Why Reduce Sugar Intake?


Sugar tax is being introduced, not only in Ireland but across Europe.  Some may look at this as just another form of taxation and an interference in our freedom of choice by the governing bodies at home and in Europe, but I would urge you not to take this perspective.  If you are interested in your health and your ability to age without developing chronic diseases then I would encourage you to take this opportunity to evaluate your sugar intake and reduce it.  While high sugar intake is linked to overweight, obesity and dental decay the chronic diseases that emanate from these conditions include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and other minor conditions.  What is sometimes overlooked and under-appreciated is the negative role high sugar intake plays in digestive health, immune function, mental health, energy levels, ability to cope with stress and hormonal health to name but a few.  Therefore, any eating regime aimed at improving your health will encourage the reduction of sugar.

Have you ever played pass the parcel as a child? A present is wrapped in layers and layers of paper and while music is started and stopped the layers of paper are unwrapped until you eventually get to the present.  Nature has wrapped ‘intrinsic’ sugars into perfect parcels of whole fruits and vegetables.  When eaten in this form it takes time for these parcels of whole fruits and vegetables to be digested so the presence of sugar gets absorbed into the body slowly.  Remember this parcel of sugar is a present from nature as it provides one of our main energy sources for running our mind and body.  Contrast this with a parent coming along and dumping a truck load of unwrapped gifts into the child’s party, while it might sound fun the ensuing madness would be chaotic. This is akin to the madness that occurs in our body when we consume foods with substantial amounts of ‘added’ and ‘free’ sugar.  It is both an issue of the amount of these sugars in the food and the amount of these foods that we eat. ‘Added’   sugars are ones the manufacturer or cook adds to foods, and 'free sugars' are ones that are naturally present but they have been ‘unwrapped’ from their parcel e.g. fruit juices, fruit juice concentrates and syrups or nature has not ‘wrapped’ them up e.g. honey.  So, remember that intrinsic sugars found in whole fresh fruit and vegetables are not linked to any adverse health effects, quite the opposite they are of major benefit to your health.

My recommendation as always is to be your own experimenter.  Reduce your sugar intake and track what improvements occur but be warned the healing ability of your body is immense and minor changes can start to bring about incredible improvements across a broad range of your well-being.  For example, in my workshop on 'Improve Your Child's Health' I discuss the role sugar plays in your child's learning ability, mood and behaviour.  Adults often report increased energy that is stable throughout the day.  Females often report improvements to menstrual cycles, PMS and overall hormonal health.  Headaches can disappear as if by magic and mental clarity and mood can improve.      

So, whether you are overweight or not, whether you have or have not got a chronic illness, I would encourage you to check your food labels for the ".... of which sugars" figure and start making choices with lower sugar amounts.  Swap processed foods for whole foods and dust off your home baking skills for home treats remembering to cut down on the sugar amount recommended in the recipe.

If you are struggling and want more help, why not check out my 'Reduce Your Sugar Intake' workshop.  See my website www.moyashealthpractice.com or check Facebook or Twitter. 


The Journey Of Recovery Takes Time and Patience

Fire cools.

Water seeks its own level.

                                365 Tao: Daily Meditations (Deng, Ming-Dao)


The above quote is a nice reminder to us that nature balances itself out.  After the rain, the earth and the sun soak up the rain-water but after a wild fire, nature takes longer to recover and flourish once more.  So too with our own health.  We do not stop to think of the natural balancing elements of healing taking place when we cut ourselves.  We rarely acknowledge or appreciate the complexity of the unseen healing processes taking place beneath the surface of our skin.  From minor scrapes and bruises to the task of recovering from an illness that has stopped our life in its everyday routine, the amount of healing needed will require varying degrees of patience, love and perseverance both from ourselves and those close to us.  To those of you who are coping with a long-term illness, to those of you who feel trapped in a maze of ‘illness’ trying to find their way out, to those of you caught in the stop-start phases of healing, and to those of you standing on the sideline offering words of encouragement, the following are some additional words of encouragement that I hope may be of help.

The Dance of Recovery:

Keep yourself from being disheartened by remembering that recovery can be a dance where there can be a mixture of moving forward as well as stepping back or sideways.  So long as your overall recovery is progressing take heart that you are heading in the right direction.

Change the Story:

Constantly repeating the story of your health crash keeps you trapped in the mindset of illness, symptoms and your various problems.  By consciously choosing to change the story you can help yourself stay focused on your recovery path.  Ditch the past stories of what happened, it is bad enough that it happened once without reliving it over and over again by repeating the story in your head.  Take your life on a moment by moment basis, losing judgements, celebrating every moment of life, loving yourself and creating a better you.

Focus on Solutions:

It is very easy when you are not well for all your focus, time and energy to be taken up with treatment, symptoms, medical appointments and wondering how this is all going to work out and even dare I say ‘dooms day scenarios’.  What I would like to encourage you to do is as often as possible during the day switch your attention to activities that make you laugh, feel at peace, give you comfort and bring enjoyment back into your life.  This can be done even if you are confined to a bed or chair through any number of activities such as watching comedies, reading or listening to a book, contemplating the clouds passing by, admiring flowers, chatting to family and friends with a no bad news or medical talk rule, playing with small children, getting outdoors to nature, walking in the woods, re-examining your spiritual beliefs, having a cuddle or a hug with a loved one, taking up a project that you always wanted to do, the possibilities are endless.  Living life moment by moment and actively seeking to make as many of these moments happy may have a greater influence on empowering yourself towards creative solutions, wellness and healing that you have thought possible.

During Bad Moments Stay Present:

Ditch ‘all or nothing’ thinking when you hit the bumps on the road to recovery.  Listen to yourself and notice if you are projecting symptoms into doom and gloom future scenarios.  Bring yourself back to the present moment and mindfully remind yourself that you create your own future with your thoughts. Focus on your breathing or admire nature as a means of re-establishing presence. 

Wishing you health and happiness


What's in a name - Menopause?


What name cannot be used when it is meant to be used?

Menopause - because it is the name for the event of your last egg leaving your ovaries and therefore the end of menstrual periods…forever!  However, you don't know that your periods have stopped permanently for some months and even if a blood test confirms that you are menopausal, for fertility reasons you should wait for one year of no periods if you are over 50 and two years of no periods if you are younger than 50 at which point you are technically post-menopausal.  

What name has 3 prefixes that all women should know about?

Menopause - because every woman should know about pre-menopause, peri-menopause and post-menopause.  In pre-menopause, menstrual periods are still regular but the first signs of declining hormone levels may begin to appear.  In the peri-menopause phase changes become more noticeable even though menstruation will still be occurring your menstrual cycle length may be changing and becoming erratic along with changes to the amount and duration of bleeding.  For some women symptoms can appear and intensify as hormone levels continue to decline during this phase. Finally, in the post-menopause phase menstrual periods have stopped and the body should be getting accustomed to the lower hormone levels…in theory!!

What name is a natural process and NOT a disease?

Menopause – this is NOT a deficiency disease but a natural progression from the reproductive stage of life to the post reproductive years of the rest of your life.

What do some women sail through while other women end up feeling like they are falling apart?

Menopause - because the menopause can appear to cause an extensive list of symptoms for some women while others sail through with no issues.  The 'Perfect Storm' that occurs for some women may have influences other than declining hormone levels like nutrition status, stress levels, lifestyle, relationships, happiness, general health, fitness and mental health so a broader look at your health status would provide greater benefits. 

What name signifies the end of one era and the beginning of a new era?

Menopause - because it is the definite end to child bearing years and the start of a new era.  What that new era heralds for every woman is different but it is worth thinking about and giving your life and attitudes a bit of a makeover.  Also worth examining is your mental attitude to the menopause, for example does it signify old age to you or the opportunity and freedom for a whole host of new hobbies, life goals, plans and increasing personal time?

Check out Moya's Workshop on "Menopause: Natural Medicine Approach" by going to the Talks & Workshop section of her website www.moyashealthpractice.com.  This workshop will be hosted at various locations and dates starting in Carrickmacross on 9th & 16th May, 2017. Please enquire if you would like the Workshop delivered to a Women's group.