Detox, should you or shouldn’t you

Well, should you or shouldn’t you. There is such a lot of information around supporting both the ‘should’ and the ‘shouldn’t’ that it is hard to know if it would be worth the effort.

First of all let’s have a look at the purpose of detoxification. This is in essence to give your organs of digestion and elimination a chance to do some housekeeping. It requires a lot of blood supply and energy to process and eliminate food, and the purpose of detoxification is to remove the load from the digestive system and give your body a chance to renew and reinvigorate itself.

In ancient days people always chose the coming of spring, after a long winter in which fresh food was not available, to perk themselves up with a ‘spring tonic’. This usually involved eating the fresh green vegetables which were again available, and drinking vegetable broths and drinking infusions of fresh herbs to clean the blood and refresh to liver and to provide some much needed fibre to a bowel grown sluggish from the lack of fresh fibrous food during the cold weather.

The same principle can be applied today, we can choose a time to detox after Christmas when we feel awful from all the over eating and over drinking we have been doing, or any time we feel we have let our healthy lifestyle slip for whatever reason.

The first important thing to do is to choose a suitable time. Don’t choose a time when you have a number of important social occasions coming up, choose a time when you can devote yourself to healing and refreshing, a time when you can be selfish, a time just for you. If you can do a detox during a holiday that would be perfect, but if that isn’t possible don’t let that put you off. But, no social occasions for the time period you choose is important. The reason for this is so you can relax quietly at home after work and go to bed early. Sleep is a very important restorative function. We all know how awful we feel when we don’t have enough sleep!

Next thing to decide is the length of time you wish to devote to your detox. It can be anything from two days to two weeks, but a week or ten days is best.

Then it is time to decide just what method of detox to use. There are a number of commercial packs available but it is just as easy to work out a programme for yourself. If you are going to do your detox while continuing to work, it is important to choose one in which you get enough to eat, You don’t want to feel faint and ravenous in the afternoons and fall on the office biscuit supply like a starving wolf.

A simple choice is one with non reactive foods. In this you eat cooked brown rice and steamed vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, green beans, cauliflower. You eat this for all of your meals each day. This food is easy to digest and reduces the work of the digestive system. To drink you can have green tea or peppermint or chamomile tea, and water, lots of it. You must cut out black tea and coffee. By eating in this manner you are also cutting out dairy and wheat along with caffeine.

Another choice could be to begin your programme with two days on juices. It is best to choose mostly vegetable juices as these are not so high in sugar as most fruits. A good combination is carrot, celery, beetroot, apple and ginger. This is very cleansing and provides a lot of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. After two days on juices you can then move to raw food. Eat only raw vegetables and fruit. If you are doing this for seven days you can add small amounts of nuts such as almonds and brazils for the last four days. Small amounts unfortunately does mean small, 10 almonds per day, or five brazil nuts per day.

If you have assigned only a weekend to your detox, day one could be raw food and juices and day two could be brown rice and steamed vegetables.

In a detox programme it is usually a case of getting worse before you get better. If you drink a lot of coffee or cola drinks you can expect to feel quite toxic when you give them up. Many people get a dull headache and a coated tongue, and feel very tired. Some experience all sorts of aches and pains. This usually passes somewhere between days three and five. This is an important reason to choose your time carefully. It is not a time to be under a lot of work pressure or stress.

It is very important to plan to spend as much time relaxing as you can. Go to bed very early and if you like to read in bed, choose topics that will not excite or agitate you in any way. If you prefer to watch television, or watch DVDs, choose relaxing material.

While you are detoxing your body, it is a good idea to also detox your mind. If you have any particular worrying matters going on, try to resolve them before you start your programme. If particular people upset you or make you angry, try not to see them for the duration of your detox. Choose whatever suits you to enable you to feel calm and relaxed. Some people like to play soothing music, some like to practice Tai Chi, some prefer yoga, and then there are others who find physical activity relaxing and a good way to de stress. Go for a run or a swim, whatever will achieve the outcome of a calm, relaxed state.

When the allotted time for your detox is over, please do not celebrate it by going on a sugar or alcohol binge because you will feel absolutely terrible if you do. Your body will have adjusted to being without these things and they will act as the poisons they really are.

It is a good idea to reintroduce foods back in to your diet slowly when you complete your programme. Eat one group of foods, for example wheat or dairy products one day, then leave a day in between eating any different foods to see how you feel. You will then know if the foods do not suit you or make you feel sick.

When you have completed your programme and you  move to the wonderful exhilarating feeling of true health, you will have a powerful reason to stick to a healthier way of living.

Endometriosis, the Natural Way

In order to understand the ‘natural way with endometriosis’ it is important to know the meaning of the term”Wholistic Medicine”. This term is used to describe the approach a Naturopath takes to the health problems of an individual person. We believe that only if one is untroubled in the areas of emotional health, physical health and environmental health, and there is a balance between these areas, can we then say this person is well. Our health and wellbeing are affected by the food we eat, the things we drink, the thoughts we think, the way we relate to those around us, and where we work and live. We cannot separate any one area and deal with that alone. To do so would be symptomatic only.

If we imagine a cake with one wedge cut out of it, that would represent symptomatic medicine. This way of treating a person looks only at their symptoms, and tries to find a way to suppress those symptoms without taking into consideration any other problems a person has. Symptomatic medicine does not consider that any body system has to be treated in conjunction with the whole, it believes you deal only with the problem areas.

If we imagine the whole cake, then we have an idea of Wholistic Medicine, that every body system, including the intellect and emotions, are exquisitely inter-related and if one is affected, all are in some way affected, off balance.  The role of Wholistic Medicine is to balance, to re-establish harmony.

 

What is Endometriosis

There are a number of theories as to the cause of Endometriosis. One of them is retrograde menstruation. The idea the endometrial cells pass through the fallopian tubes during menstruation and colonise parts of the peritoneal cavity. where they attach, grow and function. Common sites for the cells are in or on the tubes, ovaries, pouch of Douglas, rectosigmoid. These cells behave like their identical twin, the endometrial lining of the uterus in that they swell and bleed at menstruation.

Another theory is that we are born with the cells in place and something triggers them to behave inappropriately. It is estimated that most women complain of period pain for six years before a diagnosis of endometriosis is made. While you can tell a lot from the symptom picture the only truly accurate diagnosis is by laparoscopy.

The symptoms of endometriosis vary from woman to woman. Some have severe pain before and after their period commences. Some have pain on intercourse. In some cases the stabbing pain comes on at ovulation and lasts well in to menstruation. Some seem to have pain most of the time. Heavy bleeding is a problem many women have to contend with, some to the extent of being afraid to leave home. Bowel problems are quite common as well, including the painful passing of stools and constipation or diarrhoea. One of the signs of endometriosis is the period beginning with blood that looks like coffee grounds, this can last for a few days before the blood turns bright red, and the period can end with brown blood. Another sign can be a smelly brown discharge from the navel.

The medical treatment for Endometriosis is to put the patient on the pill. Because the pill prevents ovulation the cells do not swell and bleed and therefore the pain is not experienced. Well that is the theory anyway. In many cases even though on the pill the sufferer still feels quite a lot of pain. There are other medical drugs used, some with the outcome of turning off the hormonal flow at the level of the pituitary with the result the patient experiences menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. Whatever medical treatment is used there is usually a downside.

The Natural treatment for Endometriosis is to use herbal medicine and diet to normalize the hormonal function and to stop pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. The herbal medicine prescribed would be an individual mix made up to deal specifically with the patient’s symptoms. Something to normalize hormones, something for pain, maybe something for heavy bleeding, and always a herb to help the liver to function better.

The diet would be based on the removing as many zenoestrogens as possible from the food intake and also from the lifestyle. A zenoestrogen is a substance with the ability to act like an estrogen in the body. Examples of zenoestrogens are pesticides, dioxins, growth stimulators in chicken. The patient would be asked to eat only certified organic chicken and to wash and peel all fruit and vegetables before eating. Tampons are not to be used as they contain dioxins.

I have found that many women with endometriosis eat a lot of diary products, particularly cheese. Cutting out all diary is important. Cheese is a mould, contains yeast and is a saturated fat and must not be eaten. If there is a high intake of sugar in the diet that needs to be taken out as well. Alcohol is included in sugar intake. If a lot of wine and beer is drunk then that needs to be given up. I know that sounds like the kiss of death to the social life so the good news is you can have vodka. The emotions play a big part in endometriosis. Many women are upset and frightened. Upset about their future, particularly in regard to their fertility. Many are told ‘endometriosis can cause infertility’ and then believe they are infertile. The question ‘Will I be able to have children?’ is a very important one. Frightened of the future, ‘Will I have to live with this pain forever?’ Frightened of the side effects of the drugs given by the medical profession. There is a beautiful, safe and effective system of help to be found in the Bach Flower Remedies, these work on various different emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, worry and are always incorporated in to my treatment for Endometriosis.

In summary I would like all sufferers of Endometriosis to know there is another way to treat your condition, a natural way that will bring about relief of symptoms and a return to normal functioning of your reproductive system. The treatment with herbal medicine takes a minimum of three months and the dietary changes need to be in place forever, but this is a small price to pay for a pain free life. It is always best to seek professional advice rather than attempt to treat yourself for something as complex as endometriosis.

How to Detoxify your Mind

We read endless articles and books about the importance of detoxifying our bodies but not a lot is said about the importance of detoxifying your mind. Most us have ways of operating at an emotional level that cause us to magnify and catastrophise and then go on to experience the emotions caused by our own negative thinking. An example of this is when we imagine a scenario.

Mary gets to thinking about how much work she is doing, how many extra hours she is putting in to produce the high quality work for which she prides herself. It has been a couple of years since she had a pay increase, how unfair is that, her friend Jane gets a review every six months with a pay increase and a share of company profits. She decides she will speak to her manager. She runs though in her mind all the additional work she has done, the excellent results she has achieved, and settles on an amount of pay increase she would like. She then begins to think of her manager, this manager is quite new and in a way it was unfair that Mary was not offered this position. Anyway, this manager seems jealous of her and doesn’t seem to like her. She imagines asking this person for a pay increase, she imagines the whole scene going horribly wrong and the manager sneering at her and hinting she has overestimated her importance to the company. Mary then feels overcome with rage and furiously insulted and imagines slamming down her resignation and walking out.

Did any of this happen? No, but Mary has experienced the same the pain and suffering and assault on her self worth as if this had really taken place. Does this sound familiar? This is an example of an exhausting and toxic way of operating emotionally. If a different way of operating could be found a lot of emotional wear and tear would be saved.

The first step to an emotional detox is to identify patterns that no longer serve you well. Mary’s way of operating is called ‘worst case scenario’ or ‘catastrophising’ This is the habit of immediately imagining the worst possible thing that could happen and then suffering the emotions that would go along with this if it were true. The old expression ‘fighting your battles before they come’ also describes this.

Identifying what exactly is wrong with our way of operating is quite hard as we immediately try to save ourselves by justifying exactly why we do what we do. The mind is a very tricky customer when it comes to protecting itself and we need to ask it to step aside while we find better ways of being.

We will start with the two most common causes of troubled thinking.

Do you worry a lot? Are you worrying about actual things that are about to happen? Then you are probably going round and round in circles and not producing an end result. First step is to externalize the situation. Take a piece of paper and make three columns. Head them “What I expect will happen”, “ What I fear will happen” and “What I would most like to happen” It may be that you have the same thing in two columns. This is okay, the reason for doing this exercise is so you can identify your own thinking. Do you always expect the worst? Why would that be? (Let me assure you at this point you haven’t been singled out by Fate to have a horrible, miserable life).

The most likely answer is that you have developed a negative way of thinking that no longer serves you well and one that you wish to change. It is easy to change this once you have identified that you are doing it.

Do your answers lead you to find you are very fearful? Why are you fearful? How often do the things you spend so much time fearing actually happen?  Try to remember the first time you felt fear or anxiety. This will most probably be a child’s thinking and when you hold it up to the light of day as an adult you can often see that it no longer applies to you and you can make the changes required.

Are the answers you have put in your “What I would like to happen” realistic? Are they possible and achievable? They may reveal that you have set your sights too high and that the tasks you have set for your self are not presently achievable. Do you have the tools for this to happen? How can I get the tools? If, for example, you say I want to be a famous rock star but you currently can’t play any instrument or sing a note, then you have set yourself up to fail and will experience all the negative feelings of failure.

What about anger? Feelings of undirected anger and fury suffuse a lot of people a lot of the time. If this is how you feel you will understand the effect it has on your nervous system and if you have to live with someone who is like this you will know just how emotionally draining this is, and the bad effect it has on those around this behaviour, children especially.

First step is to identify the feeling of anger. Why are you angry? Why exactly does this make you angry? It is no good at this point saying “It makes me angry when people are bad”, that is too general. Why is ‘badness’ wrong? Does it offend our morals? We need to keep narrowing the question down until we get an answer. It may be that we find that we are angry about things that are not fair. Then we must ask is it injustice that makes us angry. If it is, then we must ask who decides what is fair or not. How did we come to decide what is fair or not. Do we still believe the answer we have come up with.

Many times you will find that you formed ideas that are the basis of your moral judgements in childhood and have never revised them in adulthood. Finding out what you really think about all sorts of issues is revelatory and the start of personal growth.

Now you are armed with these simple but extremely effective tools to examine the areas in which you are your own worst enemy you will be able to identify the blocks to your own growth and development and proceed to put in place strategies that allow productive thinking and emotional calm.

Hair, Skin and Nails

These three are the visible signs of our health and wellbeing. These three are also the things that at some time or another give cause for worry. Lets have a look at them individually, see some common things that can go wrong and what we can do about them.

We will start with hair. To suddenly start losing handfuls of hair is a dreadful experience, and hair loss seems to vary from person to person. So how much hair loss is normal? Most people lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day. The hair you lose when you brush or comb or shampoo your hair are ready to fall out, so not brushing, combing or shampooing will not help stop hair loss.

Our hair is an excellent indicator of our health. If we should experience excessive hair loss from the entire scalp this usually means something has happened to our body. This could be either a temporary thing or a more serious event and the cause needs to be identified and corrected. Once this is done the lost hair will be replaced.

Usually whatever caused the hair loss happened two or three months before the loss became apparent. In the case of a temporary hair loss something like food poisoning or a high fever will cause a loss of hair from all over the scalp a couple of months after the event. Other common causes are stopping contraceptive pills, changing from one brand of pill to another, taking the morning after pill, or ending a pregnancy. In these cases no treatment is necessary and hair will return to normal in six months.

It is usually something more serious that causes permanent hair loss. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anaemia, and things that affect the endocrine system.
The endocrine system covers the glands of the body system and their role is to secrete hormones. These glands include the thyroid, the Parathyroid and the Adrenal glands.

The Thyroid gland is very important to the way we feel, how energetic we are. If this gland is underactive we may experience fatigue, hair loss, menstrual disturbances, weight gain and excessive hair growth on the face and body. If, on the other hand, the Thyroid is overactive, we could still experience hair loss as well as feeling too hot, sweating and have a rapid heartbeat.

Our Adrenal glands produce the hormones that help us combat stress, and with the busy stressful lives we all lead nowadays the Adrenals are overworked at the best of times. A sudden bout of more stress on top of our usual high stress levels can result in hair loss.

Anaemia is a common cause of hair loss. This is something you should not diagnose yourself, you should get a blood test from the doctor to check your levels. It is however, something that is easy to do something about. You can check to make sure you are having enough protein in order to get iron, you can take additional Vitamin C to aid absorption of dietary iron, and you can find supplements based on beetroot if you are a vegetarian.

Mineral deficiencies are another common cause of hair loss. Common deficiencies are Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, and Chromium. If you eat a varied diet that contains lots of vegetables and fruit and a protein source at two meals per day, you should be getting all the minerals you need. You may think you have a healthy diet but it could be that your stomach isn’t working properly and you are not absorbing your nutrients. If you feel bloated, with belching, flatulence, indigestion and diarrhea or constipation you can be sure things are not working and you should be heading for your Naturopath.

So, what is the best thing to do if you are experiencing significant hairloss? If you can identify an illness or traumatic event that took place two or three months ago you don’t have to do anything. Your hair will grow back. If you can’t think of any particular thing then maybe it is time to see a Naturopath to get the cause identified.

 

The skin

There are many different skin diseases and problems that range from the inconvenient and temporary to the recurrent and permanent. Let us have a look at the most common skin problems, and probably pimples and breakouts of the face would be top of the list. The first thing that needs to be done is to identify the probably cause. One of the most common problems is the breakouts that occur at period time, the hormonal pimples. These tend to be around the jaw line. To get this fixed we need to see what is happening in the menstrual cycle to assess if there is a hormonal imbalance. If one is suspected then taking some herbal medicine or some herbal medicine in tablet form will usually sort this out. A wonderful hormonal regulating herb is called Vitex Agnes Castus, its common name is Chaste Tree. This will work for simple problems but if you have a lot of pain or cramping or heavy bleeding with your periods – as well as skin outbreaks – you would do well to see a Naturopath.

In Chinese Medicine the skin is called the third kidney and the idea is when one or more of the systems of elimination are not working properly, the body has to use the skin to get rid of toxic matter, and it does this in the form of breakouts on the face, chest and back. So we have to ask what is not working. Are the lungs okay? This is one way we eliminate toxins from the body. If you are a chronic asthmatic for example, your lungs may not be able to expel adequately and may need some help. How is does your digestion work, is there bloating, flatulence, rumbling, constipation or diaorrhea? This isn’t how things are meant to be and this must be fixed.

What about the bowels? This is the most important body system of elimination. If you suffer from chronic constipation the body cannot rid itself of waste matter and what is worse, little bugs called enterotoxins move from within the bowel into the blood and secrete enterotoxic matter. This then circulates around our brains and makes us feel headachey and ill as well as causing pimples to break out on the face, back and chest. If this is what is happening to you then this must be fixed quickly. Cut out all fried food, sugary food, and junk food of any sort. Cutting out junk food applies to drinks as well as food. No soft drink, coffee, sports drinks either! Eat a diet high in fruit, vegetables, lean meat and high fibre complex carbohydrate like good quality bread and brown rice. You could also take a supplement such as Psyllium Seeds or Slippery Elm Powder, both of which are available from the Supermarket..

For healthy skin we need Zinc and Vitamins A, C, and E.

 


Nails

The state of our fingernails tells us a few interesting things about how our body is working. Like everything else in the body, our nails reflect our general state of health. If we are in poor condition due to illness or poor diet this will be reflected in our nails.


Soft cracking peeling nails

Take gelatine capsules or a teaspoon of powdered gelatine stirred in to a glass of water or juice daily. This will strengthen them up in about one month. Also take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement.


White spots on your nails

A sign of Zinc deficiency, take 25 mgs of elemental zinc.


Horizontal Ridge

A sign that you have been sick or experienced major trauma. Will grow out.


Longitudinal Ridges

Some ridging is normal with age but it can be a sign of a lack of Hydrochloric Acid in the stomach. Try drinking the juice of half a lemon in hot water each morning first thing. Some people also think this is a sign of a lack of Silica. This is readily available in health food shops.


No Moons

We should have moons visible on all of our finger nails, not just our thumbs. It is a sign of poor protein intake or metabolism to have no moons. Make sure your digestion is working and make sure you eat adequate protein. Eating meat, fish, chicken, dairy foods and eggs is the easiest way to be sure you are getting enough protein, and eating it at two meals per day, not just one. If you are a vegetarian you have to put some effort in to getting enough protein, you need to eat pulses such as dried beans and lentils at two meals per day, or other foods such as tofu, or combining foods to make good proteins. Beans and rice is an example of combined foods making a good protein, as is bread and cheese.

Just in case you are in trouble in all three areas there are products available from health food shops made by a number of different companies called “Hair, Skin and Nails”.

How to Change

How often do we hear people telling us to “deal with our issues”, “get over it” “move on”.  Quite a lot!Most of us would love to resolve all of our internal hurts and angers and be free of our emotional burdens but just don’t know how to do it.

Counselling or consulting a psychologist is one way to sort out your emotions but there is another way, a very simple and effective way using flower essences.

There are a number of different Flower Essences such as Australian Bush Flower essences and American essences but the ones I like to use are the Bach Flower Remedies. Most people have heard of Rescue Remedy which is a combination of five different remedies and is used for shock, confusion, irritation, etc. These remedies were first discovered by Dr. Edward Bach, a medical doctor who qualified in 1912. He was disatisfied with the practice of medicine and worked on intestinal bacteria where he made a name for himself. He still had great hopes of discovering a simple system of medicine that could be used to good effect by everyone.

He became aware that it didn’t matter what the name of the disease was, each individual has their own way of reacting to whatever may be wrong with them. For example people who are sick have reactions that can be categorized in to quite a small number of reactions. One is being angry that you are sick, another is feeling sad and sorry for yourself and wanting to be looked after, another is to just ignore being sick and soldiering on, and yet another is to just want to be left alone.

Dr Bach decided he would find remedies for emotional reactions to ill health rather than treating the physical problem itself, believing that when the emotions were healed the body would follow. He had a thought that a drop of dew on a plant would hold some of the plants properties, and acting on this somewhat unusual idea set about developing his first nineteen remedies. He had a highly sensitive nature and by holding the plant in his hand or placing it on his tongue he would experience the negative emotions the plant would heal.

As you can imagine the medical profession didn’t exactly take to his ideas and he then began to teach his system to members of the public as a simple way any person could help alleviate the suffering of fellow men and women. When we are troubled by emotional issues we experience a number of negative emotions such as anger, fear, being judgmental, confused, indecisive. By taking the remedies that align to your emotional state you bring about relief from troubling and negative ways of thinking. And let me tell you they really work!

Most health food shops sell Bach Flower remedies and most Naturopaths will make you up a bottle. It is usual to pick five of the strongest negative feelings you have and the remedies are then combined in to the one bottle. These gentle safe remedies are a wonderfully effective way of freeing yourself from old patterns that no longer serve you well.

Taking the remedies is a very simple matter of just putting four drops under your tongue four times daily. Now let us have a look at the remedies themselves to see what exactly they do.

 

Agrimony: keeping all of your feelings bottled up inside you.


Aspen anxiety: and feelings of dread or apprehension.


Beech: being critical and faultfinding and harshly judgmental.


Centaury: peacemakers who are afraid to speak up for themselves.


Cerato: person who continually asks other people for advice, always talking about personal problems, but never takes the advice. Everyone has at least one friend like this.


Cherry Plum: feeling that one is about to crack and do something dreadful. This is very good for exhausted mothers who fear they will crack and beat their child.


Chestnut Bud: never learning by your mistakes, and doing the same thing over and over again. This is good for the woman who is constantly being let down by picking unsuitable partners.


Chicory: feeling sorry for yourself and for using emotional blackmail.


Clematis: feeling dreamy and unable to concentrate. This is very good to give children who get in to trouble for not concentrating at school.


Crab Apple: feeling dirty or contaminated. This is good for people who have nasty skin conditions or those who have suffered sexual assault.


Elm: feeling that life’s burden is too great, that you are overwhelmed by having too much to do. Just about everyone needs this remedy at some stage of the year, use when the pressure feels unbearable.


Gentian: doubtfulness, for the expectation that everything will turn out bad. This is good for people who have suffered rejection and are now unsure of themselves.


Gorse: believing there is no hope at all and that they have been doomed to a lifetime of suffering. Give this to those who believe they have been born under a bad star or that they are cursed in some way.


Heather: those who are very concerned with themselves and find themselves a fascinating subject. Give this to those who talk incessantly about themselves or to those who talk to fill up silences and who drain the energy of others.


Holly: anger, jealousy, envy and hate. This is wonderful for those who are consumed by anger and can’t work their way through it.


Honeysuckle: homesickness and living in the past in a time when things were happy. Give this to those who dwell on lost loves and to old people who live in the past in the good old days. Use also for homesickness.


Hornbeam: temporary feelings of being unable to cope. Use when faced with a huge task or workload, studying for exams.


Impatiens: intense feelings of irritation and being extremely irritable. This is very good for PMT.


Larch: feeling inferior, a lack of confidence. This is good for children who are being bullied and for anyone whose confidence is down or suffers poor self esteem.


Mimulus: fear of specific things such as fear of flying, or fear of spiders. Give it to anyone who has a specific fear.


Mustard: black depression, the sort that comes upon one for no particular reason. This is good for the depression of PMT or any sort of black depression.


Oak: those who always do their duty. This is for hard workers who have lost their strength due to illness.


Olive: exhaustion. Use after illness or overwork.


Pine: plagued by guilt. Use for those who apologise all the time, who begin conversations with “Sorry”. For any strong guilt feelings.


Red Chestnut: called the mothers remedy. This is for overconcern for others. Those who need this worry excessively about their loved ones. Use for those who believe you have been killed in a car accident when you are 5 minutes late.


Rock Rose: for panic. Use for those who fly in to a panic about trifles, and for panic attacks.


Rock Water: rigid and inflexible ideas. Those who have strong and unchanging beliefs. This is wonderful for those who are held back by stong negative beliefs.


Scleranthus: those who cannot make up their minds, procrastinate and dither. This is good to help make a difficult decision or for those who habitually procrastinate.


Star of Bethlehem: shock or trauma, recent or old. Give to those whose life has not been the same since a traumatic event or a death of a loved one.


Sweet Chestnut: despair and emotional agony. Use when plunged in to despair by a sudden horrific incident.


Vervain: perfectionists, this is good for people who have such high standards of themselves and others that they are constantly let down.


Vine: those who wish to control others. Use on the control freaks in your life and watch them change.


Walnut: dealing with states of change such as puberty, menopause, moving houses or countries, separations and divorces. Use for anyone undergoing big life changes.


Water Violet: aloof and uncommunicative and wish to be left to their own devices. This is good for those whose partners won’t talk to them.


White Chestnut mental arguments with themselves, who worry incessantly, who over analyze things. This is very good for anyone having trouble sleeping because of the inability to switch off their mind.


Wild Oat: cannot make a choice or decision when there is too much to choose from. This is good for those who are unable to move forward. This allows the person to focus.


Wild Rose: feelings of apathy and resignation, when someone is beyond depression, just can’t care anymore. This is good for those who don’t want to do anything, go anywhere and who have no energy and are past caring.


Willow: resentment and holding grudges. Use this for those who have held on to every slight and insult and who still feel angry about them.


 

Most health food shops sell Bach Flower remedies and most Naturopaths will make you up a bottle. It is usual to pick five of the strongest negative feelings you have and the remedies are then combined in to the one bottle. These gentle safe remedies are a wonderfully effective way of freeing yourself from old patterns that no longer serve you well.

We are what we Eat

It is often said ‘we are what we eat’ and while it is very important to eat a healthy diet, it might be closer to the truth to say ‘we are what we absorb’. There is an old Naturopathic belief that all disease starts in the gut and thee is some truth to this, so a healthy digestive system, one that is capable of processing and absorbing the nutrients from the food we eat is essential to a healthy disease free life. The digestive system is a lot more than a tube where we put things in one end and the waste products come out the other. It is a place where a miracle of transformation takes place and the food we eat is broken down to many constituents in order to be used by the body as fuel.

The process start in the mouth with the saliva containing enzymes that begin to break down carbohydrates. The food reaches the stomach where more enzymes such as Hydrochloric Acid are secreted. The food then turns into a soupy mix and goes into the next stage of digestion, the small intestine. This is the place most digestion and absorption of nutrients happens. The small intestine walls are covered with small finger –like projections called villi, and it is through the villi walls nutrients pass in to the blood stream. To assist in the breakdown for food, bile is secreted by the gallbladder and enzymes by the pancreas. The fibrous remains of the food then move in to the large bowel where water is extracted and the rest, along with cellular debris, dead bacteria become faecal matter.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with this process, things that lead to a condition of underfunction and if left untreated result in a number of uncomfortable situations before they lead to something more serious.

The first most common situation encountered is a lack of Hydrochloric Acid in the stomach. This leads to feeling very full when you haven’t eaten a particularly large amount, feeling like the food you eat stays in the stomach for a long time. Feeling very burpy or bloated.

It is very important to fix this up quickly as the food you eat isn’t digesting and is passing to the small intestine without being broken down, and this will cause problems all the rest of the way down. One simple way to fix this is to begin the morning with a glass of warm water to which you have added the juice of half a lemon.

A problem occurs in the small intestine when the villi become stuck together with mucus as a result of a bad diet and then crack open to allow large molecules of protein to move in to the blood stream. The immune system then challenges these molecules and what we get is an allergic reaction. If this situation goes on long enough a sufferer gets to the stage of feeling they can’t eat anything anymore, everything makes them feel sick in one way or another. This situation requires more drastic action, one we will go in to detail about below.

Many problems can occur in the large intestine but the most common problem is constipation. It is normal for food to take between 24 and 48 hours to pass through to excretion. The time this takes is called transit time. If you want to check how efficiently your bowel is working eat some corn. Count how long it takes from the time of eating to the time the last kernels appear in your stool. If this time is longer than 48 hours then matters need to be given a hurry up.

The most common two reasons for constipation are not drinking enough water, we need six to eight glasses per day, and not eating enough fibre.

We can have between 2 and 5kg of faecal matter held in our bowel at any one time, and when it just sits there some horrible things take place. Putrefactive bacteria can move from the bowel in to the bloodstream and when they are there they secrete enterotoxic matter. This then travels in the blood through the brain and causes headaches and feelings of toxicity and sickness.

Pockets of inflammation can form in the bowel which lead to diseases such as diverticulitis.

Before we start to think of what we should be eating it is a good idea to begin any healthy lifestyle plan with a repair program for the insides.

As we said before, digestion begins in the mouth so the first step is to chew your food thoroughly. This isn’t possible if you eat on the run. Most of us look forward to eating so we should all allow at least half an hour to sit quietly and eat. Trying to talk and eat at the same time results in swallowing your food unchewed, so I would advise finding a quiet spot for yourself.

The next step is to get the stomach to work as well as possible.

As mentioned above, begin the morning with a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon. This will encourage the secretion of Hydrochloric Acid and by the time you are ready to eat your breakfast, your stomach will be ready and waiting for the food.

All mucus membranes are covered with mucus, in the stomach this is to stop it digesting itself. Excess mucus can slow the process so it is a good idea to begin your program with Fenugreek Tea. This comes in the form of seeds and is a spice familiar to anyone who makes a lot of Indian curries. In the form of a tea it is a valuable dissolver of mucus throughout the body. To make, bring one tablespoon of seeds in three cups of cold water to the boil and then leave the pot to sit and soak. Make and drink the contents of this each day, straining out the seeds of course, for seven days. You may experience loosened bowels, but if you do don’t worry, this is just a sign it is doing its work.

This will also help the villi wall of the small intestine recover its function, and will stimulate the bowel to move.

The elements of a healthy diet are fresh food, unprocessed food without additives, and a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. We need to eat some cooked food and some raw food each day.

It is best if we can eat some protein at each meal. Breakfast examples can include eggs, baked beans, cottage cheese, ricotta or sardines. These can be eaten with a slice of good quality bread. If you prefer to eat cereal, try to eat a good one without added sugar. Sprinkle it with LSA (a mix of ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds) for added protein and add soy milk. If you don’t like soy milk try rice milk, this goes very well with cereal with its slightly sweet flavour.

Lunch is a good time to eat some salad, bring a selection from home and eat with a can of tuna or a small amount of fetta or cottage cheese. If you are really hungry add a couple of slices of good bread. If you absolutely don’t have time to bring your lunch from home you can buy salad, but buy it plain, not covered with mayo. If you want to add a bit more flavour, squeeze over some lemon or lime juice or add a bit of balsamic vinegar.

For dinner at night eat a good range of freshly cooked vegetables, a small portion of a starch of some kind, such as potatoes, rice or pasta. Add some
fish meat or chicken.

Eat at least three pieces of fruit per day.

If you have a basic good diet you can afford to have some occasions for celebration and for eating cake, desserts and having some drinks. After all, staying happy and not feeling deprived is an important factor in good health.We are what we Eat

Nutrition for your toddler

By the time your little one reaches 2 years old they should be eating a wide variety of foods, and ideally they should be eating the same as the family for the evening meal. But what do you do when your child refuses to eat what is on offer and wants to have something completely different, do you then get in to the unenviable position of having to cook two or more different meals each night?

It is important to establish good ground rules from the time your child is eating food without assistance. This is a vitally important time in your child’s life to set up good habits, which will last a lifetime.

Meal times should be stress free and not allowed to develop in to battlegrounds. Offer the food to your child and as soon as they have finished eating, remove the plate. Do not insist they finish everything on their plate. Your child’s developing unhealthy habits of overeating will not feed the starving children in Africa. To eat according to individual appetite is what we want to achieve.

Never resort to bribing a child to eat. Never say if you finish all the food on your plate you can have a lolly or an ice cream. If you do this, what exactly do you think you are teaching your child? You are teaching your child that eating your main meal is something horrible that has to be done in order to get to the good bit. If your child pushes the food away, remove it calmly and don’t offer anything else. This becomes easy if you have set this pattern as long as your child has been feeding himself. It is the normal calm thing that happens at meal times.

When your child becomes around two years old, what is known as the terrible two’s set in – there is a good reason this age acquired this somewhat scary name.

Not long after your angel learns to talk they discover the awesome power of the word “No”. Suddenly your angelic, obliging child becomes a wilful, stubborn little demon. I think the look of shock on their mother’s face the first time they refuse to do what ever is requested is so powerful and satisfying they do it again, and again, and again…

The way to negotiate your way through this minefield is to never ask your child if they want to do something important like eat or sleep. Instead announce “it is time for dinner” or “it is time for bed”. This is not negotiable and can’t be changed; it is just simply time to do that. Expect that your two year old will develop somewhat of a mono diet. Often at this age a child picks a small number of foods they will eat and can stick to this limited range for what seems to be a very long time. As long as the foods they have chosen are nutritious don’t worry about it. No child has voluntarily starved itself to death. Most mothers worry a lot about a child eating a small range of food and fear their child is not getting adequate nutrition, but if you can calmly ride this period through, they will increase their eating range. Offer healthy small snacks for morning and afternoon tea as well as meals. Children don’t like to be faced with a large amount of food at mealtimes; small amounts more frequently are a better way to go. If children don’t like the taste of cooked vegetables they will often eat them raw. Many vegetables can be eaten raw, including frozen peas.

Continue to offer new tastes to your child. Often a small child will want to eat something their mother is eating and this is a good opportunity to allow them to taste something new. With the little bits of one thing and another the child eats during the day it adds up to enough food. Remember too, when a child is between growth spurts they have less of an appetite. Try not to let the child have large amounts of milk. This of course fills them up and then they are not hungry at meal times. Three bottles or cupfuls, about 600mls is plenty of milk per day. Encourage your child to drink water – this is better for them than lots of juice, which contains a lot of sugar. Any juice given should be diluted with water, half and half.

When your child is a little older and you are looking for a childcare centre or kindy for them to attend, I would advise checking out what food they provide to assure yourself it is healthy. Most childcare centres are very aware of nutrition for little ones.

There are a number of vitamins and minerals that growing bodies need, the main ones are listed, along with common food sources.

Iron
Iron is needed for healthy blood and muscles and deficiency can lead to poor mental development.
There are two types of iron, one from meat and one from other sources. The iron from meat is the easiest for the body to assimilate. Examples of iron rich food include red meat, eggs, beans, tofu, tuna, apricots, raisins and prunes (try to choose unsulphured), cereals and breads, and green vegetables. Some foods have added iron, such as breakfast cereals.

You can help your child absorb iron by giving the food in combination with Vitamin C rich foods, such as meat and green vegetables and cereal and orange juice.

Vitamin C
This vitamin is used in just about all of the body’s function. It cannot be stored so we need to get our supply daily.

Most fruits and some vegetables are rich in vitamin C. Examples are citrus fruits, berries and melons and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin A
This is needed for healthy skin and hair, good night vision, and growth. Full fat milk, egg yolk, unsalted butter and full fat cheese and fish such as mackerel are all good sources.

Calcium
This is needed for development of bones and teeth. A good supply of calcium in childhood ensures strong bones in adulthood. You will get this in milk, cheese, yoghurt, green vegetables, (did you know broccoli is a very rich source of calcium?) and canned fish such as sardines and salmon.

Vitamin B
These are vital for healthy nervous system and immune function, and in the production of red blood cells. These are found in just about everything, vegetables, meat, vegetables and fruit, as well as bread and cereals.

Protein
Protein contains the building blocks of life. It is used for repair to cells and muscles, all tissues hair and organs, and for immune and hormonal function. If your child regularly eats meat, fish, eggs, cheese and milk they are likely to get enough protein. Other good sources of protein are beans such as baked beans and tofu. For an older child nuts and nut butters are an additional protein source.

Carbohydrates
These are the body’s primary source of energy. There are two sorts of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugars and complex are starches and fibre. It is a good idea to limit simple carbohydrates and to concentrate on the complex. Too much refined simple carbohydrate such as sugar and honey, cakes biscuits and lollies can lead very quickly to weight problems and dental problems. Stick to natural foods such as good quality bread, sweetcorn, potatoes, bananas, rice and pasta.

Fats
There are three types of fat, saturated, mono saturated and polyunsaturated. Butter is saturated, olive oil is mono- saturated and sunflower and safflower oil is polyunsaturated. Your child needs some of each type for a supply of energy. Animal products such as milk, cheese, meat butter and eggs all contain saturated fats. Oils, nuts and seeds and avocado all contain unsaturated fats. Children need a higher amount of fat than adults and should not be given low fat foods until they are over five years.

Remember, the foods we like are the foods we become used to eating in childhood. A taste for fresh, healthy food is a preference that will stay with your child for life.

Nutrition for Babies and Children

We all want the very best for our children and there is nothing more important we can give them than the basis of a lifetime of good health. We can do this by starting from the very first thing we feed our babies. Obviously breastfeeding is the best start any baby can have, but it is not always possible, and if it isn’t, nothing is helped by making the mother feel inadequate about her inability to feed. There are many excellent formulas on the market and a lot of help available to new mothers to assist with that choice.

Usually at around six months the baby starts to indicate he or she is hungry and it is time to introduce some solid food. When food is introduced to baby and in what order, is extremely important as it is possible to avoid a lot of the more common allergies by not introducing baby to the better known suspect foods until much later.

There is an excellent argument for cooking the food you feed your baby and children as opposed to buying it. Obviously by cooking the food yourself you avoid any additives and colours and preservatives, but there is an even more compelling reason. Babies do not have so much a sense of taste as a sense of texture. If you start them on commercial baby food they quickly become accustomed to the smooth gluey texture and turn up their noses at the more grainy texture of home cooked purees. This then starts a chain of problems that never seem to go away as you attempt to move from commercial food to the food the family is eating. Don’t be surprised when you first offer food to your baby if the most they eat is half a teaspoonful. It takes a lot longer that you would have thought to get the eating pattern established.

It is the easiest to buy a small packet of baby rice cereal (these are quite free of additives). Cook an apple or a pear in water and then blend to a puree with a blender or use a stick blender. (These make a good useful present for a new mother.) Of course you have way too much prepared. You don’t waste it, you freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray and each day you take one out to thaw out and to mix with your rice cereal. A couple of teaspoons of rice cereal is mixed with a small amount of breast milk or formula to a runny paste, and then the apple or pear added. Only add a teaspoonful at first. You will need to add a little more when your baby begins to accept food more readily. At this stage offer food twice a day until the baby eats the cereal and fruit. The next thing to offer is pureed vegetables. Cook a small combination of pumpkin, potato, beans, carrot, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato. Choose two or three or more and cook and puree. This can be offered to baby for lunch and dinner, with the rice cereal and fruit offered for breakfast. As baby gets used to eating, the fruits offered can be increased to include banana and avocado. In fact both of these foods are as easy to carry around for meals away from home as commercial food. Natures convenience food!

It is important not to attempt to get babies or children to finish any food after they have indicated they have had enough. It is at this early stage that ideas about food begin to form, and you want your child to develop a healthy relationship with food. When the child says they have had enough, or the baby indicates they have had enough, clear away the food. A great deal of problems with overeating, undereating, anorexia and bulimia, originate in food becoming a battle ground. I know we were all told about the starving children elsewhere in the world in order to get us to clear our plates, but that is exactly what we don’t want to instil in a child, the idea that you only stop eating when the food is gone. It doesn’t take much imagination to see where that kind of thinking can lead.

When baby has teeth it is time to introduce a chewier texture. The food no longer needs to be pureed, but can be mashed with a fork and some pieces can be big enough for the baby to put in their mouth. As the baby gets a little older, 8 – 10 months, they will be trying to feed themselves, something that leads to very messy mealtimes. At this stage pasta (but not wheat pasta) and wheat free bread can be introduced. Small amounts of cooked meat can be blended in with the vegetables.

There are a few foods it is better to hold off introducing to babies until they are over 12 months old. These are the foods that cause the most common allergies and food intolerances.

When a new food is introduced it is a good idea to give it once only and then not give it again for at least three days in order to assess if there is any reaction. Reactions can take the form of rashes, sore red bottoms, diarrhoea, eczema, tummy pains. If you suspect your child reacted don’t offer the food again for a few months.

Cows milk is one of the biggest troublemakers. This of course includes cheese. Many mothers fear their child won’t be getting enough calcium if they don’t eat dairy products, but remember dairy products are not eaten by the majority of the world’s population and they manage to develop strong bones without it. Green vegetables contain calcium and broccoli is a rich source. Sheep’s yoghurt is easily digestible and delicious, as is goats, and there are plenty of cheeses made with both sheep and goat milk. These are a safer choice for your child in the early days. Nuts are another strong allergen. We have all heard of the awful results peanut allergies can bring, and therefore caution is needed when introducing peanuts, usually in the form of peanut butter. When this is given for the first time keep a close watch on your child for any reaction. If you have relatives with peanut allergies be especially careful. One way to see if there is going to be a reaction is to rub some of the substance on the inside of the child’s forearm, and if there is a red patch around it after ten minutes, then don’t offer the food.

Tree nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts and brazils can also be strong allergens and should be introduced with caution. Egg allergies are common, usually in the form of dermatitis and eczema and their introduction should be left till after the child is 12 months. Another big cause of trouble is wheat. This can to introduced in the same way as other potential allergens, giving some to baby one day and then watching for a reaction for the next two days. Weetbix is a good choice to try.

When a child is about two years old and they first discover the power of saying ‘no’, they tend to refuse a lot of foods offered. It is better not to ask them what they want, but to offer a selection of foods. At this stage it is common for a child to start to eat a very limited range of foods. Sometimes there will be as few as three things only they will eat. Hard as it is, it is better to just keep offering different foods and not commenting on their limited choices. Often the child will want to try something that the mother is eating, and this is a good way for new foods to be introduced.

Don’t keep foods such as lollies and biscuits and chocolates in the house so that a child isn’t used to eating them and therefore doesn’t ask for them. Don’t bargain with a child, e.g. if you eat all your dinner you can have icecream. This just impresses on the child how awful it is to have to eat meat and vegetables and what a reward, how desirable it is to eat icecream. Sweet drinks should not be offered. No cordial, definitely no fizzy drinks, not too much fruit juice. Fruit juice should be diluted 50/50 with water. The very best drink is water. If the child is okay with cows milk then no more than 500 mls per day should be given. Milk fills children up and they then will not eat their food as they are already full.

Tastes and food preferences are set early in life, and we like to eat what we are used to eating. Giving children the taste for good food will stay with them all their life, even if they go off the rails somewhat during their teenage years, they will come back to what they are used to and enjoy later.

Eating and enjoying healthy food is a lifelong pleasure and the very best gift you could possibly give your child.

Successful weight loss

We all know how the story begins.  First of all comes the trigger.  Maybe it is as simple as a glimpse of yourself in a shop window, or a horrible experience with a dress shop changing room mirror, maybe a remark made by a friend.  This is it, we say.  This time we will definitely lose that bit of extra weight we are carrying.  We begin with great enthusiasm, we have confidence in our ability to finally lose those extra kilos we are carrying.  We begin….

What is it that happens to us to stop us being successful in something we want.  How do we change our minds, how does our enthusiasm fizzle out.  What is it that gets in the way of us achieving what we want?  Why do we self sabotage?

Let us have a look at some common themes.

“It’s not fair”
We are on our eating program when up pops an occasion.  It may be as simple as a colleague’s birthday at work and the offer of a piece of cake.  We think to ourselves that it is so unfair we can’t have something nice to eat.  We feel hard done by, it makes us think of all the other unfair things in our lives.  We think ourselves in to a state in which the only way to right a few of these wrongs is to eat the cake.  We eat it.

“Nobody Loves Me”
We feel resentful we are not allowed to eat anything we like, we lose sight of our primary objective and we feel to only way to provide love, nurture and care in to our lives is to eat something soothing like chocolate or cake or to drink some alcohol.

“I know you love cake, chocolate, wine, whatever…….”
Sometimes the sabotage doesn’t come from ourselves, it comes from those close to us.  It can be your partner, your Mum, or your friends.  This sabotage often comes when a weightloss program begins to show results.  A partner can fear what may happen if you become slim, confident and gorgeous, and may set out to sabotage your success, becoming afraid you may leave them.  This is probably not done consciously, but is done unconsciously with the result you eat whatever is offered to please them.  Or you feel angry with them for not helping you, which in turn creates its own set of problems.  The saboteur can be your Mum or a friend who see your success as in some way pointing out their own lack of success if they could do with shedding some weight.  Most people fear change and when ever someone close to them begins to change in some way, they begin to act in a way that says change back to what you used to be.

Some Solutions to keep the “will to Succeed” Strong

Do some or all of the above sound like you? Before you begin a weight loss program it is a very good idea to spend a little time thinking through exactly what role food plays in your life.  Have you handed over all your power to food?  Is food the ONLY thing that can make you feel better, take away your blues, make you feel nurtured and loved? (In the food category I am also including drinks such as alcohol and sweet milky things).  If you realise you have done this you then need to think if this is something you are willing to continue.

It is an excellent idea before beginning another (and this time, final) attempt at weight loss to make a list of all the things food means to you, and all the occasions you feel like eating.  What are the emotions?  Anger?  Sadness?  Tiredness? When you have your list then spend a while thinking what you could do instead of eating.

If you feel angry you could try a very fast and furious walk around the block.  You could go in to the bedroom and punch a pillow.

If you feel sad and unappreciated you could try a long sweet smelling bath, give yourself a facial, paint your toenails bright red.

If you are tired and craving to eat, register the time in your mind and make sure you have a snack at least an hour before.  If you always feel like eating chocolate at 4.00pm, then have your healthy afternoon tea at 3.00pm and the feeling of crashing will be avoided.

The essence of the above is planning and forethought.

What IS a Healthy Diet?
There are just so many faddish ideas that you may be tempted to try on the path to weight loss, but sad to say there is no magic solution.  We would all like a magic pill we could take which would do the job for us, with little effort on our part, but this just does not exist.  The important thing in successful weight loss to change the way we think about food.  We need to begin to think of food as the fuel that drives our bodies and to want to feed ourselves a good healthy diet in order to maximise how vibrant and alive we feel.

A healthy diet is rich in vegetables, lean meat, fish, chicken and whole grains and contains little processed food.  The best food is the food you cook for yourself and your family as you then know exactly what goes in to it.  That way you are avoiding the things in modern processed foods that cause so many allergies and behavior problems in children.  All of the excessive sugars, colours, dyes and preservatives that are added to processed food are avoided with great and important health benefits.

An example of a day’s healthy eating for weight loss would look like this:
Breakfast.
30 grams of cereal with low fat  milk
OR
1 egg, poached or boiled with 2 slices of whole grain toast, no butter.  Mushrooms or tomatoes can be added.

Morning Tea
Cup of tea or coffee
1 Piece of fruit with 10 almonds
OR
1 tub low fat yogurt
OR
10 rice crackers or two rice cakes with hummus or low fat cottage cheese and tomato.

Lunch
Large salad, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, grated carrot with one small tin of tuna or with 30 grams of fetta or 60 grams of cottage cheese.
OR
A soup made with lots of vegetables and including a can of three bean mix or a can of chickpeas and a piece of bread or a rice cake.  The soup is made more satisfying by removing a couple of cups and the blending the rest to make it thick and smooth and then adding back the reserved cups.

Afternoon Tea
Same as morning tea

Dinner
100 grams of meat or chicken or 200 grams of fish with lots of vegetables and one cup of rice or pasta or one potato.

Sweet tooth satisfiers.
One of these per day.
2 dried figs and 8 almonds
10 rice crackers or 2 rice cakes spread with 20 grams of jam
1 50 gram scoop of low fat ice cream.

Now I know the first thing that will come to mind is “I don’t have time” to do all of the shopping and planning for this.  You do have time, you choose not to have time if you reject a weight loss program for this reason.

It is very satisfying to spend a bit of time thinking what you will eat for the next week.  Writing out a list of the meals you will eat and the ingredients you will need to shop for.  This planning ensures you are prepared and don’t have occasions when you find yourself hungry and tired and just eat everything in sight.

It is a good idea to ask for help from those around you, particularly in the case of those who sabotage your efforts.  Explain to them how important this is to you and ask them to help you by not feeding you.  Give them a specific task you would like them to do.  A good one is to clean up and wash up after dinner so you are not tempted by left overs.  Involve those around you in your success and progress.

Do I have to Exercise?

There is no doubt exercise helps with weight loss.  But, when most people think of exercise they imagine themselves looking terrible in tight spandex shorts and sports tops.

What I mean here by exercise is any thing at all that will get you moving.  It may be a walk to the end of the street, some vigorous sweeping up of the back yard, a swim.  Whatever is a form of movement you don’t usually do.  Getting the blood circulating has such a lot of benefit in making you feel energised and well.  A small amount of effort will pay off in allowing you do more and more as you feel able.

What is essential for success with your weight loss program is the time you spend figuring out what has stopped you in the past, where do your stumbling blocks lie, what are the triggers that send you down the wrong path.

Spend a little while thinking these suggestions through and then get started on your way to where you want to be.

Alison Johnson ND DBM Dip. Hom. Is a Sydney naturopath with more than 20 years experience in herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, iridology, Bach Flowers and Counseling.  She specializes in general naturopathy with a special interest in weight loss and female reproductive system problems.  Alison is the Naturopath on the Good Medicine website, appears frequently on TV and in print and was the Dean of the Australasian College of natural Therapies for the past 20 years.  She practices at Glebe Healing Centre, 1 Booth St, Annandale, phone 02 9566 1222 and at Wholistic Medical Centre, 17 Randle St., Surry Hills, 02 9211 3811

What is Iridology

So, what is Iridology! Most people find it fascinating that an Iridologist can look into your eyes and tell you lots of things about your health, different body systems and something about the way you operate emotionally.

Lets see what it is all about

In the early 1800’s a Hungerian boy found an owl with a broken leg. He took it home to care for it. He noticed in the owl’s huge eyes a black line running from the centre down to the edge. He also noticed that the black line changed to white as the leg healed. This gave him an interest in taking up medicine which he did. His name was Dr. Ignatiz von Peckzely and he published his theories
in 1881. Iridology did not become really popular until it was taken up by Dr. Bernard Jensen in America in the 1950s. As well as what is known as the American System of Dr Bernard Jensen there is the more recent German system which is taught as a part of the curriculum for Medical students in Germany. The founders of this system were Drs Angerer, Kreige and Deck. A woman who did a lot to pioneer the study of Iridology in Australia was Dorothy Hall who wrote an excellent textbook in the 1970s.

Nowadays Iridology is part of the Naturopathic curriculum and in taught in all the private colleges and Universities that train Naturopaths. As a matter of interest Naturopaths at Australasian College of Natural Therapies do a four year full-time training program plus a degree, Bachelor of Health Science(Naturopathy) with the University of New England, so a Naturopath has been very well trained in Science as well as Natural Medicine modules.

Iridology is used as a diagnostic tool, it is not a therapy in its own right. After a case history has been take from a patient the practitioner will usually look into the eye with an Iris Torch in order to help confirm the location of the trouble the patient is experiencing. Quite often the eye will reveal something that is in direct contradiction to what the patient has said!

An important thing to know about Iridology is it is at its best indicating strengths and weaknesses. When an Iridologist talks about body systems or organs she is never speaking of a pathology, a disease. She is speaking of systems that are doing well and systems that are performing poorly for whatever reason. That is why it is needed in conjunction with a good thorough case history to pinpoint just where things are not reaching their potential and what can be done to correct the situation. Another important thing is that Iridology tells us the strengths and weaknesses we have inherited from our ancestors. Each one of us is the sum total of everyone who has gone before. If we know our weak points we can work to support them so they will function well throughout our lives.

There is not a lot of scientific evidence to support Iridology, but one explanation is that information is mirrored in the iris because the iris is connected to the nervous system through the third cranial nerve. The eye is made up of three parts, the white bit is the sclera, the coloured part is the iris, and the black part in the middle is the pupil. It is primarily the iris we are interested in although there are signs in the sclera that have meaning and relevance.

It may sound a little surprising that there are only two true eye colours, blue and brown. Every other eye colour is a build up on top of the base of blue or brown. For obvious reasons it is much easier to see the variation in colours that form from the base of a blue eye. The greys, greens, and hazel. It is like the base colour is a flat plate on which the other colours sit.

For the sake of convenience the eye is divided up like the face of a clock, 1.00 to 12.00, and we speak of the time as a way to describe position. For example we may see an inflammation in the lungs at 3.00 and 9.00 after a bad flu.

As well as times on the clock face of the iris, the iris is divided in to zones which are circles radiating out from the pupil. The first zone is about one third the way out from the pupil and is called the nerve wreath. The colour and shape of this gives clues to the state of the organs within this. The very outside zone is the skin zone and just inside that is the lymphatic zone. The skin zone would be of particular interest to a Beauty Therapist. This should look clear, a dark blue or brown. If one or more of the body’s systems of elimination are functioning poorly then the skin is used to get rid of toxins. This is a very important point to remember in difficult to shift skin conditions. Referring your client for Naturopathic treatment in conjuction with Beauty Therapy will soon bring
about the desired results.

The colours we see and the position they are in provide important information. For example how often have you seen a close up of a beautiful model and seen that surrounding the pupil is a circle of orange! What this would tell me is that this girl lived on the usual model’s diet of cigarettes and coffee and not much else and was adrenally exhausted and had low blood sugar levels. When the body receives stimulants such as coffee and nicotine some adrenaline is released. The blood sugar goes up, the pancreas springs in to action and secretes some insulin to put the blood sugar levels back down to normal again. If this happens many times a day and it does-when we think that everytime we experience anger, shock and fright we go through the same procedure- it is easy to see that both the pancreas and the adrenals are being overworked.

The end result of this is a feeling of exhaustion.

While this is not medical pathology as such it is non the less real and a good example of a time Iridology is very valuable in figuring out why someone says they are tired all the time.

The colour straw yellow when seen as a wash over the eyes may suggest bladder or kidney weakness.

If the area around the pupil is a dark sludgy brown, we would know that matters throughout the digestive system were taking their own sweet time from eating to elimination, and probably constipation was often experienced, as well as wind and bloating.

Lots of white overlay on a blue eye means inflammation is present or it can mean a system that is very quick to respond with inflammatory conditions.

The fibres of the iris have an important meaning as well. When the fibres all radiate out from the pupil in nice straight closely packed lines we know the owner of these eyes has the very best of constitutions – this is the person who burns the candle at both ends, eats, drinks and does whatever they like and still feels and looks fantastic.

As the fibres of the iris become less closely packed, more wavy and holey, so does the innate strength of the individual reduce. At the bottom of the spectrum of strength we see an iris with a very loosely woven structure –and this is the person who will be a wreck for three days after one late night, a person who will always have to work on their energy and strength.

So, are the eyes really the windows of the soul? What can we tell about a person emotionally. Well, quite a bit. The first give away sign is Cramp or Nerve Rings. These are either complete circles or parts of circles that seem to cut through the fibres of the iris. These are always signs of stress. There can be just one or there can be multiple rings. These usually belong to the chronic worrier, the perfectionist, the person who bottles things up inside.

If we see lots of brown in the iris between 10.00 and 2.00 we may surmise unresolved emotional issues.

When I said earlier that the eyes sometimes reveal things in direct contradiction to what the patient has said it is usually where the patient has described themselves as pretty laid back but the eyes reveal a terrible worrier. It is useful to have this information as a practitioner as it will form an important part of the treatment.

In the hands of an experienced and competent practitioner Iridology provides a valuable tool to differentiate between body systems and location of discomfort.

I believe this