Something I notice in clinic is how many people say to me “I just don’t feel quite right. I’ve been to the GP and they have even run some blood tests, but everything came back normal and says I’m fine. I tell my friends and they tell me it is nothing to worry about, I’ve probably just been working too hard or not eating well enough. But I just don’t feel like myself.”
I actually see this A LOT in clinic. Many of my clients don’t feel that their health concerns are taken seriously by those around them.
The symptoms vary, but the result is the same: you don’t feel well, and just can’t quite pinpoint the cause.
These symptoms can manifest as:
Something that makes naturopathy, functional medicine and integrative healthcare a more holistic approach is the inclusion of a range of laboratory testing methods know as Functional Pathology. These tests often take a deeper look than the standard blood tests available under Medicare, and are performed along with the practitioner taking a very comprehensive case history of the client, which looks at medical history, symptoms, environmental and genetic factors, lifestyle, work, social and family support, diet and mind health. Combined with Functional Pathology testing (if appropriate), this helps the practitioner to get a very detailed picture of what is going on.
What is Functional Pathology?
A range of Functional Pathology tests are now available to the naturopath to check nutritional status, hormone balance, toxicity, microbiome, DNA, food intolerances, digestive function, or even the ability to metabolise certain substances. These are often cutting edge, science-based evaluation tests, and not always available through conventional laboratories. These tests investigate the underlying cause of what is going on.
Just like conventional pathology, Functional Pathology requires urine, blood or a plasma sample, with some tests also using newer methods to analyse saliva and hair.
An example of a functional pathology test is an Adrenal Profile, which will look at the levels of certain hormones (in this case cortisol and DHEA) present in saliva at several times during the day to determine whether the adrenal glands may be working too hard in an individual (due to ongoing stress) which may be causing mood changes, weight gain around the tummy, depression, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia or poor memory.
How much do the tests cost?
The cost varies – depending on the particular test, complexity and laboratory testing methods used, they are priced between $50 - $600. A simple nutritional test looking at blood levels of a certain nutrient is generally low cost, while more comprehensive DNA analysis (which looks at over 100 gene SNPs) may be $400. A food intolerance test will cost between about $270 - $400 depending on the number of foods and allergens investigated.
If you are on a budget and can’t stretch to getting tests done, a good naturopath can also assess your health by taking a good case history – in fact many of these tests were not around when I did my training, which meant our study was focused on taking a comprehensive medical history to determine the underlying cause of symptoms. So while Functional Pathology is a fantastic tool available to us, a good case history is the most important part of working with you to address your health.
An important note here – I have seen recently quite a few coupon deals for food intolerance tests and DNA or microbiome analysis. Often these tests originate from an overseas laboratory which may not have the same standards as Australian labs. I’ve researched these and have found that they are either not clinically relevant or comprehensive enough to provide any real insight. They also don’t take into account your individual health needs, or provide you with a realistic and effective treatment plan.
If you are ever in doubt, feel free to get in touch with me to discuss further.
How can I access Functional Pathology testing?
The first step is to book in to an appointment with a naturopath (like me!), integrative (holistic) GP or functional medicine practitioner. They will assess your health and work with you to determine the most appropriate test for you, and then will help to come up with a treatment plan to address the test results. This might involve dietary changes, supplements and lifestyle advice.
Ask for a healthcare practitioner that regularly undertakes further education and training in Functional Pathology to keep up to date with the newer tests which are becoming available each year.
Would you like a Naturopathy consultation? Book an appointment for an online or phone consultation with Josie here.
Learn more about Naturopathy here.
Learn more about the different Functional Pathology tests available here.
Freezable lunchbox recipes that are wholesome, nutritious and beats those processed packaged snacks hands down every time.
Beetroot Bliss Balls
A rich source of vitamin C, fibre and cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
1 cup dates
¼ cup beetroot, peeled and finely grated
¼ cup baby spinach, finely sliced and chopped
1 ½ cup pumpkin seed or sunflower seed meal (make yourself by finely grinding seeds in a coffee/spice grinder)
1 cup shredded coconut
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds
½ cup extra shredded coconut to roll balls in (optional)
Bliss balls will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Recipe credit: Mandy Sacher, Wholesome Child, www.wholesomechild.com.au
Banana Oat Muffins
1 cup oats
1 cup oat flour (you can blend oats in your blender or processor to make this)
¼ cup brown or coconut sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp ground flax seed
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup melted coconut oil
2 cups mashed bananas (about 6 medium)
¼ cup chopped nuts, optional
Freeze for up to 3 months.
Recipe credit: Josie Carin, Ditch the Junk Challenge (starting 29 January 2018)
Pesto and Cheese Savoury Scrolls
2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup natural Greek or coconut yoghurt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarb soda or baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup pine nut pesto (bonus points if you make your own)
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
Freeze for up to 4 months. Frozen scrolls can be warmed in the oven again.
Recipe credit: Mandy Sacher, Wholesome Child, www.wholesomechild.com.au
Mini Salmon Frittatas
Full of good fats, salmon has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and is full of antioxidants such as vitamins B, D and E, which are great for the immune system.
Butter, for greasing
½ cup goat’s cheese or grated cheddar
2 spring onions, finely chopped
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup broccoli florets, lightly steamed
100g fresh salmon, poached or baked (or use tinned salmon if fresh not available)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Dulse flakes, optional, to taste (available to purchase from here)
Freeze for up to 1 month.
Recipe credit: Lee Holmes, Supercharged Food for Kids, www.superchargedfood.com
Detox. It’s a term you’ve no doubt heard a lot of on TV, in magazines or in the gym. But why should you ‘detox’?
Detoxification is your body’s natural process of changing dietary and environmental toxins into less harmful substances before eliminating them from your body.
We all do it, every day.
But sometimes, the processes that manage detoxification in the body becomes overwhelmed. And we start to notice some symptoms.
Who should detox?
A detoxification program can benefit most people. Ask yourself these questions:
• Do you suffer from bloating, gas, reflux, constipation or diarrhoea?
• Do you often feel tired or lethargic, no matter how much sleep you get?
• Are you overweight or obese and have trouble shifting weight?
• Do you get recurrent headaches and migraines?
• Are you regularly suffering from muscle aches and pains?
• Do you have difficulty concentrating and feel ‘foggy’?
• Do you have allergies and sensitivities?
• Do you suffer from mood swings, anxiety or depression?
Supporting natural detoxification processes can help improve digestive function and may even help you lose a little weight, however the benefits do not stop there.
Healthy detoxification pathways may also lead to a reduction in other seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as sore joints or painful periods. Even if you’re fit and well, for many people a regular detox leaves them feeling more energised whilst reducing the toxin load.
So Where Do These Toxins Come From?
The term ‘toxin’ refers to any substance with the potential to interfere with normal cellular function and which may negatively impact both your short and long-term health. You do not have to look very far to find toxins as they may be found in household chemicals, personal care products, and also in some foods (e.g. food may be exposed to pesticide residues or toxic metal contaminants).
Your body is designed to remove these toxins via the ‘channels of elimination’, i.e. your liver, kidneys, bowels and skin; but it is possible for these channels to become overwhelmed, depending upon your level of exposure, and this may reduce your overall health and wellbeing.
So Where Do I Start?
Walk into any pharmacy or health food store today and you will find a number of over the counter detox products.
Some of these are great, but they don’t assess your individual health requirements and so are limited in their ability to meet your detoxification needs.
You might also have friends or colleagues who recommend multi-level-marketing programs such as Isogenix, Juice Plus, Doterra. While these are great at promoting a healthier lifestyle, I can't endorse these as the best option for everyone.
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, then I suggest seeing a qualified natural health practitioner (such as a naturopath or nutritionist). A personalised program based on your specific health history, together with the added benefit of professional support and advice from a qualified natural health practitioner can have a much greater impact on your detox capacity – helping to promote long-term wellbeing beyond the duration of the program.
Oh, and of course I should mention that you can consult with me. I have an online practice where I "meet" with clients from all over Australia. So that might be an option for you too. (Just check out the Bookings page to book yourself an appointment).
Herbal Help to Boost Your Detox
In clinic, depending on the needs of the client, I often use three key herbal and nutritional formulas, based on scientific research, to lay the foundation for effective detoxification.
These formulas focus on supporting the three main channels of elimination:
The first formula helps optimise your liver’s detoxifying capacity. It often contains the herb Milk thistle along with Cape jasmine and Green tea to help protect your body from the harmful effects of metabolising toxins. In addition, the amino acids taurine and glutamine support liver detoxification pathways and promote a healthy digestive tract.
The second formula incorporates the greens Spirulina, Coriander, Kelp and Aloe. These herbs assist with the binding of toxins and promote alkalinisation, since an alkaline pH is required for effective removal of wastes via the kidneys.
Finally, a traditional herbal formula containing Dandelion, Gentian, Lemon balm and Ginger not only helps to minimise any existing symptoms of poor digestion such as burping and bloating, but helps stimulate the digestive secretions and bile flow you require for optimal digestive function.
Depending on the client, I may also prescribe a specific probiotic, or perhaps a formula to support sleep, the nervous system, energy levels or hormonal health.
Detox Diet and Lifestyle Support
Modern diets can be a major source of ongoing toxin exposure due to the intake of caffeine, alcohol and refined processed foods, which typically contain artificial additives, preservatives and toxic fats.
Not only do these add to your toxin burden but put they mean more work for your organs of detoxification. (Which in many of us are already working pretty hard).
By cutting out the foods I mentioned above, while eating more plant-based wholefoods, you can enhance the effects of the herbal and nutritional formulas and boost your detox capacity.
The Path to Long-Term Wellness
Supporting effective detoxification is a cornerstone of Natural Medicine practice. I find that my clients who undertake a cleansing or detox program before we begin working on their specific health problems experience quicker and longer lasting benefits.
The Practitioner Only Detox Programs are simple and easy to follow, and I also have your back to support you. I’ve undertaken them myself, and coached many, many clients through the process.
Depending on what is going on for your health right now, the length of the program can be 2 – 6 weeks.
If you are interested in your own detox program, then drop me an email email@example.com or book in for an online consultation via the Bookings page.
I also have a free 3 Day Cleanse Program which is a good place to start. I designed this program to be gentle yet effective, and today it is one of my most popular downloaded resources. You can get a copy by signing up below.
I've noticed that when I go a bit overboard with eating and indulgence in December, my energy drops way down. I start to rely on sugary treats and caffeine to get through each day, which of course makes the cycle so much worse.
So, here are the 3 simple things I do to get back on track, and feel energised, happy and full of vitality to do all the fun Summer stuff that we look forward to all year.
It sounds really obvious. In fact it is so obvious that it is easy to forget.
Upping your intake of fresh, pure water; and non-caffeinated herbal teas can help you feel energised, motivated, clearer and lighter.
In fact, as I was writing this post, I threw out the cup of coffee I had just made, and replaced it with a peppermint tea (did you know that peppermint has a cooling effect in the body - great for Summer!)
2. Eat more unprocessed foods
Cut out the junk, packaged foods, convenience meals, takeaways, refined grains, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Replace them with fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and protein.
Your body will LOVE you for it.
3. Make friends with your liver
Your liver works hard when you overindulge, especially if alcohol, caffeine and sugar is involved.
Increase your intake of leafy green vegetables, fresh herbs, broccoli, lemon, rocket. Replace that second coffee with dandelion root coffee. Chew your food well so your digestive system doesn't have to work so hard to extract nutrition.
If you need a more personalised approach to your Summer wellness, make an appointment to talk to me or consult your healthcare practitioner.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is one of the major neurotransmitters in our brain – and is a chemical that our brain cells use to communicate with each other.
It is a naturally occurring chemical that calms the mind and puts the brakes on brain activity when needed.
If you are easily overstimulated and often overwhelmed and stressed out, then your GABA might be depleted.
Other signs of GABA deficiency include:
While you can get synthetic GABA, as a naturopath I prefer to instead support the body to increase the production of GABA naturally. Nutrients such as Vitamin B6, glutamine and l-theanine (found naturally in tea) helps us produce GABA, as well as magnesium and kava.
Eating carbohydrates can also help, but it is important to choose low-sugar, unrefined sources such as sweet potato, wholegrains, legumes (beans) and fruit. Include oats and almonds as these also naturally support GABA production.
And in case you need another reason as to why to enrol in that yoga and meditation class, then it is worth noting that yoga has been shown to increase GABA in the brain of those who practice regularly.
Bianca* aged 37, came to see me about her insomnia and subsequent fatigue. She also wanted to quit smoking and reduce her drinking - she was enjoying 3-4 glasses of wine every evening.
She described herself as always being an anxious person, and also had been diagnosed with depression previously. Bianca had seen psychologists and psychiatrists frequently in the past, and at times had been on various antidepressants.
In her 20's, she had been, in her own words, " a bit rock and roll" - binge drinking and regularly taking recreational drugs - which she now felt she had been using to deal with her anxiety and depression.
She never felt completely well. Always tired and she had trouble thinking clearly.
Most nights she had trouble getting to sleep - sometimes she didn't fall asleep until about 3am, and then struggled to get up in the morning. As a result, she was often late for work, and on weekends wouldn't get up until the afternoon.
Bianca was worried about her current mood swings. She noticed that recently she had started lashing out with anger - "explosive rage" she called it. And her libido was low.
After taking her case history, I suspected that she may have Pyrrole disorder -the main biochemical features of this disorder are a severe zinc and B6 deficiency (amongst other nutrients).
A urine test to detect the disorder was organised, and 2 weeks later we had indeed confirmation from the laboratory that Bianca likely had Pyrrole disorder, which meant here body had trouble storing zinc, B6 and other nutrients - vital for mental health and hormonal health.
The next step was to supplement. When dealing with mineral and vitamin deficiencies, it is important to supplement very carefully, as reintroducing too much can cause side effects. So, an individual supplement regime was put together, gently introducing vitamins and minerals to Bianca over a period of time.
In addition to this, I also put together a herbal mix to support the nervous system.
After a month, Bianca came in to my clinic to tell me that she was able to fall asleep more easily, and sleep soundly. She felt better able to manage her mood and angry feelings during the day. What's more she had started to reduce the number of cigarettes she had daily - she noticed that she just didn't think about smoking as much anymore (addictive behaviour has been linked to Pyrrole disorders).
Two months later she reported her energy had improved significantly, and she has the motivation and energy to move from part time to full time work. She was sleeping really well, and found it easier to get up in the morning.
She also noticed that her skin had improved (she suffered from eczema) and her menstrual cycles were more regular and with less incidence of PMS - an example of how when we address the root cause of one thing, we end up improving those other irritating health conditions.
Three months later, and Bianca now feels that her energy has gone from 3/10 to 9/10 on average. She has given up smoking, and now only drinks on weekends, and much less at that.
This is a great example of how correcting a nutrient deficiency can have life-changing effects.
IRRITATED BY ALLERGIES?
Spring. At this time of year it seems like the world is divided into two groups of people. Those that don’t suffer from allergies. And those that do.
Now, if you are in the first group, then you have probably clocked the word allergies, and decided to skim past this article. But stay with me here, or at the very least, skip through to just before the last paragraph, because there I’ve got something just for you.
For those of you who DO experience the effects of allergies – sneezing, sniffling, watering eyes, itchy throat, coughs, headaches and feeling just damn irritated by it all, then here are some strategies to help you overcome your symptoms, and maybe even deal with the cause.
SO WHAT CAUSES ALLERGIES?
Allergies happen when your immune system has an abnormal reaction to a normally harmless substance (the allergen). The allergen will bind to antibodies, which then causes mast cells to release histamine, which in turn, causes inflammation. Where the histamine is released in the body will determine the symptoms experienced – a runny nose; itchy, watery eyes; shortness of breath and dry skin may all be signs of mast cells reacting in those parts of the body.
Typical allergens can include pollens, animal dander, dust mites and mould. You may be allergic to one or many things, and it is worthwhile getting tested to determine exactly what it is that your immune system over-reacts to.
GET YOUR PLUMBING HUMMING
A great part of our immune system resides in the gut, so it is important to take care of the digestive system. Probiotics can help to balance out intestinal flora, and adopting a clean-style of eating really makes a difference. When choosing probiotics, it is best to get advice as to which strain will work best for you. Probiotics with the LGG strain are often indicated for those with allergy-type symptoms.
An intolerance to certain types of food can make the symptoms of airborne allergies worse, so it may be worthwhile investigating this through food intolerance testing or trying to eliminate any foods you suspect may make allergies worse. Common foods which can cause problems are milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, soy and wheat.
And avoid sugar. It is very inflammatory and a high sugar intake has been shown to depress the immune system.
Eat up foods which contain high levels of vitamin C as it is a natural anti-histamine. Good sources include blackcurrant, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, citrus fruit, guava, parsley, pawpaw capsicum, pineapple, potatoes, raw cabbage, strawberries, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
Speaking of pineapple, the nutrient bromelain, found in the sweet fruit, is a great remedy for sinusitis and hay fever as it thins out mucus. Nice.
Anti-oxidants in general is helpful, so eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is the way to go. Also includes lots of garlic in the diet – it is great for the respiratory system in general.
Look after your liver. Spring is a great time to consider a detox and eliminate (or at least try and reduce) habits which add an additional burden on the liver such as coffee, alcohol, junk and processed foods.
Replace your morning tea or coffee with a daily fresh juice of parsley, pineapple, lemon, cucumber, carrot and ginger.
Don’t forget to consider herbal remedies too.
Albizia works to stabilise those pesky mast cells to treat a runny nose, itching and asthma, and as an added bonus, also has a positive effect on mood and memory.
Another important herb used to manage allergies is the prettily named Perilla, from Eastern Asia, which is anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic, and is used for hay-fever, itchy eyes and skin, and sinusitis.
Other herbs that help deal with allergies include Elder Flower, Eyebright, Golden Seal, Horseradish and Nettle Leaf. There are also herbs which can modulate the immune system such as Echinecea, Korean Ginseng, Shiitake and Withania.
Make no mistake – herbs have a powerful action and can interact with other medications, so seek professional advice before using. Your best bet is to ask your naturopath or herbalist to make up you up a custom herbal blend for you, or recommend a suitable tablet formulation. There are some very effective practitioner-only supplements.
Something also to try is peppermint and lavender oil in a diffuser – this can help to clear the nose (and the mind). Great to have handy on your work desk.
SOME COMMON SENSE LIFESTYLE ADVICE
Obviously, you will want to avoid as much as possible the airborne allergens. Avoid grassy areas in springtime. Use pillow case and mattress protectors to keep dust mites under control. Some people find that using synthetic materials instead of animal product materials in the home helps, or even going to the measure of eliminating carpets and curtains. An air purifier or dust filter can also be effective.
Ensure you get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water – it is surprising how these simple measures can make a difference to allergy symptoms.
And don’t forget to address the mental irritation that allergies cause. Where possible, work to adopt a positive frame of mind and look at meditation and yoga to help calm the mind. Take your mind off your allergies by keeping a gratitude journal, and perhaps also have a “happy list” of about 15 things that you make feel happy, and commit to doing one straight away.
HELPING ALLERGY SUFFERERS
Even if you don't suffer from hay fever, I bet that someone close to you does. Be the best friend in the world, and organise an allergy-free date for someone you know who suffers allergies.
Perhaps an indoor picnic followed by a movie, and bring a gift basket filled with some home-baked low sugar treats, fresh citrus juice, and don’t forget a box of tissues! You’ll feel great knowing you have helped someone take their mind off their allergy symptoms.
One of the questions I often get asked in clinic is "How can I persuade my partner/family/kids/friends/co-workers to follow a healthier lifestyle?".
Sometimes the path to eating better and taking care of yourself can be very lonely, so it's a good question. Whether you have just discovered how much better you feel on a wholesome, nutritious diet; or if you have always taken care of yourself, it is natural to want others around you to enjoy the same benefits. And of course it is easier to keep on track yourself if those around you are not scoffing junk food or indulging in bad habits.
The first thing we often want to do to encourage someone to break a bad habit, or eat better, or remove negative thought patterns, is to TELL them what to do.
I don't know about you, but when someone tells me what to do, part of me (OK a big part) wants to rebel. Perhaps get passive aggressive, or stubbornly dig my heels in and refuse to take the advice, no matter how well-meaning it is. On top of that, someone pointing out your faults or telling you what to do makes you feel bad about yourself.
On some level, whether consciously or sub-consciously, we already know if we are doing something that does not serve us well, and having it pointed out to us makes us feel so much worse.
On top of that, continuing to nag will just dilute your message, until it is not heard at all.
So what do you do?
Well, to paraphrase Gandhi - "Be the change you want to see in others".
Be an inspiration to those around you by taking care of yourself. Be passionate about what you are doing, and let the enthusiasm spread to others. Lead by example and SHOW the benefits of being positive, embracing wellness and natural healing. Let them see how this leads to a happier state of mind and better health.
Be patient, be kind, be positive.
And be accepting if they won't change at all. It is a personal choice, and while you know that someone would feel so much better, more alive and happier if they took care of themselves, it is ultimately their journey.
"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another." Napoleon Hill
If find myself recommending tahini to everyone lately, and so thought it was time to do a quick blog post on it. Tahini is rarely on any list of superfoods, but it should be.
Firstly, it is an amazingly high source of well-absorbed calcium.
Secondly, it contains essential fatty acids.
Thirdly, it's slightly bitter taste stimulates the digestive system, meaning that we break down food more thoroughly in the gut and increase our uptake of nutrients.
And lastly, it is soooo useful in recipes. You can use it as a thickener for sauces, dressing and dips, and it makes a good substitute for nut butters.
You can make your own by grinding sesame seeds - here is a great recipe, or pick up a jar of hulled or unhulled tahini in the health food aisle. Unhulled tahini is darker and has more nutrients, but is also more bitter. If you are trying tahini for the first time, then I recommend you go for the hulled version first.
Here are some ways that I use tahini:
A Changing Habits recipe
If you want to provide a non-chemical based vitamin C for yourself and your family, then Camu Camu powder is a must have! It is one of the richest sources of nature-based vitamin C available and based on scientific research, is more powerful than isolated, processed ascorbic acid (synthetically made Vit C). Camu Camu contains approximately 460x more Vit C than an orange, making it an incredibly immune boosting natural food supplement and a perfect addition to these immune boosting gummies. Manuka honey is also added for its antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which helps the body to fight infection and prevent the growth of bad bacteria. It’s soothing to the digestive system and also helps remove toxins from the blood, as well as aiding the liver to function more efficiently. Gelatin is used not only for the setting agent, but also because of its immune boosting properties, aids sleep, easily digestible, supports skin, nail, hair and teeth health, aids detoxification and so much more!
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
3.5-4.5 Tbsp Changing Habits Gelatin
1 cup filtered water
Zest of 1 lemon or orange
1-2 Tbsp Manuka honey
3/4 cup orange or lemon juice (mandarin is great too)
1 - 1.5 Tbsp Changing Habits Camu Camu Powder
1. Mix the gelatin and filtered water together in a small saucepan, set aside for a couple minutes and allow it to thicken and 'bloom' . (Please Note: the more gelatin you add, the harder your gummies will turn out).
2. Once the gelatin and water have thickened, add the saucepan to the stove top and dissolve the gelatin on a low heat.
3. Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Then stir through all the other ingredients to combine.
4. Pour the mixture into a pouring jug (for ease) and carefully pour the mix into little moulds. Place in the fridge to set. Depending on the size of your moulds it will make around 50-60 bite sized gummies.
5. When they have set, remove the gummies from their moulds and place into an air tight container and keep them in the fridge. If you have trouble removing the gummies from the moulds, use a small teaspoon to make it easier (they won't look as pretty though).
The beautiful thing about naturopathy is that it allows for an individual, comprehensive and holistic approach to each person I see. I might have 10 people come to see me about a headache, and yet the treatment plan for each will be completely different.
I do notice, however, that there are some core pieces of advice which applies to the majority of clients, and in general is good advice for everyone.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your health, you are best to see a healthcare practitioner (like a naturopath!) to talk about your individual case.
1. Avoid gluten and particularly wheat.
Unfortunately the wheat and some other grains we consume today is not the same as the wheat that our grandparents enjoyed. Modern farming practices, genetic modification and processing means that so many people, particularly those with autoimmune conditions, are negatively affected by wheat consumption.
It used to be that generally only those with coeliac disease had an adverse reaction to wheat, but not now, as outlined in the brilliant documentary "What's With Wheat".
Gluten-free is no longer a fad, and I often find that this piece of advice results in the most dramatic changes for the better for many clients.
Modern living, medications, processed foods and antibiotics means that many of our gut flora is out of balance. Probiotics have now been clinically proven to show results for immune, skin, mental and digestive health, and even in weight management and child behaviour.
We now know that you need to be selective about which strain you use - seeing a healthcare practitioner trained in probiotics, like a naturopath, is important before taking probiotics.
3. Fish oil
Due to the processed foods in our diet, we don't get the levels of omega 3s we used to, and so fish oil supplementation is often required for cardiovascular and skin health, and for incredible anti-inflammatory action. There are some things to be aware of when it comes to fish oils though, and I've written about them here.
4. Know the foods that don't agree with you
There is more evidence that certain foods can cause inflammation or a negative immune response in the body, and can be responsible for not just digestive symptoms, but also conditions such as arthritis, migraines, autoimmune conditions, hormonal disorders, skin problems, asthma, hayfever... the list goes on and on.
You can work out which foods that don't work for you either via a rotation or elimination diet, or through an appropriate food allergy or intolerance test from a naturopath or healthcare practitioner.
5. Reduce your toxic load
We are all exposed to toxins on a daily basis, and while our liver and other organs do a great job in dealing with them generally, it certainly helps the healing process to avoid toxins where we can.
The website www.lowtoxlife.com is a brilliant resource on how to phase out toxins.
And don't forget to avoid toxic people as well :)
6. Take time out
I swear this is on almost everyone's "prescription pad" from me. Most of us simply do not get enough rest.
Whether you take a holiday, a long weekend or simply try to get to bed half an hour earlier, your body will thank you for it.
All the supplements, nutritional advice and herbal medicines in the world won't work so well unless you are rested.
7. Develop a wholesome, loving relationship with real food
I get so mad about some of the marketing claims made by processed food manufacturers - these include packet cereals, margarine, "snack bars", and drinks. Coupled with some poor dietary advice, I am seeing a lot of clients who are malnourished, and confused about what to eat.
It is also important to lose the guilt when eating foods you love, and instead focus on whole real foods that satisfy.
My advice is simple - eat real food - choose eggs and avocado or porridge instead of processed cereals; enjoy a handful of nuts instead of a muesli bar; don't buy the packaged pasta meals and make your own from scratch. Yes, I know it takes time but your health is so much better for eating real food, that you will find you have more time with all that extra energy and wellbeing. Truly!
I love the Changing Habit 21 Step Reset program - it is a good one to help reboot to good eating habits.
Need some advice for your particular health needs? Book in and see me in person. I'd love to help. Head over to my bookings page to make an appointment online.
Over 2 years ago I decided to stop using antiperspirants and deodorant sprays, after reading an article by a well-respected professor in environmental toxicology that the number one indoor air pollutant in your home is deodorant spray. I was also breastfeeding my son at the time, and was uncomfortable with the idea of exposing him to a toxic bundle of chemicals each time he had a meal.
“But my antiperspirant/deodorant is the only one that works… But all natural ones have failed…” you might say. Read on. Trust me.
Let's look at the ingredients in many antiperspirants and deodorants.
Aluminium based compounds are the element that makes an anti-perspirant do what it says. Some research has suggested that these aluminium compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells. Because estrogen can promote the growth of both cancer and non-cancer breast cells, some scientists have suggested that using the aluminium-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer (although a clear link has not been established as yet).
Parabens in their many forms are a class of artificial preservatives widely used in cosmetics and personal care products that are being investigated for their possible role in breast cancer. Parabens mimic the activity of estrogen in the body. Since estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer cells and a woman is eight times more likely to develop breast cancer in the part of the breast closest to the underarm, scientists are studying the connection.
Propylene glycol—a humectant which means it keeps substances from drying out, and it was originally developed as an anti-freeze, but is now included in some deodorants and antiperspirants – oh, and many commercial ice creams! It is a neurotoxin known to cause contact dermatitis, kidney damage, and liver damage. In propylene glycol’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), published by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, workers are urged to avoid skin contact with the toxic chemical as it may cause eye and skin irritation, gastrointestinal irritation and discomfort, nausea, headache, vomiting, and central nervous depression. So nope, I don't want to put it on my skin.
TEA and DEA (triethanolamine and diethanolamine) adjust the pH, and used with many fatty acids toconvert acid to salt (stearate), which then becomes the base for a cleanser. They both could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time where DEA can cause liver and kidney damage and TEA can cause allergic reactions. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects.
Triclosan is an artificial antimicrobial chemical used to kill bacteria on the skin and other surfaces. Triclosan is a skin irritant and may cause contact dermatitis. Recent studies suggest this chemical may disrupt thyroid function and other critical hormone systems. The American Medical Association recommends that triclosan and other
“antibacterial” products not be used in the home, as they may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics that can allow resistant strains to flourish. The FDA has now banned effective 2017, the use of triclosan in cleansers and handwashes – WINNING!
And then there are artificial fragrances - these cause a whole host of problems from headaches and skin allergies to hayfever-like symptoms.
Is it any wonder our bodies revolt eventually with allergies, inflammation and even possibly cancer, when one of the most permeable parts of our skin is pumped with the above list of chemicals every day? It's crazy to think how we might have got here.
I hear you though, you don’t want to stink. I don’t either! As I mentioned, I have used natural deodorant, fragrance free for over 2 years now, and no synthetic fragrance skin care or bath / shower care of any kind for a bit longer.
Recently I forgot my natural deodorant so I ended up using an antiperspirant which rhymes with "Sharona". Oh my god - by the end of the day I stunk! And I developed a nasty rash under the arm.
I hadn’t had BO for a couple of years so it was really unsettling and I felt super self conscious. So, the moral of the story? These synthetic fragrances could actually be causing some of the BO you might get, yet we ironically reach for heavier fragranced products to cover up the excessive BO.
So what to do instead?
First of all, what you eat can make a difference. I do find that if I have had a less than great diet (processed foods, alcohol, too much coffee) then I might pong a bit.
Generally, if my immune, nervous and lymphatic system are working well, then I just don't tend to smell, so looking after these with good nutrition and herbs helps a lot. Chlorophyll drops or greens powders are great to support internal cleansing.
The next thing is to look at clothing - natural fibres such as cotton, wool and bamboo are the ones to wear.
And then, there is a whole host of natural deodorant alternatives, which you can find at the health food store.
Personally, I reall like the Black Chicken Axilla paste available at www.nourishedlife.com.au. Axilla is an effective natural deodorant which is known to out perform even the mainstream chemical laden brands. This paste keeps you fresh without inhibiting your sweat glands' ability to dispel toxins. It contains a unique blend of natural ingredients including Arrowroot, Sodium Bicarbonate and Organic Coconut Oil which work together to absorb moisture. I find this amazingly effective and I can even skip a day and still be OK.
Some people find they get a bit of irritation when they first try Axilla (don't rub it in too hard or apply immediately after shaving), which might mean you need (and don't laugh) an armpit detox. Read more here about how to go about this first.
CREDIT: Low Tox Life
We have all by now heard the very good news that chocolate can be beneficial for your health. In pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, chocolate was considered a “food for the gods”, was used in religious rituals and cacao beans were such a precious commodity that they were even used as a form of currency.
Today we are fortunate that chocolate is readily available, but the big problem is that a lot of commercial chocolate you buy is full of things that are best avoided… such as hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives, colours, flavour, powdered milk solids, and much more.
There is a lot of exciting research coming to light about raw cacao, and the benefits of the cacao bean and dark chocolate. These benefits extend to the heart, vascular system, brain, aging, mood and energy. This is in some part due to the fact that raw cacao is abundant in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and many unique properties. Cacao contains twice the antioxidant content of red wine, and up to three times that of green tea. These antioxidants can improve cognitive impairment and produce nitric oxide with some great cardiovascular benefits.
The ORAC Score measures the benefits of antioxidants. Here is a comparison of the ORAC score per 100 grams for some common foods known to have a high antioxidant level, listed in descending order.
• Dark Chocolate – ORAC 13,120
• Milk Chocolate – ORAC 6,740
• Prunes – 5,770
• Raisins – 2,830
• Blueberries – 2,400
• Blackberries – 2036
• Kale – 1,770
• Strawberries – 1540
• Spinach – 1260
• Raspberries – 1220
• Brussel Sprouts – 980
• Broccoli – 890
Another important nutrient found in cacao is theobromine (a chemical related to caffeine). Theobromine was discovered in cacao and a few other plants in the 19th century and by 1916 it had been extracted from the bean and was being used in medical treatment for oedema and angina. In modern medicine the compound theobromine is used as a vasodilator, this means it can dilate smooth muscle such as the blood vessels, bronchial tubes, large intestine. It is also used as a diuretic and heart stimulant. Recent research shows the effects of how theobromine can lower blood pressure as well as help with asthma.
Unlike caffeine, theobromine does not have an addictive nature or have the same strong affects as caffeine has on the nervous system. The cacao bean can have up to 10% of its weight made up of theobromine, the effects of the theobromine on the body can be up to 6 - 10 hours after consumption.
Importantly, as many of you will attest, chocolate enhances the mood and boosts energy.
So what is the best way to obtain the benefits of chocolate without the nasty hydrogenated fats and processed sugars? Raw cacao powder is now readily available in health food stores, along with raw cacao chocolate bars in an amazing variety of flavours.
Or experiment and make your own raw chocolate truffles. These make great presenters and look great packaged up in a pretty box or cellophane wrap and ribbon.
Raw Chocolate Truffles
• 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds (or any other seeds you have on hand)
• 1/2 cup walnuts (or any other nuts you have on hand – cashews are wonderful too)
• 1/2 cup dates
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
• 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1. Process the nuts in the food processor. Keep processing them until you can't see the nuts anymore, but stop processing before they get too soft looking.
2. Add the dates, sea salt and cacao powder. Process again until everything is well mixed and clumped together.
3. Roll the balls in your hand and form balls. You may also like to roll the completed truffles in goji berries, coconut, cacao powder, etc.
These keep well in the fridge.
I recently gave a workshop, and the most commonly asked questions revolved around fish oils.
Ever since researchers noted that native sub-actic populations were quite stout and yet didn’t have many of the chronic diseases of industrialised society, fish oil has been in the research pipeline. The results of 20+ years of publications, on balance, point to fish oil having big health benefits chiefly through its potent anti-inflammatory effect (helping with everything from cardiac disease and mental health, from skin conditions to arthritis).
However, for years I’ve told most of my clients that while they think they have this base covered, the junk they’re buying at the chemist or supermarket store isn’t helping. Now a recent study highlights that fact.
This study compared the effectiveness of 4 different types of fish oil, including concentrated (and more expensive) fish oil, cheaper concentrated fish oil, cheap krill oil and unconcentrated salmon oil.
The more expensive concentrated fish oil was found to be far, far more effective.
Furthermore, it is worthwhile remembering that fish oil can go rancid - even in capsules. So if you are buying a big bottle of fish oil that was sitting in the bargain bin outside the chemist for some time, and then that sits on your kitchen bench for even longer, then chances are it has gone off on the inside. Rancid fish oil actually CREATES inflammation in the body, the exact opposite of what you want.
You can check the freshness of your fish oil by biting into a capsule. If it tastes like fresh fish, then you are probably OK. If it tastes bitter, rancid or unpleasant, then it might not be that good for you. I often recommend fish oils that you take off the spoon as you can always taste whether it is OK, and you also get a good therapeutic dose that way.
There are many other factors to consider when buying fish oil - including the ratio of EPA/DHA (types of fatty acids) - differences here help us know whether your fish oil is best for mental health or cardiovascular health for example. If you are going to shell out on a supplement, then you might as well get the one which is formulated for the particular effect you are after.
Of course, it is always good to get your fish oil from fresh fish as well. Some varieties are better than others, but that is a whole other blog post (or kettle of fish, so to speak!).
Next time you are in for a consultation, feel free to ask me for a recommendation on the fish oil best for you. I am not aligned with any particular manufacturer or supplier, so happy to provide an unbiased recommendation.
What's the deal with coffee? And why do some people do well on diets, and others don't? Why are these two topics related?
You might have noticed lately that there seems to be a few studies coming out about coffee. And they are confusing, right?
One study tells us that coffee will help prevent cancer. The next tells us that coffee may cause cancer. Coffee helps us lose weight. Coffee is bad for cardiovascular disease. And so on.
So what do we make of this information? Do we drink coffee or don’t we? Maybe we can limit it to one or two cups a day. But is that enough to get the benefits? Or is it too much?
And then there are the diets. Paleo, Primal, Atkins, Vegan, Low Carb, Low Fat, High Carb, High Fat, Fasting, Eating more…. Where do you start to work out what is best for you?
The easiest way to cut through the confusion is to remember that we are all different. Very different.
Our genomic make-up, the environment we live in, the food we eat, the activities we undertake, whether we are stressed or relaxed, how much sleep we get, our family history, our hormone health, our happiness levels all vary and make us the individual we are.
This is something that naturopaths have always taken into account when helping our clients get healthier. It is why your first consultation with us can take up to 90 minutes, and we also make use of some pretty comprehensive questionnaires and use functional pathology testing in clinic to get a holistic picture of who you really are.
It is why we recommend you consult with someone trained in vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines before taking supplements. What works for one person, may not be great for another.
And now we even have access to looking at your how your genomic profile influences your health. As we learn more about our genes, we are starting to get some pointers to a range of health clues through genomic profiling tests which can tell us:
• Your ability to metabolise sugar and, in turn, your risk of diabetes.
• Your in-built stress response and the impact stress has on your body.
• Your personal need for a range of key nutrients vital for health including omega 3, vitamins, and CoQ10.
• The best way for you to reduce and maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
• Your liver detoxification ability.
• The optimal amounts of fats and salt your body requires to support health.
• Your risk for late onset lactose intolerance and coeliac disease.
• How your body responds to caffeine and the impact caffeine has on your body.
• Bone health for prevention of osteoporosis.
• Your oestrogen detoxification ability.
• Your inflammatory response to food and lifestyle.
• Antioxidant response and antioxidant levels.
• The best exercise regime for strength and stamina for you.
• And even your seasonal variation to sleep, mood, appetite and social activity.
The emerging science of epigenetics reveals that how genes express themselves are influenced by what we eat and ingest, our lifestyles, emotions and environment.
By accessing your genetic profile, you can learn how to optimise your diet and modify your lifestyle to “turn of” genes that have the potential to cause harm and “turn on” genes that help to prevent disease.
It is an exciting time we live in to be able to access this information.
PS – if you want to learn more genomic wellness testing, then right this way!
It is getting chilly, and at the moment, a salad just doesn't cut it.
Here are 5 easy lunch ideas to try instead...
1. Ingenious Noodle Pots
3. Paleo Pizzas
I blame the smartphone.
We are so used to having everything instantly that we have forgotten how to wait.
We want everything right now. Whether it is a piece of information, our coffee order, or a response from someone; we have little patience if something is taking longer than we think it should. Even Facebook will rate a business's page based on how quickly that business responds to messages. We want everything now!
On top of that, we are always on the go. In fact 24 hours, 7 days a week. We keep ourselves busy, busy, busy and rarely take the downtime to do nothing. And if we do, we feel bad that we aren't doing something.
We are incredibly impatient when it comes to our health too. We feel sick and want something that will fix it right now.
The thing is, our bodies don't realise that we are living in the 21st century. Our adrenal glands struggle to pump out the large quantities of noradrenalin we demand it to get up and start everyday.
Our over-anxious minds struggle to slow down so we can rest properly. I mean blissed out, completely relaxed rest.
We start to burn out with all the caffeine and sugar we feed it to keep going, and then our livers don't get a rest from the alcohol we drink to try and slow down.
Have a cold? Then we take something to "soldier on".
Many cultures of ancient times valued and appreciated the body's need for downtime. These cultures understood the moon cycles (often linked to menstrual cycles) and that during menstruation women needed to retreat and be introverted. They understood and respected the seasons of the year and that in winter we needed to slow down and sleep more. If only our workplaces respected this as well!
Many cultures also knew that we need significant rest after traumatic events - for example mourning periods lasted for months and years. Today we get 2 or 3 days of bereavement leave.
The impact that big life events has on us are also not marked as they once were. Whether we have started or ended a relationship, moved house, had a new baby or started a new job, we are expected to keep going at the same pace as always.
The thing is, in nature, things take time.
You can't just plant a seed in the ground and expect a fully-grown tree to spring up straight away. You need to water it, give it the right nutrients, have cycles of warmth and coldness, light and dark. And wait.
It is the same with achieving long term health. You have to give yourself time. The right nutrients. Periods of rest. Periods of activity. And be patient.
For true wellness - on a physical, mental and emotional level, we simply can't bypass the laws of nature. Sure, we can obtain a quick fix or band-aid solution, but for long term good health, we have to work in with the cycles and laws of nature.
Nearly every one of my clients are overworked and struggling to keep pace with the expectations of society. Every single one. Too much depending on adrenalin. Too much fast food. Too many quick fixes. Not enough self care and nurturing.
It is often the cause of so many health conditions.
I've been there too. I get it. It is incredibly hard to take the time to heal ourselves properly.
Society just doesn't make it easy for us to slow down.
But sometimes, we just have to.
The only way though to change things is to put your health first. You have to prioritise it.
Sometimes that means making difficult decisions such as taking time off work. Asking for space. Making time to cook from scratch. Making more time for exercise. Most importantly, more time for rest.
And, I'll say it again, it simply has to be done. You can't hurry biology or nature. Our body's have evolved with a slower pace of life over thousands of years. Which is why we are now burning out as things speed up so quickly.
Let's be more gentle on ourselves. More gentle on each other. And more patient.
Jackie*, a 37 year old accountant, came to see me in my Sydney clinic, wanting help with low energy, low motivation and difficulty concentrating at work. She told me that she would try to eat well during the day, but at night would eat compulsively. She craved chocolate and salty foods especially.
She had had a child 6 years ago, and in that time had gained almost 30 kgs and now weighed 102 kg, which made exercising difficult.
She had tried different diets, including shakes and then a low-calorie, home delivery meal program, but it left her feeling unsatisfied.
During the day she was very tired, but then would have trouble sleeping at night. She was plagued by regular headaches and had also developed eczema on her hands, inside the elbows and behind the knees.
A recent course of antibiotics had complicated things by causing bloating in the abdomen and reflux.
Her mood was very low, and she felt “heavy and stuck”. She found that she was not coping with stress very well.
We undertook some tests which showed that Jackie’s cortisol was elevated, and she also had an imbalance of several key nutrients.
WHAT WE DID
I first started Jackie on a six week nutritional detox program with specific strains of probiotics to support the liver function and establish a healthy flora balance in the gastrointestinal tract. We cut out many processed foods, especially refined carbohydrates and sugars, and started on a “cleaner” way of eating.
At the same time, I prescribed a herbal medicine to help support the nervous system, energy production, stress response and low mood; a high quality fish oil; and also a herbal and magnesium sleep formula.
By week two, Jackie reported a significant improvement in both mood and energy levels along. By week four, she told me her concentration had started to improve, and her bloating reduced. She felt that she now had the energy to start going for a regular 30 minute gentle walk each day.
After 6 weeks, her eczema had improved significantly, and Jackie noticed she didn’t get a headache as much, in fact she couldn’t remember when she had last had one. Even though we hadn’t yet started focusing on weight loss, she lost 4.5 kgs in those 6 weeks, and was thrilled with this.
She was keen to continue with weight loss as an objective, so we commenced on an efficient weight loss protocol with the aim to improve leptin sensitivity (the hormone which regulates appetite) and also discover if there were any particular foods causing inflammation.
By week 10, she had lost a total of 11 kgs. Jackie noticed that she could think more clearly and had a lot more energy and so had joined a gym, where she especially loved the aqua-aerobics classes. She had noticed that she was able to deal with challenges at work which previously used to stress her out.
Jackie had started to enjoy cooking and eating wholesome foods, and had cut out some specific foods which she noticed gave her a headache and skin rashes - a sign of inflammation in the body which can contribute to weight gain.
By week 14, she had lost a total of 15.5 kgs, and her energy had improved so much that she wanted to start training for a 5 day hike in New Zealand, something which had been on her dream list for a long time.
At this point, I moved from Sydney to Coffs Harbour, but I asked Jackie to promise to tell me when she achieved her hike.
Jackie’s case shows how strategic detoxification and weight loss can have so many positive effects on the mind and body. Jackie did all the hard work, but I was proud to be involved with such a positive change.
UPDATE: 3 Years Later
I received an email from Jackie recently who reported that she had spent her 40th birthday in New Zealand, where she completed a 10 day hike (her third long hike!).
She now weighed 72kgs, which was less than before she had her daughter. She had been offered a partnership in her accountancy firm, and she also cheekily shared that her libido had improved.
Her next goal was to start sailing, and to take the family sailing around the world for a year. I can’t wait to hear from her when she achieves this.
Thank you Jackie for letting me share your story today.
I am not going to make any wild claims that this body scrub will get rid of cellulite. There is no cream or treatment that will do this without diet and exercise. But since caffeine has been shown to minimise the appearance of cellulite (thanks to its temporary tightening effect) and scrubs can stimulate circulation and production of collagen, well I like to pretend that I am scrubbing away lumps and bumps every time I use it.
What I can say is that this scrub will leave your skin feeling smooth and soft. And gosh it smells so good.
Plus, you can make it yourself with ingredients you are likely to have in your pantry already.
You can use fresh coffee grounds, but I use spent grounds collected from my coffee machine. You can even ask your barista for their used grounds. They might look at you strangely, but they probably won’t forget your regular coffee order again.
WHAT YOU NEED
4 tablespoons spent or fresh ground coffee
2 tablespoons Himalayan or dead sea salts
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or vanilla bean powder
WHAT TO DO
Mix all in a bowl and scoop into a jar
HOW TO USE IT
Use about a tablespoon as a scrub in the shower. If you are worried about coffee grounds going down the drain, then tape a chux cloth over the drain to collect the grounds.
Turmeric first came to my attention about 15 years ago when I was a naturopathic student and the spice had started to get some serious attention in both the natural medicine and scientific community.
We knew that in countries where people use turmeric extensively in cooking, that the intake seemed to be associated with a lower level of certain chronic conditions including arthritis, gastrointestinal diseases and even cancer.
Traditionally turmeric was used to strengthen overall energy of the body, to improve digestion, regulate menstruation, relieve arthritis, gallstones, bruising, immune conditions (such as cold and flu) and toothache.
Clinical trials are now showing evidence that turmeric can help with :
- Dyspepsia and peptic ulcer
- Hyperlipidaemia – such as high cholesterol
- Certain cancers
- Inflammatory disorders including asthma and irritable bowel
- Psoriasis (when used externally)
Some evidence is even emerging that turmeric can assist with mood disorders with greater effectiveness that Prozac, and also beats Ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory. However, unlike these medications, turmeric is safe and well tolerated in most people.
High-standard turmeric is now available in capsule form, however turmeric golden paste is a powerful way to get these benefits.
Personally, I definitely notice a difference when I haven't had turmeric for a couple of weeks - my little arthritic toes ache.
Below is an easy-to-prepare Golden Paste recipe, plus 7 different ways to use it in food.
I also share some thoughts on dosage.
WHY BLACK PEPPER BOOSTS TURMERIC BLOOD LEVELS
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and responsible for its golden color, but it is not readily absorbed by the body. Once ingested, most of the curcumin gets quickly metabolized before it can get absorbed. Piperine (the heat in black pepper) helps make curcumin more bio-available as it temporarily slows the liver from removing it from the blood.
We now know that the bioavailability, serum levels, and levels of absorption of curcumin all improved dramatically when both are present. (Although traditional cultures discovered this thousands of years ago).
One study found that when even 2 g. (a good dose) of curcumin was ingested, serum levels stayed very low. However, when 20 mg. piperine was added to curcumin the bio-availability increased by 2000%!
And it doesn’t take much. Even just a little pinch of black pepper – 1/20th of a teaspoon – can significantly boost levels.
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING TURMERIC GOLDEN PASTE:
1/2 cup turmeric powder (125 g) – Use organic powder. I just love the Changing Habits Turmeric Powder, as I know that Cyndi goes out of her way to source raw ingredients which meet her strict standards.
1 cup water (250 mls) or a bit more to get desired paste consistency
1 teaspoons ground black pepper (7.5 mls) (or even 1/2 tsp. if pepper is too irritating)
1/4 cup (70 ml) un-refined Coconut oil – enhances the bio-availability of curcumin another seven to eight-fold
When eaten with fat as is done in India, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby partially bypassing the liver.
QUICK & EASY DIRECTIONS
Add turmeric to water in a pan. Heat gently along with stirring. Do this till you get a thick paste, approximately 6 to 10 min. Adjust thickness by adding some water or adding a bit more turmeric.
Finally, add the pepper and oil. Keep stirring to ensure that all ingredients are mixed properly. Allow it to cool.
Bottle in clean jar with tight-fitting lid and refrigerate it for 4-5 weeks or more. This will ensure you can make it once and use for days.
Okay, so now you’ve slaved (not exactly true, I know) to make your golden paste. What do you do with it?
7 EASY AND FABULOUS WAYS TO USE TURMERIC GOLDEN PASTE
1.) Take half a small spoonful (~ 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) and chase it with water…all done! It’s one very popular way if you don’t like the taste (over quickly, no fuss or bother) and my favourite to spread it out through the day. One teaspoon is equal to ~2,000 mg. Best to take smaller quantities 3-4 times per day, especially if battling chronic neuro-degenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune diseases, or cancer.
2.) Turmeric honey. Some may not like turmeric paste’s taste by itself. Adding good quality honey makes the job easy.
Raw honey has its own health benefits. Adding raw honey to paste enhances its already existing health benefits. Just mix the paste with honey (to desired taste)
3.) Add to warm or cold milk. Golden turmeric milk is one of the most popular ways to take turmeric daily. Turmeric milk is extremely popular in Asian countries. I prefer to use use almond milk, cashew milk or additive-free coconut milk as dairy is inflammatory for some clients.
Simply add some turmeric paste in your milk and maybe a little honey or stevia (please not artificial sweeteners).
4.) Add to meals and hot soups. Simply add a dollop of golden paste. I’ve found I can ‘hide’ it in dishes with other stronger flavours.
5.) Add to smoothies. There’s no limit to innovations you can do here. Experiment. Add turmeric golden paste to all kinds of smoothies and make your favourite ones even healthier.
6.) Add it to rice. Turmeric golden paste can easily be added to rice. You can add 1 or more teaspoons after you have cooked the rice while still warm which enables smooth mixing.
7.) Turmeric tea. You can add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric golden paste to a hot cup of already-brewed tea, add honey, maybe a splash of almond milk, and your quick turmeric tea is ready. The taste and texture may not seem like a “normal tea” as it has black pepper and oils … but it is tasty; I have tried it.
DOSAGE FOR TURMERIC GOLDEN PASTE
Ground Turmeric: 1 teaspoon (2,000 mg. or 2 grams)
According to the traditional medical community, 2,000 mg – 3,000 mg, and this is considered the maximum amount of standardized turmeric curcumin you should take per day, although some studies show that 8,000 mg per day can be taken without any effects of toxicity. If taking higher doses, it is always best to work with a healthcare practitioner, especially if you are pregnant or wanting to conceive.
Studies show that you will start to notice a positive effect after 2 weeks, however as most conditions which benefit from turmeric are chronic, treatment with turmeric should be considered long term.
(References available upon request).
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist