About detoxing

I often hear about people detoxing, especially after big festivals such as Christmas and New Year, or before a big event such as holiday or a wedding. But what exactly is a detox and what does it do?

Basically, a detox is a way to cleanse your body, to give it a break and a chance to rejuvenate before you carry on with your life. This means that, during a detox, you reduce the intake of toxins as much as possible so that your body can concentrate on getting rid of the rubbish that’s already in your system. There are different kinds of detoxing plans from fasts to cutting out a particular type of food.

As for fasting, fasting for one day won’t do the body any harm and has been recommended since ancient times. Fasting means you abstain from food, but water must be allowed, at the very least. If you do a longer fast, make sure you research it well. Water alone won’t be able to keep you going, and you’ll need to understand what nutrients to put into your body, how long to fast for and how to ease your body into eating again.

You might feel a bit daunted by going on a complete fast but are still interested in detoxing. In this case, cut out food that may cause your body trouble. You can cut out wheat, all grain, sugar, processed foods, cooked foods, non-organic foods… whichever suits you at the time. The more food groups you cut out, the more effective the detox will be- within reason. You don’t want to deprive your body, so make sure you know what you’re doing. If you’re not sure how to feed your body well whilst doing a detox, it’s best to keep it short so you don’t suffer any nutritional side-effects.

As for me, when I detox I cut out wheat, sugar and processed foods. I focus on eating as much raw food as possible, particularly concentrating on vegetables. If I want to go a little further I cut out all grains and try to buy everything organic. I aim to include raw vegetables and some protein (egg, raw cheese or some organic meat) in each meal. Ideally, I’d like to eat like this all the time, but until I feel confident enough to do so, detoxing helps me to adjust to a cleaner diet and get used to eating less of those foods that aren’t beneficial for me.

One pleasant side-effect of detoxing is weight loss. My own sister recently dropped two jean sizes just by following an all-natural detox programme for 9 days (she did the programme twice). Her husband also lost two stone. This particular detox programme can be bought on my health shop here: https://www.foreverliving.com/retail/shop/shopping.do?task=viewProductDetail&itemCode=007

It comes with loads of personal support and advice every step of the way, and also has a 60 day money back guarantee. So if, in just 9 days, you haven’t lost excess weight and felt the benefits of the detox you won’t even be out of pocket. There’s still time to get that body you’ve been aiming for…

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The ideal human diet?

A certain way of eating has created a lot of attention in the health world over the last few years, but it’s actually based on the most ancient meal plans you can think of. It’s the Paleo Diet, or the Caveman diet, and it seeks to emulate what our ancestors evolved to eat. The idea is that if we evolved to eat certain types of food, our bodies are best suited to these foods and can deal with them better.

So, what kind of things sum up the Paleo Diet? High importance is placed on getting the best quality organic free-range meat. Dairy is discouraged, and grains and potatoes are avoided, as they were not used by our ancestors before the invention of cooking. Basically, every meal has some sort of protein you’d find in nature, raw vegetables and maybe some seeds and/or nuts. Raw is important- the more raw your diet can be, the better.

Personally, the Paleo Diet makes sense to me, and I like to take a lot of influence from it when preparing my meals. I do still eat cooked food, grains and dairy but have made an effort to reduce them in favour of raw foods, vegetables and good quality fish and meat.

If you would like to read more, here are some sites to get you started:

http://www.earth360.com/diet_paleodiet_balzer.html

http://paleodietlifestyle.com/

http://paleodiet.com/

http://www.mercola.com/article/carbohydrates/paleolithic_diet.htm

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/10/18/paleo-diet-part-one.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/10/22/paleo-diet-part-two.aspx

Interesting stuff, isn’t it? So, what do you think? Let me know!

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Benefits of coconut oil

Coconut oil is a truly wonderful addition to a healthy lifestyle, both in your food and in your beauty routine. Look for organic, extra-virgin cold-pressed coconut oil- it may be expensive, but it will last, and it’s so beneficial!

So, what is so special about it?

Coconut oil is far more resistant to rancidity than other oils you use in cooking, retaining its nutritional content for a long time.  It is anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial, helps to increase metabolism, strengthens the immune system, aids digestion, controls blood sugar levels, aids absorption of minerals and tastes great.

How should you use it?

Try cooking with it as its nutritional properties are resistant to heat. It gives a lovely, delicately sweet hint to food.

Eat a spoonful or two a day, either straight, or stirred into green tea. The model Miranda Kerr swears by this.

Use it on your skin to heal infections, moisturise, combat the signs of aging, remove makeup and feed the skin with antioxidants. It has also been claimed to help with allergies, eczema and getting rid of warts and moles.

Use it on your hair for extra hydration, shine and softness.

Do you know of any other great ways to use coconut oil? Leave a comment and spread the word!

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Favourite places

Have you been to a place so beautiful and magical you will remember it forever?

Here are some of the places I have been to which have really left an impression on me, and I’d like to share them with you.

The Isles of Scilly

These are small islands about 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall, England. There are hardly any cars on the island, and you can easily walk around the biggest of the islands in a day. Beautiful beaches, woods, hedgerows, harbours, rock formations, ancient Celtic sites and a wonderfully safe, friendly atmosphere make this place unforgettable. Camp there and go for a walk around under a clear sky filled with stars- I’m not sure anywhere can beat this place.

St. Nectan’s Glen

Another magical place in Cornwall, this is an old sacred site and you can definitely feel there is something different about it. Near to the ruins of Tintagel castle, part of the legend of St. Arthur, you pass through what looks like a part of Lothlorien, with a gentle river trickling through tall trees and rays of light. St. Nectan’s Glen itself is a little clearing where a waterfall falls through a circular rock into a pool below. If you’ve ever wanted to feel as though you are in an enchanted fairytale, this is the place for you.

Tolox, Spain

I stumbled on this little village accidentally whilst on holiday in Spain. There are flowers everywhere, overflowing from hedgerows and windowboxes, perfuming the air. It’s stayed in my mind years later and I can’t wait to visit it again someday.

Venice, Italy

 

 

 

 

There are a lot of places in Italy I love (Assisi and Rome were so special) but there’s something about Venice that just stands out. I felt like I wasn’t on planet Earth. I think everyone should visit this beautiful place at least once in their lives.

What are your favourite places? Let me know!

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Powerful medicinal foods

Garlic

Yes, it’s a little smelly. But garlic is an absolute powerhouse of health benefits!

It fights viral and bacterial infections, heart disease, cancer, fungus, strokes, warts and moles. It also lowers high blood pressure and high cholestrol.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Touted as an effective remedy for a whole variety of symptoms, including acne, ezcema, heart palpitations, anxiety, infections and high blood pressure, this is really worth having in your life. Take it diluted in water, use it on your skin and hair, and see the results!

Blackstrap Molasses

This has been claimed to tackle tumours, anxiety, digestive problems, acne and joint problems, for a start. Add the fact that it’s a natural sweetener that’s actually good for you, increases your energy and is full of minerals, and you’ll know this needs to be in your cupboard!

Have you had success with any natural remedies? What were they?

If you are interested in reading about natural remedies, check out the website www.earthclinic.com.

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Chocolate- the healthy way

I love chocolate. Is there a way to eat this delicious food without ruining a healthy diet? As luck would have it, yes! Chocolate is actually a very powerful health food, as long as you get as close to the natural ingredient as possible and don’t eat it laden down with milk and sugar!

Why not try the following ways to enjoy chocolate?

– Eat dark chocolate with as much cocoa content as possible. I love to eat Green and Black’s organic dark chocolate with 80% cocoa, but as long as you exceed about 65% you can reap all the wonderful benefits, including antioxidants, ‘happy hormones’ such as endorphin and serotonin, the lowering of high blood pressure and high cholestrol, and even protection from the signs of aging!

– Try raw chocolate, such as those sold by www.rawrchoc.com. Raw chocolate retains even more nutrition as it hasn’t been damaged by cooking, so you absorb even more minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins.

– Use flaxseed with cocoa to give your cereal or yogurt a boost. Flaxseed itself is such a great food that I’ve written a seperate post all about it, but when you buy it with cocoa, it’s absolutely delicious. Try it with a bit of honey on a bowl of puffed rice for cereal that tastes like Coco Pops but feeds you with loads of nutrition to get through the day. This is the one I use, which is cold-pressed and tastes just great: http://www.linwoodshealthfoods.com/productdetails/13/ground-flaxseed-cocoa-strawberries-blueberries.aspx

– Purchase some really good quality organic dark chocolate powder, such as this one from Green and Black’s: http://www.greenandblacks.com/ca/what-we-make/home-use/cocoa-powder.html Use it with a good natural sweetener such as unrefined sugar, honey or molasses to make a comforting cup of hot chocolate.

Any ideas you’d like to share? Let me know!

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A better night’s sleep

Are you having trouble going to sleep, or getting good quality sleep? In my experience, these things help to ensure you get the perfect night’s rest.

– Try to sleep before 11pm and don’t wake up later than 7am. This is more in tune with our natural cycle and will encourage a deeper, more beneficial sleep than if you go to bed later.

– Don’t sleep more than 7 or 8 hours, you really don’t need to and it might damage your sleeping pattern. If you are really tired when you wake up, it’s better to nap after lunch. 15 to 20 minutes is a great amount of time to nap for an energy boost, but you can allow yourself up to an hour. After lunch is when our bodies naturally slow down a little and you will get more from this than if you stay in bed longer in the morning.

– Use the scent of lavender to help you relax. Invest in some good quality lavender oil and place a few drops on your pillow before you go to bed. You can also put it on your pulse points.

– Drink some camomile tea. Camomile is famous for helping to get rid of anxiety and stress, and if taken regularly can really make a difference in your life. Warm milk with a bit of honey or brandy is another great bedtime drink, and if you fancy a small snack, turkey contains a chemical that aids relaxation.

– Prepare for sleep. Don’t stay up as long as you can and reluctantly jump into bed only when you are exhausted. It’s better to let your mind adjust to the fact you’re going to bed. Enjoy the procedure- get ready an hour earlier, create a relaxing atmosphere, read a good book and feel yourself adjust from the pressures of the day.

– Use the healing power of touch. If a partner gives you a massage or strokes your head when you’re tired, it releases happy, relaxing chemicals in your brain and helps you to sleep. You can do it on your own, too- gently massage your temples, the sides of the top of your nose, your eyebrows, the back of your neck or the fleshy part of your thumb on the palm of your hand to help you wind down. You can also try placing your right hand on the top of your spine and your left hand on the bottom of your spine to encourage a feeling of relaxation and contentment.

– Try meditation. You might want to put on some calming music, visualise a tranquil scene or simply observe your own breath, but whichever method of meditation suits you will help slow your mind down and get you ready for some much-needed rest and rejuvination. My favourite night-time meditation involves me imagining I am lying on a perfect, comfortable cloud, travelling through the night sky with clear stars all around me.

What helps you get the perfect night’s sleep?

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