Preparing Body and Soul for thee Year Ahead
PREPARING FOR THE YEAR AHEAD
We probably all ate too much over Christmas and the New Year and some of us possibly drank too much alcohol as well. February is therefore, not surprisingly, the peak time for gym membership as individuals sign up in an effort to lose those extra pounds. The gloomy dark winter days are brightening now as we gain two more minutes of daylight each day, and we look forward to spring. Some people do suffer from these dark days of winter and that is understandable, but happily it is possible to take steps to improve the “well-being” you feel and it is not difficult.
So let’s consider looking after our body and soul for the year ahead, and let us begin with our bodies. Wenvoe What’s On has regularly carried articles about the joy of walking, and cycling. We all know that exercise is an excellent way of keeping fit and healthy and shedding the odd pound. The gyms and fitness centres are there as well and the Western Leisure Centre in Ely is just over a mile from Wenvoe. For those who need a private fitness centre the Copthorne hotel at Culverhouse Cross has a gym and pool and welcomes non-residents.
Linked with fitness is a good diet and this subject is covered in very many books. But it is easy to summarise the essential point which is that we should all eat a balanced diet; that is to say a daily intake of fruit and vegetables, high fibre from bread and cereals and dairy products with reduced fat. We should generally eat more beans and pulses with two portions of fish a week, and less red and processed meat. Take aways and ready meals are generally to be avoided except as a rare treat.
There are three foods which are particularly good for you. First – eat an apple every day. The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is apparently Welsh in origin and it holds true today. As one of the most cultivated and consumed fruits in the world, apples are continuously being praised as a "miracle food". Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fibre. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Secondly the Mediterranean Diet which is largely based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, cereal grains, olive oil and fish is proven to give good health including a healthier heart. A recent study found that people following a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Details of this diet can easily be found on the web or in a book from Wenvoe library.
The third special food is Muesli which was developed by Dr Bircher-Benner a Swiss nutritionist who in 1900 developed a dish based on raw rolled oats and other ingredients including grains, fresh or dried fruits, seeds and nuts, and may be mixed with cow's milk, soy milk, almond milk, other forms of plant milk, yogurt or fruit juice. This was given to patients in hospital to speed their recovery. It proved a great success and is now mass produced and can be bought in supermarkets or made at home.
The last line in looking after the body has to be to ensure good sleep. People often find this more difficult as they get older. Exercise certainly helps, as does sleeping with some fresh air in the room; but if all else fails try a herbal tea like Camomile or “Sleepytime”, the latter is sold by Beanfreaks in St Mary Street and pretty much ensures a good eight hours.
In looking after the soul – this does not necessarily mean going to church – though that can certainly be part of it. It is a matter of seeking spiritual well-being. This includes connecting with others – friends and family or even through sport and club membership. It means keeping active and getting out and about, and possibly learning a new skill or hobby or taking up adult education such as an evening class. Finally there is the need to “give” whether as a volunteer or just as a simple act of kindness, and always be mindful of the needs of others whether family – friends or strangers. These things together should bring nourishment to the soul.