My take on sugar and how you can help yourself...
Sugar has so many different names and faces. Reducing or managing sugar intake can be quite complex for people to navigate because sugars are hidden in so many places. It is one of the most common struggles I come across in people that I work with (including myself and my family). Excess sugar is detrimental to health in so many ways. Take control of sugar intake by understanding enough about food labels and leaning towards whole and least processed foods with shortest ingredients lists, as well as maintaining a well balanced eating strategy incorporating enough colourful vegetables with quality proteins and oils.
A promising new natural zero calorie sweetener is Monk Fruit, which has been used in Asia as a whole food for centuries, however, its effects as a granulated sweetener are still being researched and it is expensive, so often found mixed with other cheaper sweeteners. Always read product labels carefully.
The low carb sugar alcohol Birch Xylitol (from birch tree) tastes less sweet than white sugar, looks like sugar crystals and has some health benefits. Birch Xylitol may be useful while working on reducing sugar in the diet and it promotes healthy teeth, reducing bad bacteria in the mouth. Xylitol is naturally sourced, but processed into a Sugar Alcohol, so is usually fine for occasional treats and in chewing gum, but may produce gas/wind if over-consumed. Keep Xylitol away from pets as it is dangerous for cats and dogs. More research needs to be done on its effect on the gut bacteria and blood sugar metabolism, but so far it seems ok for short-term or occasional use by healthy people.
Dangers of Xylitol for animals
Keep Xylitol well away from pets. Read more about xylitol here and about xylitol dangers for dogs here
A healthier Raspberry Chocolate Brownie recipe
A healthier Raspberry Chocolate Brownie recipe - less sugar with more yummy flavours!
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1/3 - 1/2 cup of your choice of sweetness* (dependent on taste and health needs)
1/4 cup of dark cocoa powder**
1/4 cup of desiccated coconut**
1 cup of raspberries
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon ('ceylon' preferably)
1/2 tsp pink salt
1/4 tsp cardamom powder (optional)
Melt raspberries if frozen. 'Gently' melt together coconut oil with cocoa powder and your choice of sweetness*. Stir in the melted raspberries and desiccated coconut, remove from heat and leave to cool. In a bowl, gently whisk together eggs, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir the cocoa raspberry mixture into the eggs mixture. Then gently whisk in the flour a spoonful at a time, forming a smooth batter. Line a square dish with grease proof paper and pour in the mixture. ***Bake at 170°C for 20-25 minutes or until the centre is firm enough. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.
Find my other recipes here...
Dangers of Xylitol for animals
Don't give Xylitol to pets. Read more about xylitol here and about xylitol dangers for dogs here
Heart Breathing & Heart Meditation for You...
Heart Breathing & Heart Meditation for Resilience, Self-Care & Connecting to your Joy
If you have just eaten or are not feeling 100% well, then go gently on the breathing in this exercise. We are going to do a quick practice of the two ‘quick fixes’ before we get into the combined guided meditation.
Quick fix 1) Relax. Take 3 or 5 slow deep breaths filling your lungs while pretending to fill ‘a balloon’ in your abdomen OR you could just fill your lungs and hold your breath for 4 counts with each in-breath, and then expel slowly. Experiment with both, or do something else you are familiar with. BEGIN TO RELAX. You will find the perfect way for you. Whichever way you do it, slow deep breathing triggers a calming response in the body, and instantly begins to reduce the stress responses associated with ‘fight or flight’ mechanisms.
Quick fix 2) Place your hand on your heart OR the center of your chest. This makes your heart feel like it’s receiving a hug, and triggers the release of the love hormone oxytocin. This also happens when we really HUG other people. We are basically wired for love, and, connecting to our joy. This also helps to move our focus out of our head (thoughts) and down to our heart (love & wisdom).
Go Deeper with the Meditation
There are three parts to the full meditation, but part A is useful to use anytime if you are feeling emotionally hurt, stressed, frazzled or are just in need of some love.
You may speak this meditation slowly aloud to yourself and record your voice on your cellphone on an ‘audio record app’ so you can relax and replay it to yourself whenever you wish. Alternatively, you may get in touch with me if you would like me to lead a group in this meditation or create a recording especially for you.
A) Find a quiet space. Switch off for a moment, close your eyes, take five slow deep breaths, and move your focus from your head to your heart. Place your hand on your heart OR the center of your chest, to help you focus there (OR if you were in a public space you could ‘IMAGINE your hand on your heart’). Relax your shoulders… down, and relax your belly. Then while focusing on your heart, slowly continue breathing in… and out. Imagining or feeling as though you are gently breathing, in and out through your heart... Continue your gentle heart breathing for a few moments, until the heart and mind are feeling much lighter.... (This basic technique, or Part A, can be kept in your back-pocket and used whenever you need a break, some peace, or a hug.)
B) As you breathe slowly in and out, through your heart. To the best of your ability, feel a genuine sense of love or appreciation for something or someone. Focus on these feelings of love or appreciation, feel them filling your heart, let your heart expand. Allow these feelings to flow outward to other areas of your body, to anywhere that needs loving and healing. Feel the love expand. Feel your heart smile. Let your face smile. Stay there a while. Sink into these feelings of love and appreciation.
C) When you are feeling amazing, basking in joyful feelings, you may then bring to mind someone OR something that you would like to send your loving energy to OR alternatively you may ask your heart a question and wait for an answer from your heart's wisdom. You choose. Enjoy this and spend as long as you wish here.
FINISH) When you are ready to finish your heart meditation and get on with your day, begin to bring your focus back to the room, ‘feel’ the chair or mat you are sitting/lying on, ‘wiggle’ your toes and fingers, notice the light on your eyelids, open your eyes, look at the walls/windows, have a glass of water and move your body… It is perfectly ok to fall asleep if you do this at bedtime or in a safe place.
Inspired by the heart breathing and heart meditations available at:
https://www.greggbraden.com/ and https://www.heartmath.com/
Keep it in your Back-Pocket
Everyday life provides plenty of small opportunities to experiment with some of the self-care ideas on this page. Regular practice builds resilience and keeps it actively in your back-pocket for when a bigger upset occurs. When feeling overwhelmed, aim for at least 5-10 minutes of heart breathing or meditation for best self-care results.
Heart Breathing: A few ‘deep heart-felt breaths’ with eyes open, can be discreetly included as you go about your day.
Heart Meditation: Only meditate in a safe place, and never meditate while driving or operating machinery.
Research shows that messages the heart sends to the brain also can affect performance, mood and stress response. More information in this FREE e-book at: https://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/resilience-stress-and-emotions
For more information, or to learn about some other useful techniques, or for group or individual guidance please get in touch. I am here to support you on this journey of self-health discovery. Get in touch here...
Ever feel frazzled, stressed, overwhelmed or at the end or your rope? Life shouldn't be a struggle, but many of us still go through deep valleys on our journey towards something better. To help us move through the challenging times with more grace, it is crucial to learn some keys to developing a resilience mindset. Those of us who choose to follow our passion to make a positive change in the world around us are especially prone to burn-out and over-giving of ourselves. So here are some of what I believe are the keys to building personal resilience:
~ Nourish yourself first (nourishing food, sleep, movement, love) ~
~ Play to your personal strengths & highest values ~
~ Surround yourself with a like-minded tribe ~
~ Be authentically you (you are unique and your purpose is too) ~
~ Value your personal contribution (but don't take yourself too seriously) ~
~ Practice self-compassion and heart-felt acceptance ~
~ Be 'willing' to forgive yourself and let it go ~
~ Allow yourself time to 'switch off' and be still ~
~ Honour your dreams and pursue them with passion ~
~ Let your inner child out to play, laugh and enjoy. Often!!
When life feels difficult, keep on moving, even just the tiniest step forward! Re-view, re-assess and reset your inner GPS. The storm around you is life transforming itself in order to manifest something even better and it hurts less if we go gracefully with the flow rather than resisting the change. Pray, shout, declare or share what's on your heart, there is power in the spoken word and your passion and dreams are there for reason. So let go of your perceived ideas of what is right, have faith in the outcome, and keep looking for the blessings and rainbows. Remember, the only thing constant is change. Strengthen your resilience through flexing the muscles of faith, gratitude, courage and determination. Speak up for what you believe.
"Follow your heart's call, express your unique personality and trust that everything is unfolding perfectly."
Be gentle on yourself, you have come this far, you are awesome! Enhance your well-being by being still and connecting with the well of infinite love, appreciation and compassion found in your heart. Send love to every cell of your body, because it loves you more than anything else in the world. Let go and let your mind be still, all is well. Believe that SOMETHING AMAZING is about to happen, and keep your eyes and ears open for the little guiding miracles occurring all around. Find out more about my philosophy here...
"Say YES to amazing opportunities and the how will unfold along the way."
We have a Facebook Community, a place to share uplifting personal quotes, encouragement, inspiration and heart-felt thoughts. A place to nourish mind, heart and soul, just at the right time when we need it. To surround ourselves with love and a like-minded tribe, to practice greater self-compassion and to love ourselves better. Click here to join our community...
Do you ever take the time to just stop and 'be'. We are human 'beings'. If you are like me, you need to stop doing all over the place and get out of your own way. Rediscover the centre of who you are, your heart, your soul, your magnificence.
Silence, meditation, gratitude prayers, inspired song, fun creativity and connecting with the natural world all help to restore, revive and just 'be you'. This creates an environment where you can hear the gentle calling of your heart and allow your mind and body to heal and rejuvenate. No time, no pressures, no agenda, no expectations.
As you regularly make the time to stop and come back to your centre, the easier it will be to trust your inner-tuition, trust the process and be all that you were destined to be in mind, body and spirit. Your heart calls you to use your gifts and live your purpose, but how you express that is entirely your choosing.
Wellness warrior story...
After many years seeking ways to heal my own mind and body of a whole gamut of ailments and symptoms, through books, seminars, training intensives, various healing modalities and then the internet, I eventually decided to give up the corporate work-life and officially went back to school and intentionally forge a new path into the depths of health, nutrition and wellbeing. I love learning about the latest research in health science and I love how the body, mind, heart and spirit works together and influences one another.
I love helping others learn new vitality and health promoting habits, practices, knowledge and skills that helps them thrive better in life, and this act of service actually helps me to thrive better in my own life. Now I spend my time living and sharing my passions, being of useful service, doing what I can with what I have in my hand, allowing my life, work and wisdom to grow and flow. The best health outcomes are possible when I let go of my own expectations and make room for God to move, in every thought, relationship and situation. Letting go of my own limitations and letting the divine hand move in miraculous and mysterious ways. Learn more about my philosophy here...
Life is more than what may seem and every cell, gene, enzyme and hormone in our bodies works better when it is given the right environment to flourish and do its job. Inner wellness and a thriving inner community creates outer health, radiance and resilience. Every thought, action, behaviour and reaction is followed by a cascade of inner chemical responses throughout the body.
On mission, to enable the re-discovery of our fullest potentials in mind, body and spirit. Contact me today to find out how I might serve you...
Shared in love and joy,
Michelle Bishop xx
Mindd Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, Movement Consultant & Certified Nutrition Coach. Supporting health transformation, optimal healthy ageing, wellbeing, vitality, growth, healing, brain-gut-immuno harmony. Educating, public speaking, writing, researching, consulting and coaching. Promoting optimal health and wellness behaviours and facilitating lasting change and transformation. Holistic lifestyle medicine, individualised functional nutrition, fun movement & “happy heart-happy gut-happy mind” habits.