Forced Change

When we actively choose to change a behaviour or way of being, it can be challenging, stir up old traumas, & be an emotional roller coaster. As we have actively chosen this new path, although it can be hard at times, we are as prepared as possible for the shifts. Maybe we have a support network in place, done some preparatory reading, asked for help from a therapist, etc. This helps us overcome hurdles, increases the chance of the change being successful and beneficial to our being.

When change is forced upon us, which everyone on the planet has had to some degree this year, it can be even more challenging to deal with. Although there are ALWAYS silver linings to every form of change (sometimes you have to look hard for them), being told to change, especially when you maybe don’t agree with everything that is being implemented, can cause emotional & physical resistance, adoption of negative coping mechanisms, self depreciation, helplessness, and much more.

This forced change can have a negative impact on how we nourish ourselves on many levels, such as emotionally and nutritionally. It’s easy to turn to comfort food which can have a negative impact on our gut health and therefore our emotional health, to return to coping mechanisms we took on when we were children to cope with situations that we were not mature enough to comprehend or deal with at the time. Sudden change can take us by surprise and it can take a while to realised that we can deal with in a constructive way.

Each cell in the body retains memory, things that happened when we were little up to the present day. They can even contain memories from our ancestors. When we are going through trauma there are some areas/organs that accumulate certain emotions more than others. For example, grief/loss is felt in the lungs, anger & frustration in the liver, fear is felt and stored in the kidneys, and anxiety is felt in the stomach. Nutritionally you can target nourish these organs to help support the shift of emotions, to aid the cleansing, however, it’s a multi-pronged approach that works best. Supplying the supportive foods you need as well as acknowledging the emotion(s) that has arisen is key to long-term health.

If any of these emotions are overwhelming or felt for a prolonged time then it is likely that echos of them could be stored in the associated organ(s). During times of change and flux old emotions can resurface as the body is meeting the change. It is really important that you sit with this old (or new) emotion and let it pass through rather than be stored in your body. A book I found that really helped me in the past was The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer (please buy from a non-Amazon source to support local book stores like this one). I found that he explains the storing of emotions and the releasing of them in a simple but effective way.

If you are struggling at all at the moment with huge scale of global change then please do take time to help support yourself and do reach out for help if needs be. It’s a sign of strength to ask for support.

Take extra care & be gentle with yourself x

What have your Tipping Points been?

Instigator for positive change

(N.B. please bear in mind that I started writing this before bumbling, boring Boris put us back in lockdown in the UK. No offence is intended with this post)

The other day I went for a dog walk out the back gate in sunny Sussex, something some of you who were following my ‘morning rambles’ at the beginning of lockdown No1 will know it well, and two incidents acted in combination as a pivotal TIPPING POINT for positive change for me. Initially, seeing the pheasant beaters in the field at the back of our garden scaring the birds for the shooters to hit out of the sky pulled on my heart strings. Pointless ‘trophy’ hunting has never struck any chord with me. Then a new neighbour who is into the ‘working against nature’ method of farming had been round with his machine and destroyed a beautiful hedged wild meadow field, all for progress. I came back from a 30 minute walk so sad and upset at to how humans can go around destroying nature in various forms. The thought ‘what can just little old me’ swimming round my head (and admittedly a few tears rolling down my cheeks).

After an hour or so of soul searching, anger, frustration an old idea popped into my head (the TIPPING POINT) there WAS something positive I could take from this. It might not stop the pheasant shoot (well actually Lockdown No2 has done that) or stop our neighbour from destroying wildflower meadows and beautiful hedgerows BUT I could learn, study, increase my knowledge of how to work WITH nature & the land. A few years ago I’d explored doing a permaculture course but it didn’t work out for various reasons. This time I found a way to enroll on one. It starts in 2 weeks & I can’t wait to see where this positive journey takes me.

Pondering this tipping point turning into positive change I reflected back on previous tipping points in my life. They were not me hitting rock bottom, but times when my threshold for how things were was breached and I needed to take charge. For example, not wanting to live with digestive issues any longer so asking for help from a nutritional therapist to get well again. This, as some of you know, helped me heal quite quickly AND started my journey to being a qualified nutritional therapist. Another pivotal point was when I knew I had to over come my fear of swimming in the ocean after an incident when I was doing my open water diving qualification left me terrified of being in the ocean despite loving the sea and all it contains, so I forced myself to over come this fear by booking on a 3 month diving expedition on a desert island in Malaysia! Luckily, I over came my phobia, learnt so much about ocean life and met my future husband.

Have you had these tipping points? What kind of experiences have strongly encouraged (a nice way of saying forced) you to make positive changes/steps? They don’t need to be massive or health related but I’d love to know what kind of things have encouraged you to make positive changes.

This latest change in how we are living in the UK could be a tipping point for many. Maybe it will encourage us to take the opportunity to create positive change which often doesn’t have to cost anything. We all have choices in life, which path to tread. Whatever journey you are on please remember that sometimes when you reach the tipping point it can take a while to find the positive change it is trying to show you, it may feel like you have hit rock bottom and if that is the case please do reach out to loved ones. Don’t struggle in silence.

Be gentle with yourself, the positive WILL come x

Immune Boost – 8 Ways to Naturally Support your Defence System

Well no one can escape the spot light being shone on the importance of our immune systems & health in 2020. It is more important than ever to help our inherent defence system work effectively and provide all the nourishment it needs to thrive.

Normal seasonal sniffles, flu, childhood illnesses and other challenges to our immune system can happen at any time, it’s not just COVID-19 that we need to strengthen ourselves against. On a daily basis our immune system is tried and tested, often without us knowing. It does a great job of keeping us safe. However, sometime we are struck down with a bug, often because we have not been taking care of ourselves as well as we should have been.

For the majority of us there is a lot we can do to target nourish this vital protection system we have. Nourishment can come from many different sources – internal and external. Here are the key points which I cover in depth in my 28 Day Immune Boost Programme:

  • Food – every time we munch on something we have made a choice, consciously or sub-consciously, to nourish or rob our bodies of nutrients. Foods such as high sugar, processed foods, fast food, microwaved food, etc all generally rob our bodies of nutrients, taking more from our bodies to digest & process than they give in return. The more natural, vibrant and minimally processed foods tend to contain greater levels of nutrients and are therefore more supportive to nourishing our defence system.
  • Nutrients – there are key nutrients that our immune system needs to thrive: Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin A, Omega 3 (good fats) & Antioxidants. Optimal levels of these are key to a strong immune system. We often don’t even meet the 5 a day guidelines or get outside so our daily consumption of these vital nutrients is low. During the Immune Programme I show you how easy it is to up your intake of these nutrients during the day.
  • Gut health – as around 80% of our immune system is centred in the intestines, it’s vitally important that you have optimal levels of desirable bacteria, as these are the guards helping protect us from external invaders. Having sufficient stomach acid levels and healthy transit times to ensure that waste is removed effectively & efficiently are also key components to a healthy digestive defence.
  • Hydration – Dehydration has a negative effect on the immune system, impacting gut function, detoxification, mental capacity and much more. Keep your fluids up. Avoid caffeine, sugary drinks & alcohol.
  • Sleep – an important time for repair, rebalance and rest. If you are missing the magic sleep window your immune & mental health can be adversely affected.
  • Exercise – Movement helps get us outside and can positively boost our immune system & mood. It also supports an effective lymphatic system – essentially our rubbish removal system.
  • Stress – This depletes many of the key nutrients needed by the immune system, can trigger dehydration, adversely affects the gut and much more. Work on relaxation techniques, walk in nature and include self care as a must (it’s not selfish, it’s self love).
  • Connections – Emotional connections can both nourish and deplete us. Making sure we focus on nurturing relationship, having meaningful and fulfilling connections with others can help boost our immune response. It doesn’t just have to be with two legged friends either, our furry four legged companions can be so beneficial to our overall health, especially our immune system.

These 8 key areas are vital to keep in balance, especially during the rollercoaster of 2020. There is obviously more to each area than I’ve mentioned here. If you would like to be taken, step by step, through the indepth 4 week immune programme then please do get in touch – 0044 (0)7876757339 or contact@carolinewestoll.com

We will work together to target nourish your immune system, reduce inflammation, boost your gut and much more. Previous clients have joined the programme from both sides: to nourish & invest in their immune system AND post-illness, to renourish and recover.

Whatever your reasons, it’s more important than ever to look after ourselves so we can get the most out of life, care for our loved ones and stay strong on many levels.

TAKE CARE x

Seasonal Sniffles – 7 tips to support your body

GET WELL SOON

Well school started 2 weeks ago for our family. As I suspected the sniffles went round like wildfire. We are at the end of a week of runny noses, coughs, temperatures, headaches and such like (no not the C-word, just a funky cold). It happens every year, but I have a feeling that this year was a bit of a stronger dose as the children hadn’t had their immune systems tested for 6 months due to isolation. The immune response is a bit like a muscle, it needs to be flexed and check that it works. On a daily basis we are warding off minor bacteria, bugs, viruses, etc via our skin, lungs & digestive system without even knowing. However, staying away from others and not adventuring as much as normal as directed by the UK government has meant that the kids’ immune systems had a bit of a bigger stretch than normal this September.

It’s a good thing, as it helps clear toxin build up & makes them stronger for the coming winter. When they had the normal childhood illnesses they changed so much during the deeper infections. It was as if they grew up after emerging from chicken pox and the other common infections.

So in light of the past week of caring & nuturing our two lovelies, here’s a reminder of my top tips for caring for your body when going through seasonal sniffles:

  1. REST – don’t divert vital energy away from your immune response by staying busy. STOP and rest as much as you can.
  2. DRINK – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with water, herbal teas, fruit teas to flush out toxins and waste products from the invader and your immune response.
  3. EAT LITTLE & OFTEN – grazing is best when you are ill. Eat foods that are easily digested and don’t overload the system. Soups, stews, fruit (our favs are raspberries & grapes) and (green) veg all help support your body detox.
  4. SLEEP – cat napping, grabbing 40 winks, etc all help support your immune system, especially as our night time sleep can be sporadic when we have a cold.
  5. TIME – this is the best healer. Don’t forget to convalesce when you are over the worst. Get your energy back to 100% before going full pelt again.
  6. FRESH AIR – open a window if you can (and stay warm). Some essential oils we love to help clear congestion – peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree. A few drops in a bowl of hot water by the bed can help clear a stuffy nose.
  7. Lastly, avoid eating foods that are going to contribute to mucous and congestion – foods containing REFINED SUGAR, DAIRY & REFINED WHEAT are all mucous forming. There’s enough gunk generated by the viral invaders and your immune system. Don’t give your body more work to do.

Be kind to yourself and support this amazing defence system. Take care x

RESET Programme invitation & an exciting new feature

I hope you are well and life is treating you gently at the moment.  We had a little break away last week, going on two camping trips.  After listen to what kind of journeys various friends have been on over the past few months it’s really clear that different coping mechanisms have been used to help traverse this challenging time.  Things like cheeky glasses of wine most nights, sweet treats and various forms of comfort eating are common coping mechanisms that have slotted into daily life. These can have knock on effect on sleep, energy levels, mood, depression, immune system and our general health. 

They seem to slip in far to easily but it can be harder to cut them out especially as the main contributing factor to leaning on them as a crutch is still affecting daily life.  HOWEVER, that’s where I’d love to help you.  Over the next couple of months there are two opportunities where we can work TOGETHER to get you back on track, as I know YOU know it’s not really helping you in the long run.  Lets make some simple POSITIVE changes to your daily life to help you feel better & more in control of how you look after yourself.

The RESET 1-2-3 programme where we work together to reset:
1 – dependency on sugar (alcohol is included in this)
2 – a deep restful sleep
3 – flagging energy levels

Now, we are all human so I am not under the illusion that the foods/drinks under category 1 should be cut out completely but we can work on swapping to healthier options, reducing the mindless munching/drinking and discovering the real reason for reaching for these crutches. 

As a special new feature in my programmes you will receive a week menu plan tailored to your dietary needs FREE .  Whether you are a meat eater, hate eggs, love vegan food, etc  you will get this daily meal plan included in the cost of the programme for FREE in the RESET 1-2-3 programme running in August & September.  This should help give you structure and support to break those habits that are not serving you.

The 3 week guided programme costs £89 (including the FREE bonus meal plan) and I’d love you to join me.  You will get:

  • a 1:1 call with me prior to starting, 
  • Week meal planner bonus (FREE)
  • Daily support and encouragement
  • Simple yet effective tips as to how to break those unhealthy habits
  • Guidance and daily access to me with any questions
  • Cost effective ways to rebalance your daily routine and body

If you know of someone to buddy up with it’s always helpful to have a loved one to keep you accountable and work with.  Please share this offer with anyone you know who might benefit from some TLC.  The share button is at the bottom of the message.

There are two dates that the 3 week course is starting on, so choose from either 31st August OR 28th September, drop me a line and we can book you on.  Any questions please let me know.

Has your sleep changed since lockdown?

In this mini-series to help support you through the exhaustion that has set in for some people due to the global pandemic, we are focusing on SLEEP 😴. Has your sleeping pattern/ability changed during lockdown?

Sleep is an important time that the body needs to recharge, repair and regenerate ready for our busy, waking hours. Lack of sleep can have a massive impact on our mental and physical state. It can contribute to weight gain, exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, increased sensitivity to pain, inability to prioritise, reduced cognitive function and many more issues.

Sleep is more vital than food for sustaining life. We can apparently last 2 months without eating (not going to try that one) but only 11 days without sleep (definitely not trying that one either).

When we are under stress for a long time the fight or flight hormones that keep us on alert during the day and that should diminish in the evening don’t drop as much as we need them to in order to have a deep restful sleep, so we are constantly like a meerkat at the top of a mound, keeping watch for danger.

If you don’t sleep well do you know what the reason is? Is it because of busy mind, a snoring partner, restless legs, small children, health issues, menopause, the room is too light, needing to pee, etc that interrupts your sleep. Have a think and try to find the cause of your restlessness. If your sleep pattern has changed since lockdown then it might be because of stress, changes in food choices, or too much alcohol maybe. It’s always helpful to know the WHY as it’s then easier to work out the cure.

In the next blog post I will cover a few key things you can do to help combat a bad nights sleep.

Munching & Chewing

Lets take a step back. The other day I posted about heartburn and on reflection realised I missed a massive and very important part of digestion. Ironically, this is something many of us miss out too – CHEWING properly, the bit between thinking about food and it entering the stomach.

How often do you chew your food so it is like a liquid before you swallow it? Are you fully present when you are eating? Are you tasting every morsel and bite, savouring the deliciousness of it? If the answer is no to any one of these you could be missing out on a key part of digestion.

Chewing helps two fold –

1) manually breaking down food to smaller bits using your jaw muscles & teeth

2) By starting the breakdown of carbohydrates (one of the main contributors of energy to the cells) into smaller molecules by mixing saliva, containing important digesting enzymes, with your food.

If you miss out these key actions the stomach has to work harder and it doesn’t have teeth!

If you eat when you are distracted (watching TV, scrolling through your phone, etc) you will most likely not be chewing enough. By being fully present with your delicious meal you will chew well, eat slower (swallowing less air = less internal gas) and potentially feel the need to eat smaller portions.

Take note when you next have a meal as to whether you are a speed eater or a slow grazer. Slow and stead is much better when it comes to your digestion.

Love your GUT

If there was a part of your body that was responsible for 80% of your immune response, that generated it’s own vitamins (some B’s & K), that helped detox, aided hormonal balancing, could make you happy, would you nurture & love it more knowing that it did these things without you having to think about it?

Well, great news, there is! THE GUT 

It is the only organ that can work independently of the brain. It doesn’t need the brain’s input to work and it contains it’s own set of neurons & nervous system. 90% of the flow of information between the gut and the brain along the vagus nerve is upwards, from the gut up to the brain. Think about that for a moment. Maybe the gut is the real brain of the body?!?

95% of the feel good hormone serotonin is manufactured in the gut.

It’s such a key part of the body that we often fill with junk and still expect to work.

There are <2kg of bacteria in our gut making up the microbiome, containing more than 10 times the number of cells in our actual body. These different strains of biota perform all the tasks above and so much more. Their population size, health and function are all determined by the food & drink we consume, which feeds us & them.

2 SIMPLE WAYS TO BOOST YOUR GUT POWER
💛Eat food that encourages good bacteria to thrive
💛Take a probiotic

If we are eating rubbish food then the more undesirable bacteria will enjoy this feast and start to dominate, negatively affecting your health. Your balance of different strains of gut flora is as unique as your finger print.

We can hugely influence this vital area of the body with how we nourish our self. Its more important than EVER to keep this area strong, vibrant and working properly. Not just because it’s a vital cog in our immune response but because it also helps keep our mood buoyant in amongst the roller coaster of life we are on at the moment. Luckily the gut responds very quickly to positive changes, so it’s never too late to alter your diet.

💛There are prebiotic foods that the good bacteria LOVE – onions, garlic, chicory, artichoke, leeks, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats, apples, flaxseed, & seaweed. By having one or more of these foods a day you will be encouraging your own good bacteria to increase in numbers.

💛Probiotics are also a fabulous way to encourage your good bacteria to increase in population size. Probiotics should contain a few different strains of Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus (two key strains of gut biota) with at least 4 Billion of these good guys in each capsules. They must be taken for 28 days in a row as they don’t linger in the gut, they act as cheerleaders to our own good bacteria encouraging our in-house residents to swell in population size.

That’s why looking after your gut and strengthening this important part of our being is integral to all my work, especially the 4 week Immune Boost Programme running again in August. If you’d like to explore if this is something that may help you please get in touch either by commenting below, sending an email to contact@carolinewestoll or calling 0787 6757339.

💜💙💚💛🧡❤️ Love your tummy ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

Heartburn – do you suffer from this?

This is something I see very frequently in practice. The majority of cases are not actually too much acid but too LITTLE acid (get in touch if you would like me to chat you through this common issue).

Insufficient amount of stomach acid can be due to illness, infection, wrong food choices, over consumption of fatty foods, lack of zinc, etc and once the stomach acid levels drop you can get caught in a vicious cycle.

Stomach acid is a key area of digestion. It breaks down protein, helps protect the body from pathogenic invaders and helps create the right environment lower down in the intestines for the good bacteria to thrive. It’s so important it’s in balance and you have sufficient amounts.

Here are my top tips to overcome heartburn & keep the stomach in balance. Please share these with anyone you think may benefit.

🔥 Sip a small glass of warm water, 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother) and 1 tsp of honey with your main meals. This mimics stomach acid helping you digest your food properly & start being able to produce your own sufficient levels of this vital digestive juice. (This is also a good remedy if you suddenly get struck with heartburn.)

🔥 Eat small meals so you don’t over burden the stomach.

🔥 Focus on boosting your zinc levels as this nutrient is key to naturally boosting your own stomach acid levels – Check out my post about zinc rich foods here.

🔥 Keep a food diary to see if there are any trigger foods or combinations of foods. Rich, fatty foods can sometimes trigger acid reflux.

🔥 If reflux is something that you struggle with at night, eat a small light supper. Avoid alcohol and sugary puddings as these can trigger inflammation & reflux.

I’ve helped many people find a way to manage their heartburn, rebalance their digestive juices and over come reflux symptoms. If this is something you struggle with please get in touch as I’d love to help you.

When was the last time you got excited about food?

When was the last time you got excited about eating? Did you know that the first stage of digestion is thinking about food?

Here are 3 tips to help get your saliva flowing again and take the pressure off the relentless meal-making at home.

Over the past few months, being at home more, has meant that meal times can be a HUGE chore. Thinking what to cook (depending on the ingredients in the kitchen), preparing the food, serving it up, having fussy members of the family not liking certain things (aaarrrrgggghhhhh), and clearing up afterwards. It can feel like a massive chore that is on constant loop.

Even though restaurants & takeaways are reopening & it’s good to support local businesses but not every night, even though you might be tempted. Here are three tips to help you over coming this tedium and get excited about eating again.

1) How about batch cooking and popping a whole meal in the freezer? No significant extra prep time or washing up on the night that you do double the portions AND a bonus ‘free’ meal on a night when you can’t be bothered to cook from scratch

2) Ask a family member to cook instead. Even young-ish kids are capable (maybe with some supervision). It maybe a simple meal but a very important life skill for them to learn. They can even do the washing up and then have more appreciation for all that you do many times EVERY DAY!

3) Do a meal swap with a nearby family member or friend who is in your bubble. This is a slight take on no 2 BUT is a bit like having a dinner party without the need to sit at the table with someone if you are not ready for that kind of thing. Cook your favourite meal and share it with someone you love.

Get excited about food again as it’s an important first step of the digestive process.

If you find this or any of my posts valuable please share them far & wide so others get the help they might need