My ongoing journey to a balanced and healthier mind, body and soul
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My name is Edwige Cabanetos and I would like to tell you a little bit about myself.
I hope you will enjoy my story and that it helps you, in some small way, with your own journey.
There is inside you
All of the potential
To be whatever you want to be;
All of the energy
To do whatever you want to do.
Imagine yourself as you would like to be,
Doing what you want to do,
And each day, take one step
Towards your dream.
And though at times it may seem too
difficult to continue,
Hold on to your dream.
One morning you will awake to find
That you are the person you dreamed of,
Doing what you wanted to do,
Simply because you had the courage
To believe in your potential
And to hold on to your dream.
I was born in France and grew up in the countryside by the
Atlantic coast. I eventually decided to travel and explore different horizons as I reached my early twenties. My last stop was London! New life, new culture, new everything. But overall, a
much faster pace of life! What you are about to read, is a brief resume of why I have become a multi-discipline holistic therapist.
From a very young age, I was chronically ill with a constant sore throat and continuous colds. I suffered from extreme sinusitis crisis and very strong migraines which meant I had to stay away from light for long periods of time. As a teenager, I had very frequent visits to my Doctor for recurrent thrush. At one stage, I was seeing my Doctor every month for about a year. My worst ailment was psoriasis which flared up every time a stressful event would occur! My wrist articulations were soaring daily since my teens and would get worse all the time.
I didn't know at the time that all these ailments were the result of too many wrong choices and bad eating habits. This pattern carried on and became more pronounced when I moved to London. I now realise that learning a new language whilst making my mark in London was a very stressful time for me and that stress directly affected my health, but I was completely unaware of the connection at the time, too distracted by the excitement of the big city.
This pattern carried on and became more pronounced as I moved to London.I will never forget one of my first jobs in London. After finishing my Au-pair contract, I started working as a cashier at William Hill, the bookies!
What a huge learning curve that was - trying to master the English language whilst dealing with many different nationalities and a whole range of different English accents. Sometimes, this was an extremely stressful experience and environment.
Then, I worked in the complaints department for a logistics company and I knew I had to start to change some of my lifestyle patterns. At this point, the stress was affecting me both physically and mentally.
Yes, this was my own personal artwork, from my William Hill days...!
And, no I didn't get any better at Art.
London was clearly a big hit for me. I had come from a rural environment to a big city - everything became faster and life was fun, at the beginning. It was all new and exciting but it was non-stop and it started to become a bit of a problem. London is not a forgiving place. I had to learn, think, eat, and talk fast. The only way I knew how to relax in the city life was to join in with the crowd and have a "merry old drink"!
I had never addressed my health back in France, and coming to London increased my health issues threefold. Going through stressful jobs, with bad eating habits, smoking, drinking etc took my body to a very unhealthy place. As a result, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). My IBS symptoms weren't the only worry (constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and lack of motivation, to name a few). I also was constantly tired. I had a long history of antibiotic use, which clearly disrupted my bowel's microflora. I am French and France is one of the biggest consumers of antibiotics in the world! Over 633 million daily doses of antibiotics are being prescribed yearly in my country alone!
There is often an associated link between the use of antibiotics and diarrhoea in people suffering from too much stress. This cycle creates a disturbance in the guts' microbiota, allowing the bad bacteria to grow stronger, causing diarrhoea (eg: Clostridium Difficile being part of the bad bacteria's colonie in our bowel). Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea (ADD) can also be a risk factor for IBS development.
I realised that something needed to change and change quickly and change fundamentally.
From pain to health
The body is designed for survival and is an extremely powerful tool that is able to self-heal, if, we give it a chance. Of course, I could have carried on with my life and adapted to the pain and discomfort just as I had done for years. Instead, I became interested in my digestive system and started to learn about it. I had had enough of the pain and discomfort and wanted to learn how to get better.
I had literally taken myself to the point of misery, with an increasing number of appalling symptoms and a lot of pain - it was beginning to spoil my social life! What I really had to do was to re-evaluate my diet, my lifestyle, my habits and start on a completely new basis.
You can read the lifestyle changes I started to make below. Step by step I started to regain my health and vitality.
My way back to a healthier lifestyleGiving up smoking:
Having smoked since I was 11 years old, I was ready to give up. This was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It took me four attempts before succeeding. I strongly recommend you to do it with someone. A friend, a partner, a work-colleague; someone who is as committed as you are. It helps a lot. After my fourth attempt, it worked... at last!
My friend, on the other hand, tried a different approach than me. He was a big chocolate eater and a very heavy smoker (as he'd like to call himself a "chain
smoker"). His personal plan of attack was to give up chocolate and cigarettes at the same time, and go for it! As one might call it, "going cold turkey". What happened was hilarious! All he craved was chocolate! Cigarettes just became less of a problem until eventually, he was cigarette free but still craving more chocolate. It became easier for him to ignore cigarettes but not so when it was his chocolate. The moral of this story was that he ended up finding out that he craved chocolate more than cigarettes!
I now know it was not chocolate he was really craving for but sugar! There is now a body of evidence, that sugar actually as addictive as nicotine. Research has brought to light the damage sugar causes to our health and our nervous system. If you would like to know about sugar addiction and its dangers, please click here.Sugar intake:
As a first step, to dealing with sugar addiction, I started to reduce my sugar intake by not adding sugar to my hot beverages. I then consciously reduced my everyday processed sugar consumption until I only had processed sugary treats at weekends. I am now trying to reduce my processed sugar intake by a further 75% or more, if possible. All I am trying to achieve is the right balance of good sugar intake whilst enjoying the occasional now and then.
I was eating four to six takeaways per week and progressively reduced this to none. I stopped being dependant on takeaways and fast-food and started to build up my intake of fresh, organic whole foods. I experimented with a wide range of various fruits and vegetables and started eating fresh, wild fish up to three times a week. I then tried quinoa, brown rice, lots of pulses, seeds and organic whole nuts. This didn't happen overnight... Once I settled into my new routine I chose a couple of "cheat days" each week, when I would eat whatever I wanted. I eventually reached an 80/20 balance, between good and bad, for my food intake.
By this, I mean, 80% of the time (5 days per week) I had a strict pattern in my food's quality intake, and 20% of the time (usually at the weekend), I was more relaxed in my food choices. Maybe I had a dinner out, a party to attend, or a BBQ etc... and I still enjoyed what was on offer and indulged, as I knew I would be back to my routine by Monday.
When my microwave broke down, I threw it away and bought a steamer and slow cooker instead. I started steaming, stir-frying, slow-cooking and grilling my food. Education, education, education... I researched and read a lot about health, coming across a diversity of books which became my mentors. This led me toward tackling my personal nutrition on a deeper level.
I eventually started to remove the most commonly reactive foods; wheat, dairy, corn, sugar, soya, eggs, peanuts, from my diet. I did this with one food type at a time, for a full month. I re-introduced one at a time for five consecutive days. I took note on how I felt. By giving 2 weeks in between one food to the next one I wanted to try, it would help me recognize which one was disruptive to my digestive system. I would repeat the process twice.
Dr. D'Adamo blood type theory appealed to me the most, at the time. I followed my gut instinct and gave his books "Eat right for your type" and "Live right for your type" a try. You should too! It was as helpful as it was easy to follow, and I learnt so much from it. It is a really good foundation, for beginners, about nutrition. That was years before I went onto my formal Nutrition training. Of course, "The nutrition bible" by Patrick Holford, was also an obvious choice at the time. I am mentioning these three books, as they were key to the start of my self-development.
I cut down my alcohol intake dramatically. I found that alcohol made me put on weight very quickly. After six months, it became an occasional treat. I still very much enjoy a glass of red, every now and then - I am French after all.
One of the side-effects of cutting down alcohol was that I lost weight in the process. If you think you are eating the wrong food just take note of your weekly alcohol consumption and cut it by half. Give it a month and see how much weight you've lost. Then, you might want to tackle your food quality and the amount you eat, but typically, alcohol is the most guilty culprit in weight gain, as you will discover if you do this exercise.
I wanted to improve my hydration. I started with one 250ml glass of lukewarm water, first thing in the morning, adding a slice of organic lemon to it and building up to 2.5L per day. Remember that 1.5L of water intake is the minimum for your body to have daily. The reason being that 1.5L is roughly the amount needed to replace the loss of fluids you experience throughout a 24 hour period through sleeping, sweating, speaking, digesting, urinating, crying etc…
I saved up a kitty when I stopped smoking and used the money to invest in a juicer and a blender. I really enjoyed the benefits of organic fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies. I eventually focused on greens and stopped the fruits juices, as I felt it was affecting my moods by spiking my blood sugar levels. Detoxification programs became my next learning curve. From naturally reducing meat, increasing organic foods and eating 80% raw food my body felt it was time to go to the next stage. I was not attending Nutritional College back then and made many mistakes along the way, relying on my own educated guesses. But that's what I did.... trial and error, and again, I learnt so much from my body by doing so. I now like to incorporate vegetable juicing within my lifestyle. I blend a vegetable smoothie between one to five times a week, depending on what my body requires.
I completely changed my skin-washing routine and started to use chemical-free products. First thing in the morning I splash cold water on my face. I tap dry my face instead of rubbing the towel on it and I use natural facial treatments on a regular basis.
I joined a gym and started a regular exercise routine, working out between one and three times a week, with a mixed of cardiovascular and weightlifting - High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I would use the sauna and steam room after my workout and skin exfoliation to help remove toxins from my body. I also started to nourish my body differently after my workouts, in order to avoid falling back into a junk food eating pattern.
After a few years, the gym became very boring for me and I couldn't see myself at 60 years old pumping iron! It was just not my character. But, I could see myself growing old, in my home following an outdoor exercise routine that I could sustain, and incorporate, naturally, into my lifestyle. I discovered Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, Qi Gong, and they all really improved my ability to cope with stress!
Every year, I enjoyed personal training for a short period of time - coming out of Winter and getting back into shape for my favourite season... Spring! Personal training gave me the extra boost I needed to get back on track! I found out through self-development that I was definitely an adrenaline junky. I always had something on the go and had to be busy. I didn't know how to relax my body and or my mind. I discovered yoga. This was the way for me to enjoy exercise.
At first, I got bored in yoga classes. I wasn't aware of it at the time and was still learning about my body, but my mind was so active, (hence: adrenaline junky), that it couldn't tune into that new rhythm.
I went back to a diversity of cardiovascular classes as I was clearly in search of more of a kick!! My mind wasn't ready yet. It's interesting how long a transition can take before changes take place and take root. It took me a couple of years before I started enjoying a calmer environment and ever since I have been exploring different ways of quietening my mind! It doesn't mean that I stopped everything else, I just gave myself options to balance things out and it worked, for me. Exercise can be fun if you choose it according to your character. You just need to explore and learn about yourself.
I used to strain so much from chronic constipation that it led to a very lazy bowel, creating a vicious circle - slow bowel led to more straining which led to a slow bowel etc. My gut's nervous system (Enteric nervous system) was under such a high level of stress that it got confused between the physical and emotional burden! I'd use laxatives to relieve what I thought was physical, only to find out that it was purely emotional and therefore caused even more damage to my digestive tract.
I had to stop straining and start re-connecting with my bowel. When I responded to a call of nature I got into the habit of sitting on the toilet and waiting until the elimination took place without straining. However, the elimination wouldn't happen because my bowel was used to either me straining or taking laxatives. I had trained it very well, to the point where it didn't have to work for it! If one feels the need to strain, then DO NOT! Put your trousers back on and walk away. Wait until the next call of nature arises, sit on the toilet and wait until a movement occurs. Frustration might follow but the idea is to re-educate the bowel to engage its muscles for the elimination mechanism.
Years of using laxatives and straining had made my bowel lazy therefore, perseverance was the key! Don't expect an overnight recovery and clearly you will reach out for the laxatives at the beginning, but day after day practice should help in regaining a natural bowel movement. After a period of 6 months, I could already feel the benefits of my new approach. Although, passing my bowel became more regular, there was still this feeling of unfinished business! I then decided to explore further and reached out for extra help.
I came across complementary therapies such as Colonic Hydrotherapy, Reflexology, Live Blood Analysis, and Essential Oils Therapy.
From passive to active:
I started to re-evaluate what I really wanted to do in life. It was time to make a plan of attack that I felt I could achieve; I felt in tune with myself and able to fulfil my life purpose. Ironically, my health issues were the trigger and wake-up for me to focus on what I wanted to do, professionally. My gut condition took me back to health education, and a real journey started for me at this point. I knew then what the plan was going to be, and started to put it into action. I wrote down my ambitions, the step by step process and the end goal! It all started to fall into place.
My educational journey truly started years before I went back to College to study the complementary therapies that I now offer. I needed to go through the process of connecting with my health issues and re-balancing myself in order to gain a real understanding of myself and what I wanted from life. I began to realise that my experience with my own health issues and my approach to resolving them could potentially help other people. I started to attend educational seminars and quickly moved to formal education. I have studied and am qualified in Colonic Hydrotherapy, Reflexology, Essential oil Therapy, Live Blood Analysis, Naturopathic Nutrition and Clinical Hypnosis.
Having obtained this broad base of knowledge, made up of personal experience and formal education, I started to develop protocols for people to follow in order to improve their health or to help support and resolve specific issues.
My vision is still developing and building up to the place I wanted it to be when I first wrote my plan and that’s what the journey is about. Making it happen! Of course, it comes with difficulties, but these hurdles are part of the process and are needed to make you stronger. As I always say, it is only the universe at work… which is actually you… but that’s for another writing piece for another time.
Coming off the wagon:
If you fall back into some of your old habits, hopefully, not all of them, then this is the time when you must listen to and be aware of your body's responses and warning signs. It is really important and actually beneficial to do this; to realise how much your body has gained from your commitment to better health. When you go through this process you will realise the significance of the improvements you have made.
Always remember the way you used to feel before you regained your health and how much work you had to put in to stay healthy; this will naturally put you back on track.
If I didn’t exercise for a small period of time, I started to feel depressed and lethargic. My sleep was affected, my sugar craving increased, my thrush would re-occur and my stress increased, triggering my psoriasis! If I had dairy products on a daily basis for over a week my wrist would start hurting again, I’d have excess mucus production giving me a stuffy nose and a skin rash! If I had alcohol I’d have a loose bowel and I’d feel depressed the next day; my bowel movement would start to become irregular and I wanted to start straining again. In essence, I was losing my health again. As soon as I went back to the new way I felt happy, motivated, positive and good, overall.
As you reach your balance you will naturally carry on evolving to the next obvious step that suits you. I did things I thought weren't possible. I made lifestyle adjustments that I felt were necessary to stay focused and keep listening to my body's needs:
- I got rid of my T.V
- I got rid of my microwave
- Embarked on more self-development and education
- Made my own music compilation to listen to for stress management
- Listened to adverts-free radio channels
- Limited my shopping in big supermarkets
- Got weekly to fortnight organic foods deliveries from local farmers
To this day, I am still adjusting to what I feel is necessary for my body to stay balanced.
Movies: "Hungry for change" and "Foood matters" by James Colquhoun and Laurentine Bosh
From old to new routines
One of many things I have learnt throughout my own journey to a more
balanced health, is that my body definitely thrives on diversity. And by
diversity, I mean the food I eat, the exercise I do, my lifestyle
choices and type of friends I make. Even my own living space. Changing
things around a couple of times a year, to bring a fresh look to my living
space always feels so good for the mind, especially in a city like London! My friends have probably lost count of the many times I have re-arranged my place!
When it comes to give your body what it needs, I
believe it is important to break routines now and then. Changes are what you might find hard to make at first, but it is, in my
experience, what improved my overall well-being. It gave me the right "terrain" for steadier health. By listening to my body and
recognising its needs for changes throughout the years, I have been
able to channel my energy
towards a more significant way forward, but mostly keeping me on track
towards my life goals.
Remember that your gut is a creature of habit.I learnt how to take a more
natural approach towards my body's ailments. As I opened myself up to new possibilities, I incorporated a combination of complementary therapies that worked for me alongside my self-development, and recognised their impact on my health improvement. Reflexology, Naturopathic nutrition, Colonic irrigation, Live blood analysis, and Essential oil Therapy have been those holistic tools for me. And as I became more connected with these complementary therapies, I educated myself about them, so I could guide others towards their own health improvement. Health is an ongoing journey, and I encourage you to explore and find the right combination that works for your health enhancement.
Give it diversity time to time and break the routine, you will surprise
yourself in so many ways.
The complementary therapies I offer, address the body on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. I believe in awareness and that the body becomes healthier when all these areas are in balance. Using holistic tools to understand about your body's needs, can help you embark on an empowering journey to a more harmonious health.
There is a really powerful connection between our mind
body and soul, that is sometimes completely dismissed. I came across many people from all walks of life since I started practising, and the subject that always ends up by being addressed, is the gut and its impact on their health. This amazing organ which from my point of view is the centre of our health, is not always understood. Its direct connection with our brain, is what makes our life interesting on so many levels, but can also turn it into a real turmoil.
Please, read about stress here for a better understanding about the brain and gut connection, and its impact on our health.
Finding the right combination of complementary therapies, that support detoxification and stress-relief, is a good start. All the therapies I
came across along my health recovery journey were part of bringing me to
a more harmonious being. It didn't happen overnight but I eventually attuned to the right combination by keeping an open
mind towards the process. My ongoing journey has led me to a Clinical-Hypnosis post-graduate degree, a great tool that guided me to a deeper understanding of the unconscious mind and
its influence on our own body's healing mechanism.
I've had an interest in Clinical-Hypnosis ever since I acknowledged how my mind took part in my gut's stress-related issue and its health improvement. This part of our inner-self that we like to call "unconsciousness, that inner-voice we cannot really explain but has a role to play in our health. Hypnosis helps you reaching out to this inner-voice and bring it forward in order to improve your health. I will be able to add this empowering technique in a near future to a concept that I am working on. A concept I am creating to allow others to engage in lifestyle changes and transitions.
I hope you enjoyed reading my journey and that it helps you to make the decisions that you feel are right for your own health improvement. Please, feel free to call me and ask questions about any of the therapies I offer at 4 Balance and Health.
Not everyone will understand your journey. That's fine, it's not their journey to make sense of. Its' yours.
"Your unconsciousness always knows what to do to heal itself,
the challenge is to silence the mind".
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Therapies offered at 4 Balance and
Health are not substitutes for traditional medical care by your GP, they
are complementary therapies that may be used in conjunction with
conventional medicine. Should you be aware of any reasons why these
therapies are contra-indicated to you or you have a serious health
problem, please consult your GP prior to their use.