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Welcome to Your Healthy Self!

I believe that if we all make small healthy changes to our daily habits they will eventually become second nature to us and we can work towards a healthier and happier future.
My suggestions are just that, suggestions, some may work for you, some may not, we are all different. But give them a shot and work with the ones that do!

Little Known Ways to Combat Arthritis

It was National Arthritis Day this week and with around 10 million sufferers in the UK alone, I reckon it’s justified its own ‘awareness’ day. That is a lot of painful joints.

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are the two main types. The former being an inflammatory reaction affecting the cartilage and the latter an autoimmune condition. Both are debilitating in their own right but both are also treatable.

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common with around 8 million, mostly female sufferers in the UK, however it could possibly be avoided or even stopped in its tracks if a few simple lifestyle changes are introduced.

The Medical Solution

Put it this way, medical treatments are either minimal or very drastic. Painkillers are prescribed to start with and if the situation gets really bad, joint replacement surgery may be offered (although this is of course only appropriate for knees and hips and definitely not for spines and hands where osteoarthritis is fairly common.)

So simply put there is no actual medical treatment for the symptoms of arthritis, and taking pain killers long term brings with it a whole series of other health problems. Don’t get me started!

Natural Alternatives that work

Thankfully there are some natural alternatives that you can try, especially if you have recently been diagnosed and there is minimal joint damage. Sadly it is not reversible but it could be stoppable which is more positive than major surgery followed by weeks of recovery.

Firstly, and this really goes without saying, keeping your weight down will reduce load bearing on joints, especially hips and knees which take the brunt. If there was ever a good reason to lose weight, here it is.

Of course not everyone who suffers with arthritis is overweight, so there are a number of other factors to consider. Here are some of the most important ones.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

The cartilage that protects the joints is mostly made up of water so staying hydrated is of utmost importance. You may feel that you drink plenty and are always hydrated but what you may not know is that drinks like tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy pop are all diuretics. Whilst they may quench your thirst, internally they are drawing liquid from important areas of the body like your cartilage causing it to become dehydrated and ultimately shrink, leaving your bones unprotected.

It is important to drink plenty of fresh, filtered water daily, plus introducing good quality and beneficial herbal teas, like peppermint, ginger or nettle could make all the differernce. Even an occasional hot chocolate would work as cocoa contains magnesium, which is good for both bones and muscles.

Are you Intolerant?

Now that your liquid intake is sorted we need to look at food Intolerances. These are often linked to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as they can create inflammation in a number of places around the body. To find out if or what you are intolerant to, it is important to carry out a food intolerance test, whereby the 4 main culprits, dairy, wheat/gluten, yeast and eggs are avoided for a week or two and then re-introduced individually. I have more information on this if you are interested.

There are additional foods that may cause problems specifically for arthritis sufferers, like foods from the deadly nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, potatoes and tobacco,) acidic fruits and red meat.

Eating a healthy wholefood diet, including plenty of antioxidant rich fruit and veg will not only help with weight loss, if necessary, but will provide you with an abundance of beneficial nutrients too.

The Wonder Spice

Turmeric is a wonder spice, amongst other things it acts as a natural anti-inflammatory so should be included into your daily routines as should Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) which will help lubricate your entire body, including your joints. Whilst these can both be gained from diet, I would advise taking good quality supplements unless of course you are eating lots of oily fish and plenty of curries.

More to Come

These tips should hopefully get you started, however I am currently writing a more in-depth eBook about this subject, which includes more diet and lifestyle options. If you are a sufferer or know someone who is suffering then please email me and I will send you a copy when it’s completed, hopefully in the next month.

Stay Healthy!






The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs Part 2

Did anyone watch the UK docu-series The Doctor Who gave Up Drugs? Part 2 was last week.

I have to be honest I did watch it and at the end felt both disappointed and sort of encouraged at the same time.

What No Diet Advice?

Last week you may remember reading about my shock that there was no mention of diet in the first programme at all, I was hanging out for the second programme but it was no different.

He did prove undoubtedly that there are alternatives (mostly exercise based) to many medicines, which is what he set out to do; so on that front is was absolutely brilliant.

And just maybe, if it had been a longer series he would have got onto the subject of nutrition, but seriously not to mention it once was worrying to say the least, especially when covering subjects like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure which can all be helped through changes to your diet.

The Miracle of Exercise

He based a lot of his alternatives on exercise, which is great. Exercise is so important for pretty much every health issue there is but it should be combined with other lifestyle changes, diet being one of them!

Cinnammon Rocks

Cinnamon for instance is known to balance blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure and is so easy to incorporate into your diet, sprinkle on your toast, cereal or porridge for breakfast or even add to your coffee (if you must drink coffee) just before you go out for your exhilarating walk!

The Low Down on Sugar

Cutting down on sugar and refined carbs is a must for everyone, ill or not, it will definitely help with diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, in fact any problems relating to the heart will benefit without it.

Contrary to popular believe sugar does not give you energy, it actually has the adverse effect and can spike blood sugar levels leaving you feeling much more drained shortly afterwards, and long term is a different story altogether.

Eating Right

Eating a wholefood diet will fill your body with the nourishment it needs so these ailments are not ever a problem to you. It doesn’t mean being righteous all of the time but trying hard most of the time is what counts.

So Dr Chris Van Tulleken, The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs, well done but please come back with a series about nutrition next time.

Now how about that walk?



The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs is a 2 part documentary series broadcasting on BBC 1. The first episode started last Thursday, 9pm.

So in brief, The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs is on a mission to raise concerns about our increasing pill popping habits and how we can reduce our usage. Seems like a great idea to me.

I have to be honest I love a programme like this and what it has to prove but I was more than a little bit disappointed to discover there was no mention of nutrition at all, well so far at least.

There was also a huge reluctance from the doctors to do anything different even though they are acutely aware of the problems we face, so a little disheartening but a start at least.

According to the presenter, as we age our drug use goes up to shockingly high levels especially when you look at it as a whole year’s worth. To me it is deeply concerning and I wonder if these drugs are keeping us alive or slowly killing us?

The first programme discusses the over use and general lack of effectiveness of pain killers, the over prescription of antibiotics including the issues with super, antibiotic resistant bugs and lastly the long term use of anti depressants, which are actually really meant for short term use only, did you know that?

The True Effectiveness of Painkillers

Testing the effectiveness of painkillers using a placebo method and pain chart was pretty conclusive. It turns out they are not as good as we think, especially when taken long term.

Is There An Alternative To Antibiotics?

In some cases the doctor offered a simple home remedy of honey and lemon for those suffering with a viral infection like a sore throat. Viral infections can’t be treated with antibiotics where bacterial infections can, although they are often prescribed anyway! Bacterial Infections will nearly always clear up by themselves too with the right natural treatments and plenty of rest.

Other Mood Enhancing Methods

An alternative method to enhancing mood rather than taking highly addictive anti-depressants was heart warming although maybe not 100% sustainable, more to come on this one I think!

And Still No Mention Of Food Or Supplements

It is common knowledge amongst naturopathic nutritionists that B Vitamins are often lacking in people suffering with depression. That keeping fit and eating a healthy, balanced diet will help keep your immune system at its best. Taking high dose vitamin C and zinc should help combat the worst cold or flu symptoms. And that painkillers taken on a regular basis are lethal to your internal organs. There is nearly always an alternative.

Lessons in Nutrition

The problem with most doctors, nurses and other medical professionals is that in med school they do not learnt about nutrition, they learn about disease and medicine. However, they may have finally seen the light. I have recently heard that nutrition is to be included in the curriculum finally, which is fantastic news although it will be some years before our doctors start discussing this area with us.

Surely it is not rocket science is it?  Or am I a bit biased?

Anyway the final episode of The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs is on tonight so it will be interesting to see if nutrition crops up at all. I, for one, won’t be holding my breath!

In the meantime if you have any questions about any health or diet related issues please feel free to contact me at Kathy@yourhealthyself.co.uk and I will do my best to help.

If you like my blog and are interested in any of the subjects or even have any suggestions for forthcoming blogs please get in touch, share with friends, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and or Twitter.

Thanks for reading, stay healthy and think twice before taking that headache pill next time, a glass of water may be just as effective!