Here’s my simple first timers Kombucha recipe. Kombucha is a homemade drink rich in healthy gut bacteria and yeast. It’s a drink I like to have daily to ensure that my naturally occurring flora and fauna are topped up to their full potential. Since the dawn of humans we have evolved alongside these probiotics, our guts are a symbiotic ecosystem and their role inside our bodies is to aid digestion, improve the absorption of nutrients, make vitamins bioavailable for absorbtion and prevent toxic digestive waste from crossing the gut wall barrier. Without these probiotics within our intestines … we are quite fecked!
Kombucha is a drink you can easily make at home which is filled with natural probiotics – healthy bacteria and yeast. Adding these probiotics to your diet is important, they are the bedrock of not only your digestive system but also impacts on overall health. Read more
The She Shed is a womens self care retreat, a concept that myself and my holistic health colleague Angela Chilton came up with over a cup of tea recently. Through my work as a yoga teacher and shiatsu massage therapist, and hers as a homeopath, we both acknowledged the need for busy women to carve out time for themselves for some self care. As mothers, carers and business women we often neglect our own needs, putting others first.
The She Shed is a day set aside just for you. From 10.30am – 2.30pm we will immerse ourselves in a range of activities to check in with ourselves, recharge our batteries and define our boundaries … so you can clearly define your own self care needs. We will eat excellent food, we will gently move our bodies with yoga, switch off our busy minds during meditation and tap into our inner oasis of peace, calm and clarity. We’ll find out how homeopathy can help women, we’ll break bread together and laugh at lunch. Last but not least we’ll sit together and sew something very simple but easy. A memento of the day to remind ourselves to take a few minutes each day to ourselves, longer when we need it.
Come and join us. No previous experience of yoga, sewing or meditation necessary.
To book your place call, message or text 086 8789546. €50 includes food and materials.
Find out more at The She Shed on Facebook.
There’s a vomiting bug doing the rounds! Oh the joys of it! I’ve just made a brew for my poorly girl so I thought I’d share what I give my kids when they need something very gentle to help settle an upset tummy. It’s not just for calming a belly retching from a tummy bug, it will also help to ease any feelings of nausea. Both ginger and turmeric are settling and anti-inflammatory.
It’s easy to make.
In a mug or heat proof glass add one thin slice of ginger and two slices of turmeric. Cover with freshly boiled water. Leave this to cool down to body temperature. You can then remove the slices if you wish but I prefer to leave them in. Let your little patient sip it slowly.
Be aware that turmeric can permanently stain surfaces and fabrics.
Here’s a top tip. If you don’t use a lot of these spices in your daily cooking you can ensure a fresh supply by storing sliced ginger and turmeric in the freezer.
In order to give yourself the best chances of conceiving you need to provide your body with the most nourishing foods possible for optimal health. Whether or not you are hoping to boost fertility, boosting your general health baseline is one of the key factors to achieving health and staying healthy. If you are not 100% healthy your body is will not invest precious resources into various bodily functions that will deplete your health further, the reproductive cycle is one such system that your body will not invest in if circumstances are not optimal. Wholefoods can help your quest for improved fertility and overall health. You’ll need your health to sustain a pregnancy and the energy to care for a baby, so embarking on a health quest prior to conception (for at least 3 months) makes a lot of sense. With a few small changes to your daily diet you’ll begin to feel amazing, look great and enjoy having lots of energy.
But don‘t take my word for it, give it a go and you’ll experience the benefits yourself. Once you do, you won’t want to go back. In fact, you’ll be so enthusiastic about your new found health and energy that you’ll probably be inspired to continue researching and changing your lifestyle, little bit by bit.
- Have a breakfast, it sets up healthy digestion for the day. Organic porridge is great value and delicious with chopped fresh fruit.
- Eat as much organic food as possible to reduce your toxic load.
- Replace white pasta and rice with whole wheat pasta and brown rice for prolonged energy and fullness feeling.
- Replace white bread with wholegrain brown bread.
- Eat less pasta and bread – limit pasta to once a week and bread to one slice a day.
- Instead of pasta and bread eat a wider variety of other carbohydrates such as rice, potato, butternut squash and quinoa.
- Reduce the amount of highly processed food you consume. If there’s an ingredients list, the fewer the ingredients the better and ideally there should be nothing on the list other than food items you recognise. The longer the shelf life, the shorter yours.
- Eat a lot of salad. Then eat even more salad. Eat salad with every lunch and dinner. The enzymes in living raw foods assist with your digestion of all foods, especially helpful in digesting cooked foods you eat at the same sitting.
- Eat two pieces of fruit for your morning and afternoon snack.
- Cut out coffee and tea, replace it with dandelion coffee, rooibos tea or other caffeine free alternatives (but not decaffeinated tea or coffee).
- Replace fizzy and sugary drinks including sodas and fruit juices with filtered or spring water.
- Replace sugary processed sweets, chocolate and confectioneries with healthy treats such as dried fruit, banana or berries.
- Sprinkle a variety of chopped fresh herbs over each meal.
- Avoid any sugar free or low fat products.
- Cook using coconut oil.
- Use olive oil for salad dressings.
- Use coconut oil as a butter replacement or use organic butter from grass fed cows.
- Keep costs down by growing some herbs and greens at home. They do very well even in containers.
- Drink plenty of water to assist all of your bodies systems. Avoid tap water if possible, especially if it contains flouride and choride. Opt for filtered or spring water.
- Anyone trying to conceive should take a folic acid supplement … talk to your local health store for advice.
By following some or all of these guidelines your overall health will benefit and you gift yourself with the best chances of conceiving as your body balances in health and vitality.
Let me know which of the above changes you’ve implemented and how you’re getting on. Share any of your own simple wholefood changes or tips to the comments section.
Everything we do from the moment we are born affects our fertility and general health. We are what we eat but I believe in taking that a little further to include ‘we are what we do and what we think‘ too. When a decision has been made to start a family there is no greater incentive to clean up your life – physically, mentally and emotionally as part of your preconceptual care programme. Three months is often suggested as a good length of time to embrace these changes because it takes that long for sperm to be produced. Eggs are present in women from before birth but each month one or more eggs reach maturity. So after three months of healthy living, conception can then occur with eggs and sperm which have been exposed to your new healthy lifestyle choices and you will also be feeling like a new person, fit for pregnancy and parenthood.
Once you implement some changes you will see and feel the benefits within days and within a few months your reproductive system will be responding well too. If you’ve been trying to conceive for quite some time it might be time to dig deeper into appropriate life changes that can significantly improve your chances of conception either naturally or during assisted conception procedures.
For our bodies to function optimally in all respects, not just for reproduction, we need to get some very basic things right. This is a list of areas to review in your life where improvements could enhance fertility naturally. Which of these areas need the most attention and improvement in your life?
- Ingest enough high quality nourishment to optimally run and repair your body processes.
- Eliminate refined and processed foods that are damaging to your body.
- Nurture and reinstate your gut flora with live probiotics and prebiotics.
- Excrete wastes effectively from your body so toxins don’t accumulate.
- Get enough sleep.
- Address stress by activating your relaxation response because stress switches off or downgrades certain body processes including the reproductive system.
- Physical movement will amplify the benefits.
In another post next week I’ll be making some suggestions to address some of these points.
For 200,000 years human beings have walked the Earth. Until very recent history, we survived by hunting and gathering for food. Our bodies have evolved to harness the nutrition and energy of the plants, and perhaps animals, that share our space on the planet. Examples of this evolution that has occurred over thousands of years include gut digestion that contains thousands of good bacteria and yeasts that assist our digestion. Also, the unique set of enzymes our bodies have developed which recognise and break down the food we eat into constituents that are beneficial to our bodies have slowly evolved with our life on Earth.
Processed foods were popularised after World War 2 but it’s only in the last 20 years that the processed food industry taken ‘processing’ to a whole new level. Because many foods are now so heavily processed beyond their original nature, our bodies can no longer recognise the food in it’s new format. It has been so far removed from nature by over cooking, removal of beneficial substances and additions of other not so beneficial, or even dangerous additives, that the ‘food’ is now very much alien to our biological systems. Our bodies struggle to digest processed food. It contains additives that kill and unbalance the delicate ecosystem of those essential gut bacteria and yeasts. Our enzymes don’t recognise or fit the corrupted food molecules or synthetic food additives, resulting in allergies, immune system problems, nutrient deficiencies, weight gain, mental health issues and other problems.
Unfortunately many of us find ourselves unable to move away from processed foods. You may have noticed how addictive they are. Sugar, salt and monosodium glutamate are just some of the additives used to get customers hooked. Next time you eat processed food product and think ‘delicious’, just try this simple test. Ask yourself ‘Is it really delicious, or does it just taste overwhelmingly of salt or sugar?’. Once weaned off processed foods with all their addictive and harmful additives, true ‘delicious’ will be a delight and a symphony of flavours, not just a monotone salty or sugary hit.
Six Ways To Improve Healthy Gut Flora :
Eat and drink one or more probiotic foods on a daily basis. eg kefir, kombucha, sauerkrout, kimchi or miso soup either homemade or from your Health Food store.
- Take a course of high quality probiotic tablets, available from your local Health Food store.
- Eat less acidic foods and more alkaline foods. eg less coffee and alcohol, more fruit and vegetables.
- Find a way to relax and de-stress on a regular daily basis. eg meditation, yoga, social group or hobby.
- For non vegetarians some organic bone broth soup can help the body to rebuild and repair. VisitNourished Kitchenfor recipes.
- Ensuring even a small amount of raw vegetables are included with every meal can aid digestive enzymes.
When gut flora is balanced many other health issues will often begin to resolve, including weight, hormonal imbalances, digestive difficulties, fatigue and nutrient levels.
There are many who believe that gut health is the foundation of wellness, in both body and mind. What is gut health? Occurring naturally in our small intestines is an ecosystem of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. They live in symbiosis (in harmony) with us. We provide food in our intestines that they digest and thrive on, in return, we have evolved to digest the nutrients that are released during this process. It’s a perfect match, it’s a win win situation. Humans, bacteria and yeasts have evolved together over thousands of years and we rely on this process to help digest our food and extract the nutrients we need for optimum survival. It’s a beautifully balanced environment.
Well it used to be a beautifully balanced environment. What happened? Anti-biotics, chlorinated water, preservatives, lifeless processed foods and stress happened. When we eat and drink foods containing these ingredients it can have a devastating impact on our gut flora.
Five Signs That Your Gut Flora Is Out Of Balance :
- Indigestion : without the correct balance of gut flora our digestion is not what it should be.
- Food intolerances : without the correct balance of gut flora we are only semi digesting some foods which can lead to our bodies not recognising and reacting against some foods we eat.
- Repeated bouts of thrush for women : with the wrong set of gut flora more acidic conditions occur in the body, conditions in which candida (thrush yeasts) flourish and dominate.
- Fatigue : if we aren’t able to digest and absorb nutrients efficiently we are going to feel tired.
- Immune System Imbalance : you may be susceptible to many infections or your immune system may have become confused and attack it’s own body tissue, over react to foreign bodies or not recognise pathogens that should be removed.
Other possible signs that our gut flora is out of balance, according to some researchers :
Mental illness, ADHD & ADD, cancer, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and immune system disorders.
To assist your gut health eat as much unprocessed foods as possible and include some raw fruit and vegetables. If you’ve taken a course of anti-biotics talk to your Health Store about probiotics to help replenish your healthy gut bacteria.