Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Healing with Nature - The Power of Sound

The Orchestra of Nature

Sound is one of the most powerful and healing energies on the planet. Sounds can soothe, calm, and relax or move us to great feelings of passion. Natural sounds bring balance and harmony into our lives. We hear them not only with our ears but with every cell in our body. Research has shown that natural sound helps to regulate blood pressure, improve diabetes, and overcome poor sleep and depression. On the other hand, harsh unnatural sound can increase feelings of stress, anger, and anxiety.

Sound affects us physically, spiritually and emotionally. Throughout history sound has been used as a primary creative force. Many traditional cultures have  imitated the sound of animals and birds in dances, rituals and healing techniques.

Dr Hans Jenny, famous for his study of cymatics, describes a sound-matrix at work in nature. He said it is an invisible driving force that can create everything from the wave like shape of a mountain range to the stripes on a zebra or the petals on a flower. He believed that sound was the creative principle. This creative power is inherent in tone, in sound.

Resonant frequency is based on the idea that everything in our universe  is vibrating at its own unique frequency. Basically, we are all vibrating atomic and sub-atomic particles. So we hum along at a specific resonant frequency which can change along with our health and wellbeing.

Natural sounds can help to rebalance this vibrational frequency if we get sick or stressed. Gongs and singing bowls have been used as a source of frequency healing for thousands of years. They contain the full spectrum of sound and can vibrate all the cells, organs, and bones. They also slow down the heart rate and breathing and stimulate the alpha and theta brain waves. These  waves are associated with meditative and peaceful states. The powerful rhythmic vibrations of gongs and singing bowls resonate throughout the body to restore balance and release stress.

Drums have also been used in many cultures for ritual events, communication, and by sharmans to reach an altered state. Drumming improves immunity, increases energy and happy, feelings, and creates new neuronal connections in all parts of the brain, The rhythmic sound of drumming can align your mind and body with the natural world and help you to literally go with the flow.

We also have our own powerful tool, our voice. Singing and chanting can profoundly transform our health and well being. Specific chants and sacred sounds can nourish and vibrate the organs and chakras (energy centers in the body). Singing has incredible power to make us feel positive, joyful, and energised especially in large groups. And of course we have the ability to create music from all kinds of instruments.

Spending time outdoors, surrounded by the  pure vibration of nature, gives us a marvellous feeling of calm that is hard to experience in urban settings. We are part of nature and spending time outside can feel like we are returning home. Choosing to focus our attention on the sounds in nature gives us the chance to enjoy the present moment and tune into the incredible orchestra of nature.

Here are some of the wonderful sounds that make up our natural world
A cat purring
The underwater acoustics of a whales song
The call of seagulls over the sea
Rain falling on golden leaves
The muffled quiet of falling snow
A waterfall leaping down the rocks
The bubble of a small brook over stones
The steady back and forth roll of the sea
The crash of waves in a storm
The crunch of frost tinged leaves in the fall
The hum of bees in a summer garden
The chirp of crickets in the long grass
The wind blowing through the trees
Wood pigeons calling to one another
A cuckoo celebrating the beginning of spring
A rustle in the hedgerow from field mice and a hedgehog
The beating of wings as wild geese lift off a lake
Ducks chatting across the pond
The lowing of cows on a summer evening
A mare whickering to her newborn foal
The crackle of logs on a fire

A wonderful exercise is to go into your garden or out in the fields, woods, by the lake or sea and listen to the many different sounds that surround you.

Love Chef Mel xx

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Loving your Liver in Springtime

Spring is upon us along with the marvellous feeling of energy moving up and expanding out. It is the time for new growth and activity after the quiet, hybernating energy of winter.  There  is a bustle in the hedgerow as animals and plants awaken to the warm rays of the sun.  

Spring is also the time that our livers flourish. The  liver is associated with new growth and upward, expansive energy, just like the spring. So this is an ideal time to support your liver. 

Remember to  to be mindful of how you express your emotions at this time of year as they can also burst forth in a strong manner. 

Here are some easy tips for loving your liver this Spring

  • Eat less
  • Spend time everyday in nature especially around trees and upward growing plants
  • Enjoy a brisk body rub using a hot damp towel or loofa
  • Get moving. Be active throughout the day, walk the stairs, stretch at the office desk, go outside during the lunch hour or bike to work.
  • Learn de-stress techniques. Breath deeply and slowly, listen to mindful tapes, or relax to beautiful music
  • Practice slowing down including eating, drinking, and walking.
  • Get up early in the morning
  • Forgive more, complain less. Be grateful for all of life. Accept the ups and downs.
  • Increase leafy greens especially bitter ones like dandelions, and also, nettles, kale, watercress, or arugula. 
  • Have fresh herbs everyday such as basil, parsley, coriander, or chives
  • Include a sour taste in cooking like lemons, granny smith apples, and apple cider or brown rice vinegar
  • Make barley soups or salads
  • Have a high fiber diet including lots of vegetables, whole grains, and beans
  • Include wakame sea vegetable in salads and soups
  • Use Fennel in cooking
  • Increase Chinese cabbage,leeks, celery, spring onions, cabbage, and onions in your dishes 

This simple recipe is wonderful for the liver and gives us the uplifting energy of spring straight from the fields to our table.

Energizing Super Salad

2 tablespoons finely minced parsley or cilantro
2 cups Chinese cabbage shredded
1 small cucumber finely sliced
1 celery stalk finely sliced
3 red radishes finely sliced
1/4 block tofu crumbled
1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
Generous pinch sea salt

Add the umeboshi vinegar to the tofu and mix well. Leave to marinate.

Place the vegetables into a bowl and add the sea salt.

Gently massage the salt into the vegetables. They will start to shine as the liquid is drawn out.

Place a plate on top of the vegetables and then a weight. I use a jug of water.

Let sit for about 15 minutes.
Remove the weight from the salad. Discard any excess liquid.

Add the tofu to the salad and mix gently.

Season with the brown rice vinegar 

Enjoy Love Chef Mel xx

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Healing wtih Nature - In the Home

Bringing the outside inside
Nature has an endless source of energy that recharges us, awakens our senses and inspires the soul. When we bring natures healing power into our homes, we create a sacred space to retreat and rejuvenate. A peaceful place to recharge and relax after a long day out in the world. You can decide which apects of nature resonate with you, engage your senses, and brings peace

Here are some easy ways to bring the outside inside

Add Plants
 Plants are an easy and wonderful addition to any room. They freshen the air with oxygen, and create a bright and cheerful atmosphere. Experiment with planting indoor bulbs in colorful containers or succulents as a center piece for you dining table.

 Trailing plants add a fresh addition on top of the refrigerator or a bookshelf. Kitchens and dining rooms can be decorated with plants, seasonal foliage, fresh fruits, and vegetables or a fresh bunch of flowers can cheer up your home office desk. A few (don’t pick many) wildflowers represent the freedom of nature and can brighten a quiet corner.

Grow herbs
Herbs are a wonderful way to bring nature into your kitchen. They are easy to grow on a sunny windowsill and give you a lovely natural view to enjoy. Include herbs that are fragrant – Rosemary, lavender, basil, peppermint or cilantro. Take the time in your day to pause and  rub a leaf with your fingers. The lovely aromatic scent that comes forth is a gift from nature to the senses.

Clear the Clutter
A house that is full of stuff tends to have stagnated energy and can make you feel drained, stressed, and unmotivated. Clearing out the clutter is actually good for your lungs, gives you more breathing space, and helps you to open up and let go. Act like a warrior and go through your stuff to get rid of things that no longer serve a purpose. Clear out the cupboards and items that are left in the corners of rooms or on open shelving. When energy flows smoothly throughout your home you will feel much more relaxed and energised.

Chose natural in furnishings and floorings

One of the best ways to bring nature inside the home is by using natural materials -  wood, marble, tile, slate, Stone, glass, earth, bamboo, cork, paper, reeds, and grasses. These are used in a myriad of ways from flooring, furniture, wall hangings, to backsplashes in the kitchen and bathroom.  Decorate with jute, cotton, and silk in carpets, throws, and curtains. Experiment with different textures to create a feeling of the natural world.


You can find beautiful pebbles and rocks and arrange them in a glass vase or decorative bowl. Fill a bowl with colorful sea glass, gemstones or crystals.

If you live in a city, you can add pebbles to a large washing up bowl and then walk up and down on them. It is wonderful for your feet and acts like a natural massage/accupuncture treatment.

 If you find something that you love, shells, a piece of driftwood, pinecones or an unusually shaped rock, use them as accent details and combine with hanging planters, moss, or fresh flowers.

Natural Fragrance
Place bowls of potpourri, aromatherapy candles or vaporizers, incense, and fragrant flowers and plants throughout your home to bring in the fresh aromas of nature. Attach a bunch of eucalyptus to your shower head and enjoy a revitalising, aromatic shower.

Sounds of Nature
Add a water feature like aquarium or small desk top fountains to enjoy the soothing and refreshing sound of water. You can also fill a small bowl with water and put it in a sunny window to add freshness to a room. Change the water everyday. If you love to hear the sound of birds singing, Install a bird feeder or two outside your window.

Natural Light and Fresh air
One of the easiest ways to bring nature inside is to open your windows on a daily basis even if it is for 5 minutes. Fill your room with fresh air no matter the weather. Use sheer curtains and emphasise windows that look out on to a beautiful view of woods, fields, gardens or skylines. Ii is important to have a bright home with lots of sunlight as it helps you to feel uplifted and cheerful.

Add the boldness of nature
Nature is vivid and passionate with crashing waves, fields of wildflowers, fiery sunsets, rainbows, pounding rain, or the crash of thunder. Bring a touch of this aspect of nature into your home. Add bright colors in cushions or upcycle an old piece of furniture with a bold colored paint. Let flower arrangements be wild, vibrant and unruly. Hang paintings or photos of mountains, fields of poppies, the bright blue of the sea or a stormy night.

Use the colors of nature
Use colors that remind you of nature and add them into your home. THere are so many to pick from. The grays, blues, and pinks of the sky, soft greens and browns from the forest, pale yellow of the beach and all the vivid colors that come from flowers. Softer colors can cover a larger space and bold colors can be used as an accent.

Our homes are really extensions of us. They reflect how we feel about ourselves and our environment. Remember to create a natural space around your needs and what makes you feel emotionally charged, joyful, calm, soothed, cheerful, inspired, motivated, or comforted.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Strengthening Shio Kombu

Shio Kombu Condiment

This simple to prepare condiment is absolutely delicious and melts in the mouth. I recently made it for my daughter after she gave birth to twins, and she couldnt get enough of it. Shio kombu is a wonderful example of the savory taste known as umami.

Shio kombu offers a power punch of nutrition and minerals especially amino acids, digestive enzymes, iron, calcium, iodine, and fiber.

This lovely condiment can support

Boosting immunity
Strengthening the digestion and helping the elimination process
The thyroid and metabolism as it contains iodine - please note that only small amounts might be necessary for thyroid issues and for some thyroid diseases, kombu should be avoided altogether
Beautiful skin, hair, and nails
Weight loss
Preventing anemia
Strengthening the arteries
Lowering blood pressure
Improving arthritis

Here is the recipe

3 strips kombu
Spring water
1-2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
Few drops sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger juice – optional


Place the kombu into a bowl and cover with water.
Let sit until soft enough to cut.
Remove and cut into small bite size pieces 
Place the kombu back into the water.*

*In Europe the kombu is often tougher and therefore will need to be rinsed a few times and soaked for a longer period. It might also be good to shred the kombu into tiny strips so that it cooks easily.

Add the vinegar and let soak for at least 30 minutes
Place into a pan and bring to a boil over a medium flame.
Make sure there is enough water to cover the kombu

Add the shoyu and sesame oil.
Simmer on a very low flame for at least 30 minutes or until the kombu is very soft.
You might need to add a little more water if the kombu isn't soft enough. It should melt in the mouth.

When the kombu is ready the water should be almost all gone.
Add the ginger juice and mix through.

Serve a number of pieces on top of feshly cooked brown rice or other grains and vegetable dishes.
Store the shio kombu in a glass jar in the fridge. It will last at least 2 weeks although most likely it will be eaten quickly!

Enjoy. Love Chef Mel xx

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Overcoming Brain Fog part 2

Lifestyle solutions for Brain Fog 

Meditation   has been scientifically proven to benefit the brain especially improved  concentration 
and focusCalming the mind can also help depressionanxiety and increase 
creative expression
It doesn't have to  befor a long time either
Combining slow breathing and emptying the mind can take a few minutes. 
You can also chose to listen to meditation tapes if you find it hard to stop
those  racing thoughts. 

Hydrate as  our brains are almost 75%  waterit is very important to make sure we have enough fluids.  
Dehydration causes your brain to shut down and not function at full capacity.  As well as enjoying water  and herbal teas, fruits and vegetables can fulfill your fluid requirements.  
They  also  provide  healthful nutrients such as vitaminsmineralsfiber and
 proteinThis often makes vegetables and fruits more  effective  in  rehydrating  the system than   water alone. 
Highwatercontent fruits and  vegetables  include cucumberscelerybroccoliradishes
lettucespinachcauliflower,watermelon, melon and strawberries. 

Spend time outdoors  provides great nourishment to the brainOur brains 
need sunshineexercise,fresh air and natural light.  Vitamin D contributes to our good mood and low levels can create cloudy 
thinking and  lack of motivation.  
Sun exposure is an easy way to overcome feelings of sadness and regain 
mental clarityIt is very important to unplug and get away from the office, 
computers, and mobilesEven stepping outside the office for a few minutes and exposing your eyes and skin to the natural light, even if it is winter and overcast, can give your brain a boostThis is a very easy solution if you feel sleepybut cannot 
take a nap
Letting your eyes and face soak up the natural light for a few minutes sends a message to the brain that it needs to wake up and that foggy sensation quickly disappears. 
Exercise – It is important to keep active throughout the dayExercising in the morning, as the sun is risinghelps to improve mental clarity and focus
Walking outdoors gets your blood pumping and is extremely  beneficial  for memory, problemsolvingcreative thinking, and as a mood booster
Make sure toincorporatesmall amounts of intentional movement during your 
day as this will help maintain blood sugar levels  and  improve  the circulation of blood
flow to the extremitiesincluding the brain.. 
Deep breathing is a very simple way to get the mind back into focus and to
 feel more alive
You can open a window or step outside and then begin to breathe in and out slowly and deeply. In addition to ridding those foggy thoughtsyou will feel more calm and less anxious
The idea is to breathe slowly in through your nose to the count of fourhold it for the count
of 4, and then slowly breathe out through your mouth to the count of eightAfter a minute of breathing in the fresh air, your mind and energy will experience a lovely lift. 

Rosemary  essential oilIs known as “the herb of remembrance”. Rosemary is calming and helps toalleviate mental fatigue and regulate the nervous system.  Especially good for people who are dealing with memory loss and anxiety. Use a few drops of Rosemary essential oil on a cotton ball and inhale deeply to 
clear the mind and make good decisions..