Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
So lovely to be heard. So great to have people out there asking questions. And being heard at the same time.
Mum has been an absolute ambassador for eating out in her new vegan lifestyle and has been brilliant at requesting what places can do for her - either ringing ahead/visiting in advance or asking on the day. Each time she's been really pleased with the options and returned often to find that more is available.
Today's trip to the Wheatley Arms again reinforced that. And not only that, there were two dishes available on the menu (one to come without the parmesan) that were naturally vegan.
Service was fabulous - friendly, helpful and engaging. As for myself, eating raw (whilst I've been corrupted by a certain person recently into cooked vegan and enjoyed some great meals, I want to return to fully raw for a while and regain that fantastic energy that comes with eating raw and exercising well), they were brilliant. I requested what I'd like - they checked out options and then provided a beautiful salad of leaves, sweet potato, courgette, pepper and sundried tomatoes.
I've learnt over time that dressings make a salad, and as salads become a big part of eating raw I've learnt to make dressings. Restaurant dressings don't often do much for me so I take my own and then REALLY enjoy the salad they've provided.
Today's (new to me - I've had it as a raw soup before with more cucumber in - 1:1 ratio) was my mango and cucumber dressing which was fresh, light and tasty. And went well with the great salad I was brought.
Yum. It was a quick dash home for #homeopathyhour - the twitter driven chat hour that I run on a Monday evening, then maybe it was that I'd been out and the meal was smaller (still a great size it's just my salads tend to be HUGE) than usual, I really fancied dessert.
Again another new to me - but worth sharing again - the cinnamon, vanilla pud. Simple, easy to make and tasty. The way I like 'em.
So went another lovely Bank Holiday Monday afternoon and evening... Here's to a great week of eating well, exercising lots, laughter and love.
Which was a rather sweepingly bold (or so I thought) statement I overhead recently. Not surprisingly coming from someone who works for a company that appears to make a lot of their income from selling supplements. Having had a year where the majority of my food intake has been fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds I would have to say that maybe this isn't quite true. Yes, food quality may have decreased somewhat since the 1950s which did seem to be a large part of his argument, but no, for me, so far so good and whilst I do supplement with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, this wasn't quite what he was referring to. But the good thing was that you could get yourself a shake that had everything you needed to kick start your day and get your system raring to go. And they even came in chocolate, strawberry, toffee apple or coffee flavours. Mmmmm. I think I'll stick to my fruity breakfast. That tastes like fruit for the simplest reason there is. Yup. It is fruit. What a revelation.
I also heard a lot about protein and how our body requires lots of protein to function properly. The main problem (aside obviously from the absolute lack of nutrients and need to substitute them with a chocolate flavoured mix of dehydrated, extracted vitamins and minerals in a non optimised format (I say that as struggle to believe that we can beat nature at her own game - where is the natural fibre in it please for starters?)) is that none of us have enough protein. I'm aware this may be a contentious issue but even the World Health Organisation suggests that we require approximately 5% of our calorific intake to be from protein. Not a fact that the protein pushers would have us know. A banana has around 5% of it's calorific value which is protein. Milk, by which I mean the milk humans are designed to drink, breastmilk, has around 3% protein. This is the time we are growing the most, that we need the most protein. Fully formed, grown ups, I don't believe that we need the 30% protein that many of us ingest on a daily basis.
Studies would suggest that maybe we don't, and that in some instances an excess of protein (in particular from animal sources) may be a negative thing for us, leading us down the track of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune illnesses and more. But back to the supplements, I think I'll take my chances, know what I'm getting (as much as you can these days!) in my actual food and leave the science fiction out of my diet for now.
With peace and acceptance that there's a million ways to do anything and nothing means my way is the 'right' one either!
PS I did want to say that should you have deficiences in a diet that I believe supplements can be great - however as a matter of course and on a daily basis my view is that we can gain the majority of what we need from a whole food plant based diet with no struggle. Sadly there is no sunshine. Yet. So we continue with the VitD through the winter...
I'm using up fruit at the moment, food in general as am preparing for a water fast. Having toyed with a 21 day fast, 13-14 days and am really tempted towards both I've in the end decided to make life easy and go with a 3 day fast. I say easy. I love my food - it'll be an interesting 3 days to say the least. However I'm going for it and am looking forward to the experience. As to why? I've been drawn to the idea for a while and instead of just looking at it I've decided to jump in and give it a go. 3 days is a reasonable start then I'll cruise onto watermelons for a few days of light eating before adding in more weighty fruits and veggies. There are loads of benefits of fasting and I'd advise you get hold of one of a multitude of books/check out YouTube videos or websites which can give information and guidance. I wouldn't advise anyone fasted - it's got to be a decision you make for yourself - however I do feel that there can be some great health benefits from it. More about it all later.
What I really wanted to mention, and, once again I digress, was about bananas and their levels of ripeness. I made a video this morning to demonstrate how lovely inside a black banana can be and so will share it here:
Isla's also made one a while ago so I thought would share that too:
I think this is maybe one that everyone should watch. I do believe children can be more sensitive to many things than us adults, but I don't believe that they're vastly different. Following from the research presented here I think it would be fair to propose that businesses may be more productive, prisons more peaceful and people happier generally.
The research here though is around children and party food. Two groups of children were presented with differing foods - one traditional party fare (yellows) and the other a table filled with wholemeal sandwiches, fruits and fresh veggies (blues). They were then encouraged to play party games and observed during this process.
Rating 6 behaviours on severity scales gave dramatic results. To share a few here:
The healthy food group showed no incidents of 'mean' behaviour, 8 of physical aggression and 30 of hyperactivity - in total with the other assessed areas, 120 incidents of 'bad' behaviour.
In comparison, the party food group showed 69 incidents of 'mean' behaviour, 63 of physical aggression, 163 of hyperactivity and, again, in total with the other areas, 720 incidents of 'bad' behaviour.
I'm struggling a little with the terminology but that be said, the figures are incredibly illuminating. It was noted that the healthy food group did “48% better in the games overall”. This is clearly not an insignificant difference.
But without further talk from me - please have a watch. The Food Hospital on Channel Four Investigates Party Food.
Conclusions are not firmly given - is it the additives or is it the lack of nutrients? In my view, it also has to relate to individual susceptibility. However whatever the reason, the results are in. Traditional party food swapped for a more whole food approach appears to promote better concentration, more amenable play and calmer children who can co-operate better. The implications of this could be far reaching.
I like the idea that we can be responsible for our own health. Even if only a little bit. We can make choices – organic or standard, veggie or meat, to enquire further or to accept what we’re told. One of the issues with the conventional medical model is that some of that can appear to have been taken away from us. We’re part of a procession to be prodded, poked, cut and healed in someone else’s way. I’m not saying this is wrong, or to go against convention, but to take some power back too along the way.
There are choices we can make that can enhance our health. We can support ourselves with listening therapies, taking time out for a massage to complement our wellbeing, or even make simple food choices.
I’m here today to talk a bit about food. It’s something we’re all deeply involved in – and can be used to help our bodies help themselves. We can set up a situation where we’re able to assist in providing healthy conditions for healing to happen. I don’t believe that nutrition heals, chemotherapy heals or homeopathy heals. Our bodies heal themselves – and what we can do is help to provide the basis for them to do this from.
I decided to switch my diet earlier this year to a whole food, plant based, nearly 100% raw food diet – really as a bit of an experiment, but also with the knowing that if I had been given a serious diagnosis of illness this is the way that I would eat. I’m not going to suggest that everyone goes 100% raw – although it can be a great way to eat.
However there is increasing and strong evidence around animal based foods causing detriment to our health. My personal belief is that no one should be consuming milk (known to contain an incredibly potent cancer promoter), eggs (coming in about second behind milk), meat or fish if they’d like to improve their health in one quick and easy step.
Studies around animal based proteins have shown that consuming more than 10% of your diet from animal based proteins, the risks of cancer greatly increases. Reverting back to less than this, or ideally cutting it out altogether, has often helped with reducing tumours. Eating at less than 10% for research animals, usually showed no development of cancer growths, even with exposure to known carcinogens.
The adoption of a whole food, plant based diet has been shown in many instances to improve health, reduce risks or relapse and has knock on health benefits – such as reducing risks of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and certain autoimmune illnesses.
Whole food, plant based? It means no processed (or minimally processed) foods, and from plants. It might sound initially as if it will be restrictive, but realisitically you’re talking about enhancing the one thing that you really need. So even if there is a small sacrifice – and I know just how addictive cheese can be! – it’s potentially a big gain. And ultimately as you discover more you find out just how much choice there really is. My parents have adopted this way of eating and eat more varied meals with more choice than they ever have. Granted, eating out is slightly harder but learning to ask for what you want really helps along the journey.
It doesn’t have to be all raw. It doesn’t have to be raw at all – although I would suggest that you did incorporate more raw foods into your diet. To make gradual changes – depending on your state of health – and cut things out at a manageable rate. Mum, for example got rid of milk one month, cheese the next, overt butter the following one and covert milk products after that. Whilst you’re removing things, remember to add them in. The UK suggests we all eat our 5 a day. I like the Japanese suggestion better – the 17 a day campaign. Japan suggests people eat 13 portions of vegetables and 4 of fruit a day. I probably average around 17-20. So add in an extra fruit snack, more steamed vegetables with your dinner, a big salad at lunch and see how easy it can be to get towards 17 instead of our measly recommended 5 portions.
There’s some brilliant resources out there – it’s great to discover more around the why – I always think anyway. So if you’re a reader then The China Study is a brilliant place to start. If you cook then The China Study Cookbook is fantastic. Forks over Knives (the film, cookbook and book) is worth a mention, as are the books by the Gerson’s around cancer and their work with nutrition. The web is a fabulous resource to have at our finger tips – and I also give recipes, thoughts, tips and more on my blog and within the website under the nutrition tab. I also have a newsletter which you can sign up to and share information on my facebook business page as well as on twitter.
Feel free to get in touch to find out more. I love my work with Homeopathy, Food Intolerance testing and supporting clients to eat a more Whole Food, Plant Based diet and do offer free 15 minute consultations to discover a little more.
Back again, my juicing and smoothies workshop aimed at getting people started creating tasty smoothies and great juices with confidence is coming soon.
On the 7th September 2-4 we'll meet and discover more about how, what, when and also why? It's always really important for me to know why I would choose to do something and eating this way has been no different. I want to do the research, make my mind up and then carry on doing more research. I guess that's just the way I am. I love to share what I've learnt along the journey and it's a practical, hands-on session where everyone gets to have a go at creating delicious drinks.
Juicing and smoothies can be a great complement to homeopathy, or I suppose, visa versa. Both are working at enabling your body to heal itself and can work well together. It is my belief that great healing happens from the inside, and simplifying your diet to assist your body is a brilliant start on the path to increased health and vitality.
£15pp including all fruit/veg to make and taste 4 great drinks, raw snacks and (time permitting) possibly we'll make an easy, tasty, delcious raw dessert.
If you'd like to know more just get in touch. At the moment there's just 3 places left...
The hardest bit about doing exercise (I think anyway) is getting dressed for it. Once I'm dressed, I'm off, pretty much committed and unlikely to do an about turn and change my mind.
The easiest way for me to get fit (and following injury, lots of fab trips and travel and a school summer holiday - I'm going to have to follow my own advice any moment...) is to do a little bit at a time, build up gradually and before I know it I'm comfortably running 5k and thinking nothing of it. Swimming the same - a few half mile swims and before long I'm able to easily swim a mile. A little at a time.
So I figure there's no difference with foods if you'd like it to be this way. I pretty much dived into a veggie diet from a point of nearly veggie-ness anyway, then vegan 2 months later and then raw vegan 3 months after that but to stealthily have the changes happen would be great too. To introduce an extra fruit meal a day a few days a week - for example a big bowl of fruit for breakfast (my favourite competing breakfast is 6 bananas and 10 dates (the dates blended into toffee) which keeps me smiling for hours), a fruit smoothie or a big juice. Adding in a huge salad with your evening meal can be another baby step - or simply just adding an extra portion of fruit a day can be a big step for some people.
Steady, baby steps are a great way to get to a brilliant place. If you do want to move faster you can always up the pace, grab some of the recommended books, have a chat with someone who's on the same journey or find relevant YouTube videos which can be wonderfully motivational.
Slow and steady can win the race in the end too.
Happy fruit days x
Bananas are probably my favourite base fruit for a smoothie for several reasons - they're readily available, reasonably priced, tasty, a great source of energy (and more calorie dense than more watery fruits so you don't have to eat quite as much to get your get up and go).
Generally I mix them with other fruits - a cup of berries, a mango, a pair of pears or couple of oranges and then the greens.
Banana and romaine lettuce is good! I tend to use 4-5 bananas depending on size/how hungry I am/how active I've been/about to be and a head of romaine lettuce but iceberg is great too - as is spinach. Once you're used to adding greens then kale is a great source of nutrients to add to your smoothie.
It's as simple as 1,2,3 (and 4 and 5)
1 Peel 4-5 bananas, add to blender
2 Add other fruits if desired
3 Add 1/2 pint+ of water and blend
4 Add greens (I tend to go with two generous handfuls)
5 Blend again until smooth
Banana and Mango Sundae with Toffee Sauce
To make: (serves 2-3)
12 medjool dates, pitted
Add to blender with a little water and blend on low until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times. You can vary how runny you want the toffee sauce to be depending on how much water you use. Add small quantities (of water) at a time until you reach desired consistency.
Banana ice cream:
6 bananas, chopped then frozen for at least 5-6 hours
Add to blender and blend until smooth.
Mango ice cream:
2 mangoes, chopped then frozen for 5-6 hours
Add to blender and blend until smooth.
Put a dessert-tablespoon measure of toffee sauce at the bottom of the serving glass/bowl and top with banana ice cream. Add the mango ice cream next and top this with a layer of toffee sauce. Lastly another layer of banana ice cream and to garnish use a swirl of your toffee sauce and fruit of choice for decoration.
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition