Barefoot Bootcamp – “it’s not about that”

Do you remember your first yoga class?  

I went into mine with all my preconceptions…yoga was ‘bendy’…yoga was feminine…yoga was ‘light’ exercise…yoga was slow and boring…yoga was a little bit weird!  “i’m not that flexible” was my nervous ‘hello’ as i walked into the mat filled room!  Apparently my Yoga instructor had heard that one before – about a million times!- and he smiled a big wide reassuring smile and said…“it’s not about that”.

He knew then, what I would come to know in time – yoga wasn’t about whether I could lift my legs behind my ears, it was about fascinating in where my body was currently at.  It was an invitation to stay connected to my breath in difficult and vulnerable situations.  it was exploring my body as a vessel for movement and blurring the lines between what was mind, and what was body.

This sounds like i’m bestowing yoga with magical powers, but any surgeon will tell you how freely the limbs move under anesthetic – as the central nervous system has been removed from the equation.  Thus, ‘stiff’ muscles seem to be only a small part of the equation.

Yoga is just a little bit 'out there!'
Strength!

Needless-to-say, I left the yoga class with very different feelings from the ones I’d taken in!  This was in no small part due to the Yoga teacher I’d had the good fortune to select.  The role and value of the Teacher was brought to the forefront of my mind just recently when a good friend asked me to run some strength and conditioning sessions out of his shiny new Yoga studio.

I had some ‘kick-back’ when a photo of me ‘weightlifting’ was used to advertise these new classes.  it caught me a little off-guard – having worked with clients in their 80’s who’s strength was literally a matter of life and death if they were were to fall alone at home.  Having used weights to successfully improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s sufferers who were at a loss as how they would carry their groceries home, weighlifting just makes sense to me.  It suprised me there’s such a huge stigma attached to lifting weights…and like my yoga teacher before me I found myself in but “it’s not about that”  

So why weight lift?  Why build muscle mass?  Why come to Barefoot Bootcamp? 

IMG_6463
Barefoot Bootcamp can happen anywhere your body takes you!

Having read the cutting-edge research which showed muscle in and off itself had a protective effect against alzheimer’s – not how active someone was, but actually how much muscle tone they had!  Knowing every Osteopathic governing body recommends weight lifting activities to thicken and strengthen bones, knowing building muscle builds a bigger, stronger more bullet proof engine for the body –  I’ll be continuing to lift weights and encouraging my clients to do the same as part of a healthy lifestyle and the ultimate quest to connect body, mind and spirit and to have fun of course!

Come and join me at my Barefoot Bootcamp and listen to your body afterwards – it will thankyou I can promise that.

Yours in strength

Manos

References:

“Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say that high-intensity strength training produced significant improvements in quality of life, mood and motor function in older patients with Parkinson’s disease.” http://jap.physiology.org/content/early/2014/01/07/japplphysiol.01277.2013

“Some evidence suggests that exercise may do even more than boost strength and balance; it may protect brain cells from degeneration and make Parkinson’s medications work better.” http://www.webmd.com/parkinsons-disease/news/20120216/weight-training-improves-parkinsons-symptoms?page=2

“High intensity strength training is recommended as part of a management strategy for osteoporosis.” — http://www.sign.ac.uk/guidelines/fulltext/71/section4.html

“These recommendations are based on strong scientific evidence suggesting that weight-bearing physical activity plays a key role during the normal growth and development of a healthy skeleton. High-intensity exercise of short duration appears to elicit the greatest bone density increase in the growing skeleton. This information is especially important to parents, teachers and health authorities that are responsible for school curricula. A sedentary lifestyle, rather than an excessively active one, is more likely to be the risk faced by most children today” — Gortmaker SL, Must A, Sobol AM et al. Television viewing as a cause of increasing obesity among children in the United States 1986-1990. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1996;150:356-362.

This study indicates that over a 2-year period, a combined regimen of aerobics and weight training has beneficial effects on BMD and fitness parameters in young women. However, the addition of daily calcium supplementation does not add significant benefit to the intervention. — Friedlander, A. L., Genant, H. K., Sadowsky, S., Byl, N. N. and Glüer, C.-C. (1995), A two-year program of aerobics and weight training enhances bone mineral density of young women. J Bone Miner Res, 10: 574–585. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.5650100410

“Resistance training had a positive effect on bone mineral density at the lumbar spine of all women and at the femur and radius sites for postmenopausal women. It was concluded that resistance training has a positive effect on bone mineral density in women…regular weight-bearing exercise can result in 1% to 8% improvements in bone strength at the loaded skeletal sites.” Kelley GA, Kelley KS, Tran ZV. Resistance training and bone mineral density in women: a meta-analysis of controlled trials. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2001;80:65-77

Homemade RAW milk Kefir in 5 easy steps!

Food, the forgotten medicine (c)

We LOVE Kefir in our house!  In terms of fermented and pro-biotic wonder foods it’s an absolute WINNER with trillions, that’s right trillions of tiny GOOD bacteria to help keep your gut healthy.

Read more on the science and benefits here

Since our son was born, my partner drinks it every day and we’re confident it is strengthening his digestive system through her nursing him.

Little Milk Man
Little Milk Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re planning to offer him some too once he’s old enough!

It’s one of the easiest fermented foods to make (promise) … so much so you can do it in 5 steps…

Here’s what you need…

  • Kefir grains
  • Organic whole or Raw Milk if you can get it from a trusted source.
  • A plastic sieve
  • A glass mason jar
One of my milk Kefir Grains
One of my Kefir Grains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what to do…

Depending on how strong you like the taste of your kefir you can choose how much milk to add to your grains.  I’m currently working with a x5 grains (*) to 1 pint of milk ratio.

  1. Rinse the grains in a little of the milk through your sieve if you’ve been ‘hibernating’ (**) them or they’ve just arrived.
  2. Add your milk to the kefir grains in a mason jar
  3. Take to your nearest warm spot (we use the airing cupboard)
  4. Leave for between 12-18 hours popping the top and shaking once
  5. Open, sieve, chill and serve!

 

If you give it a go I’d love to know how you get on… you can contact me via my facebook page. 

(*) Kefir grains will multiply the more you feed them… you can read more here

(**) You can hibernate your kefir grains in the fridge in a little milk if you need a little holiday from them.

 

 

5 Ways to Beat Christmas Weight-gain

Food, the Forgotten Medicine©

Christmas Cat

Cold weather, shorter days and festive cheer is the perfect excuse to overeat at this time of year, but if we understand our bodies a little better we can enjoy ourselves without over the top weight-gain.

File:Fatmouse.jpg
Leptin Deficient Mousey & A very Normal Mousey

Your appetite – like most things – is controlled by hormones…principally ‘Ghrelin’ and ‘Leptin’.

They work on a feedback loop – when your stomach is empty, Ghrelin is produced and this signals the brain that it’s time to eat.  Leptin, on the other hand tells the brain to stop eating if we start gaining too much fat.  In other words, Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite, whilst Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite – if you want to lose weight, you want LESS Ghrelin in your system.

 

Here’s my top FIVE ways to look after your hormones this Christmas…

 

ONE – Sleep more!

Sleep deprivation is a great way to increase the production of ghrelin and decrease leptin production   If you’re going to a few parties these next few weeks then you’d better find time to throw some afternoon naps in the mix – buffets and increased ghrelin aren’t a great idea!

TWO – Avoid *Hyperpalatable Foods

If you really want your brain chemistry messed with, eat highly processed foods.

Food manufacturers know that fat, sugar, and salt send our reward centers crazy, meaning we always want more.  Essentially, we can’t ‘hear’ the signals from our gut through all the dopamine ‘noise’.

Stay away from highly processed foods altogether –  better still make your own treats and you’ll know exactly whats gone in them!  Check out this blog post for Festive Treats.

THREE – Eat Slower

If you choose to eat like an industrial hoover then it’s inevitable you’ll get a LOT of calories down your neck before your brains even received the signal that your stomach is full – best advice here is to chew your food and appreciate the textures and flavours.

FOUR – Eat Mindfully 

It’s a good idea to stop eating (not always) before you’re completely full, and that requires a focused dialogue from gut to brain.  Watching TV, messaging on FB, or driving whilst eating, are a sure-fire way to break that connection!

FIVE – Keep Your Balance – Energy Balance that is!

Bear in mind that you can’t out-train a sloppy diet – not even the magic of Christmas allows this! 

However, that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t powerful stuff, and i wouldn’t wait until the New Year to start…even if its just 5 minutes, do something today, and by the time January roles around, your body will not be thrown to the bootcamp HIIT wolves!

Talking about intensity (HIIT), shorter exercise durations at medium-to-high intensities has been shown to illicit less cravings – particularly in women.  So, if your idea of fat-loss is hours of treadmill or cycling, you might want to consider how that impacts your appetite later that day and wether you increase your meals and snacks to compensate!  Your best bet is to keep the duration relatively short and ramp up the intensity.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 21.49.30
image & data courtesy of suppversity.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

Finally, what if there was an activity that not only got us moving, but aided our digestive health too!

To many, Yoga is about being bendy – or perhaps graceful & bendy – but for me it’s more an internal practice – check out these 14 yoga postures that aid digestion.

Of course there are Yoga teachers who are focused on the bendy-aesthetic, and Yoga Teachers who are focused on the intelligent side of yoga, so choose your class accordingly!  If you’re located in the North East of England, then Jambo Yoga certainly fits the latter!

 

Whatever your journey, have an AMAZING time!!!

 

Happy Christmas!

 

Magic ‘The Grinch’ Manos

 

 

*Hyperpalatable foods is a term coined by Harvard-trained pediatrician, and former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD

Glorious Golden Milk

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

 

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, and is also found in limited amounts in Ginger. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and cancer preventative molecule, and similar to Fish Oil it seems to be an effective metabolic syndrome band-aid. Black Pepper greatly enhances absorption. — examine.com

 

Huge bag of the wonder spice!
Huge bag of the wonder spice!

 

Turmeric has hit the headlines as a power spice recently for it’s reported immune boosting properties…it’s another example of us in the West cottoning onto something that actually finds it’s roots in ancient healing and medicine, specifically Siddha Medicine.

Turmeric has many health benefits including acting as a detoxer of the liver and helping maintain a healthy digestive system.

Here’s a warming winter recipe for you to try, it tastes pleasant, I think you’ll like it…

Glorious Golden Milk

Serves two

X 2 cups of raw (unpasteurised) cows milk ideally or use unsweetened almond milk

x 1 tsp coconut oil

X 1 tsp ground turmeric

X 1 tsp cinnamon

A pinch of nutmeg & black pepper (*don’t forget the black pepper at it greatly increases the biovailability of curcumin!)

X 1 tsp maple syrup (omit if cutting sugar)

A spoonful of spice helps the medicine go down!
A spoonful of spice helps the medicine go down!

 

Heat the milk gently in a saucepan and whisk in the dry ingredients, warm through for a few minutes…enjoy on it’s own on a rainy afternoon or as a pre bedtime treat with a piece of high quality dark chocolate!

Et Voila - winter warming perfection!
Et Voila – winter warming perfection!

Fermented Foods, Homemade Kombucha Tea!

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

Fermented foods are an everyday part of my diet…I make homemade sauerkraut, kefir and this kombucha tea drink everyday.  I wanted to share my method with you to hopefully explain in simple terms how to make fermented wonder foods part of your every day!

 

It's ALIVE!
It’s ALIVE!

These additions to a healthy diet can be SO simple to make and blast all your pro-biotic yoghurt based drinks out of the park in terms of GOOD bacteria!

Kombucha Tea Drink

You will need;

  • Bottled mineral water – x 2 litres
  • Organic black loose leaf tea (you can use organic tea bags if you like, must be black) x 4
  • Organic sugar x 1 cup
  • X1 SCOBY (I can give you this if you’re on one of my plans or you can order from a reputable company online)
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast SORRY Scoobes!
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast SORRY Scoobes!

 

How to do it;

  1. Boil half the mineral water and add to the sugar and tea in a ceramic bowl to infuse for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the cool mineral water and leave until completely cool.
  3. Strain out the tea or tea bags using a PLASTIC (BPA free) sieve. (Kombucha does’t like metal at any stage of the process).
  4. Add your Kombucha to a clean sterilised jar with your SCOBY. Do not seal completely but drape a clean tea towel or muslin cloth over it to protect from bacteria.  Store in a warm place away from direct sunlight.  Kombucha does not like cold!
  5. Your Kombucha is ready full of probiotics in 5days but in terms of your own personal taste, the longer you leave it the stronger tasting the brew will be! You can keep it on the counter or in the fridge after it’s reached your desired taste.
Your can grab these bottles from IKEA for a couple of quid - great for storing your delicious drink!
Your can grab these bottles from IKEA for a couple of quid – great for storing your delicious drink!

 

The benefits!

The main benefits of this tasty elixir as well as it being JAM PACKED full of ANTIOXIDANTS are vast;

1. It contains TONNES of probiotics

2. It can alkalize the body to balance your internal pH

3. It detoxes the liver

4. It will increase metabolism, improve digestion and keep you regular!

5. It can rebuild connective tissue – help with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism

6. Reduce blood pressure

7. Relieves headaches & migraines

8. Heal eczema – can be applied directly to the skin

9. Help clear up candida, yeast infections & group strep b in pregnancy

10. Help with healthy cell regeneration

 

Have fun real food warriors!!

 

How to be ‘BULLET-Proof’!

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

As someone who doesn’t tolerate supermarket milk, I’ve been putting butter in my coffee for years.  It might seem like a radical new thing to do, but the Tibetans have been putting butter in their hot drinks for hundreds of years – yet another traditional forgotten food!

Dave Asprey is credited with the resurgence of this ancient practice by his clever branding and it is now popularly referred to as ”Bullet-Proof’ Coffee.

Growing in popularity and spreading like wild fire due to it’s amazing health benefits and taste, I wanted to share my method and my motivation for drinking this lovely stuff!!  You can read more about the original inventor and his products here. 

So… what is Bullet Proof Coffee – well it’s essentially delicious coffee whizzed up with butter and coconut oil but the science is so much more interesting that that…

But why oh why would we put butter in our coffee and not milk or cream?

Well…it’s a morning kick start of beautiful coffee, essential fats and actually promotes fat burn and optimises cholesterol levels! (*)

Great news eh?!

Want to have a go for yourself?  Read on…

Brewing delicious FAIR TRADE coffee and tea for 250 years with OVER 50 different types of beans!
My coffee of choice – FAIR TRADE coffee in the North East for over 250 years

 

You will need…

  • Your favourite morning mug
  • Responsibly sourced Coffee Beans – I like Pumphrey’s Espresso Crema beans and buy them in bulk from the Blaydon store
  • V60 dripper and filter (or your favourite brewing method)
  • Just boiled filtered water
  • 1 tsp grass fed butter (*)
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Hand held blender

The North East Bullet Proof method…

  • Grind your Pumphrey’s coffee beans fresh
  • Pour your just boiled water through your filter into your mug; for essential mug warming and rinsing of the paper, discard the water after a couple of minutes
  • Add a measure of your ground beans to your filter
  • SLOWLY pour over the water until your mug is full
  • Pour into a bowl and add the butter and coconut oil
  • Whizz up for a good few minutes with a blender or if you’re lucky enough to have one a nutri-bullet or similar
  • Pour into your favourite morning mug
  • ENJOY and step forth into your day in the knowledge you’ve already started in one of the best ways possible…
Be Bulletproof
Be Bulletproof

(*) ..as a caveat to bulletproof coffee…and any individual food really…it needs to be considered in context of the overall diet.  If we’re still eating a typical diet, whacking extra fat on top is not bulletproof!

(*) Only use grass-fed butter like Kerrygold. Butter from grain-fed cows has a completely different fat make-up and it won’t taste anywhere near as smashing!!

 

Fast Forward – one mans 10 day journey without food

Sunday 25 May 2014

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Following my ignoble false-start, I had to pick myself up, dust myself down, and start Day 1 of my 10 day fast with renewed vigour!

The previous 2 days of no dairy, no meat, no processed food, was plain sailing on a sea of steamed vegetables and kale soups.

I start the day as I will do everyday for the next 10days with 500ml of water, 4 tablets of Essential Amino Acids, and 20 tabs of Cracked Cell Chlorella.

‘Essential’ means they can’t be manufactured by the body, – and there’s no calories in them so nothing to digest – so it seems sensible to include a supplement.

2 hours later I’ll have more aminos in the form of spirulina and wheat grass powder which I’ll mix into 500ml of water.

That green drink is accompanied by 15 drops of what tastes like battery acid but which I’m informed is a very concentrated mix of sea and plant minerals – largely magnesium.

Actually I’m informed that it’s ‘Supercharged activated fulvic acid; ocean and plant derived magnesium with over 72 ionic trace minerals’ but I prefer my description!

I do this water/aminos/minerals ritual 3x per day in all, and each night I have a tablespoon of powdered fibre blend – I don’t want the bacteria in my gut going hungry – they haven’t signed up for this!

And finally the cherry on top night-cap -literally- is 2 tablespoons of super concentrated sour/tart cherries in 200ml of water.

There is about 70calories in this powerful hit of antioxidants but I feel important to include for a couple of reasons…

One, the surprising levels of melatonin will give me a good nights sleep each night which may or may not be a factor when trying to sleep on an empty stomach. Two, and perhaps more importantly it will assist with uric acid metabolism – serum uric acid will has been shown to be elevated during prolonged therapeutic fasting.

We’re getting into technical waters but uric acid has a main role of protecting high-oxygen tissues such as the brain from damage (fairly important then!).

Hopefully the nitty-gritty above is useful information for anyone attempting their own fast (although it doesn’t need to be technical, plenty of people do water only fasts), but for me the important thing is remaining mindful over the 10 days.

Mindful of why I’m on this journey of self discovery and mindful of any shifts that may come my way whilst I’m on it.

Not so Fast! – The mini-blog of a man going without food for 10 days

DAY ONE (Thurs 22 May 2014)

Image

 

Day one rolled around for the start of my 10 day fast – super excited to start, i dove straight in and didn’t have breakfast!  That’s the funny thing about a fast – all dressed up and know-where to go…or at least all fired up and nothing to do!

 

You’ll be pleased to note, my excitement didn’t last too long. 

 

It seemed all was not well at Parcel Delivery-towers and key supplements didn’t arrive on time.  When they eventually came i realised i should’ve taken some in the morning, then again at mid-day…so it’s about 5pm i haven’t eaten since yesterday, I’m staring down the barrel of 10 days without food but in my heart i know that #i’mdoingitwrong!

 

At this point, I also notice i should’ve done a two day lead-in – 48hrs of no dairy, no meat and no processed foods…doh, doh and doh!!

 

So ignoring the fact i was so under-prepared for such an exciting undertaking i considered my options… 1) ignore the fact I’d missed part of the protocol and carry on not eating,or 2) feel like a failure and quit …please don’t make me quit on day one!!

 

Actually there was a third option, let go of my ego (at least for a while) and do the damn protocol as it was meant to be done and forgot about the very notion of success and failure!  They’re imaginary concepts anyway!

 

That’s what i would’ve advised any of my clients to do, but it’s hard to see wood for the trees when your self-directed…note to self, get a life coach.  I also can’t judge the protocol if I’ve tinkered with it or modified it around me – so let’s do this properly!

 

OK so drama averted! Today gets scratched.  Tomorrow no dairy, no meat and no processed foods and Saturday likewise.  Then, come Sunday its on like Donkey KonG!!!!

 

Choose Life

Choose_Life

This year is THE year you take control of your health/fitness. So you’ve got some BIG choices to make!

 

If I could give you one tip before you race off on whatever eating/exercise plan you feel is right for you – it would be to make your next diet a learning opportunity.

 

Most people start the Year ready to do battle…

 

In the Red corner…will-power/good intentions and discipline…in the blue corner, the reigning, undefeated heavyweight champion of the World…weighing in at 200lbs …cake/ice-cream and the couch.

 

You may be able to go 10 or 20 rounds but if you haven’t learnt anything about yourself along the way it’s back to square one with a bloody nose and two black eyes!

 

You need a system

 

Here’s a system that works for me…

1) Pull Carbs out of my diet for 6 days

2) Sensitise the gut  -no grains, no dairy, no beans, lentils or legumes for a further 3 weeks

3) Reintroduce carbs – start with 50g/day see how i look, perform, and feel, and adjust accordingly

 

At the end of this month I can tell you which foods make me bloated or give me a runny nose – and thus overwhelm my digestive capability – and how much carbohydrate I need to fuel my day before i’m back riding the Sugar roller-coaster of death!

 

Don’t worry, it’s a lot more straightforward than it sounds – and I’ll be running with it here (in real time) on the second or third week in January- depends when I get back from Oman.

 

If you’re itching to start right away – and why wouldn’t you be – these guys have healed more people than I’ve had hot dinners!

 

Choose Life –  Choose Lessons – Choose Love

 

Yours in Health & Healing,

Magic & Mirth,

Manos