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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Gratitude is the best Attitude

One of my first experiences of gratitude really turning my life around was when I was very ill with ME/CFS.  I couldn’t leave my bed most of the time let alone the house.  I became very lonely, isolated, and quite negative and was starting to get very depressed again.  I read a book called The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman that made me realise I was making myself worse by thinking this way.  I learned that I needed to live more in the ‘now’ and learn to appreciate and be grateful what I could do, and did have.  Focusing my time and energy on what I couldn’t do was a complete waste of my precious energy; it doesn’t get you anywhere apart from further down the slippery negativity slope.  So I started to sit at my window instead of in bed and when I could I’d sit in the garden.  I started to notice so much more around me.  I realised I’d had blinkers on before I got really ill, because I was always busy rushing around doing ‘important’ things and not noticing what a beautiful world I lived in.

As a child I had been taught all about nature, the Planet and our environment, but somewhere along the line I’d lost my connection with it, or should I say I’d just plain stopped noticing it was even there, even though it was right there, right in front of me!

When I started sitting at my window and noticing the birds, animals, insects and even the trees, I became quite overwhelmed by how much of this amazing world I had been missing out on.  It was right there in my garden and my street.  I would sit for hours watching the birds and the squirrels coming and going in the garden and how the garden changed throughout the seasons.  This in turn meant that I started to notice more about what was going on inside my home as well as outside.  I became so grateful for everything and everyone in my life and although I wasn’t fit enough to do the things I used to do, I was honestly so grateful for what I could do, see and notice now and if anything I felt a little sad I’d been walking around with blinkers on for so long.

It’s amazing what a small shift in thinking can do to our overall pleasure from life.  I couldn’t do any more than I could the day, week, or year before but I gained so much more from my life.  I saw pleasant things and little miracles happening every single day that I just hadn’t noticed before.  Nothing else had changed, only my perspective and WOW! what a difference that had made.

So here’s a little gratitude experiment:

What are you grateful for today? Not what you can’t do, haven’t got, wish you could change.  What are you actually grateful for in your life right now?  I sometimes have people say things like ‘there’s nothing good in my life to be grateful for’ but if you start small and work your way up you’ll find it easier.  This could be health, love, family, pets, time, space, warmth, friendship, nature, peace, the ability to read, work, food, your hair, your smile, the smile of a friend, the lessons you’ve learned or any of the other amazing things, little or large that are happening in your day-to-day life.

Write down at least 21 things you’re grateful for.  Get into a habit of doing this daily (you can list less than 21 things each day if you find this easier).  Instead of listing off all the things you see as negative in your life, list the positive.  I know this seems like a silly little experiment, but trust me on this; it forms new habits, new pathways in the brain and a whole new perspective on your life!

You could write these down in on your phone or computer, in your notebook, on scraps of paper in a gratitude jar (and empty the jar to read these once a year) or you could get one of the many really lovely gratitude journals out there.  There are even beautiful children’s versions of these journals.  They can draw and write what they are grateful for, installing happy, positive habits, memories and keepsakes in your children about gratitude from a young age and having fun whilst doing it.

The final little titbit for this chapter: It’s great to get into the habit of listing what you’re grateful for, just before bed as it promotes the release of happy, relaxing and sleep inducing chemicals in the body and actually helps you to drift off into a much more peaceful and relaxing sleep. Winner!

Would any of you care to share what you’re grateful for today in the comments section below?

Here’s some links to some more Gratitude pages out there:

Why living a life of gratitude can make you happy

How gratitude can change your life

Gratitude Log

365 Grateful

Why gratitude is good for you

Gratitude


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Kombucha Probiotic Tea

Kombucha is a 2000 year old fermented probiotic tea.

It’s beneficial to digestive health, helping to balance the good and the bad bacteria within the gut.  It helps the body to lessen it’s toxic load by supporting the liver and boasting the immune system.  It is also thought to support the joints, helps with PMS, increases metabolism, is packed full of B vitamins and plenty of enzymes, supports auto-immune conditions and increases energy levels.

When left to second-ferment gets fizzy and can resemble champagne. It’s tasty, especially if you use a flavoured green tea like jasmine, as I do.

You will need to obtain a scoby/mother/mushroom (some of the many names for the same culture/bacteria starter for your probiotic tea) , which should come with a small amount of kombucha tea to start you off.  You can get these from sellers on ebay, fermenting forums online and fermenting groups on Facebook etc.

Kombucha Recipe:

Make a jar (1 litre) of tea in the usual way…WITHOUT MILK

Boil your kettle of water, pour over a teabag add 4 tablespoons of organic sugar.

Once the tea bag has brewed for 10 minutes, remove it and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the scoby with starter tea and your freshly brewed but cooled tea all in a mason jar.  Cover your jar with some muslin and secure with an elastic band.

Place jar in a cool, dry place, like a cupboard or on your kitchen side, but away from sunlight.

Leave your kombucha to brew for 7 to 10 days (depending on your taste preference). During this time your kombucha mushroom will grow a baby kombucha mushroom which will look like a clear jelly over the original mushroom piece.

After 7 – 10 days pour around 700ml of your kombucha tea out of your jar  and bottle for either second fermenting or to drink as it is.  Be careful not to pour out your kombucha scobys (you should now have two).

Top up the jar of kombucha tea with fresh, cooled brewed tea as above and start the process again.

2nd Fermentation

This is when after bottling your drink, you allow it to still for a further 2-5 days (ideally in the fridge to stop it from becoming more sour). The end result is a bubbly champagne-like refreshing drink. Other ingredients such as ginger root, lemon or other fruit can be added at this stage.  These items can be added by cutting them into small pieces or by juicing them then pouring the juice in with the kombucha tea, which is my preferred method.

What I have learnt:

  1. The longer your kombucha brews the more vinegary it becomes (and indeed will turn to vinegar eventually).
  2. Every time you change your kombucha tea, a new baby scoby forms (find friends to give these two).
  3. Decaffeinated tea and different types of sugar can be used, although the tannins really are needed for good kombucha tea.
  4. Avoid artificial sweeteners and honey while fermenting as these can reduce the potency of the culture.
  5. You can dehydrate your extra scobys and make sweets from them.

Do you make your own Kombucha tea?  If so what’s your favourite flavour? 

Here’s some links to some more information on Kombucha:

Food Renegade: How to Grow a Kombucha Scoby.

Mother Earth News: Health Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea.

Seeds of Health: What is Kombucha Tea?

 

 


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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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How I Learned to Love to Blog

A year ago today, on 29th June 2013 I posted my first ever blog!

In homage to that first blog and what I have learnt as an unlikely blogger in this last year I have decided to share my thoughts and feelings about the journey.

I never thought I’d be a blogger, never wanted to be a blogger, didn’t see why people wanted to share their thoughts in blogs and didn’t understand the blog fascination. But somehow I still became a blogger!

 

So what changed?

1. When you post something to Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site it eventually gets lost in all the other posts!  So even if you say something insightful, profound or just simply interesting it’s lost to the millions of other insightful, profound and interesting posts on social networks.  However on a blog it’s always there, easy to find, share and use.

2. I had the notion of becoming an author and apparently when you become an author you need to build a thing called a platform (which is basically your following).  One of the great ways to build a platform is to blog interesting content, that people will either find when they search for topics you have covered on the internet or through blog posts you have shared on other forums.  To find out more about what this is and how to do it check out the book ‘Platform, Get Noticed in a Noisy World’ by Michael Hyatt.

3. I wanted to share recipes, multiple pictures and more information than a standard Facebook status or tweet.

4. It’s a good way to practice this writing lark (see point 2).  Also some of my blogs have actually become part of the chapters in my first book.  So you can re-use your content elsewhere.

5. I wanted to have somewhere where I could link all my thoughts, feelings, information and ramblings from all my other sites, pages and groups.

6. I wanted to have somewhere where I could direct future clients or publishers to see what I write about and am passionate about.

 

What have I learnt?

1. Check out at least a few of the blogging books available on the market, either before you start blogging or shortly afterwards.  I wish I had, as I struggled to understand what I was doing and to get any followers to start with.  Within two weeks of reading ‘Get Rich Blogging’ by Zoe Griffin I had doubled the followers on my blog and continue to add new followers every week since.  I have never had any intention of making money on my blog, but Zoe’s easy to follow book is a goldmine of blogging hints and tips and I highly recommend it.

2. Make sure to use links in your blog posts to other peoples’ blogs and pages and also to your own blogs and pages.  This will build your following more than anything else as Google will start to recognise your site as authentic.

3. Blog regularly!  Some people say to blog every day, but in my opinion this is a bit overkill and I personally have actually unsubscribed from daily bloggers sites.  Most other people agree on roughly three times a week.  On a good week I manage 3 times, but generally I blog twice a week and that suits me fine.

4. Think about the times of the week and day that you publish your blog.  There’s little point in publishing a blog when people are not around.  Some people might read it when they come back to their computer, but a lot of the time it gets forgotten about.  I have always got more of a response to my blogs if I publish them between the hours of Sun – Thur 18.00 – 22.00.

5. If you have lots of ideas for blogs then write these ideas down or start multiple blog drafts with the headings and add to each one as and when inspired to do so.  I generally write a few blogs at any one time and whichever one gets finished first gets published first.

6. If you have a blog idea about a particular health or environmental issue it’s always best to publish these around the date of the awareness day (look online for when these are).  This will increase you blog exposure tenfold.

7. Keep it simple!  Occasionally I do long waffling blogs if it’s something that I feel warrants it, but the general rule of thumb, is short, to the point and clear.  People generally don’t want to read lots of text and are after quick and concise fixes when they read blog posts.

8. Make sure to use the share button on your blog to share your blog posts on all your social networks each time you publish a blog post.

9. Consider sharing part of your blog post in the actual status box of your social network page.  This gets people interested and they generally click on the blog link to read more.

10. Don’t forget it’s OK to re-share your blog posts at a later date.

11. It’s great if you can get people to guest blog, as it means that your blog site will be shared between both yours and their readers.  It also gives them exposure with your readers, so it’s a winner for both of you.

12. Make sure to think about the names of your blog posts.  Long, wordy or boring blog post names mean people are less likely to click on the link to read them. Make them interesting or at the very least concise.

13. Interact with other bloggers, like, share and comment on other people’s blogs and hopefully they will do the same back.

14. Join blogging groups relevant to your own topics through online forums and Facebook groups.

15. If you think you might merge your blog and website at a later date then WordPress is the best site to go with as you will easily be able to move your blog from wordpress.com (their blogging site) to a self-hosted website on wordpress.org (for your website and blog together).  You will easily be able to move followers, pages and all information this way.

16. Make sure to have an email sign-up section on your blog.  This is a place where people can put their email address in to get a copy of your blog when you post it.  This also means if you so wished you could market to these followers in other ways in the future once you have their email address.

17. Try to finish your blog post with a question that will encourage people to comment on the post.

18. Make sure to put each blog post into a relevant category on your blog site.  This way if someone is interested in a particular topic they can find all your posts about it in one place.

19. Make sure to have links to all your social network pages permanently on your blog site so people can start following your elsewhere if they wish to do so.

 

What wouldn’t I do again?

1. I would make sure to identify my blog writing style early on, rather than swapping and changing around until I found out what worked for me and my readers.

2. Pick a blog template you are truly happy with, instead of changing your mind every few months like me!  If you’re unsure then spend some time looking at other people’s blogs and websites and make a scrap book of what you like from these and put something together that incorporates all these ideas.

3. I wouldn’t have a separate blog away from my website again.  It makes much more sense to have the blog as a page of your website, then everything is in the same place for people to find.  I am now currently in the process of merging my blog and website for this very reason.

4. I wouldn’t use photos from Google images again, as although these are easily available on the internet, most of them are actually still copyright protected. I am in the process of replaces any Google images with my own because as your blog traffic grows more people will see these images and you likely to get into trouble at some point over them.

5. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down by writing blogs, if you start to see it like a boring task then this will come through in your writing. Plan out ideas, think about how often you want to blog and enjoy the process.

 

What am I looking forward to?

1. Engaging more with my readers and welcome new followers.

2. Allowing my readers to have a sneak preview of some of my upcoming book A Life Less Toxic.

3. Finding lots of lovely new ways to live a less toxic life, that I can share with all my readers.

4. Doing some more posts about less toxic travel.  I totally love travelling and have been all over the world and am looking forward to posting about this to my blog for all the other travellers out there.

5. I have a long way to go with my blogging yet, but I plan to enjoy the process and engage as much as possible with my readers.  If I write about what I love I know I can’t go wrong!

 

Here’s some relevant helpful hints and tips to blogging: 

Blog Buffer: 16 Tops Tips From Blogging Experts, click here.

Blogging Tips: How to Guest Blog Successfully, click here.

Blog Her: Top 10 Blogging Tips for Beginners, click here.

Goins Writers: 25 Blogging Tips for Newbies and Veterans, click here.

The Guardian: Top Tips for a Successful Blog, click here.

 

Do you have any blogging hints and tips you would like to share with us? 

 


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Nice and Simple Sourdough Recipe

The Benefits of Sourdough:

Due to the natural yeasts and bacteria in the sourdough starter and amount of time the bread dough it is allowed to rise for it means that any gluten in the dough are eaten up.  During this process the starches are predigested which means the dough become much easier to digest.  This along with the increase in lactic acid and natural preservatives makes for a yummy, healthy and easier on the digestive system loaf.

Ingredients:

480g of flour (I prefer spelt flour)

100g sourdough starter

220ml of fresh water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

 

Directions:

  1. Mix 100g of sourdough starter with 300g of flour and 220ml of water well in a bowl and cover for 8 – 10 hours (at this stage you can add herbs, chillies and sundried tomatoes).
  2. Add the remaining 180g of flour, sugar and salt and knead well and cover and allow to rest for another 2 – 3 hours.
  3. Knead again and pop into a lightly oiled bread tin or proof basket and leave in a warm place covered for 1 – 2 hours (you can make slices in the top of the dough at this stage if you want to).
  4. Preheat your oven on a medium heat (around 180) and add a bowl of boiling water to the bottom of your oven.
  5. Place dough in its baking tin/basket into the upper oven and cook for 30 – 35 mins.
  6. Remove from the tin and allow it to cool slightly before cutting into it.

 

Notes:

Your sourdough starter needs to be fed once and week and should live in your fridge until the day before you want to use it.

To fed your sourdough starter add 50g of flour (I use spelt flour) and 50ml (or grams) of filtered water. Mix well and pop back in the fridge until you want to use it.

Your starter will separate (with the hooch laying on top), this is absolutely fine and it just needs stirring back in each week when you fed it.

 

Sourdough Starter Recipes:

The Kitchn: How to Make a Sourdough Starter, click here.

Nourished Kitchen: How to Make a Sourdough Starter, click here.

Paul Hollywood: Sourdough Starter, click here.

BBC Food: Sourdough Starter, click here.

 


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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.