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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.

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

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.

 

 

 

7 Tips To Love Your Liver

Your liver cops a beating. It has the huge job of processing nearly every toxin, metabolite, hormone and chemical mediator in your body. The liver is a bit like the checkout in the supermarket – every item needs to be scanned through it before it leaves your body.

We live in a world where we are constantly exposed to toxins in the form of pesticides, alcohol, processed foods, excess coffee, toxins in cleaning products and skin care and even the air we breathe. As these toxins accumulate in the body, your liver is working overtime to excrete them, and if they are coming faster than your liver can handle them, they will stay in your body.

Most people’s livers need a little loving to help them function at their peak. Here are my top 7 tips for loving your liver.

#1 – Have some lemon

Lemons and other sour foods help to stimulate the release of bile from the liver, helping them to detoxify. Try having lemon juice in water on rising, lemon juice on your salads and a slice of lemon in your water bottle.

#2 – Limit the caffeine

Excess coffee consumption puts a strain on the liver and uses up its detoxifying capacity that would otherwise be spent elsewhere. Keep coffee to 1-2 cups a day (that’s standard shots) and have at least one coffee-free day per week to give your body a rest.

#3 – Avoid binge drinking

Binge drinking really pushes your liver to its limits, so try not to get super intoxicated

#4 – Stay hydrated

Keeping your water intake up will help you liver do its job properly. If you are drinking alcohol, alternate with a glass of water in between each drink.

#5 – Beet it

Beetroot has been found to have a protective effect on the liver in several studies. Juice it, grate it up and put in salads or roast it.

#6 – Eat your greens

Green leafy veggies such as kale, spinach, silverbeet and rocket help your liver to detoxify more effectively.

#7 – Eat bitter foods

Bitter foods such as watercress, rocket and chard help to stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder, which helps to release toxins.

Your really does help to look after you – so make sure you use these tips to give it some lovin’!

love your liver

Want to look a little deeper? Our naturopaths are experts in liver detoxification and can develop a program to get your liver back to functioning at it’s best. Call us on 07 3367 0337 to make an appointment.