Tips on Staying Healthy

If you have been diagnosed with an illness – arthritis or otherwise – you would no doubt have been offered a plethora of drugs. I don’t believe that any one drug can cure you. In fact, to date, there is no cure for any chronic, life-long or terminal disease, and we have to wonder why.

The problem with conventional medicine is that it treats (or tries to treat) the disease. Our bodies work as one whole moving vehicle. If you had a lorry with 10 wheels and one of those wheels fell off, the lorry wouldn’t drive properly. Ergo, we have to treat our bodies as a whole. Sometimes disease or dis-ease, is a result of stress (physical or emotional) or our bodies are out of balance for whatever reason and we need to find the ways to make it work again. By taking a generic drug designed for all people with one illness, you will never heal fully because you haven’t reached the root of the problem. With JRA for example, most of the drugs block the immune system, they shut it down completely so that the immune system won’t release inflammation (being that RA is autoimmune). What I believe is that because RA is autoimmune, our immune systems are lacking, so instead of shutting them down like the meds do, I believe in doing the opposite – building them up to be as strong as they can be so that the stronger the immune system is, the less disease it releases and the less ill you get. As homeopathy says, ‘Treat the person, not the disease’.

Below I outline tips on staying healthy the natural way: (Many of the tips relate to arthritis but I just use that as an example, these practices can be used for any illness)

  • Having a good holistic therapist, whether a homeopath, naturopath or otherwise, is imperative. They will find the root cause of your problem and treat it from here. You will most likely go back to see them every 4-6 weeks at the beginning, then every few months or when something is wrong thereafter. A practitioner who practices more than one would be best as the more integrated the approach, the more chance you have of getting better. For a medically trained homeopath you can visit www.britishhomeopathic.org/find-a-homeopathic-practitioner/find-a-homeopath/
    For any other sort of holistic practitioner, a great resource for approved, qualified therapists from massage, acupuncture, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, kinesiology, ayurveda and more, visit www.therapy-directory.org.uk
  • Drink plenty of filtered or mineral water. Our bodies need to be kept hydrated but tap water in many places has chemicals in it including fluoride. Fluoride reduces your vitamin B12 levels and affects brain function and we need these to stay at the optimum level in order for our nervous systems to work properly. If you can get fluoride free toothpaste, this will help too!
  • Eat organic! Every non-organic fruit or vegetable you consume has chemicals in it… Keeping your body free of chemicals helps the immune system to thrive and therefore helps prevent disease.
  • No processed food. The further away from its natural state your food is, the less nutrients it contains. Eat fresh! Cook everything yourself. Yes, it takes longer, it’s not as convenient and it’s more expensive, but can you think of anything more important than your health?
  • Try to start your day with a hot water with lemon and apple cider vinegar, this clears the digestive tract and aids digestion for the day ahead.
  • Follow this with a green juice. It is difficult to consume enough of the plants we need to sustain ourselves with the right nutrients. By juicing, we help fill our bodies with these nutrients and cleanse the cells. This creates new, healthier cells instead of feeding old ones with what they need for cancers to emerge. Since our cells constantly regenerate, we can get rid of disease altogether if we do the right things.
  • Cut out dairy. You don’t need milk or yogurt to benefit from highly bioavailable sources of calcium. In fact, contrary to popular belief, most dairy products do not possess any type of calcium that is easily absorbed in the body. The pasteurisation process involved in the manufacture of most dairy products creates calcium carbonate which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. When we drink milk, the body pulls the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process gradually weakens bones, instead of making them stronger! Milk also has little to no nutrient density because pasteurisation destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6 and kills beneficial bacteria. It’s the main reason pasteurised milk promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Many natural food sources have high bioavailable calcium, meaning they are absorbed and become available for the body to utilise physiologically after consumption.
  • Eating a combination of these foods will give you all the calcium and nutrient density you’ll ever need.
    In order of highest calcium:
    1. Dried herbs (dried basil, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, dill). 2113mg per 100g
    2. Sesame seeds (dried). 975mg per 100g (just dollop loads of tahini over your food!)
    3. Chia seeds (dried). 631mg per 100g
    4. Fireweed leaves. 429mg per 100g
    5. Sardines 382mg per 100g
    6. Grape leaves. 289mg per 100g
    7. Chilli powder. 278mg per 100g
    8. Almonds. 264mg per 100g
    9. Flaxseeds. 255mg per 100g
    10. Collards raw. 232mg per 100g
    11. Natto. 217mg per 100g
    12. Amaranth greens. 215mg per 100g
    13. Garlic. 181mg per 100g
    14. Kelp (seaweed). 168mg per 100g
    15. Lotus seeds. 163mg per 100g
    16. Brazil nuts. 160mg per 100g
    17. Parsley. 138mg per 100g
    18. Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, kale). 99mg per 100g
    19. Rhubarb. 86mg per 100g
    (reference – @tuneintomyfrequency)
  • For added protein use chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina, chickpeas, quinoa, avocados and nuts or nut butters. Although meat ‘technically’ contains all the protein we need, human bodies do not absorb these proteins as well as carnivorous animals, so we need to find other, more bioavailable sources of protein. As an example, 100g of spirulina contains 57g protein, whereas 100g of chicken contains a mere 16g of protein. If you do eat meat, make sure that you source the best-quality meat which has been reared organically and humanely. Be careful of meats that claim to be free-range but in fact are not. The best way to know where your produce comes from is to buy from small, farm-direct suppliers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
  • Try cutting out gluten. Although wheat is naturally produced, modern wheat (which has only been around in its current form since about 1960) is much lower in nutrients and much higher in gluten. The name gluten actually comes from it being glue-like. Gluten is what gives dough elasticity and what helps bread to rise. When gluten reaches the digestive tract and is exposed to the cells of the immune system, they mistakenly believe that it is coming from some sort of foreign invader, like a bacteria. This can cause the immune system to start attacking it, which is what causes bloating, cramps and irritation of the immune system.
  • Cut out refined sugar. Our bodies can’t metabolise fructose. Most processed sweet things have high fructose corn syrup in them, which the liver turns into fat and stores (usually on your tummy or hips!) Refined sugar contains no vitamins or minerals; it is simply empty calories. It will affect your cholesterol, insulin levels and it’s addictive. Remove any sugary drinks and foods from your diet immediately (this should be first on your list of changes to make, and if that is all you do, you will have achieved a lot.) You might crave them at first but eventually you will notice a huge difference in how you feel without them. Once your taste buds adjust you will realize that sugar is overly sweet and flavourless and you will in fact prefer the taste of natural sweeteners such as honey, dates, or organic maple syrup. Stevia is a good option for diabetics, as even honey, dates and maple syrup are high in natural sugars, which, while fine in moderation for a healthy person, can have very negative effects for a diabetic.
  • Don’t replace your regular sugary drink with ‘diet’ drinks. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are highly toxic and have been known to cause MS, arthritis and eventually, can contribute to causing cancer too. Stay away from artificial sweeteners.
  • One of the most important supplements you can take is probiotics. The immune system begins in the gut. If the gut is strong, your immune system will be strong. Probiotics encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut, enabling us to have stronger immune systems.
  • Important things to add to your diet other than the anti-inflammatory foods I mentioned above: chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, manuka honey, leafy green vegetables, bananas, pineapple, coconut, cherries, blueberries, avocados, oily fish, sweet potatoes, kale, lemon, black seed oil.
  • Things to remove from your diet: caffeine, alcohol, anything too acidic, not too much red meat, white bread, white pasta, dairy, refined sugar.
  • Exercise… go to the gym, go for a swim, ride a horse, do yoga, go for a walk or a run or just follow a YouTube workout video. Whatever you do, try to get moving! Not only will it help you feel better physically by keeping your heart healthy, lowering cholesterol and boosting your energy, it will also help you feel happier by sending endorphins to your brain.
  • Try to take up meditation or some form of relaxation technique for at least ten minutes every day. Studies show that by meditating for ten to twenty minutes a day, you will find improvements in your concentration, creativity, happiness and relationships with other people.
  • Try and do all of this about 85% of the time, but if you are out for dinner with friends or at your mum’s house, don’t worry about it too much. Know that you are nourishing your body with exactly what it needs for the majority of the time, therefore the odd treat won’t hurt you, and as our mums always told us, ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good’! Enjoying your life is as important as keeping healthy; you can’t have one without the other.
  • For pain relief in the meantime, I find these things helpful: warming up some avocado oil in a saucepan before bed and rubbing it onto the affecting joints, Zinc Picolonate as a supplement (2 a day), Magnesium Citrate (2 before bed) – both can be bought at NutriLink. 
  • Frankincense oil is a great anti-inflammatory. Buy a high grade one (I like www.freeyoursenses.co.uk or DeTerra). Mix 10 drops in 20ml coconut oil and massage into painful areas on the body twice a day. A good medicinal grade essential oil (EO) can be taken internally too. 2-3 drops in tea, twice a day will help.

Other things to add to your diet and your larder

  • Hemp oil. Take a spoonful a day. It has a perfect balance of the Omegas for healthy fatty acids.
  • Apple cider vinegar. It kills bacteria so also acts as a sort of probiotic. Lowers blood sugar levels, aids weight loss and is anti-inflammatory. 1 teaspoon a day.
  • Flaxseed, hemp seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. All extremely high in protein and calcium. As mentioned above, a vegan who knows his food well probably gets more calcium and protein than a meat eater.
  • All my baking on www.organicspoon.co.uk is gluten, dairy and sugar free so for this you need to stock your cupboards full of walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, dates, figs, raw cacao, cacao butter, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, brown rice flour, pure organic maple, coconut palm sugar, date syrup and agave syrups. Raw cacao is another excellent source of protein.
  • Manuka honey is an antibiotic and an antiviral. Keep it at home and have whenever you feel rundown.
  • When you juice, use lots of leafy green vegetables for calcium such as kale, spinach and rainbow chard

Other things to keep at home

  • Juicer
  • High power blender or food processor
  • A vegetable spiralizer is a great accessory to be able to make fun, healthy food and it’s not expensive
  • Dehydrator – great for healthy snacks when you have kids
  • Steamer

With regards to parenting, of course issues like breastfeeding and vaccinations are both important things to think about. I have more information about this on Organic Spoon and you can see my article about vaccines here 

So I reckon that’s most of it; all the things I do daily to stay healthy. It is more time consuming and more expensive than just taking a pill and seeing a doctor once a month, that is for sure, but the benefits outweigh all of that because, well, I’m not in a wheelchair anymore! I really hope you have the same results. Persevere, you’ll get there!!

Good luck! If you need more information or advice, feel free to contact me on the contact page.