BE AT BUCKLEY’S

BE at Buckleys Menu (Black)

I’m extremely excited to finally share the upcoming menu for a new adventure I’m embarking upon with one of my favourite London eateries, Mr. Buckley’s. Be At Buckley’s is a one-night, monthly dining event with a three-course menu that emphasizes the importance of eating seasonal, local and organic produce that is served in a modern and healthful manner.

Each month the menu will be curated by me, and masterfully prepared by Mr. Buckley’s head chef Daryll Wilson. Expect organic grass-fed meats, wild fish, organic vegetables, fresh salads and inventive desserts that are free from refined sugars, pasteurised dairy and grains. As I’m sure you all know, I’m extremely passionate about this healthful and healing way of eating, and have seen first-hand the amazingly positive effects it has had on myself and numerous clients.

If you suffer with food allergies, or often leave a meal out feeling bloated/wired/tired, or feel ratty the following day, then this night is a must (especially as I’ll also be leaving you with some Tasha/Be feel-better tips!). Of course for those already super fit, healthy and well, your bellies will simply love our nutrient dense, organic, local and seasonal fare! Please join in and share Be At Buckley’s so we can make this a permanent, monthly night out!

Bookings are now open for the inaugural event. There are limited spaces still available for our two-date launch April 15th and 22nd so book quick! Otherwise join us on the very first night that we welcome the public on Tuesday 6th May.

Bookings: Mr. Buckley’s 020 3664 0033

277 Hackney Rd, London E2 8NA, United Kingdom

Press Enquiries: press@luxandnoah.com

In keeping with the grain-free, pre-industrial or paleolithic influence of the Be At Buckley’s menu, I wanted to highlight an earlier post of mine on the benefits of this way of eating. Get the full scoop, and if you’re not already eating this way, try slowly incorporating aspects of it into your everyday diet: LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE

 

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GET YOUR SLEEP ON

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This post has been a long time coming, as put simply, I really loved staying up late. Like most of us, I knew about the importance of a “good night’s sleep” but it never stopped my habit of coming alive at night, or my desire to squeeze a few more hours out of the day. After a firm chat with a good friend just over a year ago the verdict was in: I was balanced in all major areas except sleep – where I was majorly out of sync! So, it took a lot of motivation, but I decided to start researching and experimenting with my beloved late night sleep pattern.

For the past year or so I’ve played with the time of night I went to bed, how long I slept for, various rituals pre- and post-bedtime, and took note of the possible effects of various foods, drinks and supplements consumed that day in order to find the most affective approach to sleep. As my inner night-owl had feared, the number one most effective factor has been getting to bed early – i.e. before 11pm, every night. Not only did an early bedtime provide top quality sleep, but on waking I felt well-rested and clear-headed, which was followed by my most productive, energy-filled days. Two other factors which beautifully complement this are early morning meditations and avoiding caffeine post 1pm.

So I’m most happy to report I now LOVE getting to bed early as the way I feel when I do so just feels SO good – I promise you it really does all turn out well in the end!

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THE BACKGROUND INFO

Once again we are inextricably connected to nature:

We have evolved with the rhythms and patterns of day and night – we take our cues of when to wake and when to sleep by the rising and falling of the sun. These built-in self sustained patterns, or circadian rhythms are inextricably linked to our local environment.

In the morning when the light enters our eyes it signals to the brain that it’s time to wake up and to start preparing the body for action. Our brain then makes sure certain hormones and neurochemicals (such as cortisol) are produced so we have the energy, correct temperature and brain function to wake up and go about our days effectively and efficiently.

As the sun begins to drop and night closes in, our eyes register the low light which signals that we swap our wakeful chemistry for our restorative, sleep-inducing mix (such as melatonin). Around 9pm our pineal gland switches on and if the light continues to stay low melatonin leaks into our bloodstream inviting us to slow down and a prepare for sleep.

So why is sleep so important?

  • It is the only time when the brain is cleaned – during sleep spinal fluid is pumped around the brain acting like a dishwasher flushing out waste products
  • It helps us sync with nature’s cycles and biological rhythms
  • It keeps our own healing cycle pulses in check
  • It keeps us producing the correct repair hormones and regenerative chemicals that provide overall  physical, mental and emotional health and well-being
  • It regulates DNA repair
  • It builds healthy muscle and connective tissue
  • It stabilises moods and emotions
  • It helps maintain a healthy weight
  • It balances blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood lipid levels

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THE BEST SLEEP IS ALL ABOUT QUALITY NOT QUANTITY 

The most effective sleep occurs when you are deeply relaxed –  five hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep is far more healthful than 8 hours of wakeful, disturbed sleep.

If you can manage good quality sleep then you really only need 6.5 hours per night. However, if your sleep quality isn’t optimal then between 7 and 8 hours is preferred.

Unless you are convalescing or healing from an operation you should have no more than 8 hours – any more and the effects can be as detrimental as going with only 3 hours.

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HOW TO GET QUALITY SLEEP

  • Make sleep a priority and make a routine of it – get to bed before 11pm and sleep for 6.5 – 8 hours every day. Dave Aspery talks here about the importance of not missing the window between 10:45 and 11pm when you get tired: “… if you miss it, you get a cortisol-driven ‘second wind’ that lets you be productive until 2am, or keeps you awake until then”.
  • Get moving outdoors and soak up the daylight – tips here! Make sure each day you walk around outdoors for at least 30 minutes. Avoid sitting down for long durations whenever you can – a standing work station is ideal.
  • No vigorous exercise after dinner or close to bedtime – this will only excite your system when you’re meant to be winding down. Slow gentle stretches are a better option if you’re wanting to so something before bed.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed – or at the least stop drinking two hours before bed – despite all the old wives tales, alcohol may help you fall to sleep but it absolutely disrupts the quality of your sleep throughout the night.
  • Avoid caffeine after 1pm – drink coffee this way if you do like to have a cuppa
  • Avoid prescription sleeping pills – after long-term use these become even more of a problem in resuming a healthy sleep pattern
  • Let dinner be your biggest meal – eat protein, fats and vegetables. Avoid sugars and grains. Protein helps prepare your body to enter the sleep-cycle; fats help your body manufacture sleep hormones; and vegetables assist hormone production and removal of toxins that can impede sleep. Finish eating at least 2 hours before bed. Dinner ideas here.
  • Finish drinking any liquids 1 hour before bed – make your last drink a warm one
  • Have a bath or shower before bed – this not only helps to “wash the day away” but also raises your core temperature which triggers those sleepy and regenerative chemicals.
  • Stop using your computer, phone or watching TV 1 hour before bed and turn your lights down low – avoid LED lights, screens and bright lights to help tune in with the dark night light that is preparing you for sleep
  • Sleep in darkness – pull your curtains tightly closed, cover any night lights or clock radio screens
  • Sleep in a cool room – better to be too cool than hot in bed if you can!
  • Trouble drifting off? Try these sleep-inducing products before bed – organic grass-fed beef gelatin; coconut oil; fermented cod liver oil; Chamomile tea; MelatoninMagnesium spray

Create a luscious bed-time ritual: bed is a sacred place you want to be! 

  • Talk over your day with a partner/friend or write a journal – acknowledge and release any aspects of your day that upset you. Know you can rest peacefully after this as things will resolve as they should
  • Brew your favourite calming herbal tea while reading a good book/magazine, or listening to your favourite chilled out music
  • Take a bath with epsom/magnesium salts, or your favourite pure essential oils – lavender is a popular calming oil (avoid if you’re pregnant however)
  • Book in a massage or simply massage your own tense spots – rub your feet, massage your shoulders and neck. Here are some good upper back and neck stretches
  • Meditate or practise mindfulness or some calm breathing exercises

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Changing your sleeping patterns may seem daunting or even impossible, but I assure you that with a bit of initial discipline it quickly starts to feel natural, easy, and in fact quite exciting! Getting to bed earlier means rising earlier, allowing you quality time to slowly ease into each day physically, mentally and emotionally. I highly recommend an morning meditation which invites an even clearer, calmer, energised you who is less likely to reach for outside stimulants in excess (caffeine, sugar). I’ve also found that after an early start you feel so virtuous that those green smoothies and juices and exercise classes are all the more welcoming – the addictive healthy cycle has begun!

The better you take care of yourself the more you will be able to help yourself and others around you. After a good sleep you are more in tune with your true self and therefore have the capacity to hold more and receive more.

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STILL STRUGGLING?

If you are still struggling with your sleep after following all of the above tips then I highly recommend finding an EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) practitioner to help release any emotional holding patterns that may be hindering your ability to heal and balance. Other successful natural techniques are acupuncture, reflexology and cranial osteopathy. As always I whole heartedly endorse natural treatments that work with your body to heal the root cause rather than act to plaster over.

Also check out these tips from Bulletproof Exec and Dr. Joseph Mercola

THE END. SLEEP WELL!

EASY TRAVEL TIPS!

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I got the idea for this post after a recent overseas journey which spanned around 36 hours of flights, trains and buses. Whether on a journey as long as mine, or something less intense, traveling has a definite impact on our physical well-being – time-zone changes, cramped conditions and limited food options disrupt our natural cycles, so it pays to be prepared. With the holiday season winding down this is perhaps a little belated, but keep these tips bookmarked for next time!

Preparation:

  1. The day before you travel, move around a lot – go for a long walk or gentle jog, go to a pilates or yoga class or simply stretch.
  2. Buy some healthy snacks to eat on the journey – avoid plane/train/ food if you can. I tend to pack leftovers (fritatta and salad is easy to pack) nuts, nut butter, coconut oil, dried fruit, healthy snack bars, crackers, bananas, avocados, kale chips, crisps, dark chocolate, bake some muffins or a loaf. You should be fine taking this food onto a plane but anything left after your flight you may have to declare on entering a new country (transit should be fine).
  3. Eat and hydrate well on the day you are flying so you can fill up on good quality produce and won’t be tempted by any nasties onboard. Try to get in a vegetable juice or smoothie before the flight –  google beforehand to find out if your airport has a juice bar. Green tea will help with tension headaches – I take the tea bags with me and just ask for hot water.
  4. Pack your probiotics to help keep your tummy happily digesting and to help support your immune system (being stuck in a confined airless places with loads of people can be a germ breeding ground!).
  5. Prepare your travelling outfit – choose your most comfortable clothes, soft fabric that is loose fitting or nice and stretchy. Pack an extra pair of socks or some slippers or flip flops/jandals to walk around in as you want to take your shoes off as soon as you begin your journey.
  6. Make sure you have a good sleep the night before – no last minute packing or panicking

While travelling:

  1. Choose an aisle seat so you can get out of your seat easily to walk around (without your shoes), or if travelling in a car take regular breaks to get out and walk around and stretch: turn your head from side to side, squeeze hands together behind your back, twist, sit in a low squat, lean forward to stretch the back of your legs, point and flex your feet, and so on (images below).
  2. Drink plenty of water (double the amount of water offered to you if on a plane) this will make you get up to use the toilet at the very least! Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can disrupt your sleep patterns.
  3. If you have more than one flight then use the transit time to find a juice bar, or guzzle some good quality water. If you’re hungry choose fresh vegetables/salad or fruit.
  4. If you feel tired then sleep! Or at least close your eyes and rest. Take the opportunity to practise some calming breathing exercise or mindfulness. If you are transiting and need sleep then lie down rather than sit to sleep. If you’re wide awake then walk around or stand as much as you can.
  5. Eat your own packed food. Or if you have to eat the food served to you then definitely avoid the bread and dessert – ask for a piece of fruit or a bag of nuts instead.
  6. Brush your teeth! or at least swill your mouth out with oil or fresh water! This won’t only make you feel more refreshed, but will also help keep your immune system boosted. Remember the major importance oral health plays in well-being!

After travelling:

  1. Stretch, twist and move around! The cat stretch is a great one to do if you have the floor space. Massage your feet on a tennis ball to help rebalance the different reflex points that may have been affected by the travelling.
  2. Hydrate – plenty of fresh water perhaps with a pinch of good quality salt to help balance your electrolytes.
  3. Eat well to help you sleep well – fill up on any food groups you may have missed out on during your travels.
  4. Go to bed at the local time (between 10 and 11pm is ideal) and get 7-8 hours sleep if possible.

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STRETCH!


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COFFEE… WHAT’S THE DEAL?

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These are the best times to drink coffee.

Image Credit: I Love Coffee

That’s because we’re all guided by a 24-hour biological cycle, known as the circadian clock. When you first wake up your brain is already flooded with cortisol, a natural chemical that helps to keep you alert. So although you might feel like a coffee, you don’t actually need one. Best to wait until cortisol levels drop later in the day.

 

Like alcohol, coffee is yet another touchy dietary subject with a plethora of for-and-against campaigns. For me, these arguments really come down to the quality of the bean and how it is grown, processed, produced, poured and sipped! Depending on where the beans are sourced, how they’re treated and processed and what you add to your cuppa, is the difference between feeling anxious, wired, bloated and headachy, or clear-headed, sharp and satisfied. Bad coffee is absolutely terrible for your health, good coffee can bring a host of health benefits.

However, I’m not wanting to advocate coffee as a health food in this post! Obviously coffee is a very pervasively addictive drink, so if you have to drink it, do it this way. If you have energy/hormone/sleep issues I definitely recommend you should cut it out. Furthermore, caffeine-dependency is not good in any way. I would never recommend drinking coffee to “get you through the day” – I drink it to enhance my performance. If my energy is lacking then the first thing I look to is getting more sleep and looking to my diet – more fresh plant produce, increased good quality fats and proteins, reduced sugar.

My rules:

  • Freshly ground and filtered black espresso with a teaspoon of grass-fed butter and/or high quality coconut oil / MCT oil
  • Only ever drink coffee before 1pm and when I know I’m exercising afterwards (be it a weights session in the gym, a yoga / pilates / gyrotonic / dance class, or a long walk in the park)
  • No more than one coffee per day
  • Never have coffee 7 days of the week – I’m a control freak and never want to be dependant on anything!

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Follow these 5 steps to get the most from coffee

1. QUALITY – organic,  spray-free whole un-ground beans, free from mycotoxins (moulds). Look for coffee houses that offer single-origin coffee and do not rely on blended coffee – ideally they roast their own beans!

Avoid – instant coffee, pre-ground beans and ‘blends’ of coffee beans – these cannot survive even a week before becoming rancid and growing toxic moulds.

2. BREWING – freshly grind the beans, filter through an espresso machine or French press – these ensure the coffee oils that turn off brain inflammation are preserved.

Avoid – bleached filters if you’re using a “drip” coffee maker – bright white filters are bleached with chlorine and some of this chlorine will be extracted from the filter during the brewing process.

3. MIXERS – drink coffee black or with a teaspoon of good quality coconut oil / MCT oil and/or good quality grass-fed butter (Anchor, Kerry Gold, Yeo Valley, Rachel’s Organic). Adding these fats slows down the impact the caffeine has on your blood-sugar levels (I also always carry a small jar of coconut oil around with me!)

Avoid – any form of pasteurised cows/nut/grain/soya milk and any form of sugar – these completely change the chemistry of the coffee! They can spike your insulin, cause insulin resistance and contribute to unhealthy fat storage.

4. VESSEL – ideally sip your coffee from a glass or ceramic cup, or BPA free takeaway cups or cups made from plant starch.

Avoid – styrofoam and plastic cups made from BPA as the plastic will migrate into your blood.

5. TIME-FRAME – drink within ten minutes and you will soak up the best of the antioxidants.

Avoid – sipping on long awaited cold coffee, and avoid drinking coffee after 1pm – the latter part of the day is for slowing down and preparing for restful sleep.

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The benefits after following these 5 steps:

  • Antioxidants which contribute to anti-aging – coffee can trigger a mechanism in your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) – basically this means more brain cells are produced which allows your brain to stay young.
  • Better memory and brain function – “Research has shown that both whole cocoa beans and coffee have remarkable neuroprotective properties. There is emerging evidence that South American societies who drink freshly ground coffee from whole coffee beans have the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.” Ori Hofmekler
  • Increased metabolism and healthy fat loss – coffee is a potent thermogenic which means it can increase your metabolism by up to 20 percent
  • Improved physical performance – caffeine can increase your power output as it is an ergogenic aid. Stimulating  BDNF also helps reduce age related muscle tissue atrophy. These results are optimised when coffee is drunk on an empty stomach before working out
  • Reduced sugar cravings – sensible coffee drinking can improve insulin sensitivity, so not only can it reduce your craving for sweets but long term can also lower your risk of stroke and diabetes. “If you are addicted to sugar…and you really want to train your body gradually get rid of this addiction…Train yourself to drink black coffee. Drink it sugarless on an empty stomach and you will see how, gradually, the cravings will dissipate.” Ori Hofmekler

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When not to drink coffee:

  • If you’re pregnant – coffee can cause iron deficiency in mothers and babies
  • After working out – mucks with your muscle building potential
  • If you suffer from major hormonal imbalances, sleep difficulties or a depressed immune system – coffee stimulates the hormones adrenaline and cortisol which are often already too high in these cases
  • If you have an issue with decreased adrenal function – perhaps it’s time to allow yourself to rest, nourish and reset
  • If you’re feeling stressed or anxious –  prioritise your values and face your problems rather than racing past them
  • If you need coffee to function – you’re addicted and need to trust you have all you need within you already!
  • If it’s with sugar, milk or if it’s decaffeinated – you don’t love coffee, you’re addicted to sugar!

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So, if you drink coffee, just make sure it’s of top quality and is for the right reasons! Not everyone responds to, and metabolises caffeine in the same way, so tune in before and after you sip. Follow the 5 steps above to optimise your cuppa and after time why not try a day, or week without coffee!

Read more here, from the incredible Dave Asprey

CUT THE GLUTEN & REGAIN YOUR HEALTH

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These days most people are familiar with the term “gluten-free”, and many will have a vague understanding of what a gluten-free diet consists of. For many, gluten is assumed to only be a problem for people who have celiac disease; a strong physical reaction to gluten, and that gluten is fine (or even good) for everyone else. After all, we’ve been eating it for years and seem fine, our grandparents and great grandparents probably still eat it, and it’s promoted by mainstream health practitioners – how can we possibly not eat it?!

In this post I hope to inform you of the effect gluten has on both celiac and non-celiac individuals through the way it damages the gut, which can switch on a host of (often non-digestive) physical and mental illnesses. I’m not wanting to scaremonger nor to place judgement, I simply wish to inform, encourage enquiry and promote the idea that what you eat powerfully impacts your current and future health. Taking gluten out of your diet is not just a fad associated with certain “types” of health-conscious people. A gluten-free diet for many unwell adults and children is critical – the vital key to unlocking better health and a happier more vibrant life.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, bran, farina and kamut.

What foods contain the protein gluten?

  • Flour
  • Bread
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Oats milled with wheat products
  • Couscous

And also the following products where flour can be used as an ingredient:

  • Baked goods – cookies, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, waffles, pancakes
  • Sauces/dressings – soya sauce, can be used to thicken soups, gravies, salad dressings, marinades, curries, Japanese sushi rolls, Chinese dishes
  • Batter/crumbs/crusts – pizza, fishcakes, burger patties, tempura, fritters, pies, sausage rolls, samosas, hot chips/wedges
  • Snacks – breakfast cereals, cereal bars, crackers, croutons, processed lunch meats, imitation meat, pretzels, liquorice
  • Drinks – beer, some ciders, sake, gin and whiskey
  • Beauty products – toothpaste, lip balm, lipstick, make-up
  • Medication and vitamins

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What’s so wrong with gluten?

The composition of gluten’s two amino acid sequence (gliadin and glutenin) is still too new and too tricky for our digestive systems to properly deal with.

Gluten is not digestable by ANYONE on the planet” – Dr. David Perlmutter.

We need to appreciate that we did not evolve to deal with these proteins. As a matter of fact, for almost 99.9% of humankind’s evolution our ancestors have been gluten-free” – Dr. Alessio Fasano.

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What does this mean?

When we eat gluten it breaks down the protective lining of our gut. Despite the gut having an incredible ability to heal itself, it really struggles to when it’s constantly bombarded with pollutants such as antibiotics, painkillers, pharmaceutical medications, a poor diet, stress, chemical toxins in the air and household products, the contraceptive pill and so on. Our gut lining houses virtually our entire immune system, and it has more neurons than our brain, so if we break this lining down we essentially lessen our ability to fight off the many bugs and emotional stresses that we are exposed to. This could mean that we become more susceptible to:

  • Catching colds, flus, viruses, wheezing, cough, tummy bugs; less resilience to food poisoning
  • Developing allergies to animals, grasses, moulds, cosmetics; dermatitis, rashes, eczema, athsma
  • Developing allergies to different foods; feeling bloated; having intestinal pain, bad wind, diarrhea, constipation
  • Feeling tired or wired, irritable, sad, anxious; having “brain fog”; difficulty concentrating and remembering things
  • Low or no sex drive; acne; weight gain/loss; sleep and menstrual cycle irregularity

…to name a few

When we consume gluten regularly our gut lining becomes so thin that undigested food particles break through our gut wall and get into our bloodstream – this is known as leaky gut syndrome. Our poor immune system gets so messed up with all this floating debris that it confuses what is good and bad and starts attacking our own system, creating autoimmune disorders and switching on genetic disorders you may have inherited from your parents that have otherwise been lying dormant.

By the time the gluten protein reaches the brain its chemical structure has changed to one similar to addictive opiates such as morphine and heroin. These opiates act to block off certain areas of the brain causing inflammation and triggering any number of mental health-related disorders.

So our guts and brains are on fire and the rest of the body is smoldering – was that cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner really worth this? Most people eat these things and have no idea of the havoc they are wreaking until major illnesses show up and can’t be ignored. Some of these illnesses include:

  • Psychological problems – seizures, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, autism, schizophrenia
  • Blood sugar and cardiovasular disorders – Diabetes Types I,  II, and III / Alzheimers, asthma, cardiovasular disease
  • Autoimmune diseases – Hashimoto’s, Alopecia, Graves’ disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis
  • Cancer
  • Gut diseases – Chron’s disease, celiac, leaky gut syndrome
  • Muscular skeletal diseases/disorders – rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cerebella ataxia, Ankylosing Spondylolisthesis
  • Hormonal disturbances – PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, miscarriage or still births

What is so profound is that this is a mechanism that happens in all humans, not just the 30% or more of us who have blood tests that show that we are sensitive to gluten. This is all comers. It’s all of us who mount an increased permeability of the gut when exposed to this perverse protein called gluten

Dr. David Perlmutter. Hello Paleo.

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How can we put the fire out and not just fan the flames with various medications?

Removing the fuel that’s feeding the fire, i.e. gluten, will stop the damage so the healing process can begin. Even small amounts of gluten can halt the healing process and begin damaging tissue again, so you must be gluten zero. Of course some people can slowly reintroduce gluten once their gut is healed, but many simply choose to remain gluten-free after feeling so well without it.

Supplementing with probiotics, gelatin from organic grass-fed animals or bone broth, colostrum from grass-fed organic cows, and fish oils are fabulous ways to help heal and seal the gut.

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Why don’t our doctors tell us this? Why isn’t it more common place?

Translational research is research that changes the way doctors think and the way they practise. Now, it sounds utterly preposterous, but it is sadly true, that it will take around 17 years for mainstream doctors to act from this new information. This is an average, not an exception.

It was 21 years ago (in 1992) that Professor Michael Marsh authored a research paper that connected gluten consumption with celiac disease. How is it that still SO many people out there, including doctors, do not either know about or value the importance of a gluten-free diet when it comes to health and well-being? It was only 2 years ago that research about non-celiac gluten sensitivity came out – we cannot wait another 15 years until this vital information becomes mainstream.

What this research tells us is that there are MANY more people who are sensitive to gluten but do not have celiac disease. For every 1 person that has a problem in the gut after eating gluten (bloating, pain, constipation and so on) there are 8 people that have problems somewhere else in their body which they don’t directly connect with eating gluten (brain fog, depression, anxiety, arthritis, psoriasis, ADHD).

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Seeking guidance

If you are suffering from any kind of ailment that your doctor has been unable to help you with, and he or she has not asked you about your diet, then I URGE you to go out and find a Functional Medicine Practitioner. A FMP is someone who practises mainstream medicine but also has the view that you can regenerate anything in your body depending on the environment you give it – be that with relation to food, exercise, sleep and so on. They will not send you off with a prescription or make the conclusion that you are just a ‘sickly’ person or that your child is just naughty.

If you want gain a deeper understanding follow the links here to hear 29 of the world’s experts and opinion leaders on the topics of gluten-related disorders, nutrition and healthy living.

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Try it out

  • Mainly eat: vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, butter, animal fats
  • Moderately eat: fruit, coconut, nuts, seeds, rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, gluten-free oats, organic corn.
  • Become a label reader. Choose good quality gluten-free labelled products – you should be able to pronounce and recognise every ingredient on the label. Avoid all chemical additives and preservatives – no numbers!
  • Follow my recipes (all gluten-free), or google gluten-free recipes, or buy a recipe book –  there are loads out there!

* If you have gut-related disturbances you may want to also cut out all dairy products or at least replace them with raw dairy from a trusted source.

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If our bodies are expending less energy to deal with this tough protein, they have more energy for other more productive processes. Our liver, digestive and immune systems will get back to properly cleansing, nourishing, energising and strengthening us. We will feel happy vibrant and ourselves again.

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“The fate of your health, including that of the brain, is a choice,

not a destiny dictated by your genes”  

 – Dr David Perlmutter

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ALCOHOL: KNOW YOUR DRINKS!

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People often ask for my take on alcohol, and where (or if) I see it fitting into a healthy, balanced lifestyle. There are many schools of thought on how terrible alcohol consumption is, and others that stress the benefit of having an occasional tipple. I believe, like anything, that one person’s poison can also be another’s medicine – what makes sense for one won’t necessary for another.

There are of course some unavoidable facts about alcohol: it is toxic, can be addictive, impair liver, stomach and colon function, disrupt sleep, negatively affect judgement and perception, and promote bad eating habits. However, sensible alcohol consumption has also been known to dilate blood vessels, regulate blood pressure, improve endothelial function, reduce stress, promote socialising, lower high iron levels (and contribute to some of our best nights out!)

What is comes back to, again, is mindfulness. Why do you want a drink? Why are you continuing to drink? What is the mood behind each sip? No one enjoys being or accompanying an angry or sobbing drunk. Never drink to forget, to hurt, to manipulate, to cope. These are the times it’s better to exercise, dance, sing, breathe. It’s a better idea to take a sip after you’ve tuned in and found something to smile about and celebrate.

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Tips before, during, and after drinking: hangover avoidance!

  • Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink – you’ll realise it won’t ruin your night but help you to enjoy it for longer!
  • Eat good quality high-fat foods while drinking like olives, cheese, nuts. NO sugar, bread or crisps – they will only make you feel awful!
  • Drink green tea before or during the night to help the liver out
  • Drink two big glasses of water before bed – add a pinch of salt to balance your electrolytes (blood salt/sugar levels)
  • If ordering a cocktail at a bar, always check to see what exactly is going in it. Bad cocktails tend to include sugar syrup which is only going to make a hangover worse. The high fructose content is very dehydrating which puts further stress on the liver
  • Bone broth before or after drinking is the ultimate nourishment
  • Make sure there is at least an hour between your last drink and bed for some form of movement – dance, walk, stretch… safely of course!
  • The morning after: MOVE! It may not feel like it, but you will feel better if you exercise!
  • Eat well the next day: broth, eggs, protein, berries, bananas, black coffee, freshly pressed vegetable juice, good quality fatsavoid sugar like the plague!
  • Supplements that can help: NAC, magnesium

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…If you crave alcohol

  • You could be deficient in vitamin B, trace minerals (magnesium and zinc) and the amino acid glutamine. In this case removing grains and sugar and having a diet rich in proteins (eggs and meat) and fresh vegetables will really help. Supplementing magnesium and zinc may also help but of course a healthy diet will assist. Bone broth and lactofermented prepared drinks and food are particularly nourishing as they aid digestion and thus help better assimilate much needed nutrients

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BEST DROPS!

Red wine – ideally organic and/or biodynamic

White wine – ideally organic and/or biodynamic

Champagne – ideally organic and/or biodynamic

Tequila

Vodka – Ciroc and Vu Qo are good gluten-free brands

Rum – 10 Cane Rum is a good gluten-free brand

Gin, Scotch, Whiskey – if possible choose brands that are made from gluten-free grains (can be tricky unfortunately!)

Unpasteurized beer (anyone still home brewing?!)

BEST MIXERS!

Ice

Freshly squeezed lemon or lime

Mint, basil, ginger

Freshly squeezed juice (not pasteurized or from a bottle)

Coconut water

Black coffee

To blend: berries, avocado, cucumber, lime, lemon, coconut milk

Just like the food you eat, you want to keep your drink of choice natural and simple. Stick with a plain old glass of wine or have a spirit on ice or with only fresh natural mixers. If I had to name one drink to never consume it would have to be any sort of alcohol mixed with an energy drink – please people, gross!

 

LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE! PALEO REVEALED!

I am thrilled with the rising popularity of the Paleo/Primal/Paleolithic/Traditional way of eating. I refrain from using the word “diet” as this word is so associated with short-term, calorie-counting, supplement-popping schemes only concerned with weight loss. Furthermore, these aforementioned are ways of eating for life that by its very nature enhances physical, mental and emotional health and well-being, and when properly implemented is also sustainable and ethical. It’s much bigger than a superficial concern with weight!

Studies of our cave ancestors and of the primitive and nonindustrialised peoples have been a long-standing interest of evolutionary biologists, physiologists and modern scientists. Foundational research by practitioners such as Dr. Sidney HaasDr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride revealed vital information about pre and post agricultural diet and health that informed much of their groundbreaking professional practise.  The integrity of their work, and unwavering success at healing any number of chronic diseases, continues to encourage enquiry into how we can educate and heal ourselves though food.  Carrying the torch through this new blogging age and coming up with their own personalised ‘takes’ are the likes of Art De VanyMark Sisson and Robb Wolf.

The basic premise of the Paleo and Primal diet is that, as our genes and physiology are still 99.9% the same as our hunter/gatherer ancestors, our best chance at health is to eat and move in similar ways. After all, it is our ancestors’ diet and exercise regime that created the genes that have allowed us to survive – strong muscles, efficient and explosive energy sources, healthy immune and reproductive systems, healthy offspring and big brains – we should be thanking them!

Our cave ancestors largely died of natural causes – accidents, injuries, etc. – there is absolutely no trace of chronic illness like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, auto-immune diseases, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and so on. These all started appearing around 10,000 years ago when agriculture really took off, or when man stopped being so nomadic and started growing and eating more grains. To cut a very long story short, agriculture and eating grains simply hasn’t been around long enough for us to have developed either an efficient way of maintaining nutrient rich soil, or a human digestive system strong enough to break down the natural but lethal plant acids, proteins, phytates, and leptins that grains contain.

Now if you consider 10,000 years not being long enough to digest grains, then it’s no wonder we are so sick when you note that there have been more changes to our diet over the past 50 years than there has been in the past 10,000.  The introduction of fast-food, refined sugars and flours, vegetable oils, processed antibiotic-filled meat, soya everything, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides (to name just a few) has us riddled with allergies, learning and concentration difficulties, anxiety, depression, infertility and medical drug dependencies. These cause A LOT more trouble even in comparison to properly sourced and milled grains. A lot of the success of these ways of eating can be down to the elimination of these new age fast ‘foods’. We are supposed to be happy, fit, energetic, calm and generous people – and this is still absolutely possible.

After some time eating in this way a lot of people feel healthier and more vibrant and as such can start to reintroduce very small amounts of traditionally prepared grains and legumes back into their diets. Learn how here and here to safely prepare grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. And read here to lean more about this Traditional way of eating.

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PALEO FOOD LIST  

It ain’t no fad! This list is what humans have been eating for thousands of years:

paleo-food-pyramid

MEAT: Organic, lean, grass-fed; organs and fat included and in fact even better than the meat

FISH: Wild-caught

EGGS: Organic, grass-fed, free range

VEGETABLES: All (noting legumes can be problematic)

FATS: Animal, olive, avocado, coconut, macadamia

FRUIT: All, in moderation

NUTS AND SEEDS: All, in moderation and ideally soaked (noting peanuts are legumes)

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FURTHER NOTES:

  • Avoid grains  – wheat, rice, quinoa, spelt, rye, corn, millet, buckwheat, oats, bulgar, amaranth, barley
  • Avoid legumes – beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, soya, peas
  • Sweetness – raw honey and fruit and occasionally coconut sugar, molasses and maple syrup. Omit the rest.
  • Limit dairy – full fat is always best. Omit the rest.
  • Grass-fed, lean organic meats are better – better omega 6 to 3 ratio, more B vitamins, more vitamin E and K, more magnesium, calcium and selenium, more beta-carotene, and just as importantly: happier, healthier animals (and land)! Proper paleo eating is truly holistic; understanding and respecting the environment, treatment and natural life-cycle of all food you consume.
  • Eat your veges! A common misconception about paleo eating is that it’s all about gorging on meat. High consumption of vegetables is vital and should always be the cornerstone of a meal.
  • Consume natural fats and stay well clear of any hydrogenated plant based oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil, safflower and sunflower oils – these are high in easily oxidized polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Realise that some of the most unhealthiest foods out there are what governments and nutritionists promote us to eat – this is mainly because years of bad science but also because of economic agendas.
  • Eat when you’re hungry. It’s better to go without than to rush a meal or wolf down something that isn’t healthy. You will not starve – especially if you have followed this regime for a while and are able to feel hungry without feeling faint, sick or moody. When you eat this way you will start to source your energy from your fat stores rather than from sugar – become a fat-burner rather than a sugar-burner.
  • Get inspired – there are countless websites and blogs out there with recipes and other ideas to expand your culinary horizons
  • Fill up on good quality proteins and fats
  • Tune into when you are thirsty and opt for fresh water to hydrate

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All in all, you really can’t go wrong when eating this way. You certainly will not starve. The food choices you have are bountiful and your body will lap up all their nutrients with relish – knowing exactly what to do with each molecule. The same can certainly not be said for a bowl of cereal, can of coke, McDonalds burger or Hagandas ice-cream.

Try it out for one or two weeks – I promise you will feel better! Then start reintroducing soaked and spouted grains, it’s a whole new culinary world!

(IMG: Primal Six Pack)

AND… BREATHE

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Breathing is hands down the most important thing we do, bar nothing! We get 90% of our energy  from it, and unlike eating or drinking, we can only survive a matter of minutes without it. We depend on the breath for everything – to think, speak, move, feel, for our heart to beat, food to digest…every single cellular activity! 

Now despite breathing happening naturally, our 21st century stress levels have managed to massively upset the quality of how we breathe. Instead of taking full, deep nourishing and massaging belly breaths, we take short sips of breath from our chests that leave our whole systems malnourished and wired – not only starved of oxygen but also our natural right to feel safe, grounded and calm. Compromised breathing patterns not only reflect stressful external issues such as a busy, noisy, scary or pressured environment but, also reflect how well we are coping with that environment internally. Our breath controls and sets the tone for the nervous system and determines the rate at which we manage or recover from situations which cause us stress, therefore it is of utmost importance that we learn how to breathe well!

Practising conscious breathing exercises for only a few minutes a day will help ease physical, mental and emotional health issues. Not surprisingly, there is a huge amount of research touting the benefits of breathing exercises for issues such as asthma, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, muscle tension and IBS (just naming a few!). And equally rewarding is how this practise helps you tune into your ‘true self’ – the self that if we learn to listen to will help us make good decisions that will see us evolve and honor our potential.

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EXERCISES

Sitting on a chair or on the floor with a nice long spine / lying on your back / OR on your front with your hands under your forehead

EXERCISE 1)

Breathe in for 4 counts. Pause for 1 count. Breathe out for 4 counts.

Repeat another 5 times.

EXERCISE 2)

Breathe in for 4 counts. Pause for 7 counts. Breathe out for 8 counts.

Repeat another 3 times.

CUES

THE BREATH IN

– breathe in through your nose (not your mouth) to stimulate the little nerve endings that send a message off to the body that you are in a calm safe environment and adjusts your boichemistry accordingly (parasympathetic nervous system).

– the first two thirds of the breath fills low into the belly and lower back, the last third slowly makes its way wide into the ribs and up into the chest –  keeping the shoulders soft and heavy throughout.

– breathing into the lower back massages the kidneys and adrenal glands that sit above them (the home where our stress and growth hormones are made)

– breathing into the belly helps the diaphragm better draw down and the ribs swell out so air can be pulled low into the lungs and the organs and glands can be compressed to help squeeze and move lymphatic and venus fluid around the body

THE BREATH OUT

– breathe out evenly through your mouth as if blowing through a straw

– exhale using a sigh – this releases and relaxes the rib cage, breast bone and shoulders leaving the spine lengthened

– exhaling empties the air from the belly and relaxes the upper body helping flood your system with a huge sense of relaxation and calm

– a full out breath helps the diaphragm lift, releasing pressure on the organs allowing fresh areterial blood to flow into the system

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TIPS FOR THE FIRST TIME BREATHER 

1)  Begin either lying down or sitting up

2) Have a glass of water beside you in case the new level of oxygen and deep muscular relaxation makes you feel dizzy or panicky – this is nothing to be concerned with and will ease with practise.

3) Start slowly with calm gentle breaths not pushing yourself to take too fuller breaths. Stop and guage how you feel after each rep.

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PHYSICAL SYSTEMS AFFECTED BY HOW WELL WE BREATHE:

  • Respiratory  – controls mental and physical fatigue, as well as asthma and bronchitis
  • Circulatory  – controls blood circulation and cell oxygenation throughout the body
  • Nervous  –  controls stress levels and responses throughout every other system
  • Digestive  –  controls the pumping and massaging of internal organs
  • Endocrine  –  controls the diaphragm and lymph movement throughout the body (elimination of toxic waste and  immune system strengthening)
  • Urinary  –  controls the elimination of fluids and the massaging of your kidneys
  • Muscular skeletal – controls the quality of physical movement patterns involving strength, flexibility and relaxation of the tissues (muscles, bones, fascia and so on)

MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SYSTEMS AFFECTED BY HOW WELL WE BREATHE

Shallow breathing not only closes you off emotionally, it also hinders your ability to respond appropriately to situations. Often people who struggle to breathe fully and deeply also struggle with connecting to their true sense of self. Whether it is a learnt breath pattern that people take on to help deal with an unhappy situation or whether it is a pattern in response to a threat or trauma, the breath is denying true honest communication with the self. Thus, simple calm focussed breath work can help to release many stored emotions that could be holding you back. While this may feel scary at first, it is absolutely the best thing you can do and you will soon start to feel stronger, more connected, happier and more trusting of yourself and your decisions.

Read more on breathing at this fantastic site www.breathing.com

5 STEPS FOR BETTER IMMUNE HEALTH

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If you’re entering summer in the northern hemisphere, or winter down south, there are pesky seasonal bugs that can really slow you down if you’ve got a weakened immune system. Following these five steps will help strengthen and restore imbalanced gut flora which we now know is the key to good health. So whether you’re battling off flu or hay fever, or just feeling generally run-down, take a read and see what may be missing in your well-being regime!

1) TAKE AWAY THE STRESS

Stress is the number one factor that depletes our immune system. If we could combat stress we could combat some of the biggest killers on our planet including cancer and heart disease. STOP THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY!  – it’s time to evolve, take the challenge and work to live – not the reverse.

  • reduce the amount of time you spend with people who drain your energy and bring you down – some people can be pretty damn toxic!
  • reduce the amount of hours you work by working more efficiently – taking time off is one the best ways to increase productivity
  • get out in nature – time in the sun and fresh air does wonders for the body and mind… see more on this in step 4
  • make decisions based on what will make you feel happy rather than what you ‘think’ is the right thing to do

2) SWAP PROCESSED SUGAR FOR FRUIT, DRIED FRUIT & LOCAL HONEY

Processed sugar is the number one consumable that depletes your immune system. Cane sugar, table sugar, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, glucose syrup, fructose, agave, bad quality honey and maple syrup win hands down at sucking the life out of your body. Not only do they send you on an emotional and addictive roller coaster but they also cause premature aging, deplete bone mass, cellulite, urinary tract issues, candida, poor oral health… I could go on, and on.

  • swap sugar in your tea with local or good quality honey. This is especially a great option if you suffer from hay fever –  taking 1-2 teaspoons of local honey a day  (best to start a couple of months before it normally hits) will help ‘desensitise’ you from the specific pollen type in your local area.
  •  swap milk chocolate for the darkest organic chocolate you can tolerate (it def gets easier so hang in there!); or eat dark choc with fruit
  • swap processed shop cookies for homemade cookies 
  • swap processed muesli/granola bars for dried fruit and nuts OR get to a good quality health store and buy bars like  loveraw or nakd
  • swap the absolutely hideous canned fizzy drinks and pasteurised fruit juices for freshly made cold pressed vegetable juices or …WATER!
  • swap heavy processed muffins for delicious homemade loaves and muffins

3) PROBIOTICS

If you only take one supplement, make it a probiotic. Unfortunately yoghurt alone doesn’t have near enough of the good bacteria that our gut needs to help restore and rebalance our immune systems – and please, do not even go near Yakult! Go to your local health store and buy probiotics that are kept in the fridge, they can be expensive but absolutely worth every penny  – they’ll save you taking sick days or save your soul from enduring days of work when all you want is bed. Highly recommended after a course of antibiotics and if you suffer from yeast infections, IBS and eczema.

These are some of my favourite brands:

4) GET OUTSIDE!!!

Whatever the weather, get outside and take a good long walk –  ideally barefoot!

  • Vitamin D is absolutely essential for every cellular function of the body – it’s what brings life to every living thing on the planet.
  • Movement is fundamental to our well-being, so wherever possible take a good long walk / run / cycle outside every day.
  • Earthing’ or ‘grounding’ by walking barefoot allows you to literally recharge yourself with negative electrons from the ground. Walking barefoot or lying in the grass or on the beach doesn’t just feel good because we are often on holiday when doing so, we will be feeling the stabilising effects on our internal bioelectrical environment. Plugging into the earth’s energy, as we have done for thousands of years, is one of the most potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories we know, and it’s free!

5) SLEEP

I will dedicate a whole post to sleep soon – it is a big topic and deserves real attention. I know just how difficult it can be to prioritise getting to bed early and am really trying hard myself to become more disciplined! Good quality sleep is absolutely integral to our immune systems and thus our physical, mental and emotional well-being – we would, after all, die from madness due to lack of sleep before we would die of lack of water or food!

  • Get into bed around 10 and 11pm – between the hours of 10pm and 1am is when your adrenals are recharging and recovering so you should definitely aim to be sleeping during these hours.
  • Sleep for 7-8 hours – no more, no less.
  • Stop eating, watching TV, being at your computer or on your phone at least two hours before bed.
  • Wind down with a bath, dim the lights, read, meditate, stretch.