Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Food, Lifestyle The Canberra Naturopath - Phone 0435 049 023

YOUR GUT - THE CENTRE OF YOUR UNIVERSE

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YOUR GUT IS THE CENTRE OF YOUR UNIVERSE

Your gut has a mammoth job!

Your Gut is the centre of your universe. Your Gut extends from your mouth right through your body to the point of waste elimination.

It must break down and sort through all that you ingest. Remove all that which is not required including toxins and move on to absorb nutrients that we do need, as well as be the barrier protecting us from armies of pathogens - viruses, bacteria, parasites.

Digestive Diseases: a Sign of Imbalance

Your gut is a large, complex and finely balanced system that keeps you well. No matter what you throw at it, your gut gets on with the job. Unfortunately, a lot of the time we take our gut for granted and don’t appreciate what it does for us and don’t treat it with the respect it deserves. Those that suffer from digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, understand very well the importance of good digestive health and the impact that an imbalance of gut health has on every other aspect of your life.

The Gut-Brain Axis

Your gut is part of you and who you are. In fact, recent studies have shown links between gut health, in particular the bacteria (microbiome) of your gut, and emotional states such as depression and child behavioural disorders. It has been discovered that your microbiome produces serotonin, the neurotransmitter also made in the brain. This highlights the gut-brain axis connection and the association that good mental health requires good digestive health.

Your Gut, the Largest Immune Organ

Your gut is the largest immune organ you have and is responsible for filtering through infinite molecules and substances screening out, engulfing and processing pathogens to keep you well.

The Malnourished Gut

If your gut is under functioning the absorption of nutrients may not occur adequately and you may become malnourished even though you are feeding yourself healthy foods. Nutrient deficiencies can be prevalent in developed countries that don’t have starvation as a health issue. It is first world problem where both obesity and chronic health issues are on the rise. Foods that are highly processed and nutrient deficient in combination with a digestive system that is under functioning.

The Inflamed Gut

There are several areas where gut health may be compromised and can result in inflamed intestinal lining and gut dysregulation. This may lead to ‘leaky gut’ condition where the tight junctions between the cells of the intestinal barrier are allowing larger molecules and pathogens to escape and invade unregulated into our internal environment establishing and setting off immune reactions that may have systemic effects.

THE ROAD TO GOOD DIGESTIVE HEALTH

Feed your gut well with plenty of fiber and a diverse range of fresh organic vegetables, and reduce the exposure to harmful toxins.
Slow down and practice mindful eating, chewing your foods allowing digestive enzymes to be secreted.
Learn to identify and manage the stress that you experience as it has a direct impact on digestive health.

Take a moment to acknowledge all that your gut does for you and be kind to our gut, treat it well and your gut will return the favour and give you a long and healthy life.

Read more about your digestive health on N&B website here.

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Give Yourself a Break! Why you should Cleanse!

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Why we Cleanse!

Your wellness is your state of health and will determine how your body and its innate defences are able to deal with an invasion - be it a simple cold to a more sinister virus, pathogenic bacteria, exposure to a toxin, and stress. A life of clean nutrient rich foods, healthy lifestyle choices and mindful practices is the first step to ensure lifelong good health.

Toxicity

Awareness of the exposure and effects of toxins in everyday modern life is essential to understanding the impact of toxins on your health. This knowledge is just one part of your full health picture, but an essential part that must be addressed if you wish to live the life you want to, reducing the risks of developing chronic disease and healing some chronic conditions.

What are Toxins?

Industrial Pollutants, petrochemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, food additives, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products, hygiene products and cosmetics, plastic compounds.

Toxins are xenobiotics, chemicals that are not required in our everyday metabolic processes such as the production of cellular energy for growth, differentiation, and function.1 I think we sometimes forget that everything we eat, breathe or absorb must be dealt with by our bodily functions. The toxin does not just disappear or come out the other end without having had some impact on our internal environment.

Two to three thousand newly invented chemicals are released into our environment every year. Exposure to toxins is unavoidable due to the ever increasing presence in our air, water, soil and food. Toxins have been shown to interfere with enzyme function, cellular transport mechanisms and receptor sites, cause oxidative damage, block nutrient absorption and mimic hormones or neurotransmitters.

What is Detoxification?

Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins from the body and the body has a natural capacity to process toxins. Systems which carry out detoxification include digestion, lungs, kidneys, reproductive tissues and nasal epithelium. Toxins are neutralised and then removed via stool, urine and sweat.

Symptoms of Toxicity

Every cell, tissue and system in the body is susceptible to damage by these toxins, with symptoms ranging from headaches, fatigue, mood and behavioural disturbances, and directly related to cancers, neurological problems, fertility issues and birth defects.

Why do a N&B Cleanse?

Our natural detoxification system can become overburdened and compromised with the polluted environment and poor diet and lifestyle choices. A Cleanse program such as we do at N&B supports a period of good food choices, minimising exposure to toxins, eliminating negative lifestyle choices and implementing mindful practices. This allows the space to break old habits that are not supporting our health and allows for a period of healing to occur, supporting our natural organs of detoxification and elimination.

What You Can Do? The N&B Cleanse

3 Simple Steps

clean healthy lifestyle, fresh organic foods removing intake of food additives and pesticides
reduce exposure to everyday toxins - household pollutants such as cleaning products, personal hygiene products, makeup, plastics, gardening chemicals to name a few
Support and enhance the functioning of your body’s organs of elimination

Please read more about Detoxification on N&B website 

1. Croom, E. (2012) Metabolism of xenobiotics of human environments. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science. 112:31-88. 

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The Modern Day Herbalist

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The Modern Day Herbalist

I am a naturopath and I am a modern day herbalist. I use Tonics and Remedies to heal and restore health. Herbal Medicine today is an integration of thousands of years of empirical evidence for the use of herbal medicine across many cultures AND science.

What is a Herbalist!

We all look different, but if you look closer you will see similarities. Perhaps a bit earthy, tending to being all things natural, and our personalities will shine through. We love to investigate and to take the time to get to know our patients. You might visit us in a health food store or an established clinic, and we are usually surrounded by bottles of liquids or jars of herbs, like an Olde World apothecary. We are all unique in how we practice herbal medicine, as every individual perceives the world differently. We are trained and qualified in the practice of herbalism, even at the university level. We are required to be a member of an Industry National Body that looks after our interests, monitors and regulates our education, training and qualifications so that we are offered membership by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA). This membership allows us to acquire professional indemnity insurance and private health fund rebates for our patients. As you can see, we are all legitimate in our profession.

What is the practice of Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine has been used and continues to be used across cultures, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda (India), Indigenous Australians, the Americas. What you see here in Australia is based on Western Herbal Medicine, with the principles of practice and the plants used evolved primarily from European traditions, such as Roman, Greek, and English.

Traditionally, a plant was used to heal an ill - stomach pains, an infection, delirium, and disorders of the mind with such traditional descriptions of melancholy or insanity. The plant was given as a tea, poultice, or tincture. Modern Day herbalism has evolved from these principles to incorporate science. A plant and its chemicals are studied, the active constituent identified and the most effective mode of prescription for therapeutic effect determined. The raw material, whether it be the leaf, the flowers or berries, bark, root or even resin, is then made into a liquid tincture which is alcohol based to ensure that you receive the active ingredients to heal your ills. Technology of modern day herbalism allows us to have not only access to herbal medicines that are shown to have therapeutic active constituents bioavailable, but that also demonstrate proven beneficial physiological effects by clinical trial.

There are hundreds of herbal medicines, almost as many as there are plants, and a modern day herbalist in clinic will be using products that they know and trust. These are powerful medicines not to be self-prescribed and a modern day herbalist will use trusted suppliers so that the source of the raw material and the presence of active constituents is guaranteed and that there are no adulterations. Therefore we know what is in the bottle so that we achieve the results that we desire for our patients.

The relationship between a herbalist and their patient is unique. In a consult with a patient we allow the time to get to know the person that you are, your tendencies, your energies, your peculiarities, all that makes you YOU. We believe, as did Hippocrates, that your body has the innate ability to heal itself if given the right environment and if nurtured and nourished. This is where our modern world gets in the way. Driving factors that can shift your health off balance include - stress, gut dysbiosis, nutrient deficient diets, exposure to environmental toxins, and pathogens (viruses and bacteria). Any combination of these triggers can affect any part of your physiology - digestion, immune, mental health, endocrine (hormonal) systems. It is then our job to develop your unique tonic to give your body a subtle nudge towards healing and balance, and with your self-empowering efforts with diet and lifestyle, great health is achieved.

Its exciting to be a modern day herbalist. I love the tradition that it beholds, and the benefit to the patient. As a patient you are treated holistically addressing the causes and the symptoms, and treated as the individual that you are with your very own unique traditionally and scientifically validated herbal medicine. I wouldn't have it any other way!

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The Bomb

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'The Bomb'

Right now in Canberra the weather has really set in hasn't it? The leaves are all gone, it's grey, the heating has been switched on, the fire is burning, the Uggies are out and I can't believe that I have been known to say 'I love Canberra and it's four seasons!'.

So, I would like to share a little recipe for those that are feeling a bit snuffly, bogged down by the flu, all 'achey' and heavy in the head! Sound like you, or someone in your house? Then snuggle up on the couch in your best tracksuit and Ugg boots with a mug of this warming healing mix. Already a favourite among many whom I have shared it with, it is perfect for all ages and actually tastes good so you shouldn't get too many compliance issues on the home front for this home remedy.

Perfect for winter snuffles, clearing out the sinuses, warming the body, and supporting the healing process, whip up a batch now.

'The Bomb'

1/2 cup raw organic honey
2-4 tablespoons grated ginger
1-2 teaspoons turmeric (powder or grated fresh)
Lemon zest (pref organic)
Pinch black pepper

Note: add some fresh crushed raw garlic to really add some microbial (bad bug) fighting properties.

Place all ingredients in a glass jar, stir to combine and use as needed.

Mix 1-2 Teaspoon in boiled water that has slightly cooled. This is so you don't lose all the wonderful properties of the honey.

ENJOY!

Why raw organic honey? Raw organic honey has not been heated to high temperatures and therefore still contains the nutrients which are normally destroyed by the high heat used in the manufacturing processes of mass produced honey, and it is also completely delicious!

Ginger is a powerful warming spice that is great to get the circulation flowing, and has broad spectrum anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is another powerful anti inflammatory spice, and curcumin the active ingredient of turmeric that gives it the bright yellow colour demonstrates antioxidant activity. Absorption of the tumeric is improved with the addition of black pepper. Oodles of reasons to take garlic due to its antimicrobial properties.

 

Check out N&B Healing at Home for more useful tips to care for you and your family at home.  

This recipe I have taken from a completely gorgeous blog/app/cookbooks "The Green Kitchen". Check them out for delicious photography and equally delicious vegetarian recipes. They even visited our shores last January all the way from Scandinavia.

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Have you ever tried raw cheesecake?

Raw Cheesecake

Completely delicious and guilt free, unless you eat a whole cake of course! Have you ever been out at a groovy cafe sprouting wheatgrass from its front counter, you know the kind of cafe I mean, and seen raw cheesecake on the menu and wondered what that means, or maybe you haven't been there and not have any idea what I am talking about, or you may well be a raw cheesecake expert. Whichever is the case I am here to introduce you to the raw cheesecake.

And first understanding is that a raw cheesecake has NO cheese, yep dairy free. Just called cheesecake because it kinda looks like one. The base is usually made from some type of nuts (macadamias, almonds) blended with dates as a sweetener and some coconut oil which is pressed into a tin, and the filling is made with a base of soaked cashew nuts that are then blended in a food processor or Vitamix type machine with the flavour of your choice (fruit, chocolate) and a few other ingredients. Quite simple to make really and once you have made one a few times, beware as you may become very brave and start making your own variations.

For those with nut issues, bases can be made with seed variations and the filling made on either avocado or silken tofu.

In any case, you are in for a taste sensation. They are rich and flavoursome and completely satisfying so that the aching need to polish off a whole cake is not experienced. And this I think is the benefit with the raw cheesecake. Because it is made on nuts it does have fat content and sugars are present with the fruit and sweetener used, but this dessert is made on unprocessed whole foods, making it flavoursome and enjoyable.

This is a Raw Berry Chhesecake I have made for the N&B launch party this Sunday, and I have made it in a tray so that I can cut lots of scrummy little squares to share around. I am no chef and you will find much prettier ones online and you can see that my base isn't holding that well together and probably needs a little more moisture, but rest assured it is just as yummy!

Try and Enjoy!

RAW BERRY CHEESECAKE

Base Ingredients
1 cup almonds or nut of choice
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
3 soft medjool date with pit removed
1 tspn natural vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling
2 cups raw cashews soaked overnight
6 Tbsp melted coconut oil
juice one lemon
1 tspn pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey, be careful what you use so that the flavour is not overpowering)
1 med banana
2 cups of mixed berries

Directions

Base - Place all ingredients in food processor or vitamin and process tip coarse crumbly mixture. Press mixture evenly into a springform pan and place in a freezer whilst making filling. This is better if left for at least an hour to harden.

Filling - Place all filling ingredients into a blender and mix until super smooth, stopping and scraping down sides if needed. Pour/scoop mixture carefully onto your base and spread evenly.

Place your cheesecake into the freezer for at least 2-3 hours to allow it to set. If leaving for longer period of time ensure you move cheesecake to fridge allowing enough time for it to thaw a little making it easier to serve and slice.

The beauty of raw cheesecakes is that they can be made well in advance, can feed lots of people as only a sliver is needed and they look amazing, oh have you tasted one yet? The taste is sensational.

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The Chocolate Orange Ball of Bliss

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This will be short and sweet just like my favourite quick treat food. There are many variations that you will see and once you try them, and then make them again and again and again you may want to make some variations. But I always come back to these, I find them completely satisfying and if I happen to get into a bit of a choccy rut, even fair-trade organic dark chocolate can be eaten a little too often, I will make a batch of these to have in the fridge. I did find this recipe online some years ago, copied the recipe down but now I am unable to find the reference to share with you. So here it is

Ingredients
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
4 medjool dates
1 cup sultanas
1 orange
1/4 cup cacao
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cupish desiccated coconut to roll balls in

Instructions
Roughly chop almonds and cashews in a food processor until you have breadcrumbs.
Chop and add dates and sultanas.
Finely grate orange zest and juice of orange, take care not to add too much juice and make mixture too wet, and add both to mixture (not all the juice at once and see how you go).
Add Cacao and Coconut and mix until mixture comes together and everything chopped up chunky like.
Scoop tablespoon spoon size out roll into balls with hands then roll in coconut.
Wait till all mixture is gone before licking mixture off hands and store in the fridge.

Enjoy!

note: these are fresh non processed ingredients so much better than a packaged treat, and they are delicious and satisfying which should help you stop at one ball, rather than annihilating an entire chocolate bar and still not feeling satisfied. Remember moderation is always the key and they last a long time in the fridge.
all ingredients are usually organic where possible too.

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Tea Time : Ginger and Lemongrass

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My favourite tea of late has been a ginger and lemongrass mix, available in N&B clinic, that I have been enjoying first up in the morning. I have found it refreshing and love the warm feeling that spreads throughout the body as I contemplate the day ahead and quite possibly the chaos around me as the family gets ready for the day. Sometimes when it all seems to be falling apart and time permits, the kettle goes on and this is my tea of choice.

But I have to share that this ginger and lemongrass favourite went to a whole new level on my recent escape to Bali. The teas and smoothies provide a whole otherworld experience in Bali and it is not too difficult to find your latest fave cafe and your new best friend behind the blender or tea maker. So, of course I had to try the ginger and lemongrass tea on offer at my new fave hangout. How amazingly amazing was it when I received a beautiful tall glass with slightly warmer than just warm tea with FRESH ginger and FRESH lemongrass stalk sticking out. I actually have a bit of an addiction with Chai tea and usually have about 5 different variations of chai in my pantry depending on the mood. But I went a whole 7 days without a single chai tea. And all due to the extensive range of fresh teas on offer. And, I think that is what made the difference. The Balinese weren't relying on a tea bag, they would just throw in the fresh ingredient or the perfect spice into your boiling water. The results were delicious and invigorating and the effort to recreate yourself is entirely recommended.

Fresh Ginger and Lemongrass Tea

2 cm piece of ginger peeled and sliced thickly
fresh lemongrass usually available from a vege shop of decent size

Pour over boiled water and allow to cool for some time, about 5 mins, to allow the flavours to blend.
The beauty of making fresh tea is that you can change it to your own individual tastes. Are you a strong ginger lover or do you prefer the subtle overtones of lemongrass to prevail?

A few variations that may be worth trying: a squeeze of lime juice or perhaps a small dash of honey or palm sugar. I rarely have the sweeteners, but occasionally will add the tiniest amount. The sweeteners are entirely not necessary but if you do use them be careful not too add too much as you will completely change the taste.

Sip and Enjoy!

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Time to Breathe in Bali

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Landing at night amongst the warmth and smells of Bali begs for an instinctive exhalation, 'I am here!'. Immediately escaping the airport chaos I was speeding through the small villages to the hills of Ubud feeling so alive and free since oh I don't know when. I was entering my very own space, a longed for, long awaited escape to my very own definition of bliss! A whole week of yoga, amazing fresh sensational food, great company and the all important me time.

I had felt the need to justify my escape before departure, it seems incredibly extravagant to be dashing off alone, abandoning family back in Canberra. But on return such is the benefit that I have experienced from allowing that time to myself that I don't feel that same need to justify. The benefits are not only experienced by myself but all those I interact with on my return, they get the calm, grounded and happy Renae. And here's the thing, my week living in the Bali bubble has only further validated my strong belief in the importance of taking the time to stop and BREATHE!

But you don't have to run away to Bali to do this, truly. Create the space, both time and physical space, for what you enjoy, what makes you happy! Not what you think makes you happy, what the internet tells you makes you happy or your partner or friend says, but that activity that resonates within you. Give it a go! it may not be easy, but try starting with small steps and make a date with yourself once a day for 5 mins, or for a longer period once a week. It is important YOU take time to stop and BREATHE!

More on my real Bali experience soon!

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