Moving in cycles and seasons.

The world doesn’t hang in the balance. It moves in circles, cycles and seasons and as the month completes once again, I am in full preparation mode for the arrival my monthly friend.

I am acutely aware of my cycle. In fact I plan my life and diary around it and make sure that I give my body what it needs both nutritionally and physically. This means harnessing energy when it is available and resting when it is most needed. I know when it is a good time to make a decision and when I should shut up and sleep on it.

I am more than happy to break the taboo on the topic because for too long menstruation has been, and continues to be, viewed as something dirty that must be hidden. In India, women are told to avoid cooking while on their periods, for they might contaminate the food.  In developing countries girls miss several days of school each month.  Closer to home, did you know that in addition to all toxic chemicals, commercial menstrual pads contain the plastic equivalent to 4 Plastic Supermarket Bags?


One Artist/Illustrator has given this topic great expression as you can see.  Maria Torres’ illustrations certainly point out that it is kinda ridiculous that we behave so awkwardly towards something that half of the Earth’s population has to go through every month.

Plus I would like to think that when it is time for me to take my menstrual pause, it doesn’t have to be one big hot flush.

However to matters most immenent! I have been a fish out of water, well out of my kitchen. I have been travelling in foreign lands enjoying the bounty on offer. Call it a holiday, call it an adventure, I happened to travel pre-menstrual (NOTE:I didn’t book the tickets) which made the budget flight even more uncomfortable than usual and the settling in, minus my reserved day of rest.


Lucky I had a few little empowering tricks which relieve discomfort and give some nutritional support.  BUT then came the holiday.  For the past month I have been pushing the boundaries of my usual dietary regime! From mindfully eating a sugar-free, wheat-free, fresh, vegetarian diet with a daily dose of fermented foods, this becomes a tall order when travelling.  My best efforts replaced the usual meals with living day to day on coffee (espressos to be precise), peaches, salad ensembles and tinned sardines, all washed down at the end of the day with some Portuguese wine!


Actually on the food front, it was not too bad. The produce in Portugal is great.  The odd unavoidable carb overload occurred BUT I am pleased to say some fermented foods featured in there.

BUT what is it about European countries, sunshine and espressos?


I am (was) a caffeine lightweight, but Jesus, I have just completed a months intensive training!  At least one, sometimes two, sharp hits of the black magic on a daily basis is going to take its toll AND this month I am in for it! Coffee is known to influence hormonal balance by causing more or less of a hormone to be secreted.

I know what my body is telling me!  The estrogen-to-progesterone balance is off.

Estrogen and progesterone are two of the key hormones that help regulate your menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels rise during the first half of the cycle, whereas progesterone levels rise (while estrogen levels slowly decline) during the second half of your cycle. An imbalance between estrogen and progesterone throughout this cycle, can contribute to emotional and physical PMS symptoms, menstrual cramps, bloating, acne, to name a few!

That translates to: The sugar cravings are on red alert, probably egged on by the potuguese custard tart tasting with aforementioned coffees and the obligatory peach a day….(not to mention those €3 bottles of wine per evening.)


I have had more sugar in the past month than in the last two years! I don’t know wether to ride it out and request that I get to sleep all of menstration day OR have a little PMS cry. I could say I need to feel fabulously again, instead of frumpy BUT I know is that this too shall pass.

The cycle will repeat all over again (without the holiday binge) and I have no need to feel like I will lose a week of every month of my life! I can roll with this and put my down time to some creative use.

So what’s really happening during your cycle?

Everything That Happens During Your Menstrual Cycle

You need to know what your body goes through during your period.

Posted by Cultura Colectiva + on Sunday, July 23, 2017

It is wonderfully empowering to use this knowledge to your advantage.  It can seem that just when you get on top of things, your cycle takes you down again and you feel like you are constantly starting over.  We are constantly moving forward and it is hugely beneficial to do so in harmony.

If you are feeling that things have gone a little out of sync after your summer adventures then perhaps you would like to join us for a day of indulging in the beauty of your female cycle.

The Cultured Club will be collaborating with Yo Soy Gaia and LA YOGA to bring you a day of moving through the seasons of your cycle.  You will learn aninsightful way to keep track of your menstral cycle  and what you can do to support your body, mind & soul through the inner beauty of being a woman.

Women Wellness through the Seasons: Autumn

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

10 AM – 4 PM

The Zen Room, HIllsborough BT26 6PQ

BOOKING IS Available NOW via this Link


Just like a flower, everything has it cycle.

A seed becomes a plant

That has a flower

It transforms into a fruit

The fruit drops.

There is another seed and the seed grows again.

The flower is the moment that we live!

Understanding it will allow you to enjoy the beauty of every stage.



A Cultural Shift for Christmas

It is not easy in our Culture to be healthy and the minute you try, you are met with opposition and disapproval from the tribe who see the turning of your ways as an insult to their choices.   Ok, maybe a bit harsh, but it can be less than encouraging.

However YOUR choices effect at least seven of the closest people around you, so never underestimate the power of your actions.  Be careful of your choices, vote with your pocket and this CAN and WILL change the our culture for the better.


Never has this been more apparent than at Christmas.


I reckon I have always struggled around this time of year for one reason…….the mindless consumer mania.  It has made as much sense as the last minute gift which is suppose to express how much I care.  Throw kids into the mix and the pressure can seem beyond your control.  Kids we cannot fool, as they have Santa Claus on their side, although how he can discriminate between giving one child the latest iPhone and another a few bits of lego is perhaps something we need to address and Mummy/Daddy/Significant care giver could take the pleasure of gifting those more expensive items? ……………..Just a thought

Anyhow, let’s take the pressure off the ‘gifts for everyone else‘ list!

I love giving, anyone who knows me well, knows you cannot leave my house without having something bestowed upon you. This is in no way a Scrooge mentality.  It is the insanity of this time of year is perfectly captured and articulated by George Monibot in an article from 2012 which you can read here: On the 12th day of Christmas your gifts will be junk.


Read it, Think about it!  Ask the questions about the system which is supplying your demands!  A Cultural Shift, it is all I want for Christmas. (And my children’s future!)


Stepping off the consumer treadmill can be daunting.  It’s a vulnerable place…..I know!  Suck it up, be the light and Feck it, as they say!  Old patterns die a very loud death and there is always room for continual growth.


So here are my Top 10 solutions which I feel might just enlighten OR at least taste good.  Gifts made with love hold way more value!  Gifts made by hand are filled with LOVE.  After you have spent a fortune on quality ingredients,(NOTE:buying organic is particularly important when purchasing spices) plus invested your time, you will have something to be proud to gift.  If you are creatively minded, there is another wonderful world of labelling, wrapping, musing, so let your philosophy flow through you as you gift something truly unique.

For the Flavour Seekers in your life: (recipes in the clickable titles)

Dukkah  An Egyptian spice blend.

Furikake  Japanese Rice seasoning.

Immunity Spice Blend  Good on everything.

Miso Eggs  Like you have never experienced before.

Asian Dipping Sauce  Also good with everything.

Master Tonic  Your ultimate flu shot.

Miso Mayo  It can go an everything else that doesn’t have have dipping sauce smothering it!

For the want of a better world

Probiotic Toothpaste  A little different but surprisingly shiny results.

Facial scrub (from Susan Jane White)  Completely lickable!

For the Seasonal Table

Cranberry relish  No Christmas dinner should be without it.

Christmas Kraut  It will make the day after more interesting.

Orange, Ginger & Turmeric Kraut  It will bring a little sunshine to your plate.


All (as in most) recipes are from The Cultured Club recently published book on Fermented foods and Fabulously Funky Recipes available on Amazon and in all major book stores.


The Cultured Club by Dearbhla Reynolds, published by Gill


P.S.  If you get the time I recommend you take it to get to know that difference between Tongue Taste Vs Hand Taste as perfectly described by my food hero Michael Pollan.  It will make the joy of your gift even more special.

“The mouth is the mirror to the body”

“The mouth is the mirror to the body”  Sir William Osier  (a founding father of modern medicine)

Today is the day that I have been looking forward to for many years because today the last mercury filling in my mouth is to be removed.   I was part of the ‘drill & fill’ regime and I am sure that lots of the fillings could have been avoided but the reality is some of these fillings had been in my mouth for 30 years or more. ( These pictures below are not my teeth by the way, they were not far off, but you get the idea!)



It seems unusual for me to suggest enjoyment and dentistry in the same sentence as there was a time when I had to be strapped to the dentists chair.   For the past 2 months I have skipped my way into the dental clinic, always early, excited about new understandings I will encounter and giddy that a little more poison would be removed.


I have been present through every removal, deeply breathing to relax my body & mind and I have been loving the release as I prioritise this health protocol.


This has been a long journey which was first suggested 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with mercury poisoning.  I can detail this diagnosis another time, but in the recent years of clean eating and detoxing I am highly aware of  areas needing attention in my body and my teeth have been continually reminding that I need address this huge source of toxicity.


In valuing my overall well-being, it has also taken me this all time to find the right dentist, a holistic dentist.


Any dentist can take out an amalgam filling and pop in a neat little white one, but only a holistic dentist can offer this treatment as one part of a much bigger picture of your overall health.  I would not only recommend Belfast’s only holistic dentist, I would go so far as to say, a consultation with him will expose more about your health than you could ever imagine!


There is so much reference to the notion that all disease begins in the gut, a particular area of interest for me, but it is well documented that disease may also start in the mouth, where the gastro-intestinal tract begins.


It seems alien now that I once considered the teeth as just the teeth, doing their thing, chomping, chewing etc etc independent of the rest of the body.  The fact that you go to the dentist for your teeth and the doctor for the rest of the body perhaps supports this notion!


No one had ever suggested that our teeth are connected to energetic pathways called meridians and there is a relationship between our teeth to other body parts.  This relationship between problems in the teeth and their direct influence on another organ (or organs) in the body resonated immediately.  Just like a piano, each tooth being a key.  The key is pressed and it causes a hammer to strike a note which creates a vibration and a sound.  Each key produces a different sound.

Your teeth aren’t just your teeth!



One thing that instinctively lead me to cultured and fermented foods many years back was the feeling that my digestive tract needed a little support and help.  No wonder, as a few years prior to this I had undergone a tooth extraction which related specifically to the large intestines & lungs. As the teeth are connected by nerves to your brain, these nerves send nerve impulses or messages to specific parts of the body.  If there is no tooth, I guess their is no message and this area in my body needed extra help.


I am delighted that these foods were already an established part of my routine and have kept me in good health, enabling me to respond so well to an intensive series of treatments to a mercury free mouth!


The mercury detoxing continues for at least the next 6 months, as stored mercury in the body still needs to be removed.  The approach will be  to chelate out heavy metals the longer, slower way, by means which Nature has provided and a a pace my body can naturally cope with.


Natural chelating agents include:

  1. Acetic acid is a natural substance found in fermented foods and drinks, i.e. sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kvass, apple cider vinegar, etc.
  2. Copious amounts of coriander, garlic and chlorella
  3. Amino acids, obtained from proteins, mainly eggs.
  4. Citric acid which is found in citrus fruits, i.e. lemons and limes
  5. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in many foods including vegetables and fruits.
  6. Lactic acid  found in dairy products, i.e. whey, kefir, and yogurt and fermented foods.  Double servings of my traditional fermented lemonade, Thank you very much!.
  7. Natural fats, such as butter, unrefined coconut oil.


Instinctively  for the past two months I have been religiously oil pulling at least once a day, sometimes twice.  I figured that since I have invested so much in my mouth already the extra expense of a spoonful of coconut oil might keep me right for a little while longer.   I am feeling the benefits of this as part of my mercury detox protocol.


This was forever on my to-do list. The satisfaction I now feel ticking this one off is beyond words.  I really do feel a toxic burden has lifted.

Recognizing that amalgams are dangerous to health, getting them properly removed by a trained dentist is necessary to reclaim your health.  Getting them replaced with biologically compatible composites, and continuing to detox mercury from your body will improve your overall wellbeing.


If you are feeling inspired to address the toxicity caused by mercury fillings, I urge you to make an appointment with Dr David Hefferon Holistic Dentist at Elite Dental Practice.  Tel 02890459696

(News to come soon regards a part time Dublin Clinic starting up soon)


You won’t regret it!




The Cultured Club is dedicated to reviving this lost tradition and bringing the control of our health into our own kitchens.
'Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food' is a hard philosophy to live by when we are so removed from the food we eat.

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