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To assist your body’s natural ‘elimination cycle’, take one of the following, first thing each morning.

  1. One Glass of ROOM TEMPERATURE WATER (even better if boiled for 5+ minutes first & then cooled)
  2. One Glass of BOILED WATER with 10-20 drops of FRESH LEMON JUICE and 2 teaspoons of ALOE VERA JUICE

* Females – Do NOT take the Aloe Vera if menstruating!

As above

+ 2 pinches GINGER POWDER
+ 1-2 pinch TURMERIC

Having trouble getting to sleep or would just like a more settled sleep?

From Western science, we know that an essential amino acid called ‘tryptophan’, helps promote sleep. In the science of Ayurveda, it is known that ‘warm nourishing’ things, help settle the nervous system and therefore assist settled sleep. Put the two together and we see why ‘warm miilk’ (milk contains ‘tryptophan’) is a great age-old remedy* for sleep.

Try this ‘sleep-inducing’ recipe.

1/2 cup of milk * must be boiled – see below
2 pinch ginger powder
2 pinch cardamom
3 pinch nutmeg – * don’t have nutmeg during day or before driving etc as it can make drowsy in higher doses.
3-4 hairs of saffron * optional – not essential
A little raw sugar if like.
Bring to boil – boil for 1-2 minutes and drink about 15-30 minutes before bed.

Important Notes:

1. Do NOT use Soy Milk or Skim Milk for this purpose – Soy can be okay for other purposes, but neither are ‘real’ milk, which is important for this purpose.

2. If you have trouble with milk or are ‘weight-conscious’ etc, use low-fat’ milk or half milk & half water.

* While this drink can give great results, it is really just a ‘symptomatic’ remedy. If you have a chronic sleep problem, it is of course, important to treat the real underlying cause. This is usually more to do with poor daily routine issues, stress, over-activity at night etc. We will take a more comprehensive look at ‘proper sleep’ at another time.

* Do not drink medicated milk straight after a late dinner as it does not mix with savoury foods. Better to have medicated milk a minumum of 1 hour after dinner.

Alternative Breakfast to ‘Processed’ Cereals

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 green apples (some varieties cook more easily than others) or pears
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2 pinches ginger powder
  • Optional – Rapadura sugar (or other unrefined sugar or Stevia), cardamom, cinnamon, licorice (to taste), raisins

Quantities: based on 1 person – increase accordingly.

Pre-preparation

Peel the apples/pears and cut/dice into small pieces.

In a saucepan

  • Put in the apples/pears and add ½ cup water (you may need to add more as you go)
  • Put on low heat and cook slowly
  • Add cloves, ginger and anything else you like – e.g. raisins, sugar, 3 pinches cardamom
  • Put a lid on the saucepan and cook slowly till fork friendly (soft but not mushy)

Notes:

This is a general guide only – vary to suit

Re; sugar – generally 1/2 a teaspoon or so is okay but depends on individual.

Ingredients

  • fresh ginger (fruit & vegie shop)
  • turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds, others you like (supermarket)
  • black mustard seeds, asoefitida/hing (Indian/ Asian market/grocers)
  • semolina (coarse best) or cous cous (both in supermarket/health shop)

Quantities: based on 2 people

Pre-preparation

  • have all spices ready in advance
  • finely cut/grate fresh ginger – approx. 1 tspn
  • cut vegies
  • boil water in a pot/kettle (to add to food while cooking)
  • i. Cous cous (wash 2 large handfuls and drain) ii. Semolina (dry roast until light brown)

In a saucepan

  1. pour in some oil (olive etc) – approx 3 tspn or according to recommendation
  2. heat oil on low/medium heat
  3. Add black mustard seeds – approx ¾ tspn (have lid on!!!)
  4. Wait until seeds have danced (popped)
  5. Add cumin seeds – ¾ tspn
  6. Add fresh ginger
  7. Add turmeric – approx. ¼ teaspoon
  8. Add asoefitida/hing – 1-2 pinch (small quantity)
  9. Add other spices you wish – coriander, cloves etc
  10. add vegies and stir into spices (brings flavour into)
  11. add water (hot) and cook
  12. when veggies are 3-4 minutes from being cooked add semolina or cous cous plus enough hot water for the consistency you like
  13. stir regularly adding water when needed until cooked – 3-4 minutes

*** add salt near end of cooking

Notes:

This is a general guide only – vary to suit

Add chutneys, churnas etc to taste

Ingredients:

  • fresh ginger (fruit & vegie shop)
  • turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds, others you like ( supermarket )
  • black mustard seeds, asoefitida/hing (Indian/ Asian market/grocers)

Quantities: based on 2 people

Pre-preparation

  • Have whatever you are spicing ready in advance – cut vegies, wash rice/dahl etc
  • Finely cut/grate fresh ginger – approx. 1 tspn)

Directions

  1. In a saucepan pour in some oil ( olive etc ) – approx 3 tspn or according to recommendation
  2. heat oil on low/medium heat
  3. Add black mustard seeds – approx ¾ tspn ( have lid on!!!)
  4. Wait until seeds have danced (popped)
  5. Add cumin seeds – ¾ tspn
  6. Add fresh ginger
  7. Add turmeric – approx. ¼ teaspoon
  8. Add asoefitida/hing – 1-2 pinch (small quantity)
  9. Add other spicesyou wish – coriander, cloves etctomato great with dahl (add here)
  10. add vegies or rice or dahletc and stir into spices ( brings flavour into)
  11. add water and cook

*** add salt near end of cooking

Notes:

Dry roasting rice first makes it lighter ( easier to digest )

This is a general guide only – vary to suit

February 25, 2014 Jennifer Z wrote:

Hi Mark,

I saw you speak at the Nurses Health and Wellbeing conference last year, have read your book and have made many lifestyle changes which in turn have had a huge positive effect on my life…..so thank-you!!!

Just wanting to have your opinion about something.

I have always had a keen interest in health and well-being and a strong belief in eating whole REAL food and have absolutely loved reading your book. I’ve ditched the diet coke, shop more on the supermarket periphery now, adding more herbs and spices, eat light at night, exercise regularly and feel fantastic.

Anyway, what I was wanting to know was your thoughts on supplements? I know I’ve read in your book that if our bodies are receiving all vitamins from REAL food we wouldn’t require supps, which I agree with wholeheartedly.

My sister has recently become involved in a program called ‘X’ (actual name removed but basically a multi-level marketing nutritional company – Mark), and I am worried that she is being ‘ripped off’ and ‘brainwashed’ as some of the information I’ve seen from them seems inaccurate. They claim their products are all ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ but the way I see it, they are processed, packaged supplements imported from America and come with a pretty high price tag.

Admittedly, my brother-in-law has lost 20kg on this program, which includes cleanses, shakes and other products and had not exercised much. But, he has also changed his diet. My question is, if he continued on his changed diet and lifestyle changes and removed these supplements, would he get the same result? At the end of the day it’s a MLM program.

Sorry for my rant but I feel very strongly about companies giving out misguided information to make money. Am I being too critical or is there a place for these companies in our lives?

Hope you are well.

I had a pizza while out with some friends some time ago …yes, I said a pizza!!! “oh my God, the health guy eats pizza”!!!

It’s true, but don’t tell me you too have been brainwashed into thinking pizza’s are necessarily ‘bad’ or too heavy for dinner.

If you get a gourmet vegetarian pizza and take off the excess cheese (easier if you get cheese cubes not melted), what do you have??…toasted bread & vegetables.

 Background (from Mark)

For pretty well all of our married life, my wife (Karen) and I experienced the cancer journey. Karen was diagnosed with breast & bone cancer throughout much of her body just a few months after we were married. Amidst all the usual challenges and difficulties we all appreciate with such journeys, for the most part it was also an amazing time full of the most wonderful things in life. A great marriage and a generally very blessed life.

Throughout some of this time, Karen recorded various ‘personal’ lessons, learnings, sources of laughter and other bits and pieces that she thought she might one day put into a blog or similar in case something might provide some encouragement or help for others going through a cancer, or other challenging health or life journey. While she never got to do that herself, I’ve taken some of what I thought might be interesting pieces from her journal and notebooks that I felt she might not mind being shared. (Most likely, just as in when she was in her physical incarnation I’m sure I won’t have got it quite right … but we mere mortals do our best!)

Having read them myself, I personally believe a lot of the messages are equally applicable to all of us, whether (delete perfectly) healthy or otherwise. Anyway, if any of it is of interest, great, if not, that’s great too.

Why on earth could consuming the same amount of foods like fish, bananas, tomatoes, cashews etc over the next few months as you did during winter, have a significantly different effect on your health? Well, because summer is just around the corner and just as the seasons change, the clothes we wear change, the foods we eat should change also. Naturally we do this to some extent (more salads less casseroles, more seasonal fruit, cooler drinks etc) but often due to our focus/pre-occupation with calories, fat levels etc, we tend to overlook the different ‘qualities’ in food (how heating/cooling they are, if they are sweet or sour etc). In Maharishi Ayurveda, the overall effect of these qualities has a tremendous bearing on your level of balance, health & happiness. Eating too much of certain foods at certain times of the year can directly lead to health imbalances & conversely eating certain foods can eliminate problems & create perfect balance.

Today we take a look at…The Best Foods for Staying Happy & Balanced in Summer.

New International Best-Selling book just out featuring 16 of Australia’s leading health and well-being experts (oh … and me! They needed 16 and were one expert short!

Further Book & Purchasing Info Here

A new study just out, adds even more weight to be the importance of people ensuring they have adequate vitamin D levels. As you know, I have been writing about this for over five years – Sunlight & Vitamin D Health – and this is another example.

The study showed that women who were vitamin D deficient had children who were more likely to have ‘significant’ problems relating to speech skills and language. They are much more likely to have difficulty gaining complex language skills and their overall speech development is impaired. I’ll say it again. If you haven’t had your vitamin D levels tested recently, please go and get a blood test ASAP. And, ensure your doing everything you can to most naturally optimise these levels.

The more expensive your runners …the more likely you are to get leg injuries!

* Even if you do not jog or run, read on.

“When you run on the earth, and run with the earth, you can run forever ”
- Tarahumara Indians

The more you pay for runners …the more likely you are to get injured!

It’s true, the multimillion dollar industry around the technology and science of creating running shoes is a farce. About a year ago, I had this intuitive feeling to start walking and running on soft grass. Instead of pounding the pavement in my runners and gradually sensing that my knees and joints were getting sorer, I started to take my shoes and socks off and start jogging on a grass oval near where I live. It was absolutely wonderful. Occasionally there would be some overnight rain, so the grass was slightly damp. I can’t begin to tell you how much more invigorating, energising and rejuvenating the whole experience was. More importantly, running bare foot actually felt more natural, and somehow more efficient and ‘less’ jarring on my body. After some ‘early-days’ testing I’m sure I’m running faster with less effort too.

After writing about the Tarahumara Indians in my first book, I came to know that they used to run in excess of 100 miles through the mountainous Copper Canyons of Mexico with nothing more than thin rubber-soled, home-made sandals. And I used to laugh watching videotapes of them shuffling along while beating some of the best elite ultramarathon runners from North America.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I have just recently finished reading one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s called ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher MacDougall(1). He is a US journalist with quite a high profile as a contributing editor for Men’s Health magazine and writing for prominent publications such as Esquire and the New York Times. The book outlines in detail how the human body was designed for running, and how to a large extent, the huge number of running related injuries we see in the modern world are not because running is bad for us. They are almost entirely on the incorrect way we run and most significantly …… modern running shoes.

McDougall cites a multitude of scientific research studies, biomechanical analysis and expert opinions, to show that the more high-tech, expensive and ‘supportive’ our running shoes are, the more likely we are to get injured. This is due to the basic myth, that having running shoes or expensive orthotics, artificially supporting or propping up our feet is a good thing. Like anything where we artificially ‘prop up’ the body, and stop it from doing what it is designed to do naturally, the structures involved actually become ‘weaker’. Overtime, as the strength in the surrounding bones, ligaments and muscles become weaker, they are more likely to get injured. This is why about 75% of serious runners have some sort of leg injury each year.

A Glimpse of ‘Born to Run’

Here are some quotes and wisdoms from McDougall’s great book (though you’ll want to get it yourself if you like or have ever wanted to jog/run).

For millions of years, humans ran without arch support, pronation control or gel filled pads under their heels.” McDougall

Leonardo da Vinci considered the human foot, with its fantastic weight suspension system comprising one quarter of all the bones in the human body, ‘a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art’.

Abebe Bikila – an Ethiopian Marathoner ran barefoot over the cobblestones of Rome to win the 1960 Olympic marathon.

“Shoes block pain, not impact. Pain teaches us to run comfortably. From the moment you go barefoot you will change the way you run”. Barefoot Ken Bob

“Covering your feet with cushioned shoes is like turning off your smoke alarms” – Barefoot Ted

“Bricolage – the concept of ‘less is more’ or that the best solution is also the most elegant. Why add something if you’re born with everything you need?” Barefoot Ted

“A lot of foot and knee injuries that are currently playing us are actually caused by people running in shoes that make our feet weak, cause us to over-pronate, and give us knee problems.

In 1992 when the modern athletic shoe was invented by Nike, people had very strong feet and a much lower incidence of knee injuries.” Dr. Daniel Lieberman, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University.

“I believe that when my runners train barefoot, they run faster and suffer fewer injuries.” Stanford University head coach Vin Lananna

“There is no evidence that running shoes are any help at all in injury prevention.” – McDougall

In 2008 research paper for the British Journal of sports medicine, Dr. Craig Richards, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia, revealed that there are no evidence-based studies – not one – that demonstrate that running shoes make you less prone to injury.

“No stonemason worth his trowl would ever stick a support under an arch; push up from underneath, and you weaken the whole structure.” Gerard Hartman, Physical therapist for many of the world’s greatest distance runners.

“The foot is supposed to pronate.” Hartman (i.e. it’s perfectly natural!)

“Putting your feet in shoes is similar to putting them in a plaster cast” Hartman

“Painful truth No1. – The Best Shoes are the Worst” – McDougall

In the early 2000, Nike did their own research on barefoot running, and were astounded by the results. They quickly and subsequently shifted into finding a way to make money out of running barefoot. Two years later they launched worldwide TV ads showing barefoot athletes – from Kenyan marathon runners to Brazilian dancers, rock climbers and karate masters. The messages flashing across the screen were “Your feet are your foundation. Wake them up! Make them strong! Connect with the ground … Natural technology allows natural motion … Power to your feet.” Across the sole of a barefoot is the written, ‘Performance Starts Here’. And it all ends with the final slogan … ‘Run barefoot’.

And my two favourite quotes of all …

“The best runner leaves no tracks.” – Tao Te Ching

“You don’t stop running because you get older, you get old because you stop running.”

In a Nutshell

Interestingly, primitive cultures that haven’t had any type of modern running shoes, and instead have relied on the infinite wisdom of Mother Nature in designing the human foot, can run for many miles every day for their whole lives, and never, ever have one injury.
Why? Because our feet are exquisitely designed by the master creator herself. Over a quarter of the bones in our bodies are in our feet. When we land on our mid-foot (rather than that heel), which we tend to do when we wear ‘cushioned’ runners – because we know that the running shoes are going to cushion us – the weight of the body and the force it generates on the lower legs gets displaced.

Without the cushioning of expensive running shoes, instead of thrusting our front leg too far in front of us and thus impacting our lower body with a force of 12 times our body weight, we actually start running in a more ‘natural’ manner. The feet tend to skim closer to the ground, landing softer and on the middle and/or the balls of the foot. This utilises the unique design of the foot to displace the force more efficiently, taking the stress off the feet and lower legs.

Not only that, but this way of running also strengthens one’s feet, ankles and legs, thus minimising the risk of injury long-term. It is also far more efficient. If you start doing it for a few weeks, you will likely find that you can run just as quick as you previously did but with much less effort. *

What if you can’t run on grass?

No problem. Many people don’t have a nice lush, safe patch of grass to run on. Basically, there’s two options.

Option 1: What MacDougall and I recommend, is that you just purchase yourself a basic (and cheap) pair of runners. The cheaper, and the less shock absorption and support they have, the better. They will make you run more naturally, make your feet work as they were designed, and over time strengthen your feet, ankles and legs.* While the famous ‘Dunlop volleys’ are a bit of a source of derision and laughter these days, they are actually a great pair of runners to purchase. I bought a pair myself a few months ago for $17 at Target. They’re fantastic … and what a fashion accessory! I get some great looks at the gym from both guys & girls!

Vibrams barefootMy 'Stunning' Barefoot Runners - I Get Some Great looks!!!

Option 2: The other option is to buy yourself a pair of ‘barefoot runners’. Yes, even the biggest manufacturers of running shoes in the world, including Nike, now admit that their most expensive runners are often the key cause of injuries. There are many brands of barefoot runners out there these days. I bought myself a pair of ‘Vibram five fingers’ (see left). These are probably the best known but you could Google ‘barefoot running’ or ‘barefoot running shoes’ and be able to get a cheaper pair somewhere.

* IMPORTANT NOTE: This should be done very gradually to avoid injury, see suggestions below.


Suggestions for YOU:

1. Even if you just like to walk walk, rather than jogging or running, wherever possible, take your shoes and socks off and go barefoot (obviously, only if it is 100% safe to do so). Doing so on slightly wet grass is even better. (You get the benefits of the ancient practice of ‘earthing’ yourself also).
2. If you are a jogger or runner, especially if you usually jog on a gymnasium treadmill or on hard services, look to purchase yourself some ‘barefoot runners’ or some cheap runners (e.g. Dunlop volleys) with minimal support/shock absorption. Once done, gradually progress from walking, to a very slow shuffle to jogging over a period of ‘WEEKS’. Once again, this should be done very gradually and with the correct running technique (see 3.) to avoid injury! *
3. Although I am suggesting it is better long-term to walk or jog either barefoot on soft surfaces, or with minimal support on harder surfaces, this. You MUST run biomechanically correctly. This includes having your body upright, back straight, head up, and hips aligned. Your feet skim close to the ground, your stride length should be much shorter (quicker is ok) and you should have a softish foot landing around the mid-foot. As your body will be unused to this way of moving, you MUST start off very slowly and build up very gradually. I would suggest just walking for a week or two, then doing short five-minute shuffles for another week. Then just build-up 5 or 10 minutes per week. I.e. this is a very gradual transition to a different form of jogging/running.
Please do not just rush out and start running around barefoot, as you will more likely do yourself injury or harm.
4. Jog on soft (dewy) grass – without prickles or bindies! Arghh! – where possible. This is beautiful!
5. Generally, try to avoid this (or any type of running) on really hard surfaces such as concrete. If running on such surfaces you might still want to use some more ‘cushioned’ support, make 100% sure you are running with the proper technique (landing ‘lightly’) or just try and avoid it altogether.
Note; When running on hard surfaces such as concrete or pavement, I usually wear ‘normal’ running shoes (nothing high-tech, but something with a bit of padding). Whenever I run on grass, I run barefoot and whenever I am on a gym treadmill, dirt track, running or walking track etc, I’ll generally wear my Vibram five fingers. Regardless of the surface however, I try to run with the technique described above so that even on hard surfaces it doesn’t exacerbate potential problems (having some slightly dodgy/arthritic knees due to my years of football and heavy leg weights etc, I’m conscious of not trying to aggravate these further – but this may not apply to you).

6. For further information on all the scientific evidence, world leading expert opinions, and anecdotes of the world’s greatest runners who don’t wear modern running shoes and never get injured, or if you are just really into running, get yourself a copy of ‘Born to Run'(1). It’s a great read.
7. Get back to nature, and experience how walking and running were designed to be. It could truly revolutionise the way you think about jogging and exercise. You might even find it enjoyable, if not exhilarating. Seriously! Enjoy.
1. MacDougall, Christopher. ‘Born to Run’. 2010. Profile Books (UK)

Back in 1990, Victorians will remember that Collingwood won their first premiership in a few decades (I wish it was a few decades longer!). As a 19-year-old, I went with a few of my mates to party at their home ground – Victoria Park – after they won. As I was just about to raise a glass stubby of Victorian Bitter Beer (I was all class back then!) to my lips, a mate of mine smacked me in the back of the head (as you do) causing me to chip my front tooth on the stubby. While it certainly didn’t stop me from having a big night partying, I later found out that I had a pretty reasonable chip to my tooth, which later needed root canal therapy to remove the nerve.

“Salt is born of the purest of parents—the sun and the sea.”
Pythagoras

In the classic Western way of making things black and white—salad is good, fat is bad—salt has been put in the ‘bad’ camp. However, the ancients treasured salt and knew it was one of the most critical ingredients for a healthy body. Almost 5000 years ago, the Chinese pharmacological text, the Peng-Tzao-Kan-Mu, listed the medicinal effects of 40 varieties of natural salt. In the ancient world, before money or gold, salt was used to represent trust and value. You might have been ‘worth your salt’ or considered the ‘salt of the earth’. We are now paid a ‘salary’which comes from the same word as salt. Roman soldiers used to be paid in salt because it was universally ‘trusted’ or relied upon. This was when people ate real salt. Real or ‘good’ salt contains 80 or more naturally occurring minerals and healing ingredients, other than sodium chloride, that are synergistically put together by Mother Nature. Way back before the time of ancient Rome and Greece, this type of salt was known to strengthen, balance and heal the body.

Do you have kids? Do you work with kids or deal with them regularly? Do you remember back when you were a kid? It wasn’t that long ago was it? How many kids back in your day were obese, had diabetes, wheat or dairy allergies or had autism, ADD or ADHD? I’m guessing that if you are like me, not many…if any! What has happened? Why does it seem that every second child these days is either obese, has diabetes, is allergic to something or has been diagnosed as ADHD? We have a fantastic article (I didn’t write it!) that will hopefully shed some light on this all-important issue for you.

Like to know a simple way to reduce snoring, asthma(& other breathing problems), sinus/congestion problems, tiredness, stress, colds/infections, free radical damage etc etc and …increase/improve mind-body integration, mental clarity, concentration, fat metabolism, the health of your spine & all your vital ‘internal’ organs…etc etc?

It’s all possible, simply by BREATHING how Nature intended.

Life these days is full of requests for our time, energy & expertise. As we like to be needed and feel that we are ‘giving’ to others, we can quickly find ourselves using up all our time…and thus having none left for ourselves.

Once we know our priorities (the ‘most important’ things in our life), one of the keys to our success, is having the ability (& the self-esteem!) to ‘say NO’ to excessive demands/requests.

Ayurvedic Cold Water Evils – Mark speaking at the Melbourne Convention Centre on the problems of drinking cold water re; Constipation, Weight Gain, Arthritis … and why Asians (Chinese) always drink warm or hot water/tea

Wish you could eat like the French – lots of oil, cheeses, creams, wines and still be slim and healthy? Well you can, you just need to …..eat like the French!!!

This is taken from an article written some time ago. It’s quite detailed, so I’ve highlighted main points if you just want to scan.

The evening meal – a key to super energy, good sleep and weight loss … or to sickness and suffering

Food that we do not digest by the time we go to bed sows the seeds of sickness and disease.

If there was a pill that could give us up to 50% more energy, significantly reduce our risk of chronic disease and almost guarantee a healthy weight for the rest of our life, many people would probably pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for it. Ironically, 90 – 95% of us (Westerners) do something each and every day that, if changed, could deliver all the above benefits and more. It doesn’t take any more time out of one’s day, actually saves money, and is a hallmark of the healthiest, longest living people throughout time. It is the most basic, simple, yet rarely followed wisdom of ‘eating light at night’.