Living a life less toxic…

by Faith Canter


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My Top Tips for Healing the Digestive System

Traditional medicine often looks at the symptoms rather than the cause when addressing health concerns.  As such, underlying health issues are often not dealt with, but instead rear their ugly heads either with the same symptoms later on down the line or through new symptoms instead.

It is believed that illnesses like Crohn’s disease, food intolerance’s, Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), leaky gut and coeliac disease can all be repaired through good gut health.  As these health concerns are all gut based, it is not surprising that maintaining a healthy gut can aid recovery.  But what if I also told you that autoimmune diseases like lupus, MS, diabetes, some forms of thyroid disease and many more autoimmune issues, skin conditions, mental health concerns, weight gain, fatigue, brain fog and some learning difficulties are also thought to be curable or least made substantially better by addressing gut health?

When you maintain good gut health, it has a huge, positive impact on general health.  Here are the reasons why:

  1. The toxicity of the body will be greatly reduced when addressing gut health. The digestive system will be able to eliminate more of the toxins from food and drink consumed.  Not only this but when addressing gut health, you will as part of the process be addressing the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive system.  When the bad bacteria get out of hand they create more and more toxins as they grow, raising the bodies toxicity levels and putting additional strain on the lymphatic’s, as well as many other parts of the body.  When you bring these into balance you will find that the body eliminates these toxins easily and you feel better not only in the gut, but throughout the body.
  2. With poor gut health you will have depleted digestive enzymes, these are needed to absorb the essential nutrients from your food and drink for your body to use in its day to day functions. With better gut health you have more of these enzymes and thus absorb more goodness from your food.
  3. Your gut is the core of the body’s immune system. With better gut health, you have better health in general, along with fewer illnesses.
  4. We produce around 95% of our serotonin in the gut (and the rest in the brain), so good gut health, means a happier you.
  5. Poor gut health often means increased inflammation in the body, which leads to a whole host of other health complaints, including arthritis, joint and muscular inflammation and pain. This can be greatly reduced when addressing gut health.
  6. You’ll have more energy, as the body uses up a lot of energy trying to process foods and drinks that upset the digestive system when it is not at its best.
  7. All gut based illnesses, such as things IBS, leaky gut and many more should improve when addressing the health of the gut.
  8. Brian fog, mental clarity, memory issues and mood issues can all be minimized when addressing gut health, as many of these essential enzymes, vitamins and minerals needed for these functions of the body will be absorbed and utilized more easily within the body.

As you can see there are many benefits to good gut health and you’ll be pleased to know it’s fairly easy to start achieving this.  There are many pills, potions and programs that claim to do this, but in my personal opinion getting back to basics is the easiest and most effective way to do this.

You do this by:

  1. Ditching processed foods and drinks.
  2. Stop microwaving your food, this destroys most of it’s nutrient content.
  3. Introducing more raw, enzyme rich foods and drinks into your diet (you want to be aiming for around 50% raw).
  4. Introducing fermented / cultured / probiotic rich foods and drinks.  I do not mean pickled foods and drinks, I mean, unpasterised sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha (to name just a few). *If you have a histamine intolerance you would want to follow a histamine healing protocol first before starting on fermented foods and drinks.
  5. Reduce the amount of sugar, gluten, MSG and white carbohydrates in your diet.
  6. Look to get tested for food intolerance’s and remove these items from your diet until your digestive system has had time to heal.
  7. Is it possible you have a fungal and /or parasite issue?  If so, then follow one of my protocols for addressing this, here.
  8. Detox the body.  Because if the body is full of toxins it’s not able to take on-board the nutrients it requires for good health.  Every single natural process of the body works better with less toxins in it!
  9. You may want to consider enemas or colonic hydrotherapy.
  10. Try wearing a Zapper, which will help remove fungus, parasites, viruses and bad bacteria and toxins from the body.
  11. Drink plenty of fresh water every day.  Herbal teas or freshly pressed juices (especially one’s with cabbage in) also count towards your overall intake.
  12. Reduce your stress levels, either through meditation, yoga (or some other similar exercise), EFT/Tapping, Flower Remedies or any similar therapies.
  13. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of reducing the amount of medication you are taking. Antibiotics, steroids, oral contraceptives and many more medications upset the balance of the gut.  If you are taking any of these regularly then a really good probiotic is recommended (unless you are partaking in the daily consumption of fermented foods and drinks, in which case you should be getting enough probiotics this way).
  14. The supplement Glutamine is a wonderful short terms supplement for helping to heal the gut.

 

Here’s some other relevant articles for you:

9 Steps for Perfect Health, click here.

Is You Digestive System Making You Sick, click here.

19 Natural Ways to Cure Your Digestive Issues and Heal Your Belly, click here. 

The Root of Heal & Healing, click here.

What have you found helpful for healing the digestive system?


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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. 


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My Top Tips for Managing ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

As some of you will know I have recovered from ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), after struggling with it for over 6 years.  So to raise awareness of International ME/CFS/FM Awareness Day on 12th May and the many millions of people struggling with ME/CFS/FM throughout the World I have decided to put together my tops tips for managing ME/CFS.

So here they are: 

  • Learn to relax properly (through meditation, visualisation &/or relaxation techniques).  Remember it’s not a proper rest if your mind is still buzzing with thoughts!  These practices also have a lovely side effect of helping sleep patterns.
  • Eat healthily & regularly!  This should be every 4hrs to maintain balanced blood sugar levels and release a steady flow of energy rich foods – not processed foods, sugars, or caffeine based foods.  Food really is our fuel, so plenty of slow releasing carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes are a must, plus plenty of vegetables and good fats and proteins with each meal.
  • Try and have a fresh juice or smoothie each day.  These are great ways to get lots of much needed nutrients into your body.
  • Use your energy for fun things, not just chores.  We all need some ‘me’ time and some ‘fun’ time, saving energy for just chores doesn’t make you feel very fulfilled or happy, so split your time between the two (the dust will be back tomorrow anyway).
  • Only do half of what you think you can do.  This one was so important to me.  On days when I felt better I would do loads of things to make up for the other days, but this never helped and always made me feel worse again afterwards.
  • Have the things you use the most close (on your bedside table or coffee table).  I know this seems simply but it really helps to place anything you feel you might need for the day close by so you don’t have to keep trying to get up.
  • Consider buying a small folding table to go on your bed.  I had a little laptop table on my bed, which was a great as it meant things could be close by if I wanted to use them.
  • Make a flask of tea (or whatever hot or cold drink you prefer) at the beginning of the day that will last you all day and save having to get up more often than you want/can during the day.  My hubby used to make me a flask to drink during the day before he went to work, this would last me all day and sometimes I would have another flask with soup in it for lunch as well.  This will also help to keep you hydrated.
  • Put a pillow under your knees when laying in bed or on a sofa as this can relieve the pressure and pain in your legs.  I found this really helpful for my heavy painful legs and surprising comfortable to sleep with.
  • Do your shopping online if you can.  The great thing about this is, if you feel tired you can just save your basket of goods and go back to it another time to finish your shop.
  • Consider taking up a craft or art project.  I know this sounds daft and also hard work, but it really helps to give you a sense of achievement (you can monitor) when you can’t do much else.  I started knitting a patchwork blanket.  I couldn’t hold my arms up each day for longer than one line at a time when I started it, so each patch would take me weeks, but over the months and years I produced many patches and loved the fact I was still able (if very slowly) to create something beautiful.
  • Cook batches of healthy food when you’re feeling more up to it and then freeze them down for worse days.  This includes batches of rice, quinoa and even jacket potatoes.
  • Use a stool or high chair in the kitchen instead of standing for long periods of time.  You can get a shorter stool for the bathroom also.
  • I know it’s hard but try not to give yourself a hard time, it doesn’t get you anywhere and only expels even more energy and effects your adrenals and your sympathetic nervous system.  It took me a long time to form this new habit, but it really helped.
  • Learn to meditate.  I mentioned this above in the learning to relax part but learning to meditate was invaluable to me.  It helped to reduce my stress and anxiety, helped me actually sleep at night and get much longer and a better quality of sleep and with guided meditations I started picturing myself well, happy and healthy rather than constantly focusing on the negative stuff in my life. This in-turn helped build and reinforce new positive pathways within my brain and gave me hope for better health.  Meditation also grounds you, so helps people feel a little less like their head is in the clouds.
  • Practice Mindfulness.  This is when we are mindful of our activities rather than thinking of dozens of other things.  This helps to calm the mind and body and also helps us appreciate what we are doing.  For instance, when we are mindful whilst brushing our teeth we absorb ourselves in the motion and feeling of the toothbrush, the water and how wonderful it is we have these things and are able to use them.
  • Put a sign on your door saying ‘no doorstep sellers, canvassers or junk mail’ to minimise the amount of times your doorbell might get rung during the day and then you have to struggle to get up only to find it’s someone trying to sell you something you probably don’t want.
  • Use natural herbal oils etc for calming, relaxing and sleeping.  Lavender, camomile and rose-bud, valerian and such can me found in ‘night-time’ or ‘relaxing’ sprays, oils and even teas that you can pick up in most health food stores and will help sleep.
  • Use Bach Night Remedy & Neal’s Yard Night Time Roll-on.  Also their relaxation & energy roll-on blends are great as and when you need them for additional support.  Neal’s Yard even do a study roll on, which I found helped when I knew I had some forms to fill in or something important to concentrate on.
  • Try to give up or at least minimise caffeine,  sugar, processed foods and white foods like white rice, white flour & white potatoes (these effects your blood sugar levels and you’ll only feel worse for it in the long run.  They also allow you to think you have more energy than you do, so you over do it without realising it.
  • Plan trips out in advance, looking on google maps and planning places to rest or to easily get home from is invaluable.
  • Get fresh air – even if it’s just sitting in the garden.  This helps your Vitamin D levels and also makes you feel like you have actually left the house!  I would quite often sit or lay in a garden chair/sun bed and read a book, meditate or simply do nothing.  I would be wrapped up in blankets and such like but still enjoy just being outside.
  • If you cannot get outside then sit at a window and absorb the beautiful outdoors through the window, appreciate the fact you are able to take this all in rather than buzzing around with stress related blinkers on like everyone else out therein the world!
  • Try to deal with underlying stresses and anxieties.  Being constantly in that stress cycle effects sleep, mood, rest, the sympathetic nervous system, the adrenals and overall energy levels.  I found Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Tapping) and Bach Flower Remedies really helped me deal with past traumas and issues and gave me a few less negative things to focus on.
  • Join some online forums or groups for people with ME/CFS/FM so you don’t feel so alone and so you can chat to people that understand what your going through.  I felt no one around me understood what I was going through, so this really helped.  Although some of these sites can be rather negative (don’t allow yourself to get drawn into the negative one, delete these straight away if you can), on a whole most people are really supportive and understand what your going through.
  • Read every recovery story you can (even if not ME/CFS/FM related), these were not only great reads but gave me hope and inspiration.
  • Carry sunglasses everywhere you go, even in the winter if the sun effects your eyes like it did me.  Who cares if know one else has them on, no one else needs them on (pretend you’re a movie star)!
  • Take baths with Epsom salts.  This helps draw out aches, pains and toxins from the body as well as allowing you to absorb some of the magnesium in them, which helps calm your sympathetic nervous system and eliminate toxins.
  • Try natural pain killers like White Willow Bark and Ginger, they not only help with pain but also reduce inflammation.
  • Try taking some supplements and/or teas for detox.  Most of us have far to many toxins in our bodies, which is another thing we  struggle with and need energy to deal with.  Milk thistle and magnesium help with this, plus the items in the section below.
  • Drink plenty of water and herbal teas (a number of herbal teas help with healing and supporting the body, bitter teas (like nettle and dandelion) help with detoxing and peppermint and ginger teas help settle to digestive system.
  • Try writing a gratitude or happiness  journal.  This helped me to focus on the good bits of my day rather than how terrible I felt all the time.  Even little things like ‘hubby bringing me my supplies for the day before he goes to work’, rather than saying to myself ‘I’m so alone and no one understands’.  I was surprised how this helped my day to day thoughts.
  • Watch at least one inspirational film, documentary or YouTube video each week.  I used to find watching and reading the news and soaps could trigger me feeling low, so I started watching more positive stuff instead and this really helped.
  • Focus on what you can do, (even if only tiny) to get better, I spent a lot of time and energy looking into why I was ill, why the NHS/Doctors didn’t want to or couldn’t help and why more research wasn’t being done.  I realised later on that this didn’t get me anywhere, other than making me feel more upset, more negative and more alone.  Instead I started to focus on little things I could do to help my health every day, the energy that I wasted on chasing a cure or a proper diagnosis for people with ME/CFS was then spent on positive steps for myself.
  • Do skin brushing whenever you feel able to, I used to try to do this after every bath.  The idea is that you run your hands or a brush up (always up) your body towards your chest.  Then on the face you rub or brush down towards the chest.  This helps stimulate the lymphatics and helps eliminate toxins as well as helps shift lactic acid in the body (which is some of the reason for the pain in your muscles).  This made me feel worse to start with but really helped with my muscle pain after that.
  • Start using and getting others to use natural and toxic free beauty products and household cleaners.  Not only will these stop more toxins getting into your system that your body has to try and deal with but also they won’t smell so bad, which is a bonus when you’re sensitive to smells etc.  It’s surprising what a mixture of white vinegar, water and a couple of essential oils can clean and kill in your home (plus it’s cheaper and better for the environment = bonus).
  • If and when you can manage it try light Yoga, Tia Chi, Pilates, Rebounding/mini trampoline (even if sitting down to do these), they help stimulate the chi (energy) within your body and also make you feel more grounded.
  • Reduce stress in any way you can, otherwise this will only lead to more energy being expended than you have.  Sometimes this means reducing or removing certain people or events from your life for a while.  Learn to be selfish, you really do matter!

 

Top Tips from others: 

  • Keep in mind things that you can do at different energy levels. Do the tiny things on low energy days. I’ve found this really combats the “I can’t do anything ever” feeling.  By Nadine Steidl from Facebook community from From ME to Recovery.
  • Keep a change of lounge wear within reach at all times to deal with nightsweats– also towels to put on your pillow and so on.  By Nadine Steidl from Facebook community from From ME to Recovery.
  • There is a time where exercise is a definite no no, especially with severe M.E as I’ve had but when the time is right swimming is the most gentle form if exercise for aiding recovery even if it means starting at a few minutes each visit and very gradually working your way up.  By Lorna Cameron from Facebook community from From ME to Recovery.
  • Linseeds/Flaxseeds are a great source of omegas and anti inflammatory amongst other things.  By Lorna Cameron from Facebook community from From ME to Recovery.
  • Keeping hydrated is a big one and may seem obvious but when very ill it can be more difficult.  By Lorna Cameron from Facebook community from From ME to Recovery.

 

Some additional tips that made the world of difference to me: 

  • Read the Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.  There are loads of books that helped my recovery, but this book and then DVD made me realise even if I couldn’t do much I could still appreciate what I had, it inspired me and gave me hope for better health. Click here for his website.
  • Read David Hamilton’s book It’s The Thought That Counts.  This book and many of David’s teachings explain in a detailed and sciency (but easily readable) way what our thoughts do to our bodies. Click here for his website.
  • Read the book Adrenal Fatigue by James Wilson, or at the very least take the quiz on his website and have a nose around whilst you’re there. Click here for his website.
  • Once you start to feel better read one Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way – Robert Maurer.  This is a great way to make and monitor tiny little improvements in your health.  Click here for his website.
  • Most importantly – NEVER, ever, ever give up hope for better health! 

 

Here are a few related articles, blogs and links that might interest you:

Jess’ ME/CFS Blog, click here.

The ME CFS Blog Roll, click here.

My Journey Thru M.E, click here.

CFS Warrior, click here.

World has Teeth / Just my Life, click here.

 

That’s all for me, but if any of you have any other tips you’d like to add to this list I’d love to hear them, so please comment below.