When we are at home the last thing we think about is toxins, we are in our safe environment, or so it seems but we are increasingly becoming aware of the potential dangers lurking in… More
2019 was the year that the fashion industry started to take sustainability seriously, thanks to more transparency, our eyes are now wide open to the world of fast fashion which is designed for a quick turnover of profit and churning out seasonal trends. The effect that this amount of clothing production and waste has on the planet is staggering and the planet is unable to keep up with the demand on its natural resources therefore unless we make drastic changes, the world is heading for an eco-disaster.
Cotton production seems to be one of the worst culprits for heavy water consumption with around 10,000 litres of water needed just to make 1kg of cotton. Natural fibres such as hemp and flax are a great deal more sustainable than cotton; requiring less land space and water.
As someone who has been buying and wearing vintage for the last 20 years, I am here to help guide you in the right direction for getting a more sustainable and eco-friendly wardrobe without sacrificing on style.
There was a time when slow fashion brands were just a bit meh. Nowadays with more slow fashion brands and eco-friendly designers emerging the choices are far from being basic and you can find really stylish fashion without sacrificing the planet, for a sustainable wardrobe to really flourish it is always better to avoid the latest ‘hot right now’ on-trend looks and choose classics that will stay stylish no matter what year we are in.
I personally love the marketplace Rêve En Vert which means “Dream in Green’ for some really stylish and highly curated collections from designers who operate their businesses with respect for people and the planet.
If you cannot afford to buy such quality items at full price, try buying secondhand or vintage, if you cannot bring yourself to trudge around charity shops or you don’t have time, try searching on sites such as EBay, Etsy and Depop for some great secondhand designer, nearly new and vintage pieces.
Charity shops are a great way to seek secondhand designer or high street items on-trend or classics but some people find it quite daunting to go round the charity shops, so here are a few of my tips to get the best out of your visit.
- Firstly to prepare yourself, have something in mind that you are looking for, such as high waist trousers, or a silk blouse or a cashmere sweater. I find it easier than just aimlessly looking for anything that takes your fancy.
- Find out when they put out the new things, some shops are updating their stock all day but some shops just restock one or two days a week, getting in first when the fresh stock goes out is a good way of finding good stuff.
- Buy only the good high street brands or designers, for example, a secondhand Whistles blouse will last much longer than a secondhand Primark blouse. The fun thing about Charity shops is finding designer pieces, I have found designer pieces from the likes of Chloe, Nicole Farhi, Marella, Maxmara, Aquascutum and many more, my wardrobe is pretty impressive for a secondhand collection. I also mix in high-street garments from JIGSAW or Whistles and Zara, all second hand, I never buy new.
So you have got the sustainable dressing down to a tee but how do you make sure you are looking stylish? There are a few simple rules which will always give you an advantage in the style stakes.
- Rule number one, never buy clothes that are too small for you, there is nothing attractive about squeezing into something that doesn’t fit, it will make you look bigger than you are, a blouse that has some room to move maybe even a bit big but tucked into high waist trousers looks elegant and stylish.
- Wearing similar tones also gives you a more stylish look, neutrals or all black or all navy always looks smart and stylish, never mix dark colours together like brown with navy or black.
3. Buy basics that you will wear again and again that are made of quality fabrics, the better the quality fabric the better your garment will hang and drape and look and feel. Viscose, Cashmere, Pure Wool, Silk or Cotton will always outweigh Polyester or Nylon in style and sustainability.
Are you troubled by hormonal problems, perhaps you have an estrogen dominant condition such as fibroids or endometriosis? Hormones control nearly every aspect of how we feel and could be behind a whole range of symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, headaches, depression, and digestive issues.
My top 5 smoothie ingredients for happy hormones include fibre, healthy fats and lots of antioxidants.
Avocado – A healthy fat which helps to reduce the absorption of estrogen so if you are estrogen dominant this would be a good option. It’s also rich in Vitamin B6 which supports healthy metabolism and nervous system. Avocado can also lower stress hormones in the body and improve serotonin levels needed for a healthy mood
Broccoli – Contains natural compounds such as glucosinolates and sulforaphane, which helps reduce the risk of estrogen-linked cancers and eliminates excess hormones from the body that can disrupt our cycle. Kale is also great for balancing your adrenal glands, which help regulate the hormones necessary for fertility, mood stability, and energy levels, it is also rich in iron and contains sulfur which detoxes the liver.
Flaxseeds – Rich in antioxidants and compounds called lignans which have been shown to help regulate estrogen levels. Chia, Pumpkin or Hemp seeds would also work well for hormone balance. Hemp is an excellent source of protein if you are a vegetarian and supplies the body with all 3 omegas.
Blueberries or Kiwi – Too much fruit in your smoothie can cause high sugar spikes which would create an imbalance of blood sugar levels so its best to only add a small addition of fruit to your smoothie, kiwi is abundant with vitamin C and blueberries have high antioxidant activity so either a small handful of blueberries or a kiwi is enough fruit for your smoothie.
Maca – originally from Peru this superfood enhances energy, vitality and is proven to support hormone balance and improve fertility chances, it also tastes great so is a goodie for your hormone balancing smoothie.
Mix all your chosen ingredients with your favourite plant-based milk, dairy from cows is full of hormone disruptors so avoid cows milk, I love Rude Health almond milk or coconut milk, coconut is rich in amino acids, healthy fats, minerals, and B vitamins which would be beneficial to your hormones and almonds are a source of vitamin E, copper and magnesium which is vital for a healthy endocrine system.
Berry Nice Hormones Smoothie
- 1 hand full of Blueberries
- Half Avocado
- 1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
- 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 Tbsp Maca Powder
- 4 Broccoli Florets
- A glass of Coconut Milk
Then drink at room temperature, Ayurvedic practitioners believe that icy drinks can interfere with your digestive fire and cause dampness in the body so it’s always better for your system to drink your beverage at room temperature to avoid causing strain on your kidneys and liver.
I have always loved pesto sauce and especially since suffering with heartburn I found a real friend in basil. Basil is an underestimated herb which is full of health benefits.
Not only does basil reduce inflammation, it also reduces the effects of oxidative stress, has anti-ageing properties and its anti-bacterial. There are also studies to show that it can also be effective at fighting cancer. If you ever needed an excuse to eat more basil, this is it.
The problem with the shop bought varieties is that they have so many added preservatives, my main aim is always to keep it fresh, keep it simple and to know exactly what I am eating, so here is my simple fresh Pesto.
Invest in a pestle and mortar or you can use a blender.
- Add lovely fresh clean new green basil leaves, no stalks, and no dead leaves.
- Use the pestle to ground it until its a green paste
- Add a lug of organic olive oil
- Add toasted pine nuts and work into the paste
- Add grated parmesan cheese
- If you want to add crushed garlic you can do that now
- Finish off with a little sea salt and a squirt of lemon and some chilli flakes
- If it seems a little dry add a little more olive oil
The result, an easy pesto sauce as fresh as you can get within 5 minutes, now just add warm pasta, or spirallised courgettes or use the mix to make a salad dressing.
As someone who has personally suffered from the effects of anxiety and stress, I know how it feels to live with the fight or flight response, which is often permanently active and the consequences of this condition mean exhausted adrenals, fatigue and a general feeling of malaise.
One study shows that 3 million adults in the UK currently suffer from anxiety disorders, some claim that anxiety is the disease of the 21st century. Many psychologists working with young people have noted a substantial increase in the number of people, young and old, reporting with symptoms of anxiety.
So what are we getting all anxious about?
It seems to be a problem mainly associated with the modern world and can be triggered by stressful events, work or relationship problems. Some people find the news makes them anxious and it wouldn’t be surprising. The news is full of stories of conflict, natural disasters, economic troubles, and crime and that can also add to our anxiety.
What is Cortisol and what effect does it have on the body?
Cortisol is a stress hormone which is produced by our adrenal glands and is usually released in response to events such as exercising and stress.
It’s a healthy response when it is required especially if we are in a dangerous situation but the problem is that this stress response is being triggered too frequently from our ever-stressed, fast-paced lifestyle and our bodies are pumping out cortisol almost constantly, which can wreak havoc on our health.
The Effects of Elevated Cortisol
– Elevated cortisol over the long term consistently produces glucose, leading to increased blood sugar levels which could cause blood sugar imbalances and put our bodies at risk of type 2 diabetes.
– The purpose of Cortisol is to reduce inflammation in the body, which is good, but over time these efforts to reduce inflammation also suppresses the immune system. Chronic inflammation caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and stress, contributes to keeping cortisol levels soaring.
– It’s important to eat your meals in a quiet manner allowing your digestion and absorption of nutrients to work at its peak performance, however if you are stressed, indigestion develops and the mucosal lining becomes irritated and inflamed. This inflammation can lead to a higher increase in the production of cortisol and the cycle continues as the body becomes increasingly burdened.
– Long-term stress and elevated cortisol may also be linked to insomnia, chronic fatigue, and depression. When we sleep our cells renew and regenerate and in situations of chronic stress these systems are compromised allowing cortisol to soar.
How Can We Reduce Cortisol?
The best approach to keeping cortisol levels at bay is mastering stress management and optimising our diet.
1. Tackling Stress: Exercise is a great way to release built-up stress, emotions, anger and the toxin overload that comes with it and this will also help to promote a better nights sleep. If you need to talk about what is causing your stress, try seeing a therapist, whether its someone who can just listen or perhaps someone who can find an alternative way to break your stressful thought patterns such as hypnotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy.
2. Be Mindful: Try practicing Yoga and Meditation, I found it easier to start by making it part of my morning or bedtime routine, even if its just 10 minutes of stretching and conscious breathing. Yoga, Meditation and other mind-body practices train your body and mind to be able to cope with stress which can also improve overall health and well-being.
3. Lower Inflammation: Systemic inflammation causes elevated cortisol levels. If we can naturally decrease inflammation in the body and minimise stress, decreased cortisol levels should follow. Try sticking to a low inflammatory diet which includes lots of organic plant-based foods, fibre, nuts, seeds, and beans and cut down on inflammatory foods such as processed take away meals, high sugar, alcohol, caffeine and foods high in saturated fats.
4. Laugh: I don’t know about you but after a good belly laugh, nothing can change my good mood, Its just addictive and I crave more and more laughter. Spend time with friends that are fun, that make you laugh or watch a comedy or funny cats on youtube, whatever makes you smile. Those feel good endorphins that you release will naturally lower your stress levels and if you make time for regular laughter this should help to keep your cortisol levels at a low. Also sometimes when I am meditating I find that if I smile to myself it really has an effect of, its all ok, everything is going to be fine even if I don’t feel it is at that moment just fake it. Smile or laugh as much as possible and your high cortisol levels will have no place to hide.
Apparently as many as 16 million UK adults* are suffering from sleepless nights. That’s 1 in 3 adults who suffer from insomnia. Have you ever suffered with this debilitating sleep disorder?
Sleep is essential for our general well-being. When we sleep it allows for healing to take place. It helps to keep our hormones balanced, improves immune health, digestion, brain health and also skin health. It also gives us a better capacity to cope with everyday stresses and gives us the ability to make sound judgments.
How can we make sure we get enough quality Zzzz’s?
- Many studies are being done to understand the connection between our gut and our brain health. Our gut microbiome is the complex community of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract. So if you’ve been having trouble sleeping, embracing a gut-friendly diet and lifestyle will put you on the right path to protecting your overall health which will also give you a better chance for some good sleep.
- It’s uber important to get enough exercise as it releases tension and toxins which help relieve the body of any mental and physical reasons which could be keeping you awake at night. Exercise boosts the effect of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin.
- What’s your bedtime ritual? Is it to look at Instagram or watch TV in bed? This will stimulate your mind and the light from your devices will deplete your melatonin levels. If you are struggling with sleep, try reading a book. According to a study conducted in 2009 by researchers at the University of Sussex showed that six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%, clearing the mind will really help to calm the body and induce natural sleep.
- Meditation is an ancient practice which can improve symptoms of Insomnia by reducing measures of arousal in the brain, whether you do it for just 10 minutes in the morning or before you go to bed, this will train your brain to clear itself of negative thought patterns or the constant chatter in our minds which can keep you awake at night.
- Digestion is a very common reason why some people can’t sleep. If you are making your digestive system active just before bed, your liver and kidneys will be working hard, which could keep you awake. Your kidneys repair between the hours of 10-1am so its good to eat at least two hours before bed and try to get in a sleep routine where you go to bed at the same time if possible.
If you are looking for a good sleep formula without the health risks of prescribed sleeping tablets. We+People have formulated a blend of organic plant based ingredients listed below, which are all proven to induce calm and promote natural sleep.
A herb native to Asia and Europe, is often referred to as “nature’s Valium.” In fact, this herb has been used since ancient times to promote tranquility and improve sleep.
It contains a number of compounds that may promote sleep and reduce anxiety. These include valeric acid, isovaleric acid and a variety of antioxidants.
Valerian has received attention for its interaction with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. Researchers have shown that low GABA levels related to acute and chronic stress are linked to anxiety and low-quality sleep.
The Ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that are native to India and North Africa. It is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing.
It is best known for its stress-lowering effects. It’s classified as an “adaptogen,” meaning that it can help your body manage stress.
Bacopa Monnieri has been used for centuries in Ayurveda traditional medicine and has long been thought of as a “wonder herb.”
As a quintessential Adaptogen, it has a helpful effect on our stress management. It has similarities to L-Theanine, in that it reduces anxiety and keeps you calm, but also provides additional benefits such as enhancing your memory.
To purchase ‘Sleep’ head over to wepeople.uk
I’ve often suffered from periods of insomnia which makes me feel quite an expert on the subject of sleep, especially when it comes to what’s good to eat before bed and what will make you have nightmares.
A warming drink before bed triggers something in the mind which says, lights out and sweet dreams and it works for me every time. Warm cows milk is often given to children before bed, it contains two substances, the hormone melatonin and the amino acid tryptophan which both promote sleep.
I prefer to avoid cows milk as it contains many growth hormones and there are plenty of healthier alternatives out there such as Almond milk, Coconut milk, Tiger Nut Milk and Oat Milk.
Here is my current favourite bedtime drink which contains warming herbs and spices of Turmeric, Ginger and Cinnamon which all promote healing, lower inflammation in the body and which in turn will all promote a good nights sleep.
Choose which milk you prefer, if you really like cows milk but you are trying to find an alternative for health reasons, try oat milk, its got a creamy taste and texture which means you won’t miss cows milk at all. I love this with Almond Milk or Coconut.
- Gradually warm up the milk in a saucepan,
- Add a pinch of grated fresh ginger or powder,
- Add a pinch of grated fresh turmeric or powder,
- Add a little grass-fed ghee butter
- Add a cinnamon stick or some cardamom powder
- Add a teaspoon of Manuka Honey
- Warm it up long enough to let the flavours blend and then strain into a teapot if you don’t want any pieces.
- Get in bed with your favourite book and sip your tea,
- Snuggle down and enjoy those Zzzz’s
Heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans every month, its not actually anything to do with your heart though, its a burning sensation in the chest caused by stomach acid which travels up towards the throat and it has the ability to show up when you least want it to, usually while you are at a nice restaurant and have just taken your first bite of delicious food and a sip of red wine, a burning feeling arises in your chest, you start to turn down the wine and request water instead and you wonder how you are going to get through the meal without embarrassingly having to leave the table and your friends or hot date to find a pharmacy so late at night. Does this ring a bell?
One pop of an antacid, such as Tums or Rennie and it usually gives instant relief so what’s the problem? the problem being, what happens when it doesn’t go away after a Rennie or two?
I had a recent heartburn flare up which lasted for 4 weeks and I was terrified, I thought I would have the symptoms forever. I realised how complex the condition was when I researched it online, the symptoms were similar if you had too much stomach acid to if you didn’t have enough, so how does one know? It’s more common to not have enough stomach acid than too much, but western medicine seems to focus on getting rid of the symptoms with a quick fix rather than looking into it too deeply. I made appointments to see 3 different doctors over the four weeks who all prescribed me PPI’s (Proton-pump inhibitors) a group of drugs whose main action is to reduce stomach acid production. One doctor said I had gastritis due to Ibuprofen use and one told me I had a hiatal hernia and one said I had acid reflux caused by anxiety. Not one doctor gave me any nutritional advice, considering it was a digestive condition I found this quite strange and surely blocking all my acid production isn’t going to be a great idea in the long run?.
I was mortified when I researched the side effects of the PPI drugs, if taken long term they could cause Kidney Disease and Osteoporosis and other awful conditions! I had already started taking the drugs as I had such extreme discomfort in my chest, upper stomach, hoarseness, sore throat, neck pain, and earache and flu on top of it all, so I was pretty low. I looked into ways to reduce my symptoms and heal my condition through food and ayurvedic medicine while gradually weaning myself off of the PPI.
It took me three weeks before I saw a significant difference. I firstly avoided all trigger foods such as chili, spicy foods, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, tomatoes and citrus fruits and I stuck to a diet that was easy to digest, ensuring that I chewed my food many times so that my digestive system which was already under strain didn’t have to work harder than it needed to.
Here are some of the foods that I tried that worked well for me and eased my symptoms and put me back on the road to good health.
- Almond Milk – Coat your stomach and esophagus lining with a protective layer to stop the acid damaging your stomach wall, I found almond milk and a little ghee butter very comforting before I went to bed, I also added caprylic acid which can kill any bad bacteria in your gut.
- Fennel – I roasted some fennel seeds which I snacked on in between meals and it did ease my discomfort, I also juiced fennel, cucumber, and celery which cooled the inflammation.
- Pomegranate juice – I started taking this as my symptoms were starting to improve, it balances PH levels and neutralises any excess acid. I juiced fresh pomegranates which felt more nutritious than buying it from concentrate in a supermarket.
- Papaya – Full of great digestive enzymes and anti-bacterial properties, felt very soothing to my digestive tract.
- H-Pylori – Acid reflux symptoms could be caused by a common bacteria called H-Pylori so I would recommend eliminating these bacteria, ask your doctor for a stool test.
- Ginger – fresh ginger tea with manuka honey soothes the esophagus and also kills any bad bacteria in your tummy. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and has been used for digestive health for hundreds of years so it’s a safe bet.
- Parsley – I boiled a handful of parsley in a saucepan, strained it and then sipped on the water throughout the day, I noticed vast improvements but it tasted really bad. Parsley is known for its super healing powers on the intestines.
- Bananas- The texture just felt like the right thing to eat, it coated my throat in a protective layer and staved off any hunger pains, I don’t think bananas work for everyone, but they definitely worked for me.
- Chicken – I kept my food quite simple, chicken in chicken broth soup really felt nourishing and bone broth is one of the best foods to eat with any inflammatory condition, its healing and contains collagen vital for healing and repairing the gut.
- Pro-Biotic – I made sure when I became hungry that I would eat some yogurt as it was easy to digest and hunger would bring on symptoms so I wanted to avoid hunger pains. I chose a sheep yogurt containing bio-cultures as sheep’s milk is 10% lower in lactose than cow’s milk.
- Basil Leaves- I placed basil beside my bed as when the acid reflux flared up in the night, I would take a few basil leaves and chew on them, I was quite amazed at how effective it was and it helped ease the pain pronto. Basil helps reduce excess acid production. Tulsi Tea was also great which is made from Holy Basil leaves.
- Aloe Vera Juice – Healing to the intestinal tract and digestion, normalizes ph balance in the gut and encourages good digestive bacteria.
- Melatonin – Tests show that melatonin improves GERD symptoms such as heartburn (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) by decreasing esophageal acid exposure. This really helped me as my symptoms were often worse at night when I was lying down and so it helped me to sleep through the night.
Avoid These Habits:
- When taking pain killers or supplements, make sure you take them with lots of water and maybe even eat a small piece of bread with it to ensure it’s gone into your stomach properly. If it’s exposed for too long in your esophagus it can irritate the lining and create damage to the tissues and cells.
- Avoid NSAIDS such as ibuprofen if you regularly take pain killers for a condition, they are irritating to the stomach and can cause irreversible damage.
It’s always good to get the advice from your health practitioner if you suffer from heartburn, but its also good to know that we can heal our bodies naturally to give it gentle support rather than harsh treatments, which often only cause more problems further down the line.