Monday, January 31, 2011

Mother Nature - the oldest and greatest pharmacy

Well well, as promised superfoods. Firstly before spending time and money on superfoods I would make sure that you feel comfortable that your day to day diet is where you would like it to be. In order for our bodies to uptake nutrients at the optimum levels there needs to be a presence of a range of nutrients – like iron absorption in the presence of Vitamin C is ideal and protein cannot be absorbed until all amino acids are present etc. So with this in mind if you don’t feel that you are eating the best diet then I would focus on that first before adding in these superfoods, otherwise you may just be making expensive toilet visits!
So what is a superfood? A super food is a food that has high levels of minerals and vitamins. Vitamins and minerals are so deficient from our diet due to commercial farming using poor soil, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc, they are affected by over cooking, also processes such as dehydrating, freezing and other preservation methods can affect mineral levels. Vitamins and minerals are so important in the body; they are the X factor in taking health to the next level!
I read something interesting called vertical disease – this is where you can walk, talk and function normally – yet you are not at your optimum state of health, and this could be acceptable to you simply because you don’t realise that you could be functioning better or that you ignore warning signs, opting to wait until you are bed bound before you take action! Pushing into a new level of living is exciting and empowering, realising your full potential and living each day inspired by this is what true health is about!
Superfoods in their raw, organic state can reverse deficiencies in minerals and vitamins that lead to serious disease.  The superfoods I am going to cover today are goji berries, cacao and maca because I have tried these and felt the benefits. There are more superfoods, some of which I am currently testing out, but I feel a responsibility to get to know them better before I can talk more about them. There are many books and the internet is a great source of information if you want to find out about the other superfoods before I get to them.
So firstly goji berries, they are available at the supermarket or organic stores/ health stores. Of course organic is best as they have not had thier medicinal properties reduced. Interestingly goji berries are the number one food in Chinese medicine, coming in before 1000's of other options. Known as the berry of longevity when eaten in the right way and as a regular part of your diet they give anti-aging properties. Known as an adaptogen, this means that they have a stabilising effect giving you more or less of what you need; in particular they assist with stress by supporting the adrenal glands. They boost immune function and are an alkaline food (I will talk more about acid/alkaline balance in depth another time).
David Wolfe has described these berries as “the most nutritionally rich berry-fruit on the planet”. Goji berries are high in antioxidants,  antioxidants are important for protecting us from free radical and radiation damage, this type of damage increases degenerative disease leading to premature aging. Gojis actually allow the body to heal itself! Goji berries also boost the immune system, meaning that if infection is present the body can fight it reducing or eliminating symptoms completely. David Wolfe recommends daily intake – if this is applicable to your nutritional requirements – of about 15-45gms.
I think it is important here to state that as your diet improves and you feel good, you will also become intuitively connected with your bodies needs and then it is your responsibility to give your body what it requires.  Taking every superfood, herb and supplement is NOT good for your health. Strategically choosing what your body needs, monitoring how it makes you feel and altering intake to fulfil your desired results is what is so incredible about nutrition. No two people are the same and no one formula will suit every person. Play with foods, experiment with how your body responds to food and find a perfect combination that works for you.
Cacao – this was a complete revelation for me. As a chocolate lover I knew deep down that I was never going to completely shed this pleasure, even though I felt the ill effects of consuming it. For me dairy and sugar have powerful ill effects on my body.
Cacao is chocolate – but it is chocolate in its purest form, also known as cocoa. Cacao is a fruit and the seed of the fruit when cracked open has cacao (chocolate) in it. This is sold in organic/health food stores, the best is raw cacao – a fantastic Australian website is they are very particular and conscious of providing a top quality product.
The processes that have gone into making chocolate as we know it, leaves the cacao seed void of all its nutrients and introduces a whole host of fats, sugars, preservatives, artificial flavourings and other toxins into our bodies.
Cacao comes in a variety of forms; powder, nibs, butter (all which I have tried) and beans with or without the skin or paste. It is bitter-sweet, like dark chocolate. I don’t find the taste of the nibs pleasing alone (other hard core dark chocolate fans may find the taste enjoyable), I find that mixing the nibs, powder and butter (not like butter in the supermarket) into smoothies is a delicious treat that honestly leaves my cravings satisfied.  Cacao is a rich source of magnesium – Mother Nature’s feel good mineral. Cacao is the highest food source of antioxidants in the world! It is high in iron, zinc, manganese and chromium. All important! It contains Omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin C…even serotonin which makes us feel good.  I honestly feel a buzz when I have cacao smoothies, and it doesn’t mean I crash afterwards, it hangs around and energises me. Cacao is my (not so) secret weapon!
Finally maca, Maca is a root vegetable from Peru. I have used it in a grounded powder form in my smoothies. Historically Maca was used for strength, stamina and libido; it increases blood oxygen levels which means all functions internally run smoother. Maca has been used for woman experiencing menopausal discomfort due to its adaptogen qualities, it can normalise hormonal functions in relation to stress.  The conditions listed that Maca is known to improve are: - anaemia, chronic fatigue, depression, infertility (human and livestock), lack of libido, malnutrition, menopausal symptoms, menstrual discomfort, poor memory, stress tension. Maca is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfer, sodium and iron and contains trace minerals – zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, bismuth, manganese, tin and silicon, also has vitamins B1, B2, C and E. Not bad!
Using what the earth has provided to boost our health is very exciting. Mother Nature is the oldest and greatest pharmacy, when respected and honoured it is so simple and easy to harness and mantain great levels of vitality and ultimately longevity.
Love J x

ps. A great read on superfoods is David Wolfe's Superfood book. He goes into detail on each food and its health benefits!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Imagine the earth healed and returned to its sacred form. Pure water, pristine oceans, clean air.
Dense forests, mighty rivers and towering mountain peaks.

Fruit trees growing in loved and nutrient rich soil, providing free and healthy food for all. Homes are built from natural and recycled sources and natural scents of aromatic herbs and wood fill your nostrils as you enter the homes. Gardens adorn the homes filled an abundance of flowers nestled between fruit trees and bushes and large happy vegetable patches.

Imagine caring again about the imprint you leave. Imagine leaving a world to your children, better than the world you came into.


Love J x

Saturday, January 22, 2011

You are what you eat

Well I have officially started the studies and already learnt some amazing things about our magnificent sacred bodies, some incredible foods and what health really means.

Did you know the normal, acceptable, birth right level of health is... bouncing out of bed, smile-on-your-face-spring-in-your-step sort of thing, excited for the day, endless and joyful energy all day, the ability to cope with all situations with a level cool head (and yes food choices affect your ability to deal with stress!) and choosing when you will go to bed, teaming with excitement to wake up and do more!

Now how many people feel like this? I have been reading about real things that can be done, simple and non expensive things that are available to all and this has made me sit up and listen! I am very excited and inspired and so happy that I can begin to share the world of nutrition with everyone...

Warning: Some content may offend weak stomachs!

You are what you eat. How many times have you heard this? So many times that it has probably lost its meaning, yet it is so so true. Saturated, refined, processed until its beaten black and blue, nutrient poor, toxic food not only does nothing for you nutritionally, it actually robs you of what goodness you do have inside! Some fast foods have such toxic effects on your body that rather than process and send the toxins straight where they belong (down the toilet), your body stores them. Your body cannot even begin to process the toxins and run all the other functions of the body. We pay good money for this food. Isn't that scary?

Eating healthy doesn't have to be scary, it doesn't have to involve huge changes and hunger or even cravings. It can be really simple, and the beauty is that once small changes are made and you start to feel good, you want more, that's just human nature.

So you make a few more changes, you tell your friends and family, no-no actually, they notice before you tell them, they notice that you look better, your skin is clear, your eyes sparkle, your hair is shiny and thick and you have lots more energy, and they want a piece of what you are having, and so the snowball begins. All from a very simple, small change.

So what small changes can you make?

Well what about, without making any other changes to your diet, you start eating a salad with your lunch, make it exciting, not just cucumber, lettuce and tomato - what about, strawberries, blueberries, grapes (fruit is AMAZING in salad), nuts, seeds, sprouts, avocado, green beans (they are SO yummy raw), beetroot, mushrooms, herbs, carrot... the list goes on! Get creative, go crazy, put 20 different things in there, the more variety the better.

Note - For a complete protein eat beans with nuts and seeds or grains. Some 4 bean mix (available in the canned veg section of the supermarket), some walnuts and sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top for example.

Have your salad first, then eat whatever else you normally have,  you will probably find that you don't even need whatever else it was that you were eating.

What else can you do? What about starting the day on a glass of warm lemon water, I've said it before but this is great for awakening your system, detoxing and encouraging a bowel motion.

Ok side note...Did you know that it is ideal to have 3 bowel motions a day!?! One with each meal, there is a reflex that is stimulated by chewing, swallowing and digestion that is meant to activate your motion, however since we are usually in the car on the way to work, or in a meeting or just busy, we ignore this reflex and it's suppressed; over a long period of time this results in constipation. When toxins sit in your bowel they are reabsorbed and the body becomes overloaded, and this leads to a whole host of problems and serious disease. So in essence - don't hold on to shit!

Another thing you can do is add dark leafy greens to your meal; if you don't like the taste, shred the leaves and add them at the end just before you eat so they don't go soggy (yuk). Leafy greens are a fantastic source of calcium, iron, folate, vitamin A (for bones),  C (for your skin) and K (for your blood). Leafy greens need fat for optimal absorption so cooking with a little (1 tsp) butter or oil will increase the benefits. Leafy greens are; broccoli, kale, spinach (spinach actually has calcium blocking properties so if looking for calcium in leafy greens avoid this one), romaine lettuce (lunch time salad), dandelion greens etc.

What else can I do? Drink more water!!! So simple.

Another idea... give your body 12 hours rest from food a day, this way it has time to digest all your food and it can move onto other housecleaning, this is easy if you eat dinner before 7pm and eat breakfast after 7am. You should still have water though as this helps all the internal processes tick over.

Finally, eat organic! This can be expensive yes, but the major chains of supermarkets are beginning to stock a small range of organic food for a reasonable price, you need to start somewhere so what about here?

Right i'll leave it here for now. Some really easy things to do. Once you start this journey and start giving your body what it needs it will start giving you what you need. Imagine clarity of thought, great memory, the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, an abundance of creativity, energy to achieve your greatest desires and much more.

Next topic on food is superfoods including chocolate (!)- I have been introduced to some amazing bits and pieces that don't cost the world but make the world of difference...

Love J x

ps. I am by no means qualified to give nutritional medicine advice yet... but if you have any questions about different things in your diet please ask, I will try my best to direct you to information from good reliable healthy sources. Email me on facebook or comment below. x

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shh the earth is quiet

Barefoot, dew clinging to our toes, leaving only the sound of our breath. Gently padding beneath the trees, squinting up at the sun rising from another world. The heat warming the rich earth beneath our feet, the heat that will burn our fragile skin in later hours.
Bathing in the scent of fruit warming upon the trees branches and the everlasting melody of crickets, birds and cicadas. Our daily meeting under the trees, we welcome ourselves to this day and stretch and yawn playfully, remembering why we are here.

Love J x

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Simply refuse to be limited in any way...

Everyone has the ability to succeed as far as their vision permits.

Particularly when living from your internal reference point, your true self. The only restriction comes from within. When you realise this, infinite possibility, creativity and an abundance of life is at your fingertips.

When limited we will never reach our full potential. Our minds busy with what should be. What we think is acceptable. What our friends and family do. And think. Even what strangers think!

How liberating to live without being limited in any way. Allowing the mind to blossom. Sweet and delicious.

I wrote a wish list for 2011, it has evolved into a wish list for life, its big, it has some BIG BIG things on it. And writing this list has made me realise in what ways I was limiting myself.
Once realised, I began to function from a place I had never before and began creating some real magic. My list is huge, and it continues to get bigger, everything I could ever wish for is on it and it excites me, I have already started ticking off things that I have been able to achieve. Truely the power of pen to paper is amazing.

Use your mind to create a beautiful orchard full of perfect days, radiant relationships, long and full health, even super human health!

Whatever you desire... as long as it comes from a place that is pure you will always get what you want, and need.

Love J x

The stunning photos are from isphotography.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I am existence

How many labels attached to my soul that determine and limit my experience. The ultimate freedom is to strip these barriers that block lifes pure presence.

This practise came into my conscious a few years ago, a gradual and persistent journey to evolve from this habit.

The ego fuels our label making, tricking us into thinking that we need to define or categorise ourselves. I am this person.

It feels safe to attach a label, it feels like belonging to something and this deceit is the ego personified. The truth is that we all belong to everything, to everyone and to every time.

I. Am. Existence.

Love J x

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Feel your emotion

Sadly suffering is everywhere.

Everyone telling their story. An excuse for a behaviour. To rationalise thoughts. To escape reality.

We tell sad stories of things that happened to us. From our childhood. About our friends. About our coworkers. About our loved ones. Sad sad stories.

And when repeated the listener also feels sad. Keep telling this story? Perhaps for the whole of life... and never move on.

The problem is that this story has been conjured up by the perception, the only truth that exists is in what actually happened and it is impossible to speak the truth because it is always swayed by your perception, which is built from your childhood, your relationships, your peace of mind, hormones, the weather, everything.

Someone gently suggested that rather than try to come to terms with the sad story, forget the story. Just feel the pain, feel whatever it is that is harming you and causing you unrest. It could be anger, abandonment, resentment, anything. You can deal with the emotion, you can surrender to it, and you can heal from it.

Love J x
All photography by Renee Bell

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reform. Transform. Reorganise. Shift.

Perpetually changing. Endlessly evolving. Each and every moment becoming a new person.

Our cells are forever regenerating. In fact I learnt recently that the entire body is renewed every 7 years. A reincarnation within a reincarnation!

If we stop and cling desperately to this moment we will become stagnant. Everything around us is forever reforming, transforming, reorganising and shifting. A tree sheds its leaves, a caterpillar its cocoon. A beautiful flower must lose its petals for future growth.
If we are honest with ourselves and truly present we all know the parts of our soul that require a little spit and shine. I propose that the beginning of the year (and in fact every sun rise) brings a time for some house cleaning within, a time for new beginnings.

Make a decision, allow it to manifest into something tangible and become the best version of yourself. Be that beautiful whole self you aspire to be. A change of season for the soul.

Happy New Year!

Love J x