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How do you balance your nervous system?

This year’s been a pretty hectic one for me at work, I have been toiling away on some pretty big projects, which has meant upping the anti as far as long days, lots of jumping on and off planes and missing many a week end, in order to get my projects off the ground.  But having suffered and recovered from two Auto Immune diseases – Lupus and Hashimoto’s, that were ultimately triggered by stress,  I am very strict about setting boundaries and respecting my body.  I guess this decision for me comes easily now, after losing my health for so many years along with the freedom to do what I wanted, but this doesn’t  mean I can  always control the demands and stresses in my life.  So when life demands more from me, as it has these past 9 mths, I ensure I make plenty of extra ‘deposits’ when it comes to nourishing and protecting my body from the effects of making excess’ withdrawals’.

I use the term ‘withdrawals’ to describe anything that takes away from my health and ‘deposits’ to define anything that puts back into my body.  It’s a simple, yet effective analogy that can enable anyone to gain insight into how they are treating their body.  I often ask my patients to write down the list of  things that are  ‘withdrawing’ or taking away from their health, and a list of activities or choices that act as ‘deposits’ towards their health.  Many are amazed to see the vast difference between the two, the column for withdrawals usually outweighing the column for deposits!  So in times of excess stress, whether it be working longer hours, or just having ‘too many balls in the air’, I include  ‘things’ in my life that will prevent my health falling into a deficit state.  This is particularly important for anyone who suffers an auto immune condition or any chronic health problem for that matter.  Considering I already eat well, get plenty of sleep, support my body with certain nutritional supplements and exercise, including restorative forms such as yoga, I use things such as regular remedial massage and acupuncture to up the tempo when I need it.

I recently tried out something known as craniosacrel technique after curiosity got the better of me.  Sensing that I had probably wound my nervous system into overdrive having to juggle so much at work, the idea of trying something to help balance the flow of my nervous system was very appealing. Now before some of you roll your eyes at what has been dubbed by sceptics as ‘pseudo science’, I’d like  to express my view when it comes to health and complementary therapies. I approach things from a scientific perspective just as much as I observe the effect on a person’s (or my own) ‘functionality’.  I formed this view as a result of both my personal and professional experiences with health and treating illness and disease.  All too often I would hear patients tell me, ‘my doctor says my pathology results are ‘normal’, but I don’t feel ‘normal’, far from it in fact’.  This was also  my story in the early days of suffering Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Hashimoto’s.

On the flip side I would see cases where a person would be functioning far too well considering their pathology results. A case of mind over matter ?  Perhaps, but I think the reality is a our threshold for registering / tolerating pain, discomfort and the effects of stress, varies from person to person, depending how connected or attuned they are to their body and their attitude to their health.  I recall the time I had viral meningitis, thinking I was just fighting a bad flu, so I pushed on thinking my work was more important than feeling sick ( this was back in the days when I had a far from smart attitude to my health I might add), until I actually passed out and was taken to hospital.  But getting back to my discussion on the things we can do to support and nurture our nervous system in times of excess stress, we need to be mindful of doing so, because the nervous system, like the digestive system, directly influences the function and health of all the other body organs and systems. If the nervous system is sent into over drive for long periods of time, it will eventually ‘short circuit’ so to speak and leave us open to developing a chronic health condition, even disease, resulting from chronic stress or too many excess ‘withdrawals’.

So whether you choose massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, meditation, craniosacrel technique, or whatever your preferred modality or technique for supporting your nervous system as a way to prevent or treat the effects of stress, nothing can replace getting enough sleep each night, eating a healthy diet made up of whole , unprocessed,  non GMO food’s, getting plenty of exercise ( the type that does not ‘withdraw’ from your body I might add) and staying well hydrated with filtered water or herbal tea and drinking minimal coffee and alcohol.

Supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals and herbs such as a quality multi B complex, B12 and B6 magnesium vitamin C and a herbal nervous system tonic  are forms of ‘deposits’ the nervous system requires to function optimally especially when under excess stress.

What do you do to support your body in times of excess stress?  Do you wait until the wheels start to fall off?  Or do you take preventative action before stress takes a hold?  I’d love to hear your personal techniques and views on this.

Til my next post, eat well and feel good everyday.

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It's not just a healthy diet, but a way of life, so you can feel better than you have ever felt before .
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If you wouldn’t drink it then why put it on your skin?

In previous posts I have written about many of the essential things we need to do to function at our best, one the most important being to minimise our exposure to toxins. Toxins find their way into our body through a variety of means, ranging from the obvious – alcohol, drugs, caffeine, nicotine and pharmaceutical and recreational drugs, as well as through foods such as artificial sweeteners, nitrates used in processed meats such as salami and bacon and ham, processed or trans fats, preservatives, colours, flavours and non-organic foods that have been contaminated with chemical sprays and antibiotics. But there is another entry point for toxins to penetrate our system and that is through the body’s largest organ– the skin.

As women, maintaining our outward appearance is a natural part of our biology, but often the ways in which we choose to do this, actually contributes to the battle against the ageing process.

Take a moment to think about the sources of toxins you may be lathering on your skin each and every day simply from using basic toiletries and beauty products ……

• Soap
• Moisturises
• Shampoo and conditioners
• Toothpaste
• Mouthwash
• Deodorant
• Shaving cream
• Cosmetics – foundation, lipsticks, mascara, eye shadow, blush
• Sunscreen
• Perfume

There are over 175 potentially harmful ingredients contained in these common bathroom and beauty products alone and over time the chemicals they contain can accumulate within our body. Many of the ingredients used in these products can also irritate our skin, or cause allergy or respiratory sensitivity; and some studies have even revealed they can neurological and developmental challenges in children. Some of the chemicals found in common personal care products have even been touted as carcinogenic and aluminium used in common deodorants has been linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  Now I’m not telling you to go out and be a tree hugger and grow yourself some hairy armpits, or never wear French perfume again, but what I am saying is to become more aware of just how many chemical based products you are using on your skin each day and think about which ones you can replace for chemical free brands to MINIMISE your exposure to  toxins as much as possible.

Sodium Laurel Sulphate, the foaming agent used in commercial brands of shampoo, soaps and body wash, penetrates the skin and accumulates in the brain, eyes, heart and liver and petroleum and mineral oils used in many moisturises and toiletries, leads to premature dryness so the more we use, the more our skin becomes dependant on them to stay moist.

So in addition to doing an audit on bathroom cabinet, I recommend you combine this with my tips below to maintain healthy and beautiful skin….

My Top Ten Tips for maintaining a beautiful, glowing complexion:

1. Stay hydrated – consume small frequent sips of purified water every day because 95% of your body is water and most of us don’t drink enough. I recommend 2 – 2.5 litres per day as a good general guide.

2. Eat healthy fats –  essential fatty acids like fish, extra virgin coconut oil, chia and flax seed, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, raw organic nuts and seeds.

3. Look after your liver by avoiding too much coffee, alcohol and foods with artificial ingredients and sugar. Eat organic food as much as possible and undertake a regular healthy detox program – I cover more on detox in my book Eat Yourself Healthy In 28 Days.

4. Use 100% natural skin care and toiletry products – read product labels and search for artificial ingredients.

5. Don’t wash with commercial soap – its strips the natural oils in your skin which act as a protective barrier.

6. Avoid petro chemical based sun screens – these block the sun’s rays that provide essential levels of vitamin D. Use a sunscreen with natural ingredients and a high zinc oxide content and wear a hat to protect your face in the heat of the day.

7. Expose your body to natural sunlight each day – under exposing your skin to the sun is just as bad, if not worse than over exposing your skin to the sun and contrary to popular belief, study’s show that indoor workers suffer more skin cancers than outdoor workers. I talk more about the risks of a lack of sun exposure in a previous post you can read here. So whilst it’s important to avoid getting sun burn’t, you also need to expose your skin to a certain amount of sun each and every day, out of peak heat periods.

8. Supplement with vitamin D every day – Ideally choose a liquid vitamin D supplement to ensure optimal absorption and utilisation. Vitamin D tablets are a poor form to supplement with. After testing 1000’s of patients throughout my 14 years in clinical practice, the majority of them returned very low vitamin D levels. The effect of vitamin D deficiency impacts on nearly every body system with links to a wide range of illnesses and diseases including cancer, thyroid imbalances, auto immune disease, cardiovascular disease and many more.

9. Get Plenty of Sleep – There really is truth in the saying ‘be sure to get your beauty sleep’. The body uses the period you are asleep to regenerate and repair, this includes skin cells. Sleep deprivation is accumulative and without sufficient restful sleep each night – ideally 8 hours, our health will suffer and accelerate the ageing process. You can read more about the effects sleep deprivation has on your health here.

10. Stress Less – there is no better way to speed the ageing process than through stress. The reality is stress will always be a part of our lives, so it’s not about expecting to have no stress in your life, but rather CHANGE THE WAY YOU RESPOND to it. You can read more about how stress impacts on your body and ways to combat it in my previous post here and here.

I’d love to hear your natural beauty tips for maintaining healthy, beautiful skin, you can share these in the comments section below.

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It's not just a healthy diet, but a way of life, so you can feel better than you have ever felt before .
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Almond Nut Butter

Gluten Free, Cow’s Dairy Free, Fructose Free, Diabetic Friendly, Paleo friendly, Low Carb

If you have read my book Eat Yourself Healthy In 28 Days you will know I am not an advocate of eating peanuts because of the high levels of mould which can impair the gut repair process, but if you love your peanut butter or are looking for a tasty, sugar free snack for you or the kids, then try out my recipe for homemade almond butter. You can choose other nuts such as brazil, cashew or better still, a blend of all three! It’s quick and easy and packed with healthy fats and plant proteins to leave you feeling full and keep you away from the cookie jar!

What you’ll need…

  • 2 cups organic almonds
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1 dessert spoon rice malt syrup (optional – personally I don’t think it needs sweetening so try it without first time round)
  • Pinch Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

What you’ll need…

  • Place the almonds into a food processor and blend until almonds turn to a thick, creamy consistency – for approximately ten minutes or less, ( the time will vary depending on the strength of your food processor)
  • Scrape the sides of the food processor periodically, to ensure the almonds combine to the same creamy consistency. You will notice the almonds will be powdery at first, but keep processing until they turn to a buttery consistency
  • Add the coconut oil, salt and brown rice syrup and blend until combined.
  • Transfer mix to a storage container – i like to use a large glass jar or airtight tupperware container.
  • Spread on celery sticks or slices of green apple for a delicious high protein, snack packed with ‘good’ fats

This is a great snack for the kids if they are not allergic to nuts.

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For more health tips and delicious recipes, checkout my e-book, Eat Yourself Healthy.
It's not just a healthy diet, but a way of life, so you can feel better than you have ever felt before .
SJ-SIG-II