Get your body & mind back on track in 2014, with Annee’s advice
If there’s one thing NOT to do in January/February, it’s detox!
After the extra mince pies, pud and stocking chocolates, your system won’t thank you for it. Instead, I simply make an effort to go back to my normal way of eating – nurturing my system with healing hot foods like soups, stews and broths, filled with seasonal vegetables and grains. Once your body is strengthened in this way, it does the job of detoxing itself very efficiently indeed, so there really is no need to go on a hunger strike. Some friends swear by going raw, or sticking to just juice in January, but I think it really puts a strain on the spleen – both Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine believe that healing, warm foods are essential to staying healthy during the coldest months, and if you really want to go on a fast, wait until spring, when the warmer weather will aptly support your cleansing system.
Support, support, support
… your body, skin and stomach with seasonal teas, flower essences and food. Seasonality is at the heart of de Mamiel, and our Contemplation Tea is a restorative and uplifting blend of rosehip, lavender, goji and rose, which bring confidence, strength and vitality. Ideal during winter, and to bolster the spirit throughout the year. It also strengthens resolve, providing a fortifying and revitalising tonic that helps to restore your energy. My Seasonal Winter Oil is also filled with a rich and nurturing blend of frankincense, myrrh and neroli essential oils protect and deeply hydrate, while chamomile, lavender and sandalwood support and soothe the skin at a time when it’s most stressed, allowing it to breathe and bloom again. The Winter Oil also includes an intuitive new flower essence blend to ward off ‘burn out’ – silver light, nasturtium, rosemary and aloe vera bring real warmth to the spirit, helping us move through winter with passion, optimism and enthusiasm.
Look to add greens to every meal – the chlorophyll rich leaves and stems of kale, spinach, rocket, swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce fuel up the body when it’s flagging, and help to alkalise the system – essential after the acidifying effects of sugar, dairy and meat. Try scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and a side of rocket for breakfast (if it’s good enough for London’s Nopi!), a lunch of hot pan-roasted chicken or smoked tofu with a Caesar salad, and kale, spinach and broccoli all make great soups for dinner, whizzed up with some vegetable stock, barley and a side of hot crusty bread. Another effective, but painless, way to add greens to your diet is with supergreen powder. I can’t stomach the taste on its own, which is why I add it to seasonal winter soups, or smoothies. Juice up some apples, pears, carrots and ginger, and add a scoop of powder at the end, whizzing it together in the blender to ensure it’s well mixed.
Time to Breathe
Perhaps because we breathe without thinking about it, many of us have lost the art of breathing properly. While I accept it’s not possible to deep-breathe our way through every part of life (and, let’s admit it – who’d want to deep-breathe the air on the tube?), we can try to breathe mindfully. It’s a wonderful way of stemming the buzz in the brain, soothing stress, and teaching ourselves to be in the present moment rather than continually worrying about our yesterdays and tomorrows. It’s simple – just spend half an hour sitting peacefully – perhaps on your commute (with the help of Altitude Oil to focus the mind and ward off any nasty bugs), during your lunch break, or while in the bath – and try to focus on nothing other than your in and out breaths. Your mind will wander over and over again – don’t get cross, just keep bringing it back to your breath – focusing on absolutely nothing other than the inhalation and exhalation. The more you do it, the more you’ll learn to stop your mind wandering and keep yourself calm in the present. It’s an invaluable tool, and will come in handy in moments of stress and strain – which will have a positive knock-on effect on your long-term health too.
Many of us just about find the time to eat, sleep and bathe, so the idea of adding a daily massage to the routine may seem unrealistic. But consider that massaging the skin can easily be done every morning and evening – while you cleanse. Cleansing the skin is a powerful ritual – in the morning we wash away the residue of the night, so that we can literally face the new day afresh – and in the evening, we put paid to the day we’ve just had. It’s a powerful few minutes when we touch the skin and reconnect with our self – body to mind – soothe the senses with cleansing, calming massage, and also take the time to breathe more deeply than we normally do. Make sure you do it right with a cleanser that has both balancing and aromatherapeutic properties – my Restorative Cleansing Balm blends mind-soothing flower essences with healing and nourishing oils to provide the perfect ‘clean slate’ for the face, and the mind.