“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates
I believe in my body’s ability to heal; I believe in the wisdom of our planet, that Mother Nature already has everything we need to prevent disease and to heal; and I believe that healthcare begins in the home.
In my quest for remission from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (which you can read in About) I have become more conscious about what I put into my body and on to my body and eventually came to a realisation: the quality of our modern food has been severely degraded due to factory farming, mass production and over-processing of raw goods, leading to even the soil now being deficient in the trace minerals it always held.
In our grandparents’ lifetimes, all food was ‘organic.’ Today our fruit and vegetables are covered in dangerous amounts of chemicals like pesticides and insecticides. Animals are mass farmed in cruel conditions and are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, which remain in the meat and are carried through to dairy and eggs.
The reason farmers and food manufacturers need to do this is because of the vast growth in population which means huge demand on these industries. They need to grow and rear these foods quickly with minimal damage but in turn this has damaged the environment, and subsequently, our health. Cancer cells feed off of chemicals and autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system isn’t supported enough through a healthy lifestyle. There is good news though: we can change all this.
My philosophy is that nature knows best. Choose organic, grow your own where possible, and prepare your meals in a way that keeps the raw products as close to their natural state as possible. Soon you will feel the difference – increased energy and a feeling of purity from within. The aesthetic rewards (weight loss, glowing skin, strong hair and nails) are just an added bonus!
This carries through to our entire lifestyle, not just food. Our increased exposure to toxicity is, I believe, what is causing so much disease; the toxins in food, cosmetics, household products, toiletries, how we over medicate and over vaccinate our children. How can we possibly expect to be healthy if with every breath we take we are putting more and more toxins into our delicate bodies and those of our precious children? Cancer cells feed off toxins; autoimmunity begins with low immunity, and the more toxins we are exposed to, the weaker our immune systems become. And of course, the gut controls the immune system so what we eat will directly impact the results. Around 50-60% of us have ‘faulty’ genes, or genetic mutations such as MTHFR, meaning our bodies simply cannot detoxify properly. For those of us who have this, it only takes an influx of toxins or stress to trigger an illness we may already be genetically predisposed to. I have made it my life’s purpose to reduce toxicity to a minimum for my family, and to teach others to do the same.
There are already many people worldwide on this same journey, striving for a healthier future for themselves and for their children. On the way, you might learn some things you wish you could unlearn (like the ugly truth of factory farming, or just exactly what refined sugar does to your body, or what really goes on in the pharmaceutical industry) but I hope you will join me on this path to a healthier you and a happier planet. (If you’re interested in learning more please join the Arnica Network on Facebook.)
I am not medically trained (though I do believe even their training is now biased and regulated by how their student doctors will directly impact the pharmaceutical industry); I am a qualified nutritionist, specialising in childhood nutrition, but everything else came down to my incessant need to research. I have put a lot of energy into finding the recipe for being my happiest, healthiest self. Below are some of my tips, but remember to start small; don’t get daunted and just do bits at a time until it all fits together, which it will!
- Having a good holistic therapist, whether a homeopath, naturopath or otherwise, is imperative. They will find the root cause of your problem and treat it from here. You will most likely go back to see them every 4-6 weeks at the beginning, then every few months or when something is wrong thereafter. A practitioner who practices more than one treatment would be best as the more integrated the approach, the more chance you have of getting better. For a medically trained homeopath you can visit www.britishhomeopathic.org/find-a-homeopathic-practitioner/find-a-homeopath/
For any other sort of holistic practitioner, a great resource for approved, qualified therapists from massage, acupuncture, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, kinesiology, ayurveda and more, visit www.therapy-directory.org.uk
- Drink plenty of filtered water. Most municipal water authorities do a good job of delivering tap water that is free of dangerous germs. Yet they use chlorine that is a deadly poison in huge amounts. And germs are not the only problem. Lots of other nasty stuff gets into our drinking and washing water during its journey from the water-works to our taps. Increased pollution from municipal and industrial waste and the leeching of fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture has already limited the amount of fresh water available to humans by two-thirds, according to the World Health Organization. If you live in a big city, the chance is that the water pipes delivering your water are several decades old. In America, as many as 30 percent of those pipes are between 40 – 80 years old, while in London over 44 per cent of pipes are over 100 years old. The U.S. Consumer Reports organisation says that ‘dangerous contaminants such as lead, chloroform, arsenic, nitrate, radon and E.Coli bacteria are common in tap water’. Using a water filtration system such as Love Pure Water or Kangen will help this.
- Eat organic! Every non-organic fruit or vegetable you consume has toxic chemicals in it… Reducing our exposure to toxicity helps keep us healthy.
- No processed food. The further away from its natural state your food is, the less nutrients it contains. Eat fresh! Cook everything yourself. Yes, it takes longer, it’s not as convenient and it’s more expensive, but can you think of anything more important than your health? When someone gets cancer won’t they do absolutely anything to cure themselves? Why not prevent instead of cure.
- Try to start your day with a hot water with lemon, this clears the digestive tract and aids digestion for the day ahead.
- Follow this with a green juice. It is difficult to consume enough of the plants we need to sustain ourselves with the right nutrients. By juicing, we help fill our bodies with these nutrients and cleanse the cells. This creates new, healthier cells instead of feeding old ones with what they need for cancer to emerge. Since our cells constantly regenerate, we can get rid of disease altogether if we do the right things.
- Cut out dairy. You don’t need milk or yoghurt to benefit from highly bioavailable sources of calcium. In fact, contrary to popular belief, most dairy products do not possess any type of calcium that is easily absorbed in the body and you can read more about that in an article I wrote about the dangers of dairy here.
- For added protein use chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina, chickpeas, quinoa, avocados and nuts or nut butters. Although meat ‘technically’ contains all the protein we need, human bodies do not absorb these proteins as well as carnivorous animals, so we need to find other, more bioavailable sources of protein. As an example, 100g of spirulina contains 57g protein, whereas 100g of chicken contains a mere 16g of protein. If you do eat meat, make sure that you source the best-quality meat which has been reared organically and humanely. Be careful of meats that claim to be free-range but in fact are not. The best way to know where your produce comes from is to buy from small, farm-direct suppliers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Try cutting out gluten. Although wheat is naturally produced, modern wheat (which has only been around in its current form since about 1960) is much lower in nutrients and much higher in gluten. The name gluten actually comes from it being glue-like. Gluten is what gives dough elasticity and what helps bread to rise. When gluten reaches the digestive tract and is exposed to the cells of the immune system, they mistakenly believe that it is coming from some sort of foreign invader, like a bacteria. This can cause the immune system to start attacking it, which is what causes bloating, cramps and irritation of the immune system.
- Cut out refined sugar. Our bodies can’t metabolise fructose. Most processed sweet things have high fructose corn syrup in them, which the liver turns into fat and stores (usually on your tummy or hips!) Refined sugar contains no vitamins or minerals; it is simply empty calories. It will affect your cholesterol, insulin levels and it’s addictive. Remove any sugary drinks and foods from your diet immediately (this should be first on your list of changes to make, and if that is all you do, you would have achieved a lot.) You might crave them at first but eventually you will notice a huge difference in how you feel without them. Once your taste buds adjust you will realise that sugar is overly sweet and flavourless and you will in fact prefer the taste of natural sweeteners such as honey, dates, or organic maple syrup. Stevia is a good option for diabetics, as even honey, dates and maple syrup are high in natural sugars, which, while fine in moderation for a healthy person, can have very negative effects for a diabetic. You can read my article about sugar here.
- Don’t replace your regular sugary drink with ‘diet’ drinks. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are highly toxic and have been known to cause MS, arthritis, hormone imbalances leading to infertility, and eventually, can contribute to causing cancer too. Stay away from artificial sweeteners.
- One of the most important supplements you can take is probiotics. The immune system begins in the gut. If the gut is strong, your immune system will be strong. Probiotics encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut, enabling us to have stronger immune systems. You can take these in supplement form or, even better, get their benefits through fermented foods such as kombucha, keffir and saurkraut.
- Important things to add to your diet: chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, manuka honey, leafy green vegetables, chlorella, spirulina, bananas, pineapple, coconut, cherries, blueberries, avocados, sweet potatoes, kale, lemon, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. My recipes use these all the time so if you’re not sure how to use some of them, visit the recipes page.
- Supplements or nutrition to think about after seeing a naturopath: probiotics, black seed oil, curcumin, vitamin c, vitamin d, chlorella, B12 methylcobalamin, garlic, zinc, magnesium – all depending on what you personally need. We are all different.
- Things to remove from your diet: caffeine, alcohol, anything too acidic, red meat, white bread, white pasta (try Dove’s Farm brown rice pasta), dairy, refined sugar.
- Exercise. Go to the gym, go for a swim, ride a horse, go for a walk, do yoga or run, or just follow a YouTube video – anything! Just get moving. Not only will it help you feel better physically by keeping your heart healthy, lowering your cholesterol and boosting your energy, it will also help you feel happier by sending endorphins to your brain.
- Try taking up meditation or some form of relaxation technique for at least ten minutes a day. Studies show that by meditating for ten to twenty minutes a day, you will find improvements in your concentration, creativity, happiness and relationships. Headspace is a great app to get you started.
- For pain relief in the meantime here are some things I found to help: DoTerra Frankincense essential oil for anti-inflammatory helped me a lot. 2-3 drops in tea twice a day, and mix with coconut oil and rub on the affected areas; Magnesium supplements before bed; Epsom salt baths.
- Try to do all of this about 85% of the time. If you are out for dinner with friends or at your mum’s house, don’t worry about it too much. Know that you are nourishing your body with exactly what it needs for the majority of the time, therefore the odd deviation won’t hurt you. Enjoying your life is as important as the work you put in to stay healthy; you can’t have one without the other.
- With regards to parenting, a natural, conscious way of parenting will encourage your children to grow as healthily as possible. Things like breastfeeding and vaccinations are important topics to discuss, and you can read more about my thoughts on all these issues in Articles.
- Other things to keep at home
- High power blender or food processor
- A vegetable spiralizer is a great accessory to be able to make fun, healthy food and it’s not expensive
- Dehydrator – great for healthy snacks when you have kids
So I reckon that’s most of it; all the things I do daily to stay healthy. It is more time consuming and more expensive than just taking a pill and seeing a doctor once a month, that is for sure, but the benefits outweigh all of that because, well, I’m not in a wheelchair anymore! I really hope you have the same results. Take it one step at a time, making one small change each week, and within a year you will not believe the results.
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me, I’d love to help!
Love & health,