Health – Ritualize https://ritualize.com/main Health & Wellness Software as a Service (SaaS) with Mobile App Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:14:23 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Your Brain Needs Water https://ritualize.com/main/brain-needs-water/ https://ritualize.com/main/brain-needs-water/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 23:40:24 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6335 In order for our brains to function optimally we need to ensure we stay hydrated.  Brain cells need water (amongst other things) to operate or they will quickly lose efficiency when the balance is lost.  Drinking water is not just about quenching thirst.  Studies have shown that dehydration can actually cause the brain to shrink, […]

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In order for our brains to function optimally we need to ensure we stay hydrated.  Brain cells need water (amongst other things) to operate or they will quickly lose efficiency when the balance is lost. 

Drinking water is not just about quenching thirst.  Studies have shown that dehydration can actually cause the brain to shrink, linking to declining memory, difficulty thinking clearly and doing complex tasks (like a crossword). 

The good news is, having a glass of water quickly brings the brain back to normal. Other studies have shown that students who drink water before an exam can do up to three times better than those who had none.  

Water could also be the answer to those who wake up grumpy. On a typical night’s sleep, there’s up to 10 hours without water.  We sweat and breathe out moisture and therefore can be dehydrated when we wake , which can affect mood.  

If you want to be on top of your game or avoid that afternoon slump, try water to maximise your thinking, focus and mood.

6 signs you could be dehydrated:

  1. You’re tired
  2. You’re hungry
  3. You have a headache
  4. Your skin is dry
  5. You feel hot
  6. You’re grumpy

Our guideline is 30ml of water for every Kg of body weight (eg 30ml x 56kg=1,680ml or rounded to 2 litres water).

We are lucky we live in a part of the world that has access to clean water.  It’s something to be grateful for.  Consider donating to a charity such as https://thewaterproject.org/give-water to help those struggling without water.

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Make Stress Your Friend https://ritualize.com/main/make-stress-friend/ https://ritualize.com/main/make-stress-friend/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 02:01:25 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6266 Our lives are busy juggling work, finances, marriage, kids, family, friends – the list goes on. We are constantly hearing from health experts that stress is bad for us and that we need to be less stressed which, ironically, often makes us feel more stressed. This is making us sick and people are even dying […]

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Our lives are busy juggling work, finances, marriage, kids, family, friends – the list goes on. We are constantly hearing from health experts that stress is bad for us and that we need to be less stressed which, ironically, often makes us feel more stressed. This is making us sick and people are even dying from stress-related diseases.

What if it’s not the stress that’s killing us, but instead it’s our responses and  perception of stress that’s killing us? Research is showing that it’s in our body’s natural mechanism to cope with stress, and our reaction and belief around whether stress is a good or bad thing, that is the most harmful to our health.

A popular TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, a Health Psychologist,  “How to make stress your friend” is about approaching stress as helpful rather than being the enemy.

She based her talk on a study of 30,000 people in the US over eight years.  They were asked questions such as “How much stress have you experienced in the past year?” and “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?”.  Interestingly, those who expressed a great deal of stress but didn’t view it as a harmful experience had the lowest risk of dying, whereas those who said they had experienced a lot of stress and viewed it as harmful had a 43 percent increased risk of dying.

McGonigal says if change our mindset and view our responses to stress as helpful to our performance, we will be less stressed out, less anxious, more confident. That pounding heart? It’s preparing you for action. Your increased breathing rate? It’s simply getting more oxygen to your brain. Your body will naturally manage the stress response and calm the nervous system down, as long as you don’t allow yourself to get worked up over a stressful situation.

There’s even a term for ‘good’ stress – Eustress, pronounced YOU-stress. It is the type of stress we feel when we are out of our comfort zones, but working towards something bigger or feel excited or challenged in a good way. Eustress provides us with an energy boost to perform challenging activities – especially where we need to focus and put in extra effort. So, what if you were to consider all stress as Eustress? There’s no difference between Eustress and Distress, other than our reaction to it.

As you can see, how you think about stress matters. The next time you are stressed, stop, take a deep breath and say to yourself “This is my body, rising to the challenge.”

Watch the full Ted Talks here: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

 

 

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6 motivational quotes for inspiration https://ritualize.com/main/5-motivational-health-quotes/ https://ritualize.com/main/5-motivational-health-quotes/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 03:42:34 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6010 If you need some words of wisdom to inspire you, motivate your mind, achieve your goals, or overcome your fears, read on…   It can be overwhelming trying to make lifestyle changes. Your goal can feel so far away and almost impossible to achieve, and this can dissuade you from staying on your journey. Thoughts […]

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If you need some words of wisdom to inspire you, motivate your mind, achieve your goals, or overcome your fears, read on…

 

It can be overwhelming trying to make lifestyle changes. Your goal can feel so far away and almost impossible to achieve, and this can dissuade you from staying on your journey. Thoughts in your head are telling you “this is too difficult”, “you’re not strong enough for this”, “what’s the point”, “I don’t have the time”, “I’m too old”.

 

Instead of letting this negative thoughts cloud your mindset, find quotes that inspire you. Jonathan Fader, psychologist and motivation expert says the message that someone else believes you can achieve what you want to achieve can be a powerful incentive to try harder. “There’s a little bit of implicit coaching that’s happening when you’re reading [motivational quotes]. It’s building that self-efficacy in that kind of dialogue that you’re having with yourself,” Fader says.

 

Here are some of our favourites:

 

 

  • “It’s not about perfect, it’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs” – Jillian Michaels, Well-known American Personal Trainer, author and presenter.

 

 

 

  • “Little by little, a little becomes a lot” – Tanzanian Proverb and a bit of a mantra of ours here at Ritualize. Think of change as small steps you repeat over time to that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

 

 

 

  • “Become a priority in your life” – Lori Bregman – Author of  The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula’s Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth

 

 

 

  • “When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say “Why me?”, say “Try me!” – John Assaraf, spiritual entrepreneur, philanthropist and teacher.

 

 

 

  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

  • If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Never quit— Michael Jordan 

 

 

Do you have a favourite quote? We’d love to read them, so share them with us in the comments below!

 

Thinking about your why can also be a motivation to reach your goals. More on that in our next blog post…

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Being grateful makes us happier https://ritualize.com/main/grateful-makes-us-happier/ https://ritualize.com/main/grateful-makes-us-happier/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:32:27 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=5955 Imagine feeling thankful and full of joy on an ongoing basis. A major step in that direction is through a daily gratitude ritual. Each day expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life for both the big and small things alike means you concentrate on what have, not what you don’t have enough […]

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Be Grateful

Imagine feeling thankful and full of joy on an ongoing basis.

A major step in that direction is through a daily gratitude ritual.

Each day expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life for both the big and small things alike means you concentrate on what have, not what you don’t have enough of.

Here are a few hints to develop a daily gratitude ritual:

  • Wake up every day and tell yourself (or someone else) what you are grateful for
  • Get each member of your family to say one thing they are grateful for at the dinner table
  • At the end of the day list the 3 things you are most grateful for
  • Start a gratitude journal – Write down all the things you are grateful for every night.
  • Recognise and be grateful for the positive things you have done in in your life, no matter how big or small
  • Let others know how grateful you are for who they are or what they have done.

Being grateful has shown to make us happier and healthier and even help marriages work! The physical and psychosocial benefits of this simple rituals are quite amazing.

Try adopting a gratitude ritual each day. If you’re on the Ritualize app, you can enter what you’re grateful for on your ritual board and either let others know through the Ritualize feed or keep it private.  Either way, you will start feeling the benefits for yourself and others around you almost straight away.

Watch our video on Gratitude for more information!

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Binge-watching before bedtime… https://ritualize.com/main/binge-watching-bedtime/ https://ritualize.com/main/binge-watching-bedtime/#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 02:47:12 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=5730 Since the introduction of streaming companies, such as Netflix and Stan, the era of scheduled programming has seemingly come to an end. Everyone can watch the content they like when they like. This unprecedented access has introduced a new viewing style: Binge Watching.

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Are you guilty of it?

Since the introduction of streaming companies, such as Netflix and Stan, the era of scheduled programming has seemingly come to an end. Everyone can watch the content they like when they like. This unprecedented access has introduced a new viewing style: Binge Watching. Binge watching is defined as “watching multiple consecutive episodes of the same television show in one sitting on a screen, be it a television, laptop, computer or tablet.”

Prior research has indicated that media bingeing was associated with more anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Binge viewers also reported higher levels of loneliness and depression. In more recent studies, conducted by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, it was reported that binge-watchers had more fatigue, insomnia symptoms, poorer sleep quality, and feeling more alert before going to sleep. Those who binge-watch before bed had 98% more chance of having poor-quality sleep than those who didn’t.

Looking at bright screens, especially at night, can wreak havoc on your biology, because it is one of the cues that helps maintain our circadian rhythm, or body clock. When it gets dark, our bodies start to prepare for sleep, but bright lights can trick our brains into thinking it’s still daytime and it reduces our ability to secrete melatonin, which makes it not only harder to fall asleep, but also reduces the amount of sleep you get once you do fall asleep.

While we don’t expect you to stop watching shows, there is a way to help combat the binge-watching addiction. Dr Robert Oexman, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, says the best way to do it is on the weekend, and earlier in the day instead of the late evenings. Ideally, binge-watching should occur before 6 pm, and if that’s not possible, you should at least stop watching shows an hour before you start getting ready for bed.

For more tips and information on how to help improve your quality of sleep, check out our Ritualize app!

 

References:

https://www.google.com.au/amp/variety.com/2017/digital/news/binge-watching-health-risks-netlfix-1202447516/amp/

http://jcsm.aasm.org/viewabstract.aspx?pid=31062

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/tv-binge-watching-can-damage-your-health-2017-9

 

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Benefits of Basil https://ritualize.com/main/benefits-of-basil/ https://ritualize.com/main/benefits-of-basil/#respond Sun, 30 Jul 2017 21:18:33 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4663 Adding herbs and spices to your dishes is not just about flavour.  There are a host of nutritional benefits and it’s a good idea to include them in your diet each day. Basil is one such example.  It evokes the aroma’s of Italian sauces and adds a perfect pop to a pizza.  It’s also really good […]

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Adding herbs and spices to your dishes is not just about flavour.  There are a host of nutritional benefits and it’s a good idea to include them in your diet each day. Basil is one such example.  It evokes the aroma’s of Italian sauces and adds a perfect pop to a pizza.  It’s also really good for you.

One benefit is its anti-bacterial qualities, so much so that food scientists are currently looking at using basil oil in food packaging that will act as an antimicrobial agent, inhibiting the growth of food-borne bacteria. Another benefit is its anti-inflammatory properties, but what does this mean?  In general, eating food that inhibits inflammation is about reducing your risk of many preventable diseases in later life and improving your overall health.  It’s about using food as part of a disease prevention plan.  Basil has an active ingredient called Eugenol which has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can help reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes.

It also is a great source of vitamin K (a nutrient important for bone health) and a ¼ cup delivers nearly a 3rd of your daily intake.

A great way to get plenty of basil into your diet is by adding pesto to your meals.  Add it to fish or chicken, stir through pasta, add to tomato and serve on toast or add it your pizza. Yum!

Don’t refrigerate your basil. Store at room temperature in a glass of water.  It’s best used on the day of purchase, as it wilts very quickly and get depleted of nutrients.  If you have any left over, simply process with a bit of olive oil and freeze it in an ice-cube tray.  Better still, grow your own so you only pick what you need.

BASIL PESTO RECIPE

Benefits of BasilBasil evokes aroma’s of fresh Italian dishes and can be eaten cooked or raw.  Not only is is so delicious, it’s also incredibly healthy. Read about the health benefits of basil here and enjoy this simple pesto recipe.

Ingredients

3 cups well packed basil leaves
1 cup well packed fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to cover when storing
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (leave out if you’re diary free)
Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients (except the cheese, salt and pepper) in a food processor or blender and whizz to a smooth paste.
  • Stir in the cheese and add salt and pepper to taste
  • Pour into an airtight container and add the extra olive oil to cover the surface (this prevents discolouration)
  • Store in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze for 3 months

Tip: Great with grilled fish, chicken or lamb or stirred through vegetables

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Food Rituals for Everyday Life and Busy People https://ritualize.com/main/food-rituals-everyday-life-busy-people/ https://ritualize.com/main/food-rituals-everyday-life-busy-people/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 02:45:27 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4578 Being  busy often gets in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  One secret to success in eating healthy while being busy is to keep it simple and create a ritual.  Thinking less and making fewer decisions. If healthy food is there, you’re more likely to eat it. If you have healthy food available, you […]

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Being  busy often gets in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  One secret to success in eating healthy while being busy is to keep it simple and create a ritual.  Thinking less and making fewer decisions.

If healthy food is there, you’re more likely to eat it. If you have healthy food available, you don’t have to decide to eat well… you just do it.

Given we love rituals at Ritualize, let us introduce you to the food ritual. Here’s a few choices depending on how you want to work it. Only you know what will work for your schedule, so read on and see if these will fit.

The Sunday Ritual

You don’t have to do this on Sunday, of course. You can choose any day you like.

It’s just that Sunday is often a time when people are more free, more relaxed, and more able to devote time to this type of task. And it’s a time when we’re usually thinking ahead to the upcoming week.

Set aside a couple of hours to do the following.

  • Look ahead to what’s happening in the upcoming week. Where might you not have time to cook? What are the quiet and busy times?
  • Come up with a general menu for at least the next few days. It doesn’t have to be anything in-depth. Just get a basic sense of what you might need to have on hand for the week ahead.
  • Build your shopping list from your menu. This will help you be as effective and efficient as possible when you tackle the shops, and you’ll be less tempted by spontaneous (unhelpful) decisions.
  • Hit the supermarket or grocery store. Stock up on what you need for the week. Consider grabbing a few extra “just in case” emergency items as well, such as canned beans, frozen vegetables, or other easily-stored healthy options that you grab at the last minute.
  • Once you’re back home, start prepping and cooking. Whip up a batch of protein — for example, by grilling or roasting several chicken breasts at once. You could try a casserole in a slow cooker or stews, curries etc, add your washed veggies then divide into containers and freeze or refrigerated.

Some people choose to prepare almost all their meals for the week on Sundays. Others prefer to figure out which meals will be easy to cook just prior to meal time and save them for later, preparing only meals that they might need for busy times (such as lunches at work).

Do what works best for YOU!

The Daily Ritual

You can combine the Sunday Ritual with the Daily Ritual — for example, by preparing your meat/protein on Sunday, and then adding some quick-prep veggies on the day of eating.  For example, you may have your chicken breast already cooked and sliced, ready for a quick stir-fry.

During the Daily Ritual, you can prep a few extra items to have on hand for later in the day, or the following day, like chopped vegetables.  Glass containers are a great way to store chopped up vegetables.

Try a Morning Ritual where you whip up a fast-cook bowl of rolled oats or a blender omelet.

  • Shake up your rolled oats with any other items (e.g. ground flax seeds, cinnamon, protein powder, other grains, etc.) in a large container.
  • In the morning, scoop out the dry mix, pour in some water, and pop it in the microwave. Top with fruit and Greek yogurt (see our recipe here) and enjoy a healthy breakfast that will keep you going all morning.
  • Whip up some eggs in a blender (with some veggies if you like) and keep in a container for the next morning. Just pour and cook. You can prep this egg mix a few days in advance so you have it on-hand for a quick, healthy breakfast.

It’s easy to prep a salad that won’t go soggy during the day. Try our Salad in a Jar recipe.

Or try a Dinner Ritual where you simply make extra portions and save the rest for tomorrow. Again, it doesn’t take much more time to prepare a few extra things, so cook in bulk where possible.

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Creative Ways to Eat More Vegetables https://ritualize.com/main/creative-ways-eat-vegetables/ https://ritualize.com/main/creative-ways-eat-vegetables/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 02:35:57 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4573 Including loads of vegetables in your diet is so important for your health. Vegetables are incredibly rich in nutrients and antioxidants, which boost your health and help fight off disease. Additionally, they are good for weight control as they have a low calorie content. Getting the required several serves of vegetables can be hard for some […]

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Including loads of vegetables in your diet is so important for your health. Vegetables are incredibly rich in nutrients and antioxidants, which boost your health and help fight off disease. Additionally, they are good for weight control as they have a low calorie content. Getting the required several serves of vegetables can be hard for some people.Some simply don’t like them while others are unsure how to prepare them so they taste good.Here are some unique ways you can incorporate vegetables into your diet, so that you never get sick of eating them.

Veggie-Based Soups

Soups are a great way to eat multiple servings of vegetables at once. You can make veggies the “base” by pureeing them and adding spices. You can also simple cook veggies in broth or cream-based soups. Adding even a small amount of extra veggies, such as broccoli, to soups is a great way to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Try this easy Carrot and Ginger soup.

Zucchini Lasagna

Another creative way to eat more veggies is by making zucchini lasagna. Traditional lasagna is a pasta-based dish made by layering lasagna sheets with sauce, cheese and meat. It’s tasty, but it’s also typically very high in processed carbs. A great way to prepare this delicious dish so that it has a lower carb content and more nutrients is to replace the lasagna noodles with strips of zucchini.

Zucchini is a rich source of B vitamins and vitamin C, in addition to trace minerals and fiber.

Experiment With Veggie Noodles

Veggie noodles are easy to make, and a great way to get more veggies in your diet. They’re also an excellent low-carb substitute for high-carb foods, such as pasta. They are made by inserting vegetables into a spiralizer, which processes them into noodle-like shapes. You can use a spiralizer for almost any type of vegetable. They are commonly used for zucchini, carrots and sweet potatoes. Once the “noodles” are made, they can be eaten just like pasta and combined with sauces, other vegetables or meat.  Try this Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Prawns.

Add Veggies to Sauces

Adding extra vegetables to your sauces is a sneaky way to increase your veggie intake. While you are cooking sauce, such as a bolognese sauce, simply add some veggies of your choice to the mix, such as chopped onions, carrots, spinach or capsicum (peppers). You can also puree certain veggies with seasonings and make them into a sauce on their own.

Make a Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower is extremely versatile, and there are many unique ways to include it in your diet. One strategy is to replace regular, flour-based pizza crust with a cauliflower crust, which is made by combining cauliflower with eggs and almond flour and some seasonings. You can then add your own toppings, such as fresh veggies, tomato sauce and cheese.

Substituting cauliflower crust for flour-based crusts is an excellent way to enjoy the delicious taste of pizza, while increasing your nutrient intake. A cup (100 grams) of cauliflower contains only 5 grams of carbs and 25 calories, in addition to lots of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which flour-based crusts lack.

Blend With Smoothies

Smoothies are great for breakfast or a snack. Typically, they are made by combining fruit with ice, milk or water in a blender. However, you can also add veggies to smoothies without compromising the flavour.

Fresh, leafy greens such as kale and spinach are common smoothie additions and a great way to get a serving of vegetables. Try this Breakfast Berry Smoothie. Just 1 cup (30 grams) of spinach contains 181% of your daily needs for vitamin K and 56% for vitamin A. The same serving of kale provides 206% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 134% for vitamin C and 684% for vitamin K.

Add Veggies to Casseroles

Including extra veggies in casseroles is a another great way to increase your veggie intake. Casseroles are a dish that combines pieces of meat with chopped vegetables and often potatoes.

Left-over Veggies with Scrambled Eggs

In the western world we tend not to think of eating vegetables for breakfast.  However, there are opportunities. Heating left-over veggies and pouring in some beaten eggs is a tasty, nutrient dense breakfast.  Find the recipe here.

Lettuce Wrap or Veggie Bun

Using lettuce as a wrap or certain veggies as buns in place of bread is an easy way to eat more veggies. Lettuce wraps can be a part of several types of dishes, and are often used to make low-carb sandwiches and bunless burgers. Additionally, many types of veggies, such as portobello mushroom caps, sliced sweet potatoes and sliced eggplant make excellent buns. Lettuce wraps and veggie buns are an easy way to reduce your calorie intake while providing you with extra nutrients.

 Grilled Veggie Kebabs

Veggie kebabs are a great dish to try if you want to increase your veggie intake. To make them, place chopped vegetables of your choice on a skewer and cook on a grill or barbecue. Capsicum, onions and tomatoes work well for kebabs. You can also use mushrooms and zucchini.

Add Veggies to Tuna Salad

Adding veggies to tuna salad is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Try this Tune and Rice Salad.

Make Stuffed Capsicum

Stuffed capsicum is an easy and excellent dish to include in your diet if you want to increase your veggie intake. They are made by stuffing halved capsicum with cooked meat, beans, rice and seasonings and then baking them in the oven. Capsicums are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A and C. You can increase the nutrition content of capsicum by including lots of extra veggies. Onions, spinach or cauliflower all work well.

Add Veggies to Guacamole

It is fairly easy to add veggies to guacamole, and makes for a unique way to increase your veggie intake. Guacamole is an avocado-based dip made by mashing ripe avocado and sea salt together with lemon or lime juice, garlic and additional seasonings.  Try this Easy Guacamole recipe. A variety of vegetables taste great when incorporated into guacamole. Capsicum, tomatoes and onions are good options.

You can also make guacamole with roasted vegetables.

Make Cauliflower Rice

A unique way to increase your veggie intake is by eating cauliflower rice. It is made by pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor into small granules. You can then use it raw or cooked as a substitute for rice.  This Cauliflower Fried Rice is delicious. Even the kids will love it!

Cauliflower is significantly higher in nutrients than rice. It is particularly high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium.

To Summarise

There are many unique ways you can include more vegetables in your diet. Make “rice” and “buns” with vegetables, or incorporate them into common dishes, such as casseroles and soups. By making veggies a regular part of your food intake, you’ll significantly increase your intake of fibre, nutrients and antioxidants. Eating enough vegetables is also linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and may be beneficial for keeping your weight under control.

At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong eating more veggies.

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Choosing the right olive oil for better health https://ritualize.com/main/choosing-right-olive-oil-better-health/ https://ritualize.com/main/choosing-right-olive-oil-better-health/#respond Mon, 12 Jun 2017 00:27:30 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4517 The benefits of olive oil We know the amazing benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), such as a huge array of beneficial polyphenols and fats that are good for your heart and brain. EVOO also has a high smoke point, so you can fry and bake with it, unless you’re cooking at very high […]

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Benefits Good Fats in your DietThe benefits of olive oil

We know the amazing benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), such as a huge array of beneficial polyphenols and fats that are good for your heart and brain. EVOO also has a high smoke point, so you can fry and bake with it, unless you’re cooking at very high temperatures (such as deep frying).

Not all oils are created equal

However – you may be surprised to know that know not all are created equal. When it comes to EVOO, you don’t always get what the label says.

There are beautiful EVOOs available in Southern Europe, but most of them don’t make it to Australia, and many export oils have been mixed with normal olive oil or even canola oil.

In addition, many small growers from the Mediterranean, who may have processed and bottled the olive oil themselves in the past, are now sending their olives off-site to a pressing plant.  This means olives may be left for several days waiting to be pressed, allowing the fruit to start fermenting, affecting the flavour and producing chemicals.

The oil from fermented olives needs to go through a process using chemicals, heat, pressure and filtering to be fit for human consumption. This removes many of the beneficial phytochemicals found in EVOO, which also reduces the health benefits.

Fortunately, there are now Australian Standards and testing procedures to ensure quality, and over 95% of the olive oil produced here is extra virgin. In addition, many Australian producers have a short processing time from harvesting the olives to turning them into olive oil, which is crucial to producing high quality oil.

Those EVOOs that pass the test will have a small certification triangle on the label, so an easy way to ensure that you get the best quality EVOO is to choose an Australian band with the symbol.

What is the best solution?

The best choice is a cold pressed, Australian brand in a dark bottle that has the certification triangle on the label. They do cost more, but in the case of EVOO, you are more likely to get what you pay for.  This will give you peace of mind that you are consuming a quality product with amazing health benefits for you and your family.

You may also be interested in reading our article on Good fats.

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Are Antioxidant supplements making you weaker? https://ritualize.com/main/antioxidant-supplements/ https://ritualize.com/main/antioxidant-supplements/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 02:23:10 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4411 The marketing of antioxidant supplements We have been marketed to by antioxidant supplements for years, with their health and longevity benefits being touted no end. The theory goes something like this: 1. Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, create oxidative stress and other cellular damage and accelerate the raging process. 2. Anto-oxidants neutralise free radicals […]

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Effects of antioxidant supplementsThe marketing of antioxidant supplements

We have been marketed to by antioxidant supplements for years, with their health and longevity benefits being touted no end. The theory goes something like this:

1. Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, create oxidative stress and other cellular damage and accelerate the raging process.

2. Anto-oxidants neutralise free radicals and therefore protect against damage.

3. Therefore, if we consume anti-oxidant supplements it will enhance our disease protection and longevity.

Does the science reflect this theory?

Whilst there is good evidence for points 1 and 2 above, most of the studies in support of number 2 are performed in vitro, i.e., in test tube or petri dishes, and not in free-living humans. As for point 3, it may surprise you to discover that numerous clinical trials and metabolic studies show no benefit, or even harm, from using antioxidant supplements. Here are some examples:

  • A 2004 American Heart Association meta-analysis of 20 clinical trials showed no benefits for the use of Vitamins C, E and beta carotene in the prevention of heart attacks or strokes, and no reduction in mortality.  Importantly, the authors acknowledged that the scientific evidence from observational studies supports the conclusion that “a diet high in food sources of antioxidants and other cardioprotective nutrients” reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, they found no support for any benefits from the routine use of antioxidant vitamin supplements. 
  • A 2008 Cochrane Institute meta-analysis of 67 randomised clinical trials on antioxidant supplements (beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium) found no evidence that antioxidant supplements prevent mortality in healthy people or patients with various diseases. The authors said that “treatment with betacarotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E may increase mortality” and that “potential roles of vitamin C and selenium on mortality need further study”. 
  • A 2001 University of Washington randomized trial showed evidence of positive harm from taking a cocktail of antioxidants in patients on statin niacin therapy. The supplements reduced levels of HDL and increased levels of coronary blockage . 
  • A study at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute showed that cardiac stem cells cells that were loaded with high doses of antioxidants developed genetic abnormalities that predispose to the development of cancer. 
  • A 2009 study by German and American researchers found that daily supplementation with 1000 mg Vitamin C and 400 IU Vitamin E  during a 4-week exercise program by healthy young men suppressed improvements in insulin sensitivity and suppressed production of other protective genes observed in the non-supplementing control group. 

How is it that administering the same antioxidant chemicals that we are commonly told that make fruits, vegetables and herbs “protective”, actually appears to be ineffective or even harmful when taken as dietary supplements?

A clue comes from the last study quoted above – the 2009 paper that was titled “Anti-oxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans”. Exercise creates free radicals, which cause metabolic stress, and the body responds by up regulating powerful protective genes – this is a hormetic response (as covered in my last blog post). Researchers such as Edward Calabrese and Mark Mattson call these genes “vitagenes”, because they ramp up our own internal defences against free radicals, which are much more powerful that any pill that we can take.

By taking antioxidant supplements, we suppress the increase in our own internal defences that would otherwise occur in response to the exercise stress.

So, getting back to the antioxidant theory at the start of this post – what is missing in this theory is the role of our body’s own innate defences system for handling toxic chemicals like free radicals. While our immune system handles invading organisms and large proteins, another system is needed to deal with chemical toxins. It’s called the xenobiotic metabolism; and it’s broken into 3 ‘waves’ of protective enzymes – Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III, which act synergistically to protect against damage and disease.  

We must understand that the body is an adaptive system and it will adjusts to maintain a relatively constant state, known as homeostasis. The science of hormesis states that if you provide it with external “help”, it will reduce the effort in building its own internal defences.  Just as being sedentary results in muscle wastage and a decrease in fitness, it turns out that chronic consumption of exogenous antioxidants reduces the “pressure” on your adaptive stress response to ramp up its own endogenous antioxidant defence system.  In biological terms, taking antioxidants leads to homeostatic down regulation of the antioxidant response element.  This actually makes biological sense:  Why should the organism expend precious energy and resources building a defence system if the defence is provided for “free” through diet or supplements?

So it appears that, by consuming more antioxidants, we become dependent upon them and, perversely, we reduce our innate ability to detoxify.  So, now that we know that our endogenous antioxidant defence system is so potent, what steps can we take to build it up? We get the answers from the science of hormesis, and I will explore how to up regulate these powerful natural defences to disease in the next few blogs.

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