user-icon chevron-right minus plus cross google shopping-cart caret-down chevron-down chevron-circle-up menu search youtube facebook twitter rss linkedin2 pinterest

health

245 articles in health

Free Radicals & Rockers

Free Radicals & Rockers

Ten years ago the idea that free radical damage underlies both the aging process and the development of degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis, seemed absurd. Nowadays we know different. Free radicals are all the rage. Every other book on health you come across is warning about the dangers of free radicals and telling you to take lots of vitamins A, C, and E, to protect yourself from these horrible demons. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron, lustfully searching for a mate. There are several kinds of free radicals. Oxygen free radicals are particularly malevolent. They react quickly and greedily with other molecules. When they find a mate - and just about any mate will do - they can destroy cell membranes, disrupt DNA (the cell's genetic material) and wreak havoc with the body. Many things cause the production of free radicals. Air pollution, for instance, being exposed to ultra violet light or radiation, pesticides on foods, drugs, cigarette smoke, exposure to some plastics, and even polyunsaturated fats. Flying in jets also produces free radicals, as does living at a high altitude because in both cases you are subject to high levels of gamma radiation. Even exercise produces free radicals. And the experts on aging are right. Free radicals do cause terrible damage to the body. But only when they are produced in excess. There are lots of good things to be said about free radicals as well. This is something all those little books and articles on swallowing more ACE vitamins fail to tell you. energy equations What makes energy yielding metabolism possible in our bodies - in effect what keeps us alive - is the ability that we have evolved throughout the ages to take nutrients in through our foods and convert them into chemical and bioelectrical energy. We do this through oxidation or burning in a process known as aerobic metabolism. Enzymes in the body - living catalysts that make redox reactions possible - carefully control a series of small steps which liberate the maximum amount of energy present for effective use, while causing the minimum amount of disturbance to our cells. It is an enormously efficient way of producing and releasing energy which involves the transfer of electrons from one molecule to another. Scientists call this transfer an oxidation-reduction or a redox-reaction. So long as we live redox-reactions take place ceaselessly. The trouble is - and here's where free radical damage comes in - a number of highly reactive, potentially toxic and destructive species of molecules are generated in the process. The greater the bodily activity at any particular place or time, the more free radicals we generate. Our brain is a particularly demanding organ when it comes to energy. About 20% of our body's oxygen consumption is used by the brain. This gives the brain an enormous amount of energy but it also creates a fertile ground for free radicals to breed. Surges of various hormones in our bodies such as adrenaline and noradrenaline generate hydrogen peroxide which can also result in the formation of more free radicals - so much so that we frequently generate more than our antioxidant defense mechanisms can handle. Most free radicals are generated during the day. Some researchers believe that free radical formation in the day time and free radical quenching that occurs at night while we sleep may be the driving power behind the circadian rhythms - that is the biological control of events in the body. 10,000 hits a day What is amazing is just how enormous free radical activity is in the human body. One of the major experts in free radical biochemistry, Dr Bruce Ames at the University of California, Berkeley, estimates that every cell in our body experiences 10,000 free radical `hits' each day of our life. A well nourished, healthy body is equipped to handle them. As humans we have amazing antioxidant defense mechanisms - enzymes like glutathione peroxidase, super-oxide dismutase and catalase. Provided we are leading a balanced life, eating plenty of fresh foods, getting optimum amounts of exercise, and are not exposed to excessive amounts of chemical pollution, all should go well. What's happening to many of us, however, is that we are subjected to more free radical activity than our natural antioxidant mechanisms can detoxify. Then we get oxidation damage as excess free radicalss wreak havoc with our bodies. They can form cataracts in the eyes, trigger Alzheimer's disease, cause premature aging and the build up of cholesterol in the arteries, as well as a thousand other negative changes associated with aging. strange paradox So free radicals put us in the strange position of being totally dependent upon them for our life energy yet completely susceptible to their toxic effects - what in biochemistry is know as oxidizing-stress or oxy-stress. It is this oxy-stress which poses a continuous challenge to the integrity of our cells and tissues. As the free radical enthusiasts point out, this is the central cause of premature aging. The key to making free radical biochemistry work for you instead of against you, is balance. When there are too many free radicals produced in your system as a result of poor digestion, or stress, or exposure to excessive ultraviolet light, or pollutants in air and water, then you suffer oxy-stress. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E, beta carotene, Co Enzyme Q10, selenium and many potent plant-based factors like pycogynol, help quench oxy-stress and prevent free radical damage. So nowadays we are continually urged to take more of them to prevent premature aging and illness. Yet this is not quite as simple as the free radical rockers would have us believe. And popping pills is not always the best way to go about it.

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

London’s Daily Mail approached me a few weeks ago asking me to write a piece on what it’s like to have 4 children by 4 different men. The idea intrigued me so I did. The piece wasn’t published since, they said, “It’s not written in the Mail style.” So here it is as a personal gift from me to you. I hope you enjoy it. Struggling to hold back the tears, my daughter’s voice on the crackly phone line was barely a whisper. “Mama, Dan died this morning,” she said. Dan Smith, biological father to my third child, Jesse, was much loved by all of my children. He had been seriously ill with a rare form of leukaemia. We knew he could die any moment. Still, the news that reached me at my Primrose Hill home that cold February morning in 2010 sent shock waves through me. “We’re already organising the funeral,” Susannah went on. “We want to play jazz music, tell fun stories about Dan and celebrate his life. Don’t worry about being 12,000 miles away, we’ll video all of it for you to watch later.” I would love to have been there to celebrate Dan’s life. It had been a good life. He was an honorable man—one who kept his promises. Dan had long adored each of my four children although only one of them was a child of his own body. Four years earlier, Dan had chosen to move to New Zealand to be near the children. Together they had searched for and found a house for him so that all of us—me included—could spend precious time with Dan and care for him so long as he lived. NOT THE MARRYING KIND I had met Dan 53 years earlier when I was seventeen years old. We became friends. Later, in my mid-twenties, we were briefly married. I was never much in favor of marriage, however. That’s probably why I chose to give birth to four children by four different men. Now I’m being called a trailblazer for what is becoming an increasingly popular brand of mothering, commonly referred to as ‘multi-dadding.’ I am supposed to be what is fashionably termed a ‘4x4.’ Mothering children by more than one man recently hit the headlines with the news that actress Kate Winslet is expecting her third child by her third husband, the rock star Ned Rocknroll. Kate, 37, has a 12-year-old daughter, Mia, with her first husband, Jim Threapleton, and a nine-year-old son, Joe, with her second husband, Sam Mendes. The former weather girl Ulrika Jonsson is a 4x4, and the late TV presenter Paula Yates was a 4x2. While supposedly gaining popularity, this style of mothering is still hugely controversial. I am told that the news that a woman has children by more than one man is still met with a mixture of horror and fascination. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I have never had to deal with either of these attitudes. To tell the truth, I have never much cared what people think about me, how I chose to live my life or the way I have raised my children. Perhaps that’s a good thing, or maybe I am just naïve. One thing is for sure: I’ve always been one of those women so fertile that that a man could almost look at me and I’d get pregnant. I would never miscarry. I rode horses, went surfing and danced all night while pregnant and suffered no consequences. I am told that women like me are often looked upon as monstrously selfish, bad mothers. They are accused of being feckless for having multiple lovers and just plain wrong for not providing their children with a ‘traditional family setup.’ I’m sure some traditional families are genuinely wise, stable and happy. The parents love each other and care for their children with great devotion and joy. But, in my experience, such families are few and far between. KIDS MATTER MOST What matters most in child rearing is neither convention nor family labels. It is the children. Children brought up by a devoted single mother (or single father) who lovingly trusts their own parental instincts and forms honest relationships with each child in their care, thrive. I believe this is far better than desperately trying to hold on to a marriage that doesn’t work ‘for the children’s sake.’ What I find sad is the way an ordinary single woman—not a movie star or media giant—who has children by more than one man and has to bring them up by herself, earning a living and juggling the needs not only of her children but also increasingly of their fathers, doesn't get the attention, sympathy, or anywhere near the admiration she deserves. It’s a challenging job for any woman. I know, I’ve done it. I’ve raised four children all on my own, earned the money for our family, stayed up all night caring for them when they had measles, chicken pox or mumps, then got up the next morning to make breakfast and iron that school uniform about which I was told, “Mama...my teacher says it has to be perfect.” Many a time I worried where the money was coming from to pay for food that week. LION-HEARTED MOTHERHOOD I champion any woman making a life for the children she loves in this way. It is the child that matters most and his or her relationship to a mother, father, or a caring friend. Every woman has a powerful lion-hearted passion to care for and protect her children. Women should trust themselves, give thanks for such power and use it for the benefit of their children. Kids are notoriously smart. They know when they are being fed a line about what they are “supposed” to think and say. They easily distinguish between what’s real and what’s contrived. As parents, if we want to gain the respect of our children we must always tell them the truth and treat them with respect as well as demand that they respect us in return. As far as the fathers of our children are concerned, they deserve the same respect and honesty from a woman as the child does, whether or not she is married to them. I believe that each child needs to get to know its father in its own way and make its own judgements. MY OWN STORY I grew up in a wildly unconventional family of highly creative, unstable people. Until I was 5, I was raised by my maternal grandmother. Later I was raped by my father and had my brain fried with ECT in an attempt to make me forget all that had happened to me. I was always a tomboy. I hated dolls. I loved to climb trees and play football. Yet from 5 years old I was sure that I wanted to have children. When I told my grandmother my plan she said I would need to get married to have children. “What’s married?” I asked. “It’s when you wear a white dress and have a big beautiful cake and promise to love and obey a man,” she said. “Ugh, I’ll never do that,” I replied. “I hate cake.” In any case, I knew she was lying to me since none of our Siamese cats were married, but they gave birth to masses of kittens. At the age of 17, while in my Freshman year at Stanford University, I got pregnant by a 22 year old man named Peter Dau. I rang my father. “I’m pregnant,” I told him. “What are you going to do?” “Give birth and keep the baby.” “You can’t keep the baby unless you get married,” he said. Had I been a little more gutsy I would have told him to get stuffed. But at the age of 17, still wrestling with all that had happened to me in my own childhood, he wielded a lot of influence over me. So I agreed. Peter was all for the idea. Single-handedly I put together an all-white wedding for 250 people in the garden of our Beverley Hills home. I made the decision to wear black shoes under my white satin dress. I felt I was giving my life away by marrying Peter, but I was willing to make the sacrifice since I so wanted this child. As soon as Dan learned of the wedding, he sent me a beautiful sterling silver bowl as a present which I still have. My first son, Branton, was born six months later. When I held this tiny baby in my arms he taught me the most important lesson I ever learned: Love exists. It is simple, real and has nothing to do with highfalutin notions or flowery words. At the age of 18, I realized my life had found its purpose—to love and be loved. PREGNANT AGAIN A year later, Peter and I left California for New York where he was to attend medical school while I went to work as a model to help support us. At that time, Dan left his job as a journalist in Massachusetts and moved to New York to be near us. My marriage to Peter ended amicably three years later. It should never have happened in the first place. Three days after leaving Peter back in California, I stopped overnight at my father’s house in Beverley Hills on my way back to New York. Barry Comden, a man much older than I whom I had known since I was 14 but never had a sexual relationship with, discovered I was in town and came to see me. I made love to him once and knew immediately that I was pregnant again. Marry Barry? No way. I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. (Years later Barry would marry the actress Doris Day.) Nine months later my only daughter, Susannah, was born. It was then that a large tumor growing off of my right ovary was discovered. It had been hidden behind the baby during my pregnancy. It was dangerous and had to be surgically removed. HELP WHEN IT MATTERS Once again Dan appeared in my life. He had always insisted that he fell in love with me from the first day we met. He had written me letters every single day my first year at Stanford. I never answered any of them. I didn’t share his love and I didn’t want to lead him on. He had also sent me book after book which he thought I should read. I read them all and loved them. Dan had always been kind and generous to me. He was always keen to protect and care for me when I needed it. So, when I ended up penniless and alone with two children and in need of major surgery, he offered me a home. I accepted. For several months the four of us lived together in New York. Dan adored Branton and Susannah and treated them as if they were his own. I was longing to leave the United States. I wanted to live in Paris—a city I loved more than any other. Dan was able to arrange a job for himself there as a foreign correspondent. In early 1964 we went. Dan had repeatedly told me that he was sure we were meant to be together forever. I hoped that he was right and believed that if I tried hard enough to be a good wife I would learn to love him as he deserved. On July 29, 1964, we were married in Paris. Like every other man I have ever been close to, Dan knew long before we were married that my children would always come first. I had sat him down and told him that he would have to treat Susannah and Branton exactly the same as he would treat any child of his who might come along. He agreed. On June 12, 1965, Dan’s son Jesse was born. He was delighted. True to his word, never once did he favor Jesse over Branton and Susannah. This was great for all three children who came to know him well and to adore him. When presents were passed out, each child was equally favored. Dan belonged to all of them and they knew it. FATHERS, FATHERS Because Branton’s father lived in America and we lived in Europe, Branton did not see him again until he was 11. By that age I figured he was old enough to make the trip on his own and spend a week or two with Peter. Susannah was not really interested in her father—also in the United States—until she was about 17. She then went to Los Angeles to meet him. A good friendship developed between them which remained until Barry died. A non-traditional, unconventional family? Absolutely, but it worked because there was honesty and there was love—the two most important things in any family, anytime, anywhere. For five years I had told myself that, if only I could learn to love Dan more, then everything would be all right. But I couldn’t. And it wasn’t. Confused and disappointed, at the age of 27, I faced the fact that our marriage had failed. We moved to England and we separated. It was Easter. I went to a Buddhist monastery in Scotland to clear my head. Of course Dan grieved over the failure. But that never stopped him from being a welcome person in our family right up to his death. Years later he would marry Gerda Boyeson, a psychotherapist who died a few years before he did. BLESSED MEN The men who made my life rich after Dan and I divorced were, each in their own way, as special as he had been. Each accepted that my children came before all else in the world to me. I never compromised. I chose men, be they friends or lovers, who brought wonderful things to my children. No man ever came before my children. If any man didn’t understand and accept this, he had to go. One man whom I loved, Graham, taught my children to climb and sail and mountaineer. All my children forged deep bonds with Graham which have remained to this day. Another man, Garth, gave Branton, Susannah and Jesse his much cherished toy collection from his own childhood. Garth took us all on wonderful picnics, introduced us to hidden beaches, sang songs with us and blessed us with his unique brand of joy. Then there was David, a man with whom I lived with for 5 years in my late twenties. David constructed beautiful rooms for each of my children in the tiny house I had bought with the little money that my grandfather had left me, when Dan and I separated. David wrote and recorded songs for each of my children. That was 40 years ago. Last year, Susannah and her partner visited David and his wife in Barcelona where he now lives. AN UNCONVENTIONAL MOTHER Ironically, the only complaint I ever got from any of my children about my not being conventional enough was from Dan’s son Jesse. “Why aren’t you like other mothers?” Jesse asked one day when he was 7. “I don’t know, Jesse, what are other mothers like?” “Oh you know,” he said, “They’re fat and bake cookies.” Jesse even grumbled if, while I was waiting to pick him up from school, I sat on the playground swings. He was adamant that such behavior was not “proper” for his mother. Sixteen years after Jesse was born, I became pregnant for the last time by yet another special man—Paul. I announced my condition to 17 year old Susannah as we were all setting off for a six week holiday in Canada with Graham and his son Ruan. “I’m going to have a baby,” I told her. “Don’t worry Mama,” she laughed, “We’ll say it is mine!” FAMILY CELEBRATION In March of 1981, I gave birth to my fourth child, Aaron, at our home in Pembrokeshire. All three of my other children helped deliver him. While I was in labor, they prepared the most delicious lunch I have ever tasted from fruits and vegetables from the garden. I had insisted on giving birth naturally at home, not in some clinical, cold hospital. Jesse had been born via natural childbirth, at a clinique d’accouchement in Paris. After the experience of natural childbirth I swore if ever I had another child it would have to be this way. As for Dan, one way or another he was always close by. He knew David, Graham, Garth and every other man who was to play a role in my own life and my children’s lives. For many years he spent Christmases with us and with our other male friends when they were there. Dan loved to play saxophone at family gatherings. One year he dressed up as Santa Claus. Aaron, then 5 years old, was completely taken in by the costume and terrified when this rotund man belted out, “Ho, Ho, Ho, little boy, what do you want for Christmas?” It took a lot of reassurance from Aaron’s big brothers and sister to convince him that Santa was really ‘good old Dan.’ UNIQUE & INDEPENDENT As for my children, each of them is totally unique and highly independent. I have always fought hard to encourage them to trust themselves and listen to their own heart instead of doing or saying what the rest of the world tells kids they are supposed to do and say. After graduating with a first class degree from Lancaster University, Branton, now 53, developed a series of successful businesses. Susannah, 50, with whom I have written 5 books and done two television series, is a sought-after voice artist. Jesse, 48, is a highly skilled plastic surgeon. Jesse and I have also written a book together. Aaron, now 32, is a designer and filmmaker. He and I have worked together for the past four years developing Cura Romana—a spiritually based program for health, lasting weight loss and spiritual transformation. Branton and Jesse have been happily married for many years. Both have three children each. As for me, I am probably the world’s worst grandmother. I don't babysit, or do any of the things grandmothers are ‘supposed’ to do. (Including baking those cookies Jesse once complained about.) Why? I’m not sure. I guess because for forty-five years of my life I was a mother. I loved this more than all the books I’ve written, all the television programs I’ve devised and presented, all the workshops I’ve taught, and all the other things I’ve done and enjoyed. Right now, my life belongs to me alone. I love the freedom this brings me. I am passionate about being a catalyst in people’s lives, helping them realize their own magnificence and live out their potentials both for their own benefit and for the benefit of all. Who knows what exciting challenges lie before me. Bring them on!

Nature Ends Insomnia

Nature Ends Insomnia

“Insomnia? I know a great cure for it... get plenty of sleep” W.C. Fields Do you dread going to bed for fear for fear you won’t sleep? Do you wake in the night only to find that you can’t go back to sleep again? Well, you’re not alone. Over half of the population of both the UK and the United States—where Big Pharma collected $3.7 billion for selling drugs for sleep in 2012 alone—have problems with some form of “sleep disorder.” Many take hypnotic drugs despite the fact that at least two dozen published studies have examined mortality associated with these medications. Eighteen of these report significant connections between using these drugs and increased mortality. Taking sleep inducing drugs is also associated with a greater than three-fold increased risk of death, even when less than 18 pills a year have been taken. Bottom line: Hypnotics ain’t worth the risk. There are better ways of handling insomnia. DANGER WORRIES There’s no doubt about it, disrupted or poor quality sleep can be dangerous. I learned this myself first hand after taking a flight that crossed twelve time zones. I found— unusually for me—that my body never readjusted to the new time zone, and I was sleeping only an hour or two a night, and at very irregular times. This went on for almost two weeks, at the end of which I was in severe physical pain. I went to see my doctor, also a skilled acupuncturist, concerned that I may have contracted some fairly serious illness. He treated me with acupuncture and sorted out the pain within two treatments, as well as my inability to sleep. He also told me that he had seen this in patients of his who are pilots. Research studies show that when healthy male volunteers were deprived of four hours of sleep for a single night, the activity of the natural killer cells in their immune system fell by as much as 30 percent. That’s the bad news. The good news is that a single good night’s sleep brought normal functioning back to the cells. It has also long been known that shift workers, whose hours of sleep continually change, have increasing difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. They also have more accidents, suffer more illness and die younger than people with normal sleep schedules. INSOMNIA TRIGGERS Anxiety Fear of insomnia Stimulants such as coffee or alcohol Eating too many high glycemic carbohydrate convenience foods which disturb blood sugar Low levels of melatonin Low levels of serotonin Drug use Depression A lot of so-called insomnia is nothing more than the result of worrying about getting to sleep. Many people who consider themselves insomniacs are really victims of the general propaganda about sleep, rather than true non-sleepers. Many people seek treatment because they can only sleep four or five hours a night, although that may be all they need. There is nothing more likely to cause sleeplessness than the worry that you won’t be able to drop off. Sometimes sleeplessness can be normal. After all, we all experience a sleepless night every now and then, particularly if we are over-tired, worried or excited about coming events. Real chronic insomnia is less frequent. There are many things that can cause it, from taking stimulants such as chocolate, soft drinks, coffee and tea, to not getting enough exercise. Nocturnal hypoglycemia is another major cause of insomnia in many people. BEWARE OF BOOZE Alcohol can severely interfere with sleep for a number of reasons. First, it brings about the release of adrenalin giving you a sense of excitement—a totally inappropriate condition for putting your head down on the pillow. It also interferes with the transport of tryptophan into the brain. And since the brain depends on a good supply of tryptophan in order to produce serotonin—the neurotransmitter that brings about sleep—drinking alcohol late in the evening severely disrupts serotonin levels. Alcohol, of course, also has a relaxing effect, which for many people will put them to sleep immediately, provided they have drunk enough of it. Then they find that, two or three hours later, they awake dehydrated and unable to sleep for the rest of the night. LOOK TO NATURE For my money, botanical sleep support wins the battle against insomnia better than almost anything else. There are several botanicals I turn to and recommend to others. Some of the most powerful helpers for insomnia have botanical origins. Many plants, from skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia) to hops (Humulus lupulus), can be used to help promote sleep. I use them often. Here are some of the most effective. CALIFORNIA POPPY Eschscholzia californica This gentle but effective sedative is also an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer, and the seeds of the plant offer excellent natural relief for someone living with chronic pain. It appears to work by telling the brain to increase your opiate receptors, which automatically decreases pain and brings relaxation. California Poppy is also non-addictive. But it should not be taken during pregnancy as it might stimulate uterine contractions. VALERIAN Valeriana officinalis A natural sedative and anti-hypertensive, valerian has been used on both sides of the Atlantic for generations, not only to induce sleep but to help protect people from the negative effects of stress. A double blind study involving 128 people showed quite clearly that a water extract of valerian root significantly increased the quality of sleep. The study, which was quite thorough, measured night awakening, people’s own perceptions of the quality of their sleep, sleeplessness in the morning and sleep latency—that is, how quickly a person got to sleep. In another double blind insomnia study, 20 people were given either a combination of 160mg of valerian root extract and 80mg of Melissa officinalis extract, or menzodiazapine (Triazolam 0.125mg), or a placebo. (Melissa, by the way, belongs to the mint family and also has a powerful anti-viral activity.) Researchers discovered that the valerian-melissa preparation was comparable to the benzodiazepine drug in its ability to increase deep sleep. However, unlike the drug, it did not cause side-effects—diminished concentration, impairment of physical performance or daytime sleepiness. My only problem with valerian is that to me it smells like dirty socks. KAVA KAVA Piper methysticum From the pepper family, this plant is consumed in liquid by the cultures of Polynesia. It is both an effective sedative and hypnotic. It also acts as a muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, and anti-depressant. When you take it, it first stimulates then begins to sedate the central nervous system. Small doses can produce a euphoric sense of wellbeing. Larger doses or small doses repeated frequently produce deep relaxation, lethargy and induce sleep. Human studies where kava is given in therapeutic doses have failed to show any toxic effects. Nonetheless, kava should not be used by people who have or have had liver problems, who drink alcohol, or take drugs. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women are not to take kava either. PASSIONFLOWER Passiflora incarnata This magnificent climbing plant, with its white flowers and extraordinary purple centers, is mildly narcotic and a wonderful sedative for the body. It’s an anti-spasmodic, sedative, hypnotic, hypotensive anti-depressant and nerve relaxant. It is particularly useful if you are someone who tends to suffer from nervous tension as well as insomnia. Not as strong as valerian in its action, it is more calming than sedating, and is therefore a superb alternative to tranquilizer drugs. Passionflower works particularly well for sleep when taken together with 5-HTP as an herb, a tincture, or fluid extract or in dried powered form in capsules. Passionflower was used by the Aztecs as an analgesic and sedative. One of its plant chemicals is called harmine, which has an interesting ability to bring about a contemplative state and a feeling of mild euphoria. It was even used during World War II as a “truth serum”. Harmine and other plant chemicals in passionflower, which work synergistically with it, prevent serotonin levels from falling and therefore works extremely well with 5-HTP against insomnia. HOPS Humulus lupulus The flowers from this common herb are often used together with other remedies to treat everything from indigestion to edgy nerves. Like valerian, hops have a pronounced sedative effect but it is much milder. You can use hops in the form of a tincture, but it can be particularly useful as a tea for people who awaken in the middle of the night. Prepare it before going to bed by steeping the flowers for 10 minutes in hot water and then straining and allowing to cool. Put the tea, sweetened with a little honey or preferably stevia (if you can get it), by the side of your bed so you can drink it if you awaken during the night. Some people also swear by small pillows stuffed with dried hops blossoms which you put under your neck when you go to bed or if you awaken. LET GO OF FEAR Experiment with these wonderful plants. Get to know them. Each has its own personality and its own soul. I have used them all over the years and come to love each one of them for their beauty and their effectiveness. Just as when you meet a new friend, it takes time to experience all their gifts. But you will, and it will be wonderful. Meanwhile, forget worry about sleep. Do what you need to do and then just let it happen. If it doesn’t happen tonight, so what? It will tomorrow night, or the next. Lack of sleep is not likely to kill you, but worrying about it for long enough just might. St. Patrick began each day with a prayer, regardless of how much or little sleep he had, or how he felt when he awakened. It is my favorite celebration of new beginnings and can wipe away worries following a sleepless night: I arise today Through the strength of heaven Light of sun, Radiance of moon, Splendour of fire Speed of lightning Swiftness of wind. Depth of sea Stability of earth, St. Patrick My favorite herbal company is Gaia Herbs who are fanatical in their methods of gathering and processing each and every product. I buy them from iHerb. Here are some of the Gaia products I especially like: Gaia Herbs, Kava Kava Root, 60 Vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps Many systems of the body can be negatively affected by stress. That is why achieving a state of calm and relaxation is so important for optimum wellness. Gaia Herbs' Kava Kava is a potent herbal extract which helps support emotional balance. Made from ecologically harvested Kava Kava from Vanuatu, it contains a guaranteed 225 mg of active Kavalactones per serving. Order Kava Kava Root from iherb Gaia Herbs, Valerian Root, 60 Vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps Valerian root has long been used to promote deep and restful sleep in those with occasional sleeplessness. Made from Valerian grown on Gaia's own certified organic farm, this extract delivers 1.8 mg of Valerenic acid derivatives per serving. By promoting a sense of calm and relaxation, Valerian Root supports the body in falling asleep naturally. Order Valerian Root from iherb Gaia Herbs, Sound Sleep, 60 Vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps Getting a restful night's sleep is essential for optimal health. Sound Sleep is an all herbal formula with botanicals historically recognized to address difficulty with sleep. It works to normalize restlessness, physical tension, and worry sometimes associated with occasional sleeplessness. It may also be used when nervous excitement and/or stress affected normal sleep patterns. Order Sound Sleep from iherb Gaia Herbs, Serenity with Passionflower, 60 Veggie Liquid Phyto-Caps Occasional nervous stress and tension can interfere in the enjoyment of everyday life by disrupting the functioning of body and mind. Serenity provides the support you need to help restore a sense of calm and relaxation your life. Made with certified organic Passionflower and Skullcap, this formula gives your nervous system the nourishment it deserves. Order Serenity from iherb

Meet The Helpers

Meet The Helpers

The right kind of herbs can be a great asset not only during times of heavy pressure, but also to help increase your body's adaptive energy so you can take a lot more pressure without cracking. Hans Selye, the father of stress, did not believe this could be done. Now, thanks mostly to research carried out in Russia we know it can - provided you know your herbs well and choose the right ones. There are two classes of herbals that are helpful when it comes to stress. The first are the adaptogens. These are agents which can help protect you against mental and physical fatigue. The second group are the problem solvers such as valerian - an excellent alternative to tranquilizers when you need some extra help, or echinacea, which is an immune booster should you feel yourself in danger of getting a cold or flu during very demanding times. Rather like people, each herb has its own personality. Get to know them; they can be great friends for stress and overall health, enhancing your energy levels, protecting you from fatigue and illness, and helping you to unwind. Let's look at the adaptogens first. medicines for the well The adaptogens include a wide variety of natural substances. In practical terms, they improve your ability to adapt to all forms of stress, while at the same time helping to normalize its biochemical effects. Taken as ‘medicines for well people’ adaptogens can be remarkably helpful in keeping you youthful and full of vitality. Russian researcher II Brekhman at the Institute of Marine Biology Far-East Scientific Center of the Academy of Science in Vladivostock has probably done more than any other single scientist to find natural substances with adaptogenic properties, and to test their effects both on animals and humans. One of the first natural substances which Brekhman and his coworkers investigated which had this ability was Panax ginseng. Probably the most well-known and highly respected natural medicine in the world, the ginseng root was first used for medicinal purposes more than 4,000 years ago ‘to restore the five internal organs, tranquilize the spirit, calm agitation of the mind, allay excitement, and ward off harmful influences.’ for perfect harmony Over-processing and heat treatments destroy many of the beneficial effects of the adaptogens; as a result, most of the ginseng you find on the market is pretty useless. You need to choose your products carefully. There are three true ginseng plants: Panax ginseng, which is the original Korean/Chinese plant: Tienchi (Panax noto-ginseng) which is another Eastern version of the plant: And Panax Quinquefolius, or American ginseng. The active chemicals in ginseng are compounds called ginsenosides, of which there are thirteen. They lie at the core of ginseng's anti-stress properties. When choosing ginseng you need to look for a standardized ginseng extract with a guaranteed percentage of ginsenosides. Panax ginseng comes from Korea or China. The best quality roots are the big red ones which are six years old. Second are the white roots and third are the red grown in Japan, so look for country of origin when buying them. The whole roots are best to take, with root pieces and extracts following in that order. Ginseng tablets and powders often contain ‘fillers’ and are much less potent. American ginseng - Panax Quinquefolius - is usually less effective than Panax ginseng, unless you can get large old roots which are hard to come by. Unlike most other stimulants in common use, ginseng does not produce a sudden rapid rise in blood sugar followed by an unpleasant dip in energy. Nor is there any danger of becoming dependent on it. Also, Brekhman and others have found that ginseng acts as a stimulant without causing insomnia, and that it not only helps stave off fatigue but also strengthens the organism as a whole. The beneficial effects of taking ginseng multiply and build up over the period in which it is used. And ginseng's benefits last long afterwards. siberian ginseng Another adaptogen which has now been widely investigated, particularly in the Soviet Union, is eleuthrococcus senticosus or Siberian ginseng. Members of the same family, but really a different species, eleuthrococcus' therapeutic properties were only discovered in the past 50 years. Like ginseng, it has the capacity to strengthen the body's ability to resist illness, degeneration and fatigue, while never upsetting its natural functions. It is also a mild stimulant, the stimulant action lasting between six to eight hours. But its tonic effects are accumulative - they come gradually over a few weeks. They include increased stamina, better sleep patterns, better memory, cleaner thinking and improved athletic performance. Brekhman and many Russian researchers believe that eleuthrococcus is an even better adaptogen than ginseng. But there have so far been very few well-controlled studies to validate their claims. The best form of eleuthrococcus senticosus comes in extract direct from the Soviet Union. It has been carefully low-heat processed to preserve its biological activity. amazon power The most exciting herb I have come across for a long time is suma (Pfaffia paniculata). Locally known as Para Todo - "for everything" - suma has been used by Brazilian Indians for centuries as an aphrodisiac and general tonic. Recent research shows that, like good ginseng, the wild root of the suma plant also has strong adaptogenic proprieties. Suma is well worth looking at as a nutritional support to raise your energy levels, enhance your ability to be very active - both mentally and physically without fatigue or damage - and detoxify your cells as a prevention against premature aging and degeneration. Apart from the adaptogenics, which strengthen the organism against stress, there are two general herbs which can be a real help during times of heavy pressure - echinacea and valerian. daisy with a difference The immune system plays an important part in protecting from stress-damage. For prolonged stress can interfere with the immune system and you can become highly susceptible to infectious illnesses. That's where echinacea comes in handy. Known as Purple Coneflower, echinacea is a member of the Composite (daisy) family with potent antibiotic and anti-viral effects. The roots of two species, E. purpurea and E. angustifolia, have long been used against infection, and in detoxifying the body, by native peoples including the American Plains Indians. In recent years, the herb has been heavily researched in Germany, where numerous scientific studies now verify its health-promoting abilities. In Germany there are now more than 200 prescription products based on echinacea or its derivatives. Echinacea is able to amplify the activity of the immune system not only by helping an ailing body to recover swiftly, but by helping protect from infections such as colds and flu during the long winter months. I find it a welcome friend taken daily as a preventative during ‘flu season’ as well as a great boon to recovery if you feel yourself coming down with an infection. perfect calmer There is one more herb that can be enormously helpful especially when you become so wound up that you find it difficult to come down. Valerian, Valeriana officinalis, lives up beautifully to its folk reputation as a natural tranquilizer. Recent research confirms this common herb has a remarkable ability to normalize the workings of the central nervous system. Scientific research confirms that valerian is a superb natural sedative. One of the major problems with drug-based sleeping pills is that, while they will put you to sleep, they can also interfere with the quality of the sleep you get when taking them, and leave you with a ‘hangover’ of fatigue in the morning. Researchers found that valerian not only significantly improved sleep quality it also left subjects with no hangover the next morning. But it is just as good as a de-tenser. I find it particularly helpful when I have been traveling across time zones as a help in readjusting my sleep patterns. Get acquainted with a few of the best herbal stress-helpers. They are good friends to have around when you need them.

What Causes Obesity

What Causes Obesity

There is so much nonsense taught about obesity not only through the media but even through published findings of trained scientists and doctors who should know better. If ever you decide to take time out and to plough through the voluminous research and declarations about obesity, its cause and its cure — as I have done virtually ad nausea — you will discover that certain conclusions about the cause of weight gain and the difficulties of making weight loss permanent demand to be drawn. Some of them will surprise you I think, because we have been taught to believe so many false ideas by the media, food manufacturers and Big Pharma. Obesity is not a disorder caused by lack of exercise. Obesity is not caused by overeating or lack of will power. It is a state of excess fat accumulation as a result of some, as yet officially unidentified, disequilibrium in the hormonal regulation of fat metabolism. [video poster="http://d3oy45cyct8ffi.cloudfront.net/health/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/What-Causes-Obesity.jpg" src="https://asset.artemis.cloud/images/articles/original/what-causes-obesity.mp4"] This is the major issue which must be addressed to conquer the epidemic of chronic overweight. Taking in excess calories is not why we gain weight, nor does expending a lot of energy in exercise prevent it. Because of the effect they exert on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, sugars and starches are undeniably the dietary culprits in the development of diabetes, coronary heart disease and obesity. They are also inevitable contributors to other diseases of civilization, including cancer and Alzheimer's disease. With the exception of chemically distorted oils and fats full of trans-fatty acids, traditional oils and fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and butter do not cause obesity. Cereals, grains, and sugar-based carbohydrates do. They distort hormonal regulation and homeostasis, fostering obesity as a consequence of the way they disturb insulin balance. They engender insulin resistance syndrome, metabolic syndrome or Syndrome X. Because carbohydrate foods such as these stimulate insulin secretion, they also increase hunger and diminish the energy available to the body to fuel good metabolic processes and for use during day-to-day life. I believe it's important that you become aware of these things so do not fall prey to swallowing all the misleading information that's out there.

Cancer - Have No Fear

Cancer - Have No Fear

The word strikes fear into the heart of most women. The mainstream medical profession continues to insist that the only way for us to protect ourselves against death from breast, cervical and womb cancer is by getting regular mammograms and Pap smears. We are still being filled with fear by mainstream media and Big Pharma about the dangers of breast cancer, and treated to horror stories about brave women who have been cancer victims yet survived to tell the tale. Instead of empowering us so we can take action to make cancer's appearance in our own life unlikely, most of what we’re told about the illness fills us with so much fear that it makes it almost impossible to sort out facts from fantasies. Each woman responds to fear-mongering in a different way. Some keep booking regular appointments at “well women clinics.” Others bury their heads like ostriches, hoping that the cancer terror will pass them by. Whichever way you choose to view the threat of cancer—whether real or imagined—is disempowering. Even words used to describe someone who has the illness—a cancer victim—bestows upon the illness a power it does not deserve. USELESS ADVICE Ask the so-called experts how best to protect yourself from dying of cancer. They are likely to respond that early detection is the answer. The prevailing theory is that the earlier you detect cancers, the better your chances of survival. This is untrue. Breast cancers are diagnosed through a combination of sonograms, aspiration of lumps, physical exams, mammograms and surgical biopsy, where a piece of tissue from the breast is removed and examined under the microscope. Mammograms are x-rays taken of your breasts, used to diagnose breast cancer at its earliest appearance—supposedly before it can be felt by physical exam. This remains standard medical procedure in most countries. Interesting research first came to light as the result of the largest study of its kind ever carried out in Canada. The Canadian National Breast Screening Study followed the fate of 89,836 women between 40 and 49 for an eight year period, during which half of them were given mammograms every year to eighteen months while the other half were only examined physically. When all the results were tallied, researchers discovered that deaths from cancer in women who got regular mammograms were significantly higher than those who had no mammograms done. When results were published—which, incidentally, did not happen until a full four years after the study was completed—the NCI finally announced that the increase in death from breast cancer was 52 percent. In simple terms, you are half again as likely to die of cancer if you do have regular mammograms as if you do not. This report made the headlines, “Breast Scans Boost Risk of Cancer Death”, reported The Times. It then went on to explain that “Middle-aged women who have regular mammograms are more likely to die from breast cancer than women who are not screened, according to dramatic new research.” DANGEROUS RADIATION Mammography subjects you to powerful ionizing radiation which can cause cancer. One mammogram delivers the radiation equivalent of 1,000 chest x-rays into your body. Each year in the United States, an amazing 4 billion dollars is spent on over-diagnosis and false-positives in relation to mammography results. And the incidence of false positive results are known to be as high as 56% in a woman who has undergone 10 mammograms. Another very recent, massive study over 25 years concluded that mammograms have absolutely NO effect on mortality rates. The New York Times reported on it: "One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done, involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter­century, has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age. It found that the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not. And the screening had harms: one in five cancers found with mammography and treated was NOT a threat to the woman's health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation." EARLY DETECTION NONSENSE The second widespread notion about cancer is that the earlier it is detected and surgery performed, the better are a woman’s chances of survival. This too is untrue, as Petr Skrabanek reported some time ago in the British Medical Journal: "There is no evidence that early mastectomy affects survival. If the patients knew this, they would most likely refuse surgery". At the University of California in Berkeley, Professor Hardin Jones, whose expertise is in the areas of medical physics and physiology, had reported to the American Cancer Society some 20 years ago that every serious attempt to relate early treatment to survival has been unsuccessful. Jones studied many reports that looked at detection and survival and found that those subjects chosen for treatment for cancer tended to be patients who were considered capable of being cured by operations, while the inoperable or terminal patients tended to be lumped together as part of the untreated control groups. After making adjustments in the statistics to take this into account, Jones reported that "My studies have proven conclusively that untreated cancer victims actually live up to four times longer than treated individuals." Jones' investigations, like those of other researchers, continue to be ignored by Big Pharma and most of mainstream medicine and the media. MAMMOGRAM MIASMA Not only are mammograms not a cure-all for breast cancer, a “clean” mammogram is no real guarantee that you do not have a cancer developing. Mammograms are capable of missing its presence altogether. They are open to a great deal of confusion and interpretation, since reading them is not an exact science but an art dependent upon the competence and judgement of human beings. American specialist in internal medicine Dr H Gilbert Welch, a senior researcher at the Department of Veterans' Affairs in White River Junction Vermont, has looked carefully at the difficulties that go with the excessive diagnosis of diseases like breast cancer. He discovered that in women who die from other causes, an amazing 40 percent have had microscopic changes in their breasts. These are common lesions which show up on mammograms and there is no way in which any expert, no matter how skilled or highly experienced, is capable of knowing which of these will remain dormant and which may eventually turn into cancer. INACCURATE BIOPSIES Neither does a biopsy carried out after a “suspicious mammogram” improve survival rates from breast cancer. A biopsy entails cutting through the suspected lump and invading the protective pocket that helps keep a tumor from spreading, and as a result this very procedure designed to confirm the existence or non-existence of a cancerous lesion can actually encourage cancers present to metastasize—to spread to other parts of the body. German researchers who looked at the survival rates of patients with breast cancer discovered that those who had had biopsies died earlier than those who did not. Even biopsies done with a needle rather than a scalpel do not appear to be safe, quite apart from what the worry over waiting for results and the pain involved in the procedure can do by undermining a woman's immune system. George Crile Jr M.D., a Surgeon Emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States, says "It gives credence to what our patients already think and tell us—that cutting into cancer spreads it and makes it grow." BANISH YOUR FEAR It’s time we stopped falling victim to the pronouncements and procedures of high technology medical procedures as well as to cancer itself as a disease. The answer to its prevention lies mostly in our own hands. It depends largely on things we can do ourselves to change the way we eat, live and think—not in the hands of abstract medical theorizing and the fear-mongering which still too often accompanies it. As an editorial in The Lancet pointed out, "Some readers may be startled to learn that the overall mortality rate from carcinoma of the breast remains static. If one were to believe all the media hype, the triumphalism of the profession in the published research, and the almost weekly miracle breakthrough trumpeted by the cancer charities, one might be surprised that women are dying at all from this cancer." PAP-SMEAR SCARES The other common procedure to which we women are subjected is the Pap smear for diagnosing cervical abnormalities. Its name comes from a Dr George Papanicolaou, who developed the procedure almost three quarters of a century ago. It has since then been refined and is now used as a way of identifying “abnormal” (usually referred to as “pre-cancerous cells”) as early as possible. Using a simple instrument inserted into the vagina, a doctor scrapes away a sampling of cells from the squamocolumnar junction of the cervix just inside the cervical opening at the bottom of the womb. These are fixed on a slide with a chemical preservative and examined under the microscope by a technician or doctor used to reading them. Pap smears are frequently credited with some decline in the death rate for cervical cancer; however, they too can be highly unreliable and produce a number of both false-positives and false-negatives. There have still been no controlled randomized trials that prove that they actually save lives. When a trial was carried out in British Columbia, where mass screening by Pap smear had been carried out, deaths from cervical cancer did indeed drop: However, not a lot could be deduced from this fact, since they also dropped in the rest of Canada as well to just the same degree in areas where mass screening was not conducted. As Dr E Robin points out in his fascinating book Matters of Life and Death: Risks and Benefits of Medical Care, the Pap smear is not only one of the most common and popular laboratory tests, it is also one of the most unreliable. He writes about one study where two Pap smears were taken from the same women at the same time. An amazing two-thirds of the women's two tests showed different results. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS In the past five years, a great deal of information has come to light about how the way you eat and live either protects or predisposes you to cancer. Forward-thinking researchers are awakening to hormonal links in the development of breast and womb cancer and finding ways of using natural, bioidentical hormones to protect against it. In many ways even more exciting, a minority of savvy medical practitioners have begun to teach their patients that, above all else, to protect themselves from the illness we need to take responsibility for the kind of foods we eat. There is a lot to me said about how powerful this can be not only to protect yourself from cancer but from all of the common degenerative diseases as well as early ageing. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. I’ll be writing specifically about this very soon.

Oil Pulling? Support the health of the immune system using Coconut Oil

Oil Pulling? Support the health of the immune system using Coconut Oil

Long before Ayurvedic medicine arrived in the west, I made a journey to hospitals throughout India where it was practiced. I was determined to learn all I could about this remarkable ancient healing tradition. I was bowled over by all the marvelous things I did discover. Near the end of my trip, I arrived at an Ayurvedic Hospital in Kerala—land of the coconuts, in the south of the continent. There, hundreds and hundreds of acres, interspersed with twisting waterways, grow organic coconuts. It was while at this hospital that the doctor’s taught me how coconut oil, rich in health-giving natural properties, can be used to heal a whole body. The protocol they used for this was then known as “oil gargling”—a serious misnomer, for in truth it has nothing to do with gargling. Nowadays, we call it “oil pulling”. It’s important that you know about it, since oil pulling has improved the health of thousands of people including me. GIFTS FROM THE COCONUT It’s the oil of the coconut that wields life-promoting powers. What few people know is that coconut oil is naturally antimicrobial. It’s an efficient destroyer of all sorts of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that damage human health. The oil pulling technique has been used for some 5000 years, not only because it reduces plaque in the mouth, but as a means of healing conditions throughout the whole body—from inflammation, pain in the joints, chronic fatigue, sinusitis, back pain and diabetes, to migraine, PMS, and chronic skin problems. Coconut oil is highly responsive to temperature changes. In a cool room it becomes a solid. But set it in the sunlight or immerse a jar of it in hot water for a few minutes and it will turn into a crystal clear liquid oil. POWERHOUSE OILS There are literally thousands of types of bacteria in the mouth, including Streptococcus mutans—an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay. During oil pulling, the breaking down of coconut oil by enzymes produces acids which are toxic to these pathogens. Each of these brings its own unique health-promoting support. When you take coconut oil into the body via oil pulling, your system converts one important ingredient, lauric acid, into monolaurin, with its antibacterial, antiviral and antiprotozoal properties. Coconut oil contains the largest amount of lauric acid of any fruit or vegetable on the planet. Monolaurin is a monoglyceride with the ability to destroy negative invaders in the body that have a lipid coating. The lipid-coated viruses and bacteria that it attacks include the HIV virus and the influenza virus as well as a number of other pathogenic bacteria and protozoa. Another ingredient in coconut oil, capric acid, also boasts antimicrobial properties. Finally, coconut oil is about 66% medium chain triglycerides or MCTs. These offer a huge variety of health benefits, including sating appetite and helping to establish ketogenic-adaptation. Oil pulling is believed to reduce plaque by at least 50%. It involves rinsing your mouth with coconut oil, much the way you would use a mouthwash. You put from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil in your mouth. Even in its solid form the coconut oil will quickly change into a white liquid as it responds to the heat of the mouth. Then you swish it around your teeth for 20 minutes. A SUPERB DETOX Oil pulling is powerfully detoxifying to the body as a whole. The mouth is home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites and other toxins which undermine health and can trigger disease. It is these beasties and their toxic waste products that create gum disease and tooth decay. They are then passed on to the rest of the body. The immune system is constantly fighting off these pathogens. When we become overloaded from excessive stress, poor diet, or environmental toxins, they leak into the whole system and can create secondary infections, as well as a wide variety of other health issues. Pathogenic oral bacteria, and the toxins that they produce, harm far more than just your mouth. They circulate through the bloodstream and are carried all over the body. WIDESPREAD HEALING Reported health benefits which oil pulling is reported to bring to the body: Increase overall energy. Improve the health and look of skin. Support the health of the immune system. Improve the utilization of blood sugar. Kill viruses that cause flu, herpes, and other illnesses. Improve digestion. Alleviate arthritic pain. Support the thyroid gland. Protect the health of the heart. Foster healthy metabolism. Even help counter diabetes. MY OWN EXPERIENCE I began doing coconut oil pulling out of frustration with leaking root canals in my mouth. Many years ago—trusting my dentist—I foolishly agreed to allow root canals to be carried out for four of my teeth. This is something I would never do now. Why? Because, although most dentists continue to deny this, virtually all root canals eventually leak. As they leak, they pour poison into your mouth and the rest of your body. This is why the hygienist asks you before she begins her work if you have any heart conditions. So virulent can be the poisons produced by a leaking root canal that they destroy the gums, give you bad breath and make you highly susceptible to illness. (No hygienist wants you to die of a heart condition in her chair while she is cleaning your teeth!) When I discovered that my own root canals were leaking, I started to do a lot of research into the subject. I must have read at least four dozen papers on root canals and their problems. My dentist looked at me and said “We just need to remove the leaking root canals out and put in new ones”. Well thank you very much—but I did not want to go through that again and have the next root canals leak even more health-destroying poisons into my body. I figured I had to do something to help myself. I remembered oil pulling and began to use it twice each day for 20 minutes. Within a few days, wonderful things started to occur. I had, for a long time, been experiencing pressure and discomfort in my cheeks—not exactly sinusitis, but something that I was certain shouldn’t have been there. This disappeared within a week. Meanwhile, I had also been experiencing pain in my legs as a result of five serious accidents which had damaged my lower body. That too began to get better. LIFELONG BENEFITS At this point, I realized that I was on to something pretty amazing. I asked other people about their own experience with oil pulling. Some told me that their asthma had cleared up; so had their chronic fatigue, migraines, PMS and skin problems. What appears to happen when you practice this technique is the coconut oil detoxifies and cleanses the body, promoting the release of toxins encouraging the body to heal itself. I continued to do my oil pulling for perhaps eight months, after which my teeth were whiter, my breath was fresh and my tongue and gums had a healthy pink color to them. I was so pleased that I figured “I probably don’t need to do oil pulling any more”. So I stopped. After about three months, I realized that I was getting some slight swelling in my mouth. So I resumed oil pulling and have continued ever since. I actually enjoy it. I love the fresh, strong feel of my gums and teeth after finishing it. HOW TO DO COCONUT OIL PULLING The practice consists of swishing coconut oil in the mouth, working and pulling it, and drawing it through the teeth. You’ll need a container of organic raw coconut oil that is natural and has not had any fragrance taken out of it. Put a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil in your mouth. It will probably be in its solid state. But it will melt as soon as you get it in your mouth. Swish the oil around in your mouth for around 15 to 20 minutes. Then spit it out completely. Finally, brush your teeth. You must NEVER swallow the oil. By the time you’ve done the oil pulling exercise each time, the oil will have become loaded with bacteria, toxins and mucus. You must spit it out. There are a couple of good books I can recommend if you want to learn more. In the meantime, may the blessed coconut bring you as many health blessings as my own it has brought to mine. Do let me know how you get on if you decide to use it. OIL PULLING THERAPY Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing by Bruce Fife Buy Oil Pulling Therapy THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO OIL PULLING Nature's Therapy: Learn How to Heal Your Body By Using An Ancient Oral Detox Therapy [Kindle Edition] by Kate Evans Scott and David Pearson Buy Beginners Guide To OIl Pulling My Favourite Coconut Oil (organic) Cold-Pressed & Pure White: Not refined, deodorized, or bleached! Savor its natural rich aroma and enticing light taste. Adding a pinch of salt reduces coconut flavor. Organic: Made without pesticides, GMOs, or hexane. Versatile: Ideal as a medium-heat cooking oil, as nutritious substitute in baking, and as "better-than-butter" replacement on bread, vegetables, or popcorn. Also a luscious for skin care, hair care and massage. Buy Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil

Insomnia - To Sleep Or Not To Sleep

Insomnia - To Sleep Or Not To Sleep

A great many sleep issues are more the result of worrying about insomnia than anything else. Many people who consider themselves insomniacs are really victims of general propaganda about sleep rather than true non-sleepers. And many people seek treatment because they can only sleep four or five hours a night, although that may be all they need. There is nothing more apt to cause sleeplessness than the worry that you won't be able to drop off. Sometimes sleeplessness can be normal. We all experience a sleepless night now and then, particularly if we are over-tired, worried, or excited about some coming event. THE TRUTH ABOUT INSOMNIA Real, chronic insomnia is less frequent. A major research project into long-term insomnia turned up some interesting facts about sufferers. Over 85 per cent of the 300 insomniacs studied had one or more major pathological personality indication, such as depression, obsessive compulsive tendencies, schizophrenic characteristics or sociopathy. For them, their insomnia was a secondary symptom of a more basic conflict—a socially acceptable problem they could talk about without fear of being judged. Insomnia can simply be a mask for whatever is really bothering the non-sleeper. Sometimes an inability to sleep can be a manifestation of a nutritional problem, often a deficiency of zinc coupled with an excess of copper—which produces a mind that is intellectually overactive and won't wind down—or a deficiency of calcium or magnesium or vitamin E—which can lead to tension and cramping in the muscles and a difficulty in letting go. 300mg of magnesium taken before bed often clears cramping and allows you to sleep more peacefully. BE COOL The more easygoing an attitude you take to sleep, the less likely you are to have any problem with it. If you miss an hour or two, or if you are not sleepy, simply stay up, read a book, or finish some work. Believe it or not, one of the best times for coming up with creative ideas is in the middle of a sleepless night. It can be the perfect opportunity for turning stress into something creative. Chances are that you'll more than make up for a few lost hours of sleep in the next couple of days—provided you don't let yourself get anxious about it. IT’S A WOMAN THING Insomnia is one of the greatest fears of all for women. Eight times more women report sleep difficulties to their doctors throughout their lives than do men. Apart from the motherhood-induced insomnia which comes from having to feed a baby, if ever you are going to have trouble sleeping it is most likely to be during the perimenopausal years just before your periods stop, or much later on in your seventies and eighties. People sleep less as they get older for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a decrease in the production of a brain hormone called melatonin which regulates the body's circadian rhythms. How much sleep you need can change depending on your life circumstances too. When you are pregnant, eat less wholesome foods, are under stress or ill you may need more sleep. You need more sleep when you gain weight, too. When losing weight, or during a detoxification regime, you will often sleep less. The sleeplessness that occurs in women around the time of menopause and is usually not so much a difficulty in going to sleep but a tendency to awaken regularly at the same time each night (usually 2 or 3 in the morning) and to lie wide awake. Because we are accustomed to sleeping through the night we assume that there must be something wrong. Yet sleeplessness can sometimes bring new insights, if you are ready to receive them. Many artists, writers and composers will tell you that they receive inspiration for new projects and discover ways of overcoming creative challenges on awakening in the night. That being said, when sleeplessness becomes chronic it can leave you feeling exhausted, hopeless and washed out, in which case something needs to be done about it. Sleeping pills are not the answer. Their side-effects include digestive problems, poor concentration, disorders of the blood and respiration, high blood pressure, liver and kidney troubles, problems with vision, depression, dizziness, confusion and damage to the central nervous system. Using them can even lead to worse insomnia. There are better ways. HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT The next time you are troubled by sleeplessness experiment with nature's best sleep aids. Spend 20 minutes in the sun or in very bright light each morning. Your circadian rhythms are linked to sunlight. The sun sets our natural clocks properly and acts as a natural energizer too. Get more exercise. This helps burn up stress-caused adrenalin build up in the brain which can result in that tense, nervous feeling where you are ‘up’ and can't seem to get ‘down’. Experiment with exercising at different times of the day to see which time works best for you in terms of relaxing you and making you ready for sleep at night. Never take strenuous exercise before going to bed as it can set the heart pounding and stimulate the whole body far too much. Don't take on any new activities late in the day. Don't take a nap in the evening or late afternoon. Eat early, not late. In fact, the earlier the better. Make dinner your smallest meal of the day and avoid snacks after dinner since they can interfere with sleep. Everybody sleeps better on an empty stomach despite what the hot drink manufacturers would have you believe. Don't drink coffee or alcohol at dinner, or other strong stimulants. This isn't just an old wives tale. One researcher looking into the effects of caffeine on human beings recently showed that total sleep time is decreased by two hours and the mean total of intervening wakefulness more than doubles when men and women are given caffeine equivalent to a couple of cups of coffee. Alcohol may put you to sleep but it tends not to keep you there, awakening you instead in the early hours of the morning. Drink plenty of water during the day. Sleep is induced by the brain and brain cells need adequate hydration both to stay awake during the daylight hours and to trigger the dreamy relaxation that brings on sleep. Hardly anyone drinks as much water as they profitably could. I regularly consume at least 2 litres of mineral water a day in addition to whatever other drinks I may have. Don't go to bed when you are not sleepy. Instead, pursue some pleasant activity, preferably passive. Television is not the best choice for rays emitted from the set disturb your nervous system when you least need it. Get into a rut, going to bed as far as possible at the same time every night and developing a routine or simple ritual about it. When it comes to getting ready for sleep each night the body loves routines, they foster relaxation and let the body know what to expect. Make bedtime and rising time as regular as possible and go through the same routine each evening of putting the cat out, opening the window, reading a book, etc. Soak in a lukewarm (not hot) bath for 30 minutes topping up with hot water to maintain the temperature at just blood heat. (A hot bath before bed is a mistake. It is far too stimulating to the heart and gets your motor running.) Blot your skin dry without friction and go straight to bed moving slowly. This can be a great thing to do in the middle of the night if you awaken too - use a candle instead of turning on the light and let yourself relax as you probably never can during the day when a telephone could ring or someone might demand something of you. Insist that you sleep in a room by yourself when you want to be alone. Nights, sometimes weeks, sleeping alone can be enormously restful and fruitful. Use an ioniser. A little contraption beside your bed that sends negative ions into the air is a godsend to anyone who has the kind of nervous system that tends to go ‘up’ and doesn't want to come ‘down’. Although not cheap, it is an excellent investment for you can use it at a desk when you have a lot of work to do. Or, if you buy one of the portable varieties, you can also take it in the car on long trips to keep from going to sleep (it magically works both ways). Negative ions also stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain. Listen to mellow music. Music too can help alter consciousness and have you sinking blissfully into the depths of slumber. An ipod by the side of your bed is one of the most pleasant ways of all of putting a racing mind to rest and easing yourself into sleep. Use essential oils. They can have a wonderfully calming effect on the mind and body. You can take a warm bath with them or place a few drops on your pillow to inhale through the night. For the bath use four drops of lavender oil, two drops of camomile and two drops of neroli (orange blossom). Or try a drop or two of each on your pillow. Count your blessings. It's an old fashioned idea but it is a true key to deep relaxation and blissful sleep. Each night as you turn out the light think of six things during the day which you have to be thankful for, regardless of your physical or emotional state or how difficult your life may be at the time. This gradually turns the mind to dwell on pleasurable themes while you are awake. It can even improve the quality of your dreams. Make use of effective relaxation techniques (coming soon). You will find they enhance many other areas of your life too. Stop worrying about getting to sleep. Just let it happen. If it doesn't tonight, so what? It will tomorrow night. Or the next. Lack of sleep is not going to kill you, but worrying about it long enough just might.

Cancer: Let Nature Protect You

Cancer: Let Nature Protect You

Cancer is the most feared disease amongst women. These days we’re bombarded with propaganda about how dangerous it is. We’re told we need to be using drugs and expensive medical procedures to protect ourselves from the dreaded cancer in its myriad of forms. I believe it’s time to turn away from all the drama, and get practical. Fifty years ago I was trained by some of the finest medical doctors. These men and women had all been conventionally trained MDs. But each one of them had chosen to leave behind the approach to treating illness by prescribing powerful and potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. They chose instead to teach people how to access their own natural potentials for creating highlevel health and protecting themselves from illnesses. Thanks to all I learned from them, I was able to raise my own four children without drugs, as well as transforming my own health. Let me share with you some of the things I learned from them when it comes to helping protect your body from cancer and other illness. You will need to make some simple yet profound changes in the way you may have been living. But, in the process, it can help you—as it did me—to expand your health so effectively that you will never look back. By the way, did you know that less than 10% of all cases of breast cancer are likely to be related to genetic risk factors? Other risk factors are almost all environmental issues. For we live in a highly poisonous world which you need to learn to protect yourself from. Here’s my simple checklist. How many of these changes are you willing to make in your life to achieve high-level wellness long-term? Stop buying convenience foods from supermarkets and clear all of these foods out of your kitchen now. They are full of pesticides, colorants, chemicals and flavor enhancers all of which are fundamentally damaging to your body and health. Go for REAL foods in everything you eat: Meats and eggs from pastured organic animals, only wild fish— never farmed fish—and organically grown dark greeb vegetables and a few low glycaemic fruits. Grow as many of these as you can in your own garden or kitchen windows, or find a good source near you and shop there. Get plenty of Vitamin D3. Hang out in the sun if you are lucky enough to live in a sunny country. It is a proven fact that the more elevated your solar UVB exposure is before 11am and after 3pm, the less susceptible you will be to developing cancer of many kinds. If you live in a country with little sunlight, be sure to take a supplement of vitamin D-3+vitamin K-2 twice a day. You’ll need between 2000 and 5000 IU of D-3 and 100mcg-200mcg of vitamin K-2. Never cook your meats at ta very high a temperature. Charring may taste good but it is not good for you and has been strongly associated with cancer risk. Never eat unfermented soy in any form, be it milk, tofu, or any other. If you want to eat soy, be sure it is only fermented soy and is non-GMO, traditionally fermented soy including natto, tempeh, miso and tofu. These fermented soy products may even help prevent cancer. Drink a pint of green juice from organically grown vegetables every day without fail. Take a top quality omega-3 oil every day. Steer clear of electromagnetic fields every chance you get. Don’t use Wi-Fi in your home. If you need to use it, turn off the Wi-Fi as soon as possible. When you do not have to use your cell phone, make sure it is in Airplane Mode. Get plenty of simple exercise daily: walking, dancing, weights, Pilates, whatever you like best, and make this a habit. Re-establish your body’s healthy weight and stay that weight. These simple measures work like a dream for everyone.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 12,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 12 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 26th of September 2020 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.76 lb
for women
-0.96 lb
for men
-0.76 lb
for women
-0.96 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 26th of September 2020 (updated every 12 hours)

sign up for our newsletter

download our free book healthy & lean for life