Nutrition and our Health and Wellness

Talking about healthy nutrition is not an easy task, if we take into consideration the conditions of our soil, the air we breathe and the water we drink.  Despite much of the efforts and attention given to the environmental concerns about our fast growing world, the industrial, social and economic developments have been, to certain extent, ignoring such warnings and concerns.  

Overpopulation, food supply restrictions and overdevelopment of urban areas instead of important designated rural areas have all been factors that restrict the creation of a proper balance for our planet, and consequently it has been affecting the quality of our food and ultimately the quality of our lives.

When we mention health and wellness we must address all aspects that affect it. According to the foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the concept of health is based on clean energy – Qin Qi (pronounced as, Queen Chi).  This clean energy is created within and around our bodies, and is affected by food energy that is created by clean nutrients, and lung energy that is created by clean air.  In turn, these energies will supply the kidney with strong energy which will flow into our meridians with a strong stream of healthy cells that, in turn will create a good immune system in our body.  Although Traditional Chinese Medicine has a poetic way of describing such principles of good health, these facts can be confirmed and proven by the current medical establishment.  When we say that “we are what we eat”, we are in fact making a very true statement.

One must understand thoroughly the impact of the food we consume on our bodies, in order to make good and sensible decisions about what we choose to eat, or not.  Without turning this post into a heavy dissertation about nutrition, it is important to mention a few foundations that will lead to a healthy and nutritious diet plan.  The first one is about creating a proper alkaline/acidic balance in our diet.  This is accomplished by practicing, on a daily basis, a conscious exercise of what we should eat and what we should avoid.  From the moment we are born, our bodies will have a tendency to acidify and age, which is a natural process.  Through our maturation phase, especially in the first 7 years of our life, it is extremely important to create a good and solid foundation of healthy and nutritious nourishment.  This foundation will help determine the foods we choose to look for, and consume, for the rest of our life.

As a rule of thumb, most green vegetables, root vegetables and fresh fruit are considered to be alkaline foods.  That also includes most vegetable protein, such as beans and chickpeas.  Hence, most balanced vegetarian diets tend to be alkaline and healthier that those diets rich in animal protein and processed foods.  Canned foods are always acidic, as well as are pasta, rice, bread, and dairy products.

A well balanced diet should consist of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods.  That is like having a ratio of 4 to 1 of alkaline/acidic food portions on your plate, at every meal.  It is, however, important to understand that we should not avoid all acidic foods, but instead reduce its quantity and increase the amount of alkaline foods in order to compensate.

Another good practice in food preparation is to serve animal protein with vegetables, avoiding the use of carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, and rice), or serve carbohydrates with greens and vegetable protein (beans and chickpeas).  This all requires some effort in changing our diet and lifestyle, but it would certainly lead to a much healthier society.

Fresh fruit and vegetable juices, or smoothies for breakfast are always a better option to toast and butter.  Also, in addition to a bowl of whole wheat cereal (with almond or rice milk), a glass of freshly squeezed fruit and/or vegetable juice is another healthy and nutritious way to start your day.

Depending on what is available at most markets, locally grown produce should always be the first option.  Also, organically grown should be an indication of the absence of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.  In order to create a healthier diet, we should always eat the fruits and vegetables of the season that preferably grow locally, taking into consideration our geographic location and accessibility to fresh produce.

Reducing the consumption of animal protein is always a good choice, and it can be easily replaced by other sources of healthier vegetable protein.  Vegetable soups are also a great way to get a good percentage of alkaline foods in your diet.  In addition to vegetable soups, the consumption of fresh salads and fruit should be equally encouraged as part of our routine daily diet.

Mealtime should be a moment of relaxation and enjoyment.  Food should be always well chewed, to facilitate the digestion process in the stomach.  Consumption of liquids with the meals (especially water or bottled juices) should also be avoided so as to prevent the dilution of our stomach acids, necessary for a proper digestion. 

Finally, one must find a good balance between fresh, locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables, served raw, in many salad combinations, or even lightly cooked.  Thoroughly cooked vegetables tend to lose most of their nutritional value, as does many vitamins and minerals which are sensitive to heat.  A healthy diet should have a balanced combination of all types of food, including fresh, raw, and lightly cooked (or steamed) vegetables, and fruit.  Sliced apples and nuts can be a great addition to fresh salads, as well as the use of avocados, tomatoes, etc.  The dressing of salads should be made simply with olive oil and lemon or balsamic vinegar, avoiding those tasty but over-processed salad dressings available in jars, generally abundant in undesirable fats and other hidden chemicals used for preservation.

If we eat healthy, we will in turn become healthy!  Since we maintain all of our bodily functions with the nutrients of what we eat, should we not pay a little more attention and care to what we put into our mouths?  Here is literally some food for thought. If we take some time to think prior to ingesting a meal we are promoting our good health in both body and mind for overall health and wellness.  So remember, think before you eat, drink and be well!

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Mindfulness as part of your well-being plan

What is ‘Mindfulness?’

Mindfulness

Definition for Mindfulness –

Mindfulness consists of paying attention to an experience from moment to moment — without drifting into thoughts of the past or concerns about the future, or getting caught up in “thoughts” or opinions about what’s going on. (About.com)

We all would like to think that our rituals and routines are what give us comfort and peace. To a certain extent that may be true, but only because that is what we tell ourselves over and over again. In reality, study after study has shown that by practicing mindfulness and disengaging yourself from your rituals, routines, strong beliefs and emotions actually has a positive effect on brain function ultimately lowering stress responses and increasing feelings of relaxation and well-being.

At Solcosta Wellness we encourage you to make Mindfulness Practice a large part of your well-being plan. Our approach to Wellness is organic and while we do not offer Mindfulness workshops as part of our Wellness Vacations, we encourage you to incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily life – whether while you are on vacation or simply at home going about your day-to-day routine.

So, how can you make Mindfulness part of your well-being plan?

We can use Mindfulness like a Stop Sign at a four-way stop. Imagine yourself at a stop sign, imagine the other drivers stopped there, and imagine yourself making a decision as to how to proceed. If you are a driver you know how likely you are to do this task automatically or in ‘auto-pilot’ and we also know how sometimes this can cause an accident.

But if we practice Mindfulness, we turn off our ‘auto-pilot’ and ask ourselves to be fully present in the moment and pay attention to our decisions, increasing our ability to avoid mishaps.

In order for someone to competently use Mindfulness, they must be able to effectively use the technique in their daily life. This is why we encourage you to be mindful throughout your day, because it is a great way to improve your well-being.

Here is a list of some techniques that you can practice daily to help you incorporate Mindfulness into your personal life:

  • Make something that occurs several times during the day, such as answering the phone or buckling your seatbelt, a reminder to return to the present – that is turn-off the ‘auto-pilot’ and think about it.
  • Tackle household cleaning as a way to promote mindfulness. To bring mindfulness to cleaning, you first need to regard it as a positive event, an exercise in self-understanding and stress relief, rather than simply as an unpleasant task. Then, as you clean, focus on what you are doing as you are doing it — and nothing else. For example: feel the warm, soapy water on your hands as you wash dishes; experience the vibrations of the vacuum cleaner as you travel over the floor; enjoy the warmth of the laundry as you fold it; feel the freedom of letting go of unwanted items as you take them to Goodwill.
  • When you’re in the middle of a task and feel stressed, stop. Take three deep breaths, then, carefully identify what is bothering you. Ask yourself questions like: Are you expecting something bad to happen? Is an argument from this morning still going on subconsciously in your head? Are you worried about something? Write them down and try and deal with these items one by one. Remember that you don’t have to deal with them all at once or even on the same day. Making the list allows you to ‘become aware’ of them and then allows you to take action when you are ready.

The goal is to be awake in your own life.
Melanie Gideon

For more information about our Health and Wellness packages, contact us at solcostawellness@live.com

Stay well.

Posted in Health, Health and Wellness, Mindfulness, Tourism, Well-being, Wellness, Wellness Tourism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clay Therapy as part of your Well-being Plan

A happy mind brings upon the healing of our body and soul.

Clay & Your Well-being Plan

Extended periods of stress can wreak havoc on the body and mind. Learning to reduce stress might be found in a ball of clay. Individuals seeking an alternative approach to improving well-being might find that working with clay has the power to de-stress and promote peace.

At Solcosta Wellness we understand that one of the goals of your well-being plan is to bring balance to your life by reducing stress through positive action. Clay classes are offered to guests of Solcosta as a way to de-stress and improve well-being. Clay classes are offered either as part of our Wellness Vacation Plans or as a fee-based service for regular guests.

Stress is a part of modern life. Neither young nor old are protected from it because stress filters-through populations without regard to individual differences, values or beliefs. Stress affects men, women and children and is often responsible for reducing one’s quality of life in terms of health, safety, expectations, relationships and desires. Stress or more specifically distress is a form of suffering that offers serious social, psychological and eventually biological consequences if left unchecked for too long.

Balancing distress involves learning to react differently to specific situations. One method of learning more productive behaviours during difficult times is to seek moments of peace – the opposite of distress. Peace is deemed a healthier form of stress because peace is associated with feelings of achievement and self-fulfillment. Although it is a stretch to think distress can be eliminated entirely from one’s life, consciously seeking out brief moments of calm can bring about harmony, inner peace and relative happiness.

Healing With Clay

The healing powers of clay can help you improve your well-being by offering you a way to change your reaction to stress in your life. Clay classes give participants the chance to produce story-telling-artistic-sculptures in a relaxing environment designed to promote creativity, peace, confidence, companionship, enjoyment and a sense of well-being without pressures that lead to distress. In other words, clay classes are an effective alternative channel to communication that is open to anyone interested in participating and learning more about the benefits of creating with clay.

Other Benefits of Creating with Clay include:
• Discovery of individual style
• Healing
• Improves socialization skills
• Creates pride
• Values patience
• Enhances problem solving
• Anyone can do it
• Brings happiness through fun
• Relaxation
• Uses non-threatening materials
• Improves fine motor skills
• Creates ownership
• Develops a variety of life skills
And more…

Stressful events are a fact of life especially during difficult times. The key is in how individuals react. Solcosta Wellness Clay classes offer unique solutions to people interested in learning to improve their well-being through creatively nurturing experiences.

Creatively bringing a figure of beauty and color into the world can be extremely therapeutic.

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Sun, Sand, & Ocean as part of your Well-being Plan

Ppescadores albufeira

Albufeira

Many wellness travellers are familiar with these popular Spa treatments – Seaweed wraps and Thalassotherapy (salt water therapy). Some of the best spas provide these treatments and at a premium price – the question is – can we get the same benefits that these therapies offer without spending time and money at the Spa?

At Solcosta Wellness we encourage you to make Sun, Sand, & Ocean a large part of your well-being plan. Our approach to Wellness is Organic and while we do not offer Seaweed Wraps nor do we provide Thalassotherapy we encourage you to experience these therapies in their natural form. That means spending time at the Beach and in the Ocean.

Our location, close to some of the best beaches in the Algarve, make Solcosta ideal for the wellness traveller who wants to enjoy the health benefits that the local beaches have to offer.
Albufeira which is the closest city to Solcosta Wellness has many beaches which the wellness traveller can take advantage of in their pursuit of Sun, Sand, and Ocean. In fact the Algarve region has about 100 sandy attractive beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and due to the maritime shelf and water currents the sea temperature can often be surprisingly warm even in some of the winter months. Located on the tip of Europe with the vast ocean of the Atlantic as its southern and western border, this fortunate position gives the Algarve region possibly the most untainted climate in the European continent.

While swimming is great exercise and likely a part of your well-being plan, you can enhance this part of your practice by swimming at beaches that have an abundance of seaweed.  Many of the beaches in the area are rich in seaweed because some of these beaches are located where it prevents easy removal of the seaweed, and this gives the wellness traveller a unique opportunity to enjoy the health benefits of swimming amongst the salt water and seaweed. 

Positive Benefits of Seaweed:

Seaweeds have a predominant amount of iodine, which is good for the skin. Seaweeds contain rare minerals, soluble salts and other skin beneficial ingredients, too. Both seaweed and seawater are said to firm the skin and provide an anti-aging effect. 

Positive Benefits of Salt Water (seawater):

Seawater, mud and salt are all rich sources of minerals and have healing and soothing benefits. Seawater and human blood plasma reportedly have an identical composition. This is why the French have practiced Thalassotherapy or seawater therapy for a long time.

While Salt water and Seaweed can provide health benefits to the wellness traveller, what about the Sun? We have all been warned about sun exposure and the risks involved, so what can the Sun do for our well-being? 

Positive Benefits of Sun exposure:

There is no getting around the fact that sunlight is hard on your skin. But according to Harvard Health – the research department of Harvard Medical School – although prolonged sun exposure is not good for you, the UVB wavelengths do some good for your skin. These wavelengths kick off the chemical and metabolic chain reaction that produces vitamin D, which may promote bone health. Some people also receive another benefit from letting some sun hit their skin: it helps reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is usually caused by lack of sunlight.

While it is still important to protect your skin with sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and to wear a hat and shirt around midday if you are outside for an extended period of time, Harvard Health says that the key to sun exposure is finding a middle ground between being a “solar-phobic” person and a “sun worshipper.”

If you can adhere to these suggestions when going out in the Sun then the wellness traveller can reap the benefits that exposure to the Sun offers.

So while we don’t offer you expensive Spa Treatments at Solcosta Wellness, we do encourage you to take a more organic approach to your health and well-being plan; this includes finding ways to still enjoy the benefits of seaweed, salt water, and sun without emptying your wallet. 

Albufeira Beaches:

Barranco das Belharucas Rocha Baixinha Falesia Maria Luisa
Olhos d’Agua Oura Poente & Oura Nascente Santa Eulalia Inatel
Peneco (Albufeira) Arrifes Sao Rafael Castelo
Coelha Gale (East & West) Evaristo Salgados

These beaches are all in the Albufeira area, which is just 4 km from Solcosta – accessible by bus (Giro), taxi, car, scooter, bicycle – or whatever your choice of transportation. If the wellness traveller wishes to explore beaches that are further afield, they have over 100 beaches to choose from, and will likely find what they are looking for.

For more information about our Health and Wellness packages, contact us at solcostawellenss@live.com

Stay well.

Posted in Algarve, Health and Wellness, Ocean, Sand, Sun, Tourism, Travel, Wellness Tourism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Golf as part of your Health and Wellbeing Plan

Golfer Swinging in Sand Trap

Solcosta Wellness believes that Health and Wellbeing comes from a variety of sources and activities.  Amongst these is leisure activities that help the body, mind, and spirit relax and rejuvenate.  One of the more popular choices for leisure activities in the Algarve is Golf.  The Algarve has many Golf Courses to choose from and the year round mild climate makes it an ideal place to come and enjoy this activity.

What the Algarve has to offer

Algarve Region Portugal

The Algarve has been a draw for many astute golfers for nearly three decades.  Portugal’s southernmost province is justifiably famous for its impressive scenery along a marvellous coastline.  The main golf season is from late autumn to late spring.  Winters are mild and golfers from northern European countries as well as parts of North America can enjoy warm, sunny days while keeping their swings in shape at a time when their home courses are closed. 

The mainly arid Algarve countryside, familiar to summer visitors, gives way to a lush sanctuary at each of the golf complexes thanks to large, state-funded water catchments and distribution systems, as well as private boreholes which tap into subterranean water sources for irrigation.  An added feature as a result of these water systems along with the rain season that coincides the main Golf season, there can be some tricky water hazards at the holes on many of the golf courses. 

Beautiful Greens

Although none of the many existing Golf courses are more than 15km from the coast, the landscape varies from the steep hillsides of Parque da Floresta to the near sea-level flatlands of Vilamoura III and Salgados.

The many features of the Algarve, created from climate and terrain, make these Golf courses some of the best to play on in the world.

History of Golf in the Algarve

Golf Course

It was the legendary Henry Cotton who put the Algarve on the golf map.  In the mid-sixties, at Penina, he designed the first suitable grass course.  It was the first of three he designed in the Algarve, a place he lived for almost 30 years. 

During the 1970’s and 1980’s and into the early 1990’s, golf courses expanded along Portugal’s southern coast.  Tourism was just starting in the Algarve region and, immediately after the Penina course was opened, the courses at Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura appeared. A few years later, another symbol of world golf was built – the first golf course at Quinta do Lago.

Golf in the Algarve Today

Golf Pros

Golf course building continued and today more than half the Portuguese courses are in the Algarve region. They are designed and maintained so well that some of them are counted among the best European and Worldwide courses.

There are hundreds of tournaments held in the Algarve – some are International such as the Open de Portugal, which is held here at least every other year.  Others are domestic tournaments  like the Portugal Masters held this past October in Vilamoura at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course, and the TAP Open Golf Tournament going on now from November 13 to November 20 at Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago.  Along with these larger tournaments you can find small local tournaments organized for tourists who are looking to add some competition to their golf game.

If tournaments are not your thing, there are many courses for you to just spend a leisurely afternoon perfecting your swing – and if you feel you are in need of some Professional help with that swing, there are Golf Pros available at the many courses who can help you perfect that swing.

The Clube de Golfe de Vilamoura has produced first class players in Portuguese golf. They have collected individual, collective, national and international titles, and today the headquarters of the current Portuguese PGA is the Algarve.

Health and Wellbeing

Great Leisure Activity

One thing is certain, if you love Golf you will find what you are looking for here in the Algarve – mild climate, top rated golf courses that will appeal to amateurs as well as professionals, tournaments, golf pros and a vacation destination that offers reasonably priced restaurants, wonderful scenery, magnificent beaches, and friendly people. 

So if you are looking for a Wellness vacation that allows you to take in 18 holes as part of your Health and Wellness plan – Solcosta Wellness can help.

Solcosta Wellness, Algarve

For more information please contact us at solcostawellness@live.com 

 

 

Algarve Golf Courses

Eastern Algarve Laguna
  Millennium
Castro Marim  
Benamor Western Algarve
Quinta da Cima  
Quinta da Ria Balaia
Colina Verde Pine Cliffs
  Salgados
Central Algarve Vale do Milho
  Gramacho
Pinheiros Altos Pinta
San Lourenzo Morgada Golf
Quinta do Lago Alto Golf
Vale do Lobo Penina
Vila Sol Palmares Golf
Pinhal Boa Vista Golf
Old Course Parque da Floresta

 

Posted in Algarve, Golf, Health and Wellness, Tourism, Travel, Wellness, Wellness Tourism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments