Category Archives: Healthy Home

14 Awesome Books That Will Change Your Life

Christmas and the summer holidays are the perfect time to dive into some great reads. And as most of us want the New Year to be a fresh start with new plans and goals, it makes sense to read at least one life-affirming, soul-sustaining book to support you on your life journey and life purpose.

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This post marks a major milestone. As I hesitantly wrote my first article in July 2012 I never dreamed I would reach 100 posts. To honour this 100 post milestone I have collected a few of the books that offered me inspiration and guidance, and influenced my journey along the pathway to health, happiness and a fulfilled life.

I am a total book addict. Curled up with a book, reading in my bedroom, is my go-to-happy-place. These are not my favourite books although some are certainly ones I do love. These are books with a purpose.

Because I always want to know the answer ‘right now’ these are books that present a poal or a purpose and then tell me how to get there. Most importantly, they all definitely played an important part in signposting the pathway for me.

This selection can give you the tools to make enormous life changes for yourself too. Take a look, and maybe find an inspiring book to add to your summer reading list, one that will open the doorway to allow big changes into your life in 2015.

WARNING: Long but awesome post ahead! Feel free to skim

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In no particular order (apart from which one I pulled off the bookshelf first)


#1. Love The Life You Live: Ten Steps For Happier Living by Anne Hartley

This book guided me to the Life Coaching course I chose. I‘d wanted to do it for over two years before I found a course that really resonated. During that time I stumbled across this book in which Hartley outlines her “Heart Process”, the essence of the Hartlife Coaching Course I studied.
The Heart Process is basically a guideline to reclaiming your “happy.” Starting with her own story Anne takes you through a series of heart-based steps to find your joy in life again. This is solid stuff that has been around for generations, but it is presented in such a way that you don’t just get excited about the message you are also guided as to how to achieve it in your own life. The book is packed full of helpful hacks for mastering each of the ten steps.
Anne has been a Life Coach for over twenty years during which time she has refined everything she has used in her work, and here you have her most successful techniques.


#2. Walking Meditation by Nguyen Anh Huong & Thich Nhat Hanh

The practice of mindfulness has recently taken the world by storm, but my introduction came a while ago from the Master of Mindfulness himself through this book. This is more a kit than a book and is a wonderful tool if you want to introduce mindfulness into your life. It contains an instructional DVD, a CD of 5 guided meditations to get you started, and a small book to guide you through so you get the most out of your practice.
Someone once said to me that women gained most from active meditation and men gained the most from still meditation. I don’t know if it’s true or not but the concept of women engaging in the active, masculine Yang, and men in the passive, feminine Yin has a beautiful poetic balance to it.
An excellent and simple meditation for all women (and men) to master.


#3. Goddesses In Everywoman – Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives by Jean Shinoda Bolen

This is the book that launched me into the healing work I do with women today. Exploring the goddesses from ancient Greek mythology Bolen opens up our understanding of the age-old psychological patterns that modern women still follow. This is one of those books that bring incredible ‘aha’ moments as you suddenly recognize yourself in one or another goddess. It places the patterns, whether actual or potential, that you fall into in your life right there in front of you, where you can’t help but see them for what they are.
I love this book – it was such a solid foundation to understanding women’s archetypes and led to my ability to hold space for women’s healing groups, as well as to presenting their life patterns in a far more easily understood way to my Coaching clients. It’s easy to read, easy to understand and very insightful.


#4. The Inner Goddess Makeover: A Step-By-Step Makeover by Tanishka

This is the book that inspired me to go train as a Red Tent Facilitator and then later, a Women’s Rites Of Passage Facilitator. I came across “The Inner Goddess Makeover” after I read about women’s archetypes in ‘Goddesses In Everywoman’ and was left hungry to discover more about the feminine archetypes we all embody.
Tanishka uses each of seven goddess archetypes to embody seven universal psychological feminine aspects. Each one also governs a chakra. As you work through the exercises for each, consciously exploring the issues raised, you experience energy shifts and clear old blocks that were limiting you and stopping you from experiencing your personal empowerment and potential.Copy of waterhouse_the_crystal_ball_skull
I worked through this awesome and exciting journey, one chakra/goddess per month. Some of the goddesses were easy but with others I was really challenged. It was so empowering that after I finished I contacted Tanishka and went and trained with her.
This book is challenging but F.U.N. Even more fun when you set up your own goddess circle to work through it with the support of your Besties. Tanishka pulls no punches! Totally down to earth, her vibrant personality shines through, and she speaks to the reader as if you were both hanging out and chatting over a coffee.


#5. The Botany Of Desire by Michael Pollan

This is an odd book to have here but it is the book that galvanized me into opting for organic produce whenever I could, especially potatoes, changing my eating habits forever. It is about the reciprocal relationship between people and four domesticated crops. Pollan links four desires – sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control – with four plants that we use to satisfy them. He uses the story of the potato to illustrate control.
In his examination of how potato growing has evolved he visits commercial potato farms, an organic farm and Monsanto, the developers of genetically modified potatoes. Reading about the intense chemical spraying program and the permanent toxic state of the commercial farms was more than enough to turn me away from commercially grown potatoes forever. It also set me to investigate which other commercially farmed crops are highly toxic and which are relatively safe.
My very first post on this blog, Telling Tales on ‘Taters’ was inspired by this book and is about organic vs commercially grown potatoes.
The other stories about the apple, tulip and hemp are also fascinating.


#6. Healthy Home, Healthy Family by Nicole Bijilsma

Nicole is a Building Biologist and Sick Building Syndrome expert who is passionate about environmental medicine. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR), allergens, drinking water, and toxic chemicals pervade our living and working spaces and here Nicole shows you how to reverse their damage on your body, your mind, your emotions and your
An accomplished Naturopath and Acupuncturist with a young family of her own, she has produced a book full of practical ways to determine and remedy the levels of toxins you are being exposed to everyday.
This book contains lots of questionnaires and checklists to assess your own home. There is also advice on selecting cleaning products, air cleaners, plastics, and more. It even includes a guide for anyone about to buy, rent or build a house, with what you need to investigate or ask before you start.
With resource lists, useful websites plus so much more this is a great book to have on hand.


#7. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook by Miranda Castro

I was a Mum who used homeopathy for my family long before I was a professional Homeopath. Back then I needed a book that was comprehensive enough for me to find the correct remedy for the symptoms that presented, but not too complicated for my purely amateur ability.
Miranda Castro has written a book that nails it. It includes the homeopathic history, principles, myths, how to actually take a Homeopathic case and work out a remedy, then a comprehensive Materia Medica and Repertory to guide your remedy choice.
This book has it all for the ‘Home Homeopath’ and clearly and simply presents everyday homeopathic prescribing as the individualized effective treatment system it can be, when it is done correctly and well.


#8. Eating For The Seasons by Janella Purcell

I rarely recommend diet or cookbooks. But this is so much more than just a set of recipes. This book is all about eating in tune with the seasons and the rhythms of nature. By so doing your body gets just what it needs for the time of year.
This means more than simply eating light, raw food in summer and heavier, warming food during winter. Purcell’s eating recommendations are based on the principles of Traditional Asian Medicine.
Recipes (with alternative suggestions) are grouped by season. Each section also contains advice about health objectives of the season, preferred seasonal cooking methods, what to avoid, and which body organs need support.
A great book to remind you of seasonal eating patterns, even if you don’t use any of the recipes, it helps to keep you connected, by tuning in and aligning yourself with the rhythms of the Earth and life itself.


#9. The Life You Were Born To Live by Dan Millman

I love numerology and once studied it avidly, but it was so complicated. Not any more! Dan Millman changed all that. He has devised the “Life-Purpose System” from the ancient wisdom of Numbers, and it’s amazing, clear, and easy to follow. As Millman says “ the drive to understand our life purpose is as important to our psychological growth as eating is to our biological survival.” And he sets out all the information you need to help you in your quest.numbers pay-530339_640
It’s a big book but you only need to read the sections that apply directly to you and can ignore the rest. Millman shows you the simple way to calculate what is relevant to you. As you work through your picture he breaks it down into detail that applies to you, along with specific issues in your life and guidelines for action.
Millman’s book can help you sort out conflicts in your life and help you find your life purpose.


#10. Excuses Be Gone by Wayne Dyer

Wayne Dyer has been turning out awesome books for decades. But I love this one. After doing lots of work learning to recognise my inner critical judge, this book taught me about changing the lifelong self-defeating habitual thinking that the inner critic thrives on.
It teaches about stepping up and recognizing that although we can’t control everything that happens around us, what we make of our situation, and how we deal with it, is completely up to us and the way we choose to think. Powerful stuff!
It is easy to recognize the excuses we habitually use that Dyer places before us here. He takes us through the Seven Principles of Excuses Begone, with exercises at the end of each principle to help cement them in place. He then looks at seven questions surrounding the paradigm shift such as “What would my life look like if I couldn’t use these excuses?” and “What’s the payoff?”
But what I really love and often go back to just to remind myself, are the Four Cardinal Virtues and how they manifest – reverence for all life, natural sincerity, gentleness and supportiveness.


#11. 29 Gifts: How a Month Of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker

There are so many “Challenges” around now – 5 day, 7 day, 30 day. But this 29 day story of the role that gift giving and the practice of generosity and gratitude played in Walker’s battle with Multiple Schlerosis is heart-warming and life-affirming.
She shows that by placing our focus outside ourself and the problems of our own life we move the energy of our life away from our problems and illnesses and give ourslf the room to heal. gratitude Julie Jordan scott
As she embraced the practice of Gratitude and Gift-giving on her month long journey Cami’s health and happiness turned around. Initially filled with thoughts of ending up in a wheelchair and in extreme pain her experience was transformative.
From her own experience Cami began a movement that has spread across the globe – millions of people on a 29 Day Gifting Challenge.
This is beautiful story of her journey that you can take on and apply to your life.


#12. The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

We all talk about living in the moment, but not that many of us actually manage it. This is the basic message that we hear so often is the essence of Tolle’s book. But what makes it different is how he explains so clearly how our thoughts and emotions get in the way of achieving this, so we actually understand what is going on.
Tolle likens the mind to a destructive disease, and as long as you allow your mind to stay bonded to the inherited collective mind-patterns it will continue in its diseased state and you will continue to suffer.
He leads us to an understanding that enlightenment is found through consciousness, that through surrender we can find happiness and ultimately peace.
It is resented as a dialogue with many questions you would ask yourself.
This book really helped me get through some tough times in my life.


#13. The Chemical Maze by Bill Statham

This tiny little book revolutionized my shopping. It lists by their number all the additives found in foods, personal care and cosmetics. Beside each it grades the danger the additive poses for you, what the adverse effects are (such as asthma, dermatitis, cancer), why it is added, along with the types of products it is used in.
Luckily for you it is now available as an app for iPhone or Android.


#14. Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain

One of the first books I read that turned me onto the path of creating the life I really want, this book was written over 35 years ago and still holds today. An anniversary edition has just been released and is a great book to start with if you are just beginning your manifestation pathway.


So this is just a starter. It doesn’t include the writings of so many brilliant teachers. I hope you are drawn to one of the books on this list. Happy reading!

Please add the name of any book that has guided you to make huge change in your life in the comments section under “LEAVE A REPLY” below. I’d love to know, and am always ready to open the cover of a new book and discover another new life lesson.

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Is The Air In Your Home Polluted?

is the air in your home polluted? benefits of house plants

When we change our habits towards wellness one area of our life we often overlook is our home. We concentrate on exercise, improving out diet, balancing supplements, adopting practices like yoga or mindfulness. But often we don’t even consider the air inside our home may be highly polluted.

Causes Of Toxic Air

Building Biology  is a holistic discipline which examines and identifies irritants and hazards in residential and public structures. These include building materials, the products we use, air quality, water, biological contaminants (mould) and pest control, as well as electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) radiation (EMR) and geopathic stress.

It developed in response to a growing awareness of the impact toxic components in our immediate environment are having on our health. According to Building Biologist Nicole Biljsma  it “provides a holistic examination of the built environment and provides realistic solutions to create buildings that support mind, body and soul.”

When problems are found with the air quality within buildings the first line of attack is to eliminate the source of pollution. This may be caused by the actual building materials, furnishings, products used within the space, pest control, or cleaning methods.

Once the source of the pollution has been addressed air purifiers and filters are generally the next step taken towards achieving clean air.


Natural Remedies For Pollution In Your Home

Before you buy an expensive electric air purifier for your home consider that bringing household plants is one very simple way to improve air quality in your home.

Plants are said to be the lungs and kidneys of the building. Research at NASA’s Space Center has shown that the presence of certain indoor plants actually improves indoor air quality.

The plants are able to grab and filter common pollutants found indoors and so purify the air.

NASA has made a list of the most beneficial plants in order of their effectiveness.



Why Our Homes Are Polluted

Many of the products including carpet, fabric, wall coverings, furniture, and paints we use to furnish our homes, schools and workplaces contain highly toxic chemicals which are released into the air, creating indoor air pollution.

In 2009 the US Environmental Protection Agency stated that “The air within our homes can be seriously more polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities”.

Many newer homes are now designed to ‘seal’ in the air in order to better regulate the internal environment and reduce the use of carbon fuels for heating and cooling.

Living in these sealed homes can result in a disorder know as Sick Building Syndrome.


Sick Building Syndrome


Sick Building Syndrome is a recognised disorder which results from the build up of toxins in our environment. One in particular is formaldehyde.

It’s becoming more widespread with the increase of energy efficient buildings. These sealed buildings allow little exchange of fresh outdoor air for the stale polluted indoor air. This lads to the indoor air becoming ten times more polluted than the air outside. In developed societies we spend up to 90% of our time indoors. Therefore we are now spending most of our life in extremely toxic surroundings. Indoor air quality is quickly becoming a particularly concerning problem.

Simply introducing plants into the environment can greatly reduce these problems.

Research from the Environmental Research Laboratory of John C. Stennis Space Center has shown that rooms filled with the right plants have 50-60% fewer airborne moulds and bacteria than those without plants.

It is widely known that plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. But it appears the plants can also suck toxic chemicals out of the air by absorbing the pollutants into their leaves. They then transport them to the roots where they are transformed into food.

NASA findings show that plants are able to remove up to 87% of air toxins over 24 hours.

benefits of houseplants. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) can remove indoor pollution from the home



Amazing Benefits Of House Plants

Indoor plants can bring a host of physical and mental health benefits.

Houseplants purify the air in a number of ways.

The air in environments with ducted heating dries out quickly, causing respiratory congestion and dry skin. Plants are ideal additions in these places. They balance humidity levels by maintaining the moisture levels in the air at an optimum level. This level is low enough to reduce illness and at the same time, high enough to prevent mould formation

The Norwegian University of Agriculture found indoor plants fight certain illnesses. Symptoms of the following health problems were all reduced.

  • Fatigue by 20%
  • Headache by 45%
  • Sore/dry throat by30%
  • Coughs by 40%
  • Dry facial skin by 25%

Other research has shown house plants have a psychological benefit, increasing self-esteem, improving mood, reducing stress, anxiety and depression and increasing feelings of calm, relaxation and optimism.

With their ability to impact stress levels and reduce blood pressure levels, the important role of indoor plants in a society with a rising incidence of Adrenal Fatigue  seems apparent.

Being surrounded by indoor plants can also make you think better, as they improve memory, concentration and attention, as well as boost creativity. Perhaps bringing one into you study or office will improve your productivity as well as reduce the EMR from your computer.



Best Air-Purifying House Plants

These are the top ten air-purifying plants as classified by NASA, along with their NASA rating (out of 10):

  1. The Areca Palm   8.5
  2. The Lady Palm   8.5
  3. The Bamboo Palm   8.4
  4. The Rubber Plant   8.0
  5. The Dracaena   7.8
  6. English Ivy   7.8
  7. The Dwarf Date Palm   7.8
  8. The Ficus Alii   7.7
  9. The Boston Fern   7.5
  10. The Peace Lilly   7.5

Read more about each and see what they look like here.

It’s said that Common English Ivy (Hedera helix) ranked sixth in the NASA list is “a fix for allergies” and Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is the “most efficient filtering plant”.

A little research can help determine which of the recommended plants are better for your personal needs. Some may address your health problems better than others.

There are many other beneficial plants not included on this list.  Gerbera reduces levels of the chemical solvent benzene. Chrysanthemum, the extremely hardy Spider plant and Aloe, are others you could also find helpful.

For best results you need about 15 plants for a 15 square home or 140m² office to keep the air clean.

Make the motto of your home and workspace  ‘MORE GREEN – LESS STRESS’

benefits of house plants
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.



Bijlsma, N, Healthy Home Healthy Family, Joshua Books, 2010


35 Sizzling Suggestions For Bicarb (That’s Baking Soda!)

Before I continue here, just so we all know, Bicarb Soda is Baking Soda – same thing, different name!

Replacing your commercial cleaning products with baking soda (or bicarb soda) is simple and effective and can go a long way towards turning your house into a ‘Healthy Home’.
Replacing your commercial cleaning products with baking soda (or bicarb soda) is simple and effective and can go a long way towards turning your house into a ‘Healthy Home’.

When you are trying to get healthy but you don’t want to cause too much disruption all at once, sometimes the smart thing to do is to look at what you already have in your home and to ask yourself – what else can I do with this? How else can it benefit me and my family? What have I missed here?

It is becoming more and more common for children in particular to develop health problems as a reaction to the chemicals they encounter in their foods or their environment, whether this is the air, water, cleaning products or items such as furnishings. While for these children it is vital that they are exposed to less chemical toxins, it is better for all of us if we too are exposed to fewer harmful toxic elements.

It is always worth remembering that ‘safe levels of exposure’ on cleaning products and personal care products are calculated on the basis of you being exposed for just that one time, to that one product, only in the amount specified. What these level calculations do not take into account is that the same possibly harmful substance that is being evaluated occurs in many, many products that are commonly in daily use, in addition to the one being tested and assessed.

Even if the quantity of the chemical in a single product is within the levels that are deemed safe, there are maybe ten or twenty other products used every day that  have that level of the chemical in them also, and this adds up to exposure to much more of the chemical than the ‘safe level’. The quantity in all these different products accumulates very quickly into an unsafe amount of exposure. Which is all the more reason to seek out healthier alternatives to most cleaning products, skin and hair care products.

Of course this doesn’t even take into consideration the concern about all the environmental pollutants that are being washed down the drains and into the waterways along with all these cleaning and personal care products.

There are lots of things in your pantry right now that you are most likely not getting the most benefit from.

Bicarbonate of soda, baking soda in the US, sodium bicarbonate, or soda ash, is a perfect example of one of these items. Most of us have it in the cupboard to use in our cooking, but it has many other uses that can go a long way towards turning our house into a ‘Healthy Home’. At the same time it can be a simple and very effective ways to improve our health.

It seems so much easier when we are all so busy to just grab ready-made cleaning products from the shop shelf but the reality is that these products generally contain many toxic ingredients, and you have no way of knowing what these are as the manufacturers are not required to list all the ingredients.

Making your own cleaning products is a great money saver! At first it may seem confusing but it very quickly becomes easy and you can make products ahead ready to use.

The other bonus is that home made cleaning products work really well!

My bathroom cleaning kit. Replacing your commercial cleaning products with baking soda and other natural products is simple and effective and can go a long way towards turning our house into a ‘Healthy Home’
My bathroom cleaning kit. Replacing your commercial cleaning products with baking soda and other natural products is simple and effective and can go a long way towards turning our house into a ‘Healthy Home’

There are now a number of cleaning companies that actually operate using only home-made natural cleaning products, made from vinegar, lemon and of course bicarb soda, among others. As a cleaning product bicarb soda can make a big impact. It has a gentle excoriating property that is able to help remove even difficult to remove grime.

Bicarb soda works to clean mainly as an abrasive although there is a small amount of chemical reaction involved. It reacts with grease to form glycerol, an ingredient commonly found in soap. When mixed with vinegar it forms carbonic acid, a weak acid that improves the corrosive action of the vinegar.

It also neutralizes unpleasant odours without simply masking them, and acts as a neutralizer and when it comes into contact with something that is either too acidic or too alkaline. It will bring them back to a neutral pH as well as to then retard further changes in the pH, to buffer it.


Bicarb soda works very simply but can have a significant effect. So here are my 35  ‘anti-corporation, anti-unecessary-toxins, pro-simple-clean & healthy home’ ways to use bicarb soda to great effect in your home.


1. Remove stubborn stains: Apply a paste of three parts bicarb soda and one part water. Let it stand then scrub and wipe clean.

2. Toilet stains: Use in the toilet to prevent stains developing in the porcelain. This is particularly useful in areas with hard, mineral-rich water. Once a week sprinkle baking soda in the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then spray with vinegar to moisten it. Scrub with the brush and flush away.

3. Clean baths and tiles: Sprinkle on a damp cloth and scrub as normal. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. You can use this on fibreglass and all tiles. For extra cleaning power make a paste of bicarb soda, course salt and liquid soap (dish detergent is ok but castile soap is better). Let it sit on the surface and then scour off.

4. Clean glass shower doors: Bicarb soda is excellent for removing that soapy scum from the shower doors. Many products are not recommended for use on glass doors but bicarb soda is gentle enough to do no damage. Simply sprinkle some on a damp cloth and wipe down the glass. Rinse well and dry.

5. Remove lime from taps: When lime forms around your taps or drains mix some vinegar with a little bicarb soda to form a paste and coat all the area with lime on it. Let it sit for a few hours and then rinse off. It may take a few applications to get rid of heavy deposits.

6. Clear clogged drains: To clean out any clogs that have formed inside the drain from hair, soap or grime, pour in 120mls bicarb soda and follow it with 250mls vinegar. Let it sit for ten to twenty minutes and then flush the drain out with very hot water. But, DON’T try on a clogged drain after you have used a commercial cleaner as a reaction may occur that spews out caustic fumes and liquid. To avoid the clogs in the first place, pour ¼ cup bicarb soda down the drain weekly. Follow with lots of hot water.

7. Draw out stains: To draw out stains from stone, marble, limestone or unglazed ceramic surfaces coat the stain with a thick paste of bicarb soda and water. Let it stand for 24 to 48 hours and then rinse and dry thoroughly.

8. Clean grout: Make a runny paste with water and use an old toothbrush to clean stains in the grout between tiles.

9. Hand cleanser and softener: To remove ground-in dirt and neutralize odours on your hands scrub with a paste made with 3 parts bicarb soda and 1 part water or a gentle soap like Castille soap. Rinse away.

10. Clean brushes and combs: Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking in a solution of 1 teaspoon bicarb soda in a basin of warm water. Rinse.

Home made cleaning products work really well and are a great money saver
Home made cleaning products work really well and are a great money saver


11. Grease stains: Pre-treat grease stains with a paste of bicarb soda and water.

To continue reading baking soda uses number 12 through to 35 click here 

Plastic Bombastic – Not Fantastic

The new school year is here and thousands of children are heading off to school each day with packed lunches
The new school year is here and thousands of children are heading off to school each day with packed lunches

Making school lunches can be a bit of a nightmare. Every mother wants to send their children off to school with a healthy lunch (even if occasionally they succumb to outside pressure and include unhealthy snacks such as potato chips). Lots of children are now known to have reactions to certain foods and many schools impose limitations on the inclusion of certain foods, and of course this limits choices. There is lots of advice and suggestions around about school lunches and it is very easy to find ideas for healthy lunch boxes.

But in addition to what the children actually eat there is also the question of how to package it. With the new school year beginning this week and thousands of children heading off to school each day with lunches packed into plastic boxes and wrapped tightly in plastic cling film now is again the right time to revisit the question of the dangers on the kids health of chemicals leaching out of the plastic and into the food.

The issue is not whether chemicals will leach from the packaging into the food, but how much

Over the last few years the media has widely covered the impact on babies of Bisphenol A, or BPA as it is commonly known, used in the production of babies bottles with the result that there are now BPA-free baby bot

tles available. But not much is said about the danger of other plastics, even though research has made the dangers well known.

Plastics deserve their bad name! There have been numerous studies showing the adverse effects of plastics – in particular PVC, polycarbonate and polystyrene which contain the chemicals DEHP, Bisphenol A (BPA) and nonylphenol, all xeno-oestrogens.

The problem with xeno-oestrogens, such as BPA, is that they alter hormones. They have been linked to breast and testicular cancer, infertility, early puberty, reproductive delays, obesity and diabetes, as well as being found to lower the ability of your immune system to respond to inflammation. BPA has even been found to be linked to behavioural and emotional problems in pre-schoolers. The danger from BPA is even greater for babies and children because they seem to be sensitive to even tiny amounts. Boys in particular are susceptible to the hormone altering effects.

These toxic chemicals not only occur in plastics. They are present across our environment and are found everywhere from the lining of metal food cans, to the detergents in cleaning products, dental sealants and composites, pesticides and even baby bottles.

Let’s break it down a bit

  • Many chemicals found in plastics alter hormones in the body and lead to illness of the reproductive system and other diseases.
  • Harmful chemicals are found in all manner of plastic products and are more likely to be there than not. Some plastics are not so dangerous
  • There is lots of evidence of BPA leaching from the epoxy lining of cans holding food and beverage. Even cans certified “organic” leach BPA.
  • Chemicals leach out of plastics faster when they are in contact with fatty, salty or acidic foods like meat, milk or tomatoes.
  • Chemicals leach out faster when the plastic is heated. NEVER heat food or drinks in plastic, and be very wary of unintentional heating like water bottles left in a warm car.
  • Some plastics are safer than others. The number of the type of plastic will be on the bottom of the container. The ones to avoid are #1 (PET or PETE polyethylene terephthalate), #3 (PVC polyvinyl chloride), #6 (PS polystyrene), #7 (all other types of plastics). Some labeled with #7 are safe and some unsafe but you can’t be sure which it is. One of the unsafe ones is polycarbonate (PC) which is used in baby bottles.

What plastics are safer?

Some safer plastics to use are:

#2 HDPE (high density polyethylene) – a hard plastic used for many food containers as well as some toys,

shopping bags packaging, plus lots more. It is more stable than most other plastics and does not leach out endocrine disrupting chemicals. It is also easy to recycle.

#4 LDPE (low density polyethylene) – a soft plastic used in bags, squeezable bottles, cling films. It is safer but not recyclable, unlike #2

#5 Polypropylene (PP) – used for rigid containers like ice-cream containers, plus many other items. It is thought to be free from known hazards but again, is not recyclable.

These do not give you a huge choice and also need to be balanced up with the damage that non-recyclable plastics do to our environment.

It is really safer and more responsible to avoid using plastic .

Paper bags - an alternative to plastic lunch boxes
Paper bags – an alternative to plastic lunch boxes

Simple ways to make changes

  • Use paper bags for school lunches – safe and recyclable
  • School lunch can be wrapped in greaseproof paper (at your supermarket) or one of the re-useable wraps now available. Look for them at Onya or 4MyEarth
  • Store food in glass, unglazed ceramics and stainless steel which are the safest containers for food storage. .
  • Get a good quality stainless steel drink bottle for you and your children and avoid plastic water bottles or juice boxes
  • Avoid lunch boxes made from PVC (#3) and polycarbonate (#7) as food left sitting in these could be harming your kids
  • Never heat food or liquids in plastic containers (not even if they are made of safer plastics)
  • Take your own containers for take-away foods and avoid having hot food sitting in plastic containers
  • Don’t use cling wrap in the microwave – harmful chemicals leach out
  • If you need to store food and drinks in plastic then choose one of the safer ones
  • Only use plastics if they have a recycling symbol on the bottom so you know it is not harmful, or else you could call the manufacturer to find out what type of plastic it is
  • Glass is the only safe option for baby bottles
  • Don’t store foods like meat, tomato-based meals or cheese wrapped in cling wrap or any plastic.
  • Avoid canned foods wherever you can – look for glass instead.

If you do make the change away from plastic containers and food wraps, not only will you be protecting your family’s health you will also be making a significant contribution towards a cleaner planet, where vast quantities of plastics in landfill and our oceans pose a huge problem.

Vast quantities of plastics in landfill and our oceans pose a huge problem
Vast quantities of plastics pose a huge problem to our health as well as in landfill and our oceans


All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

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Treat Time with this Delicious Dessert for Christmas

Christmas has arrived in my household. It was a little slow in appearing this year but the tree went up three days ago and now it feels more like Christmas time.

The Christmas Tree in the corner of my living room
The Christmas Tree in the corner of my living room

We always celebrate on the night before Christmas when we meet for the family dinner, and like most families there are long-held food traditions. One which my boys hold on to most vehemently is the inclusion of Summer Pudding in the menu. To them, Summer Pudding, a delicious, light, berry-bright dessert that celebrates the height of summer is synonymous with Christmas. This suits me fine as it is a breeze to make.

Christmas and New Year is a time when it is all too easy to overeat, or to eat poorly, when eating out more often means that keeping up your normal healthy food choices becomes very difficult, so it is great to find a festive dessert that is delicious as well as being reasonably healthy, as desserts go.

The other benefit for me, and no doubt many of you, in these times when so many people are on restricted diets is that it fits the bill for many of them. In our family, we have to cater to a wide range of diets from the ‘meat and potato’ eaters to Vegan, and include gluten-free and dairy-free along the way, which is quite a tall order. Summer Pudding can be very easily adapted to fit these as well as being suitable for nut-free and egg-free diets also. The only negatives are that it really does need refined white bread and some sweetening.

The recipe normally calls for fine wheat bread but I replace this with  gluten-free bread. Some gluten-free breads are still as heavy as rocks but increased public demand has forced manufacturers to improve their product and there are some around now that taste just fine.

I replace the white castor sugar normally used in the recipe with coconut palm sugar, although as I was out of it today I had to use Panela which is unrefined cane sugar. In addition I cut the sugar content dramatically, as too much makes the dessert taste sickly and overwhelms the slight tartness that sings fresh berries. Do not leave all the sugar out though as it needs a little.

So here is my Super- Easy Antioxidant Rich Delicious Summer Pudding recipe adapted to suit restricted diets.

Serves 6 – But you can increase the quantities as needed and use a cake tin instead of the bowl for larger quantities.

Don’t stress too much about the berries – sometimes I use more or less of one or another. But, strawberries and blueberries don’t work well so leave them out. Normally I go out to the hills a few days before Christmas to pick my berries but this year didn’t have time and used mostly frozen berries from my last ‘picking’ with a few fresh ones thrown in. As long as you don’t over heat them they are fine.

1 Loaf of stale white gluten-free bread (GF bread stales quite quickly and will do so if left out on the bench for an or so)

300g raspberries

125g redcurrants

100g blackberries

100g boysenberries

1/3 cup coconut palm sugar

Line a bowl with plastic wrap, letting it hang over the sides.

Let the edges of the plastic wrap hang generously over the edge
Let the edges of the plastic wrap hang generously over the edge

Place the fruit in a saucepan with the sugar, and gently heat until it just starts to boil. Remove from the heat. Put the raspberries on the top as they are softest and will break up the easiest.

The berries release lots of juice as soon as they are heated.
The berries release lots of juice as soon as they are heated.

While the fruit is heating, cut the crusts from the bread and  line the bottom and sides with it. I use triangles on the bottom (as this will become the top) and tightly fitting rectangles for the sides. Take some care to make sure it fits snugly.

Cut the bread pieces so they fit snugly together
Cut the bread pieces so they fit snugly together

When the fruit has heated fill the lined bowl with the fruit, and cover the fruit with a lid of bread. I usually pour some of

Cover the berries with a lid of bread pieces
Cover the berries with a lid of bread pieces

the remaining juice over the bread lid and trickle some down the edges between the bread and plastic. Save any left over juice.

Fold the overhanging plastic over the bread lid and place a plate on top and weigh it down. You can use a can to do this.

I use these gorgeous antique weights but a can of food will do the job perfectly
I use these gorgeous antique weights but a can of food will do the job perfectly

Place in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, turn the pudding out on a plate. If there are patches that have not absorbed the juices and are not ‘berry-juice red’ pour the reserved juices over them to patch them. Slice the pudding just as you would a cake.

The finished Summer Pudding
The finished Summer Pudding

Even if you are not celebrating Christmas, or your menu is already planned, try out this yummy treat, I am sure you will love it as much as we do.

Bring The Positive Into Your Life With Negative Ions

With Spring all around you could be excused for thinking that Love is in the air. While that may well be so in your neck of the woods, it will be sharing that air space with something far more sinister – positively charged ions. These positively charged ions have a dramatic effect on your body and your mind, causing a whole range of health problems.

Salt lamps counteract the bad effects on our health of positive ions

What Are Positive Ions?

Without getting technical, there are two types of ions (charged particles) in our surroundings, negative and positive. (Don’t skim or skip this as I’ll try to keep it simple and having a basic understanding will make lots of things about your family’s health clearer to you.)

An excess of positive ions in the environment affects the health of humans. Positive ions are thought to cause free-radical damage in the body and adversely affect the immune system in many ways.


What Are The Negative Effects Of Positive Ions?

As well as immune system dysfunction they positive ions cause many other symptoms including body pains, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, respiratory difficulties, allergies, asthma, migraine, emotional unbalance, irritability, exhaustion, apathy, anxiety and depression. They can also affect your endocrine (hormonal) system, thus your thyroid hormone production and also increase adrenalin production.

And then all these disruptions can impact on you in many other ways such as poor sleep or learning difficulties.


Where Do Positive Ions Come From?

Increased positive ions in the environment are produced by many of the things that are an ingrained part of our modern lives, such as TV sets (digital sets throw out toxic beams directly in front of the screen for up to 400 metres, including through walls), computer monitors, microwaves, fuse boxes and in fact by any of the electrical appliances and power points in your house and workplace.

WiFi technology, such as mobile (cell) phones, wireless internet, modems and routers, and baby monitors, has greatly increased the presence of positive ions in our lives. The electro magnetic field around each of these hotspots varies from one to the next but can extend for a number of metres.

The term Geopathic Stress is used to indicate the presence of unhealthy earth energies in living spaces and refers to the imbalance of Positive Ion fields. And stress within your body, including your brain, is exactly what high positive ion levels cause.


How Negative Ions Help You

Negative ions on the other hand, help to balance out the effects of the vast quantities of positive ions that are released into the air of our modern homes. It’s thought they produce biochemical reactions in our bloodstream that lead to increased production and release of the happy mood chemical serotonin, which in turn helps to alleviate depression, reduce stress and boost daytime energy.

Other ways negative ions can help you are with detoxification, increased alertness, improved concentration, better breathing, sounder sleep, tension relief and vitamin utilization and they help to strengthens your body’s immune system.

Negative ion balance maintains healthy oxygen levels, promotes healthy cell growth, healthy states of mind and overall wellbeing. Basically, they’re all-round ‘good guys’ and vital to have anywhere you spend lots of time!


How Positive and Negative Ions Affect Your Body

Here’s an interesting comparison from Kiflow between the benefits from negative ions and the damage from positive ions in the environment.

Beneficial Negative Ions Harmful Positive Ions
Blood vessels Dilate blood vessels Constrict blood vessels
Blood Pressure Stabilize BP Increase BP
Blood Increase blood alkalinity Increase blood acidity
Bones Strengthen bones Weaken bones
Urinary tract Promote urination;
increase nitrogen in urine
Suppress urination;
decrease nitrogen in urine
Respiratory Stabilize respiration and make breathing easier Accelerate respiration and make breathing more difficult.
Pulse rate Decrease pulse rate Increase pulse rate
Heart Enhance heart function Impair heart function
Fatigue Speed physical recovery Prolong physical recovery
Autonomic Nervous System Calm and relax nerves Tense and strain the nervous system
Growth Promote healthy growth Suppress and delay growth


Where To Find Negative Ions

There are lots of places where you find an abundance of negative ions including beaches, waterfalls, forests, fountains and mountains. Think of the wonderful lift you experience just by being in these places.

Pounding surf and thunderstorms are great negative ion generators. Of course some of the positive response you feel is due to the natural beauty of these amazing places but much of the uplifting response is from the abundance of negative ions in the air.

Negative ions in these places are measured in tens of thousands but in most homes and offices they often only measure in ‘hundreds’ or even ‘tens’, which may be why you never get that same uplifting feeling at home, work or school.

Negative ions are not the same as ozone and both have a different effect on you.

Benefits of negative ions and damage of positive ions

What’s Negative-Ion-Rich Air Like?

The difference between air rich in positive ions and air rich in negative ions can easily be felt during a thunderstorm.

Have you noticed the build up of tension in the air just before it starts? This is the time when the positive ions are peaking.

Once the storm hits the air produces electrical charges in the atmosphere and fain starts to fall. The air becomes rich with oxygen and explodes with negative-rich ions.

After the storm has passed there’s a feeling of calm and serenity because the rush of negative ions has balanced out the positive ions.

There are many ways to reduce the buildup of positive ions ranging from the cheapest, which is to simply throw open the doors and windows on opposite sides of the room to allow cross-ventilation, to the expensive installation of an Ionizer, but one easy and beautiful way to bring about this ion reversal is to place Himalayan Salt lamps around your living spaces.


What are the benefits of Himalayan salt?

I have lots of Himalayan Salt Lamps for sale at work and am often asked what their purpose is. These lamps, and the salt itself, have a wealth of health benefits.

Lamps made of salt from the Himalayas have enormous health benefits

Himalayan salt is high-quality salt hand-mined from salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago in the foothills of the Himalayas.

The lovely pink colour indicates that it’s mineral rich, and in fact contains 84 minerals and trace elements including calcium, potassium and magnesium. In a country like Australia where our mineral deprived soils lead to food produce that is also low in the minerals your body needs, using this salt is a good way to boost your essential mineral intake.

Unlike table salt, it’s unprocessed. Processed salt is devoid of minerals and only one of the 84 minerals, iodine, is ever replaced.

Even rock salt, which is better than table salt, is no match for Himalayan salt as the elements contained in rock salt are not as easily metabolized as they are in the Himalayan salt which has a unique crystalline structure that enables your body to absorb and metabolize them.

I use Himalayan salt in my cooking instead of processed salt and have noticed that I actually need to use less to get the same effect, perhaps as a result of the presence of the full-spectrum of minerals it contains.

Himalayan salt has a perfect crystalline structure and is the highest grade of natural salt. It contains no environmental pollutants and is importantly, immune to electromagnetic fields.

It’s great added to baths to rejuvenate skin, and to foot baths to detox. Across Europe it’s very common for people to go and spend time inside salt caves to aid their health. Here are the locations of a few.


Himalayan Salt Lamps

Another wonderful way to gain the health benefits of Himalayan salt is to use it in the form of lamps.

Here’s a short explanation of how they work but here and here are more detailed ones.

As the lamp warms up it begins to attract and absorb moisture and the surface becomes moist. The ion field builds up. The heat from the lamp then leads to evaporation and it’s this that creates the negatively charged ions and releases them into the air, where they bind with and neutralize the excess positively charged ions in the air. This helps reduce the ‘electro-smog’ in your air as well as reducing allergens and irritants.

The lamps only release negative ions when they are warmed from the heat of the globe.

If the air is very humid the lamp may ‘weep’ and so should be left lit as this helps to dry them out. During one particularly humid December I woke to find a huge puddle on the floor under one of my lamps sitting right in front of a fan that had been on all night to draw the cooler air into the house. But that cooler air was also laden with moisture!

Himalayan Salt Lamps provide huge health benefits

In addition they are very beautiful, emitting a soft pinkish glow that helps to create a wonderful warm ambience in your home or work. Their colour ranges from light apricot to dark orange and from the softest baby pink to a deep dark rose pink.

There has been much research on the healing effects of colour on our body and mind. Pink is said to soften the vibrant energy of red and support a sense of partnership and love and open your emotional body. It embodies feminine nurturing.

Here are colour therapy descriptions of the characteristics of various pinks “The New Rainbow Colours” if you’d like to know more.

Himalayan salt lamps emit negative ions to help reduce the toxic effect of wi-fi
Salt Lamp Globe Showing Naturally Occuring Striations


How To Use Salt Lamps In Your Home

Placing just one lamp in your home won’t ‘fix it all’ as they have a limited range and so won’t be able to neutralize a whole house.

I have five in my home and one on my desk at work. Place a few through selected areas of your home where you spend lots of time, such as the living area or bedroom as well as near the TV, computer and other high EMF areas to gain the benefits where you need it the most.

They make a beautiful soothing night light for a child’s bedroom, creating a nurturing feeling for the child while at the same time rebalancing the ions in the air, and often improving disturbed sleep.

Salt lamps often improve disturbed sleep.


All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

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