Aligning your journaling practice with your menstrual cycle

Journaling is a beautiful tool for self-care and reflection. If you wanna try it or just take your journaling practice to the next level, try scheduling time for it during your menstrual phase!

While it's often assumed that anyone who's menstruating isn't working at a top mental pitch, the truth is quite the opposite! In fact, hormone levels decline quickly to their lowest concentration during the menstrual phase. This creates the greatest communication between the two brain hemispheres (the analytical side and the feeling side). This means that we as women are best able to synthesize how we feel about situations at this phase in our cycle. This is why the menstrual phase is a perfect time for journaling. This is a time where we can really see the big picture, analyze situations and review the different areas of our lives.

I've never been much for journaling, but as I've tried to live more in tune with my cycle and use each phase for my benefit, I've decided to give it a try. It actually feels good to take the time and space for it. It has felt very beneficial to me to turn inward and to reflect on where I am right now and just appreciate that...

If you're giving journaling a try, be aware of the masculine energy (the go-go-go type of thinking) that is dominant in most of us women today. Don't make this a big planning/mind mapping session! It's not about where you want to go or how you want to improve yourself/your life/your career. There's a time and space for that too, but I would suggest using the follicular phase (the 2nd phase of the menstrual cycle) for that. This is a time where you look inward and reflect, see it as a date with yourself. A time to get to know yourself a little more...

Here's an easy way to start of your journaling session!

  1. Set the alarm for 1 hour, an hour just for you. You're giving yourself this hour of undivided attention. Turn off all notifications and other disturbances.
  2. Light some candles and turn on a nice playlist of relaxing music (preferably non verbal songs not to disturb your thoughts).
  3. Start by writing down something you are stressed about.
  4. Write down the words you would love to hear when you're sad.
  5. Using 10 words, describe yourself kindly. Don't judge yourself.
  6. Make a list of the people in your life who genuinely support you, and who you can genuinely trust.
  7. Make a list of everything that inspires you — from books to websites, from quotes to people, from places to paintings.

Finish these sentences:

  1. I couldn’t imagine living without…
  2. These are the ways I've grown over the past 5 years...
  3. The qualities I admire most in others are...
  4. When I’m in pain — physical or emotional — the kindest thing I can do for myself is…
  5. I really wish others knew this about me…
  6. If my body could talk right now, it would say…
  7. I feel most energized when…

Answer these questions:

  1. What does unconditional love look like to me?
  2. What would I do if I loved myself unconditionally?
  3. What did I most enjoy doing this past week?
  4. What has surprised me the most about my life or about the world in general?
  5. What could I learn from my biggest mistakes?
  6. How do I deal with anger?
  7. What would I do if I knew I couldn't fail?

Really take time here... Ask yourself these questions, and read the sentences out loud... Sometimes we need to read them several times before we receive the answers. Don't rush...

Lots of Love, N

Going to A Nutritionist

I had this misconception that if I went to a nutritionist, they might think negatively about a plant based diet and try to convince me to eat differently.

Hey Guys! I have already written some about how I have started to make some changes in my diet. I also mentioned that I met a nutritionist who told me that many of my symptoms seemed to be linked to some form of hormonal imbalance.

To make a long story short. Me and Kate (Nutritionist) met when we were both hired by a larger company to sit in as "experts" and our job was to provide feedback on upcoming products targeting a more health conscious clientele. During the day that we worked together we chatted and got to know each other a little. I had a great feeling about Kate and I noticed that she was very knowledgeable and also positive about me having a vegan diet.

Said and done. I booked an appointment with Kate. The week before I arrived to my first visit, I had to fill in a Food Diary and a questionnaire with a few different health-related issues.

No matter how knowledgeable one might be when it comes to health, food and nutrition, I always believe that there are new things to learn. And most of all, I thought it was so nice to just completely surrender everything to someone else and not have to figure it all out yourself. Of course, it's also very important to find someone you click with and trust!

You can go to a nutritionist without having to work specifically on something. You may just want to feel better overall, have more energy and get an even more varied diet. I consider myself eating quite a "clean" diet and to have a pretty good health, but I still had some things I wanted to focus on.

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Dry scalp with itching / eczema
  • Autumn depression, that I've had almost every year since I was little
  • Backache in the lumbar spine
  • Cold sores that I've had regularly, many years back

Some of you who read this may think: What do those things have to do with food or nutrition? Well, first of all, I firmly believe that the body can self-heal, if it's given the right conditions. Secondly, it's important to remember that a nutritionist does so much more than just helping people who want to lose weight.

During my hour with Kate, we talked about the different areas I wanted to focus on. We also did a body scan or body analysis that measures everything from weight to fat percentage, BMI, abdominal fat (= the fat inside the body between the organs), muscle mass, bone mass, fluid, etc. The machine also produces a figure called "your metabolic age" it shows how young or old your body is on the inside. The metabolic age is based on mass studies that have been done and factors that include how active one is, genetics, what you eat, weight, etc.

Below you can read about my focus areas and the suggestions I received from Kate.

Hormonal imbalances

As some of you may have already read, last year I had a lot of different symptoms that pointed to hormonal imbalances. You can read more about this here if you haven't already.

Kate's suggestion: Increase your consumption of natural fats by including more avocados, nuts and seeds and consider evening primrose oil. You may wish to soak your nuts and seeds to maximize their nutritional benefit and add them into meals such as pasta sauce to increase both protein and fat content (and help keep blood sugar levels balanced).

Increase your consumption of iron rich foods including avocado, tofu (preferable organic tempeh) spinach, black beans, raisins, pistachio & brazil nuts, oats, dried figs, kale, dried oregano, dried apricots, lentils, quinoa and occasionally using spirulina.

Ensure that your daily diet contains plenty of zinc-rich foods. Sources of zinc include beans,
chickpeas, lentils, tofu, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and quinoa.

To ensure balanced blood sugar levels ensure each meal contains both sources of protein and fats. Some considerations can be to add avocados, nuts and seeds, cinnamon (äkta kanel), cold pressed oils and sprouted whole grains such as buckwheat.

Dry scalp with itching / eczema

For several years I have had problems with itchy scalp and I've also had eczema before and as a child. I managed to get rid of the eczema I had on my face and on my body when I ate mainly raw food for a while, but I never managed to get rid of the dry scalp issues.

To help with the condition of your scalp, massage your (natural/organic/SLS free) conditioner into your scalp and leave for 5 minutes before rinsing out (alternatively you can leave it in overnight too). A good homemade spray for dry scalp is as follows:

  1. Take a saucepan, add 3 cups of water and handful of rosemary
  2. Bring it to a boil and lower the heat to simmer and then slowly cook it for 45 minutes
  3. Strain the mixture in a bowl and allow it to get cool
  4. Add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 10 drops each of rosemary and peppermint essential oils
  5. Stir it well and pour this into an empty spray bottle and use it after shampooing
  6. Rinse it out and after drying the hair, you will feel that your scalp and hair is well moisturized.

Autumn depression

Ever since I was a little, I've always experienced a major mental and emotional change during the months of September, October when the darkness comes and the days are getting shorter here in the north. I have been in therapy and tested a few different things for this. And I have to say that it has become much better! In recent years, I have not felt it as strong as before, however, my energy level has been much lower during the dark months.

Take a look at SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamps to use during Autumn. I personally like the. Lumie Arabica however there are lots of options available on the market. Use daily to ward of feelings that come with the greyer weather.

Backache

I've been having back pain in the lumbar spine for 3 years on and off. I've gone to an osteopath and get help with this but I still have this pain every now and then.

Use a magnesium spray or gel on your lower back to ease the pain. If you wish to make it yourself, you can follow this recipe:

Magnesium Oil Spray Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Magnesium Chloride Flakes
  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • A glass bowl or glass measuring cup
  • A glass spray bottle
  1. Boil the distilled water. It is important to use distilled to extend the shelf life of the mixture.
  2. Place the magnesium chloride flakes in the glass bowl or measuring cup and the pour the boiling water over it.
  3. Stir well until completely dissolved. Let cool completely and store in the spray bottle. Can be stored at room temperature for at least six months. I keep in my bathroom to use daily.

Cold sores

As a child, I often had swine pox on my left cheek whenever I was going through something tough, feeling stressed or having a cold. When I got older, this was replaced by cold sores. During very stressful periods of my life, I've sometimes had as much as 2-3 cold sores at the same time and sometimes they would come back every 3-4 weeks.

When you feel a coldsore coming on, take BioNutri's Elderberry Complex (two per day). If you feel you will be entering a stressful period, one a day can be taken as a preventative.

This supplement can be bought through www.naturaldispensary.co.uk - I will email it to you in a 'cart' and apply the discount. (delivery takes 5-7 days normally).

If you’d also like to take advantage of the same discount Kate gave me, add Kate Nordin as
your practitioner and use the code “KSP010” at the checkout for 10% off all your orders.

So now it's been 2 weeks since I was at Kate's and in 4 weeks we'll be having our follow-up meeting. I will post again after mu follow up, and share my results and tell you more about my entire experience. I have also asked Kate to answer a few different questions from my readers, so if you have any questions to Kate (that do not require too much background info) please feel free to put them down in the comment field. <3

Weekly update

Some of you are asking about a bit more personal/lifestyle oriented content! Here it is!

What do you say we make this a weekly habit? Haha okay ,let's start with this week and see how far I can go... Also the Thumbnail image of this post has nothing to do with this week but It's just a nice picture I took when I was in New York earlier this year! The photo content of these posts wont be dazzling in anyway, just my casual daily snaps from Insta-stories!

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: That I got to spend some quality time with one of my sisters! She and my mom came over and we all had a nice dinner at my place, then my sister stayed over and we had a lovely evening with a brisk walk by the water and then watching a movie before bed. :) The morning after started with a nice long power walk. Then we found 2 outdoor gyms! I love exploring, haha! Can't believe I didn't know about it before!

LOW OF THE WEEK: Tried making coconut yogurt with probiotic but failed! But, I'll keep trying! As soon as I'm succeeding I'll be putting up a post about it! Probably know about all about it then...

FUNNIEST OF THE WEEK: Beth Stelling's Episode of Netflix's " THE STANDUP'S "

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: My Friday yoga class that I just came from! This class is always great, but today was exceptional. I'm also super happy in general about how it's all going. I'm really getting in to a great flow now, doing 3 short HIIT workout's a week and 2-3 yoga classes! Feels great and I'm feeling so grateful!

TIP OF THE WEEK: My Spotify playlists! There's music for all kinds of occasions. You can follow any specific list or just follow "happyhealthblog" to get all my lists and updates.

FOOD OF THE WEEK: I'm still drooling for this Buddha bowl that I made and posted earlier this week!

RIGHT NOW: Just had the most wonderful Friday! Starting with a consultation at my friend Kate! She's a nutritionist and we're doing a small collaboration here on the blog later on! *so exited for it* (If you have any food/nutrition questions for Kate, leave'em down in the comments) After seeing Kate I went to the Gym for a quick HIIT workout! Came home, made a WONDERFUL fruitless smoothie! Worked for a while and then went to Yoga!

PLANS FOR THE WEEKEND: Rest, rest and rest! Maybe a movie tonight, I won 2 tickets to Atomic blonde through my gym! Yaay! Sunday will probably be back to normal for me I have some work scheduled and I also LOVE starting the week off 1 day before everyone else :P

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Home spa with Bare Origin

Home spa with Bare Origin

We spent one rainy afternoon at my place, mixing 3 fabulous natural spa treatments that everybody can make at home. An antioxidant cacao facial mask, a moisturizing avocado hair mask and a rose hip & grape fruit facial cream.

My juice fast experience

My juice fast experience

Juice fasting enables the body time to heal and clear out toxins. It is a simple and very effective way to break bad habits, get in shape and reboot your health!