Twist and stretch

Lift your arms to the sky, then place them behind you. With your back straight, twist to the right and then to the left. You can be standing or sitting. Relax your back and neck. This takes only one minute from time to time and this does so much good.


5 recipes for light and easy-to-cook vegetarian dinner

How many times have we heard that dinner should be a light meal, eaten early? This allows you to go to bed having already digested all your food, avoiding interference with your sleep patterns, and means you won't have consumed a load of calories that you're not going to use. Today we'd like to show you some light and healthy vegetarian dinners that you're sure to love.

 

Vegan diet

This is more than just a diet. It's a lifestyle in which no products of animal origin are consumed, even if the animal doesn't die in order to produce them (such as in the case of eggs, honey or milk), with animal by-products such as leather, wool or ivory also avoided. When it comes to vegetarian diets, there are many variations (ovolacto-vegetarians, raw vegans, etc).

Anyone can follow a vegetarian diet, even sports people. But it's crucial to do so properly.

 

Foods for a healthy dinner

A balanced and healthy dinner should feature:

  • Preferably cooked, as this makes them easier to digest. Stewed, in soup, mashed, smashed, grilled, baked...
  • Lean protein, such as turkey, chicken, white fish (which is lighter than oily fish) or eggs. Consuming pulses in the evening can lead to indigestion, so it's better to eat them mashed or as soup. Soy, whether sprouted or in tofu and tempeh, is also a great source of protein.
  • Starch or grains. This could be a hunk of bread, preferably wholemeal, or a side portion of rice, or boiled potatoes.
  • For dessert, a dairy product – ideally fat-free, or a piece of fruit.

 

Foods that contain tryptophan (turkey, chicken, bananas, pineapple, avocado, plums, nuts, whole grains, broccoli, cress, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, etc) help us to sleep, because tryptophan boosts the production of melatonin, which regulates our circadian rhythms and aid a good night's rest.

 

Light dinner ideas

Today we'd like to show you some light, easy and quick vegetarian dinner ideas, packed full of essential nutrients to make your evening meal healthy as well as tasty.

 

  1. Courgette spaghetti with avocado sauce.

To make courgetti you need a spiraliser, julienne peeler or simple grater. Next, mix a small glass of water with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, an avocado, some pine nuts and a few basil leaves. Mix everything using a blender to produce a paste. Put the pasta in a bowl, add the sauce and top with some cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Easy and delicious. Finish with a soya yoghurt.

 

  1. Vegan miso soup.

Cook some noodles in boiling water. Stir 3 spoonfuls of miso in 1 litre of boiling water until dissolved. Put to one side. Boil some wakame seaweed for around 5 minutes. Mix the seaweed with the miso water. Add the noodles at the last minute. For dessert, a slice of pineapple.

 

  1. Vegan Greek salad.

Chop half a red onion, a cucumber, four tomatoes and some black olives. Add a few cubes of vegan feta cheese (made from tofu marinated in oregano, lemon and vinegar). Make a dressing with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon and oregano. Serve cold. Finish off the meal with a fruit salad.

 

  1. Vegetarian pizza.

On a pizza base, spread a tapenade that you've whipped up by mashing olives in olive oil. On top add some slices of tomato, garlic powder, and a few spears of green asparagus. Bake at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes. This pizza is flavour-intense. If you prefer something a little milder, spread tomato paste or sauce on the base, add slices of courgette, green pepper and onion. Sprinkle with oregano and bake.

 

  1. Yoghurt with fruit and cereals.

Beat a plant-based yogurt (made from soy or almond milk, for example) and put a little in the bottom of a glass. On top add a layer of sliced banana. Then another layer of yoghurt. Then sliced strawberries, more yoghurt and lastly 2 teaspoons of muesli. Put in the fridge until chilled. This dessert also works great as breakfast.

 

As your nutritionist about combinations of vegetables and pulses or grains that achieve more complete proteins.

 

Remember, the more varied your diet, the less risk there is of nutritional deficiencies.

 

References:

  • Content revised by Dr. Trallero.
  • Familydoctor.org. American Academy of Family Physicians. Vegan diet: How to get the nutrients you need.
  • Mayo Clinic. Vegetarian Diet: How to Get the Best Nutrition.
  • Nutrionvegana.org. The vegan healthy eating plate.

7 everyday mindfulness exercises to reduce stress

In a world of never-ending to-do lists and rushing from here to there, it’s hard to give your full attention to anything. To learn how to pay attention to every moment, there’s mindfulness. This discipline, or philosophy of life, uses meditation and relaxation as paths to achieving greater awareness and fuller attention. We’ll show you a few mindfulness exercises to cope with anxiety. Ready to get started?

 

Mindfulness basics

The practice of mindfulness has nothing to do with religion. In Western cultures, mindfulness is aimed at improving quality of life and learning to manage stress. Stop living on automatic pilot and learn that nothing – good or bad – lasts forever. If we live in the present, we’ll be more aware and make better decisions.

 

Mindfulness exercises to reduce stress

 

Exercise 1: Take a moment to be thankful.

Set your cell phone alarm for a time of day when you’re not overwhelmed, such as before going to bed. Stop and think of something to be thankful for. This gratitude will immediately send good vibes to your brain.

 

Exercise 2: Stop for a minute.

Put a sticker with a red dot around your workplace, your home or on everyday objects. When you see the dot, stop, breathe and pay attention to what you’re feeling at that moment (are you nervous, calm, annoyed…?) and why you feel that way.

 

Exercise 3: Give a candle your full attention.

This exercise challenges you to focus your attention for at least a minute. Sound easy? Well, you’ll soon see it’s not. Light a candle and spend a minute looking at it. Without thinking of anything except it. If you want, you can set an alarm so you don’t watch the clock. If your thoughts drift, bring them back to the candle. At first, you’ll constantly lose focus, but as you keep training, you’ll get better.

 

Exercise 4: Leave behind your cell phone.

Disconnect from your cell phone for an entire day. Notice when you get the urge to look at your phone and how you feel about not having it (uncomfortable, insecure…?). On the flip side, try to pay attention to things you missed out before because you were staring at your phone.

 

Exercise 5: Count backwards.

Count backwards, only paying attention to the numbers. If you get lost in thought, you can start over from the top.

 

Exercise 6: Clean up.

This exercise should be completed using your full attention. You can choose a closet, drawer or room. Cleaning has a hidden benefit of getting rid of emotional strain, thus reducing stress and anxiety. Throw away anything you don’t need anymore. Seeing that clean drawer or closet afterwards will give you a sense of relief.

 

Exercise 7: Breathe.

Whenever we talk about yoga or meditation, we emphasize the importance of breathing. It’s also key for mindfulness. This exercise consists of paying attention to how you breathe. First, identify where you feel your breathing: in your chest, nose or throat? Set a timer or stopwatch on your cell phone and spend a minute focused on your breathing. Concentrate. If you change positions or start thinking about something else, stop and start over, giving your full attention.

 

You can do one of these exercises every day of the week. In no time, they’ll become easier and you can try more advanced exercises.

 

References:

  • Content edited by Dr. Trallero.
  • Wellness goals. Prisma Publicaciones 2002 S.L. 20 mindfulness exercises to achieve inner peace.
  • Psychology and Mind. Jonathan García-Allen. Psychologist and personal trainer. 5 mindfulness exercises to improve your emotional wellbeing.

30 Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Obesity is responsible for many health problems, and our eating, leisure and exercise habits are strongly linked to this. We'd like to take the opportunity to remind you of some of the habits of a healthy lifestyle which can help you to combat obesity. Ready?

 

Healthy lifestyle habits

A lifestyle habit is something you do regularly, not just every now and again. This means that sticking to a diet for a month or joining a spinning class during winter is not a habit. We know that the habits we genuinely practice on a daily basis are a large part of the reason for us being healthy or, conversely, suffering certain illnesses – in particular those which cause most deaths per year, such as obesity and problems arising from this i.e. cardiovascular issues and cancer.

 

What is obesity? The consequences of obesity

Obesity is the great evil of the 'developed' world, and is responsible for millions of deaths every year. The WHO defines overweight and obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A BMI (remember, BMI = weight/height2) of over 25 indicates overweight. Higher than 30 is considered obesity type 1, obesity type 2 or severe obesity starts from 35, and morbid obesity at over 40.

 

We’re all aware of the effects this can have on our health:

 

  • Risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperlipidaemia
  • Coronary heart disease, cardiac insufficiency or stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Problems with bones and joints
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Higher risk of developing certain types of cancer

 

30 habits of a healthy lifestyle

A balanced diet is important if you want to avoid becoming overweight. You already know what this implies. But it's not the only worthwhile healthy habit. Pay attention and see how many of the habits below you already do and can tick off, and how many will take a bit more time. Let's go!

 

  • Don't eat large amounts. Eat less, more often.
  • Drink water. Forget about soft drinks.
  • Fill your plate with colours. The more colours, the more vitamins.
  • Go outside every day. Sun and fresh air breathe life into you.
  • Don't complain. Be proactive.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. It does nothing for you.
  • Read more. Clear your mind.
  • Don't self-medicate. Take only what your doctor prescribes.
  • Eat more oily fish. Your heart will thank you for it.
  • Don't smoke. No more. What's the point?
  • Sleep as much as possible. Recharge your batteries.
  • Walk more. Fewer lifts, more stairs.
  • Go for medical check-ups (eyes, teeth, gynaecology, prostate…). It's for your own good.
  • Don't isolate yourself. Surround yourself with people who love you (friends, partner, family...).
  • Sweets are for rare occasions only. This means they are still 'treats'. Diabetes is no laughing matter.
  • Hug and let yourself be hugged. It'll give you a positive energy boost.
  • Whole grains. They're just as tasty and much healthier.
  • Relax. Meditate or do yoga or tai chi. You'll get rid of stress and anxiety.
  • Seasonal fruit. And it's better to eat it whole than drink it in juice.
  • Learn to listen. This will teach you to be less extreme.
  • Grill your food. You'll enjoy more authentic flavours.
  • Dance to your favourite music. You will secrete endorphins, the 'happiness hormones'.
  • Always use olive oil. Look after your heart.
  • Learn to say NO. You are master of your own decisions.
  • Dine early, and light. You'll sleep better.
  • Improve your posture. This will help you to achieve a flatter stomach.
  • Don't skip breakfast. Get the day off to a good start.
  • Doing sports isn't a fashion. It's essential for ageing healthily.
  • Eat a varied diet, but only things that are good for you. Don't fool yourself.
  • Try to be happy and make others happy too :)

 

''Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.'' Jim Rohn.

References:

  • FAO.org. Healthy habits and lifestyles.
  • WHO. Healthy eating.
  • Sanitas. Health library. Healthy lifestyles.