So, It Turns Out My Dad Was Right All Those Years Ago

I don’t know one person my age who wasn’t terrified of oil as a teenager. In those days fat and oil was the carb of today, vilified for making you ‘fat’. Clearly, there was a blanket ban in our house. Or at least my sister and I tried valiantly to enforce one. You see, Happies, my dad is Turkish and trying to tell a Mediterranean man not to add olive oil to things is like trying to explain to Jen Aniston that it’s time for a new ‘do. It’s just not going to happen.

So for years we looked on in horror as dad free-poured extra virgin all over our Sunday morning traditional breakfast of olives, fetta, tomatoes and cucumbers, and ate nuts by the truck load encouraging us to do the same. Turns out, like most things in life, he was right.

New research recently published in the New York Times has proudly announced that the Mediterranean Diet has amazing health benefits, especially in relation to your heart. Yep, making the switch to a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits, vegetables and even wine, YES wine, has been proven to improve the incidence of heart-related illness by around 30 per cent.

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I think one of the major benefits of this style of eating is that it’s free from processed and packaged foods. Think about the way people eat in Greece, Turkey, Spain and surrounds – it’s all fresh, seasonal, made-from-scratch, REAL food. And that is where much of the benefit must come from, too.

And so, as the argument that fats are one of our most crucial dietary requirements continues, take solace in the knowledge that a handful of nuts and drizzle of oil doesn’t just taste amazing, but keeps your heart healthy too. Ole!

Tell me Happies…

Do you eat a more Mediterranean style of eating?

Do you want to?

It’s Back: Oprah & Deepak’s FREE 21-Day Meditation

Sometimes it’s as though Oprah is in my head. I mean, the lady is clearly a self-help genius and when paired with her mate, Deepak, the two sure know what the masses want. Yes, Happies, just when I was feeling all vexed about my recent lack of commitment to my meditation practice, along comes this peaceful pair to promote their latest 21-Day Meditation Challenge – Perfect Health. Hooray!

Their last venture together was all about creating abundance in your life. It was glorious and helpful and incredibly insightful. Each morning I would perch on my cushion and eagerly tune into the soothing sounds of Deepak as he trained my brain to open, invite and welcome abundance into all areas of my life. Gosh it was good!

Now, it’s all about Perfect Health, which clearly is right up my rue. The connection between mind, body and spirit and how when these three elements are in perfect harmony, wellness is the only state your body could possibly be in. Of course, I’m learning all about this now in my Health Coach training, but having a daily meditation around this exact topic is just the icing on the flourless fruit cake.

Hey, if Rufus here can do it so can we, right?

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And so it begins. Well, on the 11th of March it begins but you can register now and I encourage anyone wanting to invite a little more wellness into their lives to go ahead and leap right in. It’s FREE, so why not? In fact, during the 21-Day period I invite you all to skip on over to The Happiness Cocktail so we can share our experiences and encourage each other to take part in the meditations each day. A Deepak/Oprah ‘Love In’ so to speak.

Stay Happy (and let me know if you’re going to sign up),

Yaz xx

New Trick To Try: Hot Water Guzzling

OK, I get that the thought of drinking plain, boiled water isn’t all that appealing but hear me out for just one second, Happies.

I’m currently learning about self-healing with Ayurvedic principles. It’s fascinating stuff and makes perfect sense to me. The concept is based on ancient traditions that take into account your dosha (body type) and how living a life in balance for your specific type is pretty much the only way to go. Unless, of course, you want to feel unwell, tired, bloated and so on. All common things us busy Westerners tend to feel on a daily basis.

One of the many healing tips I’ve learned is to sip PLAIN boiled water every 10 minutes for 2 weeks. No lemon. No honey. And definitely no tea. The idea being that by boiling off all the bacteria in the water and not adding anything else in for flavour, you’re providing your cells with pure H2O without them needing to physically do anything, like digest and process the lemon or the tea. Instead, your cells can suck up each sip and rehydrate. Like a sponge, essentially. Plus, this tip works for all doshas, so there’s no need to worry about what ‘type’ you are and whether this is suitable.

And so, in the spirit of trying things out for myself, I’m giving this a go. Today is my second day and already I feel more, well, fluid. The water is actually really easy to drink and by having it warm rather than cold it has a more soothing, calming affect on my body. Sounds odd, but true.

Keep Calm

So what are the benefits of rehydrating your cells? I mean, if we’re going to bother sipping all this water we may as well know it’s worth it. Well Happies, from a skincare point of view water is your light switch. Without it you’re never going to have healthy, radiant, glowing skin simply because it’s not lubricated or hydrated enough. Your skin cells need water to function, purge, detox, balance, rejuvenate… you name it, your skin cells need water for it. It helps detoxify your blood of impurities, ergo, making you G.L.O.W!

But it’s not just your skin cells that benefit from increased hydration. Your lymphatic system craves water. Good old H2O helps balance these glands and nodes that help purify the body and remove waste products and toxins. Water also helps lube up the colon so that you keep regular and flowing, something we definitely all want to do. On top of that, water also helps increase production of new blood and muscle cells, so you know, it’s pretty bloody important.

So, if you’re finding you’re a little dehydrated with summer, up your H2O with pure hot water to feed your cells and increase your body’s productivity. I’ll let you know how I feel after 2 weeks, but so far, so good!

Tell me Happies…

Do you drink hot, boiled water?

Do you want to?

Stay Happy,

Yaz x

The Natural Basics I Highly Recommend

While indulging in a gorgeous face mask or body treatment is a delight to the senses, it’s often those everyday things that people really want to know about. Right? I think so. So, here’s my list of daily essentials that I think are worthy of a mention here on The Happiness Cocktail. The things I use day in, day out that work a treat for me and also happen to be naturally-derived. Less chemicals + equally as effective = happier home all around.

1. The Toothpaste – Grants Toothpaste with Aloe Vera

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A few months ago I made the switch from regular toothpaste to a more natural option, that option being Grants. At first it took a little getting used to, with all those new, natural flavours swirling around in my mouth, but now I love it. It does contain Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, which isn’t ideal, but when compared to regular toothpaste you’re cutting the chemicals in bucket loads. Plus, my teeth always feel super clean and fresh after washing with this, which is exactly what you want, right?

2. The Deodorant – Soap Walla Deodorant Cream

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I never thought I’d see the day that a natural deodorant could give me as much protection as a regular one. But HOORAY! that day came with the arrival of Soap Walla Deodorant Cream – an all-natural formula based on clay, vegetable powders and essential oils that really, truly, honestly works. While you do have to rub the product on, rather than spray, I find I’m actually sweating LESS since using this product. I’ve heard your sweat glands react to conventional deodorants in a way that changes your smell and can actually make you sweat more, and while there’s no set proof to these claims, I’m personally noticing a difference since making the switch. Plus, there’s something about spraying all those synthetic ingredients into your sweat glands right near your breasts that irks me a little.

3. The Laundry Liquid – ecostore Eucalyptus Laundry Liquid

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I absolutely love the ecostore range of products – everything from their body care to their laundry care gets me excited. It’s simple, affordable and plant-based, and offers cleaning results just as good, if not better, than other non-natural options. With the laundry liquid, the strong scent of eucalyptus coats my clothes, making them all fresh and lovely and clean. The range is completely free from petrochemicals, phosphates, enzymes, optical brighteners, synthetic dyes and perfumes and uses plant-based surfactants over chemical ones. Plus, you only need the tiniest bit for one large load. WIN!

4. The Body Wash – Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hand & Body Shikakai Lavender Soap 

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Dr. Bronner is all over it. Not only are the ingredients organic and natural, but certified fair trade as well, meaning the small communities where most of the ingredients are coming from are getting a good price for their wares. Basically, everyone wins here. In terms of the performance, this body wash cleans and refreshes without stripping your skin of natural oils. It’s heaven! I’m also a huge fan of the Pure Castile Soaps and the Virgin Coconut Oil. You can’t go wrong here.

Tell me Happies…

Do you have any essentials you’d like to share?
Any of these take your eye?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

The ‘To Don’t’ List…

I know I’m not the only one who spends a little too much time perusing social media. I also know that I have this odd attachment to emails, checking them every few minutes (yes, minutes) to make sure I haven’t missed the world ending or a notification that hooray! I’ve just won the lottery.

But when I really realised I had a problem was when little, everyday things like going to the toilet or brushing my teeth suddenly became boring. I needed stimulation SITTING ON THE LOO! OK, I officially needed help.

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When did my life become so virtual? When Alex and I were wandering around the world I would check my emails once a week and we didn’t even have a mobile phone. Instead we’d be out exploring, dreaming, learning and not even thinking about this other world that exists side-by-side with reality. That’s really what’s happening, isn’t it? There’s REAL life and then there’s our virtual life, and slowly it seems my virtual life is strangling my here and now.

But that’s all about to change with my new friend, the ‘To Don’t’ list.

Normally I don’t like to focus on negatives, nor do I like restrictions. But tough times call for serious action. So, while I will continue to have my daily To Do list, filled with all sorts of tasks and work-related jobs that need tending to, I’ll also have my To Don’t list, to gently sift through my priorities and break this meshing of virtual vs reality. But while we all know it’s a list of things not to do, I’m going to phrase it in a way that talks to the positive side of my brain, so you know, I actually listen and enjoy and come to like the thing.

Here’s roughly what it’s going to look like today…

Yoohoo, Yaz. Let’s remember to be mindful of these distractions today and focus on…

– Checking emails only twice a day, instead of every few minutes. Much more productive that way.

– Sticking to one task at a time. Sure, you’re superwoman and are a mad multitasker, but let’s just focus on One. Thing. At. A. Time.

– That twitching you get on the loo when you’re needing stimulation in the form of FB or Twitter or Instagram or Fruit Pop! isn’t normal. Chill out and take a few minutes for yourself.

– Waking up and leaning over to check your emails first thing in the morning probably isn’t the best way to start the day. Why not try a few deep breaths and a stretch instead, and wait at least 30 minutes before picking up your phone.

– You didn’t enter the lotto, so it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to win. Plus, if the world was ending I don’t think you’d get notified via email. In fact, only about 2% of emails you get are urgent, the other 500,000 can wait a few hours. It’s OK to keep people waiting for longer than 5 minutes, they’re not going to hate you for it.

Phew! That feels good. Actually writing down all the quirks of my daily life is cathartic. From now on, I’m going to focus on checking into myself rather than checking my emails.

Tell me Happies…

Do you need a To Don’t List?
What would be on yours?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx