I’m Now Appearing on YouTube!

Hi All,

This is an exciting week for me because my fledgeling series on Autoimmunity and chronic disease has now taken on a whole new set of wings.  This week we are moving across to YouTube for a visual session on the importance of hydration and:

My top 5 Reasons why Water is crucial to you if you have an autoimmune or chronic disease.

Please click here  to see it.

Please bear in mind that I am new to this and I realise that I may well look back and cringe, but for now please give me feedback I welcome it with open arms!

Have a great week and keep drinking that water.

Gemma x

It is time for Change

The Autoimmune Disease Series

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“As above,so below”

The spring equinox on Friday treats us to a huge shift in energy.  The dormant, hibernating state of winter that brings restoration and reflection gives way to an emergent state that is expansive and full of positive growth.

This tremendous energy shift can be seen to be enormously beneficial as the body shrugs off its winter fat stores, and with it accumulated toxins, making way for a leaner, lighter being that can launch into spring joy.

However for many of you who are chronically ill, with Autoimmune diseases, Chronic fatigue syndrome or otherwise, the body simply may not have the energy reserves to produce a flamboyant cold or a rapidly resolved fever, that heats up the lymphatic system until it is thin enough to shift out its burden of cellular debris.

Instead you sense a downward spiral of inhibited cleansing with energy reserves slumping and the disease state getting deeper and more challenging.

So how can we best support a chronic disease state at this time?

My top 6 spring time tips for supporting yourself at this time of change are:

  1. Drink adequate water, vegetable soups, smoothies and juices.
  2. Lighten the load – eat less animal fats, processed foods.  Think stir fries, soups and salads to get plenty of healthy cleansing foods into your body.
  3. Go green – especially bitter greens such as dandelion leaves which will stimulate the liver to squeeze out the toxic bile that it has created.  Cut up some kale, steam some asparagus or smoothie some spinach to help you get  some spring into your step.
  4.  Use the sour flavour too, squeeze a lemon into your food or water to help squeeze out your liver.
  5. Get moving – use some yoga techniques that work on the liver or get some gentle exercise on a re-bounder (mini trampoline).  Spend some time out in nature, don’t forget to smell the flowers.
  6. Do some coffee enemas.  This is a fantastic technique for supporting the liver and shifting toxicity out of your body.

In addition to these ideas consider supplementing with some lecithin granules.  Lecithin will help your body to break down and emulsify fats and oils and this will help it to use them or move them out of your body.  This can really help you to relieve the burden on your liver.   Go gently and bear in mind that as the liver starts to open up and release its toxins, there may be an onset of earlier symptoms, so keep it gentle, just half a teaspoon at first, working up to a tablespoon per day, or as recommended by the instructions on the label.  Lecithin contains phospholipids which we use to make our cell membranes, so to really work at a cellular level, lecithin may be just the supplement that you need to get your cells cleansing efficiently.

Milk Thistle is a herb that has a fantastic reputation as a liver cleanser so now would be an excellent time to start using this too.

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In Chinese Medicine, the Season of Spring is associated with the Wood element .  We can see wood as all things green, new shoots, slender saplings, positive new growth.  However if not given adequate water, nurture and light, wood can become tough, gnarled or damp and rotten.  So if you want to bring forth some new green shoots and see some positive growth you may wish to pay attention to your liver; as your liver also represents the Wood element.  So do keep in mind those nutritional support and supplement ideas that appeared earlier in my post.

The Liver is also known as the Planner in the body.  So if you have raging hormones, inconsistent bowel movements, or irregular periods then you may also choose to look to your liver and give it extra support at this time.

This would also be a good time to set down some plans of your own.  It may be time to turn over a new leaf and make some big changes in your life, or make a fresh start on a project that has been bubbling away.  Try making a list of the top five things that you would like to achieve this year or in the next few years, or write down a list of those things that you have been putting off doing for some time but know that you need to get done and start ticking them off.  Use this spring time to set some goals and start putting them into action.

Tony Robbins is an internationally acclaimed life coach, mentor and motivator.  You can get some help working your ideas into a workable format with his free resources and this Rapid Planning Method:

http://www.tonyrobbins.com/pdfs/Workbook-Time-of-your-Life.pdf

“That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” Hermes Trismegistus 

Finally I would like to introduce a method that is astoundingly accurate.  This idea that Hermes Trimegistus introduced all those centuries ago; “As above, so below”,  we understand to mean that any effects on any level of reality (physical, emotional, or mental) will also be felt or observed on every other level.

An example of this is how emotional trauma can manifest in diseases such as cancer.

With this in mind we are going to use this idea of energy shifting by working on our homes, our environment, our sacred space.  The idea being that in making changes to the space that surrounds us on a daily basis, we can shift some stagnation within our bodies and minds.

We are going to start by clearing clutter.  For this you are going to do what is achievable (not overwhelming), so start with a drawer, a room or just the cobwebs.  Create a beautiful sparkly place that is uplifting, think vitality.  Recycle, bin and take to charity any unwanted items, clear them out, free up space and put good energy back into it.  See how that makes you feel.

If you are ready for more then look at a previous post that I shared that takes this concept to a much more profound level and looks at Space Clearing as defined by Karen Kingston.  It is much more demanding, but reaps such enormous benefits that will positively launch you into spring with rocket fuel to spare:

http://www.healthywealthyandhappy.co.uk/?page_id=138

Space Clearing is a ritual, a ceremony that provides a framework for giving thanks for all that you are and for all that you have.  It allows you to generate a high energetic frequency that will shift stagnation from your life and allow you to give focus and clarity to your goals and innermost desires.  It will send a strong message to the universe and will provide a confident and powerful start to new beginnings.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

With love from Gemma x

Why water on its own just isn’t enough- the importance of hydration for autoimmune disease and chronic disease conditions.

The Autoimmune disease series

“Water is the matter and matrix of life”.

Albert Szent-Gyorgi,  Nobel laureate biologist.

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In my last blog post, I listed many things that were extremely helpful at reducing inflammation.  Number 1 on that list was hydration and it was no coincidence that I put it first.  It really is that important.

I am going to start by writing a simplified summary of my blog – for those of you who just want to know what is required and don’t need a full and more complicated explanation.  For those of you who need to know why I am asking you to do something read on after my summary:

So to summarise:

Water is crucial at a cellular level to ensure that a correct balance of nutrients can enter the cell and that waste can leave the cell.  If dehydration occurs then the cell membrane can thicken and movement into and out of the cell can become much harder and the whole process is less efficient.  This can effect your cleansing at a cellular level but this in turn will also affect the whole of your body making you more tired and sluggish.

Eat soups, smoothies, stews, raw foods in addition to plenty of water through the day (not more than 1 litre in an hour).

Fatty acids are a crucial part of this hydration picture – lending themselves to a much more permeable cell membrane which will allow for much better movement of water as well as the all important nutrients into and out of the cell.  Ancient cultures recognised the need for oil and the crucial part that it plays in hydration.

Reach optimum hydration and you will be living  your true potential; you will feel more connected and with more confidence to trust your inner wisdom to heal yourself.

Now to the longer, more in depth part:

I have said it before and I will say it again, hydration is the cornerstone of everything that I do as a Naturopath.  It is a big wide world out there and many people will be trying to sell you diets and supplements to help you to overcome your long term disease, be it autoimmune or otherwise.  I would say that before you embark on any new diet or start taking supplements, that you address your hydration levels first.

Your cells and your body are comprised of 60-70% water, so if you only concentrate your efforts on  getting that bit right, imagine the impact that you can have on your health.

If your body does not get enough fluids through pure fresh water, soups, smoothies, stews, raw fruit and vegetables etc, then it will try to preserve what fluids you do have.  It does so by coating each cell in more cholesterol (don’t get me started on that one, but yes we do produce our own, especially when our body is under stress). We can see an extreme situation of this fluid retention in oedema or swelling of hands or feet; a  severe symptom that may have its roots in serious levels of dehydration (always consult with a professional health adviser before treating such a condition as there may be issues with  other organs such as the kidneys or the heart  that may be compromised by sudden increases in fluids).  Always increase fluids gently.

The thickened cell membrane helps our body to prevent fluid loss, but this is at the expense of the integrity of our cell membrane.  We refer to this self protection mechanism by the body as it’s “dehydration alert”.  As a Naturopath it is the thing that I look to first to “switch off” so that the body and its organs,tissues and cells can relax and restore their normal functions.

You see our cell membranes are meant to be able to allow a free exchange of nutrients into the cell and of waste products out of the cell. This creates a cleansing cycle which is part of what allows us to wake up each morning feeling refreshed and with a spring in our step and enthusiasm for the day ahead.  Such exuberance might all be something that you can only remember feeling in the distant past, when you are in a chronic state of disease.  Feeling sluggish and ‘toxic’ in the morning is a sure sign that you are not fully hydrated.  There will be more work to do, but hydration is the first place to start.

So why isn’t just water enough?

In her book Cellular Awakening  Barbara Wren explains:

“People living in arid countries also have ways to maintain hydration within their culture.  For example in Morocco the women working in the fields don’t take a lot of water with them; instead they take freshly pressed argon oil.  We see how certain cultures have retained the knowledge that a very important ingredient for maintaining hydration is oil containing fatty acids.”

To understand this we need to go back to our cell membranes.  Our cell membranes are made up of phospholipids which make use of fatty acids.  These fatty acids are a crucial component of hydration as they create a much more flexible and responsive cell membrane.  If there is too much cholesterol protecting our cells from fluid loss, there will also be a loss of fluids entering the cell.  Fatty acids seem to displace this cholesterol and help to increase hydration at a cellular level.  Although oil and water does not mix it seems that osmosis can, does and must occur through cell membranes but this all important process is aided when fatty acids are present and plentiful in our cell membranes.  So next time you swill from your  water bottle consider your need for increasing your fatty acid intake.   Fatty acids are found in flax seeds and Krill oil which can be taken in therapeutic amounts in supplement form.

The fatty acids working within the phospholipid membranes also help to keep the membrane fluid and flexible allowing for an efficient exchange of nutrients and electrolytes.

It is this, in and out movement of electrolytes that maintains the correct charge on our cell membrane which in turn recharges our batteries so to speak .  The charge on our cell membrane attracts electrons which in turn receive photons of light.  This light keeps us switched on, ‘enlightened’.  It keeps us connected…connected with others, but perhaps more importantly with our very own innate wisdom, with intuition and from this comes our trust in ourselves and from this our ability to heal.

Top 10 ways to stop your pain and inflammation

The Autoimmune disease series

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Reduce your pain and inflammation

When I think of the top symptoms of autoimmune issues; I think of the flare ups that we wish to avoid: Rheumatoid arthritis and the painful swollen joints, of Hashimotos with a thyroid gland that is under attack, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus with its rash and soreness in the joints and Multiple Sclerosis which presents with an autoimmune inflammatory attack against the myelin sheaths of neurons.

I would use one word to sum it all up; inflammation.  The body is at war and is creating havoc at a cellular level with tissue damage as a detrimental  result.  We can see, heat, pain, stiffness, numbness and tingling as cells come under attack and impingement compresses the nerve supply.  There can be a lot of pain.  One of my clients described the intensity of it as like “having broken glass in my veins”.

With this in mind one of my first blogs of this autoimmunity series is to offer ways to reduce this pain and inflammation.

So my top 10 list;
  1. Maintain hydration
  2. Reduce unhelpful foods and beverages
  3. Address your stress
  4. Eat a rainbow
  5. Be Trigger Happy; Identify and eliminate food and environmental triggers
  6. What’s missing?  Address nutritional deficiencies
  7. Repair your leaky gut
  8. Address poor adrenal function
  9. Alkalise your tissues
  10. Are you toxic soup?  Have a long hard think about where other toxic elements might be creeping into your life

Here they are again – my top 10 ways to reduce inflammation (with a bit more detail).  I will be delving into each of these crucial topics in a lot more detail in my further blog posts.  So watch this space.

  1. Hydration.  Did you know that the mast cells that produce histamine are generally found in the gut.   It has been said that we do not produce histamine unless we are dehydrated…keep up a regular practice of drinking 1-2 litres of fresh filtered water every single day (no more than 1 litre in 1 hour).  Hydration is the cornerstone of every disease that I treat.  With our bodies comprised of approximately 60 – 70% water this humble beverage is crucial to our survival.  Vegetables and fruits contain water in this kind of percentage so eating them fresh will also be a vital part of keeping ourselves in tip top health.  At the very least, drinking adequate quantities of water throughout the day will dilute the effects of that histamine in the gut.
  2. Reduce unhelpful foods and beverages.  Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, smoking, poor quality fats and oils, mass produced ready meals will all contribute to a toxic load on the  body which will place a strain on all of its systems, but will notably impact on our stress hormone production, our immune system and our ability to cleanse effectively, three systems that will be critical to reducing our levels of inflammation in the body.
  3. Address your stress.  Very low calorie diets, mental chatter, taking on too much, being an “over achiever” or a “pleaser” will all take it’s toll on our stress levels.  There is a very definite connection between our stress levels with it’s  release of adrenaline and our immune system so this is a non-negotiable area to manage effectively.  Find your own way to unwind.  Need some ideas? Yoga, gardening, a walk in the countryside or by the beach, breathing techniques, massage, positive affirmations or a long hot soak in the bath.  Be sure to find something that will provide a daily release for you.
  4. Eat a rainbow  Increase your intake of inflammation soothing foods.  Think of including a wide colour palette; blueberries, avocados, walnuts, kale, carrots and apples.
  5. Be Trigger Happy – Identify and eliminate food and environmental triggers.  Wheat and Dairy are right up there as the top 2 most challenging foods; the ones that cause the most issues.  If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis you might also wish to cut out the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, chili peppers etc) as a reduction in these food triggers has offered relief to many people.  Meat too has been found to be challenging, bringing acidity to an already compromised system.  There may also be a parasite or infection such as Lyme disease that is lurking undetected in your colon, slowing the recovery process.  So consider testing for such ‘triggers’.
  6. What is missing? Address nutritional deficiencies.  An organic, freshly prepared, plant-based diet will go a long way towards supporting your body in it’s return to health.  However chronic disease can really take a toll on the nutrient required to maintain optimal health.  B vitamins for example are depleted during times of stress, so too are vitamin C, magnesium and zinc.  Many people with autoimmune diseases also struggle with vitamin D levels, which will be at their lowest during the winter months.  So consider testing for these vitamins and minerals or start a regular daily intake of these vital nutrients.
  7. Repair your leaky gut.  Scientists have now confirmed that in cases of autoimmune disease, the lining of the gut has been damaged and breached, leading to absorption issues and a compromised immune system.  Some key foods and spices such as stewed apples, coconut oil, cinnamon, cloves, garlic and turmeric with starches that offer fermentable fibers like leeks, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke and yam, when taken on a daily basis can help to heal this lining and restore its integrity.
  8. Address poor adrenal function.  A stress response that is working overtime will have a devastating effect on our adrenal glands.  The adrenal glands produce cortisol which is involved in regulating our immune system, so ensuring that our adrenal glands are given the time to rest and repair, along with supportive nutrients to help restore them will have an enormous effect on our fatigue and ability to suppress inflammation.
  9. Alkalise your tissues.  It has long been documented that although our stomach needs acid to properly break down our food and kill off pathogens, our tissues should on the whole be slightly alkaline.  Juicing and smoothies combines with plenty of soups and salads will really help to bring much needed electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium which will help at a cellular level to promote cleansing and reduce stiffness, aching and fatigue.  Meat, fish, eggs and grains are acid forming (rice less so) so minimise these where you can.
  10. Are you toxic soup?  Have a long hard think about where other toxic elements might be creeping into your life; GMO foods, plastic water bottles, aluminium takeaway containers, fish or amalgam fillings containing mercury, make up products and haircare products all offering a deadly cocktail for your body to process and deal with on a daily basis.

I will address these issues throughout my autoimmunity series, but if you are feeling overwhelmed by such a comprehensive list, here are some of the easiest things to try:

  • Drink water regularly (I will keep on saying this)
  • Reduce your stress, build in some time for your self and make it a regular thing – even just a long hot soak in the bath while you plan how you can make more of an impact on your stress levels.
  • Add some herbs and spices to your food – these seemingly small additions pack a mighty punch so sprinkle merrily; think cinnamon on your cereal, Italian herbs in your soups and turmeric and cloves in your curries.
  • Cut down on those unhelpful foods and possible trigger foods; start to cook more fresh food yourself, one recipe at a time with as many greens and vegetables as you can.

Look out in further blogs for more inflammation busting ideas, recipe suggestions and video tutorials – all dedicated to supporting your body with its task of tackling an  auto immune disease.

With love

Gemma x