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 

Are you exhausted but you can’t switch off?

It’s been, what feels like, a gazillion weeks since lockdown began and many people are finding that exhaustion has hit along with poor sleep and not being able to switch off. Is this you?

These are all common effects of being stressed for a long period. No one can have avoided the massive lifestyle changes that have happened this year. Even if you’ve been going to work throughout, your work load, what you have to juggle and just getting weekly shopping has been challenging.

This long term dramatic shift can lead to adrenal fatigue. When we are faced with an emergency or big challenge the body releases many hormones to help us deal with the situation – our fight of flight response. When the challenge lasts for a prolonged period of time we can become exhausted, our vital reserves that feed this emergency response get depleted and are just generally fatigued. If you have been struck down with the Covid-19 virus then the nutritional resources that supported your immune response will have been put under strain too.

There has also been some strong astrological activity going on, uncomfortable situations arising, issues that have been simmering in the background quite rightly boiling over, disbelief in governing bodies and so much more. It’s been such an emotionally & physically busy time.

So many people are struggling with exhaustion at the moment. I would like to focus on this and areas that can be adversely affected by prolonged stress over the coming weeks.

Like you, I’ve panicked, then decided not to live in fear, had life change dramatically, had financial challenges, been trying to support family emotionally & nutritionally, so have not been immune to all the shenanigans or the adrenal strains.

However, immense gratitude for the big & little things in life, my family, daily walks in nature, the garden have all kept my internal light & faith in humans burning brightly. My wish is that I can help you all feel that too, no matter what your journey over the past few months has been. We all have an amazing uniqueness & the right to shine brightly.

Over the coming weeks, leading up to my next Immune Boosting Programme, starting on 21st August to super charge your immune system before autumn, I’ll work on showing you easy ways to support your gut (not just for nutrition but for emotional balance too), adrenal system & sleep.
If you know of anyone who might benefits from some support please invite them to like this page , join my facebook community or direct mailing list (links below) so they get some free advice.

There are also two child-focused immune webinars coming up in August. If you are interested in joining please let me know private message to contact@carolinewestoll.com.

If you would like 1:1 I’m here for you, just drop me a line either by email (contact@carolinewestoll.com) or phone 0044 787 6757339. I’d love to hear from you, don’t suffer in silence.

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5 Top Tips to help overcome Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms

Do you struggle with digestive issues? Have you been diagnosed as having IBS? Even with a diagnosis are you struggling with your symptoms? IBS can affect every part of your life, lead to anxiety, depression, affect your immune system (80% of our immune response is in the gut) and mean you can’t live your life to the full. Despite there not being a conventional remedy for this condition, it is possible to restore harmony. I know because I’ve done it.

My gut lead me to train as a Nutrition & Wellbeing Practioner. Not gut instinct but an unhappy digestive system, as I struggled with my digestive health for many years until seeking the help of a nutritional therapist and I finally found digestive balance & harmony. I know how debilitating IBS can be on both being able to live a ‘normal’ life and have the energy to adventure (something else I love doing). After 6 weeks of starting my treatment programme way back in 2001 I realised how amazing I could feel and wanted to help as many others discover how their diet & lifestyle can support them in living life to the full too. Rebalancing IBS can be tricky but with help, guidance and full support it IS possible.

I’m offering a FREE discovery call if you’d like to explore how we could work together to help you gain harmony & balance – (0044) 7876757339 or email contact@carolinewestoll.com

I did a video recently for Spirit of Hemp’s Wellbeing Moments series & talked through 5 ways to help rebalance an unhappy digestive system. Check out these simple ways to help rebalance your digestive system. If you would like to try a very high quality CBD oil to help reduce anxiety and/or pain then here’s a little gift for you, my affiliate discount code – 15% discount code SPIRITOFHEMP006 http://www.spiritofhemp.com

Sugar & Spice & all things nice……

How do you know if sugar is something you have a problem with? It’s hidden in so many different foods, sometimes in plain sight that we don’t even notice when we are eating it.

Do you get an energy slump mid morning and/or mid afternoon?

Do you feel sleepy after meals?

Is caffeine what you need to get you going in the morning?

Do you wake feeling sick &/or shaky?

If you answer YES to just one of these questions then you may need some help. Sugar has crept into so many of our foods, sneakily giving us a high (and come down) as it’s more addictive than cocaine!

It’s a quick fix that actually depletes our body of vital nutrients but keeps us in a cycle of craving more and MORE. Sugar can come in the form of refined cane sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, malt extract, dextrose, corn syrup, agave syrup (just because it’s posh and exotic doesn’t mean it’s not sugar!), and many more chemically named substances. They are hidden in posh coffees, sauces, marinades, nut butters, yoghurts, milk alternatives, some processed meats and many more foods. Refined carbohydrates such as white flour also get changed into sugars in the body so is in the same bracket as sugar cane.

Stress can make us crave sugary foods as our need for vitamin C increases. Historically, before factory processed foods were invented, vitamin C rich foods were sweet (berries, fruit, etc) so we had a craving for blackberries, foraged for them, ate a handful of them as that was all that was ripe, topped up our vitamin C (and antioxidants, as well as other helpful nutrients) and went on our way. Now we reach for a chocolate bar, packet of sweets, biscuit and can eat a whole packet/bar in one sitting. The sugar and other processed ingredients actually cause nutritional stress, compounding the emotional stress we are already feeling. So we reach for more sweet food. Can you see the vicious cycle that can self perpetuate?

Breaking this can be hard, but made so much easier if someone is there for you, cheering you on, with your best interests at heart. If you had someone who was advising you as to how to eat more healthily, start your day on a strong footing, keep going on the right path then it would be so much easier to break the dependence on this addictive substance wouldn’t it?

Well that’s what I’m here for – to help YOU achieve your goal. Many of us have been super stressed recently, turning to foods for ‘help’ or an escape. If this is you, but you know you want to break free please get in touch. We can have a chat about the best way forward for YOU to get off the sugar rollercoaster and back on to a nourishing way of eating. Either call me on 0787 6757339, email contact@carolinewestoll.com or visit https://carolinewestoll.com/contact/I am running a Sugar RESET programme starting 24th July 2020 to help anyone who would like to rebalance their life and break the sugar habit. I’d love to help you too.

4 Skin Care Products, 2 Ingredients, Under £7!

I have a mission – to reach 100 people over the next 3 months and help them make a small step (s) towards living a healthier and more eco-friendly life. We all need to make positive shifts to our lives to help ourselves and the Earth. Please share this post (there is also a sign up link to the email list here) to spread this message far & wide. Today I’m focusing on healthy skin care.

Everything that is put on the skin is absorbed into EVERY CELL in the body. When did you last check the ingredients in your skin care products?  Could you recreate them at home?  Would you eat them?  The answer to all 3 is probably never, no & no. If we are focusing on healthy eating for a healthy body we also need to focus on healthy skin care too.  Non-toxic skin care products are a must.

It’s so easy to make your own products, and therefore know what you are putting on & in your body.  Witch Hazel water & grapeseed or sweet almond oil are the two key ingredients that it’s worth having at home. With these two (and some essential oils if you have them) you can make:

1. Eye make up remover
2. Body moisturising oil
3. Cleanser & Toner
4. Body Spray

1. Make Up Remover – Mix 50:50 witch hazel water with the oil of your choice in an amber, glass, pipette bottle.  Shake well.  Squirt a couple of drops on a soft muslin cloth and remove your eye make up.

2. Body Moisturiser – just pop either grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil in a glass bottle and add a few drops of essential oil (my favourites are bergamot or sweet orange). Shake.  Massage your skin with this blend when you are still damp after a shower.

3. Cleanser & Toner in One – Witch Hazel water is a fabulous toner & cleanser.  Some of its healing properties include helping reduce inflammation associated with rosacea, acne, eczema or psoriasis.  It’s also great at calming sun burn.  It can also help protect against skin damage.  

4. Body Spray – Add 1 tbsp witch hazel water in an 8oz spray bottle. Add 30 drops of essential oil of your choice. Top up with water.  Shake before spritzing your body.

Both oil & witch hazel water can be purchased from The Natural Dispensary and you are welcome to use my discount code CMW5.  Any problems let me know & I’ll send you a link.

I’d love to know if you make your own skin care products already or what you think of these ideas if you get to try them.

Please share this FREE mission with friends and loved ones. I’d love to keep the momentum growing, reaching the ripple effect of this group further and wider.  You can also sign up to get emails direct to your inbox following this link HERE. Thank you for being a part of this x

ZINC RICH FOODS

The immune system uses many nutrients that we need to replenish on a daily basis in order for it to stay strong and resilient. Now, more than ever, our immune systems need our support and we can do this with the food we put in our mouths. Each time we eat something we could potentially be strengthening our defences, it all depends on the food choices we make.

Zinc is one key nutrient that is needed to keep up strong and to help us battle anything that requires an immune system response. As one of the early symptoms of COVID-19 has been reported as being a loss of smell and taste, and zinc plays an important role in maintaining these two sense, it really brings home as to how the body diverts essential resources away from daily tasks to fight invaders. If you are healthy or you are recovering from the aftermath of the virus it’s important to make sure you have sufficient zinc in your diet.

I like to focus on natural sources of nutrients, however sometimes a supplement is needed if you are really depleted. If you are interested in supplementing or have some zinc at home, then it’s best to take it in the evening as it’s utilised better by the body at night. If you are on medication, or have pre-existing health issues do check with myself (a qualified Nutritional Therapist) or your doctor before starting on a new supplement regime.

Natural plant-based sources of zinc, that are not meat or dairy based (these are inflammatory foods and are best to be avoided at the moment, as I feel that the body responds/absorbs plant-based nutrients better during times of stress/overload) include:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Oats
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Green peas (my favourite)
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Asparagus
  • Flax seeds
  • Black beans
  • Chia seeds
  • Avocados

It’s really beneficial to have at least one portion (around 80g) off this list per day. If you can get one per meal that’s even better. For example, having 40g of oats with 20g of chia seeds and 20g of flaxseed soaked in homemade hemp milk would be super charged, zinc rich start to the day. A simple, generous handful of spinach in a risotto or curry can give it a zinc boost. Get creative with what you have in the store cupboard or freezer.

As always, if you have any question please do get in touch.

contact@carolinewestoll.com 0044 7876757339