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 grass-fed organic 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 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!
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
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist