Tag Archives: health and fitness

Book Review – The Wiccan Wellness Book by Laura Perry

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Having ‘met’ Laura Perry on the Witch Lit group on Facebook, and seen that she had updated this book, I treated myself to a copy, and I’m so glad I did! It’s been on my bedside table for me to dip into for a few months and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

Laura Perry, N.D. is a Pagan author and artist, herbalist and Reiki master who considers natural healthcare to be part of her Earth-oriented spiritual life, focussing on healthy living in body, mind and spirit. Here’s my review of The Wiccan Wellness Book by Laura Perry…

This is a gentle, beautiful and caring book, well put together and offering the reader a host of ideas and options for ultimate wellbeing. The author’s knowledge and experience is evident throughout the book, but more than that, her intuition and spirituality shine through, giving the reader the experience of being healed and nurtured.

The Wiccan Wellness book is an interesting read in its own right, the author paying heed to all aspects of our lives that have a bearing on our wellbeing. However, I can see it being a wonderful reference book in the future too. The reader is able to select a specific section or chapter, depending on their needs at that moment, finding help from the author, or links to other books or societies who can offer more help.

The concept that mind, body and spirit working in harmony leads to well-being, is the basis of this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the possibilities to seek further balance in my own life.

It’s a versatile and informative book, while still being a magical read. A perfect ‘pick me up’ when you need a personal, spiritual boost.

You can purchase this book on Amazon UK here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wiccan-Wellness-Book-Natural-Healthcare/dp/1720269459/ref

And for friends across the pond here https://www.amazon.com/Wiccan-Wellness-Book-Natural-Healthcare/dp/1720269459/ref

If you are interested in magical writing or reading, join the Witch Lit Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1055104057875422/

or subscribe to our new channel on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHtAJO5uh6c9TSai1lhwF7g

We’re hoping to interview Laura Perry on our podcast very soon!

 

Life begins at fifty – Healthy life #3 Ignore the images!

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I have no problem with young women taking charge of their lives, and looking to be as fit and healthy as they can be, but I do have a problem when the media bombards women with only images that are not attainable by most.

I was twenty three when I join a gym for the first time, and I wanted to look like this. The reality was, I trained twice a day, six days a week and in five months, I pretty much did, but it wasn’t sustainable…or rather it was if my whole life revolved around exercise.

At this stage in my life, I have so many things I want to do! Exercise can be part of my life, and I’m happy about that, but I want it to be part of who I am, so the exercise HAS to be enjoyable.

From all I’ve read about exercise and health, there seems to be two things that are important:

Consistency

Active exercise

Consistency means you do a certain exercise, in a certain way, often, and I’ve chosen walking for this. Every morning, I walk between 2k and 4k steps around my land before breakfast. I’m now following this with 3-5 yoga poses. So, my walking is consistent but the length and intensity of my walk may vary, depending on what else I’m doing for the rest of the day. When I started, I worried I wouldn’t make 10k per day and pushed the mornings too much, especially on a ‘dancing day’. I managed the day, but struggled to get up the next morning! I’ve let go the need to achieve the 10k, listening to my body more, and going with how it feels.

Active exercise is about raising your heart rate in order to burn calories and fat efficiently. I use my Fitbit to monitor this and its really useful…yes, I can programme in extra data, but I don’t want to get obsessed by this. My active exercise can be pushing the walking harder, dancing or working on the land….mattocking and digging works well!

Should you have a goal? Should you have a weight target or a dress size? Should you have a fitness challenge?

It depends what motivates you,

I’ve set myself the challenge to lose 14lbs – 21lbs, because I think my knees will thank me for it! Carrying less weight and fitting back into my jeans is my motivation, but I’m not setting myself a time limit.

I’m also not on a diet as such. My eating is whole food plant based and I’m using Cronometer to monitor the nutrients I’m getting in as much as the calories. Most days I’m eating between 1.3k and 1.8k calories, while burning more than 2.1k. As my body muscle increases and the fat slowly drops away, my weight will decrease and I’m happy for it to be a slow process.

Join me next time for a delicious, versatile smoothie that you’ll love!

Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life #2 – Whole food, plant based diet

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I’ve been a vegetarian for thirty five years, but it’s only been over the past five years that I’ve cut down on my dairy intake, and now taken eggs also from my diet. We’re influenced by so much advertising online that it isn’t always easy to know whose advice to take, but my information first came from my children.

My middle son has suffered from arthritis since the age of twelve. He’s always been vegetarian, but five years ago, he took dairy from his diet and the difference to the pain in his joints was massive and very noticeable. Where he’d been walking with a stick, he was free of it, and he put this down to cutting dairy from his diet after reading articles and watching videos by people like Dr Michael Gregor, T Colin Campbell, Dr Neal Barnard and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn.

My eldest son followed his advice, and he and his fiancee gave up meat in favour of a whole food, plant based diet.

I was already wheat intolerant and struggled with other foods too, so the thought of giving up goat’s cheese and the occasional Magnum ice lolly made me sad at first, but worth it….no, say it louder, REALLY WORTH IT! I waked up every morning and none of my joints ache anymore. Yes, I get achy if I’ve danced too much or overdone the bramble pulling or barrowing, but since giving up dairy I don’t wake up hurting every morning.

The longer I’m without dairy, the better I feel and out of all the advice and videos, one person resonated most with me and he is Dr Michael Gregor. His website has it all and his short to the point videos on YouTube cover every topic imaginable.

Dr Gregor’s advice isn’t about ‘dieting’ as such, but about changing the way you eat for a happier, healthier life. If you start with the veggies, pack in all the nutrients and vitamins you need, no one says you can’t have a couple of slices of pizza as well!

Dr Gregor’s website: https://nutritionfacts.org/

Dr Gregor’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/NutritionFactsOrg

Dr Gregor reads all the medical papers, so we don’t have to, and draws together all the relevant information you need to make decisions on health for yourself.

I highly recommend the App that was made for him called Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen, as a guide to getting the most from your food for the benefit of your body and mind.

It takes practise to fit everything in, but that’s the fun part, trying new, tasty recipes and foods along the way.

For food ideas, type ‘plant based’ into the search on the home page and my favourite tried and tested recipes will come up. I’m always trying new recipes and will share with you all.

I hope this is useful for those of you looking to change and embark on an exciting journey of discovery, towards a happier, healthier you.

Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life#1

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There are plenty of blogs and vlogs available to inspire everyone to make their lives healthy ones. There are less by women over fifty.

One year on without nicotine has changed me, and not always in the ways one would hope for. You can read more here https://wendysteele.com/2019/01/24/1-year-without-nicotine-how-was-it-for-you-darling/

For 2019, all blog posts that begin ‘Life begins at fifty’, will be for everyone wishing to know more about the menopause, and looking for support and help with their healthy eating and fitness challenges.

There will be inspiration, recipes, links to blogs and videos, but there will be honesty too, and I’m starting with photos of how I look right now. I’ve suffered with body dismorphia all my life, so this isn’t easy, but though I’ve been inspired by fab videos online, either the women have had surgery first, or they’re almost half my age! Light is limited in my old farmhouse, but as I’m not focussing on weight, but shape, I’m hoping to see the difference over this year when I look in the mirror.

My routine at the moment:

Walking 10k steps every day (including at least 30 ‘active’ minutes)

Yoga every morning, between 3 and 5 poses or stretches

Teach 5 hours regular bellydance each week

Following a whole food, plant based diet every day

 

The idea is for the walking to build up my strength and stamina, while the yoga stretches out my body and calms my mind. Bellydance does everything!

I shall be exploring all sorts of ideas and possibilities for health and fitness this year, and telling you all about it….I’ve only been doing the yoga for a week and I’m loving it!

Join me on my fitness journey to be the fittest, healthiest and happiest I can be:-)

 

 

 

For the love of power naps

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I discovered power naps fifteen years ago, and now I’m self employed with no dependents living at home, I can use them to gain even more constructive time in my day.

Four years of IBS left me thin and weak, and then I discovered bellydance. If I wanted to dance, I had to eat, but also be as rested as possible, to give me the best chance of dancing the hour and a half session. How could I fit it in? I was so tired and yet, daily household tasks needed to be done and the children needed collecting at 3.15pm. I chose to power nap from 1.30pm to 2.10pm, rising from my bed, driving straight to the school able to spend almost an hour in the car writing my first novel.

I loved bellydancing and wanted to dance more. There was another hour and a half session the following evening. Could I manage two nights of dancing? It wasn’t just the overwhelming fatigue I felt every minute of every day, but the pain was often excruciating, leaving me drained and nauseous and ready to give up on life. I tried the classes and with the help of my regular nap, I was able to bellydance twice a week.

Sticking to the routine was easy for me; it helped with pain and tiredness and enabled me to do the things I wanted to do. I had so much more energy for the children too, making getting them to clubs after school so much easier.

The power nap combined with bellydance changed the course of my life. Before I had my children I ran an Offshore Funds Settlements Department in London; in 2007, at the age of 44, I created Phoenix Bellydance and began teaching Egyptian dance to women and girls, as well as continuing to write. I had articles published in dance magazines, interviewed dancers and musicians and wrote their stories, but it was around 2009 that I knew I wanted to write magical novels, having discovered the stories of Dion Fortune.

My mind was opened to all sorts of possibilities, but managing the IBS was still a problem. I’d taken on two cleaning jobs for friends, just three hours a time, but with teaching in the evening, and attending classes and workshops myself, I struggled to manage my pain and the fatigue again. And then I discovered reiki. I’d signed myself up for an aromatherapy massage course, hoping to learn more about essential oils and their healing properties, but there weren’t enough people so the reiki course was suggested as a stop gap.

Learning about chakras gave me the frame work to heal my own body and mind. I attended a later aromatherapy massage course too, and proceeded to Reiki 2 training. My naptime took on even more relevance, a time not just to rest but to heal. Around this time, I realised a sense of ‘self’ I hadn’t known before. I discovered American Tribal Style® Bellydance and around the same time, greater confidence working magic on my own or with close friends and my daughter.

Throughout this time, I discovered that a power nap wasn’t called Forty Winks by accident. Forty minutes was the perfect length of power nap for me; any less, I didn’t feel refreshed after and any more, I felt heavy and lethargic and struggled to get going. I was allowed to press the snooze button though, as it gave me ten minutes if I needed it, to come round slowly.

Now, especially if my partner is working away, I use power naps to make my day even longer. Up before 6am and out walking by half past, if I nap before 3pm, I can still have energy to pull brambles, dance, research or write until about 11pm…I feel like I’ve fitted two days into one! It’s not possible to use them every day with work commitments, but if I’m up early and fading by 11.30am, I’ll always try and fit in a power nap…or sometimes a cat nap if a kitten comes to join me.

Toegate continued

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The broken toe is healing…slowly. Today I’m walking my steps for the first time in Wellington boots since the crunch.

(Not sure why I look like I’m hovering over the earth!)

I started a few months ago, getting up around 6am and starting my day with 2k steps for two reasons, both related to me stopping smoking. Firstly, I miss the first cigarette of the day with the same intense craving I’ve woken up with for forty years, so I’m trying a different start to the day. Secondly, I’ve put on weight around my middle and I don’t like it.

Teaching women to bellydance, I encourage them to love their bodies, I know, but this bit around the middle doesn’t belong to me. It has been sent by the Nicotine Monster because I won’t feed him anymore, and I refuse to sign and accept the delivery!

So I’m building up the steps again slowly; 1k in the morning, 1k at lunchtime and another 1k in the evening. Combined with 6 hours of dance each week, I’m hoping to see a difference by 1st September.

Tribal Unity Wales will be performing at the Lampeter Food Festival on 28th July and at the Cardigan Bellydance Festival on 4th August. After that, I’ll return to 2k every morning…why not join me?

 

 

Dance…today and every day

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I learned ballroom dancing by standing on my Dad’s feet when I was tiny. Ballet lessons, however, were out of the question as I was labelled a ‘fairy elephant’ and I learned piano instead. I shuffled my feet and waved my arms at the disco in the 80s but it wasn’t until I was forty that I ‘found’ dance and embraced it.

On Saturday night, my Tribal Unity Wales students and I joined the dancing at a hafla in Cardigan. (A hafla is a belly dance party, rather than a performance.) American Tribal Style® (ATS®)Belly Dance is the style I teach, created by Carolena Nerricio in the late 80s and since moving to Wales, I’ve started two classes and am about to start a third. Unlike Egyptian Belly Dance, every dance is improvised, dancers following the cues of the leader.

The atmosphere built as costumes were finalised and make up perfected before we began. As the first group danced, Rose Barter’s Belly Fit class for over 50s, I looked around at the other dancers, their friends and family. Everyone was smiling, clapping in time, supporting the dancers and enjoying the music and I wished we could capture the feeling in the Small World Theatre….then everyone would dance.

DSC_1261Our two group dances, one in groups and chorus and the other in formation, were interspersed in the programme with stick dances, a veil dance, a drum solo and other duets and solos. There were no egos. Each dancer was there to share the love of the dance.

Tribal Unity were invited to dance to the live drums and my partner joined them on the tabla. Hayley and I danced a fun, crazily fast duet…how can I describe how much fun that was?

My life changed when I started belly dance. In my early twenties I used weight training, swimming, aerobics and stretching to keep fit and sculpt my body. Thirty years on, dance gives me that and so much more.

I began with Egyptian Belly Dance, attending work shops all over the country to learn new skills and develop my dance until I became a tribal babe just over four years ago. Now I have the privilege to teach American Tribal Style® Belly Dance to others, sharing the love of the dance and the bliss of being part of a tribal family.

Don’t wait. You don’t need an excuse. Dance…today and every day.

To find out more about Tribal Unity http://www.tribalunity.co.uk

To find out more about American Tribal Style® Belly Dance http://www.fcbd.com