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.
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.
Our days of eating wild caught fish are getting numbered with dwindling fish supplies caused by overfishing. The fish that is available is increasingly contaminated with mercury and with other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like Bisphenol A caused by the huge amount of plastic that has ended up in our oceans.
All fresh and smoked salmon available in Australia is farmed. Farmed salmon is an attractive alternative and may well bridge the gap we need to boost our omega 3 content. There are some pros and cons to eating farmed salmon which we’ll discuss in this article.
Omega 3 content
Farmed salmon traditionally contained higher levels of omega 3 than wild salmon, even though wild salmon has a more favourable omega 3 fatty acid profile. This is likely due to the overall fat content being up to three times as high in farmed salmon. In recent years however studies have found that the omega 3 levels in farmed salmon are dropping. This Australian study for example found that since 2002 omega 3 levels have dropped 30 – 50% in farmed salmon.
This is a result of the change in their diet – farmed salmon used to be fed on pellets made form small fish like anchovies and sardines, however a reduction in supply of these fish has lead to other feeds being produced. These newer generation feeds can contain, soy, barley, algae, trimmings from seafood processing, insects and leftovers from processing almonds and pistachio nuts. There is also a genetically modified yeast that produces omega 3 that some salmon farms are using to bolster omega 3 levels.
This UK study found that farmed salmon that were fed on more vegetable oils were indeed lower in omega 3 than those fed on fish oil rich pellets. It also found that the omega 3 concentrations in the fat of wild caught salmon was higher. Even given this, the nutritional content of omega 3 per 100g was higher for farmed salmon due to the higher fat content of the fish.
Heavy metals and contaminants
Because fish can bio-accumulate toxins through the food chain it’s important to look at levels of mercury, dioxins, PCB’s and pesticides. Toxins levels correlate mostly with the feed given to the fish but also the environment they are grown in. This Norwegian study found that over a 13 year period from 1999 to 2011 contaminant levels of mercury, arsenic, dioxins, PCB’s and DDT had reduced, however pesticide levels remained steady.
In this British study, they found that there were higher heavy metal concentrations in feed than there was in the farmed salmon. Mercury showed a slight degree of bio-magnification – meaning that it could be transferred from feed to salmon. Other heavy metals like lead and cadmium did not transfer across and became less available through the fish. The study found that overall mercury levels in farmed salmon were well below safety guidelines.
In this human study participants ate 380g of farmed salmon a week for 30 weeks and then tested for mercury and POP levels. No increases were found in these toxic compounds as a result of consuming farmed salmon.
Based on the research it would seem that farmed salmon is still a great candidate to fill our omega 3 requirements. Even with the decline in omega 3 levels brought about by the increase in vegetable matter in their feed, farmed salmon is still one of the best sources of omega 3 by weight.
Because of the decline in our fish stocks we’ll need to watch this space as new fish feeds are being trialed constantly and they will determine the quality of the end product. With the increase in man made toxins and POPs studies will need to be conducted regularly to ensure that farmed salmon remains safe to eat.
Want to learn more about toxins in our food supply? Come along to our environmental toxins workshop. View our upcoming workshop timetable here.
Acne is one of the most troublesome issues in both men and women. It commonly begins in the teenage years as your hormones change, but can also persist later in life. Some people also experience on onset of acne in their adult life.
Because acne is so cosmetic, it can really bother people and lead to issues with self-confidence. This causes stress which then can further exacerbate the problem. More severe acne can also be quite uncomfortable and can lead to scarring.
What causes acne?
Acne is usually a multifaceted problem which is why it can be tricky to pin-point one cause. Most often hormones are involved – acne that begins in the teenage years is due to the fluctuations in sex hormones that occur. Other factors can also be at play, including eating the wrong type of diet, stress and digestive issues.
Acne occurrence based on location
From a naturopathic perspective, different parts of the face give clues as to the underlying cause of the breakouts. Breakouts around the mouth and chin-line are usually due to hormonal issues. Breakouts between your brows are normally liver related and the forehead are from digestive toxicity.
Can you cure acne naturally?
YES! In our experience acne can be treated very successfully. The key is to uncover all of the underlying causes – usually we find there is more than one factor. For example it is very common for people to have acne that is affected by stress, which disrupts the hormones, but is also affected by diet. If we take a holistic approach to healing the acne both externally an internally then we have an excellent chance of a successful outcome.
How do you treat acne?
There are 2 main areas of treatment that need to be covered for the best results. You need to look at topical treatment (your skin care) as well as internal treatment that will address the underlying causes.
What you put on your skin can make a huge difference to your acne. Most people that have had acne have tried everything under the sun – the issue is that most products do not help to balance and heal the skin; rather they are very stripping and encourage scarring. We stock a range of natural and organic skin care lines that are designed to heal your skin and reduce scarring. Rather than using strong antibacterial agents, we recommend cleansers that help to make the skin slightly acidic, which stops bacteria from populating. Organic facials are also a great way to facilitate healing and break up scarring in acne sufferers.
Internal treatment is individualised to suit what is going on for you. Here are some of the ways that our naturopaths may treat acne.
Stress management – In nearly all cases of acne, there is a stress component. Our naturopaths use herbal adaptogens – herbs that help your body to cope with stress better as well as nutritional support.
Hormonal support – We work on helping your body to regulate hormones as well as to detoxify excess hormones that can be causing acne. Our naturopaths can specifically work on issues like PCOS that can contribute to acne.
Detoxification – Improving your detoxification pathways always helps with skin conditions. This includes clearing any digestive toxicity, improving your liver function so it can eliminate hormones properly and using herbal medicines that help to purify the blood.
Sebum control – For cystic acne working internally on sebum control can be very effective. Our naturopaths use specific nutrients that help to reduce the production of excess sebum as well as herbs that remove congestion in the skin to prevent blind pimples.
Digestive support – It is important to clear any constipation as this can lead to more toxins building up in the system. Our naturopaths also look at your levels of good vs. bad bacteria in the gut as this can impact your skin as well.
Most people need a combination of these approaches to fix their acne. Our naturopaths are experts in finding the underlying cause of acne and will be able to give you an idea of what might be the issue after your initial consultation.
How long does acne take to treat?
Unfortunately, acne is not a quick fix and most patients find that they need a good 6-12 months treatment to resolve it. Significant improvements can be made in the first few months though – and often within 4 weeks, we have some reduction in severity. Combining the naturopathy with our recommended skin care regime can take the severity down a notch pretty quickly.
Can acupuncture help acne?
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is another way that you can treat acne. Acne treatment from a Chinese medicine perspective is quite different to a naturopathic approach – it will depend on the type of acne, location as well as your concurrent symptoms as to what your TCM diagnosis will be. Acupuncture should still also be combined with a good topical therapy for best results.
If you’d like more information about how we can help your skin or would like to make an initial appointment, please call us on 07 3367 0337.
To gluten or not to gluten, that is the question. Gluten is the stuff that makes bread soft and chewy, that holds cakes and biscuits together. The modern diet is high in gluten – most people consuming the gluten containing grain wheat at least once a day. Bread, pasta and pastries have become staples in our diet – but are they ruining our guts?
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, kamut and barley. Perhaps once, when these grains were eaten in small amount and in their natural form, gluten was not so problematic. The issue is that we are eating more gluten than ever and wheat is far removed from what it used to be – having been cultivated and modified to contain higher levels of gluten and to be more pest resistant. Gluten-free diets seem to be all the rage right now, but is there any merit to it?
Gluten and your gut
Studies have found that gluten is bad news for our guts. One example is this study, that found that gliadin, a component of gluten, increased the production of an enzyme called zonulin. Zonulin causes the breakdown of the glue that holds the tight epithelial junctions of our intestines together. In simple terms this means that the spaces between your cells become bigger and you begin to get large molecules and even whole bacteria passing through the intestines and into your bloodstream. Termed as ‘leaky gut’ – this process means that you are more likely to get an abnormal reaction of the immune system and develop an autoimmune disease. It also means that you’ll have more inflammation in the gut, which can impair your digestion.
Gluten and inflammation in the gut
This review article summaries the research available on grain intake and inflammation. Basically, there are a lot of studies that show that the intestinal permeability or leaky gut caused by gluten intake is very pro-inflammatory and may have a role in chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease. Most people are best to eat a low gluten diet, but for those patients with any autoimmune disease, severe digestive problems or inflammatory conditions like endometriosis, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia our naturopaths recommend following a strict gluten free diet.
If you’re used to eating a lot of bread then you will need to make some changes to your diet when eliminating gluten. Gluten free bread is not a healthy option – most that are even close to bread are highly processed and have additives to make the bread light and fluffy like traditional bread. For pasta you can use wholegrain brown rice, buckwheat or quinoa pasta. Including quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat in the diet is a good way to get the benefits of fibre and protein from grains while preventing damage on your digestive system.
Need help with your diet? Make an appointment with one of our qualified nutritionists by calling 07 3367 0337 now.
Being unwell can be so frustrating, especially when you’re not exactly sure what is happening in your body. The question that everyone asks us is ‘how long will it take until I get better’? Although we can give you approximate time frames of how long you might take to heal, there is no way to know for sure because everyone is unique – and each person has their own set of circumstances that can affect their healing time.
Some of the things that can affect how quickly you heal from a certain ailment include:
- Your genetics
- If you’re eating the right diet
- How stressed you are
- If you’re getting enough sleep
- How long you have had the illness for
- What your lifestyle is like – exercise, relaxation, self care
- How well you can stick to your treatment plan
You need to look back to see how far you have come.
At the beginning of treatment, changes are often more noticeable – you can feel remarkably different in the first weeks and really feel the shift. As time goes on though, changes are often slower and can be less noticeable. Quite commonly we get patients in their 3rd or 4th month or treatment that report that they don’t really fell very different, but when you look back at where they started and compare symptoms you can clearly see that they are much better off then when they started. What can be unnoticeable to the patient can be obvious for the practitioner – that’s why it is important that the right questions are asked and the right tests are undertaken to make sure we can track your progress along the way.
You’re not called a patient for nothing!
A mentor of mine, master herbalist Kerry Bone, often says to his frustrated patients ‘you’re not called a patient for nothing’. Healing takes time and you do need to be patient as your body does its thing. A good adage is that for every year that you have had a certain condition or ailment it is going to take at least one month to correct it. If you have been bloated since you were a teen and you’re now 30 then you’ll likely need 15 months of treatment to get to the bottom of it. It is important to understand that healing takes time and persistence, and as long as you are giving your body the right combination of treatment, food and lifestyle factors then you will heal.
Some symptoms will resolve within weeks whereas others may take months or even years. It helps to remember that it took some time for your body to get into this state and it is going to take some time to unravel the damage and get it back to health.
If you have any questions about your treatment plan, please ask your naturopath, acupuncturist or case manager who will be able to talk about your individual case.
Do you dread the cold and flu season? Catching a cold is an inconvenient and uncomfortable experience – one that we’d all rather live without! Thankfully, there is a lot that you can do to help your body’s immune defence work at it’s best, which means you can prevent colds or significantly reduce their severity. This means less snot up your nose and less time off work – a win-win really.
So why do some people catch everything going around while others don’t? It comes down to the function of your immune system – your very own line of defense against cold and flu viruses. If your immune system is working well you won’t catch nearly as many colds and when you do, your body will be all over it – helping you to recover much faster.
Stress, a poor diet and bad sleep all deplete your immune system, as does smoking and alcohol intake. On the other hand, eating a diet rich in nutrients, managing your stress well and getting a great nights sleep can help your immune system to do what it needs to do.
For a healthy immune system, eat:
- A whole food diet based on vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, organic meat, fish, nuts and seeds.
- Fresh fruit and raw vegetables that are high in Vitamin C and bioflavonoids – kiwifruit, berries, citrus in season, pawpaw, pineapple, capsicum, parsley and radishes.
- High zinc foods – oysters, pepitas, sunflower seeds, ginger and organic red meat.
- Immune enhancing and antiviral foods such as garlic, onion and bee pollen (great in smoothies).
There are also many herbal medicines and nutrients that can help to replete your immune system and prevent colds and flus. Studies show that Echinacea root, when taken preventatively can reduce your risk of catching a cold significantly. Beware of over the counter Echinacea products though – they are often made from the cheaper aerial parts of the plant and even those made from the root may not have enough of the active alklyamides to have a beneficial effect.
Seeing a naturopath is the best way to ensure you’re getting good quality products that are going to work how they are meant to. As well as Echinacea our naturopaths commonly prescribe other immune and antiviral herbs along with Vitamin C and bioflavonoid complexes, zinc and other more complex immune enhancing nutrients. Our naturopaths also help to improve both stress and sleep quality, which further enhances your natural immunity (as well as making you feel great!).
Look after your body so it can look after you. Eat well, get some rest and see one of our naturopaths to help you avoid getting sick.
To make an appointment with one of our naturopathic experts, call us on 07 3367 0337 or book online here.