Monthly Archives: April 2016

Detox, or to detox

So as part of the radio show, I was asked to do a piece on healthy comfort food… which … you know .. it didn’t really sit with me. Instead I am going to talk about what we eats effects how we look. I am clearly very self absorbed and shallow so this was probably an obvious fit. More so that healthy comfort foods… but I will probably go slightly off topic to include that as well! 

So let us kick off – I don’t know about you, but when I am scrolling down my news feed on FB, I seem to daily, if not more, be confronted by some advertising/promoted post about some diet/herbal/detox tea or drink. This is kinda why I have titled the blog as I have. The problem with these posts is not only are they misleading in what they are promoting but they are starting an as misleading back lash.

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You see, I see as many posts about how we have organs that detox, so the entire idea is silly so therefore we should just ignore them. Well, yes, yes we do have some very hard working organs (thank you liver and kidneys) but actually… yes we do need a little help with removing toxins. It is called water. Not merely hydrating, and please don’t kid yourself that having flavoured water, tea, juice or any number of other things is the same as drinking 6 glasses of water a day. If it isn’t plain water, out of a bottle or tap, it just isn’t the same. Of course being properly hydrated is key, so if you want to drink tea all day, do! It will help you feel better and is better than nothing. But water will pass through your body, offering hydration but not causing your organs to have to do any additional work. Plus, on its way through, it will help flush out any toxins. So yes, it will help detox your body… I mean how else is your body going to get rid of the crap it has no need for?

So if you want to have happy, healthy skin, my first tip and the most important is to start drinking water! Every body is different so I won’t tell you how much, but generally speaking, 6 small glasses throughout the day would be a great bench mark. And I promise you will start to see a different in your skin, it will both look and feel a lot better. And this is a great base to continue the work on! 

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Now chocolate – if like me, reading fashion/girly magazines with your friends between classes for anything to help you figure out the brave new world you are entering as a freshly minted teenager… something always stood out…. Chocolate. Chocolate is evil. It literally causes acne. I mean.. it is the ONLY cause for it, and the only way to avoid breakouts is to give up chocolate. Right? Wrong! Sorry, I mean … sure your skin MAY react to chocolate and cause a breakout. Or it might be more hormonal. Do you find yourself craving chocolate at certain times? Maybe monthly, or in times of stress or anxiety? That there are a few factors that are causing the outbreak. Of course, if you are feeling guilty about eating chocolate, but the bar down 🙂

Now one thing I will say, clean eating is going to be the best way to make sure you are feeling and looking good. Avoiding processed foods, knowing what you are putting into your body will of course help you so much, making sure that each of your meals have a variety of different colours is important. Clean eating isn’t really as faddy as you might think. It just means that when you are putting together your dinner, start from scratch, don’t reach for that jar of sauce. Of you want a snack pick up something like a Nakd bar which have simple and clear ingredients listed so you know what is going into your body. 

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This sounds difficult and I realise that I sound preachy – but the reason that we have become so reliant on foods which are stuffed with things we can’t even pronounce is that they are mostly preservatives. We also like things to be pleasing to the eye so we find foods colours in … technicolor for lack of a better phrase. But it only requires a little planning. I often make freezer friendly food at the weekend because I often get in later (relatively speaking) and so it stops me reaching for the takeout menu. So just make sure that when you go shopping, you have a list of what you need and get cracking.

Now, there is a lot of talk about how everyone seems to be suffering from various intolerance but that they aren’t genuine? I beg to differ – often we will pick up something be it a food or drink, out of habit or because of the happy chemicals it releases. Because what we have going on in our head may not be what the rest of our body is telling us. So if you do find that you start feeling sluggish, bloated, uncomfortable then start a food diary and this will help you pin point what is causing it. It doesn’t mean you have to stop eating that food group entirely – looking at you gluten – but you can start to make educated choices about what you are eating, moderate it and be prepared for the outcome.

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And it is also an idea to have a look down the ‘free from’ section of the supermarket next time you are in – there are some amazing foods that have simplified their ingredients for example Nakd bars, which you my have guessed, I am in love with – CLICK HERE to check their website. They have all sorts of gorgeous goodies, from the Nakd bars offering a chocolate substitute, to the Nakd Nibbles that genuinely take like sweets, and their protein bars that I have for lunch (y’all remember I am lazy). But also looking at dairy alternatives, you don’t have to be dairy intolerant, or vegan to enjoy something different – I adore coconut chocolate ice cream.. it is devise! I mean I do have a dairy intolerance, and love coconut so I MAY be a little bias… but ye gods it is ambrosia! CLICK HERE for their website! 

What I am trying to say, is that what you put in your body will effect you – how you feel, how you look, your mood, it will effect your sleep. You are entirely responsible for your body, so make sure that you are feeding it with the right fuel, and exercising it. You will slowly see a difference, it won’t be immediate, it won’t be over night, I am sorry to say. But if you really want to look and feel good, step one is making sure you work from the inside out 🙂

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Inspirations

So in the show a little while ago, we talked about inspirations. What people are inspiring, and inspire others. So I was sat down doing some research. I typed in ‘inspirational people’ and all I came up with was men. All the lists contained, men and maybe a token female.

This was pretty disappointing to me, so I tried a different tack – I asked my friends, and this yielded a more positive list of inspirational people, which I will share with you now, in no particular order

  1. Malala Yousafzai – this is the young Pakistani girl who was shot on her way to school. Although the shooting was to be fatal, she pulled through and has since become a powerful advocate for woman and childrens rights and education. Here is a link to her wikipedia page.
  2. Marie Curie – this is the person who made many discoveries and pioneered research into radioactivity – she also won the Nobel Prize, not once but twice. Here is a link to her wikipedia page.
  3. Alan Turing – He was a pioneer in what we now view as the personal computer. He worked in Bletchley as part of the code breaking team during the second world war, and it was his work here that created the prototype. Here is a link to his wikipedia page.
  4. Terry Pratchett – Acclaimed British author best down for his series of Discworld novels. He was a prolific writer, who wrote not only books in the Discworld series but separate and stand alone as well as children’s books. He died from Alzheimer disease in 2015. Here is a link to his wikipedia page.
  5. Laverne Cox – Actress, writer, producer, activist, best known to most for her role in the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, Laverne is making waves, having a platform on which to promote trans rights. Here is a link to her wikipedia page.

I could go on – but from this selection you can see that the people that inspire us are varied, and from all walks of life. I haven’t suggested why the above people are inspirational as such, the wiki links are there for you to check out. I want you to come to your own conclusions.

But what is also important to remember is that is isn’t just famous or well known people that can inspire you. Look around, at your friends, piers, people you work with, people you know casually. There is so much to learn and be inspired by and also know that you inspire others. This year, appreciate everything that you have done, look forward at what you can do, and look at the amazing people you are surrounded by.

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The gift of chocolate

So this may not be the blog post you are expecting.

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A little back ground, I have worked within the NHS for around 7 years now – admin/customer service related in three different department. I currently work within a department which carries out procedures, it is not an emergency department but it is the first time there is a real possibility that a patient could be admitted following the procedure. Prior to this I worked in Sexual Health and Physiotherapy. I joke that I am working my way around as many disciplines as possible.

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So now back on track – I am now in the habit of carrying a couple of bars of chocolate in my bag. I am not a big fan of chocolate to be honest, I get the occasional craving for it but generally speaking it isn’t a big concern. But I am make sure that I don’t leave the house without a bar – and a magazine if I have time. And there is a good reason for this….

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This week, I called a ward to see if they could bring a patient down a little earlier for this appointment. I was treated abruptly by the member of staff on the phone (yes, it isn’t just the public) and told the patient had been discharged ‘days ago’. Which led me to calling the patient’s wife and confirming that they would be coming in later – I had had the presence of mind when making the appointment to send a letter to the home address as this is not the first time. Now I am the clinic co ordinator, so I don’t actually have a lot of direct patient contact and generally speaking, I am snowed under so I didn’t see the patient come in. But a couple of hours after my lunch break I became aware of fluttering and a lady who had been sat in our reception area since I had got back from lunch. It appears that a patient had taken a turn and it was suggested that he be admitted.

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It was at this point I put two and two together and realise that the patient’s wife was sat in our reception area and would have a long evening ahead. So I reached into my handbag and pulled out my bar of chocolate, and walked over to the patient’s wife. She started laughing and commented that with breasts as big as hers, did she really need chocolate. We got chatting, she started crying, I nearly started crying, we had a discussion about her children, and we even laughed. I felt bad leaving, I mean, I really felt guilty. Why should I be going home while her husband is still on a couch in one of our exam rooms?

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This isn’t isolated, a couple of weeks ago, a patient came in for a procedure and it was deemed clinically necessary for him to stay over night for observation. This is rare but happens. Unfortunately, as usual there was no bed available so he was left spending the afternoon in the clinic with his wife. After our last patient had gone, one of the nurses popped down the canteen to get him and his wife dinner. I made tea. It was a silly  little thing to me, just a cup of tea, but both the patient and his wife were so grateful. I then remembered I had bought a magazine that morning, so I gave it to the patient’s wife to read. Not her usual reading material but waiting around in hospital especially when you aren’t expecting it, can be long, and tiresome. Then just as I was packing up to go, I rememberer I had emergency chocolate (that is a thing, right? ) in my bag, and gave it to them as a desert. Again, they were both very grateful and it over whelmed me somewhat so I quickly beat my retreat.

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I am not suggesting that you all go out and start stuffing your bags with chocolate – unless you want to. What I am trying to say is that it is a multitude of small gestures and not always a grand gesture that makes a difference. When you help someone cross the road, pick up an item that was dropped, hold open a door or even smile at someone. Try and treat people the way you would want to be treated, I know it can be hard and at times challenging. People have a lot on their minds, they can be selfish and self absorbed. But not only does one good turn deserve another… it is also a positive for you. I always end up feeling happier when I have helped someone. And you don’t have to feel guilty about it – you are on a dopamine and Oxtocin, dopamine is released in the anticipation, and Oxytocin is released during social bonding. It is a reward situation, which is to say, when you anticipate something and get a good feeling, it strengthens your resolve to do it again.

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And I am getting all pseudoscience on you aren’t I ? I remember watching an episode of Friends, years ago, in which Phoebe was getting upset over her inability to preform an entirely selfless act. Because it is impossible. We are driven by a risk/reward in our own body. We do things because not only do we understand that it helps another person out, but because we feel good about it. So don’t ever feel guilty! Embrace it, if it makes you feel good and you want to do it again? That is fantastic, we all start doing a little more good and feeling a little better! 

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Frankly Organic

So … organic food. It is something I was taught about when I was in primary school. I assumed that everyone was. And for some reason it stuck. I try to buy organic as and when I can. Luckily it has become more main stream as time goes on, and you can buy more products which are organic. 

However, there seems to be a misconception as to what Organic means, and people have high expectations. I have heard time and again complaints about the taste, that it doesn’t taste magic ( i am paraphrasing a little) and so there isn’t a strong enough compulsion to change from the usual fare. 

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Super food selection for health diet in porcelain bowls over distressed wooden background.

There is a lot of conversation about sustainability, animal wellfare, free from diets, much more encouragement on clean living, healthy eating, trying to avoid processed sugars. There are many reasons that people review their eating habits, it can be to become more healthy, because of illness, allergies, because you are aware of the environment.

Now, I have been nominally vegetarian since i was a teenager. I just don’t like the taste of most meat, it doesn’t appeal to me. So while I do, very occasionally eat meat, it is so little and often, it is easier to stick with being vegetarian. But I have also developed a animal milk allergy. Not to be confused with a lactose intolerance. I managed to get this far in life before succumbing. So it means I can’t eat cheese. It also makes it awkward as 90% of the time, if you say vegetarian, you get offered a cheese dish. 

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But I am going off track, just wanted to give a little background on myself – i have an appalling diet, I drink most of calories so if ever there was a candidate for cutting down on processed sugar, you are looking at her. However, the fact remains, many of us are developing bad habits with regard to good, and our taste buds are dulled. I love carrots, raw. I can eat them by the basket. Our shops sell the same food year around, fruit and veg is no longer seasonal. But this has the knock on effect of food becoming, to me tasteless. I much prefer a carrot from my garden. It tastes of something other than water. 

But what else is the knock on effect of such intensive farming? Well the way it was taught to me, all those years ago, is through the cycle of life, and pesticides. You see, to make sure the farmers get the best crop yield, they started using pesticides to discourage pests eating or damaging their crops. Now the consequence is two fold – one is that the bug eats a pesticide covered plant. It in turn is eaten by a bird. Bird is poisoned and dies. Dead bird is eaten by a larger predator, and so on up the food chain. The more begs eaten, the more birds dying…. but then also look at what happens to the chemicals, where do they go? Well into our water. It runs off when it rains, it turns up in our rivers, and again both we and other animals come into contact with the poisoned water. It isn’t so much that the water is caustic at first touch, it is the cumulative effect. Yes, this is simplified, but that is what stuck. It is about more than just the taste of the product.

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What does organic farming actually mean? Organic farming is different, when it comes to animal’s they are free range, and reared without the routine use of antibiotics, drugs and wormer. Organic farms use far less pesticides, and activity create havens for bees, birds and butterflies. Organic farms work closely with the environment and natural resources to protect healthy soil and clean water, as well as working hard to reduce green house gas emissions. If that isn’t enough, organic food allows you to know exactly what is in the food you are putting in your mouth.

So, please follow any diet you need or require, be it meat free, dairy free, gluten free, if you are cutting out sugar, carbs, adding in more fruit and veg – consider putting more organic into your basket. It isn’t about the taste, it is about so much more!

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If you want to read more – Click Here for the Soil Association website which has much more information and helpful links. Please note that although I have concentrated on food, because that it where I hear more complaints, there is plenty of other organic produce. It is worth keeping an eye out when shopping 🙂

The Naked Effect

So, you may or may not be aware, but Kim Kardashian posted a series of naked selfies on line a few weeks ago. The first titled ‘when your like, I have nothing to wear’ which has resulted in a number of other celebrities following suit, including Sharon Osborne. Now don’t get my wrong, I am not a fan of the Kardashians, their life style or the environment that created them. But I have a lot of time for what the photo did, what it has done and hopefully what it will continue to do (hopefully).

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What plays on my mind is that one of my favourite artists , Pink has already condemned the selfie, although not naming anyone directly. And let us remember her song on the matter Stupid Girls You Tube Link which she illustrated her feelings on the matter rather eloquently. But I am I getting ahead of myself, her feelings on what? On using your body, and not your brain to get what you need/want/desire. Pink has long made a stand against the conventional and expected and beaten her own path, in her work and in her personal life. She is a fantastic role model for women of all ages, tackling some pretty hard topics in her music. I adore Pink. I really do.

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But on the matter of naked selfies, she is wrong. Now I am going to sidestep the issue of whether or not Mrs K W is a feminist at the moment (as it will be looked at in another blog) and just look at what she has done. She has empowered women to share their self. No makeup, no hiding, sharing a photo of yourself in a mirror selfie is pretty empowering. A while a go there was a thread in a group I spend a lot  of time. It was basically a middle finger to haters, but it was so empowering, everyone posted a mirror selfie either naked or in underwear. I was not confident enough to bare all. But I have to say it had such a strong, community spirit that I joined in wearing my undies.

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So yes, while I guess, there is a lot to be said about someone in a position of power, using that platform for good. And that should be with strong, empowering messages – stay in school, eat healthy, think positive, don’t drink and drive. But can we just hold on a moment. Just .. imagine, for a moment, that a woman looks in the mirror, and… you may want to sit down for this… DOESN’T HATE WHAT SHE SEES! What if a woman, who is famous, thinks, you know what, I am going to share my confidence in my own body with everyone. I am going to put this publicly, I am going to be in control of the images of my body, I will call the shots, and share what I want and how I want it. What if girls, and women, start being able to see that their body and its image is for their own consumption. And that by appreciating their own body, self love, by being able to objectively look at the image and see what is beautiful about it. By seeing the result of those gym sessions is paying off, by seeing the tiger marks, by realising that while their body isn’t perfectly formed, it is perfect for them.

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What if girls and women, learn that the female form is nothing to be ashamed off, it isn’t slutty to think you look good, to see that we come in all shapes and sizes. Not to feel embarrassed, to learn to look in the mirror, to love what you see. I may be reading too much into Kim K’s motivation for sharing THAT selfie, but isn’t interpretation what is comes down to. What conversation it starts, how it effects people and how minds change?

So, while I love Pink, I am sorry this time, I don’t agree with you!

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Update: Since first starting this blog post – i am not sure how obvious it is, but often I have several unfinished blog posts on the go, so it can take up to a month for me to publish a blog…. Kim K just released another topless selfie, this time with a friend. I fully commend her, and her sense of humour 🙂

Now, I want to share my beautiful friends page, Haelin Rayne is a beautiful person inside and out – if you want to see more of her work : Click Here below are some images she recently took with Absolute Images, which I adore! Celebrate the female form, it is stunning! 

Haters, gonna hate!