This year Spring Equinox in South Africa falls on the 22 September. Flowers are blooming and we should all be feeling great, however not everyone is. There are some downsides to Spring and I’ll be touching on some of these and offering some ideas on how to better cope with them because, really, Spring ought to be a happy, energizing and exciting season enjoyed by all!
Here at Avon View we've certainly got plenty to celebrate this Spring with the arrival of our little grandson, Matthew, on the 28th August. His big sister, Emily, is also loving the warmer weather and came to help me plant watermelon, gems and butternut seeds this week.
Are you allergic to Spring?
Some people dread the advent of Spring because for them it means chronic hay fever and other allergy symptoms. If you are one of them how about trying the following daily protocol for a while,to build your resistance against seasonal allergens: • 1000mg buffered vitamin C three times a day – nature’s best anti-histamine! • 200-400mg quercetin 20 minutes before each meal – so 3 times a day • 2 x 1000mg omega-3 fish oil capsules daily • 1-2 capsules of a really good probiotic supplement • 1000mg MSM three times daily for good measure
Alternatively, I have had some allergy sufferers praise the workings of a Panaxea supplement called All Clear. This has to be prescribed by a health practitioner so contact me if you should like to try it.
Another not so great thing about Spring is that this is when we discover once again that last year’s bikini has shrunk. I’m still convinced this is because they are putting shrink-aid in the washing powder! Suspicions and blame aside, unless we want to buy a whole new Summer wardrobe we’ll have to do something about the extra padding we accumulated during Winter.
Lose wheat in your diet for at least 2 weeks
Do a 3-7 day cleanse with Vibrant Cleanse. You can safely lose around 4kgs this way and get your shape back! I can’t wait to do this!
Omega-3 fish oil is essential to weight loss as it increases your body’s fat burning capacity
If the fat has accumulated around the tummy then add Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). It improves the lean mass to body fat ratio, decreases fat deposition, especially on the abdomen and enhances muscle growth.
5HTP – I recommend this for those who can’t lose weight because they tend to overeat. 5HTP promotes weight loss by curbing appetite simply because it increases satiety-the feeling of satisfaction leading to fewer calories being consumed at meals.
But remember none of the above will simply dissolve away the fat without some exercise! Sorry about that!
Does Spring make you sleepy?
Do you find that as the plants come to life, you don’t? Perhaps you feel the fatigue more in the afternoons, when you can’t keep your eyes open or stop yawning. It’s a common phenomenon and there are at least 2 explanations for this, mostly involving of our physiological response to climate change.
As Spring creeps in it gets light earlier and dark later so you wake up earlier in the mornings and at night can’t get to sleep as early as you do in winter. As a result the lack of sleep hits you in the afternoon. It’s all about a seasonal hormone imbalance really. Serotonin, released in the daytime keeps us energized and “on a high” while melatonin, released at night, puts us to sleep.
The Chinese have a different explanation for what they term chun kun or “spring sleepiness”.To resist winter cold, surface blood vessels contract and pores usually shrink to reduce heat emission and keep body temperature stable. This means more blood flows to the liver and more oxygen and blood flow to the brain. When warmer spring weather arrives more blood flows to the skin and less oxygen and blood goes to the brain. More active metabolism in spring requires more oxygen, so less is sent to the brain. In a nutshell, the brain gets sleepy.
Please don’t go rushing off to buy stimulants loaded with caffeine such as Red Bull or Bioplus! They offer a short term solution but the after-effects may be with you long term. Rather avoid heavy meals at lunchtime, stick to light lunches of raw salads and boost your energy levels using whole-food multivitamin and mineral supplements. Having a sleep in the afternoon will not help. The Chinese would say rather boost your yang energy and get your qi moving! Splash your face with cold water and dance to some fast music!
The good news is that in time the tiredness will pass as the body adjusts to the change in seasons.
Now for the final downside of Spring
Spring should be a time of new beginnings but some people just don’t feel those new beginnings. In fact depression is much more prevalent in Spring than in Winter, which is strange really. If you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder – who thinks up with these labels!!!) please don’t resort to drugs! There are so many natural anti-depressant options available and they’re safer and can achieve better results than prescription anti-depressants. What works for one might not work for another, so you need to experiment to find the right one for you. Here are a few examples but do remember that some of these may take longer to take effect than prescription anti-depressants so give the one you choose at least 1 week before you decide it’s not working. Take a break for a few days before you start another one. If you are already on prescription anti-depressants then you need to check with your doctor if you can take these instead or in conjunction with your meds.
5HTP – can give a more balanced mood, help with insomnia and because it can curb appetite is useful for weight-loss too – which can be a great mood-lifter all by itself! It seems to suit those whose depression is associated with anxiety, restlessness or racing thoughts and those struggling with eating disorders and obesity. 5 HTP is a precursor for making serotonin in the human body, low levels of which are associated with symptoms of low mood, feelings of anxiety, overweight and overeating, carbohydrate craving and occasional sleeplessness. It works quickly and a difference may be noticed within one day. St John’s Wort – May take longer to start working. Should not be used with prescription anti-depressants and should not be used long term. To get through seasonal depression, 300mg in the morning followed by 50mg 5HTP mid-afternoon can be a good mood-enhancing combination. B- Vitamins – have a mild but pleasant influence on mood especially B5, 6 and 12 and folate Vitamin D - especially helpful during the winter months. In the summer get 10 minutes a day of sun exposure around midday with at least 50% of your body exposed without sunblock. Omega-3 fish oil is a safe mood balancer with antidepressant properties. Take at least 2 grams a day of a high concentration fish oil supplement. Chromium – balances blood sugar levels which can be the missing link in those suffering from depression. For more on this see my article Chromium fights atypical depression.
There are some other supplements offering a mix of excellent ingredients that address depression. Please feel free to consult me if you would like me to recommend one that may suit your needs. But whatever you do don’t do drugs! They do not CURE depression. New subscribers to my newsletter need to know about the DVD (another freebie!) that I have recommended to my readers previously, called “The Marketing of Madness – are we all insane?”. You can order it here (http://www.cchr.org/freeinfo.html) and it will be posted to you from the US at no cost at all. Takes about 6 weeks to arrive. To whet your appetite watch this video clip which gives you some insight into what these mind-altering drugs do.
"Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other" -Joseph Addison
Turn down the lights and get better sleep
I came across such a neat piece of free software the other day and just have to share it with you. But firstly, did you know that indoor lighting at night can suppress the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that tells your brain it’s time to go to sleep? The same applies to lighting from our pcs and laptops. So if you are like me and tend to work on you pc until bedtime you may also be having trouble with a brain that does not want to shut down. This little tool (did I mention it’s free too!!) will adjust the light output from your pc to minimize the effect on melatonin production. You download it in a few seconds and it will detect where in the world you are and at sunset it does its magic. You can download the software here and I promise you it only takes a few seconds: http://stereopsis.com/flux/.
Natural Vibrance Super Natural E can lower cholesterol levels
I plan to write more about Vitamin E, perhaps next month, but for now I need to spread the news about how well it appears to work for lowering high cholesterol levels. As you know I’m not one to fuss about cholesterol levels (unless they’re too low!!) but I do continually hear from people who have had the fear of death put into them by their doctors and if I don’t suggest something natural then they will surely fill their prescription for statins. I’ll do anything to stop you doing that, so putting all the other options aside for now, the natural cholesterol-lowering remedy I want to mention today is Vitamin E. This is because a number of patients that I recommended should take 3 capsules of Vitamin E a day have reported back recently with even better than expected results. However I have to stress this is not just any old vitamin E supplement. I’m particular that it has to be one that contains a mix of tocopherols as well as tocotrienols. Most natural E supplements only have the tocopherols and the synthetic ones should of course not be considered at all. The results I’ve seen have been achieved using Natural Vibrance Super Natural E. Some have used the Natural Vibrance Cholesterol Blocker together with the vitamin E but it seems vitamin E on its own has also done the trick.
Omega-3 versus Hostility in young adults
A study has shown that young adults with a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids may be less prone to hostility, and this could in turn reduce their risk of heart attacks. The study is part of evidence suggesting polyunsaturated essential fatty acids may play a role in mental health. They examined the association of dietary omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as fish, with the level of hostility in a sample of 3,581 young adults living in California. Both intake of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake were separately associated with lower odds of high hostility.
Some researchers believe that the greatest predictor of the development and manifestation of coronary disease is hostility. If this is the case then the results of the above study indicate that young teens or adults displaying hostile or aggressive behaviour would be well advised to take a high DHA supplement such as See Yourself Well DHA Essentials because in South Africa I can guarantee they won’t be taking in sufficient fish with a high omega-3 fatty acid content.
Is getting regular mammograms really safe?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month or is it Operation Mammogram Month? Let me begin by saying that I'm not trying to convince anyone to avoid mammograms, its just that, for a number of reasons, mammography is definitely not my choice of screening method. I have never been for a mammo and plan never to have one, so I can’t even speak from a personal experience point of view here. However I urge all women who are still trying to decide whether they should go for their annual mammo to at least be able to say you made an informed decision.
Many women over the age of 40 believe they are going for annual testing as a preventative measure, without understanding the potential risks of receiving REGULAR mammograms as a screening process. You also need to be aware of alternate screening options for breast cancer, such as Thermography.