How to Balance Your Hormones!

Obsession with Veggies!

Hello gorgeous ladies, I have written this article just for you!

It is not possible to talk about the human body without mentioning the word hormones!  Many people do not understand about these chemical secretions and reactions, but all of us have to deal with hormonal issues every now and then. Hormonal imbalance is a serious health complication for many people, especially to women in all stages of life.

Owing to the complex lifestyles and dietary choices we make today, we have compromised the composition of hormones in our bodies. Incidentally most of the illnesses wreaking we have in our lives emanate from hormonal disproportion. It is important that you understand exactly what it means to have hormonal imbalance.

Vitamin D in Riviera Maya
Vitamin D in Riviera Maya

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, then your body is having problems balancing your hormones.

1. Lethargy: If you are the type that feels weary most of the time and needs to have some snack to make your body active, it is likely your hormones are not well-balanced. Is it becoming common for you to feel exhausted, befuddled and lazy? Have yourself checked for hormonal inequality.

2.  Bloating and other digestive complications: Many a times when you experience problems of the digestive track, you tend to associate them with poor dietary habits. However, it is also possible that your digestive hormones are not being secreted normally.

3.  Uncontrolled weight gain: One of the main problems facing women today is excess weight. It is true that most of this is caused by excess consumption of carbohydrates and processed foods. However, if your hormones are not working optimally, this problem will persist.

4.  Depression: A dip in mood and emotions is often a sign of hormonal imbalance. It happens when we don’t get enough rest, are stressed, or when the body has a large number of toxins.

5. Poor sleep patterns: Hormonal imbalance may also manifest itself through erratic sleeping patterns. Insomnia tends to affect every faculty of the human body. Unless you align your body to the natural sleeping order, you are going to experience interruptions in your daily routines.

6. Low libido: Sex is controlled by hormones. The moment your hormones don’t work exactly as they should, you will experience lack of or low sexual drive.

7. Hot flushes and night sweats: If you are starting to experience increased temperatures and unusual sweating at night, it is time you were checked for hormonal disproportion. Don’t just dismiss it as any other complication.

The best way to deal with such health complications, then, is to balance your hormones. There are a number of ways you can do this. The most popular (but unfortunately not the best) is hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Considering hormonal imbalance is a problem for many people, especially women, HRT practitioners are making a kill. The actual problem with HRT is that it does not treat the cause of the problem but deals with the symptoms only.

Despite this, we should not be fast to condemn HRT. Many perimenopausal women will tell you that when they begin to experience hot flashes and night sweats, the fastest method to relieve the pain and discomfort is to take respective pills. What we are saying though is that it is better to use more long lasting methods, most of which are natural and less expensive compared to HRT.

Natural Strategies of Balancing Hormones

1. Ensure that you have healthy weight: The level of oestrogen in your body increases with increases in adipose tissue, the latter being as a result of excess fat. This is because the adipose tissue performs a similar role as the endocrine glad at this point. To avoid unnecessary secretion of surplus hormones, therefore, you need to have healthy weight. Know your BMI and always live by it. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Remember having the right weight is also good for your general outlook and health.

2. Include cruciferous veggies in your diet: Indole-3-carbinol is the element in cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and related plants that generates diindolylmethane (DIM) after metabolism. With these two elements, the secretion of oestrogen in your body is regulated thus preventing hormonal imbalance. In addition, it has been proved that eating cruciferous veggies helps to prevent cancer, especially the type that affects the breasts. Stock up on these vegetables and find ways of including them in as many as your foods as possible.

3. Introduce phytoestrogens in your food: This is one of the best approaches to dealing with hormonal imbalance since it happens naturally. Instead of buying expensive HRT medication, simply eat food rich in soy and also consume generous amounts of seeds such as sunflower and flax as well as beans sprouts. Other foods rich is phytoestrogens include peas and garbanzo beans. By simply eating such food, you will regulate hormones in your body without experiencing negative side effects. And you don’t have to worry because these seeds are found in abundance in areas close to you like grocery stores.

Healthy Food Choices Inspiration
Healthy Food Choices Inspiration

4. Consume avocados and coconut oil: Another relatively inexpensive way to curb unusual fluctuations in body hormones is to consume foods that contain fatty acid chains of varying lengths. The best examples of these are avocados and coconut oil. This category also includes salmon derived from natural habitats and butter from grass-fed animals. Apart from having your hormonal levels restored to normal you will experience improved metabolism and increased loss of weight. Instead of using expensive drugs, look for these food products and eat them as often as possible.

5. Reduce your intake of caffeine: Coffee and tea are favourite beverages for many, but herein lies a problem for those with hormonal imbalance. When you take caffeine, especially before you sleep, you tend to lose sleep, but more significantly, the hormonal level in your thyroid is interfered with. This is the moment you experience all sorts of chaos in your body since hormonal activity is significantly altered. We are not intimating that you avoid these beverages altogether (although this is advisable for those with critical hormonal imbalance problems) but reducing intake, especially before going to sleep is important.

6. Sleep adequately: Your hormonal imbalance problem is likely to be as a result of not getting enough sleep. If you are not getting between seven and eight hours of quality sleep every day, your hormonal activity will be affected negatively. Your body is designed to have reduced activity at night and this is when sleep sets in. The moment you disturb this order, you also interfere with your hormonal activity. Make sure you sleep by around 10 pm as this will ensure you get quality sleep. Make sure you have lie on a comfortable bed and that your room is dark enough. Avoid watching television or gazing at smartphone screens before you sleep.

7. Practise deep breathing: To deal with night sweats and hot flashes, you don’t have to resort to HRT all the time. The simple routine of breathing from the belly two times every day with each session lasting fifteen minutes will bring you natural relief from hormonal discrepancy. Deep breathing helps your lungs to imbibe enough energy to be fed to the blood, which ensures the blood that reaches your cells is clean. When your blood is clean, you will have not only stronger immunity from illnesses, but your hormonal activity will also be balanced correctly.

8. Herbal remedies can help: There are herbal medicines that have been proven to deal effectively with hormonal imbalance. Shatavarim, an Ayurvedic herb, is known for its ability to reduce mood swings and irritability that comes with menopause. There are even herbs that are known to deal with the physical pain and psychological distress associated with hormonal imbalance. However, it is important to talk to an expert before you begin using herbal remedies for this problem.

9. Avoid conventional birth control: While this may not be a popular kind of advice when dealing with hormonal problems, it is important to consider the rationale behind it. Did you know that birth control pills are essentially hormonal therapies that alter how your body works? More importantly, these pills make you more vulnerable to breast cancer, migraines, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, high blood pressure and breast tenderness, among other issue that should worry you. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look for more natural and harmless ways of controlling child bearing than to interfere with hormonal activity and expose you to some much pain?

10. Get vitamin D and lots of It: This vitamin is known for its ability to boost mode and general wellbeing. To this end, vitamin D helps to control hormonal activity. This implies that you need to get enough time in the sun, though you should take care not to be harmed by the sun’s rays. Bask in the early morning and late evening hours. If you do not have this privilege, look for vitamin D supplements. This is especially true if you live in an area where you don’t have adequate exposure to the sun.

Outdoor portrait of beautiful young women having fun.

So now you have it! HRT may work over some time but it is not sustainable for hormonal imbalance problems in the long term. Go the natural way and you will never suffer from painful side effects or have to worry about the possibility of contracting dreadful illnesses again!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

XXX

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Dangerous GMO’s!

The quest for global food security has over the years witnessed aggressive efforts to create plants that can withstand changing climatic conditions and plant diseases. The most prominent of these attempts is the creation of genetically modified organisms, popularly known by the acronym ‘GMO’. Fortunately or unfortunately, while this development is worthy celebrating, it is surrounded by serious controversy and inherent danger.

From the onset, it is important to state that GMOs are far from being safe as many would have us believe. But before we delve into the dangers of GMO, let us first understand what GMO is all about.

Understanding GMO

Let us begin from the known and proceed to the unknown. By nature, every organism has its unique composition, the DNA that differentiates it from others. A natural plant is one that has all its genes intact as it was created or as it has evolved over the years. In essence, natural corn, for example, should have all the qualities of corn as we have known it over the years.

Scientists, however, argue that as plants and animals continue to evolve, they undergo changes that may alter their chemical and nutritional composition. This is especially because soils continue to lose their fertility and plants cannot get all the nutrients they used to earlier. Animals feed on the deprived soil. Moreover, the use of fertilizers and chemicals means that the genetic makeup of the plant can be altered. The consequence is that the plants we know today are of lower nutritional value than before.

It is also argued by experts that plant diseases and pests have over the years lowered the quality of plants and other organisms thus the need for mechanisms to prevent the harmful effects of these diseases. Unless these diseases are prevented from affecting and destroying organisms, some plant and animal species will disappear soon. These and other reasons are used to front GMOs.

A GMO is an organism that has had its genetic composition interfered with through artificial means especially in a laboratory. Through a process called genetic engineering, scientists extract the DNA of one type of plant or animal and replace the removed material with others from sources that have no relationship with the original organism.

The sources of new genes are often other animals, plants, insects, viruses, bacteria or even animal tissue. It is important to remember that this is contrary to the natural way in which crossbreeding among species occurs. Next time you come across the term ‘transgenic’ organisms, you need to realize it has the same meaning as GMO since it denotes the transfer of genes between different organisms.

A Chinese Asian female medical doctor or scientific researcher or doctor looking at a flask of blue liquid in a laboratory.

When this is done, the plant has to change in terms of its nutritional and chemical composition and in some cases the physical appearance. Moreover, and more importantly, genetic engineering not only alters the genetic infrastructure of an organism, but is also unpredictable and extremely mutative. Moreover, allergic reactions and toxins often follow genetic engineering.

We also need to realize that in the past there have been other attempts to improve the quality of species. These include tissue culture, selective breeding and hybridization. The difference between these traditional genetic methods of gene improvement and genetic engineering is that the former actually aids nature instead of circumventing it.

The other complication is that genetic engineering may actually act contrary to the ideals of improving the genetic quality of organisms. For example, some crops return lower yields after genetic engineering. The same happens with nutritional value. Allergic reactions and toxicity are attendant problems, but even more worrying is environmental degradation stemming from GMOs.

GMO research was at first perceived to be for research purposes only, but with time, it became clear that there were commercial interests. Today, many food crops have been genetically modified to some extent. We are talking of papaya, soybeans, corn and other plants such as cotton. Despite this, most of the food we eat remains natural and this includes rice, oats, where, tomatoes, beans, grapes and barley.

In relation to animals, there are no GMO creatures at this time. Well, there was an unsuccessful attempt to create GMO pigs, but it was shelved after a short trial. However, the fact that animals feed on GMO corn and soy means that the negative impacts of GMO will affect people who feed on such animals. The fact that GMO foods are not clearly labelled puts everybody at risk.

heart shape by various vegetables and fruits

Why, should you be concerned?

It would be unfair not to underline that research on the harmful effects of GMOs is on-going. However, it is important to note that there are regions that have adopted a wait-and-see attitude instead of rushing to adopt GMOs. For example, in the EU, GMOs crops are rarely grown and any GMO products must be clearly labelled to help a buyer to make a personal decision on whether to consume such products or not.

Woman's hand holding the sun over wheat field.

Secondly, some scientists have expressed reservations to GMOs on the basis that the allergies witnessed during genetic engineering might affect consumers. This is a genuine concern considering the prevalence of diseases such as cancer, which primarily involve irregular multiplication of body cells. One wonders, then, whether it is necessary to eat GMO food when there are natural alternatives.

Another concern related to GMOs is that the entire process eventually harms the environment. This is especially true in relation to GMO farming. Pesticides are the main issue here. Companies that manufacture GE seeds are also the main producers of pesticides. While GE seeds are made to withstand herbicides, farmers must purchase chemicals to kill weeds. The problem is that farms develop weeds that resist chemicals in the long run thus requiring even more harmful insecticides.

It is obvious that when the environment is harmed by chemicals, human beings will suffer. Polluted air, soil and water in turn contribute to death of marine life, global warming, toxicity in water sources, death of plant and animal life and the plethora of illnesses that we are battling today. In essence, we can suffer direct and indirect consequences of developing, nurturing and consuming GMOs.

What should we do?

As intimated earlier, it is imperative that we ask ourselves whether we really need GMOs. Nature is resilient and altering its cause can only results in disaster in the long run. Global warming and its consequences are clear evidences of that fact. Before you introduce GMOs in your diet, ask yourself whether you have exhausted all existing natural alternatives.

We must start reading labels on the food materials we buy and ensure we don’t form a habit of constant consumption of GMOs. It is important to be careful when we buy canola, alfalfa, papaya, corn, soy, and sugar beets. These are foods that have undergone extensive genetic engineering. Some, like, soy, are totally transformed from what we were used to.

We need also to ask ourselves whether GMOs are manufactured for the benefit of humanity or the firms than create them. Why is it that the largest manufacturers of GE foods are also the leading makers of chemicals to fight weeds? Are we helping businesspeople to make more money at our expense or we really need GMOs for survival of the human race?

With love,

Grace Guru 

XXX

 

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What is Candida?

Most of us often suffer from symptoms; strange symptoms and we don’t even know what the reason behind it is! Do you have symptoms such as mood swings, sinus infections, intestinal distress, brain fog, hormonal imbalance, yeast infections, headaches, chronic fatigues, and itching? However diverse these symptoms may sound the cause is often a fungus, known as Candida Albicans. This disease is often misdiagnosed, but in this article, I will explain what Candida actually is, its symptoms and how it can be treated.

What is Candida?

Candida is a type of fungus that affects the intestines. Any imbalance in your digestive or immune systems can have adverse consequences to your gut often leading to a leaky gut. Stress and certain antibiotics lead to an imbalance of this particular fungus. Often when you are stressed, lots of Candida Albicans are rapidly produced and released into your intestines. Large amounts of this fungus are toxic because it produces a range of by-products that include uric acid and a neurotoxin called acetaldehyde.

Acetaldehyde is a harmful by-product, it is known to cause brain fogs and chronic headaches. This has also recently been listed as a possible carcinogen. It’s a pathogen that can have a dangerous effect on the human body. Uric acid on the other hand, when in large amounts, can lead to gout or joint pains. Any change in the balance of your intestines can result in oral thrush, yeast infections, and various duodenal problems.

Here are some things you may do that can lead to Candida overgrowth within our bodies:

High sugar diets

The amount of sugar you consume can lead to Candida imbalance in your system. Unhealthy sugary foods taken over a long period causes Candida overgrowth.

Take a walk in your local restaurant, convenient store or mall. All these stores sell foods with added sugars. It is almost virtually impossible to ignore these sugars. Whether, its pasta sauce, meats, bread, cereals, margarine they all contain added sugars in them. These sugars are the exact kind of foods that Candida needs to proliferate. – In other words processed food!

It’s important to note that eating healthy foods and having a bar of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream once a week will not lead to increase in Candida amounts. Sugary diets consumed over longer periods of time will lead to Candida imbalance.

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Stress

I know you have probably suffered from stress in the past. It’s a tough world we live in. The bills are increasing and your pay might not necessarily balance out right with your daily needs. Some of these issues sometimes lead to stress. Always worrying about what lies ahead of you can result in changes to your body. Stress sometimes leads to depression and it is often seen as one of the leading causes of ailments today.

There are different ways in which stress can lead to a Candida burst in your body.

The first thing that stress does is raise sugar level in your body. In biology, the increase in sugar levels is commonly referred to as the fight or flight effect. A state of constant worry will make your body build up lots of energy in preparation for any sudden occurrence. To boost energy levels and be ready for anything, the sugar levels in your body will have to be high all the time because it’s this sugar that broken down to form energy. And as we already know, high sugar levels will then lead to high Candida levels in the body.

The second thing is that your immune system will deteriorate once your body is under stress. Once it’s weakened, your body won’t be able to form defenses against any Candida growth in your body.

Antibiotics

They are the most common cause of increased Candida levels. The importance of antibiotics shouldn’t be ignored, but unfortunately, they have adverse side effects. Yes, I know there are times that your body would need antibiotics to heal properly but sadly, most doctors often give antibiotics even for the commonest body diseases such as flu or the common cold. They don’t give much thought to them.

One particular type of antibiotics known as broad spectrum antibiotics can have serious effects on your immune and digestive systems. All that broad spectrum antibiotics does is to kill all bacteria in your body. However, as its common knowledge, not all bacteria is harmful to the body. We actually can’t live without certain types of bacteria.

A fully grown human has more than 400 different types of bacteria and more than 90 trillion single bacteria. That’s a lot. It means it’s almost impossible for us to eliminate all bacteria from our bodies.

Broad spectrum antibiotics and other various types of antibiotics kill most of these beneficial bacteria in our bodies. This eventually leads to digestive and immune systems complications. Once these bacteria are eliminated, one particular bacteria takes advantage of this. And yeah, you guessed it right, it’s the Candida Albicans. This bacteria won’t feel the pressure of fighting for space and food in your intestines. There won’t be any competition for the resources, and this would, therefore, mean that Candida will flourish and expand their colonies. There will be a surge of this bacteria leading to an imbalance in your gut.

Mercury in the tooth fillings

Some tooth fillings such as silver amalgam contain up to 40%-50% mercury which can have adverse effects on the Candida levels in the body. When you grind or brush your teeth, the fillings may dissipate in your mouth and consequently in your gut.

Once the mercury is absorbed into the bloodstream, your immune system will be weakened, and it can lead to serious health complications. One of these health problems can be Candida. After the mercury reaches your gut, it kills the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system allowing Candida to flourish.

There are no acceptable levels of mercury permitted in the body. If you have tooth fillings that contain even the smallest amounts of mercury, make an appointment with your dentist and have them replaced.

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Fluoride and Chloride.

Chlorine is a common chemical almost like added sugars that I have named above. It’s commonly found in drinking water. This means the water you cook with, drink, bath and wash your clothes with has this chemical. It is a powerful disinfectant that ensures the water you drink is free from all pathogens.

However, sometimes chlorine kills the useful body bacteria which might eventually lead to high Candida levels in the body. Fortunately, there are ways of reducing the amount of chlorine intake in the body. You could switch to natural friendly products for your laundry needs. Another thing you can do is install filters in the water system your household uses to ensure your body takes in fewer amounts of this chemical.

Fluoride is another chemical commonly used by toothpaste manufacturers. It’s preferred because of its disinfecting nature. It kills germs found in the mouth and sometimes some of this fluoride may kill the good bacteria leaving the Candida bacteria to flourish.

Diabetes

Diabetic people are more susceptible to Candida because diabetes leads to fluctuating blood sugar levels. When the sugar levels are high, especially for the women, the Candida bacteria will surge in the body. High Candida yeast levels can lead to body imbalance which can eventually cause health problems.

The Pill

Recent scientific research has it that Candida outbreak can be attributed to the use of the contraceptive pill. The human body is made up sensitive parts especially the stomach. To digest foods in the stomach, we need to have just the right amounts of yeasts, microorganisms, and bacteria. The right balance of these digestive chemicals is critical, but this delicate and important chemical equilibrium can be thrown off by improper hormonal balances triggered by the contraceptive pill.

Such imbalances give room for the Candida to flourish and outnumber its competitors in the digestive tract. Estrogen, commonly found in the pill leads to yeast infections.

Copper IUD is another contraceptive that leads to yeast growth in a similar manner that estrogen found in the pill. Be wary of such problems when choosing your contraceptive method.

Other common causes of Candida outgrowth include

  • Drinking lots of alcohol
  • Consuming fermented food products such as pickles and kombucha.
  • Eating diets with lots of refined carbs

Intimate scene of couple in love

Symptoms

As mentioned above, candidiasis can sometimes be misdiagnosed due to the similarity of its symptoms to other diseases. It’s also quite difficult to diagnose due to the different effects it has on people. The way it can affect me may not be necessarily the same way it will affect you.

Sometimes patients diagnose themselves because of the confusing symptoms. Due to such unclear effects, it’s a common consensus that the number of people suffering from candidiasis is way more than those who are correctly diagnosed.

Common symptoms include:

You may feel the following

Poor coordination, panic attacks, poor memory, low libido levels, insomnia, sweets and alcohol cravings, dizziness, irritability, hyperactivity, anger and bitterness, and brain fog.

The gastrointestinal tract

Itching anus, constipation, bloating, constantly burping after meals, gassiness, nausea, mucus in the stool, acid reflux, diarrhea, stomach upsets, stomach cramps, and hemorrhoids.

The skin

Hives, body odor, dermatitis, acne, eczema, athlete’s foot, fungal infections on the nails, psoriasis, and cysts.

The mouth

Tongue with cracks and thrushes, metallic mouth taste, canker sores, enlarged lower lip, bleeding gums, halitosis, and bad breath.

The respiratory system

Asthma attacks, persistent cough and sore throat, mucus in the throat, sinusitis, flu and hay fever-like symptoms, and the congestion of the sinus.

The eyes

Itchy eyes, bags under the eyes, blurred eyesight and light sensitivity.

The ears

Ear infection and ringing ears.

The urinary tract

Persistent urinary and yeast infections. Others include fungal rash, bladder inflammation and menstrual abnormalities.

The immune system

Allergies and sensitivity to particular diets or chemicals. The common cold being a little bit more frequent, and the flu.

Weight

The body retains lots of water and weight loss.

Other common symptoms include the following:

Muscle aches chronic joint pains, heartaches, and joint stiffness.

Misdiagnosis

Doctors are human, just like me, and you and they can misdiagnose Candida for some other disease due to its varying symptoms. The reason being, candidiasis can manifest itself using a combination of any of the named symptoms often leading to misdiagnosis.

Listed below are some common misdiagnoses that doctors do depending on the symptoms your body is exhibiting.

Gastroenteritis, IBS, and Crohn’s disease – Symptoms include indigestion, abdominal pains diarrhea, gas and bloating

Athlete’s foot – Fungal infection on the toenails

Arthritis – Recurring joints pains

A misdiagnosis of Candida can have adverse repercussions on your body health. To avoid such, ensure you tell your physicians all the symptoms you are feeling. Don’t leave anything behind because he may prescribe medication that may lead to Candida overgrowth.

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The Healing Process

Healing from candidiasis isn’t such a long and painful process as some would imagine. There are some things listed below that you have to keep in mind as you begin the treatment plan.

First try some Detox supplements:

Diet

What should be avoided…

This is the first thing you should switch as you begin your treatment plan. There are some foods you will have to reduce so that the amounts of Candida in your body can be lowered to tolerable levels

The first being, reducing the sugar diets you consume. As I mentioned earlier in this article, sugar supports the expansion of Candida colonies so a reduction of sugars will support your healing process as the Candida will be deprived of the nutrients they require to expand. Avoid consuming candy, lots of chocolate, flours and drinking alcohol.

Consider beginning your treatment process with the cleansing of your body off Candida toxins.

Also, avoid eating fermented diets. These foods support the growth of yeast in the body leading to increased Candida. A complete elimination of such products is recommended for you to heal completely.

Reduce the amount of fresh, canned and dried fruits you consume. Fresh juice should also be reduced as it contains high amounts of natural sugars which feed Candida. However, fresh fruits have their advantages to the body, and should, therefore, be introduced in small portions when the Candida amounts in the body are in control.

Nuts such as peanuts and cashews should be reduced as they contain high amounts of mold.

Selection of dried fruits in jars

Dairy products except ghee, probiotic yogurt, kefir and butter should be avoided when healing from a Candida overgrowth. Yogurt and kefir are preferred to milk because the lactose that promotes yeast growth is eliminated during the fermentation process.

Most fish contain high levels of toxins and metallic products. These toxins and metallic products suppress the immune system which may lead to an expansion of Candida. However, fish such as sardines and wild salmons can be consumed.

Meat products especially pork should be avoided as it contains retroviruses that survive the cooking process which can be harmful to you if you have a weak digestive system. Processed meats, on the other hand, contain added sugars and sulfates which aren’t good for your body

What should be consumed…

In place of sugar, use sweeteners such xylitol and stevia. They have a lesser effect as compared to ordinary sugars, but only if necessary. I am not a big fan of sweeteners at all!

I know the foods I mentioned above are the kinds of dishes and diets you enjoy cooking at home or having at the local restaurant you like visiting with your family. So you probably think there is nothing left for you to eat. However, don’t despair as there so many other delicious foods that you can consume to ensure you live a healthy life.

Consume non-starchy vegetables and reduce complex carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, yams and pasta. Only steam, grill or eat your vegetables raw

Kefir and probiotic yogurt contain nutrients that will repopulate the good bacteria in your body and hence restore balance in your body

You can consume eggs, turkey, chicken, lamb, and beef. They should, however, be organic and fresh. Processed meats should be avoided.

For the beverages, drink licorice tea, peppermint tea, cinnamon and ginger tea as they contain useful antifungal properties.

Season your foods using sea salt, black pepper, organic raw vinegar, and apple cider.

Spices and herbs such as dill, ginger, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon contain antifungal and antioxidant properties that are great if you are suffering from a Candida overgrowth.

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What should be reintroduced…

Beans such as black beans and azuki beans, grains, e.g., lentils, chickpeas, split peas, navy beans, can be slowly reintroduced into the diet because they contain some antifungal advantages and fiber which are useful for those suffering from candidiasis.

Have small portions of fruits as you recover from a Candida overgrowth. Consume fruits e.g. blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries a maximum of four times a week.

Probiotics

It’s recommended that a fully grown human being should have at least a pound of bacteria in their body. Anything more would be detrimental to your system and would cause a system imbalance.

Candida is a fast growing yeast, and the main purpose of antibiotics is to kill bacteria. Certain types of antibiotics can kill useful bacteria giving room to Candida to flourish leading to an overgrowth.

Probiotics are beneficial to the body as they will help reintroduce the useful and supportive bacteria to your system. They will also crowd out the Candida colonies and ensure you have the right amount of acidity in your stomach.

Start taking your probiotics as soon as you begin your strict anti- Candida diet mentioned above. You should avoid taking them and antifungals at the same time.

They come in either powder or a capsule form. However, tablets are recommended as they will ensure the introduction of bacteria into your digestive system without too many getting destroyed in the process.

It’s also suggested you take the soil based probiotics instead of the conventional regular lactic based solutions because these organisms colonize the digestive system more efficiently and are more likely to reach the small intestine tract.

My favorite ones that I use are from: ParaGone

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 Buy yours here today!

Anti-fungals

Anti-fungals are the last essential element of a Candida healing process. There is a variety of antifungal products you can add to your diet. Antifungals will destroy the walls of the Candida yeast and reduce the colonies in your system.

The most popular antifungal treatments include grapefruit extract and caprylic acid. Others include nystatin and eraxis.

Natural anti-fungal remedies include the following

  • Turmeric
  • Oregano Oil
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit Seeds
  • Black Walnut
  • Aloe Vera
  • Golden Seal

Cook using coconut flour instead of the standard baking flour. Coconut bread is a great substitute for the wheat bread you consume every morning as wheat bread supports the growth of yeast in the digestive system.

Coconut oil, which can be added to your cooking, is an inexpensive type of anti-fungal remedy. Take a maximum of two tablespoons of coconut oil. Consuming too much of it might lead to diarrhea and stomach cramps. Apart from inhibiting Candida growth, coconut oil is also great for your skin and hair and will enhance your immune system. Another Coconut oil benefit is that it doesn’t break down into fats when cooked at high temperatures

Coconuts And Organic Coconut Oil

Use coconut vinegar and aminos to make some delicious dressings instead of using the standard soy sauce. You can also use coconut vinegar to make marinades, as it is packed with nutrients and is also great in reducing the growth of Candida in the digestive tract.

This is it about the bad, bad, bad Candida disease! I hope this article is useful to you and you can start applying changes to your everyday diet and make a life changing progress. We all suffer from some light Candida effects and to make a detox and cleansing ones or twice a year is recommended for everyone.

With Love Your,

Grace Guru

XXX

 

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Pranayama

I would like to write about a special breathing practice, which is called Paranayama. We all know that breathing is something that we do every day, 24/7, but don’t really pay any attention to it most of the time. If I tell you what life changing benefits you can get out of Pranayama, I am sure it will make you so much interested that you will start practicing it on a daily basis.

Pranayama is made up of two words i.e. “prana” meaning breath and “yana” meaning to control or restrain. Pranayama, therefore, means to control the breath. Without breathing, we obviously can’t live. Prana is a vital element of our existence on this earth. The only thing we ought to do is take good care of this precious gift God has given us. Utilization of this energy source gifted to us is crucial to ensuring we stay a healthy and disease free lifestyle.

The benefits of pranayama can’t be underscored. There are intangible (that can’t be touched) and tangible (that can be perceived by the sense of touch) advantages.

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Controlled breathing rate!

I am sure you know it already or at least heard it from your friends – Yoga is great for the mind, soul and it will also help you to control your breathing a lot. So another way to practice Paranayama is trough Yoga, it will enable you reduce your breathing rate and breathe more deeply and slowly.

But can you imagine?! With Pranayama, you can reduce your rate of breathing from 13-16 breaths per minute to 5-7 breaths!

A decreased respiratory rate leads to the following

  • More oxygen will be pumped into the lungs due to the slower and deeper breaths
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relaxation of the body muscles and joints
  • Eased nerves
  • Internal organs will be relaxed leading to less wear and tear hence a healthier lifestyle

Backlight profile of a woman breathing deep fresh air in the morning sunrise isolated in white above

Increase in life

According to yoga, breathing increases longevity. The deeper and slower you respire, the longer you will live. For instance, tortoises breathe 4-5 times a minute, and they end up living more than 200 years.

Improved blood circulation

When we breathe, fresh oxygen enters our bodies, and we exhale carbon dioxide. Oxygen travels from our nostrils to our lungs and later on to the heart. Once it reaches the heart, it is pumped into the veins and arteries throughout the body. Therefore, deeper breaths lead to better blood circulation and a revitalized life.

A healthy heart

It’s common knowledge that the heart is the most conscientious organ in the body. Once it stops beating, that’s the end of life. It beats close to 101, 000 times a day. There is not a single minute it has stopped, whether you are resting or sleeping. Your life expectancy will mainly be determined by how healthy your heart is. The more oxygen you breathe, the more oxygen and blood is passed through the heart leading to the more youthful heart. The lesser oxygen you breathe, the lesser blood will be pumped through your veins and arteries leading to a weakened immune system and lower energy levels. You will feel weak, and your muscles and joints will be frail.

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Benefits to the body

Pranayama will have a positive effect on various body organs such as the kidneys, abdomen, heart, pancreas, intestines, diaphragm, and the lungs.

An improved digestive. Digestive system related problems will be cured with better breathing techniques.

Reduced lethargy and improved energy levels.

With more oxygen in the blood, toxins will be removed from the body leading to a better well-being and an improved immune system. Removal of toxins and a better immune system means the onset of illnesses is easily prevented.

Improved mental health

Pranayama frees us from all forms of stress and depression related issues such as anger and lasciviousness. You will be freed from all mental conditions bad characters traits such as arrogance, egotism, and greed for the earthly possessions such as money.

Yoga is great for the mind and soul. Pranayama practice will help you feel relieved, calm, a sense of body lightness, inner peace, and better concentration. You will experience better memory, improved sleep patterns, and enhanced skills.

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Enhances life quality in old age.

The world is changing, and unfortunately, we are engaging in more sedentary lifestyles. We are exercising less, walking less (because we think having a car is the most important thing to own), and spending more time on our smartphones and computers. We are becoming zombies. Living such a lifestyle will lead to your lung capacity decreasing as the lung tissues grow less elastic.

Such a lifestyle means we will have a poor quality of life in our old age. Pranayama will help improve this quality and help us live a better life when we are retired.

Old age problems that yoga will reduce include:

  • Hardened arteries which may lead to lower circulation of blood in the body
  • Rheumatism, headaches and backaches.
  • Muscle pains, stiff joints and weakened bones.
  • Pranayama will also lower the buildup of uric acid in the body which can have adverse effects such as discomfort and chronic joint pains.

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Reduced stress

Once you feel stressed, your body will experience bursts of energy to counter any form of danger that may come your way. Scientifically this is known as the fight or flight effect. You will experience faster and shallow breaths which mean less oxygen will be inhaled and consequently pumped into your bloodstream.

Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline will be produced which increases the blood pressure and heart rate. However, with breathing you can be able to control all these. Deep breathing will give you a sense of calm. Your heart, mind, body, and soul will be peaceful. Deep slow breaths reverse the effects of adrenaline by stimulating the vagus nerve in the parasympathetic nerve system which lowers the heart rates and blood pressure which eventually leads to a calm mind and body.

Your emotional state will be improved with deep controlled breathing techniques. You will be less reactive to your emotions due to a relaxed spirit.

The stages of the breathing process include

Puraka known as inhalation- Here you breathe in deep and slow, and you fill your lungs with air.

Kumbhaka i.e. retention. This is the second stage where body temperatures are raised, and oxygen is absorbed into the blood stream.

Rechaka i.e. exhalation. You release the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the lungs and diaphragm return to its normal position.

Young woman enjoying coffee while lying in the bath with foam and candles

Types of Pranayama

Bhastrika

This means to bellow, i.e. produce a blast of air. Just as a bellow is used to generate lots of air, you ought to breathe in and out rapidly. To practice the Bhastrika Pranayama, sit in a comfortable position and inhale in and out while closing your mouth, expanding and contracting your chest.

Start with 10-15 breaths then increase them to 25-30 breaths. Remember inhaling deeply is the whole point of Pranayama. Retain the air in your chest for as long as you can, then slowly release the carbon dioxide.

Bhastrika Pranayama leads to

  • Reduced throat inflammation
  • Eradicates asthma
  • Destroys phlegm
  • Eliminates all diseases related to the lungs, throat and bile.

Suryabheda

Ensure you are in a comfortable position such as siddhasana. Keep your eyes shut when practicing this Pranayama. Close the left nostril and slowly inhale air through the right nostril. Once you have inhaled enough air (you should be comfortable), close the right nostril with your thumb and retain the air by pressing your jaw against your chest. Increase the rates of retention until sweat is slowly excreted from the hair roots.

Exhale slowly without producing any form of a sound through the left nostril with the right nostril is still closed using your thumb.

Benefits of Suryabheda Pranayama

  • It eliminates any decay in the body
  • It also destroys any worms in the digestive system
  • It cures illnesses such as sinusitis, rhinitis, and rheumatism
  • Suryabheda Pranayama also clears the brain and purifies it.

Ujjayi

Before beginning this Pranayama sit in the siddhasana position and keep your mouth closed at all times. Inspire slowly through both nostrils in a smooth, comfortable pace. Close your mouth once the inhaled air fills up your lungs until the end of your throat. Enlarge your chest when breathing in.

When you are inhaling, there is a weird but uniform sound that will be produced due to the partial closing of the throat. Ensure you are in a comfortable position when breathing and retaining the air in your lungs and throat. Then slowly respire through the nostrils. The best thing about Ujjayi Pranayama is that it can be performed even when during your normal day activities e.g. when at work, or even when walking.

Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama include

  • Reduces the amounts of heat in the head.
  • Removes phlegm and increases the gastric fire in the body
  • Curing of pulmonary illnesses such as asthma
  • Reduces occurrence of heart-related illnesses

Bhramari

Ensure you are in a padmasana sitting position before starting the Bhramari Pranayama. Breathe in through both nostrils and expire while making the sound of a bee. Repeat the inspiring and expiring severally until the body is soaked in perspiration.

Once you feel like you have perspired enough, inhale deeply through both nostrils and retain the air as long as you are comfortable then let out the carbon dioxide slowly through the two nostrils. You will feel calm and joyful once you are done with this procedure.

Benefits

  • When you start the process, there will be increased body temperature and consequently improved blood circulation throughout the body
  • When you conclude the process, body heat will be reduced through sweating.

Sheetkari

This Pranayama is a little different from others as it involves folding the tongue till it touches the upper part of the mouth. Once you do that, inhale through your mouth while making a hissing sound. Ensure you are comfortable while inhaling, then respire slowly through the two nostrils.

You can choose to keep the upper and lower jaws in contact when breathing in and repeat that process severally.

Benefits include

  • It boosts robustness and beauty. You will be full of strength and life
  • Eliminating problems such as insomnia, hunger, sluggishness, and dehydration.

Sheetali

Sit in a comfortable position. Stick out your tongue straight and fold it like a tube. Then inhale air through the mouth while making a weird but uniform hissing sound. Expand your lungs and retain the air as much as you can. Relax a little bit, then respire the carbon dioxide slowly through the right and left nostrils.

Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama include

    • Blood purity. Your blood and circulatory system will be pure and toxic waste will be exhaled.
    • Quenching of thirst. You will feel better and rehydrated
    • This practice also reduces the hunger pangs and cools the body.

Plavini

The Plavini Pranayama is unique as it involves drinking air from the mouth to the stomach like water. ‘Drink’ the air until the stomach is ballooned a bit. You have to hear some hollow sound when you tap your stomach.

Practice the said procedure slowly. Once you have practiced enough, allow air out. Belch out the air repeatedly.

Benefits

  • Those who have perfected this Pranayama can float for lots of hours on water
  • Persons with this skill can stay without food for several days

Anulom-Vilom

Sit in a comfortable position. Use your right thumb to seal the right nostril and inspire using the left nostril. Breathe in the air to the lungs and not the stomach. Seal the left nostril and expire using the right nostril. Do the said procedure repeatedly.

Then close the left nostril and inspire through the right nostril. Seal the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat those steps severally.

Anulom-Vilom Pranayama leads to

    • Stable body temperatures
    • Lengthens life
    • Reduces stress
    • Removal of toxins from the body
    • Better blood circulation

Chandrabhedan

Sit in a comfortable position on the floor. Your shoulders should be straight and relaxed, and the back should be upright. Seal your right nostril with the right thumb and inspire through the left nostril. Ensure you are comfortable when inhaling to the lungs. Seal the left nostril using your right-hand index finger and exhale through the right nostril.

Repeat the procedure above for 15-20 times.

Benefits include

  • Curing heartburns
  • Stabilizes the body’s temperatures
  • Cooling the body

It’s important to note that this Pranayama shouldn’t be practiced by people who suffer from low blood pressure. It should also be done only during the summer and not any other season.

Pranayama for Children

So now that you have learned the most popular Pranayama techniques, how do you go about teaching your kids such methods of cleansing the body and living a healthy lifestyle?

Pranayama helps children find inner peace and harmony. Pranayama will uplift their moods and spirit; they will learn how to deal better with nerve-wracking or anxious situations. Practicing such yoga techniques is fun.

Steam Train Method

This is particularly popular with baby class or prekindergarten kids. The first step is to sit in a comfortable position such as a crossed- legged position. Instruct them to seal their nostrils using the upper lip. Then, breathe in through the nose forcing the inhalation to sound like a steaming train.

Gradually speed up the breathing in and out. This particular Pranayama method is critical as it calms the minds of the kids and betters blood circulation in the body.

Dragon Breath Technique

This is another popular Pranayama method for children. It’s slightly different from the steam train method because it involves letting out the toxic carbon dioxide to the universe. The mouth should be kept wide open, and exhaled gas let out to the universe.

The first step is to be in a kneeling position. Instruct them to should raise their hands in the air and outstretch their fingers. Inhale through the nose slowly until the lungs are filled with air. When exhaling, the kids should stretch their arms in front and exhale through the mouth. It’s an entertaining process, and I’m also pretty sure the kids would have fun pretending they are a dragon.

With the hand and fingers movements, the kids are stretching and relaxing their upper body.

 

The Mantra

Using a mantra in the form of a poem, encourage the children to breathe in and out. A mantra will help them improve their concentration, cleanse their bodies and enhance awareness. A chosen mantra should be something that will uplift, calm or empower the kids.

Reciting loudly or quietly, the kids can recite the mantra below.

There (inhale) is (exhale)

Nothing (inhale) that (exhale)

Can (inhale) stop (exhale)

Me (inhale) from (exhale)

Accomplishing (inhale)

My dreams (exhale)

The three named Pranayama for kids can be practiced by kids who are up to the age of 18. They can be used as a good base for teaching the more complex Pranayama techniques such as Chandrabhedan, Anulom-Vilom, Plavini, Sheetali, and Sheetkari et al. They are great for the mind, body and soul. They can be particularly useful for the children who suffer from anxiety issues, and stress related problems such as depression.

They can be performed during any season the year or whichever time of the day or night. Encourage your kids or younger siblings to practice Pranayama for kids as there is no other perfect gift – blissful moment – you can give your child or younger sibling(s).

 

With love,

Your Grace Guru

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Amazing Reasons to Run Your First Marathon

Marathons have been with humanity since the days of the days of the Greece Empire. A marathon is a long race where people compete for honours and fame. Today there are different categories of marathon runners: those who compete for money, presents and records, people who compete for fun and those who do it to accomplish a dream. Whatever your motivation, it is time you ran you first marathon and I will tell you why. Before that you need to know that there are mainly two type of marathon – the full marathon which is 42 km long and the half marathon that is 21km long. However, there are other fun marathons that you can participate in including the 10km, 5km and children’s races of varying lengths. Most major cities have a marathon that take place annually. In the UK, the London Marathon is regarded as one of the major races in the world, attracting thousands of runners including elite athletes from around the globe. The US also hosts many marathons with Boston and New York being the most famous.

OMSK, RUSSIA - MAY 24 : Marathon runners compete at the Spring Half Marathon 2015 in Omsk, Russia, May 24, 2015. Marathon athletes running on street

Training for the marathon

When you decide to take place in a marathon, you need to start preparing early enough. The best favour you can do yourself is to have a group of people to train with. Develop a training plan. Remember you must practice running for the same distance that you intend to run in the real marathon.

Make sure you also train adequately. You cannot begin training one week to the marathon because you will not be ready on the material day. Another important consideration is to invest in the best running shoes as you will need to be comfortable during the race. There is nothing as boring as training for marathon alone. Get some company and you will enjoy your training.

Remember to drink a lot of water because this is the fuel that will keep you going. Energy drinks are also good to use as long as they do not contain a lot of sugar. More importantly, eat a balanced diet, preferably wholesome food, but moderation. Carbohydrates are very important because they give you the energy you need to train for the race.

  1. For the sheer fun of it

There is a lot of fun involved in running a marathon particularly when you do it in a group. There is a lot to see and share with your fellow competitors in the course of the marathon. Fun moments as people struggle to finish the race will make the experience even more exciting. What more? There is nothing that defeats the joy of reaching the finishing line even if it is five hours after the winner.

Young girl crosses finish line

 

  1. To get motivation to accomplish other tasks

Running a marathon enables you to think, live and accomplish a dream. Within the few hours you will be running, you will acquire the discipline needed to set, prepare for and attain other goals in life.

  1. To lose weight

There is no way you will prepare adequately for a marathon and finish it yet fail to shed some weight. Preparing for a marathon requires you to run a lot and in the process you will burn calories.

  1. Health benefits abound

Running will make your blood run as it should because your heart will be strengthened and oxygen will reign free. Expect your risk of heart diseases to be lowered significantly and your blood pressure to normalize. Cholesterol takes a flight when you run a marathon, while your immunity will get a boost.

  1. You will make friends

Normally, major marathons bring together people from all walks of life. Here you will find amateur and professional runners from all continents and you will make lasting friendships with them.

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  1. To contribute to charity

Many people who participate in marathon do so because they are out to help a certain cause of kindness. You could help to build a school or a hospital in a developing country. With the number of disasters and prevailing poverty in the world, this is a great reason o participate in a marathon.

  1. How about being the special one?

How many people in your family or neighbourhood have ever finished a marathon? You will be in a special class. You will have a story to tell people and your story will be retold and inspire other people to take the challenge.

  1. To take part in a historic event

Marathons are important events in the calendars of important cities. Taking part in marathon means you will be listed as having participated in a great event. You will have important memories to deliver to your children and grandchildren.

Determine to run a marathon this year. It may look daunting for now but you will never regret once you reach the end of the race. If you have been craving an accomplishment that will rank high in your lifetime goals, look no further than running a marathon. Remember you don’t have to run the full marathon at the first attempt. You can start with 5km or 10km and later graduate to the half-marathon before taking on the mother of all races – the full Marathon.

 

With love,

Grace Guru

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Help Save the Planet – Change Your Food Shopping Habits

The world is reeling under the weight of environmental degradation. Humankind is busy destroying its resources with little regard as to how future generations will live or survive. Governments and organisations are some of the main culprits in this regard thus explaining their slow and half-hearted reactions. It is time that each one of us took the task of saving the planet personally.

Different Ways; Same Objective

There are different ways to play your role in making the planet a better place to live in. Among the most popular is to be vegan or to eat only organic food. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you curtail emission of greenhouse gasses and the use of chemicals in growing food.

Of course you have many other reasons to want to be vegan or to eat organic food. Most of the food in our market is grown using chemicals that are known to contribute to high risk of cancer and other diseases. Genetically Modified Food (GMO) is also said to be responsible for some diseases. Add this to the use of antibiotics and artificial hormones and you will have second thoughts before buying and eating conventionally-grown food.

On veganism, it is important to realise that human beings contract some diseases from domestic animals. These animals are kept in congested conditions where they are fattened for slaughter using chemicals and modified animal feeds. The normal process through which an animal must go before it matures is shortened so that you get meat and milk on your table. If we all chose to be vegan, there would be no need to rear animals in such unhealthy environments or even to eat them.

How The World Can Be Saved

The most important issue, though, for this article is that we are able to save and protect the earth through the food choices we make. Suppose all of us chose to eat organic food, there would be many benefits. It would be a decision that would revolutionise the world, help to conserve the environment and save the world billions of dollars that we are using to treat diseases associated with chemicals in food.

To begin with, if we stopped growing and eating organic food, there would be fewer toxins in our soils and the air. Normally, most of the chemicals used in farming remain in the air, water and soil for very long durations and continues to poison the environment. When people eat these foods, they are likely to get sick often gradually.

In addition, if we decided to grow food organically, the fields on which this food is grown would absorb most of the carbon in the environment. Is it estimated that one acre of an organic field can absorb the amount of carbon that is emitted by about 11, 000 cars every year. In essence, we would be reversing the negative effects of excess carbon in the air.

Animals that are grown the normal way emit less carbon than those that are grown for meat in secluded and congested places. We have interfered with nature and this is causing us many problems. When animals graze in the open and eat the grass and other plants they are meant to, the carbon and other gasses they emit are in tandem with natural flows of carbon in the air.

Female Customer Shopping At Farmers Market Stall

Another reason to support the assertion that going organic would save the earth from further destruction is the fact that non-organic farming also requires the use of other techniques for packaging which increases the waste burden of the planet. Normally organic companies ensure they have sustainable ways of packaging their products so that only few greenhouse gases are emitted.

Organic farming is in tandem with nature because it replenishes nutrients in the soil. Organic strategies also protect plants from pests and diseases in a manner that does not interfere with the ecosystem. What most of us don’t know is that some of the pests we consider harmful and kill with pesticides are important to the environment and should not be killed.

Greater Awareness and Activism

The good news is that people are becoming sensitive about the environment and are making demands related to the type of foodstuff they want to purchase. It is not just about nutritional value of food but how that food is grown. People want to eat food that is grown in a healthy manner. In turn, supermarkets and governments are conducting research and surveys among consumers to know what type of foods the latter do not want to find on shelves.

It is sad that human beings have resorted to destroying the very environment they live in. For example, our flesh-eating habits are depleting fish and other creatures in the ocean. The wastes from the animals we keep for meet are polluting the air and making the earth hotter by the day.

By choosing to be vegan or to eat organic food only, you may not seem to be doing much, but if all of us played our little roles effectively, we would save the earth.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

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Get Rid of Old Stuff and Start Anew in 2016!

The whole world belongs to humanity. However, there are some spaces that belong to individuals. You own such a place. It is your house, bedroom and so on. Occasionally, a lot of dirty stuff and other cluttering materials accumulate and this leads to physical, emotional and spiritual stagnation.

Is it normal to have stuff we don’t need?

Once you understand how the stuff you don’t need dirt contribute to your attitude and personal life, you will realise the need to rid yourself of the old and allow new and fresh ideas into your life. Often, we think that having stuff we don’t need is just a normal issue. But is that really true?

Think about those cards that your former boyfriend sent you many years ago and which you keep in a small or big box somewhere in your house. Are they really worth keeping today? How about those old shoes and clothes that you don’t wear anymore? Is there something more useful you can do with such space? How about the dust that emanates from these spaces, hurting your health? How many people would benefit from those old clothes that you are keeping and which you cannot wear because they are out of fashion or cannot fit you anymore? Even if you don’t want to donate your stuff to the poor why not convert them into money? You can sell your used books on Amazon and spend the proceeds in other ways.

It is unfortunate that you lost that close family member. However, keeping their old clothes and other bulky mementos in a closed room in your house is not the best way to celebrate the dead. Wouldn’t it be better to remember you late relatives by giving out their stuff to the needy?

Beyond getting rid of old stuff here is the philosophical angle of de-cluttering

The old and bulky stuff that occupies our precious spaces is closely connected to our relationships, histories, identities and also feelings of self-worth. We choose to keep old photos and personal belongings of our dead relatives because we want to remember them. Those romantic letters from your childhood flame are important for your history and also to remind you of your worth when somebody else rejects you.Many a times when you go through your stuff you are going through an emotional journey. Every item reminds you of a specific time in your life when you were either happy or sad. Some photos bring fond memories of people you once knew. There are also those photos that you don’t even want to look at a second time because they bring back painful memories. In essence, whatever you keep that has no use currently carries memories and emotions that are either positive or negative. When you decide to get rid of such stuff, you are getting rid of those memories and feelings. Consequently, it is important that you sort out your stuff carefully before you burn some documents, throw away some papers, sell some personal stuff or even donate to charity.

Woman buried under an untidy cluttered woman wardrobe. Woman in high heels needs help from to much shopping. Shopaholic girl.

How your dirty and bulky stuff affects you emotionally…

Experience has shown that people who have unwanted stuff that occupies space unnecessarily in their lives also have emotional problems corresponding to the clutter in their lives. In those old shoes, clothes, letter, photos and other stuff are negative feelings and experiences that you need to let go. Many have never forgotten their former lovers. They keep photos and other mementos of their former flames. As a result, they spend a lot of time comparing current lovers with past ones and end up with broken hearts because no two people are the same.

Your house lacks vital energy because, where that power should be, because you have chosen to keep the personal belongings of your grandparent who died many years ago. There is no way new positive energy will come your way if you don’t create space for it. Those projects you have not completed for many years fill you with frustration and desperation. You have even allowed some people to store their unwanted stuff in your house. It is stuffy, dirty and uncomfortable. You cannot think creatively in your own house.

A new beginning

As you begin the New Year you need to create time to sort out valuable items that deserve to be retained and those that belong to charity or the trash bin. Look around you and you will realise that a huge chunk of the stuff in your house is simply useless junk that clutters your life without adding any value to you.

The New Year offers you an opportunity to begin life anew. Getting rid of old stuff should be a gradual process because it is not easy to let some stuff to go. However, always remember that the moment you get rid of unwanted stuff, you will get a new dose of optimism that will help you live more productively in the New Year. Free yourself of trash and live in a clean physical, emotional and mental environment.

Woman Standing By Bedroom Window And Opening Curtains

With love,

Grace Guru

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Water under the Bridge – How to Forgive

One of the best ways to start the New Year is to let go off the past and begin on a new slate. I have in mind forgiving those who have hurt you and allowing positive feelings and thoughts to imbue you. But how easy is it to forgive? Is it even important to forgive in the first place?

Not an easy task!

Forgiving people who have hurt you, especially those who do it deliberately, is not the easiest of tasks. We are not talking about telling that person it is ok, then remaining with hurt feelings for days to come. Forgiveness is about letting out those feelings of hatred, anger and bitterness towards someone who has hurt you.

Forgiveness is not easy…

Forgiveness is more about you than it is about the person who has hurt you although some of them are hard to forgive. Think about this close friend who knows almost all your secrets and who broadcasts your dirty linen to the public.How do you forgive betrayal from a person who is not even willing to acknowledge they are wrong or that they need forgiveness? Your close friends are urging you to forgive that boyfriend who betrayed you with a close ally but now wants to come back. However, the person in the wrong has not even made an effort to ask you to forgive him.Forgiving is also not easy because sometimes the pain is too hard to bear. This is especially when the person who needs forgiveness appears to have had the motive to hurt you. It is no wonder that there are family members who can never see eye to eye. Some cannot sit in the same room or even share a table. I know some people who will get aggressive and prepare to fight when they meet their perceived enemies. Feelings of bitterness and grudges are bottled for many years waiting for the opportune time to explode. There are family conflicts that run so deep that generations of offspring who were never alive when the triggering events occurred can even kill their ‘enemies’.

But is it beneficial to hold grudges and refuse to forgive?

Earlier on we had observed that forgiveness is more about you that about the person who has hurt you. There is a saying to the effect that keeping a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. In other words, failing to forgive a person hurts you more than the other person. It is ironical that the other person may not even be asking for forgiveness and has a light heart at a time when you are carrying an emotional burden in your heart. Yes, your self-mage and self-esteem were hurt by the actions of another person, but by holding on to feelings of bitterness, you hurt yourself more.

The woman in a white sundress on seacoast with open hands. A picturesque landscape

In essence, whether the other person comes to you asking to be forgiven or they simply pretend they never did anything wrong to you, you owe it to yourself to expel the hurt feelings from your heart and begin on a new slate. That burden that is weighing so heavily upon you cannot wait until a remorseful person comes to ask for pardon.I know you think that by stopping to talk to this person you are retaliating. Yes it is true that there is a form of relief from saying that hurtful word or hitting back in a way towards that evil person. However, when all is said and done, it is you who will be hurt whenever you meet this person or even hear people talking about him or her.

Health benefits of forgiving

And there is scientific evidence to back these assertions. According to the Journal of Behavioural Medicine, those who take time to forgive others enjoy better health including lower blood pressure, reduced levels of depression, less stress and a strong immune system. Forgiveness if kindness towards your soul, mind and body and giving yourself an opportunity to live wholesomely,

You also need forgiveness

Let us elevate this discussion. Are you also in need of forgiveness at one time or another? Unless you are not human, you can never avoid hurting people, whether deliberately or inadvertently. Honestly, how do you feel when you have hurt a person, and when you ask for forgiveness, the aggrieved person withholds it? Forgiveness is about empathy – walking the path of the other person and living their experiences. The golden rule urges us to do to others what we would want them to do to us.

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Its normal to be hurt; it should be normal to forgive

To sum up, remember you cannot avoid being hurt by the people around you. While you should try to minimize it by being more empathetic and civil, do not hold on to hurt feelings because it is you they will destroy – not the other person. You have a choice to make; do it wisely. This New Year, determine to forgive the hurts of 2015 and begin on a new grudge-free and healthy slate.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

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The Essence and Beauty of a Smile!

If you knew the potency of a smile, you would use it more often. The hearts doesn’t lie and one of the languages of the heart is your smile. Did you know that that positive reaction you craved from people, but never received, was denied because you never smiled? There is a profound science behind a smile which you should know so that you use this weapon more often to your advantage.

Non-verbal communication

Did you know that a lot of the meaning we share in communication is actually non-verbal? People tend to believe more in what you don’t say than in what comes out of your mouth. One of the non-verbal cues that people resort to in order to judge your intentions and character is your smile. Even little children avoid older people who don’t smile genuinely and often!

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Smiles are like communicable diseases

A smile is a contagious cue that transmits an emotion. More importantly, a sincere smile is easy to decipher and it comes our involuntarily. Your mood or emotion is like a barometer that people use to gauge approachability. Your smile represents the units of measurement. When you smile, you are telling the people around you that you are a positive minded person they should get close to you.

In addition, a smile elevates your mood and the emotions of people around you. Have you ever noticed how a smiling child brings cheer to people in the vicinity, including strangers? Try looking at a mirror and smiling at your face and you will be surprised at how your smiling mirror image will create wells of positive feelings inside you.

Research has shown that when a positive-minded and smiling person enters a room, the mood of the people in that space is transformed to reflect what the newcomer has introduced. The opposite is true. A smile is like an echo that must reflect back. The only way you can make people to view you positively is to be genuinely concerned about them to the extent that it shows on your face through your smile.

What else does research say about smiling?

• What would you feel if someone gave you a big amount of cash or you won the jackpot in a lottery? That is the feeling a simple smile will give you at no cost.

• When you smile, you help your body to fight against worry while simultaneously bringing down you heart rate and blood pressure.

• Do you love eating chocolate? A smile will bring so much happiness your way that not even 2000 chocolate bars will!

• A child will smile 400 times more than you every day. The best most of us can accomplish is 40 to 50 times, if we really love to smile.

• Endorphins, the feel-good hormones in your brain, are secreted when you smile thus increasing your propensity for positivity and success.

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Let’s be more practical

When you smile often you increase your chances of succeeding in your interactions with other people and also in your individual pursuits. A smile is sometimes the differences between the job candidate who secures employment and the one who merely attends an interview. Of course you know that interviewers are human who cannot resist a smile!

A smile makes one salesperson successful while grumpiness drags the other person to failure even though the two have similar qualifications and the same products to sell. The reason some shopkeepers have a constant flow of customers and others end up closing shop in the first month is because one smiles with customers and the other doesn’t. Indeed as the Chinese say, “If you can’t smile, don’t open a shop!”

One woman has a hard time getting men to notice her despite her natural beauty and the added magic of makeup and stylish dressing. Another woman is confused on how to choose the right man for her because the number that is attracted to her warm genuine smile is too high to handle.

How then do you make smiling a natural habit?

1. Be grateful for who you are and what you have and you will realise you have something to give to the world including a genuine smile.
2. Maintain a positive mind-set and you will realize that the world has so much to laugh and be happy about.
3. Fake it till you make it. Go before a mirror and smile at yourself. Visualise yourself smiling before people and feel the positive vibrations you will create in these people.
4. Keep in mind that special person in your life. Think about the many happy times you shared together and particular events that are unforgettable for both of you.
5. Learn to see the unusual and hilarious side of life. There are many events, people, movies, songs and many other issues that should not leave you without a smile.
6. Surround yourself with positive minded people who also like to smile. Soon you will catch the smiling diseases and never get cured!

Finally, please remember to smile genuinely!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

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