WELLNESS AS A STATUS SYMBOL

The past few months have been very full with travel and projects and hence as the dust settles I have some time to return to online research. The Global Wellness Institute have now released their trends for 2018 and below are some of the trends presented by Euromonitor which struck a chord with me. 

Longevity Economy - In 2018, almost a quarter of everyone on the planet will be over the age of 50, a record number. It is being suggested brands focus less on millennials and more on customers over the age of 50. The growing population over 50 represents a fast-growing contingent of active, productive people who are working longer and taking the economy in new directions. Women over fifty want to be represented by the media.

Authenticity - is a standout consumer value in 2018. Visual communication is inspired by flawed images drawing on wabi-sabi as its founding principles, advocating that beauty is to be found in imperfection, impermanence and the authentic. 

Real World Holiday - Due to digital dependency and the difficulty of uninterrupted reflection, several tour operators, cruise lines and resorts are now promoting unplugged vacations (Digital Detox Trips). Participants pledge to leave digital devices behind while the Intrepid Travel tour leader emails updates to their loved ones. Urban hotels helping guests switch off include Renaissance Pittsburgh hotel, offering a family digital detox package letting guests exchange their devices for traditional board games. 

Experiential Luxury - high-end personalisation is thriving due to demand for “experiential luxury”, the shift from “having to being”. 

Post-Purchase Contact - with the company’s representatives, the medium and the tone of the response are also critical parts of the customer journey, shaping their view of the business. 

Wellness as a Status Symbol - The desire to be fitter and healthier seems to be almost universal. Healthy living is becoming a status symbol, as more consumers opt to flaunt their passion for wellness through paying for boutique fitness sessions, “athleisure” clothing, food with health-giving properties and upscale health and wellness holidays. The spectacle of those willing to throw money at their quest for spiritual improvement is seen via the frequent consumer Instagram posts of retreat experiences posing against scenic backdrops. Consuming “stuff”, was once an indicator of wealth, but is now being replaced with the lack of things, lack of excess fat, and even a lack of wayward thoughts, which now defines aspiration and is at the heart of the consumer interest in wellness.

Wearable Devices - now offer to track mental wellbeing as well as physical fitness. 

Boutique Health - The consumer interest in staying well sees them combining wellbeing activities with cathartic physical activity. This is reflected in a thriving menu of more esoteric, boutique fitness workout choices in urban hubs and spas. Some unlikely combinations have emerged, including BoxingYoga, BootyYoga etc

Sleep - Many consumers are increasingly interested in products that promote healthy sleep, urged by professionals not to view sleep as a lifestyle choice, but to respect it as they do diet and exercise, as a core health building block. An estimated three million people are listening to sleep playlists on Spotify, making it one of their most popular genres. The above-mentioned sleep monitoring machine Sense has sustained its consumer appeal with the addition of new sounds to sleep to and greater accessibility

Wellness Holidays - Promote the idea that consumers can take some time out, transform themselves and return a better, happier person. Activity holidays for physical and mental health are a growth sector. Money is no object when it comes to top-of-the range luxury pampering and rejuvenation treatments in hotel spas and dedicated wellness centres.

So as I step into my 2018 spa and wellness projects I will certainly be considering how these trends might apply to any given project. 

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DAY SPA AT MITCHELTON

Designing a Day Spa is one of my passions, especially when I have the opportunity to work with an iconic brand, along with visionary owners and interior designers. The commitment to perfection and following the process to get there, is for me a joy, rather than a tedious task. And such was the case when preparing the pre-opening of the Mitchelton Day Spa. 

Working with Hecker Guthrie Design Studio we began with a detailed design brief and an allocated space located on level 2 of the hotel. Once gathering the details of what was required of a day spa, the design team set to working on three possible floor plans. We then discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each upon which the designers quickly came up with another two variations. We were now close to getting it right! Just a few more refinements and our floor plan maximised the space, created optimal flow for the guest journey and reduced the problem of having staff 'running' through the day spa more than was necessary. 

Next we began working on lighting and electrical plans, joinery design and finishes and fixtures. Storage was maximised in each of the treatment rooms so that staff could efficiently turn their room around between treatments whilst also lessening the traffic of therapists visiting reception and back of house for supplies. Less movement equals more peace and a smoother and more effective operation. A drawer dishwasher and hot/cold water filter was built into the relaxation room joinery minimising the need for carrying tea cups to the kitchen. Private change rooms inclusive of toilet, basin and shower adjoin a open plan locker area so as to maximise the space, whilst also providing a luxury experience. All of these details ensure a seamless experience for guests and staff. 

The palette is calming with the addition of 'pop' features such as the tiles in the wet areas and the gorgeous dark green marble reception desk. The floor surface chosen is quiet, anti-fatigue, durable and perfect for a day spa environment where oils and product can easily damage and deteriorate a surface. Beautiful linen curtains and curved walls add a soft touch to the entire space, and removable covers grace the relaxation chairs and lounges so that a fresh clean look can be maintained. 

USPA was chosen as its a perfect fit for this beautiful country location. Made in Victoria and offering a comprehensive and natural face, hair and body collection, the USPA concept marries beautifully with all that Mitchelton stands for. 

The team at Pop-n-Pac Creative developed a luxurious linen bound spa menu compendium and matching collaterals based on the templates provided by Spa Wellness Consulting. 

Finally after many long hours of unpacking stock, setting up, implementing systems and training the team, the Day Spa at Mitchelton opened on the 1st of December. And very quickly we were inundated with gift voucher requests and forward bookings. If I dare say it, I believe this lovely day spa overlooking the Goulburn River and set amidst vineyards and the iconic Mitchelton Estate will very soon be considered one of Melbourne's best destination day spa's, and that makes me very satisfied, content and proud. 

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THE NYC WELLNESS SCENE

Whenever I am researching fitness trends there is one city that just keeps on popping up. New York City! So it made sense to add a 'fitness/wellness holiday' in NYC following the Global Wellness Summit. Here are some of the experiences and brands I had the chance to visit and try on. 

1 Hotel - I have been dying to visit the 1 Hotel in Brooklyn and was not disappointed. Its such an excellent model of a socially conscious brand with ecological design at the core of its philosophy. Every sustainable detail has been considered making it every bit authentic. The brand is part of the Starwood Capital Group and brainchild of hotelier Barry Sternlicht. There are currently 3 hotels in USA with 4 more opening internationally in 2018/19, which tells me this sustainable model is wanted by our guests and wellness warriors. 

Bamford Spa - Thinking I was going to have to visit the UK to visit a Bamford Spa you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the 1 Hotel has partnered with Bamford Spa. The spa offers a complete ecological perspective throughout its operation and it was nothing short of eco luxe exquisite. Next time I will definitely be treating myself with a treatment, but for this visit a retail bag of bamford goodies had to suffice.  

AIRE Ancient Roman Baths - I was told if visiting NYC I had to visit AIRE, and so I booked my first 'night out' here and was not disappointed. This exquisite thermal bathing area is set below ground level featuring candles, music, various baths including a magnesium float bath, jacuzzi, thermal baths, cold plunge pools, a salt pillar for self applied body scrubs, steam room and a space for treatments. I added a salt stone massage to compliment my bathing experience. This brand is expanding across Europe and the UK and I can see why its such a popular choice for city dwellers as it offers an 'other worldly' relaxation experience in the heart of the city.

Inscape Meditation - This space features two meditation pods with specialised lighting. The variety of seating props were excellent, offering something suited to every type of person and their physical comfort. The class is introduced by a facilitator who sits in the centre but the class itself is lead by a recorded voice. The brilliance in this is being able to offer a class that is universally likeable, with good sound and without requiring an expert meditation teacher to be present. The retail store at Inscape offered an excellent range of boutique wellness products and a very nice relaxation area to hang out with a cup of fruit infused water and a book.

Woom Yoga - I jumped in a cab and went downtown for a midday yoga class in the Woom room. This centre offers yoga classes and sound meditations amidst a light show of patterns and imagery projected onto the wall. The music was quite loud and the lighting reminiscent of a night club in parts and I felt energised and engaged in the journey. Definitely worth a visit when in NYC.

Peloton Cycling - This class is a convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, streaming daily live classes from the NYC studio. This could be an excellent offering for the wellness hotel room concept. The advantage of this model is that guests receive a consistent standard of instructor. I see this model being perfect for homes and hotels. 

Soul Cycle - This class is a style of cycling that incorporates motivational and dance based instruction. It is a fun, intense workout in a dark room that is similar to a dance studio. Taking the cycle scene by storm its an excellent style of class to consider for any health retreat. 

Trampolean Class - Ive often thought that rebounding classes need to enter the fitness arena. Well NYC offers trampolean and I really got a workout in this class. In a dark industrial style room we did all sorts of moves on the rebounder with the addition of hand weights and therabands to tone and stretch the entire body. This was an excellent low impact class with high impact results. The health benefits of rebounding are numerous as it cleanses the lymphatic system and exercises every internal organ and cell in the body, whilst delivering excellent aerobic exercise without impacting on joints. 

In addition to soaking and fitness classes I also did what anyone must do when in NYC, which was to go up to the top of the Empire State Building, see a show on Broadway and add in a spot of shopping in Times Square. I loved every minute in this vibrant city and cant wait to visit again. 

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GLOBAL WELLNESS SUMMIT 2017

This year I had the fantastic experience of attending the Global Wellness Summit, which has held at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. The professionals that attend this amazing event are at the forefront of the global wellness movement across a wide array of industries. The speeches, presentations and forums were of the highest calibre, with future thinking, ground breaking technology and what is happening across the planet being discussed and discovered. We had glamorous evening events to attend, round table lunches and the opportunity to meet the best in the spa and wellness industry. Inspiring on all levels! 

The eight wellness trends that emerged this year were the most left of field I have ever seen and can be found on the GWS website, so if you are reading this blog I will let you discover those for yourself. My personal favourite take homes were as follows;

Healthy Building Design: Why It’s a Smart Decision for Businesses and Investors - Delos presented research on guest satisfaction, loyalty and behaviours related to staying in hotels that offered a wellness environment via the stay well rooms. The results were very impressive and should certainly have hotels considering this approach.

Millennials are not Wellness Newbies: Presented by Good & Well - This was a fantastic presentation on the trends and behaviours of millennials in regards to wellness. Influencers have a major impact on a business having millennials as followers and are more likely to attract attendees to their retreats.  

Other Interesting Points Learned at GWS were;

Energy is 4 dimensional - Physically energised, spiritually aligned, mentally focused, emotionally connected

Energy expenditure has to be balanced with energy recovery 

Depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion dollars in lost work days 

People actually become happier as they age

Technology opens up Wellness and mental support to all people 

Eyes are direct connection to the brain and if we can stimulate the brain through the power of nature it will have a positive affect

Hotels need to integrate authenticity and sustainability 

When sustainability is only an economic drive the intention is upside down 

Equanimity within and compassion without are the core of living a well life 

Anytime we judge someone new we are judging them on... high warmth and high competence 

Move away from anti-ageing to age embracing 

We are sinking in data but starving in wisdom 

Fear is not a sustainable motivator to change. What is sustainable is fun, freedom, pleasure and love

Hot spring tourism has been emerging and developing rapidly over the past 20 years

There is great potential for virtual reality to be brought into the wellness space

The 2018 GWS will be held at Technogym HQ in Italy so a little sojourn to Europe may be on the cards.  

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IKIGAI

Many ancient indigenous cultures took time to honour the question of purpose through ceremony, vision quest and rites of passage in order to help reveal the essential role in the story of life. Unfortunately the space and reverence for this question does not always seem to exist today and for many, our decisions around life-focus unfold in a more reactionary way, propelling us into educational, professional and life-directional paths based less on deep inner calling or soul-inspired vision, and more on societal expectations or so-called ‘practical reality’ and what is required to survive in the systems we’ve created to live in. 

The distinguishing quality of many of the healthiest people is that they seem to be the most aligned or ‘called’ towards some primary focus of meaning in their life. They have a sense of purpose. And this is the single most powerful contributing factor to one’s health and vitality.

Japanese culture actually has a word which addresses this focus. The word is ikigai and translates simply as, ‘reason for being’.

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. To find it often requires deep enquiry and lengthy ‘search of self’ – a search which is highly regarded. The term ikigai is composed of two Japanese words: iki referring to life, and kai, which roughly means “the realisation of what one expects and hopes for”. Unpacking the word and its associated symbol a bit further, ikigai is seen as the convergence of four primary elements:

What you Love (your passion)

What the World Needs (your mission)

What you are Good at (your vocation)

What you can get Paid for (your profession)

When we are immersed in any endeavour that brings us into our hearts, that makes us come alive – and we are bringing ourselves fully to it – instantly we become more generative, more magnetic and more dynamic in our ability to navigate challenges and discover pathways of breakthrough.

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JAPANESE MINDFULNESS

I had the privilege of visiting Japan in May so that I could gain an insight into the culture and therefore conceptualise Japan's first wellness retreat. A luxury destination where guests can experience the Japanese approach to longevity and wellbeing, for which they are renowned. Beyond nutrition and movement, which is where we in the West often limit wellness, is the central concept of mindfulness that is inherent in the Japanese arts, and indeed in their very way of being. 

The simple, but compelling, act of mindful living offers an invaluable tool to cope with the pace of modern day living. Mindfulness reduces stress, improves sleep, cognitive function and balances the emotions. Here below I share a number of mindfulness practices that stem from Japan to offer a perspective on how meditation can be something other than 'the lotus position'. 

ZAZEN - In Zen Buddhism, zazen is a meditative discipline that is typically the primary practice. The precise meaning and method of zazen varies from school to school, but in general it can be regarded as a means of insight into the nature of existence. Zazen is practiced in different ways depending on its tradition. It may involve facing a wall or facing into the centre of the room with eyelids half lowered. It can also include a walking meditation in the room. 

JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY - The heart of the Japanese tea ceremony lies in simplicity of spirit which brings peace to the mind. The objective of the ceremony is not just to make a cup of tea; it is a deliberate exercise in being present in the moment, focusing on one task and appreciating the simple things in life. The ritual of the tea ceremony is based on the 4 fundamental Zen principles of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.

IKEBANA FLOWER ARRANGING - Ikebana or kado is the beautiful, often strikingly minimalist, Japanese flower arrangement art. Ikebana means “giving life to flowers” and kado translates as “the way of flowers”. When Buddhism was introduced to Japan, monks started to arrange flowers to decorate the altars of temples.

KOTO LESSON - The koto is the national instrument of Japan. It is a stringed musical instrument that is plucked with ivory picks called tsume.

ORIGAMI - Japanese origami began sometime after Buddhist monks carried paper to Japan during the 6th century. The word "origami" comes from the Japanese language. "Ori" which means folded and "kami" which means paper. This traditional paper folding art is very relaxing and meditative. 

JAPANESE INCENSE CEREMONY - Kōdō ( 道?, "Way of Fragrance") is the art of appreciating Japanese incense, and involves using incense within a structure of codified conduct. Kōdō includes all aspects of the incense process, from the tools ( 道具 kōdōgu), to activities such the incense-comparing games kumikō (組 ) and genjikō (源 ).[1] Kōdō is counted as one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement.

JAPANESE CALLIGRAPHY - Zen calligraphy is practiced by Buddhist monks and most shodō practitioners. To write Zen calligraphy with mastery, one must clear one's mind and let the letters flow out of themselves, not practice and make a tremendous effort. This state of mind is called the mushin (無 ? "no mind state”). For any particular piece of paper, the calligrapher must be fully present and has but one chance to create with the brush.

JAPANESE POTTERY - Learning to use the potter’s wheel takes patience, practice, and focus. It is also very relaxing and rewarding. Initially the class will make small bowls, plates or cups before progressing onto other forms. Hand building or sculpture, is another way to work with clay. The basic techniques are easier to learn than wheel throwing and there is a larger range of forms you can make. 

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KAMALAYA

I have been visiting health retreats all over the world for 20 years now and Kamalaya had been on my wish list for well over 6 years, so you can imagine my delight when I was asked to fly to Thailand and visit Kamalaya as a mystery judge for the World Spa & Wellness Awards. 

The island of Koh Samui in Thailand has been health retreat central for over 20 years. In fact it was here that I went through my first 7 day fasting program back in 2000. It was also at this retreat that I attended my first yoga class and met my yoga teacher. Some years later I returned to the island for a second retreat and so when I landed at the airport I felt like I was coming home. 

The transfer to Kamalaya was smooth and within 50 minutes I was greeted into the lovely reception area for check-in. I was feeling wonderful already! I had booked a 7 night stay and after a busy year of moving interstate, studying interior design and work I was certainly ready to get my glow back on, and be an advocate for spa wellness. It was truly the perfect end to the year. 

My initial wellness consultation was thorough and my wellness advisor was exceptionally helpful with explaining certain speciality therapies on the spa menu. From there a plan was made and soon thereafter I arrived to the spa reception for my first treatment, which was an Ayurvedic Marma Point Massage, ideal for grounding and balancing. I had now arrived into my body and could already feel this was going to be an amazing week. 

Perched on a steep hillside that drops down to the sea and a private beach, I found myself feeling expanded and yet still. Whichever way I walked required some incidental exercise, along with some detoxification due to the sweating that naturally happens in the humidity of Thailand. In addition there was a daily schedule of classes that included yoga, meditation, pilates, aqua aerobics and some other things. I loved using the fitness centre and running on the treadmill with its spectacular view over the water and I also loved dancing freely in the yoga pavilion that sat on top of the hill. I hold this in my memory as 'my special place'. 

The food philosophy was absolutely perfect and I could not fault a single item. It has been carefully planned from all angles and whether one follows a vegan, raw, ayuvedic, TCM or paleo diet the menu and breakfast buffet had it all. The food was always beautifully presented, full of life, vitality and colour and of course delicious. It was such an inspiring culinary experience that I would return for this alone. The restaurant featured private tables along with a communal dining experience which is fabulous when travelling alone or if you are wanting to meet other wellness travellers. 

The spa and wellness menu is amongst the most comprehensive you will find anywhere. The approach to healing for mind, body and soul is available via a myriad of treatments to choose from. In addition, Kamalaya hosts some of the worlds best healing practitioners who offer their own specialty therapies, which ensures this spa menu will never be boring, and nor will your journey back to self. 

Finally what I most loved about Kamalaya is the pure intention that it was built upon. Created by John and Karina Stewart, this is a tale of love. They met at the feet of their Guru in India and from there became good friends. John was living in a Himalayan ashram at this time, and Karina was living in the USA and a practicing Chinese Doctor amongst other things. Some 11 years later John was told that it was time for him to leave the ashram and go into the world. He called Karina and with a shared vision they soon married and began the task of finding the perfect location for the retreat they imagined. During this time they met Marc Cornaz, who brought his exceptional experience as a hotelier to the development of the retreat so that today Kamalaya offers a luxury 5 star experience that rivals any other luxury resort.

Kamalaya offers an experience that touches mind, body and soul. I absolutely loved my week here and hope to return some day in the not too distant future.

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SKIN WELLNESS

Did you know that your skin is your largest living breathing organ? In fact, as adults we carry some 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) and 22 square feet (2 square meters) of skin on our body. As important as our skin is, it is the last organ to receive nutrients, but the first organ to show signs of imbalance, which is why our skin is such a great barometer for our overall health. 

The skin is often referred to as the third kidney or lung, because we absorb more impurities, and eliminate more waste through the skin than any other organ in our bodies (including the colon). Two pounds of waste are eliminated every day through the skin, which means that our health is reliant on the skin being able to perform this incredibly important function. We will come back to how we support the function of our skin in a moment, but first let’s stop and appreciate a few more things our skin does for us every day.

Biologically, our skin is our first line of defense and it holds our bodies together, shielding us from the outside world. Culturally, skin defines much of our standard for beauty, because bright, youthful skin signals healthy and vitality. And, like every part of our bodies, skin responds to care and attention.

Dry body brushing is a traditional natural health practice, which involves brushing over dry skin before following with a bath or shower. Dry brushing exfoliates dry, rough skin, opening pores so that toxins can freely pass out from the body and it lightly stimulates the nerves under the skin that connect to the lymphatic system, to drain these toxins from the body. It also assists with stimulation of sweat and oil glands, contributing to the restoration of moist, supple skin. Dry skin brushing also strengthens and improves skin tone and it alleviates vein and lymph congestion to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Another way we can support the skin as a passage way to expel toxins, is via the use of an infrared sauna or sweating through exercise. Sweating purges the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes. Induced sweating enhances your circulation and natural metabolic processes as well as helping to oxygenate your tissues. I hired an infrared sauna over winter and experienced amazing results. My skin glowed with cleanliness and was no longer dry. Plus, I generally felt a lot healthier.

What we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our body, because your skin absorbs a large percentage of what you put on it. Therefore, its very important that you only use natural skincare that is rich with oils the skin can actually recognize and metabolise/eat, for want of a better word. If pores are congested and blocked with chemical products and mineral oils, our skin cannot function and eliminate properly as described above. Our oil glands secrete oil that contains bacteria to fight off disease. Harsh chemicals, soaps and skin care products that deplete our bodies’ natural protective oils demolish this natural defense strategy. Another reason that making informed choices about personal care products is so important.

So much of how we feel about ourselves is also wrapped up in our appearance. Those suffering from skin ailments such as rosacea, acne, psoriasis and eczema, understand the anxiety and stress that blemished skin can have on emotional wellbeing. Understanding how the skin functions can help to alleviate these problematic skin conditions.

Finally, drinking a lot of water and eating a healthy diet rich in wholefoods, oils and fruits and vegetables is key to great skin. We need to nourish ourselves from the inside out, both through nutrition and healthy compassionate thoughts.

How ever your skin looks, I hope this article will highlight just how important your skin is for physical and emotional health. I recommend creating daily rituals to keep your skin healthy and nourished from the inside and out.

GREET THE SUN

Spring has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere and there is no better time to begin the very good habit of rising early to greet the morning sun. In fact, there are many health benefits associated with morning sunshine. Even the birds and other animals provide a veritable symphony of song and dance in praise of the sun.

Greeting the morning sunshine (without wearing sunglasses) can easily be added into a daily routine by taking a walk in nature or practicing something like tai chi or yoga whilst looking into the morning sun. And some of the health benefits include:

·       It Sets Up a Good Circadian Rhythm

·       Helps the Brain Work Better

·       Stimulates Serotonin

·       Begins the Cascade Effect of Daily Hormones

·       Regulates Nervous System & Hormones

·       Prevents Depression

·       Helps Cognition, Mood & Vitality

Setting up a good circadian rhythm or body clock is crucial to good health. When sunlight hits our eyes, a message is sent to the pineal gland in the brain and production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleep) is shut down and your body gets a clear signal that it’s no longer night. This sets us up for a productive day, as well as a good night’s sleep later in the day.

Being exposed to sunlight early in the morning (instead of later in the day) is associated with a lower BMI. And messing with your body clock and missing out on early rays may affect your hunger and satiety signals and alter the way your body processes the foods you eat, leading to possible weight gain.

Hormones are secreted throughout the day and greeting the morning sun sets this process in motion, which is why maintaining a healthy body clock serves your hormonal wellbeing.

Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin - a neurotransmitter in the brain, which helps to improve mood and reduce mood swings. It also acts as a natural anti-depressant by preventing depression by producing endorphins. Starting the day with a dose of sunshine helps the brain work better so that your cognitive performance and energy is improved.

The bottom line is that the sun can help brain function, which can improve the nervous system, hormonal regulation, muscle function, immune health, and carries many other health benefits. The brain’s circadian clock regulates sleeping and feeding patterns, alertness, core body temperature, brain wave activity, hormone production, regulation of glucose and insulin levels, urine production, cell regeneration, and many other biological activities. 

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WARM FOOD

During the colder winter months and in our more mature years, its actually very important to eat warm foods. Ancient food philosophies from Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda both espouse warm foods as supporting the digestion and healing the body.

It takes a lot of digestive energy whenever we drink something cold or eat raw cold foods, as the body has to work very hard to raise the temperature of the food or liquid we have ingested, so that the nutrients can then be absorbed. Unfortunately, a great number of people (both young and particularly beyond age 35) already suffer from a weakened digestive system due to our modern day diet and lifestyle.

When eating warmed cooked foods, more energy is available for digestion and absorption of nutrients. In many cases bloating and digestive discomfort is eliminated and the whites of the eyes even become brighter. This was certainly my experience when I made the transition from eating a diet that was mostly raw foods to that of cooked foods, after I had a consultation with a doctor of chinese medicine. At first I was distraught that I was being asked to give up my enzyme rich raw food diet, after all of the information that I had read and personally espoused on raw foods. However, the results I experienced from my warm food trial were so positive that I have continued to honour my own personal physiology, rather than following a food fad that is not suited to me.

It is always important to develop a food philosophy that suits your individual body and mental characteristics. Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine go a step further in that they look at a persons ‘dosha’ or ‘element’ to better understand what types of foods and lifestyle practices will best support.

However, coming back to warm foods, remember to chew well and eat whilst in a relaxed state. Different foods have their own unique properties too. For example; vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin, squash and carrot are very grounding. Certain spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne are very warming. Stewed fruits and honey hit that sweet spot for those with sugar cravings. And small amounts of protein and bone broths heal and repair the gut and body.

Finally, there’s nothing nicer than sipping on warm herbal tea throughout the day and before bed time. So enjoy the nourishing and contented feeling you receive when taking care of yourself in these colder months. 

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