The power of green drinks

Lots of people ask me how they can simply, and quickly, learn to adopt healthier eating habits. Apart from the obvious things, like including more fresh, organic fruit and vegetables in the diet, it is also worth considering getting into green smoothies as an easy way to up your intake of the essential nutrients for your body. We drink a green smoothie everyday – even my little 10 month old son loves them. They are tasty and much better than taking a multi-vitamin supplement because you get the nutrients in a food-based form, which is easier for the body to assimilate.

This is what we put in them

  • 1 tsp (per person) of alkalising supergreen powders like barley and wheat grass, spirulina and chlorella. You can get a good blend of them from Superfood Direct
  • 1 tsp of a good blend of Essential Oils like Udo’s or Solgar’s Omega Advanced
  • 5 drops of liquid cell food, which is a liquid mineral complex that helps detoxify the body and balance ph – Cellfood
  • 1 glass of organic rice milk or almond milk or coconut water (you can mix with water as well)
  • 1/2 a banana or avocado (optional) adds a nice creamy consistency

All you have to do is put all the ingredients in a blender and whiz it up – put in a glass and drink it. You can get most of these ingredients in a good health food shop, or order the online. Hope you like it!


Aspartame is bad for you!

More evidence about why this horrible substance is so bad for you! Try and cut out all foods with artificial sweeteners if you can. In an 11-year study by scientists at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, there was a strong positive correlation found between degeneration of kidney function and consumption of aspartame-containing diet soda.

New Year – Time for a cleanse?

Are you feeling tired and sluggish after the festive holiday excesses and want to start the New Year full of energy, vitality and positive ideas? Eating and drinking too much, forgetting about exercise and partying to excess can mean you return from holiday feeling like you need another one! If this sounds like you, why not consider a detox?

The word “detox” has become popular in recent years, but many people are confused as to what it really means.  In actual fact, our bodies are in a continual state of detoxification and we should ideally be able to detoxify everything entering our systems in a healthy way.  However, eating poor quality processed foods, drinking too much alcohol, smoking too many cigarettes and exposing our bodies to harmful environmental chemicals and stress contribute to an overload of toxins that can make us feel listless, gain weight, or even lead to disease. Engaging in a detox can help restore the body and mind to better health and wellbeing. There are many ways to detox and here we outline two different options to help you get back on track to feeling great!

Healthy Eating – A One-Week Detox

Undertaking this one-week healthy eating plan involves cutting out several of the “baddies” like alcohol, caffeine, white sugar and cigarettes and introducing more whole foods into your diet.  It’s a great way to restore energy and health. As well as changing your diet you may also want to treat yourself to a massage to help unwind.  It’s also a good idea to get a colonic at the end of the week if you have the time and inclination. And don’t go out and eat a slap up meal to celebrate at the end!  Just let your body back into its ‘normal’ routine gently, if you choose to go back that is!

Every day for one week try doing the following:

  • Avoid all alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, sugar, processed food, microwaved food, refined wheat products like muffins, cakes, white bread and cookies, dairy products and red meat. Instead introduce more fresh fruit and raw or lightly steamed vegetables, whole grains like brown rice, millet and quinoa and pulses like lentils and chick peas.
  • Drink the juice of one lemon mixed with warm water first thing in the morning.  This will help to detoxify the liver and hydrate and alkalize the body.
  • One to two times per day drink 1 tsp. of green superfoods such as Spirulina, Barley Grass, Chlorella or Kiki’s Living Superfoods mixed with water – these supergreens help to alkalize the body, cleanse the blood and provide essential minerals and vitamins.
  • Take at least one glass of freshly squeezed organic juice.  Try to avoid straight fruit juices and concentrate more on veggies like cucumber, carrot, celery, spinach, beetroot, lettuce, and fennel with only a small amount of green apple or other not-so-sweet fruits.
  • Drink plenty of water (at least 2 litres a day) and lots of herbal teas – fennel, dandelion and nettle are especially good for detoxing.
  • Snack on vegetables (e.g. carrot and celery sticks), fruit, non-roasted/salted nuts and seeds and stay off the cakes and biscuits!
  • Eat your main meal at lunchtime, and eat a light supper of vegetable soup or salads (add a light grain such as quinoa or brown rice if you get too hungry). Don’t eat too late at night.
  • Take some exercise every day.
  • Try setting your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier and take this time to relax and meditate when you wake up – sit in a comfortable position, focus on the breath and clear the mind (You can also do this in the evening if you prefer.) If you have more time you can do a couple of simple stretches to warm up the body and relax the mind.
  • Try getting to bed by 10 p.m. and get lots of sleep.

You might not feel that great during the initial phase of any type of detox.  The release of long-stored toxins can initially cause headaches, muscle aches, and tiredness, but by the end of the week you should be feeling great.  In fact, you might just feel so good that you won’t want to go back to your old way of eating!

 Juice Fasting – A Deeper Cleanse

If you want to go for deeper and longer-lasting health benefits, then a juice fast is a great way to detoxify the body.  The effects of a good fast can be remarkable: substantially more energy and vitality, improved digestion and elimination, weight loss and a glowing complexion.  Most fasting programs combine certain herbs and fibre supplements together with enemas or colonics in order to deeply cleanse the intestinal tract of debris and old undigested material. This method can seem extreme to some, but fasting has been a part of many different religious traditions throughout the centuries.  In this way, the body is given a much-needed break from the digestion of food and is able to work to deeply cleanse the liver, kidneys and intestines instead.

It’s important to take into consideration your constitution when deciding whether or not to fast.  If you are severely underweight, have strong addictions, or are on medication, fasting may not be for you. But most  people can tolerate a 7 day abstention from food with minimal adverse reactions and plenty of positive and long term mental and physical benefits. Check with your doctor or a nutritional adviser before embarking on such a program alone, or better yet, come to one of our Jiva Healing retreats where you can undertake the fast with the support of professional nutritional advisers. Our supervised fast involves drinking fresh juices, soups, delicious coconuts (that is, if you make it to our upcoming retreat in Goa in March where coconuts grow everywhere!), and super green drinks, so you’ll still be taking in lots of important nutrients, although all in liquid form. For more information on how to undertake a juice fast safely you can contact us at, or visit our website








Getting off the Rollercoaster: Balancing Blood Sugar for Energy, Mood and Weight Loss

We live in a culture of fast food and snacking. Obesity and diabetes is rampant. Many people start the day with coffee and croissants or muffins, more coffee mid-morning with another sugary snack, pasta or sandwiches for lunch, big dinners and late-night snacks of crisps or popcorn, cookies and cakes. Over time this will lead to weight gain and low energy and mood. When we are constantly snacking and eating, especially if these snacks are made up of poor-quality carbohydrates with the addition of coffee, the body will not be able to burn its fat stores properly, as it is constantly working to digest the last bit of food that came in. Blood sugar is raised quickly, the body experiences a rush of energy, but then it quickly drops again, leaving the person on a constant energy roller coaster, always in need of the next snack or caffeine-containing substance to keep going. This leads to weight gain, depression, inflammation, low mood and energy and a host of other ills.

Many people are told that they should eat 5-6 small meals per day to help balance their blood sugar. In the short term this can certainly be an effective strategy for someone whose blood sugar is out of balance, but it is not a sustainable long-term solution for health and vitality. If we look to various European cultures, like the French for example, who have low rates of obesity and diabetes, we can see that they mainly eat 3 meals a day, with little to no snacks in between. In the UK and the US, however it is common to eat throughout the day, right up until bedtime. Up until a few decades ago however, most people would have their
dinner at 5 or 6 pm and eat nothing again until 7 the following morning. This gave the body a full 13 hours every day to fast, burn fat and properly detoxify. Most people have had the experience of going to bed on a full stomach and waking up in the morning feeling groggy, tired and cranky. (This condition even has its own name, a “food hangover”).

All we have to do is take a look at how people looked and felt just 30 or 40 years ago. There were very few overweight individuals and depression was not as common as it is today. We are now at our heaviest and most depressed and it is partly because we live in a culture where food is accessible 24/7, where people are constantly eating, and this is simply not healthy or natural. It is good for the digestive system to have a break and for the body to actually feel hunger and appetite. Having an appetite is a good thing. Too many people fear their appetite, they are afraid that they will gain weight, but fearing our appetite is not natural or healthy. Food is there to sustain us and give us life, it just doesn’t need to be eaten all the time!

To top it off, many people eat on the run or when stressed and this simply adds to the problem as it lowers our ability to digest and assimilate food properly, therefore we end up eating more. Food MUST be eaten slowly in order to be digested and assimilated well. When you are eating, make sure you put away the computer, the ipad, the phone, don’t watch TV, just eat, enjoy and notice the difference in your health and vitality!

If you are on a blood sugar rollercoaster, there are several things that you can do to bring more balance and energy into your life. First of all, make sure that you have a substantial breakfast that includes some form of protein. Think eggs, nut or seed butters, good-quality protein powders, or animal protein. Your breakfast should give you enough energy to get you through comfortably until lunchtime, no snacks and no cravings. I am a big fan of “dinner for breakfast”, that is, eating savoury in the morning and avoiding anything sweet. Think last night’s spinach-lentil soup reheated with a squeeze of lemon and a slice of
gluten-free whole grain bread. (I am not a big bread fan, but I know that this is a tough one to let go in the beginning, so go easy on yourself and have some good gluten-free options from time to time.)

Lunch should be the biggest meal of the day since our digestion is strongest between 12 and 13:30. Once again, include some protein at lunch and you will have enough energy to get you through again until dinnertime. If you don’t, then have a small snack in the middle of the day, but once again, make sure that it includes some protein and fat. This will satisfy you for much longer and you will eat less of it. Avoid anything with sugar or low-quality carbs, things like crackers, biscuits, cakes, muffins, the list goes on and on!

Dinner should be smaller than lunch and preferably be eaten at least 3 hours before bedtime. Going to bed on an empty stomach is hard in the beginning for some people who are used to going to bed full, but the proof is in the pudding so to speak, so just try it for 1 week and see how you feel. Most people will have more energy. They wake up in the morning feeling invigorated and happier, and that’s never a bad thing!

So give this way of eating a try and don’t hesitate to email me with any questions or comments. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013 to all of you!

Rebecca xoxo

Something Green at Every Meal

Green salad

Winter is here and although the days may be long and the weather cold for many, it’s still extremely important to keep eating high-energy antioxidant-rich foods with an emphasis on the colour GREEN! Green plants are rich in Vitamin C, chlorophyll, fibre, calcium, protein and a wide array of other phytonutrients. They are also alkaline and help to cleanse the body of toxins at all levels.

Green plants use photosynthesis to make chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that traps energy from the sun and converts carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates. Green foods therefore contain the most nutrient-rich form of carbohydrate available to us.

Chlorophyll has been shown to stimulate the production of hemoglobin, and as a result our circulation improves and we have more energy. Chlorophyll also helps to increase heart function, improve the vascular system, cleanses the liver of heavy metals and chemical toxins, cleanses and improves the health of the intestines, uterus, and lungs and can even prevent cancer. It is also a natural breath freshener and body deodorizer.

Chlorophyll is contained in all green foods, and these include spinach, kale, broccoli, broccolirabe, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, Collard greens, beetroot, turnip and broccoli leaves, basil, parsley, coriander (cilantro), alfalfa, some seaweeds, barley grass, wheat grass, chlorella, and many sprouts.

Remember not to overcook your greens because doing this will cause much of the chlorophyll to be destroyed by the heat. A good guide is to remove your green veggies from the heat while they are still bright green in colour and still a little hard as they will continue to cook even after you remove them from the heat.

It’s a great practice to try and include something green at every meal. Don’t get discouraged, it’s easy, and here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Start your day with a spoonful or two of barley grass, wheat grass or any special green powder blend available in all health food shops. Simply mix with water and enjoy. You can also add these powders to smoothies or add the fresh green leaves of parsley or spinach to your smoothies.
  2. If you like to make juices, always add some green leaves to whatever blend you are making at the time. Coriander or parsley are great additions to an apple/ cucumber juice and kale is wonderful with carrots and ginger.
  3. Steaming any green leaves like spinach, kale or Collards can be done in a matter of minutes. Try adding these to at least one of your meals every day.
  4. Steamed broccoli is also super easy and quick to make. Try having it a few times per week. One of the compounds in broccoli, sulfurophane, is anti-carcinogenic and helps to turn fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble ones that are more easily excreted from the body.
  5. Sprouts are easy to add to salads, sandwiches or wraps. Broccoli sprouts have been shown to fight cancer. Alfalfa sprouts contain huge amounts of chlorophyll. You can sprout them yourself or buy them in most health food shops.
  6. Fresh pesto can be made in minutes if you have a good food processor or blender and it’s full of fresh raw greens. You can give it a nice twist by using fresh coriander (cilantro) instead of basil and using nuts or seeds and miso instead of cheese to make it vegan.

These are just a few simple ways to get more green into your daily life. Try it at every meal and feel the difference in your energy, vibrancy and health!


Toxic Cookware

A lot of people are trying to eat healthier these days by shopping for organic ingredients, getting back into the kitchen and cooking from scratch. This is fantastic and it’s what we at Jiva Healing always try to inspire in our guests. But if you are cooking your lovely organic meals in Teflon cookware, you might want to read on.

I have always been suspicious of Teflon, even when there was not yet any evidence that it actually wasn’t good for me. However, having just read “Slow Death by Rubber Duck”, a fantastic book on the toxic chemicals in our everyday lives and how they affect us, I felt that I needed to share what I had learned with our readers. One of Teflon’s taglines is “It’s Everywhere” and sadly, this is
very true. Teflon has been found in the flesh of seals in the Arctic and it’s in the blood of 98% of Americans. The family of chemicals that Teflon comes from are PFC’s or perfluorinated compounds. These chemicals are used to coat cookware and line pizza boxes and popcorn bags. They are also found in everything from cosmetics to clothing, windshield wipers, toaster ovens, irons, carpet glues, space heaters, new sofas and computer mice. These chemicals have been shown to be “toxic, cause birth defects, developmental problems, hormone disruption, high cholesterol and to be a likely carcinogen.” They are extremely persistent in the environment and every single molecule of these chemicals that has ever been created is still with us today.

There is a syndrome known as “Teflon toxicosis” which is what happens to birds when Teflon is heated to high temperatures. The bird’s lungs actually hemorrhage and they die. This syndrome has been known about for over 35 years. According to DuPont’s own studies, (DuPont is one of the main company’s manufacturing Teflon) toxic particles start to form above 464 degrees F and at
680 degrees F Teflon-coated pans start to release several different toxic gases, some of which have been proven to be carcinogenic. If Teflon is killing our birds, can it really be harmless to humans?

So what’s the solution? Don’t buy Teflon! I’m sure that a lot of you out there will not like this answer, but to cook healthy food for ourselves, our families and our friends in a known carcinogenic substance just makes no sense whatsoever! Make sure you are cooking in good-quality stainless steel, ceramic or glass. One way to create a non-stick surface on a pan that is not Teflon is to pour a small amount of good quality Himalayan or sea salt on the bottom of the pan and heat for 1 minute. Then add the oil and heat for 30 seconds making sure that the oil does not smoke or burn. Giving up Teflon may also motivate you to cut down on frying and to use healthier cooking methods such as steaming and dry roasting.
And as long as we are on the subject of detoxing your kitchen, remember to always store any leftovers in glass containers rather than plastic. Here’s to your health!

Rebecca Andrist

(excerpts and information for this article were taken from “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” written by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie)

Super easy and quick recipes to try

Avocado-Banana Smoothie

Blend together 1/2 an avocado, 1 banana, 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 dates and 1-2 tablespoon of hemp or freshly ground flax seeds.

Raw almond spinach

  • 300g spinach washed
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp tamari or nama shoyu (soy sauce)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove

Mix all the ingredients apart from the spinach in a food processor and remove. Finely chop spinach in the processor. Pour over the dressing and mix by hand. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to blend.

(Spinach recipe adapted from Gabriel Cousens’ book, Rainbow Green Live Cuisine.)

Natural beauty products

Our friend Sarah is now selling 100% certified organic beauty products and cosmetics. This truly is the world’s only range of products which have been certified to soil association standards (Australian Soil Association) and contain 100% all organic ingredients. MiEssence organics have no impurities or synthetics in their make-up and I have certainly noticed a huge difference using them.

You can follow the link here