Chats with Brooke Meredith ... health guru!!

My gorgeous friend Brooke Meredith (aka @brookiechook) has sat down with me & given her top 4 Health & Wellness Tips to get us through winter! If I trust anyone with this stuff, it's Brooke!! Check out the below for her amazing tips. To access more from her, head to A Conscious Collection & get a copy of her e-book or subscribe the her blog!  I'll be catching up with Brooke again soon to expand on all of this... so keep your eye out for Part 2 !! 

EK x

1. What are your top tips regarding things we can add into our diet during winter to keep our skin nourished & hydrated?

With the change of season we tend to forget to change up our beauty habits and alter our diets to suit a colder climate; leaving our skin feeling dull, dehydrated and often lacking a healthy glow. 

Don’t forget to drink water. It’s easy for our water intake to decline during winter, as we don’t crave cold water like we do in summer. Be sure to keep a large drink bottle with you at all times to ensure adequate hydration. If you are not a fan of cold water try having tepid water with fresh lemon, or non hydrating herbal teas. Aim for 2- 3 liters a day.

Healthy omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, avocado, nuts and flaxseed oils will help retain elasticity in the skin and help your skin feel nourished and plump.

Include a wide variety of watery vegetables in your diet for extra boost in hydration. Some good ones include: celery, eggplant, spinach and cucumber.

2. When it's cold & wet ...  my tummy wants sugar! I know I need to keep my energy up in winter so what can you suggest that is sweet BUT wholesome? 

Sugar cravings come as our leptin levels“hunger hormone” are off balance. Leptin is a hormone made by cells that helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. When in balance, leptin sends out signals to our brain telling us that we are full and have had enough to eat. Unfortunately the more food you consume containing refined, processed carbohydrates and sugars, the more delayed the signal is to tell you when you are full, causing you to over eat. That is why during the colder months especially, when we reach for comfort food, we look for comforting foods from natural sources, which are satisfying and wont put us into a vicious cycle craving sweet and processed foods.

When it’s dreary, wet and miserable, it’s important to eat foods in season and give the body what it wants in order for it to thrive and have an abundance of energy. If the sweet tooth kicks in, steam some sweet potato, mash it and mix in a little pure maple syrup and a scoop of protein powder for a nourishing bowl of creamy sweet potato pudding.  Or try a protein ball, or hearty bowl of oats, to cure the cravings.

3. People always talk about Agave, Stevia ... Manuka Honey. Can you talk us through these? And do you have tips of where to find them & how much to expect pay?

When we talk about the damaging effects of sugar - this is from the fructose component, therefore, when looking for the best alternatives I use ones with the least amount of fructose.

  • Agave: I don’t personally use Agave as it’s 90% fructose. Treat this like you would normal sugar and have it as a treat only.
  • Rice Malt Syrup: Made my fermenting brown rice this is one of my favorite substitutes as it contains zero fructose.
  • Stevia: Again is another one I use in my baking as it contains zero fructose it is however 125 times sweeter then regular sugar and can be quite bitter for first time users. You only need a small amount to get sweetness. 
  • Maunka Honey: Comes with many health benefits. It’s antibacterial and works as a pre-biotic which helps feed the gut flora. It also contains trace elements of amino acids, minerals and protein enzymes. Whilst it hosts a number of health benefits, it does come with a high fructose content, so use in moderation..

4. If you could go back in time and have a conversation with your 10 year old self - what advice would you tell her?!

I would tell her to dream big, work hard and when people tell you no and shut your ideas and dreams down to chase them anyway.