The Truth About Genetically Modified Foo

The Truth About Genetically Modified Foods. Note the rise in allergy and look at the effect on the gut! Do read it:

Light Therapy for Hayfever! Sneezer Beam

Light Therapy for Hayfever! Sneezer Beam Hayfever & Allergy Relief Anyone tried it?

Coconut & Avocado Lollies

 Avocado and coconut popsicles

A thirst-quenching tasty treat and skin super-food all wrapped up in one easy-to make frozen popsicle!

Make in advance and keep handy in the freezer for when you fancy a cool, refreshing summer treat without all the sugar and empty calories.  When temperatures start to soar, coconut water helps to keep you well hydrated too…

Makes 6-8

You will need:

•    1 large ripe avocado
•    200ml coconut cream
•    Juice of 1 lime
•    3 tablespoons coconut water
•    1 tablespoon rice malt syrup (or other syrup)
•    1 teaspoon chia seeds
•    ¼ teaspoon salt


Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor or use a stick blender.  Beat to a creamy liquid.  Spoon the mixture into ice-cream moulds, insert the sticks and freeze for at least 4 hours.

I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson, Nutri Enews June 15

Iodine Needs Not Being Met in Pregnancy

Interesting piece on iodine for you today – this is an indication of how many people are actually iodine deficient, not just pregnant women. I am finding it a lot via the iodine loading test, which I do primarily to check for the cause of conversion problems in the thyroid. It’s amazing how often it is pretty low. That rather stuns me as I was never taught to check iodine really; it is very much assumed in the UK that we all have enough. Not what I am finding though, so I thought I would share this for you in case.

With the UK population now classified as mildly iodine-insufficient many people may be thinking that it doesn’t affect them directly, or that they don’t have a thyroid problem so why should they take any notice?

Low iodine in the population is a serious problem for women who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant. Adequate levels of iodine are crucial for foetal neuro development and mild iodine deficiency has been linked with developmental impairments. A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition has revealed that most women are not only oblivious to their requirements but are not meeting current iodine recommendations for pregnancy.

Daily iodine intake is recommended by WHO to be 250µg/d for pregnancy (150µg/d for the general population) and the team of researchers from the University of Glasgow found that almost three quarters of women surveyed were not reaching this target even when taking supplementation into account. Over half of the women were unable to identify any iodine-rich foods and a majority falsely believed that dark green vegetables and table salt (which is not fortified in the UK) were iodine rich foods. An alarming 84% of women were unaware that iodine from the diet is important for the healthy development of their unborn baby.

This study has sparked much debate as to how mothers should best achieve their 250µg/d during pregnancy and lactation. Currently in the UK there are no guidelines on supplementation of iodine as there are in Canada and the US. These supplemental recommendations are endorsed by WHO in recognition of the fact that achieving adequate iodine from dietary intake in early pregnancy can be challenging and requires high intakes of dairy and seafood. What is clear in the UK is that health campaigns, fortification, supplementation and nutrition education should be seriously considered when addressing pregnant women.

Combet E et al. Iodine and pregnancy: Awareness and intake. 2015.  British Journal of Nutrition. First view article DOI: Source Nutri E news June 15

New Mini Advice Report for your question

New Mini Advice Report for your questions:!/Mini-Report/p/51698028/category=12778026

Healing Series: Water, Light & the Negative Charge

Brain iconAs many of you know, I am shortly moving to live by the sea in Cornwall. As I explained here, this is an instinctive move; I just seemed to know I needed to be closer to nature, to the sea, in a bigger space somehow.

In my quest for finding non-ingestive healing methods for those of us who can’t tolerate the normal meds/diet/supplement approaches (see the whole series here), I followed up an article on negative charges in water the other day and, boy, it led to a load of fascinating reading! I share some of that with you today – and I’m glad I am following my instincts, let’s say that. You’ll see why…

Electricity and water

We are electrical beings – think how your heart works, your muscles contract, your nervous system works, for example. And, like all electrical things, we have a positive and a negative charge. So far, so easy to understand.

But, here’s an intriguing question: what if, in some people at least, our electrical charge was upset and was affecting our health and healing potential? Ah, you are sitting up now, as I did when I first started looking at this? It’s a thought isn’t it?

So, when I came across a video series by Dr Gerald Pollack, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, discussing his work on water in the human cells and tissues being related to electrical charge, my ears pricked up. It’s fascinating. In a nutshell, his research led him to believe that the water in our cells is not H2O as we previously thought; it is a much more complex crystallised and ordered structure, H3O2, and certainly not neutral as normal water is.

In essence, his belief, based on years of research, which has some way to go yet, is that we are a bit like plants. In the first stage of photosynthesis, the plant uses the light to split its water into positive and negatively charged, which then goes on to spark growth and activity in the plant. He is not saying we photosynthesise by any means, but his research has found that we too have positive and negatively charged water in our cells, activated by light, which acts like a battery and sparks activity and life. Previously, it was believed we were pretty neutral electrically-speaking, but this new finding of negatively charged, crystalline water in our cells throws a whole new light, literally, on cellular function. Very exciting!

Have a listen to this 3 minute video to start you off with this.

For a more in depth lecture, follow the link I gave above and there is a lot more if you Google. This discussion with Dr Mercola and another with Daniel Vitalis were both eye-opening too.

Why is this important for our health?

This is really complex stuff but it has to do with how this EZ water, as Dr Pollack calls it, sparks activity in the body. The trick is in the electrical charges.

Image result for nature Let’s look at the cells. In a cell, we have lots of protein structures, the bits that do the work, and these are positively charged. Surrounding each of those proteins is the crystalline water H3O2, which is negatively charged. Around that, filling the rest of the cell is normal so-called ‘bulk’ water, which is neutral. When one of the proteins in, say, a muscle cell needs  to contract, or in a nerve cell needs to conduct a signal, the EZ water drops its charge and becomes the same as bulk water temporarily, allowing the so-called ‘action potential’ of the cell to happen ie. to spark it to do whatever it needs to be doing. This is well documented in science. Once that action has taken place ie. the signal’s been conducted or the muscles contracted, the EZ water becomes negative again. I hope you followed that.

His theory is that this knowledge can have huge health and healing implications. They’ve found that cells in sick people have less of this structured water in them and therefore less negative charge. Less negative charge means less activity being sparked in the cells. That leads to hypofunction of whatever system those cells are meant to be working for. The more positively-charged the body becomes, the less well it is, is how I understand it.

I think he is onto something here. We have known for years that the earth itself is negatively charged, so why would we be any different? We also know that antioxidants are anti-ageing for us because they prevent and offset free radical activity by preventing the loss of electrons, ie. they make us more negative. He studied if they had an effect on the H3O2 and found they did indeed increase the EZ water layers.

If his theory is correct, then we need to make sure we keep a good healthy amount of negatively charged EZ water in our cells and, if we are suffering from chronic ill health, we need to take steps specifically to improve that status, assuming the EZ concentration has lowered, if that makes sense.

structured water

So, just how do we increase negative charge and structured water in our cells?

Do you remember how you feel when you enjoy a sunny day, walk on the beach or on grass, how you feel more energised by the sea or with mountain air? Do you feel energised by the wind or love staring at a real fire? Ever used an ioniser for energy etc? Well, all of those are known negatively-charged things. You literally pull in negative electrons, which, through mechanisms I am not going to pretend I understand, improves the body’s negative charge and, in Dr P’s theory, builds the EZ water.

More light..

Sounds far-fetched, I know, but they discovered that the EZ – exclusion zone – water is made of layers and it can build up or reduce. They found that, like plants, light seems to be the main thing that builds up the layers; that creates the EZ water. Sunshine is best, but in fact any source of UV or infrared light does it. Infrared was the best. There is loads of natural infrared light all around us anyway, but it does explain why infrared saunas, laser and other kinds of light therapy etc seem to help people regain health in many instances.

Are you with me? Light builds more of the EZ water, which makes our cells and us more negatively charged, which sparks more activity in the cells.

Of course, that could be to detox. We do know that there is a traditional history of using eg clay and activated charcoal – both negatively charged – to help bind toxins like alkaloids etc – positively charged. So, I would imagine that building your EZ layers could well spark an elimination of some kind. But, I digress…

 Being grounded..

Other ways of building this EZ water and negative charge is to be in nature more. Walking on the grass, earth or sand ‘grounds’ us, which just means we pull negative electrons in to us as the earth itself is negatively charged. Being in the sunshine, near moving water, up a hill or mountain and near trees will all increase negative charge. Windy weather is great for it – even your hairdryer does it to some extent: just think of how your hair goes fluffy or gets static! Failing all that, an ioniser might be a good investment but, of course, you won’t be getting the light then.

During my research I read a fabulous article in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, written in 2012, about this ‘grounding’. It blew me away (wind: see what I did there?!). There is much research to show that we do indeed pull negative electrons from the earth and that they have a profound effect on how the body works, including mineral levels, oxygenation, immune and, importantly for us, on inflammation and the parasympathetic nervous system. Do read it:

Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons

Here are a couple of quotes to whet your appetite:

The logical explanation for the anti-inflammatory effects is that grounding the body allows negatively charged antioxidant electrons from the Earth to enter the body and neutralize positively charged free radicals at sites of inflammation [28]. Flow of electrons from the Earth to the body has been documented [15

Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth’s negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems….It is also well established that electrons from antioxidant molecules neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS, or in popular terms, free radicals) involved in the body’s immune and inflammatory responses. The National Library of Medicine’s online resource PubMed lists 7021 studies and 522 review articles from a search of “antioxidant + electron + free radical” [3]. It is assumed that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely neutralize ROS and thereby reduce acute and chronic inflammation [4].

They conclude:

Could such an intervention be located right beneath our feet? Earthing research, observations, and related theories raise an intriguing possibility about the Earth’s surface electrons as an untapped health resource—the Earth as a “global treatment table.”

Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth—whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems—may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease. The research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity.

Ooh, interesting.

Back to water..

Some companies are making EZ water. Dr Pollack hasn’t endorsed any of them as they need proper testing, which he is trying to get funding for, but I noted he says that many of them he thinks do work. He’s not sure yet whether drinking high negatively-charged or split electron water, which is what EZ water is in essence, is any good for us and wants to test it, but he has heard some very encouraging feedback. That said, I am inclined to agree with him that more natural ways of creating more EZ water are best. He did say he felt that running spring water and vortexed water was more likely to have more negative charge in it, simply because rushing water always does.

Some people reckon that alkalised water has some of the same properties as EZ water, but he is not convinced of that. He did agree, though, that green juices – highly alkaline – did seem encouraging in some tests he’s done so far. I think it may be because alkaline juices and waters have a higher mineral content. The mineral protons would have more EZ water around them and therefore have a higher negative charge generally. I noted that RO and distilled water, which are demineralised and therefore not very alkaline, are less likely to have a high EZ water content. Oh dear, that’s what I have. I will have to walk on the beach more to compensate. What a shame.

Actually, you can get RO water filters that have an alkaliser. Or, you could ionise your water, but I don’t know enough about these to advise you yet. I am informed that ionising RO water is not very effective, simply because it doesn’t have any minerals to ionise, so that looks out unless you add minerals first. Ooh, getting complicated!

If you did want to do that, to re-mineralise your purified water you could some colloidal minerals, a pH balancing type product which usually have sodium and potassium in them, even a sea liquid or a trace minerals product would work. I did read on Mercola that 1/4 tsp of Himalayan salt per gallon is what he recommends.

How can you measure negative charge in water?

I do know you can measure the ORP (Oxidant Reduction Potential) of your water to see how negative or positively charged it is. Of course, I had to get me one of the ORP meters to check…! For antioxidant activity, you basically want it to be at least in the negative numbers, anything from -50, but preferably – 200-400. Mine was + 235 ish. My tap water was over +400. (It’s worth noting here that high positive ORP is very antibacterial apparently).

I assume my RO water is positive because it doesn’t have anything in it, no minerals for the EZ water to build around. It measures 20 on my TDS metre (oh yes, I have one of those too), which means it is ultra pure. Great for allergens, not so great for antioxidant/EZ water potential.

To remedy that, I could add some minerals as above and ionise or stir/vortex it. Or, I could invest in a 3-in-1 type product that RO’s, remineralises and then ionises. Yep, they do exist, see here. I’m not sure about that idea yet; need to research a bit more.


  So, lots of ideas for you to go at there to increase your negative charge. Remember: light is the best way to increase the EZ structured water in your cells, which is what seems to spark good healthy cellular activity, at least in part. Low cellular activity is found hand in hand with low levels of EZ water. Ergo: to get well, it would seem wise to increase the EZ water and negative charge generally in the body.

Given all that, I am pleased I have followed my instincts to move to the sea and countryside for more fresh sea – negatively charged – air and sunlight. I have always felt better by the sea, walk barefoot all the time indoors so will have to start outdoors too, love the sunshine (although not the heat!) and specifically go out in windy weather, so maybe I am a person who just needs more negative ions in my life. A thought. Either way, getting more is now going to be part of my healing strategy. How about you?

In essence, today’s message is:

We all know that being in nature, getting enough water and plenty of light is good for us. But, now we have a real reason why. If you are suffering with ill health and want to encourage healing, take steps to increase your negative charge – in a natural way. Get out in the sunlight more, make like a kid and bury your legs in the sand or romp around on your lawn barefoot (you can simply stand or sit, if you like – research I read suggested 15-30 minutes was about right).

Spend more time near trees, mountains or running water if you can – even the little paddling pool or water feature in your local park or one in your garden might help! Think about light therapy or a regular sauna maybe, but beware a detox! Have your activated charcoal ready to bind positive toxins that may come out.

Consider an ioniser. Invest in a juicer. Eat more raw, preferably just picked from your garden or from a pick your own farm maybe – the longer off the plant, the lesser the negative charge. If really going for it, keep your preferably mineralised RO water in a terracotta or clay, not glass, vessel in the fridge and stir it with a wooden spoon (not metal) before you drink to increase its negative charge. I read that is just as effective as an expensive vortex machine!

OK, hope you found that interesting and useful. Do let me know any thoughts and how you get on yourself. Anyone using an infrared sauna, for example? Meantime, I’m looking forward to breathing exercises with morning sea air on my balcony and to walks on the beach.  Aah…

Healing Series: It’s The Combination That Works…

Brain icon  In this healing series, we have been discussing and exploring ways to encourage our bodies to heal with non-ingestive (ie not through diet or supplemental/meds) ways to heal, specifically for those of us having trouble tolerating those sorts of interventions.

However, in doing this exploration, my whole clinical approach – to any health condition – has evolved. Perhaps the ‘gift’ that this illness has given me is this realisation so I can help more people heal than ever. That’s a nice thought – although I’d still rather have come to it another way, thanks!

The Combined Approach Works Best

Anyway, what am I prattling on about? Well, it’s quite simple really: I have learned that the combination of nutritional therapy – the functional medicine, biochemical, physiological, if you like, approach to illness is crucial, but, for the best effect for most people, it must be combined with a psychological, amygdala-calming, adrenal strengthening, mindfulness, awareness type approach too.

I am more and more convinced that it’s the combination that works. Both approaches are strong in their own right, but they are synergistically-stronger when combined. It’s a powerful learning lesson for a practitioner.

Of course, this doesn’t sound like real news to a naturopathically-trained nutritional therapist like myself. And yet, I find that most therapists, myself definitely included, can get caught up in the biochemical Sherlock Holmes type chase – because let’s face it, that is a hard job in itself and involves lab testing, analysis, putting the jigsaw together etc etc – and they will often pay almost lip service to ‘sleep well, keep stress low’ etc in a very well-meaning but not often specific kind of way.

But, what I mean by combining the two approaches, for me anyway, is to put equal emphasis on the psychological side, to harness the means of using the mind to effect real biochemical, measureable changes on the immune system, the expression of genes, the glandular output and much more besides.

Add In Brain-Training

For me, too, there is an another element of the psychology approach we need to add in: brain training. The research into neuroplasticity recently is startlingly hopeful – it’s not news, of course; we’ve known for a long time that our brains (and our genes for that matter) are not set in stone, as it were, that it can change and that we can train it to help us heal.

I like to think of us sometimes as brain injury or stroke victims. We are simply re-training our brain to make new synapses, new connections that are stronger than the old ‘conditioned fear’ and ‘anxiety’ type programmes that keep us ill, much like the repetitive exercises used by brain injury and stroke victims to re-learn how to use a limb.

In other words: I am saying the gift that this illness has given me is a better insight into healing chronic illness, if you like.

Here’s my summary: it’s the combination of:

functional medicine, where you identify just what is biochemically going wrong in the body and plug those gaps. That’s where adrenal testing, infection protocols, barrier and immune approaches etc come into play..

psychological techniques such as acceptance, forgiveness, mindfulness, meditation, emotional release and not forgetting more ‘mainstream’ approaches of counselling, CBT etc when needed. All of these act to calm the system down, release any emotional causes of physical symptoms (this is the real learning right here: I never realised how important this is), change gene expression, let go of the illness…and

neuroplasticity brain-training including repetitive exercises to change fearful and illness-perpetuating thought and behaviour patterns. This is the ‘stroke’ approach, if you like: the aim is to build stronger nerve connections and literally change the way the brain sees things eg food you react to, pain you experience etc.

(Remember: I recommended this programme which combines both these latter approaches here so do check that out and do it!)

So, that’s as far as I’ve got with it anyway – I’m sure there is a lot more to learn but my approach nowadays is definitely to make those equally important. True naturopathic medicine I think for the 21st century – a blend of science and tradition. I rather like that :)

Not Just Me…

OK, to help reinforce this for you, I know you like to hear other people saying similar things. Here are two videos for you, both from the Optimum Health Clinic in London, who I have mentioned to you before. They specialise in ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, so take note any of you who have that. The reason I like them is because they follow pretty much this type of approach – successfully.

Here’s a quick video where founder, Alex, is explaining a bit about the importance of combining meditative techniques with specific brain training techniques: one to calm the system down, the other to break the thought patterns:

Is meditation enough to calm the nervous system?

Incidentally, what he is referring to there from the brain technique point of view is the use of a ‘Stop’ technique. There are lots of different systems that use this – it is in effect a way of recognising a thought pattern eg. ‘I am afraid I will react to this if I eat it’ and stopping that thought right away. In my own version, I say to myself:  ‘ah, I see what you’re doing there – I don’t need to think like that now’ or simply ‘it’s OK, it’s all OK, there is nothing to worry about’. With this latter, I like to imagine my fear or thought as a worried friend and I am comforting them – bring some love to it. You’ll see; it really helps!

Other people use distraction; they think of something completely different or focus on a colour or something on the wall; it’s all about not allowing the thought pattern to continue. When you start this, you do it hundreds of times a day! I promise, I will come back to this with some specific recommendations. Personally, I found saying the word ‘stop’ too jarring and tend to choose something more positive, which worked better for me. In some people, the stop method can cause even more stress – it did for me. I had to do the meditation to calm the amygdala down first and then start with the brain training. Now I do both.

Anyway, this isn’t really the focus of today’s missive so I’ll return to it asap for you. Meantime, let’s get on..

Recovery & Hope

Next, if you recall, I suggested in a previous post that you listen at least to OHC’s recovery success stories – a powerful way of encouraging your own recovery is to hear how other, often very poorly, people have got well. Hope is a powerful thing!

So, I was interested yesterday to listen to their latest one. It is actually a very successful City chap, David Butcher, who is now chairman of the charitable trust for the clinic. He explains far more eloquently and fascinatingly than I ever could how this very approach helped him after he collapsed with ME.

He really explains how, at different times, the two functional and psychological (despite resistance!) approaches came to be so important for his recovery, which is just how I have been feeling about it. He also talks well about how we have to be our own detective in the absence of people really understanding our illness – his is ME, of course, but apply this to many chronic illnesses – multiple intolerance for a start – where there are a lot of similarities!

Have a listen anyway. the second half is more about the clinic and the research they are doing – interesting itself – but do watch the first half for his story for a good dose of inspiration…

David Butcher Recovery Story

In essence, today’s advice is: 

Consider: are you doing everything you can to get well? Are any of these approaches right for you, should you be adding them in? Have you got your combination right? If you are just focusing on the functional approach – which I know many of you are, and for good reason – think about adding equal emphasis onto the psychology side of healing too. The two together are likely to get you to your healing aim much faster.

Worth a thought, surely..