Archive for Healthy living

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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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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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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Stress and anxiety

We all suffer from stress and anxiety from time to time. These afflictions can cause a whole host of problems such as headaches, panic attacks, uncontrollable thoughts and insomnia. In fact, did you know the symptoms of stress can be any of the things on this list? http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/articles/symptoms/

If you feel as though you can’t cope, it goes without saying that you should see your doctor. But if you just need a bit of calm in your life, here are some things that have helped me.

– Lavender oil. This smells wonderful. You can simply smell it if you’re feeling stressed and it will aid relaxation, but you can also put it in an oil burner, drop it on your pillow before you go to sleep or rub some onto your pulse points.

– Bach’s Rescue Remedy. This is a very popular non-addictive herbal remedy that helps to calm you down. You can place four drops on your tongue directly or dissolve them in a glass of water.

– Don’t feel that you have to focus on negative thoughts. You don’t need to ruminate or analyse, just let them go. Keep your mind on positive things and your thoughts will head in that direction. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged to a place you don’t want to be in. You can’t control what goes through your mind, but you can control what you hold onto.

– Exercise. Exercise helps to improve your mood and is the only way to get rid of excess adrenaline caused by stress. It’s even been labelled as a ‘wonder drug’ for stress, depression and anxiety, more powerful than medication. As you exercise, not only will the negative feelings decrease, but the ‘happy hormones’ such as serotonin will increase. We were made to move, a lot- the more you stay still, the more claustrophic you will feel. Get your blood and lungs working and help to clear your mind.

– Watch what you eat. Diet can really affect your mood, and your mood affects your thoughts (and vice-versa). Processed, refined products such as white sugar and white flour aren’t great for your happiness levels, even though you may be craving more biscuits and cakes when you’re feeling down. Have some dark chocolate, which does increase the serotonin in your body, and make sure you have a good, fresh, natural diet. Particularly pay attention to B vitamins- you may want to get a vitamin B complex to help pick you up if you’re not sure you’ve been getting enough from your food. Love your food, do yourself healthy, delicious meals that you really enjoy and feel spoilt with. It doesn’t have to cost any more than usual and it’s the little, everyday things like this that make a difference and get you smiling.

– Spend time with others. Whether it’s family, friends or simply talking to other people more at work it will help to make you feel more grounded, confident and less focused on your own life. You might want to consider joining an activity group  you are interested in or getting into volunteering to bring something new into your life. We were made to be social and communicative, and loneliness or isolation can cause a lot of emotional problems, so nip it in the bud as soon as you can.

– Spend time with nature and animals. If you have a pet, looking after it is proven to help decrease your stress levels. So also is walking in nature, looking at the beautiful scenery around you and taking in some fresh air.

– Count your blessings. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Count them on your fingers, get to ten!

Any more tips for cultivating a more positive, content mind? Please share them here.

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Dry skin brushing

Here is a simple technique with some amazing health benefits. All you need is to buy a good-quality body brush (cactus hair is recommended) and just use it to invigorate your skin before a shower. It will draw toxins out of your skin, so it’s important to have a shower after you dry-brush.

How do you start? Well, start from the soles of the feet and work your way up. Always help the blood and lymphatic system out by stroking towards your heart, not away from it. Dry-brush the soles of your feet and then, in upward strokes, go up your ankles, lower leg, knees and upper leg, trying to touch every bit of skin. Repeat with the other leg, brushing upwards all the time, until you get to your stomach, where you should gently brush clockwise (from your point of view, looking downwards). Brush up your back and your arms but as you get above the heart, brush down to the heart.

You can also dry-brush your face with a more delicate brush.

So, what does it do for you? Here are some of the biggest benefits to dry-brushing:

It encourages circulation and helps rid the body of toxins, as the skin is our largest organ and many toxins are released through it.

It strengthens the immune system, encourages healthy emotions and a calm state of mind.

It tightens the skin, helps reduce cellulite, gets rid of skin cells and gives you more of a glow.

It helps with muscle tone and regulating fat deposits.

You can find more detail on dry skin brushing here: http://www.jashbotanicals.com/articles/skin_brushing.html

I really recommend this technique, it’s so easy and incredibly helpful for the body!

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The benefits of rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is absolutely great to use on your skin, and yet a lot of people don’t know about it. I use an organic, cold-pressed rosehip oil on my skin as a natural moisturiser every night after I take off my makeup, and here’s why!

– It is full of antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E which protect your skin from aging, sun damage and free radicals.

– It is high in essential fatty acids including omega 3 which help to retain your skin’s youthfulness and vitality, encouraging cell regeneration and collagen production.

– It is often used as a treatment for skin issues such as eczema, acne, sunburn, photo-aging and scars. In fact, using rosehip oil on the skin every day for 5 months visibly reduces sun damage to your skin- one of the only treatments that actually reverse photo-aging!

– It also contains tannin which helps to reduce the size of large pores.

I would recommend you go for an organic, cold-pressed rosehip oil in a glass bottle to maximise the benefits you will get from this wonderful moisturiser. Make sure you put the lid on after you’ve used it each time and use it up within 6 months so it retains its nutrients.

Do you use rosehip oil? What do you think?

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