What value do you put on your health?

If you had to assign a monetary figure, what value would you put on your health? If you look at your weekly budget how much do you invest in your health and wellness? Most weekly budgets will include the mortgage, car loan, food, petrol, utilities, perhaps a gym membership (which I hope is used!), perhaps you get your hair and nails done once in a while. When you actually look at what you spend a very small proportion of your weekly income will be spent on keeping you healthy. Isn’t that interesting? What makes us put ourselves last in the queue?

the key to wellness

Think about the gadgets you own, smart phones, laptops, tablets, toys, clothes, tv subscriptions, what about the holidays you enjoy? We surround ourselves with items that we ‘have to have’ and we justify the cost, no matter what the price because we assign a value to that item. When items we treasure begin to age and breakdown, no problem we replace or ‘upgrade’, we tend to see things as replaceable. But what is the one thing that we can’t replace? Yes, you guessed it, it’s ourselves! A well-known saying is “look after your body, it’s the only place you have to live”. We’re do your health priorities lie?

Ask yourself these questions:

Fitness:

  • “Do you work out regularly?”
  • “Are you 100% satisfied with your level of fitness?”

Energy:

  • “Do you get tired in the afternoon or evenings?”
  • “What do you typically do when you need an energy boost?”
  • “Do you experience getting tired before you get your ‘to do list’ done?”
  • “Do you have consistent energy throughout the day?”

Sleep

  • “Do you get 7-8 hours of complete rest every night?”
  • “Would you consider yourself slightly sleep deprived?”

Salt/Sugar cravings:

  • “Would you say you have a sweet tooth?”
  • “Do you eat any processed foods like chips, crackers, candy daily?” “How about soda pop?”
  • “How much impact do you think processed foods have on your health?”
  • “Do you wish you could magically give up your favorite junk food/drink?”
  •  “How different would your life be if you had sustainable energy throughout the day and well into the evening?”

Are you 100% happy with your answers or do the questions highlight areas of your health that might need improving? What is it going to take to make you prioritize your health? Unfortunately most people wait until a major health scare before seriously considering how their lifestyle choices are literally knocking years of their life. Our current state of health is a summary of all that we have done in the past. For our bodies to heal it takes time, just as it takes time for our bodies to get unwell.  Make your health a priority from now on, don’t take your health for granted!

If you need advice and guidance on how to life a healthy life message me on Facebook and I will be happy to help. Tell me the value you place on your health in the comments below!

The power of meditation

We all know that relaxation is good for us but do you take the time in your busy schedule to relax everyday? A scientific study by Harvard university has proven that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level.

Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practised no form of relaxation.

‘The relaxation effect’ could be just as powerful as any medical drug without any of the side effects! The study has proven that genes can be switched on and off according to triggers such as behaviour, mood and environment.

After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on……More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice: the more people practised relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure. Benson believes the research is pivotal because it shows how a person’s state of mind affects the body on a physical and genetic level. 

Benefits of deep relaxation

1. INCREASED IMMUNITY

2. EMOTIONAL BALANCE

3. INCREASED FERTILITY

4. RELIEVES IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

5. LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE

6. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

7. CALMNESS

 

How to switch off stress

How can you use relaxation healing powers? Harvard researchers found that yoga, meditation and even repetitive prayer and mantras all induced the relaxation effect. ”The more regularly these techniques are practised, the more deeply rooted the benefits will be,” Jake Toby says. Try one or more of these techniques for 15 minutes once or twice a day.

Body Scan: Starting with your head and working down to your arms and feet, notice how you feel in your body. Taking in your head and neck, simply notice if you feel tense, relaxed, calm or anxious. See how much you can spread any sensations of softness and relaxation to areas of your body that feel tense. Once your reach your feet, work back up your body.

Breath Focus: Sit comfortably. Tune into your breath, follow the sensation of inhaling from your nose to abdomen and out again. Let tension go with each exhalation. When you notice your mind wandering, return to your breath.

Mantra Repetition: The relaxation response can be evoked by sitting quietly with eyes closed for 15 minutes twice a day, and mentally repeating a simple word or sound such as ”Om”.

Guided Imagery: Imagine a wonderfully relaxing light or a soothing waterfall washing away tension from your body and mind. Make your image vivid, imagining texture, colour and any fragrance as the image washes over you.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/relax–its-good-for-you-20090819-eqlo.html#ixzz1kQtHr9Pm

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Detection and Prevention

Breast Cancer awareness month is an effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education on symptoms and treatment.  I am sure we have all been touched by breast cancer in some form, in fact breast cancer has increased in the last 40 years by 80%. There are around 55,000 new cases diagnosed and 12,000 women die of the disease each year. These are worrying stats but is there anything we can do to reduce our risk?

What steps can we take to reduce our risk of breast cancer?

In Juice Plus we are very fortunate to work with Dr Nyjon Eccles BSc MBBS MRCP PhD. (Anti-Ageing Expert, Hormone and Breast Health Specialist.) Dr Eccles has spent many years studying and researching natural and non-invasive natural ways to improve cellular health. He runs the Chiron Clinic which is a centre of excellence for breast thermal imaging and integrated cancer support. I was very fortunate to listen to a webinar by Dr Eccles discussing breast cancer early detection, treatment and perhaps more importantly prevention!

Breast Cancer Detection

The standard screening process for breast cancer is a Mammogram:

A mammogram creates an image of the breast by passing X-rays through the breast tissue at a very low dose. The different ways in which X-rays pass through different types of tissue allows radiologists to see if there is any abnormal tissue in the breast, which could indicate the presence of cancer or non-cancerous changes in the breast such as a benign cyst. – See more

There are a number of problems with mammography in breast cancer detection:

  • Mammography cannot distinguish between progressive and non-progressive cancer
  • Mammography is only offered to women over 50 due to the density of breast tissue in younger women. Breast cancer is the most common form of malignant tumor in women aged 15 to 39 and accounts for nearly 14% of all cancer cases in men and women in that age group. We are missing screening opportunities for this age group.
  • Mammography is tied to over diagnosis, which is when breast tumours are detected by a mammogram that might not have caused any harm to women over their lifetime.
  • Exposure to small amounts of radiation during screening and there are published concerns of the effects of compressing the breast during screening.
  • Breast cancers can develop as early as 8 years before they can be detected by mammography

Dr Eccles believes in Breast Thermal Imaging which involves no radiation and is non-evasive, importantly it can be offered to all women from 20 years onwards. He believes we should have a yearly screening programme for women. The technology was approved in 1982 but it still isn’t widely available. Thermal imaging is 100% safe and risk free, watch this short video of Dr Eccles explaining the technology on ITV’s This Morning.

 

How can you empower yourself to prevent breast cancer?

97% of monies raised for breast cancer research is to find a cure for breast cancer, what about preventing the disease in the first place?

Risk factors includes:

  • Genetic Risk
  • Environmental Risk
  • Lifestyle
  • Overweight
  • Trauma
  • Radiation
  • Smoking
  • Animal Fat intake

We actually have a lot of control in influencing our health and we can reduce our risk factors by improving our lifestyles, which is an empowering message! Even if you have a family history of breast cancer we can influence how our genes are expressed through the environment we expose them to.

It’s not surprising to me that the women with the lowest breast cancer rates in the world can be found in Chinese rural women; diets are mainly plant-based. International studies since the late 90’s demonstrate a variety of food based phytochemicals (found in fruits, vegetables, berries and nuts) reduce breast cancer risk. Fruits and vegetables are protective against cancer:

  • It is likely that in concert many phytochemicals act to protect cellular health
  • Antioxidants, regulate genes, improve cell communication and cell growth, cell detox, anti-inflammatory.
  • They are potent modulators, regulators and controllers of cell growth.

Increasing your intake of plant-based foods,reducing your intake of animal based products and increasing your activity levels will help to reduce your risks to breast cancer. Improving your health is in your control and I hope that is the message you can take away!

Further reading:

http://www.chironclinic.com/ – Dr Eccles clinic

http://thenaturaldoctor.org/ – “We offer a consultancy service from an anti ageing expert and hormone specialist, who will be able to underline hormone imbalances in the body and look to restore health and prevent illnesses. ”

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted

http://www.breastcancercampaign.org/

Find the path to healthier eating!

The ratio of foods which supply our daily needs should reflect the groups in the food pyramid. A balanced diet will include the six daily servings of complex carbohydrates; five servings of fruits and vegetables; two servings of milk or yogurt (including calcium soya milk); two servings of protein; and 15-25 g of fats and oils.

fruit

Carbohydrates –

In Britain a large portion of our diet is made up from bread, cereals and potatoes, they are a source of complex carbohydrates (starch), fibre, calcium and iron, and the B vitamins.

Try To:

Chose only whole grain breads and cereals (stay away from the white varieties!), these are high in fibre, nothing beats fibre in digestive health, fiber helps to fight cancer, keep you regular and helps you feel fuller between meals.  Try and eat your potatoes with the skin on and sweet potatoes pack more of a nutritional punch than white potatoes.

Fruit –

This can include fresh, frozen and canned fruit, fruit juice and dried fruit, and provides vitamin C, cartones, folates and fibre as some simple carbohydrates.

Try To:

Select a wide variety of fruits, eating more by having fruit for dessert, as a snack, or even accompanied with meat or cheese, as part of a sandwich. Add fruits and veggies to your family’s favorite foods. Add strawberries in cereal, blueberries in yogurt, sliced pears in a grilled cheese sandwich etc.

Vegetables – 

These should be the backbone of most diets – whether vegetarian or not. They are vital in providing not only vitamins and minerals, but fibre and carbohydrates.

Try To:

Use tomatoes and other vegetables, try to make a third of your plate filled with vegetables. The best way to cook vegetables is to steam, this preserves the most nutrients. Never microwave it destroys all the goodness. Never deep fry vegetables they soak up to much fat.

Milk and Dairy Products –

The main nutrients obtained from this group are calcium, magnesium, protein, riboflavin and vitamins B12 and A.

Try To:

Eat moderate amounts of these dairy products, choosing reduced fats versions. Skimmed milk is a good a source of calcium as whole milk. Try and swap cows milk for other varieties such as almond milk and soy.

Meat, Poultry, Fish and alternatives such as dried beans, eggs and nuts –

These foods are important sources of the minerals iron and zinc, of protein, and of the B vitamins, especially vitamin B12.

Try To:

Eat moderate amounts of these foods, choosing lean meat and trimming visible fat from it, choose organic where possible. Eat fish at least twice a week, include a portion of oily fish such as mackerel or salmon. Grilling, poaching, steaming, stir-fry are all healthier options.

Fatty and sugary foods –

Margarine, butter, other spreading fats, cooking oils, cream, chocolate, crisps, biscuits, pastries, cakes, ice cream, sweets and sugar are part of this group.

Try To:

Try to restrict your intake from this group, eating only small amounts and using spreads and oils sparingly. Never be tempted to fill yourself up between meals with snacks from this group!

 

Simple changes can make a big difference to your health!

 

Good carbs/bad carbs – Do you know your Carbohydrates?

I’m sure you have heard of good and bad carbs, low carb diets, complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates but do you really understand the difference and how your body uses carbohydrates? There is a lot of confusing information out there so this blog post is an attempt to set the carbohydrates debate straight!!

Carbohydrates good or bad?

The reputation of carbohydrates has been up and down over the last few years, the confusion comes in because carbohydrates can be both good and bad for you! We need good carbs in our diets, they are the main source of energy for the body. Your body can use carbohydrates right away or convert them into a storage form called glycogen. Excess carbohydrates can also be converted to fat.

All carbohydrates are made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, they can be simple sugars or complex carbohydrates. Types of simple sugars are Glucose, Fructose (found in fruits and vegetables), Galactose which is found in milk and Ribose which is found in the cells of the body.

Simple sugars are water-soluble and easy for your body to digest into the individual glucose and fructose molecules, they are  quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Complex carbohydrates are long chains of simple sugars, these are ‘good carbs’ founds in plant foods that deliver fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals along with grams of carbohydrate, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. Complex carbohydrates are an important source of dietary fiber, we can’t digest fiber in the body but it does a number of things for us. Studies show an increased risk for heart disease with low-fiber diets. There is also some evidence to suggest that fiber in the diet may also help to prevent colon cancer and promote weight control. Fiber slows down the absorption of other nutrients which helps to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels, can lower blood cholesterol levels and fiber can help us feel fuller for longer.

How we digest and store carbohydrates.

We begin breaking down carbohydrates in the mouth into simple sugars. Saliva in the mouth contains small amounts of the enzyme amylase, which is an enzyme that starts to break starch down into glucose while you are chewing. This process continues in the small intestine and the sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, the sugars are either used for energy, stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, or if there is more energy available than you can use, they are converted and stored as fat.

Bad Carbs or processed/ refined Carbohydrates

Processed carbohydrates have been ‘refined’, the bran, the fiber, and most of the vitamins and minerals have been stripped away, leaving a bland, white, longer-lasting and shelf-stable product. Unfortunately the western diet includes too much processed food, cakes, pies, white bread, white rolls, white rice etc. These foods have very little nutritional content, the body stores the excess sugars from these carbs as fat, contributing  to our obesity crisis.

Now you know your carbs follow these tips to improve your health:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Just eating five servings a day of fruits and vegetables will get you to about 10 or more grams of fiber, depending on your choices.
  • Include some beans and bean products in your diet.
  • Switch to whole grains every single possible way (buns, rolls, bread, tortillas, pasta, crackers, etc).

Do you know about Enzymes?

We all heard of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients  but do you know about Enzymes? Only recently has science started to understand how they all work together but perhaps the unsung hero’s of the bunch are Enzymes.

Where there is life – There are Enzymes!

You are alive because of enzymes make it possible. Enzymes are the foundation of energy and the life force in all living things. Enzymes are responsible for building, detoxifying and healing your body. They are the force that allow your body to digest and absorb food. Enzymes also regulate tens of thousands of other biochemical functions that take place every day in your body. These functions include breathing, growing, smelling, tasting, stimulating nerves, defending your body against disease, regulating hormones, and building organs, glands, and tissues. Even thinking involves enzymes! 

Your immunity, vitality, and longevity depend on keeping your body’s enzymes at optimum levels. Enzyme shortages are commonly seen in patients suffering from chronic illnesses such as certain types of cancer, allergies, aging, skin disorders, obesity and heart disease.

Where do we get our enzymes?

We are born with some energy enzyme potential, the faster we use up this potential the shorter our lives will be. In order for us to enjoy a long and healthy life we must avoid enzyme depletion by consuming ‘live’ enzyme rich foods. Enzymes can only be found in organic living matter, the problem we encounter today is our diets are full of cooked and processed food, these foods have their enzyme potential destroyed. This destruction of the enzymes in food causes or makes worse, virtually every digestive disorder there is. Gas, indigestion, acid reflux, you name it. It is an underlying cause of many different types of health problems throughout your body.

if you think back to early human life we were designed to eat raw food, in fact the human digestive system is only designed to break down half of the food we eat, we need to be assisted by the enzymes we consume in food. When your food is poorly digested, you absorb nutrients that aren’t fully broken down or usable. 

Raw foods are enzymatically alive which means these foods have active enzymes within them to help digest 40 to 60% of that particular food. Since cooking destroys enzymes, cooked and processed foods are enzymatically dead which means there are no live enzymes within that food to help with digestion.

So we are asking our body to breakdown 100% of the foods we eat which puts huge stress on the digestive system, the pancreas, the immune system, the whole body.

apple fruit logo

What do you have to do?

Consume as many high quality raw or freshly juiced fruits and vegetables as possible because they will directly enhance enzyme activity in the body. Try and include superfoods in your diet such as soybeans, blue-green algae, green barley and spirulina. You are likely to need to supplement your diet with whole food nutrition such as Juice Plus, which provides the essentials nutrients from 26 fruit, vegetables and berries. 

 

Sources:

http://www.gethealthyagain.com/enzymes.html

Are you confused by good and bad fats?

For years we have been under the impression that ‘fat’ is bad for our health, giving rise to ‘low fat foods’ often produced with chemical sweeteners and substitutes which have now been proved to be even worse for our health! Are you confused by what’s good and bad? It’s the types of fat you eat that really matter. Bad fats increase cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases, while good fats protect your heart and support overall health. In fact, good fats—such as omega-3 fats—are essential to physical and emotional health.

Good Fats:

Unsaturated fats are divided into monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, and both types are thought to have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.

Sources of monounsaturated fats:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter

Sources of polyunsaturated fats:

  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

Bad Fats: 

Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease.

Sources of saturated fats:

  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard

Sources of trans fats:

  • Commercially baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars

 

Trans fats – The worst kind of fat! Also known as hydrogenated fats

A trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has been twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers—and very bad for you. No amount of Trans fat is good for you! The main source of trans fats is in processed and fast foods, people are also unaware that cookies, cakes, crisps etc contain them. In fact a survey by the NPD Group, a market research firm, found that 94 percent of us are aware of trans fats!

 

Forget about ‘low-fat diets’ and concentrate on eating a balanced diet, primarily  plant-based! Cut out sugary, processed foods and increase your intake of essential Omega-3 fatty acids (the body can’t produce these so we have to get omega-3’s from our food!). Getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help you battle fatigue, sharpen your memory, and balance your mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines, or high-quality cold-water fish oil supplements.