Crossing Covid borders (or Our Road trip in tomato miles)

Last week we packed up the car, put on our masks and I took a very deep breath of courage.  A road trip across Europe was the last thing on my mind, I was still stuck in Downing’s street ‘Stay home’ slogan even though UK had moved on from there.
Travel was happening, flights were flying, but government recommendations were once again wobbling, erring on the side of caution after some viral clusters up north and spikes in parts of Spain.  I was quite happy staying in our Dorset cocoon, thank you kindly.

However I’m married to a braver human bean who was chomping at the bit to get out to the olive grove, to lop and clear and feed our trees for that wannahave opulent harvest.  To deal with any wildlife that had moved into the house, and yes, to swim in the Ionian and enjoy summer heat.
He told me we could do the drive in three days, just had to exercise caution and common sense and keep washing our hands.
I wasn’t so sure, but the choices didn’t look good.  Fly out and join him when the virus had calmed down?  Well, planes were definitely not on my to-do list (yet!), and Covid-19 wasn’t showing any signs of exhaustion.
Husband Braveheart then assured me we didn’t have to book anything until the last minute.  He knew me well.  It gave me wriggle room to wait and see if the dreaded second spike would lock us down; time to check online if there were problems crossing borders.  Silly, of course, since that could change from day to day, minute by minute, but crucially, it gave me time to get used to the idea and supplement my faith and courage with mega doses of brave thoughts.

Fear can really mess around with your mind, that’s what this road trip has shown me.  Also, that the English, French, Italians and Greeks all look the same in masks (but tomatoes look quite different 🙂

We headed off on a Tuesday just after dawn.  The most breathtaking gossamer mist was hovering over the surrounding fields; sheep floating on clouds.  I would’ve liked to stop and take pictures but knew that a photo session three minutes from home might be pushing my luck.  We were now on a mission, moving forward at speed.

We drove past the edge of a low-cloud New Forest, then onto a mist-filled empty M3 followed by a not-so-misty M25 with morning traffic moving surprisingly smoothly.  Needless to say we arrived at the Eurotunnel with too much time to spare.  No earlier trains were offered unless extra was paid; that wasn’t happening since we’d already paid considerably more than in the past.

So many cars were lined up at the terminal!  Didn’t they know they shouldn’t be crossing borders or gallavanting off?  That hesitant see-saw was STILL happening in my head even after we’d packed up and given three peeps baby-sitting rights to our home and tomato plants.  Crazy, right?  Fear had definitely set up house in my brain’s amygdala.

First interesting Covid change I noticed was that only Starbucks was open in the Eurotunnel building.  Not Leon’s or any other independant coffee/food outlet.  And that just about sums up how stupid some decisions have been in these times.
No real coffee to be had for Braveheart, no delicious Leon nibbles for me.
Luckily I’d made enough sourdough rolls to last the week so we didn’t bother, but we did use the loos; signs everywhere were warning us that toilets on the train were off bounds.
People came in and out of the terminal, lined up for their Starbucks, but they weren’t the crowds I’d dreaded.  Mostly wearing masks and certainly all keeping sensibly apart.

The border checked our passports and that was it.  No taking of temperatures, no forms to fill out declaring we were Covid-free (although I could’ve sworn the month before, online forms had been requested; go figure).

Whisked from Folkestone to Calais in 30 minutes we found ourselves on the autoroute with a  clear blue-sky above, and on both sides endless stands of ripening corn and dirt-brown fields where grains had been harvested.  On the horizon, vast stands of sunflowers, blooms long gone but still tall and leafy with blackened seed heads gently nodding at the ground.   This was normally the low, flat landscape with sludge grey skies that would make me yawn into a neck-cricked car sleep.  Today a shining scene took hold of my attention.  Windows open, I breathed in holiday.

Just an aside, whilst talking of driving, mention should be made of French autoroutes.  Who can’t wax lyrical about them after the bump and polluted constriction of the M25?   Why we can’t do the same in England is a mystery to me.
The highway service stations, too, in France are more like destinations than necessary refuelling spots.  Rows of shady trees, beds of tall white gaura swaying in the breeze and cars separated by grassy stretches and picnic benches.  Not the concrete car landscape on most (ok, not all) British motorways with their scattering of reluctant trees and boxed in plantings.  Here, even with a flow of travellers arriving, safe distancing was happening easily.

We covered 891 kilometres that first day, the longest drive day of all, and stayed overnight just outside Beaune, a beautiful medieval town in the centre of the Bourgogne wine region that we’d never seen before and hadn’t planned to see now (we were on our mission etc etc).
By the morning of day 2, however, something lifted.
We’d been sitting in the hotel gardens the evening before trying the local wine and eating our sourdough sandwiches (no restaurant, and the hotel owner said ‘pas de problem’…btw, that’s another thing I’ve noticed: some rules have become stricter but others have really gone to pot).   As we watched guests soaking up the last of the sun, a family playing in the pool, a couple riding off on bikes, I thought, yes, people on holiday, not just passing through as quickly as possible.
We woke up the next morning to the idea that a drive into town and a relaxed wander there would be just the thing.  Braveheart’s mission could be put on hold for a few hours.

Three hours wandering, in fact, because Beaune may be small but it’s the prettiest town ever.  Very vigilant too, almost worryingly so.  Masks were on indoors as well as out, with locals hurrying past on the cobbled lanes armed with purpose and their baguettes.
When I look back, it was in Beaune where people seemed to be the most careful, taking ‘soyez prudent’ to a level that would disperse any fear of catching anything, not even a smile or a glance, which of course is another sorry downside of this distancing and mask-wearing.  Not seeing facial expressions and smiles and people not making eye contact.

A small street market was being set up (of course, we’re in France with produce markets to die for).  This one was selling trinkets in the main, however one stall had a display of the most astonishing tomatoes which had very little to do with the tomatoes in my veggie box back home, or the tiny firm buds of green cherry toms I was hoping would ripen in our garden.
This Beaunian stall holder was selling heritage tomatoes in delightful small crates, denizens of the region I would’ve happily slipped into our car had there been room (but, like a time capsule, it was full to the brim, ready for all occasions, countries and seasons).  However, just seeing these tomatoes made me inordinately happy.  Look at them, aren’t they stunning!?

Leaving the town late morning we wound our way towards the foothills of the Alps and onwards to the chocolate-box mountains that would take us over the next border to Italy.
Never occured to us there might be delays into the Mt Blanc tunnel; hadn’t happened in the past.
When the road sign, however, glittered at us ‘expect a wait of 90 minutes’, I was sure it was Covid-related, the testing I’d been expecting or at least something to do with checking forms and asking about our well-being.
But no, it was simply August, the main holiday month in France and Italy.  With most people staying closer to home there’d logically be more cars on the road – not that we’d noticed.
Motor off, windows down and another sourdough sarnie as we waited for the line of vehicles to inch up the last hairpin.  Snowcapped mountains above, a waterfall beside us; easy to take.

By early evening we reached Piacenza, a beautiful walled city in the Emilia Romagna region.  We’d stayed here a few times before, loved the Palazzo Gotico and Piazza Cavalli, and the hotel which had coped so well with our groundhog days two years before when our previous car broke down and we stayed on and on….
Sad, but no surprise, to hear the hotel was running at 40% capacity. (The breakfast buffet the next morning was a lonely experience. Us standing in a vast room at a distance to the buffet table, pointing at foods whilst a young masked girl silently placed hot and cold choices on our plates.  Cold scrambled eggs by the time we reached our table, not a culinary delight).

Emilia Romagna was one of the four regions in northern Italy worst hit by the pandemic back in March.  The north was where Italy’s Covid-19 journey began.  In April about 70% of positive virus cases were reportedly from Lombardi, Emilia Romagna, Veneto and Piemonte here in the north.
Contrary to what you might be thinking, knowing about my wobbly start, this Covid fact hadn’t concerned me in the least when I was doing our last minute overnight bookings before the trip.  My brain must’ve been appeased by the fact that people here had been through hell and would be careful, wouldn’t want it repeated.

We sat outside in the square, drank our beer and aperol spritze then moved to another outdoor restaurant for dinner at 8.  Most tables were empty, but then it was probably too early for the locals.   Not for us, however.  After another 623 km, and with more dreary hours on the autostrada than we’d planned, we were tired and in need of a long sleep.

Day 3, the short drive (not) from Piacenza to Ancona.  We were catching our Anek lines vessel at 1500hrs for the overnight crossing of the Adriatic, landing the following morn at 8 (not!) in Igoumenitsa, northern mainland Greece.

What we didn’t take into account was that Italy, too, had crazy early morning work traffic.  Bumper to bumper for a couple of hours then some light reprieve for a few breaths before the turn-off to Ancona, with another slow crawl behind a stream of cars heading towards the port.  Luckily those see-saw thoughts of mine had stopped – the ones silently questioning why peeps were travelling and not staying home.  Fear had let go its white-knuckled grip.

We’d talked about buying fresh food to take on board the vessel since our sourdough sandwiches were long gone, and who knew what the ship’s restaurant/cafe would be like.

Following the huge check-in sign above the road, we parked and headed to the terminal building where “Only the car driver allowed inside” was the one to hand over our precious declaration documents that were finally asking if we were symptom-free with no known Covid case contact (hooray, someone wanted to know!)
And with that we were checked into the system, unable to drive back to town, to ‘check out’ and go food shopping.

A lone portacabin cafe stood by the terminal building selling limp pizzas; that was it.  Not much choice other than follow the signs to the hot concrete expanse of boarding area desert where lines of cars and trucks were already waiting in the midday heat.
There stood a single white van selling foods no one wanted to buy.  Just one customer sipping on a bright orange sparkling something.
I don’t know if this parcity of food outlets was Covid related or not, but how bizarre, given the hundreds  – thousands? – of trucks, cars and bikes queueing for hours here each day.

I walked over to check it out even though the bags of crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks looked very unpromising.  Disappointment rose again that we’d missed out on a deli purchase in town.
But what was that over on the right?  Through the glass display I spied fresh rolls, ham…. and a pile of juicy red beef tomatoes, the only fresh veg I’d glimpsed since leaving Piacenza at crack of early.  Another moment of tomato joy!

Just before separating to go on board (‘only drivers in the car, passengers walk’), we clocked that we’d covered another 380 km, the fastest zzzzzoom across Italy ever.

I could write a whole blog about the ship aka ferry crossing but I’ll spare you.
A quick list of impressions instead:
– All the crew wore small chin visors but quite a number were cupped below the mouth looking more like some medical chin support.
–  I never saw a bottle of hand sanitiser on board but there were plenty of soap dispensers in all the public toilets
– A crew waiter or waitress was quick to clear up the mass of edible debris sadly abandoned by mainly young peeps (sorry, but true) who were travelling together, or maybe not, hard to tell.
– Every hour or so an intercom voice announced how the vessel was ensuring masks were worn and distances kept, and that this was the reason why ‘Anek lines was keeping us safe.’
Hmmm. I never saw or heard any crew member telling us to wear masks and keep safe.  Some travellers wore them when going into the cafe or wandering around the inside of the ship but I can’t say it was a masked sea journey.  Half and half perhaps.
– But…it was easy to find secluded corners, quiet spaces to keep your distance.  Or to stay in your cabin if you had one.  Ours was super cozy with a large porthole window we’d never had before on these crossings.  Normally a black hole cabin, but this time Braveheart had booked us a ‘pure’ cabin (which does beg the question what the rest of the cabins were).
– The tables in the self-serve restaurant couldn’t be distanced as they were bolted to the ground, but there were only a few people dining and they were all using common sense.  We certainly enjoyed our Greek salads x

The following morn yet another shining day greeted us.  What a sunny road trip this had been!  However, our hearts sank as we soon realized the ship aka vessel aka ferry wasn’t going to be landing in Igoumenitsa by 8.  We hadn’t even reached the first stop, Corfu.  Given we had another ferry to catch 3 hours’ drive south we were aware of time passing.

It was s-l-o-w progress disembarking.  Officials were checking documents and I have to admit I felt quite put out when we were told we had to leave our spot in the line of cars (hey, this was the Covid testing I’d been waiting for so don’t complain, my inner voice whispered).
The chin-masked official pointed to a dead-end area in the distance, a normally forgotten, dusty corner of the port.  There, around 20 cars were parked hugger-mugger and I could make out clusters of people, a line of sorts forming (Italians and Greeks don’t do queues the way the British do).

There were 2 ‘patient’ chairs and just 3 officials in PPE but, oh my word, they worked quicker than I could’ve ever imagined.  Am guessing they didn’t want to be in close contact for more than a minute with any of us viral foreigners. Results, they said, would be texted to us in 24 hours IF positive.
Luckily we never got that text.

The drive south to Patras was easy, partly because we’d done it before but also due to the fact it was a new highway, thank goodness, which was more than equal to the French autoroutes.  Breathtaking mountain scenery all the way, hardly any cars and the first spits of rain and grey skies, how funny, now we were in sunny Greece!

After Patras, there was the usual hair-raising 45 minute drive on the one-lane-pretending-to-be-three road to Killlini; this was the main port for ferries heading to the Ionian islands.

Levante’s car ferry crossing turned out to be a totally different experience to the previous one.  Yes, only a 1.5 hour journey but it was full of rules and hand sanitiser and an official keeping us a metre apart as passengers boarded.
Masks had to be worn at ALL times we were told.  Inside, alternate tables and chairs had been cordoned off ensuring no one sat too close.

When I took off my mask to drink water, at our safely distanced table, I forgot to put it back on (ok,perhaps I forgot on purpose; suffocating in the heat).  A young woman at the table closest to us, from Athens, she later told me when I heard her complicated family history, reminded me loudly to put my mask back on.
Even out on deck, with plenty of space and fresh air and hardly anyone about, they had to be worn, which I thought was a bit ott (and that should suffice to tell you that 4 days of crossing borders had sorted out the emotional amygdala of my brain).

No tourists, 99.9% of the people on board were from Greece, one chatty official explained when I asked why the speaker annoucements weren’t in their usual English.
No doubt the announcer was telling us that Levante ferries were keeping us safe.
And indeed they were!

We landed in Kefalonia, in the town of Poros and only had a short drive to our olive grove house.
Somehow those 35 minutes felt longer than the hours we’d travelled each day, but they did give me pause to think about the miles covered, and to feel grateful for the sun and blue skies that had made it all so easy, showing us so many landscapes at their best.  Also to take stock of just how empowering these four travel days had been.  I suspect fear had flown out the window the minute I realized it wasn’t just in UK – or in our cocooned Dorset – that peeps were using common sense.  Staying safe.  All of us in this global mess together, doing our best.

Freshly picked tomatoes and chillis from our lovely neighbours awaited us, and a message from home that felt like a pat on the back, congratulating us on the journey.
Definitely the best-tasting tomatoes I’d eaten.
Well…the best in the last 24 hours 🙂

 

Stats:

Left Dorset 0550hrs 4th August, arrived Kefalonia 1700hrs 7th August.
Kilometres driven:  2272 km
Ferry Ancona-Igoumenitsa:  723 km (390 nautical miles)
Ferry Killini to Poros:   50 km.

Phew!

Time to plug into nature

We’ve been watching far more nature programmes these past months.  So reliably uplifting, nature doing its thing.


Recently Spring Watch was on BBC, a very popular programme here in UK.  Two weeks of learning more about the amazing changes Spring brings with it.  We saw beavers and otters, fish, badgers, butterflies, you name it. 
The main focus, as always, was on nesting birds and their fledgings, with some precarious nests being built on high and others balanced in bizarre places just inches away from predators.  We watched parent birds constantly feed their young until finally most of the fledglings defied the odds and flew off.  A cheering message.  Reassuring to see nature going about normal business at a time when our world is so very far from normal.

The presenters talked about more wildlife and birds being about due to less traffic and noise, less activity in towns and built-up areas.  They shared some breath-taking videos and photos the public sent it.  People who were isolating or not working or on furlough – children still off school – all having more time to notice daily changes in their gardens and nearby parks. 

Every night it felt like an escape from the daily Downing Street updates and world statistics and scenes of angry demonstrators.  And yet nature is just as much a part of our reality as Covid-19 and world news.   A happier part that we can tune into every day – every hour of every day if we want!   Nature can most definitely help us feel better, lifting our mood with a surge of endorphins – those happy hormones – as we watch new life unfold around us.

It was interesting to see how much close-up photography was in the programme this year.  Filming the tiniest insect under a convoluted camera lens.  Seeing a mote of dust floating in water only to discover it was a creature with astonishing talons and fangs.   

It made me think about the macro and micro world we’re living in right now.  How we are changing focus far more than we might normally do.  Moving from the macro picture of what’s going on in our global community, to the micro picture of what’s happening in our personal lives, what we’re eating for dinner tonight.

Changing our focus, our lens, constantly is hard work.  It can be overwhelming thinking on different planes all the time as we try to absorb today’s communal bigger picture whilst looking after our micro world.  Feeding the family, understanding the latest Covid rules, tapping out work emails, seeing second spikes abroad, helping with homework, feeling for angry demontrators, watering the garden.  No wonder so many are saying they don’t want to listen to the news, that it’s too much.   

Most of the posts I’ve shared over the past months have had something to do with plants or gardens, walks or healing foods.  Giving myself and others some mindful space to plug into nature.  Giving those happy endorphins a chance to rise and expand. 

We all need a breather from this bigger macro picture so we can find balance and mindful time in our micro worlds.  This is where nature shines.  It’s right here, outside our windows and front doors.  So easy to bring into our daily lives.  Walking, weeding, cycling, sitting and watching.   Birds peepsing, petals opening, rain falling. 
The sky outside, is it blue or grey where you are right now?  Are buds unfurling or is winter mist drawing in?  Tell me what’s happening around you, I’d love to know.  x   

Parkinson’s: has science been looking in the wrong place?

In this month’s New Scientist there was an article about Parkinson’s disease.  How researchers are now thinking they may be looking for the cause in the wrong place and that this debilitating chronic disease may actually arise from damage to the gut and not the brain.

Hang on a minute…is this news?!
At college we had the privilege of having Lucille Leader as one of our tutors.  A world-speaker and author of numerous books on Parkinson’s, she always stated, “first heal the gut.”  And this is because dysfunction of the gastro intestinal system does indeed have a huge impact on health.

parkinson's

Yes, I know it may seem to a lot of peeps that as a nutritional therapist I want to link the state of our gut to just about every disease going.
But is this so unreasonable, given the fact that approx. 80% of our immune system is located in the gut, and that we know that the brain and GI system are connected by a super highway of chemical information passing constantly between them ( good reason indeed for the gut’s name, ‘the second brain’)… and that virtually every week we seem to find out more about the importance of our microbiome;  about the foods which can improve that microbiome and the ones that may be causing pathogenic bacteria to run riot.
So many diseases & health conditions are being linked to the dysbiotic, out-of-kilter, bacteria living in the microbiome of our gastro intestinal tract.

What’s fascinating about Clare Wilson’s article in early December’s ‘New Scientist’ is not that she makes mention of Parkinson’s patients always having digestive problems (although this may give sceptics something to think about).   More interesting is that researchers have now carried out experiments showing  that the clumps which are found in the nerve cells of Parkinson’s patients’ brains – clumps formed from synuclein fibres – can actually travel from the gut to deep into the brain.

Already a decade ago, the article explains, pathologists reported finding these distinctive synuclein fibres in nerves within the gut (during autopsies).

Recently, a group of scientists in California at the Institute of Technology have been injecting these synuclein fibres into the stomach of mice, and found, 3 weeks later, that the fibres had travelled up to the base of the brain.   2 months after that these fibres had moved to those areas of the brain that control movement, a hallmark symptom area of Parkinson’s.
Not spooky, just another worthy study showing how the gut is implicated in diseases that medicine, until now, thought were confined to a distinct, specific organ.

What is also interesting is that the researchers believe “no single bacterium or virus has been pinpointed as the cause…..but early evidence suggests that people with Parkinson’s have different gut bacteria to healthy people…..It could be that having the wrong bacteria in your gut triggers inflammation……(and) Inflammation makes synuclein more likely to aggregate.”

The microbiome, once again, is the focal point of research.

So can it as simple as that?  Sort out your diet and your microbiome, and you may avoid these fibre clumpings in the brain, and the onset of Parkinson’s?

I think so (but then I would, wouldn’t I!)….
What do you think?

The Appleaday Detoxathon: Why do you choose the foods you do?

Food affects more than just your physical body.  It has an impact on your emotional world, your thoughts, mind and your overall feeling of wellness.  Along with water, air, sleep and sex, food is one of the most important aspects of survival.  You need it to exist, to function and to thrive.

You know all this – or do you?
The western world is becoming sicker.  Too many people are making poor food choices, becoming obese, with fat-layered inner organs and congested arteries, and suffering from fatigue or aching joints and numerous other complaints.  With all the hype and media about healthy eating – TV programmes, articles, books – surely we should be in the know by now!

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And yet, many people in the western world don’t really think about what they’re eating, and when they do think, it’s bizarrely unlikely they’re thinking about the nutrients they should be consuming in order to thrive, inorder to feel well.

Food choices are so often governed by advertising and marketing,  or monetary concerns, time constraints, habits or even trends.  The concept of Food Choice, however, is far more interesting than this!

When you come home after work, and you’re starving,…or when you’re in front of the open fridge at 10pm, what are you wanting to eat?  What do you reach for first, and do you know why?  Are you always drawn to the same foods?  Is this just habit?  Or is there something else in play, something you’re not aware of?  Which foods make you feel safe and comforted, and which foods give you a buzz of energy?
This is all important stuff – the stuff of survival, the stuff of longevity.  And these are all valid questions to which you should have some answers at least.  And yet….

This September, appleaday will be running its annual cusp-of-season Detoxathon.  Five days of clean eating with new recipes and food shopping lists and a menu plan to make it as easy as possible for you.

However, this autumn weI’ll also be looking at the bigger picture, so that when your five days are over, you will have a better understanding of why you choose the foods you do – and how to take new, healthier, habits into your future.

As always, the menu will include foods to support your digestion, and those to give a super boost to your liver, with nutrient-rich yum recipes to help your body detoxify naturally.
A week of healthy eating to feel energised and lifted – and to feel that halo sit perfectly on your head!  And all in the company (well…online company) of myself and like-minded detoxathoners – easier and more enjoyable than doing it alone.

During the week I’ll share some sparky thoughts on the significance of food’s colour, shape and texture; what it means to many, and what it might mean to you.  Also, some chat about the more unusual toxins in your life, as well as intolerance foods: the typical, and the not-so-typical culprits; foods which may be the root cause of your digestive discomfort, which will then be having a ripple effect on your mood and subsequently tilt your outlook on life.  Truly good health is about seeing the connections to the Whole you.

By understanding more about the foods you eat, you will be in a position to make considered and mindful choices.  Food will gain your respect, and it, in turn, will make you feel better.  Body weight and form can then shift, and affect a visual – and mental – change.  Your self-image will beam, and this will shape how you interact with the world, and how the world will interact with you.

All correlative aspects of an underlying whole.
All correlative aspects of you.  A whole you making healthier food choices.

If you’d like to find out more about the Detoxathon, details can be found under the following link, or the ‘workshop’ section of this website.
 http://www.appleaday.org.uk/workshops-events/online-detox/autumn-detox-online-5-day-event

 

 

 

 

Preventive prescription meds – think twice!

What is wellness….is it just about not being ill?  There’s no good scientific definition of wellness and, from a medical point of view, this poses a real problem.

VARIOUS STOCK

More and more prophylactic drugs are being handed out, when actually a good start to wellness would be to encourage better eating habits and less time sitting at the computer or on the sofa.

Read morePreventive prescription meds – think twice!

Sweet as Honey

I have just discovered a delicious bitter-sweet honey called Arbutus, which is harvested in Portugal and sold by “Wild about Honey.”
This is a raw, unfiltered and cold extracted honey made by hand in the western Algarve, where beekeepers “follow age-old traditions and make the honey, in the main, by hand.”

honey

According to their blog – wildabouthoney.co.uk – beehives are moved around so that the bees forage for all type of blossom, from eucalyptus to thyme, orange blossom, arbutus and carob.
The last two  are the ones which really tick the box for me!
And because I would really like to know that honey is indeed a healthy food I should be eating, I decided to do some research on it.
What I discovered is that there is a lot of disagreement out there when it comes to honey…

Read moreSweet as Honey

Certified Nutritional Therapist in Wimborne

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Recommendations are so important in every aspect of our lives, however it’s vital that whoever you’re looking for – whether an accountant, lawyer ….or a nutritional therapist – that you find someone who has the credentials and qualifications to back up the recommendation.

In other words, you need to find someone who’s certified, someone who has completed a well-reputed course, obtained a diploma, has insurance to cover their practice….and more!

I obtained my nutritional therapy diploma at CNM, the College of Naturopathic Medicine, in London.  And then a few years later I went back to study again and completed a one year part-time postgrad course in iridology, using it in my practice as a really useful diagnostic tool.

The original nutrition course I did covered 3 years of pretty full time ‘part time’ study.  It encompassed health areas such as biomedicine, nutrition and diseases, diagnostics and other naturopathic therapies, to name just a few.

Before I was allowed ‘out there’ I had to complete 200 clinic hours – monitored clinics with volunteer patients which were held in the clinic rooms of the college.  I was so nervous about setting up my own practice I did an additional 80 hours at the same time here in Dorset, sitting in on two different therapists’ clinics over a year, watching and learning.  And then of course there were final exams to sit.

Obtaining a diploma for me was just the start!

Joining an appropriate speciaist-related organisation is vital.  It’s the organisation which checks credentials, requires that you keep up a certain number of annual CPD hours (continued learning at, for example, seminars, talks, conferences etc).  The organisation also  offers a forum for therapists to share knowledge and, what’s important for the public, it is a directory for people to find qualified therapists.

I belong to BANT (British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy) and CNHC (Complementary and Natural Healthcare council).

What else?  I have a website – here! – where I post health-related blogs, workshop information, recipes and the like, plus I aim to send out newsletters (not too many to annoy!)   On top of that I keep a work-related facebook page – monicasappleaday – where I post info on new research papers or controversial health articles or healthy recipes or just fab food photos…

So, if you’re looking for a certified nutritional therapist in Wimborne you can find me in all sorts of places – from the BANT directory or by googling CNM or via my website, or under monicasappleaday…. or just looking up my name, Monica Watson-Peck!

Easter cleanse

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For those of us who may have indulged in an Easter Chocathon,  appleaday is running a repeat of the spring clean-eating week.
This is another Detoxathon 🙂  a 5-day online event.  All about cleaner eating and healthier lifestyle choices to do as a group from 19th-23rd May (or you can join the event, get all the information, recipes, daily email health blogs for that week, but do it at a later date to suit your diary).

What’s it all about?

Five days of gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, stimulant-free foods – with new yummy recipes, and no hunger pangs.  Please note that there are two new recipes to add to the March Detoxathon, but otherwise it is the same event.

What does the Detoxathon include?  

Lead- in sheets explaining the foods to gradually decrease, and those to increase; what to stock up on, what to let go of, what lifestyle tweaks you can be making, what juicer to try out;  all sorts of useful info which will stand you in good stead for the future.

These are emailed 1-2 weeks BEFORE the event so you won’t suffer coffee headaches or alcohol-free scratchy moods.

Also included, and emailed before commencement:  a daily eating plan, delicious recipes for the week, a food shopping list to make life easy for working people…. and daily information about digestive and liver health, emailed by nutritional therapist me (Monica), with relevant questions answered at the end of each day of the 5 day cleanse.

What’s the benefit of doing a ‘group’ event?

Based on past Detoxathons, it has been a real positive being part of a group, sharing the daily thoughts on how you feel, how easy or difficult it is, what you think of the recipes and ‘new’ foods, reading about the highs and lows being experienced…

A group event also helps you to keep on track…

By the last day you can share your newly found energy and those lost pounds…and for those who didn’t do the 1-2 week lead-in… you can talk about the headache you finally got rid of.

Basically, it’s about group support when trying out something which may be totally new to some of you, but perhaps too something you’ve always wanted to try.  With a qualified nutritional  therapist playing mum!

You can of course not share, and just keep to yourself during the whole event 🙂

What does it cost?

£10 per person.  This is a ridiculously low cost born from last year’s personal wish to do a detox with friends so that I would keep on the straight and narrow and not cheat.
It was fun, but a lot of work hence the cost can only be kept low if the group is a minimum of 30.
That way, too, the comments, feedback and daily interaction will naturally be more interesting than doing it, say, with 3 others….

If the Detoxthon does not reach 30 it will be postponed 🙁 So do please share this blog if you have like-minded friends.
The more the merrier.

How do you join?

Anytime from now until 12th May, please email or write on this website’s comment sheet, or facebook ‘monicasappleaday’ and tell me you’d like to take part.
I will then email you payment details together with the lead-in sheets – and you’re away!

The food shopping list and recipes will be emailed to you well in advance so you can stock up if necessary.

The ingredients are mainly vegetable-based, hence not expensive, however if you want to continue eating fish and organic chicken, that is your choice and also fine.
A juicer is a necessary part of it, however a blender would work too.  Note:  this is NOT a juicing-only event.

No red meat, no gluten or dairy, alcohol or sugars will form part of these five days.
A great challenge which happens to be healthy.

The sooner you begin, the easier you’ll find these dietary tweaks, additions and exclusions.

And if it’s weight loss you’re after, then you will lose more lbs if you start as soon as possible, making gradual small changes (do please check out the testimonials on my events & workshops page for more insights).

If you have any questions just email me.  It’s early days but so far we are eleven 🙂

Detoxathon time again

detox-heartAppleaday is running another Detoxathon starting March 24th.    There’s still time to do the guided lead-in to prepare you for the five days of clean-eating.

This is about  discovering the nutrients which support a healthy liver and body detoxification, and about dropping some old habits which are doing your health no favours.  During the event there will be daily emails and facebook postings about specific food benefits and lifestyle tips to make your cleanse successful.

The Detoxothon is not about fasting, nor is it a juice-only ‘diet’, although juices do figure daily in the menu plan, either as snacks or as a breakfast option.

A menu plan, recipes and a shopping list are all provided to make it easier.   There will also be alternative suggestions for some of the daily meal recipes, with a check list of ‘allowable’ foods (new this time to the Detoxathon), in case you want to replace some of the ingredients to suit your palette and diet.

The lead-in sheets are sent prior to the event; they offer a greater store of information than last year’s event, namely how to track your progress using your BMI and Waist:Hip ratio as well as a symptom questionnaire and ‘journaling’;  also in the lead-in are the lists of foods to gradually reduce and increase before the event; some useful online stores to obtain some of the new ingredients as well as recommendations regarding juicers, water filters and ‘greener’ home products…lots of ideas to make the Detoxathon easy and enjoyable.

In order to keep this an affordable, community event the cost is £10 for the 5 days.  For anyone unable to do the full five days (away on holiday…or just too busy at the moment) you can still do the event, receive the emails and see the facebook  posts – but do it when you have 5 clear days.

Joining is easy.  Just email (or call on the mobile below), and I’ll send you the registration form, payment details and lead-in sheets. The menu plan for the days you’ve signed up for, plus the shopping list, can be sent soon after so that you can buy your fresh vegetables, spices and pulses!

There will be daily group emails (plus info on the appleaday facebook page), with health information relevant to a detox, which will also provide a platform for you to share experiences and ideas.

The detoxathon last year had great feedback – weight loss, increased energy levels and less dependence on the daily caffeine and sugar hits!  I’m looking forward to another inspiring group of participants.

Email:  ; mobile 0777 846 5222.  Or leave a comment showing your interest on the appleaday facebook page:  www.facebook.com/monicasappleaday.