Can I Get Enough Protein If I Don't Eat Meat?

FREE Plant-Based Protein Cheatsheet

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I'm sure you've probably heard a thousand times that we need animal products to get enough protein, right? Could it be possible that this is a myth, and simply not true? Many people today are choosing to eat less animal products for many reasons, but the question coming to mind is: can I get enough protein if I don't eat meat?

Why protein is important 

Before we get into what type of protein fuels our bodies better, it’s important to lay the foundation as to why protein is important in the first place. 

Protein is an essential nutrient to health. Its role is to build, maintain and repair all our body systems. In fact, the membrane of every cell in the body is 50% fat and 50% protein. We, therefore, should be consuming protein in every meal we eat. 

How much protein do we need?

The amount of protein needed is different for everyone, based on bodyweight.  In 2006 Australia and New Zealand published the Recommended Daily Intake of protein. For males, the RDI between 0.68g - 0.84g per kilo of body weight, and for females the RDI is between 0.60g - 0.75g per kilogram of body weight (Wahlqvist, 2011, p. 303).

Here’s an example: for a 60kg woman, her RDI of adequate protein would be between (0.60 x 60 and 0.75 x 60) 40.8g and 45g per day. Is that surprisingly lower than you thought? Well, consider this. Protein supplements have become a multimillion dollar business due to the huge boom of the “health and fitness” industry and the popular desire to be buff, ripped, lean and bikini-body sexy. So what’s one way you can ensure your product continues to sell? Use your marketing to push the myth that you need more protein than you actually do.

Now don’t get me wrong, athletes and others specifically needing/wanting to increase muscle mass do require more protein for muscle growth and repair, and thus require an increase in protein consumption. However, for the every day busy woman who just wants to be fit, lean and strong, it is simply not necessary to eat a high protein diet.

In fact, according to the Australian Food and Nutrition textbook, “Under normal circumstances, dietary supply of protein (amino acids) is in excess of requirements and the excess amino acids must be broken down and excreted” (2011, p. 298).  Dr Michael Greger also backs this up, sharing that studies indicate most people in the Western world get more than enough protein.

Problem with animal protein

What kind of protein should we be eating? More specifically, can you get enough protein without eating meat?

According to the largest study in history (The China Study) on people groups that eat plant-based diets, vegetarians actually consume about 70% more protein than the RDI (which averages about 40g-50g per day). Non-vegetarians, of course get way more than that again, but it's worth considering whether animal-based protein consumption is worthwhile. 

The infamous China Study indicates diets with high animal protein intake are associated with increased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Wahlqvist states that vegetarian diets, on the other hand, that are generally lower in protein (than high-animal protein diets) are often associated with better health (2011, p 310). This tells us that although meat and animal products clearly contain protein, there are many other factors that are associated with eating meat that are simply detrimental to our health. 

Dr Dean Ornish also points out that the research indicates animal protein may significantly increase the risk (up to 75% increase) of premature mortality from all causes.

When you think about it, cows milk (the basis of dairy products) is 'baby-cow growth food' not primarily a human food. I watched Cowspiracy last night and the documentary mentioned that the purpose of cows milk is to turn a 65 pound calf into a 400+ pound cow, yet we treat milk as the next best thing since sliced bread!

Why plant-based whole food protein is better

So why is plant-based protein superior? We get the answer from the animal themselves. Where did the dead animals that humans consume get their protein from? Most animals that are consumed for meat get their protein from eating plants (chicken, cows, fish etc)! They get their protein first-hand, and then humans eat their meat to get secondary-source protein. Is it just me, or does that seem illogical?

Don Tolman shares insight about the word ‘protein’ itself, demonstrating that it comes from the Greek word ‘proteos’ which means ‘first source.’ First source protein can only be gained from eating plants and whole foods. It is these plant foods that contain the building blocks of cellular health and life for our bodies.

What else we need to absorb and digest protein 

There’s a common myth out there that by eating large amounts of protein it will help increase muscle building. However studies have shown that the body can only absorb a certain amount of protein at a time. An article published in the "International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism" in 2006 recommends getting no more than 25 percent of your calories from protein to minimize the risk of protein toxicity. Amounts will vary of course from person to person, but it is worth being cautious not to eat too much protein (animal protein in particular) because it can lead to toxicity, acidity and kidney problems, according to Dr Michael Greger.

In order for our bodies to break down, digest and absorb the amino acids in protein, our digestive system needs to be producing HCl (hydrochloric acid) and enzymes. For your gut to produce these elements, however, your body's acid-alkaline pH balance must be adequate. If the balance isn’t right, whole molecules of protein can pass through the stomach into the small intestine undigested, thus not absorbing the amino acids in the protein. Taking probiotics can definitely improve your gut bacteria and help your body produce the right acids and enzymes to absorb dietary intake. Alternatively, eating plant-based fermented proteins like pea protein or tempeh will be easier to digest because they are already pre-digested foods in a sense.

Examples of plant-based protein

Many plant-foods contain protein, but not only that, when eaten in their whole-food form, you are also gaining other super-nutrients like fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. For a specific list of plant-based foods and their protein amounts, download my free cheatsheet. Here is a general list of plant-based foods that contain good amounts of protein:

Grains - wheat, rye, spelt, barley, oats, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth

Legumes (beans) - lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans, black eyed beans, lima beans, split peas

Nuts - almonds, brazil, pecans, macadamia, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts

Seeds - pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseed, chia, sesame, hemp

Greens - broccoli, spinach, dark leafy greens, spirulina

Why I still eat eggs

As a plant-based whole foods advocate, I do still eat eggs, however I am VERY picky about what eggs I eat. I buy eggs from a local farm where I know the chickens are healthy, organic and free-range, and when I eat out I choose restaurants that source free-range local eggs when I choose an egg meal. Eggs are a whole-protein food source, and I still choose to eat them currently because I live a fairly active life and currently my B12 is lower than it should be. However, I would choose not to eat them if it was not possible to get the best quality from small local farmers. 

Take home message

In answer to the question of whether you can get enough protein without eating meat: YES you can! How and why:

  • We don't need as much protein as we're often told
  • We can only digest and absorb a certain amount per meal
  • Plant-based proteins come without the risk of premature death and disease
  • Plant-based proteins also come with a range of other nutritional benefits when consumed in their wholefood form

Don't forget to download your free copy of my Plant-Based Protein Cheatsheet for examples of the foods I eat regularly to get an adequate intake of protein in my diet.

The One Thing I Wish I Could Change

Reflections From A Women's Personal Trainer

Download Your FREE Self-Care Menu Below

After working with many women as their personal trainer, I've noticed some common themes:

  • Feelings of "not-enoughness"
  • A lack of confidence
  • Lack of time for their own health & wellbeing
  • Negative self-talk
  • Lack of self-belief
  • Lack of self-love 

I always knew that food habits would be essential for helping women reach their goals, but I learnt very quickly that mindset habits and self-perception was even more important.

Over and over I’ve heard from women that when they lose weight, or feel confident in that bikini, or their partner is happy with them - THEN they’ll value themselves and think they’re worthy or 'enough' and feel happy. This stems from a negative self-perception based on the beliefs held about oneself. Whatever the thoughts you allow to repeat over and over in your head are, will become the beliefs you hold about yourself.

And what did I learn from all these women? Many of them hold negative, unkind and and toxic beliefs about themselves. One of the questions I often ask in my coaching sessions is, 'If I asked you to list all the things you love, how long would it take for you to mention yourself?'

It’s a sobering question, hey.

So what does it mean to love yourself? Being able to love yourself is not about selfishness. It is all about having a healthy self-worth. Self-worth is “characterised by a quiet sense of self-respect and a feeling of satisfaction of who we are. True self-worth, unlike pride, is not based on our performance.” It is based on our value as a unique individual whose purpose in this universe no one else can fill. It's the belief that because you've been created uniquely (there is no other YOU on this planet), you are super special and are here for a reason. Your personality, gifts, talents and abilities are a gift to the world, and without you, the world would be missing out on something special only you can bring. 

Once we start believing this truth about ourselves, this healthy self-love manifests into benevolent self-care. I say 'benevolent,' because I believe true self-care is never at the expense of others, or because we are better than others. True self-care is an awareness of the need of taking care of oneself so that you can best serve others around you. This kind of self-care includes sowing into your mental, emotional, spiritual, relational and physical health, as well as taking time to rest, relax and rejuvenate.


If there was one thing I could change about the women I so often see, know and work with, it would be their self-perception.
— Alisha Christie

And second to noticing the lack of self-love amongst women I train and coach, the second most common theme is a lack of time and priority put on self-care. We women are very good at putting everyone else first and our needs last. Mothers especially are in a time of life when the demands of bringing up the kids makes it difficult to practice self-care. Healthy meals are forgotten in the rush of daily life, exercise is a luxury, and simple alone-time ends up being spent scrolling Facebook whilst being sprawled on the lounge, because it seems like too much energy to run a hot bath, relax with some essential oils and candles, and be still. 

So why make the effort for self-care? Because the benefits are amazing. And by serving ourselves, we can better serve others (our kids, our spouse, our work, our friends) because we are in a better mental state.

Why is self-perception the one thing I wish I could change in women? Because everything else stems from this. A healthy self-concept (self-love) leads to seeing the need for self-care, which in turn will better not only our own lives but our interactions with those around us.

If you are needing some guidance on improving your self-concept, Amy Kate from The Mindful Collective is a great resource. She has also kindly shared her Self Care Menu (below) with us to spark many ideas for how you can practically start self-caring. Download your free copy below.

Also if you would like to share how you practice self-care, leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

You've Been Lied To! 6 Myths About Losing Belly Fat

Learn the truth about fat loss

Download FREE eBook Below: 6 Truth-Bombs For Losing Belly Fat

 Someone once sent me a message asking, 'What's the best ab exercises to get a flat tummy?' Here's what I wrote back:

Haha - the golden question every woman wants to know! 
I'd be lying if I said that just a few exercises would be the answer unfortunately. Our muffin tops are excess fat and the best way to lose unwanted body fat is to change the way we think, eat and move. That's what I help my clients do. In short - 
Change your thinking: start believing you are beautiful NOW, and treat your body accordingly - do the BEST for it in the way you think about yourself, the way you feed yourself and the priority you put on exercise. Believe that you are capable of whatever you put your mind to, then put steps in place daily to move towards your goals.
Change your eating: no processed foods, no sugar, more plants, more greens, more healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut etc), and have a small dinner as early as possible - this will all make the most difference. 
The third thing to change is your exercise: you want to have a mixture of weight training (yes, it burns body fat), high intensity interval training (short sessions like 20min), and stretching/pilates. 
So that's the longer, truthful answer. 

I thought about how I would respond to your question, and decided to be upfront and honest with a long explanation rather than just send you exercises knowing that nothing would really change. I'd much rather empower women to know what it really takes to change their bodies, rather than make a "quick sell" on stuff that's not really answering the question. (For more truth bombs on how to lose belly fat, download the free eBook below)

It was this exchange above that prompted me to write this blog. Read on to learn 6 popular myths about losing belly fat and what the truth is so you don't fall for a lie! Get your free copy of my eBook below.

myth No. 1: Doing crunches & sit ups will make you lose belly fat & get abs

Anyone else a Pinterest lover like myself? Pinterst is a great place to find ideas on everything, but it can also be a very misleading place when it comes to this topic. Put your hand up if you've searched 'flat tummy workout' on Pinterest? Here's just some of the garbage you will find:

  • The flat stomach belly blaster workout
  • Flat abs in 5!
  • Bye bye love handles
  • The flat belly workout
  • The flat stomach workout: slim & trim your waist
  • Tight abs exercises for women
  • 8 minutes to flat abs

I know garbage sounds harsh, but if you want the truth you'll always find it with me!

The Truth

Crunches and sit ups are a couple of the least-effective ab exercises for starters. Secondly, there is no ab workout that can give you a flat tummy! There it is. It's out there. I said it. Why? Because it's true. To lose belly fat, you need to take a full-body fat loss approach. So scrap those Pinterest ab workouts, and start doing strength training, HIIT and pilates.

myth no.2: take supplement x and you'll get abs

How many infomercials and ads have you seen pushing this or that supplement that is supposed to give you wash-board abs? It's insane! 

The Truth

No supplement alone can promise you a flat tummy, let alone promise a long-term sustainable solution that doesn't empty your pockets.. Nothing can do what balanced, plant-based whole foods can do for you. Don't buy into the gimmicks. They will always come and go. The truth is: there is no short-cut to maintaining fat loss in a sustainable way.

myth no. 3: doing abs exercises every day will result in a flat tummy

The Truth

Abdominal exercises and workouts will get you stronger abs, but won't remove the fat. This is simply because the ab muscles are a relatively small muscle group and won't get the calorie deficit necessary to burn into fat stores. The only way to see the abs is to get rid of the layer of fat over the abdominals.  And in case you didn't know, spot reduction (focusing on one body area to try and lose fat from there) simply doesn’t work. When you lose fat, it generally comes off your belly last because its where most people hold the most fat.

Myth no. 4: If you don't have visible abs, you're not fit

This particular myth has been one I've personally grappled with. For a long time I had a personal goal of attaining visible abs. When I trained for my first photo shoot, I gave it a serious crack. I trained twice a week with a trainer, stuck to a strict diet and worked out 6 times a week. Over 8 weeks I was able to reduce my body fat percentage to 14% (The average healthy body fat percentage for a woman my age is around 25%) . I was really happy with how I looked, but guess what? I still didn't have visible abs! What extreme would I need to go to just to say or show, 'I've got visible abs?' 

This experience shifted my mindset a lot. I began to realise that not all bodies are made the same, and not all goals are set in reality (especially when they're based on comparisons with cover girls and professional athletes).

The Truth

A lot of women who have visible abs have such a low body fat percentage they are actually unhealthy and are not able to maintain it. Everyone’s body is different. Some people naturally have lower body fat, some don’t, depending on different body types. Overall lower body fat leads to hormonal problems/risks and can also cause issues when it comes to fertility and pregnancy. Most cover girls are in starvation mode for photo shoots, have fake boobs that make their bodies look more feminine due to the low body fat, and are almost always photo-shopped. This my dear friends, does not equate to being fit.

In no way am I having a go at the women out there who naturally have lower body fat and sport a lovely six pack (go girl!) without going to extremes. What I am emphasising is that not everyone's body is the same, and to compare ourselves among ourselves is the worst way to set goals or set a standard of what's 'fit.' 

myth no. 5: cutting out fruit, sugar and carbs will make you get a flat tummy

The Truth

Of course eating loads of sugary foods and highly refined carbs can lead to weight gain, but so can an excess of anything! This is PART of the answer to losing belly fat, but if all you did was cut out those foods, but still ate huge meals and never exercised and live a highly stressful life, you probably won’t lose the fat. Also, fruit is not bad! It contains loads of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre your body needs. Eating fruits and veggies in the right portions (ie. not going crazy) will promote optimal cellular function in your body.

myth no. 6: I just need to eat less calories than i burn to lose belly fat

The calorie deficit principle has been around a long time and does have some merit. The basic premise is that to bun into fat stores in the body, you must consume less calories per day than you burn or exert through exercise. However, there are women who have followed this 'rule,' and still struggled to lose weight. Therefore there must be more to the equation than just calories in vs calories out.

The Truth 

Dr Libby calls this calorie deficit rule the 'calorie fallacy.' There is simply much more to fat loss than calories in versus calories out. Other factors that affect weight gain and loss include: the nutrients (or lack of) in the calories consumed, stress levels, sleep quality, caffeine, liver, hormonal and thyroid function.

The function of our nervous system and how balanced it is between the "fight or flight" system and the "rest and repair" system will also have a huge impact on the body's ability to burn fat. In short, our bodies burn fat more effectively when we are not in the stressful "fight or flight" state. Dr Libby discusses, however, that many women today have what she calls "Rushing Women's Syndrome," and as a consequences their bodies had onto fat from constantly being in the fight or flight mode. 

so, how do you then lose belly fat?

Now that we've busted the myths, there are some simple steps you can take to lose belly fat (overall body fat I mean, because remember we can't spot-reduce). I've put together a short eBook containing 6 truth bombs for losing belly fat that covers specific tips you can do to lose fat for the long term. Download your copy below. The short answer is: 

  • Have the right mindset and motivation
  • Do strength, HIIT and gentle exercise regularly 
  • Eat clean
  • Manage stress
  • Get good quality sleep
  • Stay consistent

Take home message? Don't believe everything you see on Pinterest.

Help! My Downfall Is Social Eating!

Okay it's confession time. This blog is really just written for myself, because this has been a long-term challenge for me. Ask my husband or any of my friends; as soon as I'm in a social setting I EAT and EAT and keep EATING. It's like a switch turns off in my brain and I'm on auto-pilot scoffing everything! 

Give me food + friends and I'm one happy camper!

Give me food + friends and I'm one happy camper!

Admittedly, I have gotten better control over this with time. I really became aware of it a few years ago when I attended some mindful eating workshops. I was challenged with asking myself 'why' I do this, and to practice mindful eating during these social times. Upon reflection, I realised that because I'm a social person, I end up channeling all my attention into the conversations & interactions going on with no regard for what I'm putting in my mouth. There were certainly times that thoughts would run through my head like 'It's not a proper meal because they're just snacks' and 'I've been pretty good this week with my food, so I deserve to relax a little.' But for the most part, if food was within reach, I'd eat it no questions asked. 

So what's changed for me? I actually started becoming more mindful in social situations. I would mentally prepare before going to the social occasion by reminding myself that my body is a temple not a trash can. I started assessing the food options before eating anything, and would choose the healthier options whenever possible. And I'd often have a lighter meal earlier in the day or the night before so that I could relax a little and enjoy myself more. 

Around this same time I learning about mindful eating, I decided to follow a meal plan. This significantly helped my mindfulness increase as I knew what meals I was supposed to be eating according to the plan. So if I had a social occasion or dinner out, I did my best to match what I chose to what I normally would be having if was at home. My weight experienced a desirable change as a result.

My body is a temple not a trash can

These days I still have my (scoff everything) moments,  but I've learnt to manage my social eating a whole lot better. Here's a summary of the lessons I've learnt along the way, plus I share specific tips in my Social Eating Cheatsheet that you can download below.

PROBLEMATIC FOR WEIGHT LOSS

If you're eating out a lot but have a weight loss or other fitness goal, you can really be sabotaging your efforts. The food we eat out is almost always worse than what we would eat at home in terms of nutritional content. A big part of the solution is simply becoming more mindful of what you're putting in your mouth, and opting for healthier options and less food in general when socialising. Going on a meal plan can also help create more awareness of food choices and help you stick more closely to your plan, and therefore achieve your goals quicker.

GUILT CAN BE WORSE THAN FOOD

A common result of regular social eating and less than healthy food choices is the "day-after" guilt. This can lead to all kinds of silly things like mentally torturing yourself for being such a worthless human, to starving yourself to 'make up for it,' to spending hours at the gym in order to 'reverse the effects.' All of these reactions are in fact probably more detrimental than the food itself.

Dr Libby shares in her books the paradigm-shifting concept that the stress and guilt-laden thoughts after making a bad food choice can often be more detrimental on the body than the food itself, due to the increase levels in stress hormones you're producing, which can lead to your body holding onto fat rather than burning it. Your body is then receiving a double-wammy: bad food AND stress hormone.

So, the answer? Be kind to yourself. Be ok to have treats every now and then, and accept your decisions. Learn from them for next time rather than sending yourself into self-punishment. 

BECOME MINDFUL

The key to conquering social eating so that it's not working against you, is becoming mindful of what we're eating and why. By remembering your body is a temple not a trash can, you will make the best choice possible when eating out. You will mentally prepare beforehand and already make good choices before you're even in the situation. Why? Because you believe your physical and mental health is worth making the effort. You'll learn to enjoy yourself in a way that still nourishes your body and has a low after-effect.

QUICK TIPS

Here are a few quick tips for conquering social eating:

  1. Drink water beforehand to lessen your hunger
  2. If going to a social gathering, make your own healthy contribution so you know there's always a good option if no one else brings a healthy dish
  3. Mentally prepare before hand 

If you would like even more specific tips, be sure to download the Social Eating Cheatsheet where I share ways to modify meals when you're out, and give you examples of which meals to choose when eating out.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

I've learnt (and am still learning) that the more mindful we are of what we eat the better. Deciding to place a high worth on ourselves, our minds and our bodies will change the way we think about food. So next time you're in a social eating environment, I hope you put these tips into place and truly let mind over matter happen :)

8 Morning Rituals For An Epic Day Every Day

Relaxed woman enjoying the sea.jpg

How To Start Your Day Right

FREE Morning Rituals Printable Below

“All of the tiny decisions you make throughout your day, create your lifestyle”
— Unknown

Guess how many times you will wake up as an adult? Only about 25,000 times, give or take a few. That means we have about 25,000 mornings that we wake up and decide how we're going to live our day. In fact, a lot of research has been done on successful people and how they spend their morning, and it seems that their morning rituals play a significant role in their success. Many people with morning rituals also suggest they are better colleagues, parents, partners and friends when they have set up their day. The ripple effect of a morning ritual is significant. (Recommended read: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen)

So here's 8 morning rituals gleaned from the world's most successful people, as well as personal experience to set you up for an epic day every day! Before diving in though, here's a few tips to keep in mind:

  • You don't need to do every one of these to start your day right. Find what works for you. Experiment, and be flexible til you find your sweet spot for your mornings.
  • Creating a great morning ritual starts the night before - switching off and getting to bed earlier is where it begins.
  • Having kids doesn’t have to get in the way - get up 20 minutes before everyone else, or welcome the opportunity to teach your children to occupy themselves while you do your thing (obviously not if they’re too young of course).

1) IMAGINE

A powerful ritual to begin with is; before getting out of bed, imagine and rehearse your day with the best possible outcome in your mind. Then choose your attitude for the day. This is based on the principles of visualisation and positive psychology, and can have a powerful effect on how the day goes. Does it mean nothing will go wrong? Of course not, but if you've already decided how your will approach the day, you will be more focused on making it a reality that if you didn't. 

I know how not practicing this ritual can affect my day. A typical “me” waking moment looks like this: "What do I have to 'do' today? Crap! I pressed snooze too many times, ahhhh!" And before I know it, I'm full swing into the day with no forethought.

So here's the steps to build this ritual into your morning first thing:

  • Wake up, and PAUSE
  • Be grateful for another day of life - think of at least 3 things to be grateful for
  • Then visualise your day unfolding in the best way possible
  • Now is the time to choose your attitude for the day - be proactive and intentional about producing thoughts from within to create positive and expectant emotions, rather than letting your attitude be dictated by external cues (like the weather, the things you need to get done, or what you think other people think of you).

 

2) BREATHE

The practice of diaphragmatic breathing has a great impact on our bodies, and is another greta practice to add to your morning ritual - even just a few minutes worth. According to Dr Libby Weaver,

The way you breathe has a powerful impact on your biochemistry, your ability to use body fat as fuel, and your energy, predominantly via your nervous system. - Women’s Wellness Wisdom, 210

She goes on to explain that the only way we can communicate to our body that we are not in danger is via our breathing. We live in a very different world from our ancestors, where danger came in the form of a tiger chasing you. That kind of thing is what used to get heart rates going. These days however, our heart rates get going from our coffee addictions, our iPhones breaking, and checking our emails. None of which, are actually life-threatening. This is why diaphragmatic breathing can be super important because it helps communicate to our bodies that we're not in danger, thus calming down the stress hormones and allowing our bodies to burn fat efficiently.

Here's the simple steps to practicing diaphragmatic breathing:

  • Find somewhere to sit or lie down, or put your legs up against the wall (this helps to focus on breathing from your diaphragm)
  • Take a long, slow inhale through your nostrils. Imagine a balloon in your belly and with each inhale you are inflating it
  • As you inhale, send the breath to your belly and let it rise with the inhale. If your hands are on your belly you will feel this
  • Exhale slowly through your nostrils as your belly shrinks back towards your spine.
  • Gently pause
  • Repeat this 10 times

It may feel uncomfortable initially as some of the muscles may not be used to it, but it will get easier the more you do it. Breathing this way is a beautiful nourishment for our nervous systems, pituitary gland and our adrenals. It's also a time to calm the mind and be aware of our physical bodies.

Ritual 2 recommended read: Women's Wellness Wisdom by Dr Libby Weaver

 

3) CONNECT

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

This morning ritual goes right along with the first two, and means recognising a higher power other than yourself and connecting to your true purpose for living. This is a window of time to be still - a much needed practice in our world of deadlines, and on-the-go living.

Prayer and meditation has been found to help calm your mind, increase your focus and helps with time management. In other words, a short time of prayer and meditation can allow you to be more productive during the rest of your day. For me personally, this is a time to pray and connect with God, read His word,   and seek divine wisdom that can be applied practically in my life.

This can also be a time to better understand our own minds and where we’re at, overcome any negative or challenging thinking and learn to be more authentic.

And if you don't believe me? Here's some of the benefits of prayer & time of meditation:

  • Regulation of high blood pressure
  • Better clarity of thought or less mental clutter
  • Reduction in stress and anxious feelings
  • Ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (restorative arm of the nervous system)
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved breathing

 

4) HYDRATE

We all know we need to drink more water for optimal health, as many people are in an acidic condition due to dehydration. So a great way to get this done is to start first thing in the morning. I start my mornings with a big glass of filtered water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Why lemon? It's a digestive aid and liver cleanser, and helps to alkalise the body.Try to drink as much water as possible between waking up and breakfast time, while still leaving 30 minutes if possible between drinking and breakfast. 

Recommended read for Ritual 4: Self Heal By Design by Barbara O'Neill

 

5) REFOCUS

I like to get all my clients to not only set goals and clearly know their why, but then to read this to themselves every morning. This is a way to remind yourself of your identity, purpose & values. If you haven’t figured this stuff out for yourself yet, I suggest you schedule some time to sit and reflect on who you are, where you are getting your identity from (assess whether its healthy or not), and decide what your purpose and values are. Then remind yourself of it every day - preferably every morning, read and speak them out loud to yourself. Imagine you are speaking to your best friend, and you are empowering them to remember how awesome they are!

My recommend read for Ritual 5: The Life Plan by Shannah Kennedy

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.  
- Steve Jobs
 

6) REMIND

Take a few minutes to review your daily tasks, as well as your weekly and monthly goals. Remind yourself what projects you are working on, and what appointments you have for the day. Keeping a digital or hard-copy diary helps me stay on top of this. I find that the days I don't remind myself what's coming up, I end up wayyy off track and don't usually complete the things I had planned.

Peak organisations such as the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that people should aim to perform muscle-strengthening exercises two or three times per week.
— Dr Darren Morton, Live More Active

 

7) MOVE

Doing some form of exercise is one of the top morning rituals among the world's successful people. This is often for the simple reason that doing it before the day gets moving means it gets done. We all know the benefits to exercise so I won't bore you here. It's good to know however, that even just 5-10 minutes of movement in the morning can be highly beneficial for your nervous system and your energy levels throughout the day. If you can, ideally get your workout done in the morning so that other things won't take priority later on. 

Interval training - HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is an extremely time-effective method of increasing strength, fitness and fat burning. It involves short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by periods of short rest. It can be performed with almost any kind of exercises, and doesn't need to be more than 20 or 30 minutes. For more on short HIIT workouts check out my other blog here.

 

8) NOURISH

Being the first meal of the day, breakfast is your chance to set up your day with great food choices. A nourishing breakfast can keep you feeling sustained throughout the day, and less likely to reach for the unhealthy snack or make poor choices later in the day. Aim to include a whole-grain food source to make it a substantial meal, such as whole grain oats, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, or even brown rice. Include fruit too, as it provides flavour, sweetness and colour! Some tips for an epic breakfast:

  • Eat breakfast like a king, make it your largest meal
  • Think outside the box - savoury breakfasts are great! Homemade baked beans with veg, scrambled tofu, breakfast burritos are just some ideas
  • Have quick healthy options when you’re short for time (meal prep in bulk whenever possible) and more elaborate options on days when you have more time.

 

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

So there you have it! Eight morning rituals to set yourself up for an epic day every day. Remember it's not about these exact eight - its about choosing the ones that serve you best, and making them work for you. Are you making time for this? Keep in mind that when we say we don’t have time for something, what we are really saying is that is not a priority for us. I hope you make yourself a priority, and by doing so, you create an amazing morning ritual to live your best life possible. Remember to download the free printable for your morning rituals reminder.