Junk food, obesity and moods

Did you know that obesity now kills more people than smoking? Alarming new research shows that non-communicable disease – ie those that cannot be transmitted from person to person, account for the largest cause of early mortality and are predicted to cost the global community more than thirty trillion US dollars over the next fifteen years.

This is obviously a big issue. When it was finally accepted that smoking was killing us, the government banned to endorsement and advertisement of these products. Similarly, we need to work towards banning the advertisement of junk foods that are slowly killing us. Our children are exposed to intensive advertising by the major junk food outlets from a young age, and are preconditioned to see these foods as being cool or hip to eat.

Research is now also showing that what we eat impacts not only on our waistline, but on our moods as well. Studies in the area are now consistently finding that those that eat junk foods like chocolate, baked goods, pizza and deep fried food are more likely to have depression and anxiety, and that those that eat a diet consisting of primarily fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. This may seem obvious but a dietary link to these conditions has been denied by the medical community for years. This research shows that by modifying our diets and our children’s diets we are able to prevent mental health issues from arising.

Your food choices could affect your moods as well as your waistline.

From a biochemical perspective this makes sense. To keep balance of your neurotransmitters (mood hormones), your body requires certain proteins, vitamins and minerals that are used as building blocks and cofactors for them to work properly. A diet that is higher in whole foods is more nutrient dense, providing more of the building blocks required for proper neurotransmitter function, and therefore more stable moods.

From research we know that eating the following foods can help to prevent or reduce the severity of mood disorders:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lean meat
  • Fish

And to prevent depression and anxiety, you’ll want to avoid the following foods:

  • High sugar foods – chocolate, lollies, cakes, biscuits
  • Deep fried foods
  • Simple carbohydrates like white bread
  • Pastries, cakes and biscuits

The wrong dietary balance can leave you devoid of essential nutrients and prone to blood sugar fluctuations, which anyone that gets ‘hangry’ would agree can affect your moods even more. If you’re not sure what to eat, book an appointment with one of our naturopaths or nutritionists, or come to a nutritional coaching workshop in the clinic.

 

Is bread for you?

Bread is the staple of the west. We have toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and sometimes even bread with dinner. But is all this bread doing us any good?

There are several problems with eating too much bread. This first is linked to wheat – a grain that is high in gluten and reactive to a lot of people. Wheat has become problematic for us because it is far too refined and we eat far too much of it. 99.9% of bread consumed is made from flour that is highly refined and bleached, which then makes it low in nutrition. Even wholemeal bread is made from white flour with bran added back in, so although a little healthier than white bread it does not do us much good.

Then comes the issue of the fast rise loaf of bread. Commercial bakeries use lots of yeast that causes the bread to rise in under 30 minutes. As well as the fact that yeasts can disrupt our digestive systems and lead to fungal overgrowths, rising a loaf of bread in this fashion does not allow the proteins to be broken down. Traditionally bread was risen over 6-12 + hours using a sourdough method. In naturally fermented sourdough bread the proteins have begun to be digested and nutrients are released so you can better utilize them.

Sourdough Bread

Traditional sourdough bread

Some people may cope with small amounts of organic, wholegrain wheat sourdough bread, although better alternatives are breads that are made with spelt, kamut (khorasan) or rye flours. Beware of the ‘sourdough’ bread you find at the supermarket and regular bakeries – they are most likely yeasted bread with a little bit of culture or sour flavouring added in.

If you’re very sensitive you may need to avoid gluten, which even spelt, kamut and rye contains. I do not recommend eating gluten free bread however as it is highly refined and usually has lots of additives to make it taste like ‘real’ bread. Unfortunately if you are gluten sensitive then eliminating bread is the best way to go.

If bread is something that you love, eat it, but use the following rules:

  • Only eat organic, traditionally leavened sourdough bread
  • Eat bread a maximum of once per day, 5 days a week
  • Buy bread that is made with wholegrain flour
  • Opt for spelt, kamut or rye breads over wheat
  • If you have digestive issues then see a naturopath to check if bread is right for you.

Katherine Maslen

Principal Naturopath
Bachelor of Naturopathy

Are you getting enough iodine?

Australia is one of the most iodine deficient nations in the developed world. A combination of intensive farming which strips the natural iodine from the soil and a low intake of iodine containing foods has caused widespread deficiency.

Iodine is an important mineral that your body cannot do without. It is essential for the production of your thyroid hormones – T3 and T4. When iodine is depleted, your body cannot make enough thyroid hormones and as a result your thyroid can become underactive (hypothyroidism). The thyroid gland regulates nearly every body process, so when it is underactive it leads to multiple problems. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, depression, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, hair loss and foggy headedness. Because the thyroid regulates body temperature, you can also feel the cold more when your thyroid function is low.

Outside of the thyroid, iodine is important for brain development and has been linked with intelligence levels. In particular, children of mothers who are iodine deficient during pregnancy and children who are deficient in their early years have been found to have a lower IQ than those with adequate iodine levels. Iodine is therefore essential to be included in the diet or supplemented in pregnant women and young children.

Iodine also has a role in breast health. Studies have found that lower intakes of iodine have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Other organs that have a high need for iodine are your skin, sweat glands (an inability to sweat can be due to iodine deficiency), thymus, pancreas and stomach.

Which foods contain iodine?

Iodine is normally present in trace amounts in many foods, however as touched on above the depletion of Australian soil of iodine means that we are not getting much from the everyday foods that we eat.

The richest sources of iodine come from the sea – seaweeds, fish, squid and shellfish. All of these sources contain good amounts of iodine, however seaweed is the standout source as it contains high levels of iodine with a host of other beneficial minerals. It is important to only source seaweed that is certified organic though, as seaweed draws in toxins from the environment and if it is collected from polluted waters then you may be getting a hefty dose of pollutants as well.

Seaweed is a rich source of iodine, but ensure you buy organic to avoid toxins.

To get adequate iodine through your diet, it is recommended you eat 3 serves of iodine rich foods a week – seaweed, fish, squid or shellfish. Smaller oily fish such as sardines are a better choice, as they will contain lower levels of contaminants like mercury. You can also get small amounts of naturally occurring iodine from Himalayan salt, which is a much better choice than iodised salt which can cause other health issues.

When should you supplement iodine?

There are times when it may be necessary to supplement iodine. If you’re allergic to seafood and don’t eat any seaweed, it is likely you’ll need to top up your iodine with a supplement. Pregnant women should see a naturopath or nutritionist to see if they require extra iodine. If you have a hypothyroid condition, iodine may be of use but check in with a naturopath before taking it, as it can be harmful if you take too much iodine in isolation when you have certain thyroid conditions, such as Hashimoto’s.

If you’re concerned about iodine deficiency, make an appointment with one of our naturopaths or nutritionists who can assess your diet and order you a urinary iodine test if needed.

Why it’s important to love your bacteria

For many years we have been taught to avoid bacteria, as ‘germs’ are the source of infection and therefore illness. While this is true to a point, the reality is far more complex than previously understood.

The human body – as we may well know- is a very complex organism. Even more complex though, are the bugs that inhabit the body. There are actually 10 times as many bacterial cells on and in a human than there are human cells!! And what is even more fascinating is that the bacterial world is like any other ecosystem, where numbers of one bacteria support the levels of another, and too many of one type, may crowd out others. If one group starts to get out of hand, it can force out another group and disrupt the balance of the colony. It is important to keep all of the members of the colony happy. Even though some bacteria do not confer a directly positive health effect, they help another type of bacteria to do their job, and so are necessary for overall health.

We are starting to learn more about how what we do in our lives affects our bacterial colonies. The foods that we eat (or don’t eat), the medications that we take, our exercise and sleep patterns can all have an effect on the types and numbers of bacteria that live in the different parts of our bodies.

fruit"

A diet high in fruits and vegetables will help keep your bacteria happy!

 

You have probably heard news of how antibiotics can reduce beneficial bacterial numbers and allow the overgrowth of less beneficial bacteria (such as in antibiotic associated thrush – a candida albicans overgrowth). Other medications can also affect the gut flora. For example, the oral contraceptive pill can alter the delicate microbial balance, leaving you – the host – with a colony that looks less than ideal.

In addition, the composition and quality of your diet will have a great impact on your gut flora. Bacteria require lots of fibre to feed on to survive – that means that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is going to help to keep your bacteria happy (what a surprise!) Remember – when you feed your body, you are feeding your flora too!

The direction of influence is not a one-way street though. The flora in our bodies can impact our health and change the way we live our lives, just in the same way that what we do can influence bacterial health. Gut flora has numerous affects on the health of its host, including the breakdown of food for absorption, the production of certain vitamins such as vitamins K and B12 and stimulating our immune system.

Furthermore, your gut flora can affect how much sex steroid hormone (such as oestrogen or testosterone) is floating around in your body and can even influence your appetite and food choices! Some studies have found that when a patient receives the flora (bacteria) from an overweight or obese person (such as in faecal transplants – yes, it’s true!), the recipient also becomes obese within a short period of time. Other studies show that bacteria have a way of ‘talking’ to our nervous systems and telling us which foods to choose and helping us to identify when we are full. Ensuring that our gut flora is in a healthy balance is essential to good health.

If you are not sure if your current diet supports healthy gut flora, or whether your flora are working with, or against you, an appointment with one of our naturopaths will help get your gut back on track and keep your bugs happy and healthy.

Gemma Martin – Naturopath
Bachelor of Naturopathy

Which juicer is best?

Fresh juices introduce a very high yield of nutrients and phytochemicals and they come with their own enzymes for fast assimilation. They also assist those with an impaired digestion where nutrient absorption from whole foods is impaired. Fresh juices can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream so are a fast way to deliver nutrient dense energy. Fresh juice is far superior to store bought juice, which is why having a juicer is beneficial.

Fresh juices contain enzymes that are beneficial for digestion. Juices that are not made fresh, which are bottled or canned will not oxidise.  This is because the juice has been heated to deactivate all the enzymes by a process called pasteurisation. Juicing allows you to enjoy a wide variety of vegetables that you may not enjoy eating whole and also a good way to consume the recommended daily serving of vegetables.

There is not one perfect juicer for everyone because fruits and vegetables have vastly different properties.  The juicing method that is effective for one may not work while juicing the other.   Fruits, have soft cell walls, and therefore require a gentle extraction method. Apples, pears, watermelon, rock melon and pineapple are some of the fruits that can be juiced with the peels intact.  Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, mandarines, lemons) have a bitter outer rind, and juicing them whole would be too bitter to drink and also contains indigestible chemicals. You can grate away the outer rind (coloured part) while leaving the pith (white part).

Vegetables have fibrous or tougher cell walls that requiring more mechanical juicing action than fruit.  Due to their low acid content, it is recommended that vegetable juices be consumed within 15 minutes of their preparation. It has been demonstrated that enzyme activity in juice 30 minutes old is one-half that of freshly made juice. When apple or carrot juice turns brown, it has oxidised.  Ideally juices are made from raw organic fruits and vegetables.

General factors to consider when looking for a juicer

Purpose: What will you be using the juicer for? Mostly fruit, mostly vegetables, grasses and leafy greens, or everything?

RMP rating: A low RMP is considered preferable. Juicers with higher RPM ratings create heat and impact shock, destroying enzyme and nutrient content in the juice.

Powerful motor: A low-powered motor will vibrate, make noise, sometimes overheat, and eventually burn out.

Quiet operation: Some juicers can be very loud depending on the RPM and motor quality.

A range of juicing abilities: It is important to select a juicer that will process the widest range of health-promoting herbs, plants, vegetables and fruits, or is specific for your individual requirements.

Parts: What materials are the components made from? Can they be cleaned in a dishwasher?

Health benefits: Enzyme and nutritional content, shelf life, yield.

Easy to operate: Not all juicers are the same when it comes to ease of operation and cleaning. High RPM juicers need more frequent juicing and cleaning sessions are required because their juice rapidly loses nutritional value and has to be consumed immediately.

Additional benefits to consider: What else can it do? Does it have useful accessories and attachments included? Can it make other things like pasta, nut butters, desserts, baby food etc.? Does it come with a warranty?

Type 1: Twin Gear

These juicers have two gears that press the juice out of the produce. The screws (also known as augers) turn at 90-110 rpm. The produce is pushed into the two gears, which first shreds, and then squeezes the produce. These are best for juicing vegetables since these machines rely on the fibrous cell wall to push the pulp through the machine and they will also juice wheatgrass. These machines require some pressure to feed the produce into the machine. Some brands are also able to homogenise. This is important if you wish to make things like raw apple sauce, fruit sorbets, nut butters, or baby food.

 

Twin Gear Juicer

Twin Gear Juicer

 

Pros

  • Well-suited to juicing leafy greens, grasses, sprouts and herbs
  • Higher juice yield
  • Juice lasts longer with enzyme integrity keeping for up to 72 hours
  • Lower speeds means less heat is generated, preserving more nutrients and enzymes
  • Minimal juice separation and foaming
  • Some models offer other food processing functions, such as being able to make nut milk, nut butter, sorbet, pasta and ice cream
  • Pressing action is quiet.
  • Cold pressed juicers extract 35% more juice out of produce

Cons

  • Higher initial cost
  • Longer food preparation, as smaller food pieces are required for their narrow chutes
  • Slightly higher pulp in juice

Type 2: Masticating (single gear)

It operates at lower speed via a masticating or cold press method which doesn’t disrupt cellular structure. This slowness preserves enzymes and nutrients and reduces oxidation. Juice yield is higher than with centrifugal and makes drier expelled pulp.

In contrast to the rough extraction and high speeds of centrifugal juicers, cold press juicers operate at lower speeds and gently compress fruit and vegetables to squeeze out their juice. While more costly, their slower and more thorough extraction rates produce a higher-quality juice, and higher yield. Cold pressed juicers operate at lower speeds (usually around 70-80 rpm), keeping heat generation to a minimum. This produces a better tasting juice with minimal foam and separation and also means that the beneficial enzymes and nutrients are retained.

 

Masticating Juicer

Masticating Juicer

 

Pros

  • Well-suited to juicing leafy greens, grasses, sprouts and herbs
  • Higher juice yield
  • Juice lasts longer with enzyme integrity keeping for up to 72 hours
  • Lower speeds means less heat is generated, preserving more nutrients and enzymes
  • Minimal juice separation and foaming
  • Some models offer other food processing functions, such as being able to make nut milk, nut butter, sorbet, pasta and ice cream
  • Pressing action is quiet.
  • Cold pressed juicers extract 35% more juice

Cons

  • Higher initial cost
  • Longer food preparation, as smaller food pieces are required for their narrow chutes
  • Slightly higher pulp in juice

Type 3: Centrifugal

Centrifugal juicers are commonly available and are the cheapest type to purchase. These machines initially extract juice by pulverising fruit and vegetables against a round cutting blade that spins very quickly against a metal strainer. The centrifugal force generated by the spinning motion of the cutting surface separates the juice from the pulp. It uses a grater or shredder disc and a strainer basket with straight sides to hold the pulp in the machine.  The shredder disk is at the bottom of the basket, which revolves at a high speed (3600 rpm). Produce is put into the top of the machine, and it pressed through a chute, hits the spinning shredder disc, while the produce is being shred, juice is released.  The basket spins at a high speed and force pushes the juice through the strainer basket and then out of the front of the machine while the pulp stays inside. This style of juicer can make 500ml before the juicer must be stopped, and the pulp must be removed before further juicing can take place.  This is not a continuous juicing appliance. This juicer is good for juicing most fruits and vegetables.

 

Centrifugal Juicer

Centrifugal Juicer

 

Pros

  • Fast juicing time
  • Cheaper to purchase
  • Easy to use
  • Reduces food preparation time as many accept larger fruit and vegetable pieces

Cons

  • Not well-suited to juicing leafy greens, grasses, sprouts and herbs
  • Yields less juice (produces a wet pulp)
  • Reduced juice quality due to fast spinning blades producing heat that destroy beneficial enzymes
  • Higher juice separation and foaming
  • Noisy because of the grinding and cutting action

Additional Information

In between juicing you can run some water through the juicer to rinse it. It is recommended that you rinse and clean your juicer as soon as you’ve finished using it. When you get into a routine of cleaning your juicer it’s quite easy to keep clean and ready to use.

Alkaline forming fruits and vegetables should form the largest part of your juicing produce. Alkaline fruits are: lemon, lime, avocado, tomato, grapefruit, and rhubarb. Watermelon is neutral. All other fruits are acid forming.

Alkaline vegetables are: asparagus, artichokes, cabbage, lettuce, onion, cauliflower, radish, swede, peas, zucchini, red cabbage, leeks, watercress, spinach, turnip, chives, carrot, green beans, beetroot, garlic, celery, grasses (wheat, straw, barley, kamut etc.), cucumber, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, sprouts (soy, alfalfa, mung bean, wheat, little radish, chickpea, broccoli etc.).

After regularly consuming freshly pressed vegetable juices, which are highly alkalising, you will experience improved energy levels, digestion and mental clarity, clearer skin, and an overall sense of wellbeing.

Blending and Juicing

The difference between juicing and blending is a juicer extracts juice without the pulp, where a blender blends everything into a purée. Pulp is the fibrous content of the produce which slows down digestion time and is beneficial for the colon microbiota as this feeds the good bacteria which in turn benefits your immune system. Slower digestion time reduces the glycemic index or GI and this is going to be beneficial for diabetic or pre-diabetic conditions.

The fibre or pulp content reduces nutrient absorption however, and requires enzymes to digest it which in turn consumes more energy. Blended foods will also include chemical pesticides unless organic food is sourced. For foods not able to be organically sourced it is best to peel them (particularly waxed fruit or veggies). For root vegetables (e.g. carrots, beetroot) trim the above ground ends and they can be cleansed by blanching prior to juicing (blanching= dropped into boiling water for a minute or so). Blenders use high speed spinning that causes oxidation and can destroy enzymes. They are not the best for high iron content foods that oxidize quickly. Lemon can be added to reduce this but you will need to consider taste.

Juicing produces very high nutrient availability and this promotes healing but may also give healing crisis during juicing detoxes. Detoxification also known as ‘healing crisis’ may be a side effect of juicing for people new to juicing. While for some people this sign of impending good health is wonderful, others may not have the time needed to allow for this process. The process is where old symptoms or patterns of the past may arise transiently or you may experience new symptoms. As healing happens from the inside out, from the top down and from major to minor organs/systems or in reverse order of symptom pattern, you can observe the transition.

To limit or reduce the experience of a healing crisis (for the time challenged) smaller measures are taken over a longer time. You may consider combining your juices into a blender to get benefits of both.

Other important things to remember are to include plenty of water when juicing. Water helps to cleanse and remove wastes from our system. Lemon will loosen and bring out mucus and is good for liver cleansing. Lemon is not acidic to the body, it is alkaline.

Fasting

You may want to consider a juice fast. Fasting causes the liver to convert glycogen stores to glucose and energy. Body fat can be used to ATP but it cannot generate or reform glucose which is needed to supply the brain and central nervous system. Proteins are broken down and used to produce this glucose. In order to prevent protein catabolism, juicing can supply the glucose needed instead. With juice fasting there is less ketosis (byproducts of fat metabolism) which can prevent toxic build up during the fast.

When NOT to fast: pregnant, nursing, underweight, fatigue, low immunity, low blood pressure, colder weather, nutritionally deficient.

Raw foods are very yin and so an excess of this is not recommended for people with excess yin conditions. Ensure in this case to include plenty of cooked warming foods in the diet to balance out the raw food intake. You may use your blender to make purée soups for example.

Certain types of fruits and vegetables can also assist with particular health conditions or be used for target specific organ cleansing.

Fruit juices:

Apple – liver, intestines

Black cherry- colon, menstrual problems, gout

Citrus – cardiovascular disease, obesity, haemorrhoids, varicose veins

Grape – colon, anaemia

Lemon – liver, gall bladder, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, colds

Paw paw – stomach, indigestion, haemorrhoids, colitis

Pear – gall bladder

Pineapple- allergies, arthritis, inflammation, oedema, haemorrhoids

Watermelon – kidneys, oedema

Vegetable juices:

Beetroot – blood, liver, menstrual problems, arthritis

Beetroot greens – gall bladder, liver, osteoporosis

Cabbage – colitis, ulcers

Carrot s- eyes, arthritis, osteoporosis

Celery – kidneys, diabetes, osteoporosis

Comfrey – intestines, hypertension, osteoporosis

Cucumber – oedema, diabetes

Garlic – allergies, colds, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high fats/high cholesterol, diabetes

Jerusalem artichokes – diabetes

Leafy greens – cardiovascular disease, skin, eczema, digestive problems, obesity, breath

Parsley – kidneys, oedema, arthritis

Potatoes – intestines, ulcer

Radish – liver, high cholesterol, obesity

Spinach – anaemia, eczema

Watercress – anaemia, liver intestines, breath

For weight loss include:

More of: grapefruit, lemon, cucumber, greens, parsley, spinach

Less of: apples, grapes, oranges, carrots

 

Makensi Caldwell – Certified Bodytalk & Holographics Practitioner, Bachelor of Nutritional Medicine

Cleansing Summer Salad for Post-Holiday Overindulgence

This is a modified version of a recipe that my sister and I created.

If you’ve let yourself go a little too loosely over the Christmas feasting period, and are keen to break free of that sluggish bog before the New Year has taken over, this is the recipe for you.

The Chinese medicine pathology is labelled as food accumulation in the middle burner, and more than likely, if the break was accompanied with excessive alcohol consumption, damp-heat in the stomach and large intestine.

Based on what we know about the enteric nervous system and the chemistry of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), eating to excess will generally leave you with a feeling of slackness. It can also cause symptoms such as reflux, indigestion or heart burn, nausea, bloating and sensitivity to certain foods. Excessive food consumption can also give you a generalised feeling of inflammation such as aches and pains, loose stools, pain or burning on passing, phlegm or cold and flu symptoms. All of these drawbacks are exacerbated by drinking large amounts of alcohol and can even feel similar to a week-long hangover.

 

Eating to excess will generally leave you with a feeling of slackness.

 

This recipe helps to re-establish the gut health and move the accumulated gunk through to the other end. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) terms, we are looking to alleviate this accumulation, clear the heat (inflammation), and moisten and nourish the Middle Burner (GIT).

Ingredients (roughly 6 servings)

2 cucumbers

1 large bunch of coriander

1 or 2 fresh chilies

1 small handful of sesame or sunflower seeds

2 cups sprouted lentils or sprouted mung beans

Dressing

1 nub of fresh ginger

As much garlic as you like

Juice of 1 or 2 limes depending on taste

2 tbsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari

1 teaspoon of raw sugar or coconut sugar

(This recipe is great with boiled quinoa as a protein addition if you are so inclined)

How to sprout lentils and other beans 

  1. Buy whole green lentils or mung beans, rinse them and let them soak in a large jar or container for 12 hours or maybe a little longer for mung beans. (Make sure you leave a little excess room in the jar because they expand to about double the original volume).
  2. Drain the water and cover with a tea towel or breathable membrane to keep the air flowing and the bugs out.
  3. Repeat the rinse and drain about 3 times per day to keep them moist and your lentils should be well and truly sprouted by day three. They are edible at any stage after the soak but I prefer to leave them to get a nice long sprout.

Cleansing Summer Salad

Cut cucumbers into small cubes, then finely chop coriander and chilies. Add to a large salad bowl together with the sesame seeds and sprouted lentils.

Salad Dressing

Finely chop or blend the ginger and garlic and place into a small bowl or jar. Add the juice of a lime, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar to the ginger and garlic, and stir or shake.

Note:

The longer that you let this dressing sit before adding it to the salad, the garlic and ginger will lose its spice so depending on how you like it, you could let it soak for a day or just eat it fresh. Adding the chilies to the dressing rather than to the salad will have a similar effect, so if you like it mild let it soak!

Hugh Hayward – Chinese Medicine Doctor (CMD), Bachelor of Health Science, Diploma An Mo Tui Na Massage

Why am I so tired?

We all get tired from time to time, but for many people low energy is a daily occurrence. Low energy is anything less than feeling that you have enough energy to do all of the things you want to do. If your energy levels are good you won’t have slumps of energy or periods throughout the day where your energy wanes.

So why do we get tired? The answer is not complicated, but can be multifaceted. Let’s explore the most common reasons for fatigue.

Not getting enough sleep

This one is a bit of a no brainer – if you don’t sleep enough your energy will be low. Many people stay up too late and wake up too early, getting far less than their 8 hours a night on a regular basis. Not many people can function on less than 7 hours a night, with most of us needing 8 to fully replenish and restore our bodies.

Then there is the problem with not being able to get to sleep or stay asleep, which eats into your sleep hours. This is linked with the next cause of fatigue.

Adrenal depletion

Your adrenals are little crescent shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys. It is their job to release cortisol, a hormone that helps your body deal with stress and keep you energized during the day. When you have high levels of stress, or even low levels of unrelenting stress, your adrenal glands become depleted which leads to tiredness. The 3pm slump is a classic sign of adrenal depletion.

The other effect of your adrenals working overtime is they can start producing cortisol when they are not meant to – at night when you’re meant to be asleep. High cortisol may stop you from being able to fall asleep and can also wake you up during the night. This can turn into a vicious cycle where your adrenals are keeping you awake so you can’t sleep, which further depletes your adrenals and so forth. If a holiday to the Bahamas isn’t an option, a trip to a naturopath or acupuncturist will help to break this cycle and get you sleeping properly again.

Fatigue and sleep deprivation can become a chronic cycle that needs to be corrected to break out of it.

Nutrient deficiencies

To make energy within your cells, you require many nutrients, but the B group vitamins, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10 are the most important. A deficiency in B vitamins can show up as fatigue, mood issues and sleep problems. A deficiency in magnesium can cause symptoms like muscle cramps, nervousness, irritability and anxiety. Magnesium is used up more rapidly with stress so is commonly deficient if your stress is high. Coenzyme Q10 is needed in the citric acid cycle (how your cells produce energy) but also helps to keep your blood oxygenated which helps boost energy reserves. Those that are taking statin drugs (cholesterol lowering drugs) will be deficient in CoQ10 as these drugs greatly reduce the production of this important nutrient in the body.

Iron deficiency can also lead to fatigue as it stops your red blood cells from being able to carry oxygen around the body. Signs of iron deficiency are fatigue, feeling dizzy or light headed, losing your breath easily when walking up hills of stairs and bruising easily. To get assessed for nutrient deficiencies, see a naturopath or nutritionist.

Other causes of fatigue

Nine times out of ten correcting the above causes will alleviate fatigue, but sometimes there can be other issues that play a role. Some people suffer from post-viral or post-bacterial fatigue, where the initial infection has cleared up but the body has not recovered. Hormonal imbalance can play a role – low testosterone can cause fatigue in both men and women. Allergies are another cause of fatigue, often accompanied by a feeling of tiredness around the eyes, or heaviness behind the eyes.

Fatigue is something that we treat every single day at the clinic. It is important to get on top of fatigue, as the more energized you are the more likely you are able to look after yourself. When we’re tired we tend to buy more takeaway food and eat more convenience foods, which in turn can make you feel even more exhausted.

You don’t have to be tired anymore, call us on 07 3367 0337 and make an appointment with an acupuncturist or naturopath and start feeling better.

Why you should be going nuts over nuts

Are you nuts? Well maybe we’re all a little nuts sometimes, but do you eat them? If you answered yes then read about the wondrous things they are doing for your body below. If you answered no, we think that you’ll change your mind by the end of this article.

So why should you be going nuts over nuts? Well, for starters, they are one of the best sources of minerals that you can include in your diet. Besides dairy, nuts are one of the highest sources of calcium, which we all know is essential for keeping our bones strong as well as helping with many other body processes. They also contain good levels of magnesium, a mineral that we need for over 300 reactions in the body. Without enough magnesium we can feel more stressed, fatigued, get muscle cramps and crave more sugar.

In addition to calcium and magnesium, nuts contain varying levels of other minerals important to health. Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium, which supports thyroid function and is essential for breast cancer prevention. Cashews and pine nuts are high in iron, which we need to carry oxygen around our bodies.

Brazil nuts are nature’s richest source of the antioxidant mineral selenium.

Nuts are also an excellent source of essential fatty acids. They contain beneficial omega 6 and 9 fats, and walnuts in particular are a great source of omega 3. These good fats are essential from everything to mood balance, hormonal function and brain health. To get the benefit of these fats, nuts need to be consumed raw and untoasted so the oils retain their properties.

To top off their excellent nutritional profile, nuts also boast good levels of both protein and fibre. Eating a small serving of nuts alongside a serve of fruit is a great way to reduce the effect of fruit on blood sugar levels.

If you’re not eating nuts yet, there are many ways that you can include them in your diet. They are the perfect snack on the run and a great thing to keep in your office drawer for when you’re feeling peckish. You can also add nuts to salads and vegetable dishes to give them extra flavor and nutrition. Presoaking nuts and adding them to smoothies is another great way to include them in your diet.

So how many nuts can you have? We recommend having 1-2 small handfuls each day, always raw. Nuts can be difficult to digest, so make sure that you chew them very well or activate them if your digestive system is sluggish.

Cleanse into the New Year

As we say goodbye to another year and another festive period of overindulgence, it is now time to look at how we can cleanse our bodies and help our cells to function as effectively as they can. Most people have some goal that they aim to achieve in the year to come, with health and wellness high up on the agenda. January is traditionally detox month at Brisbane Natural Health as we try to help people get back on track and give them a great start to the New Year.

Cleansing is something that we all need. We should be cleansing our bodies on a day-to-day basis, as well as having periods where we intensify the process to rid our bodies of unwanted toxins, excess weight and anything else that can make us sluggish. As well as cleansing your physical body, it is important to consider cleansing yourself of any unwanted emotions that no longer serve you. Perhaps you’ve had a hard year, with lots of challenges. Or you’ve been feeling frustrated and negative about your situation. Part of cleansing involves identifying and detoxifying these emotions so that you can get back on track.

It’s important to consider toxic emotions, as well as environmental toxins.

You body detoxifies in every single cell, every single minute of the day. To assist the process, it helps to avoid processed foods, sugar, trans fats, factory farmed meat, excessive coffee and alcohol. On the other side, eating loads of fresh vegetables, green leafy veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds and gluten free whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, will help your body to detoxify. You also want to think about any environmental toxins that can place an extra strain on your body. Avoiding phthalates (cosmetics and plastic), BPA (plastic and canned food), artificial food additives, preservatives and non-organic produce can help aid your body’s ability to detoxify.

To address the emotional side of cleansing, you can do simple things like journaling, daily gratitude rituals, meditation or other relaxation tools. To go a little deeper, you could consider a session with a hypnotherapist or energetic healer to release any harmful emotions from the subconscious so that you can embrace the New Year with added vigour.

There are many ways to cleanse your body and mind; try several to find out what works best for you. A good indication of success is that you should end a detoxification program with renewed energy, glowing skin and a happy more positive frame of mind.

Our team can help you with detoxification in several ways. Our naturopaths can design you a tailor made program based on your individual needs. You can book a session with our hypnotherapist or energetic healer to work on the emotional side of cleansing. We also offer a range of natural beauty services and products so you can look your best without the use of harsh chemicals while detoxifying.

Call our team on 07 3367 0337 – we’d love to help.

 

 

 

How to stay healthy over Christmas (video)

Transcript: How to stay healthy over the Christmas period

In this video I’m going to talk about how to stay healthy over the Christmas period.

Hi, I’m Katherine Maslen, principal naturopath and founder of Brisbane Natural Health. In this video I wanted to give you some little tips to take away with you so over the Christmas period that you can kind of ride through it with a little less damage.

So we all know it’s Christmas time, we are eating lots of food, we having some drinks with friends but what often happens is come January we are feeling terrible, this is where we get a rush of clients coming in looking at detoxes and trying to get back on track. There are a few little things that you can do throughout that Christmas period to make sure that you ride through it a little bit more smoothly kind of coming into January with a little bit of energy rather than feeling really sluggish.

So the first thing to look at is food and there are two ways of looking at it. We are eating too much food but also eating the wrong types of food. So we’re going to eat more Christmas, it’s just kind of given, we’re going to dinners, we’re doing a lot of stuff but remember that when you overeat, your body gets really sluggish and has a really hard time digesting that.

So what I recommend is when you are eating just try to be mindful of it. You might use a smaller plate or not your plate up so much of the first time. If you are going back for seconds I’d recommend just chilling for five or 10 minutes. So if you wait 10 minutes after you eat you would actually start to feel more full and you would be more inclined to eat less whereas if you eat and eat and eat and eat all of a sudden it’s like whoa, I am way too full.

Eating until you are about 70% full is a really good rule to make sure that you would don’t over eat and gorge around that time. The other thing to have a look at is the type of food. So traditional Christmas dinners as relatively healthy. You’ve got roasted meats, you’ve got vegetables, salads, it’s quite healthy it’s just the little extra things you want to avoid that can sometimes cause some problems.

What we do around Christmas time is we actually make our own applesauce. We make our own gravies to make sure we are not having this stuff in the jar that is full of preservatives and colorings and so forth. It’s relatively easy to do so for instance with applesauce all you need to do is peel some or core some apples, simmer them in some water until they are soft and then match them up, really easy. The other thing that you want to have a look at is making sure that you are using meat instead of free range organic if possible to avoid a toxins. But particularly if you’re looking at Christmas ham, really try and source one that is free range and nitrate free.

Ham isn’t free range, it is a really poor fat balance, it is not really good for you. But if you are having ham that is full of nitrates it is what keeps the meat pink. It’s actually a known carcinogen like it’s not very good for you at all, it is quite allergenic particularly for people who do have any allergies I hay fever and that type of thing. So if you want to get a good free range ham that’s actually quite a healthy thing to do, really lovely to have as part of your Christmas spread.

Now the other thing to look at is the sweet stuff and the desserts because there is a lot of them around of course. My tip is to be a little bit prepared and actually cook or grab some things that are on the healthier side so that way you’ve got some treats there but they are not on the worst side of things. You might eat a little bit of bad stuff but say for instance if you have your own gluten-free, sugar-free Christmas cake which I will put a link to in the bottom of these video notes, it means that you’re going to be eating some of the cake and it is beautiful but there is no gluten or sugar in it, it’s going to be a lot better for you.

Making a nice big beautiful fruit salad to have with your dessert spread is another way to do that. You can make your own cashew yogurt using a little bit of honey and cashews in a blender which is beautiful. All of these little things that you can do that is a bit of pre-prep that will help you to just get everything on track so that you do get some healthy foods to eat over Christmas.

Now the other thing briefly we want to have a look at is drinking alcohol. We all like to have a little bit of a drink here or there so what we want to make sure if you are drinking alcohol over Christmas is that it’s the right type. My preferred forms of alcohol are vodka or gin with fresh lime and soda just because they are quite pure; the soda water that you are having in there or mineral water, is going to be really good for hydrating. It’s going to kind of water down that alcohol.

The other side of it is you could have wine and preferably red wine because red wine is really high in resveratrol which is a really great antioxidant which is going to help you out.

So in trying to curb alcohol intake, a really good trick is actually alternate a glass of alcohol with a glass of water. What that means is that not only are you keeping hydrated but as you are having that water, you are giving your body a chance to process that alcohol and get rid of it out of your system so you are not constantly topping up which is where we really get intoxicated and cause problems. We also want to make sure that we are eating lots of good foods, keeping really hydrated, keeping our electrolytes up. So if you are planning to have a few drinks with friends, sometimes it’s good to have a little bit of coconut water before you go to bed or have it ready for the morning because that will rehydrate you as well.

So look after yourself this silly season. Just do what you can, have a great time but if you could just implement some of these little tricks along the way then hopefully will come in the January and when you turn up at our door there won’t be so much sluggishness and you will be feeling a little bit better.

I am Katherine Maslen, founder of Brisbane natural health. Thanks for joining us. If you have any questions at all or need any help with anything feel free to call us on 07-3367-0337 or email info@Brisbanenaturalhealth.com.au.

Merry Christmas!