New Year, your DNA – iamYiam

As always new year starts with bombarding us with suggestions for the ‘new you’ – new diets, food fads, supplements, gym memberships – which on most occasions do nothing, but overwhelm us at the time when we need to gently transition from the season of festive indulgence back to busy lives in a cold time of the year, when body needs nurturing, not detoxing. Granted, some of those marketing tools have become somewhat less aggressive, but it still ends up putting you under pressure to ‘perform’. Instead of that, what I want to put forward for your consideration is the one tool in your arsenal that can help you make the right decisions for YOUR body thanks to the science and which can lead to profound changes and long-term benefits for you that you will see and feel. Say hello to a DNA kit called iamYiam.

The company was started by Lorena Pica and officially launched in February of last year. Lorena is a woman whose boundless activity and energy hides behind a calm demeanour. She was born in Romania and as often happens, her career now, as a company founder, was influenced by her own health woes, which started with pneumonia aged only six months old and continued with an auto-immune diagnosis of under-active thyroid aged 26. Unfortunately many conditions like this are becoming a somewhat ‘norm’ in our date and age and I wonder if some of them are pre-determined not just by own genetics, but by lifestyle and environmental factors, including the food supply chain, diet and quality of water we consume internally and externally.

Lorena left home at 17 to live in Germany, where she worked in business development, later moving to London and building a successful career in the investment business field. However, her health continued to cause her concern and when her GP suggested to cut her thyroid out, Lorena saw it as a challenge, as she had no desire to follow the ‘envasive’ route. She started researching the subject, which led to development of algorithms and focus on the fact that up to 75% of diseases are and can be preventable. With the spotlight firmly on data, health and genetics, iamYiam unique approach also takes into account your body’s nutritional needs, accounting for such individual factors as vitamin absorption and storage, as well as fitness. Armed with your unique DNA results, covering Diet, Nutrients, Fitness & Health, you will be able to focus of prevention, which is always better than cure. You will be able to make knowledgable choices when it comes to lifestyle, including nutrition, exercise and alternative therapies, that can be structured around your goals with the optimised efficiency plan, rather than celebrity advice or bloggers recomendations. The algorithm itself is based on 163,000 academic research papers (and growing) and genetic markers, so when you receive your DNA results and have a chance to read and process them – I am still contemplating mine a few weeks after receiving them, as it gives you plenty of information to process – you can be also matched to the suitable practitioners & therapies that will help you achieve your goals.

When it comes to setting goals most people tend to focus primarily on weight, energy, stress and sleep. When you look across the wellness landscape, it seems to be growing exponentially, but often the list of preventative therapies and practises can be fragmented and confusing to navigate, especially when one thing might work for your friend, but not you necessarily. And the nutritional advice is often given to us by people who aren’t actually qualified to give it to you or whose suggestions aren’t backed by scientific findings (have you watched recent Horizon’s documentary ‘Clean Eating: the dirty truth’ on BBC2 narrated by Giles Yeo?) or is based on the latest trends, which are often not coordinated with specific health goals or personal genetics. Lorena and her team extensively interview (based on their internal ‘code of ethics’) and test practitioners before they join the iamYiam rota of practitioners on the website. When they do, mini-video profiles are posted online about each one of them, which will help you form an initial opinion and decide who you want to potentially book in order to help you achieve your goals and build the right foundations. In each case effective activity and nutritional plan will be available, based on your aspirations and weakest genetics characteristics according to the algorithm.

iamYiam DNA kit box contains the following:

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Review: the wonder of Bodhi & Birch body oils

It is always intriguing to be on testing panel of brands whose products I love using, as it offers glimpses into the creative process that most consumers don’t get before the product appears on shop’s shelves, TV or press ads. Elijah Choo, founder of Bodhi & Birch, is a man who never ceases to surprise me with the depth of his knowledge, but the trio of body oils that he recently launched turned out to be a much bigger revelation than I anticipated.

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Elijah created an aromatic trio of body oils to celebrate the scent, colour and culture of Europe and offer women (and men) a range of handcrafted products made of 100% natural botanicals and in small batches, thus offering the freshest quality. When I was on a panel of testers, Elijah sent all of us three samples and after using them, we filled in and sent him back a detailed questionnaire. I also talked to Elijah in detail about my experience with the oils, as one of them smelled particularly strong and another I wasn’t too sure of, as generally I am not a huge fan of rose-scented products, possibly finding them a little too ‘girly’. Having said that, this particular rose-scented body oil took me on a journey of such immense discovery, I was completely taken aback – but more on it later.

After all of the feedback was in, Elijah continued to tweak and refine the final formulas – always a perfectionist when it comes to his products and making sure they live up to customer’s expectations ! – while also enhancing their unique beauty and wellbeing. Only when he was satisfied, did the products launch and I hope you will find them as transformative as I did. One of my own biggest surprises when it came to those body oils, was a truly successful fusion of aromatherapy and perfumery, so much so, that now I wear two of those oils as a natural perfume, dabbing it on my pulse points, behind the ears and on my neck, after I apply it all over the body.

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Nordic White Body Oil: the name of this body oil made sure it had me at ‘hello’, and not because ‘hygge’ is the current buzzword. About three years ago, Elijah was in Stockholm, visiting Bodhi & Birch retailers. On his way to one of the meetings, he walked from his hotel, located in central Stockholm, all the way to a more hippie area, where the meeting was supposed to take place. Stockholm is one of Elijah’s favourite cities, as it allows him to walk from one island to another, while observing the beauty of nature, forests and decor of the houses, which he absorbs, nurturing his creative life force. In a way Nordic White is Elijah’s love letter to the city, with an assembly of notes that popped into Elijah’s head as he walked around the city, drinking it in. Original birch notes were taken out, but alpine notes – more wood than leaves, as well as berries, moss, hints of sea and fennel  were blended together creating, a ‘fresh, open, balanced white scent’. Elijah had the clearest picture of what this oil should smell and look like out of the three body oils he created , but he went through two versions, before the third satisfied him.

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Elijah sees this oil as ‘a curative tonic of Spruce, Cypress and Pine enlivened with the freshness of Sweet fennel with soothing undertones of Frankincense. The scent is clean and reassuring, balanced with a soft lingering sweetness’. To that I can add that to me it feels like a hug from an old, comforting friend who knows what to say on every occasion, be it sad or happy. Before I apply it, I warm it in my hands for a few seconds, savouring the smell and then apply it to my body, rolling my fingers over muscles and circling it in when a certain area feels a little tight or painful. I draw comfort from this scent and as my skin warms up from the massage and the scent settles and changes, I end up drawing my wrist to my nose, inhaling it, as the day progresses, in order to ground & center myself.

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‘Nordic White Body Oil is rather special to me. It read more