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 was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with my Grandma today, in between a mindfulness peer support session and a Skype homeopathy appointment. Just to slow down for a bit was a luxury this week - it's been and is being a great week and very busy along with lots of lovely times. But what I really noticed was the stuff. And really the stuff that doesn't matter, the clutter that we accumulate, with no intent or need. It really set me to thinking about what's important in life, the people around me, the experiences. The empty jewellry boxes not so much. The relationships, the loves, the joys, the constant gifts that are unseen.
And so I desire to slow down again from time to time, to really take in the moment. It's all there is right now and moving onto the next task with a burning desire to get it done and out of the way is dissolving the potency of this moment.
So cuddle, love, laugh, be filled with joy. And don't sweat the small stuff.
Easier said than done sometimes. But there is help out there should you need it. Homeopathy, I believe, can be one of the most potent ways of coming into the moment, into the here and now and being able to leave the past and the future out of it more. A well prescribed remedy, Jeremy (Sherr) used to tell us, can bring us out of the there and then and into the here and now. I don't think there is much out there to rival it in it's beauty and grace.
Mindfulness too, can be used, in one to one sessions, as a self taught activity and can create much more presence in the present moment, enabling us to sleep better, experience less anxiety and generally be happier. Like homeopathy, it can be used to great effect with both children and adults.
Sending love and light,
'History will surely judge us harshly if we do not respond with all the energy and resources that we can bring to bear in the fight against HIV/AIDS' Nelson Mandela
Not sure what it is at the moment but I'm incredibly conscious of what we can do as humans, people and empathetic beings. And it is so, so much. Really. I was sat knitting today whilst watching the nativity (my dad always laughs at me and says it reminds him of the women at hangings stood about knitting - he's a joyful soul!) and realised the enormity of it all. I'm creating a jumper for a friend which has a front, a back, two sleeves and a hood. As indeed many jumpers do. However being that I'm knitting this one it grows just one stitch at a time. There will be thousands already done and with just 17cm still to knit I reckon I've got approximately 2600 stitches to go. It would be easy to think I needed to do millions of stitches to create this garment and decide it was too much, and yet it's easy to do it too. Just one stitch at a time and now I'm so nearly there.
And so with AIDS - although I sit here wishing it were quite as simple as my jumper example. However it would be easy to be overwhelmed and decide that there was too much to do so do nothing. And yet people see there is far too much to do and still do something. A friend from my Dynamis course, Sandy, is out in Tanzania as I type, Jeremy and Camilla Sherr set up and run Homeopathy for Health in Africa - with an absolute awareness of the enormity of the task, and yet still do their stitch at a time, patient after patient, gradually helping more and more people. Other friends have visited the project, other friends regularly support the project. A little at a time, a stitch at a time, a patient at a time. We can help. We can start to create change. Even, and especially perhaps, if the task is enormous.
Thank you for reading,
1st December. World AIDS Day since 1991 when a group of 12 individuals brainstormed and came up with a simple idea. The red ribbon bow - a symbol of passion, a heart and love. 12 artists. One huge movement.
I was thinking this morning about how many of us can feel too small to do anything worthwhile. And so we do nothing. But how about the flip side - do something even though it may amount to nothing? How about giving the big issue seller a spare £1 even if you haven't time to read the magazine? Or 'dropping' a couple of 20ps on a street to be discovered by excited children. A kind word to someone you've never met before? My daughter has complimented a train conductor on his tie and it was lovely to watch his face light up. A tiny act that can do so much.
So today being World AIDS Day I'd love to suggest, well I'm going to suggest, that you help out a small but powerful organisation, working with tiny doses of life changing medicine. Life saving, life changing, status altering medication. I was so heartened to read the following from co-founder of Homeopathy for Health in Africa just recently:
'Aids prostitute for 15 years and a patient of ours since 2010, she just phoned me with the news that she has gone negative!! My weekend is fixed. And probably next week too — feeling wonderful.'
Working against huge disadvantages, Jeremy and Camilla Sherr and their team of volunteers in Tanzania are doing phenomenal work. We as homeopaths, I believe, have a duty to get behind them and support it. The boundaries of possibilities are being tested and pushed back and a new day is dawning. Donations can be one offs, monthly direct debits, gifts are available to purchase for elements of the project, our fabulous 2014 calendar is available to brighten up your months with some gorgeous calendar girls (and guys). Even if you just sponsor us £1 right now for our Santa Fun Run we're about to head out and do (you can do this by texting RYJQ35 £2/£5/£10 or other required amount to 70070 or online here) then we'd love it. It's so easy to make a little difference. Or not to.
With love and gratitude,
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 just discovered it's World Diabetes Day today. I wasn't entirely sure what the purpose of it was so googled it and found the International Diabetes Federation with a picture of lots of people and emblazoned across them the slogan 'Let's Celebrate'. Which seemed, at least to me, to be a little odd. Let's celebrate that we are experiencing unprecedented growth in a serious condition? Let's celebrate that due to the number of children getting diabetes the label 'Adult Onset Diabetes' has been dropped and now is called Type 2 Diabetes?
So I looked further and found the following 4 key messages of the 2013 campaign:
'There is substantial evidence that achieving a healthy body weight and moderate physical activity can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. In primary prevention there is an important role for the diabetes educator to help people understand the risks and set realistic goals to improve health. IDF recommends a goal of at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling or dancing. Regular walking for at least 30 minutes per day, for example, has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-40%.'
But it still felt pretty woolly to me. What if though there was a way to reverse Type 2 diabetes and to never get it in the first place? Would you want to know about that? If it was of no greater cost than your usual shopping bill, of no greater hassle than simply cooking your meals? And surely you'd want the International Diabetes Federation to tell you about it? I would anyway. I'd want them to be shouting it from the roof tops. And, not that I want to fly in the face of medical convention (well OK I'm alright about that really I suppose) - what if there was a way that someone with Type 1 diabetes could be no longer reliant on insulin? Surely that would make front page news??
It seems not. But research would suggest that there is a way. There is study after study demonstrating that patients with Type 2 diabetes who are dependent on insulin can relieve that dependency by the simple adoption of a whole food, plant based diet. I have read studies of Type 1 diabetes been affected positively and have heard of several people becoming no longer insulin dependent. Not everyone - although nearly everyone was able to significantly reduce their insulin dose.
And why are the IDF not stood on the rooftops? I can only imagine that the influence of the food industry is too huge. And so I suggest people could take it into their own hands, take back control of their own health and be your own doctor. Use the diagnostic skills that you need to use - work under the guidance of your doctor but try out eating plant based, minimal oils and whole foods. It might well surprise you more than you'd ever expected.
I do want to stress that last point again. Do work with the guidance of your doctor. Changes can be fast and it's important to be aware of your blood sugar levels so you're acting appropriately with medication that you may already be taking.
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.
I always find a new month a great time to set a new challenge. For some reason I like the mathematical beginning. To start at 1 and work onwards works for me.
Gradually I've been letting go of things that aren't useful to me - milk and other dairy products, cooked, processed foods, gluten, alcohol (most of the time - I have to admit to being partial to the occasional glass of bubbles...), and it's come to my attention that salt has to be the next to go. I've always loved salt and it's been a part of the food I eat. Not much of it but chips, eggs and avocado... Or vegetable crisps. I find it incredibly more-ish, addictive and enjoyable. And whilst I'm really not against enjoyment - at all - I don't like addictive. So now's the time to break the habit. For me sharing that makes it more likely to happen... so here's my November challenge for myself. A no-salt month.
Letting go has been liberating, energy enhancing and generally fabulous for me. Loving the freedom and looking forward to embracing my salt-free simplicity soon!
Anyone care to play out too?
Homeopathy in the UK. It's been a funny old time recently, and yet I feel increasingly positive the tide is turning. We needed a wake up call, we needed to work together as an organisation and we needed to grow together as a profession. Which has been one of the gifts that the skeptic movement has given us.
Many of us practice homeopathy slightly differently to each other, indeed just as many General Practitioners practice slightly differently to each other. We are working towards the same goal (both homeopaths and GPs too I guess albeit from even more different angles) - that of an increased level of health. For the Homeopaths amongst us that may include a lower dependence on medication, a greater feeling of wellness, as well as a concrete reduction in symptoms for the patient. Sometimes it's an education about living well as well as the remedy prescribed. It's an individual thing - and I believe it has to be. Afterall, my needs are very different from yours. It's the memory of the same goal, the same healing potential that we're aware of with this very incredible medicine that for me means it's essential to work as a coherent whole. We work with holistic medicine, so surely being holistic in our approach to each other is the way forwards?
It is for me anyway - and to be honest in all areas. I want to see integrated healthcare where the medics and complementary practitioners work to each others' strengths. I feel we have much to give. Working with food choices, homeopathy and other complementary medicines can make significant changes and improvements in health. Working together, both parties can provide better care for the individual. However I digress. Tangents I am good at.
Working together as a profession, as professional homeopaths is what 4 Homeopathy have created. A partnership between the leading registering bodies for homeopathic practitioners, patients groups, charities and other stakeholder organisations. And this is what I'm calling homeopathy lovers, facebook users and tweeters for. There is lots to do, much to be involved in and with and much we on the ground can help with.
Have you benefitted from Homeopathic treatment? The Find a Homeopath website is collecting testimonials from patients who've found homeopathy and helped their complaints using it. It would be brilliant if you could take 2 minutes to share your story.
Do you tweet? Follow @HomeopathyWFM - there's a fabulous, fresh new awareness campaign coming very soon.
Facebook more your thing? Homeopathy Worked for Me is where it's at on facebook. You can like the page and follow updates as they evolve.
YouTube? I love to listen to videos whilst I'm cooking - whether it be homeopathy, food or... well usually it's homeopathy or food. FindaHomeopath on YouTube enables you to listen to brilliant, world famous homeopaths in the comfort of your home.
So check out the links, follow for brilliant information, and watch out for the really, really exciting awareness campaign that's coming very soon!
With gratitude and love,
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.
... conference by the Society of Homeopaths this weekend. From cutting edge research to fundraising to remedies, philosophies of life and healing, a broad range of topics were covered and the energy of a large group of Homeopaths gathered together was simply fantastic. Great to see such amazing work going on and to have a taste of more to come.
And of course, thanks to the Homepathy Action Trust and Conference Aston for the brilliant 70s disco on the Saturday night. And in a random twist, our night ended with being serenaded by a barber shop quartet which was a magical end to a wonderful evening.
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