Nurture Your Life is the second in my series of books on natural health (the first was Culture Your Life published 2014). Children’s nutrition is a big passion of mine. As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist I see many children with chronic conditions like persistent illness, skin conditions, energy and growth issues and a staggering increase in children with allergies and intolerances. With two children of my own, I feel compelled to help these kids find their strength and return them to health to help prevent more serious conditions in their future.
Weaning a child onto food is a very powerful first step in a child’s relationship with food. A relationship which is of fundamental importance to health. Think of your own love/hate relationship with food. There are so many non-foods in our diets in the west, our supermarkets are sometimes almost 80% stocked with chemical, processed and unhealthy foods. Conventional avenues still persist that rice cereal (which may be hugely inflammatory to an immature digestive system) is the food we should be starting our kids on. This book does not recommend that route.
I hope you enjoy reading it and ask questions, keep reading, become informed as to how the body works. Change your own relationship to food if need be. Lets start our kids off the right way, with foods to nurture their life from the beginning.
On the 20th of September (2014), One World Birth put together a worldwide premier of their new documentary- Microbirth. It was a clever way of getting small groups together to hold screenings around the globe to try to get people together to watch and be able to ask questions. Groups were held by midwives, doulas and professionals surrounding pregnancy. I heard about it through my Doula friend Kathy Kitzis, who knew with my passion for bacteria, how much I would love the film. We held the screening together and I was excited to watch it and now review it for you to encourage you to watch it too.
The film contains information from scientist and researchers talking about their latest work into understanding why we as a global community are getting so sick.
“we are amazing… we have never been sicker, and it is going to get worse.”
These are sentiments that I tend to start all of my courses and client sessions with. It was so refreshing and motivating to hear what I as a Naturopath have been experiencing throughout my almost 6 years of practicing. How come with all the technology and research out there, we not recognising what is staring us in the face. Our modern health care system is not coping and by and large not working.
What the film goes on to talk about is ‘non-communicable diseases’ they name some; asthma, cancer, mental disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and so on. What I tend to categorize and are also known as; chronic disease. Through my own research to help my clients, family and friends find the cause of their chronic conditions, I have also come to similar conclusions as the films main purpose. It is all about the health and balance of our internal environment. Especially the balance and existence of bacteria in our body and in the environment surrounding us.
“Cost of treatment (for noncommunicable diseases) is $47 trillion by 2030…staggering”
“60% of all deaths” are caused by non-communicable diseases and it is estimated that it is on the rise- 17% over the next decade. The film cites predictions that the cost of providing care using the modern healthcare system is set to bankrupt the world economies by the year 2030. My response as a natural health care practitioner is, of course, that this is not surprising. We in the natural health community have been saying the same thing for years and we have been actively trying to get people to take responsibility for their own health. No longer expecting doctors and pharmaceutical companies to come up with another magic pill which isn’t so magical anymore. Changing to real food, remedies directly found in nature, fermenting, dealing with societies pressures, stress and being able to balance emotions. All of these require us to take responsibility and make different choices in our lives.
What was so encouraging about the film is that is is centred around motivating people and explaining how to change the possible very starting point of our problems. Getting the seeding right in our babies. This may set the rest of their potential future health in stone through three key things- vaginal births, skin to skin when born and breastfeeding for at least 6 months. These are all things we are very, very aware of. The film helps you to really stop and think about just how crucial these 3 things are to the future of our children and children’s, children. If at not all 3 then you at least consider the implications and try to include at least 2.
“we are a walking ecosystem…an ecosystem under threat”
Antibiotics are said to have achieved great things, but they are also overused and over relied upon. Combined with hand sanitising and cleaning products we have been waging war on the very beings who are their to keep us safe and alive. With the predictions being that half of the net worth of the world will have to be spent on health care we also have to consider that we will also become an invalid society. One that is too sick to work, without the caretakers or facilities able to look after us. This is a very real prediction, but we can make changes and we can do it very easily.
The film suggests we have one chance, at birth, to get this microbial environment correct. This is something I largely disagree with. Our internal and external environment is constantly changing and the film talks about epigenetics (see here for Brue Lipton, here for his book and here for a list of other books for more information on that). Epigenetics is the idea that genes (which dictate how our cells are formed) can turn off and turn on. In effect, we can change our gene expression but also our overall health. This can be done very easily by ensuring that we create an environment which switches off the so called destructive (some call them survival genes) and switch on the genes which allow the body to go back to normal- back to balance.
“losing our maternal heritage…we do not know what the implications of this is yet”
This is very exciting and the film merely touches on this as a way to show us that bacteria play a huge role in epigenetics, as does pregnancy and perhaps normal labour. So we can help our future generations by ensuring that we know while we are indeed preparing to get pregnant and whilst pregnant the gene expression we switch on and off with our babies is possible. A large part of this is suggested in natural, unassisted, unprovoked and tampered with labour.
The film touches on the idea that stress may be necessary for the fetus to switch on their immune system. That c-sections not only take away the ability for the baby to gain the necessary seeding of bacteria through the birth canal on their skin and in their mouth, but also they do not go through the ‘trauma’ of childbirth which is necessary for them to know what is safe and what is not. This is also affected by them not being allowed skin to skin with their mother in their first moments. Not only is skin to skin necessary to further seed them with bacteria from your skin but it can also regulate and stimulate their hormone production which allows them to calm down, to regulate their blood sugar levels and their instinct of hunger to then seek out the mothers nipple to being the third phase in seeding, breastfeeding.
It is exciting that people are talking in this way with several studies backing up their ideas, and not shying away from the risk of offending people who choose c-sections. Of course they all agree that sometimes c-sections are very necessary in come cases, but that they were never supposed to be an option to choose from. The rate at which elective c-sections is rising is completely alarming and can no longer be ignored as a factor towards the person’s future health. In that way it is very exciting that the film talks to a scientist currently conducting experiments into using a gauze swab which collects bacteria from the mothers vagina to be used following a c-section. The gauze is then rubbed over the baby and in their mouth trying to replicate at least one factor of the birthing process.
“their (bacteria) function should not be underestimated…we cannot cut out species and expect to still be balanced…we have lost about a 1/3 of our diversity…diversity protects us”
What comes across very strongly, which motivates me further, is the encouragement to see bacteria differently. For me it is my passion to see people fermenting and re balancing their bacterial levels in treatment of their chronic (non-communicable) diseases. That we are walking eco-systems. Bacteria make us normal and that we should be 90% bacteria. That fact “connects us to the universe a bit more” and I loved that about this film.
A baby with a c-section, especially those who are then fed formula are potentially at risk for some very serious long term complications. They may be picking up bacteria from an imbalanced environment, especially in a hospital. Their immune training if incorrect right at the beginning may or may not be possible to correct. It is seen to then go on to affect all tissue from brain development to muscle and mucosal lining development. These children and of course now adults born in this way must consider retraining and modulating their bodies systems by correcting their bacterial balance. The fact that breast milk provides, not only, bacteria and nutrients but also the very food source to nurture our bacterial counterparts at the same time. This is huge in support of giving baby what nature intended. I hope it helps motivate mums to keep trying and seek support. Otherwise to consider homemade formula and the very least probiotics for their babies.
So you dont have to be pregnant or working with pregnant women to gain something from watching this film. We dont have to contribute to the potential bankruptcy of the world as we know it. We can make big changes by turning to some micro-organisms. Seek out your local fermenting classes now! I dont believe that at birth it is the only chance for change but I am happy to promote that is it is a huge chance to start to change what you think about health and the future of our children and their children is actually in our hands.
“We cannot afford to wait”
Let me know if you watched the film and what you thought about it…
I have been enjoying instagram so much, here I am if you want to find me. I love the creativity and inspiration of people from around the world- making connections with people in their lives is very exciting.
There are a few people on there that I look out for as I really love what they are doing and Holistic Lifestyler is one of them (here is his website too). Today he posted his work in progress on a banana custard with bone marrow- yum. Quality meat is difficult to get here (its normally frozen or needs to be delivered) and I sense marrow will be even harder, so with some encouragement from my friend Helen over at Mango Menus (seriously good stuff going on over there too- here’s her website). I decided to have a go.
The result is so delicious (and I was in a right funk this morning- grumpy, cranky, creaky and groggy!!) and has lifted my mood that I have literally just finished eating it- have to get it out there for you all! You have to try it- for breakfast, snack, lunch-boxes or pudding- it is so yummy and fills most of my quota for fats in a sitting!
Fat Banana Custard
A delicious and healthy fat filled breakfast, snack, lunchbox or pudding. Great addition to your day. Simple and very quick.
Have you ever wondered about what a Naturopathic Doctor does? Ever wanted to see one but are confused about why it may work for you? In a nutshell a Naturopath with use only natural means to heal, repair and balance the body. Whether acute or chronic- all conditions can be dealt with using nature.
We all have different tools in our tool box, but in general you can expect to talk about energy medicines like homeopathy, Bach Flower Remedies or other vibrational remedies, emotional freedom technique (eft), herbs, healing power of foods, fermentation, accupuncture, kineseolgy, essential oils, muscle testing, breathing techniques, exercise advice, meditation and other mindful practices with other stress management techniques.
As you can see our breadth and scope of healing tools is vast. This gives us so much to draw from when seeking to help the individual. We are able to help balance symptoms, as we always concentrate on seeking and resolving the cause of the imbalance. Our knowledge about how the body works and all our body systems work together, Combined with a more open minded approach to healing free of the dogma of strict diagnosis and protocols means we can truly tailor make an individual treatment plan just for you.
I am so passionate about what I do and it is a huge part of who I am as a person and as a mother. I am constantly seeking ways to help people get back to themselves, to feel safe, secure and powerful and happy.
These are the six principles we ascribe to and all of them mean so much to me;
Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine:
The Healing Power of Nature:
The Vital force, an inherent self-healing process in each of us which is both ordered and intelligent. Each person has their own relationship with it. A Naturopath will give the body space to have the energy to heal themselves helping to remove obstacles to healing and recovery. To help identify bodies signals and deliver options for the individual to come into line with their own healing intuition.
Identify and Treat the cause:
A Naturopath will seek to identify the underlying cause or driver of the illness rather than merely suppressing the symptoms. By resolving the cause of the issue everything else will be resolved in the ripple effect!
First Do No Harm:
Use the least force necessary to diagnose and treat. Minimise risk of harmful side effects. Avoid the suppression of symptoms. Acknowledge, respect and work with the individuals self-healing process. Refer to others for treatment when your skills are inappropriate. Know your own skills and limitations.
Doctor as Teacher:
A Naturopath will educate and encourage their patient towards self-responsibility for health. Teach them about their body and encourage the idea that prevention is better than cure. Empower them to heal themselves. A Naturopath support the healing; however you do it!
Treat the Whole Person:
Take into account individual physical, emotional, spiritual, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Get the whole picture. Bring the body’s systems together again. Work at the individuals own pace to reunited them with their instinct and intuition.
Prevention Rather than Cure:
Emphasise the prevention of disease. Asses risk-factors, hereditary and susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions with your patient to prevent illness. Commit to create a healthy world where all of humanity can and will thrive.
These principles are the Hippocratic oath that all Doctors take. We just interpret them slightly differently. A Naturopath will take full history and really get to know not only the physical issues but also the emotional ones too. Each personality will need different courses of action and each person will be able to make changes at different speeds. The key to the treatment is in giving the individual the responsibility to heal.
The only person that can make you well and happy is yourself. I can give you a tool box to work from but you need to listen and respond to your body. I teach many classes to help people to start to make choices for themselves and their families. Education is key, coupled with motivation for change and you will become unstoppable!
I have been trying to write this 5 Ways to Boost Fertility Naturally for months now but something has always been in the way. I think I have identified what it is. Writing about fertility in an honest and open manner is hard, I am always afraid of hurting people. The truth is that no one really knows why one person finds it easy and others find it really hard. There is so much information out there it can be really confusing and upsetting when the thing you want the most is so emotionally and physically hard for some yet a breeze for others. It is hard to find other ways of
Personally I have two children- neither of whom were planned so pregnancy found me rather than the other way around.I have never experienced a miscarriage (knowingly) or lost a baby. I have no idea how it feels. I feel very blessed that I have had a pretty easy life. However I have always had the core belief that;
Anything is Possible
Anything. Think of all the stories about people getting pregnant against all odds, have just adopted after years of trying, whilst on the pill/using a barrier method/ other form of contraception (both of mine I was using the natural charting method and with both pregnancies I felt myself ovulate twice- no one can predict that!), all those teenagers pregnant after one time and don’t get me started on the women who have a baby who had no way of knowing they were even pregnant! Anything is possible.
I have had many fertility clients- most know as much as I do about the physicality of getting pregnant. Some know way more! The nutrients needed, the environment necessary, the charting the checking and all the rest. I remember in our reproductive lectures thinking- geez you have to have all that in place and perfect- its a wonder it happens at all! But it does- all the time. Boosting your fertility naturally is also pretty easy.
Trying to control everything (your body, your environment, your emotions, your life) is exhausting. You also can’t control everything because
Anything is Possible
so why not let it just happen. Easy to say- hard to do? Most people dare to hope as it will be too sad if it doesn’t come true- I always hope- its what drives us forward. Boostingfertility naturally- especially these 5 ways will also have little side effect nor will they negatively impact your daily lifestyle too much.
Everyone knows that stress is also massively detrimental, yet most women are placing enormous pressure and stress on their nervous system while trying to get pregnant. Emotions are a huge influence on our body’s functions. Environment includes emotional environment. This is where I generally start with almost all of my clients (fertility or not) as it cannot be ignored. Yet when we really want something we all seem to be either raw with emotion or emotionally closed off- subconciously and conciously.
I hear many women say;
a baby/another baby will complete our family
a baby will make me feel completed
its time to have a baby
I always thought I would already have a baby by now
I have always wanted kids
My husband/mother/friends/siblings are always asking me when/if I am going to have a baby
Everyone else is finding it easy to have children then why not me
I always feared infertility
I have (insert label- medical or not) and that plays a part in my inability to conceive/carry to full term
Core beliefs about yourself will effect your emotional well-being for good and bad. Are you worthy to have happiness in your life, are you enough for yourself, can you choose to be happy right now, do you look in the mirror and love what you see? These now are questions I often ask. Most people (men and women alike) struggle to answer these core questions with a resounding positive- Why?
This is what I try to start with and what this 5 Ways to Boost Your Fertility Naturally. I hope women (and men) whether you are trying to conceive or not can feel empowered and most of all some simple happiness and believe- Anything is possible
5 Ways to Boost Your Fertility Naturally
1. Emotion Freedom technique (EFT). Change your emotional response and thought patterns to memories and break the cycle of self-destruction. When using EFT you access subconscious thoughts and feelings you may not even realize you have. Have the ability to change some negative core beliefs about your self, your partner, your childhood and how life can be. It is such a relief to get rid of some of the guilt, anger, hurt, fear or other negative emotions; believe me I have experienced releasing all of those emotions. It’s a work in progress but an easy tool to learn and use- aided or unaided. Check out my link for more details.
2. Bach Flower Remedies; Bach believed that all dis-ease was centered around emotional starting point. The first to introduce vibration medicines, he developed his 38 remedy system to address and release emotional stagnation and return you to the positive. The energy you receive from releasing negative emotions is amazing and from being able to sleep better, wake up refreshed and to generally look forward to the day ahead will have huge bearing on your ability to conceive and carry a baby to full term. Hope will come back with realistic expectations. I ask you to choose the remedies yourself and each choice of blend is always very illuminating and always relevant. Together with affirmations you are given a remedy to use whenever you need a boost and support.
3. Nutrition; Ensuring your blood sugars are balanced, that you are eating vital, nutrient dense whole foods is not only going to affect your physical body and ability to conceive but also your mood and general outlook on life will also be adjusted. This is obvious sure, but crucial. Eliminating chemicals, refined sugar, ensuring mineral and vitamin levels are corrected and digestion, immune and hormonal systems are strong and balanced. However I also strongly believe the 80/20 ratio and hey if you eat that refined sugar, use a chemical perfume or do something you are ‘not meant to’- if you do it because you want to and it gives you pleasure- do it. Enjoy it- and never hide it, squash it, feel guilty about it. Its not worth it! If you are doing it to forget, run away or somehow punish yourself- then that emotion will need to be addressed. Healing the whole body will allow all human function to return- Nutrition is key to this.
4. Acupuncture; By using acupuncture you are releasing blocks, stagnation and returning flow. This is beneficial for your whole body. It is great for fertility because it will help to heal the whole body. I use Ear acupuncture which is a little like reflexology in that your whole body is represented in your ears so you can easily help to balance certain areas. It is very relaxing as you can pin point areas on the ear you can self-manipulate to help calm you down or energize you. Used together with the Bach Flower Remedies it is a really powerful treatment.
5. Live your Life; Most people put something off for the perfect time. I have learnt that there is no perfect time; just now. So if there is something you want to do, learn, visit, try; go, do it, do it now. If I know anything it is that children will come when they are good and ready and normally (for me anyway) when you least expect them and at seemingly at the ‘wrong time’ which of course is the perfect time! Losing time you will never get back will cause stagnation; keep moving, dreaming and living and believe