#36alive THE BEST BITS

Over the past 365 days, we’ve shared something you can do every single day to be a little healthier, happier, more present, alive and engaged with the world around you.

We’ve tried a lot of different habits, hacks, tips and routines ourselves in order to share them with you, and here are our top 10 picks of the whole year – the ones you can most easily do every day, and find huge benefits from! Remember you can refer to the abundance of tips we’ve shared on 36alive whenever you need inspiration for living well. Share the list with those you think could benefit!

  1. Cold Shower Therapy #36alive 102
  2. Qigong Spinal Twist #36alive 6
  3. Biohack With The Box Breath #36alive 340
  4. Stay Active: Use The Stairs #36alive 328
  5. Use Less Stuff #36alive 307 
  6. Peripheral Vision #36alive 12
  7. Stop Drinking Fizzy Drinks #37alive 19
  8. Earth Yourself #36alive 26
  9. Step Away From The Phone #36alive 61
  10. Tongue Scraping #36alive 67

#36alive 362: Make Your 2017 ‘Done’ List

To Do lists are what it’s all about during ‘normal life’; errands to run, people to see, deadlines and meetings, and that’s without including fitting in those all-important Yoga classes, gym time and me-time. Take a break from the rush to ‘get things done’, and instead list 5 things you’re proud of having done this year.

Realising what you’ve achieved and what you’ve experienced is one of the top things to boost happiness levels, so get those endorphins flowing ready for new year’s eve!

#36alive 361: Try This Abdominal Massage To Soothe Digestion + Bloating

It’s no secret most of us eat a little differently to how we usually might around Christmas time. Perhaps it was that first festive night out that never really stopped, the few extra chocolates lying around the office, or maybe “oh come on, it’s Christmas!” is too persuasive to refuse…. Whatever the excuse – it is Christmas, and if you can’t merrily over-do it with chocolate, alcohol, cheese or meat, when can you?

So – for everyone who might be feeling bloated or blocked-up upon waking, this is the first thing to do, before you even get out of bed.

  • Place your right hand on your stomach between your right hip bone (the part that sticks out, or maybe stuck out before Christmas) and your navel.
  • Breathe into your hand deeply and slowly 3 times
  • Begin to gently massage this part of your stomach in small clockwise circles
  • Gradually make the circles bigger and bigger, eventually massaging up towards your bottom ribs, along the bottom of the rib cage, down the left side of your stomach, and along the bottom of it, repeating for a few minutes. Keep your stomach relaxed the entire time and breathe calmly.
  • After doing this, get up and move around – jog on the spot or shake your body
  • It’s likely you’ll need to use the bathroom shortly after, so you know the rest….

Feel free not to let us know how you get on….

#36alive 360: Be Present

Today, let Christmas be what it was always intended to be; a day of gratitude, family and friends, warmth and wonder, and the ability to catch up with those you may not have seen for a whole year.

Instead of focussing your attention on the presents, be present, look your relatives in the eye as you chat, leave your phone somewhere you won’t be tempted to look at it constantly, and enjoy the day!

#36alive 354: Go Commando Tonight

Yep.

Wearing underwear covered with jeans, leggings, tights or layers of Winter clothing all day and then underwear with pyjamas at night may feel warm and toasty, but that’s not exactly what your downstairs parts need in order to be healthy….

Warm body parts are most likely to encounter a build up of bacteria, leading to discomfort and sometimes more likelihood of urinary tract infections or irritability. Letting your bits breathe is one of the best way to counteract this, and is also far more natural! You’re likely to feel more ‘free’ whilst you sleep, and your sleep is likely to be a lot better because your body is more comfortable. Give it a go and give yourself some air down there!

#36alive 353: Practice Smiling For Extra Happiness

Whether you can’t wait for Christmas, you’re feeling stressed out with all the preparation, you aren’t a fan of Winter, or you feel you’re having a pretty good time all round, it’s always good to know how to hack happiness and find it when we need it most.

Body language and facial expression can go a long way towards changing our emotions, and when emotions change, they start a feedback loop if positivity in the body. Smiling is just one way to elicit this instant happiness, even if it’s not a totally genuine one!

When we smile, the body releases ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins – these are natural pain-relievers, they lower levels of inflammation, and are incredibly powerful for de-stressing. This could also come in handy when you’re faced with not-so welcome guests or difficult-to-deal-with relatives….

  • To practice, start by placing a pencil between your teeth. Doing this literally forces the mouth to smile a big cheesy grin and you’re likely to notice a difference straight away.
  • Next, use your eyes to smile too – crease up the edges just like you would in a real smile.
  • To boost your happiness even more, think of something that makes you feel positive, and you’ll literally release a rush of happiness-boosting hormones into your body.

Give it a try! And perhaps buy a few extra pencils for when the family arrives on Christmas day….

#36alive 352: Healthy Recipe | Vegan Pink Pate

With more and more people becoming health conscious and changing dietary habits, it can be difficult to know exactly what to serve at festive get-togethers or group dinners. Are people still following low-fat diets? Have they gone paleo? Is everyone still gluten B1free or are they having a cheat day?
Whatever situation your guests present you with, this dip suits most people, is incredibly ‘clean’, vegan, full of plant-based protein and potassium, and made with all-natural high-nutrient ingredients. As a bonus; beetroot is one of the foods most beneficial to an over-alcohol-ed liver, so perhaps whip this up for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Years Eve! (Obviously, it’s perfect for those long awaited Spring and Summer BBQs too!)
INGREDIENTS
  • Two medium cooked beetroot (not in vinegar)
  • One tin of butter beans or cannellini beans (drained)
  • 1tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 1/2 – 3 tbsp olive oil (a fruity one works well)
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Small clove of garlic
  • Fresh rosemary – just the leaves not the woody stem (about 2tbsp)
METHOD
Grind the rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, salt and olive oil in a pestle and mortar until the pieces are softened. Strain through a small sieve or piece of muslin.
Put the drained beans in a food processor with the beetroot and pulse in short bursts adding the strained oil bit by bit. Add extra salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Nice served on crackers or toast with slices of cucumber/avocado and fresh fronds of dill.
Enjoy!

#36alive 348: Weekday Detox DAY 3: Pack In Potassium

Potassium is one of the nutrients the body loses through loss of water (i.e. peeing a lot when you’re drinking), or through dehydration – also something that tends to happen when Christmas drinks get out of hand.

Essential for maintaining muscular health, potassium is one of those nutrients you’ll really feel if you’re low in it. Muscle cramps, weakness, feeling faint, low blood pressure and slower healing are all signs of potassium deficiency. To get your fill, try packing in these potassium-rich sources to your diet today!

Bananas

Avocado

Butternut Squash

Leafy Greens

Tuna

Salmon

Organic yoghurt

Macadamia nuts

Almonds

Egga

#36live 347: Weekday Detox DAY 2 | Add Citrus To Your Water

Citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant de-limonene, a powerful compound found in the peel that stimulates liver enzymes to help flush toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick, according to the World Health Organization. If you’re feeling under the weather or are suffering from one of those nasty 2-day hangovers, adding orange and lemon slices to a large jug of water can help rid the body of those hangover-causing chemicals.

Slice the fruits, add them to the water, and vow to drink the whole jug today. You’ll thank us!

#36alive 345: Healthy Recipe | Full of Fibre Ginger Spiced Biscuits

Christmas can definitely be a time when food ‘rules’ and healthy habits go out the window. Look at any ‘traditional’ Christmas lunch table, and you’re likely to see a lot of meat, gravy, cakes, and the cheeseboard. There is of course an abundance of vegetables, but they’re often pushed to the side to make room for turkey, cocktail sausages or cauliflower doused in cheese.

This brief dietary change can mean we miss out on certain nutrients, and all important gut-friendly fibre. Fibre keeps things ‘regular’, and feeds healthy gut bacteria. Without it, we face constipation, and a build up of toxins in the body.

These biscuits are full of digestion-boosting spices like ginger, cinnamon and festive allspice, whilst the high-fibre oats and brown rice flour ensure keep the body running regularly. Quick to make and perfect for bringing with you on long journeys to visit far-away family, these biscuits are vegan and very low in fat and sugar too!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 + 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 handful raisins
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • enough lukewarm water to form a ‘doughy’ consistency

METHOD

Mix all ingredients other than the water together

Gradually pour in lukewarm water and stir, until the mixture becomes dough-like

If it becomes too wet, add more flour

Roll out with a slightly floured rolling pin

Cut into shapes

Bake in for 20-25 minutes or until firm and slightly browned

Leave to cool and store in an airtight container for up to a week

ENJOY!

#36alive 342: Sneeze in to Your Elbow Instead of Hand

It’s that time of year where a lot of people tend to have coughs, colds and flu, all of which can be spread very easily. One way which they are spread is through germs on our hands, especially if we have been sneezing in to the hands, proceeding to carry on with our business afterwards without washing them. One way to attempt to negate the spreading of these germs is to sneeze in to your elbow crease instead of the hand.

As well as healping to prevent the spread of germs, you could also make yourself look hip, trendy, and cool when sneezing by simply pretending to dab whilst sneezing in to the elbow.

#36alive 341: Essential Oil Of The Month: Clove

A classic ingredient in festive cooking and mulled wine spice, cloves are indigenous to indonesia and madagascar. The spice may indeed be in your kitchen cupboard, but the essential oil has a host of benefits you may not already know about!

Clove oil can be used to remedy skin issues such as acne, sagging and excessive wrinkles, and its antiviral properties mean it’s great for boosting the immune system. Clove oil has been used for hundreds of years for dental health, can can help heal infections and wounds.

Inhaling clove oil can help lower stress levels, and it has a cooling, anti-inflammatory effect when mixed with a base oil like coconut or almond oil and rubbed on the skin. Clove oil can reduce symptoms of nausea and indigestion, and enhance circulation, as well as preventing premature ejaculation….

If that wasn’t enough – clove oil can be used as a natural insect repellant, added to cosmetics, as an effective pain-relieving massage oil, and a great way to create a naturally scented perfume when mixed with purified water and alcohol.

Give it a try – always buy organic and high quality essential oils when possible, and do not use if pregnant!