Lessons from Russia: Karelian Shungite

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Louis Pasteur said “We drink 85% of our diseases”. According to World Health Organisation statistics, more than 80% of all illnesses are either directly or indirectly connected with the consumption of polluted drinking-water. We might be taking more care of our health nowadays, but are our waters getting any cleaner?

Elite Shungite - perfect to filter your water

Elite Shungite - perfect to filter your water

The Ancient Healing Stone

Shungite is a mostly carbon mineral found exclusively in The Republic of Karelia (it’s in Russia, unless you knew that already). Shungite’s unique high-carbon composition enables it to cleanse water and even saturate it with elements that are beneficial to our health, such as anti-oxidative and antibacterial properties. The carbon nature of the stone and its porous structure gives it a filtering capacity, enabling shungite to hold up to 95% of pollutive elements including organic compounds, heavy metals, fluoride, chlorine, pesticides, radon and harmful microorganisms. When water is treated with shungite, the antioxidants it contains eliminate free radicals and other impurities in water, and the fullerenes it contains give it medicinal properties.

Springs and lakes near the sources of shungite are known to have had very pure water for centuries, and are considered sites of healing.

I don’t think it’s clear any more what is and isn’t safe to drink, and shungite is a brilliant way of purifying water in your own home.

More about Shungite

Shungite is a 2-billion year old stone which is predominantly found in the Russian region of Karelia in a village called Shunga. Shungite has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help reduce pain and stress. Shungite is a rich source of fullerenes and offers these health benefits:

  • energises, mineralises + enriches water with vitamins and antioxidants, making it perfect for daily washing

  • aids detoxification in the body

  • improves cell function

  • reduces inflammation

  • induces recovery and speeds up healing

  • improves overall immune system

  • conducts electricity

  • grounding stone, aids meditation + eases anxiety

  • induces positive energy

  • helps with focus

  • boosts mental health

  • assists spiritual growth

  • helps focus + meditate, aids in attaining a higher state of consciousness

  • helps negate radiation from electronic devices (EMF)

  • glowing skin and strong hair (cellular repair)

  • grounding + energising for those with stress and chronic fatigue

Some even apply shugite topically to skin to treat acne, spots, cuts and other skin-related problems. Drinking acidic shungite water helps to treat chronic respiratory issues, headaches, aches in joints and muscles as well as problems with the digestive system.

Shungite contains natural fullerenes. Firstly, they are considered to be the most powerful antioxidants or free-radicals catchers. To put it simply, they protect us from premature ageing, improve our skin and protect from other negative influence of radicals. Secondly, fullerenes tend to normalise cellular metabolism and increase cells’ resistance to external influence. They accelerate detoxification and slow down the growth of cancer cells. They work much like antioxidants found in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. The difference? These natural fullerenes have a stronger and longer-lasting effect in fighting against free radicals in the body, and shungite is the only natural source.

How to Make Shungite Water

1. Wash shungite stones to remove any dirt or post-production dust. 

2. Infuse 150 - 200g regular shungite stones or 50 - 70g elite shungite stones per 1L of water for two - three days. Shungite starts filtrating water within the first few hours, but the longer shungite has in the water, the more benefits you will receive by drinking it.

3. Clean and charge your stones regularly.

If you plan on buying Shungite to filter water, choose unpolished elite shungite nuggets over and above any Type II or III or polished stones because they contain more organic carbon. 

Take a Shungite Bath

Bathing in shungite water benefits your health, well-being, growth and recovery.

Infuse 400 - 500g shungite stones in warm bath water for 15-20 minutes. Then hop in!

Nina Kolesnikova, head of a sanatorium near Moscow, used shungite baths as a way to treat patients suffering with joint problems, hypertension and psoriasis. She found that the ailments of patients bathing for 10 - 15 minutes each day became more stable. Patients suffering from psoriasis and joint pain were treated with shungite paste to the affected areas and this saw a reduction in lesions and pain.

The Top 5 Ways to Wear Shungite

Here are my favourite ways to get the healing benefits from shungite’s healing and protective properties:

1) Pendants

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Shungite offers benefits not only to the physical body, but also to the subtle body (energy, the chakras). This grounding stone relates to the root chakra and offers us stability when we need it most. Shungite neutralises excess charge from the body, including negativity, and drains it into the ground. The healing power of shungite stone offers benefits to the cardiovascular system; it improves blood circulation, functioning of the immune and some other internal systems of your body. Our neck, ears and wrists are highly sensitive parts of our body with different bioactive spots. Wearing shungite as a piece of jewellery enhances the curative effect of the stone. Wear your stone as a pendant close to the throat and chest to offer your heart and thyroid gland much-needed support. Shungite jewellery is your must-have if you suffer from headaches, insomnia or anxiety.

2) Bracelets

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Some research has proven that shungite can be used to control hyperactivity in children by having them wear shungite as a bracelet (google Regina Martino to learn about shungite water in small doses). The wrist is a sensitive area which will respond well to the benefits offered by shungite since this area is so sensitive on a subtle level. Shungite’s effect on the body is amplified here, because the wrist is a major receptive area as it is traversed by many meridian lines. Similarly, shungite bracelets or belts could be worn by the elderly who experience pain due to arthritis or ageing. It’s also great for balancing energy when travelling on long journeys and boosting fatigue.

3) Rings

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Shungite as a ring stimulates the huge number of bioactive spots located in our hands and fingers. Shungite also has remarkable electricity-conducting abilities which makes it a great grounder. This can be used to help you focus when attempting to put all of your mental energy towards a specific goal. Whether it be for magic or meditation, shungite can be used to help drive you towards your desired goal or outcome.

It Keeps Negativity at Bay

Due to its deep black color, many believe that it has the ability to protect one from bad luck. It is said that the stone has the ability to shroud a person in darkness so that bad luck cannot find them. Moreover, it can help hold anything negative at bay, and counteract the shadow-self, the unconscious part of our ego that many identify as the dark side of our personality.

anyway, speaking of rings…

4) Mobile phone plate attach this to your phone for protection against electromagnetic radiation.

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The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a component of the World Health Organization (WHO), have not ruled out the negative effects of EMF and concede that EMFs are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Shungite is believed to have the ability to absorb and completely neutralise dangerous frequencies from EMF radiation thanks to the fullerenes it contains. It works to negate the potential harm from devices such as microwaves, televisions, computers and cell phones. It’s scientifically proven that EMF and geopathic stress make the human body vibrate at higher frequencies than normal which can damage our immune systems, making us more sensitive to viruses, bacteria, parasites, environmental pollution, degenerative disease, the list goes on. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity compromises our energy levels and how we are able to function: we might face such problems as chronic fatigue, regular stress, decreased attention span, memory loss, depression, anxiety and insomnia. Moreover EMF and geopathic stress can cause more serious health problems such as increased blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar, and arthritis.

5) Mobile Phone Stand

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Sleep with your phone near the bed because you use it as an alarm? That’s around 8 hours (if you’re getting enough sleep that is) of exposure to potentially harmful cellphone radiation. This phone stand looks gorgeous and will absorb the EMF for you, so that your body doesn’t have to! Not quite ‘wearable’, but certainly indispensable.

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There are three types of Shungite:


Type I Shungite, or silver shungite: if you are considering taking Shungite seriously and to the next level, then do some research on Type 1 Shungite. This is Shungite in its purest form, considered a perfect natural healer and energy stabiliser. It contains 90 - 98% organic carbon which is what gives it its high energetic potential and will look black, shiny and a little silvery. It’s not cheap! It’s so fragile that it’s hard to shape into the pendants and rings you see pictured, and can be bought as small rocks or stones in their natural shape. Type I is the rarest form of shungite since it only makes up about 1% of all shungite that is found. Make sure you buy from a reputable supplier - Karelian Heritage is one of them.



Type II Shungite, or black shungite: contains 50 - 70% organic carbon. This is the most commonly found as it can be shaped into objects/pendants/rings most easily.

Type III Shungite: contains 30 - 50% organic carbon.

Is Shungite expensive?

The highest quality Shungite is only in the Zazhoginsky mine located in Republic of Karelia Russia. Shungite from other mines is cheaper, especially Shungite slate.

A Face Angel: how to get rid of makeup

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I am slowly, but surely, making up with makeup. For one, it takes time to apply. I am no good at applying it, and even worse at getting it off. The fact that most of my work is on retreat (full face of makeup, hello, who are you?) if wearing makeup demands travelling with remover wipes and extra oil-based cleansers, you can forget it.

Environmentally-far-from-friendly, time-consuming and doesn’t  do the job properly anyway. I wake up in the morning still to a pair of panda eyes and lipstick on my top teeth. Then there’s the pile of wipes on the bedside table that look like Pete Burns went to town on.

Besides, if I need a pick me up then I do Facial Yoga Workout. That works wonders. For those too busy to do a full Facial Workout, watch the video below for 3 of my top Facial Exercises to combat wrinkles and start turning back the clock. If you’re a busy bee, then this is 3 minutes of your time that you should make. After a Facial Yoga Workout many people find that they do not need to apply as much makeup as they would normally.

For those occasions when I do want a face full, I’ve tried something new. Face Halo. They’re reusable, compact and chemical-free. Life is good again.

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Face Halo - The Modern Makeup Remover - works with either cold or warm water to loosen your makeup. Its HaloTech fibre strands reach deep into your pores to remove and trap makeup, giving your skin a healthy and invigorating clean in half the time. You don’t need to rub or scrub, and the pads are machine washable. And there’s one for the body too. You’ve thought of everything guys. You are angels.

Now that’s one way to get rid of makeup. Want a better foundation for your makeup? Work it out! Here is a 3-minute video below to work out the wrinkles in between your eyebrows, lips and bring elasticity back into the neck and jowls.

Facial Yoga, Facial Fitness - whatever the name, it's all Facial Exercise. And it is VERY beneficial for you and your skin.

Watch below for the Full Facial Yoga Workout - if you haven’t got time to watch it now, you can Save it For Later on YouTube :)

Ishga: so much more than water

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Skincare is simple

Be consistent

I find it hard to make time to relax and take good care of my skin. Right now, at the age of 32, I am getting away with it. Only just. I remember my mum banging on at me 10 years ago about the importance of a skincare regime. That was back when I thought I was invincible. Back when I didn’t think I would ever have back pain, wrinkles, or a tendency to talk out loud whilst I write a text message. The soft traces of what will soon become my fully-fledged crow’s feet are a twinkling nod to the many joy-filled hours I have spent over the course of my life laughing with the friends with whom I have been blessed to have had these eye-creasing moments with. Endless laughs and incessant holidays have made less of a dent on my bank account than they have on my skin; I should have listened to mum and started Facial Exercise earlier. Still, it’s never too late, and it’s never too little.

Skincare done well can heal from both the outside and inside. You can use it for both prevent and reverse the signs of ageing. Let me tell you about my 3 most useful ways to relax and feed my skin, even for a girl who’s busy, travels light, and doesn’t like to waste money on products she knows she’ll never use up before their sell by date.

  • hydration

  • facial exercise

  • pick or rotate your desert island product - currently Ishga

HYDRATION

Water is so important for your skin! It helps rid the body of toxins, keep skin clear and can give you a more radiant glow. You can learn more about what water does for your body in my article Effortless improvements in your fitness and body fat composition just by drinking enough WATER.

FACIAL EXERCISE

Facial Yoga, Facial Fitness, it has many different names but all boils down to the same thing: the face has muscles of its own and these can be worked to support healthier complexion and skin. Exercising the muscles of the face gives your skin a firmer foundation (which means less likelihood of wrinkles) and it increases blood flow to skin cells (more nutrients!) and lymphatic drainage. Working the muscles of your face is a vital health and beauty practice that is both preventative and can help reverse the signs of ageing. Our faces are on show far more than anything from the neck down. When we place so much importance on the appearance of our bodies, why not pay some attention to the muscles of the face?

If you’d like to know more about Facial Exercise, join me at The Yoga + Beauty Retreat next weekend 5th-7th April in the Cotswolds.

MY SKINCARE SAVIOURS: seaweed, sea salt and water

Seaweed is one of the world’s most naturally abundant sources of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids. Seaweed extracts and powders deliver many anti-aging, hydrating and skin renewing properties.

Pure natural unrefined sea salt retains over sixty naturally occurring trace elements such as Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc. All of which are essential for good health and well-being. I love swimming in the ocean as the sea water it makes a clear difference to the appearance of both my skin and hair after a dip. Minerals found in seawater and natural anti-oxidants have anti-ageing properties which help nourish, hydrate and protect the skin.

If making sure I’ve drunk 8 glasses of water and doing the odd scrub and face mask makes me feel happier about the prospect of bumping into my ex boyfriend and his new lady in the shops, then that’s a sound reason to make sure I do it.

Ishga is an organic seaweed skincare brand from Scotland. Its name, Ishga, is derived from the Gaelic word for water. Every product is packed with Hebridean seaweed and sea-rich minerals from coastal waters surrounding the Outer Hebrides that are recognised as being amongst the most pristine in the world. They collect seawater from the surf as the waves break on many of the beautiful island beaches, and pure water from the Isle of Lewis’ blue-clay bottomed spring which, according to folklore had healing and therapeutic properties. This is hydration and nutrition on a cellular level (with a nod to its origin and keeping it ethically on fleek).

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A raw dessert recipe without nuts - allergen free!

The raw food movement is taking the world by storm, yet it’s leaving some of us out: what about those with nut allergies? Almost all raw desserts contain copious amounts of nuts and dried fruit to replace traditional baking ingredients such as eggs and sugar. Nuts are a fantastic source of good fats (e.g. Omega-3 fatty acids) and dried fruit provides phytonutrients and energy, but it does leave those less tolerant or even allergic in need of an alternative. Not only this, incidents reported in the media are raising the question in the food industry “what can we use instead of nuts and seeds to keep our customers safe?” Admittedly this only effects a minority, but when it comes to life or death it is simply not worth the risk of a single nut.

Creative Nature Superfoods launched “free-from” snacking in the raw food market. In a world where health food seems to be the new processed food, Creative Nature focuses on healthy eating authentically.

Read on for how I’m using them in my raw desserts!

Creative Nature Superfoods Bars raw nut-free dairy-free

RASPBERRY COCONUT CHEESECAKE

BASE INGREDIENTS:

5 Goji Bars from Creative Nature Superfoods

1 tsp beetroot powder

2 Medjool dates, soaked 15 mins in water and drained

1 tbsp desiccated coconut

CHEESECAKE FILLING:

100ml coconut oil

1 tin coconut milk

200g raspberries, fresh or frozen

25g xylitol

TOPPING: fresh raspberries

  1. Pulse all BASE INGREDIENTS in food processor until a dough forms.

  2. Press dough into a silicon mould, or cake tin double-lined with cling film.

  3. Blend CHEESECAKE FILLING ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.

  4. Pour cheesecake filling over base and leave to set in fridge or freezer.

  5. Decorate with fresh raspberries.

Raspberry Coconut Cheesecake nut-free gluten-free dairy free

Effortless improvements in your fitness and body fat composition just by drinking enough WATER

330ml cranberry juice – 170 calories
330ml orange juice – 150 calories
330ml coca cola – 139 calories
330ml diet coke – 2 calories
330ml coconut water – 58 calories
330ml tea with skimmed milk – 20 calories
330ml black coffee – 1 calorie
330ml water – ZERO calories ZERO sugar

Before I continue, it’s important to say that I’m not condoning anything and everything that isn’t pure water. Nor am I saying that the less calories a drink contains, the better it must be for you (N.B. Diet coke contains only 2 calories). I enjoy coffee (with milk!) from time to time and freshly-extracted juice. But I do make sure that, no matter what else I drink, I consume at least 2 litres of water a day. Not sparkling water. Not artificially flavoured water. Water.

This is a photo of the spring where I live in The Cotswolds. I am lucky to have such a great source of water pretty much on my doorstep!

Water is good for you, and it’s not just about quenching your thirst. Over half of the human body is made up of water (55 – 70% depending on body size) so it is essential that we drink enough water to keep the cells of the body hydrated in order for them to function properly. Moreover, when following a weight loss and new exercise regime, you need to keep your body hydrated.

This is why you need to keep hydrated, and water is the best thing for you:

  • Dehydration slows down the fat burning process: to burn calories, the body needs an adequate supply of water in order to carry out this function properly.

  • Burning calories creates toxins, and water is necessary to help flush these toxins from the body.

  • Dehydration can cause tiredness as it affects volume of the blood; when your blood volume is reduced, this causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to muscles which is what makes you feel tired.

  • Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising: water lubricates the joints and helps maintain muscle tone.

  • We consume far too many calories in the form of sugar-filled beverages: if we drink more water (zero calories, zero sugar!), then in theory we should be drinking less sugary beverages and alcohol, which are not conducive to weight loss.

  • We often mistake thirst for hunger, and consume extra calories when really all we needed was a glass of water to make us feel full.

  • Drinking water before a meal can help reduce our appetite, and we might therefore consume less food calories.

  • Drinking cold water can even increase calorie burn slightly: our metabolism speeds up as it works to heat up the body temperature.

  • Keeping the body hydrated reduces bloating. By upping your water intake and reducing refined salt you can decrease water retention in the body, so by drinking more water you actually reduce the degree to which your body retains it.

So just to recap. Drinks contain calories too, and the fewer calories you consume from beverages (this includes alcohol guys!), the better. We pay so much attention to avoiding eating fast-foods, but what about “fast-drinks”? Refined sugars, even sugars in “healthy” fruit juices are not always conducive to weight loss because of the carbohydrates they contain and the quantities we consume. However healthy the packaging and branding of a product appears, always check the back of the label to find out what it really contains, particularly with regards to fruit juices.

Not to mention the low-calorie sweetener aspartame that is found in the low-calorie diet drinks: read Confessions of a Diet Coke addict if you have time. In a nutshell, aspartame is not good for you and it inhibits fat loss. The next time you want to grab a coke or energy drink off the shelf, look at the nutrition content. How much sugar does it contain? Ask yourself how healthy these neon blues and caramel browns seem for your body, and after reading the nutrition label whether you would happily consume this beverage if you ate the equivalent straight from a bag of sugar? 

Let’s recap again – drink more water! It’s simple. Excluding whatever else you drink, you should be aiming to drink 2 litres of water a day (even more if you are active). Below are some ideas to help up your water intake:

  • Take a 2l bottle of water with you to work and drink this throughout the day. This way you’ll know how much you’re drinking.

  • Flavour your natural water with slices of cucumber, orange, lemon or fresh mint.

  • Hot water with fresh lemon in the mornings is beneficial for breaking the overnight fast and revving up your metabolism before breakfast. Add fresh ginger and honey too if you like for extra flavour.

Still want that sugar fix? Make your own.

Basil Lemonade contains xylitol, a sugar extracted from the birch tree. It’s still a treat in my opinion but at least you know exactly what you're putting into your body when making it for yourself. Or you could make something much better for your body - buy yourself a juicer and check out Jason Vale’s Sherbet Lemonade

BASIL LEMONADE INGREDIENTS
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed, plus 6 basil sprigs for garnish
¼ cup xylitol
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)  

METHOD
Bring basil leaves, sugar, and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and bruise basil leaves.
Simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. 
Strain, pressing on basil to remove liquid, and cool.
Pour 2 cups of basil syrup into a large jug. Stir in lemon juice and 4 cups water.
Transfer to refrigerator, and chill well. 
Serve over ice, garnished with basil sprigs.

The basil syrup will keep for up to a month in the fridge. You could also try this recipe replacing basil with mint.

If you’re interested in learning more about aspartame, I found these links pretty interesting:
6 reasons to give up diet soda

http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/faq/ingredients/what-is-aspartame-and-is-it-safe.html

If you would like help with your health and fitness goals or struggle with balancing the unavoidables and enjoyables of life, you can email me at victoria.adams@me.com

Is Body Image All About Mind Image?

Eight weeks ago I was asked to be a part of a project. This project offered me the opportunity to dress up in a vintage 1950s swimsuit, have my makeup done, and pose in an iconic luxury estate something akin to a Miami beach house in Oxfordshire. The catch? Well there was none really - I was working with a professional photographer and peers I consider friends yet I had no idea how uncomfortable I would feel until the moment I sat down by the pool in that gorgeous red vintage 1950s swimsuit at the time to pose. Yet not pose. And look cool, as well as perfect. This was the narrative in my mind.

Vikram Kushwah, incredibly talented fashion + art photographer, opens up the conversation about body image and does it with colour and integrity. His series ‘Women in Bathing Suits’ explores the subject of body image and diversity in the female form. In this series of portraits, the sitters - from various ethnic backgrounds and professions - shed light on how they perceive their bodies, as well as how the complexities of their form and/or societal ideas of beauty affect their psyches.

The photo was incredibly difficult to sit for - I felt self-conscious, awkward, self-conscious about my awkwardness!! It felt difficult to share this without berating the parts of myself I do not like.... which is ridiculous! Sharing my experience - as well as the series of photos Vikram took from the shoot - with my friends and peers gave me overwhelming insight and reassurance, that it’s not just me. I have read messages from both men and women who experience the same feelings of insecurity and self-beratement, equally without reason nor rationale. Here were my very honest thoughts about body image, and my reflections based on the responses that followed:

'A lot changes in the journey from how I see myself in the mirror to how I picture myself in my mind. Body image in my life has been something all-consuming. Sometimes I like what I see, but mostly I have berated my shape rather than celebrate it, the scars, the curves, lumps, blemishes, bumps. I don’t believe the problem is body image at all, it’s more “mind image”- the “not good enough” attitude that I think many of us women and men have adopted without respite.

Yet I do love my body. I am deeply grateful to be in this body. And I look after my body as best I can. I do criticise my body, most parts of it, regularly. Still, I know and love the body that is mine, and remind myself that this battle going on inside of me is happening in the minds of most of my peers, the strangers I pass on the street, even the models who walk into my yoga class. Yoga, dance and pranayama have helped me to be in my body, to let my mind go, and for a short moment that ridiculous concept “not good enough” is far, far away.'

~ Victoria Adams

As an aside, when Vikram asked me my swimsuit size, what I really wanted to say was

“could you order me 3 sizes in case it doesn’t fit me?”

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I can’t remember what I actually said. I should also say that of the photos taken I was at my most natural and “beautiful” as far as I’m concerned in one of the outtakes, laughing and having fun with my friend Julie. I remember the moment it was taken. In that moment there was no photographer (in my mind) and no self-judgement, only an opportunity to laugh and be myself with my dear friend. I am so grateful to have this photo: in it I do not see two beautiful girls in swimsuits, I see friendship.

I don’t know where in my lifetime it came from, but there is so much pressure to look “perfect”. I’m not sure I really know what perfect means, or even how I’d know if I got there. I have scrutinised my photograph. I have picked it - me - apart and then blurred it all back together again to see its beauty. I am sure that many of you will relate to this screening and scrutinising, whether we’re talking about professional pics or Facebook tags. We all pick at ourselves, man or woman. Critical over body, over decisions we have made in our past, over decisions we haven’t even made yet in our future.

Would you speak to the person sat next to you on the train in the same way that you speak to yourself? As my grandmother said, they’d give you a slap what for! Yet we deem it acceptable to self-flagellate ourselves as if we were our worst enemy? I have sat with circles of men and women, and seen them brought to tears at being told how beautiful they are in their entireties, not just their physicality. In their eyes I see them release years, often decades, of grief that has been buried, churned and recycled to the point that it has effectively become a trauma. This trauma that we have lived with, and continue to live with, as if it needn’t be dealt with or even spoken of. Why? Is it because we know it is a misplaced cause to put so much pressure on ourselves? Do we know on a gut level that, really, we are enough “just as we are”? I don’t know how to answer this.

All I know is that we are losing the opportunity to connect with others on an authentic level because we are so all-consumed by worry and fear that we are “not good enough” in the eyes of others. When actually some of us have failed to connect because the ones deeming us not good enough ares our own Selves.

Lose your story. Trust that you are enough, and that the love you convey to and for yourself can spread and inspire the same in others. Do not stress, or self-flagellate: for every 5 minutes you’re upset, it takes 8 hours to get out of your body’s stress response. And that’s not good for the wrinkles ;)

Every time you use your voice, it sends out a message to every cell in your body, as well as to the people around you. Be grateful for your body - it has gotten you this far. When you are having “one of those days” remind yourself that this fight going on inside of you is probably going on inside the man or woman you just passed on the street, or inside of your “perfect” best friend, who was too embarrassed to talk about it, or too busy to stop to notice and practice self-care and self-love. If the concept of body image is about how our mind perceives our body, can we change the narrative that has taken us out of our bodies? How do we get out of our heads? How do we stop being so hard on ourselves?

Maybe it’s as simple as reminding others and, in the moment we point out to another, we come to the realisation in ourselves: we are all good enough.

Vikram and @julieelagrace thank you for the beauty in your work and in your friendship. Check out www.vikramkushwah.com for more portraits of the beautiful and inspiring women who took part in the shoot.

Please share this post if you wish, I would love to know your thoughts on body image, mind image, and the constant chatter that goes on inside our heads. You can reach me @victoriaadams on Instagram.

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The shots I can’t get enough of

Back when I used to spend 10 hours a day at my desk, I wish I had known about these. Making my own healthy drink in the office took too much time, the local “health food” bars and cafes were either not all that healthy at all, overpriced, or tasted awful. At least we got together eventually - Bumblezest have brought something to the market that tastes good, is small enough to travel with on flights, boosts my energy and gets my skin glowing even when I’m tired and overdoing it.

When the body is in a state of inflammation, everything is harder (to say the least). So, how do you reduce inflammation? You can do it with sleep, boosting your immune system, with DIET and watching your stress + activity levels (not enough can be too little, but too much can also be too much). I can’t always control the amount of stress I have to deal with (said the yoga teacher!) but I do manage this using diet. Anti-inflammatory foods (most often plant-based foods) are how I do it.

By the way, when your body is in a lesser state of inflammation, this means it can respond more positively to flexibility and/or strength training - you are able to recover more quickly after training. You know what that means? Less DOMS, you can train a little more, and the more you train the better you become at your chosen practice.

GREAT FOR WHEN YOU’RE BUZZING ABOUT

The last year has been constant travel, moving between countries and then moving between houses, organising "At Home" Cleanses for clients. Getting a pot or pan, let alone my juicer out to make myself a nutritious meal has been tough. It helps working in the wellness industry, but train journeys and flights in between have meant I’ve had to keep life minimalistic. Most of my cooking equipment has been in storage and I don’t remember the last time I went food shopping or was “home” long enough to actually use all of the produce before it walked its own way out of the fridge!

ABOUT BUMBLEZEST

Bumblezest’s founder, Battersea-based Daniel was, like me, living and working in the city juggling numerous things and trying to find his way as he navigated between a stressful job and finding balance with his health- a stress in itself! The drink comes in little 90ml glass bottle (a nod to reducing carbon footprint) which makes it quick to drink (though I do try to make it last as it tastes so good!) and fine to travel with - it would be a very sad day if I had to leave a bottle behind at airport security.

HOW I HAVE MINE

I drink these in the morning (as it feels good knowing that the first thing to hit my digestive system is a food that nourishes). You can have it as a health shot on the go, or dilute with filtered water or even nut/seed milks, if that’s your thing. Sometimes I mix it with something fancier *vodka ahem* to share with friends and trick them into drinking something that’s a little “better" for them; it’s a way to find balance. Besides, there’s no point in being super healthy unless it make you super happy.

WHAT’S IN IT

Gluten, nut, dairy and lactose free, colouring, additives and preservative free. I love the shots that contain Hydrolyzed Marine Collagen (from wild caught fish). Collagen supports healthy skin, bone, hair, joints, muscles, organs and other connective tissue. Did you know that collagen is a protein our bodies already know how to make? Good sources to help boost our body’s production of collagen are: dark green veg, red/orange veg (Vitamin A helps restore collagen that has been damaged), citrus (Vitamin C is required in the process to make collagen, as well as zinc and copper) fish, meat (broths in particular), and eggs.

SWEET STUFF

The ingredients, elixirs such as maca, ginger, turmeric, spirulina, pair up with lemon juice as the main fruit base. Fructose, which is fruit sugar, has been getting a lot of bad press recently (save that for another journal post). Lemon has a very low fructose level so if that is something you’re worried about, you don’t need to. For flavour, the shots are sweetened with natural ingredients- a drop of honey, maple or stevia. Honey, by the way, is full of natural vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients. It has its own microorganisms which make it a powerful natural antibiotic. This is becoming all the more important what with the disappearance of bees on our planet and the increase in antibiotic-resistance. Bumblezest work with British bee keepers and use only ethically sourced honey, ensuring that all their honey comes from hives where honey is left for the bees all year round so that the bees are able to survive the winter.

‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left’ - Albert Einstein

There are lots of flavours you can try, these are the ones I am buzzing about:

REVIVE + RESTORE ginger, turmeric, collagen (hydrolysed Marine Collagen from wild fish)

To lift you if you are ill or feel a cold coming on

NOURISH + NURTURE cacao, maca, collagen (from wild fish)

Your alternative to coffee, sweet treat, and has a sprinkling of cayenne to give your workout or metabolism a kick when you need it

CALM + COMFORT camomile, lavender, spirulina

To calm and comfort you, florals and superfoods to relax and restore if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or having trouble unwinding

If you’re really into juicing, get yourself booked onto a week at Juicy Oasis or Juicy Mountain. Don’t hang around because I’ve spent most of 2018 telling my mates I can’t bump them up the loooooooooooong waiting list- if it’s fully booked, it means fully booked.

www.bumblezest.co.uk

Instagram @bumblezest

Instagram @victoriaadams

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How Rose can literally make your life better

Rose - the scientific reason you deserve a bouquet from your beloved

Rose petals - the scientific reason you deserve a bouquet from your beloved

Rose petals - the scientific reason you deserve a bouquet from your beloved

ROSE PETALS FOR YOUR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLNESS

I love using Rose! A few drops of rose oil on my yoga mat, to scattering rose petals over my desserts, and occasionally in the bath tub! There is something about using Rose that instantly makes me feel warm, comforted, and content. If I am experiencing any sense of anxiety, insecurity or self-doubt, rose brings me back to my centre, my femininity, my strength. It’s a way of making me feel indulgent without cracking open the Milk Tray!!

STRESS SUPPORT: ROSE HELPS STRESS-FILLED CRAVINGS DISAPPEAR

The aroma of roses can melt away our stress and tension, and is immediately uplifting. Do you think it’s coincidence that the rose is harnessed as a gift to console grief or adorn romantic interests? Traditionally, the aromatic oils from rose petals appeal to all the senses, not just smell: rose is cooling, and ingesting rose cannot only calm those very hot type-A personalities, but also has been proven to increase sexual function in both men and women (Farnia et. al., 2015). How does it do this? Rose has an effect that balances stress and emotional hormones, calming down the nervous system and allowing the rest of your hormones to work in sync. Rose petal tea is great for reducing stress levels after a long day, as well as helping to induce sleep if you struggle to wind down.

ANTIMICROBIAL

You might have heard that bouquets were traditionally used to cover up bad odour. Along with other aromatic plants, rose prevents the spreading of microbes. Try rose water mixed with a saline solution for infected eyewashes. A cup of warm rose tea is packed with Vitamin C that will fight infection, help improve immunity and safeguard you from colds and infections. Drink it as a tea to provide relief from a runny nose and cold. Have it cold to alleviate a sore throat. Rose is also an effective anti-allergen: use your cold rose water home-brew for mild sunburn, rashes and allergies.

YOUR SKIN + BEAUTY

Rose is tightening and toning for the skin, and even proven to help alleviate canker sores and other inflammatory breakouts from head to toe. Rose petals are rich with antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Its antioxidative properties make it an ideal home cure for various skin conditions, including acne. Read on to make a rose water that you can use orally or topically for your skin. Drinking rose water or washing your face with this will help lock in moisture to keep your skin soft ad hydrated. Rose’s antioxidant properties (it’s packed with vitamin A and Vitamin E) help clear blemishes, leaving you with a softer, smoother and more radiant younger-looking skin. Rose’s antioxidant effect reduces the effect of free radicals which damage skin, which will delay ageing. It is effective at reducing dark circles too.

ROSE FOR HORMONAL HEALTH

Rose petals can work in an adaptogenic way as far as our health is concerned - they have been show to both help reverse menorrhagia (abnormally heavy bleeding) as well as act as a styptic. It has been used historically by midwives. So be careful! Rose’s power on the female reproductive system varies from person to person. Two cups of warm tea with black pepper (which acts as a synergen) and honey is said to help decongest blood flow and reduce pain. It’s also a good home remedy for irregular periods.

NUTRITION + DIGESTION

Rose’s bright hue is indicative of the presence of phytonutrients, like antioxidants, carotenoids, anthocyanins, and bioflavonoids. Scatter a few dried rose petals on your desserts, cereals and in tea! Rose contains organic acids such as citric, malic acid and pectin- these are known to boost the digestive power of the body. A stronger digestive system makes for a safer gastrointestinal tract, more equipped to fight against diseases and infections. It also helps to expel waste more efficiently, nourishes gastric mucosa (lining of the gut walls) and sets a stronger foundation for the growth of good bacteria in your gut. As rose is a natural laxative, it is less invasive than over-the-counter drugs or something stronger like Senna. Again, Rose Tea has an adaptogenic response as it can alleviate not only constipation, but also diarrhoea and dysentery.Drinking Rose water regularly is also known to alleviate urinary tract infections.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

Replace your midday snacks with a hot rose tea twice daily. This zero calorie drink is something akin to green tea, will a lesser stimulative effect. It will calm down hunger pangs and as it helps control cravings you can move forward in your fat loss journey.


ROSE RECIPES

Rose Water - face wash, eye wash or mouthwash, antimicrobial gargle, sunburn soother

Crush rose petals before adding to hot water. Brew for 5-15 minutes.Drink immediately or allow to cool before applying topically to the skin.

Rose + Pistachio Granola

½ cup Tahini, ⅓ cup maple syrup, 1 tsp Vanilla pods or powder, ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp sea salt, 2 cups oats, 1 cup pistachios, Rose petals, 1 tbsp Matcha @omgmatchatea - this is the one I use, took me ages to find a Matcha I actually LIKED!

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, sea salt, vanilla, cinnamon, matcha and tahini. Stir well.

Stir in oats and pistachios.

Spread out thinly and evenly onto a lined baking sheet, pressing the mixture together.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, then remove from oven to flip.

Bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Shake and stir granola a little in between baking.

Allow granola to cool, then toss with dried rose petals.

If you fancy giving Rose a try, I buy mine from here

Yours always,

Victoria x

How Matcha supports your yoga practice as well as your wellness

How Matcha supports your yoga practice as well as your wellness

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I am not a big coffee drinker. I only ever remember to drink the herbal tea I’d made by the time it’s gone cold. For most of my adult life, I’ve stuck to water, freshly-extracted juice and – in my broker days – wodka or wine. But then there was OMGTea: the Matcha that tastes amazing and has improved my health and happiness tenfold. It has been good enough for Zen Buddhist Monks for over 800 years, and fancy enough to grace the drinks menus of countless coffee shops and even cocktail bars. Drinking Matcha will mirror the benefits your Yoga practice offers, as well as enhance them. Here’s why I am drinking it, and how OMGTea has shown me how to love Matcha…

 

HOW MATCHA WILL HELP YOU IF YOU’RE STRESSED AND OVERWORKED

My former job left me wired enough from stress. I didn’t need coffee to give me that get up and go in the mornings; my adrenal glands were already pumping out adrenaline and cortisol on overdrive. I stayed away from caffeine and other stimulants as much as possible because they stress the adrenal glands, and used yoga and meditation to ground me. This is where Matcha comes in – it is fantastic to drink for those who are over-stressed, tired, and quite likely adrenally-fatigued.

 

HOW MATCHA CAN ENHANCE YOUR MEDITATION AND YOGA PRACTICE

Buddhist Monks drank Matcha because it actually enhanced meditation, allowing them to relax the mind but remain energised. It offers the body a boost of energy without jitters, anxiety or that inevitable crash – call it a “clean pick-me-up” if you wish. Matcha is the perfect boost I need before a physical yoga class. It does not cause disruption to my stress hormones or the mind chatter that I am working to quieten in my practice.

I’ve noticed a huge difference since incorporating good-quality Matcha into my own diet and wellness menus on the retreats I run. My sleep has improved and the way I practice yoga has changed. I relax more quickly in both body and mind, my entire practice feels more grounded and even my flexibility has improved.

 

Guests who have enjoyed Matcha on the retreats are reporting: “I now have a delicious ritual where I drink Matcha before practice – I am practicing more frequently and enjoying it even more”, “I make my tea, mix residue powder with coconut oil into a face mask and then start my yoga practice – my skin and body feel amazing!” and “I enjoy meditation so much more now, it seems I’ve finally started to get it”.

Katherine Swift, OMGTea’s founder calls it “liquid meditation”. Why does Matcha aid meditation and yoga? 

 

THE SCIENCE BEHIND MATCHA’S BENEFITS ON STRESS AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

The components in Matcha work synergistically with the small amount of caffeine it contains to reduce physiological and psychological stresses. Matcha is rich in the amino acid L-Theanine. It boosts alpha brain waves to promotes a more alert state of relaxation, which keeps you calm, focused, and energised for hours. L-Theanine enhances yoga and meditation because it creates an effect similar to that which meditation itself can produce – calming the nervous system (rather than over-stimulating it, like caffeine does) and regulating our blood sugar levels – good enough for Tibetan monks and modern day yogis alike.

L-Theanine combined with other components such as Theophylline promote a better-timed and more sustainable release of energy. This energy is less likely to end with the “slump” or “crash” usually associated with drinking coffee. This is because it inhibits sharp and sudden insulin spikes. Nor does Matcha stimulate the production of cortisol, your body’s stress hormone. Not only does it promote mental alertness alongside a state of calm, L-Theanine increases the production of dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good hormones which enhance mood, focus, concentration and memory.

So, in a nutshell, the combination of caffeine, phytonutrients, antioxidants and amino acids produces a fabulous effect on Matcha drinkers. Whether you are practising yoga or meditation, working like a Trojan or go fishing at the weekends, your body and mind will be more grounded and better able to handle whatever is thrown your way, with more ease and efficiency. Enlightenment and levitation have not yet been scientifically proven, but watch this space 😉

YOGA ASANA FOR BUSY PEOPLE

There are a few very simple postures you can enjoy at home to either calm or energise you. Give these a go:

Supported Supta Buddha Konasana– this is a gentle hip opener that relieves stress and is a fantastic posture to help reconnect to your breath. Also helps relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause.

Urdhva Dhanurasana– backbends are energising for your body and can also lift your mood!

 

CRIB SHEET – HOW MATCHA MIRRORS THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION AND YOGA

 

1. Promotes a new state of mind as L-Theanine boosts alpha-wave production.

2. Energises and reinvigorates without over-stimulating the adrenals.

3. Calms and relaxes, promoting the efficiency of thoughts and a more alert mental state.

4. Relaxes muscles and helps burn fat thanks to its high antioxidant content.

 

 

Don't forget - if you fancy giving Matcha a try, you'll get 20% off using code VICTORIA at www.OMGTea.co.uk