Happy New Year to all our lovely readers! I chose the first blogger for the year based on her energy and vitality for life. She shows as much promise as 2020 does! Christine is truly amazing and I have had the pleasure of working with her before in support of female entrepreneurs thanks to Brand Alchemy. You can read my interview here. Enjoy Christine’s inspiration on redesigning your life this year!
Greetings from Unicorn Land!
My name is Christine Prokopiak from #LiveLife (Sole Buddies). I specialise in running coaching for new and experienced runners, balanced nutrition for a healthy lifestyle, weight loss, plant-based and vegan nutrition plans and eating for improved sports performance. I’m one of the co-founders of a registered nonprofit organisation (NPO) in Fisantekraal, outside Durbanville in the Western Cape, called For The Long Run, and we strive to uplift people in this disadvantaged community, using running as a mechanism for lasting change.
At the start of a new year, most of us need some serious inspiration to get back on track. The festive season often leaves us feeling a little flat, fat and fluffy, inside and out.
Let me help you kickstart your Unicorn life and get YOU back on track – 2020 can be THAT year. You know…the one where you make healthy food choices, when your workout regularly, when you crush goals, are organised and productive, feel all the happy vibes and choose to #LiveLife at every opportunity.
I’ll explore the Unicorn life, how you can make 2020 the BEST YEAR EVER, help you design a set of new healthy habits to take your life to the next level and show you how to create a scintillating summer smoothie.
What are healthy habits and why do they matter?
The best way to shake things up a bit and to detox your body (and in the process your mind and soul too!) is to establish a set of healthy habits and routines you can include as long term lifestyle changes. To change, you have to actually MAKE changes. This is often the hard part for most people but once you get going, you will reap the rewards and enjoy your journey to Unicorn land a whole lot more.
Habits are routines you repeat without thinking about doing them. You use lots of different habits all day – think about brushing your teeth or driving your car. You’ve done them for such a long time and so regularly, that they happen automatically.
BUT! The longer and more regularly you live with unhealthy habits like staying up too late, smoking, eating poorly, or neglecting regular exercise, the harder it becomes to stop them. The key to making lasting change in your lifestyle is to create new healthy habits and routines, and to replace the “bad” ones with these better ones over time.
By setting realistic and achievable goals and by creating routines that move you forward every day, you begin an upward cycle of self-esteem and a renewed sense of achievement. Your confidence grows as you achieve your goals, which further encourages you to stick to your routines because you know you will get the results you want. As you start achieving your goals consistently, and work on your healthy habits daily, eventually they become part of you. You will do them without thinking as they form a permanent part of your lifestyle
These are my top 6 healthy habits that will help you start 2020 off with a bang:
1. Look after your gut – it is the foundation of your health. Unfortunately over the festive season, we often abuse our gut with poor food choices, too much sugar, not enough fibre and lots of alcohol. A damaged digestive tract can lead to all sorts of health problems and has been closely linked to stress, anxiety and depression. Nobody wants to begin 2020 feeling grumpy or sad! L-Glutamine is considered an essential amino acid because your body uses so much during times of intense physical stress, and you can supplement with it to start the gut healing process. It will help to prevent infection and reduce inflammation there.
Product featured: Sfera L-Glutamine
2. Eat 2-4 servings of protein a day – your health is at “steak”. Protein must be included as part of a healthy nutrition plan. It has significant benefits for weight loss because the weight regulating hormone function is improved and hunger is reduced . I eat a plant based diet and find that Vegan Protein Powders make it very convenient to consume enough protein to sustain my active lifestyle. I add a scoop to my smoothies and cereals – voila!
Product featured: Slender You Vegan Shake
3. Eat 2 servings of green, leafy and coloured vegetables a day – these are packed with roughage which aids weight loss, and are packed with Vitamins and Minerals your body needs to remain healthy.
4. Include small amounts of healthy fats in your diet on a daily basis – these are essential to give your body energy and help your body absorb nutrients and produce important hormones. I love adding coconut oil which is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) and Gerhard uses MCT oil with his meals as well. Another plus is that using MCT oil as part of a balanced nutrition plan has also been linked to accelerated weight loss.
Product featured: NOW MCT Oil
5. Lower your stress levels, reduce anxiety and enhance your mood – be happy! The start of a new year is often filled with stressful situations with school starting, financial strain and going back to work. Don’t let it get the better of you! Re-jig your bedtime routine, so you are not stimulated by caffeine or social media or bright lights for at least an hour before hitting the sack – this will help you fall into a deep sleep quickly so you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the next day with enthusiasm. Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain. When GABA attaches to a protein in your brain known as a GABA receptor, it produces a calming effect. This can help with feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear, and also promotes better sleep. I used it regularly during times of peak training and long work hours and it worked like a bomb!
Product featured: DNA Biopharm Meno-Fast
6. Exercise 4 times a week for 20 minutes – get jiggy with it! Exercise is a natural stress reliever too, will help you burn calories and will keep your heart healthy. A combination of resistance training and cardio is often the most effective way to get fit and shed some weight too. Be patient and allow yourself some recovery after hard workouts – rest is where magic happens. Including a Magnesium supplement once a day will help you sleep like a baby, and improve muscle function plus reduce fatigue.
Product featured: Sfera Advanced Magnesium Complex
How to make a Sexy Summer Smoothie
- 200g frozen or fresh strawberries
- 1 scoop plant based protein powder
- 150g coconut yogurt
- 3-5ml grated ginger
- 25g raw oats
- Combine the ingredients (except for the oats) in a blender.
- Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Add water or crushed ice to reach the desired consistency. Stir the oats into the smoothie.
- Pour into glasses.
Make 2020 YOUR year – be brave, be fearless, be flawesome, be YOU.
And…always remember to #LiveLife!
Wishing you a healthy Unicorn Life!
Christine Prokopiak (Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach)