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


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.


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

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

Merry Christmas!


10 Tips for a Healthier Christmas

With the festive season fast approaching, we’re prone to indulge in more of the finer, and unfortunately more unhealthy things in life. Here’s our top 10 tips to try and be healthier over Christmas to avoid a sluggish January.

#1 – Make your own sauce

Christmas feasts are usually accompanied by sauces that are on the unhealthy side of the fence. They usually have additives and are high in sugar; in fact some mayonnaises have more sugar than coke! Make your own apple sauce by simmering peeled green apples in water, adding cinnamon and mashing up. Make your own gravy by adding some gluten free flour and the crusty bits off the bottom of the roasting tray with water in a pot. You can even make your own mayonnaise using healthier oils like rice bran oil or cold pressed grapeseed oil.

#2 – Lay off the soft drinks

Try to keep soft drinks off the shopping list, instead opting for mineral or soda water with some sliced fresh fruit in it. You could also make an iced tea by steeping green or black tea bags in cold water overnight, then adding some xylitol or honey to sweeten and some fresh fruit to flavor it.

#3 – Buy organic or free range meat

Buying organic meat is one way to avoid added hormones and antibiotics that can come as an added extra with your meat. Pork and chicken in particular are raised in factory farms with no access to move around and no natural light. Not only is this inhumane, it also means that the meat has a poor fatty acid profile and is not great for your health. If you can’t afford organic, then go free range and grass fed.

#4 – Use smaller plates and bowls

Most of us are bound to go back for a second helping at the Christmas table, but did you know that we eat with our eyes and not with our stomachs? Researchers have shown that we put way more food on a larger plate, but it doesn’t necessarily make us fuller. If you start with a smaller plate, even if you have seconds you’re likely to end up eating less, without feeling any less satisfied.

#5 – Have easy access to water

Seems simple, but often we forget to drink water as we’re celebrating. Have a dedicated water cooler sitting in prominent view with cups at the ready so you and your guests can easily stay hydrated.

#6 – Go gluten free

Keeping your meals gluten free will take the pressure off your digestive system, which is really under the pump at Christmas time. This is easily achieved by eating meats/fish/seafood and salads or veggies with your homemade sauces. Buy wholegrain rice crackers for dips and opt for a bread-free breakfast – buckwheat pancakes would be a great choice.

#7 – Make a sugar-free Christmas cake

If you’re handy in the kitchen you might want to consider making some desserts with sugar substitutes like xylitol. You can try this easy recipe for a delicious gluten-free Christmas cake. Learn how to use sugar substitutes here.

#8 – Move your body

Commit to exercising over the Christmas period to help your body deal with any excess calories that is thrown at it. Even committing to walk for 20 minutes each day will help to prevent sluggishness and keep your body moving.

#9 – Drink apple cider vinegar

Having a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in some water before meals will help to stimulate the release of stomach acid and digestive enzymes to help you break down your food. This is particularly useful on Christmas day when we can often be eating two very large meals.

#10 – Drink wisely

You may enjoy a tipple during the holidays, which can leave you feeling less than fresh come January. Opt for drinks like vodka, fresh lime and soda or red wine, rather than beer or mixed drinks. If you are having beer, make it preservative free and go for an organic or low preservative wine. Make the effort to drink one glass of water between each drink and your body will thank you!

 So, are you ready to celebrate? Here’s to a fabulous festive season and fabulous health at the same time!

January is the perfect time for a detox! Book an appointment with one of our naturopathic experts in January to help you feel great after Christmas. Call us on 07 3367 0337 now!