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 this may help you along your own journey.
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 multidiscipline holistic therapist.
I was chronically ill with constant sore throat and colds since a very young age. I had extreme sinusitis crisis from which, I had to stay away from the light for long periods of time, the migraines being so strong. As a teenager, I got into the habit of seing my Doctor very often for recurrent thrush. At some stage, it became a monthly visit for a good year. The worst was my psoriasis flaring up every time a stressful event would occur! My wrist articulations were soaring daily since my teens and would get worst at time. I didn't know at the time that all these signs were the result of too many wrong choices and eating habits.
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, coming from a rural environment to a big city. Everything became faster which was fun at the begining. It was new and exciting, but then, it became continuous and 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 never addressed my health back in France, and coming to London increased my health issues threefold.
Going through stressful jobs, linking to bad eating habits, and smoking to name a few, I 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, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lack of motivation to name a few). I also was constantly tired. I had a heavy history of antibiotics use which clearly disrupted my bowel's microflora. I am French and France is one of the biggest consumer 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 diarrhea in people suffering from too much stress. This cycle creates a disturbance in the guts' microbiota, allowing the bad bacteria to grow stronger, causing diarrhea (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 used to straine so much from chronic constipation, I led myself to a very lazy bowel, creating a viscious circle. Slow bowel, more straining. My gut's nervous system (Enteric nervous system) was under such a high level of stress by then, that it got confused between the physical and emotional burden! I'd use laxatives to relief what I thought was physical, but to find out that it was purely emotional, and caused even more damage to my digestive track.
My way back to a healthier lifestyleGiving up smoking:
Having smoked since I was 11 years old, and no, it's not the cleverest thing I've ever done as a child, I was now ready to give up. This was one of the hardest thing I've ever had to do. It literally took me four attempts before succeeding. I strongly recommend you to do it with someone. A friend, a partner, a work-colleague 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. She was a big chocolate eater and a very heavy smoker (as she'd like to call herself a "chain smoker"). Her personal plan of attack was to give up chocolate and cigarettes at the same time, and go straight for it!
As one might call it, "going cold turkey".
What happened was hilarious! All she craved for throughout, was chocolate! And cigarettes just became less of a problem until eventually, she was cigarette free but still craving more chocolate. It became easier for her to ignore cigarettes but not so when it was her chocolate. The morality of her story was that she ended up finding out that she craved for chocolate more than cigarettes!
As I now know, it's not chocolate she was really craving for, but sugar! They are now numerous evidences, that sugar indeed is as addictive as nicotine. It is been researched and brought up to light, as to the damage it is causing to our health and our nervous system.
If you would like to know about sugar addiction and its dangers, please click here.
I started by stopping white sugar in my hot beverages as a first step forward. Then, from an everyday processed sugar consumption, I have nearly managed to have processed sugary treats at weekends only. I am now trying to limit my processed sugar intake by 75% or more if possible, as it is still an ongoing lifestyle. All I am trying to achieve, is the right balance of the good sugars intake for my body, and enjoy them as a treat now and again.
I was on four to six take away per week and took it down to none. From being into take-away fast-foods, I started to build up my intake of fresh and organic whole foods, and experimented with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Fresh and wild fish consumption up to three times a week. I then experimented with quinoa, brown rice, lots of pulses, seeds and organic wholenuts. This didn't happen overnight... Once I settled into my new routine, I then chose a couple of "cheat days" during the week, when I'd eat whatever I wanted. I eventually reached an 80/20 balance in 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 foods choice. Maybe I had a dinner out, a party to attend to, a BBQ etc... then, 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 thrown it away and bought a steamer and a 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 nutrition on a deeper level.
I eventually started taking out the sensitive and most commonly reactive foods such as wheat, dairy products, corn, sugar, soya, eggs, peanuts. But only one at a time though for a full month. Then 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 recognizing which one was disruptive to my digestive system. I would also repeat that process twice.
Dr. D'Adamo's 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 extremely helpful at the time as it was easy to follow, and I learnt so much from it. A really good foundation indeed about nutrition for beginners. That was years before I went onto my Nutrition course.
Of course, "The nutrition bible" by Patrick Holford, was also an obvious choice at the time. I am mentioning these two books, as they were key to the start of my self-development.
I cut down alcohol intake dramatically, as I found out that it put the weight on me very quickly. It became an occasional thing after six months of this pattern. I am French after all, and enjoy a glass of red at times.
The great side-effect from 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 alcohol comsumption weekly 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 of it, but really, alcohol is mostly the culprit in weight gain, as you will notice by doing this exercise.
I started with one glass of 250 ml of lukewarm water, first thing in the morning by adding a slice of organic lemon to it. Then, build up to 2.5L per day. Don’t forget that 1.5L of water intake is a minimum for your body to have daily. The reason being that 1.5L is roughly the amount needed, just to replace the loss of fluids you experienced throughout a 24 hours period via sleeping, sweating, speaking, digesting, urinating, crying etc…
I made 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 fruits and vegetable juices and smoothies. I eventually focused on the greens and stopped the fruits juices, as I felt it was playing up with my moods (spiking up my blood sugar levels). Again... a learning curve as I then, came across detoxification programs. From naturally cutting meat, increasing organic foods then eating 80% raw, my body felt it was time to get to the next stage. Of course, I was not going through College back then, and made many mistakes along the way without any real educated guesses. But that's what you do.... trial and errors, and again, I learnt so much from my body by doing so.
I now like to incorporate vegetable juicing within my lifestyle, as to once to five times a week, depending on what my body requires.
I completely changed my skin-wash routine with chemical-free based products.
First thing in the morning: splashing water on my face with cold water. I tap dried my face instead of rubbing the towel on it, and I started having natural facial treatments on a regular basis.
As I found out through self-development, I was definitely an adrenaline junky, having to always have something on the go, been busy and not knowing how to relax my body and mind, yoga was my next discovery. This was the way for me to enjoy exercise.
I had to stop straining and started re-connecting with my bowel. Homework consisted of responding to the call of nature firstly.
I took the habit to sit on the toilets and wait until elimination took place without straining. The problem was that obviously, it wouldn’t happen, since my bowel was used to either me straining or taking laxatives. I trained it very well to such a behavior so 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 toilets and wait until a movement occurs.
Frustration might follow but the idea is to re-educate the bowel to engage its muscles for elimination mechanism. Years of laxatives use and straining 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, my bowel became more regular, there was still this feeling of unfinished business! I then decided to explore further, as to reach out for extra guidance. I came across complementary therapies such as colonic hydrotherapy, Reflexology, Live blood analysis, and essential oils therapy. From one minute being skeptical about these therapies to actually going through the process, definitely opened my eyes to new possibilities. My journey to health improvement was then taking place. These therapies truly helped me to recognise and adjust stress within my body. Stress was still an area I needed to work on. I have never looked back since and kept been aware of my body's needs for harmony.
Next step in life:
With re-evaluation on what I really wanted to do in life, it was time to make a plan of attack that I felt I could achieve next, feeling in tune with myself and be able to fulfill my life purpose. Ironically, my health issue was my wake up call to what I was supposed to be doing 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 a shape to it. Writing 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 about the complementary therapies I now offer. I needed to go through the process of connecting with my health and rebalance it to have a real understanding about it.
My vision is still 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 hurdles, but these are part of the process and they are needed only 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 happen to go back to some of your old habits (hopefully, not all!), then this is when you must listen and be aware of your body's responses and warning signs. It is really important and actually beneficial to do that, as to realize how much your body has gained from your commitments to get a better health.
When you go through this process, you will realise how much improvements you have made. Always remember how you used to feel like before you gained your health back, and how much work you had to put in to stay there, and it 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 being affected, and my sugar craving increased, therefore the thrush would re-occur and stress with it, triggering my psoriasis! If I had dairy products on a daily basis for over a week, my wrist would hurt again, I’d have a mucus overproduction to the point of giving me a stuffy nose and a skin rash! If I had alcohol, I’d have a lose bowel and I’d feel depressed next day. My bowel movement started to become irregular and I wanted to start straining again. I was losing my health again.
As soon as I went back to the new way, I felt happy, motivated 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 lifestyles 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
Detox, colonic and yoga have now become
I will be happy to answer any enquiries you might have.
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.