Overfed and Undernourished

I have wanted to write this blog for a while now. Since watching Jason Vale’s documentary “Super Juice Me” (twice!) [1], I have been completely open to understanding that we need to increase nutrients and decrease toxicity in order to drastically improve our health. This blog is largely a summary of what I’ve taken on board from watching the documentary, so I have Jason to thank for this blog.

The cases of chronic disease are increasing and we are seeing more cancer and more diabetes than ever before. Jason likens our bodies and lifestyle to a fish swimming in a bowl of clean and nutrient-rich water. But, the water becomes polluted with greasy, fatty, sugary foods. Our bodies have a natural filtration system that can deal with a little bit of almost anything, but if the pollution is continual and starts to increase, our bodies start to struggle. Disease sets in. Symptoms are a warning sign that something is wrong and that something needs to change. So now imagine the fish swimming around in the dirty water, it is feeling down, ill, lethargic, depressed. What would you do? Clean the water of course! But generally, we don’t. Instead we go to the doctor who will treat the symptoms with more pollution: medicine. And so the problems go on. In many cases the medicine gets rid of some symptoms only to create new ones. Jason isn’t against medical intervention (and neither am I), but what we need to do is pay more attention to the cause, rather than the symptoms. What we need is a lifestyle change.

ID-100111764It is so true that the effect of convenience is disease. Our busy lives leave little time and so it is easier to buy those ready meals, the processed food that is quick to warm up and eat, the snacks, the biscuits, the crisps, the chocolate bars etc. We are so removed from real foods that we don’t know what we are eating. Healthy eating is a commitment, but it is a commitment worth making: the key to good health is through what we eat. I recently saw this quote on Twitter which sums up nicely: “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to make time for illness”.

When observing an overweight, obese person, the last word that springs to mind is “starving” yet this is what is happening: our bodies are literally starving of nutrients. We are overfed and undernourished. The big food industry wants to make money, so they add salt, sugar, fat and other additives to the food to make it taste great, so we buy them again. However these additives are highly addictive. Manipulating foods in this way creates a false hunger: the hunger point cut off is switched off and so we eat more and more leading to weight gain, raised blood pressure, raised sugar levels, lethargy (the list goes on). Clever marketing can even promote some of these foods as “healthy”. We need to get back to eating real foods, foods that are not made in a factory, foods that don’t come out of a packet, foods that are whole. As Jason describes them: low human intervention (HI) foods.

Jason talks about his theory of one disease: inflammation. Jason believes that largely, chronic diseases are caused by inflammation. Toxins cause injury, injury creates inflammation.

The overall message is that we need to improve our nutrient intake and reduce toxicity. This is where juicing is such a revolution, and why Jason is so passionate about it.  By adding just one or two juices a day to an already balanced diet of low HI foods can increase nutrient levels enormously. It is a great way to “clean the terrain where our cells bathe” i.e. clean the water in the fish bowl. [1] Goodbye to the meagre 5-a-day. We can start eating all those nutritious vegetables that we don’t particularly like, because juicing broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, celery, with a piece of ginger, or some apple, makes them taste great!

Let’s do this now, let’s not wait for the time when it might be too late. Let’s flood our cells with nutrients, let’s get healthy.

[1] Jason Vale: Jason wasn’t always slim and healthy; he used to suffer from severe psoriasis, eczema, asthma, hay fever and obesity. He used to smoke 2 – 3 packets of cigarettes a day and drank very heavily, drinking up to 14 pints of lager a day. He has used juicing as the main tool to clear his skin, drop the weight and free himself of illness.

http://www.superjuiceme.com/

http://www.juicemaster.com/who-is-the-juice-master

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Perimenopause : an overview

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is when the body begins preparation for the stage in life where child bearing will not be the biological focus. This usually happens in a woman’s 40s and is a gradual build-up to menopause, when the menstrual cycle ceases completely. Perimenopause starts with a gradual decline in progesterone and can cause some of the following symptoms:

  • Weight gain
  • Cracked, dry or loose skin (caused by less collagen)
  • Low sex drive and/or more difficulty reaching orgasm
  • Anxiety
  • Tearfulness (especially week before period)
  • Restless sleep
  • Increased menstrual cramps
  • Night sweats [1]

These uncomfortable symptoms are because the body is trying to adjust to the relative oestrogen excess.

Not only do the sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) have to make the transition, so do other hormones. For example, cortisol levels (a stress hormone) will increase, and insulin resistance can be more common. Because of this, it is vitally important to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to find ways of managing and/or coping with stress.

Before menopause, the ovaries are the major oestrogen secretors. However, as they become less active during perimenopause and menopause, the balance shifts until finally around half of the body’s oestrogen and progesterone is made in the adrenal glands. If stress levels are high, the adrenal glands will always prioritise the secretion of the stress hormones over the creation of sex hormones. Thus, finding ways of lowering stress will ensure the adequate amount of sex hormones is produced in a woman’s body in her 40s and beyond, maintaining balance.[1]

In addition, the body might look elsewhere for oestrogen once the ovaries start to slow down. This could easily lead to weight gain because fat cells are a key source of oestrogen storage. Furthermore, if a woman is already obese before menopause then the fat cells may create too much oestrogen in comparison to progesterone, leading to increased oestrogen dominance. [1]

Oestrogen dominance is also likely during prolonged periods of stress. This is because the stress hormone cortisol competes with progesterone. Thus progesterone levels decrease, inducing an imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone. [2] Signs of decreased progesterone, and oestrogen dominance, are:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irregular or otherwise absent periods
  • Bloating
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Mood swings (irritability and/or depression)
  • Weight gain (particularly abdomen and hips)
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headaches, especially pre-menstrual [3]

ImageHow to cope

Find ways of managing/coping with stress that work for you. Ideas: regular reflexology or massage treatments, daily meditation, regular exercise, better time management, spending more time outdoors, spending time with animals/nature, keeping a diary or journal.

Eat a healthy balanced diet. Try to avoid white, refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cake and biscuits. Make a switch to fresh vegetables, white meat and fish, pulses and whole grains.

Switch to organic. Eating organically can be expensive; if you cannot afford to go completely organic, try to avoid the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen”. This means if nothing else, always buy the following as organic produce (or avoid altogether): apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, peppers, kale and courgettes. The EWG’s “Clean 15” is a list which can be classed as “safe non-organic”: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, melon, sweetcorn, aubergine, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, mushrooms, onions, papaya, pineapple, frozen peas, sweet potatoes. [4]

Reduce use of stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol. Stimulants send the body’s hormones on a roller-coaster ride of high peaks followed by low drops creating a multitude of problems including cravings and fatigue.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t eliminate everything from your diet and make yourself miserable. Allow yourself that morning coffee; enjoy a piece of cake once a week; switch to a darker variety of chocolate with less sugar; enjoy a weekend glass of wine.

References

[1] Is it me or my hormones? by Marcelle Pick 2013

[2] The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford 2004

[3] The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr. Christiane Northrup 2009

[4] Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net