Spring into Health

Spring bloom

 

Why does a change of season suddenly bring with it so many symptoms of illness? What can we do to recognise our body’s reaction and how can we boost immunity naturally?

A change of season, especially in Hong Kong, not only brings about a change in temperature but also a change in humidity, daylight hours and atmospheric pressure. Your body will have to adapt to these changes in a number of ways. The key to doing this is using foods and nutrients to strengthen and boost our immune system.

Illnesses during change of seasons are natural and integral to the body developing and reacting to the changing atmospheres around us. They are a way of purging the body (of mucous and waste products for example) and are normally signals to rest and recuperate. For example the lungs have to massively change to compensate for the added water levels in the air with the change of humidity and temperature. The little hairs in our lungs (Cila) are affected. Getting muck (mucous) out of our system is the body’s way of adapting and spring cleaning. So children and adults alike may sneeze, get runny noses or coughs. These symptoms can be likened to a cold, but may very well have no bacteria or virus involved. It is important to know the difference and seeing a professional (whether a doctor, naturopath or homeopath) to help you to do that. To interrupt this can then lead to more serious symptoms, but supporting it you can adapt and allow the season to change with little disruption.

From winter to spring we get lighter mornings, we wake easier and seem to have more energy. We are programmed to operate at full function in daylight. Sunlight on our skin will also provide us vital vitamin D (but only by not wearing sunscreen, try and go 10 mins with 40% of your body in full sunlight a day. As soon as you feel the heat starting to get a bit intense on your skin, cover up or return to the shade see here) Vitamin D is vital for a healthy immune system.  Our body clocks react to daylight. We are supposed to slow down and stock up in the winter ready for spring’s re-awakening. However daily hum drum does not change through the seasons anymore and the toll on our body is seen with more winter colds/ illnesses as the immune system is dampened in the cold weather and if we do let our bodies rest, then we start to become deficient in vital nutrients used up by the will to keep going.

Stress is a major factor in immunity – take time to relax when you start to feel run down. Illness is generally a signal to slow down and rest. Pushing through an illness is another way of suppressing signals and may also cause future long term damage. Viruses and bacteria are around us all the time; they are in our homes and outside. They are necessary for human existence. They are opportunistic so when you are run down, going through a change (in pregnancy or environmental change of season), stressed, malnourished, or tired you are at your most prone to illness. By adding foods and nutrients like vitamin D, C, E, zinc, magnesium and antioxidants daily; you can help prevent illness by providing your body with the means to heal and strengthen from within.

Foods in season are around to help support this change of season and boost the immune system. Foods in season right now are all your leafy greens, beetroot, strawberries, pumpkin, papaya – foods bursting with Iron, Beta carotene, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Papaya also has vital enzymes to help us absorb our food so is great to have at meal times. All perfect to help boost immunity and rid and protect our body from toxins. Another great reason to eat local organic produce and go strawberry picking in the New Territories!

Here are some Natural remedy recipes to allow you to keep the Spring in your step!

Ginger tea

Ginger, lemon and orange curd

Honey and onion Elixor

Drinking Greens

Ginger, Lemon and Honey Tea

ginger-tea-ginger

Ginger Lemon and Honey Tea

This is a good morning or end of the day tea. It is cleansing, boosting and healing. Use good quality ingredients and you will get the best out of it. Using raw or Manuka (at least 10+) Honey for the best benefits, but add honey after water has cooled somewhat to prevent scalding and killing the enzymes.

 

Thumbnail of ginger, grated or finely chopped skin on,

Whole lemon cut into quarters,

1tbs raw or Manuka honey.

 

Add to teapot (except honey) and add hot water. Add the honey once the water has cooled

(Can also add Calendula flowers, camomile flowers, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, raw garlic crushed, cloves, turmeric- powdered or root grated and cloves as necessary and to taste)

 

Placenta Encapsulation saved my sanity!

Does that look so bad!

I had a tough time adjusting after my daughter was born. I felt weepy, resentful, confused, out of control and I had no idea what mothers instinct felt like. All I felt was very overwhelmed and under-slept! I thought ‘no wonder people are labelled with Post Natal Depression’.  The immediate change in your life, so completely, is very difficult to adjust to. Your body is still not yours. You are breastfeeding and your needs are very low down on the list of things to do. It was not until a year had past that I started to feel like myself again. My blood sugar levels were all over the place, my moods were awful, I was constantly confused, groggy and I had zero energy. I was on fish oils, calcium, zinc, pro-biotic capsules and magnesium and I felt like these nutrients were keeping me together.  I had heard of Placenta Encapsulation whilst studying to be a Naturopath; however children were off of my radar then, so it was one of those things that came and went.

When I became pregnant with my second baby I was watching a programme (in the UK) on alternative parenting and one of the women was a Placenta Encapsulation specialist. A friend of mine had said she had contacted her local one and that she was going to do it. I looked into it and was very interested. Thinking about how I felt the first time round, I knew with a toddler and a baby I was worried I would not have the time or energy again to be able to look after them and nurture them both. When I was moving to Hong Kong in the middle of my pregnancy, I was so relieved to find someone did it here. When I met Lizzie I was convinced it was for me.

However I was still undecided whether I would have the smoothie. I was happy taking a powder in a capsule, however knowing the fresh one was in the drink I was worried it would taste like blood, metal, liver… I remember reading someone saying that right up to their birth the thought of drinking their placenta in a smoothie was too much to think about. The minute her child was born she craved it. I was sceptical. However the very same thing happened. I had a home birth here, so when my husband asked me what I would like to eat/drink after labour- it was the first thing that came to mind.  Bless my husband he was going to have a go but it completely eluded him so when Lizzie arrived I had had no sleep and was still on an adrenaline rush! She made me two smoothies, I drank one straight away (promise you taste nothing but fruit) it was actually the most delicious thing- I had the other one a few hours later. My pills arrived a few days later and I started taking them. The energy, combined with calm is truly remarkable. It was so completely different. I felt like me, I felt whole again.

I unreservedly recommend it. It makes sense. The nutrient deficiencies I see on a regular basis post partum (especially post partum hypothyroid/hyperthyroid) alone recommend it. There is no easier way to replenish what your body has lost, than to put it straight back in again. I also have the homoeopathic pills which I have given my daughter when she has started to feel the pressure of the change for her. Her reaction after taking them was also obvious, calmer and back to her loving self. She felt part of it again and it has helped us to grow into being a family of four from 3. I wish I had done it the first time, but having felt how I did, it might not have been so obvious feeling the opposite?

Benefits:

Everything it is suggested it is good for has been and still is experienced by me;

Increased energy

Balance (both mood and hormones)

Very fast milk supply (the next day and even through mastitis and feeding from 1 boob for months, I met demand)

Lighter post bleeding (only heavy for a couple of days and gone completely much quicker)

Quick healing (from tearing and abdominal muscle tone and separation was back before 6 weeks- That was also due to exercises!)

I took them 2-3 times a day for the first 6 weeks and now I take my pills every now and then, when I feel run down, like everyone wants a piece of me, stressed and angry. They do calm me down. I took them with me on my recent trip to the UK at Christmas and took one a day and my milk supply did not suffer from the jet lag at all. My friend I mentioned at the beginning is saving hers for her menopause, so is not taking them any more  However I believe that by taking them all when needed  post-partum  you will replenish your body and not need them during menopause (a time hopefully too far away for me to consider freezing them for that long). If not I will still always have the homoeopathic potency to use and the mother tincture. I use the mother tincture also at times of need and also put a little in the bath. Again I fell nourished and energised, generally nicer and calmer!

Nutrient Value of a placenta useful post-partum:

Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone,
Prolactin: promotes lactation,
Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others,
Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events,
Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores,
Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections,
Prostaglandins: anti-inflammatory,
Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common post-partum condition,
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing,
Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against post-partum infections.

(source)

Benefits that attracted me as a nutritional therapist that you can’t get from any other supplement or food!

The best thing I have read about placenta encapsulation and echo here is-

What’s the harm!

In my opinion, it’s ‘Why wouldn’t you?’

To see how contact IPEN or in Hong Kong see here

It’s not easy being green, till you know how!

green drink

I love smoothies and juices (as long as the fibre remains) . I have a smoothie with a protein powder and milk kefir in the morning and I make a green juice in the afternoon to wake me up till dinner! Its a fine line between juice and cold soup sometimes! Coincidently I make mine in my Cuisinart Soup Maker as it has a pretty powerful motor and blade needed to cut through the greens and so I don’t have to peel my apples and pears. I have also made great green drinks with a normal smoothie maker like a Kenwood Smoothie to Go. I just used my green powder. So there really is no excuse! Updated- I now use a German Pool but Ice needs to be added as the motor will heat things up!

You need a liquid base.

Anything goes really here- coconut water ( I have been using coconut Kefir too), Water, cooled herbal teas of your choice (rooibos has a lot of antioxidants in it) or even green tea or tulsi tea (for a calming feel). I have also bought fresh juices (without sugar added) like carrot, watermelon, kiwi, mango when I have been out and not finished them so have thrown them in the juice too. This is helpful when you don’t have a super powerful juicer but want carrots in your juice. You can also use nut milks (here for almond), oat milks or any other liquid not mentioned.

Then you need your greens.

The less full on flavours are spinach, pea shoots, bean sprouts, bok choi, lettuce and frozen peas,. The more earthy or spicy flavours are kale, Swiss chard, rocket, mustard leaves. Try them see what you like. Give them a wash first and greens are more likely to be heavily sprayed so buy organic where possible. I also love broccoli in my juices. A handful should do (40% green to 60% fruit is a popular ratio)

Then your fruits.

I find the juicer fruits better as there can be a lot of fibre in the greens so mixing with a fruit that is going to add some more liquid works well for consistency I like watermelon, honeydew melon, apples, pears and Kiwis. However berries pack a great punch to the juice. Banana’s, mangoes add a lovely sweetness (and smoothness) and pineapples add a great tropical tone! You can go sweet or savoury depending on what you prefer. You could add tomatoes peppers, lemons, herbs (coriander and sweet basil are my favs), radishes any salad ingredient really! Experiment!  I find cutting up fruit and throwing them into bags and in the freezer makes the whole process easier quicker and more like a shake.

Your fats

Chia (soaked in a little water before hand makes the juices a little more jelly like), sesame seeds, ground nuts or nut butter, flax oil, or coconut oil can give your juice an added dimension

Added extras.

If you really want it to pack a punch then adding a green powder (spirulina chorella) Maca powder, cacao (although this doesn’t really temp me with the greens  apparently it is nice!) Protein powder (hemp, pumpkin seed, pea), camu powder (for some extra vit c), goji berries, manuka honey, oats (will really bulk it up!) ginger also gives it real zing both health and taste wise!

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And Voila!! Let me know your favourite…

Reading list

dream bookshelves

Many of you have asked me for some book recommendations here are some if my absolute favourites. This is by no means a definitive list there are many more amazing books- please help me by letting me know if I have missed any of yours!

Enlightening:
The Gentle Art of Blessing- Pierre Pradervand

Ask and it is Given- Esther and Jerry Hicks

Think and Grow Rich- Napoleon Hill

The Journey- Brandon Bays (also comes with an audio cd)

You Can Heal Your Life- Louise Hays (Louise has loads of great books and audio cd’s- she also has an inspiring website and facebook page)

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life- Byron Katie

The Power of Now- Eckhart Tolle

Dying to be me- Anita Moorjani

Nutrition
The Nutrient Bible- Henry Osiecki

Staying Healthy with Nutrition- Elson M. Haas

Healing with Whole Foods- Paul Pitchford

Nurturing Traditions- Sally Fallon

Coconut Cures- Bruce Fife

Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: A Revolutionary Natural Way to Prevent Illness and Restore Good Health by F. Batmanghelidj

The PH Miracle- Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health- Dr Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young

Cure Tooth Decay: Remineralize Cavities and Repair Your Teeth Naturally with Good Food [Second Edition] by D.D.S. Timothy Gallagher and Ramiel Nagel

Fast Food Nation- Eric Schlosser

Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser

Naturopathic books

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom- Dr Christiane Northrup

Dr Schussler’s Biochemic Tissue Salts- A Gateway to Physical and Psychological Health-  Richard Kellenberger and Friedrich Kopsche

Cancer is Not a Disease- Andreas Moritz

Emperor of All Maladies- Siddhartha Mukherjee

An Introduction and Guide to Flower Remedies- Wigmore

Bach Flower Therapy The Complete Approach- Scheffer

Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Your Baby’s First Year- Miranda Castro

Natural Healing Wisdom and Know How- Useful Practices, Recipes and Formula’s for a Lifetime of Health- Compiled by Amy Rost

The Secret Teachings of Plants- Stephen Harrod Buhner

Women Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle R Trickey

Natural Fertility Management- Francesca  Nash

Birth and Beyond- Gordon Yehudi

The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils-  Julia Lawless

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy- Valarie Ann Wormwood

Parenting Books;

The Wonder Weeks- Hetty van de Rijt Ph.D. and Frans Plooij Ph.D

The no-cry sleep solution and

The no-cry potty training solution- Both by Elizabeth Pantley

Baby Led Weaning-Gill Rapely and Tracey Murkett

Baby Bliss (The happiest Baby on the Block) Dr Harvey Karp

Mother-Daughter Wisdom- Dr Christiane Northrup

Raising Happy Brothers and Sisters- Jan Parker and Jan Stimpson

Raising Boys- Steve Biddulph

Unconditional Parenting- Alfie Kohn

How To Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk- Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Healing Our Children- Ramiel Nagel

Let me know your favourites- there are also loads of blogs, podcasts, websites, you tube videos etc. but I still always return to my books.

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