Reception will be closed during the Easter weekend (Good Friday through to Easter Monday inclusive). Some practitioners, however, may still be working on these days, so give us a call or you can book online still with them.
When the temperature drops, the chance of you coming down with a cold or the flu increases significantly. It’s widely accepted you’ll get sick more often in the winter. That’s because you’re likely to be inside more and the common cold thrives better in dry air than where there’s humidity, and, when you spend more time indoors, you’re exposed to more germs.
Here’s something interesting about the common cold: when your core internal temperature falls after exposure to cold, the immune system’s ability to battle the rhinovirus (the virus that causes it) is also reduced. The immune system literally slows down. Cold feet may also play a part. In a recent study, researchers made students sit with their feet in cold water for 20 minutes. These students were found to be statistically much more likely to catch a cold in the next five days than the control group (those who didn’t have to sit with their feet in cold water).
The flu virus is also transmitted much faster when it’s cold out because the lipid (fatty) coating of the virus becomes more resilient the colder it gets. Your immune system is the most powerful weapon you have against disease. Strong immunity means that the body is better able to fight off viruses and germs.
Fewer colds and sick days this winter would be good, right? There are many diet and lifestyle tweaks you can make to reduce your risk of catching a cold and flu this season (and ensuring it’s shorter and less serious if you do get the lurgi). Here are my top ten tips to keep you fighting fit this month – and beyond.
I print out this list and stick it on the fridge as a reminder to me (and my family) that prevention is better than cure.
1. EAT REAL FOOD
Your body needs real, unprocessed food to stay healthy and not the processed foods we kid ourselves are OK for us to eat. Focus on eating natural, unprocessed food as often as possible. Follow the 80/20 rule (for the avoidance of doubt, this means eating healthily 80 of the time – think fresh apples rather than apple juice, or wholegrain bread instead of a white bread butty).
Meat and fish, fruit, vegetables and wholegrains all contribute to a stronger immune system and offset the occasional indulgence. Following the low GL diet is key to sustainable, glowing health, as it provides your body with a steady supply of energy throughout the day, rather than a high-octane roller-coaster of energy spikes and troughs.
2. ENJOY ‘HAPPY TUMMY’ FOODS
Did you know that up to 80% of our immunity to germs and disease is in the gut? The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) in the gut is part of the first line of immune defense, so getting the right balance between beneficial, or ‘good’ gut bacteria, and the ‘bad’, or potentially pathogenic bacteria, is key.
How to do this:
The gut environment takes a beating year after year, owing to poor diets, too much sugar, stress, antibiotics and other factors. Even if you have no obvious tummy troubles, digestive health is vital, so it’s worth the extra effort to take care of it. Add probiotic and prebiotic foods to your diet, as these re-populate the gut with good bacteria and feed them well enough to crowd out bad bacteria.
Here are some gut-friendly choices to get you started:
Organic, probiotic, natural yoghurt (such as Yeo Valley or Rachel’s)
Always buy full-fat, as the 0% or no-fat options have increased levels of milk sugars – and fat isn’t the enemy, either in life or in weight loss
Miso soup or miso bouillon paste (add these to soups and stews)
Oats (soak first, as you would to make overnight oats, in order to release the goodness)
Onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes
Cooked, then cooled potatoes
3. SERVE CHICKEN SOUP
Did you hear that chicken soup is great when you’re unwell? If you thought it was just an old wives’ tale, you’d be wrong. Research suggests that a bowl of chicken and vegetable soup can slow the speed at which neutrophils move around your body. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system, protecting your body from infection. When the neutrophils move slowly, there’s a greater chance of them becoming more concentrated in the areas of your body that need the most healing. Studies have shown chicken soup to be particularly helpful in reducing symptoms in upper respiratory system infections like the common cold.
4. TAKE SOME SUPPLEMENTS
Top of the list for immunity are a good probiotic, a multivitamin and extra vitamin C and zinc. For most people, a daily probiotic will help maintain the right balance of bacteria in the gut. If you have ongoing tummy troubles like IBS or constipation, we should talk – you will need something for your specific symptoms. A multivitamin bridges the gap between what you are eating and what you should be eating, and takes care of any major deficiencies.Women need a product high in B vitamins (for hormone balance), but apart from that, everybody has his or her favourite. Just be sure to take it!
Go large when it comes to vitamin C, both in food and supplement form. Broccoli and red peppers contain more C than oranges (contrary to popular belief) and there are loads of other foodie options, too: kale, cauliflower, parsley, spinach, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, pineapple, mango, papaya and citrus fruits.
Top up zinc levels by eating more palm-sized pieces of lean meat (especially lamb, beef, venison and turkey), pumpkin seeds, ginger root, green veggies, oats, nuts, sesame seeds, yoghurt and scallops.
5. COOK WITH HERBS AND SPICES
Adding flavour to food is a smart way to include delicious immune boosters on your plate. Garlic is a potent superfood. It is antimicrobial, thanks to the active ingredient allicin, which helps fight viruses, and has been used for thousands of years to boost the immune system and prevent sickness.
Most culinary herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties due to their phytonutrients, but oregano and thyme are particularly rich. Spice up your cooking with turmeric and ginger, too, as these are well-documented immune boosters.
6. SAY NO TO SUGAR
Even if you don’t consider yourself a sugar addict, it’s worth taking a look at how much you do consume – and trying to swap sugary treats for something more wholesome. Sugar fans the flames of inflammation and affects the ability of white blood cells to fend off viruses and bacteria. In fact, the immune system stays depressed for hours after consuming sugar, according to recent studies.
Enjoy raw cocoa or cacao hot chocolate on chilly evenings, adding your favourite milk or milk substitutes (with a little xylitol or stevia to sweeten, if you like). A few squares of pure, dark chocolate will also satisfy – Green & Blacks, or any good chocolate with a higher cocoa content (at least 75%), is ideal.
7. DRINK MORE WATER
Water is a miracle worker. It flushes germs from your system, helps your blood to carry plenty of oxygen to your body’s cells and allows those cells to absorb important nutrients. Invest in a filter jug or bottle to avoid quaffing high levels of chlorine and fluorine along with your tap water.
Green tea and chamomile tea are also immune system strengtheners, as they contain antioxidants that help battle free radicals.
8. SOOTHE SORE THROATS
There are a variety of different natural ingredients that are backed by research pointing to their usefulness. Fresh ginger added to boiling water may help sooth a sore throat or cough. Honey (look for raw honey or Manuka rather than the common-or-garden variety) is often teamed with lemon for a soothing drink for sore throats and may also act as cough suppressant. Raw honey should not be given to children younger than one as it may contain botulinum spores.
Sore throats may additionally benefit from gargling with salt water, while saline (salt water) nose drops help clear mucous from blocked nasal passages and soothes tender skin inside the nostrils.
9. HELLO SUNSHINE!
As difficult as this is to achieve in winter, spending sufficient time in sunlight is a vital immune booster. Vitamin D is made by your skin absorbing sunlight, so planning an hour or two outside during daylight hours is a good reason to leave work early, or take your children to the park when you’d rather sleep late.
Expose as much of your bare skin to the sun as possible and don’t wear sunscreen during that time either, as it inhibits the process.
Supplement your vitamin D levels by eating more of the following foods: oily fish (salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna), beef liver, mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks and vitamin D-fortified foods, such as dairy products and orange juice.
10. GET BACK TO BASICS
An age-old way to boost immunity is by following childhood rules – wash hands, go to bed early and take some exercise. These simple measures may seem boring (and more difficult to achieve than popping a pill), but science proves that they work.
And your immune system will thank you for it.
Are you the kind of person who is more ill than other people with the same bug, or you’re ill more often and your immune system could use some support? Maybe there is an underlying issue, especially if you also have asthma, eczema or allergies. Is this you? I invite you to book in for a free 20 minute immune system chat. Click here for an appointment.
You can resolve many health issues by identifying food sensitivities, and omitting the offending foods from your diet!
Allergy Test UK – Cheltenham is offering a January discount for intolerance testing. £55 for a full test (£15 discount) and £30 for a retest (£10 discount).
In a one hour appointment you will go through a thorough health questionnaire, will be tested for 75+ foods and drinks and you will come away with a list foods to avoid, plus information for alternative choices and ideas for other lifestyle change!
Please call 01242 584140, message or book online www.chhc.co.uk.
Practicing yoga is much more than just the postures, we develop our inner light and learn to shine.To integrate the full “on and off the mat” yoga life starts with our breath, then our thoughts, actions, decisions, interactions with others, our daily routines, our surroundings, everything can reflect the extent of our Yoga practice. The lead up to Christmas can get very busy, being more present and aware can make all the differnce to how we feel.
Exercise Advice from Public Health England 2018
“I do an hour and a quarter of Taiji every week.” says Louise Ansari from theCentre for Ageing Better.
Public Health England says that muscle, bone strengthening and balance activities are vital for health and future wellbeing. Dr Tedstone, head of diet & physical activity: “Alongside aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, all adults should be aiming to do strengthening and balancing activities twice per week,”
Strengthening and balance activities help prevent falls, improve mood, sleeping patterns, increase energy levels and reduce the risk of an early death.
“The need for us all to do two sessions of strength and balance exercise a week has been the ‘Cinderella’ of public health advice,” said Louise Ansari.
But Health Survey for England found this type of exercise neglected, with only 31% of men and 23% of women doing muscle-strengthening exercises.
And his drops to 12% over the age of 65.
Muscles tend to be at their peak in our 30s and the muscle tone is going by the time we reach 40, unless we actively work on it.
Ansari said “If you are a reasonably fit adult and you do walking, you should also do yoga or Taiji …which could be in a structured exercise class. You can do two long sessions a week.“I do an hour and a quarter of Taiji every week…”
Taiji Qi Gong Classes are available
@ The Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre, Tuesdays, 12-1pm.
Jeff Docherty has been teaching for 15 years, he is qualified in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a professional member of the Association of TCM and fully insured.
Contact: email@example.com Tel: 07970303694
You are trying your utmost to follow the latest Gluten free, Paleo, Vegan, Fod Map and have been invited to the in laws for dinner, or it’s your birthday, or that longed for break to Provence is upon you, your other half is a dedicated meat eater and your sister has turned up with a bottle of champagne. It seems hardly fair does it? It’s not easy to follow a consistently healthy diet when it seems the world is conspiring against you!
Having control over the food we eat all the time, let alone its quality is almost impossible. We would have to have our own organic small holding where we could grow everything that we would need away from possible air driven pollutants and genetically modified seeds, access to unadulterated spring water and tons of money to buy it in the first place. Is there anywhere left on the planet that has not been tainted by humanity’s industrialization? The next best option is a community of like minded people somewhere in the Outer Hebrides!
For most of us the quality of the food we eat depends initially on what our parents fed us, what our school fed us, uni sandwiches and the work’s canteen. It isn’t until we are earning enough money above subsistence level that we can even begin to think about the quality of food that we eat. It shouldn’t be like this but money does drive the food industry.
I advice everyone I see to buy as much quality/organic food as they can afford for two reasons; one that it is better for your health and two that in a capitalist economy demand and supply are intertwined. The more people that buy organic the more farmers will see it as good business – the more organic food being grown – prices fall. Of course, what is good for the soil is also good for the planet. Pesticides are not chemicals we can easily live with long term. They hamper bee pollination, get into the water supply, the crops that are being grown in the soil and our intestinal tract!
Why are the numbers of people with moderate to severe food intolerances rising so dramatically? It is quite frightening. Might it be possible that the harmful pollutants that are now part of our food chain including the micro plastics swallowed by fish behind the exponential rise in food allergies?
We know that inflammation begins in the gut with dysbiosis in our microbiome (an imbalance in the gut flora).That means people with Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut issues are even more susceptible to inflammation and motility issues than those with a healthy gut. But even more than that, chronic inflammation is linked to diseases like asthma, allergies, Crohn’s and Colitis, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and just about anything else that goes wrong in your body.
I have so many clients now who cannot eat even a mouthful of gluten without drastic consequences and by drastic I mean chronic and acute gas, constipation and or diarrhoea. It is literally as though they have eaten poison. With these types of intolerances and it can include a whole host of allergens we really need to protect ourselves as much as we can.
We cannot compromise our health because of peer pressure or any pressure for that matter. Thankfully as demand for ‘free from’ food has increased so has supply, most supermarkets now have organic/gluten free sections.
I so understand peer pressure. When I first began to make changes to my normal diet, over thirty years ago, my family were incredulous. I was laughed at, ridiculed and generally considered weird and we are talking about quite mild changes here – cow’s milk, sugar, fried foods, alcohol, – mainly because those foods were making me feel unwell. That they were injurious to my health was not sufficient reason, according to my family, to be different.
Within reason we need to be brave enough to be different and brave enough to say no. The main problem is our own temptations, our own desire to have that glass of champagne, slice of cake, fresh bread and best cheddar cheese. When this happens and with Christmas looming it will probably happen a lot, we need strategies to help us survive the rich and numerous feasts.
1. Keep your quantities small.
2. Take your time eating
3. Have alkaline only (vegetables/salad/fruit) days planned
4. De tox with dietary cleanses and colon hydrotherapy
Colon Hydrotherapy is an amazing treatment and can very quickly rectify gut trauma as a result of over eating or consuming food/drink that we have mild to severe intolerance to. Far from having a detrimental effect on gut bacteria it seems to calm inflammation and help the body restore harmony and balance. When the gut has got stuck in a vicious cycle of dysbiosis, Colon Hydrotherapy can assist the bowels in the release of offending matter This together with a cleansing diet and infusions of high potency good bacteria gives the small intestines and liver a chance to recover equilibrium.
Throughout January 2019 I will be offering discounts on Colon Hydrotherapy/Nutrition Advice treatments.
Initial Consultation will cost £65.00 – saving £5.00
Follow up Colon Hydrotherapy sessions will cost £60.00 – saving £5.00
Three colon hydrotherapy session booked in advance (with initial consultation) will cost £180.00 – saving £20.00
Three colon hydrotherapy sessions book in advance (without initial consultation) will cost £175.00 – saving £20.00
Happy holidays and happy recovery!
Sigute is a certified Junior Intermediate level I Iyengar yoga teacher, who runs a Wednesday evening class at Cheltenham Holistic Heath Centre (6.30-8pm).
She is Lithuanian, and has lived in the UK since 2006, gaining her initial Iyengar yoga certification in 2013. Having worked full-time in the heritage sector for over 11 years, Sigute finally let go of her managerial role last year; now focusing on teaching yoga and doing some design and art work.
Sigute’s classes are attended by a variety of students, of different ages, and are as popular with men as with ladies. Her teaching style is friendly, supportive and encouraging. She aspires to help the students benefit from yoga and overcome physical limitations, pains or injuries, as well as gradually progress to more advanced poses in a safe manner. Although the focus is kept on correct performance of the yoga poses, alignment and balance, Sigute’s students also get a fair share of relaxation; an insight into the importance of breathing, practice of Pranayama and the more holistic approach to balance out the physical, mental and emotional layers.
New students, beginners as well as those who have got some yoga experience, are welcome to join Sigute’s class. Quite a few of her students practice other sports, be it cycling, swimming, running or rowing. Yoga helps them to balance out other activities, stretch out or relax the body in a way that counteracts any habits or over-strain from other exercise. Improved concentration, breathing and body awareness is also found to fuel back into students’ daily lives, bringing better energy and performance, as well as general well-being.
Food, Glorious Food!
My Mindfulness Journey with Dietary Intolerances
Author and mindfulness teacher Catherine G Lucas shares her experience
Becoming gluten, dairy, yeast and sugar-free has been a journey. Sometimes it has been uphill with a strong head wind in my face. Other times, I’ve been propelled forwards, the wind to my back.
It’s a personal journey, a unique journey, and I guess it has to be for each of us. Even now, there are times when I have to be careful, times when I know I could end up eating something that will make me feel unwell. There are times when I do. Luckily, fairly rare occasions. Nearly always when stress levels peak. My mindfulness practice has been a huge help.
Mindfulness has been shown to help cope with stress, leading to ‘a 58%reduction in anxiety levels and 40% reduction in stress’ according to the Mental Health Foundation.What the research figures don’t tell you is that being gluten-free or dairy-free or anything-free is all about kindness, self-compassion. The journey is essentially one of moving from self-harm to self-care. As our awareness grows, through our mindfulness practice, so too inevitably does our ability to be kind to ourselves, to our bodies.
A breakthrough came for me when I realised it wasn’t about depriving myself of anything but rather nourishing and nurturing myself with all sorts of delicious, healthy alternatives. If we feel at all deprived, the journey is simply an uphill struggle and we won’t achieve what we’re hoping to.
For every food I needed to cut out, in time I’ve worked out wonderful substitutes. From being someone who had never so much as baked a cake, I’ve gone to being known amongst friends for my various tasty breads, cakes and puddings, all totally gluten, dairy, sugar and yeast-free.
But it’s not about the recipes. It’s about bringing our awareness to the journey, to the kinds of situations that might trigger us, where we might slip up. And bringing in self-compassion if we do. A shared supper where there will probably be all manner of puddings laden with sugar, dairy and/or gluten is the kind of situation where I take along something I caneat.
It’s about acknowledging, with that same compassion, that, as is the case for me, I’m dealing with an addiction. It takes the tiniest bit of sugar for me to be right back there, hooked and craving. It won’t surprise you to hear that mindfulness is being used increasingly to help those struggling with addiction. Of the two books I’ve written for the Sheldon Press Mindfulness Series, one is on addiction recovery.
So the journey continues and I’m delighted to have this opportunity to support you on yours, to share what I’ve learnt, how mindfulness and kindfulness help. May the journey to healthy eating for us all be one where, rather than battling against a head wind, a warm breeze gently caresses our skin.
Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre
Kindfulness & Nutrition
A one-day mindfulness retreat
exploring our patterns around food
Sunday 21 October 2018
Are you coping with food sensitivities or allergies? Candida or diabetes? Do you need to avoid certain foods for health reasons but struggle to do so?
Join us for this one-day Kindfulness retreat. We’ll explore ways of self-nurturing, moving from a sense of denial to feeling nourished on every level.
An essential aspect of mindfulness is kindness and compassion, in this case compassion towards ourselves. As we grow in self-awareness and self-compassion, so we move more easily through our food challenges.
The day is suitable for mindfulness beginners as well as more experienced practitioners. For bookings, please contact Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre – £60 for the day; £50 for CHHC clients. Any queries do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please bring on the day
- a pillow and some sort of a throw, shawl or blanket as one of the mindfulness practices, the body scan, involves lying down.
- something for a shared vegetarian lunch.
Catherine G Lucas has been teaching mindfulness since qualifying as a mindfulness trainer in 2007. She has taught many groups, including NHS therapists and soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Catherine is also the author of four books, her two most recent in the Sheldon Press Mindfulness Series.
On this one-day retreat she brings her personal experience of thriving on a diet that is gluten, dairy, sugar and yeast free.
“I couldn’t have achieved this without the self-awareness that my mindfulness practice brings. If I slip up occasionally, it’s kindness and compassion towards myself that gets me right back on track. For me, it’s about moving from self-harm to self-care, from foods that harm me to foods that nourish and nurture me.”
Kindfulness & Nutrition
A one-day mindfulness retreat exploring our patterns around food
with mindfulness teacher and author Catherine G Lucas
Sunday 21 October 2018
For those coping with food sensitivities or allergies, candida or diabetes, or needing to avoid certain foods for health reasons.
More details: http://www.catherine-g-lucas.com/uk.html
Bookings: CHHC (£60)
Please bring on the day
– a pillow and some sort of a throw, shawl or blanket as one of the mindfulness practices, the body scan, involves lying down.
– something for a shared vegetarian lunch.
Lisa Kimberley, our Psychotherapist is offering a week of one to one support and therapeutic arts during Pregnancy and Baby Loss week.