Healthy fats for the Brain

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The summer has fallen into the Autumn, and in addition to the fresher outdoor air, it is a return to the everyday routine. For me, Autumn is always a time for enthusiasm and new things to start. I have always loved studying and learning new things, because the Fall has always brought new hobbies with it, like sports, music or professional studies.

Here on the Costa del Sol the Winter season begins again, and with it the different centres and colleges start their various activities. In addition, many of us in the workplace are once again activated in the Autumn bustle, as Scandinavians return from their summer holidays to their Spanish homes. Accuracy, concentration and a sharp head are needed when customer service requires promptness and multi-language management.

For new learning and good concentration, a naturally, well-functioning brain is needed. Nowadays, it is known that nerve cell renewal is resembling all other cells in the body, and new nerve connections are constantly being formed. Like the rest of the body, the brain is shaped by our food choices. Therefore, what can be put into your mouth can have a great impact on, e.g. learning, concentration and memory.

There are a number of ways to support the new challenges of Autumn. Two noteworthy things are a well-functioning belly and balanced blood sugar. Colourful vegetables, fruits and berries provide the brain with protective preserves. Proteins are used e.g. as building materials for neurotransmitters. Many different herbs and nutrients support brain activity and blood circulation. Today however, I want to concentrate on healthy fats, and especially on the effects of lecithin.

The brain is mainly composed of fat. When eating unhealthy, depleted, and processed fats, it is clear that the brain does not function as quickly, as it does when enjoying organic and nutritious fats. Unprocessed fats keep the brain running and care for the the nervous system. Excellent sources of good fats include, cold pressed oils, nuts, seeds, avocado, fatty fish and egg yolk.

I believe that the body will tell each one of us whatsoever it needs. It is important to listen, interpret and act accordingly. On my own, I was startled some time ago when I longed for sunflower seeds for a couple of days to add my breakfast. However, I did not find them at home, so I was able to open my lecithin tub that is made with sunflower lecithin. It tasted delicious with raspberries, yoghurt and cinnamon. The next morning I used it again in my morning breakfast, this time on oatmeal and with blueberries.

In addition to the good, tasty breakfast, I quickly realised the effects of lecithin because I felt energetic as if I had been given a special fuel for the brain – all the laziness that was left behind by the summer was gone. Since that experience, I have been adding the sunflower enthusiastically now on a daily basis in different recipes, e.g, in fruit juice.

In addition to lecithin feeding the brain, it also boosts fat metabolism. It contains useful phospholipids, such as choline and fatty acids, e.g. linolenic acid. Choline helps the fats to migrate into the muscle’s energy source. In addition, it also supports and balances liver function by transporting fat away from the liver. Lecithin can also be warmly recommended for balancing cholesterol levels.

Lecithin could therefore be an excellent addition for anyone who needs a bit of extra support with the Spanish course! 😉

To the new beginnings of autumn, an energetic start and joy! Be sure to listen to your body!

Tiina – Anni’s Vital Shop, Los Boliches

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Fitness Goals

Fitness is 20% exercise, and 80% nutrition. You’ve probably heard that before, and you must know that it is not always as simple as that. There are certain factors that also need to be taken into consideration.

Stress can do a lot more to your body than you realise.

Stress triggers the cortisol levels in the blood, which can increase your chances for being overweight or make it more difficult to lose. Yoga or a long walk by the beach can help you to relax the body, mind and soul.

“To me, yoga is about physical and mental fitness. For the physical, that means becoming stronger, more flexible, and more balanced; for the mental, it means giving my mind room to breathe, letting go of the stresses of my day-to-day life, and finding calm.” —Elliot Kort, yoga practitioner

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Adequate sleep can have a massive influence on your weight as well. While our consciousness rests, our body is as busy as a bee, working hard to rebuild muscles and tissue. Our immune system increases too. While our brain is busy processing all the impressions from that day, waste products are being removed from our brain cells.

Taking medication can also cause weight gain, or make weight loss more difficult. Medication such as corticosteroids taken for conditions like asthma and lupus, anti-depressants, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, beta-blockers, anti-epileptics, etc can all slow down your goals.

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Eating a varied, healthy everyday diet is essential. Finding out which metabolic type you are will make it easier to plan meals. Knowing your metabolic type diet will enable you to combine proteins, carbohydrates and fats in a ratio that is just right for you.

The protein type diet suits me best, meaning I need a high-protein, high-fat diet as I burn through carbohydrates too quickly. If you are the same type as me, include plenty of protein such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds and chickpeas, and healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, linseed oil, olive oil, etc.

Drink at least 2 litres of pure water a day. Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar as they tend to give you big plunges in energy and mood.

Keep an eye on your portion sizes. Just 30 calories more a day, is 2 kilos extra weight a year. 5 – 7 small meals with lots of vegetables will help you to feel full all day, whilst keeping your metabolism going.

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Try these tips for keeping in shape:

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is ideal for those of us who have a short attention span. You can do it anywhere, and you can even train without any gear.

This is a great way to increase your metabolism, burn fat while maintaining muscle mass, get a healthier heart, and is great if you enjoy a challenge.

I like to do 20 minutes of HIIT cardio.

  • Jog for 5 minutes to warm up
  • Run full power for 30 seconds – 1 minute
  • Rest interval of 2 minutes. I walk or jog
  • Repeat this 5 times.

NEAT activity (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) – is the energy your burn when you’re not eating, sleeping or exercising. E.g. Standing up helps you burn a lot more calories than when sitting down.

I try to maintain a healthy diet, preferably filled with a wide variety of foods. I like to eat a rainbow of vegetables, as different colours provide different nutrients. In this way, my body gets all the nutrients needed in order to function optimally. I also eat a multivitamin, omega 3 fish oil, extra B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium to keep this active body running smoothly.

A study in the USA has shown, that a low content of vitamin C in the body makes it 11% harder to burn fat. A too-low level of vitamin D in the blood means a less good muscle strength, therefore worse exercise results.

TUTORIAL-How-to-Make-Cauliflower-Rice-vegan-glutenfree

Cauliflower is low on carbohydrates, making it a good alternative to rice and potatoes. It’s rich in fiber, vitamin C – 1 cup (128g) contains 77% of the RDI. It also contains plenty more nutrients.

Cauliflower rice recipe: (Enough for 2)

300 g Grated or chopped cauliflower

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 cm ginger finely chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp tamari sauce

pepper to taste

1 tsp Olive oil

How to cook:

Heat olive oil in a pan on a low heat, add cauliflower, garlic and ginger and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Once the cauliflower is turning golden yellow, add the tamari sauce and spices. Stir well and serve while it’s still warm. You can also top with parsley and chili, fried mushrooms, or add lemon/lime.

Enjoy by itself, or with your meal, as a healthy alternative to rice.

I like to scramble 2 eggs into the mix, as a healthy after workout meal.

 

If you have recently set yourself some fitness/weight goals, then give your body time to adjust to the changes, and try not to be hard on yourself. Problems with your thyroid, metabolism, etc. can also have a massive influence on weight, and these problems will need to be addressed.

My personal goal is to FEEL healthy. I don’t weigh myself anymore, I find I get too focused on numbers rather than how I am feeling. Eating right and taking good care of yourself, will usually give you the results you work for. Most importantly, I try to speak kindly to myself, and am slowly learning to be grateful for the body I have, instead of constantly wishing for something better.

Hannah – Anni’s Vital Shop, Carrefour, Mijas Costa

PANIC in childhood streets by Anni Dahms

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By Anni Dahms
Owner of the retail chain
ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health
specialist,  Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.

Español * English * Dansk * Suomi

 

Personally, I take it very seriously when I hear from people suffering from panic attacks.

I still clearly remember my first, and very severe panic attack when I was only 8 years old. My dad, mom and I had just moved from our wonderful villa to a far more modest neighbourhood, and my parents were going out one evening, thinking I was old enough to stay home alone. I was, after all, such a grown-up, responsible girl now. I was put to bed and they locked the door on their way out.

It wasn’t long before I started to freak myself out, imagining all sorts of terrifying things, like grey men dropping from the ceiling.

Within no time I ran to front door, crying and screaming for help through the mail slot. All that got me was an upstairs neighbour, shouting at me to shut up. Other than that, nothing.

There was only one thought in my head: I had to get out and be around other people!

I quickly looked for, and found, the spare key, put on my green linen dress and red sneakers and sprinted out into the pouring rain.

I ran as fast as I could, through the dark, empty provincial streets, heading straight for the local cinema, where I knew the clerk selling tickets, and where I was sure people were enjoying themselves.

There I sat in a quiet corner, wet and exhausted, until the last people left and the clerk was ready to close up for the night.

With no other choice left, my clothes and shoes still drenched, I returned home. Even though I was still scared, the panic had stopped and I finally managed to get some sleep.

Thankfully this was only a one time incident.

Now, looking back, I think my extreme reaction was due to the cultural shock of leaving the wonderful home of my childhood, and replacing it for a uniform, modest housing project. A project where one apartment was exactly the same as the next one. The only way to get out of that apartment was through a dusty backyard, filled with the noisy kids from the neighbourhood while I was an only child in need of quiet time.

This horrible experience has been seared into my memory, and whenever anyone asks me to help them with their panic attacks, I take it very seriously.

Case story

The daughter of a friend of mine, a beautiful, athletic, thirty year old, sent me an email, explaining that she was experiencing panic attack and that they seemed to be getting worse. Knowing what I do about her background, I think I also know what might be triggering the panic attacks: Silla’s (fake name) beloved father died of cancer and now her mother suffering from a serious form of cancer as well, and very ill.

Added to that, Silla has recently started a new job, an important one, and it demands a lot of her professional abilities. Luckily Silla has a wonderful partner, who supports her in everything she does.

By now, Silla’s panic attacks are so severe that they disrupt her everyday life completely. She often wakes up breathing difficultly, her heart racing while she’s completely paralyzed by fear. In fact, there are times that she can barely get out of bed.

The attacks can come suddenly, when she’s walking down the street, and then she has to rush home in order to calm down again. It often happens while out for groceries, too, forcing her to abandon products and cart as she rushes away. The worst is when the attacks happen at work, where she is left with no recourse but to drop everything and rush home, too.

Her superior is aware of her situation and the panic attacks, and for the moment, thankfully, he is understanding and forgiving of her problem.

Diet

Silla is working hard to improve on her diet. She is well aware that a healthy, nourishing diet is more important now than ever, given her condition. Before all this, she didn’t think much about her dietary choices, but now she puts in tremendous efforts to always eat organic foods that stabilize her blood sugar levels. She steers clear of high sugar products, alcohol, coffee, cola, fast food and on top of this, she doesn’t eat milk based products, pasta or white flour.

For Silla, I have stressed the importance of eating a lot of vegetables each day, especially colourful vegetable that can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as raw, grilled, boiled and in smoothies, etc. Furthermore, I would like to add that it is a good idea to combine healthy fats, protein and fibre rich carbohydrates. For instance, by adding whole grain products to every meal.

Make sure to eat high quality protein from fresh fish, meat, poultry and eggs. Dairy products, admittedly, are a great source of protein, but Silla doesn’t feel that she can digest them properly, so we have left them alone.

For carbohydrates I always recommend buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, barley and oats. You can boil them, but other than that, try to leave them as unprocessed as possible.

Silla used to start her morning with a glass of fresh orange juice, but I immediately advised against this, seeing as orange juice is one of those products that quickly raises blood sugar levels, and then, just as quickly makes it drop again. This quick up and down can have a negative effect on the mental state.

In that regard it is best to avoid fruit altogether in the morning. Silla has told me that she feels best in the morning, when she starts her day with oatmeal, sprinkled with almonds and nuts. I had to smile a little when Silla told me this, because I know that oats have a calming effect on the nervous system.To my enjoyment, I have found that the body often choses the foods we need the most.

I have suggested that she try adding some buckwheat to her oatmeal to help her more.

When it comes to healthy fats, I recommend cold pressed, unrefined oils such as coconut oil, flaxseed oil and olive oil. Keep them refrigerated.

Silla is not a vegetarian, but had this been the case, I would have told her about the importance of full protein, which ensures that you get all the amino acids the body needs. For instance, combining beans with whole grain, nuts and seeds.

I also like to point out the importance of consuming a little bit of high quality salt, such as sea salt, and perhaps combining it with a good herbal salt. Silla, obviously has to be careful with salt.

In my opinion, there is a tight correlation between low blood sugar and adrenal fatigue, so all in all, Silla is now on the right track when it comes to her diet.

Dietary supplements

As I said, I believe that Silla’s problem stems from adrenal fatigue. You often develop this problem when stressful factors mount to such heights that the body and mind no longer know how to cope.

We discussed the necessity of dietary supplements and the importance of taking them on a regular basis.

Silla has never taking anything other than regular vitamin pills, and doesn’t know anything about dietary supplements.

In this case, the most important thing is that the supplement doesn’t add to her stress levels.

• First of all I recommend a good, fairly strong multivitamin/mineral tablet taken on a daily basis.

• Vitamin-C with bioflavonoids slow release, 3 grams daily. (Vitamin-C provides support to the adrenal gland, while also strengthening the immune system.)

• Vitamin-B (if it is sufficient) take 1 tablet a day. Vitamin-B is great for restoring a tired adrenal function. It is very important to get all the different kinds of vitamin-B, considering they work together. A little bit of every vitamin-B needs to be present when the body works with specific vitamin-B variant in large quantities.

• It can also be a good idea to add Panthotenic acid (B5) 500mg, 1 tablet daily. Panthotenic acid is essential for the adrenal gland, and improves our stress threshold.

• Inositol, which is part of the lecithin molecule, has shown to be a great against panic attacks and other mental imbalances. To be taken in doses of 500 mg, 2 x a day.

• Lastly, I recommend, Rhodiola. It is the only product which is not part of the vitamin series. Rhodiola is a remarkable plant, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for countless years. It is known for its many good qualities, among which the reduction of a variety of stresses, also those which go back many years. They aid in optimizing the adrenal glands’ function. Different studies also show that Rhodiola help regulate the serotonin level in the brain.

Additionally

There are other dietary supplements that I could have recommended to Silla. For instance, vitamin B6, Ashwagandha, larger doses of essential fatsSchisandraSt. Johns Wort and more. But, based on my consult with her, I chose to recommend the list above.

When it comes to tea, I have recommended a few cups of chamomile per day. Chamomile, generally has a calming effect on the nervous system. Another delicious treat that she could try is Rooibos, which has a mildly balancing effect on the mind. There are, of course, other therapeutic measures that can be taken. For Silla, it also helped to see a psychologist, allowing her to talk with someone about her troubles, both present and past.

For a short period of time, it might even be a good idea to take prescription medicine to help her through the worst. But Silla has completely rejected this option.

Knock therapy, thought field therapy and acupuncture are, among the many forms of therapy that could have positive effects on panic attacks.

Silla is a strong willed, clever young woman, determined to claw her way back to an everyday life where she can function normally again.

Luckily, her workplace is very happy to have her, and they have allowed her to work part-time for as long as she needs.

Within a month of starting her “treatment”, Silla’s panic attacks started to decrease in frequency, giving her better control over them, allowing her to use the coping mechanism her psychologist taught her.

For those struggling with panic attacks it could also be smart to contact http://www.angstforeningen.dk. The association offers many wonderful options, including a support group where you can talk to others about your particular situation.

There are no Danish studies about how many people actually suffer from panic attacks, but by comparing the numbers from other countries, it seems safe to say that at least 2% of the population in Denmark will suffer from panic attacks at one time or other. That amounts to a 100,000 people in Denmark alone.

Women’s life by Anni Dahms

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By Anni Dahms
Owner of the retail chain
ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health
specialist,  Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.

Español * English * Dansk * Suomi

 

 

Today, on the 14th of June, one of the most famous author and journalist of our time, Lise Nørgaard, celebrates her hundredth birthday. As I sit here on this exact day, I can’t think of a more obvious topic than a woman’s life, and how much has changed over the past decades.

For those who don’t know her, Lise Nørgaard is the writer of the (almost) world famous, 2014, TV-show: Matador.

Lise Nørgaard is a strong woman. One of the things she is renowned for is that women themselves are responsible for obtaining equal rights. This has been Lise Nørgaard’s key issue for many years.

She herself is a great example of this. Many years ago she had a burning desire to become a journalist, but to achieve this she had to fight her family for the right to get an education.

For many years, Lise Nørgaard has been one of my biggest role models. In my career of choice, she was a shining beacon as I took the road less travelled, rather than the one that was expected of me.

Recently, while in Cancun Mexico, a friend of mine showed me a sculpture (see picture) located in the Zona Hotelera that, to me, expresses women’s strength and power, most accurately. 

While showing me the sculpture, my friend shared with me a story of true strength of women in the real world. He told me of his grandmother, with whom he had spent part of his childhood. Of the time when she, as a mother of five, moved into an apartment building reserved for soldiers and their families. And of how she lost the right to live in that very building when her husband retired from his career as a soldier.

Since she no longer had any direct connection to the military, both police and military arrived at her doorstep with machine guns and batons, to throw her and her family out. But, his grandmother had been a large, formidable woman, with an apron that always seemed to go on forever, and was marked by many years of use. She herded all her children behind her, ripped open her shirt and screamed at the men that they would have to kill her in front of her children if they wanted her out of the apartment.

The soldiers were speechless faced by this would-be martyr, and after quiet discussion amongst themselves, departed peacefully, leaving the family to live many good years within that very apartment.

 

Life goes on

For the generations to come, the most important fact is that life always goes on. And it is because of this that the female sex is given and incredible toughness and strength.

Today a woman’s life is reflected in many different facets depending on which part of the world you are located, and under which conditions you grow up.

I was born during the war and women’s lives have changed tremendously since then.

I come from a home where equality was a given. Unfortunately, this conscious equality between the sexes had not been implemented fully when it came to equality in the workforce.

A woman’s life today still demands considerable effort. I myself was raised in a time where a woman’s place, once she got married, was the home. Personally, I am not well suited for this kind of work, and I hated it wholeheartedly.

But luckily a huge development occurred in the years after I got married. Life became more challenging and demanding, but also a lot more interesting. Besides being a mother and a wife, new opportunities became available. Doors, inaccessible to women before, opened and enabled me to study and obtain new, different educations. These changes gave me the opportunity to enter into a field where my interests and abilities could be truly utilized. Although the workplace did not have complete equality when it came to pay, for instance, it was well on its way. Besides, here I must quote Lise Nørgaard – “stop whining, and instead put forth your best efforts to obtain equal pay”.

When, in quiet moments, I ponder how the life of women has become in this day and age, I wouldn’t trade it with how it was seven decades ago. But, I can also get exhausted thinking of what the world expects of women, and what women expect of themselves.

We have to get an education. We have to be present in the workforce. We have to have children, even though many employers don’t like it, because it disrupts workflow.

We have to be good and engaged parents. Even if we don’t have much time with our kids, as they spend most of their days exposed to outside sources. We have to participate in PTA meetings, make sure we have hobbies, stay professionally updated, follow the world’s political developments, keep our bodies healthy, slim, and toned, be inventive and passionate lovers for our partners, and make sure that our family stays on a healthy and ecological diet.

The list is endless.

 

Dietary supplements

 

A woman’s life is exciting and challenging. In order to live life and keep up with our everyday toils, it  is a good idea to take dietary supplements that will assist you no matter where you are on the scale of challenges, workload, or age. Why? Because, in my opinion, our diet does not contain sufficient vitamins/minerals, oils etc to sustain us in our busy new lives.

My general recommendations are:

    •    Multivitamin/mineral of good quality. If you are a vegetarian then make sure to get a supplement which is made for vegans/vegetarians.

    •    Vitamin-D. All over the world, everyone seems to lack vitamin-D, it is so very important for our bones, immune system etc. I myself use 100 mcg daily. Remember to buy vitamin-D in oil form, as vitamin-D needs oil to be absorbed by the body.

    •    Possibly an extra source of vitamin-B. A large part of the western world is lacking vitamin-B.

Vitamin-B is vitally important, and helps us with, among other things, dealing with our daily stress. Engineer Okholm once wrote that even a rat could become an alcoholic, if it lacked vitamin-B. It is hard to overdose vitamin-B as it is water-soluble.

    •    Omega-3 oils. I personally prefer Krill-oils, it originates from krill but also contains a bit of Astaxanthin, which is a strong antioxidant that strengthens the immune system.

A relatively new kind of Omega 3 has become available. It comes from algae. I personally find it to be a new and exciting product that I have been taking for a couple of months now, and I feel that it has served me well. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, then these capsules could be a great choice.

    •    An extra supplement of calcium and magnesium of good quality could also be a good idea.

    •    If you would like to strengthen your immune system, then I suggest Astragalus from the astragalus plant. It strengthens the immune system and helps circulation in kidneys and blood circulation, it also fights tiredness. Some experts even propose that it is life extending. I have been taking it for an extended period and my immune system along with the rest of my body seems to benefit from it. However, make sure to get a product, which has a fairly high dosage.

 

The daily diet

 

To make it as healthy as possible, plan your diet with a lot of vegetables and fruits. But do remember to allow for some delights every now and then that are less healthy. If too fanatic, a lot of people go crazy and start to overindulge in fast food etc. even for longer periods of times when the diet is too constrictive. The principle of 80% healthy, with 20% guilty pleasures, is something which I personally find very attractive. This counts especially for children. If children have only been exposed to healthy foods, you run the risk that when unsupervised, they will go straight for all the unhealthy options. 

My own daughter was a perfect example for this. She loved everything sweet, but pedagogically correct as I was back then (I was a nurse, after all), I gave her an apple. She thanked me and promptly walked over to our neighbors’ kids, where she traded the apple for a pack of gummi worms, of the worst quality!

If you have a family to take care of, it can be a good idea to set up a food plan for one week at a time, so you can also limit your shopping to once a week.

The vegetables can be ready-made and saved in the refrigerator.

If at all possible, buy ecological. But don’t panic if this is not possible, there is still plenty of nourishment in the regular vegetables and fruits, too.

A lot of children and men simply hate salads and vegetables. If you are in charge of cooking, then a variety of smoothies can be a great way to get the family to eat healthy.

Many women have an uncontrollable urge for something sweet in the afternoon. Make sure to satisfy that sweet tooth with a few almonds, nuts, fruits, or perhaps even a bit of dark chocolate before you go crazy with the licorice an/or snackbars.

Acceptance of ourselves

 

For many years, I have, more or less consciously, suffered for the magazines and the media’s idea of the ideal female body. Thankfully that image was thoroughly revised during my last trip to Cancun. After a shower, my friend came into the room where I was air drying myself in the mild breeze from the balcony.

Full of amazement and with stars in his eyes he exclaimed that I was beautiful, much like a picture from Rembrandt. Considering I don’t know many of Rembrandt’s paintings, I had had to Google his work to discover that Rembrandt’s ideal of the female body was vastly different from modern one. Here the women had wrinkled arms, small breasts, and bloated stomachs. As far as I could tell, the women in the paintings were often his wife.

Most amazingly, the woman on the paintings appeared happy with herself and exuded a certain confident charm.

This event has improved my confidence considerably, so this summer I will be showing off my wrinkled grandmother arms! And, I have even unearthed my bikini from the back of the closet!

However, I do still believe that in order to strengthen our health and live happy lives, we need plenty of exercise and care. All within the best of our abilities.

Staying hydrated

 

“Water is the driving force of all nature”. – Leonardo Da Vinci

As the Summer heat basks down upon us, it is even more important to stay hydrated than usual. Our bodies are made up of 75% water, so needless to say it’s essential to our well-being. Water helps you to control your body temperature, carries nutrients to your cells, gives you energy, increases your metabolism, flushes out toxins and so much more.

Soft drinks have absolutely no nutritional benefit to our diet. Some soft drinks contain up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving, not to mention artificial colours, flavours and phosphoric acid. These high doses of sugar can increase urinary excretion of calcium, which can cause problems with bone health and kidney stones.

Don’t think that diet soft drinks are a better alternative. The sweet taste may actually increase sugar cravings. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can have adverse effects, from allergy-like symptoms, joint pain, fatigue, headaches, diarrhoea, and the list goes on.

In fact, the region of Catalonia has just recently introduced a “soda tax”, in hopes of improving public health by reducing sugar consumption, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.

You may be thinking “So what can I drink instead of soda?”. Tada! Let me name a few alternatives.

Exotic Coconut water is the perfect thirst quencher. It is naturally sweet and refreshing, and is rich in electrolytes, antioxidants and B vitamins. Furthermore, it has a low-calorie and low-fat content. This makes it an ideal drink for the hot summer heat, and it’s a great sports drink too.

Tired of drinking water by itself? Flavour your water with slices of lemon and orange or with other fruits and berries, cucumber, and even mint. The colours and flavours not only taste refreshingly gratifying, but are enjoyable to the eye as well.

Lemon water is rich in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and copper. It aids in digestion, due to the fact that the atomic structure of lemons, are similar to the stomachs digestive juices. It can also boost your mood, making those lovely summer days even better!

Another alternative is ice tea. There are many scrumptious herbal teas or green teas that can be used, one of my favourites is YogiTea Ginger Lemon. I prepare a few teas bags in a large jug, let it cool, then add slices of lemon, some honey and ice cubes.

A great way to start the day is with a smoothie or home made juice. They’re both easy to make, delightfully pleasant and changing around the ingredients keeps it exciting.

For those of us who enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, or those of us who have plenty of guests visiting from the cooler northern countries during the Summer months – meaning lazy evenings by the pool with BBQ’s and beers… remember to stay hydrated! A glass of water between alcoholic drinks is SO worth it the day after 🙂

Enjoy your Summer – and do what makes you happy. Remember that us living on the Costa del Sol, are blessed to be living in a paradise where people dream of going on holiday. So make the most of it!

Hannah – Anni’s Vital Shop, Carrefour, Mijas Costa

Coconut oil for skin

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Virgin Coconut Oil has been a real hit product for a few years now. Trendy and health conscious people fry their veggies in it, take it as it is, or add it to coffee and smoothies.

In addition to internal use, coconut oil has many externally uses too. It is an excellent product for skin and hair care. We at home use it literally for the whole family as it is an excellent product, e.g. on dogs’ paws. Coconut oil is also well suited as a base oil for massage, just as it is or enriched with a few drops of essential oils.

A cosmetologist recommended making a homemade exfoliating cream a few years ago, made from baking soda and virgin olive oil. I was enthusiastic about this advice on evening skin cleansing, and I found out how wonderfully bright, soft and smooth the skin can become. The two raw materials can be modified by adding a few drops of lavender oil, which calms the skin, the mind and facilitates sleep.

I got so excited about skin exfoliating that I researched uses of coconut oil a little bit more, and since then “the home chemist” has manufactured for example, toothpaste and sunscreen. Also, my bathroom has a large bowl of organic coconut oil – just like in the kitchen. Oil can be poured onto the skin as a moisturiser, or under your armpits instead of a deodorant. It can also help to remove water-repellent makeup, can be used for freshening breath by oil pulling or for treating an irritated scalp.

Summer and intense sunshine are now here, and the upcoming issue is an annual problem: how to protect the skin from the sun’s adverse effects? As a dog owner I can not completely escape the sun, because outdoor activities are part of my everyday life. In addition, hiking and commuter cycling will expose the skin to the sun. So sunscreen should be applied.

Sunscreen treatments work on the skin either chemically or physiologically. Chemical UV filters are absorbed into the body and may interfere with an important body’s internal information system, that is, hormone activity. That is why I prefer physiological protection – and I recommend it to others.

For your own sunscreen, you’ll need the following raw materials:

Coconut oil is a nurturing, moisturising and antibacterial oil, which naturally softens the skin. Includes a naturally low sunscreen coefficient.

Olive oil is suitable for sensitive skin, moisture and protection, and provides important antioxidants for skin.

Zinc oxide powder, which is used due to its skin and sun protection properties. It reflects light and effectively absorbs UV and UV-B radiation. As sunscreen it is mechanical, not chemical. In addition, zinc oxide powder has a soothing and drying effect on the skin, it prevents inflammation, treats the skin’s texture and is ideal for the treatment of oily and impure skin.

Essential oils that you can choose according to your taste. However, be careful not to use phototoxic essential oils, such as bergamot, as it may promote skin burns. I like to use relaxing lavender and fresh, refreshing peppermint.

TIP: Lavender’s essential oil is good for soothing sunburns. Mix 3 tablespoons of pure aloe vera gel and scoop onto the burnt skin. Also, remember to moisturise the sunburnt skin area well so that your skin recovers more quickly.

Sunscreen Recipe and Preparation Instructions:

1 dl of Virgin Coconut Oil

0.5 dl cold pressed olive oil

2 tbsp zinc oxide powder

Approx 5-10 drops of the essential oils you like

Measure coconut oil in a metal or glass container. Heat the coconut oil in the water vapor over the boiler until it becomes fluid. Add olive oil and zinc oxide powder (two spoonfuls of SPF 20). Be careful not to breathe in the fine powdered zinc powder, as it will go into the lungs. Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oils. Keep in a glass jar with a large opening that makes it easy to take and apply skin. At less than +25 degrees the ointment remains firm, the heat on the pool edge or on the beach makes it fluid.

A warm and relaxing summer for everyone! Remember to protect and treat your skin!

Tiina – Anni’s Vital Shop, Los Boliches

A holiday in Cancun and sinusitis by Anni Dahms

IMG_6647 A

By Anni Dahms
Owner of the retail chain
ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health
specialist,  Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.

Español * English * Dansk * Suomi

 

My friend is a morning person so at about 4:30 AM, a well-behaved man is standing next to my bed, with a steaming hot cup of coffee in one hand and a plate of eggs, avocado and a little meat in the other.

He knows I love breakfast in bed, so I’m grateful but very sleepy, and eat my early breakfast with humor and a good mood.

After breakfast I quietly sneak over to the door and close it. I manage to sleep for another more hour, but then the peace is over. Now he’s finished working out, so now there is room for me in the training room.

No way out of it – into my workout clothes and up on the bicycle. The door leading out to the balcony is open. There is plenty of nature, even though we are in the middle of Cancun downtown. The trees outside are blooming, the warm breeze causes the curtains to move. Dawn is about to break, the day is new and fresh. I begin a little slowly – after all I am on holiday, but he knows me and comes in, stands next to me and begins cheering me on. I cannot protest or be angry – besides it was him who helped me 20 years ago, with losing almost 30 kg. After cycling comes the step machine, etc. Until I really think I’ve had enough, but then another lovely cup of coffee and a little snack await me.

It is my friend, who does all the cooking. He loves to cook and is an excellent chef, so the morning workout is a good thing.

It’s time for a shower. Taking a bath can be a complicated business, here in the middle of downtown, where everything is ancient and nothing gets changed until it absolutely doesn’t function anymore.

On this morning I turn on the hot water in good time. I have decided to give my hair a red henna cream colour mask. I always use Henna cream colours. It is healthy for the hair and stays in for many a wash.

My friend likes that I have long, red hair. As he wryly remarks, I habitually wander away from him in the supermarkets, so the red hair means that all the expedients know where I am.

After applying the colour to my hair, I wrap a towel around my head. I let the colour sit for the normal 24 minutes. All seems good and I am looking forward to us spending time with Angel, who is the friend of my friend.

After 24 minutes I turn on the tap, but not a drop of water comes out!

In great haste, 2 gigantic bottles of water are bought from the closest supermarket, and with a cold shower under the bottles, I am able to get most of the colour out. My hair is extremely red, almost purple-like, but not much can be done.

Later that day, Angel passes by. He is sick and feeling very poorly.

He has an infection in his sinuses. He is a taxi driver and drives with the airconditioning on all day long. Therefore, it is understandable, but there is also a psychological aspect to the illness, as his wife is pregnant.

Despite many antibiotic injections he is still feeling poorly, going on day 10.

I fetch my little emergency supplies and give him the following:

* Kan jang 4 tablets 3 x daily.

* Urtepensil, which is a combination of 4 different herbs, also 4 tablets 4 x a day.

* C vitamin 1000 mg slow release 3 pieces daily.

* Spenglersan G – German homeopathic remedy for many acute infections, e.g. sinusitis.

He gratefully accepts the medicine. After a short time he is feeling better again.

Angel is 42 years old. He is born Mayan as is his wife. They speak Mayan at home. He is a baptist and very firm in his beliefs. He makes ends meet as a taxi driver, always immacu-ately dressed in a white shirt and black trousers.

In his free time he is studying to become a pastor, and expects to be a pastor in 1 year. He is a happy and cheerful man who spreads lots of joy. As previously mentioned, his wife and he are expecting child number 3 after a 15 year break! They are very excited. They have been told that it is a little girl.

Angel, my friend and myself are to spend the day together. When Angel arrives, he asks if I would like to come to his house and see how his family lives. He has just taken his wife to a final medical checkup.

We decide to pay him a visit. Afterwards we will buy food to bring on our visit to the pastor.

I am hit with culture shock. Angel’s house is located behind another house, in a very modest neighbourhood. He proudly gives us a tour of his home.

The house consists of a room, about 20 m2 and a bathroom, where “only” 4 people currently live. The floor is made from clay. 2 hamachas (hammocks) are hanging, one is where he and his wife sleep, and the other is where his old and weak father-in-law sleeps. Their teenage son who is 15 years old, has taken his hammock down, giving him a little more space to move around. The eldest son has just flown the nest, and is studying music in another far-away town. Everyone sleeps in the same room. The kitchen lies over in a corner and consists of 2 gas stoves, with some open shelves for all the cooking utensils. Although Nelly, his wife, is due to give birth in a couple of weeks and is very uncomfortable – the house is embarrassingly clean.

The water supply consists of water from enormous bottles that they have brought. The father-in-law who spends all day in his hamacha, watches the television hanging on the wall. His hamacha is located by the bathroom for practical reasons. The father-in-law only speaks Mayan and looks at us with marvel. I cherish our lovely musician and comedian, Victor Borge’s words, ”A smile is the shortest distance”.

In the room is a refrigerator and a little square table made from tree, that must have seen better days, many many years ago. The table is covered by a wax cloths in cheerful colours.

The families clothing hangs in a little niche with a curtain pulled across. I wonder how it is possible that Angel is always so handsome and well-dressed, when they have so little space.

A small keyboard stands at the end of the room. This belongs to their 15 year-old son, Kevin. The shelf underneath the keyboard is full of nodes. Kevin is a musical talent, and plays full time in the church on various instruments, although he prefers the keyboard. My friend, who used to be a musician, and has studied music in a famous institute for a period of 5 years, says that Kevin has a natural talent. Kevins greatest wish is to study music in Chicago.

Unfortunately, this is not a possibility. Angel is unable to raise money for such an expensive education.

Angel proudly tells us that they expect to build a room upstairs, when he has some time off from school in summer.

I look at the hamacha that both him and his wife share at night. The hamacha is hanging right beside an open window, so they don’t need aircon, a smiling Angel tells us.

A bit curious, I ask how they can make babies in a hamacha. Angel laughs lightly and teaches me that there are other places to make love than in a hamacha!

The nurse in me asks him if they are prepared for the arrival of the baby. He smiles and says, that the little one will sleep with him and Nelly in the hamacha of course. Yes, I think, this is a secure start for the little new human, being able to feel both the fathers and mothers warm bodies, love and heart beats.

While we chat, a tall, handsome elderly man comes by to say hello. He is a former US military officer and heavy alcoholic.

Some years ago Angel helped him up from the side of the pavement, and let him live in a hamacha in his home for 2 months, while he dried out. He has now been sober for a few years and has married a Mexican woman, and bought a house. This is Angel for you, helping whenever there is a need.

Our visit with Angel is over. On the way to the pastor, plenty of chicken and groceries are bought at a street vendor. The owner looks like a movie star, and I wonder what he is doing here. One thing that puzzles me, is the way he constantly looks downwards. I ask the reason for his attitude and am told that he has no legs.

Next stop, the pastor and his family, who live a bit better than Angel. Here, there are tiles on the floor, a large table and a washing machine, granted its in the same room as the kitchen, but the family have a bedroom upstairs. Around the table are 4 beautiful chairs, that allegedly belonged to the Spanish guitar player, Paco de Lucia. My friend bartered the 4 chairs, a brand new washing machine and some other things for the pastors 8 cylinder Dodge bus.

The atmosphere is happy and cheerful at the pastors house. Anything between heaven and earth is discussed. After our visit, we head home. Angel needs to go to work, I am tired and happy with all the different impressions the day has given me.

On May 3, Angel fathered a beautiful, well-made and lovely little girl.