Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Garlic Oxymel

Homemade Herbal First Aid 


I've been nursing a really really sore throat these last few days, two of my children are sick with upper respiratory infections and I've been busy fighting mine off with a couple of my favourite herbal helpers.

I wanted to share what I've been doing as it's an easy, effective way to deal with sore throats, colds and flu like symptoms.

Garlic Oxymel Recipe


With this recipe it isn't crucial to be exact with your measurements, approximate is good enough. Garlic Oxymel is a potent antimicrobial as well as mucolytic, (meaning it breaks up mucous) and is fabulous to have on hand as a preventative when you know there are germs around and also good when you do have symptoms of a sore throat, stuffy nose and chesty cough. 
Garlic Oxymel is also a great way to use up any sprouting garlic you may have.

Ingredients


1-2 C Apple cider vinegar- determined by how much you want to have on hand
1 head of garlic
Optional- fennel seeds, caraway seeds, dried chilli (if you like it really hot)

Technique


Warm apple cider vinegar on low heat with chopped or crushed garlic and 1 tsp of desired seeds and/or chilli.
After 10 minutes of very low heat decant into glass jar- leave on the bench for a few days, give it a bit of a swirl daily.
Strain and store in fridge.

How to use Oxymel


Add 1-2 tsp to a cup of warm water and consume 1-4 times daily. You might like to add honey as the taste is strong- I generally don't as I mostly eat a low sugar diet.

Here's another great recipe using everyday ingredients that protect you from illness. Click here

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Gut Flora First Aid


Undoubtedly antibiotics have made a huge contribution to our survival and quality of life, I will not dispute that. They do however have a dark side.

With the significant amount of existing and emerging research into our microbial mates (bowel flora) and our greater understanding of their crucial role in contributing to our well being, it's been suggested by some researchers we've been playing 'Russian roulette' with our use of antibiotics, without fully understanding the damage inflicted on our bowel flora and the subsequent impact on our health.

Yes, I absolutely believe in the power of natural medicines and inherently know that diet and lifestyle are the biggest contributors to health and disease. That being said, I am a complementary health care practitioner- that means my treatment plans complement many treatment plans- and absolutely there are situations where antibiotics (or other medications for that matter) are required and can even be lifesaving.

With this in mind I wanted to share a strategy I use when antibiotics have been prescribed, dispel some myths and reveal some well kept secrets along the way.

Myth No.1 Never take probiotics whilst on antibiotics!


This is quite untrue. Research shows it is best to take antibiotics with probiotics concurrently. You just need to be sure that you separate the dose by 2-4 hours. In doing so you reduce the number of probiotics damaged by the antibiotic.

A well kept secret!


There are strains of  probiotics that are actually not affected by antibiotics and can be safely and effectively taken without having to worry about when you take them. Saccharomyces boulardi (actually a yeast) is such a strain. It will hold the fort, so to speak and reduce the likelihood of other species, such as Candida albicans and Clostridia difficile getting the upper hand and becoming pathogenic.

It is important to ensure you get the correct dose and strain of SB. What's more SB doesn't require refrigeration and is a great one to have on hand during international travels.

My Gut Flora Protection Plan 


In essence the plan is to inoculate the colon with significant numbers of specific regulatory strains of probiotics and then feed them really well so they can colonise and out compete pathogenic microorganisms.

During Antibiotic treatment - 20 billon CFU's of LGG strain per day. Remember, 2 hours apart from medication.


After Antibiotics -10 billlion CFU's per day, always with food.

Additional - Add a fabulous fibre such as hydrolysed guar gum or psyllium seeds and a good dose of lactulose.
Think of these as nutritive and conditioning agents that generate favourable pH and provide fuel for our life giving bugs.

Myth 2- You shouldn't need probiotics if you're consuming lacto-fermented foods


Undoubtedly lacto-fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso & kombucha can and do play an important role in the maintenance of a healthy microbiome.

For some people, especially those with amine detoxification issues, dairy intolerance and inefficient sulphation pathways these may not be well tolerated.

Would you use a Chihuahua to pull a sled?


Also worth noting, the strains in most fermented products are usually 'wild' strains and differ from batch to batch...so yes, whilst definitely helping to support the diversity of bacteria in our gut which is ultimately a good thing, at certain times we need SPECIFIC strains to perform SPECIFIC functions.



It's be a bit like using a chihuahua on an Arctic expedition- maybe not the best choice for dragging a heavily laden sled through the snow, me thinks!





Not sure what strains best suit you? We can help.
Want to work on your gut health and learn how to best nourish your microbes? 
Call up for a obligation free chat to find out if we're right for each other.

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Menopause


Menopause Must Knows

The Highs and Lows of Perimenopause and Menopause

There are lots of factors that determine when a woman experiences menopause including adrenal reserve and stress though perhaps the biggest determinant is your Mum or maternal Grandma's age at menopause. Most women will go through menopause around the time of Mum and Granny, give or take 2 years.


Why the HRT not?


Some of the biggest clinical trials of conventional HRT have had to be stopped before completion  due to significant and dangerous side effects, particularly endometrial cancer and deep vein thrombosis. Fortunately for women HRT drugs are no longer prescribed willy- nilly and are ideally given at the lowest dose possible for the shortest period possible, if at all.
Women with family history of cancer and clotting disorders often prefer to avoid HRT due to the increased risks it can carry.
Luckily for us, the plant world contains an abundance of safe and effective natural options.


What the Hormone is going on ?!@#



  • Many women will experience mood changes, heavy and erratic periods and frequent spotting due to declining progesterone levels- our oestrogen is actually higher at this stage and affects the lining of the uterus, essentially becoming more fragile.
  • The next significant hormone shift is a decline in oestrogen causing general and vaginal dryness, insomnia, hot flushes and night sweats.
  • Testosterone levels (as a percentage) can increase at this stage resulting in unwanted hair growth. 
  • Luteinising hormone, lesser known than oestrogen and progesterone is released every 90 minutes and is also associated with hot flushes.

 

Herbal Helpers

  • Black Cohosh -No.1 herb for flushes, sweats, mood and vaginal dryness. Great for perimenopause and PMS symptoms too..
  • Sage - Especially for hot flushes with sweat.
  • Tribulus- A wonderful tonic & oestrogenic in females
  • St Johns Wort- Great for the mood and sleep disturbances.
  • Shatavari- In Ayurveda known as " She of a Hundred Husbands" Need I say more?

Nutrients to Know

  • Vitamin E- for hot flushes and vaginal dryness. Oral and topical.
  • Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids- supports vascular integrity, can relieve hot flushes.
  • Magnesium- may reduce flushes by 50%- my theory is that it's due to magnesium's role in supporting both the adrenals and nervous system. Will also help to prevent osteoporosis.

Soy what!


Soy products, controversial I know, should be used cautiously where there is an iodine deficiency and dosed away from thyroxine supplementation. There is contradictory data around hormone responsive cancers as well as using alongside Tamoxifen so always consult with a trusted practitioner in such situations.

That being said Asian diets include 30-80mg of isoflavones daily with benefits such as reduced flushes/night sweats, stable bone density and lowered cholesterol, blood pressure and trigylcerides. So in my opinion soy isoflavones are worth considering. I like my dietary soy traditional and fermented...

What's cooking in your kitchen?



  • Flaxseed meal- richest source of dietary lignans. It's anti tumour and great for prostate health too.
  • Phytoestrogen Containing Foods- soybeans, flaxseed, apples, carrots, fennel, celery, parsley & legumes.
  • Plant based diets- veggies, fruit, vegetarian proteins, nuts, seeds & legumes.
  • Low GI- essential for maintaining a healthy weight, blood sugar control and cardiovascular health.


Living the Life

  • Movement- regular physical activity 30 minutes 4 x week reduces flushes & improves mood.
  • Quit smoking- smoking increases risk of early menopause and osteoporosis.
  • Stress management- stress wreaks havoc on all our hormones, not just the stress hormones- It will always be a part of life, can you change how you deal with it? Explore the range of stress busting tools at your disposal.
  • Weight Bearing Exercise- it doesn't have to by gym based but get those muscles straining. Strong muscles = strong bones and slower ageing.


Yes, there's more!


Some women will also be bothered by vaginal dryness, bladder irritation & infection, body aches, and joint pains. After menopause women shift metabolically and we become better at storing belly fat and less good at burning carbohydrates. Personally, I think this is essential information every woman needs to know and can benefit from adjusting food and movement goals in line with this.

What I stress to my patients is that menopause is a moving target- symptoms can come, go and change over a number of years and how you eat and drink, move, sleep and stress will hugely influence your transition into your next stage. Good to know, hot flushes rarely last more than 1 year.

'Personally, I think this is essential information every woman needs to know and can benefit from adjusting food and movement goals in line with this'

Menopause can be a time of great transition for women. This is the time when women claim space for themselves, are (more or less) done with the raising and nurturing of family and have the benefit of life experience under their belt. It can be a time of great self empowerment and what can be better than being in charge of your health and ageing well- like a good whiskey or cheese perhaps?





Tuesday, 10 October 2017

What's Old is New Again!

The field of nutrition sees as many fashions as fashion does, so it would seem.

I often counsel awareness of the short shelf life of many nutritional trends- and always, always remind people that there is not a PERFECT diet out there that suits all of us.

 AND TRENDING RIGHT NOW....




The high fat low carb (HFLC) diet, similar to the Paleo diet but without all the maple syrup, sweet potato and dried fruits; similar to the Atkins diet, with more emphasis on quality, certainly has buckets to offer if you are looking for a health promoting eating style.


BUT IS IT JUST ANOTHER PASSING FAD??


We just have to cast our minds back some 3500 or so years to see that a HFLC diet is not a "new" dietary fad.

Before mass agriculture humans survived on mostly fat, (predominantly animal fat) animal protein, wild harvested plants, some nuts, berries & seeds and when very fortunate and brave enough to take on a swarm of bees, some honey.


FAST FORWARD TO 2017 AND THE MODERN DAY DIET


Despite recommendations from government health departments to adopt a low fat, high carb diet; which the population has largely done, we are seeing unprecedented rates of chronic diseases, especially the METABOLIC diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurological conditions such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.


ENTER THE  KETOGENIC DIET


The ketogenic diet is a more refined version of the HFLC diet and has been around for a long time now as a treament for epilepsy, and before insulin was available it was the diet of choice for Type 1 diabetic patients.

It is essentially a high fat diet- anywhere from 60% to 90% of calories are sourced from fat. In fact, the Eskimos have always consumed a ketogenic diet and enjoyed good health whilst our high carb/low fat dietitians scratched their heads over this fact.

As well, think the French Paradox- all that butter, cheese and duck liver pate alongside of low obesity rates.




With a  ketogenic diet most of our energy comes from dietary fats or excess body fat (hence it's potential for safe, rapid weight loss) and to be successful we need to restrict carbohydrates in order to switch our metabolism to utilising fats as fuel, in an efficient manner.


BUT IS IT SAFE?


There is an increasing body of evidence supporting the ketogenic diet as a way of reversing and slowing many common diseases. Evidence suggests it's huge potential for:
  • Obesity/ Rapid weight loss.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Anxiety.
  • Alzheimers/ epilepsy/  Parkinsons & MS.
  • Cancer- during chemotherapy and in non treatment respondent cancers.
  • Enhanced athletic performance.

    Be aware that there are many myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings about ketogenic eating plans so be sure to speak with a practitioner that understands nutritional ketosis which is very different to diabetic ketoacidosis.

THERAPEUTIC KETOSIS- A POWERFUL TOOL FOR REVERSING CHRONIC DISEASE

I have seen numerous dietary fads come and go over the years, many exciting, some dubious and others downright dangerous. In light of the health concerns we are facing on a global scale the ketogenic/ HFLC diet has got me superexcited. 

Whilst it might not be for everybody- there are some, though not many, contraindications- and is not a one stop fix all diet I think it certainly has the potential to be a one stop fix many diet.

What are your personal health goals?

  • Better blood sugar control?
  • More energy?
  • Improved athletic performance?
  • Better neurological health?
  • More balanced moods?


If you are ready for a lifechanging shift give us a call at Health Expressions to find out how you will benefit, is it right for you, is it safe for you, how long it takes and any other questions you might have...


If you are wondering how to get started, or want more details on how to safely implement a ketogenic diet be it for rapid weight loss or chronic disease management contact us today to get the most out of our in-clinic or Skype based programs.

Keen to try  ketogenic recipes? Click here and  here



















Friday, 8 September 2017

Keto LCHF Flax Pancake


Since adopting a ketogenic way of eating I noticed that my intake of flaxmeal temporarily dropped off.

Usually I like to have two tablespoons of  flaxmeal everyday because of the many ways it can benefit my health so I created a ketogenic pancake that provides a therapeutic dose of flaxmeal.


 

The many benefits of flaxseed (linseed) include:

 

  • Selective oestrogen receptor modification; this means it's good for hormonal balancing, so in the case of excessive oestrogen it will have a lowering effect whilst it can also provide oestrogenic effects in cases of low oestrogen, such as menopause.

  • Prostate Health- the oestrogen balancing effect also works to support healthy testosterone balance - reducing the risk of both prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.


  • Bowel flora modifying - it is a wonderful source of fiber that maintains a healthy colonic environment.


  • Regulates bowel function - it is both bulking and lubricating thus supporting regular, easy bowel motions.

  • Cholesterol modifying effect - due to both it's high fiber content and profile of healthy, omega 3 fatty acids.


  • Cardiovascular Health- largely due to the antiinflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.


  • Skin Health - a bit like a moisturiser on the inside, the omega 3's feed and nourish the layers of our skin.

Flaxseed really is one of my favourite superfoods. The following recipe provides two days worth of flaxmealy goodness!




Ketogenic HFLC Flax Pancakes 

 

  • 1/2 C flaxmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 1 Tbsp MCT Oil (optional)
  • 1 Tsp psyllium seed
  • Water to achieve desired consistency

Beat eggs, add remaining ingredients, mix well.
Heat coconut or olive oil in skillet. Cook as you would pancakes.

I sprinkled mine with some shredded coconut and Actilax lactulose syrup. 

Calories 510
Net Carbohydrate 4g
Protein 21g
Fat 4g



Monday, 21 August 2017

What would you choose?

Why the world needs Naturopathy now!



Are you the type of person who:

 

  • wants a say in your own wellbeing?
  • wants to be a force in determining your own level of health?
  • feels let down by the mainstream medical model?

Australians are some of the largest consumers of Complementary Medicine in the world. 
What does this say about us and how can we make sure people are getting the 'best' complementary medicines?




What motivates people to seek out Complemetray Medicine?

Is it because they ;

 

  • want a say in their own wellbeing?
  • want to use medicines that are inherently safe
  • are looking for more than what the 'mainstream' offers us?
  • are wanting a healthier lifestyle all round 

Modern day Naturopathic Medicine is a perfect antidote for the health issues of the day because:

 

  • we are stressed to the max-work, family, social and community obligations
  • we're always plugged in and constantly connected but often more isolated than ever
  • our food  can be 'dead' and depleted
  • our environment  is polluted and toxic- physically and energetically
  • we live in a world driven by profits and progress at any cost

Naturopathy recognises that our everyday isn't always supportive of our wellbeing and goes beyond the "pill for an ill" approach.

Naturopathy ...


  • looks at a wider range of healthcare options-beyond the scalpel and pill approach!
  • sees the individual and their unique health needs 
  • identifies when balance has been lost
  • restores balance when it has been lost
  • is complementary to other types of treatments
  • is inherently safe


“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ~ ”Thomas A. Edison



Naturopathy is about harnessing our bodies ability to heal. Like after a burn or graze, your body will automatically start to heal, and so we have the ability to heal from chronic diseases if only the body is allowed.

The role of naturopath is to identify the optimal conditions for each individual, and work with the client to create a plan that creates the right conditions, thus encouraging the bodies healing capacity to heal itself, just as it would after a cut or burn. 

Naturopathy is essentially about recognizing and identifying what we, as individuals, need in order to be well, be it on a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level.

Get your Wellness prescription for Life now.

Mention this blog to receive a 30% discount and free gift. 


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

More than just a nuisance?


Are you missing the signs and symptoms of threadworm infestation?


I don't know if it's coincidence or quite why it happpens but sometimes in clinic I will have patient after patient presenting with the same (or very similar) health problems.

It's great for me as I can really hone a lot of my research time into the one area and the deeper I dig the more (knowledge) I usually find.

This happened recently and inspired this blog-
I 've been seeing a run of  people (usually children ) with recurrent pinworm or enterobiasis infestation.

 

Recurrent worm infection- more than just an itchy bottom?


When I see a patient with recurrent worm infections with short worm free periods in between then I start to concern myself with their;


  • Nutrient status- probably compromised!
  • Immune system- often over burdened and drained.
  • Digestive function- usually disturbed. 


Worm infestation occurs most commonly between the ages of 7-11, more likely in girls at a rate of 3:1 and is very unusual under the age of 2.

Could it be worms?

 

Contrary to popular belief your child could have worms and NOT have an itchy bottom.
Common signs and symptoms of worm infestation include:
  • Appetite change
  • Weight loss
  • Vague abdominal pain
  • Nose picking & thumbsucking
  • Sleep disturbances - nightmares, teeth grinding, resltessness & fatigue
  • Vulval itching, pain & redness- in girls
  • Urinary incontinence

 

How do you tell if you or your child has worms?

 

You can't always rely on the tell tale itchy bum. Many carriers will NOT have an itchy bottom at all.
Aside from the behavioural and gut disturbances listed above we might see elevated eosinophils in a standard blood count and elevated white cells in urine- basically immune cells in wee- this occurs when worms migrate to the vagina, this is fairly common in girls and the standard worming meds do not work outside of the gut.


Female reproductive issues- could it even be worms?

 

Some of the rarer complications of worm infestation are due to migration of worms through the vagina and into the pelvic cavity. There are reports in the literature, albeit rare, of infertility and pelvic inflamatory disease as a result.


 

And the MOST reliable testing method is....

 



Yep, you might have geussed it- the sticky tape method.
This has been scientifically evaluated against culture testing and DNA testing to be the most reliable test when done correctly.
The Sticky tape test involves applying tape to the perianal area on 3 consecutive nights and examining microscopically. More details on how to carry out the test can be found here


 

And the best plan of attack?

 

Of course, the usual strategies such as nail cutting, handwashing, clean bedding and dusting could be applied but beyond that what else can you do?

  • Gut healing- bone broth contains chondroitin sulphate for gut defence and integrity.
  • Immune support- whether with herbs or nutritents, enables a more effective immune response at the gut level.
  • Nurtient repletion- nutrient deficiency can occur due to disturbed digestion and appetite. Often it is our key immune nutrients such as Zinc and vitamin A that become depleted, potentially creating a vicious cycle.
  • Consider screening for diantamoeba fragilis- newer research suggests D.fragilis mayintroduce enterobiasis to the gut.

Threadworm infestation occurs across all strata of society, is more common in girls and may be causal in some instances of appendicitis. In some cases it is more than a nuisance and maybe an indicator that the gut integrity and immune response is lacking.
I would always pay particular attention when it occurs in children under 2 as well as in those with recurrent infections.

Got gut concerns, talk to us at Health expressions, experts in gut health.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Swiss Chard Tart

Yet again I am over run with Swiss Chard - Silverbeet in the garden and I've been looking for some new ways to use it up. I have been doing lots of braised chard with chilli and miso, or in curries but was looking for something with a bit more presence on the table or to take to shared meals.

I found this recipe in my recipe collection book- the book I hand write in any recipes I come across that I like the look of, this one's been in my book so long I can't accurately remember the source though I think I picked it up when living in the UK.

You will need:

1.3kg of Silverbeet/Swiss chard- blanched, drained well and roughly chopped.
400ml double cream
2 eggs
100g parmesan cheese, grated
Salt & pepper
Ground nutmeg

Whisk together cream, eggs and grated cheese.
Mix in chopped silverbeet.
Add salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.

Pour into oiled pie dish. Bake at 180C in top section of oven for 30-40 minutes or until set.

I sometimes make a half quantity which gives me the base of 2-3 meals, depending on my appetite.

Makes a great lunch or dinner with a side salad and avocado or tinned sardines and rocket.

Monday, 3 July 2017

An Owl or Lark?


Do you ever go through phases when you just can't get enough? Maybe you toss and turn for hours or maybe you fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow only to wake up during the night?  With National Sleep Week just around the corner I was inspired to post a sleep blog.

I've been seeing a run of sleeping issues in clinic and also went through a rough patch myself lately. I had been a 'terrible sleeper ' through my teens and twenties and thought sleeping difficulties were a thing of the past until recently.

I was reminded of how frustrating and tiresome insomnia can be and am so glad that a dose of my own medicine has me sleeping like a log again.


Sleep Hygiene

 

No, this is not about showering before bed, but refers to actions and behaviours undertaken as bedtime approaches, in order to encourage quality sleep. You might not need to adopt all the following practices, sometimes a little tweak here and there is all it takes.

Good sleeping patterns are an important contributor to good health- A minimum of 7hrs sleep in each 24hr cycle is associated with better health over the lifespan.


Sleep Hygiene 101



  • Dim the lights- dark time before bed helps you produce melatonin- going for a walk as the sun sets provides information to your brain that night is approaching.
  • Limit stimulating activities and screen use just before bed.
  • Consider the bedroom environment- lighting, TV, temperature, bed & bedding.
  • Go to bed when sleepy, get up when not sleepy, get up at the same time each day.
  • Sleep restriction; this means that if you sleep 6hrs on average restrict your time in bed to 7 hours. 
  • Aromatherapy- baths and lotions for relaxation- lavender is tried and tested, but there are lots of other essential oils suitable.
  • Create a SLEEP DEFICIT- avoid daytime napping.
  • Relaxation, meditation and guided imagery (a bit like counting sheep) can all help.



'...some of us are larks and some of us owls, regardless, 7hrs sleep in each 24hr cycle is associated with better health...'



 

Lifestyle essentials

 

  • Regular exercise- just avoid excessive body core temperature at bedtime.
  • Assess caffeine intake- can still be in blood 10hrs after consumption.
  • Reduce nightly alcohol intake- blocks production of melatonin.
  • Low GI dinners and deserts- if you're a bit 'prediabetic' or diabetic low blood sugar can interrupt sleep.


Hormones and sleep- What could possibly go wrong?


Menopause- The time leading up to menopause is a time of hormonal fluctuation and often plays havoc with sleep. So yes, sleepy herbs and nutrients can be useful but we also need to support a woman's transition and adjustment to the new 'normal' hormone balance.


Stress- both short and long term stress can disrupt our circadian rhythm. Cortisol-a stress hormone- plays a role in regulating sleep by declining as days end approaches. When we are stressed this can change how and when cortisol levels go up and down- if you are tired most of the day and pick up in the evening this suggests a disrupted cortisol pattern- and is often caused by stress.


'...if you are tired most of the day and pick up in the evening this suggests a disrupted cortisol pattern...'

 


My top 6 sleep strategies

 

  • Assess nutritional status- did you know that zinc is needed for melatonin production? Calcium & magnesium help our nervous sytem relax.
  • Sort out stress- stress always comes and goes- look at how to do it differently!
  • 5-HTP - a  precursor of Melatonin.
  • Herbal medicine- Lavender, Zizyphus, Withania, St John's Wort and Mexican Valerian are some of my favourites.
  • Caffeine and alcohol - have a good look at how much and when you are consuming, so often adjusting just these two variables can have profound effect on sleep.
  • Essential oil baths - I like lavender- with 1/2C Epsom salts.

    Not getting enough? Talk to us to find out how you can improve your sleep, your energy and your total well being.

 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Good, The Bad and The Bugly.



I've just been looking over some of my older blogs and realised just how much more I know about gut health now. Between then and now I have learnt so much; through research, seminars, webinars, conferences and especially my patients. So many of my patients consult with me because of complex gut disorders, usually after many 'mainstream' investigations and lots of dollars later.

It is those patients at the 'thin edge of the wedge' that really allow me to sharpen my clinical reasoning skills and further expand my knowledge, for which I am hugely grateful.

Gut problems are some of the commonest conditions I treat, a subject I find absolutley fascinating and an area hugely satisfying to work in. If you've ever had a tummy bug, chronic bloating, constipation or persistent diarrhoea you will know how much your quality of life can be affected. Imagine having some form of gut pain or discomfort year in year out, it's actually very common but so unnecessary and often simple to remedy.

But what can go wrong? (no pun intended) 

 

How long is a piece of string? 

We can have food allergies, food intolerances, functional distrubances, food chemical sensitivities, good bowel flora in the wrong part of the gut, bad bacteria in the stomach, small and/or large intestine; excessive or not enough motility (movement) of food and faecal matter.

We can also have parasites, candida overgrowth, amoebic infections, intestinal permeability, fructose malabsorption, IBS, lactose intolerance, Coeliac's disease, fussy eaters, low appetite, reflux so severe it feels like a heart attack..

I treat these conditions all the time, sometimes we need further tests but ususally we can work out what the problem is just by talking about what symptoms you experience.

Sometimes it IS so simple

 

Just an hour long chat could have you well on the way to "Normal" again.

 

An analogy I use alot when talking to my patients about gut problems is a garden one. Sure you can import a whole lot of fabulous plants but they will only do as well as the soil they depend on. The health of your soil has a profound impact on your garden. Ultimately, the health of your gut bacteria will determine your nutritient levels, immune function, mental health, cardiovascular health and ultimately, your quality of life.

Keep Your Bowel Flora Happy

 

By far one of the most important things you can do for your health is feed your bowel flora well.

  • Eat 5-6 serves of different coloured vegetables each day.
  • Seek prebiotic foods - flaxmeal, artichokes, onions, legumes, beans, & asparagus.
  • Consume ferments - sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt and/or miso daily (avoid if amine intolerant)
  • Take additinal fibres - psyllium, flaxmeal, oatbran, ricebran.
  • Eat bitter foods - rocket, endive, radicchio (pictured) - helps maintain ideal pH & motility.
  • Cut back on sugar, meat, refined carbohydrates and poor quality fats and oils.


Usually with longstanding or severe conditions the above guidelines can be implemented though a bit of extra guidance may be needed to get your gut health back on track sooner. 

What have you got to lose? Just an hour long chat could have you well on the way to "Normal" again.


Need to talk more about your specific gut issues? Book online today. 
Try this easy fibre rich, bowel flora feeding breakfast recipe 



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ecosystems and Our Health


I know that being in natural landscapes always makes me feel good but hadn't quite realised the potential for PROFOUND impacts on our health until I listened to a recent lecture by Emeritus Prof Mark Wahlqvist AO. This 40 minute lecture had me rejoicing, despairing and even in tears at the 33 minute mark.


  For those of you that enjoy (almost nerdy) lectures I highly recommend you listen here or at the very least pick it up at around 33 minutes as he starts to really fire up.


In case you don't get the chance to listen, here's my short summary on how ecosystems can potentially meddle with our health...


  • Ecosystems can provide contaminants - toxic metals & plastics that disrupt our hormone balance.
  • Microbiome disruption from pesticides, processed foods & antibiotics - when bug health is disrupted this affects our reproductive, gastrointestinal and neurological functions.
  • Food quality disturbance - this relates to lack of biodiversity, ultraprocessing & large scale farming practices.
  • Biorhythm disturbances - these affect our eating and sleeping patterns; blue light, white noise, shiftwork.
  • Energy dysregulation - for example more sitting, less walking, calorie dense foods or the opposite; food shortages and demanding physical labour.


Simple Everyday Solutions


I often find myself getting drawn down a 'wormhole' of complexity and am always having to remind myself to Keep it Simple. For the majority of us, simple changes can lead to profound affects.
  • Take your lunch outside.
  • Make your lunch a fresh salad or homemade vegetable soup - add some low toxic protein- egg or organic free range meat.
  • Eat from a BROAD range of foods - don't be too faithful to your old favourites, even if it is broccoli.
  • Shut off your screens before 10pm and sleep in a dark bedroom.
  • Clean up the environment you have most control of - your home; ditch chemical cleaners, shampoos, personal care products etc.
  • Walk around the block ; even 15 minutes daily will reduce your mortality risk by 14%.

Need more advice on how to clean up your act and improve how you feel?

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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Healing Endometriosis



Hormonal Imbalance, Period Pain and Endometriosis 


Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus, grows in locations outside the uterus. The endometrium normally responds to the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. In women with endometriosis, the misplaced endometrial cells in the pelvic cavity also respond to these hormones.

During ovulation, the endometrium and the misplaced cells thicken. Unlike the endometrium, the misplaced cells cannot leave the body via menstruation. They bleed, cause inflammation and pain and then heal. Over time, this process can create scar tissue. Fibrous scar tissue can form on the uterus, causing the uterus to stick to the ovaries, fallopian tubes and bowel. Endometriosis may cause very painful periods and may reduce fertility.

Often left untreated, many women are told by doctors that it is simply period pain. If women receive the right treatment and correct the hormonal imbalance before serious scarring forms, it is very possible to increase the likelihood of successful conception. 

Symptoms  of endometriosis can include severe pain, very heavy bleeding, painful sex, pelvic pain, bowel/bladder symptoms and reduced fertility. Women experiencing symptoms should remember that intense period pain is often a direct sign of imbalance; though common, this pain is not necessarily normal.

How can Naturopathy help?


Conventional medicine uses laparoscopy as the gold standard diagnostic tool. This explorative surgery is very invasive. Sometimes medical diagnosis is not needed to treat hormonal related issues, if change can be affected. An alternative naturopathic treatment very often has a profound impact on the symptoms after two or three months, significantly improving quality of life for many women.

Treatment plans include a variety of recommendations. Herbal medicine is a key part of this plan, there are some beautiful women’s herbs which can restore balance in the body. Our bodies usually know what to do, but need a little encouragement and support. Nutrient deficiency can also be a part of the issue. Zinc, B6 and magnesium are the most common deficiencies in this case. If the woman has suffered very heavy periods month after month year after year, she may also be iron deficient. 

There are specific yoga postures  which can increase circulation and reduce congestion through the pelvis. Using food as medicine is also most helpful, foods which are also anti-inflammatories, blood tonics, and offer liver support are super important with any hormonal issues. 

Mainstream treatment hormonal medication tends to stop ovarian function, stop hormone production, mask symptoms;  failing to actually remedy the original issue. Consequently, imbalance recurs. Addressing deficiencies, supporting liver function, working on diet are all ways to aid in normalising ovarian function. Genetics can also play in to the hormonal issues, and bowel flora can affect oestrogen overload.

Exploring symptoms with an experienced practitioner and addressing them with a view to restoring balance in the body, is the best way to treat the actual source of the discomfort and achieve better and more sustainable health from month to month.



Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Prepare your Immune System



Looking at basic nutrition is essential as the cooler months approach and we become more exposed to germs and illness. 


Vitamins A and C are integral to supporting our immunity. There is now a greater understanding of the association between food and the gut for increased immunity and overall health. 

Gut flora are incredibly important for keeping you healthy through the winter, helping to keep the immune response correctly regulated. For optimal detoxification, nourishment and immunity, your gut must be functioning well. Probiotics and fermented foods are a good starting point if your gut health is below par.

Zinc helps fight off infections and heal wounds. Women on the contraceptive pill can find themselves more zinc-depleted, which can leave them more vulnerable. Supplements and/or dietary changes can increase zinc levels and strengthen immunity.

Ongoing or chronic stress can also lower or suppress immunity


The immune system is the body’s form of defence. It is comprised of organs, tissues, cells and cell products that all work together to fight harmful substances like the pathogens that cause infection and disease. 

There are two main ways that stress has a direct, negative effect on the immune system. It creates chronic inflammatory conditions, and it lowers the immunity of those who otherwise might have a healthy immune system. Simple stress management strategies such as regular massages, yoga and gentle exercise can be very beneficial at this time. 

If you’re feeling run down or more susceptible to illness, please do come in and see me for a personalised consultation. You can book online HERE



Stay well!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Fighting fatigue? Low in iron?

Iron deficiency- More than just fatigue.

 

Most of us know about the importance of iron in energy production. The role of iron in red blood cell
oxygenation is well known but did you also know that iron plays a VITAL role in mitochondrial function, liver detoxification, DNA synthesis and steroid hormone production?

Iron deficiency is increasingly common- even in such a 'well fed' nation as ours. Almost 3/4's of a million women are iron deficient; the groups most at risk for iron deficiency are pregnant women, athletes, vegetarians, vegans, teenagers, infants from 6 months and children form 4 years of age. Basically, alot of us.

Could you have low iron?

 

  • Do you feel tired or weak?
  • Do your skin, nails or gums look pale or feel cold?
  • Is your mentstrual cycle irregular?
  • Is your period heavy?
  • Do you experience Restless Legs Syndrome?
  • Are you sad, depressed or irritable?
  • Do you get recurring colds or infections?
  • Do you have a history of anaemia?

If you've answered yes to a few of these questions you could be iron deficient.

How can I improve my iron status?

 

  • If you're an omnivore regularly consurme beef, poultry, pork, lamb, liver, oysters, sardines and salmon.
  • Add Vitamin C rich foods to aid absorption- capsicum, broccoli, kiwi, oranges, lemon & lime.
  • Plant sources of iron include kelp, molasses, Brewer's yeast, pumpkin seeds, cashews, silverbeet, dandelion greens, prunes and dates.
  • Drink strong infusions of raspberry leaf and nettle tea.
  • Cooking in cast iron cookware- especially useful for vegetarians and vegans.

Compounds that block iron uptake

 

  • Phytates & phytic acids- Brazil nuts, linseed, flaxseed, almonds, tofu ,corn, oats & wheat.
  • Tannins- Tea, red wine, pomegranates, berries, apples, cocoa & coffee.
  • Oxalates- Spinach, kale, beets, nuts, wheat bran, nuts, tea and chocolate.
  • Calcium- Antacids, milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, tinned salmon, tofu, broccoli, calcium supplements (less so than dairy sources of calcium)
  • Phosvitin- Eggs.

Did you know...


1 egg can reduce iron absorption by 28%
Cooking or 'activating' the above foods can somewhat offset the inhibition of iron absorption.

What Key Lifestyle factors affect iron levels?

 

  • Antacids and proton pump inhibitors (too) commonly used for reflux.
  • Aspirin- binds to iron.
  • High intensity physical activity- causes increased losses of iron.

Consider all of the above, throw in a bit of heavy metal exposure (not the musical kind), add a vegetarian or no red meat diet, take an aspirin or two; combine it with poor gut function and excessive exercise; it's no wonder that iron deficiency is so common.

But iron makes me constipated!


Not all iron is created equal. Some forms of iron commonly prescribed contain ferrous sulphate, or iron sulphate. This form of iron 'seperates' in the gut and can cause constipation, dark/green stools and abdominal discomfort. There are different forms of iron available, usually prescribed by Naturopaths, that are better absorbed and do not cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

Concerned about your iron supplements? Talk to an expert in health, not an expert in disease!



For a delicious iron rich meal combine this recipe with this recipe
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Monday, 19 September 2016

Is Detox a dirty word?


Following on from a recent live to air piece on ABC radio discussing the detoxification process, I am inspired to delve more deeply into the dirty world of detox.

Myths and misconceptions around detox abound, detox diets can be done really badly, often leaving you feeling worse than beforehand, be totally ineffective and a complete waste of time and money.

On the other hand, if done well, a detox is a sound investment in your health, has the potential to hugely improve your wellbeing and change the course of your health journey.


Detox- What does it mean?


When I say detox, I mean a prescribed diet and nutrition plan that actively enhances and supports the body's organs of detoxification to remove toxins that have been stored in the body.

Why Detox?


Your body is an amazing beast. Daily, the processes of metabolism work to remove toxins from your system but when your detox processes can't keep up, excess toxins will be stored in various places around your body.

Stored toxins can be found in your fat, in your brain cells, in blood cells, in neurological tissues, in your liver, in your bones, everywhere in fact.


How to Detox


Everyone will require a slightly different focus to their detoxification plan depending on their current state of health, symptom picture and past or present exposure to toxins.

A detox diet is designed to reduce the amount of toxins entering your body whilst actively encouraging toxin removal. We do this by:
  • Removing white & processed foods
  • Avoiding alcohol & red meat
  • Eliminating sugar
  • Consuming lots of whole grains (if grain tolerant), water, fresh vegetables and juices
  • Eating small fish, free range eggs, legumes and if really needing meat, free range/organic chicken
  • Treating the gut with additional fibre, probiotics and nutraceuticals
  • Adding carefully selected plant and nutritional compounds to upregulate your liver and kidney detoxification capacity

Additional detox strategies:

  • Dry skin brushing
  • Sweating/sauna
  • Castor oil packs
  • Fresh air and sunshine

How long does a detox take?


This depends again on your individual set of circumstances. For those who are generally quite well, a thorough effective detox can be completed in a little over 2 weeks.

If you've been unwell for a while and your general health is lacking, anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks dedicated to detoxing can reinvigorate your wellbeing.

How often should I detox?


This varies across the board. Generally, an annual detox is ideal, though for some this isn't practically possible, so I say detox whenever you think you can manage it. With some people I am more insistent of regular detox; those with gastrointestinal issues, those on weightloss programs, cancer survivors, couples planning a child and those working in 'toxic' occupations, for example.

When is the best time to detox?

Traditionally Spring is considered an ideal time though with so many of us being busy and juggling multiple committments, anytime you can detox, is a good time to detox.

Once you have completed one detox, enjoyed the benefits firsthand and become familiar with the process, your annual detox can become something to look forward to rather than worry yourself about.
  

Special Offer


If you've always been curious about detox or feeeling like now is a good time for you to detox, why notconsider a detox taster? A two week detox will include:
  • Two Naturopathic consultations
  • A detailed eating plan and sample recipes 
  • 'Practitioner only' quality nutraceuticals, targeting liver and kidney detoxification
  • Body composition analysis

Be one of the first five people to sign up for a two week detox and receive a FREE 'gut conditioning' pack to start your detox off the right way. Offer valid till October 31st 2016.

To hear Detox talked about on ABC SouthEast click here 

See some simple detox friendly recipes here and here