One of the best warm ups no matter your choice of movement is crocodile breathing. It will help you “feel” what it is like to properly expand your belly through 360-degrees. Fully using our diaphragm when we breath in initiate its reflexive involvement in our core function and in turn the aesthetic abs of steel we all covet.
When you think about breathing you can change it, yet the minute you stop thinking about it it continues on it’s own. Thankfully! But that also means we can choose to improve the way we breathe, practice that, and it will carry over unconsciously. Yes please.
Stress of any kind – mental emotional postural anatomical illness exercise – can all effect its efficiency. But like any other movement pattern, it’s a motor skill that can be perfected with perfect carry over for perfect posture and perfect body functioning, namely Health. Miraculous no?!
Your hand and head position will feel a bit unnatural at first. But with your head straight, NOT turned to either side, you’ll clearly open up your airway. Secondly, with your hands and arms elevated, the muscles of your neck and the traps are more relaxed away from stretch and tension. They’re your secondary respiratory muscles so this croc thing relaxes you in more ways than one!You’re now making it as easy as possible to execute proper breathing. Simply focus on the quality of your breaths. Easy.
While the tempo is important, your focus needs to be first placed on the expansion of the belly. Lying face down, it’s the perfect setup for breathing into a 360-degree expansion, meaning that not only are we breathing into the belly against the floor, but expanding our breathe through the sides of the torso and letting it lift the sway in your lie back. Check your image in a mirror but take care to get your head back to neutral to relax your neck when you breathe or have a friend touch your sides and lower back to push against during each breath.
Also, make sure to pause and hold the breath for a split second at the top to experience the feeling of that 360-degree expansion. That’s the goal. When we breathe deeply we expel too much co2: but when we hold our breath at the end of an exhale you retain more. This in turn allows us to access more o2 releasing more of it to our mitochondria in our cells. They’re our energy storehouses: so slower more controlled breathing generates more energy from each cell. Now that’s core strength.
No reps or sets. Just focus on the quality of movement: we’re reminding our brain that there are options other than chest breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing uses the diaphragm of course, one of the main core muscles as well.
So often our focus is on working the muscles on top of our diaphragm into submission and hopefully flatness or washerboard status will eventuate. But activity, namely the reflexive rising and falling, protrusion and flattening if you will, of our diaphragm could do more for the aesthetics of your abs, let alone the initiation of their reflexive workings for functionality, to bring about that flat tummy in the first place! So you can lay smiling like a crocodile knowing you’re prepping your abs for the steel they’re only too soon to become.
Sure, we all hear too often that poor posture will lead to shallow and labored breaths, but the belly full, rib widening, back expanding breaths pretty much like a crocodile lying on its belly, will lead to better posture and let’s face it, our abs of croc like steel.
Note: no crocs were harmed in the filming of this demo
Most people’s sugar evolution goes something like this: promiscuous sugar usage as a child, artificial sweeteners in college, honey post college, then agave maybe stevia, now mostly none. Zilch. However if 30 years of low-no fat dieting has told us anything, removing entire food groups from your diet when you don’t know what you’re doing, is dangerous. Organ, hormonal and emotional dysfunction can all result from cutting out food that is vital to your body’s function. So should we be quitting sugar for good?
Most of us following Paleo whole food values are pretty much back on the (healthy) fat bandwagon. We’re eating pastured animals complete with the fats they come with, cooking in butter and lard and delving back into our love of bacon. And speaking of bacon, it goes with anything right? There was even a bar of bacon chocolate the other day at my local store! Yum…
Ok, so it’s that last little bit of over-indulgence that this article is about; because who doesn’t fancy a little something sweet no matter the health or balance or both of their diet.
Let’s just face it: anything that seriously satisfies our sweet tooth isn’t going to be the epitome of health: most snacks (even the healthy ones, gasp) contain sugar. We swap out white, brown and raw sugars for more natural versions like coconut, Yacon, maple and honey. However the trouble with substituting one added sugar for another is it still keeps the sugar bar high, never allowing our taste buds to recalibrate. We still need more and more sugar to get the same sweet sensation. We just don’t give our insulin producing pancreas, and its myriad relationships with all the hormones in our body, a rest.
Luckily, we can aim for low sugar or one that offers something beneficial (not eliminating sugar completely) at the same time. You could get your sweet tooth:
When you try it yourself, cutting way back on sugar (even those healthier natural sugars) you do start to crave less and detect hidden sweetness in non sugar foods; you get the same sweet sensation from less.
Because we need some sugar; a higher fat diet will have you craving sugar too. We need that sugar we’ve been carefully removing from our diet. Our brains are wired for sweetness. We’re naturally wired to seek ripe, seasonal foods that are naturally sweeter. The same wiring lets us know when a food is spoiled or if it’s poisonous! Sweetness in food was a marker for edibility in primitive times and it should still be in modern times, and for the deliciousness we’ve all come to love (albeit in excess).
So what’s the best way to get a better balance, and even enjoy that little bit of sweet you love after a meal? No guilt, no craving; just ‘that’d be nice thank you’. Does it exist? You’ve probably heard that certain cravings can tell you about what’s missing from your diet. When we don’t assimilate food well, or don’t eat nutrient-dense food, our body craves extra food in the attempt to fill in the nutritional blanks. Yet, we don’t always crave the correct foods, and can end up reaching for something that doesn’t support our health.
A single meal can help you get back to listening to what your body needs:
But this is just a start; you need to work out how best you feel so try keeping a food diary for at least four days, even a week, and track your own feelings after eating: you know your body better than anyone. Try cutting back excess sugars, mix up your go to’s meals, distract your taste buds using cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, lemon juice-soaked onions and coconut oil. Try and detect sweetness in fruit and vegetables you’re eating. And don’t forget to enjoy your food!! Paleo whole food values is a great template for you to listen to your body. And then enjoy that little something sweet you love.
The truth is that nothing is good or bad, just in or out of balance. Too little (i.e. sugar) or too much (even the healthiest, daily) of anything doesn’t do a body good. A single meal can help you get back to listening to what your body needs, and let’s face it, that little bit of something sweet we all feel now and then, no matter how satisfying a meal.
If your diet’s good, no. You shouldn’t need anything more to supplement your daily meals. But with soil depletion, our use of additives and the prevalence of sugar, refined carbs and rancid veggie oils, no one can really say their diet has been perfect. And for those unwilling or unable to give up bad habits like caffeine, alcohol or smoking, a daily supply of superfoods is essential.
Research has shown that the ideal diet is one that is largely plant-based with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and healthy animal products. If you’re interested in eating a healthier diet upgrade to the most nutritious whole foods, not processed, and as close to the form that they were planted and grown in. Something you have to love about Paleo whole food principles is that these qualities are innate: it’s rich in nature’s superfoods!
Get the basics first, through Paleo whole food principles, and you’ll keep your body balanced at just the right amount of enough for nature’s superfoods to give your body all the super powers you need.
For a long time we’ve been basing our diet decisions on what not to eat: don’t eat fat, don’t eat carbs, don’t eat sugar. We’ve tried eating a diet limited to cabbage soup, restricting calories by only eating grapefruits, prohibiting complex carbs and protein during the same meal, lowered or totally immured fat in everything, only choosing high protein but low carb, a specific ratio of carbs, fat, and protein or meals based on restrictive whole grains and veggies. We’ve excluded so many foods from our plates it’s no wonder we’re so confused what to eat now to look after ourselves.
So maybe we’ve all been told what not to eat for so long that it’s time we started with what we should. And of course on a paleo meal delivery blog you’re expecting to read that it’s the solution we’ve been waiting for. And of course that’s absolutely right! Sure Paleo tells us what to avoid, but its more what we can eat, allowing us to fill up first on what we need instead of filling up on fillers and non-foods.
If you’re from the history of dieters rolling your eyes at yet another ‘way to eat best’, you’re seeing meats and thinking mad cow disease or heart disease; meat is just bad. And if we were talking feedlot animals, eating under enormous pressured conditions in every way possible, then I’d agree with you. But with all the paleo dieters, or just a sign of the times, we’re forcing more awareness of organic growing than ever, and of pasture raised meats: naturally hormone and antibiotic free simply because they’re eating what they’re meant to eat. And reared this way, they are indeed a whole food for us: even the fats are not only delicious but nutritiously naturally free of toxins and instead full of nutrients we have been omitting for our health. We are indeed what we eat, in fact what we eat eats, what nature intended, unaltered chemically, genetically or prescriptively, for naturally good health. That said, let’s not all rush out and eat as much meat as we can. Everything in moderation (even moderation!).
So back to the healthy fats thing, after thirty years of no fats, let’s talk butter. One thing you cannot deny is that it tastes really good. Yet lots of us still don’t eat it because we feel we should eat something less tasty, apparently making it better for us, despite being chemically laden and far worse for us that the real deal. The low or no fat diet has really done a number on us! And for too long we’ve not just been low or no fat, especially no saturated fat and most certainly no butter! But saturated fats are one of the main ingredients especially for our body’s pro inflammatory mechanisms. So a good thing to omit then? No way! The truth is we need a balance of as much pro inflammation as we do anti inflammation. It’s a self regulating system. So we need all fats, saturated and unsaturated and everything in between. Our bodies are far too out of whack and even more complicated than a this-for-that mentality could even begin to fix! Let’s just suffice, it’s all about the balance: eat your butter. And your olive, coconut and sesame oils, your duck fat, beef tallow, lard, the whole egg, macadamia and avocado oils. Mix them up. Enjoy them with each meal. They’re what bring everything together, including our low fat flailing health.
Which leads us to considering the importance of proper accompaniments: there are a few vitamins (A, D, E, and K) that are only soluble in fat. That means that they are not bioavailable unless they are eaten alongside fats. Similarly, there are other foods that can improve the bioavailability of nutrients. The organic acids found in fermented foods improve absorption by forming soluble compounds with trace minerals. Ascorbic acid in citrus fruits, tropical fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts makes certain iron compounds more soluble. Ascorbic acid can also counteract the inhibitory effect of phytate and may enhance the absorption of other trace minerals like selenium. Finally, animal protein enhances the absorption of zinc, iron, and copper. Yup, we need to eat whole food, all foods, great variety, and even more, to eat with enjoyment.
Ok so that last bit about enjoyment is not just to make you smile. But then again it is. Enjoyment is what food is all about. Scientifically it’s our cephalic response: the sight, smell, thought, or taste of food, and the greater the appetite, the more intense the response. It’s the start of all our gastric juices, beginning digestion before we even eat, ready for all the very best foods we’ve now elected to eat knowing they’re what our bodies need. It could even be more important than the food itself!
Paleo enables us to turn dietary restrictions into culinary opportunities. And to start every meal with boundless possibilities rather than a long list of nos. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
What parent doesn’t want to make their child’s birthday a very special day, filled with all the fun and joy in the world? As parents, we feel the need to indulge our little ones with food they may not normally get, activities they may not normally participate in, and many, many presents at birthday time. But, what’s the ending result? Have you noticed your LO to be cranky, hard to deal with or even extremely hyper during this time? A lot of the highs and subsequent lows of the day are yours to choose, just like the food you decide serve. Spoiling your kid on their birthday doesn’t have to mean derailing their diet, sabotaging their immune system or giving them a tummy ache. Have a birthday bash without the crash!
To start, I just want to say that I don’t want to be one of ‘those mums’ or my son to be one of ‘those kids’ that doesn’t eat like everyone else. No matter what my efforts, my kid will one day eat “non-paleo food” and I realize this. Not even “one day” currently, he eats ice cream or an occasional treat. But it’s amazing to see how much better a child thinks, behaves and performs when they’re eating healthy. We’ve come to see hyperactivity, attention deficit and dyslexia as commonplace in kids. What we don’t often realize it that the cause could very well be simply in the balance of bacteria in their gut. The presence of foods that produce an intolerance or allergic reaction could be the cause. All of which can be avoided through an overall better food selection.
And that goes for birthday parties too. After all, for a kid who doesn’t know any better, this is really just doing them a big disservice on their birthday – not to mention creating exhausted, cranky kids that no one wants to be around. Oh and a resultant night of sleeplessness for you too as their hyper continues into the night.
My boy just turned two in February and is already known for his even temperament, which hopefully can be taken back to his healthy beginnings. That said, he’s only two right? And he probably doesn’t know what a birthday is, however after the five day span of ‘happy bday to you’, I think he was starting to get the hang of it being his? So, this birthday is pretty much about us parents. And an opportunity to realize that you can indeed have a great bday bash without the crash.
Sugar hinders immunity. Say what? Did you know sugar has a crippling effect for 4-6 hours after being eaten? That means you give your little one candy then they get exposed to a child with a virus, and your little person is much less able to defend himself from getting sick. They’re now more likely to get sick because of sugar consumption. Further sugar depletes B vitamins, which are critical to the immune system functioning and protection against infection. And yet more sugar displaces more nutrient dense foods further reducing intake of nutrients that could protect and strengthen immunity.
Instead of: soda and chocolate cake
Serve this: water if they’re thirsty and not with meals. Water dilutes their stomach juices for digesting food, so it’s important to drink water separately from the meal; Chocolate cupcakes made with 6 eggs, 1/2 cup each cacao, coconut flour, maple syrup, coconut oil and coconut milk, 2.5 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Whiz all, bake in muffin tins at 320F for 25min or until fork comes out clean. Frost with ‘guacolate’ using 2 avocados, 1.2 cup each cacao and honey, whiz and spread.
Or checkout these amazing recipes as real food birthday cake substitutes: Paleo Molten Chocolate Lava Cake, Paleo Version of Ding Dongs or Paleo Blonde Brownies your kids won’t know they’re eating real food. These are amazing!
Sugar hinders digestion. Like the term ‘kids and candy’ easily rolls off the tongue, so does ‘sugar and digestive fireball’ especially combined with the excitement of birthday parties. Because pure sugar or candy is simply just one of the possible sugars consumed. It’s also only one of the blood sugar responses. You have to realize we’re giving our kids other foods that break down to sugar (bread, pasta, rice, grains and dairy), which means more sugar still or sugar overload. A blood sugar high is really all the hormones flooding in to reduce the high no matter the source. Then subsequent hormones flood in afterwards to lift such a reduction in sugar and so on until we are on a blood sugar roller coaster. Now add a child who’s developing hormones you’ve suddenly put on this roller coaster.
Instead of Gummy Bears or Sugary Jellies
Serve with: Cherry and pear jellies. Cook and puree and cup each cherries and pear in separate pots, sprinkle a tbsp gelatin on each leaving tis it blooms. Gently whiz then pour into shapes and refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving. These gelatin gummies are good for adult digestion too.
You can also experiment with different fruits! Try our Watermelon Gummies. They were a hit during Halloween.
Color at birthdays is a great place to start: digest the rainbow. Nope this is not a Skittles ad. Because sugar hinders digestion, it alters mineral balance. And sugary foods replace this rainbow generally vegetable and fruit foods, which incidentally are full of the vitamins and minerals sugar displaces. Sugar replaces and displaces minerals. Imbalanced minerals are unable to function properly as they rely on each other in specific proportions. Because minerals are helpers to enzymes when minerals are unbalanced, enzymes are too and so don’t function properly to do their job, especially affecting digestion. When foods aren’t digesting, allergies are likely, which is why foods eaten with sugar are more likely to have allergies developed against them.
Instead of: fruit loops, goldfish, or any other artificially colored weird kids snacks
Serve with: guacamole and mango salsa. Delicious, colorful, fruity but balanced with good healthy fats
Instead of: chicken nuggets
Serve with: chicken strips first rolled in arrowroot, then beaten egg, then almond flour and salt fried in coconut oil.
Instead of: candy and more candy
Serve with: chocolate crackles 1/2 cup each cacao, macadamias (chopped), coconut oil (melted), shredded coconut, honey to sweeten, handful each dried goji and blueberries. Mix all ingredients and serve them in mini cupcake patties. Deliberately make the batch small because that’s just how treats should be: a suggestion, without being sickly.
Food isn’t the only way to make kids happy especially on their birthday. Spoil them with presents for sure. Cover your house in streamers, balloons and cards all about their day. And remember throughout that attention is everything: even though you have guests, they’re the star, your star. Mostly too hope to continue your efforts to give them a healthy appetite full of choices, to know what he likes and hopefully when it comes to food that he’ll be good most of the time. It’s just my job as a parent to do the “best job I can.” Empathy, choice, “please” and ‘thank you” can, hopefully, set him up for success later in life.
Eating better within our time limitations could easily be a combination of the three below.