What is Whole30?

You’ve most likely heard the term Whole30 by now and may even know someone who’s risen to the challenge. Created by a pair of nutritionists in 2009, it’s a month-long program that involves eliminating the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups from your diet.

Translation? No sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes (and plenty of other fine print) for a month. Sounds intense, right? But it can be done!

Unlike other diets, the focus of Whole30 is to identify intolerances that you may not have realized were negatively affecting your health. And it goes beyond just the food you eat; it’s also about resetting your habits & emotional relationship with food.

THE RULES.

YES. Eat Real Food

Eat meat, seafood, and eggs; vegetables and fruit; natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with a simple or recognizable list of ingredients, or no ingredients at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.

For a full list of what you CAN eat, have a look here.

No. Avoid for 30 Days

  • No added sugar (real/artificial). This includes maple syrup, honey, agave, date syrup etc.
  • No alcohol. In any form, not even for cooking. (and ideally no tobacco)
  • No grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
  • No legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy: soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy lecithin.
  • No dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
  • No MSG, carrageenan or sulphites.
  • No junk foods or treats with “approved ingredients”. Even if the ingredients are technically compliant, these are the same foods that got you into health-and-craving trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
  • Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. If you focus only on body composition, you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic, lifelong benefits this plan has to offer.

 

THE FINE PRINT

These foods are exceptions to the rule, and are allowed during your Whole30.

  • Ghee or clarified butter. These are the only source of dairy allowed. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as you may be sensitive to the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter.
  • Fruit juice. Some products or recipes will include fruit juice as a stand-alone ingredient or natural sweetener, which is fine for the purposes of the Whole30.
  • Certain legumes. Green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are allowed.
  • Vinegar and botanical extracts. Most vinegar (including white, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, and rice) and alcohol-based botanical extracts (like vanilla, lemon, or lavender) are allowed. (Just not malt-based vinegar or extracts, which will be clearly labeled as such, as they contain gluten.)
  • Coconut aminos. All brands of coconut aminos (a brewed and naturally fermented soy sauce substitute) are acceptable, even if you see the words “coconut nectar” or “coconut syrup” in their ingredient list.
  • Salt. Did you know that all iodized table salt contains sugar? Sugar (often in the form of dextrose) is chemically essential to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. Because all restaurants and pre-packaged foods contain salt, salt is an exception to our “no added sugar” rule.

 

Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, count calories, restrict calories, or purchase everything organic or grass-fed. Your only job is to stick to the Whole30 rules for 30 straight days… no cheats, no slips, no “special occasions.”

It’s only 30 days. It’s for you.

5 Things To Know Before Starting Whole30

Whole30 Recipe Inspiration

Prioritise Your Health This Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Prioritise Your Health This Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is International Breast Cancer Month. Not only do we celebrate those who have survived the disease, and remember our loved ones who lost the fight, but we bring awareness to affliction in a way of educating people to be better prepared if, in the future, it affects themselves or someone they know.

So let’s chat a little bit about breast cancer, who might be at risk at contracting it, what treatments are available to them, and how we all might be able to take steps now to improve our breast health.

*DISCLAIMER: while I have consulted a number of medical professionals and included links to online sources of information, always consult a medical professional if you have any further questions*

BREAST CANCER EXPLAINED

When cells in any part of the body, in this case, one’s breasts, begin to grow out of control, it is a sign of cancer. This is why doctors suggest that if you feel a lump in your breast, you immediately go for a breast examination or book a mammogram (low energy X-ray to examine breast tissue).

While the dangerous misconception held by many used to be that only women got breast cancer, KISS drummer – Peter Criss, Richard Roundtree, and even Beyonce’s father Matthew Knowles – have been diagnosed. People have just assumed that because women have more breast tissue, they are more susceptible, but there is no scientific evidence to support that notion.

Breast cancer can begin in any one of the three parts of the breast (the lobules, ducts, and connective tissue) through most documented cases have proven that it grows more in the ducts or lobules. Breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body so it is crucial that it be caught early in order to be treated immediately and aggressively.

CONDUCT A SELF-EXAMINATION

Women are encouraged to conduct a   during, or 3 days leading up to their menstruation cycle, but men must also check their breasts at least once a month

Begin by lying down.

Place a pillow underneath your shoulder and bring your arm up behind your head.

Using your free hand, press down on your breast gently with the pads of your fingers. Work in circular motions and move around your entire breast and up into your armpit.

Then, very gently, squeeze your nipple to check for any unusual discharge.

Repeat on your other breast.

It is important to check your breasts regularly as it will be easier to notice a change or irregularity if you familiarise yourself with the ‘normal’ state of your breasts.

BREAST CANCER TREATMENT

Once your diagnosis has been confirmed you have a number of different options that your breast specialist (whether it be a GP, OB/GYN or Oncologist) will explain to you.

Depending on the size of your tumour, which is the growth of abnormal cells; how quickly the cancerous cells might grow; the likelihood of cancer returning after treatment etc, your medical practitioner will make a suggestion. 

Most people get an Operation to remove the tumour. It is the easiest way to get rid of as much of the cancer as possible. Following that, they receive a few sessions of radiation. Chemotherapy is another option doctors might prescribe depending on the nature of your cancer. This treatment is distributed through an IV drip that works to kill the cancer in your entire body. Hormone Therapy blocks both estrogen and progesterone from growing the cancer cells in your body, while Targeted Therapy adjusts the nature of your cells that might be at risk of becoming cancerous.

There are a few health fundis who swear by homoeopathic remedies for treating cancer. If you are interested in exploring these, I explore them below. Again, I implore you to seek professional advice before considering this option as there are conflicting arguments about how effective the many remedies are.

EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR BREASTS

While some insist apples, berries, cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, as well as carrots, fatty fish, walnuts, and legumes kill cancer, others swear by turmeric, cinnamon, flax seeds, garlic and olive oil.

One thing is clear from the many lists I’ve read through, processed foods are a big no-no if you want to maintain your breast health. Fast food is full of carcinogens, and other hormone agitating chemicals that have no business being in your body. If you eat clean, you’re in good standing of maintaining better health for yourself in general that might extend to your breast health.

There have been studies that argue that CBD products shrink, but this is only for melanoma. The jury is still out on breast cancer. Some patients have noticed an alleviation of cancer symptoms like pain and nausea from chemotherapy having used cannabinoids in one form or another. Before you use these products, you should talk to your doctor about it because there are different products on the market and you’ll want to find what’s best suited for you and your lifestyle.

Our Top 10 Favourite Foods to Fight Cancer

How Can Moringa Help Those Suffering With Cancer?

4 Ways to Activate Turmeric for Maximum Absorption

Sources/reading material:

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/what-is-breast-cancer.htm
https://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-treatment-options#1

https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cancer-fighting-foods#section14
https://www.analyticalcannabis.com/articles/cannabinoids-shrink-tumors-in-new-study-311369 

 

Dealing with Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)

Dealing with Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)

As the leaves begin to fall and the temperature drops, it takes the sun a little longer to get out of bed in the morning. Because humans, like all creatures of the world, are heavily dependant on the fiery ball in the sky, its sluggishness translates to ours. Though some would love to take a three-month nap, our bodies aren’t wired to hibernate until Spring’s warmth thaws the Winter chill; so people might experience SAD which is just your body having to adjust to the changing environment.

Identifying SAD is extremely important if you want to adequately treat it. And this disorder is more common than you think, with it affecting 1 in every 9 people. You might be struggling with describing your symptoms because you think your restlessness is as the result of Monday blues, for example, or your fatigue is just because you’re stressed. Take a look at the bigger picture. If you’re experiencing more than one of these symptoms over a prologued period of time, it’s okay to admit that you’re struggling with SAD.

  • EXTREME SADNESS

One-off days versus an entire depressive episode is what distinguishes SAD from being ‘sad’. You know yourself; you know when you’re under the weather and when you are feeling incredibly unhappy. If you’re feeling like this for more than two weeks, it’s a sign of depression. If you’re only going through hard times over winter, it may be a sign of SAD.

  • SLEEPINESS

People with SAD tend to sleep a great deal more during winter. But don’t think that the extra z’s translate to you feeling more rested. The fatigue is symptomatic of a hormone imbalance as a result of your physiological condition.

  • RESTLESSNESS

If you notice that you are either more irritable and/or having trouble concentrating, it is a cause for concern. Because SAD tends to affect women and youths more than any other group of society, there is a surge of emotions that cause the discomfort SAD sufferers experience. Depression and SAD also tend to affect the way your brain works, so if it takes more effort to settle into work, you know why.

  • LOW LIBIDO 

When you’re feeling upset, sex is the last thing on your mind. When you’re either depressed or suffering from SAD, your libido will definitely dip.

There are many natural ways of dealing with SAD that don’t need you to take chronic medication (though if you find you really can’t manage, I suggest consulting a healthcare professional about anti-depressants). It is important to give SAD the attention it needs. Left untreated, SAD can escalate and cause weight gain, social anxiety and hopelessness. Here are a couple of ideas on how to treat it naturally:

  • LIGHT THERAPY 

One of the leading causes of winter SAD is the lack of natural light. The sun is an amazing source of both Vitamin E and D, when we can’t get our daily dose of it, our bodies are affected. Though you can plan your diet around the change in season, you still need to get natural light (or the closest substitute). 

“When light hits the retina of the eye, it’s converted into nerve impulses that pass back to specialised regions of the brain that are involved in emotional regulation,” explains Dr. Rosenthal, who is responsible for classifying and explaining SAD. 

Light- or phototherapy will go a long way in improving your mood. Spend 20 – 60 minutes a day in front of a lightbox with cool-white fluorescent bulbs.

  • COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)

If you’re a firm believer in mind over matter, then CBT will help you rewire your mindset and get you to replace your negative thought patterns with positive ones. Remember, SAD is not a personal failing. There are chemicals and hormones in your body that work out of your control that affect your mood. Replace the time you would’ve spent being negative about yourself with a productive exercise. The more you do, the more you’ll feel you can do – this will in turn improve your entire outlook.

  • TAKE A WARM WINTER VACATION 

Living in an area that gets little to no sun during the winter months is hell for anyone who experiences SAD. If you can, spend a few days in a warmer and sunnier area. I strongly suggest a camping trip, because not only are you being treated to all the natural light you desire, but you are in the heart of nature, and that serenity will be a godsend for your mental health.

  • WATCH YOUR EATING

You’re going to want to gorge yourself on ‘comfort food’ because you think it’ll make you feel better. Make wise food choices. Anything with high fructose sugar and saturated fats will end up making you feel much worse, and the added weight might compound the feelings of SAD. Swap out the pizza and doughnuts for fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates; exercise when you’re feeling sorry for yourself, and you will notice the release of endorphins which will make you feel much better.

The Effects of Stress on Your Body And How to Deal with It

The Effects of Stress on Your Body And How to Deal with It

Stress is seen as a negative thing that we need to avoid at all costs. This is not true. A healthy amount of stress is what wakes us up in the morning, keeps us adhering to our daily schedules, encourages us to meet deadlines and other important professional obligations. It is the excess of stress that causes a great deal of physiological problems. Let’s talk about how being too stressed and strung out can affect your body.

 

SIGNS THAT YOU ARE STRESSED:

Remember your parents and pre-school teachers telling you that you’re unique when you were little? Consider that when confronting the amount of stress you can handle. Just because someone two cubicles down from you can thrive under pressure, doesn’t mean you have to throw out your meticulous time management routine to match her work style. While it excites her, it certainly might tap into your anxiety because people handle different amounts of stress in different ways. 

Having said that, there are physical, mental, and behavioural symptoms of stress that you should look out for:

Physically, if you are experiencing headaches, muscle tension, altered sleeping patterns or fatigue, you might be experiencing increased levels of stress. People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) might also notice their symptoms flaring. These include painful bloating, increased flatulence, and constipation or diarrhoea. 

Be sensitive to anxiety, restlessness or irritability, feelings of being overwhelmed, or lack of motivation as these are mental symptoms of heightened stress.

Particularly social individuals who become more reclusive are already being affected. Other behavioural symptoms include undereating or overeating, and substance abuse.

It is imperative we be able to identify our stressors. Once you have an idea of the things that trigger a great deal of stress, you can either avoid them altogether or tread with caution. I, myself, am a control freak. My life runs better on a strict schedule so environments with a laissez-faire atmosphere are incredibly stressful for me. While I understand that life tends to have wonderful moments of unpredictability, they are rare. When said moments do occur, I can appreciate them for their infrequency because I enjoy order in all aspects of my life generally.

 

WHAT WILL EVENTUALLY HAPPEN: 

Aside from burnouts or mental breakdowns – which are common amongst people who experience high levels of stress on a regular basis – when we are stressed, our adrenal glands release cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline) as well as norepinephrine. An excess of these hormones in our blood has been known to cause hypotension, or high blood pressure (HBP). Scientists have also discovered that norepinephrine can line your blood vessels that build up cholesterol plaque in your arteries. HBP and clogged arteries both increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Have you noticed that you get sick easier when you’re extremely stressed and that it takes longer to heal? Well, the stress hormones I’ve just mentioned tend to inhibit or damage immune cells too. 

 

HOW TO MANAGE STRESS:

Accumulated stress is dangerous. This is why it is important to schedule time for activities which you enjoy. ‘Self-care’ is a term buzzing around a lot of holistic circles because more people are beginning to see the value in ensuring rest and relaxation. Full cups overflow. It is important to actively prioritise your physical and mental health to best perform in all the different areas of your life. This, like stress levels, differs from one individual to the next. When I’m incredibly stressed, I like to disappear. Not only will I turn off my phone for a few days, but I tend to book a trip out of town so I can physically remove myself from the site of stress. The unplugging gives me a chance to reconnect with myself, and I return feeling rejuvenated.

Staying positive is easier said than done right? But if the body really is mind over matter, you need to make sure you have complete control over the battlefield that is your consciousness. We tend to be our own worst critics, beating ourselves up when we make the slightest mistake. That pressure to perform can create a great deal of unhealthy stress too. This is why it is important to change the way we speak to ourselves. Replace, “that was pathetic, you can do better than that,” with “do your best; you got this.”

A decent Netflix binge never hurt nobody! Treat yourself to a movie marathon every once in a while. If you begin to notice that binges are happening on a daily basis, it might be time to find another form of inactive stress release. As I’ve asserted before, too much of anything – even downtime – is unhealthy. Harmony exists in balance, yin and yang, so your like must be equal parts productivity and relaxation. 

It’s important to note: we are all guilty of indulging in unhealthy coping mechanisms, which include denial and procrastination. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Instead, it will compound our feelings of stress because we know that we have to eventually face the beast. By the time we return to whatever is stressing us, chances are it’s grown in our minds making it an even more Herculean task to tackle.

Consult a psychologist or psychiatrist if you’ve tried to self soothe and things still feel overwhelming. There is no shame in asking for help; if anything it displays an incredible amount of self-love and self-awareness. 

Contact a medical professional immediately is you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or dizziness during moments of immense stress as it might be symptomatic of a cardiac episode.

 

REFERENCES: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZTc8_FwHGM
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987
https://www.ted.com/talks/sharon_horesh_bergquist_how_stress_affects_your_body?language=en#t-179975

RELATED ARTICLES:

The One Trait You Need to Create a Successful Life

Immune-Boosting Adaptogen Soup

Meet Adaptogens: The New Stress-Fighting Herbs

Winter Blues: How to Survive Cabin Fever

The sun is rising later, setting earlier, and it’s gotten too cold to leave the house unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s completely understandable if you find yourself in a little bit of a funk, being cooped up at home. Though there are the little pleasures that make the chilly season a little easier to bear, a crackling fire and a hot cup of cocoa isn’t going to remedy the claustrophobia you feel. Let’s take a moment to talk about cabin fever and the few ways we can combat the discomfiture of winter. 

CABIN FEVER 

Cabin fever is a euphemism for the restless and irritable feeling some get when they’ve been indoors for too long. Some might be triggered because they need a change in scenery while others have a reaction to a lack of Vitamin D usually received from exposure to natural sunlight. And while cabin fever might not be considered a medical disorder, Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) certainly is. This is why it’s incredibly important that you don’t underestimate what you are feeling. 

Symptoms include irritability, low mood and energy levels, fatigue, restlessness, excessive or little sleep (disturbed sleeping patterns), social isolation, trouble concentrating, increased or decreased appetite (altered eating patterns). 

Note: You know yourself well enough to gauge your ‘normal’ behaviour. Once you start acting out of character for more than just a day or two, it’s fair to assume something might be up. Booking an appointment with your GP might not be absolutely necessary, but talking to someone — possibly a friend or loved one if not a counsellor or therapist — is a good idea. There is absolutely no shame in admitting you’re having a tough time. You’ll often find that the more honest you are with yourself and what you’re feeling, the easier it’ll be to deal with.

HOW CAN WE TREAT CABIN FEVER? 

The negative temperature makes leaving the house more punishment than anything else. While I tend to stay indoors, hosting dinner parties and game nights reminds me that I can still have fun despite the weather. Appealing to friends who, like you, don’t want to venture out into the cold will be much easier with a warm pot of mulled wine as a bargaining chip.

If your cabin fever merely needs a change of scenery why not consider taking a sunny holiday? Kwazulu-Natal is South Africa’s secret site of endless summer. Book a flight, and within an hour or two (depending on where you’re flying from), you can be dipping your toes in the warm Indian Ocean. The balmy weather, sublime sunshine, and tropical – often spicy – food will lift your mood, making you feel renewed for when you decide to return home.

When you’re feeling low, it’s important to be mindful of the bigger picture. Not only will setting goals help you feel more in control of the cabin fever, but having a project is a great distraction. Whether you choose to get a headstart on spring cleaning or task yourself with knitting a quilt for next winter, if you keep yourself busy you’ll have less time and energy to feel frustrated about being indoors.

 

REFERENCES: 

https://www.verywellmind.com/cabin-fever-fear-of-isolation-2671734

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/ways-to-beat-cabin-fever 

 

Top Health Tips For Men

I wouldn’t say that health tips are one of the most common conversations amongst guys. ‘Jack, what’s the condition of your prostate?’ Is something I’ve never heard around a braai. Thankfully, this ostrich-like tendency to avoid topics of health and wellness is on the wane. More and more men are visiting their doctors for routine health checks, taking symptoms seriously and living a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, this ends up improving our life expectancy, which is five years less than women. But there are further steps we can take to ensure we’re as healthy as can be;

1. Find a Good Practitioner

Many men don’t report problems to their doctors that affect them, due to fear of judgement or embarrassment. The older you get the more issues you’re likely to face so find a practitioner (allopathic or alternative) you’re comfortable with and can openly discuss all aspects of your health, from your mental state to your sexual function to your overall wellness.

2. Get Regular Check-ups

Just because you feel healthy doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Going to your health care provider for regular checkups might just save your life. Be sure to check your cholesterol and blood pressure. If they’re not within normal ranges, follow your practitioner’s advice. And don’t ignore things like dark stools, vision loss, difficulty urinating or chest pain.

3. Eat For Your Heart Health

The bad news is that heart disease is one of the leading causes for death in men. The good news is that it’s one of the health issues we know how to influence with diet. You can give your heart some TLC by doing three things. Firstly, eat a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Secondly, eliminate ‘empty’ foods from your diet. White carbohydrates like pasta and rice are a great place to start cutting out, and switching to whole grain versions of these products may not be as painful as you think. And lastly, cut out trans-fats and boost your intake of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and wild-caught salmon that contain compounds that may help to improve blood lipids and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

4. Maintain Your Weight

Hate to say it fellas but the battle of the bulge matters. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You’ll look better, feel better and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other major killers. I know this is easier said than done, but if you follow the eating tips above, you’ll be well on your way.

5. Check Your Prostate

Guys, the latexed finger is your friend. As you grow older, the prostate gland enters a growth spurt of sorts. This can result in new symptoms such as more frequent night-time urinating. This could be caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia, and there are lots of treatment options available. But it could be more serious so it’s important your prostate is monitored as you grow older. Any symptoms such as urgency or incontinence should be reported to your practitioner, who can take it from there and offer you reassurance and treatment guidance if needed.

6. Keep Your Eye on the Ball(s)

If an enlarging prostate should be the concern of an older man, the condition of your testicles is where it’s at for the younger man. Surprisingly, most cases of testicular cancer occur in young men between 20-39 years. Making a habit of checking your testicles (perhaps following a shower) regularly can help you to spot any unusual lumps or bumps that should be investigated. Things to look out for are any unusual rashes, lumps or redness, pain when peeing, or discharge from the tip of the penis.

7. Get Moving

The good news is that research shows that just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can help improve your health. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count.

8. Take it Easy on the Alcohol

I know, I know, these inconvenient truths are coming in hard and fast. Meeting up with friends for a couple of drinks at the end of a long day or week can be a great way to relax. But many men fall into the trap of consuming far too much alcohol in one sitting, without realising the long term effects of their binge drinking. Strive for moderation.

9. Maintain Your Sexual Function

Most cases of erectile dysfunction have an underlying physical cause. The main cause is lack of blood flow to the area in question, which can be a result of physical illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease. This is why it’s so important to grit your teeth and raise this distressing issue with your practitioner, who will be well versed in dealing with problems like these. Seeking professional help for this issue can potentially identify serious underlying conditions that you may not know you have, and restore your sexual function into the bargain, so you’re a winner all round!

10. Mind Your Mind

Did you know men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, which is thought to be due to under-diagnosed depression? Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are rife amongst men, and if ignored can have devastating consequences on your quality of life. Sometimes, men who feel that they have no one to turn to cope with their feelings by drinking too much, overeating, developing a short temper, or engaging in risky behaviours. If you’re feeling low, for whatever reason, reach out – there’s lots of non-judgemental and experienced help available.

11. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep deprivation runs rampant in our on-the-go society, yet it’s one of the easiest ways to promote good health. Try to  get at least seven hours. That’s not something you should compromise on. The effects of sleep deprivation are many and varied, and running a sleep deficit has a direct impact on your ability to focus and concentrate on tasks, your mood and your physical health.

12. Maintain Close Relationships

Everything is connected. Having close ties with others is key to maintaining good mental health, which is key to having good physical health. Phone a friend, take up those invitations and don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new friendships at any stage of your life. The bond of friendship, with a close partner or buddies, has a hard-to-measure benefit in your life.

13. Safety First

Whether it’s pulling out the lawn mower, going for a bike ride or moving some furniture, safety is key. And remember, lift with your legs boys!

14. Learn to Manage Stress

Many men define themselves by their careers, which can raise stress levels. Over time, stress can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. Notice early warning signs of stress, such as irritability, tension in your shoulders and neck, grinding your teeth or clenching your hands into fists, and find healthy ways to de-stress (for example; exercise, meditation or massage).

15. Maintain Mental Fitness

Practice mental exercises, like puzzles and reading, and take steps to learn new things. These activities have been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s and maintain brain function.

16. Live a Little

Take time every day to do something you enjoy. Spend time with friends, play sports, work with your hands, play music, read, make art or cook. And limit screen time. Try to have more face to face time with family and friends.

 

READ MORE

Why Sleep is the Foundation of Health

Managing Mental Health with Food

The 5 Best Trail Run Events in South Africa

 

What’s The Deal With Essential Oils?

Aromatherapy is a relaxation and restorative technique that uses plant oils to heal the body. Quite literally, as you inhale, the molecules from the essential oils through the ‘aroma’,  begin to work on stress levels, cognitive performance and circulation – among other things. When receiving an aromatherapy massage, the masseuse or aromatherapist might typically light a few scented candles as well as massage you with essential oils. Some psychologists even utilise aromatherapy to create stress-free environments, while others’ intentions are to trigger certain memories and experiences.

So where do you start? Since we’re heading into the colder months, it might be a good idea to stock up on a few immune-boosting, chest-clearing oils, but I’ll include a few versatile evergreen essential oils:

(Remember: you MUST keep your oils in dark glass bottles, and away from direct sunlight otherwise they will degrade and lose their effectiveness)

Please Note: Faithful to Nature is an online retail store. Our green team is all about helping you unlock your full potential to live a healthy life; however we are not medical professionals. Please do consult your registered healthcare practitioner when seeking medical advice. In general, when using essential oils, you should always adhere to the following: 

  • Mix your essential oil with a carrier oil before applying to your skin or in a bath
  • Always patch-test the oil on a small area of your skin for any possibility of a reaction
  • If you are pregnant/ breastfeeding, please ask your practitioner before using any essential oils
  • Using essential oils internally must ONLY be done under the guidance of a registered practitioner
  • To find a qualified & registered aromatherapist, visit AROMA SA

Chamomile

Some of you might be drinking dried chamomile flowers it in your tea. If that’s you, you’re not wrong. Light a few chamomile candles if you want to create a very relaxing and soothing atmosphere. To make the most of the sleep-inducing oil, I recommend adding 5-10 drops to your bath (along with a carrier oil like jojoba) so you can slide from the tub and straight into bed.

Eucalyptus

Mother’s medicine cabinet was always stocked with this decongestant because I had asthma as a child which meant I was always phlegmy. Kick the flu in one night through steam inhalation (add a few drops of eucalyptus into boiling water, cover yourself in a towel and inhale the fumes) or by rubbing some directly onto your chest with a carrier oil.
Some of you might not know this, but eucalyptus is a powerful antiseptic and pain-reliever too. Massage bruised or torn muscles with the eucalyptus-carrier oil combo, and it’ll work as well as Arnica.

Geranium

If you suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), you’ll be happy you bought a diffuser just before winter really sets in. Geranium comes in a whole manner of vibrant colours and variations, while the oil itself has relaxing and mood-lifting qualities. 

Rosemary

If you have an excitable child who struggles with settling down, rosemary oil could be effective in getting them to work.  Allow rosemary essential oil to diffuse lightly in their room or where they sit down to work and it will help to clear your little ones mind while stimulating their curiosity in a productive way.

Sage

Burning sage, to cleanse the energy in a space, is a ritual I have not been inducted into. What I do religiously use sage for, however, is for balancing my hormones, and treat menstrual cramps. The essential oil balances thyroid levels and has been linked to improving depression too. Remember, seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner before using essential oils to treat medical conditions. 

Tea tree

White heads, acne scars and dandruff be gone! This antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral essential oil works magic on your skin without leaving it dry and flaky. For your skin, use tea tree oil with carrier oil like shea butter after you’ve washed your face. To combat dandruff, simply add about 5 drops into your regular shampoo. Shake the bottle well, and wash and condition hair as normal. 

Ylang ylang

Just saying ‘Ylang ylang’ already has me feeling better. Get that instant relaxation feeling by applying it directly to your temples with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil. It smells absolutely delicious, so keep a carrier-oil combo ready and dab a few drops onto your wrist if you’re low on body mist. The oil has been proven to increase sexual desire; perhaps it can even be your own kind of love potion?

 

 

The perfect starter kit to your Essential Oil journey from OCO Life.
Get it through our online store for R999

The Hemp Report

On 18 September, 2018 the South African Constitutional Court ruled the private use of marijuana legal. This gave many Rastafarians and weed smokers a reason to rejoice, but it left a lot of citizens scratching their heads too.

For many, the ‘holy herb’ and hemp are one and the same – they have been for many years, so what will the new law change, really? I’m hoping to give you some clarity. We wouldn’t want consumers with discriminating tastes to accidentally buy a product they weren’t bargaining for.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is the non-hallucinogenic strain of the cannabis sativa plant. To the untrained eye, hemp bears a striking resemblance to its debaucherous cousin. But it is the lighter shade, the thinner leaves, and the taller height that sets it apart. Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, making it the perfect material to utilise on an industrial and commercial scale.

Can I get high from Hemp?

Absolutely not. While marijuana is made up of 15% – 40% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound with psychoactive properties, hemp contains less than one percent.

How can I use it?

While hemp has trace amounts of THC in it, it is rich in Cannabidol (CBD). We’ve seen the emergence of, and growing popularity in CBD products since the legalisation of marijuana. Hemp oil, or the more concentrated CBD oil have proven to offer effective pain relief, combat anxiety and depression, aid digestion, fight cancer-forming cells, reduce the risk of diabetes, treat sleep issues and has anti-seizure properties too.

But many people have been using hemp in many ways for many years:

Hempcreate or Hemplime is a non-toxic building material made up of hemp hurds, lime and sand. Its origin is up for debate as cannabis has been outlawed and decriminalised several times across the entire globe.

The sturdy substitute is easier to use than regular concrete, but don’t be fooled by the biodegradable materials used to produce hempcrete bricks. Any structure you build today will still be sitting pretty 100 years from now if you so wish. Knock it down and you won’t have to worry about the rubble loitering as nature’s elements will get to work breaking down the material.

Hemp has also been woven into wearable clothing and usable accessories. Hydrating moisturizers and face masks have been made hemp, as it contains high levels of essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) that get to work evening out your wrinkles.

The seeds from this versatile plant contain 31.6g protein per 100g. They are also a great source of vitamin E, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and calcium. Eat them raw, cooked or roasted for a healthy dose of amino acid that will protect your heart. Women who suffer from menstrual cramps or symptoms of menopause can look forward to the Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp seeds that alleviate your hormonal issues.

Hemp Trailblazers

Before the legalisation law was passed, there was a stigma associated with hemp products and anyone dealing with hemp. Thankfully the government has made an effort to chip away at those terrible misconceptions. The department of health and agriculture has issued permits for a group of farmers in Newcastle, KZN, to cultivate 1,000ha of hemp, making it the world’s largest licensed commercial cannabis sativa farm.

If you’re based in Cape Town, you may have heard of the coffee overs infusing their love of java with their desire to preserve their bodies. For R280 you can get 250g of CBD-infused ground coffee or roasted beans to enjoy at home. The Canna Coffee family produce an organic blend that makes you more energetic and focused, while reducing your stress levels. ‘No more coffee shakes’ they promise.

And while the felines enjoy catnip, your canine might bark a little more enthusiastically for hemp-infused dog biscuits developed by Noordhoek-based company From The Barkery. Each packet comes with 15 biscuits that contain 5mg of CBD, so you needn’t worry that you’re giving your furry friend anything he can’t handle. Even From The Barkery founder, Ceri Phillips, shares that she was inspired to make the treat when her own dig was diagnosed with a lung tumour.

The verdict

Though it seems like investing in a few hemp products is a no-brainer, I would always advise you do your research before purchasing and using a product for the first time.  If you can, consult a medical professional to ease your mind.

 

Q&A with Hemporium co-founder Tony Budden on the legalisation of personal marijuana use and the future of hemp in SA

Ultimate CBD ‘Pot’ Brownies

Incredible Health Benefits of Hemp Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD): A Pain Relief Alternative to Addictive Prescription Opioids

 

 

Losing My Hair Was The Best Thing That Happened To Me

My name is Katrien and I am the new CEO of Faithful to Nature. My team have encouraged me to share my story with you, in the hope that its uplifts and inspires those that are feeling challenged in anyway.

Growing up in an Afrikaans, conservative society it was impressed upon me from a very early age that getting married and having children was of the utmost importance. It appeared this was only achievable as a girl if you were Barbie pretty and

very thin. Like many girls I grew up with body, food and self-esteem issues. I was always competitive, trying my whole life to be a better version of myself and to be the best. It’s exhausting. You never really reach a stage of contentment. Once you achieve one goal you just reach further.

After many years of working on this, at the age of 34 I reached I point where finally I felt pretty. I had Botox, fillers and hair extensions, and I was very hungry.

What I didn’t realise, even though I always tried to be a good person at heart and kind to those around me, is that I was testing myself badly.

I never measured myself by the standards I had for others. I measured myself against a different crazy set of standards whereby only my appearance, performance and my great career counted. My heart and my mind were left undervalued and uncared for – especially after years of working 12-14 hours days. It was hectic, working 14 hours a day and squeezing lash fills and gym in between.

When It All Fell Out

At the age of 38, I was working in London as head of brand for Vodafone UK. I was very proud of what I had achieved, but moving to a new country all alone and having to perform at your max and look your best was becoming incredibly stressful. At the end of my time at Vodafone I started getting very tired, I used to always wake up early, like 5am, pray, run and then work a 12-hour day. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was exhausted all the time.

My hair started thinning, I had lesions(sores) on my head and in my ears. But I could still hide it, so I carried on. In the space of 6 months, it all finally caught up with me – all my hair had fallen out and I was covered in sores from my scalp down to mid-waist. I looked sick, tired and disgusting.

Then I was made redundant at Vodafone. What followed was the most traumatic 2 years of my life. Stuck in the UK not being able to work, waiting 18 months for a VISA that didn’t come. I ran out of money, I lost everything, including my hair, any self-esteem I had left, and sadly many friends. When you struggle and suffer, sadly friends sometimes think this is contagious, so they step away. I also became super sensitive and was in complete victim mode, so I also made some mistakes. I was in a very (very) bad place. Everything I had built my life on was gone.

Growing From Strength To Strength

Fast forward to returning to South Africa, needing to look for a job. Most of the sores had cleared, so I was OK to do interviews with a wig and lots of makeup. I saw the opening at Faithful to Nature and applied. I remember looking at Robyn (founder of FTN) on social media and I made the gut choice to go wigless – completely bald by now – for the interview with her. I just knew she would appreciate the authenticity. I was extremely grateful that I got this position.

When you lose everything, you are forced into introspection. You are forced into humility, authenticity and appreciation. For much of my journey I looked at my past, fabulous (although at times very superficial) life, and longed for the days where I had beautiful long hair, was thin and had a great wardrobe all propped up with Botox, lashes and hair extensions. I started to realise how wrong my approach to self-worth was.

At Faithful to Nature, I wore my wig in the beginning, scared of not being accepted. One afternoon after a long week, I just took the wig off, it was itching and hot and irritated the remaining sores on my scalp. A colleague said, “You look beautiful without your wig” and then another and another. Everyone started giving me advice on products and treatments. In about a week of internal struggle, I showed up at the office, walked into the warehouse with no wig. The staff started clapping.

What a very special moment, one I will treasure for the rest of my life. The joy I found in authenticity. They appreciated WHO I was, not WHAT I was. I have never put the wig back on.

 

I started using products from Faithful to Nature, such as Fire Tonic, turmeric tablets, collagen, shea butter, and CDB oil to name a few. My health started improving significantly. In January this year I did veganuary and my skin and health improved even further.

At the end of February, I was finally diagnosed correctly with Lupus which is an auto immune disease. The reason eating vegan made me healthier is that meat based products are like poison when you suffer from an auto immune disease. CBD oil has been proven to even alleviate symptoms of AIDS and cancer, so not strange that it improved my health significantly. I also have a heart condition and suffer from very bad circulation, something the CBD also fixed – no more swollen feet or bags under my eyes!

I now use conventional medicine in addition to all the wonderful natural products. My skin has cleared completely, and my hair is slowly growing back. I have gained weight from the conventional medicine and it bothers me, but I would rather be healthy than thin.

The strange thing is – I’m almost sad to get my hair back. It allowed me to be vulnerable in a way I am naturally not. It also allows you to see if others are sincere. I could not have dreamt for a job that would have supported my journey to self-discovery of authenticity, truth and health any better than FTN has. What a privilege. I am grateful every day for the struggles I have had, and I can look back and know that even though it has been unimaginably tough, I am all the better for it.

 

Cannabidiol (CBD): A Pain Relief Alternative to Addictive Prescription Opioids

Cannabidiol (CBD): A Pain Relief Alternative to Addictive Prescription Opioids

By David Haas

According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, nearly 27 million people worldwide suffered from Fentanyl Opioid addiction. With such a large portion of the population jeopardising their wellbeing, it is difficult to believe that prescription painkillers are still being prescribed in abundance. Unfortunately, this epidemic continues to grow across the globe, resulting in a widespread effort to combat the issue.

 

One of the largest barriers to resolution is determining when and why someone should be given a prescription for a high-strength painkiller. Whether it be surgery or a long-term treatment regimen, such as that of a cancer patient going through chemotherapy, there is a prescription for every type of ache and pain.

However, patients and people who wish to avoid prescription opioids for pain relief are starting to explore other options. Non-addictive alternatives such as cannabidiol (CBD) have sparked discussion about its effectiveness in treating pain organically, with many turning to it as a way to feel relief without the fear of becoming dependent. Researchers are taking note of this shift, and studies are now being conducted to determine if CBD is a viable way to rid the body of chronic pain.

WHAT IS CANNABIDIOL (CBD)?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the various extractable compounds found in the hemp plant. CBD is often associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), however, there is a difference between these two compounds. The main difference is that CBD is a non-psychoactive; essentially to ask oneself, “Will CBD make me high?” the answer is: No. CBD comes in many forms, though the most common are through ingestion or topical application to the skin. CBD can be ingested through oil, capsules, and powders, while topical CBD solutions are usually infused into salves and creams.

HOW DOES CBD INTERACT WITH THE BODY?

Human bodies contain an endocannabinoid system that helps regulate our bodily functions, such as sleep and pain. This system contains receptors known as CB1 and CB2, and CBD interacts with these receptors, reducing the absorption rate of naturally produced pain relievers such as anandamide within our bodies. This is important to note, because unlike opioids, CBD does not release dopamine, the neurotransmitter that causes our bodies to become dependent on the sensation that it provides, instead it prolongs the efficacy of our naturally produced pain relievers. Building a tolerance to CBD is rare, which means that a user will not have to increase the milligram dosage over time in order to maintain the pain relief qualities.

RESEARCH BEING CONDUCTED ON CBD

Perhaps one of the more promising research efforts that has been conducted on CBD is a study discussing the effects of CBD in managing pain for cancer patients who did not fully achieve relief from using opioids. This study, published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, found that a form of CBD known as Nabiximols was able to aid in relieving pain efficiently and safely for a portion of those who were involved in the study. While this is just one example of how CBD is being used to treat pain, we can only hope that more research will be conducted on this natural pain reliever as regulations begin to change.

This has become especially important to patients who suffer from rare cancers such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that may leave the patient in serious pain. The last thing a patient with mesothelioma should have to worry about is fighting an addiction.

THE CURRENT STATUS OF CANNABIS IN SOUTH AFRICA

On September 18th, 2018, the highest court of South Africa legalised the use of cannabis by adults in private places. Not only was usage ruled legal, but a unanimous decision also allowed for private growth of the marijuana plant. This act of decriminalisation has brought a sense of relief to many South Africans who wish to use cannabis without facing charges if found in possession. The court has given parliament 24-months to change the ruling made by the high court, but for now, private usage and growth is legal.

The one restriction that is still being decided is the public distribution and ability to carry cannabis on your person in public. While this remains illegal, it is under review by the courts. CBD consumption should not be an issue with this ruling. Although CBD is an extract from the hemp plant, it does not contain a high THC content, the compound that many regulators are opposed to.

THE FUTURE OF PAIN MANAGEMENT  

As regulations begin to change around the globe pertaining to the use of CBD, it is hopeful that more research will be conducted on this natural healer. The potential benefits this plant can provide to the medical community are just beginning to be understood and these benefits will continue to strengthen as time progresses. For now, CBD is a viable form of pain relief for those who wish to use a natural alternative to opioids.