Inspiring lifestyles

Unearthing the joys of seasonal food

By Juliette Bryant, nutritional consultant

We truly have access to a global food market these days. Blueberries are flown to the UK from Peru, green beans from Kenya and apples from New Zealand, all causing pollution and releasing carbon emissions as they go. 

But despite the convenience of having our favourite foods available to us all year round, nothing beats the taste, flavour and nutritional quality of freshly picked, local goods. We are lucky to live in East Anglia, a region that is rich in good soil and has a great climate for food production. 

From our gardens at this time of year, we can enjoy lettuce, dandelion and mustard leaves, spinach and herbs, such as parsley, mint, lemon balm, sage, rosemary and oregano. But there is also a wide range of wild food on offer too, which definitely ticks the boxes in terms of low food miles, seasonal freshness and packing a nutritional punch.

These include young hawthorn leaves and flowers (called “bread and cheese” by some locals), young lime leaves, chickweed and one of the most plentiful and nutritious crops at this time of year, nettles. Nettles make an excellent foodstuff as they have a higher iron content even than spinach and also provide an array of other minerals. They help alkalise the blood, detox the system and, being a green food, are packed with chlorophyll, which is one of nature’s magical components. 

It is amazing how plants convert the sun’s energy into food that can sustain us. Each one interacts with the sun’s rays in different unique ways to provide us with a plethora of phytonutrients, which nutritional science is learning more about each day. But plants are also beautiful and ‘feed’ us in a spiritual way too.

Another one of my favourite seasonal foods is local asparagus. Asparagus takes patience and can be tricky to grow – it requires several years of effort to establish the trenches required to produce those delicious spears. It is also seasonal in nature, growing in the UK between February and June, but reaching its peak in April, which makes it all the more special when it is here.

As well as the vegetable’s ‘melt in the mouth’ flavour, there is also something quite appealing about its effects. An important belief in folk medicine terms from the Middle Ages up until relatively recent modern times was the ‘doctrine of signatures’. The idea was that foods resembling body parts had a beneficial healing effect on that area. 

Walnuts, which when opened resemble a brain, are a classic example – and interestingly, we now know that they contain high levels of omega 3 fats, which is an essential nutrient for brain health. 

The erect spear of asparagus also indicates one of its qualities as a libido-enhancing foodstuff. While easy to dismiss it as an old wives tale, recent research has shown that it contains high levels of B vitamins, including B6, which help to increase the histamine levels essential for a healthy sex drive. So there you go.

Juliette’s asparagus a gogo

1 bunch of local asparagus, with the woody ends removed

Lightly steam the asparagus, before putting it into a bowl with one teaspoon of coconut oil and a pinch of sea salt. Mix so that it is all coated nicely in the oil.

Hollandaise sauce

¼ cup cashew nutss

¼ tsp turmeric

3 tbs water

3 tbs extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil

pinch of salt

2 tbs lemon juice or half a lemon

1 tbs maple syrup

pinch of black pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and whizz until it forms a smooth, creamy sauce to dip your asparagus into.

For more recipes, go to www.julietteskitchen.tv.

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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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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Healing approaches

Homeopathy: The power of self-healing

nature red forest leaves
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By Lisa Glydon, homeopath

Autumn is a time to be more mindful of our health as we prepare for the winter ahead. Because just as the leaves on the trees change colour so the cells within our bodies start to shed. This process is needed to enable renewal and ensure eternal balance at the cellular level.

Our body comprises trillions of cells that make up hair and bone, tissues, muscles and vital organs. All of them are constantly striving to keep us healthy, but thousands of old ones die off each day to make room for new ones to be created. It is how the body self-regulates and self-heals. But how we look after these cells is up to us.

Confused?

The body’s self-healing mechanism is somewhat mystifying, not least because different cultures and disciplines think about it in different ways.

In Chinese medicine, for example, the health of the “whole” system, which comprises body, mind and spirit, depends on the balance of Yin and the Yan – opposites that when brought together create wholeness. Qi, which sounds like ‘chi’ and means “vital energy”, flows through the body and takes the form of five natural elements: metal, wood, water, fire and water.

In Ayurvedic medicine, which is practised in the Indian subcontinent, an individual’s constitution consists of three basic types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are also based on the elements of nature.

While these concepts may seem strange to our Western way of thinking, they are actually derived from disciplines that have withstood the test of thousands of years of practice.

In homeopathy, meanwhile, the idea of self-healing is based not so much on the balance of ‘elemental energies’, but on a patient’s individual energy – their vital force. Although it is not possible to see this vital force under a microscope, you can feel it within you when you are well. When you are not, it expresses itself via the symptoms and conditions you experience.

The subsequent ‘picture’ that a homeopath builds up of a patient is based not just on their symptoms, but also on the history of their ailment, the history of their health and a detailed description of what a ‘normal’ energy flow is for them when well.

Such observations make it possible to study how someone’s energy is expressing itself in terms of their spirit, emotions and physical body, what is causing it to become ‘stuck’ and where – because it is this ‘stuck’ energy that needs healing. It is, in fact, our body is crying out to make us listen so we can help the energy clear and allow it to flow again.

creek-forest-nature-68632 (1)

Unblocking stagnant energy

Sadly in the West though, we tend to see this expression of pain as simply an inconvenience and take drugs or other treatments to ‘suppress’ it. While doing so may help temporarily, because the body is always trying to heal itself, any problems will just express themselves elsewhere – and the symptoms may even be worse next time.

The aim of a homeopath, however, is to unblock this stagnant energy by using remedies that stimulate the body’s own means of healing itself – just as acupuncturists use needles to get it flowing again too.

This vital force is both the link, and the chain, between the physical and the subtle bodies of mind, emotions and spirit. It is programmed to work in harmony with the electrical impulses of our central nervous and endocrine systems and the glands that produce our hormones.

These hormones act like chemicals within the body, working as part of our biochemistry. If one hormone is out of balance, the others will be knocked out of balance too as they all need to work together to keep the ‘whole’ well. This harmonious teamwork maintains our equilibrium: A status quo of optimum health.

By way of contrast, allopathy (western medicine) focuses on biochemistry and the immune system as the key ways of maintaining health. The term ‘immune system’ is used to describe the lymphatic system, or waste disposal unit of the body (that is, the leucocytes and lymphocytes, which seek out and destroy invaders such as bacteria and viruses).

While the immune system is a critical element of dealing with dis-ease, it is also extremely limited in its scope. As a result, if it becomes the sole focus for healing, it becomes necessary to use treatment methods that do not rely on the body’s own resources to heal.

For instance, at this time of year, there is a big push for people to have flu vaccines, despite the fact that they contain many toxic ingredients and heavy metals. But such an approach is disrespectful to the body’s own self-healing abilities as it destroys and disrupts them – while making massive profits for the pharmaceutical companies at the same time.

A key problem here is that drugs and surgery only treat the symptoms that manifest in one part of the whole.

Yet many generations ago, the Greek philosopher Plato said: “The cure of the part should not be attempted without the treatment of the whole. No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul. If the head and body are to be made healthy, you must begin by curing the mind for this is the greatest error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that the physicians first separate the soul from the body.”

The word ‘soul’ today may have religious connotations, but that should not distract us from the serious message in Plato’s words. It could be summarised thus: You cannot treat and cure the body without taking the emotions, mind and spirit into consideration.

women s white top and orange floral skirt
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on Pexels.com

What happens during the process of self-healing?

When a dis-ease or unpleasant symptom occurs, homeopaths observe it carefully to see how it feels and how it expresses itself within an individual. Such information is then used to help select a unique natural remedy for them. This remedy will stimulate their body’s vital force so that it can start to heal itself.

Very often the first response will be a discharge. Homeopaths love discharges as they are all about drainage, whether we are talking about mucus, smelly perspiration, skin rashes, a fever, bowel or appetite changes. Depending on what needs to be healed, emotional shifts may follow too. There are often tears or feelings of anger or sadness.

Discharges can be thoroughly messy, but they are always to an individual’s advantage – unless they are simply too profuse and weaken the system, in which case further support is needed. But ultimately whatever the body has to do to get better, it will do – and we, as practitioners, simply encourage that process to take place until things are back in balance again.

The incredible thing is that, even as the body produces these shifts – or healing responses – the individual always starts to feel better in themselves. They always say things like “I’ve got more energy” or “I can think more clearly” or “I’m feeling back to my old self again”.

It is as if the body has been lifted out of its fog and is eradicating all of the things – the shocks, the upsets, the toxicity, the drug side effects – that was holding it back. Here are some examples of how it works:

  • Headaches can be relieved by nosebleeds, having a bowel movement, urinating more or releasing pent-up emotions, especially tears or anger;
  • Cystitis may be healed by releasing anger – it is where the old expression ‘pissed off’ comes from. Holding back strong emotions can make our system more acidic, which attracts bacteria to the bladder;
  • Food poisoning can be cured when the body expunges the problem by means of vomiting and diarrhoea;
  • Most asthma/eczema sufferers indicate they can breath better if their eczema flares up and exudes matter as the skin, rather than the lungs, acts as a discharge point;
  • A fever will break following profuse sweating, copious urination or a mucus discharge.

If we were to try to ‘stop’ these natural processes, we would suppress the body’s own healing responses, which as we can see from the discharge situation, is often a powerful reaction. But doing so would push all of that powerful energy back into the body.

Suppression is not good news as it prevents the completion of drainage and contributes to a compromised vital force. But sadly it takes place all too often today when people take antibiotics, analgesics or steroids. As a result, we are seeing more chronic autoimmune diseases and conditions than ever before.

Nonetheless, once people discover their body’s own unique power to heal itself, they tend to become more empowered and aware of how it functions. They become more involved in their own health and less reliant on drugs and other treatments that may hinder their self-healing powers. In fact, they also frequently become less fearful and develop more confidence in their own abilities, even when things get rocky.

Because to truly understand health, we also have to understand the process of healing.

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 healthcare.

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Why go organic?

agriculture basket beets bokeh
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By Juliette Bryant, nutritional consultant.

A couple of years ago, colonic hydrotherapist Esther McCulloch contacted me about her vision of creating a pioneering centre that combined food and wellbeing. With my help, she launched the Primrose Juice Bar & Naturopathic Centre in Chelmsford.

One of the important considerations that attracted me to this project was that Esther wanted all of the produce sold in her shop to be organic. When pregnant with my first child 13 years ago, I had started to look more closely at the food I was eating. I was growing a little being inside me that would be affected by what I consumed. From that point on, whenever possible, I have eaten organic food.

But what are the benefits? Is it healthier? Why do most farmers use artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers? Hasn’t the spectre of DDT pesticides faded into the past now? Surely agricultural chemicals have to be tested and safe? What about genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) – are they toxic in terms of long-term health?

I have been investigating these questions for some time. My research has included studying Environmental Science at Writtle College, living and working on a conventional farm, growing fruit and veg myself, and talking to experts. So let’s explore some of the issues.

Leading authority on natural health Dr Joseph Mercola writes: “People have been led to believe that industrial farming is the only way to feed the skyrocketing population. Farmers turned to genetically modified organisms to ‘improve’ the quantity and quality of their crops. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where thousands of animals are housed in constricted quarters, have also become the norm.

But although GMOs and CAFOs “make livestock and crops cheaper, while giving farmers higher profits”, Mercola questions “at what cost?” “Widespread pollution, drug-resistant diseases, nutrient deficiencies and animal cruelty are just some of the costs associated with cheap and low quality meat and crops,” he says.

Contrast this statement with that of local producer Phil Mizen from Moyns Park Organics in the upper Stour Valley on the Essex and Suffolk border, who points out: “Growing organically is not a methodology. It’s a philosophy, a way of life. For me, it’s about respecting the soil and the wider environment, while producing nutritious and tasty vegetables in a sustainable way.”

Ecology
Ecology

Ethical growing

Mizen also cites US philosopher and ecologist Aldo Leopold, who once said: “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Another local business that follows the organic food philosophy is the Cradle vegan bakery and café in Sudbury. Its take on the subject is that: “Our mission is to produce delicious food grown by ethical growers whose methods encourage healthy soils and biodiversity.” And given how packed their café is, their customers certainly appear to like it.

Esther takes a similar line at Primrose Juice Bar. “We have a sign that says: ‘Don’t panic, we’re organic’, she says. “We firmly believe that everything we take into our body should have a beneficial effect on our whole being.”

She also points out that in her professional work, she has seen the negative effects that eating a conventional diet can have on people’s health. “Consuming organic produce and goods gives us the best chance of a healthy, more fulfilling life. And it is better for the planet too,” Esther says.

Here are also a few statistics that you may find interesting:

Put another way, the message is: ‘When possible, go organic.’

Vegan curry
Vegan curry

Recipe

My 10-veg organic curry:

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 chilli

1 tbs of coconut oil

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

½ teaspoon of salt

cup of tomatoes

2 cups of cooked vegetables eg red split lentils, sweet potato, carrots

1 cup of fresh vegetables eg courgettes, broccoli, peppers, kale

1 cup of ground almonds

1 cup of hot water

Sautee your onion, crushed garlic clove and chilli in a pan with the coconut oil. Next add the curry powder, garam masala and salt and mix well. Stir in your tomatoes
 and simmer for five minutes. Blend the ingredients together to make a masala sauce.

Add in your cooked and fresh vegetables, before adding the ground almonds and hot water. Mix all of the ingredients together and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Serve with rice and salad.

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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Inspiring lifestyles

The hidden scourge of nutritional deficiency

abundance agriculture bananas batch
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By Juliette Bryant, nutritional consultant.

While great swathes of the UK population are suffering from food intolerances these days, another more hidden issue that is creating even greater problems for people’s health is nutritional deficiency.

There are a number of reasons why nutritional deficiency is on the increase. Some of the nutrients in our food, particularly minerals, come largely from the nutrients in the soil. But soil erosion and industrial-scale farming have led to a massive reduction in soil nutrient levels.

Another problem is that poor gut health leads to the poor absorption of whatever nutrients are left. This means it is not so much that ‘we are what we eat’ but rather ‘we are what we absorb’. But to make matters worse, many people are also over-indulging in processed food, which is often devoid of nutrients in the first place.

The University of Texas published a landmark study on the topic as long ago as December 2004 in the ‘Journal of the American College of Nutrition’. It studied US Department of Agriculture nutritional data from 1950 and 1999 relating to 43 different vegetables and fruits.

The study revealed there had been “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C found in our food over the last half century. It also showed that this situation was mainly down to agricultural practices designed to improve produce size, growth rate and pest resistance – but not nutritional content.

Meanwhile, Volkert Engelsman, an activist with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements warned a forum at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome in 2014 that: “We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming.”

In fact, he added, most current farming methods are so destructive that they are leading to the serious erosion of our top soil, which could be completely depleted within three generations. This situation would inevitably lead to major global food production challenges.

So what key nutrients are people deficient in today and what we can do to overcome the situation? The first and most important piece of advice is, where possible, always seek to gain your nutrition from food sources rather than chemical pills as human bodies have a limited ability to absorb synthetic ingredients.

apricot fruits on bowl
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Here are some of the nutrients that you need:

Essential fats

Essential fats are vital for cellular-level processes to take place in the body and are key to brain and nerve function. The best sources are nuts, seeds, avocado, olive and algae oil, marine phytoplankton and oily fish – but do not eat too much of the latter as they can contain high levels of heavy metals. A vegan omega three supplement made from blue-green algae oil is another good source too.

Minerals

It is important to consume a wide range of minerals for good health, although some are required in only very small amounts. Linus Pauling, who twice won the Nobel Prize, once said: “You can trace every sickness, disease and ailment to a mineral deficiency.

Magnesium is a key mineral that plays in important role in mental and heart health, sleep and general wellbeing.  It is also one that most people are deficient in – studies suggest this may be true of as many as 80% of US citizens.  Magnesium can be found in whole grains, leafy greens and raw chocolate. I recommend a supplement called ReMag as it has a high absorption rate.

Iodine is an important mineral for your metabolism and is the key to a healthy thyroid. It can be obtained from sea vegetables such as seaweed.

Zinc plays a key role in supporting a healthy immune system and enables wounds to heal effectively. Good sources include pumpkin seeds, lentils, almonds and bee pollen.

Vitamin D has been in the news a lot lately. The short-sighted advice of the last 20 years that has told us to fear the sun has contributed to a chronic vitamin D deficiency in the UK. This situation is tragic as vitamin D is required for many cellular functions to occur. The best source is the sun, although during a UK winter, it is unlikely you will get enough. Some mushrooms if dried in the sun can be a useful source, but the latest advice is to take it as a food supplement from autumn onwards. I take Vitamin D3 with a K2 supplement throughout autumn and winter.

Vitamin C is another nutrient you may become deficient in due to toxins, stress, prescription drugs and smoking, but it is essential for the immune system and your general health. The best sources are rosehips, acerola cherry, amla, camu camu and lemon, but there are reasonable amounts in many fruits and vegetables.

diet fresh green detox green smoothie
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Superfood smoothie

Here is one of my favourite superfood smoothie recipes to give you a great nutritional boost:

1 cup of water

¼ avocado

1 banana

¼ cup of kale or spinach

1 tbs raw chocolate powder

1 tsp Juliette’s Kitchen supergreen mix (or alternative)

2 tbs omega seed mix

3 dates

¼ cup of ice

Blend and serve.

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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