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

 

The Holistic Life

The Holistic Life

Holistic Lifestyle      I started LIVING  WITH   THE  MOON a few years ago with my basic Biodynamic calendar charts and a handful of tips. books and recipes from my grandmother.

This lifestyle system – what I now call  LIVING WITH THE MOON – has always been in my life. It is my little ‘magic carpet’. Invisible, but it gives me grounding and purpose and has been my foundation for as long as I can remember. 

In essence, Living With The Moon is based on my grandmother’s biodynamic lifestyle tips and recipes mixed with my own research. But more recently I added another dimension to it – Holistic Life Planning

The first person who coined the holistic approach was Aristotle. This Ancient Greek philosopher (born in 385 B.C.) wrote
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. A simple sentence with a complex sentiment and totally symbiotic with the Biodynamic view of the world. The idea that all living beings are interconnected and part of a large macro-organism and is nothing new. It is even more incomprehensible that we are so hell-bent on damaging/compromising nature and its ecosystems.  As the inevitable consequence is that by hurting the system as a whole we will hurt ourselves, too. It is basically self-harm.

It is hard for one individual to change the world. But there is one area you can have a total, direct influence on – and this is YOU. Now imagine everybody would strive and be ‘the best version of themselves’ – can you see what a big impact that would have?

When you are healthy, happy and in balance, you radiate. Bizarrely this is most often ‘a mental state of mind’ and can – with a bit of exercise – achieved by anyone who is willing to work on themselves. Regardless of income, sex, or where they live.

Some people seem to have ‘everything’ – seen from the outside, but inside they are far from happy, balanced, and of course, don’t radiate.

The LWTM Holistic Lifestyle concept’s aim is to help you dig deep and rekindle this ‘spark’.

Once you know who you really are, then you can add activities from various sections.  For example Health and Beauty, Home and Garden, Relationships, and other topics. On the calendar, we keep these topics separated – as it is easier to look up more specific information, tips, and recipes.   But of course, all of these areas  form part of the overall LWTM Holistic Lifestyle and you can find out more when you download our FREEBIES 

The essence of a great lifestyle design is the way we arrange these areas and how we balance them.

When I was little, I was told  ‘You can have everything, but not all at the same time’. As a child, you don’t pay much attention to sayings like this. Only once I grew older (and hopefully wiser) did I realize how true this statement is. Even though I am still grappling with the 100% perfect formula for my own personal life. But at least I consider myself lucky to have been given a head start from a very young age when I was introduced to the Biodynamic philosophy and lifestyle.

The holistic lifegoal planner – will help you find an answer to the question – what is my life all about. We all have vague ideas of what we want to do. But once you drill down – what really does matters – many people find it difficult to reach a definite answer.

But I think this old system’s most under-rated strength is its usefulness when it comes to balancing the areas of your life. Once you are familiar with its formula and you personalize it to your own individual circumstances, this system will throw out dates, symbols, and suggestions of what to do on each day and how to structure and plan your life ahead!

If you are all new to this site and concept and are interested in how all this applies to you, please start by downloading our free introduction package LWTM freebies download link 

This of course does not mean that you have to blindly follow these suggestions.  But if you use the tools correctly,  all areas of your life will pull together in the same direction.  Over time a wholesome, well-balanced picture will emerge. This is a great life strategy and will give you tools to fine-tune and evaluate your life month-by-month and year-by-year.

Applied consistently and over time it will give you great results.

Here is the link again to welcome you to our small and friendly community.

 An Introduction to LWTM

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

 

What makes us human?

What makes us human?

       This is a question that undoubtfully all humans ask themselves at some point? I recently heard a talk about this subject and thought it was well worth exploring.  As I am currently working on the new calendar cycle and The Year Ahead,  when the famous question – what is it all about?  fleetingly raised its head. But was equally quickly succeeded by – What comes next and what are my plans for the year ahead?

It would be highly presumptuous of me to say that there is only one answer, of course, there is not. But the more I listen to experts who study primates in their natural environment and early human civilizations,  the boundaries between humans and animals are becoming ever clearer. Not that I see the human species in any way far more important or superior. The Biodynamic way of life sees all species, including plants, worms and even microbes in the soil as part of the WHOLE CYCLE and each play their unique part. But humans have qualities other species simply have not.

Over 70,000 years ago Neanderthals started to use instruments, discovered fire, and even played music. These ‘creative activities’ had not been seen before. This all got even more sophisticated around 48,000 B.C. when the  Cro-Magnons – the earliest humans- started to settle in today’s Europe and Africa.  Cave paintings and subsequently found tools show us what their civilization would have looked like and more importantly how they lived. Working with fire was by then well established, but this ‘new species’ showed creativity and the ability to plan ahead as no other species had done before.

In his book  The Pattern Seekers, Simon Baren-Cohen describes how humans became distinctly different from animals when they started to recognize patterns. And I would argue more importantly when they started to connect the dots. Animals tend to react, but humans plan ahead.

Initially, this ‘planning ahead’ was quite haphazard. But once early man discovered a predictably time-pattern in the sky, i.e. the cycle of the moon, ‘social planning’ became a lot easier. This was a big game-changer.  Once tribes knew how to operate these early time measuring tools – proper social planning was really on its way. Here you can find out more about how early humans created their first calendars. 

We know that humans were definitely collective beings right from the very start. And there is no reason to believe that this trend is slowing down. Just look at the very recent rise of social media and there is no doubt that humans thrive on collective interactions.

But then certain animal species, of course not all, also share this communal spirit.  Just look at how a pack of wolves or lions hunt together and share the prey (or fight over it!). Or how monkeys or whales come together and care for their young.

But what sets humans really apart is the communication of shared experiences. We do like events and we like to share them – live!
This has been the biggest impact of the  Coronavirus pandemic. It has taken away the ability to congregate, celebrate, and see ‘live events’ and share ‘in the flesh’-experiences? Technology has made great advances and I am sure we are all grateful for that. But ‘this common energy’ is missing. We don’t communicate just with words, there are so many unspoken cues that are impossible to pick up via a video screen.

I think once we are all vaccinated and free to mingle again,  we will treasure this ‘communal energy’ even more than we once did. Especially the senses of touch and smell, which have both been so neglected.

But until then the ‘virtual gatherings’ will prevail and I have finally taken the nudge and together with the new calendars, I have created a VIP Facebook group. At the moment this is on an ‘invitation only’ basis for some members.
But If you stumbled across Living With The Moon for the very first time, you are welcome to download our free introduction e-book by clicking the link below and maybe see you one day in our small, friendly and connected group.

 An Introduction to LWTM

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural home clearing

Natural home clearing

 Tidy, declutter and dusting
THIS SYMBOL REPRESENTS DECLUTTERING AND ENERGETIC HOME-CLEARING

In the late 1990ies I had a very interesting home visit. My then downstairs neighbour told me about this ‘wonderful interior designer’ who he met at a recent party. My husband and I were just about to gear up for a serious redecoration process. So  I decided to have her round to get some input and ideas.

A few days later a bubbly young Italian woman showed up and I guided her around the house. I had been a makeup artist for a little while but was then experiencing a career-lull and felt a bit lack-luster.  What I needed was extra energy and a fresh start.

As we walked around the place she noted a few things down and finally, we reached the top floor. There were 2 rooms. The one facing towards the garden was used as a work/spare room and the room facing the street was our bedroom.

She was puzzled by this arrangement and thought the bedroom would be much better facing the back. But we had tried this before and both found that we could not sleep well in this room. And neither did any of our guests.

She turned to me and asked if she could ‘energetically clear this room’ and took out a sage smudge stick.  At that time I had never seen one before and was by now getting quite curious.  She lit it and then walked around with it, making sure the smoke went into all the corners, behind piled-up papers, in the cupboard and any other hidden place. She then carried on throughout the whole place.

Once finished, she gave me precise instructions on how to declutter and thoroughly air and clean the place. Then she urged me to hang up colourful, happy pictures of friends and family and snapshots of ‘happy moments’.  When all that was completed and only then, I was to move the bed back into the garden-facing room, which of course I did.

That night and many after that I slept so well.  No more twisting and turning. I could not believe the difference the whole procedure had made. Additionally, a friend called me the next day and told me about an interview for a new TV show. I went to it and got the job. In hindsight, that day really transformed my then stagnant career and home life.

Of course,  this all could have been completely coincidental, but whatever she had done – it just worked! She had explained to me the ‘concept of stagnant energy’.

According to her, dead energy gathers in crevices and around clutter and needs to be cleared away. It is like dust or debris which you would clear away, too.

My grandmother had always mentioned that energy does not get lost but just transforms. So it all somehow made sense. In any case, it did work whatever had caused it.

Since then I have kept to this principle.  If I ever need a bit of ‘energy’, ‘oomph’, ‘mojo’ – or whatever else you call this elusive “get-up-and-go” quality, I cleanse my home – dirt, clutter, and energy!

How to cleanse your home the biodynamic way?

1) Declutter:  Choose the time of the Waning Moon, ideally on an Air Day. Take 3 bags and declutter either a room, a storage area or whatever needs doing. If you are a hoarder (like me), make sure you stick to a small area or room, otherwise, it is just overwhelming. There is always another moon cycle to do the next bit. A great way to go room by room through the whole house.

Bag One is for rubbish, Bag Two is for giving-away. This could be to neighbours, friends, family, charity or selling on e-bay. Bag Three is your treasure chest – this is the precious stuff to keep, ideally not too much.

Once madness turned into tidiness, take a duster and get rid of all the dust. If you still have some energy, clean mirrors, and possibly hoover. But what is really important – give your home a good blast of fresh air. Even in winter, just make it shorter.

washing and deep clean   2) Cleaning:  Keep the decluttering, dusting and hovering on Air Days, if you can and have a day off if possible. Then a Water Days will follow the Air Day- still in the Waning Moon. Today is a cleaning day. Do another good hovering session, wash your floors and wet vacuum your carpets (you can hire wet&dry Vaccum cleaners). Get down curtains, give them a shake outside or wash them.  Move furniture to really get as much dust/dirt away as you can. This is not a routine clean, this is a deep clean.

Here are 2 articles about natural cleansers that you most likely have in your larder.

Natural Cleaning Products   
Cleaning with Vinegar 

3) Clean Energetically: Now your home is dusted and cleaned. Give it a day or 2 and then you can clean it energetically. The element fire is perfect for this task and it won’t even take long.

Get a sage smudge stick and light it. Then walk around circling the smudge stick, making sure the smoke is going in all the hidden corners and crevices. Put some uplifting music on – it can be quite fun.

Have you ever heard the phrase – you can cut the air with a knife?  This is exactly what stagnant energy feels like. If you pay attention, there will be some hidden corners where the smudge stick literally gets stuck, spend a little bit more time clearing those ‘energetic cobwebs’. Places where there is a lot of traffic, such as hallways, show normally little build up of ‘stagnant energy’. It is those ‘forgotten corners behind the pile of papers’ that is where you need to first clear, clean and swish.

Finally, open all the windows and let the smoke ‘breath out’. Once all the smoke has gone,  light a scented candle or use a natural air freshener.  I guarantee you – you will notice a big difference and your sleep and general mood should improve a lot.

 An Introduction to LWTM

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

 

 

 

 

Halloween, witches and Samhain

Halloween, witches and Samhain

     On October 31st is a special day – The Blue Moon falls on the same day as Halloween. 
The last article looked in-depth at what a Blue Moon is. This post will delve deeper into the subject of Halloween, where it comes from and its significance.

The history of Halloween

Halloween has its origin in the Celtic festival Samhain, celebrated on the evening of the 31st of October. This symbolized the end of the harvest season and the ‘death of the seasonal growing cycle’. It was also celebrated on the eve before All Saints Day or better known as ‘ All Hallow’s Day’- the day of the Saints and the dead Ancestors.
halloween  The Celts believed in reincarnation. The highest honour was to die in battle. The body of a slain soldier or member of society was burnt on a pyre together with the corpse of their favorite horse. The cold ashes were collected in a clay jar and buried in a mound. For centuries these practices continued. The souls turned into invisible figures wearing cloaks with large hoods – just think of the grim reaper! These figures escaped in the moonlight to another world, unseen by those left behind and eventually reincarnated into another human, animal or plant.

Moon gods, bulls and horns

cow horns Many cultures, amongst them the Sumerians, Babylonians and Minoans worshipped moon gods and their sacred animals were the cows and bulls. Here is an article that explains a bit more about the Minoan culture and their practices with bull jumping, now believed to be a forerunner of the Olympic Games.

Bull horns represented the moon cycle and the cycle of life. The first cave paintings dating back to 30,000 B.C. depicted horned animals together with the cycle of the moon. Horns decorated helmets and found their ways into the graves of the dead. The moon, fertility, celebrations and horns – all are symbols of the moon gods, celebrating the rhythm of eternal life.  Just like the seasons, we come, we go and we are reborn.
As Albert Einstein once said, ” Energy doesn’t get lost, it only gets transformed’.  As the leaves sprout in spring and help the tree survive throughout summer and autumn. Eventually, they wilt and fall to the ground.  But that is not the end. The dead leaves now have a new purpose.  Rotted down, they produce precious compost which nourishes the trees and makes sure that the next growing cycle begins.

A practice of Biodynamic agriculture sees the farmer fill a cow horn with manure in autumn. This gets buried into the ground for around 6 months. In late spring it gets dug up and the now well-rotted manure is diluted into a spray preparation that fertilizes the new crops on the fields. As weird as it sounds these preparations produce excellent results. It is most likely down to the microbes that find their way into the soil and nourish it.

How come we dress up as witches at Halloween?

During the Middle Ages and even before,  local herb women, so-called witches, ran the Ancient healthcare system. They delivered babies and attended to the sick and dying. They made concoctions and potions to give to their patients. They made these out of animal products and gathered herbs. Some medicines ask for blossoms, others for dried leaves or root extracts. Collecting roots usually happened during the evening or at night. The reason was that roots deemed to be less effective once exposed to direct sunlight. The logical time to gather these roots was around the Full Moon, as it provided the necessary light at night.  Digging out roots at Full Moon and being connected to the dead (as some patients undoubtedly died) – the myth of the witch was born.  It all fitted in nicely with Halloween, the festival of the dead.
The connection between witches and Friday the 13th comes from the pagan lunar year. The Ancient Calendar year followed the path of the moon. Normally 12 moon cycles with the occasional  13th cycle added in to align the year again with the seasons. Friday was the day of worship for the Fertility Goddess Frigga. Friday the 13th became synonymous with the forbidden pagan knowledge and a particularly unlucky day. 

 An Introduction to LWTM

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