7 Edible Anxiety Therapies: To Support COVID Stress

How are you going as we head into Level 3 of NZ lock-down?

Any old nutrition habits starting to creep in? Or perhaps you have used the time to really nail down a new way of eating, or refresh your menu?

Regardless, it is an interesting time for all of us, and we are all different, and therefore cope with things differently.

Something I have noticed coming up a few times in conversation is anxiety and for many different reasons. Some people find they have a lot of anxiety around the COVID-19 pandemic, and staying healthy, particularly as we head into Level 3 and start to go back out into society, albeit in a controlled way. Others find anxiety around the economy, and how this is hitting them financially. Also, there are those of you that have been struggling with simply being confined to one or two spaces, and how to deal with the lack of freedom they feel, or dealing with being around family a lot more than normal!

Whatever it is, anxiety is no fun for anyone, and its effects can range from psychosomatic paralysis, through to depression, to full-blown panic, anger and rage.

Since we are somewhat stuck in this situation for at least another fortnight, and then some, since we all know things are not going to simply go back to normal, it is absolutely essential that we address this issue, which affects our mental, physical and emotional health, as well as that of those around us. Now, I know anxiety well, and because of this, I have both researched and experimented with a range of things, in order to somehow allow my higher faculties to regain control, and even turn things around into a positive situation we can actually learn from.

Sound good?

Even better sounding, to me at least, is the fact that a lot of these things occur in an edible format!

So, what can we eat, and every single day, to help us calm feelings of anxiety, cope with the current situation, whatever that may be for you while achieving enough mental grounding to find the positive?

Here are my top 7 edible anxiety therapies 😊

1. High-quality protein

Ok, so this protein thing gets talked about a LOT, so much so that you may think it’s just an easy go-to for nutritionists who don’t really want to come up with something new…But the constant recommendation for high-quality protein is due to the fact that it is so super important for every single aspect of health, and thus mental health is absolutely no exception. In fact, it is so important that low protein consumption is directly related to risk for anxiety, as well as other mental and cognitive health issues.

Why is this?

High-quality protein sources (animal proteins such as dairy, eggs, meat and fish) contain an abundance of mood-enhancing minerals and vitamins, including iron, zinc, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and magnesium. However, the thing that protein sources give us that no other food can make up for are the amino acids, as many of these are precursors for neurotransmitters, molecules playing a major role in the signal transmission of feeling states throughout the brain and body. For example, the essential amino acid tryptophan is required for the production of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter when it comes to positive mood and coping with stress. The amino acid tyrosine is required for dopamine production, and glutamate and glycine function as neurotransmitters exactly as they are, although they perform opposite functions. Glutamate is required for excitation and action, and glycine for calming and relaxation. These must be in balance for optimal mental health.

Since protein is required for so many different functions throughout the body, and large amounts are used to build and maintain muscle mass and organ health, it is not uncommon for neurotransmitter synthesis to be less than optimal in a low quality/refined food diet. High-quality protein sources provide ALL the amino acids, at levels that support all the many roles of protein and the amino acids in the body. As mentioned in Part 1. of this two-part series, at least 1.2 g per kg body weight per day is necessary to support optimal health, and this requirement increases for active or older individuals. Soy protein also provides the amino acids at high levels but does not supply the minerals and vitamins that animal proteins do, particularly Vitamin B12.

 

Vitamin B12 has its own link to mental health, with deficiencies found in issues such as depression and dementia. If you are vegan, or a vegetarian who has a low intake of dairy and/or eggs, it is essential to supplement with Vitamin B12.

2. Collagen or glycine

Collagen is a type of protein that is high in the amino acid glycine, which, as a I mentioned above, is a neurotransmitter with roles in calming and relaxation – it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and has shown promise in the treatment of mental health disorders such as OCD, and is also a sleep aid. Glycine can be taken as a powdered supplement (take around 3 g or 1 tsp per dose, with up to 3 doses per day), but this amount of glycine is also provided in around 10 g of collagen, and when you take it as collagen, you are getting all the other benefits of collagen, such as joint and skin health.

It is very important to keep in mind that neither glycine nor collagen, can count towards your daily protein intake, as collagen has a protein quality of zero (it lacks the amino acid tryptophan) and glycine is only one amino acid.

3. Essential fatty acids (the ‘omega-3s’)

The essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are found in animal sources, such as fatty fish (salmon and trout), and ALA is found in vegetable sources, such as linseed/flaxseed, walnuts and some algae. All are exceptionally beneficial in their own right, and show significant anti-inflammatory and/or antioxidant properties. However, EPA and DHA have benefits for the brain in particular. While the body converts ALA to EPA, and then to DHA, this is done in a very limited manner, and, rather, ALA has its own benefits in the body, including the lowering of blood sugar and improved skin health.

The brain is an organ with one of the highest compositions of lipids (fats), and the fatty acid make-up of the brain’s grey matter is around 50% polyunsaturated fatty acids, of which around 33% are Omega-3s. Although DHA has been suggested to be the primary omega-3 fatty acid in the brain, recent research has suggested that EPA shows significant promise for the treatment of mood disorders, while DHA has greater benefit for cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s. 

What does all this mean?

Fish oil (with high concentrations of both EPA and DHA), is extremely important for brain health, ESPECIALLY if you are someone who is prone to anxiety or comes from a family with a history of neurodegenerative conditions. If you do not eat a lot of fatty fish, taking a supplement is important, even if you consume significant amounts of nuts and seeds. However, there are some tricks to selecting a good fish oil supplement, as quality will affect the actual levels of EPA and DHA in each capsule, as well as the degree of lipid oxidation, and thus rancidity.

Recommended high-quality fish oil supplements include Be Pure Three and Thorne Research Super EPA. Be Pure Three is also an NZ product and contains Vitamin E to assist in the prevention of lipid oxidation during storage.

4. Minimally processed complex carbohydrates

There is a reason we crave carbohydrates when we are feeling low, and a very good one, that has its foundations in biochemistry.

Above I mentioned that the amino acid tryptophan is essential for the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Well, in order for serotonin to actually do its job transmitting messages throughout the nervous system, it must first be released, and this release is controlled by food intake, primarily carbohydrates. To make a complex story simple, carbohydrate consumption increases serotonin release, but, while protein helps make serotonin in the first place, simply eating more protein (or fat for that matter) will not promote its release.

Complex carbohydrates, although looked down upon in some circles, are digested and absorbed at a slower rate than simple carbohydrates, and therefore promote prolonged serotonin release, rather than a simple short burst, meaning they are a much better go-to for anxiety.

Of course, the major point to note here is that healthy, whole-food, minimally processed carbohydrates are very different to their refined counterparts, so go for beans, legumes, unprocessed whole-grains and root vegetables, especially those packed full of colour.

A breakfast high in both protein and complex carbohydrates, such as porridge and Greek yoghurt, or even protein powder (my go-to), is the best way to tackle this and will set up serotonin production and release for the entire day.

What if you are following a keto diet?

You can still consume some carbohydrates, as long as they have a minimal impact on blood sugar, so pick wisely. For these diets, orange and purple kumara are extremely good options; 100 g of orange kumara, for example, contains under 20 g of net carbs.

Also, if you are following a keto diet and feeling a lot of anxiety with it, it may be a signal from your body and mind that you need more carbohydrates in the mix. Recent research has shown that dietary ketosis can still be achieved in a diet containing 15% carbohydrate as energy, which, for most people, is around 75-100 g carbohydrate per day. So listen in and be sure to follow the approach that is best for your holistic health.

5. Coconut oil or MCT oil

This little gem of an oil contains a large proportion of medium-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to possess anti-depressant properties. Of course, MCT oil is purified medium-chain triglycerides (which carry fatty acids), so will have a similar effect. The exact mechanism by which this occurs is not fully understood, however, medium-chain fatty acids are remarkably anti-inflammatory, and this property is likely to be involved.

You can add MCT oil to your coffee (start with 1 tsp only as it can cause digestive distress at high doses in some people), and coconut oil to your cooking, baking or even smoothies.

Even a coconut cream is an option for these benefits, and chilled coconut cream makes a lovely treat if you want something a bit special after dinner.

6. Spinach and other leafy and/or dark greens

Spinach (and other dark greens such as rocket, kale and broccoli), is another nutritionist old fave go-to, but that’s because it is another food absolutely packed full of nutrients. For mental health, a key vitamin in spinach and other dark greens is folate (Vitamin B9). Folate deficiency is extremely common in both depression and anxiety, as well as a number of clinically defined mental illnesses.

Folate plays a very important role in a pathway called the MTHFR pathway. This is the pathway responsible for methylation in the body, and methylation is absolutely critical for both physical and mental health. Actually, it is more correct to point out that it is a BALANCED methylation that is critical for physical and mental health – both too little and too much are a bad thing. Without going into extraneous detail (which I would LOVE to do but maybe in another blog post all of its own because that would be geeky and cool), folate is the molecule that actually allows the methylation pathway to run, which means it is an essential vitamin for us.

Why is methylation important for mental health? Well, methylation is needed to make creatine, which is great for athletes but also has a role in reducing depression. The neurotransmitter dopamine, that’s the one that makes us feel amazing or ‘on a high’, gets methylated and this methylation is associated with a reduction in rumination (those thoughts going around…and around….and around….and around…). Methylation is also important for the production of choline, which, among many other things, assists in mental focus.

 In addition to methylation, folate performs other roles that are important for optimal mental health, such as helping to conserve glycine, which you will remember above is a key inhibitory neurotransmitter and calms us down (which is SUPER for anxiety). Folate is also a star player in the prevention of anaemia, and since anaemia is a lack of red blood cells and therefore the ability to carry oxygen around the body, having enough folate means our brain will get enough oxygen, which again, is critical for optimal mental health.

 How much spinach do you need to eat per day? 300 g would give you your recommended intake, which is pretty much one of those small pre-packed bags from the supermarket.  However, remember that broccoli, rocket and kale are also high in folate, and so are leeks, so if you are eating a good serving of leafy green and/or cruciferous veggies every day, you are onto a good start. You also get a really good amount of folate from legumes such as chickpeas and liver (if you are keen to go that route! but don’t overdo the liver – keep it to once or twice per week only as it is very high in Vitamin A, which is toxic in high doses).

7. Herbs

Last but by no means least, are herbs.

Most people think of herbs as a way to add flavour, but these little plants are an absolute goldmine of phytonutrients, including some that can modulate brain function. In particular, a compound called rosmarinic acid has been shown to produce anti-depressant like effects, via a number of mechanisms that include upregulation of a super important molecule in the brain called BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. You may have heard of BDNF if you have read up on the positive effects of fasting, as BDNF plays many roles in the brain (that fasting helps to activate) such as the growth and differentiation of new brain cells, and synaptic connectivity, which basically refers to how well signals are transmitted between nerve cells.

Herbs which are particularly high in rosmarinic acid are spearmint (which is your traditional garden mint), basil and sage, but oregano, thyme and rosemary also contain rosmarinic acid at lower levels.

Before you think you would need to eat a plateful of herbs to get any kind of decent benefit, simply 3 tbsp of fresh, raw spearmint will give you over 200 mg of rosmarinic acid, which is comparable to amounts used in scientific studies to produce significant health benefits.

 

Summary

If we take a good hard look at the list above, it isn’t hard to see, with the way that diets have become low in fresh whole-food produce and meats, and high in refined, processed carbohydrates and sandwich ham, why mental health has also taken a downwards turn. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

You can totally eat your way to feeling amazing – calm, motivated, focused and stress-free all at the same time! And you can do this healthily, and yummily, with no added sugar 😉.

 

-Dr. Carlene Starck

Workplace Wellness: 5 Unique Actionable Strategies to Increased Return on Investment

In this time poor but stress rich society we live in, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. This is likely contributing to the rising rate of depression and anxiety.

We now spend the majority of our lives working and with the progression of technology and the ever connected world, it has become difficult to manage and disconnect. With technological advancements the norm has shifted, the 9-5 pm no longer exists!

With smartphones our emails, phone calls and overwhelming workloads slowly start to seep into our personal lives outside of the office. This is not all bad but this is the new reality we face and something that currently needs to be addressed

Think Different:

Our aim for this article is to arm you with easily implementable strategies that will not only allow you to cope with this new reality but perform at a higher level with minimal to no outlayed cost but massive return on your time investment.

 

  1. Remove LED Blue Light

Light is a nutrient that plays a significant role in signaling your mitochondria (cellular powerhouses) to spring into action.

Different light frequencies trigger different signals in your cells. Blue light which mostly comes from LED lights places the body under a significant amount of stress.

Newer artificial light bulbs lack many of the sun’s frequencies that our bodies and brains need. Artificial lights, have eliminated most of the infrared, red, and violet light found in natural sunlight, and are amplifying the blue light beyond anything we have evolved to handle. Most LEDs and compact fluorescents emit about 5 times the blue light we’re used to.

Where to start:

Reduce blue light or what is now known as Junk light in your workplace. Download a bluelight filter app like F.LUX for digital devices (Mobile & laptop) and switch all the lights in the office to halogen and incandescent. They aren’t perfect, but they’re better. Your white LEDs might be saving your power bill but they are sapping yours and your staffs energy levels which in the long term is costing you a lot more!

This is especially important if working late at night as it will greatly impact sleep!

 

  1. Workstations: Sit to Stand Desks

With all the craze of standing desks at the moment, may fool you into thinking standing is better than sitting desks. However, believe it or not standing can be just as detrimental as sitting all day!

Our body’s are not designed to remain in one position for long periods of time, we are designed for locomotion. Therefore, instead of one being better than the other we want the ability to shift between sitting and standing on regular periods, to keep the body moving and using a wider range of muscles instead of overusing a specific muscle group.

If it is not viable in your current workplace to replace traditional desks with sit to stand desk. No stress! Set up a few hot desks around the workplace that will increase the  options to those who want the ability to stand

 

  1. Introduce Walking meetings:

Join some of the best minds in the world including: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, Aristotle, & Sigmund Freud. All were renowned for their walking meetings.

We are sitting on average 9.3 hours per day are we are only getting 7.7 hours of sleep! The human body is designed for locomotion and we are now sitting more than we are sleeping. When is the movement happening?

Sitting is killing us! The World Health Organisation(WHO) has even listed sitting to much as the 4th leading cause of death globally, that is 3,200,000 deaths annually!! A recent study even stated that sitting for 10 hours a day can cancel out 90% of a positive effects of a 1 hour workout! Some other interesting stats associated with sitting for more than 10 hours a day include:

  • 112% increase in risk of diabetes
  • 147% increase in cardiovascular events
  • 90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events
  • 49% increase in death due to any cause.

Get moving with walking or standing meetings and watch the creativity and engagement thrive. Even better move them outside to add in fresh air, sun (Vitamin D) along with nature. Why nature? Nature and changes of scenery trigger new neuro-pathways in our brains which yield new ideas, and new solutions to problems. I am sure we have all experienced this at one point or another.

 

  1. Remote / Flexible Work Hours

In the coming years with the development of technology bringing the world closer together remote based work will become the norm. Technology is changing the way business is functioning and those who adapt to these trends will reap the rewards.

Businesses who really want to future proof their success need to consider how this can be established across their workforce and within their workplace.

It has been shown that a workplaces that offers flexibility around were their staff can work will have staff that have the following characteristics:

 

  • Greater job satisfaction
  • Increased productivity
  • Decreased stress
  • Plus they often work more hours as a result of this freedom.

 

  1. Mindfulness, Become Present:

What is Mindfulness? It is a practice that teaches you to detach yourself from both the past and future and become truly present in the moment.

Sadly in this fast moving world we are losing this ability to be present, this is even more prevalent with ever increasing workloads.We cannot reduce our the past nor can we change what will happen in the future, but if we truly want to be productive with the task at hand we need to be truly present in the now. In our opinion this skill is one of the leading, if not the best productivity booster!

 

Where to Start?

There are many ways to train mindfulness from breathing, instructor guided practice to self guided practice.

I suggest everyone begins with an instructor guided practice to help educate and help grasp an understanding around mindfulness. There are a number apps that offer a free trials and then lead into a paid version (eg. Headspace, Calm). Test each of them out and find the one that suits you. At the cost of less than 2 coffees a month (Calm: $4.99/month; Headspace: $7.99/month) what do you have to lose? I personally have tried majority of the apps on the market but Headspace was favorite due to it customizability. I highly recommend upgrading to paid versions as it becomes a lot more personalised and you can select packages that you require as you progress and it often offers further education. This will give you the skills you required to make your mindfulness practice easy and stress free.

I have talked about mindfulness extensively in other articles if you want to learn more follow these links:

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/mindfulness-where-to-start/

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/the-science-behind-mindfulness/

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/mindfulness-living-in-the-present-moment/

 

Take Action:

If you are passionate about performance and the health in the workplace these 5 simple strategies will make a profound effect and future proof your business. It all starts with a solid foundation and with inmproved health comes improved performance.

 

Published on: Jun 7, 2018

Client Stories 2017

What an amazing year it has been! Upgrading to a new bigger and better studio, media exposure (front page of the Waikato times and a number of other publications), finishing postgraduate studies, meeting and working with some amazing people and overcoming my personal struggles (flexibility disorder and not being able to run for 3yrs) and chasing my triathlon dreams.

My why is to champion and help others to push their limits and achieve beyond what they thought possible. As the year comes to an end, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate a few of my clients successes from this year.

At Taylored Health & Performance we work with anyone looking to get more out of life and perform at their best whether that is in sport, work or just everyday life. This year I have helped  many of my clients from all walks of life, from those who have exhausted all options with no success to high performers looking to gain a competitive edge in their life, sport or work.


Client Stories

Overwhelmed to Success 

Dan found himself in a vicious cycle with his new high demanding corporate position. Sapped of his normal energy, weight gain, lack of time, and injured with a knee that he was told he will never be able to run on again. Dan knew a change was required and seeked my assistance to gain his life back and be able to do the things he loves. With a number of key focus areas our aim was to find a balance, taking the less is more approach we designed specific strategies for each area of life to ensure his success. Dan couldn’t believe the impact across the board; with the extra energy he could now find the time to surf (a big love of his), spend more time with his family, and he even got further promotions at work. Not only this he was able to run again and achieved his desired body composition. It is fair to say he was pretty stoked with life again.

“I have been working with Luke for 12 weeks. I am so  stoked with the results. Luke has helped me overcome some long standing injuries “knees and heel’s which until recently had held me back. Luke has improved my posture and mobility, we have done this in a fun and non-stressful way. I have learnt a lot about my body and what I need to do keep healthy including my mind. My body fat has reduced by 10% through a totally sustainable regime. My surfing has improved and I have more energy and confidence in my body generally. I would thoroughly recommend Taylored Health & Performance  to anyone looking to improve their health and performance. Luke is a really cool guy to work with and will find a way to customise an improvement program specific to your needs”

From Potential Surgery to Pain Free

Unable to stand without being in pain Debbie with severe back pain had exhausted all options with no success and was told she required back surgery. After getting varied opinions from specialists she was lost and confused unsure what to do and just knew she wanted to try everything before surgery. This lead her to me, in the pre-screen I quickly identified it was not as doomed as she has been told. Within 4 weeks we had her pain free with normal everyday movement, by 12 weeks we had her back into xome pain free exercise, which she had not been able to do for so long. There is no better feeling than removing pain from someone’s life.

“After visiting Luke,I found I had so much more movement and less pain. I’ve also learnt that posture was a big part of my problem and I have to constantly make sure I watch this.Luke helped a lot with this also.”  -Debbie

 

Chasing “Free Speed”

I will never forget after working with Megan, her racing into our session with even more excitement than normal. She was over the moon she had  just got her result from her most recent FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test. Not only did she see a massive increase in her power output but for the first time she was producing symmetrical power through each leg where she was previously producing 4% less power of he left leg compared to her right. This may not sound like much but when you are an athlete who competes at a high  level Ironman athlete like Megan this is massive! As Megan likes to refer to her training with me “it is Free Speed”.

“My first session with Luke was a reality check for me, i was overloading muscles that would have eventually resulted in injury.  Since seeing Luke i have glutes that work & hips that are free & am balanced.  Luke taught me how to do the exercises property & explained the reason for them.  I can now do these at home to ensure my body is ready for training & racing.  Thanks Luke” – Megan

 

Perspective Shift Resulting in Massive Transformation

I have worked with Marcia for a little while now and what a transformation! She is a different person! With a perspective shift and a massive reduction in weight to match she couldn’t be happier. Marcia has become a teacher like many of my clients, passing on the knowledge she has learnt and helping others along their journeys.  Marcia has not had an easy run, she was another who was on a last resort with very little belief left that anything could be done.  With a history of severe gut issues, depression and adrenal fatigue along with a unrecovered hip surgery. Marcia’s persistence and commitment to her journey has been truly inspirational.

“Since finding Luke, I’ve been steered in the right direction to improve my physical health, nervous system, ability to rest and recover, as well as increasing my understanding of mobility, biomechanics and functional movement. It’s been a challenging but rewarding journey, ignited and kept alive by Luke’s unwavering support and encouragement.” -Marcia

 

From Postie to top level Triathlete

I have now worked with Malcolm for over 2 years and it has been a pleasure working with him along his journey as he chases his dream of being one of NZ top Triathletes. This dream is now coming into fruition after he took out the Olympic Distance National Championship title earlier this year along with a number of other massive results both locally and internationally.

“I highly value the mobility sessions I do with Luke on a weekly basis, especially during my big training blocks, before and after races. These are one of the keys to my success as a triathlete and one of the ways I manage to maintain staying injury free.” – Malcolm


 

“THANK YOU to all my clients you truly inspire me, helping you succeed is the reason I love what I do, I can not wait to see what 2018 will hold” -Luke


 

 

Tricks & Tips for the Holiday Season

The silly season is among us! With the extra time it is the perfect opportunity to take the time to focus on your health and wellbeing.

Lets not sweat the small stuff, indulge a little and relax – you all have earned it! Enjoy.

The holiday period also presents as a great opportunity capitalise on extra free time to develop key positive habits that can help set you up for an awesome 2018. Here is some key tip we suggest you consider.

 

1. Remove Toxins & Stimulants

The holiday season is a great opportunity to clear out all the unneeded toxins and stimulants from your life.

  • Plastic

Reduce your use of plastics as much as possible. The plastic leaches chemicals like pcb’s dioxins which are xeno-estrogenic and mimic estrogen in your body. This creates an estrogen dominance which develops an insulin resistance, making it extremely difficult to regulate and reduce fat.

Remove Plastic:

  • Ditch the plastic drink bottles: Replace with a metal bottle
  • Rethink Tupperware: The last thing you want to do is put hot food into a plastic container (or worse – to reheat it!). Replace with glass or bamboo.
  • Plastic Straws: Replace with metal or bamboo

 

  • Coffee (Caffeine)

Coffee is the greatest source of Polyphenols (Antioxidants) in the western diet! It is also well known that us Kiwis love our coffee per capita consumption ranks among top 20 in the world, according to statistics portal, Statista.com.

Can there be too much of a good thing? If you have become reliant on it and can’t survive a day without it. It is time for a detox! With no deadlines or time constraints with work this is the perfect time for a detox! Remove caffeine from your life for 2 weeks to allow your body to reset.

Removing the stimulant for two weeks is extremely powerful as when reintroduced, you will once again notice the stimulant effects again, that have most likely been stunted due to overuse.

Quick note: If you currently exceed 3 coffees a day I wouldn’t suggest going cold turkey unless you are that way inclined. Gradually cut down!

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/optimise-your-coffee-break/

  • Blue Light

Light is a nutrient that plays a significant role in signaling your mitochondria (celular powerhouses) to do things and when to do them. Different light frequencies trigger different signals in your cells. Blue light which mostly comes from LED lights places the body under a significant amount of stress.

Newer artificial light bulbs lack many of the sun’s frequencies that our bodies and brains need. Artificial lights, have eliminated most of the infrared, red, and violet light found in natural sunlight, and are amplifying the blue light beyond anything we have evolved to handle. Most LEDs and compact fluorescents emit about 5 times the blue light we’re used to.

Where to start:

Reduce blue light or what is now known as Junk light. Download a bluelight filter app like F.LUX for digital devices (Mobile & laptop) and switch all the lights in your house to halogen and incandescent. They aren’t perfect, but they’re better. Your white LEDs might be saving your power bill but they are sapping your personal energy levels!

 

2. Hydrate

Too often we forget the simple things like hydration. Yet, hydration levels are one of the most important things to regulate.  Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical functioning, cognitive functioning and thermoregulation. Our body are made up of 60% water, so it is important that you achieve optimal water levels as it is essential for feeling good with optimal health and energy. With 1% of dehydration affects performance by up to 10%!

How much water should I drink?

0.033 litres per kg of body weight, which roughly equates to the following amounts:

  • 60 kg = 2 litres
  • 75 kg = 2.5 litres
  • 90 kg= 3 litres

Hydration Tips:

  • Carry a metal drink bottle with you everywhere.
  • Download Hydration app, to remind you to drink

 

3. Mindfulness

Slow Down: Too often while on holiday I see people stuck in the busy mode unable to slow down. On a mission racing around from place to place and not taking the time to relax and enjoy the present moment. It is easy to get stuck in old patterns but we need to be able to detach ourselves from these habits. I have caught myself in this very situation myself many times. This where it is great to include a mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness Definition: A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Mindfulness is all about detaching yourself from the past and the future and focusing on the present moment, as it is only the present moment that you can impact. The holiday period presents as a great opportunity to increase or introduce a mindfulness practice.

Where to start?

  • Download an amazing app like Headspace, that will help guide your mindfulness practice. The great thing about Headspace is its flexible nature, that allows you to design a practice around your needs such a length of session and specific focus points.
  • Walk slowly, sounds simple but can be especially tough for busy people to do.
  • Sit down and enjoy scenery eg. beach, park.

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/just-breathe/

 

4. Look after your Gut!

Our gut is now known as our second brain so it makes sense to look after it! Did you no 90% of your serotonin (feel good hormone) is created in your gut. That means poor gut health can lead to depression.

A great way to start your day is with a lemon juice/apple cider vinegar to help stimulate digestion through stomach acid and bile production.

  • 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (it has to be raw, unfiltered, with the mother)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt (antioxidant/electrolyte)
  • 1 Cup of warm water (Make it as a tea)

Aim to drink 30mins prior to breakfast for best results.

Why not throw in some bitter and fermented foods to aid digestive support this summer too.

Popular recommendations include:


 

Bitter:

  • Turmeric, (turmeric lattes)
  • Cacao
  • Ginger
  • Good quality Organic sourced dark chocolate
  • Leafy greens like Spinach and Kale.

 

 

Fermented:

  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Natto
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles

 

 

5. Gratitude

The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. By taking the time to notice and reflect on what you are thankful for, you experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.

A great way to cultivate this practice is a Gratitude Journaling. Journaling works as it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. Shifting our focus away from the negatives and onto the positives. Journaling can be as simple as writing 3 things  you are grateful each day.

6. Fear Setting

With the new year brings new year’s resolutions. University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Let’s not fall into this trap! This year instead of new year’s resolutions replace them with ‘Fear Setting’ (An exercise recently popularized by Tim Ferriss)

Fear setting is all about embracing your fears! A simple process in which you write down and quantify your fears. What is the worst-case scenario? (often it is not as bad as you think). Once identified work back from that scenario, how can you mitigate these the consequences and then how could you recover from this scenario. You will be surprised how powerful this technique can be.

Follow these 3 steps to fear-setting:

Do an 80/20 analysis:

  • “Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?”
  • “Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?”
  • “Which 20% of sources are consuming 80% of my time?”

Write a to-do and not-to-do list:

  • “Why haven’t I done my most important to-do?”
  • “Why haven’t I stopped doing my most important not-to-do?”

Define your fears clearly (Once identified ask yourself this series of questions):

  • What is the worst-case scenario if I did what I’m considering?
  • What are all the things I could do to minimize that from happening?
  • If the worst-case scenario happened, what steps could I take to minimise repair the damage

https://tayloredhealth.co.nz/fear-setting/

 

Wherever you may be this summer, ensure it is a safe and happy one.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the team at Taylored Health & Performance

 

 

Corporate Wellness

What is your employee wellness strategy?

 

The necessity for health and wellness in the workplace is now well documented. In Dr. Roger Sahoury book “The Gladiator’s Guide to Corporate Health and Wealth” Sahoury stated that companies who strategically manage wellness see: 60% greater retention of employees, 200% more revenue per employee, and 38% increased employee engagement. Now that is massive! If that is not enough incentive to establish a wellness program, nothing will be.

With these new found benefits it is no surprise that there has been a significant growth in companies abroad offering corporate wellness programs. In the United States 70% of employers now offer corporate wellness, up from 58% in 2008. However, within New Zealand there is no direct local statistics, as NZ has been a slow adaptor to this movement. However, the estimated cost of absenteeism and presentisms (working while sick) which equates to $1500/person/year (Southern Cross and Statistics NZ).

Providing employees with Health Care is a great start but it is not enough. Organisations are no longer relying on the employees to be proactive of their health, organisations are now taking responsibility and are facilitating in-house wellness programs. These programs have become a fundamental feature in many major organizations, most notably Google, which offers employees on-site physicians and nurses, nutritious food options, nap pods, mindfulness program, and complementary fitness centers, among other perks.

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Return on Investment

Corporate wellness is preemptive measure, it costs money to establish but long term it pays for itself several times over. The best analogy is instead of having the ambulance down the bottom of the cliff, waiting for the inevitable, act now and prevent/minimise the occurrence in the first place. Not only is it preemptive, it will take your business to a new level. With happy energetic staff, no task will be too big.

Several studies within the United States have identified for every $1 spent on an employee wellness the ROI (Return on investment) is on average between $1.50 – $3.80!

Johnson & Johnson another leader in corporate wellness, invests in their employees’ and have strategically designed a program that caters to physical, mental, and social health.  The leaders at Johnson & Johnson estimate that wellness programs have cumulatively saved the company over $250 million on health care costs over the past decade. Receiving a ROI of $2.71 for every $1 spent between 2002-2008.

 

Where to Start

Create an environment that breeds healthy and happy employees that are mission based instead of job based. A healthy body and a healthy mind inspires a positive work ethic. Your employees will think more clearly and will be able to problem solve easier than if they are bogged down by sickness.

Every companies needs will vary but every effective wellness program should be well rounded and incorporate physical, mental, and social health. Clarity and consistency are key when it comes to corporate wellness. Any confusion will only cripple the program.

 

Need Help Establishing a Wellness Program?

Please Contact:

Luke (Health & Performance Specialist)

[email protected]