It's that time of year again when colds and flu viruses will start to creep up on us so we need to be ready. As well as your asana practice, pranayama (breathing techniques) can do much to stop these invaders causing havoc in your body.
It's that time of year again when we may succumb to cold and flu viruses. There are many theories as to why this is. It could be that we are staying in more with the heating on or it could be that the shorter days have less sunlight to destroy the viruses. Cumin helps fight the viruses that cause the common cold. It is really helpful if your cold is accompanied by a cough as it dries up mucus. In addition, it is a source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is required in larger quantities by your immune system when fighting an infection, so it is important to keep levels optimum in your body. It is also a source of vitamin A which helps keep your mucus membranes in tip top condition. There are many recipes on this blog that use cumin. Why not try my 'Sweet potato and dhal bake'- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/meatless-monday-sweet-potato-and-dhal.html You can also make a cumin tea by stirring a teaspoon of powdered cumin in boiling water. Allow to cool a little before drinking. Do not drink more than once a day and avoid the cumin tea altogether if you are pregnant. Stay well this autumn.
What is HIIT? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The idea is that you do short bursts of intense exercise, followed by rest periods. For under 40s, this means 3 minutes of intense exercise, followed by a rest. This is repeated 5 times, totaling 15 minutes, and is practiced once a week. HIIT has a great many benefits. These include: improved fitness; toning; slowing down the aging process; and improved vascular function. It also helps with weight control by increasing metabolism. However, HIIT is not usually recommended for the over 40s, especially where you have any medical condition or are not used to exercising. The exercises below are my take on a HIIT session. However, it is vital that you talk to a qualified medical practitioner before starting this, or any other, exercise programme. This session includes shorter bursts of exercise than in conventional HIIT- 30 seconds to 1 minute of Mountain Climbers is quite enough for me, thank you very much! The session is designed so that you can gradually build up intensity as you become fitter. Go at your own pace and listen to your body - remember, you know your body best. Each of the exercises in this routine are performed for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Half Jacks
Begin in a standing position. Briskly tap your right foot out to the side as you take your right arm over to the left, and then quickly come back to centre. Repeat with the left arm and left leg, and then continue again on the right side. Rest until your breathing and heart rate have returned to normal. Mountain Climbers Begin on all fours, hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips. Move into a Plank position (see picture). Rapidly draw your right knee to your chest, and then return to Plank. Repeat on the other side. Continue to quickly alternate right and left legs. If you are unable to hold your body in a Plank position, stay on all fours and draw your knees into your chest as described above. Rest until your breathing and heart rate have returned to normal. Skier One
Stand with your feet apart, arms straight. Take your right foot back and towards the left, as you bend your left knee a little. At the same time, reach down towards the floor on your right with your left hand. Return to start position, switch sides and continue. As you get fitter, you will be able to reach nearer the ground. Rest until your breathing and heart rate have returned to normal. Skier Two
Stand with your hands in fists, elbows bent, right arm and right leg behind, left arm and left leg in front. The front knee is bent (see picture). Rapidly switch sides with a jumping motion, bringing your left arm and left leg behind, and right leg and right arm in front. Continue switching sides. Speed up or slow down according to your level of fitness. Rest until your breathing and heart rate have returned to normal. Scissor Twist
Stand with your feet together, elbows bent outwards and lifted to chest height, middle fingers touching. Jump your feet to the right as you twist your arms to the left and continue. Speed up or slow down as necessary. If you are unable to jump the feet, keep your feet still and twist the torso left and right. Rest until your breathing and heart rate have returned to normal. Happy HIIT!
Last week we talked about harvesting the dwarf french beans and tomatoes. Please see 'Organic fruit and veg garden update'-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/organic-fruit-and-veg-garden-update.html In this week's Meatless Monday we are using them to make a spicy vegetable and bean stew, perfect now the nights are drawing in and autumn is almost on us. If you do not have dwarf french beans, you could use runner beans. Enjoy with crusty bread to mop up the juices. Spicy vegetable and bean stew Serves 2 You will need 1 tbsp organic olive oil 1 onion, peeled and chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1/2 tsp chilli flakes 1/2-1 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp coriander leaf 2 medium carrots 4 inch piece from neck end of squash, peeled and diced handful dwarf frech beans or runner beans 1 medium courgette 6 cherry tomatoes 4 tbsp tomato puree pinch stevia 1 tsp salt in 500ml hot water 1 can borlotti beans coconut cream to top (optional) fresh coriander to garnish (optional) Heat the oil and cook the onion for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, chilli, smoked paprika and coriander and cook a further minute. Add the pink salt in water, carrots, squash and tomato puree with a pinch of stevia and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15minutes. Add the dwarf french beans, courgettes and tomatoes and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes until the dwarf french beans are tender but still have a little crispness. Stir in the borlotti beans and heat through. Top with coconut cream if using and fresh coriander leaves.
Fennel seeds too are great for the stomach. Remember the gripe water your mother gave you as a baby or you gave your own children for colic? That was made from fennel. In adults fennel seeds can help relieve heartburn and indigestion. They help digestion, they are carminative and so relieve flatulence. They are also a good source of fibre which helps relieve constipation and by doing so helps relieve bloating. Fennel is often used in curries for its aromatic qualities. Please see my 'Chickpea, squash and coconut curry' http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/meatless-monday-chickpea-squash-and.html . Fennel seeds can also be used to make a tea or chew a few seeds before meals. Fennel is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or women with hormone sensitive conditions.