Coffee

DeCaf Coffee

Would you be surprised to discover that decaf coffee is in fact not 100% caffeine free?  I know I was when I first found out a few years back at a conference.

Unfortunately, if you were under the impression that drinking decaf means you’re not ingesting any caffeine, then please be aware that this is incorrect.

Decaffeination has to be undertaken on the green beans before they are roasted and although this process removes most of the caffeine from the coffee beans, this is rarely a 100% removal.  To date, none of the decaf products sold in this country are 100% caffeine free.

Most coffee that is sold worldwide as decaf or “free from” will more than likely contain a percentage of around 2-3% caffeine (different types of beans may end up containing a higher percentage after the process).

If you are generally happy that you’ve reduced your caffeine intake quite significantly by selecting the decaf option and accept that there will be some residual caffeine, then all is well.

However, do be careful if you’ve been asked to attend a medical test: it appears that some people have been caught out when drinking what they believed to have been decaffeinated cups of coffee when attending appointments and tests that had specifically requested that no caffeine should be consumed beforehand.  Sadly, these patients have been forced to reschedule, with the inevitable delay in their diagnosis and treatment.

Another point to consider is that the decaffeination process has, until recently, involved using chemicals such as methyl chloride (a known carcinogen, albeit, we are assured, in quantities lower than those recognised as toxic by recognised health authorities such as the FDA).

However, as manufacturing companies are increasingly taking consumers’ preferences into account, a process of decaffeination that uses only water has been developed.  If you see decaf products in the supermarkets that have been manufactured using this method, then they are more than likely going to be labelled as “organic”.

I understand that one of the main high street chains is now also using these coffee beans.

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Menopause Symptoms

Mood Swings

Whilst hot flushes and sweats are the 2 things that get mentioned the most when the subject of menopause symptoms comes up, mood swings can be equally devastating, because they are not only detrimental to those who suffer, but to those around them.

I Know Mood Swings Have Affected Me

Women may notice that they were no longer the happy go lucky person they once were and this itself can make things worse for them.

Mood Swings – Me? I Don’t Think so!

At the other extreme, I’m sure that we can all think of someone we know who had steadfastly refused to acknowledge any changes in their behaviour: “oh there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m fine, REALLY FINE!”  If you know someone like that, it’s easy to lose the nerve to speak to them frankly and avoid a situation which has the potential to escalate into a full-blown row.

We’ve all noticed someone who has become less fun to be around: they can be short tempered, less tolerant and sadly, some start to reach for the bottle, a habit which can escalate.  I’ve known people who go to the extent of vodka in water bottles taken to work and don’t even consider the fact that they might be still over the limit when they drive to work in the morning.

So What Can I Do About My Mood Swings?

There are various things you can try and see if they can help you, as I know they have done with others.  We will talk more about all of this in our detailed section.

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Natural Remedies for Menopause

Are These Natural Products Good For You?

That product may be labelled or described as natural, but is it really safe?

There are many hundreds of products on the market for women who cannot or chose not to take hormonal HRT or other medical drugs, but how do you navigate your way through the myriad of pills and potions?

Where has the Product Been Made?

You should be looking for products that are manufactured by Companies who have the correct certificates of Safety, Quality & Hygiene.  Sadly, it’s quite easy for the less scrupulous to use false certificates, so just beware…

Wherever possible, stick to products that are made and packed in the UK – Britain is best (got to support local business where you can!), together with Japan where there are very high standards within the consumer healthcare market and of course the USA.

Where buying from overseas, you can always check with the commercial division of the country’s embassy/Consulate for details of the manufacturer.

Is it a Kitchen Sink Approach?

There are a large number of products with several herbs together with vitamins and minerals. More is not necessarily great and unless the manufacturer can provide details of independent data that confirms it is safe to combine X herb with Y herb, just be careful.

Some products which have been commonly marketed for menopause such as Black Cohosh have been associated with liver damage. Kava has been banned in the UK since 2002 for the same reason and more recently Green Tea in pills (as opposed to the tea in leaf or bag form that you brew and drink) has also been associated with liver toxicity.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that certain herbs may be used in cooking, but only in small quantities and not every day; for example Sage. I am not aware of any long term trials that have been undertaken on cullinary herbs and spices to confirm daily usage at high doses is safe.

In the past I’ve taken combination products and wondered why I felt/was sick; now I understand why.

First of All, Double Check the Celebrity Endorsers of these Natural Remedies

Martin Lewis has been the subject of many spoof adverts online claiming that he has endorsed a product/service.  To make this very clear, this week he has posted a photo of himself on his Facebook page with the words “I don’t do Ads”.

You would be amazed at the number of companies, both small and large who believe it’s their right to market themselves based on falsehoods.

This Naural Remedy for Menopause Has Got Loads of Great Reviews!

Reviews are a great way of us communicating feedback our experience(s) to others and can be very helpful.  It’s well worth taking the time to read through comments and get a feel of the product. Are they dated? Are they regular and seem genuine (go with your gut on this one).

Please also beware of sites listing a whole number of happy customer comments – how many times have we heard of false ratings?! Some companies will even go to the extent of creating false identities online in an attempt to bolster sales.

Does The Company Provide Support?

We often need advice and support in life, particularly when going through the menopause.  Finding a product that has a good after sales service, ideally manned by women that know exactly what you are going through, makes all the difference.

This is particularly important if you have come across a product online; call them, can you speak to someone in house who has used the product? Again, just be careful; using Skype means you can actually see who you are speaking to and confirm they are who they say they are.

How Long Should I try a Natural Remedy For?

I would say 1 month should be more than enough; with our product, if people haven’t seen benefits kicking in within this time, we would advise to discontinue and move onto something else.

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Motherhood

Giving Birth

As the country welcomed its latest royal baby this week, mothers across the country may have been taken back to that moment in their life when they too left the hospital carrying their baby together with all those post-partum emotions and physical reminders of recent months.

For anyone under the illusion that you’re going to fit in those pre-pregnancy jeans the moment you reach home… dream on! It won’t happen for a few weeks and then only if you remember to keep doing the exercises that the physio lady has given you on those sheets! Your feet may still be swollen, you may be sore in places you didn’t know existed and all of us, yes ALL of us, regardless of age, colour of eyes or position in society, will be wearing granny pants and panty liners-it’s perfectly natural to experience some blood loss after giving birth. Further details on this can be found via this site:

https://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/guide-blood-loss-after-birth

However, as always, if you have any concerns or experience any abnormal bleeding and/or pains or cramps, please consult your GP immediately.

It’s All Very New!

If it’s your first child, expect at times to feel overwhelmed at times, scared, concerned (I can remember calling a friend who was a nurse worried that something was wrong with my daughter because she seemed to keep holding her breath from time to time.)

If they cry, when they won’t feed, or it hurts just to think of those gummy lips cramping themselves like a limpet on your sore nipples again and yet you want that baby to wake up and feed because your breasts feel like they are going to explode, you’re going to feel like the worst mum in the world, but you’re more than likely doing it all right.

With time, everything will become so much easier and if you have another baby later, there is a wonderful sense of ease in just knowing that you’re not going to be baffled by a top and tail tub or why your new born is suddenly pooping mustard.

Lack of Sleep

My biggest issue was always lack of sleep and just feeling like a zombie; most babies may have problems sleeping, so I just grabbed whatever kip time I could while they nodded off; even a 40-minute snooze helped.  I managed to get through 16 months when my son didn’t sleep for longer than an hour at a time after his inoculations.

And for those of us who don’t have close family and friends (or a Norland nanny) to help out, please don’t be hard on yourself. It doesn’t matter that the floor hasn’t been hoovered today or that it’s beans on toast for dinner again.  Eventually they do all sleep through the night and believe me, when they get to their teenage years, it’s even harder getting to wake up in time for school!

One day you too may see a celebrity baby on the news and think “Awww, I remember when…”

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Menopause Support

Bad Sleep?

At a Menopause Society conference many years ago, I heard a talk given by a nurse who recommended that women with PMS should add magnesium to their diet in the form of supplements. She also mentioned that the supplement was useful for women going through menopause who were having problems with sleep.

There is nothing worse than waking up in the night and not being able to get back to sleep. You lie there tossing and turning, probably stressing yourself into a few night sweats in the process.  Of course, it’s at this point when your mind seems to switch into major alert mode and all those things you’ve got to do start forming into wonderful lists in your head.

I used to call it the Witching Hour; it would start around 01:50 and could last up to three hours at its worst. Falling asleep when you know the alarm clock is going to go off in around 2 hours is really the worst, especially when it happens night after night.  You can’t function as a human being, let alone an employee, mother or cook.

However, as it was recommended, both myself and fellow attendee dutifully purchased some magnesium supplements and gave it a whirl.  Although my beans had pretty much given me a decent night’s sleep most of the time, there was still the odd night when I’d still wake up and toss and turn.

I was quite surprised, and quite delighted that the additional magnesium seemed to do the trick and more importantly continues to do so. I’ve adapted it to suit my lifestyle and recommend it to anyone who may be having similar issues.

Please check out our Blog on Magnesium itself

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