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 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'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:
It was lovely and thought provoking to come across this in a message from one of my Dynamis graduate friends this morning.
"If like the Celtic people we revered the rivers we would prioritise this sacred knowledge and curtail the attempts of any that sought to pollute the rivers. If like the Nordic people we believed the souls of our ancestors lived in the trees, this connection would make mass deforestation anathema. If like the native people of America we believed God was in the soil what would our intuitive response be to the implementation of fracking?" Russell Brand
And obviously I'm counting down the days til I go to see The Messiah Complex in Bradford! Little bit excited that we're on the guest list... He has, of course, been sent a copy of our 2014 Homeopathy for Health in Africa calendar.
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.
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?
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...
I was at a marketing workshop today (where I did discover some useful hints, as well as that I'm not doing a terrible job of the marketing side of my business which was reassuring), and got chatting to the trainer guy. His wife is involved with nutrition and reflexology. Apparently she thought about studying homeopathy but decided to help people not get ill in the first place. Which is a fantastic goal and one that I would love to add to my list of lifelong goals.
People do get ill before I've talked to them about food and before I'm able to make a difference here. So I think it's brilliant that homeopathy can assist in one's journey back to health. Food too. And there is study after study (I'm currently reading Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr and the evidence presented is nothing short of astounding) which details how switching to a whole food, plant based diet can have hugely positive implications on one's health. At a very measurable level.
To go back to homeopathy and here I wish to call on Hahnemann, whilst he is not the earliest authority on food and eating this way by any means, as the founder of homeopathy and a great mind, it's interesting to hear what he says to avoid:
'Coffee; fine Chinese and other herb teas; beer prepared with medicinal vegetable substances unsuitable for the patient's state; so-called fine liquors made with medicinal spices; all kinds of punch; spiced chocolate; odorous waters and perfumes of many kinds; strong-scented flowers in the apartment; tooth powders and essences and perfumed sachets compounded of drugs; highly spiced dishes and sauces; spiced cakes and ices; crude medicinal vegetables for soups; dishes of herbs, roots and stalks of plants possessing medicinal qualities; asparagus with long green tips, hops, and all vegetables possessing medicinal properties (herbs - translation mine), celery, onions; old cheese, and meats that are in a state of decomposition, or that possess medicinal properties (as the flesh and fat of pork, ducks and geese, or veal that is too young and sour viands), ought just as certainly to be kept from patients as they should avoid all excesses in food, and in the use of sugar and salt, as also spirituous drinks, undiluted with water, ...'
So to cut out tea, coffee, beer, liquor, chocolate, very spicy foods, herbs in cooking, strong flavours (I've cut out onions recently and feel better for it), many meats, sugar, salt as well as avoilding all excesses in foods would be his recommendation here, at the footnote of aphorism 260. It all makes sense to me.
Making dietary changes may help to restore health that has been impaired, just as working with homeopathy may. In my humble opinion, working with them both together can enable us to gain and sustain greater levels of long term health.
With love and healthful wishes,
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