Reviews

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Twilight and Downton Abbey actress MyAnna Buring told the Daily Mail’s glossy magazine that Earthzest products helped her adult acne.  Earthzest is a micro-company that makes specialist vegan & organic skincare, and the wave of traffic from the mention in YOU Magazine crashed the website, wrecking the owner’s carefully laid plans for the week – and organic beauty entrepreneur Jackie Callow could not be happier!

It’s every beauty professional’s dream – to be mentioned in the mainstream press by a bona fide star.  But what happens when a celebrity unexpectedly name drops a small company?  Is it time to get the champagne out, or more trouble than it’s worth?  Would you be able to capitalise on an unexpected Tweet or mention in the press, or would you wish that you had been better prepared?

It costs a reported ten thousand dollars for the likes of Kim Kardashian to Tweet about a product or service, which will often sell out instantly.  A lot of time and resources are invested in the fallout of a seemingly off the cuff celebrity Tweet or mention – from making sure the website can handle the traffic, to having enough staff to deal with the sheer volume of enquiries.  Most of the time these PR plugs are carefully planned and timed, but if a celebrity likes your products enough, it might just happen unexpectedly!

When Jackie Callow, 48 from Southend-on-Sea set up her specialist botanical business in 2014, she had only one aim: To create the highest quality, most effective skin formulations, without using any synthetics, filler or animal products whatsoever.

The result was a highly concentrated product that felt and behaved differently to conventional skin creams.  With no fancy packaging and marketing, and set against hundreds of well-marketed skin products, Jackie had her work cut out trying to sell it!

The converts to Earthzest products began to grow, particularly as customers would rave about certain products to their friends.  Jackie quietly carried on producing and refining the products, until her skin soothing formulations caught the attention of a famous beauty.

MyAnna Buring is an accomplished actress, having starred in the Twilight franchise, as well as appearing in primetime BBC dramas such as Ripper Street and Downton Abbey.  She was the subject of a six page interview by the Daily Mail’s glossy YOU magazine, having recently returned to our screens in the latest series of Ripper Street, and to top it all off she has a glowing complexion, and obviously knows what works for her skin.

Unusually for an actress, she was very candid and honest when asked about her beauty must-haves.  She opened up about suffering from adult acne, and told the Daily Mail reporter that Earthzest products had cured her skin issues.

Although Jackie knew that MyAnna was pleased with the products, she had no idea that she was going to be mentioned in a huge feature in a mainstream publication.  In fact, that was beyond her wildest imagination, and when her ‘phone started pinging with more notifications that usual for a Sunday afternoon, she couldn’t understand where the traffic to her website was coming from.

It became clear that Earthzest had appeared in the Daily Mail, and a quick Google confirmed that Earthzest products had been personally recommended to deal with adult acne.  The emails were from people wanting to know what products MyAnna was using, and how they could buy them immediately.

Jackie answered the emails as they came through, and then decided that she needed a glass of wine to deal with the shock of it all!  Unfortunately, she then got an email through from a customer, telling her that the website was down.

The unexpected traffic to the modest site had crashed it, and it remained offline for 90 minutes.  There were more visitors in an hour than there had been all week, and this continued for several days.  After a frantic ‘phone call the site was eventually back up and remained online.  Jackie didn’t manage to open the wine until half past two the following morning.

The products that MyAnna used soon sold out, and a new batch of ingredients had to be urgently ordered.  Jackie noticed that her hand was shaking ever so slightly when she pressed “send” on an email for more labels.

Jackie describes the whole experience as “Intense but wonderful” and feels that it has given her the validation she didn’t know that she was missing, after several years of hard work and research, not to mention her personal financial investment into the company, including giving up her well paid job as a legal secretary.

“I am such a shy person, and I would never dare to ask someone to mention me in the press or pay for that kind of publicity, as I’m very much a believer in the products speaking for themselves.  So this whole experience was a bit like winning the lottery – such a wonderful surprise but at the same time a real game-changer.  I am extremely happy about it, but I nearly had kittens when the website crashed!”

Holistic Therapist Magazine asked Jackie some key questions about her Holistic business …

What is your passion?

My main passion is filler and synthetic free products, which goes against conventional wisdom, costing, and the emphasis the beauty industry puts on packaging and marketing. On paper, many experts would say I have it the wrong way around, but to have one of my customers tell the national press that I got it right – I must be on to something!

I am also passionate about animal welfare, and I have been certified by the Vegan Society, to ensure that my products are kind to animals.  Not all of my customers have exactly this passion, but the ones that do, are delighted that they are also animal free and cruelty free. If you are very passionate about something, chances are others will be too.

How can you remain authentic in such an aesthetic world of beauty?

I am not a multi-million-pound beauty guru that lives in a mansion.  I don’t live a glamorous lifestyle and I’m quite well known locally for delivering my products personally, on my old bicycle, in my dog-walking jeans!

The beauty industry is of course image-led, and customers want to feel pampered and luxurious.  I certainly wouldn’t turn up to an event or treatment looking a scruff.  But I firmly believe that being the most down to earth and authentic version of yourself that you can be, truly attracts like-minded and lovely souls, and sometimes you can help one another along the way.

What is your business advice?

It is my personality to go completely overboard with any aspect of my business that I feel is important. The very best ingredients, 100% organic rather than compromising on cheaper or more stable formulations, and even choosing jars that don’t leach chemicals into the contents. Who buys face cream based on how chemically stable the jar is? Nobody that I can think of! But to me it is important, and I am sure to the readers of HTM it is too. You only get one face, after all. So, this minute attention to detail is not noticed by everybody, but that is not the point. This is about being the best that you can be, and knowing that your stuff stands up to anything else on the market, and I think that’s a universal truth, whether you run a restaurant or a beauty salon, or whether you make submarines or face cream.  It’s all in the detail.

What is the most important part of your marketing? When I ask my customers to please recommend me, I genuinely want them to be so happy that they absolutely rave about them to everybody. This is more important to me than any volume of sales.  That’s where my confidence to ask comes from, and I think if you’re feeling that positive about it, you’re going to inspire confidence in others.

Thankyou Jackie!

Visit: https://www.earthzest.co.uk

As people in the helping profession, it is highly likely that you have been faced with situations involving mental ill health… But if you were asked to define mental health, what would you reply?

Many of us have heard or used the terms; stressed, OCD, Anxiety, schizophrenia for example, but do we really know enough about #MentalHealth? And more importantly, would we be able to recognise the symptoms of mental ill health and feel confident in managing such situations?

Generally, people can explain what physical first aid is… but there are also first aid courses available for mental health…

Mental Health First Aid courses are recognised in 25 countries, and the overall purpose of the courses are to offer an equivalent to physical first aid. You can find out more by reading our interview with the CEO Poppy Jaman, and of course on the MHFA website, which states:

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental ill health can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life. We know that 1 in 4 British adults will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives.

I attended the Mental Health First Aid two-day adult course in London at the end of last month… And here are my thoughts:

If you do a Mental Health First Aid course, it is likely that after the two days you will recognise early signs of mental health issues, that you will feel confident in approaching somebody experiencing a mental health issue, and be able to provide first aid, using the models that are learnt on the course.

Various models and statistics are shared throughout the two days, and it is one specific model that is reinforced because it offers a systematic, straightforward way to deal with somebody showing signs of mental ill health, be it somebody at your work, one of your clients or a loved one.

If you are an experienced therapist, then you will be adept at dealing with sensitive issues, and aware that much dis-ease is a result of something underlying… some of you may be qualified in a talking therapy too. This course strengthens existing knowledge, reminds us that we also need to demonstrate self-care in a helping profession, and provides up-to-date statistics, as well as offering an easily applied action plan.

This Action Plan will enable you to help prevent someone from hurting themselves or others, help stop a mental health issue from getting worse, help someone recover faster and guide someone towards the right support. And whilst you are likely to have an idea of what the condition a person has, it is not the role of a Mental Health First Aider to provide a diagnosis. All of this is made clear during the course.

If you have your own business or practice, it is certainly worth your receptionist or other staff going on the course too, and for any new practitioners or students, this course will support your learning. On the days, I attended there were a variety of people, working in different fields; from the construction industry to business psychology, those attending from corporations, charities, medical professionals and those for personal reasons.

Below is a statement from a past attendee;

“Gaining more up-to-date knowledge about mental health has given me more confidence in myself. The information given and discussed has certainly made me look at how I can improve my practice to best support others… I have personally benefited from the training and will continue to look at changes that can be made when meeting with my line manager”
The above is taken from the following paper which has a range of quotes from people who have trained as Youth MHFAiders (see p16-19) – Borrill, J. & Kuczynska, P., Evaluation of Youth Mental Health First Aid Training in the North East of England. University of Westminster (December 2013)

My experience of the two-day course:

The experienced and trained instructor delivered content pretty much to the book, referring to a thick manual that is supplied as part of the course fee. Alex, was the facilitator for the course I attended; she was professional and experienced (including working in Health and Safety, training, and as a qualified yoga instructor). Alex clearly had sound knowledge of the course content and her delivery was calm and engaging… she ensured that there was variety in group set-up, level of physical activity and allowed all members to ask questions and share experiences… however, this course is not intended to be therapeutic, and Alex managed the group delicately if the subject steered off track, bringing it back to the material and the overall course purpose.

Day 1 was quite intense content wise, and the atmosphere in the room was dense at points, but this is expected for some of the subject matters dealt with, including depression, and suicide.

Day 2 included more case study discussion in groups, and interesting practical sessions to break-up the talking, as well as revisiting and discussing any parked questions from over the period of two days.

The best thing about the course was that it highlighted some areas of mental health that are not often discussed or considered, and it also shatters myths surrounding certain conditions. The video content and work booklet were effective ways to break-up the listening and learning sections, and the group work created a space for shared views. Alex is very approachable, yet stuck to timings and content, which allowed for fluid learning.

The only thing that I would change about my experience on the course, would be to have had two ten minute slots of actual stretches, and focused breathing… to allow any stiffness to dissipate… but I understand that due to the nature of the timed course, and the limited space this isn’t always easiest, and I believe that Alex balanced the days very well overall.

Mental ill health can affect our clients, our loved ones or indeed ourself; so the more awareness on the subject, the better for everybody’s overall health and wellbeing. I am really pleased I went on the course, even though I am trained in various modalities, as well as having personal experiences of mental ill health with loved ones… so I certainly recommend the course for other therapists too.

For more information on any of Mental Health First Aid courses, visit their website: http://www.mhfaengland.org

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Voya.ie

There are so many scrubs on the market offering the same solution for our skin… but not all of them live up to the promise of smoothing, exfoliating and reviving our skin; as well as remaining as good to the environment as possible in this modern world of chemicals and technology…

Voya is a brand that began as a family operated seaweed baths company in Ireland. It wasn’t long before customers were asking for products, so they could gain the same soothing benefits at home.

Voya founder, Neil Walton and his family refused to compromise the benefits of the natural ingredients, fully aware that conventional chemicals would do this, they decided to stick to their values and develop the first genuinely organic seaweed-based cosmetic products in the world, that are approved by the Organic Soil Association.

With a history like this, HTM wanted to try Voya out… and it was the Effervescence Nourishing Sugar Scrub (£34), that we tried over a period of two weeks.

First impressions: The packaging is lovely; the branding is in-keeping with nature; the greens and neutral tones combined with the gold and purple writing add luxury. The packaging is partly made from seaweed and other responsibly sourced products. Both the box and tub are clearly labelled and easy to open and store.

voya.ie

Using the Product: I have quite smooth skin already, however there are areas that are slightly rough, and I thought I’d never find a product to smoothen the skin here… I have now. I used Effervescence Nourishing Sugar Scrub twice in week one, and three times in week two, and my skin has never felt so smooth and nourished. I am delighted. I haven’t had to apply a moisturiser after my shower either. If you do have dry skin or rough skin you may need a moisturising product after you dry your skin, but I found the benefits of using this scrub long lasting. Only a small amount is needed, and the consistencies goes from a natural seaweed-sugar exfoliator to a soothing milk when the warm water is used.

The smell of the product is natural and subtle, but there are distinct aromas of the ingredients lavender and orange, which are perfectly paired with seaweed, as they add a sweeter scent.

As well as sweet-smelling, orange is soothing, can relieve water retention, is rich in Vitamin C, is refreshing and is known to stimulate the lymphatic system, so an added detoxing ingredient, and the soothing lavender, that smells divine too, has been used in traditional medicine for years to help heal the skin and reduce inflammation… this scrub seems to have nothing but love for our bodies. For more information on the key ingredient, seaweed, go to https://voya.ie/our-story/benefits-of-seaweed/

I think this is a lovely gift for somebody (including your own body!), and for those people with salons, doing body treatments, clients would love the instant results from this product.

Head to the Voya website for more information, and products: https://voya.ie

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Jason Firmager

 

GUEST BLOGGER, Claire Makarewicz.

Jason Firmager

I often reflect on my fifteen year service as a Paramedic and Emergency Care Practitioner in the Ambulance Service, as the springboard that quite literally catapulted me into Holistic Health Care. I am one of many individuals who have made the bold decision to step away from a career in the NHS, not because I did not enjoy and love it, quite the opposite in fact, I love and want to save it and felt in order to do so, a means of delivering some form of alternative healthcare in the community would be the best contribution I could make.

A wise person once explained to me “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read or write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” and those words have stuck with me ever since. Sadly this ethos is not inherently manifest within the heart of the NHS and yet within holistic care I have noticed significant pace of change in the 4.5 years I have been practicing in it.

 

Coming from an NHS based professional background that underpinned its healthcare strategies on so called “evidence based practice” my natural skepticism was initially awakened to any form of treatment not of this ilk. However when I became accustomed to the placebo effect on my patients to whom I treated, often out of context for their conditions, my curiosity became aroused. How was it possible that language, non-verbal gestures, minimal physical touch and an understanding of how a person perceived their environment, could actually influence their pain! Now had I gone to the powers that be at the time, with these thoughts, I would have been chastised as not actually doing my job properly. Yet here we are with our NHS in crisis, a staggering amount of people experiencing chronic mental and physical pain having been through a plethora of treatment and pharmaceutical protocols and pathways, with little to no change accomplished. That was what sealed the deal for me to learn both The Bowen Technique and Body Mind Work.

 

I fundamentally believe that to treat the body without first considering the persons state of mind is akin to ‘closing the door after the horse has bolted.’ Of course there are circumstances where purely physical cases have presented in clinic and that is where I apply the bodywork skills I have learnt over the years. However I am noticing more often than not, that client’s non-verbal cues are the gateway to reliably accessing their source of pain, rather than them simply telling me where there pain is. “The problem is not always the problem” is a phrase many people may be familiar with and is an analogy I keep in mind when treating.

When we pause to consider that the mind and body are intrinsically linked and always have been and only in recent years finally getting the recognition it deserves, it is no wonder the momentum in this direction has gathered pace.

 

Holistic healthcare acknowledges that a person, who withholds or suppresses their emotional state, will in time become systemically unwell and this sadly is the route cause to many diseases of the body and mind. So treatments tailored to the individual, are devised that are all encompassing and not merely selected based on a symptom tick box criteria, of which I have been guilty of performing in the NHS historically. I have learned that whilst the NHS does the best it can with the resources it has at its disposal, the systems used are at worst archaic and at best protocol driven and rigid. Little has changed in the many years I worked within pre-hospital healthcare, resulting in multiple admissions of the same folk more times than I care to mention to no avail. Yet I have experienced something remarkable in the alternative healthcare sector with clients. Lasting changes both mentally and physically for the individual, improved quality of life and wellbeing and more importantly a significantly reduced reliance on pharmaceutical interventions and diminished need for NHS intervention.

 

I am always amazed at how clients respond to the Body Mind Work and Bowen treatments they receive and it is quite astounding how many people are so impressed they then go on to learn the techniques for themselves. I can honestly say I have never been to a hospital or to see a GP and thought I’d like to learn what they do with as much gusto. Holistic therapy really is healthcare at it best and I am both proud to be a practitioner of it and a contributor to reducing the burden on the NHS J

 

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India

“Pranayama is the bridge that leads into the deeper dimensions of Yoga. It is literally the ‘breath of life’ and forms the foundation upon which the ‘energy’ aspect of Yoga is built and developed.”

This course promises to offer an in depth, logical, structured and developmental approach to the practice of Pranayama from its very beginnings, founded in the Mahat Yoga Pranayama, up to, and including, its Classical expression as found in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

And the course delivers this and more, I embarked on the year long journey with Philip Xerri and a number of other yoga teachers furthering and deepening their knowledge and practice of breathing techniques…

This is a great course for self-development as well as for teachers of yoga. Philip teaches pranayama in a logical and structured way and each face-to-face day is packed with practical work, some theory and homework is given at the end of each day.

The homework is so valuable, in that students maintain their practice, but also embark on self-healing, and self-awareness.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning the techniques with the specific asanas and movement sequences to develop the potential and flexibility of the breathing mechanism.
Pranayama is a powerful tool for health and self-healing. This course includes a wider and holistic development of the whole being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
On each day practices are learned and home practice is set. Guided home practice is at the heart of this course. And I am looking forward to the post-grad course… to find out more about Philip’s courses and his book head to: http://www.yogaquests.co.uk

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It is too easy to grab the wrong type of snack when you are fitting ‘eating’ around a busy schedule of clients, or if you are dashing from one appointment to the next, or if you have back-to-back meetings or events to attend… Chocolate and crisps are so convenient, but scream empty calories and low nutritional value…  What about a nice fresh piece of fruit? Fruit is amazing to include in our daily diets, for so many positive reasons, but on the go fruit can easily bruise, or get squashed, or can be messy to eat, and sometimes even the most exotic and freshest of fruit can be a little bland…

holistic therapist magazineAnd bland is something that Dilly and Wolf Super Snacks are definitely not! “We set out on our culinary journey searching for exciting flavour combinations that would work well with our naturally delicious and nutritious pulses to create a new breed of savoury Super Snacks. From street food vendors in Asia to spice markets in India and back to our own shores, our inspiration has come from near and far.

The flavours that HTM tried were the BRITISH FAVA BEANS, SEA SALT & CIDER VINEGAR, which satisfy the crunch we love, and use the classic salt and vinegar combination in a high quality way – and this high fibre-high protein snack is the perfect alternative to a bag of crisps.

The COCONUT & CHILLI ROASTED PEAS BEANS AND SEEDS, are a fusion of thai flavours with the British grown British-grown peas, fava beans and split yellow peas, mixed with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. This super snack livens up salads.

And finally, the SWEET & SALTY ROASTED PEAS, BEANS AND SEEDS; this flavour is just the perfect balance of sweetness and helped stop sugary cravings… the combination of textures and sizes of ingredients makes this snack interesting and exciting to eat, especially if added to frozen yogurt or even as a porridge topping.

These snacks are conveniently stored in plastic resealable tubs, and are perfect for sharing or for saving until later… although they are super moreish and really delicious. They are great as a stand-alone pick-me-up, but also are very versatile to add extra flavour and texture to dishes.

 

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multiple personality disorder

Some stories are fascinating, and so far removed from your own experiences that they draw you in to a point of questioning aspects of human nature, the self-preservation capabilities of the human mind and more… and this is exactly what this book did for me… it is an intense account of dealing with multiple personality disorder written by Gloria Hass.

Her experiences of trauma are sad and shocking, but the book is written so concisely and clearly it isn’t as hard hitting as some real life accounts of abuse. Personality disorders deal with how humans communicate with themselves, and their relationship with aspects of themselves and their lives: the style of the book suits the subject matter, in that it is very much comprised of the conversations between Gloria and her therapist… it is so easy to read and very well written, a page turner with fascinating twists of seemingly everyday, but powerful conversation, talking the reader through the integration process of her many personalities and showing how she has come to a place of healing.

This really is a must-read, as it is an area often disregarded and misunderstood, and is by many labelled as simply ‘crazy’ for people to hear voices…

Read more: Amazon

 

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When I decided to embark on the Yoga Anatomy Principles Course taught by Leslie Kaminoff of New York’s The Breathing Project; I was excited, eager and enthusiastic… I had been receiving Leslie’s newsletter for some time and was fully aware that his style of teaching was the kind that resonated with me – in that he puts much of the decision making in the students’ hands, providing them with tools and self-awareness to seek out their own answers as opposed to just telling them what they ‘should’ be doing or ‘supposed’ to be experiencing… So a teaching over preaching approach.

The course is dedicated to teaching the individualised, breath-centered principles of Yoga in the tradition of Desikachar and Krishnamacharya. And it is brilliant… I could stop there… in fact, Leslie jokes on one video session that everybody should take his online course… and I must admit I agree with him. This is a fantastic investment for body workers, yoga teachers, physical instructors and even for other fields of work.

Leslie shares stories, and information in a warm and knowledgeable way, and seems genuinely ‘happy’ to be providing students with fascinating studies and research about yoga and anatomy… a lot of which is based on his work with a long list of clients over many years.

I’ve not met Leslie in person, or spoken to him over the phone, so you may be wondering how I actually know this about him. Well, I’ve been watching his two-hour classes online, where he interacts with students as well as those studying from a distance… I felt like a part of the class, and I’m sure this is the intention of the team. The online course offers vast material with in-depth knowledge available as video, transcript and audio… so the material caters for different learning styles. I opted for a combination of watching the video lectures, plus reading the transcripts. Handouts are also available, as well as class visuals, and all content is available to access even after the course has been completed and with the vast amount of material available it is certainly one to return to.

As a teacher of various subjects in my lifetime, teaching a range of ages and abilities, one of the key factors of learning anything is enjoyment, because this often fuels motivation, which is a major factor when doing a distance learning course. This course is enjoyable, and I felt a part of a community. I love the introduction music, and the graphics of the videos for this course, because this consistency is a signal to my brain that I am about to be learning, which is paramount when doing any home study. This motivation is further encouraged by having the option to study with a buddy.

After watching the classes, and reading the handouts and visuals, and checking out the research resources, I completed the optional homework… A homework tutor is assigned and provides feedback and ‘model’ answers… all of which add to the further learning experience, as well as this incredible interactive format, which is a great achievement with an online set up. The benefit of this distance learning course is the flexibility, and studying at your own pace. I had every intention of completing the first trimester in a short time period, but had unexpected personal and work commitments arise… so it was a great relief to be able to vary the pace according to my own schedule and needs.

thebreathingprojectI feel that what I have discovered about the breath in relation to anatomy and yoga in Trimester 1 is so valuable and I believe beneficial to all health professionals to do this further study. In a nutshell: Breath-taking.

When I reached Trimester 2, I was ready to learn about the spine… And this section I think would be useful for every single human being. In a nutshell: Spine-tingling.

I was excited when I started Trimester 3, and learning about specific aspects of the body in relation to yoga, and bringing all the material together from the previous two trimesters was brilliant. In a nutshell: Eye-opening.

The course in a nutshell: the course material is thorough, encouraging, useful and interactive, including the comment section beneath each video. Leslie is brilliant, knowledgeable, and quite cool. The further reading is interesting and encouraging. The homework tutors are supportive and lovely. The balance of practical, science and philosophy is just right.

To find out more: Book Course

Learn more about the Breathing Project

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As humans we are naturally interested in the stories of others, especially those stories that overcome adversity, like Esther Nagel’s story of recovering from alcoholism.

ESTHERHer book Bent Back into Shape, available from Amazon is raw and it is real… it is so honest that it is a page turner and easy to read.

The ex alcoholic writes about her past, and her transition into recovery and a new self with the help of yoga and the philosophy behind the ancient practice.

Her story is interweaved with tips and some knowledge of the more in-depth aspects of yoga, Esther admits she is still learning, and it is this humble and honest tone of writing that allows the reader to empathise with her as a relatable voice.

It could probably do with a re-edit/restructure in parts, but this is standard with self/independent-published books – but if a publisher took this title on, it would be hugely popular. The book, which includes some extra blog post material at the end, is worth a read for certain

Good luck with the rest of your journey Esther and continue the good work of sharing your story for the greater good.

Find out more about Esther: HERE.

And you can see Esther talking about her experiences here:

 

Lemon Detox book and can shot (2)I must have been feeling brave. Having decided to embark on my first ever detox during Lent, it felt the right time to pluck up the courage to give it a go. I had not looked up any celebrity endorsement nor had I been challenged to go without food completely for 7 days! I simply wanted to experience how my body and mind would cope in such an alien environment. I admit I wanted to loosen my partners grip on my love handles, whilst testing my resolve. Oh,  and my favourite slim fit black trousers were threatening to fit me in the same way David Banner’s jeans did as he transformed into the Hulk!

So what did I need to know, well the detox was created by naturopath Stanley Burroughs and was originally known as the “master cleanser”.  More recently it’s been dubbed the lemonade diet or lemon detox diet because, quite simply, all you ingest on the regime is a drink made of lemon juice, Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup (a carefully prepared blend of nutrient-rich maple & palm saps) and cayenne pepper. You are given the option to substitute the cayenne pepper (helps speed up the metabolism to encourage weight-loss) with raw ginger, but I wanted to keep it pure.  A few days before, I cut out the caffeine as recommended by a contact that had recently completed the detox. I also went for the new ‘Free Be’ version which meant when you start your Lemon Detox, your emailed daily affirmations, prepared by wellbeing guru Susie Pearl, and yoga videos designed by Movement For Modern Life fronted by Lucy Bruegger, to support you in your fasting period. So, after a large Mother’s day meal and polishing off some pancakes filled with fruit, at 5pm on Sunday it was on.

Day one saw me take my first glass of the natural tree syrup with half a lemon 300mls of water that I chose to boil as I prefer warm drinks in the morning, with just a dash of cayenne pepper gave it a stir. It tasted sweet and refreshing, so far so good. As the day progressed I had to get my mind straight with the programme and was feeling a little strange.  I reached for ‘The Lemon Detox Diet’ – Rejuvenation Sensation book by Dr K A Beyer for inspiration and assurance and it fell open at page 9 where it reads: ‘The Lemon Detox Diet is for anyone who feels the need to take more conscious control of their life. It is a commitment towards bringing out the best in ourselves; towards exploring our potential and living life to the full’. This is a fantastic concept, yet I was more conscious of the headache I had throbbing in the back of my head! Flip book forward, and it opens at the dreaded ‘Cleansing symptoms’ page and there at the top of the list is headaches! It dissuades the use of chemical painkillers, and instead offers rubbing some lavender oil on the temples – I decided to grin and bear it instead. I tried not thinking about food and just kept drinking water and the odd herbal tea alongside the approved concoction.  The mindfulness words in the morning email you receive revolve around loving your body, accepting yourself and releasing toxic thoughts and feelings that will leave you better, stronger and healthier.  The yoga which I decided to do late afternoon was full of twists that encourage the digestive cleanse, after I had a few more glasses (you are meant to have a minimum 7 per day) of the detox drink I was starting to feel a need to go to bed, earlier than normal but my body obviously wanted me to have more rest. This feeling is in line the main purpose of the regime to regenerate the body. The plan is to help the body dissolve and eliminate accumulated impurities, clean the digestive tract and other organs whilst regulating blood pressure leading to improved circulation. Pondering this I fell asleep.

Day two was about getting my new routine right. The stomach that rumbled continuously on day one was less noisy and the headache was subsiding. I had to take the drink every two hours to achieve the daily amount, oh and there is a need to drink at least two litres of water alongside the preparation! I was fine in the morning, and then something very strange happened. When it approached lunchtime I got the sensation of chicken in my mouth to the point I felt I was or just had chewed some and then came a need for spicy beans – bizarre! This began a chain of food related events, first I put veggie filled pasta into containers which my lovely partner left on the stove, without a cheeky sample.

Then Mr Maker pops up on the box to entertain my baby daughter whilst taunting me with his food themed challenge! It was if he was talking to me through the TV and asking me to try some food, but I could easily resist, it seemed I hadn’t missed it.

I tried the intermediate yoga session which was more posture and breath-work orientated, again assisting with an effective detox process.  I have noticed my energy levels remained steady throughout the day only slowing as the evening turned into night. Okay, there is still a commotion in the gut so something was happening, but I had got used to the strange digestive noises. After a short meditation, wash and read I was feeling good and looking forward to day three.

I awoke feeling lighter and brighter, the last day had been challenging, but I felt that I had turned a corner. My routine as a consultant is early starts and late finishes so I sometimes struggle in the mornings and mid-afternoons. Now I felt ready as soon as I awoke my sleep undisturbed and dreams less intense. I wasn’t worrying about random thoughts and instead felt more present in the moment – absent of hunger. My routine was harmonious and allowed time to have a nap with my daughter in the afternoon as I listened to my body and it felt right. The Lemon Detox Diet book tells us that: ‘After three days, the body starts to eliminate toxins and reduce fatty reserves deposited throughout the body. While this process continues, we don’t feel hungry. Only when the deposits are used up does hunger return as the body tells us it is time to eat again’. However, I did notice my tongue had a white coating which is a sign of the purification process and happens during detoxification. When the tongue reverts back to a nice pink colour the process is complete. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me – probably unrealistic in just one week.

By day four I was actually feeling quite normal weirdly. I only really noticed being on the detox programme because of the drinks. I had got so used to my stomach noise that it wasn’t until I was in a quiet setting with others that I became acutely aware of my intestinal instrumentation. There are subtleties to the Lemon Detox that if you don’t stop to take notice, can easily pass you by. One is a sense of inner harmony which takes the edge off potential stressful situations. Being in balance is a personal goal so experiencing this sensation was massive for me. Most people felt I was mad to even attempt the detox, but this clarity of mind, cleanliness of body and sharpness of spirit meant I had got though the worst. I just had get through the next few days and notice whatever comes up.

Feeling revitalised on a Friday was a completely new for me as I am normally pretty tired, but instead was looking forward to the Serenity Session being held by Leah Bracknell in Worthing later in the evening. Although the journey due to severe traffic was potentially stressful, the session itself saw me flow through the two hours, surprising myself with how energised I was. The closing ceremony was powerful and I expect heightened due to my current cleanse. I left feeling refreshed and soothed gliding home with ease and to a good nights sleep. The final days on the detox were not a problem, getting the body adjusted to actually having solid food again was challenging. Being my very first detox of any sort my mind clicked back to normality within 48 hours of finishing 7 days and although I avoided the recommended meat, fish, eggs, bread and sweets I foolishly had some pasta – big mistake! I had to go back to bed mid-afternoon to recover; needless to say I went back to soups and won’t be doing that again. However, it had been a transformative experience. I had already considered doing it all again later in the year and after watching a documentary called ‘Eat, Fast & Live Longer’ featuring Dr Michael Mosley confirmed a definite life change.

Although I had not weighed myself it was all about the cleansing process rather than weight loss, I decided to put on the slim fit black trousers and…Success! There was no hint of them ripping Hulk like, as they fit me again. I was happy and glad I did the lemon detox and would encourage anyone looking to heal from within to consider it. Novelist Paulo Coelho put it aptly: ‘Be brave, take risks, nothing can substitute experience’.

For more information on The Lemon Detox visit the website: www.lemondetox.com.

Written by Peter Courtney-Fitch

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