This is easy to make, looks elegant and makes a special gift for any occasion
280g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped freeze-dried plums or cherries
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp cacao nibs
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt (optional)
Line an oven tray with baking paper
Gently melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a pot of boiling water
Remove from heat and spread evenly and thinly on the tray with a spatula
Sprinkle over the rest of the ingredients, and leave at room temperature to set
Break or chop onto shards, and store in a sealed container in a cool place
Chocolate: considered a delicacy for thousands of years, it’s indulgent, sophisticated, delicious... but is it really good for you?
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the seeds from the cacao tree - an evergreen tree native to the tropical area of South America. After harvesting, the beans are fermented, dried, roasted and crushed, resulting in cacao nibs. These nibs are then ground into non-alcoholic liquor ready to be made into chocolate.
Not all chocolate is created equal; to reap the benefits you need to choose the highest quality dark chocolate, raw cacao powder, or cacao nibs, as these products usually have less added sugar and are higher in nutrients.
Generally, the darker the chocolate the higher the cacao (cocoa) content, so choose your chocolate carefully and enjoy:
If you’re looking for a sweet snack, a square or two of carefully chosen quality dark chocolate is a great choice.
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The bag you casually throw over one shoulder could be hurting your spine, altering your gait, and causing back, neck and shoulder pain.
For many of you this may have been a lifelong habit, and perhaps one that you haven’t given much thought to, but it can lead to serious issues for your body.
As fashion collides with convenience, large handbags come ready to carry numerous items, from laptops and phones to cosmetics and drink bottles. Each item adds additional weight, creating imbalance and strain on your body.
When you carry your bag on one side of your body, it immediately creates an imbalance; even a light bag can create a problem. In order to stop the bag from slipping off, one of your shoulders tilts higher than the other one. Over time, this imbalance can create a distortion in your upper back, shoulders and neck, as well as postural alterations throughout your spine. A heavy bag can result in muscle contraction on the side opposite to the bag, and your spine can curve incorrectly to stop you from toppling over.
Choosing a suitable bag is an important first step. Consider switching your handbag for a small backpack, as these evenly distribute the load on both shoulders. There are plenty of chic choices. Opt for equal load distribution, comfortable straps and cushioning between it and your spine.
If you really must have a handbag, carry it in your hand and exchange sides regularly. If, at times you must use your shoulder, try alternating sides. Keep the weight as light as possible and regularly unpack unnecessary items. While it is amazing what you can fit, sometimes it can be months before you realise that you are carrying around half your house in your bag!
It may seem like such a small thing but correcting this habit can help protect your spine and body from unnecessary stress and pain. So, take the challenge and note over the next few days how you are carrying your handbag. You may be surprised! For a start, avoid hanging it on your shoulder, before too long you will have broken the habit, and be carrying your bag in a healthier way.
Chiropractors play a crucial role with their focus on the health of the spine and correcting postural distortions. They can assess the weight of your bag and evaluate your posture to detect any areas of concern, provide advice, and if necessary, appropriate spinal care.
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Have you ever thought about how our spine works and what it does?
In the day-to-day bustle of life, not many people do.Yet, this incredible piece of living machinery enables you to move, keep upright, and acts as the strong foundation for your body. It both protects and directly contributes to how your nervous system works. Its design, in essence, perfectly matches its function.
The spine consists of many bones (or vertebrae): seven cervical, twelve thoracic, and
five lumbar vertebrae, plus the sacrum and the coccyx at the base. Most vertebrae are held together by facet joints, which click together like tongue and groove floorboards, and
While the spine is incredibly strong and supportive, it also wields a secret power. It is key
to brain function. As researcher and Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Roger Sperry, said, “Ninety percent of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.” Motion of the spinal joints enables us to know where we are in space and contributes to movement
control and co-ordination.
The spinal canal surrounds and encloses our spinal cord, protecting the delicate nerve tissue that is critical for the brain
and body to communicate. At each vertebral level, a pair of nerves exit. These spinal nerves stimulate muscles, skin, and the fight and flight and rest and relax systems. This enables us to move, feel, respond to threats, and to relax and recuperate.
Muscles attach one vertebra to the next and act to stabilise the spine, maintain posture, and enable movement. Ligaments also secure one bone to another, and provide mobile strength. The fascia provides another piece of the spinal puzzle. The fascia is a strong tissue that modulates tension and stiffness, and adds strength.
With its involvement in nervous system function, its support of the body, and the effect it has on wellbeing, it’s no wonder chiropractors focus on caring for the spine! As spinal joints become jammed and underperform, muscles in the back become stressed and strained from poor posture, function decreases, and injury can occur with profound effects on your health.
As you can see, it’s important to look after your spine. Daily exercise, a variety of fresh, nutrient-rich whole foods, maintaining an ideal weight, and being smoke-free are fundamental elements for spine health. Correct posture, appropriate lifting techniques, and strengthening and stretching muscles are also essential preventative steps.
Chiropractors offer a customised, drug- free, hands-on approach to spinal care. As well as helping with existing spinal health issues, they can assist you in maintaining healthy spinal practices that will improve your overall wellbeing.
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Have you ever sprinted for a backhand only to have a back spasm stop you in your tracks? Maybe you’ve been nursing spinal discomfort but it’s affecting your serve and smash? Back pain is common in tennis players; your sport might be causing, or making your pain worse.
It’s not surprising when you consider that the pressure placed on the spinal column while serving is a staggering eight times the force generated by running. Serving requires hyperextension, which can compress your spinal joints. Front and backhand shots require sudden side and twisting movements. As you toss, stretch, run, and bend with force, sometimes something gives!
According to the International Tennis Federation, 95% of players who experience low back pain have what’s called the ‘non- specific’ type. That means most problems stem from muscle and spine related injuries, the kind your chiropractor specialises in. The good news is there are ways to enjoy your passion and ease your pain.
These four important steps will help you to strengthen, support and heal your back, and improve your tennis game.
Warm up: A sufficient warm up is important to prepare your body. Five minutes of cardio, then taking your joints through their range of motion and practicing your strokes will get you ready for your game.
Professional advice: Have a tennis professional check your style, playing posture and the suitability of your racquet. The right amount of knee bend and strong muscles that fire in the correct sequence, reduce dysfunction and discomfort. Strokes performed with the right technique can increase power while lessening pain and chance of injury.
Practice the bird dog: The bird dog is a strengthening exercise that focuses on toning the core and back muscles together. Kneel on all fours. Flatten your back and brace your stomach muscles. Lift one arm out straight in front and in line with your ear, at the same time that you extend the opposite leg straight behind. Ensure your posture is stable and then hold for 10 - 30 seconds. Return to the starting position, swap sides and repeat.
Switch up your serve: Serving is a serious business that places your back under significant strain. Converting to a lower force option, for example from a kick to a slice serve, will reduce the amount of back arch.
While lower back pain is common in tennis, other injuries can occur too. If your shoulder range of motion is restricted and it hurts to reach up, or to lie on that side, you might have a rotator cuff injury. Pain in the front of the knee, damage to the calf muscle or Achilles tendon, ankle sprains, and elbow and wrist problems are also frequent events. There is even a condition called ‘tennis toe’, where the toes hit the end of the shoe causing bruising under the nail.
Remember, playing tennis creates significant spinal and joint strain. Protect your game and playing future by caring for your body in health and in injury.
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Adam's Back is a team of dedicated complimentary health professionals. Our aim is to support you in finding drug-free solutions for better health.