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

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Secret Womens Business!


Beyond Babies and Bones - The importance of healthy oestrogen balance.


Most of us know about oestrogen's role in maintaining bone density but did you know that it also helps to regulate the circadian rhythm (our sleep/wake cycle), control food intake, and influences energy expenditure as well as insulin secretion. As oestrogen levels decline, women's metabolic rate lowers, favouring fat storage and insulin resistance - that's why weight gain is so common after menopause.

The 3 Types of Oestrogen...


  • E1- the dominant postmenopausal oestrogen.
  • E2 - the predominant reproductive oestrogen, aids egg release from the ovaries and also has positive effects on the heart, colon, bones and brain. It is the decline of E2 that causes hot flushes and night sweats.
  • E3 - produced mostly by the placenta during  pregnancy.

It's all in the balance...


The delicate balance of  oestrogens can be disrupted by:
  • Xenoestrogens - xeno meaning other or outside the body - such as plastics, pesticides, contraceptive pills and HRT.
  • Oestrogens - in intensively farmed animal products.
  • Endoestrogens - from within the body, often produced from unhealthy bowel flora and the liver.
  • Phytoestrogens - oestrogen like compounds found in plants which can be used to correct oestrogen balance.

When you have too much of a good thing... 


Oestrogen is a growth promoter which is great for bones, our gut and embryo development but not so good for precancerous or cancerous cells.

Current research has uncovered a link between the liver's metabolism of oestrogen and an increased risk for cancer. Essentially, oestrogen is metabolised by the liver, and can be converted to a weaker form (ideally) or a stronger, growth promoting form.

When the stronger form of oestrogen comes into contact with oestrogen sensitive tissues such as breasts, the uterus and prostate gland this can lead to the development of fibroids, endometriosis, period pain and hormone sensitive cancers.

Naturopaths have known for a long time that simply by improving a womans' liver function her endometriosis, period pain, fibroids, fertility or PMS will improve.


Restoring the balance...


How can a woman (and men for that matter) reduce her risk of oestrogen related diseases?
  • Support the liver to encourage the production of weaker noncancerous oestrogen.
  • Optimise bowel flora -  as a considerable amount of oestrogen passes from the liver to the intestines, healthy bowel flora work to further breakdown oestrogen. Therefore, daily bowel motions are essential to remove oestrogen from the system. 
  • Maintain body fat in a healthy range.
 
A primarily plant based diet provides the antioxidants, fibre, phytochemicals and nutrients necessary for healthy oestrogen metabolism.

In cases where oestrogen metabolism is so disrupted, herbs and targeted nutrients can be employed to restore the balance, often within just a few months.

Key foods for Oestrogen Detoxification

 

 

  • Broccoli, cabbage and other brassica family vegetables.
  • Leeks, shallots and other onion family vegetables.
  • Flaxseeds - must be ground to release the phytoestrogens.
  • Grapefruit.
  • Green Tea - I recommend organic.
  • Soy products - Controversial I  know - but the evidence demonstrates protective effects against hormone sensitive cancers.

Check out this quick and easy brassica recipe.


Need help with improving your oestrogen balance click here

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

War on bugs doesn't need drugs!

It's been a strange season for bugs this winter. In my region the weather's been warm cold, warm cold and I'm seeing a lot of people that after struggling for weeks with upper respiratory tract infections, see their GP, invariably take antibiotics and generally are no better off for it.

Now let's take a closer look at sinusitis, the evidence around the effectiveness (or lack of ) of antibiotics and explore our other options for a speedy recovery.



'by days 16-60 there was no difference in recovery rates of those given antibiotics and those given placebo'

Firstly, it can be difficult to differentiate between viral or bacterial sinusitis. Symptoms are similar and can be confused with other conditions.Symptoms typically occur at mucosal sites and can include sniffles, sore throat, cough, fever and/or malaise. Pathology testing can be helpful though is impractical as the results take days to come through, by which time your symptoms have improved or you are already on a course of treatment.


What treatment, what evidence?

 

A recent Cochrane review found that the risk of still having sinusitis 1-2 weeks after antibiotic use was 66%, you'd probably agree that seems high and brings into question wether there is any benefit to using medications that increase antibiotic resistance and damage our microflora (and hence our immune systems).

Furthermore, 86% of patients given placebo had recovered within 1-2 weeks. What the Cochrane review also tells us is that 6 out of 7 patients treated with antibiotics gained no benefit after 1-2 weeks and by days 16-60 there was no difference in recovery rates of those given antibiotics and those given placebo.

Interestingly, steroids have been shown to be effective for acute sinusitis. After 2–3 weeks, sinusitis resolved or improved in 73% of patients using intranasal steroids compared with 66% of those not using them, not a huge difference and perhaps a treatment option many would decline.


So what other options?


The evidence tells us that most cases will resolve and that is largely due to our incredibly clever immune systems. My approach to treatment invloves supporting this clever immune response at the mucosal, gut and cellular levels.

Extra care and more proactive treatement may be needed for children, those with asthma, those with nutritional deficiencies, excessively stressed people, the immune compromised and those with a history of repeated sinus infections.

And for those that want a speedier recovery foods, vitamins, herbs and nutrients can be used to boost your immune response, breakdown excess mucous and support the mucosal lining of the respiratory tract- all without damaging your immune system.


The war on bugs doesn't need drugs!

In recent blogs I covered flu nutrients and foods - for more on '1st Aid foods'

Specifically for sinusitis, I would usually include a topical treatment best delivered in the form of a saline based nasal spray. Ideally this would include some essentail oils and xylitol. This combination provides both antimicrobial and mucolytic actions.

NAC - When excess mucous is a feature, NAC is a relatively inexpensive mucous dissolving nutrient that is also a hugely powerful antioxidant. It is available in capsules and powdered form so is easy to take across all age groups. Cysteine can be found in chicken broth, hence it's traditional use in folk medicine.
  
 'do you know that a zinc deficiency, amongst many things also impairs Vitamin A activity, a key immune nutrient?'
 
Zinc - Probably our most famous 'immune system' nutrient. Zinc stabilises mucous membranes, regulates development and function of lymphocytes, neutrophils and natural killer cells. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory and  antioxidant. Furthermore, do you know that a zinc deficiency, amongst many things also impairs Vitamin A activity, a key immune nutrient?



Vitamin A is an important, often underestimated and misunderstood nutrient, particularly when it comes to infections. It plays a key role in maintaining mucous tissue integrity and is vitally important for a robust regulated immune response. High doses may be used short term but best under the guidance of a trained practitioner as there are some contraindications to Vitamin A use.


'Winter is the best time of year to assess Vitamin D as this is typically when it is lowest'

 

Vitamin D - If infections keep recurring you may be low in Vitamin D. Winter is the best time of year to measure your Vitamin D as it's lowest in winter. Vitamin D levels at 50-60 may be adequate for bone density but too low for optimal immune health. Talk to an expert in health, not disease, to understand the best level of Vitamin D for you.


Medicine that grows!


I still get a buzz from thinking of herbs as medicine that grows, it's pretty amazing that there is a whole plant based pharmacy available to us and unsurprisingly, herbal medicine is still the most widely used form of medicine globally.

The range of herbal medicines at hand is huge and I always try to use herbs with the broadest range of actions possible.

Elder- is both antiviral and a mucous membrane tonic and it reduces mucous production.

Holy Basil - An Indian herb that is bascially anti everything- antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiageing, immune enhancing and tastes good too.

Golden Seal - Some of you may be familiar with the 'strong ' taste of golden seal- strongly antibacterial and antifungal as well as a mucous membrane restorative- perhaps the most relevant herb for sinusitis, Golden Seal should not be used longterm without professional supervision.

Pelargonium - A pleasant tasting herb, with affinity for the upper respiratory tract that increases your immune response at a mucosal level. A great herb for kids and adults alike.

Nature's pharmacy offers an abundance of tools we can use to speed our recovery and reduce our susceptibiltiy to infections with the added advantage of actually creating a more effective, efficient immune response. 

See a quick and easy cold and flu fighting tea recipe here




Winter Offer -Take advantage of my 'acute care consult' option before spring and go into the draw to win a Vitamin C & Manuka honey supplement.



Monday, 27 June 2016

First Aid foods to speed recovery.


It's that time of year again; the change of season often brings with it colds, coughs, flus and tummy bugs.

With so much sickness around right now, it's a good time to think about the foods we can use to speed our recovery.

Your food choices really can influence how quickly you recover from colds and other bugs.

Below are my top 8 'food as medicine' suggestions for the season.

  • Chicken Soup- provides much needed electrolytes, hydration and has a decongestant effect when consumed hot. Cysteine- an amino acid derived from the bones helps to break up mucous.
  • Garlic- Also breaks up mucus, plus has very strong antibacterial & antimicrobial effects.
  • Hot tea-Even good old black tea is hydrating and decongestant, more medicinal teas include Holy Basil (Tulsi), Chamomile, Yarrow, Peppermint & Licorice. Teas can be used to modulate fever, rehydrate, soothe dry coughs, stem diarrhoea and boost the immune response.
  • Ginger- Ginger is great for acute infections of the respiratory and digestive systems. Can help to reduce fever, ease nausea & vomiting, as well as being anti-inflammatory.
  • Chilli- Not for the faint hearted, chilli has a fever modulating effect and is actually useful for the pain associated with laryngitis and pharyngitis.
  • Bananas- as part of the BRAT diet (banana, rice, apple and toast) helpful with diarrhoea as banana is both binding and can slow bowel contractions.
  • Pumpkin/ Sweet potato- Orange vegetables are great sources of Vitamin A, essential for immune cell function, especially Natural Killer cells, don't they sound good (natural killer cells are immune cells that kill viruses and bacteria)? Vitamin A also improves our mucosal surface immunity-making our gut and airways less vulnerable to germs.
  • Mushrooms- The immune boosting actions of Shitake & Maitake mushrooms have been known for thousands of years. Recent research suggests consumption of regular mushroms may benefit our immune systems too. Consuming mushrooms, especially in a chicken broth with ginger, garlic and chilli is an ideal way to boost your defenses against infection.

A quick and easy flu fighter tea recipe can be found here: http://www.healthexpressions.com.au/2016/06/flu-fighter-tea.html

Flu Fighter Tea

I love this combo for it's soothing warmth.

This is a great tea for most upper respiratory tract infections. It is antimicrobial, decongestant,  fever modulating, hydrating and breaks down mucous.

I like it especially when I'm all stuffed up and can't taste much- the taste and aroma of all these spices cuts through even the 'thickest' headcold.

Method & Ingredients:

Bring 1L water to the boil and add...
  • 1 Tbs raw honey
  • 2 Tsp grated ginger
  • 1 lemon sliced, unwaxed ideally.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced.
  • 1/4 Tsp fresh chilli, chpped.

High simmer for 5 minutes. Cool slightly before drinking warm.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Butterfly Effect

What every woman (and some men) need to know about thyroid disease.

Of all the conditions I have treated over the years, thyroid issues are some of the most common.

Of the thyroid diseases, hypothyroidism and Hashimotos's are the most common in my clinic.

It is something I am especially passionate about because the right intervention at the right time can hugely change disease progression.

A nutritional assessment is essential as oftentimes, thyroid disease starts out as nutritional deficiencies.

The thyroid  is a butterfly shaped gland located in your throat. It produces thyroid hormone, which affects virtually every cell in your body, regulating your metabolism; affecting digestion, fertility, bone density, energy, skin and cardiovascular health.


The 4 Key Nutrients to feed your thyroid!

  • Selenium is essential for a  healthy thyroid; Australian soils are deficient in selenium hence Selenium deficiency is commonplace. If relying on brazil nuts for selenium Aussie & Kiwi brazils won't do the job. If testing blood levels, red blood cell selenium is the most accurate.
  • Zinc is essential for thyroid hormone production and conversely, thyroid hormones are required for zinc absorption. Zinc deficiency contributes significantly to the hairloss seen in hypothyroidism.
  • Iodine- the most abundant mineral in the thyroid gland and makes up the bulk of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency can lead to an enlarged thyroid, hypothyroidism and mental retardation if a woman is deficient in preganacy.
  • Tyrosine- an amino acid found in proteins, including soybeans, cheese & seaweed.  

 Planning a baby? Read on for must have information.
An Australian study found alarmingly high rates of iodine deficiency in Australians, including upto 58% of women in their reproductive years. As iodine deficiency is the leading cause of  preventable mental retardation the researchers recommended all women should be screened for iodine deficiency prior to or at conception.

Typically, if selenium, zinc or iodine are lacking a hypothyroid state can develop.

The way I see it, there are 2 options at this point-take prescription thyroxine for life or replace the lacking nutrients and restore thyroid function. Admittedly, this can be harder to do after many years of thyroid disease and high antibody levels, though not impossible.

Other common disruptors of thyroid function include viral infections,especially EBV virus, chronic stress, mercury toxicity, chlorine, bromide and xenoestrogens.

Your thyroid is one of the important glands in your body and I assure you, if you look after it, it'll pay you back in kind.




Saturday, 4 June 2016

10 tips to manage anxiety.


Does it surprise you that 25% of the population have diagnosed anxiety?

Given that more of us are increasingly busy, constantly 'plugged in', consuming highly refined fats and sugars, using stimulants such as caffeine; alcohol for stress relief, not moving enough and sleeping poorly, it is little wonder anxiety is so common.

Some suggest that anxiety is a normal response to our 21st century lifestyle. When lab rats are exposed to repeated, unpredictable loud noises they become anxious. When the noise is loud and constant they become depressed!

Furthermore, when people are anxious they are more likely to dissassociate and therefore may not even be aware of their anxiety, so in all likelihood anxiety propbably affects more than 25% of us.

Read on for my top 10 tips to help manage anxiety.

  • Cut back on the caffeine- most people will experience a benefit after 7-10 days.
  • Exercise- intense exercise is an  effective way to ward off a panic attack.
  • Overhaul your diet- reduce sugars, flour based products, red meat, fried foods & alcohol.
  • Eat more plant foods, especially 'above ground' vegetables.
  • Get enough sleep, 7-8hrs ideally. You may need to adopt 'sleep hygiene practices'.
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy- CBT-effective at breaking old patterns and beleifs.
  • Manage stress.Cortisol affects brain chemistry triggering anxiety. BREATHE
  • Prioritise your nutrition, particularly magnesium, B6, zinc, iron and Omega 3's.
  • Take a good quality 'activated' Multivitamin each day.
  • Harness the healing power of plants. Lavender is the ultimate anxiety relieving herb.
  • Unplug & disconnect for some time each day. 

Some of these techniques will work sooner than others, with the right formula expect to feel less anxious within two weeks and more improvements in mood over the following 6-10 weeks.

If you want to get the best nutritional and herbal prescription for anxiety and discover how to develop a mental health promoting lifestyle get in touch.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Bone broth & lead toxicity?


Recently, I came across some research looking into the amount of lead found in 3 different batches of organic chicken stock. The results were shocking, to say the least...




Here's something to ponder whilst those bones are simmering away......

Lead in chicken stock? Now that's a heavy lunch!


Lead is one of the most commonly found heavy metal in our environments.
Three samples of chook stock were tested for lead levels. As lead gets stored in bones this is a good place to look for it, especially if the bones have been simmered for a while.

In humans, lead contamination can affect our bones by locking calcium out of our bones. It can also cause anaemia by preventing iron uptake.

The results of the single study revealed high levels of lead in 3 different batches of organic chook stock and in doing so may have raised more questions than actually answered. This is what I love about good science....it asks the questions!

Surprisingly, the sample of  chicken stock  that was made from skin and cartilage and NO bones had the highest lead level which was an unexpected result. Lead is stored in bones so you'd think the bone based broth would contain more lead??

This begs the question...were the chicken carcasses contaminated by an external source? Could there have been high levels of lead in the local water supply? Chickens are known to be fond of 'bathing' in dust, could the soil have been contamiinated?

There are many more questions raised by this study and if you want to check it out here's the link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23375414.

On the flipside, I would recommend bone broth as a gut tonic and potential anti- threadworm measure. The sulphur and glutamine have gut healing properties and the sulphur is potentially antimicrobial.



Quick Green Recipe

I've got a good supply of Spring Greens in the garden at the moment and have been enjoying this brassica family leaf (rich in sulphur) whilst the caterpillars have been enjoying my kale.

Super food, super quick and a great detox combination too!




5 heads of Cavalo Nero, stalks removed & chopped or 2 bunches of kale
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly, and/or onion
400ml of vegetable or organic chicken stock
2tbsp Shinshu miso (yellow miso)
1 tsp chilli flakes



Blanch kale.Truth be told, I often don't bother with this step.
In a wide pan heat oil, add garlic and cook for 3 minutes, taking care not to brown the garlic.
Add kale, stock & chilli flakes. Cook covered over low heat, approximately 10 minutes. Stir the miso through, taking care not to overheat it as this destroys the enzymes.

So quick, so easy.



Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Maiwiru Foundation.


World Health Day on April 7th aims to increase awareness of the global diabetes epidemic. Whilst raising awareness of this issue I want to highlight the work of the Maiwiru Foundation. It started  it's work 100kms from Uluru in a town where it was observed that the locals, despite being a dry community, still suffered alarmingly high rates of Type 2 diabetes and kidney disease.

The people here started looking at the food, and especially the amount of sugar that passed through the doors of the local store. Over time, a 'Good Food Policy' was established and the amount of sugar in-store was reduced. Funding for a nutritionist was found, the locals were educated about food, took control over the foods the shop stocked and health in the community improved.

Fast forward to present day, due to government and policy change (basically funding cuts) this programs effectiveness has been diluted a bit, the nutritionist is no longer available and there is more sugar on the shelves.

How can I make a difference?

I will donate 20% of my profit that is generated on April 7th, World Health Day, to the Maiwiru Foundation. Actually, I will donate 20% of my profit generated the following Thursday, April 14th to the foundation also.

So if you've been thinking it's time to review your health, by coming in on the 7th or 14th of April you can make a difference to the health of others as well as yourself

Appointments can be made online or via the phone.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Epilepsy Awareness Month




Given that March is Epilepsy Awareness Month I felt compelled to raise awareness about the 'nutritional' aspects of Epilepsy, especially in relation to those receiving anti-epileptic medications. These medications are often prescribed long term, to both children and adults, so it's  important then to track these patients nutrional status.

Why so?

There is a strong body of evidence linking anti-seizure meds to deficiencies of particular nutrients, especially folate, B12, B3, B6, zinc and Vitamin D. The research goes on to demonstrate that the drugs work better when any nutritional deficiencies are identified and corrected.

Based on this, you would think it would be a no-brainer to monitor the 'at risk' nutrient levels of those patients taking these medications long term, wouldn't you? Especially given that a large percentage of these patients are children and are vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies at the best of times. Seemingly not.

In the interests of best medicine, given that these patients often have little choice but to stay on these meds indefinitely, let's raise awareness about the drug-nutrient interactions and contribute to improved treatment rates via monitoring 'at risk' nutrients in these people regularly.





Monday, 29 February 2016

Not Sexy and not a 'Superfood'?!

Fibre - The Ultimate Functional Food.

 

 

Can you have too much of a good thing? When it comes to fibre, probably not, just be sure to take your mineral supplements and some medications 2hrs away from certain fibres.

Anti-Cancer Action

Recent research out of Harvard Medical School suggests that high fibre intake during adolescence may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Fibre's oestrogen modifying effect is what's thought to exert its anti-cancer effect. After all, oestrogen instructs  cells to grow and this is an example of where you can have too much of a good thing.

Essentially, fibre is a carbohydrate we can't digest. Passing through the body undigested, fibre regulates blood sugars, cholesterol, sex hormone production and gut microbes. We need a minimum of 20-30 g per day though the average Aussie consumes around 15g a day. Traditional diets contain a heap more fibre, roughly 100g per day, excuse the pun!


What are the different types of fibre?


  • Soluble fibre- dissolves in water, regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Oats, nuts, beans, lentils, psyllium, flaxseed, apples with skin & blueberries are good sources.


  • Insoluble fibre- as its name suggests, doesn’t dissolve in water and helps to promote ‘movement’ through the bowel; preventing constipation and maintaining regularity. Good sources are whole wheat, brown rice, flaxseed, rice bran, legumes, carrots, cucumbers & psyllium.


It is ideal to consume a mix of insoluble and soluble fibres. My favourite fibres are psyllium husks and/or seeds and flaxseeds. These fibres improve the pH in the colon, make our gut flora happy, bind with toxins, cholesterol, excess oestrogens and other sex hormones; they help to prevent diverticular disease, are protective against bowel cancer and encourage regular bowel movements. 


A tablespoon daily provides approximately 10g of fibre, potentially doubling the average intake of fibre in one fell swoop. Remember to always follow your fibre with an extra glass of water.


Fibre isn’t particularly sexy, nor is it marketed as a ‘superfood’ though it is possibly one of the most important steps you can take towards improving your health.


Fibre Fix

  • Linseed meal
  • Almond meal
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Rice bran

Combine seeds and bran (after being ground) together in equal quantity by weight.
Keep refrigerated. 


Serving suggestions: Take 1-3 tbsp daily with porridge /grated apple / stewed plums and plain yogurt.
Check out a simialr recipe here...
http://www.healthexpressions.com.au/2014/12/jar-pudding.html

Thursday, 11 February 2016

So simple yet so powerful!

Breathe...

More and more I find I am 'prescribing' deep down belly breathing, and likewise, finding myself doing more of the same, after all, life's busy and a deep breath can help slow the pace of  life momentarily.

More importantly, I am repeatedly witnessing the benefits this simple behavioural change can bring about.

Belly breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) is easy to implement across all age groups, is very cost effective and kids particularly enjoy and benefit from it too.

The many and varied benefits of (deep) breath...

  • Deep breathing relaxes the nervous system by stimulatiing the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the one in charge of restful & digestive activities.
  • Breathing is also a detoxification process. A deep breath encourages elimination of  CO2 plus other waste gases from the blood. As well, deep breathing improves our acid-alkaline balance.
  • Pain management- deep breath increases endorphin release, our body's own pain killing hormones. As any woman that has experienced childbirth, or anyone's that's experienced pain might know, breathing through the pain can make a huge difference to our experience of pain. The body tends to instinctively hold it's breath in pain so significant will is required.
  • Improved energy production - increased oxygenation = increased energy.
  • Better digestion - breathing assists better digestion in two ways. Firstly, diaphragmatic breathing increases blood flow to our abdominal organs, including the gut. Plus, calming our nervous system via deep breathing switches on our parasympathetic nervous system, which we know regulates digestive function.

Breathing Apps- Available for smart phones etc. 

  • Breathing Well Exercises
  • Universal BreathingTimer
  • Pranayama Universal or trial before you buy - Pranayama Free


Given the pace of life, deep breathe is probably the most effective, inexpensive, portable form of stress relief that we have.

Let me know how you go......

Monday, 18 January 2016

Healthy Weight, Healthy You.


Did you know that a large percentage of Australians gain between .8-1.5kgs over Christmas? Yikes!

Research shows that it typically takes upto 8 months to lose that extra Christmas 'package' and before you know it, it's Christmas again. The result is a steady climb in weight each year.

My 6-week healthy body weight plan is a great way to reset the scales and rebalance your metabolism so that you burn the calories in food as energy rather than store the calories in food as fat.

What you get: A package including a lengthy initial consultation to assess and discuss your current and future health targets. In addition to being weighed, your body composition and metabolic age will also be assessed.

As well as the initial consultation, you get 40 days supply of nutritionally balanced, 'Practitioner Only' high quality protein powder, 20 specially formulated ketogenic snack bars plus 100 Ketostix which you use to measure the by-products of fat burning in the privacy of your own home.

Plus, the plan includes an additional 5 consultations, exercise reviews and weekly weigh-ins to keep you on target and motivated. Included in the package is access to professional health support via phone and email for the duration of the 6 week program.

Note: If you wish to lose more than 6kgs and repeat the program I will offer an additional discount.

Why I love this weight management plan:
  • Improve your metabolism so there's no rebound weight gain.
  • Ideal for diabetics and those with insulin resistance.
  • Lose upto 6kg in 6 weeks in a healthy, sustainable way.
  • Reverse the ageing process and expect to reduce your 'metabolic' age.
  • Learn about healthy eating for sustained wellbeing and healthy ageing.
  • Increase your energy.
  • Health Fund Rebates available, check your level of cover.
  • And of course,...look better, feel better.
A new year has arrived and a healthier new you is only 6 weeks away.

If you're interested in knowing more call us now on 6492 3002, mention Facebook or the website and receive more than 10% off the package price.