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CHOLESTEROL: Making informed decisions
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Inside this issue...May/June 2011
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AYURVEDIC APPROACH Childhood imbalances.........................
THE HEALING TOUCH Reiki...............................................
LOCAL NEWS News from your area ...
RETREATS REVIEWED Retreats to inspire............................
INSPIRED ENTREPRENEUR Afraid of losing your job?................
THRIVING Not Surviving..................................
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BE HERE NOW Making each moment count............
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GET FIT IN BODY & MIND Mind Body Spirit Festival.....................
10 Regulars 35 Therapy Rooms GARDENING 39 What’s On Grow your own Basil...........................12
Associate Travel Editors Frances Barnes & Nick Hordern
Kate Arnold Pat Crawford Dr Lev G Fedyniak Wendy Rosenfeldt Charlotte Watt l
BABY-LED WEANING The natural approach..........................
FRANCE - THE NEXT COUNTY On the trail of William the Conqueror.
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Welcome TO WELLBEING MAGAZINE!
CHOLESTEROL Words Kate Arnold
he subject of cholesterol has been one of the most controversial health issues in the last twenty years. There are over seven million people in England taking statins and this number is expected to rise steeply. If you are concerned about your cholesterol or going on statins I hope the below helps. As an advocate of freedom of choice in all things, I would suggest arming yourself with as much information as you can and then making informed decisions that are right for you.
Some jaw dropping statistics There is widespread concern about the over prescription of certain drugs. We have seen this particularly with antibiotics in the last 30 years and now the numbers on statins are set to increase even further as the Government’s new health checks for the over-40s take effect. Analysis by the NHS Information Centre, which collects data on all drugs dispensed in England, reveals there were 48.5m prescriptions dispensed for statins in 2008, up from just 7m a decade ago. The cost to the NHS was £238m in 1999 and increased steadily to a peak of £738m in 2004 before dropping again as many big-name brands came off patent. In 2008 the NHS spent £450.5m on statins. Officials at the Department of Health said statins save around 10,000 lives a year. Statins, which can cost as little as 85p for a month’s supply, are
prescribed to people who have had a heart attack, in order to reduce the risk of suffering a second, and to those who are calculated to be at more than a one in five risk of suffering their first heart attack in the next 10 years.
What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is an essential part of every cell structure and is needed for proper brain and nerve function. It is also the basis for the manufacture of sex hormones. Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and transported through the blood stream to the sites where it is needed. It is a fatty substance and because blood is mainly water it has to latch on to molecules called lipoproteins to travel around successfully. LDL’s are the major transporters of cholesterol in the bloodstream and because LDL’s seem to encourage the deposit of cholesterol in the arteries it is known as bad cholesterol. High density lipoproteins (HDL’s) on the other hand are considered to be good cholesterol because they carry the unneeded cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver where it is broken down for removal from the body. If everything is functioning as it should this system remains in balance. However if there is too much cholesterol for the HDLs to pick promptly or if there are not enough hdls to do the
job, cholesterol can form plaque that sticks to artery walls and may eventually cause heart disease.
What is the difference between serum and dietary cholesterol? It is important to distinguish between serum cholesterol and dietary cholesterol. Serum is the cholesterol in the bloodstream, whilst dietary cholesterol is in food. While eating foods high in dietary cholesterol can raise serum cholesterol it is not the only source of serum cholesterol, because the body produces its own cholesterol. Cholesterol levels are greatly influenced by diet but they are also affected by your genetic make up. The consumption of foods high in cholesterol and or saturated fat increases cholesterol levels while a vegetarian diet regular exercise and the nutrients niacin and vitamin c may lower cholesterol.
What about the ratio between HDL and LDL? So now we know about good and bad cholesterol - there is an extra point to note - the ratio between good and bad is a crucial part of the cholesterol picture. The desirable LDL level is considered to be less than 2.6 mmol/L, although a newer upper limit of 1.8 mmol/L can be considered in higher risk individual. A ratio of total cholesterol to HDL, less than 5:1 is thought to be healthier. Total cholesterol is defined as the
Are there any naturally occurring statins?
sum of HDL, LDL, and VLDL. Usually, only the total, HDL, and triglycerides are measured. For cost reasons, the VLDL is usually estimated as onefifth of the triglycerides. Don’t worry if you are confused - it is confusing. Essentially you are looking at least at a 2:1, or 3:1 ratio of good to bad cholesterol. The government have set new standards for the overall cholesterol which should be 5.0 mmol/L (4.0 if you have CHD).
What are Statins? Statins or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors are a class of drug used to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver. Increased cholesterol levels have been associated with cardiovascular diseases and statins are therefore used in the prevention of these diseases. Statins differ in their ability to reduce cholesterol levels. Mostly in my experience they do work however doses should be individualized according to patient characteristics. The most common adverse side effects are raised liver enzymes and muscle problems. Certainly many patients I see have complained of muscle pains sometimes so bad they have had to change brands or come of them altogether. However it is not always the case, and often people can tolerate statins with no problems whatsoever.
Yes! The oyster mushroom, a culinary mushroom, naturally contains lovastatin. Some types of statins are naturally occurring, and can be found in such foods as oyster mushrooms and red yeast rice. Randomized controlled trials found them to be effective but I am not advocating you go and eat loads of oyster mushrooms!
And even if it has, will a change of diet be beneficial? Like all debates, the one about cholesterol has two sides. You may want to read The Great Cholesterol Con by Dr Malcolm Kendrick although there are many other books about the “cholesterol myth”. These books look at the evidence on which present healthy eating dietary recommendations are based.
So where does this leave me? Why do I need to take CoEnzyme Q10? Co Q10 is a vitamin like substance present in all cells. The heart, liver and kidneys have the highest CoQ10 content. Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) levels are decreased in statin use; Some statins can reduce your CoQ10 levels by a staggering 40%. CoQ10 supplements are sometimes used to treat statinassociated myopathy. It is certainly a good idea to take between 30mg and 90mg of CoQ10 if you are on a statin. Circulating CoQ10 in LDL prevents oxidation which in turn helps prevents heart disease.
What’s the other side of the story? Over the past couple of decades there has been growing concern about fats and cholesterol. Governments have introduced policies based around the reduction of fat. The evidence is incontrovertible that if we do not, we are doomed to heart disease. Despite the certainty implied by the propaganda, the debate continues in the medical journals, behind the scenes. Apart from those with a very rare disease, has cholesterol got anything to do with heart disease?
Well it probably leaves you confused. But there is no need to be. If you have raised cholesterol do go and see your GP. Depending on the figure and the levels of good and bad cholesterol you may not be put on a statin anyway as GP’s tend to vary on their opinions on this. If you don’t want to go on a statin and are being pressured, ask your GP to give you a couple of months and see if you can bring it down through diet, but you will need expert help with this as it is not about cutting out fat. That could possibly be the problem with a lot of GP’s thinking diet does not work because it is left to the patient to dig around and do it themselves with the knowledge they have and often it doesn’t work simply because they don’t have the right information. It is not uncommon for me to see cholesterol levels drop from 12 to 5 mmol over a few months but you do need to know what you are doing. The fact that the average cholesterol level in London is 5.8 and in Southern Japan is 3.8 must tell you that diet plays a huge role in cholesterol levels. If you would like to learn how to reduce your cholesterol safely then get in contact on 01323 737814. www.katearnoldnutrition.co.uk
n i t i f t ge
BODY AND MIND The Mind Body Spirit Festival 2011
Curious about meditation? Keen to sample yoga or intrigued to explore your spiritual side? Visit the Mind Body Spirit Festival and enter a fascinating new world of discovery. Taking place on May 25th – 30th at the Royal Horticultural Halls, Victoria, London, the 2011 Mind Body Spirit Festival brings together over 70 of today’s leading teachers, experts, authors and musicians in a six-day event designed to empower and revitalise your thoughts and body. This year the Mind Body Spirit Yoga and Movement Workshops have been expanded to include a stellar line up of new and exciting experts, amongst them:- Leah Bracknell, former Emmerdale actress and yoga teacher who hosts ‘Yoga for Life’- Hatha yoga for everyone. The ever popular Howard Napper, whose previous yoga DVD’s have notched up an impressive 3.5 million sales, will be ‘Unlocking the Mysteries of Longevity through Yoga’. Bodywork veteran Ken Eyerman presents ‘The Eyerman Technique’, a combination of his 30 year experience of yoga and Feldenkrais, whilst Maya Fiennes, daily presenter on Body in Balance TV, shares her unique style of yoga and meditation based on Kundalini
yoga to bring the body to experience peace and happiness. All the way from the USA, psychotherapist Chris Linnares showcases ‘Diva Dance’ an exciting new dance method designed to empower women and build confidence that was initially developed to alleviate post natal depression and shed unwanted weight. Amongst the Yoga and Movement presenters expect to also see: wild man of yoga and creator of Yogabeats, David Sye, Ya’Acov and Susannah Darling Khan with their extraordinary Movement Medicine, best described as an integration of physical, artistic, spiritual, shamanic and therapeutic practices. Lisa Sanfilippo with yoga against live music, Carolyn Cowan offering seated exercises, meditation and mantra, and finally Roxana Hewett and Mahasatvaa Sarita who will both be hosting tantra workshops.
Get fit in body and mind Other expert favourites include: Laura Day (from the USA), most notable for her work on developing ‘Practical Intuition’ and glowing celebrity endorsements from Demi Moore, Jennifer Anniston, Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman. Dr Mark Atkinson ‘Journey to True Happiness’, Dr David Hamilton – ‘The Power of Contagious
Thinking’, Alexandra Watson - ‘Feel Happy & Confident’, Karen Kingston - ‘21st Century Space Clearing’ Saskia Fraser ‘Raw Food for Clarity & Energy’, and Barefoot Doctor ‘Taoist Energy Medicine’. With a staggering 73 workshops in total, the Festival’s six day schedule offers a fabulous range of subjects ensuring there really is something of interest to everyone. Entertainment at the Festival features an eclectic range of over 80 free performances and demonstrations including musical concerts, yoga, tai chi, dance and guided meditations, whilst the marketplace stalls provide the opportunity to sample new and established healing techniques, natural products, jewellery, clothing and all manner of retail goodies.
Mind Body Spirit Festival 25th – 30th May 2011 Royal Horticultural Halls, Greycoat Street, Victoria, London, SW1 2QD. Weekdays 11.00am – 6pm Weekend including the Bank Holiday Monday 10am – 7pm. Visit www.mindbodyspirit.co.uk or call 0207 371 9191 for the full workshop programme, ticket information and purchase.
GET INSPIRED GROW TO IMPROVE YOUR WELLBEING Words Pat Crawford, for Hadlow College
ASIL (Ocimum basilicum), an annual, is a fragrant and flavourful plant that has become our most popular culinary herb and one that is much appreciated by celebrity television chefs The essential oil of basil has been shown to inhibit the multiplication of various types of bacteria, some of which have become resistant to antibiotics and said to include staphylococcus, enterococcus, pseudomonas, and e. coli. Eugenol, which is found in the essential oil, is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect by blocking the cyclooxygenase enzyme. Pharmaceutical products such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen work by blocking this same enzyme. Thus basil can help to relieve the symptoms of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and some inflammatoryrelated bowel problems. Basil is a good source of vitamin A which helps to prevent free radicals from oxidizing
l i s a b
cholesterol in the blood stream and building up in the blood vessels. Magnesium, a mineral that helps the heart and blood vessels to relax and improves blood flow, is also present and this useful herb also contains iron, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. The word ‘basil’ is a Greek word that means ‘king’. The plant has been cultivated for thousands of years and it is believed to have been growing in the spot where Helen and St. Constantine are said to have found the Holy Cross - the reason why the Greek Orthodox Churches use it in the preparation of holy water. Basil is also revered in the Hindu religion. Italian suitors demonstrated their love by wearing a sprig of basil in their hair - and English and Italian royal families added it to their bath water! Basil is a wonderfully versatile ingredient. Good in soups, a few leaves add piquancy to salads and, made into pesto (crushed
basil, pine nuts and garlic) it is particularly delicious with fish. Finely chopped fresh basil is a zingy addition to omelettes and other egg dishes and torn leaves make a refreshing and very ‘summery’ starter with slices of beef tomato and fresh mozzarella cheese – plus a few pine nuts and/or black olives. Sprinkled with a light oil-andvinegar or balsamic vinegar dressing and served with a glass or two of chilled Pinot Grigio perfect for dining al fresco! Basil is very easy to grow but it is very frost sensitive and so shouldn’t be sown outdoors until the very end of May/beginning of June. Seeds do well started off indoors on a sunny window sill. After about five weeks, the seedlings will be ready to prick out or transplant – but cooks who use the herb on a very regular basis often keep a pot handy indoors so that they can pluck leaves as and when. Assuming seeds are going to be started indoors, fill a couple of pots with compost, water well
Tomato Piperade Piperade is a dish from the Basque region of southwest France. It is a cross between scrambled eggs and an omelette. Serve it for brunch or as a snack.
and leave to drain. Place seeds on the surface of the compost – do not ‘sprinkle’ but space them evenly. Cover with a thin layer of compost. Some gardeners like to create mini-propagators by covering the pots with clingfilm. The seeds will germinate most rapidly at a temperature of about 21-25 degrees centigrade. In order to have fresh young leaves to harvest, it’s a good idea to sow seeds every four-five weeks. Growing basil without the use of pesticides means that it will only require absolutely minimal rinsing - one of the reasons celeb chefs buy organic - good because the leaves quickly go limp if dowsed in a lot of water. HADLOW, graded ‘Outstanding’ and one of the UK’s premier colleges. Hadlow offers a wide range of career (including degree) and recreational courses for horticulturists and gardeners, including Medicinal Horticulture. Telephone: 0500 551434 for information.
300g British baby vine tomatoes 2 spring onion, cleaned and trimmed 1 green chilli, de seeded and finely chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped 4 large eggs 4 tablespoons single cream or milk salt and freshly ground black pepper 30g butter to decorate: basil, coriander or flat parsley leaves Olive oil bread to serve: 1 sandwich baguette 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions 1.Roughly chop the tomatoes. Chop the spring onions and put together with the chilli and garlic. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk together with the cream. Season with salt and black pepper. 2.To prepare the olive oil bread: cut the baguette in half lengthways and then in half widthways. Brush the cut side of the bread with olive oil. Heat a heavy based frying pan or griddle and toast the bread cut side down until crisp in the middle and charred at the edges. 3.Melt the butter in a heavy based or non stick frying pan. When foaming fry the spring onion, garlic and chilli for a minute. Add the tomato and fry briskly for another minute. Now add the egg and, keeping a brisk heat, stir briefly until just set. 4.Serve the Piperade straight away on warm plates with a scattering of herbs and the olive oil bread on the side.
A THIRD OFF MEMBERSHIP TO
JustSlim If you’re struggling to lose weight, or even shift those stubborn last few pounds, JustSlim, the healthy weight loss plan designed by nutritionist and former GB athlete Caroline Pearce, will help you reach your goal. The intuitive programme combines your personal data, weight loss target and food preferences to create personalised menus and recipes. JustSlim will eliminate certain foods on request so all dietary requirements can be catered for. If you have a dairy or wheat intolerance, nut allergy or you are vegetarian, your plan will be designed to provide tasty alternatives either free from these ingredients or with appropriate substitutions. JustSlim offers the perfect support for a busy lifestyle. You’ll eat six times a day to keep your metabolism high and you will receive the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat for your needs. JustSlim is based on simple, healthy recipes using everyday ingredients. Simply access your plan at www.justslim. net or opt for a daily email of what to eat and when. It’s easy and stress free! Visit JustSlim.net and enter code WELLBEING1 to receive a third off membership. Plans cost from £9.95 per month but everyone can enjoy a free trial at www.JustSlim.net T&Cs 33% discount applies to all packages excluding joining fee (joining fee applies to the one month package only). Offer expires 31st May 2011.
Baby-led weaning the natural approach for your baby Words Jody Page Baby-led weaning has become the latest trend, along with baby massage and baby yoga. For many mothers it provides an alternative method of weaning, instead of the traditional route of starting with purees then moving on to lumpy foods and finger foods Baby-led weaning (BLW) allows babies to learn appetite control naturally, so they eat when hungry and stop when full. It is thought that this may help reduce the chance of obesity later in life. BLW involves offering babies a range of foods and allowing them to explore and select their foods and eventually self-feed. Your baby will naturally put foods of a suitable size into his or her mouth, and if they accidentally take in too much, it will simply be spat out again. Initially your baby might only touch and play with the food, before moving on to licking, tasting and finally eating some. Be warned, this can be a messy
process, so you might want to invest in a tray or messy mat, a floor mat and some ‘catch-it’ bibs first! Once your baby has developed enough to grasp and pick up food and guide it to their mouth, they should be ready to chew and swallow it. It’s best not to place food in your baby’s mouth for them but rather let them explore it and take a gradual approach to becoming confident enough to try eating it.
How do I start?
Is it safe?
On the other hand, you might find that the BLW approach on its own suits you and your baby, so you may skip spoon feeding all together.
Gagging on food is a fairly common occurrence in BLW, and this can worry some parents, but it is simply a baby’s natural reflex to stop them choking on food which they can’t swallow. If you are apprehensive about this, it is a good idea to attend a first aid course aimed at parents. Constant observation is essential in any weaning method, so sit with your baby when they have any kind of food and ensure they remain safe.
You might want to combine an element of BLW alongside spoon feeding, particularly if you feel your baby needs a certain amount of food and you need to be sure of how much he or she has eaten. However if your baby is used to swallowing purees first, they may then be inclined to try and swallow larger foods, increasing the likelihood of the gag reflex coming in.
Most parents choose to start on softer foods, which are easier for babies to chew on, and gradually progress to harder foods and those which require chewing or ‘gumming’ Jody Page, Director, Harmony at Home Ltd Kent www.harmonyathome.co.uk
Wellbeing children’s health Pros and Cons of baby-led weaning Cons: • Possible worries about gagging – book yourself onto a baby and child first aid course if in doubt • Other people may stare when eating in public • If your own diet is unhealthy, you may find it difficult to offer the right foods • It’s messy! Pros: • No pureeing, blending, freezing or defrosting • Your baby can explore textures naturally in their own time • As you must watch your baby really closely this promotes good table interaction and you can also eat with your baby more easily, and eat some of the same foods, leading by
example The nutritional value of fresh foods is greater than those frozen and defrosted
Foods to try Cooked sticks/slices/ chunks of organic carrot, broccoli, sweet potato, potato, courgette, butternut squash, apple or other soft fruit and vegetables Raw slices/chunks of banana, avocado, peaches, pears, melon or cucumber Cooked rice
Cooked pasta, without sauce Cubes or fingers of bread/toast Breadsticks Grated or cubed cheese Pieces of cooked fish or meat Low sugar yogurt/ fromage frais Low sugar/salt breakfast cereal Cooked pulses Quorn/tofu in moderation
The following foods should be avoided for babies less than 12 months old: Honey Salt Shark, swordfish or marlin Goats and sheep’s milk Mould ripened soft cheeses
Over six months old you can try your baby with other foods too: Citrus fruits, strawberries and kiwi fruit
THE NEXT COUNTY ...
ON THE TRAIL OF WILLIAM THE CON Words Nick Hordern Marking the 1100th anniversary of Normandy [911-2011], the Normandy Tourist Board invites Englishman Nick Hordern to “Trace his Norman Roots” only to discover Truth is stranger than Fiction
f, like me, you suffer from Ferry Fever and arrive half a day before check-in time, here’s an idea to help fill the waiting hours before embarkation. Have a Thalasso. This is now an option at Brittany Ferries entry port for Caen, Ouistreham, where the newly opened Thalazur Spa offers thalassos you can sail through! This year, France celebrates history: the 1100th anniversary of the Founding of Normandy in year 911 with a programme of medieval pageantry and other epochal events e.g. Jurassic Coast’s Villers-sur-Mer’s new museum commemorating dinosaurs! If ‘9/11’ has tragic twin-tower connotations, it is worth remembering that the Norsemen were the al-Qaeda of the day, so much so that King Charles the Simple of France signed an accord with Viking chief Rollo at Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911 that gave these ravagers Normandy, so long as they kept out of Paris. Rather like President Obama gifting Osama bin Laden New England to spare Washington DC, Chicago & LA. By the time William the Conqueror arrived in England, won the Battle of Hastings,
depicted graphically in the Bayeux Tapestry, and was crowned in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066, the Vikings had become more French than the French. Calvados Tourist Director, Armelle le Goff’s regal invitation “To trace your Norman roots, Nick,” was politesse, and issued certainly without the expectation that I’d come up with any Norman ancestry. I clambered aboard Brittany Ferries’ ‘Normandie’ and crossed overnight from Portsmouth to Caen. Ouistreham, Caen’s port 15 kilometres north of the city, is celebrating the ferry company’s 25th anniversary of servicing this popular route since 1986. From Caen, I continued due south on the N158 the 33 kilometres to Falaise, where I emerged before William’s bronze statue and a castle beyond, where the ‘Bastard’ drew his first breath in 1027. There I met Mathias, a 6’6” Frenchman with a gentle manner. I recalled William was gigantic, too. From the castle, Robert the Magnificent, William’s father, espied Arlette washing her clothes in the fountain. Both
Caen-Abbaye des Hommes
17, she became his mistress and they sired William, who was proud of his sobriquet ‘The Bastard’. William inherited the Dukedom of Normandy, aged 6, his father died on a Crusade in the Holy Land. I entered the cell in the huge stone Keep where William was born and pondered the effect of this babe conquering England. When in 1066 our English peasant forbears discovered their throne was seized by a foreigner, it is unlikely that a split identity heralded a sprint for the nearest psychiatrist’s couch. After all, at our level, it was merely exchanging one despot, benevolent or otherwise, for another – and at least this one brought a strong monarchy,
Nick’s Coat of Arms - Proof that Truth is stranger than Fiction
Normandy?” he asked. “I have news from the College of Arms.” “About Kate Middleton?” “No. Your great great grandfather, James Hordern. His marriage to Mary Radcliffe in 1827 links us to Knight Templar Robert de Ros and also our ancestor, his Harcourt cousin, who built a chateau. Both were linked by blood to the Dukes of Normandy. The Ros line is extinct – ergo, we are the only surviving members of that family to carry on the connection”. Flippin’ heck ! I thought. Where’s the nearest shrink? In my cabin, the latest unveiled kin to William the Conqueror – conked out.
photo: Nick Hordern Ouistreham, Thalazur Pool
and introduced the impregnable French castle. With William came French manners which made English ways before the Conquest appear almost barbarous by comparison, new ideals of chivalry and honour, culture and a love of the arts, of which the Anglo-Saxons and Danes had very little. The softer Norman speech became the language of the upper classes, but above all, William brought realm expansion of a delectable neighbouring part of France. At Caen, I visited William’s tomb at Abbaye des Hommes, where he was laid to rest in 1087 - but not in peace. French Revolutionaries ensured that of the great warrior and statesman there survives only a single
bone. My aching bones, from scrambling over battlements, were being pampered at Ouistreham’s refurbished 89-room Thalazur, a play on the Greek ‘thalassa’ or ‘sea’. I luxuriated in the warm sea water pool, and like the French extol the beneficial effects on the skin of seawater’s trace elements of magnesium, potassium, calcium sulphates and sodium. After a massage and high pressure jet water treatments, I had worked up quite an appetite. Over an exquisite dinner hugely enjoyed by Spa guests with gusto, with the dunes backdrop of illuminated port holes of Brittany Ferries ‘Normandie’, my mobile rang. It was my nephew. “Are you still in
THALAZUR OUISTREHAM: Avenue du Commandant Kieffer, 14150 Ouistreham t.00 33 (0)2 31 96 40 40
Wellbeing Special Weekend Offer 177 Euros per person, including one night B&B (double), 2 treatments (1 hydromassant bath + 1 hydrojet), free access to sea swimming pool, sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi, gym CAEN TOURIST OFFICE: Place Saint Pierre, 1400 Caen t. 00 33 (0)2 31 27 14 14 www.tourisme.caen.fr VILLERS-SUR-MER TOURIST OFFICE: Place Mermoz t.00 33 (0)2 31 87 01 18 www.villers-sur-mer.fr BRITTANY FERRIES: www.brittanyferries.com or call 0871 244 1400
AN AYURVEDIC APPROACH TO
CHILDHOOD IMBALANCES Tu m m y A c h e s, W i n d a n d Po o r E l i m i n a t i o n
hildren’s reactions to food from breast feeding to starting solids can seem to be a mystery to many parents. Why do they throw up after a feed, what gives them wind, why do they get constipated, or get diarrhoea so easily? A child’s metabolism is a delicate thing and being careful about the quality, quantity, time and place of food consumed will go along way towards preventing digestive imbalances. The mother’s intake of food
and overall state of wellbeing contributes to the quality of breast milk and how well a baby feeds. Kapha predominant food such as milk, ghee, almonds, rice and dates are good for creating abundant, healthy breast milk. It is preferable to stir away from stimulating food such as chilli, onion and garlic, Vata increasing vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce and caffeinated drinks. However it is not only what the mother eats that influences feeding but how she feels. If she is restless and anxious, the
baby will find it harder to settle on the breast and is more likely to have difficulties with wind. The Ayurvedic advice in most cases of babies with imbalances is that you treat the mother and then the problem with the child clears up. For breast feeding difficulties it is important for the mother to pacifying Vata. This can be helped by her partner and extended family. She should be as rested as possible, avoid travel, favour a diet of warm, freshly cooked, easy to digest food and limit daily visitors
Wellbeing children’s health
Words: Wendy Rosenfeldt
wanting to handle the new baby. A gentle, warm, sesame oil massage for both the mother and baby will assist in balancing Vata and settling colic or wind. Fennel tea, sipped throughout the day by the mother can also soothe digestive problems in breast fed babies. When starting your child off on solid food it is important for it to be easy to digest. This does not simply mean mushy. Bananas and avocados squish up easily and can seem to be a good start for babies however they
are heavy in nature and while the baby’s digestive system is still getting used to food they can cause tummy aches and constipation. Mashed zucchini, stewed apples and cooked grains that are light in nature such as couscous or semolina are easy to digest. Freshly cooked food is ideal as it contains the most nutritional value. Food that has been cooked, then frozen and then reheated has less of its original life force and is less satisfying to eat. If your child gets constipated easily ensure that their food is warm, light and soupy. A warm oil massage for your child before a bath can help relax the digestive system and keep your child regular. Soaked raisins, figs and prunes are also helpful for toddlers and older children. Avoid bananas, potato and have avocado only in small amounts until the problem clears. Children with a tendency towards diarrhoea should reduce Pitta increasing foods such as tomatoes, oranges, corn and spicy tastes. Favouring cooling foods such as zucchini, squash, coconut milk, cow’s milk and grains such as rice, couscous and semolina will also help to restore balance. If a child has had long periods of diarrhoea it is important to introduce food again slowly. Keep it plain
and light until your child has recovered; steamed basmati rice is gentle on the system and is a good food to start with. Constipation is due to excess Vata while aggravated Pitta can result in diarrhoea. Looking at the bigger picture is an essential part of Ayurveda. Situations involving change, travel, excitement and overstimulation can create irregularities and imbalances in the digestive system. Emotions of anxiety, fear, anger or grief can also impact on how your child digests their food causing tummy aches or lack of interest in food altogether. Keeping a predictable routine of meals and bedtime, using Ayurvedic aroma oils and teas and spending time in nature can help to maintain balance in times of change or emotional upheaval. Wendy Rosenfeldt is a Maharishi Vedic Health Educator, Maharishi Ayurveda (R) Consultant and teacher of Transcendental Meditation. Wendy gives personal Ayurvedic consultations and runs seminars in all areas of Maharishi Ayurveda specializing in women’s and children’s health. For more information email email@example.com w ww.wendyrosenfeldt.com
Part three in the July/August issue looks at Teething
the healing touch Words: Lydia Davis
Reiki’s popularity as an alternative approach to healing for both adults and children continues to grow, despite being spurned by scientists, discovers Lydia Davis
n 1922, Dr Mikao Usui, a Japanese doctor, escaped the stress of a failing business to spend time meditating on the sacred Mount Kurama. It was here he claimed to receive enlightenment of a healing process that could help others by harnessing universal energy to restore the body, mind and spirit. And so Reiki was born. This simple approach to healing is being increasingly used in the West to improve health and mental well-being. It works on the basis that ‘universal life energy’ is channelled through the practitioner to the recipient through seven chakras, or energy centres, in the body. Illness is an indication that a chakra is blocked or unbalanced. Reiki Master Kim Pierce, 42, explains: “When there is poor health, a practitioner looks for the source of energy disruption. Sickness is a body signalling that the natural flow of energy is disturbed and needs to be redressed.”
Kim finds her clients usually arrive with “an intention”, a specific area they want healed; but this is by no means a prerequisite to Reiki, and she finds that “people come because they just have a general feeling that something isn’t right in their lives”. Recipients assert that Reiki produces deep relaxation, and a tangible reduction in stress and depression. Practitioners also claim it can return focus to a person’s life, a belief reinforced by Kate Packwood. Kate, 43, used Reiki at a time when she felt overwhelmed by the combined pressures of a move abroad and raising a family. She says: “I was at a point where I was feeling low and very isolated and looking for answers. I decided to let a friend give me a Reiki session and it completely exceeded my expectations. It offers a really attractive way of dealing with the world, a philosophy which while not necessarily easy to put into practice, offers a way to
make your life more settled and peaceful. I think it’s something you can do for your family, not just for yourself.” Evidence suggests that Reiki can be highly beneficial for children, who tend to be more open to the experience than adults. Twelve months ago, Jessica Williams arranged sessions for her 11 year-old son, who has a mild learning disorder. She describes the outcomes as remarkable: “Instead of placing demands on him and requiring him to perform in some way, his Reiki sessions allow him to see the strength he has within him. He comes out beaming with happiness, and we’ve seen massive improvements in his self confidence and abilities in school.” Yet the therapy has suffered no small amount of scepticism: practitioners continually defend Reiki against the claim that it is nothing more than a placebo. In 2008, a review of randomized trials carried out
to asses Reiki‘s success in counteracting, amongst other things, depression, pain and stress, declared: “The evidence is insufficient to suggest that Reiki is an effective treatment.” The results of the trials were published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, and claimed there was no difference found in the response of patients treated with Reiki to those administered with a placebo treatment. Independent research into Reiki is ongoing but some studies do counterbalance these allegations; in 2001, medical researchers at the University of Texas carried out a series of tests, and concluded that patients treated with Reiki attained a heightened state of relaxation, which reduced both anxiety and blood pressure. But as Kim points out: “Even if you couldn’t scientifically prove Reiki, it’s unfair to reject it for that reason. Reiki is based in intuition. It’s about listening to our bodies and gut-feelings rather than living solely in the rational, and that’s something we can all benefit from doing more of.”
If you’ve ever considered practising Reiki, here is an overview of the three levels of training: Beginner’s Reiki: Level 1 or First Degree of Reiki teaches basic theory and enables beginners to heal through touch. Although this is primarily focused on self-healing, it also allows individuals to heal others. The training time is usually one to two days, but it must be regularly practiced to remain valid. The course at this level is often taken purely for self-development. Second Degree, or Advanced, Reiki The second degree leads to a greater understanding of Reiki practice and requires three months of Level 1 practice before it can be started. The training includes additional healing and meditation techniques. When completed, the healer is able to practice ‘distance-healing’, that is, send Reiki by thought, without the recipient being present. Third Degree Reiki or Master/ Teacher level This level is also known as the Master/Teacher level, and when completed, the student is referred to as a Reiki Master. Having reached this degree, a person is able to attune others to all Reiki degrees. The number of days taken to learn this degree is not definite, as most teachers require their students to serve an apprenticeship under them for a varying amount of time.
photos courtesy of
BE HERE NOW making each moment count
he title of this article is a homage to the seminal quote by Ram Dass, formerly Dr Richard Alpert, the Harvard psychology professor who turned his back on Western thinking to become a yogi and spiritual teacher. His book titled ‘Be Here Now’ was his 1971 ‘countercultural bible’ that helped introduce a generation of hippies to Eastern philosophy. Still in print today, it stands as testament to the need for a more present, aware and nurturing mindset in the everyday commercial world. I liked the psychedelic words and pictures of this book as a teenager but the idea of ‘living in the present moment’ didn’t awaken in me until passing out through years of depression and illness. I went to my first yoga class after realising that I never really existed in the present; I just spent time either gnawing on how the past had damaged me or worrying about the future. And this was exhausting me. So I started a yoga course to find a way to try and ground or anchor myself in the now. Two things became clear to me very quickly; that this was all about the breath (and mine felt stuck and difficult) and that our modern world is built to tempt us away from the present most
Words Charlotte Watts of the time. Whether we are getting caught up in our brain’s tendencies to analyse, comment and criticise or that these traits are fuelling worry that keeps us speculating about the future, the huge front brains that make us human can also work against us
“The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.” — Ram Dass I had always suffered from an overactive and self-destructive mind and really wanted to be able to ‘let go’ and simply walk down the street with a free mind. Over the years, yoga and its emphasis on breath and stilling the mind has given me the space to stop and find space when I need, recognise when I have gone off-track and be able to connect with the world around me to settle back in the present. And I am not alone, this global need has shown itself in the success of Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now which has sold over 3 billion copies since the late 1990s. Tolle was listed the most influential spiritual person in the world by the 2011
Watkins Review. This guide to becoming conscious of the ‘now’ has bought this fundamental cornerstone of Eastern philosophy into the Western mainstream.
“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease.” – Eckhart Tolle The popularity of the Power of Now shows that this stuff isn’t esoteric, it is a basic truth that if ignored can leave us feeling unable to cope and overwhelmed. But what does living in the present actually mean? Connecting with our more primal selves to actually notice what is going on around us rather than rush past To connect with our intuition and instinct to feel rather than think about what any given situation requires To accept that good things and bad things happen, but we learn, let go and move on To look for opportunities to feel joy, ease and peace in our lives and in our relationships with others
Wellbeing health I have several key things that work for me to find a bit of peace in all the noise: l Continually look at the world around you – noticing the little details of trees, buildings, situations helps to bring you out of the constant noise of your head. l De-clutter both in life and therefore your mind – lots of stuff just serves to keep us distracted and disengaged. l Find a bit of space daily – we can get into the trap of waiting until holidays or weekends to relax but our bodies and minds need to restore continually. This can be sitting on a bench in the sun, lying in the bath or anything that focuses you to stop and gather in. l Don’t feel you have to ‘do’ all
the time – we can lose the ability to ‘not do’, to move away from the constant stimulation and reactions to the world around us. This can be scary at first but focussing on the breath can help us centre into the silence. l Look to find the present moment in the most mundane activities – when washing up or doing the ironing, use the opportunity to let your brain rest and find the repetition action meditative. Charlotte practises as a Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher in Brighton – www.charlottewattshealth.com Learn to live in the present with Charlotte at Yoga Classes, Workshops and Holidays (see Yoga Holiday Feature Page 18)
A simple daily breathing practice of 10-15 minutes can help encourage your ability to connect to the present in daily life: 1) Sit or lie comfortably, allowing your chest to open, shoulders to drop and belly to rise and fall freely. 2) Simply observe your breath, don’t try to affect or change it, just step back and allow it to settle into a natural rhythm. 3) Bring your awareness from your front brain or mind and down into your belly and pelvis; imagine this connection down your spine into your pelvis or root. 4) Continue to breathe right to the end of each breath, with a soft jaw, face and throat – if thoughts arise, do not react or attach to them, simply ‘step aside’ and move back to the breath.
ARE YOU AFRAID OF LOSING YOUR JOB? Words: Nick Williams
any people lost their jobs in 2010 and I think many more are likely to do so in 2011. This can obviously be very scary. My invitation is to take it as an opportunity to stop and take stock, dig deep, ask new questions, and raise your sights, not lower them. Obviously one of the major reasons we work is for pay, and losing your work creates a necessity to earn money. But the way you can create income today has never been so full of possibilities. Many people are being honest and saying to themselves, “I am losing a job that I never liked much anyway, but never had the impetus to leave. Now I have been pushed,
what new choices might I like to make?” I left a secure but very unfulfilling corporate career selling computers to foreign banks twenty years to create work that was more meaningful to me. I now write, have become a best selling author, and travel the world inspiring, educating, coaching and mentoring others who feel a call to find and follow their own authentic life. Although my change was self initiated rather than forced upon me, I have learned a lot about making positive change through my own experiences and helping thousands of others create successful businesses around work they love.
Here are five tips that can help you use you to make losing your job, or the fear of losing your job, into an opportunity for greater happiness and fulfilment. 1. Begin to think of yourself a brand begin to break with the belief that your security comes from having a job with someone else. Your security always has and always will come from your own strengths, skill, experience, expertise, talents and abilities, even as an employee. This is always what you have been hired for, and the more you become aware of and understand what your strengths and passions are, the more secure you will become. Being your own brand means understanding your own uniqueness, understanding how your unique adds value to others and then packaging your brilliance and finding the people
who can benefit from your strengths. 2. Raise your sights, not lower them - rather than reacting through fear, you have an opportunity to think bigger, happier and greater ways. An empowering way to do this is to ask yourself great questions. So take a pause and ask yourself questions like, “What would you love to do?, What dreams have I been neglecting that I could re-visit? What greater opportunities are beckoning me? How have I been playing smaller than I am capable of?” Today, it has never been more possible to build work or a business doing work that you enjoy, have a passion for and
are good at. Indeed, I would even suggest that following your joy and passion are the new security, not sacrificing yourself doing work you don’t enjoy. 3. Be willing to pioneer - it can be tempting to think what you’ve always thought and do what you’ve always done. Especially as adults, we can find it hard to make new starts, to take steps in which we are beginners and lack confidence. We don’t like being less than competent. But this can be a great opportunity to pioneer and start a new phase, to pioneer, to take everything you have learned and become and start a new chapter.
Even a baby step in a new direction can initiate you and get you across a new threshold. Ask yourself, “What new chapter is beckoning you? Where are you being called to pioneer?” 4. Move in the direction of your dreams and fears - it is tempting to regard fear as a stop sign, but when you are pioneering and moving in the direction of your dreams, you are likely to experience fear, doubt and what call resistance. That’s actually a sign that you are right on track. It is counter-intuitive, but you grow greater than your fears by facing them. You discover more resources within yourself by putting yourself
in unfamiliar territory. So be honest about what you know in your heart you’d love to do, but are afraid to do. 5. Get yourself great support - it can be hard to make significant positive change on your own. The gravitational pull back to old, habitual and familiar ways is always strong. So consider getting coaching, mentoring, joining groups, reading inspiring books, listening to audio or watching video programmes that support you and feed your mind with new ideas, inspiration and information. You will evolve at the rate of the people that you spend most time with, so spend time nurturing
your inspiration and starving your resistance. You have tremendous potential and talent within you. Now could be just the time to step up to an even richer, happier and more successful life. Nick Williams has spent the last 15 years helping to illuminate the world of work. The author of six books, including the best selling The Work We Were Born To Do and most recently The Business You Were Born To Create. He is passionate helping people be happy and fulfilled in their work. www.inspiredentrepreneur.com, /www.facebook. com/entrepreneurclub
THRIVING, NOT SURVIVING We live in uncertain times. After decades of reckless borrowing and overspending, we now face years of cuts and job losses. As if that wasn’t unsettling enough, the media seems determined to crank up our anxiety. Open a newspaper or watch the TV news on any given day and you’ll encounter a barrage of bad-news stories. If you’re prone to worry, stress or anxiety, this makes it hard to maintain your mental equilibrium. But the key to facing tough times with strength and resilience is to separate the genuine challenges – especially those that directly affect you or your loved ones – from the melodramatic and made-up. Even if redundancy is a very real prospect, or your business looks set to struggle, the way you face up to those challenges will determine the way they affect you. Cuts or no cuts: whether you thrive or barely survive is entirely up to you.
It’s all about perception Have you ever wondered why, when two people are facing exactly the same life stressor – redundancy, divorce, family conflict – one takes it in their stride while the other crumbles? It’s because the way these major stressors affect you is all down to the way you perceive them. My clients are always telling me, ‘My boss really stresses me out,’ or ‘My relationship makes me miserable.’ In fact, nothing can ‘make’ us stressed or miserable – only we have the power to do that. Coming back to our current economic travails, if you know your department has to make redundancies this year and you want to stress yourself out about it, think things like this: ‘They are bound to get rid of me – I just know it,’ or ‘If I lose this job, my life will be ruined!’ As you read those statements, you may well have felt a little shiver of anxiety – that’s because these ‘hot thoughts’, as they are known in cognitive therapy, cause an instant jolt of emotion. If I were your coach, I would help you identify these unhelpful thoughts and replace them with more realistic and constructive ones. A quick tip: if you often think this way, write the thoughts down and then challenge them. Ask yourself, where is the evidence for this? Do you know with 100 per cent certainty your job will go, or are you just ‘fortune telling’ (predicting the future based on guesswork) or focusing on the negative (selecting the one negative fact and ignoring nine positive ones)? Or try the ‘best friend test’. Would you tell your friend their life faced ruin? Of course not, so why be that harsh with yourself?
As one door closes… Not to belittle the very real fear and anxiety that losing your job can cause, even if you do get made redundant, it’s unlikely to ruin your life. Think about it: do you really love your job? Very few people can honestly answer yes. So why not use some of your redundancy settlement to change your life? Start that business you’ve always dreamed of. Or retrain to do something that genuinely feeds your soul. Downsize to take the financial pressure off and work part-time or for a charity. Ask your partner to shoulder more of the burden while you spend time with the kids – at least until the economy picks up again. Look for growth areas (there are plenty right now, despite what you read in the papers). Green technology, for example, is a huge growth area in the UK. Start planning now: taking control of your life, being optimistic and seeing yourself as strong and resilient are some of the most powerful stress-busting tools at your disposal. Life is miraculous, but short. Do you want to waste precious years feeling stressed, anxious or unhappy? Or live a life you love, thriving despite the challenges we all must face? It really is up to you.
As the Wellbeing Coach, Dan Roberts is an expert on health and personal growth. He coaches clients in north London and the City, and by phone/Skype on issues like stress, anxiety, confidence, career, relationships and all-round physical and mental wellbeing. Call Dan on 07766 704210 or visit www.danroberts.com
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Wellbeing clinics & treatments
Wellbeing clinics & treatments