details.

#8: Eat at a healthy café

Our city is practically littered with fabulous fresh and healthy eateries … and if you aren’t eating at them, you can be sure you’re missing out! For a list of some of Cape Town’s best healthy spots to grab some grub, go here. Ditch the fast food for juices, smoothies, salads and wraps, and soon enough you’ll be hooked on the healthy stuff … take my word!

Ten simple tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle in 2016

So this is the year you’re finally going to do it: Go to the gym five times a week, cut out sugar and processed foods, prepare clean meals every evening for the next day, shed a few kilos, achieve radiant skin, and eliminate stressors from your life.

 

Whatever your goals are for 2016, right now you’re probably feeling motivated and determined to stick to them … am I right? But the sad truth is this: The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within a few weeks. So, to help you keep yours all year long, I’ve put together ten handy tips for crafting and carrying out healthy lifestyle changes!

 

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#1: Commit your goals to paper

Writing your goals down and keeping them in view – say, on a post-it note on your computer monitor or car dashboard – makes them feel tangible and official. Therefore, you’ll be less likely to fall off track. Keep the wording focused and short – the clearer, the more motivating. For example: “Swap out coffee for green tea” or “go to three yoga classes each week”. Update your goals as you go along.

#2: Be mindful when you eat

It’s a fast-paced world out there, which makes it all too easy to feel distracted and shovel in more food than you need when you’re hungry. This is why being mindful when you eat is so important. Some things to think about here include avoiding eating when you’re distracted, taking time to taste your food properly, and eating more slowly. One particular thing to focus on is chewing your food thoroughly – not only will this help you savour food, it also assists the digestive process.

#3: Sip on smoothies

Most people don’t consume enough fruits and veggies … and that’s right where smoothies come in. They’re helpful in upping your fruit and veggie intake for optimum nutrition. I’m not referring to those milkshake-like monstrosities that contain sugar and ice-cream, but rather the whole foods smoothies that are packed with fruits and veggies. Invest in a quality blender and start sipping! Smoothies are so quick and easy to whip up for breakfast or lunch, and there are loads of great recipes that you can find online.

#4: Keep your body hydrated

Two-thirds of your body is made up of water, which performs a number of functions, including acting as a solvent, temperature regulator, nutrient carrier and detoxifier. Maintaining hydration can have a profound influence on your vitality and energy levels, including mental alertness. Aim to glug down the recommended eight glasses of water per day. I find that having a water bottle on my desk in the office helps me reach my daily water intake goal.

#5: Soak up the sun

Sunlight, and the vitamin D it can make in your skin, is associated with a wide spectrum of benefits for your body, including a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. Vitamin D is also super for strengthening your immune system. As a rule of thumb, vitamin D is made when your shadow is shorter than your body length. For example: When the sun is high up in the sky. While burning is to be avoided, get as much sunlight exposure as you can for optimal health.

#6: Get your beauty sleep

Sleep has the ability to optimise physical and mental energy. Optimal levels of sleep, which is about eight hours a night, are even linked to longevity and reduced risk of chronic illness. Aim to get to bed by 10pm or 10:30pm every night. This simple strategy is a potentially useful investment in terms of your short- and long-term health and wellbeing. Shutting down all of your devices, such as your cellphone, tablet and laptop, early in the evening will also help create the time and space for a good night’s sleep.

#7: Walk regularly

Aerobic exercise is associated with a variety of benefits for your brain and body, including mood-enhancing and immune-boosting effects. This kind of exercise can be something as uncomplicated as low-impact walking. Aim for a total of about 30 minutes of brisk walking every day. I find that walking regularly helps boost my productivity levels at work, and my energy levels in the gym.

#8: Engage in resistance exercise

Resistance exercise helps you maintain muscle mass and strengthens your body. This has particular relevance as you age. Many highly useful exercises can be done at home, such as sit-ups, press-ups and squats. Invest in dumbbells to extend your home fitness routine to other exercises, too. This kind of exercise will help maintain your body between other workouts such as yoga, running or spinning. I suggest doing resistance exercises for 30 minutes about three times a week.

#9: Practise mindfulness daily

Mindfulness is an incredible way to collect your thoughts, reduce your stress levels, and become more in tune with what’s happening in the present moment. I find that practising it for ten minutes every morning helps me achieve my goals each day. It’s simple to do: On the floor, sit cross-legged. Hold you back up straight and let your shoulders drop, resting your arms in your lap. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. As thoughts enter your mind, simply acknowledge them, then focus back on your breathing. The more often you do this, the easier it becomes to keep your attention where you want it to be.

#10: Let yourself mess up once in a while

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is truly hard work (trust me – I know all about it!) … so don’t allow a one-day fast food binge or a couple of sneaked cigarettes to leave you feeling demoralised and hopeless. If you get derailed, reframe it as a learning experience and get right back on track. Good luck!

Sip on this banana and goji berry protein smoothie for a pre- or post-workout boost

This delicious protein-packed smoothie with energising banana, goji berries and maca is the perfect way to give your body a serious pre- or post-workout kick!

 

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Banana and goji berry protein smoothie recipe

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp dried goji berries
  • 1/4 tsp maca powder
  • 1/4 fresh vanilla
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 scoop whey protein
  1. Method:
    Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with additional goji berries if desired. Drink up immediately.

Eight unique ways to use lavender to improve your health

Lavender is by far one of my favourite herbs. Not only it is simply beautiful, but it has tons of different uses. It’s a fragrant aromatic, a relaxing herbs, and you can use it in baking, gourmet cooking, tea making, lotion making, tinctures and much more!

 

Here are some of my favourite ways to use lavender for better health.

 

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Eightht ways to better your health with lavender

#1: To relax your mind and body

Calm your mind and body by sipping on lavender tea. Simply steep dried lavender in hot water for a few minutes and then fill up your cup. You can add in a drizzle of raw honey for sweetness if you like.

#2: To promote better sleep

Add lavender to a tincture to help promote relaxation and better, sounder sleep.

#3: To soothe sunburns or other burns

Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a bottle of cool water and spray on burns to offer instant relief.

#4: To help prevent dandruff

A strong lavender tea can be cooled and used as a scalp rinse to help prevent dry scalp and dandruff.

#5: To relax sore muscles

Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and a cup of Epsom salts to your bathwater to help relax sore muscles.

#6: To relieve headaches

Rub lavender essential oils into your temples to help relieve stress and tension headaches.

#7: To tone skin

Infuse lavender into vinegar and use it as a calming skin toner.

#8: To treat skin irritations

Use lavender essential oil topically to help with skin irritations and even acne.

This peppermint mocha protein shake is the best post-workout drink ever!

This creamy, protein-packed post-workout smoothie combines two of my favourite things: Chocolate and coffee! And the addition of the mint leaves give the drink a refreshing flavour that I just adore. Enjoy!

 

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Peppermint mocha post-workout protein smoothie recipe

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • Stevia to taste

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass, garnish with additional mint leaves if desired, and drink immediately.

Reduce fatigue and muscle soreness by sipping this banana cacao recovery smoothie

Loaded with potassium for hydration and carbohydrates for regeneration, this chocolaty smoothie will help you out after an intense workout. By blending up this divine drink, you can kiss fatigue and prolonged muscle soreness goodbye! Just make sure to enjoy it right after you work out.

 

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Banana cacao recovery smoothie recipe

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana, peeled and chopped
  • 4 dates, pitted and soaked for 10-20 minutes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 handful ice
  • Coconut flakes for garnish
  1. Method:
    Place all the ingredients except the coconut flakes in your blender and puree until smooth. Beware of date chunks.
  2. Pour into a large glass, then garnish with coconut flakes. Enjoy immensely!

Are you ready to get your SWITCH on?

Darlings, how does swinging kettle bells, running with ropes and jumping on boxes sound? Like lots of fun, right? Well, over the weekend I found a playground that offers just this. It’s called SWITCH – The Playground in Bree Street!

SWITCH is powered by Steve Uria, a conceptual athlete who’s been in the fitness industry for decades. He’s trained a number of celebrity clients including Jamal Lewis, Oscar de la Hoya and Charles Barkley to name just a few. Interestingly enough, Steve is also the mastermind behind some of the most popular local fitness programmes, including Bootcamp and SWEAT 1000.

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Steve’s trendy new gym offers a unique new fitness programme that combines carefully selected cardiovascular training, functional training, boxing, plyometric training, core stability and power-flow yoga. It’s quite a mouthful, I know – but trust me – this type of training is the way to live out the fastest fitness mantra, “strong is the new skinny”! I got to try it out for myself and now I’m totally hooked!

I arrived at the chic SWITCH studio and was blown away by how awesome the inside looks – it’s designed to look just like a playground! The cutting-edge gym equipment also caught my eye rather quickly. It all really had me feeling like a kid again! What I also loved was the dramatic lighting, the motivational quotes plastered all over the wall, and the in-house DJ who was spinning some seriously hot summer tracks, which all set the mood just perfectly.

My hour-long class at kicked off with power-flow yoga to “switch on” my body and get me ready for the high intensity programme. It ended with a rewarding stretch session that’s apparently designed to cool you off and help prevent injury. Each class is different to the next, but they all combine the same types of intense workouts.

The instructors at SWITCH (five of six are men) were very warm and welcoming. They’re all very informative and highly trained. There’s an instructor on the floor at all times to ensure your form and technique is on point throughout your class to achieve optimal results, which is great! And, I should probably also mention that the guys are topless while they train you (can you say gun show?!). It’s pretty intimidating at first, but you actually get into it rather quickly.

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All in all, I loved my session at SWITCH! Don’t get me wrong, it was one serious workout, but I felt fabulous afterwards. I can’t wait to go again! If you decide to go, tag a friend along. It’s an ideal workout to enjoy with your bestie, as you’re paired up at the beginning of the class.

Bonuses include a prime location, accessible parking, modern bathrooms and changing areas, and a fully-stocked café! There’s little time left to get in perfect shape for the long-awaited sunny season, so hurry along… Go and get your SWITCH on!

DETAILS:

Address: 186 Bree Street, Cape Town CBD, Cape Town

Phone number: 021 422 2515

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/switchplayground

Website: http://www.switchplayground.com