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!
I've written this blog several times, or at least started it, in my head and I'm struggling to get beyond 'No shit, Sherlock' to be honest. Unless you're going to blend up a load of lettuce, the chances are that you're going to have way more calories in your fruity green smoothie than in a coca cola.
A can of 'full fat' coke contains 140 calories according to Cron-o-meter. But not much in there that's going to be a benefit to your body. And possibly, if the information around using it to clean your toilet is correct, it may actively harm your body, stripping it of vital nutrients.
So what do you want out of your green smoothie? Me, I want a meal replacement for when I don't fancy chewing through a pile of fruit, for when I'm out at work, driving to appointments or the like. I don't want an additional 650 calorie drink during my day, extra to my meals. And if you want it as an additional drink then just make it smaller.
Today I ran 3.5 miles, cycled 9.5 miles then got back and had my green smoothie for my lunch. It was delicious, and I felt it wasn't inappropriately filled with chemicals. It was purely mango, 2 blood oranges, 2 large handfuls of spinach and 3 large bananas. Breakfast had been a beautifully hydrating piel de caso melon that I lustfully eyed up and got on our midnight shopping trip last night.
I guess what I'm saying is yes, more calories. Definitely. But more goodness? Infinitely.
Go forth, drink green, move your body and be happy.
With love x
And if you want tips, guidance, ideas, inspiration then feel free to come along and join the Green Smoothie/Juice A Day facebook group. It's a group of lovely women - (so far no men - please feel free to be the first!), sharing their love for green juices and smoothies.
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 aware that really we can only ever speak for ourselves. I find the idea of eating meat now repulsive. Someone would have to pay me a lot to put something that had lived and breathed on my fork and raise it to my mouth, to chew it and swallow. It would be like being on I'm a celebrity eating some form of inedible insect. And yet, two years ago I was eating it believing that I needed it (or at least, my growing child did). So things change.
It struck me very recently that the process that an animal goes through from field to fork is simply barbaric. It's brought into the world to be sacrificed for someone who may not even appreciate that act. Who may joke about how it's really an evil mastermind, how it wants to sell drugs to your kids - really? No really?! If you're going to do it then at least respect it. But for me, I recognise that the amount of adrenaline, stress hormones and sheer energetic terror pumping through that animal as it faces it's inevitable fate - well that's something that I no longer want to be responsible for, let alone consume and allow to become part of my body.
So no surprises for my number one food that drains me! I'm staying firmly away from meat.
Fish likewise to be honest. It's experience of drowning in air, of panicking as it could no longer get what it needed to survive is again something I can live without. Aside from the radioactivity in the oceans, the mercury, the accumulation of heavy metals and the wiping out of the ocean due to farming and fishing methods. Just not all that appetising anymore!
Milk is another that once my eyes were opened - most significantly by The China Study but other texts along the way, just not all that tasty once you know the truth.
Salt is one that I'm battling my personal demons with - I love the taste of it but I know it's really not good for me and it really is all in my head. I'm fine without it - far less dehydrated, bouncier, lighter and possibly even happier!
And lastly for me - larger amounts of nuts and seeds or oils really ground me - without them I feel bouncier, lighter and more energetic.
So to the foods that boost me - I love my fruits - water rich fruits in a morning such as a melon or two. Loving my melons ;)
Greens - greens are sooooo good and I've had mornings (might have been when I realised I definitely was a crunchy mama) when I've thought 'I need the spirulina' - and felt better for it. Placebo or not. Feeling better is good for me! I love my kale especially at the moment although we also go through lots of baby leaf spinach and in summer plenty of romaine lettuce too.
Tasty raw food dishes - it doesn't have to be boring! My favourite at the moment is a coconut curry with cauliflower (and kale sometimes) 'rice' or vegetable 'noodles'. Love wraps using a romaine leaf, tomato based dishes, raw soups (mango and cucumber is my current absolute favourite).
So check out your boost and drain lists - see how you feel after certain foods and others - experiment and enjoy!
Oh and lastly, ice cream. I love love love banana ice cream made from frozen bananas and blended. Nothing more. Such a fabulous and healthy treat. Speaking of which I think I'm off for the ice cream tub. Time to go do some studying. Bath. Ice cream. Lesson notes. Perfection.
I thought I'd share a couple of things as I'd mentioned I would be water fasting. For 3 days. So... about that! More like 36 hours. Which was, in itself, an insightful and valuable 36hours. And, boy was I glad to see that watermelon for my break-fast!
Mostly I learnt how often I absentmindedly eat, tasting a bit of this, grabbing a bit of that, how much I eat on the go and don't appreciate my food fully. It was an interesting experiment, one that I'll repeat sometime and maybe for a little longer but for now will share my thoughts here as a result of it, and around weight loss in general.
I've for a long time intended to stop and eat but realise how often I can get swept up in the things going on around me - making school lunches, dinners, washing up, study to do.... But now I aim to sit, give thanks and cherish the meal in front of me. Appreciating the food instead of distractedly reading, watching or planning. I want to think about what foods will nourish my body - and fully enjoy them. When I started my vegan lifestyle the biggest realisation that drove me was that if I'd been told I had compromised health I would want to eat better. Why wait til then? That would be crazy!! I know we are our own best nutritionalists, we know what we're doing. If we can just listen to ourselves.
I knew that I wouldn't want to be taking shakes, supplements or concocted manufactured powders or drinks. I'd want to know what I was eating and why. And so I began. My journey has taken me far and is still continuing to drag me into awareness as I study hard, watch, learn, comprehend on a daily basis. What I would want then I decided, as I know still now to be true, was minimally processed, whole foods which were kind to my body (and I realised that that equates to being kind to nature too - killing them to assist in killing me seemed totally illogical).
Animal based products, as do fats and oils, tend to enable and assist rapid growth of our bodies, so for anyone wishing to lose weight then dropping the milks, dairy products, meats (which includes fish - it's still muscle of another animal) and losing the oils should often see the pounds fall away too. Upping the greens, getting hold of some great cookbooks (I particularly recommend The China Study Cookbook and also a read of The China Study (which is not half as dry as it sounds) to fully understand the whys
Exercise too is an essential part of the equation - to do what you can whatever that may be. There's so much available that's free to us - walk, run, ride, swim, dance (even if it's just around the kitchen) and love your body. It's good to you so be good to it.
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.
A lot like the great big fat cancerous tobacco myth, I balked at titling this blog The great big fat cancerous milk myth, but actually that was my first choice. Because milk isn't this innocuous substance that's all warm and friendly and you want to give to your kids, cats, dogs and yourself. Or at least whilst it may appear that way, below the surface there are uncomfortable truths to discover.
Uncomfortable truths to hear, as a parent who believed milk was the next best thing to, well, human milk, I admit I took a bit of convincing. But now there is resolutely no going back. However, it's so well established in our society and culture that nobody stops to question whether we should be listening to the advice to drink milk to increase our calcium sources and prevent against osteoporosis, grow healthy bones, teeth and more. It turns out we're at the peak milk drinking that we've ever been at and with more osteoporosis than ever before. The maths just doesn't add up.
Humans - supposedly the most evolved of all animals - and yet still suckling after weaning. From an entirely different species with an entirely different physiology than us. How many of us cringed at the Little Britain 'Bitty' sketches and yet happily guzzle the white stuff? How many protested, or at least had a little 'urgh' about the breastmilk ice cream at Covent Garden and yet contendly indulge in Ben and Jerry's?
But I've alluded to cancer and not given any more information. Here again I was shocked. Experiments time and time again on rodents have shown that casein, the protein in milk, is an active cancer promoter. Without even any science behind it if you merely consider that cows milk is endowed with many compounds to promote growth in calves - it may also promote growth in ourselves. And once we're fully grown (leaving aside the issues around giving milk to children for a moment) do we want to promote growth? I don't know many people who would happily double their current weight. And what is cancer at it's simplest level? Overgrowth of cells in an area that they're not supposed to be growing in.
The China Study by T Colin Campbell, is, so far the most comprehensive study I've found around dairy and cancer. Study after study, they are able to demonstrate the effects of consuming animal based protein (casein - the protein found in milk was most commonly used) and cancer. Up to a certain level - around about 5% of the total dietary intake, appeared to create no issues - even whilst the animal was exposed to carcinogenic substances, but about the 10% mark the cancer was activated and grew. Even more interestingly, by switching the animal to a low protein diet, they were able to decrease the cancer growth. And on the opposite effect, the low protein group who were then swapped to high protein intake, then developed the cancers.
All well and good - but that was on mice and rats (which I acknowledge comes with other issues that I am passionate about but am merely quoting the research as is relevant here). What about humans? Which was where China came into it all. The China Project was a large study looking into the links between diet and western based diseases. And it echoed the previous, animal based research - the more animal based protein a person ingested, the more likely they were to succumb to what Dr Campbell would call - 'diseases of affluence' - your cancers, heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, and also maybe surprisingly - autoimmune diseases such as MS, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and more. The book, The China Study, however is much more than just the China Project. It's a collection of many researchers work, many well referenced and critiqued studies and, fundamentally, irrefutable evidence around dairy, meat, eggs and processed food stuffs.
There's more I could write, so much more, but I implore you to read The China Study and decide for yourself. It would be great to hear your views after you have.
PS Our favourite milk substitutes seem to be Coconut Milk and Oat Milk - what do you like best?
Have a great day!
1-2cm fresh ginger
2 handfuls spinach
Juice. Drink. Feel amazing.
Apparently we're changing our surname. Yup you've guessed it. We now will be referred to as Emma Watermelon and Isla Watermelon. This is not my idea. But the hats were and I LOVE them!
I've been thinking about sharing thoughts, videos, recipes etc on YouTube for some time. And was always put off - I need to do it properly - to have a camera, tripod, you know - the works (dressing team, make up artist, goffer boy....). But so many things make me think about how lucky I am to have the time I have right here, right now. So without putting my contact lenses in, thinking about what I'm wearing (it's OK I'm off to work so more than respectably dressed), or who was going to hold the camera - I did it.
I made my first video of my breakfast green juice. It's an easy one to make - it's so tasty and feels great to drink and without further ado it's here to share with you:
The process of making it has been great - I've learnt a lot from that in itself so please subscribe, like and share and there'll be more coming very soon!
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.