Healing approaches

Spring fever: Tackling hay fever the homeopathic way

By Lisa Glydon, homeopath

As we move into spring, it is time for many of us to start thinking about how to protect ourselves against allergies, such as hay fever. On a year-by-year basis, we are seeing a consistent increase in allergic responses brought about by reactions to airborne irritants and/or certain foods.

Allergens can consist of virtually anything that provokes a hypersensitive reaction. They range from pollens and pollutants, such as exhaust fumes, to foods, mobile phones and even, in certain cases, the sun. Such reactions can be mild to life threatening, and everything in between.

The three most common substances that people react to are pollen, dairy and wheat. Although there is no proven connection, interestingly all three are originally grass products. It may be that some hay fever sufferers become sensitised to proteins that are common to grains, grasses, and possibly milk.

Dairy products encourage mucus production and, in certain situations, should be avoided. Similarly, many modern strains of processed wheat are high in gluten content, which can irritate the digestive tract and likewise stimulate mucus production.

Depending on how severe it is, the reaction to such substances will determine whether you are suffering an allergic response or simply experiencing an intolerance. But when a homeopath treats hay fever, there are two aspects they are trying to achieve:

  1. To treat the acute hay fever symptoms that are presenting immediately: Here the aim is to select a remedy that is most similar to the condition itself as homeopathic medicine produces the same symptoms as those experienced by the sick person and, in doing so, provokes the body into throwing those symptoms off. In other words, like is cured by like.
  2. To provide long-term constitutional treatment in order to remove the body’s tendency to over-react to substances that it should be able to deal with: Hay fever is a more complicated condition than it first appears. As a result, it can take someone two or three seasons to get rid of completely, with each season demonstrating less severe reactions and symptoms than the last.

Here is why: An over-reactive, or allergic, response is often a sign of a weakened and stressed immune and nervous system. To achieve healing in this instance, a homeopath needs to discover why the ‘broken down’ system is reacting in this way. Careful management of lifestyle and diet will support and improve weakened organs, thereby reducing over-reactive responses.

Most people think of the immune system as simply ‘strong’ or ‘weak’. But, in fact, it consists of many sections, and each section must work well with every other one. Organising how these immune responses work together is the job of a group of white blood cells called ‘lymphocytes’. These lymphocytes organise the fine workings of the sections within the immune system.

For people with allergies, one particular type of lymphocyte seems to play an important role – the T cell. These regulatory T cells limit inflammation by turning off unwanted immune responses that are the hallmark of an allergy. So rather than fearing the allergen, which may have been in the environment for many years, it makes more sense to strengthen the immune system to deal with it.

When the body suffers a ‘stress’ of some kind, it is normal to release histamine, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. This ‘stress’ could come from the external environment or take the shape of a stressful thought or worry.

Histamine causes your capillary walls to become more permeable so that more antibodies and nutrients can reach the body to try and heal it. The result is local ‘inflammation’ and the involuntary smooth muscles (which are hollow and work unconsciously, such as the stomach, oesophagus and bronchus) contract to protect the body from invading pathogens or poisons. The result here might be either a cough or a build-up of sputum.

But in the case of an allergic reaction, the response is a lot more dramatic. The immune system goes into overdrive, causing other more severe reactions, such as extreme rhinitis, streaming eyes, sneezing and even asthmatic-type breathing issues, such as wheezing. This situation is essentially histamine gone wild and the usual medical treatment is to give the sufferer an anti-histamine tablet.

The problem is that such drugs tend to be overused, can cause nasty side effects and suppress the body’s ability to express itself. As a result, they are a nuisance to homeopaths as they mask an individual’s true allergic symptoms.

Root causes

Homeopaths are looking not only for the stresses around life circumstances that may have led to the attacks, but also the allergen concerned, and inherited traits. If a child presents with hay fever, there is often a family history of allergies and so the child could have been born with an inherited weakness.

Stress is also frequently behind the onset of many hay fever-based or allergic responses. This ‘stress’ may come in the form of fear, worry over exams or family matters, grief, anger, or even a recent illness, course of antibiotics, coming off the contraceptive pill or having a vaccine.

If there is nothing obvious, it can be helpful to explore an individual’s history to find out what has caused their constitution to behave in this way. A variety of forgotten situations could be the root cause, including negative or suppressed childhood ailments or traumas. The patient could also have an underlying infection, such as candida albicans, or a weakened digestive system, which allows pathogens to pass through and results in an inflammatory response. 

No matter how long ago these hidden situations took place, they will need to be addressed sooner or later as the body has a tissue memory. In other words, it finds ways to express these memories, and hay fever is one way of doing this.

This situation means that hay fever can take several years to tackle, with the symptoms becoming less severe each season as the remedies work through the historical causes mentioned. As part of the process, the body will reveal what needs to be treated through its symptom picture, and the homeopath matches these symptoms with the required ‘similum’ remedy.

But it is not always enough just to provide the appropriate remedy for that year’s symptoms, even if it does have the desired effect. The underlying ‘maintaining’ causes based on history and heredity also have a part to play, and it is they that make both seasonal and chronic hay-fever symptoms so complex to treat. This is why nutritional supplements are rarely sufficient on their own and why orthodox treatments simply offer relief at best and suppression at worst.

If you recognise the following symptoms during an acute hay fever episode, try taking the suggested remedy, in up to 10 doses. If they are not effective, change the remedy.

  • Allium 30c: Burning discharge from the nose and bland discharges from the eyes. Symptoms are worse indoors rather than outdoors. Light hurts the eyes, which are hot and itchy. The larynx also feels as if there are hooks sticking in it, which is made worse by warm food or drink.
  • Arsenicum albicans 30c: Your temperature is higher than normal and you feel utterly worn out but better in the warmth. Sniffing warm water up the nose gives relief from sneezing, but light hurts the eyes. There is wheezing and tightness in the lungs, a burning throat, restlessness and you are worrying a lot.
  • Arsenicum iod 30c: Thick, honey-coloured discharge from the nose, following three or four days of sneezing, sore nostrils and a burning sensation inside the nose. Warmth makes the symptoms worse. You also have a burning throat, an irritating cough, dry, scaly skin and feel worried and anxious.
  • Dulcamara 30c: Constant sneezing, stuffy or streaming nose, eyes swollen and watery. These symptoms are made worse by being outdoors or in a damp atmosphere. You may feel chilled after physical exertion.
  • Euphrasia 30c:Thick, burning discharge from the eyes, which are very swollen. There is a bland discharge from the nose, and you cough up phlegm. Symptoms are worse indoors.
  • Gelsemium 30c: Non-stop sneezing. Your eyes feel heavy and/or droopy, puffy and watery. You feel apathetic and listless and have no energy for anything. You may also feel dizzy and shaky.
  • Nux vomica 30c: Your body feels as if it is smarting, and you are very sensitive to light. Your nose is stuffy and tickly, although you sneeze less outside. You also have obstructed breathing and while your nose is blocked at night, it is runny during day. Other symptoms include itchiness inside your ears and eustatian tubes. You feel irritable and angry, want to drink coffee or alcohol, and have a headache that feels like a knife has been driven through you above the eyes.
  • Psorinum 30c: You are very sensitive to the cold and feel like you want to lie down. Your nose is streaming, but the discharge is bland or feels burning. You experience breathlessness, which is relieved by raising your arms away from the body. You also feel restless and hot at night, but in mood terms are generally low and melancholic.
  • Pulsatilla 30c: There is a bland yellow/green discharge from your nose and eyes, which gets better in the open air. You have no thirst, but feel weepy and need lots of support.
  • Sabadilla 30c: Symptoms include violent sneezing, watery eyes, red and swollen eyelids and a headache that feels as if your head is shrinking. Your thinking is slow and dull and you feel generally chilly, but your sore throat is soothed by warm drinks.
  • Silica 30c: Your nose is stuffed up, especially on waking in the morning, and your sinuses feel tender. You also feel generally chilly.

Foods that help

Eat at least nine servings of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables a day, choosing those which are high in folates, vitamin A and fibre. Folates from food are needed for cell repair and growth, immune and brain function. Brightly coloured fresh foods are high in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting qualities – parsley and green tea are particularly high in these.

Dark green leafy vegetables and legumes, such as lentils and beans, as well as strawberries and grapes are other great sources. The Western diet often results in chronic inflammatory disorders as it typically contains about 1,000mg/day of flavonoids, whereas a traditional Asian diet contains four times that amount, much of it in the shape of herbs and spices.

Lisa Glydon

Lisa Glydon has been a qualified homeopathic practitioner since 2007, but she also uses herbs, supplements and Bach/Bush Essences to boost the body’s systems and help remove emotional blockages. She initially trained as a State Registered Nurse in London, specialising in oncology and palliative care, but now treats clients of all ages and with all kinds of conditions. Lisa also runs workshops and provides talks to school children and adult groups about all aspects of health care.

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Learning to eat in a more sustainable way

By Juliette Bryant, nutritional consultant

The world is changing in positive ways. For example, many people were moved by natural historian David Attenborough’s hard-hitting message in the BBC television series, Blue Planet 2, in which he revealed the extent of plastic waste in our oceans.

Sir David was very clear as to what he wanted to say: We must stop polluting our oceans with plastic because it is seriously harming ocean wildlife. Fish are consuming toxic amounts of micro-particles and the people eating the fish are being affected too.

As a result, it would seem important for each of us to take a long, hard look at our own plastic consumption and what we can do about it – something that can feel difficult when fair trade organic bananas (and many other items) come shrink-wrapped in non-recyclable plastic.

But the good news is there are other packaging options available that are better for the environment. Normal petro-chemical plastic does not degrade at all, and even so-called ‘degradable’ plastic is not great as it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces of the same toxic stuff.  

Biodegradable plastic, which is often made from plant-based materials, is better, although it may still take years to disintegrate too. So your best bet is compostable plastic, which actually biodegrades in your compost heap. 

Now that Sir David has sounded the alarm though, a lot of big companies are starting to look at how they can catch up with demand from supermarkets and fast food chains to start using natural, non-harmful packaging. So there is a powerful opportunity for positive change on the horizon.

Because if our children are going to live on a healthy planet, it is vital that we embrace more sustainable approaches. To do so, we need to ask ourselves a few basic questions:

  • Where does my food come from?
  • What practices are employed to create this food? For example, what chemicals have been used to grow it, what energy and resources were required in using the necessary farm machinery, what food miles did it rack up?
  • What un-recyclable or un-reusable materials were used in the packaging and transportation of this food?
  • Are there more sustainable ways to provide for our food needs?
basket of vegetables

Sustainable, locally-sourced food

The answer to the last question is a resounding ‘yes’. For example, transporting food around the world is a large contributor to global pollution levels, but home-produced or locally-sourced food has low, or even zero, food miles.

As for the issue of sustainable food production and packaging, there are solutions, as I made sure today’s recipe demonstrates. Most of the ingredients came in an organic veg box from Moyns Park Organics in the upper Stour Valley on the Essex/Suffolk border. The packaging consisted of paper only and the food travelled a mere six miles to get to me. 

I also used herbs and a bay leaf from the garden. Maldon Sea Salt, which added some flavour, came from just down the road and the veggies and spices were fried in East Anglian rape seed rather than coconut oil, saving a few thousand food miles in the process. 

But it was when I was looking for protein that I nearly came unstuck. As a vegan, I do not partake of produce from large-scale animal farming, which uses vast amounts of land, water and energy resources. But nuts and seeds are a good substitute as they add essential nutrients and a creamy flavour. 

In looking at their places of origin on the packaging though, I found the following: The hemp seeds came from Romania, the pecan nuts from South Africa and the hazelnuts from Turkey. Which meant that none of them would do for this particular recipe. 

But I remembered that, during a late summer outing, I had bought some walnuts from near the gate of a local garden.  They were still in good shape six months on and so went straight into the soup to complete a locally-sourced, sustainable meal.  

A small confession though – I did add an admittedly optional tablespoon of curry powder and a chilli brought back in a suitcase after my trip to India, but hopefully that does not amount to too much cheating.

Vegetable soup

Local winter soup

2 parsnips  

1 large potato

1 leek

1 onion

1 garlic clove

1 cup of cabbage

1 chilli

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbs rapeseed oil

1 bay leaf

1 litre of hot water

½ cup of hulled walnuts

herbs to garnish

Finely chop all of the ingredients. Heat the oil and fry the leeks, onion, chilli and cabbage with the salt for a few minutes. Add the water and other ingredients, and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until ready.

Juliette Bryant

Juliette Bryant is an author, nutritional consultant, superfood chef and presenter who runs courses, talks, workshops and retreats around the world. Her passion is helping people to thrive by showing them how to make delicious and healthy food. Juliette runs a busy practice providing nutritional consultations to individuals and businesses worldwide.

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Chilli: Finding hot ways to spice up your life

Autumn Fog

By Juliette Bryant, nutritional consultant

As the trees shed their leaves and the temperature drops, it is the perfect time to bring the firewood in and enjoy the dark nights from the comfort of your hearth. It is also a good time to wrap up warm and go outside for a bracing walk. As my German friends tell me: “There is no bad weather – only bad clothing!”

Nonetheless, keeping warm is a real concern for many people. With the seemingly ever-rising cost of energy, it is not cheap to heat your house once winter sets in. Austerity, budget cuts and other difficulties in people’s lives have seen homelessness rates rocket, which only makes me appreciate the roof over my family’s head all the more.

On top of heating and wearing good clothing, however, there is another way to keep warm, and that is through food. Yes, it is true: we can all have an impact on our body’s internal heating system based on the types of foods we eat.

Think about it for a moment: Do you eat lots of cucumber when it is cold? No, because presumably you do not want to be as ‘cool as a cucumber’. Like melons, cucumbers have a high water content, inducing a calming, almost sedative effect on the body.

But what about a hot chilli? How does that make you feel? Just thinking about it warms you up and that is before you put one anywhere near your mouth. In fact, waiters in Indian restaurants generally ask ‘how hot you would like your curry?’ when what they really mean is ‘how much chilli do you want in the dish?’

Chilli is an amazing plant. There are literally hundreds of varieties from large, mild ones to small but potent scotch bonnets and blow-your-head-off ghost chillies.

Their heat comes from the compound capsaicin, which has a very positive medicinal effect. It stimulates digestion, releases endorphins and acts as a natural painkiller. It also has antibacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties, can kill parasites and helps lower LDL cholesterol. Chillies are likewise high in vitamin C and collagen, both of which help to strengthen blood and bones.

Red Chilli Peppers

A chilli history

What is interesting though is that, although chillies are one of the spices most associated with Indian cuisine, the plant itself does not originate from there. Chillies are, in fact, originally from Mexico and were brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus.

The Portuguese then took the plant to India during their trade with, and occupation of, Goa, and the rest, as they say, is history. India embraced it as an accompaniment to the country’s already established warming spices such as black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and turmeric.

The British occupation, meanwhile, introduced the Raj to the delights of curry – it is said the British used this complex mixture of local spices to disguise the stench of rotting meat that they were unable to keep from going off in the Indian heat (yuck).

But following the collapse of its Empire, Britain started welcoming immigrants from a range of Commonwealth countries, including India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. As a result, traditional dishes, such as vindaloo and jalfrezi, as well fusion cuisine, such as baltis and tikka masala, now rank among the nation’s favourite food.

As for growing chillies, in India, I have seen them developing happily in forest gardens. The tree canopy keeps excessive sunlight off the plants and the humidity at ground level provides moisture.

In not-so-sunny Suffolk, we also grow them successfully at the back of our greenhouse in a spot that is warm, sunny and moist. Some people likewise nurture them in conservatories and on windowsills.

Chilli plants like a fair amount of nutrients though, so we created our own liquid fertiliser blend using a mix of comfrey, nettle, seaweed, manure, urine and mineral rock dust. While it may smell pretty bad, it certainly works as this year we have had the best crop ever.

So here is a recipe for my home-grown chilli chutney, which you can use to accompany stir fries, curries or even sandwiches. The combination of red-hot chillies, sweet apples and dried mulberries truly is a taste sensation:

Homemade chutney

Super chilli chutney

1/2 cup of dried mulberries

2 chillies

2 apples

3 dates

10 cherry tomatoes

3 tbs apple cider vinegar

4 tbs water

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbs coconut sugar

Finely chop all the ingredients and place them in a pan. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When cooked, pot the chutney into a clean jar.

Juliette Bryant

Juliette Bryant is an author, nutritional consultant, superfood chef and presenter who runs courses, talks, workshops and retreats around the world. Her passion is helping people to thrive by showing them how to make delicious and healthy food. Juliette runs a busy practice providing nutritional consultations to individuals and businesses worldwide.

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Healing approaches

Transitioning to autumn: Top tips to promote your health and wellbeing

holiday dark decoration halloween
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

The Spirit of East Anglia community held its inaugural workshop last week based on the theme of ‘transition’.

The topic seemed an appropriate one as the event was held during the ancient fire festival of Samhain, which traditionally ushered in the Celtic New Year and took place over three days from 31 October until 2 November. A time of transition and letting go, it was, and still is, a time of change from a sunlit, outdoorsy life to a period of dark nights and time spent indoors in the warmth.

The idea is that, as we move from one phase of the season’s wheel to the next, it is an opportune moment to get rid of clutter, to throw out what is no longer useful for us and, as we increasingly move within, to open ourselves up to new possibilities.

So with this in mind, here are our practitioners’ top tips for health and wellbeing based on the presentations and exercises they shared with attendees at the workshop:

  1. Sarah Stollery, kundalini yoga and meditation teacher

Email: info@luminouswell.co.uk

Tips to improve your wellbeing:

  1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual: I know it is hard – especially as the days are getting shorter – but if you can start your day with a few minutes of deep breathing or meditation, you will ensure you enter it more consciously and with greater focus on what is truly important. This could be everything from working towards a goal or tackling a challenging project or perhaps just being more heart-centred in your interaction with others;
  2. Long, deep breathing: Many of us have adopted the unconscious habit of breathing incorrectly. But when we take in a deep breath, we suck our abdomens in, forcing our chest and shoulders to rise. In fact, when we breathe correctly, our abdomens should relax outwards slightly as the diaphragm moves down and the lungs fill with air. If you can take a few minutes everyday to ensure you breath correctly, you will feel more alert, energised and at peace. For more information on the ‘how to’s’ and benefits of long, deep breathing, go to https://www.3ho.org/long-deep-breathing;
  3. Stretch and move: We are all well aware of the benefits of exercise, but the difficulty is finding the time and space to do a little bit everyday. But that is key. Little and often is better than seldom for longer. When my yoga students ask me how to start a practice at home, I always encourage them to choose one exercise or stretch they love and one they find challenging and to do both for three minutes each. If you would like a few simple yoga practices to try, check out my warm-up video;
  4. Sing: Singing promotes the natural release of endorphins, improves lung capacity, clears the throat energy centre and can even help with sleep. Singing or chanting a mantra, as we did in the workshop together, is a powerful tool to help create wellbeing. Kundalini yoga teaches us that chanting or singing a mantra employs the technology of naad, or totally balanced universal sound, to produce a state of shuniya, orzero-point consciousness, in the practitioner. If you would like to sing along to the mantra we sang on Thursday, this is a link to the track https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BSKPele2Vo, and here is a link to the practice: https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/mantra/meditation-protection-and-projection-heart;
  5. Tune in to your “heart-brain”: If you do only one thing for yourself every day, make it this. The road to becoming a more heart-centred species has been, and will continue to be, a bumpy one, but we can help effect change by transforming our own consciousness. When each of us takes the time to connect into our heart, we help to re-calibrate the collective operating system of humanity from one of fear and separation to one of love. Here is another lovely meditation for dropping into the heart space at https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/pranayam/pranayam-techniques/meditation-calm-heart.

 

  1. Juliette Bryant, nutritional consultant, superfood chef and author

Email: juliettew27@gmail.com

Tips for boosting your immune system:

  1. Heal the gut: Kill the bad guys using aged garlic and support the good guys by taking water kefir, sauerkraut and probiotics. Also heal the holes with turmeric latte. Join me on my new, four-week online course, which is starting on Monday 12 November, to learn more;
  2. Take vitamin C: Plant-based vitamin C is easily absorbed by the body and is key to supporting a healthy immune system. I have a great food supplement on my website;
  3. Take vitamin D: More than 900 bodily functions require vitamin D, but it is especially helpful in ensuring a healthy immune system. My favourite is vitamin D3 with K2, which again you can find on my website;
  4. Use CBD oil: Cannabis oil supports the endocannabanoid system, which underpins the whole immune system.

 

  1. Helen Preston, counsellor and holistic therapist

Email: helenpreston22@btinternet.com

Tips to improve your mental health:

  1. Do not go it alone: Sharing is often the first step to healing;
  2. Be kind to yourself: Learn to be your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy;
  3. Depression is not about weakness: It has many causes and is often about being too strong for too long;
  4. Grief and loss are part of life: There is no ‘right’ way to grieve but talking can help you make peace with it;
  5. It is often not about making big life-changing choices: It is about consistently making small – almost insignificant – but positive choices for yourself on a daily basis.

Wheel of Life mandala
Wheel of Life mandala

  1. Gemma Kennedy, transformational coach

Email: gem@gemkennedy.com

Wheel of Life exercise to help you assess where your life is at:

It can be really useful to take some time each month, or each season, to review where your life is at and where you might like to head towards.

All you need for the Wheel of Life exercise is a pen, paper and a quiet moment to reflect.

Draw a circle and divide it into eight sections, labelling each one with one of the below headings, or others if they feel more appropriate:

Spiritual

Social

Personal Growth

Relationships

Professional

Physical Environment

Health / Physical Body

Financial

In your own time, evaluate each of the headings, scoring them on a scale of one to 10 (with one being very dissatisfied and 10 being very satisfied).

Afterwards, take a look at your answers and see what you notice. Some questions you might like to ask yourself are:

– Why did you give each category the score you did? Why is it not higher/lower?

– What would your ideal score be for each category?

– What score would you like to achieve over the next month/three months /six months/year?

– Which categories do you feel are most important to improve upon or balance?

You might like to keep hold of these scores so that you can check back in with them in future. I find they can be incredibly useful as a reminder of your progress when you feel that not much has changed.

 

  1. Lisa Glydon, homeopath and natural health advisor

Email: ljglydon@yahoo.co.uk

Tips to ensure a healthy immune system:

  1. Boost your oxygen levels: If a cell or organ has plenty of oxygen, it can heal, mend and rejuvenate itself. Lack of oxygen (hypoxia) leads to an acid state, which in turn leads to a toxic state, which in turn leads to dis–ease.
  • So no matter what the weather this winter, ensure you move and walk around to move the lymph around your body, so it can carry away toxins;
  • Massage or rub different parts of your body to get the oxygen flowing around it;
  • Breathe deeply from your abdomen, which will not only help to oxygenate your blood, but also help to relax you by massaging your abdomen – which is the seat of your emotions.
  1. Increase your water levels: Water is essential to life but we often forget to drink it during the winter months. Every cell in your body depends on water. Without it, your blood thickens and your heart and immune system need to work harder.
  • Drink 1½ – two litres of freshly filtered, rather than tap, water daily to hydrate you throughout the winter. Treat yourself to a filter jug if you do not have one and preferably use glass rather than plastic to drink it out of due to the synthetic hormones in plastic;
  • Add lemon, lime, honey, molasses, green powders or any other natural foods to flavour your water, or coconut oil if using hot water.
  1. Get more sleep

Sleep is vital for health as it helps to renew, repair and rejuvenate the body while you sleep. Lack of sleep lowers your immune system and can lead to chronic disease. In fact, sleep deprivation is a form of torture.

  • Apps are a great source for finding online relaxation techniques;
  • Herbs such as Avena Sativa/Valariana/Passiflora help you to relax and fall asleep but also keep you asleep;
  • Take magnesium before bedtime as it aids relaxation;
  • I have a sleep tonic with added homeopathic remedies to aid sleep too.
  1. Ensure your diet is balanced but supplement it with superfoods and supplements

Boost your immune defences by aiding your digestive health as it will help you fight off bacteria, viruses and pathogens. Remember it is not bugs that need to be feared – it is your immune defences that need to be strong.

Foods such as garlic, ginger, lemons, limes, apples, all green vegetables, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, all seeds, molasses, organic cider vinegar, olive and coconut oils, nettle and dandelion teas, baking soda are just a few good foods that will help.

In terms of supplements, vitamin C, B, D, zinc, magnesium, Omega 3 oil and probiotics are my favourites.

  1. Invest in a homeopathic kit

Although homeopathic kits are available from Helios or Ainsworth’s Homeopathic Pharmacies, they no longer send them to UK addresses due to new European Union rules. But I normally stock a few, so you can treat yourself and your family naturally this winter. Homeopathic remedies stimulate your immune system and self-healing mechanisms rather than suppress them, helping to keep your thoughts happy and healthy at the same time.

Woman Standing By Waterfall With Her Hands Raised
Health and wellbeing

  1. Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist

Email: anita.ramsden@gmail.com

Tips to keep your energy levels high:

  1. Wake your self up and switch on your energy: Put one hand on your naval and, with your other hand, rub under your nose and under your bottom lip at the same time. Switch hands and repeat the process.

Put one hand on your navel and, with the other hand, rub just under your              collarbone in the two little dips you can feel there about an inch either side of breast      bone. Switch hands and repeat.

Put your hand on your naval and with the other hand, rub your coccyx (tailbone). Switch hands and repeat;

  1. Ground yourself: Grab a stainless steel spoon and rub the bottoms of your feet. This connects you to the earth, which helps reduces inflammation and helps you feel more grounded;
  2. Release stress and tension using an emotional stress release technique: Hold your forehead with one hand, and the back of your head where it joins your neck with the other. Think about anything that is causing you stress or you are finding difficult to work out/find a solution to. This technique can be used for both a present and future situation such as a forthcoming job interview, difficult conversation, presentation and the like. Simply hold the points mentioned and take yourself through the situation. Imagine it in as much detail as you can and visualise the best possible outcome. You can also use this technique to defuse stress in the body when thinking of a past issue;
  3.  Drink plenty of water: Drink at least two litres a day, but build up to it gradually if you currently do not drink much. Your body consists of 75% water, but you loose a litre a day simply by breathing. So drinking water will make you feel less fatigued and more alert. You will have fewer aches and pains, your skin will look plump and younger and your joints and spine will thank you. In the cold weather, try hot water with lemon, or thyme, or fresh mint instead. Take a glass of water up to bed and drink it when you wake to ensure the first thing you do each morning is let your body know you are nourishing it.
  4. Be kind to yourself and others: Doing so boosts your immune system and is good for every cell in your body.

 

7. Debbie Walmsley, reiki practitioner, master hypnotherapist and Three Principles facilitator

Email: debbie653@hotmail.com

Top five reiki principles to help heal your mind, body, and spirit:

Principle 1 – Just for today, I will not worry

Worry causes stress and anxiety, which leads to imbalances in the mind, body and spirit. So alleviate your stress by trying to view each obstacle in life as an opportunity to learn and grow. Aim to keep both the obstacle and its solution in perspective – and focus the energy you have available on the solution rather than the problem.

Principle 2 – Just for today, I will not be angry

Because we are raised to believe that anger is wrong, dangerous, and unacceptable, from an early age we learn to suppress it, disguising our true feelings in order to survive, gain favour and/or avoid punishment. But if this repressed anger continues into adulthood, as it nearly always does, it can lead to chronic illness and disease.

Our thoughts trigger emotions that show up as physical symptoms in every part of our body. We can lie to others, and we can even lie to ourselves, but our bodies never lie. So just for today, try not to get angry.

Principle 3 – Just for today, I will do my work honestly

Approach your work with the intention of performing it to the best of your ability and with the goal of sharing all your talents with those you interact with. Do not hold anything back because to do so would be to cheat others. It is also cheating yourself to deny that you possess these gifts.

Principle 4 – Just for today, I will be grateful

Pause for a moment on a regular basis to acknowledge and appreciate the many blessings in your life. If you take the time to keep a list of your many blessings, you will be amazed at how many wonderful things there are to give thanks for. Do not just count the fleeting materialistic things. Focus on the things that money cannot buy.

Principle 5 – Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing

In some ways, this is the hardest principle to live by. Yes, it is easy to be kind to people you like and who like you, and it is easy to be kind when it does not cost us anything. The test comes when we are asked to be kind to people we do not care for or who make us feel angry, frightened, threatened and insecure.

But we are not asked to like, love, or condone the actions of others. All we are asked to do is to be kind to all living things when the opportunity presents itself. The greatest barrier to kindness is judging everyone from the standpoint of our own values and beliefs.

Reflecting upon these principles and striving to live within their framework is certain to effect positive change to all areas of your life. And if you fall short, that is fine. Simply try again tomorrow.

 

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Inspiring lifestyles

How ‘intuitive eating’ can help us reconnect to our bodies

Diet culture

By Gemma Kennedy, transformational coach.

So you have made the decision that there is more to life than dieting. But the mixed messages emanating from today’s diet culture are likely to have left you in a quandary over which foods you should actually eat.

For years, you have been told to avoid entire food groups, not to eat after 6pm, or to fast for two days a week. It is impossible to remember a time when your supermarket trolley was not piled high with zero-calorie noodles, meal-replacement bars or cottage cheese.

But what do you really want to eat? What makes your body feel good? By this, I do not mean what makes your body slim. Or what satisfies your hunger with the minimum possible amount of calories.

No, what I am asking about is what food would you like to eat right here and right now if there were no limits. If no foods were designated as either good or bad, what would you choose?

Writing this, I find myself fancying a wild mushroom and parmesan risotto with crunchy garlic bread, a crisp side salad and, seeing as the weather is now feeling suitably autumnal, a delicious plum crumble with custard to follow. Be patient though as there is a point to all of this – it is about exploring the antithesis of dieting.

You may remember a time as a child that involved eating when you were hungry and stopping when you were full. While you may not have been in charge of the food that was available at that point, you may have had a strong understanding of what your body enjoyed – and at times, certain foods may have seemed more appealing than others.

If you are anything like the millions of dieters around the world, it is likely you will have become disconnected from this profoundly important way of nourishing your body. It may have been a result of encouragement from others to finish everything on your plate when you were a child or to have a drink to fill you up when you felt hungry. But whatever the source, such suggestions inevitably lead us to question our body’s instinctive knowledge.

As a result, many in the anti-diet movement are now support a return to eating mindfully or what Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch call ‘intuitive eating’.

The key principles of intuitive eating are to honour your body’s hunger and fullness, being sure to eat foods that bring you enjoyment while at the same time leaving the negative messages behind. Intuitive eaters might consider whether their bodies are in need of something salty or sweet, crunchy or soft, warm or cold, spicy or mild.

Of course, it is not always possible to eat exactly what we want as there are often time, financial or other constraints. But by returning to this way of eating, you do feel an immense sense of freedom from dieting.

Happy eating

Permission to eat

One of the concerns that people often raise about this approach is the safety of giving ourselves permission to eat whatever we fancy. “Wouldn’t we just live on pizza or ice cream?” they ask.

Founders of the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement, Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramore discuss just this subject in their book ‘Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight’. They say: “The idea that you can stop watching your calories and eat what you want, when you want, is so contrary to current ideas that it evokes tremendous fear.”

But one of their studies confirmed that: “Once participants realized they could eat whatever they wanted and were supported in choosing foods they fancied, and in letting food serve many roles, food stopped holding as much power over them.”

Think about it: If you truly knew that you would be able to eat more of a particular food whenever you felt like it, without guilt or judgment, would you still spend so much time thinking about whether to eat it or not?

But it is worth noting that many people experience what anti-diet registered dietician and certified intuitive eating counsellor Christy Harrison calls the “honeymoon phase”. At this stage, they often feel “out of control” or as though they “can’t get enough” of food.

Moreover, exploring their new-found, unconditional permission to eat can last for months or years, particularly for those who have been dieting for a long time. It may feel like a pendulum swinging between eating a great deal and restricting your input again, but this situation will settle down in time, as I have experienced myself.

With regard to the issue of physical health, I do not tend to discuss it much in my work as I believe every body is worthy of respect, regardless of their state of health. But a recent HAES study showed clearly that after two years, those who lived by HAES principles, which include intuitive eating and movement, were markedly healthier, both mentally and physically, than those who continued to diet.

The report stated: “The HAES group sustained improvements in blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and depression, among many other health parameters. The typical-diet group, on the other hand, showed initial improvements in all of those parameters (and weight loss), but returned to their starting point within a year. The HAES group improved their self-esteem and reported feeling much better about themselves at the program’s end, whilst the dieters’ self-esteem plummeted.”

Due to its considerable benefits, intuitive eating is unsurprisingly becoming better known as the body- and fat-positive communities spread the word. I really hope it is only a matter of time before more people begin to question the compounded misery that dieting brings, which includes everything from food restriction to binging and the inevitable process of weight cycling (gaining and losing the same weight many times).

The fact that someone felt the need to coin the phrase ‘intuitive eating’ makes it clear just how disconnected many of us have become from our own bodies. But only when we stop relying on diet companies and the media to tell us what to eat and start listening to our own bodies instead will we truly experience life beyond dieting.

Gemma Kennedy

Gem Kennedy is a Body Positive activist and transformational coach. Having started her first diet aged 10 and spent many years promising herself that this would be the year to lose weight and start living, a switch flicked in 2017 when she discovered the Body Positive and Fat Activist communities. After training as a transformational coach, she now specialises in coaching and mentoring clients both individually and in groups to help them shed the burden of today’s diet culture and feel confident enough to be in the world exactly as they are, right now.

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