Happy Christmas! As we hurtle towards the end of 2023, I’m reflecting on all the health changes I have made: it’s been a big one!
Hopefully, along the year, we experience revelations that are the path to improvment. I’m excited to share one of mine with you. After all, sharing is education and I aim to educate through my posts and blogs. Even if one person makes a change after reading something I’ve written, I will be happy with that!
One of the revelations for me this year has been giving up caffeine. I still enjoy the very occasional cup of good coffee but tea has been the hardest habit to break. Never in a month of Sundays, did I think I would give up my morning cuppa. But earlier in the summer I did some DNA testing – as a Nutritional Therapist, this is a fascinating process and I am my own best evidence. If I can share my discoveries and help you to get in the driver’s seat of your own health journey, then my three years of hard slog and study will be well worth it.
The DNA test threw up something that I had long suspected: caffeine is no friend of mine. I had seen a dramatic improvement after cutting it out for 30 days on various ocassions when I’ve followed my Glow in 30 Days programme, but on day 31, tea would be my first go back-to. Little did I know that it was chipping away at my sleep. Getting my sleep back on track has been the best early Christmas gift I could have wished for.
I believe the most success comes when we can find another way to sratch that itch so that we don’t feel like we’re mising out. Introducing Rooibos, my new bff, it’s the closest thing to black tea and I hardly notice the difference. Here are five reasons why it could be your bff too:
It helps control over-eating:
- It does this by increasing levels of leptin, the hormone that tells us when we’re full. Leptin is released by our fat cells, and when it is out of whack, we do not receive the satiety signals that tell us we are full. Chronic inflammation in the body, often associated with obesity, can interfere with leptin signaling.
It helps to stave off the ageing process:
- It’s rich in antioxidants, including quercetin, which are significantly important during menopause, due to their role in helping to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which age us. Antioxiants ease the oxidative stress experienced during this hormonal transition.
It reduces our risk of Diabetes:
- It does this by helping to lower blood sugar. During menopause, we are more susceptible to experiencing insulin sensitivity and high blood sugar levels.
It’s prevents heart disease:
- Heart disease is actually common in women too and symptoms such as hot flushes, fatigue, sleep disturbances and mood changes can overlap, which can be confusing. Rooibos helps to keep cholesterol levels in check. When oestrogen levels drop during peri/menopause, so does its protective effect which increases our HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol.
It promotes healthy digestion:
- It’s rich in polyphenols which are known to support gut health. It’s also low in tannins, which can sometimes interfere with iron absorption and irritate the digestive system.
If you like the sound of this powerhouse tea, try this delicious festive Chai:
- 2 cups water
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 allspice berries
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- orange peel
- 2 tsp rooibos tea leaves
- honey or liquid stevia to taste
- 1 cup milk, warmed and frothed
- Cinnamon to sprinkle
Put the cloves, cinnamon stick, allspice, cardamom, star anis and orange peel in a pan with two cups of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer, with the lid on, for 15 minutes. Then add two teaspoons of Rooibos loose leaf tea and leave it to steep for about 15 minutes.
Now warm some milk and froth it and add the spiced tea. Add a little honey or liquid stevia to taste. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy with a warm mince pie.
Speaking of mince pies, here’s my top tip!
Mince pies are sugar bombs but indulge in a few during Christmas and the world will still keep spinning. However, I do have one little tip: I always make my pastry with chickpea flour or yellow pea flour (you can use rice flour for rolling the pastry) and the protein will help to slow down the sugar spike. To make the pastry, just substitute normal white flour with chickpea or yellow pea flour. I love the British brand Hodmedod’s for their yellow pea flour which makes excellent pastry. You can change things up with a crumble topping too!