Hello my lovelies. With Corona Virus mayhem having fully hit South Africa (schools closing, travel restrictions and events cancelled), I thought I’d compile some useful or inspiring reads, recipes and inspiration to help us stay healthy and positive during this crazy time. I urge you all to take precautions and stay informed, but also be mindful of your media consumption and mindset.
Ok, so first up, I love this very well curated compilation of articles from Goop on how to stay well and bolster your immune system. Click here to read. There’s great medical information, health tips and lovely recipes.
Bespoke Body’s top picks for immune boosting supplements are
Vitamin C , Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, B6 and Zinc (do not take high doses of Vitamin A if you are pregnant or trying to conceive!) , Elderberry, Echinachea & Viral Choice. There are of course many many other supplements, superfoods, herbs and potions to choose from, but I wanted to keep things simple so as not to overwhelm! I know that a lot of people have panic shopped many pharmacies and health shops out of their stock of many of these immune boosting items. I managed to order online at Dis-chem. I just bought a single quantity of each, because it’s inconsiderate to others to stockpile and leave them without access. Just saying. Be kind. Share. Don’t hoard.
If you don’t have access or can’t afford to buy any of these supplements, please do not panic! There are so many other powerful ways to support your body and immune system. Most importantly, proper hydration, proper nutrition and GUT HEALTH.
70-80% of our immune cells are located in the gut.
This is why nourishing our gut microbiome is so vital to our wellbeing. Make sure you’re getting a wide variety of whole foods in your diet. Try to avoid or limit inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, refined vegetable oils and refined sugar. Try to incorporate some kind of fermented food or drink into your daily diet. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, kefir, sourdough bread, nato – these are all examples of gut-loving fermented foods and drinks. Don’t go overboard though. Too much of a good thing will lead to bloating and gas! You can also invest in a high quality probiotic if you are not able to digest fermented foods and drinks. PRE-biotics are just as important, as they are the food for your gut bacteria. Garlic, onions, apple, artichoke, asparagus and inulin fibre are all great examples of prebiotic foods.
Speaking of garlic… it’s one of nature’s most powerful anti-viral and antibiotic foods. Load up on it! I cook with garlic almost everyday and even eat raw garlic cloves with some raw honey when my immune system is feeling low. My husband won’t come near me and I could probably kill someone by breathing on them, but I’m healthy, so whatever! 🙂
Other wonderful immune boosting and anti-viral foods are: citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and lemons. Peppers and chilis. Broccoli. Ginger. Turmeric. Coconut oil. Kiwi. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard. Sunflower seeds. Oysters. Mushrooms. Shellfish. Berries. Bone broth.
Besides being vigilant with your personal and environmental hygiene practices, other ways to boost your immune system are…
Exercise and movement – not too intense as this can stress and suppress your immune system. Walk, stretch, dance… Keep moving your body! Train outdoors and breathe some fresh air if possible, otherwise there are loads of online training platforms to choose from if you’d rather stay at home. I also offer virtual training sessions if you’d like to train with me!
Sleep. Make sure you are getting enough quality sleep. When we sleep our bodies go into repair mode. Sleep is also one of the best medicines when you’re feeling tired and run down and on the brink of becoming ill. Stay home and sleep!
Manage your stress! Meditation, deep breathing, journaling, phoning a loved one. Stress and anxiety are immune suppressors, as are internalised toxic thoughts and emotions. Process what you’re feeling and thinking. Do not bottle things up. Speak up or write it down. Have a cry – it’s a wonderful release!
Laugh! Having a laugh is wonderful for releasing tension and flooding your body with healing biochemicals. So watch a comedy, read something funny, have a group video chat with your mates… do whatever you can to get those giggles going. Even doing a few minutes of fake laughing will eventually result in real belly laughs because it’s quite ridiculous!
I absolutely love this video of a Zumba instructor in Seville training people from a rooftop while they are in lockdown.
If you google FEEL GOOD NEWS you’ll find some other lovely, innovative and inspiring stories coming out of this global health crisis. Silver linings…
So I’ll leave it at that for today. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this virus. Stay strong. Stay well. We are all in this together and we will be OK!
Love and good vibes to you.
Self-care is a term that’s bandied about A LOT these days. There are so many memes and GIFs and cute illustrations that pop up when you google ‘self-care’. “Self-care isn’t selfish” and #selfcaresundays are ubiquitous phrases: printed on t-shirts, mugs, bags and falling off everyone’s lips.
Everybody is doing it and companies are capitalising on it too. If you’re not masking, meditating, while simultaneously getting a manicure, do you even self-care?!
Why is “self-care” everywhere all of a sudden?
Well…to be basic: life is hectic. The technology which makes our lives so much easier, has also added a lot of stress and pressure. We always need to be ON: connected and working. Go go go. Do do do. It’s become increasingly hard for people to switch off, to take time out… What used to be called “pampering” or “me time” (and was seen as a sporadic indulgence) is now called SELF-CARE and it has become a weekly, if not daily, necessity.
Self-care, like self-love, are very dear topics to me. Self-care is definitely a form of self-love.
Taking care of number one should be everyone’s priority, because (sorry to sound like a broken record but…) you can’t pour from an empty cup!
When you are feeling balanced and well taken care of, you’re a better friend, partner, colleague and parent.
I love to pamper and go to salons, visit gyms and yoga studios and and buy new books to read… but I realise that these all involve spending money and that is a privilege not accessible to everyone. Since becoming a full-time entrepreneur, I’ve had to seriously cut back on my spending habits, so for those of you thinking that because you’re on a budget you can’t afford to practice self-care, think again. Self-care doesn’t have to involve spending money! There are so many things one can do on a budget or for free, that will leave you feeling “cared for”.
Meditation is probably my ultimate form of self-care. It’s a daily habit of mine that has transformed my mind and spirit in so many positive ways. There are a myriad of different meditation techniques from simple breath work, to using mantras, guided visualisations, affirmations, the list goes on and on… Experiment until you find whatever works for you, with whatever time you can carve out! You do not have to sit for twenty or thirty minutes at a time to reap the rewards. Every little bit counts, so if you have five minutes, do that! I use a few different meditation techniques, because I enjoy variety and I believe in tuning in to what my mind and body needs on that day. Some days it will be a guided meditation on an app ( Insight Timer is my fave), some days I love to chant, some days it’s a breathing technique and sometimes just sitting in silence.
Going for a walk outdoors is another wonderful form of self-care that doesn’t cost a thing… Fresh air, clearing the head, moving the body – absolute bliss. Walking on your own is wonderful for clearing the head – sometimes I listen to a podcast or some music. Walking with a friend or loved one can be equally therapeutic – chatting and maybe getting some things off your chest.
Preparing wholesome food and eating it mindfully is another wonderful form of self-care.
Nourishing food does not need to be complicated or expensive.
A beautiful, colourful salad or a bowl of lightly steamed vegetables with a tasty homemade dressing are wonderfully nourishing and affordable. Eating a slice of carrot cake with a cup of tea is also a favourite self-care practice which I practice on occasion. 🙂
Taking time out is also self-care. Setting boundries. Canceling plans. Taking a day off. Switching your phone off. These can all be wondering and rejuvenating acts of self-care.
And then of course there’s all the pampering stuff, which you can also do for a lot cheaper at home. Run a bath, make your own face-mask, massage your body with some nourishing oils (or maybe you have an obliging partner to do this?!) and paint your own nails. Slide into bed with a good book or take some time to journal your thoughts and feelings.
For the time pressed, you don’t have to do all these things at once! A little self-care here and there makes a big difference. Tally up how much time you spend in a day on your phone, watching TV or scrolling the internet – can you use some of that time for self-care rather?
If you’re still thinking, “Yeah right lady, this all sounds way too indulgent and I don’t have time for any of this.” Well (apologies in advance for the shouting caps!) IF YOU DON’T MAKE TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND LOVE YOURSELF NO-ONE ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU. And eventually, after a lot of neglect and running on empty, our bodies and minds get the message that we don’t really care enough and they begin to rebel or give up on us (illness, injuries, allergies, depression, anxiety…)
So please, I urge you to start making time for little self-care rituals and practices, no matter how big or small. Weave them into your day. Negotiate with your boss, partner, parent, nanny, friend, whomever… ask them for the time or the help or whatever it is you need to make this happen. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
How’s your self-care practice going? What are your favourite forms of self-care. Let me know!
Lots of love
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you’ll know that I LOVE a smoothie. You may have also noticed that when I use a protein powder it’s a vanilla flavoured one 99% of the time. Aint no shame in being ‘vanilla’ in this area of my life! Hah!
The reason I usually buy vanilla is that it adds a little flavour and sweetness to my smoothies without being too in your face and it allows me to play around with flavour combinations a lot more. If I want to make a smoothie chocolate flavoured, all I have to do is add a little cacao powder. I find that many unflavoured protein powders, especially the plant based ones, tend to taste rather chalky and I also need to add a lot more sweetness to my smoothies, which can sometimes really bump up their impact on blood sugar. Not ideal.
So if you’ve ever stood in the protein powder aisle at your health store, scratching your head and wondering which one to invest in, I’m here to help!
Before I dive into my favourites, I just want to say that protein powders are not an essential part of a healthy diet. BUT, if you’re extremely active, plant-based, recovering from injury,surgery or illness, or if you are extremely hungry, trying to build muscle… these are some of the cases where a protein powder can be a beneficial addition to your diet.
Ok lets dive in. These are all quite readily available brands in South Africa.
Body by Wild – Raw Vanilla Vegan Protein
I love the MINIMAL ingredients in this powder:
Non-GMO Pea Protein Isolate, Sodium Chloride (Salt), Natural Sweetener : Stevia.
Literally three ingredients. No fillers, weird preservatives and other scary things that we can’t pronounce. It’s got a generous 25g of protein per serving. There’s 28 servings per container and at R299 off their website, it’s one of the most affordable powders around.
I haven’t tried their collagen whey protein yet, but if you’re not vegan or sensitive to whey, I think it’s probably also a great buy.
Phyto Pro – Thrive Daily Protein in Vanilla
Again, another plant-based powder with very clean ingredients:
Raw GMO-free Pea Protein Isolate, Raw Madagascan Vanilla Bean Powder, GMO-free Xylitol, Stevia (Rebaudiana Leaf) Extract and Himalayan Pink Salt
This one can be a little bit sweet for some people… but I’m ok with it!
Again a very good 20g of protein per serving.
A big tub which contains 45 servings will set you back R660 if you’re ordering off their site.
Kauai – Grass-Fed Whey Vanilla Protein
This is the protein powder that I have most recently been using. I didn’t use whey protein for a very long time because I was scared of what the dairy would do to my skin and also because I try not to consume animal products unnecessarily. I read an interesting post by a wellness expert weighing up the pros an cons of plant-based protein vs whey protein powders and it convinced me to give whey another chance… I have really been enjoying its extra creaminess in my smoothies.
It has a complete amino acid profile, particularly branched-chain amino acids, which stimulate muscle growth and maintenance. If you can handle whey give it a try… I have heard their plant-based protein is pretty good too – also a very minimal and clean list of ingredients.
This powder also contains 20g of protein per serving.
Ingredients are: Grass-fed whey protein concentrate, flavouring, salt, steviol, sunflower lecithin
Their protein powders are available at Dis-chem, Checkers and Pick n Pay. At R199,99 for a 500g tub of the Whey and R159,99 for the Plant Based 500g tub they come out tops in value for money!
Wazoogles – Vanilla Sky Protein
I’ve used this product many times over the years and I really love it. You get a bonus hit of superfoods like maca, mesquite and lucuma, as well as chia seeds for added fibre and Omega fatty acids. The caveat is that there’s only 12g of protein per serving, but if you’re not an elite athlete or severely protein deficient, then this shouldn’t be a problem.
The ingredients are super clean and mostly organic:
Organic raw chia seeds*, organic raw hemp protein powder*,organic raw maca root*, Organic wild-harvested mesquite, Organic raw lucuma fruit*, Madagascan Vanilla Pod, French grown, water extracted yellow pea protein.
A 1kg bag which has 30 servings will cost you R499 directly from their site
Ancient Nutrition – Bone Broth Protein – Vanilla
Ok I splashed out on this one a few months ago, because I was curious. When I say splashed out…
It’s R1080 for a 20 serving tub. Yikes. I know. I just really respect Dr Axe – the creator of Ancient Nutrition – so I wanted to try this out. Bone broth is rich in collagen and gelatin and a very specific amino acid profile, which have been shown to help heal the gut, boost immune system, improve hair, skin and nails; as well as helping with joint pain and of course muscle recovery. This powder contains 20g of protein per serving.
It has quite a strong sweet vanilla flavour, but when blended into smoothies it was super rich and delicious.
There is a ‘Pure’, unsweetened variety which is favourable for people on a Paleo diet, as it doesn’t contain any additives.
This one has good ingredients, except for the Xanthum and guar guar gum, which have been known to cause digestive issues in some people…
Ingredients: Chicken Bone Broth Protein Concentrate, Natural Vanilla Flavour, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Stevia Extract, Monk Fruit Extract.
For the price, I think I’ll stick to adding plain, unflavoured collagen powders to my smoothies and beverages instead though!
So there you have it… my top 5 vanilla protein powders. I only featured powders that are available in South Africa and ones that I have tried. I’m sure there are plenty more amazing options out there. I’m really dying to try protein powder made from crickets – it’s the most sustainable and easilly digestible… apparently!
Drop a comment and let me know which one is your favourite!
If you think I’ve missed out on an awesome powder, please let me know!
Have an awesome day!
Happy birthday to Bespoke Body! I can't believe it has been a whole 365 days since I launched my baby out into the world. Wow what a year it has been... I was and still am juggling Bespoke Body with my full time job in the film industry... which is A LOT. There have...
Hello lovelies! It's been a very long while. I'm sorry for the lack of blog posts, but if you'd like to stay tuned with all that's happening in my life and for daily nuggets of health wisdom, please be sure to follow along on my @bespokebody Instagram page which is...
Hello lovelies! I hope this week is treating you well! I am about to go for a skin peel for the first time! Eeeek! I’ll report back once my skin has settled! I get asked a lot of questions about my skin. It didn’t always used to look this way… My skin used to constantly be broken out, dehydrated and dull. As with all things health related, I like to take an holistic approach to tackling a “problem”. I
Hello loves! Hope this week is treating you well so far!
Another smoothie recipe?! Yup. Sorry not sorry! This one was too good not to share! Who loves cake? Me! Who loves smoothies? Also me! Well here’s a healthy smoothie that tastes like red velvet cake. Yay. Winning!
Hello lovelies! Hope life is treating you well. I have been enjoying being fully immersed in all things Bespoke Body for the last few weeks. Spring has definitely sprung in Cape Town and it has been a treat training some clients outside near the sea and soaking up some vitamin D!
Anyone who’s followed me for a little while will know that my love of smoothies runs DEEP! Gone are the days (well at least for me), where smoothies consisted of a ton of sugary fruit, yoghurt, cows milk and maybe some whey protein powder. Those kind of smoothies were nutritionally imbalanced sugar bombs:
Hello loves!This will be a quickieWant a little insight into the woman behind Bespoke Body (me!)? Then please trot on over to Shine Media to check out my interview! I really enjoyed answering #bizbabe Sam’s questions for her blog.
Hello lovely readers! Hope that you are all well and happy. I’m trying to find my groove after a 3-day Vipassana meditation sit. It was short and sweet, but still managed to rattle the cages of my body and mind. I have a few weeks free from film work, so yesterday I sat down and set lots of goals for myself and for Bespoke Body.
You wake up and it feels like you swallowed a bunch of razor blades. Your throat is so sore and you know that if you don’t contain this infection immediately, you’ll be on a one way ticket to Sickville.
I don’t have time to get sick. Well no-one really does, although some people might look forward to a few days in bed away from work. If you’re like me though, and you’d rather be doing all the things, then read on!
LET’S WORK TOGETHER!
Call Oona! +27 83 556 3630