How to keep your en­ergy high to tackle those dark, de­press­ing days of win­ter

The skin­care and well­ness guru Liz Earle tells Liz Con­nor about some of the healthy and bud­get-friendly habits she swears by

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - CHRISTMAS INTERVIEW -

The cold, dark Jan­uary morn­ings can eas­ily leave us feel­ing slug­gish, sleepy and lack­ing in the get-upand-go we need to tackle the day. This is es­pe­cially true straight af­ter Christ­mas, when many of us have also over­spent and overeaten, leav­ing our fi­nan­cial and phys­i­cal health in a bit of a neg­a­tive funk.

The good news is that you don’t need a burst­ing bank bal­ance to kick-start your win­ter mojo, and you don’t need to rely on cup af­ter cup of cof­fee ei­ther.

“There are so many cost-ef­fec­tive ways to raise spir­its and re­store smiles as 2019 gets un­der way” says Liz Earle, founder of Liz Earle Well­be­ing (lizear­lewell­be­ing.com). “Look­ing af­ter our well­be­ing shouldn’t mean spend­ing lots of money on the lat­est fads.”

Here, Earle shares her top five bud­get-bust­ing tips for keep­ing your en­ergy lev­els up un­til spring rolls in...

1. Add a dose of home-made pro­bi­otics into your diet

“A daily dose of pro­bi­otics can make a real dif­fer­ence to gut health and there­fore our over­all health and well­be­ing. How­ever, shop­bought pro­bi­otics in the form of plain live yogurt and kom­bucha, or fer­mented foods such as ke­fir and pick­led veg­eta­bles can be ex­pen­sive, and full of added sugar.

Why not try mak­ing your own in­stead? You’ll be sur­prised how easy and cost-ef­fec­tive this is. Live yogurt is so easy to make overnight with a lit­tle milk, and I al­ways have a kom­bucha fer­ment (a type of fizzy tea) on the go in my kitchen.

“I make my own ke­fir us­ing fresh live ke­fir grains, or pow­ders and or­ganic whole milk, a cou­ple of times a week — it’s so much cheaper than shop-bought ver­sions and cuts out the plas­tic bot­tle waste too.

“Mak­ing sauer­kraut couldn’t be eas­ier or cheaper ei­ther. Sim­ply pack chopped cab­bage in salty wa­ter for two to three weeks to fer­ment it, be­fore adding a spoon­ful to sim­ple lunch and sup­per dishes. It’s es­pe­cially good on a baked potato or with cheese.”

2. In­tro­duce a pocket of still­ness into your day

“Last year, I trav­elled through Sar­dinia and Greece to in­ves­ti­gate ‘blue zones’, spe­cial re­gions where peo­ple share a com­mon life­style, whose ex­cep­tional longevity has been ver­i­fied. One of the key learn­ings that has stayed with me is how weav­ing ‘pock­ets of still’ into our day can have a hugely ben­e­fi­cial im­pact on our well­be­ing. “There are a va­ri­ety of ways do this, such as med­i­ta­tion or re­lax­ing walks, and all of them are free. Like most work­ing moth­ers, I feel as though I’m on the go the whole time, but I now make an ef­fort to build a small dose of quiet down­time into each day, even if it’s just 10 min­utes of sit­ting in the gar­den with a book.”

3. Stretch daily

“One of the eas­i­est ways to knock years off how you look and feel is to make a real ef­fort to im­prove pos­ture — and it’s never too late to start. By stand­ing truly up­right, feet flat on the ground, head look­ing straight ahead, shoul­ders back and low­ered, you im­me­di­ately feel more alive.

“I’m the first to ad­mit that it’s dif­fi­cult to break old pos­ture habits. One of my favourite tips for re­leas­ing ten­sion and low­er­ing

Live yogurt is so easy to make overnight with a lit­tle milk

shoul­ders is to hold your arms be­hind your back and grasp the op­po­site el­bow — this im­me­di­ately brings you to a more up­right po­si­tion, and you can feel the shoul­ders re­lax­ing down­wards.

“Don’t for­get to stretch your face mus­cles too — pulling a wide grin helps tone and tighten the skin, as well as re­leas­ing en­dor­phins in the brain to lift a low mood.”

4. Give your gut time to rest

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant to al­low our body, and there­fore our gut, to rest from time to time. When­ever pos­si­ble, try to rest your gut overnight, al­low­ing a clear 12-hour win­dow when noth­ing is eaten. I try to have a juice cleanse at least twice a year too.

“Whilst the ini­tial in­vest­ment in a juicer can be ex­pen­sive, you’ll find you’ve made a con­sid­er­able sav­ing in the long-term. I fol­low the 70-30 rule, mak­ing 70% of my juice from veg­gies, as pure fruit juices are very high in sugars.”

5. Spend more time out­side

“Nat­u­ral day­light and fresh air in­crease our sense of well­be­ing and hap­pi­ness, so don’t let the cold weather stop you from get­ting out­side at this time of year.

“Whether it’s a leisurely stroll in the park or a brisk walk to a meet­ing, be­ing out­side can lift our moods, ease anx­i­ety and wake up a slug­gish mind.

“I’m a re­cent con­vert to run­ning and en­joy early-morn­ing runs around my West Coun­try farm, or at the park near my of­fice when I’m in Lon­don.”

HEALTHY LIV­ING: Liz Earle out ex­er­cis­ing and (be­low) in her kitchen. In­set: fer­mented pre­served veg­eta­bles can help your well­be­ing

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