Cleaning up Your Tooth Care Routine

Cleaning up Your Tooth Care Routine

Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #9

Coming up for two years ago I decided that toothpaste wasn’t doing me or my family any favours. Despite cycling through various and increasingly expensive brands we still all had sensitive teeth, my husband’s teeth required frequent dental work and my daughters had tiny but resistant plaque deposits. At the time I was reading up a lot on the zero-waste movement and using bicarbonate of soda / sodium bicarbonate as a toothpaste alternative was recommended in order to cut down on plastic toothpaste tubes ending up in landfill. Hmmm…

So we tried brushing with bicarbonate of soda. Not a great taste and the powder was rather abrasive. But our teeth gradually became less sensitive, my husbands stains from his black coffee habit began to disappear (he has not needed any dental treatment at all since ditching toothpaste) and my daughters both lost those plaque deposits.

Thanks to zero-waste I also found out that billions of plastic toothbrushes are sent to landfill every year! These will not biodegrade in landfill, and many end up in the sea where marine life consume them. We immediately swapped over to bamboo toothbrushes which we chuck in our compost bin once the bristles become splayed.

Then last year I heard a ReWild Yourself podcast with Nadine Artemis and was inspired to buy her excellent book on Holistic Dental Care. And I was pleased to have it confirmed by her that quitting conventual toothpaste had been a Very Good Decision!Here’s a very brief lowdown on just some of the ingredients in toothpaste (taken from Artemis’ book)

Flouride: a massive disruptor of your body’s chemistry and damager of gums. Propylene Glycol: commonly used as an antifreeze and so irritates your mucous membranes. Triclosan: an antibacterial agent that interferes with your mouth’s natural microbiome. Ethanol: indicated in cases of mouth cancer. Detergents and surfactants: irritants and increasing skin permeability. Trisodium phosphate: can cause bleeding gums and inflamed nerves. Glycerin: coats the teeth and so blocks the saliva from remineralising the enamel.

Previous to reading her book I had been using coconut oil as an oil puller to good effect but the taste was tending to make me gag a bit so we started using salt water as a pre-clean mouth rinse. (In the picture above you’ll see a shot glass of pink Himalayan salt but you can use sea or rock salt too.) Salt rinse benefits? Wound healing, improves the mouth’s microbiome (i.e. makes the mouth’s environment inhospitable to “bad” bacteria but more welcoming to the “good” bacteria!), freshens breath, reduces inflammation and is pH balancing. A pinch of salt in a shot glass of warm water is all you need.

We’ve also experimented a bit with adding different ingredients to the bicarbonate of soda. Bentonite clay dulls down the salty taste and is a good detoxifier for the mouth. Xylitol doubles both as a sweetener and improving the mouth’s microbiome. Activated charcoal is a great tooth whitener. But when I got annoyed with having a bathroom cupboard full of packets of powder I opted to buy a ready made tooth powder. Our current jar, from Laila London contains: calcium carbonate, clove bud powder*, peppermint*, ginger powder*, lemon peel powder*, cinnamon* and activated coconut charcoal* (* certified organic.) It tastes great too!

Because I am rather finicky about oral care (seven teeth extracted due to overcrowding and both bodged and painful orthodontic work mean that the teeth I have left are rather precious to me!) I also use dental floss (I buy a silk floss rather than a plastic one) and a copper tongue scraper twice a day.

If you aren’t convinced that what you use to clean your teeth isn’t that important because you spit it all out anyway it’s worth remembering knowing this: the mouth spray is the fastest acting of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products. One squirt to the side of the mouth and the nicotine is absorbed through the mouth lining and delivered directly into the blood stream where it starts to work on cravings in 60 seconds. Have a look at the list of toothpaste ingredients again. Think about whether you want to give them such a fast and effective delivery system to your entire body!

Tell me your tips for detoxing your oral health. I’d love to hear them!

 

 

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Rethink Breakfast Cereals

Rethink Breakfast Cereals

Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #8

So you’ve all heard about the origins of Kellogg’s corn flakes right? No? Mwahahaha! You’re in for a treat then. Dr Kellogg was a Seventh Day Adventist who believed that “Neither plague, nor war, nor small-pox have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism. Such a victim dies literally by his own hand.”

Yep, to cut a long story short, Dr Kellogg developed corn flakes to cure the life and soul destroying effects of masturbstion!

Quackery as it sounds though, he had a point. No! Not that having a sex drive is bad! In fact, having a healthy libido is a key sign that your health is generally doing ok. If your health is under par then your body won’t necessarily want to encourage behaviour that might end in pregnancy.  His point that cereals reduce libido though? That one. That’s the point I’d like to expand on. 

Until Kellogg began promoting his anti-libido cereals at the turn of the 20th century, western breakfast eaters were fueling themselves with either meat and eggs or some kind of porridge. Until the misinformed diet police started getting their knickers in a twist over fatty breakfasts we were breakfasting on just the right stuff for good energy and, yes, a healthy libido! Here’s why: cholesterol and saturated fats are vital components of all hormone production! And having a healthy sex drive is reliant on your body being able to synthesise sex hormones, namely testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone, oxytocin and vasopressin. If Dr Kellogg wanted to reduce sex drive then restricting the ingredients of traditional breakfast fare was an effective measure!

And if you aren’t convinced by the whole libido argument. How about breakfast cereals messing up your stress hormone cycles? Starting your day with a carbohydrate based breakfast causes your blood sugar levels to rise, which in turn increases your insulin production. Both of which interfere with your natural daily cortisol cycle. And when your cortisol levels are high then your non-emergency functions such as digestion, reproduction and wound healing are going to get suppressed. 

Those low-fat, added vitamins, superfoods enriched health claims on the side of the box aren’t looking so hot now are they?

What about those lovely, natural, fibre containing, organic and whole grain cereals from the health food shop? Well, it’s also worth noting that whole grains contain both enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion and phytic acid that combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc and blocks absorption of these vital minerals. So sorry, but these aren’t great either. And check the nutrition panel for sugar. Don’t be fooled by the wholesome sounding ingredients like honey, maple syrup or, I don’t know, enchanted fairy nectar. Every 4.2 grams equals one teaspoon of sugar. Add up the weight of your serving (I’m guessing it’s more than the suggested 30g.) Do the maths. 

So, what can you eat for breakfast? 

The first thing to remember is that the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” mantra is misleading. Breakfast literally means to break your fast. There is no rule that says that this has to be as soon as you wake up, or even in the morning. It’s the quality that counts. Not the timing. 

But I’m not about to deprive you of “something in a bowl” of a morning so if that’s your bag you can always try my breakfast porridge, my chia breakfast bowl or my yoghurt breakfast bowl. And, when I get round to it I will blog a lovely sugar free and low carb granola post for you. Because I realise that was a cruel trick to post a picture of some healthy homemade stuff and not actually  give you a recipe. Sorry…

If a hot drink is the most you can face then Bulletproof coffee is great. Or, try my hot coconut and vanilla shake or my breakfast hot chocolate 

A weekend breakfast is the perfect time for a fry up. But if you are missing pastries or bagels then you could try my peanut butter muffins or my breakfast cheesecake. (I’ve also just realised I have omitted to write a recipe post for pancakes! Whaaat? I will rectify this soon. Promise!)

And, of course, there’s always bone broth! (How could I finish a post about breakfast without it?!)

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?

 

 

Broth for Breakfast

I did a talk last week for a very lovely group of student teachers and newly qualified teachers. Those of you reading who have experienced full time teaching will know all too well the sheer resilience, stamina and sheer bloody mindedness required to survive in such an environment. My heart went out to these enthusiastic, intelligent and capable young adults who were already showing some signs of stress and exhaustion. 

My talk was on stress management through making easy tweaks to some of the most vital influences on human health – those of sunlight, movement, nutrition, hydration and sleep. I hope they make some of the changes I suggested. They were time honoured diet and lifestyle habits that should discourage early burn-out. 

There was some good discussion on a few of the ideas, particularly with regard to sleep practices. But the question they asked that probably took the most explanation was this, “So what do you eat for breakfast?”

The look of horror and incredulity on their faces when I replied, “well… currently it’s bone broth!” was priceless. A few months ago I’d have laughed at me too. Because something sweet and carby is surely the ultimate in breakfast? Perking you up when you don’t really want to eat much but need a boost? No..?

Well no. Because that sweet and carby stuff does a number on your blood sugar levels and so, in turn messes up your natural cortisol cycle. And what does cortisol do? It waits in the wings ready to increase your blood glucose to help fuel a flight-or-fight response. Then you’ve got to produce insulin to deal with that spike. And the more you call on cortisol and insulin at the wrong times the less response you get when you need them. And so bit by bit we set up an unnatural stress hormone cycle that is highly deleterious to health. 

But broth and vegetables for breakfast is weird right? Well no. Ever had left over curry or noodles for breakfast? Or gorged on a fry up? Or grabbed a flakey meat pasty on the way to work? These all have that salty and comforting flavour; and combination of fat and protein that takes us back to our more primal instinctive taste preferences. But most of us probably don’t have the time or stomach to gnaw on a mammoth bone before our hunt of the day so bone broth is a perfect modern day alternative.  

Glorious savoury umami flavours ready in less than five minutes and with the ability to keep you going all morning and well into the afternoon. Would you like a recipe?

Ok. The first bit does take a while, although the prep is minimal. Stick some roasted bones (chicken, beef, pork, lamb or a mixture) in a slow cooker and cover with water and a tablespoon or so of sea salt. Add extra flavour if you like (garlic, onion, carrot, celery, black pepper) but don’t feel obliged. Simmer on the lowest setting for around 48 hours. 

Five minutes before you want to eat, melt some pastured pork lard, beef tallow or butter ghee in a frying pan, flash fry some veg and tip into a bowl. Then ladle in a few scoops of broth straight from the crockpot. That’s it! Change the vegetables you use, experiment with herbs and spices, add some cooked meat or eggs if you need the extra protein (although your broth will have a decent amount already.) 

And there you have it! A serving or two of vegetables, some healthy fat, some essential minerals and a tonne of gut-healing, infection-fighting, inflammation-reducing, bone building and skin-beautifying collagen all before you leave the house. Let me know if you’ve tried it or are planning to!

Don’t Put Bleach in Your Vagina

Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #7

Ok, so as far as witty, catching and soothing blog post titles go, this may not have been my best one. But I wanted to get the embarrassment factor out of the way first. If you can get past the title, and I really hope you can, you can manage the content. Still with me? Yay! Then let’s begin…

With the onset of menstruation now often beginning in girls around the age of 9, and menstrual flow apparently getting heavier in successive generations of women we, in Western society at least, are becoming increasingly exposed to a dangerous cocktail of chemicals, absorbent synthetics and bleaches in and around the vagina from the products we use every month. And these are damaging our health in a very real way.

Contrary to popular belief, vaginas are pretty good at looking after themselves. They have their own microbiome: colonies of bacteria that are responsible for monitoring infections, cellular health, lubrication and specific diseases. But unfortunately antibiotic use, certain contraceptives, deodorisers, “sanititisers” and all commercially produced tampons and pads all destroy this perfectly balanced eco-system. And that’s when things start to go wrong. Thrush, bacterial vaginosis, inflamed and sensitive genitalia, potentially even cancer.

And why? It’s to do with what materials are used in producing tampons and pads. Here are just a few of the problems: that pure looking cotton? Produced from GMO and heavily sprayed cotton crops. This cotton will have been bleached for cosmetic reasons and treated for bacteria, mould and fungus, not always effectively. Then treated with absorbency enhancers and possibly synthetic fragrances. And those pads? Those weird jelly like absorbency  crystals with “odour neutralisers” release toxic chemicals that have a direct path to your reproductive system. It’s no wonder that women are suffering an increasing amount of “women’s ailments.”
Now there are a ton of different ways to encourage your vaginal microbiome back to a healthier climate. But this is one of Flojo’s Easy Detox Tips so lets just choose an easy one for now eh? Here are your easy instructions for claiming back your vaginal health:

  1. Read through the recommended reading from the links below. Education here is everything.
  2. Next I’d really like it if you went online and found yourselves some washable pads. You’re looking for some that are some kind of cotton and bamboo mix, possibly with a charcoal layer to safely absorb odours and stains. They’ll have poppers to secure them to your pants (no more accidentally sticking the pads to your delicate bits!) and to fold them shut in between use. And all you need to do is chuck them in the washing machine at the end of the day – no fabric conditioner please – and they’ll probably be dry by the morning if you hang them out to air. Yes, they might feel like a large outlay at first but I figure the average woman (whoever she is!) should have broken even within a couple of years.
  3. Finally, have a look into a silicon menstrual cup to replace your tampon use. Yes, they are a faff to get the hang of for a few cycles but it does get considerably easier. And you can use them while swimming. And, most importantly, many women (myself included) note a significant decline in the amount of blood lost over a few cycles. Have a look for various online communities discussing the merits of the different brands and the different ways to fold and insert the cups if you are interested.

Recommended Reading

What Exactly Are You Putting up Your Foof

Wellness Mama: The Problem with Pads and Tampons

Meghan Telpner: Tampons

Podcast with Nadine Artemis: Self Care A Woman’s Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in Paris

I was all fired up to write either a recipe or a detox post today, but then I got sidetracked editing this blogs categories for a drop down menu, and I haven’t got the time now. Bother. But I did promise myself that I’d write something so I’m going to give you a memory post.

Back in the mid-90s, while I was a music teacher, I joined a friend’s band called Movietone for a couple of years (I think that link should take you to album tracks etc. I’m playing on the Day and Night and The Blossom Filled Streets albums) During that time we also did two sessions for John Peel, played some gigs (Bristol, London and Brighton) and did a mini tour in Paris! In case you are wondering, I mostly played viola but also doubled up on piano, glockenspiel, guitar and bass (the last two of which I had to learn specially.)

Now, a thing I have noticed about us Autistic people is that our personal risk assessment processes are not generally in line with those of the rest of the population. Make a phone call? Panic. Try to leave the house? Panic. Cross the road? Panic. Walk the streets of Paris alone late at night with minimal grasp of the language, a poor ability for map reading, and no working mobile phone? Meh! Which is why, when we had a night off and I found out that another friend of mine was also playing in town that night I figured I’d try and find him to say hello. How hard could that be?

It took me nearly two hours. My map skills sucked more than I can explain. I found myself in various dead ends and alleyways (some with suspicious looking deals going on), and I realised that I had completely misjudged the scale of the map. I retraced my steps several times and I finally realised that setting off on this quest was not, in retrospect, a smart move. I kept ending up the wrong side of the river and I couldn’t work out safe places to cross some of the busier roads. And I didn’t know how to ask for help! A few times I considered turning back but figured that I should see this through. I didn’t want to admit defeat.

Eventually I found the venue but by this time the doors were closed and the queues were building up outside. So now the question – how do you blag your way into a well attended Courtney Pine gig with no language skills? I pushed my way through the throng of fans to the door and, with a highly apologetic tone and some poor miming repeated the two poxy phrases I’d practised to myself before leaving – Er, mon amie? Un bassiste? Seriously, that was all I’d learnt! But you know what? Those crowds of fans, patiently waiting for the doors to open, they worked out the deal and yelled at the security guys to let me in. And, when he tried to argue, pretty much opened the doors and shoved me through as I shouted Merci!! Merci!! What lovely people!

Sadly I only had about half an hour to see my friend before he had to disappear and then I figured that I should probably find my way back to the apartment rather than stay for the gig. But as I left the building my heart sank and my knees buckled with the realisation that it was now about 10.30pm and I still didn’t really know where I was. I sat on the steps, stared at the map and wondered how the hell I was going to hold my shit together. And then the rain started. And when I say rain? It was that freak kind of rain that runs down your neck and soaks you to the skin within minutes. What the hell to do? I couldn’t even clearly see a few meters ahead of me the rain was that heavy. The only upside was that nobody would have been able to see the tears.

Now this next bit was pretty crazy. I took a deep breath, somehow went into some kind of hyperfocus and saw the route back in my head, by which I mean that all the side roads and distractions kind of fell away from my vision and I started to run like I was following a satnav. I think it took me less than half an hour to run my way back without any mistakes and in torrential rain, with a map that was so wet it completely disintegrated. As I got to an area I actually recognised I started laughing out loud and sprinted the last bit.

My friends opened the door to me laughing hysterically while pouring the rainwater from my shoes. I couldn’t get the words out I was laughing so hard.

I wanted to think of a witty and snappy way to round this post off but I can’t. Au revoir!