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Mens Health Week: Snoring. A Dozen + Ways to Stop.

snoring21. Essential Oils

Thyme and Eucalyptus oil. Apply a few drops directly on the feet and wrists at bedtime, either straight or mixed with a little olive oil if you have sensitive skin. Or you can, fill a bowl with boiling water and the oils, then place your face over the bowl, cover your head with a towel and breathe…deeply. Doing this clears the nose and decreases swelling in the airway.

2. Olive oil.

Moisten tissues in your throst by sipping a small amount of olive oil. This will help the air may move through the airways more smoothly and you’ll snore less.

3. Honey

Swallow a teaspoon before sleep, for the same reason as #2.

4. Turmeric in warm milk

Make it organic or A2 cows milk, or better still use a milk like almond, rice, organic soy or coconut, as cows milk can cause phlegm, which will make snoring worse. (You could put the honey and olive oil in here also.)

5. Clear nasal passages

Try a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a hanky before bed or dilute in olive oil and dab under your nose. A clogged nose is a major cause of snoring, it makes it difficult to breathe while sleeping which results in snoring. Its important to keep nasal passages clear while sleeping, it also creates a vacuum in the throat which leads to snoring. Your nose can be somewhat cleared by giving it a good blow before you go to bed.

6. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is a muscle relaxant. Drinking alcohol makes the muscles of the throat collapse which creates obstruction in your airway which leads to snoring.

 

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7. Don’t overeat before bed
Eating right before bed can cause snoring, a heavy meal – or a pig out on any food – before bed leaves no times for digestion. A full stomach puts pressure on the diaphragm which puts pressure on airways, result in snoring.

8. Being Overweight
Carrying too much weight will increase the fatty tissue in the back of your throat which will increase snoring.

9. Raise your head in bed
Raising the head of your bed can put an end to your snoring by avoiding the collapse of your airways which reduces snoring.

 10. Don’t sleep flat on your back 

This makes the base of the tongue and soft palate collapse towards the back of throat which results in a vibrating sound when we sleep. Sleeping sideways will probably stop this.

11. Allergies?

Are you breathing through your mouth because of of allergies? Treat your allergies using herbal medicine and diet.

12. Sleeping pills make things worse
Sleeping pills and tranquilizers are muscle relaxants, and when our muscles get too relaxed – the snoring begins.

13. Smoking
Smoking creates nasal congestion which results in swelling of the throat. This swelling narrows the airway causing snoring.

14. Keep your bedroom dust-free 
When we breathe dust enters our nose which blocks the airway causing snoring. Change your pillow covers regularly to ensure they are dust and germ-free. Or better still get hypo-allergenic bedding.

15. Fatigue 
Not getting enough, regular sleep will cause the throat muscles to become too relaxed – causing snoring.

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Feeling In Need Of a Spring Cleanse: Lean Green Soup.

This is what I’ll be having a few times a week once I get back home, as after you finish a cleanse it’s really important to ease yourself back onto harder to digest foods. It’s also a winner for those times when you want to eat lightly but still need nourishing. It’s raw, so it retains all of the enzymes that are usually destroyed through cooking. And it’s stupendously tasty. Sometimes I add 2 tsp of my ‘Essential Greens’ powder so I’m getting some probiotics, spirulina and other super- natural greens and a load more nutrients. Why not? 
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Serves 2
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar, panela or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

To Serve

  • 1 tbsp flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper

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Method – Place all the ingredients in a blender and whiz until very smooth.

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Mens Health Week: Heart Health.

Happy people will often have healthy hearts. These people are usually humble and open to the wonders of their world. Many of us—traditionally more men than women—deny our true feelings and merely ‘soldier on’. This causes us to live more ‘in our heads’. We’d do well to remember our heart is your centre, not our brain. The two need to be in balance, however. Denying your true feelings only causes the ‘band’ around your chest to tighten. This is referred to as ‘contraction-band necrosis’, and in physical terms it presents itself as angina, atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis.

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The expression ‘keeping your cool’ means staying cool, calm and collected. In an age where aggression, ambition and an over-analytical mind seem to have become highly respected, we should learn to heed the message behind this expression. It’s all about balance and moderation. The ‘yang’ (masculine) aspects of modern thoughts and feelings cause your body to over-heat, resulting in a worrying mind. Denying the ‘yin’, or the more creative, feminine, receptive, relaxed, intuitive and creative parts of yourself, exasperates this situation. (Some people refer to the yang and yin as being either predominantly a left- or right-sided brain thinker.)

Numerous studies have now shown us that, on a physical level, good heart health—therefore good heart–mind balance—is related to both calcium and protein metabolism. Some factors that interfere with calcium absorption include coffee, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, refined flour, salt, refined sugar and pesticides. There is also a direct correlation between high-protein diets and an elevated incidence of heart disease and osteoporosis. The physical symptoms of a heart–mind imbalance are high blood pressure, cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis and insomnia.

Finding your soul’s purpose, your blueprint, is of vital importance—spiritually, emotionally and physically. True health comes only after the mind, body and spirit are nourished. Instead of thinking about the past or the future, you are encouraged to remain in the ‘present’ and practise mindfulness. Being ‘present’ sounds easy enough, but it is seemingly one of the hardest things to do. But this will help you to stay calm, rational, creative and functional. The effect the mind has on your body should not be under-estimated. Controlling your thoughts through disciplined behaviour will have almost immediate, positive results on your health.

Helpful foods

  • foods high in vitamin E to improve circulationand blood flow—leafy dark green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, soya beans, wheatgerm and wholegrains (buckwheat has also been used to reduce blood pressure)
  • good fats—including olive oil, eggs, walnuts, chia seeds, macadamias, flax, hemp,  avocado, coconut and sustainably caughtcold-water fish—may also help in lowering cholesterol
  • high-fibre foods—fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, chia seeds and psyllium husks
  • garlic, onions and lecithin to lower cholesterol.
  • unrefined salt – himalayan, maldon, celtic, murray river

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Foods to avoid

  • processed foods, sugar and flour
  • too much coffee
  • artificial sweeteners
  • soft drinks
  • lots of alcohol
  • too much animal fat and protein, such as red meat, milk, cheese and cream
  • milk chocolate
  • foods fried in refined oils
  • refined salt
  • margarine and other trans-fatty acids
  • low-fat foods.

Herbal medicine

  • hawthorne berries
  • globe artichoke
  • motherwort
  • ginkgo biloba
  • magnolia.

 

 

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Gingko biloba, pictured above

Supplements

- magnesium, calcium, Co Q10, omega 3.

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Lifestyle factors

  • learn a meditation technique—mindfulness helps us to remain present; if you’re new to it, get a guide to meditation CD
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • exercise moderately and regularly
  • reduce stress (learn stress management techniques)
  • avoid smoking
  • deal with snoring
  • monitor blood pressure and cholesterol
  • express yourself and your needs and worries
  • relax your body
  • practise a gentle exercise such as yoga or a martial art such as qi gong or tai qi
  • make the necessary changes to enjoy your life more
  • listen to your higher self.

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Men’s Health Week: Drink lots of clean water – preferably ALKALINE.

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Start you day with a glass of preferably alkaline water with some fresh lemon juice squeezed in (or 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar) – tis will help yo alkaline you system. Then back it up with at least another litre throughout the day. Try for 2 though, and a lot more if you’re exercising or tend to sweat a lot.

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I love these filters as they have a pH of 10, amongst their many other virtues. Check out the ‘alkaline water on the go’. Perfect for when you’re exercising, or when you’re out and about all day and really don’t want to drink tap water, or buy a plastic bottle of water – which is really smart of you.

http://www.alkaway.com.au/product-category/alkalisers-ionisers/

 

 

 

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Men’s Health Week: Healthy Hair…or the lack of it.

Well…clearly there is no fool proof treatment to stop one from going bald. BUT, it can be slowed down, and at the same time improve the health of your hair and scalp.

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Aiden Shaw photo by Ram Shergill

The health of your hair, like your skin and nails, comes mostly from what’s going on inside you. That is to say, if your body is deprived of essential nutrients, your hair and scalp will suffer. If you use commercial shampoos and conditioners, you are doing your hair and scalp a great disservice. These products are very similar to commercial household cleaning products, so they are harsh and strip your hair and scalpof its natural oils and vitality. Go for products that are sulphate and paraben-free and —there are many available. This is a must.

According to ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’ the condition of your hair reflects the health of your kidneys. Your hair will change naturally every seven years  and hormonal changes are also likely to affect your hair.

Helpful foods

  • essential fatty acids—from wholegrains, legumes, fresh nuts and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, spirulina, flaxseed oil, hemp, chia, pumpkin and chia seeds—help with dry and brittle hair, improving the texture
  • those foods high in B vitamins for hair health and growth
  • those high in vitamin C for improved circulation to the scalp
  • vitamin E foods increase oxygen uptake and improve circulation, thereby improving hair health and growth
  • zinc stimulates hair growth by improving immunity
  • kelp is packed with minerals to promote growth
  • protein-rich foods are important for growth
  • biotin deficiency has been linked to hair loss and skin problems—foods high in biotin are brown rice, cracked wheat, peas, lentils, oats, soya beans, sunflower seeds and walnuts
  • arame, hijiki and wakame promote gloss and prevent loss
  • mulberries strengthen the liver and kidneys, thereby preventing premature greying and hair loss.

Foods to avoid

  • raw eggs contain a protein called avidin, which binds to biotin and stops it from being absorbed—cooked eggs are okay
  • sugar is highly acidic, destroying B vitamins and decreasing minerals, leading to unhealthy hair.

Herbal medicine

  • licorice may prevent loss; avoid in cases of high blood pressure
  • horsetail contains silica, which makes hair strong and shiny
  • stinging nettle made into a tea and massaged into the scalp will stimulate hair follicles.

Supplements

  • coenzyme Q10 improves oxygenation and circulation to the scalp.
  • Any of the above of you’re not getting enough from your diet.

Lifestyle factors

  • use natural haircare products—commercial products will slowly but surely weaken your hair and rid it of its natural oils
  • hypothyroidism can cause hair loss, so check you don’t suffer from this
  • stress, poor nutrition, sleep deprivation and illness will affect how your hair looks and feels
  • get a good brush with soft, round bristles
  • if you colour your hair, use a natural dye—available from health food stores and more and more salons
  • be gentle with your hair when it’s wet as it is more elastic and will break easily
  • use a wide-tooth comb or brush, as fine teeth may pull out your hair
  • if you are suddenly losing a lot of hair, see your healthcare practitioner
  • massage your scalp regularly
  • headstands, and other inverted yoga poses, encourage improved circulation to the head
  • Decrease the amount of chemicals you’re using – including any styling products. You can get natural ones thes days, that work.
  • Avoid too much heat on your hair and scalp – a really hot shower, hairdryer, regular saunas.
  • Try to not make matters worse by constantly styling, coloring, or bleaching your locks.
  • wash your hair as infrequently as you can manage, but brush it daily.

Home remedies

  • for damaged hair, make a paste out of 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt, massage into your scalp, leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse and wash
  • for bleached or dull hair, mix together an egg and olive oil, massage into your hair, leave for 10 to 20 minutes, then wash
  • apple cider vinegar together with sage as a tea, massaged into your scalp, will help hair grow
  • to reduce dandruff, mix together olive, coconut, castor or flax oils with a bit of yoghurt, massage into your scalp and wrap in a hot towel for an hour—keep reheating the towel when it cools down.
  • rinse your hair with diluted (5:1) apple cider vinegar between shampooing and conditioner.
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Men’s Health Week: Keeping Your Prostate Healthy.

Prostate problems affect about 50 to 60 per cent of men over 50 years of age. This increases to nearly 90 per cent by the age of 70. These are alarming rates that need to be addressed. The preferable alternative to ‘dealing’ with this growing problem is, of course, prevention.

 

 

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Spirulina (above). The reason I like this one for men so much is it’s twice as strong as the others, so 4 a day will do it. It’s that strong.  It has double the amount of phycocyanin (the active blue pigment in the blue-green algae Spirulina) and also higher Vit B3 for energy.

  • This means more energy, antioxidant performance, and immune enhancing properties than regular Spirulina. So yes this means it will help to keep the man ‘flu at bay, and help keep you strong and vital. 
  • Spirulina is loaded, and I mean loaded, with protien, and it has just a fantastic effect on the liver and digestion
  • These tablets have a natural vanilla coating so there is no yucky taste involved.

Testosterone levels fall after about 50 years of age. These changes cause an excessive conversion of testosterone in the prostate gland. The uptake of testosterone in the prostate gland is increased by prolactin. Beer and stress increase prolactin levels. Sorry to be the bearer of terrible news.

Prostate trouble can be loosely categorised into three groups—prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasra and prostate cancer.

Prostatitis: An infection in the prostate gland, due to either a urinary infection or a venereal disease. Symptoms include a deep ache in the pelvis or groin, and/or pain or discomfort when passing urine.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): An extremely common condition. Symptoms include incontinence, dribbling, reduced flow, urgency and nocturia (waking to urinate at night). A dramatic decrease in testosterone is likely to be the cause.

Prostate Cancer: This affects only a small percentage of sufferers. The speed of the onset of symptoms is usually a telling marker, along with increasing pain in the pelvis and lower back. Symptoms of prostate cancer may include difficulty urinating, swelling, fever, urinary frequency and urgency, dribbling urine, nocturia and hesitancy with reduced force. To treat it, you need to look at your diet and also supplementation and lifestyle.

Evidence shows that the spread of tumours in the prostate is reduced by melatonin. It is released naturally from the pineal gland at sundown, but only if you actually see it. So having your computer, TV or lights on when day changes into night will prevent this release. Shift work really messes up release of melatonin, which makes you sleepy. It decreases with age (maybe this is a contributing factor to why we sleep less as we age). Melatonin receives androgen before it turns into testosterone. At this time of a man’s life, this needs to be considered. Melatonin supplementation is restricted in Australia to prescription by medical practitioners only. Excessive supplementation of melatonin causes nasty side effects, such as depression, insomnia, irritability and agitation.

Cadmium, which is found in pollution and particularly in cigarette smoke, increases the level of 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in the prostate, causing enlargement. Zinc helps remove cadmium from the body. But zinc uptake (and sometimes intake) is low in men of this age group—this is probably due to increased oestrogen levels, which interfere with its intestinal uptake, and decreased androgen levels. Zinc is vital for proper androgen functioning and has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate. It reduces symptoms of BPH and also inhibits 5-alpha-reductase.

chia and other healthy seeds

Hemp, flax and chia seeds, pictured above.

Helpful foods

  • those high in zinc, such as pumpkin seeds, oysters, miso, wheatgerm and alfalfa
  • fibre found in complex carbohydrates, such as fruit and vegetables, chia seeds and raw cacao powder, goji berries, legumes and whole cereals—it binds to testosterone and eliminates it from the body instead of converting to DHT in the prostate (the problem)
  • turmeric as an anti-inflammatory and it’s beneficial effect on hormones and the liver
  • garlic, onions and cabbage help remove cadmium from the body
  • phyto-nutrients, found in organic soy products and plant food, inhibit 5-alpha-reductase (see Oestrogen)
  • wheatgrass is used for its cooling properties and its ability to cleanse toxins—it is a strong digestive, therefore beneficial for gastrointestinal inflammation
  • local sea vegetables, such as kelp, soften hardened areas in the body and reduce masses
  • omega 3 oils such as flaxseed, hemp and chia seed. walnuts, alga and organic soy products. Or sustainable, local seafood
  • those that help combat what traditional Chinese medicine refers to as a ‘damp’ condition are rye, amaranth, corn, adzuki beans, celery, lettuce, pumpkin, shallots, alfalfa, turnips and raw honey.

Foods to avoid

  • alcohol, especially beer, as it increases prolactin levels
  • refined or excess salt
  • saturated fats
  • shellfish
  • fried foods
  • excessive consumption of raw foods
  • high cholesterol can degenerate prostate tissue, so reduce it by replacing saturated fats from animal protein and dairy products with good fats from coconut oil; chia seed and flaxseed oils; sustainably caught, deep-sea, cold-water fish; olive oil; and avocados.

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Saw Palmetto Berry (above): Used to treat the prostate, Saw Palmetto is a small palm tree with large leaves and large deep red-black berries.

Herbal medicine

  • saw palmetto acts as a diuretic, urinary antiseptic and an endocrine agent—it is specific for prostatic hyperplasia, as it tones and strengthens the male reproductive system and is also indicated for all gastro–urinary infections
  • hydrangea, a diuretic, is specific here
  • buchu is an astringent that also acts as a urinary antiseptic
  • couchgrass, another useful diuretic, calms pain and spasms in the urinary tract and also works on the inflammation
  • horsetail, an astringent and a strong diuretic, is used to relieve symptoms of the urinary tract, including inflammation, and helps heal the urinary mucosa
  • damiana has a testosterone-like action, is stimulating and enhances functions relating to the reproductive system
  • panax ginseng regulates hormonal imbalance
  • barberry is a wonderful antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
  • liver herbs aid detox of toxic chemicals.

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Supplements

  • zinc inhibits 5-alpha-reductase
  • essential fatty acids and GLAs (gamma lindeic acids) are essential for proper functioning of androgen pathways
  • antioxidants help combat the effects of pesticides
  • acidophilus increases testosterone removal through the bowel.

Lifestyle factors

  • reduce alcohol intake
  • avoid smoking and shift work
  • increase exercise
  • buy organic produce
  • avoid stress
  • lower cholesterol levels
  • don’t eat too many flavours/ingredients together
  • avoid late night eating
  • avoid over-eating
  • retain an active lifestyle into retirement
  • avoid food grown with pesticides and other toxic food, as they exacerbate BPH—another reason to buy organic foods.

An excerpt from my book ‘Elixir: How To Use Food As Medicine’.

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‘Eczema Awareness Week’ (last week). Here’s how to treat it, naturally.

Eczema is not only one of the oldest known diseases but also one of the most difficult to cure. There are a variety of reasons for this, but it may be due to its relationship with the nervous system and liver. Here are some good ways to help it leave, or at least drastically reduce the annoying and sometimes very painful symptoms.

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Helpful foods
• foods rich in omega 3 oils, such as sustainably caught deep-sea fish (cod, wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, ocean trout and sardines), flaxseed, chia and hemp seeds and their oil, leafy dark green vegetables and organic soya bean products. Also algae and seaweed.

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• unrefined sesame oil is fabulous for use both internally and externally, and sesame seeds used in salads are also of benefit
• foods high in vitamin A for skin and immunity, such as carrots, kale, paw paw, sweet potato, spinach, pumpkin, leafy green vegetables and watercress
• any goats milk product is going to be very helpful, both internally and externally.

- Turmeric is very helpful here as an anti-inflammatory agent and also its positive effect on the liver.

- Fermented veggies to help the production of good flora in our guts

- Tahini is also great

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Foods to avoid
• inflammatory and acidic foods, such as red meat, dairy products, refined wheat (white bread and pasta) and the Nightshade family of vegetables (white potatoes, capsicum, eggplant, tomatoes and chillies)
• white sugar and its products
• refined fats and oils and fried foods
• non-organic dried fruit
• processed and junk foods
• other acidic substances, such as alcohol, too much raw garlic and coffee
• too much citrus fruit.

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Supplements
• vitamin C is essential in cases of inflammation and will also help your immune system
• vitamin E may be taken internally and externally to promote healing
• blue-green micro-algae such as spirulina, also wheatgrass, barley grass and chlorella
• zinc is important for the skin and the immune system
- Magnesium for the nervous system
- A good broad spectrum probiotic as eczema is strongly associated with gut health
- Drink Aloe Vera juice twice a day on an empty tummy. You can also get an aloe vera spray that is wonderful to use topically to reduce symptoms

 

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Tomato Week: Vitamin C content. Although all tomatoes contain this much needed vitamin, different varieties contain different amounts. RDI is 75mg per day. Per 100 grams -

tomatoes
Raw green tomatoes – 23.4 milligrams
Orange tomatoes – 16 milligrams
Yellow tomatoes – 9 milligrams
Sun-dried tomatoes – 39.2 milligrams
Crushed, canned tomatoes – 9.2
Tomato juice – 18.3 milligrams

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant. It is needed for a healthy immune function. It also keeps our skin skin supple and elasticity thanks to its role in collagen production, and supporting wound healing and circulation. For healthy gums – again it’s Vitamin C. Extra Vitamin C will be needed in times of stress, and in treating allergies like eczema, asthma, sinusitis, dermatitis and hives.

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Lifestream Natural Vitamin C is a new (yet ancient) concept in vitamin C supplementation and is made from certified organic acerola berries (Malpighia glabra) that are naturally rich in vitamin C. This powerful little berry is the natural alternative to synthetic ascorbic acid (which is present in typical vitamin C supplements). #lifestream #tomatoweek

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Ingredient Of The Week: Tomatoes.

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I have a little surprise in store. The first part of this week will be posted from Sydney where I am now in my clinic, and the second half from somewhere tomatoes are as essential as breathing, almost. Get set for some pretty ‘bellissimo’ posts later this week. HInt hint. #TomatoWeek
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Btw, I haven’t forgotten about posting on a ’5 day cleanse’, and will get to it asap – perhaps whilst eating tomatoes in every form, somewhere gorgeous.

Also, it looks like I need to do a week on female reproductive issues. I’ll do this in a couple of weeks, as the week after this I think I’ll do on fermented veggies (sauerkraut – hint, hint) and their role in digestive and immune health.

And then I think it’s time for a bit of men’s health…

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Sleep

 

Some nights it’s as though we have been visited by Rip Van Winkle – dosing off easily and could happily stay that way for 20 years. Other nights are as long as a lifetime, or two. So what makes one different from the other? Plus some of us just never get a full night of uninterrupted sleep, or manage to stay asleep throughout the night.

 

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