Put some sugar in my bowl

Put some sugar in my bowl

The average person in the UK is on average 3 stone heavier than they were in the mid-60’s. But people haven’t become especially greedy and contrary to popular belief, our physical activity has not changed drastically to that of 50 years ago. So what has changed? It’s our diet and more especially the high levels of sugar within it. Sugar, according to David Kessler former head of the US food agency FDA, is highly addictive; it is “highly pleasurable. It gives you this momentary bliss. When you’re eating food that is highly hedonic, it sort of takes over your brain.” A 2008 study showed that sugar affects dopamine levels in the brain and creates behaviours such as bingeing, withdrawal and cravings. Through these neurochemical changes, just like cigarettes or alcohol, we can become addicted to sugar. So why doesn’t our highly sugared food such as fizzy drinks, come with a health warning? Amazingly today as I type this I see New York has banned the sale of sugary drinks over 16oz. Well not to get too political about it but I believe only when the cost of caring for obese people outweighs the revenue that governments receive from large food lobby groups, we will see change. Until then it’s our own responsibility which really it always has been, to nuture our own sweet selves and those around us.

In Chinese medicine the sweet flavour is linked to cravings and addictions, also to the stomach/spleen and this time of year which is abundant harvest of mother earth. From the Chinese perspective there is nothing wrong with sweet food, however if we over indulge, as with any area of life it will cause problems.

If you have found yourself in a habitual eating pattern or caught up in a cycle of addiction. Here are a few simple tips from Traditional Chinese Medicine to eat more consciously, break the habits and feel satisfied.

Firstly CHEW CHEW CHEW. This is an integral part of our digestion often missed out in our busy lives when food is eaten rushing down the street or inhaled in the car running from one appointment to the next. When we chew the saliva transforms the carbohydrates into sugars and our taste buds will pick up on that releasing chemicals in the brain to promote a feeling of satisfaction.

Eat foods that are naturally sweet such as sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash. Take time to roast them so all the natural sugars are slowly released into your blood stream. Sprinkle them with sesame seeds and eat with a bowl of brown rice for a perfectly balanced nourishing sweet soul dish. Many diets and slimming groups would steer you away from these foods because of their natural sugar content. But from my point of view that doesn’t help you to love your body in the long run. With cravings listen to them – it’s your body trying to tell you what it needs. That doesn’t mean to say that you have to exactly what it asks for. Remember the saying “Follow your heart but take your brain with you”. After being pregnant with my twins my body asked for a magnum ice cream everyday but really already being 14stone (I’m only 5ft tall) it wasn’t what it needed. But my body was crying out for extra energy and support. I ate some carrots but really what helped was making sure I had time for me, especially to receive shiatsu. This helps to nourish the flesh, the stomach/spleen and bring us back into connection with our body. (for more info on this topic see – Shiatsu and Children page) Any type of physical touch will help the body and alleviate cravings so go get a hug or give yourself a foot massage.

While you are down there you can work on pressing Spleen 6. This is a great point for many different conditions such as heavy painful periods, infertility, genital itching, difficult labour, impotence, seminal emission, genital pain, digestive disorders, diaorehhea, abdominal distention, insomnia, low back and knee pain. It is such a powerful point it is not advised to use if pregnant. It is used widely for general wellbeing and stress reduction. It gets things moving, emotionally and physically so bringing a sense of balance and satisfaction. Its three fingers above the ankle bone on the midline of the inside of your leg and can be quite sore. Just hold it till you feel is soften or fill with energy.

Another point I feel drawn to but this time typed, is beware of low fat foods, these are often high in sugar or sugar related products such as corn syrup. The body can store these sugars around the liver which can lead to type2 Diabetes.

If you would like to learn more about nuturing your stomach/spleen, breaking eating compulsions and regaining a sense of abundance in your life Joanne Faulkner of Shiatsu & The Art of Conscious Cooking together with Jasmine Itter of the Galway School of Shiatsu have put together a unique weekend workshop which will address the cycle of cravings and how to bring a sense of calm satisfaction to your life.

There will be 2 cookery lessons looking at how to give the body sweet soul flavours without over using sugar. There will be bodywork, movement and use of acupressure points and meridians to relieve cravings and promote a sense of abundance.

All of this will take place at the stunning Crann-ogg organic farm, which will provide the accommodation, ingredients and access to glorious countryside.

€255 includes all food, instruction and accommodation. Early Bird (Sept 30th) €195 For more information, a full schedule or a booking form please contact;

Joanne Faulkner(Dublin)www.joannefaulkner.org 086 607 0432 joannefaulkner@live.ie

Jasmine Itter (Galway) www.learnshiatsu.ie jasmineitter@yahoo.com

Put some sugar in my bowl

Sweet Self Workshop – Course Schedule

Course Schedule 19-21st October 2012


5.00 Arrival and Registration

5.30 Group Session with Jo and Jasmine

Bring object that represents support systems in your life

6.30 Supper

Using organic ingredients grown on site, Marion, the owner of Crann-og, will create a nutritious delicious vegetarian evening meal using ingredients from the organic farm

8.00-9.00 Bodywork session with Jasmine and Jo

  • Quality of touch and connection
  • Asking and Receiving


8.00 Morning movement with Jasmine

9.00 Breakfast

10.00 Shiatsu with Jo

  • Self-Shiatsu – Head, Neck and Shoulders
  • Meridian stretches
  • Acupressure points and bodywork for the Stomach Spleen to alleviate cravings and bring a sense of deep satisfaction to the body

11.15 Tea Break

11.30 Yummy Bodywork with Jasmine

  • Support from the earth

1.00 Lunch from the centre – Using organic ingredients grown on the organic farm, Marion, the owner of Crann-og, will create a nutritious delicious vegetarian feast

2.00 Free time for walks in the organic farm and glorious countryside

4.30 Conscious Cooking Class

  • Turkish Lentil Soup
  • Carrot and Courgette patties
  • Millet Muffins
  • Sweet Cous Cous Salad with caramalised onions and corriander
  • Baked fruit crumble

6.30 Supper

8.00 Evening meditation with Jo and Body scan with Jasmine


8.00 Morning movement with Jasmine

9.00 Breakfast

10.00 Shiatsu with Jo – Review of meridians and acupressure points for Stomach and Spleen focusing on lower leg, feet and points for alleviating muscle contractions and bringing deep satisfaction

11.00 Hara bodywork with Jasmine – Nourishing the body with deep connective breath work

12.30 Cooking Class

  • Sweet potato and Chickpea Curry (mild) Chickpeas nourish the Stomach and Heart and together with the warming spices are useful against damp conditions
  • Apple and Fennel Raita
  • Herby millet
  • Selection of oven roasted vegetables
  • Baked Peach and Coconut Macaroons

2.00 Lunch

3.00 Closing Ceremony

This course schedule is an outline and may change due to unforeseen circumstances such as available ingredients and the weather ?

There are only 10 on site places available so if you would like to book in or have any questions please call me on 086 607 0432

Nuture your Sweet Self

Workshop 19-21st October 2012

Do you strive to eat healthily but get lost in cravings or habitual eating patterns? Do you eat plenty and still feel low in energy? Is there a sense of lack that cannot be satisfied in your life?In Chinese medicine this would suggest your stomach and spleen energy is out of balance. Energetically these are the meridians of the nourishing mother earth element, they are the time of harvest and abundance and their flavour is sweet. There is nothing wrong with sweet food, however if we over indulge in any area of life it can cause problems, whether this be thinking, working or eating. This weekend aims to bring balance and support for the stomach and spleen by connecting us to an awareness of the body’s needs, physically and emotionally and how to satisfy with conscious bodywork, movement and sweet soul food. In essence we will follow the advice of the oracle at Delphi “Know thyself” and “Nothing to Excess”.

We are naturally happy beings so take the opportunity to return to this state by unloading the mental stresses and physically strains at this wonderfully unique workshop which includes;

  • 2 Conscious Cooking Lessons focusing on how to satisfy sweet cravings with healthy food that nourishes the body
  • Simple and effective Shiatsu Bodywork to support the physical body
  • Morning and Evening Meditation and Movement focusing on creating abundance and satisfaction

All this will take place at the wonderful Crann-og organic farm, Gort, Co Galway, providing the accommodation, ingredients and access to glorious countryside for the whole weekend.

€255 includes all food, instruction and accommodation. Early Bird (Sept 30th) €195

For more information and a full schedule outline or a booking form please contact

Joanne Faulkner (Dublin) 086 607 0432 joannefaulkner@live.ie

Jasmine Itter (Galway) www.learnshiatsu.ie jasmineitter@yahoo.com