Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year everyone!



As the year is changing I thought it would be appropriate to gather a top 10 of all our posts so far. I began the task and before long I realised that I had ended up with a top 20 before I even had gone through half of our posts.. So I decided to leave it and forget about the whole thing. Instead, I want to urge you to make 2012 a year filled with love. Because I can't think of any better answer to every question you ever had than love. What else is there to want or need? If all your thoughts, words and actions stem from love (and you know in your heart when that love is real) what could possibly go wrong? Living from love is the same as following your heart and that in turn means being happy. And it's what the wise people throughout time keep on saying, even if it is sometimes dressed in the word compassion. So whatever new year's resolutions you are making, let them grow out of love for yourself and for everything and everyone else in the universe, because really it's all one and the same.

<3<3<3

Emma

Friday, 30 December 2011

Clay pampering

Hello there! A week of Christmas has gone by, I hope you all got to enjoy it in the company of loved ones with good food and beautiful words. I've been working almost everyday but nevertheless enjoyed the week (I work in a cinema, mostly selling tickets). I consider my work as a kind of workout or challenge, where I get to practise my social skills and become more confident around people. And it has definitely worked wonders so far. Apart from working I've had many opportunities to conduct "normal" Christmas activities, such as watching films, reading new books, eating really well, and spending quality time with my family. I even had time for a small pampering session which involved a facial mask of natural green clay. Here's the evidence (extremely charming I know):


I want to talk a bit more about this green clay because it's actually quite an amazing substance (perhaps not aesthetically, at least not on my face). The real name for it is Bentonite or Montmorillonite clay, and it is formed from the weathering of volcanic ash. It occurs naturally in many different parts of the world, most notably in the US. Perhaps the most important medicinal property of green clay is its ability to effectively kill bacteria, something that has been shown through various studies and experiments. It contains massive amounts of trace minerals necessary for our health, commonly up to 75 different minerals can be listed.

The most common way of using this clay is probably what I did, to cover your skin with it or take a clay bath, and almost every spa provides such services. This method has been used throughout history to treat various illnesses such as skin infections, acne, ulcers, or arthritis, or to tone the body and reduce fat.

However, external use is not the only way to benefit from the healing properties of clay, and it is also used internally as an extremely effective natural detox method. This is basically due to the negative charge of the particles in the clay which attract other, positively charged particles such as toxins, bacteria, metals and pesticides. These bad particles adhere to the clay particles, which then transport the toxins out of the body.

Here's a list of some health benefits:

  • cleansing of the liver, colon and skin
  • balancing bacteria in the digestive tract
  • improving nutrient assimilation
  • strengthening of the immune system
  • elimination of food allergies
  • healing the body of food poisonings, viral infections and parasites
  • treating arthritis, pain wounds, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers, acne, anaemia, digestive conditions
  • effective in weight loss
  • re-mineralisation of cells and tissues
  • alkalisation of the body
  • protection against radiation

There are different ways of consuming bentonite clay, but normally ca 1 tablespoon is mixed in a glass of water and drunk daily on an empty stomach.

In my opinion, considering all the toxins and radiation we consume and inhale daily and mostly without noticing, clay is a perfect way of daily healing. Without some sort of detox, our bodies are unable to get rid of all the bad stuff at a rate that would compare to the rate with which it is exposed to them. And the best part of clay is that it's really cheap and can be found in most health food/natural/organic shops everywhere.

More information about bentonite:






<3

Emma

Friday, 23 December 2011

Healthier gingerbread

There is also no Christmas here without gingerbread so I had to make up a recipe for those too :)



Fiery Gingerbread

200 g organic butter (you can use coconut oil if you don't eat dairy)
2 dl coconut sugar
1,5 dl agave syrup
2 organic eggs
8 dl wholemeal organic spelt flour (buckwheat flour can also be used)
2 dl organic potato flour
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp ground cardamom
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper




1. Leave the butter out to soften for a while and beat into smaller pieces.

2. Add the coconut sugar to the butter.

3. Bring the agave syrup to boil and slowly pour the hot syrup in with the butter and sugar. Mix until even.

4. Add the eggs and turn until even.

5. Mix all the dry ingredients (except the black pepper) in another bowl.

6. Little by little, add the flour mixture into the dough and keep turning. Use your hands when the dough gets thick.

7. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap with clingfilm. Put into the fridge overnight.

8. The next day, pour a little flour on a table and roll out the dough with a rolling pin (we used a sigg bottle..). Use gingerbread-molds to press the gingerbread into their shapes. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to get a nice little kick. Lift the breads onto a baking sheet with baking-paper and bake in 200°C for ca 5 min, or until they gain some colour.

Voilà!






I probably won't have time to post anything tomorrow, so Merry Christmas everyone!!


Lots and lots of love,

Emma

Friday, 9 December 2011

The clothes we wear

For a long time now I have wanted to write something about clothing. Wearing clothes is so obvious to us that we hardly think about it. Well of course we think about how we look and whether we're warm or cool enough, but how often do we really give a thought to what our clothing actually is made of? Acrylic fiber, for example, is something so complicated that I didn't understand any of the descriptions offered by Wikipedia. Same thing with polyester. No wonder these textiles don't feel good on the skin when they're so unnatural. Especially in the winter, synthetic fibres become static and make your hair stand up straight, and they're not even warm. Natural fibres are much more pleasant on the skin, and much more practical too.




Cotton is probably the most common material used for clothing and other everyday products such as sheets, towels, tampons, nappies etc. And even though this is a natural plant it's not so simple, because the word 'natural' lost its meaning long ago. Cotton fields only take up 3% of the world's farmland, but they are sprayed with 25% of the world's pesticides and herbicides, including some of the most toxic ones. This might be 'allowed' because cotton is not directly consumed as a food, but our skin absorbs stuff just like any other organs do. Imagine that you're probably sleeping in sheets full of toxins, rubbing your skin against them every night. And it's not just our outer skin, imagine the amount of pesticides absorbed from tampons.. In fact, we even eat cotton, through cottonseeds and cottonseed oil which is used in some processed foods and as feed for cows, entering our bodies through non-organic meat and dairy. Pesticides are not the only danger however, but dyes can be extremely toxic too, containing cancer-producing chemicals. Have you ever noticed how new jeans colour off on your skin? That's not such a good thing because the skin is just the gateway to the bloodstream and the rest of your body, including the brain. As if this wasn't enough, the biggest threat to 'natural' cotton is perhaps genetic engineering. Most cotton-production is owned by a Monsanto monopoly that pushes GE cotton as a 'green alternative'. The truth is, these plants have been genetically modified in a way that they either emit their own pesticide, or are resistant to mega-doses of pesticides. The problem with this is that other plants too become resistant to pesticides, resulting in a never-ending need of new ever more toxic pesticides. This is a real threat to organic cotton, as the GMO cotton crops spread with the wind and can settle in organic fields. If Monsanto inspectors then find these GMOs in an organic field they can basically fine the farmer for growing Monsanto-owned crops illegally. The farmer is then faced with the option to either pay Monsanto huge sums of money or to start growing the GMO plants and basically being owned by Monsanto. The 'cotton suicides' happening in India are a result of this. Basically, whenever you buy cotton that is not 100% organic, you can be pretty sure you're supporting Monsanto. And even if the cotton is organic, the dyes probably aren't.. If you care about these things, it might prove quite a challenge to go shopping, but I have as a rule to always wash everything I buy before I start using it, especially if it's not organic. It's good to wash them separately from old clothes the first time, in order not to contaminate the rest of your clothes. And also, an extra rinse programme can be used at the end. And this process should probably be repeated..a few times. And it probably still doesn't remove all the toxins. Plus you're still supporting Monsanto (unless you buy organic).. My answer: buy second-hand.

More cotton information:

http://www.organicconsumers.org/clothes/index.cfm

http://www.naturalnews.com/031266_GM_cotton_agriculture.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/030913_Monsanto_suicides.html

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-02/wuis-nfi020711.php

http://www.naturalnews.com/029904_organic_cotton.html


In addition to cotton, there are of course other fabrics that are also natural and much easier to find in a non GMO-version. In the summer I love to use linen and hemp because of their coolness. And wool is of course an obvious choice in the winter. And silk is an incredibly pleasant fabric, and it looks very elegant too.

Here's a blog about organic clothing.

If you want to know more about Monsanto:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

http://www.naturalnews.com/033772_Monsanto_Roundup.html

http://bestmeal.info/monsanto/company-history.shtml

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/planet-2/report/2008/3/7-deadly-sins.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ENPyDuR23s

and a documentary film.


I hope you find what's important for you, and start manifesting it in your life.


Lots of love,

Emma

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Yoga

As promised, I am back with a post on yoga. Last weekend I did an astanga yoga course, to help me get started with it in a proper way. It was a really good introduction, and consisted of three days. Day one was just about an hour of theory, we went though practical stuff and got a brief history of astanga yoga. What surprised me most is that even though it is quite an old practice, it was almost forgotten until about 80 years ago, when it hit another upswing in popularity and is now probably the most popular form of yoga. For me, I want to get into yoga because as I'm having tremendous trouble meditating, I think yoga could be another form of it, or a path towards it.


The two other days we did two hours of training per day. Since I am used to running, I found the yoga practice so much more calming, because you do it in such a slow pace, and you still get a super good workout. There is most definitely enough of a challenge in this for me, as I am sure I will never be able to learn all the poses, but I feel like I will gain a lot from trying. What I was left with after the weekend, besides sore thighs and abs, is a burning passion for this form of exercise and determination to commit to training. Today I did my first training at home, and I loved it. This is another wonderful thing about it, once you sort of get the hang of it, you can train at home by yourself whenever you want, all you need is a yoga mat.

I definitely recommend the course offered at Helsingin Astanga joogakoulu for all our Finnish readers.

Love,
Anna

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The big D


The importance of vitamin D in basically every aspect of health is being stressed everywhere it seems. Especially on this latitude, where the sun feels like some distant dream during 8 months of the year, it's a simple fact that we need something to substitute sunshine with. Not only do we need vitamin D to maintain some sort of energy levels during the dark months, but it also provides some life-saving attributes to our physical bodies. It prevents toxicity and regulates the concentration of calcium and phosphate in the blood stream, and is thus an essential ingredient for healthy bones. Vitamin D also helps to cure internal inflammations and acts as an immune system by defending the body from bad bacteria. Low vitamin D levels has been associated with cancer, increased mortality, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, alzheimer's, influenza, and tuberculosis.

This super D is basically the only nutrient that needs to be taken as a supplement (unless you eat high amounts of fish daily, or live in Australia). The ridiculous EU recommendation of 5 micrograms per day is nowhere near enough, and should be converted to between 50 and 150 micrograms/day. It's most easily taken in liquid form, free from any other unnecessary ingredients.

Read more about vitamin D here, here and here for example. Or here.


Emma

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Heart-warming drink



Inspired by Jaakko Halmetoja and my new blender, I made a really wintery, warm drink to take with me to my language classes yesterday. The taste was great, and the warming effect could definitely be felt. Here's what I put in it:



Heart-warming winter drink

chaga

For the base, I used ca 0,75 litre of hot chaga infusion, into which I added 1 tbsp cold-pressed sunflower seed oil, 1 tbsp raw cacao butter, and a glass of hempseed milk, to get a variety of good fats which provide a steady energy source.


raw cacao butter

hempseed milk

At this point I turned the blender on for a while, to prepare the creamy base. Then I added 2 tbsp raw cacao powder and 1 tsp natural ground vanilla for a great taste, 1 tbsp maca powder to increase brain activity and energise my general mood, and a pinch of cayenne pepper and Himalayan rose salt for kicks. Finally I threw in 1 tbsp wild organic honey to sweeten it up, and voilà, there's my drink, enjoy!


ground maca root

This drink can be poured into a thermos in order to keep it warm throughout the day, and it can be drunk instead of hot chocolate because it's very chocolatey.


<3,

Emma

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself

I have been absent for a while, for which I apologize. I have, again, been testing to see just how far I can stretch myself. And learned a lot in the process. I've been working a LOT, and not sleeping anywhere near enough. Since I refuse to let my life be all about work, I was also cramming tons of other things into my already quite full calendar. Anyways, this all led to me being about a third of myself, and going to see a doctor for a sore throat who, when she heard of my sleeping habits (or lack thereof) was horrified and forced me to take a week of sick leave and gave me a prescription for sleeping pills.



This sort of made it all sink in, just how crazy I've been. So I am now trying to get back to sleeping enough, and well, and trying to eat enough, and just trying to make sure I feel good all over. I will be working a lot less in December, so that should help.

Anyway, this was just a small apology and explanation, I had a yoga course last weekend, I will get into that more later.

Take care of yourselves people, you are all you have.

love,
Anna

Nut and seed milk

Yesterday I made some almond milk with my new blender, delicious. It's a great alternative to milk and can be used on muesli, porridge, or to make hot chocolate, just to name a few ideas. Today I bought a funnel and washed a couple of glass bottles, which I'm going to use for my milk in the future. Tomorrow I'm making hemp seed milk, and I can't wait to try out other nuts and seeds too. Here's how to do it (you need a blender):





Almond milk

ca 3 dl whole organic almonds
ca 1 litre water

Optional, to taste:
natural vanilla
cinnamon
agave syrup
salt

Rinse the almonds in a sieve and soak them in a bowl overnight. In the morning, dispose of the soaking water and rinse the almonds in a sieve until the water is clear. Put them in a blender with a litre of water, adding the potential spices and sweetener. Mix until white and milky. Use a dense sieve or thin fabric to remove the almond residue while pouring into a jug or bottle. The residue can be saved (e.g frozen) for later use in cakes or smoothies.

The milk keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Other nuts and seeds might be used in a similar fashion, perhaps with varying amounts. It is best to test your way into finding your own preference.

It really is this easy!


<3, Emma

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Guest Blogger

Hi all, this is a guest blog post on juice detoxing by my friend Dougan, enjoy!


Juice Blog

Our immune system is a broad and powerful network of dark magic that (generally) conspires in our favor.  When that system is weak, or distracted by fighting other battles, malicious viruses and bacteria may seize the opportunity to invade our bodies.

This past summer I had pneumonia -- it was horrible, and I hope I never have to face it again. But, it gave me the opportunity to think about my body, about my health, how I take it for granted, and what steps I should take to ensure that it stays strong and resilient.

I realized that I needed a “reset” of my body, so I started looking at ways to do this.  Fasting? I’ve fasted before, and its always made me skinny, hungry and angry.  Vegetarian for a week? Maybe... but where is the real merit in that? Eventually I decided to try a Juice Cleanse.

The Juice Cleanse is something I’m familiar with.  “Familiar” is the wrong word... but its something I’ve seen in those extreme infomercials, internet banner advertisements, and hippy-health blogs from San Francisco.  When I chose this path, I also took the time to briefly make fun of myself for being so cliché. Eventually, I would come to understand the impact of the Juice Cleanse in full spectrum.

I won’t go in to the day-by-day details of how I felt, how hungry I was, how badly I wanted a cheeseburger, etc.... but if you are considering the Juice Cleanse, there are a few things you will probably want to know before you dive in.
  • Jump on the internet and figure out where the local shops are that serve FRESH juices.  There are plenty of smoothie shops and cafes that have frozen fruits and veggies mixed with cremes and concentrated, sugary juices.  You don’t want these.  Look for the ones with actual Juice Machines and a variety of fresh fruits and veggies to choose from.  These juice shops are usually few and far between, or may be in addition to a local coffee shop or healthfood store.

  • Check to see if any of your friends or family have Juicers. Luckily, my mom had one and I was able to borrow it for the week. If you can’t borrow one, you can usually find them for $100-$200 from Amazon or some other local retailer. Breville makes a very good product.

  • Head down to the grocery store and stock-up on plenty of fruits and veggies.  Be willing to try some that aren’t a part of your normal pallet, and experiment with different combinations of cocktails.... its fun.

  • Regular juice smoothies from the grocery store will not work.  Don’t buy these.  They taste good, and with a normal diet, they are probably good for you, but if you are dependent on Juice for a temporary diet, they won’t work.  The problem is that anything you buy from the grocery store is going to be “pasteurized”.... just like milk.  Pasteurization is basically a process that flashes the juice with extremely high temperatures and electrical impulses.  This process kills any bacteria that may be living in the juice -- so you won’t get sick from e-coli or salmonella -- but it also kills some of the key nutrients that our bodies will need during the Juice Cleanse.  Go Fresh.

  • Veggie juice tastes like crap.... but its also more fulfilling than fruit juice.  I don’t care how big of a Health Hippy you are... anyone who says they enjoy drinking broccoli, wheat-grass, and avocado is lying (or totally crazy).  This isn’t a recipe blog, so I won’t try to tell you what to put in your cocktail... but I found that adding fruits to the veggie blends made them much easier to drink.  A large glass of the veggie juice around lunch time really helps satiate your hunger in the afternoon.

  • Lastly, try to make it to day 5. Be Strong. I did a total of 11 days, but the first 3-4 days are really difficult.  Really difficult.  Something magical happens by the 4th or 5th day.... something I can’t explain, but basically, that intense craving for solid foods starts to wash away, and your energy levels suddenly become very high.  Your head will become clear, your angry growling stomach will quite down, and your body starts regulating to the new diet.


Everyone will have a different experience, but I’ve found that the end result is usually the same:  People who have made it through a week (or more) come out of the Juice Cleanse feeling refreshed & energized, with a clear mind and body.  The Juice Cleanse is a great “Reset”, so if you’re looking to kick-start a healthy new diet, recharge your immune system, or just add a beneficial challenge to your life, give this one a try.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Is change a personal threat?



When people notice that I eat differently from the norm they usually seem to take it as some kind of a personal threat. They are instantly ready to defend their bad eating habits by all costs and often get insulted if I criticise something they eat. Why is it that eating is so personal? By common sense one would think that if you are told that what you consume is bad for you, you wouldn't want to eat it anymore, or at least you'd want to find out more. Or do they think I just make it all up because I have nothing better to do? And people are very suspicious towards my food, even if I don't say anything about it or about their microwave crap. The brave ones ask me what I eat, and sometimes they get interested and want me to tell them more, while at times they again take the difference as a personal threat and start talking about how good their food is while at the same time condemning me as some strange new-age hippie. I don't really mind all this, people can eat what they want, but I'm just a bit confused by this phenomenon of seeing eating as such a personal thing. To be honest, I hardly ever even criticise what people eat, and yet they still react as if I do. So could it be that somewhere underneath these people know they could be eating in a much healthier way? But if that's so, then why not change? Is it really that scary?

Emma

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Paula Heinonen


This is another Finnish food guru. On Tuesday she gave a talk at my brother's gym and he invited me to come and listen. It was well worth it, she confirmed what other gurus are saying, but she also enlightened me on a few new things. This woman's got energy, she was bouncing around the room and talking and talking about everything and she almost couldn't stop in the end. The feeling I got was that she really knows what she's saying and is passionate about making people happy and healthy. She's done a lot and whatever she claims is from personal experience and experiment. She has studied biochemistry, microbiology and biomechanics amongst other things, and she has worked in several relevant places, as well as in industrial law. She has also studied functional medicine and is training others in the field. She's written 3 books and there are several more to come. This post is a summary of her talk, which couldn't possibly include everything she's said, which you can read more about here and here (unfortunately this is all in Finnish).

- The first thing she said was that you can always get rid of all symptoms. Taking care of eating well is the most important thing here.

- Our most important organ is our bowel. If our bowels are not well, we can never feel good.

- The atkins diet or whatever it's called, when you eat only red meat and fat, is extremely dangerous because it builds a community of toxic bacteria in your stomach. These then move to your liver because that's the organ that deals with toxins, and after the liver can't deal with it, the bacteria finally moves to your brain. This can be referred to as self-toxification.

- Health is not the absence of disease, it is feeling great. But even so, health naturally includes ups and downs, so don't think you have to strive towards being full of energy and perfectly happy every second of your life.

- Just because you don't have a disease does not mean you're healthy, which is what people often think. We experience headaches, bloating, irritable bowels, wind, fatigue, slight depression, lack of energy, etc. and think it's all just normal and part of being human. Well, you don't actually have to experience any of this. But if you go to a doctor they will give you a bunch of pills for the symptoms instead of revealing their source. And the pills do not even work, and if they do, they usually only give temporary relief until the symptoms return, often stronger. The key is nutrition, but without stress of course.

- Things we can influence in order to feel better: the blood sugar roller-coaster, our bowels, fatty liver disease, immune defence, brain function, hormone function, stress, exercise, getting fresh air, smoking/alcohol/medicine use.

- Vitamin D is the only nutrient we normally need to take as a supplement. It is a multifunctional hormone that for example prevents autoimmunal diseases. It is best taken in the mornings with fats, and at least 50 micrograms per day is recommended.

- Our brains are 60% fats, so you can imagine how well they might function if we consume only bad fats...

- In order to produce serotonin, which makes us happy, we need B-vitamins and zinc, which can be found in natural food.

- Cola drinks (coca cola, pepsi, or any other non-organic ones) contain phosphoric acid which is a rust-prevention substance and is extremely dangerous.

- Fat is normally stored in the buttocks in women and in the stomach in men. While none is good or looks nice, the difference is that the tummy-fat in men is more dangerous because it surrounds our vital organs and helps maintain a chronic inflammation.

- We should eat 3 tbsp of cold-processed high-quality oils every day, and never eat processed vegetable fats, which are treated with hexane.

- In the olden days when milk was still milk and not a pasteurised unidentified liquid, we got enough lactic acid bacteria from our food. Now that's not the case and as such eating these as a supplement is recommended to keep our bowels happy.

- The Finnish wheat is a different species than the one cultivated elsewhere. It is apparently worse than others which could explain the high proportion of wheat allergies in the country.

- Allergies are possible to get rid of. The way to start is by leaving out milk and all cereals from your diet. That is also the way to cure your bowels of problems. Later, when you feel better, you can reintroduce some good-quality cereal and dairy products to your system.

- Raw cacao should not be eaten in excessive amounts as it contains oxalic acid which in the long run burdens our kidneys.

- Eating calcium as a food supplement is risky because it can result in calcification. Normally we don't need to take calcium tablets because a healthy diet gives us all the calcium we need. It is also a myth that milk is the best source of this nutrient, which is found in many vegetables.

This is everything I had time to write down, the pace of this talk was not the slowest. I hope I get another chance to see Paula and I'll definitely try and get hold of her books.

Have a happy weekend full of love!

Emma

Monday, 31 October 2011

Samuli Perälä on nutrition

This food guru firstly highlighted 2 perhaps obvious attributes concerning food: the best food is original and natural. Food that is neither can be classed as fake and includes synthetic, human-made substances and overtly processed products such as white sugar, table salt, flours, and dairy products (including supermarket milk). The processing of foods destroys vital nutrients and such 'foods' are then stuffed with other substances instead, which burdens the body, often leading to liver and kidney symptoms. Ridding your body of such toxins and changing your eating habits to a healthier direction is actually very easy:

Mineralisation

Our bodies are largely composed of minerals and therefore the mineral balance in our bodies is of extreme importance. The easiest way of obtaining most vital minerals is by eating high quality salt. This can be either mountain salt (often called Himalayan rose salt or the like) or sea salt (this is gray in colour and crude, and has not been 'cleaned' with harmful synthetic substances). In contrast, 'normal' table salt is bad for us and should by all costs be avoided as it is highly processed, and sodium is often added in excess, making our bodies very confused. Minerals keep our bodies free from impurities, and as such pure salt is not harmful to us, we can gladly eat plenty.

Vitamination




Many of the vitamins and nutrients vital for our well-being are found in fresh and living food. The smallest and most sensitive nutrients are destroyed by heat, and food containing them should thus be eaten raw. Such foods are berries, all the greens that are fresh from nature, local vegetables, and sour fruits. In the northern hemisphere raw food often feels too cold and insufficient, but even so it is important that some uncooked food is added to each meal. This can be a salad composed of different greens.

Fats




Fats do not make us fat, that is a myth and a lie. This concerns cold-pressed, organic, natural and aboriginal fats, not the processed transfats that are continuously sold to us as healthy, although they actually are deadly. We need both 'hard' and 'soft' fats, which balance each other. Hard fats are for example butter and coconut oil (which is antibacterial and an excellent purifier), while soft fats include cold-pressed vegetable oils. Soft fats are especially important for women's hormones and they should be eaten by women in daily abundance. The balance between Omega 3, 6, and 9 is important, which highlights the importance of eating different kinds of oils and fats. These might for example include fish or fish oils, flax seed oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. Brassica oils (includes rapeseed oil and are very common in Finland as cooking oils = rypsi) are not recommended as the plant is of a highly refined species and as such not very aboriginal. This can be replaced with sunflower seed oil. Good fats can be eaten with a good conscience because we need much more of them than the current western diet suggests.

Purification




Green is the colour of pure, and as such all deep greens purify our bodies. Perhaps the most efficient food for this purpose are green powders, which can be anything from wheat grass to spirulina. Also, fresh greens are very good and recommended, for example nettle and other leaves. These should be chewed well to increase their force (all food should be chewed well and eaten slowly to lessen the burden on our stomachs). However, all purifying plants are extremely effective, and should be eaten in small amounts, especially in the beginning. Otherwise a risk of intoxication becomes relevant.

Superfoods




Superfoods contain ancient wisdom and act as acute aids to quickly provide us with missing nutrients and purify our intoxicated bodies. But in a natural state, when we are pure and gain all our necessary nutrition from pure, natural, organic, high quality foods (which is currently hardly the case) superfoods are generally not needed.


Other points made by Samuli:

- The best food for each person is usually the food that grows closest to our place of birth. This highlights the value of local food, which should definitely be taken into consideration when shopping for food.

- Herbs have subtle effects which we often do not notice because our bodies have been numbed by bad food and alcohol. But even if they go unnoticed, the effects do take place in our bodies.

- If you are tired, do not look for stimulants, what you need is sleep. When you wake up you can begin changing your diet to a more energy efficient kind.

- Concerning carbohydrates: again, high quality is what matters. Wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, etc are good sources.

- The most important nutrient addition to eat is vitamin D, especially in a country like this where we don't see the sun during half the year. This vitamin cannot be taken in excess and can freely be eaten in abundance.

- Fanaticism and absolutism is usually not good, they only increase stress, which is the worst state in which to eat.

- New things should be introduced slowly and moderation is the key.

- By far the best way to know what to eat is learning to listen to yourself. You know what you need, and you feel what is right.


If you have any questions or would like a personal consultation with Samuli, do contact me. I'll be back soon with more superinformation.

Love to all,

Emma

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Grounding in the woods


This morning we went for a bare-footed walk in our childhood forest. The purpose was to ground ourselves, inspired by Mr Wolfe's talk. The air was about 8 degrees (celcius), and the ground was probably around 5, and the cold was definitely felt. After a while of walking, our feet started to hurt a lot, but then they just became numb and we couldn't feel anything anymore. When we got back inside the car our feet immediately warmed up, and they felt invigorated and well. And I feel well and invigorated otherwise too, although I think my 3 cups of chaga tea has had some say in it. We will probably do this again sometime, and next summer we'll probably forget our shoes all together.



Emma

Friday, 28 October 2011

Event on nutrition


This is for all our Finnish readers. On Sunday an interesting event is taking place in Helsinki. It deals with the effects nutrition has on our physical and spiritual health. We cannot become spiritually conscious and reach higher energy levels without proper and right nutrition. Samuli Perälä, a relevant expert, will give a talk on this subject, and for 15€ you can join me to come and listen, at 6pm this coming Sunday. Call me, facebook me, email me or whatever if you're interested.

Emma

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

One tiny drop

Today Emma and I did the good deed of the week by donating blood. This was my second time doing it, and Emma's first. It's a really good way to help out, and you also get something in return, you get a sandwich and some biscuits for your effort, as well as knowing your blood type and if you have HIV or hepatitis (the blood is always tested before being used, obviously).



My blood group is A+, which is the most common one in Finland, and if you believe in the whole "eat according to your blood type" thing, an A+ person thrives on a vegetarian diet. Looks like I've been making the right choices then. Emma will find hers out next week.

We also learnt a few new things, like it takes the body 24 hours to regain the fluids you lose by donating blood, and my mom informed me that the human body contains 5 liters of blood, which I found surprising as I thought it would have been more. The nice nurse at veripalvelu also told me that you can give - blood to a + type patient, but not the other way around.

You have the opportunity to learn something new every day.

Anna

David Wolfe in town


So, Anna gave me a ticket to this event as a graduation present (although I haven't yet officially graduated). Off we went and it was simply super great. Not only Mr Wolf (whose middle name btw apparently is Avocado..), but also all the people present made the energy feel like a party full of happiness. It was fun and new and cool, and I learned a lot and got inspired to implement it all into my life. The whole point is really to activate the genius you already are, through eating the most amazing things on the planet and living the best way possible.


Here are some key points that found their way to my notebook during the course of the evening:

- Shoes disconnect us from the earth and therefore from the earth's life force, and as such walking bare footed in nature is the best way of grounding yourself and becoming re-connected.

- Growing stuff in your back garden (or wherever) connects you with the earth too.

- If you don't want to eat fish, eat what the fish eat, i.e plankton, to get all the great fishy nutrients you need.

- There are 3 types of Omega 3 oils which are all vital for our well-being: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (epicosapentaeonic acid) and DHA (docosaheaenoic acid). ALA is found in chia-, flax-, and hemp seeds, and EPA and DHA in fish or fish food (algae, micro-plankton). These fats can be mixed with wild berries and raw chocolate to create a super source of nutrition. If omega 3s are mixed with saturated fat (such as coconut oil), the absorption is doubled.

- Mushrooms are great. They're the only biological organism that can survive the vacuum of outer space, and the whole atmosphere of our planet is covered in mushroom spores. The reishi mushroom is very nutritious, as is our very own chaga (=pakurikääpä) (which I'm drinking right now for breakfast). Chaga has been shown to prevent and heal cancer, amongst numerous other illnesses, and has been used in the northern hemisphere as a medicine for ages. Vitamin C makes mushrooms 3 times more powerful. A tip: pick rosehips in late summer, dry them in the sun or a drier, ground them to powder in a mortar, and use as vitamin C powder throughout the winter.

- Horsetail (=peltokorte=åkerfräken) is a great herb full of medicinal properties, that can be mixed with chaga tea for example, and is found growing everywhere around you.

- Chocolate (cacao) trees can be grown inside our houses, and are great house plants (I want one now).

- The only thing that should be imported to any place is cacao. We have everything else we need where we are born, such as berries and mushrooms.

- Be aware of your metabolism limits: use the trial and success method.

- People need different nutritional ratios: protein-fats-carbohydrates, found out yours (through the t&s method) and eat according to it.

- Stable blood sugar activates your genius and produces energy, while too much sugar makes you cuckoo.

- Trouble with digestion and absorption is linked with kidney problems, which is linked with low yin (life force) in Chinese medicine, which might all be linked with having a judgement about diet, such as being a vegan. Some people need animal fat (I personally think it's those people with blood group O). If you notice you have low yin but don't want to kill animals, eat butter or ghee (purified butter).

- Low hormone production means bad bones. It is not natural to get bad bones when you're middle-aged, this can be prevented. The best way is by grounding yourself. If oestrogen dominates progesterone in women it creates problems. This happens for example if you eat soy or ddt/dde. ----> ground yourself.

- For cleansing yourself of bad hormones and all the rest of the toxins absorbed from this crazy world, go to the sauna, eat raw food, drink raw juices, eat oils (because toxins are oil-soluble and are absorbed into us through oils, and therefore also come out of us through oils), and once again: ground yourself.

- All diseases - all limitations - are psychosomatic. It doesn't matter who taught them to you or from where you got them or the ideas of them, they are only created through the mind and are not real and you can rid yourself of them all.


And finally: my name is Emma and I'm a genius.




Emma

Monday, 24 October 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Weekly inspiration

I wanted to talk to you more about Embercombe, the place, and what it's all about. It is definitely a place for all sorts of inspiration, so it will represent my inspiration for this week.

When you first arrive, you come down this winding road, into a beautiful valley surrounded by woods, and it's just simply breathtaking. There are meadows, gardens, orchards, woods, a lake, ie pretty much everything you need. When walking around the land, you can never run out of new things to explore. I thought I'd seen everything the first day, but later noticed that was not the case. At all.



The garden is natural, not too controlled, and obviously organic. The garden also provides most of the food being consumed at Embercombe, which is quite a lot as there are always volunteers and apprentices around. Everyone seems to be welcome at Embercombe, and what I find most inspiring about the place is the love and compassion that is all around. The Earth is loved for the food it gives us, and in all the other ways it sustains us. There is a tremendous amount of respect for all things living.

If you stay the night, while doing the Journey, or something of the sort, you sleep in a yurt. A yurt is a small round structure, super cosy, and the yurts at Embercombe have a window in the ceiling so you can fall asleep watching the stars, even if you're not sleeping outside (which you can of course do as well, I did one night)

I am sure places like this can and do exist all over the world, all it takes is love and respect towards nature, and people helping each other out. It is nothing impossible, as obviously it has already been done. One of the first things I was told by another Journeyer was that the land holds a certain magic, that the land heals and that it is all our land. I like that thought.

The motto of Embercombe is "touching hearts, stimulating minds and inspiring committed action for a truly sustainable world"


Anna

ps. the pics are Emma's.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Journey of a Lifetime

I've started this post about five times now, but I just cannot seem to be able to put into words the story about the most amazing and rewarding experience of my life.

As Emma said, she'd talked about doing the Catalyst and about Embercombe in general, and apparently she had planted a seed in my mind. After what now seems like a quite difficult year or two, it just hit me, that that was what I was going to do. It was never actually a conscious decision, it just was. Everything fell into place, as it often does when you do what is right.

After everything was done, I had signed up for the Journey and booked my flight tickets and settled everything with work, I wasn't feeling all too good about going. The closer it came, the more annoyed I became with "having to do this stupid thing" I'm laughing as I sit here writing this, Embercombe is one of the most welcoming and beutiful places on Earth, and I had nothing to be scared or nervous about.



What happened was that I spent five incredible days in the English countryside, learning so much about myself, and getting to know some 30 or 40 people who will always hold a very special place in my heart, found what may be the ground for my own place in the world, and started to live, to actually really live life. I don't want to tell you very much at all about what we actually did, because i sincerely hope that some of you will embark upon this most wonderful adventure at some point.

I want to end this post by expressing my sincere heartfelt thank you to all the people I crossed paths with during my stay at Embercombe, and I cannot wait to go back.

Anna

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Inspiration of the week

As promised, my inspiration for this week is a lecture me and C attended a couple of weeks ago. It was given by Dr Prashant Kakoday who spoke about consciousness. As such, this is also a continuation of the post about the documentary concerning consciousness.

Dr Kakoday talked about health, and the relationship between the mind and the body. For example, if we use our bodies in a wrong posture, we get physical pain, but the same applies to the mind: if our mind is in the wrong posture, we get mental pain. He talked a lot about the concept of ownership and of using the words my and mine. Whenever we think we own something, it becomes a burden because we get attached to it. This can be anything, from the smallest objects to other people, and is very relevant in relationships. Imagine, if you want to own something, it immediately creates problems for you: you worry about it being stolen, you start comparing it with that of others, you become afraid to lose it, and when you see that someone else has a better one you want a new one. And the more you own, the more problems you face because you need to protect these things and keep them from getting stolen or lost. Also, you get hurt if someone comments on them negatively because you link them with yourself and thus take the comments personally. Wouldn't it be great to enjoy everything without all the problems? Kakoday explained that the same applies to our physical body. If we think of it as our possession or as the essence of what we are, problems arise. He said that we should consider our bodies as vehicles that we merely use in this life, and as such consider ourselves as guests here. We are here for a little while, during which we might use our bodies and enjoy all there is, but we cannot own anything because we are simply guests and we belong to something much larger. He drew a picture of this to make it more clear, of which I made my own example:


In this picture, you are the star. The black line is a division below which is this physical world and above which is everything else. The white line is your journey, showing how small and short this life is, and how all the things you consider yours in your life are simply things of this short visit, belonging only to a very limited physical world.

With this, Kakoday wanted to highlight that the more we consider ourselves as guests, and the more we remember that we are the star, unattached to everything here, the more the position of our minds turn towards a healthier one, making us happy and balanced. This shift in posture does not mean that we need to give up everything, it will all still be there for us to use, love, and enjoy, and we can still buy things, but without the attachment and without the problems. So where to start? When someone in the audience asked this question, Kakoday simply said: as often as possible, simply think that you are only a guest, you are the star in the picture. Use this pattern of thought in your daily life, and if you want to go deeper, begin a daily routine of meditation.

Emma

Saturday, 1 October 2011

In the light of the previous post..

..I want to share this video with you. It's a talk given by Tim 'Mac' Macartney, who is the founder of Embercombe.



Emma

Embercombe


Anna has gone off here to do this. After I did the Catalyst programme in 2009 I've been trying to persuade everyone I know to go, and finally it has worked with Anna being the bravest one. It seems everyone's first reaction has been fright and flight, although there's nothing to be afraid of at Embercombe. On the contrary, it's probably the friendliest place on earth. Well anyway, I'll leave it to Anna for when she gets back to talk about her journey and about Embercombe. So be on the lookout for that, I sure can't wait.

Emma

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Consciousness

Hello everyone! It's been a while. I got back from London, worked for a couple of days, and then caught a flu that lasted until today basically. It was my body's way of telling me that I needed rest. And I think I deserved some rest too, after all my dissertation stress. But now I'm here and the first thing I'll write about is an idea I had yesterday. I decided that every week we could introduce something here that has inspired us to a healthier life, or opened our eyes to a more truthful view of health. It could be a book, a film, a website, a blog, a lecture, or anything else really. And it can be about physical, mental, or spiritual health, as our intention here is to focus on all of these aspects.


So, to begin with I want to introduce a 3-part film called The secret power of the mind that I watched yesterday. Unfortunately, I saw it online through the Finnish tv, and although the original documentary is Danish, I couldn't find another version online. But for those of you who can't watch it, I'll try to write a summary of what it's all about.

Watch it here (the first part is only available for 10 more days so be quick).

This documentary shows how science is actually doing a lot towards understanding consciousness, even if these studies are often kept from us by the media. Consciousness is an aspect of the human that is probably the least understood by science, and it has widely been believed that our consciousness is in our physical brain, and therefore in our physical body. However, since time immemorial many people, who have often been stigmatised as lunatics or psychotic, have understood that we are much more than our physical bodies. Religions also share this belief, which can be seen in the different ideas about afterlife, and no religion states that the life of the soul ends when the body dies. Now science (or the people who ask the questions that science tries to answer) has evolved to a point where it is becoming increasingly clear that our consciousness is not restricted to our body. In the film, many different such studies are demonstrated, from the power of meditation to telepathy to near-death experiences. These studies all show that such phenomena can no longer be explained through conventional scientific ideas, but a complete change in the way we understand ourselves as humans needs to occur. In other words, we have a body, but we are not our body. Now, many people are already very familiar with these things, and for them this is nothing new, but I think what is so extraordinary about the film is that people who are confined to conventional ideas will soon have to open their eyes because they can no longer use science as a comforting ground for their scepticism.

Where I wanted to arrive with this is the idea that the more we understand that we are not our bodies (or our brains, or even our minds), the lighter we will feel and the happier we will become. I have a lot more to say about this but I'll leave it to another post soon to follow.

Emma

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Dessert success


Yesterday my mom, older sister and me had a raw Mexican fiesta, and it was super good. Everything was raw and vegan, except for the tortillas and nachos. We had nachos with guacamole, followed by raw burritos, which were delish, after I had to run to the store to get us some new tortillas, as the gluten free ones I'd bought at first tasted like toothpaste. I kid you not. 
Anyhow, this all led to all of us being so full there was no room for the planned dessert, so I decided to make that for me and my mom today. I got the recipe from my raw food book, by Erica Palmcrantz. Obviously the recipe involves no flour and no dairy, but somehow it manages to still be super good. All you need is some brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, lemon juice, honey and berries. I actually wonder is it would be better with maple syrup, I'm gonna have to try that and get back to you. Soak the nuts for at least two hours, then blend everything except for the berries, and enjoy!

Anna

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Breakfast for champs


For a while now I have been systematically going through all the breakfast recipes in my raw food book, more or less successfully. A few days ago I made a nut porridge which it took me about 5 hours to eat because it was so heavy, and I didn't even finish it. Other than the nut porridge there has been some fruit porridge and one or two smoothies. Anyhow, yesterday I tried what is now my absolute favorite breakfast of all time, and so simple I'm quite ashamed I haven't thought about it myself. It is simply berries (I've used raspberries and blueberries, and today I had raspberries and blackcurrant) a banana, a few crushed hazelnuts and some honey. Obviously you have quite a lot of options with this, as you can use any berries you like, and the same goes for the nuts. I like to have the banana in there because it's the most filling fruit I know, so it keeps you full longer. I've also been using frozen berries, as berry season is pretty over here in the north, and apparently the frozen berries you can buy at any local store are bound to be flash frozen right after harvesting in order to lock in the nutrients, so they're not really that much worse than fresh ones. Surely better than the fresh ones transported from another country or continent.

Anna

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

If at first you don't succeed...

The first week of my 21 day cleanse went superbly, for the first 6 days. Come Saturday night and all of Sunday, I failed, miserably. So on Monday I started from day one again. And with better equipment as well, as I got my blender back (it isn't really mine, it's a remnant from a previous relationship, recycling all the way!) and my precious raw food cookbook. In light of my previous failure, I'm determined to make it this time, and have so far been better at planning my meals etc. As I'm working almost all the time, every day, I need to have meals which are easy to take with me to work and to prepare in advance.

I start every day with a glass of water with some lemon juice and cayenne pepper in it. To work I bring my green morning juice, which looks absolutely poisonous but is totally delish. I also take some lunch, which today consisted of zucchini "pasta" with vegan pesto, and some snacks, which can be nuts, fruits or a smoothie if I feel like making one at 4am. When I get home I have dinner, which can be pretty much whatever I feel like making. Today I had a delicious avocado and sprout salad with parsley and chickpeas.



The effect of eating like this has so far been tons of energy, a bit too much actually, and bad skin-a sign that the toxins are making their way out of my system. My tummy is also much happier, apart from the times I od on raw chocolate, which has happened once so far, and it was completely nauseating so that won't happen again. I eat less than I would normally, which is a good thing. I'm never starving, and my blood sugar levels seem to be fairly stable, ie I don't crash at any point. Thus my conclusion is that I feel better all over by eating like this, I only wish my skin would clear up already. I will now start working on my meditation, and to incorporate yoga into my work-out routine.

Anna

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Buzz Balls

Being on a strictly vegan, gluten free plus highly raw diet makes you miss certain things, like chocolate balls, which we used to whip up at any given time when I was a kid. To my happy surprise, I found a recipe for something similar, at least they share the cacao and sweetness, on the Wellness Warrior, which btw is one of my favorite sites at the moment.


These were super easy to make, and all the ingredients were things I already had at home.
what you need is:
1 banana
3,5dl oat bran (or rolled oats or some other raw gluten free oat version)
2 tsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp bee pollen
0.3 dl maple syrup
0.6 dl sultanas
cacao nibs for rolling
Mix everything but the cacao nibs and then form into balls which you roll in cacao nibs. Leave in the fridge for about half an hour before eating. 


Anna

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

21 day cleanse

On Monday I embarked upon my very first 21 day cleanse, which I found in a book called Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. The deciscion to do so had been made a long time ago, when I bought the book, and I'd just been waiting for "the right time" which we all know is whenever you want it to be. So I quit making excuses, and decided to go for it.

The cleanse in the book isn't really what I was expecting, I thought it would be more like fasting. Turns out it's just 21 days on a vegan, whole raw food based diet. Low-carb, no alcohol, no nicotine, no caffeine, no sugar, no nasties. This is actually exactly what I need, and a super good way to start your new life. A life in which I plan to ditch pretty much all carbs, all gluten, definitely all dairy, and try to have an about 70% raw diet. Nothing too challenging you know.

The first day I started with was is to be my breakfast every day for the coming three weeks, a green juice filled with veggie goodness. It was the first time I used my brand new juicer, which I fell in love with immediately. If there is even the slightest bit of the "destoyer" gene in you, you will love this appliance. Can there be a better way to start your day than to watch celery, broccoli, apples, kale, romaine lettuce and ginger be shredded and pressed for every single drop of juice in them and the end result is you left with a big glass of green tastyness? The answer is no.



For lunch I had an eggless-egg-salad for two days, and for dinner a huge kale salad and some quinoa salad. This has all been quite a winning combo, and today I had one of the tastiest quinoa beetroot salads I've ever had. I still haven't managed to buy a blender (my old one is at my sister's apartment as my living arrangements at the moment are quite a mess) so I haven't had that big of a variety in my foods. What strikes me as the biggest change with this diet is, once you let go of basing your whole meal around carbs, which is what we do most of the time, you are left with so many choices I sometimes have a hard time choosing what to eat. I have the entire produce section of the store available to me, and my options are limitless, so I don't see it as a very hard thing to continue with these eating habits for a long long time.

I have also noticed a lightness i haven't had before, my body feels weightless and I feel like I', able to do pretty much anything. So to conclude this post, I can say that, three days in, I can definitely recommend this to everyone.

Anna

Monday, 5 September 2011

My 10k experience

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been training for a 10k race for a while, and I wanted to share some of my experience about it with you guys. First off, I had wanted to run a full marathon, but got injured quite quickly after I started training, so I had to forget that, for this year at least. Instead I decided to start training for real for a 10k race. I use the Nike+ for iPod chip, which allows me to track how far and fast i run, and they also have a quite good training program online.

At first, it wasn't very challenging at all, which was okay with me, as I hadn't been running for a while. As it got more and more challenging, I got more and more into it and made all the more progress, at least most of the time. I noticed that having a goal, something specific to be running towards, made it much more fun and giving for me. I tend to have a hard time motivating myself, in a positive way, unless I actually have something specific to strive for.


As we were getting closer to race day, I was feeling good. I'd beat a few personal bests, and was confident the race would go well. I had had some troubles with my knee, but I didn't think it would affect my run, as  I have a support thing for it. My nerves before the start were quite all over the place, a good thing as you get adrenalin from it. I ran with a friend of mine, and we'd decided to cheer each other on and run together the whole time. We were doing super well, and I was feeling great. No one ran past us, we only ran past everybody else, or at least that's what it felt like. It is amazing to have people on the side cheering you on, and at this race they also had live music every 2-3k, which was super cool. Then, at the 8k mark, my knee decides to cave. It just simply would not support me anymore. So I had to walk, or run very slowly, the last 2k. My disappointment was too big for words, but as one of my friends later said, that's sports. This gave the race a whole new meaning, because now I have to deal with my disappointment instead. What this has accomplished is simply to make me even more determined to beat myself. My goal now is to run 10k in less than 50min, and I will do it.

So that's that. Today I am starting a sort of 21-day cleanse, which I will tell you more about tomorrow.