Notes From an 1884 Medical Text: Part I

Notes From an 1884 Medical Text: Part I

 

“Madam, you cannot have health without exercise and pure air”. Robb, R.L.

 

A couple of weeks ago whilst cleaning out the house, my mum found a Medical textbook from 1884;

‘Robb’s Family Physician: Being a concise and comprehensive treatise on diseases, as they occur in everyday life – showing the causes, explaining the symptoms and treatment and demonstrating the cure of the various ill’s humanity is subject to. Sold by subscription only’.

Half-interested at first, thinking I’ll take a quick look over it and see if it’s worth keeping, I flicked through it. Surprised by how intuitive the content is, and also how similar it is to the concepts taught in Naturopathy, for which I am qualified, I am now reading it cover to cover and decided to share my thoughts with you here.

I also tracked down a copy for sale of the 1882 version, which is priced at $480. Wow!

So, this is Part 1 of my 1884 medical textbook adventure…

I have heard from highly experienced naturopaths that naturopathy it is not ‘alternative medicine’, but in fact the original medicine. Now I know exactly what they meant.

As of late there have been drastic moves by the government to deem natural therapies useless, so their allopathic form can take over. Given that modern medicine does not have a handle on most diseases, I believe there is a place for all kinds of medicine and that looking into the past to see where we have gone wrong is a powerful thing.

 

THE BOOK STARTS OFF WITH A RATHER IMPACTFUL STATEMENT;

“It is a matter of great importance how far it is proper to interfere with the management of diseases”. Meaning, man is not God nor should he play God, especially in the arena for which he or she doesn’t know what is really going on.

One of the most contrasting elements of natural vs allopathic (drug-based) medicine is in the founding concept; natural medicine believes that the body is powerful and can heal itself, merely needing some steering in the right direction. That ‘steering’ is managed through the prescription of natural remedies be it plants, nutrients, emotional factors or energetics, and lifestyle change, so either the cause is removed, or the body is supported where this can’t happen.

As a contrast to that, allopathic medicine aims to find the problem, and then either remove, block, suppress, or re-direct that problem, in most cases doing not much more outside of suppressing the symptoms of that condition. The problem with this approach (in my opinion), is that we are not machines running on man made parts. The outcomes of certain actions within the body are totally unpredictable just like the onset of most diseases themselves are.

Back to the book contents… 

 

TO TREAT THE PATIENT, THERE ARE 8 ‘GENERAL RULES’;  

  1. The removal of the cause upon which the disease depends, is amongst the most important; ie, identify the cause of the disease – whether it be by climate, living conditions, previous history, constitution, electric, or caused by food or famine, etc
  2. The exact seat of the disease should be ascertained; ie, find out if the condition is in the blood and if not, where is it?
  3. It must be stated, as a general law, that diseases are rarely stationary; ie, find out if it’s coming, going, on a break, improving, or worsening.
  4. The use of remedies is also governed by the stage of the disease; ie, ensure you know what stage it is at, before you treat it.
  5. The condition of the system; ie, how was the person doing when it started? Where they strong, unhealthy, old, young? What habits did they have?
  6. Co-existing influences modify greatly the disease results of particular causes; ie, without attending to these underlying influences that modify disease – and I’ll quote the book here because it’s great – “the treatment will be liable to attend with fatal blunders.”
  7. The pointing of nature, as shown by the expression of wants by the patient should not be disregarded, but should be watched for, and cautiously gratified, even if they are opposed by the dictates of our own reason, or even to the whole course of our own reason; ie, deny the patient the typed of foods, drinks, and lifestyle demands made whilst unwell, if it is believed that it will hinder the healing process, so for example drinking alcohol or mcdonalds when unwell is not helpful to the healing process
  8. In the treatment of disease, it is a good general rule to attend to the state of the functions (secretions and excretions) and to correct any disorder there, even if they are not directly connected to the disease; ie, ensure the elimination channels are functioning properly including the kidneys/urine, bowel, skin, as without proper elimination of waste, a healthy state cannot be achieved!

Note that the italics are the beautifully constructed words from the book, and the ‘ie’ that follows is my explanation in regard to what that rule is all about.

To put these concepts into practice, let’s take for example rule 1; you need to find the cause of the disease, and remove it. Say for example your disease is caused by your lifestyle, taking a pill will merely protect you from dying sooner, from that condition. A change in lifestyle however, aka removal of the cause, will likely help you heal.

Rule 8 is one of the most important in naturopathy, for if the body can’t eliminate waste, it can’t heal either. When is the last time the doctor checked your elimination? What about rule 6, where it states that without addressing underling issues, or pre-existing conditions, you may give the wrong treatment and kill the patient? This happens in modern medicine so often that it has a name – iatrogenesis.

 

IN SPECIAL CONSIDERATION OF WOMEN…

“Women are more susceptible to men and should be treated more delicately.”

Despite what modern feminists believe, men and women aren’t the same. Women have more fragile constitutions, and a different purpose to men, physiologically. Men thrive under stress but for women it’s considered a threat to child baring. When did we lose touch with this?

Most medicinal and nutritional protocol are tested on young, military aged men. Women are excluded because our hormones fluctuate too much, and menstrual cycles mess with data consistency. When data is inconsistent, drugs can’t be approved.

This book recommends special treatment for women, which makes sense to me. I obviously believe women are awesome, but I do accept the very real fact that our bodies aren’t as resilient as men’s. Accepting this fact is one of the primary things that brought about the success of my coaching business. I treat women like women, I don’t push them like men.

He goes on to specify that during the menstrual cycle, many treatments should be stopped as this is not a time for healing.

That concludes Part 1 of my 1884 medical textbook reflections.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

Please send me any feedback or thoughts on this? And let me know if this is a topic of interest for you so I can include more like it!

Jen x

 

Highlights from 2020

Highlights from 2020

2020 was a weird year – no one can dispute that. I felt a little bit like this picture at first, as I went through all of the emotions and experiences – stress, unpredictability, shock, awakened, relieved, free – all at the same time.

I would say 2020 tested our resilience, compassion, trust, and stability, more than ever before. Most people I know actually embraced the changes – extra time, less pressure at work, more time with their loved ones.

Travel restrictions, lockdowns and business closures made the world seem like a much smaller place. It made us appreciate what we have right in front of us. I found myself grateful for the house I own, the friends I have, and the clientele I allowed into my business as this then became a business I run from home and I mean, completely from home.

So thanks to the events of 2020, I will be going into 2021 with some really great realisations, and this post is dedicated to what I learned

1: SOCIAL MEDIA HIATUS

I took a three-month break from social media – all platforms, apart from messenger. Highlight, you ask? Hell yes! Social media is not my jam. I hate it, actually. I think it’s filled with lies, absurd competition, and fakery, and I have wasted a lot of time over the years trying to work out who is honest, and who is not. I think there are better ways to occupy our time.

When the lockdowns started, I really felt the pull to go inwards. There was literally nothing else being spoken about online but you-know-what, it was all very negative, and fear-based. This is not how I like to live, nor can I do my best work or live my best life in this environment.

So I decided this was my opportunity, I had always wondered whether it was necessary to post on social media for my particular business. My client spots have been full since 2013, and I don’t think any of them told me they found me on social media. So, this was my big chance!

I deleted it, and instead filled this time (now that my brain wasn’t filled with everyone else’s ideas and perspectives), with re-connecting with my goals. At first I found myself scrolling Pinterest, but then deleted that too. The habit is hard to break, eh? I then got stuck into work. It was great.

Whilst not on social, I learned of how it changes your brain (not for the better), I learned of its political bias, how it supports particular messages and not others, and got some real evidence that reinforced to me why I never liked it.

Once I was done with my three months, I didn’t care about it at all. It didn’t effect my business. Now I just post what I think my clients would love to read, and I don’t worry about anyone else. So that’s made the social world a little more fun. I am sure there are many out there who always saw it this way, but it took me a while to get there! So, that was highlight number 1.

2: GRATITUDE

Despite it being a stressful year, I realised that I have everything I need right here, right now.

If I was to never acquire anything else, I would be one happy woman.

I realised that my business isn’t going anywhere, and no lock down is going to dull the flames that fuel the drive in my clientele. I would say about 95% of them cruised through the year, didn’t quit, stayed on track, and smashed their goals – some had babies, lots of bodies and minds were transformed, a few ladies competed (Robina turned PRO!).

They actually inspired me!

Because growing up I experienced a lot of stress, there has always been a part of me that clings really hard to what I have. I work non-stop fearing that I am not doing enough, not being enough, and that with the slightest ‘bump’ I could lose everything I have worked so hard for. I feel like the penny is going to drop an any minute.

2020 was the year in which I realised that will never happen. I built my business with integrity and it is here to stay. I feel so much calmer since having this realisation, as I didn’t realise I was still operating with this underlying fear playing in the background.

If anything, my business has been busier than ever. I am working from home now, still considering whether I will return to a gym or open up my own, but for now I am content. Which brings me to highlight number three…

3: I WORKED ON A LONG TERM DREAM

With no travel, no social media distractions, and a few less clients in the first month of lockdown, I found myself feeling really energised with this extra time. Even though it was only 10 hours or so, it felt like a lot of time to spend on me.

I made a connection with a long-term friend and client, to assist me in a work project which will be revealed very soon – a few months time in fact! It’s how I always wanted my business to be, but with health issues and such a consistently heavy client load I was never quite able to piece it together.

Anyways, I can’t reveal too much. In the meantime, enjoy browsing my new Website! This is part one of the change we have been working on during this time.

4: IT WAS THE HEALTHIEST YEAR OF MY LIFE

Health is the greatest wealth. I would always read this, whilst battling health issues, but never really understood it’s full meaning. In the past all my money and focus was on healing my body – I wanted to be completely healthy so I could live my life to the fullest.

Although it did take me years to achieve, 2020 was the first year I was able to reap the rewards of all that hard work. I was able to save money as I didn’t spend it all on health care. I experienced no mental health interference, consistent sleep, no break in training, no fatigue outside the normal kind, I branched out and ate various foods that I haven’t been able to eat for years and lost another 6kg.

I had the time and mental space to read up on, and learn about topics outside of the health field, which included studies on surveillance, gender identity issues, social media toxicity, political memoirs, and other topics. (yes, heavy, i love this kind of thing!) But I love to learn and grow so it was great to be able to focus my attention in this way.

5: I FOUND OTHERS WHO WERE EMBARKING ON A SIMILAR HEALING JOURNEY TO ME

Healing yourself from illness is not something that the larger population understand, and I always found this isolating. When you want to bypass medical recommendation and unwind your health problem, there is no one to talk to but the specialist groups you find on social media, or the professionals you are paying for this support.

Even now I am healed, I still struggle to find others that understand my journey, but one event stood out to me in 2020, and that was a conversation I had with others who were working on healing their bipolar disorder (this is one of the things I healed in myself). They found themselves in such a similar place to where I was in the past, and were seeking answers to missing pieces, or things they could add to their efforts, as they were so close but not quite over that line. I contributed mine which brought me much joy! Might I add this was on Facebook – so that’s another thing that it is good for 😉

When you find people who understand all of you and what you have experienced, it is a very freeing thing.

6: UNCOVERED SOME INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN TO CARRY ME THROUGH 2021

Again with the fact that my attention wasn’t on my health, and I was researching new areas from politics to history, I found myself super focussed in on women who speak their minds and aren’t afraid of what other people think of them

In a healing journey, much of what you need to do is reclaim what you lost in your childhood – what you were shamed for, isolated for, and disliked for. One of those things for me, was honesty. I always told it like it was, didn’t like being told what to do, but was convinced that this was a bad thing that I needed to ‘stop’. The next piece of my healing journey is to reclaim that part of me.

In my research I found women who can inspire me into 2021, and with their strength and wisdom backing me, I don’t see anything getting in my way. I don’t believe any of us can achieve what we want without modelling off the courage of someone who has already done what we wish to do.

So, that’s it. In summary it has been an amazing year, one of great transformation, realisation, gratitude, and joy.

 

What was your favourite memory of 2020??

Simple Nutrition Tips for Long-Lasting Results

Simple Nutrition Tips for Long-Lasting Results

Over the past 10 years of coaching women in weight loss and body transformation, I see the same mistakes being made over and over again. In todays post you’ll find 5 fundamental nutritional principles that can’t be avoided if you want long-lasting results.

You may have never heard of them, as in 2020 we live amongst a sea of misguided, unregulated, sales-oriented miss-information. Especially in the nutrition space. Accurate information is often overlooked as it doesn’t grab attention like a quick-fix does. We get addicted to extremes and to thinking that in order to make progress we need to go ‘all out’. But guess what? You don’t.

These fundamental principles are really all you need to get started, and I apply them to every client I work with. 

1: EAT MORE FOOD, AND EAT OFTEN

I have met only a handful of women over the years who were eating even close to the right amount of calories for their fat loss goals. On average, numbers range from 1100-1500 calories per day, and often with a couple of 2700 calorie days thrown in there. 

Women generally believe that the less they eat, the better their results will be. What they don’t factor in is their body’s physiological needs, most importantly a need for safety, and a need to reproduce. Safe bodies can make babies, unsafe bodies cannot. A ‘safe’ body for most women, is one that has enough body-fat for hormone regulation. If your calories are too low, your body won’t feel safe, and you won’t lose weight. 

Women also fail to take into account their activity levels. Ladies, if you want to train like an athlete, you need to eat like one.

With almost all new clients, I increase the quality of food, the amount of calories eaten on a daily basis, and the size of the individual meals. Often my clients can’t finish the food in the first week, but are surprised to see weight loss at their first check in. That’s about all it takes to realise that eating more, and more often, is key. It’s also not long after that when they find themselves asking when their next calorie increase is! 

How to implement this: 

Firstly, track your food intake for 7 days, including everything you eat. A good calorie tracking app is MyFitnessPal and it’s free. Secondly, calculate your basic metabolic rate, by multiplying your weight in pounds by 12. That is the number you should be eating, on a rest day, to maintain your weight. 

Eg I am 72kg; 72 x 2.2= 158 (weight in pounds). 158 x 12 = 1896. That’s approximately how much I need to eat in a day to maintain my weight, if my metabolism is healthy. 

2: EAT MORE PROTEIN

Protein is the body’s primary building block. It plays an important role in weight management, helping your body repair and build tissue (the key one here being muscle from training). It also makes ‘dieting’ easier as it increases satiety. 

Also very importantly, adequate protein intake ensures you don’t lose too much muscle when losing fat. When you diet, and are on a calorie deficit, your body burns your fat stores, but it also taps into your muscle stores. Ensuring you have enough protein, and are lifting weights, is the best way to ensure that the majority of your weight loss comes from body fat. 

I personally recommend animal protein as a priority. It is the most anabolic, meaning your body uses it more efficiently than plant protein in building and sparing muscle. You want to eat around 1.5-2x your bodyweight per day. I personally prescribe 2x bodyweight for most clients, unless they’re not used to eating protein, or have trouble digesting it, in which case I start them off with the lower target.

How to implement this:

Track your food for 7 days (as above), and check how much protein you’re eating. Use the example below to calculate an ideal amount of protein for you. 

Eg I am 72kg; 72 x 1.5 = 108. 72 x 2 = 144. I need to eat between 108-144gms per day for best results.  

3: TRACK YOUR FOOD

If you’re not tracking your food intake, and you have no idea how much you’re eating, you’re kind of like a Powerlifter without a barbell. You can’t do anything

You may lose weight simply by removing large amounts of food, or food groups (such as carbs, animal products, sugar, etc), or exercising like a maniac for a period of time but once this progress stops, you have got nothing to work with. And that’s assuming you can keep the restriction up long term. 

In order to optimize your fat loss or muscle building, you need to learn how much fuel your body requires, what foods work best for you, what nutrients different foods contain, etc. The more you learn about food, and how your body uses it, the better your success will be. Body transformation is all about finding a calorie target that works for you, and then manipulating it over time. 

Don’t mistake what you see on social media with real life. ALL body transformations that stick, or involve considerable muscle gains, require consistent food tracking, followed by adjustments where necessary, followed by more consistent food tracking. This also applies to the women taking performance enhancing drugs. There are no exceptions

Food tracking is a time consuming practice, which involves planning, organizing, and making sacrifices. This is a practice that can be difficult to learn, but becomes easy over time with great reward. 

How to implement this:

Download a calorie-tracking app, such as MyFitnessPal, and start entering all your food (as above). See how much you are eating. Eat that much consistently (or using the calculation from the first point), and track your progress with weight and measurements. 

4: EAT MORE FIBRE

Fibre is a carbohydrate (‘carb’), but it is not digested in the small intestine thus it acts differently to your most-loved carbohydrate friends, starch and sugar. Starch and sugar provide us with glycogen (fuel), whereas fibre makes its way all the way to your large intestine, bulking up your stool (poo), and feeding your good bacteria. 

If you don’t eat enough fibre, not only do your good bacteria starve (and in some cases resort to eating your own gut lining), you also risk constipation, as the food in your bowel can’t move through properly. When you are constipated, your body can’t eliminate waste efficiently, thus leaving you feeling tired, bloated, and sometimes, in pain. 

How to implement this:

Include fibrous foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. A typical fibre target that works well for most people is 20-30gms per day, more if you’re heavier, and less if you’re lighter. Again, you can track this on a calorie app. 

5: EAT MORE VARIETY 

When I came up in the bodybuilding world, there was a lot of emphasis on eating ‘clean’. Specifically, our diets consisted of, and were limited to, the following foods; beef, chicken, fish, eggs, oats, rice, sweet potato, rice cakes, apples, broccoli, peanut butter, whey protein, and Udo’s oil (a horrid tasting omega 3-6-9 fatty-acid blend). All other foods were ‘bad’. 

I basically choke of the thought of eating like that again, and also cannot believe we were that stupid, as it turns out you can achieve amazing results, and in most cases better results (if you factor in health, vibrancy, and sustainability), by eating almost any food, provided that, you can track it (point 3). 

These ‘clean’ diets work well because there is little variation, thus getting to peak condition (lowest body-fat possible for you) is easier. However, this is not an approach that’s required for your every day competitor, or a woman who just wants to get the most out of her body. 

The negative side of ‘clean’ eating, is it’s hard to maintain, it’s socially isolating, and falls short nutritionally in the long run. For my friends and I who ate that way, relentless cravings for other foods lead to binge eating, and punishing ourselves for eating ‘non-optimal’ foods (I’m talking things like strawberries and avocados). So, this kind of eating comes a set of problems. 

I have never recommended this kind of strict approach (with the exception of two or three week periods, right before a competition for my clients with more stubborn bodies), though many coaches still do as it’s the bodybuilding way. I am strict on the total calories and macronutrients, but not their source. I have had countless clients make it to the comp stage, and win, without adopting this kind of strict ‘clean food’ eating regimen. Variety is key in long-term success. 

How to implement this:

Eat a variety of foods. When it comes to meats, mix it up, eat the rainbow when it comes to vegetables and fruits, understand that different foods come with different nutritional profiles. If you love chocolate, include it. If you love ice cream, include that too. SO LONG as your macros/calories are accounted for, you will still lose body fat. 

So that’s it ladies, my top 5 nutritional tips. Notice that supplements, fad diets, intermittent fasting, and heavy calorie/nutrient restriction, don’t make an appearance here. They aren’t required, nor are they healthy and sustainable long term. 

If you want me to expand further on any of these points in upcoming posts, let me know!

For nutritional consultations, contact me for more information 🙂

Jen x

Should all Personal Trainers have Abs?

Should all Personal Trainers have Abs?

I saw a post on Facebook the other day questioning whether trainers should have a six-pack before offering any kind of health/fitness advice. I LOLd a little bit, but then one of my clients who is almost qualified to PT was questioning her place in the industry as she is, in her opinion, not lean and muscular enough to succeed. I hear this a lot so, it got me thinking

This is me at 76kgs, after 16 years of working in the health and fitness industry. I started gym training when I was 15 and I’m now in my 30’s. Do I look perfect? Nope, I am sitting at 29% body fat. Am I a shit trainer? No. Should I stop offering advice because I’m not a size 8, and don’t reflect the ‘typical’ female trainer body shape of this time? Hell no

Limiting your idea of health and fitness-related knowledge to the presence/absence of a 6 pack and low body-fat is denying the existence of so many factors that affect one’s body composition. These include genetics (biggest one), life experiences, age, performance-enhancing drugs, stress levels, and the list goes on

Limiting the worth of a female trainer to the muscularity and leanness of her physique is a rejection of the many other aspects that make women beautiful/powerful: women are soft, wise, strong, intuitive, caring, etc. The more estrogen we have, the softer we are, and emotionally we absorb a lot of what happens around us. These traits, in my opinion, are essential when it comes to inspiring health and wellness amongst women.

This industry is very masculine, and it always has been. I have had to fight to embrace my femininity with it, and I see many women fighting the same battle. We aren’t all cookie-cutter body shapes as the fitness industry suggests us to be!

Your physical body reflects your triumphs but it reflects your scars too, and a little body-fat is not a bad thing when you are looking after yourself. Probably time women embrace that

JEN x

Perspectives on the ‘Perfect’ Female Body

Perspectives on the ‘Perfect’ Female Body

I love this picture as to me it represents how much my perspective has changed, both as a trainer and as a woman in this industry. Definitely not as strong or as lean as I once was, but stronger and healthier than ever in both body and mind

These days I liken the pursuit of this ‘perfect’ female physique to playing a game of soccer, but where the goal posts keep being moved and the shape of the ball keeps changing. You can NEVER reach it, and mainly because what also doesn’t change is your lack of perspective, which leaves you unable to recognize your own personal power or beauty even when it’s staring you right in the face.

In some ways I think the fitness industry has lost it’s way a little. I think women have lost sight of what’s achievable naturally, what is healthy, and where the truth lies. As a trainer I strive to be what I wish I had at the beginning of my journey, even if it doesn’t fit within the ‘norms’ of what is happening at this present time. My experiences have shaped me and I don’t budge on my principles, no matter what anyone says. I support my clients in any direction they choose to go, be it bodybuilding, powerlifting or whatever because I love and value them, but because their health is the top priority they are able to achieve more than I ever did

It’s important to remember that no matter who you are, you don’t have to be the hottest, skinniest, fittest, or strongest girl out in order to own your space in this world; you just have to be happy with yourself. Eat well because you love you body, lift weights because you love your body, but own your individual journey and remember it’s a different journey to everyone else’s

Golden Latte – an Anti-Inflammatory Drink

Golden Latte – an Anti-Inflammatory Drink

There are so many benefits to turmeric, or more specifically the yellow-pigmented active ingredient curcumin. It has been used as an anti-inflammatory for many years is natural medicine and, as of late has been the subject of numerous scientific studies.

As I have had a lot of issues with inflammation in the past, when trying to incorporate it into my diet I struggled to find a tasty way to do it. It has a pretty strong flavour and can overpower whichever meal you add it to, especially when you are trying to get a good dose in.

Then I came across the ‘Golden Latte’.

I have seen it in café’s since but I enjoy making my own as I think it tastes better. So if you’re looking for an anti-inflammatory drink to get you through the winter, you should try this!

Heat up 250ml milk in a saucepan. I use home-made almond milk as it is tastier and sweeter than store-bought almond milk (and I am not a fan of dairy), but you can use any milk. Once it is warmed up you put one-teaspoon of ground turmeric, and one-teaspoon organic honey or maple syrup, 1 pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon, one pinch of black pepper, stir it through and VOILA! You have a beautiful, creamy Golden Latte.

If you want it extra fluffy, chuck it in the blender before drinking it, or blend with a hand-held blender. If it’s too strong you just add extra sweetness with either raw sugar or some stevia.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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