Conscious Life Online Magazine March 2020 ed 65

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Stuck At Home? Try Some Art Therapy

7 Health Benefits of Cannabis Oil

Develop Your Dream Morning Routine

The Secret to a Life Of Radical Longevity

Benefits Of Pulses

7 Minute Home Workout CBD OIL for Cats

CORONAVIRUS FEATURE The Impact, Boosting Immunity, What To Do If You Have a Baby, & More

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Filled with inspiring articles on the Montessori Method, bringing Montessori into the home; conscious parenting, conscious living, wellness, self improvement, fitness &more.

To Subscribe to the Child of the Universe Montessori Mag-nificence Parenting Online Magazine for Free, Click Here Your monthly free digital mag will be emailed to you* *by subscribing, you acknowledge that your email address and name will be added to the publishers of Conscious Life Magazine’s database. The publishers are, Vinloco Media & 2Luni Media. You will only receive your monthly magazine and, from time to time, mails related to Conscious Life Magazine and the Child of The Universe Parenting Magazines. You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in the mailer you receive.

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Monthly Online Free Parenting Magazine filled with inspiring articles on the conscious parenting, conscious living, wellness, self improvement, fitness &more.

To Subscribe to the Child of the Universe Positive Parenting Online Magazine for Free, Click Here Your monthly free digital mag will be emailed to you* *by subscribing, you acknowledge that your email address and name will be added to the publishers of Conscious Life Magazine’s database. The publishers are, Vinloco Media & 2Luni Media. You will only receive your monthly magazine and, from time to time, mails related to Conscious Life Magazine and the Child of The Universe Parenting Magazines. You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in the mailer you receive.

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ABOUT US PUBLISHER 2Luni Media Articles from the late

EDITOR/OWNER Candida “Cj“ Matticks 087 802 6102

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TORSTEN A. LANGE Author, founder & director Reiki Academy London

VERONICA HAUPT Re-code Your Life

WHAT WE ARE ABOUT We believe in the ‘FIRST DO NO HARM’ principle and we select our content and advertisers accordingly. Our focus is on conscious lifestyle. We cover topics around natural health & wellness: body, mind & spirit; conscious living for a cleaner planet, healthy recipes and fitness. TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription to Conscious Life Digital Magazine is free of charge. Simply send an email to with the subject line: Subscribe Conscious Life Mag and we will email your mag to you monthly. ISSUU APP Conscious Life Magazine is published on ISSUU. Please download the ISSUU app via the Android and Apple App Stores. It is free to use. Please follow us on there.

DISCLAIMER The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the editor, advertisers or endorsers. While every effort has been made to ensure that the contents of this publication are both accurate and truthful, the publisher and editor accept no responsibility for inaccurate or misleading information that may be contained herein.


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Develop Your Dream Morning Routine By Tess Patrick Courtesy of

Some morning routines may look like chanting the sacred sound of om or smashing out a 10k run before the sun rises. Others may look like a pot of green tea or an energizing yoga flow by candlelight. Mine looks like dancing around in my bathroom while singing Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing and sipping away at three cups of black coffee. There’s no health-significance to the three cups of coffee, and it’s just as many as my Chemex makes in one go, and I’m someone who needs all the coffee I can get to start my day right. You see, finding your dream morning routine is about finding those things that make your heart sing and setting yourself up for a beautiful day. And if you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that we’re the most prominent advocates for a morning routine to help you thrive. Conscious Life Magazine

1. Get Psyched To Get Out Of Bed I’ve been a list-lover from as long as I can remember, so I always find ways to bring them into my everyday. But this has helped when finding ways to navigate my life. I have a list of things that make me feel good when I’m having a crappy day, and I have a list of groceries I need to grab each week… So when 2020 suddenly appeared, and I realized I needed to get in control of my sleep-ins, I had a huge brainstorm and made a list of things that make me want to jump out of my snuggly sheets in the morning. Some of these included; going to a yoga or pilates class, walking to the beach, getting a coffee, clearing my mind by either meditating or listening to music, getting cleaning done while everyone else was asleep and emptying the pool filter before the Robo-cleaner came on at 7 am, making a big, delicious breakfast and reading a book if I had any spare time before making my way to the office on my bike… They’re not the traditional makings of a morning routine, but that’s what makes it so unique.

2. Make The Most Of The Clock Let me start by saying, I’ve always been a night owl. I work best when everyone else is fast asleep, and when it’s dark out, I can light a candle and start a spring clean at 10 pm. But when you live on a Coastline where the sun rises early, and so does everyone else, you learn to make small changes. I’ve realized in the last two months that the more I fit into my morning, the better I feel about my day, so when that 5 am alarm goes off I’m rolling out of bed with no hesitation. I leave my phone on charge and don’t pick it up until I head out the door. This may not be the case for you, but once you map out what you want to get done before you head out the door each morning, and just how long it’ll take you to tick them all off, you can begin to re-adjust your body clock.

3. Let Your Routine Be Fluid As much as I thrive in routine, I’ll admit I get bored quickly, so I live for shaking it up. On Monday, I’ll go for a beach walk and listen to a podcast, but on Tuesday, I’ll go to a friend’s yoga class at my favorite studio. On Wednesday, I start work early, and on Thursday, I get stuck in around the house before everyone gets on with their days. But I have my non-negotiables each morning. Meditate and move. If it’s an early start, I work in a 10-minute yoga flow, and if I’ve got longer, I’ll get down to the ocean. I always make time to breathe, because that’s important to me.

4. Wake Up & Do It You’re fresh out of excuses, and you know that your day will be exponentially better when you have a beautiful morning. Go to sleep with a plan for the next morning, even if it’s just one thing you’re itching to do before you start your working day. It could be as simple as a glass of lemon water and expressing gratitude. Then wake up and do it. Developing a morning routine can help you feel ground with a purpose for your day so you can take on whatever the day might throw at you, with ease and grace. This is something we dive deep into throughout the TRANSCENDENCE: Live Life Beyond the Ordinary DocuSeries. Available to watch FREE the Worldwide Online Screening from March 16. Save your spot here.

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Full Range

15 Art Therapy Ideas to Banish Anxiety and Channel Your Emotions

By ALETHEIA LUNA Courtesy of

Firstly, let’s get something straight: you don’t have to be an ‘artist’ to benefit from art therapy. Your artistic repertoire could consist of drawing stick figures or ugly blobs that resemble pieces of turd and it wouldn’t make a difference. What matters are the emotional and psychological impacts of what you draw, paint or create!

If you regularly struggle with a lack of focus, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, stress, frustration, depression, anger or any emotions that you have difficulty processing, you absolutely need to consider giving art therapy a serious try. Conscious Life Magazine

Like me, your art therapy practice could be as simple as having a cup full of pencils and a drawing pad next to where you work. Here is what mine looks like:

As you can see, there’s nothing fancy about what I’ve drawn. In fact, from your perspective, this page might look like a bunch of mental vomit that has landed on a perfectly nice piece of paper. In any case, its the benefits that count! And I can tell you that art therapy has had some tremendously positive effects on my ability to focus, process grief, express anger, and relax. In this article, you’ll find a bunch of art therapy activities inspired by Russian art therapist and psychologist Victoria Nazarevich.

What is Art Therapy? Art therapy is the safe, creative, and therapeutic process of expressing your inner thoughts, feelings, memories, and experiences through any form of art. Art therapy usually involves techniques such as drawing, painting, sculpting, collaging, and other types of crafts that help create more inner self-awareness, understanding, and harmony. Those who undergo formal art therapy with trained art therapists are often taught to reflect on their art and examine any emotional or psychological truths that may be inherent in what they create.

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Art Therapy is For Children, Adults, the Elderly – Everyone! No matter who you are, where you come from, how old you are or what you do, you can benefit from art therapy. There’s no doubt about it. So if you’re wondering “umm, is this really for me?” the answer is a resounding YES!

Children, for example, often benefit from art therapy because it helps them to process their emotions and learn the art of self-soothing. Adults benefit from the positive mental health impacts and the elderly benefit from the self-expression and social aspects of doing art therapy with others.

11 Art Therapy Benefits Seeking out an art therapist will help you learn to ‘decode’ the various metaphors, symbols, and non-verbal clues buried in your artwork that reveal hidden wounds, fears, and desires. BUT … not everyone has the means to seek out professional therapy. Thankfully, there are many books out there such as 250 Brief, Creative, and Practical Art Therapy Techniques which can help you become your own amateur art therapist. You can even join free online groups (such as those found on various social media platforms like Facebook) dedicated to art therapy, post your artwork, and receive insight from legitimate art therapists if that appeals to you. Whether done by yourself (or with an art therapist), here are some wonderful benefits you can expect to enjoy: • Improved self-esteem and self-worth • Increased ability to self-soothe • Stress and anxiety relief • Improved emotional intelligence and processing • Increased ability to cope with chronic physical illnesses • Improved mental health • Enhanced problem-solving skills • Ability to face past traumas and emotional triggers • Improved communication skills • Increased focus • Emotional and mental catharsis (healthy outlet of self-expression) And all this simply by putting a pen to paper!

15 Art Therapy Ideas and Activities For Beginners Now, let’s get to the core of this article, shall we? You will find some amazingly simple and effective art therapy ideas and activities in the pages to follow…

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1. Sadness Paint a rainbow:

4. Angry Draw lines:

2. Worried Make origami:

5. Focus Draw grids and a target:

3. Listless Draw landscapes:

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6. Need to make the right choice Draw waves and circles:

9. Nostalgic Draw a maze:

7. Bored Paint with different colors:

10. Difficulty understanding wishes Make a collage:

8. Enraged Tear a piece of paper:

11. Confused Draw a mandala:

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12. Stuck Draw spirals:

15. Need to arrange thoughts Draw cells or squares:

13. Difficulty understanding feelings Draw yourself:

There are so many benefits of art therapy that it’s worth taking the time to dabble and experiment. The point isn’t to create a beautiful piece of art, the point of art therapy is to express your inner feelings, thoughts, and unconscious struggles. I hope these art therapy ideas and activities have inspired you. If you’d like to incorporate artistic self-expression into your inner work practice, see our soulwork coloring book.

14. Desperation Draw roads:

How do you plan to incorporate these art therapy ideas into your life? Please share below along with any other therapeutic activities you already do to banish anxiety and channel your emotions!

Thank you very much to LonerWolf for the use of this article and it’s lovely images. Check out their website for more info about them:

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The Secret to a Life of Radical Longevity By James Colquhoun Courtesy of

What would you say if someone said you could drastically alter your health and healing with your heart? If they told you that in the mountains of China and the monasteries of Tibet, people are routinely living well above 100s? If it was suggested that you could alter the course of your DNA by harmonizing your heart and brain? If someone had tried to tell me this 24 hours ago, my face would have gone blank and I would have thought they were certifiably crazy. Now, I’m not so sure. Last night I watched an episode of Gregg Braden’s Missing Links on Triggering Self-Healing. If you don’t know Gregg he’s an accomplished author, geologist, researcher, and expert in radical longevity, and a commonly featured expert on Gaia, where FMTV now lives. In this episode he builds upon the evidence-based research presented so far in his series, discussing the heartbrain connection to bring about radical longevity.

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We are told that our lifespan, on average, sits between 70-100 years. The Guinness Book of World Records even tells us that we would be hard-pressed to beat 112. But this is the way we have been taught about life; that it is limited and finite. There is a tangible amount that someday, near or far, will all be used up. From the moment we are born, we begin to die. But what if we took what we knew about self-healing and a positive mindset, similar to tactics of manifestation and visualization, and thought of life as a constant state of replenishing and rejuvenating for vitality and productivity? Lost in the science of it all? Don’t worry, I’ll come back to that shortly. Just trust that as a consequence of our thinking, we can begin to heal. Traditional cultures are all about the heart, whereas modern cultures are all about the head. A lack of unity between the two has developed in our Western societies, and because of society’s belief in age as a finite resource, we begin to look older, and we age accordingly. Our skin wrinkles, our eyes sink into the sockets, our bodies give way on us… we become what we think, and longevity in life is limited. When Gregg walked into a monastery in remote Tibet some 15 years ago, he met a woman who neither looked nor acted her age (I question what this phrase even means anymore). The 120-year-old woman lived in a single room, walking to the river every morning, in a healthy, strong, and vital state. Her secret? Living with compassion in her heart. This nun was not alone. A Palestinian woman made international headlines at 120-years-old, attributing her longevity to the love of her family and being needed around the house. I even discovered the fabled story of a Chinese high-altitude herbalist and martial artist, who according to his military records, lived to be 17ft, with 14 wives, 180 children, and 256 years under his belt. For him, longevity was about the heart; keeping a quiet heart. What’s common in these cases is the theme of feeling; love, compassion, a quiet heart… Longevity is attributed to a heart-based experience. So at this point, Gregg Braden didn’t start to sound too crazy… Sure, these lives don’t sound too exciting when we consider the parameters of the modern world - meditating all day, living a humble, slow life. There’s a disengagement of our everyday world, but this comes with an opportunity to harmonize your heart and mind, and heal. So what if we could find a balance between the two? The process begins in the chromosomes, our genetic make-up, and each time the cells divide the respective telomeres break off so we don’t lose our information. Telomeres are best thought of like the plastic bits on the end of a shoelace; protective, but damaged with age. During cell division, we lose the telomeres but not the information of the cell. Telomeres get smaller and smaller each time they divide, meaning there is only a finite amount of time before a cell eventually dies. This is called the Hayflick Limit, and numerous studies have shown this equates to roughly 120 years. The question this poses is how can we increase this or are we bound to a limit? Telomere shortening is increased by stress, where it erodes and impairs the protective layer while we adjust how we interpret and deal with stress. In 2009, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three scientists who discovered the enzyme telomerase. Telomerase is an enzyme that can help increase human longevity; in that, it can heal and repair telomeres on our DNA. But it’s not always engaged, so we have to find ways to harness it; one of these the biochemical reaction of harmonizing the heart-brain.

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Peer-reviewed studies have specifically stated that the rate of telomere shortening increases due to lifestyle factors, such as stress. So through our day-to-day actions, we quite literally choose how long our cells live for. We choose how long we live. We decide our own longevity. The technique of heart-brain harmony, which Gregg dives into in other episodes, serves to redefine stress in the human body. It signals we are in a safe place, where we can direct energy to heal rather than defend. In 30 short minutes, one documentary took everything I knew about aging and turned it on its head. I learned the secret to living a life free from illness and fear of death and replacing it with a life of healing, rejuvenating, and radical longevity. I learned the way to embrace my innate state of being and live a healthy life, for longer. Do you want to learn more from Gregg Braden? Start your 7-day free trial here to dive deeper with FMTV on Gaia.

Image by Noelle Otto - Pixabay

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How A Second Language Can Boost The Brain By Bob Holmes courtesy of

Being bilingual benefits children as they learn to speak — and adults as they age.

Even when you’re fluent in two languages, it can be a challenge to switch back and forth smoothly between them. It’s common to mangle a split verb in Spanish, use the wrong preposition in English, or lose sight of the connection between the beginning and end of a long German sentence. So — does mastering a second language hone our multitasking skills or merely muddle us up? This debate has been pitting linguists and psychologists against one another since the 1920s, when many experts thought that bilingual children were fated to suffer cognitive impairments later in life. But the science has marched on. In the Annual Review of Linguistics, psycholinguist Mark Antoniou of Western Sydney University in Australia outlines how bilingualism — as he defines it, using at least two languages in your daily life — might benefit our brains, especially as we age. He addresses how best to teach languages to children and lays out evidence that

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multiple-language use on a regular basis may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What are the benefits of bilingualism? I’m interested in the interaction between language-learning and cognition — the mental processes of the brain. The cognitive benefits of bilingualism can begin from experiences very early in childhood and can persist throughout life. The first main advantage involves what’s loosely referred to as executive function. This describes skills that allow you to control, direct and manage your attention, as well as your ability to plan. It also helps you ignore irrelevant information and focus on what’s important. Because a bilingual person has mastery of two languages, and the languages are activated automatically and subconsciously, the person is constantly managing the interference of the languages so that she or he doesn’t say the wrong word in the wrong language at the wrong time.

The brain areas responsible for that are also used when you’re trying to complete a task while there are distractions. The task could have nothing to do with language; it could be trying to listen to something in a noisy environment or doing some visual task. The muscle memory developed from using two languages also can apply to different skills.

Where are these benefits expressed in the brain? Executive functions are the most complex brain functions — the most “human” functions that separate us from apes and other animals. They’re often observed in parts of the brain that are the newest, in evolutionary terms: the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for advanced processing; the bilateral supramarginal gyri, which play a role in linking words and meanings; and the anterior cingulate. Studies show that the bilingual experience alters the structure of these areas. First of all, we see increases in gray matter volume. The brain is made up of cells called neurons, which each have a cell body and little branching connections called dendrites. Gray matter refers to how many cell bodies and dendrites there are. Bilingual experience makes gray matter denser, so you have more cells. This is an indication of a healthier brain. Bilingualism also affects white matter, a fatty substance that covers axons, which are the main projections coming out from neurons to connect them to other neurons. White matter allows messages to travel fast and efficiently across networks of nerves and to the brain. Bilingualism promotes the integrity of white matter as you age. It gives you more neurons to play with, and it strengthens or maintains the connections between them so that communication can happen optimally.

Can teaching children two languages delay or confuse their understanding? These myths about bilingualism date back to studies in the US and the UK from the First and Second World Wars. They were seriously flawed studies involving children from war-torn countries: refugees, orphans and, in some cases, even children who were in concentration

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camps. Their schooling had been disrupted for years. They may have suffered traumas, and then they participated in these studies with tests measuring their verbal language abilities. Unsurprisingly, they scored very poorly on these tests. Did the researchers attribute the poor scores to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? They probably didn’t even know what that was. No, instead they attributed it to the children’s bilingualism. It wasn’t until the 1960s, when a really important study was published by Elizabeth Peal and Wallace Lambert at McGill University in Montreal, that views started to shift. Their findings showed that not only do bilingual children not have a cognitive delay or mental retardation but that their bilingualism actually has some cognitive benefits.

In addition to executive function, bilingual individuals and children show advantages in metalinguistic awareness. This is the ability to think about language as abstract units and associations. A good example is the letter H, which is associated with the sound “he” in English, with “n” as in “nickel” in Russian, and with the vowel sound “e” in Greek. There’s nothing special about H that makes it have to have a “he” sound; a bilingual person understands this more readily than a monolingual person does.

What do the skeptics argue? The original findings about bilingual advantages to executive function in the 1960s generated a lot of excitement and media interest. Perhaps the advantages were overstated or misinterpreted. Not every bilingual person is going to have a healthier brain than every monolingual person. We’re talking about general, population-level trends. We see evidence of bilingual advantages in children, but not always. And as we move into young adults, say, in their 20s, it becomes more difficult to detect these advantages. This makes sense in terms of brain maturation: When you’re a child, your brain is still developing, but when you reach young adulthood, your brain is at its peak, so bilingualism doesn’t give you much extra.

Learning languages as a child is different than doing so later in life, right? It depends. For a long time, it was thought that the only way to really learn a language was to do it early. It was thought that after adolescence, you couldn’t learn a language perfectly. You were always going to be accented. But we now know that that’s not true, because there are many people who learn languages as adults, and they learn them very well. So this has led us to reexamine what it is about learning a language during childhood that makes it different from adulthood.

Is your brain more ready and more flexible — what we call more “plastic” — when you’re a child, and then it becomes more rigid and fixed as an adult? Or is it that the conditions of languagelearning are different when you’re a child, in terms of the amount and type of input you receive, how much slack you’re afforded and how much encouragement others give you? An adult who is working two jobs and going to language classes at 7 o’clock at night has a different type of acquisition than a child constantly receiving input from the mother, grandmother, father or other primary caregiver.

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Is your brain more ready and more flexible — what we call more “plastic” — when you’re a child, and then it becomes more rigid and fixed as an adult? Or is it that the conditions of languagelearning are different when you’re a child, in terms of the amount and type of input you receive, how much slack you’re afforded and how much encouragement others give you? An adult who is working two jobs and going to language classes at 7 o’clock at night has a different type of acquisition than a child constantly receiving input from the mother, grandmother, father or other primary caregiver. Ultimately, the difference between language-learning in children and adults is probably some combination of the two: plasticity and conditions. There are also individual differences. If you put different people in the same situation, some people will flourish and others will struggle.

Does a bilingual brain age differently than a monolingual one? We know from studies that starting at the age of about 25, your brain starts to decline, in terms of working memory, efficiency, processing speed, those kinds of things. As you age, these declines become steeper. The argument is that as we get into older age, bilingualism puts the brakes on and makes that decline less steep. Evidence from older adults is the strongest kind supporting a bilingual advantage. (The second strongest comes from children.) When you look at bilingual individuals who have suffered neurodegeneration, their brains look damaged. From their brain scans, you’d think these people should be more forgetful, or that they shouldn’t be coping as well as they are. But that’s not the case. A bilingual brain can compensate for brain deterioration by using alternative brain networks and connections when original pathways have been destroyed. Researchers call this theory “cognitive compensation” and conclude that it occurs because bilingualism promotes the health of both gray and white matter.

Could learning a language later in life keep Alzheimer’s at bay? That is a working hypothesis. We’re doing studies where we teach a foreign language to people aged 65 and up with the goal of promoting healthy brain function, even at such a late point in life. What we’re testing is: Can we help people in old age by using language-learning? Does that give you some benefit in terms of a “use it or lose it” approach to brain health? The initial signs are encouraging. Preliminary data look good. It seems that learning a language in later life results in positive cognitive outcomes. Because language-learning and use is so complex — arguably the most complex behavior we human beings engage in — it involves many levels. You have speech sounds, syllables, words, grammar, sentences, syntax. There’s so much going on; it really is a workout for a wide brain network. And those areas of the brain overlap with the ones in which aging adult brains show decline or neurological pathological disease. As a result, we argue that learning a second language would be an optimal activity to promote healthy aging.

What advice do you have for parents raising bilingual children? My advice would be to be encouraging and patient. Bilingual children have a tougher task than

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those learning only a single language. They’re learning two sets of vocabulary and speech sounds. It can be challenging for those of us living in a country with a dominant language to establish a functional purpose for the second language. A child needs to feel that the language is practical and has a use. Grandparents are great for this, and so is living in a community where there are cultural events or schools where children can be immersed in the second language. Another concern parents bring up is worrying that their child might be mixing the languages. Don’t worry about what we refer to as “code mixing.” It’s a perfectly normal part of bilingual development. They’re not confused. It’s thought to be a sign of bilingual proficiency or competence to mix up the languages.

What other research are you doing in this area? I’m interested in trying to understand why sometimes we see a bilingual effect, and other times we don’t. In one article, I proposed that maybe the language pairing matters. If you speak two distant languages, like Mandarin Chinese and English, would that result in similar types of brain changes as speaking two closely related languages, like German and English? Maybe if the languages are closely related, they’re competing more and you have a harder job of separating them, to avoid using the wrong word at the wrong time. Maybe if they’re more distant, then you can’t rely on prior knowledge from learning the first one to learn the second. In that case, you’re starting from scratch with the second language, and that’s more effortful at the initial learning stages. But once you’ve learned the two languages, perhaps there’s less competition. Ramin Skibba is an astrophysicist turned science writer and freelance journalist, based in San Diego. Reach him at or @raminskibba.

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7 Health Benefits of Cannabis Oil By James Colquhoun Courtesy of

Cannabis Sativa is a natural herb that has its origins in Central Asia. Commonly known as “cannabis” or “marijuana”, it has been used by traditional cultures for many thousands of years to treat health conditions. Cannabis products are derived from the parts of the cannabis sativa plant that contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the cannabinoid most commonly known for its psychoactive properties. For this reason, cannabis products are often shrouded in controversy and heavily regulated in many countries around the world. During recent decades there has been a concerted global push for the legalization of cannabisderived products and their introduction into conventional medical treatment. So what benefits can this ancient herb provide and how might it be used to treat common ailments in the 21st century?

1. Stress & Anxiety In a busy modern society, stress has risen to prominence as one of our most substantial health risks. Our ancestors experienced stress in short bursts, in times of excitement or danger, such as while pursuing prey or running from predators. Conversely, we have imposed upon ourselves an

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almost ever-present form of stress through a combination of many different lifestyle and dietary factors. Conventional prescription medications for chronic stress and anxiety are dangerous, while most natural alternatives are often quite ineffective. Enter, cannabis oil. A study published in 2013 found that treatment with cannabinoids in the wake of some form of traumatic or stressful experience might help to control a subject's emotional responses. Researchers discovered that cannabinoids could be effective in minimizing stress receptors in the hippocampus - the part of the brain responsible for these emotional responses.

A more recent review which was published in 2015 observed that cannabis therapies were also effective in reducing stress and restlessness in military veterans who suffered from PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. These studies provide promising grounds for the use of cannabis oil in treating stress and anxiety.

2. Asthma For thousands of years, cannabis has been used to treat respiratory ailments in traditional Chinese and Indian cultures. Thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic effects - including an ability to dilate the bronchial tubes, allowing a better flow of oxygen cannabis oil might be an effective natural solution for the millions of people worldwide who currently suffer from asthma.

In the 1970s there were several studies carried out which investigated the bronchodilatory impacts of cannabis on people suffering from asthma. Many of the subjects involved showed very positive reactions to the treatment.

3. Heart Health Cannabis oil contains antioxidant properties that could provide beneficial treatment for heartrelated ailments. Animal studies have demonstrated that treatment with cannabis oil may prevent some cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. A 2014 British research team found that the results of these animal studies were also applicable to human heart conditions. They demonstrated that cannabinoids could cause the blood vessels to relax and dilate which allowed for improved circulation and reduced blood pressure.

4. Pain Relief One of the most significant traditional uses of the cannabis plant was to ease pain, allowing a more comfortable state for healing. This application extends back thousands of years; however, there is now new evidence that cannabis products can be effective in alleviating discomfort by hindering neural transmissions in the body’s pain pathways. They also have the potential to ease most forms of inflammation, which is why many cancer patients choose to take them while undergoing chemotherapy.

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A Canadian study which was published in 2010 demonstrated that cannabis could be used to treat those who were suffering from chronic pain. The study involved 23 adult subjects who were experiencing neuropathic pain as a result of surgery or trauma. Over the 2-week duration, subjects were selected at random and treated with cannabis in 4 different levels of potency. The results demonstrated that when taken 3 times each day, cannabis was able to significantly decrease the severity of pain, as well as improve sleeping patterns.

5. Skin Protection Cannabis oil can be applied topically to promote healthy skin appearance. When used in this way, the oil can help stimulate the shedding of older skin cells and encourage the growth of new ones to replace them. It can also assist in the production of lipids, which help to combat chronic skin conditions including acne and psoriasis. Additionally, thanks to its ability to reduce stress, cannabis oil can help prevent some types of skin diseases that break out during times of anxiety such as eczema or rosacea.

6. Seizures There is some evidence beginning to emerge from small-scale studies and anecdotal reports that cannabis oil might be effective in preventing seizures and could potentially become a treatment for epilepsy in the future. Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence at this stage to warrant commercial use for these ailments and reviews of studies published so far have been unable to reach a decisive conclusion.

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7. Cancer Cancer is perhaps the most controversial disease in recorded history, with many alternative practitioners claiming that natural cures already exist. Understandably, there is a substantial amount of excitement surrounding the potential for cannabis oil to be used in cancer treatment. Scientists have discovered that some cannabinoids have a variety of positive effects under laboratory conditions, including: • • • •

Triggering the death of cancer cells through apoptosis Preventing the division of cancer cells Preventing new blood vessels from becoming tumors Reducing the risk of cancer cells spreading through the body and penetrating healthy neighboring tissue.

Although it is not yet commercially recognized as a cure, there is strong evidence to suggest that cannabis products can have very positive effects on the healing process for those suffering from cancer.

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The Workout Drug By Bob Holmes, courtesy of

As researchers learn more about how exercise fights chronic ills like heart disease and diabetes, doctors may soon be able to treat physical activity as the powerful medicine it is.

Exercise is good for you. That’s hardly news: People who exercise tend to have longer, healthier lives. But until recently, researchers have tallied its benefits only in narrow slices: Exercise lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure; it keeps you from getting fat. Now it’s becoming clear that those known slices don’t add up to the full pie. “When people totaled up those effects, they only account for about half the benefit,” says Michael Joyner, an exercise physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “So what’s contributing to the biomedical dark matter?”

To solve that mystery, researchers are now digging deeper into the mechanisms that underlie the benefits of physical activity. They are finding that exercise is both powerful and wide-

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reaching, affecting not just muscles and the cardiovascular system, but almost every part of the body, from the immune system to the brain to the energy systems within individual cells. And as scientists understand more precisely which levers exercise pulls to improve our health, clinicians are on the verge of being able to change their practice. The goal is to think of exercise as a medicine — a therapy that they can prescribe in specific doses for specific needs. “It’s like your own personal regenerative medicine,” says Joyner.

Brain gains Scientists have long known that some of the benefits of exercise are a simple matter of plumbing. Exercise makes blood vessels bigger and keeps them functioning smoothly, which makes them less likely to plug up and cause a heart attack or stroke. There have been hints that this may also mean more blood flow to the brain, which could help prevent cognitive decline. For example, studies have linked exercise to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. Now researchers are making a more explicit connection between exercise and brain health. They are discovering that the full benefit of exercise comes not from mere physical movement but from actual physical fitness, the body’s cardiovascular health. A long-term study of Norwegian military recruits, for example, found that their aerobic fitness at age 18 was highly predictive of their risk of dementia in old age. And Swedish women who were highly fit in middle age had an eight times lower risk of dementia over the next 44 years than women of only moderate fitness, researchers reported in 2018 in Neurology. Another recent study, led by K. Sreekumaran Nair, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, found that after just 12 weeks of a high-intensity exercise regimen, participants’ brains showed increased glucose uptake and higher metabolic activity, particularly in regions that usually show decline in Alzheimer’s disease. High-intensity exercise was found to have a similar effect on the parts of the brain most affected by Parkinson’s disease, in research led by Marcas Bamman, an exercise physiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Benefits of brawn Exercise doesn’t just build bigger blood vessels; it also builds bigger muscles. That benefits health in a number of ways, from minimizing the risk of diabetes to enhancing the body’s immune response to ills such as cancer.

Muscle is the largest consumer of all the glucose that floods into the bloodstream after a meal. More muscle means quicker removal of this glucose surge, says Bamman — and therefore, less exposure to the harm caused by elevated blood sugar, a serious health issue for people prone to diabetes. The muscle-building aspects of exercise also help reverse a key change associated with aging: a decline in the function of mitochondria, our cells’ energy generators. This decline, often seen in sedentary individuals, can leave the mitochondria unable to completely burn the cellular fuel and that can lead cells to generate more oxidants, the oxygen-rich, reactive molecules that damage proteins and DNA.

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Muscles are chock-full of mitochondria and exercise can help avoid this oxidative damage. Nair’s studies show that aerobic exercise, alone or in combination with strength training, improves people’s mitochondrial function, reduces the production of oxidants and forestalls oxidative damage. High-intensity aerobic exercise also encourages mitochondria to produce more of the proteins they use to burn fuel. Muscle has another important role: Its abundant proteins serve as reservoirs of amino acids for the rest of the body. Usually, when other organ systems need amino acids, says Bamman, “those are drawn from muscle.” That’s especially important when someone is sick because the immune system needs lots of amino acids to make antibodies that fight infection. The biggest benefit from building muscle, though, may come from the signaling molecules it pumps into the blood. Bente Klarlund Pedersen, an exercise physiologist at the University of Copenhagen, identified the most-studied of these signaling molecules back in 2000, and later coined a term for them: myokines. Since then, she and other researchers have found hundreds more, many of which are activated by exercise. These molecules, which are released in response to muscular exertion, help regulate muscle growth, nutrient metabolism, inflammation and a host of other processes. “I think for most people it’s difficult to understand why muscle work can influence my liver or be good for my brain or bones,” she says. Myokines serve as the link between muscle activity and these other organs. One of the most important myokines in this crosstalk is interleukin-6. Released in response to muscular exertion, IL-6 has several effects, including suppressing hunger and enhancing the immune system’s response to cancer. Another signaling molecule, cathepsin B, triggers beneficial changes in the brain, including the production of new brain cells. Other signaling molecules can help moderate depression.

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Inflammation extirpation Exercise, of course, also helps keep you thinner — and especially, it forestalls the accumulation of abdominal fat, a particularly harmful sort. One reason abdominal fat is so bad for you is its partnership with inflammation. “If we take out visceral fat and study it in the lab, we see that visceral fat is more inflamed than subcutaneous fat,” says Pedersen. “This inflammation will spill over into the blood, causing chronic systemic inflammation.” Chronic inflammation, Pedersen suggests in the 2019 Annual Review of Physiology, may be the underlying reason why inactivity contributes to so many different diseases. “We know that being physically inactive increases the risk of approximately 35 different diseases or disorders,” she says. “And if you have one of these diseases — let’s say you have type 2 diabetes — you have increased risk of others, like cancer or heart disease. If we tie it all together, one feature of all these diseases is physical inactivity, and the other is chronic inflammation.” About a decade ago, Pedersen conducted an experiment in which she had healthy young men reduce their daily step count from about 10,000 steps per day to just 1,500. Within two weeks, the men showed a 7 percent increase in abdominal fat mass. Along with this change, the men showed hints of reduced insulin sensitivity, a change also seen in type 2 diabetes. Interleukin-6 appears to be at the heart of exercise’s effect on visceral fat and inflammation. In a recent experiment, Pedersen and her colleagues put 27 potbellied volunteers on a 12-week exercise-bike program, while 26 other volunteers remained inactive. Half the participants in each group also received a drug that blocks the action of IL-6. At the end of the 12 weeks, the exercisers had lost abdominal fat, as expected — but only if they had not received the IL-6 blocker. (Oddly, IL-6 is generally thought of as a pro-inflammatory molecule, because it is more abundant in obese people with systemic inflammation. But Pedersen has some evidence that in these people, elevated IL-6 is an effect, not a cause, of the inflammation.)

Rx for movement As researchers tease out more of the details about how physical activity benefits health, the moment is fast approaching when exercise becomes not merely “a good thing to do,” but a medicine in its own right, just like pharmaceutical drugs. Several studies already point in this direction. For example, more than half of 64 adults with type 2 diabetes were able to stop taking medication to lower their blood sugar within a year of beginning a regular exercise program, Pedersen and her team found. And a survey of more than 300 randomized controlled trials found that exercise was just as effective as drugs for people at risk of heart disease and diabetes, and was more effective than drugs for rehab after a stroke.

But if exercise is to truly become a medicine like any other, clinicians will need to learn how much to prescribe to maximize its benefits. “Just saying ‘be physically active’ is like telling people ‘eat better’ — it doesn’t tell us what we should be doing,” says Kirk Erickson, an exercise psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh. But developing more precise dosing recommendations is difficult, because there are so many ways to exercise, which vary in duration, intensity, frequency and kind. (Tailoring to individual disease risks — telling one person to do X because they’re at risk of diabetes, and another person to do Y because of a family history of dementia — is an even more distant goal.)

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Researchers are still working out what matters in this complex arena. Exercises that involve more muscle groups generate more IL-6, so full-body exercises like running have a greater anti-inflammatory effect than exercises that target just a few muscle groups, says Pedersen. And the benefits go away within a couple of days, suggesting that exercising frequently is important. “If it’s been 48 hours since you exercised, it’s time to do it again,” says Jill Barnes, an exercise physiologist at the University of Wisconsin– Madison. A series of upcoming randomized trials may soon bring more certainty to the dosing question. One of the largest, which Bamman is involved with at the University of Alabama, will have nearly 2,000 volunteers undertaking either 12 weeks of endurance exercise, 12 weeks of weight training or no exercise program. Researchers will measure gene activity, molecular signaling and other changes within the body, which could allow them to pin down exactly how these two modes of exercise differ in effect. Because the study is so large, researchers should also be able to explore why some people respond more strongly than others to the same dose of exercise. Another large study that Bamman is participating in, funded by the US Department of Defense, aims to compare genes activated by moderate exercise to those activated by high-intensity exercise in young, healthy volunteers. Erickson is trying to parse the specifics with a study that will assess the effect of exercise volume on brain aging. Researchers will measure inflammation, signaling molecules, body composition and other markers, as well as mental acuity, on more than 600 volunteers ages 65 to 80, both before and after a year of exercise. Some of the volunteers will do 150 minutes per week of

What the experts do If exercise is good medicine, how do researchers in the field dose themselves? Knowable asked the experts about their own exercise regimens. K. Sreekumaran Nair, Mayo Clinic:“For many of my diabetic patients, I recommend three days per week of high-intensity aerobic exercise and two days of weight training, with the other two days to do walking. But myself, I do 5 days of high-intensity interval training. And every day I do one kind of resistance exercise: leg press, chest press … ” Michael Joyner, Mayo Clinic: “Forty-five to 60 minutes every morning. I do alternate days biking with intervals one day and a strength circuit the next day. I ride my bike to work 100 to 150 days per year. We just moved near a small lake and I have been swimming across it and back (about a mile) three to four times per week. That will stop when it gets cold.” Jill Barnes, University of Wisconsin–Madison: “Six days a week, movement in the morning (usually yoga, 10 to 60 minutes). Five days a week, cardio in the evening (cycling, running, paddling, hiking at a moderate pace) 25 to 80 minutes. One to two days a week, strength training in the evening, 10 to 25 minutes.”

Marcas Bamman, University of Alabama, Birmingham: “I exercise five days per week, and sometimes six. I exercise at a pretty high intensity and combine resistance and endurance training.” Kirk Erickson, University of Pittsburgh: “I run regularly, usually four to five times per week, and also do some strength training exercises. I have also played squash for many years.”

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supervised moderate exercise, others will do 225 minutes per week, while a third group will do light stretching instead. Of course, even after the results of these and other forthcoming trials are in, the “right” amount of exercise for a particular person is likely to depend on their individual circumstances. “For someone with diabetes who wants to improve blood-sugar control, even 10 minutes is probably great,” says Barnes. “But for cardiovascular risk or brain health, that may be different.” Bamman agrees. “There’s not a single organ system in the body that isn’t affected by exercise,” he says. “Part of the reason the effect of exercise is so consistent and so robust is that there isn’t a single molecular pathway — it’s going to be a combination of all these things. So at the end of all these trials, we’re going to look back and list off not just one or two mechanisms, but a number of them. It’s going to be a complicated answer in the end.”

10.1146/knowable-121919-1 Bob Holmes is a science writer based in Edmonton, Canada.

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Coronavirus: How Big, How Bad, And What To Look Out For Interview by with Shabir Madhi Professor of Vaccinology and Director of the MRC Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand. DISCLAIMER BY CONSCIOUS LIFE MAGAZINE: This article was published on the 10th of March 2020 on a credible source working with many credible universities. At the time of republishing this article in Conscious Life Magazine, the information shared within is 6 days old. New stats are emerging daily as the virus spreads. The views expressed within are that of the interviewee.


Cases of illness from the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) disease, known as COVID-19, have been confirmed in more than 100 countries. The outbreak was first recorded in China in December last year. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses that can range from a common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The Conversation Africa’s Ina Skosana spoke to Shabir Madhi about the situation. What percentage of people who get the virus are dying from it? Is this high compared with other infectious diseases? There’s no straightforward answer to this question because the epidemic is still at an early stage. It all depends on what the denominator is, which influences the case fatality risk. And we’re still working with unknowns.

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The current estimate is that between 1% and 3% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 die. The problem with this estimate is that the starting point is when individuals have become ill, rather than when they were infected. The actual number of people who are infected might be much higher than the actual number of cases that are presenting for medical care. The implications of this are huge. For example, if the number of people who have been infected but haven’t gone on to develop the disease is high it would mean that the case fatality risk would go down.

The numbers in Iran point to further difficulties with calculating the fatality rate. Initial reports from Iran indicated a case fatality of 10%. This seems very unlikely. This indicates that a large number of cases were going undetected and possibly that mainly very severe cases were being investigated. When investigating very severe cases the case fatality risk is going to be higher. A 1% fatality risk is moderate and is in the ballpark of other viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus associated with hospitalisation in children. It is, however, lower than the case fatality risk was for the coronavirus strains that caused the SARSepidemic in 2002 – which was 10% – and for MERS in 2013, which was about 35%. Nevertheless, based on current knowledge, the case fatality risk for COVID-19 is higher than observed for seasonal influenza virus, which has a fatality risk of about 0.1%. Annually, seasonal influenza virus is estimated to cause up to 290,000 deaths globally. Currently, the global number of deaths due to COVID-19 is approximately 4,100.

Is the reaction overblown? No. It’s warranted. This is because we don’t know how this epidemic is going to pan out. So even if the case fatality risk is very low, if a high percentage of a population becomes infected that low fatality risk could result in a large number of deaths. For example, if an epidemic involves 100 people with a case fatality risk of 10%, 10 people will die. But if an epidemic infects a million people with a case fatality risk of 1%, there will be 10,000 people dying. The case fatality risk needs to be interpreted in the context of the number of individuals who are going to become infected to be able to understand the total impact of the epidemic. And right now we don’t know what percentage of the different populations will become infected. Who is most vulnerable to dying from infection? Current experience – which is largely driven by what has come out of China and more recently from Iran and Italy – is that people over the age of 50 seem to be more susceptible, particularly if they have underlying medical conditions or co-morbid conditions. These include cardiac problems (case fatality risk 10%), diabetes and lung disease (case fatality risk of 7%). People over the age of 70 have a case fatality risk of 14%.

The big unknown for Africa, particularly countries like South Africa, is what the impact will be on populations with a high prevalence of HIV and TB. The epidemic has only broken out in countries with very low HIV prevalence, so we don’t know to what extent individuals living with HIV might have an increased susceptibility to severe

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disease. This is true of TB too. Because TB affects people’s lungs it means that people with the disease have a low tolerance threshold for an additional assault. In the context of HIV, we have shown that even in the era of antiretroviral treatment, individuals with HIV still have a 10-fold greater susceptibility to severe influenza illness than the general population, and a higher case fatality risk. We expect there may be differences in susceptibility and outcomes for COVID-19 cases in settings such as South Africa. What are the symptoms that should get me worried? The symptoms are very non-specific and very similar to other viral infections like the influenza virus. Unfortunately there isn’t a particular trigger that’s different to any of the other viruses. But people can be mindful of a few things. For example, their travel history to a place where the virus is circulating. Or whether the person has come into contact with someone who has visited one of the places where the virus has been shown to be circulating.

Of course this isn’t definitive. The classical signs and symptoms one can look out for include a fever, cough, headache and myalgia (muscle pain). Again these are very non-descript. What treatment is available? Currently there’s no specific antiviral treatment to cure SARS-CoV-2 infection. Besides supportive care, no therapeutic agent has been proven to be effective in treating or improving the outcome of COVID-19 cases. There are clinical trials under way and others are being planned to evaluate different antiviral agents and other possible therapeutic options. The biggest concerns are about a more severe disease, where patients may end up with pulmonary damage which requires supportive care including supplemental oxygen and then might have to be put on to ventilator. Current estimates are that 15% of COVID-19 cases result in severe disease. Most low- to middle-income settings have fragile health care systems that lack resilience against external shocks such as the demands posed by unexpected epidemics. These countries may lack the capacity to scale up curative services over a relatively short period of time. Such a scale-up of curative services was undertaken in Wuhan to complement existing curative services. But a quick-fix solution to address an increase in demand for curative health-care services is unlikely in most African countries should SARS-CoV-2 start circulating widely on the continent. This is a culmination of the systematic lack of investment in health care in most countries. It’s not something that can be rapidly fixed in the middle of a pandemic.

Disclosure statement Shabir Madhi does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Scientists Are Still Searching For The Source Of COVID-19: Why It Matters By Wanda Markotter Professor/Director Centre for Viral Zoonoses/ DST-NRF South African Research Chair, University of Pretoria. Courtesy of

The current COVID-19 outbreak is driven by a novel coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) that is spreading between people. The first human infections were reported at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province in China when a cluster of 41 pneumonia cases was identified. Deeper analysis showed that it was a novel coronavirus. A third – 66% of the cases – had direct exposure to the Huanan Seafood market. Fish, shellfish, wildlife, snakes, birds and several different types of meat and carcasses were sold at this market. The market was closed immediately, and it has not reopened since. Scientists around the world have been working around the clock to identify the pathogen behind the new illness. Information that gave the first clues was released in mid-January 2020 when the full viral genomic sequence of the new coronavirus from a patient sample was published. It showed a

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new coronavirus – SARS-CoV2 – belonging to the same group as the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which caused the 2003 SARS outbreak. But the new virus differed significantly, raising questions about its origin. The strongest speculation has been that the virus is somehow linked to the market given two thirds of the first batch of people infected had had ties with it. But even this hasn’t been proved yet. And subsequent investigations indicate that the first patient – who started experiencing symptoms as early as 1 December 2019 – had no reported link to the market, or the other patients. Several questions remain. Most importantly, there’s no clear data on what the source was. But tracking down the origin of the illness is important because it’s essential to know who or what infected “patient zero”. Understanding the specific circumstances, including human behaviour and activities, that led to this pandemic may provide clues about risk factors for future outbreaks.

Shots in the dark There has been a great deal of speculation about the source of the new coronavirus. Soon after the reports of the first cases being identified a range of theories were floated. These included reports that the virus was leaked from the laboratory at the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control. A number of renowned scientists issued a statement condemning “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin”. Similarly, the theory that the virus originated from snakes was subsequently debunked.

Misinformation like this was fuelled by early reports that suggested a link between the market, animals and the new coronavirus. But this has never been substantiated. Nevertheless, it’s a line of inquiry that scientists continue to pursue. Bats, in particular, have been studied closely because they are considered to be the natural host of coronaviruses. Previous research has shown that most pathogenic human coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, have genetically similar viruses in bats. This diversity creates a pool of viruses that can spill over when and where the opportunity arises, most often into an intermediate animal source and then to humans. For example, bio-surveillance studies focused on finding the reservoir of SARS coronavirus showed that the closest related virus was in horse bats (Rhinolophus spp) in China. Civets were an intermediate host infecting humans. And fresh new data was released recently showing a close relationship – over 96% similarity – between a virus from a horseshoe bat sample collected in Yunnan and SARS CoV-2. A second paper reported similarity – 89% similarity – between SARS CoV-2 and a group of SARSlike coronaviruses previously found in bats in China. But these similarities are still not enough to identify the direct spillover virus causing the current outbreak.

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A key issue is that although the similarities appear high, the mutation rate of coronaviruses is complicated. Added to the complexity of the story is that there’s as a high probability that an intermediate host is part of the equation. This insight comes from the fact that most bat viruses are present in low amounts in bats and need to amplify in a different host before they can spillover into humans. For example, in the 2002/2003 SARS-CoV outbreak civets were identified as the intermediate host. In the most recent outbreak pangolins have been implicated. But there are huge gaps in this theory given that the coronavirus identified in pangolins has only a 90% similarity with the human viruses.

Designing interventions Preventing the spillover of a virus from animals to humans can save billions of dollars and human lives. A pool of diverse viruses will continue to circulate in wildlife. Knowing the diversity, species implicated, and geographical distribution – together with understanding specific human activities that can increase the risk of spillover – is essential to prevent future outbreaks and sustain a healthy global economy. Finding the source of a virus can sometimes lead to very simple interventions. For example, scientists identified the flying fox bat in Bangladesh as the natural host of the Nipah virus which can cause acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. Researchers found that the virus was carried in bat urine. People became infected when they consumed raw date palm sap from palm trees that had bat urine in it. Interventions included education campaigns to discourage the drinking of fresh date palm sap. People were also encouraged to close collection containers to prevent the sap from being contaminated by bat urine. Interventions will differ for every virus and geographical location. But basic virological, epidemiological and anthropological data is desperately needed for known outbreaks and to lessen the burden of future potential outbreaks.

Disclosure statement Wanda Markotter receives funding from the National Research Foundation, South Africa

Partners University of Pretoria provides funding as a partner of The Conversation AFRICA.

The Conversation is funded by the National Research Foundation, eight universities, including the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and the Universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pretoria, and South Africa. It is hosted by the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Western Cape, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the Nigerian Academy of Science. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Strategic Partner. more

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By James Colquhoun Courtesy of

There is a lot of fear, stress, and angst rapidly spreading around the world at present. The World Health Organization (WHO) has just recently declared coronavirus a global pandemic and while adding to media hysteria is the last thing on our agenda, we have been talking with our wider community about ways we can protect ourselves from any virus by doing what our bodies do best; boosting our natural immunity system. What’s really scary about COVID-19 is the unknown, but giving in to fearmongering and panic should be the last thing we’re doing. First of all, let’s talk about Fear & Stress. These emotions, according to Bruce Lipton in Episode 2 of Transcendence, serve to suppress our immunity and also make us less intelligent and easier to control. While we cannot control what is happening externally, preserving your own mental sanity is of critical importance at this time and we have some tips on that below. To help you remain calm during the fear we’re holding a free screening of all 5 episodes of

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Transcendence starting next Monday to help you stay calm, healthy and strong amidst the chaos. While the numbers are fluctuating, scientists, experts, and health officials are saying that if you do happen to contract coronavirus, the chances of it being a fatal case are, according to WHO, currently around 3.4%. However, what needs to be considered when we read these statistics is that it is based on total diagnosed patients to deaths. And it is reasonable to assume that there are many people who have not been formally diagnosed so this would serve to reduce the death rate significantly. This is highlighted in a recent article from The New York Times with a mathematician who studies disease outbreak. What we can’t quite understand is why everyone is bulk-buying toilet paper, to the point of chaos in supermarkets, but not stocking up on Vitamin C. So here are 11 ways to boost your immunity during the coronavirus outbreak.

1. Reduce Stress & Fear Bringing calm to your inner environment in a time of panic and fear is a critical strategy. The easiest way to do this is to regularly practice deep diaphragmatic breathing and extend the exhalation of your breath. According to Dr Libby Weaver from Transcendence, Episode 2 this is a scientifically verified practice that will help calm your nervous system and bring peace and calm to your mind and body.

2. Replenish Your Stores of Vitamin C Let’s start with the basics, when was the last time you had Vitamin C? You might have had an orange for breakfast, or a tablespoon of our favorite Camu Camu powder in your morning smoothie, but when boosting your immunity a little extra never hurts. This essential vitamin is a potent antioxidant that supports epithelial barrier function against harmful pathogens at a cellular level. Impaired immunity and susceptibility to infections is a common symptom of Vitamin deficiency, so whatever you’re protecting your body from this season, it’s wise to up your dosage. There’s plenty of sources for the water-soluble vitamins, so we've broken down a few that we love to absorb.

3. Up Your Zinc Intake Our bodies require minerals, organic materials that cannot be synthesized within our body, for essential functions. Zinc is one of these minerals, important to the body in a wide variety of roles. It is needed to make proteins and DNA, our genetic make-up, but also aids the immune system in fighting off invasive bacteria and viruses. Zinc can come in tablet or supplement form, but there are great sources of the mineral available in our diets, such as sustainably-caught fish and legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans.

4. Dose Up On Immune-Boosting Herbs Instead of panic-buying the country’s supply of protective masks, why not add a few of these tried-and-true herbal remedies to your cabinet. Echinacea, Elderberry, Andrographis, and Astragalus have all been praised for reducing the severity and duration of illness when a disease takes over, however, it is vital to note that no research has currently been conducted in regard to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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5. Serve Nourishing Meals To Make Your Immune System Flourish Hippocrates famously said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” and we don’t disagree. By eating nourishing foods rich in all the essential nutrients for boosting immunity, our bodies can develop the tools they need to ward off sickness. Turmeric-based recipes are great to use for warding off any nasties. We also love this Immunity-Boosting Strawberry Smoothie as a healthy dose of superfoods and tonic herbs for breakfast, or our Immune-Boosting Hearty Root Vegetable Soup for the whole family to enjoy.

6. Revitalize Your Hygiene Habits Did your mother ever drum into you to cough into your elbow rather than your hand? Now’s the time to brush up on that. Make sure you wash your hands, regularly, as disease is often passed on through touch. Do not use a hand-drier, but opt for a paper towel or clean cloth. WHO advises staying at least 3 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth - this is habitual and hard, we know! Australian authorities even recently recommended using your EFTPOS or credit card where possible, rather than manually handling cash. If you are showing signs or symptoms of any fever or illness, it’s best to get checked out by your doctor or local fever clinic.

7. Knock Back A Glass of Fire Cider Jalapeno, horseradish, onion, and apple cider vinegar isn’t my cocktail of choice, but the immune-boosting benefits of this nutrient-packed fire cider are worth drinking. It has broadspectrum antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, praised for centuries for warding off colds and cases of flu. A shot a day keeps the doctor away, so make up a big batch of our recipe to keep in the family fridge.

8. Channel Wim Hof and Embrace Cold Exposure There is no evidence to suggest that cold showers will cure coronavirus, I must stress that this is a preventative measure for general conditions, but channeling your inner Wim Hof can do wonders for your immune system. What may begin as 30 seconds of a cold shower first thing in the morning can build to running Mount Kilimanjaro in nothing but your shorts. The Iceman, as he is otherwise known, has been the subject of many medical trials that show his combination of cold exposure and breathwork influence Autonomic Nervous System activity and innate immune response.

9. Meditate to Avoid Stress and Anxiety Meditation is a wonderful tool for avoiding stress and anxiety, this is becoming common knowledge. What is less known, is that long-term stress and anxiety can have disastrous implications for our immune systems. When we are stressed, our bodies release adrenalin into the bloodstream but lose efficacy to fight off antigens like viral infections. No studies have been conducted to measure if this will have an effect on COVID-19, but the range of benefits coming from meditation makes it a practice worth adopting all the same.

10. Embrace Old Wives Remedies They’re tales passed through time, that you probably picked up from your grandmother, but

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they’re still around today because they actually work. Include a tablespoon of Manuka honey and coconut oil in your daily routine for powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, just as you would drink hot lemon, honey, and ginger drink when you’re feeling under the weather. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water before your meal is good for probiotic gut bacteria, which in turn can aid in immunity. You can even make your own essential oil spritzer with eucalyptus and tea tree or lavender to spray on yourself and your kids in public areas. This natural concoction is strong enough to destroy pathogens and viruses.

11. Avoid Hysteria and Fact-Check Your Sources With the global population swept up in the distress of coronavirus, and many media outlets doing little to help, it pays to avoid the hysteria at any costs. Fact check any information you see online with reliable sources, and if you’re seeking out information make sure you return to these same places. The World Health Organization has up-to-date information, advice on self-isolation and mask-usage, an entire section dedicated to myth-busting, and every other piece of information you may wish to know. If you’re traveling anytime soon, make sure to check out advice and restrictions from your local border authorities.

Take caution, plan carefully, act responsibly, and look after yourself and keep calm! James Colquhoun, filmmaker of Food Matters, Hungry For Change and TRANSCENDENCE - Live Life Beyond The Ordinary and founder of FMTV. Along with Laurentine ten Bosch, James founded Food Matters, giving people the tools (films, books, website, TV) to take charge of their own health. Food Matters is an internationally acclaimed widely popular documentary about the medical and healthcare industries. His latest documentary, Hungry For Change, reveals how the diet and processed food industries are the enemies of permanent weight loss, vibrant health, and natural living. From here, FMTV was born! A place where we can access vital information by watching all of your favorite inspiring documentaries, expert interviews & recipe videos in one place.

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Coronavirus With A Baby: What You Need To Know To Prepare And Respond By Karleen Gribble Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University and Nina Jane ChadPost-doctoral Research Associate, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney. Courtesy of

If you have a baby, you may be worried about them catching the coronavirus, particularly after media reports of an Australian infant diagnosed with it. The good news is, the evidence so far is babies almost never get seriously ill from the coronavirus. And even if infected, they may have no symptoms. However, the coronavirus could affect infants in other ways. For instance, there may be difficulties accessing health care, consumer goods and child care. Thinking about these possibilities now, and preparing for them, can help you manage what may come.

Health care access may be tricky, but there are ways If the coronavirus becomes widespread, the health system will struggle to cope for a while. Up to 20% of people who get COVID-19 need treatment in hospital for up to two weeks or more. Hospitals and general practices may be overwhelmed by others sick with the coronavirus, which may make it difficult to access health care if your baby gets sick for any reason.

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Recognising this, the Australian government recently announced special provisions for parents of newborns to be bulk-billed when consulting a doctor or nurse via phone or videocall rather than in person. There are also things you can do to help keep your baby healthy so they don’t need medical treatment. By protecting them, you also protect the people around them who may be more vulnerable to serious illness from the coronavirus.

Think about hygiene The first thing you can do is to practice good hygiene yourself. This includes frequently washing your hands, avoiding close contact with other people as much as you can, coughing or sneezing into your bent elbow or a tissue, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Because babies put their hands in their mouths no matter what, frequently washing their face and hands and cleaning surfaces and objects they might touch will help protect them from any infection.

How about daycare? It will come as no surprise to most parents that babies who attend daycare are sick more often. That’s because babies and small children have an immature immune system, are in very close contact with one another, and may end up sharing saliva with one another by mouthing and touching one another and the same toys.

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So, if you can, keep your baby away from daycare. However, if you need to use it, when you pick up your baby from daycare, wash their hands and face, change their clothes, then wash your own hands, before scooping them into that big, warm hug.

Make sure vaccinations are up to date Routine vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect babies and children from illness. So, keep your child’s vaccinations up-to-date to minimise the chance they’ll need medical attention while the health system is dealing with the coronavirus.

If you’re breastfeeding Breast milk contains many ingredients to help prevent and fight infection. It is recommended babies be fed only breast milk until they are six months old and continue breastfeeding with other foods into their second year of life. If your baby is under six months and breastfeeding, offering them only breast milk protects them from a range of infections and reduces their need for medical treatment or hospitalisation. If your baby is breastfeeding and using formula, consider replacing formula feeds with breastfeeds. If you have stopped breastfeeding altogether, it is possible to start breastfeeding again if you want to (contact the national Breastfeeding Helpline for assistance). If you have an older baby or toddler who is still breastfeeding, keeping breastfeeding will help protect them from other illnesses until after the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

If you’re using formula It is easy to accidentally introduce germs into bottles while you’re preparing infant formula. So, because medical care may be hard to access, it is worth taking extra care to prevent this.

Be extra careful about preparing bottles. This means always washing your hands thoroughly with soap, washing bottles thoroughly, sterilising them after every use, and making up formula with hot water. Remember to cool down the bottle in the fridge, give it a gentle shake, and check it’s not too hot before giving it to your baby.

Shop for supplies, such as nappies Supply chains may be disrupted if lots of people get ill. And you may not be able to shop if you need to self-isolate at home. It is recommended you have two to three weeks worth of supplies at home to prepare for this possibility. Consider stocking up on nappies for this length of time, or keeping washable (cloth) nappies on hand.

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If you are formula feeding, buy enough infant formula for three weeks but check the expiry dates.

What if mum contracts the coronavirus? Mothers are more at risk of becoming sick from the coronavirus than their babies. And if you’re breastfeeding and you’re infected, it is recommended you continue breastfeeding. That’s because the virus has not been found in breastmilk. Wearing a mask when you are with your baby (including during feeding), washing hands before and after contact with your baby, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and any feeding equipment will help prevent your baby catching the virus from you.

If you are are hospitalised or separated from your baby, you can express breastmilk for them.

Think about keeping grandparents safe If you or your partner get ill, someone else may need to help care for the baby or other children. Babies like to share their saliva with their caregivers and they may be infected with the coronavirus but have no symptoms. So they may easily spread the infection to the people looking after them. Many parents call on grandparents to help with child care. Unfortunately people over 60 are the most likely to get seriously ill or die from the coronavirus. So, if your standby carers are over 60, now is the time to think about making alternate childcare arrangements. Talk with grandparents about how they can reduce their risk of infection if they need to look after the baby.

Disclosure statement Karleen Gribble is a member of the international interagency collaboration the Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies Core Group. She has been involved in the development of international guidance and training on infant feeding in emergencies and and has acted as a consultant to UNICEF, WHO, and Save the Children on this subject. She is also an Australian Breastfeeding Association Community Educator and Counsellor and a member of the Public Health Association of Australia. Nina J Chad worked as Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies Consultant to Save the Children in Myanmar following Cyclone Nargis. She is a qualified breastfeeding counsellor, community educator, and Trainer & Assessor. She volunteers on the National Breastfeeding Helpline. Dr Berry is a member of the Public Health Association of Australia, the World Public Health Nutrition Association, and the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

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Easy Ways To Keep Skin Healthy This Autumn By Down to Earth

A change in season is upon us again. Here in the southern hemisphere, things are cooling down. Some may welcome the cooler days that autumn brings after a hot summer. But with autumn comes dry air. Dry air and low humidity dehydrates the skin and can cause sensitive skin to become irritated. Eczema flareups are more common. People may experience dry and flaky skin, rough and itchy patches and in some cases, red rashes. Autumn is the perfect time to settle into the environmental changes and to prepare yourself for winter.

Skincare tips

Keep hydrated Although you may not be as thirsty as you are in summer, it is important to drink plenty of water in autumn. Bulking up on warmer clothes may cause you to sweat when active and heaters can dry out the air even more, which dries out your skin even more. Feed and hydrate your skin from the inside by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, but most importantly, by drinking water regularly. Avoid skin irritants Woolly clothes can aggravate flaky skin. Perfumes can irritate rashes, causing a burning sensation. Harsh soaps can disrupt the pH balance of the skin, causing the skin to become more dehydrated. Steer clear of known irritants and nurture your skin with soft clothing and gentle,

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natural personal care products. Exfoliate A gentle exfoliator will help with flakiness and will help you avoid irritations. With your smoother skin exposed, moisturising ingredients can properly penetrate your skin and provide better hydration and nutrient replenishment. It is also excellent for circulation, which keeps skin looking radiant. Moisturise This is the quickest way to bring moisture to the skin and relieve symptoms associated with eczema and other skin conditions. By using a rich moisturiser, the skin barrier is protected and water loss through the skin is reduced. Itchiness and irritations are subdued.

The African Potato Cream is perfect for dry skin and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It contains a combination of rich oils and beeswax to moisturise and feed the skin with vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids. The plant actives, which include African potato and aloe vera, contains phytosterols with potent anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and soothe irritations. The Revive Moisturiser is a nourishing face moisturiser that restores dry skin through a combination of shea, avocado coconut and evening primrose oils. It can be used day and night, so for a healthy and radiant complexion, introduce it into your daily routine.

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Looking for Eco-Friendly Wipes? Check out the Cherubs Eco Cotton Range

PRODUCT REVIEW We spoke about the Cherubs Eco Cotton Range last month and why we love it. In a nutshell, it is as gentle to the earth as it is to your skin. Made from 100% pure cotton, the Cherubs Eco Cotton range is soft, absorbent and gentle enough for everyday use. And, it is not tested on animals. If you are looking for awesome, flushable, eco-friendly on the go wipes, try the Cherubs Flushable, Eco-Friendly Wipes available in store in the baby section. Primarily made for toddlers to help with toilet training, we think they also make a great option to carry with you and help keep your hands clean throughout the day.

They are alcohol, chlorine and paraben free, pH balanced, available in fragrance free & lightly fragranced variants. Look for them in store in the baby section.

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Photo by Alina Vilchenko

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What is EFT Tapping & How Can it Help You Heal? By Tess Patrick courtesy of

What if you could free yourself from pain, from stress or anxiety, from cravings or old habits, and potentially even childhood trauma, in a matter of moments? It seems too good to be true, right? But it’s not. I’ve experienced the shift first-hand. By tapping my two fingers on my body and affirming my current state, energy shifts. So too do the limiting beliefs holding me back. This therapy is known as Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT, or Tapping. It’s part of the Fourth Wave of Psychotherapy, and psychologists and practitioners have been using the tapping-like method to free individuals from trauma and PTSD, stress, anxiety, and depression, food cravings, and weight issues, as well as limiting beliefs, helping people reach their full potential. There is a sequence of specific spots to be tapped, and a script to be followed that acknowledges your current state, but as someone begins to tap, they notice their Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) rapidly decreasing. There’s a science to this ‘tapping’. It may sound bizarre, but there are decades of clinical research to show that the statements made and the tapping actions taken have a legitimate effect on our emotional body. You may be familiar with acupuncture or kinesiology, which follow the body’s energy meridians. The fingers we use to tap and the spots we tap on while stating our affirmations are in this direct meridian flow. By tapping, we effectively release stagnant energy.

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But how does one tap? There’s actually a simple recipe you can follow: 1.





Identify the Problem: What is the main feeling, thought, belief, or physical sensation that is causing you discomfort? Maybe it’s physical pain, or anxiety, or even an anchored belief that you’ve become aware of which you wish to move beyond. Rate Your Stress: Using the SUD scale, rate your level of distress from 0-10, 10 being the most distress you would ever feel and 1 being no stress whatsoever (in which you wouldn’t be using this technique!) State Your Problem Out Loud: State the problem out loud with this sentence, also known as a Setup Statement, while tapping two fingers on the side of the hand point. “Even though I have this problem (insert actual words), I completely accept myself.” Tap On The Points: Using two fingers, tap on each of the eight points while saying short reminder phrases of the setup statement. The eight points are the side of the hand, the eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, under the arm, and top of the head. Breath, Re-rate, Repeat: Take a deep breath and re-rate your stresses on the SUD scale. Repeat this process until you are comfortable at a lower rate than when you started (say a 1-4).

If you want to learn more about the science and techniques of EFT Tapping, and tap alongside leading experts, you can find out more during the 2020 Tapping World Summit, running free and online, here.

While there are a few things going on at once, the efficacy of tapping is due to the combination of physical touch and vocal affirmations, which more often than not, are negative. And despite everything we know about manifestation and positive affirmations, this is actually what makes EFT special. The process has been shown to affect the amygdala and hippocampus, which are our

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stress and memory centers of the brain. Stimulation of the acupoints sends a signal to our limbic or emotion system in the body, so specificity and acknowledgment are crucial to success. Whatever your main unwanted feeling is, is the feeling you should tap on.

Tapping has been praised as a somatic intervention, having rapid results, and allowing for enhanced information processing. But does it actually work? In my experience, undeniably. My first groundbreaking experience was in the realm of food cravings. Throughout university, I worked as a waitress in a popular cafe. Our specialties were these deathly oreo milkshakes, and throughout our break, we used to snack on the cookies. When my EFT practitioner pulled out a pack of the cookies, I could smell the sweet vanilla and almost feel the biscuit dissolving in my mouth. Yet after a few rounds of tapping, the smell became more chemical and the texture became gritty, much like sand. When my guide suggested I throw the pack of cookies in the bin, a part of me still froze. So we broke it down further and uncovered some deep family beliefs on food wastage; there are starving kids in Africa, we paid for that so you have to eat it all… I’m sure you will have heard similar sayings at your dinner table. But after two rounds of tapping on this limiting belief, I was able to get up and throw the entire package away - no hesitation and no regret. It’s now been a month, and I haven’t craved a cookie since. When I started to tap on my goals and visions for the year ahead, they seemed out of reach. After years of trying, I had finally begun to warm up to the idea of running a half marathon at the end of May. I had been finding excuse after excuse to put off my training and knew that it would never eventuate, just like the last four years. After tapping on the self-doubt for three rounds, any negative belief I had about the half marathon was gone. I went home and paid my entry fee, and slowly but surely I have gone from running 1.5k to easily running 5k. The motivation is still there and growing.

Tapping is a wonderful practice, because it’s easy, discreet, and you can take home the tools and scripts to do it on your own. You don’t always have to seek out a specialized practitioner, because there are people like EFT pioneer Nick Ortner, who have dedicated their lives to making this tool available for everyone. Our friend Nick is the filmmaker behind The Tapping Solution, writer of multiple best-selling books, and the creator of The Tapping World Summit, which is about to enter the 12th year.

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Being Psychic By Damian Wood

It was a few years ago and I was sitting in the TV room at my mom and dad’s house. All of a sudden my son, who was two years old at that stage, stood up and walked to other side of the TV room and started staring at the ceiling, with a big smile on his face. I asked him what he was smiling at, and all that he said was, “the man”.

Image Courtesy of DarkSouls1 on Pixabay

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of reality you want and you cannot help get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” Albert Einstein

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On another occasion, I took my daughter, who was two years old at the time, to her room to change her nappy. I placed her on top of the compactum. My daughter looked at the curtains and started to giggle. I asked her what she found so amusing. She said: “The Angel”.

I have been consulting as a Psychic Medium for over nine years. It all really started when I was working in a pharmacy and working as a nutrition consultant. I was giving people advice on nutrition programs for whatever problems they had, from arthritis to menopause. But as time went by, I started to feel and see that there were reasons why people were feeling the way they were. I also started to see relatives that were in the spirit world around these people. I must admit, I thought there was a chance that I was losing my mind. I discussed this “problem” that I had with my Dad. My Dad then suggested that I learn Reiki, which is exactly what I did. I then started doing Reiki on my friends and family to get the experience I needed before I went out and did Reiki on the public. The images came through a lot clearer. It was really awesome to combine Reiki with Mediumship. I felt so strongly about the fact that the two go hand in hand.

Messages from the spirit world can be so healing and helpful for so many different reasons. Messages about the past have helped people realise why they may have the issues that they are dealing with in the present. Messages about the present may be able to help put into perspective why people are where they are. The beauty about Reiki, is that it is a tool to help the body restore balance and promote relaxation. The body needs to rest in order to heal. I always start my readings with Reiki. People store their emotions and feelings in the body. Doing Reiki on my clients, enables me to pick up what emotions people are going through and what ailments they may be battling with. I also get information from their spirit guides as to why people are feeling the way they are. The spirit guides are also awesome in sharing general information about a client’s life. Albert Einstein has become a fantastic motivator for me and what I do. I believe, because Albert Einstein says so, that energy cannot be created or destroyed. That everything that you see, smell, touch, taste, hear, is energy. Even your thoughts are energy. In other words, everything is vibrating at a specific frequency. When the soul leaves the body, is it not then vibrating at a specific frequency? Why then, is it not possible to communicate with the spirit world? The soul is still there, it’s just vibrating at a different frequency. Everyone has the ability to communicate with the spirit world, ask Albert Einstein and my kids.

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Benefits Of Pulses: Good For You And The Planet Article by Mary Buhr Dean and Professor, College of Agriculture & Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, courtesy of first published 8 Feb 2019

An illogical revolution has swept the Canadian Prairies and can take over the world. Farmland is now never rested — it is planted and harvested every year — and yet soil health has improved. Food production from this continually cropped land has skyrocketed — and its nutritional value has increased. Today’s production of more, better food from the same amount of healthier land means that tomorrow’s population may not go hungry. But is there logical science behind this illogical revolution? Science, like revolutions, has many complexities, but key to this major change is a trio of farming tactics: planting pulses (beans, lentils and chickpeas, for example), rotating crops and embracing zero-till farming.

In simple gardeners’ terms that means we plant pulses one year, a cereal such as wheat or barley the next year and then an oil seed such as canola in the third year. And we never clean up the mess! After harvesting the grain or seeds, we leave the rest of the plant bits in the field, and we sow the next year’s crop directly into the field in amongst all that leftover plant residue. It doesn’t look tidy, and it takes special equipment — but oh, the benefits!

Why a pulse? Pulses naturally produce their own nitrogen. They take nitrogen from air in soil and get the

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bacteria living in specialized pockets in their roots to “fix,” or trap, the nitrogen so that it stays in the soil in a form that is readily available for plants to use. Since nitrogen is a primary component of fertilizer, pulses basically produce their own fertilizer. Their roots, left in the ground after the crop has been harvested, leave nitrogen behind for the next crop so it doesn’t need as much fertilizer. Over a nine-year test in the prairies, planting a sequence of pulse-pulse-durum wheat every three years yielded 13 per cent more wheat than did planting grain-grain-durum wheat. Planting pulses also reduced the carbon footprint of the durum wheat by 34 percent: the farmers used less fertilizer and less fuel, and saved more carbon.

The pulses are also highly nutritious. They contain vitamins and micronutrients, and are incredibly rich in protein, with two-to-four times the protein content of cereal grains and significantly more iron, folate and zinc, which are crucial for good health and eyesight. A diet of nutrient-dense pulses can benefit young and adolescent girls. Pulses can be especially valuable to children who suffer from stunted growth, are underweight and malnourished because of insufficient amounts of a diet largely based on cereals with limited nutrients.

Canada’s new Food Guide also celebrates the value of pulses, advising people to eat more beans, peas and lentils. The combination of disease-preventing micronutrients and high protein content of pulses, along with their relatively easy, cheap cultivation, truly merit the term “superfood.”

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Working the soil And let’s not forget the benefits of leaving all our plant trash in the field. It makes the soil healthier, more productive and turns it into a better carbon sink. As the plant residue decomposes, it gets incorporated into the soil. All the carbon in the plant material enters the soil and doesn’t contribute to airborne carbon dioxide. Plant residue helps the soil trap water better, and the water moves deeper into the ground so soil moisture increases. Couple that with zero-till, where we do not plough and clear the land but rather punch seeds in with special drills. All that carbon, water and nitrogen stay trapped in the soil and do not enter the atmosphere, and reduce emissions by 25 per cent to 50 per cent. Now add in the benefits of pulses to those of trash and no-till. This triple whammy combination improves every measure of environmental impact tested — from the resources invested to ecosystem health to greenhouse gas emissions — some by as much as 35 per cent. Strikingly, the impact on human health also increases between three per cent to 28 per cent.

This year, the United Nations declared Feb. 10 as the first-ever World Pulses Day. Truly, that is important and worth celebrating. But revolutionary integration of pulses, agroecosystem management — the best combination of crops, animals, fertilizer, pest and water management — the very best land management technologies, and all the other knowledge we have and are learning, THAT is the revolution that will help us feed the world.

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Immunity-Boosting Hearty Root Vegetable Soup Recipe by Stacy Thewis courtesy of FOOD MATTERS Fall to me means vibrant colors, cooler temperatures but heart-warming foods. For me, that’s soup! I declare fall the start of soup season despite the fact that soup is something I love all year round. When you’re eating with the seasons it is important to incorporate a variety of root vegetables into your daily meals. I decided to take it a step further and make a root vegetable soup that would be hearty and in abundance of health benefits that root vegetables offer. Root vegetables are so special because being below ground they absorb nutrients from the soil making them a powerhouse for anti-inflammatory vitamins such as A, B, C, and iron. Plus they are chock full of antioxidants. Being the gut-health guru I am, I have to put in my plug that they nourish our gut with gut-friendly fiber our good bacteria need to survive. Let’s face it, they aren’t the prettiest of vegetables, but they do clean up very well, so get scrubbing and prep for this beautiful, flavorful root vegetable soup that will keep you fuelled and armed for a healthy winter.



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Heat the oil in a large soup kettle over medium heat. Toss in onion and saute until onion is translucent in appearance (approx. 3min.) Then add in the garlic and saute for approx. one minute. Toss in the rest of the root vegetables and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Next add broth, parsley, bay leaves. Simmer for approx 30 min. Toss in spinach and simmer until vegetables are tender (15-30 min.).

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2 tbsp. Olive oil 1⁄2 large celeriac (celery root) peeled and chopped 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped 1 large rutabaga, peeled and chopped 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped 1 clove garlic, peeled and grated 2 cups spinach 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp. Minced fresh parsley 8 cups vegetable broth Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

*Additional notes for adaptatipns to this soup can be seen in the original post. Click Here Conscious Life Magazine

Photo by Yannic Läderach on Unsplash

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Courtesy of

Ready for more energy, less body fat, and greater vitality? Get your blood pumping with this short, energetic, high paced, high-intensity workout.

Work out with Aaron, overlooking the lush, rolling hills and blue skies of Australia. This fun workout will definitely have you geared up and will take you to the next level. Get access to the full series of workouts from Brian Killian in the Fitness For Weight Loss series on FMTV. Start your free 10 day trial here.

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Our Favourite At Home Yoga Flows Courtesy of Ivette Rieksts

Do you flow at home? With increasingly busy life schedules and premium-priced yoga memberships, what better way to continue your practice than at home with guided yoga classes from FMTV! So roll out your yoga mat, find a quiet space and get ready to zen out with the Food Matters team’s carefully curated home yoga flows.

Our Selection Yoga For Digestive Health: Rhythmic, intelligent yoga that offers space and time in our lives so we can digest all aspects of our life with more ease. This fluid and energizing practice heats up the body from the inside out with awareness of the breath, core work, balances, twists and sequences of yoga asanas that help to detoxify and tone our digestive organs. Ends with a rejuvenating savasana.

Greet The Day: This steady, flowing sequence is a modern variation of the classic “Sun Salutes”. Designed to be a stand-alone practice for the busy yogi, this sequence will leave you feeling awake and invigorated. There are options to suit all experience levels, including beginner and prenatal.

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Yoga For Energy: An energizing power flow class that will have you ready to tackle your day in just 30 minutes.In this 30 minute flow, Lauren Vercoe will guide you through a series of standing postures, shoulder and core strengthening exercises, energizing backbends, detoxifying twists, and cooling seated postures. A peaceful meditation to complete the practice leaves you feeling calm and invigorated. Morning Sadhana: This comprehensive set is quite literally food for the Soul, leaving you feeling deeply nourished by life force energy. It's the ultimate go-to set if you're looking for a full-body stretch to awaken the creative force within, bringing you into a euphoric, elevated sense of overall well-being. It's a "feel-good" set, from which you somehow always miraculously walk away richer, happier and more at peace.

Yoga For Stress Reduction: This class can help everyone, from those with normal, everyday stress to those grappling with more extreme anxiety or times of being overwhelmed. Hala Kouri guides you through this workout with her perspective as a psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people deal with stress. The practices are geared toward teaching you how to shift from a fight-or-flight response into a relaxation response. You will also learn how to release stressful energy from your body and handle life’s stressors with grace and ease. Join FMTV For A Flow Here!

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We’re Coming Up With A New Set Of Targets To Protect The Natural World. Here’s How… By David Obura Adjunct Fellow, The University of Queensland, courtesy of

Science and scientists are converging around the knowledge that our planet, with us in the driver’s seat, is moving into the Anthropocene. This is a new geological epoch in which humanity’s actions are changing the face of the earth and how planetary systems – such as global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles – work. Key to mitigating our influence on the natural planet are goals and targets. The Sustainable Development Goals are overarching global societal goals established by the United Nations. They knit together other conventions, including those designed to protect biological diversity and mitigate climate change. This year, the Convention on Biological Diversity is set to identify a new “Global Biodiversity Framework” of targets for the coming decade to 2030. These targets will replace the Aichi targets set for 2011-2020, and will also lead towards the longer 2050 goal: living in harmony with nature.

The Convention on Biological Diversity, established by the UN at the Rio Conference of 1992, is among the key institutions established to protect species, ecosystems, their sustainable use and equitable sharing of their benefits. Of 198 countries on the planet, 196 are parties to the convention. They enforce its goals and targets through national legislation. A key factor for success will be how well the new global goals and targets will address the real threats to nature and their drivers.

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A second key factor is how well the goals and targets can be down-scaled to individual actions. Science-based targets help to translate global goals into actionable targets. Their purpose is to provide the link between high level goals and the targets that individual actors – cities, companies and even families – can adopt to do their part.

Science-based targets I am involved in this process by providing my expertise on coral reefs in east Africa and globally. Coral reefs are highly vulnerable to the changes foreseen in the Anthropocene. When developing these global targets, it’s imperative that the science is correct. It must link people’s actions to an environmental outcome. The science must also be understandable and communicable in a language that everyone can understand, and framed in socially relevant processes.

For example on climate change, we now have a global goal, under the Paris Agreement, of keeping warming to 2°C, preferably 1.5°C. As simple as this sounds, it is based on over 30 years of scientific discussion, and is an understandable expression of a more scientific target – which would be 370 parts per million carbon dioxide concentration as the limit for a safe climate. People understand the temperature goal much better. A politician can state it in a rally or you can talk about it with your child or grandparent. But to stimulate action, the relevant sciencebased targets are expressed in reduced carbon dioxide emissions, derived so each entity (such as a company) does its part to contribute to the global goal.

Developing biodiversity goals The Aichi targets varied greatly in specificity and nature. Many only touched on whether legislation or plans had been developed. For instance Target 17 called on countries to develop biodiversity strategies and start to implement them, but without measurement of their implementation.

The new framework is being established through an open consultative process which started in August 2019, and holding its second workshop this week in Rome. It’s due to deliver its output before the next Conference of Parties of the Convention in October 2020. Any stakeholder is invited to make contributions to the process, bringing together a diverse array of country representatives, organisations and practitioners focused on both nature conservation and social issues. The first draft of the new framework was released in early January, setting out five global goals, which cover the three main components of biological diversity – ecosystems, species and genes – and use of biodiversity. The draft goals focus on:

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Assuring no net loss by 2030 in the area and integrity of ecosystems Reducing the percentage of species threatened with extinction and increasing the abundance of species

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Enhancing, or maintaining, genetic diversity Securing and expanding the benefits nature provides to people Increasing the benefits that are shared equitably from the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge

‘No net loss’ The “No net loss” ecosystem goal illustrates some of the challenges in creating these global goals. The core of “no net loss” is a sense that the planetary system cannot afford to lose more natural functions. Already major elements of humans’ interaction with nature may be pushed to a limit. For instance, already 95% of mammalian and 70% of avian biomass is food for a single species – us.

We have also totally transformed 20% of the earth’s surface into farms and cities and another 55% is considered significantly altered. No net loss requires that any further losses are counterbalanced by equal gains elsewhere. Key to this, and to developing the goal as a whole, are the basics of knowing: • • • •

How area is measured, as well as quality and function in an ecosystem. For instance, natural and plantation forests don’t have equivalent functions and services, so restoring these is as important as forest area. Who decides what is lost, how much, and where complementary gains should be made. Baselines: when should the reference date be? At the beginning of the decade in 2020, or at the end in 2030? Are losses until 2030 acceptable? Is no net loss with respect to 2020 in any way possible? What about losses before 2020? Shifting goalposts: in the Anthropocene, planetary systems are changing, so setting a static target relative to 2020 or 2030 may be meaningless and counterproductive. We will need to predict and track a moving target – for example, an acceptable coral reef state given climate change in 2030 and a different level given climate change in 2050.

In a nutshell, the communication value of “no net loss” –- just three words – is immense, and for this it has great potential. But the devil is in the details, and a key question will be whether all parties and stakeholders involved can rally around such a global goal. If so, we can lay out and agree on these details in a way that science-based targets can be specified that deliver effective, accountable and equitable action by all concerned.

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Smart Water Heating Could Help In South Africa’s Energy Crisis By MJ (Thinus) Booysen Associate Professor at the Electrical & Electronic Engineering Department, Stellenbosch University, courtesy of

South Africa’s energy crisis has many dimensions, from political and economic to technical and environmental. Recently, the country’s power utility, Eskom, has been generating only about 60% of its capacity and has had to restrict usage to prevent a regional blackout. Eskom’s new chief executive officer has affirmed the importance of demand management to handle the crisis. But his approach of merely “subsidising energy-efficient lightbulbs” won’t cut it. The country needs drastic interventions – and the elements of the fourth industrial revolution are available to make this possible. These are: wireless connectivity, the internet of things, big data analysis, machine learning, artificial intelligence and intelligent centralised control. One of the biggest consumers of energy in South Africa is the electric water heater, or “geyser”. The estimated 5.4 million electric water heaters in South African homes and public buildings use around 40 GWh of energy per day, draining more than 4 GW, 12% of operational capacity from the electricity grid at peak times. What tends to be overlooked is that these water heaters are perfect for storing thermal energy. They absorb electrical energy when heating water, and discharge thermal energy later when the hot water is used, with little loss in between. This makes them well suited for flattening the grid’s morning and evening demand peaks. Centrally switching them on during off-peak times would distribute demand for electricity more evenly through the day. The benefits of scheduling heaters don’t stop there though. Our research has shown that the energy they guzzle, and the resulting emissions, can be significantly reduced too by applying optimal scheduling – also see our helpful online calculator.

Two thorny issues compete with demand and energy management in water heating. One is customer satisfaction. The most energy-efficient and demand-optimal water heater is one that is

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never turned on, but who wants a cold shower?

The other is customer safety. A water heater running at a low temperature can promote the growth of harmful bacteria. We have detected potentially lethal Legionella bacteria in water heaters and downstream pipes, and even in heaters that are set to high temperatures.

What needs to be done The bulk switching off of water heaters, called “ripple control”, has been used to do demand management for decades. But this unidirectional approach is not enough to ensure energy savings, and could lead to unhappy users.

The problem can be overcome using the tools of the fourth industrial revolution. They can reduce the amount of energy that customers use to heat water, and thus the aggregate load on the grid, without sacrificing user satisfaction or encouraging disease. We have demonstrated this in our recently published paper on comfort, peak load and energy. A network of smart water heaters is required to realise the full benefits of scheduling water heaters. These measure and report water and energy usage, remotely control the heating schedule and temperature of each water heater and can learn the user’s behavioural patterns. Individual water heaters could be switched on and off centrally at times that would distribute demand for electricity more evenly through the day while ensuring optimal energy savings for all. We developed and used such a network in our research and demonstrated the efficacy of such a solution. By introducing individualised optimal temperature-schedule control, we showed that energy savings ranging from 8% to 18% are realistic. This is without taking into account the additional savings that’ll result because unintentional hot water use will be at lower temperatures. It also excludes the savings achieved through high-resolution smart-meter information leading to behavioural change. Taking these extras into account we observed energy savings of 29%, albeit in a small sample.

The ripple effect This technology has the potential to curb South Africa’s costly diesel habit, reduce the country’s CO₂ footprint and reduce the triggering threshold for rolling blackouts by at least 2 GW. Also, with the increased introduction of and dependence on unpredictable solar and wind power, a network of delay-tolerant smart water heaters could help stabilise the grid. Insurers are likely to play intermediaries between the user and the utility, since smart water heaters limit damage that results from mechanical failures. With thousands of heaters under their control, they could then sell large-scale demand management as a service to the struggling utility, while providing a value-add service to customers. What’s more, retrofitting existing water heaters will create jobs for installers and stimulate local manufacturing. Given the multidimensional impact of blackouts, all new water heaters should be smart from the outset. MJ (Thinus) Booysen owns shares in and is the founding director of a university spinout called Bridgiot, which manufactures smart devices, similar to those described in this article. He receives research funding from MTN South Africa, Eskom, the Water Research Commission, and the University of Stellenbosch Division for Social Impact.

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Photo by Ramiz Dedaković on Unsplash

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CBD Oil for Cats By Paul Jacobson of Vondis

Cat pet owners feel very left out when we only consider the needs of dogs and not their beloved furry friends. After our last article, CBD oils for dogs, many have asked if the same applies to cats. Well cats struggle with the same ailments as do dogs. What is very prolific in cats is the way that they struggle with renal issues and bladder disorders, both inflammatory conditions.

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One of the amazing properties about CBD is its anti-inflammatory benefits. So, CBD would be extremely useful in the treatment of these ailments. Cats are considered as small beings, just as are puppies or small breed dogs. Therefore, cats require a smaller dose. Remember, that quality CBD from legitimate firms contain no THC and therefore pose no danger at all as it contains no hallucinogenic. Cannadidiol (CBD) is a substance that is found in a cannabis or hemp plant. Unlike THC that creates a ‘buzz’, CBD is not psycoactive stimulus, but rather provides your dog with a calming feeling and pain-relieving sensation without harming them with potential intoxicating effects.

CBD acts by targeting the receptors located in the brain, organs, central nervous system, and immune cells that stimulate relaxing effects.

Vondi’s & CBD Vondis Holistic Pet is proud to introduce into the South African market a high quality, affordable CBD oil both in a biscuit form and bottled oil. Vondis CBD oils are extracted using strict GMP standards and are ethically produced. Only practitioner grade MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) / coconut carrier oils are used. Therefore, whether it is maintaining general health for your cats and dogs or treating an ailment like arthritis, renal issues, itchy skin, calming or epilepsy, CBD is a fantastic remedy.

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Welcome To The Angel Connection School of Africa The Angel Connection School of Africa, established as a non-profit organisation, for the highest good of all, will incorporate all forms of Spirituality continuing with the basic teachings of Angels, Ascension, Atlantis etc. which we all know to be Universal. The teachings of various modalities will however, be enhanced by adding the specific requirements of our culture and ethnicity, whilst retaining flexibility.

The mission statement of the school is:“To Light up Africa so that Africa can Light up the World”

A Letter From The School Principal – Margi McAlpine

Angel Connection Day


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The Antbear Drakensberg Lodge is a thatched, whitewashed lodge built high on a natural platform overlooking the Bushman's River and Giants Castle. Antbear Drakensberg Lodge offers various Drakensberg accommodation options in en suite double rooms, luxury suites, family units and also boasts a luxury cave too. Antbear Drakensberg Lodge is one of those smaller intimate kind places which has been lovingly put together. The natural setting of the accommodation is stunning and we have managed to encase all this beauty with an atmosphere of comfort and ease. The cottages are smartly appointed and individually designed and the fact that we are a small place makes for an intimate and personal accommodation experience. Each of the accommodation units are different and are decorated with uniquely eccentric and artistic wooden furniture. It is a bit off the beaten track and is more of an insider tip than just another bed and breakfast. We cater for small intimate groups and never have more than 45 guests at a time. It's a laid back, lovingly cared for kind of place where you feel a sense of happiness and peace. Honeymoon stays turn into anniversary commemorations just as guests become friends. Even foreign tourists return for a second and third taste.

Attractions Drakensburg Hiking Trails Bushman Rock Art Giant’s Castle Kamberg Weenen Game Reserve Royal Natal National Park Drakensburg Boys Choir

Horse Trails Injasuti Nature Reserve Monks Cowl Natal Midlands Tugela Falls Sani Pass Fly Fishing

Retreats The Antbear Drakensberg Lodge is the ideal retreat venue where we can provide all the services and accommodation for your retreat. Situated 4 hours from Johannesburg and 2 hours from Durban with easy access from the N3 Antbear Lodge is easy to get to but has the feeling of being far from the madding crowd. This wonderful place for group retreats offers spectacular views, vast spaces, wild winds, rain, sunshine, clouds and rainbows and in all of this – silence and peace. Retreat groups can book the whole lodge for their exclusive use. The Lodge can accommodate 44 persons in 15 separate accommodation units Antbear Drakensberg Lodge has a spacious dining room with a wood-burning fireplace, a comfortable lounge with a fireplace and spectacular views, a breakaway meeting room, a large veranda and a large meeting room for retreat, team building or training activities. We provide excellent meals and will fit our menu to your expectations.

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Because food is an important part of your stay Meals are part of the real surprises that the Antbear Lodge has to offer where home grown cooking is part of the deal. We like to use our own home grown organic vegetables and if we haven’t got, then we lean heavily on those local providers with similar attitudes to our own. Conny and Andrew both like cooking and are up to changing just about anything to suit tastes or philosophies. Our cooking experience is in part a journal, a record of events and memories expressed in recipes. In the course of our travels we have filed away many recipes and with them images of people and places and their lives. How food tastes has much to do with the associations we make and if you would like to hear the tales of our meals we would love to tell them.

Sustainable & responsible tourism is our social responsibility and what we do to give something back to our community and environment We believe in sustainable tourism and social responsibility. We live is a spectacularly beautiful place called the Drakensberg and our standard of living here is exceptional. But around us lie contrasts of poverty and lack of development. If we are to keep our way of life then it surely follows that we must do everything in our power to contribute to the upliftment and prosperity of this rural area. We believe that the future of South Africa is linked to the prosperity of the people, and that upliftment is linked to education. And as such we have chosen to support our local primary school called Vulakani Primary School.

Pet friendly accommodation Drakensberg One of the few pet-friendly places in the Drakensberg. Beautiful, vast views of the Drakensberg with plenty of ground for my dogs to roam. Walk for hours. Your dogs will be happy with lots of dams to swim in and horses to discover. One of the accommodation units at Antbear Lodge is fenced in so its really easy to leave your dog behind if you would like to explore some of the sights where pets are not that welcome. If country life is for you and you would love to take your pet with you then Antbear Lodge is a great accommodation choice. Your hosts will advise you on all the activities available. Antbear Lodge prides itself on being both family-friendly and petfriendly.

CONTACT Mobile 076 441 2362 Email: Web:

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The Buddhist Retreat Centre, where people of all religions, and none, come to experience peace and tranquility. How to Retreat The Buddhist Retreat Centre offers various types of retreats, ranging from those investigating Buddhist thought and philosophy, through to practice retreats where the emphasis is on meditation; as well as retreats featuring bird watching, cookery, drumming, pottery and photography. At first glance the latter might appear to be unrelated to Buddhism but even these retreats will contain some element of meditation, of mindful awareness, refracting the chosen subject matter through a Buddhist lens. People from all walks of life come to these retreats with a variety of motivations and expectations. Perhaps they want to deepen their meditation practice, to take some time out from a hectic working life; to reflect on a tense domestic situation; to consider the trajectory of their lives; to make a decision about a way forward. Maybe they just want to learn how to take a good photograph. Each person will have a different reason for going on a retreat. Different paths will have led them to this place.

We all need to make an appointment with ourselves from time to time. To re-connect with who we are; to maintain balance; to recharge exhausted batteries. To make time to go on a retreat is a necessary and healthy step for anyone.

General Information The Centre has been established on an exquisite 125-hectare country estate near the village of Ixopo, KwaZuluNatal 90 kilometers south of Pietermaritzburg, one and a half hours’ drive from Durban.

Set in hilly grasslands amongst dams, indigenous bush and forests, it overlooks one of the great valleys in the Umkomaas river system. CNN featured the BRC as one of the ten finest retreat centres in the world. It was awarded Natural Heritage status by President Nelson Mandela in recognition of its success in establishing indigenous vegetation on the property and providing habitats for wildlife to return, including the endangered Blue Swallow. It is a birder’s paradise with more 160 species recorded. Walks lead to many interesting sites and viewpoints on the property, including evidence that Bushman lived there and Voortrekkers and Settlers passed through. In 2000, the BRC facilitated the founding of Woza Moya, the community-based NGO, located in Ufafa valley. It continues to support the organisation in a variety of ways.

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Accommodation Fifty retreatants can be accommodated in single and twin-bedded rooms, en-suite cottages and thatched chalets overlooking the secluded valleys on the property – a short distance away from the dining room, office, library, studio and meditation hall.

The Centre is justly famous for its fine lacto-ovo vegetarian cuisine which is featured in its own bestselling recipe books, Quiet Food, The Cake the Buddha Ate and Plentiful: The Big Book Of Buddha Food. The BRC menu includes organically grown vegetables and farm-baked bread.

Observances The Retreat Centre offers a tranquil environment for the study and practice of philosophy, psychology, meditation and the arts associated with Buddhist culture. The Centre therefore encourages adherence to traditional Buddhist moral principles during retreats, such as respect for all forms of life and abstinence from alcoholic drinks and hallucinogenic drugs. Noble Silence is maintained from the last meditation at night until the first session after breakfast in the morning. During some retreats, Noble Silence is maintained throughout. Pets are not allowed at the Centre. Only some retreats are suitable for children: please check with the Administrator.

Forthcoming Retreats: For full details of each retreat please go to the website page:

Email: Tel: +27(0)39 834 1863 or 0878091687 Mobile: 082 579 3037

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The Beautiful Hopi Indian Labyrinth at Thirsty Falls Guest Farm

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Help us bring hope to girls without and choices to those with none. Founded in 2000 by Khanyisile Motsa, and run under her diligent care ever, Home of Hope for Girls is an autonomous, self-started initiative to provide real care for exploited, trafficked and abused children in the city of Johannesburg. It is more than just a residential shelter; it is a loving home where dignity is restored, the past is healed and the girls are given the tools to take control of their futures. Home of Hope also reaches out to the community offering the most vulnerable members support, practical help and a lifeline.

The Background to Home of Hope An estimated 10,000 children are prostitutes in Johannesburg and this figure is increasing. When Khanyisile Motsa relocated to Hillbrow she was shocked to observe girls as young as nine working as prostitutes and selling drugs on the streets at night. The truth about these forgotten children is: • •

• • •

Child Prostitute. Photo by Tseliso Monaheng

Criminals pay agents to recruit children They usually target often orphans or/and those from very disadvantaged rural communities Victims are trafficked or seduced to leave with lies about a life in the city Their IDs are frequently taken from them to make escape and identification difficult Their IDs are often sold on the black market ‘Owned’ by their exploiters they are prostituted, abused, made to sell drugs

Email: Mam Khanyi: 073 250 2086 Telephone: 011 614 0861 Conscious Life Magazine

Call 012 430 7775 Lines open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we work every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. When crisis strikes, and children are most vulnerable, we are always among the first to respond and the last to leave. We ensure children’s unique needs are met and their voices are heard. We deliver lasting results for millions of children, including those hardest to reach. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.

We need your help to ensure that no child is left behind. In a tough funding environment, we have ensured we have multiple avenues of funding and are proud to have 11,000 generous individual donors contributing monthly. We will continue to be innovative in securing funding to enable us to reach more children and will work on increasing unrestricted and consistent funding streams. You can help us make a difference. Even just by becoming aware of our work by reading our annual report. To download and read the full annual report, click here.

Help us do whatever it takes to save the children.

Thank You Gugulethu Ndebele CEO Conscious Life Magazine

Hotel Hope Ministries is a fully registered South African non-profit organisation established with aim of ensuring that each and every child is brought up in a safe, happy and healthy home so that they can grow up and develop into responsible and positive adults. Although children are our main focus, we have a holistic approach to the problem of orphaned and abandoned children. We realise that we need to focus on the cause of the problem too and not only the symptoms. So we have projects to focus on assisting Mothers and Fathers, so that they can look after themselves and their children. We group our projects under three focus areas: BABIES IN NEED Creating and supporting several small family style foster homes for orphaned and abandoned babies.

MOTHERS IN CRISIS Providing young mothers facing unplanned pregnancies with counselling, guidance and practical support. SOCIAL ENTERPRISE Helping Mothers and Fathers to help themselves by providing jobs and skill development opportunities through our fundraising and trading projects.

As a fully registered South African charity we are registered with the following authorities: · Section 21 company without share capital - 2010/006792/08 · Non-Profit Organization (NPO) number – 084 289 · Public Benefit Organization (PBO) number – 930 034 387 Mission statement: To engage the local Church Worldwide to embrace its God given responsibility of taking care of destitute mothers and orphaned and abandoned children.

Vision statement: To see a full service (either ourselves or in partner with others) covering: •Children’s homes •Adoption advocacy •Mothers in crisis •Counselling centres •Training Academy •Charity shops / trading Conscious Life Magazine

Our fundraising model: We have a unique funding model in place where we are able to generate funds to cover 100% of our administrative costs through our Charity Shop(s) as well as the output of our carpentry workshop and sewing workshop. We are extremely committed to Social enterprise as it creates employment in South Africa, funds for the Charity, volunteering opportunities as well as a lowpriced outlet for customers from low-income groups. Furthermore we can assure donors that 100% of their support will directly benefit the children in our care as well as mothers in crisispregnancy situations. Thank you to our donors and corporate sponsors: As an organisation we are incredibly blessed to have many active supporters, individuals and corporates, who make it possible for us to do what we do and to make a difference. People often comment that it must be difficult to work in our environment hearing sad stories all the time, and it is sometimes hard, but it is also so rewarding to see those stories turning into stories of hope and it is so inspiring and such a privilege to witness people, like our supporters, coming forward to help and to give so generously. There are amazing people out there in the world, click here to see who some of them are and how they have made a difference‌ Click here Our Sponsors:

DONATE FINANCIALLY Deposit or Electronic transfer directly into our account First National Bank Account name: Hotel Hope Account number: 62194003382 Branch: Melville, Johannesburg Branch code (sort code): 256505 Account type: Cheque account SWIFT code: FIRNZAJJ (For international deposits) Reference: Donation (your name) OTHER WAYS TO DONATE/HELP US Conscious Life Magazine

Dear Reader, Because of animal lovers like you, Humane Society International is working around the clock to fight the gruesome dog meat industry – to end it for good.

We’ve slammed the doors permanently on nine dog meat farms in South Korea and rescued more than 900 dogs. Not only that, but we’re lobbying hard for better laws throughout Asia to fight the cruelty, transition farmers out of the business of cruelty, and so much more. Here is one transformation that we can't stop smiling about. Sophie was rescued just this year from a horrible life on a dog meat farm. Now, she is running free and playing in the grass, surrounded by the love of her forever family:

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This kind of ending never gets old, but so many other dogs still need you.

You can make a difference for dogs caught up in this brutal industry: Sign the dog meat pledge today.

With you by our side, we're committed to this huge fight against the dog meat trade. We’re closing farms and rescuing the animals; we’re raising public and political awareness of the cruelty involved; and we’re growing substantial support for a phase out and ban of South Korea’s dog meat farms. Become a part of the global campaign to end the dog meat trade—sign your name right now. Thank you, for protecting animals from cruelty all across the globe. Sincerely, Kitty Block President Humane Society International

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Who we are: The Monkey Helpline, started in 1995, is a volunteer group, based in Westville near Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, but operating throughout the province and also anywhere else in South Africa and abroad where our assistance and advice are requested. Our team of dedicated rescuers and rescue assistants, veterinarians, educators, monitors, fund-raisers, administrative assistants and supporters is what makes this project the success that it is today. Monkey Helpline is a registered NPO. 130-166 NPO

What we do: As a team we devote our time to educating people about the reasons why the monkeys are here, why monkeys behave the way they do, the things people should do or not do when monkeys are around, and how to humanely keep monkeys away from those places where they are not welcome. Just knowing that monkeys will NOT attack and bite people, and that they DON’T carry rabies, is usually enough to change antagonism and fear into tolerance, and frequently into appreciation. We also run a rescue operation and a “high care” unit. We rescue an average of three monkeys every two days, and their injuries range from wounds sustained during fights with other monkeys, dog bites, being run over by motor vehicles, electrocuted, snared, trapped or poisoned, shot with airguns (pellet/BB guns), catapults, paintball guns and firearms, as well as being caught or injured on razor-wire. Many are babies who are orphaned or injured when mother monkeys are attacked by dogs or other monkeys, or are severely injured or killed in human-related incidents. Over eighty percent of the monkeys we rescue, irrespective of the reason why, have got air-gun pellets lodged in their bodies. Lead pellets cause terrible pain, suffering and a lingering death and no person, adult or child, should ever shoot monkeys, or any other animals, with an air-gun. As the only dedicated monkey rescue project in KwaZulu-Natal, the Monkey Helpline is available to do rescues 24 hours a day, every day! On any given day we are treating ten or more monkeys in our home-based high care unit – frequently in excess of twenty monkeys! Once they have recovered from their injuries these monkeys are released back into their home territory, transferred to a rehabilitation facility or placed in a sanctuary. Education is a vital tool in our hands and we distribute thousands of information leaflets, and visit many schools (at least two schools per week) to do educational talks about the monkeys. During 2009 we spoke to over 40 000 school learners and their teachers. We also do talks to many other interest groups such as police cadets, garden clubs, public service groups, conservation bodies, body corporates, etc. In addition, we advise farmers, businesses, hotels and casinos, housing and golfing estates, botanical gardens etc on the best ways to manage human/monkey “conflict”.

Monkey Helpline networks with a number of other Vervet-related individuals, groups, and general primate- and animal-care NGO’s. NB. There is no charge for the services we offer, but donations towards the cost of running the project are welcome. Without your support we would not be able to change attitudes and legislation in favour of the monkeys nor would we be able to rescue the hundreds that we do every year and alleviate their suffering.

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With much appreciation to our advertisers, contributors, endorsers and of course, our readers Namaste

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