Born at full moon

Born at full moonThe moon is mentioned in countless love songs, poems and romantic stories. Lovers meet, kiss and make love bathing in its light. Naturally a side effect is conception. So is it therefore true that more babies are born at full moon?

That the moon influences the female fertility cycle and birth charts has been rumoured for centuries, but is this fact or fiction? Many would argue the second, but there are studies that show links. Of course not all babies are born at full moon, in fact a lot of babies are born just before New Moon.

One such study (Guillon P, Guillon D, Lansac J, Soutoul JH, Bertrand P, Hornecker JP.  Births, fertility, rhythms and lunar cycle. A statistical study of 5,927,978 birthsJournal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. (Paris). 1986) looked at 5,927,978 French births occurring between the months of January 1968 and the 31st December 1974.

Using spectral analysis, it showed that there are different times during the week and year where spikes occur. During a week the lowest numbers of births occurred on Sundays and the largest on Tuesdays.

I think this has less to do with the moon cycle, but is due to cultural circumstances such as holidays and working pattern.  These days many couples are forced to or voluntarily select  Cesarian births and,unless it is an emergency, man-made inductions won’t be scheduled for the  week-end. They are more likely to be pushed to the following Monday resulting in a Monday to Tuesday night birth, boosting the birth statistics for Tuesday.

The annual spike showed that most births occurred during the months of April/May and recorded the lowest  deliveries  for September/October.  Again I would argue that this is a cultural rather than a lunar phenomena.  I suppose the summer holidays have a lot to answer for the spring births and the cold winter nights for the birth ebb in early autumn.

But once birth statistics were analysed in accordance with the lunar cycle, then the less than equal birth distribution showed no cultural correlation.

When scientists talked to busy midwives, doulas or experienced childbirth educators, most of them agreed with an increased birth rate at full moon, but saw another phenomena even more important and that was the change in barometric pressure from cold/warm or vice versa.

Another studies from Italy (Periti E, Biagiotti R.  Lunar phases and incidence of spontaneous deliveries. Our experience. Minerva Ginecol. 1994 Jul-Aug;46(7-8):429-33.) examined 1248 spontaneous full-term deliveries in relation to the presence of a full moon and it also showed that the birth link between the moon and birth data was stronger for mothers who had given birth before and probably had a less inhibited experience.

But then again there are lots of studies who show no obvious link, so I think that just looking at the moon phase is probably not the right answer. Although being a mum myself, I have given birth twice and guess when both my children were born? You guessed right, both were born exactly on the day of a full moon.

 

For more references please see the article I found on birthsource.com titled: Full Moon, Gravitational Pull and childbirth 

Think positive and stay focused

Think positive and stay focused

Positive thinking and focus are vital ingredients when it comes to living a positive and  successful work and social life. So if right now you are stuck in a rut and want to change your life for the positive,  here are a few thoughts:

  • Think positive: ‘Happy’ or ‘unhappy’ thoughts can have a real impact on our lives. That is why it is so important to get into the habit of seeing  the glass half-full and not half-empty.  Children usually start out with this outlook,  but somehow over time many of us turn into those negative, stressed creatures. What has gone wrong?   Life is not always easy, but by having a bleak outlook nothing is going to be achieved. In fact, the opposite is true. Happy people attract ‘good luck’ and people who help them through life.

Next time you have a negative thought, analyse it and straight away turn it into something positive. Here is an example. You and a work colleague have both been to an interview for the same job. In the end your friend got the job and you did not. Of course, the first reaction will be that of disappointment. But then your reaction can be  ‘Damn, Tom got that job I really wanted. I hope he fails miserably and they will call me instead’ This destructive and envious thought may vent your anger, but apart from that won’t achieve much. Would it not be better to say to yourself: ‘ Good on Tom for getting this job. Sure, I am a bit disappointed, but I why don’t I call him and congratulate him. Then I can also find out a) how he managed to get this job and may get a few tips for my next job interview b) ask him if he knows of other positions that need to be filled or could even put my name forward.” This attitude is much more positive. It is not Tom’s fault that you have not been chosen, in fact he can be a vital person to help you read the situation for what it is and may possibly even help you to get another job at that company. At least with this approach you have something to gain (insight, Tom’s friendship and possible later on even a job).

  • Stay focused: This is a very difficult task in today’s society. The internet, email, video games, social media are only some of the many distractions that constantly bombard us. That is why it is even more important than ever to follow through with a properly thought out life plan that gets evaluated from time to time. You can find your own system or simply use the one we provided at sign up – The LWTM goal planner. Have you followed it or even made plans? It is only a vital tool when used consistently.

Once you know what you want to achieve, spend a bit of time in ‘marketing yourself’. Making yourself and what you do more attractive to others should be an admirable aim and not a ‘dirty deed,’ as some people may have you believe. Looking clean and attractive is obviously the first important act, especially when meeting new people. It is now a proven fact that we judge others within the first few seconds of our meeting and of course the others do the same with us.  So this is no myth – ‘First Impressions’ really do count!

Here is an exercise for you: Between now and the next New Moon make a list of all your life achievements so far and then spin your life mentally forward 5 more years. Where do you see yourself then? Then think positive and stay focused to achieve your future goals. 

Finally I would argue that there is also a vital third ingredient and that is ‘staying true to yourself’. Don’t always succumb to what other people think, find your own voice and opinion and stay true to that voice, even if others (mostly short-term) ridicule or ignore you. Can you imagine what would have happened to most inventions if their creators did not go out on a limb and focused on something nobody had yet seen before. Well I dare say, that most inventions would have not happened.

That is why I would like to share one of my favourite fables with you.  It is called ‘The donkey story’ and next time you face a dilemma what choice to make and who says what, just think of this simple story.

The donkey story:

Are you someone who cares deeply about what other people think about you? Are you often unsure of your actions? Next time you find yourself in this position, think of this little story below:

In a faraway land lived an old man who had a donkey and a son. One day he decided to visit his brother who lived a few villages away. So off he went, sitting on his donkey with his son walking by his side.

As they crossed the first village, the old man overheard a conversation. “Look at this selfish old man.  He is sitting high on the donkey and his poor son has to walk’. As they left the village, the man said to his son, “I think these people are right, why don’t you get on the donkey and I will walk’. So off came the father and on went the son.

A short while later they passed through the next village. There they overheard another conversation. “Look at this spoiled brat of a son sitting on the donkey, whilst his poor old father has to walk”. The man thought to himself, ‘‘Well, these people are right.  Why don’t we both sit on the donkey’. As they left the village, the father climbed up on the donkey, sitting behind his son and off they went.

A short while later they passed a farm. The young farmer came out of the gate, carrying a bucket of water to let the donkey have a drink. He said to the old man. “Look at that poor animal carrying both of you. Why don’t you ride it one at the time?”

The father and son looked at each other, not knowing what to do. Finally they decided that the only option left was to carry the donkey. Soon later an old woman passed by and went up to them. “What on earth are you doing? A donkey is there for riding, not carrying”. She went up to the old man and said, “I suggest you get on the donkey and let your son walk next to you!”

The secret of Biodynamic gardening

The secret of Biodynamic gardening

Place for meditation Gardening in harmony with the phases of the moon has been practised for thousands of years. Its modern version ‘Biodynamics’ has been redefined by Rudolf Steiner less than a century ago. It builds on the concept of organic farming by combining it with the Ancient Lunar planting method and the use of natural remedies, such as soil tonics and natural pest control.

Derived from the Ancient Greek words ‘bio’ (life) and ‘dunamis’ (power), the biodynamic garden is managed as if it was a single complex organism with a resource of energy or “life power” that can be recycled.

The biodynamic gardener prepares the soil in spring with compost, created from the grass clippings and plants from the very same land the year before. During the growing cycle, herbal preparations are added to the soil and crops are rotated and grown by the method of ‘companion planting’.  Garden tasks like pruning, planting, re-potting and more are undertaken at specific times during the lunar cycle as marked on the moon calendar.

The founder of the Biodynamic movement, the Austrian Rudolf Steiner, held a series of lectures in 1924 on agriculture. In these lectures, he responded to a concern from farmers about deteriorating soil conditions and the effects it has on the growing plants. The deterioration of the crop and quality of the soil had accelerated since the introduction of artificial fertilisers at the turn of the 20th century and something had to be done to address this problem.

Soon after these lectures a research team was set up to look into how a ‘living soil’ can keep plants healthy and what methods can be employed to keep the land fertile and productive without the use of chemicals or other ‘foreign’ substances.

Today ‘biodynamic gardening/farming’ is practised in well over 50 countries worldwide and biodynamic farmed food tastes so good that it wins awards all over the world. The University of Kassel, Germany, even has a dedicated Department of Biodynamic Agriculture, which studies the effect of biodynamic food and lifestyle on human health.

Biodynamically farmed products are now protected and labelled by the’ Demeter brand. It was established in 1928 and aims to protect consumers and farmers alike. Similar organisations are the French ‘Biodivin” ( it certifies that the wine is biodynamicaly farmed) and the Egyptian EBDA (Egyptian Biodynamic Association).

How does it actually work?  the tides

We know that the moon’s gravitational pull moves billions of litres of water around the planet Earth every single day. But there is not only water in the ocean. We humans, for example, consist of nearly 70% water, and a lot of water is also contained in plants.

The water circulating within a plant contains vitamins, minerals and other active substances and travels from the root system through the stem into leaves, blossoms and fruit. At certain times during the moon cycle more liquid is concentrated in the root system, at other times more in leaves, fruit and blossoms. On a practical level that is why there are ‘good and bad times’ for certain activities. For example, when you pick an apple and want to eat it straight away, you want it to be juicy and full of vitamins. Therefore you pick a time when most liquid will be concentrated within the fruit. However, if you want to store the apple for a long time, you want to pick it at a different time when there is slightly less liquid in the fruit,  so the apple will keep  fresh for longer.

Wake up to lemon water

Wake up to lemon water

lemon waterI have something to share with you. For years I could not do without my early morning coffee. That was until last summer when I decided to replace my daily brown brew with  lemon water. And the results have been astounding. I get lots of comments that I look healthier, younger, etc. and I feel better. I believe that my body was too acidic and adding tea and coffee (also acid substances) did not help. Lemon water is very alkaline and therefore balances my body ph level, it is really that simple.

Having enjoyed the benefits myself, I have now started looking into the facts why lemon water is so beneficial.

First off is of course that lemon water contains a lot of vitamin C, which helps your gut to produce hydrochlolic acid. This helps to neutralise the ph levels, fights free radicals and helps our stomach with the process of digestion. The Ancient Greeks already drank a cup of lukewarm water to wake up their bodies and to eliminate toxins. Hippocrates declared in 400 B.C. that ‘all disease starts in the gut’ and this still remains to be true to this day.

Lemon juice contains small amounts of iron, is a great source of vitamin C and citric acid, which can increase the absorption of iron from other foods

No wonder, it is so good for you!

We have listed some of the amazing benefits you can enjoy by drinking a single cup of warm lemon water each morning.
It’s as simple as that – boil some water, let it cool for a while and add a lemon slice!

1. It helps you lose weight – Lemons are rich in pectin, fiber which decreases appetite.

2. Improves digestion – Lemon juice helps the body discharge waste materia, by stimulating the liver to secrete acids important for the digestion.

3. Cleans the skin – Vitamin C reduces the pores and any skin imperfection. Lemon water cleans the toxins from the blood that affect the health of your skin.

4. Improves the immune system – Thanks to the large amount of vitamin C, which is excellent in fighting colds. Lemons also contain potassium, which stimulates the brain, nerves and controls the blood pressure.

5. Reduces respiratory problems – Warm lemon water will help you stop coughing and breathe more easily, so it is especially beneficial for people with asthma and allergies.

6. Balances pH – This fruit is one of the most alkaline foods. Drink some lemon water, in order to reduce the acidity in your body. Lemons contain citric acid, but it does not affect the acidity in your body.

7. An excellent diuretic – Lemon accelerates the excretion of urine and thereby eliminates the toxins. The urinary tract is healthier when it is regularly cleaned.

8. Due to the large amount of vitamin C, lemon water is used in the treatment of infections, wounds, allergies and sore throat.

9. Drink it instead of coffee – Even though it contains no caffeine, lemon water is an excellent replacement for your morning coffee.

10. Freshens your breath, relieves toothache and gum inflammation, but be careful – citric acid erodes the tooth enamel.

Cooking with herbs – Savory

Welcome to the LWTM – ‘Cooking with herbs’ blog seriessavory

In this blog series you will find historical information and recipes about the most commonly used kitchen herbs. They do not only add flavour, but they also make a positive impact on our health and well-being. To find out more about other kitchen herbs, please type ‘cooking with herbs’ into the search box.

Savory – satureja hortensis

Savory is native to the Mediterranean, where it is commonly referred to as the bean herb as it gives bean dishes a distinctive flavour and also helps prevent flatulence when eating beans. Crushing the fresh herb and putting it on fresh bee stings can help with the swelling.  You can use both the fresh and dried herb.

Savory tea is excellent to clear a spotty, teenage skin
Use 1 tbsp of the fresh herb and add 250ml boiling water. Leave to steep for 10 minutes and then pour into a bowl, add cold water until the temperature is warm, but not boiling hot. Soak a clean flannel and apply to the face, leave until it has cooled down and repeat a few times. Then use a good peeling face mask and finish up with a healing day cream (you can also use nappy rash cream in small amounts, especially when the spots are very sore).

The same tea as above can also help with a chesty cough. In this case gargle the tea and spit it out again.

In the kitchen 

Savory with its peppery, aromatic taste is used for lamb dishes, hearty stews and of course it must not be missing from a bean casserole or any other cooked bean dish. Could it be the phrase ‘savoury dishes’ comes from this herb?

Here are a few recipes:

1.  Tuscan Bean soup
A wholesome soup for the winter,  serves 6

12 oz/350g dried canneloni beans, soaked overnight (or tinned), 4 ripe, well flavoured tomatoes (or use tinned), 2 sticks of celery, 2 carrots, 2 leeks,
11 oz/300g kale (chopped), 2 cloves garlic, handful of winter savory, 2 sprigs fresh thyme. 6-8 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper

To serve:
6 slices of stale country bread (2-3 days old),  7 oz/200g savoy cabbage, red onion and olive oil

  • Pour off the water in which the beans have been soaking, place them in a large saucepan and cover with fresh water to a depth of 2″ above the beans. Bring to the boil and boil hard for 10 minutes, drain. Cover the beans with fresh water and add a small handful of fresh savory. Bring the water back up to boiling point then reduce the heat and simmer for approx 1½ hours until the beans are tender but still whole.
  • If you use tinned beans then use the recipe from here.
  • Drain the beans and pass three-quarters of them through a sieve into a bowl with 2 pints (1.2 litres)of fresh water. Reserve the rest of the beans separately.
  • Finely chop the carrots, celery and leeks. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the vegetables until soft. Meanwhile peel, de-seed and chop the tomatoes then add them to the vegetables along with the garlic and thyme. After 5 minutes add the cabbage, salt and pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes before adding the bean puree. Cook slowly for an hour adding tepid water if the soup becomes too solid, although it should be a very thick soup.
  • About 5-10 minutes before the end of the cooking stir in the whole beans to heat them through. Finely chop the Savoy cabbage and sauté in a little oil. Serve the soup ladled over a slice of bread and topped with cooked cabbage. Offer finely sliced red onions and olive oil at the table.

2. Beans with savory and bacon
This is probably one of the easiest and tastiest recipes there is.

You will need:

400g canelloni beans (tinned is best here, as you can use the juice) 
150g of smoked bacon (vary how meaty you want this dish, vegetarians can replace it with chopped red pepper instead), 1 large onion, 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chopped savory, salt and pepper to season.

  • Chop the onion finely and brown in 1 tbsp of olive/cooking oil. Add the paprika seasoning to it, so it turns the onions slightly reddish.
  • Add the chopped bacon until brown and finally add the 2 cans of beans with the juice (canelloni preferred, but really any beans will do), chopped savory and cook covered on a low flame for 15 minutes, finally season with salt and pepper and serve with fresh sourdough bread and butter.

Word of Advice: Always cook beans with savory, as they soak up its flavour, but never add salt or pepper during the cooking process, always add at the end as particularly salt prevents the beans from softening. This is especially important when you cook raw (rather than tinned) beans.

 

 

How to remove unwanted hair growth

Shaving of legs

How to remove unwanted hair growth

There are many ways to remove unsightly, unwanted hair growth. Below you can find a few methods, some can be done at home, others need to be performed by an experienced hair removal expert. 

The best times to remove unwanted hair growth is during the Waning Moon or New Moon and whenever you see the ‘Tweezer’ symbol on the LWTM life-style calendar.  

Semi-permanent to permanent hair removal:
These procedures are effective and permanent, but the downside is that they are expensive and you will need to see a qualified practitioner.

Electrolysis:
 This method provides an almost permanent hair removal solution and  is performed by sliding a thin metal probe into the hair follicle. Then an electric current is passed through the hair root which will then die. People with strong hair growth may need a few sessions to eliminate all hair growth. But usually most hair follicles are destroyed and therefore the re-growth is minimal.
This method of hair removal is safe and effective, providing that it is performed by a trained professional, The downside is that this treatment is slow, expensive and sometimes uncomfortable.

Laser hair removal: 
Electrolysis is good for small and delicate areas such as facial hair growth. If you want to get rid of larger areas,  then a laser hair removal treatment is preferable. Laser hair removal is a relatively new procedure and there is no firm data yet available of how permanent and effective the hair reduction really is. 
The laser is directed from a hand piece into the skin and if practiced correctly, it is a very safe and convenient method.  It does not deliver a 100% reduction, but re-growth is lighter and thinner, so repeat treatments are inevitable.

Temporary hair removal:
 If you want to remove your body hair in the comfort of your own home, then these are the best options:

Shaving: 
This is the most common way of hair removal. Despite common belief, the hair does not come back thicker. But as the hair is new, it may look thicker. The upside is that this method is quick and cheap. The downside is that you can cut yourself and that you have to repeat shaving on an almost daily basis. This method is good for the female body, but not the face, as it creates stubbles.

Cream depilatories: 
If you don’t like the thought of wielding a sharp instrument, then cream depilatories are a good alternative. This chemical dissolves the hair. Apply the cream to the skin and leave it for a few minutes, then take the cream off with a spatula and the hair will come with it. Finally wash your face. This method is not recommended if you have a very sensitive skin, as your skin might burn and get irritated. Hair re-growth is a little bit slower than with razors. For an average hair growth, this method can be done weekly, rather than daily. Some people prefer to shave legs and underarm, but use cream for the face.

Rotary epilators: 
These instruments are similar to raisers, but will give a more permanent result. If you have a light hair growth, this effect can last for a few weeks. Unlike shavers where re-growth has to be barely visible, rotary epilators need a bit more hair growth in order to grip the hair. So if you have very dark hair and a fair skin, this method might not work for you. When you use the machine, pull the skin tight in the direction of growth. This method is good for legs and arms, but not recommended in the face.

Hot wax/ wax strips: 
This is a fast and efficient method to get rid of unwanted hair growth. It does need a little bit of practice, but can be easily done at home and the results are certainly long lasting than the shaving and cream method.  Always pull the skin in the direction of the hair growth and remove the wax against the hair growth. The downside is that waxing can be rather painful! So not good for people with a low pain threshold.

 

 

 

 

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