Self Care for Busy Women: Part 2

Self Care for Busy Women: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Self Care for Busy Women. 

 

If you haven’t read Part 1, you can find it HERE.

 

Earlier today, someone posted in a Facebook group I’m in, saying how her feed in the past week had been filled with posts about self-care.  There have also been a number of posts across various platforms talking about planetary factors, with 5 planets in retrograde at the same time, the full moon & the lunar eclipse and that a lot of people will be feeling the need to just slow down, not to take on too much and just assess where life’s at and where they want to go.  It’s a time to forgive and move on from the past, learning from the lessons rather than getting caught up in “shoulds” and doing things the way they have always been done.

This is a great time to schedule in some more self-care so you can have the energy to move forward towards that balance and bliss we all seek.

One point that was raised on the Facebook post was that self-care comes with a large degree of privilege.  Women who have great support networks or have the financial means are more able take the time to look after themselves, compared to a single mama who’s solely responsible for the care and support of herself and her children.  There’s absolutely no denying that reality, and they are often the people who need self-care the most.  Conversely, it’s not uncommon for partnered women to feel they have to ask someone else’s permission, sometimes begging, for time to do things for themselves, by themselves, even for something as simple as having a shower without interruptions.  It is so easy to get caught up in doing all the things for others which is why we hear so many woman say they’ve lost their identity; they’ve forgotten who they wanted to be and what it is that used to make them happy, or they just can’t see any way to fit those hobbies into their lives any longer.  If they do get some time for themselves, they often don’t know what to do first, or are wracked with guilt.

Whilst dreams of fame, creating or luxuriating on a tropical beach with a personal cocktail waiter/waitress at your beck and call may be temporarily put on hold, there are a few more things you can do to regain some sanity & feel more replenished.

 

6) Warmth

When you are chronically stressed and/or over-worked, your adrenal glands take an absolute beating.  Our bodies were not designed to cope with sustained stressors and continually high levels of cortisol will lead to adrenal exhaustion, much in the same way that high blood sugar levels will lead to insulin resistance.   Chronically elevated cortisol will also affect your sex hormones, contributing to loss of libido, infertility & accelerated aging.

In Eastern health philosophies, there’s a balance of energies – warming/cooling, damp/dry, yin/yang.  When supporting adrenal function, warmth is important.  You want to make sure the kidney/adrenal area of your back is always covered, away from cold, damp breezes.  Keep your feet warm and dress so you are comfortably warm at all times.  Drink warm drinks (herbal teas, bone broth or vegetable broth are all good) and choose lightly cooked vegetables over raw foods & salad, particularly in Winter months when your body is already putting so much energy into just keeping you warm.

The other thing in Winter is to get out in the sun when possible.  Keeping your torso well covered, then expose as much of your arms & face to the sun as you can to help maintain Vitamin D levels.  This will help your hormonal balance, reduce the chances of getting the flu & improve your mood.  If you have North-facing windows in your house, make like a cat & curl up for a while when you can.  (If you live far from the equator or have problems converting vitamin D, you may benefit from a vitamin D supplement, along with magnesium that the body uses to properly utilise the vitamin D).

 

7) Brain-dump / Write it down

I was at a business mastermind group recently when a friend wisely said, “the brain is for creating ideas, not storing them”.  Who hasn’t woken up at 3am with some marvelous idea, or laid awake for hours with thoughts & ideas abuzz, wishing their brain would STFU? One solution is to sit down and just write it ALL out.  Anything that comes to mind.  It does not need to make sense or follow a structure.  It just needs to get out of your head.  Ideally, you’ll do this with a pen and paper, as there’s something that happens in the sub-conscious when you hand-write things, but you could also type it out if preferred.  Often you’ll be surprised by what you’ve written as things come out that you’re not always conscious of, but by getting those thoughts written down, you don’t have to waste brain power trying to remember all the things.  The result will be less stress & better sleep, which will mean even less stress & better sleep.

Whilst on the subject of writing things down, it can be useful to spend a few minutes each night writing a to-do list for the next day, starting with the things you are least enthused about.  Getting those out of the way early means your day is always going to get better  😉 Finish the day by noting three things you were grateful for that day.  By combining those two things, you won’t be laying awake trying to remember everything you have to do and the last thing your subconscious will remember are the positive thoughts.

 

8) Calm the Farm

Another really effective way to increase that feeling of calm & wellbeing is meditation.  That does not have to mean hours sitting in the lotus position, although you can certainly do that if you’re so inclined.  For the average busy woman, though, 10-30 mins a day is probably far more realistic.  This can be done in several ways; through concentrating on your breath only and letting other thoughts just pass on through, by listening to a guided meditation or some relaxing music or by listening to a yoga nidra recording (AKA yogic sleep, where 1 hour of practice is equivalent to 3 hours of sleep).  There are some fantastic professional sound healing meditations available, or check out YouTube for a heap of free options to suit any taste.

Anytime you feel your blood starting to boil, stop whatever you’re doing & take 5 deep belly breaths.  This only takes a minute and will balance your sympathetic & parasympathetic nervous system so you’re no longer in that ‘fight or flight’ mode.

 

9) Exercise

Now, I know not everyone is going to class exercise as self-care, but it IS an important factor in optimising both physical & mental health.  Aim for half an hour a day, remembering that can be broken up to 3 x 10min sessions if need be.

To make sure it becomes part of your routine, find something you love to do.  Walking, jogging, dancing, cycling, team sport or my favourite, yoga.  If you do have chronic stress issues, start with a gentle walk, some restorative yoga or tai chi.  Even though exercise is beneficial, an already exhausted body can see it as an additional stressor, so launching straight into cross-fit is probably not the best way to get started.  Build up to that 😉

 

10) Bodywork

I have met very few people in my life who don’t enjoy some form of bodywork – massage, reflexology, Bowen therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, Bodytalk, etc.  Some of these can be more difficult to fit in, especially if you don’t have someone to look after the kids for an hour or two.  However, if you are able to schedule in a treatment every few weeks, it can make a massive difference to the way you feel.

In Part 1, I mentioned my health crisis a couple of years ago.  As it was affecting my nervous system so significantly, I chose to visit a Chiropractor who was able to calm the sympathetic response.  I continue to visit him regularly for preventative care and as each treatment only takes a few minutes, it’s something I can take my kids to.  Not exactly the same as an uninterrupted hour-long massage, but the key message here is to do what you can with the time and resources you have.

 

There will always be responsibilities or people competing for your attention, time and energy.  To use a cliché, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s often more about making time rather than finding time to do the things that will fill your cup.  It may be one of the 10 things I’ve suggested across the two posts, or you might have your own way that works for you.  The trick is to make it a priority, a habit, not something you do as an after-thought.

Doing things that nourish your body, mind & soul will have flow-on effects to those around you.  Not only will you be calmer and more able to cope with the challenges of life, you’ll be teaching others to value themselves.  While I was writing this post, my 4yo did a couple of rounds of deep breathing to overcome some anxiety she was feeling and she’s now doing a yoga session – all unprompted.  By showing our kids that our needs matter, they will grow up knowing that their needs matter.  It’s win-win!

Comment below with your favourite way to fill your cup and share this post with others who may need a reminder that they matter, too.

 

Nyree xx

 

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

AFFILIATE LINKS

This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Self Care for Busy Women: Part 1

Self Care for Busy Women: Part 1

Ladies and gentleman, in case of emergency, an oxygen mask will drop from the compartment above your head.  Pull down firmly on the mask to begin the flow of oxygen and be sure to put on your own mask before assisting children or other passengers.

 

After pulling another all-nighter, I woke up this afternoon to a message from a friend asking what time I was coming over.  Actually, there were three messages from her, spread across the day.

Huh?  There must be some confusion?  I said next Wednesday.  I know that because I’d worked out that I’d double-booked myself next Wednesday and had to see if I could meet the other person another day.  Why would I have said this week?  I’m promoting a movie screening like crazy and the deadline is so close and my youngest has been sick and it’s her birthday in two days and I have to organize food and a gift and I need to work out what my teenager can do so she’s not just sitting at a computer all day and all those dishes need washing before I can cook anything and aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! 

As it turns out, I had said this Wednesday, but my brain had filed it against the wrong date.

Crap!  I messed up.  I let someone down.  I hate being that person who doesn’t show when you’re expecting them to.  What the hell happened to my memory?  Why did my brain have to rewire during pregnancy to favour fast reflexes instead of the great memory I once had? 

Sound familiar?  As women trying to balance ALL the things – work, family, friends, household, ourselves – it’s often that last thing that falls to the bottom of the priority list.  We’re so busy & so tired that we get by on the fumes of the coffee or tea that goes cold before we get to drink it or that snack that we packed in our bag for the kids the other day that they didn’t want or maybe that whole block of dark chocolate we stashed away where hopefully the kids wouldn’t find it.  Ya feelin’ me?  The great irony being that if we DO prioritise self-care more, we’re better able to manage everything else.

The thing is, I know this.  I reckon you know it. We all do, but it’s easy to forget or justify why we don’t have time to nurture ourselves.  It’s what landed me in hospital with sudden-onset convulsions two years ago, imagining the worst & wondering if I’d see my kids grow up.  Broken sleep, poor appetite, hormonal imbalance, breastfeeding, underlying genetic issues, financial strain; all these things were causing stress to my body.  I wasn’t feeling it psychologically because my brain was protecting itself, instead creating somatic symptoms as a sort of release valve.  It was a huge wake-up call at the time and these days, I try to be more aware of the whispers before my body has to scream at me again.  It’s time to go back to those things that will create a better sense of balance and calm.  I wanted to share some tried & true tips for self-care that are as much a reminder to myself as they are my way of trying to help you so you don’t find yourself sick and burnt out.

When putting this post together, it kept getting longer and longer as I went over all the things I know are important and effective, and saw the irony as the clock marched on into the wee hours and I was nowhere near finishing.  I also thought those of you who will benefit the most from the info are those of you with the least time to sit down and read a lengthy post, so I will post it in 2 parts, each with five tips.

1) Create a nurturing routine

In a case of perfect timing, a parcel arrived for me today that I’d been eagerly Nurture Me Essential Oil | unitywellness.com.auawaiting.  A beautiful limited edition blend of organic essential oils called Nurture Me.  As I looked at the bottle, I was reminded of Alice in Wonderland where she found the bottle on the table that said ‘Drink Me’.  The temptation to do what the label said was overwhelming (not chug down the whole bottle, just the Nurture Me part).  I opened the bottle and experienced an aroma that felt like a warm hug.  Earthy, spicy, grounding.

When possible, set some time aside for a warm bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of your favourite essential oil mixed into a carrier, but when time is short, do what I did & have a hot shower to relax tight muscles in the shoulders, neck & back.  After drying off gently with a towel, mix a few drops of Nurture Me into a carrier oil (I used jojoba) and rub that stuff all over yourself (except sensitive areas, because no one needs that sort of stress)!  Imagine you are massaging a loved one, or they are massaging you.  Tell each body part how much you appreciate it for everything it does for you.  It might sound strange at first, but trust me, your body is listening to how you talk to it and will respond in kind.  It only takes an extra minute, but is so worth it.

If you don’t already have one, get an ultrasonic oil diffuser and have some oil diffusing in the space you spend the most time, or in a quiet room where you can grab a bit of time to sit and breathe/meditate.  You can even get plug-in diffusers for your car, or diffuser pads that clip onto the air vent.  Just make sure the oil you use does not make you feel TOO relaxed whilst driving!

 

2) Fast Nourishment

When you’re running around, forgetting meals, getting by on insufficient sleep, it’s so much more tempting to reach for the coffee, energy drinks or fast food (or rather, food-like substances).  On days like that, I like to make a drink with coconut water, superfood powder & some medicinal herbs.  Coconut water contains electrolytes to hydrate the body, SunLove is a Naturopathic blend of 36 superfoods to boost energy, reduce oxidative stress and support adrenal function and Cosmic Calm is a blend of three adaptogenic herbs to again support adrenal function and help the body adapt to stress.  I put the coconut water and the 2 powders in a shaker cup, screw the lid on, give it a shake & drink up.  Just as quick as any of the aforementioned pick-me-ups without the resulting crash.  If I feel like an extra boost, I’ll add in some other green powder, colloidal minerals, some probiotics and maybe a little more moringa.  Being in liquid form, the nutrients are absorbed & utilised faster than they would be if you had to chew & breakdown the food first.  It won’t replace a balanced diet, but it will give you a good hit of nutrients to help you through those times your diet is lacking.

If you’re not entirely ready to kick the caffeine habit, still have a green drink like that, but try something like a mushroom coffee that gives you some extra nutrients with less of the jittery feelings.

Self Care Part 1 | unitywellness.com.au

The other thing I like to do is make a batch of bliss balls to keep in the fridge.  It only takes a few minutes and you can pack so much into a batch using dates and coconut as a base, then adding nuts, seeds, coconut oil, raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, superfood powders, collagen or plant-based protein powder, etc to taste.  Grab a bliss ball instead of something full of refined sugar.  They also double as a great afternoon snack for the kids, or something to put in their lunchbox if you leave out nuts or other things not allowed in many schools these days.

 

3) Gut health

The health of our gut plays a significant role in not only our immune system & physical health, but also how we feel mentally & emotionally.  Around 80% of the serotonin in our bodies, correlated with feelings of calm, relaxation & happiness is in our gut, so it makes sense to nurture our microbiome.  Eating a wide range of fibre-rich vegetables does the same for our microbes that compost does for our garden; it feeds the microbes that increase availability of nutrients.  The bacteria in our gut synthesise a number of B-group vitamins which help to calm our nervous system to reduce that “tired & wired” feeling.  Eating a spoonful of fermented veggies like sauerkraut or kimchi with each meal is a great way of combining probiotics with the fibre they need to thrive.

As mentioned, I’ll often use a food-based probiotic in my green drink, or you can use a synbiotic powder that combines probiotics with prebiotics, which are the ‘microbe fertiliser’, to recolonise your gut with good bacteria much faster than taking probiotics alone.  You can also get a brew of Kefir, Jun or Kombucha on the go for an endless supply of probiotics.  You can even get Hemp Kombucha kits with all the ingredients & instructions you need to get started.

 

4) Hydrate

I can hear my chiropractor every time I think about this subject……”how’s your water intake been?” he asks, knowing full-well what the answer is by the way I look and how locked up my body is.

I don’t think I’m telling you anything new when I say the human body is around 70% water and it’s recommended you drink 2-3 litres a day (more when exercising, breastfeeding, sick, in hot climates, etc).  You can get an estimated daily water requirement HERE.  Water flushes away the waste from normal cellular function, keeps our skin supple, lubricates our joints and reduces joint pain, prevents muscle cramps, maintains healthy kidney function, regulates blood pressure and keeps the contents of our bowels soft so we can pass stools easily.

If we look just at the brain for a moment, it is around 80% water.  If not properly hydrated, grey matter in the brain begins to shrink and if we become chronically dehydrated, the brain can begin to age prematurely (*takes a big swig of water*).  Water, as cerebrospinal fluid, circulates through the brain via the glymphatic system (no, that’s not a typo), to flush away toxic metabolites and proteins that accumulate between brain cells.  The activity of the glymphatic system increases nearly 10x while we sleep, with the brain cells contracting by 60% to allow the fluid to flush through more easily.  This flushing maintains healthy brain function and reduces the risk of neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s.  Almost every neurodegenerative disease is associated with an accumulation of cellular waste products, so one of the best things you can do to help your brain function during the day and reduce that foggy feeling is to be well-hydrated before going to sleep and start the day with a large glass of water.   Filtered/purified water is best.  Imagine washing yourself in a clear, sparkling stream versus a muddy pool of stagnant water.  That’s kinda how I visualise what’s going on inside the body.   If your water supply is fluoridated, you’d do well to get a filter that removes fluoride as it can compete for with iodine for receptor sites in the thyroid & reduce thyroid function, leading to more sluggishness and brain fog.

 

5) Sleep

We’ve already seen how important well-hydrated sleep is for maintaining a healthy brain.  Another thing the brain does in the sleep state is to produce support cells that go on to produce myelin that insulates our neurons to ensure the proper transmission of electrical signals in the body.  Memory & learning is also consolidated during sleep, so if you keep losing your keys, have no idea what day it is or people start calling you ‘Dory’, you probably need to look at improving your sleep habits.

Ideally, you should aim for being asleep by 9pm as the three hours between 9pm and midnight are the most restorative.  As a lifelong nightowl, I realise how early that sounds, especially when you factor in that it’s best to avoid electronic devices at least a couple of hours before bed. Throw in the need to have some quiet time when everyone else is sleeping and yeah….still working on that balance.

Sleep has a significant impact on other body systems, too.  A study by the CDC shows that both too little sleep (<6 hours) and too much sleep (>10 hours) is associated with higher incidences of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity & anxiety when compared to people getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.  Even one night of insufficient sleep can move you into a pre-diabetic state, so next time you are pondering whether to sleep or get some extra work done (or write a blog post about the importance of sleep), sleep is always the better option.  As a bonus, getting quality sleep makes your skin look better.

You can see on this Chinese Body Clock chart where the energy of our body is most concentrated at certain times of the day based on circadian rhythms:

Source: https://www.geradkite.com/

If you can plan your activities to line up with these times, you will be following the natural flow of your body and will feel better for it.  There is a similar clock in Ayurvedic medicine, also.

If you have difficulty stopping that chattering ‘Monkey Mind’ that keeps you awake, you may like to try a guided meditation or some amazing sound healing recordings to bypass the conscious mind & clear the subconscious clutter that you’re holding on to.

On that note, it’s wayyyyyy past my bedtime and I have to fill up my water bottle.  Stay tuned for Part 2 where I discuss five more things you can do to nurture your body & soul so you can live a more peaceful life.

Comment below with the things that help you to relax and recentre

 

Nyree xx

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

AFFILIATE LINKS

This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Early Feeding Choices for Infant Gut Health

Early Feeding Choices for Infant Gut Health

There’s no denying that breast milk is the gold standard for human nutrition.  In pre-term babies particularly, breast milk has been associated with improved growth and cognitive development, as well as a reduced risk of serious bowel infections and sepsis.

In cases where the mother is unable to breastfeed, what is the next best option to ensure a healthy gut microbiome in the child that will have far-reaching effects on their overall health?

In the last few years, I’ve noticed an increasing number of expectant first-time Mums asking for baby formula recommendations so they can stock up “just in case”.  Whilst I completely understand the drive to prepare for all eventualities when you’re having your first baby, it saddens me to think that women don’t realise there’s an intermediate option – donor human breast milk.

A study just published in the Frontiers of Microbiology journal compared the gut microbiota of 69 preterm infants in NICU fed either their mother’s own milk (MOM), pasteurised donor human milk (DHM) or formula, to understand the differences in resulting gut microbiota and the potential biological implications.

Faecal samples were collected and the microbiota composition was analysed through rRNA sequencing.  After controlling for other factors, the diversity of gut microbiota increased over time and was constantly higher in infants fed MOM relative to infants with other feeding types. The microbial profile of formula-fed infants was distinct from those observed in MOM and DHM, suggesting that DHM favors an intestinal microbiome more similar to MOM despite the differences between MOM and DHM.  DHM has a slightly different composition to MOM relative to the age of the child as women donating milk tend to be feeding older babies and differences in nutritional intake amongst donors can vary, which is offset somewhat by milk pooling – combining milk from several donors. Pasteurization of DHM also causes changes to the microbial balance, enzymes & proteins in the milk. In general though, only minor differences were observed in the functional profiles between MOM and DHM, suggesting the potential effect of DHM in mimicking the microbiome functionality of own maternal milk feeding.

In conclusion, DHM favors an intestinal microbiome more similar to MOM than Formula despite the differences between MOM and DHM. This may have potential beneficial long-term effects on intestinal functionality, immune system, and metabolic activities.

This would be of particular importance to infants born by Caesarian section who would not receive the same exposure to the mother’s vaginal microbiome as those born naturally.  In some cases, seeding takes place, where a gauze that’s been placed in the mother’s vagina is wiped over the baby & around their mouth to simulate the transfer of bacteria that occurs in vaginal birth to prime the infant’s immune system.

More research needs to be done to understand the long-term implications of feeding type, but that raises ethical issues around feeding one group an option known to be inferior.

Some people find it difficult to access sufficient donor milk as not all locations have milk banks and preference is given to babies most at risk.  It is worth exploring community donor schemes such as Eats on Feets or Human Milk 4 Human Babies.  These groups connect donors & recipients, but do not handle the milk or involve themselves in the arrangements.  The milk is unlikely to be pasteurised, although that means less damaged by heat, but it is up to you to screen the donors to ensure you feel safe with the milk they provide.

Mother’s own milk will always be the optimal choice, with the interaction between the microbiomes of the mother-child dyad informing the mother’s body of what the baby needs at any given moment to adapt to the environment they live in.  It is so important for the mother to have support around her that allows the time, space, hydration & nutrition she needs for proper lactation.  If there are issues feeding, seek the advice of a midwife or lactation consultant & have the baby checked for tongue &/or lip ties.

The next-best option is human donor milk, then milk from other species as a last resort.  I want to clarify that I am not saying that to judge or berate anyone for the way they feed their baby, but with human health declining & chronic illness rising, I think it is important to give consideration to the evidence available to maximize the health of our children and reverse the disease trends.  After all, the contents of our bowels that could get us out of this crap!

 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE

Front. Microbiol., 27 June 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01376

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

AFFILIATE LINKS

This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Eating Dates Produces Powerful Health Benefits, Religion and Science Agree

Eating Dates Produces Powerful Health Benefits, Religion and Science Agree

Originally posted on: Friday, July 6th 2018 at 6:15 am

Since biblical times, dates were to believed to possess profound healing properties, but only now is science catching up to confirm our distant ancestors knew exactly what they were talking about. 

If you go by the Nutrition Facts panel of an ordinary package of dates, they look more like sugar bombs than a healthy snack. Check this one out:

But are they really as nutritionally vapid as these label claims make them seem?

Not by a long shot.

When we apply the complementary lenses of modern scientific investigation and ancient wisdom, dates begin to look like both a holy- and a super-food of immense value.

Here’s a neat example.

From the Koran to Clinical Trials: Dates for Better Birthing

In the Koran, the central holy book of Islam, Allah instructs the Virgin Mary to consume dates when she gives birth to Jesus.[1] And so, not surprisingly, dates are commonly referred to within the Islamic tradition as beneficial to pregnant women. We might chalk this up as “pre-scientific” magical thinking without basis in medical fact, were it not for a remarkable human clinical study that confirmed their value in pregnancy…

Published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2011 and titled, “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery“, researchers set out to investigate the effect of date fruit consumption on labor parameters and birth outcomes. Over the course of 11 months at Jordan University of Science and Technology, two groups of women were enrolled in a prospective study where 69 women consumed six date fruits per day for 4 weeks prior to their estimated date of delivery, versus 45 women who consumed none. These women were matched so there was no significant difference in gestational age, age and parity (the number of times a woman has brought a pregnancy to viable gestational age) between the two groups.

The results of the date intervention were reported as follows:

  • Improved Cervical Dilation: “The women who consumed date fruit had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005).”
  • Less Damage to Membranes: “[The intervention group had] a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007).”
  • More Natural (Spontaneous) Labor: “Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024).”
  • Less Drugs Required: “Use of prostin/oxytocin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036).”
  • Shorter Labor: “The mean latent phase of the first stage of labour was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044).”

The researchers concluded:

“It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial.”[2]

Thanks to research like this we can see how the mythological and scientific ways of understanding now converge and confirm one another. I believe that rather than contradict and/or negate one another, the mythos and logos are beginning to assume a far more productive complementary relationship as we move into a new era of understanding where the profane and sacred are perceived as intimately entwined in our direct experience. The field of nutrition, as you can see, is no exception.

Dates Contain Nourishing Information

Dates, of course, are in the palm tree family, and along with coconut and red palm, are some of the oldest cultivated plants known in the historical record; in fact, they are so old we don’t know where they first originated.  They have provided life-sustaining nutrition in regions that are often sparse in edible resources, and are increasingly being researched as a powerful medicinal food that could reduce much suffering in malnourished and disease prone populations, especially in underdeveloped countries.

Even while scientific analysis of dates are beginning to reveal that they are actually densely packed with a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids, it should be emphasized that they are not just sources of energy and material building blocks for our body. We must acknowledge that they are also sources of biologically valuable (perhaps indispensably so) information. We can not analytically decompose a food into the minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients (e.g. lipids, fats, and protein), that we believe are responsible for its nourishing and life-sustaining properties, without losing quite a lot in the process. Foods contains hundreds, if not thousands, of physiologically important biomolecules, together which modulate the expression of thousands of genes in our body, as well as affecting our microbiome. In fact, our microbiome works on the foods we ingest, and together produce an intermediary layer of biomolecules known as the metabolome, many of which may be indispensable to our health.

This is why when we say food is medicine, we are not simply using a metaphor. We now know that food is capable, on a molecular level, of positively modulating a wide range of biological pathways simultaneously, in a manner that drugs simply can not replicate. In fact, I believe food contains an immense, if not infinite, amount of information which our bodies draw from to realize optimal gene expression, especially in times of stress or imbalance. Looking at it granularly, I believe food contains discrete units or packets of gene-regulatory energy and information. This can be inferred by the way curcumin, for instance, which is only one of hundreds of biomolecules found in the spice turmeric, is capable of modulating over 2,000 genes simultaneously within a cancer cell line, with a positive end result. Both the specificity and broadness through which these food compounds are capable of correcting imbalances is simply astounding and speaks to an intelligence within certain plants of particular food and medicinal purpose that can not be exhaustively explained through terms and methods of the reductionistic sciences that still form the backbone of our understanding of conventional nutrition.

So if my theory holds true, and dates, which are a food type (namely, fruit) we co-evolved with for quite some time, are more than just a package of mainly simple carbohydrate (half fructose/half glucose) and mineral quantities of alphabetic vitamins and minerals, but also possess gene-regulatory energy and information, shouldn’t it perform a number of therapeutic effects?  Indeed, the research now bears testimony to exactly this fact.

I took the liberty of doing a cursory meta-analysis of the extant research on dates available through the National Library of Medicine’s biomedical database MEDLINE, accessible of course through the google-like search engine pubmed.gov. And to my pleasant surprise the research on dates as a whole (including the fruit, pollen and seed extract) reveals approximately 19 specific beneficial modes of action, and a preventive and/or therapeutic role in about 40 different health conditions.

Consider for a moment that most of the blockbuster drugs on the marketplace only have one therapeutic mode of action and one condition they are approved to treat. Additionally, there are on average 75 adverse health effects for each drug. The fact that it is classified and sold as a food and not a drug should not delude us into thinking it is not as powerful as a pharmaceutical. In fact, it should be clear that foods are actually far more powerful in affecting root cause resolution of health conditions by nourishing us deeply, nutritionally, and again, informationally(literally: to put form into).

To gain greater familiarity with the literature demonstrating the various therapeutic properties of dates, view our Date research page.  You will notice that one of the potential therapeutic properties of dates are its beneficial properties in diabetes – which underscores our original point, that if you go by nutrition facts panels alone you are bound to miss out on a number of healthy foods include fruits like dates.

 

Notes

[1] The Holy Koran, Chapter 12 – verses 22-25, retrieved on Feb. 28 2015, “So she [Virgin Mary] conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. she cried (in her anguish): ‘Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!’ But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): ‘Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree; it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee.'”

[2] [Note: “non-significant” here means insignificant in statistics, which is often due to insufficient numbers of subjects enrolled to draw results with adequate statistical power]

 

© 6th July, 2018 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter

 

 

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

AFFILIATE LINKS

This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Kale Chips with Sesame Seasoning

Kale Chips with Sesame Seasoning

 

My 3yo daughter can detect a single molecule of chlorophyll in her food and reject a meal because of it, so you can imagine my surprise when I made some kale chips one day & she pretty much inhaled the entire batch! Kids, hey?  🙄  😆

Luckily for her (and me) it’s kale season in these parts, so we can get beautiful bunches of organically-grown kale from the local Farmers’ Market.  Yes, ideally we’d grow our own, but until we get some more garden beds set up, we’ll enjoy the fruits……and vegetables……of someone else’s labour.

I tend to keep things pretty simple when making kale chips – olive oil, vinegar & salt – but tonight I remembered the tin of Pickld Sesame Seasoning that I recently bought.  It tastes fantastic on steamed & roast veggies, with a nice little crunch, so I thought it would be a good thing to try on the kale chips.  Boy, when I’m right, I’m right!  Sooooooooooo gooooooooooood!!!

There are several varieties in the Pickld range, all hand-blended using family recipes created over 9 generations of vegetarians.  They all have a base of activated lentils (hence the name ‘Pickld’) and superfoods to support your digestive health and add a boost of nutrients.

 

 

All the varieties except the chilli blend come with a little recipe book, but here’s how I created these super-tasty Sesame Kale Chips:

  1. Preheat oven to 125C (250F) (fan-only setting if you have one) & line a large tray with non-stick baking paper or a silicone mat.
  2. Strip kale leaves off the central stem (cut with a knife or use your hands) & cut/tear the leaves into chip-sized pieces.  They’ll shrink a bit in the oven, so don’t make them really small.
  3. Place kale leaves on the tray & sprinkle with other ingredients.  Mix well using clean hands, massaging the kale leaves until they’re fully covered & looking shiny.
  4. Place in the oven for approx 30 mins, or until dry & crispy, ensuring to stir the leaves a few times to avoid burning. (If you have a dehydrator, you can use that instead.  Follow manufacturer’s instructions.)
  5. Remove from the oven & sprinkle with a little more of the Pickld Sesame Seasoning…..because yum!!!
  6. Eat, then wish you’d made extra because those ones disappeared in under 2 minutes!

 

Sesame Kale Chips

Crunchy kale chips with an amazing sesame seasoning!

Course Snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author Unity Wellness

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Kale preferably organic
  • 3 spoons Pickld Sesame Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 125C (250F) (fan-only setting if you have one) & line a large tray with non-stick baking paper or a silicone mat.

  2. Strip kale leaves off the central stem (cut with a knife or use your hands) & cut/tear the leaves into chip-sized pieces. They'll shrink a bit in the oven, so don't make them really small.

  3. Place kale leaves on the tray & sprinkle with other ingredients. Mix well with clean hands, massaging the kale leaves until they're fully covered & looking shiny.

  4. Place in the oven for approx 30 mins, or until dry & crispy, ensuring to stir the leaves a few times to avoid burning.

    (If you have a dehydrator, you can use that instead.  Follow manufacturer's instructions.)

  5. Remove from the oven & sprinkle with a little more of the Pickld Sesame Seasoning.....because yum!!!

  6. Eat, then wish you'd made extra because those ones disappeared in under 2 minutes!

 

Sesame Kale Chips | www.unitywellness.com.au

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

AFFILIATE LINKS

This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.