CHANGING THE STORIES

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We have all created narratives throughout our lives that keep us locked into unhealthy thought patterns. Even though these stories make us feel fearful, angry, sad or anxious, we love them because they feel like home: they’re comfortable, familiar & predictable.

One of the stories I love to run is that life = worry. I pick through my day to find something to hyper focus on and build into a worry story. This story is great at keeping me occupied and stopping me from venturing out of my comfort zone. Another common story people love, is to find ways of blaming other people for the misfortunes in their own lives. As long as they can blame others they’ll never have to look at their own part in the story and change their ways. There are many, many stories we tell ourselves…do you know yours?

Despite our stories having strong pathways (due to constant use!) it is totally possible to re-write them, I can vouch for this. The steps outlined below have been incredibly helpful in rewriting new nourishing stories.

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BRIDGING YOUR PRESENT STATE WITH YOUR DESIRED STATE

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The Tasha Be movement practise is my primary tool for helping myself and my clients better organise our physical bodies in order to find balance and clarity within every aspect of our lives. When you’re working physically on your body there is no way you are not also affecting other aspects of your life. For example gaining strength through your pelvis and legs will invariably have you feeling more grounded and self assured, which may then gift you the courage to make big decisions such as changing jobs, leaving a relationship, or signing up to study something you’re passionate about but have never given attention to.

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SWEET POTATO & COCONUT PORRIDGE (gluten, grain, sugar & dairy free, paleo, vegan)

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For those of you struggling for breakfast (or pudding!) ideas due to a restricted diet, or for those of you wanting to get some nourishing anti-inflammatory meals into you or your children’s diet, give this a try. With a  healthy mix of naturally occurring fats, sugars, carbs and protein, this meal is satiating, energy-boosting, comforting and incredibly tasty!

Ingredients

  • 1 pre-baked and peeled sweet potato (bake at 180 for 40 mins keeping the skin on)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk OR rice milk
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp almond butter OR coconut cream OR butter
  • pinch of salt

Directions

Place all the ingredients into a pot and mix together well (if you prefer a creamy texture then use an electric blender before transferring the mixture into the pot for heating)

Cook over a low heat until thick and bubbly (add more milk if you prefer it a bit thinner).

Serve, pour a little extra milk over the top and enjoy 🙂

Variations

Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon / nutmeg / ginger / mixed spice

CLEAN OUT THE TOXINS!

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We all know about the hazards of making poor eating choices yet how many of us think about what’s in the products we use to clean the house, ourselves, loved ones and our animals? Remember ANYTHING that makes contact with our skin ends up inside our body and EVERYTHING that goes into our body has to be processed and expelled…so it makes sense that we should only come into contact with natural familiar products that can deal with efficiently and safely.

Man-made chemicals can be found in thousands of products around the home: cleaning and washing detergents, beauty products, toilet paper, plastic food and drink containers and packaging, ingredients added to processed foods as well as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides sprayed on produce and so on. Chemical exposure causes huge amounts of disruption to your body, stress levels, sleep patterns and general health. People can experience anything from low energy levels, eczema and asthma to hormonal imbalances, weight issues and mood disorders. Children are particularly at risk.

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FOOD

  • Buy fresh organic spray free meat, fish (wild), fruit, veg, nuts, seeds wherever possible
  • Buy produce without plastic packaging
  • Avoid produce in aluminium cans/tins – especially tomatoes which quickly corrode the tin lining thus seeping in aluminium
  • Avoid cooking with aluminium pots and pans
  • Rinse and pat dry all fruit and veg before eating
  • Use a good quality veg and fruit wash or make your own (juice of 1 lemon, 2 TBSP white vinegar, 1 C water – keep in a spray bottle)

Following the above tips will help you avoid disrupting your endocrine system – the system that influences almost every cell, organ and function in our bodies. It is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, metabolism. Particularly harmful are the  ‘obesogens’ which mimic the fat making hormone eostrogen  – so the more we have of this the fatter we will become (not to mention the hormonal disturbances too).

WATER

Depending on where you are in the world, you may be lucky enough to be able to drink fresh clean water straight form the tap! If you’re not so fortunate try the below tips

  • A whole house water filter. An NSF certified water filter will remove harsh chlorine byproducts so drinking and bathing water will be toxin free.
  • Find natural water sources near to you. Try this great website: http://www.findaspring.com/locate/
  • Following that, you want to buy good quality well sourced mineral water bottled in glass
  • Drink from a steel drink bottle – avoid bottles made from plastic, aluminium and polycarbonate

HOUSEHOLD CLEANING

Household cleaners and detergents are a major source of chemical exposure for many people. If you or those around you are suffering from reoccurring health issues related to skin, breathing, digestion, energy and mood, you absolutely MUST look into the cleaning products used around your house. Mainstream cleaners and some ‘Green’ cleaners are packed full of toxic substances that will disrupt  all sorts of natural processes in your body. Children suffer even greater – so please look into this if you have kiddies about the house.

TOP 10 INGREDIENTS YOU MUST AVOID

Phosphates – kill marine life once they exit our water system

Ammonia – irritates the nose and throat and irritates the skin. Can disrupt liver and kidney function

Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) – cause respiratory problems such as asthma and wheezing

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE’s) – cause reproductive defects, liver and kidney damage

Phthalates – cause sperm damage and reproductive defects in boys

Ethanolamines – cause dermatitis

TOP 10 NATURAL CLEANERS

Baking soda

Lemon juice

White vinegar

Vodka

Liquid castille soap (Dr Bronner’s)

Hydrogen peroxide

Egg shells – check this out!

Borax

Microfiber cloths

Organic essential oils

This short video has some great tips for how to clean your floors, windows, surfaces, mould, silver, red wine stains, unblock your drain, clean your laundry whites to name a few!

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

GOOD SALT: WE NEED YOU!

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We all know that salt is naturally occurring, but many don’t realize that it is also an essential part of the human make up. It helps carry nutrients in and out of our cells, hence: we crave it, we need it to survive, it serves us! Yet it is another key ingredient that man has messed with and destroyed. As such, salt often gets a bad rep, with many opting for “low-salt diets” and salt substitutes, which are totally depriving people of the (good) salt we need! It’s time to set the record straight on what sort of salt we should be eating and learn about how good salt really is for our well-being.

A bit of history

Having eaten salt for thousands of years it is very familiar to our human geneology. There is substantial evidence that the earliest humans were mainly coastal dwellers who ate large amounts of naturally salty seafood. Following these years, and before refrigeration, we used to preserve meat, dairy and vegetables for storage and transport. Salt is a major component of our blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid, so it’s no wonder our taste buds have receptors to specifically identify salty things so we can consume and benefit from them. Wise old Homer spoke of salt as a divine substance and Plato referred to it as dear to the Gods… so why are we getting sick from salt consumption and being told to eat a low salt diet?

…We got greedy again

Basically, the table salt we all know has nothing in common with the natural salt our bodies were designed for and have consumed for centuries. Table salt has been chemically cleaned and treated so it can be mass-produced and used to cheaply preserve packaged and canned foods. This purification process basically heats the life out of the salt, destroying its chemical structure and all the essential trace elements and minerals we love and need. What is left is an inorganic form of sodium chloride to which anticaking agents and moisture absorbents (like gross calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate and hideous aluminium hydroxide) are added to improve the salt’s pouring ability.

Processed table salt grossness

Our bodies see this form of salt as foreign, which means it takes us loads of energy to process: in dealing with it we lose essential minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese… totally the opposite of what is meant to happen when we consume salt! The unnatural sodium chloride takes water from our cells creating water retention and inflammation which in turn causes things like cellulite, joint pain, arthritis and gout. Our kidneys and gall bladder are then put under major stress to deal with the excess harmful acids. Delightful huh? As if I haven’t stressed it enough: ditch the processed table salt!

Go for awesome natural salt!

Himalayan crystal salt, mineral salt and sea salt are jam packed full of goodness!

Choosing these salts over table salt brings these very good benefits:

  • Blood volume and blood pressure regulation – because salt is an ingredient of blood, it is integral in regulating the pressure build up inside arteries, veins and capillaries
  • Vital nervous system support – sodium and chloride ions play an important role in the firing of the nervous system neurons. This means salt is essential in helping our brain communicate with our muscles so that we can elicit all of our physiological reactions and move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange.
  • Metabolism & digestion – sodium is involved in the manufacture of bile, which helps break down fats so that they can be absorbed. Salt is also rich in chloride which stimulates hydrochloric acid which helps kill bad bacteria and denature the proteins in our food so they can be more easily used up.
  • Brain-food – chloride is essential for brain growth and the development of neurological function, and sodium activates an enzyme needed for the formation of glial cells – cells that provide support and protection for nuerons in the brain and other parts of the nervous system that make us capable of creative thinking and long term planning
  • Adrenals…. fight or flight support – our adrenal glands are in charge of releasing and regulating over 50 hormones, including hormones that regulate blood pressure, glucose levels, mineral metabolism and stress response. The adrenal glands are sodium dependant when it comes to producing these  hormones – especially those needed to keep the body’s metabolism running smoothly. Craving salt is a sign of poor adrenal function. During periods of stress or when fatigue levels of aldosterone drop (adrenal hormone that helps regulate blood pressure) so the body responds by craving salt to help stabilize blood pressure.

WHERE TO BUY? Health food stores that stock good organic produce. Online shoppers: try  Evolution Organics and Red 23

HOW MUCH? A couple of pinches on breakfast, lunch and dinner

WHEN? Great first thing in the morning to assist the adrenal surge that happens on waking

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JUST MOVE

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One of the best things we can do for our bodies is to MOVE. Sitting, standing or lying still for long periods of time is completely unnatural and essentially toxic. Think of how beautifully a young child moves – so perfectly in tune with their intrinsic movement patterns that have not yet been affected by modern life’s hindrance of our primal ways. They know what serves them –  wriggling, twisting, rolling, folding, squatting, moving in and away from the ground, moving fast when they need to and resting when the need to. They move effortlessly through all ranges of movement, massaging, strengthening and cleansing their bodies as they go about it.

When we move we stimulate and pump the fluids around our body that manage, feed and clean our organs, muscles, skin, nerves, hormones and bones. Our bodies are pretty much a liquid network, so when we thrive our tissues gently and rhythmically massage and slide against each other. Without movement, this life-giving liquid network becomes slow moving, murky and easily clogged. Muscle tissues stick to each other, joint mobility is restricted, organs are not fed or drained, negative emotions are stored and stress levels increase. We then feel tired, grumpy and probably start craving sugar, caffeine and carbs for a quick fix. Just imagine trying to walk around your house if you left stuff all over the floor, didn’t empty the bins for weeks, or water the plants! You may not be able to see inside your body to get immediate feedback on how it’s functioning, but I bet it’s giving you messages via other senses! Tune in!

If you’re feeling sluggish, sad, grumpy or agitated, go for a walk, do a few stretches, put on your favourite music and dance! Choose whatever you most enjoy – sometimes that’s all you need to do to perk up.

EVERY DAY
MOVE any nice calm movement for at least 30 minutes
Walk / hike / cycle / play
WALK UP AN INCLINE for at least a 5 minutes throughout the day
Stairs / hills / sloped treadmill
STRETCH and wriggle around for at least 5 minutes a day
Squeeze your hands together behind your back / twist and bend from side to side / massage your neck and upper back / roll your feet on a tennis ball / circle your ankles – this stuff doesn’t seem like much but is effectively keeping your fluid network flowing with ease.

EVERY OTHER DAY
WEIGHT BEAR! any kind of weight bearing primal movement for 5 – 30 minutes
Lift heavy things / push / pull / squat / lunge / plank
For those of you with little kiddies to lift and carry, you’ll be doing this all day anyway!

ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK
MOVE QUICKLY! Push yourself with constant movement for 10-30 seconds, rest for 10-60 seconds and repeat x 4-8 times.
Sprints / dance / jumps / skipping / star jumps / running on the spot / football / tennis

ONCE A WEEK
MOVE FOR A DURATION at a steady pace for 30+ minutes
Run / hike / walk / cycle / dance

“We are born into bodies that are fluid and free. Yet for most of us, this state of grace is sadly short lived. Judgement, emotional wounds, fear and loss become stored deep inside our muscles and bones, leaving us with shoulders that sag, hips that are locked, arms that can’t reach out, hearts that beat behind a stone wall. When we move our bodies we shake up firmly rooted systems of thought, old patterns of behavior and emotional responses that just don’t work anymore. Rhythm, breath, music and movement become tools for seeing, then freeing, the habits that hold us back. When we free the body, the heart begins to open. When the body and the heart taste freedom, the mind won’t be far behind. And when we put the psyche into motion, it will start to heal itself.” ~ Gabrielle Roth