Week 5: Relationships, Nurturing the self and Sugar

Welcome! This week we will discuss relationships and nurturing the self. Don't freak out - it only has to go as deeply as you wish it to go, but remember to really get somewhere here you need to be honest with yourself.  We are also going to take a cold hard look at sugar...What's the deal? A lot of you have cut sugar from your diets, and are reaping the rewards, now it's time to learn some more facts.

Primary Food: Relationships

Alright, now If you could please look back to your circle of life and see how the "relationships" sector was looking. It's important to remember this can refer to any relationship in your life. It could be relationships with friends, family, children or spouse.

Think about what you would like to see happening in this area.  

How could you be connecting yourself more in this area? Could you share a dinner with your partner or husband/wife at least once a week? or head out for a walk or run together? How could you facilitate some 'real time' with your children. Time where you put the phone down, and they actually reply to you as well? What can you do to be sure they are loving this time as well? What do they love to do that you could do together? Is there a friend you really should call? Someone who has been there for you lots, and maybe could do with their own buddy cheering them on for a change? 

It could be something so simple as hoping in the swimming pool with your child before or after their swimming lesson, or taking 15 minutes to go outside and practice throwing a ball (it will be good for you too! We all loved playing as children - now you get to dictate the game completely!) If they are a little older maybe it just means taking them out for breakfast just the two of you and having a decent chat about life (without pushing it of course!) or heading out to do a task that you both need to work on, but in which case you end up having a laugh or a talk about everything to connect.

On the flip side - Do you need to take a step back from a friend who is exhausting you? It is okay to say "no" sometimes, or not be available at everyones beckon call. If a friend is draining you of your energy, this is not a good balance for you, its not benefiting you in any way. Don't upset them...just take some time away from them and then analyse things.

This questionnaire called LOVE LANGUAGES is a fun little questionnaire to do with your partner, it can be quite eye opening to see the end results. Don't press it on your partner, and if you don't think the time is right then don't do it. Keep it up your sleeve for a time when it would be suitable. I learnt a lot about how my partner perceives things and what is high up on his values list...even after 13 years together there was still stuff to learn!

If you don't have a partner do this with a friend or a family member, or just do one half and you will learn more about yourself and your values.  Jot down your thoughts on this and we will discuss this further in the forum. If you do feel that you would like some personal suggestions or are struggling in this area please fire me through an email.

Nurturing Yourself

It is just so ridiculously important to nurture yourself! Self care is so important. Again - how can we look after anyone else if we are not looking after ourselves. Think about the oxygen mask in the aeroplane again. You need to be cool, calm,collected and in control to be able to make headway. 

So - when did you last have a massage? It could have been a facial, a deep tissue massage or a gentle touch massage of any form?

How often do you nurture yourself? If you are not nurturing yourself enough (and I imagine you are not, that is why you are signed up for this course) then think about the reasons why this is happening.

Is it a time problem? I am certain you can fit 30 minutes into your week (I know, it may seem like a stretch)

The other night I realised I was not nurturing myself even remotely as work and life had all been so busy. So instead of watching my 30 minutes of TV for that night I went to the bathroom and soaked just my feet in the bath (it was too hot to have a whole bath) it felt so good, and after I had soaked them I scrubbed them clean and then I painted my toe nails while watching my program. After that I felt like I had been at a day spa! It is so easy to make yourself feel good. Something as simple as having super clean feet can make you feel amazing.

What are you going to do this week to nurture yourself?

 1998, a special working group of the World Health Organization (WHO) offered an inclusive definition of Self Care:

"Self Care in health refers to the activities individuals, families and communities undertake with the intention of enhancing health, preventing disease, limiting illness, and restoring health. These activities are derived from knowledge and skills from the pool of both professional and lay experience. They are undertaken by lay people on their own behalf, either separately or in participative collaboration with professionals."

TASK 1:

Book in for some form of a massage. If you book it you will make it happen, you will find a sitter for the kids, a friend, a colleague, a family member, or you will get the time off work. Make it happen. You are important and touch is such a huge aspect of healthy living.

If money is tight then ask a friend to give you a massage or a partner. You could always offer to give one back as well. You will both benefit hugely!

If you are not a person who like massage then try my foot soaking plan, rub some coconut oil into your heels and toes to moisturise the life back into them and appreciate your feet for everything they do for you. Alternatively give yourself a facial. It doesn't need to be expensive!

Add some honey and sea salt together and rub it gently on your face to exfoliate then use a warm cloth to and dab it off kindly, then rub some avocado over your face and leave it on for 5 minutes while you lie down with calming cucumber on your eyes. Then remember to wash it off before you head anywhere! When you wash, warm a face cloth and then place it over your face and gently wipe off the 'mask'. Don't rush it, enjoy it. This is you looking after you. Congratulations!

Self care can be really tough for many people, especially because you may not think that its immediately helping you. It can also be tough because you don't think you are worth it. I have two words for you; You Are!

You must acknowledge that it will support productivity and growth in the long run.  How can that be bad. You want to get more out of life don't you, and you want to be able to give more without tiring yourself and becoming sick, so give it a chance. What have your really got to loose?!

 The Hot Towel Scrub is another wonderful self nurturing method. So easy, no food or bookings required.

When you focus on what you do have and appreciate what is currently going well in your life you will be able to open yourself up to more abundance.

Gratitude and early morning thoughts

Gratitude can really help to slow us down and appreciate things even more.  Suddenly we gain a larger perspective on things. The small things don't seem quite so bad and we start to enjoy the world if you like through rose tinted glasses. Who would complain about enjoying life?!

Have you ever heard of "Early Morning pages"? Please take a moment to click on this. This new approach absolutely changed my world.

Video below on Gratitude and how it helps depression, and early morning thoughts and how crazy they can be to get everything in order in your head.

TASK 2:

Today we are also going to start ...or end our day with gratitude, we are going to set a positive tone for the entire day. Please take a moment now to think about five people or things that you are grateful for in your life.

Write them down.

Tomorrow please start writing your early morning pages - for at least a week, then we will asses how things are progressing. If you are serious about your health please make the time.

Organic Foods

'Organic Shmanic' right? Or does it really make a difference?

Originally, all foods were "organic".  They were grown and prepared without pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilisers, hormones or irradiation.  Foods were unrefined, whole, or minimally processed.  

Since World War II, and the advent of chemical farming and food processing the soils and foods of much of the world have been depleted of many important minerals and nutrients.

Our food these days, whether of vegetable or animal origin, is not only deficient in nutrients, but also full of pollutants and faming chemicals.  The modern process of de-naturing foods via heavy refining and chemical treatment deeply affects the life force of our food supply, making it difficult to foster equilibrium and health.

Pesticides have been shown to create extra work for the immune system, causing cancer and disease in the liver, kidneys and blood. Pesticides accumulate in the organs, resulting in a weakened immune system, allowing carcinogens and pathogens to filter into the body.  

Organic certification is the publics assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict natural procedures.

Top 6 reasons to buy and eat organic foods:

  1. Chemicals: pesticides are poison, designed to kill living organisms.
  2. Future Generations: Children and 4 times more sensitive to cancer-causing pesticides in foods than adults.
  3. Water: Pesticides pollute a lot of drinking water
  4. Organic farmers: Organic agriculture respects the balance necessary for a healthy ecosystem.
  5. Save energy: Most energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilisers than to till, cultivate, and harvest many crops.
  6. Help small farmers: Although more and more large scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small and independently owned and operated.  Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can demand fair prices for crops.

Here is a great read on The most and least contaminated foods. I realise organic can mean expensive,  so use this as a guide to know when its best to buy organic. You want to purchase the most contaminated foods in an organic shop if you can, whereas the least contaminated are going to be less concerning when buying non organic.

Sugar

We all love it, we all crave it, but why is it so bad for us?! What is the deal with sugar?!

Right, the best way to process this would be to watch this awesome documentary by the wonderful Nigel Latta 

Nigel sums it all up brilliantly. I would make time to watch this 45 minute program. I also think a lot of you already know a lot about sugar now, but it can be hard to share your knowledge with others without sounding like a 'know it all' or a 'bossy pants', so I find this a great one to watch with your partners, parents, friends and children. It's of the up most importance that everyone understands the truth about sugar.

Okay - so where do we start then? Without re-iterating everything Nigel has touched on I want to provide you with some handout and forms that you can refer back to from time to time if necessary. I think its important that we start with the fact that there are many different forms and names of sugar. That file shows you just how many different names there are, and how scary it can be that there are so many different forms. Due to many government regulations marketers will often try to hide the amount of sugar in a product just by using different names for sugar.

If you have watched Nigel Lattas video you will now be well clued up on the reality of the sugar consumption problem we have in New Zealand. I think we often assume these problems are happening off shore, but the truth is, its happening right here in our own country.

The most common sources of added sugar include:

  • Regular soft drinks 33%
  • Sugar and lollies 16.1%
  • Cakes, cookies and pies 12.9%
  • Fruit drinks 9.7%
  • Dairy desserts and milk products 8.6%
  • Other grains (fruit toast and cereals etc) 5.8%

Ideally when selecting a food for yourself or your family try to keep the sugar amount per serve under 10g. I try to keep it under 5g as I figure anything more than that is usually highly processed and packaged and pointless to helping my children grow, or towards nurturing my ageing body!

Here are some suggestions toward curbing you children sugar cravings - and this will be a great subject to bring up in the forum.

It's also really important to think about your protein consumption and sugar. Ways to avoid the cravings can be to bring in more protein to the diet. Thinking about Yin and Yang and macrobiotics here is a great way to help bring more protein into your diet. People can also suffer protein deficiencies and this can cause sugar cravings. Take a look at this file on Protein and Sugar to keep your mind ticking over in regards to why you may be suffering such cravings.

Wow! Who knew sugar was so complex!

So...what now?!  Here is a start, I have a list of 10 steps to start dealing with sugar addictions.  Take a look and see how simple it can be to start making a change. I suggest you pick 3 and start with them. You can always look back and pick another 3. Let me know what you have chosen.

10 STEPS FOR DEALING WITH SUGAR ADDICTION

  1. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings, and may cause sugar cravings to become more frequent.
  2. Drink water. Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens.
  3. Eat sweet vegetables and fruit. They are naturally sweet, healthy and delicious. The more you eat, the less you’ll crave sugar.
  4. Use gentle sweets. Avoid chemicalised, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar. Use gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dried fruit, stevia and barley malt.
  5. Get physically active. Start with simple activities like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boosts energy, and reduces tension which will eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar!
  6. Get more sleep, rest and relaxation. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, are the most readily usable forms of energy for an exhausted body and mind. If you are in a chronic state of stress and/or sleep deprivation, your body will crave the quickest form of energy there is: sugar.
  7. Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat. According to yin/yang principles of eating (such as in Macrobiotics and TCM), eating too much animal food (yang) can lead to cravings for sweets (yin). Imbalances can also occur with too little animal protein (for some individuals). Through experimentation and intuition, you can find which foods create balance for you as an individual.
  8. Eliminate fat-free or low-fat packaged snack-foods. These foods contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavour and fat, which will send you on the roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows.
  9. Experiment with spices. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
  10. Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways! Every craving is not a signal that your body biologically requires sugar. Cravings often have a psychological component. By identifying the psychological causes of food cravings and substituting lifestyle and relationship adjustments accordingly, you can begin to find balance and take charge of your health. When life becomes sweet enough itself, no additives are needed!

Quick re-cap:

It's so simple this week:

Be Thankful and Be Grateful

Write down your thoughts before your conscientious mind takes hold of the reigns in your Early Morning Pages.

Shop locally and support the organic farmers, for your own health and for the health of the world. Reducing your carbon footprint and supporting local people in their trade. It really is a win win.

And finally...SUGAR...what are you going to do here? Start reading the labels on what you are buying and eating? Start working on some options for your children to avoid their overload on sugar. It's great to see how well behaved they can be when they are not suffering from Blood sugar highs and lows! Are you able to up your protein to see if that helps any of your cravings?

Alternatively, just select 3 points from the list of dealing with a sugar addiction and keep track in your food and mood diary as to what is changing for you.

Make sure you take time this week to connect with yourself and the others in your group.  I can't wait for the sugar feedback!

Jess x

This weeks files:

The Many Names of Sugar

Protein and Sugar

Most and Least Contaminated Produce

Love Languages

Hot Towel Scrub

Early Morning Pages

Curb Your Kids Sugar Cravings

10 Steps for Dealing with a Sugar Addiction