Living a life less toxic…

by Faith Canter


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Top Tips for Detoxing the Body

It’s really important when detoxing in any way to support the body as much as possible.  Failure to do this could mean you absorbing many of the toxins you have released during a detox back into the body again.  Quick-fix detoxes generally allow this to happen.  If your body couldn’t process these toxins the first time round, what makes you think that it will be able to the second time round when you release these along with  many other additional toxins whilst doing a detox?  As such supporting the body in anyway possible is essential.  This is especially so for the liver, lymphatic and digestive systems as these are fundamental to the permanent removal of toxins from you body.

Below is a list of my top 21 tips for doing so:

  1. Reduce the toxic load of your food.  Replace processed sugars and white foods (like bread, flour and rice) with wholemeal versions and stay clear of sweeteners, diet foods and drinks, as well as caffeine and alcohol.
  2. Reduce the use of toxins in your home and on your body.  Your body absorbs a lot of the toxins from its environment, so replace these with natural alternatives or make your own.
  3. Drink plenty of water (at least 2 – 3 litres every day and more if exercising).  Make sure you drink from a non-plastic, or at least BPA free plastic container.  This will help your lymphatic system eliminate toxins.  Preferably drink at least a litre of this as soon as you wake up and before doing anything else with you day.
  4. Exercise regularly.  This doesn’t need to be high impact – just a minimum of 20 minutes four times a week.  This helps the body sweat out toxins.
  5. Increase your intake of probiotic foods and drinks.  By this I mean fermented (not pickled) vegetables and drinks like kefir and kombucha as these are an amazing sources of many billions of different probiotics bacteria.  These will help the body eliminate toxins and balance good and bad bacteria and yeasts within the gut.  Failing this, then take a really good quality, multi-strain probiotic supplement instead (one with many billions of multi strain good bacteria in).
  6. Drinking herbal teas and using herbal remedies such as burdock, parsley, peppermint, turmeric, black walnut, elderberry, dandelion, nettle, liverwort, wormwood, charcoal and milk thistle all help the body to detox and support the liver through the detoxification process.  The more bitter, the better.
  7. Increase your consumption of magnesium rich foods (leafy greens, nut, seeds, beans, lentils, fish, avocados, figs, bananas and whole grains).  Try to also have as many Epsom salt baths as possible.  Epsom salts are high in magnesium and help to draw out toxins (as well as general aches and pains, so they are great after exercising etc) from the body.  Try to relax in the bath for a minimum of 20 minutes if you can as this will have an optimum affect.
  8. Consider regular massage, reflexology, saunas, steam rooms or any other detoxifying therapies. These therapies stimulate the lymphatic’s, helping them to eliminate toxins through sweating and other means.
  9. Take up body brushing.  You can either use a long handled brush or just your own hands and general brush your body in the direction of the chest.  Make sure, especially with women you brush up the sides of the breasts, where we store a lot of toxins (these may become tender once you start shifting toxins but keep going as that’s a good sign and they will clear up). This will also stimulate the lymphatics and remove blockages, helping them to work more effectively at removing toxins from the body.
  10. Don’t skip meals.  Eating regularly means the body works more effectively and when this happens you eliminate toxins better.  It also means that your blood sugar levels shouldn’t get so low that you feel the need to snack on something naughty!  And remember to include plenty colourful fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts into your regular meals.
  11. Make sure you are having your having at least one bowel movement a day.  Bowel movements are one of the body’s main ways to remove toxins from it.  If you’re not having at least one bowel movement a day then you are likely holding on to a lot of the toxins from your food.  This will be mean you will be absorbing these toxins back into the body instead of them being removed from the body during normal bodily functions like this.  If your not having regular bowel movements then try eating more fibre, drinking more water and take up body brushing and rebounding.
  12. Daily rebounding (jumping on a mini trampoline), as this helps stimulate the lymphatic’s, which will help remove toxins from your system.
  13. Try not using antiperspirants.  These products impair the body’s ability to eliminate toxins in the normal way, through sweat. I know some people worry about body odour, so they still use antiperspirant products. If nothing else, try to cut them out at home to allow your body to sweat normally.  If the toxins can’t get out they will end up stored in the body.  There are a lot of great natural products on the market (my favourite is PitRock, a salt stone deodorant).  Once your body has eliminated the build-up of toxins and you have lowered your toxic intake you won’t need a deodorant as you won’t smell when you sweat, as the smell is toxins leaving the body.  That’s why people smell worse after a drinking session, a takeaway or when on medication.
  14. Get a minimum of eight hours sleep a night, out body’s do a lot of their detoxing work during our sleeping hours, so it’s important to give it the time to do this.
  15. When eating meat and dairy always try to opt for the organic versions of these so you will be absorbing less toxins through your food then.
  16. If you don’t understand the label then don’t eat it, strange words etc on labels more often than not means chemicals, so avoid eating these sorts of foods where possible as they will only add to your toxic load.
  17. Look into the symptoms of a yeast imbalance within the gut. It’s believed with the way we live our lives these days that up to 70% of us have this issue.  Whilst the bad yeasts grow and get out of balance within the body they produce toxins that the body has to try to eliminate (on top of all the other stuff).  This can make us feel pretty lousy.  It’s fairly simple to bring the good and bad yeasts back into balance with a change of diet, an introduction of some natural anti-fungal foods and increasing our consumption of fermented/probiotic foods and drinks (mentioned within a later chapter of this book).
  18. Breathe deeply, fully into the lungs, stomach and back and with purpose, as many times in the day as you remember. As mentioned in one of the previous chapters this will help the body remove toxins from the respiratory system and allow the rest of the body to get the energy and oxygen it requires to do its job effectively.
  19. Try to incorporate yoga, pilates, tai chi, qi-gong or meditation to your daily life.  These will help support and strengthen body and mind for detoxing and much more.
  20. Swap your normal fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes for more natural non fluoride versions.  And consider having mercury filling removed by someone who specialises in this process.
  21. And last but by no means least, reduce your stress levels!  This leads to an over production of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.  When this happens many of the normal functions of the body become impaired and this can mean that not only are you not eliminating toxins, but your also then storing these additional hormones.  Also when you’re stressed you tend not to eat well, exercise and generally look after yourself as you should.

 

Watch this space for: Top Tips for detoxing the Mind and Top Tips for Detoxing your Home.

Here’s some other detoxing pages you might be interested in:

25 Ways to Detox From Heavy Metals etc, click here.

10 Ways to Detoxifying the Body, click here.

28 Simple & Natural Ways to Detox your Body, click here.

Foods that will Naturally Detox you, click here.

How do you detox?


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The Plastic Free July Challenge

The 1st of July means the start of Plastic Free July. This gives us all a great excuse to try and reduce our plastic usage.  But why should we do this?  Well, plastics are not only incredibly toxic to our environment but also to our own health.  I recently wrote an article for the Ragged University  that explains exactly why this is.  If you would like to read this article then please click here.

I’m not suggesting you give up on all plastic, but that you either reduce or remove single use plastics (carrier bags, straws, coffee cups, food and general packaging within the home) for July.  I have put together the list below to give you some ideas of how you can reduce your plastic usage for your own health and that of this amazing planet.

  • Start to replace all your plastic storage containers with glass or metal ones.
  • Do away with cling film. Use scraps of material to wrap dry food, and glass storage containers for wet stuff.
  • Purchase a metal or glass water bottle and take this with you and fill it up as you go, rather than purchasing drinks in plastic bottles.IMG_20140618_194655
  • Take your own thermos cup/mug out with you and ask to have it filled rather than making use of the shop’s takeaway plastic cups.  Everywhere I go to now is happy to fill up your mug rather then use one of theirs, as it saves them money.
  • Take a metal (or wooden) camping cutlery set with you rather than using throw away plastic ones.
  • Join a veg box scheme. Most of their produce comes loose or in paper bags.
  • Buy locally. This way your food is less likely to have been sat in plastic wrappings for long periods of time whilst it’s been shipped from wherever it was produced.
  • Buy fresh produce or food that comes in cartons for things like tomatoes.
  • Take your own jars and containers to health food stores, fast food takeaways, and local farmers markets and asked for these to be filled rather than using their plastic containers.
  • Ask the store what their packaging is actually made from. I have been in two shops recently where I thought they were serving up their items in plastic packaging and it was actually vegetable based packaging instead.  I’m happy to say Neal’s Yard was one of these places.
  • When putting veggies at the supermarket in plastic bags you can either keep using the same bags every time you go10477308_902845176399265_7320564021015987526_o back (just take them with you or you can replace the need for these with using paper bags (mushroom bags are usually hanging around somewhere in the supermarket) or take your own veggies bags (as seen the the picture).
  • Buy or make yourself some reusable shopping bags. If you forget to take your bags into the shop then pop everything back in the trolley loose and take the trolley to the bags in your car. Buy twice as many reusable bags as you need, so that when you forget to put them back in the car after using them, you still have a spare set for the next shop.
  • Lose the bin bags! These days almost everyone has kerbside recycling/waste removal or composting facilities so there is no need for wet foods, drinks and produce to be put into your kitchen bin. You no longer need bin bags. Simply empty your bin directly into the main kerbside bin outside and do away with nasty bin bags.
  • Replace kitchen roll with a basket of scraps of material that you just reuse and wash. This eliminates all that single use plastic packaging around those single use kitchen roll sheets.DSC_1785
  • Either make you own bread (which will also be healthier) or buy it from a bakers, so there’s no plastic packaging.
  • Buy any sort of deli food, meats, and cheeses direct from the store, deli counter, or butcher and place them in your own containers.
  • Use a natural deodorant like a salt stone as although some of these are packaged in plastic they last about 18mths, so you’ll be using a lot less of them.
  • Buy a metal razor and completely metal blades. These may seem expensive to start with by they actually work out a lot cheaper as they last a lot longer.
  • Make your own natural cleaning products. The ingredients will often still come in plastic but they will last much, much longer so again, you’ll be buying less plastic.
  • Make your own natural body products. These will last much longer, so you’ll be buying far less plastic. You’ll also have the added bonus of putting less chemicals on your body.
  • Avoid body scrubs/exfoliators that are not made from natural ingredients as they have very small plastic beads in them. These get into our water supply and then our food chain as fish eat them believing them to be food.  Make your own easily with epsom salts, rock salt or ground fruit stones.
  • Use bio-degradable dog waste bags (or nappy bio-degradable nappy bags are often cheaper).   I’ve even heard of people using newspapers.
  • Bulk buy as many items as possible so that there is less plastic packaging produced used.
  • Buy (or make your own) bars of soap instead of liquid soaps to reduce the bottles used.
  • Keep a box for all the packaging you have received through the post and then reuse this when you post things out yourself.
  • Do away with zip lock and sandwich bags. Store food in reusable glass containers or wash out plastic single use containers and use these again. TIP: Microwave rice pouches can be used again for storing wet foods.
  • If there’s an option to buy food in glass instead of plastic (like with sauces and other wet foods) then take this option and then reuse the jar afterwards.
  •  Reuse plastic packaging where possible. Microwave rice pouches are great for storing wet items in the freezer or large yoghurt or soup pots can hold homemade stock, soups or other wet items in the fridge or freezer.
  • Or if you don’t want to reuse plastics for food then use them as seedling or plant pots.

 

Since implementing the above I am actually spending a lot less money, creating less waste, reducing the toxicity levels of my body, home and environment and feeling great about it. In my book that’s a winner!

Here’s some other tips from some other sources:

My Plastic Free Life, click here.

A Year Without Buying Plastics, click here.

Life Without Plastic, click here.

A Plastic Free Year, click here.

Life Less Plastic, click here.

Life Without Plastic Blog, click here.

No Impact Man, click here. (This blog is a great all rounder for environmental hints and tips and the book is ace).

 

Do you have any tips you would like to add to this list?


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Healthy Travel Tips

As you might have guessed I try to be as healthy as possible and this can sometimes prove difficult when you’re on the go.  So I decided to put together a list of my top tips for healthy travel.

1. Buy a camping cutlery set.  I take mine everywhere I go, this means I can eat salads, fruits, muesli or soup from a mug in the hotel or other things like avocados.  This is my favourite and best used tip for healthy eating on the go – with one of these lots more healthy foods become edible.  It also has the added bonus of meaning you’re not using single-use (environmentally unfriendly) plastic knifes and forks (that is if the store even has these).

2. Take a large lunch box of fruits and veggies and other good foods with you.  This means at least for the first few days you’ll be a good girl or boy!  Don’t worry about the wasted space this takes up on the way back – I simply take the lid off and pack things in the box (it’s actually great for anything that you’re worried about getting damaged or leaking).

3. I take my own healthy muesli with me and some almond milk.  I have personally found that almond milk (not the stuff you buy from the refrigerated areas of the super market, but the one off the shelves) is fine to consume for brekkie with my muesli for 3 days without having to put it in a fridge.  So this is a great option for a healthy breakfast when living out of a suitcase.

4. If you pass a supermarket then always buy some fruit.  Even if you’re not hungry at the time, you will be later and if it’s close at hand you’re much more likely to eat this than go and find a vending machine or corner shop that sells chocolate and crisps etc.

5. I take my tin water bottle everywhere with me.  I top it up whenever I come across drinking water taps or fountain and it means I always drink enough water every day and that I’m not buying lots of single use bottles (better for my health and that of the environment = winner).

6. Take your own herbal teabags.  I take a small supply of organic herbal teabags everywhere I go in my handbag.  This way anywhere that has hot water means I can have a healthy herbal tea.  These days many more places sell herbal teas, but I still find I use them up, especially when staying away from home or visiting friends and family.

7. If it’s impractical for you to take your fermented foods and drinks with you (to maintain good gut health) then then next best thing it to take a really good probiotic with you.  This helps to minimise the risk of tummy upsets.

8. Decant some coconut oil into a small glass jar.  I take coconut oil everywhere with me.  It’s solid at home temperature, so does not need to go in the silly clear liquids bag when going through the security check at the airport.  It’s a great moisturiser and make-up remover, is great for stings, bites, sunburn and many other things as listed in my blog post about coconut oil (click here).

9. Pack a deodorant rock.  I don’t use antiperspirants due to the toxic load of the harmful chemicals in them, so I have tried out most of the natural alternatives and I have found the PitRock salt rock the best of the lot.  It allows you to naturally sweat without smelling.  Again it’s a solid so does not need to go into the clear liquids bag when going through security and because it’s antibacterial it doubles up for helping with spots, bites and stings also.

10. Take a set of ear-plugs in your make-up bag.  These can then be used on planes, trains and in noisy hotel rooms. A must for getting adequate sleep.

11. Before you leave check out if there is a health food store, raw, vegan or vegetarian restaurant close by, or as a last resort. a M&S or Waitrose (for their large range of yummy salads) close by.  You can wander around cities for hours and not find these when usually they are only a street or two away if you know where to look.

12. Get grounding!  The best thing for jet lag is to ground yourself once you get off the plane.  This simply means taking your shoes off and connecting with the earth again.  I rarely suffer from any sort of jet lang by doing this, it works a treat.

13. Meditate.  Use the time on the plane/train to meditate.  Not only will this help to ground you, but you’ll feel more energised, less jet lagged and more relaxed.

14. Get stretching.  I find most hotel rooms aren’t big enough for a full yoga or pilates routine but most are big enough for a few basic stretches.  This is a great way to start the day, stretches out those cramped travelling muscles and is also energising.  I’ve even been known to do a few on the plane as well; you feel heaps better afterwards.

15. And my final tip is if you can fit your smoothie maker and/or juicer in your hold luggage then do it!  This has saved me many a bad meal before.  Smoothie makers these days are quite small and you can pop just about any fruit and vegetable in them with some water (and if you’re like me then some raw enzyme protein powder) when on the go and there you have a healthy snack or breakfast.

What healthy tips do you have for travelling?

Here’s some healthy travel tips from others…

In Sonnets Kitchen: Top 7 Healthy Travelling Tips click here.

Trip It: 10 Tips for Healthy Travel click here.

The National Geographic: How to Stay Healthy on the Go click here.

My New Roots: Recipes & Tips for Healthy Travel click here.

Sick on the Road blog click here.

The Independent Traveller: Eating Well & Staying Active click here.

 


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My top Inspiring Documentaries & Films

Here is a list of my favourite inspiring documentaries and films.

I believe it’s important to focus on health, positivity and growth rather than the negativity of much of mainstream TV and media.  My own healing path benefited hugely from watching several inspiring/spiritual documentaries each week and it is something I have found I have kept doing even to this day.  If I feel I am having a slightly negative day I pop one of these on and it soon turns my day around.  Happy viewing!

I have broken these down into rough categories, although many of these fall under several of the categories listed.

The Body

Food Matters

The honest account of the drug and food industry.  How we can cure ourselves of just about everything if we look at diet and detoxing.  A must watch!  For the trailer and option to buy the full film, click here.

Simply Raw

Reversing diabetes and other health concerns in 30 days. For full film click here. 

Raw for Life

The ultimate encyclopaedia for the raw food lifestyle.  These two discs clearly show the benefits of adopting this lifestyle. For trailer click here.

Burzynski Part 1 & 2

A completely natural way to recover from cancer that how the American Government/FDA reacted to this amazing breakthrough. Shocking at say the least!  For the whole of the first film (part 1), click here. 

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

This is a recording of one of Christiane Northrup’s talks and is the funniest item on this list, yet still manages to be packed full of tons of information – a must watch! Unfortunately you can only get this item if you pay for it, but here is a trailer of it, click here.

Super Juice Me

Explains the truth behind what’s on our plate and the benefits of juicing.  Click here for the trailer.

Heal Yourself, Heal the World

The story behind Max Gerson’s, Gerson Therapy, how to heal naturally from cancer and other illnesses/diseases and reset our body’s health and well-being.  You can only get this on DVD or through a subscription to FMTV, there are no trailers online either, but there are dozens of short clips on You Tube about Gerson Therapy. Here is one of these talks from Charlotte Gerson, Max Gerson’s daughter, click here. 

Fat Sick & Nearly Dead

One man’s juicing journey to healing himself of an auto-immune disease and how he inspired and helped others with their own healing paths. Click here for the full movie. 

The Greater Good

Vaccines, what do they really do, do we need them, what are the side effects and who’s really benefiting from them?  I like this documentary and it explains both sides of the argument.  For the full documentary click here

The Tapping Solution

How to tap, why tap and how everyone can benefit from tapping.  This is a nice, simple and clear documentary about tapping (EFT). Here’s a link to the trailer, click here. 

The Grounded

A brilliant documentary about how simply grounded ourselves every day as cure a whole host of ailments, large and small. I highly recommend this film, click here.

The Mind

I AM

This is a brilliant documentary about how are are all connected.  How our emotions, hearts and lives effects those around us, including plants and animals.  For the trailer, click here. 

Finding Happiness

This is a film about living simply and finding happiness in a spiritual community called Ananda.  It’s lovely, easy watching and inspiring (and now I want to the place ha).  For the YouTube trailer, click here.

E-motion

How what we think effects our life and how understanding, loving and listening to ourselves can create large shifts.  What we put into our body and think about our body has a huge impact on overall health and well-being.  Here’s a long trailer for E-motion, click here. 

Choice Point

I love this documentary! We all get to a point in our life where we have an important choice to make, this documentary explains how we react to this choice and how it can effect our life in amazing and positive ways. Great things can come from very hard paths and choices.  Click here for the trailer.

Feed Your Head

A great documentary about how what we put into our body effects our mental health. Click here for the YouTube trailer.

You Can Heal Your Life

I great film explaining how the way we speak about our health, ourselves and others effects our life, health and well being. Click here for the trailer.  A must watch! 

Finding Joe

This takes a little while to get going, but is worth it!  Explaining we are all in the same story but by following out bliss we can pave our own happy and healthy path. Click here for the trailer. 

Celestine Prophecy

I totally love this film, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!  It really makes you think about coincidences and how we all have connected energy.  A must watch!  Here’s the trailer, click here. 

The Secret

A really interesting documentary about the law of attraction. Watch the full movie here.

The Moses Code

The thought provoking storey of how we are all one in the same, click here.

 

The Planet

An Inconvenient Truth

This is one of my favourite documentaries.  It explains climate change in detail and in a clear and easy to follow way.  It’s must watch for everyone and is a scary reminder of what will come to pass if we do not act now! Click here for the full documentary. 

Vanishing Bees

What’s happening to all our Bee’s and how it will effect the planet, our food and our lives. I highly recommend you watch this documentary, click here for the trailer and/or buy the full documentary. 

One Man, One Cow, One Planet

How teaching people to grow, eat and live organic and bio-dynamic effects health, life and takes back our choices from the big companies! Click here for the trailer and/or to buy the full documentary. 

Economics of Happiness

This is a brilliant documentary about localisation rather than globalisation and how this impacts us and the planet. Click here for the trailer and/or to buy the full documentary. 

Food Inc

This is a great, but shocking documentary about the American food industry. Click here for the trailer. 

Black Fish

This is a shocking documentary about the reality of sea-life parks.  Watch the trailer here and/or buy the full film here.  A must watch! 

The Living Matrix

This is a science based healing documentary, explaining quantum physics, belief, healing fields/web and bio-energetic principles. Click here for the trailer and/or to buy the full documentary. 

7 Days to Freedom

These dvd’s show you how you can change your life with 7 days worth of tapping/EFT.  To watch most parts of these DVD’s for free follow this link to David’s online page. 

 

Based on True Inspiring Stories

The Shift

This is a totally brilliant film about the power of our thoughts and other ignored everyday things.  I highly recommend everyone watches this film.  Click here for the full documentary on YouTube. 

Peaceful Warrior

This is one of my favourite all time films (and the book also), it helped me to completely turn my health and life around!  It is based on a true story about Dan Millman’s amazing healing journey after a terrible accident took almost everything from him.  I cannot recommend this film enough. Click here for the trailer. 

Conversions with God

Based on the true story of Neill Donald Walsch’s amazing transformation after losing everything and living homeless, his anger and then his connection with spirit. Click here for the trailer.

 

Mainstream Inspiring Stories

The Way            – Another favourite of mine!

Seven Years in Tibet

Pay it Forward            – Another favourite of mine!

A beautiful Mind

The Green Mile

The Pursuit of Happyness

Captain Philips

The Matrix

Avatar

 

What’s your favourite inspiring or spiritual film or documentary? 

 

Here’s some links to some of people’s favourite films or documentary:

The Positivity Blog: 9 Uplifting and Inspiring Movies for a rainy summers day click here.

One.org: 10 Inspiring films on social change click here.

Personal Excellence: 12 Inspiring movies with important life lessons click here.

Adventure Travel Blog: 10 Inspiring travel movies click here.

BuzzFeed click here.

Top 100 Most Inspiring Film click here.

 

 


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Homemade Probiotic Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar:

  1. Detoxifying
  2. It helps balance the pH level of your body, helping you become less acidic and more alkaline
  3. Helps with the treatment of stings, bites, sunburn, warts, skin tags and verrucas
  4. Great for the health of your hair and works wonders as a hair shampoo
  5. Helps promote weight loss
  6. It helps balance the flora of the gut/digestive system
  7. It can be used as an all-round cleaner throughout the home
  8. Helps whiten teeth and freshen breath
  9. Helps balance blood sugar and blood pressure levels
  10. Helps with ingestion, heartburn, hiccups and sore throats
  11. It helps mask animals, from fleas and ticks, so is great used as a dog shampoo or a little added to their drinking water

I’ve never understood why apple cider vinegar is so expensive to buy, when it’s so cheap and easy to make! And here’s how:

Ingredients:

  • 6-10 organic apples (whole or scraps of)
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 glass jar
  • 1 piece of muslin
  • Elastic band

Directions:

  1. Rinse apples/scraps and cut into large chunks.
  2. Put the apples in the bowl and cover with the muslin and allow to go brown.
  3. Add apples to the jar and cover with water.
  4. Cover the jar with the cheesecloth and leave in a dark place for 2-4 months (short time for scraps and longer for chunks of apple from whole apples).
  5. Strain the apples pieces and any scum from the liquid and bottle in an airtight container and use as and when required.

 

Apple cider vinegar is great in salad dressings and raw food recipes.

Enjoy!

 

Here are some relevant links you might enjoy:

Refinery29, How to Actually Enjoy Apple Cider Vinegar, click here.

Vegetarian Times, Apple Cider Vinegar, click here.

Cook for Food, Homemade Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, click here.

Gerson Institute, 8 Amazing Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar, click here.

 


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Super Simple Probiotic Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi is a fermented Korean dish that is really good for you, super simple to do and incredibly yummy.  Add into the mix that it’s packed full of good yeasts and bacteria, making it a really healthy probiotic dish, that helps balance the flora of the gut means there’s no excuse not to get your kimchi on!

There are many different recipes for making up kimchi, but here is my favourite:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of white cabbage
  • 2 carrots (parsnips also work well)
  • small bag of red radish
  • 1 small celeriac (optional)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 inch square of fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of filtered water or sauerkraut juice
  • one large or two smaller jars

Directions: 

  1. Using the shredding/grating function on your food processor, or using a hand grater, grate all the vegetables.
  2. Place all but the water into a large bowl and massage the salt thoroughly through the vegetables.
  3. Using either a kraut pounder or the end of a rolling pin, pound down the vegetables until the juices are released, this should take around 10/15 mins.
  4. Put the vegetable mixture into your chosen jar(s).
  5. If the brine mixture from the vegetables does not completely cover the vegetables then top up with water until it does.
  6. Add a couple of cabbage leaves to the top of your vegetable mixture and weigh down with a stone (making sure to boil it first) or a kitchen weight, make sure everything is just under the water/brine level, so that it does not go mouldy.
  7. Put the lid on the kimchi and place in a cupboard for a minimum of 2 weeks, preferably more like a month.  The longer you leave it the better, but if you leave it longer than 6 weeks you will need to ‘burp’ the jar (open it to let the pressure out).  It will taste stronger the longer you leave it.
  8. Once opened, leave in the refrigerator and add to the side of just about any hot or cold dish for a super-charged meal.

 

Note: You can use just about any vegetables in this recipe, so it’s a great way to use up veggies! Waste not, want not! =)

Now go get your Kimchi on! =)

 

 


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Top Tips for Better Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep seems to be one of the hardest things for us to do these days.  People are always complaining of too little sleep, but never too much!

I suffered from varying degrees of insomnia for almost 15 years so believe me when I say I have completed a lot of research about this subject.  I’ve tried all sorts of weird and wonderful lotions, potions, pills and regimes to trick that elusive sleep fairy into granting me a good night’s sleep.  So I wanted to share with you what worked for me and what finally cured me of my insomnia for good!

 

Here’s my Top Five: 

Meditation!  I cannot stress strongly enough how important daily meditation (even the guided sort) is to sleep.  There is a great deal of research out there to indicate that daily meditation reduces all of the following: stress and anxiety levels; helps our busy brains not be so busy; grounds you; reduces blood pressure and balances blood sugars and makes you feel more balanced.  And as all of these things disturb our sleep patterns you can see why it helps so much.   Also if you listen to a mediation when you’re ready for sleep it can even help you drift off.

Always get to bed by 10.00 pm, so that you fall asleep before 11.00 pm as this is when your body gets it’s second wind due to our circadian rhythm (which is our body’s nature cycle) and falling  asleep after this time becomes much more difficult.  Out optimum time for falling asleep is actually 10.00pm as this is when the levels of serotonin in the body are highest, but as long as you are asleep by 11.00pm you’ll find it a lot easier to get to sleep and stay asleep. According to much research any time asleep before midnight is twice as beneficial and any hours asleep after midnight.

Deal with underlying stresses and anxieties.  If you have past issues that you run over in your mind time and time again or you worry a lot about the future then consider things like EFT, Bach flower remedies or hypnotherapy for dealing with these.  It’s important to remember these things won’t go away and will interfere with sleep and general health and well-being until you address them, so you might as well do it sooner rather than later.

Believing you can sleep!  I know this sounds a little odd or maybe even obvious, but if you lay there thinking ‘I won’t sleep’ or ‘I can’t sleep again’, then that’s exactly what will happen.  However, if you think to yourself ‘at least I’m still resting, which will be benefiting my body’ or ‘I’ll drift off to sleep very soon, I just need to relax all my muscles (and then work on doing that), then your body and mind are in a much better state to rest and then sleep.

Learn not to get stressed about not sleeping.  This never helps and only makes the ‘not sleeping’ worse as your mind and then body becomes stressed, tense and anxious and produces the stress hormones associated with this, which are usually produced for the body for the exact opposite of sleep, so will not promote you dropping off any time soon.  Try listening to some relaxing music, reading a boring book or the best thing is doing a guided meditation like the Body Scan (you can find hundreds of these on YouTube and other similar sites).  If you cannot get off to sleep, or wake in the night then listen to one of these (most people never get to the end of it before they are asleep).

 

I also found these items helpful:

Start to get ready for bed ‘winding down’ at least 2 hours before bed (some people put off going to bed later on because of the effort it takes to get ready for bed when they are already tired).

If you’re feeling particularly wired in the evening then take a soak in the bath with Espom salts and lavender or chamomile and get ready for bed straight afterwards.

Use Rescue Night, a Bach flower remedy (you can buy this online or from places like Boots and Holland & Barrett), click here for more information about this product.

Use Neal’s Yards Aromatherapy Night Time roll on, click here for more information on this product.

Remove or drastically reduce caffeine and processed sugars from your diet.

Eat healthy, well balanced and regular meals.  This helps stabilise blood sugar levels, so try to eat every 4 hours and try to avoid foods and drinks high on the GI Index.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).  This not only helps reduce the stresses and strains that might be keeping you up at night but it also helps when actually trying to get to sleep.  Just tap on how you’re feeling at the time and it will help shift these feelings and emotions.

Turn the lights down low in the evening.  This helps the body start to get into sleep mode.

Stop watching TV, using computers and playing on phones and tablets etc at least two hours before you want to be asleep.  All these items stimulate the brain and also make it believe it’s still daylight.  If you must use them then turn screen brightness down, use a screen diffuser or use from Low Blue Light Glasses, click here for more info on these.

In the evening drink herbal teas that promote sleep, like lavender, chamomile, valerian or the Night Time blend by Pukka Teas.

Don’t read anything too stimulating at night time, so ditch the exciting novels just before bed in favour of something heavy and non-fiction.

Try attending a yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Pilates class a few times a week.  These classes are very relaxing, balancing and supportive of body and mind and promote good sleep patterns.

Exercise regularly, even if it’s just going for a 10 minute walk every day.  It is worth mentioning that high intensity exercise can interfere with some people’s sleep because of the additional hormones (particularly cortisol) it produces.

The bedroom should be a technology free zone.  Each electrical appliance around you emits an electromagnetic field.  These fields then interfere with your own electromagnetic field.  This then disturbs sleep, mood, hormones and creates a whole host of other health concerns, click here for more info on electromagnetic stress.  Remove all the electricals you can; the ones you simply can’t do without switch off fully (not standby) and put them the other side of the bedroom (do not have them next to you whilst sleeping, or trying to sleep).

 

Here are some relevant links you might like:

Wikinut, Five main reasons why we must go to sleep early, click here.

Karen Kingston’s Blog, Electromagnetic Stress Blogs, click here.

Sleepio Blog, click here.

Snoozester, click here.

The Sleep Lady, click here.

Psychology Today, Sleep Newzzz, click here

 

If you have any additional items you find are helpful in promoting sleep please feel free to share them in the comments section below.