Kombucha- Brew your own

A friend recently told me he’d been getting into making batches of kombucha at home and excitedly told me just how easy the whole process is. I’ve wanted to try it for a while but in my mind always thought it was a lengthy task and pretty risky messing around with different types of bacteria. After a recent catch up he sent me on my way with a kombucha recipe and a “scoby” in a little snaplock bag with starter tea, which to me resembled something between a mushroom and an alien!

The benefits of kombucha

Finally much knowledge from the ancient East has swept to the West and in particular the view that many diseases begin in the gut. You need a fine balance of good and bad bacteria to support the production and absorption of nutrients throughout the body, to have goodkombucha benefits digestion and strong immunity (amongst other things). Kombucha helps in all of these ways due to the beneficial probiotics contained within. The scoby stands for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast” and is the “heart” of the kombucha which can be used time and time again and in fact duplicates upon almost every batch. This allows you to spread the love amongst any friends that are interested in brewing their own batch! Kombucha is a refreshing and bubbly alternative to synthetic soft drinks packed with sugar and artificial flavours.

Key benefits

  • Detoxifying
  • Immunity boosting
  • Increased energy
  • Supported digestion
  • Supports a healthy nervous system
  • Decreases sugar cravings
  • Antioxidant rich

Rather than buying expensive probiotic supplements or milk drinks (you’ve seen the ads!) why not try make your own kombucha! It really is so easy and I can almost do it with my eyes closed only after making a few batches.

How to make kombucha

Ingredients

  • 2L water
  • 100ml white vinegar
  • 1x kombucha scoby (you can purchase online)
  • 125ml starter tea (comes in package you buy online)
  • 4 bags of tea of your choice (I use rosehip & black tea)
  • 1/2 cup of raw sugar

Equipment needed

  • 1 x small funnel
  • 1x pot (to hold 2L water)
  • 1x 2.5L glass jar with sealed top
  • Swing top glass bottles for keeping final product in fridge
  1. Bring 2L water to the boil then remove from heat and stir in sugar and tea bags. Then leave to cool to room temperature (I leave mine out overnight). The mixture needs to be cooled otherwise it will kill the important bacteria in the scoby.
  1. Once cooled remove tea bags and stir in your 100ml of vinegar then pour the liquid into a sterilized glass jar (use boiling water to sterilize). Now pour in your starter tea and either allow the scoby to slide out on its own or rinse your hands in vinegar and carefully place the scoby into the jar. Rinsing your hands with vinegar disallows any unwanted bacteria to enter the batch. You want to make sure the scoby is sitting flat on top and not folded in half.
  1. Seal off the glass jar and use a label to mark the date of brewing. Store the jar at room temperature somewhere out of direct sunlight and leave to ferment the kombucha for 7-14 days. Around the 7 day mark I use a straw to slide in under the scoby and taste test- it’s up to you how long you want to leave it to ferment and all comes down to taste.

There you have it! It’s as simple as that! You will find you need to experiment a little with the balance of vinegar and sugar, I found myself using slightly less vinegar than the recipe and slightly more sugar due to my batch tasting too vinegary. It’s completely normal for floaty or stringy bits to hang off the scoby and even turn up in your final product. You will often find the scoby grows a second layer, which can be separated and given to a friend (see below notes) or simply thrown out into the compost.

To continue making further batches places the original scoby in a small seal bag with 125ml of the final kombucha (this becomes the starter tea). It’s important to inspect the scoby and make sure there is no green or black mold and no rotten or unpleasant odours before using it for a fresh batch. Happy brewing!

Image courtesy of Dr Axe (www.draxe.com)

The wonders of burdock root

What I love about the Japanese culture is just how health and beauty conscious they are. We could certainly learn a thing or two from them in our modern Western world and I’ve recently stuck my head in to the traditional remedies that they and other cultures have natural healthbeen depending on for thousands of years direct from mother nature. Burdock root holds some incredible properties and is great to drop a few roots into a cup of tasty miso soup. 

After a bad blood infection and reoccurring large and painful boils on my legs while on an extended trip in remote Mentawai Islands, I decided to look into having a tonic made up from a naturopath that focused on purifying the blood.

This was with the intention to provide my body with relief after the purchase of cheap and nasty penicillin out of immense pain and desperation while in Malaysia on that same trip. The tonic had a noticeable effect on clearing up the boils and it was years until I had only a small outburst of them again (only after coming into direct contact with someone that had them).

I was pretty impressed given my GP had told me boils once contracted can stay in the blood stream for a lifetime and can reoccur at any point.

One of those many ingredients found in the tincture was “burdock root” and while curiously browsing the aisles of an Asian supermarket I found some dried burdock and decided to look at ways to implement it into my diet.

Burdock root health benefits

Other than being popular throughout Japanese culture, burdock has a long history throughout the American Indians and Europeans for its healing properties. It is also very well used throughout Indian and Chinese Medicine for the treatment of various ailments

Blood purifier

Exactly what I was after when suffering from boils. Burdock root is a great detoxifier and has been found to remove heavy metals from the blood stream which develops through poor diet and lifestyle choices. These toxins are effectively removed from the body due to the active compounds of the burdock.

Clean and pure blood means proper organ function, improved circulation and overall health and vitality. I am assuming that the cleansing properties and improved circulation means more blood is able to be pumped to the surface of the skin, therefore having a positive effect on cleansing skin infections such as the boils I had.

Naturopaths will often prescribe tinctures including burdock root extract to patients suffering from psoriasis and eczema with positive effect. Burdock root tea is also applied topically to acne ridden skin and other conditions to improve skin quality. Burdock root also assists in the drainage of the lymphatic system which is commonly full of toxins and waste, and which can easily block the proper function of the lymph nodes which are vital for a strong immune system.

Youthful skin

Again due to the great detoxifying properties found within burdock root, the quality and pexels-photo-112327appearance of skin is improved through its regular consumption. Perhaps this is one of the secrets to Japanese appearing much younger than they actually are (other than their good genes).

Clinical trials find that burdock root also helps to reduce the common signs of ageing such as wrinkly skin. All that time in the sun surfing over a lifetime surely will add up! It’s nice to know there are natural ways to combat the leather skin look.

Anti-Cancer Properties

The removal of heavy metals from the body and consuming foods that are high in antioxidants are both positive steps towards reducing your risk cancer developing in the body. Burdock root is extremely high in antioxidants meaning it is a great scavenger for free-radicals and harmful metals that you simply don’t want in your system.

As with most natural cures for widespread diseases, not enough studies have been “officially” carried out by professionals, but many naturopaths have continually been amazed by the positive effect burdock (in combination with other natural treatments) has on patients suffering from chronic tumors. They put this down to the anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor properties which inhibit the cancer cell growth, disallowing it to reproduce and spread throughout the body.

Burdock root tea

I found the easiest way to introduce burdock root into my diet is a simple tea made fromburdock root tea the dried burdock root. I found a packet of the dried root at my local Asian supermarket for around $4.60. Simply place a few of the dried roots into the bottom of a cup and pour hot water over top, allowing to steep for a few minutes.

Alternatively you can make up a tea pot but I didn’t have one on hand at the time. The taste I can only compare to miso or a slight mushroom taste and I found it quite pleasant to drink. You can experiment with adding honey or sugar if you like, however I saw it as more of a savory tea.

You can also use the leftover softened burdock root perhaps in stifrys as it has a soft mushroom texture or pour more hot water over the top and use the tea topically for any skin ailments. You can also use as a shower cleanser to really take advantage of the wonderful properties of this plant.

Conclusion

Other than those listed above there are what appears to be an endless list of positive properties of the burdock root and I’m sure many more that we are not aware of. Some of those properties include:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties which is great for the reduction of painful types of arthritis
  • Assisting with those suffering with diabetes
  • There are around 26 known minerals and vitamins contained within burdock root including iron, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, B6 and C
  • Improves digestive issues
  • Assists in the treatment of an enlarged spleen (due to a poor immune system)
  • Boosts memory
  • Antiseptic properties
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases metabolism

There are certainly enough articles to be found throughout the internet and herbal handbooks reporting on the great effects of the burdock root and I’m pretty happy to have stumbled across it and have it so readily available.

Read more from Dr Axe here

Resources:

Clinical trials: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21429215

Clinical trials anti-aging properties: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19146605

Dr Christopher’s herbal legacy: http://www.herballegacy.com/Light_Medicinal.html

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/burdock

http://www.naturalnews.com/031390_blood_cleansing.html

 The Importance of BYO skincare products when travelling remotely

I think it’s amazing these days seeing the prevalence of cancer amongst seemingly “healthy individuals”. How many times have you heard someone say “yeah he passed away from cancer but it makes no sense, he was the healthiest guy, always eating the best foods and exercising regularly”. It is my belief it all comes down to the products we are applying externally and surrounding ourselves in daily that are endocrine disruptors (or hormone disruptors). See Wikipedias definition here.

A few years ago I never used to care for what I was putting on my skin, in my hair or brushing my teeth coconut oil with until I dated a highly passionate vegan. I hadn’t even heard of the concept of chemical beauty products, all that mattered was that it smelt pretty, moisturised, left a minty taste, smoothed or untangled. A simple internet search of unpronounceable chemicals contained in my favourite deodorant or moisturiser revealed some pretty disturbing results.

I started exploring alternative options and visiting speciality health food stores and paying more money for natural products. This was certainly trial and error as I found many products were not effective and I had to go through many brands until I found one that suited. For example finding a natural deodorant that actually worked took quite a few months and quite a few dollars, but I was so happy when I finally found a reliable brand and have to this day stuck with it.

Common Misbeliefs 

The biggest misbelief people follow regarding everyday skin care products you find at your supermarket is “if it’s so bad how can it end up in the supermarket and why would these companies want to harm your health?”. The sad truth is many companies want to find the most cost-effective option for manufacturing their products, with very little care for your health but total focus on how much profit they can make.

The use of animal products 

This involves using multiple animal by-products which include ground up intestines, meat industry beauty productshormones from adrenal glands and proteins obtained by boiling ligaments, bones and skin. For a full list see peta.org’s animal ingredients’ list here . The reason companies decide to use animal products is because they are cheap and usually by-products from the meat industry. Also animal skin oils etc are most closely related to our skin, therefore giving a smooth texture upon application, especially in moisturisers and makeup.

The use of chemical products

Again the main reason companies (including big names) use chemical products which are harmful to your health is because of the low cost involved. Have a look at the top chemicals to look out for in your personal skin care products here. You will see listed many chemicals which can affect internal organs, lead to skin allergies, cause chest pain, nausea, affect your immune system and the worst- cancer.

So the issue is not if you use these products once or twice or even for a few months at a time. Rather it is the long term exposure to these carcinogenic chemicals that will do the damage. Of course your skincare routine is engrained to your daily habits- my main tip is don’t change your entire beauty product range overnight- it’s just too overwhelming, trust me I tried! Once you start looking at the ingredients of every bathroom product you will find toothpaste, shampoos, moisturisers and all hair products contain some kind of toxic chemical or ground up animal part. Start with just one and go from there. It took me almost a year to almost fully change my beauty products to natural options. It is also a process of simplification- for example my everyday hair wash I just use diluted apple cider vinegar and for moisturiser face and body I use coconut oil.

The problem with remote regions

Luckily in countries like Australia there are regulations and bodies in place to measure what makes a product “organic” or “vegan-friendly”. Many remote spots just haven’t been educated on the dangers, therefore I’ve found products are much worse off than Australia because of a largely unregulated industry. In Thailand there are entire sections in supermarkets that claim to be organic but a simple scroll of the ingredients will reveal anything but. Small villages in Indonesia, Polynesia and Philippines that I have lived in all rely on toxic products as there is no other option.

Herein lies the importance of bringing your own beauty products on your surf trips. You could say you’re only living in these spots for less than a few months but once you are aware of just how bad most supermarket products are, it’s hard to go back. Again simplification wins. You don’t want to pay for excess baggage because of all the products you’re going to bring to last a few months.

The lesson learnt is not to only evaluate what you put inside your body but equally as important, be aware of what you’re exposing your body to and the long-term effects on your health.

The importance of spiritual truth

Spiritual truth to me governs and moves my entire being. I’m eternally grateful for various events and experiences that have shattered my universe and all of the times that ripped reality from my very grasp. These are the moments that enabled me to discover spirit.  Through losing a baby to nearly losing my own life almost exactly a year later (see my e-book here and story of headbutting reef here). I choose to openly publish these events to inspire others to see the light amidst the darkness and to (in time) proudly own and embrace those experiences as who you are. I find the complete alteration and re-building of everything you thought you knew about yourself and the sheer courage to make it through some of life’s events to be a true strength of character.

Physical impermanence

Physical impermanence is a given, therefore I refuse to accept that life is simply a material10155641_10151989608795168_1577042429_n existence, that it goes far deeper than what we can see with our own eyes.

I truly believe my external reality is a true reflection of my inner reality whether by thought, form, word or deed. My kingdom of heaven is within. One touch of the outermost corners of the spiritual world leaves me begging for more.

The stressors

A strong point of focus throughout this year has been my physical body and in particular central nervous system. I left a corporate, high-stress job earlier in the year without realising how far I had pushed myself mentally within the position, nor did I realise the actual state of my health.

We often completely overburden the body through over stimulation and over consumption, leaving the only time to rest for when we finally get to sleep at night.

Meditation

One of the strongest ways to access our earthly being (for we are of nature) over our technological and sometimes robotical being is the art of meditation. It can be hard to search for a truth when our minds are constantly running and it’s refreshing to lay in a state of silence.

Multiple religions including Krishna and Hindu place a small bindi between the brows, atop of the “third eye” which is said to be “the sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state”. Many meditations will focus on the third eye to access other realms of reality and to manifest dreams.

62337_10151881215375168_421054842_n.jpg

Higher dimensions

Without getting too deep, it is also believed that (real) psychics access information through the sixth dimension where “all life is directed and advanced through the work of spirit”.

Through deep meditation I’m aware of many more aspects of life falling into place, I’m more conscious of synchronicities or “coincidences” (as a non-spiritual believer would call) and I’m able to receive notions of future events before they actually occur.

Most recently this came to me by way of random thought of a friend being pregnant. I hadn’t spoken to her for a few weeks however she contacted me two days after that notion telling me the happy news. While I don’t follow a set religion or pray to an outer god I believe each of us can access our inner gods as often as we call upon them.

Negativity- A State of Mind

To think of what we don’t want in our lives is to focus on our fears rather than to invest energy into what we do want. It’s a classic behaviour of the ego, stepping in to remind us of all the reasons why we can’t possibly grasp onto our true wants and dreams- whether through lack of skill, title or talent. It’s a trait of inbuilt human behaviour but is also influenced by external factors such as culture, television and others negative attitudes. The trick is to continually recognise the egoic traits of the mind and to practice a switch of focus.

Many years ago when I found myself trapped in the vortex of city life, working full time in a corporate office environment miles from my love of the ocean and allowing my black shiny heels to audibly trek the same paved paths day in and out, I wanted to know what it would take to re-invent my life and escape this soulless routine.

I had heard of successful horse lifeathletes visualising winning gold at the olympics throughout their training regimes, with a focus on not only being as physically strong as possible but also mentally strong.

In interviews following their gold medal wins they would explain that their visualisations of winning was an important part of their recipe for achievement.

When I began what seemed to be an impossible task of finding work close to the ocean in my area of expertise, I began toying with this concept.

In my mind I would create a conversation with a make believe someone about how I had spent six years living the city life, but now I’m so glad to be out of that toxic lifestyle and living near the ocean surfing every day. I would play this scenario out in my mind every day for weeks at a time, to distract me from the lengthy robotic commute, crowded streets or whichever other situation I found myself in daily.

I would further visit areas of the coast where I most wanted to live, in order to take in the surrounding environment to help solidify my dream. It was almost as though my physical being was in the city but my soul had made its way to where it longed to be.

I truly believe that this mental focus was what finally had me break free into what felt like a surreal existence living next to the ocean while working a full time “city job”. You see if I had been caught up focusing so much on all the pains of city life, my true desire would have been so engulfed in negative energy that it couldn’t have possibly come true.

From this first experiment I have continually allowed this same concept to shape other 1472065_10151778274180168_1682323650_nareas of my life such as impassable opportunities overseas, treacherous and fearful moments travelling solo and allowing love to show up in my life.

Visualisation can become a powerful tool in achieving whatever it is you set out to do. It is said it only takes 17 seconds of thought, whether positive or negative, to begin adding to the pool of attracting and magnetising that thought into a physical form. It takes strength to remind yourself of this theory alone as you go about your day!

The Art of Forgiveness

As long as you cannot forgive, you have others permanently anchored in your heart. A lot of the feelings associated with the lack of forgiveness are hate, regret, grief and anger. How could you possibly open up in intimate relationships when you are weighed down by these toxic egoic emotions? The answer is you cannot severe that attachment until you have forgiven, regardless of how terrible the sin is that another human has placed on you. How many people of your past still have attachments in your own heart? The lesson of forgiveness serves as one of life’s greatest challenges but until you master it, I believe you will always be handed negative situations until you realise what it is you need to do to 32204_400218545167_814411_nunlock the flow of love.

It’s not possible to love for as long as hate remains in your heart. It’s the same as trying to surf when you’re angry- your energy is tainted, you have no flow with the wave and you’re totally out of tune with what’s going on. Beneath the superficial surface of society, we’re all just energy. Moving into new relationships with tainted and unprocessed energy is a sure fire way to reach disaster.

Any bad events, words and circumstances that were said or occurred are in the past and unchangeable. It is the truth of the matter. Therefore why spend valuable energy caught up in the negative emotions of these aspects of the now ended relationship? Instead focus on the aspects of that relationship that touched on your heart and made you grow into a better person. Remember that saying that your grandma loves to use “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”. Memorise that warm feeling of love and the happiness that it brought to you, forgive the rest and move on.

As humans we are all imperfect. Sometimes we think we know someone but we don’t. Take reassurance that any bad intentions or actions carry heavy karmic consequences and 1913986_153381815167_40687_n.jpgknow that that person will be appropriately punished in this aspect. Don’t get caught up in games of revenge it’s going to hurt you more than you care to imagine. Instead redirect that energy into healing yourself and severing your ties to the past. Your goal is to be the best version of yourself you are here to be. The first step is to quiet your mind- meditate or practice yoga until you calm down all the emotional turmoil in your mind. You cannot make progress amidst an emotional storm- this is often why we ask those closest to us for advice in times of trouble, for they don’t have the thick blanket of emotional cloud blocking their train of thought. It’s often the heart we need to listen to to guide us, but the rational mind that gets in the way. Practice listening to your gut feeling or instinct as it never lies. Again you cannot hear its whispers until you have quietened the mind. Your instinct can lead you through doors you never knew existed. You’re the captain of your own ship. When you’re ready- put that sail up and continue your journey to happiness.

The Yin and Yang of Surfing & Vegetarianism 

Living on a predominately plant-based diet is a kind of energy that cannot be described unless you experience it for yourself. The same concept exists when it comes to the feeling of riding a wave, only a surfer knows that magic feeling. This to me is one of the great wonders of life, using a limited English language in an attempt to describe something so remarkable, particularly of the energy kind-whether the feelings experienced when in love, the flow and glide of surfboard under feet on a big wave or the flow of clean energy in the body from consuming food direct from mother nature.

There are many reasons why I slowly weaned myself off a meat diet, both ethically through self-education but also predominately due to the vast improvement I found in my energy and overall health. The reasons I find a vegetarianism lifestyle and surfing lifestyle go hand in hand are:

Natural energy 

The fuel I put in my body before a surf makes a big difference in the type of energy that flows through my body with each paddle stroke, duck dive and riding of a wave. I recall one surf in particular. It was a rainy, misty day in a small coastal town and not many were brave enough to step out in the dull ocean conditions.

I had just passed by an old fruit stand on the side of the road and stocked up on strawberries, papaya, bananas and other tropical delights. Having the fruit sitting on my passenger seat meant I had naturally put a large dent in my supplies in the time it took me to leave that fruit stand and make it to the 13015574_10153947667200168_2186227259656749826_nwater’s edge.

I paddled out into the ocean alone and by the time I had made it out the back of the lineup, the shoreline and land had entirely disappeared in the thick layer of fog that encapsulated the coast.

It was an eerie feeling but at the same time I found it comforting and at one with the sea. The waves were inconsistent which left plenty of time for me to sit in my own thoughts and feel each rise underneath me as the swell passed by in small trains. Before even catching a wave that day I recall a deep matching of energy from the fruit I had consumed to the environment around me.

It was kind of an “uh huh” moment for me as I was still in the process of eliminating animal meat from my diet. In that moment it just all made sense. I felt totally connected with nature, like a piece of jigsaw puzzle that had previously been missing from the world around me.

I was a living entity as much as every other animal that walked the earth and it didn’t make sense to destroy their existence for my own survival. Once I truly felt that “bond” with nature and that exchanging of energy I haven’t found a need to consume animal meat since that lonely surf.

Bountiful energy 

The Australian Department of Health recommend you consume two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables a day to maintain good health. While this doesn’t sound like much, there are many people not getting anywhere near the recommended servings. The amount of energy available in fruit and vegetables is pretty amazing.

When I lived in Byron Bay I met a man in his mid 60’s who absolutely owned the dance floors of local pubs every 307025_10150267079195168_8140935_nweekend. He had some serious style given his age, and he managed to pull more attractive young backpacker chicks than guys a third of his age.

The point of the story is not this but rather that I legitimately thought he was a bit loopy. Some of his moves were so erratic surely he had to be on some kind of drug, given Byron Bay’s colourful reputation in that regard. I decided to approach him and try spark up a conversation.

Turns out he had an organic farm in the hinterland with his wife and he loved his produce with a passion. He particularly loved his broccoli and swore to this particular vegetable to fuel his fire to dance all night.

Again, this one moment was a game changer in how I saw natural foods and their positive effect on the human body. Surfing of course is a pretty intense cardiovascular workout and you need all the energy you can get to sustain a lengthy session in the ocean.

Cardio & protein

The fats and proteins contained in animal meats are increasingly being linked to many diseases including cancer, the clogging of arteries, heart attacks and early death (see my article “The truth on cancer” here). The funny thing is many non-vegetarians are so quick to ask where vegetarians get their protein from yet many of the strongest and largest animals on earth are in fact vegan- take for example the elephant and baboon.

The world’sInfographic-the-dangers-of-eating-meat strongest man is vegan and many other vegan athletes and body builders have been enjoying the “vegan limelight” that has emerged of late.

Unfortunately most of the information society gather is what is viewed through television and therefore drilled into their minds and considered normal or right.

It takes enough love and care for your own body to go out of your way and research the true facts which lie in every place other than the TV screen.

The only thing that truly lacks in a vegetarian/vegan diet is iron & B12 which you have to be conscious of where you will obtain these important vitamins & minerals from. B12 is largely obtained from the structure of animal meats and not plants, therefore I take additional one a day B12 supplements.

Lighter periods (sorry male readers) 

A diet consisting of minimally processed raw foods largely of the plant variety have long been reported to reduce the intensity of a menstrual cycle. I recall finding an old hippy book from the 70’s that even described women eliminating their cycle entirely from a vegetarian diet.

I have also found Youtube clips claiming the same, however I find it a bit extreme for the body to completely eliminate a cycle that is so natural to the body! The one thing however that I have noticed since going vego is less cramps and intensity of periods which is another great match being a surfer as I can have plenty more wave time instead of being at home with a hot water bottle on my cramping stomach.

More restful sleep

I don’t know what it is but there is something about the sleep cycle that becomes affected when you have a high fruit/vegetable consumption. It’s like you notice more  of the natural sounds around you, the crickets, the owls, the wind as it rustles through the palm trees.

Again I can only put it down to the clean type of energy, free of preservatives and man-made ingredients that otherwise come with the majority of supermarket foods. I can recall one day my mother saying that she had a terrible night sleep full of bad nightmares for no apparent reason.

She then realised it must have been the marinated steak she had purchased from the meat market, as that was the only thing different to the usual foods she ate. It’s scary to think what was in that meat sauce. More restful sleep=more waves.

Other than the reasons above that I can relate directly to surfing, there are so many other benefits from being vegetarian that I’ve welcomed into my daily living such as:

  1. Deeper passion for all animals great and small.
  2. Conscious choices, guilt-free living, finding the truth about the way society operates, 10455561_10153097108683689_2906821006535925838_n.jpgrealising that most of our supermarkets are stocked with unhealthy food.
  3. Appreciating nature 10 fold.
  4. Rarely visit the dentist.
  5. Meeting like-minded vegetarians/vegans that also have a deep care for their health and for the welfare of animals.
  6. Less and less of my food comes in packages.
  7. Influencing others in a positive way that can improve their health too.
  8. Knowing each cell, tissue, bit of fat and muscle in my body have been built by predominately plants.
  9. Thriving compost for healthy gardens.
  10. No animal blood in the kitchen.

And the list could go on forever…

Resources: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/red-meat-clogs-arteries-bacteria/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-study-links-l-carnitine-in-red-meat-to-heart-disease-201304176083

http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/diet-cancer/facts/meat-consumption-and-cancer-risk

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vsk/vegetarian-starter-kit-protein

The Status Quo

There’s a common theory that at the age of 28 a big transitional period in most people’s lives take place. You might get a panic or anxiety or that “old” feeling perhaps as you get closer to the big 30. The life structure that just worked throughout your 20’s mightn’t feel so fitting. It can also be a time of great pressure if you haven’t quite found what you’re looking for in terms of career satisfaction or relationship status.

From an astrological and numerological perspective it is said the physical body goes through seven year cycles and 28041_10151118702540168_796332908_nthe emotional and personal body nine years. If you were to research more into this, you will see it is quite a powerful transition that can either be treated with respect and used as an inner compass, or resisted against and be seen as your own enemy.

Ever since I left high school I never had any intent to take on any further education. While I loved school and received good grades I just wanted to get out into the world and learn and study from just ‘living’.

Even though I was stuck in a city for the first six years of my working life, I wasn’t overly fussed with what kind of work I was doing. As long as it meant I was able to set sail on the weekend and embark on a two day action-packed adventure to find the best waves on offer. While I accidentally carved myself a career along the way as a legal secretary in between travel, eight years have now gone by.

With what feels like a passing of extended surf trips overseas (for seasons at a time), I’ve taken this year as more of a year of grounding and quiet. I had only ever heard of the “28 year theory” briefly while I was travelling in Tahiti last year, and have since not paid any attention to it.

To say this year has been easy would only be one half of the truth. Somehow I have found myself a little lost, even lonely in the post travel realm. Friends have moved away, married up and started families. Confusion mounts and laps at my feet as to the once warm feeling of a true ‘home’.

Over the past year I’ve also considered my position in society as a giver, a contributor and what I truly have to offer in this lifetime. I seem to always have had the opportunity to help clients daily at work, through horrific motor vehicle injuries or encounters with the 10301118_10152556715340168_4391682234274403263_nwrong side of crime, have always put time aside for volunteer work at nursing homes and spent many trips away assisting at orphanages, however lately I’ve labelled myself selfish to pursue the never-ending wave of perfection.

I’ve re-evaluated just how many hours, days, years I’ve spent in the ocean deeply encapsulated in that pursuit. Sadly I’ve been so hard on myself I’ve actually spent less and less time doing what I love but never quite found that substitute for happiness. In that ‘hardness I’ve also re-evaluated my career path, which has always worked in terms of stability and closeness to the ocean and a healthy lifestyle, but that true lack of passion for the work seems to surface more and more often of late.

Over the past few months I’ve also found myself attracting those that pour their everything into their work, where their satisfaction lives, their purpose in this life. What I’ve come to realise is that while that is their story, it doesn’t necessarily have to be mine.

Giving myself some much needed time out from my own hardness, I’ve discovered a message that keeps rising up from inside- with passion comes a deep love and a desire for life itself. When you extract passion, the days seem dull and lacking in colour and you can rather unconsciously begin to give up hope.

To me I’ve always seen surfing as a relationship withhappy days surfer girl the ocean. This has remained my view as I see others have close relationships with their partners, their true loves. I see mine as a close relationship with my lover the ocean. Both are in a way self-fulfilling but makes us (through that love) better, softer, more compassionate humans.

The moral of this story is never give up doing what you love because of the pressures of the outside world.

If you’ve already found your passion in life, there’s no need to find it elsewhere because of the “status quo”. Simply pursue it with all of your heart and live in that happiness and joy.

The Truth on Cancer

After billions of dollars spent and decades of research, scientists are finally giving into the fact that the prevalence of cancer has a very low percentage as being linked to genetics. Scientific focus has gradually turned to environmental factors and diet. However, this switch of focus is still relatively undercover, which unfortunately leaves the majority of us in the dark and uneducated on new discoveries and the dangers of the lifestyles many of us choose to continue living.

The cold, hard stats

A recent study carried out by US National Institute of Health, reveals an alarming 10 million people worldwide as expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year. In Australia alone, 126,800 people were diagnosed in 2015 (reported), with a projected number of deaths as being 46,570 in that same year. The US study finds 90-95% of cancer as being attributed to environmental and lifestyle factors with a measly 5-10% only as being linked to genetic factors.

Why I’m getting involved in the topic

Aside from hearing of many friends of friends, ex-work colleagues and extensions of family as having cancer, this topic has been particularly close to my heart this week. After driving back from a surf with a couple of mates, one had answered a phone call from his mum which changed the whole energy in the car. His mum had a bit of non-suspicious back pain around Christmas time and attended her chiropractor who suggested she get some scans done, as he suspected something more serious was going on.

The following week it was revealed that within a six-week time frame, her sacrum and L1 10922759_10152752834710168_354924373375184868_nto L5 had rapidly deteriorated due to bone cancer, with the cancer quickly spreading up her spine and already eating through the bone in her skull.

I hate the thought that the cancer was entirely asymptomatic up until the point of Christmas. Some simple back pain very quickly turned into a life-altering and shocking life chapter for her and all close family and friends involved.

She remains in hospital with her condition rapidly deteriorating and she heartbreakingly refuses to even take visits from loved ones.

My personal beliefs 

From what I believe to be true, as per the figures, cancer will soon be not only 90-95% linked to environmental and lifestyle factors but 100% responsible. I was never of the belief that genetics played any factor whatsoever in cancer-but what would I know?

I’m sure that scientists are now on the correct path and even further studies will be carried out into the type of foods we are consuming, and everyday chemicals we are exposing ourselves to that will be directly linked to cancer.

What really needs to be out in the open is that the majority of big named corporate companies that manufacture and produce the foods we consume daily from the supermarket, don’t have one ounce of care for our healthgo organic but simply for their own self-satisfying profit and greed.

Their aim is to manufacture their product in the most cost-effective fashion, to make their product taste good (by the use of artificial additives) and to leave the consumer coming back for more, with a conclusive aim to take over the market in their specific area.

This means they will happily use animal fats, chemical by-products, artificial additives, emulsifiers and MSG to name a few. Even Colgate were busted recently for using a chemical in their toothpaste that has been linked to cancer.

The profit driven concept also applies to cleaning products, laundry liquids, car washes, cosmetics, toiletries and any other every-day product that passes through your hand.

However, it’s a lot more frightening just what kind of chemicals are being put into these products, many of which are endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, reproductive toxicants and basically a plethora of chemicals which will wreck havoc on your body over a period of time when you continually expose yourself to them.

All it takes is the most minimal of research online on the product ingredients to discover what is really contained within.

The problem is the body is not built to naturally take on foreign man-made chemicals, therefore toxins unknowingly build within the body and start to attack cells and organs. If organic livingyou continue to feed your body with the wrong types of foods, and expose yourself to multiple chemical products-then this is the perfect breeding ground for the formation of cancer and other serious disease.

Foods rich in antioxidants are a start to combating free-radical damage within the body, but I don’t believe it’s ever enough to balance out the toxins, given the level we are taking in, but it certainly is a start to getting on top of damage already done.

It is the topic for a whole other article as to the cancerous environmental pollutants we expose ourselves to- wifi radiation, mercury and lead offsets from mining, agricultural offsets, industrial waste waters and greenhouse gases. I myself haven’t really researched the full effects of these pollutants.

The generation prior

My old boss is in his 60s and used to always poke fun at me bringing “all organic” food to work and snacking on “rabbit food” all the time. It’s funny because the generation before us never had to worry about the food in the supermarket or local fresh produce market. Food used to be just food.

It wasn’t mass produced like it is today, with manufacturers  attempting to keep up with the ever-expanding population. It’s hard for me to explain to him just what our generation has to worry about in regards to food as it’s an entirely different era.

Corners of the globe with very low incidences of cancer

After chatting with my friend that was also in the car when the phone call was taken, I waspreserved cultures
curious which countries in the world have been able to remain clear of cancer and found a website that set out some interesting figures.

The Hopi Indians of Arizona have an incidence rate of 1 in 1000 compared to America’s baffling 1 in 4 as being affected by cancer. Another finding was the Pueblo Indians, also of Arizona had more or less the same incidence as the Hopi Indians until supermarkets were installed in the area. Today the Pueblo Indians are hit by cancer at the very same rate as Americans.Go figure.

I have seen the exact same detrimental effects of corporate supermarkets in French Polynesia after spending two months in the region.

Where to start on minimising your risk of cancer?

How do you do this without taking the enjoyment out of life and in particular eating the foods you love and using products “known and trusted” without turning into a complete paranoid mess about the topic of cancer?

One of the best things I believe is putting yourself in the right frame of mind about it all. Educate yourself and then learn to make more conscious decisions the next time you do your grocery shopping. Begin reading labels and running quick searches online on the safety of the product ingredients.

Get to know the biggest culprits and the top ingredients, additives or preservatives to avoid entirely- then ask yourself if it’s really worth buying. It’s a tall mountain to climb if you try to make drastic lifestyle changes overnight, so begin step by step. On that note, it’s taken me around two years to switch the majority of my cosmetics, cleaning products, and diet to one that is largely organic and chemical-free.

However, I know that I will never reach the point of being completely chemical-free, regimented and restricted as similar to a religion in this area. I enjoy an alcoholic drink now and then, I enjoy greasy, fatty, unhealthy food options from time to time, but I’m conscious of the effect of those personal choices on my body and work hard to ensure the majority of my diet is based on healthy options.

The cost of organic 

With the cost of buying organic products being a lot higher than non-organic, this can be a real turn-off for many people, and understandably so. Personally I don’t mind spending a bit more on products I know are clear of chemicals and made from companies that care for the health and well-being of its consumers.

The way I see it is some people are happy to spend lots of money on drinking every weekend or purchasing the latest technology, but will buy the cheapest foods at the supermarket to meet their budget.

I find a recognisable value in growing your own organic vegetables, fruits and herbs at home. You can do this even in the smallest of city units- just choose pots that can sit on windowsills or pavers if you don’t have any space for a garden.

It is a real asset in this day and age as even those consumers that make seemingly healthy food choices in the fruit & vegetable section of supermarkets are not going to be left untouched from cancer, as multiple pesticides and fungicides are used to develop a healthy crop that meets high supermarket standard. It’s just a matter of trial and error on how to grow your own garden at home without the use of chemicals.

Remember at home you can also very easily control the level of nutrients in the soil when you turn over your crop. Soil depletion is an ever growing issue in large-scale crops, with supermarket produce stripped of many vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be traceable in the fruit or vegetable, due to poor soil quality.

The future of supermarkets and organic living

Fortunately there has been a lot of growth in this area over the past few years with many organic options being available at restaurants and cafes. This is a great sign that people are beginning to take notice of what’s really going on.

As far as supermarkets are concerned, one big-named supermarket “Aldi” is taking a stand on manufacturing affordable organic foods (http://www.businessinsider.com.au/aldi-is-fixing-is-biggest-weakness-and-that-should-terrify-whole-foods-2016-1?r=US&IR=T ) and hopefully this will in-turn have a domino effect on all other chain supermarkets.

It is my aim that this article, along with many other articles and information available on the internet will raise more awareness into cancer and its true origins. Let’s not be blasé about it all, stop wondering what the hell is causing it and investigate for yourself on how not to stand in the way of its destructive path.

home grown vegetables

Resources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515569/

https://canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/what-cancer/cancer-australia-statistics

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2722289/Chemical-used-Colgate-Total-toothpaste-linked-cancer.html

http://www.cancer-coverup.com/brewer/brewer-05.html

The Truth of the Inner-Self

Some days you’re faced with people who act in indescribable ways and go out of their way to use methods to hurt, offend or upset. They can be someone you know or they can be complete strangers, regardless of who they are, they both have something in common- either a negative intent to in some way shape or form affect you with their words or actions, or a general unhappiness in themselves.

An encounter with one of these types is bad enough but when you’re really unlucky, and it’s usually the way the energy game works, you seem to attract and encounter many in one day. Let’s say you come across someone who has  made an offensive statement directed at you and about you. Their words or opinions are so distasteful that you begin to65169_10151137360180168_400812489_n question yourself and who you are, you start defending yourself in your own mind. You might even find yourself having a conversation with that person in your head even though they are long gone and may never cross paths with you again. Before you know it, that particular person with their negative energy has left an imprint on you and you may keep thinking about that one irritating action or word they said, hours, days and sometimes years later.

You don’t have to be a victim to this energy. If you have taken the time over the course and events of your life to get to know yourself inside out, and I mean truly know yourself- your strengths, your shortfalls, your typical emotional reactions, then you should remember one very important thing. That person can never take away the truth of your own being. You know you’re a good person who does good things, you have a big heart, you tread on this earth lightly, you not only care deeply for your closest friends, family or spouse but you care in general for the goodness of humanity. Any single vexatious word someone attempts to offload onto you is simply an expression of the current state in which they are in, which ironically has most likely come about from their encounters with an even less desirable human being in their past. It’s a real lack of love, an outcry-and unfortunately it’s very contagious. Some days I view it as a food chain, a man-eat-man energy game and it’s simply not necessary.

Reminding yourself of your truth is similar to gratitude- a gratitude of your own strength and essence. Come the end of the day, you can compare and dissect your current emotions with encounters with any other human being by imagining that you had just spent the day in a beautiful wilderness setting, alone with your spirit- with absolutely no interaction with anyone but nature. This will help to put in perspective your energy vs the energy another carries- which is none of your business. In Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 song “Wear Sunscreen” one standout line to me is “Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how” In other words, we’re all human and it takes a lot of mindfulness, control and discipline to tame the ego that reacts to insults but I believe it is possible with practice. You can’t always forget words or actions of another but you can always work on taking away the emotional attachment.