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'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.
With my involvement in the “Inspire” Pilates Bootcamp, alongside conversations over the weekend, and my gradual journey into a plant based way of life, I’ve thought a lot recently about fish.
As with everything, there’s lots of opinions out there. Whether they are ethical, moral, health related or emotionally linked, it seems everyone has something to say. And deciding what makes the most sense seems to be the most challenging bit.
For me, the health issue was the highlight. I’d always been aware that it was killing another creature and yet I could put this to the back of my mind as I tucked into swordfish, fresh tuna steak, lobster (only on the very rare occasion and possibly only at The Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok). I’ve said before that it was Scott Jurek (American ultrarunner) who started my journey and awareness into plant based eating when he talked about how he felt fitter, recovered faster and trained harder whilst following this lifestyle. The very fact that an athlete could improve upon his athletic performance made me wonder whether I could improve my own health by making subtle shifts.
Colin Campbell (author of The China Study and passionate researcher around the effects of animal based protein on the human state of health says:
‘Some people may have heard that fish are good sources of essential fatty acids. However, the high amounts of fat and cholesterol and the lack of fiber make fish a poor choice. Fish are also often high in mercury and other environmental toxins that have no place in an optimal diet.
Fish oils have been popularized as an aid against everything from heart problems to arthritis. The bad news about fish oils is that omega-3s in fish oils are highly unstable molecules that tend to decompose and, in the process, unleash dangerous free radicals. Research has shown that omega-3s are found in a more stable form in vegetables, fruits, and beans.’
Dr Caldwell Esselstyn Jr adds to this in an interview around his diet to prevent and reverse heart disease
‘Fish oil is not essential. Fish get their omega 3 from plants. It is difficult to be deficient in Omega 3 if eating 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed meal or chia seeds and green leafy vegetables at several meals. There is also research that suggests that those on plant based nutrition become highly efficient in their own manufacture of omega 3. Patients on fish oil are also at increased risk for bleeding.’
My own view is that farmed fish is rich in antibiotics due to the disease ridden climate they are existing in up until they are killed, the additives (such as the dye in salmon to make it appear as the wild variety naturally is) and the high rates of illness combined with the reasons above are enough to make me think I am less eager to consume it.
The often quoted benefits of fish can be achieved easily through a diet rich in plant based foods and these individuals will not lack the essential nutrients that fish too are able to give to us. The bonus side is that plant based omega 3 intake comes without a list of side effects.
Just a few thoughts from the comfort of my desk. Food production and sustainability will feature heavily in the years ahead and we can make a difference to the impact on our world starting now. If we want.
I'm always happy to help with advice and assistance around making these changes - just give me a shout if you'd like to know more.
I've just realised you can even spot our lovely 2014 calendar in the background which is available here. Get one whilst you still can - gorgeous, beautiful images of homeopaths around the world, out there in nature, and what's more, it's all in a calendar girls style.
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