Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Post-Christmas blues

Hi warriors. It's been a strange Christmas blighted by the death (or 'passing on' as some euphemistically say) of two people, one a friend, the other a relative. Both were men in their 70's so perhaps you could say they had a 'good innings' but my sadness is still very real. It is those of us left behind who suffer their loss. The first to go was my ex-father-in-law who had become a real friend to me in recent years, who was so gentle and quietly supportive without ever interfering that I came to rely on his email missives which would always be sent back at times when I needed it. The last I saw of him was in the summer, when on my annual visit, we did the usual things of going shopping, eating a meal out and getting told off by the police. Well perhaps the last is not that usual but it is an endearing memory I will have of him of being ticked off by a well-meaning female police-officer who thought I should take more care of the poor chap. She obviously thought his mind was going as he'd lost a wallet and assumed, I think, that I had more influence than I, in fact, had. We laughed about it afterwards for quite a while. So, I know that I can carry those memories with me, though they will never substitute for him they are at least a subtle connection to his spirit which I do believe is still around somewhere.

My uncle I barely knew to be fair but I'm sad for my mother (whose brother it was) and his family who I can imagine are very sad at this point. Having lost my own father many years ago (when I was 19) I still remember the shock and sadness of that time. Time heals it is said but in my experience it just numbs you til you are ready to do the real work of healing and that takes effort and skills. Mine has only just begun really and it was over 25 years ago.

So, anyway my thoughts have been with loss but also with my own health which, as you know, has had a few shake-ups this year. 2010 began with a suspected skin cancer which turned out to be a wart which fell off within a few weeks, and now continues with a large fibroid which it seems I have been developing quietly (asymptomatically) over the last year. It has eventually made itself known by growing so large I could not avoid it and took myself to my GP in October. She was so worried she immediately sent me for blood tests, scans and the like and, though the diagnosis is not so worrying as she obviously first suspected (nothing was expressly said but her urgency said it all), it is a benign tumour nonetheless.

Now, as you know, my interest and specialism is cancer so I guess you could say this is all learning for me, of the deepest kind. I know I don't have cancer at this point but I do know my body is out of balance. Fibroids are related to oestrogen dominance (as are some forms of breast and prostate cancer) so evidently something is out of whack. I have been through the usual forms of self-enquiry - is it my childlessness (one of the predisposing factors), is it my use of soymilk (a phytoestrogen) or some unresolved emotional conflict from my past? However, you look at it there is some work to be done. I have got over the initial shock and am focussing on both conventional and more holisitic treatments. I am signed up for a procedure called embolisation which fires little pellets of an inert substance into the artery supplying the uterus which aims to block the blood supply to the fibroid and cause it to shrink. But I am also castor oil packing (soaked on a cloth and applied with heat to the body), taking proteolytic enzymes (fibroids are largely composed of fibrin, a protein so these enzymes should help to break it down), Di-indole methionine (a natural product of cruciferous vegetables) and herbs to help my body regain its balance. I also had a very powerful acupuncture session in a dream (don't laugh, this was as real an experience as one in so-called 'reality'). I do mean to follow it up with another one in this dimension but haven't found the right person yet. I have had a colonic irrigation and a liver cleanse to clear the chanels of elimination. And much mindfulness meditation and some EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which I have found released a lot of fear around a new relationship and my sexuality.

Clearly there is a lot more to do. 2011 will be a year where I continue to connect with my body, learn what it is trying to tell me and heal myself. I will also see what conventional medicine has to offer - this procedure is clearly very clever and ingenious but what of the long-term effects of blocking the blood supply? This is something I will be enquiring when I go for my next check-up. It is an intruiging and complex story, I am only grafeful to be given the chance to explore it. So, goodbye 2010 and to those we have lost. Good healing to you all in 2011.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Cancer risk factors

Was just contemplating life, the universe and everything after hearing that a dear friend of mine has developed a brain tumour and thought I'd drag out my books to see what information I can pass on to his relatives as a diagnosis like that is bound to be scary. The two books I consider bibles on the subject are 'Cancer is not a disease it's a survival mechanism' by Andreas Moritz which outlines in plain language what cancer is and what it isn't and ways to heal your mind, body and spirit. The other is 'Anti-cancer' by David Servan-Shreiber which I think I may have mentioned before in another post. This latter book looks at the nutritional treatment of cancer and has a handy pocket-sized shopping guide so you only buy foods which will help your body (and specifically your immune system) overcome the cancer. Both are valuable tools in the quest to understand the message that cancer is.

Anyhow, was then reading some notes I made last year at the CAMexpo event at Earl's Court (CAM = Complementary and Alternative Medicine). The speaker was Dr. Marilyn Glenville and she was speaking about Breast Cancer risk and how to reduce it. Some of the things she highlighted were surprising. For instance Mammograms are dangerous; for every 1 life prolonged 10 women have unnecessary treatment (they are notoriously inaccurate) PLUS the radiation of the breast that this involves actually increases your risk by 50%. How about Tamoxifen which is given to women as a chemotherapy drug for hormone-dependent breast cancer? Well studies have shown that it increases the risk of cancer in the other breast by 400% i.e a 4x risk increase!! Not surprising when you consider that you are suppressing the immune system precisely when it needs to be stimulated. This is the great difference between conventional and CAM approaches. (Bizarrely, nutrition still falls within CAM not conventional medicine even though you would think food is the most conventional approach possible).

In fact if you asked an oncologist what you could eat to help you overcome cancer most if not all would deny there was any point in changing your diet. Some even recommend 'eat what you like, it won't make any difference' and suggest cream cakes and biscuits etc to 'fatten you up'. Cachexia (weight loss) is often a factor in people with cancer as cancer cells use up a lot of energy while they are growing in an uncontrolled fashion. Their main fuel; sugar. More specifically; glucose. So telling someone to go away and eat cream cakes as happened to a work colleague of mine after having stomach cancer is probably the worst thing you could possibly do. Instead natural foods like onions, ginger, turmeric, green veg, green tea, garlic, wholegrain foods, legumes, fermented soya products (tofu, tempeh, etc) are much better.

And where do you hear about the toxic products that have been linked to breast cancer risk? Xenoestrogens present in things like artifical air fresheners, cosmetics, perfumes and fabric conditioners - especially Bisphenol A present in plastic bottles - check labels and avoid , avoid. Unfortunately these are precisely the products that are targeted at women by the advertising industry! Also, pesticides particularly organochlorines are very linked to cancer risk - wash your veg if it's not organic.

Anyway, I am just amazed this isn't more widely known or a feature of Breast Cancer awareness fun-runs, etc. Whilst I know these are well-meaning events few women realise where their sponsorship money ends up and even fewer know the simple things they can do to reduce their risk; reduce the amount of fat and increase the quality (more omega-3 e.g. flax oil), eat less diary & red meat, drink more water, exercise more (especially in the open air to increase Vitamin D levels) and deal with your emotional issues. Breast cancer in particular seems to be linked to certain personality types - the martyr who puts everyone else before herself. Look after your own emotional needs and speak up. Don't be a doormat - it will make you ill.

So, anyhow that was what I have been musing on. Looking forward to this years CAMexpo - don't want to do their marketing for them but really it is a wonderful event that is targeted at therapist/practitioners but anyone with an interest in their health should go. The quality of the speakers is very high and the cost (£7) is very low. OK well that's all for now, back to study.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Back to the land of the employed

Well it had to come to an end at some point. Finally secured myself some paid employment outside of my two business ventures; a part-time (2 days a week) Research Manager job at Southampton University. It will be good to start the new academic year with some new impetus and direction. it's all very well being freelance and I have greatly enjoyed the time I have spent studying massage, naturopathy and nutrition (which I intend to continue) and the gardening but it doesn't pay the bills! With winter fast approaching the idea of spending every day working from home is not so appealing, I find by mid-morning I am absolutely freezing. As the university is 3 miles away it's easily reached by bike so it'll be part of my daily exercise routine as well. Talking of which, I have been running every morning (a little 10 min jog round the local common). Nothing much to speak of but surprisingly, little and often seems to show real benefits. My theory is that if you don't perceive it as a chore you are more likely to do it and so I've not made it too onerous. I have to say though i've not turned into the bionic woman I have certainly noticed the difference with my legs feeling lighter and stronger and my energy levels raised. Am trying to 'practice what I preach' and make exercise a part of my daily life.

My next idea is to learn EFT and Meridian therapy and to this end I have signed up for a Practitioner course. If you don't know what this is then check out the web - it's a type of energy therapy that involves tapping along various points in the body to clear emotional blockages such as phobias, anxiety, etc. Sounds bizarre I know but it's gaining credence in psychiatric circles as it seems to act on the subconscious directly by distracting the conscious brain (with sensory stimuli). In order to practice I have to work on myself first and this will be an important part of my training. I have one phobia which is spiders but that's quite a common one. However, I also have some strange resistance around success and marketing myself which I've always known and wondered why this is. I love to learn new skills but when it comes to selling them i always falter. This is something I would love to look at. Wish me luck!

Have been juicing almost every day too - again trying to make it a regular routine. Finding good combinations is an artform a bit like cookery. My favourite so far is spinach, banana and orange juice but a close second (and more like a dessert) is rice milk, blackcurrant and cocoa powder (you could use raw cacao for a more healthy alternative). Yum! Making them tasty is SO important. I made one today which just wasn't up to snuff and then had to throw half of it away as I couldn't face it!

Finally am reading some wonderful books which I ordered off the internet and are broadening my knowledge of health and wellbeing; one I highly recommend is 'French women don't get fat' which is a wonderful antidote to all those awful diet books where restriction and guilt force you to give up the pleasure of eating to lose a few pounds and then put it all back on again (plus a few more!) when you stop the diet. This is about gradual weight loss through intelligent choices, regaining the joy of preparing and eating real food and realigning your relationship with food. It's a thoroughly enlightening and inspirational read by someone who has done it herself (and lost 3 stone in the process). She makes the valid point that a lot of diet books are written by men (Atkins anyone) for women (who make up the vast majority of the market) without realising the huge differences between men and women (both metabolically and psychologically). Women eat food for lots of reasons besides hunger, a lot of to do with emotional comfort. Another book that tackled this was 'Beyond Chocolate' which I found similarly positive and woman-centred.

Also, and seemingly unrelated, I am reading 'Healing beyond the Body' by Larry Dossey which looks at the links between unresolved emotion and illness, and 'Rethinking Pasteur's Germ Theory' by Nancy Appleton which argues against the idea that disease is caused by external forces against which we are helpless. I've only got to the first chapter but already am thinking how right she is that this has fed straight into the current medical paradigm of being passive consumers of modern medicine (= pharmacological drugs) rather than empowered creators of our own health. The subtitle of the book is 'How to maintain your Optimal Health' and I am looking forward to this part as I have long been a proponent of Optimum Nutrition since I read Patrick Holford's book almost 10 years ago. That book blew me away and it looks like this one may take the argument a little further without the underlying 'buy my supplement' approach.

Have also got into 'Making a Forest Garden' by Patrick Whitefield a classic permaculture book which, as readers of my previous blog will know, is one of my other passions in life. Ah, so many books so little time. A quick poke of my head outside the back to door to pluck some homegrown rocket from my raised bed, got soaked in the incessant rain but still a joy to see my tomatoes, beans, courgettes and leaves all enjoying a good soaking. So, you see not just reading about it but doing it too. That's the learning really.

Bye for now

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Juicing at last!

Finally got round to buying a blender for trying out the juicing idea (note blender not a juicer - you get more nutrients and less waste I've now changed my mind on this I think they are both useful, Ed). After much reading and discussion with my friend Dawn re which product to buy (she has both) I used my gift vouchers (leaving present from work) to purchase a Kenwood blender- chosen cos it's a food processer, blender, grinder, etc all in one and within my budget (under £100). For a novice, uncertain about juicing I thought it rather unnecessary to go buying one of the really expensive ones - Rhino or Vitamax though I can see if I was doing this professionally or more than once a day I would need one of these industrial monsters. I actually saw a demo of the Vitamax last week at the Mind, Body Spirit Fayre in London. Very impressive - you can chuck anything thing in, including ice, and hey presto it deals with it all. They guy made soup in it (warmed by being left to blend for 6 minutes - perfect temperature), ice cream (by adding frozen fruit and chocolate bars - very tasty!) as well as juices so it's thoroughly versatile. Then into my inbox arrived a tempting email from the self-styled Green Queen to try juicing for 3 days with a guided 3 day detox and I thought - why the hell not? So, not wishing to re-visit my weeks detox back in March (heavy duty upchucking and flu-like symptoms), the deal is; I replace one meal a day with a juice of fresh ingredients including some greens. Yesterday I tried spinach and banana - surprisingly good - for lunch. Today's was beetroot, grape and ginger -also good (I know beetroot breaks the greens rule but it's a very powerful detoxing root veg so I thought the Green Queen wouldn't mind if I made up my own.
So far what I have noticed is a general raising of energy levels and a decrease in the urge to stuff myself stupid with sugar and chocolate. Also, am feeling very positive but that may be the time of year and of the month (hormones being what they are).

Hey, anyway have had a very interesting couple of weeks with trips to London to the aforementioned fayre and a scientific meeting on DHA which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid. I felt very privileged to be in such esteemed company though a slight imposter being as i am no longer a bona fide university researcher. What was really interesting was watching the politics going on - during the questions some academics making pointed digs at rival academics. Lots of posturing and point scoring. Hilarious but also slightly depressing. And why is it that the few women who make it in the scientific community do so in spite of being female still? I always get the impression they have to deny their femaleness to succeed and become more competitive and aggressive than the men. There is a complete absence of the sense of holism at these events. The 2 days feel like chalk and cheese. A perfectly schizophrenic trip then which mirrors the events of my life where I have one foot in one camp and one in the other. Why is there no dialogue between them? - that's not entirely true as Alex Richardson was at the DHA conference and I have seen her at the Complementary and Alternative Medicine fayre in October so she evidently has some sympathy with that approach but it is rare. You get the definite impression that there would be much sneering if I had talked about my overtone chanting the day before. They can barely tolerate mention of CAM without derision. Shame as both sides have much to teach eachother. Ah well, carry on juicing that's what I say.

Oh and er massaging - my exam is end June so am busy revising (well I ususally end up watching stuff on the internet which isn't quite what I should be doing) and practicing which I am really enjoying. That I get to connect with people in a very physical way is a very powerful feeling - I described it yesterday to someone as an act of love - not sexual - but certainly of wishing to heal and caring. Mm, I wouldn't have believed I enjoy it so much when I decided to learn it. I think I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about the body and make it a good introduction to my holistic practice. I had no idea it would be so spiritual an experience - much like I find gardening - connecting with the earth or with human being-ness. Wow.
Anyway enough esoteric musings. S'all for now, over n out earthlings.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Final day of the Detox

Hi folks
Have slept like a log after an amazing session of rebirthing yesterday afternoon with a guy called Jonathan who is a Reiki master and all round special guy. Despite an odd name which might be off-putting for some (and certainly would have been for me had I not have had a wonderful breathing meditation workshop with him earlier in the week). It involves connected breathing techniques which send you into a deep trance-like state where you are then able to connect more with your inner self. Now, I know a lot of sceptics out there are thinking 'what on earth is she on about' - I was one of you, so I know how that feels. All I can say is that with an experienced practitioner this becomes a journey into oneself.
As I went deeper into relaxation, i saw lights, I saw a window shape, like concentric circles and then finally (after I had nearly nodded off), as I lay there in the final part of the session, a face appeared of an ancient man (I don't mean old as in years but as in from a long time ago - an ancient culture perhaps) who turned to look at me and one eye blinked and stayed while the rest of him faded. It was not scary in the slightest, I felt he held me there in love.
Jonathan gave me some Reiki to end the session, and I left feeling very held.
I have booked to do my Reiki 2nd stage with Jonathan as he is a Reiki teacher too. This is something I have been thinking about for a while as I wanted to offer Reiki with my massage therapy. It's going to be worth it I think.
We then had an evening of wool craft, which I have to say I was not looking forward to as I haven't done anything like that since I was a child but, it was great - I made 2 friendship bracelets and some felt balls and it was wonderfully creative. She was also a raw fooder and proceeded to tell us how she was brought up as a child but still eats some cooked foods and loves fresh coffee. it was arefreshing change from the slightly holier than thou attitude that I have been picking up here. We have made a number of observations of the contradictions inherent in this lifestyle and it has certainly been 'food for thought'.
OK well, my skin is looking miles better, the cracks on my feet which are termed 'hard skin' and i thought were with me for life, have disappeared, I have lost 5 pounds, my eyes are clearer, I feel more energetic so I have to say that this nutrional approach really works.
We leave this morning so this will be my last post from here. I hope to make further blogs as I adjust to life at home with 'cooked' food (it's weird how being in one environment makes you forget the rest).
Love and light to all/any reading this. Don't let your prejudices prevent you from following your intuition. Heart over mind. It's so vital

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Day 4 of the Detox

Wow what a 24 hours this has been.
Had a fantastic talk last night on spiritual healing from a woman, marie, who was paralysed from the neck down in a car accident and decided to not give up but heal herself. Her story was not only mesmerising but very profound. Her advice to us was to simply 'enjoy what is' and trust that 'all is well'. These sayings might sound trite out of context to her story but they certainly resonated with me. I had been having a really difficult day, trying to get to grips with the stresses of being 'outside' my normal life and still maintain all the business development that needs to be done. Instead of being on retreat it has felt like being on the defensive. I have to remind myself I am doing the best I can with the tools that I have. Dawn has also been feeling a bit low with all the stuff going on in her life too so the emotional side of the detox has been very revealing.

Today we had an incredible sound healing workshop - with a gong and various Himalayan Crystal bowls. Surprisingly effective way of sending you into a meditative space. A guy turned up later who, my first impressions were - 'he's not on a raw food diet' - as he was quite overweight and looked rather sick. It then transpired that he was a stage 4 cancer survivor who should, by all measures, be dead. He has lost 3 stone in 5 weeks of solid green juicing, he is suffering greatly but says the reason he is still here is because of the juicing and sheer willpower to survive. Before meeting Rian and changing his diet he was on 24 pills a day; antihypertensives, blood sugar regulators, anti-ulcer medication, pills for his eczema, etc, etc. His oncologist and GP keep ringing him to pressurise him to take chemotherapy. He had the radiotherapy but it apparently caused such damage to his internal organs that when he was operated on to repair his prostate the surgeon could do nothing as all his organs had 'fused'. His wife who also came explained that she since she has been raw fooding to keep him company she has stopped all her medications too. This is the story we need to publish. I KNOW the medical establishment refuses to believe that cancer and other diseases can be treated nutritionally but here is the proof if ever I needed it.

I remember thinking when my sister in law was diagnosed with bowel cancer 2 and a half years ago that I felt she was lucky being put into a clinical trial for the latest chemotherapy drug because it could prolong her life for 6 months or so. She endured absolute agony for the last 6 months and still died. If I'd known then what I know now I would have strongly recommend she try the juicing instead. It is incredibly powerful.

It saddens me that the truth is so suppressed and the lie of 'scientists will find the cure for cancer' is still perpetuated by the medical/pharmacological establishment (of which I have been a part). It's just the cancer industry unfortunately, that firstly sells us the food products that give us cancer and then attempts to make more money out of us by selling us cancer 'treatment' which may or may not give us remission (notice it is not a 'cure' but a treatment - the risks of it returning are high even after treatment as the conditions which allow cancer to thrive are still present unless the sufferer makes changes to their lives). This method which I have seen working has been documented in many establishments throughout the world - most noticeably by Charlotte Gerson and the Gerson therapy she developed with her father. But it is derided and forced to be an 'underground' treatment (they cannot operate their centre in the US as it is banned). What do they do that is so terrible. They treat cancer in exactly the way I am learning here. They juice, they give enemas, they detoxify, they educate and enlighten. This, really is the only way.

Well, only a couple of days to go now - am back on raw food now and expect to leave her a few pounds lighter. Have lost 4 pounds already - 2 notches on my belt! please, dear reader don't think of this as weight loss diet. It is a life-change diet.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Day 3 of the Raw Food Detox

Hi folks
Well today I threw up after my wheatgrass in the morning - I was in the middle of a breathwork workshop so had to excuse myself quickly and do the do.Apparently this is normal and not to be concerned about, part of the detoxing. I was soon feeling better and able to continue the class. Great guy called Jonathan who also does Reiki training and I felt i wanted to experience that so have booked a session of rebirthing with him for Friday and a place on the Reiki 2 training class he runs in Winchester. His energy was so great I didn't need to think about this. It just seems right.

The main think to report is that I have transitioned to food today for the first time in 3 days. I was hungry but strangely I had no urge to binge. It has been difficult getting through the last 2 days but I'm glad I did it and look forward to the Raw Food programme that now begins. We have had some interesting speakers giving talks to us, we have one on Spiritual Healing tonight by a woman, Marie I met here on the open day in November.

I have also done an enema for the first time the night before but decided owing to sharing a bathroom with one of their permanent guests here that I probably won't do another here but since we are given a kit to use at home might well consider it part of my detox routine. It's not as gruesome as it sounds, indeed you do feel cleaner afterwards and it is vital if you are detoxing to make sure the bowels are working and all the toxins are not just sitting there not being eliminated.

Again today has been a mixed day of good and bad but overall i have learnt so much from the guests and the speakers here I feel inspired that the next phase of my life will indeed be kick-started by being here just as I hoped. I leave my regular University job at the end of this month and launch as a holistic practitioner and gardener. Time will tell whether this provides me with sufficient income but I intend to give it my best shot.
That's all for now, off to eat my sugar snap peas (supper)...

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Day 2 of the Raw Food Detox

Day 2 and boy oh boy is this tough. I was warned yesterday that it would be the hardest day as all your toxins start to be eliminated and you feel - rough! Had a difficult night, kept waking very dehydrated, then so physically exhausted it felt like having flu. A sty has come up on my eye (which is interesting as presumably this is the liver detoxing). Dawn reckons she's getting a cold sore too. This is normal apparently - whatever the weakest point of your immune system is will likely come to the fore. I KNOW it will be worth it but I can tell you this morning I was close to throwing in the towel. It's not nice to feel so bad -but knowing what i know that you often feel worse before you feel better (the 'healing crisis') this is something you have to go through before you feel the full benefit. I have been fantasising about my muesli believe it or not. And the kurly cale crisps that Rian made looked so appetising! It's interesting isn't it that i'm not fantasising about chocolate or crisps. Just good wholesom food that you can chew will be a real treat. I can't wait. Tomorrow i have the opportunity to have some food or I can go on til Thurs. I think you can guess what I'm going to do. I'm not a matyr to the cause.

Have had some interesting conversations about the whole Raw Food thing - there are various shades of opinion here and some people have done other courses and detoxes and others are complete novices but impressed by what knowledge there is to share here. It makes the whole thing more positive somehow. We had yoga this morning which I thought I wouldn't manage but made me feel better, and a guided meditation after the morning juice. It's a pretty full-on experience that looks at things holistically which suits me but I think some people might find it pretty challenging. Ah well, that's all for now, be in touch when I have something else to report. Wish me luck!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Detox day 1

Hi there from my residential detox centre in Winchester. Arrival last night was a shock when I realised that there was no food on Sunday night! however, as we hadn't eaten we were given a very nice raw soup and a quick introduction to the week. First thing I hadn't realised was that instead of a mixture of juicing and raw food during the week it was a juicing detox first and then raw food from Weds/Thurs! So, I had to face the next 2-3 days without eating anything other than juices. But, in for a penny as they say and here I am 24 hours later having had only green juices all day (including a wheat grass shot first thing which made me feel nauseous). and, though I am missing food (and fantasising about the lovely things I can eat when we resume eating on Weds), I am not desperate or craving but feeling quite liberated. I have felt very tired during the day and have slept quite a lot and expect to have an early night after an enema (my first!) but in general am feeling quite positive.

There are 3 guests here at the moment, all sharing the experience and our life stories. All very empowering and with a series of speakers during the week on various aspects of health and wellbeing (from nutrition through to spiritual/emotional health) it should be fab. Today we had a lecture on longevity from Max Tuck who plans to reach age of 100! Looking at the excellent health she now has I wouldn't be surprised. She is 100% Living food (i.e raw with sprouting) and looks amazing on it. She is a practising vet which as well as a Health Educator which is an interesting mix - a bit like mine being a gardener and healer..

Well, it already feels very inspirational being here but I know tomorrow is going to be difficult physically and Weds difficult emotionally apparently. Wish me luck! Will be blogging anything interesting as it comes up.
Bye for now,

Friday, 12 March 2010

Detoxification is the name of the game

Am busy reading and writing on detoxification and my researches plus personal experience have led me to consider mercury amalgam filling removal. The evidence is so compelling against having mercury in your mouth it seems to me stupid not to at least investigate how much it woudl cost to have them removed. Of course I can't get that done on the NHS but have to pay privately. The NHS paid to fill my mouth up with fillings (during my childhood I can hardly remember a visit to the dentist that didn't result in a filling!). it was only as I reached adulthood and the way dentists are paid (i.e. per filling) changed that suddenly, hey presto! I no longer needed them. Now that could be as I stopped eating so many sweets but it does make me question the policy then.
I recently had a filled tooth removed as my wisdom teeth had come through partially and were causing decay in one of my molars. It had to be extracted as my dentist said it was too far gone to save. I had a strange feeling when it was removed that somehow this would be beneficial, though I didn't know then what I know now that mercury vapour is constantly evaporating from your teeth, especially if you grind your teeth, eat acidic foods and drink hot liquids - all of which I do. Dr Paula Baillie-Hamitlon in her excellent book 'Stop the 21st century killing you' (slightly emotive title but solid research) said if there is one thing she would recommend people do to improve their health then this was it.
As I and a friend are just about to embark on a week of juicing and raw food at the UK's first residential Raw food centre (Health, etc in Winchester), I thought this was an apt time to consider all my detoxing options. Though I would not describe myself as ill, I know i am not optimally healthy. Two glasses of white wine from last night render me headachey and dehydrated this morning despite drinking water before going to bed last night. it appears that the sulphites in the wine can be toxic to people who's livers are overtaxed or working inefficiently. This is evidently the case with me. I always wondered why as I never got this when I was younger - I would get a hangover if I drank more than 4 or 5 glasses but this is different. The headache is very particular. It makes perfect sense to me that as I get older and my body gets more overloaded with toxins (did you know we take in approx. 123 different chemcials through our mouth and skin each day? And these accumulate in the fat cells in our bodies and are passed on to your children. We are playing Russian Roulette with our bodies and our planet. It really is frightening.
However, this blog wasn't meant to add to the depression that many of us feel with the state of the world but to outline that there are practical measures you can take. I usually do a liver detox around the equinox (March and October each year) as, after the first one I did the results were so amazing that i vowed to make it a regular part of my health maintenance regime. I prefer the one that uses milk thistle and dandelion extract as a liver support whilst restricting you diet and drinking the all important olive oil/lemon juice/water drink (yes I know it sounds odd but it really works). The energy and vitality I felt after that first cleanse was amazing. Subsequent ones haven't been so dramatic but I guess that is possibly because I didn't have so much to get rid of. This year I have decided to spend my redundancy money on a weeks retreat to experience a much more complete overhaul. I want to blog every day from the centre so you'll get a feeling of what I'm going through. I expect it'll be hard and some emotional stuff will rear its head. I know I'm still going through stuff at the moment as I'm having really strong anxiety dreams. Healing takes place on many levels though not just with the body as I'm beginning to realise.
I'll begin the detox on Sunday 21st March through to the following Saturday. if anyone is interested in following me. Speak soon,

Monday, 1 March 2010

The gardening year starts here!

Hi Folks
Today the sun came out and the mist began rising from the fences and roofs as I watched from my kitchen early in the morning. It was magical and reminded me that spring is just around the corner. Luckily the weather was good as today I was gardening for a client that was started a few weeks ago but has been hampered by the weather. Today we managed not only to finish the digging over (a couple of new borders) but also I collected the plants that I ordered last week and put most of them in (I will finish tomorrow). The client was so surprised when she came home - the garden is transformed! I wish every day could be so uplifting. however, my muscles are aching terribly so perhaps it best that I don't do this every day!
Roll on spring - the days are beginning to lengthen and with it my spirits rising. All we need now is some warmth.
Am managing to keep up with the optimum nutrition - green drinks in the morning, superfoods with my muesli, then it gets a bit more complex especially when I'm at work. however, fresh soup seems to suit me and I've noticed my digestion has improved since I cut down the sugar and milk and added the spirulina and barley grass drink.
Long discussions with friends about the futility of 'dieting' - restricting your intake of calories by cutting out carbohydrates for instance simply puts your body into starvation mode which, although initially weight reducing, causes you to put more on faster when you come off the diet. However, it's difficult to convince some people of this as they are psychologically 'hooked' on the notion of dieting. It seems to provide a social support (between those people on the diet) and a sense of control (once I've lost weight I will have more impetus to keep going, etc). It is not just my observation but well documented in the research that most diets fail - after all if they didn't the whole industry would go bust. Anyhow, I know I'm becoming boring on the subject. But, dear reader, just to let you know, by not restricting my diet but replacing some of the less nutritious things with the superfoods and wholefoods I've managed to lose all the weight I put on on holiday in just 2 weeks (about 6 pounds). And, I think it will stay off. Will let you know!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Travelling broadens the mind

Hi Folks

Have just returned from two trips to two very different countries. First off Warsaw for a work-related trip. Really snowy and beautiful. was stunned to learn how much had been destroyed by the Nazi's at the end of WWII. In fact virtually all of central Warsaw was demolished by the retreating German army and it has been painstakingly rebuilt by the Poles. They even moved an entire medieval village to recreate the Old Town. Most poignant of all was walking through what was the old Jewish quarter which had been walled up completely and 300,000 Polish Jews systematically starved within. A few decided to fight rather than starve to death or be exterminated in death camps and this was known as the Warsaw Gettho uprising. It was very sobering to walk across the line that delineated the old wall and remember those who died.

And then back briefly for a birthday celebration (not telling you how old) and off again on a holiday to Gran Canaria - what a beautiful contrast. So warm, (24 deg) compared to winter here in the UK. To feel the warm air on my skin, the sun on my face and to be able to wear t-shirts rather than thermals - wonderful. I spent some time reading but also managed to go jogging every morning and generally relax with no stress. The people are lovely, so friendly and genuine, we were lucky in finding an extremely good restaurant opposite the hotel and it being a quiet village with none of the tacky razzamatazz of some of the larger resorts. We visited a few on day trips and, apart from Puerto Mogan (aka 'Little Venice) which was wonderful, they were all horrible. If you like amusements and tacky bars that's great but it wasn't what I wanted and I was glad we were away from it all. Would go back in a flash - not only for the rest but also for the Vitamin D top-up which is so vital to our health here in the UK. There was another report on the radio today about a study linking low levels to cancer - it's becoming big news. I remember my tutor on my Nutritional Medicine course saying he makes sure he goes on holiday somewhere sunny sometime after Christmas for that reason. He's been studying nutrition all his working life so must know what he is talking about. I believe we should learn from successful people.

Back to work for me straight away- hundreds of emails, work stacked up on my desk - all potentially very stressful. The first evening back I felt very tired and overwhelmed but managed to get my thoughts in better order 'I can do it tomorrow when I am more rested' and just by releasing that thought immediately felt better. Not saying I've conquered my habit of panicking just that I am realising it is a state of mind over which I have control. Hence am blogging this now to remind myself I can do it. I hope it inspires others too. Just by making some small changes in thinking you gain perspective.

Bye for now

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Healthy writing

Another week and already much change. When I last wrote i was finishing up writing my essays for my Nutritional Medicine course. All really interesting but the style of essays I am having to write is SO technical and narrow that you kinda lose sight of the overall picture. I can tell you in detail what influences the diapedesis (moving through) of monocytes (a type of white blood cell) through the endothelial cells of a the vasculature (blood vessels - note the complex language of the scientific/medical community which helps to elevate practitioners above everyone else and obscure the facts). And, as part of the medical/scientific community I am taking part in that but I am also trying to distil that down so that I understand it too. What is evident to me is that it's relatively easy to write that stuff without really understanding it. That takes much more time. That's one of the reason's I decided to start a blog, so I could use this as a forum to dissemininate some of the information I'm gleaning as part of my studies.

For instance, I've just finished writing a piece on inflammation and heart disease. Did you know that inflammation is THE biggest cause of heart disease and that cholesterol is there to help and is not the villain it has been portrayed. Blood cholesterol is actually more like the ambulance that goes to the site of injury to repair the damage. What is causing injury to blood vessels is still open to debate but damaged (trans) fats and high releasing carbohydrates such as the ubiquitious fructose corn syrup are being mooted. That this does not sit well with the food and pharmaceutical industry is why you haven't heard it yet. It cuts into their profit margins too much.

Mm, so much to write, so little time. I would love to enlighten you on ways to cut your risk of cancer, detoxification from household chemicals, and many other things but time is against me. I now have a new role in a new company that a friend of mine has set up. I am their scientific research director and writing some of the content for the web-based holistic health intervention. Can't say too much as we're not launched yet but suffice to say it is taking up a chunk of my time. Current subject is Optimum Nutrition. Most of you will have heard of the term but perhaps don't understand it. I hope to enlighten you in future blogs. It's not about your 5-day though that would help. It's looking at food as medicine and maximising your intake of the good stuff - which may include supplements and superfoods. Something I wouldn't have believed necessary til I did the research. What I found out shocked me. I thought eating a 'healthy' diet would just mean eating a few more fruit and veg. Problem is they are full of chemicals and tragically devoid of nutrients unless organically grown. Maybe that explains why the few carrots I grew last year tasted totally unlike the ones I buy from the supermarket. Quality is everything. Food has become agribusiness, medicine the pharmaceutical industry. We are far, far from enjoying optimum health.

Take care and will update soon


Friday, 15 January 2010

What a difference a day makes

I think the last blog I wrote was a couple of days ago when everything was still very raw, and 2 days later the landscape has shifted again. I had been catapaulted into the realisation that I am not immortal, that I can't take my body for granted and I have to do some real work of clearance and acceptance. I had been drawn to castor oil packing for some reason (soaking a muslin cloth with castor oil and placing it on the body with a heat pack over the top to help absorption). This is a very traditional healing technique for many aches and pains (women it's wonderful for period pain and gynae problems) but I knew nothing about it other than when I've done a liver cleanse a few times they recommend a liver pack when you go to bed to help the liver. No-one told me that castor oil might be helpful for skin cancer but I was drawn to go get the bottle and lie with some on my liver and also to apply it directly to the mole. I can't explain that but 2 days later when I went to a friend's house she lent me a book about castor oil and the second line in the book was about putting it on skin cancer lesions! Astonishing bit of sychronicity that i take for granted now that I allow these little intuitive messages that I get to be listened to... Reader, i have been juicing! i have been alkalising my body with superfoods - spirulina and hemp, cacao mixtures, lemon water and plenty of raw vegetables and no crap. There is nothing like a health problem to wake you up..

And, today I had my appointment with the specialist - a very dischevelled but jolly doctor who took a very quick look with a hand-held electron microscope (yes it's some special equipment he uses) and said 'a typical traumatised squamatous wart'. I exhaled. He didn't say basal cell carcinoma (BCC). I asked what that was - he said he saw a lot of them, particularly on women's backs around the bra strap region. He suspects it's become irritated by something and has bled into itself. The prognosis is it will probably drop off by itself in 4-6 weeks but if it doesn't to come back and he'll remove it for me. Definitely not cancerous.
He took a picture and then proceeded to show me other pictures of BCC's as a comparison (because I asked how did he know, etc). When I was able to prove I worked in health research for theUuniversity of Southampton he was happy to send me a copy of the picture and will probably use it for research purposes. We ended up having quite an interesting conversation about Vitamin D and sunlight (more on that in further blogs) as it is a particular interest of mine. Did you know for instance that Vit D is involved in preventing many cancers and people of darker skins in northern climates are particualrly likely to be deficient. Red hair and fair skin is an adaptation to low sunlight levels (hence i'm not likely to be as deficient for instance as a black person but I will burn in the sun if overexposed - and be more likely to get skin cancer as a result). Did you know black people in the US (African Americans suffer much more cancer than whites? that fact is not well known and they are largely excluded from official statistics - the US does not collect nationwide statistics for cancer - only state by state. See The Secret History of the War on Cancer, Devra Davis for details. Fascinating reading.

I left the surgery within 20 mins a new woman. I'm going to keep on with the castor oil though and the juicing. It is so easy to do once you have the ingredients - I add a banana to the superfood mix, add water and a little soya milk, ground flax seeds (I use a coffee grinder) blend with a hand-held blender and voila! instant breakfast. Tasty too (add a bit of honey or agave syrup for sweetness). No mucking about peeling and chopping fruit, etc. I think i could get quite into this. I do feel this was/is a message and I'm not about to go back to the old habits of thinking I can put anything into my body and it not matter. What we take in literally becomes our tissues so it does matter what quality materials you put in there. Make it the best you can and be the best you can be.

Had my regular massage today which is my gift to myself for ongoing health, a quick snooze (I didn't sleep that well last night!) and off to see Avatar in 3D which I found very moving. Came out of the cinema feeling quite otherwordly, decided to pop into IKEA for a quick meal (best views in Southampton particularly at night) and then home to my blog and an early night. What a difference a day makes, as the song goes. What a lesson.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Perception is everything

Well, back from the doc's - a depressing wait in the surgery for half an hour to be told that I'm going to be referred to a specialist as expected. The GP didn't seem to think I'm at death's door quite yet in fact he seemed quite blase.. I came away feeling, not exactly hopeful, but certainly not as depressed as yesterday. That got me wondering how it is that I can have had two such different days - yesterday I felt quite spacey, disconnected somehow, wandering round PCWorld looking at laptops thinking 'suppose I'm not here this time next year?' It all seemd so pointless somehow. And then today, going into work as normal, having slept quite well, realising that the only difference is the perception - one hopeless and one hopeful. Thus proving once more that not only do beliefs create reality but you can alter the way you feel about things by thinking better thoughts...

So today, determined that I am going to heal and use this as a message rather than a death sentence, I said to a friend 'I want to live to be 100' and I truly do. I want to see old age, in wisdom and health rather than infirmity. One of the best books I've read recently 'Love and Survival' by Dean Ornish, talks about those people who see themselves as reaching 100 as being the ones most likely to achieve it in health. According to him when he asks that question to audiences only about 10% of people usually put their hands up. Unfortunately too many people see ageing as being equated with illness and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If this culture supported age as being a positive rather than a negative experience we would celebrate our elders rather than depositing them in old age homes to wither and die. Anyway, that's all for now folks. I hope to reveal a happy, healthy and whole me over many years to come.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Walking the talk

Hi there, this is my first blog but boy is it a big one! For the last year or so I have been up to my eyes in essays, writing and general research on the subject of health and wellbeing. Firstly I am doing a degree in Nutritional Medicine, (following the untimely death of my sister-in-law I just felt i wanted to do something to find out - why she died (of bowel cancer) and how I can prevent it happening to me or my family. I've found out stuff that you wouldn't believe - how the cancer industry works (cancer research and it's associated charities and instutitions), how much of the simple information that would help us is being kept from us by the overuse of the uncertainty principle (if it hasn't been double-blind randomised control tested then we can't be sure of it's efficacy). Now this makes sense if the intervention you are talking about is a drug but it sure as hell makes no sense at all when you are talking about dietary interventions like fish oil (omega-3) and broccoli. Yes, broccoli turns out to be a very powerful anti-cancer food, along with berries and turmeric and other things. This is info everyone should know, not just those with a diagnosis (for whom it is vital) but for those of us who wish to prevent it happening to us. Which, up until yesterday, included me. Then, I found a strange lesion on my back which wasn't there a month ago and appears to be skin cancer. So, here I am - an exponent of self-empowered healing being asked to finally 'walk my talk'. This ain't theoretical anymore...

I am, of course, gonna have it checked out by the doctor tomorrow, and will probably be referred on to the hospital. I know this because I had one 10 years ago which was removed. However, the question is, how come, given my pretty good diet, my understanding of the emotional factors that contribute to disease and all the rest that I have gleaned from my research, HOW did I get this again?? I can only think it is a message from the universe if you will, that I have more work to do. I hope I can find it within myself to take the positive from this, but right now, I have to admit I'm a little scared.
Will update when I know more, but that's all for now
Tricia x