A few weeks ago I went along to a seminar called Toxic Planet all about detoxification and digestion. We spoke about the environmental toxins but in all simplicity of it, it came down to how we can best improve our own digestion and detoxification processes to deal with toxins most efficiently. Yes we can avoid toxins in plastics, non-organic foods and by avoiding highly polluted areas... but we can't avoid all toxins living in the western 21st century.
Aug 29, 2013
Aug 27, 2013
In studying natural medicine, gut issues crop up all over the place and we see them in almost everyone. It's where most therapists look to heal first as the cascade of events that follow are usually nothing short of miraculous. Our gut has everything to do with digestion of our food, but it is also inextricably linked to our liver health and function, our gallbladder, our pancreas, stomach acidity, how well we absorb the nutrients we are eating, our efficiency and ability to detoxify daily, our happiness and moods, ability to think properly, immune health, and so much more.
Aug 22, 2013
Over my years as a student (which I have to say have been more than the years I have not been - even if I discount school years) I have learnt a thing or two (some the hard way) about what works best and what should really be avoided if I am to have the best brain power. Sure some of these are no-brainers (no pun intended) but in times of assessments piling up, exams lurking, work and other life activities to get too, stress and poor memory signs... I know it's too easy to let a good brain-food-rich diet slide. So, I've compiled the best of the best (for both you and me) nutritional ways to get you through your studies with flying colours.
Aug 20, 2013
There are so many oils you can buy these days that it's no wonder it gets confusing as to which one to buy for what. Olive oil was always the staple in my place, and that has now changed to coconut oil. But what about all the other amazing oils we could get our hands on?
Aug 15, 2013
More and more I see and interact with people who are wanting a greener version of a pharmaceutical drug (Disclaimer here; I read those last few words in a text book recently and was like "ooooh I LOVE that analogy" and so here my friends, I just used it!).
Aug 13, 2013
This has been a looooong lesson learned for me. That I know best. Those are big words right? It implies that we trust ourselves. That whatever decision we make will be perfect. That regardless of what everyone else says will work, if we feel so strongly that it's not for us, being brave enough to roll with that feeling, contrary to every body else.
The biggest part of why I have struggled with trusting myself for so long was because of a disconnection to myself. I could say it all begun with my parents divorce when I sat there very upset but telling myself "don't cry, don't cry, don't cry" for whatever reason I seemed to think was good enough at the young age of seven, but for all I know, it could have been even earlier. I was sad and felt to cry but made myself not. Incongruence at it's best. And from then on I taught myself how to master the art of hiding my feelings and disconnecting from my emotions.
This unfortunately also laid the path for what was to become a very strong dis-connect from myself. Eating disorders, depression, binge drinking... these all appeared and stuck around for a good few years because I was incredibly 'not-attached' to myself. I know this may sound ridunculously stupid, by being 'not-attached' to myself I simply mean that my thoughts and my body were never on the same page.
I felt hungry, but didn't eat. Or I was full but kept eating. I felt unhappy but tried to mask it. These still, to this day, cause me minor hiccups every now and then as I often look at the clock to see how long it has been since I last ate, as hunger and fullness signals get muddled up from years of ignoring them all.
But over the years I have gotten better at re-connecting with myself and allowing myself to feel everything I never used too; hunger, fullness, pain, saddness, happiness and more. And in the process of doing so I have begun to hear and feel the little nudges and whispers I get in direct relation to my health; my own journey, what is great for me and what is not, and everything that encompasses.
+ Like feeling that turkish bread will bloat me - but eating it anyway, and of course, getting bloated.
+ Being told my daily coffee enema would aggravate my colon more than help my liver (which needed support) - I stopped them and have felt nauseous most days since.
+ Wanting to join a female bootcamp to meet friends on arriving to Cairns last year, but knowing it was not the best as I was trying to heal adrenal fatigue - well I got worse, almost pulled out (didn't coz of stubborness and not enough self love though) and ended up putting on weight.
+ Knowing somewhere within me that nothing would heal my acne except learning to love and accept myself - not that this made it any easier; it's still a work in progress (having said that, plenty of things have made great improvements in my skin, but even through science-based studies, and knowing the physical and physiological reasons for acne and how to treat it, I simply know they are not my answers)
At the same time, it can be a bloody tough slog realising that we are our best teachers. Hopefully it's only initially and will get easier (I'm still new to this too remember). Sometimes we want to heal and correct something right now and so go about trying, ingesting, and changing everything we can. Even if we know deep down there's a lesson here and it won't go away instantly, we continue trying everything we can.
Think of the overweight woman who has tried every diet, every personal trainer at her gym, every supplement known to shred, every tea to help boost her metabolism, every tapping technique, hypnosis technique, portion sizes, even meal times. All the time having no luck, and in fact knowing that her issue has nothing to do with the food but everything to do with the whispers she is getting about the need to love herself just as she is (and then the weight will magically fall off - no joke).
Additionally, and I know this one too well, when we really want help with something but fail to find anyone who can really help us. As if that isn't a sure enough sign that you've gotta work it out for yourself! We either don't believe what we are feeling intuitively or are too scared to follow it. But I've heard and read time and time again about people who after years of seeking help, end up trusting their gut and healing themselves of cancer, autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, you name it, simply because they could never find someone who could help them with their condition.
Does your gut tell you that the best exercise right now is to do nothing, yet you're too attached to your routine that you don't listen, only to get an injury next week or go further downhill with fatigue?
It's not miraculously easy to just begin trusting your gut and knowing that you are your best healer - or we would all be doing it right? But we can at least practice day by day. Ask yourself "what would I like for lunch?" and see if you get anything back. Next time you're at the markets hold an apple in one hand and a banana in the other. Which one feels lighter (and no, I don't mean by weight)?
These little questions and experiences get us in touch with our body and it's innate wisdom so that when we are presented with bigger things, we will still feel, see, hear the sensations so we can trust our gut.
If you (think you) don't know why you're always bloated, sit with it, as I'm sure you'll get some sense of an idea (you might just not want to accept that you have to ditch your beloved dairy).
If you still have no clue why you've had eczema for 10 years, and no doctor has helped you, feel into this one. Something is sure to come up, if it hasn't already but you've chosen to ignore it.
As an almost-qualifed-Nutritionist, of course I can help you with many things as I have learnt so much through my studies and truckloads more through my own experiences. But only YOU will already know more about YOUR body than I ever will. So trust that girl. Sure an apple is super healthy... but if you feel sick eating it, and only you will feel this sickness, then stop eating it, no matter how many people tell you it's good for you.
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Aug 8, 2013
WARNING: Amazing food pics below...
Last week I decided to get down to the Paleo Cafe in Cairns for lunch with B and friends, to see what the place had to offer. Having only ever had an almond milk hot choccie there before (but eyed off their cakes every time I walked past), I was eager to see what their menu was like.
The cafe seems to have close to every table full whenever I wander past, and from the menu, I could only assume why - everything sounded amazing!
And so we started with what we knew - coffee. Only better. Bulletproof coffee! Have you heard of this yet? It's kinda gaining attention in the fitness world as a better-than-coffee-coffee. And I have to say I am a fan. B has done a youtube clip on it here if you wanna try making your own, and here is a longer vid in much more detail as to why people are loving bulletproof coffee and why it may actually be really good for you....
This was B's lunch - a Thai green papaya and cashew salad which he added a salmon steak too. Of course I had little nibble and yep it was pretty darn good. Green papaya has a great texture to it for use in salads, and mixed with fresh rocket, capsicum strips, zucchini ribbons and bean sprouts, we licked the plate clean!
This is what I ordered - as did one of our friends. I was tossing up between this and the salmon with veggies and sweet potato mash... but I think the fries and the fact the fish is local got me. One thing I love about living in Cairns is the abundance of fresh fish. Our local seafood place sells mostly local caught fish and for all we know, it likely came off the boat that morning! The dukkah was crunchy and very fragrant (a little chilli would have had be drooling) and their home-made tartare sauce is by far the best I've ever tasted! Oof yumoo!
This pad thai dish was a special of the day, and it appears to be on the menu this week as well - clearly a crowd favourite. The clear noodles that look like rice noodles are in fact made from sweet potato (rice isn't technically 'paleo'). We didn't believe them so the chef brought the packet out to show us. He says they get them from the local Asian grocer and they're cheap as chips! This had the delicious chilli I love, with punchy prawns bursting in your mouth, and all the trimmings of a real pad thai.
And then for this - just give me a sec -
This carrot cake has to be the most delicious looking cake ever (to me). Carrot cake has always been a favourite of mine - and yes even over chocolate cake. The moistness, with juicy sultanas and crunchy walnuts, and always a delicious buttery icing. But this one was even better. This icing is made from cashew nuts, almond meal and honey (from memory) so it's totally super good for you (in small doses). The cake also is bursting with amazing ingredients as listed below. Add a bit of bicarb and that is all that is in this cake. I have wanted to taste this for over 6months - I'm not kidding. Twice I went in, they were out of it. And then I was in Thailand for 2 months. So when I saw this in the display cabinet... SOLD!
And only after that I saw this dessert walk past me onto someone else's table. Hello. Excuse me. What on earth is that?!?! The dessert special. Yep ok hunny, we're sharing two desserts. Chocolate creme brulee! Paleo style! Meaning no dodgy sugar or dairy cream! This is made with coconut cream and honey. Wowzas! Of course my eyes had decided on getting this even before I knew what it was and boy-o-boy was it delicious!
Served with CocoLuscious strawberry coconut ice cream and fresh strawberries....
The perfect ending to a great lunch with friends.
Find the Cairns Paleo Cafe (the first official one in fact) on Facebook here and their brand new blog with amazing looking recipes here. And watch out Australia, a little birdy told me Bondi Junction and Brisbane are rolling out as we speak.
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Aug 6, 2013
You may or may not have seen bloggers and wellness practitioners posting about Dr. Sherrill Sellman of late as she has just wrapped up her Australian tour on womens health and hormones, but having had the pleasure of meeting her and hearing her speak last week, I cannot keep this information from you all!
Sherrill is a Naturopathic Doctor and having gone through her fair share of womens issues, she is now an expert on the matter. So without further adieu, here is everything I learnt in a jam-packed 2 1/2hr lecture...
Root causes of Hormonal Imbalance:
1. Adrenal Exhaustion
3. Toxic Liver
4. Insulin Resistance
5. Poor digestion/Bad gut flora
6. Vitamin, mineral, protein, and fatty acid deficiencies
But the number #1 mess-er-upp-er-a is STRESS
Woman are cyclic beings; we need time out otherwise we pay the price. Taking time our for a walk with a girlfriend or an afternoon in bed reading are not luxuries, they are necessities.
So let's look at all these in closer detail.
1. Adrenal Exhaustion
Our adrenals are key too:
- hormonal balance
- blood sugar balance
- ideal weight
- anti aging
And they need vitamin C like no other organ. And lots of it! In fact if you are totally depleted (Sherrill had tester sticks that we pee'd on - yep - and whether or not they changed colour, you could see where your vitamin C levels were at), a dosage of 2g, 4x daily is recommended. If you know anything about dosages, that's a whopping dosage. So if you are to take this amount of vitamin C you're going to want to buy a product that will not irritate your gut as most store bought vitamin C products do. Check out this one.
If we continue to run the rat race, put everyone else first, push ourselves outta bed for that bootcamp when we really need the extra sleep, work overtime everytime, socialise all weekend, eat a poor diet, don't supplement when it's necessary, over-exercise or not exercise at all, and never give ourselves a break, this is what we might be getting ourselves into...
The effects of High/Prolonged Cortisol Levels:
- Hormonal imbalances (eg. estrogen excess)
- Progesterone and testosterone deficiency
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Lowered immunity
- Lowered thyroid function
- Increased abdominal fat
- Impaired cognitive function
- Decreased bone density
Sounds fun right? Stress leads to visceral fat which is dangerous. Struggling to lose weight with diet and exercise? Look at your stress levels.
This means low thyroid function and the symptoms can look a little like this:
+ Hair thinning
+ Feeling the cold more than usual or when it's not actually cold
+ Weight gain
+ Dry skin
+ High cholesterol
3. Toxic Liver
+ Blood clots during menstruation = liver impairment
+ Very dark coloured blood during menstruation = liver impairment
+ We get more toxicity from our own home than we do from walking through the city these days; get rid of toxic chemical laden cleaning products, skin care products, fake candles, perfumes, etc Would you eat these? Then why are you rubbing them in your skin (to absorb) and spraying them around you (to inhale)? It's your liver that has to work to get these out of you again
+ Broccoli seed extract and milk thistle = liver support and help break down oestrogens
+ 95% of cancers are caused by environmental and dietary toxicity
4. Insulin Resistance
+ Don't eat any carbohydrate-rich foods after dinner if you have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or sleeping troubles; deep sleep is less likely to happen if you do eat carbs before bed, and therefore you will not be having restorative sleep needed for your hormones
+ Sugar and cocaine light up the same areas of the brain when ingested
+ Sugar and wheat make the brain addicted (to it/them) the same way cocaine becomes addictive
+ Wheat; increases appetite, increases weight, is so highly hybrodized these days and is completely addictive
+ If you have high cholesterol you need to get off the sugars and the (shitty processed) carbs; these both lead to inflammation in your arteries causing your high cholesterol in the first place
5. Poor Digestion / Bad gut flora
+ Antibiotics cause bad gut flora
+ Steroids cause bad gut flora
+ The Pill causes bad gut flora
+ Healing your gut lining (if you have leaky gut syndrome) should be your first priority if you have an autoimmune disease (and it's highly likely you do)
6. Vitamin, mineral, protein, and fatty acid deficiences
+ Eat good quality protein daily
+ Coconut oil daily is highly beneficial for hundreds of things including weight loss, preventing breast cancer and preventing Alzheimers disease; aim for 2 Tbsp daily
A little more about Hormone Health...
+ BPA mimics hormones messing everything up internally; it can also lead to early puberty and obesity. Ditch BPA by ditching plastic bottles and containers (ESPECIALLY plastic bottled water), saying NO to receipts at the shops, not buying tin canned foods and enquiring about dental sealants if you've got any
+ HRT (aka. Hormone Replacement therapy) which we usually only see in women over 50yrs is now being used in younger women, and is made up of TWO KNOWN CARCINOGENS (ie. cancer-causing ingredients)
+ Optimal vitamin D levels should be up around 250 (not 75 like some GP's will say). The more weight you carry the less vitamin D your body will have. Get in the sun at midday, everyday, for 15minutes, with 40% of your body exposed to the sunlight to get your fix.
+ 1 in 6 Australian girls are hitting puberty younger than ever before; the average age is now 10 1/2 years. This alone increases their breast cancer risk down the track.
+ Women in their 20's and 30's are now being diagnosed with breast cancer; a disease once only seen in women aged 60 yrs +. This is alarming as breast cancer is more aggressive in younger women, treatments are not as successful in younger women, and the side effects are often worse in younger women.
+ Weight gain increases your risk of breast cancer. 2-10kg of weight gain after menopause increases your risk by 30%. A 25kg weight gain increases your risk by up to 40%.
+ Oestrogen's message is to GROW (secondary sex characteristics like female hips and breasts in puberty, but also CANCER cells). Progesterone's message is to PUT THE BREAKS ON estrogen. So these two must be in balance.
+ Oestrogen is in fact HIGH in perimenopause, and in EXCESS in menopause
+ Blood serum testing for hormone levels is FLAWED and a saliva test is the only real indicator of where your hormone levels are at. A blood test for hormones will always show up low, due to they way they test them.
+ Our MOBILE PHONES are increasing estrogens, increasing insulin, and decreasing progesterone (just to name a few) Go here to have a look at some products Dr. Sellman suggested to reduce EMR around you.
And The Pill...
Used for contraception once upon a time... I'm not going to debate this right now, but the pill is being prescribed by doctors these days to treat acne, menstrual pain, irregular periods, no periods, weight gain, excess bodily hair, you name it, left, right and centre. And this is causing us big big problems.
The potential effects from taking The Pill look something like this -
+ Blood clots
+ Birth defects
+ Cardiovascular disease
+ High blood pressure
+ Cancer (breast, uterine, and colon)
+ Depression and sleep problems
+ Weakened immune system
+ Loss of libido
+ Weight gain
+ Vaginal yeast infections
The Pill decreases our levels of vitamins E, C, B12, B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, selenium and tyrosine. It also works like an antibiotic and therefore contributes to poor gut function (Check out The Pill Problem for more info).
Are you on it? Perhaps chat to your local Nutritionist, Naturopath or Chinese Medicine practitioner about how to get off it and what to use instead. Your doctor will convince you it's fine so seek information elsewhere. After all you wouldn't pop a carcinogenic-pill everyday would you? I hate to break it to you... that's exactly what it is.
All in all it was a hugely informative talk and bumping into fellow students, colleagues, customers, shop owners and friends always makes it a tonne of fun learning together.
Did you get to see Dr. Sellman on her Aussie tour? What did you think?
!! All hormone imbalance is a symptom of poor health !!
Aug 1, 2013
I had the realisation last week (during my final coaching call with my coach) that the foundation to health is self love. It's not a good diet, it's not an athlete's exercise regime, and it's not drinking 2L of filtered water everyday. These things of course and without a doubt make a huge difference in one's health but the real bricks and mortar I have come to see and feel is self love.
This is step one; the base, the beginnings, the solid structure beneath everything else built on top of it. So it goes without reason, that if this foundation is not laid, it's only a matter of time before bits and pieces start falling off, one by one, or worse still, crumbling all in one go.
I've been on a journey of learning to love myself for quite some time now and can happily say that I am so much further along this path than I ever have been, but can also say I'm not totally there just yet. Each and everyday is another opportunity to practice what I am learning through books, blogs, words, websites, magazines and moments.
But I wanted to talk more bout this 'foundation' analogy - do you agree with me on this one? I've found that without self love, the food we eat can be poor quality and nutrient empty, our physical activity can either be waaaay too much or non-existent, we drink too much, don't sleep enough, work longer hours for less pay... the list goes on.
When we have self love, or are at least on a path to cultivating it...
+ We rest when we are tired (instead of pushing through)
+ We enjoy chocolate with no guilt (coz we know guilt does more harm than any food)
+ We say no to dessert when we know we are full from dinner
+ We move our bodies daily; be it a 5 minute walk, an hours jog, a yoga class, a mid-study-dance-sesh in the lounge room, or even just a few stretches, we do what feels right for us each day
+ We make the time for the things we know we need instead of putting them last; like getting to bed early, journalling daily, waking early to find time to yourself before the day begins
+ We get out and enjoy nature
+ We eat the foods that our body loves, and not the stuff that wreaks havoc in our system from an emotional crisis
+ We cry when we need to instead of dealing with our emotions destructively
+ We "switch off" from technology, social media, emails and more every now and then, instead of being a slave to push notifications
+ We write, see and feel grateful for everything everyday
This list could go on and on, but you probably see the picture I'm painting here. When we begin to cultivate self love through eating well, resting, moving, thinking thoughts that are conducive to health, spending time with loved ones, and doing things that light us up... everything else falls into place. Stress levels become manageable and healthy instead of being un-manageable and totally exhausted. We smile more. We see the good in the world. And underneath it all, we are strengthening the foundation so we can lay new bricks on top knowing they will be there for life. From this strong foundation, good health is inevitable. It may take longer for some than others, but day by day, in cultivating self love we are also cultivating health.
Having seen it in others, and most definitely in myself, take it from me --
The best diet means sh*t if you don't love yourself.
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