Alkaline food and herbs

Alkaline food and herbs

planting, gathering and using herbs

HERBS AND GREEN VEGETABLES HELP YOU TO KEEP YOUR BODY ALKALINE

 

Only a few decades ago, the perceived wisdom was to eat predominantly a plant-based diet with the odd meat dish thrown in. This way of eating ensures that our bodies maintain a healthy acid-alkaline balance which is so important for a healthy life. 

In recent times,  we eat an ever-increasing amount of acid-forming foods. These include sugar, meat, and dairy products. All of them cause a build-up of mucus and chronic inflammations. Over time this can lead to serious health problems. The main culprits are de-naturalized, processed foods. A constant overload of these acidic-forming foods can cause cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

The good news is that changing over to an alkaline diet is not difficult and will help you to prolong your health. It can even reverse diseases in the early stages – that is if you act early enough. Just stopping or reducing acid-forming produce for a while will help the body to ‘cure itself’.

What is ‘chronic inflammation’?

‘Acute inflammation’ is essential and a natural way for our bodies to fight infections. The problem starts when this state of  inflammation is never ‘turned off’. Then the body produces additional mucus and eventually, the body’s immune response is compromised and it starts to attack its own healthy cells. This is called chronic inflammation.

What is the optimum level of ph?
The optimum ph level is 7.4.  Ph stands for ‘potential hydrogen and is the ability of molecules to attract hydrogen ions. 1 is the lowest ph level (and the most acidic one) and 14 is the highest and most alkaline level. A ph of 7 is neutral, so you could say that a healthy body is neutral to slightly alkaline.

When we eat an overload of acidic food the body will release alkaline elements, such as the calcium in the bones to keep the blood at a healthy 7.4 ph. But if the food intake is constantly over-acidic, then there is a cutoff point to what the body can do and disease is the result.
So it is very important to re-balance the body’s ph level from time to time.

Rebalancing the ph level

One way to do this is to drink a lot of water or herbal teas, all of which are neutral to slightly alkaline. In contrast, all fruit juices, black tea, coffee, sodas are acidic.
I find the best way to rebalance the body is to drink lemon water in the morning. Lemons are very alkaline (and not acidic) and they can balance your ph level in a short period of time. Here is how to do this. 

Another way is to switch for a while from animal protein to plant-based protein such as beans, pulses and wholegrain legumes.
Leave out any milk products and swap out for plant-based milk and cheese varieties.
If you use oils, choose olive, grapeseed or coconut oil and avoid sugar as much as possible.

Herbs in all shapes and forms are alkaline. So drink plenty of herbal teas – they have varying benefits, cleanse and support your immune system.
Here are some of the best for this purpose:
Fennel, chamomile, ginger, raspberry, mint and nettle.

Here is also a link to the series – cooking with herbs – Just type this search function in the blog search box 

 

To find out more about LWTM and holistic lifestyle planning please  download our freebies 

 

 

 

 

Growing your own loofah sponge

Growing your own loofah sponge

Body Brushing

 THIS SYMBOL REPRESENTS SKIN REGENERATION, EXFOLIATION AND BODY BRUSHING

 Whenever you see this symbol it is time to brush and exfoliate 

There is a new trend emerging –  growing your own loofah. It is such a great plant and totally compatible with the LWTM lifestyle philosophy.  You can eat this plant (as it is in fact a vegetable – a mixture between cucumber and courgette), but you can also grow your own body sponge and kitchen tool. When you buy it in your pharmacy or health food store you probably don’t realize that you can easily grow it yourself. This is how to do it.

 

Where does the Loofah plant come from?

The Loofah plant originates from South Asia and looks quite similar to a  large, wide cucumber. It does need a lot of warmth and sunshine to grow, so a sunny spot is a must. If you are a keen gardener you can propagate the seeds in a heated propagator. But for most amateur gardens you can buy a little plant in April and keep it initially indoors on a sunny windowsill. As they grow, you can transplant them into a larger pot.  You can keep your plant indoors, ideally in front of a sunny window or eventually you can transplant it into your garden. 
But first, the plant needs well established. The earliest you can plant it outdoors in late May (I am talking here Northern European climate – if you live in a sunny spot, it could be earlier). It is important that there are no more frosty night left once you transplant it outside, as otherwise, this plant will wilt.
In the wild, a loofah plant can grow up to 10m, but even if you grow it in a very big pot, it will never reach this height, as the root growth is restricted.

Can you eat them?

Yes, they are just like a climbing courgette or pumpkin with yellow flowers. They also need stalking. You can also eat the yellow flowers (similar to courgettes). But you can only eat the plant when it is still young, small and tender  (early summer).  Once the loofah grows bigger it becomes quite rough inside and is no longer used for food. In this instance, we want the loofah to stay on the plant as we want a big, rough-fiber skeleton to develop. In fact, if you have lots of fruits developing, you can eat a few and keep the 3 strongest on the plant until early autumn. The foliage will then turn brown and dry up. This is because the plant ages and dehydrates. Once it has grown to a decent size and it looks fairly dry and solid, pick it off the plant.

 

Make your own loofah exfoliating sponge

Many loofahs you get to buy commercially have been bleached, so don’t be surprised if yours has a deeper tan colour than expected. Dry it in your airing cupboard or dehydrator until the skin is ready to peel off. You can submerge the dry loofah in a bucket of water and peel the rough skin off. Then you need to shake off the seeds from inside the plant. Keep them in a jar, ready to plant up in the next year (ideally end of January to end of March). You can give some seeds with these instructions to your friends, so they can grow their own loofahs.

In short, the loofah is a  really useful plant. When small you can eat it, once it is dry and rough, you can use the whole dried fruit as a  body sponge to get off any dead skin cells. Another use is in the kitchen. Cut the loofah into rings and you these to scrub your pans and dirty dishes, especially when food has dried on and is difficult to clean. 

  An Introduction to LWTM

Please click this link to find out more about LWTM and holistic lifestyle planning and  download our freebies 

 

The biodynamic ‘essence of life’

The biodynamic ‘essence of life’

Finding Balance

I often get asked what does the phrase ‘biodynamic’ actually means? In essence, it means ‘lifeforce’. This sounds simple, but when you look a bit more into it its origin it can get quite complex.

Most cultures have specific names for this ‘lifeforce’. In the Hindu philosophy, it is referred to as prana’, in China, it is known as ‘chi/qi’, the Mayans known it as ‘chu’lel’ and the Aborigines in Australia call it ‘alcheringa’ and these are just a few examples.

“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a conscious and intelligent non-visible living energy force. This energy force is the matrix mind of all matter.”   – Max Planck, developer of Quantum physics. 

When Rudolf Steiner coined the phrase ‘biodynamic’ in the early 1900ie he used the Ancient Greek words  bio=life and dunamis – energy to describe this ‘life-force’.

He was certainly influenced by Wilhelm Reich’s research, another fellow Austrian doctor and author who published his work around the same time as the Biodynamic movement started and came to similar conclusions.

the biodynamic life forceThis ‘lifeforce’ is omnipresent, in plants, minerals, the cosmos, animals, and of course in us humans. The overarching concept is a symbiotic harmony of all lifeforms. It is the interconnectedness between macro-organism (the planets, stars, the universe) and all life on earth. It is the ‘energy’ that makes us think and tick and describes the harmony between the body, the mind, and the soul.

It is also the energy that makes us think of someone or gives us ‘a gut feeling’. We all pick it up subconsciously. It is about vibrations and how we interact. Some people lighten up a room others bring in ‘some bad vibe’.

We say that some people ‘have green fingers’, meaning they grow plants and garden with ease, where others can’t manage to keep a plant alive. This effect is true and has to do with ‘life-force’. We all exert energy and other humans,  animals and plants pick this up. There is a study that asked its volunteers to water plants with the same amount of water, light, and growing condition. But one test group has to gently stroke the plants in their care and ‘give them some love’. The other test group were encouraged not touch the plants and to handle them in an aggressive manner. I know what you are thinking these are plants, it should not matter – same light, the same amount of water should give the same results.  But this study clearly showed that it did matter and quite a lot, too. Therefore a ‘green fingered person is simply a gardener that really cares about their plants and gets pleasure out of handling them.

The saying ‘ where attention goes – energy flows’ is a clear manifestation for this elusive force. We tend to be skeptical about everything that we can not see, touch, hear or measure. But that does not mean it does not exist.

Translate this to agriculture and it is easy to see why biodynamic food tastes so good and is ‘full of life’. It is the way the soil is prepared, the crops are rotated, the organic watering/fertilizing process is handled. And once harvested, the fresh produce is handled with care, packed in breathable containers until it reaches the plate and is not stored into tight-fitting plastic wrappers that won’t let any air in. 

During the growing cycle, the plant has plenty of interactions with other plant species and animals like bees, butterflies, and earthworms. There is not one specific benefit that matters the most – it is all these combined that produces this vibrant, good-tasting and healthy food. Which in turn nourishes us and keeps us happy and healthy – as we all know – you are what you eat.

Here is an article that compare Biodynamic agriculture with convential growing methods. 

As the Beach Boys sing – it is all about ‘good vibrations’. Here is an article series that may help you with this. I have rekindled it for our newer community members. It is called  The Benefit of crystals.

If you want to find out more about LWTM, please download our Freebies that give you more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Balance

I often get asked what does the phrase ‘biodynamic’ actually mean? So here is an article that I can point future enquiries to. 

In essence, it means ‘lifeforce’. This sounds simple, but when you look a bit more into it its origin it can get quite complex.

Most cultures have specific names for this ‘lifeforce’. In the Hindu philosophy, it is referred to as prana’, in China, it is known as ‘chi/qi’, the Mayans known it as ‘chu’lel’ and the Aborigines in Australia call it ‘alcheringa’ and these are just a few to mention.

“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a conscious and intelligent non-visible living energy force. This energy force is the matrix mind of all matter.”   – Max Planck, developer of Quantum physics. 

When Rudolf Steiner coined the phrase ‘biodynamic’ in the early 1900ie he used the Ancient Greek words  bio=life and dunamis – energy to describe this ‘life-force’.

He was also influenced by Wilhelm Reich’s research, another fellow Austrian doctor and author who published his work around the same time as the Biodynamic movement started and came to similar conclusions.

the biodynamic life forceThis ‘lifeforce’ is omnipresent, in plants, minerals, the cosmos, animals, and of course in us humans. The overarching concept is a symbiotic harmony of all lifeforms. It is the interconnectedness between macro-organism (the planets, stars, the universe) and all life on earth. It is the ‘energy’ that makes us think and tick and describes the harmony between the body, the mind, and the soul.

It is also the energy that makes us think of someone or gives us ‘a gut feeling’. We all pick it up subconsciously. It is about vibrations and how we interact. Some people lighten up a room others bring in ‘some bad vibe’. 

We say that some people ‘have green fingers’, meaning they grow plants and garden with ease, where others can’t manage to keep a plant alive. This effect is true and has to do with ‘life-force’. We all exert energy and other humans,  animals and plants pick this up. There is a study that asked its volunteers to water plants with the same amount of water, light, and growing condition. But one test group has to gently stroke the plants in their care and ‘give them some love’. The other test group were encouraged not touch the plants and to handle them in an aggressive manner. I know what you are thinking these are plants, it should not matter – same light, the same amount of water should give the same results.  But this study clearly showed that it did matter and quite a lot, too. Therefore a ‘green fingered person is simply a gardner that really cares about their plants and garden. Maybe not rushing through, but enjoying the time with the plants.

Translate this to agriculture and it is easy to see why biodynamic food tastes so good and is ‘full of life’. It is the way the soil is prepared, the crops are rotated, the organic watering/fertilizing process is handled. And once harvested, the fresh produce is handled with care, packed in breathable containers until it reaches the plate and is not stored into tight-fitting plastic wrappers that won’t air in.

During the growing cycle, the plant has plenty of interactions with other plant species and animals like bees, butterflies, and earthworms. There is not one specific benefit – it is all these combined that produces this vibrant, good-tasting and healthy food. Which in turn nourishes us and keeps us happy and healthy – as you are what you eat.

As the Beach Boys sing – it is all about ‘good vibrations’. Here is an article series that may help you with this. It is called The Benefit of crystals.

If you want to find out more about LWTM, please download our Freebies that give you more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefit of crystals – Introduction

The benefit of crystals – Introduction

LWTM - the benefit of crystals

This blog series has come out of a survey I did last year. I asked my lovely subscribers what topics they were interested in and ‘THE BENEFITS OF CRYSTALS’ scored top marks.

I always liked this topic as it is steeped in history plus I do like to wear semi-precious stones that have benefits attached. So here is an introduction to this vast subject.

Part 1 starts here and looks into the formation, use and history of crystals.
Part 2 will describe the various colour groups and how they connect to the chakras in our bodies. I hope you find this series interesting and useful.

If you want to find out more about LWTM please download our free introduction e-book An Introduction to LWTM. 

How crystals were formed 

Not all crystals form alike, but all contain stored natural powers and energies which have often evolved over thousands if not millions of years. Some are cooled lava, others like the black obsidian are in fact similar to natural glass. There are organic crystals (pearls would be one of them) and hardened tree resins still containing fossils (amber). Some even contain materials from outer space.

But what is the difference between an ordinary stone and a crystal?
Both contain atoms, but the crystal’s atoms and molecules are attached in a regular pattern. When one or more minerals are fused in this way – we call it atomic bonding and the result is the formation of a crystal.

Most crystals form from mineral substances that occur in abundance in the earth’s mantle. But others are made from minerals that are very rare and these are therefore more expensive. In fact, eight elements make up over 99% of the earth’s crust. They are oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Other elements that are found in crystals are titanium, boron, carbon, fluorine, chromium, manganese, and various more elusive substances.

Most crystals are a culmination of the elements mentioned above. Sometimes they can come from the same element, but the structure of the atoms or molecules is very different. This results in vastly different appearances and properties.  Take for example the graphite and the diamond. Both are made of carbon, but the arrangements of the atoms are vastly different. So graphite is soft and grey and the diamond is hard and shiny.

The majority of crystals are in fact silicates which means that they contain oxygen and silicon. There are currently around 3700 mineral species that we know of, but only a few of these have the structure to be cut into gemstones.

Some are plain, others are very vibrant and used in jewelry and embroidery. Traditionally earrings protect the brain and mind from psychological attacks and keep the mind focused.  Necklaces and pendants shield the heart from manipulation and bring love. Belts empower the solar plexus and boost confidence. Rings symbolize love, friendship, a certain belonging (a king may have given a nobleman a ring so he can wear it for everyone to see that he has a bond with the king).

Next time we look into how crystals were used throughout history. Please click to HERE continue to part 2 of this series 

To find out more about LWTM and holistic lifestyle planning please  download our freebies 

The holistic approach to weight management

The holistic approach to weight management

Liquid Fast Day     This article is for all of you who struggle to lose weight or have become eternal yo-yo dieters. 

In 2005 I conducted a small ‘diet trial’ in which I asked people to rotate their food intake and finish off with a ‘Liquid fast day’. At the time the 5:2 diet and intermittent fasting had not even entered the mainstream. But I had always thought it sensible to rotate food and add fasting to the mix. But such a program had to be easy to follow and take little time and no fuss.

After some research, I came up with a  food rotation program inspired by the Biodynamic calendar. I figured, so many civilizations had used this before and I wanted to find out if this method was still effective.

The trial run went well and afterwards I gave everybody a simple questionnaire and debriefed them by phone. All participants reported feeling more aware of the food they were eating, most of them slept better and everybody reported much better energy levels. Which you would of course expect when you eat healthily.

But what stood out the most was how easy many of my tester found it to keep to the varied diet. Many reported it eliminated the eternal question of  – what shall I eat/cook today and it was easy to plan ahead.

This step is really important as in order to keep a healthy weight you need to find a way to progressively change your dietary habits. A week of calorie counting will not work.

When you look up and down the internet the advice is simple: Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and count your calories. Yet we see obesity levels as never before.

At first glance it is not bad advice, but how come so few people can follow it. Because it comes from a completely false premise.

I always advised not to stress about calories or weight. Stay relaxed about this and concentrate on eating seasonal, good-quality produce that is organically grown. Food should be freshly prepared and eaten in good company.

Looking around me I noticed people who don’t care too much about their actual weight but do care a lot about eating good quality, preferably home-made food, are on average slimmer than people who fuss about calories and permanently seem to be on some kind of ‘diet’. Fortunately, science has very recently found a way to back up this observation.

Remember –  You are what you eat.  That is totally correct. But as we are all different,  it follows that we all also need to eat differently.

What makes us so different from each other? 

For a start, we all have different circadian rhythms, and most importantly, everyone’s gut’s microbiome varies. 

Inside us live millions of little microbes, mainly situated in the large intestine. They can weigh up to 2kg and are responsible for what kind of food we crave, how easy or hard we find it to lose weight, and even our mindset and mood swings.

An embryo develops in a largely sterile womb. But as soon as the baby is born,  microbes start to populate it and build up over time. So it is really important to expose your children to all kinds of foods and let them play in non-sterile environments. Children digging with bare hands in the vegetable garden don’t die. But children growing up in overly bleached homes who are given antibiotics for every little ailment end up with a largely compromised gut flora. This can eventually lead to all kinds of allergies and health problems. Add a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of overly processed food and you have the perfect storm. Once the microbiome has completely changed, it can be really hard to lose weight and a cycle of eternal fruitless diet attempts is the result.

The Biodynamic way of life always stressed the interconnectedness between the soil and the food we eat. Again many artificial fertilizers and pest control get rid of the microbes in our soil and leave our gut like a wasteland which is easily colonized by the sugar-craving ‘bad bacteria’ and so the vicious circle continues.

Next time you think about ‘going on a diet’, the first step is to sort out your cupboard and stock up with fresh, seasonal vegetables. But – and that is very important- don’t change your diet in one sweeping step. This will never work.  Your gut flora needs time to get used to your new diet. This can only happen very slowly and over time. So it is not a swooping step, rather a gentle nudge in the right direction and then a persistent plan to follow on.

If your current diet consists of mostly ready-made meals, please don’t stop eating them. Just introduce 1 freshly cooked, healthy meal per week. That’s all. Once this feels effortless, make it 2 and slowly 3. And over time you will have cleaned up your diet, but more importantly, you will have given your gut microbiome time to adapt and endorse your new way of eating.

Believe it or not, once you live with freshly cooked, healthy meals you will struggle to eat greasy ready-made meals as your gut flora has now changed and will now crave this ‘new diet’ (meaning here the food we eat and not a term for losing weight).

Finally, try to add in some fasting days. This can be very hard at first, but please do persevere. Again this habit needs to be built up slowly. If you have never done this before, please follow a good program.

Once you have listened to your body and have found your own individual food program, you will be able to keep your weight forever- with no stress and drama.

If you have never heard of ‘microbiome’ here are 2 useful videos from Kings College, London where Prof Tim Spector led much of its research program.

1.Discovery of the microbiome                                2. Microbes, diet and health  

For more information about LWTM and holistic lifestyle planning pleas  download our freebies 

 

 An Introduction to LWTM