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

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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the daily glow

Inspire yourself – even if it’s still January

January is nearly over, and 2017 is well and truly underway.  Despite my love of the fresh start that January brings (and I think that is the only thing I love about January), around now I usually find myself hitting a motivational slump, and all my goals for the year ahead seem far too ambitious, despite having another 11 months to go before the next round begins(the crying and wailing emojis would be appropriate here) .

There are a variety of ways to boost motivation, such as inspirational quotes, visualisation and repeating positive affirmations to yourself.  Now these may all work very well for some people, and certainly when things are going well, an inspirational quote can push me along very nicely indeed.  However, when I’m exhausted, frustrated and finding it impossible to figure out where to go next (be it school, college, work, relationships, or life in general), I find the best ways to pull myself out of the motivational abyss is to either look to other people for inspiration, or get out of my head completely for a while (sometimes a combination of both) – invariably, the fresh perspective I gain on my return makes everything easier to navigate.

dreams - inspire yourself

Read a book

  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield may sound overly simplistic or even vaguely patronising, but I really enjoyed it.  Canfield’s logical and no-nonsense tone is easy to read, and I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve picked this one up.  It’s broken down into chapters related to each (yes you’ve guessed it) “success principle”, which makes it very easy to pick and choose what’s pertinent to you when you need a refresher (hence the repetitive reading).
  • Jack Black (once again, not the comedian/actor, the dude from Glasgow) and his Mindstore Book are always up near the top.  His goal-setting workshop helped me start my year on the right foot, and if you sign up to his online Mindstore library, you are rewarded with a couple of free modules to listen to. This podcast is a short introduction and one I tend to listen to when I’m having trouble nodding off (so convenient how insomnia tends to accompany inspirational slumps).

 

Listen to a youtube video or podcast
As with the above for Jack Black, podcasts or youtube videos are easy to fit into your day, no matter how busy you are – you can listen on the way to work, while in the gym or before bed.

  • Ted talks are great for this, although there is the danger of wandering off along a random trail and ending up binging netflix style (or is it really only me?).  This one by Brené Brown is one of my favourites.
  • Almost anything from Dr Wayne Dyer – although Dyer passed away in 2015 his voice seems to speak so directly to you, it’s hard to believe it. He wrote extensively over his lifetime, with Your Erroneous Zones spending over a year on the New York Times bestseller list – and eventually going on to become one of the top-selling books of all time.

Inspire yourself - The Daily Glow

Get out of the house (and your head)
Running (and now yoga) is a form of therapy for me, however I do realise it’s not for everyone.  Exercise of any type will usually help, but even if that’s really not your thing (and let’s face it, on a dark January evening it’s not really mine either), there are other ways of resetting your mind.  Going for a walk or a coffee without your phone can clear your head – especially if you bring a book to read or journal to write.  Even just writing down whatever’s in your head with the intention of throwing the pages away immediately after can change the direction of your thoughts.  Generally, disconnecting from technology for a couple of hours at the weekend (and being mildly disturbed at how often your hand reaches for your phone) can really create some breathing space.

Inspire yourself - The Daily Glow

So that’s my emergency quarter-life crisis strategy – which may be more necessary than I’d like, as Millennials are officially the most stressed out generation, according  to a survey from the American Psychological Association. We are also the generation least able to handle it, apparently(great), but at least that means you’re definitely not alone.  Another study included the 9 hours a day students spend on their phone as part of the problem – I think the less time we can all spend with our phones the better (and I’m up there with the best addicts).  Airplane mode at night time  is a start, but I’ve been curious about a 24 hour digital detox for a while…I’ll let you know if it ever happens!

new year's resolutions - why you don't need to detox

New Year’s Resolutions: You don’t need to detox

What is it about our future selves that we are so optimistic will be different from our current selves?  Why, oh why, do I think “January me” will be so much more attracted to exercise and healthy food than “December me” and am annually shocked that I am not magically enthusiastic after NYE?  I mean, considering that “January me” is the direct result of everything “December me” ate and drank, my expectation should be quite the opposite.

If this harsh realisation has also dampened your healthy resolutions (again!), you’re most definitely not alone – despite your instagram feed being overloaded with #detox, #healthy and #newyearnewme.  “Detoxing” as a process has many very well educated sceptics, with members of the medical community quite at a loss with the popular buzz word.  Your body has been breaking down and eliminating toxins (or “detoxing”, if you must) long before the word was used to sell everything from soup to mini breaks.  Your liver is responsible for a lot of the heavy lifting, and yes of course after overdoing the festive season you can feel a bit sluggish.  However, there is far more to be gained by treading gently, than by any extreme, restrictive punishment you can put yourself through (and as one to “go hard or go home”, believe me I’ve tried my fair share of juice cleanses and the like).  Usually, putting your exhausted body into shock with a low calorie diet and a bootcamp like exercise regime (when carrying a tray of jaegers is the closest thing to weight lifting your arms have done since November) will merely slow your metabolism, and give you a worse case of the fear than too many G&Ts.

new year's resolution: you don't need to detox

So, what do you do when you’ve eaten all the spiced beef sandwiches, your jeans are no longer “eating pants” and you just feel awful?  Three old faithfuls I can always rely on, not even find painful, and constitute the closest things to new years resolutions that I can admit to.

Tidy up
About 6 months ago I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo.  If you’re not familiar with the international bestseller and the “KonMari method”, I would definitely recommend reading it.  I have moved house a total of 10 times in the last 6 years (an excellent way to declutter, should you want to try it), and yet was still able to clear out bags and bags of junk that I didn’t need or want.  Marie Kondo boasts a stellar reputation – should you want her services directly, she has a 9 month waiting list, but has had no repeat customers to date.  She also claims “Not only will you never be messy again, but you’ll also get a new start on life.”  And while this remains to be seen, life does become a whole lot simpler when you can find something to wear within 30 seconds of getting up, you can find both gloves when it’s freezing outside and everything fits neatly into a tiny closet.  The psychological impact of decluttering is not to be underestimated – everything seems to run so much more smoothly, which really fits in with the whole “new year, new me” thing but is relatively pain free!

new year's resolutions - you don't need to detox

Figure out what you want
Apparently 92% of goals fail by January 15th, so we are (almost) all in this together.  Now while the idea of new years resolutions make me vaguely nauseous, January does feel somewhat like a clean slate – weddings and sun holidays are on the (distant) horizon, if you’re a student the most important semester is ahead of you (yet contains enough possible study time to avoid a freak out, if the previous term was not your best) and those shiny new diaries and calendars are yet to be scribbled on.  Many people set goals for the months and year ahead, however only 3 out of every 100 people write their goals down – although people with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve them than those without.  Even a simple bucket list can clarify what you want in the future if you write it down.  Jack Black (not the comedian, the author of Mindstore) does a goal setting workshop on Youtube that is ideal for this time of year.

new year's resolutions - you don't need to detox
Focus on nutrition
Rather than depriving yourself, and the self-destructive mindset that goes with it, I tend to focus on feeding my poor body the nutrients (not calories) it has so sorely missed over the last few weeks.  And so I add – smoothies, broccoli for breakfast, roasted sweet potatoes, omega 3 supplements, avocado on toast, poached eggs, homemade bread, mangos as a treat (the good ones are pricey, my friend), smoked salmon, homemade granola with hot fruit salad and coconut yoghurt…there are plenty of healthy foods that I do enjoy, they just tend to take a bit more effort to prepare than a toasted cheese sandwich.  It’s funny how when you focus on adding all these things in, and nourishing yourself properly, it doesn’t feel anything as difficult as jumping on the gluten free, dairy free, sugar free bandwagon.

new year's resolutions - you don't need to detox

January is a depressing enough month as it is (particularly if you didn’t escape the flu epidemic that is apparently taking no prisoners) and beating yourself up for not sticking to a strict detox is not going to help.  There are many ways to start 2017 off on a good note, without resorting to lettuce leaves alone.  I would love to hear any resolutions you have that don’t involve “skinny tea” or burpees!

winter skincare tips

Winter Skin Prep: 4 tips to glow your way through the festive season

Halloween (and the jazz weekend) are behind us, so it is 26 days until Christmas FM goes live, and totally acceptable to start planning for silly season!  Winter is not aways the most extreme experience in Ireland (aside from the “Big Freeze” in 2010, followed by what felt like endless flooding) but there is a big enough change to warrant reassessing your skincare routine if you’d like to avoid dry, flaking, grey skin…

suncream in winter

Moisturise like it’s going out of fashion
Simple and straightforward, but you’d be surprised how easily people forget to switch to a heavier day cream or more moisturising foundation until after dry, flaky patches appear.  Nip this one in the bud before it’s an issue, by adding in an extra step or switching one of your current products for a more heavy duty one.  As with anything moisture-related, oily skins beware, and dry skins may need to combine a few steps.  Some of the below may work for you:

  • Switching your cleanser to a non-foaming or cream cleanser – Cetaphil(available in most pharmacies, Boots, etc) is cheap as chips and one of the most gentle available.
  • Using a hydrating toner or this spray from La Roche-Posay (to be honest, any of the French pharmacy brands do great ones), you can also carry this with you to spritz on during the day or on a flight (but it may not work with your make up – trial and error is the only way to find out I’m afraid).
  • Change your foundation or tinted moisturiser – I use Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturiser year round, but tend to stick to the oil-free one for summer and the regular one going into the winter.
  • Suncream is still your friend – yes I know it essentially rains in Ireland from October to April and there’s not exactly a stretch in the evenings, but the factor 50 is still good for protecting your skin from wind and cold alike, and moisturises at the same time. I have finally gotten around to trying the much lauded Kiehl’s Daily UV Defense and I am in love (thanks again Ali!).
  • Don’t forget about the rest of you – coconut oil is my go-to body moisturiser, and although it can be a struggle getting it out if the jar on a cold winter’s morning, it’s worth it.

winter skincare - moisturise

 

Keep Exfoliating
Dry, rough skin can be impossible to cure with moisturisation alone – dead skin cells on the surface can prevent the best face cream in the world from reaching its target. Gentle, daily exfoliation can be necessary for some skin types, while others will find once to twice a week is plenty. I’ve noted my love for Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant (available online and from beauty salons) before, but a good old facecloth can work very well too.  Drier skin types may benefit from the following cleansing routine:

  • Apply Cetaphil or another cream cleanser to dry, clean (ie no make up) skin
  • Massage in gently
  • Use a dry facecloth to remove the cleanser
  • Tone and moisturise as normal

 

Dry Body Brushing
This is one of the best habits to make before the festive season gets into full swing. Legs tend to get forgotten about once we start bundling up in layers, and although you may find your tan fading slightly quicker, realistically we all know we’re going to be reaching for the St Tropez asap now that Halloween is over. I have mentioned how to go about this before but here’s a quick recap:

  • 5 minutes brushing, before you shower/run/go to the gym etc
  • Start with your feet and brush in firm, circular strokes, working your way upwards towards your heart
  • Ditto for the arms, back, torso
  • Avoid any broken skin
  • Do not use on your face or décolletage
  • Daily brushing does make a big difference to skin texture, and has been noted to improve the appearance of cellulite – and combined with regular moisturising will ensure the said St Tropez glides on smoothly.

winter skin care

 

Up your omega intake
Moisturising from the inside out is one of my favourite tricks for fighting dry skin throughout the winter, especially if your skin is as sensitive as mine and has a freaker if it is drowned in rich creams to prevent dryness (which ridiculously will happen without said creams – sometimes you really just can’t win).  Omega-3 and omega-6 are both essential fatty acids – this means our body cannot make them, and therefore we need to get them from our diet.  The Western diet is usually abundant in omega-6, but you might be missing out on sufficient omega-3. Omega-3 converts to EPA (eicospentaenoic acid), which improves skin moisture and can decrease inflammation (both are very useful for eczema, acne and other skin complaints).  There are some pretty good omega-3 (fish oil) supplements on the market, but increasing your intake of oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) and flaxseeds can have the same effect.  2 tablespoons of flaxseeds contains a considerable 3500mg of omega-3, so you could even eat a vegan diet and still knock your intake out of the park.  Flaxseeds can be added to most bread mixtures, granola or mueslis, and even smoothies.  I like to use flaxseed oil on salads and in smoothies, or sprinkle freshly ground seeds on my porridge.

 

Obviously the above list is not exhaustive, but I have found these techniques are actually worth the effort.  If all else fails, you can always fake it, but I would really love to know if you’ve tried any of these  – and if you have your own essential steps for glowing skin all winter long?