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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

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

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

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

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.


References:

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, https://www.thyroidfoundation.org.au/

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.

Destress

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.
 


References:

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, https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/17/1/76/639253/Effects-of-cigarette-smoking-on-reproduction 

Gude, D 2012, ‘Alcohol and fertility’, The Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences’, pp. 226-228, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3493844/ 

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, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2970793/

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, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/

Whireledge, S, Cidlowski, J 2010, ‘Glucocorticoids, Stress and Fertility’, Minerva Endocrinologica, pp. 109-125, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3547681/

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, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3717046/

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.

Citations:

1.     Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer [Internet]. World Health Organization. World Health Organization; 2016 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs380/en/

2.     Goolsby J. 11 Anti-Viral Herbs for Fighting HPV [Internet]. Dr. Axe. 2017 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from: https://draxe.com/how-to-treat-hpv/

3.     20 of the Best Antiviral and Antibacterial Herbs and Plants Ever! [Internet]. NaturalON - Natural Health News and Discoveries. 2015 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from: http://naturalon.com/20-of-the-best-antiviral-and-antibacterial-herbs-and-plants-ever/view-all/

4.     7 Anti-Viral Foods That Will Keep You Healthy Year-Round [Internet]. Natural Living Ideas. 2016 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from: http://www.naturallivingideas.com/anti-viral-foods/

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.  

Resources

ABC TV 2017, War on waste, viewed 7 August 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/war-on-waste/

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

Choice 2014, Is plastic food packaging dangerous? viewed 7 August 2017, https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/food-warnings-and-safety/plastic/articles/plastics-and-food

Choice 2017, Are coffee cups recyclable? viewed 10 August 2017, https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/drinks/tea-and-coffee/articles/are-takeaway-coffee-cups-rec...

CSIROscope 2014, An ocean of plastic, viewed 10 August 2017, https://blog.csiro.au/an-ocean-of-plastic/

Ocean Crusaders 2017, Plastic ain’t so fantastic, viewed 7 August 2017, http://oceancrusaders.org/plastic-crusades/plastic-statistics/

Plastic Free July 2017, Plastic free July, viewed 7 August 2017, http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/

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

References:

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! 


References:

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/cauliflower-hummus/a9c4b99d-ee49-472d-8de1-afa3225e4aa3

https://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-roasted-cauliflower-hummus/#184

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

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28465238

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2156587216641830

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20378318

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4385215/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26899341

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!

Citations:

Corliss, J. (2014, January 8). Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress [Web log post]. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-20140108696...

ARCVic, Deep Breathing Exercises. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from http://www.arcvic.org.au/anxiety-disorders/treatment-options?id=20

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 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979/.

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

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7587003

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703169/

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.

 

References

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

Ingredients

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 

Method

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. 

References

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

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

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/slow-cooker-oxtail-stew/abf03cc5-630e-4337-94a7-77ca467ce37c

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/insanely-good-oxtail-stew/

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.

References

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.

References

  • 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

Zinc

  • 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

Iron
  • 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

EFAs
  • 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:

Zinc

  • 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

EFAs

  • 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

Selenium

  • 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

Ingredients

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)
Lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

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.

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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

Instructions

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

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.

Waratah

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

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.  

Philotheca

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

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.

References

  • 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. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aju.2016.01.003
  • 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. http://doi.org/10.1111/ajd.12352
  • 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. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2230.2011.04186.x

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.  

References

  • 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.
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1774223/

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.

Women:

  • 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.

Men:

  • 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  
Fatigue  


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: 

Dietary

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.

Lifestyle

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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

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.

References

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 http://hpq.sagepub.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/content/15/5/688.full.pdf+html

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 http://brn.sagepub.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/content/8/3/186.full.pdf+html

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 http://bjsm.bmj.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/content/50/16/1013.full

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 – Taste.com.au. 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)

Ingredients 

  • 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

Method

  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 & Taia Briggs, Nutritional Medicine Students

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!

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 change.org.

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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