You can lead an elephant to water …………… let him in it ……. And you’ll never get him out (without a lot of cajoling) 🙂
Elephants like to drink, bathe in and play in water, and if you have a mahout handy with a hosepipe, you can enjoy all the benefits without putting any effort in (do NOT try this at home).
Joking aside ……………..
Water is one of the most overlooked health-boosters of all time, and it is one of the cheapest too.
We all know that water is essential to life. The fact that we can survive only 7 days without it gives us a pretty big clue!! We know that we need it but somehow we largely ignore it day in, day out.
So why don’t we drink it?
We live in a culture of coffee drinking and social (alcohol) drinking. We would much rather be seduced by the rich aroma of a strong coffee, feel the comfort of a cuppa tea, or feel a little merry on a glass or two of wine. Colourless water by comparison is totally boring, it doesn’t look sexy or exciting and it doesn’t give us artificial highs.
We water our plants, put out water bowls for our pets but fail to drink it ourselves.
Elephants (and other animals) trek miles in the wild in search of a water hole and because they instinctively know what’s good for them.
We humans, however, have lost our natural wisdom when it comes to some of the fundamentals of life, such as eating and drinking, and in particular, drinking water.
Many people complain about the taste of water. In part they are used to drinks with strong flavours, so it takes a little time to become accustomed to what seems like water’s blandness, but also for many peeps, their only experience of water is the cocktail of less than desirables (including chlorine) masquerading as tap water.
We are between the devil and the deep blue sea!! On a daily basis, we are dehydrating our cells big time by failing to drink plain water, instead imbibing diuretics (tea, coffee, sodas and alcohol), which further exacerbate the situation; or we drink toxin-laced tap water which only serves to bog down our cells with yet more acidity, when in fact they dearly yearn for fresh, clean water to help cleanse themselves and wash away the day’s debris. Crazily counterproductive or what?
Buying a water filter is one solution, but choosing one is an absolute minefield. There’s one to suit most budgets, and even if you cannot afford an all-singing-and-dancing one right now, a basic one is a step in the right direction. Consider a filter as an investment in your health. I wouldn’t be without mine; it’s a much loved member of the family! A water filter may seem like an expensive output initially but long term it comes out cheaper than buying bottled water regularly, and long term helps you to achieve better health. Illness comes with its own price tag. And let’s not forget the cost to the environment burdened with all those discarded plastic bottles!
What should you be looking for in water? Clean, alkaline, nice-tasting and, if possible, energised. Water in nature is mineralised from the earth, filled with natural energies such as far infrared from the sun and negative ions from the air, and amazingly spirals as it flows, thus re-energising itself as it wends its path downstream.
I have used a Nikken Waterfall for years and LOVE the water it produces. It is wonderfully clean tasting, and I know intuitively that it is enhancing the health of each of my cells. 🙂 🙂 Happy cells 🙂 🙂
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A simple reminder of some of the energy vampires (very apt for this time of year) that might be sucking you dry of vitality 🙂 🙂
- Drink clean, alkaline water. Often tiredness can be due to dehydration
- Forget the gym. Take a brisk walk and get some fresh air in at the same time. Energy creates energy!! You’ll get your circulation moving better, which means more oxygen delivered to your cells (they can breathe better then).
- On a similar note, deep breathing works wonders. This increases oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. In with the good, out with the fatigue-inducing waste products!
- Stop burning the candle at both ends. You are NOT superman / superwoman. Get some early nights in – well before 11pm if possible. Try doing that EVERY night for a good week or so. zzzzzzzzzzzz
- Look at your diet. Crap in = feeling crap and more often than not, a wobbly blood sugar problem!! Eat a nutrient-dense diet, rich in Magnesium and B-vitamins. Think greens and whole foods. These help to boost energy levels. Look at your iron levels too. Anaemia can sometimes be at the bottom of constant tiredness.
- Try a gentle detox. If your cells are full of rubbish, they will feel bogged down and lacking in energy. Spring and summer are the best times to do this, but a gentle clean up of eating habits can be tackled at any time of the year.
- Avoid quick fixes such as sugar / caffeine / cigarettes. When our energy is on the floor, it’s all too tempting to reach for a coffee, chocolate bar, or – if so inclined – a ciggie, but all you do is spike the blood sugar, get a quick high and then flag immediately afterwards, making you want yet another quick fix.
- For a healthy quick fix, what about a green smoothie? Try blending a pear with a little water, a banana, a handful of green leaves, half an avocado and some water. Yumdicious and helps to boost your energy in a balanced sort of way. It’s hydrating, has healthy fruit sugars, which are balanced out by greens and protein, thus avoiding the blood sugar spikes that you get when you use stimulants.
- Step off the crazy train. Move away from the stress. Your energy is going into defence mode rather than nurturing you. Even if you are only stressing about being late for a meeting, your cells think it’s a life-and-death situation and go into the full fight-or-flight mode. This is HUGELY depleting to your energy supplies.
- Tackle any emotional issues. These are draining. You could be afraid of spiders or anxious about a relationship. Whatever it is, you are either investing too much energy into thinking about it or trying to keep it at arm’s length. Either way, too little energy is left over for your cells to feel energised and vibrant. Perhaps try some flower essences or EFT to help with any emotional issues.
- Give your digestion some much needed TLC. If it’s sluggish, then you will be too. Ensure that you include water and fibre in your diet, and taking a good pre-probiotic is always a good idea too.
- Connect with nature. Brisk walks aside, just a nice meander in the countryside or sitting in the garden (with perhaps bare feet on grass), and especially in some nice sunshine, can help re-energise you.
- Give your liver some TLC. Fatigue can often be a sign of a stressed liver, and as alcohol puts a huge strain on it, it’s a good idea to go teetotal for a while to give it some much needed respite.
- Are your cells being frazzled by EMFs (Electro Magnetic Frequencies)? Mobile phones, PCs, microwaves, and other mod cons could well be draining you of energy. We all live in a smog of EMFs, so it’s not easy to avoid, but try taking a look at ways to protect yourself.
- Consider, too, magnetic deficiency. Our Earth is a giant magnet and, as creatures of nature, we can draw on this magnetic energy to help recharge us (a bit like a mobile phone recharging). Unfortunately, the Earth’s magnetic field is at an all-time low right now and, just to make matters worse, most of us are insulated from this natural energy (we spend a silly % of our days INSIDE a building / car). Look into magnetic technologies to help give your cells a boost.
If you would like help in looking at diet, water, flower essences and magnetics to help boost your energy and overall vitality, take a look at my website www.judithreidnaturalhealth.co.uk or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Many years ago I used to work in IT, and one of the many things my team did was to design and build pages (like the one you are currently reading), based on a usually very long list of requirements set out by our customers. The wish list of one particular customer was always rather demanding and we likened it to him wanting the moon on a stick, something which he rarely got (due to time and budget constraints), but he did usually receive a top-notch solution from us, filled with first-class, starry features.
If we don’t aim high, perhaps because we are constrained by our fears or just overly cosy in our comfort zone, we can instead settle for mediocre (if that) and stay rooted in the same-old, same-old existence. As time progresses, our world becomes smaller too. If, however, we look upwards at the shining moon and choose to shine beside it, we may not succeed in our first (or even 2nd, 3rd or 4th etc) attempt, but in trying we will have reached dizzier heights than planet-humdrum, perhaps found a sparkle within us that we never knew existed, and learnt valuable lessons to help light our way in future. No attempt leaves us poorer than before, for we have gained experience, a little confidence and expanded our comfort zone, if only a little.
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” Norman Vincent Peale
Hot on the heels of my last blog post about juices and smoothies, today I suggest reducing the cold, raw foods in your diet and increasing the warming foods. It’s not a case of hibernating your juicer completely, but try to have a sensible balance of cold and warm, and as always, listen to your cells and what they are telling you.
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that eating too much cold and raw food can put out our digestive fire, which we need stoked up to help us digest our food as efficiently as possible. This is particularly important during the autumn and winter months when it’s decidedly colder and we need to turn up not just the thermostat on our living room wall, but our internal heating too. During summer I tend to up my raw intake, but continuing down this track once autumn kicks in always results in me feeling colder, my energy slumps and my digestion isn’t quite as perfect as I’d like. Juicing is relegated to an occasional treat rather than a daily habit, and morning green smoothies are accompanied by freshly stewed apples. A lot of raw-foodies argue that raw provides vitamins and minerals in abundance, but I suggest you aren’t going to absorb a lot of those if your digestion is on slow. Autumn, however, isn’t an excuse to tuck into lots of refined heavy foods. We can still eat mindfully and healthily. Soups and stews which have been cooking for an hour or two retain both goodness and heat which is then transferred to you. Steaming is a good way to prepare vegetables. If you want juices and salads, then have them in addition to something cooked. I often do a one-pot vegetable risotto (with rice or quinoa) and stir in chopped tomatoes, peppers and green leaves before serving. It’s my way of getting the best of both worlds whilst observing ancient Chinese wisdom.
Chia is a funny little creature. Each seed is minute and en masse it looks like a load of grit!! Get past that and you can fall in love with this powerhouse of goodness. One of its attractions is its love of water. Soak it for just a very short time and it slurps up water and becomes gelatinous, ideal then for using as a base for smoothies and delicious raw chocolate puddings J
Chia is an ancient Aztec and Mayan superfood, once prized and used as a currency!! It is relatively new on the health scene here but fast becoming a firm favourite, despite only being approved as a “Novel Food” by the FSA **
As it holds so much water it is a great way to hydrate you and your cells and with its high fibre content, is good for encouraging a smooth running digestive tract. It is also rich in protein and a variety of nutrients including calcium and omega 3 and 6 Essential Fatty Acids. What’s not to like?
Even though it is good to go after soaking for as little as 20 or so minutes, I still prefer to soak it overnight. I feel then that it is well and truly saturated!!
On a practical note, despite being water-loving, chia seeds are headstrong little critters, preferring to float, so need a little coaxing to do their job properly. I have in the past left a bowl of chia overnight and found in the morning a small island of dry seeds floating happily on an otherwise gelatinous gloop!! So, when you put them in water, encourage them in with a finger or fork, and perhaps revisit after 10 minutes or so to make sure that they are behaving!!
I make a chocolate chia pudding by adding avocado, banana, a little raw chocolate powder and cinnamon and top it with organic raspberries and blueberries. A rather decadent breakfast for a Sunday morning
** A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997. Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, an independent committee of scientists appointed by the FSA. Chia seeds are approved only as an ingredient in bread making, to represent no more than 5% of the total ingredient content. Personally I wouldn’t put them within a mile of a working oven, as heat will damage their Essential Fatty Acid content. I wonder if that comes under the FSA assessment?
I LOVE autumn, with its shades of warm reds, oranges and golden browns. Having just enjoyed a wander in nearby Denbies vineyard, past all the heavily laden vines with gorgeous leaves, and then seen a wonderful display of home-grown pumpkins, it got me thinking about how nature creates such a wonderful palette of colours. So I had a good old nose on the internet and this is what I found ……… all fascinating stuff, which makes me realise that I’m probably more of a geek than I like to make out.
Let’s start with a spot of greenery! What makes green leaves green is a pigment called chlorophyll. It’s a molecule which absorbs certain wavelengths of sunlight (namely the red and blue bits of the visible light spectrum) but reflects green light, so this is the colour that we see. The solar energy captured is used in a process called photosynthesis to produce glucose and much needed (to us humans) oxygen. Another interesting factoid is that chlorophyll’s central atom is magnesium, and hence why greens are a good source of magnesium, a mineral which a lot of us are deficient in (due to poor eating habits, deficient soils and a crazy stressful life which gobbles up magnesium quicker than you can say – well – “magnesium”.) Try eating more greens for a more relaxed, chilled out view on life……….
Chlorophyll is just one of a cornucopia of phytochemicals (= plant chemicals) which act as a plant’s immune system, amongst other things. Other examples are carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, curcumins etc. Like chlorophyll, each photochemical absorbs certain wavelengths of light, whilst reflecting others and hence are seen as different colours. The carotenes (part of the family of carotenoids), for instance, reflect yellow and therefore appear yellow.
During spring and summer, chlorophyll takes centre stage (and hence why there is so much green around), masking other less intense colours. Come autumn, however, it retires for the season, giving other pigments an opportunity to reflect their true personalities (or more exactly the wavelengths of light which they cannot absorb!!)
Chlorophyll isn’t actually a particularly stable compound and is broken down during photosynthesis, requiring the plant to synthesise more, a process which needs sunlight, more readily available in spring and summer. (It is also damaged during cooking, hence why greens can become paler.) During autumn, chlorophyll decomposes and thus the reds, oranges and yellows of the more stable carotenoids are revealed.
It isn’t just in leaves, however, that we see carotenoids play their part. Within the fruit and vegetable kingdom, the beautiful yellow / orange of mangos, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins are due to various carotenes, whilst lycopene provides the red of tomatoes, watermelon and rosehips (which have been plenteous recently in the hedgerows).
Grapes, cranberries and plums can thank the family of pigments called anthocyanins for their gorgeous reds, blues and purples. The anthocyanins are actually formed when the sugar concentration reaches a particular level, thus providing a signal that the fruit is ripe, sweet and ready to eat. A sort of Alice in Wonderland “Eat me” sign for wild creatures!
Nature’s photochemicals, however, don’t just provide us with a stunning palette of rich colours; they also offer great health benefits. For instance, lycopene is protective of prostate tissue; beta-carotene protects the eyes and mucus membranes; whilst lutein (a yellow pigment and fellow carotenoid) plays guardian to the macular of the eye.
Also packing quite a punch in the health department is the family of flavonoids (to which the anthocyanins belong). Many of them act as powerful antioxidants as well as having potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Two of the best known are rutin and quercetin. Rutin (found in buckwheat) helps to strengthen capillaries, whilst quercetin (found in apple peel and onions) is anti-inflammatory and inhibits both the manufacture and release of histamine. Perhaps an apple a day does in fact keep the doctor (with his anti-histamines) away, but do buy organic!
Advice to eat a rainbow of colours takes on a whole new meaning when you realise the potent health benefits that these pigments provide, and our UK “5-a-day” looks a little pathetic, if not redundant!! If you are interested in enjoying vibrant good health from top to toe, via eyes, prostrate and other cells, I would strongly recommend aiming for AT LEAST 10 portions of different fruit and vegetables a day, and more if possible. This way you are building up your cellular defences as well as bringing a little colour to each of your lovely cells!
For a lighter look at eating in “rainbow-style”, watch this space next week for an article in verse.
Our dreams can shrink or expand according to our surroundings. If we sit within four walls all day, we can feel and think small, and our dreams too can become “boxed in”. Surrounding ourselves with Nature’s bounty, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. Staring at distant rolling hills for miles around or at the horizon atop a seascape, how much more expansive our dreams become as our eyes take in the limitlessness of nature.
One weekend back in August, Don strimmed the hedge to a respectable height and managed to lose the stray wavy bits at the top. Our neighbour who lives on the other side of the hedge asked that it be cut another 6 inches. My first reaction: “I suppose we ought to. I’ll ask Don.” Don is a mild-mannered man but when I mentioned this to him his answer was quite firmly “NO”. He had set the height at the place where it was easiest to cut. Cutting lower would have taken far more effort and probably something more powerful than a strimmer! I then realised that I had wandered into negative Centaury state, the people-pleasing state, where we can so easily dance to another’s tune!! Don on the other hand was in positive Centaury state. He was honouring his boundaries, not just his own time and choice but literally, also, by preserving the height of our hedge!!
Centaury Essence helps to set our internal people-pleaser aside and allows us to stand up for ourselves and say “no” where appropriate.
A review of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
Since enjoying this book a LOT, I’ve mentioned it a LOT to friends, thinking I was passing on some great wisdom, only to be greeted with “oh yes I’ve got that………”. It appeared that I was the only person on the planet who hadn’t heard of this book. So just in case there are any other uninitiated out there, here is my two-pennyworth on “The Artist’s Way”. It was mentioned to me during a phone call with a friend, Susie, who said her daughter had recommended it to her. I got a vague idea of what it was about, and as I’m never someone to need much encouragement to buy another book (I’m a bookaholic and would get help for it but really don’t wish to recover) soon had my mitts on a copy.
For anyone who has read any of my other musings, I often talk about flow. Flow of movements, emotions and thoughts and how when we get this correct, we are happy and healthy. For me, a healthy diet helped my flow in more ways than one! Somewhere in the midst of family commitments this year, however, I found my creative flow had become blocked. I didn’t feel like writing and I felt pretty stagnant and frustrated.
The book takes the form of a 12 week course, with a topic and tasks to achieve each week. It is beautifully written and peppered with inspiring quotes from creative souls. (I’m a sucker for great quotes!)
I don’t wish to spoil the plot but the crux of the matter (for me and a lot of other people) was the daily task of writing “morning pages”. Julia Cameron instructs us to turn up for them whether we want to or not, and write 3 pages free-form, anything that pops into our head. It’s a way of dumping out the small or big things which would otherwise get in the way of our creative selves during the day ahead. For the first couple of days I felt like I was writing lines: “What should I write?” over and over. But then something loosened, a drip began and then a nice unencumbered flow. The problem for me now is I have all these ideas floating in my head and I don’t want to stop writing! I wonder if she’s written an antidote book called “The Artist’s Block”. I seem to have gone from creative constipation to, well ……………
She tells us that a creative recovery is a healing process, so to be gentle with ourselves.
She talks in terms of God as our source, for which I think Universe, and reminds us that he / it is unlimited in supply and we can all tap into that source. I came away knowing in my heart that the Universe was on my side if only I got out of its way and said “yes” to it, and allowed that creativity flow through me.
I’ll fess up here. I didn’t do all the tasks, but I’m happy with what I did and learnt. Morning pages lapsed a little but I’m back on track and going with the flow ………..
I learnt that living your life creatively can be made up of small things, but if you are thinking big, then taking baby steps is more effective and less stop-in-your-tracks than trying to take one giant scary leap. I was reminded that I needed space (physical and mental) to source my ideas, let alone shape them and do something, and most importantly of all (for me) it didn’t matter if I create something less than perfect. All commonsense stuff but oh how our childhood conditioning has set beliefs in stone, which shout far louder than any commonsense whispers! Not any more ….. I’ve revisited my childhood during my read of this book, and can see I was meant to be creative (we all are) so that’s what I’m going to be from now on ………….. watch out world!!