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?