Unwind With This Golden Tea

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.

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Golden Milk

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.

Golden Milk

  • 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

 

Healing Heartburn

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.

Is This The Endo Me?

I was 30 when I first heard that word, Endometriosis. I was having a routine smear test and the nurse said to me, “if you want children, you should start trying soon as it looks like you have a touch of endometriosis.” OK, I said.

I went home and thought nothing of it, this was just before the internet generation, so I didn’t really know how to research it other than to go to the library, it wasn’t as easy as it is now. I was also in a band and too busy having a good time, children were not on my agenda. How I wish it was easier back then to google the condition, to see what it was all about as my doctor had no useful advice for heavy painful periods and endometriosis symptoms, he said it was normal for some women to get painful periods and offered me the contraceptive pill when I was 16. I had been taking it for 14 years, but what happens when you want to stop taking it?

This common, painful inflammatory condition affects 1 in 10 women which means 178 million women all over the world suffer with it.

The endometriosis word came back into my life at 34, I stopped taking the contraceptive pill as I wanted to try for a child with my partner, soon after stopping the pill, I developed severe pains in my tummy, a scan on my pelvic area revealed two big ovarian cysts measuring 8cm each, called ‘chocolate cysts’ as they were filled with old blood, yuk. This was when I realised the severity of the condition and how much it was going to affect my life in more ways than one.

I’d always suffered from painful and heavy periods but just thought they were normal and that every woman goes through the same torture each month. However, when I came off the pill I was older and wiser, the symptoms and consequences of my symptoms which caused low B12, anemia and infertility meant that I needed to try to find ways to heal myself through diet and lifestyle choices and I knew there would be no short cuts.

As I have knowingly lived with this condition for 10 years now, I have grown to understand what makes it worse and what eases the symptoms. I have learned that I also need to make peace with my uterus, so instead of calling my period “a b*tch of a period” which I did every month for the past 20 years, I now send it loving thoughts, which isn’t easy to do when you are in excruciating pain.

Here are just some of the alternative methods, and products that I find have really helped my endo condition so far that you might not have discovered already;

  • Castor Oil Packs – This was a big game changer for me. Castor oil helps to bring circulation to your uterus and help bring in new fresh oxygenated blood which is what you want for a healthy uterus. Check out this video I found on how to do a Castor Oil Pack, I find the Pukka Castor Oil brand a really nice organic brand which is cheap and easy to find in most health shops or on Amazon. I found it really helped me to relax too as you cannot do anything for 45 mins to 1 hour so just lie down and listen to meditative music or whatever you find relaxes you.
  • Magnesium Spray – Apparently many women with Endometriosis lack magnesium so it’s a good one to have in your armour, it helps to relax your muscles which helps ease cramps. I found this really helpful to spray at night as it also promotes restful sleep. My favourite is by Kiki Health.
  • Clary Sage – Clary Sage oil contains natural phytoestrogens from plants and I was a little dubious at first as estrogen is usually a no-no with this condition, but apparently, good estrogen is ok just the bad ones like xenoestrogens from toxins and plastics are the bad guys. I found the oil really helped my pains if I put the oil on my tummy and then had a hot water bottle on top.
  • Supplements – If you haven’t tried ‘Endo Complex‘ yet, Its a food grown natural supplement from Wild Nutrition which provides all the right nutrients to help ease the complex endometriosis condition. I find it works really well with their ‘Methyl Connect’ supplements too which help your body to absorb folate and B12. Methylation is a biochemical process involved in almost all of your body’s functions. It controls everything from your stress response and how your body makes energy from food to your brain chemistry and detoxification.
  • Another supplement I also find useful which I formulated is ‘Woman’ by We+People, its an organic natural superfood supplement which contains maca root to help balance hormones, ginger to help fight inflammation and also a prebiotic which promotes a healthy gut and immune system. All required in abundance to tackle this often debilitating condition.
  • Ashwagandha – One of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing, has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions including stress and anxiety. This one is a new one for me as I have been researching the connection between stress and endometriosis recently as I personally suffer a lot with anxiety. So it turns out stress really affects our adrenal function and it’s our adrenals which play a huge role in keeping our hormones balanced, so it’s really important to keep them calm. I find Ashwagandha has totally stopped me from waking up with anxiety caused by high cortisol levels that peak in the morning. My favourite is the Organic India brand.
  • Fibre – I know this sounds totally crazy but after 10 years of having this disease, I have only just worked out how important fibre is. I mean, it took a herbalist to tell me that I should buy a fibre powder. I added a spoonful to my smoothies and started to go to the toilet twice a day instead of once and almost immediately it solved my constipation issues which I didn’t realise were related to my endo. It helped me to expel the excess estrogen and toxins which were clogging up my system. Be careful with it though as it does make you dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water. It’s better to get your fibre from food but I did use Lepricol which I found good to get me started and it also includes digestive enzymes and probiotics.
  • Tulsi Tea (Holy Basil) – This is a tea that I find really good for keeping my adrenals calm and there are other great teas too which are supposed to help reduce endometriosis and fibroids such as green tea which is full of antioxidants. I use the Pukka Tea variety.

Since I’ve gained a little more knowledge and insight into this condition and through research and trial and error, I am now mostly pain-free. I do have an endometrial polyp which has shrunk in size so this has made me more determined than ever to get my reproductive health back. When I stick to my well-balanced whole foods diet, get plenty of exercise and take supporting supplements, I manage pretty well. Now all I need is to get my fertility back. But at 44 I know that I am wishful thinking. If you think you have endometriosis don’t leave it until its too late to take control and get to know this condition so you can manage the symptoms and get on with enjoying your life.

There are lots of support groups and awareness of this condition out there nowadays so don’t suffer alone. Try ‘This Endo Life’ for a great blog and website dedicated to living and thriving with this condition. Also, check out UK charity group https://www.endometriosis-uk.org which organises several meetups and events throughout the year.

Could Your Gut Health Be Affecting Your Sleep?

There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep, that feeling of satisfaction when you wake in the morning feeling refreshed, body and mind alert, ready to take on the day.

Realistically, how often do you wake up feeling like you’ve had a great night’s sleep? Apparently as many as 16 million UK adults* are suffering from sleepless nights.

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. Gut microbes are key to many aspects of human health including our immune system, digestion, hormones, mood, neurotransmitters, skin health, weight, pain perception, and energy levels.

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.

Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Cut out processed foods, preservatives, and refined sugar from your diet, Most highly processed foods are loaded with artificial chemicals, including artificial flavours, textures, colours, and preservatives which are harmful to the digestive tract and bad bacteria will feed on the sugar.
  • Eat whole foods, preferably organic if you can. My rule is to be strict on some items such as berries and soft fruits without hard skin as they will be more likely to absorb more pesticides. Try eating more fermented foods too such as kimchi, kefir and raw apple cider vinegar which are natural probiotics.
  • Exercise also improves gut health so take up some regular activities such as walking, swimming, tennis or barre to get your body moving.
  • Supplement with a combination of probiotics and prebiotics which can improve the friendly flora in your microbiome. Probiotics are healthy bacteria and Prebiotics are the food that feeds the healthy bacteria. It’s quite difficult to get enough prebiotics through diet alone so try adding a prebiotic powder to your smoothies.

Once you have nurtured your gut health and you start sleeping soundly through the night, you will find that your whole body feels more balanced and supported.

This blog post I wrote for Myza.co.uk, A marketplace dedicated to all things sleep related.

Zoe K – We+People

Ramp Up Your Own Internal Collagen Production

Collagen is a protein fibre naturally found in our body and a major component of connective tissue. As we naturally age our body’s production of collagen declines even from as early as 21 our collagen production starts decreasing which causes our skin to have less tone creating more visible facial lines and loose skin.

Collagen is essential not just for our skin health but also for our bones, ligaments, tendons and muscle strength. Therefore if you want to maintain your collagen health and stay looking younger and feeling more agile its important to make sure that you are getting the vital nutrients to keep your body producing enough.

Camu Camu

Studies show that the Camu berry provides 30-60 times more natural vitamin C than an orange or lemon, and vitamin C plays a crucial role in the formation of collagen and cell renewal. 

Cinnamon 

Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde which is the organic compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and colour which increases collagen levels. Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin and stimulating blood vessels to bring a healthy glow to the surface of the skin.

Acai Berry 

Acai berries are also high in vitamin c which is a powerful antioxidant in supporting and maintaining our natural production of collagen and fights cell-damaging free radicals. Acai berries also contain copper which activates an enzyme called lysyl oxidase. This cross-links collagen fibres with other supportive fibres and helps to form the scaffold that supports your tissues keeping your bones, heart and blood vessels healthy. 

Barley Grass, Barley grass can stimulate the regeneration of cells with the help of B vitamins, iron, and chlorophyll. It also contains phycocyanin, a blue pigment that supports the creation of white and red blood cells and when these cells are rejuvenated it helps to keep your skin looking more youthful. This ingredient also has Quercetin, a flavonoid and anti-inflammatory agent that helps to maintain your skin’s elasticity thereby improving your skin’s overall texture and appearance. 

Renew

At We+People the ‘Renew’ supplements are specially formulated for skin and collagen health and this powerhouse of skin-friendly nutrients from Acai, Cinnamon, Camu Camu, and Barley Grass, means you will be arming your skin with plenty of natural defenses against ageing. 

Renew Supplements – We+People. 

5 Simple Ways to Create Hormonal Balance

Most people just assume that our bodies just figure it all out for themselves and as long as we are eating a varied healthy diet and have a good life-work balance with no stress it pretty much does….. most of the time. 

But sometimes just sometimes it gets thrown out of whack, maybe you are working too hard, maybe you have been through a traumatic episode in your life or maybe you have had an injury, a serious illness or you’ve been eating a poor diet. 

Men and women can suffer from hormonal imbalances however women are more likely to pick up on an imbalance in their hormones due to our monthly cycles and if somethings not feeling right we tend to get strong signals each month such as PMT, PMS, Endometriosis, PCOS and lots more. But it doesn’t end with our menstrual cycle as our hormones also control our sleep patterns, digestion, and overall health. 

Balancing hormones requires lifestyle and diet changes and here are our 5 steps to help you get back your happy hormones. 

1. Nourish

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers which control most major bodily functions so if our hormones aren’t balanced it will have a direct impact on how our bodies perform. Start by eating less processed foods and refined sugars which cause our hormones to behave erratically and eat a healthy diet rich in good fats and protein. Did you know Hemp contains a whole spectrum of all the amino acids our bodies need and includes omega 3 and 6 which is directly linked to hormone health? Hemp also contains heaps of healthy protein too. 

2. Exercise 

It’s really important to exercise our bodies every day even if just for 30 minutes, exercise creates harmony in our hormones and breaking a sweat will also get rid of any excess toxins in our bodies through our sweat glands, so drink lots of water and get exercising. Try adding Maca to your daily routine. It’s the champion superfood for hormonal balancing and it has also been claimed to help increase strength, boost energy and improve exercise performance. Maca oxidises quite quickly so it can lose 50% of its powerful health benefits within 3 months so for best results we recommend to take it in supplement form which is protected by the plant based capsule. 

3. Laugh 

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline, and dopamine. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones, like endorphins which means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress. Have you tried cacao, cacao is chocolate in its purest form without all the added sugars, the mood-boosting effects of cacao really can lift our mood. Researchers have discovered that cacao can help stimulate the brain into releasing neurotransmitters, which can in turn release feel-good hormones.

4. Eat Your Greens 

Making sure you eat lots of greens such as kale and spinach will assist your liver which is vital for hormone health. We are exposed to toxins every day and some of these toxins such as those found in plastics can even mimic the hormone oestrogen and cause serious hormone imbalances. It’s the liver’s job to cleanse these out of our system. So to support liver health try taking wheatgrass which contains many nutrients such as chlorophyll, folic acid, and B12 which can help detoxify an overburdened liver and help to cleanse the blood. 

5. Keep Your Gut Healthy

Our overall health starts in our digestive system and if you consistently eat processed food and high sugar foods, the chances are pretty high that your digestive system will be toxic and sluggish and this will have a direct impact on your hormones.  Eat plenty of foods which will restore your gut health, such as fermented foods and bone broth. We include Inulin in our supplements as this is a natural plant fibre which acts as a prebiotic and our gut bacteria converts that into fatty acids which nourishes our colon cells and provide a healthy environment in the gut and therefore happy hormones too.

Blog Post By Zoe @ WePeople

Anxiety Blues

Have you ever woken up with butterflies in your tummy and thought, why? I have nothing to worry about so why am I feeling so nervous?

I have suffered for many years with this very problem and I didn’t know why. I was basically stuck in these anxious feelings which were worse in the mornings when I woke up, apparently, this is because a stress hormone called cortisol is highest in the morning. Cortisol helps your body respond to stress and regulates blood sugar levels.

I had a period in my life where I went through a lot of turmoil and it all seemed to happen within a few years. My mother had not one, but two serious illnesses that nearly killed her, I then went through a really traumatic break up with my partner and by this time I was emotional, mentally and physically wrecked.

My body was on the brink and my adrenal glands were exhausted, I had brain fog, tingling in my legs, I thought I had MS, one side of my body felt numb, I was sure that I had a serious disease in my body.

My doctor said ” I believe all your symptoms are from anxiety”

As I tried to move on from all the stress, I got recurring cystitis, my body was so inflamed, I was given antibiotic after antibiotic and I just thought to myself, I can’t keep living like this.

I started to try to heal myself, I went to see naturopaths and acupuncturists, homeopaths and herbalists. I was quite dizzy and confused by it all, I studied my conditions on the internet, I couldn’t shake the anxiety, no matter what I tried.

It was a slow process but I followed diets to improve my adrenal function and support my liver and I took herbs such as Ashwagandha which really worked. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen which supports the adrenal glands by promoting homeostasis in the body. Not only does it calm down the body and our mental processes, it helps promote better sleep, which in turn supports the adrenals and promotes better thyroid health which is also closely linked to stress.

I found Yoga with Adrienne helped a lot and I meditated for at least 5 minutes every evening before bed just to calm my mind. I also drank relaxing herbal teas such as Tulsi tea or Camomile and tried supplementing with Ashwagandha. I also supported my health with reflexology and did regular exercise as this helped me to sweat out any toxins that were accumulating in my body. I also found the steam room and sauna great for this.

Eventually, you will start to see an improvement in your mental health and your stress levels will alleviate. You will still get days when you are anxious but you will learn how to let it go, its all about letting it go and not getting stuck in that anxious mindset.

What caused it in the first place?

We naturally have a stress hormone called adrenalin which kicks in to warn us of danger, from the days when we had to run from our predators. Nowadays it is more from our modern life stresses such as our boss or relationships and other triggers. The fight or flight response gets stuck and this is when our body finds it hard to cope. Its literally taken me 2 years to actually feel better and I still have bad days, the slightest stressful thing can throw me into an anxious state. The time it takes will be different for everyone but I am proof that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.