Christmas gifts that keep giving: Gut Reaction’s top 5 wish list

The gift of Inner Balance with HeartMath (from £143)

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HeartMath Inner Balance is a fantastic option for those wanting to improve emotional and physical health. This clever device delivers instant heart rate variability feedback AND can be used to effectively re-train the nervous system, leading to less-stress and better moods.

Science has now shown us that the rhythm of our heart beat affects how we think and feel, and that learning to shift your heart rhythm through heart-centred breathing activities may increase your emotional composure, help you feel less-stressed or anxious and think clearer. And who doesn’t want that?

Find out more: www.heartmath.co.uk/

The gift of genetic insight with NutriQlu (from £280)

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Did you know that by tailoring your nutritional needs to your genetic profile, the benefits of nutrition on your health can be maximised? The NutriQlu test will unlock the secrets of your DNA to identify genetic predispositions for food intolerances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, ideal exercise type and more.

This simple swab test essentially takes scientifically complex information and converts it into a custom actionable report - essentially a personalised prescription of dietary and exercise recommendations enabling you to train smarter, eat better and recover faster.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how genetic testing can help you better manage your health and habits, please contact me for a chat today and I’ll also be able to provide you with access to my discount code entitling you to 5% off Qlu’s own prices.

Find out more: www.gutreaction.co.uk/testing

The gift of essential oils with Doterra

This year I’ve started to learn about the power of essential oils in helping manage health naturally.

What I love is that they can be used in so many ways – whether that be misting to create an uplifting environment in the home, attending to family health complaints, or pampering one’s body or skin.

I’m a fan of the Doterra brand for the incredible quality of their oils and, if you’re not familiar with them already, I can connect you with an essential oils expert who will guide you in how to make best use of any oils you purchase for yourself or others.

View the Doterra Christmas Gift guide

Buy now: www.mydoterra.com/followgutreaction

The gift of water with Chilly Bottles (from £20)

I carry mine everywhere!

Single-use plastic bottles make me sad so I love the concept of reusable water bottles - and this stylist range is just the best when it comes keeping water cool when out and about or at the gym.

Find out more and buy now: www.chillysbottles.com

The gift of nourishment with Gut Reaction (£90)

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Helping people prioritise their nutrition and wellbeing is a great way to show you care and help them start 2019 feeling at their best.

I’ve created a special offer so you can give that opportunity to someone you love to help them identify any weak areas in their current nutritional status and lifestyle habits, and get inspired about making some small but positive changes that will get them great results.

It’s just £90 for a gift voucher for a one-hour Nutrition & Wellbieng Consultation plus a mini follow-up (value £150).

Find out more and buy now: www.gutreaction.co.uk/gift-vouchers



Good health begins as a thought

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Have you considered that what you 'feed' your mind may have as much of an impact on your health outcomes, as the food and supplements you consume to feed your body?

For centuries, healers have pondered the interconnections between mental and physical health, matter and spirit, thought and action. And now in recent years, science is catching up in the recognition of emotional, spiritual, and behavioural factors in contributing to biochemical imbalances within the body, and directly affecting overall health and wellness. 

You may well have made a connection between eating sugar and toxins and feeling anxious, overly emotional, tired or not thinking so clearly, and may be well aware that consuming a daily diet based on wholesome food is an essential and powerful tool to feed great health. But, how should you deal with the consequences of negative thinking and stress on your mind-body health?

What we know for sure is that a positive attitude works - we just need to remember and take time to nurture it.

Experts rate exercise, sufficient sleep, meditation, yoga, controlling negative thoughts and building a strong social support as some of the best ways to decrease stress and boost immunity – so paying attention to your feelings and needs is as vital as drinking enough water and avoiding junk food.

Achieving long-term health and energy can, therefore, be seen as a mind-body balancing act. 

So, how are you 'feeding' your own mind? Here are five winning ways to promote good mind-body health:

1. Exercise

If you feel like you have an aversion to exercise, or struggle to prioritise it, please think again. The release of endorphins during exercise has been shown to promote a sense of wellbeing, which has also the added benefit of boosting your immune system.

During exercise, the lymphatic system – a network of tissues and organs that helps your body to eliminate toxins and waste – is mobilised. Its main role is to transport lymph fluid, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Unlike the blood, which is transported by the heart, lymph fluid only moves if you do. 

A recent study from a North Carolina university showed that people who exercised for five or more days weekly experienced 43% fewer days of upper respiratory infections.

Walking, running or any other muscle-moving activity also dramatically reduces stress by ‘working off steam’ when you are upset or angry. With the release of endorphins, your body receives a natural mood boost, resulting in reduced stress levels, which in turn puts less pressure on your immune system.

2. Get enough sleep 

According to an American Psychological Association study, stress is what keeps more than 40% of adults awake at night. To aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night, avoid caffeine, digital screens and try to turn in at the same time each evening. 

3. Focus on some self-care 

Make an effort to do something nice for yourself every day. Neglecting your own needs adds unnecessary stress to the system, resulting in increased vulnerability to illness. 

Women, in particular, tend to put their own needs last, especially if they’re caring for children and/or elderly parents.  If you battle with guilt when you take an hour off to read, go for a manicure or have a coffee with a friend. Remind yourself that if your bucket is empty, you’ll have nothing left to give anyone else. Simple, but effective. 

4. Mindfulness

Did you know that you cut in half the chances of catching a cold by meditating?

A University of Wisconsin study showed that people who practised mindfulness – a type of meditation or mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while accepting feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations – noted 13 fewer illnesses and took 51 fewer sick days.

Researchers concluded that this reduced the physical effects of stress, which is known to weaken the immune system.

5. It takes a village...  

Building strong social connections has proven psychological and physiological benefits. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, having a ‘support group’ – no matter how big or small – boosts immunity by creating ‘stress buffers’.

Being able to share stress or concerns with close family or friends provides an opportunity for outside support and advice, which alleviates a sense of being alone in your situation. 

Ongoing stress is also a contributing factor to many chronic diseases, and the stress hormone cortisol may be a serious barrier if you are trying to lose weight. 

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield, American author and Buddhist mindfulness pioneer. 

What could you do differently straight-away to harness your mind and help you heal your body? 

Gut intuition - follow it!

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Last time, we looked at the gut-brain connection and the impact of food on mindset and emotions. Eating to support mood is key in my book in terms of promoting a happier outlook in all aspects of life, as well as fuelling our motivation to continue to eat well. 

Now in my last post in this series, we’ll take the concept of the gut as ‘second brain’ a step further and explore a different take on ‘Gut feelings’ and how it can help support a more ‘intuitive’ approach to eating.

Researchers have determined that the enteric nervous system is constantly providing information to our brains regarding our nutritional needs. But most of us learn to eat by listening to messages coming from outside of ourselves - messages from our parents, teachers, friends, or the media including health claims and marketing messages.

In this context, it is all to easy to overlook, or override, the messages that your own inner source of knowledge is telling you. 

Yet the body is actually very clever at giving us signals about its general health and what it actually needs. For example, food cravings are an example of how the body might be hinting to us to correct a nutritional deficiency. Specifically, cravings for chocolate can be due to the need for more magnesium, while a desire for fatty foods may reflect a need for increased omega 3 fatty acids.

The condition of our skin, hair and nails may signal other nutritional deficiencies; urine colour will flag potential dehydration or possible liver stress; and bowel movements provide all sorts of clues to the functioning of our digestion system. 

So, how to tune in and trust your body’s wisdoms and learn to eat intuitively?

The first state is observation. It’s by starting to notice how your body is really feeling, the messages it’s giving you, and distinguishing the difference between physical and emotional hungers, so that you can more easily recognise your own eating patterns and how well your food choices are actually serving you. 

From this point of recognition, you can start to develop trust in your body’s inner cues regarding hunger and fullness, which sets you up to start making great choices around eating.

To support this, do give yourself a health dose of vitamin T - that’s Time! When you eat while in a rush or being absorbed with other thoughts and activities, this may lead to overeating, bloating, poor digestion and missing out on some of the true pleasure of eating. When you slow down you will be more ‘present’ and able to eat with more awareness of what’s going on in your body as well as savour the sensory experience. 

Undeniably, there may be certain emotions, situations, events which you may find throw your ability to trust your intuition around food including how, what and when you eat. In this case underlying beliefs, habits, or emotions may be getting the better of your gut, and some additional work may be required in order to address them and move forward.

So, do you need to slow down and tune-in? The simple act of listening to, trusting and following gut feelings, can lead to weight loss, improved energy and a better experience of life. What’s your gut telling you?