Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Great Sleep Experiment: Day 3

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If you want to know why I'm up at 5am, you should click here.

I'm feeling much better today already. Wake up was a breeze after I jumped straight in the shower (yesterday I waited and did stuff in my pyjamas - bad move. I think up, showered, dressed ASAP is the way forward).

Speaking of showers, I bought a new shower head off amazon. It's supposed to soften the water and remove some of the chlorine and rubbish that the water supplier adds. If you want to know why I'd be keen to get rid of that you should read my posts on Thyroid dysfunction.

I haven't chemically tested the water so I can't tell you whether all the claims are true, but it certainly feels different. I'm sure you're probably not supposed to do this (it's not advertised as safe for drinking!) but I tasted some and it even tastes different. Bedford has extremely hard water, and moving here from Sedbergh, where the water is very soft, was a bit of a shock. My soap is finally foaming again nicely and if nothing else it's improved our water pressure immensely. The problem with that being that our shower handle is stuck at a 45 degree angle and now with all that pressure it sprays out the end of the bath :-/

Home grown garden rosemary mingling  with cool peppermint and spearmint  leaves makes for a very awakening combination of herbs and mint.
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I'm also diffusing rosemary and mint oils this morning. They go surprisingly well together and are both great mental stimulants. The 1,8 cineole (a naturally occurring chemical) in rosemary is known to get into the bloodstream via smelling and inhibits enzymes (acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase) which break down acetylcholine, a principal neurotransmitter in the brain. It's like a natural version of the most commonly prescribed Alzheimer's drugs.[1,2]

We're going skiing today with our home ed co-op so we're going to be out all day. People often ask me how you do a 'real food' packed lunch. The answer for us is a bit of a compromise. My children end up eating a lot more fruit than I'd let them at home, just because it's so conveniently packaged by nature. I also baked the civilised caveman's banana bread for us to take today. I leave out the spices though and throw in some cocoa nibs. It's really good with a slathering of butter and very filling.

That's all for today. Thank for reading.

1. Jimbo D, Kimura Y, Taniguchi M et al 2009 Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Psychogeriatrics 9:173-179
2. Orhan I, Aslan S, Kartal M et al 2008 Inhibitory effect of Turkish Rosmarinus officinalis L. on acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase enzymes. Food Chemistry 108:663-668

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Great Sleep Experiment: Day two

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I wish I drank coffee. Why does it have to smell so good but taste so bad?

Day two is definitely harder than day one. I'm so tired. I keep reminding myself that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but I have no idea how long it takes to feel better. When Dr Bergman said 'do whatever it takes to stay awake' I somehow didn't imagine I'd need to. Weird, huh?

To be honest, last night was quite frustrating. I was tired at about 9pm, but by 10:30pm when I actually wanted to go to sleep my body got all jazzed up and decided to stay awake again :-/

I've drunk lots of water this morning to help wake me up, but it's not really hitting the spot.

Time for a new tactic, so I made myself a new blend of oils because I was falling asleep before 6am and needed to wake up!

10 drops of citrus fresh oil
5 drops of basil oil
5 drops of black pepper
8ml of fractioned coconut oil

A quick spray and I felt a little better, but I do smell quite herb-y.
It's growing on me though.

You can purchase oils here, sign up for a wholesale account to get 24% off with no commitments.

If you have no idea why I'd be up at 5 am and trying to keep myself up in the evenings, you can read all about it here. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Great Sleep Experiment: Day One and Podcasts

So it's 5am and I'm awake. So far, so good. (If you want to know why I'm up at that this hour, click here) I woke up a few times in the night, but so long as I don't take any naps today I don't expect that will be true tomorrow. Even my dog is still fast asleep and the house is so quiet and peaceful, I already feel good about this. 

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Turning screens off early in the day means no more catching up on admin/accounts in the evening once my kids are in bed, so I suppose I'll have to do that in the mornings from now on - which is fine because this is actually a really good quiet time with no interruptions.

So what will I do in the evenings?

Here are some ideas I came up with to make sure that the TV does not get switched on:

  • Reading
  • Crochet/knit/sew... be creative
  • Sew and mend clothes (there's always little button repairs etc... waiting)
  • Journal
  • DIY projects
  • Cooking/baking for tomorrow
  • Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Take a loooong hot bath :-)
A lot of these are chores and things I normally try to do with the kids around. Having extra admin time in the morning means that hopefully I've gained a few hours, so this stuff can wait until the evening. This should give me more time play with my kids. 

They are also things I'd normally do whilst listening to a lecture or a TEDtalk or something on youTube, so I'm going to create a huge list of podcasts for my iPod to listen to instead. 

Here are some ideas if you are struggling for something to listen to:

Family Resources
Focus on the Family - Daily broadcasts with Jim Daly and John Fuller. They have fantastic guests and handle a broad range of difficult topics sensitively. I've been listening to these shows for years and they are great. They also have Focus on Marriage and Focus on Parenting. 

FamilyLife Today -  a half hour chat show of practical tools that address issues surrounding families. It's presented by Dennis Rainey and Bob Lupine and it's always encouraging.  

Health from new medical break-throughs to smart daily health habits, doctors and researchers share their discoveries about well-being.

Science and Medicine scientists, researchers and doctors from all over the world share their discoveries and visions.

Education Some of the world's best educators, researchers and community leaders share their views on topics like "what the future of education should look like" and "how brain's learn".

Christian Teaching
Kings Arms Church - this is my church. I don't always get to go so catching up on the podcast is great. Regular speakers include Simon Holley, Paul Johnson and Phil Wilthew.

The Village Church - I love listening to the village church podcasts, although my husband finds them a little 'shouty'. It's still great Bible exegesis most weeks and really worth a listen. Regular speaker is Matt Chandler. 

66/40 -  Brilliant, in depth, Bible Study from the Koinonia institute.

Sisterhood - Podcast with Bobbie Houston from Hillsong church. A podcast for everyday women who desire to make a difference. 

Worship Central - seminars from conferences, but also a regular monthly interviews and recordings. 

For the Kids
Adventures in Odyssey - Fun radio plays based at 'Whit's End'. My kids love these shows. 

Paws & Tales - Helping children learn life lessons in a fun and memorable way. 

Family Theater Podcast - Old time family radio shows.

Just for Fun
Home Front - My sister recommended this to me and Elisha and I started listening yesterday. It's pretty good so far. Part of the BBC WWI series it's a historical radio play. 

The Archers - I haven't quite brought myself to listen to this yet. Christine tells me it's amazing. I'm skeptical  but I might give it a try. 

BBC 3 Jazz Library - Alyn Shipton presents a walk through great jazz artists and recordings, intersperse with interviews with the artists. It's really great relaxing evening listening.

The Great Sleep Experiment: 21 days

If you read my last two posts about thyroid and adrenal health, you'll know that I LOVE Dr Bergman's YouTube channel right now. He's an amazing chiropractor with some fantastic videos available for free online.

The one he did on "Deep Sleep" is amazing and it's below if you want to watch the full thing. I would suggest that if you are currently using sleeping pills, I think you really should. 

I don't currently use any sleep aids, but I was surprised to learn some helpful stuff about my sleep patterns which may be causing my adrenals to work harder than than should be. Inadequate sleep affects hormone levels. But what is inadequate?

For example, how much sleep do you think the average person needs? Seven and a half to nine hours? That's the myth that we are all told, but the healthiest people actually only sleep five to six hours a day. Sickness and disease, even death rates increase for every extra hour of sleep you take. What???!!!

Less sleep is better?

Did you know that insomniacs, on average, live longer?

When I had ME I used to sleep LOADS. And I always needed more. I put this down to the fact that I was really sick, but I never got good sleep. I could spend all day in bed, but still not feel like I'd slept well. Tossing and turning all night. It was horrible.

I also went through a phase after starting GAPS where I was waking up really early and I felt great. I had so much more energy, despite sleeping less, but it was great.  I know it's anecdotal, but actually after a little more research it would seem that there was a good reason I felt so good.

Dr Bergman claims that you can cure insomnia with his sleep training program. I'm going to give it a shot, and so are a few of my friends. If you want to join us, that would be fun. Here are the rules:

1. You must sleep between 11pm and 1am.
This is the only time that your gall bladder secretes. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, what time zone you are in, your gall bladder will secrete between 11pm and 1am. I don't know the science behind it, but something to do with circadian rhythms. If someone wants to look that up and enlighten me, that would be great, but otherwise I'm happy to take it at face value.
This is important because you need the gall bladders enzymes to break down fats into fatty acids so that you can rebuild tissue. This is also when your gut will produce serotonin. Without serotonin you get depression and anxiety.
When you interrupt sleep, you interrupt the bodies cycle for repairing itself.
Make sure you plan to be asleep by 11pm. This probbaly means going to bed strictly at 10:30pm.

2. Restrict your sleep.
Seriously. The cure for insomnia is actually less sleep. If you restrict your sleep to six hours per night, your body very quickly learns to make the most of them instead of tossing and turning.

3. Routine
You're going to go to bed and wake up at the same time EVERY DAY for 21 days. No exceptions. This is sleep training and it takes 21 days to build the habit. In bed at 10:30pm, asleep at 11pm alarms set for 5am. No snoozing. No sleeping in "because it's Sunday".
Wake up, get up. If you are struggling with staying awake, get a really bright, full spectrum, daylight bulb for a lamp and sit in front of it whilst you brush your teeth.
Think about it, you are going to be super productive with those extra hours early in the morning before your kids wake up...

4. No sneaky naps
I don't care how tired you are. Suck it up. I don't care if you only got 20 minutes of sleep - you won't be going to sleep again until 10:30pm. When you do, your body will be grateful and will sleep straight away. This only happens if you don't let it sleep at other times.

5. Use the bed for sleep only
No reading in bed (you can read in the living room just fine) no craft projects laid out, no TV. Your body needs to associate bed with sleep.

sleep6. You sleep in the dark
Come on, you're a grown up. You can handle this. My kids cried about sleeping in the dark (after watching this video I took their night lights away) but guess what? They were asleep within 10 minutes of me doing it. Up until now they've been reading in the beds for hours or playing with teddies. After one night my son woke up and told me how much better he slept and how great he felt. My bedroom doesn't get pitch dark (we don't have blackout curtains and there are street lamps outside) so I bought a sleep mask. Best 85p you will ever spend. If you'd like a fancier one there are silk ones for £12. This also stops you staring at your clock.

7. Limit "screen time" before bed
Screens flicker. You can't detect it with your naked eye, but your brain does. It creates a beta wave hypnosis. No iPad, no TV, no computer before bed. You need a few hours break from the screen. That's okay though, because now you are getting up at five you don't need to work late at night anymore.

8. Journal or Brain Dump
You have to journal. It doesn't have to be important or spiritual, you don't need a fancy notebook (although I do love fancy stationary) it can just be a list of thoughts that pop into your head. When you write something down your brain decides it doesn't need to remember that for you any more and it releases stress on your subconscious. In those screen free hours before bed, try and spend 15 to 20 minutes writing.

9. No late night snacking
Particularly sugar or grains if you eat them. A snack before bed is a bad idea. We want your gut free for producing serotonin, not trying to digest.

10. No drinking for 2 hours before bed
I'm a massive advocate of getting enough water, but you need to stop drinking for two hours before bed. Otherwise your bladder is going to wake you up.

11. Exercise
About 3-5 hours before you go to bed, do some exercise. Doesn't have to be loads, just a 15 minute walk around the block is fine.

I'll let you know how it all goes in about a month. If you fancy joining me, let me know in the comments, on twitter or facebook. It's always easier with a little support. :-)

Monday, 23 February 2015

What you need to know about your thyroid PART TWO

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If you missed part one - click here.

So, I'm on to calming my adrenals. How do I do that?
Well, firstly I need to find out what is stressing my body out and try to reduce that. I say reduce because your body needs a healthy amount of stress. If you spend too long in space with no gravity your bones start to deteriorate. They need weight bearing exercise to build strength. That doesn't mean you smash them to make the stronger. Your adrenals are going to work in the same way. We want healthy stress levels. i.e. low level stress that is intermittent - not continued for long periods of time.

For me this is going to mean trying to get to bed earlier. I'm fairly confident my body needs more sleep. Our job makes that more difficult as Matt or I has to stay up late to check all the boys are in bed and lock up, but we could take turns.

I'm going to start actively meditating/praying. Too much of my 'quiet times' are spent researching or studying. I love to study God's word, but my body also needs rest without mental exertion. I want to commit to trying to relax and meditate/pray for at least 50% of my quiet times rather than actively praying/studying in the way that I have been.

I'm also going to stick to my 'do it now' or 'first and fast' principle. It's how I work best. It's not for everyone and I know my husband finds it frustrating when I flit from task to task, but when he tells me something can wait, it hangs over me in the back of my mind creating low level stress. If it takes me two minutes to answer an email, I'd rather lose two minutes answering it than notice it and plan two minutes to do it later in the week and be thinking about it all that time. I've been spending too much time procrastinating tasks that could easily be accomplished if I just got on with it.

I'm going to supplement iodine, to make sure that I have enough. I tried adding chlorella to my morning smoothie but it made me want to vomit. You might have more luck, but painting is an easy way to check you levels and supplement as necessary. Simply paint on some iodine in a circle the size of 10p piece and then watch it for 24 hours. If it disappears, you are deficient. The faster it goes, the worse your condition. Keep painting it on until it improves.

I also strongly suspect that I have far too much oestrogen, from a hormone therapy I have been on since my youngest was born. I've made an appointment to see my GP about stopping it. I'm also going to be supporting my adrenals in producing progesterone with progessance oil from Young Living as soon as it comes back into stock.

I'm also using 'peace and calming' and 'stress away' oils regularly by diffusing them. You can order oils from me, on the young living website or become a distributor to get discounts for yourself.

I'm confident that one of the main causes of inflammation in the body is sugar and gluten. Since we have been on GAPS I don't eat either of these things, but if you do and you are having problems you should consider cutting them out. One of the main premises of the GAPS diet is that you are suffering from 'leaky gut syndrome'. Tiny tears in the gut lining are letting small particles of food into the blood stream undigested and the body recognises them as pathogens. This leads to an immune response. The body thinks it's under attack. A stress response.

Where this becomes really dangerous, if your body develops an immune response to gluten and casein, is that the proteins in the thyroid look really similar to those two proteins, so the body can begin to attack the thyroid tissue leading to hashimoto's thyroiditis. Don't believe the body would attack a similar looking protein? Then why do we produce vaccinations? They are designed to 'teach' the immune system what to look for. It's the same principle.

Another major cause of inflammation is synthetic iron supplements. Don't take mutlivitamin supplements, they are full of it! Also any bread, cereals, juice etc... that claim to be 'fortified' are full of synthetic iron. It builds up in your system and becomes an endocrine disruptor. If you need more iron, try to get it from your diet. Liver is an excellent source and it's cheap. If you can't handle eating organ meats, get it in pill form - just make sure it's natural, not synthetic.

Hopefully what you can see is that the long and miserable list of symptoms of hypothyroid are an intelligent bodies response to physical, chemical and emotional stress. Our body is trying to tell us something. We just need to work out what it is. Your journey will look different to mine, but with a little thought and determination, you can probably fix your problem without the need for a lifetime of prescription drugs, and if you need help or ideas, I'm happy to brainstorm with you.
image taken from Dr Bergman's video

What You Need to Know About Your Thyroid PART ONE

I was recently doing some research for a few friends regarding Adrenal Fatigue and Thyroid problems like Hashimoto's and I was introduced to a site called 'Stop The Thyroid Madness'. Through reading the symptom list I was kind of shocked to realise I probably had a low functioning thyroid. So I bought a thermometer and started testing my base body temperature first thing in the morning to check my metabolic rate. Bad news, it was 96.44f (healthy is 97.8-98.2f).

It seemed like kind of a coincidence, that I should be researching a condition for a friend and then find out I too had it. The NHS reckon that only 15 out of every 1,000 women suffer with it, but a little more research tells you a whole lot. It turns out your doctors test for adrenal fatigue won't diagnose you until you are 90% non-functioning, so there are a whole lot of people less than healthy not being diagnosed. The tests for thyroid function are equally bad.

There are some doctors in America who are claiming that up to 80% of women are affected by some kind of thyroid dysfunction. So, it would appear to be more common than I first thought, and not so much of a coincidence that mine might not be functioning perfectly.

Stop the Thyroid Madness make a great case for Natural Dessiccated Thyroid over synthetic Thyroxine drugs, but where I don't feel they go far enough is looking at the body holistically, as one integrated system. Abnormally functioning thyroid isn't a diagnosis. It's a symptom. 

Dr Bergman illustrates this brilliantly if you have time to watch his video, if not I shall try to summarise:

I'll try to keep it brief, but if you've never studied anatomy and physiology and you don't know a couple of the words, just throw them into google. :-)

The nervous system senses everything that is happening in the body, and your hypothalamus is telling you what state your body is in. It senses T4  (and other things) and creates Thyroid Releasing Hormone. The pituitary gland picks this up and produces TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. This is what tells the Thyroid to do it's thing. So it's really the hypothalamus that is starting this chain reaction (it does a lot more than that, but for this scenario that's all you need to know). The hypothalamus is sensing how much thyroid hormone is anywhere in the body through the nervous system and then telling the thyroid how to respond, via the pituitary.

So then the thyroid starts producing it's hormones and, in theory, the hypothalamus senses that and stops sending TRH, which tells the pituitary to stop sending TSH.

So when you go to a Dr, they will check your blood for T3 and T4 (which is what the thyroid secretes) and TSH which the pituitary secretes.

So assuming the TSH is high (that's the brain screaming at the thyroid to do something) but the T3 and T4 are low - that's called a low functioning thyroid. If the brain is producing very little TSH, but you have a tonne of T3 and T4, that's called a hyper or over active thyroid.

Now we have a separate metabolic response to add in, which is to do with your adrenals. Your thyroid regulates healthy cell production, your adrenals regulate stressed cell production. When you are stressed, the hypothalamus releases corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH), which tells the pituitary to stimulate the adrenals to release cortisol, which suppresses TSH.

Cortisol is the greatest anti-inflammatory your body knows. If you just ran a marathon, you're going to have tissue damage. Your body will release it's best anti-inflammatory and that's cortisol.

Now what about fast food? Sugar? Hydrolysed vegetable oils? All of the above would create a systemic inflammatory response - tissue damage. But that's fine, your body can repair it. How? With cortisol. What does that do to the thyroid? Decreases it.

So when we see symptoms of hypothyroid or low functioning thyroid, surely the first question should be what else is wrong? What does the rest of your lifestyle look like? Is there anywhere else in the body that could be struggling with inflammation? What could be causing that? Are you under excessive stress? Do you have any injuries?

Thyroid produces a bunch of stuff, but for the purposes of today we are only going to look at T3 and T4. "T" stands for thyroid, "3" stands for three molecules of Iodine. Can you guess what T4 stands for? Could it be that iodine deficiency is the reason for some peoples low functioning thyroids? I know I personally don't eat a lot of sea vegetables, but organic raw yoghurt and organic raw cheese are also good sources. You can check for iodine deficiency by painting iodine solution onto your skin and watching it for 24 hours. [Iodine test].

Chlorine, flourine (flouride) and bromine are all halides,  like iodine, and these can bind to your iodine receptors making it impossible to use the iodine that is present. So even if you have lots of iodine, your thyroid might not be able to make hormones if it can't receive it. In fact, up until the 1970s, fluoride was prescribed by doctors for slowing down and over active thyroid. The recommended does was 2-3 mg. If you drink 12oz of coke and eat 6oz of wheat-based cereal you've already had 233% of that dose! Now we have it in every toothpaste, mouth wash and in some areas added to the tap water. In Bedford we have chlorine added. So we drink it, bathe in it, even if we don't go to a swimming pool. Maybe that's why your thyroid is under performing.

T4 is 20x more plentiful in the body, but the liver, intestines, kidneys, and lungs can convert it into T3 which is way more powerful. Maybe people with hypothyroid symptoms just have a conversion problem. If you thyroid is 'functioning fine' it's possibly a conversion problem. How are your liver, intestines, kidneys and lungs doing?

Dietary selenium is essential for T3 production - is this why a lot of thyroid patients crave salt?

In fact, if you look at the graph above, this shows you on the red line the dietary guidelines for the American Heart Association (the British Heart Foundation is slightly better with recommending 2.3g/d) but it turns out the more sodium (that's salt) you have going along horizontally on this graph, the less heart attacks and deaths you have. So eating about four times the amount of salt recommended you have about half the death rate. And this is SODIUM in take. We aren't even talking about good, real salt that contains all the trace minerals your body needs!

Another interesting point to take into account when looking at labs is how T3 and T4 are carried. The transport protein that they bind to also, binds to oestrogen. So if you are high in oestrogen this would affect your lab results. Why would you be high in oestrogen? Well, you could be menstruating, going through menopause, taking a contraceptive pill or even just eating a lots of foods with pesticides on them. Most pesticides we use on farms today are oestrogen based.

Blood pressure medications and steroids also block the thyroid binding globulins, so they are going to mess up your lab results. Poly unsaturated fats block thyroid horomone secretions, aspirin therapy contributes to hypothyroid.

image source
We need to think of thyroid and adrenals like a pair of scales. When we are under physical, chemical or emotional stress the thyroid function decreases and the adrenal functions are up high. Ever noticed how when you hit your thumb with a hammer it really hurts, then it eases off, then you start to notice it again? That's because your body produces a pain relief 40x stronger than heroin. But your body can't produce these endorphins on a consistent level - it has to build up the raw materials and then produce the proteins, so your pain waxes and wanes.

Same thing is going to happen with our balancing scales. When you respond to physical, chemical or emotional stress, the thyroid function goes down and the adrenals function increases. When that happens you get an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and stress hormones. You get a decrease in blood supply to the gut, immune system cell regeneration and TSH. Your body doesn't consider these responses to be vital in the short term, and quite rightly. If you were being chased by a tiger you would probably prefer to use your energy for fight or flight rather than digestion! But long term a slow metabolism, a weakened immune system and slow cell regeneration are going to cause problems. If we shut down blood supply to the gut we aren't going to be producing much serotonin, so long term adrenal fatigue is going to lead to depression, anxiety and more stress.

How many people are diagnosed with 'high cholesterol'? It's a symptom, not a disease. Cholesterol is the precursor to every hormone made in the adrenals. When your body is stressed it needs to produce cortisol, what does the body use to produce cortisol? Cholesterol. If your body is creating cholesterol it's because you need it. Rather than popping a statin to artificially lower it, how about we try and find out what your body needs it for?

But the stress response, when you are in this adrenal dominant state, also lowers your TSH and thyroid function. So you are diagnosed with a low functioning thyroid, given pills to increase your hormones, but they aren't the hormones your body wants right now. It's stressed! Find out what the stress is and fix that. Your body isn't stupid. It's choosing this response for a reason.

The adrenals are the body's pharmacy. They produce every mineralocorticoid, glucocorticoid and sex hormone your body needs. They produce testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone (did you know progesterone protects your body from cancer?); they produce interferon - that's the most powerful anti-cancer drug known, and your body produces nearly $40,000 worth in your adrenals!

Unfortunately 90% of your adrenal cortex has to be destroyed before it would show any damage on a blood test.

Cortisol is the greatest anti-inflammatory known, but it is to keep you alive short term. Long term, this will kill you.

So, if this is all a balancing act between thyroid and adrenals, and my thyroid is functioning low, I need to calm my adrenals down and my thyroid function will improve.

That's part one.
But it's getting late, so part two will have to wait. I'll post it soon, I promise.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Chocolate Making for Valentines Day

It's nearly Valentines day and Matt has been asking what I want to do. The thing is, he asked me if I wanted to go somewhere for a meal, whilst we were eating the most amazing Lamb Satay that he had just prepared and we were waiting for a Key lime pie (one day I'll share the recipe - if you're lucky) to set up in the fridge. It's hard to imagine that eating out would be better than eating in when you're in that situation.

But he wants to do something to mark the occasion, and I think that's really nice, so I've come up with a plan.

I love chocolate.
Matt loves chocolate.
Let's do a chocolate making master class.

I know what you're thinking - I'm always going on about avoiding refined sugar and vegetable oils and processed foods. BUT, chocolate is actually a superfood. Honestly, it contains tonnes of magnesium, chromium and iron (which most people are deficient in) and it's really high in vitamin C and healthy fats. It's also the only food known to man that contains anandamide, our body's natural "bliss" chemical.

You've probably guessed I'm not talking about the typical chocolate that will be mass marketed to you over the next week for Valentines day.

Luckily, you too can sign up for a healthy chocolate making master class with Valerie Kausen in how to make really amazing raw, organic, fair trade chocolate that doesn't cost a fortune, unlike the Ombar's we currently love.

So if you're looking for a healthy, fun and romantic activity to do with your partner, why not sign up and learn to make chocolate together? The course is available here and you can buy cocoa butter, raw cacao powder and raw honey by clicking on the pictures below:



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