In the winter of 2014-2015, I was really fed up with being sick all winter. I was full of cold and cough and I could not get rid of it. I tried every over-the-counter medication for cold and cough and nothing really worked. I went through a stressful period of moving home in a very short period of time and my parents came to visit me. I did not rest enough or take any time off for the big move. I dealt with my builders and had to design my new home in the space of two weeks which really pushed my body too far.
I booked a family holiday to go to Thailand in the January and it has been more than 10 years since I went on holiday with so many of my family members.
Sun, sea, sand, fresh mango, fresh pineapple, pad thai, Thai massage everyday, fresh coconut juice everyday and guaranteed sunny hot weather everyday… Sounds like heaven doesn’t it? Yet I was stuck in my hotel room in bed feeling terribly sorry for myself whilst my family was on holiday there. I was like a miserable teenager all over again in front of my family, except I haven’t behaved like that for years and I have been a grown up for a long time. I didn’t really do much except rest in my hotel room, as sleep was a difficult challenge every day and night.
I flew to Hong Kong with my family after visiting Phuket to attend my friend’s wedding banquet and see other family members. I went to see a Chinese medicine doctor and even though my Chinese medicine doctor is good, it takes quite a lot longer than conventional medicine to get better. I missed my friend’s wedding banquet in the end as I was still stuck in bed. I looked pale and I had a miserable time. By the time I left Hong Kong, I was no longer feeling as ill and I could finally talk.
When I got back to London, I was determined to get my health back on track. I went to see a nutritional therapist, had some tests and started eating 7-8 portions of fruit and vegetables everyday, along with some supplements. Yes, you read that right. Apparently, 5 portions of fruit and vegetables is a minimum which the NHS (UK’s National Health Service) believed the general public could tolerate in a day. I had been curious about buying an expensive juicer which everyone was raving about in yoga studios but I was also curious about the differences compared to using a blender. I asked my nutritional therapist Emily Fawell from 4Well People for her view and she said that with a blender, I would also be taking in the fibre from the fruits and vegetables.
I decided to buy an inexpensive blender from a reputable brand and wow, I got hooked onto blending every morning! With the combination of increasing my fruit and vegetables’ intake as well as taking some natural supplements, my health got back on track much quicker and I am so pleased with the result.
Here are my 7 top tips:
1. Blending gives you more fibre but juicing is good too.
Everyone seems to have a preference over whether they like juices or thicker blends/smoothies. If you don’t have a preference, perhaps try blending as you will also take in the fibre which is normally left on a juicer. There is no right or wrong answer.
2. Frozen fruit such as frozen berries can save you money!
Whether you juice or blend, it can be a lot of fun. We have all heard about the amazing nutritious value of berries but they don’t come cheap when you keep buying them fresh. If you have a set budget and fresh berries seem to be out of your price range, why not buy packs of frozen berries? That way, you won’t have to worry about expiry dates for them too.
3. Always drink your smoothie/juice within the two hours after it’s made.
According to my nutritionist Emily, the nutritional value of juices and fruit/vegetables smoothies decrease over time. The best time to consume them is straight away after it has been made. If you make it in advance and don’t consume it within the first two hours, the nutritional value really decreases due to oxidation. Have you ever seen a green juice change colour? That will be why.
4. Pineapple makes green smoothies taste a lot nicer.
A lot of people are put off by the colour of green juices and assume that it is full of kale and unpleasant vegetables. If you are not used to the taste of raw green vegetables, why not add some pineapple into the mix? Pineapple contains a high level of vitamin C and manganes as well as lots of good other minerals. My favourite blend is a green blend and I always put pineapple in it.
5. Ensure 20% of the ingredients is protein.
Although juices and smoothies with fruits and vegetables are good for us, it is important to have some protein in every meal. My nutritional therapist Emily recommended that 20% should be made of protein. I love putting sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds into the mix. Chia seeds, flax seeds and linseeds are good too.
6. Variety is important.
I am sure you have a favourite combination that you go for. However, variety is important as different fruits and vegetables give us different levels of nutritional benefit.
7. Have fun!
So many different recipes and combinations have been published online. Have some fun with it and try out your own recipes to see what you think. Like everything in life, balance is key.
For any new tips on keeping a healthy lifestyle, follow Bodhi Me on Instagram here.