Spectacular shades of blue and turquoise flash by as the dive boat skips over the Caribbean Sea. It’s a perfect day to scuba dive, bright and sunny with calm sea conditions.
My friend smiles at me ‘You ok?’ he says. “Yeah, I’m fine’ I fib, ‘I’ll just take my time descending, see you on the bottom’. The reason for my apprehension? This was my first time scuba diving in open water in over ten years!
The dive boat reaches our destination and minutes later with the help of the expert crew from Pepe Scuba we are geared up and splash overboard; I hang on the surface, put my face in the water and breathe through the regulator, getting comfortable with the sensation.
Slowly I begin the descent to the incredible beauty of the coral reef below; mesmerized by the surroundings I relax and it all comes back to me. Drift diving on the reef, often times moving with the current at speeds of around three knots gives one the sensation of flying, weightlessly suspended, moving past coral fronts and schools of fish an amazing experience!
So what took me so long to get ‘back into the water’? I learned to scuba dive years ago in South Africa and had the privilege to dive at many exotic locations in Africa, the Caribbean and Bahamas. Unfortunately, my dive adventures came to a halt when I developed a very serious heart condition, atrial fibrillation, and could no longer dive due to the erratic heartbeat.
A beat too many..
Atrial fibrillation (also known as Afib) affects more than 2.5 million Americans and is a problem with the rhythm or rate of the heartbeat; the heart’s electric system ‘short circuit’ causing unstable, erratic and chaotic rhythms. There are many reasons for the onset of Afib, congenital conditions, metabolic causes, heart disease, viruses to name but a few, namely anything that compromises the body and interferes with the electric circuit of the heart.
My condition was triggered by a flu virus which damaged my heart, and eventually deteriorated over the years. I would find myself short of breath, dizzy and exhausted; visits to specialists, hospital stays and heavy duty drugs only left me feeling even worse.
Having lost faith in conventional medicine, my quest for healing led me to natural therapies; I was fortunate enough to find a cardiologist who was invested in a naturopathic approach (a rare find!).
This was a fortunate turn of events, the doctor explained how my condition was being worsened by my compromised immune system and dysfunctional digestion. I began to see the body as an amazing integrated system, and understand how everything we choose to eat can harm or heal us. What I ate could have the effect of throwing me in Afib and draining my energy, food can be your slowest poison or most effective medicine.
To allow my body to function more efficiently, under the doctor’s care I embarked on an elaborate detoxification program, and began working on healing my digestion. The body is constantly under barrage from toxins from food additives, pesticides, drugs, beauty products, alcohol, and environmental pollution to name but a few! The amazing body is constantly trying to move toxins out, via our elimination pathways, namely the cardiovascular, lymphatic, urinary, digestive and respiratory systems, and the skin.
Detox: Cleanse or Crisis?
While a detox may seem like a really great idea, the danger in too rapid a detox is in toxins being released too fast, and not being able to leave the body, causing a backup in the elimination pathways. This could be dangerous to anyone with an underlying health condition such as what I suffered from. A detox can be a very beneficial cleanse, but can also create a crisis and should always be supervised by a trained practitioner.
Do you have a health condition which could be improved by a detox?
For more information on my programs:
Nutrition improved my condition immensely, but was not completely alleviated due to the damage to the heart. I was fortunate enough to be have ground breaking heart surgery back home in South Africa which repaired the problem, it was however the opinion of the surgeon I may not have survived had I not taken the steps I did with nutrition; a powerful message!
My personal health challenges have lead me to my path in healing, I believe most health conditions can be alleviated, reversed or prevented with the power of nutrition, and the best part, with real food which tastes amazing ‘Healing Never Tasted So Good’!
I am honored to partner with the Heart2Heart foundation, and share my message of health and healing, thank you to Sheila Caldwell for the invitation to present at the ladies Night.
Our fabulous dive trip was to the island of Cozumel, I got to drift in an underwater paradise each morning, and explore the culinary delights of the island each evening. Fresh, vibrant flavors, and succulent seafood are prominent on the menus. Inspired by the culinary delights of Cozumel and a lunch favorite of Fish Tacos, here is my Mexican menu prepared at the event.
For the event I prepared Chicken Tacos, with all the fixings; Pico de Gallo with Fire Roasted Poblanos, Avocado Cilantro Jalaopeno Crème and Jicima Slaw. My spin is adding in fire roasted chilies, adding a depth of flavor, enjoy!
I enjoy making up my own spice blends, the recipe follows; store bought taco or Mexican blends could be used, beware of additives in the spices.
3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
1 Tablespoon Mexican Fiesta Blend (see recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup gluten free flour blend (King Arthur all purpose or preferred brand)
Coconut Oil for cooking.
- Slice the chicken on the diagonal into ¼ “ strips.
- Place in a bowl with the lemon juice, zest, spice and salt, toss well.
- Cover and marinade in the fridge for at least one hour and up to six hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Place the flour in a bowl and dredge each piece of chicken individually.
- Preheat a skillet over medium high heat, add a tablespoon of coconut oil and brown the chicken pieces in batches on both sides.
- Remove to an oven proof dish and finish in the oven until cooked through, approximately five minutes.
Mexican Fiesta Spice Blend
3 Tablespoons Chipotle Powder
2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
2 Tablespoons Dried Minced Lemon Peel
2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon Annatto Spice
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
- Blend together, store in an airtight container
Pico de Gallo with Fire Roasted Poblanos
4 Vine Ripe Tomatoes, small dice
½ Red Onion, finely diced
2 Poblano Peppers
2 Tablespoons chopped Cilantro
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Mexican Spice
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Limes, juiced and Zested
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- Prepare the Poblano Peppers: Roast the peppers directly over an open gas flame or a grill, using tongs and turning until blackened all over.
- Place in a brown paper bag (shopping bags work great), and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Scrape off the blacked skin, remove the seeds and rinse clean.
- Prepare the Tomatoes: Cut open the tomatoes and remove the centre hard core and seeds. (This prevents the salsa from becoming watery) Cut into small dice.
- Mix together with all ingredients and season to taste.
Avocado Jalapeno Cilantro Crème
1 ripe Avocado, peeled, pit removed
2 Jalapeno peppers, seeds and stalk removed, rough chop
1 cup Cilantro, rough chopped (about 1 bunch, stalks and all!)
2 cups Organic Sour Cream
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Mexican spice
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth.
- Check for seasoning
Jicima Carrot Slaw
For ease of preparation I use a food processor with a grater blade attachment, this could also be prepared on a conventional box grater or mandolin slicer.
2 cups Shredded Jicima
3 cups Shredded Green Cabbage
1 cup Shredded Carrot
2 Limes, juiced and zested
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Mexican Spice
- Toss together all ingredients, taste for seasoning
To Serve the Tacos:
Soft or hard Taco Shells, three per person, warmed as per instructions.
Place chicken strips and fixings in bowls and serve family style.