Natural Health | Life Hacks | Things I like

Monday, October 04, 2010

Lentils may not seem that appetising......

..... but they're so good for you!

Lentils, in common with oats and beans, contain soluble fibre.  This is different to the fibre found in wholemeal bread and salad; soluble fibre breaks apart easily in water (it is water soluble) and coats the lining of the gut wall helping to slow down the absorption of sugars into the blood stream.  This is important to help keep the blood sugar levels stable, which is a vital part of feeling healthy and energised. 

When the gut lining has a coating like this, it is much harder for undesirable bacteria and yeasts to take a hold in the gut. Therefore your gut has another barrier to keep harmful bacteria at bay. 

Soluble fibre also helps bind cholesterol, excess hormones and toxins released into the bowel from the liver and gall bladder, preventing their reabsorption back into the blood and allowing them to be bound to faeces and eliminated from the body.  If this route is blocked, these unwanted chemicals can build up and can start to affect the equilibrium in your body.

Many people simply don't know what to do with lentils.  If you want to sneak them in to your diet, I recommend adding them to some brown rice and boiling them all up together.  If brown rice is not already part of your diet, then simply use it instead of white rice from time to time.

Lentil salads are another tasty way to eat these little pulses.  M&S do a lovely lentil and rice salad which is good for a lunchtime snack.  Or you can make your own - one of my favourite recipes is Delia Smith's 'Puy Lentil Salsa'.  Or what about 'Warm Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Goats' Cheese'?.  

Or perhaps more appropriate for the colder months are soups with lentils.  If you make your own soups, simply throw in a couple of handfuls of lentils with the other ingredients.  And there are plenty of lentil based soups available in the supermarket or sandwich shops if homemade is not your thing.

With a bit of experimentation I'm you can find your own easy way of preparing them - I would love to hear of some new recipes, so let me know how you get on!

Are you listening to your body's cries for help?

How often do you reach for a paracetamol or an ibuprofen?  Every month, every week, every day?  Or maybe you rely on antihistamines?  Most people rely on some form of medication on a regular basis.

Taking medication like this regularly is a sign that your body is not functioning as it should be.  It may be something as simple as not drinking enough water or balancing out your blood sugar levels or needing more sleep, but taking a chemical to suppress your body’s natural signals is not going to stop the problem from happening. This is the difference between natural medicine and orthodox medicine.  

The pharmaceutical companies which underpin the practice of orthodox medicine go to great lengths to find special chemicals that will switch off your body’s cries for help, or shut down normal processes (eg. the contraceptive pill and medication that switches off production of stomach acid).  Natural medicine, on the other hand, examines why the symptoms are there in the first place, and seeks to find a way to rectify this.  Uncomfortable symptoms are usually a sign that something is wrong and needs to be put right.  

With my own clients I have seen that blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be easily controlled using natural methods.  Migraine sufferers can find relief, and allergies can be brought under control.  Digestive problems and poor energy levels - both things which are traditionally quite difficult to treat using conventional medicine - can be greatly improved with some simple, safe, interventions.

There is no doubt that conventional medicine saves lives, and in an emergency, nothing else will come close.  However, for day to day ailments or chronic diseases that are not life threatening (but may well be affecting quality of life), I believe that natural medicine is better by far.

If you have any questions about any symptoms that you regularly take medicine for, please do contact me and we can discuss what might be the reason this is happening.
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