It was fantastic to see that Tandle Hill was one of the shortlisted hotspots for the best autumn walks in Greater Manchester. Although we’ve made it to many of the places on the list, Tandle Hill is one of our family’s favourite places to head out on a crisp Sunday afternoon. If you haven’t been, make sure you do. The forests trails are beautiful, and perfect at this time of year for wearing your wellies or walking boots and kicking up the leaves.
Many of us these days have little time for exercise because of busy working and family lives, but the benefits of walking are becoming increasingly well-known. It’s even being recommended now by GPs to aid patients with mental health issues.
Half an hour of daily walking has been shown to:
Reduce risk of heart attack and other chronic disease.
I’ll be at Hollingworth Lake Visitors Centre on Sunday 15th September for the Mind Body Spirit festival doing a free talk on Good Nutrition is Your Superpower. Details of the talk are in the video below. If you can make it, it would be lovely to meet you and answer any questions. The talk starts at 10am, but I’ll be there all day at my stall, and there will be some special offers.
“We all start off in life as superheroes, but the Standard Western Diet is our human Kryptonite. Over time, poor dietary habits are making us sick, tired and weak. Sadly, many of us feel old before our time. Just about every health condition and symptom, at its core, is linked with the inflammatory foods we’re putting into our bodies. This talk is about why this happens, and how you can take control to help get your superpowers back.”
I never thought I’d ever say this, but on Sunday I went to Morgzfest in Sheffield.
Morgz is Morgan Hudson, an 18 year old Youtuber, who’s made his name by publicly pranking his Mum, Gill, and by the two of them challenging each other with ridiculous tasks such as:
drinking disgusting mystery cocktails (Sunday’s vomit-worthy concoction was mealworms, mustard, honey and diet coke. Bleurgh)
seeing how long can you sit in a bath of ice
eating a food of one colour for 24 hours.
The whole of the family get involved in his videos, with his brother Jensen, Dad (Darren) and Stepdad (Bald Martin) all playing a part in the high-energy, high-jinx shenanigans.
Though I’ve seen quite a few Morgz vlogs (by force), and I can see his appeal for his fans, a day at Morgzfest is my idea of hell.
The event involved 7 hours of waiting around in Sheffield Don Valley Bowl with only junk food on offer (you couldn’t take in your own food, and it seems quite ironic with me being a health practitioner!) and the only entertainment between 12-3.30pm being a huge field of inflatables, which included the World’s Largest Inflatable Obstacle Course.
I wasn’t impressed. Especially as the rain came down in a torrential burst as soon as we got there. I was cold for the rest of the day. At first my head was constantly filled with what I could be doing at home instead.
Despite this, I had a fantastic time. My daughter absolutely loved it, and when Morgz, his mum, dad, brother and stepdad came on stage for the challenges during the last couple of hours, she was in absolute bliss. It was like watching pantomime, and not only did she have a massive smile on her face, I did too. The fact that the whole day had an aura of good-natured energy also played a massive part in the thawing of my cynicism.
Going on the obstacle course with her (I believe it really is the World’s Largest Inflatable Obstacle Course…!!!) was one of the most hysterical experiences of my life.
The whole encounter made me realise that, although you see a lot written about learning to say no and putting yourself first for health and wellbeing reasons, sometimes by putting other people first, you actually do the greatest service to yourself.
Watching my daughter happy made me happy.
Knowing she’s made memories that will last her a lifetime, will stay with me forever.
Sometimes, even though you want to say no, say yes instead.
“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.”
I was looking for quotes for a presentation I’m doing in a few weeks and I came across this quote by Hippocrates.
It got me thinking about the clients that come into my clinics and how true this is. How it’s important that each client is the focus of every consultation, not the disease.
So how is this applied exactly?
Any two people can walk through the door with the same condition, but they will be totally different in terms of root cause, personality and therapeutic needs. They will have different issues in their lives, different dietary preferences, different drives, different support networks, different goals. Some people require lots of support outside of the consulting room; others require none.
As a therapist, it’s important for me to recognise these factors and deal with them appropriately – to treat each client, not as a set of symptoms, but as individuals. To see how it is best to serve them, so together we achieve the health goals they wish to reach.
Just like the people who come to see me, the root cause of any symptom is highly individual. One person’s illness may be driven by stress which is undermining their immune or digestive function; another may have a long history of antibiotic use that created a microbiome imbalance; some medications might create nutritional or hormonal imbalances; pain might be exacerbated by previous traumatic events as well as poor diet.
Usually there are a number of factors involved, and it’s up to me to unpick all the information given, and create a plan that, over time, removes all the onion layers of ill health to reveal the heart of better health beneath.
Recognising a person’s individuality is also vital when giving them a plan of action – for some, gentle guidance is better accepted than a long list of changes that can lead to a feeling of overwhelm. Others want a challenge, something they can get their teeth into, where they see instant results.
So my role is to understand what makes each person tick, to be clear about their goals, and to guide them forward in a way that suits them.
It is also up to me to empower them by helping them to understand the reasons behind their symptoms, and give them the information they require to stick to a healthier lifestyle and take back their health in the long term.
Because what really makes a difference to us all when we are adopting changes in our lives is: to be recognised for who we are, to feel understood, and to to be given the chance to regain power over our lives, as we travel on the journey to becoming a healthier version of ourselves.
Have you any thoughts on this? What has affected you the most or made the biggest difference to you when dealing with a health professional?
I’ve just read a blog post by Brene Brown about an Oprah interview with author Toni Morrison which really made me think about my behaviour as a parent.
In the interview with Oprah, Toni speaks about how we can influence a child’s confidence and their self-image in ways that we don’t even realise. Here’s the link to the original post by Brene.
According to Toni, children gather information about their parents’ feeling towards them based on their initial reactions (whether they be positive or negative) on each meeting.
For instance, as a parent, do you immediately pick up on your child’s uncombed hair, food stained clothes, muddy shoes etc?
Or do you smile, happy to see them, first?
When I read this, I thought to my own behaviour, and recognised that I can be quick to criticise, without even intending to.
The problem isn’t with the criticism itself – as parents, we need to be able to tell our children not to get mud on the carpet etc – but what’s important is that the criticism isn’t the first thing they always hear.
What is that criticism (if it’s the first thing out of your mouth) telling them about themselves and what you think about them? Does your body language, or do your words, demonstrate your love, or does it tell them there is something wrong with their appearance, behaviour or choices?
If you don’t think well of them, how can they think well of themselves? And how will these micro-criticisms impact their self-esteem in the long term?
This interests me, not only as a parent, but as a nutritional therapist. A person’s health and wellbeing is all tied up in self-esteem and stress.
If we don’t think well of ourselves we send ourselves negative messages:
You’re such a mess.
Why can’t you do a simple thing like that?
What an idiot!
These self-criticisms – where we can’t be kind to ourselves – become a form of stress.
As I’ve mentioned previously, stress affects cortisol levels which, if not managed, can negatively impacts health – both mental and physical.
So how can we help our kids to develop better attitudes towards themselves and as a result, become healthier adults?
Well, I suppose initially, that lies with us and our behaviour towards them. The way we react to our kids can either enhance of undermine self-image and resilience. If we manage our reactions positively, this ultimately has a beneficial impact on their future health.
As Brene says in her blog post, don’t let the first comment to your child each time you see them be a negative one. By being kind to them, we teach them to be kind to themselves.
Say something nice, or “flash a smile” before you ask them to move their belongings (that have taken up residence on the living room floor for the last three days!)
Even if they don’t show it, your smile or kind words will mean so much, and it’s another way of telling them you love them.
Plus, it also takes the sting out of the fact they’ve got to clear up after themselves!