5 Things You Don’t Know Are Toxic (but you should)

Every day we’re learning more about toxins – chemicals in our environment that are having an adverse affect on our health. You may be trying to eat organic produce, buying hormone free meat and avoiding sugar. But what if you’re still exposing yourself to high levels of toxins every day? Let’s check out 5 key things that you might be missing.  

 

  1. Tampons

Let’s begin with something that many women use every month (sorry guys) – tampons. But hold up – we’re not eating tampons, so what’s the problem? Well you may be surprised to know that the vaginal wall with its delicate tissue is a very absorbent area – an easy passage of toxins into your body. And you might be even more shocked to consider that tampons are made from cotton, one of the crops most heavily sprayed with pesticides. Of course this is because cotton isn’t eaten, but those pesticide residues will be in direct contact with the vaginal wall and absorbed into the area that they affect the most – your reproductive system. On top of this tampons can also contain plastics that have the endocrine disrupting chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) or phthalates in them, which you don’t want to be absorbed into your body.  

 The solution? If you’re going to use tampons opt for organic ones, or use a menstrual cup or pads instead. 

 

  1. Wine

Now, we all love a glass of wine now and then, but have you considered where the grapes come from? Grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops – the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates them as 5th in fruit or vegetables with high pesticide content. In fact a single grape could contain over 15 different pesticides on it. So considering it takes around 100 grapes to make just one glass of wine, you could be getting a good dose of endocrine disrupting pesticides with that ½ a bottle you have with dinner. 

The solution? There are many organic and biodynamic wines on the market. If wine is something you enjoy regularly, then switching to organic will eliminate this problem. 

 

  1. Coffee and Tea

Like wine, we often don’t consider the coffee we buy when trying to avoid pesticides. Coffee is also a heavily sprayed crop and you may be getting a hefty dose of chemicals with your morning pick-me-up. Tea is also one of the most highly sprayed crops. Because tea and coffee is brewed at high temperatures, these residues are easily washed off the leaves and ground beans into your cup. 

The solution? If you drink coffee or tea daily, then make sure you buy organic. 

 

  1. Takeaway Coffee

So aside from the issue above, you might be shocked to learn that the paper cups that you buy your coffee in are lined with a thin layer of plastic – which likely contains bisphenol A (BPA) or other bisphenol compounds. Studies show that when heating plastic up to 55 times the amount of BPA is released into the food or drink it contains, so hot takeaway coffee will give you a hefty dose of BPA as well as the pesticides I talked about previously. 

 Read our article on the dangers of BPA here. 

The solution? Buy a glass, ceramic or stainless steel re-usable coffee cup and get your morning hit in that. It’s also better for the environment, so a win-win! 

 

  1. Air Freshener

The fragrance contained in air fresheners, including sprays, scented sticks and scented candles, can be made up of over 300 chemicals. The most common chemical in fragrances are phthalates – hormone disrupting chemicals that have been associated with infertility, endometriosis and breast cancer. Every time you smell a synthetic fragrance you are exposed to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals. 

The solution? Ditch any air fresheners, fragrance sticks or scented candles and use natural essential oils instead. Simply put a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle with water and use in place of air fresheners. 

There are so many sources of hidden toxins – hopefully this list helps you to remove a few more from your life. To learn more about environmental toxins, attend one of our workshops.

Golden Milk Recipe

Winter’s finally here and I’ll admit, much to the disbelief of my fellow Queenslanders, I absolutely couldn’t be happier! I love the multi-layers of clothes, the amazing night sleeps and best of all, curling up on the coach with a hot drink, blanket and slippers, watching my favourite show on Netflix. For many of you, that hot drink would be a warm cocoa, cup of tea or coffee, but for me, it’s the delicious, calming and immune boosting warm mug of Golden milk.

What’s golden milk you ask? Well, for those of you that are members of Brisbane Natural Health, health food bloggers or just have a keen interest in healthy eating, then you will already know! For the rest of you, let me share this magical drink with you!

GOLDEN MILK – WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR!

Golden milk is fast becoming a popular drink on many websites, blogs, instagrams and healthy chef websites. And for good reason! This potent anti-inflammatory, digestive and immune boosting drink has replaced hot chocolates, and cups of tea and coffee for many health aware individuals because of its strong medicinal active constituents. So what’s in it?

  1. Turmeric – one of the greatest natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich spices known to science. The active constituent, curcumin, has had massive amounts of research poured into its uses as a medicinal food and supplement
  2. Ginger – a circulatory stimulant, anti-emetic (stop you feeling nauseas) and calming spice used for centuries by numerous cultures, and still one of the many superfoods I think needs to be added to everyones diet…
  3. Cayenne pepper – another circulatory stimulant and pyretic (makes you sweat – which is great for detoxifying!). You may also just use black pepper here or a mix of the 2. Black pepper in particular, allows your body to absorb curcumin <2000X more effectively!
  4. Raw honey – the proper stuff you get from your local market or health food store. Real raw honey contains amazing immune boosting properties and is incredibly mineral dense and, of course, tastes delicious!
  5. Milk alternative – Whatever your dietary needs are, you may choose to use almond, coconut, oat or macadamia milk.

Ingredients:

1 cup of milk

1 thumb sized piece of organic turmeric, grated

1 thumb sized piece of organic ginger, grated

¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or more depending on your taste)

Raw honey to taste

 

Recipe:

Simply add all the ingredients into a pot on the stove or thermomix and heat up on a low heat until your desired temperature (not boiling). If you don’t like little bits of ginger or turmeric in your drink, simply strain into your mug.

Perfect for those chilli winter nights, taken to work in a thermos, for the kids (or adult kids) to prevent the cold, or simply for yourself because you deserve some comfort and YOU time!

The recipe to living a life you love.

Do you live a life you love? I mean really stop and think about it – are you completely happy and loving your life? Are you happy in your relationships, your job, where you live? Do you do things regularly that make your heart sing? Of course, we all aspire to live a life that we love, but it is all too easy to get caught up in the day to day, leading a less than ideal or mediocre life. This mean you might remain in a relationship or job that doesn’t light you up for longer than you should. Or it could mean that you haven’t cultivated enough self love to truly be happy day to day.

People who live a life they love eat well, workout regularly (because they want to), have strong relationships (including with themselves), enjoy their work and are happy most of the time. They get a lot of joy from life and look forward to the start of each day. They refuse to put up with a beige existence, knowing that life has a bounty to offer them if they find out where to look. We each have the ability to have this – it’s just a matter of peeling back the layers and giving your body, mind and soul what it needs to enhance your life.

After working with over 5000 people, we know that there is a recipe to having a life that you love. it includes the following.

1. Achieving excellent, vibrant health

Good health is the foundation to living a life that you love. When we have physical symptoms it causes pain, discomfort, worry and concern that can strip the joy from our day to day lives. It can stop you from behaving how you normally would, preventing you from doing what you love. It can even colour the way that you perceive the world through negative emotions, as you’ll see in the next section. Achieving excellent health is about eating the right foods, moving your body and healing disease with natural medicines, if possible. It’s also about mindset, as you’ll see in the steps following.

2. Working through emotional toxicity

People who live a life they love have been able to identify and release emotional toxicity that holds them back. This might be working through anxiety, depression or low self esteem by identifying the underlying subconscious causes and triggers. It might be identifying what emotions you have attached to and dis-ease in the body, and where it first started so that you can clear it. Your thought patterns and emotional state are a huge determinant of how you’re feeling and also what behaviour that you present. We all have some emotional toxicity to varying degrees and once you can identify this and work though it your life will be so much better.

We need to identify and release emotional toxicity in order to reach our full potential.

3. Cultivating gratitude and positivity

This step comes more easily once you have mastered the former, but it’s something that you can begin to work on right away. Studies (and ancient spiritual teachings) show that cultivating gratitude makes you happier and more content with life. This can be a simple as consciously and sincerely thanking people more often or keeping a daily gratitude journal. We also need to practice mindfulness – this is observing our thoughts so we can actively try to change them. We are taught to be inherently negative – especially towards ourself. Listen to your self talk – you’ll soon find that you would never speak to someone that way that you speak to yourself. Catch yourself and consciously try to think more positive. This might require more work on step 2 if you find it challenging.

4. Addressing your spirituality

No matter what you religious denomination or what your spiritual beliefs are, once thing for certain is that we are more than our physical bodies. We know from research that people that have a strong spiritual belief in something outside of themselves are happier and more content. Spirituality doesn’t need to be about praying to a certain god or figure, most importantly it is about reconnecting to your own spirit or soul. Doing this can give you your own sense of purpose, help to ground you and make you more comfortable in your own skin. To help nurture your spiritual self we recommend meditation and exploring this side of yourself with a spiritual/energetic healer that can help you to identify if there is anything that can be blocking your growth in this area.


We are complex beings with many layers of physical, emotional and spiritual blocks that can stop up from reaching our full potential and living a life that we love. It is through the exploration of these layers and removal of blocks that we grow and advance as human beings, so that we can truly experience life for all that it has to offer.

At Brisbane Natural Health we are passionate about helping people live a life that they love. We’ve developed memberships to specifically address all 4 of these areas and help you to not only feel better but to truly improve your quality of life. Call us on 07 3367 0337 to ask about how we can help you. 

Blood sugar dysregulation and reactive hypoglycaemia

Sugar cravings? Feeling ‘hangry’? Energy levels all over the place? Does this sound like you? If it does, there is a good chance that the reason for your symptoms is an underlying imbalance in your blood sugar levels, and the good news is that these symptoms are fixable.

Your body has some very tight controls in place to keep things working at optimal function and this is especially true when it comes to blood sugar levels. Blood sugar can either be too high, which is what happens in diabetes when insulin is either no longer produced or does not work properly, or you can also have low blood sugar, which is what causes the symptoms mentioned above.

High blood sugar causes damage to organs over time and is generally not considered a crisis for the body in the short term. Low blood sugar, on the other hand, is considered an emergency for the body as sugar is the primary energy supply to the brain, and once levels get too low, your brain can stop working properly – definitely an emergency! We know that high blood sugar can be caused by a diet high in simple (refined) carbohydrates, sugar and not enough exercise, but why does low blood sugar occur? Well, there are a few reasons. One of these is called reactive hypoglycaemia which occurs when your body’s insulin signalling is out of balance. What happens in reactive hypoglycaemia is that when you eat something (especially foods high in sugar or more refined), your body releases too much insulin. Insulin acts like a key to open the doors of your cells, allowing glucose to go into the cells to be used to make energy. When you release too much insulin, more of the glucose travels into the cells and you are left with less in your blood. When the blood glucose levels get to low, your body sends out distress signals such as carbohydrate or sugar cravings, shaking, sweating, feeling like you might kill someone if they stand in the way of you and food (hangry) and your energy levels can drop too as your body thinks it is in starvation mode and stops producing energy.

Whole grains like oats are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.

The other reason that you can have low blood sugar is simply because you are not eating enough, regularly enough or have done lots of exercise without eating enough. This second type of low blood sugar is easily remedied by making sure you eat regularly especially when exercising.

So, what can be done about it?

Reactive hypoglycaemia is a reaction to the food that you are eating, so the easiest thing to do is to change your diet. The best diet for this condition is a well-balanced whole foods diet with a special focus on eating a good breakfast containing protein. Research shows that eating a higher protein breakfast leads to reduced food intake throughout the day. Make sure that you have protein with each meal, some unrefined complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, fruits and vegetables) and some healthy fats too as these also help to slow down the digestive process and reduce spikes in blood sugar.

Other things that help with healthy insulin signalling and maintaining good blood sugar levels are:

  • Avoiding high sugar foods and refined carbohydrates
  • Exercising (improves insulin signalling) and making sure you eat after exercising
  • Eating at regular intervals – try not to go too long in between meals – snacks are a good idea for you
  • Omega 3 fats – these assist insulin signalling
  • Nutrients such as chromium, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B3 also help your body to hear the signals it is receiving
  • Reducing stress – the release of cortisol, your main stress hormone, increases blood glucose and can cause a crash later on in the day
  • Avoid caffeine – this works in a similar fashion to stress at causing blood sugar crashes
  • Talk to your naturopath about herbal medicine to help your body get back into balance

If you have symptoms of blood sugar dysregulation, it is important that you seek the advice of your health care practitioner as these symptoms can be due to other health issues which need investigating.

Our naturopaths routinely help people with diabetes, pre-diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation. Call us on 07 3367 0337 to make an appointment.