I spent way too many years thinking that I was prone to certain illnesses and infections. That's just me, I thought. Well, it turns out that it wasn't "me" after all. With a few key changes and a healthy lifestyle, those chronic infections and constant health issues have gone away.
I am constantly studying and researching natural health and nutrition, and I love to figure out realistic ways to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into my busy, modern life. Then I love to share the information that I have learned. You've probably seen how I try to make everything as simple as possible, and that's exactly what I've done with this FREE guide!
I have put together 6 steps to boost your immune system and start fighting infections in the FREE 12 Week Immune Boosting Guide.
In This Guide:
The most important thing you can do is start where you are - little changes over time make a huge impact!
Join our Facebook community to grab your Free 12 Week Immune Boosting Guide:
We all think we know what Collagen is all about. Wrinkles, of course (or lack thereof) !
What if I told you there is so much more to it?
I have been doing some research into this amazing protein, and I have to tell you:
Collagen is NOT only skin deep. In fact, Collagen is an imperative protein for a healthy, functioning body.
Our bodies are constantly in a cycle of Collagen production and breakdown, but from around age 20, our production begins decreasing by 1% per year! Unfortunately, even though we are producing less Collagen, our bodies continue to breakdown the same amount of Collagen as before... And this is why we age.
So what can we do about this?
Firstly, we can do our best to have a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet, rich in antioxidants, plenty of water, less stress, and more sleep will all help our bodies to protect and maintain what little Collagen we have left.
Secondly, we can supplement. Old-school collagen supplementation involves drinking bone broth, but I prefer a more convenient alternative. My favourite Collagen supplement contains FIVE types of Collagen. Most other supplements only contain two or three types. The Collagen is bioactive, and readily absorbed by your body. It is also contains vitamins A & C, selenium and zinc, which are vital components in Collagen production and protection against free radicals.
My biggest concern when we decided to limit our dairy intake was how we were going to get enough probiotics in our diet. I started researching, and was terribly disappointed with the options. Most involved fermented vegetables or soy, and I have already discovered that I am not a fan of the taste of these options! When eating dairy, I had my daily bowl of yoghurt or added yoghurt to my smoothie, so I was looking for something more tasty and easy to incorporate into our lives.
Then I discovered water kefir. Water kefir is a fermented sugar water. The fermentation process uses up most or all of the sugar, so the result is fermented water that provides essential probiotics without any fuss.
To make anything fermented, including water kefir, you need a starter culture. You can buy water kefir "grains" online, and if you take care of them, they'll last forever, so it's not a big expense at all.
Traditionally, water kefir goes through two fermentations. The first one is where the probiotic action takes place. The second one is an optional fermentation to infuse a flavour and to create carbonation, as water kefir on its own is almost tasteless. The second fermentation isn't truly necessary, and the carbonation introduces a risk of explosion, so I decided to just skip that part. After all, I can just mix my water kefir with juice, greens, or add it to my smoothies, so what do I need the flavour and carbonation for? I decided that I'd prefer to skip the trial and error part where you're cleaning up shattered glass from carbonation gone wrong.
So, here is my streamlined, easy and convenient Water Kefir method. Enjoy!
20g/1 Tablespoon Water Kefir grains (I use these)
1 Tablespoon organic cane sugar
500ml filtered or boiled water
Metal can react with the water kefir and grains, which is why I use clean, sterilised glass and plastic for fermentation and storage. However, water kefir is very hardy, so don't be afraid of it ever coming into contact with metal for short periods of time - for example, in your blender when you're making smoothies with the water kefir.
By now, you've probably realised that Brandon and I are in the process of switching to a plant-based diet. I've tried and failed many times in the past to be a vegetarian. In hindsight, there was a lack of planning, support and conviction behind it, and that was the reason for my failure.
One morning, a few weeks ago, I said to Brandon, "I wish you and I could be vegetarians, but that will never happen." And Brandon, very surprisingly, replied, "I'm willing to be a vegetarian, as long as we figure out how to have variety [in our menu]." That was a turning point for us, because Brandon has always been a proud carnivore who could "never" live without meat.
I have to tell you something. It's been unbelievably easy this time around. With the support of my husband and our shared efforts with meal planning, our diet has become almost completely plant-based in the space of a few short weeks.
A few things to note (aka "Ways we've made a plant-based diet more difficult for ourselves"):
- We avoid "fake meats." If you're less fussy than us, you can almost directly switch your menu by replacing meat with these. Our reason for avoiding them is that we are aiming to have a wholefood, healthy diet and we feel that those "meats" are very processed.
- We avoid canned and bottled foods and sauces, because we are concerned about the leached chemicals from cans, and the high amounts of sodium and sugar in canned and bottled foods and sauces. That being said, it's still better than takeaways, so having a few quick and easy options in the cupboard will help when you're too tired or too busy to cook a meal from scratch. We all need to do what we feel is doable for ourselves.
- We have been aiming for a lower carb, gluten free menu. We're not 100% gluten-free and low carb, but we aim for healthier alternatives to bread, pasta, potatoes and white rice. As far as possible, we use quinoa, long grain brown rice, green pea pasta, steel cut oats, and root vegetables like sweet potatoes, butternut and beetroot.
This is what we've done to make the switch:
Our next challenge is to cut out cheese and eggs. We've already started trying out some vegan cheeses, but so far, we haven't found our happy place with that. I strongly believe that in order to make this a full and permanent lifestyle change, we need to actually enjoy what we eat and drink, so I will keep looking for a cheese alternative/replacement that I can get excited about!
Now, I need to tell you something. Vegans can be a bit hectic. I avoid following their pages on social media, because a lot of vegans like to use the shock factor to convince you to stop eating meat. I will never be like that. I can't stomach those images and haven't watched any of those vegan documentaries.
This is a video that has inspired me, and reminded me that we have made the right decision. I promise, it is just informative, and contains no sensitive images. You can even watch it with your children, if you want.
Click here to learn more about how we can save the planet by switching to a plant-based diet.
Have you thought of selecting your very own 2018 word?
I have never picked a word of the year before, so the concept is still a bit new to me. The idea is to choose a word that resonates with you, something that perhaps depicts your goal for the new year or the direction that you are planning on taking.
Choosing a word might be really easy for you! Some of my friends picked their words quickly and easily - I suppose they were fully organised with their New Year's Resolutions, too, and the word just tied in perfectly. For those of us who need a bit of help, I've got a free worksheet to help you choose the perfect word, which will be your special reminder throughout 2018 to stay on track and maintain focus on your goals!
My word for 2018 is DREAM. It may seem like a cliche choice, but the word resonates with me on many levels. As you know, I started my home-based business this year so that I could change the direction that my life was heading. I realised that I had dreams and goals, but that my daily actions (including my career) were not taking me on that path.
"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are headed." - Lao Tzu
This has become my mantra. I have very specific goals, and it's time that my actions lined up with my dreams. So, my husband and I have made a DREAM BOARD for 2018, and my word for the year ties in with that. I will dare to DREAM, and I will be brave enough to act on those dreams, so that they can and will come true!
If you would like to pick your word for 2018, join our Facebook Group - you can find the worksheet in the files, and I would love to hear what word you choose!
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Soak almonds in filtered water for about 24 hours. I like to leave them in a bowl in the fridge. I also rinse the almonds and replace the water about every 8 hours, just to keep them fresh. You'll notice the almonds swelling as they soak up the water.
What to do with the leftover almonds:
Spread the ground almonds out evenly on a lined baking sheet and bake on 100 C for about 20 minutes to dry them out. When they have cooled, whizz them through the blender to separate the chunks, and pour the powder into a freezer bag. Freeze until you need it for smoothies, sauces and baking.
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With the change of season this month, it seems to be prime time for colds and flu! My husband and I have made a concerted effort to avoid antibiotics as far as possible, and in doing so, have strengthened our immune systems. We do still get sick occasionally, though, and like to use our favourite remedies to nip the infection in the bud!
1. Hydrogen peroxide in the ears
This works on the basis that most infections start in the ears. Using a syringe or dropper, put 3% (10 volume) hydrogen peroxide in your ear and allow it to sit in your ear for 10 minutes. It will bubble like crazy and dissolve your earwax. Pour out onto a tissue and repeat in the other ear. Do this 3x per day.
This really helps prevent or shorten colds and flu, and I find that it helps ease symptoms, too.
You can also gargle with hydrogen peroxide for a sore throat, or use hydrogen peroxide in a nasal saline rinse (1 tsp hydrogen peroxide & 1 tsp salt in half a glass of warm, filtered or distilled water).
3. Don't immediately reach for painkillers!
If I have a low grade fever and a headache, I take these steps:
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I love using magnesium oil!
Magnesium oil is liquid magnesium, which is great for transdermal (through the skin) absorption of the mineral.
My husband and I use magnesium oil on any achy joints or muscle spasms. We also use it when we're feeling a bit run down (spray on your arms or abdomen). I like to spray it on my lower abdomen when I am experiencing period pains, too! I have heard that it helps with morning sickness, too.
Another great use for magnesium oil is as a natural deodorant. It really does work, though you'll possibly find that you need to spray more often than a commercial deodorant.
Magnesium deficiency is unbelievably common in our stressful, modern lifestyle. Signs of deficiency include muscle cramps and twitching (whenever I have a twitching eyebrow or whatever, I immediately reach for my magnesium oil!), poor sleep, fatigue, anxiety, depression, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, hormone imbalance, and irritability.
Spray magnesium oil all over your body (arms, legs, abdomen) every day, for a topical way of supplementing. Watch out for cuts and cracked skin though - it can really sting!
Homemade Magnesium Oil
1. Pour the water into a clean pot and bring to the boil.
2. Add the magnesium chloride flakes to the boiling water and stir until dissolved.
3. Allow to cool completely, then pour into a spray bottle.
4. It's as easy as that!