Kidney Cleansing Smoothies

Kidney Cleansing Smoothies


Serves 2


1 C unsweetened apple juice

1 C Red seedless grapes

½ C blueberries (fresh or frozen)*

½ C Baby spinach leaves

2 large Cauliflower florets

½ C ice

Optional Extras

¼ C Red capsicum diced

2 tsp Acai powder 


Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blast for 45-60 seconds. Serve cold immediately, top with red grapes. 



Serves 2


1 C Chilled Green tea*

1 C Pineapple (fresh or frozen)*

¼ Cucumber diced

½ C Rocket leaves

1 Tbsp fresh Parsley

2 large Cauliflower florets

Juice of ½ freshly squeezed lime


Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blast for 45-60 seconds. Serve cold immediately, top with a slice of cucumber or pineapple  



  • Using frozen fruit or vegetable will give the smoothie a more creamy texture
  • Brew green tea at 80°C for 3-5 max to avoid bitterness 

How to Ease Yourself Through the Change of Season

How to Ease Yourself Through the Change of Season

As we move into autumn and the weather starts to change and cool, our bodies can find it hard to adapt to the shifting environment around us. As a result, our immune systems can often suffer, and we can be hit with another round of seasonal colds and allergies, or our mood and energy levels can begin to decline.

In fact, recent scientific research has demonstrated that the changing of seasons causes simultaneous changes within the body, leading to the expression of different genes which may help to explain why we often observe seasonal changes in immunity and many other physical functions [1].

However, with the help of traditional knowledge, we can harness the foods that we eat to help balance out the external effects of the elements and support the changes our bodies are going through.

This scientific research is reminiscent of the traditional knowledge of Western holistic medicine which has been passed down over hundreds of years and espoused by the likes of Hippocrates and Nicholas Culpeper. They taught that the ‘character’ of our diet should be in opposition to the current season to protect our bodies from the changes in weather and ensure we keep ourselves in balance[2]. Therefore, knowing how to adapt our diets and change the way we prepare our foods can help smooth our transition from one season to the next.

Simply put, foods and the seasons can be considered to have a heating, cooling, drying or moistening effect upon the body. As autumn is the season associated with a cold and dry environment, we need to be eating more heating and moistening foods to keep us in balance.

We are now moving on from summer (which is heating and drying), where we were drawn towards a lot of cooling and moistening foods- think fresh raw salads with crisp lettuce leaves and watery vegetables such as cucumber, capsicum and tomatoes, smoothies with tropical fruits, bananas and coconut water, and seafood.

Therefore, to help our body transition into Autumn, we need to start incorporating more heating and cooked foods to counteract the effects of the cooling external environment.

Here are some quick tips that can help you do that:

  • Roasted pumpkin and sweet potato can be added to your salads to break up the raw foods, and can be made particularly heating to the body by tossing them in olive oil and warming spices such as ground turmeric, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cumin and coriander seeds
  • Chickpeas have an innate heating and moistening effect upon the body, and can also be added to salads (perhaps spiced and roasted) or used as a base for curries and stews
  • Cut back on the cold smoothies, especially in the mornings, or if you love your smoothies make sure it has some warming element to it- ginger is great with greens and cinnamon and nut butter is perfect for those sweeter smoothies
  • Cooked breakfasts are the way to go on colder mornings: Eggs served with stir-fried greens cooked in ginger, garlic and chilli.
  • Stewed or baked apples with raisins and cinnamon are the perfect comforting and warming food that can be eaten by themselves or with muesli or porridge.
  • Porridge can also begin to take the place of muesli, as the cooking of rolled oats adds a particularly warming virtue which can be enhanced by spices such as nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon
  • Raw unsalted nuts and figs are perfect wholefood snacks to be enjoyed in Autumn
  • Start your day with a warming herbal tea, left to infuse overnight in a thermos or brewed freshly in the morning. Ask your naturopath which herbal teas would be best suited for you!

By attuning ourselves to the qualities of our foods and observing the changes in weather, we can easily make simple dietary changes that will help keep us balanced and feeling our best even during the tumultuous time that is the changing of seasons.


Tobyn, G. (1997) Culpeper’s medicine: A practice of Western holistic medicine, Great Britain: Element Books


[1] Tobyn, G. (1997) Culpeper’s medicine: A practice of Western holistic medicine, Great Britain: Element Books

Winter blues

Winter blues

Like many mental health disorders, depression is a vastly complicated and often misunderstood condition. Depression affects all aspects of a person’s health and wellbeing with associated symptoms of low mood, lethargy, insomnia or hypersomnia, indecisiveness, poor concentration and a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities (Mitchell et al. 2013).

There are many mitigating factors that can contribute to depression including prolonged exposure to stress, low self-esteem, perfectionism, drug and alcohol consumption, allergies and food intolerances, family history, genetic vulnerability, medication side effects and medical illnesses (Harvard Health 2017).

Whilst there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to treating depression, there are many complimentary and lifestyle interventions that can reduce depressive symptoms and greatly improve a person’s quality of life (Jorm et al. 2010).

An imbalance in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), is considered a significant contributing factor in the pathophysiology of depression, and correcting these imbalances is a key action behind the majority of anti-depressant medications (Harvard Health 2017). However, there are many nutritional and physical therapies that can also greatly improve the activity and availability of these neurotransmitters and thereby help to alleviate depression (Walsh 2018).

The importance of a healthy, wholefood and colourful diet is significant in preventing and treating depression through a multitude of mechanisms. Nutritional requirements for neurotransmitter production include B-vitamins, magnesium, zinc and specific amino acids found in protein-rich foods (Deacon University 2016). Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can further mediate health detriments such as inflammation and oxidative stress that have implicated roles in neurodegenerative diseases such as depression (Bakunina, Pariante, and Zunszain 2015; Deacon University 2016).

The gut-brain axis is another area of consideration, and therefore supporting a healthy microbiome with probiotic and prebiotic rich foods can be a significant point of treatment (Deacon University 2016). Mindful eating practices can further benefit the gut-brain axis. By taking the time to smell and savour your food in a relaxed and calm environment, you reduce your stress-response, optimise your digestive capacity and nutritional intake and eat to your body’s satiety, thereby reducing the discomfort of overeating and preventing excessive weight gain (Harvard Health 2011).  

Regular exercise is another method of alleviating depression. This is achieved through the release of endorphins (feel-good brain chemicals) that can enhance a sense of wellbeing and vitality, as well as improved confidence, socialisation, and an emotional outlet (Mayo Clinic 2017). Walking in nature has been shown to positively affect mental health by reducing the activity of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that is active during repetitive thoughts and negative emotions (Harvard Health 2018). Exposure to nature confers other therapeutic benefits including a reduction in blood pressure and stress hormones, calming the body and mind and nourishing the soul with ‘nature cure’ (Harvard Health 2018).

Mind-body activities such as yoga and mindfulness meditation have demonstrated increased levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA (Krishnakumar et al. 2016). Other activities that have demonstrated therapeutic effects on mental health include acupuncture, hydrotherapy, pet ownership, aromatherapy, art therapy, and laughter (Hassan et al. 2016; Ko and Youn 2011; Park 2013; Sanchez-Vidana et al. 2017; Sniezek and Siddiqui 2013; Watson and Weinstein 1993).

Taking into consideration the range of contributing factors that can predispose a person to depression it is important to treat the disorder through a holistic and individualised approach.



Bakunina, Nataliia, Carmine M. Pariante, and Patricia A. Zunszain. 2015. “Immune Mechanisms Linked to Depression via Oxidative Stress and Neuroprogression.” Immunology 144(3):365–73. Retrieved September 28, 2018 (

Deacon University. 2016. “Diet and Mental Health.” Food and Mood Centre. Retrieved May 21, 2017 (

Harvard Health. 2011. “Mindful Eating.” Retrieved October 1, 2018 (

Harvard Health. 2017. “What Causes Depression?” Retrieved September 28, 2018 (

Harvard Health. 2018. “Sour Mood Getting You down? Get Back to Nature.” Retrieved September 28, 2018 (

Hassan, Syed Zawahir, Muhammad Waqas, Danial Yaqub, and Duhaa Asad. 2016. “Hydrotherapy: An Efficient and Cost-Effective Treatment for Depression.” International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health 4(1):274. Retrieved (

Jorm, Anthony, Nick Allen, Amy Morgan, Siobhan Ryan, and Rosemary Purcell. 2010. A Guide to What Works for Depression.

Ko, Hae Jin and Chang Ho Youn. 2011. “Effects of Laughter Therapy on Depression, Cognition and Sleep among the Community-Dwelling Elderly.” Geriatrics and Gerontology International 11(3):267–74.

Krishnakumar, Divya, Michael R. Hamblin, Shanmugamurthy Lakshmanan, San Diego, and Massachusetts General Hospital. 2016. “Meditation and Yoga Can Modulate Brain Mechanisms That Affect Behaviour and Anxiety-A Modern Scientific Perspective.” PMC 2(1):13–19.

Mayo Clinic. 2017. “Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms - Mayo Clinic.” Retrieved September 28, 2018 (

Mitchell, J. et al. 2013. “DSM-V Criteria for Diagnosis of Depression.” Institute of Clinical Systems Improvement (September):2013. Retrieved ( A_ICD_10.pdf).

National Institute of Health. 2018. “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets.” Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved September 28, 2018 (

Park, Eunok. 2013. “Effects of Visiting Laughter Therapy on Depression and Insomnia among the Vulnerable Elderly.” J Korean Acad Community Health Nurs 24(2):205–13.

Sanchez-Vidana, Dalinda Isabel et al. 2017. “The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy for Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2017.

Sniezek, David P. and Imran J. Siddiqui. 2013. “Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review.” Medical Acupuncture 25(3):164–72. Retrieved (

Walsh, W. 2018. “Biochemical Individuality and Nutrition.” Walsh Research Institute. Retrieved September 28, 2018 (

Watson, Nancy L. and Martin Weinstein. 1993. “Pet Ownership in Relation to Depression, Anxiety, and Anger in Working Women.” Anthrozoös 6(2):135–38. Retrieved (

Kidney health and hydration

Kidney health and hydration

Kidney disease affects 1 in 10 Australians and is reported by the World Health Organisation to be the 'most neglected chronic disease'. Kidney disease affects one in ten Australians. In 2015 there were 1.2 million deaths related to kidney failure worldwide, up 32% from 2005.

So, what is driving this growing global health epidemic? Some of the main contributing factors of Kidney disease are an unhealthy lifestyle choices such as; smoking, alcohol, poor diet, lack of hydration and exercise.

What our kidneys do for us

Responsible for filtering metabolic waste products such as urea from our blood; regulating our blood pressure; activation of vitamin D; and stimulate the production of new blood cells.  Our kidneys are considered a vital organ we cannot live without them, so let’s look after them.

How we can support our kidneys

For kidney health, the number one and easy to manage priority is to stay hydrated. Health experts recommended consuming 35ml of water per kg of body weight daily. As an example, a person who weighs 70kg should consume 2,500 ml*.

Working alongside water to support hydration is your electrolyte balance. Electrolytes are minerals that support hydration status, movement of water into and out of our cells and assist with the regulation of blood pressure. Our main electrolytes are sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

The western diet is generally higher in sodium so it is generally recommended to focus more on the later three minerals. Plant-based sources of electrolytes, as listed below, have the added benefit of added fibre and other plant-based nutrients into your diet.

Top 3 plant sources of each key electrolyte, Whitbread & House (2019)










Grapefruit juice


Sesame seeds (Tahini)



Tomato puree

Coconut water                                                                                                                                               

Other supportive factors for healthy kidneys are

  • Reducing alcohol consumption to a maximum of 8 standard drinks per week
  • Reduce the consumption of processed foods and high GI foods eg. lollies, refined sugars
  • Regular exercise, aim for a total of 140 minutes per week or approximately 20mins per day

Implementing protective factors daily such as; staying hydrated, regular exercise, increasing consumption of plant-based foods, reducing alcohol and sugar intake reduces risks associated with Kidney disease.

* This range is a general health guide to hydration. Hydration needs will vary depending upon your individual rate of perspiration, age, temperature/humidity, medications, recreational drug use, amount of exercise and electrolyte status. An indicative measure of hydration status is the colour of your urine. A well-hydrated colour is a pale yellow / clear colour. If you are concerned about your hydration status, please consult your registered health care provider.



Derbyshire, E. (2015). Hydration and Kidney Health. Hydration and Kidney Health.

Luyckx, V. A., Tonelli, M., & Stanifer, J. W. (2018). The global burden of kidney disease and the sustainable development goals. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 96(6), 414–422C.

Whitbread, D., & House, P. (2019). Retrieved February 26, 2019, from

Memory Support: Superfood Baked Salmon

Memory Support: Superfood Baked Salmon

Ingredients (4 serves):

  • 4 salmon fillets 
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts (quartered)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberry (to be mashed)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 to 1/3 olive oil (divided)
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves or 1 tsp minced Garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crush black Pepper
  • Sea Salt (divided)
  • 1 Lemons (juiced) with slices


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Place brussel sprouts and salmon fillets (skin side down) on a tray lined with baking paper, generously sprinkle sea salt on top and set aside.
  3. Place blueberries in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add in 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt/pepper, your basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar and mix.
  4. Drizzle another 2 -3 tbsp olive oil over your salmon and brussel sprouts.
  5. Spoon the balsamic basil blueberry mix over salmon fillets, add cracked pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon on top of salmon and veggies. Place lemon slices on top of veggies on the sheet pan.
  6. Place in oven for 15 minutes, feel free to broil for 1 -2 minutes extra to make brussel sprouts and baked salmon skin extra crispy.
Feeling lethargic? Want more energy?

Feeling lethargic? Want more energy?

Summer holidays are over, and it is back to work or school. Feeling tired, run down, or just lacking in energy and trying to get your mojo back for the start of work or school? Then this blog is for you! There are many reasons why you might be feeling tired or lacking energy. Let’s start with focusing on some the fundamentals of good health - a good sleep routine, supportive nutrition, outdoor activity, rest and relaxation.

Do you find yourself busy, running around with chores, after family, with social engagements, with work and/or between appointments, striving for achievement? This becomes problematic when you do not counter the busyness with regular downtime and rest. During long durations of increased mental and physical activity, your body is releasing stress hormones such as cortisol. What does this do?

If the release of cortisol is not regulated, by having adequate downtime during the day, your sleep can be heavily affected which impacts our overall energy. Taking restful breaks such as getting outside away from electronic devices and fluorescent lights, having lunch in a park, or just finding your quiet space away from work to eat mindfully, are all beneficial for regulating our cortisol levels. Regular daily exercise for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity (moderate elevation in heart rate and ability to speak a few words at a time) is also beneficial for the regulation of your stress response.

What we do or don’t consume during the day plays a vital role in restful sleep. Consuming excess caffeine from energy drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate can influence our ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. If you really love caffeine you are best to have it before lunch. Excess alcohol can also negatively impact sleep. Although it may assist you to fall asleep it impedes your ability to stay asleep. If you love a drink you are best to consume no more than 1 standard drink a night. Foods that support a restful night sleep are those rich in magnesium, calcium, B vitamins (although some B vitamins are best not taken prior to bed). These foods also generally support your energy production; dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli), activated nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts) and seeds (chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds).

Getting back into a good sleep routine is fundamental to have good energy throughout the day. Sleep is vital; your body loves a healthy consistent routine! It is important to prepare your body for sleep by allowing time to disconnect from electronic devices and unpack the day before getting into bed. The blue light emitted from electronic devices sets off a cascade that can suppress your sleep hormone melatonin.

Before bed try to unpack your day by; clearing your mind, write down the ‘to do list’ thoughts on a piece of paper and start to unclutter the mind, practice gratitude journaling by writing down 3 things you are grateful for in that day, try listening to relaxing sounds or music. Other supportive practices include a magnesium foot bath, light reading, or a shower followed by light stretching.

Applying yourself across all of these areas will get the best results in energy. This is because our body and mind work together. If you would like further support with energy and sleep, come in and see us at the Endeavour Wellnation Clinic. The clinic offers a wide range of therapies such as nutrition, naturopathy, acupuncture and myotherapy all of which can support energy and sleep.

Using the moon as a guide for self-care, setting intentions and personal growth

Using the moon as a guide for self-care, setting intentions and personal growth

The recent full moon on the 21st of January brought with it a lot of talk about its power for setting intentions to manifest what you want from life. Intention setting and manifestation practices are akin to setting goals and working to achieve them. This is a valuable process proven to increase wellbeing and happiness[1] and it has even helped to improve the pass rate of the US Navy SEALs[2]. It’s not something to be dismissed as just wishful thinking- it can be a powerful force of change in your life.

The different phases of the moon can help to establish a regular practice of self-care, self-reflection and setting intentions that are in line with your values. This practice doesn’t have to be synced with the lunar cycle, but the moon can act as a great visual reminder for us to reflect upon the goals we have set and the progress we are making.

The new moon is where to begin when it is hidden, and the night is darkest. This darkness points us towards introspection and reflection on who we are and what we truly want. This is the time to think deeply and create intentions that are in line with our values.

As we are looking inward, it is time to nurture our bodies and take care of ourselves. Eat nutritious wholesome meals that deplete your body stores and provide you with the fuel you need to keep on going. Get plenty of rest. This is a great time to focus on improving your sleep. Establishing a bedtime ritual and seeking the guidance of a naturopath for some calming nervine herbs is a wonderful way to do this. Find time for gentle walks in nature. Listen to the birds, witness the peaceful trees, and draw inspiration from them- they are not trying to be anything more than what they truly are. Let this connect you with your most authentic self and what you want to achieve and let that guide the intentions that you set.

This powerful TED talk by Candy Chang talks about how she came to contemplate and reflect upon what is truly important to her and may help you reflect on what is important to you as well:

Write your goals down. Have a journal that you dedicate to setting your goals and reflecting on your values every new moon. This is an important part of the process, as writing it down is an active form of commitment that increases your chance of pursuing these goals and has been shown to improve your wellbeing[3].

Create an action plan or a list of things you can do to work towards achieving your goals. A great way to help make your intentions a reality is to change your environment so that it is easy to do what is right[4]. If you want to eat more nourishing foods, stock up on healthier options for the pantry and make a stack of ready-to-go nutritious meals to keep in the fridge. Get creative, find ways to include fun in your plan as much as you can.

It’s important to reassess your goals and values with every new moon in order to keep growing and moving forward. Your goals will progress and change as you achieve them, and your values may be altered as you change and evolve as a person.

Next is the full moon. Its bright light fills us with awe and reminds us of all that is good. This signals a time for celebration and gratefulness.  Reflect on the intentions you set under the new moon and track your progress. Celebrate your achievements, write about what you were able to do and how you were able to succeed. Be proud of yourself.

But always be kind to yourself too, especially if you faced disappointments or setbacks. Celebrate any small achievements or positive experiences. Focusing on what you have done right is crucial for motivating yourself and achieving success going forward [5]

Be grateful for anything you have learnt along the way. There are important lessons to be found in your mistakes and losses, just as much as there is in your success. Overcoming hardships and being able to practice gratefulness for the lessons they have taught you improves your resilience and your mental toughness[6]. This will serve you well going forward. Again, write this all down.

During the full moon, reflect upon what is stopping you from achieving your goals and what you might need to do in order to overcome these barriers. The full moon is said to shine a light on all of our emotions and heighten sensitivity, bringing everything to the surface. There is no hiding under the cover of darkness when there is a full moon. This is a great time to let go of any self-limiting beliefs or emotions that may be holding you back and preventing you from achieving your goals. Write about these and visualise them flowing from your mind, down along your arms and out of your body through your hands into the words on the page to help leave them behind. Naturopaths can support this process through their skilled use of flower essences, harnessing the energy stored within flowers to help clear emotional blockages and move you closer to a sense of fulfilment.

Reflect upon what else you could do to move closer to success as you enter the second half of the lunar cycle.

A Naturopath’s 5 Steps to Manage Stress this Festive Season

A Naturopath’s 5 Steps to Manage Stress this Festive Season

As November arrives, it’s hard to ignore the subtle change in our environment. The sun begins to shine, houses start to sparkle, party planning begins, and we begin to anticipate a relaxed final month of the year. While the idea of the Christmas break is exciting, for some, this time of the year can be quite the opposite – all thanks to a little thing called stress.

The modern-day culprit: Stress 

Difficult to define, although familiar to so many. 

In Naturopathic medicine, stress is considered a cascade physiological process which many people encounter throughout life. Stress may be a result of work, school, major life changes or even exercise. 

During times of stress, the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and sympathetic nervous system activate; generating a ‘fight or flight’ response While acute activation of ‘fight or flight’ may be helpful in some situations, consistent activation results in overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, therefore dysregulating homeostasis. As a result, long-term stress may influence;

  • Sleep quality and duration
  • Food choices 
  • Digestion & Absorption of Nutrients
  • Gut microbiome 
  • Levels of insulin and glucose
  • Mood & Behaviour

While stress can occur at any time of the year, as the festive season approaches, it’s normal for stress to become quite apparent. However, before you become stressed about being stressed - check out my 5-steps below to create a blissful, stress-free festive season.

5 Steps to Manage Stress this Festive Season

1. Condense your to-do list

Whether you’re a list maker or not – I encourage you to try one this year! The act of simply writing things down can free space in your mind, allowing for clearer thinking. The key is to keep the lIst brief and simple (writing a 4-page list is a recipe for stress). I recommended creating a small list of your main priorities to create a feeling of composure, rather than overwhelm.

2. Simplify your meals

Food is well and truly the centre of attention over the festive season, and while it is a great time to experiment in the kitchen, I encourage you to simplify your meals. Planning elaborate meals may lead to increased stress, therefore altering our eating patterns and depleting our nutrients. 

When creating your simple festive meals, try adding these foods to further support the nervous system;

  • B-Vitamins: Avocado, eggs, legumes, lentils, green vegetables, nuts & seeds
  • Vitamin C: Broccoli, pawpaw, capsicum, pineapple, kiwi fruit, strawberries, sweet potatoes 
  • Magnesium: Almonds, cashews, cacao, leafy greens, figs, eggs
  • Essential fatty acids: Linseed oil, seaweed, sustainably caught salmon or tuna

3. Maintain a regular sleep routine

We all know a good night’s sleep can work wonders, although maintaining a regular sleep pattern is a key throughout stressful periods. Stress and sleep interact closely, and with the activation of the HPA axis, our body creates a feeling of wakefulness. Sleep restriction then initiates an irregular circadian rhythm, altering the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. To maintain a regular sleep pattern;

  • Setting a regular alarm
  • Ensure you get 7-8 hours per night
  • Restrict technology use before going to sleep
  • Enjoy a chamomile tea before bed

4. Take time out for yourself

Prioritising you is vital. Alongside organisation, diet and sleep, stress may be managed by simply allowing time for yourself. Your mind and body will thank you for it! Ideas include;

  • Ocean Swims
  • Walking 
  • Listen to music or podcasts
  • Reading a book

5. Be mindful of your emotions 

For most, the festive season is a great opportunity to socialise with family and friends, but for some, this can be the catalyst for stress. This year, it may help to mindfully acknowledge these emotions. Emotions such as stress or anxiety may originate from relationships, diet changes, travel or work. Techniques to mindfully address your emotions include;

  • Talking to a friend
  • Practising deep breathing
  • Journaling 
  • Seeing to a qualified practitioner 

Please refer to these tips throughout the festive season if you need, and I wish you a healthy, joyful festive season. 

Pressing for de-stressing: Fighting stress with acupressure

Pressing for de-stressing: Fighting stress with acupressure

Here it comes….

That time of the year is fast approaching! Kids finishing school, work projects piling up, Christmas carols in the supermarket, university exams looming, and family members planning how long they and their horrible little miniature poodle Fluffy will stay with you in your one-bedroom apartment for the holidays. Argh!

No wonder why the urge to finish all that double choc peanut ice-cream you bought yesterday is so high. I know you’re trying your hardest not to scream at everyone who bumps into you on the footpath (stick to the left!!) and boy, do day-time naps sound like a great idea??? Stress is all around and affects us all! And with Santa breathing down our necks, finding time for a massage or acupuncture treatment could be hard, but never fear, here are some quick and easy tips to help keep the stress at bay!

Acupressure is a method of using constant pressure from a fingertip on acupuncture points to help with a variety of illnesses and is widely practised in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM has been around for thousands of years and is used extensively for stress relief.

Best thing is, this won’t take long. Grab a seat, it does help to concentrate on your breath, so take some time out (10 minutes is all you will need) and then you can get back to finding the end of that sticky-tape that keeps ripping in a more Zen like manner!    


This is a nice easy one to start on. Right in between your eyes. Using your thumb and a decent amount of pressure, press onto this point for 3 minutes. Close your eyes and start to become aware of your breath, breathing deeper into your abdomen each time. 

GV 20 – Bai Hui

If you trace a line from the top of your ears, you will meet at the top of head right at this point and it may be slightly tender. Give this point a gentle, continuous press for 3 minutes. Keep on breathing, nice a deep now, feel that stress start to melt away.

Heart 7 – Shen Men

I heart this point! Found down on the wrist, on the pinky finger side. Find it by starting at the tip of the pinky, trace down to the line where your hand joins with your arm and place some pressure here for 2 minutes. Don’t forget to do both hands, it’s all about balance!


Deadman, P, Al-Khafaji, M., & Baker, K. (2007). A manual of acupuncture. East Sussex, England: Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications.
Hmwe, N.T.T., Subramanian, P., Tan, L.P., & Chong, W.K. (2015). The effects of acupressure on depression; anxiety and stress in patients with hemodialysis: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(2), 509-518.

The Twelve Tweaks of Christmas

The Twelve Tweaks of Christmas

What’s not to love about an Aussie Christmas? Holidays? Check. Balmy weather? Check. Check. Efficient air-conditioning so you can still bake a fruitcake, despite the 40 degrees forecast outside? Check … unless you’re from South Australia, then you’d best stick with a menu that isn’t at the mercy of consistent power supply (am I right Adelaide?). That said, Chrissie is also a time we associate with intentional food hangovers and alcohol-fuelled siestas. Though a little birdy partridge in a pear tree tells me that Christmas is a 12-day celebration, it’s not uncommon for us to begin festivities in early-November.

The way our society tends to party, said celebrations often go hand in hand with haunting hangovers, bloated bellies and liver-loathing regimes. There always seems to be a buzz around ‘shedding Christmas kilos’ come January, where the focus is solely on body weight. Rarely do we stop to consider how the silly season can burden our guts, livers and alternate organs of detoxification.

Perhaps the best way to get better acquainted with our digestive organs is to personify them and learn their basic functions. ‘Delilah Digestive Tract’ is our dependable intestinal tube. She works tirelessly to absorb nutrients from foods, manufacture endorphin-inducing evacuations (yes, poo!), manufacture hormones and support optimal immune function. ‘Larry Liver’ is our loyal protector, stopping at nothing to detoxify the chemicals within and around the body. The dynamic pair lives to digest and cleanse, and love looking after us. That said, with their metaphorical ‘hands’ full, they appreciate it when we don’t add to their demanding schedules by partaking in food (particularly the processed kind) and alcoholic gluttony.

Is there a middle-road solution? Can we have our fun whilst sparing a thought for dear Delilah and loving Larry? Indeed. Check out the following ‘Twelve Tweaks of Christmas’.

Tweak #1 – Guilt-free Gutsy Guidance

Hands up who intentionally (or perhaps unconsciously) plans to overindulge throughout the festive season? Instead of planning to tax dependable Delilah and overload loyal Larry, why not simply attend to your natural hunger cues. The rewarding thing about listening to your intuition like this is that when it comes to rare (I’m talking once or twice a year max) treats, you may, in fact, be guided to enjoy a wee bit more than normal for soul comfort’s sake.

Tweak #2 – ‘Krazy’ Kombucha

What’s fizzy, sweet, tangy and comes in a bottle that fits a standard size stubby holder? Kombucha – a fermented brew of tea, a fun guy fungi called ‘Scoby’, and sugar. Scoby consumes the sugar, using it as fuel to yield bubbles and digestive-aiding probiotics. This groovy beverage is the perfect happy hour infusion. It looks the part next to bubbly champaign and colourful cocktails, whilst sparing Larry of recreational toxicity. Snaps to Scoby.

Tweak #3 – Deceptive Desserts

I would never suggest you forego Chrissie treats unless you genuinely lack the sweet tooth ‘gene’. That said, I’m an advocate for having your cake (or pudding, cookies, chocolate what-have-you) and feeling nourished too. There’s an abundance of clever recipes online that use nutrient-dense ingredients to create ridgy-didge tasting treats. Not sure where to start? Have a crack at Christmas Pudding, Cookie Dough Dip or Jaffa Euphoria balls. Glorious.

Tweak #4 – Stunning Seafood

Australia’s balmy December weather means that fresh prawns and barbequed salmon are as welcome on Christmas menus as ham and turkey. This is good news. Not only are such sea creatures’ tasty accompaniments to vibrant salads and comforting roast veggies, but they also contain anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats that nurture our immune cells, hormones, hearts and brains. As a bonus, seafood tends to be easier to prepare than slow-roasted meats and, if barbequing, don’t require an electric oven. Did you hear that South Australia? Marvellous.

Tweak #5 – Groovy Gravy and Jolly Jelly

If you can’t resist a traditional turkey roast with cranberry sauce, then make it a nourishing affair by preparing your own condiments. This gravy recipe contains banana flour which supports digestive health, whilst this cranberry jelly is free of refined sugar and processed gelling agents. As a bonus, leftover gravy, jelly and turkey make for beaut sandwiches when wedged between organic sourdough bread slices with ripe avocado and salad greens.

Tweak #6 – Exercise Early

Take advantage of the early morning sunlight, rising early on Christmas day to sneak in a jog, walk, yoga session, or alternate activity of your choosing before brekkie/present time. Not only will you feel jollier than Santa on the back of your exercise-induced ‘high’, but this small injection of physical activity will also boost the number of beneficial microbes residing in your gut, whilst lowering gastrointestinal inflammation. This should make digesting Christmas lunch a far easier task for devoted Delilah Digestive Tract.

Tweak #7 – Yuletide Yoges

In addition to the obligatory game of backyard cricket, why not try recruiting willing family members for a gentle, digestive-aiding stretch session an hour or so after dinner. Yoga can inject calm into an otherwise busy day, and help diligent Delilah shuttle lunch through your digestive tract and package it up onto a poo-phoric prezzie for you to relish in ‘un-wrapping’ before the first ball on Boxing Day … if you catch my bowel-related drift.

Tweak #8 – Humble Helpings

The easiest way to avoid burdening Delilah and Larry is to ensure that you’re only buying and serving what you need. We may believe we aren’t good hosts if we don’t have a surplus of food, but in reality, over-catering can lead to food wastage. This is especially true for animal products that can’t be eaten after sitting out in the heat. My advice? Pack away leftovers before sitting down to lunch, and if you feel you must cook extra ‘just in case’, make sure it’s something that’s easily used up the next day; i.e. a large mango, spinach and avocado salad that can be served with grilled salmon for a nourishing Boxing Day meal.

Tweak #9 – Seductive Salads

Calm down, I’m not suggesting that you invite your baby greens to bed. ‘Seductive Salads’ is my playful way of encouraging you to make vegetable ‘side dishes’ the stars of the show. Jazz lettuce leaves up with innovative dressings and tasty extras such as; pomegranate seeds, lashings of avocado, fresh herbs, freshly cooked chickpeas, cloves of roasted garlic (yum), or pepitas sautéed in coconut aminos (a gluten-free soy sauce alternative). When it comes to cooked veggies, you can’t go past coconut oil-roasted pumpkin with cinnamon and vanilla bean, or spuds with olive oil and sea salt. Try popping a dish of runny tahini (sesame paste) or hummus on the table to enhance the plant-based excitement. You might even forget to pop meat on your plate … whoops. Accidental veganism at its finest.

Tweak #10 – Smoothie Sailing

Smoothies make for nutrient-rich meals that are so easily digestible that they almost make Delilah feel as though she’s on vacation. Try a simple green smoothie made from frozen banana, kiwi fruit, coconut milk and a handful of baby spinach for a light, no-fuss brekkie on Christmas day. If you’re wanting to give Delilah and Larry a nutrient-dense break come Boxing day, enjoy a smoothie for both breakfast and lunch (snacking on fresh fruit or leftover salad if desired) before enjoying a simple meal of leftover veggies and seafood for dinner.

Tweak #11 – Hell’s No Hot Cross!

No sooner have we found homes for our Christmas gifts, that it seems Hot Cross Buns are pouring out of bakery ovens the nation over. Have some respect for the intention behind these moreish doughy delights and save yourself for the Easter long weekend in four-months-time!

Tweak #12 - Novel New Year’s

Enjoy a memorable, low-key New Year’s of setting intentions for the year ahead, gratefully reminiscing the year’s ‘highlights’, and relishing the opportunity to spend time with loved ones. Raise your gut-friendly, liver-loving Kombucha bottle come midnight before calling it a day. Vow to sleep in come sunrise (if possible) to make up for unusually tardy bedtime.


Monda, V., Villano, I., Messina, A., Valenzano, A., Esposito, T., Moscatelli, F., … Messina, G. (2017). Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2017, 3831972.

Swanson, D., Block, R, and Mousa, S. A. (2012). Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Advances in Nutrition, 3(1), 1-7. Doi: 10.3945/an.111.000893

Read more from Rachel on her blog

Healthy Food For Healthy Kids

Healthy Food For Healthy Kids

The Healthy Choices guidelines categorise foods and drinks into three groups. These are:

Red Limit  intake  (no  more  than  20%  of  your  intake)

Foods and drinks in the RED category are not essential. If they are consumed too often, or in large amounts, they can lead to weight gain and chronic diseases.

In general RED choices are:

  • high in energy (kilojoules)
  • high in saturated fat added sugar and/or salt
  • low in important nutrients such as fibre

Amber Choose  carefully

AMBER foods and drinks should be selected carefully and should only be eaten in moderation. Although AMBER items may provide some good nutrients they can:

  • lead you to take in too much energy (kilojoules)
  • contain saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt

Green Best  choices  (at  least  50%  of  your  intake)

Foods and drinks in the GREEN category are the healthiest choices. They are usually:

  • good sources of important nutrients
  • lower in saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt
  • lower in energy (kilojoules)
  • higher in fibre.

Download a copy of the Traffic Light System here.


Recipe: Mindful Overnight Oats

Recipe: Mindful Overnight Oats

This recipe contains specific ingredients that are high in certain nutrients directly shown to improve mental health, mood, wellbeing, memory, cognition and reduce stress. 


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 1.2 cup Bonsoy (or unsweetened nut milk of choice) 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1 tbsp flax meal (preferably from freshly grounded seeds) 
  • 1/2 tsp grounded cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp pumpkin seeds 
  • 4 chopped almonds 
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds 
  • 10 blueberries


  1. Put water, oats, milk of choice, flax meal and cinnamon into glass jar or container. Let it sit in the fridge overnight. 
  2. The next morning sprinkle pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chopped almonds and blueberries on oats. 
  3. Enjoy! 

More about the ingredients 

  • Oats are a natural nervine, this means they nourish and tonify the activity of the nervous system. They are also high in B3, and B3 deficiency has been shown to be associated with depression, memory loss and fatigue (Low Dog, 2010).
  • Bonsoy (whole soybean milk) - Studies suggest that soybean peptides have the ability to decrease adrenaline and increase dopamine levels, therefore has the ability to alter brain chemistry and reduce stress response (Yimit, Hoxur, Amat, Uchikawa, & Yamaguchi, 2012).
  • Flax meal (preferably form freshly grounded seeds) is high in omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-3 deficiency has shown to be detrimental on brain function and can lead to poor communication between brain cells. This has been shown to lower mood and cause an increased incidence of depression and anxiety (Larrieu & Layé, 2018). 
  • Cinnamon has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may protect neural function (Momtaz, Hassani, Khan, Ziaee, & Abdollahi, 2018). 
  • Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan and are a source of zinc. Tryptophan and zinc deficiencies are associated with mental health conditions like depression and schizophrenia (Lindseth, Helland, & Caspers, 2015; Petrilli et al., 2017). Tryptophan synthesises serotonin that is integral for stabilising mood and promoting restful sleep, and as it is an essential amino acid it can only be received from food (Lindseth et al., 2015). 
  • Almonds are a source of magnesium and B6. Magnesium is a key mineral required in powering cellular brain function and studies shown can reduce mild-moderate depression (Tarleton, Littenberg, MacLean, Kennedy, & Daley, 2017), B6 is a precursor to GABA and deficiency is associated with anxiety (Nuss, 2015).
  • Hemp seeds are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein is required for neurotransmitter synthesis, brain health and energy (Rao, Asha, Ramesh, & Rao, 2008). 
  • Blueberries are high in anti-oxidants, and have been shown to prevent dementia and improve memory in older adults (Krikorian et al., 2010). 


Krikorian, R., Shidler, M. D., Nash, T. A., Kalt, W., Vinqvist-Tymchuk, M. R., Shukitt-Hale, B., & Joseph, J. A. (2010). Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(7), 3996–4000. 

Larrieu, T., & Layé, S. (2018). Food for mood: Relevance of nutritional omega-3 fatty acids for depression and anxiety. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 1047. 

Lindseth, G., Helland, B., & Caspers, J. (2015). The effects of dietary tryptophan on affective disorders. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 29(2), 102–107. 

Low Dog, T. (2010). The role of nutrition in mental health. Alternative Therapies In Health And Medicine, 16(2), 42–46. Retrieved from 

Momtaz, S., Hassani, S., Khan, F., Ziaee, M., & Abdollahi, M. (2018). Cinnamon, a promising prospect towards Alzheimer’s disease. Pharmacological Research, 130, 241–258. 

Nuss, P. (2015). Anxiety disorders and GABA neurotransmission: A disturbance of modulation. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 11, 165–175. 

Petrilli, M. A., Kranz, T. M., Kleinhaus, K., Joe, P., Getz, M., Johnson, P., … Malaspina, D. (2017). The emerging role for zinc in depression and psychosis. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 8, 414. 

Rao, T. S. S., Asha, M. R., Ramesh, B. N., & Rao, K. S. J. (2008). Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 50(2), 77–82. 

Tarleton, E. K., Littenberg, B., MacLean, C. D., Kennedy, A. G., & Daley, C. (2017). Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE, 12(6), e0180067. Retrieved from 

Yimit, D., Hoxur, P., Amat, N., Uchikawa, K., & Yamaguchi, N. (2012). Effects of soybean peptide on immune function, brain function and neurochemistry in healthy volunteers. Nutrition Journal, 28(2), 154–159.

Myotherapy Tip #1: Make Headaches Easier!

Myotherapy Tip #1: Make Headaches Easier!

Do you develop headaches when stressed? Try diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing can aid your parasympathetic system, which has a ‘calming effect’ to the body. Follow below for 2 minutes every night before you go to bed.

Step 1: lying on your back with knees bent

Step 2: place one hand on your belly button and the other on your chest

Step 3: focus on breathing deep into your belly so that your hand rises

Step 4: try to prevent the hand on your chest from rising

Step 5: take deep slow breaths counting to 5 as you breathe in

Step 6: exhale for a minimum of 5 seconds

If you’d like more tips on combatting recurring headaches, please get in contact with us to book an appointment with a myotherapy student.

 Let Food Fill You With Joy, Not Fear

Let Food Fill You With Joy, Not Fear

In the spirit of all things mental health, I thought I’d talk about something that can cause a lot of anxiety, guilt and overwhelm for many of us…food.

It’s 2018…we’re constantly on social media, hearing news headlines, watching ads, etc about all things food related. Foods that are supposedly ‘good’ and ‘bad’ for us, veganism, vegetarianism, the paleo diet, the sugar-free and gluten free crazes, high carb vs low carb, high fat vs low fat… the list goes on!

Then there so many distractions with what other people are raving about. Whether it be your best friend, mum, cousin, whoever is on the front cover of Vogue or Women’s Weekly or an Instagram celebrity. They may swear by a certain food or diet, claiming that it’s been life changing! This may indeed be true for them, but it certainly doesn’t mean that the same food or diet is going to be miraculous for you.

When taking steps to improve our health by what we eat, it can be hard not to get overwhelmed and demotivated by all of this food confusion. Good news…it doesn’t have to be this way! I firmly believe that no one should feel stress, fear, overwhelm or disheartenment by food and eating for health. In fact, I firmly believe that food should be fun and it should be enjoyed! My advice is simple – take a step back, go back to basics, and truly tune in to your body. Here’s how:

Eat with Mother Nature

Eat foods as close to their natural form as possible – veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, unprocessed meats, legumes, etc. An easy way to do this is by shopping from the outskirts of the supermarket – this is where all the beautiful nourishing fresh produce is (as opposed to the aisles where all the package processed products are).

Opt for balance over perfection

If you ask me, there’s no such thing as the perfect diet. Many of us fall into the habit of labelling foods as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and trying to completely avoid the ‘bad’ ones…only to gobble them up later on. Instead of this all or nothing mentality, why not think of these foods as ‘sometimes’ foods to be enjoyed from time to time. And when you do eat them, truly enjoy them (without the fear or guilt)! 

Remember, there’s no ‘one size fits all’

Just like a pair of jeans and many other things in life, there really is no one size fits all when it comes to food and dietary habits. What works wonders for you will be worlds different to what works for your next door neighbour, uni friend, boss, aunty, etc. Try your best not to get distracted by what anyone else is doing. Instead, truly tune in to your body and what feels right for you at that time – really notice how your body feels around certain foods, and use that as a cue about what’s best for YOU!

Last but certainly not least, let food fill you with joy

Food is so nourishing and wonderful, it shouldn’t be a cause of fear or anxiety. Let’s stop all the negative labels, connotations and restrictions around food. Food isn’t either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and you aren’t inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for the food choices you make. Instead, let food be a source of nourishment and happiness in your life. Next time you eat, remove all judgement, be thankful, and truly enjoy it!

If you’d like some more guidance on eating or your relationship with food, please get in contact with us to book an appointment with a nutrition student.

The Truth about Hormonal Birth Control

The Truth about Hormonal Birth Control

You may know that the oral contraceptive pill (hormonal birth control) can cause depression, loss of sex drive, hair loss and weight gain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there; high blood pressure, nutrient deficiency and reduced thyroid function can also occur as a side effect. It also alters intestinal and vaginal bacteria which can lead to digestive problems and yeast infections. Finally, studies have shown it can decrease the formation of healthy bones by the absence of not having a true period. If you have not had your period for more than three months, then you are slowly increasing your lifetime risk of osteoporosis. It is your real hormones oestrogen and progesterone that are essential for bone health. How can one pill cause so much disruption over so many systems in the body? The answer is the synthetic hormones.

The human hormones synthesised by your ovaries are estradiol and progesterone and they have many benefits not just for reproduction; for mood, bones, thyroid, muscles and metabolism. These hormones are essential for human physiology and are HUMAN hormones. These are unfortunately not the hormones administrated every day in the form of the oral contraceptive pill. In contrast, the pill consists of steroid hormones called ethinylestradiol, drospirenone, levonorgestrel and others and serve their purpose as chemical messengers, also known as pseudo hormones. Their chemical make-up is different from our human hormones, therefore do not carry out the same beneficial roles that our human hormones do.

A natural period is a sequence of hormonal events including ovulation, and the making of progesterone and ending in menstruation if an egg has not been fertilised. A natural period represents healthy ovaries and if you know how to listen and interpret your body signs, it can give you a healthy report card every month. A pill bleed is not resulting from ovulation; it is a withdrawal bleed from the synthetic hormones. When you stop taking the synthetic hormones that stimulate uterine lining and shut down your hormones, the drop in pseudo hormones results in a bleed. Yes I did just say shut down your hormones, on the pill you do not have any of your own sex hormones, they go on holidays and the pill provides steroid hormones as a hormonal replacement method.

As a student at Wellnation Clinic, I commonly see heavy periods, painful periods and/or irregular periods being prescribed the pill as a band-aid. Yes, the pseudo hormones do regulate your bleed but they do not address the underlying pathology as to why there were symptoms in the first place. The good news is that there are other options that do not come with side effects and compromises on your health whether you’re on the pill to ‘regulate your menses’ or to avoid pregnancy.

It is important to note that there is no hormonal herbal alternative for the contraceptive pill. There are other options that work by acting as a barrier between you and the sperm or don’t interfere with ovulation and they are known as type 1 contraceptive methods. These options include FAM (Fertility Awareness Method) and when used correctly can be just as efficient as the pill, however, requires training by your doctor, taking your basal temperature in the morning before you get out of bed to determine when you ovulate by a drop in temperature. This way you can determine the best time to avoid sexual intercourse. You could try male condoms, female condoms, withdrawal or pull-out method with education around charting etc. (see your naturopath for further information) and diaphragm without spermicide. These are all type 1 contraceptive methods that do not carry some toxicity or health risk. If you want to research into type 2 and 3 contractive methods, I recommend some further reading “Period Repair Manual- Every Woman’s Guide to Better Periods”- Lara Briden. This will be your bible!

As a naturopathic student, I have used a lot of great supplements and herbal medicine to achieve the desired results whether it’s pain, heavy periods, loss of periods, spotting throughout the cycle, nausea, headaches etc. There are herbs that encourage communication between the pituitary gland and the ovaries via the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary (HPO) axis to bring on a period after coming off the pill, there are herbs to reduce pain by alleviating uterine spasmodic actions, there are herbs to decrease nausea, there are herbs to reduce inflammation via inflammatory pathways. I also have referred for testing to identify any differential diagnosis that may the reason behind the symptoms. Through thorough case taking on your diet, reproductive history and depending on the case itself, other systems I will be able to determine an appropriate treatment to address the correct pathology. For further information, feel free to book a naturopathic consultation via Wellnation Clinic.

Let's have a chat about your options.

Happy Researching!

Endometriosis: How Naturopathic Medicine Helps

Endometriosis: How Naturopathic Medicine Helps

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease where there is the presence of endometrial tissue outside of the uterine cavity. Unlike PMS and PCOS, endometriosis is not a hormonal condition. It is an inflammatory condition that is affected by hormones.

10 to 15% of women of reproductive age have endometriosis, of which approximately 80% experience the following symptoms:

  • Painful periods
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Painful defecation or constipation
  • Constant pelvic pain (even when you are not menstruating)

Endometriosis also affects reproduction, with up to 50% of women with the condition of experiencing infertility [1].

What Causes Endometriosis?

This is a great question and one that is still unknown. Accumulating evidence suggests that endometriosis is caused by a combination of epigenetic, hormonal, inflammatory and immunological (including autoimmune) factors. 

Natural Treatment of Endometriosis

Natural treatment of endometriosis is completely individualised as each woman experiences the condition differently. Nonetheless, it is important to reduce inflammation, improve immune function and optimise hormone levels. Natural treatment of endometriosis is achieved through diet and lifestyle modifications in conjunction with herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation.

Adopt a gluten-free diet

In susceptible individuals, such as women with endometriosis, gluten stimulates the release of inflammatory cytokines and therefore promotes inflammation in the body. Research shows that after adopting a gluten-free diet for 12 months, painful symptoms of endometriosis decreased in 75% of the patients [2].

Minimise dairy (A1 casein) intake

The problem with dairy is not the fat or the lactose, the problem is the protein known as A1 casein. In susceptible individuals, such as women with endometriosis, A1 casein stimulates histamine and inflammatory cytokine release, therefore promoting inflammation in the body. A1 casein is found only in the milk of Holstein (Friesian) cows, which are the main herds in Australia, the UK, the US and Canada. The easiest way to detect if casein consumption is contributing to your symptoms, try avoiding it for at least three months.

Minimise red meat intake

Recent research from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology shows that the consumption of animal products has the potential to influence the risk of endometriosis. The study found that women who consumed 2 or more servings of red meat per day had a 56% higher risk of endometriosis compared to those who consumed 1 or fewer servings per week [3].

Exercise. And I mean actually exercise

A systematic review published in the Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology journal has shown that regular physical activity reduces inflammation and is beneficial in normalising hormonal levels in women with endometriosis. 30 minutes of medium-to-high intensity exercise, including running, bicycle riding or weights, 3 times per week is a great start. It has been shown that women who exercise 4 hours or more per week reduce the risk of endometriosis by 65% [9].

The Impact of Herbal Medicines

As mentioned, endometriosis affects each woman differently. Some women may experience severe pain, some may have heightened stress or digestive complaints, and the list goes on. The point is, that herbal medicines will be dispensed depending on the symptom picture. Some common herbal medicines used in endometriosis include:

  • Green tea – has been shown in animal studies to reduce the size of endometriotic lesions and inhibits the progression of endometriosis [5].
  • Resveratrol – is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and supports the immune system. It has been shown in combination with the OCP to completely reduce painful periods and pelvic pain in 82% of patients after 2 months [7].
    St John’s Wort – is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic, effective in decreasing pain associated with endometriosis. Due to the chronic nature of endometriosis, it is common for women to experience depression, anxiety, psychological stress and poor quality of life. For this reason, St John’s Wort may be indicated [6].
  • Turmeric – is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to reduce oestrogen levels, therefore reducing the advancement of endometriosis [8].

There are many other herbal medicines, lifestyle modifications and dietary interventions including nutritional supplementation that is effective in the management of endometriosis. Always seek the guidance of a Naturopath before taking any herbal medicines or nutritional supplements. Book in to see Georgia or one of our other student naturopaths or nutritionists and take charge of your health today!












Immune Boosting Masoor Dahl

Immune Boosting Masoor Dahl

This Dahl is perfect on a cold winters night to warm you up and boost your immunity.  It is full of antioxidants, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory herbs and spices of turmeric, garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander.  These will help to nourish you through the cold winter.  The recipe also is a one-pot wonder meal that is also budget friendly.


  • 500g – Red Lentils
  • 2 TBSP – Ghee or coconut oil if vegan
  • 2-3 TBSP – Turmeric
  • 3cm – Ginger
  • 1 TSP – Ground Cumin
  • 1 TSP – Ground Coriander
  • 3 TSP – Black Mustard Seeds
  • 10 – Curry Leaves
  • 1 Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2-3 – Medium tomatoes 1cm diced
  • 1 – Eggplant 1cm diced
  • 500g – Spinach
  • 1 cup – Pumpkin 1 cm diced
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 2 TSP – Goram Masala


  1. Wash lentils in cold water until running clear
  2. In a large pot add ghee, ginger, garlic, turmeric and cook for 2 minutes
  3. Add cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves and chilli flakes.  When mustard seeds start to pop add the vegetables of 1cm diced and fry for a few minutes
  4. Add 500ml of water and lentils and let it boil lightly for 10 minutes
  5. Add 1-1.5L of water and boil for 20 – 30 minutes on low heat, stirring from time to time because it can burn easily at this point
  6. Add 2 TSP Garam Masala and some salt and pepper
  7. Cut one bunch of coriander and add to the dahl at the ends
  8. Serve with basmati or brown rice and sprinkle with coriander and slithered almonds

Immunity Tea Blend

Immunity Tea Blend

Supporting your immune system is most important during the cool winter months. Herbal tea blends are a great way to keep warm, stay hydrated and keep those lurgies at bay. You may have tried some of our tea blends at one of our Wellnation Clinics. Our favourite blend for winter is the Immunity Tea, made with Echinacea, lemongrass and rosehips. 


Echinacea stimulates immune function and enhances the body’s ability to fight off infections. It is a great herb for upper respiratory infections and can help speed up recovery time.


Lemongrass is commonly used as a culinary herb in south-east Asian cooking. It contains various flavonoid compounds that provide anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. One particular flavonoid found in lemongrass is quercetin, which is known to inhibit histamine release from immune cells, thus lemongrass is also a useful herb in easing allergy-related symptoms. 


Rosehips are the nourishing little fruits that form once a rose flower blooms and then drops it petals. These gems are highly nutritive, and rich in the immune boosting nutrient, vitamin C. Aside from Rosehips pleasantly sweet and slightly tart taste, its use in tea blends or herbal tonics provides anti-inflammatory and astringent actions. These properties are helpful in reducing inflammation, relieving congestion and decreasing excessive mucus secretions. 

This is just one of many herbal tea blends that our naturopathic student practitioners are able to create for natural immune support. Book an appointment online    

Why gut health is key in strengthening immune function

Why gut health is key in strengthening immune function

The state of our gut health has a significant impact on various aspects of our health and wellbeing. Our immune system is no exception. The gastrointestinal tract not only works to breakdown foods and absorb nutrients, but it also provides a protective barrier to keep pathogens from making their way into our bodies where they don’t belong. In addition to the physical barrier, we also have a community of microbes (known as the microbiota) that cover our mucosal surfaces and play an important role as part of our immune defences. 

Meet your Microbiota

Your microbiota is the population of different microbes that reside on the mucosal surfaces in your mouth, digestive tract, nose, sinus cavities and even in the lungs. Your microbiota is as unique as your fingerprint and is composed of different types of bacteria, the balance of which is determined by a number of factors such as diet, physical activity, alcohol intake and medication use. 

The Microbiota’s immune defence tactics

Aside from forming a part of the physical barrier in conjunction with the mucosal surfaces throughout the body, the healthy bugs of the microbiota provide immune protection by secreting antimicrobial peptides and other chemical compounds. These compounds prevent pathogens from nesting, proliferating and invading the gut. However, the key to this process working effectively is that there is a wide variety of good bacteria and sufficient numbers of them to keep up with the demands of immune defence.

Microbial imbalances and poor immunity

Maintaining the diversity and balance of microbes that make up our microbiota is a tough gig. Every day, we are exposed to chemicals (pesticides, PCB’s, heavy metals, alcohol, medications, etc.) that threaten our good gut bug species. On top of that, our diets are generally not providing enough plant-based foods to feed our microbiota and support their growth. This leaves space for the not-so-good microbes to set up camp and muscle out the good gut bugs. What we are left with is a microbial imbalance (termed dysbiosis) that essentially reduces our immune defences, leading to poor immune function and increased susceptibility to infections.

Restoring the Microbiota

Fortunately, our microbiota is quite dynamic. Given a supportive environment and enough of the right foods, it can bounce back within a matter of months. A healthy microbiota needs a diet that provides plenty of colourful plant foods. The more variety, the better. Gut healing foods such as bone broths can provide further support in improving gut health and restoring microbial balance. You can read more on the health benefits of bone broth here. Restoring your microbiota balance may well be the key to better immune health, particularly in the midst of the cold and flu season.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

While last year’s trend – the ketogenic diet – is still going strong, an emergent body of research suggests that intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the best-proven ways to improve health. In addition, many people have found success using IF to lose weight. However, its benefits go far beyond just that. IF is also linked to improved blood-glucose, decreased inflammation and increased cognitive function (1).

This is because similar to the Paleo diet, it resembles the way our ancestors ate. According to renowned cardiologist Steven Gundry (3), "our ancestors didn’t crawl out of their cave and say ‘what’s for breakfast?’ There wasn’t any refrigerator or even any storage system." This meant that at times, our ancestors would not eat until midday or even in the evening. Scientists are now discovering that this length of time spent fasting might actually have a therapeutic effect, both on the body and the brain (2).

One of the biggest misconceptions about intermittent fasting is that it focuses on calorie deprivation for weight loss. However, integrative medicine specialist Amy Shah recommends fasting to her patients in order to fight inflammation, improve digestion, and improve their longevity (1). "By modulating your hormones (insulin and growth hormone) and increasing cellular repair, intermittent fasting is a multitasking anti-inflammatory powerhouse. (1)"

Furthermore, according to integrative neurologist Ilene Ruhoy, who uses IF as a brain-boosting tool, "IF is beneficial because it slows the regular transport of glucose into the brain cells and allows the existing glucose and glycogen stores to be converted to energy. This energy can then be used to focus on brain cell metabolic processes, enhancing brain function and allowing one to gain greater energy and mental clarity. (1)" 

There are several conditions which can benefit from IF, including people who are obese, have type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and fatty liver disease (1). However, according to Jason Fund, author of The Complete Guide to Fasting, the biggest benefits are seen in the prevention of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (1). Essentially, fasting is like decluttering for your brain, a restorative timeout for your gut, and gives your cells the time to clear out old proteins and other material so they can properly rebuild and regenerate (4). 


1.     mindbodygreen. Your official list to what's going to be HUGE in 2018 [Internet]. mindbodygreen. mindbodygreen; 2017 [cited 2018Jun11]. Available from:

2.     Lidicker G. New Research Shows How Intermittent Fasting Is Like Decluttering For Your Brain [Internet]. mindbodygreen. mindbodygreen; 2016 [cited 2018Jun11]. Available from:

3.     Intermittent Fasting: Fad or the Future? [Internet]. mindbodygreen. mindbodygreen; 2017 [cited 2018Jun11]. Available from:

4.     Shah A. Intermittent Fasting Can Heal Your Gut & Calm Inflammation. Here's Exactly How To It [Internet]. mindbodygreen. mindbodygreen; 2017 [cited 2018Jun11]. Available from:

Re-Wiring Your Emotional Brain to Deal with Stress (and Lose Weight!)

Re-Wiring Your Emotional Brain to Deal with Stress (and Lose Weight!)

Although some instances of weight gain and obesity are caused by genetics, more and more research is pointing to the fact that stress plays a big role in weight gain, as many will turn to food for comfort in times of stress. Currently, nearly two-thirds of adults and one-quarter of children and adolescents in Australia are overweight or obese, with that proportion continuing to rise (1). Drug research has not yet been able to produce a solution that allows people to lose weight and keep it off long term. Traditional approaches like diet and exercise can be effective in the short term, however, most people inevitably regain the weight (2).

The solution to weight loss is unlikely to be presented in pill format in the near future. Instead, the solution will be to begin changing the brain, especially the primitive areas of the brain (the “emotional brain” or the mammalian and reptilian brain) (3). These are the areas of the brain that control stress and our stress-fuelled emotions, thoughts, and behaviours (3). These circuits have the potential to be re-wired in humans. As such, by addressing the root-cause of stress-related problems, we have the chance to change them.

The link between stress and obesity has been previously extensively researched (4). The emotional brain acts as the command centre for weight and common excesses. It includes emotions such as fear, reward and starvation centres (3). When that part of the brain is stressed, all three centres promote relying on food as a crutch, leading to overeating, and thus, weight gain. In such a situation, individuals have a strong drive to do what they know they shouldn’t in order to relieve that stress – overeat! This is because the stress is increasing the reward value of food, which causes an increase in cravings for carbohydrates and decreases the metabolic rate, almost ensuring weight gain. This is because our thinking brain goes offline and the extremes of our emotional brain call the shots (3).

The initial step to taking back control of one’s weight is learning to de-stress the emotional brain. Laurel Mellin (Associate Clinical Professor of Family & Community Medicine and Paediatrics, University of California, San Francisco) and colleagues have recently designed a program to assist with identifying stress levels and “spiralling up” into a state of well-being. The techniques involve checking in with oneself to identify where the feelings of stress are coming from, and convincing yourself that you cannot get your safety from food, and learning instead to get safety from connecting to yourself, and watching those circuits change over time. The point is to ensure that the user reaches for a cognitive tool rather than reaching for food in times of stress, thus over time, changing those brain circuits. The drive to overeat eventually fades so participants are more resilient to new stresses and less likely to gain back the weight they have lost (3).


1.     A picture of overweight and obesity in Australia, Table of contents [Internet]. A picture of overweight and obesity in Australia. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2017 [cited 2018May16]. Available from:

2.     Johansson K, Neovius M, Hemmingsson E. Effects of anti-obesity drugs, diet, and exercise on weight-loss maintenance after a very-low-calorie diet or low-calorie diet: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2018May16];99(1):14–23. Available from:

3.     Mellin L, The Weight Loss 'Secret' That No One Is Telling You [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2018 [cited 2018May16]. Available from:

4.     Yau, Y. H. C., & Potenza, M. N. (2013). Stress and Eating Behaviors. Minerva Endocrinologica38(3), 255–267.

Simple strategies to help manage stress and anxiety

Simple strategies to help manage stress and anxiety

Take regular breaks

Whether you are working in an office or studying for exams, taking regular breaks and timeout can really help to reset your stress levels. Scheduling regular breaks also help to alleviate fatigue and can improve your productivity. Going for a walk, doing some meditation or even just a 10-minute yoga practice (link to insert  ) can do wonders to calm the nervous system and rejuvenate the brain. 

Eat regularly

Nourish your body and fuel your brain with whole food meals, regularly. This will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and sustain good energy levels. Take time to mindfully consume your meal, free from the distractions of work, study, checking emails and social media feeds. Not only is mindful eating better for digestion, mindfulness practices in general help to keep stress and anxiety in check.

Minimise stimulants

Caffeine in small quantities can boost mood and alertness, which may be beneficial in some situations. However, in larger quantities, stimulants such as caffeine activate the sympathetic nervous system and can cause agitation, irritability and impact sleep quality. These symptoms will be compounded in situations where levels of stress and anxiety are higher.

Maintain good sleep behaviours

Increased levels of stress and anxiety can be taxing on the body and so it is important to ensure that you are getting plenty of good quality sleep. You may also find that when you are stressed or anxious, you sleep is disrupted. If this is the case for you, then it becomes even more important to establish and practice healthy sleep hygiene habits.

Lean on your support network

Don’t go it alone. If stress and/or anxiety levels are starting to disrupt your daily life, then talk it through with someone. That might just be letting family or friends know that you are feeling stressed/overwhelmed/anxious and asking them for support, or it could be seeking help from a health professional.

If you need further help or support, please seek assistance from a qualified health professional. The following resources may be a useful starting point for you:

LIFELINE – 13 11 14

BEYOND BLUE – 1300 224 636


Stand up for your health!

Stand up for your health!

During our work days, or study sessions, we may feel we need to sit at our desks for long periods of time in order to get through our workload, but are we causing more harm than good? The internet is full of articles outlining the adverse effects of prolonged sitting has on our physical and mental wellbeing. Problems such as neck pain, back pain, eye strain, headaches, increased stress response, and even depression. Optimal health can be achieved by assessing the five pillars of health, which are: sleep, diet, exercise/movement, stress management. 

Finding the right balance of all of these can help improve our mental and physical wellbeing. So let’s have a look at how we can add more movement into our work/study days!

  • Firstly, make sure your workstation or study station is set up correctly, to promote good posture and alleviate any unnecessary stress on your body.
  • Get up and move at regular intervals, even just walking down the hall and back. If you feel you may forget set yourself an alarm as a reminder, don’t ignore it!
  • Every hour, step away from your workstation for at least 5-10 minutes, this gives your eyes a rest from the glare of your screen and gives you time to go through some gentle movements/stretches such as:     
  • Movement. These should all be performed at a slow and controlled pace, with steady breathing, at least ten times each. Move your neck, roll your shoulders forwards and backwards standing or lying spinal rotations.
  • Stretches. These should be gentle, and held for at least 30 seconds, add in steady breathing to help reduce mental stress also. You want to stretch areas you feel are under tension from your seated position. This includes your neck, chest, forearms, back and hamstrings.

If you would like to chat about how to improve your day to day physical wellbeing book an appointment to see one of our Myotherapy students.

Acupuncture and Dry Needling: Let's get to the point!

Acupuncture and Dry Needling: Let's get to the point!

What is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling? It is a commonly posed question, that as an acupuncture student I wanted to explore so I could answer from a more educated standpoint.  The main area of focus is on the therapeutic approaches to the musculoskeletal system where both therapies tend to overlap.


Acupuncture has been in existence for over 2500 years as a therapeutic method to support the body’s harmonizing of Yin and Yang. This balance ensures harmony between the Yin/Yang organs; and promotes the smooth flow of Qi and Blood through the meridians and for nourishing the joints, bones, muscles and tendons. 

Note: Yin and Yang are the foundations of diagnosis and treatment in Chinese Medicine; they are opposites yet cannot exist without the other such as the internal and anterior (Yin) and external and posterior (Yang) body.  Yin organs (Liver, Heart, Pericardium, Lungs, Spleen, and Kidney) are solid and their function is to produce and store the vital substances (Qi, Blood, Essence and Body fluids).  The Yang organs (Stomach, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Bladder, Gall Bladder and San Jiao) are hollow and are in charge of the digestion and excretion of fluids and nutrients.

Disruption of this balance can obstruct the flow of Qi and Blood causing stagnation (blockage) in the affected area resulting in musculoskeletal tension and pain.  The stagnation is viewed as a manifestation (Biao) the flare signal alerting the acupuncturist that there is a disharmony which is the root cause (Ben).  The causes could be external such as injury or pathogens (relating to climatic changes that can cause injury) such as Wind, Cold and Damp which contribute to musculoskeletal issues.  In chronic conditions, there may be an underlying deficiency (not enough of/poor quality) of Qi and Blood, chronic blood stagnation (blockage that has gone untreated) or disharmony of the Yin/Yang organs.  The organs can be injured by emotion, diet and exhaustion and the main three that contribute are Spleen (controls the muscles and the four limbs); the Kidney (controls the bones); and the Liver (controls the sinews: tendons, ligaments and cartilage).


Dry Needling was a derivative of Wet Needling (hypodermic injections into myofascial trigger points) which was developed by Janet Travell and David Simons in the early 1940’s.  Further development by Dr Chen Gunn in the 1970’s with the adoption of acupuncture techniques (needle manipulation and filament needle) on motor points of the muscle creating ‘intramuscular stimulation’ to relieve myofascial tension and pain.  Dry needling is used on both myofascial trigger points and motor points for treatment of neuromuscular pain and myofascial dysfunction. 


Acupuncture points are points on the 12 primary channels belonging to the Yin/Yang organs, extra points that reside in specific areas near to the channels and Ashi points that are of no fixed location but are tender or feel knotted on palpation of the myofascial area known as the ‘Jingjin’. 

Myofascial trigger points are areas of tension (knots) that restrict normal muscle function and cause referred pain. Motor points stimulate muscle twitch (contraction) as it’s the location the motor nerve enters the muscle.  Contracting the muscle results in the resetting of the nerve, muscle relaxation increased muscle strength and minimising strain on joints and tendons. 

….but are they the same?

Essentially yes as research has identified that 70% of motor points are the same locations as named acupuncture points (although this is only a small percentage of overall acupuncture points).  An example of this is the motor points along the Spinalis muscle which run along either side of the spine (the spinal nerve enters this muscle); this area is known as the Hua Tuo Jia Ji which is an extra point (this extra point has grouped the points that line the spine bilaterally). Ashi points can be defined as both motor and trigger points and stimulating this point to get de qi (arrival of vital energy) or to unblock the meridian can be seen as activating a twitch response or relieving myofascial knots and tension.

Clinical Nutrition and Naturopathy: What is the difference?

Clinical Nutrition and Naturopathy: What is the difference?

The practice of clinical nutrition and naturopathy approaches to disease prevention and management through a multidimensional and holistic lens. This includes addressing all aspects of an individual’s life that are impacting their health.

Clinical Nutrition

Clinical nutrition refers to the therapeutic management of individual patients using an evidence-based understanding of nutritional principles and the functional role of food and nutrients in the body. Understanding of digestion, absorption, transportation, and excretion of nutrients is required to comprehensively acknowledge the physiologic and biochemical processes involved in health and disease.

To implement a successful nutrition plan, clinical nutritionists thoroughly asses the client’s current nutritional status by addressing nutrient adequacy, food quality, dietary behaviours and lifestyle factors that may impede the client’s current health status. It is the role of the nutritionist to also assess the client’s medical history, anthropometric measurements, biochemical and laboratory values, and information on medication and supplement use for potential food-drug interactions.

It is also the practitioner’s role to understand the client’s attitude to health and success and to be able to understand the physical, emotional, spiritual, familial, social, occupational, and financial stressors that impact their health. In doing so, a holistic approach to health and disease is applied. 

Clinical Naturopathy

The practice of naturopathy is a unique system of health care that is not limited to a single modality of healing. Naturopathy combines the art and science of medicine using traditional forms of healing and modern scientific knowledge to prevent and treat illness. Naturopathic medicine combines herbal medicine, nutrition and dietary planning, lifestyle modifications, and other modalities including flower essences, iridology, tissue salts and celloids.

The practice of naturopathy is based on six traditional principles:

1. The healing power of nature

Nature is both perfectly balanced and organized intelligently to create, maintain, repair and destroy matter synchronistically. The body also has its own intuitive and sophisticated mechanism of healing. The use of natures healing agents – air, earth, water and sun – in combination with a clean diet, exercise, adequate sleep, relaxation, meditation, and an optimistic outlook that influence and support the body’s innate ability to heal. 

2. Identify and treat the cause

Underpinning this principle is the basic understanding that all illness must have a cause. For health to be restored and optimised the cause or causes of the disease state must be identified and removed.

3. Treat The Whole Person
Health and disease are the results of an intricate interplay of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, familial and occupational factors. Failure to address all aspects of health fundamentally ignores the complexity of the human being.

4. First Do No Harm
The naturopath’s role is to facilitate the body’s natural ability to heal and if this approach underpins practice, then harmless practice will be a direct result. Naturopathic practice that respects the principle of harm­ free treatment is traditionally non­invasive and avoids the suppression of symptoms and the prescription of harmful doses of medicine.

5. Doctor As Teacher
The word doctor has a Latin origin, meaning ‘teacher’. The power to eliminate disease and optimise health lies within the body, not with the naturopath. In this sense, the naturopath assumes the role of the teacher so as to educate, inspire and motivate, and encourage self-empowerment to the patient.

6. Prevention

Naturopathy is employed to prevent both the sequel of disease states and the development of new states. In a time where medicine is reactive rather than proactive, it is the naturopath’s role to facilitate disease prevention. 

Conditions treated and managed with nutritional and naturopathic medicine

In all of the conditions below, nutritional and naturopathic medicine plays a vital role.

Lung Health Awareness

Lung Health Awareness

Every single day, we take about 22,000 breaths on average2. “Anyone can get lung disease – it affects approximately 1 in 4 Australians and is the second leading cause of death in this country.[1]”

There are a number of ways you can protect your lungs and help them function optimally. Firstly, don't smoke. Cigarettes are the leading cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Over time, the smoke from cigarettes damages the tissue within the lungs and could potentially trigger changes in the cells that could grow into cancer[4]. Quitting at any stage has benefits, but the earlier one quits, the better.

Secondly, try to get more exercise. This should go without saying, as exercise has countless benefits outside of just lung health. However, it’s important to note that exercise itself won’t necessarily strengthen your lungs directly, but it will help you get more out of them. This is because “the better your cardiorespiratory fitness, the easier it is for your lungs to keep your heart and muscles supplied with oxygen.”[4]

Another thing you can do is avoid exposure to pollutants such as chemicals in house/workplace, second-hand smoke, and air pollution. However, pollution is not just an outdoor problem. There are several sources of indoor pollution as well, including fireplaces, mould, pet dander, and certain construction materials.[4]

Last but not least, eat right. Research shows that antioxidant-rich foods are good for your lungs – however, this only pertains to eating food, not supplements. Studies have shown that people who regularly ate cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, kale, etc.) had only half the risk of lung cancer compared to those who didn’t. This is due to the high level of antioxidants contained in these foods.[5]

If you would like help tailoring your nutritional habits to be the best version of yourself you can be, or if you suffer from a form of lung disease, the Wellnation Clinic offers nutrition consultations Monday through Saturday to help optimise your health. To book in, visit our website or call the clinic on 1300 859 785.

The symptoms of lung disease have a tendency to appear slowly, yet instead of getting help, people instinctively shift their lifestyle and daily activities to shrink their symptoms. Lung Foundation Australia encourages people to take two minutes out of their day to complete their online Lung Health Checklist.


1.     Lung Health Awareness Month [Internet]. Lung Foundation Australia. 2018 [cited 2018Apr13]. Available from:

2.     Lung Health [Internet]. Lung Foundation Australia. 2014 [cited 2018Apr13]. Available from:

3.     Tips to Keep Your Lungs Healthy [Internet]. American Lung Association. [cited 2018Apr13]. Available from:

4.     Harding A. 12 Ways to Keep Your Lungs Strong and Healthy [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2018Apr16]. Available from:,,20488696,00.html#exercise-more-0

5.     Jiang Y, Wu S-H, Shu X-O, Xiang Y-B, Ji B-T, Milne GL, Cai Q, Zhang X, Gao Y-T, Zheng W, Yang G. Cruciferous Vegetable Intake Is Inversely Correlated with Circulating Levels of Proinflammatory Markers in Women. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014;114(5).

Memory Boosting Salmon Cakes with Antioxidant-packed Berry Salad

Memory Boosting Salmon Cakes with Antioxidant-packed Berry Salad

Packed with omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)to boost brain power these cakes are a great way to get your quota of fish for the week.  Spice them up with some warming ginger to improve your digestion and circulation.  Add a complementary summer berry salad with antioxidant-packed blueberries and extra memory enhancing walnuts which are the only nut source of alpha-linolenic acid giving you more omega 3’s. 

A delicious way to ‘let food be thy medicine’ 


Salmon Cakes

  • 200g salmon steak (skin off)
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 small chili
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 small bunch parsley finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Breadcrumbs (homemade, gluten-free – whatever you fancy)


Heat a fry pan and add a little olive oil.  Pan fry the salmon steak until well cooked.  Remove from pan and rest. 

Peel and quarter potatoes and cook in boiling water.  Drain and mash.

When salmon has cooled flake with fork into a large bowl and add herbs and spices.  Add the cooled potato and season with salt and pepper. 

Whisk the eggs in a jug and pour into dish.  Combine the mixture and make into patties (it should make 8 patties)

Roll patties in the breadcrumbs 

Heat some olive oil in the pan and add the patties.  Cook until golden brown on each side. 

Berry salad 

  • Rocket and baby spinach mix
  • ½ punnet of blueberries
  • 1 avocado - sliced
  • ½ cup walnuts – roughly chopped
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 pear sliced
  • 2 tb spoon Olive oil
  • 1 tb spoon Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt/pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix the olive oil and apple cider vinegar adding the salt and pepper to season.  Pour over just before you serve.

Place 1-2 patties on each plate and serve with a slice of lemon and a generous portion of salad.

Do supplements really work?

Do supplements really work?

The nutritional supplement industry is booming. And it is a minefield. There is a plethora of information and misinformation about nutritional supplements, which in combination with a Dr. Google self-diagnosis, can quickly result in confusion and overwhelm. Should I be taking a protein powder after my work out? What about B vitamins for energy? How much magnesium do I need to take for improving sleep?

So, are supplements actually beneficial for your health and do they work? Here are a few things to consider in weighing up the benefits of a supplement and getting the most out of it.

Supplement Quality

The quality of the supplement is an important consideration. Nutrients often come in a number of different forms. The form of a nutrient will impact how well that nutrient is absorbed and the dosage required for clinical efficacy. Also, certain forms of nutrients are more likely to cause side effects, most commonly diarrhea or constipation.

A good example of this is Magnesium. It comes in a number of different forms such as magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium glycinate to name a few. Magnesium oxide is an inexpensive form of magnesium, however, absorption is not great and higher doses cause very loose bowels. Magnesium citrate is a little more expensive and has much better bioavailability, but higher doses can also cause loose bowel motions in some people. Magnesium glycinate is again better absorbed than magnesium oxide and is much gentler on the tummy.

Another aspect that determines the quality of a supplement is the manufacturing. Nutritional supplement products in Australia are subject to rigorous goods and manufacturing procedures and need to be approved by the therapeutic goods administration (TGA) to be marketed as a supplement. An AUSTL number can be found on supplements approved by the TGA. Find out more about listed and registered medicines here.

Your Individual Requirements

Nutritional requirements will be different for each of us and they will vary across our lifespan. There are also other factors that determine nutritional needs and impact nutritional status. Pregnant and breastfeeding women will have a greater need for specific nutrients. Vegan and vegetarian diets can be low in certain nutrients, so individuals following such eating patterns may be at risk of deficiencies. Gastrointestinal diseases can impact nutrient absorption across the intestinal membranes. Whether or not a supplement will be helpful for you, will very much depend on your current nutritional status and requirements. 


How much you take of a supplement can have a significant impact on how effective and safe it is. First, let us tackle the safety issue. Some nutrients (for example iron) are toxic in high doses, so exceeding the prescribed dose will likely be harmful. In most cases, taking a higher dose of a nutrient will actually reduce the percentage that is absorbed — our bodies have cleverly developed this protective mechanism — so more is generally not better.

It is also important to know if a supplement (nutrient or herb) may potentially interact with medications or other supplements you are taking. Supplement dosages may need to be adjusted to minimise any interactions. Always seek advice from a health professional. 

When are you taking the supplement?

Nutrients, just like us humans, each have their little quirks. Some are much better absorbed when taken with a meal, while other nutrients prefer an empty stomach for optimal uptake. The tannins in coffee and tea (including some herbal teas) can bind to nutrients, particularly minerals, and can reduce uptake. It is generally best to take supplements away from these beverages. Some nutrients use the same channels for absorption, so taking them all at the same time may limit absorption.  For example, calcium can block the absorption of iron, so these two nutrients are best taken separately.

Where to next?

Navigating the world of nutrition can be tricky. There are many things to consider, particularly in regards to supplementation as we have just explored. Seeking advice from a nutritionist can be really valuable in identifying your unique nutritional needs and clarifying what supplements are going to work best for you. 

Wellnation Clinics offers Nutrition consultations Monday – Saturdays. Book online here.

Food, Nutrition & the Cooking Process

Food, Nutrition & the Cooking Process

With modern life presenting new challenges in the face of busy schedules, meal prepping serves as a time, and sanity, saver for many people. Setting aside time to prepare a few meals in large batches that can be reheated later on in the week is an effective time-management tool. However, what does this mean for the nutrient content of our food? What does cooking food do to the nutrients inside? There will always be a degree of nutrient loss when cooking or reheating food, but getting some nutrients is always better than getting none at all, and, cooking food assists with digestion and can increase absorption of some nutrients. In addition, some foods must be cooked to prevent bacteria growth, which can be harmful to health. As a general rule, the less cooking time and the lower the temperature used when cooking, the better.

Steaming is the preferred cooking method for retaining nutrient content, particularly those heat-sensitive, water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins. Research has revealed that steaming broccoli, spinach and lettuce decrease their vitamin C content by only 9–15%, which is less than most cooking methods. Although the thought of steamed veggies screams bland to most people, this can be remedied by adding a punch of seasoning and oil or butter after cooking. Sautéing and stir-frying is also optimal, as it uses shorter cooking times without water, preventing loss of B vitamins. The inclusion of fat from oils during cooking is also linked to improved absorption of antioxidants. One study has shown that absorption of beta-carotene was 6.5 times greater in stir-fried carrots than in raw, while another demonstrated that serum lycopene concentrations increased 80% more when participants consumed tomatoes sautéed in olive oil rather than without. However, stir-frying has been demonstrated to notably decrease total vitamin C in broccoli and red cabbage. 

In comparison, boiling vegetables leads to increased losses of said water-soluble vitamins, and, has been shown to cause reductions of glucosinolate, the sulfur-containing compound found in broccoli that has been linked to the suspected anti-cancer properties of the vegetable. Whereas, most vitamin losses are minimal when roasting or baking food, including vitamin C, however, given the longer cooking times and use of higher temperatures B vitamin content can still decrease by up to 40%. This is also the case when grilling or broiling meat, as the B vitamins are lost in the juices. There are also concerns about polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are potential cancer-causing substances that form when meat is grilled, as fat drips onto a hot surface. Thankfully, researchers have discovered that PAHs can be reduced by 41–89% if drippings are removed and smoke is minimized. Do you see the dilemma? Many of the enzymes in whole grains, beans and legumes are also destroyed during the cooking process, which are needed for digestion. However, it can be quite hard to digest raw whole grains, and, who is going around eating raw chickpeas, seriously. There are some things you just cannot get away with eating raw.

Now, most of us know that fried foods are bad for us, but why? When the oil is heated to extremely high temperatures for long periods of time, as is done when frying, the chemical nature of the oil is changed and aldehydes are formed, which are toxic substances that have been linked to increased risks of cancer and other illnesses. These are also amplified when oil is reheated, so my advice would be to steer clear of fried foods entirely, but we are human. To help you justify the occasional hot chip at the footy, frying has been shown to conserve vitamin C and B vitamins, and, potentially increase the fiber content of potatoes by converting their starch into resistant starch. But let’s not get carried away, lest we forget those aldehydes. Another reason to steer clear of frying is the effect it has on the delicate omega-3 fatty acids, which are rife in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and herring. I know the latter isn’t quite as popular, but have you ever tried a deep fried sardine? Yum. But unfortunately, they offer little in the way of nutrition, as the brain-loving omega-3’s are damaged at high temperatures. Research has shown that frying tuna degrades its omega-3 composition by up to 70–85%, compared to minimal losses in baking. So bad news for the Friday fish n chip lovers. My advice; throw some fish and veggies in the oven instead, your brain will thank you for it if it remembers (insert awkward laugh here – you get it? because omega-3’s are good for memory…anyway). 

So that’s the cooking bit covered, are you still with me? Time for the reheating discussion.

The microwave isn’t as great a villain as often thought. Despite its convenience, particularly when wanting to reheat your leftovers at work or college, microwaves are super-efficient at exciting water molecules, producing frictional heat. This means that the water content in food is ignited, causing them to heat up quite rapidly. Food is essentially steamed from the inside out in short periods of time, retaining more vitamins and minerals than most cooking methods. Further losses of vulnerable vitamins like, vitamin C and B vitamins, in particular, folate (B9) and thiamine (B1), are also lessened. Studies have found that microwaving is the best method for retaining the antioxidant activity in garlic and mushrooms, and, only about 20–30% of vitamin C in green vegetables is lost when microwaving, which is less than most cooking styles. One potential disadvantage of microwaving food is the uneven nature of heating, which could have food contamination risks. To avoid this my advice is to:

  • Stir food frequently
  • Use minimal water
  • Cook vegetables until just firm
  • Know your microwave to avoid over or under cooking
  • Avoid reheating in plastic containers
  • Use microwave-safe dishes - glass is best 

Now I know it may sound like I’ve just given you a bunch of contradicting information but the take home message is that it is inevitable, there will always be some loss of nutrients when reheating and cooking food. But, let’s face it, most of us do not have time to prepare a meal from scratch every night of the week, let alone, for every meal of the day. So, being prepared is key to making healthier choices, which comes at the expense of some nutrient loss. In the wake of increasing home delivery services and take-away outlets providing convenient meal options for busy consumers, society’s obesity epidemic continues to rise. I would say that reheating food is definitely the lesser of two evils in this case, not to mention it can reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. I mean, who wants to spend three days with their head in a toilet all because they were worried about a few extra milligrams of vitamin C in their reheated capsicum. No thanks.  

To finish off, here are a few tips to maximise the nutrient content of your food:

  • Store pre-prepared food in air-tight containers – if exposed to air, cooked food will continue to lose nutrients from oxidisation
  • Keep pre-prepared food refrigerated to avoid spoilage
  • Keep pre-prepared food for no longer than 3 days to avoid risks of foodborne illnesses
  • Eat fruit and vegetables raw, where possible
  • Wash vegetables thoroughly instead of peeling them – the peel contains many nutrients
  • Steam vegetables instead of boiling or blanching
  • If boiling or blanching vegetables, save the nutrient-laden water to use in soup or stock - 100% of minerals & 70–90% of B vitamins are retained
  • Use minimal water when poaching or boiling
  • Cook food whole and cut afterward to reduce exposure to heat & water
  • Cook foods quickly or at low temperatures, where possible
  • If frying, avoid overcooking & use coconut oil – it is stable at high temperatures & has numerous health benefits
  • Immediately freeze freshly picked produce, if home grown
  • See storage guide for vegetables, fruit & herbs to maximise shelf life & nutrient density

The power of disconnecting

The power of disconnecting

Our world has become remarkably digitalised. There is a smartphone app for just about anything and the majority of our communications occur via electronic devices and digital mediums. We are constantly connected with the world with a ginormous amount of information that we can retrieve at the touch of a button. There is no doubt that these technological advances provide many benefits, however, what impact is it having on our health?

Connectivity, stress, and anxiety

We are living in a society that is “always connected”. We receive work emails, social media notifications, and messages at all hours. Instead of racking our brains for the name of that song, we use an app to identify it. Rather than exploring a city and running the risk of getting lost, we google map it and go via the fastest route. We are processing massive amounts of digital information on a daily basis and we eventually reach a point of information overload – our brains just cannot cope. As a result, our overloaded brains struggle with cognitive function, problem-solving and decision-making. When information overload becomes chronic, levels of stress and anxiety increase, further impeding brain function. 

Electronic devices, social media, and sleep

What's the last thing you are doing before falling asleep and the first thing you are doing in the morning when you wake? Like most of us, you are probably scrolling through your social media feeds and checking your unread messages or notifications. You may not have even realised that this has become a night time and/or morning routine, but it is definitely one to consider changing.

Use of electronic devices and social media at night has been associated with increased sleep disturbance and dysregulation of circadian rhythms. Exposure to the LED light emitted from the screens of our electronic devices delays the release of our major sleep hormone melatonin and decreases sleepiness. Time spent scrolling through your feeds and watching videos can also directly displace sleep time, particularly as the perception of time whilst on social media is often distorted. Arousal levels are likely to increase as your brain is busily processing all of the images, comments, and notifications as you are scrolling through your feed. 

Disconnect. Power-down. Unplug.

Disconnecting from the online world and powering down your electronic devices is incredibly difficult for most of us. Initially, it may even exacerbate stress and anxiety levels. However, regularly “unplugging” allows for your brain to be idle and stimulates creative thinking. Powering-down the brain also allows some space to recalibrate, essentially improving cognition, productivity and ability to make good decisions. Good quality sleep is also a key component for restoring optimal brain function.

So what exactly should you do when you “disconnect”?

Spend your time doing something brings you joy or simply just do nothing at all. Getting back to nature is a great way to unwind and calm the nervous system.

Tips on disconnecting

  • Set specific time limits for checking social media.
  • Turn off all unnecessary notifications.
  • Create a night-time routine that doesn’t involve any electronic devices – spend your time reading, drawing, painting, journaling or brew a lovely pot of herbal tea.
  • Keep electronic devices (including your smartphone) out of your bedroom.
  • Switch your phone to airplane mode when spending time in nature to minimise distractions and disruptions.
  • Start slow. Gradually build up the amount of time that you are “disconnecting” for, particularly if it feels uncomfortable at first. Consistency is the key. 

Food to boost your mood

Food to boost your mood

We all know about the long-term benefits healthy eating can have on our physical health, but what about the effect certain foods can have on our psychological well-being? We all have our vices when we are stressed or emotional (all those in favour of eating your weight in pizza followed by a slippery downhill slope that involves a spoon and the entire jar of Nutella say ‘I’), but what if we could learn a few little foodie life hacks that could assist in promoting a happy healthy mood? Here are five mood-boosting nutrients to help keep that smile on your dial!

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids - Studies have shown that low blood levels of omega-3s have been linked to many depressive disorders. These guys are essential for brain function and performance and can be found in oily fish such as salmon or sardines, fish oil tablets, flaxseed and walnut oils.
  2. Vitamin D – SUNSHINE! Lack of Vitamin D has been linked to low moods, as shown in certain areas of the world where daily exposure to the sun is limited. Those with fair skin can spend less time in the sun in order to produce their daily dose of Vitamin D as compared to those with a darker complexion. Optimal sun exposure is under the midday sun, without sunscreen, for 10-15 minutes, breaking those slip, slop, slap rules you rebel!
  3. Antioxidants – Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that has been shown to activate brain pathways associated with improved cognition and mood! Consumption of a wide range of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants has been shown to greatly improve mood and overall quality of life. Choose fruits and veggies such as blackberries, kale and broccoli sprouts.
  4. B6 – This little guy is responsible for helping your body produce serotonin, low levels of serotonin in the body have been shown to be associated with low moods and depression. Get your B6 fix from sweet potato, carrots, bananas, or avocados (because we need a reason to eat more avocado right?)
  5. Magnesium – Labelled “the original chill pill”, Magnesium is essential in a vast array of bodily metabolic processes. It can calm stress and anxiety, assist in sleep, has anti-inflammatory properties and can stabilize blood sugar levels. It’s a wonder why most people aren’t meeting their minimum intake! Good sources of magnesium include spinach, silverbeet, almonds, and soybeans.

Recipes: Three Fun Summer Mock-tails

Recipes: Three Fun Summer Mock-tails

Hibiscus and black tea Sangria (serves 5 or 6)


  • 2 hibiscus tea bags
  • 2 organic black tea bags
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 3 cups of sparkling mineral water
  • 2-3 cups of ice
  • 1 nectarine, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds


Brew the hibiscus and black tea in a teapot of boiling water for about 5 minutes.  Pour the tea into serving jug over ice. Add the sliced fruits and pomegranate seeds, then leave to sit for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible. Add sparkling mineral water just before serving.

Frozen Lime and ginger Margarita (serves 2)


  • Zest and juice of 3-4 limes (reserve a few slices of lime for the rim of glass)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoons of agave or rice malt syrup
  • 3 cups of ice
  • Sea salt flakes (to garnish)


Place all ingredients (except the salt) into a blender and blend to a similar consistency as a slushy. Chill margarita glasses in the fridge. To garnish glasses, moisten the rim of with lime slices and dip in seas salt flakes. Pop the slice of lime on the rim of glass and then top with your frozen margarita mix. A Su Salud!

Kiwi Apple-tini (serves 2)


  • 1 kiwifruit, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh apple juice (or organic cloudy apple juice)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of coconut sugar
  • 1 cup of ice


In a cocktail shaker, muddle the kiwi fruit and coconut sugar. Add the ice and apple juice, then give it a good shake. Strain into chilled martini glasses, garnish with a slice of apple or kiwifruit and enjoy.

Exercising for a healthy heart

Exercising for a healthy heart

The heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in the body we need to work it out in order to stay healthy. Physical activity has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, however not everyone enjoys donning their favourite pair of leg warmers and channelling their inner Jane Fonda just to work up a sweat. Here are some fun ways to reach your daily exercise goals and keep that ticker in tip-top shape:

Get outside: In the age of FitBit’s and activity trackers it almost seems too easy to set yourself a goal and get moving, but if that’s not your thing you can always make a day of it and head to the beach or your local national park for a more scenic brisk stroll, go for a bike ride (extra points for doing a rad bunny hop), or even join an outdoor fitness class (I hear Parkour is taking off… pun intended). We are lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful coastlines and have so many gorgeous parks within a short drive of our capital cities, so why not get outside and enjoy nature while getting back to your health!

Ice-Skating: Beat the summer heat and have fun while exercising? Sign me up! Places like this seem to be overlooked sometimes but it is seriously so much fun, whether you take your friends, your family, your partner, or just ride the solo skate train. Who knows, maybe you have a secret talent in ice-skating that you have not yet unleashed, this could be the start of something amazing, or at least be a fun way to get you moving.

Swimming: What better way to beat the Aussie heat AND get your heart pumping! Whether you’re at the beach or in a pool, swimming is a fantastic, low-impact way to get your body moving. For those who are looking for more structure than just swimming laps there is always aqua aerobics, did you know they put bikes in pools now? And treadmills?! Crazy right! Google is your friend, check out your local area and see what they have available!

Yoga: Now, I don’t mean to alarm you, but, dog yoga (doga) is actually a thing, this is game changing! Well, game changing for those who have a dog, or can borrow a friends dog, maybe adopt a dog, I just really like dogs. However, if you aren’t a dog person then there are so many different styles of yoga for you to choose from, and so many yoga studios around, we are really spoilt for choice these days. My advice is, try as many as you can to find the right one for you.

Dancing: Admit it, when you’re sitting at the RSL with your family enjoying the Sunday Roast, and the regulars all jump up and whip out their best rock’n’roll dance moves to the house bands rendition of ‘Crocodile Rock’, you secretly wish you had those moves. Well wish no more! Hit up your nearest dance class, some cities have freebies too, from rock’n’roll, to salsa, and Zumba, they’re bound to have a flavour that suits your taste!

Rock-climbing/bouldering: Overcome your fear of heights and look really cool while you’re doing it, bouldering and rock-climbing are becoming increasingly popular and it’s easy to see why! These two sports combine strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness, with problem solving and an adrenaline rush that seems to give you super-powers. The bonus is you don’t have to dive right in and start outdoors, there are indoor centres open around the country where you can try out this awesome sport within a safe controlled environment, under the supervision of expert instructors.

Stand-up paddle boarding: Now this is an activity I can get behind, not only will this get your heart rate up, stand-up paddle boarding also challenges your balance and core strength. Plus it’s a perfect way to cool off in the warmer months! Don’t worry, you don’t need to own a board, there are so many places along the coast that hire out boards, and kayaks too! Get your friends together and head out on the water, this is one form of exercise that won’t feel like a chore.

A Few Tips for Keeping a Healthy Heart

A Few Tips for Keeping a Healthy Heart

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and while most people are thinking about who they want to give their hearts to (figuratively, of course), perhaps we should also be thinking of whose hands to put our hearts in. Our hearts work every second of every day, so it’s imperative that we take excellent care of it.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both males and females in Australia3. You may not know the risk factors for heart disease and may be oblivious to your heart health, as often the warning signs may not be obvious. That is why it’s so important to have regular heart health checks with your doctor or healthcare practitioner.

A heart check can often be done during a regular check-up and will entail your practitioner taking a blood sample, checking your blood pressure, and taking a complete medical history to factor in external causes such as your lifestyle and family history1.

When it comes to heart health, there are risk factors that are out of your control, such as your age, gender, ethnic background, and family history2. However, there are also several aspects you can be consciously mindful of. These include things like smoking, unhealthy diets, high cholesterol and blood pressure, being inactive or overweight, diabetes and depression2. 

One aspect of enhancing heart health that is easily controllable and will likely have a significant impact on your heart is simple changes to your diet. This includes things like eating healthy fats instead of trans fats. That is because trans fats are known to increase your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and decrease your good cholesterol (HDL) levels4. This translates to forgoing fried foods, baked goods, frozen pizzas, etc. and instead of swapping them out for more healthy fats, such as avocados, oily fish (like salmon and tuna) and olive oil/nut butters. 

If you are still worried about your heart health, in addition to seeing your healthcare practitioner, there are several other resources online that may assist you in correctly identifying your symptoms. Health Direct Australia offers a free symptom checker, which can be found here. You can also check out The Heart Foundation’s website to find out more information, assess your risk factors and learn how to manage your symptoms.

Finally, you can come and visit us at the Wellnation Clinic, where our student nutritionists can personally tailor your diet to optimise your heart health. Alternatively, our myotherapy students can help give you exercises that will get your heart muscle working to build up some extra strength. The clinic is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout summer school. To book, call 1 300 859 785 or book online.


1.     The Heart Foundation. Heart health check [Internet]. The Heart Foundation. [cited 2018Jan16]. Available from:

2.     The Heart Foundation. Heart attack risk factors [Internet]. The Heart Foundation. [cited 2018Jan16]. Available from:

3.     Australia’s leading causes of death, 2016 [Internet]. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government. [cited 2018Jan16]. Available from:

4.     Gillinov, Marc. 5 Things to Do Daily to Keep Your Heart Healthy [Internet]. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. 2017 [cited 2018Jan16]. Available from:

Quick tips for top New Year habits

Quick tips for top New Year habits

New Year, new goals, new promises! It can be overwhelming in the New Year to feel like you need to undertake a complete life overhaul, improve all areas of your health and suddenly become vice-free— all overnight!

A common reason people don’t achieve their goals is that they set them too high! Does this sound familiar? “I want to lose weight and ‘get fit’…so I’m going to hit the gym 5 days a week, every week!” Then day two comes and they’re tired and sore. “Hmm, maybe next year. I can’t keep up this pace.” And they’re right; they can’t keep up that pace.

It’s important to set yourself small and achievable goals at the beginning.

If you’d like to workout 5 days a week, then start with just 2 days a week for the first month. If you want to practise yoga for an hour a day, then start with just 15 minutes a day for the first month.

When you scale back your goal to a more achievable, introductory level, your goal will become less daunting. And when a goal is less daunting, you’re more likely to feel positive about the commitment and actually commit to the goal.

It’s true. Momentum creates motivation, so starting small will inevitably lead to healthy habits.

5 healthy habits to try

1. If you want to detox your body… Drink a glass of warm lemon water each morning before breakfast. Here are some natural detox tips.

2. If you want to feel happier in 2018… try getting back to nature. Ever heard of the Japanese practise of forest bathing?

3. If you want to be more mindful… try a quick 10-minute meditation upon waking. There are plenty of great meditation apps to help you get going.

4. If you want to have better posture… Stretch for 5 minutes at your work desk with these exercises — Download this Desk Stretching eBook

5. If you want to eat more vegetables… Try this wholesome meat-less loaf recipe

 What small steps will you take today, to achieve your 2018 goals?  

Recipe: Quinoa & Salmon Rice Paper Rolls

Recipe: Quinoa & Salmon Rice Paper Rolls


  • Roughly ¾ cup of cooked quinoa (optional: add tamari sauce & combine) 
  • 100g of cooked salmon 
  • 1 carrot – peeled and sliced finely into matchsticks 
  • 10 mint leaves – roughly chopped 
  • Few stalks of coriander – roughly chopped 
  • Half an Avocado – sliced 
  • 3-4 rice paper sheets 
  • Sauces – tamari 


  1. Add warm water to a large bowl & soak one rice paper sheet for 30 seconds at a time. 
  2. Place wet rice paper sheet onto a plate and start adding your ingredients. 
  3. Roll up rice paper sheet, folding the ends as to keep the ingredients inside. 
  4. Serve with tamari if required.
Recipe: Corn Fritters

Recipe: Corn Fritters


  • ​​1 peeled and cut corn cob
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and 6 tablespoons of water (or two eggs)
  • ¼ cup of coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup of coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Salad & Avocado to serve


  1. Cut up corn and save ½ cup of corn for later and place remaining corn in a large bowl.
  2. Add egg substitutes equivalent to 2 eggs (flaxseeds and water or whichever you choose), coriander to a big bowl and one small red onion cut into small pieces.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Use a stick blender to combine and add coconut flour, baking powder and reserved corn.
  5. Combine with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add olive oil to a frying pan and add a heaped spoonful into the frying pan.
  7. Serve with salad and avocado.
Recipe: Paleo Veggie Bread

Recipe: Paleo Veggie Bread


  • 1 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cups arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large (200g) zucchini, grated with extra
  • moisture squeezed out
  • 1 large (200g) carrot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, arrowroot flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  3. In a separate bowl and using a fork, whisk the eggs lightly with the apple cider vinegar.
  4. Squeeze as much excess liquid out of the zucchini and carrot as you can. Add to the eggs and whisk well.
  5. Add the egg mix to the dry ingredients. Mix well to combine. Pour the dough into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle with pepitas.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top starts turning golden and a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool for five minutes before slicing into 1.5cm thick slices.
Three ways to enjoy a gluten-free Christmas

Three ways to enjoy a gluten-free Christmas

For those of us following a gluten-free diet, the extra social gatherings at Christmas time can pose a challenge. Here are three ways to take the pressure off and enjoy the festive season:

Eating out

These days we are very fortunate, and many cafes and restaurants have gluten-free options available. In the lead up to the event, browse the menu online to see if the venue has a gluten-free selection. If they don’t, it’s a great idea to ring ahead of time. When given plenty of notice, most places are happy to plan and prepare a gluten free meal for customers.


Crackers with cheese, mini quiches and spring rolls are popular nibbles to have with a glass of champagne, as people catch up on the year that’s been. Typically these aren’t served in a gluten-free form, making mastering the nibbles part of a social gathering extra challenging. It pays to ask the staff if any gluten-free nibbles are available, it is more than likely you won’t be the first or the last to ask! Look out for nibbles made of whole foods that are naturally gluten-free such as fresh fruit, plain nuts for vegetable sticks that are served beside dips.

Contribute to the catering

When attending a gathering with family or friends, taking along a contribution that is gluten-free, ensures there will be something there for you to eat and enjoy. Selecting an option that is loaded with protein, such as a frittata or quinoa and chickpea salad, will as a bonus help to fill you up!

With some planning the stress of staying true to your gluten-free diet over Christmas can be minimised, leaving you free to enjoy the festive season.

5 health hacks for the silly season

5 health hacks for the silly season

The silly season is almost upon us, which for most of us translates to Christmas parties, celebrations and a few more late nights. So, we thought we would share our top 5 health hacks that will help you get through the Christmas period to greet the New Year with your health intact.

Stay hydrated

We are in for a warm and dry summer, so it is essential to keep up your water intake to prevent dehydration. Alcohol and coffee can further increase water loss from the body, so if you indulge in either (or both), make sure that you top up hydration levels with plenty of fresh water. Aim for 2 litres of water per day.

Start your day right

A nourishing breakfast is a great way to start the day and is especially important during the madness of the holiday period. Bump up the nutrition factor with healthy smoothies and plant-based breakfasts, which will prepare your body to wine and dine later in the day. See our smoothie recipes for inspiration.

Opt for organic

Speaking of wine, if you are having a celebratory glass or two why not opt for an organic drop? Organic wines are produced without the use of pesticides and often contain lower amounts of preservatives (sulphites). This means you will be getting far less chemicals in your glass, which is a great thing – both for your liver and the environment. Always remember to drink responsibly.

Plant-based platters

The good old cheese platter is a staple during the Christmas break, and can often be a source of overindulgence. Rather than trying to forgo the cheese and charcuterie altogether, bulk out the platter with some vegetable crudités and fresh seasonal fruits.

Daily downtime

Take a break from the hectic pace of Christmas preparations and just breathe. It can be such a busy and overwhelming time of year, so incorporate some downtime into your day to help your mind and body cope with stress. Here are some ideas for self-care you might like to try.

Sports nutrition for optimal physical performance and recovery

Sports nutrition for optimal physical performance and recovery

Whether you are a professional athlete or a social sportsperson, proper nutrition is not only essential for improving exercise performance and recovery but is also vital to help reduce the less desirable metabolic consequences of exercise.

The standard nutrient recommendations for physical performance tend to focus on the macronutrient intake of carbohydrates, protein and fats. These typically come in the form of eggwhites, rolled oats, white rice, boiled chicken and a protein shake.

Here is a simple breakdown of the role of each of these macronutrients in exercise:

Carbohydrates act as a critical source of fuel for exercise as they provide glucose which in turn is utilised in energy production. Glucose is also stored within the muscles as glycogen, which is a readily available energy source that can be released at a rapid rate when required by the body.

Protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscles. For short intermitted exercising, protein does not act as the main fuel source. However, when carbohydrate intake is low, protein can be utilised as an energy source by the body. Protein also aids in the balancing of blood sugar levels during exercise.

Fats are utilised as the main fuel source for longer duration exercise such as marathon running. Even during high intensity exercise periods, fats are required to help access muscle glycogen stores.

Whilst it is important to focus upon macronutrient intake, it is also imperative to include a wide range of micronutrients as well as various minerals and antioxidants to ensure the body can run efficiently and has sufficient oxidative stress combatting abilities.

What is oxidative stress?  

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to detoxify their harmful effects. Studies have shown that contracting skeletal muscles generate these free radicals resulting in overall cellular damage to the body. That is why it is essential that you fuel your body with foods rich in antioxidants to help counteract these excessive free radicals.

There are a variety of specific antioxidants that are easy to incorporate into your daily meal plans. These include anthocyanins which are found in grapes and blueberries, beta-carotene found in pumpkin, mangoes and spinach as well as lycopene, found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon.

What about Vitamins and minerals? 

These are often overlooked within the athletic world; however, some are critical for a number of reactions involved with exercise. These include:  

  • B vitamins - in particular thiamine, niacin and riboflavin which are necessary for energy production during physical activity.
  • Vitamin D -  crucial for calcium absorption which supports bone health and muscular function.
  • Iron - carries oxygen via the blood to all cells within the body and is required for enzymes involved in energy production.
  • Zinc - necessary for growth, building and repair of muscular tissue, energy production and overall immune protection.
  • Magnesium - plays a role in cellular metabolism as well as regulates neuromuscular, cardiovascular immune functions
  • Sodium, Chloride and Potassium - critically important for electrolyte balance, nerve transmission and preventing dehydration.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed as to how to cram all of these nutrients into your daily meal plan, there is no need to worry. It is actually quite simple. Especially if you utilise the wonder that is a blender! Below is a post workout smoothie recipe containing a variety of the macro and micronutrients mentioned above.

Recipe: Chocolate peanut protein smoothie 

  • 1 frozen banana

  • ¾ cup of frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 tbsp of 100% almond butter

  • 1-2 flat table spoon organic cacao powder (depending on how rich you would like it)

  • 1 tsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp flax meal 

  • 1 scoop of protein powder

  • 1.5 cups almond milk or coconut water

  • Mix all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy!

If you follow these simple nutrient recommendations and focus upon balancing energy intake, with energy expenditure, you will be giving your body the opportunity to prevent energy deficits as well as supporting your bodily processes for optimal physical performance and recovery.


Powers, K, Jackson, M, (2010). Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress: Cellular Mechanisms and Impact on Muscle Force Production, Physiological Reviews, 1243–1276, Retrieved from

Purcell, K. (2013). Sports nutrition for young athletes. Paediatrics & Child Health, 18(4),
200-202. Retrieved from

Kreider, R, et al. (2010). ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review: research & recommendations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7, 2783. Retrieved from

Williams, M. (2005). Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance: Minerals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2(1), 43–49. Retrieved from

Nutrition Australia. (2009). Sports Nutrition. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from

Men’s Mental Health

Men’s Mental Health

Our knowledge surrounding mental illness remains incomplete, but there are a few things we know for certain. “Mental illness isn’t laziness, attention-seeking, bad diet, mental, physical or spiritual weakness or a failure of character. Mental illness is illness, as real as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.3”

 There is no immunity to mental illness and there’s no vaccine to prevent it. At least 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness during their lives. Anxiety disorders are the most common, followed by depression3. In Australia, 40% of women who experience symptoms of a mental illness seek help from health services. For men, it’s fewer than 30%4.   

Connecting with others is vital for our health. Research reveals that feeling loved and valued by others gives us a sense of connection, security, purpose, and happiness1. However, working aged men don’t talk about mental health with their friends or family. They are also resistant to receiving professional treatment. They are the victims of problematic thinking that says mental health disorders are unmanly signs of weakness2.

Everyone’s mental health fluctuates during their life, particularly in response to different stressors and stimuli. But when you’re feeling down, taking the steps to get some support is the responsible thing to do.

It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of mental illness. Everyone feels sad, angry, stressed or flat sometimes. These sentiments are part of a healthy and full range of emotions and are usually nothing to worry about5. However, if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, they shouldn’t be ignored and left untreated. Men are much more likely to recognise the physical symptoms rather than the emotional signs of depression. This can include feeling tired all the time and fluctuation in weight5.

If you feel like you need some additional support, there are many non-judgemental channels that you can reach out to for help. Examples of resources are like BeyondBlue, Lifeline Crisis Chat,, and The Mood Network, which is a patient-powered research network for bipolar and other mood disorders. 


  1. Share the Journey – 2017 Mental Health Month Theme. Retrieved October 09, 2017, from
  2. See the new Man Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved October 09, 2017, from
  3. Fact vs myth: mental illness basics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 09, 2017, from
  4. Fact vs myth: treatment & recovery. (n.d.). Retrieved October 09, 2017, from
  5. Beyondblue [Internet]. beyondblue - Home. [cited 2017Oct11]. Available from:

Male fertility and sexual health from a nutritional point of view

Male fertility and sexual health from a nutritional point of view

Male fertility and reproductive system is based on 3 stages. (1) A signal from the pituitary gland and gonadotropic hormones to create spermatogenesis. (2) The maturation of spermatozoa within the male reproductive tract. (3) And finally the quality and quantity of spermatozoa.

If we are to look at the first stage of fertility, creation of sperm (spermatogenesis), there are certain exogenous factors that inhibit this process. Alcohol has been shown to impact this by suppressing the hypothalamic-pituitary-testis (HPT) axis having direct toxic effects on sperm cells. Smoking tobacco is shown to have a negative effect on spermatogenesis compared to non-smokers. Fertile men presenting for vasectomy and military physical evaluations who smoke have a decrease in sperm count. Illicit drug use, generally at its highest during puberty, a vital time for testicular development may also be vulnerable to abnormal development of the testes. Drugs that are associated with infertility include anabolic steroids, opioid narcotics, cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana.

From a nutritional point of view there are certain micronutrients in the diet that promote spermatogenesis and sperm count. Zinc is important for many biological processes and is high in the reproductive tract, especially the testes and prostate. This important divalent metal has been found to increase sperm concentrations and reduce oxidative stress. Selenium is a cofactor for glutathione which is a major antioxidant, therefore vital in protection from oxidative stress. It highest levels are found in the testes, followed by the seminal vesicles. Selenium concentrations in the seminal fluid are positively correlated with sperm concentrations. Iron is a cofactor for many metalloenzymes including one’s involved in spermatogenesis. This being said it is important for iron homeostasis. Iron overload impairs spermatogenesis, as well as iron deficiency. Non-metal micronutrients are also particularly important including boron, folate, coenzyme Q10, omega-3 and antioxidants.

Certain environmental factors like heat and radiation play an important part. Spermatogenesis requires 2-4 degrees Celsius below core body temperature. Increased temperatures can cause cell death and DNA damage. High levels of radiation is a well-known cause of impaired spermatogenesis. Random DNA mutations are increased with elevated levels.

To sum it all up, lifestyle, dietary, environmental and even occupational exposures have a profound impact on spermatogenesis with interest continuing to grow. For further information or to speak with one of our Clinical Nutrition or Naturopathy Student Practitioners about this issue, book online for an appointment or call 1300 859 785.


Gabrielsen, J. S., & Tanrikut, C. (2016). Chronic exposures and male fertility: the impacts of environment, diet, and drug use on spermatogenesis. Andrology, 4(4), 648–661.

Ong, C.-N., Shen, H.-M., & Chia, S.-E. (2002). Biomarkers for male reproductive health hazards: are they available? Toxicology Letters, 134(1–3), 17–30.

Ten ways to reduce your risk of heart disease

Ten ways to reduce your risk of heart disease

Cardiovascular disease affects 4.2 million Australians and increases risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and heart attack. Diet and lifestyle modifications can help to reduce risk, improving health and well-being.

Risk Factors for CVD

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol 
  • Overweight or obese
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Smoker 

Ten ways to reduce your risk of heart disease

  1. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption- a minimum of 5 servings of brightly coloured vegetables and 2 servings of seasonal fruit per day. Enjoy with every meal.
  2. Blueberries - they contain constituents known as anthocyanins that act as antioxidants to keep blood vessels healthy – 3 or more servings per week. Delicious in a fruit salad or smoothie.
  3. Include extra virgin olive oil due to it being a rich in monounsaturated fats shown to have protective effects against heart disease. Enjoy as part of a salad dressing with fresh herbs and lemon. 
  4. Include raw, unsalted mixed nuts as they are high in monounsaturated fats lowering risk of heart disease – 5 or more 50g servings per week with best options being almonds and walnuts. Great as a part of a trail mix or thrown in a salad.
  5. Oats – contain beta-glucan fibres that have been shown to reduce cholesterol when consumed for 2 + weeks.  Enjoy with blueberries for breakfast or use them in a smoothie or bircher muesli.
  6. Oily fish – rich in Omega-3 fats lowering risk of heart disease. Aim for 3 servings per week. Try sardines, salmon and trout. 
  7. Beetroot a rich source of nitrates which have been shown to reduce high blood pressure. Enjoy as a juice with carrots and ginger. 
  8. Dark chocolate – rich in antioxidants beneficial for vascular function. Make sure it’s at least 70% dark chocolate. Enjoy as a snack or add cacao to a hot chocolate or smoothie.
  9. Exercise – include 30 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis such as walking, cycling, and swimming – preferably in the sunshine! 
  10. Stress – reduce stress by listening to meditation apps such as Headspace, going for nature walks or take up an enjoyable hobby.

Naturally healthy breasts

Naturally healthy breasts

Breasts are a really important part of the female endocrine system and don’t always get the health-related attention that they should. As part of the reproductive system, the health of your breasts can provide great insight into your overall health and nutritional status. The breast tissue is highly dynamic, changing throughout the menstrual cycle and also throughout the various stages of life. The health of your breasts are influenced by various factors including hormones, gut health, detoxification and nutrition.   

Hormone Balance

Breast tissue is considered to be part of the endocrine system and therefore is very much influenced by hormones. Correcting the delicate balance of hormones – specifically, oestrogen and progesterone – is the key to healthy breasts. Hormonal imbalances may arise for a number of reasons such as impaired detoxification, nutrient deficiencies, thyroid disease or long term use of hormonal-based contraceptives. Key indicators of hormonal imbalance may include:

  • heavy bleeding and/or clotting
  • severe period pain
  • low mood and/or anxiety (particularly in the week prior to menstruation)
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • hair loss
  • unexplained weight gain
  • low libido

*if you suffer any of the above symptoms, it is important to check in with your GP or health practitioner

Healthy detoxification

Detoxification is a processes that is continually happening in our bodies. The liver, digestive tract, lymphatic system, skin and kidneys are all involved in the breakdown and elimination of various toxins and by-products (such as hormones). Supporting these detoxification pathways is an essential part of keeping hormones in balance and maintaining healthy breast tissue.

Breast tissue contains a dense network of lymphatic vessels and lymphatic fluid. One of the main functions of the lymphatic system is to transport nutrients into tissues and collect metabolic waste produces by cells, so it is important to keep the lymphatic fluid moving. Daily skin brushing is an easy way to shift the lymphatic fluid and prevent congestion within breast and other tissues.

The bowels are an important route of elimination, so just like the lymphatic system, it is important to keep things moving. Fibre supports detoxification in a number of ways. Firstly, soluble fibres feed our healthy gut bacteria. Our gut bacteria are able to metabolise environmental chemicals that we are exposed to, modulating their toxicity. Secondly, fibre helps to add bulk to the stool, promotes peristalsis (contraction of the intestines) and therefore improves regularity of bowel movements. Lastly, fibre binds to bile acids in the gut and transports them out of the body via the stool. Bile acids are produced in the liver (released by gallbladder) and are involved in the digestion of fats and also provide a nifty elimination pathway for metabolites the liver produced in breaking down toxins.  

*When increasing fibre intake, it is important to ensure you increase water as well. Also, take it slow and steady with increasing fibre intake – feeding those gut bacteria can create a little more gas.

Nutrition and Breast Health

Nutrition is really the link that ties everything in this article together. The reproductive system is particularly sensitive to nutritional deficiencies. The ability to reproduce is not essential for our own individual survival – hence, the reproductive organs are generally the last to get a share of the available nutrients.

There are a couple of key nutrients that are crucial for hormonal harmony including iodine, zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium and vitamin A. It is also important that you intake of macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fats – are well balanced to suit your individual needs. A deficiency in nutrients not only impacts on your delicate hormonal balance, but will always impede detoxification pathways, further compounding an imbalance in hormone. Nutritional deficiencies can also directly impact the health and integrity of breast tissue, the most common being iodine. Now, before you go out and start supplementing haphazardly, you should know that high doses can be dangerous – so please, seek professional advice.

What to do if you are concerned about your breast health?

Your first port-of-call is your GP. They will be able to provide a thorough breast examination and refer you for testing if necessary. Majority of the time, breast abnormalities are benign – however it is always best to have these things checked. Once you have the all clear from your doctor, you might consider seeing a nutritionist or naturopath, who will be able to help you navigate your way to hormonal harmony.

Four key nutrients for boosting thyroid health

Four key nutrients for boosting thyroid health

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located near the base of your neck. Although weighing only approximately 30 grams, it has a profound impact on your health, as it releases hormones that influence every organ and cell in the body. 

According to The Australian Thyroid Foundation (2017) thyroid disorders affect ten times more women than men and in particular, hypothyroidism becomes more common as women age.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where optimal thyroid function is compromised due to a decrease in thyroid hormone production and secretion. Resulting symptoms are wide and varied which include:

  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Poor memory
  • Constipation
  • Muscle pain
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Sensitivity to cold temperatures
  • Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • and much more!

Being low in certain nutrients can contribute to these symptoms and the development of hypothyroidism. Here are four key nutrients and their food sources to include in your whole food diet for optimal thyroid and overall health:


Iodine is a mineral that is essential for the formation and production of thyroid hormones. The Australian Thyroid Foundation (2017) reports that iodine-deficiency has re-emerged in Australia, contributing to an increase in thyroid disorders.

Food sources include seaweed, oysters, salmon and iodised salt.


Tyrosine is an amino acid also required for the formation of thyroid hormones.

Food sources include meat, fish, tofu, almonds, avocados, bananas, pumpkin seeds and oats.


Selenium is a trace mineral which the thyroid requires to convert thyroid hormones into their active form. It is an antioxidant that helps to protect the thyroid from free radical damage.

Food sources include Brazil nuts (sourced from outside of Australia and New Zealand due to a lack of selenium in the soil of these countries), canned tuna, salmon and eggs.


Zinc is another trace mineral that helps to regulate and stabilise thyroid hormones.

Food sources include oysters, beef, lamb, turkey, cashew nuts, lentils, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.

There are many other vitamins and minerals which contribute to the healthy function of your thyroid. Eating a wholefoods diet, rich in variety helps to provide your body with the necessary nutrients. Some nutrients taken in excess can become toxic and may damage, rather than support your thyroid therefore before taking supplements it is important to discuss your health with a naturopath or nutritionist.


Gruner, T 2010, ‘Thyroid Abnormalities’ in Sarris, J & Wardle, J (eds.) Clinical Naturopathy, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, Sydney, pp.325-343

Hechtman, L 2012, Clinical Naturopathic Medicine, Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier Australia, Chatswood, NSW

Kouris, A 2012, Food Source of Nutrients, A ready reckoner of macronutrients, micronutrients and phytonutrients, Elsevier Australia

The Australian Thyroid Foundation 2017, viewed 16th September 2017,

Nutritional medicine and natural health strategies for preconception and general wellbeing

Nutritional medicine and natural health strategies for preconception and general wellbeing

There is plenty of talk about the do’s and dont’s of pregnancy. However, there is minimal talk about the simple changes you can implement during the preconception phase to not only optimise your wellbeing but to ensure a healthy fertilisation and development of your little one. Understandably, some of us do not have the chance to plan ahead, so you will be pleased to know that these simple steps can be implemented throughout all stages of pregnancy.

Increase nutrient dense foods 

There are an abundance of nutrient dense fruits and veggies that play a vital role in fertility. Simply pop down to the markets and pick up some locally sourced avocados, kiwi fruits, sweet potatoes or pumpkins. These powerhouse foods are rich in fatty acids, Vitamin A, E & C and calcium which are all essential for enhancing female fertility and supporting embryonic development.  

Quit the bad habits

Active and passive smoking both have a detrimental effect on fertility particularly relating to the length of time it may take to conceive. If you or your partner smoke, making the decision to quit together is an excellent way to increase the likelihood of a healthier conception.

Exposure to high intakes of alcohol has also been shown to increase the risk of infertility by lowering reproductive hormone concentrations, therefore disrupting the ovulation cycle. Reducing your alcohol consumption not only enhances your likelihood of fertility but also give your liver a much-needed detox. If you feel the need to unwind with a glass of wine after a long day, opt for a good organic quality red wine to take advantage of its potent antioxidant properties.

Reach a healthy weight

Females who are within the BMI category >25 are more likely to produce less ovulation regulating hormones. Studies have also shown that overweight women undergoing in vitro treatment tend to respond more poorly to ovarian stimulation and produce fewer eggs. A gradual steady weight loss program, incorporating healthy dietary changes and an exercise routine, is key. Crash dieting will only detriment your health.

Limit toxin exposures

Studies have shown that repeated exposure to toxins such as mercury, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and a variety of chemical cleaning products may impact fertility and increase the risk of miscarriage and neural birth defects. Where possible, limit seafood products high in mercury, thoroughly wash your fruit and veggies, buy organic where possible, reduce use of fragranced perfumes, and swap to chemical free household cleaning products.

Heal your gut

Hippocrates once said ‘all disease begins in the gut’ and boy did he hit the nail on the head. An unhappy gut environment may increase the chances of poorer nutrient absorption, suboptimal hormone production, toxicity build up and an unbalance of friendly gut bacteria, all of which affect fertility. Our guts are also closely correlated with our powerhouse immune system. With over 70% of our body’s immune system cells residing in the gut, it is vital that we nurture the gut during the preconception phase to fight off any unwanted nasty bugs as well as reduce overall inflammation.

It is very simple. An unhappy gut = weakened immunity. Weakened immunity = reduced fertility.

There are many things you can implement into your daily routine to support your gut health; whether it be taking a quality probiotic in the morning, eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kombucha that are rich in good bacteria or a homemade bone broth rich in gelatine to help reseal and support our gut lining.


Chronic levels of stress can have detrimental effects on reproduction as well as aggravate the gut and immune system. It also has the ability to trigger hormonal related changes that impact ovulation5. For this reason, it is essential that stress management techniques be put into place during all phases of pregnancy. A brisk walk on the beach whilst breathing in the salty air, practicing yoga or immersing yourself in your favourite book… whatever it may be, it is worth doing.

In preparation for your pregnancy, try introducing these dietary and lifestyle suggestions into your daily routine to enhance your health and hopefully give your little one the best start to their life. Enjoy every minute of this beautiful time.


Dechanet, C, Anahory, T, Daude, JC, Quantin, X, Reyftmann, L, Hamamah, S, Hedon, B, Dechaud 2010, ‘Effects of cigarette smoking on reproduction’, Oxford Academic, vol 17, issue 1, pp. 76-95, 

Gude, D 2012, ‘Alcohol and fertility’, The Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences’, pp. 226-228, 

Pandey S, Maheshwari, A, Bhattacharya, S 2010, ‘The impact of female obesity on the outcome of fertility treatment’, The Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences, pp. 62-67,

Vighi, G, Marcucci, F, Sensi, L, Di Cara, G, Frati, F 2008, ‘Allergy and the gastrointestinal system’, The Journal of Translational Immunology, pp. 3-6,

Whireledge, S, Cidlowski, J 2010, ‘Glucocorticoids, Stress and Fertility’, Minerva Endocrinologica, pp. 109-125,

Sharma, R, Biedenharn, K, Fedor, J, Agarwal, A 2013, ‘Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility’, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, pp. 11-66,

How to treat viral infections naturally

How to treat viral infections naturally

Depending on your age, your mother or grandmother probably used some type of herbs or plants to aid in healing you when you were ill without you realising it. Even in the world of natural health, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial remedies are far more common than those which effectively combat viral infections. However, such remedies do exist!(4) Read on to find out about the most powerful anti-viral foods and herbs, which can not only help you ward off cold and flu bugs this winter, but also improve your health and resistance to several other dangerous viruses that one can be exposed to year round.

One such example is HPV, which is in the top 5 most commonly reported STIs in Australia. HPV is a group of common viruses that are shared through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity, and are highly infectious. According to the World Health Organisation, there are over 100 types of HPV, of which 13 are high risk (known to cause cancer) (1).

Currently, a visit to the doctor is needed for a proper diagnosis. Common treatments may include antiviral drugs, topical medications, or minor surgery. Most cases of HPV go away on their own, but there is no cure for a HPV infection. However, there are a few ways to treat the symptoms naturally.

The first is through diet by increasing your consumption of immune-boosting foods. This includes green leafy vegetables, which provide Vitamin A, and foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and capsicum. Probiotics, such as Greek yogurt or fermented food and drinks such as miso soup or kombucha, will also contribute to fighting the infection (2).

The second way is through the use of antiviral herbs to enhance the immune system and prevent viral infections. In addition, they can be used to provide cardiovascular, digestive, and anti-inflammatory support. They can be used as infusions, teas, or herb-infused oils. The top antiviral herbs include Elderberry, Echinacea, Calendula, Garlic, Astragalus Root, Cat’s Claw, Ginger and Liquorice Root. Golden Seal is also another herbal option that acts as an antimicrobial, which makes it an effective natural antibiotic and immune system booster (2).

Before using these antiviral and antibacterial herbs, it would be wise to consult with a naturopath or herbalist, so they can provide dosing instructions, as every individual is unique and different herbs should be consumed in different quantities and in different ways. Furthermore, although most herbs are considered to be safe, there is still the possibility of drug interaction. Always consult a doctor before stopping any medications or taking any herbal supplements, particularly if you are pregnant or nursing (3).

Naturopathy appointments are available in the Wellnation Clinic six days a week, with evening clinics available Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and weekend appointments are also available. To book a consultation please book online or call the clinic 1300 859 785.


1.     Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer [Internet]. World Health Organization. World Health Organization; 2016 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from:

2.     Goolsby J. 11 Anti-Viral Herbs for Fighting HPV [Internet]. Dr. Axe. 2017 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from:

3.     20 of the Best Antiviral and Antibacterial Herbs and Plants Ever! [Internet]. NaturalON - Natural Health News and Discoveries. 2015 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from:

4.     7 Anti-Viral Foods That Will Keep You Healthy Year-Round [Internet]. Natural Living Ideas. 2016 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from:

Going plastic free for the health of our planet

Going plastic free for the health of our planet

The plastic free movement has taken off thanks to the likes of the ABC television series, War on Waste and the annual Plastic Free July program. It’s estimated that every piece of plastic ever made will take anywhere from 20 to 1000 years to break down and 6.4 million tonnes ends up in the ocean every year! People are asked to switch single use plastic items in favour of reusable, plastic free options for the sake of our environment.

Take part in the plastic free movement and reduce your chemical exposure by using alternatives to the top 4 most commonly used single use plastic items:

1. Take away coffee cups: These are made of paper with a plastic lining, a combination which means they can’t be placed in regular recycling bins. A better alternative is to purchase a BPA free or glass keep cup. You can take a keep cup to cafés and get refilled time and time again. Places displaying a responsible cafés sign offer a small discount for bringing your own cup.

2. Bottled water: Millions of water filled bottles sold every year in Australia. Purchasing a reusable stylish looking bottle, made of glass or stainless steel is a great, reusable alternative.

3. Drinking straws: Simply say no to a straw or use a reusable stainless steel straw.

4. Plastic bags: Australia alone uses around 3.6 billion plastic shopping bags a year! Swapping to reusable shopping bags is a great way to show you care about the environment. 

Wellnation Clinics is showing its support for the plastic free movement with their great range of reusable items such as jute bags, Eco Lips, Ju Ju cups, and stainless steel straws. 

Remember every plastic free choice we make goes towards making a difference to your health and the health of our planet.  


ABC TV 2017, War on waste, viewed 7 August 2017,

Bijlsma, N 2010, Healthy home, healthy family, Joshua Books, Queensland, Australia

Choice 2014, Is plastic food packaging dangerous? viewed 7 August 2017,

Choice 2017, Are coffee cups recyclable? viewed 10 August 2017,

CSIROscope 2014, An ocean of plastic, viewed 10 August 2017,

Ocean Crusaders 2017, Plastic ain’t so fantastic, viewed 7 August 2017,

Plastic Free July 2017, Plastic free July, viewed 7 August 2017,

A minimalist approach to nutrition

A minimalist approach to nutrition

Minimalism is a pretty hot topic at the moment. Whether you have seen the documentary “The Minimalists”, read the Becoming Minimalist blog, or listened to the podcasts instructing you to declutter your house, minimalism is fast becoming a way of life for many people.

In many ways, it is a useful tool that can allow you to detach from objects (house, car, clothing) that you so often use to identify yourself with. There’s no rules or restriction. Minimalism acts as an incentive to find meaning in other situations, like relationships, and taking a step back from attaching so much meaning to disposable items.

It seems that there is a slow change developing, where people are becoming more aware of their self-worth as unique human beings, rather than relying on materialistic objects to define one’s identity.

Discussions around this topic predominantly focus on materialist items.

But what about our approach to diet?

Society is bombarded with diet trends, calorie counting, superfoods and supplements almost daily. If you are someone who is trying to make changes to your lifestyle and improve your overall health, this abundance of information can be both overwhelming and demotivating.

In the past, our awareness around food was common knowledge and food was locally sourced and predominantly organic. However, in the last few decades overproduction and overconsumption of food quickly enforced a lack of awareness and respect.

But If we take a step back and look at foods as they are meant to be; nourishing, colourful, flavoursome and unprocessed, maybe we might not feel so overwhelmed. 

How can we approach our diet with a minimalistic view?

Eating locally and seasonally – We hear this one a lot, but by making local and season food a priority in your life, it can help to put your food into perspective. Whether it’s shopping at your local green grocer or calling up your favourite restaurant to see where they source their seafood or meat, eating locally is great for yourself and your community. A great trick to eating seasonally is keeping a season produce guide at home or on your smart phone for when you go shopping.

Designated shopping aisles Sometimes going to the grocery store can be overwhelming, especially with all the ‘Fat free’, ‘Sugar free’, ‘Superfood’, ‘Added fibre’ marketing tricks. By sticking to designated sections of the grocery store and minimising your time spent overall, it can help to point us in the right direction. The fresh produce aisle is where we should be spending majority of our time, with the remainder of time collecting your beans, lentils or eggs.

‘Free from’ – In the 1980s supermarket shelves were full of ‘Fat free’ products. Today these processed foods have been joined by an array of ‘Sugar free’ products. The general public sees this as a positive, but what exactly do our ‘Free from’ foods contain?

When we remove the fat from yogurt, or the yolk from eggs, we aren’t just removing the fat content. Rather, but all the other nutrients that around found with it. Certain nutrients that are frequently removed with fat include fat-soluble vitamins, Essential fatty acids, riboflavin and folate. We sometimes then ‘fortify’ such foods with added vitamins and minerals. Ultimately, it becomes a vicious cycle of subtracting and adding nutrients when the main focus should be on wholefoods.

Creating healthy habits, not healthy diets The above points have less to do with diet and are more about establishing healthy habits. By building healthy relationships with our food, we become less inclined to feel guilty when enjoying that glass of red wine or dessert on the weekend. The more negativity we place on the role of food in our life, the more this relationship becomes strained and this is when opportunistic marketing comes in to play.

There is no one size fits in regards to diets – this is present in our community with people opting for vegetarian, vegan, paleo, omnivore, pescitarian, or grain free lifestyles.

Regardless of your dietary choices, creating minimalistic approaches to food is a great starting point to regaining control of your food.  

Maybe less is more. 

Plastics and your health

Plastics and your health

Going plastic free is all the rage right now – as it should be! Many people are making the switch to more sustainable packaging to do their bit for the environment. While the health of the planet will have an impact on the health of humans, it is also important to understand the direct impact that plastics can have on human health.

Plastics, hormones and reproduction

Chemicals found in plastics, most notably bisphenol-A (BPA), are xenohormones (an external compound that mimics human hormones), and have been recognised as an environmental contaminant that significantly disrupts the human endocrine (hormone) system by altering the production, release, transport, metabolism, binding, action or elimination of human hormones that program or maintain normal growth and development

Evidence shows that BPA interferes with the endocrine function of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (the system that regulates our hormones), which negatively affects puberty, ovulation and fertility. It is due to BPA’s chemical structure being similar to that of oestrogen that leads to an accumulation of the xenohormone in reproductive organs, altering their effects (Huo et al 2015).

Studies have indicated that exposure to BPA can have adverse effects on ovarian age, affecting women’s fertility (Souter et al 2013). BPA has also been linked to lowered sperm count, with research indicating that slightly infertile men have significantly higher BPA sperm and blood concentrations compared to healthy men (Vitku et al 2015).

Plastics and impacts on children

A 2017 review by Braun found evidence that endocrine disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, BPA, perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and triclosan are positively correlated with the prevalence of obesity in children. In-utero (foetal development), infants and children might have enhanced sensitivity to environmental stressors such as the chemicals in plastics due to their rapid development and increased exposure, leading to long term adverse health effects such as obesity. The review also found that prenatal exposure to plastics are associated with reduced cognitive abilities, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and increased autism risk due to their ability to disrupt healthy thyroid function in the mother.

Plastics and cancer

Determining whether there is a link between cancer and plastics is still under scrutiny in the scientific community. A 2016 review by Seachrist et al, found that there is an increased risk of oestrogen related cancers such as breast and prostate from BPA exposure below ‘safe’ levels in rats. The study also found that early exposure to BPA, as well as prenatal exposure increases the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, later in life. This is again due to BPAs hormonal disrupting effects.

Extrapolating whether this will apply to humans is hard to do as it is unethical to expose humans to a substance that is presumed to do harm, as well as the fact that everyone on the planet has been exposed to plastics, so finding a control group is also difficult. However, given the strong amount of evidence based on animal studies with similar hormones and receptors to humans, many experts agree that there is enough evidence to conclude that BPA is implicated, with increased risk of breast and prostate cancer.   

Aside from a link to cancer, research also suggests that BPA can promote a range of other health issues, including heart disease, diabetes and thyroid function.

So does this mean that all we need to do is avoid BPA by buying BPA-free plastic? The short answer is no. Research suggests that over 90% of over 500 plastic products marketed as BPA-free released chemicals that, in some cases, have greater oestrogenic activity than the BPA-containing plastics (Yang et al, 2011). Another assessment survey showed that many BPA free replacement products still leached chemicals with the significant levels of oestrogenic activity, as did BPA-containing counterparts they were meant to replace (Bittner et al, 2014). Further, most studies done on plastic and their health effects look at each chemical in isolation which does not take into consideration their cumulative health effects.

What can we do about this?

  • It’s important to support our detoxification pathways to eliminate chemicals in the body, we can do this by ensuring adequate fibre and water in the diet to promote regular bowel movements, including cruciferous vegetables in your diet every day and dry skin brushing (seeing a naturopath or nutritionist can help you navigate this). This Lamb Curry with Cauliflower recipe is packed with ingredients that support healthy detoxification.
  • Don’t heat plastic in the oven or microwave
  • Use glass or stainless steel water bottles and glass food containers instead of plastic
  • Use reusable fabric shopping bags instead of plastic
  • Use paper instead of plastic where possible


Braun, JM 2017, ‘Early-life exposure to EDCs: role in childhood obesity and neurodevelopment’, Nature Reviews Endocrinology, vol. 13, pp. 161-173. 

Bittner, G, Yang, C & Stoner, M 2014, ‘Estrogenic  chemicals often leach from BPA-free plastic products that are replacements for BPA-containing polycarbonate products’, Environmental Health, vol.13, no.41.

Huo, X, Chen, D, He, Y, Zhu, W, Zhou, W & Zhang, J 2015, ‘Bisphenol-A and Female Infertility: A Possible Role of Gene-Environment Interactions’, International Journal of Environmental Research, vol. 12, pp. 11101-11116. 

Seachrist DD, Bonk KW, Ho SM, Prins GS, Soto AM, Keri RA  2016, ‘A review of the carcinogenic potential of bisphenol A’, Reproductive Toxicology, vol. 59, pp. 167-82. 

Souter, I, Smith, KW, Dimitriadis, I, Ehrlich, S et al 2013, ‘The association of bisphenol-A urinary concentrations with antral follicle counts and other measures of ovarian reserve in women undergoing infertility treatments’, Reproductive Toxicology, vol. 42, pp. 224-231.

Vitku J, Sosvorova L, Chlupacova T, Hampl R, Hill M, Sobotka V, Heracek J, Bicikova M, Starka L 2015, ‘Differences in bisphenol A and estrogen levels in the plasma and seminal plasma of men with different degrees of infertility’, Physiological Research, vol. 64, pp.303-11.

Yang, C, Yanuger, S, Jordan, C, Klein, D & Bittner, G 2011 ‘Most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals: a potential health problem that can be solved’, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol, 119, pp. 989-996. 

The perfect, most comforting snack for times of stress

The perfect, most comforting snack for times of stress

In times of stress, we have all experienced craving carbohydrate rich, comforting snacks. Unfortunately, satiating this craving with high amounts of sugary treats or crunchy potato chips will only serve to weaken our nervous systems. High amounts of simple-carbohydrates can steal much needed magnesium away from our nervous-systems – thus weakening our ability to put an end to the cycle of stress.

To combat this, the below recipe strategically combines magnesium rich foods, with complex carbohydrates that will ultimately serve to satiate our stress-induced carbohydrate cravings, without depleting us of vital minerals.

White-fleshed sweet potato ‘air fried’ chips, served with an easily digestible, magnesium rich, cauliflower hummus!

Sweet potatoes are a fantastic, often underutilised alternative to traditional white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are, in actual fact, completely different from ‘normal’ potatoes, coming from the tuber family. Sweet potatoes are higher in fibre and minerals (such as magnesium and potassium), making them the perfect carbohydrate snack for times of stress.

Sweet potatoes come in various different colours, however, when trying to recreate your typical ‘bowl of chips’, you can’t go past the white-fleshed variety. Being similar in colour and taste to normal potatoes but dryer than the all too popular orange sweet potato, they make for the perfect crunchy alternative.

Hummus is another brilliant food for times of stress, as the primary ingredient, tahini (sesame seed paste), is super high in minerals. A great alternative to traditional hummus, however, is cauliflower hummus, which is potentially (for some people) more digestible, which could be an important factor in times of stress. Regular chickpea hummus is also fine if desired. The important factor to consider, however, is the quality of the accompanying hummus ingredients. The tahini should be as fresh as possible, coming from an airtight jar, whilst the oil should be a good quality olive oil – not canola.

Sweet potato chips:

Take one white fleshed sweet potato and cut into wedges, or inch-squared chips.

Lightly steam in a steamer, until sweet potato is lightly cooked (but still holds its shape) (approximately 10 minutes, but will depend on steamer).

Leave the steamed sweet potato to cool on a rack, on the bench or in the fridge.

Once cool (the starch should harden back up a bit) gently coat chips in a bowl with a healthy oil of choice (olive or coconut).

Dust with herbs and spices of choice, and place in air-fryer on the chip-setting.

Follow the air-fryer instruction (alternative, place chips in the oven at 180C, turning every 15 minutes until crunchy.

Have the hummus prepared earlier, ready to go when the chips are still hot and crunchy

Cauliflower hummus:

Take 600g cauliflower (trimmed and cut into large florets), coat with olive oil and 2 teaspoons of cumin, and roast for 25 minutes at 180C.

Once cooled, take cauliflower and place in food processor with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1/3 cup tahini, ¼ cup lemon juice, and ¼ cup of warm water. Blitz until combined.  

Add more olive oil / lemon juice / salt and pepper to taste, or to adjust consistency. 

Serve hummus with your sweet potato chips, and enjoy a healthy crunchy comforting snack, just when you need it the most! 


Herbal medicine for stress and anxiety

Herbal medicine for stress and anxiety

Stress has become an integral part of daily life for most of us. Whether it is work-related, financial, relationship, family or trauma-related stress, generally we are all dealing with a least one of these at any given time. Of course removing stress from our lives is a preferable approach, it is not always so easy to execute. Herbal medicines can have a profound effect on balancing the stress response, particularly a group of herbs known as the adaptogens.

The HPA axis and stress

The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is essentially a communication pathway between a part of the brain (hypothalamus) and hormone-secreting glands (pituitary and adrenal glands). The HPA axis plays an important role in the body’s stress response and the subsequent release our major stress hormone, cortisol.

Activation of our HPA axis occurs on exposure to acute stressors that pose significant threat or danger, and is designed to help us survive. However, the HPA axis is yet to adapt to dealing with the chronic stress that we experience in our everyday lives.

Repetitive activation of our stress-response pathways can cause imbalances in the HPA axis, which can have long-term effect on our nervous system such as disrupted sleep patterns, increased anxiety, fatigue and metabolic dysfunction.

The herbal adaptogens

Adaptogens are a group of herbal medicines that are able to modify the stress-response, increasing adaptability and resistance to stressors. There are a number of adaptogen herbs, each with their own unique properties, but here are three of our favourite adaptogen herbs.

Withania (Withania somnifera)

Withania, also known as winter cherry or Ashwagandha, is one of the classic adaptogen herbs. A traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is a rejuvenating herb which was traditionally believed to impart the strength and vitality of a horse. In Sanskrit, Ashwagandha means “the smell of horse”, referring to the distinct horse-like smell of the root.

Clinical studies have shown that Withania modulates the stress-response (via modulation of the HPA axis) and reduces serum cortisol levels. In addition to adaptogenic and anti-stress properties, Withania has also been shown to have a significant effect in alleviating anxiety and insomnia.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Rhodiola, another of the adaptogen herbs, has a long history of use as a strengthening herbal medicine dating back to the Viking era. Rhodiola grows high up in the crevices of arctic mountains — which is certainly no easy feat. The ability to grow in such treacherous conditions speaks volumes of Rhodiola’s adaptogenic properties.

Research has demonstrated that Rhodiola inhibits physiological stress reactivity, which in turn moderates perceived stress and anxiety levels. Rhodiola interacts with the HPA axis to lower cortisol and mitigate the effects of prolonged stress. Clinical trials have also shown that Rhodiola has an antidepressant effect in mild to moderate depression.

Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is another Ayurvedic herbal medicine that was traditionally used for its anti-stress and adaptogenic properties. In Sanskrit, Tulsi means “the incomparable ones”, and is considered to be one of the sacred plants in Hindu religion.

In vitro studies have demonstrated that Holy Basil balances the activation and reactivity of the HPA axis by inhibiting the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands. Therapeutically, Holy Basil has also been used in respiratory conditions, colds, coughs and fevers – owing to its antimicrobial properties. This herb is ideal for those who have a tendency to poor immune function with higher stress loads.


Experience the benefits of a holistic health treatment at Wellnation Clinics and book in for a Naturopathy appointment. Our Naturopathic practitioners are able to create a personalised treatment plan to suit your specific health needs.


Further reading

How meditation changes your brain

How meditation changes your brain

Meditation has gained popularity in recent years, with many people practicing it in hopes of warding off stress and related health problems. Mindful meditation in particular involves sitting comfortably, drawing your focus to your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into thoughts about the past or the future (Corliss, 2014).

Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Harvard, is conducting multiple research studies in which the investigators studied brain scans to determine how mindfulness and meditation affects your brain.  

The first study compared people who meditated, to a control group, and found that meditators have an increased amount of grey matter in the sensory regions of their brains. This indicates that when you’re in a state of mindfulness, you’re paying attention to your breathing and the present moment, which in turn causes your cognition, the area responsible for acquiring knowledge and understanding, to shut down. Furthermore, there was also more grey matter in the part of the brain which is associated with working memory and executive decision making (Hölzel, 2010).

It is also widely known that our cortex shrinks as we age, which makes it more difficult to figure things out and remember things. However, in this one region of the brain, the researchers found that 50 year old meditators had the same amount of grey matter as 25 year olds (Hölzel, 2010).

Therefore, in order to rule out the fact that perhaps the people in the first study started out with more grey matter than the average individual before they started meditating, they conducted a second study in which they took people who had never meditated before, and put one of the groups through an eight-week mindfulness based stress reduction program.

After eight weeks, they measured brain volume in five different regions of the brain. In the group that learned meditation, they found enhancement in the regions of the brain responsible for wandering, self-relevance, learning/cognition, memory, emotional regulation, empathy and compassion, among others (Lazar, 2005).

In contrast, the fight or flight part of the brain, responsible for anxiety, fear, and stress in general got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program (Lazar, 2005). Dr Lazar equates mindfulness to exercise for the brain, as it increases health, helps us handle stress more effectively and promotes longevity.

The Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria (ARCVic) has additional info on how to manage anxiety and stress. One such example is deep breathing exercise, which can be done simultaneously to mindful meditation exercises:

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your stomach.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose and you should feel your stomach rise up.
  • Hold your breath for a couple of seconds.
  • Breathe out slowly through your nose, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your stomach muscles. You should feel your stomach move down.
  • Continue this exercise and count slowly to 3 as you breathe out – your stomach should always move more than your chest. As you get better at deep breathing you might want to count for longer. (ARCVic, n.d.)

If you feel that you are not comfortable sitting up or that you can’t feel your stomach moving then try lying down on the floor – this works just as well and it may help you to relax more.

Happy meditating!


Corliss, J. (2014, January 8). Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress [Web log post]. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from

ARCVic, Deep Breathing Exercises. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from

Holzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. W. (2010). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Res, 191(1), 36-43. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from

Lazar, S. W., Kerr, C. E., Wasserman, R. H., Gray, J. R., Greve, D. N., Treadway, M. T., … Fischl, B. (2005). Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Neuroreport, 16(17), 1893–1897.

The nutritional biochemistry of stress and anxiety - and the dietary factors you need to consider

The nutritional biochemistry of stress and anxiety - and the dietary factors you need to consider

When it comes to feeling anxious and stressed, diet is undoubtedly a double-edged sword. Diet possesses the ability to return the nervous system to a state of wellness, and the ability to send our bodies into a self-perpetuating cycle of stress, anxiety and even depression-like symptoms. Fortunately, there is a fundamental biochemical pathway that, when explained in a forthright manner, helps to put these complex issues in some perspective.  

Before this biochemical pathway is discussed, however, it is necessary to explore the underlying evolutionary biology. Our bodies are amazingly well equipped to facilitate short-term stress responses. Unfortunately, these mechanisms begin to unravel in the face of long-term chronic ‘psychologically driven’ stress.

In essence, psychological stress is a relatively new phenomena that evolved when humans developed unprecedented levels of self-awareness. Once upon a time, the predatory lion was relegated to the plains of the Serengeti. Now, however, self-awareness brings abstracted threat into both our past and future lives. Put simply, humans are now running from predators – real or otherwise – on a perpetual basis, with our stress responses being subjected to potentially unending stimuli.

To make matters even more complicated, modernity offers a plethora of dietary factors that can hasten anxiety – namely a near unlimited supply of sugars. Refined carbohydrates constitute the great ‘stress catch-22’. In the aftermath of a stress response, our now depleted blood-sugar levels send the signal for sugar, whilst our reward system cries out for a hit of sweetening comfort. Unfortunately, satiating these demands is often overcompensated, resulting in the makings of an entirely new cascade of stress.

This brings us to perhaps the most fundamental nutritional biochemical pathway underlying stress-driven nervous-system dysfunction. There are three primary characters in this tale of dysfunction:

1. Sugar, the destructive antagonist
2. Magnesium, the defiant protagonist, and
3. Insulin, the innocent bystander.

In effect, magnesium is the great ally of the nervous system. When a stress response occurs, it is magnesium’s job to start catalysing a myriad of down-regulatory calming processes.

Meanwhile, insulin is a hormone that is released in response to sugar consumption, and helps our cells absorb sugar for energy. In times of chronic stress, however, excessive demand on this system may result in higher levels of insulin remaining in our systems for longer.

Regrettably for magnesium, overly high levels of insulin inadvertently play the role of kryptonite. Unfortunately, insulin also promotes the excretion of magnesium from the kidneys into urine. To add insult to injury, this sudden drop in magnesium will then deplete intracellular magnesium, where it plays a vital role in successful insulin signalling.

What follows is a cascade of dysregulation that ultimately results in the individual craving more and more sugar, whilst being less and less able to metabolise it, resulting in greater and greater loss of magnesium – with the individual becoming more and more stressed in the process!

Breaking through this catch-22 may seem like an impossible task, but as usual, knowledge and understanding come to the rescue. Both aspects of this article – the evolutionary biology and the nutritional biochemistry – help to shed light on how one might pull themselves back from stress induced anxiety.

The evolutionary biology demonstrates that we exist at a disadvantage. Our bodies, minds and environment are still in a complex struggle for equilibrium. Guilt over how we react to stress is only ever going to perpetuate the issue. Mindfulness techniques, however, are rising in popularity, and helping people navigate this aspect of the stress story.    

Meanwhile, the nutritional biochemistry reveals that steering our nervous systems towards wellness, starts with systematically decreasing refined carbohydrates, whilst increasing magnesium rich foods. Discussing magnesium supplementation with a qualified healthcare professional could also assist in breaking the stress cycle in its initial stage.

Dietary factors that help stabilise insulin levels in times of stress include:

  • Starting your day with a high protein meal
  • Consume carbohydrates primarily in complex forms, such as sweet potatoes
  • If consuming grains, substitute to sorghum – a gluten free pseudo-grain that is low in defensive-plant-toxins (but be sure to soak grain to reduce anti-nutrients)
  • Substitute cauliflower rice for traditional rice
  • Increase magnesium rich foods, such as spinach, dark chocolate, goats’ milk / yoghurt / kefir, sprouted almonds, and bananas


How sleep may be messing with your weight loss plan

How sleep may be messing with your weight loss plan

Sleep is a basic human need that we all share. Much like food and water, sleep is an essential pillar of health that needs to be nurtured. The more obvious health effects of inadequate sleep include fatigue, decline in cognitive function, difficulty concentrating, an increased risk of mental health issues and in cases of chronic sleep restriction, an increase in the risk of fatigue-related accidents and injuries.

More recent research has found that inadequate sleep significantly impacts cardiovascular health, endocrine function (our hormone system), and metabolism. Obesity and obesity-related diseases are on the rise, and your sleep (or more specifically, lack of sleep) could be, in part to blame.

How sleep affects your appetite

One of the main metabolic aspects of our health that is impacted by sleep is our appetite. Our appetite is regulated primarily by two hormones – leptin and ghrelin. Leptin reduces hunger, while ghrelin get your tummy grumbling and increases hunger. Generally, the release of these hormones are dependent on well-fed you are. However, one of the perils of modern living is that it interferes with the balance of these hormones and how they communicate with our cells. Sleep, or lack thereof, is a major player in the balance of leptin and ghrelin. Both short and long-term sleep restriction causes an increase in ghrelin levels and a decrease in leptin levels, leaving you ravishingly hungry and more likely to consume excessive kilojoules.

Of course, there are always multiple factors that can influence weight loss or gain. However, ensuring you are getting enough sleep is an essential step in managing your weight.

Getting the right amount of sleep

We each have our own sleep routines and habits, but generally, most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Falling below that 7 hour benchmark in the sleep restriction category. Every now and again, restriction of sleep duration is unlikely to be overly harmful to your health. However, when sleep restriction becomes a regular thing (known as chronic sleep restriction), health problems are likely to set in.

It’s not just the quantity of sleep, but the quality that counts

Sleep is quite a complicated physiological process. There are various stages that we oscillate between throughout the night from very light to deep stages of sleep and REM phases. The quality of your sleep is determined by the time spent in each stage of sleep, and how you transition between each of the stages.

Are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night and still waking up foggy headed and dragging your feet? Perhaps you are waking frequently throughout the night and never quite getting into a solid, deep sleep. These are indicators that the quality if your sleep could be improved. If you are really interested in looking at your quality of sleep, you can use a monitoring device such as a Fitbit or a sleep app.

What to do when you can’t adjust your sleep patterns

Our world is a busy place and it is not always possible to get the perfect night’s sleep every night. Many of us regularly experience disrupted sleep patterns – FIFO workers, shift workers, start-up companies, high-flying executives, students, parents, the elderly – and it is not always possible to simply adjust your routine. So, what can you do? For a start, focus on improving the quality of your sleep, particularly if your total sleep time is restricted. Incorporate some sleep hygiene strategies and establish a pre-bedtime routine (regardless of what time of day you are going to sleep). This article provides some great sleep hygiene strategies.

Nourish and nurture other aspects of your health such as your diet, physical activity and social connection. Move your body daily and fuel it with wholesome, fresh foods. Make time to catch up with friends and family or indulge in some forest bathing. And if you feel you need some additional support, seek advice from a natural health practitioner.

Getting back to nature: The benefits of forest bathing

Getting back to nature: The benefits of forest bathing

Many trends have come and gone in the last year, from fake news to fidget spinners. However, one trend is actually beneficial for individuals and has proven health benefits – forest bathing. It was created by the Japanese and it is now considered one of the top relaxation/stress management activities in Japan and around the world.

The idea is simple. An individual simply visits a forest or a similar natural area and walks or sits in a relaxed and calming manner to reap the benefits. It entails breathing in volatile organic compounds called phytoncides (wood essential oils). These phytoncides are derived from trees and have antimicrobial properties.

Despite the name, forest bathing doesn’t actually traditionally involve water. Rather, it as a form of meditation, where the walker is encouraged to move slowly and focus on absorbing the surrounding sights, smells and sounds through their multiple senses.

Leaving the fast-paced rhythm of urban life into a quiet sanctuary will ease anxiety levels. It’s not unusual for doctors in Asia to prescribe a weekly dose of forest bathing as a complementary (and complimentary!) therapy for conditions such as high blood pressure, insomnia, immune disorders, and to assist in patient recovery following surgical procedures.(3)

As of 2004, there have been studies conducted by Yuko Tsunetsugu, Bum-Jin Park, and Yoshifumi Miyazaki to assess the potential outcomes of “Therapeutic Effects of Forests” on physical and mental health (to the cost of about $4 million dollars). Their work highlighted how being in a natural setting affected the senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch.(1)

Besides the laboratory studies, there have also been field studies in which participants took 20 minute walks in Seiwa Prefectural Forest Park, containing mostly oak trees and compared to the control setting of Chiba station. Those who walked the forest showed much lower haemoglobin concentrations in the prefrontal cortex, as compared to those walking in Chiba station, indicating that the “home base for executive function has switched a few lights off.”(4) The final results indicated an increase in mental concentration and decreased levels of stress hormones when the subjects were in the forest.(1)

Lastly, a research review conducted in 2010 indicated that forest environments promoted lower concentrations of cortisol (the stress hormone), lower pulse, lower blood pressure and greater parasympathetic nerve activity than city environments.(2)

In addition to all the health benefits, an added bonus is that most forests don’t have great mobile phone reception so you are required to digitally detox. Then there are the physical perks – for example, walking on uneven ground means you are engaging your core.

If you’re wondering how to reap the benefits of forest bathing yourself (which can last up to 7 days), here’s how to do it:

1. For safety reasons, it’s recommended that you go with a group. Always inform others of your plans and your intended time of return.

2. Do a quick search for local trails in your area. Plan out the duration and the gradient of the terrains before you go. Certain websites feature maps that can be accessed while offline.

3. Bring proper gear with you, including waterproof attire, water, and appropriate footwear, such as hiking boots.

4. Pack a first aid kit or supplies to use in case of emergencies or injuries.

5. Bring your sense of adventure and get ready to relax.



1. Tsunetsugu, Yuko; Park, Bum-Jin; Miyazaki, Yoshifumi (2009). "Trends in research related to "Shinrin-yoku" (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) in Japan"Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine. 15 (1): 27–37. 

2. Park, Bum Jin; Tsunetsugu, Yuko; Kasetani, Tamami; Kagawa, Takahide; Miyazaki, Yoshifumi (2009). "The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): Evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan"Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine. 15 (1): 18–26. 

3. Amy Molloy (2017). “Health and Nature: Forest Therapy for Depression, Stress and High Blood Pressue”. Body and Soul.

4. Florence Williams (2012). “Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning” Outside. 

An ode to the hearty winter stew

An ode to the hearty winter stew

As a nutritionist, I’ve explored the wonders of biochemistry, and traversed the rocky terrain of academic research. However, throughout it all there have remained a number of enduring truths… certain kinds of knowingness if you will that seem eternally self-evident.  

I was reminded of one such knowingness when I was recently exploring winter nutrition. This knowingness declares – in no uncertain terms – that when winter strikes, our bodies require the nutritional equitant of a big, warm motherly hug!

As trite as that may sound, I must admit to such moments filling my winter days… and for this I feel blessed. Moments where lovingly prepared meals have warmed my soul back to life, and filled my home with the kind of love that keeps the elements at bay.

For me, it was my mother who spun these timeless culinary spells, and it is only now – from my 21st century vantage point – that I fully appreciate the digital-less manner by which she garnered her inspiration. She had no food blogs, recipe websites, or other such options – all of which I unceremoniously engage with, in a hasty and perhaps unconsidered manner.

With this in mind, I recently found myself inspired to go ‘old school’ and explore my family bookcase. In one fell swoop, I pushed all the celebrity chef cookbooks aside. Lurking in the depths was my great-grandmother’s 100 year old copy of Mrs Beetons Household Management, and my mother’s Australian Woman’s Weekly Recipe Card Library. I was instantly struck with wealth of carefully considered wisdom contained in these dusty artefacts.

Particularly noteworthy was the abundance of ‘snout to tail’ methods of cooking. Such methods are experiencing a revival today, particularly amongst traditionalists who wish to respect animal husbandry by avoiding any form of needless waste. It is with this method that I wish to explore a recipe for a hearty winter stew. One that reflects the wisdom of our past, whilst considering the conveniences of our present.

Slow Cooked Oxtail Stew

The following recipe is inspired from several original sources, however, several key recommendations have been made, in order to ensure the best possible nutritional practices are adhered to.

  1. Source pastured, organic beef
  2. Use homemade bone broth / stock
  3. Use a gluten free thickener flour
  4. Use tomatoes from a BPA free can


1kg oxtail pieces
Healthy cooking oil – ghee, coconut, olive
1 large onion
2 medium sticks celery
5 medium carrots
½ cup red wine 
1 & ½ cups beef broth / stock
1 400g tin of tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Thickening flour 


Chop oxtail in 4cm chunks (ask your butcher to do this). Brown tail in a large pan, using your choice of healthy cooking oil. Place oxtail aside and add the onions to the pan, peeled and sliced. 

When lightly browned, reduce the heat and add the carrots and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes. 

Add the oxtail, onion, celery, carrots, wine, beef stock, tomatoes and herbs to a slow cooker. 

Cook on a high heat, until stew is bubbling, then reduce to medium. Cook for 8 hours, or until oxtail is tender. 

Thicken stew with your gluten-free thickening flour of choice. Gluten free corn-starch is suitable for most people with sensitive GITs, whilst glucomannan powder (start slowly with a teaspoon) constitutes a novel approach for non-gut-sensitive individuals. 


Mrs Beeton’s Household Management – bone broth, page 139

The Australian Woman’s Weekly Recipe Card Library – best beef recipes, card 17

How to keep moving in winter

How to keep moving in winter

There are enormous health benefits in keeping up your exercise routine over the winter months. Daily movement increases lymphatic circulation, providing a boost for your immune system and enhancing the body’s detoxification processes. Keeping your body moving, particularly when you would rather snuggle up on the couch, will also improve energy levels and lift your mood. Here are a few little gems on how to keep moving this winter and how to stay injury-free.

Get outdoors

Connecting with nature, even when it is chilly outside, is a great way to keep moving this winter. Greenspace (spending time in nature) has been shown to have both physical and mental health benefits. So, rug up and take a hike with some friends, or even just get out of the office and take a stroll around the park on your lunch break. However you choose to move, take a deep breath and let the cool crisp air invigorate and energise you.

Indoor options

For the rainy days or when it is just too cold to venture outside, why no roll the yoga mat for a cosy lounge room yoga practice. If you after a little more of an adrenaline kick, opt for something such as indoor rock-climbing or sign up with an indoor multi-sports team. No matter how bad the weather, there is always a way to include some movement into your day. 

Warm up properly

If you are braving the elements, it is really important that you do a good warm up. In colder temperatures, it can be easier to injure yourself if your muscles are not sufficiently warmed up. Ensure you allow a little extra time to get your circulation going and muscle warm before hitting the pavement. Cooling down and stretching after a workout is important for preventing post-exercise muscle soreness, just make sure that you don’t get too cold in the process.

Stay hydrated

Hydration is just as important in the colder months and is often neglected. Humidity levels are generally lower throughout winter, so you may not notice how much sweat you are producing as it will evaporate faster. A good way to keep an on your hydration levels is by looking at the colour of your urine. If you are well hydrated your urine should be a pale yellow or straw colour, if it is darker in colour then you may not be getting enough water. Muscle cramping can be another indicator of poor hydration, so if you get the old charley horse, check in with your hydration levels and adjust accordingly.

Fighting winter illness naturally: Natural remedies for common cold management

Fighting winter illness naturally: Natural remedies for common cold management

Contracting the common cold is a certainty faced by many in our busy and hectic world. Come wintertime, with June imposing its icy chill upon us, life inevitably demands a heavy toll. What follows is a perfect storm… The suppression of our immune systems is met with the precise environmental conditions for viral and bacterial infection to thrive. The results is a microbiological cascade of horror that can bring down the mightiest of humans! Luckily, there are a number of strategic ways in which this assault on our body’s defences can be confronted. First, however, we must understand what is occurring.

For some time now researches have understood that the common cold is predominantly caused by viruses. However, this viral infection can often lead to bacterial sinus infections that frequently turn chronic. Essentially, the inflamed sinus tissue creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to flourish. Such a scenario can leave one even more susceptible to further viral infection. Furthermore, many do not understand that this issue needs to be targeted simultaneously at the bacterial, viral and sinus tissue level. The following constitutes three natural intervening methods that specifically target these problem areas. 

Sinus irrigation with Xylitol

Sinus irrigation, with saline water, has been a tried and tested home remedy, dating back to ancient times. However, in the western world, it is often overlooked as a first line defence against infection. Although sinus irrigation may seem invasive, it is comparatively less invasive than oral-antibiotics, which – in their quest to destroy sinus bacteria – can disrupt the microbiological balance elsewhere in the body. It therefore stands to reason that sinus irrigation is a logical go-to remedy when infection strikes. Recently, however, researchers have revealed Xylitol – a naturally occurring sugar-alcohol sweetener – to be a novel and effective addition to traditional sinus irrigation methods. In essence, bacteria like to eat sugar, just like people do. Xylitol’s sweetness attracts certain oral and sinus bacteria, but when consumed destroys them from the inside out. Xylitol sinus products can now be found in many pharmacies and health-food stores.   

Viral control with beta glucans

Recent times have seen beta glucans – a type of carbohydrate – rise in notoriety due to its ability to lower cholesterol levels. Such beta glucans are derived from oats, but interestingly, beta glucans are also derived from mushrooms and the cell walls of certain fungi. These relatively more exotic beta glucans are uniquely absorbed by our bodies’ gastrointestinal immune cells. Once absorbed, they are circulated throughout the body. Various studies have demonstrated the ability of these beta glucans to then stimulate the upregulation of key viral fighting immune cells. This is particularly advantageous in winter, as the immune system may already be supressing latent viral infections, whilst dealing with an onslaught of new offenders. It is in this sense that beta glucans – in the form of specialised mushroom and yeast derived products – constitute a novel way to support the immune system throughout its toughest time of the year.

Lactoferrin – an immune system all-rounder

Lactoferrin is an often overlooked powerful immune modulator and antiviral / microbial agent. Lactoferrin is found abundantly in colostrum (a mother’s first milk) and preforms many vital roles in the protection and stimulation of new life. In today’s day and age, lactoferrin is amply available via bovine milk extraction. One significant aspect of lactoferrin is its ability to bind iron, thus starving bacteria of a nutrient essential for its survival. Subsequently, lactoferrin also has the ability to block the cellular structures to which certain viruses attach. It is via these, and other complex mechanisms, that lactoferrin has been shown to be supportive to our overall immune health. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about the suitability of these products for you.

If you’re feeling rundown, then it might be time to visit a Student Clinical Nutritionist at Wellnation Clinics. Click here to book an appointment online.


Vitality is the spice of life

Vitality is the spice of life

Vitality is something we all desire. It describes the state of being strong, active and bursting of energy. Physical health, mental health and emotional health are all required to achieve a state of true and lasting vitality.

So, why is it so difficult to maintain vitality in our modern world? A common obstacle to a person’s sense of vitality is stress. Stress impacts on each level of health and diminishes energy. Stress encompasses the physical, mental and emotional reactions we have to anything we perceive as a threat to our immediate safety.  When we are in a situation that we perceive to be stressful, our mind releases a series of hormones. These hormones are commonly referred to as ‘flight-fight-freeze’ hormones as they help catapult us into our survival state.

Now let’s be clear, this ‘survival state’ was once extremely useful. It kept us alive while hunting, gathering and looking for shelter. However, the definition of a ‘threat’ has changed dramatically. Our threats might include traffic on the way to work, the fear of losing employment, anxiety about money, pressure from work deadlines… and the list goes on. Now, instead of saving us, our survival response is a burden to our health and overall vitality.

Stress reactions can manifest on all levels — physical, mental, emotional — from a single stress event. On a physical level, we may experience digestive issues or adrenal fatigue. On a mental level, we may become irritable or spiral into negative thinking or lose our sense of self-confidence. On an emotional level we may lose motivation or become sad and withdrawn. All of these symptoms have the ability to block the flow of energy through the body and lower our sense of vitality.

It’s no surprise that stress is an epidemic in our ‘go, go, go’ society. It is easy to be swept up in the day-to-day grind and forget to intentionally focus on building vitality. No matter your role in life, I’m sure you can attest to the sense that there’s ‘always more to do’. It’s no wonder that self-care falls to the bottom of the to-do list!

Mindfulness can be an important first step for addressing stress. It can be a bit tricky to know if you are ‘doing it right’ when you first start but rest assured there’s no wrong way to meditate, as long as you focus on breathing deeply and relaxing. The following exercises are great for practicing mindfulness on a daily basis:

1. Diaphragm Breathing – Sit or stand with your back nice and straight and monitor how far down into your lungs your breathe goes with every inhalation. Placing your hand across your diaphragm, aim to take your breathe down as deep as you can into your diaphragm until your hand resting on the outside is moved gently upwards by your breathe. Practice this daily and as often as you need to in order to regain some calm in your day.

2. Live in the now – We spend much of our day worrying about things that have happened or may happen in the future. This doesn’t have to be about things that bother us but can be as simple as going over our plans for such and such a time. By doing this we miss out on what is happening around us right now.  Making the effort to be present in each moment as we go through our day and paying attention to what is happening now instead of at some other time is extremely helpful in reducing stress and getting the most out of now. 

3. Practice positive thoughts – By monitoring our thoughts and being aware of the quality of them, we can work to replace negative, unhelpful thoughts with thoughts that are positive and productive and thus reduce physiological reactions to negative thoughts.

4. Body scan – Find a comfortable place to just rest with your eyes closed for a few minutes and take the time to tune into how your body is feeling. During this time do not try to change how anything is feeling; the aim is just to notice. Beginning at the top of your head slowly work your way down all the way to the tips of your toes and just notice. After having done this enough times you will be easily able to tell if something isn’t quite right or needs your closer attention.

To address just one level of health, when dealing with the stress, is not useful for authentic healing.

Positive change can only be achieved by addressing physical-mental-emotional health simultaneously. That’s why we treat clients holistically at Wellnation Clinics. Maintaining all levels of health not only leads to optimal health, but it increases your capacity to manage stressful circumstances with ease.

If you’re looking to increase your vitality levels, why not book in for a naturopathy appointment? Your Naturopath is able to prescribe herbs, provide nutrition advice and address emotional issues to ultimately strengthen your adrenal system and help your spirit soar.


  • Ellis A, Gordon J, Neenam M, Palmer S, Stress Counselling, Sage, 2001
  • Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University, 2017
  • Schneiderman N, Ironson  G, Siegel S, Stress and Health: Psychological, Behavioural and Biological Determinants, Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2005, vol 1 pp 607-628
  • American Psychological Association, How Stress Effects Your Health, 2013

Improving sperm parameters with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine

Improving sperm parameters with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine

In males, infertility is estimated to be present at a rate of around seven percent and may be a factor in up to fifty percent of infertile couples. Western medicine has little to offer men in the treatment of most male fertility disorders, particularly where substandard sperm is the issue.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers male infertility to be related to the correct functioning of the Kidney, Liver and Spleen. The Kidney is known as the ‘root of life’ – it stores the Jing (essence), governs birth, development and reproduction, controls the lower orifices and is the gate to Ming Men (warming the lower Jiao, Jing and harmonising sexual function). The Liver regulates the movement and volume of blood, circulates the Qi to prevent obstructions and controls the sinews (including the penis). The Spleen is the root of the acquired Qi and through its transforming and transporting function contributes to the development of blood Yin and Yang which are necessary for reproductive processes to occur.

Sperm is probably most closely connected with the Kidney Jing. It is the Yang of the Kidney that gives sperm their motility, warms the seminal fluid to prevent it being thin and watery, and provides the spark for libido and orgasm. The Yin controls substance and is represented by quantity of seminal fluid, sperm count and morphology, and control over ejaculation. Jing essence manifests in poor sexual development or premature ageing. Liver blood deficiency can lead to a decline in Jing (fertility).

Damp heat can cause obstructions within the genital region in the form of infections and this can reduce male fertility and sexual function. Men over the age of 35 have a decline in their sperm parameters. Traditional Chinese medicine equates this to a Kidney deficiency. Kidney depletion are situations that wear out the body - that is chronic illness, excessive ejaculation and exercise, or overwork.

Dysfunction is created in the Liver by the emotions of anger, frustration and repressed emotion, a greasy and spicy diet, excessive alcohol intake (creating too much heat) and a sedentary lifestyle. The Spleen is harmed through difficult to digest foods contributing to a lack of nutrients to nourish the Jing and blood, a predominance for worrying or overthinking, and exposure to damp environments.

Studies suggest that acupuncture given twice per week for between five and ten weeks can significantly improve sperm count, concentration, morphology, and rapid motility.

The body of evidence supporting acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for improving sperm parameters is small but growing. Western pathology provides an accurate tool for measuring the extent of sperm disorders and TCM provides treatment to significantly improve sperm parameters where there is currently no comparable Western medical option.

If you’re interesting in improving your sperm parameters to increase your fertility, book an Acupuncture appointment at Wellnation Clinics.  

Fertility, self-care and preconception

Fertility, self-care and preconception

Why is nutrition so important for fertility?

Babies are not created from nothing; they are made from the nutrients available at each stage of development. It starts with a healthy egg and a healthy sperm to start the process, then the mother needs to be able to provide everything to grow this new little human. If the mother’s diet is not sufficient, the body will take from the mother to give to the baby for example essential fatty acids will come from the mother’s brain (think baby brain) and iron from the mother’s stores (think fatigue).

A healthy diet goes a long way to creating quality eggs and sperm and supporting the nutrient needs of the developing baby, such as:

  • A diet rich in colourful vegetables especially of the green leafy variety.
  • Lots of good protein sources such as fish, eggs, beans, quinoa, lentils and lean meat.
  • Inclusion of quality fats such as avocado, oily fish, coconut cream, nuts and seeds.
  • Wholegrains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and rye.

In addition to a basic healthy diet the following foods are specific for each parent-to-be:

Mum-to-be needs:

Folic Acid

  • Reduce risk of DNA damage
  • Protect against miscarriage & pre-eclampsia
  • Prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida

Dietary sources: Eggs, beans, green leafy vegetables, lentils, organ meats, sprouts and yeast


  • Helps to mature eggs prior to release
  • Reduces risk of miscarriage
  • Essential in numerous reactions required for healthy growth and development of the foetus and placenta.

Dietary sources: Beef, lamb, capsicum, egg yolks, ginger, milk, wholegrains, seafood, sunflower and pumpkin seeds

  • Helps with production of increased blood levels
  • Builds up baby’s stores to get them through first 6 months after birth (little comes through breast milk)
Dietary sources: Grass fed meat, poultry, almonds, avocado, liver, kidney, oysters, parsley, sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Vitamin D
  • Reduces risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia
  • Increases brain function, skeletal development
  • Reduces risk of developing diabetes & allergies later

Dietary sources: Sunlight exposure, cod liver oil, butter, egg yolk, sprouted seeds and activated mushrooms

  • Essential in development of nervous system & brain
  • Prevents post natal depression
  • Component of every cell created
Dietary sources: Cod liver oil, tuna, salmon, sardines, cod, walnut oil, extra virgin olive oil and ground flaxseeds

Dad-to-be needs:


  • Essential for semen and testosterone production
  • Helps mature sperm and reduce risk of DNA damage

Dietary sources: Beef, lamb, capsicum, egg yolks, ginger, milk, wholegrains, seafood, sunflower and pumpkin seeds


  • Essential component of sperm production and maturation
  • Increases sperm motility
  • Reduces oxidative damage to sperm

Dietary sources: Cod liver oil, tuna, salmon, sardines, cod, walnut oil, extra virgin olive oil and ground flaxseeds


  • Improved quality and motility of sperm

Dietary sources: Broccoli, brazil nuts, butter, cashews, celery, eggs, garlic, oysters, tuna, onions and wholegrains

Vitamin E

  • Antioxidant that prevents DNA damage
  • Maintains energy status of sperm

Dietary sources: Almonds, hazelnuts, beef, corn, egg yolk and wheat germ

Vitamin C

  • Antioxidant that prevents DNA damage
  • Improves concentration and quantity of sperm

Dietary sources: Broccoli, citrus fruits, parsley, capsicum, pineapple, raw cabbage, sweet potato and tomatoes

If you’re pregnant or hoping to become pregnant soon, why not visit a Student Clinical Nutritionist at Wellnation Clinics. They can work alongside you to create a meal plan for preconception, as well as recommend supplementation if required. Book an appointment now.

The effects of stress on conception

The effects of stress on conception

How often do we hear the words ‘I’m so stressed!’, ‘This is so stressful’ and ‘Stop stressing me out!’. Today’s society is a minefield of stress and anxiety at work, in our social circles and at home.  More and more we are feeling these pressures, often without realising the impact it may be having on our health, wellbeing and even our ability to conceive.

Stress can look and feel differently to everyone. Deadlines at work, a houseful of children, a demanding boss, sports, eating disorders, wedding planning, arguments, a car accident or the sudden death of a loved one. It doesn’t matter what the stressor is, the result is often the same.

If you have been trying to conceive without success, the words ‘just relax and it will happen’ probably seem far too frustrating to have any merit. But as current research shows, this is exactly the case.  Stress impacts the functionality of the hypothalamus, a part of our brain that plays a very important role, linking the nervous system to the endocrine system.  It is responsible for initiating the synthesis of a number of hormones responsible for preparing the body for ovulation and fertilisation. It also regulates our appetite, thirst, emotions and temperature.

Stress can impact the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle and cause females to ovulate days later than expected or in cases of sudden stress, not at all. This can pose an issue if you are tracking your cycle and trying to conceive on days that you ‘should’ be ovulating when in fact ovulation may not occur until days later. This process in itself can create (yes, you guessed it)…stress!

Stress also releases cortisol, a steroid hormone that plays a vital role in blood pressure regulation and the male reproductive system. Excessive amounts of stress can alter normal biochemical functioning and result in abnormal testosterone secretion, sperm production, sperm function and even interfere with the ability to initiate and maintain an erection.

Stress can also impact the immune system and increase the chances of infections. Infections that spread to the testes, ovaries, uterus, urethra and prostate can affect reproductive organs and their capacity to function normally and therefore conceive.

The most recent and outstanding research by Berkley University in California has discovered that the above is certainly true but male and female reproduction systems cope a double whammy when it comes to the release of stress hormones in the brain. This research shows that it is not only cortisol and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) that are elevated, but also gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) levels are increased in the brain in times of elevated stress. GnIH is an inhibitory hormone that acts directly on GnRH stopping the natural cascade of hormones required for a successful implantation in its tracks. Showing that stress directly contributes to infertility.

This latest piece to the conception puzzle provides evidence and avenues for additional research. The more we learn about the impacts of stress on both the male and female reproductive systems the more we look towards ways to identify and alleviate stress and stressors in lives.

So what’s next? If you’re looking to combat the affects of stress on your body why not see a Student Clinical Nutritionist at Wellnation Clinics. You can book an appointment online here. Alternatively, here are seven ways to reduce your stress levels each day.

Author: Diana Krisanski, Clinical Nutritionist (BHSc Nutritional Medicine). Follow Diana on Instagram.

For further reading:

7 simple daily acts of self-care

7 simple daily acts of self-care

When you think about self-care, your mind probably jumps to indulgent spa treatments, yoga retreats or luxurious weekends away. Whilst these are beautiful ways to recharge the soul, for most of us, they options are simply not feasible on a regular basis. Luckily, self-care can definitely be achieved on a budget! Self-care is about taking time to restore balance and re-energise your body. And how we achieve that will be a little different for each of us.

Here are seven of our favourite self-care rituals that you can incorporate into your daily life – even if you can only spare 10 minutes each day.

1. Ground yourself: The practice of grounding essentially involves direct skin contact with the Earths surface. Physically connecting with the surface of the Earth has been shown to help restore the electrical balance of the body and counteract the effects of stress.

2. Read for fun: Carve some time out of your busy day to read something that you enjoy, whether it be a newspaper, a magazine, a novel or even your favourite blog.

3. Create a daily tea ritual: Tea is an integral part of many cultures, and most of us enjoy a cuppa on a daily basis. Setting up a daily tea ritual gives you a lovely opportunity for a mindful break. Take your time to create a soothing cup of tea – be it an exotic herbal blend in a fancy teapot or a good ol’ Bushell's with a dash of milk. Make it your own and pay attention to each step in the process of brewing your perfect cuppa.

4. Unplug / Digital detox: Ideally, aim to unplug from your digital devices for 2-3 hours of your day (and no, sleeping hours do not count!). Constant exposure to screens, blue light and electromagnetic fields can leave us feeling frazzled and fatigued, so incorporate a little digital detoxing into your day.

5. Stretch: A gentle stretching session can do wonders for you physical health, but also for your mental and emotional wellbeing. It doesn’t need to be an hour long yoga session – a quick 10 minute stretching routine can make a noticeable difference to your health.

6. Schedule creative time: Allowing time and space for creativity is a great outlet for self-expression. Keep in mind that there are many different ways in which we can be creative, it is not necessarily restricted to arts and crafts. It could be building something, creating recipes, blending your own herbal teas or gardening. Let your imagination run wild.

7. Take 10 minutes to do nothing: It sounds simple enough, but realistically, we rarely take the time to intentionally do nothing. Andy Puddicombe has done a brilliant TED talk on this topic. So take 10 minutes to watch this video, and then take 10 minutes to do nothing. Absolutely nothing.

How food affects the body: A TCM perspective

How food affects the body: A TCM perspective

One of the foundational principles underlying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is that of the five elements – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Each of these elements corresponds to different organs, different seasons and different flavours, as well as many other connections.

Balance is key

Every item of food you consume can be helping you to heal and grow stronger or can be feeding your imbalance and making you sicker. In Traditional Chinese Medicine food can be categorised by its flavour and its temperature. A perfect meal contains a balance of the five flavours to nourish and support your whole body, as well as a balance of temperatures based on the season and your body type.

How digestion works within the TCM framework 

The Earth element corresponds essentially to the digestive system. As such it is responsible for nourishing your body by transforming the food you eat into qi and blood and then transporting them around your body. 

Think of the Stomach as a pot sitting over a flame boiling away and the steam rising from it as the essence of the food you have eaten that is used to nourish your body. If the flame is weak, you have digestive problems, the food can’t be properly ‘cooked’ and digested. If too much cold, raw food is put into the pot the boils goes down and it takes a lot of energy to bring it back up to a boil which leaves little energy left to nourish your body. 

While there may be more nutrients in raw food if you are sick or exhausted, very young or very old, or recently had a baby your digestive systems will not be working as well as it should, making it harder to access the nutrients in raw food. This is why Chinese medicine strongly encourages eating lightly cooked food rather than raw food so that you can more easily access the nutrients you need.

How flavours affect the body

Each flavour can benefits a different element or organ when taken in moderation or can damage the organ when taken in excess.

  • Sweet — Naturally sweet foods like pumpkin or sweet potato can nourish you and your digestive system but too much sugar can lead to a build-up of phlegm in your body.
  • Salty — Adding a little good quality sea salt to your winter stews and casseroles can nourish your kidney, adrenal, energy but too much, or poor quality salt, can lead to fluid retention.
  • Pungent — When you have a cold the pungent flavour, like spring onions, can help cut through the phlegm in your lungs and help you release your cold while too much can be drying and draining.
  • Sour — The sour flavour is said to nourish your liver and help you stay calm. It is also astringent so reduces sweating, diarrhoea, or urination but too much can lead to constipation.
  • Bitter — The bitter flavour is said to support your heart in moderation but in excess can be drying which can damage the cooling calming effect of the yin in your body. Coffee is bitter and acts as a vasodilator in moderation, 1 cup per day, but in excess it can raise your blood pressure, as your damaged yin can no longer anchor your hot yang.

How temperature can rebalance the body

The five different temperatures (hot, warm, neutral, cool, and cold) can be used to rebalance your body if you are too hot or too cold as well as supporting you through the different seasons.

  • If you feel cold — If you feel the cold throughout the year then the best way to warm up is by consuming warming foods such as ginger or cinnamon and cutting out cold raw foods.
  • If you feel too warm — If you are trying to cool yourself down, try some peppermint tea or mung bean soup as well as avoiding too many chai teas and curries.

How to approach seasonal eating

By eating foods that are grown locally and therefore seasonal you have a better chance of supporting your health throughout the year. Here’s what I would recommend for summer vs. winter.

  • Summer — In Summer, it is best to eat cooling (not cold) foods in summer and use shorter cooking times and lighter cooking methods with less salt and seasoning.
  • Winter — In winter, eat warming (not hot) foods with longer cooking styles and richer flavours by using more seasoning including warming spices.

So if you feel that your digestion is not working as well as it should, have a closer look at the nature and flavour of the foods you are eating so you can bring yourself back into balance. 

The perfect place to start is with an Acupuncture or Tui Na (Chinese massage) appointment. Our practitioners can help to strengthen your digestion so that you can have more energy to accomplish all you desire.

Click here to book an Acupuncture or Tui Na appointment today.

Tania Grasseschi has a Health Science degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as a Diploma in Wholefood Counselling. Her work at Oriental Wisdom has her focusing on Women’s and Children’s health and using Food as Medicine. She has been a contract academic at Endeavour College of Natural Health since 2015. 

Wellness soup recipe

Wellness soup recipe


500ml Broth Bliss bone broth (grass fed or chicken)
500g of chicken, cooked and shredded (optional)
500ml of water
2 medium carrots washed and chopped
2 stalks of celery washed and de-stringed, chopped
1 small handful of fresh flat leafed parsley
1/2 cup of brown rice
1 red chilli (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Combine all ingredients to large pot on the stove.

2. Bring the mixture to the boil.

3. Once boiling, add the brown rice and cook for 5 minutes.

4. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue to cook them until vegetables and the rice are soft and cooked through.

5. Serve in a bowl with a good squeeze of lemon juice and a sprig of parsley on top.

What does your poo reveal about your gut?

What does your poo reveal about your gut?

Poo is a subject that most people don’t like to discuss. Despite the discomfort this topic might cause, it’s vital that we stay in touch with what our poo is trying to tell us about our gut health.

In this article we will look at how to know if your poo is healthy or unhealthy. If you experience unhealthy poo regularly, over a period of time, your whole body including your skin, immunity and brain function can start to be affected.

How to know if your poo is healthy or not

If you have optimal gut health, you should experience:

  • Strong urge when it is ready to come out
  • Slips out easily and softly
  • Needs no coaxing or pushing
  • Is well formed (poo should look like a banana)
  •  Is well hydrated (if it looks like little balls pressed together it’s been in the colon too long)

If you have suboptimal gut health, you may experience:

  • No urge or sudden urge
  • Very firm (looks like little balls of rabbit poo) or is very loose
  • It hurts (feels like you're passing bricks or burns because it’s loose)
  • Bloated pot tummy, cramping or feeling sick
  • Burning pain the chest, throat or tummy
  • Take a long time (grunt, groan and push)
  • There is blood or mucus
  • Excess smelly gas
  • Itchy bottom

What causes suboptimal gut health and poos?

Can’t poo properly when:

  • You don’t drink enough water
  • You haven’t eaten enough fibre, like leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains
  • Too much flour based foods
  • Not exercised enough
  • You are emotionally anxious
  • Too busy

Poo too much when:

  • Too many nasty bugs or worms take over your good gut bacteria
  • Some food may cause sensitivities, like dairy, gluten, eggs, legumes; which can increase smelly gas and cramping
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Coffee and some medications

What can I do if I experience suboptimal gut health and poos?

The most effective way to improve gut health (and your bowel movement) is to work with a Naturopath or Clinical Nutritionist at Wellnation Clinics. Together, you will locate the underlying cause and work to determine achievable diet and lifestyle changes. They may also request you go for functional testing or request that you try suitable liquid herbs or supplements. 

Book an appointment with a Naturopath or Clinical Nutritionist today.


Turmeric latte recipe

Turmeric latte recipe

Turmeric has great benefits to health. It is a great immunity – booster, containing curcumin, which is known to be a great anti-inflammatory. It can assist with gastrointestinal support and cardiovascular health.


1 cup of almond or coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon raw honey
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 – 2 black peppercorns (Helps to absorb curcumin) 
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Combine milk, honey, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon in a saucepan.

2. Place over a low heat and whisk until completely blended and warm.

3. Pour into a serving cup and serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top

Bone broth for good gut health

Bone broth for good gut health

With the days getting shorter and the nights getting cooler, we start reaching for meals that provide more warmth, nourishment and comfort.

Bone broth has been a staple meal in cultures worldwide for centuries. Not only does it provide food for the soul but it has an amazing ability to provide good health for the gut. In recent years medical research has shown that good gut health is directly linked improved overall health and better immunity. It contains an abundance of minerals and amino acids such as collagen, proline, glycine, gelatine and glutamine.

With such a nutrient dense profile no wonder the list of benefits is endless. Here are a number of ways bone broth aids in healing and promotes a good gastrointestinal health.

Promotes good gut health: Probably the most outstanding of all its qualities is its ability to heal and seal the gut. The presence of glutamine, glycine and gelatine in bone broth makes it an essential component to any gut healing diet. Gelatine is beneficial for strengthening and maintaining the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract, assists in fighting food sensitivities such as gluten and dairy, makes probiotics and decreases intestinal inflammation. Glutamine also assists with maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier and gut mucosa, while glycine assists in reducing inflammation and helps protect against gastric ulcers.

Aids digestion: Bone broth is gentle on the stomach and easily digested, which is helpful in stomach upsets and assists in nutrient absorption. It contains glycine, an amino acid that is essential for various metabolic, muscular and cognitive functions. It assists in the breakdown and transport of glycogen and fat to tissues and organs to be used for energy, in this process it supports strong immune and digestive functioning. Glycine is a major component of collagen, and stimulates the release of bile acid which is essential for digestion. Bile acid plays a fundamental role in the absorption and digestion of fats and fat soluble vitamins in the small intestine. It assists to remove waste products and maintain normal levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Boosts the immune system: Chicken soup is famous as a remedy for upper respiratory infections by preventing the migration of neutrophils vents the spread to a ‘cold’. It can also help improve the duration and severity of a respiratory infection, cold or flu. Gelatine assists in reducing inflammation in intestinal cells and protects the integrity of the intestinal wall from invading microbes by maintaining the mucosal layer. The collagen found in bone both plays an important role in the development and regulation of the colon and gastrointestinal tract and is a major component of skin, muscles, bone, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Research shows that depleted serum collagen can be associate with poor gut health and the presence of bowel disease.

With all of these amazing healing qualities, it’s no wonder that bone broth is one of the most important things you can consume to restore gut health and support a healthy immune system. So for your next meal reach for some bone broth as a base to your favourite soup, sauté your vegetables in or simply drink as is to receive an abundance of nutrients that assist healing the gut and soothing the soul.

Broth Bliss Bone Broth is available from your local clinic without a prescription. Simply ask for ‘bone broth’ when you next come into Clinic.

Follow Diana Krisanski on Instagram @dianaknutrition.

Further reading

5 reasons to drink kombucha

5 reasons to drink kombucha

Kombucha is a traditional fermented tea drink used across cultures and generations to maintain good health and wellbeing. It’s a delicious, refreshing, fermented beverage that’s known to contain active enzymes, amino acids and polyphenols, as well as B-vitamins and probiotics.

Various health claims have been attributed to kombucha. These include:

  • Improved Digestion
  • Increased Energy
  • Support of the Immune System
  • Reduced Joint Pain
  • Enhanced breakdown and elimination of toxins

5 Reasons to drink kombucha every day

Drinking kombucha can….

1. Improve your gastrointestinal health — Kombucha contains a host of friendly bacteria (probiotics), natural acids and enzymes which may improve your digestion, aid absorption of nutrients, and promote regularity

2. Ease your liver’s burden — Kombucha’s natural ingredients may assist the body, especially the liver, in the breakdown of metabolic wastes and toxins.

3. Reduce the symptoms of arthritis — Kombucha contains compounds which are vital for the maintenance of health joints. The body uses these compounds to build cartilage and maintain the fluid that surrounds joints.

4. Promote healthy skin, bones and connective tissue — Kombucha contains glucuronic acid, a building block for various key proteoglycans used by the body to maintain healthy skin, connective tissues and bones.

5. Reduce free radicals in the body — Kombucha is antioxidant rich. In fact, the process of turning tea into kombucha actually concentrates the amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which contribute to illness and disease, but also help slow the ageing process.

6. Enhance general health and wellbeing — the naturally occurring acids in kombucha may help to maintain pH balance in the body. Acid-alkaline balance is a factor in the maintenance of all cellular functions.

Did you know that Wellnation Clinics now stocks Remedy Kombucha? Recommended by I Quit Sugar, Remedy is a sparkling live cultured drink made through a wild fermentation process. Is available in clinic for just $4.50.

Want to learn more? Browse our full Summer Product Catalogue here.


How to overcome cravings to smoke

How to overcome cravings to smoke

One of the largest causes of illness and death in Australia is preventable — smoking tobacco. It is estimated that 2/3 lifetime smokers will die from a disease caused by their smoking. And it’s no surprise, with cigarettes hosting more than 7,000 chemicals including over 60 known carcinogens.

But despite the strong health evidence against smoking, the habit can often feel impossibly hard to kick. That’s why it’s important to have a strategy to redirect your cravings.

3 important notes about quitting

1. Persistence is important  Scientific research into nicotine addiction shows that quitting can often take several attempts before success is reached.

2. Curb cravings as they come, one by one  Interrupt your thought pattern on the spot by commencing a different activity.

3. Psychological cravings  Yes, your physical body will react to nicotine withdrawal. More interestingly, your psychological cravings may fuel your desire to smoke long after your body has moved through its initial nicotine withdrawal. Therefore, forming new neural pathways to combat psychological cravings may become key to quitting long term.

4 natural ways to stop cravings

1. Acupuncture – Acupuncture can help provide relief from nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and restlessness, as well as ‘the jitters’. Read our article about the NADA Protocol — a safe and proven method for overcoming a smoking addiction.

2. Exercise – Physical activity, especially aerobics can reduce the urge to smoke. The withdrawal symptoms and cravings can decrease during exercise and for up to 50 minutes afterwards. It can also distract you from thoughts of smoking, improve your mood, feel more energetic and help you cope with stress.

3. Massage – You can reduce cravings with massage of the hand or the ear! How does it work? Reflexology and Acupuncture philosophies believe that your hands and ears are microsystems that represent the whole body. Why not attend a Tui Na Massage treatment to see how your Acupuncturist uses acupressure points to help calm your mind and eliminate your cravings.

4. Meditation – In the first few weeks of withdrawal, former smokers can go through psychological distress. Mindful meditation is a way for an individual to “access themselves” in a collected and calm place. Why not try Headspace? It’s an app that’s dedicated to teaching people how to be mindful.

How to detox naturally

How to detox naturally

New Year, new you…right? 2017 is the year you’re finally going to get serious about your health and invest in detoxifying your body. But how?

A growing number of ‘health coaches’ are throwing around grandeur messages about detoxing for ultimate happiness. And yet all of the protocols and messages are different. The pressure to know which detox approach to try can be overwhelming. This often leads newly committed ‘detox-ers’ to put undue pressure on themselves. It’s no surprise then that old habits creep back in.

So, is there another way? Yes. Believe it or not we all already have the two most important components of a detoxification — kidneys and a liver. By eating a liver-friendly wholefoods, you’ll be surprised at how effectively your body is able to naturally detoxify and gently heal itself.

Many factors determine whether the liver performs its critical functions well. Too much pressure on the liver leads to a decreased ability to clear toxins and hormones and manufacture bile. Pressure can be caused by a combination of emotional stress, overworking, overeating rich (or poor-quality food) and environmental factors. However, it is possible to support the liver.

Foods that contain high levels of antioxidants help to protect the liver, while other foods help cleanse the liver. Several amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin A and C, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium and selenium are all important for supporting detoxification. Naturally, these components are found in good-quality fresh fruit and vegetables. After all, food is medicine.

In contrast to using food as medicine, there is very little clinical evidence to support the use of detox industry supplements. Despite support from health coaches and other detox bloggers, I would recommend avoiding ‘the latest detox program’. Instead, I would recommend consuming foods that help aid the biological process that already happens in the body.

Here is a list of the top liver-friendly foods that will help maintain and support the body’s natural detoxification process.

Top liver cleansers

Carrots: High in beta-carotene, they help regulate blood-sugar levels, while reducing inflammation in the body and are a good energy food.

Milk thistle: Contains an antioxidant that acts as a toxin blocker. Capsules can be taken daily for an extended period to repair the liver. Also can be purchased in the form of tea.

 Walnuts: Help to eliminate toxins.

Lemons: Cleanse not only the liver, but also the gallbladder, kidneys, digestive tract and lungs.

Garlic: Helps strengthen and cleanse the blood, while giving the liver and kidneys a spring clean.

Dandelion tea: Dandelion has been used for centuries. It is a blood purifier and antioxidant and is recommended for those with liver complaints.

Beetroot juice: Contains a chemical called betaine that stimulates the liver cells and protects the liver and bile ducts.

Spirulina/Chlorophyll: Contains approx. 60% protein, containing complete essential amino acids and a wide range of vitamins/minerals required for healthy liver function.

Turmeric: The most powerful antioxidant on the market. Simply add the herb to your soups, on top of roasted veggies, or on your salad.

Brown Rice: High antioxidant components helping decrease inflammation.

Barley Grass: Loaded with all the supporting nutrients mentioned above, this wonder plant is also a rich provider of powerful antioxidants and essential amino acids and beneficial enzymes and supplies the valuable fiber to the body and does not offer any harmful cholesterol.

Ginger: Potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

Water: Get plenty of sleep, have infrared saunas, indulge in lymphatic massages and drink lots of filtered water.

Did you know at we sell a number of wholefood products in your local clinic? Why not download our Summer Product Catalogue and browse our range of products including vegan protein powder, Turmeric powder, Apple Cider Vinegar, Chlorophyll and more! 

5 healthy habits you should start today

5 healthy habits you should start today

New Year, new goals, new promises! It can be overwhelming in the New Year to feel like you need to undertake a complete life overhaul, improve all areas of your health and suddenly become vice-free— all overnight!

A common reason people don’t achieve their goals is because they set them too high! Does this sound familiar? “I want to lose weight and ‘get fit’…so I’m going to hit the gym 5 days a week, every week!” Then day two comes and they’re tired and sore. “Hmm, maybe next year. I can’t keep up this pace.” And they’re right; they can’t keep up that pace.

It’s important to set yourself small and achievable goals at the beginning.

If you’d like to workout 5 days a week, then start with just 2 days a week for the first month. If you want to practise yoga for an hour a day, then start with just 15 minutes a day for the first month.

When you scale back your goal to a more achievable, introductory level, your goal will become less daunting. And when a goal is less daunting, you’re more likely to feel positively about the commitment and actually commit to the goal.

It’s true. Momentum creates motivation, so starting small will inevitably lead to healthy habits.

5 healthy habits to try

1. If you want to detox your body… Drink a glass of warm lemon water each morning before breakfast

2. If you want to feel happier in 2017… Spend 10 minutes in the sunshine to absorb Vitamin D

3. If you want to be more mindful… Put away your phone while eating lunch each day

4. If you want to have better posture… Stretch for 5 minutes at your work desk with these exercises — Download this Desk Stretching eBook

5. If you want to eat more vegetables… Try a new healthy recipe like this easy salad

 What small steps will you take today, to achieve your 2017 goals?  

Wholesome meat-less loaf

Wholesome meat-less loaf

With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve created a recipe that’s takes it cues from a traditional Christmas recipe. However, this recipe is 100% vegan and gluten free — perfect for those sensitive tummies. This recipe makes one medium sized loaf. Enjoy!

For the glaze

  • 1/2 cup tomato based sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/4 cup water

For the meat-less loaf

  • 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
  • 1 ½ cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup of cooked lentils
  • 1/2 large green capsicum, diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1.      Preheat oven to 180°.

2.      Combine all the ingredients for the glaze. Mix well and set aside.

3.      In a food processor, combine the onions, green capsicum, garlic, and sunflower kernels and pulse until well mixed.

4.      Add chickpeas, lentils, chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce along with salt and pepper. Pulse until nearly pureed, but leave a little bit of texture.

5.      Spoon the mixture into a greased loaf pan and even out.

6.      Cover the mixture in the glaze.

7.      Bake for 30 minutes or until the glaze has caramelised and the loaf is solid.

Twelve Australian bush flower essences of Christmas

Twelve Australian bush flower essences of Christmas

The Australian Bush Flower Essences are a form of gentle, energetic natural medicine that encourages healing and the release of negative thought patterns and behaviours. Naturopaths may prescribe a flower essence remedy to help support the natural healing process.

We have rounded up twelve of our favourite Australian Bush Flower Essences to help you cruise through the craziness of Christmas and the New Year.

Turkey Bush

The delicate star-shaped flowers of the turkey bush ignites creative energies and can help us connect with our inner artists. Christmas time often requires a little extra creativity -- whether it is putting up the Christmas decorations, organising the menu for Christmas lunch or choosing gifts for your loved ones.

Banksia Robur

Commonly known as swamp banksia, this remedy is good for those who are feeling bogged down, weary and frustrated. It stimulates energy, enthusiasm and zest for life, particularly during temporary periods of exhaustion and frustration – such as the silly season.

Mulla Mulla

Mulla Mulla is a good remedy for trauma associated with heat or fire – think sunburn, summer heat, holiday bonfires and barbeques. Mulla Mulla Essence is also very rejuvenating, so is useful after long days in the summer heat.

Black-eyed Susan

A lovely essence for those who are constantly on-the-go and rushing around. And there is no time like Christmas to bring this trait out in all of us. Black-eyed Susan is the “walk, don’t run” remedy, that encourages patience, inner peace and the ability to find your centre.


Jacaranda Flower Essence is the perfect remedy for those with a tendency to scattered thinking, rushing and indecision. Although Jacaranda is very similar to Black-eyed Susan, it is better for those with difficulty focusing and completing projects. It enhances decisiveness, clarity and focus.


The Waratah Essence is a powerful one that offers courage and strength in dealing with crisis situations. It also enhances survival skills, which may prove useful when doing the Christmas shopping or driving in hours of holiday traffic.


Macrocarpa has the largest fruit and flower of the eucalypts. This essence nourishes the adrenal glands and helps to recharge and revitalise the body. As the year comes to a close, rest and relaxation are essential for recovery, and a little macrocarpa can help reinforce that process.  


The Philotheca essence allows people to accept praise and acknowledgement for their achievements. It is also a great remedy for those who are excessively generous – another trait that commonly surfaces during the festive season.

Paw Paw

Paw Paw Essence is a wonderful remedy for those feelings of overwhelm and indecision, which often surface during the Christmas and New Year period. Physically, Paw Paw Essence enhances digestion, in particular the breakdown of proteins.


Crowea is well known as the “worry” remedy and has calming, centring and strengthening properties. Crowea Essence is great for those with stomach ulcers or digestives issues triggered by stress. Crowea and Paw Paw in combination is a wonderful digestive remedy.

Little Flannel Flower

Bring out your inner child with Little Flannel Flower. This flower essence encourages playfulness, enjoyment and carefreeness – elements which can become diminished in the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

Christmas Bell

Christmas Bell is of course our favourite flower essence for this time of year. It flowers from December through February, which is why it is named so. It is useful for those who feel a lack of abundance and helps us to understand and accept that material things are not of utmost importance in life.

How to naturally increase libido in men – The benefits of zinc

How to naturally increase libido in men – The benefits of zinc

Libido, the sensation of being aroused, is the primitive biological urge, which is a fundamental aspect for the survival of the human race.  Ok, libido might not be essential for the human race to go on, however, suffering from low libido may cause a great deal of concern for men. From a clinical perspective, low libido may be contributed to either a single or combination of factors. These may include stress, depression, mental health/wellbeing, low testosterone, inadequate nutrition and medications such as antidepressants. A joint effort between your GP and a Nutritionist/Naturopath should be utilised to determine the particular aspect, which is causing your low libido.

It’s been estimated that 4 out of 10 men over the age of 45 have low testosterone, which is mostly undiagnosed. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in men and is responsible for male characteristics. These include deepening of voice, height, muscle mass and facial hair. Furthermore, testosterone plays a role in boosting self-esteem and motivation, increasing energy levels and supports sleep.

Zinc is an essential mineral for all humans, especially men. It has been estimated that 47% of the population are at risk of zinc deficiency. The recommended dietary intake for men is 14mg daily, almost twice what women require (8mg daily). Why? Zinc is required for the synthesis of testosterone. Another factor behind men requiring more zinc is because each ejaculation results in approximately 2.5mg of zinc being lost.

The highest concentration of zinc in the male’s body is found within the testes and prostate. This is because zinc is required for sperm production and more importantly testosterone synthesis. With inadequate zinc the body is unable to synthesis testosterone, resulting in low libido.  As mentioned earlier, testosterone levels are a fundamental aspect of male libido.

Zinc is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions within the human body. To list every biochemical reaction zinc is involved in would be a mammoth task and would require an entire book. Some of the most noteworthy functions of zinc include its role in the production of hydrochloric acid and other gastric secretions, metabolising alcohol, immune cell development, synthesis of testosterone, wound healing, antioxidant ability, secretion of insulin and the production of neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine etc.). Understanding some of the functions of zinc will help explain the clinical symptoms of low zinc.

Clinical symptoms of low zinc: Digestive issues such as bloating in the upper portion of the abdomen and reflux/heartburn, weakened immune system resulting in frequent cold/flu, neurological involvement such as depression, anxiety and poor sleep, impaired sense of smell and taste, white spots on nails, poor skin health including acne and pale completion.

Zinc rich foods (per 100g): Oysters (78mg), lamb (12mg), pumpkin seeds/pepitas (10mg), cocoa powder (6mg), cashews (5mg), chickpeas (1.5mg) and mushrooms (1mg).

Supplementation of 12-30mg of zinc may benefit individuals with clinically low zinc to boost total zinc status. Alternatively, high-dose zinc supplementation inhibits aromatase, the enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone to oestrogen, and thereby allowing more testosterone to be available. Correct testosterone levels = increase libido!

Other ways to naturally increase libido in men

  • Cut back on the alcohol. When alcohol is being consumed every day a nice way to reduce consumption could be to only drink on weekends and hump day (midweek). If the desire to bring back the libido is high enough, eliminating alcohol consumption all together may be warranted.
  • Regular exercises such as yoga and brisk walks 3 times a week.
  • Quit smoking cigarettes and marijuana.
  • Manage stress through meditation or breathing and get 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Include avocados, figs or bananas in the diet everyday.
  • The Peruvian super food Maca has an aphrodisiac like action and is able to modulate hormones. Simply adding 1 teaspoon of Maca to breakfast supports libido.
  • Switch current chocolate to an organic dark (70% or more) chocolate with no sugar. Chocolate made from cocoa contains phenylethylamine, which support the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are responsible for arousal, mood and the feelings of pleasure.
  • Ayurvedic herbs such as Ashwagandha (Withainia), Tribulus and Shilajit may also support low libido in men.

It is always advised to speak with a qualified Nutritionist or Naturopath before any supplements are taken or major diet changes are implemented. 

Sitting is the new smoking

Sitting is the new smoking

Do you work more than 5 hours a day without moving? Sitting for prolonged time can create poor posture, headaches, back and neck stiffness and fatigue. Sitting is now considered a merging public health concern with increased risk of adverse health conditions.

Benefits of a ‘standing desk’

A standing desk might be right for you. Standing desks are becoming more popular as daily work hours increase.

A standing desk may be useful for people with conditions such as:

  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Fatigue

The benefits of a standing desk are:

  • Boosted productivity
  • Decreased joint stiffness
  • Improved attention and cognitive function
  • Decreased muscle tension and pain

However, standing all day can also have adverse effects. A standing-only desk may cause:

  • Increased muscle fatigue
  • Further exacerbating pre-existing conditions

Benefits of a ‘sit-stand desk’

A sit-stand desk is the most beneficial way to decrease the negative health effects of sitting and gain the positive effects of standing. A sit-stand desk allows you to move throughout the day from a seated position to a standing position as needed. A sit-stand desk can create a more mobile work environment and healthier musculoskeletal system.

Low cost ways to curb the negative effects of sitting

  • Take a walk around the block for 10-15 minutes during your lunchbreak
  • Set a ‘stretch timer’ to remind you to stand and stretch for 5 minutes each hour during your work day
  • Improve your sitting posture by attending a Myotherapy treatment
  • Try using a yoga ball / bounce ball in your home office instead of regular chair
  • Learn to sit better at your desk with this article

Whatever your situation, there are a number of ways to fight the sitting epidemic and get fit during your workday.

How to combat male pattern baldness

How to combat male pattern baldness

Also known as androgenic alopecia, male pattern baldness is common form of hair loss in both men and women. However, this issue is more prevalent in men. Half of the male population will suffer from some from of hair loss in their lives. This isn’t a topic that just affects elderly men. Androgenic alopecia can start as early as teenage years, with 50% of men over the age of 50 experiencing some form of male pattern baldness (Spatz, 2004).  

Age related fluctuations in the androgen sex hormones (specifically dihydrotestosterone) are the most common cause of male pattern baldness. Additionally, genetic predisposition (AR gene) is likely to be the reason this condition clusters in families (Zhuo et al., 2012), thus having a close family member with patterned hair loss appears to be a risk factor in itself.

Environmental and lifestyle factors are also known to cause gene changes (polymorphisms) that can affect hair growth patterns and worsen the severity of symptoms of hair loss.

These environmental and lifestyle factors include:

  • Stress levels
  • Dietary choice
  • Immune function (viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections)
  • Fitness levels
  • Heavy metal exposure

Men who suffer from androgenic alopecia are shown to have an increased incidence of enlarged prostate, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. (Agamia, Abou Youssif, El-Hadidy, & El-Abd, 2016) Men with this condition should seek assistance from a medical professional to assess their risk.

Diet and lifestyle

  • Support optimum health by eating a variety of foods
  • Hair is made of amino acids so including enough protein in your diet is paramount. Men should aim for .85g per kilo of body weight per day. Complete protein sources include red and white meat, seafood, dairy products, tofu and various grains and legumes.
  • Adequate iron is required for blood supply to the hair follicle.
  • Omega 3 fats support the production of sebum in the scalp. Sources include oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocadoes.
  • B complex vitamins especially biotin support healthy circulation to the scalp and too little can lead to hair loss. Sources include whole grains, eggs and brewers yeast.
  • Zinc and selenium are powerful antioxidants that support healthy aging in men; deficiencies are common in Australia and can lead to hair loss. Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts and zinc in red meat, seafood and pumpkin seeds.
  • Help manage stress levels and reduce anxiety associated with hair loss by practicing yoga, meditation or taking a walk outside in nature.

Herbal management

  • Traditionally Rosemary oil (Rosmarinus offinalis) has been used to promote hair strength and quality. A trial of rosemary oil vs. minoxidil 2% (conventional drug treatment) found similar growth scores after 6 months with rosemary patients reporting less frequent scalp itching.
  • Topical application of Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) has shown to be support hair count and terminal hair growth in males with androgenic alopecia (Wessagowit et al., 2016) over a 24 week period.


  • Agamia, N. F., Abou Youssif, T., El-Hadidy, A., & El-Abd, A. (2016). Benign prostatic hyperplasia, metabolic syndrome and androgenic alopecia: Is there a possible relationship? Arab Journal of Urology, 14(2), 157–62.
  • Spatz, M. A. (2004). Genetics Home Reference. Journal of the Medical Library Association (Vol. 92).
  • Wessagowit, V., Tangjaturonrusamee, C., Kootiratrakarn, T., Bunnag, T., Pimonrat, T., Muangdang, N., & Pichai, P. (2016). Treatment of male androgenetic alopecia with topical products containing Serenoa repens extract. The Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 57(3), e76-82.
  • Zhuo, F. L., Xu, W., Wang, L., Wu, Y., Xu, Z. L., & Zhao, J. Y. (2012). Androgen receptor gene polymorphisms and risk for androgenetic alopecia: a meta-analysis. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 37(2), 104–11.

Allergies stuffing you up? Try this

Allergies stuffing you up? Try this

What are allergies?

When a person's immune system reacts to substances in their environment (allergens) that are harmless for most people this is an allergic response. One person’s allergen may not be another’s – everyone reacts differently. The possibility of developing allergies is increased if it is part of a person’s family history.

Hay fever, usually a reaction to wind pollenated plants such as grasses and trees, is associated with Spring and affects eyes and sinuses. However this condition can occur any time of the year due to environmental allergens such as pet fur, moulds, dust and the work place can cause “sick building syndrome” due to the recycled air which could be considered a chemical stew.

Other symptoms can be:

  • Skin – eczema or hives
  • Lungs – asthma or wheezing
  • GIT – abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea

Herbs and allergy management

Herbs offer fantastic protection against allergies and have been traditionally used for thousands of years to combat allergy symptoms and modulate the body’s immune response to the allergens.

Here are four great herbs and plants for allergy management:

  1. Echinacea – The number one herb for any immune condition is Echinacea, this wonderful herb helps lower inflammation and modulates the overactive immune system.
  2. Peppermint – Peppermint is an herb you might find in your grandparents’ garden. It’s excellent for hay fever and clearing of the respiratory tract.
  3. Thyme – Thyme is a common herb found in cooking but did you know is packed full of antimicrobial phytochemicals? The constituents in Thyme help fight off any nasty bugs that may be causing your allergic reaction (Hammer et al. 1999)
  4. Ginger – Ginger is a great herb that can be consumed as a tea or added to smoothies for its amazing ability to clear nasal discharge and help lower inflammation caused by allergies.

Using a combination of these dried herbs, with the inclusion of cinnamon bark and liquorice root as an infusion, will provide a soothing and clearing action for the upper respiratory tract, easing a sore throat caused by coughing and post nasal drainage, relieve congestion and clear a blocked nose.

Used long term this herbal infusion should not only relieve symptoms but create better immunity. With the addition of honey this creates an extra demulcent effect and may improve the flavour for some as well.

Usually use anti-histamines?

Why not try these natural options instead? Many people turn to anti-histamines for allergy relief, but did you know that many nutrients can be used to reduce the symptoms of allergies such as congestion, itching and hives? For example:

  • Zinc – A daily dose of 10-25mg of elemental zinc a day may reduce your allergy symptoms by inhibiting histamine release from basophils – a white blood cell that causes inflammation in response to being exposed to an allergen.
  • Vitamin C – Eating fruit rich in vitamin C may reduce wheezing symptoms associated with allergies.
  • Quercetin – Quercetin found in fruits that are dark red or blue and vegetables such as red leaf lettuce, raw red onions or kale stops the production of histamine that causes allergy symptoms such as runny nose and watery eyes.

Let’s get to the guts of the matter

Gut health can be implicated in an individual’s immunity and resultant allergy symptoms.

Two aspects that are significant when down regulating an over active immune response via the gastrointestinal system are the gut microbiome and the interior structural integrity of the intestinal lining.

The micro biome generally consists of several thousand different species of beneficial bacteria. It is these bacteria that are responsible for the breakdown and assimilation of nutrients from food. If there the levels of diverse microbiome are minimal then the ability to digest and utilise all potential nutrients is reduced. And put simply decreased levels of essential nutrients results in decreased immunity.

You may have heard the term “leaky gut” which is essentially just that. The interior structural integrity of the intestinal wall is not sufficient to stop that which should be on the inside of the gut from migrating to the outside of the gut causing an over reactive immune system.

How to identify allergens

There are numerous considerations with regard to allergies particularly the identification of what is triggering the allergic response. The food elimination diet is effective in identifying food intolerances. Other methods include blood tests, skin pricks (RAST) with of which identify environmental allergens and the 500 hair test which include food groups, bathroom, and laundry and kitchen products. The elimination diet involves identification and exclusion of suspected/offending foods. A food/symptoms diary is filled out detailing the severity of symptoms experienced, time after ingestion the symptoms occur and how long they last after intake of food to determine an allergy or intolerance. Removing the suspected food allergen causes a reduction in inflammation and immune responses allowing the gut to heal and repair.

Simple ways to lessen allergens

  1. Lifestyle – Treatment of allergy symptoms are supported by lifestyle changes, especially the changes that reduce the impact of stress on your immune system. Removing known allergens from diet or environment is a great start.
  2. Dust free – Keeping a dust free and pet fur free household especially in bedrooms is paramount. Moulds can also trigger allergic responses inside. Air the rooms frequently and use exhaust fans to lessen the airborne irritants. Maintain a hygienic air conditioner by having it cleaned and serviced regularly.
  3. Healthy habits – Removing stress from your immune system by keeping healthy personal habits probably goes without saying. A healthy diet and sleep hygiene, keeping a positive outlook, regular exercise and mindfulness activities are known to make your immune system resilient.

Hay fever and allergic response is a complex condition and a holistic treatment approach is effective. A visit your nearest Wellnation Clinics to address those individual factors that cause allergies for you. Your practitioner will be able to design a treatment specific to your condition and support you to wellness.  


  • Fisher, C 2009, Materia Medica of Western Herbs 1st edn, Vitex Medica, New Zealand.
  • Hammer, K, Carson, C, Riley, T 1999, Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts, Journal of applied microbiology, viewed 12 Oct 2016. 
  • Maret W & Sandstead HH 2006 ’Zinc Requirements and the Risks and Benefits of Zinc Supplementation’, Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, vol.20, no.1 pp.3-18.

Are you gluten intolerant — or just wheat sensitive?

Are you gluten intolerant — or just wheat sensitive?

Gluten-free diets are a hot topic with the general public and mass media. Sales of gluten-free products and the number of people following a gluten-free diet are growing rapidly. There has been debate concerning whether or not gluten causes symptoms in the absence of coeliac disease for many years with increasing research showing a variety of gastro and non-gastrointestinal symptoms following the ingestion of gluten-containing products.

Symptoms associated with gluten intolerance may include abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, nausea, headache, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, depression, hypothyroidism and muscle pain.

In addition to gluten, there are a wide variety of other compounds also found in gluten-containing foods which can contribute to negative symptoms including FODMAPs (a type of carbohydrate present in wheat and many other foods), agglutinins (proteins that bind to sugar), prodynorphins (proteins involved with cellular communication), and additional proteins that are formed during the process of wheat digestion, such as deamidated gliadin and gliadorphins (aka gluteomorphins). Increased intestinal permeability or the development of Leaky Gut Syndrome may also contribute to symptoms experienced in NCGS.

A simple home test is advised by researcher Chris Kresser and can be used to help find out whether you have a general sensitivity to wheat, gluten or both. Please note that this is not a diagnostic test but simply a way to assess sensitivities for those who are interested. 

  1. Remove all gluten-containing foods and products from your diet for 60 days.
  2. At the end of the 60 day period, cook up a bowl of barley, eat it, and see what happens.
  3. A few days later, eat a piece of wheat bread.

Barley is a gluten-containing grain that is low in FODMAPs. If you react, it suggests you may be intolerant of gluten or other gluten-like compounds. If you don’t have a reaction to barley, but you react to the wheat bread, it is more likely that you are intolerant to something specific in wheat. For those feeling the benefits of excluding gluten, it is important to rule out the possibility of coeliac disease to prevent further health complications which may result from the occasional consumption of gluten.

Avoiding gluten or wheat can lead to temptation to reach for the highly processed gluten-free products which are currently flooding the market. Nutritionists would advise avoiding these products and sticking to a non-processed, whole foods diet which focuses on consuming a variety of quality proteins, good fats and fresh vegetables to balance all nutritional needs.

The fact that some people exhibit symptoms after the ingestion of gluten-containing grains in the absence of coeliac disease cannot be ignored. These reactions may be caused specifically by wheat proteins, gluten or other associated components but essentially still result in a negative symptom picture.

The take-home message is that if you feel best when you avoid gluten or wheat-based products and you have tested negative to coeliac disease, continue to avoid these products while focusing on fresh, whole foods. Steer clear of trips down the gluten-free aisle of the supermarket and ensure that you rotate other grains in your diet if you are choosing to include them. 

What’s best for me — smoothies or juices?

What’s best for me — smoothies or juices?

Smoothies and juices seem to be everywhere but are they healthy? Which one should you choose? Have you ever made your own? Have you tried a green smoothie?

The fact is that both drinks can both be healthy in moderation (if only real, whole foods are added – no sugary yoghurts or ice cream!) but there are several differences between the two. The main difference between smoothies and juices is that the juicing process extracts water, vitamins and minerals from the fruit or vegetables being juiced, leaving the pulp or fibre behind. Smoothies on the other hand, contain the whole fruit or vegetable – whatever you put in your blender is contained within the end product.

Juicing, especially if the juice contains mostly vegetables and leafy greens, can be a great nutrient boost and can certainly help to deliver essential vitamins and minerals in an easily absorbed form. Fresh vegetable-based juices (as a juice or frozen as popsicles) may be recommended for small children who may not otherwise be eating many (or any!) raw vegetables. This can provide a variety of vitamins and minerals they may not otherwise be getting in their diet. For these children, it is ideal to follow the juice with a good quality fat and protein-containing snack to promote healthy blood sugar balance. Snacks may include: natural yoghurt with chia seeds, a piece of cheese, nut butter or hummus on a rice thin, a boiled egg or some slices of cooked chicken.

The problem with juicing generally, is that large amounts of fructose-containing fruit and vegetables are needed to make a cup of juice – much more than most people would consume in a meal. Without the fibre to slow it down, the fructose is rapidly absorbed which disrupts blood sugar levels and can lead to fatigue and over-eating in the hours following (hence the accompanying snack suggestions above).

The great thing about smoothies is that they contain everything you put in them, fibre and all. They are nutrient dense and when you start adding vegetables and leafy greens, they are an easy and tasty way to seriously boost your daily vegetable intake It is a good idea to lay all the ingredients on the bench before blending so that you can be sure that what you are about to consume is an appropriate amount of food. Be careful that you don’t over consume smoothies (or any food) as they can be quite energy dense.

If you are interested, start out with fruity smoothies that you enjoy the taste of and then slowly add vegetables and superfoods while reducing the amount of fruit. As with any meal or snack, you should be looking for your smoothie to contain three key ingredients: a source of protein (nuts, seeds, tahini, yoghurt, bone broth); a source of good fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil) and vegetables (leafy greens, celery, cucumber, carrot, mint etc). These ingredients usually require a liquid to be added such as milk, nut milk, coconut water, coconut milk or most often, filtered water. As you become more advanced in your smoothie making you can start playing with superfoods such as bee pollen, hemp seeds, gelatin, spirulina, maca, mesquite, acai and chlorella to name a few!

Green smoothies are popular for their health-boosting qualities. Adding leafy greens is a great way to alkalise and detoxify your system. They provide an easily absorbed form of essential folate and calcium, keep energy levels high and blood sugar levels low. Green smoothies are a brilliant way to start the day and help provide an easy breakfast option that doesn’t include wheat, grains, added sugars or excess dairy. Be sure to make extra and keep the remainder in a screw top jar and enjoy as a snack for afternoon tea. Simply keep in the fridge and shake up before drinking.

Many toddlers and children love and look forward to their green smoothies. The trick is to start early or add the new foods slowly and in small amounts. Children often enjoy the mint-containing smoothies – in their minds, the dark green colour is just the delicious minty flavour! The secret ingredient of delicious green smoothies is frozen mango – for some reason it makes the whole thing ALWAYS taste good (a little frozen banana also helps for beginners).

The favourite easy green smoothie loved by many children would have to be frozen mango, frozen banana, avocado, celery, baby spinach, chia seeds, mint and coconut water. The children probably have no idea that avocado or celery is in the smoothie and you can send them off to school knowing that they have already had four different green vegetables before 8am!

Foods for female and male fertility

Foods for female and male fertility

To optimise fertility in both males and females, couples should consider and prepare your bodies three months before trying to conceive. This means assessing necessary vitamin, mineral levels, each person’s diet (not just the women who will bear the child) and blood status within the body. Here are a few foods to consider changing and minimising in your diet to promote optimal fertility.


  • Foods high in Folate & Vitamin A like sweet potato, carrots, winter root vegetables and dark leafy greens — this vitamin helps with reducing the chances of neural tube defects and may help stimulate ovulation.
  • Foods high in Calcium & Vitamin D, dairy products — milk, yoghurt, cheese, figs, spinach, and almond butter. These both can help with ovulatory infertility, and help trigger the growth of embryos.
  • Lean Protein, such as fish, chicken, turkey, beef (certain cuts) all contain high amounts of amino acids, zinc, and iron all important nutrients towards boosting fertility and a healthy pregnancy.


  • Foods high in Zinc & Omega- 3 Fatty Acids such as pumpkin seeds, lean beef tenderloins, lamb, pork, shellfish, spinach, fatty fish- salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring. Zinc increases testosterone, both Zinc and omega- 3’s increase sperm count and protect the male from oxidative stress, and overall both nutrients improves sexual organ function.
  •  Foods high in Vitamin C like all citrus fruits, oranges, mandarins, boosts sperm quality
  •  Foods high in Vitamin A, like carrots, red peppers, apricots keep the sperm from becoming sluggish.

Overall couples should assess their diets and make sure they are both having balanced sources of whole foods, but in particular making sure they are getting a generous amount of Omega- 3, Folate, Zinc, and antioxidants as a whole. Consuming these will make sure the hormones are kept regulated, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, increase sperm count, regulates egg production and menstrual cycle, protects eggs, and sperm from damage and oxidative stress

What couples should try and avoid in their diets:

Coffee — Caffeine may affect ovulation and corpus luteum functioning through alterations to hormone levels and has been shown to be associated with higher early follicular E2 levels in female, so recommendations say to try to limit to 200mg a day (if with milk 1 coffee a day).

Alcohol — Eliminate completely, this is harmful to fertility.

Refined carbohydrates (white breads, pasta, sugars) — Try to moderate and keep at a minimum they can interfere with hormones. 

Phytoestrogens (soy, tofu) — Eliminate, these are harmful to fertility and can interfere with estrogen production, a hormone necessary for fertility.

9 ways to relieve stress naturally

9 ways to relieve stress naturally

Do you feel like your head is full of ‘stuff’ and won’t turn off? Do you feel tense in the shoulders or back, have headaches or digestive issues, or just can’t sleep? We all respond to stress differently so, there’s no “one size fits all” solution to managing stress. But if you feel like the stress in your life is out of control at times, then it’s time to take action and recognise the true sources of stress in your life.

Sometimes we turn to unhealthy ways to cope with stress, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Bingeing on junk or comfort food
  • Sitting in front of the TV or computer for hours
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and activities
  • Excessive crying, feeling low, angry outbursts
  • Can’t shut off your mind
  • Procrastinating
  • Filling up your day to avoid facing the very things that are causing you stress
  • Taking out your feelings on others

Simple ways to manage your stress and relax

1. Get moving — Find some time to exercise a little more, even if it is walking up some extra flights of stairs rather than taking the lift; grab 5 minutes here and there if you are busy.

2. Mingle with others — You are not alone here…think village living, not cave dwelling!

3. Learn to say ‘no’ — This is harder than it sounds but you can do it. Be kind to yourself by creating helpful personal boundaries.

4. Make time for fun — It’s useful to make time in your life for relaxation and laughter! A funny movie or a long chat with a close friend always helps!

5. Fuel your mental health — Keeping a positive attitude or a ‘glass half full’ attitude can help you stay resilient in times of stress.

6. Try essential oils — Consider using Essential oils such as Bergamot, Chamomile, Lavender, and Rose.

7. Flower Remedies — Try Flower Remedies such as Bach Flower Rescue Remedy or a Stress remedy that a practitioner could prepare for you.

8. Consult an expert — Sometimes it’s useful to get outside help. A trained natural health professional can provide specific advice for reducing the effects of stress on the body. Book a Naturopathic or Nutritional Medicine consultation with one of our student practitioners at your local Wellnation Clinics.

9. Herbal tea — Drinking herbal tea is an excellent way to support the body daily during periods of high stress. Wellnation Clinics’ Relaxation Tea contains herbs such as Lemon Balm, Chamomile and Passionflower. Available from your local clinic, in two sizes, this tea is perfect for lowering stress levels.

A closer look at our Relaxation Tea’s ingredients

Chamomile: can be used to help induce sleep as it is mildly sedating and good at relaxing smooth muscles and easing frayed nerves, and, promote a general sense of calmness and well-being. It is great for those with nervousness, stress or anxiety problems.

Lemon Balm: has been used to improve sleep patterns and reduce stress and anxiety.

Passionflower: may provide relief from problems like anxiety, stress and insomnia. It contains a chemical called GABA, which is known to lower your brain activity and provide a sense of calmness.

How to treat premenstrual syndrome with naturopathy

How to treat premenstrual syndrome with naturopathy

Although popular culture heralds premenstrual syndrome (PMS) as a rite of passage for women each month, a normal menstrual cycle should be completely free of the symptoms associated with PMS.

Now, before we jump into discussing a number of ways to curb the symptoms associated with PMS, let’s look more closely at what PMS actually is. 

What is PMS? 

PMS is characterised by physical and behavioural symptoms that appear in the days preceding menses and interfere with work or lifestyle, followed by a symptom-free interval.

Some of the symptoms of PMS are:

Behavioural Symptoms

Physical Symptoms

Depression Breast tenderness
Angry outbursts Abdominal bloating
Irritability Headache
Confusion Swollen extremities
Social withdrawal  

How many women deal with PMS?

PMS occurs in 20–30% of women

What does a normal menstrual cycle look like?

The menstrual cycle is divided into three phases: Follicular, Ovulation and Luteal phase. The menstrual cycle is regulated by neuroendocrine influences from the hypothalamus and changes in the patterns of pituitary and ovarian hormone synthesis and secretion. It is during the luteal phase that the onset of symptoms related to the menstrual cycle may occur, resulting in the development of premenstrual syndrome.

What causes PMS?

PMS results when a deviation from normal ovarian function occurs. Current evidence suggests that PMS results from an abnormal or exaggerated effect of cyclic changes in ovarian hormones having an impact on central neurotransmitter mechanisms. Serotonin seems to play an important role. PMS is not simply a matter of hormonal excess or deficiency but rather a multiple of factors that interfere with the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian (HPO) axis.

Naturopathic treatments

The Naturopathic approach to treating PMS considers the whole person. Here are some evidence-based approaches that have been found useful in the treatment of PMS: 


Evidence has suggested that a higher consumption of diary foods, refined sugar (particularly chocolate) and high sodium foods may be associated with increased incidence and increased severity of PMS and that PMS appears worse in women with abnormal glucose tolerance. Consuming small regular meals and lower glycaemic foods is important.


Increased regular exercise has a positive effect on PMS. Relaxation and meditative techniques have improved PMS.

Herbal medicine

Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste tree):

  • Demonstrated effect on treating PMS symptoms
  • Reduces prolactin through action on dopamine receptors
  • Normalises progesterone levels and lowers prolactin within 3 months
  • Exerts activity on the opiate system and has mood regulation and analgesic effects

Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort):

  • Reduces the symptoms of PMS and is particularly helpful for irritability, crying or depression in PMS

Crocus sativus (Saffron):

  • Useful for symptoms of PMS and depression in PMS

Valeriana officinali (Valerian), Piper methysticum (Kava), Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower), Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm):

  • Traditionally used as nervine herbs in the treatment of PMS, calming effects, anti-anxiety, sedative

Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo):

  • Improvements to psychosocial aspects of PMS and reduced breast pain, tenderness and fluid retention

Nutritional medicines

Calcium: Shown to reduce PMS symptoms

Magnesium: Shown to reduce PMS mood, migraine and fluid retention symptoms

Vitamin E: Useful for breast symptoms, tension, irritability and lack of coordination in PMS

Vitamin B6: Decreases PMS symptoms, PMS related mood changes and PMS related depression

Omega 3: In a pilot trial reduced depression, nervousness, anxiety, lack of concentration, boating, headache and breast tenderness

Zero-waste chocolate butter slice

Zero-waste chocolate butter slice

This delicious nut butter slice takes just a few minutes to prepare, and will store well in the fridge for up to 7 days.


  • 6 tablespoons nut butter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons rice malt (or maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • ½ cup of crushed walnuts (to serve)


1.    Place all ingredients (minus the walnuts) in a bowl and mix well

2.    Pour into a cake tin and press on the crushed walnuts

3.    Allow mixture to set for two hours in the fridge and then serve

More tips on becoming a zero-waste household

More tips on becoming a zero-waste household

Did you find our previous 14 tips on becoming a zero-waste household of use? Here are even more tips for reducing waste! 

Shop at these 5 places to reduce waste

1. Bulk stores — Wholefood stores provide all the food staples, without all the food packaging. Genius!

2. Produce box delivery services — There are so many organic fruit and vegetable boxes on the market. This option may not be the inexpensive but it definitely takes the pain out of food shopping.

3. Food co-operatives — Food co-ops have been around for years now. They help people access local produce using less packaging, for a low cost.

4. Food swaps — Look on community notice boards or online to find a local food swap. They allow you to trade food you have too much of, for something you’d like to try.

5. Farmers markets — Markets are perfect for seasonal and regional fresh produce.

7 ways to invest in reusables

1. Buy a Keep-cup — Most disposable coffee cups can’t be recycled because of their plastic lining so they end up in landfill. So, instead of ordering a takeaway coffee in a takeaway coffee cup, provide your local café with your re-useable coffee cup.

2. Use cloth bags — Did you know that currently only 3% of Australia’s plastic bags are being recycled? Large cloth bag can be used for shopping, instead of regular plastic shopping bags.

3. Beeswax options — Instead of using cling wrap to keep meals fresh, use beeswax wraps.

4. Hail to the lunch box — An age old symbol, the lunch box has been reinvented. A few environmentally friendly companies are now manufacturing BPA free, stainless steel lunch boxes. A perfect alternative to plastic lunch boxes and takeaway containers.

5. Old straws made new — Stainless steal or glass straws are a great alternative to the plastic straw. Ideal for slurping up smoothies in the morning for breakfast.

6. Water is key — Depending on the climate, human’s need between 2L and 3.5L of water a day to stay properly hydrated. Invest in a glass drink bottle, instead of using single use bottles or plastic bottles.

7. Seal in freshness — Ziploc bags are good to take on your next bulk store visit because they don’t weigh much. Then once you’ve finishing using them, simply rinse them out and use them again.

4 tips for storing food correctly to avoid premature spoilage

1. Salad greens and herbs should be washed, dried and stored in a container wrapped in a moist cloth in the fridge.

2. Asparagus, cucumber, capsicum and broccoli should be kept in containers to avoid drying out.

3. Tomatoes stored unwashed at room temperature.

4. Potatoes, pumpkin, onion and garlic should be stored separately in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area. 

How to become a zero-waste household

How to become a zero-waste household

There’s a growing awareness in Australia that, as a society, we need to rethink how we approach waste and find creative ways to reduce individual household waste. In this article we’ll look at ways you can easily and simply reduce your ‘personal footprint’ by tweaking a few of your daily and weekly routines. 

1. Don’t buy too much — Did you know that the average Australian household throws away 20% of their weekly food shop each week? Plan your meals and shopping list so you don’t buy or cook too much.

2. Organise your fridge — Keep your fridge organized, so you can easily check your fridge (and pantry) before going shopping, to avoid doubling up. Plus, this approach will also help you stay aware of use-by dates!

3. Get creative with leftovers — Simply add a fried egg to your leftovers for breakfast or take them for lunch the next day with some extra greens. Yum!

4. Give scraps a new life — You can use food scraps to make a whole range of things. Here are a few of our favourites — juice pulp muffins, kale stalk stir-fry, carrot top pesto, coffee ground body scrub, and stock/broth with your vegetable scraps and leftover bones.

5.  Use the whole vegetable — Try to use the stalks, outer leaves, skin and tops. These parts often get tossed when they’re perfectly edible, delicious and nutritious.

6. Compost your food waste — Did you know that organic material makes up 40% of our landfill and that when it rots in landfill, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas? To reduce organic material in landfill, you can either start your own compost bin at home or some councils allow you to put compost in your green kerbside bin. Voila!

7. Freeze it — If your fruit or vegetables are starting to look sad, chop them up and put them in the freezer. From there, you can easily add them to smoothies, stews or stir-fries.

8. End of the week stew — In order to use all your produce before it spoils, you can make a ‘sad vegetable’ ratatouille or a stewed fruit puree at the end of the week.

9. Make it yourself — You can minimise food-packaging waste (and save money) by making your own almond milk, muesli, hummus, raw chocolate etc.

10. Refuse single use packaging — Say ‘no’ to disposable packaging and instead bring your own. Many cafes, wholefood stores and shopping center’s now encourage this. A simple way to remember your own is to keep a few resources in a bag in your car. You could include non-disposables like a KeepCup, a mason jar, a set of cutlery, a stainless steal straw and a cloth bag.

11. Repurpose more often — It’s the simple things right? Try using your old sauerkraut jar for your chia pudding (after it’s been thoroughly washed!) or use a glass Kombucha bottle to store your filtered water.

12. Limit plastic — Aim to limit soft plastics like plastic shopping bags, bread bags and pasta packets by refusing single use plastic. These items cannot be disposed of in kerbside recycling but CAN be recycled in special REDcycle bins located at some supermarkets.

13. Don’t buy bottled water — Bottled water may be convenient for some but it’s not kind to the planet, to your health (hello BPA!) or your bank balance.

14. Have your say — You have power to make a positive change. Vote with your wallet by supporting the businesses that are certified organic and have independently assessed measures in place to minimise packaging waste. 

12 ways to use coconut oil to improve your health

12 ways to use coconut oil to improve your health

Coconut oil is an edible oil, like olive or macadamia oil and is extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts. The oil is made up of around 90% saturated fat, 6% monounsaturated fat, and 3% polyunsaturated fat and is mostly comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). It is very heat stable and has a long shelf life.

Much research has been done on coconut oil and it is reputed to have healing, metabolism boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. It many uses include dietary, medical and industrial applications.

Some tips for coconut oil:

  1. For skin care use place some coconut oil, either solid or liquid, on your palm. Rub your palms together and rub onto the desired area of the skin. Most people make the mistake of using too much coconut oil, use sparingly, the skin can only absorb a certain amount. Be sure to use a quality Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut oil.
  2. Apply to cracked lips instead of lip balm.
  3. Use on cracked and hardened heels.
  4. Great rubbed into skin, nourishes and softens.
  5. Add to bath with essential oils, pat skin dry with towel, skin is beautifully soft, with no need to moisturise.
  6.  Use as a skin exfoliant - add salt or sugar to the oil before exfoliating.
  7. Instead of using harsh chemicals try this oil as a make-up remover.
  8. Has been documented to assist in the healing of skin conditions such as eczema., rub a small amount regularly onto patches of eczema.
  9. Apply to your hair as a deep conditioner or treatment. Use a tablespoon (less if you have short hair) of coconut oil, apply to hair and comb through. Wrap your hair in a soft towel or shower cap and leave as long as possible. Remove with a gentle shampoo.
  10. Use when cooking or as a spread instead of butter, it is easy to digest and also produces a longer sustained energy and increases your metabolism.
  11. Boost your immune system - coconut oil is made up of healthy fats: lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which contain antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties.
  12. Use in cooking.

Coconut Oil is available for purchase at Wellnation Clinics.

Losing mobility: It's just a part of ageing, isn't it?

Losing mobility: It's just a part of ageing, isn't it?

It’s a common perception that losing flexibility and mobility is a normal part of ageing, and something we must learn to live with. Unfortunately, many individuals (and even some health professionals) believe that joint stiffness and reduced motion is not only common, but expected. This leads to the problem often being ignored, when it should be addressed. While stiffness in joints and inflexibility in muscles can increase as a person ages, it actually indicates that something is not quite right. Mobility is vital for health and wellness. The good news is that it’s is easily improvable.

Decreasing joint movement is a slippery slope to poor health. Once it begins, it’s common for people to reduce activity, as they worry that exercise will make their joint stiffness worse. In fact, the opposite is true. Exercise of an appropriate type and intensity will actually help you move more smoothly and easily. In addition, low physical activity levels are linked to depression, obesity, inflammation, muscle and joint degeneration, and even reduced brain function (Alfini, et al., 2016) (Meisner, Dogra, Logan, Baker, & Weir, 2010); (Starkweather, 2007).

Healthy moving is part of healthy ageing… it’s not only good for our joints and muscles, but also our mental and physical health. Creaky, grinding knees? Avoiding movement will only make it worse. There is ample evidence to show that physical activity and exercise is some of the best medicine for joint conditions such as osteoarthritis – a common, painful condition that can cause reduced joint movement (Yamato, Deveza, & Maher, 2016). Regardless of the sore joint, movement is shown to reduce inflammation and pain and increase mobility in almost all cases. This is great news!

Gone are the days where your usual or favourite activities should be stopped because we’re “getting too old for that”. There is no such thing as “too old” or “too late” when it comes to movement. You can usually gain back a lot of the movement you’ve lost; or return to a time of confidence and ease in using your body. It may be that some simple stretching and strengthening will keep you moving freely and doing what you love for life. Keep in mind, there are some dangers here. Jumping suddenly into intense exercise such as bootcamp can be harmful. There’s a lot to be said for getting the right advice and taking your time. Remember, you’re going to be moving for life; there’s no need to rush!

Combined with good nutritional support, it’s entirely possible to improve joint and muscle health and enable you to continue to live an active and engaged life well into your old age.

If you feel that your mobility isn’t what it used to be, or if you are interested in learning more about how to improve and maintain your mobility, please come and visit Wellnation Clinics for a Myotherapy/MST session. They will show you what “normal” joint movement should really be, and how you can achieve it through stretching, strengthening, exercise, treatment and nutrition.


Alfini, A. J., Weiss, L. R., Leitner, B. P., Smith, T. J., Hagberg, J. M., & Smith, J. C. (2016). Hippocampal and cerebral blood flow after exercise cessation in master athletes. Frontiers in Ageing and Neuroscience, 8(184). Retrieved August 31, 2016

Meisner, B., Dogra, S., Logan, J., Baker, J., & Weir, P. (2010). Do or decline? Comparing the effect of physical inactivity on biopsychosocial components of successful ageing. Journal of Health Psychology, 688-698. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from

Starkweather, A. (2007). The effect of exercise on percieved stress and IL-6 levels among older adults. Biological Research for Nursing, 8(3), 186-194. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from

Yamato, T. P., Deveza, L. A., & Maher, C. M. (2016). Exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee (PEDro synthesis). British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50(16), 1013-1014. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from

Why fibre is vital to the modern diet

Why fibre is vital to the modern diet

Fibre, also known as roughage, is the part of plant-based foods (grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans) that the body cannot digest or absorb, passing relatively intake through and out your body. It aids in normalising bowel motions, improving bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, assists in balancing blood sugar levels and can help to maintain a healthy weight due to a feeling of fullness.

There are two varieties of fibre: insoluble and soluble.

  • Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. It is the bulky fibre that promotes the movement of food through your digestive system helping to prevent constipation. It is found in whole grains and whole grain flours, and vegetables such as carrots, beans and tomatoes.
  • Soluble fibre dissolves in water, helps balance blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. Good sources include barley, oats, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, pears, berries and citrus fruits.

Many plant-based foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. In general, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the higher in both types of fibre it is.

So how can you get more fibre in your diet? Here are a few simple changes you can make to ensure your diet has an adequate amount of fibre — both soluble and insoluble.

Six ways to get more fibre in your daily diet:

1. Jump-start your day with fibre: Look for whole grain cereals, like oats, to boost your fibre intake at breakfast. For added benefit, try soaking the oats overnight to aid digestion.

2. Replace white bread and pasta with whole grain products: Experiment with high fibre pasta and choose whole grain bread for toast and sandwiches. For added benefit, try replacing traditional pasta with zucchini noodles.

3. Add flaxseeds and chia seeds to your diet: Both flaxseeds and chia seeds are high in fibre and Omega 3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of iron and magnesium and can be added to fruit, smoothies or cereal. For added benefit, try adding chia seeds to your water bottle or shake-up your afternoon snack routine with a chia pudding, instead of a biscuit.

4. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Simple but effective! Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat five or more servings daily.

5. Add legumes to your savoury meals. Beans, peas and lentils are excellent sources of fibre. Bulk out your soup, casseroles or green salad with kidney beans, butter beans or chickpeas to increase your daily fibre intake.

6. Make snack time count. Making healthy snack choices on the go doesn’t have to be hard. Simply keep a piece of fresh fruit in your work drawer, a jar of chopped carrots in your handbag or a container of raw nuts close by. All of these snack options contain fibre. 

5 tips for Increasing Your Vitality

5 tips for Increasing Your Vitality

By Renae Pearce – Nutritional Medicine Adelaide

Here are five simple, but effective ways you can boost your health today using items you probably already have in your fridge. And the best part? Implementing these simple changes to your diet will improve your overall vitality, without breaking the bank.

Kick-a-Cold Sichuan Chicken Noodle Soup

Kick-a-Cold Sichuan Chicken Noodle Soup

By Marie Hopkinson

The Kick-a-Cold Sichuan Chicken Noodle Soup has several therapeutic properties. It is a Gluten Free, Nut Free and Dairy Free meal with vegetarian options. Based on Chinese Medicine, this meal is made to nourish and warm the Spleen, promoting sweating for which is good for the common cold. In Chinese Medicine this imbalance is known as Wind/Heat or Wind/ Cold.

Sleep hygiene — the cornerstone of good health

Sleep hygiene — the cornerstone of good health

By Anushka Satya

Sleep is needed for the brain to function properly and for the body to restore itself. Sleep deprivation is associated with chronic health problems such as depression, hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus and as well as affecting the way you think, learn, work, react, and interact with others.

5 simple homeopathic remedies for winter ills

5 simple homeopathic remedies for winter ills

Do you need simple homeopathic remedies for your winter ailments? German chemist and homeopath Willheim Schuessler recognised in the 1800s that the body’s different cell types each utilise specific types of minerals. So he conducted some of the first clinical experiments using mineral supplementation to improve health. And from there developed his range of 12 homoeopathically prepared mineral salts. Tissue Salts, as they’ve become known, are still useful today as a way to heal the body naturally.

6 simple ways to avoid colds and flus

6 simple ways to avoid colds and flus

It’s almost winter again, and already the dreaded flu is making an appearance. Runny noses, sore throats and a cough here and there. The good news? There are many natural, non-invasive ways to clear up those early signs of sickness or help your body ward off sickness altogether.

Now here’s what you should be doing.

These well-known steps to overcoming sickness are commonly known, but less commonly followed. Take time to follow these steps to help avoid colds and flus this season:

Goodbye summer, hello autumn: How to embrace the change of the season

Goodbye summer, hello autumn: How to embrace the change of the season

By Maggie Catlow

To say that I love hot and steamy summer days is an understatement. I relish my lifestyle in the warmer months of the year. I have an extra spring in my step and zest for outdoor exercise, healthy salads and fresh juices. Balmy nights that make my body and spirit feel lighter, especially after spending some fun in the sun at the beach.

Complementary medicine and workplace wellness

Complementary medicine and workplace wellness

By Dr Graeme Hodges

Companies across Australia are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of having a structured wellness program in place.

In the past these would typically sit within the responsibility of the OH&S or HR departments, but in the more recent past “wellness” has come to be something that goes beyond the duty of care employer responsibilities such as employee safety, injury prevention and rehabilitation, to encompass an individual’s overall wellbeing – physical, mental and emotional.

The Workplace Health Association of Australia – the peak association of workplace health providers in Australia has found that “preventable health risks are widespread across all occupational sectors  with the average employee exhibiting 4 risk factors” – with physical inactivity and stress being the most likely risks.

Raspberry and coconut panna cotta

Raspberry and coconut panna cotta

By Gabby Campbell

Panna cotta is such a wonderfully versatile dessert and it can be made to suit almost every intolerance as it contains so few ingredients, one of which is gelatin. Gelatin’s ability to reduce inflammation, help with skin healing, aid in the restoration/improvement of gut integrity and improve sleep quality, means it’s an ingredient worth incorporating into your diet often, and panna cotta is a delicious way to do that.

This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free and refined sugar-free.

“Fix me, don’t just assess me”

“Fix me, don’t just assess me”

By Sue Sharpe

It’s a common experience in clinics everywhere: you walk in to see a new therapist, and you’re excited to have a hands on treatment. The problem is, in your 45 minute appointment, they spend 20 minutes just figuring out what’s wrong. You want to scream, “I’ve just told you what’s wrong! Just fix it! Stop wasting my time!” and the frustration kicks in. You feel as if they’re being over-cautious in a litigious world, or that they’re not very good at what they do, and so they’re fluffing about. You’re so exasperated that you can’t quite even appreciate the treatment itself. Why do they do it?

How to stick to your goals and health routine

How to stick to your goals and health routine

By Maggie Catlow and Kate Johnstone

The Three Musketeers of Change and Growth

We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. Self- motivation is interlaced with the goals you make and the habits you form in order to achieve them. In Clever Land they call this concept Self-Determination Theory. According to Self-Determination Theory (SDT), three key needs must be met to allow growth and change: Competence, Connectedness and Autonomy. These Three Musketeers of Growth are essential for developing a cohesive sense of self.

How to improve brain health

How to improve brain health

By Maggie Catlow

We pay so much attention to looking after our physique, but what about the fitness of our brain? We don’t often consider ways to keep our brain active. The way we live today often allows our brain to take the easy way out. If we forget something, we simply ‘Google it.’

In our present time and culture, many of our daily doings are often entertaining yet somewhat mind numbing. Not dissimilar to constantly consuming of high-calorie, low-nutrition food. It is easy to undernourish our minds and unfortunately there is no magic pill to improve brain health and our memories. Just like getting a bangin’ bod, keeping your mind sharp takes some training but don’t stress, you won’t have to work up a huge sweat to see results.

It’s easier than you think to keep your brain in shape.

Where do Homeopathic medicines come from?

Where do Homeopathic medicines come from?

Have you ever wondered what first gave a practitioner (possibly hundreds of years ago) the idea to use a particular herb to treat an illness?

We now know from contemporary research that traditional medicines are effective for a range of ailments. A well-trained practitioner will cite trials that demonstrate the conditions a traditional medicine may be useful for and why. They will also know what dosage is safest and most effective and what administration method is most acceptable to clients.

But what originally incited interest in practitioners hundreds of years ago to explore the use of a herb?

Eating your feelings

Eating your feelings

 Food, with all its complexities, can be one of the most emotionally charged, indulgent and most secretive of all our relationships.” Nutritionist Hala El Shafie.

Do you regularly find yourself eating for reasons besides satisfying physical hunger itself? Do you take solace in food as a source of comfort, stress busting or as a reward, only to regret it soon after? Yes, we’re talking about emotional eating – how to recognise the triggers and move towards healthier patterns of self-nourishment.

The reasons we reach for certain foods are complex. As humans we are influenced by a cocktail of emotions, external influences, biochemistry linking our gut and brain and powerful associations we can learn throughout childhood. Emotional eating can be learned at a very early age, and can be a hard habit to break. After all, it is all around us – people bond over food, show love and care by feeding one another, and food is part of every major celebration on our calendar.

Often the decisions we make around food choice are driven by our social and emotional brain. This explains while even though we ‘know’ we should make a kinder choice we can continue to ignore our own inner voice. Eating for emotional reasons is normal from time to time. It is when the balance is thrown out of whack and we start looking to food to ‘cope’ with problems and pressures, that an unhealthy cycle forms which should be addressed.

Here are five tools that can help you get on top of emotional eating patterns.

How to resist old temptations

How to resist old temptations

By Kate Johnstone, Brisbane Clinic Manager

“New year, new me.”

That mantra was preached all over my Facebook at the beginning of January. A few weeks on and we’ve come to a point where many people start throwing in the towel and slipping back into bad habits.

Improving your lifestyle and achieving goals takes hard work and dedication. If you want to make any kind of changes to your life, having self-discipline is what gets you there.

For those of you who are working on improving your eating habits, you may find that you are constantly tempted to eat the wrong foods by the people around you, or the situation you are in. If you are trying to get outdoors more and go for that arvo walk, you may be struggling to maintain this new routine, ending up on the on the couch instead more often than you’d like to admit.

Resisting the temptation to do what is comfortable is challenging, so I have put together a three “stay-in-control” tactics that keep you prepared and focused for the tricky situations that can sabotage you objectives.

Change is good

Change is good

By Kathleen Hanley and Carol Beckwith 

As February approaches, it’s clear the new calendar year has well and truly begun. Our focus returns to our normal daily routines as Summer and the holiday season draw to a close. Physically and environmentally, we are heading towards Autumn. As each day gets shorter, with gradually less daylight, the fresh foods available to us at the markets start to shift with the season. The Chinese New Year in early February celebrates the end of the year of the Wood Goat and the beginning of the year of the Fire Monkey with its expansive and curious energy bringing a clever and more carefree approach to life this year.

This early part of the year is a time when many people take the opportunity to refresh their lives and seek improvements where they recognise there are gaps between their ideal lifestyle and actual lifestyle. Whilst life is a series of continuous changes, we may live through the process but do not necessarily adapt to or like the changes as they occur.

Here are a few ways to actively embrace change:

  • Allow yourself to spend time preparing for change mentally, emotionally and physically
  • If something is not working for you, be willing to take action to create change in your situation
  • Accept that you are in a constant flow of change – as each moment finishes another begins
  • Have faith in yourself that change will be positive, even if this is not obvious at first
  • Approach dealing with change as a process, as dealing with change takes time and involves multiple steps and ingredients
  • Have realistic expectations for yourself – self-improvement doesn’t happen through a magic pill but through small changes which have impact over time
  • Be honest with yourself – keep your eyes on your “end goal” (what you aim to achieve) whilst allowing yourself to reassess and modify your approach along the way as required (how you get there)
  • Maintain your momentum by making small changes – e.g. Leaving work at a scheduled time could be the perfect achievable solution to your ‘make more time for important relationships’ goal.

To help yourself adapt with change, making small alterations to your physical environment can assist:

  • Eat the foods that match the time of year and local environment – ie. Focus your food around eating seasonally available local fresh produce. Follow the links to Australian Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables, Farmers Markets – Seasonal Food Guide Australia for a guide to the locally available food in different areas in Australia, including the freshest available sources at Farmers Markets, and Seasonal recipes – Recipe collections – for specific seasonal recipes to plan your meals.
  • Keep up your fluids – have a bottle of drinking water with you at all times, and try to consume up to two litres per day
  • Seek specific guidance on handling change. The different modalities at Wellnation Clinics can offer assistance:
    • Homeopathy with Homeopathic Remedies
    • Naturopathy with Bach Flower Remedies and Australian Bush Flower Essences
    • Nutritional Medicine with dietary guidance and nutritional support
    • Acupuncture and Tui Na with rebalancing your Chi
    • Myotherapy/Musculoskeletal Therapy with relieving physical pain and creating strengthening plans.

Have a wonderful February, and remember that change is good!

This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.
10 nutrition changes to make right now

10 nutrition changes to make right now

By Maggie Catlow

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to food, so the suggestion of a diet or detox fills me with anxiety as I imagine that it would be living like I’m cast on Survivor with small rations of rabbit food. It may sound dramatic but I don’t think I’m the only one who feels overwhelmed at the thought of stepping out of their comfort zone by changing up their diet.

This is why it is recommended to integrate small changes to your meals that ultimately make a big difference to your overall health, happiness and waistline. It’s not a revolutionary concept, so I won’t take full credit for it, but I will advocate that you don’t need to be an extremist to feel noticeably better about yourself.

Here are a few simple nutritional changes that you can make today:

Why you should broth’er with bone broth

Why you should broth’er with bone broth

By Maggie Catlow

Nutritionists, naturopaths and health coaches are sipping on bone broth and singing its praises as a super elixir for good health.

Animal bones including the likes of beef, chicken or turkey can be roasted then simmered with vegetables for a couple hours to make a simple, nutritious meal for the whole family.

While the thought of brewing bones may not sound too appetising initially, I’ve heard time and time again from those who look a picture of health that it’s a delicious healer, promoting speedy recuperation from illness. We have all heard our grandmother’s wise saying that ‘chicken soup is good for body and soul’ and considering the nutrients bone broth contains, it’s a valid statement.

5 everyday indulgences you don’t have to give up

5 everyday indulgences you don’t have to give up

By Maggie Catlow, Brisbane Clinic

Starting the year fresh doesn’t have to mean starting a journey down Struggle Street.  Eliminating your favourite foods in strive of good health is never the best idea as sacrificing tasty treats usually leads to internal dissatisfaction. You can have your cake and eat it too, all you have to do is make simple modifications in your cooking and food preparation.

The resolution road to fitness in 2016

The resolution road to fitness in 2016

“My shoulders hurt, my knees hurt, and I think I twinged my back. I’ll just take today off, tomorrow off… oh well, no point now, I’ll leave it ‘til next year.”

Sound familiar? A few short days ago you made a resolution to get active. Maybe you gained weight, maybe you’ve been tired and everything’s an effort, or maybe you just want to improve your overall health and fitness. Perhaps you’re planning to finally run that marathon, or enter the Tough Mudder. Last year you tried it, and the year before that; you pulled on your Lycra and smashed out one solid week worth of exercise.

Vietnamese chicken rice noodle rolls

Vietnamese chicken rice noodle rolls

This fresh recipe is perfect for summer! Vietnamese chicken rice noodle rolls are full of healing ingredients and can be created in a flash, making them an easy lunchbox snack.

How to stay hydrated over Summer

How to stay hydrated over Summer

The silly season is underway. There are work parties, family celebrations and more, with an abundance of food and drinks everywhere you look.

This time of year begs the question, “how can I stay healthy and still enjoy the festivities?”

If you’ve ever asked this question, we have two easy tips to help keep healthy over Summer.

  1. Drink plenty of fluids; and by fluids, we mean water.
    Increase your intake especially if you’ve been drinking alcohol. It will help flush your system aiding detoxification and hydration.
  2. Drink green smoothies and freshly squeezed vegetable juices.
    They will give you much needed nutrients, hydration and nourishment. Your digestive system will thank you for the TLC!

Need a tried and tested green smoothie recipe? No Problen! Here is one of our favourite green smoothie recipes to get you inspired.

Lime and Coconut Green Smoothie (Serves 2)


  • 3/4 cup raw coconut water
  • 1/2 cup raw coconut meat
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 2 limes, peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups ice


  1. Throw all of the ingredients in a blender and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour the smoothie into a cup or jar and enjoy immediately.
This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.
An alternative way to detox and de-stress

An alternative way to detox and de-stress

By Caitlyn Brightmon, Sydney Clinic

New Year often sees us weighed down with the consequences of our festive season indulgences. Bloating, sluggishness, fatigue, and the start of a new year causes us to look at detoxification and stress management. Many products and therapies are on the market but few know that Auriculotherapy can offer a quick, painless, easy alternative to combating stress.

5 mocktails for a healthy Christmas

5 mocktails for a healthy Christmas

With so many social gatherings and parties during this fun yet busy time of the year, here are a few non-alcoholic beverage recipes that will allow you to keep going hangover free!

Hangover cure: how to survive the silly season

Hangover cure: how to survive the silly season

By Maggie Catlow, Brisbane Clinic

Tis’ the season to be jolly, tucking into lollies, fruitcake, eggnog and second helpings of a slow cooked roast and plenty of accompanying beverages. I’m drooling on my keyboard as I type this, just thinking about the festive season that’s upon us.

Annually, my experience of the Christmas period starts with my eyes being bigger than my belly and by the time New Year’s rolls around, I usually am too. I’ve learnt the hard way through overindulgence that Christmas celebrations are all fun and games until you end up feeling as stuffed as a braised chook and the next morning feel as seedy as a Bad Santa.

This year I have decided to safeguard myself from feeling dusty after too many vinos by incorporating Homeopathic, Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine recommendations to ensure I feel super comfortable this holiday season without totally sacrificing the “spirits” of Christmas.

4 simple tips to increase wellbeing

4 simple tips to increase wellbeing

By Dr Graeme Hodges, Wellnation Clinics’ Associate Director of Clinical Services

It seems everywhere you turn today, men are inundated with messages to be healthier, happier, stronger, more efficient and more mindful men. It is little wonder men are becoming more stressed!

Five wellness tips for spring

Five wellness tips for spring

By Emma Bridges – Naturopath student

Hydration is Key

Water is essential for life, every system in the body requires water to function optimally. For example water is required for hydration, moving toxins, carrying nutrients and feeling full. Externally it’s terrific for washing away dead skin cells. Everyone’s water requirement is different and depends on factors such as your health, fitness level, activity, genetics and environment. At the wellnation clinic we can assess your hydration levels and give you the correct recommendations for your body and health.

Kim Kardashian has a personal nutritionist – and now I do too

Kim Kardashian has a personal nutritionist – and now I do too

By Maggie Catlow, Brisbane Clinic Service Coordinator

Each day my best friend and I do our traditional afternoon walk. We talk about everything under the sun including our great love of food and what we shouldn’t be eating… It’s like we use our stroll as some sort of confessional for our food sins.

We chat about what dietary mistakes we have made in the last 24 hours and somehow reassure each other that all is forgiven and tomorrow is a new day.

Mindful eating to health and wellness

Mindful eating to health and wellness

By Sarah Hoile – Naturopathy student, Adelaide

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

A growing body of research suggests that our attitudes and practices around meals and mealtime rituals may be just as important as the foods we actually put into our mouths.

The aim of mindful eating is to foster an awareness of our physical requirements for food, (our hunger signals), and base our meals around these physical signals rather than emotional ones — like eating for comfort.

5 detox tips for spring

5 detox tips for spring

By Natalie Ford BHSc (Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine) Student

Spring is upon us, but if the thought of pulling out your shorts and swimwear from the back of the wardrobe can make you feel a little queasy, it may be time to reassess a few dietary and lifestyle plans so when that sunshine does come out in all its glory you feel on top of the world both inside and out!

5 tips to help you get started

Boost your cruciferous vegetable intake: Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and watercress will not only provide you with antioxidant support but will also enhance your mineral intake. Some are also part of the cruciferous family so adding these vegetables to your daily food intake will assist your detox pathway by clearing toxins out of the body through the liver.

Cut the caffeine, sugar and alcohol: Instead, kick-start your metabolism in the mornings with apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon in warm water and sip on herbal teas throughout the day. Cutting caffeine can be hard and if you’re one who can’t bear the thought of not having your daily latte, try switching to a Swiss-water decaf option and opt for only 1-2 per week. Pukka do a fantastic range of cleansing, detoxifying and nurturing teas and can be purchased from most health stores. Check out their range and find out where to buy them here.

Add a daily dose of milk thistle: Often used through detox programs to support and protect the liver against toxins such as alcohol and caffeine, milk thistle assists the body with removing these nasties from liver cells whilst protecting against free radical damage (which can injure healthy cells). Milk Thistle tea is readily available in health food sections.

Try dry skin brushing: With so much of the body’s toxins being excreted through the skin, dry brushing helps to stimulate movement through the lymphatic system and eliminate toxins that can become locked in the skins surface. Best practiced in the mornings before showering, you generally work from the feet up towards the heart in long strokes and from the hands upwards towards the heart.

Sweat it out: Just move. Try hot yoga, a sauna or a jog to get that heart rate up and body temperature rising. Sweating is an elimination process that helps to stabilise core temperature and assists with the removal of toxins from the body.

This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.
Simple cauliflower recipe to fight disease

Simple cauliflower recipe to fight disease

By Diana Krisanski – Nutrition Student, Adelaide

Cauliflower belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family and is jam packed full of sulforaphane, a sulphur containing compound well researched for its ability to kill cancer stem cells, protect cells from DNA damage and help inactivate carcinogens. It is also hailed as an excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant boost heart and brain health and supporting liver detoxification.

Cauliflower is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, choline and dietary fibre. It can be eaten raw, added to salads, cooked and used as a rice alternative or mashed as a low carb option for mashed potato.

Mashed Cauliflower:

1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets

1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Freshly ground pepper and fine sea salt to taste

Finely grated parmesan (optional)
Steam cauliflower over boiling water in a double steamer for 10 minutes or until tender, meanwhile stir-fry garlic in small frying pan until softened (about 2 minutes).

Transfer half the steamed cauliflower into a food processor, cover and blend on high, add remaining florets, one at a time, until smooth and creamy, blend in garlic, salt and pepper and finely grated parmesan (if desired).

This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.
How to track your health goals with our high-tech scales

How to track your health goals with our high-tech scales

By Maggie Catlow
Brisbane Clinic Service Coordinator

These days we love technology and what better way to track your health than via a state of the art electronic set of scales. Wellnation Clinics at Endeavour College offer the Tanita Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis scales (BIA) as an effective and dependable way of measuring and tracking body composition.

The Tanita monitor is quite literally a one-step process to obtaining total body fat, body water percentage, muscle mass, physical rating, visceral fat and bone mass. Additionally, it will also determine your daily caloric intake, basal metabolic rate and metabolic age.

How can Chinese Medicine enhance your fertility?

How can Chinese Medicine enhance your fertility?

By Sarah George
Senior Lecturer Chinese Medicine

Today in Australia, women are increasingly turning to Chinese medicine to enhance their fertility, for good reason.

Chinese Medicine has a long history of assisting women with reproductive health problems. For around 2000 years, acupuncture was used to treat women for a variety of gynaecological and obstetric conditions, this included the women of wealthy, powerful households who were famously needled only on the points of their legs and arms, preserving their privacy. There is classical Chinese herbal medical literature dedicated to problems of pregnancy, childbirth and menstruation.

How often should I get a massage?

How often should I get a massage?

By Paul McCann
Remedial Massage Therapist
(Senior Trainer/Assessor,  Adelaide)

This would undoubtedly be the most common question I am asked. If I took advice from the ancient Greek philosophers who said that daily massage is the way to health, then I’d be exhausted and need one myself daily to cope!

Anyway, it’s quite a challenging question to answer and there are a few elements to consider.

To start with, the frequency of treatment varies from person to person and I could come up with as many variations as there are different body types in the world.

Paediatric Tui Na Massage: An ancient Chinese Medicine for children

Paediatric Tui Na Massage: An ancient Chinese Medicine for children

By Sherri Duncan

It isn’t often that you hear of children receiving acupuncture treatment for common childhood ailments. Yet it would be a mistake to assume that Chinese Medicine didn’t have a plethora of tools and techniques for treating young ones and maintaining optimum health. Sometimes Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture are thought to be the same thing, yet Chinese Medicine as a system of medicine encompasses a wide range of disciplines and practices with Acupuncture being just one of them.

How Tui Na helped me bond with my children

How Tui Na helped me bond with my children

By Brooke Hagget

As a recent found enthusiast of Tui Na massage and its benefits I decided to get a book from Endeavour’s Gold Coast Campus library that was on the Chinese Medicine Course curriculum to try out some techniques for myself so I could massage my nearly 4 year old twins.

After carefully studying and applying a few facial, hand and foot techniques to myself I decided to embark on my first patients. After our bath time I asked Hunter, my daughter, if she would like a massage from mum. She was delighted anything that involved oil or lotion is always a winner with her.

Homeopathy, for the first time

Homeopathy, for the first time

by Maggie Catlow
Brisbane Clinic Coordinator

It was as though the stars has aligned when I became employed at Endeavour College of Natural Health, because I strongly believe in the power of alternative medicine and the importance of working with your body.

I always live by the motto “try anything once, twice if you like it,” which is why I didn’t hesitate to road test homeopathy as part of my induction into the Endeavour College team.

Despite being fairly acquainted with most healing practices, it still took me a little while to wrap my head around a few things regarding homeopathy.

Homeopathy for children: How I discovered another tool in my parenting bag of tricks

Homeopathy for children: How I discovered another tool in my parenting bag of tricks

By an Endeavour College naturopathy student practitioner, Brisbane

I had never had much experience with homeopathy until my first child was 8 months old. I had heard about it of course, had met plenty of homeopaths but never really tried it myself. Homeopathy had always made me curious and I found its approach to health intriguing. I had preferred naturopathy or acupuncture as my modalities of choice. The thing is – it can be a tough gig to get an 8 month old to take an herbal tincture or sit still long enough to have little needles put in them!

Recipes to celebrate Food Revolution Day

Recipes to celebrate Food Revolution Day

Jamie Oliver has long been an advocate for better food education for children, and to support his Food Revolution Day on Friday 15 May Nutritional Medicine students from Wellnation Clinics are sharing their favourite healthy snack recipes. Enjoy!

To sign the Fighting for Food Education petition visit

5 tips to stay fit as a working mum

5 tips to stay fit as a working mum

by Brookke Haggett

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. In this post Wellnation Clinic Manager on the Gold Coast, Brookke Haggett, shares her top tips for staying fit as a working mum.

Top 5 healthy Easter traditions

Top 5 healthy Easter traditions

By Kate Johnstone

This year is my first year to really have to think about Easter as a parent. Normally Easter consists of a few treats (not always sweet) that my husband and I would share over the holidays. I also attempt to make hot cross buns from scratch which is always a surprise to see if they end up edible. Throw in a brunch with family and a few DVD marathons and that is Easter at a wrap.

Little one is nearly two and much more aware of what is going on around him. He has noticed all the bunny themed merchandise in the shops and has already started receiving Easter gifts from play groups and well-meaning family and friends. We have a reasonably well-publicised sugar-free policy with my son and most of the time our community is respectful and cooperative with it. Easter is a tough gig though for parents who want to celebrate the Easter holiday without being overrun by coloured foil filled with highly refined sugars and who knows what else. It seems that this holiday see’s normal, sensible people have sudden amnesia and start buying treats for children that have ingredient lists with more numbers then letters.

Homeopathy and medicinal benefits of chocolate

Homeopathy and medicinal benefits of chocolate

By Greg Cope

Chocolate is recognised as the single most craved food, particularly amongst people diagnosed with depression. The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin are released after eating chocolate, as are pain numbing opioids as well as euphoria inducing analogues of cannabis (Paoletti, 2012). Chocolate’s effects have a lot in common with illicit drugs, however we encourage even children to access this particular drug-like food. We gift chocolate it for birthdays, holidays, religious celebrations, romantic occasions, and are even told chocolate is the gift to bring when no gift is wanted.

Workout Nutrition Explained – Part 3: Post-workout

Workout Nutrition Explained – Part 3: Post-workout

by Malisa Beets & Delina Rahmate

If you are training once or twice daily (or weekly – let’s be honest) you need to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles quickly to prevent fatigue in subsequent workouts. It is recommended that nutrition is consumed within 45 minutes of the workout. Have medium to high GI snacks handy such as a banana, a post- workout drink mix or smoothie. Follow up with a healthy balanced meal or snack (if you don’t have much time).

If you are trying to lose weight it is best to eat between 40-60 minutes after the workout choosing a balanced meal or snack. If you need some fresh ideas for recipes check out Endeavour Bookstore <hyperlink to Endeavour Bookstore> to get inspired!

Workout Nutrition Explained – Part 2: During the workout

Workout Nutrition Explained – Part 2: During the workout

by Malisa Beets & Delina Rahmate

So you are stretched, limber and decked out in your best exercise gear you purchased especially for this occasion. You are going to start a work out. If like some of us, you are worried about what happens when the first burning sensation tingles in your muscles and your breathing becomes laboured then read on. We have some key tips for helping your body survive the pain and struggle of muscles who have lain dormant for too long and pushed past their comfort zone.

Workout Nutrition Explained – Part 1: Pre-workout

Workout Nutrition Explained – Part 1: Pre-workout

by Malisa Beets & Delina Rahmate

For many of us, pre-workout regime involves a stern pep talk to self and a few sneaky jellybeans to help with ‘energy’. The reality is that your pre-workout routine can make the workout itself so much more rewarding and less strenuous which can do wonders for your resolve. The steps you take before starting exercise are just as important as the steps you take afterwards.

Think of the gardener who spends that little bit of extra time preparing the soil before planting the seeds. By enriching the soil and giving the seeds the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow healthy the gardener is ensuring a bountiful crop. You only get out what you put it and pre-exercise is the perfect time to put some goodness in!

Focus on Workout Nutrition

Focus on Workout Nutrition

By Kate Johnstone

Eating around your training is vital to your progress. Our body needs different things at different stages of exercise to maximise results and ensure speedy recovery. Over the coming week Wellnation student practitioners will share their recommendations for optimising your workout in a three-part series.

Smooth-ie Criminal

Smooth-ie Criminal

These tried & tested smoothie recipes are truly to die for! So delicious in fact, that you won’t believe they’re nutritionally packed and take less than five minutes to make.

At Wellnation Clinics, we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting recipes which incorporate nutrition into our daily lives. So last week, when a group of Endeavour College Naturopathy students came up with some wonderful smoothie recipes, we just knew we had to share them with you.

12 Weeks to Wellness – Week 3

12 Weeks to Wellness – Week 3

By Kathleen Hanley

Two weeks completed of my 12 Weeks to Wellness program in association with Goodlife Health Clubs’ 12 Week Challenge. Two weeks of discovering that my body has forgotten how to do many specific movements, and it is showing me very clearly the impact of spending long hours sitting at my desk!

Striking a Balance in Health With Homeopathy

Striking a Balance in Health With Homeopathy

By Cherisha Soni

In today’s fast paced 24/7 world, with its constant barrage on our senses finding time to nurture ourselves or relax is becoming more difficult. Rising stress levels leads one to succumb to various health troubles and with time constraints an unbalanced work life can affect one’s physical and mental vitality which could potentially increase the risk of diseases (Cohen, Kamarck & Mermelstein 1983). Busy people may postpone seeking medical advice until a problem has become more critical, or may focus on control of troubling symptoms rather than devoting the time to investigate the underlying reasons for declines in their health.

A homoeopathic consultation involves obtaining a thorough case history of all ailments and possible disease triggers, which are recorded and used during, follow up visits, saving time over a course of treatment. Clients are attracted to natural therapies like homeopathy when seeking ways to improve their quality of life and healing the aliments by addressing underlying causes as well as a focus on the bothersome symptoms.

Focus Treatment – Inflammation

Focus Treatment – Inflammation

By Casey Dick

Since the “clean eating” movement, terms such as inflammation have been on the tip of everyone’s tongue and for good reason. Research is continuing to establish inflammation as a key driver in a multitude of disease states from obesity and hypertension through to diabetes, mood disorders and infertility. Poor diet, stress and our environment are all causes of inflammation, within our control. Before we discuss controlling inflammation, let’s take a closer look at what inflammation is.

12 Weeks to Wellness – Week 1

12 Weeks to Wellness – Week 1

Whether you want to lose weight, improve your fitness, change your eating habits, train for a special event or get into that little black dress, you have the power to transform your health and change your life.

Wellnation Clinics is the Wellness Partner for Goodlife Health Gyms upcoming 12 Week Challenge. The 12 Week Challenge is a fitness program that includes sessions with qualified personal trainers, regular progress check-ins and meal plans. Alongside this program, Wellnation Clinics is running a 12 Weeks to Wellness campaign.

Kathleen Hanley, our very own Melbourne Clinic Manager, has bravely offered to participate in the 12 Week Challenge and will be attending Wellnation Clinics treatments to support her on the journey to wellness.

Confessions of a Guilty Detoxer

Confessions of a Guilty Detoxer

By Kate Johnstone

I have a confession to make. I have never finished a detox or a diet. Starting them seems to be a speciality of mine – finishing them, not so much.

It starts with a flurry of enthusiasm and daydreams of how glowing my skin will be. I dream that after two short weeks of misting my face with lemon water, taking apple cider vinegar shots and eating green apples I will radiate health and vitality. On Day One of detox I am the paragon of grim determination. By Day Two I am starting to look like a starved hyena in the African wild and by Day Three I have liberally prescribed myself a much needed ‘rest day’ with two muffins, a large latte and pasta for lunch.

I do this with exercise as well. I decide that I am going to get my ‘jogging mojo’ back. So, to start off my new regime I commit to a 10K run. The thing is that I haven’t run 10K in over three years so by 800m my body is screaming ‘MAYDAY!’ and I decide to be lenient and let myself walk home.

This year I knew that if I had any chance of successfully detoxing my body, then I couldn’t repeat the past. Perhaps I needed a detox regime that was more manageable for a novice with the resolve of jelly?

I asked around the clinic for ideas on more simple, easy detox plans that I might be able to stick to. True to form, the team here had some pearls of wisdom to share with me.

Focus Treatment – Tui Na Massage

Focus Treatment – Tui Na Massage

In Chinese culture, 2015 is the new zodiac year of the Green Wooden Sheep (sometimes referred to as the Goat). Wood is one of the 5 Chinese Elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth – and as Wood (i.e. tree) is related to the colour green, this year becomes known as Year of the Green Wooden Sheep.

Based on the Chinese medicine philosophy of yin-yang and five element theory, 2015 will be a favourable year of changes. The Sheep is a Yin energy – a symbol of peace, harmonious co-existence and tranquility and hence that is the primary and fundamental mood for this coming year. It’s a year of stable economic growth where all your diligent hard work in 2013 and 2014 will be rewarded, bringing you prosperity and wellbeing.

So, with 2015 underway and the Chinese New Year just around the corner, Wellnation Clinics invite you to kick start your health and wellness goals for the year with a uniquely Chinese ancient form of medical massage called “Tui Na” (Tui means “to push” and Na means “to hold”). Tui Na massage is a non- invasive style of massage which can be performed through your clothes (no need to undress!), or also with the use of oils or Chinese herbal liniments.

The practitioner uses their hands, fingers, forearms and/or elbows to activate the meridian channels of the body in order to treat muscle and soft tissue tightness, stiffness and pain – but it can also address underlying internal organ dysfunction which may be the origin of your presenting pain and discomfort. According to traditional Chinese medical understanding, meridian channels are invisible pathways on and within the body through which your life energy, or “Qi” flows. So it is via these meridians that Tui Na massage is able to produce a therapeutic effect.

So why not start the new year off with a Tui Na massage at Wellnation Clinics?

*Please check online for Tui Na availability at your nearest Wellnation Clinic.

This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.
Better the Needle You Know

Better the Needle You Know

Complacency is a common human trait. In the face of a world full of uncertainty it can be safer to choose what feels familiar. As health professionals we face this challenge every day working with our clients who want to make changes for the better. We encourage them to try new routines and foods, to choose the side salad instead of the chips, and to then see how it makes them feel. Ideally, the new routines and side salads become the familiar and a positive, lasting change is made.

In a clinical setting, it can become very easy to reach for that product you know and trust. You may have been using it for years and seen great results. You may like the feel of it when treating a patient or it was the brand you trained with so you feel most comfortable using it. However, if we are to truly stay on top of our game it can be worth it to step back and take stock. Do we need to investigate cutting edge research and how technology might be improving the effectiveness of how we treat?

At Endeavour, the forefront of our clinical excellence can be found at our Wellnation Clinics. The students take the breadth and depth of the knowledge learnt from their highly, qualified teachers and translate it into the highest standards of clinical practice. More than ever it is important we model the behaviours of successful practitioners – and guarding against clinical complacency would have to be near the top.

Beating Hayfever Naturally

Beating Hayfever Naturally

Spring is hard for hayfever suffers. But, there’s plenty you can do to combat it.

Here are ten things you can do to fight off hayfever.

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