I shout at the TV a lot because adverts drive me bonkers. If it’s not the Actimel ads promoting friendly gut bacteria (despite the products containing high levels of sugar that actually feeds bad bacteria), it’s the cosmetic adverts promoting youth as if being a woman past 35 is something to be ashamed of. And don’t get me started on the shaving adverts…
But there is one type of advert that makes me fume above all others. And that’s acid ingestion and heartburn adverts.
Many of us know acid related indigestion, heartburn or dyspepsia from first-hand experience. The assumption is that there is always too much acid in the stomach. The adverts with the cartoon firemen soothing away the burning fire in our guts only reinforce that 'heartburn = too much acid'.
But here’s the problem....
This week, Twitter has been awash with concerns about the winner of the popular US show The Biggest Loser, Rachel Frederickson, and her extreme weight loss.
Rachel began the show at 260 pounds (18st 5) and this week at the finale she weighed in at a staggering 105 pounds (7st 5). At 5’4, this is seriously tiny!
I do not like shows like the Biggest Loser. I do like what they represent.
I do not like what they are telling us; that weight loss is everything and it doesn’t matter how you do it – whether its spending all day exercising, working out when you’re injured or dehydrating yourself before weigh ins – as long as you get skinny you will be successful.
Erm, hang on a minute, what about the contestants' health? What is this doing to their bodies? Season 3 Biggest Loser finalist, Kai...
One of the biggest things I go on about in my clinic is getting clients to eat more fruit and vegetables. And I always recommend organic.
Unfortunately our intensively farmed, pesticide treated soils aren’t what they used to be. Fruit and veg no longer contain the levels of the oh-so-important vitamins and minerals that we need to keep our bodies doing their thing, and this is contributing to the increase in illness and disease that we are experiencing.
I also hear it's not always possible to eat a 100% organic lifestyle, and so I read with interest the study by Americas Environmental Working Group (EWG) who buy a load of fruit and veg each year and analyse the pesticide content to identify the good, the bad and the ugly.
Introducing the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and the ‘Clean Fifteen’. A guide...
Ever woken up feeling stuck to the pillow? Lethargic, headache-y, thinking you’re getting a cold and feeling really grumpy about it? Then you may have an imbalance with your endocrine system.
This is my absolute favourite topic. Yes, its up there with bowel movements as my ‘most talked about subject’ because nearly everyone I meet can relate to having a run down endocrine system.
The endocrine system sends messages all around our bodies to keep everything ticking along nicely. One of our most important glands is the adrenals. These triangle-shaped glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce our fight or flight response. It's the burst of adrenaline when we are nervous or excited that gives us the butterflies in our belly.
In today’s ridiculous routines, we pretty much all live off...
“Now the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse”
Well the Verve could be right.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have revealed today that "common painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol and triptans could actually be the cause of the headaches" rather than relieving them.
This can be explained because drugs, including medication, are a toxic substance that need to be eliminated by the liver. A headache is a common symptom of an overworked liver - as many are aware after a heavy night out. The headache becomes more severe the more medication is consumed.
Dr Manjit Matharu of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery says:
"The number of people who have ‘medication overuse headaches’ are one in 50, so that is approximately a million people...
When I first met my partner he didn’t know how much his life was going to change.
He never imagined that I would move in with 4 million shoes and totally take over his spare room. He didn’t plan on fitting a special drinking water filter in the kitchen and he certainly didn’t know how many supplements he would be eating on a daily basis.
“A Kinesiologist? What’s that then?” he asked politely on our first date.
“Well it’s a bit like seeing a chiropractor, nutritionist, acupuncturist and counsellor all rolled into one” I explained.
After only a week together he came into my clinic. He had been suffering with a painful lower back for many years. He’d had surgery to remove discs L4-5 two years previously and had noticeable Lordosis.
We never make promises in the clinic. Each case is...
Hello my name is Laura and I am a reformed cakeoholic. I absolutely adore cake. Homemade, sticky, stodgy, sweet, delicious, naughty, full of raisins lardy cake has always been an deep guilty pleasure. It takes great willpower to stay away from the cake counter in tea shops and for me to utter the words ‘Just a herbal tea for me please’.
And I am not alone. We are a nation of cakeoholics and its becoming a real problem. Figures now show that there are now 2.8million diabetes sufferers in the UK, that’s an increase of 50% in just 6 years.
In type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to produce any insulin. It usually starts in childhood or young adulthood. In type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced or the insulin that is made by the body doesn’t work properly. Those at risk of type 2 are...
I am a teenager of the 90s. I have the photos of bad perms, red lipstick, waistcoats and enormous glasses to prove it.
Aged 13 I was a cross between Deidre Barlow and Napoleon Dynamite much to my friends and family’s amusement. I grew up with New Kids on the Block, a Nintendo GameBoy and rubbish Australian soap operas.
I also grew up with girls' mags such as Just 17 and More. I remember being quite into More Magazine mainly because of the rude bit at the back. Position of the Fortnight and Sex Tips kept me rather entertained (even though at 15 the only way I spiced up my bedroom was putting up a new poster of Christian Slater.)
This was my first introduction to sex and it was the closest thing I had to a ‘how to’ guide. I read it religiously. Fast forward 18 years, a load of failed...
Claire, her daughter and I are in Sweden on a bit of a jolly. We’ve come over to a tiny little island called Branno with no cars and a population of 800 residents to visit our friend. Louisa had an emotional shift a few months ago which she was unsure how to deal with and therefore we, her women, booked a flight and came over. We’re a bit like the A-Team.
For thousands of years women have gathered together to support one another, it’s something we instinctively want to do. Today women tend to get together to just gossip. Although it is clearly important to discuss what is happening in Peter Andre’s life or what one should wear at next weeks' do, it doesn’t really nourish our soul. When we create a circle and are able to be truly open, honest and vulnerable about what is really going on...
Do you know what I really fancy writing about? How vegetables look like our bits. OK hear me out. This is something I have recently discovered thanks to the Wellness Uncovered Health Forum and it made me smile so I wanted to share it.
It’s called the Doctrine of Signatures – a philosophy shared by herbalists and nutritionists that states that herbs, plants and vegetables resemble the various parts of the body they heal. Nature is literally trying to communicate what we need.
A sliced carrot looks like the human eye. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and help improve eye sight.
Tomatoes have chambers and are red. So have our hearts. Tomatoes and their seeds are proven to improve blood flow and heart health.
If you crack open a walnut it looks like a little brain. Walnuts are...
I was so angry yesterday. I watched ‘This Morning’ and the fantastic interview with Emer O’Toole discussing a topic very dear to my heart – to shave or not to shave, a women’s decision to grow her own body hair. After the feature I witnessed the most ridiculously negative onslaught at this gorgeous woman via social media. It was like the UK had turned into a bunch of pitchfork-welding villagers. I was waiting for someone to start chanting ‘burn her’ like some crazy Monty Python sketch.
Seriously I was livid… over a bit of body fluff.
Anger, as an emotion, is new to me. My raging fires had died out so long ago that I stopped experiencing anger altogether. Nothing and no one could hack me off, I was such a ‘nice’ person. And then I discovered that I was denying an incredibly important part...
I have fallen in love. With a very hot, half-naked, sword-wielding gladiator off the telly. Claire, her Husband and I have spent the last few weeks working our way through all the episodes from the SKY programme Spartacus. It’s meant to be a historical representation of the Roman Empire, but it’s actually a brilliant excuse for a lot of sex, violence and beautiful, slow motion camera work. We love it.
I have my favourite gladiator – Gannicus. And Claire has hers. Spartacus. But not the one in the latest series. Her favourite is played by the actor Andy Whitfield from the first series. Strikingly beautiful, deep voiced, brooding looks, incredibly fit. What is so shocking about watching this wonderful actor is that he died of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September last year, aged 39.
We were on holiday in Egypt on a yoga vacation. Claire had recently discovered Kundalini yoga with her husband and asked if I wanted to join her for her daily set.
On our first evening we discovered the empty open-air yoga studio overlooking the beach. Claire was doing a 40 day tantric set to open the heart centre, which at the time didn’t mean a great deal to me but I was up for giving it a go.
We started with a bit of chanting and then went on to do a full-on exercise set whilst listening to some energetic yoga music. I was there to join in, get bendy and try something new. But as we lay down for relaxation I was in bits. I was teary, emotional and charged up and I didn’t know why. After the meditation I felt that I had really been through something powerful. Later in the week I...
Spring has sprung. 'Oh sun in the sky, blossom on the trees, you know how I feel'... Forget the ‘after Christmas bloats’ in January – spring is the perfect time to cleanse ourselves and detox.
I have tried so many weird and wonderful detoxes in my time, from gall bladder cleansing, colonic therapy, fasts to 40 day mono diets - it’s almost a rite of passage when becoming a naturopath, I believe. And although I’m now much tamer with my detox experiments, I still see the purpose and value of a ruddy good clear out.
We are the first generation to be exposed to such a high level of man-made chemicals on a daily basis. Synthetic chemicals are everywhere – in the air we breathe, food, drinking water, carpets, wall paint, foam filled furniture and household products. We smoke, drink alcohol, eat...
I am solar powered. I know I am. The sun came out the other day and I ditched my mountain of work, sprawled out on a blanket in just my pants and enjoyed it. Heaven. Spring is coming and I am so ready for it. The sun makes me feel energised, light and happy and it's magic vitamin D that I have to thank.
Ah vitamin D. You’ve become quite a celebrity recently. You seem to be in every health story I read. The majority of the vitamin D created in our bodies comes from exposure to sunlight and after years of slapping on the factor 50 and worrying about skin cancer, it would appear we have all become D deficient.
Vitamin D is vital for the health of the body and is responsible for healthy immune systems, regulating inflammation, serotonin production and calcium absorption. A deficiency in...
I can’t sleep.
Claire, my business partner, can’t sleep.
I’m waiting for the time when we call each other at 3 in the morning for a chat. You see, our beloved business has taken on a new direction and new energy and we’re just way too excited to sleep. Whirling minds, a rather large to-do list and a brand new clinic are keeping us awake in the small hours and creating lovely bags under our eyes. Always a good look for a pair of health professionals.
When sleep problems and insomnia symptoms present in the clinic, I consider a number of different sources (new wallpaper in the waiting room isn’t always to blame).
In Chinese Five Element Theory, waking in the night at a certain time can indicate a meridian imbalance with an organ or an emotion that is difficult to deal with.
I read something crazy this weekend. Doctors have made an incredible discovery – apparently Special K cures depression! No, not the Kellogg's cereal. Special K is a nickname for ketamine, the general anesthetic and recreational hallucinogenic common on the drug scene.
The researchers at the Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, Texas, have discovered that ketamine produces rapid relief for severely depressed patients. Well yes I bet it does. Ketamine is an anesthetic – it's designed to numb the body and mind. Ketamine users describe the experience ‘as if the mind and body have been separated’ – does this sound like a cure for depression? Detaching from reality? What happens when the drug wears off? Back to square one. I understand that for someone on suicide-watch, ketamine could be a...
Aren’t breasts wonderful? I mean really. Boobies. Babylons. Bazongas. Breasticles. Baps. They, and all the ridiculously creative words used to describe them, simply are the best. Curvy, round, splendid parts of our bodies that symbolise womanhood, motherhood and sexuality. I salute you.
I felt the time was right to discuss our wondrous mammary hillocks (I discovered that phrase in an erotic fiction once and never forgot it) thanks to an interesting piece of research I saw today. Also, a blog post that has the words boobies in it apparently gets more readers - I wonder if that’s true…
Anyway, the researchers at the University of Reading have been studying breasts and in particular breast cancer and have found traces of parabens in the tissue of tumours. Parabens are chemical preservatives...
I feel like a big lump of lard. This should not be happening. I am a fabulous kinesiologist, nutritionist and yoga teacher. Surely fit and healthy, spiritually evolved people (ahem) don’t feel like giant lumps?
Well, apparently they do when they completely let go over the Christmas holidays, ignore all their nutrition knowledge and eat double their body weight in cheese, biscuits and Cadburys Roses.
And here it is. January. The month sent to punish us for our chocolate sins. When the weather is blowing a hoolie, New Year's resolutions are making us miserable, the detox has begun and we’re back at work. What a bummer.
Okay, so how can we cheer ourselves up? Here are my six top tips for surviving January:
1. Everyone likes to detox in January and this is all well and good - giving...
I’ve always been a bit scabby if I’m honest. Puberty kicked in at 13 and so did a face full of spots and a delightfully embarrassing flaky scalp. Head and Shoulders didn’t shift it, Medicated Tar Shampoo that stank to high heaven didn’t shift it, throwing a huge tantrum before school definitely didn’t shift it and much to my dismay, moving out of my terrible teens and into my 20s didn’t shift it either.
I’ve spent years brushing off my shoulders, avoiding black tops and spending a fortune on a rather glamorous hat collection (it wasn’t all bad.) So it is with ridiculous joy that I hear my faithful hairdresser say to me today, ‘your scalp is as clear as whistle’.
I love my hairdresser. Craig has been with me 7 good years. It's one of the longest and most committed relationships I’ve ever...
I’m sat in bed stewing over my stressed pregnant friend. A brave, clever, dynamic woman who is risking it all to set up a business and invest everything she has financially and emotionally to make it happen. We speak almost daily, we talk about pretty much everything – business, food, sex, Christmas trees, the important stuff. And each day I hear her cramming work in to the few precious hours she has before the babysitter goes home and mothering duties take over. And I hear her ridiculously high stress levels, I hear her worry, the constant planning and analysing, I hear the exhaustion and I feel powerless to do anything about it.
Stress is the single biggest cause of disease in the country. Human beings are not designed to take on the levels of chronic, constant stress that we experience...
Tonight I am teaching my first yoga class as part of Balanced Wellness. I’ve been teaching yoga for a number of years in London, but this is the first of many weekly classes I will be giving in Portsmouth and I’m excited.
I got up early this morning to get on to my yoga mat. It’s a fluffy sheepskin rug rather than a traditional yoga mat - I am a Kundalini yoga teacher and we prefer natural fibres to sit on, which help ground and centre us.
Tonight I am teaching one of my favourite kriyas, the kriya for the immune system and thymus. It’s perfect for Autumn time, has a wonderful mix of spinal flexes, backward bends and twists. I always feel marvellous afterwards. So I settle on to my yoga mat, close my eyes and come home to myself.
Much of Kundalini happens with the eyes shut. So we are...
I am an aunty.
On 14th October 2011 my baby sister had a baby. He’s a gorgeous little man and I’m totally smitten.
When my sister told me she was pregnant in February, I offered my skills as a nutritionist to help her stay healthy. I am ridiculously passionate about supporting the body during pregnancy. It’s got a huge job to do. The woman’s body is actually producing another person! This miracle never fails to amaze me. The body is incredibly clever and will prioritise during pregnancy. It will put the baby first before the mother, so often deficient mothers will suffer with health problems during and after pregnancy whilst the child remains healthy.
My sister was great. She followed the plan I gave her, she had a fantastic pregnancy, a healthy baby and she’s now healthy during...
Claire and I were talking the other day about celebrities. I asked her, ‘If you could get anyone on your couch, who would it be?’ Claire said Adele.
‘She always has throat problems and laryngitis so is constantly cancelling her tours. She also struggles with giving up smoking which will be trashing that gorgeous voice of hers. I reckon I can help support her immune system as well as help her give up smoking.’ Good answer. What about me? Who do I want on my couch?
Katie Price. Every day of the week. The woman fascinates me. I am so intrigued by her. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion, I can’t turn away. I wonder what she is like in person, I also have a suspicion that her health is in a terrible state. When everyone’s out of the house and I’m alone with Sky1, a bag of raisins...
I was invited round for dinner by some gorgeous friends of mine this week. They have a regular dinner club and I’m feeling rather privileged to make the cut and join them. As always, I get the question ‘what do you eat?’
Hmm, good question. Over the last 20 years, I have had some weird and wonderful eating habits. In my teens, I was a so called vegetarian, eating nothing but cheese. When I discovered the wonderful world of nutrition I became incredibly strict, cutting out pretty much everything except brown rice and vegetables. Then I became a raw foodist, a vegetable juicer, a blood group dieter, a pescatarian. I’ve cut out wheat, dairy, sugar, processed food - you name it, I’ve tried it.
Now? Well now I’d say I’m pretty balanced (goes with the brand name). I stay clear of wheat and...
I woke up this morning surrounded by mess.
Clothes on the floor, overflowing boxes stacked by the wall, half packed suitcases everywhere. Who would have thought I owned so much stuff. I’m moving house next week, giving up my little rented flat in Haslemere to move back to Portsmouth to be closer to the clinic. I lay in bed ignoring the mess. If I ignore it maybe it’ll go away.
I’ve always loved a bit of denial and avoidance. Denial had always been one of my favourite places to be. Warm and comfy, I was the queen of ignoring the giant elephant-sized issue in the room. However, ignoring them never made them go away. In fact, elephant issues fester and have a habit of mutating, so by the time you finally get round to addressing them they have become nasty, complicated bad boys that have...
I love a good log.
I love chocolate logs, I love tree logs, I love Startrek captains logs. But most of all I love a good bowel log.
It's the holy grail of health. The first question I ask my clients in clinic, how are your bowel movements. I usually get the answer ‘normal’. Always worrying. Normal in this country is once a week. Ouch. What I’m looking for from a healthy bowel is everytime food goes in, food goes out.
So if you’re eating 3 meals a day you should be logging 3 times a day. And when I say logging I mean a good brown solid log. Not rabbit droppings (hmm sounds like a grumbly liver) or cracked and broken (dehydration or maybe lack of oils) I’m smiling to myself whilst writing this. It amazes me how happy I am writing about poo.
Anyway, why have a good log? Because...
Laura Knowles is a Nutritionist, Kinesiologist, and Yoga Teacher at the Balanced Wellness Clinic in Havant near Portsmouth. Loves blogging about the really important stuff - life, love, vitamins and poo.See my profile