How to Have Good Mobility and Pain-Free Living Throughout Your Life.

So one of the things I see as a doctor and coach is chronic pain and poor mobility as a result and far from it being just the way it is there is actually a lot that can be improved.

This post is one of a series but for today lets talk about nutrition.

I fully believe that a wholefood plant- based (WFPB) diet is the way ahead here and the only way.  Meat and animal products are highly inflammatory and the root cause of all pain is inflammation therefore it is not hard to see why this might cause problems.  WFPB is widely acknowledged to be anti-inflammatory due to the high level of antioxidants it supplies to the body – these can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals which are unstable waste molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures including that caused by our diet.

Please see the here for the Plant- Based Health Professionals Guide to Healthy eating – whilst this may not be what you want to do completely – incorporating what aspects you can will only aid your health and skeletal system.

Good nutrition is essential and the Lifelong Vitality (LLV) supplement pack is definitely worth getting for  the abundance of multi-vitamin and minerals, essential fatty acids and the high levels of phytonutrients containing those amazing anti-oxidants – see separate info for full details on why adding in supplements is essential.

Protein especially soya is highly beneficial (2 portions a day – 1 can be soya milk with the other tofu), cows milk does not confer benefit but that is a whole other subject I will examine another day.

Omega 3 and 6 are the bone promoting fatty acids – due to concerns about fish stocks and also pollution personally I would advise using a vegan source such as that from flax-seed and algae – there is no agreed value on what level or omega 3 is beneficial for the body in general but 1000mg is widely used – just over that in LLV.

Prevent calcium loss by avoiding alcohol, fizzy drinks, antacids, stress, cortisol secretion, salt and sugar

To maintain bone health – weight-bearing exercise is essential – walking is not enough on its own while it does prevent loss of bone stock it does not improve density but if you add in a weighted vest or leg weights or backpack it will fit the bill, as well running, skipping, dancing are all good forms to do this.

Risk of osteoporosis increases due to micronutrient shortage of vitamin D which is also sequestered in fat and those who are overweight.

Protein needs – adults 0.83gm/kg, in the over 60s 1gm/kg for strength athletes 1.3-1.9gm/kg and for endurance vegan athletes 1.3-1.5gm/kg

Studies have shown that there is an increased risk of fracture with higher rates of animal protein ingestion but more study is needed.  We do know that plant-protein is more alkaline and therefore more bone promoting.

Other essential micronutrients are vitamin B12 – 167% of RDA in LLV also vitamin C and vitamin K again at recommended levels.  Minerals such as magnesium, boran and potassium are all vital for healthy bones and present abundantly in a variety of green veg as well as the supplements.

What about calcium supplementation? Well this is a tricky area as  actually too much can cause more trouble that it is worth with higher risks of cardiovascular disease and that of strokes and the evidence is unclear of how much is actually beneficial  – most multi-vitamin supplements don’t include it the LLV does at a level of 50% of the RDA.  Top up with low oxalate green veg to improve absorption such as broccoli, bok choy, kale, napa, cabbage, watercress, mustard and turnip greens – these all absorb at a rate of 40-60% whereas my beloved spinach has a low absorption of only 5%

To be continued

For more information on how I can help you incorporate this into your life and more fill in the form below and / or join one of my free online classes.

Class Registration & Contact Form

How is your mental health?

I think lockdown for many has been challenging and it has certainly highlighted positives and negatives for many – we are now seeing an influx of mental illness through the A&E doors – some highlighted because of lockdown and some due to people putting off concerns due to not wanting to burden A&E – speaking as an A&E doctor – we never mind seeing you. Don’t ever be afraid to turn up and just ask for help – do it before it becomes worse.

That said I still find it frustrating how little we can often do for those with mental health challenges – in a crisis we are great but it is when people are just bobbing along that it becomes difficult to help. So to say I was excited about this duo arriving in the UK is no understatement – it has been available in the USA for sometime and when I say they are gamechangers for mental health support – I mean it. I have been using it for one of my dogs for some months (courtesy of my wonderful cousin in San Francisco sending it to me – a costly enterprise for me last package cost £130 thanks UPS but that is how much I valued it) – anyway I have also been getting the benefit of it and wow!

Stress is a universal experience. Being adaptable to life’s challenges and difficult situations is key to overall well-being. Staying balanced in body and mind with the Adaptiv® System is possible. Adaptiv Calming Blend is the answer during life’s most demanding moments. Diffuse or roll on to promote feelings of calm confidence. This blend is rich in sequesterpenes and monoterpenes – molecules small enough to cross the blood brain barrier and get to the limbic system – where we process emotions – this helps to create a sense of balance and adaptability to every situation.

The Adaptiv system was created by the largest group of scientists that doTerra had ever put together and in their own clinical trial comparing maths problems carried out by participants from ages 12 and up in two rooms one diffused with Adaptiv the other with another oil – it showed that Adaptiv helped participants cope with psychological stresses as they increased in severity.

Get in touch if you would like to know how this amazing blend could support you. For people who decide to join as members I offer a free 1 to 1 consultation with a 90 day regime for you that looks at how to use the oils but also the importance of nutrition and exercise. I signpost you to different apps and services that will help your specific need plus with access to my private members group you can be sure of continued support.

Are your essential oils in the bottle what they say on the bottle?

When I first started learning about essential oils I realised it was a minefield out there with so many different choices it seemed impossible trying to figure out what the best one was to pick.  I also realised there was a lack of regulation so it was hard to sort the wheat from the chaff but I was realistic enough to realise that 10ml of lavender oil at £7.50 would not be worth buying.

I was prompted to write this after browsing an online shop for other items when I came across the fact they sold essential oils – £7 lavender was too cheap so I looked at the description and it was labelled 100% pure lavender oil – great you may think but no, read on and I will tell you more.

 It is estimated that 80% of essential oils are adulterated in some way either with pesticides or contaminants at distillation or being diluted so much so that the buyer at source may not even be aware and even if this is known lack of regulation means you the consumer don’t get what you think you are getting.  

There are several different methods of oil extraction some ensure purity and some methods mean solvent such as alcohol is left in the product.  For example real Rose Oil is extremely expensive.  It takes 242,000 rose petals to distill approximately 5 mL of rose oil making this an extremely costly oil to produce.  Rose Absolute that you may see labelled is a cheaper option but this is not a pure oil – it includes the solvent usually alcohol left at the end of the distillation process.  In fact some cheaper “rose oils” are in fact absolutes but poorly labelled.  This is the same for many of the expensive to produce flower oils.

And  in some distilleries or bottling plants  they will dilute the oil with some cheaper oil in order to maximise production but again you the consumer will often have little to no knowledge of this.

Going back to the lavender bottle – further giveaways that the aforementioned product might be less than pure were the words “for external use only”.  Lavender is a hugely beneficial plant internally yet this producer limits this as an option.  Why?  Further testing to achieve food grade is costly and that could be the reason they may argue but if the oil is pure why not embrace that.  So that definitely flags up concerns that it is not the purity that is suggested.

 The next thing I noticed on this other oil was the advice to avoid in pregnant women and babies – lavender oil is safe in both these groups and especially beneficial and the only reason to advise avoidance would be if the oil was not pure.  

I searched a long time to find oils that were good quality, ethical and fitted with my evidence based approach and doTerra oils do all that and so much more. All doTerra oils are batch tested and these are the tests carried out to ensure essential oil purity:

  1. Organoleptic testing
  2. Microbial testing
  3. Gas chromatography
  4. Mass spectrometry
  5. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
  6. Chirality testing
  7. Isotopic analysis
  8. Heavy metal testing

Plus doTerra employ a third party to carry out further tests and what is even more credible about this latter round of testing is that doTerra are the only company to allow this third party to publish their results to the public.  Therefore you can be guaranteed that what you are getting in the bottle is exactly what is on the outside of the bottle.

This is why doTerra can seem more expensive than other brands because what you are getting is the proper stuff, another point to touch on is the fact that doTerra not only pay farmers fair wages, they pay promptly and help them grow their businesses and communities by provide a whole lot of support – but that is for another time.

Next time you look to buy a bottle of essential oil think about what is in it please get in touch to learn more and join one of my free essential oils made easy classes. 

Do we need supplements?

So if you had asked me this 6 months ago I would have firmly said NO if you have a good balanced diet.  I ate a great diet, I was very nutritionally aware and incorporated daily the necessary food sources to accomplish that.  And as a vegan I didn’t take any vitamin B12 supplements either, prefering to source my requirements from nutritional yeast and yeast extract and my bloods were all easily in the right range and my vitamin B12 had actually increased since adopting my daily yeast consumption.  

So what changed? February I didn’t feel 100% – winter is never great for me and my Greek heritage, I need sunshine, anyway I noticed that a few people who had started on the supplements I sold without any recommendation from me I should add commented how much better they felt.  So I thought what the hell let’s give them a go!  With a 30 day money back guarantee I couldn’t exactly go wrong.  

Within 2 days I felt more energised and well, it was remarkable, now not everyone gets such an obvious response sometimes they don’t notice til they stop them thinking they are doing nothing and then wham they realise that they did and start back on them!  So I was pretty hooked but the medical side of me said did they actually match up?

I then, coincidentally, started my diploma in nutrition and so I went through the supplements I sell with a fine tooth comb and found that yes they in fact do!  

So why if I had this amazing diet did I benefit and don’t think it is because my vegan was not healthy -the science is there to prove that it is and I could wax lyrical about it but let’s stick to the case in point, so what I found from doing my nutrition diploma was that how our soil fertility has decreased massively and estimates are that within about 40 to 50 years the soil fertility will be completely eroded.   

Why is this? Well modern farming methods employ the use of tillage that is where you see those heavy ploughs going around and turning over the soil – what they actually do is only turn over the top 18 inches of soil and actually compact the area underneath.  This means that the biodiversity that we need in the soil to provide fertility is massively reduced because there’s only 18inches now because the underneath of it is compacted like concrete from the impact.  This also means that for this area of soil the rainwater can’t be absorbed in the field and is one of the contributing factors to the reason we have got so many flooded areas when we have periods of intense rain because the soil can’t drain away as the water is effectively lying on something akin to concrete.  This floodwater also washes away the nutrients in the soil.  It’s been proven that this intensive farming method actually yield less produce due to the reduced nutrients in the soil and reduced nutrients means less going into the fruit and vegetables that we actually eat. 

So what can we do?   Well, switch to organic produce yes but not all organic farmers employ no tillage methods and definitely look towards smaller farmers as well that will help the environment and your health.  Interestingly the no tillage methods are popular in the USA but the UK still slow to embrace the change.

What are these methods?

1. Continuous no or minimum mechanical soil disruption

2. Permanent mulch on soil surface to protect and feed soil life

3. Diversification of species – through rotational, sequences or associations

This combination promotes efficiency and resilience and profitability for max output with minimum input.

So what this means is that even with the best will in the world and adherence to good quality produce it is very likely we will still be lacking in essential nutrients plus our bodies are subjected to more toxins in the environment than ever before from the pollutants in daily life meaning that we need extra support than we can currently always get.  It would be great if we could all live somewhere by the sea or in the countryside breathing beautiful fresh air and eating from our gardens but that sadly isn’t  always possible and although, I grow a lot of my own stuff I live in a city centre subject to the air pollution plus the soil is poor quality from old building rubble.  And even if we are not lacking in nutrients (I wasn’t) stress and other factors that can affect our well-being all require a bit of a boost at times.

So supplements are worth having but not all supplements are created equally and for further investigation I decided to look at all the supplements that were for sale in a well known chain store and compare them.   So regulations state that as long as you have a certain level of ingredient in the supplement you can put that on the label and that doesn’t have to be the recommended daily allowance level.   Therefore, all multi-vitamin & mineral supplements are not created equal. I was quite shocked with the results.  

So let’s use Vit D3 as an example the recommended daily allowance is 600 international units daily for men and women rising to 800 international units for the over 70s the vast majority of these supplements had 400 IU or even less and I found one product only had 100 IUs in them.  

Yes I sell supplements and so I have a vested interest in promoting them but this is what I have come to learn after a lot of research, and a bit of eating of humble pie as I was totally and utterly against them.  

Get in touch if you would like to know more about the lifelong vitality pack and a 30 day money-back guarantee and feel free to do your own research and let me know your thoughts.

Lemon Kale Crisps

This is a great way to get kale into your diet – I have to confess I am not a fan of this excellent cruciferous vegetable that is so great for our health – but I sneak little bits in to my smoothies and I absolutely love it like this. I use seaweed flakes as a replacement for salt and sometimes i don’t bother with olive oil and just blend the lemon oil with water instead!

“Perception is a wish fulfilled”

“Perception is a wish fulfilled. Perception changes, made to take the place of changeless knowledge.  Yet is truth unchanged.”  A Course in Miracles  T-26. VII.3

I read this quote one morning in my daily reading of the spiritual text A Course in Miracles and it really got me thinking a lot about how this crazy time is perceived – how are you finding it?

I feel it is very important to focus on the positive aspects and there is actually many – for me I am quite enjoying myself – yes I am going to work as an ED doctor and dealing with all that entails.  But I am completely loving all the opportunities that this lockdown is presenting in the virtual world.

I am checking out a variety of yoga classes – which I would never be able to normally as they either are in the wrong location for me or the wrong time for my shifts.

I’m attending conferences and retreats I would not be able to normally as it is difficult to find people who are available to look after my doggies and with the special needs ones there is only a couple of people I trust with them.

It is also highlighting friendships as well – those you think are good friends haven’t actually been in touch for the entirety of lockdown but new friends have been formed with people you previously only had a light acquaintance with.  This is a common occurrence with many people I’ve spoken to and social groups will be altered after this for good but having a good tribe and people who care is actually vital for health and longevity so this changing dynamic is actually not a bad thing.

I’m seeing people develop new skills or hone others and turn hobbies into new businesses that they’ve previously only thought about.  People furloughed are working on the land – and helping literally feed the nation and taking opportunities to make this a rewarding experience and empowering themselves to go beyond their limits, face their fear and create something else.  

I’ve started doing more online workshops and embracing zoom and I’ve also been asked to do some online ones for other groups, organisations and businesses that I support and am passionate about supporting.

I also see the planet starting to recover – fish are now in the canals in Venice and air is clear in China, people are more mindful of their environment and those lives that live in it both human and animal.

Blown away by the gratitude shown to myself and colleagues for just doing our jobs.  

It is in many ways a whole new world with many aspects of it wonderful and with great opportunities for lives to be turned around.  Friends feel life is less stressful not having the commute to work and working from home, and enjoying the experience of having more time to actually sit back and smell the roses.  All those things that were on the list to be done are now being done, gardens being dug and vegetable and fruit seeds and plants sown. 

Don’t get me wrong I fully know there are many people and businesses that are not having a good time – jobs lost,income/takings down but there is a community spirit and a chance to take opportunities elsewhere.  

Whether this will all extend beyond lockdown I don’t know but we can but hope the planet gets to reap the benefit.  

For me and for many one of the many long lasting images of this pandemic will be the overwhelming amazement of what Captain Moore achieved with his 100 laps of his garden – he is a beacon of what is possible – and how if you put your mind to anything you can achieve great things.

The Healthful Doctor’s Guide to Better Sleep

Sleep or lack of must be the number one thing I hear troubling people – colleagues, patients, clients, friends – it plagues our daily lives and the awful thing is people consider it to be the normal and just accept it to be that way.

But it is not normal and sleep is essential for the immune system, daily repair of the body, stress management, physical activity and cognitive function and without this essential process then we can and do get sick and life becomes much harder.  In fact every organ is affected by poor sleep. Short term memory becomes long term during sleep as well.

I am always so jealous of my pets ability to sleep anywhere and be so chilled!

Approximately 1/3 of the population do not get enough sleep and there is actually lots you can do about poor sleep to make it better.   I speak from personal experience as my working hours means my body clock even on days off is all skew whiff and I struggle to get to bed early as I am not tired then and tend to get a second wind at about midnight.  On work days I can only get about 5 hours sleep due to daily life but I was struggling to get enough sleep as my dogs or the sunlight (or both ) wake me and I also found I was waking up during the night therefore minimising the quality of those precious 4 to 5 hours!  

We all know how awful we feel after a poor night’s sleep and how great we look and feel after a good one.  So why is it people don’t seek help? I actually don’t know the answer so please tell me below if you can? Does it just sort itself out as many people think?

It certainly didn’t with me until I made a lot of changes to my sleep habits and made it better.  I spent a lot of time working out what would help gathering all the information I could find.  Everything helped make my sleep a bit more comfortable and blissful but it wasn’t until I have the essential oils I was using with my dogs are go that things started to make more massive improvements. And the real game-changer was having a diffuser in my bedroom and a tranquil blend of essential oils whether that is keeping me asleep or the dogs is anyone’s guess (although to be fair to my canine companions when I did wake they were always still and sleeping! Of course they make have been faking but I’m pretty sure they weren’t lol!)

There are a number of things you can do and as I said these all contributes well and work synergistically together.

Start off with a comfortable environment – clear clutter, comfy mattress, pillows and bedding. Make sure you can keep your room dark when you need to sleep – we are very sensitive to light and other environmental elements that affect sleep. No exposure to blue light as that activates the retinas and so activates the brain letting you think that it is time to wake up – so remove phones, tablets, TVs from your room and no checking them if you wake up during your sleep time.

Stop eating 3-4 hours before bed and choose low protein for your last meal, high carb is fine as it takes less energy to digest – simple carbs not refined ones!  Stay away from fats because they require a lot of enzymes to digest and the energy released into the circulation keeps us away.  

Add Serenity essential oils to the soles of your feet, chest and back of neck for relaxation and calming, take a Serenity Softgel capsule to further promote a restful night’s sleep. 

Use a diffuser at night to keep you enveloped in the tranquil aroma of Serenity Blend and your dogs or children if you co-sleep!

To learn more about how to get better sleep – join my online workshop – see events for more info

Online Introduction to Essential Oils & Natural Health

Ticket Link

Are you looking for ways to support your health naturally and keep your immune system in good working order?

Do you want to improve your energy, vitality and mood?

Are you keen to have less aches and pains and improved skin and gut health?

Would you like to replace all toxic household cleaning and personal care products with natural products that are safe for you and the enviroment?

Would you like to be able to help you and your children stay calm and focussed and to sleep better?

You will gain all this and more when you come and learn about the magic and alchemy of pure, indigenously sourced, ethical and sustainable essential oils with Dr Hélène Svinos

There will be the opportunity to buy doTerra oils at wholesale prices which includes a FREE one on one Lifestyle Overview from Hélène.

Introduction to Essential Oils & Natural Health

Online Event

Ticket Link

Are you looking for ways to support your health naturally and keep your immune system in good working order?

Do you want to improve your energy, vitality and mood?

Are you keen to have less aches and pains and improved skin and gut health?

Would you like to replace all toxic household cleaning and personal care products with natural products that are safe for you and the enviroment?

Would you like to be able to help you and your children stay calm and focussed and to sleep better?

You will gain all this and more when you come and learn about the magic and alchemy of pure, indigenously sourced, ethical and sustainable essential oils with Dr Hélène Svinos

There will be the opportunity to buy doTerra oils at wholesale prices which includes a FREE one on one Lifestyle Overview from Hélène.

March For Fitness

I’ve had a bit of a blogging delay – but I’ve been doing lots behind the scenes! Not least in the middle of my Plant Based Health Professionals Nutrition Diploma which I am loving. I’ve also been creating workshops – although now online ones due to the COVID-19 situation. See events tab for information.

Anyway here we are in March and March’s theme is all about being active and getting fit.  We are not meant to be sedentary beings, in the last century ill health and obesity have dramatically increased as technology has grown. Lives are lived in buildings and vehicles with the air being breathed via air-conditioning and no exposure to nature and the probiotics present out in the soil and trees etc. If you are not used to exercise or have been ill and immobile then it can seem such a huge mountain but it literally is one step at a time. Walk 10m, the next day walk 11, etc. Start and build up slowly and surely.  Information gained by studying the @bluezones shows just how important physical exercise is for maintaining a healthy lifespan. 

Movement encourages the synovial fluid in the joints to lubricate the surfaces. Ever wondered how you can feel stiff in the joints and then once moving it improves? Same with stiff and sore muscles, movement will encourage the muscles to relax and ease up therefore reducing pain and stiffness.

Daily exercise improves blood flow and cardiovascular health – it doesn’t have to be a hard run. A 30 minute walk is massively beneficial, also get out in the fresh air, enjoy the sounds of nature and soak up the benefits of sunlight on vitamin D in the body. Not only will that be better for the health of your bones, natures sounds have been proven to help us relax so leave the head phones at home. Wherever you live find a park or open space where you can enjoy this time – explore your local area, who knows what you may find just yesterday I found a little community garden just two streets away from where I live – a lovely little space of grass and shrubs and trees.

There are so many benefits from regular exercise – most people probably associate it with good cardiovascular health but did you know it is also protective against cancer and many other detrimental physiological processes.  

Studies have shown that regular exercise decreases the risk of at least 13 cancers.  It decreases insulin resistance, decreases oestrogen levels, decreases inflammation, improves immune function and decreases cancer recurrence.

As a general guide you should aim for about 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week but daily is even better. 

As always get in touch and let me know your thoughts and please reach out if you would like some advice on attaining your fitness goals.

Helene x

If you would like to keep up with my monthly email of news and events please consider joining my mailing list.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.