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!
Within a relatively short space of time, two posts had come to my attention highlighting the naked body. One, a beautiful collection of images of yoga poses, done completely naked, and the other, a blog offering 5 reasons to get naked everyday.
For me, the most beautiful sentence in the blog, or at least the most thought provoking was:
'When was the last time you looked at your body in all its naked glory? I mean really looked at it. No squeaming at chubby thighs or grimacing at lanky arms. Just looking at, understanding, and accepting your body in all its perfectly imperfect brilliance'
How many of us think 'I'd like my body if...' I'm definitely not immune to it, although aspire often enough to elevating myself beyond this place. Elevating may be the wrong word - total acceptance of my body in all it's perfect imperfection is, I suppose what I'd like to aim for. And I have no doubt I'll get there. It's been a lifetime's work so far, and from a place of fairly intense food restriction to gain control in an uncontrollable part of my life story nearly 20 years ago, I've come a long way.
What saddens me though is how young this judgement starts. I hear my 7 year old tell me that 'friends' have told her she's fat and ugly. She's neither, but that's not really the issue here. What are we thinking that these gorgeous beings are calling each other these names? And, more importantly, how do we strengthen their inner knowledge that they too are, imperfectly perfect. People will, at various points, or at least may, knock our confidence in ourselves, in our bodies, in our beliefs. I just wasn't aware that the training starts so young.
For me, mindfulness comes in, self confidence in ourselves, taking time to get to know our bodies, accepting and giving thanks for the beauty that is within and without. Not to be ashamed of our own bodies in front of our daughters and sons and to work on our own stuff with the hope of releasing them from a similar place. I feel lucky I grew up in a house where we could all wander around in with nothing on (not that we often did - it wasn't quite that sort of house...) but there was no judgement - and still I fell into a self loathing trap of telling myself I was fat daily so I would have the resolve to restrict my food (and probably covered up more so no one was aware of my journey at that point). Beating myself up to get results didn't lead to happiness - although I suppose it did lead to an unhealthy level of weight loss at the time. And so now I see the BBC news around obesity suggesting that they use terrorising tactics and light stigma to assist in our obesity crisis.
I don't doubt the crisis - I would call it a health crisis, an overabundance of processed food crisis, and probably a shocking lack of foresight in people who are in government handing out watered down information in the hope that people could achieve it instead of trusting our intelligence and giving real, true information crisis.
Damn I've done it again. My blog was about the beauty of the naked body and it's becoming a food rant. But hear me out, there's a point to it all. If we eat well, we feel well. If we feel good about ourselves we are inspired to eat well and look after ourselves. Making people feel bad - whether it be in the playground, in the workplace, in the consultation space or even just sat at home watching an advert doling out some 'light stigma' tactics is unlikely to lead to an enhanced sense of wellbeing and ambition to give our bodies life enhancing foods.
Let's learn to love. Ourselves, others, our bodies. Our glorious naked bodies which do so much for us and get so little thanks. Today I stood in front of a mirror and thanked mine for being what it is. Doing what it does and helping me everyday.
So let's go naked now and again. Even if that's only naked, unprocessed food to start with. Imagine funding for subsidised fruits and vegetables (or even just buying more ourselves) and a campaign on TV for juicing, upping fruits and veggies, starting every meal with a large salad, increasing the greens, learning to love greens. And ourselves. Loving us for being imperfectly perfect. Just the way we are.
Obviously to be chanted in a batman-y kind of way. Obviously.
Anyway tea, dinner, supper, food tonight was too good not to share. It's one of my favourites anyway but tonight's addition of mango made it super tasty. My brilliant camerawoman meant I didn't have to film and talk and create all at once. Although I think it may cost me. She drives a hard bargain. And does a great job.
So without further ado... here's dinner!
Let me know what you think! And Isla would love feedback on the video too - she's asked for me to get opinions...
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?
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