Welcome to Meatless Mondays Australia!
Do you ever stop to look at your hair and see what it’s telling you about the health of your body? Does it look dry, lifeless, dull? This week we reveal the health benefits of head massage and teach you a simple routine to nourish your hair. As well as re-energising your scalp, we introduce you to the wonderful little pumpkin seed that works to re-energise your body, and we share with you a yummy meat-free recipe with lentils that is perfect for a late-autumn meal. We also discuss the hidden dangers of chemicals in your home, and give you some wise words to reflect upon.
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Food of the Week
Pumpkin seeds are nutrient-rich and very tasty. They are high in essential minerals and make a great light snack that will give your energy levels a boost and keep you in good health.
Pumpkin seeds contain:
- High levels of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc
- Iron, calcium and copper
- Vitamins E and K
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Pumpkin seeds have been shown to:
- Assist prostate health
- Maintain healthy bones
- Have good anti-inflammatory properties
- Aid in the prevention of arthritis
- Help to reduce cholesterol levels
- Enhance the immune response
Raw pumpkin seeds have the highest nutritional value. Pumpkin seeds can be used in tossed salads, breakfast cereals, stir-fries, casseroles, soups, and other baked goods. They are available all year round and should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
And don’t forget to look for the locally grown product so you don’t add to your carbon footprint. If your greengrocer or supermarket doesn’t stock locally grown produce, please encourage them to do so.
Recipe of the Week
Dr. VB’s Warm Lentil Salad with Pumpkin Seed Dressing
250g (1 cup) red lentils
2 large red capsicums, seeded and quartered
1 avocado, sliced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, chopped
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, ground
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Cook the capsicum pieces, skin side up, under a hot grill until the skin blisters and blackens. Place into a plastic bag until cool, then peel away the skin and cut the flesh into thin strips.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils in boiling water for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain well.
Place the capsicum, lentils, avocado, onion, cucumber and chile into a bowl. Toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, ground pumpkin seeds, garlic and cumin together with a little sea salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the other ingredients and mix well.
Serve with warm pita bread triangles.
Coconut Oil Head Massage
The best indicator of good health is the hair on your head. Many alternative healing therapists will look at your hair and be able to diagnose areas of ill health in your body. The ancient art and practice of head massage, used in various cultures around the world, assists hair health and is also viewed as a treatment for hair loss.
Maintaining healthy and lustrous hair is an important process that is often neglected, and the journey starts with nourishment. The best way to achieve this is by massaging the scalp and hair with warm coconut oil, benefiting not only your hair, but also the muscles in the scalp, the nervous system and the mind. Your head carries so much tension, thought processes and stress – it too deserves a once a week, easy to do, healing ritual.
Here’s a simple way to do a self-administered head massage. Place a small amount of warm coconut oil on your fingers. Bend from the waist to allow more blood to flow to the scalp. Touch the pads of your fingers firmly to the scalp area near your temples. Massage in a circular motion along your hairline gradually working your way around the entire scalp. Add more oil to your fingers when necessary.
After you use all the oil, warm a dry towel and wrap it around your head. Let the oil set for at least 15 minutes. Lie down, relax, close your eyes, listen to soothing music, and breathe deeply. This time allows the oils to absorb into your hair and scalp to give it added moisture. If your hair and scalp are extremely dry, leave the oil in overnight.
When the 15 minutes are up, you will need to shampoo and condition your hair. Gently brush your hair first to release any tangles. When you shampoo, keep in mind that you may need to lather up with a little more shampoo to get out all the oil. Follow up with a moisturising conditioner.
Scalp massage with warm coconut oil should be performed once a week to provide you with the following benefits:
- helps in lubrication and conditioning of the scalp while preventing dry scalp and flakes
- relaxes the muscles in the neck and increases blood circulation in the head and neck
- triggers important pressure points to increase relaxation and clarity of thought
- triggers important pressure points to relieve body joint pain
- helps promote sound sleep
- helps in strengthening hair roots, nourishing the hair shafts, and promoting new hair growth
- prevents extreme fragility of hair and split-ends
- rejuvenates and replenishes dry and sun damaged hair, and protects hair from the harmful effects of harsh weather and sun
- conditions and softens the hair making it more manageable and shiny
- increases the lustre and vibrancy of the hair by spreading natural oils
Coconut oil is available from the pharmacist, health food store or Indian convenience store.
Wise Words – Henry David Thoreau
“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
Henry David Thoreau
American Author and Poet (1817-1862)
Chemicals in Your Home
Nasty chemicals are not good for us, or the environment. Yet without realising, many of us bring damaging toxins into our homes, put them into our mouths, and apply them to our skin on a daily basis.
Some chemicals we are exposed to in our everyday lives are known carcinogens. Some, such as mercury and HCB (hexachlorobenzene), accumulate in our bodies and remain there indefinitely. Many chemicals interfere with our endocrine and hormonal systems and can create infertility. Babies and children are particularly susceptible to the effects of chemical exposure. Increasingly, asthma, allergies and behavioural disorders in children are being linked to chemicals in food and in the home.
Carpets, paints, toys, car upholstery, air fresheners, plastics and glues all emit environmental pollutants. Chemicals in cleaning products and insect sprays, on new and dry-cleaned clothes, and the pesticide and herbicide residues on the fruit and vegetables we eat, have all been associated with a whole range of health problems.
To top off this chemical cocktail, our toiletries come with a stack of chemical additives, synthetic fragrances and preservatives that can do us long-term harm. Read the ingredient lists on your face creams, shampoos, cosmetics, perfumes, toothpastes and deodorants, and you soon see how much daily contact we have with a whole host of questionable substances.
So what can you do to detox your home environment?
Since indoor air quality can be twice as polluted as the air outside due to the chemicals we bring into our homes, cleanse your house regularly. Turn off all air-conditioning and heating units, open all the doors and windows, and let fresh air flow through your home.
And next time you shop, think about what you are buying, look for organic foods, find healthier, chemical-free products and furniture, and do yourself, and the people who share your home, a favour by reducing your contact with harmful chemicals.
Reducing exposure to chemicals in your home is good for you and it’s good for the planet. Reducing the amount of meat you consume is good for you and it’s good for the planet too. Simple!See our News section for more detailed information on some of the items mentioned above