Health Nation wishes you all a happy and healthy Halloween! Before we dive in to the festivities, we thought you’d like to know where we’ve been hiding these past few months.
What’s new at Health Nation?
Well, for starters, the name! When we took over Nutrition Nation HK earlier this year, we realised we needed a name that would reflect our team’s core goal: to empower our clients to be their healthiest, happiest self. Diet and nutrition is only part of the puzzle. In order to fulfil our goal, we need to consider a person’s whole being – emotions, lifestyle habits, fitness, sleep, and so much more.
So, we’ve rebranded to reflect our offerings, hence our new name and logo. We’re currently working hard behind the scenes to bring you our new website packed full of health and wellness services, recipes, and tips to live the life you deserve.
We’re also pleased to welcome two wonderful additions to the Health Nation family:
Melanie Collins Moran is an integrative nutrition and holistic healing specialist. She is passionate about ‘living to thrive’ in a toxic world and believes the body has an innate ability to heal itself when given the right tools. When she’s not working (this busy mama is also a Primary School teacher!) she enjoys time in the kitchen cooking nutrition-packed delights for her young twins.
Yelena Zakharova is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She is passionate about helping people learn to nourish themselves, find the right balance in life, make healthier choices and love themselves. Having watched her mother and grandmother make good, wholesome food from scratch, Yelena is a culinary goddess and hosts regular cooking classes.
They join our ever-growing team of health, life, nutrition, fitness and corporate wellness coaches.
Building our brand and team is not the only thing that’s kept us on our toes these last few months. Chrissy Denton, our senior nutritionist and fitness professional, shared her views with the South China Morning Post on a plant-based diet for high performance athletes. Check it out here: http://www.scmp.com/sport/other-sport/article/2104876/high-performance-athletes-shy-away-veganism-fear-low-protein
We’ve also been busy delivering corporate wellness talks including CLSA Supercharge your Brain, APG Working Well: Improving Efficiency and Focus; and Nutrition 101 for Freshfields. Research shows that a happy employee is a productive employee. If your company or firm would like to know more, drop us a line. We cover a wide range of topics including stress-management, work-life integration. weight loss and sugar cravings.
On that note, it’s Halloween! How do encourage our kids to have fun without the Halloweeen sugar fest? With the end-of-year mayhem pulling us in every which direction, what can we eat to stay grounded this Autumn? We’ve got you covered here!
Kids CAN have fun without all the candy this Halloween!
We are all mums at Health Nation, and I have to confess festivals like Halloween fill us with dread. It’s not the scary costumes or the ghoulish make-up that get us. It’s the massive sugar-load that sends shivers down our spines. Of course, we want our children to have fun but you can’t blame a health-savvy mum for getting squeamish at the site of nasties!
So, what can we do about it? Well, you could take a deep breath, plaster on a fake smile, and accept that this candy-craze will last for one night. Everything in moderation, right? Remind yourself - as you grit your teeth through the sugar high and ultimate crash that comes with bucket-loads of candy - that Halloween comes just once a year.
Or, you could take this opportunity to teach your child that it’s entirely possible to have heaps of fun without the sugar and candy-fest. Find a tribe of mums who feel the same way as you and who are on the trick and treat path that your kids will tread. Agree on some non-candy treats to hand out when the
doorbell chimes - mini bounce balls, yo-yos, pens, stickers and bubblepots, work a treat. You don’t need to spend a small fortune; if you are organised, you can start foraging the local markets for fun ideas. If you’re in the mood to be creative, you could prepare some novel tangerines using a black permanent pen to make a face.
And if you do want to indulge, here’s a recipe for delicious, healthier wine gums. The good news for busy parents is it only takes five minutes to combine ingredients and 15 minutes to set in the freezer.
Healthy Tangy Wine Gums
You will need a sweet mould for this. I picked mine up at City Super. Makes about 20 mini gums.
Variation: Instead of fresh juice and the essential oils you can use a cup of low sugar fruit juice – pomegranate or cherry, for example - to make different flavours.
1. Put all the ingredients bar the essential oils in a pan and heat till the entire gelatin has dissolved
2. Add the essential oils to the melted mix and pour into the mould
3. Place in the freezer for around 15 to 20 minutes to set
4. Once set, remove them from the mould, put in a container and keep in the fridge. (These last for a good 3 weeks but usually get devoured way before then!).
Foods that ground you
Autumn has arrived, and the busy back-to-school season that's quickly met with the hustle and bustle of the half-term holidays is now behind us and we are on our way to Halloween. This last part of the year flies by in a wink. Because of this, it can feel like a time where your out-of-control schedule is controlling you. You're pulled in many different directions, and you just want to sit down for a second to catch a break.
One of the beautiful things about nature is it knows. It knows how insane this time of year gets and exactly what we need to find our way back to balance and what we need from nature. So many grounding foods become available this season, and it's of our highest benefit to take advantage of them. These foods can ground us and help us to re-balance.
Here are a few of our favourites at Health Nation:
Pumpkin and squash
These are two traditional autumn foods, but they’re also exactly what we should be eating to ground ourselves. When you want some sweetness in your meal, these are the ideal way to achieve that and a much better alternative to chemical-laden artificially sweetened items. Use that pumpkin you carved out for Halloween to create a healthy meal with the next day. You’ll feel oh-so-healthy and grounded while enjoying a delicious pumpkin dish!
Vegetables that fall into this category are sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, garlic, and ginger. They add great flavor to your meal and will make you feel rooted and grounded. Interesting how that works, right? Foods that grow as roots in the ground are naturally rooting and grounding for us. Nature is amazing.
Naturally Fermented Foods
Raw sauerkraut is perfect to add some sourness to your autumn meals, while also strengthening your gut health. Fermented foods make your meals taste great, assist with grounding you, act as prebiotics, and feed all the good bacteria in your gut. Some other naturally fermented food items include kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and pickles, to name a few.
Add on the proteins
Finding healthy, high-quality protein sources will be of benefit to you this time of year. Proteins that come from high-quality foods give you the nutrients you need to build strong muscle while also feeling more grounded. We tend to crave more substantial meals this time of year due to their grounding effect. Hearty stews and soups are among the most popular food items this season, and that’s exactly why. Are there any plant-based proteins you have meant to experiment with in the kitchen? Now is a perfect time to be adventurous and try something new.
Aside from eating foods that naturally ground you, there are other ways you can enjoy feeling grounded. Being in nature has a natural grounding effect too. Take a walk outside as often as possible to breathe in the crisper air after the humid Hong Kong summer months and enjoy the change to cooler temperatures.
Breathing exercises help with feeling more grounded, so focus on your breathing throughout the day. Take note if you're breathing freely or holding your breath often. When you notice you're holding your breath, take a moment to practice a short breathing exercise: try breathing in through the nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and breathe out through your mouth for a count of 8. You’ll feel the tension releasing from your body.
From all of us at Health Nation: Happy Halloween!