Belinda Crestani is a meditation teacher, holistic counsellor and the creator of healthy living website, YouthfulHabits.com. Belinda’s first cookbook The Healthy Girl’s Breakfast, featuring over 100 deliciously nourishing breakfast recipes to make you feel healthy, whole and well, goes on sale this month. Beautiful Because caught up with Belinda for some invaluable healthy living advice and to discover more about her own holistic health journey.
It happened very gradually. I truly believe that knowledge is power and the more you learn and understand, the more you are willing to change. I started studying nutrition, reading a lot of self-healing books and, with that, my interest in my own health and wellness grew.
I switched my mentality and way of living from ‘restrictive’ to ‘kind’. I went from counting every calorie I ate, trying out numerous diets, depriving myself of any treats and exercising excessively to respecting my body and being kind to myself. When I changed my mindset, I changed my life.
I started out being more ‘weight conscious’. I was totally ruled by that number on the scale. I wish I had someone to tell me that good health trumps weight.
Today, I am conscious of my health; to me, that means caring for my mind, body and spirit daily.
I believe true beauty comes from within and is affected by what we eat, do – and even think. I wanted to create a health and wellness resource that focuses on informative and insightful articles that would inspire, educate and empower readers to take control of their health.
Find ways to de-stress every day. The reality is that all of us are going to be exposed to some levels of stress throughout our lives. It’s inevitable. The truth is, stress is actually an important part of your day. Have an average amount of stress in your life – that is an amount you can handle – helps you to perform and keeps you motivated. This is called an optimal amount of stress. At the other end of the scale are too little and too much. Not enough stress leaves you with hardly any motivation to do anything. Too much makes you feel overwhelmed, lowers your performance and hinders your cognitive and emotional ability. Discover my top tips to de-stress naturally here.
Practice gratitude. I developed a Daily Self-Care Planner – it’s a short but powerful exercise, designed to remind you of all your blessings. It’s a great way to start the day or wind down from a busy one. The object of this spreadsheet is to help you be especially grateful for what you have, to look on the bright side, be positive and prioritise you.
Improve your diet. Good nutrition is the foundation of a youthful, vital body that is able to work to its full capacity. Eating the right foods show in how you look, in how you feel and in your quality of life. Focus on eating a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables as possible, preferably locally grown and organic, which contain more vitamins and minerals and less pesticides.
Rest and restore. It sounds simple, but making time to recharge is one of the most effective strategies there is – especially if you want to look and feel your best. You’ll give your looks a lift and get your mind, body and soul back in balance.
For me, meditation is incredibly grounding. It’s a great reminder to be still, conscious, aware and at ease with who I am, where I am and what I’m doing.
It only takes about 10-20 minutes to get a benefit from meditating. These few moments of quiet reflection may bring relief from stress as well as increase your tolerance to it. And it is simple to do: sit quietly, listen to peaceful music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or clear your mind of all thoughts.
Do not get intimidated. When you first start to meditate, you might experience an overwhelming onslaught of thoughts but it's important not to feel intimidated. This is natural because your mind is not used to being still. It fights your effort to be quiet. Don’t fight it back. Just keep on returning to the breath and practicing.
The Healthy Girl’s Breakfast is jam-packed full (over 100 recipes) of deliciously nourishing breakfast recipes to make you feel healthy, whole and well. I was constantly being asked what I ate for breakfast and writing out meal plans for friends, family, clients and magazines. It was one of my dear friends who suggested I put all my breakfast recipes into a book and now I’m so excited to share these simple, wholefood recipes that are quick and easy to prepare. There are also plenty of gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, sugar free and paleo options.
I have just launched a series of wellness packages:
This year, I will be launching a YouTube series focusing on meditation, weight loss and sharing healthy recipes, hosting meditation workshops, and speaking to schools about the importance of mental health and wellbeing. I am also in the planning stages of developing a program to reset and reprogram your health, priorities and habits.
At the moment, I love chia seeds. These tiny black and white seeds are widely known as a health powerhouse which are a fantastic source of omega-3, protein and fibre. The reason I love them is because they’re incredibly versatile; they can be used in cooking, sprinkled on food and salads, or even mixed into drinks and smoothies.
This summer I have been enjoying a lot of homemade frozen yoghurt. My Sweet Lemon Berry Frozen Yoghurt Recipe is a favourite in my household. This recipe also features in The Health Girl’s Breakfast cookbook.
I really enjoy Pilates because it uses gentle, non-impact stretching and strengthening exercises that focus on the abdominals, lower back, hips and thighs. Pilates can also help release stress and promote relaxation – that’s all the things I love!
I love getting lost in a book, watching a comedy flick and getting a hot stone massage!
Rosehip oil is the best moisturiser I’ve found! It hydrates my skin beautifully. I use Kosmea Certified Organic Rosehip Oil – this is all I need!
Stay hydrated! The best way to keep your skin at its best and most youthful, not to mention your body functioning well is to stay hydrated.
Make the effort to carry a bottle of water around with you. Remember to avoid plastic bottles and choose stainless steel or glass ones instead. The purer the water, the fewer toxins it contains and the better hydrated your skin will be. Aim to drink between 1.5-2 litres of filtered water a day.
Confidence is beautiful! Who doesn’t want to be around someone who oozes confidence? When you value yourself, others will too. Choose to eat and live well, be positive, prioritise you and your health and your confidence will show.
Visit www.youthfulhabits.com to discover more health and wellbeing advice from Belinda.
By Nina Weston