- 2 free range eggs
- 1 medium zucchini grated
- 1/2 green capsicum finely diced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 1 good pinch of herb salt
- 1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons barambah organic natural yoghurt or cream
- Enough Gluten Free Self-Raising Flour to make a thick, sticky batter – oops, I didn’t measure. As the vegetables will release water while cooking, you will want to make the batter thicker to begin with.
Ingredients: Serves 4-6
1 handful of fresh coriander or parsley
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 or 2 fresh red chilli’s (deseeded)
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
sea salt – pinch.
Place all ingredients for Chermoula in the blender and pulse until smooth. Set aside to develop flavour.
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 onions diced
3 cloves garlic diced
2 tins organic tomatoes (or 2 cups homemade chunky passata)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger – or 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups vegetable broth or stock
1+ 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup green/brown lentils
2 bay leaves
sea salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
extra water to make soupier if needed.
Saute onion, fennel, garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper and allow aromas to develop before adding the tomatoes/passata. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the lentils, chickpeas, broth and bay leaves and allow to cook on low heat for approximately 30-45 minutes or until chickpeas are tender and soup has thickened. Season to taste and serve topped with as much spicy Chermoula as you like.
Why do we ask you not to eat gluten even if you don’t have Celiac’s Disease?
The main reason is that your gut is so very important to your overall health. The lining of your gut is the largest surface that provides a barrier between the environment and your body, thus it is crucial that the gut lining has the ability to critically select out what may enter and what shall not pass!
Leaky gut refers to an alteration in what your digestive tract allows to enter your body, compared to what it eliminates as waste. A large number of chronic inflammatory diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, asthma, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and autistic spectrum disorders have been associated with leaky gut. Current research tells us that leaky gut increases after exposure to gluten in all individuals whether you have a predisposition to coeliac disease or not. If you have any kind of inflammation occurring in your body, removing gluten is a simple, dietary way to address one of the key underlying drivers or causes of that inflammation and work towards having the best gut health and therefore overall health outcomes.
Why is gluten so rough on our digestive system?
Gluten Triggers Inflammation
Gliadins and glutanins are two main components of the gluten protein occurring in wheat, barley, rye and oat seeds or grain. It is thought that gliadins are most implicated in the immune reaction that occurs in celiac disease, but glutanins and gliadins are so similar in structure that they are both considered to be inflammatory and can trigger an immune system reaction.
It sound’s like an alien planet, but it’s in your gut and opens up “doorways” in your intestinal lining to allow nutrients and other molecules to get in and out of your gut. Too much zonulin, opens these “doorways” too far, allowing toxins, large immune- reactive protein molecules, intestinal contents and bacterial waste to enter your bloodstream. This not only triggers inflammation and an immune response but also increases the workload on the liver to filter out “garbage” for disposal. In other words too much Zonulin equals leaky gut.
The triggers for too much Zonulin include overgrowth of harmful bacteria or yeasts in the gut, parasitic infections and the consumption of gluten.
Regardless of whether you have the genes for celiacs or not, the gliadin in gluten has been shown to significantly increase Zonulin in the gut.
But what about all the B vitamins and fibre I’ll miss out on?
B Vitamins are abundant in many foods, not just those containing gluten. Unprocessed gluten free grains such as brown rice, quinoa, teff, legumes, vegetables and meats and offal are all great sources of B vitamins. Eating a variety of foods from the various food groups is the key to balanced nutrition, and is completely doable without touching gluten.
Just because it’s gluten free doesn’t mean it’s good for you:
The mistake many make when going gluten free is to look for replacements in the supermarket which are labelled gluten free. The problem with this is that the usual substitutes most sort after are bread, pastas, biscuits and crackers. The market has portrayed gluten free to be a healthier option, but in many cases, this is not true. Often, gluten free products contain more refined grains, additives and sugars to maintain a similar appearance, taste and texture of the original product attempting to be cloned. For example, a gluten free brownie, doesn’t automatically become a healthy option and some gluten free breads are higher in sugar, white flours and food additives than regular breads.
A gluten free sweet still remains a treat or sometimes food. In order to improve your overall health the fundamental key is to eat less processed, packaged food overall. Your practitioner will help you with this.
What foods contain gluten?
If your practitioner has asked you to avoid gluten, this means any product that is derived from :
This may include cous cous, semolina, bourghal, bulgar.
Also remember to check the labels on foods which you may not have thought contain gluten grain products such as wraps, condiments, muesli bars, ice-creams, vinegar, some supplements.
Common foods mis-interpreted as gluten free are: mountain bread, sauces, cous cous, bourghul or tabbouli, noodles, ice-creams, yoghurts, milks containing malt. Always check the ingredients list!
How strict do I need to be?
You may not have to avoid gluten 100% forever. Unless you are a celiac, you are not allergic to gluten and the occasional indiscretion may not be critical to your health. Your naturopath will advise you on whether any forms of gluten can be introduced along the way or at a later date, and what to look for to avoid inflammation and optimise nutrition.
Leaky Gut & Autoimmune Disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22109896
Zonulin, a regulator of epithelial and endothelial barrier functions, and its involvement in chronic inflammatory diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25734566
Why do we ask you not to eat dairy?
Dairy can cause health issues in a lot of people from digestive upset and sinus congestion to inflammation, hormonal issues and problems with the immune system.
Dairy cows are stressed – This could be due the mass production and processing of the modern day dairy products, compared to those your great-grandparents may have consumed fresh from the farm cow. These days there is a massive consumer demand which requires farmers to have their dairy cows continually produce milk year round, including when they are pregnant. A stressed cow, is an inflamed and unhealthy cow as is the milk they produce. Due to the unnatural demands on dairy cows they are susceptible to mastitis, parasites, bloat, acidosis (from too much grain which they are not designed to digest) and liver abscesses. While the Australian livestock organisations state that antibiotics are used sparingly, and milk is closely monitored for antibiotic residues, there are other compounds such as ionophores added to the grain feed while the cows are being milked to enhance their tolerance of the grains and prevent bloat, parasitic infection and increase weight and production. Residues of these can remain in the milk.
Dairy foods increase growth hormones – The purpose of cow’s milk is to feed the calf and help it grow. Dairy milk contains naturally occurring hormones called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which when fed to people, also increases circulating (IGF-1). This helps with bone growth, yes, but studies show that IGF-1 promotes cancer cell growth too- particularly breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.
Dairy Foods Raise Oestrogen – oestrogen is needed to maintain a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility and bone health. However, too much, or the wrong types of oestrogen are associated with increased risk of some cancers, endometriosis, breast cancer, uterine or ovarian cancers and early puberty. Dairy foods contain oestrogen due to the cows being milked throughout pregnancy.
But what about the calcium for my bones?
Calcium is just one of the nutrients important for maintaining bone health among other things in the body. However, dairy is certainly not the only dietary source of calcium and adequate calcium intake is achievable through other food sources such as sardines, salmon, eggs, spinach, broccoli, dried figs, molasses, sesame seeds, chia seeds. In fact 2 eggs and a cup of cooked broccoli contains more calcium than a glass of milk.
What counts as dairy?
If your practitioner has asked you to avoid dairy, this means any product that comes from the milk of mammals, including cow, sheep or goat. You will need to avoid:
- Lactose Free Milk
- Skim or Low Fat Milk
- Cream cheese
- Cheese spreads
- Creme fraiche
Please note – Lactose Free milk or other lactose free food products may still contain dairy. Be sure to read ingredients list carefully.
You may not have to avoid dairy 100% forever. Your naturopath will advise you on whether dairy can be introduced at a later date, and what to look for to get the best quality.
In both TCM and Japanese style acupuncture, disease is seen as an imbalance in the organ system or Qi meridians, and the goal of any remedy or treatment is to assist the body in re-establishing its innate harmony. Disease can be caused by internal factors like emotions, external factors like the environment and weather, and other factors such as injuries, trauma, diet, and germs. However there are some key differences between the two:
1- The Size of the Needles – Chinese acupuncture and Japanese acupuncture differs in the size of the needles used on patients. Japanese needles tend to be a smaller and typically sharper than Chinese needles. Many say that this is the reason for a gentler, more superficial needling with less pain on the patient. Chinese needles are bit of a wider gauge, and they promote more of an aggressive needling.
2 – Depth of Insertion – The gauges of the needles go hand in hand with the depth of insertion required. Japanese needling is extremely gentle and superficial – meaning they only focus on the surface and just slightly under the surface of the skin, whereas Chinese needling fosters more depth of insertion. Some patients feel this to be too painful, while others feel that this treatment benefits them more, as they can sense the movement of qi through the body more effectively.
3 – Herbs in conjunction with treatment – A large difference between the two practices is in the use of herbs in conjunction with acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and herbs are an essential aspect of TCM as a whole. Japanese practitioners tend not to use herbs in conjunction with treatment, but they do refer their patients to other practitioners that are knowledgeable about the subject. The use of herbs is much more integrated in Chinese treatment, as opposed to Japanese treatment.
4 – Touch as a means of pre-treatment – Japanese acupuncture places a
lot of emphasis on the use of palpation (touch) before needle treatment. These practitioners rely on abdominal palpation to judge the insertion point of the needle. This practice roots from the many blind acupuncturists of Ancient Japan, and it goes hand in hand with the gentle needling.
5 – Chinese acupuncture insertion methods – The Chinese and Japanese practices differ greatly in their needling technique. Now a standard in the acupuncture field, guiding tubes for needles were not part of the Ancient Chinese traditions, and in fact were developed in Japan in the 1970’s when disposable needles became available. Further, Chinese acupuncture tends to manipulate the needle when inserted into the body much more than Japanese acupuncture.
6 – Stronger Qi sensation – Chinese acupuncture gives patients a much more distinct feeling of qi moving through specific points in their body, as practitioners of this discipline tend to, as stated above, rotate and shift the needle much more than Japanese practitioners. Further, the increased depth of the needle gives more distinct sensations.
7 – Moxa – In keeping with the theme of “gentle” and “relaxing”, Japanese acupuncturists almost always incorporate the technique of moxibustion. This involves burning cones of Moxa (derived from mugwort plant) over the patient’s skin before needling. This warming sensation adds to the soothing nature of Japanese acupuncture.
1 – Essential Oil antiseptic blend – for cold, flu, sinus congestion, stuffy nose and headache.
Add to water :
Eucalyptus oil 5 drops
Lavender oil 5 drops
Peppermint oil 3 drops
Tea Tree Oil 3 drops
*Use to inhale over a bowl of steaming hot water: Place oils into a litre of boiling hot water. Being careful not to tip it on yourself, place a towel over your head and the bowl to create a steam chamber for you to inhale the essential oil vapours and clear a stuffy head.
*In a diffuser or oil burner to imbue the home or office with cleansing, refreshing, smells. Place the oils into the water chamber as directed by your choice of diffuser.
2 – Chesty night – time cough relief – suitable for infants through to adults.
You will need:
4 slices of fresh onion
A couple of drops of olive oil
Cling film/plastic wrap
A willingness for your bedroom to smell like soup in the morning. (A small price to pay for cough relief during the night)
Before bed, rub a small amount of oil on the soles of the feet. Careful place the sliced onion rings on the soles of the feet and hold in place with the cling film. Pull your socks over the top and hop into bed. The sulfur compounds in the onions will infuse through the blood-stream into the lungs and help relieve mucous congestion and cough. Works great on kids. A jump-suit or one-piece outfit is recommended to prevent babies and toddlers distributing the onions all through the room/house.
3 – Home – made cough syrup
You will need:
1 large red onion
1 small chilli (optional)
Approximately ½-1 cup raw honey
Slice the onion into rings and dice the chilli. Place into a wide mouthed glass jar. Cover with honey and allow to steep in a cool place for 1-3 days. To relieve a dry or raspy incessant cough or scratchy throat, take a teaspoon full of the mixture as required.
4 – Sniffle Tea – A brew for your stuffy nose…
You will need:
1 lemon, washed well.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8th teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons raw honey
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
600ml boiling filtered water.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a tea pot or coffee plunger. Drop the skins in there as well. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to brew for 10 minutes before drinking. Great for hayfever, sinus and sore throat. If you’re super keen you can also add a clove of fresh raw garlic crushed for extra antibacterial punch!
5 – Circulation Boosters – help keep your hands and feet warm in the cold weather.
As you know exercise, and a hot bath do wonders for improving circulation, but you can also include certain foods in your diet to keep your blood circulating happily:
Cayenne Pepper – Take a pinch of cayenne pepper in a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of black strap molasses. Drink 1-2 cups daily.
Turmeric & Ginger – Replace your morning coffee with a hot turmeric latte. Spice it up with some ground ginger, cardammon, cinnamon and raw honey.
Make soups, curries and casseroles with extra chilli, garlic, rosemary and turmeric to help keep your blood thin and metabolism on the go.
Snack on some almonds, walnuts, macadamias and your favourite nuts and seeds as a good source of the circulation boosting vitamin E.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we believe our bodies have a type of Qi, or energy called “Wei Qi”. Wei Qi is our protective Qi and is located on the surface of the body. You can think of Wei Qi as the immune system – its job is to keep out invaders such as harmful viruses and bacteria.
As an acupuncturist, I’m always being asked by patients how they can increase their immunity at this time of the year. While most people know the importance of washing their hands there are a number of other ways you can help keep those bugs away. In addition to Acupuncture here are a few simple things you can do to help improve your immune system.
The New York Times recently ran an article about a study which examined the relationship between regular exercise and healthy immune response. Although mice, not humans were used in the study, it showed that mice who exercised regularly were better able to fight off infections. While exercise is important, there have been studies showing that over-exercising can actually harm your immunity, so remember that moderation is key.
Wear A Scarf
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the nape of the neck is believed to be particularly susceptible to invasion by the wind element, which means colds and flu. Therefore, covering your neck is important, especially on cold, windy days or when you are sitting close to an air conditioning vent or fan.
Try A Saline Nasal Spray and/or a humidifier
When the heat is on inside your home or office, your nasal passages can become very dry. This is a problem because your natural nasal secretions are one of the body’s primary defences against viruses and bacteria. By using a basic, inexpensive saline nasal spray several times daily and a humidifier at your home and office, you can decrease the likelihood of viruses entering your sinuses and leading to a cold or flu. Using a saline nasal spray also helps flush out viruses that are already within your nasal passages.
Your body produces substances called Cytokines during sleep. Certain types of cytokines play a role in immune functions, so it makes sense that the less sleep you get, the fewer cytokines are produced. Studies show that people who don’t get 7-8 hours of sleep per night are more likely to catch a cold and take longer to recover from colds.
Take a Chinese Herbal Formula
There are Chinese Herbal combinations which are very helpful for people who experience recurrent colds and respiratory infections. You must always see a trained herbalist, since there is no one herb which is good for everyone’s situation. It must be individually tailored to your health history and constitution. Herbs can also be helpful if you do come down with a cold or the flu.
Written by Angela Marshall – Acupuncturist at Brisbane Natural Health
We are often told that allergies and allergic asthma are inherited disorders and that there is probably nothing that can be done about our children developing them as they grow up. Well, the more we learn about genetics, the more we are coming to realise that genes can be switched on or off due to environmental triggers. When your baby is in utero their DNA is very susceptible to environmental signals, which is why it is so important that you understand how your choices will affect your children’s health down the track. 5 recent scientific studies looked at links between maternal food intake and environment and infant/child outcomes for asthma and allergies
- Taking the right probiotics – Probiotics such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and L. rhamnosus HN001 have both been studied and found to reduce the incidence of eczema in children born to supplemented mothers. L. Rhamnosus HN001 was also effective in reducing allergic disease (diagnosed by skin prick test) in children born to supplemented mothers. Probiotics are bacteria that when consumed send healthy signals to the immune system – discouraging a ‘rampant response’ like we see in allergic conditions. It is likely through this action that probiotic consumption by mums helps reduce allergic issues in children. Mum’s are advised to start with these specific probiotics at least 3 months prior to birth and continue through breastfeeding[i].
- Keep your sugar intake to a minimum – high maternal sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of allergy and allergic asthma. Children of mothers who consumed the highest amount of ‘free sugar’ (sugar added to cooked foods, honey, syrups and fruit juice), compared with the lowest amount had a 38% increased risk of allergy and 101% increased risk of allergic asthma[ii]. Women in the lowest group consumed 1.6-34.0 g sugar per day vs women in the highest group who consumed 82.4 – 345.1 g sugar per day.
- Avoid plastics – in mothers who’s urine was examined for phthalates, the concentration of phthalate found directly correlated to occurrence of allergic asthma in their children. Researchers think that the plastic chemicals switch off genes required for regulating the immune system and this might be how plastic exposure is linked to allergic asthma[iii].
- Get dad healthy before you start trying – Fathers who have been smokers have 3 times higher risk of having children with early-onset asthma than those who have never smoked. In this article, the authors suggest that the amount of time the father have quit for prior to conception does not necessarily influence the risk of the outcome for the child, but we do know that we can positively influence gene expression with a super healthy diet, lots of nutrients and stress reduction. This same article noted that paternal exposure to welding also increased the risk of asthma[iv]. Make sure that you have both of you on a comprehensive preconception program for 3-6 months before getting started with baby making.
- Eating nuts – research shows that eating peanuts (so long as you don’t have an allergy to them) during pregnancy may reduce the risk of nut allergies in your children[v]
So keep in mind that you do have an influence over your children’s health outcomes. We certainly do not know everything that will have a positive or negative effect on our babies, but we can use the information that we do have to make informed decisions to get the best possible outcomes for our little bundles of joys.
[i] Kalliomäki M, Salminen S, Arvilommi Het al. Lancet 2001;357(9262):1076-9.
[ii] Bedard A, Northstone K, Henderson, JA, Shaheen SO. European Respiratory Journal. 2017:50; 1700073
[iii] Jahreis S, Trump S, Bauer M et al. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2017.
[iv] Svanes , Koplin , Skulstad AM, et al. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2016
[v] Frazier AL, Camargo CA, Maslpeis S, et al. JAMA Pediatrics, 2013
Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep can be very frustrating and becomes draining over time. Here are some safe, easy and tried and true strategies for getting you the deep, restful slumber that your body so desires:
- Avoid stimulating activities at night time – this includes working (!), playing on your phone, watching TV and even vigorous exercise.
- Turn off your screens – aside from being mentally stimulating, the wavelength of light coming from your phone and computer screen tells your brain that it is wake time and will inhibit your ability to fall asleep easily
- Avoid stimulants later in the day. The magic time to stop drinking tea or coffee is different for everybody, but a good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine after midday. For some people that even means putting the chocolate bar away as these contain caffeine too. Try rooibos tea if you are used to a black tea or dandelion to replace coffee – it’s not the same but it is a great substitute. Also, be sure to limit your overall coffee intake to 1-2 single shots per day
- Get some exercise – burning up some energy during the day is a great way to allow your nervous system to relax and help you get into a healthy sleeping habit. For some people, night time exercise can be too stimulating, so getting your walk or run in the morning is probably best.
- Write lists of things you need to do tomorrow and leave them at work. Often we cant sleep because we are thinking of all the things we need to do at work (or at home). By writing a list, we are letting ourselves know that we have thought of the things that need doing and by leaving it where is belongs (at work), we don’t have to mentally take work home with us and think about it as we try to fall asleep
- Take a nice long bath with Epsom salts an essential oils. I recommend ½ -1 cup Epsom salts and lavender oil to calm the body and the mind
- Try some relaxing herbal teas after dinner – favourites are chamomile, valerian, passionflower and lemon balm – these help to calm your nervous system ready for sleep
- Switch your phone to flight mode – so that your sleep is not interrupted by text messages or emails and to reduce the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) coming from your phone sitting on your bedside table – EMFs are known to disrupt brain waves and sleep patterns
- Turn the lights down – bright lights tell the brain that it is day time and that you should be awake. Have you ever noticed how when you go camping, you fall asleep easily at 9pm even though at home you can stay awake till 11pm no worries? Part of the reason for that is the lack of artificial light when you are camping – try and recreate this effect in your home. After dinner and the clean up, switch off your overhead lights and use lamps or candles instead.
- Try some sleep hypnosis – there are hundreds of these on youtube and for use as aps on your phone. I suggest finding a hypnosis with a voice that you like and then downloading it to your phone so that you can listen as you drift off and still have your phone wifi switched off to avoid the EMFs. Hypnosis gives your brain something to focus on so that it can easily drift off into sleep without getting caught up with thoughts that could keep you awake.
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