Holistic Healing Kuel Category Expert: Carol Lee
It’s Autumn in the Northern hemisphere, the time of letting go in nature and so also within us.
We are beginning to hunker down, enjoy baked potatoes and roasted chestnuts, soups and stews. Alongside these cosy-making elements of Autumn, flu and cold season also kicks off.
Here’s two ways I support myself this season based on the principles of Traditional Chinese medicine and its link to our gut and our skin.
Love your Gut!
“over 80% of our immune system is in the gut”
Most people have no idea that over 80% of our immune system is in the gut. This means that when we have a healthy gut we also have a more robust immune system. In these Corona virus times so much is said about the outer protection given by masks and other PPE but we don’t hear so much about supporting our immune system from the inside out.
Having good gut health means having a high proportion and diversity of healthy bacteria in the gut. And, the food we eat is key to this.
Start with Prebiotic Superfoods
Eating more of these non-digestible carbohydrates or fibre provides excellent food for probiotic bacteria. Prebiotic foods include; asparagus, bananas (less ripe), berries, broccoli, chia seeds, chicory root, dandelion leaves, flax seeds, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, legumes, oats, and all whole grains.
Fermented veggies are a fantastic way of boosting our gut health; they are teeming with probiotic bacteria that allow the microbiome, the community of bacteria in our gut, to flourish.
The easiest and cheapest fermented cultured vegetable is Sauerkraut or naturally pickled cabbage. You can, of course, buy this in the wholefood store but it is much better made with your own hands. I recommend having a teaspoon with your main meal in the same way you would a condiment. When clients say that they don’t like the flavour, I say to treat it like medicine and just have a teaspoon before you start the meal.
Here’s my favourite recipe to try…
- 2 heads of cabbage, you can mix red and white
- 1tbsp of whole pickling spices (or do your own mix of cumin seeds, celery seed, fennel seed, juniper berries)
- 2-3tbsp salt
- Firstly, remove the outer leaves and core from the cabbage and set aside. Chop finely or shred the cabbage, I usually grate it in a food processor for ease.
- Tip the grated cabbage into a bowl big enough to leave space for the massaging part, add the salt and spice, mix well and then massage the cabbage and squeeze to soften and release the juices. This could take 5 -10 minutes depending on the strength of your hands. You could also leave the salted mixture to rest and soften for 20 minutes before massaging.
- Keep massaging until juices are released and you are able to squeeze it out, the cabbage will be limp.
- Pack the cabbage, and all the juice, into a sterile one liter jar, using your hands to really pack the cabbage down. You will see the juices rising up the sides of the jar. Leave a 5 cm gap at the top of the jar to allow for the juices to rise (the juices are important).
- Place one or two of the outer leaves on top of the cabbage, then place the core of the cabbage on top of the leaf. It needs to be at a higher level than the cabbage, so that when you clamp down the jar, the juices rise up above the cabbage.
- Place the jar in a container in case it leaks and somewhere not too cold. I put mine in the airing cupboard.
- Taste it after four days; it should taste mildly tangy. You can eat it then, or carry on fermenting it for a week or two, depending on how strong you like it to taste. Once you are happy with it, transfer to the fridge to stop the fermenting process. It will keep for many months in the fridge.
Love the Skin You’re In!
“Skin brushing is another great way to support our health and immune system.”
In Traditional Chinese medicine the skin is often referred to as the third lung because of its importance for everyday release.
Skin brushing is another great way to support our health and immune system. It helps remove the stale acid mantel layer of the skin, stimulating the lymphatic system that carries waste materials away from our cells. It is also lovely ritual to do before a shower.
- Use a natural fiber, preferably long handled, brush, You could also just use a flannel, sponge, or exfoliating shower puff
- Always brush up from the feet and then down from the neck so towards the heart.
- Start at the soles of the feet, brush in small strokes up the feet, ankles, calves, thighs, buttocks.
- Then, brush up the front and back of the torso as far as the heart. Work up the hands and arms and then down the neck, chest and upper back to the heart.
- Avoid brushing the face as the skin is far too sensitive; also only brush gently over the breasts.
Embrace the season from the inside out; pay attention to your gut, lavish extra love on your skin, support yourself to gently release alongside the season.
About the Author:
Carol Lee is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist, Sugar-freedom coach, Creative Kinesiologist, Teacher and Author from the U.K. She has been working in Complementary Health for over 25 years. Her holistic approach to healing and transformation is about listening to, witnessing and working with the body’s ‘knowing’. Carol believes this is where we hold our wisdom, experience and capacity for change, especially as mid-life women. She works with women wanting to kick the sugar habit, those who are navigating health challenges, or who are wanting to up-level their life in some way; helping them to clear the blocks to success and wellbeing. She is currently enjoying her empty nest, and the freedom it brings, with her partner Jon. She loves the coast and walking the wild landscape of South West UK, snuggling her sweet rescue cat Stevie, gardening and eating delicious, nutritious food.