Author Archives: Irene

About Irene

Life with a little yoga!

Medicine in My Cupboard – Lemons and Limes


Sometimes I think that lemons (and limes) are understated! Not only are they great for winter colds and flu’s but also a wonderful summer time remedy too!

Did you know????

In traditional chinese medicine lemons (and limes) are said to have a cooling thermal nature. They have a sour, astringent flavour and are antiseptic. They are excellent for those who have lived on a high fat, protein diet and are now in need of some cleaning out.

Lemons destroy putrefactive bacteria in the intestine and mouth and can be used to purify the breath.

Their antiseptic, anti-microbial and mucus-resolving action make them useful during dysentery, colds, flu’s, coughs and parasite infestations. For colds and flu’s they are best used when symptoms first start to appear. They will shorted the duration and severity of a cold and will prevent the complications that can arise from these infections.

Lemons are excellent for the liver. They encourage the formation of bile, improve the absorption of minerals, promote weight loss and cleanse the blood. They also treat high blood pressure, thick, poorly circulating blood and weak blood vessels, so are excellent for heart health.

In the summer heat, lemons have a cooling effect, they calm the nerves and are useful for treating a sore throat, cramps and diabetes which are often marked by fluid deficiency.

Externally the juice of lemons can be applied to heal sores, they relieve the itching from insect bites when rubbed into the skin, and in a poultice they can be applied to reduce and soften corns. ONE drop of fresh juice combined with warm water makes a cleansing eye wash.

Limes tend to be grown less intensively than lemons so can be used instead of lemons.

The ACID content of lemons and limes is about 4 – 6 times higher than that of oranges so should not be used by those with too much stomach acid or ulcers.

In saying that however, many who suffer from heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) are often mistakenly said to have to much acid, when in fact they have too little (symptoms are almost identical), in which case lemons are useful! (Try it out and you’ll know quick enough!!).

Citric acid also thins the blood so should be used cautiously by those with weak blood signs such as a pale complexion and tongue, insomnia, irritability and thinness. These people also tend to feel cooler and weak (so need to focus on more warming foods).

For the very hot, fiery, robust person, red in the face in need of the properties of lemons, start with 1 – 3 lemons a day for a week, working up to 12 a day (some people need a lot of cleansing!!).

A great way to start the day is the juice of a lemon in water before breakfast. It flushes the system, stimulates the liver and helps you to feel fresh for the rest of the day.

If you have organic or VERY WELL WASHED lemons, use the rind.. which contains limonene a great cancer fighting substance. The rind also contains added vitamin B6, calcium, Vitamin C and is an excellent source of fibre!

Teen Yoga End of Term!

ImageAs the Leaving Certificate exams begin, I have to step back and think about just how amazing our young people are! For the next few weeks thousands of our youth will battle through hours and hours of exams, but my thoughts mostly rest with a great bunch of Transition Year students with whom I had the the honor of teaching yoga to this last Spring. At the end of our 8 weeks, there truly was nothing better than seeing everyone lined up against a wall doing headstand, or silently resting on the floor after class. The sporadic wave of giggles reminds me that these young people still contain that joviality that we as adults have sometimes lost! 

Here are some testimonials from students I taught this last Spring 2013. These lovely individuals aged 15 – 16 received 8 weeks of yoga in their own school environment.

“Just a fantastic module. End of!” 

“It was very fun and relaxing, I love yoga!”

“It was fun and relaxing and helped build up confidence. If I keep it up I would be a lot more fit and flexible”

“This class is great fun and I recommend more people to do this programme. I can stretch and my breathing is better”

“Even though I have only been doing yoga a short time, it has already helped me so much in learning how to relax, all while doing exercise. I would definitely recommend it. I feel more relaxed. The quotes given on sheets each week really put things in perspective.”

“Very relaxing if surrounded by the right people.”

“I really enjoyed it. It was very interesting and I will definitely try to keep up yoga on my own”.

“I really enjoyed yoga this year. It was really interesting to learn about and a fun way to exercise. I enjoyed being able to see myself getting better as the weeks went on. I think I’m much more flexible. I found the poses easier as the weeks progressed.” 

“It was good fun”.



Berry Healthy Beetroot Bananza!

If you need a tasty little pick me up in the morning, look no further than the Berry Healthy Beetroot Bananza!

Quick and easy to prepare, tasty and easy to drink on the spot or to save for later. This is the perfect food for a full meal when you need excellent nutrition on the go! This combination is so full of goodness it would take a book to write it all here! This drink it quite detoxifying so be sure to drink plenty of water during the day to help flush the system of unwanted waste.


Basic Ingredients

  • 1 cup of water or soya, rice, almond, oat or coconut milk. Preferably go diary free to give your body a rest from dairy.
  • Chlorella or Spirulina Powder – work up to your desired amount, read the label on the brand you buy. I use Yaeyama- Chlorella and use 1-2 teaspoons.
  • Half a banana
  • Mixed berries, fresh or frozen, up to one cup.
  • Cooked or lightly steamed Beet Root. As much as you enjoy.

Additional Ingredients
To give your drink extra BANG, you can use as much or as little of these as you like. Give extra flavour, texture or nutrition!

  • Avocado. About 1/4 is good, more if you like. This gives a lovely creamy texture.
  • Pear or apple. Again as much as you like.
  • Kiwi or grapes.Lemon and lime. To taste, these are also great to prevent oxidization, especially if you’re keeping some for lunch.
  • Greens like chard leaves, rocket, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, celery. (be sure to shop finely before you add it in, otherwise your blender is going to get into a twist.

This drink is extremely flexible in what you add, the list of possibilities really is endless, you can add salad greens like rocket, cress or spinach. Things like peppers, tomatoes and so on. I also like to add seeds like sunflower and pumpkin, shelled hemp. Nut butters like almond, cashew, or even sesame seed paste, tahini.

Experiment with fresh ingredients that you enjoy. Organic is ideal but well washed veg is better than nothing at all!


1. Chop any large fruit or veg into cubes, remove any large seeds. Remove the skin if you like but leave it on where possible.
1. Place all desired ingredients into tall narrow container.
2. Blend with a hand blender. You can also use a regular blender, but a hand blender is so easy to clean.
3. Pour into a glass and drink, or if quite thick, into a bowl and use a spoon! It makes a great addition to plain yoghurt, or on top of oat, quinoa or amaranth porridge. It can also be used as a dessert topping if sweet and smooth.


Organ Donor Awareness Week April 2nd to 9th! What action are you going to take?

Sally and her Mum Sabina

I remember Sabina saying that she slept with her mobile by her pillow. She jumped with every phone call, never knowing when the call would come to tell her that a matching kidney had been found for her daughter Sally.

For two years Sally spent over 12 out of every 24 hours hooked up to the dialysis machine in her bedroom. Always at least two hours late for school, it was through sheer determination and the support of her family, friends and teachers that she passed her Junior Cert exams. Her daily blood pressure checks, her limit of just 1 litre of liquid, whether it came from an apple, a glass of water or ice-cream were just some of the aspects of her life that were controlled, limited and restrictive. Sally especially missed sleep overs with her friends and swimming in her local pool. Meals out became a chore and all the things she had previously enjoyed, as all young teenagers do, were becoming a distant memory.

Until that phone call finally came, and Sally was whizzed up to Dublin for her kidney transplant. The long, agonising wait was finally over! The uncertainty, the worry, the not knowing …

Sally having a sleepover with her friends.


Sally was born with a rare birth defect called Ideopathic Multicentric Osteolysis and all her life knew that one day her kidneys would fail. No one knew when, but when she was 14 Sally became seriously ill while attending the Irish Baha’i Summer school. She was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery, but it would be a full year before Sally was even well enough to be put on the transplant waiting list.

Trying to live, while on a transplant waiting list, was never easy, but what struck me most was Sally’s unfailing determination to never let it get her down. Every time we met, she would brush aside the trails she was going through and talk about all the good stuff that had happened since the last time I’d seen her. She always had love and praise for the hospital staff in Crumlin Children’s hospital, and always found delight in the things she still could do, rather than in the things she couldn’t. She amazed us all at her ability to acknowledge her pain, cry it out and then carry on with love and joyfulness.

Sally and her Family enjoying a meal out!

Getting a new kidney, was a time of incredible joy and relief, most notably for Sally and her family. An active, vibrant family that were not accustomed to staying in every night, not being able to travel, always having to be where the dialysis machine was. Freedom and the knowledge that Sally was going to be okay, was given back to the whole family, and health and vitality were Sally’s to enjoy once again.

Now each year at Sally’s Transplant Party, Sally, her friends and relatives and those she met along her journey, celebrate the gift that she was given. With gratitude Sally always remembers the person who donated their kidney to her . Not knowing if it was a man or a woman, very young or older, she writes to their family regularly, her letters passed on anonymously by the hospital. She is forever grateful for the sacrifice they made during their most tragic circumstances.

Next week is organ donor awareness week. Sally knows first hand what it’s like to receive the gift of a transplant. The donor who took the effort to make it known that they wanted to give their organs, will forever be the person that saved Sally’s life.

The Irish aren’t great, let it be known, at carrying organ donor cards, but it appears that as time passes we are forgetting just how important this is! The Irish Kidney Association says that last year was one of the worst on record, with just 58 deceased donors. Now for those waiting for a new organ, waiting for their chance at life, there is hope that there will be a new “opt-out” donation system, where a persons organs would automatically be harvested, unless they had opted out.

Until that happens, all of us can make it known to those we love, that in the case of our untimely passing, we can give a most precious gift, or indeed many precious gifts.

Sally and her Friends at a Rugby match.

Now Sally is 19, and getting ready for more exams.  She happily lives life, still appreciating those simple things, never letting a chance to have some fun pass her by! Sally loves rugby and can now support her favorite players even more , she can have her friends over as much as she likes and travel without restriction. She enjoys life as any young woman does.

You have a Sally in your community, you might not know her, but one day, you might save her life. What action are you going to take?

It is Sally’s wish, in telling her story, that you will become an organ donor. To find out more about how you can become an organ donor, giving life after you have passed on you can click HERE for citizens information, and HERE for the Irish Kidney Association.

Sally is thankful to so many who took care of her while she was sick.  The staff at Beaumont Hospital were brilliant while she had her transplant . The  staff and especially Doctor Waldren in Crumlin for their wounderful care while she was really sick on the waiting list. She is also exceptionally grateful to Mr. Liam Plant who has been looking after Sally since her transplant operation.

I would love to hear how you’ve been affected by organ donation. Have you received the gift of a new heart, a kidney, lungs, eyes or something else? Has a member of your family given that gift to someone else? If they have, I thank them.



Irish Donor Card