Saturday, 10 December 2016

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

My journey with anxiety



During my teenage years I would suffer excruciating, chest tightening pains to the point that I would lose breathe, burst into tears and clutch at my heart area concerned that I was having a heart attack. After multiple doctors tests and days spent wearing machines that measured my heartbeat, all doctors could tell me was that I had an extremely slow heartbeat. Much to my dismay that solved none of the problems I was currently experiencing.

For the next few years I continued to suffer erratic chest pains. Doctors trialled me on medication, yet I would still continue to experience moments of uncontrollable panic, piercing pain and shortness of breath. I stopped telling my parents what was happening because I knew it would only worry them. I would erratically take my medication which was pointless in assisting anything and I felt like I was in a constant state of worry. 

I had seen so many medical professionals over the years who unfortunately couldn't get to the root of the problem, so I sought more holistic help. I sought help from a wellness professional. 

After a couple of episodes she sat me down and she asked me, 'are you a worrier? You mentioned that your Grandmother and your mother tend to worry, do you also?' Without a second thought I knew the answer was yes. I worried about absolutely everything.






She ran me through what she thought was happening. She explained to me that worrying can range in severity and what I was experiencing was anxiety. After much research it all made sense - the hot and cold flushes, the tightening of the chest, the snowballing of worries that quickly turned into an avalanche. At first it was hard to control. The panic would still come and go, but at least I knew why the pain was occurring. 

Eventually I developed steps and a routine that would assist with my anxiety. For any of my readers that may experience anxiety I thought it would be nice to share what worked for me. Although they may seem quite trivial and basic, it is often the simplest of tasks that make the biggest difference: 

-       Take time out
-       Breath deeply
-       Exercise daily
-       Sleep
-       Eat well

I have unfortunately run out of time and am rushing between jobs to get this up, so stay tuned as my next posts I will run you through exactly what I do to calm myself on a daily basis to get through moments of anxiety. 



For those of you out there not coping feel free to touch base, shoot me an email. I understand exactly how it feels and am always here to listen. In the meantime be calm, slow down your breathing and remember this too shall pass. 

Marlow Lou
xoxo






Sunday, 27 November 2016

I am actually a mermaid

It is incredible to think that this one element is what keeps us alive. That without it we would be non existent, yet it is something we use and disregard so easily on a daily basis. I contemplate just how much I take this precious elixir for granted. As I swim freely in this natural spring I have but a care in the world, yet I have not once stopped to think to myself how lucky I am to be doing so.

It is time to stop and appreciate the smaller things. 
Marlow
XX










Sunday, 13 November 2016

Protein Packed Pancakes




I never eat pancakes. When I say never I cannot even tell you the last time I ordered some for myself or took a bite of someone else's. I used to have an obsession with 'healthy foods' and pancakes was never on my healthy food list - saddening I know. 

I am still inclined to labelling foods as healthy and unhealthy - not a habit I would recommend nor is it a correct indication of how food should be consumed - however, I am getting better at stepping outside of my comfort zone. AKA I finally decided to make some pancakes (cue the percussion and cheers from the crowd). 

I still enjoy eating well so I wasn't going to gorge on a sugar laden and simple carbohydrate filled recipe. Instead I was going to source and make one full of delicious and wholesome ingredients that wouldn't leave my body feeling gluggy and my mind feeling guilty.


Ingredients

  • 100g oats
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g cottage cheese
  •  1 banana 
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 1 splash of your milk of choice (used soy milk)


Toppings

  • Almond butter
  • Honey
  • Chobani yoghurt
  • 4 Fresh figs
  • 1 pear
  • 1 apple
  • 1 handful of pomegranate seeds
  • (I used whatever fresh fruit I had at home which ended up being a pear, apple and blueberries)



Method

  1. Pop all pancake ingredients (excluding oil) into a blender until smooth
  2. If the mixture is too thick just add a little more milk
  3. Prepare all your toppings into small bowls. 
  4. I peeled and grated the pear and apple, then tossed with the blueberries. I then set the toppings aside until ready to plate. 
  5. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, brush with oil.
  6. Drop heaped tablespoons of the batter into the pan and cook for three minutes, or until little bubbles start to from on the surface. 
  7. Flip and cook the other side until lightly golden and cooked through. Transfer to plate. 
  8. Layer the pancakes up with the fruit and almond butter, drizzle over the honey and spoon on the yoghurt. 
  9. Now eat :D 





Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Healthy-shaming, the new fat-shaming!




I constantly read reports, see social posts and hear about fat-shaming. People being named, shamed and blamed for their eating habits, weight and appearance. I myself have thankfully never been the victim of such bullying but would never like to be on the receiving end of such hateful comments. I have always felt there was no need to put someone else down for their lifestyle choices. I am all for assisting a friend who is struggling when they need it but I would never stand there and jeer at them or reject them for their food choices.


Whilst fat-shaming is very often spoken about health-shaming is not. Just as some feel they have a right to comment on a larger person’s lifestyle, others feel they have a right to comment on others being too skinny, eating a healthy diet or exercising too much.


Today for the first time I truly felt like I was being shamed for my healthy lifestyle choices. Two friends, who I live with, love eating out, enjoying a cheeky takeaway and treating themselves with food. Tonight, was one of those nights. As I was eating dinner they shouted out to me that they were going on a food expedition. Knowing they are both trying to be healthier I jokingly shouted out in return, ‘make healthy choices.’ 


Later I heard them return, excited to see them I rushed downstairs to chat. As I opened the door they were both sitting on the floor munching on their dinner of choice. Whilst one looked at me guiltily the other turned around and said, ‘this is a judgement free zone.’ I stood there shocked. I hadn’t even opened my mouth yet and already it was being presumed that because I choose to eat well, I would condemn them for not doing the same. My friend then asked me to leave the room so they could eat without being ‘judged.’ 




As I shut the door I was so angry. How can you justify ostracizing someone for trying to be healthy when in essence it is just the same as fat shaming? It really got me thinking, why is skinny-shaming ok, if fat-shaming is not? 


To the next person who says ‘you are not welcome’ for choosing to be healthy, commenting on the food that I eat or putting me down for not eating ‘fattier’ or seemingly ‘unhealthy’ foods I say to you: 


~ I love myself. I choose to be healthy and gift my body with the best nutrients this wonderful world has to offer. I eat nutritious healthy food because I enjoy it.  I exercise because it makes me feel good. It eases my mind and jump starts my body for the day ahead. I choose to be the best possible version of myself that I can be. I will not listen to anyone who tries to tell me differently~






Saturday, 22 October 2016

Be You, Tea Full



I wake up, stroll to the kitchen and turn the kettle on. As I wait for it to finish with a quiet ding, I sleepily prepare my morning cup of tea. Placing the tea leaves in a strainer the smell of cinnamon, cardamon and aniseed surround me, calming me. 

My morning ritual is my meditation. A period of 15 minutes where I am by myself and enjoying the small things that life has to offer. The world is quiet, the rest of the house is asleep and I just sit there and watch the sun rise with my cup of tea. Perfection.

Hoping to share my love of tea with you, below are several of my go to teas throughout the day,why I love them and a range of health benefits that they offer. 

After reading this, I hope you too start your day with a delicious pot of beautiful tea. 





CHAI TEA
Benefits: It is made from a blend of aromatic herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg that contain antioxidants and phytochemicals known to reduce the risk of certain cancers. The antioxidants and phytochemicals within Chai tea benefit the immune system, gut health and facilitate energy production.
I love: My dog is named after this tea, that’s how much I love it! The best way to drink it is by brewing a wet chai mixture over the stove, with soymilk and a dash of honey. Delish!

MINT
Benefits: It improves digestion, reduces pain, eliminates inflammation cures bad breath and aids the immune systems. Mint tea is the perfect cuppa to sip on when it’s that time of the month as it eases nausea and stomach cramps.
I love: A warm cup of peppermint tea is my go to when I am feeling nauseas or off in the stomach. It also aids digestion, which makes it the perfect ‘after-dinner-mint’ to help relax and unwind after a big meal.

CHAMOMILE
Benefits: It promotes sleep, eases stomach-aches and can help in calming muscle spasms. This non-caffeinated herbal tea is the perfect solution for people looking to relax, unwind and enjoy a cosy evening ahead.
I love: drinking a hot mug of chamomile tea right before bed to relax me and put me straight to sleep. My only problem is that I always wake up in the middle of the night busting to go to the bathroom (eek).

GREEN
Benefits: It contains lots of antioxidants (catechins) and nutrients that are said to boost the metabolism, aid weight loss and improve brain function. Catechins are an important antioxidant present in green tea, known to assist heart disease, cancer and overall cell damage.
I love:  I would say that green tea is an acquired taste, one that has not come so easily to me. Due to green tea’s well-known benefits I do try and drink it several times a week however it has nothing on a scrumptious pot of chai.

LIQUORICE
Benefits: The liquorice root has long been used to treat ulcer like symptoms, digestive problems, heartburn and upper-respiratory ailments.  Liquorice root can however cause several side affects when used for a long period of time. 
I love: I regularly drink a liquorice tea infusion that contains only 44 per cent liquorice root. I am obsessed with this tea at the moment as it has the perfect combination of sweet, spicy yet subtle flavours.

BLACK
Benefits: Made from the same plant as green tea, black tea assists in lowering cholesterol as well as containing caffeine to give you a burst of energy throughout the day. Perfect for people like me who are trying to stay away from coffee.
I love:  A slug of boiling water and a dash of milk is how I like my black tea. Everyone is different, but this bad body gives me an extra oomph of energy I need to get up and attack the day ahead.

What is your favourite type of tea? Share below


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Journey to self love





Society has taught that worth is defined by wealth, status, beauty, sex and power. Without such things a person is made to feel worthless or less than those who do. When defined by such materialistic and vain barriers it can remove all forms of positive self-perception. If the mind begins to start 
filling the body and soul with negative self-talk and emotions, the body will begin to outwardly show those feelings. 

So hear this now. Vain, materialistic possessions and achievements will only bring temporary happiness. To achieve lifelong happiness - that must be found within. In order to achieve this, self-perception needs to be shifted and focused on the core nature of the being. Who am I? What makes me happy? How can I love myself? 

To begin this journey the most important thing is to start listening to your thoughts. Thoughts that are controlling, self-doubting or negative. Recognise when you are thinking a certain way and why. Instead of moving away from these thoughts and feelings try and understand them. Start to be aware of what the mind is doing through negative self-talk, self-abandonment, judgment, various addictions or coping mechanisms




When feeling this way there are two pathways that can be taken. The first is to protect against the pain and use negative coping mechanisms, such as addictive and controlling behaviour, to temporarily forget such thoughts. The second option is to understand these feelings. Learn why the mind is feeling this way, why it is reacting to a circumstance in this manner and why it seems to be causing pain? Whether it be pain through self-infliction or blame, understand why it is happening and how action can be taken to improve on the current, destructive methods being implemented. 

If the second option is taken on board (fingers crossed it is), know that these types of changes don't happen overnight. This will be a continuous journey of self- development, self-healing and positive thinking. It will be one of the hardest journey's to go on because it is challenging the way thoughts are processed and it is tackling a massive opponent. That opponent is the all-consuming, negative self.

After commitment, consistency and connection with oneself there will be change. A change for the better. A self-discovery that by loving yourself everything in your life improves. Relationships with others, outlooks on life, wellbeing and so much more. 

Love yourself for who you are right now! Every person is a constant work in progress so be present and enjoy the journey. Whilst loving who you are keep aiming to better yourself physically, mentally and emotionally to continue striving to be the best version of yourself possible. Create a passionate, fulfilled and joyful life, you won't regret it. 




Tips to takeaway


  • Begin your day with love. Get out of bed and do something beneficial for your body. Go for a walk, drink a delicious cup of tea and just be at one with your mind. 
  • Language is so important so talk yourself happy. Use affirmations to change your mind to become more positive
  • Be honest. If you are feeling upset express it. Burying emotions and thoughts will fix nothing. Talking and resolving feelings will.
  • Be patient. Changing years of negative emotions and self talk doesn't change overnight. Enjoy the journey and look forward to the result 
  • Appreciate the small things
  • Breathe
  • Forgive yourself 
  • Last but not least stop comparing yourself to others. You are beautiful just the way you are