New Mind-Body Shop Section

Brain icon  I’ve set up a whole, sparkly new section on the shop where you can find all the mind-body medicine stuff now. It suddenly occurred to me that it might be useful to have the key stuff linked to in the Healing Plan in one place. Anything to make life easier when you’re feeling poorly!

It will evolve, no doubt, but for now you can find:

Healing Plan 3D  The Healing Plan, of course. Plus, the sixteen page sample Preview of the Healing Plan so you can have a nose.

logo Julie’s hypnotherapy, behavioural and CBT services.

Inner Calm & Peace Meditation   A link to all Julie’s hypnotherapy instant audio downloads, many of which I used during my own healing. She will be adding new ones very shortly.  I credit some of Julie’s self-hypnosis and meditation audios as a BIG part of my healing, so please do yourself a favour and start with these if you’re not ready for full hypno sessions yet.

Yoga Nidra CD  I’ve included some of the key recommended programmes and DVDs I followed during my healing journey, such as the Perfect Health challenge, Yoga Nidra and Qi Gong DVDs.

Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, Deepak Chopra  And, many of the key books for your ‘knowledge therapy.’ These are Amazon links so I make a teeny bit on them, which helps to keep everything going, so thank you.

I hope it helps. The new Mind-Body Medicine section is here.

The paperback Healing Plans arrived today too – very exciting. I have been carrying one round and stroking it! It was such a labour of love 🙂

Here’s the back cover as you’ve not seen that!

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New Healing Plan Now Available!!

Healing Plan 3D

Ta-dah!!!! It has taken me over a year to write it, but here is the Healing Plan for you at long last!

195 lurverly pages to help you get well from unresolving chronic illness. The five steps I took to get myself back from very few foods, chronic fatigue and body-wide pain when I couldn’t eat or take any foods, meds or supplements to get myself well. I had to find new ways; what I call: ‘nil-by-mouth’!

Those of you who have followed my epic journey via the Healing Series will know the research and effort behind this book – I thank you for bearing with me through the tears and joy!

Behind the scenes, I have been beavering away trying to pull it all together into something coherent for you. We have….

info iconNew Website Section

You can read all about the Healing Plan here on the new Mind-Body Medicine section of the website.

shop iconPreview and Purchase Ebook or Paperback

You can see a 16 page Preview, buy an ebook and even avail yourself of a paperback version (by popular request!). I’ve deliberately kept costs down to the same as the other Plans, despite it being bigger. The printed version is a little more but much cheaper than the Gluten Plan was – and I have brought the Gluten Plan down to the same price for the ebook and much reduced for the printed version now. Why? Because I want the awareness to continue and I think, as you’ll see below, the two main Gluten and Healing plans work really well together to form a combined functional and mind-body medicine approach so people will no doubt need both at some point. I daren’t combine them; the weight would kill a poor postie! Anyway, I hope it helps.

chatNew Facebook Group

Healing Planners will be able to join a new HP Facebook group for peer-to-peer support.

blog iconNew MBM Blog & Website

And, knowing that I will be wittering on about mind-body techniques, new research, tips etc over the coming months – much as I did with TrulyGlutenFree! – I have set up a new blog site at www.mind-bodymedicine.co.uk where you can register for email updates.

Phew! I have been a busy bee.

Reviews..

My pre-launch readers were very complimentary about the book, which so gladdened my heart. Some of them are still reading it, but here are a few choice comments for you so far:

“I think this is a tremendous health plan that seeks to educate people about the emotional and psychological components of chronic ill health. It teaches the link between the physical and mental and will really help those people who firmly believe this does not apply to them! Just making the effort to purchase and read the Healing Plan will be a big step forward in someone’s healing and recovery.”

“It really is phenomenal. I nearly wrote I felt it was better than the Gluten Plan but then changed my mind as that would be very unjust as I think the GP is fantastic too! But the HP is unique and very comprehensive in addressing a particularly difficult and sensitive topic.”

“I bet lots of people will cry reading this…”

“Another masterpiece!”

“This book is truly exceptional. You should be incredibly proud.”

Eek. How lovely is that?!

Putting it into context

The creation of the Healing Plan and my own healing ‘journey’ has sparked a whole re-think of my approach as a clinic to illness, actually, and I have been busy thinking all that through as well as doing the book. My next job is to spend quite a bit of time on streamlining the Purehealth websites to better direct people to the resources they need.

To that end, I have begun by creating a new Start Here…page on the Purehealth website to guide people. Here’s the flow chart I’ve shared there:

Home page flow chart

I was quite proud of that 🙂

Anyway, I’ve made a start and over the next few weeks and months, I will develop the resources and simplify a bit as I promised in my last blog post.

I hope you like the Healing Plan anyway – do let me know. I’m sure there will be typos aplenty as I went cross-eyed staring at it for so long – as did the beta-readers! So do let me know your thoughts and anything you spy.

OK, I truly hope it helps for you. Go and have a read about it and I’ll see you on the other side in the Facebook Group where we have Jilly, Julie and me ready to chat with you! After I’ve had a lie down….

I wish you much success in getting better. I never thought I would say I was ‘normal’ again. But I am – and that’s all I ever wanted. Isn’t it you?!

New Year Healing: My Daily Plan

naturopathy symbolIf you read my first post of the year (and well done if you did; it was massive!), then you’ll know that I am focusing on my physical body this year, having done tons on my brain retraining and subconscious work the last two years. My poor little physical body feels a bit left behind and needs a bit of TLC and rebuilding now.

Some of you asked me to share what I plan to do so here it is for you. This will evolve, I have no doubt and, as you’ll see, the physical work needs to be dovetailed with the work to keep my amygdala desensitised and new brain neural pathways strengthening so I can maintain my food reintroductions! It also needs to fit in around my work if I am to develop this chronic illness work the Universe seems to have chosen for me!

From a physical perspective, the aim is primarily to start encouraging better lymphatic flow, tissue and organ oxygenation, muscle flexibility and strength. I also have a feeling I am still holding trauma in the muscles and that needs to be released.

Time was when I was really strong, fit and lean, worked out several times a week with free weights and in the gym and had powerful upper body strength from all the massage and manipulation work I was doing in-clinic. Now, I feel weak, tight and congested much of the time.

I sit on my backside most of the day writing, reading and answering questions. When I was really thin, I had to sit on a few cushions as it was so bony-painful. I also had to wear lots of warm clothes as I was so cold. Now, the food is going back in and the pounds are piling back on.

This is to be expected – when the body has been in starvation mode for as long as mine has, it will happily cling onto every calorie you give it for a while until it feels it can trust you again. That’s a survival mode switch and there’s no getting around it. If you restrict your food intake, for whatever reason, the body just gets more efficient at storing and using what you do give it as fat mainly. That’s why food restriction diets don’t work.

Women are especially good at this. We are the ‘feeders’ of the babies; it’s our job to keep the species going, if you like, and we hold more fat deliberately so we can continue producing enough hormones to have and feed babies during the leaner, scarce-food times.

Anyway, I am being kind to my body and giving it some TLC and a year to get used to me eating again. Which it will.

The importance of Self-care

Image result for messy hair cartoonWhen we are in chronic illness mode, we tend to ‘give up’ on our physical bodies; we distrust it, don’t like it, blame it, even hate it. I know I did. That often translates into self-sabotage types of behaviour, which of course can be horrific for some souls, but it can very commonly be seen in simply avoiding looking after yourself in the ways you used to.

Part of this next healing phase for me is to restart some of those. I’ve had my hair done into a new style – braving a big proper hair salon with smells n everything – started massaging oil into my nails which are as dry, ridged and bumpy as sandpaper and today treated myself to some ‘proper’ hair products and bugger the chemicals. I used to model my hair, for goodness’ sake, and my family will testify to some of the weird and wonderful hairstyles I’ve had -including very high sticky-up ones, pink, sponged-green and even an M shaved into my hair. Oh yes, I had fun.

Someone said to me the other day that I’d had the same hair style ever since he’d known me. That is NOT good. I realised during this last decade or so of illness, I had barely even looked at my hair really, so I vowed to start with that in my self care and now I have.

I used to LOVE having long baths with a glass of wine, some music or a good book. In fact, I used to finish work, get straight in the bath and call friends or family for a chat. It was my ME time. Then, I started reacting to the bath products in the water, then to the water itself, then I had panic attacks even getting into filtered non-chlorinated water.

Recently, I have been able to start having baths again. The first few resulted in panic attacks. The next few I meditated and WHEE’d in the bath (I just wanted to say that!) to tell myself I was safe. Then I had plain baths and, today, I am up to ones with Faith in Nature bubble bath, a candle and a glass of wine (sometimes). To treat myself and celebrate my bath progress, today I used a voucher from my birthday to buy this bamboo bath rack:

Bliss.

Anyway, I share all that to illustrate the self-care point. This is all part of the physical body healing plan for this year. To make friends with my body again.

checklist iconDaily Healing Plan

So, here is my daily plan, such as it is, in case it helps you – I’ll point out all the new stuff too as I know it gives some of you hope and you ask me to (stop press: coming back here after I have written this post, I have even astounded myself at the number of new things!!):

Wake. Hot water and lemon (new) or ginger (new) or a coffee (bean to cup)

Breakfast: Smoothie with fruit, slowly adding greens (new), banana, a date (new), almonds (new), brazil nuts (new) and sometimes cashews (new), flaxseeds (new) and pumpkin seeds (new) all blitzed up with RO water (not got tap yet) in my blender. I make enough for one and a half big glasses. I might add supplements in to it as I get to them. I currently spray magnesium oil (new) on after a shower and have started working on adding the TGF core supplement protocol (new). I also want to add some spice like turmeric and have got some fresh root ready for the purpose.

Image result for Qi gong

Before starting work: if it’s raining, I do a 10 or 20 minute morning, energising Qi Gong routine. If it’s fine, I walk up and down the road, which involves two steep hills and a glorious view of the sea, more than enough to set you up for the day! If I’m having a crap, poorly day, meditation for 20 minutes. If I have a migraine, I can’t meditate; I lie down and read, watch Homes under the Hammer or sleep, depending on how bad it is!

Mid-morning: drink the other glass of smoothie. I am perpetually hungry – I assume to do with the insulin control loss of PCOS and the gluten related disorder causing malabsorption. I need to eat very frequently or I will fall over. Or kill P. If I’m really starving, I need more fat so I might add half an avocado and re-blitz.

More work til lunch.

Lunch varies. Usually omelette or egg-based (new) or left overs from the night before. Often fresh mackerel or fish from the harbour. I am trying to get back to salad. I went off it for a long while because of my mouth pain. You’d think chewing leaves would be easy, right? Nope. The grinding motion was really painful a lot of the time so I just stopped and ate soft, non-grindy foods instead – loads of cooked root veg and fish mainly. Even things like spinach (grindy) or broccoli (couldn’t bite through it unless overcooked which I hated) had to be avoided because of the mouth pain. It might be a slice of roast beef now too (new). I’d love to get soups or casseroles or (please) curries in and I’m working on that.

I might have an apple (new) or a pear (new) to finish my lunch with something sweet.

After lunch is my most vulnerable time of the day. I have learned to just rest if I can. I often meditate for 20 minutes and then do some personal bits and bobs such as cooking, ordering stuff, putting the washing on, looking stuff up etc.

I am ALWAYS hungry about half an hour after I have eaten lunch. I haven’t worked this one out. Adrenal crash maybe from the exertion of digestion or gastric dumping syndrome I’ve had suggested to me, but haven’t worked on yet (part of this year!). It doesn’t matter what I’ve eaten; it always happens.

I’ve tried everything. Nothing works like 2-3 squares of really dark chocolate (new). Maybe it is a magnesium need. (I just thought that as I wrote it as a craving for chocolate is often a magnesium need). Anyhow, that’s what I do. When I couldn’t have the chocolate, it was a nightmare; I’d feel like I was going to collapse to be truthful. I recall P had to have the chocolate ready for me to pop out of a clinic appointment with a patient and give it to me as soon as he saw my pale face run into reception lol. Poor P. When I couldn’t have the chocolate – or a magnesium spray or any supplements – my saviour: plaintain crisps came to the rescue. I somehow needed fat and the salt which is what makes me feel it is to do with my adrenals. I swear those crisps stopped me losing even more weight. I still have some occasionally in the afternoon.

Image result for hibiscus teaBack to work. I am trying a cup of tea here (new). I have so far had Golden Monkey black tea – very gentle. I have several new ones to try and started with hibiscus flowers today, bright red colour and bursting with Vitamin C. Focusing on anti-histamine and nourishing types such as lotus root, moringa and olive leaf as well as my faves like spearmint and licorice.

In this new year, after lunch and my break, I will be focusing on writing the Healing Plan and doing the chronic illness development work. That involves reading, listening, watching stuff and writing mostly. This year, part of my plan is to build up to going for a longer walk three times a week and listen to a training podcast. I have got several series saved up especially for this that I’m really looking forward to.

Of course, this has physical body benefits in terms of the walking, the fresh sea air and resting my eyes on the sheer beauty of where I am lucky enough to live. This increases lymphatic flow, oxygenation and muscle strength as well as overall cardio fitness. Listening to the podcasts is training, but it is also part of my neuroplasticity work to keep strengthening those new neural pathways that healing is not only possible, nor even probable; it is a question of time and putting the effort in. Listening to others’ stories and understanding how things went wrong for me – and many chronic illness sufferers – and how to turn it around is a big part of the therapy.

Sometimes, of course, it is best to use the walk as ‘movement meditation’ and just concentrate on what you’re seeing around you. It’s a balance and intuitive.

Come back in from walk. Check for any urgent emails, finish off anything needed. Once I’ve finished emails, if I’ve not done a walk, I will usually do a 10 or 20 minute evening Qi Gong routine to release stress. There are shaking exercises in this that I find really work for me; I feel miles more relaxed in the evening if I’ve done them.

Interestingly, so-called trauma release exercises usually involve muscle ‘shaking’ so I am starting with the Qi Gong routines, but may upgrade to TRE or psoas release exercises later on when I feel ready. These are specific methods of releasing stored trauma and stress from the body tissues. I have tried them but they are too strong for me currently. If I feel rubbish, I will have a bath or do some more meditation.

Go and have some tea. Nowadays, that could be fish or seafood, egg (new) or meat (new) with courgetti pasta (new), mini baked, jacket or boiled potatoes (boiled in tap water!)(new), mayonnaise (new) or tomatoes (new), mushrooms, cucumber (new) or root veg with greens such as spinach, broccoli or cabbage mostly. I might have a glass of wine (new) rarely if I feel like one – usually if I have a bath, see above!

I might then follow that later on when I’m watching the telly with a couple of squares of chocolate (new) or a portion of my current fave: a nut fruit crumble made using apples (new) and plums (new), ground pecans (new) and almonds (new) with either dates (new), coconut sugar (new) or honey (new) and a little grapeseed oil (new).

So, that’s the ideal and what I can do food and energy-wise so far. It doesn’t always work out like that, of course, for various reasons, mainly if I feel rubbish or have got loads of work on, but that’s what I am now aiming for most days.

And that’s a heck of a lot better than life has been I can tell you!

As I have said many times, you need to have a plan, you need to know what you’re aiming at and you need to put the work in to get better. This is not as simple as taking a pill, although if that’s all you can do for now, that is fine. Like me, maybe you can start with lying-down meditation and WHEE and, just by doing that, you will start to turn yourself around and point yourself in the right direction for wellness.

Image result for healthy and happy

For me: I am determined to keep all the ‘body balls’ as I think of them in the air. I need to keep the emotional trauma work going with the hypnotherapy, WHEE, CBT etc, maintain the mental, cognitive neuroplasticity work to strengthen those neural pathways, continue my ‘spiritual’ work with the meditation and connection to the Universe (the most weird and hardest for me to accept, but ultimately, the most change has come from this) and now add in the physical work to build nutrient levels and optimum physical functioning. Ultimately, this will also build into better social connections and stepping back out into the world as a fully-well person.

Just a wee bit to do there then – I swear this getting better lark is a full-time job!

This year, peeps – are you coming with me???

What Next for Purehealth in 2017?

Image result for 2017 happy new year healthy  Happy 2017 to you all – here we go with another blank canvas to build on – SO exciting! Let’s start with my usual ‘state of the nation’ first post of the year..

I’ve been thinking an awful lot recently about where to take Purehealth in the next few years. I’m not quite there yet but, as per, I find if I write something down, it helps me think it through! Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve been up to in Purehealth Clinic world so far; it’s really interesting to see how it has evolved actually (to me, anyway) and I am aware we have a lot of new peeps who don’t know me from Adam, so I thought it might help. Many of you have been with me right from the start, which is lovely!

Simple beginnings

Gut PlanI started my natural medicine career with Holland & Barrett as a Saturday girl in 1988, would you believe, then, branch adviser, branch manager, then in head office troubleshooting for over 400 shops and in charge of customer service and PR/Communications for, eventually, the whole retail group.

After training in massage therapy and nutritional medicine, I spent from 1997 to 2010 seeing patients, writing and teaching on all aspects of natural medicine: physical and biochemical. At that point, cases seemed a lot less complex than they are today and I spent a lot of time on mainly gut health, TATT (tired all the time), blood sugar issues, weight maintenance, detox and what I would call ‘simple’ food intolerance (wheat and dairy mostly).

The vast majority of patients got better on my Gut Plan – the MOT allergen-removal, stomach acid support, gut and liver cleanse I started almost every patient off with and which solved most issues or at least let us see what we were left with. This still works today for a shed-load of people, of course. I dovetailed that with physical medicine as a massage/manipulative therapist and referred people to Philip for clinical hypnotherapy to help change habits, lower anxiety and unpick unhelpful beliefs. It was a system that worked well.

Getting more complex…

Image result for complex cases

From about 2008, I started getting more ‘complex’ cases through the door – what I term the unresolving chronic illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple-sensitivity, chronic pain, hormonal dysfunction – essentially multi-system disorders usually not responding to ‘normal’ mainstream or alternative treatments. That may well have been because I was mentioning them more and just that when you’re experienced, people tend to seek you out.

My sense, though, was there did seem to be a lot more people with more multi-layered issues somehow. Rather than just asking patients to trial off wheat and dairy free, I moved to gluten and dairy free and that seemed to help more people, so I started looking at gluten more in my own case and why it might be causing issues in the complex cases.

grain iconGluten

From about 2010, I started working on gluten related disorders as a possibility why many of us chronic illness peeps weren’t getting well and why many of us seemed to be so hyper-sensitive. After I’d fallen over with shock at what I discovered, I introduced the premise in early 2011 with my article No Grain, No Pain here, launched this TrulyGlutenFree site to write everything I was learning down and started work on the Barrier Plan to explain how gluten causes barrier breakdown and hyper-permeability and onward to hypersensitivity to food and chemicals, inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. I released that for you in early 2012 and it was well-received, thank goodness 🙂

For the rest of that year and 2013, I developed TGF versions of the normal Adrenal and Candida Plans, wrote the TGF Breakfasts book and started work on the TGF Supplements Master List as I realised I was simply ingesting my allergens and sparking inflammatory and autoimmune issues with the very stuff I was using to try and get well! You can see all the TGF ebooks etc here.

Gluten Plan

In 2014, I decided the time had come to stop doing 1:1 consults and use that saved time to write down everything I’d learned and all this research finally culminated in the new 300-odd page Gluten Plan which included my testing and treatment protocols. Again, this went down really well and continues to do well to this day, helping many people realise the probable reasons for their unrelenting illness and how to test and treat if they have a gluten related disorder and barrier hyper-permeability of the gut and/or brain.

More than TrulyGlutenFree

During that same year, I determined that a proportion of people were truly hypersensitive and even going TGF seemed not to be enough to trigger healing and stop symptoms. This included me! I’d gone so far with it but was still suffering more than I should have been given my really restricted diet. So, thinking I must still be really inflamed, I went AIP (autoimmune protocol diet) although it wasn’t called that then – I sort of did it naturally by removing all inflammatory and allergenic foods. This helped to an extent but I next decided to do an elimination diet to see what was still triggering my mouth pain, migraines and chronic fatigue.

Worst decision I ever made. I did feel better but I then couldn’t get any of the foods back in so was left on about 20 core foods until quite recently! Oops.

Healing: nil by mouth!

Brain iconThe one good thing that came out of this very scary time was that it did start me thinking about non-ingestive healing methods. By that, I mean what could I (we?) do to get ourselves well that didn’t involve ingesting foods, meds or supplements? Frankly, I’d had enough of the ‘cut it out’ approach and had very little left to cut out! I wanted a more positive healing approach rather than more deprivation, if you know what I mean. That was ultimately a very depressing life and it needed to stop, but then so did my symptoms. What more could I do? Even on fewer than 20 foods, my fatigue, mouth pain and migraine hadn’t gone. Improved, but not gone. I started again writing down everything I found useful about non-ingestive healing methods and the Healing Series on the blogs started.

Since then, I have been researching and trialling various ‘healing’ methods and not taken any supplements or meds, or changed my diet, to see if I could get well a different way. This has led to a huge learning curve. I learned about brain neuroplasticity, subconscious behavioural systems, ACE (adverse childhood events) and trauma-triggered illness, central sensitivity syndrome, the amygdala and loads more.

What’s causing a lot of chronic illness?

I have come to the conclusion that many of us with unrelenting chronic illnesses have a too-turned up amygdala or sensitivity mechanism in the brain triggered by epigenetic changes caused by trauma and neglect in both childhood and as adults mostly but not exclusively. Add to that subconscious thought patterns, beliefs and fear feeding on fear creating deep neuroplastic grooves that just get stronger every time you think the same things and you get hyper-sensitised type conditions:

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How many of those can you count? I think I have had 10 of them at some point! I first wrote about CSS here. Of course, it’s more complex than that and this won’t explain every case, but for the last year or so, I have been routinely asking people if they had any major stress or trauma in childhood or before the onset of the first symptoms of their current unremitting chronic illness. The numbers are HUGE, trust me. I am now much more surprised when someone says no than when they say yes. We need to wake up to this and start doing something about it.

The good news is that you CAN turn it around but, again trust me, it is not as easy as some people make out! It has taken time and dedication, but I have got much better at last. In the last six months, I have reintroduced a lot of foods and I feel I am somewhat approaching ‘normal’ health for a 50 year old! Sure, I’ve a way to go and have learned this is an evolving ‘journey’, but I am SO not the person I was health-wise even a year ago. How long have I wanted to be able to say that?!

Of course, now my task is to try and assess what I did that worked and put it into some kind of structure you can follow or that will at least help move you forward. Hence, I’ve started writing the Healing Plan, which is no mean feat as much of the work is instinctive and completely non-linear, not lending itself well at all to structure, but I’m having a go because so many of you have asked me to explain it and I can’t fully! Yet.

So, after all that: what now for Purehealth?

Clinic philosophy-wise, this has led me to trying now to develop a new Purehealth model of healing for chronic illness, if you like. There are lots of general models out there and I am now trying to fit what I did to them (proving very hard!) or adapt them and come up with something practical for you. This kind of thing but more specific, structured and practical that I can communicate and deliver in some way to more people – I’ll know it when I’ve done it 😉

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To get truly well from a persistent, unresolving chronic illness – of whatever type – we need to work on the brain and subconscious as well as – and sometimes before – we chase down the biochemistry with tests, meds and supplements. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I tend nowadays to ask people to do the healing work first and then see what they are left with that needs fixing biochemically then – ie. the adrenals, thyroid, methylation or whatever.

That’s the stage I am at now. I need to work on the physical body now that my emotional, cognitive and spiritual (for want of a better word) are much stronger. The mistake I think we can make is to start with the physical and I am finding it rarely works in these kind of cases. You can certainly shore up the body and improve symptoms but the biochemical stuff maybe has to come later than we think, and then will we in fact need as much of it by that stage – probably not.

The biggest lesson I have learned – or been reminded of actually – is that if you give your body the healing state it needs, change the way the brain is thinking about illness and remove the subconscious triggers, it has the power to turn itself around without so much biochemical work. This is a tough admit for a biochemist-trained medical nutritionist! But it’s the truth, certainly in many cases I am seeing, especially in hypersensitivity and central sensitivity syndromes like CFS, fibromyalgia, migraine, depression, anxiety disorders, chronic pain etc etc.

I am aware this sounds like it is simple: trust me, it is not! But, I have proven it does work so it merits my clinical focus I think now.

How the heck will I have time to do all that?

Business-wise, I managed to run a totally virtual service of test facilitation, analysis, support and resources from behind my screen when I was feeling ill much of the time. I retreated behind my screen because I had to – no-one wants help from a nutritionist who keeps cancelling on you because she herself is too ill!

It was a strategy that worked. In fact, it has worked a bit too well! Frankly, the test service, which I originally set up so that patients didn’t feel I had abandoned them when they needed repeat tests and I’d stopped 1:1 work, is so successful, nowadays it takes all my time.

Once I realised people still needed my help to sort their tests out, of course they also needed interp and protocol advice. I couldn’t do 1:1 work so I set up the A-Z of Health Factsheets on the Purehealth site and wrote Plans for the most common issues I was being asked about – Adrenal, Candida, Gut, Diabetes/Belly Fat/Weight Gain to name a few – and offered test reports. I also set up the Facebook Groups and Pinterest boards to encourage knowledge-sharing and positive peer group support (no whingeing allowed!).

It worked really well and I felt I had stumbled onto a service much earlier than most in my industry about how to support people effectively from afar rather than do a traditional bums on seats clinic. I missed the company obviously but business-wise it worked.

So, that’s how it still works today, more or less. I realised early last year (2016) that the test service and Facebook was essentially taking up most of my time – there is a lot of admin and emails to testing and I am a natural chatterbox on FB, as you know! So, I recruited Victoria to help run the test service and Christine (aka the research rottweiler) to help out on Facebook.

Christine is a whizz on FB and continues to answer the questions and point you to stuff before I’ve even logged on, bless her! The test support service worked beautifully initially, but then, very upsettingly (is that even a word?!) and essentially doubling my workload overnight, I had to end my association with Victoria with immediate effect 6 weeks or so ago, hence me having to work out now what we do next!

OK, so that’s where we are today. I don’t feel much like taking on another nutritionist and I can’t do everything myself – and neither should I be. I have almost 30 years’ experience now in natural medicine and I should be a ‘join the dots’ type of person, working on the chronic illness stuff I have learned about personally and professionally, not ‘farting about with test admin’ as someone so elegantly put it to me the other day 😉

I’m sure you see my point.

New year: new way of working

Image result for writer

So, some changes are afoot. Of course there are: it’s a new year and you know what I get like at this time of year by now – all excited at a new blank year to build and create on 🙂

Essentially, this year I plan to start becoming more of the researcher, writer and educator I should be at this stage. Thankfully, I no longer need to be the person hiding behind a screen – or an illness for that matter, yay! The big job is essentially now to combine all the work on TGF and non-ingestive healing into a useable, easy to communicate, deliverable model of healing that works. No mean feat. Why DO I do this to myself??!!

Not sure how it will all work but I will try to do less of the test service admin work somehow, possibly by recruiting an admin person rather than a nutritionist this time and/or producing resources to foster DIY interp as per the Plans and I have a few other ideas up my sleeve for you, of course, which I am working on.

The first job is to finish the Healing Plan I am writing about the ‘journey’ I took and point you to the resources I used and specifically how I used them. I’m almost finished – although I do keep thinking that and then thinking of something else to add! I’m hoping to have done that by the end of Jan (aha: accountability there ;))

After that, I will keep the clinic services running as per and spend more time researching and communicating about chronic illness and developing the model and resources for you eg. on diabetes, thyroid, heart disease etc as well as the syndromes mentioned earlier like FM, CFS, autoimmune diseases and multiple sensitivity. That’s the theory anyway!

alt medicine iconPersonal healing

A bit more on my own personal healing as I know many of you want to know..

This year, I am focusing on my physical body again whilst continuing the healing stuff. I’ve worked so hard to change my neural pathways and subconscious triggers, my physical body has been left behind somewhere and it needs renourishing, quite literally.

I am now turning back to the biochemistry of nutrient imbalance, methylation issues, hormones, liver – whatever I deem necessary – as well as improving physical fitness, muscular and lymphatic strength. I had to do the healing stuff first and now I can see the wood for the trees, work on what’s left and rebuild like the 6 Million Dollar Man (that takes me back!). I need all my ‘bodies’ in alignment – I’ve been working on the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies, if you like; now it is time to maintain those and bring the physical body up to match.

2017 will be the year the migraine and mouth pain goes for good and I step back out into the world properly as a ‘well’ person. I am determined!

So, exciting times and a lot of personal and clinic work ahead for 2017 then as per! I hope it will ultimately help you as well as me so let’s get to it – any thoughts or ideas, do share – we’re family. x

My Christmas Healing Gift To You..

To all my Purehealth family: thanks for being there and for being lovely this year.

My gift to you this season is some phrases to repeat as part of your brain retraining and healing strategy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t quite believe the words, say them anyway at any time when you feel you need reassurance or comfort.

In the early days, I used them an awful lot whenever I saw someone doing something or tucking into something I could no longer do or have, if I felt a symptom or worry coming on – ALL the time, basically!

Look at something nice in the room you find yourself in – the cat, hubby, a pretty teapot or cushion, a tree outside, a colour – whatever – and repeat these words to yourself:

I am OK, I am OK. Everything is OK. This will pass, this is temporary and it will go. It is already going and I am going to be fine. I will get well. I am OK. Everything is OK.

Breathe, repeat, smile even when you don’t feel like it as your brain doesn’t know the difference between a real smile or a fake one. I even used to go into the loo and say it to myself in the mirror!

Say some more..

I am OK. This too will pass and I will be fine. I am OK, all is well, this is from a past illness which is already going. I am getting well. I am fine. Nothing to worry about here. I’m fine. This will pass. It’s temporary.

Obviously, use words like that to suit you, but you get the point. Nope: I didn’t believe it was a past illness at that stage either but, trust me, your subconscious is listening and, if it hears it enough, it will start to believe it and it then starts coming true. Mad? Possibly. Work. Yes, it does, and here’s how I know:

This Christmas, to celebrate, I will be having glasses of champagne (or Cava, cos I’m tight!), chocolate Booja Booja truffles, hot chocolate made with soya milk, potatoes, gravy and beef. Eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, plum nut & seed crumble and more besides.

Those are all new foods.

Even better, I will NOT be having a migraine or a mouth flare. I hope.

The best news to end the year with is that both have settled down a LOT despite all those new foods and (whisper it) I think the migraines are finally on the wane after 5 years of suffering them. Please God or whoever; I wouldn’t wish those on my worst enemy if I had one. SO debilitating.

I’ve a way to go yet, I know, but if you’d told me last Christmas that I’d be able to eat all that this year and not being having chronic fatigue, mouth flares and migraines etc as a result, I’d have laughed at you. But, I can and I will – even though when I started saying stuff like that to my subconscious yonks ago, I never believed it on a conscious level. Just goes to show you should do it anyway and trust me!

My first job in 2017 is to finally complete the Healing Plan so you can see exactly what I did. I’ve realised the reason it has taken me so long to write is because this healing lark evolves all the time and is FAR from linear. I have a way to go, it goes up and down, back and forth and I am just trusting my instincts to inch myself forward constantly. Trying to communicate how to do that is tough – but I’m almost there for you. Watch out for it in the new year and, in the meantime: Click to enjoy this year’s card

Happy Christmas – and here’s to us all making huge healing progress in 2017.

Get to it – you WILL get better. You’re OK. You’re OK. You’re OK 🙂

xxx

Lost, Sad, Fearful, Flat, Negative? Two-Step Programme for Happiness

I’ve felt all of those at some point or another and certainly when I was feeling really poorly most of the time. You can’t help but feel sad, fearful and negative when every day seems to be a struggle, can you? We’re only human.

What I learned was the the brain can easily get stuck in a negative-thinking loop; you think negative things and it becomes a deep neuroplasticity groove and you just become more and more sad, upset and fearful. It’s a fact of life that our brains can do that; we are primed to look for danger, but when it goes too far, you need to know you can stop that subconscious habitual loop and break the circuit. When I learned that – which, trust me, took a while! – it gave me such hope. I had something to focus on and do practically to help myself. I immediately became less of a victim.

Sure, it’s not as easy as taking a pill and it takes time and commitment but ultimately you end up as a much happier, more joyful, positive, strong and grounded person able to withstand life’s wobbles much more than you ever could before. I know because the latest ‘life wobble’ for me has only served to show me how strong at my core I really am now. That sounds so trite, I know, so forgive me, but ’tis true, so there 😉

Anyway, today I have updated the Stress, Anxiety and Depression Factsheet in the A-Z for you. I’ve been meaning to do it for ages. I’ve essentially recommended a two-step programme for you to follow to turn yourself around, much like I did.

The reason I’ve been spurred on to do it now is that I see the programme is on a really good offer until 5th December so save some money whilst you can! 

Here’s a bit of what I’ve written on that – now pretty long! – Factsheet:

Two Steps To Happiness

My recommendation for you is two-fold. I found this kind of combination therapy is the best approach as they work in different ways. 

First, seek out therapists who will help you, such as ‘our Julie’ on the Support Team, who helped me enormously. Preferably find someone who will do a mix of CBT and clinical hypnotherapy so you are really getting to the nub of what’s going on and can release any underlying subconscious and therefore hidden keys.

Have a free session with Julie and/or go the DIY route to start with at least until you feel ready for more. Download one of her self-hypnosis audios and do it every day for a month, then see where you go from there. 

Next, I also recommend this Foundations of Wellbeing Programme. It’s written by Dr Rick Hanson, who actually wrote Hardwiring Happiness and the Buddha Brain. I don’t actually like his written stuff that much, but this programme is fantastic. Click on the image for more about it.

It’s essentially a year-long programme that you work through to help un-do habitual ways of thinking and, most importantly, develop strength, joy and resilience instead of the negative bias our brains are primed for.

I know you think you’re not doing that: that’s what I thought! But, trust me, the subconscious has you by the short and curlies and part of the process is that you don’t know it – it’s subconscious, not at the conscious level, so why would you?! Took me ages to admit it.

Anyway, it is a brain science-based programme with talks and lectures from some of the best in the field, exercises for you to do and loads of stuff. I did it and found it excellent. I recall actually being astounded and crying at some of the content even in the first talk. I thought: blimey, these people have just described me. It made me feel less alone with it. 

In essence, if you feel sad, anxious, flat, wobbly, lost or out of control in any area of your life, do this. It works.

Read all about it here. Rick is definitely NOT in this for the money; he actually refunded mine as a gift for the work I do to help others, which he really didn’t need to do. That is a kind person.

OK, so this is for people who feel sad, negative, fearful, lost or basically unhappy mainly. Don’t continue feeling like that, please.

Do one or preferably both of these steps and think how much better you could be feeling in a few weeks but certainly by the start of 2018! You simply couldn’t give yourself a better start to 2017, so sort it out, treat yourself and feel better step by step.

Good luck x

Music Heals

Music notes on white background  I’ve just written a piece in the forthcoming Healing Plan (yes, I am still writing it!) about music and its importance in your healing, er, plan.

At various stages, music of different types became very important to me. I knew when I was really depressed and ill because I couldn’t bear to listen to music. I still find that works today as an indicator when stress is getting to me. I realise I’ve not had the radio on for a few days or something – that’s normally the first sign.

Then, at other stages, I needed extremely calming music, inspirational music, dance music to lose myself to, the sound of a piano to soothe me, nostalgic music from various stages of my life when I was either traumatised or happy. In short, I used music a lot to help me along the path to healing.

One of my favourite things when I was teaching my Sparkle Programme (for people who’d lost theirs!) was to make students sit or lie down and listen to a multi-layered piece of music and try to follow one strand/layer all the way through and ignore the rest. This is like a kind of meditation when you can’t meditate, if you like. I find it incredibly powerful and, thankfully, so did they. It takes practice but the practice is actually the meditation, if you see what I mean.

And it doesn’t have to be classical music either, unless that floats your boat.

Most often, in class and personally, I used one of my favourite bands: Leftfield! In fact, the Leftism album has followed me around in life: from lying on the floor with my partner at the time in complete darkness just experiencing it for the first time, to using a track from it to set scrolling images in a presentation to motivate staff when I had a ‘proper’ job at British Gas as a PR for a couple of years, to it creating a joyous feeling whenever I listen to it in the sun, to today writing to it often! It simply makes me dance in my head. Try it – its dance music but give it a go.

A softer piece of music – which I may in fact get married to next year! – is the soundtrack from The Piano by Michael Nuyman. I’m sure it is based on something by a different composer but I don’t know who – if you do, please let me know! Whatever, it gets me in my heart every time. I use it often to bring stuck emotions to the surface and it invariably leaves me feeling better and smiling – even if through tears.

Ok, so how did I get onto this subject?!

I saw this interesting piece from Yasmina on Music Therapy and it set me off. And, as I say, I had just written a bit about music in my own ‘journey’ in the Healing Plan. It’s a tough write this time but ultimately very satisfying as I pull together the strands of what helped and what didn’t. Though I say it myself, I am quite proud of myself for both doing it and being objective enough to analyse it for you to get something from, I hope!

Anyway, go and read Yasmina’s piece here too:

Music Therapy Helps Lower Histamine

Enjoy x

Free Mini Self-Healing Masterclass

Mini Masterclass in Mind Control

Our Julie‘ did a free live self-healing masterclass series on the TGF Facebook group this week. She is very brave! If you missed them live or aren’t on Facebook, I don’t want you to miss out as they were really good. Ok, I know I’m biased because she helped me personally but they are still good, so there 😉

I thought I’d share the Facebook comment I wrote after watching Day 1 for you as it says pretty much what I want to say again after the whole series: think of this as part of your self-healing prescription and brain retraining work and go listen to it!

Just catching up with these, Julie, but if this one is anything to go by, this series is a MUST WATCH folks.

Think about these classes as part of your brain training – hearing positive thoughts that you can get well and listening to techniques that can help you will ultimately help to start turning your brain around to a new way of thinking, so do listen.

On specifics in this one [Day 1], there is some excellent advice about reactivity – to food or chemicals – and how the brain is involved in that, about starting to question whether you will always react or is that a conditioned response now, a learned brain pattern, and learning to be friends with your body.

If it helps to illustrate the importance of this kind of information, I’ll share as per! When I first started – long before I met Julie – I was asked to stroke my legs once a day. I thought they were potty but actually I couldn’t do it!! That shocked me and it was used as an illustration of how much I hated my body for doing what it was doing to me – I hated it that much, I loathed it! It took me a long time to realise that I wasn’t being kind to myself and that the physical reactions had grown from ‘just being grain and dairy sensitive’ to a kind of self sabotage – totally unconsciously. The more I kept telling myself I was reacting to food, of course the more I reacted to food.

Also, just before I started to get foods back in, Julie kept asking me now I had calmed the amygdala and system down, why I thought I would still be so reactive? Of course, I scoffed and poo-poo’d greatly but the question did go in and I thought well, let’s see. I didn’t react. That taught me! It might be that you do still react to something – that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting better – just continue on the amygdala calming route and you WILL get there. Who knows how much time that will take (2 years for me) but at least you are on the right path and eventually you will more than surprise yourself!

Oh lol, as usual I have written a bloomin essay! I think I shall post these on the blog and comment on them so everyone can see.

Well done Julie – keep it up and if you’ve not listened, pls do so as part of your amygdala work – that’s a prescription 🙂 x

OK, so you can see all five replays on the Facebook group or on Julie’s website.

Do go and listen to them as part of your healing ‘journey’; I promise it will help. If you’re inspired by it or feel a session or two with Julie might be a good idea, remember she is part of our Purehealth team and you can book a free exploratory chat with her here.

Enjoy, and thanks for doing that for us, Julie.

Recovery Bloating!

Image result for bloating One of the things you need to be prepared for when you start eating foods again is bloating! As I sit here, I am holding about 8 kittens in my stomach area.

Image result for kittensEh, kittens? P and I measure the size of my stomach in number of kittens to make it feel better!

Anyway, when you have been on a very restricted diet for several months or years and you lose a lot of weight like I did (almost 3 years on 20 foods, heading for a size 6), your body is really going to know about it when you start eating again!

You have basically been literally starving – poor macro and micro nutrient levels mean body systems slow down and you become very cold, fatigued, bony, periods stop or become erratic etc.

I began to think of it a bit akin to how anorexics must feel and suffer. And, as it turned out, my PTSD-triggered hypersensitivity was a form of eating disorder I think although I hesitate to call it that; probably more ‘disordered eating’, although I am not certain what the difference is. In fact, I overheard P telling someone how much better I was the other day and when they asked what it was, he said ‘a bit like an eating disorder’so it is clearly a kind of shorthand for what happened, an easy way to explain it, even if that wasn’t quite it as it started with a purely physiological TGF problem to gluten.

Anyway, yesterday someone liked the post I did When Will I Get Better? and I followed their blog as I often do. The top post was on recovery bloating no less and resonated with exactly how I am feeling! Have a read here:

The Truth about Bloating in Recovery

As you’ll see if you read that, the author talks about the inevitability of the body bloating when you start eating properly again. And, wisely, advises not to let it throw you back into disordered-eating thinking patterns.

I confess, a part of me has body dysmorphia – we discovered this in treatment – and this bloating has certainly made me think abut stopping eating again or at least consider cutting things out again to stop the bloat and fat feeling. This is not good! I am never going there again but it IS hard to deal with the bloating and weight gain, which happens so quickly, that it is quite normal to wobble a bit (in more ways than one!), but if we are aware it will probably happen, we can be ready for it and have a cognitive way of thinking about it ready.

For me, as a nutritionist, this is how I justify it to stop myself slipping back: ‘well, what did you think was going to happen when you reintroduced food? You needed to put weight on and you are doing. Your body doesn’t trust that it is going to get food now and has to re-learn to trust you. In the meantime, it is going to hang on to every bit of nutrient you are giving it. And when you put more food in, the gut flora is bound to change, you won’t have enough stomach acid or enzyme production to cope so OF COURSE your gut is going to struggle. Dur..!” etc etc.

That is exactly how my mind is working currently. I wanted to share it with you so you’ll be ready for it too when you start eating more foods again. Give your body – and mind – a chance to adapt and find its level. I anticipate it will take a good few months and will happen each time I put a major food group back in. And, now I can tolerate supplements again, I shall support my digestion, gut flora, vits and mins more speedily.

In essence, today’s lesson is: Bloating and weight gain will happen until the body finds its level again. Don’t let it faze you.

I need to listen to my own advice 😉

When Will I Get Better?

Brain iconAh, the sixty million dollar question, isn’t it? I read an interesting post from our friends at SCD Lifestyle (the ones who do the leaky gut prog here) and the start of it made me remember something I was going to write about. Let’s begin with what they wrote:

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions along the lines of: “When am I going to get better?”

I get emails like this all the time:

“Hi guys, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 5 years ago and I started SCD 2 weeks ago. So far my energy is better and my diarrhea’s been cut in half. My only question is: when am I going to heal? Do you think I even will be able to? Right now I can only eat 8 foods.” – Christina

I love this question. Mostly because when I was sick 7 years ago I spent endless hours trolling Google trying to find the answer myself. So I’m going to share some of the writing I’ve done about this before… because I could reply back with any number of cliché inspirational sayings we have, like:

  • “It took a long time to get sick and it takes a long time to get better”
  • “This healing process is a marathon, not a sprint – you’re doing great!”
  • “Everyone has a custom diet that works for them… you just have to keep testing until you find yours”

Each of these reassuring clichés is completely true, but what I love about Christina is: she already started the diet. She already accomplished the most difficult part of taking control of her health by overcoming thoughts in her head like “What if it doesn’t work for me?” or “I don’t have time to cook all this food.”

Starting the diet is not only the first step, but it’s the most important one. Christina is going to be just fine.

How do I know?

She cut her BM’s by 50% in two weeks.

50% Improvement Is Dramatic

Sure, she’s isn’t healed yet, but let me put 50% improvement into perspective for you.

Imagine you finished a new project at work and it was fantastic… a total home run. The following week, your boss calls you into his office and says, “You did such a good job on the last project I’m going to double your salary and give you a 200% raise.”

What would a 200% raise do for your life?

Doubling your income would be pretty awesome, right? Maybe make things a little easier…

Well, so would a natural 50% reduction in your symptoms.

How true is that?! But also how true is it that we often can’t see that improvement for what it is? I am often faced with people who have made really significant improvements in their symptoms and diet, but who can’t see it. All they can see is what they’ve still got left to do and they fail to celebrate how far they’ve come.

It reminded me of what is termed ‘catastrophising’. I did a lot of it, and catch myself still doing it. It helps me to know that, in fact, we are programmed to do it.

Whilst I was reading around for the healing series, I read a lot about the negative bias in our brain. Essentially, we are programmed to look for the danger in life – it’s what kept us safe and alive as a species! – but sometimes it can get a bit out of control.

I think it was Rick Hanson’s work that made me most aware of it. You can read his blog post series on it here:

Confronting the Negativity Bias

In some ways I was aware I was doing it, but eventually it became a habitual and very unhelpful way of thinking. I would wake up every day and my first thought was along the lines of : ‘well, I wonder what I will have to cope with today?’, ‘what symptoms will hit me that I’ll have to get through today?’ etc etc, ad infinitum. I literally steeled myself for what was going to hit. (And I do mean literally there – I became very tense, muscle-stiff, steeled, rigid if you like..) Of course, in some ways it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. You become what you think most…

Now, of course, it is totally understandable when you feel crap and in some kind of pain mentally, emotionally or physically much of the time. I’m not judging myself or you (OK, a bit myself, I admit!). But, I did find I had to become aware of it and make actual conscious efforts to turn it around; to stop it being habitual thinking, a conditioned, almost Pavlovian response. It was part of my healing process to realise what I was doing and to stop it. Easy to say, tough to do.

It is very difficult to try and see the positives in life when you feel so rubbish. I know. That’s why people tell you to write what you are grateful for every day in your journal when you go to bed and such like. It is trite as heck. But it actually works. It is part of the neuroplasticity training, if you like: changing a negative neural pathway that has developed a deep groove with overuse of the negative thinking and building a new positive pathway and repeating it over and over in various ways to strengthen it more and more. It takes time.

Part of my therapy with Julie was a complete fight as I tried to turn this catastrophising around! Oh we argued like heck sometimes. She challenged my thought processes and I defended them to the hilt, of course. We rarely came to an agreement there and then but it seemed to percolate down over the next week or so and I caught myself challenging myself – and of course chuntering about Julie who had invariably been right. Not all the time (she’s reading this and we don’t want her to get a big head ;)) but most of the time. Tsk.

Anyway, I can only tell you what I understand by catastrophising, so I asked ‘our Julie’ for her take on it for us. And she wrote us a new blog post! Have a read here:

Catastrophizing

Ok, so she spells it with a z and I spell it with an s. I had to check that, of course, pedant that I am – you can use either. Phew, thought I was going to have to change all mine!

Anyway, Julie gives some useful tips to help you notice you’re doing it and stop yourself. The bit about not assuming things will be the same every time is a good one. I remember when I started to reintroduce foods again, I was panicking I would get the same reactions as before until she said to me: ‘Why would you think you are going to react? That was before your treatment and this is afterwards. You are totally different now.’ That was very powerful. It worked and it was true and I still say it to myself all the time – building a neural pathway. Lesson learned.

Julie gets it absolutely right in her last bit:

Allow yourself to examine the evidence, searching for real facts not assumptions, and never base the future on the past! Just because something was, does not mean it will always be.

Begin to believe that, and in so doing, your brain will rewire itself and start to run a new programme in the mind and within the body; a new programme that promotes health and wellbeing.

There endeth today’s lesson; hope it helps. In essence, to answer the question we started with ‘When will I get better?’, turn it around a bit and instead ask:

How much better are you already?

Then work on the rest.

You WILL get better, believe it.