The tension we feel in our bodies often comes from weak & dysfunctional breath patterning. When our breath is powerful & balanced, it creates a sense of ease throughout our physical & emotional body. When we are not breathing well, our spine is collapsed, & the diaphragm is weakened, so we begin to rely on the neck & back muscles to hold up our structure & help us breathe.
Weak breathing habits lead to poor posture, which cause tightness & tension as muscles assume the burden of functions they are not designed to perform. It is no longer just the elderly who show signs of poor posture, as habitual slouching & poor alignment increasingly affect young people as well.
Observing muscle balance & posture may lead us to conclude that a slouched person might be holding feelings of depression. Are they depressed from slouching? or are they slouching from depression? If we focus on changing patterns through core breathing, our body will naturally feel light, & our mental energy will be free to express itself. We can become enslaved in a stress cycle simply from poor breathing & the resultant bad posture & negative feelings that this cycle can create. This is an example of carrying "issues in our tissues." When we are aligned & breathing well, it is actually difficult to frown. Conversely, it becomes difficult to smile when one is slouching. Poor breathing leads to poor alignment, which leads to depression, which leads to poor alignment, which leads to poor breathing, & so on. It's easy to become stuck in this stress cycle when our modern lifestyles demand that we spend so many of our waking hours in a chair. Utilising YogAlign core breathing to align our spine & balance our muscular-fascial web, we can positively impact our reservoir of mental & physical energy and the quality of our thoughts.
Your breath defines your movements, your posture, your mood, and eventually, determines your life span. Learn to breathe with purpose & passion, in order to re-create who you are - a vital, passionate & loving being!
Much Love to Michaelle Edwards creator of YogAlign
Your office chair is killing you!
As children, our discs are more watery in substance, but the discs thicken with age & poor posture, leading to less mobility & stiffness of the spine. The thickening is a result of how our fascia system works: where there is tension or compression, the body will produce an excess of collagen fibres, thickening the discs. As the disc thickens, the gel-like nucleus losses water & compresses, leading to spinal nerve impingement, pain & stiffness.
We can assist our disc physiology by practicing good alignment & doing therapeutic exercises that increase spinal extension.
Avoiding caffeine, cigarettes, & alcohol can help disc hydration, since these substances act as diuretics.
Practicing Yogalign that optimises engagement of the natural spinal curves can be like getting a good nights sleep, helping your discs & vertebrae to remain youthful & supple.
Sitting well is an essential tool for surviving the modern lifestyle which often revolves around sitting in chairs. Learning to correct poor breathing habits & aligning the spine can fix much of what is hurting in your body.
Modern life with increased use of technology can lead to round shoulders, kyphosis & dowagers hump & premature ageing!
Contact me for an appointment if you would like to learn some simple tools to increase your awareness of how you are breathing & moving, so you can feel more at ease in your own body & have more energy everyday ... perfect time to get fit & supple for all those fun summertime activities ?
Now lets take a look at Refined Sugar ... a weakness of mine!
But, in reality, there's really nothing to love about refined sugar. It makes us put on weight, increases the size of our liver, makes us unwell, and ages us inside and out, leaving us tired, fat and wrinkled. As well as being highly addictive, refined sugar drags valuable nutrients out of our body.
How to give sugar up:
Don't use sugar as a reward - treat yourself with something else instead, like a beauty treatment, movie or a new book.
Eat plenty of chromium - helps control you blood sugar levels & banish sugar cravings. Good sources include eggs, molasses, liver, kidney, wholegrains, nuts, mushrooms & asparagus.
Supplement your diet with glutamine - this amino acid squashes sugar cravings. It can be found in most health food stores. Take one tablespoon in a small glass of water whenever you get a sugar craving.
Include unprocessed, good quality proteins in your diet - sugar cravings often come from a lack of protein in your diet. If you are having a sugar craving, try having a slice of chicken or some nuts to banish the urge for sugar.
Include healthy essential fatty acids with your meals - they are important for optimal health & can help reduce sugar cravings, as you body is full of good fats.
If you feel you absolutely must have sugar, always eat sugar at the end of a meal, never before. Protein & fat slow the rate at which sugar floods into your bloodstream. The slower it hits your blood, the less of a rush you'll get, which means less of a slump. Better options would be a piece of fruit with a handful of almonds, thin-skinned fruit salad - cherries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries & raspberries.
Thanks James Duigan
Alignment Begins With Freeing the Breathing Process
Alignment is important in yoga & the poses we do should be consistent with good posture & good alignment. Good alignment should be practiced in all of our daily activities - both in your yoga practice & beyond the yoga mat. Becoming aware of how we use our body from moment to moment is the key to being well-aligned & pain-free. The ideal yoga practice enables one to create a state of presence in all actions of every movement.
Alignment, to a great degree, is dictated by how we are breathing. Shallow breathing creates poor posture. Deep-centred breathing aligns us in a natural position. In YogAlign, we emphasise that it's not what we're doing, but how we are breathing when we're doing it, that determines postural balance & quality of movement. YogAlign teaches us to have truly functional breathing skills, not just in our yoga practice or exercise positions, but in every way we use our body all day long. Using the movements of deep breathing, we can align ourselves from the inside out. The emphasis & intention of each pose in the YogAlign method is to practice functional body positions that empower our ability to move efficiently & breathe deeply. This supports our body's natural alignment & fosters function, ease, & comfort in our daily life.
Michaelle Edwards - Creator of YogAlign
If you feel you are not performing at your peak, have discomfort or pain, need tools to create awareness around deep, functional breathing that helps calm the nervous system and heal the body, want more energy to do more of the activities you love, contact me for an appointment time that suits you. YogAlign is beneficial at any age or fitness level. Click "YogAlign" then "Booking" under the menu on the home page. Scroll down to "Book a Session" and fill out your details, day and time preference, or you can ring me to discuss, thanks Leonie 0274 96 96 33.
That’s Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol & Processed food
Let’s look at caffeine first.
Caffeine can have some real benefits but it’s the way most of us drink it that’s the problem.
Excess caffeine stimulates your nervous system, causing your adrenals to pump out cortisol, a hormone which helps your body respond to stress. All that extra cortisol floats around your system for hours after you’ve drunk caffeine. So people who are drinking coffee or tea all day are basically flooding their bodies with fat storing hormones.
Caffeine past lunchtime also disrupts the way you sleep, & a lack of good quality sleep encourages your body to store fat, especially around your middle.
On the plus side, caffeine can help your body burn fat & it also boosts your performance when your exercising (have it at least an hour beforehand). Organic coffee is also packed with antioxidants, & it’s great for your digestion, helping to get your bowels going in the morning, keeping your body nice & clean & toxin free.
Reduce your daily brew to 1 or 2 cups of organic coffee or tea, in the morning.
A splash of organic milk or cream, could be cow or coconut, helps your body burn fat more efficiently & helps keep your blood sugar levels steady ❤️☕️❤️
Thanks James Duigan
Add this shot of sunshine to your morning routine, to maintain winter wellness & boost the immune system!
Blast in your nutribullet (or something similar):
1 cored apple
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 - 1 tsp fresh ginger
1/2 - 1 tsp fresh turmeric
2-3 grinds of black pepper
The oil & pepper helps the goodness of the other ingredients to be absorbed & utilised by your body. I add a little warm water so it is easier to drink. Serves 2 peeps. Bon appetite!
This shot makes you glow from the inside out.
Hot tip ... turmeric turns things yellow, so if you want to brighten your toothy grin try Ayurvedic oil pulling. I use coconut oil, about a teaspoon. Swish it around your mouth for about 10 mins, it lso helps to remove built-up toxins. After swishing, spit oil out into a paper towel & bin or compost.
Have you been feeling “off” lately? Are you making silly mistakes at work? Are you sick for the third week in a row? Although any number of things could be the explanation for these distressing circumstances, they could also be indicative of an imbalance in your chakra system. What are chakras? And what are the signs your chakras are out of balance? Chakras are energy centers throughout the body. Although there are hundreds of chakras, there are seven main chakras that are generally focused on. These wheels of brilliant energy line up along the central channel of the body, the shushumna nadi.
The chakras along the shushumna nadi are the power centers where the left channel (ida nadi) and the right channel (pingala nadi) intersect. These energy channels and psycho-power centers make up what is known as “the subtle body.” The subtle body is in a different realm than the physical body and the mind, but has a powerful impact on the body, mind, and entire system. The human body system thrives when the chakras and the nadis are open and prana, or life force, is allowed to move throughout the system with ease. Any kind of disturbance or disease in the body, mind, or spirit can cause blockage and imbalance. The goal is harmony. So if you’ve been feeling out of sorts, take a closer look at your chakras to investigate what’s going on and begin to find balance.
If you are feeling out of balance, consider what you have been consuming (food, drink, ideas, experiences), your current life circumstances (traveling, moving, big transitions), and the current season (wind, cold, rain, heat, dryness). Each of these elements has a potentially big impact on your sweet, sensitive human system as a whole.
In the philosophies of yoga and Ayurveda, where the chakras play an important role in understanding the human system, “like increases like” and “opposites balance.” This means that if you already have excess heat in your body (in the forms of anger or indigestion) and you add more heat (like a warm day or spicy food), you may feel even more heat and agitation than you already do—like increases like. On the other hand, if you add the opposite to that equation and take a cold shower or eat some fresh fruit, you may feel better and more in balance—opposites balance. Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, and an expert in energy medicine, explains that your biography becomes your biology with each thought you think and each experience you encounter.
In general, there are five warning signs that your chakras may be out of balance. In striving for balance, too much or too little energy in each of the chakras creates imbalance. Remember: the goal is harmony—balancing your chakras does take effort. The general warning signs are:
Each of these general imbalances manifests as specific physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual imbalances in each chakra. Let’s take a closer look at how imbalances in each chakra can influence a sense of disharmony in the body system as a whole.
This chakra, physically located at the feet, legs, and “roots” of your being, is connected with the element of Earth. The root chakra is associated with your sense of safety, security, and feeling at home within your skin. This chakra is also related to your family of origin and your human tribe.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the root chakra:
This chakra, physically located at the sacrum, hips, and sexual organs, is connected with the element of Water. The sacral chakra is associated with your emotions, creativity, and senses. This chakra is also related to your one-on-one relationships and your connection to intimacy.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the sacral chakra:
This chakra, physically located at the abdomen, mid-back, and side body, is connected with the element of Fire. The solar plexus chakra is associated with all of your thoughts and feelings about yourself. This chakra is about your relationship to yourself.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the solar plexus chakra:
This chakra, physically located at the heart, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, and upper back, is connected with the element of Air. The heart chakra is associated with love of all kinds: kindness to strangers, romantic love, compassion for others, friendship, family love, and self-love.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the heart chakra:
This chakra, physically located at the throat, neck, mouth, jaw, and ears, is connected with the element of Ether/Space. The throat chakra is associated with communication, expression, using your voice, and knowing when to stay quiet. This chakra is related to your ability to speak from your heart and mind with clarity and to listen with compassion.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the throat chakra:
This chakra is physically located center of the forehead in the space between the eyebrows and inside the mind. The third eye chakra is associated with your intuition, imagination, inner wisdom, and insight. This chakra is also related to your ability to see deep within your heart spaces to the truest, wisest parts of yourself. When the third eye chakra is open, you see the bigger picture and have a positive view of the future.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the third eye chakra:
This chakra is physically located at the top of the head and skull. The crown chakra is associated with your sense of enlightenment and remembrance that you are a small part of a greater whole. This chakra is also related to your sense of place in the universe.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the crown chakra:
The chakra system is one way to understand the human body. Even minor disturbances in the “subtle body” can manifest as pain, disease, discomfort or general disharmony in your body, mind, heart, and spirit. As you make your way on your journey toward balance, bliss, and happiness, consider checking in with your chakras regularly. Investigating the chakras can be a good temperature gauge for the entire system. Allow your journey to be intuitive and guided by your inner wisdom. Happy harmonizing!
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
nutritional biochemist, author & speaker
Nutritional: Your food choices throughout the day may have been missing
some key nutrients, and so your body drives you to eat unresourcefully at the
end of the day in an attempt to get these needs met. This is particularly
common if you haven't had enough nutritious fats throughout the day,
if you've missed a meal or swapped food for a coffee.
Biochemically: When we race around all day living on adrenaline due to
our perceptions of pressure & urgency, the body will predominately burn glucose,
rather than fat, and you will crave more sugar to replenish your stores.
Emotionally: Often our craving for sugar has more to do with an emotional need that
isn't been met as we seek more "sweetness" in our lives. Identifying this and
cultivating ways to bring more joy into your life can transform these cravings.
for more info check out www.drlibby.com
Hydrate from the Inside: To hydrate your skin from the inside, the first thing to realise is that drinking 8 glasses of water a day is not the way!! Instead you must increase your intake of water in gel form— as it exists in foods like berries, cucumbers, oranges, lettuce, and lemons. In fact, adding a lemon or cucumber slice to drinking water with a tiny pinch of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan sea salt will do wonders for the hydrating quality of your water. Adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to water and a pinch of Himalayan salt— and letting the seeds sit for 15 minutes until they swell before drinking will also hydrate your body far better than simply drinking a glass of water. This practice will also eliminate constipation in most cases.
Remember…….alcohol and coffee are dehydrating. So for every alcoholic drink or cup of coffee you drink, just drink the equivalent amount of water or herbal tea— ideally with a little pinch of salt. You will be amazed at the improvements in your health simply by hydrating yourself optimally.
Hydrate from the Outside: You can hydrate your skin optimally throughout the day by spritzing with a Hydrating Mist & Toner. Just spray on your face, neck, and décolleté after cleansing & before your moisturiser. Then press the fluid into your skin with your hands and fingers. Since your hands have healing power and are directly linked to your heart, we recommend that when gently pressing the hydrating mist into your skin, you do so with loving intent. Try making your own beautiful Rose Hydrating Mist.
This time of year I see many patients who feel that their food cravings have gotten out of control. Overindulgence from the holidays has led to a steady stream of poor food choices in their everyday lives.
From a heightened caffeine addiction to constantly consuming flour-based items and sugary sweets, many people feel trapped in poor dietary patterns after all the celebrations and busyness of the holiday season. But there’s good news! In just 10 days you can feel lighter, leaner, happier, and healthier without those nagging cravings for foods that don’t truly serve you.
The truth is, we blame people for being overweight and sick, but it’s not their fault. Our taste buds, hormones, and brain chemistry have been hijacked by the food industry. And sugar is a major villain here. Being addicted to sugar and flour is not an emotional eating disorder. It’s a biological disorder, driven by hormones and neurotransmitters that fuel sugar and carb cravings—leading to uncontrolled overeating. It’s why we are seeing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity but also heart disease, hypertension, many common cancers, and Alzheimer’s.
My 10-Day Detox is the perfect reset button to get back on track.
I gained a deeper understanding of the biology of food addiction and how it is so often at the root of people’s failure to change their behavior and their diet, and it is through this understanding that I created a plan to help reset your hormones and brain chemistry and turn off inflammation in just 10 days. The result is not only a significant jump-start on weight loss but also a dramatic change in health. Here's the gist of it:
For 10 days, you’ll remove the following foods or anything containing them from your diet:
And here is what you want to focus on including:
You’ll be amazed at what just 10 days can do for balancing your blood sugar, eliminating cravings, and revving up your metabolism.
For more in-depth information on the full 10-Day Detox protocol along with my recommendations for how to talk to your doctor, what tests to ask for, the best supplements to support your detox, and more, check out my #1 New York Times bestseller The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.
And for some extra support, you can find my Starter 10-Day Detox Kit here.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
How is your Plastic-Free July going? Don’t fret if you’re finding it difficult. Cutting out plastic requires a great deal of commitment, organisation and time. Raewyn from Little Bit Daily has put together a few handy tips that will help you to develop simple plastic-free habits and routines.
If you can, invest a little more on items that will last, are functional and maybe a bit cute so that you actually enjoy using them.
An ideal kit includes:
Get bags. Lots of bags. If you’re on a budget, check out your local op shop, or you can sew your own bags from old sheets/fabric. If you’re buying new reusable bags, choose cotton, hemp or recycled fabric. Thin bags that fold up small are perfect for stashing away in handbags, jacket pockets and the glove box. You can never have too many bags.
Scroggin (nuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate) isn’t just for tramping! Have some on hand in order to resist the temptation to buy packaged snacks. Popcorn is another healthy and affordable snack you can easily buy in bulk. I also like to make bliss balls and mini muffins.
Shampoo, conditioner, body and hand wash bottles can all be replaced by soaps – check out the full Ethique range. Keeping soap dry between use will help them last longer.
Give up cling film (plastic wrap) for a month and you’ll realise you don’t really need it. Use containers, jars, cloths or beeswax wraps instead. You can also use a plate or saucepan lid to cover leftovers in the fridge.
There are endless uses for jars. To remove lingering smells, soak the jars with a baking soda and water mixture. To get rid of stubborn labels, soak in boiling hot water and scrape away, you can also use eucalyptus oil to easily wipe off sticky glue. Then use a china pencil to write on jars, it’s waterproof but can be rubbed off easily.
Cleaning products are the easiest to make. All you need is white vinegar and baking soda. You can DIY all sorts of beauty, bathroom and kitchen products. Try to learn to make one new thing each week.
Supermarket produce is often covered in plastic. Get up early, take a coffee and get down to your local weekend fruit and veg market. Just make sure you take your bags! You can reuse old plastic bags or get some reusable mesh produce bags. They also often sell free-range eggs, bread, and local honey in jars. Return the empty egg cartons and jars to the famers next time you go.
If you’re unsure, just take one jar/cloth bag or even a paper bag to a bulk food shop and get one thing to start with. Places like GoodFor make it easy for you to use your own jars and bottles too. It’s really fun. You’ll be hooked first time.
Finally, share the plastic-free message, there’s a steadily growing ‘zero waste’ online community happy to give advice and share in your success. Join the ‘Zero Waste in NZ’ Facebook page and check out the #zerowaste hashtag on Instagram. Spreading the message and inspiring others is a powerful way to make a difference.
Contributed post by Raewyn Pearce (@littlebitdaily)
Pumpkin is a powerhouse of mental health nutrients. It is also one of the most versatile vegetables that can be served many different ways. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin beer….there are so many ways to fix pumpkin! Pumpkin is widely available all winter and is very inexpensive. Pumpkins are also easy and fun to grow!
What’s so good about it?
Pumpkin is high in fiber, which not only aids in digestion, it acts as a prebiotic for healthy gut bacteria. As we learn more about the important connection between gut bacteria and mental health, the more we know how critical it is to have good gut health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that strengthen our immune systems and even regulate our moods. Probiotics need fiber in the gut to colonize and flourish. A cup of pumpkin has 3 grams of fiber and only 49 calories. Adding pumpkin to a meal will help you feel full longer.
Pumpkin is a great source of potassium. A cup of pumpkin has about 500 mg of potassium – more than the boastful banana! Potassium is a critical electrolyte that contains a positive electrical charge and works closely with chloride in regulating blood pressure and PH balance. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work properly. Potassium allows our muscles to move, our nerves to fire, and our kidneys to filter blood. The right balance of potassium literally allows the heart to beat.
Low potassium levels have been associated with greater risk for mood disturbances and depression. Potassium deficiency can cause irritability, fatigue, muscle weakness, cramps, Restless Leg Syndrome, and chronic pain. Depression and pain are intimately intertwined. People with chronic pain have three times the average risk of developing psychiatric symptoms – usually mood or anxiety disorders.
Potassium also helps regulate serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is primarily targeted by antidepressants. Potassium acts as a facilitator in the brain’s ability to utilize serotonin. Potassium’s positive electrical charge is necessary to spark neurotransmitters like serotonin to make us feel better. Even a slight decrease in potassium levels can trigger significant feelings of anxiety. “When levels of serotonin are high, you’re in a better mood, sleep better, and have a higher pain tolerance,” says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of numerous nutrition books, including her latest, Eat Your Way to Happiness.
Pumpkin is a good source of the amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine, all of which are associated with mood-regulating neurotransmitters. Tryptophan converts to serotonin in the brain. While antidepressants attempt to make serotonin more available, tryptophan is the only substance that can make serotonin. Pumpkin seeds are especially high in tryptophan and can be roasted for a delicious snack.
Pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium. Just half a cup of toasted pumpkin seeds has 92 percent of your daily value of magnesium. Magnesium is nature’s relaxer. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium has long been used to calm nerves and to relax muscles. Its therapeutic role in both depression and anxiety is well documented.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids play a very important role in the management of inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to depression and anxiety as well as many other modern diseases and disorders.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatories. They are extremely important for many aspects of health, including mental health.
Omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory. In other words, they cause inflammation. We need inflammation sometimes. When we have a wound, we need inflammation to protect the wound and promote healing.
Many people are experiencing chronic inflammation, which is detrimental to our physical and mental health. Diseases of chronic inflammation are more prevalent in societies that eat a Western Diet. This is likely due to the high amount of processed food, junk food, and fast food that is full of omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils. Oils like soy oil, corn oil, and canola oil are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and very low in omega-3 fatty acids.
The proper ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s is critical for maintaining an inflammation balance. The ideal ratio is 1:1 to as high as 1:4. The Western Diet has a ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s that typically ranges from 1:25 to 1:50! It’s no wonder we suffer from chronic inflammation.
Increasing the omega-3s in our diet while decreasing omega-6s can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety. Many of the foods we eat commonly are high in omega-6s compared to omega-3s. Pumpkin is one of the relative few foods that have the perfect balance of omega-3s to omega-6s in a ratio of 1:1!
How to eat pumpkin
Pumpkin can be baked, boiled, roasted or pureed. It can be made into soups, smoothies, desserts, and casseroles. There are countless recipes online for the myriad ways to eat pumpkin. Pumpkin can also be substituted in almost any recipe calling for other types of winter squash. And don’t forget about the seeds, which can be eaten raw or roasted.
Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Overnight Oats. This recipe is full of mental health nutrients like tryptophan and omega-3s. It’s super easy, healthy, and a great way to start your day with pumpkin!
Pumpkin Overnight Oats
¼ cup regular rolled oats
¼ cup milk, almond milk, or coconut milk
¼ cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
¼ cup canned or pureed pumpkin
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup to taste
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)
Mix together all ingredients or place in a jar and shake until well blended. Leave in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy in the morning garnished with pecans.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Mix 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, and ½ teaspoon cloves until blended. Store in an airtight container.
Thanks for the article Angela Dailey https://mentalhealthfood.net/pumpkin-power/
Inflammation is a natural and needed process in the body; it is part of an effective immune system response. The body uses beneficial acute inflammatory reactions to direct blood flow, immune cells, and nutrients to areas in need of healing, such as wounds and infections. But when inflammation gets out of hand or occurs in the wrong place, it can result in tissue damage, hormonal imbalances, and even death.
The body releases chemicals, hormones, and other mediators to bring about and direct an inflammatory response. You have likely experienced the pain, redness, immobility, swelling, and increased temperature that occur when your body initiates acute inflammation in response to a cut or infection. On the other hand, chronic insidious inflammation often occurs deeper in the body where the signs may not be as obvious right away.
Chronic inflammation may result from the failure to eliminate the cause of an acute inflammatory response, such as an infection, an autoimmune disorder where the body mistakenly attacks normal tissue, or exposure to internally or externally generated toxins or irritants. These inflammatory processes can also be triggered by chronic food allergies and sensitivities, imbalances of bacteria and fungi in the gut, constant psychological or physical stress, and environmental toxicity.
When these inflammatory chemicals circulate in the body over time at a certain level, they can disrupt normal function and cause damage. This may result in symptoms of fatigue, pain, fever, and psoriasis. Over time, chronic inflammation may contribute to many lifestyle-related disorders, including:
Like many chronic conditions, the development of inflammation-related disorders is often influenced by lifestyle choices. There are some powerful steps you can take to optimize your lifestyle habits and build abundant health. Since each body and lifestyle is unique, always check with your healthcare provider before making major changes. Consider some of these strategies to reduce chronic inflammation and prevent future disease.
Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is a good start to keeping chronic low-level inflammation at bay. To keep inflammation levels in check and blood sugar levels stable, it is important to eat real, whole foods without added, refined sugars, processed carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients.
An anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in a wide variety of colorful organic vegetables, natural fiber, essential phytonutrients, and probiotics can help to nourish a healthy microbiome and squelch excess inflammation.
There are also some specific foods that have anti-inflammatory properties:
Your levels of chronic inflammation are also highly influenced by stress. Like inflammation, stress is a normal process that your body uses to protect you, but too much ongoing stress can become harmful and contribute to chronic inflammation. Relentless emotional, physical, and psychological stress weakens the immune system and promotes unchecked inflammation.
Research suggests that chronic psychological stress results in the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The stress response involves the release of hormones, like cortisol, which help to prepare the body to fight or flee a perceived threat.
Immune cells are also influenced by cortisol. In normal amounts, cortisol seems to influence immune cells to limit and regulate the acute inflammatory response. But when immune cells are chronically exposed to stress hormones, they become insensitive to the normal regulatory effects of cortisol, and inflammation can become out of control.
People who respond to stress with anger and hostility are also at risk for increased inflammation and heart attacks. Unhealthy coping strategies such as smoking, alcohol use, and overeating can worsen the impact of chronic inflammation and contribute to the risk of chronic diseases.
Instead, opt to cope with stress in a way that soothes the mind and body.
Keeping your mouth clean and healthy not only results in great oral health, it can also help reduce your overall levels of inflammation. Good dental hygiene keeps bacterial levels in the mouth under control and gums healthy so that bad oral bacteria do not escape into the bloodstream and trigger inflammation.
Consider incorporating some lifestyle habits that help to maintain good oral health.
Use these lifestyle practices to allow your nervous system, mind, and body to stay balanced and keep inflammation in check!
From the time we are young children, we place labels on ourselves to make sense of the world. We are either skinny or big-boned; cool or unpopular; a musician or an athlete.
And while these labels at times can be helpful to create some form of an identity, they are often extremely limiting. They place us into boxes—or out of them—and continue to follow us well into adulthood.
For a long time, I labeled myself as inflexible. I was a strong runner with an athletic build—not like the tall, lanky women we see gracing the covers of magazines. I completely took myself out of the "yoga" box because I assumed that in order to do it, you needed to have a certain body type.
It also didn’t help that by social media standards, yogis seemed like they could pop into an oddly formed shape anywhere—whether they were on a yoga mat or in an airport. It was intimidating to think that I could barely touch my toes while sitting down, let alone put my foot behind my head on the beach.
But I soon realized that the purpose of yoga was quite the opposite. Because yoga is really a practice of shedding labels, of removing the layers to get to your true self.
I realized that yoga as a practice only really begins on the mat.
As I began going to yoga class regularly, I realized that practice only really begins on the mat.
Asana, or the physical practice that we typically think of when we imagine yoga (beautiful studios and class memberships aside), is really just the first step on our yoga journey. It’s considered preparation for all the deeper aspects of our practice such as pranayama (breath work) or pratyahara (meditation).
Really, though, all of these parts of yoga are meant to prepare us for those tough moments in life—like when we get frustrated with our boss at work or our train is running late.
Because at the end of the day, the majority of us humans don’t have the flexibility—in terms of both our time availability and physical limits—to pop into a yoga pose in the middle of the day when things get rough. We need to be able to access that mindset wherever we are in the world—and it begins by being kind to yourself on the mat, whether you're flexible or not.
I was forced to confront my deeper feelings and emotional roadblocks.
After a couple of years of regular yoga practice, I decided to take the next big step and complete my 200-hour training. I realized that I was seeking to learn more about yoga than a 60-minute class in between work and dinner could give me.
Of course, I thought that at that point I had come to face all of my fears (don’t we all?). I thought that I had resolved my issue with inflexibility. I was growing more flexible by the day, and heck, it didn’t even matter to me anymore—or so I thought.
But oddly enough, before I even entered my teacher training, I spent hours practicing the perfect handstand. I wanted to walk into that room confident that I was a true yogi, that I was capable, that maybe I was even the best.
But yoga has this funny ability to shine a mirror on our deepest issues and make us confront them head-on. And my experience was about continuing to shed those self-induced labels.
During my training, I quickly learned that yoga practice is different for every body—and sometimes even varies by the day. That on some days, you may be strong enough to hold crow pose, and on others, child’s pose is the most you can do.
I had to learn to stop comparing myself to my neighbor and even to myself the day before.
I had to really sit with the labels that kept coming up and negative self-chatter that we all know so well: You’re not good enough, strong enough, flexible enough for this. Maybe you should just quit.
I had to stop defining myself by my outward "successes" and really get in touch with my true self, which if you've tried, is not an easy thing to do.
I released self-limiting beliefs and embraced kinder thoughts.
It is the first experience I’ve had that you can’t just "achieve" and complete. Almost everything in life that I’ve done had an end point. As a runner, you could only complete so many marathons. But with yoga, your teacher training is really just the start of an entirely new world and mindset.
For me, setting an intention to be kind to myself before each practice has helped me continue to shed those labels. Whenever I find myself looking over to my neighbor’s mat or beating myself up for falling out of a pose, I take a breath and come back to my intention. It’s a difficult, continuous practice that we all must work at—but one that overflows into the rest of our lives.
Over time, I’ve also come up with daily rituals that help me reset and continue to dig deeper toward the truest version of myself. While a daily yoga practice is on that list—it’s not the only thing. Taking time to meditate, journal, and even take a 10-minute solo walk (without music blasting into my ears) have all helped me quiet the noise and continue to shed those labels.
Of course, it’s a process. But with each step comes the beauty of finding your most raw, beautiful self—without labels.
By Robyn Youkilis 28 February 2018
I created my Good Gut Rule of Five to show you exactly what to put on your plate at lunch and dinner. Eating in this way will ensure that you are getting a balance of both macro- and micronutrients, as well as my favorite gut-healing superfoods (which I talk about more in my book, Thin From Within). Aim to include one ingredient from each of the five categories that follow for a complete and balanced meal:
Kale, collards, arugula, spinach, lettuce...I love ’em all. Aim to have at least two or three big handfuls of greens with most meals. Greens do it all when it comes to gut health and weight loss: They are packed with fiber, which helps fill you up and keep you regular. Plus, leafy green veggies are some of the most nutrient-dense foods, and when you are filling your cells with nutrients (I mean real nutrition, not just calories!), you have more energy and fewer cravings.
2. Healthy fat:
Avocado, olive and flax oils, almonds, butter from grass-fed cows (so the cows have healthy guts too!), and coconut oil all count here. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 to 2 ounces of nuts, or ¼ to ½ of an avocado at each meal for a good dose of flavor and satiation. Plus, fats are essential for proper absorption of most vitamins and minerals. I used to be terrified of fats, but now I include them at every meal and am lighter than I’ve ever been.
Wild salmon, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, tempeh, sprouted lentils, and canned wild sardines are some examples of great go-to protein options. Protein keeps you full and stabilizes your blood sugar, so you won’t keep dipping into your raw chocolate stash or crash halfway through your afternoon meetings.
4. Fermented food:
Including fermented foods on your plate is the good-gut secret to weight loss through a healthy microbiome (you need all that great bacteria throughout the day to keep your digestion humming!). Examples include raw sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots or radishes, and kimchi. Try adding 1 to 3 tablespoons at each meal, and feel free to work your way up to ½ cup or more. If you’re not used to the flavor of fermented veggies, try mixing them with avocado to mellow the flavor.
5. Cooked vegetables:
Having a cooked veggie or two with my meal (in addition to greens) always makes the meal feel more grounding and filling. Roasted zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots are all examples of delicious cooked veggies, but this can really be any veggie. I try to roast a bunch of seasonal veggies at least once or twice per week so I always have some cooked veggies on hand and ready to go. If you’re on the run, many takeout spots and fancy restaurants have awesome veggie choices these days.
Inspired by fresh new ideas for breakfast from Carla Oates's cookbook The Beauty Chef.
This lovely dish is made with black rice, the only rice that contains anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, and mango, which is rich in digestive enzymes.
1/2 cup black glutinous rice, soaked in cold water overnight
11/2 cups water
2/3 cup coconut cream
large pinch of Himalayan salt
11/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 ripe mango, cut into cubes
6 strawberries, sliced
Drain & rinse the rice.
Place the rice & water in a medium saucepan & bring to the boil. Decrease the heat to the lowest possible temperature. Gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover & set aside for 10 minutes, to finish cooking.
Meanwhile, gently simmer the coconut cream & salt together for 2-3 minutes, until thickened slightly. Set aside.
Once the rice is cooked, add the maple syrup & stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.
Serve the sticky rice warm or at room temperature drizzled with the salted coconut cream & topped with fresh mango & strawberries.
I didn't have a few of the ingredients in house, so I swapped out a few goodies. I mixed in a heaped teaspoon of coconut oil into the warm rice then added kelp salt & maple syrup, & served with organic natural yoghurt, fresh cherries, peach & blueberries and still absolute deliciousness! Perfect start to a sunny day.
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Here are a couple of exerts:
Movement isn't only affecting your arms, legs, and abs; through a process called mechano-transduction, movement influences the behaviour of your cells.
We are currently experiencing unprecedented sedentarism.
There are local effects of movement, as well as systemic.
Within an active body you can have cellular sedentarism ie running with supportive shoes (your feet have restricted movement), having smoothies & juices instead of chewing whole foods (there is minimal movement of the muscles of the jaw, tongue & face).
The key to increasing our personal movement lies in understanding how movement works & expanding our thoughts & actions away from exercise & towards a movement-rich life.
Katy Bowman has a live event this weekend in Wellington, followed by events in Nelson & Auckland before she heads back home to the States. For more details check out Katy's live events at https://nutritiousmovement.pike13.com/categories/64332
Before the invention of the chair, squatting was part of everyone's daily life.
Today, few people can squat without pain or injury. The YogAlign squat helps release tension in your hips & legs.
This is a pose that will tone your pelvic floor & abdominal organs & in particular, your bladder. In cultures where squatting is done every day, people stay flexible & aligned well into advanced age.
Prostate & colon cancer, knee & hip replacements, & osteoarthritis are rare in cultures that still squat. This pose also aids the digestive & elimination processes & brings a feeling of lightness to your body.
Unless you are a seasoned squatter with excellent knees, it is best to use a strap for support in this pose, to keep compression off your knees.
Place a strap around a post or tree, holding one end in each hand. Slowly drop into a squatting position, with arms straight & engaged strongly through your lats to your hips & into your trunk. Activate your shoulder blade muscles to keep the blades stabilised & your neck elongated. Position the strap just below shoulder level, & keep your feet slightly turned out. Stay on the balls of your feet as you slide back, pulling on the straps while you squat with a lift in your waist, curve in your lower back & your entire spine & skull in natural alignment.
For further details consult your local YogAlign teacher or check out Michaelle Edwards's book YogAlign - Pain-Free Yoga From Your Inner Core www.yogalign.com
If You're Not Eating This Food, You're Going To Have A Hard Time Getting in Shape
by Dr James DiNicolantonio 20 September 2017 mbg
There are five main factors that determine performance. Everyone knows the first factor, and that’s training. Whether we are hitting the gym to build muscle or running to improve our cardio, the first step is always going to be lacing up your sneakers and getting active.
The other four factors are less obvious. Those four factors determine how well you perform during a workout, marathon, or an athletic competition. They are:
What you may not know is that salt helps with each of those four factors—so much so that I’m proposing we consider it the sixth factor for achieving peak performance. Consuming more salt can even help to prevent overtraining, which may actually be caused by our tissues becoming depleted in salt. Consuming more salt improves those four factors by increasing water retention and vasodilating the arteries. When these two effects are combined, you are more hydrated, circulation and blood flow to muscles improves, sweat production increases (helping to keep you cool), and heart rate goes down.
How does salt help with hydration? you might wonder. Most tap or bottled water contains zero sodium, and this increases the risk of hyponatremia, or low sodium levels in the blood. Hyponatremia is a very common problem, especially among endurance athletes, and it can be fatal. We don’t just sweat out water; we sweat salt. We need to consume salt with our water if we want to reduce the risk of dehydration, cramps, and hyponatremia. Indeed, one study concluded that the primary cause of muscle cramps during exercise in warm weather was sodium deficit.
This makes biological sense. When your body works hard, you sweat. And when you sweat, you sweat out salt. Failing to replace the salt that is lost drains your tissues of salt, with wide-ranging negative effects on your ability to keep going. For example, salt depletion can lead to muscle cramping, dizziness, and fatigue, the exact opposite effects that you want during competition.
But wait—what about blood pressure? All of our health agencies, government bodies, and dietary guidelines tell us to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium (or 1 teaspoon of salt) per day. The American Heart Association goes as far as telling Americans to consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Never mind that the average person loses around 1,200 mg of sodium per hour of exercise, with some individuals losing more than 2,000 mg of sodium per hour. And based on the above sodium losses, even if you are eating a normal sodium diet, if you are an avid exerciser you can still be at risk of salt deficit. It’s not hard to calculate how following the low-salt advice while exercising could lead to more harm than good, so you might want to think twice about holding the salt.
I’m often asked about whether consuming sports drinks gives us all the salt we need while we are exercising. The answer is a resounding no. Most sports drinks contain only around 300 mg of sodium per liter of fluid, four times less than the saltiness of our sweat (or around 1,200 mg of sodium per liter of sweat). The reason sports drinks are missing an extra 900 mg of sodium or so is because no one wants to drink something that tastes like sweat. It’s literally too salty, so the manufacturers of sports drinks simply leave that extra sodium out.
Closing that sodium gap is where you may find your competitive advantage. And dosing yourself with salt prior to and during exercise may be the best way to close that gap. The average person may lose about a half of a teaspoon of salt per hour of exercise in sweat. If the loss of salt through sweat is not replaced this may lead to symptoms such as exercise intolerance, muscle spasms and cramps, fatigue, elevated heart rate, dizziness, hypotension, heat stroke and even circulatory collapse. The average person may also lose about 50 mcg of iodine per hour of exercise in sweat (which is why I recommend Redmond Real Salt, which contains almost this exact amount of iodine per half teaspoonful of salt). Preventing the depletion of salt and iodine that occurs through sweating is a great strategy to help reduce the risk of overtraining syndrome and even potentially hypothyroidism. You can drink the salt, or simply put it on the food you eat before or after working out. While I lay out a more precise salt dosing regimen based on ambient temperature in my book, The Salt Fix, this is a good place to start.
By Dr James DiNicolantonio author of The Salt Fix
Article from mbg mindbodygreen
ps I have just started using Harker Wholefoods Celtic & New Zealand natural sea salt enriched with NZ deep water sea kelp. It has 84 known minerals & trace elements & naturally rich in iodine. No chemicals, additives or preservatives.
Normally I'm not one for detoxing as the body does an amazing job constantly! But after a fabulous holiday which included much over indulging I feel like I'm going to give my liver and other organs a helping hand to start the Spring Season with a little more vitality and energy.
I like the following guideline from MBG by Tiffany Cruikshank and decided that I would be more likely to follow through if I had a plan :)
After an inspiring evening from Dr Libby Weaver last night, I purchased her Bio Blends www.bioblends.co.nz Liver Love, and I shall use Welleco's www.welleco.com.au Alkalising Greens and Protein Powder and the Detoxify Tea Blend from www.wellingtonapothecary.co.nz. So modify the following plan from Tiffany Cruikshank www.yogaglo.com as you need to and join me! Take it away Tiffany ...
Below is my 7 day detox, I recommend reading it through and tweaking it a little to fit your lifestyle if you need to. Remember anything you do will be helpful but try to make a plan that you can stick to. The most important items I recommend are doing the smoothies, not eating after 7pm, trying to keep dinner smaller than breakfast & lunch and the Gymnema is key for the sugar cravings and balancing the blood sugar so you feel better in the process.
Veggies, fruit, nuts, water and plenty of fresh, organic, local produce
Sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, artificial sweeteners
Half your body weight in ounces daily
a piece of fruit & nuts, celery & almond butter, snap peas & nuts, rice crackers & hummus, plain rice cake with almond butter, steamed veggies & nuts, avocado with sea salt, even just a few nuts will do if you don’t have time to plan ahead
Liver-GI Detox by Pure Encapsulations 1 pill 3xs a day with meals/smoothies, Gymnema Sylvestre 400-1000mg 3xs a day with meals/smoothies (to help balance the blood sugar and eliminate sugar cravings), B complex 100 by NOW with lunch (for an energy boost)
3-6 times/week & meditate at least 10 minutes a day
The supplements, greens & protein powder above are available for purchase online, just Google them.
I love this detox because it is really simple (not easy) and if you’re busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook and prepare food this detox is for you. If you drink a lot of coffee take a week to ween off prior to the detox don’t just go cold turkey. The gymnema will help a lot with the food cravings & appetite and will help regulate the blood sugar so you feel better during the detox.
Since you won’t be spending as much time cooking or eating out, try to keep it simple and enjoy your down time even if it’s brief. Feel free to modify this detox as you need to (make it longer/shorter, easier/harder, etc), doing part of it is better than nothing at all.
When you’re finished you can continue on the day 1& 2 regimen as long as you like if you’re feeling good. I find that I get hooked on it and like to continue it this way for a while and maybe take a day off here and there to have a glass of wine from time to time.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money. — Cree Proverb
In northern Ontario, near Hudson Bay, lies a remote, fly-in only Cree community with significantly lower rates of depression and suicide than other aboriginal communities in the area. In an effort to understand why this is so, a couple of researchers obtained grant funding, ventured into the area and asked the community members themselves. The findings of their study are published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.
The researchers wanted to avoid the Western medical model of focusing on pathology, or illness, alone, so they chose to interpret the participants’ responses according to the “medicine wheel” of traditional healing. This wheel reflects the four dimensions of the self (mental health, physical health, emotional health and spiritual health) as equal parts of a larger whole.
Overall, the findings reveal that the community’s strength and resilience in all four of these areas of health are tied to the people’s spiritual openness, community engagement, shared parenting, and perhaps most notably—a very deep connection to the land and traditions. In fact, most striking to the researchers was the way in which a connection to the land was interwoven throughout all of their responses.
For example, the community members said that their practice of harvesting and hunting their own food provides them with several important benefits: healthy meals, physical exercise and a connection to Cree traditions and cultural practices. They also believe in the importance of benefiting from the entire animal with one respondent saying “when people just harvest this for the sake of the meat and throw away a lot of stuff…they’ve lost their culture totally.”
Seeing wild animals on a regular basis is another fantastic perk, and the land is open and free, allowing people to feel comfortable where they are. In what was perhaps a particularly telling response, one participant said that the community did not “administer social assistance” as it has the potential to make “people totally quit from living off the land.”
The land itself is considered a source of spiritual renewal and healing. The respondents spoke of having a way of life that is still in touch with the natural flow and rhythm of wildlife. A majority referred to their relationship with the earth as a spiritual connection: “when you’re there, it’s like your spirit, your mind, and your physical well-being – everything improves when you’re out there; it’s like you rejuvenate while you’re out there.”
Perhaps the rest of us can learn from these important findings as well and give us substantial food for thought: How disconnected do you feel from the land? Do you take long random walks in nature? Do you see animals on the regular? Do you garden—or at least know where your food comes from? If not, make an effort this week to forge a deeper connection to the earth. Perhaps you will notice a different state of mind—and even a little peace of mind.
Traci Pedersen is a professional freelance writer who specializes in psychology, science, health, and spiritual themes. Some of her most recent work includes covering the latest research news in science and psychology, writing science chapter books for elementary students, and developing teacher resource books. When she is not researching and writing, she is spending time with her family, reading anything and everything, and going to the beach as often as possible.
Most of the ‘breakdowns’ and chronic pain patterns in the human body occur in the joints. When you change alignment patterns, joints are no longer compressed and misaligned, so the real healing by the body itself can happen on a deep level.
Poor posture, chronic pain & tension are seen everywhere in the Western world, & sitting in chairs is the biggest reason why.
In the Western world, most people over the age of fifty have little suppleness to their spine, & lack freedom in their movement & breathing processes.This is because our lifestyle is built around sitting in positions that put our hips in a constant right angle to our legs. The L-shaped position taken during sitting causes compression of the spine & damages the spine's functional & supportive natural curves.
After years of being in these static, unnatural positions, our bodies develop bad posture, toughened connective tissue, compressed vertebrae & nerves, chronic pain, & arthritis. These right-angled positions also affect our breathing process - the expansion of our lungs, the contraction of our diaphragm, etc. The diaphragm weakens & the breath becomes shallow as we lose the connection to our deep core breathing & spinal muscles. Poor alignment also invites us to rely on our extremities for support, forcing muscles to perform unnatural functions. We begin to over engage our neck and upper back muscles, leading to ingrained (and unconscious) bad postural habits.
Sitting in chairs is unnatural, often uncomfortable, & is counter to our natural design. Over time, we begin to adapt patterns of movement & alignment that are not functional, sabotaging the ability to move & breathe from our centre. Our nervous system becomes imprinted with movement patterns & positions that waste precious energy, impeding our ability to be at ease in our body.
Unless you know how to reboot the brain's signals that direct the intricate posture & movements of your body, you are stuck with a less than optimal alignment on an innate & intrinsic level.
Contraction occurs when we have adopted habits or alignments that use muscles in ways in which they were not intended. To eliminate these habits, we must wake up parts of the body that are not doing their jobs & turn off muscles that contribute to poor posture habits. In YogAlign we focus on becoming aligned by teaching our bodies to do "less".
The process of yoga is about removing obstacles like excess muscle tension, or excessive worry. YogAlign is about creating a "sustainable body", the most energy-efficient body possible.
When we are misaligned, we waste our precious energy stores, sap our strength, compress our joints, compromise our organ function, & in the long run, develop a life of chronic aches & pains.
Our bodies are permeated by systems of connective tissue that align our body through a balanced, tensile force. By practicing safe & easy breathing exercises & positions, we can learn to work with this connective tissue to regain our fluidity.
Thomas Myers has more information here www.anatomytrains.com
Preserve 2 pristine polar regions
Add equatorial rainforests (intact)
Set aside 4/10ths of the world's oceans
Sprinkle with reallocated military spending
Whisk in 1 energy revolution
Season with sustainable agriculture
Add fresh, clean drinking water
Recipe compliments of GREENPEACE
I make up batches of buckwheat crepes in advance and freeze them. It makes a stunning breakfast come together very quickly – even on a weekday! My instructions for scrambled eggs will ensure you have gorgeously creamy eggs and a breakfast to rival any fancy café fare.
1 cup (145 g) buckwheat flour
1 cup (250ml) milk (dairy or nondairy will both work)
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil or melted butter
3 freerange eggs – lightly beaten (for crepes)
¼ teaspoon salt
8 free-range eggs (for scrambling) – lightly beaten
Ghee or butter for cooking eggs and crepes
To serve: finely chopped chives, avocado slices
Whisk the buckwheat flour, milk, oil, eggs and salt together in a large bowl until smooth.
Heat a spoonful of oil in a sauté or crepe pan over a medium heat. Pour ¼ cup of batter into the pan and swirl the pan a little to spread the mixture thinly. Cook for 1 minute before flipping, and cook for a further minute. Watch the temperature of the pan. You are aiming for lightly golden. Repeat until all the batter is used. Add additional oil as needed. Store completed crepes, covered, in a warm oven until ready to use, or make up to 24 hours in advance.
Crepes can be reheated gently in a warm sauté pan or in the oven on a low heat.
Season the beaten eggs with salt. Heat a large sauté pan over a low heat. Add three tablespoons of butter and wait until melted and foamy. Add the eggs, leave to sit for 5 seconds and then use a spatula to gently move the eggs around the pan. Use long swirling motions, bringing the eggs in from the outside of the pan into the middle. Once the eggs are 80 percent cooked, remove from the heat (they will continue to set).
Place a warm buckwheat crepe on each plate and divide the scrambled egg among these. Add two slices of smoked salmon to each, sliced avocado (if using) and fold crepe over. Garnish with freshly chopped chives.
Prep time 15 mins. Cooking time 15 mins.
I tried the Chocolate & Zucchini cake this Easter weekend and would definitely bake and indulge again. It is dark and moist with Whittakers 72% cocoa Dark Ghana Chocolate, chopped up for my chocolate chips. Chocolate ganache was poured over the top & then a sprinkling of dried rose petals.
By Jennifer Pilgrim
Yields: 6 mini bundt cakes or 12 cupcakes
by Dr. Ilene Ruhoy 8 February 2017
Many health discussions focus on heart disease. And while this is an important discussion because it can help many prevent heart attacks, just as importantly, the blood vessels that feed the brain (known as cerebral vasculature) are equally as vulnerable and in need of protection. And it is the health of these cerebral vessels that's important in preventing a stroke.
Ever wondered how blood gets to your brain?
Briefly and simply, the brain receives its blood supply from the two internal carotid arteries that course up the sides of the neck and the two vertebral arteries that travel up the back of the neck. All of these arteries combine and form what is called the circle of Willis, a ring of vessels from which all major cerebral vessels arise. Before combining, the vertebral and basilar arteries also send off branches to feed the other parts of the brain like the brainstem and the cerebellum.
A stroke is a blockage of a cerebral vessel and can be devastating, resulting in impaired quality of life or even in end of life. The area of the brain affected by the stroke is based on the specific vessel that has been unable to deliver proper blood supply to its corresponding brain tissue. And each region of brain tissue has an associated function, whether its motor, sensory, visual, perception, speech, or cognition. There can be some stroke warning signs—but oftentimes there are none.
To prevent a stroke you have to tackle inflammation.
Known risk factors for cerebral vessel disease include elevated blood pressure, elevated lipids, diabetes, smoking, alcohol, obesity, genetics, underlying disease such as autoimmunity or blood disorders, medications and drugs, stress, poor nutrition, poor sleep as well as sleep apnea, age, or a previous stroke or heart attack. The common pathway for many of these risk factors? Inflammation. Many of these risk factors result in inflammation of the vessels, known as vasculitis.
So what can we do? Some of the very same things we do to hopefully prevent a heart attack can also help to prevent a stroke. And remember: Your lifestyle choices always matter.
1. Adopt a plant-based diet.
The vast array of vitamins, nutrients, and essential compounds that are found in plant-based foods help to lower blood pressure, improve glucose control, reduce inflammation, and help in weight loss. Try to minimize or eliminate pro-inflammatory animal products.
2. Normalize your sleep.
If you have sleep apnea, get it treated because sleep apnea results in less oxygen delivered to the brain during sleep—a critical time for many of the brain's functions. For example, sleep helps to form and retain lessons and memories from the day before. Sleep hygiene is important, so try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each night.
3. Don't skimp on fresh air and exercise.
Regular daily exercise—preferably outside for the added beneficial effects of the great outdoors—is important to reduce blood sugar, lower weight, and reduce stress.
4. Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
If you need help quitting, please reach out for help or speak to your physician.
5. Supplement to fight inflammation.
Herbal formulations are great for preventive purposes. Boswellia lowers brain inflammation and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a powerful antioxidant that will work to scoop up those inflammation-causing free radicals. Meadowsweet and white willow bark are natural sources of salicylate acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. Important: If your risk factors are great enough that you need aspirin, these herbs are not a substitute.
6. Give acupuncture a try.
Studies have demonstrated the positive effects on cerebral blood flow with particular head acupoints.
7. Start the day with a juice.
Start each morning with a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant combination that includes turmeric and ginger, along with fruits and vegetables. It is the perfect time to infuse your hungry cells with crucial vitamins and nutrients to set them up for physiologic success!
You have the power to heal your body, improve your health, and prevent disease. So harness that power and take one day at a time.
In my practice, I try to blend the best of ancient medicine practices with modern medical wisdom. This three-day gut cleanse utilizes modern science and Ayurveda. In both Ayurveda and modern medicine, we're learning just how much gut health is the crux of our general physical and mental health. This quick, easy cleanse will make you feel better in your belly, body, and brain.
1. Before you begin, do an intermittent fast.
Just like you, your gut needs a period of rest and rejuvenation to function optimally. Giving your gut a break can reduce inflammation, shed water weight, and reduce bloating. Studies are coming out all the time supporting the benefits of intermittent fasting, which gives the body a break for a set number of hours so that your gut can repair, reset, and rest. The night before you start your cleanse, I want you to plan to fast for 12 to 16 hours. This is easier than it sounds—a 12-hour fast simply means ending your consumption at 7 in the evening and not eating breakfast the next day until 7 a.m.
2. Start your morning with water.
Drinking water, especially warm water on an empty stomach, is one of the best things you can do for digestion. Warm water takes less energy to digest and stimulates digestion while detoxing the system and aiding digested food through the digestive tract. Start your day with at least one full class of room-temperature water before you consume any food.
3. Have a sugar-free breakfast.
Fruit sugars are OK (berries are best), but make sure they're accompanied by plenty of fiber and fat, so you don't have a blood sugar crash. Try this green smoothie recipe or this sweet potato hash. Buckwheat overnight oats are a great choice, as is a quinoa breakfast bowl.
4. Midmorning, have a cup of chai.
Boil 1 cup of water, then add in 1 heaping tablespoon loose chai tea. To this, add additional gut-boosting spices: ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. You can also add nutmeg or clove. Strain tea and add a splash of almond or coconut milk for creaminess if you'd like. Enjoy!
5. Have a broth-based meal with probiotics for lunch.
Not only is broth mentally soothing, but it aids in the production of gastric juices and strength of intestinal lining, soothes the gut, and aids liver and kidney function. Choose bone broth from high-quality animals or a vegetable broth, and add some vegetables to it for a filling, gut-friendly meal. Adding 1 tablespoon of kimchee, sauerkraut, or some pickles to your meals is an easy way to work gut-friendly bacteria into your lifestyle. Try 1 teaspoon or less (it packs a punch!) of miso in your soup or sip on Kombucha, nondairy kefir, or kvass with your meal.
6. Don't snack between meals.
If you're feeling peckish, have another glass of chai instead.
7. Add prebiotics to your dinner.
Hunter-gatherer societies ate 200 grams of fiber daily, while we get 15 grams with a typical modern-day diet. The best source of fiber is from complex carbohydrates from fermentable plant fibers or "prebiotics," which are likely to encourage the growth of good bacteria already present in the gut. Endeavor to eat more cellulose fibers, present in the tough parts of veggies and fruit (think of broccoli stalks, the bottom of asparagus, kale stems, and orange pulp). The following foods are especially rich in prebiotics:
Yams and other tubers
Leeks (green and white parts)
Fibrous parts of fruit and vegetables
Try to include at least one serving (extra credit for two or three!) of prebiotic food in your dinner. These curried sweet potato noodles are a great option, as is this lentil soup or this squash salad.
8. Minimize stress.
Stress, as you can imagine, has a negative effect on the gut. When you're stressed, you release peptides that lead to increased inflammation, gut permeability (leaky gut), visceral hypersensitivity, perception to pain, and gut motility. Today, try one of the following to minimize stress:
Try a mini-meditation: Take three long deep breaths, with five counts in, and five counts out. Try not to think about anything but the breath going in and then going out. Do this two or three times a day.
Do at least five yoga stretches. Moving and stretching your tight muscles can really help get you into your calm state. I recommend a standing stretch, standing forward fold, seated twist, backbend, and a seated forward fold. Forward folds are especially helpful for stress.
Think to yourself when you start to get rushed: "I have plenty of time; there is so much time." This will give you the calm to do your task without being rushed. You'll be surprised by how much faster you are when you're calm!
When you get angry, repeat this mantra: "I am peaceful. I am happy. I don't let anyone change that."
9. Go to bed early.
Getting adequate sleep—more than eight hours a night—helps overall physical and neurological health and has a significant impact on stress levels, which will give your body the rest it needs to heal and reset your gut.
Repeat on Day 2 and Day 3, then check in with how you are feeling.
If you can take away just a few of these changes, you'll be setting yourself up for long-term gut success. I recommend minimizing sugar, eating tons of fiber every single day (I always tell my patients not to counter calories—count fiber!), eating more fermented food, sleeping a lot, and getting dirty regularly. Remember pills, colon cleanses, hydrotherapy, enemas, and all these other quick fixes aren't the answer. In fact, they can do more harm than good. The power is in your food and in your life choices!