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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

Mental health first aid england


Q&A with Poppy Jaman, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England, non-executive director of Public Health England and Programme Director of the City Mental Health Alliance

Poppy Mental Health First Aid
Poppy Jaman

What is the main difference between physical first aid and mental first aid? And are there any crossovers?

“Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an educational course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who is experiencing a mental health issue. A physical first aider is trained to stop an injury or a life-threatening condition from getting worse – a mental health first aider is the same but for a mental health issue or crisis. Mental Health First Aid also teaches people the importance of wellbeing and how to look after their own mental health or support others to do the same; and in this regard, it could be considered quite different to physical first aid. We know that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue during our lives, so it stands to reason that we should have mental health first aiders, as well as physical first aiders.”

You offer various courses for those working with adults, youths and for the armed forces, do you think you will do a course specifically for young people, or is the aim to get the message out to the younger generations via Youth Mental Health First Aiders?

“We’re currently working hard to engage younger generations in three key ways. The first is through our Youth in Schools programme – in January the government committed to equipping every secondary school in the country with a Mental Health Champion. We’re now in the early stages of coordinating training on our one day Youth MHFA course which by 2020 will reach over 3,000 secondary schools in England. This will mean staff in these schools will be trained to provide mental health support on a first aid basis to pupils aged 11 to 18…

The second is via our brand new Higher Education Mental Health First Aid course. This is a course we have recently launched that is tailored to students, higher education support staff and academic staff. And finally, we are also working on developing a peer-to-peer course that will be specifically for young people – we expect to launch this at some point in 2018.”

Do you believe your courses to have a positive ripple effect across the country? And are there any statistics that support improvement due to mental health awareness?

“As a rapidly growing network organisation, we have over 1,200 instructors delivering courses to communities all over the country and training an estimated 10,000 people every month. By empowering so many people to understand mental health issues and in giving them the skills and the confidence to start conversations about mental health, I think it’s undeniable Mental Health First Aid has a positive ripple effect. My hope is that the work we, and many others, are doing is contributing to a culture change when it comes to our society’s approach to mental health and wellbeing…

A core component of Mental Health First Aid training courses is obviously increasing awareness of mental health issues and knowledge and confidence around how to support those who may be experiencing a mental health issue. From academic evaluations we know that up to 88% of course attendees report using Mental Health First Aid skills to support someone experiencing mental ill health after attending a course.

Mental health awareness also aims to support early intervention to help reduce the impact of mental health issues in the long term. In a way, we can think of taking steps to support our own mental wellbeing as the earliest form of intervention there is. Learning about this is an integral aspect our course and research shows that up to 74% of participants report a positive impact of the course on their personal mental health. The hidden impact this has on preventing mental health issues developing is difficult to quantify, but important to bear in mind when thinking about the impact of mental health awareness efforts.”

As an internationally recognised course, why do you think that MHFA is so popular compared with other mental health courses in the world? 

“There are a wide range of mental health training courses available and I think we need to understand that, in different ways, they all play an important role. We hope that Mental Health First Aid is now being seen as a core part of this and I’m proud that Mental Health First Aid now has a presence in 24 countries. I think the fantastic enthusiasm that our movement has been greeted with by established mental health campaigners all over the world has helped us to achieve this. For example, the 2016 World Mental Health Day theme was ‘psychological and mental health first aid for all’ – a fantastic indicator of its popularity and desire by the World Federation for Mental Health to see it become more widely available.

Personally, I’d like to think that it’s the balance between education around mental illness, learning skills to hold conversations around mental health and learning how to support your own wellbeing that makes our courses so impactful.”

For those professionals who are already in the caring industry, why is the MHFA a good choice for them to add to their existing skill-set and qualifications?

“As an example, we have trained frontline and back office staff at Public Health Dorset in Mental Health Frist Aid and this had a real impact in the way they felt they could support their client base with their housing and social needs. A six month follow up with this organisation found that 83% of those trained said it had helped them in the workplace, 90% said they felt confident to respond to a mental health issue and 73% said the training had helped in their personal lives.

These statistics indicate that we need to be careful in assuming that just because people may work in caring, or even more specifically mental health related roles, that they already feel confident in offering support to those experiencing a mental health issue. These figures are also testament to the impact Mental Health First Aid has from a personal perspective, not just in terms of supporting others. We know that the emotional labour that comes with working in caring industries can be a contributory factor to suffering work-related stress. For this reason, I believe the emphasis our courses place on how to look after your own wellbeing is invaluable to this demographic.”

Why is mental health awareness so important within modern businesses?

“For me, it’s the scale of mental health issues among our working age population and the impact this has both on employee wellbeing, and to a lesser extent the bottom line, that make mental health awareness important for modern businesses. Survey results published this month (April) by UK health and benefits business Aon Employee Benefits showed that 55% of UK employers have seen an increase in the number of mental health-related illnesses. This has a damaging impact on businesses – a report by FirstCare identified mental health issues as a major contributor to increased levels of absence, something that is estimated to costs £18bn in lost productivity every year. Our evidence shows that organisations who train line managers in mental health awareness reap the rewards in terms of reduced sickness absence, increased referrals to Employee Assistance Programmes or inhouse counselling and an improved culture around treating mental and physical health issues equally.

In this post-recession era, people are often working longer hours, with fewer resources, and are under greater personal financial pressures. It’s therefore important that HR professionals and employers recognise the impact this has on their workforce’s mental health and take steps to improve workplace wellbeing. Our Line Managers’ resource, available on our website, is a great starting point for businesses interested in doing this.”

Do people ever recognise symptoms themselves when on a course? And how is this dealt with?

“Our instructors are themselves experienced Mental Health First Aiders and so are well placed to support those who may recognise symptoms while on our courses and to direct them to the appropriate support as required. In my experience, stress is one of the most common symptoms that people report identifying through our training and I find it’s something we can all relate to. The group dynamic of our courses also provide a safe and confidential forum for people to voluntarily share their experiences and, in the case of stress, this in itself can be a useful way for people to learn from each other and explore different coping strategies.”

What tools can you provide for anyone reading this?

“As I mentioned, our Line Managers’ resource, hosted on our website, is ideal for HR professionals and employers who are interested in improving their workplace’s approach to mental health and wellbeing…

Our Take10Together toolkit is also available to download from our website – this includes a whole host of resources such as images, quotagraphics, videos and infographic posters that are designed to support mental wellbeing in workplaces, schools or community settings, while showing the importance of Mental Health First Aid training. These can be used on social media or blogs, shared with colleagues via office intranets, newsletters or public spaces in your workplace. This toolkit also includes content specifically for schools and those who work or live with young people.”

Thank you so much for your time Poppy, and for the wealth of information. 

For those interested in finding out more about Mental Health First Aid visit: mhfaengland.org 

And check back on Holistic Therapist Magazine website soon, in the featured and reviewed section for a review on the two-day Adult MHFA course

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Scotland’s celebrity nutritionist, Amanda Hamilton, is launching a NEW monthly detox retreat in her home town of North Berwick at the luxury spa destination of Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa. Renowned for its beautiful coastal setting and glorious 19th century Victorian architecture, there’s no better destination to begin your juice detox weekend or five-day juicing break!

For more than a decade, Amanda has set up spas and detox programmes across the world, most recently made famous by Kate Moss who has become a detox regular at Amanda’s program in Turkey. In recognition of her impact in the spa sector, Amanda’s business was recently short listed for an International Growth Award in 2015.

‘It’s great to have an international business but there’s simply no place like home and the Marine Hotel in North Berwick is an exceptional location’, comments Amanda. ‘There’s a great network of personal trainers and therapists locally that we are involving in the retreats which is really exciting too.

Macdonald Marine Hotel and Spa is home to a stunning thermal suite which specialises in a range of natural and marine inspired seaweed treatments. There’s also a packed timetable of extra activities focused on inspiring healthier lifestyle choices through education and exercise. Guests are encouraged to participate in beach workouts suitable for all levels and have a daily workshop on subjects such as weight management, stress and nutrition for longevity.

We’re thrilled to have teamed up with Amanda Hamilton, such a professional in her field’, explains Jeanette Jones, Managing Director of Leisure and Spa at Macdonald Hotels. ‘We have followed Amanda’s work in spa and health for years and we’re delighted that Macdonald Marine is able to add to the detox retreat programs, by providing guests with high-quality service and a first-class spa experience’.

With both residential and non-residential options, the breaks are based around juice fasting to optimise nutrients and minimise calories. This helps shift weight safely and offers a chance for the body to heal from within, often with a dramatic effect on health markers such as inflammation, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.

On the longer retreats, a personal nutrition consultation is included to tackle any specific health issues or lifestyle concerns with follow up advice and menu plans. Guests will also receive follow on support menus to help maintain the benefits longer term and a goodie-box featuring some of Scotland’s most successful healthy food and drink snacks from Healthy Nibbles – the perfect way to finish your retreat and kick start your healthy new lifestyle from home.

Amanda Hamilton’s Juice Detox Break includes:

  • Arrival 10.00am Friday
  • 2 nights’ accommodation
  • All juices & smoothies for the programme
  • Specialist digestive boost drink from Rhythm
  • Follow on personalised menus
  • Daily guided walks and outdoor workouts
  • Ishga Treatment
  • Comprehensive education seminars
  • Unlimited use of facilities and award winning thermal spa
  • Optional exercise classes
  • Depart 4.00pm

*Non-residential guests will be given a robe as well as having unlimited use of the luxury spa facilities.

Running until the end of October this year, there will be juice detox weekends once a month, with prices starting from £265.00 for the non-resident option, and £395.00 for the resident option.

“Amanda is Queen of the detox scene’ – The Times

To find out more, please visit:

Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa

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Liz Almond – the Healer’s Healer and owner of insightful minds tells us of how her journey lead her to write and publish ‘Are you worth it’ A spiritual guide to managing your money mindset for business owners. 

Are you worth it 2I’ve been guided to write this book due to my own struggles with my self worth linked to my health, wealth and happiness.  Having recovered my health, I found myself in dire financial circumstances soon after starting my business due to a catalogue of personal tragedies as well as self worth issues.  Your personal life will impact your business and will affect your bottom line.  The book covers the mindfulness techniques I have used to think differently about my life and the problems I have encountered around depression and not feeling good enough to be the amazing therapist and coach that I am.  As a business owner you will experience many ups and downs and you need to have belief in yourself to allow the success you deserve and to create the life you desire.

In the book I share in depth knowledge about why your spiritual path is the key to you understanding yourself and where you are going to find true happiness and abundance.  I use my wealth of knowledge to show the reader how they can also change their life by using the techniques, so that they can see the richness in life and have a fulfilled and happy life without worrying what is in their bank account.  It is a transformational book and is intended to inspire many thousands of people to live from an abundant rather than scarcity mindset.

On a more serious note, By 2020, The World Health Organisation has announced that depression will be the 2nd biggest disability in the world and Macmillan Cancer say that 1 in 2 people will have cancer by this time too.  A perceived lack of money is a contributing factor. The techniques in the book will help transform your health and those you give it too which in turn will improve your wealth and happiness.

To purchase a signed copy, please download the Order Form for the Book (click here) and email it to me at [email protected].

For more information or more about Liz and insightful minds please visit her website: www.insightfulminds.co.uk

 

By Dr. Mercola

Recent Alzheimer’s research1 suggests preclinical signs of Alzheimer’s disease may be evident as early as 20 years before the disease actually sets in, allowing for much earlier intervention.

By the time your memory begins to noticeably deteriorate, about 40-50 percent of your brain cells have already been damaged or destroyed.

Early detection is all the more crucial considering estimates suggest Alzheimer’s diagnoses may triple by 2050, reaching nearly 14 million in the US,2 and 115 million worldwide.3

As reported by Time Magazine:4

“For 18 years, Kumar Rajan, associate professor of internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center, and his colleagues followed 2,125 elderly people with an average age of 73 and who did not [have] dementia.

Every three years, the researchers gave the volunteers mental skills tests, and then compared these results over time.

When they looked at the group that went on to receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, they found that these people showed lower scores on their tests throughout the study period.

In fact, their scores steadily declined with each test. For each unit that the scores dropped on the cognitive tests, the risk of future Alzheimer’s increased by 85 percent.”

Self-Administered Test May Predict Your Risk for Dementia – see youtube

Previous research found similar correlations, which led to the development of the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) test. It’s a 15-minute at-home test developed by Douglas Scharre, M.D., of the Division of Cognitive Neurology at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

You can download the SAGE test from the University’s website.

According to Dr. Scharre, this simple test correlates very well to more comprehensive cognitive tests, and is an excellent way to get an early assessment of your cognitive function. If taken at intervals over time, it can also serve as an early warning, if your scores begin to decline.

Brain scans and various biomarkers may also one day be used to detect deterioration associated with Alzheimer’s.

Blood Proteins and Other Biomarkers May Allow for Earlier Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

According to recent research,5,6 long before clear signs of Alzheimer’s develop, brain proteins called lysosomal proteins can be detected in a patient’s blood.

Lysosomal proteins help remove material from damaged nerve cells, and elevations in these proteins appear to be predictive of Alzheimer’s up to 10 years before the disease develops. According to lead author Dr. Edward Goetzl:

“These proteins are in very tiny nerve cell-derived blood particles called exosomes. Abnormal levels of the proteins may be useful [signals] that could help us study early treatments to limit or reverse the damage to brain cells and even prevent the development of the full-blown disease.

The results also show us that there are major abnormalities in how these proteins function in brain cells, which could potentially provide a new target for treatments.”

Another study,7 published last year, identified a set of 10 blood-based biomarkers for Alzheimer’s.

Using these biomarkers, the researchers claim to be able to predict the disease within a two to three-year timeframe with over 90 percent accuracy, concluding that: “This biomarker panel, reflecting cell membrane integrity, may be sensitive to early neurodegeneration of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.”

Brain Scans and Eye Tests May Also Reveal Future Alzheimer’s Risk

According to Dr. Daniel Kraft, MD,8,9 a Stanford and Harvard trained physician, inventor, entrepreneur, and faculty chair for the Medicine and Exponential Medicine program at Singularity University:

“We’re on the cusp of having imaging modality so you can pick up the plaques in a patient’s brain 10 or 20 years before they’re showing any clinical signs of Alzheimer’s.

We’ll be able to give them interventions, whether that’s mind games, or exercise, or other therapeutics that fits under not just personalized medicine but this idea of precision medicine to participatory medicine.”

Using PET scans with a radioactive tracer, researchers have demonstrated they can detect the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s.10 According to Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and director of the neurocognitive disorders program at Duke University:

“Our research found that healthy adults and those with mild memory loss who have a positive scan for these plaques have a much faster rate of decline on memory, language, and reasoning over three years.”

Interestingly, researchers have found that beta-amyloid plaques also accumulate in the retina, and this buildup closely matches the buildup found in the brain. As reported by CNN11 last year:

“Based on that finding, the research team developed a noninvasive test to check the retina for the telltale beta amyloid plaques. They’re now conducting a clinical trial to see if the test can identify patients who are starting to develop Alzheimer’s but don’t show symptoms yet…

A reliable eye test ‘would be a very important contribution,’ says Maria Carrillo, the Vice-President of Medical and Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer’s Association.

‘People tend to go to the opthamologist more frequently as we age. If you could add a quick test to see if neurogenic pathology is going on the brain, it would be really helpful.’”

Can Alzheimer’s Be Prevented?

Some medical professionals have raised questions about the psychological impact of learning you’re on your way toward developing Alzheimer’s, saying that having that knowledge may be counterproductive unless or until there’s an effective treatment.

What they fail to realize is that while there’s no pharmaceutical cure, you do have a significant degree of control over the situation if you make the appropriate diet and lifestyle corrections. So getting a 20-year early warning could likely make a tremendous difference, provided patients are given accurate diet and lifestyle instructions.

Two key instructions are:

Avoid processed foods of all kinds, as they contain a number of ingredients harmful to your brain, including refined sugar, processed fructose, grains (particularly gluten), genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, and pesticides like glyphosate (an herbicide thought to be worse than DDT, and DDT has already been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s)
Optimize your gut flora by avoiding processed foods (sugar, GE ingredients, pesticides and various food additives all discourage healthy bacteria in your gut), antibiotics and antibacterial products, fluoridated and chlorinated water, and by regularly eating traditionally fermented and cultured foods, along with a high quality probiotic if needed
Dr. David Perlmutter, a board-certified neurologist and a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (FACN) has explored these important concepts in his books, Grain Brain, and Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life.

Both of them are excellent handbooks on how to take control of your health and prevent and/or treat many diseases that are considered “incurable” from the conventional point of view, including Alzheimer’s disease. From his research, Dr. Perlmutter has concluded that Alzheimer’s disease is primarily predicated on lifestyle choices, and that it is preventable—a fact that very few health professionals are talking about.

“We interact with our genome every moment of our lives, and we can do so very, very positively,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “Keeping your blood sugar low is very positive in terms of allowing the genes to express reduced inflammation, which increase the production of life-giving antioxidants. So that’s rule number one: You can change your genetic destiny. Rule number two: you can change your genetic destiny to grow new brain cells, specifically in the hippocampus…

Your brain’s memory center regenerates. You are constantly growing new brain cells into your 50s, 60s, 80s, and 90s – throughout your lifetime – through a process called neurogenesis. That said, these two ideas come together because you can turn on your genes through lifestyle choices that enhance neurogenesis and that enhance regrowth of cells and expansion of your brain’s memory center. This was proven by researchers recently. They demonstrated that there are factors under our control that can make that happen.”

How to Regrow Brain Cells

Lifestyle strategies that promote neurogenesis and regrowth of brain cells include the following. All of these strategies target a specific gene pathway called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes brain cell growth and connectivity as demonstrated on MRI scans.

Exercise. In one year-long study, individuals who engaged in exercise were actually growing and expanding the brain’s memory center one to two percent per year, where typically that center would have continued to decline in size.
Reducing overall calorie consumption
Reducing carbohydrate consumption
Increasing healthy fat consumption. Coconut oil is ideal, as it contains 66 percent medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)—a primary source of ketone bodies, which is the preferred fuel for your brain. There’s even evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day, which is equivalent to just over two tablespoons. Intermittent fasting also boosts ketone production
Increasing your omega-3 fat intake and reducing consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (think processed vegetable oils) in order to balance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. I prefer krill oil to fish oil here, as krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which appears to be particularly beneficial for brain health. It belongs to the class of carotenoids, and is very “focused” on reducing free radical-mediated damage to fat, and your brain is 60 or 70 percent fat
Alzheimer’s—A Slow-Acting Form of Mad Cow Disease?

Mounting research also shows there’s a compelling link between a particular kind of brain protein and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. This protein, called TDP-43, behaves like toxic and infectious proteins known as prions, which are responsible for the brain destruction that occurs in Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Disease;12 two types of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). As explained in Scientific American:13

“Prions are misshapen yet durable versions of proteins normally present in nerve cells that cause like proteins to misfold and clump together, starting a chain reaction that eventually consumes entire brain regions. In the past 15 years scientists have learned that such a process may be at work not only in mad cow and other exotic diseases but also in major neurodegenerative disorders….”

According to research14 published in 2011, TDP-43 pathology is detected in 25-50 percent of Alzheimer’s patients, particularly in those with hippocampal sclerosis, characterized by selective loss of neurons in the hippocampus, which is associated with memory loss. Research presented at the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) also revealed Alzheimer’s patients with TDP-43 were 10 times more likely to have been cognitively impaired at death than those without it.15,16

The question is, how do you end up with TDP-43? The common denominator between Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Disease17 is forcing natural herbivores to eat animal parts—a more or less routine practice in the factory farm model—so the possibility has been raised that humans might get infected with TDP-43 via contaminated meats…

A 2005 study18 published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, titled: “Thinking the unthinkable: Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and Mad Cow disease: the age-related reemergence of virulent, foodborne, bovine tuberculosis or losing your mind for the sake of a shake or burger,” states:

“In the opinion of experts, ample justification exists for considering a similar pathogenesis for Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and the other spongiform encephalopathies such as Mad Cow disease. In fact, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and Alzheimer’s often coexist and at this point are thought to differ merely by time-dependent physical changes. A recent study links up to 13 percent of all ‘Alzheimer’s’ victims as really having Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.” [Emphasis mine]

The researchers also note that bovine tuberculosis serves as a vector for human Mad Cow Disease (aka Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). Bovine tuberculosis is one of the most prevalent disease threats in American CAFOs, and the researchers quote USDA data suggesting that anywhere from 20-40 percent of American dairy herds are infected at any given time. The evidence is certainly suggestive, and from my perspective, it’s one more reason to avoid all meats from livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). And remember, meat sold in grocery stores and served in restaurants are from CAFO animals unless specifically labeled as grass-fed and organic.

My Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies

Because there are so few treatments for Alzheimer’s, and no available cure, you’re really left with just one solid solution, and that is to prevent it from happening to you in the first place. Diet is part and parcel of a successful prevention plan, and my optimized nutrition plan can set you on the right path in this regard. Remember that swapping out processed fare for whole foods is an important if not KEY part of the equation, as GE sugar, corn, and grains are now pervasive in most processed foods sold in the US.

In terms of your diet and other lifestyle factors, the following suggestions may be among the most important for Alzheimer’s prevention:

Eat real food. Avoid as many processed foods in boxes and cans as you can. You, your spouse, or someone you employ needs to spend time in the kitchen to prepare your own food. Avoid eating foods from industrial kitchens that can put any one of tens of thousands of chemicals into your food.
Avoid sugar and refined fructose. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin/leptin resistance or any related disorders.
Avoid gluten and casein (primarily wheat and pasteurized dairy, but not dairy fat, such as butter). Research shows that your blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream, where they don’t belong. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
Optimize your gut flora by regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high potency and high-quality probiotic supplement.
Increase consumption of all healthy fats, including animal-based omega-3. Healthy fats your brain needs for optimal function include organically-raised grass-fed meats, coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocado, nuts, organic pastured egg yolks, and butter made from raw grass-fed milk. High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA are also helpful for preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder.
Reduce your overall calorie consumption, and/or intermittently fast. Ketones are mobilized when you replace carbs with coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats. Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to jumpstart your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the inulin/leptin resistance that is a primary contributing factor for Alzheimer’s. To learn more, please see this previous article.
Improve your magnesium levels. Preliminary research strongly suggests a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increased levels of magnesium in the brain. Unfortunately most magnesium supplements do not pass the blood brain levels, but a new one, magnesium threonate, appears to and holds some promise for the future for treating this condition and may be superior to other forms.
Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate. Vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day.
Exercise regularly. It’s been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized, thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brains and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.
Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer’s.
Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However, you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.
Avoid and eliminate aluminum from your body: Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc. For tips on how to detox aluminum, please see my article, “First Case Study to Show Direct Link between Alzheimer’s and Aluminum Toxicity.”
Avoid flu vaccinations as most contain both mercury and aluminum, well-known neurotoxic and immunotoxic agents.
Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers. Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10, vitamin K2, and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.
Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

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GIVE YOUR DREAMS A DEADLINE WITH ‘7 STEPS TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS’
 
7 Steps to Achieve Your Goals is a new 26 minute goal-setting meditation that is informed by NLP and inspired by the chakras. Currently available as a download, it’s suitable for anyone but is particularly good for those that have repeatedly tried, yet  failed, to achieve their goals.
This dynamic meditation has been created by Antonia Boyle, Founder & Director of Alpha Waves PDS. In her role as a NLP Master Practitioner, health, yoga & relaxation specialist, Antonia works with the chakras as well as using powerful NLP techniques to bring about positive change. It’s amazing how these two systems perform in harmony and often crossover. In this simple yet effective walking* meditation, Antonia has combined the principles of both to create an atmospheric way, for people to plan and achieve their goals.
The step by step format involves walking along a ‘chakra timeline’, which allows users to fully experience each step in a different place and engage all their senses.  This aspect, combined with creative visualisation and the skilled use of NLP suggestion, works on the unconscious mind to embed hopes, dreams and patterns of behaviour. The guiding narration helps people to imagine their goals in real time and ‘experience’ what it’s like to really achieve them.  It gives new meaning to the phrase ‘seeing is believing’.  And, once you really believe something you’re 99% there!
“In my work with clients over many years, we have shared great success with the Time Line techniques, which I use in this meditation.  I have also been combining NLP with yoga and recently started experimenting with a walking meditation based on the chakras.  7 Steps … is the culmination of all of these practices and is an incredibly effective way to access the process and achieve goals.” Antonia Boyle
7 Steps to Achieve Your Goals is available as a download for £8.00 from Alpha Waves or listen to a snippet.
*Only a small amount of space is required, however, if walking is not possible, due to physical or spatial limitations, users can simply imagine the chakra timeline to tap into the meditation.

 

Antonia Boyle is a NLP Master Practitioner, health, yoga & relaxation specialist She created Alpha Waves in 1985 and now offers a comprehensive package of NLP & stress-management to help clients manage their lives on a private and professional basis and achieve a more relaxed way of living. Alpha Waves is based in Westerham, Kent and operates in Kent, Sussex and the South East as well as further afield.  Antonia has developed a unique relaxation programme entitled Untangle Your Mind – Relax Your Body and Stop Smoking Now both available to download. For more information www.alphawavesnlp.co.uk

Well it was a very cold start to January 31st with a dusting of snow here on the South Downs but this in no way reflected the extremely warm welcome on entering the Wellbeing & Happiness show.
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After being greeted with big smiles from Amanda Bond and her Wellbeing team I was eager to fill up with a nice warm drink and something to eat before engaging with the days events.
It was great to have some healthy choices with a vast selection of speciality teas from local Tea Shop VRAC. There is something incredibly zen with the whole preparation of making your perfect pot, and I am sure you will be delighted at the menu on offer at the VRAC shop in Lewes. After a slightly slow start  I decided to go for a Late’ from the Whirled Espresso bar, a nicely up-cycled mobile cafe.
This was my first visit to the show and I have to say it did not disappoint, as not only was the venue of Lewes Town Hall a very inviting space but it also seemed to be filled perfectly with a great mix of exhibitors and shows. A variety of talks and workshops took place from Mindfulness , Foot readings to uncover your emotional and physical health to a fun workshop The Magic Of Massage with the very hugable  “Hugmeister” – Magnus Agugu to name a few.
So enough about tasty coffee and delicious hugs, what else happened at the show? Well, it was certainly something for everybody.  The guys from Abel & Cole showcased how you can get your hands on the best of the best with Organic Veggie boxes delivered right to your door.The team from Xenca talked on “How to Improve our Health Through Better Nutrition” and displayed their fantastic range of beauty products which are totally organic and green right down to the packaging. I spoke to the lady from The Red Couch about their powerful messages on developing the best relationships you can, changing old behaviour patterns, uncovering your deepest values and ways to create a more fulfilling life. I had the pleasure of connecting with a highly attuned Channel Paul McCarthy and received a very insightful reading, which has certainly encouraged me to look further into my current situation and areas of my life which are ready for change without the fear and anxiety I may have attached to these before.

In a nut shell whether you wanted to shake your stuff to some Zumba, quieten your mind and stretch out your worries and woes on a yoga mat, hunt down a physio for advice on posture and ways to prevent back problems or find local groups to discuss Consciousness and the History of Buddhism. It could all be found here.

There was a lot to take in and I would say it is worth spreading the time of your visit over the two days, unfortunately I was unable to make both days this year but it is safe to say I will be back again next year for more Wellbeing & Happiness as there was an abundance of both.

Sharing the Love

 

Ruby Brown – www.rubybrown.org

 

 

The body struggles to fight the cascade of acidic substances it is exposed to on a daily basis – food, pollution, chemicals and even its own internal bio-chemicals add to the on-going load.

Initially, the natural neutralising minerals are used to re-balance the pH; however, a continually increasing load results in an over-acidic environment. As the body then begins to struggle to cope, it sets up a defence mechanism to try to limit the damaging actions of the acid by storing excess acidity in our fat cells and away from the important internal organs, where cellular damage could occur. When left unchecked these acidic / toxic elements rob the blood of oxygen resulting in slower metabolism and therefore, as well as an increased weight gain, any damage to the body’s tissues can contribute to a variety of ailments.

Unexplained fatigue can be a symptom of an overly acidic body. An acidic environment impacts upon fatigue by limiting the amount of oxygen carrying capacity within red blood cells and reduced oxygen leads fatigue, lack of energy, and weakness. This fatigue is often accompanied by a lack of stamina, poor muscle tone and general weakness

Action Plan

· Reduce the consumption of acid forming foods including animal products, sugars, caffeine, alcohol and refined carbohydrates to a level of 20% whilst increasing the consumption of the alkalising fruits and vegetables (with special emphasis on the leafy greens to aid detoxification) to around 80%.

· Drink plenty of water to hydrate the cells and neutralise and flush out the excess acidity.

· Take a supplement of the alkaline minerals as these are needed to neutralize the acidic waste that can be the by-product of even the most nutritious of foods. Even when eating healthily if the supply of alkaline minerals is too low, acidic wastes cannot be neutralized effectively and in reality it can be quite challenging to correct acidity levels sufficiently without these.

Want to know what your PH balance is? go to www.cressuk.com or call 01440 786 644

Health and happiness exhibition

 Would you like better health, increased wealth and more happiness in your life?

 

Let’s face it – who wouldn’t? Learning to appreciate the things you have is an extremely important skill, but it is equally important to continually strive to be the best version of yourself. Whether that is achieved by pursuing career goals, taking better care of your health, or simply vowing to squeeze every last drop out of life, self-actualisation is a powerful need that burns brightly in all of us. With this in mind, we are incredibly excited for the impending arrival of the first Health, Wealth and Happiness show, taking place early next year at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.

 

The Health, Wealth and Happiness show provides a platform for people from all walks of life to learn more about how to optimise health, to learn new skills, to create a more fulfilling career and to understand more about oneself. Starting in the morning of Saturday 31st January, the Health, Wealth and Happiness show will take place over two days at the East Midlands Conference Centre, and will feature a vast array of seminars, workshops and prize draws all designed to educate and inspire. There are a number of well-known names in the industry taking to the stage across the weekend; including friend of the magazine Janey Lee Grace, delivering a talk about natural health and asking ‘is your skincare making you sick?’ and ‘Dynamic’ Mike Berry, who will be running an inspiration and motivation workshop. Also on the line-up is Bea Marshall, founder of ‘Yes Parenting’, Jules Mitchell AKA The Happiness Junkie, ‘wealth chef’ Ann Wilson, and bestselling author Ian Tucker.

 

Across the weekend there will be various talks on relationships, confidence, image, work, overcoming challenges, and a variety of health and wellbeing subjects. There will be prize draws too and plenty of opportunity for audience participation. If ever there were an event guaranteed to inspire, educate and motivate, this is surely it.

 

To find out more about the Health, Wealth and Happiness show, visit www.positiveevents.co.uk, or for ticket bookings, follow this link: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-health-wealth-and-happiness-show-tickets-12498470261

 

For 10% off your ticket, enter the promotional code ‘holistic’ at checkout!

 

 

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How to watch the calorie count at Christmas

How to stay healthy over Christmas

  • By Kerry Torrens – Nutritional therapist

Wondering how you’re going to survive the holiday party season? Good Food nutritionist, Kerry Torrens shares her secrets for staying healthy over Christmas, avoiding overindulgence and beating the morning-after blues.

“My diet is pretty good most of the time, as you’d expect” says Kerry, “but the party season is tricky. Here are my strategies for coping with the overindulgence and late nights that are an inevitable but enjoyable part of the festive season.”

Cinnamon porridge with banana and berries

Everything starts with breakfast

If I’m going out in the evening, I’ll start the day with a generous bowl of porridge, topped with a handful of cranberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Porridge stabilises blood sugar levels, which helps control appetite later in the day. I also add a good dollop of probiotic yogurt, which helps boost immunity as well as combat some of the less beneficial effects of the party season, like too much alcohol and not enough sleep.

Breakfast ideas:

Glasses of water

Stay hydrated

On the day of a big night out, and the day after, I make a conscious effort to drink 6-8 glasses of water, or plenty of herbal teas or diluted juice. Even mild dehydration can lead to a headache and combined with the diuretic effects of alcohol makes maintaining your fluid intake so important. Regular teas and coffee count towards your fluid intake, but caffeinated versions shouldn’t make up your full quota. I sometimes struggle to drink enough when it’s cold, so I’ll take a full glass of water to bed with me at night and start the day with a second. I make sure I’ve drunk both before I have my breakfast.

Peanut butter and banana on toast

Sensible snacking

If I’m hungry when I arrive at a party, I struggle to resist the canapés, so I always have a pre-party snack. One of my favourites is a small pot of plain yogurt with a sliced banana. The yogurt’s protein slows stomach emptying, which helps delay the effects of that first glass of wine while the potassium-rich banana helps balance any increase in my salt intake – especially helpful if I’m going to be nibbling on olives, crisps or salted nuts. I know I’m better off eating before I go to a party because I’m more likely to stick to my resolve when the canapés come round a second or third time. Other snacks which do the trick include granary toast with nut butter, a bowl of muesli with milk, or a mug of chunky vegetable soup.

Pre-party snack ideas:

Sesame beef wraps

Back away from the buffet

Buffets can be a disaster zone – so I make sure I fill half my plate with salad and vegetables, and the rest with protein-based canapés like salmon and chicken. I take my time selecting and eating my food and I move away from the table as soon as my plate is full so I avoid non-stop grazing.

Canapés / buffet food:

Mulled apple juice

No more hangovers

Don’t be tempted to skip meals so you can stockpile calories for drinking. Alcohol only supplies empty calories, so avoiding proper meals to compensate for a booze splurge means you’re losing out on valuable nutrients, just when your body needs them to help it detoxify. I stick to one type of drink and I make it a lighter-coloured one because they tend to be lower in the chemical by-products that can worsen a hangover. I aim to have no more than one alcoholic drink an hour, alternated with juice, water or soft drinks – perfect if you don’t like holding an empty glass.

What to eat the next morning

My best ‘morning after’ breakfast is a frittata or omelette packed with veg. I love mushrooms for their energising B vitamins, tomatoes for vitamin C and onions for their liver-friendly sulphur compounds. If I have spinach to hand I’ll add a generous handful because it’s a great source of folate which helps my body repair DNA. Eggs are an excellent choice for the morning after because they provide choline, a nutrient that supports the liver. Add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or a chopped chilli to boost circulation and rev up your recovery. If you can’t face a cooked breakfast then have a smoothie made with fruits like bananas, oranges or kiwi – these are rich in potassium which helps replenish the electrolytes lost due to the diuretic effects of alcohol.

Morning-after breakfast: 

Get back on track

After a big night out I don’t skip meals, even if I have over-indulged. After all, it’s the balance of your diet that’s important. I apply the 80:20 principle – eating healthily 80% of the time, which allows me the space for delicious treats at weekends and on special occasions.

Kerry Torrens is BBC Good Food magazine’s nutritional therapist

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