Are Your Food Choices Affecting Your Mood?

Food & Mood

 

Did You Know – Food has a powerful influence over mood, both to your advantage and disadvantage.

 

Your food can assist you to become more happy and healthy, or your food can undermine your health and well-being, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Food used to be something we ate to give strength and vitality to our bodies, to heal us when we were sick and to satisfy an appetite after doing meaningful work. Now food is produced for profit and instead of being eaten when we are physically hungry, food is now consumed to satisfy artificial cravings. We eat, but we are rarely satisfied, only full.

Food changes chemicals in the body and brain, affecting mood and behavior. It is impossible to be contented and emotionally stable while poisoning your body and brain with artificial and adulterated ‘food’. Present day research and experience are proving without a doubt that there is a connection between what we eat and how we think, feel and behave. Improving your physical diet can reduce stress levels, anger and anxiety.

Enjoying a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, eggs, lean meat and oily fish, for instance, is associated with a reduction in mood swings, depression and anxiety. Eating these foods can help maintain a steady blood-sugar level, which also helps to stabilize mood. Your mood also affects the foods you choose.

People in a negative frame of mind are more likely to choose sugary, fatty, processed and salty indulgence or comfort foods, rather than Life Enhancing ones. Sugar leads to fluctuations in blood sugar, which can bring on mood swings and the Sugar Blues. Sugar, though sometimes a short term fix, encourages poor mental and emotional health. Sugar, carbohydrate and processed food consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system and wreaks havoc on your brain, and mood.

A high-quality source of protein – like organic eggs, sardines or a handful of almonds (preferably presoaked to unlock the enzyme inhibitors)– helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.

Brain chemicals (neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine) influence the way we think, feel and behave. They can be affected by what we’ve eaten. We are becoming more and more aware of the Gut/Brain connection and know that eating traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foods are the best route to optimal digestive health.
Bananas contain dopamine, a natural reward chemical that boosts your mood.

Magnesium, found in pumpkin seeds, almonds and leafy greens, is a calming mineral that gets depleted when we’re stressed.

Leafy greens, legumes, nuts and eggs: These types of foods are packed with vitamin B, which helps to create neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which calms and reduces anxiety.

Caffeine, found in tea, coffee, cola drinks and chocolate, is probably the most widely used behaviour-modifying drug in the world. We often choose to drink it if we are feeling tired and irritable, because it can give us a boost and help us to concentrate.

My main philosophy about what to eat and what to avoid is quite simple. If man has created, enhanced or adulterated a food in any way, then I greatly reduce my consumption of these foods or avoid them altogether. The chances are the molecular structure of the original food has changed due to high heat, forced pressure or some other unnatural process or procedure so our bodies no longer recognizes it as food. This is how some food allergies are created. I prefer to eat foods created by nature, as nature intended.

And last but by no means least is Water. Dehydration can contribute to poor concentration, low energy, and poor mood, so try to drink plenty of water every day and stay hydrated.

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Everyday Toxins

Shade-House-sept13There is new information constantly coming to light about everyday things in our lives that are really toxic. Just because there isn’t an immediate, very observable, toxic reaction or death, doesn’t mean that slowly, over time there isn’t a toxic buildup happening. This slow accumulation of toxic residue is far more dangerous, as it quietly creeps up on us, slowly creating a new normal that is shrugged off or misunderstood.

There are three main paths by which a toxin is taken into the body: by swallowing or injecting the toxin, by absorbing through the skin or by inhaling vapours.

Some “normal” toxins in our lives include:

Water

Do we really know what we are drinking, showering or cooking in when we use tap water?

Chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, plastic and pharmaceutical residues – they all end up in our drinking water. Most tap water has been treated with Chlorine, Fluoride and often up to 300 other chemicals, so it’s no surprise that this water can contribute to an assortment of health problems. A cocktail of chemicals is much more toxic than the simple sum of the individual chemicals. And it is the long term, accumulative effect of all we ingest and come into contact with, that becomes so detrimental to health.

Solution: Tank water is a viable alternative or a reverse osmosis water purifier for drinking water.

Mold

Thousands of people each year suffer from mold toxicity, and most of these people don’t even know that they are sick from mold.

Mold exposure is associated with catching more colds, more infections in the lower respiratory system and irritation of skin, eyes, fever and headache. The effects of molds and dampness on the respiratory health of children are comparable to the effect of passive smoking and include other effects such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.

Solution: Good ventilation is the best deterrent and fixing leaks and any damp. A few ways to clean mold are to use vinegar or tea tree oil or clove oil.

Household Cleaners

Detergents – liquid, cake/bar or powder – are mistakenly accepted as safe, but they actually pose risks to our health and that of our environment. Detergents and their components are now found in our waterways, and in most drinking water. Most detergents are produced almost entirely from petrochemicals or coal and contain a high percentage of ingredients which are toxic.

Detergents can cause irritations to the skin, allergies and asthma. Laundry detergent residues in clothes and linen can cause skin irritation such as rashes, itchiness and inflammation.

Dishwashing detergents are particularly deceptive because the user is in close contact with the product and are usually inhaling the chemicals in them from the steam rising from the hot water in the sink. This problem is made worse by the fact that pleasant, “natural” scents are (chemically) added to mask any chemical smells and to give the perception of improved cleaning, and safety.

A study showed workers with 4 to 27 years of exposure to the manufacture of commercial soaps and detergents had a higher than normal rate of laryngeal cancer and lung cancer.

Detergent ingredients can break down under normal usage conditions into, an oestrogen mimic, disrupting our normal reproductive functioning. Although similar to oestrogen in structure, nonylphenol are synthetic compounds and have many unwanted and unpleasant side effects. Prenatal exposure to these endocrine disruptors can interfere with the normal establishment of gender and reproductive factors.
Cleaning our home with chemicals is not as effective as we think. Constant use of antibacterial cleaning products has the same effect as overuse of oral antibiotics. ‘Super Bugs’ are created (resilient bacteria).

For further reading Ref  http://www.novamagazine.com.au/article_archive/2009/2009-04-costofclean.htm

Solution: A natural cleaning kit would consist of vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemon and citric acid, washing soda, and a few essential oils ie eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, lemon.
A clean dry surface will contain minimal bacteria as mold and bacteria flourish in a moist environment so keep all surfaces clean and dry.

Pesticides

Pesticides are sprayed to remove or kill bugs and pests, so it is obvious they are toxic and can have harmful reactions in our bodies, maybe not immediately, but over time. Pesticides can help create: reproductive disruptions, cancer, suppress the immune system, and they are often neuro toxins – which means they are toxic to the nervous system.
In conventional food production systems, not all pesticides remain on a plant’s exterior so washing or peeling fruits and vegetables won’t protect you from systemic pesticides which spread throughout the plant’s tissues. The chemicals then circulate through the plant’s tissues, killing the insects that feed on them. Use of these pesticides on food crops began in 1998.

Solution: The best course of action here is to grow as much as you can of your own food organically, either in the ground or in containers. Other than that, buy organic where ever possible.

Food

We often tend to skip over the lists of ingredients in products we buy, because we don’t have the time or we don’t understand what the words mean anyway. Offending toxic ingredients are either so toxic the amount in the product is under the percentage for having to be added to an ingredient list, or they keep changing and hiding the name of the product in an attempt to stay ahead of our awareness. Often a product sounds healthy, but really isn’t. Just because it says blueberry muffins, doesn’t guarantee it has a blueberry in it; just some laboratory created look alike.

Solution: To know what you are eating and what is in your food, it needs to be home grown or carefully selected, and prepared in the home. This is where food is prepared to nourish and sustain Life, not a corporation’s profit sheet.

Choose to Live as Simply Naturally as you can!

What other Solutions do you use to reduce toxins in your life?

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Baking Soda for Personal Care

IMG_3009Baking Soda is such an amazing and versatile product I think it needs to be on the number one list of ‘must have’ products for everyone!

Along with its many other uses we have been looking at in Baking Soda for a Natural Clean, and in Baking Soda for a Natural Clean 2, Baking Soda is also a healthy and safe substitute for many toxin laden products used in our Personal Care regime. Here are some ways you can use Baking Soda in personal care.

Mouthpieces & Dentures – Soak in a glass of water with 2 teaspoons of Baking Soda added to freshen and neutralize odors. They can also be brushed using Baking Soda.

Antacid – Baking Soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, acid stomach or indigestion. I use ½ to 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda in a glass of water, and repeat if necessary.

Hand Cleaner and Softener – Instead of using harsh soaps, gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on hands using a paste of 3 parts Baking Soda to 1 part water or 3 parts Baking Soda to 1 part of a gentle liquid soap. Rinse when clean.

Bath Soak – Add ½ cup of Baking Soda to the bath water to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration, and soften skin. Epsom salts make a wonderful bath soak too.

Relieve Insect Bites – Make a simple paste of warm water and baking soda and apply as a salve onto affected skin. …the itch will be gone. Or alternatively, shake some dry Baking Soda onto damp skin.

Shampoo – Many people swear by the simplicity of Baking Soda as shampoo that’s finished off with an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.

Keep your Brushes and Combs Clean – Baking soda is great to help naturally remove oils, build up, and residue on your combs and brushes. Simply soak in a solution of water and baking soda (about 1 tsp of baking soda to a cup of water). Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Relieve Diaper Rash – Put two tablespoons of Baking Soda in your baby’s bathwater to help relieve diaper rash.

Pamper your Feet – Soaking your feet in a Baking Soda solution will help soothe and soften tired feet. Mix 3 tablespoons of Baking Soda into a small tub of warm water and soak. This will also deodorize smelly feet, leaving them feeling soft and odor free.

Freshen Breath – Mix 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda in half a glass of water. Swish in your mouth, spit it out, and rinse. This is an easy mouth wash that neutralizes odors rather than just covering them up.

Polish your Teeth – For a sparkling smile, brush teeth with a paste of Baking Soda and water. Or make a great, healthy, alternative to store bought fluoride toothpaste by mixing equal parts of Baking Soda and Coconut Oil, with a few drops of spearmint essential oil added.

Deodorant – Mix equal parts of Baking Soda and either arrowroot or rice flour into a paste. Add some essential oil of your choice, ie lemon or rosemary or ylang-ylang. Or leave as a dry dusting powder for underarms and other sweaty areas.

Relieve Skin Irritation – Add a cup of Baking Soda to bathwater to soften your skin and relieve skin irritations.

Facial Scrub and exfoliant – This is a simple way to gently get rid of dead skin: mix 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part water. Rub gently in a circular motion and then rinse clean.

Silky-Smooth Skin – For fresh, silky-smooth skin, dissolve half a cup Baking Soda in your bathwater. Relax and soak!

Sunburn and Windburn – Dissolve Baking Soda into a tepid bath and soak for a while to relieve the pain of sunburn or windburn.

Detox – Baking Soda is said to absorb radiation and heavy metals, while at the same time alkalizing the body, making it amazing for detoxing.

Do you use Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) for Personal Care?

What other ideas do you have for using Baking Soda?

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Comfrey Infused Oil

Comfrey-OilHerb infused oils are very straight forward and easy to make. The oil you choose to make your infusion in will depend on what you want to do with your infused oil and personal preference. The most commonly used oils are: olive, coconut, sweet almond, avocado, grape seed, sunflower, or a blend of two or more of the oils.  I used a good quality, organic olive oil, mostly due to the stability of the oil and it’s resistance to oxidation and rancidity.

Either fresh or dried herbs can be infused into the oil. Dried herbs can make a very potent medicinal oil, that has the potential to last longer due to the lack of moisture. Fresh herbs can place your oil at greater risk of spoilage due to bacterial/fungal growth from the moisture content of the fresh plant. Some form of preservative may need to be added.

Infusing oils allows the fat soluble components of the plant to be extracted and is more suitable for some herbs than others.

 There are basically two main ways to infuse oils:

1.     Cold infusion – where you put the herb in a clear glass jar and pour the oil in to cover the plant material. Put a lid on and shake the jar, before placing the jar in a warm or sunny spot such as a window sill – sunlight encourages the plant to release it’s goodies into the oil. Leave for 2 – 6 weeks to infuse.

2.     Hot infusion –  which is what I did with my comfrey leaves.

First I went out to the garden and picked a bunch of comfrey leaves off my well-grown plant. I bought them back to the kitchen and sliced them reasonably finely and placed them in a glass bowl. Then I poured in my olive oil.

I put some water to about a third of the way up the saucepan and put it on a low heat on the stove. I  then put the bowl of comfrey and oil in the saucepan. The glass bowl doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan and it acts as a double boiler.

Comfry-emailNote: Keep an eye on the pot and add water if too much evaporates, as you don’t want it to boil dry.

 Due to the bulk of the fresh leaves the oil can’t be seen until after it has been heated, and the leaves condense.

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 After allowing the water in the saucepan to simmer for 2 – 3 hours, I removed the bowl from the heat and allowed it to cool. Then I poured the oil  mixture into a seive lined with two layers of cheese cloth and let it drain.

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 After it had drained I gently squeezed it to get all the oil out and then discarded the herb mix.

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 Now the infused oil is ready to be poured through a funnel into a clean dark glass bottle, sealed and labeled.

For a more potent infused oil, repeat the process once or twice more into the same oil. Also, younger leaves are more potent than the old ones.

“ A standard recipe, calculated by weight is, twice as much fresh herb as dry herb, ie if 100grams of dry herb is asked for then 200grams of fresh herb is the equivalent. 300ml of oil would be used in this example as a standard guideline. “

You can add some essential oils to your infused oil mix, to add to the medicinal qualities, while also adding to the fragrance!

Comfrey-BalmMedicinal herb infused oils can be used as they are, or as a massage oil, or turned into a lotion or liniment. They are also used in the making of salves, balms or creams.

If a culinary herb has been infused, it would now be ready to be used in cooking.

Comfrey Oil or Balm aids in the repairing of damaged tissue, has anti-inflammatory properties, promotes the healing of bruises and sprains and is said to help relieve Psoriasis.

Have you made a Healing Oil, Balm or Cream?  Do you infuse oils for cooking?

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Roads to Travel

roademailA short story:

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be in the situation I am in right now. Not at my age, and with all the ideas and opinions I have about life, and the way to live it. I have mostly been what is known as an independent fringe dweller of society, that is, until the last 5 years. Although no longer considered young, I still had such unique and exciting goals and ideas about what my fulfilling life would look like. Traveling round Australia for one or living in a quaint country cabin I would build myself, where I would live completely independent of our modern way of life, for another. This seemed like a wonderful way to retire to me, when the time came.

My mind wandered back over my life, and silently reminisced about earlier years. I call them past lives because they seem like life times ago now and the memories are getting fainter and sketchier with each passing year. There was the childhood as an unloved abused child that had given me the very useful skill to keep getting on with things no matter what. Then I learnt about not hording in the caravan that was my first home as an adult. I liked the feeling of simplicity, freedom and not being tied down, that came with it, and became a hallmark for my adult life. From there my mind wandered to the years or life time where my husband and I moved from the land to the sea. We built a yacht and spent many years sailing round the south pacific, as was quite popular in the sixties and seventies. . . .

My thoughts continued idly to the Buddhist belief of impermanence, of change being the only constant in Life. Well it certainly had been a constant in my life, I reflected. And I was very happy it had been. There had been many changes and lifetimes, in the unique tapestry that had been my life.

I look around the little room I call home now and feel I should be grateful, but there is always that nagging feeling of . . . what is it . . . a fanciful mind reminiscing about past lifetimes of freedom, excitement and the dignity of independence. There is little excitement or change for me here. One day molds into the next. If I was where I imagined I would be in my life right now, it certainly wouldn’t be the mundane and emotionally challenging existence I am in now.

While some of the other residents seem quite happy and content to be ‘living’ here, I just lay hungering after past independence and the natural delight of living outside our modern way of life.

But there isn’t much I am able to do for myself after the stroke that so unexpectedly disabled my life mid sentence. This is one change I hadn’t considered in the story of my life. I thought I still had plenty of time to realize those remaining unfulfilled dreams. But that is what they will remain now, wonderful, but unfulfilled dreams playing out in my mind.

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