Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Vegan Month-November 2013

November 2013 is World Vegan Month!
 As next month is World Vegan Month it seemed like the apt time to try and dispel some of those pervasive myths asssociated with the diet and those who enjoy it! Vegans do not eat animals or any animal products, the list of what vegans can eat would exceed the limitations of this blog! For an idea of some of the types of food vegans do eat click here. Other common misconceptions include the idea that vegans are phyiscally weak, anaemic and/or calcium and protein deficient, also that we are deprived of chocolate and cake!

Check out PETA's infographic for inspiration on animal-free food sources that are high in iron, calcium and protein. Ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll, named amongst the top 25 of the worlds fittest men, is a good example that counters the myth of vegan fraility! Vegans can eat most dark chocolates, as well as other specialist ones, and it is possible to make many delicous plant-based treats, my favorite for parties and birthdays are rumballs! Whilst living in Melbourne, Australia, in fact a friend and I started a vegan cookie company, and Tinkernicks is still going strong!

Being vegan is an induldgent Western fad is another one I've heard fairly fact veganism existed in ancient India and Greece and is a worldwide phenomenon.

I have been vegan for seven years and vegetarian for twenty-nine, my experience of veganism has been almost wholly positive and I am in good health! I find living in London as a vegan very easy (Mildreds in Soho is an especially good vege/vegan restaurant) but have also been plant-based in the English countryside, as well as in in Australia and on travels across Europe, America and Asia. Mostly this has worked though some countries are more challenging than others and at times I have felt like Elijah Wood in the film Everything Is Illuminated, being presented with nothing more than a plain boiled potato for dinner! Aside from these odd occassions of deprivation the vegan diet is one of abundance.

For some great recipes I love the American website Post Punk Kitchen and by the same chef the cook-book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World! . I have made 99% of the recipes in vege/vegan Australian cook-book Martha Goes Green and would thoroughly recommend it. Rose Elliot's Vegan Feasts is a wonderful British one.

Reasons for going vegan are diverse, for me it was the obvious next step on from being vegetarian and was for compassionate reasons. Some people make the choice due to environmental concerns and others for purported health benefits. Vegan or not hopefully you will enjoy some plant-based feasts next month and beyond!

Emma Silverthorn is a Receptionist and Marketing Manager at the Octagon Clinic

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Exercise of the Month-Figure of Four

This month we are back with a stretch rather an exercise. A lot of patients with lower back and pelvis issues find this stretch really helpful.

It stretches one of the deep muscles in the buttock called the piriformis - sometimes if this muscle is tight it can put some pressure on your sciatic nerve and cause a strange sensation down your leg.


As you can see from the above pictures there are 2 ways that you can do this stretch,

Picture 1 - start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet placed on the floor, bring the leg on the side you wish to stretch across to rest on the knee of the opposite leg, then lift the leg still on the floor towards your chest. You should feel the stretch across your buttock and down the side of your leg.

Picture 2 - this is the best way to do the stretch if you have problems with your sacroiliac joints as this puts less pressure on these joints of the pelvis as you do the stretch. You can also use the technique shown in picture 2 with your bottom leg bent up.

Make sure you keep your back flat to the floor as you do the stretch and don't twist over to the side as this can put some pressure on the lower joints of your back.

Hazel Dillon is a Chiropractor at the Octagon Clinic