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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BONE BROTH: A REMINDER TO CONSUME!

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I wrote about the benefits of consuming bone broth here two years ago now. Fortunately since that post, bone broth has received much warranted attention through recipes and information shared by the likes of the Hemsley + Hemsley sisters and nutritional therapist Ameila Freer.

Bone broth continues to be my number one go-to immune booster and healing potion. I recommend all adults and children comfortable with eating animal products get sipping!

Why?

Because bone broth is one of the most nutrient dense soups available on the planet. Made from boiling animal bones, broth is supremely rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium and potassium, proteinaceous gelatine, cartilage, collagen, hyaluronic acid and chondrition sulphate.

By drinking bone broth you are helping to heal and seal your gut – your gut being the place where you house the majority of your immune system. With a strong immune system we are less likely to get ill, have allergic reactions, digestive complains, joint pain, muscle fatigue, learning difficulties, anxiety, depression and other mental health-related issues.

How do you make it?

I have written recipes here or you can watch the wonderful Amelia Freer making chicken broth here

Can you buy it?

  • My number one go-to if I don’t have any fresh stock brewed is Great Lakes grass-fed beef gelatine powder – it is tasteless so if you want you can just add it to water and glug it down, or else it is a useful thickener in soups and smoothies. You can even make healthy marshmallows with it!
  • Some good quality restaurants, organic butcheries and health stores sell bone broth. Just be sure to check their ingredients are free from gluten, added preservatives and sugars.
  • Here in London Laverstock Farm lamb stock from Ocado is great
  • New Yorkers can buy a cup of hot broth to takeaway from Brodo in the East Village

Want to learn more?

Check out Sally Fallon Morell’s latest book: Nourishing Broth: An Old Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World.

PRACTISE MINDFULNESS

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Stop right now…

Be utterly still.

Without judgement,

drop in on yourself.

No right or wrong, good or bad,

just tune in…

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We know innately that everything we ever need can be found within each of us: the resolve to any physical ailment, internal conflict, or emotional upset is within us – if we just tune in we’ll find it. Unfortunately, pretty early on in life we pattern unhelpful behaviours and thoughts, and get pulled into action-packed, fast-paced living where outward reflection is celebrated and encouraged, and intelligent inward-looking is starved and devalued. Sadly this inability to look inward means we tend to never address feelings of stress, anxiety, shame, guilt, fear and sadness until they manifest themselves into pain and illness so that we can no longer ignore them.

Reasons why we struggle to slow down and go inward:

1) It isn’t recognised as valuable. We are taught to cultivate and be aware of only 5 senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. There are many, many more senses that need equal attention. What about proprioception? Our sense of where our arms and legs are in relation to the rest of the body is essential in strengthening our co-ordination and body-brain communication.  What about gut feeling? Our gut has more neurons than our brain and is passing on an incredible amount of useful information – but can we tap into the messages? And how about magnetorection – our natural sense of direction? What’s the point in tuning into this when we can just use Google Maps huh?

2) We are desensitized and numbed by the overwhelming amount of fast-paced stimulus thrust in our every direction. How often do you sit quietly without watching TV, looking at the internet, checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, listening to music, reading a book, talking… when we are always occupied with external stimulus we lose touch with what’s happening inside.

3) We take most of our cues from our brain – an organ that literally runs on programs that were set predominantly in childhood (and often out of fear). Just as we need to update our computer software, so too do we need to reprogram our unhelpful brain patterns. Next time you are stressed just notice what your response is… time for a drink? Food binge? Or perhaps time to yell at your spouse or wreck yourself at the gym, clench your jaw or tighten your shoulders? These repeated responses which attempt to give momentary “relief” by numbing, covering up or ignoring the real issue, only strengthen and loop negative brain pathways. Bringing awareness to these destructive responses helps give you space to identify triggers and program more nourishing behaviours.

4) We give up ownership of our body and problems to medical practitioners and drugs. How about building relationships with practitioners who work ‘with’ the body and help the body realize its healthy direction. Ensure that you are guided, educated and part of the healing process – ask questions, tune into your responses, give feedback… know yourself and own your well-being.

So what is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an activity of attention. Normally you sit in a comfortable, quiet place, close your eyes and purposely focus your attention on your breath and on the present moment – accepting all that arises without judgement.

Sitting there you want to bring awareness to the now, notice what’s going on – attend your life. Inevitably when left to itself the mind races through all kinds of thoughts, this is totally normal. When you find your mind wandering just return to your breath and to being the “watcher” of those thoughts – attending is more important than what you are paying attention to. Uncomfortable emotions can arise such as fear, anger, resentment, guilt and shame but you can find the courage to watch them take their course instead of being skipped past or buried. Trust that in doing so they will dissolve and be replaced with new patterns that are better aligned with your true self: with continued practice you will quiet the mind and slip into the space between thoughts, the space where you can reclaim your life.

Mindfulness and cultivating attention helps you to:

  • Savour the pleasures in life – become fully engaged in activities and truly notice what makes you feel good
  • Be in a wiser relationship with yourself –  to better gauge and trust what is going on, rather than to be at the mercy of irrational fears and thoughts.
  • Bring clarity to what is and is not working for you in your life – choices related to relationships, work, health, environment are more aligned with your truth making decisions easier
  • Redirect negative brain patterns and encourage more positive and nourishing behaviours
  • Focus on the here and now – making you less likely to get caught up in worrying about the future or regretting the past, less preoccupied with success and self-esteem and better able to form deep relationships with others.

Of course there are many proven physiological benefits also, such as:

  • lowered blood pressure
  • reduced stress
  • balanced hormones
  • chronic pain reduction
  • improved sleep patterns
  • improved digestion
  • better management of mental imbalances such as OCD, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and addiction

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Tips on practising mindfulness

  • Find a time that works each day that you can commit to. Morning and middle of the day are great, and before bed can also be a good time to wind down if you are a wired type!
  • Start with just 5 minutes and if that passes easily then see if you can make it to 20 minutes each day – this would be ideal!
  • Choose a comfortable quiet place to sit or lie – close your eyes, maintain length in your spine, rest your arms wherever comfy
  • Start by following and watching your breath – don’t change your breath pattern, just watch it
  • When your mind wanders, when thoughts, emotions, sounds or physical feelings occur just acknowledge them and let them pass without getting involved and come back to your breath
  • Practise simply being mindful throughout your day – before you send an angry  email, while speaking in a meeting, before beating yourself up about a mistake you’ve made, whilst feeling pain or sadness… stand back from the thoughts, breathe, give yourself space to simply watch. Then respond authentically in the moment guided by fresh, honest thoughts that only act to serve you well.

When you enter deeply into this moment, you see the nature of reality, and this insight liberates you from suffering and confusion. Peace is already there to some extent: the problem is whether we know how to touch it – Thich Nhat Hanh

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To learn more please watch this great talk by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn. Other great experts on mindfulness are Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra and Gabrielle Bernstein.

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.