Ask the expert and WIN!

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Nobody likes feeling stressed and pre-Christmas is the one time of year where tensions always run high. That’s why we’ve called in an expert to help us de-stress, get healthy and feel a whole lot happier in time for the new year. Our new columnist Tracey King has a masters in sociology and social research and a PhD in Health Psychology – which translated, basically means she knows a whole lot about living a healthy life. Tracey’s early career as a competitive tennis player kick-started her own healthy lifestyle and more recently she launched her very own healthy tea-based drink Ti Tonics. I’m delighted to say that for the next few weeks Tracey has joined our team as our very own online health advisor. Just email your burning health-related questions to leonie@thestyleinsider.co.nz or leave them in the comments area below. You may want to drop a few kilos, learn how to tame the beast within or simply lead a calmer lifestyle. Tracey will answer your questions and share some of her top tips and tricks to leading a healthier, happier life here. The person with the best question each week will win a 12-pack of Ti Tonics to enjoy. What a great way to start the new year! I recently caught up with Tracey to find out a little bit more about her and her current passion – Ti Tonics.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My background is fairly unusual – from my early teens through to early twenties I was a competitive tennis player; then went on to forge a career as an academic psychologist, specializing in health/mind-body medicine . . . and now I’m a beverage/healthy living entrepreneur. Sounds random I know, but if you think about it, there is a common thread between all my ‘careers’ – (health/wellness/optimum performance). Coming from a family of chiropractors has also been a key influence on me; natural/healthy living is in my DNA! I think my most recent adventure (Ti Tonics) incorporates and embodies the many diverse interests that I have and experiences that I’ve enjoyed. I love a challenge and I was drawn by the stories of self-taught entrepreneurs taking risks and succeeding in business. I loved the idea of creating my own business, designing and marketing better products and being able to bring a little bit of fashion and culture into my everyday work/life. For example, I’ve always loved independent cafes, and wandering around shops and streets taking in all the beautiful displays – meeting interesting people, reading books & magazines (online and off) – now I get to do all that as part of my job 🙂

What’s the best thing we can do to manage stress?
Take ownership of it. The simple understanding that you are in control of your life is the single most important step you can take towards managing stress. Once you understand that your stress levels are created and/or maintained by your own thoughts, beliefs, emotions and choices (behaviours) you can start making changes to bring balance, serenity and happiness back into your life.

What are your top tips for staying healthy?
Sleep, walk (not at the same time!) and try to live in the moment – don’t stress! It’s never worth it 🙂

What’s your exercise regime like?
I don’t have a fixed regime as such – like every busy woman, finding time for the gym is a challenge, but once I’m there I love it. It feels so good to get your blood pumping through and around your body. And is there any better feeling than being slightly muscle sore the next day from working out? But exercise doesn’t have to be hard core – in fact my approach has become downright mellow in recent years. In LA recently I got into riding a cruiser bike around – I loved it! So relaxing . . . I think that’s the key, finding activities you genuinely love – not just what the latest craze is.

What do you do to manage your stress over the busy pre-Christmas period?
I remind myself to occasionally take time out for me. Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year when we tend to be thinking mostly about other people and looking after their needs, but it’s so important to remember to look after your own well-being too. Your family and friends want and need you to be happy and healthy and that just isn’t possible if you are exhausted and run down (neglected). So take five minutes to sit down with a lovely cup of tea, or just close your eyes in a quiet room for a few minutes, or excuse yourself to go for a walk, or – my favourite – let someone you love and trust simply wrap their arms around you and rest your head on them for a full minute. We often forget how calming and strengthening physical contact can be.

Why should we be drinking Ti Tonics?
1. We’re officially the Best Tea-based beverage in NZ! (NZJBA 2012 awards)

2. Each bottle contains 300mg of grape seed extract from NZ’s finest sauvignon blanc grapes, providing you with a hefty daily dose of antioxidant power!

3. Ti Tonic’s are 100 percent natural – no nasty artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives.

4. Ti Tonic’s are very low in sugar – we use plant sweeteners instead so they still taste delicious, but without the glycaemic impact. Don’t be fooled into thinking because beverages contain juice that they are healthy – this is just the way that other beverage companies sneak in sugar but make it sound virtuous (saying things like: no added sugar!).

How many variations/ flavours are there?
Five: Blueberry, Mango, Nectarine, Passion and Pomegranate..

Do you have a favourite flavour?
Yes – my personal fave is the Mango!

Are they just for adults or can kids enjoy them too?
My kids love them and I love the fact that I can let them, secure in the knowledge that they are all-natural, and low in sugar – I never felt comfortable giving them juice, and now there’s no need!