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Do you enjoy a bit of winter sun?


We do and a lot of it! The end of January through February is an ideal time for John and I to take an extended holiday and do a bit of traveling as there are no dog shows at this time of the year.

We visited South Goa 2 years ago and decided to come back this year. We just love it here… the beaches, the food and the hospitality of the locals are all great. Yes, some might say it’s a bit crazy and dirty but our little hotel is always spotless so we can’t complain (if you want the contact details, just email me).

I’ve noticed a few changes since our last visit. Vegetarian and vegan food has always been accessible but now even more so with plenty variety! A few lovely places have also opened where you can find delicious smoothies, scrambled tofu, veggies of all sorts and even vegan chai masala.

There is also a significant lack of plastic shopping bags, which is amazing! All the

shops in Goa give you a cotton bag which would make for such a nice small shopping

bag back home. If they can do it here why is it so difficult to ban plastic bags in the UK? Instead of charging a measly 5p or 10p (which doesn’t put people off from buying the

bag anyway) why aren’t they just removed and replaced with cotton or paper bags?

Since being on a little mission to reduce plastics in my life I have been using soap and

shampoo bars for some time now. They’re great to use, smell lovely, feel lovely and are easy to travel with. The bonus is that even if you are only travelling with hand luggage you don’t need to keep them in a sealable pouch! Another travel essential is my Hand Butter and this can always be found in my handbag. You just need to be careful when travelling in hot countries as the butter melts and if the lid is not closed properly you’ll be left with an oily mess. I use Hand Butter not only to moisturise my hands but I also use it as a face and body butter as I just love the smell and texture. I use it as a lip balm when my lips feel dry from the air conditioner and I even use it as an after- sun treatment. It is soothing, regenerating and aids with inflammation.

Another travel essential on our trip to India is the Bodyguard Insect Repellent Bracelet I’ve tried it in Slovakia and England and I was dying to try it here in India too. After 5 pm the mosquitoes are everywhere. Because of this I put the pink bracelet on my wrist and the blue one on my ankle if go out in the evening. The colour is just a personal preference… there is no difference in the strength. I’m happy to report that in two weeks I haven’t had any mosquito bites! The bracelet lasts for about 3 weeks and if I’m not wearing it I just put it in a bag (or a jar at home).

Our holiday is almost over and even though I love it here and it has been incredibly relaxing (yes, no alarm!), I’m looking forward to getting home. I miss my dogs so much!

Where is your favourite winter sun destination?

What herbs and spices can you share with your dog? Part 3

Just chilling …


Here is part 3 which is going to be a bit spicier and more exotic! But who can blame me? I am currently on holiday in the South of Goa, India and surrounded by colorful herbs and spices all competing for my attention. The only problem is deciding how much I am going to take back home and how I am going to fit it all in my suitcase! The food is so flavourful and not necessarily “hot”. Even the simple food like dahl (which can be quite bland back home) is full of flavour and colour.

Besides the flavourful subject of Indian cooking, let’s not move too far from our main topic of dogs. In India, dogs are everywhere! Often alongside the holy cows. They wander around – on the beach, streets … not bothering anyone. They come together in small packs, dominate their own territories and it’s fascinating to watch how they interact with each other. They lay in front of every shack or restaurant not bothered by any people, but as soon as another dog approaches, they get up quickly to make it clear to the other dog whose territory they’re in. Sometimes they just say hi to each other but most of the time they bark and make the intruding dog leave as soon as possible.

The holy cows and dogs that I’ve seen are so street wise. They sleep and walk around busy roads (I even saw a pack of dogs sleeping in the middle of a crossroad, creating a sort of island!). And even if the drivers here drive like crazy, they always slow down for the holy cows and dogs. I can’t say the same for the pedestrians though …

Back to spices then. Here are a few more I’ve added to my dogs’ diet:

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

Cinnamon not only smells beautiful (to me it smells like Christmas), but it has many health benefits for us and our dogs. Cinnamon has antiviral, bactericidal, and antifungal properties, and also acts as a stimulant. When my dogs are in good condition, I usually sprinkle cinnamon on their food once a week. Here is the exact dose I use:

1-10 lbs: a small pinch up to 1/8 teaspoon

10-20 lbs: 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon

20-50 lbs: 1/4 to 1 teaspoon

50-100 lbs: 1 to 2 teaspoons

Over 100 lbs: 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

I can’t not to mention turmeric again! Turmeric, also known as Indian saffron, has been used for over 4,000 years in alternative medicine. Turmeric is commonly used in Ayurveda medicine for wound healing and treating skin problems. You can find out more about this amazing spice in my blog post: https://www.vitacanis.co.uk/have-you-tried-turmeric/

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

I prefer to use fresh coriander instead of dry. It’s easy to grow on your window sill and is a great addition to your cooking or your dogs’ food. Coriander has a multitude of health benefits: it is antibacterial, antifungal and an antioxidant. Coriander can also help control blood sugar and improve calcium absorption.

Namaste,

Jitka xx

What herbs and spices can you share with your dog? Part 2

 

Last week I gave you some ideas for ways you can start to introduce the health and wellness benefits of fresh herbs into yours and your dog’s life.

I spoke about basil and shared a lovely Basil Oil Recipe you can make and use to flavour your meal and your dog’s dinner! I also shared a useful Rosemary Extract Recipe, for the gardeners out there, that can be used as a preventative care against mould, caterpillars, whiteflies, and the potato beetle. And lastly, a soothing Ginger Tea, perfect for those cold winter days.

This week I’m continuing with some more of my favourite herbs and natural goodness.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley is another great herb for dogs because it is high in antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It can enhance the functionality of your dog’s organs and flush toxins out of the body. Parsley is diuretic and promotes the flow of urine.

Parsley also stimulates the uterus so it is better to avoid it during your dog’s pregnancy.

This herb is a common ingredient in dog biscuits as it can freshen a dog’s breath.

Parsley is very easy to grow on your window sill, so it no excuse to not always have some handy.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds have been one of the ingredients in my breakfast bowl for years. And occasionally I sprinkle my dogs’ food with it too.

Flax seeds contain high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, and they are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They help to detox the body but it’s important to use ground flax seeds rather than serving whole flax seeds.

Typically, both brown and golden flax seeds will offer similar nutritional benefits, and just remember that a little bit goes a long way!

Green Tea

I love green tea … now. I didn’t use to, as I didn’t like the bitterness of it. However, I was aware of the benefits so I kind of trained myself to drink it. And now I love it! Especially a freshly made cup from loose leaves.

Green tea is a type of tea that is made from Camellia sinensis leaves that have not undergone the same withering and oxidation process used to make oolong teas and black teas.

Green tea originated in China, but its production and manufacture have spread too many other countries in Asia.

Green tea is a great source of antioxidants that have been credited with a range of health benefits, from promoting heart, liver and brain health to improving your skin.
It even has calming properties.

When I make green tea and it’s cooled down a bit, I just pour a few spoons of tea over my dogs’ food. Just please make sure that if you are giving green tea to your dog, that you use decaf green tea because the caffeine can actually cause adverse reactions in your dog.

 

Jitka xx

What herbs and spices can you share with your dog? Part 1

 

I think everybody would agree, fresh herbs and spices add a lovely smell and flavour to our meals. Fresh herbs also add vitamins like A, C and K to our food and they are packed with antioxidants.

And not only that, by adding flavour with the herbs, we can cut back on the salt!

But here’s a thought … have you ever considered adding some herbs to your dog’s food?

Fresh herbs are able to promote better health and wellness for you AND your dog! So, why not try it?

Most of the herbs are easy to grow. You don’t even need to have a garden or back yard, you can simply grow them on your inside window sill just like I do with some of mine.

Only my sage, lavender, rosemary and marjoram are now grown outside because they have flourished quite a bit over the year’s 😊

Here are some ideas for ways you can introduce the health and wellness benefits of fresh herbs into yours and your dog’s life!

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

One of my all-time favourites! I love to place a few whole leaves on my avocado & hummus toast and happily munch on it. Or I chop it up with some sun dried tomatoes and spread that on toast… but back to the dogs …lol!

Basil has antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties, and is full of vitamins and minerals.

Basil also helps with digestion, and in the dry form you can find this herb in many digestive teas to relieve stomach spasms.

How to make basil oil:

* Bunch of basil
* 1l sweet almond oil or olive oil

In the mortar, crush basil leaves, and when they start to release their aroma start adding the oil. Then put the oil with the leaves into a clean jar or a bottle with a lid, and add the rest of the oil. Close the jar and leave it for two weeks, occasionally shaking the content. Then you can use the oil to flavour your meal, your dog’s dinner, and you can even use it for massaging your tired sore muscles.

Did you know basil is associated with immortality? And apparently, it can make a person more attractive and even help to find love…

Well… try and let me know 😊

Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)

 

Me & my rosemary

This lovely herb is high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6, and has also been shown to act as an antioxidant.

Rosemary supports circulation, calms the mind, and relaxes internal tension. It can also help with some types of migraines.

If you enjoy gardening, you will find rosemary very useful here too. With dry rosemary, you can make a spray that can be used as a preventative care against mould, caterpillars, whiteflies, and the potato beetle.

How to make rosemary extract:

* 220g of dry crushed rosemary
* 700ml of 50% alcohol (if you can’t get this, vodka will do)
* 10-15 ml liquid soap
* Water

Pour alcohol over rosemary and leave it to infuse for two days. After two days, sieve it and add the liquid soap. Add about 130ml of the extract into 1 litre of water. With this amount of extract, you can make 6-7 litres of spray.

Personally, I haven’t tried it yet, as I didn’t do much gardening last year. But I will definitely try it this year.

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)

I am a big fan of ginger tea, especially now in winter. When I can feel the cold is coming, it’s the first thing I do … make a ginger tea.

Ginger root is anti-inflammatory, and also has antibacterial properties. It helps aid in the absorption of food, and boosts the digestive system. It is also a great way to treat motion sickness because it helps to soothe nausea. Some pet owners even give it to their pets to help boost circulation. It can either be served finely chopped or dried and ground.

How to make ginger tea:

* 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
* 1 cup boiling water
* Sometimes I add a bit of cinnamon and/or cardamom
* Lemon and/or honey or agave syrup for flavour, if the tea is too spicy for you

Boil the water and then add it to the cup with grated ginger. Steep the tea, covered, for at least 5 minutes. Strain and discard ginger and serve warm. Finally, add lemon, honey, agave syrup … if you like.

Jitka xx

Happy New Year! Happy New You?

 

 

 

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Into which of these categories do you fit?

A: You make a New Year’s resolution and by the end of January, you can’t even remember you made any…

B: You make a New Year’s resolution, you stick with it and you feel the pride of achievement.

C: You don’t bother with New Year’s resolutions because you know you’re not going to stick with it, so why to even try…

I am somewhere in between all three…

It’s hard to change, and it’s hard to adopt a new good habit. And it takes time … 66 days on average.

I found this interesting article from James Clear on ‘How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit?’, you can read it here: https://jamesclear.com/new-habit.
Phillippa Lally is a health psychology researcher at University College London. In a study https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejsp.674 published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Lally and her research team decided to figure out just how long it actually takes to form a habit.

The study examined the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period. Each person chose one new habit for the 12 weeks and reported each day on whether or not they did the behaviour and how automatic the behaviour felt.

Some people chose simple habits like “drinking a bottle of water with lunch.” Others chose more difficult tasks like “running for 15 minutes before dinner.” At the end of the 12 weeks, the researchers analysed the data to determine how long it took each person to go from starting a new behaviour to automatically doing it.

The answer?

On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.

And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behaviour, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.

One of my new habits is to drink more water. It’s very easy in summer but in winter… I know I should because 70% of our body is water, and I know I will feel better, and I know my skin looks better, and I know I have more energy.

So, I decided, at the beginning of December, I AM going to drink more water consciously. I set up my alarm every hour, and every hour I’m having a large glass of water. I’ve been building this new habit for about 30 days, so 33 more to go and I won’t need an alarm. I hope, lol!

Another new habit I’m starting on the 1st of January is to learn two new words in French and Spanish every day… so by the end of 2019 I will know 730 French words and 730 Spanish words… then I just need to learn how to use them 😊

Have an absolutely paw-some 2019!!

Love, Jitka xx

P.S. If your new habit is going greener in 2019, then keep a lookout for a little free gift from me to you coming in the New Year

What People Say...

Just to let you know we LOVE the Comfort Blend we got from you at Crufts. The girls love the smell and try to lick it, and I find walks are a lot calmer these days. THANK YOU!! Calming Floral Spray is next on my list and maybe a burner with some stones.”
Savannah and Jasmine are  two lovely Italian Greyhounds, and you can find them on Instagram @sister.iggies.ig