I know what you’re thinking…they’ve finally lost it! Don’t worry I’m not suggesting you eat the bulbs. I’m talking about layered planting of spring bulbs. I stumbled across this idea whilst scrolling through Pinterest and I thought I would have a go and share it with you.
I love bulbs because they are idiot proof! You plant them, tuck them in with some soil, give them a water now and then and they will bloom beautifully in the spring. Maximum beauty and little effort if like me you aren’t particularly green fingered! I also love the surprise you get when they poke up through the earth and you can be sure that spring is on it’s way. As the nights draw in and the days grow colder it can be lovely to plan for lighter, brighter, warm spring days.
It's also a lovely reason to get wrapped up on a cold autumn day, get some fresh air and much needed exposure to sunlight. It was lovely to pop out yesterday afternoon between rain showers and feel the sun warm on my back despite the wind!
“Bulbs need so little and give back so much. They start off homely, even ugly, and return transformed.”
The idea behind it is that by planting in layers each bulb gets room to grow but you can put more in the pot giving you a beautiful bouquet come the spring. I decided to do a couple of pots with all white flowers and a couple with yellow daffodils and blue hyacinths. Of course, you could choose any colour or even a mixture for a rainbow pot.
Here’s what I did:
Start by putting some gravel (or broken pot) at the bottom of each pot for drainage. Then cover this with compost. Then place your first bulbs which need the deepest soil (in my case tulips and daffodils) with their roots down and shoot up, at the base towards the back of the pot. Cover these with another layer of soil (hence the lasagne!) and place the middle depth bulbs (hyacinths for me) in the front/middle. This allows for the first layer to grow up behind. Then place another layer of soil and finish off with the shallowest bulbs with the smallest flowers (mine where tete-a-tete narcissi and Muscari) around the edge of the pot. Then cover with a final layer of soil so everything is well covered and no shoots are exposed.
You can then repeat the process again for any more pots you would like to plant. You can leave the pots outside for a few more weeks until the frosts come if you would like. However, as it was so windy yesterday I moved mine straight into the shed after a good water. Storing the pots somewhere like a shed or a garage is important as although you don’t want the pots to be damaged by frost you do need the bulbs to have several weeks of exposure to the cold. This is because most bulbs (although there are some tropical exceptions) need a period of Vernalisation (exposure to cold) to signal to go into their dormant winter state which then allows them to be triggered into bloom in the spring when the weather is warmer. The same process is needed by a number of plants for example, apples, which is why you will often hear of a poor harvest after a mild winter.
This explains why those kits to grow hyacinths etc, in vases you can buy from supermarkets in the run up to Christmas often don’t fully bloom. They simply haven’t been cold enough. If you are planning to force bulbs indoors over the winter bulbs buy them now and store them somewhere cold and dry until you are ready to bring them inside at the end of Nov for blooms from Christmas through to New Year.
Your pots will pretty much look after themselves until the frosts clear in the spring and you can bring them out. Just give them a water now and again to keep the compost moist. If you decide to have a go please let us know. As you can see this is a really easy project and can be done in even the smallest garden so why not have a go with the kids over the October holidays?
Avoiding harmful pesticide residue is something we advise all our clients to do by switching to organic where possible. To make our lives easier and our shopping more cost effective the Environmental Working Group (EWG) put together a list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. As you may have worked out the Dirty Dozen are the foods which had the highest amount of pesticide residue and therefore are the ones we want to make sure we buy organic. The Clean Fifteen are the foods with the lowest pesticide residue and therefore safer to buy non-organic.
Every year the EWG retest food and publish a new list with the most up to date information. 2017's list is as follows:
The Dirty Dozen:
The Clean 15:
If you would like to see the full report you can read it here on the EWG website.
If you would like to read more about why we recommend organic check out this blog post we shared in celebration of Organic September.
Heading off on holiday soon? We thought we would put together a list of the holiday essentials you don't want to leave without!
Looking for a sunscreen without the nasties? Look no further than The Green People. Their organic formula provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection without the use of sulphates and parabens. Their organic children cream (£18.50) contains a natural water repellent to keep kids safe in the pool. The Edelweiss sun lotion (£21) contains a natural tan accelerator to speed up tanning by 25% and reduce tan-fading by almost 50%. It also contains Aloe Vera, Green Tea, Marshmallow and Avocado to nourish skin and prevent peeling.
If you do get caught out Aloe Vera (£5.99) is an excellent after-sun. With added antioxidant vitamins A,C and E this soothing gel softens and helps rejuvenate dry and damaged skin. It can be used not only for sun burn but to support chapped skin, stretch marks, scars and skin irritations.
Heading somewhere exotic? Optibac for travelling abroad (£10.49) is a must have if you want to prevent tummy upsets while you're away. This supplement contains 4 high quality strains of live cultures, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, all proven to survive to reach the gut alive, and to survive in warmer, more humid climates. Safe to take from 1 year onwards making this an ideal product for all the family including pregnant and nursing mums!
We're big fans of herbal teas and this gorgeous herbal collection (£2.79) is just the thing to pop in your suitcase. It contains: Night Time to help you wind down after a day's travelling. Elderberry & Echinacea to give your immune system a boost if your feeling croaky after a flight or constant air-con. Lemon, ginger and manuka honey can help reduce nausea if you suffer from travel sickness. Three Mint is just the thing to sip after indulging at the all you can eat buffet! Detox is a clean sweet tea perfect to pep you up after one too many holiday indulgences.
Harriette recently took this collection on holiday with her and was so glad she did. "It was wonderful to have a few of my favourites with me instead of having to buy boxes of each when I got there. Just enough for my trip away and I didn't end up with 2 or 3 half used boxes in my case coming home."
Our final must haves are an eye mask and ear plugs. Sleep is so important and you never know if you will end up with noisy neighbours or thin curtains!
If you would like more information about any of the products mentioned pop in and see us at 44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA. Live further away? We are always happy to post things out just call Harriette on 01224 969637 and we can put together a box of goodies for you.
We have recently collaborated with Westburn and Granite to design our very own tea lights. Read on to find out how the collaboration came about as Ryan introduces himself.
Ryan - As mentioned within one of our very first posts Westburn & Granite – Who we are etc. A big passion and focus within the brand is collaborating with other brands.
Collaborating, ultimately provides us with a unique opportunity and chance to learn about someone else's craft or expertise while providing them with mine, I think!.
The most recent collaboration comes with our friends from Nourishing Insights in Aberdeen. As a registered Scottish Nutritional Therapist owner Beverley and her family make up the team at Nourishing Insights. Nourishing insights are very much in the mind frame of providing the best education within the various forms of natural medicine and nutritional therapy that they offer. They want to provide a space within their shop which is relaxing and peaceful. They want to let people come along, learn and be inspired as they grow with them in knowledge.
Nourishing Insights shop and Wellness Centre are situated on 44 St Andrew Street, adjacent the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Aberdeen.
How it all came about?
At the beginning of the year I approached Nourishing Insights with the idea of meeting with Beverley. On meeting up we both shared our passion for all things natural. I also got a feel for the family orientated business they have at Nourishing, for me that was really lovely.
If you haven't noticed the world is changing and people want to stay healthy both in body and in mind. We can also be under an incredible amount of stress at times. Therefore, on the basis of these ideas we came up with our collaborative product -Westburn & Granite x Nourishing Insights - Lavender & Frankincense relaxation tea lights.
Below you can read Beverley's blog post, in which she has given you a brilliant insight into the research of the essential oils. Moreover, why they are perfect for this product. Beverley has also listed the specific times you can use your tealights in the 'setting the scene section' below. Enjoy...
‘As Rosemary is to the spirit, so lavender is to the soul’.
“Lavender has long been one of my favourite plants and the essential oils it provides offer us a wealth of health benefits. Lavender is vastly grown within the Provence region within the South of France. A part of France I personally love to visit and when I do the smell of Lavender is always in the air, it’s just divine. I always feel instantly calmed and relaxed when I smell lavender. Therefore, it was an obvious first choice for me when working with Ryan to produce our collaborative relaxing tea light product.
Essential Oils and how they work -
Essential oils have been used for millennia and can be extracted from any part of a plant. I always think, that one of the beautiful things about nature is that these oils protect the plant from harm from insects and environmental extremes. Fortunately, Lavender also protects us humans from those wee beasties, they just don’t like the smell of it!. Essential oils are made up of tiny molecules which can penetrate cells and even cross the blood brain barrier. They have a potent therapeutic effect and professions in aromatherapy ad massage have been taught the science around this. In addition, naturopaths and doctors who follow a functional medicine approach to health, recommend essential oils to support health challenges, this is due to the wealth of evidence available to them.
Lavender is known to be analgesic, antiviral, antibacterial, antidepressant and my personal favourite anxiolytic or carminative and of course sedating, among other benefits. Therefore, Lavender, as an addition within our tea light collaboration - is perfect. It sets you up for a lovely relaxing day or evening.
Personally, I often use candles when working. I find, I work better when I have a lovely smelling and relaxing candle lit, paired with some relaxing music in the background. Perfection!
Similar, to Lavender, Frankincense also has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and calming properties. Those wise men knew what they were doing when they arrived bearing gifts of Frankincense and Myrhh. Frankincense is derived from the Boswellia tree, grown in African and Arab regions. Frankincense is probably one of the most powerful essential oils in the world. Just 2 to 3 drops of Frankincense can be used to aid bronchitis and laryngitis, when added to boiling water. It also has expectorant properties and supports digestion. Interestingly the calming qualities also aid concentration and support deep meditation. In fact, much research supports its benefits for every system in the body, therefore it ticks many boxes for us. I always think we can learn a lot from history and exploring traditional uses of these wonderful oils.
For all these reasons, Ryan and I decided it would be the perfect partner to Lavender in this tea light collaboration with Westburn & Granite. Moreover, both oils work especially well and I could not be more delighted with the finished product that Ryan from Westburn & Granite has produced for us."
Setting the scene – Beverley's suggestions when to use the product.
1 - Line a candle or two up at bath time and for an extra touch of luxury, place a mug full of Epsom salts in your bath for the ultimate in deep relaxation.
2 - Lighting a candle at the dinner table can slow things down and encourage proper chewing and digestion as nature intended. Mealtime needs to be a slow celebration with time for conversation and a sense of being part of a journey to true nourishment.
3 - Reading a book in bed can be an extra calming ritual to unwind mind and body in preparation for sleep. Pair with a lit candle and allow the calming aromas to take you breath by breath to a place of inner calm before the light goes out.
4 - Working from home can often bring tension especially when working on a computer. Light a candle and shrug your shoulders a few times and feel the tension fall away. This works a treat and aids concentration.
5 - Light our tea light’s in the living room to create just the right ambience for a relaxing evening with friends.
6 - When you’ve had a stressful day and everything just seems too much, light a tea light and relax.
‘Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.’ -Buddha
Thank you to Beverley and Nourishing Insights for there input and support within the collaboration with Westburn & Granite.
Getting to the bottom of your skin conditions...
There are many possible triggers and drivers for skin problems from acne to psoriasis to eczema to a whole array of lesser known skin conditions which often have their roots in diet, immune, nervous system and digestive health. Common triggers can be viral, bacterial or fungal, or based on contact allergies. Often we fall prey to these things following a period of extreme stress or long term use of particular medications. If you’ve been struggling with a long term skin condition and are not getting to the bottom of it, give us a call or pop in and find out whether we can help you get to the root of the problem. We offer full consultations and a variety of blood testing including food intolerance and allergy testing. Stool testing can also be relevant in some cases.
It’s always great to get a successful outcome and especially when it’s a skin problem as we understand how upsetting this can be and can really affect confidence and self-esteem. This is a great testimonial from one of our recent clients who came and had a food intolerance test to see if he could uncover some important clues. We couldn’t be more delighted for him at the result. Here is what Adam from Aberdeenshire had to say:
Adam's story... "How I got my skin better after 2 years of struggling."
“Two years ago, after returning from a friend’s wedding, I broke out in a rash all over my torso. Initially I thought it was chicken pox, as one of the guests children had this, however it was diagnosed by my GP as Pityriasis Rosea.
The rash cleared up on its own after 3-4 weeks and I thought nothing more of it.
Then a few months later, I noticed a similar 'herald patch' appear on my torso. Initially it was quite small, around the size of a penny. I thought it was the same rash reappearing, and took no notice, as I thought it would clear up on its own as previously.
Several months passed, and the patch continued to grow. It was now 2 inches in diameter and was inflamed and very itchy. I became embarrassed and self-conscious, and was applying an assortment of creams and oils in an attempt to eradicate this, all unsuccessful. My wife then suggested to see a nutritionist as she thought that the rash could have been worsened by a food intolerance, and booked me an appointment that week to see Beverley.
I had a food intolerance test which takes a few minutes, along with a consultation to explain my circumstances, and then waited 1 week for the test results.
I found out that I was intolerant to cow’s milk & yeast, and immediately started to completely remove these food types from my diet. I also supplemented my diet with curcumin to help alleviate inflammation and caprylic acid for its anti-fungal properties.
I was amazed that around 4 weeks later, the rash had almost disappeared and the skin had completely healed. I'm now at week 6, and the rash has completely disappeared. This has opened my eyes, and I firmly believe that with the correct diagnosis, the body can be fully restored from within, with the simplest of dietary changes.
Thank you so much Beverley (and my wife!) for your help, support, and nutritional insight.”
So you'd like to know more...
For further information on Nutritional Therapy or Food intolerance testing please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01224969637 or pop in for a chat at our new clinic and shop at 44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA.
Over time our joints can wear out and many people experience stiffness and pain as they get older. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to support yourself to reduce inflammation and support your natural healing processes. With optimal nutrition we can reduce inflammation, protect cartilage, and ensure adequate levels of nutrients are reaching our bones and surrounding ligaments.
One of the most important things we can do to reduce inflammation is to consume good fats. This means increasing anti-inflammatory omega-3s and decreasing inflammatory omega-6s. Ideally our diets should contain a 1:3 ratio of omega-3 to 6. However sadly most western diets contain far too much with a ratio of nearer 1:16 of omega-3 to 6. To reduce omega 6 avoid processed vegetable oils like sunflower and corn which are often found in processed foods. Great sources of omega 3 include oily fish e.g. salmon, mackerel and herring which we should try and eat at least twice a week. Wild fish contain a better ratio of fats so choose them over farmed where possible. Baking fish also helps to preserve the fatty acids much better than frying. Grass fed meat also contains omega 3s in the right ratio whilst grain fed meat should be avoided as it has much higher omega 6. Chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds and walnuts are great plant based sources of omega 3 and can easily be added in to breakfast cereals or sprinkled over fruit and yoghurt.
For those struggling to increase their intake taking a high strength fish oil or flax seed oil for reducing inflammation and severity of symptoms.
A Finnish study has shown that low serum levels of antioxidants increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. A diet rich in antioxidants can help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation often associated with arthritis and joint pain. The easiest way to up your antioxidants is to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables. Curcumin found in turmeric is an antioxidant which has found favour recently as it has anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown to have therapeutic potential for the treatment of crystal-induced arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Exercise has been shown to reduce pain and increase physical function in adults with Osteo-arthritis. Of course, this should be appropriate to your fitness level but gentle exercise such as walking and swimming are just as effective. Exercise combined with a supportive diet will help to reduce excess weight which will then help decrease long term stress on the joints.
How can I protect my joints?
Glucosamine plays a role in the building of tendons, cartilage and synovial fluid in our joints. Our bodies ability to produce glucosamine is reduced with age. Supplementing with glucosamine helps our bodies to repair cartilage which may otherwise be damaged in arthritic joints.
Chondroitin is often taken alongside glucosamine as it has been shown to modify joint based pathologies.
MSM has been shown to decrease joint inflammation, improves flexibility and restores collagen production. Research shows that many patients with arthritis, joint pain, stiffness, knee/back problems and a limited range of motion experience a reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life when taking an MSM supplement.
Nutrients that can support joint health
Vitamins that are key to ensuring our joints stay health are Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc.
Vitamin D is really important in joint and bone health. Unfortunately, in the UK many of us are deficient as we just don’t get enough sunshine. Only 10% of our vitamin D requirement comes from food so it’s really important to try and get 20 minutes of sunshine per day (without sun cream which blocks our ability to absorb vitamin D). The NHS now recommend that everyone should supplement with vitamin D as we simply don’t get enough. Low vitamin D levels have been shown to increase risk of progression of osteoarthritis. In addition to supporting bone health vitamin D also helps to support the immune system. Women post menopause may also wish to consider taking a vitamin D and K supplement This combination has been shown to support uptake of calcium from the blood to the bone significantly more than supplementing with just D on it’s own.
Calcium and Magnesium
Everyone knows that calcium is important for bone health however on supplementation of calcium on it’s own has been shown to make no difference. It needs to be taken alongside magnesium as the two work together. Magnesium is involved in the structural building of bones as well as in the transportation of calcium across cell membranes. Rich food sources of calcium include dark green leafy vegetables, dairy, almonds and fish. Magnesium-rich foods include dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils. A great combo product is Osteoguard which contains Calcium and magnesium along with Vitamin D and K.
Zinc is vital to support tissue growth and repair. It also helps to support the immune system and can be found in seafood, meat, wheat germ, nuts and seeds.
Devils claw is a great pain reliever for those suffering osteoarthritis. Boswellia also reduces pain by inhibiting inflammatory mediators and improving blood supply to the joints. We stock a lovely product by Pukka which contains Turmeric, Boswellia, Ginger and Red ginseng – ideal for someone with arthritis. Ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory which can be used in the culinary form and is often seen in combinations with many of the above in products aimed at reducing inflammation.
Unfortunately due to the long term use of NSAID’s (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and steroids for pain management, we can find ourselves with damaged gut flora. This begins to show itself as new digestive symptoms from bloating to IBS and as a result we may begin to feel we have some issues with foods that we didn’t have previously. This is where food intolerance testing and some gut healing work with a registered and clinically trained Nutritional Therapist can be invaluable. As you can see HERE , those with musculoskeletal problems experienced a 64% moderate to high benefit.
It’s a complex subject but as ever, come and chat to us and we will help you unravel some of the challenges you’ve been having with your joints.
Patterson E, Wall R, Fitzgerald GF, Ross RP, Stanton C. Health implications of high dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. J Nutr Metab, 2012, 539426.
Simopoulos, A.P., 2002. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy, 56(8), pp.365-379.
Heliövaara, M., Knekt, P., Aho, K., Aaran, R.K., Alfthan, G. and Aromaa, A., 1994. Serum antioxidants and risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 53(1), pp.51-53.
Jackson, J.K., Higo, T., Hunter, W.L. and Burt, H.M., 2006. The antioxidants curcumin and quercetin inhibit inflammatory processes associated with arthritis. Inflammation Research, 55(4), pp.168-175.
Golightly, Y.M., Allen, K.D. and Caine, D.J., 2012. A comprehensive review of the effectiveness of different exercise programs for patients with osteoarthritis. The Physician and sportsmedicine, 40(4), pp.52-65.
Reginster, J.Y., Neuprez, A., Lecart, M.P., Sarlet, N. and Bruyere, O., 2012. Role of glucosamine in the treatment for osteoarthritis. Rheumatology international, 32(10), pp.2959-2967.
Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Zhang Y, Kiel DP and Felson DT (2005) Positive association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and bone density in osteoarthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 53: 821–826.
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
Time and time again I hear the same misinformation .... “Oh, you shouldn’t massage people with cancer – it’s dangerous!! You’ll spread the disease!!!” What a load of rubbish!!! Is it not bad enough that these poor souls have this terrible disease in the first place and now you're taking caring touch away from them too?!
"Massage therapy is not contraindicated in cancer patients; massaging a tumour is, but there is a great deal more to a person than their tumour." - Bernie Siegel, MD
This myth seems to be still floating around from a time many decades ago where we thought cancer spread in the blood and that massage would lead to metastasis. Thanks to modern science we now know that cancer cells spread through the lymph. Cancer spreads due to biochemical forces and metastasis will occur even if the person is completely sedentary. Yes, comfort oriented massage does stimulate the flow of lymph around the body, but only as much as walking up a flight of stairs, shopping or caring for children. These are all activities that most doctors would encourage their patients to engage in.
In fact, when I did my Swedish massage training there was actually an oncologist on my course training because she wanted to be able to offer this support to her patients. Both of us went on to do further training with the Iris Cancer Partnership studying under the world-renowned Gayle Macdonald who pioneered oncology massage in Portland, Oregon.
Here’s the caveat: it is really important to find someone who has done this extra training. The reason for this is that people who have or have had cancer, come with extra needs! I say that with all the love in the world because quite frankly we all have extra needs. However, what I mean by this is that we might have to think about position because of surgery, a medical device, scarring, swelling, pain, etc. They might have sites we need to avoid e.g. a wound, radiation site, tumour site, drain, neuropathy, etc. We also need to adjust the pressure that we use so that it is appropriate to the person on the couch. They may have a lymphedema risk, fragile or sensitive skin, fatigue, swelling, recent surgery, fragile bones and the list goes on.
Comfort oriented massage is about helping you find your new normal. It’s about giving you back control over your own body. Very often people can be diagnosed and before they know it they’ve had chemo, surgery and are scheduled for radiotherapy before they’ve even had time to come up for air. Massage gives you the chance to get to know yourself again.
Massage has many other benefits for someone experiencing cancer. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system helping to reduce stress and bring the body back into a balanced state. Normality resumes, our heartbeat slows, our blood pressure lowers, blood flows to the skin and other organs bringing nutrients and oxygen, and digestion and elimination resume. The body can rest and healing can occur.
I had a client recently who because of misinformation had been too scared to have a massage since going into remission a few years ago. I spent time answering her questions, explaining that it couldn’t do any harm and about how it spreads. We talked about positioning and I explained why I would use a certain pressure for most of her and that I would use a much lower pressure around where she had lymph nodes removed. (For those of you wondering it’s to minimise any risk of causing lymphedema). Throughout the massage, I asked what it felt like and what she was noticing and we adjusted accordingly. At the end, I asked how she felt, her response was one of the best things I have ever heard. Smiling she said: “I feel like my body has come alive”. That is how I hope everyone feels when they get off my massage couch but especially those who really deserve a treat.
This type of massage isn’t just suitable for people living with cancer, it would also be wonderful for people with other illnesses which can have similar needs for example MS, Chronic Fatigue, fibromyalgia and chronic inflammatory conditions. The purpose is to provide comfort and relief without leaving you feeling wiped out.
If you would like to read more about comfort orientated massage I highly recommend Gayle MacDonald’s book Medicine Hands.
To book a massage appointment with Harriette call 01224 969637 or email email@example.com.
Medicine Hands - Gayle MacDonald.
Corbin, L., 2005. Safety and efficacy of massage therapy for patients with cancer. Cancer control, 12(3), p.158.
Last year the Daily Mail published a fantastic story about a woman who managed to stop her migraines after cutting out corn and dairy products from her diet – with the help of a nutritionist and a food intolerance test! She had suffered terribly on a weekly basis for years on end, which is so sad to see when the cause was something as simple as eliminating a couple of foods from her diet. Food intolerance testing can help people tackle all sorts of conditions be it head related, stomach problems or skin conditions. I’m so glad I found out about it!
I first developed eczema at the age of around 14 during my standard grade exams. The doctors put it down to stress, and not knowing any better, I simply agreed and went along with it. It was a pretty stressful time in my school life, and having never had any real problems with my skin prior to this, I guess it made sense at the time. Seven years later though, when the medicated creams failed to work time and time again, and the eczema kept coming back more and more aggravated each time, I began to question whether there could be something more to my flare ups than just stress. I visited Beverley in April last year for a food intolerance test – after my little brother had received his results for his own testing with regards to his abdominal pain. I was amazed that the test had managed to narrow down his problems to specific foods and as my brother had done so well and his symptoms had gone away I wanted to know if the foods I was eating on a day to day basis could be the culprit for my irritated skin!
My results came back just one week later, and I took out chilli, garlic, ginger, yeast, gluten and dairy and was recommended to avoid these for 3 months and then re-introduce slowly and see how my skin reacted. It was definitely a thought to begin with – I was so used to eating whatever I wanted be it chocolate, crisps, pizza etc., I was a sucker for convenience food! I can honestly say now that my diet is much more varied and relatively healthy now which is a huge benefit having gone through this process.
Since having switched my diet, I have seen a huge improvement in my overall health, not just my skin. My eczema has improved tremendously, and although it has flared up a little on my hands right now – this normally happens when the weather goes from one extreme to another. When my diet was mostly rubbish based, I would often take a nap during the day as I would get quite tired around 3pm. I can now function like a normal person from 6am – 11pm without a nap, which is a massive improvement as I can actually do things after work and with my evenings! Finally, the results that I have been most pleased with is my stomach. I no longer feel bloated on a day to day basis. I no longer need to eat and eat and eat to feel full, and I’ve lost around about a stone – solely from switching around my diet (and eating more!), and no extra exercise, which is amazing.
I’ve since introduced all of the spices back into my diet with no problems as of yet – and I’m currently playing around with yeast too. At the moment I have no intentions of introducing dairy or gluten foods back into my diet. Of course this is all still a work in progress, however I’m absolutely delighted with all of my results. I feel a whole lot healthier on the inside and out - and would very much recommend a visit to a nutritionist if you feel that your diet could be improved, but you don’t know how to go about it. I also highly recommend Food Intolerance testing as it is life changing and saves years of unnecessary visits to the doctor and endless rounds of steroids. Wish I had done it sooner!
- Lauren, Aberdeen
If you would like to find out more about food intolerance testing or book an appointment pop in and see us at Nourishing Insights, 44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA or call 01224 969637.
"Women don't stop being women, just because they have cancer." - Jennifer Young
Many of you will have seen our Beauty Despite Cancer ‘Defiant Beauty’ range and we thought we would tell you a bit more about them. Designed by Jennifer Young in conjunction with North Staffordshire University Hospital’s Oncology team they have been specially designed for those going through cancer treatment. This means that they are effective at supporting the side effects of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. Jennifer set out to create a beautiful range ensuring that they were:
So where is oestrogen found? It’s a naturally occurring human hormone. However, there are sources of Oestrogen-mimicking compounds and our bodies don’t know the difference. These include:
Why would someone going through cancer choose Defiant Beauty?
What is hayfever?
Known as allergic rhinitis, this seasonal allergy is very common and for some, extremely unpleasant. Sufferers experience itchy eyes and nose and a watery nasal discharge. Inhaled allergens such as pollen set off a histamine reaction making life can very difficult over the summer months with a choice between constant anti-histamines or avoiding your neighbour’s barbecue and staying indoors!
Who does it affect?
Frequently starting in childhood, it can start at any age, sometimes even coming and going over the years. Moving house to a new area with different local flora can cause allergies to go away naturally. As in all things, stress can trigger onset and severity. Interestingly, atopic conditions seem to go hand in hand and evidence now shows a link between increased food allergies and intolerances and hayfever. Overdoing alcohol, sugars and perhaps unwittingly food allergens can mean that if you’re stressed out, reaching for comfort foods and overdoing things you might just experience your first episode of hayfever. At risk groups are known to be those who have had severe stress, a recent illness or trauma, pregnancy and those with other allergies and intolerances. Interestingly, tackling your food intolerances head on can lead to a reduction in symptoms as multiple food (and chemical) sensitivities can reduce the ability of the liver to break down chemicals and proteins in the detoxification’s normal pathways. This affects the histamine response hugely, therefore we highly recommend anyone with hayfever to identify other food intolerances or allergens to reduce the allergenic load on the body. (We offer both kinds of testing at our clinic).
How can I help myself?
Apart from tracking the pollen count and becoming a hermit with all doors and windows tightly shut, there are some practical steps you can take. Showering pollen off your skin and hair before bed can be a big help as can washing your sheets and towels on a 60 degree hot wash (non-bio!). Nasal irrigation with a neti-pot or using a saline solution to wash nasal passages can both be very helpful.
If you do find yourself staying indoors and avoiding the sunshine, remember that your vitamin D levels will be at risk so you would be wise to supplement and to have your levels checked occasionally to protect immune and bone health. Vitamin D is also important for immune balancing and especially so in those with allergies and intolerances and autoimmunity.
Are there any foods that make my symptoms better or worse?
Foods that can worsen symptoms are caffeine and alcohol and foods that contain histamine e.g., red wine, cheese, chocolate, and tomatoes. Wheat based foods can add to the inflammation for some and dairy products can increase mucus production as can sugar and excess starchy foods. Then there are those foods which are individual to you and these can be tested for via IgG Food Intolerance.
Foods that support hayfever sufferers are those that reduce inflammation. Oily fish which increases our omega 3 fatty acids is anti-inflammatory. Aim to eat at least 3-4 times a week at either breakfast, lunch or dinner. We can also supplement with this especially over the season. Incorporate ginger, rosemary and thyme into your cooking. Make teas from fresh ginger and nettle. These foods will help counteract a runny nose and itchiness.
Raw honey bought from local farms and bee keepers has been spoken about for a while and many have found taking a spoonful a day to be extremely helpful during pollen season. We stock the very popular Struan Heather Honey as recommended by Glasgow University.
Did you know that vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine? Supplementing during the season can be helpful. Most important is ensuring a rainbow diet with lots of flavonoids and a good range of nutrients. Encourage children to help you choose a wide variety of coloured fruit and vegetables when shopping at the supermarket.
Another natural anti-histamine is quercetin found in foods such as red onion, peppers and citrus. This can be supplemented but if you are on medication, please contact a Nutritional therapist as it does have some drug nutrient interactions.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a study where they gave 173 sufferers, during hayfever season, either 2 capsules of probiotics providing 3 billion units of bacteria or a placebo in this randomised controlled placebo trial. At the end of 8 weeks those taking the probiotics had improved (less symptoms) by 68%, compared to the placebo group who reported 19% improvement. The strains of bacteria used were Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria which are found in a range of supplements.
Pukka’s Clean Greens Superblend can be a great support to hayfever sufferers as nettles are very effective in modifying seasonal allergies. Ginger root is anti-inflammatory which will help support an itchy nose. This supplement also helps to support everyday cleansing and detoxification with it’s blend of 11 nutrient dense superfoods. Pukka’s Cleanse Tea is another easy way to take some nettle throughout the summer and it tastes lovely with a blend of nettle, fennel and peppermint.
Including mushrooms in your diet is another great way to help modulate your immune system. Mushrooms contain powerful Beta-glucans which stimulate natural killer cells to fight off invading antigens. Beta-glucans also stimulate the growth of bone marrow megakaryocytes and progenitor cells which turn into platelets, blood and immune cells. If you just can’t get over the taste or texture of them, supplementing may be a convenient way to boost your immune system in easy to take capsule form.
Does detoxing the liver help?
These days our livers are a little overwhelmed with all the extra environmental toxic exposure due to everything from pesticides to toiletries and cleaning fluids to caffeine and alcohol. Many people, as a result, notice a worsening of symptoms during periods of stress which may have them reaching for more caffeine or following a weekend of increased alcohol. Therefore giving the liver a helping hand as you go along especially over the summer months can be hugely beneficial. Dietary tips are to eat more cruciferous vegetable (cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts etc) which support your liver detox enzymes as does green tea and garlic. A great way to start the day is to have half a lemon squeezed into warm water and some grated ginger for added anti-inflammatory benefits. I used to suggest to people that buying garlic in supplement form was not as good as dietary but there is now a supplement called Allicin max which uses 100% stabilised allicin which is the active ingredient and has rapid absorption. Other well documented herbal favourites to support the liver detox pathways are milk thistle and dandelion.
Do barrier products work?
There is a really nice simple product called Hay Max which works as a barrier to pollen, dust and pet allergens before they enter the body. Very simple idea which simply works!
Is there anything I can do about excess mucus production?
Avoiding dairy certainly makes a difference but if you are doing this long term, speak to a registered Nutritional Therapist (NT) to ensure you are fully compensated for all nutrients.
You may have read that amino acid N-Acetyl Cysteine is effective at reducing mucus. It is! However, it does have some drug nutrient interactions so please speak to an NT to find out if this is appropriate for you.
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