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The fact that nutrition influences our wellbeing is well known and a common sense. Our traditional diets were generally health supportive until the advent of processed foods. Change of diet in sickness and natural remedies were a standard part of treatment in traditional healing arts around the world.
Many changes happened in the 20th century. The arrival of chemical-based agriculture and processed foods coincided with the confusion about the "right diet". The science came up with the cholesterol hypothesis, for example, and the low fat diets were heavily promoted while the chronic diseases spread at an alarming rate. It certainly was not the triumph of the science. Nevertheless, in their quest for the ideal diet, people demand scientific justification.
Most of the nutritional studies in the past focused on a single nutrient therapy. The effects of single vitamins and minerals are well known today. A good summary would be the Micronutrient Information Centre published by the Linus Pauling Institute.
There is a division in the field of psychiatry - on one hand are the psychiatrists who were taught that diet and nutrients can't possibly treat the conditions of psyche, on the other hand are researches who explored biochemical therapy for decades and treated successfully tens of thousands of patients.
Examples are Dr. Abraham Hoffer, who first started treating his schizophrenic patients with nutrients in 1951, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, who accumulated biochemical profiles from 45 000 people with mental disorders, developed first systematic nutritional treatments and trained several doctors in this mode of therapy, and Dr. William Walsh who studied with Pfeiffer. His book Nutrient Power is an eye opener.
The minerals and vitamins are acting as cofactors and enzyme regulators, which makes them useful as an additional treatment in many metabolic conditions, even those which have an epigenetic component.
The research into Amino Acids came relatively recently. A good information about them can be found in books of Trudy Scott (Anti-anxiety Food Solution) or Julia Ross (The Mood Cure), both of them with abundant scientific references and a wealth of practical instructions.
Nothing happens in isolation. Single nutrients are important, but our diet as a whole deserves more attention. One study on 1000 women shows that "traditional" diet based on vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and whole grains is associated with better mental health than a "western" diet of processed or fried foods, refined grains, sugary products and beer. Another Australian study with over 2000 school children shows that children with healthier diet have better scores of emotional and mental health.
Interestingly, the Australian Dietary Guidelines are quite conservative and are moving only very slowly and with extreme hesitation in the direction of the current scientific recommendations.
There is a promising research in nutritional treatment of depression, autism, anxiety, ADHD, Alzheimer's and various psychiatric symptoms.
The best argument for nutritional therapy is that it works. There are many naturopaths, nutritionists, functional medicine practitioners, doctors and psychiatrists all around the world who treat mental conditions successfully with nutrition in spite of seemingly inconclusive scientific evidence.
The problem of science is its reductionism. Chronic diseases need a multi-pronged approach in which all treatments synergistically support each other. Science simply has to catch up to this holistic view.
In a nutshell, both sauerkraut and kimchi are good for your gut-bugs. These tiny creatures thrive on fermented food. One of the ways of fermentation is lacto-fermentation or fermentation with salt. Sauerkraut was a winter staple in Northern European countries and this is the famous wittwe Bolte in "Max and Moritz":
Sauerkraut is super expensive item in Australia. If you want to make your own why not give it a go? It is easy to make!
Sauerkraut is basically shredded cabbage layered with salt. The method of making kimchi is a bit more elaborate, but not difficult either. The main difference is that spices like garlic, ginger, chilli or fish sauce.
Most of the time I make daikon kimchi, because daikons are just so easy to grow! There are plenty of recipes, follow any you like and start getting creative! Her is my recipe for daikon kimchi.
There are only two things which are important: first the ratio of the cabbage or daikon and the salt should be pretty close to the recipe. Second, the veggies should always be submerged in brine (brine is the juice which oozes out mixed with the salt). Therefore, you always need something heavy to weigh the contents down. I often use a water filled jar. Some people use clean stones or water filled zip lock bags, but I don't like the idea of acids and plastic in my food.
This is my latest creation: daikon kimchi, grated, made with the 'sauerkraut method' with loads of my home-grown horseradish, yum! I added grated tumeric for a vibrant colour.
Written by Nicola.
This is George. Sixteen years old, shiny black fur, very handsome, nice and round belly, smooth movements. He moved in around four months ago, a thin raggedy cat. Most of the time he was fed cat biscuits, now he dines on an assortment of raw heart, the butcher's pet bits, chicken gibbets and other niceties. Cat biscuits only every now and then, when there's nothing else in the house.
After only two months he looked healthy and wealthy and life is good (apart from that puppy dog with the high pitched voice, that dog needs some good scratches across the nose!@$)
The take away message is: you will look as good as George if you stop eating biscuits - I mean human biscuits not cat biscuits. Human biscuits come in all shapes and sometimes in colours and are called cereals. I don't suggest that you eat raw meat for breakfast, but maybe some scrambled eggs, real bread (see the sourdough brick) and real butter (not the stuff which comes in a tub - even if it costs a dollar more - you want to look as good as George after all!).
Written by Nicola Bludau.
So many things have changed our bread during the last 200 years, that it's rather difficult getting the perfect loaf for perfect heath. It is not the grain as such which makes eaters unhealthy or gluten intolerant. We get sick from plant breeding, spraying, preservatives and other ingredients in supermarket breads and very important: from fast leavening of the dough (I probably will have to write more about this, but let's keep it hands on today).
There are great artisan bakers around, but with teenagers stomachs to fill you will probably have to refinance your home.
This is about rye bread, because I like rye, I'm German after all. Rye makes a different bread, it is heavier it looks like an brick and compared to wonder white, tastes like an acid yummy brick.
Rye tastes very different to wheat. Rye contains gluten, but a different form of gluten which does not benefit from prolonged kneading like wheat. My recipe is rather rough and simplified, there are great artisan bread books on the market, but they require precision and a lot of dedication, one day when I have a lot of time.....
I think it's important to get good quality flour without roundup and other toxic residues. Rye flour is available at the Food Coop in Katoomba, or at Honest to Goodness (discounts for bigger orders).
I use a kitchen mixer for the bread. This recipe is super simple and makes a dense loaf which is quite sour. I adapted this recipe from the book "100% rye" by Shannon Stronger.
1. Build up a sourdough starter
This procedure is not time consuming, but it needs at least four days to get an active starter. You will need a jar which holds around 1 litre. Mix around two tablespoons of rye flour with roughly the double amount of non-chlorinated water. Stir well, scrape down the sides. Cover with a cheese cloth or similar. The jar should be in a warm place. Let stand for a day and repeat feeding your starter until you have around three cups. The starter should be bubbly and smell sour, the consistency is equal to a pancake batter.
In case mold develops, throw it out and start again.
It might take you several attempts until it works. Every time you bake you leave a bit of the starter and continue feeding it.
2. Bake your bread
The first time you make a loaf the starter may not be strong enough, I would use a little (1 tsp) commercial yeast to prop it up.
You will use most of the starter for your bread and have some left over to maintain your starter. To avoid mold, I use a fresh jar and transfer the left-over starter into the clean jar and start feeding it right away.
I measure 2 cups of starter, 5 cups of rye flour, 2 1/4 cups of water, salt to taste and 4 tablespoons of molasses (optional) into the mixing bowl.
The molasses gives the bread a nice colour and taste. It's cheaply available at the coop (no, I am not affiliated). Mix everything thoroughly together until well combined. No need to knead. The dough will have a much moister consistency than a yeast dough. Cover the bowl with a turned over plate and let ferment for 12 hours. The longer you ferment the more acid the bread gets (there is probably a point where it's too long and the bacteria lack food).
Stir the dough to degas. Grease and coat with flour one or two smaller loaf pans, Spoon the dough in and smooth it with a wet spoon.
Let it sit for 2-3 hours. Put a heatproof dish with some water in the oven. Heat the oven to 200C, and bake the bread for 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove the bread from the pan immediately and let it cool on a rack.
Simple and easy.
You might want to make much more elaborate loaves reading all these great bread books, but I need it plain and simple, something for everyday use. So how do you like it? Is it too acid? Too heavy? Too moist? Or just right?
Here's a short version of the recipe:
1. Starter: 2 tbsp flour + 4 tbsp water, stir repeat for at least four days
2. Combine: 2 cups starter, 5 cups of rye flour, 2 1/4 cups of water, salt, 4 tbsp. molasses.
3. Let ferment 12 hrs
4. Stir, spoon dough in prepared pan, preheat oven
5. Bake at 200C for one hour.
Written by Nicola.
We spend our lives in pursuit of something that is important to us. We study and sacrifice months and years to achieve education we want. We spend years of building up the financial security for us and our family. We often choose to get better paid jobs which are more demanding.
Often we push it to the limit. Sometimes we sacrifice good sleep or proper food. We may forget to take some time for ourselves. We might get so lost in our activities that we fail to stop and enjoy the present moment.
Out body and mind support us, they adapt, they have some resilience, they are designed to weather the times of stress and emergencies. If you study human metabolism, it is remarkable to see how many mechanisms there are to self regulate and come back to balance. All the body systems work together in harmony and support each other.
There are limits, however, to what the body can cope with. Often the warning signs come unexpectedly and gradually. We don’t seem to worry about them first, because often our lives go on as usual and we believe that if our body “was happy” with our current lifestyle till now, it will keep coping with it indefinitely. After all, we see it as the “normal” way of life.
In reality, there could be stresses that our body can’t compensate for any more. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
I don’t want to scare you or preach to you. I just see how it is – there is a particular lifestyle which enables you to have a long, satisfying and productive life. A life aligned with your body and mind. In other words, you take a good care of yourself.
So, how important is your health to you? How does it rank on your list of priorities? You know that if your health is not good, you won’t be able to achieve anything in your life.
The internet is full of advice on healthy living. My website is one of these sources. Some people are too focused on “doing the right thing”. They count calories. They study the ingredients on all things they buy. They punish themselves with a restrictive diet. They criticise others who eat or believe something else. The problem with this approach is that it is fear based. It is a chore. The enjoyment from food is gone.
You see, health is not a goal in itself. It is a byproduct of a good life. If you focus too much on getting it right with your diet, you missed the point. Of course you avoid foods that are not good for you. It is important, however, to enjoy the moment, to engage your will and to follow your aspirations.
You could fast for three days, for example, and choose to see it as an adventure, as an experiment. Can you see the difference in attitude?
Your body seeks to maintain the inner harmony – the right blood pressure, the right amounts of nutrients, the right osmotic pressure and pH, building and maintaining functional structures etc. You can help your body by being attentive to it. Perhaps you felt lethargic or irritable yesterday. You could ask yourself: Could it be that it was connected to what I ate? Or maybe you had a headache. Again, you could ask: Did I drink enough water? Did I get enough sleep? Or was it the argument I had? Maybe it was all of it together.
Sometimes, there will be things that will not make sense. It can happen that your body does not work well in spite of your best care. One reason could be a vitamin or mineral deficiency, a hereditary metabolic dysfunction, a latent infection or a hormonal imbalance – all these things that you need to see a practitioner for.
Another reason, quite common, is emotional trauma. Your body keeps the score of emotional traumas of the past which affects its function. It manifests as an “energetic knot” which blocks the flow of vitality in the body. To heal this requires a lot of “digging” and some serious spiritual work. Needles to say, this process will be life-changing.
There are two modes of functioning in the body and mind: “activity” and “rest”. Roughly speaking, “activity” is connected to the sympathetic nervous system, challenges, engagement, thinking, movement and the day time. “Rest” is connected to the parasympathetic nervous system, resting, meditation, intuition, sleep, digestion and the night time. This is a very simplified picture of a balance that needs to be maintained.
During “rest”, there are many things which happen in your body – it digests food, cleans up (i.e. detoxifies), it heals, grows new structures, your liver processes nutrients and manufactures new materials and so on. This is also the state when you can receive intuitive realizations. This “rest” state does not mean inactivity, it simply means a different kind of activity. That is the reason why you need to rest when you are sick. It’s time to fight the bad guys and to repair the damage!
From this you can see the value of doing nothing. It has its place.
What to do with an overactive mind? Remember that your mind is like a wheel which spins due to a momentum. When you stop, it still moves for a while! So, be patient and give it some time.
An amazingly helpful practice is guided relaxation. If you buy a recording, choose a voice which you feel affinity with. Within those 20 minutes or so you will completely recharge your energy. It is important to practice in a quiet environment (i.e. phones off).
Look at your body with kindness, recognise its limitations and it will serve you well.
What do you see when you look into the mirror?
You can see your physical manifestation, your vehicle you use as long as you live on this planet. It is yours, intimately yours. As you age, all your life experiences will be written in your face. Your body holds the gifts and limitations passed down from your ancestors. If you have lived a good life, there will be radiance.
Health is not an absence of illness. It is rather a sense of well-being. It could be summed-up in these statements: Life is good. I am ok, you are ok. No grudges. I accept what is. I have a purpose, I am motivated, I know how to have fun. This feels right. - Do these feel familiar?
Sure there are things and situations that throw you out of it. Is it worth to give them too much focus though?
What is really important in my life? - this is your guiding light.
by Michal Sladek
I am a nutritionist. My particular focus is on treatments in the mental health which is a relatively new area.
It is well accepted that good diet maintains good health, whereas poor diet leads to ill health sooner or later. This applies to mental health as well.
The general belief, however, among a majority of population and among many health professionals is that once you have a mental condition no matter how many vitamins or minerals you take, it won’t make any difference.
Why is it so? There is a solid research and a good clinical experience showing that nutritional therapy works.
Why is this method still on the fringe and not generally accepted?
One of the reasons it that much of the research has focused on single nutrients, which are but one aspect of overall effect. In reality, a combination of several nutrients is needed, together with changes in the diet and lifestyle, social support and counseling.
Another reason is the fact that it only works within a certain biochemical subtype. For example, people can suffer from depression for 5 different reasons, metabolically speaking: undermethylation, overmethylation (folate deficiency), excess copper, pyrolle disorder and toxicity. Undermethylators, for example, have low serotonin and respond well to SSRIs. Overmethylators have excess of serotonin and react adversely to SSRIs, but respond to benzodiazepines. From this example you can see why different treatments are necessary for different people and why scientific study that puts all people with depression into one category would arrive at inconclusive results.
The third reason for non acceptance of nutritional treatment is commercial. The pharmaceutical corporations are looking after their own business interests and in is not their intention to put money into researching something which could be not patented and sold with profit.
What are the origins of nutritional therapy?
In the 1950’s, Dr Abram Hoffer, a Canadian psychiatrist, was treating his schizophrenic patients with therapeutic doses of niacin (B3). He developed a successful treatment protocol using a combination of vitamins and diet. Dr Hoffer also discovered a condition known as pyroluria. It is a hereditary metabolic disorder which is characterised by a combination of B6 and Zn deficiency, excess of Cu and high oxidative stress. It can lead to depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, ADHD, autism, violent behaviour, paranoid schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Another pioneer of nutritional therapy was an American psychiatrist Dr Carl Pfeiffer. He collected a database of biochemical samples (blood, urine) of 20 000 schizophrenics and discovered that 90% of them fall into 3 main categories (undermethylation, overmethylation and pyroluria). Each category has its own unique cluster of symptoms, distinct biochemistry and require a specific nutritional treatment. Dr Pfeiffer analysed biochemical profiles from over 45 000 people with mental illness, he developed the first nutritional treatment strategies and trained several doctors in this mode of therapy, including Dr William Walsh. Dr Walsh’s book “Nutrient Power” is an eye opener to practitioner as well to people suffering from mental illness.
Today, nutritional therapy is accepted in a branch of psychiatry associated with the Society of Orthomolecular Medicine. It is also used in functional/integrative medicine and in holistic medicine such as naturopathy.
How does nutritional medicine work?
My qualifications are Advanced Diploma in Nutritional Medicine. I am a holistic medicine practitioner, which means I treat the symptoms within an overall assessment of the whole body and considering all facets of person’s life in their interconnectedness.
I can’t prescribe medications and I cant take people off medications. I can, however, provide a safe nutritional treatment which will result in improved mental and physical wellbeing, reduction of symptoms and improved efficiency of antipsychotic medications.
Any biochemical process in the body needs raw materials, regulatory enzymes to be present and catalysts /cofactors which enable the reaction but are not used in the process. If one of these is missing, the reaction can not happen. The reaction could be a synthesis of a neurotransmitter, neutralisation of a toxic substance or anything that needs to be built in the body.
For example, serotonin is made from amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is absorbed together with the other amino acids from a protein meal and goes into the liver and into the blood stream. To get into the brain, it has to pass the blood brain barrier and compete for entry with several other amino acids. If there is not enough tryptophan in the diet or if there are too many other competing amino acids, the amount of tryptophan in the brain will be limited. Also, in times of high stress or high cortisol, a larger part of tryptophan in the liver will be converted to kynourenine, which is needed for other processes in the body. Because this reaction is irreversible, this will lower the amount of tryptophan that can get into the brain.
The synthesis of serotonin happens in two steps. First, L-tryptophan is converted to 5-hydroxy tryptophan (5-HTP). This reaction is done by the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase and requires Fe, Mg, Ca and active form of vitamins B6 and B9 to be present. The second step is performed by the 5-HTP decarboxylase enzyme and the indispensable cofactors for this reaction are vitamins C and B6, Zn and Mg. So we can see that in order to synthesise serotonin, we need Fe, Mg, Ca, Mg, Zn and vitamins B6, B9 and C. If one of them is missing, the reaction can’t happen.
To complicated things even further, there could be epigenetic mutations which result in faulty enzyme production or the symphony of hormonal regulation could be out of tune. Since hormones regulate the enzymes, this could be another reason for lower serotonin production.
From this, you can see how nutritional therapy works. I need to asses a nutritional status of a person and determine which nutrients are likely to be missing.
This is where nutritional supplements become very useful. Practitioner only supplements contain minerals in an easily absorbable form and some of them also offer vitamins in their active form for people who have poor metabolism.
I can also supplement amino acid tryptophan. It is taken between meals as to reduce the competition with other amino acids when it crosses the blood brain barrier.
There are even 5-HTP supplements, which are easily absorbed and go directly into the brain. Needless to say, these are expensive.
Some years ago I believed that eating a good diet is enough for good health. After studying nutrition, I realised several things:
It is a good idea to do your research first and stay within the recommended limits, because more is not necessarily better. It is safer to leave the therapeutic doses to the practitioners.
There are also some very common deficiencies commonly associated with poor mental health and often misunderstood as a part of natural ageing. These are deficiencies of Zn and vitamins B12 and D.
To have adequate intake of these prevents many problems in the body and mind. These three are big topics and each deserve a blog on their own.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in Czech Republic in a family where a traditional, good quality food was a norm. Both my grandmothers had huge gardens and they were excellent cooks and cake makers. One of them had chickens and rabbits, which were part of our diet as well.
Of course, there were the seasons. In winter, the only vegetables in abundance were carrots, potatoes, leeks, garlic, beetroot and sauerkraut. Apples were in the cellar and they were all eaten up by the time when spring arrived. Second grade apples which fell off the tree earlier were pressed, pasteurised and bottled and used up over the winter as well. The taste was superb, nothing you could buy today would compare. In times of abundance the seasonal fruit or vegetables were on our plates daily. In autumn we would have stewed apples, apple pies, apple strudel or dried some....
Of course, as a child I took all this for granted. It was't until years later when I realised that the supermarket apples or tomatoes did not taste like the apples or tomatoes I knew.
In my teenager years I joined a yoga group around an Indian guru and together with a big part of my family I became a strict vegetarian. In the first year of becoming vegetarian I remember many dental carries and white spots on my fingernails, which, as I know today, indicate a zinc deficiency. Eating the same diet as before while simply leaving the meat out was't a good idea. Later we learned to eat more legumes, nuts and seeds.
Communist Czechoslovakia in those days was a meat eating country - it was nearly impossible to get a vegetarian meal in a restaurant, for example. A consequence of this dietary isolation was that I learned how to shop for food and how to cook. It came handy later when I moved out of home. Also, it became my habit to take food with me whenever I leave the house, unless I eat out with friends, of course.
I remained a vegetarian for about 20 years and it suited me that way. Later on, however, I felt something was missing in my diet, so I introduced fish, then, a few years later, eggs, and quite recently I started eating liver.
Some people do very well on vegetarian diet, while others can’t cope with it no matter what their conviction is – their body simply gets sick. Different people need different diets depending on their metabolic type, lifestyle or stage of life, so I am quite tolerant of people being on different diets. I don't try to impose diets on people except when I realise, after taking their case thoroughly, that their body or mind are suffering because of their diet.
The food is changing. My generation could be the last generation which experienced the traditional diet. It makes me sad somehow. The processed food industry is taking over the planet so fast that soon it will be the only option. It is based on greed and disregard for human health. It weakens the human race.
On the other hand, we know much about nutrition today and this knowledge can be used to create super foods which are optimised to our body type and our current needs. This food will promote wellbeing and optimal health. These foods can be produced from algae or crustaceans or other small organisms which can be conveniently farmed on the space stations or on Earth using efficient technology. I believe that these designer foods will be the foods of the future as we colonise the space. Although this sounds as a fairy tale, my great grandchildren will know the taste and consider it normal.
Don’t say it’s impossible. I remember the times without the computers...
The field of nutrition is a minefield. An Indian guru has once gave a good peace of advice to a newly awakened soul: “Never tell your disciples what to eat!” Nobody wants to be told what to eat and even less so what not to eat. Why is it so?
First of all, we have our likes and dislikes when it comes to food. Does it matter?
In the past it did not matter. Throughout history, people always had their favourite foods, but they could not have them all the time. All foods were seasonal. There was no technology to process and refine foods. There were no artificial food additives. People would boil, bake, dry, salt, smoke or ferment their foods so that they last longer. The feasting season was followed by the lean season out of necessity. Naturally, the attitude was that if food comes your way you won’t say no.
Today there is lots of food available. We don’t even have to chase it or grow it – it comes to us! We can eat any time, as much as we want, anything we want…
Surely there is no problem with likes and dislikes of food. Surely there is no problem with good tasting food. But – why do so many people try to restrict their diet? Why is it so important to them? Could it be that following our tongue is not the best path to follow?
Let us consider one thing which has been a subject of extensive research – craveability. Around the mid 20th century, fast advances in food processing technology enabled mass produced durable “foods”. These were rather tasteless, missing the complexity of the real food flavour. In order to make this profitable, there had to be found a way how to make them taste good.
Howard Moskowitz, an experimental psychologist, was given a job after his graduation to improve taste of ready to eat meals for US army in 1969. He discovered a particular combination of salt, sugar and fat which he called a “Bliss point”.
Physiologically it is easy to see why this was so. These three substances are very precious. Salt is necessary for nerve system function and regulation of body fluids, sugar is a fast source of energy for all body cells and fat provides satiety and it is the most concentrated source of energy. It is no wonder that our body craves these.
There are pitfalls to this, of course. Refined pure sugar, for instance, is too concentrated and creates havoc in our metabolism. Also, not all fats were created equal. Excess of some fats and lack of others is damaging to every cell membrane of our body and causes inflammation.
This combination of salt, sugar and fat has proven a great success and was quickly exploited by the food industry. It brought an unexpected bonus (to the food corporations, of course): this combination is highly addictive. Craveability leads to overeating, obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes, brain dysfunction and inflammation.
Although this is well known and documented in numerous scientific studies, not much will change. The market is consumer driven – and if the consumers are driven by their addiction, it is still their “free choice”. It is not by accident that one of Moskowitz’s popular books is titled: “Selling Blue Elephants: How to make great products that people want BEFORE they even know they want them”. The hijacked sense of taste is interesting. I remember a young lady once told me in all seriousness that she doesn’t like strawberries, because to her the strawberries flavour tastes more “real” than strawberries. The fast food diet certainly alters the sense of taste and certain process of rehabilitation is required before our tongue appreciates subtle nuances again. An element of Zinc plays an important role in tasting and if our bodies lack Zinc – which is often the case – we will taste poorly.
There are several other problems with processed foods:
Of course, the processed foods will not go away. The ease of production from cheap and inferior ingredients, their durability and craveability make them an amazing product to sell to a consumer, again and again.
Over the years, people’s health and lifespan will decline, the coming generations will be weaker and will have problems having children. This is not a pessimism, it is a conclusion of known facts and of an already observable trend.
The only thing you can do about it is to take your health into you hands and nourish your children well. Sooner or later there will be a public outcry about this, but the food corporations still yield a considerable influence. They don’t want to lose their profits.I don’t want to spoil your day. In spite of all this, life IS good. Take care and appreciate what you have. There are things to live for.
A useful reference about sugar addiction:
How often do we hear the health advice to stay hydrated? And how often we think: “that’s enough, I don’t feel like drinking more” when drinking the tap water? Some elderly people I talk to even say that they don’t drink water at all, only tea or juice. Why?
Sometimes I go to the local spring to get water. I can’t resist not to drink some while being there. It just tastes so good! To me, there is a huge difference in taste between tap water and a spring water. There is probably a big difference chemically, so this prompted me to do a bit of research.
The source of drinking water in most of Australia are dams in pristine catchments. This is fortunate. The sun kills most of the bacteria and the clay has time to settle while the water stands.
The only time when the water is murky is after a heavy rainfall when the dam has been previously very low. In this situation there could be an excess phosphorus causing algal blooms and Phoslock is used for this. Phoslock is an Australian product developed by the CSRIO in the 1990’s. It is a modified bentonite clay in which most of the sodium (Na) ions in the clay’s microscopic structure has been replaced by lathanum (La) – an element I have never heard of before. Lathanum is strongly reactive, it eagerly binds with available phosphorus and sinks to the bottom of the lake. As to the form of application, I think they just spray it onto a dam from an aeroplane. I saw a public note lately regarding aerial spraying in the Warragamba Dam area; maybe this is what they did.
On the sideline: Ironically, phosphorus is a mineral that we sorely miss in our Australian soils. If you add lots of compost to your garden and it is still not growing well, you have certainly lack of it. The best source is MAP (mono ammonium phosphate). We get it from Aca Ohlsson in Bringelly.
Then the water needs to go through a treatment plant. It flows through filters, to get rid of particles such as suspended plant debris or suspended clay.
The next stage is flocculation when alluminium chloride (AlCl3) or ferric chloride (FeCl3) are added to the water. Both are positively charged very reactive substances, which bind with microscopic negatively charged particles and bacteria and flocculate – it means they make clumps which sink to the bottom and are filtered out – or not.
Alluminium chloride is a nerve toxin and also irritating to skin or mucous membranes when ingested. Ferric chloride is a highly corrosive poison.
The rationale is that these substances will be “used up” in the flocculation process and end up in the drinking water in less harmful forms of iron, alluminium or chloride compounds. The practical reality is, however, that in the name of the public safety, a little bit more of these substances is used so that “we are on the safe side”.
The next stage is disinfection – killing the “bad guys”. This is the chlorine you can taste in the water. Chlorine is a strong oxidising agent: it means it burns whatever it touches, so it easily kills the bacteria. Chlorine is also a one of the main ingredients in the manufacture of chemical weapons. It was used in the battle of Ypres in 1915, for example. Also, chlorine dissolved in water was used by doctors to wash their hands since 1850’s and is still used as a part of Dakin’s solution for wound sterilisation today.
However, it is the free chlorine we need to worry about, not the compounds. When chlorine is bound to sodium, for example, we get the familiar table salt.
Again, the rationale is that “this little bit won’t kill you” and it is a small price to pay for sanitary water. The truth of the matter is that there are thousands of similar “this little bit won’t kill you” influences in our environment. This all adds up and it you have a predisposition to allergies or other weakness, one day you may suffer ill health without really knowing why.
The only way you can protect yourself from chlorine is to let the water jug stand on the kitchen bench for a couple of hours before drinking it. The chlorine will simply evaporate into the air and hopefully react with something else before it reaches your lungs.
The last thing added to your water is the controversial fluoride. Sydney water has been fluoridated since 1968. Vast majority (95%) of NSW residents have fluoridated water and this is required by laws and regulations. Only the lonely Byron Bay Shire Council has decided to go against the tide and not fluoridate its water. Good on you, old hippies! My heart goes out to you!
I won’t write much about fluoride. There is enough information on the internet about it now (it is 2018). My guess is that the way things are going, in a few short years the only information on the internet will be that the fluoride is very good for your teeth. The argument is heated and not respectful. I prefer to stay out of it.
Saying that, it is not easy to get rid of fluoride in your water. Sitting on the kitchen bench won’t help. You need a really good quality filter that says specifically that it can filter all of the fluoride out. By doing this, you filter out all of the other minerals as well. This is a problem. We don’t have enough minerals in our water and food and we need them badly. This is a big topic and I leave it for another day.
Some filter companies even offer mineral drops to remineralise your drinking water again. This is crazy!
The last thing: the water comes to you in pipes. If there are some copper pipes in your house, you will end up with a copper overload (you can look up the symptoms) and a zinc deficiency (because copper and zinc compete for absorption in the body). The only way around it is filtering or let the water run for a minute first to flush the pipes.
So, now you understand why I go to the spring. Nature filtered, safe, mineral rich, and more!
Do you know where is the closest spring to your home? If you live in a different area than the Upper Mountains, could you let me know?
I went to my dentist today, after a long time. I complained about a tooth. I asked whether the tooth is ok or whether I will need a crown (I don’t have any yet, thanks God!).
My dentist had a good look at my teeth and told me that the porcelain crowns are very hard and they don’t wear, while the opposing teeth do. If I would have only one crown, it would worsen my jaw alignment and put an extra wear on the other teeth. So he recommended keeping my teeth in good order as long as I can.
He also told me that my teeth are worn from grinding at night. I myself have also noticed a tension in my jaw during the day which is not easy to relax. Whenever I try to release it, it tends to come back again. (Quite annoying for a trained yoga teacher who believes that relaxation should be easy.)
For this reason he recommended splints to me.
There are two kinds of splints: one is generic (one-shape-fits-all) and the other is custom made.
The generic one simply prevents wear and tear on the teeth, but the misalignment remains. So does the tension and some other associated symptoms such as headaches.
It is obviously quite cheap to produce and it can wear within several weeks if the grinding is strong.
The custom made occlusal splint improves the alignment. It has to be made properly, though.
First a cast of teeth and gums is done. Then a splint is made based on precise measurements of the model.
This splint can last for years.
The causes of jaw tension (according to my dentist) are:
The lower jaw is like a suspended hammock, hanging on several muscles. There must be an equilibrium between those muscles for relaxation to happen.
The brain simply wants to close the teeth. However, since there is a misalignment, a signal is still coming into the brain that the teeth are not closed yet. It is a kind of positive feedback: the more tension there is around the jaw joint, the harder the brain tries to “close the mouth”.
The upper jaw can be misaligned in relation to the base of the skull, and the lower jaw can be misaligned as well, either tilting forward/ backward, or sideways, or both.
Most of people have some kind of misalignment somewhere. For someone it is the jaw, for someone it is the spine, somebody else may have one leg a bit shorter or a collapsed foot arch.
Any misalignment will place uneven strain on muscles and ligaments, which causes uneven wear on the joints and muscular tension. This leads to pain, joint degeneration and inflammation. Yoga or gentle exercise is a great way to manage this, and so does postural awareness.
Major misalignments have to be fixed surgically, though. I have met a young man recently with a strange contraption with screws on his lower leg. He told me he had one leg too short which caused him serious joint and spinal problems. The remedy was to shatter the bone and then gradually lengthen the leg as the bone repairs itself.
I believe our own imperfections are here to teach us acceptance, humility and compassion. Yes, we can choose the path of complaining or self pity instead. However, just by looking around, we can easily see where this path leads us.
Post by: Michal
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