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Why Do I Get The Cold Often Even When I Get Enough Exercise?

The common cold is the most frequently occurring disease in the world, and is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from work, school and yes, from your fitness classes.

There is a hidden fact about why people are often infected with the common cold.

Some of the ways to ward off communicable diseases like the cold, is to exercise, eating healthy and washing your hands as often as possible to minimise the chances of getting sick. Yet, some of you who exercise, eat healthy are often affected by the common cold.

Why?  The simple fact is you could be deficient in Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout the body. For example, muscles need it to move.

Unlike most vitamins, vitamin D is a hormone (the medical community continued to use the term vitamin, even after it has been found to be a hormone – habits are difficult to change!) and every cell in your body has a receptor for it. Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in US are deficient.

What about Singapore or people living in the tropics? One would think low Vitamin D is not an issue given that there is sunshine all year round. The surprising thing is that a large majority of people does not have sufficient Vitamin D, one key reason being, most people live in modern cities and spend most of their time indoors.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

  1. Getting sick and infected often, especially with colds or the flu.
  2. Fatigue and tiredness.
  3. Bone and back pain.
  4. Hair loss.
  5. Muscle pain

Some people might attribute any of these symptoms to aging and live with it but you don’t have to.

It takes a simple test to find out if you are deficient in Vitamin D. If yes, you can correct it.

But read on. There is more to Vitamin D than we know. Research has shown Vitamin D is important in preventing other illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart diseases.

prostate cancer

Vitamin D and Bones

Studies have shown that elderly individuals with low vitamin D are more likely to develop fractures and higher doses of vitamin D intake can reduce the likelihood of fractures

Vitamin D and the Heart

Studies have shown that low vitamin D levels are seen in people with heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke. There is some evidence that vitamin D may have a role in regulating blood pressure and preventing artery damage.

Vitamin D and Diabetes risk

Vitamin D levels also have an association with the increased incidence or likelihood of developing diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease.

Vitamin D and the Immune System

It has been established by research that vitamin D is crucial to activate the body’s immune defences and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin – the killer cells of the immune system will not be able to react and fight off infections in the body.

Next time, ask your doctor to include the Vitamin D test to determine that you’re neither having too little nor too much of it.

For more about integrating health and fitness and be proactive in building optimum health, visit www.vitalay.earth.

 

Contributed by Lay Yong, Wellness Entrepreneur.


References:

Vitamin D crucial to activating immune defences – www.sciencedaily.com, March 8 2010, University of Copenhagen

Vitamin D keeps the doctor away, Heart Stroke & Cancer Centre www.shscentre.com; Dr Michael Lim

Photo credit: Pixabay and GIPHY

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Thinking About a Soup Cleanse?

The Chinese have always been promoting the nutritiousness of soups, as seen from the variety and how each type of soup is able to help soothe the lungs and other internal organs. However, with the recent trend in detox plans and juice cleanse, there is a new trend called – soup cleanse.

All of us here at The Wellness Insider are healthily sceptical about soup cleanses considering how little evidence there is about them, so we decided to ask the experts. Integrative Dentist and Health Coach, Dr Surinder Arora, said that the point of soup cleanses was to get “people to eat whole real foods if the soups are prepared themselves” and that “this is another way to get these good foods into the body.” However, she did mention that soup cleanses are “not needed if people have eliminated artificial and processed junk foods from their diet.”

So, in other words, it is not a total ‘don’t try it!’ diet regime and it might be a good way for you to try and cut back from sugar and other additives. Nonetheless, it’s not meant to be a long term diet but like most of us, it’s great to have a bowl of soup once in a while.

If you’re interested in doing a soup cleanse, then you may want to try out the following recipes by our friends at Gergich & Co. in this simple infographic.
Click to Enlarge Image

Soup up Your Lifestyle with a Soup Cleanse

 

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The Importance of Self-Defence

Especially in Singapore, it does not seem like learning self-defence is a necessary skill to possess. However, the statistics are glaring in our faces. In 2015, the rate of women being raped in Singapore alone was 4 rapes every 9 days as reported by The New Paper. And this has been on the rise since 2013. Moreover, there are more cases reported in the news about murder victims being killed by their spouses or even their parent.

Therefore, it is increasingly important to learn how to defend yourself in a life-death situation. Which is why Zackiee of U-Elite is so passionate about teaching women the basics of self-defence.

Through his experience as a police officer and even as a self-defence coach, he has seen many cases where the victim could’ve survived had he or she learnt the proper way to defend themselves.

That is why Zackiee will be conducting a special workshop during our inaugural Wellness Day Out to teach women some basic techniques on self-defence! Check out the video above where you can see some of the basic moves you’ll learn during the workshop on the 24th June and the best part about it all is that you get a bit of a cardio workout while developing a useful life skill!

Basic Self-Defence for Women

Date:  Sat, 24 June 2017
Time: 2.30pm to 3.30pm
Price: S$40 per person for a Festival Pass which allows you access to all workshops for the day (except the Batik workshop)
Eventbrite - Wellness Day Out

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Ignite Your Life with SoulFit’s New Workshop

We’ve all felt insecure about ourselves or our purpose in life at some point, it’s normal especially when you go out into the world and try hard to carve out your own path. If you want to be able to reclaim purpose in your life or figure out a path that you should take then there’s no better time than now. SoulFit’s new Ignite Your Life Workshop aims to help you and give you exactly what you need.

This new workshop will help you find clarity and peace of mind and recover your confidence, all with the help of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), neuroscience and psychology tools and techniques.

Participants will also receive tips on:

  • How to get Clarity of your life purpose to give you direction and focus
  • Strategies and practical exercises to bolster resilience and nurture a growth mindset
  • How you can change your emotional state and create a healthy experience of life
  • Steps to create the life you truly want by taking the right actions
  • 18 Hours of Training and Group Coaching

You’ll also be surrounded by twenty other people who understand and are in the same situation, so you don’t have to be shy and worry about fitting in.

Information:

Dates: Sat 1st – Sun 2nd, July 2017

Time: 9:30 am-17:30 pm

Workshop Fees:

Early Bird: $788

Standard: $1,288

You can also book the Early Bird special ticket, which comes with a big discount as you can see but make sure to do it before they run out!

If you still want to go but don’t have the money then don’t worry, you can participate in this promotion and win a spot in the workshop for free! and if you don’t think you’d be able to make it you can also give your spot to someone else.

Feel free to check out SoulFit’s and Ignite Your Life’s page for more information on the workshop.

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5 Quinoa Recipes You Will Absolutely Love

If you’re vegan or someone who is interested in eating healthy, you probably have a good idea of what quinoa (pronounced as keen-wah) is. For those that don’t know, quinoa is a wheat-free grain, a superfood that is usually treated as the healthy alternative to rice or couscous. It falls under the same category as beets, beans and even spinach, and has cemented its place as a staple within the vegan community.

The main reason for its popularity is due to the benefits that quinoa offers. Quinoa provides twice the amount of protein as rice and other grains while it’s also high in calcium, vitamins B and E as well as dietary fibres. It even contains all nine amino acids and offers some good old Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent heart disease. As it is gluten-free, it is also very popular amongst those who are gluten-intolerant or sensitive.

Quinoa originated in South American countries such as Peru, Chile and Bolivia, where it used to be eaten by the Inca tribes hundreds of years ago. Over the years, it has made its way around the world but has become exceedingly famous in the USA and the UK where in 2013, the UK declared it the “International Quinoa Year”.

The rising popularity of quinoa has also generated an increase in recipes that use this wheat-free grain in some very creative ways. Quinoa has a slight nutty taste, making is very hearty and easy to eat, which is why there are so many recipes to incorporate them into but here are our top 5 favourites!

Quinoa Vegetable Salad

What better way to start this list that with something light and fresh. The best way to bring out quinoa’s nutritients is a healthy dish where it’s balanced with vegetables. This recipe works as a great entrée or even a light lunch for those days where you don’t want to stuff your face. Great to have on a hot day and vegan-friendly.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup diced (yellow or purple) onion

2 1/2 cups water

3 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups quinoa

3/4 cup diced fresh tomato

3/4 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup diced cucumber

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

Cook the garlic and onion in a saucepan with canola oil on medium heat until the onion softens and becomes translucent. After that, pour the water, 2 teaspoons of salt and  ¼ of a teaspoon of black pepper and bring it to a boil.

Once the mixture is ready, stir the quinoa in and leave it simmering, keep in mind to turn the heat down to medium-low so that it doesn’t burn and put a cover in so that it simmers faster. You can wait about 20 minutes for it to simmer, after which you should take it out put it in the fridge in a large bowl.

After it’s cooled down, you can stir the tomato, carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, corn, and red onion into the quinoa. Season it with the cilantro, mint as well as the remaining salt and black pepper. Lastly, add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar before mixing them gently.

Serve cold.

Banana Quinoa Rice Pudding

Salads are great, but there’s nothing quite as sweet dessert. This recipe brings together the calcium and dietary fibres offered by quinoa and the potassium that comes with banana to create a delicious combo. Not just that, it’s also a dish that both adults and children can enjoy.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:

3/4 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

2 ripe bananas

1 cup whole milk

1 cup coconut milk

4 tablespoons honey, divided

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Start off by rinsing the quinoa off in a paper towel lined colander and transfer it to the saucepan once it rinses clear. Add one and a half cups of water into the quina and leave it soaking for 30 minutes. After that, boil the quinoa and then leave it covered at low heat so that the quinoa can absorb the water; this should only take about 15 minutes.

While the quinoa boils, blend the whole milk, coconut milk, 3 tablespoons honey, butter, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt together in a blender until they become smooth. Then, stir the mixture into the quinoa and boil it once more, this time at medium heat. However, don’t just leave it alone, stay there and stir it around so that it cooks and thickens properly.

After that, all that’s left is putting the pudding in a serving dish and setting it in the fridge for an hour while it gets cold. Top it off with banana to serve. You can add the honey and cinnamon if you like but now it’ll be good to eat!

Cacao and Peanut Quinoa Porridge

This tasty quinoa porridge comes courtesy of ElikaFit; it’s a perfect breakfast recipe that’ll give you a protein kick to get you through the day. Not just that but the sweetness and combination of the chocolate and nuts will ease your sweet tooth while helping you kickstart your day.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup of cooked quinoa

2 cups of coconut milk

1tbspn of cashews

1tbspn of blueberries

1tsp sunflower seeds

1tsp of cacao nibs

2tbsp of toasted quinoa

Instructions:

Before you can get down to making the dish, you should make sure to cook some quinoa appropriately and then toast it in coconut oil for about 15 minutes until it becomes crispy to get the toasted quinoa.

When you’re done, place the cooked quinoa in a pot and simmer it with two cups of coconut milk. Now all you’ll have to do is take it out of the pot and add in the cashews, blueberries, sunflower seeds, cacao nibs and the toasted quinoa on top.

 

Quinoa Black Bean Burger

Salads, desserts and sweet breakfasts are good, but sometimes you just want something a bit…meatier to dive your teeth into. Don’t worry, we didn’t put meat on this list, but these veggie burgers have sufficient protein and minerals when compared to your regular beefy ones.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 (15 ounces) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup quinoa

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup minced yellow bell pepper

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 egg

3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

For this, we’re going to boil the quinoa in a saucepan once more and let it simmer just like we did with the pudding recipe. While we’re waiting for that, you can mash your beans up until they form a paste-like mixture.

Now mix the paste with the quinoa, bread crumbs, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, hot pepper sauce, and egg and get in there with your hands, we want to be able to make five patties out of this. After that, it’s just a matter of cooking the patties like any regular burger, preferably with olive oil.

You can put in whatever ingredients you want with your patties, or even have them on their own!

Curried Quinoa

We finish our list off with a spicy entry. This lightly curried quinoa has a great aroma and taste which you can have as a side or main staple.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 35 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup quinoa

2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

This one isn’t too complicated, start by heating oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes, making sure they’re stirred correctly. After that add the quinoa in until it’s toasted, which should take about five minutes.

Then, pour the broth into the pan and boil it, once you add the curry in you’ll have to make sure to reduce the heat though. Add the chile powder along with the curry and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Now all you’ll have to do is the season it and your dish will be complete!

 

We hope you’ve been able to learn a lot from these recipes, make sure to tell us if you try any of these or any of your recipes out! There’s still many more things you can do with quinoa.


Photo Credits: Food.com, ElikaFit, Pinch of Yum, Kelly Sew Cooks, The Foodie Physician, The Full Helping

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Yoga From The Sky (ESPRESSO edition)

District 1 Yoga and Coffee Irony are proud to bring you our 2017 ESPRESSO edition of YOGA FROM THE SKY, an unprecedented yoga event in Singapore. This definitely is yoga with a view.

Imagine the scent of freshly-roasted coffee seeping from your kitchen, or a shot of espresso lifted to your nose to lift your mood at dawn.
All these being savored at 158m high with the inspiring views of iconic landmarks and skyscrapers in the most prestigious district of Singapore.
Enter our Yoga deck infused with the 100% natural aroma of coffee from our Organic coffee grounds, topping it off with a breathtaking view to add a new dimension to this peaceful workout.

Join us on Sunday, April 9, 2017 for something we promised you’ve never experienced before.
Perk your Sunday up, conquer your fear of heights while improving your flexibility.
Do them right here at YOGA FROM THE SKY.

* Please bring along your own yoga mat, towel and a bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated.

Experience includes:
  • Holistic 60 minutes of yoga experience
  • 158m above the city
  • 360 panoramic view of the city
  • 3 soft-copies of keepsake group photo from our yoga deck for an additional $2 (OPTIONAL)

Date: Sunday, 28 May 2017
Time: Various sessions starting from 9.45am to 2pm.
Fee: S$19

To view session timeslots and to register, kindly click here.


Photo credits: Funzing

Manduka Spring '17 Yoga Mats
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Could this be the cause of your bloating?

‘Gluten-free options available’.  ‘No gluten’.  We often hear or see these terms advertised but what is gluten? What does it do to our bodies and what do these statements actually mean?  These statements often get us thinking without us realising.  Should I go gluten free?

Gluten-containing grains, such as wheat, rye and barley, have been a component of the human diet in Western countries for thousands of years.  Due to the progressive adoption of Western lifestyles, consumption in Eastern countries is increasing.  Gluten-related disorders have a global prevalence that is estimated around 5%.

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and their varying forms. It gives baked goods a doughy and elastic property and is also used as a thickening agent and flavour enhancer. It consists of gliadin and glutenin.  Gliadin is what causes the adverse effects when consumed.

We are no longer eating the same type of wheat that our ancestors ate.  In order for the crops to be resistant to environmental factors such as bugs and the weather, the grains have been hybridised, resulting in varying forms of gluten.  Many of these forms can lead to sensitivity when they are consumed.

How does gliadin affect my body?

When your food gets to your intestines, an enzyme (tTG – tissue transaglutaminase) breaks gluten down into gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is then broken down into peptides in the digestive system and then into amino acids.

Dr Fasano, paediatric gastroenterologist and researcher from Harvard explains that gliadin binds to the intestinal lining which activates a complex mechanism resulting in barriers (that are usually closed) being opened in the intestinal lining.  When these barriers are opened, bacteria as well as gliadin moves into the blood stream and into the body.  Gliadin resembles human proteins such as the ‘synaptin protein’ and therefore, can activate an autoimmune response.  The body cannot tell the difference between gliadin and the human proteins as they look similar and so their effects are the same.  This can result in common symptoms of autoimmune diseases including fatigue, fever and feeling generally unwell.

The amino acids also bind to the human brain and act as opiates. The opiate effect depends on the individual.  It can lead to mental fog, outbursts in ADHD, paranoia, trigger mania in bipolar and even trigger depression.

What is celiac disease?

When gluten is consumed, an autoimmune response occurs in the body which results in damage to the villi of the small intestine. These villi are finger like projections that create a larger surface area for nutrients to be absorbed. When the villi are damaged, the body is unable to absorb the necessary nutrients that the body needs. There are more than 200 symptoms of celiac disease including abdominal bloating and pain, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting and fatigue.

How do I know if I am gluten intolerant?

Take gluten out of your diet for a month and see if you feel better. If you do, chances are that gluten is not working well on your body. Lab testing is also an option to determine if gluten suits you.

Are gluten-free products healthy?

Data in the 2013 Gluten-Free/Diabetes Friendly Handbook, a Supplement to Grocery Headquarters Magazine suggests that $4.5 billion US dollars were spent on gluten free items in 2012. There is also an increasing trend amongst restaurants with increasing gluten-free options on menus.

healthy fats

Gluten-free does not necessarily mean healthy. If gluten has been removed form a product, it may be loaded up with other additives as well as sugar to aid texture and flavour. This processing commonly results in an unhealthy gluten-free item that many of us think is healthy. Always check your food labels. A gluten-free diet can be very healthy providing it is based on real whole foods.

Here are a few gluten free food choices:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, nuts and seeds
  • Lean meats, poultry and fish
  • Dairy
  • Gluten-free whole grains
  • Gluten-free whole grain flours
  • Certified gluten-free oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Teff
  • Sorghum
  • Nut flours

If you’re having digestive issues or are experiencing fatigue, it may mean that your body does not take too well to gluten.  Eliminate all sources of gluten (e.g. bread, pasta and noodles) for 7 to 10 days to see if this makes a difference. If you do find that you are slightly gluten-sensitive, opt for whole and real foods rather than ‘gluten-free’ ready made options as you would still want to keep a balanced diet. Remember to read your labels!

To find out more about gluten-sensitivity and celiac disease, do read about it here.

Contributed by Dr Surinder Arora, Integrative Dentist and Health Coach.


References

Elli L et al,  Diagnosis of gluten related disorders: Celiac disease, wheat allergy and non-celiac gluten sensitivity World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jun 21; 21(23): 7110–7119

William Davis MD www.wheatbellyblog.com

Weiser H, Chemistry of gluten proteins Food Microbiology Volume 24, Issue 2, April 2007, P. 115–119

Celiac Disease Foundation What is Celiac Disease www.celiac.org  Accessed 07 May 2017

Photo credits: Pixabay and GIPHY

 

 

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Superfood Your Dessert with a DIY Acai Bowl

Superfoods is a recent term used on a whole group of foods that are high in nutritions but low in calories, perfect for getting your vitamins and proteins in without the popping of multiple pills. Not sure about you, but I much prefer to eat my vitamins and minerals.

The super berry Acai

The acai (pronounced as ah-sigh-ee) berry, is one such superfood and it comes from the Amazon forest. Prized as an important staple in the Amazonian diet for generations, did you know that the deep purple berry contains high natural antioxidants (the anthocyanin responsible for giving it the characteristic purple colour), essential amino acids, omega fatty acids, calcium, iron and even fibre. This means that the humble acai berry is capable of boosting one’s immunity and keep your body in balance.

acai bowl

Since we can’t get the fresh berries in Asia, the next best thing would be the freeze-dried powder as freeze drying still retains most of its nutritions. You can add the powder as a flavouring into your yoghurts, ice cream, smoothies or juices and the latest dessert trend is the delicious Acai Bowl. Making one is really not that tough and here’s the recipe which is vegan and vegetarian friendly:

Ingredients:

1 medium sized frozen banana
1-2 heaped tablespoons Nature’s Superfoods Acai Berry Powder
1 tablespoon nut butter (cashew, almond etc)
1/3 cup iced water

For garnish:
Fresh cut fruit of your choice, sweet cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds or chia seeds

Method:

Blend the frozen banana with the berry powder, nut butter and iced water until you get a smooth consistency. Top it off with your choice of fresh cut fruit and seeds as well as the cacao nibs to give it a chocolatey flavour!

 

For our bowl, we added kombucha instead of iced water to give it some probiotics and topped it off with pine nuts, chlorophyll powder, chia seeds, passionfruit and cacao nibs. You can also add in protein powder (use the flavourless or vanilla flavoured ones) or maca powder to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!


Recipe from Nature’s Superfoods.

Photography by Melissa Fann.

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