Have you ever thought about how your smile can have a transformative effect on those around you? It is not just a key to improving your day to day happiness and wellbeing, it can act as a catalyst for change in the lives of those around you.

“The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on his back”

Date Cornegia

Have you considered the profound positive influence that your smile could have on those around you? You see, a smile is a universal language of kindness which transcends spoken languages and cultures. Smiling is the habit of happy people and it is of utmost importance that we rediscover the art of smiling.

For those who grew up without witnessing many smiles from their parents, siblings, or within their community, the absence of these joyful moments can leave a lasting mark. Imagine households where smiles were scarce—a reality that seems unfathomable to many. Yet, for some, it was their upbringing.

Failing to acquire this essential interpersonal skill, the ability to share a genuine smile, can have far-reaching consequences. Our early years shape us profoundly, and the absence of parental smiles can impact our well-being throughout life. Unconsciously, we absorb these experiences, and the conditioning persists.

However, there’s hope. Learning to smile can break free from these ingrained patterns. It’s a small yet transformative act—one that can reshape our outlook, foster connections, and lead to a brighter, more joyful existence.

Remember, even the simplest gestures can hold immense power. 

It is never too late in life to smile more, this small yet potent gift has far reaching effects, blessing others with joy, health and lasting connections and all from a fleeting moment of kindness.

The important benefits that come from smiling

Let’s delve into the fascinating science behind smiling:

  1. Neuropeptides: When you smile, your brain releases neuropeptides—tiny molecules that act as stress fighters. They help combat stress and promote relaxation.
  2. Dopamine: Known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, dopamine surges when you grin. It’s like a burst of positivity, enhancing your mood and creating a sense of reward.
  3. Endorphins: These natural pain relievers kick in when you wear that smile. They soothe discomfort and contribute to overall well-being.
  4. Even Fake Smiles Count: Remarkably, even a forced or fake smile can trigger positive effects. Your brain doesn’t always distinguish—it responds to the act itself.
  5. Anxiety Buster: Smiling isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a potent antidote to anxiety. Studies link genuine smiles to reduced blood pressure, improved digestion, and better blood sugar regulation.

Remember, your smile isn’t merely a facial expression; it’s a wellness tool https://youtu.be/pqPrUCwbD0Y?feature=shared with far-reaching benefits. So, go ahead—let those neurons work their magic, and spread a little joy! 

How a grin can shape our stress response.

Your smile isn’t just a fleeting expression—it’s a powerful tool that can influence your body and mind. Let’s explore a study that sheds light on the magic of smiling:

Researchers Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman from the University of Kansas orchestrated a captivating study involving 169 participants. Here’s how it unfolded:

  1. Three Facial Expression Groups:
    • Neutral Expression: Participants held chopsticks in their mouths, engaging only the muscles around their mouth—creating a neutral face.
    • Standard Smile: A genuine smile, activating the mouth muscles.
    • Duchenne Smile: The full package—muscles around both the eyes and mouth engaged.
  2. Stressful Multitasking:
    • While maintaining their assigned facial expressions, participants tackled multitasking activities designed to induce stress. The first stress-inducing activity required the participants to trace a star with their non-dominant hand by looking at a reflection of the star in a mirror. The second stress-inducing activity required participants to submerge a hand in ice water.
  3. Measuring Heart Rate and Stress Levels:
    • Researchers monitored heart rates and collected self-reported stress levels.

The Results:

  • Duchenne Smiles: Those with the full Duchenne smile recovered from stress the quickest. Their bodies seemed to recognize the genuine expression.
  • Instructed Smiles: Next were those explicitly instructed to smile. Even non-spontaneous smiles had an impact.
  • Neutral Smiles: Surprisingly, those with neutral expressions took longer to recover. Perhaps their lack of smiles left them stranded in stress.

Remember, your smile isn’t just a reflection of joy; it’s a wellness tool. So, whether it’s a full grin or a subtle curve, let it work its magic! 

The Ripple Effect of Smiles: How Happiness Spreads

Countless scientific studies have illuminated a remarkable phenomenon: smiling is contagious. When we see someone else flash a grin, our own facial muscles respond almost involuntarily. But it’s not just a physical reflex—it’s a gateway to a cascade of benefits.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The Smile Exchange: Imagine someone smiling at you, whether a familiar face or a stranger. That simple act lifts your mood. You can’t help but smile back—it’s an automatic response.
  2. The Hidden Treasure: Beneath that shared smile lies a treasure trove of positive feelings. Suddenly, the day doesn’t seem so bleak. Someone else’s joy becomes a lifeline for our own well-being.
  3. The Power of Reciprocity: When you smile back at someone, you’re not just returning the favor. You’re reaping the same benefits you’d get from initiating the smile. It’s a beautiful cycle of positivity.

So, next time you encounter a friendly grin, remember: it’s not just a fleeting expression. It’s a gift—one that can transform your day and create ripples of happiness.

Enhancing Perceived Attractiveness: The Power of Smiles and Eye Contact

In 2011, researchers at the University of Aberdeen’s Face Research Laboratory conducted a compelling study, revealing that eye contact combined with a smile significantly increases perceived attractiveness. The study, titled “Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research” by Little, Jones, and DeBruine, suggests that smiling not only enhances attractiveness but also conveys a sense of relaxation, sincerity, and self-assurance.

Professors Ben Jones and Lisa DeBruine, leading experts in facial expressions and attractiveness, have delved deep into the science of what makes a face appealing. Dr. DeBruine remarked, “While philosophers have long debated that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, many scientists believe beauty reflects certain universally attractive traits. Our recent findings affirm that there’s truth to the philosophers’ view.”

The impact of expression is profound; for instance, smiling faces are consistently rated as more attractive and associated with more positive personality traits compared to neutral expressions. This aligns with the broader scientific consensus, as detailed in their published work (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3130383/).

Embrace the seasonal rythum and unlock the Autumn and Winters hidden potential to thrive. As the leaves turn crimson and the air grows crisp, we find ourselves at the threshold of autumn and winter—a time of introspection, cocooning, and quiet transformation. These colder months gift us a double-edged opportunity: to flow harmoniously with the season and to delve into our self-care journey at a deliberate, unhurried pace.

🍂 Golden Moments of Connection: Autumn and winter invite us to seize the golden moments—to sip steaming chai by the window, wrapped in a cozy blanket, and watch the world transform. It’s a chance to connect deeply with the earth’s rhythm, as if whispering secrets to the falling leaves.

❄️ The Art of Slowness: Unlike the frenetic pace of summer, these seasons encourage us to slow down. We can unearth hidden layers within ourselves, much like the roots of ancient trees reaching for nourishment.

🌬️ Diving into the Core: Winter, especially, beckons us to explore our inner landscape. Beneath the frost-kissed surface lies a reservoir of emotions, dreams, and dormant aspirations. It’s a time to plunge into the depths, confronting what lies https://youtu.be/Eb-MAi3ekuQ?feature=shared buried within—the whispers of forgotten desires and the echoes of unhealed wounds.

🌱 Reassess and Rejuvenate: As the world hibernates, we have the privilege to reassess our mental and physical health. What habits serve us? What needs pruning? We craft strategies—like a gardener tending to her plot—so that when spring and summer return, we emerge as our most vibrant selves.

So, let’s embrace the chill, wrap ourselves in scarves of self-compassion, and dance with the seasons. For within this slower rhythm lies the magic of growth, waiting to bloom anew. 🌟🍁

Main Photo and copyright Michael Niessl at www.unsplash.com


Medical disclaimer. This article is for information and entertainment purposes only and does not in any way constitute medical advice. If you suffer from any medical conditions such as depression or other mental health conditions or you might have food intolences discussed in this article, then you should consult a qualified medical practitioner.

Small Steps Big Results: Let Nature Work Its Magic

It can be really tough this time of year on our physical body as well as our mental health. Both our physical and mental health are intricately linked, and it is not only a challenge when one, like our physical well being, is not functioning optimally, to actually maintain a positive mental attitude. “It’s a big issue,” says Joseph Gallo, MD, MPH, a professor in Mental Health whose research focuses on the intersection of physical and mental health. “There’s ample clinical and epidemiologic evidence that shows the risk for depression is higher among those who suffer from chronic illnesses.” 

In the subtle dance of seasons, our bodies encounter experience chronic inflammation—a quiet yet potent force. Combine this with the shorter, darker days and the scarcity of vitamin D, and our mental health faces significant risks. The yin and yang of our well-being intertwine: metabolism, weight, motivation , energy levels—all inextricably linked. As the cold and flu season stresses our immune system, we grapple with low moods, waning motivation, and lackluster days12. We do not claim that humans hibernate, that would be incorrect, however, there are environmental conditions that directly affect our physiology.

Healthy mind, healthy body.

As sunlight wanes, our well-being faces challenges. While summer invites active self-care https://frederickandfischer.com/summer-selfing/, winter demands a deeper, deliberate approach. Let’s explore strategies to bolster our immune system and cultivate a resilient mindset during the colder months that can and will contribute to a robust healthy immune system and mental attitude.

In the northern reaches of our world, a grand seasonal overture unfolds. Some revel in the choreography of change: leaves pirouetting from red to orange, then surrendering to golden hues. For others, it’s a different tune—an apprehension that swells as the trees stand bare and gray, slipping into their winter slumber.

But behold! The curtain rises with a flourish—the arrival of those round, orange sentinels: pumpkins. They morph into nourishing soups, warming our souls, or transform into divinely sweet pies, a symphony of flavors. So, whether you dance with delight or tread cautiously, let’s savor this seasonal opera together.

The calendar unfurls its rich fabric, woven with cozy dates and cherished traditions. Halloween, a colourful and fun spectacle sees children donning costumes, venturing door-to-door for sweet treasures. Across the UK, Guy Fawkes Night illuminates the skies—a commemoration of a 1605 plot to restore a Catholic monarch. Families and local councils orchestrate vibrant firework displays in private gardens and parks, igniting the November darkness.

As October wanes, the clock retreats by an hour, ushering in earlier twilight. Berlin hosts St. Martin’s Day, where restaurants hum with guests savoring goose from the menu. And then, December arrives—a symphony of lights, glittering trees, and gifts tucked beneath their boughs. Ah, Christmas—the heartwarming crescendo celebrated across Christian nations.

Yet, amidst this seasonal pageantry, whispers linger. Some yearn for perpetual summer, finding the cold and darkness a formidable foe. These months, challenging at best, test resilience and evoke longing for sun-kissed days. 🌟🎄❄️

Photo by Ruth Georgiev from unsplash

As the seasons shift, so does our body’s response to insulin. A study by science advance found seasonal variations in glycemic trends, with patients having worse glycemic control in the months of November to February, and better control in the months of April to August (PRAJAKTA BELSARE, ABIGAIL BARTOLOME, CATHERINE STANeR and TEMILOLUWA PRIOLEAU) Science advance 22 Sep 2023. I know what you might be thinking, but I’m not diabetic and do not have a problem with insulin. That may be true, but we all release insulin when we consume glucose and therefore, it may affects us all to some degree during these months.

The intricate dance of glucose regulation—how our bodies meticulously break down sugar for energy—holds profound implications for sustained well-being. Contrary to popular notions, strictly adhering to a low or no-sugar diet may not necessarily foster long-term health, regardless of the fervor within the keto community1. Instead, understanding and nurturing this delicate balance can pave the way to an illness-free horizon

When we delve into the world of sugar, our minds often conjure an image of that innocuous, industrial white powder—processed and stripped of all its natural essence. Yes, I’m talking about the ubiquitous white sugar derived from sugar cane—the darling (or perhaps the villain) of our kitchens.

But let’s widen the lens. Beyond the sugar bowl, we’re exploring a realm where pure glucose lurks in unsuspecting places: flour, rice, bread, pasta—the everyday staples. These unassuming carbohydrates, devoid of vitamins and minerals, form the backbone of our diets. Unless, of course, they’ve been artificially fortified—a bit like replacing a forest with plastic trees.

Now, here’s the twist: white sugar isn’t a solo act. It’s a duet—a harmonious blend of glucose and fructose. And this partnership matters. Why? Because our bodies treat them differently. Glucose gets a VIP pass—it’s swiftly ushered into our bloodstream, causing rapid spikes in blood sugar. Fructose, on the other hand, takes a scenic route, winding through the liver. This crucial difference impacts our health in ways both subtle and profound.

Fresh and Easy

Certainly! Let’s elevate that passage into a more refined and professional tone:

“Culinary Exploration: Nourishing Health Through Fresh Ingredients”

Cooking with wholesome produce isn’t reserved for seasoned chefs—it’s a universal right. The refrain “I can’t cook” echoes, but let’s debunk that myth. While mastering kitchen techniques may seem daunting, it needn’t involve a reality TV cooking showdown.

  1. Technique Triumphs: Yes, it takes practice, but fret not. Deglazing pans—those sizzling moments when flavors meld—adds richness to soups and stews. It’s like a culinary dance, where experimentation reigns supreme.
  2. Herbs and Roasted Magic: Picture rosemary-infused roasted vegetables—mundane transformed into mouthwatering. Herbs wield their magic, elevating the ordinary to extraordinary.
  3. Gluten-Free Delights: Desserts sans flour? Absolutely. Dive into gluten-free indulgence, savoring sweetness without compromise by preparing homemade icecream or meringue based deserts, totally delicious, and somewhat a healthy alternative to flour based deserts like cakes, sponges, tarts or cobblers.

So, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned cook, let’s celebrate the alchemy of fresh ingredients—a symphony for our health. 🌿🍳🌟

Imagine the supermarket aisles as a labyrinth of choices—each package a cryptic message. Reading labels becomes our compass, guiding us through this culinary maze. But it’s more than deciphering ink on paper; it’s a quest for long-term well-being.

🔍 Ingredients Unveiled: Beneath the glossy packaging lies a secret language—a list of components that dance between nourishment and peril. Fortified flour, chemical preservatives, and flavor enhancers—they all have roles to play. But beware: some wear disguises, masquerading as harmless pantry staples.

🌿 The Accumulative Alchemy: Picture this: a pinch of preservative here, a dash of artificial color there. Harmless in isolation, perhaps. But our bodies are intricate vessels, weaving together the threads of our existence. Repeated consumption weaves a tapestry—a low-level, accumulative effect. Our precious cells, like delicate glass, bear the weight of these choices.

🚫 Frederick and Fischer’s Rule: At our table, we live by a simple creed: when a product boasts a scroll of ingredients, caution unfurls. For within those lines lies a story—a tale of convenience versus consequence.

In our complex culinary landscape, governments grapple with a formidable challenge: regulating massive corporations that wield multibillion-dollar influence. Their resources are no match for these goliath of the corporate world. It is time that we accept that the governments are powerless to deal with big, multibillion dollar companies and are unable to allocate resource to research every chemical used to preserve, conserve, improve texture and taste that has the potential to harm our bodies when consumed on a regular basis. These compounds, when consumed habitually, may subtly impact our well-being.

Fear not; this isn’t a doomsday proclamation. Instead, let’s focus on the signals our bodies send. A foggy morning brain, akin to a mini hangover, raises an eyebrow, it is almost impossible to find the culprit, or according to Danial More MD and medically reviewed by Jurairat J. Molina, MD for the site verywellhealth.com, a skin rash, atopic dermatitis, asthma symptoms like tight chest and often or not, a blocked nose.

So, as we navigate the grocery aisles, let’s tread thoughtfully. Awareness, not alarm, empowers our choices. 🌿

It is time that we accept that the governments are powerless to deal with big, multibillion dollar/pounds/euro companies and are unable to allocate resource to research every chemical used to preserve, conserve, improve texture and taste that has the potential to harm our bodies when consumed on a regular basis. It is almost impossible to find the culprit, but we know it from symptoms such as foggy brain upon waking, like a mini hangover, or according to Danial More MD and medically reviewed by Jurairat J. Molina, MD for the site verywellhealth.com, a skin rash, atopic dermatitis, asthma symptoms like tight chest and often or not, a blocked nose.

Life indeed weaves a complex tapestry—its threads entwined with gatherings at restaurants and shared meals with friends. Obsessing over every chemical in processed foods would be akin to chasing shadows. Instead, let’s embrace mindfulness—a compass that guides without burdening.

🌱 The Art of Limitation: When we cook at home, we hold the reins. Limiting processed foods becomes our quiet pact. We infuse our kitchens with nourishing ingredients—the very essence of autumn and winter. Picture simmering soups, roasted root vegetables, and hearty stews—the antidote to chilly days.

So, as the leaves fall and frost kisses the air, let’s savor this opportunity. Our pots and pans become alchemical vessels, transforming humble ingredients into sustenance. Mindful cooking—our silent rebellion against complexity—nourishes both body and soul. 🍂🔥🌟


Some compounds to look out for when buying processed products in the supermarket would be sulfites, benzoates, nitrates the positive sounding word like, antioxidants. Sulfites are used to preserve dried fruits, benzoates preserve drinks such fruit juices, antioxidants are found in margarines and vegan butter replacements, vegetables oils too because they are very unstable and oxidize super quickly, and nitrates are found in processed meats like ham, bacon, turkey slices and so on. 

As the days shorten and shadows lengthen, our bodies seek equilibrium. It’s a delicate dance—one where unnecessary stress must yield to essential well-being. But let’s delve deeper.

🍂 Age and Adaptation: In our vibrant 20s, we reveled in our body’s resilience. Superhuman, we thought. Yet, the seasons turn, and our once-robust vessel whispers its truth. Age, like a gentle hand, reminds us—we’re no longer impervious. Our choices matter.

🌿 Chemical Chronicles: Perhaps we’ve imbibed these chemical compounds since childhood—innocent sips, unsuspecting bites. Now, our awareness sharpens. Our body, a responsive canvas, paints its reactions. A foggy morning mind, a rash, a tight chest—they’re our body’s Morse code.

So, as autumn’s palette unfolds, let’s tread mindfully. Our health—the masterpiece we co-create—awaits our brushstrokes. 🌟🎨🌱

Copyright and Photo Jennifer Pallian at www.unsplash.com

While regulatory bodies diligently safeguard our health, some chemical hazards remain elusive. These compounds—often overlooked as allergens—lurk in our food and drug industries. Here are key considerations:

  1. Nutritional Stripping: Picture foods stripped of their natural nutrients. White flour and dairy milk, fortified with vitamin D, exemplify this practice. In Europe, this issue is less pronounced, but in the UK and the USA, synthetic vitamins and iron fortify most baking products to be extra aware.

While our diet often mirrors the seasons, some choices can inadvertently stress our bodies. Let’s explore this delicate balance:

  1. Wheat Worries: Wheat-based staples—bread, pasta, baked goods—dominate our tables. Yet, it’s not just gluten that challenges our digestion. White bread, seemingly innocuous, wields a hidden power. It’s pure sugar, devoid of nutrients, and swiftly broken down in our bodies. The result? A hormonal seesaw—a dance of imbalances.
  2. Insulin Insights: As autumn leaves fall, our bodies respond. Evidence suggests we become more susceptible to insulin resistance. This intricate condition disrupts our body’s response to insulin—the hormone essential for blood sugar regulation. Picture a delicate orchestra—when the conductor falters, the melody wavers.
  3. Sunlight’s Role: Remember, this time of year, sunlight retreats. Our physiological processes slow—a subtle shift. Insulin resistance tiptoes in, like shadows lengthening. So, as we embrace cozy evenings and crisp mornings, let’s tread mindfully. Our health—the symphony we compose—awaits our attentive notes. 🍂🌟🌿

Source: Conversation with Bing, 15/04/2024
(1) Diabetes and Cold Weather – Snow and Winter’s Affect on Diabetes. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-and-cold-weather.html.
(2) How Seasonal Changes Can Affect Your Body’s Metabolism. https://www.hunimed.eu/news/seasons-can-affect-bodys-metabolism-watch-eat-stay-active-winter/.
(3) Hibernation Mode Slows Metabolism During Fall and Winter Seasons. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/12/10/hibernation-mode-slows-metabolism-during-fall-and-winter-seasons.


Another fad diet, this time from the 90’s.

In the vibrant ’90s, a novel diet emerged—the GI diet. At its core lay the Glycemic Index, a numerical rating system for carbohydrate-containing foods. This index unveiled how specific foods influenced blood sugar levels and triggered insulin responses. Buckle up—we’re about to explore this intriguing journey:

  1. The GI Unveiled: Imagine a spectrum—foods ranked from 0 to 100. The Glycemic Index (GI) classifies them as low, medium, or high glycemic foods. The lower the GI, the gentler the impact on blood sugar levels. Here’s the breakdown:
    • Low GI: 55 or less
    • Medium GI: 56–69
    • High GI: 70 or above
  2. Surprising Revelations: Brace yourself. Everyday staples sometimes defy expectations. White bread, that innocuous loaf, skyrockets to the high end (GI 75). Even “healthy,” slow-releasing whole wheat bread isn’t far behind (GI 74). Meanwhile, rice noodles, ice cream, orange juice, and milk—unexpectedly—reside at the lower end (GI 56, 51, 50, and 39, respectively).
  3. Mindful Carbs: Now, let’s pause. This isn’t a call to shun carbs entirely. Instead, it’s an invitation to mindfulness. Carbohydrates sway our hormonal dance. White bread, despite its ubiquity, triggers rapid insulin release. Whole wheat bread, though healthier, follows suit. But rice noodles, ice cream, and fresh orange juice? They tread lightly, sparing our blood sugar.

Remember, this exploration isn’t prescriptive—it’s illustrative. So, as autumn leaves rustle, let’s be mindful of our hormonal symphony. 🌾🎶🌟

A much better option for lunch would be root vegetable soup, such as carrot or squash, a piece of cheese, some fruit and a glass of milk as opposed to a baguette, pasta or sandwich. One can make a large pot of soup and take it to the office or to the construction site in a thermal flask over a couple of days. 

It always about creating balance

“The Impact of High Glycemic Index (GI) Foods on Cortisol Levels”

Recent research, led by Emad A.S. Al-Dujaili and Sophie Ashmore, sheds light on the connection between our diet and cortisol—the body’s built-in stress alarm. Here’s the scoop:

  1. Cortisol Unveiled: Cortisol, our stress hormone, orchestrates a delicate symphony. It collaborates with specific brain regions to regulate mood, motivation, and fear. Picture it as an adrenal conductor, perched atop our kidneys, fine-tuning blood pressure, quelling inflammation, and managing carbohydrate utilization.
  2. GI Foods and the Cortisol Dance: High GI foods—those that rapidly spike blood sugar—enter the spotlight. They can nudge cortisol levels upward. So, as we navigate our plates, let’s be mindful. Our hormonal orchestra—the delicate balance of stress and well-being—awaits our attentive notes. 🌟🎶🌿

For more details, explore the study by Al-Dujaili, Ashmore, and Tsang 1. 📚

Cortisol, often dubbed the “stress hormone,” orchestrates a complex symphony within our bodies. Beyond its role in stress response, it influences various aspects of our health:

  1. Blood Sugar Regulation: Cortisol moonlights as a blood sugar conductor. It increases glucose (sugar) in our bloodstream, ensuring our brain has ample fuel. Simultaneously, it enhances the brain’s glucose utilization—a vital dance for cognitive function.
  2. Tissue Repair and Maintenance: Cortisol isn’t just a backstage observer; it steps onto the stage to repair tissues. It mobilizes substances that mend our body—like a skilled seamstress stitching up the fabric of health.
  3. Metabolism Maestro: Picture cortisol as a metabolic maestro. It directs the orchestra of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. But here’s the twist: white bread, devoid of nutrients, triggers a cortisol crescendo. Whole wheat bread, though healthier, follows suit. Our hormonal harmony sways.
  4. Blood Pressure and Inflammation: Cortisol moonlights as a blood pressure regulator. It also suppresses inflammation—a silent battle within our tissues. But like any conductor, it must strike a balance. Too much cortisol, and the orchestra falters.
  5. Sleep-Wake Cycles: Cortisol, our internal timekeeper, orchestrates our sleep-wake cycles. As daylight wanes in autumn, cortisol tiptoes—slowing our physiological processes. Insulin resistance, like shadows lengthening, emerges.

Remember, cortisol isn’t a villain—it’s a multifaceted player. Mindfulness, not alarm, guides our choices. So, as autumn leaves rustle, let’s listen to our hormonal symphony. 🌿🎶🌟

Copyright and Photo by Tabitha Turner at www.unsplash.com

Within the seemingly innocuous trio of bread, baking, and flour lies a protein called gluten. But this protein isn’t just a culinary player—it has an unexpected twist. Here’s the scoop:

  1. Opioid-Like Effect: Gluten, like a cryptic molecule, exerts an opioid-like effect. Yes, you read that right. It’s associated with the development of celiac disease and its related companions: diabetes mellitus type 1, depression, and even schizophrenia1.
  2. Unmasking the Side Effects: Now, let’s peek behind the curtain. Common side effects of opioids—like constipation, brain fog, and sexual dysfunction—also tiptoe into the scene. And there’s more: gluten may even tweak our stress hormone, prolactin1.

So, as we slice our bread and knead our dough, let’s ponder this enigmatic protein. Our health—the grand narrative—unfolds with every bite. 🌾🌟🍞

For more details, explore the study by Pruimboom et al1. 📚

 As you read this article, you might think, “But I don’t have any symptoms.” Here lies the intriguing twist: gluten, like a chameleon, conceals its own impact. Let’s explore:

  1. The Opioid Veil: Gluten, seemingly innocuous, has an unexpected secret—it behaves like an opioid. Yes, you read that right. Opioids, known for reducing pain, create a paradox. They cloak the issues gluten triggers, leaving us blissfully unaware.
  2. The Silent Majority: Picture this: 83% of celiac patients walk a silent path. Their disease—asymptomatic celiac disease—hides behind a curtain of normalcy. No bloating, no abdominal pain—just a quiet dance of gluten’s effects.

As winter wraps its frosty arms around us, let’s embark on a culinary escapade—a selfing strategy that dances with flavors. Picture this:

  1. Pizza Pitfall: Bid adieu to pizza slices. Instead, ladle up soul-warming soups—a hug in a bowl. Imagine cozy evenings, spoonfuls of comfort.
  2. Sandwiches abandoned : Sandwiches? Nah. Let’s dive into hearty stews—rich, thick, and flour-free. They simmer with secrets—like ancient tales whispered by grandmas.
  3. Dessert Detour: Apple pie? Cobbler? Crumble? How about a dramatic twist? Enter the stage: a grand meringue pavlova, Black Forest style. Layers of intrigue, crowned with berries.
  4. Biscuit Ballet: Flour-based biscuits tiptoe away. In their place: delicate chocolate meringue cookies—crisp, ethereal, and guilt-free. They melt on the tongue like snowflakes.
  5. Ice Cream Serenade: Ice cream, oh sweet indulgence! But winter whispers: “Too chilly.” Fear not. Swap it for a warm embrace—a baked fruit medley, kissed by butter, nestled in creamy yogurt.
  6. Breakfast Sonata: Rise with the sun. Breakfast beckons. Imagine baked fruit, golden and fragrant, cradled in a little butter. Yogurt swirls, quark hums, and honey drizzles. And there, by its side, a sunny egg—protein’s morning encore.

Pavlova Copyright and Photo by Léo Roza at www.unsplash.com

In our place of work, we do not have too much of a choice as work stress is out of our control, but we do have control in reducing and limiting stress that is placed on our bodies in terms of what we are consuming and the choices we are making. 

“In our summer self-care journey, we’ve witnessed the sun’s warm embrace and its role in boosting our vitamin D levels. However, as winter descends, our access to sunlight becomes limited, potentially affecting our well-being. Vitamin D, with its multi-dimensional impact on various physiological processes—such as sleep, mood regulation, fertility, and metabolism—deserves our attention.

To avoid sounding like a broken record, consider these steps:

  1. Check Your Vitamin D Levels: Assess where you stand on the vitamin D spectrum—whether it’s insufficient, sufficient, or optimal. A simple blood test can provide clarity.
  2. Invest in Quality Supplements: High-quality vitamin D supplements can bridge the gap during sun-deprived months. Remember, though, that these supplements work best when complemented by natural sunlight.
  3. Sunlight Activation: If you’re planning a winter sun escape, prepare by getting some sun exposure a week or two before your holiday. This pre-holiday “vitamin D cure” can enhance your overall well-being.

Lastly, consult your doctor to tailor these recommendations to your specific needs. Your health is worth the conversation!”123

Remember, a little sunshine and thoughtful supplementation can go a long way in nurturing your body during the colder months.

“It is now recognized that wintry cold weather can elevate the risk of various heart and circulatory problems, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), particularly in women, and heart attacks in men.

A study conducted by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) sheds light on the lingering effects of freezing temperatures. Researchers have found that the impact of a cold day or a prolonged cold spell can persist for two weeks or more. BHF-funded scientists from the University of Bristol and University College London analyzed records of individuals aged 60 and over in the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Their findings revealed that heart attacks and strokes were more than twice as likely to occur during cold spells lasting at least four days. But why does this happen?

When you’re exposed to cold, your blood vessels undergo a fascinating process called vasoconstriction. Essentially, the blood vessels narrow in your skin, fingers, and toes to minimize heat loss. However, this narrowing increases pressure in the rest of your circulation, compelling your heart to work harder. The heart rate accelerates, and blood pressure rises. While this is a normal physiological response to the environment, the added strain can lead to health issues, especially during physical exertion. This is a normal reaction by the body and the response to its environment, but this extra strain, however, can lead to health problems, especially during exercise. 

So, during chilly weather, our marvelous bodies adapt by constricting blood vessels to conserve heat. But it’s essential to recognize that this adaptation can have implications for cardiovascular health. If you’re planning outdoor activities in the cold, take extra precautions and listen to your body. And remember, even our remarkable hearts need a little extra care when the mercury drops!”123

Regularly assessing your fitness goals is essential to good health

In the autumn and winter months, it is the perfect time to assess physical goals. Physical goals do not mean spending hours on a treadmill, or running outside, but can mean movement as a whole and can include walking in nature. The most important thing is, to simply move.

A strong body is as important as a strong mind and we wrote at the beginning of the article how physical and mental aspects of our wellbeing are interconnected so when our body is strong, then so too is our mental wellbeing. It is time to step up, but it does not necessarily require a heavy and stressful workout. On the other hand, it does not mean going into a fitness studio and just going through the motions. Here is an ideal opportunity to develop something different. Yes, trying out a new program can feel a little daunting, and particularly coming out of your comfort zone, but it is well worth it to flow with life

Certainly! Let’s enhance the text to emphasize the seasonal flow and the holistic approach to exercise:

Embracing Seasonal Change: A Holistic Approach to Exercise

As autumn leaves fall and winter blankets the landscape, our bodies respond to the changing rhythms of nature. It’s the perfect time to reassess our physical goals and align our movement practices with the seasons. Here’s how you can flow with life and optimize your well-being:

  1. Nature’s Invitation: Autumn whispers an invitation to step outdoors and explore. Instead of confining ourselves to treadmills or indoor routines, let’s embrace movement in its purest form. Whether it’s a leisurely walk through rustling leaves or a brisk hike in the crisp air, nature beckons us to simply move.
  2. Mind-Body Connection: Just as the seasons transition, our physical and mental well-being are intricately linked. A strong body supports a resilient mind. Remember, exercise isn’t solely about sculpting muscles; it’s about nurturing our entire being. When our bodies thrive, so does our mental clarity and emotional resilience.
  3. Beyond the Gym: While fitness studios have their place, consider breaking free from the monotony. It’s not about mindlessly going through the motions on a treadmill. Instead, explore novel avenues. Perhaps it’s a dance class, concentrating more on stretching and body movements or working on that nagging injury, providing it with lots of tlc. The key is to wind down in winterand bing joy into our movement.
  4. Comfort Zones and New Horizons: Stepping out of our comfort zones can be intimidating, but it’s where growth happens. Try a different workout program, experiment with yoga, or tsomatic emotional release techniques. Yes, it might feel daunting initially, but the rewards are immense. By flowing with life’s changes, we discover hidden strengths and resilience.

Remember, exercise isn’t a rigid prescription; it’s an ever-evolving dance with the seasons. So, lace up your shoes, breathe in the crisp air, and let movement become your companion. As the world transforms, let your body and mind transform too. 🍂❄️🌿

Things to consider when designing a new fitness program in the winter is to consider whether you have developed recurring injuries through your earlier workouts and want to heal and restore yourself? Start with the very basics, even if you’re a seasoned fitness studio visitor. Working on your pelvis and strengthen your psoas can have wonderful benefits for back, shoulders and neck health. It comes down to a simple truth, our whole structure is connected, and often a restricted pelvis rotation can affect the psoas, lower back, upper back, shoulders, and lower body.

This time of year, is a perfect time to go back to basics because that way, you protect your health by moving, you make your body even stronger without putting too much strain on it because the body is already under strain from this time of year.  

We touched on a particularly important aspect of health and movement earlier. We showed that research was beginning to show higher rates of incidences of heart health problems and circulatory problems. According to the British Heart Foundation ‘our heart and blood vessels are always adapting to our environment, and to what is going on inside our body’. When we exercise, our heart beats faster and with more force, and blood vessels supplying our muscles expand to allow more blood through. Blood vessels supplying other areas narrow, so that the working muscles have priority. Constricting blood vessels because of the cold and straining the body excessively can cause a whole host of heart problems.

This time of year, is a great time if you are a seasoned gym goer, so be kind to your body, and work on corrective exercises such as your psoas, spatula, and pelvis rotation. Remember, although humans did not evolve to hibernate, we do experience some changes that affect our behaviour and physiology. We may feel inclined to stay indoors and reduce activity levels due to the weather conditions outside. To our body, we are in a sort of hibernating state with our body in a way, down regulating many metabolic processes. What better way to honor our body and the season is to enable our body to be at one with the earth. Yes, it sounds awfully esoteric, but we know that our body adapts to the new conditions of colder and darker days. 

Shake off the blues. Yes, you could literally shake off the blues by doing somatic stretching. What does somatic mean, soma means body in Greek meaning body so being aware or present during movement and being connected to your body.

Your aim is to release stored or stagnant energy. Can you remember the time when you just danced spontaneously and afterwards, everything felt better? It is basically a chance to move energy around our system and with the potential to being stressed all the time in our modern world we certainly need to move around the energy or simply to let go of it. And there is plenty of tension to release says Sarah Warren, a clinical somatic educator certified by the Somatic Systems institute. She further adds, “over the years, our nervous system learns to keep certain muscles tight and move in certain ways as a result of stress, trauma, athletic training, injuries and repetitive daily activities” Warren says. Our muscles tighten so that we don’t stretch them too far and injure them. which can lead to suboptimal movement pattern, chronic pain, and tightness. Have you ever danced in your room and let off steam and afterwards you felt brand new.

Why not begin your morning routine by asking yourself what you need, and you never know, you may find yourself jumping up and down for a couple of minutes and letting all your muscles loosen and let go.  

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson Curtesy of unspash.com

Here are some somatic exercises to begin with but it is worth consulting with a certified somatic therapist. 

1. Grounding. 

Put your hands under cold running water and focus on the temperature feels on each part of your hand from the wrist to the nails. Now switch to warm water and focus on how the sensation on your hand changes. 

Or jump up and down. 

2. Self-regulation 

When your emotions are leading you to distress, you can guide yourself through your emotions. Unresolved trauma may lead to a dysregulation of the autonomous nervous system. With your hands in a cupping position, tap your body all over, from your feet to your head.  

3 Resourcing and visualizing 

You can use both resourcing and visualizing anytime you experience distressing thoughts. You will be focusing on creating a ‘safe’ sensation in your mind and body, you can relieve stress. Think about people you care about that make you feel at peace. You could start by looking at photos of them. 

Autumn and winter time is the perfect time to take things a little easier with everything and we need not necessarily to be facing life with as much power as we do in the summer months. There is so much potential to flow with the rythum of the Universe and at the same time feel a whole lot better, restored, peaceful and contented.