What about your breathing?

Most of the time we are not conscious of our breathing, although it is one of the most important functions of our body. Breathing means life. With a good abdominal breathing we can enhance our life quality, our health and our positive thinking.

If we look at animals they all have a normal breathing pattern. You see their whole body moving with their breathing. Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten how to breathe this way.

Stress and what it does to your breathing

According to an American study 77% of all people have stress or stress-related symptoms. When we have stress our breathing becomes shallow and quick. This is necessary if we are in a difficult situation and we need a fight-or-flight reaction, but if this goes on for a long time, it will make us sick.

With the normal breathing, our whole body engages in the breathing process and we feel relaxed.

When we have stress, we don’t breathe through our abdomen, we just breathe through our chest. Our body is tense and cramped, which makes our breathing too shallow. When this happens, our body lacks oxygen. If this goes on for a long time, we will have many physical problems, from hyperventilation to high blood pressure.

A simple exercise you should incorporate in your daily routine: lie flat on your back, breathe in and count to 4 ; hold your breath for 4 seconds and breathe out while counting to 8.”

Breathing exercises

Our breathing is our most important tool to have a healthy body and a positive mind. Study showed that, not only will we stay healthy, but with a normal breathing pattern, we feel happier and we have more positive thoughts.

A simple exercise, which you should do every day is: lie flat on your back, breathe in and count to 4; hold your breath for 4 seconds and breathe out while counting to 8. While doing so, put a hand on your stomach and feel with every inhale your stomach expand, with every exhale you pull your stomach in.

You should do this for at least 4 times, if you have more time, then you can do it longer, up to 10 times. Don’t feel afraid when you feel a bit light-headed. This is normal as you are breathing more oxygen with every inhale and releasing more toxins from your body with every exhale.

There are many other breathing exercises you can do to make you relax more.

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Chia seeds are too good to ignore

Chia seeds are a proven superfood! It has a massive amount of nutrients and has to be included into your daily intake. I will explain some of the benefits of those seeds and at the end will include a smoothie I made every morning for myself.

1 serving (28 grams) of chia seeds contains:

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
  • They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

Chia seeds are also full of antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent or delay cell damage, because they fight the production of free radicals. Free radicals contribute to a number of diseases or cell deterioration, like ageing or cancer.

The seeds are full of fiber and quality protein. Protein in plants and seeds is better than in meat. These two, fiber and protein, can reduce cravings and appetite. So, chia seeds can help you with your weight loss as well.

Other proven health benefits are:

  • they lower heart disease and type 2 diabetes,
  • they are essential for bone health,
  • they improve your sports performance more than a sports drink.

No other food has so many benefits and have such a high content in a small amount as Chia seeds. The Mayans and Aztec already ate these seeds and knew the advantages. Chia is in fact an ancient Mayan word that means “strength”.

Here is a recipe for a super smoothie:

  • 28 grams Chia seeds
  • 15 grams oatmeal
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1 spoon of honey
  • 20 cl soy milk
  • a handful of raisins

Mix everything in a blender. You can add more soy milk or less if you want it more liquid or thicker. Experiment with other fruits to see you what you like best. Eat this every day for breakfast and you have a good start of the day. You will notice that you are less hungry and will crave less during the day.

Fasting and what to pay attention to

For years, I have been reading about the benefits of fasting, but I was always scared of it. I thought I would be very hungry, that I would feel too weak to do exercise for some time after it. So, I always postponed doing it. Apart from a half a day fast with salt water when I was doing my Yoga training course and a 1-day juice fast, I never got the nerve to do more.

Last week, I did my first 2-day fasting ever. I only drank water. The first day normal, boiled water. The second day with salt in it to really clean my system. I felt surprisingly good: I didn’t feel hungry or didn’t crave any particular foods. I thought I would feel weak and tired, but apart from the second day where I felt a bit light-headed, I was ok. I didn’t feel a bad headache (a little headache is normal, because of the toxins leaving your body).

Above all I was happy with myself that I could do it without much effort. I was still functioning well, didn’t have any attention problems and didn’t think of food even. That was the thing I was most afraid of: the psychological part of my mind wanting to eat all the time. I sat next to my boyfriend while he was eating and I didn’t feel any urge to eat myself. This is the most victorious of my fast, I think, to overcome this psychological barrier within yourself. The voice inside you that tells you you need to eat! Especially because I grew up with a grandmother who always said you need to eat to e.g. be strong to fight against a cold or flu, against the cold in winter, etc…

The most difficult part was after the fast. The evening of my second day I started to drink juice, because it was 48 hours since I last ate, so I gradually started to get some nutrients again. My boyfriend and I went to a show and they gave us a free drink: lemon tea. I know I am citric acid intolerant, so I can’t eat or drink lemons, oranges. But just once in a while, I can eat or drink a juice of it without any problems. Not this time!! Because my system was clean, I got really sick. We are now one week later and it is slowly getting better.

So, before you go on a fast yourself, beware of the following points:

  • make sure that you don’t need to go far during your fast, especially when you drink salt water, you will have to stay near a toilet;
  • gradually start to introduce food again, don’t overeat on too many things, that way you will know what is good and what is bad for your body;
  • don’t drink coffee or alcohol right after your fast as they will cause a shock to your system.

I would recommend everyone to do this from time to time as it gives your digestive system a rest and your body has time to heal itself from all the toxins. Also, you will get to know your body more and more. For me, I found out that, not only I really can’t eat things with citric acid in it, but also spicy food is a big no-no (and I loved that stuff).

I wanted to do another fast next week, but I will give my body time to let itself heal completely and will do another 2-day water fast next month.

Let me know if you have any experience of fasting yourself. Please share your experience with me or if you have any questions, I am happy to answer them.

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