Let’s all get back into broth

In the last couple of years, a staple in my freezer has been the old age remedy of bone broth. This is particularly good in winter time when most of us are craving warming foods such as soups and stews. But can also be used as a base for many recipes.
Grandma’s theory of broths and chicken soup for a cold definitely had some basis to it. Broths contain many essential vitamins and minerals. It is a nutrient-dense food source. Gelatin which is present in broth is gaining popularity for healing the digestive system. And with the high levels of food intolerances and digestive upsets, this is becoming increasingly important. Irritants to the digestive system such as gluten or parasites (worms) tend to make the gut ‘leaky’ which means proteins and substances move through the intestinal lining which they shouldn’t do as this causes the immune system to mount a response, which leads to further food intolerances and sensitivities. The digestive system also has been estimated to hold as much as 80% of our immune system.
Gelatin contains three amino acids (amino acids are essential to our health as they are the building blocks for protein) glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, these make connective tissue which can help to repair the ‘holes’ in the intestines. The gelatin is in the cartilage, tendons and ligaments of the bones which are cooked up into broth.

How to make broth

Buy some broth or marrow bones from your local butcher. They are quite cheap. I paid $5 for a large bone that also needed a hacksaw to fit it in my biggest saucepan. Alternatively, you can use leftover fish bones or a chicken carcass.

Bone Broth

Make sure the bones are covered completely by the water

Fill the pot with water and add a few tablespoons of vinegar. This is optional but recommended to draw the minerals from the bones.

After a few hours the fat will start rising to the top

After a few hours the fat will start rising to the top

Simmer very gently for a long time. This is where a big slow cooker comes in handy.

  • Fish only need around 2 hours.
  • Chicken around 6-8
  • Beef 12-24 hours

Skim off any of the scum that floats to the top.

When the broth is done, remove the bones and strain the mixture through a colander.

Allow to cool before putting into jars and into storage

Allow to cool before putting into jars and into storage

Place in a bowl to cool overnight. The fat will rise to the top and solidify.

Once cooled, the fat will solidify at the top

Once cooled, the fat will solidify at the top

Divide into jars for storage, firstly cooling to room temperature, then refrigerating, and then freezing if you would like. You can choose to keep the layer of fat on top and return to the liquid, or discard it. As the myth regarding the evils of fat has been busted, I recommend keeping it for flavour and sustained energy from the meal you eventually create with your broth

Once the fat has been taken away, you will see the jelly-like consistency of the broth

Once the fat has been taken away, you will see the jelly-like consistency of the broth

What to do with it

You can use your broth in place of stock in any recipe. It makes an excellent base for soups and stews. You can actually drink it on it’s own as well. I add a little bit to everything, even as a bit of extra liquid in stir fries.

Who would benefit from drinking bone broth?

The short answer is everyone!

But more specifically, anyone with any kind of digestive system complaint or immune system deficiency. Children who are fussy eaters would benefit greatly as they can choose their own vegetables and even if it is just carrot and peas added, you know that they’re getting a good dose of essential vitamins and minerals anyway.

It is also of benefit after any infection, particularly stomach bugs, as it will heal and repair the digestive system lining.

For general health and wellbeing it is a great way to add nutrients to your meals.

Why is Bone Broth so good

  1. Good for the immune system.
  2. Rich in minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals
  3. Great for arthritis and joint pain. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin which are often taken as supplements in the older population. These nutrients help restore and maintain arthritic joints.
  4. Helps restore your gut. Bone broths help to repair the intestinal mucosa (the lining of the digestive system). The mucosa is important in the integrity of the digestive system, which can stop conditions such as ‘leaky gut’ syndrome.
  5. Contains amino acids such as proline and glycine which make up proteins. Proline is a non-essential amino acid but is a precursor to collagen. Glycine is also non-essential but was shown in one Japanese study to improve sleep quality.
  6. Contains gelatin and collagen which are good for:
    • Bone and joint healing
    • Helps support health connective tissue
    • Strong fingernails and hair
    • May reduce stress induced stomach ulcers

 

 

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Spinach Crepes

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Like everything there are many conflicting stories about how to cook your vegetables.

  • They should be eaten raw to get maximum nutrients
  • They should be lightly steamed to get maximum nutrients
  • Boiling is fine as long as it’s not for too long
  • Greens should definitely be raw
  • Greens should definitely be cooked.

I’ll tell you what I know and with your own research and judgement, you can decide.

What makes green vegetables green is the chlorophyll component. This is also the part that takes the energy from the sun, to pass onto us through food. This chlorophyll is very similar to our blood. So similar that there is only one molecule of difference, which is, we have iron in the centre and plants have magnesium. This is one of main reasons green vegetables are so important.

Dr Joel Fuhrman presented a lecture for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and explained about the structure of the plant cell. Inside the cell wall is something called “myrosinase” and inside the actual cell is “glucosinolates”. When these two enzymes combine they have powerful anticancer properties, BUT they must be combined before heating, or the enzyme is denatured (doesn’t work!).

So how do they get combined? If you eat raw it is through chewing. The more you chew, the more they are mixed, the more powerful their effects. If you want to add your greens to soups and stews, the best option is to blend them first. Blending and breaking up of the cell wall releases these enzymes, allows them to combine, then you are free to cook them.

Myrosinase-Glucosinolate System

Image courtesy of Joel Fuhrman

 

Spinach Crepes

I came across this crepe recipe a while ago and thought it would be prefect with the Broccoli and Mango salad I had once on a 3 day raw food detox. (The detox was actually 21 days, I only lasted 3!) I was quite surprised how delicious raw broccoli and mango are together.

These crepes fit perfectly with the theory that blending your greens before eating is a great way to maximise their benefits. It’s also a good way to get more vegetables into the kids. Even more handy if your child’s favourite colour is green. I think I may try these with shredded beetroot too, for pink or red crepes.

These ratios should feed 2-3 people depending on how hungry you are!

For the crepes you will need:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 1/3 cup of milk (almond, soy, dairy)
  • 1 cup flour (I used spelt flour, but you can use wheat if you wish, or gluten free)

For the salad you will need

  • 1 Mango
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 small avocado
  • A few chopped dates (optional)

As I was cooking in a stainless steel frying pan, I began by filling pan with water and putting it on the stove on high. (More about this another day).

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping your food from sticking

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping food from sticking

In a high speed blender (Thermomix, Nutribullet, etc.), blend up the spinach and milk.

Transfer to a bowl or jug and mix through the flour.

I used spelt flour as it's easier to digest

I used spelt flour as it’s easier to digest

Pour the water from your frying pan and place on low heat. I used the smallest flame on the smallest.

Coat the frying pan with your choice of oil: butter, ghee or coconut oil are my choices. I used butter. Because I love butter. Good quality, grass fed, organic butter.

Pour in the mixture to cover half the bottom of the frying pan, then move the frying pan around to spread the crepe mixture so it is a thin crepe (not a fat pancake).

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Repeat for the remainder of the mixture.

Finely chop the broccoli, slice the mango into cubes and chop the avocado in any way you wish. If you are using dates, finely chop them. Mix everything together in a bowl.

Spinach Crepes Recipe (4)  Spinach Crepes Recipe (5)

Spinach Crepes Recipe (6)

When your all crepes are done, add a small amount of the salad and roll like a pancake.

Best eaten fresh while the crepes are warm.

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

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Plan Your Day the Body-clock Way

 

Autumn Leaves

Just like the trees follow a natural pattern and rhythm of changes, so does our body.

We have cycles in nature, they occur in humans, plants, animals, the sun, the moon, the tides, everywhere. The circadian rhythm is a 24 hour period where changes and responses occur in a regular pattern. As we move further and further away from being in touch with nature, our bodies have moved away from these patterns to the detriment of our health.

Understanding these natural rhythms of your body and of nature and following your day to suit as best you can, will help you to regain a little control over this natural phenomenon. Here are the natural cycles of our body and the day from the Chinese medicine point of view.

 

Things that disrupt our normal patterning

Plane Travel

One obvious example of moving away from our natural rhythms is jet lag. We move so quickly in a plane from one time zone to another, that our body doesn’t have a chance to catch up. This leaves us feeling tired and exhausted, with altered digestion and just a feeling of not-quite-right.

Lighting

We have sensors not just in our eyes but in our skin that are related to light. Too much light at the wrong time can disrupt our body clock. Televisions, phones, computers and other artificial light after sunset can stimulate the brain and affect melatonin secretion and therefore sleep patterns

Temperature

Our temperature peaks at 7pm and is at its lowest at 4:30am. Constantly being in temperature controlled environments such as that with air-conditioning or heating can disrupt these natural changes. The reason we have these changes in because certain bodily processes function at certain temperatures.

 

Chinese Medicine Clock

This describes what is happening in our body at different times of the day and how to utilise these functions to our advantage.

The organ system involved does not necessarily literally translate to the organ. For example, someone without a gall bladder may still have problems with the gall bladder meridian system.

1-3am Liver

The liver is responsible for detoxification and breaking down of hormones. It also holds a lot of anger and resentment emotionally speaking. If your liver has much to detoxify, you have hormone imbalances, or unresolved anger and resentment issues, you will find yourself waking up at this time. Chronic fatigue, anaemia, hormone imbalances, irregular cycles in women and headaches are all signs this time zone is out of balance. This is a time to dispel toxins.

3-5am Lung

Feelings of grief and sorrow occur at this time and are related to the lungs. Wheezing, coughing, asthma, or getting sick are signs there is imbalance. Distribute energy in the form of blood.

5-7am Large Intestine

Best time for a bowel movement. Letting go physically (doing a poo) or figuratively (letting go of things in life that no longer serve you, emotions, habits, people, thoughts)

Avoid caffeine at this time.

7-9am Stomach

Best time to eat breakfast. Best time for digestion and breaking down of foods. Reflux, indigestion, heart burn, bad breath and stomach ulcers are signs that you need to nurture this time

9-11am Spleen

This is the time for a warming tea or a small snack. Cinnamon dates and lentils are all helpful for the spleen. A good time to be thinking and working as the spleen does it’s thing. If you would like to lose weight, this is an optimum time for exercise.

11am-1pm Heart

This is a good time to relax, eat lunch, take it easy nap if you have time. Avoid anything strenuous or stimulating such as coffee, exercise, excessive heat or stressful situations. Palpitations, cold hands and feet and trouble sleeping are all signs this time needs balancing. Enjoy lunch with good friends.

1-3pm Small Intestine

The small intestine continues the digestive process so liquids are absorbed and more solid material moves through. At this time you will need to drink adequate water and may begin to feel the effects of dehydration. Dehydration, bloating and gas are common issues when this time is out of balance.

During this time Melatonin secretion also peaks which is why the more sleep before 2am the better.

A good time to be sorting and organising

3-5pm Bladder

Energy levels drop at this time if you are not well enough hydrated. Water, soups and broths are good to nourish and hydrate. Also a good time to be working or studying. Drinking extra water

5-7pm Kidney

This time is perfect for a meal, but only small meals in the evening. It is also a good time for love-making. The kidney and its energies are associated with reproduction, growth and development. If you would like to build muscle and strength this is a good time for the gym. A little wine is good to promote circulation. If adrenals are depleted, tiredness may set in. If adrenals are functioning well a ‘second wind’ may occur.

7-9pm Pericaridum

The pericardium is an accessory organ, as in it supports another. This time is good for relaxing activities such as gentle yoga or stretching, reading, cuddling, mediation or other activities to guide you into sleep. Soaking the feet in hot water is good for circulation and relaxation. Can also be a good time for socialising.

9-11pm Triple Warmer

This is also an accessory system.

This is a good time to go to bed and go to sleep. In Winter this should be in the earlier part and in summer it can be a little later. Deep sleep should be achieved before 11pm. Staying indoors (you should be sleeping anyway) is advised at this time period and the next. This is also a good time for lovemaking particularly for those wishing to conceive.

11pm-1am Gall Bladder

The gall bladder is responsible for digesting fats. It can cause you trouble if this is not balanced. This is the time for deep sleeping.

 

Other Body Rhythms

 

Infradian rhythm

This is longer than a day. Cycles such as human menstrual cycle, animal hibernation or migration, human Immune system cycle

Circaseptan

7 day cycle

Biorythyms – Physical, emotional and intellectual

23 days, 28 days and 33 days

Ultradian Rythyms

This is shorter than a day. Cycles such as 90 minute sleep cycle, 4 hour nasal cycle and 3 hour growth hormone cycle.

 

Time

Organ What you should be doing Signs of imbalance

Resolution

1am-3am Liver Sleeping Waking, insomnia, headaches, hormone imbalances Detoxification, letting go of any anger or resentment
3am-5am Lung Sleeping Coughing, asthma, sickness Let go
5am-7am Large Intestine Having a bowel motion Constipation, dryness Let go of concepts and ideas. Sit next to a sunny window and drink warm water
7am-9am Stomach Eating breakfast Ulcers, reflux, indigestion Apple cider vinegar
9am-11am Spleen Small snack bloating, low energy, craving sweets Cup of herbal tea or a light snack
11am-1pm Heart Relaxing and eating lunch Anxiety, palpitations, cold hands and feet Rest, nap, relax, enjoy lunch
1pm-3pm Small Intestine Drinking water Bloating or gas Drink more water
3pm-5pm Bladder Working or studying with a snack of broth or soup Burning or frequency with urination, yeast infections Drink more water
5pm-7pm Kidney Making love, exercising, eating a small evening meal Lower back pain, sexual dysfunction A little wine to activate circulation along with a small meal
7pm-9pm Pericardium Relaxing Depression, aversions, phobias Meditation, stretching, yoga, cuddling, reading
9pm-11pm Triple Warmer Going to sleep Difficulty digesting fats, poor judgement, anger or resentment issues Establish a night time routine and go to bed at the same time each night
11pm-1am Gall Bladder Sleeping Trouble digesting fats Ensure you’re asleep

 

For more information see:

http://www.yinyanghouse.com/practitioner_members/general-lifestyle/circadian-rhythms-chinese-clock-and-how-live-sync

http://www.naturopathicbynature.com/traditional-chinese-medicine-organ-times/

http://kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com/en/7Kaleidoscope10173.html

http://www.first30days.com/experts/marcella-vonn-harting

 

 

 

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Using the moon to manifest your dreams

 

Manifesting

Once a month I sit down and write intentions. It is a list of things I would like to happen, generally in the next month but also in the next few months, year, five years, and more. They are kind of like New Year’s resolutions, but specific and most often attainable in that month. It may be things like how many patients I would like to see on average in the next 4 weeks, or the intention to write at least two blog posts a week. A couple of months ago, one thing on my list was to book a holiday, which I did.

The most powerful time to write these intentions is during the new moon. The new moon is a time of new beginnings. Imagine wiping the slate clean and starting again. It is a time to plant the seed and wait for it to grow. Although this is a metaphor, the idea also literally crosses over to gardening. Planting leafy vegetable during the time between a new moon and a full moon is said to increase growth and yield. Planning activities such as financial planning or new beginning such as moving house is best done using the power of the new moon.

Cathy Schier, an astrologer from Seagoat Philosophies suggests, “It’s worth taking time out for yourself, to meditate, review and use the time for introspective thinking and rest.” She goes on to also say, “Children and teenagers are especially tired around this time and the modern world doesn’t allow for us to just stop. There is no light at night and sleeping is much easier.”

The intentions that you write are whatever you believe them to be. If they are simply a list of things you wish to achieve, then that’s what they are. If you are speaking to God and writing your prayers, that’s what they are. If they are intentions you would like to submit to the universe for manifestation processes, then that’s it. This is no more of a religious practice, than going fishing on a full moon because that’s when the fish are biting. You are harnessing the natural pull and powers between the earth and the moon.

 

What you need to gather to manifest with the new moon:

Around 20-30 minutes

A nice pen – because nice pens make writing easier

Nice paper – same as above

A candle – optional, it makes the place look and smell nice

Music – makes everything more relaxing

A quiet space

 

What to do:

Sit down, light your candle, start your music and relax.

Don’t rush.

Begin by writing: “I accept these things into my life now or something better for my highest good and for the highest good of all concerned.” This is kind of like a disclaimer to whomever you are mentally submitting your list to. A karma disclaimer if you wish. If there is something better coming your way, then of course you want that. And it always needs to be of the highest good. You can’t intend on bad things happening to people. That’s not nice.

Start writing.

Whatever it is. Big or small. Important trivial. What would you like more of in your life? What would you like to happen? Remember to include the small, trivial things too, because these are the things that add up.

Once you are finished, fold your piece of paper and put it in a safe place.

Keep it until the full moon. Take it out and see what has happened.

Repeat this each new moon. Don’t cross out what has happened and add to what has. There is a full moon ritual of burning the list anyway. But it is important to start each new cycle with a clean slate, this includes a new piece of paper.

New moon dates for 2015

If you would like to see how this new moon personally affects you, contact Cathy at Seagoat Philosophies cathy@seagoat.com.au or find her on Facebook here.

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New Moon Dates for 2015

New Moon Manifestation

The new moon is a time for new beginnings. A time to create. A time to plant the seeds (literally or metaphorically) and watch them grow over the next month. It is a time to write your intentions and goals. A time for financial and business planning. Utilising this energy allows life to just flow…

Here are the dates for 2015:

20 Jan    11:44 PM

19 Feb   10:17 AM

20 Mar  8:06 PM

19 Apr   4:27 AM

18 May 1:43 PM

16 Jun   11:35 PM

16 Jul     10:55 AM

15 Aug  12:24 AM

13 Sep   4:12 PM

13 Oct   10:36 AM

12 Nov  4:18 AM

11 Dec   9:00 PM

These dates are for South Australia. For exact times in your location see http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/moonphases.html

Full Moon calendar here.

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Why Morning Routines are good for you! And what to do that will set you up for an awesome day!

Sunrise Nambucca Heads

A few years ago I was volunteering on the East Coast of Australia and woke before the sun to go for a run and get this picture

As of January this year, I have been living in one place. This is a big thing because for over two years I was travelling a lot and although it didn’t bother me, there was a lot of lost time in travelling, but also packing/unpacking etc. So late nights to bed, early mornings, lost time, excuses for why I wasn’t getting stuff done, lack of routine because every week was different! So when I settled myself in one place I was determined to get into a routine.

The first morning I started this, I thought to myself, “I will wake up with the sun”. So we opened the blinds the night before so the sun could shine in when morning came. I seriously woke up, wide awake, at 5:15am. First light! No alarm. Just woke up. Thankfully that only happened once because 5:15am was too early. But getting up with the sun is important, more about that later.

I am still leaving the blinds open but I now only wake up between 6:30 and 7pm. A much nicer time. I would be happier if it was earlier, but that’s when my body has decided its ok, so that’s ok with me. I then get up, have a big drink of water (always beside my bed), use the bathroom, take my bush essences remedy, and then head into my study/meditation/yoga/piano room.

We’ve positioned our house so our bedroom, the study and the dining room/kitchen all face into the morning sun. So in the study the yoga mat is always rolled out and this is where I head to do my sun salutations, a few extra yoga poses if I decide, a headstand or two if I please, then the 5 Tibetan rites, which I promise to do a blog post on soon and link it here. I then sit down for some meditation. The time varies. 5 minutes is enough. 10 minutes is good. An hour is better. The busier your day, the more you should do. Seems counterproductive but there are SO many benefits to mediation it’s unbelievable.

Now it’s breakfast time! And then my day continues…

That’s my routine so far.

So now onto why it’s important to have a routine and what are some ways to make your morning amazing:

You get more done

Getting up a regular time, which normally invoves getting up earlier means that you get more done over the day. Going for a run or a walk first thing in the morning, means your exercise is done. That’s it for the day. And what an invigorating way to start the day.

Giving yourself even an extra 15 minutes means that either you’re not rushing and running out the door, or you can add in extra things like a bit of mediation, 15 minutes of reading a book with breakfast, watering the plants outside, enjoying your coffee without slurping it down. Basically stopping in the morning to smell the roses. You can even fold the washing if you want. That’s one less thing you don’t need to do when you get home at night. Put dinner in the slow cooker. The list is endless. Whatever you feel you don’t have time for at night.

Getting up with the sun

Before alarms, deadlines, late nights of TV, people use to get up with the sun. Stop when the sun goes down, start when it comes up. This is what our body clock is designed to do. And this is the way our body works best. Have you noticed that when you wake up naturally, you wake up fresher and happier? That not necessarily the extra sleep you may have had, but that your body woke when it was ready. Getting your body in tune with natural rhythms of the environment around (eg. The sun) is so beneficial for not just your energy levels, but your mood, wellbeing and so much more.

Most weather apps or website can give you sunrise and sunset times. Sunrise generally happens (in SA anyway) between 6am in summer and 7:30am in the winter.

Make your bed

Everyone loves getting into fresh sheets. Only part of the reason is they’re clean, the other part is made beds feel fresher, even without the sheets. Making your bed in the morning means that it feels fresher at night time. Almost like you’re in a hotel, because if you make your bed in the morning, so much has happened between times it’s like someone else did it for you. Maybe?

It’s good feng shui practice anyway. An unmade bed makes the room look cluttered and untidy and that’s not good for a restful nights sleep. Its also seen as closure. As upsetting as it is sometimes to have to get out of bed (hopefully using these tips rectifies that!) the making of your bed signifies sleeping time is over and it’s time to face the world and get on with your day.

A study found that making your bed improved your sleep by 19%*

*National Sleep Foundation, Sleep Poll, Jan. 25, 2011

Exercise and getting outside

Even if it’s just a walk around the block or going outside to water the plants. If you’re following the ‘get up with the sun’ protocol, this is the BEST time to be outside. It’s fresh, it’s cool, it’s quiet and it’s peaceful. Walking around the block, going for a run, or even just getting outside to say good morning to the sun, the fresh air will wake you up and get you going.

Meditation

Anecdotal evidence, as noticed be me, says that meditation in the morning improves concentration and energy. And I’m sure somewhere I could find a study to prove that. Taking even 5 minutes so focus on your breath and clear your head can make such a difference in the day.

When I lived in Adelaide I got up at 5:45am three mornings a week to do yoga. At the end we would lie down and do as much or as little meditation as we wanted. As the teacher always reminded us, this might be the last time you get to lay down today. That always motivated me to stay an extra 5 minutes. So, go! Sit down on a chair or cross your legs, or lay on the floor, focus on your breath for 5 minutes, it may be the last break you get all day!

Drink some water

The standard recommendation is 2 litres per day. I generally suggest 1 litre per 30kg of body weight, because a 100kg man needs more hydration than a 60kg woman. Starting the day with one glass (or two!) means you are one glass closer to your target. My drink bottle is 550mL. I carry that around while I go through my morning routine so by breakfast I’ve generally had ½ L already.

It is best to space your water through the day. Don’t drink your two litres in the morning and think you’re done for the day. Plus you’d have no room for breakfast. And spend the next three hours at the toilet.

Before breakfast another glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon is also amazing for your health. Just a quick google search of “warm lemon water in the morning” will give you dozens of reasons why this is a good idea, from clearer skin to liver cleansing. It’s also good for delaying your coffee (See blog post here) because many of us, particularly in winter crave warm drinks, mostly reaching for the coffee or a black tea. Drinking warm water and lemon satisfies that ‘warm drink’ craving and gives us an extra cup towards our water quota. As opposed to coffee that negates two cups of water due to the diuretic factor.

Other possible routine ideas:

Practice gratitude – before bed or in the morning, write down three things you’re thankful for.

Oil pulling – first thing, put one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish for 20 minutes. You may need to work up to this amount of time. The oil ‘pulls’ all sorts of bacteria and yuckies (technical term) from between your teeth, giving you fresh breath, clean teeth and better health as the state of your mouth, gums and teeth is very closely linked with your overall health

Eat breakfast – as the saying goes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories over the day. Make sure it’s something with a bit of protein and fat, not just the carb-filled toast or cereal options we’ve been lead to believe are good for us!

Don’t reach for your phone – lying in bed on Facebook in the mornings is dangerous. Firstly it’s a time waster. Secondly social media has been found to be detrimental to our self-esteem. Thirdly, have you ever dropped your phone on your face while in bed? I have. More than once. It hurts. Don’t play with your mobile phone in bed. It’s dangerous. For your face and your time. Get up and get moving.

Look in the mirror – say good morning to yourself. Say I love you. Be thankful for the able body you have. Do this every day and your life will change.

What morning routines do you have? What works best for getting you up and moving in the morning? Have you tried any of these techniques?

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Why is Apple Cider Vinegar Better than White Vinegar?

Many mornings, particular in winter I begin my day with a cup of tea. Not black tea or herbal tea, but apple cider vinegar tea, sweetened with raw honey. ACV is one of the oldest antibacterial agents known to man. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, has been credited with its first use back in 400BC when he used it with his patients for a range of ailments.

ACV is different from the beautifully ‘clean’ and translucent range of vinegars that you will see on supermarket shelves. These clear vinegars have been heated, treated and processed which robs them of the natural health benefits. Raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar is unprocessed, which allows the retention of the health benefits such as enzyme function and antibacterial properties. A good ACV can easily be recognised by its opacity, which is created by the “mother”, a cobwebby like substance that preserves the strength and effectiveness of the vinegar.

So what can you use apple cider vinegar for?

Everything apparently. According to Paul and Patricia Bragg’s book Apple Cider Vinegar – Miracle Health System, it can be used for just about anything. In their book, they list a broad range of health benefits from this amazing liquid.

Putting the information in their book together with my prior knowledge, it seems that many of these conditions are alleviated by correcting the pH of the body, which is a huge factor in many health conditions. ACV works by correcting the pH in the stomach and on the skin if used topically, which balances the whole body. (An acidic body over time “corrodes” body tissues and may lead to disease in all systems.)

Natural treatment for indigestion and heartburn

This is the most common reason I suggest ACV. In the Bragg ACV book they explain that swishing ACV in the mouth before meals will stimulate digestive enzymes. Also, many cases of indigestion, heartburn, reflux, gas and bloating are caused by low rather than too high stomach acid. The ACV helps to relieve painful indigestion by helping with the digestive process.

Pharmaceutical reflux medications can have unwanted side-effects such as weight gain, constipation and/or malabsorption syndromes, due to the stomach acid being completely neutralised. Beginning a routine of ACV tea before meals and slowly reducing reflux medication can have immense health benefits. Eliminating potential and suspected food intolerances can make significant improvements in reflux, heartburn and indigestion too.

It may help in weight loss and lowering cholesterol

ACV contains acetic acid, which was found in a Japanese study to aid in decreases in weight, BMI, visceral fat (fat around the abdominal organs), serum triglycerides and waist circumference.

It can make your skin look healthier and more youthful

The pH level of your skin aids in the detoxification process. ACV vinegar helps to normalise this pH level, assisting in detox (see facial treatment below)

Lowering blood sugar levels in Type II Diabetes

In a study published in Diabetes Care people were divided into 3 groups: diabetes, pre-diabetes and normal blood sugar levels. The vinegar was found to increase insulin sensitivity:

  • All three groups had improve blood glucose readings
  • Participants with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25%
  • Participants with pre-diabetic symptoms cut their blood sugar readings by half

Burning and itching of sores, hives, allergic reactions, insect bites

Using apple cider vinegar on any sort of allergy or bite will also relieve the itching, burning and pain usually associated.

Natural relief for fungal and yeast infections, bladder and kidney infection

Athletes foot, jock itch, nappy rash, thrush and the burning and itching caused by urinary tract infections can all be relieved by a dilution of ACV and water. Adding a cup of ACV to a low, warm bath can also help.

Alternative hair rinse

The pH level of ACV is apparently close to that of your hair. It is a popular rinse with many of those who prefer the more natural hair care treatments.

ACV is rich in potassium which is essential for every cell in your body to function. Potassium deficiency can be attributed to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Dizziness
  • Senility
  • Morning headaches
  • Tired eyes that won’t focus
  • Poor circulation
  • High blood pressure

Other possible health issues remedied by ACV:

  • Mucus
  • Cancer
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Nose bleeds
  • Burns
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle cramps,
  • Detoxification
  • Headaches
  • Gallstones (Bragg’s have a 2 day gall bladder flush to help reduce stones)

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea

  1. Pour 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup and add ½-1 teaspoon of honey
  2. Half fill with room temperature or warm water*
  3. Top up with boiling water and sip slowly

*It is important not to put boiling water on honey. The heat can destroy the enzymes responsible for its healing properties. Honey should also never be ‘melted’ in the microwave or boiled. If your honey has crystallised, place the jar in a saucepan of water and heat very slowly.

Apple Cider Vinegar Facial

1. Rinse face with warm water

2. Apply a wrung-out, hot water soaked cloth to the face for 3 minute 3. Soak a thin cloth in an ACV mix (1 tbsp ACV to 1 cup water) and apply this to the face. Cover with another wrung out hot soaked cloth 4. Lay down for 10 minutes with feet elevated (couch, up the wall, bed etc.) this will increase circulation and promote lymphatic drainage 5. After 10 minutes, remove cloths and use a course towel or small face loofah and rub upwards on face. This will remove all the dead skin cells that have been soaking.

According to Paul and Patricia Bragg: “Your skin will look more youthful and will shine like a polished apple with a joyous new life.”

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6 Tips for Perfect Posture

Spending time at our computers, looking down onto our smart phones, slumping in front of the TV, not as much time for exercise, it’s no wonder as a population our posture is worsening. Here are 6 tried and tested ways to improve your posture

#1 Adjust the mirrors in your car

When next in you car, sit up straight and put your seat in a comfortable position. Now adjust your mirrors, particularly the rear-vision mirror to suit where you are sitting. Get into the habit of adjusting your posture, not your mirrors.

#2 Stretch your pecs

Rounded shoulders allow gravity to further drag your posture forward. Muscles through your thoracic special spine (middle back) tighten to try to hold your shoulders back and bring you back into balance. Gravity is working against this and pulling the shoulders further forward and down, compounded by the weight of your head pulling forward.

Stretch the pec muscles by bringing your elbows up in line with your shoulders and leaning through a doorway. Do this for 30 seconds twice a day (when you brush your teeth is a good reminder). It will help to open up the chest, lengthen the pecs and reduce tightness through the thoracic spine.

#3 Tuck your bum in

Pelvic postural problems can be related to abdominal muscle weakness. The abdominal muscles weaken, tilting the pelvis and allowing the back muscles to tighten. In a cross over pattern, the gluteus muscles at the back weaken and the hip flexor muscles (connecting your legs to your body) at the front tighten. Tucking your bum in, automatically switches on the abdominal muscles also, which reduces the curve in the lumbar spine.

#4 Learn your ergonomics

Improperly set-up work spaces are a major contributor for postural problems. Particularly for office workers who don’t often take a break. Make sure your desk height, chair height, computer screen and keyboard are all at an optimum position for you. Many workplaces have ergonomic assessment officers that come around once in a while and assist employees with their set-up. Ask at your workplace if this is available.

#5 Get adjusted

Regular chiropractic adjustments help to keep the spine moving and the neurological supply to the muscles so they keep their function and strength. So many patients report that they feel taller after their adjustment, they haven’t grown, they’re just standing taller, straighter and stronger.

Applied Kinesiology and other similar techniques also allow us to assess the muscles, if they are switching on and if they’re not, why not! The abdominal muscles featured in #3 may be dysfunctional due to small intestine issues. The pec muscles from #2 may be tight due to stomach problems. Applied Kinesiology allows us to get to the source of the issue, meaning a quicker and better outcome in the long term.

#6 Reduce your sugar

Postural muscles are slow twitch muscles. They burn energy slowly as they have long, sustained contractions. The best fuel for this type of muscle contraction is fat. At the moment our diets are severely lacking in good fats, but are too high in sugars and carbs. Having this ratio incorrect can cause aching and tiredness in the postural muscles of the spine, leading to slouching and poor posture.

What helps your posture? Do you have any tips and tricks you would like to share with the readers? Comment below.

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Fish Curry

Today is a little bit humid. It’s warm, warm enough for shorts and a singlet. But it rained a little while ago.

I’ve been craving coconut milk or cream. I wanted to have a coconut chia pudding for breakfast this morning, but didn’t get myself sorted early enough last night to make it. That recipe will come another day. So I satisfied my coconut cream/milk craving, while using left over fish from last nights dinner, and whipped up this simple fish curry.

I didn’t have all of the ingredients, but it turned out perfectly fine. And as I sit here with my empty bowl beside me, I feel like I could be in some tropical location. Most likely Bali, Malaysia or Thailand. Somewhere with humidity, coconuts and fish.

I will give you the recipe I used, as well as the other ingredients I didn’t have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 4 white fish fillets (I used Coorong Mullet, because that’s what we had)
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (I used a full teaspoon. Turmeric is SO good for you)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp coconut oil for frying

Optional (ingredients I didn’t have)

  • 1 1/2 cups of fish stock
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • Finely sliced spring onions

What to do:

  1. Heat coconut oil in pan
  2. Add crushed ginger and garlic, and sliced onion
  3. Once cooked through, add chilli and turmeric
  4. Pour in can of coconut cream and fish stock if you are using it. (As I didn’t have the fish stock, I used Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast with a little bit of water). Add stalks of lemon grass
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has thickened
  6. Add fish fillets
  7. Stir until fish is cooked through
  8. Remove lemon grass and discard. Place fish on bed of rice
  9. If you have fish sauce and spring onions, add at this point, stir and then pour sauce over fish and bed of rice
  10. Serve with steamed greens or just on it’s own!

Sorry I didn’t get a before photo. I ate it too quick!

iPhone 5S 1374

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What does your body actually need to heal and achieve full health?

In a recent Institute for Integrative Nutrition module, we were asked the following question:

“Joshua explains that, given half a chance, the body will heal itself. Why do you think this is the case? Why is it more effective to let clients find their own way to their truth instead of being guided step-by-step? Have you experienced self-healing of any kind? Please share below!”

A big part of the chiropractic philosophy is that the body is a self-healing, self-regulating system. This is a significant point to understand if you want to achieve health. You have all the tools and capabilities RIGHT now to be healthy. So what’s stopping that?

Our body wants us to be well. Our body is designed to be well. It’s when it doesn’t have access to all the necessary tools such as rest, vitamins and healthy relationships (just to name a few!) that it breaks down.

For example, your body isn’t designed to get a cold. It’s designed to fight a cold. When you come into contact with bacteria, your body’s immune system kicks into action to find that bacteria, capture it, destroy it and remember it for next time. All before you have a chance to cough. So why sometimes does that cold or flu take hold? Why do we end up with symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, green phlegm and a cough? It’s because the body doesn’t have what it needs.

What does it need?

Well that depends on the person. In my case I need rest. The only time I get sick is when I’m working too much and not getting enough sleep. My body might feel tired for a few days or a few weeks beforehand, and if I don’t listen to these subtle cues, then it says, “Ok, you’re not listening. I’m going to force you to rest!” And BAM! My muscles ache, I have a headache, I literally can’t stay awake and I rest.

The truth is (confession time!) I don’t mind being sick. Two reasons: I get to rest. Yay! Who doesn’t love staying in bed all day? And two: It means my body is working. It’s fighting off and processing whatever it needs to process. I do support my body. It gets extra vitamins, sometimes some olive leaf extract, vitamin C, lots of ginger, lemon and honey water, a chiropractic adjustment, some NET, but most of all rest. Because I know that’s what was lacking for me to get myself into that position in the first place.

This isn’t just the case with colds and flus. We are not designed to get cancer. It’s not “luck of the draw”. Cancer cells proliferate when given the opportunity. Or when our body isn’t working too its full potential and misses something. Headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pains, heart disease and more are all examples of things that can “go wrong” in our body.

What is the prescription for optimal health?

  • Nutritious food
  • Good relationships
  • Sunshine
  • Exercise
  • Laughter
  • Music
  • Rest and relaxation
  • And more!
  • Whatever it is that your body needs

When you ask yourself, “What does my body need in order to heal?” what answer do you find?

What can hinder this healing?

The truth is, some people don’t want to get better. Without their illness or complaint, subconsciously they believe there would be an emptiness, nothing to talk about, nothing to define them. Finding the cause of this is a big part of the healing process for some people. Particularly with chronic conditions.

Having an answer come from within is more powerful for healing than if the answer came from outside the body (someone telling you what to do). Letting my patients realise from within, but still guiding them and being part of that epiphanic (I think I made that word up) process, means the changes are going to be more permanent or if not permanent at least more effective.

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