A Twitter Giveaway!

A Twitter Giveaway!

STOP PRESS!

I am giving away three free places on Flojo’s Easy Detox four week online course for a January 2018 start!

What is Flojo’s Easy Detox?

Flojo’s Easy Detox is a quick and effective route to improve your health and wellbeing which I developed a few years ago but have revamped in the last year to make it even easier, even more delicious and to have even better results!

Each week I email you a worksheet tackling four general health tweaks to make – which could be as quick as doing my one minute breathing and visualisation exercise, as simple as reducing your reliance on caffeine or as delicious as trying out some of my super easy recipes free from sugar, gluten, dairy, soya and processed fats. Then, once you’ve let me know any questions or concerns you might have about the week ahead, I email you with advice that is unique to you in order to help you get the best out of the course.

What Do You Need to Do?

Simply tweet a link to your favourite recipe from my Health and Nutrition Coaching site florenceneville.com, say why you like it and include the hashtag #flojoseasydetox in your tweet.

How Are the Winners Picked?

On the 15th, 22nd, and 29th of December 2017 I will go through that week’s #flojoseasydetox tweets and pick one person to win a place. I will quote-tweet the winning entry so remember to check your notifications! (I will also try to DM the winners, but this will be dependant on twitter settings.)

What Will the Winners Get?

If you win you will get:

  • A detailed preparation sheet complete with a shopping list for any out-of-the-ordinary ingredients and products.
  • A questionnaire in which you get to outline your own current health conditions and concerns so that I can tailor the course for you where necessary.
  • A carefully structured worksheet each week, designed to help you both look and feel better each week, without any sense of overwhelm.
  • A weekly personal email from me, and also a follow up email at the end of the course.

Please note that you are welcome to start the course any week during January 2018.

Why Might Someone Want to do Flojo’s Easy Detox?

I will let people who have already benefitted from the course tell you that!

“Change happens when you make small shifts. I feel like a tight knot has been loosened and I am so hugely excited and grateful.”

“After just a week of starting to re-programme my body and eating habits I felt energised and had a much more positive state of mind.”

“… sleeping, bloating, skin is all better!”

“I’ve loved feeling that I have someone alongside to guide me and make it a personal experience. I’ve never felt awkward asking questions, and I’ve had some really good personalised responses to push me in the right direction.”

“I’ve felt  supported, held and not judged – which is major for me.”

“Your nutritional practice is amazing! I’m in awe of your knowledge!”

“I’m feeling more energised and more in control.”

“My skin feels softer and the dry patches on my elbows have vanished!”

“I really enjoy starting the day, more awake from a better night’s sleep, and feeling refreshed”

“I found it gave me the confidence to make lots of other subtle incremental changes and that has had a knock on effect on everything from work to relationships!”

What If I Don’t Win a Place?

Don’t worry; it’s not a course that breaks the bank! Until the end of January 2018 Flojo’s Easy Detox only costs a one-off payment of £40. Contact me here if you are interested!

 

 

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My Top Five Health Books of 2017

My Top Five Health Books of 2017

While washing up the breakfast pots, cleaning the bathroom and making the bed this morning I have been humming and hah-ing over how many books I wanted to rant about for this post. You know what? I couldn’t figure it out. I read a lot of health books. Probably around fifteen a year. So I’ve set myself a challenge by typing in “My Top Five Health Books of 2017” as a heading in the hopes that I can narrow it down by the time I finish this post.

Do you get an idea of how fuzzy my head is today? I have a cold. I have been coughing, spluttering and moaning over and at anyone in my general vicinity for the last 48 hours. Possibly not the best day to write a health post. But I digress…

So here we go. The first one is easy. My most best and favouritist health book that I read this year (possibly ever) was Primal Fat Burner by Nora Gedgaudas. (I meant to review this ages ago, as I wrote here… ) It’s not, as you might think, a book about weight loss but a highly educational read on how humankind evolved on burning fat rather than carbohydrates as a primary energy source. If you want the ultimate geek-out background on the scientific, historical and contemporary evidence-based reasons to increase bone broth, bone marrow and organ meats into your diet then this is the place to start. This is no pop-paleo how-to; you won’t be encouraged to cram in steak, shop-bought salads and trendy paleo-treats. But you will learn exactly how much protein you really need (hint: far less than you think) why you want to avoid conventionally produced meat and vegetables; which oils and fats best benefit your brain and body;  and how to make the most incredible chimichurri sauce (this is not an exaggeration). Gedgaudas is a truly engaging writer too – if you buy no other health book ever, this would be the one I would recommend.

Right. What’s next? Hang on while I slurp some congestion-reducing herbal tea… Ah yes! Woman Code by Alisa Vitti. I’ve got to say, it is rather disconcerting for me that she uses the American slang for menstrual periods: Flo. So she references the monthly Flo frequently and her accompanying period tracker is called MyFLO. Almost everyone I know calls me Flo! But hey, if I can get my head around it then you should be able to too. So, Woman Code is a really useful call to recognising that a woman’s hormonal cycle reeaaalllly needs to be honoured when it comes to nutrition and lifestyle. Your energy levels, brain function and stress patterns vary a great deal throughout the four phases of your menstrual cycle (follicular, ovulatory, luteal and menstrual in case you were wondering) and trying to maintain a consistent workload and nutrient intake isn’t going to do you any favours. Ignoring these phases is like ignoring your body’s requirement to sleep at nightime and then trying to run a marathon the next day. If you are female and you ovulate then it would be worth picking this book up, or at least downloading the app.

In my current fuzzy-headed state it does seem a little ridiculous for me to be recommending a book on increasing your brain energy, but Head Strong by Dave Asprey provides a wealth of advice on how to do exactly that. With access to some of the most current research and out-of-the-box thinking Asprey has outlined practices ranging from dimming the lights at night to using pharmaceutical smart-drugs. From reducing brain inflammation (which shows up in brain fog, depression and memory loss) with his nutrition protocol; through a comprehensive guide to mitochondria-boosting meditation and to a thorough run-down of how to use supplements wisely; this book is a massive undertaking and is vital reading for anyone who feels that their brain is not functioning as well as it could. Talking of which, I need to go outside and get some sunlight. Back in a bit…

While sitting (and sneezing) in the sunshine on the front step just now it occurred to me that the next book on this list should be Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman. Now, this is a slight cheat on my 2017 book list because I originally read it in 2015 but, in my defence, I did re-read it this year. Bowman is a biomechanist; she looks at how the way we move affects us at a cellular level. In fact, I’m going to quote her explanation of mechanobiology here: “A relatively new field of science that focuses on the way physical forces and changes in cell or tissue mechanics contribute to development, physiology and disease.” The book takeaway is that it is movement rather than exercise that is key. She explains, in great but easily visualised detail, how every movement you make (or even don’t make) affect all of the tissues in your body; you will learn more about load variables than you thought possible in this book! If you want to know how to stand, walk, squat and rest with ease (and I’m telling you now that you do, even if you think you don’t!) then this is the book for you. Investing the time to read Bowman’s words and practice her exercises could save a great deal of discomfort both now and in years down the line.

My final favourite book of 2017 is, as yet, only half read because it was only released a couple of weeks ago and there are a hella lot of words! Renegade Beauty by Nadine Artemis is hard to describe but already makes it onto my list because it is a book that I have been looking forward to for months! Its focus is on beauty only inasmuch as a book’s focus is the book cover. As a book cover gives you clues as to the content, true skin radiance is only possible when the body and soul are nourished first. I have raved about her toothcare book here on this blog before and this long awaited “skincare” tome has not disappointed in the slightest. So, so much beautiful writing covering the importance of probiotics, sunlight, essential oils, holistic dental care, natural breast and “yoni” health, supporting pregnancy, natural haircare and cultivating immunity. While Renegade Beauty is no fluffy quick-fix book Artemis also provides easy, gorgeous, homemade recipes and solutions to alleviate common problematic skin conditions, which are safe for both adults and children.

There. I made it. I didn’t get to include lots of other lovely health books, but then this post is already a bit on the lengthy side. Maybe I’ll re-read the others for including in a 2018 post. Maybe I need to put away the massive pile of books covering my table. Maybe I need to go have a nap. Thanks for reading my lovelies and please let me know your health book recommendations in the comments. Atch-ooo!

Flo in Full Flow…

Flo in Full Flow…

Sorry, that is a ridiculously cheesy post title. Please forgive me…

Well, it’s nearly four weeks since I left my job and it feels good! My asthma has calmed down, my joints are aching and creaking less; my energy is gradually increasing and the brain fog is lifting. Boom! See ya evil black mould!!

The knock on effect of the brain fog lifting has been that I have been able to start doing some more concentrated work on my business florenceneville.com and producing some information sheets for clients. I had forgotten the complete bliss of losing three hours at a stretch in flow state. I have written info sheets on Autumn Health Support, Sleep Tips, An Introduction to Cortisol and also Ten Ways You Can Support Your Cortisol Cycle; and I have loved writing every one!

I also noticed today that I have forgotten to drink coffee for the last few days. Forgotten! I have instead been experimenting with blending up some gorgeous elixirs with ingredients like dandelion coffee (from Paula Grainger and Karen Sullivan’s beautiful book Infuse), butter, nut butter, raw honey, cacao and maca root powder. Can I just say, right now, that this combination beats the taste of any hot chocolate I have ever had? And that, in the interest of full disclosure, I have drunk a LOT of hot chocolate in my time? I shall try and remember to measure the amounts next time so that I can give you a recipe!

Right. Flow state is all very well and good but I have now been at the laptop for four hours and that just ain’t healthy. Time to do such mundane but vital stuff as dragging the vacuum cleaner around the house, walking the dog and making some lunch. On which note, can I just tell you my major foodie revelation for the week? Brussels Sprouts, which I normally loathe, are really, really good when roasted in plenty of pork lard and with a liberal dusting of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Peace out…. xx

 

Autism South West 2017 and A Shameful Tale

Yesterday I got to speak about “Sugar, Stress and the Spectrum” at the Autism South West conference. Specifically I was building on Dr. Luke Beardon’s excellent equation: 

Autism + Environment = Outcome

to explain how internal stressors (internal environment,) such as high or erratic cortisol levels, change the outcome for any autistic person. 

Let me explain. Now it’s pretty well known that being in a supermarket (an external environment stressor) is highly stressful for autistic people (maybe for you too, but definitely if you are autistic.) When somebody is stressed their adrenals ramp up production of the hormone cortisol which raises blood sugar levels in order to deal with threats. (If you have to run away from a lion – you need glucose in your bloodstream to fuel that race for your life.) But unfortunately your body doesn’t distinguish between real or perceived threats. It just acts without question. 

What else happens when your cortisol is raised? Here’s one of my slides:

Now, think how difficult navigating a simple supermarket shop might be when your brain is affected like that… (This is why my shopping gets done online!) Imagine living in a world where a great deal of your environment causes the outcome of reduced abilities to remember, to regulate your mood and behaviour, to organise yourself and make good judgements?

Next in my talk we discussed how consuming excess carbohydrates quickly raises blood sugar levels, causing the body to employ insulin in order to reduce potentially dangerous levels. And then, because your body likes balance, it fires up our friend cortisol again, because low blood sugar is also a threat! The low blood sugar is an internal environment stressor. 

As far as autistic anxiety is concerned: being hunted by a lion = going to the supermarket = low blood sugar!

Anyway, we covered some other useful stuff too but, in the interest of brevity, that’s probably enough for you to understand my shameful behaviour yesterday evening. Shameful because I am a nutrition and health coach. Please don’t judge…

So the conference was fab! Well organised and with brilliant key-note speeches (Sarah Hendrickx and Dean Beadle) that made me both laugh and cry. But, you know, a conference is still a difficult environment for an autistic to navigate. And so my cortisol levels were pretty high…

Now I knew I had a fridge full of delicious and nutritious organic veg and meat at home. I could have rustled something nourishing up in 30 minutes flat. But my memory and good judgement failed me and I demanded we stop off at tesco for ready made pizza (the shame.) And I looked at those huge, insipid, crappy pizzas and could not for the life of me work out how many we’d need and which types we, as a family, would like. My husband found me crying in the chilled aisle and took over. At which point I wandered off and filled the basket with packets of biscuits. I had acted out my own talk perfectly! My high cortisol response had perfectly reflected my slide’s bulletpoints! Oh the irony…

A few things:

  1. If you’d like me to come and talk about diet and autism please contact me here. (Rest assured that I will prepare my evening meal in advance for future talks.)
  2. I didn’t actually eat the biscuits. I was asleep soon after the pizza!
  3. I’m not really ashamed of my choices yesterday. I’ve learned not to blame myself in those situations and am taking care to rest my adrenals today.  
I Left my Job!

I Left my Job!

I did it… I left my job! Hurrah! But why? Well, the reasons are threefold

  1. It was making me more ill than my pretty extensive health and nutrition knowledge and my resources could keep up with. A decidedly non-autistic-friendly working environment and worsening levels of black mould (which I am very sensitive to) have meant that my lungs and joints now hurt all the time and that my energy levels have sunk so low it’s ridiculous. 
  2. The knock on effect has been that I haven’t have the energy to build up my health and nutrition coaching practice which I truly love doing. 
  3. My already overworked husband has just started a part time doctorate and we didn’t want our girls to miss out on time and support. (I’m going to have to start putting the bins out now too – someone remind me on Monday nights please.)

So what am I planning on doing with that time? Regaining my health (absolute priority), building up my client base (yay!), getting super thrifty with the household budget (yikes!) learning to garden and crochet (help!), baking bread, running (ok, walking for now), drawing, walking, reading, studying and… blogging again! 

You should be hearing more from me in the near future. You have been warned…

Catching Up

Catching Up

I have a confession. I’ve been cheating on this site. I have a new, sleeker, more sophisticated model on the side. But absence has made the heart grow fonder and I miss flojoeasydetox, my site of musings, rants, random recipes, health “talks,” autism revelations and easy detox tips. 

The only tricky thing is that I’ve got lots of things I wanted to chat with you about and I don’t know where to start. Now that I’ve apologised, may I give you a mini summary and then do some proper posts over the next few weeks? Please? Thank you 🙂

Ok, so my new site florenceneville.com is actually for my nutritional therapy practice. It’s been a labour of love and a steep learning curve in terms of design. Luckily I have some fabulous friends who have pushed me in the right direction when I was floundering. I’ve been particularly grateful for Vox Visual and her expertise. Please excuse the current lack of testimonials. I have ransacked my house for the amazing testimonials from my old, now derelict site but they are still proving elusive. And can I remember my old hotmail address where the originals are probably hiding out? No. Bother. 

When I haven’t been working or hanging out with my gorgeous family I’ve been up in the local woods in my vivobarefoots. Building up leg muscles, collecting wild garlic, doing breathing exercises at the base of one of my favourite trees, and admiring the bluebells. Heaven. Did you know that walking amongst trees as a health practice is a thing? Like an actual therapy? Have a read of this. And then this

I’ve also been fangirling over anything written by Nora Gedgaudas. I’ve read some awesome health writers in my time but her Primal Fat Burner goes straight in with the most simple message, if you want to thrive, eat the foods humankind evolved and thrived on. I’ll do a review on her latest book sometime soon. But if you are serious about improving any aspect of your health please read it. (And sign up for a consultation with me obviously!)

Last month I attended a brilliant training day for autistic people interested in developing their public speaking skills. Organised by the National Autistic Society and delivered by trainer/speaker extraordinaire Sarah Hendrickx it has inspired me to push myself out more often from the security of blogging on my smartphone and stand up and talk. In public. To actual people. I’ve run detox groups and have spoken to small groups before but it’s time to reach a wider audience. If you know anyone who needs a speaker on managing stress, anxiety and depression through nutrition and other health practices then please direct them to my new site!

Right. I think that’s about it for now. There’s a tonne of other stuff I was going to mention but I’m going to save them for later. 

And in the meantime you can have one of the recipes from my new site. Without even having to click on a link. Because I’m super generous like that 😉 xx

Chinese Spiced Slaw

High fat, medium protein, plenty of veggies. Ready in less time than waiting for a take-away!

On a medium high heat fry two sliced onions in two tablespoons pastured pork lard for one minute. 
Add 400g organic minced pork and brown off. 

Then stir in half a teaspoon each of Chinese Five Spice and erythritol; one sliced red pepper and one shredded cabbage

Fry for ten minutes on medium high until the cabbage has wilted. Season with plenty of coconut aminos (a wheat free alternative to soy sauce) and serve. 

On Owning our Strengths

I had a text yesterday from a friend, “focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t.”

That’s not in my nature. Is it in yours? It makes sense though doesn’t it. Sure, you need to acknowledge those areas in which you could either improve on, get some help with or just write off; but why do we dwell on what we can’t do to the detriment of what we are, actually, pretty damn good at?

For years dwelling on the things I can’t do has held me back from offering what I can do for the world. Real issues with executive function stopped me from persuing academia; limited social skills meant I lacked confidence to push my business forward; and others mistaking holes in my knowledge for a lack of intelligence began to rub off on me. There’s nothing like others seeing you as crazy or lazy for you to start believing the hype!

I’ve watched friends take huge risks with their careers, living arrangements and long term plans over the last twenty or so years and by-and-large these risks have massively paid off. When I asked,  “Why?” they confidently replied, “Why not?” Meanwhile I’ve always played it safe with the sneaking suspicion that I could-do-better but an unwillingness to risk failure and be laughed at. 

But here’s the thing. More recently I have made some exceptional friends. Off the scale artists and wordsmiths with depths of intelligence and insight that have blown me away. But I couldn’t understand why they didn’t have the glittering careers that they deserved. I would sell my right arm for their talents. 

But. Three things…

1) Each of them is also autistic.

2) Each of them is dismissive of their own gifts. 

3) Each of them is equally in awe of the abilities I have that I had dismissed!

If you have had a lifetime having your flaws and inabilities being pointed out to you – Just be friendly! Smile! Concentrate! Stop doing weird things with your hands! You’re so disorganised? You’re too old for temper tantrums! Why would you even say that? You’re so bad with money? Why won’t you answer me? Oh stop crying! What do you mean it’s too bright/noisy/busy/smelly? Just eat it! Just wear it! Just make the phone call! Stop fussing! I thought you were supposed to be clever? I thought women were supposed to be able to multitask! Everybody else can manage that – why can’t you? – then it is incredibly hard not to focus purely on the things you can’t do.

I am in no way dismissive of the similar trials that allistics (non-autistics) go through. Confidence is often an elusive thing for many, many people. But this theme seems to run considerably stronger through the autistic women I have come across than for most others. 

Because while we can do some things that very few other people can do, we can’t do a lot of things that nearly everybody else can. 

So what’s the answer?

I’m not entirely sure. On a personal level it takes a major shift in thinking to flip the can’t do: can do ratio to something more positive. But we can also all remember in our transactions with others to remind them both of their strengths and of our own. And we all need to all see beyond someone’s more obvious achievements, recognising that the playing field is not always level. A lack of achievement is not always down to a lack of talent. (And, while you’re at it can I please recommend you read this rather brilliant post from Luke Beardon?)

I’m out of words! Tell me yours. What do you think?