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Immune Boost For The Winter

Top tips to boost your immune system this winter.

We all know that this time of year brings coughs, colds and sneezing. So let’s not wait for it to sneak up on us resulting in a mad dash to the supermarket for the Night Nurse! We can start now, prevention is better than cure after all, to boost our immunity for winter health and wellbeing.

1. Increase fruit and vegetables!

A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially anti-oxidants, vitamin C and D is a great start to building a strong immune system. Look to include more broccoli, bell peppers and papaya where you can and look to increase the amount of raw fruits and vegetables you eat.

2. Use fresh herbs!

Fresh herbs can be used as protection against infection and are very versatile so there are many ways to include more in your diet. Garlic has antibacterial and antioxidant properties to fight free radicals in the body and parsley is a good source of vitamin C, so try including them in homemade sauces, salad dressings or soups.

3. Avoid processed foods!

Sugars, salts and additives found in processed food and drinks will not help flush out the toxins from the body. Swap soft drinks for water and homemade juices or smoothies and processed wheat products for fibre loaded whole grains such as oats or buck wheat.

4. Get sweet!

Honey in its raw form has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Try using a high factor Manuka honey to ward off the winter cold, it’s also great to heal wounds on the skin too.

5. Stay hydrated!

Water is the most important nutrient in the human body and is a major component in every cell; it acts as a body purifier removing toxins and waste from the body. Try hot water and lemon for soothing relief and hydration when the coughing and sneezing starts.

Eating to Reduce Stress

Asparagus

Folic acid has a high presence in this vegetable. The great thing about folic acid is that it’s very helpful as a mood stabilizer. Our bodies release hormones that affect our mood when we’re stressed. Folic Acid, along with B vitamins are very helpful at keeping your mood steady because they key in producing serotonin, a chemical that directly affects mood in a positive way.

Beef

Beef often gets looked at in a negative light, but it’s an excellent option for a stressed out family’s dinner. Key nutrients in beef, like zinc, iron and B vitamins are known to stabilize moods. For those concerned about the fat content in beef, purchase the leaner cuts.

Milk

Anitoxidants, Vitamins B2 and B12, protein and calcium are all present in milk. A bowl of whole-grain cereal and low fat milk in the morning is an awesome way to start the day – stress fighting style.

bodyholiday, st lucia, st lucia resort

Cottage Cheese and Fruit

Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium. Its high protein and low sugar content won’t cause a spike in blood sugar and can keep you satiated for a longer time. Mixing cottage cheese with fruit that is high in Vitamin C, like oranges is a great idea. Vitamin C plays a role in fighting stress since it’s an antioxidant that fights free radicals that get released when you’re stressed.

Almonds

Chewing almonds is a great snack to munch on when you’re stressed. Crunching on almonds really helps to get aggression out. Almonds are a good source of Vitamin B2 and E, as well as magnesium and zinc, almonds are high in fat, but most of the fat is unsaturated. Like vitamin C, vitamin E has been shown to fight the free radicals associated with stress.

Blueberries

Very rich in antioxidants, blueberries offer a high-fiber, low-calorie fruit option that is also rich in stress-fighting vitamin C. They’re great with cottage cheese too.

Tuna

Tuna is a great lunch option; it’s high in stress-fighting vitamins B6 and B12. Tuna is also a good low-fat protein source.

New Fitness And Nutrition Expert at The BodyHoliday

Nutrition Expert Rachel Williams with Guest at The BodyHoliday

Rachel Williams during a nutritional consultation with a guest.

The BodyHoliday is excited to welcome its new Fitness and Nutrition Expert, Rachel Williams. Her introduction to the team compliments the resort’s commitment to the good health and wellbeing.

Rachel has over seven years of experience in the Health and Fitness industry and has a background in martial arts. Her teachings combine the physical, mental and nutritional factors that relate to each individual’s goals and needs. Rachel welcomes a number of clients, whether their aim is sports specific, or directed at weight loss, toning, posture correction, recovery from or prevention of injury.

She feels that The BodyHoliday is a ‘perfect fit’ for her, and used the example of the resort partnering with a cooperative of organic farmers on the island of St. Lucia that provide it with locally sourced and healthy herbs, greens, fruits and vegetables. Rachel’s unique and flexible approach to training works very well with the fitness and tone classes offered at The BodyHoliday. Some of these classes include: Fitness and Tone, Circuits, Beach Fit, Cardio, Zumba, BodySPIN, waterworks and Total Body Tone.

Rachel will be sharing her knwoledge on her feild of expertise on The BodyHoliday’s Nutrition & Fitness blog.

Get Carb Smart

One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to weight loss is cutting out carbohydrates. We’ve all heard it from someone at some point “I lost my weight by not eating carbs” or “I don’t eat carbs after 6pm because it converts to fat”, well, let us finally settle this. A massive reduction in foods such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes is recognised as being medically unsound.

Carbohydrates are the major fuel of the body, while fats and proteins can be used for energy, carbohydrates are the most efficient. Glucose, the building block of all carbohydrates, is stored as glycogen for use during daily activities and exercise. When carbohydrates are cut out from a person’s diet, glycogen has to be taken from other reserves; initially it is taken from stores in muscle tissue, leaving little protein for muscle repair and growth. Each molecule of this glycogen is also linked to four times its weight in water, so initial weight lost through a low or no carbohydrate diet is muscle tissue and water.

As well as fuel for the body, glucose is the primary energy source for the brain, insufficient carbohydrate intake slows down brain and bodily functions resulting in some very unpleasant side effects such as, light headed-ness, depression, fatigue, low blood sugar, nausea, bad breath and constipation.

Gram for gram carbohydrates are low in calories with only 4 per gram, protein also brings the body 4 calories per gram, while fat contains a whopping 9 calories per gram. So the secret to long term weight control is to make the right carbohydrate choice. Carbohydrates are split into two categories; complex and simple or starches and sugars. Complex carbohydrates slow down the release of the glucose into the blood stream maintaining steady, stable energy levels in the body. Simple carbohydrates send a sudden burst of energy to the body, which in turn requires a sudden burst of insulin to balance, the body then feels it needs another burst of energy, starting a cycle of blood sugar highs and lows.

Sugar and starch are found in both healthy and unhealthy foods so making the right choice is important. Simple carbohydrates are found naturally in fruit, milk and some vegetables but also contain vitamins, minerals and water so have more nutritional value than refined sugars like cakes, sweets and soft drinks which are often high in fat or prepared with fat. Complex carbohydrates are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals so provide sustained energy helping to feel fuller for longer; good sources include oats, wholegrain bread, apricots, oranges, broccoli and kidney beans. Get Carb Smart!

The BodyHoliday welcomes two new practitioners to its team

The BodyHoliday continues to improve on its offerings at the award-winning Wellness Centre with the introduction of Dr. Mahalingam Lakshmanan and Ellie King.

Dr. Mahalingam Lakshmanan, or Dr. Maha as he is more commonly known, is a Naturopathic and Yogic Sciences doctor from India. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in these two fields and has carried out many wellness programs in areas including detoxification, rejuvenation and treatments for various stress induced and degenerative illnesses.

Dr. Maha has been selected to join the team at Pavitra, The BodyHoliday’s authentic Ayurvedic temple, because of his expertise in holistic wellness medicine and treatments. He has begun offering treatments including Shirodhara, Abhyanga, Prana Breathe, Udvarthan, Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage and Hatha yoga sessions.

Ellie King is a graduate of The British School of Osteopathy, one of the United Kingdoms’ largest and oldest osteopathic colleges. She has completed post graduate training in Cranial Osteopathy and has worked with and treated many patients with a number of injuries.

She uses a holistic approach with a diverse range of techniques to adapt and maintain her objective of treating her patients and not just the symptoms. As The BodyHoliday’s new Osteopath, Ellie’s treatments include Osteopathic Treatment and Assessment, Cranio-Sacral Osteopathy and Postural Assessment and Correction.

If you will be staying at The BodyHoliday soon, be sure to book a free 15-minute consultation at the Wellness Centre with one, or both of our new practitioners to learn how Ayurveda and Osteopathy can make a difference in your life.

The BodyHoliday Recognizes Outstanding Team Members

Human Resources Coordinator (Alison Chitolie) and General Manager (Mark Lyttleton-Frances) handeded out the awards


The BodyHoliday enjoyed an exceptional year in 2011. The resort won a number of top awards from the international travel industry and completed a multi-million dollar refurbishment project. The resort’s world class amenities and fabulous offerings are a big part of what makes it such a special place. Additionally, the excellent service and level of care provided by the team at The BodyHoliday contributes immensely to the resort’s continued success.

The resort is founded on a number of core values that it also seeks out and maintains in all of its employees. The BodyHoliday believes in recognizing the hard work and dedication of its team members. This set the stage for its 2011 Team Appreciation Award Ceremony, held on March 10th, 2012. Nominees were selected by the resorts guests, other team members and the management team. The most outstanding team members received awards on the night:

Team Leader of the year – Francis Gaspar

Supervisor of the year – Gaston James

Most Dedicated Employee – Front of House – Angel St. Clair

Most Dedicated Employee – Back of House – Herbert Sydney

Employee Choice Award – Cecilia Sylvester

Smile of the year award (Male) – Cassius Julien

Smile of the year award (Female) – Cindy Pamphile

Most Improved Team award – The Deli

Guest Choice award – Jermain Verneuil

The “WOW” factor award – Mary Deterville

Hello Winter

Whilst we’re soaking up the Caribbean sun here on the island, it’s kinda strange for this weathered Brit to get her head around the fact that it’s winter back home!

Without the scarves, gloves, thermal vests (never let it be said I’m not a stylish girl!) and the associated layers of clothes, it’s really hard to remember that the year has moved on.

An interesting end to 2011 was on 22nd December when we celebrated the arrival of Winter in the traditional yogic way; with 108 Sun Salutations at daybreak.

Sun salutations (Surya Namaskara in Sanskrit) are an integral part of most yoga practices. Sri K Pattabhi Jois (one of the most important teachers in the Ashtanga yoga lineage) said;

“No asana practice is complete without sun worship. Without its focusing of mental energies, yoga practice amounts to little more than gymnastics &, as such, loses meaning & proves fruitless. Indeed, the Surya Namaskar should never be taken for mere physical exercise – for something incidental, that is, that simply precedes the asanas of yoga”

– Sri K Pattabhi Jois.

 

‘Surya’ is one of many names of sun and ‘namaskara’ means to bow before or to prostrate oneself. The Sun has been worshipped in many ancient cultures for its life-giving properties. Without it, life as we know it could not be sustained. These cultures also recognised that the sun bestows its power and light on all life; free from discrimination or judgement.

 

When practiced correctly, you’ll find that they contain elements of four of the eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga, as detailed by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. They contain asana (the physical moving of the body), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (control of senses), dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation).

So we chose to celebrate the Winter Solstice and the coming of new light by completing a traditional Yoga Mala – 108 Sun Salutations. As we reflect on the significance of the sun, we are reminded that the sun is the illuminator of our world, that it is our primary source of heat and the giver of life.

But why 108?

The number 108 carries spiritual significance in many different cultures:

* 108 is the number of “Upanishads” comprising Indian philosophy’s “Vedic texts”.

* 108 is the number of names for Shiva (a really important Hindu god).

* 108 is the number of names for Buddha.

* 108 is the Chinese number representing “man”.

* 108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary.

* 108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan “mala” (prayer beads, analagous to a rosary).

* 108 is twice the number “54″, which is the number of sounds in Sanskrit (sacred Indian langauge).

* 108 is six times the number “18″, which is a Jewish good luck number.

* 108 is twelve times the number 9, which is the number of vinyasas (movements linked to breath) in a Sun Salutation.

It’s something I’ve done with students on a number of different occasions; both to welcome in the changing seasons but also as sponsored events to raise money for charitable causes. Yes it’s hard work; yes it’s challenging on your mind and body. But at those moments in time when your mind is telling you that you can’t possibly manage any more, it’s an opportunity to remember that the tiredness, frustration, discomfort will pass. It’s only temporary, just like the cold, wet, winter days. Those moments that might make us feel less than full of sunshine are just temporary; they will always move on.

However cold the weather may be where you are, why not take a moment to welcome winter and be thankful for the gloom. Without it we’d never realise just how beautiful the sunshine is!

Steve Cram at The BodyHoliday

6 time gold medalist 1,500m-run champion Steve Cram recently visited us at The BodyHoliday. I caught up with him to chat about his impressions of our resort, tips on healthy lifestyle, the 2012 Olympics, and some of the challenges he faced in his career.

How have you enjoyed your stay at The Body Holiday?

I’ve been really busy lately, and it’s just what the doctor ordered. Allison (Curbishley) has taken advantage of the treatments, and I tend to just relax and lie down a bit. We’ve taken it really easy; normally our holidays tend to be more active.

The nice thing about Lesport is if you want to get into the whole Spa thing you can do, but if you don’t want to you don’t have to. For couples that’s a good thing, there’s plenty of variation.

Do you have any tips for healthy lifestyle?

I think there’s a bit too much made about healthy lifestyle. There are two things that I think are really essential. Firstly is getting the right information. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Many people know more about how their car runs than the biomechanics and the physiology of their bodies. You accept that your car can’t run if you’re not putting the right fuel in it, yet we eat the wrong foods or too much food and so on.

Secondly, it’s not how you look on the inside, but about how things are working on the inside. You can have a nice shiny car, but if the engine’s all rusted and horrible then it isn’t going to go very far. Going into the gym and getting nice big muscles is fine, but it isn’t going to make you live longer. What will make you live longer is taking care of your engine; which is your heart and lungs and cardiovascular system. I think because that’s sometimes the hardest thing, people tend to shy away from it.

Walking, running, cycling, swimming…anything that gets your heart rate up. A small amount on a regular basis is what will keep you fit and healthy. If you do that, you can eat the things you want to eat, you don’t have to have a stupidly controlled diet, and I think that’s what most people are looking for; some kind of balance in their life.

I know you must be looking forward to the 2012 Olympics, what do you hope to see from it?

I want it to be a safe games first of all. I want there to be plenty of drama, but all in the arena. The Olympics is a massive event, and the focus of the world is going to be on London, so of course I’m hoping for plenty of British success. And it’d be nice to think that from a sporting point of view there’ll be an uplift in people’s interests, particularly with kids.

Who do you think is going to win the 1500 metres? For men and women?

Wow, that’s tough, because there’s nobody that really stands out in terms of dominating. In the last World Championships, the women’s 1500 was won by Jenny Simpson – an American girl who you normally wouldn’t put in the world’s top ten. And that’s the great thing about the 1500s, they’re quite an unpredictable event.

For the men’s, there are two guys who are favourites, particularly a Kenyan called Asbel Kiprop who is technically the reigning champion. He came second in Beijing, but the guy who came first was later disqualified for taking drugs, so he was retrospectively given the gold. He’s gotten better since then and he should win…but he’s a bit inconsistent and keeps losing races which he shouldn’t.

As for the women’s, it’s really hard…I could pick one of five or six people. Let’s put it this way, I’m hopeful that Great Britain will at least have a medalist. It’s an event that Britain traditionally does quite well at. Hannah England won silver at the last World Championships, and Lisa Dobriskey did the same in 2009. So we’ve had 2 girls who have won 2 medals in the last 2 world championships.

Finally, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?

I think the toughest thing you face is injuries. It’s not like your competitors because you can prepare for that, but it’s injuries that stop you doing what you want you want to do. It’s the most draining thing, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do.

You can over train and get injured, but for example I nearly missed a whole year because I stood on a Coke can and twisted an ankle. Sometimes it’s just very silly little things. And it’s the thing that which eventually catches up with all of us. Your body eventually gets to the point where you can’t maintain that level of intensity. Once you get into your 30s it’s really hard to train at that level without breaking down.

Thank you very much for your time Mr Cram!

Thank you!

Getting to Know Daley Thompson

I caught up with Olympain decathlon legend Daley Thompson, here pictured with 6 time gold medallist Steve Cram, to ask him about how he enjoyed his stay at The Bodyholiday, his rivalry with Jurgen Hingsen, and the 2012 London Olympics.

So how have you enjoyed your stay here at The BodyHoliday?

It’s been brilliant. All my clients seem to be really enjoying their holiday. If they’re having a good holiday it makes it really easy to do the classes because everybody’s really jolly.

And what have you been getting up to here in your spare time?

Most of the time I do my class in the morning, have breakfast with the people I just had a class with, and then I tend to either spend an hour or two reading, or I go up to the gym, have a bit of a lunch, then I usually offer the rest of the class a bike ride around the island for about 2 hours, then in the evenings I’m just knackered and go to sleep. But tonight I’m watching a movie out on the beach.

Well last week they were showing a movie with a shark attack…

Yeah, it didn’t seem quite appropriate for the Caribbean, but this week I’ve ordered “Taken” with Liam Neeson.

Also slightly inappropriate…

Well, only if we have Somalian pirates hanging around.

Fingers crossed! Mark (our GM) wants to know why you only play golf with a six iron.

Ah, because I’ve only been playing for a year or so, and that’s as low as I’ve got. I’d love to play with a four or a three, but I can’t hit the ball.

What other sports are you into these days?

To be honest, I don’t like to do anything too competitive. I try and stay away from all that, because I’m obsessive. If I do something, I like to do it really, really well and I just don’t have the time anymore. I’ve got 5 kids, so a lot of my time is just spent in my car, driving them to school and picking them up, just being a taxi service.

Do you keep in touch with Jurgen Hingsen?

Do you know what I do. We see each other two or three times every year. In fact I saw him over the summer. I went to stay at his house in Germany for a week, and he’s in really good form. In fact we made a small bit of a television programme together.

For German TV?

Actually no it was a pilot for a television programme about the 5 most important decisions you make in your life.

So what are the 5 important decisions you’ve made in your life?

You’ll have to wait until you watch the programme! But I expect to see him quite a lot next year. Not only is it the London Olympics, but it also marks the 100th anniversary of the decathlon being in the Olympics, so they’re having a big celebration where they’re getting all these athletes together, and I saw his name on the list.

Speaking of the 2012 London Olympics, what do you hope to see?

I hope to see unbelievable games, where we do fantastic. Since the second World War, every team that has hosted the Olympics has won 30-40% more medals. If we do that it’ll be worth it for twice the price.

Are you ready to rock the boat?

When you think about it, life can be a scary experience. And I’m not even talking about the really scary events; like doing a parachute jump, or going pot-holing, or meeting a huge crab half way up the steps to the spa (in my defence it was very dark, the crab really was massive and no-one had told me they don’t all live in the sea!).

But for some of us, we have to face something that pushes us out of our comfort zone almost every single day. It might be making a presentation to colleagues at work, or squashing ourselves onto packed public transport, removing a new arachnid resident from under the sofa, or even stepping onto a yoga mat.

The really interesting thing about fear is that it is such a personal experience. By its very nature, it is usually based on an irrational response which even you, the person holding it, can see. I’ll give you an example; I am scared of boats. Whether they’re the size of the Titanic (you can tell from the example I’ve chosen I don’t feel overly positive about them), or a teeny tiny dingy, as far as I’m concerned as soon as I set foot on one it’s only purpose in life will be to sink as quickly as possible, taking me down with it.

Even I know that on the law of averages, this is extremely unlikely. I know that there are more than a couple of boat excursions going out and about from around here every single day; returning all passengers in the one piece that they set out in. I don’t even have to go any further than our own Cariblue beach to see this with my own eyes.

To be honest, it wasn’t really an issue before I moved to St. Lucia. Gloucestershire isn’t exactly known for its nautical opportunities or the chance to live life on the ocean wave. But now that I am living on a Caribbean island, I’m starting to get a bit irked with it. There’s the Sunset Cruise, for a start. Every Friday evening we take returning guests off on a rather splendid Catamaran to see the island, and the resort, from a whole new point of view. Then there’s the boat trip to go and spot whales and dolphins (Flipper! Flipper!). And wouldn’t it be amazing to go snorkelling in a secluded bay, coming face-to-gills with a real life Nemo?

So it would seem that so far, whilst my fear likes to give me the impression that it’s doing me a favour (“Oooh no don’t get on the boat. Listen to me; I’m here to keep you alive, silly!) it’s actually just serving to keep me missing what could be a whole lot of fun.

But what my fear has helped me to understand is that there are people who think of coming to yoga in a very similar way as I do of my boats. I’ll admit that the chances of drowning are considerably less, and I hope that no one feels nauseous, but the feeling is exactly the same.

They have probably only listened to the stories of people having a go at a yoga class and either finding it really hard or, at the other end of the scale, getting nothing out of it at all. Perhaps they’ve got a friend (of a friend) who went to a class, had a bad adjustment by a teacher and was off work for a week. Quite often their fear is based around the feeling that they would be ‘bad’ at it (“Oooh no don’t get on the yoga mat. You can’t even touch your toes. You’ll be bad at it. Listen to me; I’m here to keep you alive, silly!”)

Sometimes the only way to slip under the radar of that little voice is to take it by surprise. Last week, due to a slight mix-up with timetables, two ladies came to my ‘Dancing Warrior’ class (a slightly more challenging vinyasa flow session) by mistake, thinking it was a beginner’s class. They only told me this at the end of the lesson, when they came up to me beaming from ear to ear. They explained that they would have never had the courage to come, believing that it would have been far too difficult for them. As it turned out, they had a wonderful time (releasing their ‘Wild Thing’ as if they’d done it a hundred times before!) and loved every minute of it.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m not going to be the next Ellen MacArthur, just like the folks who take their first step onto a yoga mat might not be the next David Swenson or Shiva Rea. But who knows what potential we are denying ourselves by listening to the voice that says “oooh no” instead of the voice that says “ooooh – YES!”?

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