Tea Total

Apparently we’re still nation of tea lovers.

The perfect accompaniment to a moment of pause/rest/reflect.

A great alternative to bottled water if you find cold water bit of a chore.

I’m more inclined toward the fruity and herbal varieties, but it’s tea all the same.

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Tea cupboard

Tea Tittle Tattle

I’ve never tried hibiscus tea but it supposed to help lower blood pressure.

Fennel is a great kidney cleaner, but I’m not keen on the aniseed taste.

Amongst other things ginger aids digestion, I used to think it was only peppermint that did this. I like to add some fresh ginger to mine for extra strength.

Not all herbal teas are caffeine free, always read the label; some can react to medications you may be taking so be sure to do your research and check with your health professionals.

Green tea is known  to have lots of fantastic health benefits, it’s probably the queen of herbal teas at the moment.

Any teas that are known to help regulate your period (ladies), should be avoided during pregnancy/breastfeeding, like parsley.

Never heard of rooibos tea until very recent, great for eczema by all accounts.

Be sure to buy your teas from reputable stores to avoid unfortunate incidents, like consuming poisonous leaves. There are a few stories floating around about unfortunate ‘herbal tea’ consumption – be careful if you are experimenting with the unknown!

Now lets get the kettle on!

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Natural Wonders & Home Remedies

Alternative medicines, natural cures and herbal remedies are always of interest to me – healing the body artificially, or with toxic drugs are worth avoiding where possible, surely?

I’m no doctor, nor have I carried out any extensive research on this subject, but I’ve come across bits of information from things I’ve heard and read, including ‘Readers Digest 1001 Home Remedies’, which goes into great detail about all kinds of health and household hacks, thanks to natural/food and household products.

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Readers Digest 1001 Home Remedies

The book also offers advice on symptoms and assessments of when you should seek advice from a doctor, as well as a break down on a range of possible side effects (including reactions to prescription drugs) for each of the remedies explored.

I’d strongly recommend this book if you are interested in exploring this in more detail.

Below I have highlighted few remedies that most of us probably have access to on a daily basis, to get you going!

 

Bicarbonate of Soda

  • Athletes foot
  • Bites/stings
  • Chickenpox
  • Splinters

Camomile

  • Boils
  • Indegestion
  • Menstrual releif
  • Teething

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Eucalyptus

  • Pain relief (but don’t use with anything heated)

Evening Primrose Oil

  • Arthritic pain
  • Asthma
  • Eczema

Garlic

  • Bites/stings
  • Cold/flu
  • Cuts
  • Diarrhoea
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Urinary tract infections

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Ginger

  • Pain releif
  • Coughs
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • High Cholesteraol
  • Irritable bowl syndrome
  • Wind/bloating/flatulence

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Honey (not to be given to children under the age of one)

  • Acne
  • Age spots
  • allergies
  • Insomnia

Lavender

  • Anti fungal
  • Ear problems
  • Head lice

Lemon

  • Acne
  • Calluses and corns
  • Head lice
  • Kidney stones
  • Hiccups
  • Morning sickness
  • Varicos veins
  • Warts

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Mustard oil/powder

  • Athletes foot (stops dread of fungus)
  • Fever

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

  • Antihistamine
  • Asthmas drug alternative
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Memory problems
  • Mentsrual problems
  • Pain releif
  • Prostate problems
  • Wrinkles

Peppermint

  • Bites/stings
  • Indegestion
  • Irritable bowl syndrome
  • Snoring
  • Toothache

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Salt Water (saline solution)

  • Clear nasal mucus

Tea Tree Oil

  • Acne
  • Antifungal

Vinegar

  • Acne
  • Athletes foot (apple cider)
  • Bruises
  • Hiccups
  • Nappy rash
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Treating ear problems
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Cleaning the house
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Readers Digest 1001 Home Remedies

Women And The Health Care Industry: A Raw Deal?

Read, digest, consider.

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“Modern medicine is lethal” pg. 7

Naivety and dependency may be at the root of many of today’s health problems per se.

‘Women and the Health Care Industry: An Unhealthy Relationship, by Peggy Foster’ explores this problem in terms of women’s health.

Have you ever thought that maybe the industry behind our every day health care systems might be operating to further unsavoury vested interests through the heavy dependence women have on our health care systems?

Have you ever stopped to question whether the health care systems and medicines you use might be hindering rather than enhancing your health?

What if medical professionals have deliberately held back information on the risks and side effects of commonly used drugs and treatments for fear of women choosing to stop or never start using them?

Though written in a more academic style, this book will definitely hold your interest if you are curious or concerned with the questions above.

After reading this book you might think differently about aspects of healthcare that women sometimes take for granted, e.g. contraception, infertility, mental health, menopause.

This is an excellent book for anyone interested in patterns of health inequality.

To be honest, I tend to think anything to do with pharmaceuticals will inevitably highlight a range of inequalities as this industry seems to be primarily driven to make money, first and foremost.

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Women and the Health Care Industry: An Unhealthy Relationship by Peggy Foster

 

Doctors orders: Sunshine and Hot Weather

From what I’ve read, there is a lot to be said for chasing the sun.

Lets just remind ourselves of some of the health and beauty benefits of being a sun seeker.

  • Sunshine is a natural anti depressant, everyone ( well almost everyone) seems to be in a happier mood when the sun’s out
  • The sun makes you sweat, which helps detox the body, and regulate your heart rate
  • Vitamin D (everyone knows this), is great for bones by helping the body absorb calcium, reduces risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and acne amongst other things
  • Exposure to sunlight can help you sleep better
  • Skin gets more tanned and hair gets lighter/highlights, no chemicals necessary
  • Hot weather makes you slow down and take it easy, so I guess that makes the sun a ‘de-stresser’ and is argued to affect the body in a way that increases antibodies  – the body’s natural defence against bacteria
  • A lack of vitamin D has been said to be strongly linked to a range of  diseases, including breast and other cancers
  • Sunlight can reduce symptoms (and perhaps arguably contribute to the prevention) of  Alzheimer’s disease
  • Exposure to the sun can also lower blood pressure and bring relief to arthritic pain

So for those of us who are not fortunate enough to have 365 days of warm sunshine – a well earned flight is probably due!

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Photo taken in Barbados

Out and About in St John’s, Antigua

A taxi drive down to the western side of the island takes us to Antigua & Barbuda’s capital, St John’s. Lots of people, traffic, shops, colour and day to day hustle and bustle.

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Shop front beaming with colour
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When the cruise ships come in this place will be heaving

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Colourful buildings
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The writing’s on the wall….

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Think twice
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Spotted along the side of a health store ‘The House of Vitamins’
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Both are in short supply (in London anyway)!
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“Maintain good posture and keep your head up”
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How we treat others can affect our own physical healing

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Antigua and Barbuda’s first prime minister, Sir Vere Cornwall

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Peaceful people watching

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Street corner

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Third time lucky?

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Use Protection?

Worryingly, a lot has been written about the harmful effects of sun protection products, including their contribution to a variety of cancers (which, ironically, people think they’re being protected against).

In the past, when I’ve looked at the ingredients on these product bottles, all I see is a long list of ‘unpronounceable’ words that quite frankly, belong in the world of science laboratories.

Surely, any product laced with a cocktail of chemicals can’t be a good thing! Our acceptance of chemicals in all aspects of life is at the root of a lot of today’s health problems.

We are intoxicated.

Detox Your Life!

Granted, we probably can’t avoid chemicals completely, but we can certainly reduce exposure by being more choosy about the products we buy and foods we consume – as a starting point.

Is there any natural, organic form of sun protection?

Much has been written about foods that increase the body’s natural protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays and ageing effects. I won’t repeat it all, but essentially, a wide range of fruit and vegetables seem to keep getting a mention, especially red fruit/veg, along with green tea.

Broccoli, cauliflower and dark leafy green veg also showcase frequently on this subject.

Good old coconut oil, shea butter, zinc oxide and carrot oil also frequently mention; coconut oil is one of the most widely used sun protection products by natives of tropical countries.

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I’m a huge fan of coconut oil and shea butter anyway, so very happy to hear yet another thing they are helpful for – both contain natural SPF protection and shea butter acts as a natural sunscreen.

Coconut Oil 38 Thrifty Uses 

21 Reasons To Use Shea Butter

Dark chocolate also gets a mention!

Light clothing that covers exposed skin is another helpful tip, particularly if your skin is sensitive to heat and burns easily.

Water is also key – especially after exposure to the sun to prevent dehydration.

Stay in the shade  – no brainer.

Flipping the whole concept on ‘sun protection’ on its head slightly, the sun itself is also a form of skin protection: The Sun Protects You! The sun is also known to help with skin conditions like psoriasis.

Yes, use protection, but be sure your protection isn’t doing more harm than good.

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Isn’t it time we stopped being so complacent about chemically laden consumer products, not just sun protection, but everything from cosmetics, food, drinks, toiletries, cleaning products, the its goes on…..shouldn’t we strive to become more informed about what we are consuming and use that knowledge to change our choices, for our own wellbeing? 

Interesting reading:

http://beautyeditor.ca/2016/06/18/chemical-free-sunscreen

http://www.breastcanceruk.org.uk/our-campaigns/ditchthejunk/

Knowledge is also a great source of protection. What you don’t know, can certainly hurt you.

This is one of many books that really encouraged me to question the reasons behind soo many common illnesses and the addictive nature of western society’s obsession with purchasing products that promise to work their magic in all aspects of our lives – coincidently, working to a capitalist advantage rather than consumer.

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Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel: Never Again!

A lot has been written about aloe vera, lots of wonderful things like:

  • it has a wide range of medicinal uses
  • it also has a wide range of skin care benefits

I’d never really tried any aloe vera products before, only aloe vera scented things.

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http://photopin.com/

If you do your research, you’ll also find much has been written about aloe vera’s potentially toxic effects on your skin and body in the form of allergic reactions.

I had one heck of an allergic reaction  to Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel after approximately three days of light use.

The first strange (seemingly unrelated) thing that happened 2/3 days into using it, was that after a very good night’s sleep, I woke up the next morning with swollen puffy eyes and had to sit with frozen peas over them for about an hour to help the swelling go down, it gradually improved further throughout the day. Very strange indeed, I thought.

A couple of days later, everything was fine, no swollen eyes – nothing to report. I washed my face as usual that evening then applied a little aloe vera to my face neck, shoulders, and wiped the excess off my hands onto my waist and bottom.

Well. 😱 😨 😰

Literally, within about a minute of  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel going onto my skin (remember this was not the first time I’d used it) my face felt a bit funny and I felt a rash building up as I touched my skin. My skin then started to feel really hot.

I  race back to the sink and wash my face again to get it off (not really thinking to wash  it off my body as I thought it was just my facial skin that didn’t like it). Of course, the problem is, this stuff doesn’t sit on the surface of the skin, it sinks deep into your skin, especially when applied to freshly scrubbed clean skin, leaving it impossible to remove it all completely.

Great.

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http://photopin.com/

From this point onwards, I suffered for just over a week, nonstop, itching like crazy and the more you scratch the more it itches. A raised, visibly bumpy red rash covered all over the areas touched by the  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel, nowhere else, so it was definitely the gel.

Thankfully I had only applied  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel sparingly to my face.

Imagine rolling around in a bed of stinging nettles, this is probably what it would feel like.

I changed the bedding, washed my hair and anything I thought might still have remnants of the aloe vera gel left on it. Still the torture continued.

After continuously flushing out my system by drinking lots of water, green tea, and smothering my skin with Savlon, TCP, coconut oil and taking Dettol baths, things slowly started to improve after around ten days, yes it took that long.

I will never underestimate the power of an allergic reaction again.

Be careful when trying new products, even if they’re supposed to be organic. Granted, this particular product has a few other ingredients in it which may have had something to do with it. One of the assistants in Holland & Barrett suggested I try using pure aloe vera (with nothing added), which they had in stock.

I declined.

I really wasn’t willing to risk more of the same, or worse, in the name of experimentation.

I know when to call is quits.

When your body speaks, listen. A severe reaction is often your body’s way of letting you know it is in distress and that a substance is in some way toxic/poisonous to your system.

Obviously, everyone is going to react differently to things, but this is the most extreme and shocking reaction I have had to any product in my entire life. It definitely frightened me.

Thankfully Holland & Barrett were very understanding and offered a full refund on both the opened and unopened bottles of  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel I purchased (with receipts, I hadn’t thrown them away).

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Website screenshot, this is the product I purchased and used.

A woman in the queue next to me said aloe vera had done her skin the world of good, and uses it often. How differently two people can react to the same thing – though she said she uses it in its purest form, not a manufactured product.

I have decided to steer well clear.

Quite frankly, I don’t have any significant need for it, I just thought it would be a good soother to try after being out in the hot sun each day on holiday (thankfully trying and testing it months before I was due to go away). This would have been a complete disaster if it had happened whilst on holiday. There are plenty of other good products that can sooth the skin just as well.

Interestingly, all the product reviews for  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel seem to be very positive on the Holland & Barrett website, whilst they’re all negative on Amazon ( after checking again today). Don’t rely on reviews from just one website for anything, always research more widely for more balanced feedback.

A week on, my skin was almost back to normal, the affected areas only itched a little bit now. I’m so grateful I didn’t have a more severe reaction. Thank God. Some people’s throat passages swell up, restricting their breathing – which can be fatal.

Aloe vera, thanks but no thanks.

Moving swiftly back to my long standing, tried and tested shea butter and organic coconut oil.

GE1EMYEURI
Image: https://stocksnap.io

Coconut Oil 38 Thrifty Uses

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Pictures: Virgin Coconut Oil (Bought from Holland & Barratt, buy one get one half price)

Since I started using coconut oil I haven’t  looked back – it’s a great all-rounder, making it very good value for money.

The number of things it can do seems endless, but here are a few to get you thinking:

Removes stubborn make up

Conditions and strengthens hair, aids hair growth

Scalp moisturiser and treats dandruff

Body moisturiser

Deodorises skin

Ink remover

Lubricates door hinges

Treats cuts/soars inside the mouth

Breath freshener

Healthier cooking oil – no hydrogenated fats (fry, roast, bake)

Lighter alternative to butter (great for baking)

Aids digestion

Rub into cuticles  – strengthens nails

Makes a great massage oil

Removes rust

Anti-fungal

Relief from food poisoning

Shaving legs (I still prefer a soapy lather)

Softens cuticles

Helps to clean teeth, whitening properties

Can act as an insect repellent

Improves blood flow

Nappy rash treatment

Heartburn relief

Holds antibacterial, antioxident and anti inflammatory properties (great for cuts, rash, itching, bites, stings  etc)

Under eye wrinkle reduction

Reduces frizz on hair

Softens bath water

Contains lauric acid – which boosts the immune system – also found in breast milk

Prevents stretch marks

Fights cold sores

Helps rid dogs from fleas

Polishes wood and metal

Polishes shoes (leather)

Treats/prevents head lice

Treats constipation (take a table spoon each morning on an empty stomach until relieved)

Eases arthritis

Eases a dry throat

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An American In The Australian Outback, Aborigine Tour! Mutant Message Down Under.

So after reading this book years ago and then again recently I thought I should spread the word on it in case it appeals to your interests!

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The book is written as a work of fiction in order to protect the aboriginal tribe concerned, but based on the real life experiences.

An American white caucasian physician  lands a contract in Australia to trial a new preventative health care programme. Amidst this, she finds herself spending three months going walkabout in the Australian outback with a tribe ofAborigine /bush people – referred to as the ‘Real People’, who in turn refer to her as a ‘Mutant’.

The book provides interesting snapshots on aspects of aboriginal lifestyle, relationships with the world/universe, spirituality and value systems, providing a sharp contrast to western ‘developed’ world values.

Discrimination faced by Aborigines  is also touched upon in terms of their access to valuable land and their alleged declining populations; racial tensions, stereotypes and derogatory opinions are also touched upon.

“These people believe everything exists on the planet for a reason. Everything has a purpose. There are no freaks, misfits or accidents. There are only misunderstandings and mysteries not yet revealed to mortal man.” Pg 51

If nothing more, this book will stretch a mature mind to reflect on your own world view and perhaps question whether it has the right balance. Are we too immersed in artificial lifestyles, artificial foods, artificial medicines, artificial entertainments, artificial goals (money making, possessions) to the point where we have lost deeper parts of our real selves?

8/10 👍

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A Salmon Supper

Being rich in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids (which keep your cholesterol and blood pressure levels down, help eye, brain and nerve function), salmon has quite a few note worthy credentials including:

  • It’s a healthier alternative to red meat
  • Protein rich
  • Salmon is rich in a range of vitamins include in D, E, A and B6, Zinc and iron
  • Protects skin against sun-burn due to anti-inflammatory properties
  • Offers protection against some cancers
  • Helps keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels down
  • Helps prevent heart disease
  • Contributes to good eye health
  • Reduces tendencies for depression
  • Improves the immune system
  • Great for bone health
  • Men who eat healthy diets rich in fish – have been shown to produce stronger sperm

Salmon (like fish in general) is quick and easy to cook

All of this is great news if you can get your hands on ‘Wild Salmon’ as opposed to farmed salmon that has been subject to all sorts of harmful chemicals, genetically modifying conditions and deprived of natural nutrients in their diet. e.g. you get four times the amount of vitamin D in wild salmon compared to farmed (from what I’ve read).

The obvious downside with salmon meat is cost, it’s hardly a thrifty dish now is it!

Nutribullet: What’s all the fuss about?

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I bought my Nutribullet during the time of the mad rush when all the main retailers were sold out, it was a crazy fiasco, but I’m sure that’s all calmed down now.

Like most people, I was drawn in by the strong advertising campaign, promoting a healthier/more nutritious lifestyle.

I have no regrets. It’s a fabulous kitchen gadget and well worth investing in.

 

 

A few selling points for me:

  • It looks nice (stylish/smooth/not bulky and mechanical)
  • It takes up very little space (I leave it on the kitchen counter all the time)
  • It juices, blends and grinds in record time
  • It’s very easy to use
  • It’s very very easy to rinse clean
  • The jugs are dishwasher safe
  • It’s handy when cooking and you want to ‘blast’ something quickly in a small jug (not a big almighty juicer or food processor)
  • It’s great for blending down pulses/beans, with hardly any mess, which I regularly use to thicken sauces

 

 

A few tips:

  1. You don’t need to shake it, just let it do the work.
  2. Remember to turn the power switch off at the mains whilst dis/connecting the jug (there is no on/off switch on the Nutribullet).
  3. Rinse the blade piece “immediately” after easy use , everything rinses straight off.
  4. Remember to add water to your jug before blending into a liquid – otherwise you’ll end up with a thick paste. If you’re blasting to make a drink, add ice cold water or fruit juice.
  5. It’s great for making a soup

 

I’m one of those people who hates to throw the box away, straight away – but it’s been 6 months now so maybe it’s ok to let go!!

Strawberry, banana, pineapple, peach, peach, mango: next time I’ll add pineapple juice instead of water.

 

Conference pear, cucumber, kiwi, spinach, almonds: green fruit and veg seem to work well together, taste-wise.

 

Cashew nuts, banana, almonds, pistachios: this was really nice and creamy.

 

Apple, spinach, kiwi, brocoli