Category Archives for "Your Body"

What thwarts your expression

Your Healthy Voice & You

Your healthy voice and you looks at the health benefits of singing and how your voice can actually be healing in nature when you choose an expression that embodies the whole of you.... 

Your healthy voice and you - how can it improve your well-being holistically? 

What thwarts your expression

Singing is a very healthy activity Look at all of these health benefits:

  • Singing lowers your levels of stress and anxiety and increases your sense of joy. The release of endorphins when you sing, make you feel great! In fact singing is a natural anti-depressant.
  • Singing improves your posture and reduces muscle tension - if you practice correctly.
  • Singing improves your circulation when you breathe correctly.  It increases aerobic capacity and stamina as more oxygen reaches the brain.
  • Singing has been shown to strengthen the immune system and improve mental alertness.  The Alzheimer Society have a singing for the brain service for dementia and Alzheimer sufferers
But there's more.....

The voice expresses all of who you are and how you are living.  It can carry different aromas, some light and floral, others heavy and obnoxious.  Are we able to change that aroma? The way we live has a certain energetic quality that will definitely be part of our expression.  This is why your healthy voice and you are intrinsic to one another - your voice is you - what quality are you expressing?

The voice produces vibrations that affect us and everyone else - but what does that actually mean? Could we say that those vibrations have an effect on those around us? Would that mean that our own voice has the power to heal or to harm? This question is worth considering and maybe we would do well to be more discerning about how we use our voice.  

So, let's look at the healthy voice and you by exploring first off why we sing....

Why do we sing?

Does singing have a purpose? It seems that humanity has been singing and creating music for a very long time.  The invention of musical instruments is thought to be relatively recent (around 40,000 years ago) but music has been around longer. It is now known that 530,000 years ago, the full vocal range was available to humans due to the discovery of the hyoid, a small bone in our neck that changed shape when our voice box moved further down allowing us to speak and sing.  This means that earlier species of man, including neanderthals, had the potential to sing.


singing may have developed in monogamous species

The why of singing is something that is debatable.  It was theorized by Thomas Geissmann at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, that the development of singing had something to do with the evolution of monogamy as only monogamous species have developed the skill, however, it is also thought to have evolved with language.  Singing and music communicates different emotions and is thought to have evolved as a way to express those emotions. 

As a vocal coach, I'm always interested in the various reasons that people want to learn to sing.  From improving their confidence to controlling their voices and being able to sing professionally, there is an common thread that most people share - and that is that singing feels joyful!

But what happens to that joy?

We are judged on our abilities, our appearance, our talents etc. and the idea of being accomplished in something gives us a way of standing out and being recognised.  We live in a society that praises winners and makes fools out of so called losers.  Those born with a natural musical talent can spend their lives trying to be the best at what they do, sometimes at the expense of their own joy.  Singing competitions are on the TV every Saturday evening. It seems that there is a bottomless pit of talented people who go in search of their dream. Great for the lucky one - but many don't make it and face rejection - turned away because there is only one winner.  Of course this happens in other professions too, but the glamour surrounding the music industry seems to be taking us away from the true purpose of this beautiful expression. 

Let's consider another purpose to singing

Rather than looking at singing as an ability - as in performance, I would like to explore how it actually makes us feel. Rather than celebrating talent, let's celebrate expression and make it all about love. Rather than getting it right and controlling the voice, we could deepen our connection to our whole body instrument and use our voices to align our expression to the vibration of our soul.  You don't need talent for that!

When I was young I loved to sing to a little robbin that visited our garden. It made me feel happy and it was an expression of love towards that bird and how I lived. It seemed to just emerge from me like a bubble of joy Just like skipping in the sunshine on a spring afternoon after school or lying down and rolling in the grass - it was joyful for no particular reason. There was no control, no trying to get it right or wondering if I was a good singer. It felt freeing and it always made me feel better.

Your healthy voice and you - The joy of singing

I love to sing from my whole body and to feel the vibrations from the different parts of it.  The only way to be aware of those vibrations is to increase body awareness, to relax and surrender the muscles of your body so that you can hear the communication from areas of the body you have not been communicating with before. You do this by becoming more and more aware of the vibrations of sound within you.  You get a sense that the vibrations are communicating to the different energy centres of your body.  

Bringing a new energetic quality into your voice by re-connecting to your whole body, mind and soul is only  a choice away.  All it takes is to be consciously present and to feel the delicate nature of your breath and your voice as it vibrates within the body. That quality you feel, the essence of you is the quality that then gets expressed.  You will feel a new gentleness in your voice, but not a lack of power. If this becomes your default expression, it will change the way you use your voice, not only for singing, but when speaking to people. It will bring healing to you and to all who listen. Your expression will feel more confident and you won't be lost for words!

  • Feel your body in harmony with your voice and perceive the vibrations as you sing. The more awareness you have of the vibrations, the more joy you feel and the deeper the healing
  • Be honest about your needs.  If you want to be a successful performer or develop your ability to sing or speak, that's great. Be aware of how you can choose to express authentically without giving your power away to the competitive energy that can impose and dominate.
  • Make it all about energy first. How you use your voice and the quality that you express in, will make a huge difference to your well-being. Work on the relationship with yourself, re-connect to your body and express from there.  This will be freeing your natural voice from all the programming that is attached to expression, such as what you and other people expect, your own limiting beliefs and ideals and all that has thwarted your expression in the past. 

Enjoy the beauty of your true voice & authentic expression and reduce anxiety naturally

Connect & Express is a way of singing that is all about healing and connecting to your whole body instrument for a harmonious, soulful expression.  You will be encouraged to explore many aspects of your expression, increase awareness through specific meditative exercises that access your voice from deeper within your body. Build confidence, find the power and love of your own voice and express joyfully with musical exercises and bespoke affirming songs that support you to let go of anxiety and to access your innate wisdom. 

Alkaline food to reduce inflammation

Foods That Reduce Inflammation

If you are interested in reducing inflammation in your body and boosting your immune system, read on and discover some powerful herbs and spices that are easy to add to our everyday diet.....

An Alkaline Diet Can Help To Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is a response from our immune system to protect it from injury, however, chronic inflammation causes all sorts of problems in the body such as arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Discovering the food, spices and herbs that have an alkalizing effect on the body supports you to convert meals into good medicine.

Spices

Spices that help reduce inflammation

Turmeric - Pure Gold For The Body

Like a lot of bitter pungent spices, turmeric has a very strong alkalizing effect on the body and is especially effective in reducing inflammation. There are many ways to take turmeric such as in capsule form or infusions, but my favourite way to add this amazing spice to my diet is to cook with it!

Quality is important

I think that it is worth spending some money on a good quality organic turmeric powder. Some of the less expensive powders are mixed with cheaper ingredients and may contain traces of heavy metals due to pesticides.  Anything that you ingest can either be medicinal or contribute to ill health so it is worth paying the extra to make sure you have a good quality product - your body is worth it. 

Cooking with turmeric

If you like cooking Asian dishes or you just like the flavour of turmeric, you will have no trouble incorporating this delicious spice into your meals, but if Asian cooking is not your thing, why not try this golden paste that you can add to soups, herbal teas or sauces?

  • Put a couple of table spoons of turmeric powder in a pan

  • Over a low heat, slowly add filtered water and stir with a wooden spoon in an anticlockwise direction and with a gentle, conscious rhythm.

  • Keep adding water as the potion slowly simmers. It tends to dry quite quickly so keep adding water to keep it a smooth and silky consistency.

  • Keep stirring and adding water until the paste has been simmering for about 7 minutes (the consistency is like a béchamel sauce)

  • Add a table spoon of coconut oil which helps with the absorption or digestion of the paste by the body, and a couple of teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper (also very important for the absorption of the turmeric)

Other spices that can help to reduce inflammation in your body are:

  • Chili peppers - I'm a bit hooked on chili and I tend to put them in everything from soups to omelettes. The active ingredient is capsaicin which is also what makes them hot
  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Black pepper
Tips:

I put the paste in little recycled spice jars and they will keep for about two weeks in the fridge.  You will want about half a teaspoon three times a day which you can add to anything you like such as fruit juice, smoothies, herbal tea, yoghurt or soup. Taking the whole daily dose in one go is counterproductive as the body can only absorb so much of it at one time.

Another little hack is to mix some linseed, either ground or whole with the paste and add black pepper and a bit of oil. Toast in the oven or in a pan.  It's a great healthy, natural and gentle laxative. It also tastes delicious. Check out this website page to find out how to make crackers with other ingredients that reduce inflammation.

Vegetables

Garlic to reduce inflammation

Garlic - Too good to be true!

Another great alkalizing food is garlic.  As a medicine, it is an antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-partner so it is a lifesaver in many aspects.  You can eat it raw to take advantage of its medicinal properties, but many people find it too strong. This means you may need to be creative in the ways that you eat it.  I have a couple of tricks with garlic as I like my daughters to take it raw when they have a cold.

  • Chop up a few garlic cloves, peel and pulverize them in a pestle and mortar.
  • Add it to a jar and top up /cover with manuka honey or any honey that you like

Take a teaspoon first thing in the morning before breakfast to halt the onset of a cold or last thing at night before bed.

Pesto and hummus are also delicious ways of eating raw garlic:

Pesto
  • Add fresh basil, olive oil, a clove of raw garlic and lemon juice to a mixer
  • Pound some organic raw almonds, cashews or pine nuts and lightly roast
  • Add to the previous ingredients and mix until it is a paste
  • Try adding sun-dried or sun-blushed tomatoes and some of your favourite spices to add variety

When wild garlic is in season (late April in the UK) forget the basil and garlic cloves and use the garlic leaves instead.  You can add sunflower seeds too, and if you're brave, some fresh chilli.

Hummus
  • Add one tin of chickpeas, approximately three tablespoons of tahini, olive oil, pepper, lemon juice and one clove of garlic
  • Mix it all up an voila!
  • Try adding fresh herbs or different spices such as paprika, cumin or coriander.
  • You can also add roasted red peppers to sweeten it up, or a bit of chili to spice it up. Adding cayenne pepper and black pepper will add to its alkalizing effect.

Other Alkaline Foods

  • Most green leafy vegetables are anti-inflammatory such as spinach, kale and collard greens.  I start my day with a green smoothie which consists of a handful of spinach, half an avocado, one banana and half a lime. All wizzed up in the blender with some water.  You can add a bit of flax seed as well for more anti-inflammatory power and added omega 3.
  • Nuts are not all alkaline but they can reduce inflammation. Almonds especially, as long as you can eat them OK. Check out my other blog about nuts here.
  • Fatty fish such as mackerel and Salmon. 
  • Fruit such as blueberries and some citric fruit - lemons and limes are excellent
  • Olive oil. The Spanish love a piece of toast with olive oil, tomatoes (another excellent anti-inflammatory food) and garlic. the also just have tomato, olive oil, garlic and oregano as a stand alone salad - really lovely although their tomatoes are amazingly tasty.
  • Herbs and herbal teas such as green tea (I suggest decaf and organic), Rosemary, sage and thyme have great anti-inflammatory properties

The only thing left to say is try to avoid eating too much of the foods that create inflammation in the body such as refined sugar, processed foods, meat, carbohydrates and drinks such as alcohol and sugary soda.

ARE YOU EXHAUSTED, BLOATED, ANXIOUS OR DEPRESSED? PERHAPS YOUR BODY IS TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!

Gorgeous Hearts looks at self-care as a foundation to transform your life into one that supports vitality, joy and confidence.  Reconnecting to the whole of you for a level of wellness that will stop anxiety in its tracks!  You are an amazing, intelligent and intuitive being when you express in harmony, but the excesses of unhealthy lifestyle choices can dull down our potential and eventually make us sick - physically and mentally.  If self-care feels like an uphill battle, click below to book a call with me. It's absolutely free and we can discuss how you can reconnect to a body that is always working with you rather than for you. 


Nuts are healthy Gorgeous Hearts

Nuts About Nuts – The Health Benefits of Nuts

Nuts About Nuts - The Health Benefits of Nuts and Other Nutty Stuff!

This blog is all about the health benefits of nuts, and gives you the nutritional low down on several types of nuts and seeds and some ways to enjoy them, along with other nutritional information and recipes. The health benefits of nuts and seeds are hard to ignore, but if too many are eaten they can cause havoc in your digestive system.  Always listen to your body and only eat what feels good for you - your body knows. 

Nuts are versatile and can help you to enjoy a plant based diet, supporting you in reducing your meat intake. You can eat them for breakfast and feel satisfied and full of energy all morning, you can add them to sauces, make desserts with them or use them to adorn or to change the texture of meals. Packed with protein, fiber, essential fats, vitamins and minerals, they provide a nutritious snack or meal.  Read on and learn about the health benefits of nuts in this nutty review....

Nuts are healthy Gorgeous Hearts

The health benefits of nuts are many, but apart from their nutritious value, they are delicious. To get the best out of nuts and to make them more digestible, soak them for about 12 hours in filtered water with a tablespoon of salt.  Rinse them and put them on a dehydrator rack for about 24 hours at 40°C. This is to break down the phytic acid and to release the enzyme inhibitors that make nuts hard to digest for some people.  It may sound a bit laborious, but if you put some time aside at the weekend it's quite quick and painless. A fairly decent dehydrator will set you back about £35.00. Placing baking sheets on the racks stops the nuts and seeds from falling through the racks. If you don’t eat many nuts, or don’t have trouble digesting them, maybe it’s not worth the effort - your body will let you know!

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF NUTS - WALNUTS

The nut that looks like a brain is good for your brain! Walnuts contain omega-3.  They are rich in ingredients that act as antioxidants which health experts believe to be key in the prevention of certain cancers. They contain good monounsaturated fats which lower cholesterol (the bad kind) and are good for your heart too, so we could say that the health benefits of this nut are very valuable.

I particularly love walnuts with a few grapes as a snack but I also mix them into stir fries or mix them with lentil pasta (a favourite of mine).  Here is a dairy free version of Waldorf Salad for a fresh and light (although somewhat decadent) alternative to the mayonnaise version. I have used the American cup measure for ease but if you don’t use this type of measuring you can substitute half a glass or mug as an approximate measure for 1 cup.

Waldorf Salad

Ingredients

One organic apple of your choice: apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps to lower cholesterol. They also contain antioxidants such as vitamin A and E.)

One cup of red grapes: Organic grapes are hard to find, but considering that grapes have been found to have residue of up to 50 different pesticides on them, it's worth looking around.  They contain powerful antioxidants called polyphenols which have been found to slow down the growth of certain cancers.

Two stalks of celery: Low in calories and teaming with antioxidants. Celery regulates the alkaline Ph balance of the body and reduces inflammation. It's a good source of vitamin A (good for eye health) and studies at the University of Illinois have revealed that the flavonoids in celery called luteolin can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in breast and pancreatic cancer.

Half a cup of chopped walnuts.
One cup of unsweetened coconut yoghurt

Coconut yoghurt is made by adding cultures, sweeteners and probiotics to coconut milk. It is creamy and delicious but contains a lower proportion of protein than dairy yoghurt. It's also higher in fat, but the healthy kind. It's rich in antioxidants, contains fiber and is delicious.

Lemon or lime juice to taste: Vitamin C is abundant in lemons. They also contain potassium which is very important for a healthy heart. Lemons also provide us with other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Rich in flavonoids, the phytonutrients responsible for giving plants their colours, they contribute to reducing inflammation in the body which has a positive effect on your immune system. Even though lemons taste quite acidic, they have an alkalizing effect when digested so can help to balance an acidic diet. Your liver will benefit from lemons as they are a great way to detoxify.  Lemons really are a super-food and contain many anti-cancer and anti-bacterial properties.

Toasted sesame seeds: The health benefits of nuts and seeds is not complete without mentioning this super seed. Sesame seeds are full of vitamins and minerals, some of which are good for bone health. They include calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, vitamin B6, thiamine and folate. Sesame seeds may reduce blood pressure and help in the prevention of cancer due to phytates. Phytates work as an antioxidant, reducing the damaging effects of free radicals that are the cancer causing by-products of cellular metabolism. Although I've mentioned the benefits of soaking nuts and seeds to release some of the phytic acid which can cling to minerals and hinder their absorption in the gut, don't worry too much if this is not practical with this size of seed, as some phytic acid is good. It helps to reduce inflammation and has been shown to reduce the growth of cancer cells.  The magnesium that sesame seeds contain, can help to manage diabetes. Read more here.  An interesting fact about sesame seeds is the  sesamol it contains, which has been found to protect our DNA from harmful radiation, making these seeds a good choice for cancer patients who are being treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Walnuts in waldorf salad and coconut yoghurt

Method

  • Core and chop the apple (I leave the skin on as it’s healthier but if you prefer your apples without the skin by all means peel them) and place them in a bowl.

  • Wash and chop the celery (it should be nice and crisp) wash and cut the grapes in half and add them to the bowl with the celery.

  • Put the walnuts in a freezer bag, and while they are on the chopping board, use a rolling pin or a pestle and lightly hit the bag so that the walnuts break up a bit.  You don’t want them to be too small so go easy. (not advisable after an argument!) add these to the bowl.

  • Add the coconut yoghurt to taste.  Squeeze a bit of lemon or lime juice over the top and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

I also like to add a bit of coriander to the finished dish. A strong taste and not loved by all (a bit of a marmite kind of thing) but of course, you can add parsley, basil or any other herb you fancy.

This dish is sweet and tangy and especially delicious on a summer evening. I love the mix of flavours and crunchiness and the health benefits of this dish are many.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF NUTS - ALMONDS

The health benefits of these nuts are many as they are packed with healthy nutrients and are good for the heart.  Almonds are said to reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease and are linked to the amelioration of arthritis. I would however like to add that it is important to buy raw organic almonds.  This is because some almonds, especially those from the USA are pasteurised, which can inhibit their nutritional value. Almonds are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and are cholesterol free. They are also rich in vitamin E which which helps to reduce inflammation and boosts the immune system. Vitamin E is especially important for regulating chronic skin conditions.

You can bake cakes with ground almonds rather than use flour for gluten free cooking.  A gorgeous cake that I like from my time living in Spain is the `Tarta de Santiago` which is a mixture of eggs, almonds, sugar, lemon and orange.  If you don’t like the idea of eating refined sugar, it's possible to substitute for a sugar alternative such as xylitol or stevia. But, the recipe that I’m going to share with you is a tad healthier.  I've chosen a savoury dish inspired by my time in Andalusia, Spain:

Trout with almonds - great for your heart

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan oven) or 180°C/350°F Gas mark 4

  • Line the baking tray with a baking sheet and lay the fish on it. Score a couple of slits in the top of the fish and place a previously cut half slice of lemon in the cut. Season the fish and drizzle with some olive oil.  Pop the tray in the oven. It should take around 25 minutes to cook but the cooking time will depend on the size of the trout so keep your eye on it.

  • While the trout is cooking, put the almonds in a freezer bag and give them a little bash with the pestle or rolling pin – just to break them up a little. Some people use blanched flaked almonds but these will have lost some of their nutritional qualities and they cook too quickly so I use whole organic fresh raw almonds.  Pop them in a dry frying pan and toast them for a couple of minutes. Take them out and put them aside. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a little fresh thyme to the frying pan and heat for a minute, add a little lemon juice and the toasted nuts with a pinch of salt. Remove this from the heat and save for later.

  • When in season (April/May) you can pick some lovely fresh garlic leaves, but if it’s out of season you can use baby spinach leaves. Chop up some garlic and gently fry in a pan with a pinch of salt.  Wash some spinach and add them to the garlic with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon until the leaf wilts. 

  • Take out the fish about 5 minutes before the end of its predicted cooking time which will depend on the size of the fish. At this stage you can add the almonds and thyme and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes.

  • Serve the fish and nuts with the wilted leaves.

Roasted Trout with almonds and pan wilted fresh garlic leaves

Ingredients

Two fresh rainbow trout: Trout is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and a great source of protein.  It is also rich in potassium helping to reduce blood pressure. More good news is that trout is a source of B-vitamin complex including B12 which regulates the levels of homocysteine in the blood.  Even slightly high levels of homocysteine have been linked with heart disease. Trout also contains selenium, a mineral that is good for the brain and the immune system.)

Half a cup of almonds See above

Olive oil: You can use another oil if you prefer but I love the Mediterranean flavour of this oil and if you use a good quality virgin oil, it is high in antioxidants and also helps to reduce inflammation.

Sea salt:  Many people tout the benefits of Himalayan sea salt because of its high mineral content.  It does contain many trace minerals but the fact that this salt is more natural doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthier. It's healthier to use less salt, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure. You could try using flaked seaweed instead.  

Freshly cracked black pepper:  Pepper has an antibacterial effect, it can provide respiratory relief and aids digestion. Interestingly, black pepper enhances the bio-availability of other healthy foods, helping with the absorption and transportation of nutrients to the parts of the body that need them.

Fresh thyme to taste: Thyme is an anti-fungal, antioxidant herb.  It is said to aid heart, eye and immune health.  Rich in iron, it helps to oxygenate the body too.

Fresh garlic leaves or baby spinach: Both of these leaves are full of such healthy nutrients Garlic has allicin which may prevent hypertension, hardening of arteries and blood clots. Spinach is great for eye health due to lutein and zeaxanthin that act as antioxidants. Anotherbenefit is that the phytonutrients and pigments in the spinach leaf can protect the skin when ingested, protecting us from the harmful UV rays of the sun, however, it's important to be responsible with the amount of sun you expose yourself too and I don't suggest rubbing spinach into your skin on the beach!

Freshly squeezed lemon juice:  See previous information.

CASHEW NUTS

Cashew nuts are sweet and versatile. They have a whole host of health benefiting minerals such as copper, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium and zinc. Copper has a positive effect on our immune systems and is important for lovely skin and hair.  Cashews are high in monounsaturated fats, which is good news for gorgeous hearts.

What I particularly love about the cashew is its versatility.  If you soak some cashew nuts and whiz them up in the blender with some vanilla extract, you´ll have a lovely nutty cream that you can serve with fruit salad.  for a savoury dish, you can just throw some cashews into a stir fry. It's important that if you wish to roast nuts, to do so slowly and gently in order to preserve the health benefiting oils that they contain. This is true to maintain the health benefits of nuts in general.

MACADAMIA NUTS

Macadamia nuts are truly delicious, crunchy, delicate and buttery; they are deemed as being the world’s loveliest nuts.  As far as the health benefits of this nut, they are rich in vitamins, have a whole entourage of minerals and antioxidants and are very low in sodium. They are also a great food for beauty (hair, nails and skin) and the fat content satiates your appetite quickly so you can avoid snacking unhealthily.  They are a source of palmitoleic acid which speeds up the body´s metabolism reducing fat storage. The flavonoids that they contain convert into antioxidants.

Because of their delicious taste, macadamia nuts are a great addition to deserts.  Roasted macadamia nuts with baked pears topped with coconut yoghurt and sweetened with coconut nectar is a lovely dessert, or why not try this savoury dip of macademia nut pesto?

pesto

Method

Blend all the dry ingredients together in a food processor/blender then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until medium smooth (it should have some texture) eat as a side dish or add to pasta, an omelette or any dish you want to zest up a bit.

Macadamia Nut Pesto

Ingredients

½ cup of raw macadamia nuts

1 bunch of fresh basil leaves: Basil contains (E)-beta-caryophylene or BCP which is said to have a positive effect in the treatment of arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. According to research conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Basil is also rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial properties.

1 clove of garlic

Great for the heart and for the immune system and one of the best foods for reducing inflammation.

1 fresh chili, deseeded: I love chili in absolutely everything but just leave this out if it isn’t for you. Chilies contain a chemical called Capsaicin which has been found to lower blood sugar levels and also to speed up metabolism.  Chili is also great for your circulation and respiration)

Juice of half a lemon
1/3 of a cup of olive oil

SUNFLOWER SEEDS

Full of vitamin E and copper, these nutty little seeds are a great addition to your stir-fies,  salads and rice dishes.  Toasted gently in a dry pan to give them extra flavour and crunch, you can add them to just about any meal. Vitamin E produces anti-inflammatory effects on the body and has been shown to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma as well as reducing the amount of hot flushes in women who suffering these perimenopausal/menopausal symptoms.  They are rich in magnesium which is necessary for healthy bones and also help to regulate nerve and muscle tone. They are also rich in selenium which helps with DNA repair and reduces the incidence of apoptosis or cellular suicide. Try them sprinkled on top of scrambled eggs.

PUMPKIN SEEDS

Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc.  Studies at the Technical University of Munich have found that deficiencies in zinc can have a negative impact on digestion.  Low levels of zinc are also linked to loss of taste, poor immune response, lack of concentration and slow metabolism so snack a few pumpkin seeds and make sure you’re getting enough zinc and pop some pumpkin seeds on your breakfast muesli, your salads and soups and mix with Quinoa or rice for added texture.

As with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds are versatile and can be added to any meal. I love to add them to  sautéed vegetables to add another texture and taste, or you could roast them (do this at a low temperature 160°C for example and no longer than 20 minutes to get all the health benefits and to ensure that there are no chemical changes to the oils in the seeds. 

LOOKING AFTER YOUR BODY EQUATES TO A HEALTHY MIND AND EXPRESSION

Gorgeous Hearts offers a creative and effective combination of self-care strategies, connective vocal/musical exercises and confidence coaching to support you to express in your power and in full confidence.  Self-care leads to wellbeing which leads to self-confidence and a relationship of respect, responsibility and love for yourself and everyone else. It all begins in the body!

Is Singing Really Good For You?

Is Singing Really Good For You?

I think I can safely say that most people enjoy singing.  It is as natural to us as breathing, in fact children tend to sing before they can even speak, so music is an innate part of the human experience.  Let's face it, if we do something that makes us feel good, it has an effect on our physical and mental well-being and consequently, emanates into all areas of our life. So let's explore more about this phenomenon of singing and look at how it can be beneficial for your health and well-being.  

The joyful benefits of singing - Gorgeous Hearts

Rather than listening to the critical voice of your own mind that compares, judges and seeks to destroy your confidence, or echoes from comments made by parents or teachers who may have made you feel small or fearful to express, appreciate that there is a good reason to open your mouth and sing!  Your voice is as unique as your fingerprints and it's an integral part of who you are. Make singing all about that authentic, joyful expression and it will be the most healing activity you can do for free.

What's the science behind singing, and does it support the supposed benefits of singing?

Professor Graham Welch is the Chair of Music Education at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London.  He has studied the medical and developmental benefits that singing has on a varied cross section of ages.  He has this to say, “Singing with other people brings a wide range of benefits, especially physical, psychological, including emotional, and social.” Welch, G. (2015)

He mentions that the posture adopted in singing i.e straight back and expanded chest, is beneficial, that exercising the vocal chords keeps our voices sounding young, even when we get older, helping us to feel and sound younger.  He also says that singing helps us to feel happier because of the release of endorphins when we sing. This all contributes to helping to take our minds off the day to day stresses of life. He adds that there is an improvement in circulation providing more oxygen to cells thus helping to boost our immune system and, in that vein, (pardon the pun) he suggests that it is a good exercise for the elderly and disabled as it provides aerobic exercise. (read more here)

Researchers at the Institute of Musical Education at Frankfurt University investigated the effect of singing on the immune system by testing the blood of singers who belonged to a professional choir before and after singing a 60 minute rendition of Mozart´s Requiem.  The results showed that there was an increase in immunoglobin A, which are proteins that function as antibodies found in the blood stream, and hydrocortisone, a hormone that helps to combat stress. (read more here)

Researchers at Manchester University have been studying the response of a tiny organ that is found in the inner ear called the sacculus.  The sacculus responds to the sound frequencies of music and is connected to the part of our brain that registers pleasure.  It only responds to low frequency, high intensity sounds such as the sounds produced when singing and responds almost immediately by giving the singer an immediate feeling of pleasure (as long as there are not critics in the room)

Fire of the soul

But could there be something else? Something that underlies the physical or mental benefits that singing delivers? Could we go further down the rabbit hole and look at the energy behind singing? Could singing heal on a deeper level where vibrations sing one harmonious song to each cell of your body? 

I believe that the answer to these questions is a resounding yes! I believe that when singing comes from the heart, each note vibrates with the same quality, however, that quality must be known and felt. Singing without connection is just like speaking without connection, it will vary upon the emotions that are passing through the body at that time. They may anger, excite, sadden, calm or make joyful - just like any expression. Singing from the heart is not emotional, it is a connection that you make with your body and the stillness and beauty that resides within you. That is quality that heals , and if you sing from there it feels very healing.  The Ancient Egyptians supposedly used these techniques to cure and you can discover more about that on the Netflix series 'The Pyramid Code' 

The Healthy Techniques That Make Singing a Joy

 Correct posture and a good breathing technique, that is not dependent on tensing muscles, helps you to feel confident when using your voice. Learning lyrics, especially those that are affirming and supportive can help you to focus and feel purposeful.

So you can see that singing is beneficial in many ways and has a positive effect on physical, mental and spiritual health.  It is also a great practice to connect more deeply with yourself and with others.


Gorgeous Hearts Connect & Express Supports You to Discover Your Natural Voice

Singing can become a daily practice that brings harmony to your body. Your voice vibrates with the quality of your essence when you reconnect to your inner heart centre and you become one whole body instrument. The internal orchestra of your circulatory and lymphatic system, your organs, cells, molecules etc. all vibrate sympathetically which is why it is so beautiful to embody your voice and be focuse and self-aware. Discover more and join the Gorgeous Hearts Connect & Express Facebook Group - there are weekly lessons that you will love to tune into!