Categories
Articles

Immunity – What Is It Really?

Prevention is better than cure. We know, you’ve heard the statement one time too many. But, considering the present COVID-19 pandemic, this statement is ever pertinent.

The human body is an intricate composition of parts that contribute to the whole. Plainly put: a system. As with any system, each part is dependent on the other to ensure optimum functionality.

The neglect and deterioration of a vehicle, for example, all comes down to one key principle: maintenance. It is generally easier to rectify and maintain small defects than it would be to purchase an entirely new vehicle. Right? So why would we treat our bodies any different?

The primary system that drives holistic health in the human body is the immune system; a system that requires daily maintenance.

Lately there has been a lot of talk about immunity. An array of information has flooded the internet since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hundreds of generic tips and ‘How-To’ articles have been published and shared. It can be overwhelming to sift through the information to find credible , do-able advice.

The simplest way to look at the subject of immunity is to look at the basics.

What is the Immune System?

The immune system guards us against the invasion and spread of harmful pathogens into our bodies. It is responsible for regulating the body’s response to foreign substances such as food or internal organisms such as the body’s own cellular tissues. It builds up a memory bank of every single substance that the body interacts with.

We are exposed to pathogens as we develop and interact with our environment. For example: catching a cold or getting the flu. The symptoms of these illnesses that we experience is the immune system’s way of fighting off pathogens and creating a record of how to kill off future invasions. The memory bank grows and so our immunity is strengthened. A compromised or weakened immune function can result in susceptibility to certain diseases or allergic reactions.

A weakened immune system is a system without support. Caring for the immune system requires a fundamental understanding of its parts.

Parts of the Whole

The immune system consists of several organs that form the wall of defence we need to be healthy. This defence is comprised of inner and outer organs and vessels such as:

The skin

Mucous membranes in our nasal and oral cavities and internal organs

Friendly bacteria that reside in and on our bodies
The epicentre of our immune system resides in the gut.

Our digestive system begins in our mouths in the form of enzymes in the saliva right through to our intestines. The bowels comprise of a micro-biome which produces more than half of the antibodies (white blood cells) our bodies use to recognize, evaluate, and eliminate harmful intruders. A healthy micro-biome is needed to ensure that the body is not deficient of its guard of cells. Once the intruders have been eliminated these cells store information (memory bank) on how to respond to similar invaders in the future. The micro-biome also contains the essential bacteria of the gut known as gut flora. This kind of ‘bacteria’ is necessary for the process of organ nutrient absorption, hormone production and, of course, immunity.

Gut health is thus the focal point of immunity.

It feeds all parts of our system to produce the correct genetic information needed for a healthy mind and body.

Categories
Articles

Veganuary Top Tips

Veganuary has come to an end. We hope you really enjoyed the benefits of trying out veganism this past month, but veganism may still seem a little daunting to you. Who says it has to end there? Plant-based holds so many possibilities for the rest of the year and we think you should explore them!

Embarking on a mission to create a more plant-based lifestyle can be intimidating at first. It requires a level of commitment that takes a little more time and effort when done right. I want to assist you in trying out some methods on how to maintain a plant-based lifestyle beyond Veganuary.

 

BALANCE

It is easy to find and stay in a single direction when you are in unchartered territory. However, this takes away from the journey’s experience, wouldn’t you say? It is easy to veer in the direction of easy vegan or plant-based meals such as quick meat substitutes or vegan junk food. As awesome as it is that we have these options to add a little something extra to our diets, basing the majority of our dietary consumption on them can lead to an unhealthy plant-based lifestyle (yes, it is possible). One may start feeling sluggish, demotivated, and unenthused by the prospects of going plant-based.

Nature offers an abundance of nutrients. We just have to make the effort to give our bodies the nutrition it needs. But how do we know we are getting the right amount of nutrients in one meal? A little piece of advice: eating the rainbow (with an especially generous serving of greens).

Exercise helps our bodies circulate these nutrients to our organs. They are then converted into essential chemical compounds. Ensure you create an exercise routine each week that works for your body. Drink plenty of water to keep your blood circulating and energising your system.

Balance is essential in extracting the full (and indisputable) benefits of going plant-based. A lifestyle is multi-faceted. It requires several factors to occur holistically.

 

PLAN AHEAD

Make a shopping trip every week to get your essential fresh produce. Make time on the weekend (record or download that TV show for later!) to prep a few meals for the week ahead. Start small and build on those veggie dishes you already enjoy before trying to reinvent the wheel and becoming overwhelmed. A simple fruit salad, nuts, seeds, roast veg, lentils, and leafy greens are great, versatile ingredients to start off with. They are durable, tasty, and satisfying. Veg soup of any kind is a great prep meal and can be frozen for dinners in the coming week.

Planning is a building block of success. It does not guarantee that everything will run smoothly but it surely facilitates the process. Life is a rollercoaster. Factor in a few plant-based healthy alternative snacks into your grocery list for those days when life takes an unpredictable turn. Include family and friends in your meal prep to mitigate the pressure and to hold yourself accountable.

It will take time for your body to adapt to this new lifestyle. Cravings will come and go. Allow yourself a plant-based treat now and then. Your body can signal exactly what it needs at the right time.

Listen to your body with an informed intuition and allow it to nourish itself in the best way. Emotions do factor into a lot of our craving impulses but try not to let them sway your decisions entirely. Think ahead for your future self. Plant-based is not about restriction but a holistic lifestyle that aims to improve not only your health but the wellbeing of the earth and every creature that inhabits it.

Soon you will be excited for meal prep each week!

 

REMEMBER YOUR ‘WHY’

It is easy to get bowled over by the wave of healthy lifestyle advice the media spews out at an almost inexhaustible rate. When you find yourself second-guessing everything you are doing, every ingredient you are choosing, and coming to the edge of giving up, step away from the clutter and centre yourself. Remember why you have chosen to transition to plant-based. Remember the things that you enjoy about it rather than the diet dogma you have been bombarded with. Remember how you feel when you are eating for your health rather than by rules. Remember the beneficial lifestyle changes you have noticed since you began.

Remember how far you have come and most importantly: Remember what works for you! Who knows your body better than you do?

Speak encouragements to yourself as often as you can. You have no idea how strong you are. Give yourself a chance to find out.

 

ENJOY COMMUNITY

Treat yourself to a variety of plant-based foods from different cooks in your own home and from restaurants that offer these options. In this way, you can discover new recipes, insights, and a community of support you never knew existed!

It is so easy to feel alone in this transition. Maybe you are the only one in your family or your friend group. That does not mean you are the only person in the world on this journey. Thankfully, the variety of plant-based options have grown and so has the community.

Reach out on social media, share your food with your family and friends and you may be surprised by how many people you inspire and encourage.

EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY!

Exercise your inner cooking flair and have fun with new ingredients and new ways to prepare ‘boring’ ingredients. Who knew avocado could be a delicious chocolatey mousse? Cauliflower is fast becoming one of the most versatile vegetables (from pizza to rice the possibilities are endless!). There are numerous plant-based bloggers with a treasure chest full of exciting recipes for you and your family to try out. BodiCafé invites you to visit our HLC Blog for exciting new recipes too.

Enjoy the journey, your body will thank you!

Categories
Articles

Autumn Wellness Tips

As the golden days of autumn gleam on the horison, we are
no strangers to the annual sniffle and sneeze that comes with
changing seasons. A new season does not only mean colder
weather, but a completely new cycle for the natural world,
human beings included.

Categories
Articles

All About Essential Oils

As the golden days of autumn gleam on the horison, we are
no strangers to the annual sniffle and sneeze that comes with
changing seasons. A new season does not only mean colder
weather, but a completely new cycle for the natural world,
human beings included.

Categories
Recipes

Root Veg Bake Recipe

VEGAN | DAIRY-FREE | HIGH FIBRE

Health Note:

As the days get cooler, we all need something comforting and wholesome to keep us warm from the inside out. Lets put a healthy spin on comfort food to boost our immunity for the coming winter months. The real star of the show when it comes to choosing unrefined carbohydrates is…Fibre! This recipe has been crafted to tick off all the boxes: high-fibre, hearty, comforting goodness all-in-one! Root vegetables, our main ingredients for this recipe, are one of the most nutrient dense veggies nature has to offer. Root veg are good sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Fibre is essential to gut health. It also lowers high blood cholesterol levels and stabilises blood sugar.

Who said comfort food has to be unhealthy?

You Will Need:
Ingredients:
Base:

1. 400g Woolworths frozen puff pastry roll
2. Cooking oil
3. Whole-wheat flour

Filling:

1. 2x cans of coconut milk
2. 500g diced butternut
3. 500g diced sweet potato
4. 4 cups spinach
5. 2 cups brown onion
6. 2 cups diced carrots
7. 2 cups red/green bell pepper
8. 2 cups cashew cream (soak and blend)
9. 1 cup rosemary
10. 1 cup mushrooms
11. 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
12. 1 tablespoon ginger powder
13. 1 tablespoon onion powder
14. 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
15. 1 tablespoon cumin powder
16. 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
16. 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
17. Cooking oil

Garnishing (optional):
1. 1/2 cup fresh basil
2. 1/2 cup fresh coriander

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Soak cashew nuts overnight or for 1 hour in boiling water. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Decant into a glass jar.
3. Remove puff pastry from freezer and allow to come to room temperature. Once thawed, remove from packaging and unroll. Cover the dough with wax/baking paper and a damp tea towel. Do not allow to dry out.
3. Boil/steam sweet potato and butternut in 2 cups of water until semi soft. Allow to drain well.
2. Heat oil in a large pan/pot.
3. Add the onion, carrots, peppers and mushrooms. Once onions are glassy, add tomato paste, garlic and spices and allow to simmer for five minutes. Fry until ingredients are slightly caramelised.
4. Add the rest of your veg and toss well continuously on medium heat for five minutes. Add a dash of water and cashew cream and continue to toss for two minutes. Allow to simmer on low heat.
5. On a lightly floured surface drizzle oil and lay out puff pastry. Roll out to fit desired baking/ casserole dish. Do not roll too thin. Grease baking dish with olive oil and arrange dough evenly.
6. Bake dough at 200°C for ten minutes until golden brown. Remove.
7. Add the cooked veg to the baked pastry dish. Pour in coconut milk and rosemary and gently fold into the ingredients.
7. Allow to bake at 180°C for 15 minutes.
8. Garnish with coriander and basil. Enjoy!