Ageing doesn’t mean stop living

Getting older is not something to fear; however, for some it is a frightening thought.  Age, in my opinion, is just a number.  You are as old as you think, feel and believe.  As you age, your body can have its’ ups and downs, but that should never stop you from enjoying life and staying active.  Even though you might not be able to run anymore, for example, you can still enjoy the outdoors by going for a walk or a bicycle ride.  Regardless of your age, always stay positive, be grateful and keep smiling.

In the old days, parents often (most of the time), stayed either in the same house, or on the same property, as their children.  In some cultures, today parents are taken care of by their children and/or grandchildren.  However, many elderly people move into retirement villages, which is not a bad idea, because they are with other people and help is at hand, if needed.  The downside of this is that some people can get lonely and depressed when they are living there, because sadly, their children either forget about them or, many children emigrate.

Whatever the reason, the main thing is that the elderly should feel that they can still contribute to society.   Ageing gracefully, doesn’t just mean looking after yourself physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Today, the ageing population has grown, compared to many years ago.  Medical advancements, staying healthy and fit, eating well and keeping the body and mind active, all contribute to a longer life.  

With age comes wisdom; the older generation can teach the younger ones a lot of things.  If you are a person who is living alone, it is important to join a group, go out with friends and family and do things.  The worst thing, regardless of age, is to feel lonely.  To be alone is not the same as being lonely; older people can feel lonely without contact with familiar faces.  It is a pity that some people forget about the elderly; in years gone by, they were respected and taken care of. 

Do not despair if you are getting older and you might find a grey hair or two!  If you were active when you were younger, stay active for as long as you can.  If it means changing your routine (as mentioned earlier), then so be it.  Pilates, Yoga, Walking, Water Aerobics and gentle cardio-exercises, are all very good for the older generation.  After the age of 30, your body doesn’t build bones anymore, so make sure to incorporate weight-bearing exercises in your routine.  Light hand weights, bean bags, a Pilates ball and any other lightweight apparatus, can be used.

Make sure to join a group; whether it is a group that loves birdwatching, playing bridge, knitting, and the like, it is good to meet new people and maintain a “backup” group.  You never know when you might need someone’s help; especially if you don’t have family nearby! If you still have a parent (-s) that are still alive, but elderly, remember to be patient, love them unconditionally and make sure to let them know, and feel, that they are still part of your lives.

Regardless of anybody’s age; everyone wants to feel, and know, that they mean something for someone; that they play an important role and is still wanted.  Spending time with an ageing person can be fun.  If they are slow or tend to forget things, just be kind, patient and love them, no matter what. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that some people forget about the elderly once they are put in a retirement home. The same way people abandon animals when they are old, frail or the like! We are all ageing, so best to stop fighting against it and enjoy it!

Breathing exercises for all ages and why it is important to breathe properly

In my previous blog, I spoke about breathing and touched on ways to improve your breathing.  In this blog, I want to share a few, easy to do exercises, to not only clear the lungs, but improve breathing and circulation.

  • Taking a deep breath in, whilst pushing the abdominal out (as if you are blowing up a balloon).  Slowly exhale and let it drop.  Try to inhale and exhale for 8 – 10 breathes.
  • As you inhale, push the air up into the lungs.  The ribcage will expand as the lungs are filled with air.  Again, 8 – 10 breathes in and out.  Think of pulling up a zip. 
  • You can combine the above, by starting to inhale in the abdominal area, then continue by filling the lungs, then exhale from the lungs back down.
  • Another great way to breathe, is by holding your breath for a few seconds, before you exhale.  This breathing should be done carefully, because if you are not used to it, it can cause dizziness.  Do not hold the breath for longer than 5 seconds and, if it is your first time, hold your breath for 2 – 3 seconds at first.

When you hold your breath for a few seconds, before exhaling, the oxygen can travel to those parts and cells of the body, that don’t get enough oxygen.  As mentioned before, most people (whether they are ill, a smoker, suffer from sinus or not), don’t use their whole lung capacity when breathing.  The way we sit at a desk, in front of our computers, televisions, on the couch, and the like, often compresses the lungs.

When you sit with a rounded back, slouch or walk with your shoulders pulled forward, not only are you putting immense strain on your whole skeletal system, but the lungs cannot function optimally.

Breathing is one of those things that come naturally and, is often taken for granted.  However, breathing is what keeps you alive!  When you breathe more deeply, become more aware of how you breathe and practise deep breathing, more oxygen can flow through the body; nourishing all the cells, blood vessels and the like.  Breathing also helps to calm the mind and body, helps you to relax, lessens stress and aids in a good night’s sleep.  When you are stressed, for example, your brain releases cortisol (“stress hormones”) and, by breathing slower and deeper, your heart rate slows down.  The oxygen that is in your blood stream, tells the brain to relax and, so it does!

Deep, proper breathing, aids in pain relief.  When the endorphins (“happy hormones”) are released (as stated above when you are stressed), your body and mind calm down.  These endorphins also aid in combatting pain.  Another bonus is that breathing properly stimulates the lymphatic system; it detoxifies the body as more carbon monoxide is released from the body.  Did you know that your breathing is in charge of 70% of cleansing the body of toxins?  The other 30% is through your bladder and bowels.  If you don’t breathe properly, your body works overtime to try and eliminate the toxins, which it can’t do without breathing.  On a side note; movement is also important to help the lymphatic system (in a previous blog post I delved into Rebounding).

Breathing improves immunity, because when you breathe better, your body can absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals, more efficiently.  When your body is cleaner (and your immune system strong), illness rarely takes hold.  Other wonderful things about proper breathing are that you have more energy, it lowers blood pressure, improves digestion and is supports good posture.  The more oxygen in the body, the better your stamina.  At the same time, your muscles relax, which allow your blood vessels to dilate; improving circulation, thus, it lowers your blood pressure. 

Not only does more oxygen aid the body and blood vessels, but also the cells, muscles, brain and all the organs inside your body.  The more oxygen flows in, the better your organs function, for example it can aid in improving digestion.  Last, but not least.  When you breathe more deeply, you instinctively straighten your posture.  Your lungs expand, your diaphragm pulls down and in turn, your torso straightens in order for all of this to be happening. Breathing is not a part of life; it is life itself.  When you breathe properly, not only is it good for the body and mind, but also the soul…and, sometimes, the people arou

Are you breathing properly?

We start life in this world by drawing our first breath and exhaling it (usually) with a cry!

Breathing is considered the most important of all the functions of the body because all the other functions depend upon it.  A person can exist several days without food, fewer days without drinking but only minutes without breathing.

Because respiration is an automatic function and takes care of itself, it is considered unnecessary to do anything about it; let alone be conscious about the way you breathe.  The result is that today most people only breathe enough to keep them alive.  Their breathing is so shallow that they are using only about a quarter of their lung capacity.  The breath that consists mainly of oxygen, permeates every cell in the body and is the force for the renewal and revitalizing of every cell.  Therefore, by breathing more fully and deeply not only do you improve your health but also the quality of your life.

Although inhalation and exhalation are done spontaneously, it can be controlled consciously.  Conscious, deep breathing should not be too difficult to do for one do it without being aware of it – it takes place while you sleep!  By practicing deep breathing consciously, we will become aware of our breathing and hopefully, better it.  When you inhale, let your ribs expand sideways – starting from the bottom up. 

The diaphragm will move down and the belly will rise slightly so as to increase the lung capacity.  The entire inhalation should be done gently and effortlessly.  With the exhalation you use a slight pressure to push the complete air out; by pulling the belly slightly back.

“Discover your lungs” by practicing deep breathing whenever you get a chance; for example, waiting in a queue, in the car and especially before you go to sleep.  By practicing deep breathing we not only oxygenate our brains and clear our minds, but we also improve the blood circulation and the functioning of the immune system.

Breath and emotions are also closely linked:  when we are frightened, we gasp in and hold our breath; when tired or bored, we take a long breath in and out – we yawn; when angry our breath is irregular and when tense or full of worries, we breathe shallow.  But it is possible to reduce the effect of emotional turbulence by bringing the breath under control by breathing more evenly and deeply. 

This will calm the nerves and steady the mind.  We are not only dependent on our breath for life.  The easiest, and fastest, way to relax when you get stressed or angry, is to take a slow breath in and a slow breath out.  Immediately this will calm you mind and body, as well as stop your heart from beating fast. Our capacity to breathe well will often determine our vitality level.  Be being present energetically we can affect our everyday life and “embrace the blessing we have received.” 

If you are hot and would like to cool down, why not try a cooling breath?  Simply curl your tongue into a little straw / pipe, and inhale and exhale as normal.  If you are cold, try a warming breath.  Take a deep breath in and breathe out forcefully, contracting the abdominal muscles.  Immediately breathe in again with the same force, expanding the abdominal muscles.  Both these breathing methods can be done for 10 breathes (round 1) and be repeated 3 – 5 rounds (or until you don’t feel so hot or cold anymore).

The many ways of using toothpaste

Toothpaste has always been associated with brushing your teeth.  However, did you know that white toothpaste can be used to clean stains on light clothing as well?  Using your finger or utensil, put a dab of white toothpaste on the stain and leave it for at least an hour.  If the stain is not very dark and/or old, an hour should do the trick.  Wash the toothpaste off and have a look.  If the stain is lighter, but not completely gone, put another dab of white toothpaste on and leave it for another 30 minutes or hour.

Once the stain is gone, rinse off the toothpaste, then pop it into the wash.  No need to wash the garment if it is clean; all you then need to do is rinse off the toothpaste.

Do you have shoes or trainers, that have a white sole?  Before wearing it, put some white toothpaste on.  The toothpaste will act like a buffer if you pick up dirt or dust; it makes it easy to clean.  Just wash the toothpaste off (you can use an old toothbrush for this) and voilà!  Your shoes look as good as new and you just put a fresh “lick of toothpaste” on again.

Toothpaste can also be used of leather shoes if there are scuff marks on.  Simply apply it onto the scuffed area, wipe if in with a soft cloth, then use a damp cloth, to wipe it clean.

If you have a bottle that smells, for example a baby bottle, wash it out with toothpaste instead of dishwashing liquid.  It will eliminate the smells and give it a fresh, clean smell.

Suffering from acne?  Try non-whitening, non-gel toothpaste.  Simply dab it onto the pimple and let it be.  The toothpaste will dry out the pimple and it will fall off on its own.  Be careful, though, if you have a sensitive skin.

Has your wall in your home got a new picture on, thanks to a toddler’s creativity?  No stress; just take some non-gel toothpaste, a rag or scrub brush and clean the wall.  Remember to wipe with a damp cloth afterwards; your wall should look as before.

Living somewhere where your car’s headlights become foggy?  Using toothpaste on a sponge, simply scrub the headlights in a circular motion, then remove the toothpaste with a damp cloth.  The same method can be applied to goggles you wear for skiing, swimming, diving and doing woodwork.

A foggy bathroom mirror can be an irritation.  Thus, before you hop into the shower or take a bath, put some non-gel toothpaste on the bathroom mirror and leave it there.  Just before you get into the shower or bath, wipe the toothpaste off. 

Stain in coffee- and tea mugs can easily be cleaned by applying a small amount of toothpaste onto the stain.  Leave it for a few minutes, then simply rinse and wash as usual.  If you have a stain from a mug, on a wooden table, try toothpaste.  Only dab it onto the stain, leave it there for 15 minutes or so, then wipe it off.  Repeat if necessary; otherwise polish the wood when you wiped off the toothpaste.

Ladies, ladies; did your diamond loose its sparkle?  Rub on some toothpaste with a soft brush or your finger, then use a soft, damp cloth to clean off the residue.  Your diamond will sparkle in minutes!

Don’t have polish in the home to clean your chrome taps?  No stress; simply use toothpaste.  Give it a wash, then polish with a clean, dry cloth.

Did something stain your carpet?  Simply apply some toothpaste on the stain with an old brush or cloth.  Let it sit for a few minutes, then clean it by blotting the spot with a soft, damp cloth.  Repeat if necessary.

Is your iron dirty and you cannot iron your clothes?  Use non-gel toothpaste to clean it.  simply put some toothpaste on your cool iron, scrub it with a rag, then rinse it carefully.  The dirt should be gone in no time.

Are your hands smelly after working with garlic and/or fish?  Instead of using your hand soap to wash your hands, use toothpaste instead.

Did that pesky bug bit you?  Apply a small drop of toothpaste onto the bite (if you don’t have anything else) and this will prevent it from itching.  Toothpaste can also alleviate sunburn.

The above tips are all easy-to-use and will not break the bank.  I have tried some of it myself and it works.  What about you?  My readers?  Have you tried any of this before and if so, did it work?  I would love to know what you think, so by all means, hop over to my page on Instagram and let me know!

Exercise dos and don’ts

There are many books, magazine articles and YouTube videos, which delve into the correct and incorrect ways of exercising.  Many people, going to the gym or other fitness centres, rely on the instructor or personal trainer, when it comes to exercising correctly.  However, there are trainers that is not qualified to cater to everybody’s needs; this can create a problem.

If you are new to a class, make sure to tell the instructor beforehand.  If unsure about the type of class and/or the intensity of the exercises, ask other members, friends and/or the instructor.  When you have an injury, it is important to let the instructor and/or personal trainer know about it, as well as if you are pregnant or not.  It is not often that you will find instructors and/or personal trainers, that is qualified in rehabilitation and the elderly. 

For the older generation; make sure to train only with someone who is well qualified in working with elderly people.  Do not, however, think that some injuries only occur to the elderly.  young people also suffer from injuries; the difference is the young bodies bounce back easier.  Regardless of your age, it is very important to stop inflammation in its tracks, before it becomes chronic and arthritis sets in.

Always listen to your body and exercise at a pace that is comfortable for you.  When working with weights, don’t go for the heaviest in the beginning.  Using heavy weights too soon (especially if not used to it), can cause unwanted injuries.  Always make sure to keep your wrists straight and use your elbows to bend.  If you bend your wrists whilst doing bicep curls, for example, it will cut off the circulation to your hand.  Metacarpal tunnel syndrome can set in and no, it is not just a “hairdresser thing.”

Always make sure to bend your knees when picking up weights.  There is nothing worse than picking up heavy weights with your back!  A dead lift, for example, can still be done with straight legs and soft knees.  The trick is not to lock your knees.  Instead, opt for doing leg lifts, lying on your tummy, rather than dead lifts.  Whether you suffer from a shoulder injury, stiff neck or nothing at all, be careful when working with weights overhead. 

Pulling the weight machine up and down, overhead, is not a good idea, as the shoulder muscles stay contracted and all the focus is in the neck- and upper area of the shoulders. 

If you do want to work on shoulders, upper back and neck, opt for working with weights at shoulder level.  In other words, you can either lift and lower the weights to shoulder level (without shrugging the shoulders), or you can bend and straighten the arms, at shoulder level.  Push ups are also a good option; especially done on a Pilates ball.

For those ladies that are pregnant, please remember that you cannot lift your head for sit ups, in the first 3 months of pregnancy!!  This can cause a miscarriage and, sadly, not many trainers know this.  Also take care in the last 3 months of pregnancy and never sit with your legs wider than your hips.  Stay clear of squats and lunges to the side, careful if you still want to do yoga and keep your legs in line with your hips.  Anything wider, can unlock your pelvis and baby can arrive sooner than anticipated!

For those who had hip replacements, the same apply as with pregnancies.  When you lift your legs to the side, keep it close to the body; even if you are doing Water Aerobics.  Back injuries and/or operations should be careful and not jump and/or run on a hard surface.  In water, it is easier and softer on the bones if you do want to march fast, for example, on one spot.  But it you have any injuries, be careful on land and in water.

For those who don’t have any injuries, had no operations and the like, do remember to keep your knees soft when you jump, do jumping Jacks, and so forth.  Your knees take a lot of slack, as the hips, but did you know that your knees are your weakest joints, then the hips in second place?  If you love running, but suffer from knee pain and the like, rather opt for bouncing on a trampoline / mini trampoline.  You will still reap the benefits of jogging, but without the impact and injuring of your joints.

The most important thing is to ask the experts before you attempt to do a new exercise or join a class that you have never done before.  Make sure that there are different levels offered, for example beginner, intermediate and advance.  Always let the trainer know about your health.  If you cannot do an exercise, never force your body to do it.  Start at beginner level and, over time, as you get more fit and stronger, you can move to a higher level.  Rather be safe than sorry; regardless of your age. You only have one body, so take care of it and enjoy being active; after all, what is the point of doing something if you don’t like it?  And remember:  always stay hydrated, make sure to warm up properly and stretch after you have exercised.

Easy to make recipe for inflammation

Whether you over-exercised, worked too hard in the garden, or picked up something that was too heavy; everyone has, at one point, suffered from stiffness, soreness and inflammation of the muscles.  Inflammation occurs when muscles become overworked and stiff.  Stiffness is the first sign that your body is tired and/or over worked.  If you listen and stretch, relax and take time out, then the stiffness usually disappears.  However, if you push through, stiffness can turn into numbness and pain.  The latter is a signal that inflammation is starting to / has already set in.

When muscles become stiff and/or painful, the body is crying out for help.  Massage, rest, physiotherapy, hot baths / showers and rubbing things like Arnica oil on, can help to relieve the body.  However, once inflammation sets in, not only is it better to seek professional help, but also to use gels / ointments with anti-inflammatory properties in.

Taking anti-inflammatory tablets can also do the trick.  However, most of these tablets can affect your gut and cannot be used long term.  So, what to do?  Turn to your kitchen cupboards!  Things like Ginger, Turmeric, Black pepper, Cayenne pepper, Cinnamon, Coconut oil, Garlic, Honey and Pineapple, are just what the doctor ordered.  Pineapples, for example, are high in Bromelain, which is a wonderful remedy for the immune system, it contains loads of vitamin C and aids in inflammation control.  The spices are easy-to-use and can be taken either in tablet form, or mixed into a drink, poultice or food. 

Here is an easy recipe:

4 tsp turmeric

4 tsp ginger

Half tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp coconut oil

Put all of the above in a bowl, add boiling water and mix it into a paste.  Take a teaspoon full every day, until the inflammation has gone.  Do note that, if there is any of the above ingredients that you cannot use, you can just leave it out.

All of the abovementioned foodstuffs, have both anti-inflammatory and antibiotic-properties in and have been used for a long time, in many kitchens throughout the world.  Inflammation is not something that you have to live with, because there is a way to not only cure it, but also keep it at bay.

Exercising regularly, to keep your bones and your muscles flexible, is key.  Stretching and resting in-between workouts and always listening to your body, are very important.  Drinking enough fluids, eating no / very little junk / processed foods, limiting your alcohol intake and not smoking, are also important.  At the end of the day, it is better to be safe than sorry; as chronic inflammation becomes arthritis, if it is not taken seriously and taken care of.

Homemade remedies for these in-between seasonal allergies, colds and flu

For years the kitchen was also used as the “medicine-cupboard;” so I’m going to share a few recipes and other tips, that will ban that sore throat, flu-/cold-symptoms and body aches, for good!  And keep allergies at bay! Do, however, replace or leave out an ingredient, if you are allergic.

J’M Sip


1 Golden delicious apple

3 cm chunk fresh ginger root


Juice the apple, ginger and ½ medium lemon (unwaxed).

Pour ½ of it into a mug and top with hot (but not boiling) water.

Add 1 tsp of Manuka honey, stir well and enjoy!

Hot toddy

Ingredients for the basic brew

750ml water

½ cup ginger, washed and sliced

4 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 garlic cloves, whole

For each cup

2 tbsp lemon juice

1tsp raw honey

Pinch of cayenne pepper


Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Place the lemon, honey and cayenne pepper in a cup for each serving, then strain the tea into the cup and stir until the honey has dissolved.


Cough syrup


1 turnip, thinly sliced

¼ cup raw honey or brown sugar


Layer a few slices of turnip in a bowl, then sprinkle with sugar or drizzle with honey.

Repeat the layers and allow it to stand for at least 4 hours (the honey or sugar will draw out the expectorant juices).

Take 2 teaspoons of syrup every 1 – 2 hours until the symptoms

Mustard bath


¼ cup English mustard powder

½ cup coarse sea salt

½ cup bicarbonate of soda


Combine all the ingredients and place it in an airtight container.

Use ¼ cup of the mixture in a bath – soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Allergies getting you down?

Combine the following as a tea:

Stinging nettle





Let all the ingredients steep for at least 30 minutes, then strain and drink it with honey and lemon.

Stuffy nose

Mix a ¼ teaspoon salt and a ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda in warm water.

Sniff the above.  This will not only clear the nose, but salt have natural anti-inflammatory- and anti-inflammation properties. 

Sore throat

Gargle with salt water or colloidal silver.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

Using the rind of 2 – 3 lemons and 2 – 3 grapefruits, peel the fruits and, using only the peels, cover it with water 93 inches / 7.77 cm above the peels). 

Put a lid on and let it simmer for 2 hours.

DO NOT take the lid off until it cools completely.

If you want to, add some honey.

This can be taken every 2 hours; 1 tablespoon.  It will help to bring up the phlegm from your lungs, detox the body and boost your immune system.  Once you are healthy, you can stop drinking this.

A daily intake of vitamin C, a good multi-vitamin, a healthy diet, sunshine, fresh air and exercise, cannot be underestimated.  If you live in the Northern Hemisphere (and/or are elderly living anywhere in the world), it is vital that you take a vitamin D supplement.  This not only boosts the immune system but also keep depression at bay!  If you do feel “under the weather,” you can add Selenium and Zinc as well (unless it is already in your multi-vitamin complex). 

For those who don’t eat red meat, or only now and again, make sure to have your iron-levels checked.  Iron plays a key role in keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Probiotics and colloidal silver, are two more products that can help to keep your immune system healthy and strong.  These are all natural remedies.  However, if your symptoms get worse, it is best to seek help from a health practitioner. 

April 1st, Easter bunnies and eggs…what do they have in common?

Many years ago, the world used what is called the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian calendar.  The Julian calendar is (was) based on the Solar calendar of 365 days, with an added leap year every 4 years.  This calendar is still used today by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Berbers and the Hindus.  The Julian calendar also has 13 months, 28 days and 1 neutral day.  For many believers, Easter is the time when they celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is also a time when children enjoy “egg hunts” and bunnies.

Did you ever wonder what the eggs and bunnies have in common during this time?  Why do we, still today, celebrate Easter with eggs and bunnies?  Going back to the Julian calendar; the first month of the year is (was) April and not January.  April, in the Northern Hemisphere, was not only a time of the Spring Equinox, but also a time when Spring has arrived.  Animals started to mate (hence the bunnies) and chickens lay their eggs (Easter eggs).  April as the 1st month of the year, was not only an indication that a new year has started, but also a new season.

There are many, ancient traditions (which many writers refer to as Pagan), that is intertwined with celebrations of today.  Easter is one such example.  According to St. Bede the Venerable, the word, Easter, comes from the word “Eostre” or “Eostrae,” referring to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility.  Some historians maintain that Easter comes from “in albis,” a Latin phrase that is the plural form of “alba,” meaning dawn.  Easter, in Old High German, became “eostarum,” which is the precursor of the English language today. 

There are interesting similarities between Easter and Passover, that I would like to mention.  In Passover, the eggs are called Paschal eggs and symbolizes rebirth (same as in Easter).  Another word for Easter is “Pascha,” that comes from the Hebrew name “Pesach” (meaning Passover).  Both use the Lunar calendar and celebrate the beginning of Spring.  The Hebrew calendar is lunar and Passover is celebrated on the 14th of Nisan.  Easter is celebrated on the Sunday after the 1st full moon, following the vernal (March) equinox.  Spring is not only the start of the new year, but also a time of hope and renewal. 

Easter and Passover both speak of a delivery from a state of despair.  In Easter, it is delivering a person from sin, and in Passover it is delivering a person (people) from slavery.  The story of Easter is set in Jerusalem, during the time of Passover.  The last supper (that Jesus had with his disciples), is believed to be a Passover feast.

On a last, and more spiritual note, Easter and Passover is a time when the ego dies.  As you grow, spiritually, and ascend to a Higher Consciousness, your ego “dies” and a more, spiritual essence, takes shape.  During winter many plants die (go to sleep like the animals), but in spring, there is a rebirth.  The same applies to us – there is “death of the ego / the old,” and a rebirth of the spirit / self.  Regardless of what you, my readers, celebrate, have a lovely time with family and/or friends.

The benefits and uses of Bay leaves

Many people use bay leaves in their food; especially when preparing red meat and chicken dishes. Bay leaves don’t have a taste, but when it is added to meat, it changes the triglycerides into mono-unsaturated fats.  For example, take 2 pieces of chicken and cook them separately, one with a bay leaf and the other without.  Notice the fat content after it has been cooked.

Bay leaves have many health properties; here is a few:

  • It treats digestive disorders and aids heartburn
  • It helps against acid reflux and constipation
  • When used to make a tea, bay leaves regulates bowel movement, reduces blood sugar levels and is an anti-oxidant
  • When you eat or drink the leaves for a month, the body is able to produce its own insulin
  • Bay leaves eliminate bad cholesterol and helps to excrete triglycerides from the body
  • Due to its high vitamin C-content, when used as a tea, bay leaves help to relieve colds, flus and bad coughs
  • If you don’t like the taste of the tea, place some bay leaves in hot water and inhale the steam.  This will help the body to get rid of phlegm and reduce the severity of the cough
  • Bay leaves protect the heart against heart attacks and strokes; due to its cardio vascular properties
  • The leaves are rich in acids, for example, Quercetin, Caffein acid, Eugenol and other, which fights off the development of cancer cells in the body
  • Not able to sleep?  Stress and worry keeping you awake?  Then have a cup of bay leaf tea, or inhale the scent, before bed time.  The leaves will help you to relax and get a good night’s rest
  • When you drink bay leaf-tea twice a day, it aids in breaking down kidney stones and will aid in clearing the body of infection

Bay leaves also contain vitamin A and B6 which, together with vitamin C, plays a key role in boosting your immune system   Drinking bay leaf tea or steaming with it, will aid in relieving a stuffy nose and sinus pressure.  Bay leaves are quite versatile, and is used in drinks as well as food dishes.  A few examples are soups, Mexican food like posole, stews, beef- and chicken dishes, as well as in Thai-, Indian- and Laotian curries. 

The leaves can also be used to make a tea.  However, you will find that bay leaves are also used in cocktails – either as an ingredient or a garnish!  Two such cocktails are Futuro (made from gin, blueberry liqueur, sour apple liqueur, amaretto and mango juice, garnished with a bay leaf, apple slice and a few blueberries) and Piso de Pedra (made from Boca Loca cahaca, cream sherry, bitters and bay leaf).

As you can see, bay leaves are quite versatile and has many uses as well as health benefits.  Enjoy experimenting with bay leaves and happy eating (and drinking)! If you do have any other uses for bay leaves, myself and all my followers (readers), would love to hear what you do with bay leaves!

What is trending in the homes these days?

As the seasons change, so too does our clothes, what we eat, what we drink and how we exercise (especially if we go from being indoor, to outdoor, or vice versa).  What also changed in recent years, are the peoples’ attitude towards themselves, as many realized that being healthy is the new wealth.  On top of that, more and more people realize that having less is more and that time with family and friends are precious.

Let us delve into some of these changes; although some are not really “new,” but was just forgotten.  For example, the dining room is making a comeback, as more and more people sit around the dining room table when having their meals, instead of in front of the television.  Many had to use their dining room tables as a place to work, to study, to home school and to eat, when things changed overnight.  Now it is a place of getting together, of connecting with each other after a day at work or at school.  A beautiful, well-placed dining room, is not only inviting, but also enjoyed by everyone (including your guests).  Décor, lighting, seating and how it flows from one room to the next, create a wonderful ambience for everyone to enjoy.

To be healthy, is more than just looking good in a bikini or swimming trunk.  Mental, emotional and spiritual health, are all key role players in your general well-being.  Our homes can become our sanctuary; the décor and colour schemes we choose play a big role in the mood we want to create in every room.  Adding scents and candles can help set the mood, just like the smell of freshly baked eats, roasted coffee and the like.  When it comes to food, more and more people want to buy from their local farmer / market, is looking for fresh, organic foods and free range.  People want cleaner, healthier food, with less added preservatives and other synthetic things in. 

The minimalistic trend has been around for quite some time and, although it is not everyone’s taste, many people have come to realize that having less is not as bad as they thought.  Shopping locally and using more natural materials in their homes, are a key driver to some of the changes that is popping up all around the world.  People are looking for organic, breathable materials, things that is less toxic (paints, make up, skincare products and cleaning products), as well as sustainable things.

Many people are working from home, thus creating the need for a separate space that is still part of the home, yet tranquil and “office like.”  This can create a dilemma if you have limited space or not a separate room.  However, there are many clever ideas on the internet, of how to create a nook for your office.  Letting it “blend in” with the décor, using a similar desktop, for example, as your dining room table, can bring everything together.

Wanting to live a cleaner, healthier life, young people are embracing the “upcycling-” or “repurposing” trends.  Many fashion influencers, for example, are renting out their expensive clothes and accessories, instead of just selling it, giving it to charity or throwing it away.  For many, many years, the world was built on consumerism.  With the changes, this is giving way to recycling and repurposing.  Many people are buying things from second hand shops, upcycling it and reusing it.

Whether you are reusing things, buying less, exercising more and/or eating healthier, the key (and focus) for this year (and the years to come), are sustainability, living in harmony and balance with Mother Nature, respecting and taking care of Nature and her children, and looking after your health; on every level.  Let your inner artist come out, have fun with colours, bring colours and beautiful patterns back into your life, smile, laugh and enjoy every moment – it counts!