• How to manage Stress

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    Stress is a very natural thing – it does occur from time to time and our bodies know how to deal with it. The true difficulty arises when we deal with constant low-level stress, which we often don’t even notice. Or maybe we just underrate it. Long-term stress is absolutely unhealthy for you, it leads to oxidation which makes you age faster, it makes you gain fat and makes your sleep everything but restful.Thankfully, there are ways to cope with stress before we burn out.

     

    1. Exercise

    Yes, exercise helps with almost everything. But don’t worry – you don’t have to wake up at 5 am to go to the gym if you don’t want to. There are many ways to incorporate more movement into your daily routine. Walk to work (or park your car further away so you get a few more steps in). Take the stairs. Stand up every 30 minutes to improve your circulation. Stretch. Use your break to go for a walk. Walk your dog. Go to a yoga or pilates class. Exercise should never feel like something you HAVE to do. Try new things and find out what feels right for you. Maybe you will find yourself enjoying running, hiking, swimming, rope skipping, dancing, boxing, etc., there are literally hundreds of options available!

     

    2.  Find something that makes you feel relaxed

    Easier said than done. You will have to put some observation work into this one. Watch yourself and find out what makes you feel less stressed. Does playing with your cat make you forget your stress and feel happy and loved? Or does a warm bath take all your sorrows away? Maybe you prefer a long walk through the forrest to make you feel like you have it all under control? Think about what really helps you calm down. Listen to your body. Maybe all you need is your favorite book and a cup of tea. Or a warm blanket and your favorite movie? Be aware of what you already do to help you release stress. If you haven’t tried any of these things yet, go on and try them! I personally love to go on a bus ride through the city and just look outside the window, it works wonders for me. Finding your holy grail for relaxation is worth the effort, trust me!

    The next step is to use it! Whenever you feel stressed, do what helps you! This might seem obvious, but many people know that a hot shower will help them and they still decide to not use them or to turn to ‘easier’ helpers – which we will talk about in a second.

     

    3. Meditate!

    I’m sure you’ve already heard this one a thousand times. But trust me, it works. Make meditation a part of your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be long, ten minutes twice a day are enough. It is really easy to find guided meditations on YouTube, Spotify, etc. or download an app which will help you. Try different types of meditation: silent meditation, guided meditation, chanting, active meditation, and so on. If you don’t like one, that is fine. Just try a different one. After you’ve found your favorite, the key is to make it a habit. Wake up, meditate, go on with your day, meditate before bed, sleep. Or what ever works best for you. Meditation has so many incredible benefits for your mind, body and spirit. Try it!

     

    4. Don’t take the easy way out

    Many of us have coping strategies that do not support our health. Yes, chocolate will make us feel good, but chocolate every day for months will make us feel rather bad when we gain weight. Same with alcohol and drugs, which will harm our health in other ways. The difference between the already mentioned strategies and these harmful ones is that food and drugs help us suppress the problem but it doesn’t just go away. Exercise and meditation help you deal with it so that you will learn how to deal with stress and there will be a learning curve so that it will get easier and easier. It is okay to indulge in a delicious brownie once in a while, just be aware it should not be used to distract you from your worries.

     

    5. It’s all about perspective

    Have you ever wondered why some people seem to flourish under stressful circumstances while others break down? It is all about how you perceive the situation. You do always have the choice to see a situation as a challenge or as a problem. The latter perspective will cause distress because you feel like you don’t have a choice or that everything is just too much to handle for you. On the other hand side, if you see the situation as a challenge, i.g. an opportunity to show your abilities and to grow, it will cause eustress, which is a positive kind of stress. Even though this shift might seem insignificant, it can make a huge difference. Try it. When your boss gives you a task that might seem too difficult for you – accept the challenge and watch what happens!

    These hacks will help you, but don’t forget that you can always ask for help and talk to people. We are only human.
    Also, sometimes it might be advisable to rethink your job, your partner, your friends, etc., if they are constantly stressing you and making your life miserable. There is always a way out and who knows what you will find outside of that place that makes you feel so unhappy?

  • Why Adopting a Plant-Based Diet is not Enough

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    Being vegan or eating a plant-based diet is a huge trend right now. And I am really happy about that because I truly believe that this is the best diet for human beings. There is only one problem: The term “vegan” or “plant-based” does only describe the origin of the food and not how healthy it really is. I have tried many different types of plant-based diets and there is a huge difference in terms of how good they are for your body. Because of the rising demand for vegan food, there are all kinds of “veganized” products available: starting with vegan sausages and cheese, vegan chocolate, vegan pizza. Depending on where you live, you can get the vegan version of almost everything. Therefore, it is pretty easy to find plant-based food nowadays.

     

    Is it healthy though?

    Many people believe that a plant-based diet automatically means a healthy diet and that vegan junk food is not unhealthy because it doesn’t contain animal products. That is not true unfortunately. If you look at the ingredients of all these fancy vegan fake products, you will most certainly find a very long list with all kinds of preservatives, coloring, and many words you can’t even pronounce. All these chemicals help to modify the texture, taste and smell to get as close to the real thing as possible. Which is great for people who are just starting out and finding these products helpful as a substitute for the animal product.

    But in the long run, these products will not help you much on your health journey. As humans, we are not made for chemical food. We thrive on a whole food plant-based diet. It is easy to prove that: Listen to your body after you eat a junk food meal. Do you feel energized? Or rather lethargic? Do you feel light? Or rather heavy and foggy? Do you feel satisfied? Or do you still crave more food? Your body gives you an instant feedback after your meal. So why not give your body the best food possible?

     

    10 advantages of a plant-based diet

    You…

    1. feel better physically and mentally
    2. have more energy throughout the day
    3. have glowing skin, your hair and nails are strong
    4. sleep better and maybe even need less sleep
    5. crave less sugary, salty and oily things
    6. let your tastebuds get used to natural flavors again, so you will find artificial ones too intense
    7. lose the few extra pounds you’ve been carrying around for way to long
    8. save money (yes, eating pure whole foods is cheaper than consuming all these substitutes)
    9. get healthier and get sick less often
    10. might even heal or reverse diseases like type-2 diabetes (please talk to your doctor first)

    This does almost sound too good to be true. But it is, I can tell you from my own experience.

     

    So what should you eat?

    First of all, try to consume as much vegetables and fruit as possible. Second, fill the plate with whole starches like potatoes, rice, quinoa, millet, spelt, oats, etc., to your meal to make you feel satisfied and happy. Third, add a protein source. Beans and legumes are excellent choices! Fourth, don’t forget your whole fats like avocados, flax seeds, hemp seeds, etc. Fifth, listen to your body!

    I would recommend filling one third to one half of your plate with veggies and the rest with starches and protein, the fats should just make up a small portion because they are very calorie-dense. You really don’t need as much protein as the fitness industry wants you to believe. If you get enough calories in, you shouldn’t have to worry about protein, even if you are exercising or lifting weights. Listen to what your body needs: maybe it is a hot summer day and all you want for lunch is a juicy watermelon, go for it! It is so important to (re)learn to interpret the signals you get from your body!

     

    Recommendations

    If you cannot cook (yet), there are a few options here: you can look for healthy restaurants to eat at or even just healthy options at the places you already visit often. You can start learning to cook simple meals, there are thousands of recipes on the internet, or you can buy a book and learn how to prepare one pot meals, for example. These are so quick and easy to make and you will love them! And don’t be afraid to try new things, you will be surprised how quickly you will get better!

    And don’t forget, it’s all about balance. I’m not telling you, you can never have your vegan cupcake again. Sure you can! Just make sure you are getting as many of the whole carbs, proteins and fats and the beautiful vitamins, minerals and trace elements in as possible.

    In the end, it’s all about making yourself happy. And whole carbs will definitely help you with that!

  • Welcome to my Journey!

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    Hi!

    I’m Katharina and I’m very pleased to meet you!

    This blog is all about:
    – healthy, plant-based food and recipes
    – overall health tips and tricks
    – self-development
    – spirituality, meditation and yoga

    I’m a health scientist, so I know quite a lot about health from the Western scientific viewpoint. But during my time at university, I often thought about how health is so much more than how many calories we eat and how many minutes we move in a week.

    Health is about every single aspect in our lives, where our food comes from, what it contains, how fresh it is. How we exercise, what it does to our bodies, how it makes us feel. But also how the products we use on a daily basis affect our health, which ingredients we put on and therefore in our bodies. How happy we are. How stressed we are. Whether we have a purpose in life. Whether we spend enough time in the nature. How we calm down after a busy day. Whether we have something we believe in. How the people around us make us feel. Whether we love somebody. Whether we love ourselves. And so much more.

    Health is not just about not feeling ill.  The WHO defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease”. But this definition does not help us finding true health. Health is a journey rather than an destination. And I believe that self-development is also a part of it!

    Let us make the first steps and find joy, love and peace on this road!