Visiting the Stonehenge

On the weekend we got the opportunity to visit one of the wonders of the world. Stonehenge.

As one could guess, it was spectacular. This isn’t Wikipedia so I won’t go into historical details of how the Stonehenge came about or anything of the sort. But, I will point out some things I learned that I consider to be quite interesting.

Where is Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is in Wiltshire, 2 miles west of Amesbury in the UK.

Interesting discovery

As I was researching more about Stonehenge prior to my visit, I came across some very interesting information. Many people have said that the Stonehenge is built in the centre of many crossing “ley lines”.

Ley lines are hypothetical alignments of a number of places of geographical interest such as ancient monuments and megaliths. In simple terms, it is believed that there are energy currents running cross different parts of the planet. Back in the days people knew about these energy currents and their importance and therefore built important structures and monuments along them. They believed that the energy in those special places is multiplied many times fold.

Ley line across the UK

This is one lay line running across the UK. I believe there is also another.

Global ley lines

These are the major ley lines on the planet. The places where these lines meet are believed to be “energy portals”. There are loads of theories about these energy portals. Some say they are interdimensional portals, others say that the magnetic field is extremely strong there or that there is some kind of special energy etc. I personally have no idea. But I have experienced going to a place and instantly feeling “different” as if the place is special and just can’t help but feel good. So, I don’t know about the interdimensional portals but I’d buy that the energy is probably incredible in those places.

Getting a feel of Stonehenge

The thing that I think stood out for me most when I visited the Stonehenge was just the vastness of the place. The stones are huge and they are surrounded by miles and miles of sheer land. It’s one of those places where you go and you feel so small but not insignificant if you know what I mean. I got a sense of “something more”, I don’t really know how to explain it but it seems that in our day to day lives we see the world from a certain perspective. Usually, one that is quite, I don’t want to say boring but it is less than magic and miracles. Without getting too deep into things, we’re on a rock flying through space at unimaginable speed. We’ve got stuff built thousands of years ago that we couldn’t even build today given our technological advances. Surely there’s something more to it. Surely. But, I’ll leave that to your imagination. 😉

Why having a fast metabolism isn’t as good as you may think!

When I think of fast metabolism I automatically think of those people out there that are able to eat almost anything without gaining a single pound. How lucky they are, I used to think. I can’t complain about having a slow metabolism myself, but I certainly cannot eat anything and remain slim! For years I used to think that my average speed metabolism had me at a disadvantage when compared to those lucky few out there who operate at the speed of light. Recently, however, as my understanding of the functioning of the body and metabolism has grown I’ve come to new conclusions. Positive ones, I must say!

This post will, hopefully, bring a huge breath of relief for those with slowish/average metabolisms.

So, let’s begin at the very beginning.

What is metabolism?

The metabolism is essentially the rate at which all chemical processes occur in the body. Usually however, when we talk about metabolism in this context we are referring to resting metabolic rate. This is the number of calories that our bodies burn just to keep us alive.

The faster the metabolism the better?

Most people believe that it is desirable to have a very fast metabolism. We see it everywhere, new posts come up almost every day with the heading:

  • 5 foods to speed up your metabolism
  • Eat 8 meals a day to have a fast metabolism
  • Eat 30g of protein upon waking to rev up your metabolism

I don’t think I’d be lying if I said I’ve heard it all! Now I’m not at all trying to say that these methods do not work. They probably work too well! But, apart from burning more calories at rest, is there any other benefit of having a fast metabolism? Absolutely not! Nothing! How surprising, right!

In fact, there are actually disadvantages of a fast metabolism. Research suggests that the faster your metabolism, the shorter your lifespan. This isn’t even new research or new theory! Max Rubner came up with the rate of living theory in 1908! Buuuuut, sadly there is no money in slow metabolisms. Nothing to sell. Haha, so before we get carried away with conspiracy conversations, let’s leave this topic right where it is!

Slower metabolism, longer life?

So why is it that a slower metabolism is associated with longer life and faster metabolism with a shorter one, I hear you asking. Well, cellular energy production results in the creation of byproducts, some of which are toxic. This basically means that every time you eat and your body turns that food into energy there are some toxic byproducts that are produced. Our bodies naturally produce antioxidants to help combat those reactive oxygen species however, when everything is happening too fast, our bodies may not be able to produce enough antioxidants to keep up with the demand. That’s when oxidative damage occurs. Our DNA, our proteins and lipids get damaged. And we know one thing for sure. Oxidative damage accelerates ageing! So you can see how the story goes from here on. The faster your body ages, the shorter your life.

On the plus side, the opposite is also true. When you have a slower metabolism and enough supply of antioxidants it is expected that your lifespan will be longer.

Now before you start thinking that I am trying to basically tell you to crash your metabolism and become fat so that you live longer, let me clarify.

Eating less may be the way forward

I know! This sounds so counter-everything you’ve probably read or heard, but hear me out. In order to be slim and lean AND have a slow metabolism (you can most definitely have both!) you need to consume less food than “normal”. Because, if you have a slow metabolism and eat what you usually eat you will gain weight. So the key here is to eat less and burn less. And anyway, in modern days we are eating way too much! Think sustainability. If you slow down your metabolism slightly, your body wouldn’t need so much food. You’ll be helping the environment and you’ll also be saving money.

What about exercise? Exercise is fantastic obviously and it is probably the safest way to increase your metabolism. Now before you get totally confused, what I mean by safest way, is that exercise will not give you those toxic byproducts of cellular energy production and thus no oxidative damage. So exercise is good, don’t stop exercising. But, I think we can agree that most of us are consuming more food than our bodies require. What’s more is that usually that food isn’t overly healthy either!

Suggestion

The whole point behind this post is to provide an alternative view of things or a little food for thought if you like. Forget the fitness industry or the whatever industry, I’m not in the business of anything. I am solely interested in my own health and the health of others. With that in mind, here’s are a few suggestions derived from this topic:

  • Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods.
  • Consume less calories. You will notice that once you quit the junk/processed food, cutting calories will occur naturally because natural food isn’t usually calorically dense.
  • Use exercise to maintain healthy weight.

Give it a thought and do your own research.

Personally, the more I research the topic the more I see how much sense this makes. This is what those 120 year old yogis do! They live SLOWLY! They breathe slowly and deeply, they eat slowly, they move their bodies slowly and gently (yoga) and in this way they preserve themselves for longer.

There’s a saying that goes, “live fast, die young” and I think I kind of agree. Let me know your thoughts! I’d love to hear what you guys think on the topic!

 

Telomeres: What are they and what is their role in keeping you younger and healthier?

Is there a way of finding out the rate at which your body is ageing? Or more importantly, is there a way of slowing it down, stopping or, dare I say, reversing that rate? Well, telomeres may just be the answer to those questions.

When I talk about ageing, straight away most younger people would picture an elderly person and quickly dismiss the information as irrelevant to them. But, what they may be unaware of is the fact that ageing actually begins the day you’re born. Does that surprise you?

What are telomeres?

You see, every time your cells divide (which happens all the time) the repeating segments of noncoding DNA at the end of your chromosomes, shortens. This last part of the chromosome is known as a telomere, and it sort of resembles the plastic end of shoelaces which helps to keep the shoelace from unravelling.

That may sound a bit depressing, but the good news is that as well as shortening with each cell division, telomeres also have the ability to lengthen. Hence, reverse ageing! Now, what does that mean for a young person? It means; glowing, vibrant and plump skin, it means heaps of energy, it means healthier faster metabolism, stronger immune system. Essentially, it means all the bodily functions will be operating at the optimal level for your body.

There is a finite number of times that a cell can divide before it dies. Just as there is a finite number of base pairs (units of DNA) of telomeres that can be lost before your chromosomes become exposed and begin to unravel, which is where the breakdown of the body begins.

So, here is a typical trajectory for the life of a human’s telomere:

Age

Telomere Length (in base pairs)

Newborn baby

10,000 base pairs

35 years old

7,500 base pairs

65 years old

4,800 base pairs

The shortening of telomeres as the years pass is unfortunately inevitable. However, we do have a lot of control over the rate at which this happens.

The Telomere Effect

In their book, The Telomere Effect, Nobel prize winners Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel discuss some instances that they have discovered which affect the length of our telomeres. Some examples include;

  • Some of us respond to difficult situations by feeling highly threatened – and this response is linked to shorter telomeres. Hence stress is extremely devastating to our telomeres. But we can reframe our view of situations in a more positive way and thus reduce our stress levels.
  • Several mind-body techniques, including meditation and Qigong, have been shown to reduce stress and to increase telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes telomeres.
  • Exercise that promotes cardiovascular fitness is great for telomeres. So, for the folks out there hating on cardio, think again.
  • Telomeres hate processed meats like hot dogs and ham, but fresh, whole foods are good for them.
  • Neighbourhoods that are low in social cohesion – meaning that people don’t know and trust one another are bad for telomeres. This is true no matter what the income level.
  • Children who are exposed to several adverse life events have shorter telomeres. Moving children away from neglectful circumstances (like the notorious Romanian orphanages) can reverse some of the damage.
  • Telomeres on the parents’ chromosomes in the egg and sperm are directly transmitted to the developing baby. Remarkably, this means that if your parents had hard lives that shortened their telomeres, they could have passed those shortened telomeres to you.

 

There are so many factors that affect your telomeres and therefore your cell’s ability to function optimally. So in brief, what can you do from today to start slowing down or reversing cellular damage, or ageing?

Here’s a few suggestions:

Make sure you read number 7 (it’s my favourite one!)

  1. Think kind and loving thoughts – Your cells are listening to your thoughts. Think only kind thoughts about yourself and others and you will be amazed at how lovingly your cells will respond. This is no new age business here people! This is hard science documented by pioneer researchers who’ve been awarded a Nobel Prize for their findings.
  2. Manage stress- or take a chill pill as they say. Stress takes a toll on the body in ways that is hard to imagine. It increases your risk of almost all known diseases and it shortens your telomeres. So, try to manage your stress levels through the help of meditation, mindfulness or whatever works for you.
  3. Exercise – We hear this all the time. But seriously, exercise is so important. Most of us are guilty of not doing enough. Aerobic exercise appears to be best for cellular health and longer telomeres.
  4. A healthy metabolism- Insulin resistance and belly fat are real enemies of telomeres. Try to maintain a healthy metabolism by not crash dieting and keep your serum insulin levels low by consuming less carbohydrates.
  5. Eat for optimal cell health – Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds along with high-quality sources of protein. Consume sources of omega 3 such as; salmon and tuna, leafy green vegetables and flaxseeds. Minimise red meat (especially processed meat). And avoid sugary foods and drinks.
  6. Rest – Telomeres like at least 7 hours of sleep. With sufficient sleep you will feel less hungry, less emotional and lose fewer telomere base pairs.
  7. The places and faces that support our telomeres – Whether we like it or not, or whether we accept it or not, we are interconnected to the people around us in ways that we cannot see yet our telomeres can reveal. We need each other. We are social creatures. We’re also affected in more subtle ways like by the way we feel in our neighbourhood, by the abundance of green plants and trees and by the emotional and physiological states of those around us. So let’s be nice to each other, let’s create friendly neighbourhoods, let’s plant more trees and let’s spend more time outdoors enjoying nature.

Living a long and healthy life isn’t rocket science, but it does require tuning back into our true nature. Eating real food, moving about, breathing clean, fresh air and loving the people around us. <3

 

How to do Paris in 3 days

Paris! Not much else needs to be said. The capital of romance, fashion, luxury and all things glam. Everyone needs to visit Paris at some point in their lives. There’s so much to see, so much to learn, so much to experience!

This week I’d like to share with you our little trip to Paris and how we managed to squeeze the best of Paris in 3 days!

Outbound

Airport selfie! Every trip needs one 😀

 

 

 

Booking our flights to Paris couldn’t be easier. We found a great deal from Skyscanner.com. Two tickets, Manchester – Paris (with return) under £100!

Where we stayed

We stayed in Best Western hotel in Montmarte, 2 minute walk from the Sacre-Coeur. Upon arrival, we were so surprised about the size of the rooms. They were tiny! But, we got used to it pretty quickly as everything in Paris is super small 🙂

Travel in Paris

To get around Paris we used the Metro. It got us pretty much everywhere we wanted to go, and at a very good price. I believe they have something similar to an oyster card but as tourists we just opted for purchasing single tickets everytime we wanted to travel. One ticket = One journey. Simple!

Day 1

Breakfast

Excited to wake up in Paris, we got ready and headed straight for the Eiffel Tower, obviously! On the way there however, we couldn’t resist the cute little cafe’s and so we sat down for a traditional French breakfast. Creme coffee and a croissant. That croissant though!

Eiffel Tower

Then we saw it! The magical Eiffel Tower! My first impression was “My goodness, it’s so big!” haha. I have seen so so many pictures of it in my life, but nothing compares to seeing it in real life!

And then.. the photos started flowing! You can never have too may pictures of the Eiffel Tower, right?

Sitting on a map, yes. Tourist hacks 101.

<3

Champs-Élysées & Arc de Triomphe

Then we headed for the famous Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe which is super close to the Eiffel Tower, about 5-10 minute walk.

Walking down Champs-Elysees was beautiful. Come early afternoon, we decided to sit down for a latte. This is a latte in Paris! Or more like a full-blown coffee flavoured milkshake 😀

And of course, macaroons!

Saint Michel

Pronounced Saint Michelle, this is the area where the Notre-Dame is located. We fell in love with this area! It was so lively and full of happy people. We loved the buzz.

Notre-Dame

Stunning!

And of course we ended the first day with a sugar overload! Just couldn’t resist a warm waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Day 2

Breakfast

We arose to another carb-laden breakfast! French breakfast = croissants, pain au chocolate, baguettes etc (i.e. CARB OVERLOAD) while French people = super slim. Something doesn’t add up here 😀

Louvre museum

The spectacular Louvre museum!

My joy and pride <3

 

Many people who visit Paris only see the Louvre museum from the outside. If you go Louvre, you need to actually go into the museum! It is phenomenal!

 

Mona Lisa in all her glory.

Royal suite

Jardin des Tuileries

Although this looks very much like the Arc of Triamph, it’s actually the entrance to the Tuileries Gardens.

You can see the Eiffel Tower from the gardens.

Beautiful!

Arc de concorde

After the gardens we headed down to the arc of concorde.

Breathtaking.

Pit stop for coffee.

Cheese and wine o’clock

In the evening we headed down to a local brasserie in the Montmarte area.

 

I will never forget this moment. It was just so special. It was one of those moments were I just felt insanely grateful. I remember thinking to myself ” There is nowhere I would rather be in this moment than here”. In Paris, with the person I love, eating delicious cheese and drinking phenomenal wine. Five stars.

Day 3

On our final day in Paris, we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. Although we were 2 minutes away from the Sacre-Coeur we left it to the last day of our trip.

This was one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever seen. The energy inside was unbelievable I remember feeling so calm and peaceful, I didn’t want to leave.  But sadly they didn’t allow us to take pictures.

<3

While we were in the area we decided to explore it fully and just got lost basically!

Anyone who has been to Paris will know that the Parisian crepes are everywhere and they will haunt you until you get one.. or two!

Pantheon

And finally, we ended the trip with a visit to the Pantheon.

Beautiful.

Paris was absolutely wonderful and I cannot wait until I visit again! Obviously, there is so much more to see and experience, and so until next time xxx