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Category: Fitness

What’s the Scoop on: Ginseng

Posted: Wed, 30 January 2019, 10:56

Ginseng is a herbal plant that has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine and is one of the most prized Chi (Qi) tonics used in Chinese herbalism.

According to the principles of Chinese medicine, ginseng supports the kidney Qi (strengthens, life-prolonging), cools the fire (fever), increases the earth (strengthens spleen and stomach), brings gold (helps the lungs), opens the heart, increases knowledge and works against all diseases.

Often referred to as the "king of herbs", it is well-known around the world for its energizing and immune modulating properties, but let’s dive in a little deeper to find out what else this ancient plant can do for your health..

What is Ginseng?

The English word "ginseng" originates from the Chinese term renshen. Ren meaning "person" and shen meaning "plant root". This is because the root of the ginseng plant looks similar to the legs of a person.
Ginseng root has been used for more than 2000 years, with the first traces of its description being found in the famous Chiu-zhang text, the Chinese depiction of the creation story.

What are the different types of Ginseng?

There are two main types of ginseng: Asian ginseng, also called red or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). These are also known as ‘true ginsengs’ as they both originate from the Panax genus. They are known as ‘true ginsengs’ because only the panax genus contains the active ingredient ginsenosides.

Fun Fact: The genus Panax takes its name from Panacea, the Greek all-healing goddess. It is made up of pan, which means "everything," and akos, which means "healing," that is, a "panacea."

But what about Siberian Ginseng?

Siberian ginseng (Eleuthero root)

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is actually not a true ginseng but comes from a totally different plant genus. Siberian ginseng contains eleutherosides as opposed to ginsenosides and is more of a fibrous woody root than the fleshy soft root of the Panax species.
It is also known as Eleuthero root and is very common in formulas using Panax ginseng.

Let’s delve in a little deeper shall we….

What’s the Scoop on: Cordyceps Mushroom

Posted: Mon, 21 January 2019, 08:33

Humans have been consuming mushrooms for centuries, especially in Asian and Slavic cultures. And although relatively new to the west, they’re certainly becoming popular and FAST! And there’s no surprise why when you look a little deeper and find out the amazing properties these functional mushrooms provide.

The term ‘functional mushroom’ is used when referring to mushroom varieties that have a health benefit beyond simply providing nutrition.
This includes cordyceps, chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, shitake, maitake, turkey tail, enoki and tremella to name a few.
All of them are highly nutritious, vitamin-rich shrooms, but with that something extra.

Read on to learn more about Cordyceps health benefits…

What's the Scoop on: Maca

Posted: Fri, 13 April 2018, 10:25

What is Maca?

Maca is a root vegetable that grows in the Peruvian Andes at very high altitudes. Maca belongs to the cruciferous family of plants which includes other such powerhouse foods including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and radishes.

This powerful root vegetable from South America is most commonly used to help with stamina, energy, mood, vitality, sexual function, hormone balancing and fertility.


Maca is incredibly mineral rich, boasting high levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous and potassium. It also contains trace minerals including zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, manganese, and silica. And it doesn’t stop there; maca is also high in vitamins B1, B2, C, and E, plus it contains 19 amino acids (including 7 of the 8 essential amino acids) and is a rich source of sterols.

When it comes to improving your health and your happiness, my advice: Start small.

If you can find just two minutes a day here and there, you can start making small changes to put you on the right path to living a happier, healthier life.

You don’t have to overhaul your entire diet and lifestyle overnight on your quest to living a healthier lifestyle.
Throwing away everything deemed unhealthy from the cupboards and signing up to a boot camp on day one is not always the best way to go about it.
In fact, this is actually often counter-productive because of the stress and pressures it puts on your body, both mentally and physically.

Instead, you can embark upon the journey towards a happier, healthier lifestyle simply by incorporating any or all of these 9 healthy habits into your life today.

They don’t take up hours of your time, nor do they squeeze your wallet dry, but they do have incredible health returns!

6 Top Snacks to Fuel Your Yoga Practice

Posted: Thu, 26 January 2017, 15:10

Strange as it may seem, one of the most frequently asked question when it comes to yoga is actually what do I eat before class?

As with any exercise, you really want to avoid eating right before you head into class, and as a general rule you want to avoid eating anything heavy in the two hours before you plan to do yoga.

If you have ever ignored this advice, you will probably have discovered the reason behind it’s existence.

Yoga can consist of twisting, bending and turning upside-down along with jumping to and from the back of your mat. On a full stomach it's pretty uncomfortable, and sometimes even nauseating to have too much in your belly.

You do however want to go into class with a good amount of energy minus having the pains of undigested food, or the distraction of hunger gnawing at your belly. And that's where this blog comes in with my 6 Top Snacks to Fuel Your Yoga Practice.

12 of Our Best Post Workout Natural Snack Ideas

Posted: Thu, 25 August 2016, 15:41

Post-workout nutrition is crucial to any fitness goals.
During exercise, your body uses the fuel stored in your muscles known as glycogen for energy. After you've pushed out that last rep, your muscles will be depleted of their glycogen stores and in desperate need of being replenished.

After a hard workout, it's very important to eat because you need to refuel your bodies to replace the energy lost during your workout.
Eating or drinking something that combines protein and carbohydrates up to 30 minutes to an hour after your workout refills energy stores, builds and repairs your muscles that were broken down, and helps keep your metabolism burning strong.

Here are 12 of our Best Post Workout Snack Ideas to keep you refuelled, strong and healthy!

Check out our Pre-Workout snack tip blog post here!


No. 1 - Rice Cake or Crispbread with Tahini and Banana

This snack is ideal for anytime of the day and provides a good whack of carbs and protein.
Spread tahini on to your rice cake or crispbread and top with a few slices of ripe banana for instant energy and satisfaction.

No. 2 - Raw Apple Sandwiches with Almond Butter

Slice up an apple and top it with a tablespoon of your favourite nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut etc.) for an insanely tasty energy boost combining carbs, protein and a good dose of vitamins and minerals. Optional, add a pinch of cinnamon to help balance your blood sugar levels.

Plant Based & Healthy Pre Workout Snack Tips

Posted: Thu, 18 August 2016, 07:58

Feeding your body before and after every workout is essential for burning the most calories, staying energized, building lean muscle, losing weight, and speeding up recovery.

You've got to have energy to ensure an effective workout, so fuelling your body with the right food before your workout is key. This way you'll not only have an abundance of energy and stamina, but you’ll also help prevent low blood sugar which can often lead to light-headedness and fatigue during your workout.

To help prevent the feeling of low-energy and famishment, opt for a mix of carbohydrates and a little bit of protein to give you the energy to power on through that spin class!

Here are my top pre-workout snack do’s and don’ts to help you get the most out of your workout:

Pre-Workout Snacks



Bananas are loaded with easily digested and energising carbohydrates, plus they are packed with potassium which helps maintain nerve and muscle function.
Fuelling up on carbs before a workout means you’re less likely to wane halfway through your workout, or you feel insanely tired afterwards.

Do you ever find that when you finally stand up after sitting all day at your desk, your hips, lower back, and shoulders are screamingly tense and sore?

In this blog we’re going to cover 10 easy and effective office friendly yoga poses that you can introduce into your day to give those aches and pains the slip.

You don’t even need to get off your chair to do most of them!

1. Seated Crescent Moon Pose

After being hunched over a computer for hours on end, the side body tends to collapse and can contribute to neck and shoulder pain and discomfort. This seated crescent moon pose can help lengthen your spine and ease out any tension.

Remain in a seated position, with your back and shoulders straight, then lift both arms overhead and stretch your fingers wide (option to bring palms together).
Lean gently to the right, taking 2 to 3 deep breaths and then repeat on the left side for another 2 to 3 deep breaths.

2. Wrist and Finger Stretches

Desk work can really build up some serious tension in the muscles and tendons in the fingers, hands, and wrists, so extra blood flow to these areas is always appreciated. Try these stretches every 2 hours or so to help release any of that unwanted tension.

a. Extend your arms to the sides or bring them up overhead and draw 5 to 10 circles one way and then the other with your wrists.

b. Alternate between spreading the fingers and closing the fists quickly, repeating this movement 5 to 10 times to shake off any excess tension.

c. Place your hands on your desk, palms facing up and fingers towards you, putting gentle pressure to counter-stretch your wrists and forearms.

You may instead want to stretch each arm out in front of you and bend the wrist gently inward then outward, counter-stretching with your other hand. Hold each side 5 to 10 breaths.

If you’re in training for the ladies marathon on June 6th, you've probably been putting in the miles during the last few months, making sure you’re well-trained and prepared for when race day arrives - but have you thought about your nutrition and recovery plan?

No matter what athletic venture you pursue, how you train is important. But what you eat before, during, and after your race can also make a big difference in your performance and how you recover.

Throughout this blog I'm going to give you some tips to help support you before, during and after your marathon.

Also, as a well-deserved reward, we’re going to be giving away a free Weleda Arnica Shower Gel to everyone who brings their medal into the shop, so pop on by to collect your muscles' new best friend!

5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Exercise Regime

Posted: Fri, 15 January 2016, 09:52

To be healthy, happy, relaxed and full of energy, with a strong digestion, a super human immune system and a glowing complexion, we need to look after ourselves through what we feed ourselves and how we engage our bodies and our minds.

It’s all too often that we set ourselves New Year’s resolutions that have unrealistic expectations written all over them that ultimately fail due to harsh limitations and restrictive work or life schedules.
This can leave us feeling disappointed in ourselves, frustrated and back to square one.

The key to sticking to your workout goals is consistency. Once you’ve decided to make the change and you do it consistently, it soon becomes a natural habit.

It’s also important to be positive about the changes you have in place and to have belief in the fact these changes can help get you where you want, both in your physical health and your mental health.

Here are my 5 Tips to Sticking to your Exercise Regime:

Chia Pudding with nuts and almond butter - yum!

What does protein do for me?

Protein is made of important amino acids that are the building blocks necessary for each and every part of your body. Proteins are essential for the normal functioning of the human body, being used to manufacture hormones, immune cells, enzymes, cellular messengers and being a fuel source for the body.

Protein is needed to make up every cell, tissue and organ in the body, from your red and white blood cells to your hair and skin. It is needed for proper growth and healing, cardiovascular function and muscle contraction.

Protein is a crucial macro nutrient for everyone, most especially for pregnant women, growing children and those into sport, therefore it is important to eat a good balanced diet including lots of whole, clean protein containing foods.

What kind of protein should I have?

It is important to choose the right kind of protein. The best protein comes from eating whole food, found in both plant and animal sources.
Plant-based protein sources include sprouted nuts, seeds including chia and hemp seeds, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, legumes, sprouts, avocado and quinoa.
The best sources of animal protein include grass-fed meat, chicken, seafood, organic eggs, and natural or Greek yoghurt.

This week we have our very own Grainne from our Wicklow street store guest blogging for us about her Top 8 Sports Supplements For Building Muscle.
Grainne is a qualified nutritionist and owner of and has a wealth of information, some of which she will share below..!

Grainne’s Top 8 Sports Supplements For Building Muscle

Building muscle is not just about lifting weights in the gym, it’s also vital to fuel your workouts with the right foods. See Emily’s blog here for more details on what to eat and drink and when for your workouts.

On top of your diet and exercise regime, adding the right sports supplements to the mix can really enhance your overall results and help you increase your muscle tone and improve your performance.
Here are my top choices:

1. Ubiquinol

What is it? Ubiquinol is the active form of CoQ10, vital for energy production. The body makes its own CoQ10, but as we age even into our 30’s, it becomes less efficient.
Athletes are often deficient in ubiquinol so supplementation can make a huge difference to energy levels.
CoQ10 is also a potent antioxidant and immune modulator, helping to keep you young and healthy, as well as providing you with plenty of energy to get you through your workouts.

How much to take and when? My favourite brand is Solgar Ubiquinol100mg. Taking 1 capsule with breakfast and if you’re training later that day, another one with lunch and give you an extra boost of energy and stamina.

Sometimes it’s hard enough getting to the gym that we don’t pause long enough to think about what we need to do the prep ourselves before we get there, or how to help ourselves out after. To make your trip to the gym less stressful, we’ve compiled our favourite pre and post snacks and sips that will keep you at the top of your game.

Before you leave the house: Consider these drinks and superfoods as important as your warm-up

1. Coconut Water, Fruit/Veg Juice or Pure Water

When should I drink? Drinking water throughout the day versus minutes before a workout will help to prevent a washy feeling, cramping or nausea during your workout. Downing a litre of water followed by a downward facing dog movement during a yoga class is not going to be pleasant!

Benefits: It is essential for any workout that you keep yourself sufficiently hydrated throughout the day to keep your body constantly hydrated. You’ll experience better performance, less cramped muscles, and feel better during your workout.

2. Maca Powder

What is it? Maca is a root vegetable that grows in the Peruvian Andes at very high altitudes. It is most commonly used to help with stamina, energy, vitality, sexual function, hormone balancing and fertility. Maca is easy to digest and considered naturally rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc, and contains 10% high-quality protein.

How should I use it? To use pre workout for an added boost, add to smoothies, protein shakes, or energy snack balls, or add to your morning muesli or porridge and consume at least an hour before your workout.

Benefits: Many studies have found that maca strengthens the body and helps maintain stamina and endurance, as well as increasing stamina by increasing oxygen levels in the blood.
Maca also works as an adaptogen, helping individuals to cope better with stress both physical and mental.

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