Self-discipline and stress management

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Just came back from an amazing holiday in Sweden. Thailand heat and much less Mosquitos than normally! As always after my holidays I feel relaxed mentally but quite worn out physically….and this is only due to my much-worse-than-normal-diet whilst on holiday. Cheese, wine, processed rubbish bread, candy and a daily ice-cream. And a drastic reduction in the amount of vegetables that I consume. Needless to say inflammation is running high in my body. Thankfully the only way it exhibits itself currently is tiredness!

I’m sure some people think, relax you’re on holiday woman, and fine I hear you. Not just sure if I want to risk playing this kind of Russian roulette with the longevity of my body. A little bit of bad is good, but lots of bad is just bad!

So what it boils down to is…..I need to learn self-discipline. I know it sounds sooo boring but I can see how many aspects of my life would drastically improve if I can just get slightly better at it.

I want to be able to NOT eat the marshmallow! Watch this video and you will understand, it’s very cute, funny and thought-provoking

I also need to (again) get better at dealing with stress. (if I was better at self-discipline I would do lots more yoga and meditation and I would be much more zen-like)

I would also use my beloved Yantra mat more often, it’s really good for calming my body down in just 5 min!

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Wish me luck!

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Getting rid of the small clouds before they take up your entire sky

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I have been an expert in not dealing with the small clouds for a long long time. You know, stuffing unopened letters at the bottom of the drawer because I know I’m not going to like the content….

Leaving difficult conversation until they are no longer difficult, they have become as easy to do as climbing Mount Everest with your hands tied up or as easy as counting your own hair!….

Ignoring the hard decisions until it feels like whatever you do it’s going to be the wrong decision….

Not going to the doctor because you don’t really want to know what’s wrong with you until this little cold that you have, has become in your head a couple of serious illnesses combined…..

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Why do I do it, why do people do this? Because many of us are ostriches that really hope that the difficult stuff will go away if we just ignore it. I learnt that it won’t, it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger the longer we wait. And we waste an awful lot of energy in the process of waiting that could be spent on much better things.

From now on I will try my best to deal with the small clouds as soon as they form on my sky in order to have less dark clouds hanging over me. I like the thought….

Have a great weekend everyone

Busy bee and a turmeric, ginger and spirulina health insurance shot

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Sorry for having been so quiet lately. My life had suddenly got very busy…..in a good way. I’m feeling quite exited indeed. So some things that are happening;

I’m sorting out the blog, not changing it massively but it has lately felt too restricted which means I lost a bit of my spark so I’m making some small changes to make me exited again. I do think this is how we should always deal with things in life. If something has lost its spark we need to look at what we need to change to make it inspiring again…or move on. Don’t stay stuck in something spark-less!

I have also have started to seriously go for my dream of running a marathon, yes I have runners knees, yes I have a crappy, way too tight IT band and yes I have MS. Why should that stop me from running a marathon? I see absolutely no reason. So I have got new running shoes, new insoles and a personal trainer who is helping me to build strength in the right places. I’m also hopefully going to go and see my favourite physio. I’m icing my muscles and am using the foam roller to ease my ITband muscles. And if that doesn’t work then well I’ll try something else. Maybe I will become a barefoot runner…..

Adding to that I’m doing something that I have been wanting to do more of for a loong time…..dancing. Did jazzdance on Monday and Flamenco yesterday…..Flamenco was amazing, such passion and beauty. And the jazzdance was cool. I seriously kicked ass!! We’ll at least in my head which is all that matters ; )

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One part of sorting out my knees is to reduce inflammation in my body which is not only good for my knees but also for my Multiple Sclerosis and my health in general.
Chronic low-level inflammation has been linked to many western diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

If you want to read more about why reducing inflammation is very very very important here are some articles to read;

Mindbodygreen
Sciencedirect
Mercola

To reduce inflammation in my body things that I want to include in my diet on a daily basis are Turmeric, Ginger and Spirulina. I try to add turmeric and ginger in my cooking as often as possible but I don’t use it every day so I decided to make a little shot of these ingredients and drink it daily. It’s my health insurance for much less than £1 per day! I use capsules of turmeric which has a higher percentage of curcumin (the beneficial component of turmeric) than the spice from your regular shop.

I was fairly sure that I had to write a post about how sometimes we have to ingest things not because we like them but for the incredible health benefits…… But to my surprise I found that there is a way that actually makes it taste…..not-quite-Saturday-treat-ish but really really ok..

Turmeric, ginger and Spirulina health shot

1 capsule of Turmeric ( I use Terra Nova )
1 teaspoon of Spirulina ( I use Creative Nature’s Spirulina Powder (Hawaiian)
Freshly grated ginger (2cm cube)
5 tablespoons of coconut milk
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper ( enhances the health benefits of turmeric )

Open up the capsule and add to the coconut milk, add the spirulina, the freshly grated ginger and some black pepper.
Stir and enjoy! Or neck it down if it still doesn’t suit your taste : )

Ginger is very good at relieving motion sickness and nausea in general, it’s a digestive aid, anti-inflammatory, it fights cancer and is good at dealing with colds and flu

Turmeric is a very potent anti-inflammatory, wards off dementia, fights cancer and inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Spirulina is high in protein, helps allergies, removes toxins from your blood, reinforces your immune system, is anti-inflammatory, helps you control high blood pressure and cholesterol, is a great source of various nutrients such as B12 and helps protect you from cancer.

5 possible areas to start removing toxins

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On a daily basis it’s unbelievable how many toxins we get into ourselves. But don’t freak out, our bodies are very clever and they are designed to be able to deal with some toxins. The only problem is the amount of toxins we have to deal with these days might just be a touch too many for our hardworking bodies.
This is not going to be the perfect post about all the toxins out there that we need to/ should remove. I want this post to just be a gentle voice from our bodies that says, please please just give me a break, I need a holiday!!!

One of the problem that I think a lot of people struggle with is that there are so many things in regards to our health that we “should” get better at that it’s just soooo much easier to stick to your old ways than trying to find alternatives that helps AND work. Hence nothing gets done.

So what does one do? Well it’s easy, we all leave our jobs, move to a cottage as far away from civilisation as possible and start storing all our foods and liquids in glass containers. If that option isn’t really tempting for you then there are lots of areas in our lives where we can start cutting down on toxins.

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Next time you run out of washing up liquid, mascara, deodorant, shampoo or any other possible toxin laden product instead of taking the easy option and just buying what you always buy, do yourself ( and nature ) a favour and spend that extra 5-10 minutes to find a better alternative. If you don’t have time or energy to research all the toxic ingredients in the world pop into your local organic/ health shop and talk to them. Even if you don’t get recommended a product that is completely toxin-free the chances are that they contain lots lots less. And if there’s one product that you can’t live without give yourself a break and use it. If it becomes too hard to remove toxins and that will cause you to not do anything about it, then use the bad deodorant, colour your hair, open that occasional tin of beans, but do try to remove as many toxins as possible!

Water bottles
If you constantly drink water (or other drinks) from plastic bottles the chances are that you are getting some toxins into yourself such as BPA and antimony. And it seems as if the longer it has been stored in the bottle or if it has been heated up the more toxins has leaked out into the water. Try to mainly drink your water from a glass but when you’re on the move here’s some alternatives;

Glass bottles ( in a protective sleeve )
www.flaska.eu/
www.lifefactory.com
Stainless steel bottles
www.kleankanteen.com

Tins
Are sooooo convenient, but also contains BPA. Instead of tins of tomatoes try tetra pak. Cook large batches of beans and freeze them. Always use fresh fruit and vegetables instead of tinned ones.

Beauty products
Consider how many products you apply to your skin and hair on a daily basis and if all of them are chemical-laden that’s quite a scary thought. The good news is that there are so many toxin-free excellent products or products that at least contains much less toxins, out there now. And here’s where the spending 5-10 minutes extra before you purchase a new product comes in. If you need a new nail varnish, google toxin- free nail varnish and you will see that there’s lots of great products out there. Check out your products at EWG skin deep. You can even download an app for free and bring with you when you go shopping.

Beauty products
www.drorganic.co.uk
www.weleda.co.uk
www.lavera.com

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Nail varnish
London based Jacava does not contain Formaldehyde, Camphor, Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin, Phthalates or Animal Ingredients www.jacava.com

Scotch naturals nail varnish are free from formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP),Toluene, Camphor, Formaldehyde Resin, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals.www.scotchnaturals.com

Deodorants
Most contains aluminium which has in several studies has been possibly linked to cancer ( in particularly breast cancer) Some claim that there are no firm evidence to support these links. I personally do not want to put aluminium so close to my breasts and risk it.

I find this deodorant from Alva to be really good

www.alvanaturalskincare.co.uk

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Healthy living rules and a gluten, dairy free banana/ cacao bread

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Victory and success!!!! Yeah!!! I saw the neurologist the other day and walked out of her office deliriously happy. And no there hasn’t been any miracles. I still have MS (the lumbar puncture confirmed it) And that I have had new lesions since 2007 is still a fact. But but…..I asked her what it means that I have had new lesions but hardly no clinical symptoms.
She said that a) it’s a very good sign and b) it seems that my brain is so strong that it can find new ways of transporting the signals to body parts even with new lesions. (She did actually seemed a bit surprised about this ) Her saying this is to me significant. It means that I am on the right path and all this kale stuffing, vegetable juice slurping, perfect exercise searching and finding more happiness quest is working! It means that I have made my body strong enough to deal with whatever rubbish comes its way. I even asked her if she thinks that all the things that I’m doing is working and she said YES! (This is coming from a neurologist and they normally just believes in steroids and immune suppressing medications…..)

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Of course I am still dreaming though that one day there will be no new lesions. And my long term goal is to be fully fit and capable to dance with my son at his wedding. If he’s anything like his dad whom I married on his 40th birthday (my son is only 18 months old) I have to keep fit for a very long time ; ) But no problems I can do it! If he’s not getting married (which I’m totally fine with) I guess I’ll aim for completing a marathon on my 80th birthday. I actually couldn’t care less if my son gets married or not but after having left the neurologist my body was filled with such an enormous amount of happiness hormones it did some weird things to my brain. I had this Hollywood happy ending vision in my head and I looked at my son and said; hey sweetie, you know what, I am absolutely fine and if you decide to get married one day in the future, I’ll definitely dance with you!

Anyway I’m delighted and feeling very encouraged to continue on my path to happier, healthier living….

Since I have recently gone gluten-free I’m searching for some gluten-free goodies to eat and I found a recipe for a yummy banana cake

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Altered from Lemonstripes.com
Ingredients:
1 cup rice flour
1 cup Doves gluten-free white bread flour (can be substituted with another cup of rice flour)
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons of cacao

Preheat the oven to 175 °C.
In a bowl, combine the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, maple syrup, applesauce, oil, vanilla and 2/3 of the walnuts.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well mixed. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls. Stir in the cacao into one of the bowls.
Add the mixture without cacao into a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan coated with a little bit of oil. Then poor the cacao mixture on top. If you are after a more marbled effect you can use 2 spoons and dollop the mixtures into the cake tin alternately. Top the cake with the remaining walnuts.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean.
Enjoy a slice with a cup of your favourite tea!

5 healthy tips for mornings

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1. Drink a warm cup of lemon water first thing every morning.

Lemon aids digestion and gets rid of toxins. It also contains pectin fibre which is beneficial for colon health and helps fight hunger cravings so great for weight loss. Make sure the water is warm not hot and then squeeze 1/3 of an organic lemon into it. Drink before you eat or drink anything else. I can really feel a difference when I do this in the morning.

2. Consume vegetables with your breakfast

Regardless of what you are having for breakfast, add some vegetables! If you’re having a sandwich add for example some avocado, peppers and tomatoes on the side. If it’s porridge have a vegetable juice, add blueberries and munch on a carrot while the porridge is cooking. It’s a great feeling to already have consumed 2-3 servings of fruit and vegetables before 8am.

3. Make sure you have some protein for breakfast

It keeps you fuller for longer and you have a better chance of avoiding the mid morning dip.

Good protein breakfasts
Buckwheat pancakes
Porridge with milk add some chia seeds and top with some chopped nuts for added protein

4. Make sure you have some me-time first thing in the morning

If you have an hour to do exercise, great! But even if it’s just 5 minutes for some serenity and focus before the madness of the day kicks in it’s still very beneficial for the mind and body. It can be doing exercise, yoga meditation, visualizations, drawing a picture. Whatever makes sure your day starts in a positive way.

5. Plan your day.
Check your to-do list and pick the items that has to get tackled that day. And don’t take on too much. It’s better to under-promise to yourself and then over-deliver. Then you end the day with a great sense of achievement instead of feeling that you have failed doing what you set out to do.

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Mind over medicine and beetroot chips!

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I have a lot of things buzzing in my head that I want to write about! B12, mobile free time, exclusion diet (and it’s not a loose-weight-diet), toxins…….

But I will start with talking about a TED talk that I watched the other night with an American doctor called Lissa Rankin and it truly and utterly resonated with me. ( I cried watching it, that’s how good I thought it was)

I know I go on and on about healthy food and believe me I do believe it is crucial. But Dr Rankin says that healing the mind is more important than looking after our bodies. And despite being a health-food-crazy-kinda-girl I do agree with her. If we are unhappy, stressed or disconnected, all the organic broccoli in the world won’t cure us!

Dr Rankin says that our bodies will try to tell us if there is something in our lives that needs to be changed. In the beginning it will be “whispers” as she calls them, a constant stream of small health problems. If we then don’t listen, the whispers will turn into “screams”, more serious health problems. In my case the whispers were constant colds and flus, a sore swollen stomach and difficulties sleeping and winding down. But I was too busy to listen to the whispers so they turned into screams; anxiety and panic attacks. Still didn’t listen so then my body had to resort to some serious yelling to get me to listen; my MS diagnosis. And who knows, if I had listened to my body and left my job earlier perhaps I wouldn’t have MS today?

The good thing is, she thinks we can use our minds to let our bodies self-heal. And again I agree. When I told you about my MS story I was talking about how I used the placebo effect to heal my body and I strongly believe it had a huge amount to do with my healing.
But anyway, I’m not going to tell you more (drum rolls)……..I hereby proudly present Dr Lissa Rankin!

The shocking truth about your health; Lissa Rankin

Even if you’re a sceptic I really really recommend watching this 18 min video. It might not resonate with you right now but if you one day (we really hope not) find yourself having small, constant health issues, perhaps you will then remember this video. And you will stop to think, am I happy in my life or is it something that needs to change in order for my health problems to go away…..and the 18 minutes of watching the video seems like nothing. Kind of a cheap and good health insurance right?
If the video speaks to you you can download a free self-healing kit from her website or you can always buy the book ; )

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I said I was going to tell you all how I have been doing with exercise this week. Well, I did 1h45 min spread out over 4 days. Then I had my lumbar puncture ( I’m getting to the bottom of the do-I-do-I-not-have-MS conundrum) and my back was pretty bad for the weekend so no more. But anyway a great start, me thinks! ( I also bought a gym deal so for 5 weeks I have to go at least twice a week! Yeah, I’m soooo looking forward to it! )

And here’s finally the recipe for the beetroot chips that goes together with the last posts guacamole!

Beetroot chips!

Snack for 2

2 large beetroots
1 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste

Heat to oven to 150 °C.
Use a mandolin to slice the beetroot very thinly. About 1mm. I tried to cut the beetroot with a knife but it really takes a lot of effort and time so I would recommend getting a mandolin if you don’t have one. Put the beetroot slices in a bowl. Melt the coconut oil in a pan and add to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the beetroot making sure all slices are covered with the oil.

Line a couple of large baking trays with greaseproof paper. Lay them on the paper so they are barely touching. Put in oven for 1 hour, one will go higher up than the other but swop the trays around halfway through so they will be equally cooked. The beetroot will crisp up after they have cooled down.

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Exercise and a yummy guacamole!

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So because my last posts (My MS story part 1 & My MS story part 2) were verrrry long I am going to say very little on this post in order to spare your eyes and my fingers ; )

Im just going to tell you quickly about my goal for this week. I am concentrating on seriously getting back to doing exercise. Why?

“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” Dr Nick Cavill

I will report to you in the end of the week how it’s been going because if we let someone know we are doing something it’s much easier to stick to it. So I’m letting you know ; )

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Yesterday we had late lunch / early dinner and then we wanted something small to eat for the evening. Because I’m in exercise frame of mind I was inspired by the Super Bowl mania across the pond where apparently they eat an enormous amount of avocado ( an expected 158 million avocados during this years Super Bowl) So I made some yummy guacamole that we ate with some beetroot chips but watched the The Bridge instead!

Yummy guacamole!

Serves 2 as a snack

1 avocado
1 shallot or 1/2 small red onion
1 tomato
1 small clove of garlic
1/2 lime
1/2 red or orange chilli

Mash the avocado in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the mashed avocado. Finely chop the garlic, shallot, tomato, coriander and chilli. Add to the mashed avocado mash and mix it up. That’s it!

Next blog post I’ll tell you about the great beetroot chips that goes with it!

Avocado is a fruit that unfortunately has a bad rep due to it’s high fat content…..But in fact it can help to lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of diabetes, prevent cancer…….and and and promote lower body weight! So don’t let the high fat content scare you off.

My Multiple Sclerosis (MS) story- part 2 Healing and Recovery

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This is the part of the story where I’m going to tell you about my road to recovery. It’s a tricky part because I don’t want to give the impression that I have found a magical, one-size-fits all cure to MS..because I haven’t. I have found what works really well….for me. Nor do I want to give the impression that I’m Mrs super-fit who is never tired, never has a sore back or never ever has any health problems. I’m just like any regular person who does get worn out if I push myself too hard and who struggles to find time to do exercise….But hey that’s pretty good….being just like anyone else, given that 6 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and was faced with a very uncertain future in regards to my health……

So after I had been diagnosed I had a couple of days or a week of feeling terribly sorry for myself ( I most likely scoffed one or two or three tubs of Ben & Jerry’s during those days ) Then I guess I found some sort of fighting spirit within me and I quite firmly decided no, I’m not going to let this thing beat me, no way, no way, no way!
The neurologist very kindly offered me disease modifying drugs and steroids. ( yes I’m being slightly sarcastic by using the word kindly) Since I had already started to read about nutrition and a more holistic view on health I strongly believed that there was a different path to stroll down rather than using conventional medicine. I felt fairly certain that medicines wouldn’t “fix” my body since I instinctively felt that I was “broken” because of stress and an unhealthy lifestyle. The last thing on earth I wanted to do was to put more toxins into my body. And anyway, the medicines would just give me a 30% chance of having less episodes but had exactly the same side effects as the illness. Seemed absurd to me.

So I declined their very kind offer and started on my path as a healing detective : ) I was reading anything I could find about MS and holistic treatments. Found lots of stories of people who got better and started to connect the dots between them. Vitamin D, B12, eating minimal saturated fats, a positive mindset, eating lots of vegetables, meditation, exercise, getting rid of toxins in your body, staying away from processed food. I also started to find lots of stuff that seemed really relevant to my own health.

For example if the thyroid gland has been under stress for a long period it can start attacking it’s own healthy cells…ok, sounds like MS and is true for me, I certainly had been very stressed for a long time
B12 deficiency has almost identical symptoms to MS. And stress, alcohol and crap food depletes B12……umm….aha I see!

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Decided to see a nutritionist ( See details below ) who took some tests and as I suspected, my body was completely wrecked. My thyroids and adrenals were exhausted, my vitamin levels were all over the place. I tested intolerant to several types of food. She also suspected I had candida and leaky gut. And after quite a bit of convincing I went on a 3 month candida diet with added extras (as if the candida diet isn’t strict enough ; ) no sugar, no fruit, no alcohol, no dairy, no meat, no coffee, no rice, no peas, no wheat, no soya, no yeast, no citric acid….the list goes on! The first week was diabolical, seriously difficult to get out of bed. I felt awful. Really! But as the weeks progressed I started feeling……well pretty good. I stuck to the diet over Christmas and New Year’s Eve which was interesting to say the least but in the end of the day what is one Christmas amongst many if I could have my health back.

I also tried to get rid of as many toxins as possible so started using deodorant without aluminium, shampoo and shower gel without parabens and other toxins, toothpaste without SLS, stopped colouring my hair, used cleaning products without toxins, natural make-up, ate organic vegetables etc etc. I even started making my own paraffin free candles. It’s unbelievable
how many toxins we get into ourselves on a daily basis!
No wonder the body has little capacity left to fight illnesses.

I continued to work really hard on continuing the mindset I was thought through CBT, searching for the positive rather than the negative. So for example when going to the gym and looking in the mirror instead of screaming I haaaaaate my varicous veins I smiled and thought this is an amazing body because it is healthy, it has legs that can walk, it doesn’t hurt and it can lift heavy weights ( I went back to bodypump shortly after having been diagnosed using tiny tiny tiny weights in the beginning)

I tried a lot of other alternative treatments, reflexology which is amazing and I still do sometimes ( see details below) I tried bee pollen, visualisations, meditation, the placebo effect….you name it.

And how did it all go. Well 6 1/2 years later and I still haven’t had another episode and I’m not in the slightest bothered by my MS. The doctors think I am lucky. I think I am lucky that I listened to my inner voice that told me to go down an alternative route and refused the medicine. ( please note I’m not recommending to anyone to not take their medicines, this is my story and this is what felt right and worked for me ) I honestly believe that my body was imbalanced and toxic and that I needed to get it back into balance. I don’t dare to think about how I would feel today if I had taken the medicine and hadn’t changed my life style (which my then GP suggested)

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So what things would I recommend for a person who has recently been diagnosed with MS? Like I said before, I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution. Every individual should look at their own life and ask, what’s not working really well? Using lots of toxins at work, is that part of what’s making you ill? Lots of amalgam fillings in your teeth? Is removing them part of the solution? Is there a part of your life that you are unhappy and stressed about, partner, work? Are you eating food that damages your body rather than foods that will help your body to heal? And so on and so forth. You get my drift.


For me my way to recovery was definitely a combination of many things.

Seeing a nutritionist who looked at me as a whole and who could take tests that showed imbalances in my body and helped me correct them. Super important!

The 3 month diet, definitely! It allowed my body to have a long break where it fully could concentrate on healing, our own bodies have a great healing capacity if we just let them.

B12 is of mayor importance, the only time I have felt slightly unwell was when I stopped taking it. I am taking 400 micrograms of sublingual powder every day. And B12 is a water soluble vitamin so there’s no harm in taking large doses to see if it makes a difference. It’s important that it’s sublingual powder, shoots or patches since it appears to me that a lot of people with MS has difficulties taking in b12 from food or tablets.

Changing my diet was of paramount importance. I now eat a plant based diet (some raw and some cooked) I don’t eat a lot of meat and I rarely eat butter or cream. I try to stay away from wheat and sugar as much as possible and I eat mainly organic food. Processed food is a rare event. It may sound strict and boring but it most definitely isn’t.

Waving bye bye to as many toxins as possible is significant ( while writing this I realise that I have let some toxins back into my life so time to get a grip…)

Exercise is of course really really really important. ( which I’m struggling to re-introduce in my life after the birth of my two kids…..time, I neeeeeeed more time ; ) Even if you have just been diagnosed with MS there are always some exercise that you can do. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of stretching!

The placebo effect or the mind is a powerful tool. I read a lot about using your mind to think yourself well and I am going to use a quote by Henry Ford that I find explains it. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” I believe this statement is true for the healing process. ( And no I don’t think you can heal a broken bone with the power of your mind ; ) In the beginning when I was diagnosed my husband sometimes wanted to talk about the future and the conversations went something like this;
Him; Let’s say you would get another relapse
Me: But I won’t
Him: but let’s just say you would
Me: But I won’t
Him: ok but let’s just say for arguments sake that you would
Me: hmmmmm…..ok…….but as long as you understand that I won’t.
Him: ok so let’s say you would have another episode
Me: but I won’t

Needless to say these discussions could take aaaaaalll night. What I was doing was using the placebo effect to heal myself hence not allowing me to doubt for a second that I would get better. Denial it might sound like to some but it has been proven that if we really believe something is going to make us better, there will actually be measurable positive changes in our bodies. Here’s an interesting study conducted at Harvard. The placebo effect has long been accepted as something that works by conventional medicine but they are still baffled about how it works, and how to use it.
I also used visualisations where I visualised the scars in my brain healing and disappearing. Visualisations also have been proved to have real effects on our bodies.

My dream is that one day a holistic approach using nutrition and lifestyle assessment would be the first call for treatment and that medicines would be the last option. I don’t think that the “there’s a pill for all ills” mentality works. In fact these days we take more pills than ever but many illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease are on the increase.
Ideally it would be no need for hospitals but hey I’m a dreamer, not completely crazy ; )
Don’t get me wrong, there has been some incredible advances when it comes to traditional medicine. Surgery of today is unbelievably good. But seeing the individual a a whole needs to become standard.

I also dream we will have healthcare where there’s a choice! You want to use medicine and operations? Fine we support you wholeheartedly. You want to use nutrition and exercise? Absolutely, we support you wholeheartedly. Currently this is definitely not the case. The medicines that I was offered and declined would have cost the NHS £8000 per year. Was I offered any support for vitamins, seeing a nutritionist or exercise? Nope, I don’t think so, not a penny!

The most important lesson that I have learnt from my MS story is, do your research!!! Very few people goes to buy a car without having done any research about pros and cons of what’s out there. Yet when it comes to our own health we take the doctors word for that what they are offering is the best remedy (this also goes for if you are seeing a nutritionist, naturopath or healer) Don’t take anyone’s word for what’s the best remedy. Keep an open mind and listen to what people have to say but do your research!

Nutritionist, I saw Annie McRae who has now relocated to California to be closer to her sons. (Lucky California) She does skype consultations so if you are struggling to find someone close to where you live, do contact her!

Reflexology, I am seeing Anna Lee at Shine on the Green who has magic hands! I always feel really good afterwards. And the great thing is that she can tell you if there is something wrong……..she told me there was something up with my teeth shortly after I had removed my wisdom tooth!

For recipe I picked another one with turmeric. This is a fantastic breakfast smoothie that was posted by Emily Ho on thekitchn.com. It’s perfect to prepare the night before and then you have your breakfast ready in the morning.

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Sunshine breakfast smoothie with coconut, clementines and turmeric

1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut water
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
Fresh or frozen segments from 2 (or 3 if they are small) clementines (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2-inch fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1/2-inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maca powder

The original recipe called for honey it every since my post about sugar I’m trying to reduce my intake of sugar ( even natural ones)

If you are going to use frozen clementines prepare and put into freezer a couple of hours before. Then prepare the ginger and turmeric and put into blender. Add all other ingredients and blend until desired consistency. Enjoy!

My Multiple Sclerosis (MS) story-part 1 Destruction and Diagnosis

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Putting my entire MS story up on my blog like this is very personal and I have been debating with myself for a while about whether or not to do it. In the end I decided that if my story can help someone else then it’s worth it. I’m also sure that a lot of readers are thinking, my god why does this woman go on and on and on about healthy food….so here we go, here’s the answer

The summer of 2007 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a neurological disorder with many variations of symptoms such as fatigue, visual problems, balance and pins and needles in hands and feet to mention a few. It’s an auto-immune disorder where the body gets confused and starts attacking it’s own healthy cells, mainly the protective substance (myelin) around the nerve fibres. This leaves scars on the nerve fibres and signals from the brain to various body parts slow down or can’t get through at all. Imagine a dog chewing through a telephone cable before hands free existed. Our brains really should go wireless!

I’m quite sure my MS, or imbalance in my body as I tend to think these days, didn’t start that summer. I think it started a few years earlier when I was going through some extreme stress. I was working as a restaurant manager in a busy restaurant in Notting Hill. It was really hectic at times but that wasn’t the main problem, it was more that it was a job that I didn’t want to do. A part-time job during university led to an assistant manager position. I was offered and thought, what the heck until I find something else. Then shortly thereafter I was offered the position as the general manager and again I thought what the heck, until I find something else….

I was getting my portfolio ready but as the perfectionist I used to be it had to be super perfect and before I knew it I was too stressed, too exhausted and had too low self-esteem because it had taken far too long to get my portfolio ready. (Apparently people with MS tend to be perfectionists who are never happy with anything they do) It’s not that I didn’t like my job, the people I worked with were great and a good night was as good as a great party…..that we got paid for! (Not all easy-peasy though, some days and nights were very very hard)

Lesson to be learnt; if your gut feeling is telling you that you are not happy with something in your life, leave it, change it, do anything but don’t stay stuck. It might be hard to change but the consequences of not changing are harder to deal with, believe me.

Anyway I started to feel more and more unwell and exhausted. I used caffeine and sugar to get me through the day and I used to have to drink a large brandy after a 14 hour shift to wind down so I could go to sleep. I was partying hard, eating crap food and very little exercise. Then I started having some serious chest pains. I was absolutely sure I was going to have a major heart attack any day and went to my GP time and time again but he just kept trying to reassure me that all I had was a cold ( I kept going back to him with chest pains for a whole year). I went to the emergency twice, crying and shaking and they just said…..you guessed right, that I had a cold. Eventually I struggled to leave the house because the chest pain and sense of imminent death just got too strong. I went back to my GP and thankfully he was not there that day. The female GP that I saw just took a look at me and said, you are having serious panic attacks girl. You need to take time off and I panicked ( all I knew how to do at that point ) I could not take any time off, don’t be ridiculous! But I took a week off and then went back to work on prescribed Valium. (Only took Valium for a week)

In hindsight it was quite funny, there were times when we had enormous queues of people and I just swayed around in slow motion in the midst of all the craziness. Another time after having been on a mad holiday in Sicily, when boarding the flight back I brought out the brown paper bag that I used all the time to breathe into ( it helps when having a panic attack) and we ended up having a whole row of seats to ourselves. No one wanted to sit next to the crazy lady with the brown paper bag! There were also some sad stories during that time when I didn’t function as I should, and wasn’t there for loved ones.

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I was ordered by my GP to do a CBT ( cognitive behavioural therapy) group therapy course and it helped me enormously. I was thought how not to always think the worst and to be positive. I forced myself to get back travelling on the underground and it was hell but I just kept repeating my affirmations; I’m ok, I’m not going to die, I’m ok I’m not going to die! And all the while reassuring people on the tube that I was ok despite the flood of tears streaming down my face and the heavy heavy breathing! I said; It’s ok, I’m just having a panic attack and then fired of one of my best restaurant manager smiles! ; )

Things got a bit better after the CBT, I could control my panic attacks and felt a bit less anxious but then one day I woke up and couldn’t see a darn thing on my left eye. Not a thing ,completely blind. I was told I had optic neuritis which is an inflammation of the optic nerve, that I most likely would get my eyesight back but that I now had an 80% chance of developing MS. So my husband and I thought enough is enough and left our respective jobs and went travelling in Thailand and Australia for 5 months, a great trip with lots of experiences and lots of relaxation. Already then did I start reading about alternative medicine and food, thinking about health and reflecting about what my body had gone through. Came back in May and in June I had another body-really-not-acting-like-it-should-experience. Parts of my body had no sensation, had difficulties walking straight, no bladder control, tingling in hands, feet and legs, double vision ( I had to wear special glasses in order to be able to see ) and an enormous tiredness. It felt like walking through quick sand. I also had the MS “tight belt around my chest” sensation.

I signed up for a clinical research trial at the neurology department and went to do an MRI scan and afterwards was taken into a room where a couple of people were working. The neurologist who did the study showed me slices of my brain on the computer screen and cheerfully said, isn’t this great, look at the stuff modern technology can show us. Meanwhile my vision got blurry from lack of oxygen ( I stopped breathing) and tears because while he was busy being delighted about modern technology, I just kept on staring at the scars on my brain that of course I knew from having done some googling meant that I had Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis basically means; several scars. The neurologist has since apologised after I wrote him a long letter explaining my distress. Shortly after that they confirmed my suspicion, I had indeed multiple sclerosis

End of part 1 of my MS story.

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Because MS is an inflammatory disease I wanted to mention Turmeric ( the orange spice that colours curry ) probably the best anti-inflammatory stuff you can get into yourself. So if you have any problems with inflammation just consume lots. It’s sooo good for so many reasons that really I think everyone should eat it ….all the time. Turmeric has a really strong smell but you can easily put 1/2-1 teaspoon in scrambled eggs, a chilli, soup, fried rice, a smoothie…..anywhere really.

This amazing tea recipe was given to me by a dear friend. He prepares the tea in a large thermos in the morning and then travels around London with it on his cool motorbike with a roof! I’m not quite that cool but the tea is nevertheless amazing!

Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon & rooiboos tea

7-8 thin slices of ginger
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
3 cloves
1/2-1 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 bag of rooiboos

Peel and slice the ginger. Add all ingredients to a thermos or teapot or whatever you want to use. Add 1 liter (18oz) hot but not boiling water. Enjoy throughout the day!