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!
September kick starts our 30 day juicing challenge. To add in one juice a day (or more if you like) for a day for a month. It really is that easy.
And if you haven't got a juicer (ask around - lots of people have one then store it in the back of a cupboard somewhere, check out second hand pages - or maybe treat yourself) you could always try out green smoothies for a month.
I've some recipes on my site (Nutrition/Recipes/Juices) and there's loads about now online and in books but what I love people to do is gain their confidence in making their own. Start simple - 2 or 3 ingredients and maybe add in a few once you've worked out what you like. We're all different too - what I like may not be what you like. I stopped at a street juicer the other day and asked for my favourite juice (of the moment, at that time... I'm now craving green juices!) - carrot, beetroot and orange. He suggested swapping the carrot for apple as thought it'd be too sharp. Both done loads of juicing, both like different things. Obviously. So don't take my word for any of it, play, adapt and discover for yourself.
And come join us in September for a juicy month :) Join the facebook page if you want to take part here.
Love and sunshine,
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.
It seems strange to think it's been a year. Seems like I've eaten this way for a long time, and other times feels like I'm still very much at the beginning of the journey. I think perhaps we always are at the beginning of the journey. It's just a step at a time, and what went before is gone, what's to come is so far away it's only ever about this step.
I've been reflecting a little recently on the year and my experiences and thought I'd share a few...
I love eating raw. I love the way I feel when I totally engage in it and don't nick the odd leftovers off Isla's plate. I can feel totally hungover if I have salty things or too much cooked food.
I totally absolutely love eating whole food plant based and completely feel right doing that.
I really don't like the term vegan. I don't think it describes much, I think it's so broad but narrowing at the same time and I think it has lots of attachment to it for lots of people. I eat whole food, plant based raw foods that enrich and support my body and mind.
It's all just a big experiment. One day I might listen to my body and feel totally great, another I might listen to my ego based mind that tells me I 'need' this or that - I might feel great or not the next day. It's OK. It's all just a big learning curve. Life.
It's just food. There's so much more to life than food. I think if food isn't doing you good then life can be hard but clean up the food and get out there enjoying life. I don't need to talk about it all the time. I am happy to, and to be honest can't talk about Eastenders or other soaps but there's lots more than just where the protein does or doesn't come from. That said, I am happy to engage and discuss it all on an intelligent level. I am totally disinterested in arguments that go along the lines of 'but animals like to be killed and eaten'. Tolerance has run a little low just there!
I love it - have I said that? I love I've explored new foods, that I actually love being in the kitchen, creating new dishes, sharing recipes and writing my raw food book.
I don't need people to agree with me to feel good. Which is probably a good job as I don't know many people who care to eat this way (but so appreciate my lovely friends who are happy to try things, taste stuff and play out raw from time to time). I have some opinions that some people disagree with. This isn't about me, it's their stuff - they can think their stuff and I can think mine. And that's perfect. Whether that be around vaccination, co-sleeping, food, work, whatever - it's all good.
I love life and feel more connected to life, the universe around me and the magic that's out there all the time.
I think that's enough for now. I'm sure I've learnt much much more but now it's time to go play on the guitar.
With thanks and so much love for reading, commenting, liking and sharing my blog posts, recipes and website information,
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.
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:
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...
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?
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