09 January 2017


Meditation for Life 
Seems to sum up so much to do with meditation. Meditation brings us more fully into life. It is a profound healer. It awakens us, heightens our awareness and helps us to appreciate life more fully, to live more fully. Meditation brings us life; directly adding to our longevity. Meditation for life.

So this week, the schedule of retreats Ruth and I will present this year – meditation retreats, our specific cancer residential programs, and of course, the meditation teacher training programs, but first,

        Thought for the Day

Would you like me to give you a formula for...success? 
It's quite simple, really. 
Double your rate of failure... 
You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success. 
But it isn't at all... 
You can be discouraged by failure
-or you can learn from it. 
So go ahead and make mistakes. 
Make all you can. 
Because, remember that's where you'll find success. 
On the far side.

                         Thomas Watson

I love this quote. It speaks for the need to persist, and it speaks to the value of being somewhat adventurous; of having a go, making mistakes, learning from them and accomplishing remarkable things.

Can you remember what it was like when you began meditating? Seems to me there was one “mistake” after another for me. Tried this... not much progress. Tried that… not much progress. Just an inkling that something useful was happening… could happen. Just an inkling that meditation was something well worth persevering with and learning from the experiences along the way.

So the message? Do not be put off. On the contrary, persevere. And seek opportunities to learn and practice more deeply.

Again, speaking personally, amidst the busyness of modern life, amidst all the changes that are hurtling through our modern way of living, amidst all the opportunities we have; it just seems essential to take some time out at least once each year, to give ourselves the time to reflect, to contemplate, to learn some more, to deepen our practice – maybe re-new our practice – and then return to daily life invigorated, with a deeper sense of calm and clarity.

It is for this reason that last year, Ruth and I decided to reduce the number of public workshops and seminars we present and to concentrate more on the retreats.

This gave me more time for preparation for our different retreats and now in retrospect, this was really useful. In my own estimation, the teachings in the retreats went to another level in 2016 and the feedback was excellent.

So we have decided to do the same again for 2017 – focus on presenting retreats. Maybe 2018 will be another year of larger public events, but this year we invite you to join us and deepen your experience on one of our retreats.

Speaking personally, Ruth and I will attend 2 retreats as participants ourselves in 2017; one for 2 weeks starting soon and then a longer one through August. These retreats will further add to what we can provide and are an essential part of what we offer.

So here is the program of meditation and other retreats for 2017             with links to their details
                  Hope you can join us …

March 27 – 31st  Meditation Teacher Training – Module 2 
Ruth and I train people aspiring to be meditation teachers, or who already are and are seeking to extend their skills. This program is allied to Module 1, presented by Paul and Maia Bedson who teach on Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation. We teach Contemplation and Guided Imagery.

April 7 – 13th Meditation in the Forest

This is our annual Pre-Easter 7 day retreat at the Yarra Valley Living Centre. Each year we learn a little more about relaxation, mindfulness and meditation, and we practice together. Then each year there is a specific theme; this year it is contemplation. There is not so much written on contemplation, and very few retreats on this specific topic, yet in my experience it is one of the most useful and profound elements to add to our practice. Ruth and I love presenting this retreat, and we love observing the benefits it brings to those who attend.

April 24 – 28th Cancer and Beyond
For many people these days, living with cancer is an ongoing reality. So how to do that? How to live fully and well in the potential shadow of a major illness? It seems to me to be virtually essential to regularly take time out, to stand back, to re-assess, to keep on track, to get back on track when necessary, to clarify the confusion that is so easy to get into with all that is in the Press and on the net, and to perhaps most importantly, to be re-inspired and re- enthused for the journey ahead.

June 5 – 9th Deepening Your Meditation
Our only 5 day meditation retreat, this program is all about taking time out, entering into a meditative environment and being supported to deepen your experience. Then, with this deeper experience, being able to take it with you so that your ongoing practice is more rewarding, more beneficial, more enjoyable.

July 1 -7th Mindfulness and Meditation in Daily Life
We have had many requests to present a meditation retreat in Queensland, so this is it. We are fortunate to be able to use the facilities of the Chenrezig Centre – a Buddhist Retreat Centre in the hills back of the Sunshine Coast. Our retreat will focus on integrating mindfulness and meditation into daily life. I know when I first started, meditation was something I did for a few minutes (or hours) every day; but at first, I then went back to my day as if nothing much had happened, The real benefit of these things is in how they inform our daily life, so this retreat will be very Practical. We will practice mindfulness and meditation together formally, and then use the rest of our time to bring the qualities of the practice into our daily experience – in a way that we can take them home and maintain them. My sense is that for many this could well be life changing.

October 9 – 13th Meditation Teacher Training – Module 2
This is a repeat of the earlier program. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

October 21 – 27th Meditation Under the Long White Cloud
The annual New Zealand retreat at the wonderful Mana Centre on the Coromandel Peninsula (see the view from Mana below), this year the focus is on using Guided Imagery techniques to combine head and heart. We hear so much these days about training the mind. Very useful, but a mind with no heart is cold and empty. Guided Imagery provides the techniques in meditation that bring the mind and heart together – a wonderful new dimension to the practice and to life.

November 2 – 9th Mind-Body Medicine and Cancer
This 8 day comprehensive program in New Zealand for people affected by cancer is the only program still to be confirmed for 2017.

November 20 – 24 Cancer and Beyond
This is a similar program to the one in April. It is part of the ongoing series of programs designed specifically for those affected by cancer. Each program is adapted specifically to the needs of those attending based upon a pre-attendance questionnaire, and the interests and needs that emerge during the program.

So, plenty of choices… Will you join us in 2017?

02 January 2017

An-Ode-to-Love – or 3 ways to be More Loving

In the words of the classic hit song by Foreigner, "I Want to Know What Love Is". Might sound a trifle trite, but for 2017, my New Year’s resolution is to aim to go beyond the knowing - and to actually be more loving.

So this week, here is my plan – 3 ways to be more loving, but first

Thought for the day

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast,
 it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,

It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil

But rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts,
Always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4

How to be more loving?

Seems like a simple and very worthwhile aspiration… Yet how to make some real progress? Three things come to mind; maybe you have more insights and would like to add them via the comment section. Maybe we can return to this theme throughout 2017 and comment on progress. Anyway, these 3 techniques may well be helpful…

1. Know what love is - engage the analytical mind
Don’t you just love how unloving this sounds? “Engage the analytical mind”. Seems far removed from love to be in the mind and to be analytical. Yet, clearly love is complex. Is it an emotion? A virtue? A state of mind? An attitude? A feeling?

To analyse love theoretically can help us to understand love in the real world. Love is often contextual – it may well vary depending upon who you are with. The love you feel for your lover may well be different to your love for you mother or your dog.

And also, consistent mental analysis can open the way to contemplation and deep insight. While the thinking mind can help us to understand, insight gives us access to a direct experience.

So traditionally, when people sought to know love, they contemplated it; first by thinking deeply and consistently about it, then waiting for that time where they went into the stillness beyond thought and experienced the insight, the direct knowing.

So how to do it? Start with the theory - think about what we do know of love. For example, the ancient Greeks had different words for different types of love that are to this day very insightful; well worth thinking about…

Eros : Passionate or Romantic love. Seen in Ancient Greece as being something of an affliction…

Philia : Brotherly love. More in the line of friendship and affection.

Storge : Natural affection like a parent has for a child.

Agape : That selfless love that in Christianity became “Charity” : from the Greek word caritas or dearness.

Xenia : Hospitality – an almost ritualized friendship formed between host and guest, who was expected to repay only with gratitude.

As another “thinking” option, you could reflect upon how conditional love can be.
How often love actually is like a deal? “I will love you if … “.

If you do something in return for me. If you love me back. If you pay for… If you look after the children… If you… What is the deal?

On the other hand, unconditional love has no “ifs”. There is no deal. Unconditional love says “I will love you”. Full stop. I will love you. No conditions.

As such unconditional love is rather rare and rather difficult to sustain for most. We can aspire to it; the more we realize what it is and the more we accomplish it the better, but one would need to be enlightened to manage unconditional love with everyone.

So in contemplation, we start by thinking about anything to do with the subject, we analyze it, we persist in the process; and then from time to time, we drop the thinking, leave a space and wait. Fairly reliably, from that space an insight emerges. More like a knowing than a thinking, insight gives us a deeper, more experiential understanding of what love is.

2. Feel the experience of receiving love

On a 3 month personal retreat in 2015 I spent time contemplating past and present relationships and my experience of receiving love through them. While this process was helped by being on retreat, it is something that is possible amidst daily life.

Simply recall relationships. I started with the female ones. From earliest memory to the most recent. It was fascinating. At different times quite moving, confronting, delightful, painful, humorous, sad, joyful and on and on. Profoundly useful and beneficial. Then I did the same with all the male relationships that came to mind.

Again, it took some time but the perseverance with the one theme steadily gave me a real sense of what love felt like as it came into my own life.

3. Be more outwardly loving
So this is the one I plan to work on. Speaking personally, I have spent good time on the first two. So how to give more love? How to be more loving?

The Bible certainly has a lot of good things to say about love. “Love thy neighbor as thy self”. Mark 12 : 31. Whether you are into the Bible or not is hardly the point. The principle certainly is real. The better one feels about one’s self, the more comfortable we are with our selves, the more we will be able to give out to others.

So meditation practiced regularly enables us to make friends with our selves; to feel more stable, less dependent upon the feedback of others, less dependent upon the deals we might otherwise make with others; more free and more able to give from our own hearts.

Then too, if we really care for the other, our love may not always appear soft and gentle, patient and kind. Tough love is a delicate art. In spiritual circles, it is said that the true spiritual friend is the one who points out our hidden faults.

So some spiritual teachers can seem quite direct, even to outsiders as very tough or rude. But real love wants to see the best for the other, so if there are hidden faults that are causing difficulties for the person directly, or through them to others, best to have them out in the open.

But let us be clear about this, tough love will always feel loving to the person involved. If tough love hurts, it is something else. Genuine tough love will always feel loving to those receiving it – even if it is quite tough.

So for me, this will be an interesting exploration. How to be more loving? If I remember, I will write something on what transpires; for that is the thing about New Year’s resolutions… One needs to remember to keep them going, to actually do something with them. We shall see…


WANT A TREAT? - sit back, make the link and enjoy... the song

RELATED BLOG I had the incredible good fortune some years back in Bethlehem to meet and converse with an authentic Christian hermit monk. He spends his days contemplating love, and told me a little of how he does that and what he experiences. Click Here


Meditation in the Forest
The annual Pre-Easter retreat amidst the natural peace and tranquility of the Upper Yarra Valley.

Looking for meaning, clarity and purpose in life? You could even contemplate love :)

Need a break? Some time to stand back from the busyness of life, to re-assess, to regenerate, to regain some balance once more? A new clarity...

This year, as well as taking time out to deepen our experience of the stillness of meditation, we will practise together simple yet profound methods of contemplation - the direct path to a calm and clear mind that provides the real prospect of major insights...

Dates           4 pm Friday 7th April until 2 pm Thursday 13th April 2017.
Venue          The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia 
Bookings     The Gawler Foundation: +61 (3) 5967 1730 

For more details and to book CLICK HERE

26 December 2016

Love the New Year’s Resolutions

Three simple, readily doable ways to be a little more loving.

For many, Christmas is an opportunity to have some time off, catch the breath after a busy year and spend time with family and friends. For others, it is the height of their religious calendar; a peak event for Christians.

For everyone, symbolically Christmas represents the birth of unconditional love in human form. Now, unconditional love is pretty well impossible to maintain all the time; hard enough to manage any of the time. For most of us, love does have a few conditions attached.

However, any steps we make towards being more unconditionally loving are sure to bring benefits to us personally and to those around us. So this week, 3 simple, readily doable ways to be a little more loving. Maybe one is worth considering for a New Year’s resolution, but first a little Christmas funny…

         Thought for the day

I stopped believing in Santa Claus 
when I was six. 
Mother took me to see him 
in a department store 
and he asked for my autograph. 

                  Shirley Temple 

Three simple, readily doable ways to be a little more loving.
1. Practice gratitude
Gratitude opens the heart. With gratitude comes appreciation. A recognition of something or someone’s intrinsic worth, intrinsic goodness.

Gratitude takes almost no effort. We just need to remember to do it from time to time. The more often the better.

Gratitude is easiest with those things we naturally appreciate, but even more effective when we practice it with those things we have an initial aversion towards.

Take a few moments regularly to consider not only the theoretical side of why you have gratitude for something or someone, but go into the feeling that comes with gratitude. That feeling of gratitude will open the heart and lead to being more loving.

2. Recognize the nature of all people

Essentially we are all the same. Everyone of us wants to be healthy, wants to be happy. Whether you have the attitude of loving or hating someone else, they are essentially just the same as you.

How can we make a claim towards sanity while we sustain hating someone who is essentially the same as us?

Contemplate this. Surely it makes more sense to love someone who is just like me… This is a n opening to tolerance and being more loving.

3. Express your self
Some people may well be telepathic, but I do not meet so many of them. For most, telepathy is not so useful and guessing what someone else thinks or more importantly feels about them is rather unsatisfying.

The spoken word has real benefits. At a recent Christmas party, one of my own relatives was deeply moved by being told by a sibling for the first time that they loved them.

Direct expression has profound impact. Do not just think it. Do not presume the other person knows it. Do not presume the other person is telepathic. Express it. Appropriate physical contact can add depth of feeling to the words, but for what we are touching on here, the words are the main event.

Take your courage in your hands, or is that into your heart? – and tell the people you love and care about how you really feel.

HINT Maybe you start with expressing your gratitude to others with some clarity and heartfelt emotion….

No intention here of suggesting another thing “to do”. Life is busy enough. But maybe there is some resonance in one of these three. Something that holds a natural attraction. Something you could not only remember to do, but actually enjoy doing.

Aspiring to be more unconditionally loving actually does feel good; especially if you do actually do it a little.

May it be a year of peace, good health, laughter, meaning and a little more love in all our lives.


Meditation in the Forest
The annual Pre-Easter retreat amidst the natural peace and tranquility of the Upper Yarra Valley.

Looking for meaning, clarity and purpose in life?

Need a break? Some time to stand back from the busyness of life, to re-assess, to regenerate, to regain some balance once more? A new clarity...

This year, as well as taking time out to deepen our experience of the stillness of meditation, we will practise together simple yet profound methods of contemplation - the direct path to a calm and clear mind that provides the real prospect of major insights...

Dates           4 pm Friday 7th April until 2 pm Thursday 13th April 2017.
Venue          The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia 
Bookings     The Gawler Foundation: +61 (3) 5967 1730 

For more details and to book CLICK HERE

19 December 2016

Five-easy-tricks-for-surviving-Christmas – plus 2 that take a little effort

The first time I ever made a speech at a family occasion was at Christmas lunch 1975. In January of that year I had been diagnosed with cancer, been through major surgery and given a poor prognosis. 

Just being alive for that first post-cancer Christmas felt wonderful and I felt the urge to share the feeling and the gratitude with my family.

However, not everyone finds Christmas the joyous time we might all hope and wish for. In fact, some find it pretty disappointing; some pretty stressful.

So this week, 5 easy tricks for surviving Christmas – plus 2 that do take a little effort. Maybe these tricks will help make for a more peaceful, content and humorous festive season – something we would wish for everyone, but first

Thought for the day

How vital it is to refrain from the temptation 
To judge ourselves or the teachings
And to be humorously aware of our condition 
And to realize that we are at the moment 
As if many people all living in one person.

And how encouraging it can be 
To accept that from one perspective 
We all have huge problems 
Which we bring to the spiritual path 
And which indeed may have led us to the teachings.

And yet to know from another point of view 
That ultimately our problems 
Are not so real 
Or so solid
Or so insurmountable as we have told ourselves.

Sogyal Rinpoche

Five easy tricks for surviving Christmas
1. Celebrate the family neuroses
Seen Billy Connelly’s wonderful, heartfelt film What we did on our holiday? In it Billy speaks will one of his troubled grandchildren and points out that we are all a little weird. There is the Uncle pre-occupied with money, the Aunt totally domineered, Mum and Dad fight a lot, sister is… and on and on.

We are all a little weird.

So the choice is, do we remain surprised each time the family gets together by the Uncle pre-occupied with money, the Aunt totally domineered, Mum and Dad fighting a lot, sister being… and on and on? Do we wish they were different; and allow ourselves to be resentful when they are not?

Or do you just accept that is how these people are for the time being anyway, celebrate their claims to weirdness and engage with each and everyone in a loving, interested way?

How is the money pile going Uncle? How are you coping Aunty? Recognise Mum and dad do love you, but that they do fight a lot  … and on and on…

Take the pressure off.

The chance of anyone changing quickly is probably quite slim. Might as well celebrate the neuroses, smile and have fun amidst it all.

2. Relax into the presents
Buying presents is also about celebrating those we love and care for. However, buying and wrapping them all could be another cause for stress – or a delightful meditation in action.

When shopping, remind yourself of your motivation. If it is just complete a task? To buy the presents and get it over and done with? Or is there another way?

Here is the trick. Slow down just a little. Maybe even plan ahead a little, remember who you are buying for and why, and on shopping day(s), aim to be mindful, to be present, to be using the opportunity to practice meditation in action.

And if like me you are very fussy, sometimes it is OK to buy a present and ask the beloved to give it to you! HINT – I am getting just the new pen I need this year :).

3. Work out who cooks
Sitting around a table with vegans, vegetarians, rabid carnivores, Paleos, low FODmap eaters, people who eat some seafood not others; all this is possible around one family table these days. The traditional roast is certainly under a lot of pressure ...

So work it out.

Is there one person who can cater for all these choices/preferences? They must be close to being a
cooking saint if they can! So maybe some or all need to bring their own; some need to bend a little…

However you make it work, this one may well require some clear conversations and tolerance, amidst the reality that for some, these choices are very important if they are to feel relaxed and comfortable.

4. Turn off the internet for a while. 
Try a social media fast amidst lots of good food and interesting company.

You know why…

5. Get into the spirit
It is Christmas. Time when we celebrate the birth of the embodiment of unconditional love.

So the trick? Do something meaningful… Like forgiving someone who on one level may not seem to deserve it. Just because you can. And because it may be one of the better presents you will ever give your self.

Two tricks for surviving Christmas that require a little effort
1. Maintain a balance
During times that have the potential to be stressful, it becomes even more important to look after your self. Some tricks…

i) Take time out
If family are staying, it is OK to go for a walk, see someone else for a while – be away from the action for a time.

 ii) Make time to meditate daily.

 iii) Do connect with nature when you can. Be in the garden? Walk in a park? Connect with the great balancer.

2. Contemplate life
It is the end of the year. 2017 will soon be upon us. A great hiatus. A time where it makes great sense to give time to reflecting on the year gone by – what worked for you, what was disappointing, what you might have preferred to be different.

But then to consider, what choices might I make for 2017 that will work well for me, those I love and care for? And how will I make sure I follow through …

As 2016 does draw towards its conclusion, one of the things I have noticed this year of great value is the power of learning and practicing contemplation.

Contemplation has come into the retreats Ruth and I present more and more, and the feedback from those who do actually use it is that it gives a greater clarity to life, decision making becomes easier and more effective, and that a deeper understanding of life coupled with a greater sense of meaning flows out of this practice.

Happily, contemplation will be the focus of our pre-Easter retreat in the Yarra Valley next year in April.

But for now, may the true spirit of Christmas – the celebration and practice of unconditional love – touch you and all those that you do love, and on behalf or Ruth and myself, may 2017 be a year filled with good health, much contentment and quite a few good belly laughs.


Meditation in the Forest
The annual Pre-Easter retreat amidst the natural peace and tranquility of the Upper Yarra Valley.

Looking for meaning, clarity and purpose in life?

Need a break? Some time to stand back from the busyness of life, to re-assess, to regenerate, to regain some balance once more? A new clarity...

This year, as well as taking time out to deepen our experience of the stillness of meditation, we will practise together simple yet profound methods of contemplation - the direct path to a calm and clear mind that provides the real prospect of major insights...

Dates           4 pm Friday 7th April until 2 pm Thursday 13th April 2017.
Venue          The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia 
Bookings     The Gawler Foundation: +61 (3) 5967 1730 

For more details and to book CLICK HERE

05 December 2016


Turmeric is the well-known culinary herb that in more recent times has been developing a formidable reputation due to its many well-researched therapeutic benefits.

But how much is enough? How much do we need to take to get the benefits and what about the various additives or adjuvants that claim to increase its potency and effectiveness? Are they for real? And if so, which of those is best?

This week, the answers. In the last post, How much turmeric?, we covered the theory – that curcumin is the main active ingredient of turmeric and that some adjuvants do have demonstrated positive benefits.

So now we convert the theory into powder and tablets, and share a great turmeric recipe for a concentrated, therapeutic spread and then reveal what I do myself, but first

Thought for the day

And now I’m going behind
this page, but not disappearing.
I’ll dive into clear air
like a swimmer in the sky,
and then get back to growing
till one day I’m so small
that the wind will take me away
and I won’t know my own name
and I won’t be there when I wake.

Then I will sing in the silence.

Pablo Neruda

I am not into caveats or waivers or cop-outs. I am of the view that it is best to speak the truth as you know it and leave others to make of it what they can. However, in this instance, it may well be useful to be clear re what I have written about turmeric. 

I have been looking into this turmeric question for some time and researched it a reasonable amount. But I have not done a PhD on it and do not claim to have done a full literature search. What I am presenting here is based on what I understand to be useful information and what I do with turmeric myself - I am taking it for a while myself.

Truth is, the best way to take turmeric therapeutically would be to consult a qualified health professional – a good herbalist would be the obvious choice – and to have them prescribe in response to your individual needs.

Yet I know many will take turmeric anyway, so what follows is offered as something of a guide. Also to be clear, I have no financial interests in any of the products mentioned. Will be interested to learn what you and others might be doing...

1. Turmeric contains 3% curcumin

2. Research studies indicate the therapeutic dose of curcumin is around 1 - 6gms/day. The lower levels seem to demonstrate effectiveness for “simpler things” like arthritis, the higher levels for conditions like cancer.

3. For the lower dose, 1gm of curcumin is equivalent to a bit over 42gms or around 10.5 teaspoons of turmeric powder. For the higher dose, 6gms of curcumin is equivalent to 250 gms or 62.5 teaspoons of turmeric powder.

4. Black pepper increases the efficacy of turmeric 20 fold.

5. The amount of black pepper required is about 5% by weight of the turmeric.

5. The adjuvant BioPerine increases the efficacy of turmeric by 30 fold, as well as increasing the uptake of several other supplements.

6. The adjuvant Longvida increases the efficacy of turmeric by 65 fold.

The first question is whether to take natural turmeric or a supplement?

Personally, I am a big fan of natural herbs as compared to extracts. If we take turmeric whole, we get the curcumin along with all sorts of lesser known, lesser studied compounds that actually may be quite important.

Problem is, to achieve therapeutic levels, the amount we need to take of the fresh herb or the powder on its own is impractical. Here is the problem :

1. Take turmeric on its own
Based on what we know, for the lower therapeutic dose, if we take turmeric on its own, we would
need to take around 10.5 teaspoons of the powder daily.

For the higher dose, it would be around 62.5 teaspoons.

Obviously this is not practical, but the good news is that adjuvants do work.

There are 3 worth considering.

2. Take turmeric with an adjuvant
a) Go natural - Turmeric and black pepper
Going on basic theory, fresh turmeric may be slightly better than the powder, but as yet there is no evidence on this.

To achieve the lower therapeutic levels, we would need half a teaspoon of turmeric and .025 teaspoon (which is about .1 gram) of black pepper. We could do this quite easily using the turmeric paste recipe below.

For the higher levels, we would need 62.5 teaspoons divided by 20, which is the equivalent of a bit over 3 teaspoons of turmeric powder plus .15 teaspoons of black pepper. This may not be so practical, and for these higher levels, another form of adjuvant/supplement probably makes better sense. Read on…

b) Take a supplement
If you do choose to take a supplement, there is a real need to read the labels and be clear on what you are getting.

For example, you can buy organic turmeric in capsules. One brand offers capsules containing 800 mgm turmeric on its own. Remember, the lower therapeutic dose is 42gms; so if we divide this by 800mgm, you would need the equivalent of 70 capsules per day. You could take these capsules with 5% pepper that you add yourself, and then only need to take 70 divided by 20, or 3.5 capsules per day.

This same brand offers another formulation with 607mgm turmeric, 3mgm black pepper and 50mgm ginger. Problem is you need 5% black pepper to be effective. Five percent of 607 is 30.35, so they have only one tenth of the black pepper needed.

Supplements worth considering
i) BioPerine 
This patented formulation has been researched in clinical trials to validate its safety and efficacy. It has been shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 30 fold, and many other nutrients to a significant degree, including CoEnzyme Q10, Selenium, Vitamin C and Beta-carotene, along with resveratrol, numerous other water and fat soluble vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids.

BioPerine is used in many supplement formulations for this reason and while useful, it seems Longvida makes more sense.

BioPerine - best recommendation

Turmeric Curcumin Premium 1,000mgm capsules

Ingredients : Curcuma longa (root) extract with 95% Curcuminoids 1000mg and BioPerine (Piperine
Extract) 20mg

Recommended dose : For adults : take 2 capsules a day, 30 minutes before meals with an 8oz glass of water.

Cost : The regular list price for a single bottle is $48, however, discounts are available for multiple purchases.

ii) Longvida
Longvida claims to increase curcumin bioavailability by 65 times; making it the highest of the 3 we have examined.

Also, Longvida is the only form or formulation of turmeric or curcumin that has published research demonstrating its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and bind amyloid plaques. While others may do this, Longvida is the only one with published evidence.

Longvida - best recommendation


Ingredients : Longvida Optimized Curcumin Extract [from Curcuma longa (Turmeric) Root] (Rhizome) (min. 20% Curcuminoids)

What I understand of this is that Curcubrain contains 20% of 400mgm curcuminoids – which is 80mgm. The Longvida increases the efficacy by 65 fold making this the equivalent of 2.8gms of curcuminoids. Remember, the therapeutic dose for curcuminoids ranges from 1 to 6 gms daily.

Recommended dose : From the manufacturer : Take one capsule daily. This is the equivalent of 2,8gms of curcuminoids.

However, while that would satisfy the minimum therapeutic dose we have been speaking of, for the maximum dose, we would need to take 1 capsule, 2 or even 3 times daily.

50 capsules per bottle. Recommended retail $39.99. Seem elsewhere for $25.48, making it 50cents to a dollar a day.

Store in a cool, dry place after opening.
Caution: For adults only. Keep out of reach of children.
Consult physician if pregnant/nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition (including liver dysfunction, gall bladder or gastrointestinal problems).
Do not eat freshness packet. Keep in Bottle.

FINALLY - just eat it...

According to the WHO, in 2014 Australia had an Alzheimers/dementia death rate of 25.91 deaths per 100,000 people (age standardized). That was the 12th worst in the world. Finland was top at 53.77. India had only 0.46 per 100,000.

It may be that India’s high dietary use of turmeric has something to do with this. We do know that
quite a few herbs have therapeutic benefits when taken just in the common amounts for cooking. Some speculate that turmeric, maybe eaten along with some pepper, is helping the health of people in India generally, and in avoiding Alzheimers specifically.

So perhaps just eating more fresh or powdered turmeric along with a little black pepper is a good idea anyway.

Now for the turmeric paste recipe
To one full teaspoon of turmeric powder, add 6 – 8 freshly ground black pepper corns and 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika.

Mix with enough Olive oil or Flaxseed oil to make a fluid paste.

Place in a pan and GENTLY warm while swirling over heat. Do not place on direct heat and do not overheat – just make warm.

Finely grate 2 large garlic cloves and leave them to sit for 10 – 15 minutes.

Once the paste is cool, mix in the garlic.

Serve on toast or use your imagination…

What is BCM -15 and Meriva?
Just in case you were wondering, they are other supplements – details CLICK HERE

I am interested in the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and the possibility that Curcubrain can remove brain plaques related to Alzheimers – if they happen to be there.

Currently I am taking 1x Curcubrain daily, and balancing this with a piece of toast with the paste on it every second day or so. And we use fresh turmeric from time to time in cooking; sometimes the powder too.

Turmeric is a tropical plant. Have tried to grow it in our garden, and in pots, but in the Yarra Valley, get some leaves, but B-all new rhizomes. Anyone got some tricks???

Please feel free to add your comments below.


How much Turmeric - Part 1


Meditation in the Forest
The annual Pre-Easter retreat amidst the natural peace and tranquility of the Upper Yarra Valley.

Looking for meaning, clarity and purpose in life?

Need a break? Some time to stand back from the busyness of life, to re-assess, to regenerate, to regain some balance once more? A new clarity...

This year, as well as taking time out to deepen our experience of the stillness of meditation, we will practise together simple yet profound methods of contemplation - the direct path to a calm and clear mind that provides the real prospect of major insights...

Dates           4 pm Friday 7th April until 2 pm Thursday 13th April 2017.
Venue          The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia 
Bookings     The Gawler Foundation: +61 (3) 5967 1730 

For more details and to book CLICK HERE