Chamomile & Lavender Tea: What a magical herbal mix.

The gentle breeze was just enough to take the heat out of the mid-day Sun while I sat watching the bees as they were busy coming and going from the hives. It was idyllic and I was lulled into a state of mindfulness by the warm breeze and the gentle hum of the hives. Just what the Dr. ordered for some spiritual recuperation 🙂

During my sojourn into the ‘Now’ the chamomile that grows around the hives caught my attention  as they swayed and bobbed in the breeze followed quickly by the subtle scent of the lavender encroaching into the periphery of my senses.

Not one to pass-up a message from nature I felt inspired to make a nice cup of Chamomile & Lavender tea. I’d have a look at the properties of these two herbs after I’d indulged myself in the brew.

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Chamomile & Lavender Tea

Properties of Chamomile (9 top Properties)

  1. High Source of Antioxidants
  2. Fights Anxiety and Depression
  3. Improves Digestion
  4. Has Strong Anti-Inflammatory and Pain-Reducing Abilities
  5. Helps Fight Cancer (in particular skin, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers)
  6. Relieves Congestion
  7. Promotes Skin Health
  8. Keeps Gums and Teeth Healthy
  9. Improves Heart Health

According to Dr Nasha Winters and Jess Higgins Kelley in their book, ‘The Metabolic Approach to Cancer‘, state the following regarding Chamomile:

Apigenin, a plant flavonoid found in Parsely’s stems and leaves (as well as in celery and chamomile tea) demonstrates cytotoxic activities)…

…its cytotoxic activity has been found comparable to that of doxorubicin.

Properties of Lavender

  • Antiseptic and Anti-inflammatory
  • Treats Anxiety, Insomnia, depression and Restlessness
  • Helps Digestive Issues
  • Relieves pain
  • Antifungal
  • Useful in wound healing

I’d say that nature was giving me a nice little helping hand there with its hint at making a chamomile and lavender tea! relaxing and calming properties plus anti-cancer properties 🙂

See below for a few sources to support the above, but there are loads more out there if you have a look.

Have a relaxed and chilled-out day, and remember to tell those you love that “You Love Them”

Peace and love
Chris /|\

Sources:

 

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Matcha Green Tea: a brew to start the day

Affirmation of the Day

My Power exists in the NOW therefore, I acknowledge and forgive my past. For I know that NOW is the seed of my becoming.

Match Green Tea

 

I have started to incorporate Matcha Green Tea into my dietary regime. I consume two small cups a day which I find very enjoyable. I decided to try this particular green tea because it is promoted as having many health benefits, even greater than normal infused green tea. I’ll add some resources below if you want to research it yourself.

My Experience so far

I love the taste and find it quite refreshing. Luckily the caffeine content hasn’t triggered my palpitations, which are the signs my body gives me if I overdo the caffeine. I actually enjoy the process of making the tea as I try, if possible, to do it in a meditative state  like the Japanese do with their tea ceremony.

Is it improving my health? it’s too early to say at the moment but I’m happy to continue as I enjoy the experience of making and drinking it, but I will continue to keep an eye on the research and hopefully a few more studies might come out demonstrating the benefits of Match green tea.

10  Benefits of Drinking Matcha Green Tea

  • High in Antioxidants
  • High in Catechin, EGCg (The most potent and beneficial antioxidants)
  • Induces Calm – reduces stress
  • Boosts Memory and Concentration
  • Increased Energy Levels
  • Helps Weight Loss
  • Aides Detoxification
  • Boosts the Immune System
  • Improves Cholesterol Profile
  • Tastes Great!

Some of the Research papers involving Matcha Green Tea

That’s all folks!

Have a stupendous day, appreciate every moment and be Mindful.

Kefir Cheese: A really tasty probiotic cheese to make at home

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If you love soft cheese with a nice sharp taste as much as I do then I suggest you have a go at making this Kefir cheese. It taste wonderful, lovely and creamy yet sharp (you can reduce the sharpness if you prefer a milder taste) and full of healthful probiotics to help support good gut health. I like kefir drink but as I’m low-carb I drain the whey to make a cheese and to reduce the amount of any lactose that may be left in the kefir.

Ingredients

  • Kefir Grains (source a good supply to start you collection off – it’s worth the effort to get a good reliable kefir culture as it’s a one-off purchase)
  • Organic whole milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Any additional flavouring you prefer ie. Chives, Chilli Flakes, Parsley, Garlic etc.

Equipment

  • Glass container to ferment the kefir (use some muslin to cover the opening if not using a container with a suitable lid)
  • Butter muslin (don’t bother with cheese cloth, it’s not suitable)

Method

  • Place kefir grains into your glass container
  • Add your milk and stir or shake to mix well
  • Cover and place in a warm environment to ferment (the time it takes will be dependant upon the temperature of your room and the ratio of kefir grains to milk volume. Typically this will be from 24 hours to 36 hours depending on how acidic you like your soft cheese. I ferment until the curds and whey have naturally divided, as you can see in the following photograph.20180711_115602
  • When you have decided to separate the curds and whey you need to pass the kefir through a sieve (preferably a non-metal sieve or colander)
  • Keep your kefir grains for use in the next batch (I store mine in the fridge in a glass jar with a little milk )
  • Line your sieve or colander with the butter muslin and pour you curds and whey into the sieve or collander to begin draining (I collect the initial whey and repass that through the muslin a second time to collect the small amount that goes through at the beginning of the draining process)
  • Leave for 12 to 24 hours to drain (you can keep the whey for consumption or use in cooking if you wish)
  • When you are happy that no more whey is draining you can either use as is, or if you want a stiffer cheese you can wrap the curds up in butter muslin and leave in the sieve with something heavy on it. The cheese is usually stiff enough after 3 to 4 hours with the weight on. (I use a large heavy tin to weigh the cheese down)
  • Remove cheese from muslin and add your salt and flavourings to taste, mix well and place into a suitable container, preferably ceramic rather than plastic due to the risk of chemicals leaching out of the plastic.

Store in the fridge and consume at your leisure. Kefir is a live culture so, as long as you have been hygienic throughout the process it will keep for an extended period. Unfortunately ours gets eaten too quickly for me to say what the maximum life is LOL.

Happy Day
Chris /|\

70 years of the National Health Service plus my anticancer cauliflower rice

Sun flowers

When I got home from work last night I saw a beautiful vase of Sunflowers that my daughter Rebekah had bought for Sue. I couldn’t resist taking a photograph to share on the blog. I think they are one of my favourite flowers at this time of year, a celebration of the Summer Solstice, the Sun personified.

As I wasn’t working today I had a more relaxed start to the day, I still got up at 5am but once I’d completed my physical exercises, meditation, hot and cold shower etc. I decided to go back to bed to do a bit of reading. The day was looking promising with the Sun shining brightly. I was glad that the day looked like it would be another dry warm day as the local hospital, where I work, was having a ‘Tea and Three’ party to celebrate the 70 year anniversary of the NHS and I expected a good turn out due to the promise of nice weather. As it turned out the ward was packed with visitors enjoying a cuppa and a slice of cake, they were also fascinated perusing the ancient medical tools on display that had been found lurking in the bowels of the hospital! all I can say is that I’m glad I wasn’t around in those times! Ouch…

Evening Meal: Immunity Supporting Recipe

As a change I thought I’d share part of the meal I prepared for this evening. I was looking to make my evening meal a Cancer fighting menu, in celebration of completing my 60 hour fast for Autophagy, if your interested in this fascinating process, in particular its use in cancer prevention and adjunctive therapy, the link to Wikipedia is a good place to start, followed by a general search engine to explore the research. I’ve chosen the following recipe as it was an experiment to add a new angle to the usual cauliflower rice that we usually eat.

Egg Fried Cauliflower Rice (serves 2)
  • 200g grated cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 eggs

I decided on an egg fried cauliflower rice flavoured with turmeric, cumin and coriander cooked in a little home-made organic ghee. There’s loads of research and evidence that demonstrates the anticancer properties of cruciferous vegetables and cauliflower is one of the most versatile members of this family of vegetables. Turmeric contains curcumin which has been shown to trigger apoptosis (cell death) in tumour cells and is also anti-angiogenisis (prevents new blood vessels from being grown by tumour cells). Cumin boosts the immune system and has antioxidant vitamins which help prevent oxidative stress that can lead to cancer. Coriander is anti-oxidant thus helping to protect against cancer. The eggs are a healthy source of essential amino acids and healthy fats.

I cooked the spices in the ghee for a minute or two before adding the beaten eggs. I allowed the eggs to cook for a while before breaking them up so that they held together in chunks. I then added the cauliflower and stir fried for a few minutes until cooked. I topped it off with a little soy sauce for a healthy source of salt and fermented soy.

Nutrition

  • Protein 11g
  • Net Carbs 3.8g
  • Fat 14.1g
  • Calories (I don’t count them but I’ve included for your benefit) 197 Calories

I had this with an organic grass-fed beef stir fry and a kale stir fry with ginger and Bok choy. It was delicious 🙂

Followed by a hot cup of Match Green tea – well worth researching for its health benefits, not mention it tastes rather nice.

Matcha tea

But don’t just take my word for it, do your own research. I’ve provided a few basic links but a simple search will lead you to lots of sites, many with links to published research on these topics.

Be well 🙂

My day ahead

Daily Affirmation

I am at home in my body

What does it mean to be at home in my body?

I think I’ll start with the meaning of home. Is home a place or a state of being? For me home is more than just a place that I lay my hat, it is more of a ‘feeling’ of being at home, a sense of peace, security and safety. Obviously, for me, this means that I have the opportunity to be at home no matter where I am. Although it doesn’t guarantee that I will always appreciate this! I also think that the sense of being at home, no matter where you are, is also influenced by your connection to those around you and how open you are to the beauty that resides in people, it doesn’t matter whether they are in a state of joy or suffering most people just want to feel a sense of belonging and to feel valued.

So, my task for today is to really feel at home in my body today. If you have been following my blog you are aware that I currently have a health issue, my body is throwing a bit of a spanner into the works! Therefore, can I manage to feel at home in my body when my body is clearly having a relationship issue with me. Deep down my body longs to be healthy, fit and supportive of my life goals so I need to look at my relationship with my body and try to ascertain what my body is trying to tell me. I need to open up a dialogue with myself and see what my body is trying to achieve with this current health issue. I’ll report back later today with any thoughts that arise during the day.

After Work

Well that was quite a busy shift! but I am happy that my body has cooperated with me with regard to the fast. Day two and I have hardly thought of food or had any hint of hunger. I’ve also been researching a bit more about autophagy, and based on what I can find out I think that I’ll be ok to break my fast tomorrow as I should have maximised the autophagy by then. So I’ve been kind to my body and give it a rest from having to deal with food, and in the process have given my immune system the chance to reset itself with new macrophages etc. I considered how I feel about my body and its decision to produce cancer and I’ve come to the conclusion that I hold no animosity to it, in fact I feel a little guilty that I’ve put my body into the position of producing cancer in order to get my attention! whether that’s through poor dietary habits, lack of exercise or exposing it to noxious chemicals. It wasn’t my body that chose those actions but it was my mind. So I’ve decided to be gentle with myself and my body, and moving on with a positive outlook to maximise my potential to self heal, So dealing with the stresses of my life is a major activity, increasing my levels of exercise is another, improved diet is paramount. But above all else I need to focus on being appreciative of everything in my life. At this point in time I do ‘feel at home in my body’

Gratitude

What am I grateful for today?

  • Being alive
  • Being in paid work in a job that helps to bring healing to others, thereby healing to myself
  • Supportive work colleagues
  • The support of my family (can’t be said enough!)
  • The connection I have to nature (the, almost gibbous, Moon was like a grinning mouth in the sky this morning which did bring a smile to my face)
  • The knowledge that generous people pass on via various internet sites, without a single request for payment, there’s a vast amount of information out there to help with any issue.

Back to work

Affirmation of the Day

I choose to be Happy

First day back to work after an extended weekend. Getting myself into the right mindset for the day ahead involves quite a routine, I suppose it could be called a ritual of sorts. I have been inspired by a well-known little book by Elrod Hal called ‘Miracle Morning’ (available online to buy) the following is a little taster of my morning ritual today.

  • 10 minutes meditation – using my own Awen meditation technique
  • 10 minutes exercise – push-ups 80, sit-ups 50, Lymphatic stimulation
  • 10 minutes hot shower followed by a cold shower to stimulate the immune system
  • 10 minutes reading a positive book – Miracle Morning
  • 10 minutes writing my blog
  • 10 minutes to make and drink my Matcha Green Tea in a meditative state

Following my morning routine I am ready to take on the World!

Morning Blessings

  • Another beautiful sunny morning greeted me upon awaking. I awoke before the alarm and was able to gently come round before the gentle buzz of the alarm instructed me to get up.
  • A nice greeting from the dogs when I finally got down stairs
  • A refreshing Matcha tea – I can almost feel the antioxidants and polyphenols at work
  • A lovely kiss off my wife
  • The walk to walk with the sounds of the birds surrounding me
  • Lovely greetings from my work colleagues

Breaking the News

Informing every one of my biopsy results went ok, I don’t think it’ll hit me until I have had the MRI and know if its spread or not. Hopefully I’ll remain as stoic as usual and concentrate on doing what I need to strengthen my immune system. I’ve had great support off everyone at work so far and I’m managing to function reasonably well.

Fasting

Day one of my 48 hour autophagy fast has gone off without a hitch. I’m not yet back into ketosis following my cheat day yesterday, but getting there. No major hunger sensations and energy levels ok. Having a plentiful supply of water with added electrolytes has helped. I think the first 24 hours was fairly easy so lets see what the next 24 has in store!

I’m ready for a good nights sleep in preparation for another day at work, so signing off now.

Wedding Anniversary 2018

Although I hate selfies I had no other choice than to try to get the most photogenic shot I could LOL, not a bad shot as far as selfies go! Happy anniversary to my wonderful wife Sue and thank you for being my wife, lover and friend for the past 35 years xxx

Wedding Anniversary

Daily Affirmation

“Joy floods my thoughts and my life”

Awoke fairly early today, the Sun was already up and flooding the garden with the promise of a beautiful day. From the comfort of my bed I could see that the bees were already busy and had started their daily activities. Yesterdays drama of the swarming of the hive was long forgotten and they looked more settled today.

My ten minutes meditation helped me to set the mood for the day, I had a go at my own meditation system based on my work with the Awen, the Druidic symbol of inspiration. It went really well and I know that I’ll be incorporate that into my Spiritual practice and will definitely be writing a blog post on my Spiritual blog At The Hearth about the philosophy behind the technique.

I came across a great quote today by Marcus Aurelius, a stoic philosopher, that I have found great comfort in:

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I think the Stoics were highly intelligent philosophers and made some great points. I’m all for positive thinking but I think applying a bit of Stoicism at times can ground you into reality. No more so than being given a diagnosis of cancer, as I was a few days ago!

Shit Happens!

Yeah, it certainly does! I’ve always been a very positive person and have looked after my health fairly well. So being given a diagnosis of cancer was a bit of a shock to say the least. But, having spent a few days contemplating the issue, I’ve decided that it’s time to call upon the philosophy of the Stoics and say “shit happens for which I have no control over, but my true power lies in my mind, that which I do have control over” so how I choose to react is up to me. I have little control over the actual cancer, but I can educate myself, and do all within my power to give me the best chance I can for long term survival. There are no guarantees that I’ll win, but I’m sure as hell going to give it my best shot!

What am I grateful for today?

  • Waking up next to my wonderful wife
  • A beautiful sunny morning
  • The sound of the birds in the yard and their musical chatter
  • Living by the coast and being in a position to walk to the beach and go swimming and snorkeling
  • Seeing the wide-eyed amazement on the face of Jax, my grand-child as he slurped on his ice-cream
  • The fantastic support of my family, all of my four kids are fantastic human-beings and I couldn’t do without any of them.
  • The joy of watching the innocence of my three grand-children and the expectation of the fourth one on the way
  • The pleasure I get from just being in nature, watching our bees in the garden as they collect their honey stores which, hopefully, they will share with us later in the year
  • Apart from the cancer I am fit and well with no chronic illness, therefore, I can get around and still do the things I love to do.
  • 35 years of a wonderful marriage, even with the ups and downs that come with it!

I think that’s about it for today, on the whole it hasn’t been a bad day, it’s so nice just to have a day dedicated to just Sue and I. Had a lovely time on the beach, not to mention the yummy Banana boat ice cream. LOL