With sunshine comes spritz a plenty — cocktails on the rocks and a desire for bubbles and fizz! In an ideal world, your favourite cocktails would be low in calories, sugar and never followed by the lethal morning after hangover. 


While alcohol is not the healthiest part of any diet, there are ways to enjoy summertime fun without having to forgo your health goals. A few tweaks and smart swaps can make healthy choices easy, delicious, and refreshing.

Here at MEDA, we have some of our favourite summer cocktails to share with you —  providing all the cocktail fun without the high doses of sugar and calories.

Sunshine in a Glass
Looking for a refreshing and healthy sparkling CBD beverage? The MEDA Glow is a light and refreshing drink filled with flavours of elderflower and lime, and the MEDA Boost is a blend of cranberry and lime — both pair well with vodka or gin. While the MEDA Recover is an orange and pineapple flavoured drink that pairs well with mezcal or vodka and our MEDA Calm combines lavender and chamomile flavours and pairs well with rum or gin. Alternatively for an alcoholic spritz serve your chosen MEDA with a splash of Chapel Down. 

For a refreshing alcohol free spacer try serving your MEDA with added sparkling water over ice. By adding sparkling water you are keeping yourself hydrated, warding off any hangovers or picnic in the park induced heatstroke.

Make a Frozen Medatini 
Have you discovered MEDA’s healthed-up take on the Espresso Martini yet? The Espresso Medatini is a blend of premium Vodka, Cold Brewed Coffee, Madagascan Vanilla, Cacao and 10mg CBD. It is delicious!  Not only is the choice of using premium ingredients a health win here, the Medatini has 50% less calories and sugar than a standard Espresso Martini! 

Want to get even more chilled? Put your Medatini mix in a blender with a cup of ice and blitz until smooth (or leave a little texture if you prefer) or simply pour over ice cubes in a pre-frozen glass. 

This week is Men’s Health Week. A week dedicated to putting the spotlight on men’s health issues at a global level. This year the theme is based around COVID-19 and aims to take action to help men get on top of their health.Our resident nutritionist, Clarissa Lenherr, shares her five things to do today to optimise men’s health.

Reduce stress
When we are stressed, we secrete our stress hormones, one of them being cortisol. This particular hormone is actually linked to increased fat storage in men, particular around the abdominal area. Work, relationships, current affairs, poor diet, too little or too much exercise – all of these things can contribute to our stress levels. 
Incorporate one stress management technique today to reduce those cortisol levels. Think meditation, getting into nature for 20 minutes a day, doing some exercise or getting the creative juices flowing.

Take 30g of fibre
Get in that roughage! While most people tend to think fibre is solely important for our digestive system, evidence suggests it contributes to a great deal more. Fibre, especially soluble fibre, has been shown to reduce our ‘bad’ kind of cholesterol known as LDL – the one linked to cardiovascular concerns. This soluble fibre dissolves in water and actually forms a gel like substance that can help move through the digestive system pulling out fat, dietary cholesterol and sugars to be excreted. This prevents a build up of cholesterol in the body and blood, which can lead to deposits in arteries and potentially leading to cardiovascular disease.
The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g in the UK, yet the national average consumption is just 18g. Increase your intake of soluble fibre by reaching for foods such as beans, oats, sweet potatoes, broccoli and fruits.

Be mindful of red meat consumption
While red meat is a great source of protein and micro-nutrients such as zinc, b12 and iron, over-consumption has been linked to higher incidence of colorectal cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes. The NHS suggests no more than 90g per day of red meat, such as beef/lamb/pork however for optimal health I would suggest no more than 300g per week of red meat. Swap out your typical red meat dishes with vegetarian plant based options such as a Chilli con Beanie or a Lentil Bolognese. 

Don’t forget omega-3
Omega-3’s are a type of beneficial fatty acid found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and herrings or plant based foods such as walnuts and flax seeds. So what makes them so important? Firstly omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory and can protect the heart and arteries. In Japan, Greenland and the Mediterranean where diets are higher in oily fish, fewer people tend to have heart disease compared to those countries with comparably low intake of omega-3 fish!
Reach for two portions of oily fish a week or if reaching for plant based sources aim for four 30g servings. Supplementing with an omega-3 fish oil may also be beneficial, particularly if you struggle to consume these foods. We like Bare Biology’s Lion Heart Blend.

Introduce strength & conditioning 
Endurance and weight training can help boost production of testosterone, one of the chief male sex hormones. One study in 2007 showed that men who engaged in strength training three days a week across one month had higher testosterone levels, for both short and long term.
Include two strength training exercise sessions per week. For inspiration head to Bradley Simmonds on Instagram to catch his Instagram Live workouts. https://www.instagram.com/bradleysimmonds/?hl=en

Referenceshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17051372/

Our libidos are complicated and influenced by changes in our mood, diet, weight, age, stress levels and environment — to name a few. There are a number of natural libido boosters that may be worth playing with! 

Maca
A Peruvian root that can be taken as a powder or in a supplement. Maca has been used traditionally for centuries as a natural aphrodisiac. A double-blind study in 2002 showed that a 12 week ingestion of maca increased the sexual libido in men versus those taking a placebo.
Plus it tastes like butterscotch so is a great thing to throw into smoothies, baking, or top onto yogurt. Be mindful that maca can influence estrogen levels and should not be taken by anyone with hormonal imbalance (unless you are being advised by your nutritionist/GP).

Panax Ginseng
Ginseng is an ancient herb that has been traditionally used for years due to its reported aphrodisiac properties. For women, it has been shown in studies to improve the libido of post-menopausal women after taking three 1g capsules every day for a fortnight and for men it is reported to help improve erectile function. 

Find Panax Ginseng in MEDA’s Focus drink and to learn more about the power plant, read our spotlight here. https://medahuman.com/spotlight-panax-ginseng

CBD
Stress can be a libido killer. Whether you are thinking about your to-do list, worrying about the future or unable to switch off from work — none of these thoughts are very sexy! So how can we de-stress to help us get in the mood?

Enter CBD, which has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress by working on serotonin (our happy hormone) receptors. Why not try our MEDA Calm drink which delivers 15mg of CBD alongside calming herbs such as chamomile and lavender? https://medahuman.com/product/calm

Don’t forget the importance of good nutrition
While trying out some natural supplements may be effective for some, there is nothing more important than eating a well balanced diet. Ensuring you are maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, managing stress and getting adequate nutrients through your diet, will set you up for good health, and give you the foundations required to take charge of your libido!

*The information and content of this article is provided only for informational purposes. It is not meant in any way as a substitute for the professional advice provided by your physician or any other healthcare professional.

References
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12472620/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20141583/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1969666/https://www.auajournals.org/article/S0022-5347(05)64298-X/abstract

For the majority of us, work is work and home is home. But when your home suddenly becomes your work space, it can be tricky to separate the two. And with most of the population now #wfh due to the pandemic of COVID-19, now more than ever, we need to adapt to new environments and a new way of living and working.

While some of you might be in the swing of things with a new routine, others might find their productivity is beginning to wane —  especially with the sunshine beaming outside our windows.

Registered Nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr shares her top tips to stay productive when working from home.

Get exposure to light
And by light, I mean daylight. When we commute into work, we start our days by exposing our eyes to natural light, which helps contribute to our circadian rhythm, the cycle that governs our wake and sleep patterns. This light tells our body that the day has begun, and helps boot up our energy systems. Aim for ten minutes of fresh air and natural light in the morning, and once again in the afternoon for a refreshing pick me up. 

Make a to do list
I always begin my day by noting down a list of my tasks for the day. If you are a fan of paper and pen like me, use a notepad, journal or planner. For those of you who are more tech savvy, set-up notes/stickies/google docs or look at some of the task management software available online such as monday.com, Basecamp etc.

Structure your day with lots of breaks
I often find, once I am invested in a project or a piece of work, hours can fly by before I have remembered to take a break. This can leave me feeling exhausted, dry eyed and even gives me backache. To combat this try setting three alarms per day to remind you to get up and have a break – times that work well for me are 11am, 3pm and 5pm. 

Prep food in advance
Batch cooking will save you time planning, thinking and cooking food, all of which gives you more time to prioritise other tasks that might be on your to do list. Batch cook or prep on a Sunday some healthy snacks such as protein balls and muffins, one tray of roast veggies and one grain (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat). By having these in the fridge you are prepped with some staples to build a well balanced meal.

Move
With stress levels higher than ever for many of us right now, moderate movement is incredibly beneficial. High intensity exercise can trigger a release of cortisol, which can exacerbate already high stress levels. Moderate activity such as long walks, Pilates, Yoga or stretching can keep our blood flow moving, help us iron out any stiff necks and niggles and refresh our energy levels. 

Limit your phone time
Social media and the constant light up notifications on your phone can be a big productivity killer. Try turning off screen notifications on your phone, and limit your checking of personal notifications to once per hour. There are also some great apps that can limit your time exposure to certain apps such as Offtime and AppDetox.

In this strange and unusual time, many of us have found ourselves locked down with our partners and spending more time together than ever before. Spending such a vast amount of time with any other person is testing enough, let alone when we are dealing with our own pressures that Covid-19 has presented us all with, in one way or another. So here are some top tips to keeping your relationship healthy!

1) Own Your Own Feelings
Whenever I speak to people about their relationships, I always stress the importance of owning your own feelings. So often we project our stress, mood and overall wellbeing onto the people closest to us. If we are tired, overwhelmed, bored or frustrated, we have a tendency to become over-sensitive, defensive and easily irritated. It is from this place that so many arguments arise within couples. Start to become aware of your state of mind each day and take time to check in with yourself. How are you feeling today? If you are having one of those days where negativity is creeping in, take a second to pause and acknowledge it to yourself and to your partner. Gently communicate how you feel so they are aware of it too with a simple statement such as, “I’m feeling overwhelmed today”. Then take time to do what you need to do to reset. Whether that’s meditating, going for a walk alone, having a long bath, or getting a sweat going with an online workout – invest in your emotional wellbeing and know that doing so is not selfish, it is the exact opposite. Similarly, be aware of your partners behaviour and general mood and try to consider that if they seem short or abrupt in their behaviour towards you, there may be something else triggering them. Refrain from taking things too personally. Check in with your partner, ask them how they are and offer them a safe space to open up to you without judgment. 

2) Give Each Other Space
This seems both obvious and impossible at the same time. We all know how important space is within a relationship and now, more so than ever, do we need to ensure we are getting enough ‘me’ time. Scheduling in alone time is the key here. Choose an hour in the day where you commit to being in separate rooms, closing the door and not interrupting one another. If you have kids, take turns in doing this. During this hour (or more), do something that is entirely for you. whether it’s catching up with your best friend, reading a book, or watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. 

If you are both working from home then make sure you give yourselves designated work spaces. Ideally, your spaces will be in separate rooms, but if that’s not possible then at least allocate separate corners of the dining table. Doing so will allow you to retain focus and avoid getting frustrated by the unintended but constant distractions or interruptions. 

3) Inject Some Fun
A psychological study found that the overall quality of relationships is linked to how many novel or arousing experiences a couple share together. Without the ability to venture outside, it is all too easy to get trapped in the mundane bubble of home life which makes it near impossible to share new and exciting experiences. We must make a conscious effort to find joy, fun and excitement together at home. Creating date nights at home is an easy and effective way to do this. Make each other feel special by taking it in turns organising the evening; cooking one another a delicious meal, lighting some candles, playing some music and changing the ambience will be a welcome change to the daily rhythm and help to reignite any spark you might have lost. There are so many ways to find joy together at home as long as you make an effort to commit to it; maybe you want to organise a theme night (Mexican Night anyone?) or make cocktails at home together with a feel good album playing in the background, or you could simply find a workout that you can both enjoy together. Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure to put your phones away, let go of any external worries and give each other some undivided attention. 

4) Practice Gratitude for Each Other
Cultivating gratitude has such a powerful effect on every area of our lives including our relationships. How often do you actually take the time to say thank you to your partner? Yet how often do you point out when they’ve forgotten to do something, or not got it quite right? Start to make conscious effort to refocus your attention on all the wonderful things your partner does for you, no matter how small, and acknowledge it out loud. To avoid getting irritated with each other, focus your attention on gratitude for each other. Whether it’s emptying the dishwasher, letting you sleep in while they get up with the kids, or giving you a compliment, simply saying “thank you” each time will transform your relationship. It works in 2 ways; it makes your partner feel valued and appreciated and it keeps your attention focused on the positives. 

5) Show interest
Remember that both you and your partner are not able to be at work, amongst colleagues, or spending time with friends. Now, it is more important than ever to take the time to show interest in each other’s work or hobbies. Simply remember to be each other’s best friend because after all is said and done, it is the friendship between you that is the glue holding you together. 

MEDA’s top five lifestyle tips for optimised sleep

What’s the secret to a perfect night’s sleep? If only it were that simple.

Think about all the elements that can interfere with a good night’s slumber — from work pressure and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges and stressors, such as illnesses. It’s no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes elusive.

This World Health Sleep Week, we are providing you with our top five healthy lifestyle habits that may help encourage better sleep. 

SET A DIGITAL CURFEW

Curfews aren’t just for the kids. Implementing a sleep curfew can help set those boundaries and prevent late night scrolling or before-bed emailers!

For tech-free zzz’s, disconnect an hour before bed. Turn your phone off or on aeroplane mode and put any tech on an out-of-reach dresser or in another room so you won’t be able to grab it if you get the late-night urge. Worried about missing your morning alarm? It now sounds ancient, but…. invest in a real alarm clock! It will prevent you from reaching for your tech first thing upon waking. 

INVEST IN BLUE-LIGHT BLOCKING  

The blue light emitted from screens, phones, computers, TVs, etc. interrupt the secretion of Melatonin, our sleep hormone, and can artificially trick our bodies and minds into thinking that it is still day-time.

To avoid this, make sure you set your screens to automatically switch onto a warm tint after 9pm, and ideally, switch off all screens at least 1 hour before bed. There are some great apps you can download on your devices that will change your light setting automatically. Check out Flux free app for your computers – https://justgetflux.com/

CREATE A BED-TIME ROUTINE

A bedtime routine can help many of us get in the mood and ready for deep, quality sleep. However it doesn’t need to be long-winded or complex. Whether you enjoy lighting a candle, having a 20-minute bath or making a cup of herbal tea in the evening then this can become part of a bedtime routine. Begin with one thing that you know promotes relaxation and incorporate more as you begin to reap the rewards of self-care!

TIME YOUR WORKOUT

Cortisol, our ‘stress’ hormone is naturally produced in response to exercise – but hold up, don’t stop exercising right away, Cortisol isn’t always a bad thing, and it is essential for our survival too. 

A normal pattern of cortisol production looks like this.  At around 6am cortisol is released which helps us get up and get going for the day, and begins to dip around 10pm which may help us begin to fall asleep. ⠀

If you are struggling with your sleep, it may be a good idea to try to work with your natural cortisol curve, and schedule exercise in the morning rather than in the evenings. If you do want to move in the evenings, opt for yoga, a light stroll or Pilates. An added bonus, more mindful movement can incorporate breathwork and meditation which can help promote relaxation, right before bed-time.

FIND YOUR MOMENT OF MINDFULNESS

Being mindful is about focused attention. For some people this is meditation, for others this is focusing on the present or just listening to your thoughts. Everyone is mindfully unique, which is why it is such an essential practice for each person. 

Practicing mindfulness can help you get into a state of relaxation which will not only help you fall into a deep slumber, but will also help reduce stress and quieten the thoughts and feelings from your day. If you suffer from a racing mind before bed, being mindful over time will help you control this.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your career?
Leading the creation of a new team and centralised Programme Management Office function in an organisation that was forming — embedding meaningful oversight and change.

How do you set your goals?
For short term goals I like to set realistic targets as I am mindful of the negative impacts of over committing oneself. However, saying that, I do try to keep a list of weekly actions and within this reprioritise frequently to make sure I am on top of things and focused on the key areas. 

For longer term goals I think it’s important to be focused on outcomes rather than specifics. I believe it to be important to embrace change and let it help shape outcomes rather than fight against it.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect of you.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
A mixture of spending time with people I love and admire and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to broaden my horizons and solo travelling.

How important is nutrition?
I like to lead a healthy, active, lifestyle. I place nutrition on the same level as exercise and maintaining mental wellbeing 

Tell us about your experience integrating MEDA into your daily routine.
Taking MEDA’s Sleep drink in the evening has helped me wind down. I’ve struggled for years with a tendency to wake-up and overthink which can really impede quality sleep. I have noticed a calmer sense before bedtime and my sleep has been deeper and less interrupted.

What does being a Medahuman mean to you?
Being more cognisant of the mind-body connection.

What would be your ultimate achievement? How are you going to get there?
Good question. I guess my ultimate achievement would be to remain true —  to have created or to be part of a thing that has had a positive impact for others. To know that I grasped life in its fullness and enjoyed it from a focus on people, places and experiences. 

I’ll get there by continuing to challenge myself and not being afraid to take risks. Taking a more creative approach at work and in life in general and to seek out and create opportunities that are rewarding while remaining grateful and appreciative.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your career?
Starting up my own design studio and now being five years into it and experiencing how it’s developed and keeps changing. It’s also given me the opportunity to work on brands I love and collaborate with some fantastic clients and other creatives.

How do you set your goals?
In my work life I tend to be very structured and set goals and review them every quarter. Then at the end of the year I reflect on what’s happened and set some big goals I’d like to work towards for the following year. I find I sometimes forget to celebrate the little wins so this really helps.

When it comes to my personal life I’m more relaxed and have to be realistic with how much time I have — although I still like to keep busy! I’m learning Japanese at the moment but I’m keeping my approach to it fun. 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
‘Worrying is like a rocking horse, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere’. I try to remember this and act on it when I overthink things. 

Where do you draw your inspiration?
Everywhere and anywhere. Sometimes I find going for a run or going bouldering really helps me to feel refreshed and inspired. I’m also a bit of a hobby addict (wood carving, gardening, drawing) and always have something on the go. Another favourite of mine is a good second hand bookshop or antique market — you can end up finding so many inspiring and unusual things.

How important is nutrition?
Nutrition is really important to me, especially with being active. If I’m not looking after myself and stray from my usual balanced diet it negatively affects my mood. 

Tell us about your experience integrating MEDA into your daily routine.
I’ve been taking a daily dose of MEDA’s Recover drink and I’ve found having it after a run or climb is best or later on in the afternoon.

What does being a Medahuman mean to you?
Finding a calmer and more focused approach to my daily routine.

What would be your ultimate achievement? How are you going to get there?
Getting a better work life balance and being able to travel more. I’d really love to be able to run a studio that has a four day working week so that everyone can benefit.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your career?
Making partner by the time I was 34 was a great milestone to pass, particularly given that I specialise in commercial real estate which is a very male dominated sector and that whilst women make up almost 50% of all lawyers in the UK, we are still very underrepresented at Partner level (approx. one third). 

How do you set your goals?
I have tended to evaluate where I am in terms of my career at any given point and then decided which direction I want my career to go in; salary expectations, geographic location, promotion.  I then consider how quickly I want/need to achieve that goal in order to feel a sense of accomplishment, and then I work out what I need to do in order to achieve it. 

What is the best advice you have been given?
“This too shall pass”. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. When things look bleak, focus on the positives that exist in your life. They always are there. 

Where do you draw your inspiration?
Suits.  (Joking).  I draw my inspiration from my parents and how hard they worked in their business to ensure that I had the opportunity to pursue a successful career. I also take inspiration from two female lawyer friends of mine. We all worked at the same firm in the early stages of our career, albeit in different specialisms. We remained very good friends when we each moved to separate London firms and watching them forge successful careers in their chosen field drives me to try and be as good as they are in my own field. 

How important is nutrition?
Having a balanced diet has such a positive experience on your physical and mental wellbeing. 

Tell us about your experience integrating MEDA into your daily routine?
I tend to have MEDA whilst sitting at my desk working, mid/late morning.  Initially I was drinking it in the afternoon but I feel that I experience a greater benefit from drinking it in the morning. 

What does being a Medahuman mean to you?
Sometimes it can be stressful in my work managing lots of different plates in the air at once.  Being a Medahuman has helped me to not get overwhelmed by that and address my work in a calm and balanced manner which ultimately has the positive effect of reducing any feelings of anxiety. 

What would be your ultimate achievement? How are you going to get there?
Having it all. For me that means, a successful career in which I am respected by my contemporaries, a beautiful forever home that I can relax in and a happy and loving relationship and family life. Quite often I have felt that I might have 2 out of 3 in the bag but I was nowhere near to achieving the elusive 3rd.  Maintaining a consistent approach to all three is how I intend to achieve that, and not focusing on 1 or 2, to the detriment of the 3rd.  They are all equally important and deserve equal amounts of my effort.  It’s all about balance.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your career and sport?
I have been a personal trainer and coach for 8 years now, working with a variety of clientele. They include competitive physique athletes, pro MMA fighters and golfers, semi-pro footballers and professional musicians. And of course the general public who all have individual, specific goals in mind — whether that’s improving mobility and strength or running their first ultra-marathon. 

I’m particularly proud that every athlete I have ever put forward for a competitive physique athlete show has placed and won a trophy in their chosen category.   

My own sporting accomplishments are becoming a district junior athletics champion, 2 x ‘Regional Natural Bodybuilding Champion’ and 1 x ‘Best Wheels in the South’ trophy holder — my personal favourite, which essentially means best legs on the day. Haha.

How do you set your goals?
I set goals by micro-managing a situation. This is when I take a goal I have in mind for myself or the client and I make small manageable goals that are achieved session-to-session resulting in constant progress. 

What is the best advice you have been given?
Without doubt the best advice I’ve been given and practice is: “Fail more, it’s where we learn.”

Where do you draw your inspiration?
My inspiration started from the bodybuilding legends of the 70s/80s and 90s…Arnie, Franco, Bob Paris, Tom Platz and Sergio etc., but over recent years I have been very fortunate to know some fantastic athletes within my sport and this community drives me. We’re there to support and inspire each other. 

How important is nutrition?
Nutrition is fundamental whatever the goal and is not to be overlooked. I’ve invested a lot of my time and money into learning about and keeping up-to-date with the ever-changing world of nutrition, in fact I think I would class nutrition above training in most everyday situations. 

Tell us about your experience integrating MEDA into your daily routine?
In my experience there are two things people fail to do when trying to achieve optimal performance in and out the gym. Focus and recovery. I’ve been integrating MEDA’s Focus drink into my daily routine before my morning training session.. I’ve been trialling this now for two weeks and I’m starting to notice a difference in maintaining my focus under pressure. I’ll be reporting back on this in my next post. 

What does being a Medahuman mean to you?
Being a Medahuman for me is about going beyond what others around you are doing — striving to achieve the extra 1% in a world where 99% is the norm.  

What would be your ultimate achievement? How are you going to get there?
I am going to achieve an overall win at a bodybuilding show, this is the only trophy I am yet to win at a regional. But my ultimate ambition and goal, is to represent my country at a world finals. To achieve this I will have to be at my best, far better than what I am now, I’ve a lot of work to do but nothing I feel time and consistency won’t achieve. Really focusing on the things I can control. Training, food and posing.