Vitamin C Skincare | The Daily Glow

Why Vitamin C might be ruining your skin

Vitamin C is everywhere these days, in moisturisers, serums, sunscreen, face washes – you name it, Vitamin C has claimed it.  And it is a great ingredient in skincare.  It promotes collagen formation, has fantastic brightening properties and sounds all nice and natural and un-chemically.  Tick, tick, tick, right?  But is there ever really a one-fits-all in anything (especially when it comes to skincare)?  Unfortunately not.

Vitamin C truly is a great anti-ageing and brightening ingredient, and it plays a part in my own skincare routine.  However, you do have to proceed with caution, particularly if you tend to suffer from blackheads, breakouts or oily skin…because Vitamin C can promote an increase in oil production!  So if you suffer from any of the above you DO NOT need it in every skincare item you own, dear God, you do not.

Unfortunately, oily skin tends to be associated with acne, and consequently acne scarring, and yes, vitamin C can be one (of a number) of ingredients that can help fade these scars and give you the clear, even-toned skin you’ve always dreamed of.  But somewhere along the line bloggers, skincare brands and even facialists have lost the run of themselves (Image, I’m looking at you).

The Daily Glow | Vitamin C and Skincare

A combination and tailored approach to skincare is vital – scarring, age spots and dull skin can benefit from the brightening effects of Vitamin C, but maybe start with one product that isn’t blanketly recommended to the world and it’s mother, and look at introducing other ingredients to work with it, or combat the oil production separately, if that’s an issue for you.  Vitamin A can be used to reduce oil production and improve skin texture overall, and there are varying formulations and doses available, and there are a number of brightening and blending ingredients that won’t cause the same oil outbreak.

My personal regime includes a prescription strength vitamin A, an exfoliant cream that contains vitamin C and a brightening serum with other brightening agents in it.  Each person may require something slightly different, and tailor the frequency of application according to how their skin behaves – and lifestyle can play a big part.  Exercise can help sweat out impurities, while extensive time in an air conditioned room will dry out even my skin and my skincare routine has to be adjusted accordingly.

A good facialist or skincare specialist that doesn’t just promote one single brand can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to pointing you in the right direction.  There are products on the market that can help with pigmentation, even out skin tone and have a brightening effect – whether one or all of them will suit you is another question.  The below products and treatments can be of use, but their application usually needs to be tailored to each person, and some just simply won’t suit you:

Vitamin C and Skincare | The Daily Glow

  • Glycolic acid: Nip+Fab daily cleansing pads, Neostrata foaming glycolic wash
  • Vitamin C: Kiehl’s powerful strength line reducing concentrate, Obagi Professional C serum 10-20%
  • Hydroquinone: Obagi Clarifying Serum (prescription strength)
  • Retinol: La Roche-Posay redermic R serum, Obagi Retinol 1.0%
  • Chemical peel: There are both light and deep variations of this – light peels can target superficial pigmentation, exfoliate the skin and improve skin texture and congested pores.  Deeper peels require preparation of the skin for a minimum of 6 weeks, can be associated with downtime but help improve more resistant pigmentation, skin texture and fine lines and wrinkles.  Both  may contain a variety of different acids, and some formulations are better than others when it comes to your specific skin complaint (e.g. salicylic acid is excellent in the treatment of acne)
  • Laser: There are many different lasers these days (and even some things called lasers, that are not lasers) and some are better suited to different skin types or treatment goals than others.  ALWAYS make sure you go to an expert if you go down this route, as this is one if the higher risk treatments when it comes to causing pigmentation!

The Daily Glow | Vitamin C and Skincare

This is a very simple list, but hopefully goes some way to explaining what ingredients you should be looking for in your skincare – and that Vitamin C is not the be all and end all it is currently marketed to be!

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

Botox and teeth grinding…what’s the deal?

Botox…a polarising word to say the least, and the funny part is most people aren’t actually 100% clear on what Botox is or what it can be used for.  There’s a stigma associated with it, despite it being widely used for therapeutic purposes, and it has taken the blame for all sorts of odd looking famous faces.  One of the uses that has become more popular recently is for teeth grinding and clenching and overall jaw slimming.  So what is going on?

“Botox” is the name of a product produced by Allergan, and is the most well-known version of botulinum toxin, a prescription drug that can be used to reduce muscle contraction or movement when injected into the area to be treated.  Originally called Oculinum (doesn’t sound as scary as Botox, does it?), it was used to treat strabismus (cross-eyes) by reducing the contraction of overly active eye muscles that were unbalanced and pulling the eye off to one side.  Patients used to joke that they were back for the “forehead smoother” as this tended to be a side effect of the treatment.  An enterprising ophthalmologist named Jean Carruthers was the first person to treat a patient for “frown lines”, and along with her dermatologist husband, they have been pioneers on the cosmetic use of Botox and co-author thousands of medical papers on the topic.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

Botox is used for many cosmetic and therapeutic concerns, including frown lines, “gummy” smiles, crow’s feet and migraines.  Some uses are FDA approved, and other are classed as “off-label” (not specifically FDA approved for that particular use, but may be used by relatively widely by clinicians).  Licensed use varies from country to country, and gets updated as evidence grows.

Botox works to relax muscles by reducing contraction (and YES, you can paralyse them if you give too much, dosage is very important), and this is why is can help teeth grinding and clenching, and the pain associated with this when injected in the masseter muscle (largest and strongest of the jaw closing muscles).  It can also reduce the width of the lower face if this muscle has grown bigger from so much use (just like any muscles do with exercise!), by stopping the patient from essentially taking that muscle to the gym every night (and day, if they clench during the day too).  Similar to how you don’t maintain a six pack if you’re not doing the sit ups, you won’t maintain a large masseter muscle if you’re not over-exercising it.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

Teeth grinding or clenching (clinically known as bruxism) can present with a number of signs, such as an excessively large or swollen muscle (not very common), worn, fractured or chipped teeth, ridging along the sides of the tongue or inside the cheeks and jaw, facial, neck and tooth pain.  Stress, injury, pregnancy, lack of sleep, excessive use of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, and nutritional deficiencies can all be contributing factors, but unfortunately the cause is not always clear – which means the treatment can be tricky.  Often a stressful period can spark an episode of grinding, or worsen an existing habit to the point the person starts experiencing pain or other problems.  A night guard is still the standard fix – which is great if that works, as it’s simple, straightforward and cost effective.  The trouble is when this doesn’t work: the patient can’t wear it, takes it out while asleep, or still experiences pain.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

My patients typically present with either pain or worn (or fractured) teeth due to excessive activation of the masseter muscle and heavy forces on their teeth.  I have even seen a patient fracture a titanium dental implant due to excessive biting forces.  Some people don’t have any symptoms, and are totally unaware of clenching; while others have been taking prescription painkillers for months or even years due to pain.   A night guard can be great as preventing damage to your teeth, but rarely will it stop you clenching, and I have found some patients complain of the pain related to it increasing.

Botox injections for teeth grinding and jaw slimming are still classed as “off-label” by the FDA, but have been used since the early 1990’s with relative success.  Personally, I was wearing a night guard for 17 years, and still suffered from jaw pain, especially when stressed.  After a particularly stressful few months, botox injections were a game changer for me – I felt like my sleep improved and the pain vanished completely.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

Botox or botulinum toxin A is a prescription drug for a reason, it should be administered by a trained healthcare professional and may not be suitable or predictable in certain cases – however, I have had wonderful results personally, and with many, many patients to date.  If you think you may be clenching or grinding, you should discuss it with your dentist, and consider the solutions available to you.   If you’re suffering from jaw pain, or have trouble wearing a night guard feel free to email me at jennifer@thedailyglow.com to arrange an assessment.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

The Daily Glow | Wanderlust Lite

Wanderlust lite

I love to travel…yeah I know, big whoop, doesn’t everyone?  But no, I really mean that (for the most part) I love every aspect of it – the flights, the trains, the metro, the trams and buses, finding my way around cities I don’t know (and this from someone with an appalling sense of direction) and usually toute seule.  This year’s storage cupboard/Harry Potter Air BnB incident, and Storm Emma drama not withstanding, I love it.  I once sat in a cafe in Melbourne, 24 hours after arriving in Australia, with a total of $200 and all my belongings on my back…and considered the notion that no one was expecting me that evening (I had nowhere to stay, and had eaten tuna out of the tin for dinner in a hostel the previous night), and that I could quite easily head off on a bus to anywhere  – and disappear, and nobody would even figure it out for days, or even a week or two.  I found the idea so compelling, I have never quite forgotten it.  I mean, when do you ever not have someone who would notice, even if it is just your boss or your mum?

The Daily Glow | Wanderlust Lite

Sunrise on Bondi Beach

Obviously enough, I found somewhere to sleep and eventually a job, and an entire grown up life (which I’m sure my parents thought was well overdue at that point), and a similar opportunity has not presented itself since.  But every airport, foreign city or port always reminds me of that feeling of how BIG the world is (so big it could hide a whole person, and quite easily) and how much of it there is still to see.

The Daily Glow | Wanderlust Lite

Santa Monica

Frequent travel has (fortunately) become a normal part of my life over the last couple of years, and consequently, so has living out of a carry on – while attempting to exercise regularly, make myself presentable for work, eat relatively healthily, and avoid Monica-from-friends-in-Hawaii hair on a daily basis. And, even attempt it with some pretence at that Gaulish elegance, where everything looks well put together but almost by accident (I kid myself, can anyone, anywhere, ever be as chic as the French? But I did have a conference in Paris, so it was duly added to the wish list). This, combined with my neat-freak side, has created a devotion to travelling light, without interrupting daily life too much.

 

Pack LIGHT
Aside from the one time I got stuck in London for a week with little more than a suit and my gym gear (once again, thank you to my brother and his girlfriend for literally giving me the clothes off their backs), this one rarely fails me – and makes travelling so much easier.  I once spent 10 weeks in Asia with just hand luggage, and seemed to have just as much to wear etc as everyone I was with (despite their bags being twice the size).  I find the key to this is packing simple clothes that can double up – like black runners that can be worn for exercise or with just about anything, or a casual white t-shirt that can be dressed up with jeans or worn for a yoga class ( I finally found one in Lululemon).  Black jeans are a staple of mine, and Zara also do a great range of stretchy pants that can be worn for work but are comfy enough to travel in.  And always remember you can iron or wash what you have with you (once again, Lululemon are great for fabrics that dry quickly, hanging in a hotel bathroom) – a new outfit for every day is rarely necessary.  The same applies to toiletries, even if you have a checked bag – if you don’t need a week’s worth of something, take the time to pop it in a smaller container.  My regular supplements and bulletproof coffee are probably the most important to me when travelling for work, training or exams, so I always squeeze these into my clear plastic bag too.

 

Wanderlust Lite | The Daily Glow

 

Bring the “nice things”
I spent so many years “saving” things for a special day or event (like the “good room” at home!), and really all I was doing was wasting them.  Now I bring the silk eye mask, the silk pillowcase, the expensive shoes or the cashmere scarf that makes the perfect airplane blanket – because life is too short, and far too enjoyable, to leave them behind in case something happens to them.  This includes toiletries – while you’re travelling and your body clock is all over the place or you’re not sleeping in your own bed is the best time to have your favourite moisturiser.

The Daily Glow | Wanderlust Lite

 

Get up early
Sunrise is one of my favourite things, and the pleasure that you can find almost anywhere early in the morning might surprise you.  From running across the Brooklyn bridge before it’s thronged with commuters and tourists, to a dip on Bondi Beach bright and early, I think some of my favourite memories are from those moments before the busyness of life begins.  I love to immerse myself in the daily life of whatever city or place I’m in, but I find the stillness before the hustle and bustle starts can be the most magical.  Also, exercising as soon as you can after a long haul flight can help your body adjust the the new time zone and minimise the effects of flying and jet-lag, so if your flight gets in at silly o’clock, a quick jog might be the best way to feel normal.

The Daily Glow | Wanderlust Lite

Sunrise in Chinchilla, QLD

 

Constant travel can be exhausting, no matter how much you enjoy it – hopefully some of the above can make it a bit easier.  As always, I would love to hear about anything that you do to make it more straightforward or enjoyable!

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My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

The 5 best face masks for glowing skin

My obsession with skin care runs to the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to face masks, but not every mask is made equal – and some can do more harm than good. There are enough masks available to confuse the most seasoned skin care addict, and some target skin function in longer term, while others are ideal prep hours before a big event. I’ve put together a list of my top 5, to deal with the most common skin complaints.

 

  1. Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque: just like Ronseal, this one does exactly what it says on the tin.  Post-exams, post-festival or during wedding season, this one will bring a bit of life back to your poor, ashen face (but please make yourself a cocktail of dioralyte, berroca and vitamin C too).  Those of you with easily clogged pores should be careful with over doing it (although I find I can apply it once a week, after exfoliation, without any issues) and if you have dry skin a hydrating booster or spritz of a hydrating mist can really maximise its power.  A pricey enough one at fifty yo-yos, this has been a staple of mine for about 8 years now and generally lasts a good 10 months each time.
  2. Cien clay mask:  yes, from Lidl, and for a total cost of 69 cent  for two sachets – which I find gives a good six treatments if I use it only on my T-zone (and you’d have to be seriously oily to need it all over, unless god love you, you’re a teenager).  This mask contains zinc and white clay – perfect for minimising the effect of an acute breakout or keeping blackheads at bay for those prone to them. (Note for non-oily skins – I am currently testing out the other ones Lidl has available)My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow
  3. Patchology posh peel pedicure:  Okay, so this one is actually for your feet, but it makes the cut because it can fully be used in place of a pedicure!  I discovered this recently while in Italy, and I think it may have blown me away more than any face mask to date.  Genuinely.  As an almost daily runner, getting my feet summer ready is not usually something I attempt myself – I leave it to the experts as it involves a lot of heavy lifting.  However, this year I was up to my eyes in studying and thesis-ing, and my exam was in Italy so I never made it to the nail salon (is it even called a “nail salon” in Ireland? I feel not everyone would get the Red lotus reference though) before my flight.  Post-exam shopping involved getting lost in Sephora for a couple of hours, and this was the best reward.  I haven’t ordered from niche-beauty.com before, but it was the first site I found that had this mask and sold to Ireland…and have already clocked up a fair bit of time browsing as I write this.  I would highly recommend using this mask at least a week before you’re planning on parading your feet in public, as there is a bit of a gross, flaky period (apologies again to Aideen, and all of Positano and Sorrento).  But it is worth the manky few days (maybe don’t wear your favourite socks) – you will be left with baby soft feet, I promise.My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow
  4. Garnier moisture bomb sheet mask:  just like the Cien one, this sheet mask is a heavy weight champion for under a fiver.  It’s ideal the night before a big event, especially a photo shoot or a wedding, when you need make up to sit onto skin easily, and stay in place all day.  This mask deeply hydrates your skin, and can help prevent any dry, uneven patches of foundation – especially if your coverage is a little heavier than usual.  One worked of warning for oily/easily clogged skins though: once a week max!
  5. Radial snake oxygenating & cleansing mask:  This mask is for immediate use before an event/night out etc and really seems suitable for all skin types.  Charcoal helps unclog and minimise the appearance of pores, without any need to steam/squeeze/pull off a pore strip.  The bubbles (which can be quite alarming, please note that when they say bubbles…they mean bubbles!) have what seems to be a similar effect as an oxygen facial – everything looks plumped and glowy for about 24 hours.  I didn’t find this had any long term effect on the skin,  but the instantaneous result was like an extreme version of Beauty Flash Balm, and lasted all day – so definitely great for a short term boost.My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

As a self-confessed mask addict, I would love to hear what your go-to mask is – or if you’ve tried any of the above? Always on the lookout for a new one to try!

Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Pear and ginger protein porridge – breakfast in bed

Cold and dark mornings make life that little bit harder (this time of year I constantly question my decision to move home from Australia…Gold Coast, I miss you), but coffee and porridge (and cashmere) make it somewhat bearable.  I’ve added some extra protein to this recipe to help minimise the blood sugar spike the typical bowl of oats can cause.  I always make porridge with almond milk, as I try and keep it dairy free, and add nuts and seeds too.  This recipe gives the creamiest dairy-free porridge I’ve managed to make yet, and a  rainy Sunday morning is the perfect time to curl up on the couch or in bed with it.

Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Serves 2 (or one if you’re hungry)

  • 1 x pear – 1/3 grated, 2/3 chopped
  • 1 x apple (red – gives the best flavour) 1/3 grated, 2/3 chopped
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger (ground)
  • Oats (1.5 cups)
  • 1 x heaped teaspoon coconut oil
  • Almond milk
  • 1 x egg

 

Soak the oats in a pot with almond milk for 10minutes, while you chop and grate the fruit. Heat some oil in a pan and lightly fry the chopped fruit and cinnamon.

Add the coconut oil, ginger and grated fruit to the oats and turn on the heat.  Stir porridge gently to dissolve the coconut oil, and when this is mixed in and most of the almond milk has been absorbed (and the porridge is practically cooked) add in the egg and stir vigorously – you have to be quick with this step or you may end up with egg-fried-porridge.

Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Top with cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (and nuts/granola/dark chocolate if you’re feeling very extravagant) and serve with a large coffee and a good book.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

Turmeric and vitamin C smoothie to fight off the flu

Is there anyone out there that is not actually sick? Seriously?  I thought I would have avoided it, due to a combination of not doing the dog on it over the festive season, and having the flu vaccine all the way back in October.  Nope, aches and pains, feeling light-headed and sniffling, with a mo’fo of a sore throat to top it off…even though perhaps it would be worse without said vaccine?  Who knows, and right now I don’t care, I just want to feel better.

 

We’ve all heard the classic advice, fluids, rest and paracetamol…but what if that’s just not cutting it?  Vitamin C, zinc, vitamin B – check.  After gargling water until drowning seems a realistic possibility, and genuinely considering swallowing an entire tube of the topical anaesthetic in work, I found some other ways to soothe my symptoms.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

  1. Liquid chlorophyll

I’ve mentioned this before in relation to acne and clear skin, and the brand I’d recommend is Nature’s Sunshine, usually available from Here’s Health, or your local health food store might be able to order it in for you.  Chlorophyll is a great all round detoxer (hello there, January) but also really good to soothe a sore throat – and diluted in water, it’s another way to up your much needed fluid intake. The Nature’s Sunshine version tastes nice and isn’t as concentrated as some brands, which means it shouldn’t stain you teeth (some of them are really thick and dark).  I add a tablespoon to a 2L bottle that I keep in the fridge to drink throughout the day, and will have a few glasses with a half a teaspoon to treat a sore throat on top of that.  It has a really nice cooling effect and I have yet to get sick of the taste (can’t say as much for cough syrup).

 

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

2.  Tea tree oil

A blocked nose can really benefit from facial steaming (especially if your hearing has become affected) and I like to add tea tree oil to the bowl – which will not only help clear your sinuses, but  is also great for any skin breakouts.  Another way to do this is the get yourself an oil diffuser – I have a water based one in work that helps my surgery not smell like the dentist (which can help with nervous patients) and humidifies the air, helping both my sinuses and skin to function better (air conditioning can be a nightmare for both).  Not too sure where my diffuser came from, as it was a present, but you can easily find some online.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

 

3. Turmeric

Currently in fashion, mainly for it’s anti-inflammatory effects, I’ve written about its benefits before.  Not only is it anti-inflammatory, but turmeric also has anti-microbial properties.  I have turmeric with hot water, lemon and ginger most days, but while run down I looked to up the dose somewhat – and this smoothie was the result:

1 x banana

1 x t1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 x small knob ginger, peeled

1 can of coconut milk (I use the full fat version, but either should work)

Handful of raspberries

Juice of 1/3 of a lemon

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

Blend together and serve with your favourite netflix series and a box of tissues.  Have you also been struck down with the flu?  I’d love to hear any tips you have for fighting it off, and if you try any of the above – I hope they help!

5 health hacks that don't include a detox | The Daily Glow

5 Health Hacks – that don’t include a detox

Okay so I don’t know about you, but New Year’s day being on a Monday means none of the “January health buzz” starts until the following Monday…which is followed by “Blue Monday”, officially the worst Monday of the year…none of which make for the best start to the year.  Congratulations, you have made it out the other side (Mondays can only get better now!), and hopefully you still have some of your initial enthusiasm (too strong a word?  Resignation might be more accurate perhaps) for starting 2018 on a healthy note intact.  After the first few weeks however, I have found the combination of meal-prepping, going back to work and sweating it out in an over crowded gym (where do they come from?)  robbed some of the aforementioned enthusiasm (resignation, yes it’s resignation).  Below are a few ways I’ve found to propel me forward, no matter how low my motivational level has dropped.

 

  1. Listen to something to wake you up

I’ve recently started listening to podcasts instead of music in the gym and on the way to work – and some really help me find motivation and focus when I’m struggling.  My current favourite first thing on a Monday morning is Gary Vee, as he is one of the most energetic and inspiring people on the planet, but I also add in some Bulletproof Radio and Tony Robbins to balance it out a bit (Gary’s energy is infectious – but even on a good day I can’t keep it up all day long!).  If you line up the podcasts you want to listen to for the week on a Sunday evening, it makes it much easier to just press play while you’re half asleep – and once again, the bluetooth headphones I found in Penneys make it easy to go about your normal morning routine.

5 health hacks that don't include a detox | The Daily Glow

 

2. Put the kettle on

Any morning that I find myself struggling from the moment my alarm goes off, I have found that if I can just get out of bed, the rest of it is much more manageable.  So instead of scrolling endlessly through social media, or hitting the snooze button, I have started to pretend that I can go back to bed with a cup of coffee – I just have to go downstairs and put the kettle on.  Now, in theory this should be far too simple a trick to play on myself – but somehow, it works!  By the time the kettle is boiled, I am awake enough to keep going and get myself to the gym etc – I think it’s the physical getting out of bed that does the trick here, so hopefully I can keep falling for it.

5 health hacks that don't include a detox | The Daily Glow

 

3. Wash your face

Similar to the step above, this wakes you up enough to remember why you set your alarm for silly o’clock in the first place – and makes it harder to go back to sleep.  It also can help prevent wrinkles around your eyes, as washing your face is a far less damaging to the delicate skin in this area than rubbing them vigorously to remove any traces of sleep.

 

4. Detox your social media

This one is quite topical after the media storm surrounding some well-know Irish “influencers” this month, but if reaching for your phone and scrolling is how you start your day, it can have a massive impact on your mood and mindset for the whole day.  Not only is watching the world’s highlight reel first thing presenting you with a distorted perspective as you wake up, it’s also way too easy for minutes (and hours) to disappear without you even realising – and being late is certainly not going to help anyone feel better in January.  I tried a digital detox before, and couldn’t believe how often my hand automatically reached for my phone when it wasn’t there, and was shocked at how much extra time I had due to the lack of social media meandering.  Although I probably won’t go quite so hard core again for a while, unfollowing accounts that don’t bring me any net benefit has positively changed the time I do spend scrolling – so it turns out you can even Marie Kondo your instagram feed.

 

5.  Reward yourself

A common enough instruction in diet advice articles, this one can be very effective.  There are many different ways of implementing it – so whether saving money, losing weight or performing better at work are part of your goals, there’s always an appropriate carrot to be found.  At the base of a motivational slump is exactly when I find scheduling or organising something to treat myself works best – ordering a new pair of runners or signing up for a run (not everyone’s idea of fun, I’ll grant you) or planning a couple of hours off to use a shopping voucher I got for Christmas or meet friends for coffee are usually my go-tos.  Baking or exercising will also turn my mood around instantly  if I’m in a totally useless mood.

5 health hacks that don't include a detox | The Daily Glow

January 17th is apparently when most of us break our New Years resolutions, so if you fell off the the straight and narrow last Wednesday you were in good company – and you fell with me and my glass of wine.  But as the saying goes, it’s not falling down that matters, it’s the getting back up.  So whether it’s a healthy eating or exercise regime you committed to, decluttering your house (or your life), reaching for a goal that ignites your inner passion, or even just taking 5 minutes for yourself at the end of every day, know that you’re not the only one wavering and give yourself a break…just get back up after!

5 health hacks that don't include a detox | The Daily Glow

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers

I am a big “Wow” burger fan, as my instagram followers are well aware – but as its January (and dark and horrible…when will it end?) and I’m aiming for a month of being hangover-free, I will most likely be Wow burger free also.  I’m addicted to the kale and quinoa burgers from Strong Roots, but decided I needed a back up plan so I don’t overdose on them.  I was a vegetarian for a long time, and actually cooking meat tends to freak me out out of the time…so sweet potato burgers made the cut.  By popular request, find below a recipe for some that I made recently – which actually turned out to be vegan:

  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, roasted (VIP that they are roasted, not microwaved or boiled – flavour is nothing as good)
  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa (I used red, because that’s what I had in my cupboard – the colour will only really change the appearance, not the flavour, so use whatever you have/find)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • coconut oil
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup + of flour

*If you need to make these gluten free, just make sure to use gluten free cornstarch and flour.

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Peel the sweet potato and wrap separately in tinfoil, ad bake until soft – I find this takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes, depending on the shape of the potatoes.  Mash once roasted.

While these are roasting, cook the lentils and quinoa according to each packets instructions.

Mix the spices together, and place spinach leaves in a large bowl.  Begin sautéing the onions and garlic once everything else is cooked.

Mix together the mash, lentils, quinoa, onions and garlic, spices and spinach, adding the cornflour and 1 cup of flour as you do so.  Using some extra flour on your hands, make up to 8 burgers and place on baking paper on a large baking tray or chopping board (one that fits in your fridge).  Leave for a few hours or overnight.

This will make about 8 burgers – which, unless you have a giant family to feed, will probably make you feel sick to eat (they only keep for 2-3 days in the fridge).  I freeze about 5 of them whenever I make them, as 3 is the most I can get through in a couple of days.  2 will fit well in a small ziplock bag, just make sure to fold it over so they’re not touching each other (and subsequently stick together).

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

Fry lightly in coconut oil, and serve with tomato relish (Ballymaloe for me, please) and mayonnaise – or veganaise if you prefer. I find I don’t really need a bun with these, as they have quite a “carby” taste to them anyway, and work well with a salad, or sliced avocado (I feel life in general works well with sliced avocado).

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

There’s always a bit more work in vegetarian food, if you really want some flavour – but I found these ones worth the effort. Let me know how you get on with them, and I hope you enjoy!

 

 

New Year...same old me | The Daily Glow

New year…same old me

I must admit, the whole “New Year, new me” thing really irritates me.  Just like when you reach a milestone birthday…you’re not really a whole lot different once the clock strikes midnight – but people tend to make a deal of it.  And yet, I do find those few days between Christmas and NYE (when nobody knows what day it is, what time it is, or if they’ve actually reached a lethal limit in food  intake yet) to naturally encourage me to reflect on the past year – please note that usually I would put this down to an extreme and intense case of the fear (induced by alcohol, lack of exercise and overconsumption of sugar), but this Christmas has been a bit different, and I’m still spending an unwarranted amount of time navel gazing.

New Year...same old me | The Daily Glow

This year I am spending Christmas and NYE in one of my favourite places in the whole world, in  south Thailand – the best thing you can do with yourself, if you are in any way curious, and just so you know, wearing a bikini for the best part of Christmas day, does tend to curb the over eating (somewhat).  So I have escaped the usual ten nights out in a row and most of the eating and drinking to excess, and spent some time with family and close friends…and yet I am still almost looking forward to a fresh start in January – new journal ordered (I’m a stationery freak, among my other attractive qualities), business plan for 2018 in the pipeline and already booking flights as my calendar is filling up.

New Year...same old me | The Daily Glow

My 2016 was about as great as the endless memes that likened it to the end of the world, so 2017 was better by a mile (it wasn’t hard!) – it really has been a great year, although primarily focused on work and study, my social life has been left to slide somewhat.  I read once that balance is possible – be that work/life balance, being health conscious, spending enough time with family etc – but just maybe not all at once.  There will be years where study or work are at the forefront, as you build your career, other stages where sleep is lacking and family takes precedent and so on.  Have you found the balance of your life slip predominantly in one direction over the last few years?  Whatever stage of life you’re in, it’s pretty likely that something has taken over, to the detriment of either your health, family or friends.  Have you reached the end of one stage, with the next on the horizon?  This year I will be doing my best to make up the balance of fun that may have been over looked over the past two years…so 2018, please hurry up!

New Year...same old me | The Daily Glow

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Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

Butter and coffee – and mental clarity

Bulletproof coffee has been a fad for a few years now – with its main presence of social media consisting of videos of butter being blended with coffee and coconut oil.  It has been claimed to promote weight loss, improve physical performance and seriously boost energy…but do any of these claims actually stack up?

The original bulletproof recipe came from Dave Asprey, the bulletproof executive.  I started following Dave’s blog years ago, when he was experimenting with anything and everything that could make him more productive, and before his coffee recipe became a thing.  He has spent a serious amount of time and money trying out different sleep patterns, diets and exercise (among other things), in an attempt to discover the most efficient and easiest way to feel as healthy and energetic as possible – so he’s not advocating spending every hour in the gym and eating only green plants, but instead trying to “biohack” his body for maximum results, with the least investment of time and energy necessary.

I started drinking bulletproof coffee after reading Dave’s book, Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks, last May.  I had started a new job, and was studying part time, so I was looking for a way to focus more clearly and for longer – and one that wasn’t going to take up a tonne of my time, as I didn’t really have any to spare.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

I now have bulletproof coffee (and usually only bulletproof coffee) for breakfast, and have converted some of my nearest and dearest to it too.  There are a number of variations on the recipe, but I have the following:

  • one large cafetiere of coffee
  • a tablespoon of butter
  • a tablespoon of XCT oil (a fraction of coconut oil, consisting of medium chain triglycerides and completely flavourless)
  • a spoon of collagelatin protein powder

I blend all of this together in a nutribullet and drink it on the way to work.  With this I take omega 3 fish oils and Coenzyme Q 10 – because they are apparently best absorbed if consumed with fat.  I’ve noticed a big difference in mental clarity, as promised, and both my mood and blood sugar appear to be more stable.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

 

Blood sugar

Previously, I was the type of person that had to eat regularly, or I simply couldn’t function.  Having patients that ran through my lunch could be a big problem sometimes, and I would feel pretty awful if I didn’t eat when I was supposed to.   I have seen the difference that bulletproof coffee has made most clearly in this area – missing my lunch is unfortunately a regular enough occurrence, but once I’ve had my coffee, I no longer become foggy-headed or as tired as I did before.  I’ve had days when I haven’t had the chance to eat until after 5pm (not something I’d recommend), but have almost forgotten I missed lunch because the impact has been minimal.

 

Mid morning slump

This has all but disappeared – that crash that I used to experience after regular coffee (particularly on an empty stomach) no longer sends me looking  for toast/chocolate/anything that looks vaguely appealing around 11am – although if there’s a delivery of donuts from Aungier Danger in the staff room, I am not responsible for my actions.

 

Mental clarity

Avoiding both the mid morning slump and light headed moments have obviously improved how well I’m able to function, but on top of that, my head just feels clearer anyway – and I find it so much easier to focus, and for longer periods of time   The way I’ve really noticed this is that when I have porridge or toast as well as my coffee, I don’t have that same clarity.  This is, I think, down to the carbohydrates in the said toast or porridge.  Reducing carbohydrates or calories can promote a fat burning state called ketosis, in which your body gets energy from fat (ketone bodies) instead of glucose.  The XCT oil in the coffee contains exogenous ketones, and, along with reducing carbs, can help your body to burn fuel from fat instead of glucose – something that is gaining popularity in both fitness and health circles, as it can supposedly increase mental clarity and promote fat loss.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

Weight

I haven’t noticed much of a difference weight wise, although I would imagine if you have a big problem with cravings throughout the day (and have a job that allows you to eat while working), this could have a big impact on unwanted weight gain.  Some of my friends have found it fills them up though, and they tend to snack less as a result – and they can eat at their desk etc.

 

Have you tried bulletproof coffee, or any version of it yet?  Or do you have a go-to breakfast that is as quick to make?  I’d love to hear what keeps you focused throughout the day, and especially if you’ve your own variation of the recipe above!

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