11 April 2013

Detox yourself to happiness

Detox Yourself to Happiness

Hi Everybody! This is the recording of the webinar I presented on Tuesday night... If you missed it and would like to have a look at it, here it is! I warmly welcome any feedback as I'm about to design 6 to 8 more webinars on different topics of nutrition, so I would love to have your feedback! ♥

17 April 2011

Get Rid Of Cellulite In 5 Easy Steps.

Which woman out there hasn’t, at some time in her life, looked at herself in the mirror horrified at the discovery of the familiar and unsightly “orange peel” look of cellulite around hips, thighs and buttocks? Very few of us might be lucky enough to raise their hand and say “it has never happened to me!” and they are a very fortunate minority.

Apart from being a very common problem, both for the slim and the more generously rounded of us, cellulite is also a typical female complaint and it is very rare in males. This is due to the very nature of cellulite which is a consequence of fat and toxins being stored in the cells straight under the skin, causing the typical orange peel effect. Women fat cells are very different from the men fat cells. In women the chambers containing the fat cells are bigger than in the men and they are also higher in numbers. 

The normal fat percentage in a woman’s body is between 21% and 35%, whereas in a man’s body is between 8% and 25%.

As for pretty much everything else, getting rid of cellulite is the result of a holistic approach that takes into consideration what happens inside the body (causes) as well as the outside (symptoms), where the cellulite shows its dreaded presence. So, here are my 5 steps to get rid of cellulite, get healthier and improve your self esteem:

1.    Hydrate adequately
2.    Apply a combination of essential oils
3.    Promote oxygen circulation
4.    Prepare yummy healthy meals
                    5.    Yearn for a daily good long walk

     1.Hydrate adequately. Our body is made of up to 75% water which is fundamental for all the vital functions of the system including flushing out the toxins, which are part of the cellulite problem together with fat. The minimal daily intake of water that we need is, more or less, a litre of water for every 30 kilos of body weight. If you live in a hot climate, or if you are exercising or if you are unwell, your daily amount of water should increase to make up of the water you lose with perspiration, sweating and internal cleansing (when you are sick). One very important factor, which is often missed when talking about water intake, is that for our body to use the water intake in the most efficient way we need salt. In order for the water to get inside the cells and carry out excess fat and toxins, it is fundamental to have salt and start the osmosis process which promotes the exchange of water in and out of the cells and therefore the clearing of toxins. For a more in depth information about which salt to use, go to

2.            Apply a combination of essential oils. There are several essential oils that are very helpful in increasing blood circulation as well as fight fluid retention and lymphatic congestion: rosemary, black pepper, geranium, sage, grapefruit, cypress, lavender, helichrysum and patchouli. When you prepare yourself a blend of essential oils, always remember that all the oils made from citrus fruit are photosensitive, which means they can cause irritation if used up to 6 hours before exposure to the sun. Choose the essential oils that most appeal to you and add them to a carrier oil (I use apricot kernel and rosehip oil) and massage them on the skin area that show the cellulite with circular movements going upwards towards the heart. You can also use a soft brush in the same way to achieve a massage of the lymphatic vessels and to improve blood circulation on the skin surface. I make my own blend for cellulite with added DMSO for a better penetration in the skin and a teaspoon of “sole”, a solution of Himalayan crystal salt and water.

3.            Promote oxygen circulation. In other words breathe deeply, possibly while relaxing and enjoying 15 minutes all for yourself, in the morning upon waking up is the best time. Find a nice place where you are not going to be disturbed for 15 minutes. Face the sun if you have the luxury of a sunny day, close your eyes and breathe in deeply, enjoying the air going through every cell of your body. Breathe in positive thoughts and breathe out all your worries, anxiety and stress. Stress has a huge impact on the congestion of fat and toxins that cause cellulite.

 4.         Prepare yummy healthy meals. Increase your intake of fresh fruit, raw salads, veggies, nuts and seeds while trying to be conservative with dairy products, meat and processed sugar (like cakes, biscuits and ice-cream). A very important thing to remember is that our body has only one signal to indicate thirst as well as hunger. Many people who have a weight problem tend to respond to this “call” by eating first. A good rule of thumb is to have a couple of glasses of water when you first feel “hungry”. Wait 15-20 minutes and then have something to eat. You will find that you eat less food altogether and probably you will also feel less prone to eat junk food. 

Pay some attention also to the combination of foods you prepare.

Excellent combinations are:
- Proteins (like meat, fish and eggs) and non starchy
(lettuce, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini,
  tomatoes, capsicum, spinach, asparagus, cabbage and
  green beans to name a few);
- Starchy vegetables (like potatoes, pumpkin, peas,
  carrots, beans and corn) with proteins and non starchy
- Grains (like pasta, bread and millet) with non starchy

5.        Yearn for a daily good long walk. The best exercise you can do to fight cellulite is cardio-vascular which keeps the blood circulation moving and the lymphatic system active.

And last, but not least, be HAPPY, smile more often, be nice to yourself and to others, think positively, make sure that you always have the sun in front of you so that shadows, worries, doubts, anxiety and fear are behind you. Stress is a big factor, not only for cellulite, but also for heart disease and many other ailments. Positive living, on the other hand, makes the immune system stronger and ready to fight disease. I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t feel angry, sad or worried. All these feelings are important and need to be expressed. However, staying angry, sad and worried long after the causes of those feeling are gone, only hurt the people who dwell on them, weakening the immune system and causing nothing but grief. Smile often, appreciate the little beautiful things that make your day and let your loved ones know that you love them and treasure their presence around you...

Lastly, share this information with the man in your life. Even if they don’t get as much cellulite as we do, the five steps we have just outlined, being part of an holistic approach, will benefit everyone. Moreover, it will be easier for you to improve your diet and exercise program if you have someone that does it with you, and it will be great for both of you!

03 April 2011

Get Rid Of Yeast Infections, Psoriasis And Fungal Infections Forever!

One of the most common causes of yeast infections, psoriasis and fungal infections is the fungus Candida Albicans which is commonly found in the digestive system and bowels of many people.

Fungi are part of the plant world (mushrooms are in the fungi family) and they are often found in many people without causing them any particular problem. When the immune system is compromised, or when our body leans too much towards and acid pH, then the fungi will take over, become more aggressive and the skin, as well as some particularly vulnerable mucous membranes in the mouth and in the vaginal tract, will quickly show the signs of the attack. 

Once we re-establish the pH of the body to its natural state which is around 7.4 (neutral with a slight tendency to alkaline) the fungal/yeast infection, as well as psoriasis, will quickly reduce and go away. Cancer cells as well respond in much the same way to our body pH, thriving and becoming very aggressive in an acid environment and being quickly wiped off in a neutral to alkaline environment. This is probably one of the reasons why some theories claim that cancer is caused, or it is started, by a fungus.

Therefore the problem has to be approached from both points of view: topically, on the skin where the fungal infection is evident, and internally to get the fungus back to a less aggressive state.

The pH scale goes from 0, being the most acidic, to 14 which is the most alkaline. A pH of 7 is therefore neutral. It is important though to understand that the difference between each number on the pH scale represents a tenfold up or down the next number. For example, a pH of 6 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 7, and a pH of 5 is one hundred times more acidic than 7. Pure water has a pH of around 7, just like our body. Most carbonated soft drinks have a pH of around 3 which is - did you guessed it? – about ten thousand times more acidic than what your body is...

Helping your body to become more alkaline is a very easy process.

Start your day with half glass of water in which you dissolve half a teaspoon of bicarb soda. Take it first thing in the morning with an empty stomach. Follow it by another glass of water (with no bicarb soda this time). The bicarb soda is a very well known alkaliser and it destroys any fungus that it comes in contact with. The second glass of water will help to prepare the digestive system for breakfast and help cleaning up the bowels.

Adjust your diet so that you increase fruit and vegetables that are more alkaline like: alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers, broccoli, green peas, garlic, asparagus and green mustard, nectarines, watermelon, raspberries, pineapple and mangoes.

At the same time try to limit the intake of acid forming foods like meat and chicken, favouring instead fish which is much less acid forming.

As a quick rule of thumb sugar, believe it or not, is acid forming while on the other hand citrus fruits and pure sea salt are alkaline forming. Therefore try to limit your intake of alcohol and stay away from sweet and processed foods like cakes and ice cream. 

Another very good ally to us to get rid of a fungus is apple cider vinegar. If your fungal infection is in the form of psoriasis of the scalp you can, after a shampoo and before the final rinse, mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water, pour it over your head and let it be absorbed by the hair and the scalp. Leave it there for up to 30 minutes then rinse with plenty of water. There won’t be any residual smell from the apple cider vinegar and your hair will look shiny and healthy.

You can also use apple cider vinegar on salads. Apple cider vinegar has a much less pungent taste compared to wine vinegar and it is also a healthier choice.

For a topical application the essential oils which are most indicated to treat yeast infections, fungal infections and psoriasis are: tea tree oil, lavender, myrrh, thyme, helichrysum, patchouli, chamomile and lemon. Some people might respond better to a particular blend of oils rather than a different one, so it is important to try different combinations until you find the one that works better for you.

When you prepare a blend of essential oils, always use a carrier such as almond or apricot kernel oil to dilute them (this is especially important if you use thyme essential oil) and use that particular blend for at least a couple of weeks. Then, if there is only little or no improvement at all, try a different combination.

If you are pregnant, or breast feeding, or if you have a heart condition, make sure that you check every essential oil that you would like to use, as some essential oils (like helichrysum, myrrh and thyme for example) cannot be use during pregnancy and breast feeding.
Also, remember that essential oils are used topically to help with the symptoms, but if the body pH is still too acid and is not taken back to 7.4, the fungus will keep on coming back.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only; it should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his/her health should contact a licensed medical professional.

26 March 2011

Have You Got Hay Fever? You Are Probably Not Drinking Enough Water!!

The human body is made up of between 60% and 75% water. The brain is even more than that, reaching 85% of water content. Water is vital to carry nutrients through the system, to regulate our temperature and blood pressure, as well as to carry out toxins and other unwanted residues from our body. It should be easy to conclude therefore that drinking water is one of the most fundamental actions we do during the day to keep us healthy and to keep our body working efficiently.

Many people however wait until they are very thirsty before they drink, and often, even then, they drink something other than water. Tea, coffee, alcohol or a carbonated drink like coke are the worst choices and a fruit juice is the least damaging option. 

Truth is your body needs just pure water in an amount of about 1 litre for every 30 kilos of body weight, and not even a freshly squeezed orange should be counted as part of the daily water intake. Any fluid other than water contains substances like sugar in alcoholic drinks, or proteins in the case of milk, or potassium in orange juice, which need water to be broken down and processed by the body. 

Therefore the amount of water that these drinks contribute to the body is greatly reduced by the other substances that they contain. In the case of alcoholic drinks like wine and beer, the amount of water needed by the body to process them down is actually much greater than the amount of water that the drinks provide to the body in the first place.

Histamine is a very important protein and neurotransmitter which helps regulating the amount of water in our body. When there is an insufficient amount of water for the healthy functioning of the body, a greater amount of histamine is produced to manage the limited water in our body and make sure that we survive. It does that by shutting down areas of the body that are not fundamental to live, like muscles, bones and skin, so that the brain, lungs, kidneys, liver and glands can receive and use the limited supply of water. The more we are dehydrated, the more histamine our body produces to switch on the “drought emergency process” in our body. As histamine shuts water off areas of the body that are not essential for life it also creates the perfect environment for an allergy or an asthma attack.

Let’s start with hay fever: there is pollen in the air and the wind brings it into direct contact with your eyes. A normal reaction of a well hydrated body would be to produce tears and wash off the intruder. However, because there is not sufficient water in the body, a great amount of histamine is produced and its “water saving program” starts... Eyes are not as essential to life as the brain or the kidneys, so histamine severely limits the supply of water to the eyes which then become red, swollen and itchy because of the pollen.

 Traditional allopathic medicine treats allergies with anti-histamine which stops the ability of histamine to redirect the limited amount of water to the areas that most need it. So due to the action of anti-histamine your eyes will have back the water needed to wash away the pollen, but at the same time it will also severely reduce the water into the cells of vital organs like the brains, liver, lungs and kidneys causing damage to their already stressed and dehydrated cells.

Let’s now look at asthma: in a situation where there is not sufficient water in the system, the increased histamine production will cause the bronchioles in the lungs to constrict reducing in that way the amount of water that evaporates from the body during breathing. Lung tissue is very vulnerable to dehydration because the thin walls of the air sacs that form the lungs have to stay moist all the time. Therefore dehydration will cause a huge damage unless the amount of water lost through evaporation is restricted by the action of histamine, which can also be a trigger of an asthma attack and the classic shortness of breath.

Once again allopathic medicine addresses the symptoms and administers inhalers that force the reopening of the bronchioles for easy breathing.

In both cases, allergy and asthma, the remedy provided by traditional western medicine solves the immediate problem and relieves the symptoms, but in reality also acts against the natural defences of the body which, through histamine, tries to make the best use of the little water it has available. Proper hydration, or to put it simply, a few good glasses of pure water would actually serve both purposes to relieve the symptoms and correct one of the possible triggers of the allergy or asthma attack: lack of water.

To give a different example, if you had a broken pipe in the house which was pouring water all over the floor of the house, would you mop up the water from the floor or try to fix the broken pipe?

18 March 2011

Is Salt Good or Bad For You?

Salt is not just good for you, it is a basic and necessary nutrient needed for the healthy functioning of our bodies. 

However, as is the case for many other foods, the amount of processing that the common salt undergoes before it reaches our tables is unfortunately enough not only to strip it down of the great majority of its nutrients (more than 80 minerals apart from sodium and chloride), but also to change radically its structure to the point that, instead of being beneficial it actually becomes a damaging substance.

The human body is made of about 70% water and 0.9% salt. This is also the same concentration of salt that makes up the amniotic fluid in which the baby grows during the nine months of pregnancy.

The wonderful way in which salt interacts with water is a true synergy (when two or more components produce an effect which is greater than the sum of their individual effects) and it is what makes salt so important for our body.

Salt crystals have a unique characteristic that distinguish them from other crystals: the sodium (Na) ions are positively charged, while the chloride (Cl) ions are negatively charged. The main structure in salt crystals is therefore not molecular but electrical. When salt crystals come in contact with water, the water molecules – made of one negative oxygen atom and two positive hydrogen atoms – surround each sodium and chloride ion, separating them from the compound and making therefore the salt dissolve in water. When the water evaporates the sodium and chloride ions are able to get together again and becoming, once again, salt crystals.

For our body to stay healthy it is fundamental to have a constant balance of the water inside and outside the cells, and salt provides this balance through the process of osmosis.

Also, each and every cell in our body absorbs nutrients and energy from the salt carried through the body by water.

Table Salt magnified
Unfortunately the “table salt” that we know and use every day has undergone a great amount of processing, filtering and bleaching to eliminate each and every trace of the 84 minerals which are normally found in sea salt and rock salt. After all this processing the product that reaches our tables is no longer “salt” but it is reduced to no more than just sodium and chloride (NaCl). 

The problem is that sodium and chloride, in order to be available to our body, need other minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc, just to name a few. Since the common table salt is only made of sodium and chloride, our body has to provide all the other minerals needed, sourcing them from the cells.

Therefore, when we consume regular table salt (as different from sea salt and rock salt), instead of giving our body the fundamental nutrients needed by the cells to work and keep us healthy, we are actually introducing in our system a substance which robs the cells of precious minerals and energy. Our body reacts to this attack with a domino effect of physiological responses like high blood pressure, cellulite, fluid retention, heart enlargement and osteoporosis (due to the extraction of calcium from the bones in order to process the sodium chloride). An excess of sodium chloride in our body also causes airway restriction and consequently increases the number of attacks in asthma sufferers.

Sodium is also used by the food industry as a preservative. Pick up any jar from your pantry, even jam, and you will find that it contains some amount of sodium, which, at the end of the day, increases by many times our total amount of sodium and chloride intake, creating an increasing burden on our body.

Therefore the main reason why we are told to severely lower our intake of salt, especially if we suffer from hypertension, is because the common table salt truly poses a big threat to our system.

Rock Salt magnified
However what we are rarely told is that unrefined sea salt and rock salt are actually fundamental and beneficial to our health.

One of the purest form of salt is the crystal salt from mines on the Himalaya. Deposited there million of years ago, the Himalayan salt comes to us from a time when oceans were still pristine, unpolluted and full of vital energy.

Dr. Barbara Hendel, co-author with Peter Ferreira of the book “Water & Salt. The Essence of Life”, has conducted many years of clinical studies on the beneficial effects of using Himalayan salt and found that regular intake of this salt brings blood pressure back to normal – lowering it if it is too high and actually increasing it when it is too low. It also raises the pH of our body towards a more alkaline level (protecting us from cancer and diabetes) and it heals diseases like arthritis, gout, skin disorders and asthma.

Therefore, going back to the question in the title of this article, unrefined sea salt and rock salt are fundamental and extremely beneficial to our health. We need these minerals as a daily intake, together with plenty of water, to keep our system balanced, strong and healthy. Sodium chloride on the other hand is not more than a mere ghost compared to the rich and vital salt that it was sourced from, and as such is a dangerous and unhealthy addition to our diet.

04 March 2011

Five Great Herbs to Fight Colds and Flu

A common cold is always lurking somewhere, whether you live in the southern hemisphere with the winter months fast approaching, or in the northern hemisphere where the change of season can bring the occasional “spring cold”.

Five herbs, which are also very common in almost every household, can help a great deal in fighting the onset of a cold and to help get rid of the excess mucus and coughing – the most annoying symptoms of colds!

Garlic has long been known for its beneficial action on the immune system. It is very good both for the digestive system and for the lungs and respiratory system. In the past garlic has been used for bronchial infections and tuberculosis. If you don’t like too much the taste of fresh garlic, you can buy it in capsules and it works well. However the best way to use garlic in the case of a cold is to crush a fresh clove, add some fresh grated ginger (see below), pour some boiling water, add some lemon juice and honey and have it as a tea. Taken in this way garlic is also beneficial for the sore throat which often comes with a cold. Garlic also helps in getting rid of the mucus by coughing it up.

Ginger has many therapeutic properties. It is probably mostly known as an aid in digestion and as a relief to both morning sickness and motion sickness. It is also widely used as a treatment for muscle spasms and to help blood circulation. The use of ginger is also highly recommended in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems and it is also helpful in breaking fevers by warming the body and increasing perspiration.

Cinnamon, which is generally known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-clotting properties is also highly valued for its warming qualities and therefore effective to provide relief for a cold or a flu. You can use it as a tea mixing it with fresh ginger. High doses of cinnamon can cause a miscarriage, so use it with caution if you are pregnant.

Elder has strong antiviral properties and it is well known to help destroying intestinal worms. It is also useful in case of rheumatism and diseases of the respiratory system. A tea of elder flowers helps detoxify the body, and therefore is very beneficial for colds, flu and bronchitis. Like ginger, elder is also useful in increasing perspiration, helping in this way to detoxify the body and breaking fevers.

Thyme has great antiseptic properties as well as being an expectorant and digestive tonic. It is highly regarded in the relief of respiratory congestion, bronchitis, asthma, cough and sore throat. It can be use as a dry herb to make a tea, or add a few drops of thyme essential oil, together with eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils in an air diffuser to help you breathe easier and give the room a healing and calming scent. As in the case of cinnamon, thyme also should be use with caution if pregnant.

Some might wonder the reason Echinacea is not in the above list. 

Echinacea has been publicized and sold all over the world by natural supplements producers as a prime natural remedy for colds. Then, all of a sudden, in 2003 and then 2005 several scholarly articles revealed the results of studies which proved that Echinacea is not really that effective in the treatment of colds and flu.

The reason for this “discovery” is quite simple. If you look at ancient uses of Echinacea, both in Old Europe as well as among many native American tribes, you will discover that Echinacea has always been used for snake, spider and insect bites which are severely swollen. The highly regarded cleansing and detoxifying properties of Echinacea are in fact extremely effective for blood poisoning. However, this has nothing to do with colds and flu, which is probably the reason why Echinacea didn’t bring any major relief with those ailments.

03 February 2011

The sunscreen double paradox: it doesn’t protect you from skin cancer and blocks your body absorption of vitamin D!

In many ancient cultures and religions, from the Egyptians to the Aztecs, Hindus, Romans and many African cultures the sun was worshipped as a deity. In the Roman Empire there was a huge festival called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the birth of the unconquered sun) which was celebrated on winter solstice at the end of December and that was later adopted by the Christians as the celebration of the birth of Christ.

However in our modern western society the sun is blamed for the increase of skin cancer cases in the world and above all in Australia, and nothing could be further from the truth.
A daily exposure to the sun allows our bodies to produce vitamin D which is well known to have a prominent role in bone health, and it is less known to have quite an important role in protecting us from cancer.

Professor Rebecca Mason, a physiologist at the University of Sydney and an expert in vitamin D deficiency, has found that there is a direct link between inadequate amount of vitamin D in our body and our likelihood to suffer from several types of cancer, among which colon cancer and skin cancer are the most common.

Exposure to the sun has to be done sensibly and roasting yourself to achieve a good looking tan will not help the vitamin D absorption at all. Professor Mason has actually found that the absorption of vitamin D is much more efficient with a short exposure time than with a longer one. How fair or dark your skin is also plays an important role as people with a darker skin need a longer exposure to the sun to be able to efficiently produce vitamin D. If you have a very fair skin in winter you should aim to 15 minutes of sun exposure every day, as close as possible to midday, to about 15% of your body, which means face, hands and the lower part of the legs without sunscreen (I’ll explain this a bit later). In summer the exposure to the sun should be before 11am and after 3pm for 15 minutes a day. People with darker skin will need from two to six times these amounts (depending on how dark your skin is).

Another important finding of Prof. Mason’s is that an adequate level of vitamin D actually protects us from the damaging effects of the UV rays on our skin.

The great majority of sunscreen products use chemicals which completely block the ability of our body to absorb vitamin D from the sun exposure, increasing therefore our chances of getting some form of cancer, skin cancer being one of them.

Moreover, many sunscreen products actually contain chemicals, such as avobenzone, benzophenone, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnimate, 2-ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl methoxycinnamate, oxybenzone just to quote a few, which are powerful free radicals generators, and free radicals are known to be involved in the onset of cancer and other diseases. For a more comprehensive list of dangerous chemicals in sunscreen and cosmetics, please go to http://www.health-report.co.uk/ingredients-directory.htm

The cosmetic industry is now also very fond of nano particles, which is a way to make chemical substances so tiny that they can be absorbed by our skin much easier and faster.
Since everything we put on our skin gets absorbed by our body and goes into the blood stream and to our organs, by using sunscreen products we actually introduce in our bodies substances which make us more likely to get some form of cancer and that also block the vitamin D which, on the contrary, is paramount to help our body fight cancer.

Another very damaging addition to many sunscreens on the market is vitamin A. Although it is true that vitamin A is excellent to keep our skin young and supple, it is also unfortunately true that vitamin A has photocarcinogenic properties, which means that it can cause cells to become cancerous when exposed to the sunlight. Vitamin A, like other natural substances which are good for our skin but which are photosensitive, should be restricted to be used when we are not planning to go in the sun, so, doesn’t it sound like another paradox that they use vitamin A in a sunscreen?

So, what is a possible solution? Nutrition is definitively one way. Carrots and berries are well known to help build up our body defences against sun burn, and coconut oil is a precious aid for keeping our skin moist and supple, as well as being a great nutrient against free radicals. Get your daily dose of sun exposure and cover up at any other times if you have to be in the sun (hat, shirt and sunglasses).

If you really want to put something on your skin, make your own sun lotion using aloe vera gel and coconut oil in equal amounts, and add some drops of peppermint oil which has been found to have the highest SPF among all the essential oils. Remember however that the best Sun Protection Factor of all is a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruit which contain anti-oxidants, a good hat, a shirt, sunglasses and stay away from the direct rays of the sun from 11am to 3pm, but do get a 15 minutes exposure to the sun every day.