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The wi ter we lbe g ssue!
steps to free your feminine force
L I R
The health issue you can’t ignore
JUNE – JULY 2018
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a healthy start contents
Contents June – July 2018
Food & nutrition 68 The spice is nice Ananta Ripa Ajmera shares the magical healing world of Ayurvedic spices.
70 Should you skip wheat and dairy? These are the two most common food intolerances.
72 Eat to beat inflammation Naturopathic tips on how to ight back with your fork.
74 Something missing? Iodine is needed for so much more than just correct thyroid function.
76 Nutrition notes
News, expert tips, recipes, and the latest information
14 Earth healer
report SPECIAL: Winter wellness
Expert libido-boosting advice from naturopath Caroline Robertson.
40 44 48 50 52 54
22 Blood sugar blues
Dr Mahdi Mason is passionate about restoring our connection to Mother Earth.
20 Oh, my goddess!
Insulin resistance can cause serious health problems – and it’s on the rise. 60
26 Herbal help for PMS 61
How precious green medicine can tame this monthly terror.
28 How to foil a headache Fortunately, natural medicine offers helpful options.
30 Fertility fixes 66 67
Holistic health advice on improving your chances of falling pregnant.
34 Health check News, expert tips, health products, and the latest information.
Like us on Facebook, for your chance to win heaps of fab natural health and beauty prizes! www.facebook.com/NatureAndHealth
natureandhealth.com.au | 5 | June-July 2018
Winter health tips Warming root vegie recipes Energy-boosting therapies Colds, begone! Ease sore joints Sleep deep Get the shut-eye you need. Winter meditation From the external to the internal. Fight back! The best immune-boosters. What is conscious writing? Deepen your self-knowledge. Colour your world Pump up your energy levels by picking the right hues. Slowly does it Try the fast food of yesterday – seasonal slow cooking. Boost winter qi Vitamin D deiciency Despite Australia’s abundant sunshine, one-third of us are deicient in it. The glories of garlic.
a healthy start contents
Mind + spirit 78 Heal your broken heart Buddhist meditation teacher Lodro Rinzler has the wisdom you need.
80 A mind of your own Does a ‘chemical imbalance’ really cause depression?
82 Connections News, tips, and inspirational insights.
Organic living 90 Detox your home Check your home for nasties that could affect your health.
94 Pass it on! Businesses that are giving back to people and the planet.
❃ On the cover 39 78 20 22 90 26 54 62 94 28
Winter wellbeing Life after heartbreak Oh, my goddess! Insulin resistance Detox your home Remedies for PMS Sleep better - tonight! Colour therapy Ethical fashion buys Foil a headache
96 You, naturally The best new and natural products and must-buy ethical goods.
84 How to green your beauty routine
98 Natural home
Beauty editor Lisa Tristram picks her favourite products.
How to be a food activist, and the prettiest (and safest) winter candles.
86 Skin tags These pesky little bumps aren’t just unsightly – they might signal pre-diabetes.
88 Natural beauty News, expert tips, and the best new and natural beauty products.
Regulars 08 10 99 93
Editorial Letters This is the month to Subscriptions
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Subscribe today! Turn to page 93 to get your hands on this month’s great offer! natureandhealth.com.au | 6 | June-July 2018
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a healthy start from the editor
Editor Pamela Allardice firstname.lastname@example.org National Sales Manager Lynda Prince Tel: (02) 9213 8244 email@example.com Contributing Editors Nichola Suzanne Bedos BA MA (Counselling), Jane Carstens RN, Dr Mary Casey, Flo Fenton, Dominique Finney ND, Hedley Galt, Laura Greaves, Jennifer Harbottle, Nicola Howell ND, Aimee Christine Hughes ND, Helene Larson, Kylie Daniel ND, Tamra Mercieca, Louise O’Connor ND, Rosemary Ann Ogilvie, Dr Fay Paxton, Melanie Rivers Dip Nut., Tamara Skok ND, Nina Stephenson ND, Jayne Tancred ND, Lynda Wharton BA ND D.Ac, Beth Wicks, Charmaine Yabsley Advertising Production Kristal Young Tel: (02) 9213 8301 Fax: (02) 9281 2750 firstname.lastname@example.org All mail: GPO Box 606, Sydney NSW 2001, Australia.
SUBSCRIPTIONS WWW.GREATMAGAZINES.COM.AU FREECALL: 1800 807 760 EMAIL: email@example.com SUBSCRIPTION RATES 1 year/6 issues $57.75 1 year PLUS $63.50 (print + digital) 1 year (overseas) New Zealand $A65 Asia $A75 Rest of world $A90 Marketing Manager Sabarinah Elijah Customer Service Manager Martin Phillpott Publisher Helen Davies Production Director Matthew Gunn Art Director Ana Maria Heraud Studio Manager Lauren Esdaile Designer Harry O’Donnell Nature & Health is published by Yaffa Media Pty Ltd ABN 54 002 699 354. 17-21 Bellevue Street Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Australia. Tel: (02) 9281 2333 Fax: (02) 9281 2750
Copyright ©2018 by Yaffa Media. All rights reserved. Distributed to newsstands by Gordon & Gotch. ISSN 0815-7006 The opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily relect the policy of Yaffa Media. All material in this magazine is provided for information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based on the contents of this magazine; instead, appropriate health professionals should be consulted. Writer’s guidelines available on request. Unsolicited manuscripts will only be returned if accompanied by a stamped and self-addressed envelope.
Soup for the soul I
T'S not often that I get to feel like Nigella in the kitchen. But when I'm standing over a pot of French onion or pea and ham soup that I've crafted from scratch, I feel closer to being the great cook I've always wanted to be. With a little bit of time spent chopping and sauteeing, a few hours of simmering, accompanied by the mouthwatering aromas of garlic and all sorts of veggie goodness wafting around my home, and, just before serving, a splash of olive oil, a swirl of pesto and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan, or some snipped fresh herbs, buttery croutons, and caramelised onion curls, well, my soup makes me look like a pro. But soup does more than make you look like a pro. It also helps you and your family or guests feel loved and cared for – there is something about supping slowly from a spoon that is profoundly restorative and healing. It's no accident that soup recipes are offered to people with cancer and for survivors, for whom soup can be a gentle 'bridge' back to full, healthy eating. Some of the most popular soup ingredients are also great sources of vitamins and antioxidants. Lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans, when combined with a grain such as pasta or barley, form complete (and easily digestible) proteins; cabbage, which has served as the base for peasant soups for centuries, provides a rich source of vitamin C, while carrots, famously high in vitamin A and rich in heart-healthy carotenoids, are integral to classic stockmaking. Soup-making is a marvellous platform for culinary improvisation: there are so many opportunities to add flavours and nutrients. And - as my Great Depression-raised mother taught me - soup is a great way to use whatever is on hand, to use up less than optimally fresh vegetables, and to eliminate waste by making your own stock out of the fish and chicken bones, celery and carrot tops, and veggie peelings you'd otherwise chuck in the bin. There's even evidence that a steaming bowl of chicken soup can shorten the duration of the common cold. Whether or not soup can take the place of echinacea, andrographis, and bed rest, there's no doubt that it fortifies the body and spirit, and should be part of any winter health practice. Want to start your winter wellness plan? Turn to page 39. Pamela Allardice – Editor
P.S. Get in touch! Like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and be in the running for our fabulous giveaways; or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org P.P.S. Sign up for our FREE weekly e-news, delivered right to your inbox. Simply visit our homepage www.natureandhealth.com.au to subscribe and start getting healthier.
natureandhealth.com.au | 8 | June-July 2018
a healthy start letters
Letters What you have to say about self-nurturing time, cold sore cures, mercury in ish oil, and safer shower curtains.
❃ What’s worked for you? A selection of hints and tips from our readers Antibiotic alternative I use echinacea and golden seal tinctures, plus fresh garlic, roasted garlic, and a tea I brew from fresh ginger, lemon and honey. I haven’t needed antibiotics for years. Hunter Ryden, via Facebook
Pumped! I’m religious about my daily walks, but never realised how important strength training is until I went to a gym. Ever since I’ve added weights to my routine, I’ve had more energy and even noticed my pants loosening! Caren Cheng, via e-mail
D-I-Y beauty I make brown sugar scrubs for friends. I love to add lemongrass and sweet orange oils plus almond or coconut oil and inely milled oats to switch things up. Julie Farrell, via Facebook
Cold sore cure My husband would get cold sores every spring, without fail. This year, he had three in one spot and it looked like it would scar – nothing worked, not even prescription drugs. Then he used pure lemon balm oil. He applied it twice daily and it worked like a charm. He hasn't had one since. Lynne Carter, via e-mail
I enjoy your magazine very much, but felt I must congratulate you on your ‘self-care’ issue (February). My daughter has just left home, and while I am working through the sadness of 'empty nest syndrome', I am also relishing the space and time to myself, so this issue was particularly relevant. Heather Thomas, via e-mail.
I was reading about fish oil for children's brain health on your website, and I was pleased to see that you qualified your recommendation about taking supplements to include a warning to ask manufacturers about mercury and PCBs. It is important to note that not all supplements are sourced with this in mind. As the mother of an autistic child who has significant mercury toxicity, I would like your readers to be aware that NO amount of mercury is safe. It is a neurotoxin. Autism spectrum disorders are a national epidemic and many of these children exhibit heavy metal toxicity. We need to be alert and to only support brands and suppliers that are transparent on this issue. Lisa Spencer, Warragamba, NSW
Safer shower curtains I found an article on your website about 'Detoxing your bathroom', but the link to the PVC-free shower curtain supplier wasn't working. Where can I order these curtains, please? Holly Piccioni, via e-mail Editor's reply: Fishpond (www.fishpond.com. au) have a great selection of durable, quick-drying hemp shower curtains which, unlike PVC ones, do not gas off toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs); so does Satara Home & Baby (www.satarahome.com).
Kudos for Ben I saw Ben Harvey speak and he was an inspiration, so I was delighted to see your interview with him – his advice to 'help enough people to get what they want, and you'll always end up getting what you want' really resonated with me, both professionally (I manage a sales team) and personally, as helping others also helps you to be happy, healed, and whole. Sylvie Bennett, via e-mail
Acupuncture for sciatica Following a car accident, I suffered from severe sciatica. One of the few things that has helped is acupuncture – it's very effective, not just at the time of treatment, but for up to 10 days afterwards. Alexis Dock, via e-mail Got something to say? Chat to us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NatureAndHealth Tweet us at www.twitter.com/nature_health Follow us on Instagram at www.instagram.com/nature_and_health Send an email to email@example.com
natureandhealth.com.au | 10 | June-July 2018
MY DAILY GREEN
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Are you a practitioner or clinic that has contributed to the Australian natural medicine industryâ€™s growth and prosperity, or do you know of one? Or are you, or do you know of, a rising-star student?
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RECOGNISING ACHIEVEMENT IN THE NATURAL MEDICINE PROFESSION We want to recognise the natural medicine practitioners, clinics, and rising-star students that contribute to the industryâ€™s growth and prosperity. DO YOU KNOW OF, OR ARE YOU, A PRACTITIONER, CLINIC, OR RISING-STAR STUDENT THAT HAS:
Made a signiicant contribution to the Australian natural medicine profession
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Been an inspirational role model for other practitioners, clinics or students
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Leading the conversation on regenerative impact, land healer and environmentalist Dr Mahdi Mason is passionate about restoring the balance between people and Mother Earth.
Earth healer natureandhealth.com.au | 14 | June-July 2018
HEN so much of the planet is in need of our attention, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start: “How can I, as one little person out of billions, make a diference?”, we wonder. Dr Mahdi Mason believes you can. After years of not fully connecting to the environment and animals around her, she found that, like so many others, she was getting sucked into a corporate cycle of work and burnout: she had lost her connection with the earth. Through reconnecting to her roots, she discovered a way we can all heal ourselves, and heal our planet in the process. She shares her thoughts on how we can all start this journey with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. How did your new book, Earth Healing, come to be? It might sound harsh, but I think we’re on the path to extinction, and I believe it’s all because we’re not connected to the earth any more. People have lost this connection, we’ve forgotten how to look after it; and because we don’t have that connection and sense of caring for the earth, we’re dragging it along with us towards this path of extinction, where it can no longer sustain us. The truth is, we’re just taking from the environment, and we’re not giving anything back. We’re living this very unsustainable lifestyle, and I believe this comes from the fact that we’re all so disconnected from the environment. Which came first – the disconnection from self and then from the earth, or the other way around? I think it’s more that our society has got very caught up with consumerism and technology, and who’s-beating-who in capitalism. We've forgotten what is really fulilling and good for our health, and that is spending time in nature. We have become too concerned with making more money, getting a bigger house, going on holidays, owning more things … it’s just this never-ending rush to get as much and to do as much as you can – which you can never actually fulil. For you, how did this connection with the earth begin? I always had it as a child – I was simply obsessed with animals! And I still feel as though I have got this deep connection with animals, and this understanding that they’re innocent creatures which get taken advantage of and disrespected by people. As a child, I felt that I needed to be a voice for animals, and to protect them. This meant that I spent a lot of time outdoors, and I began to understand that if I truly wanted to
natureandhealth.com.au | 15 | June-July 2018
Whether it’s caused by underground water, pollution, or psychic energy, if we live on land that is in need of healing, it afects our health – we can become sad and sick simply from being there. help and care for animals, I needed to protect the land that they live in. That led me to study Environmental Science and Environmental Management, and that in turn gave me the understanding and knowledge to start putting things in place to encourage people to look after the environment more. However, in the process, I jumped on the same path as everybody else does: I embarked upon a corporate career, doing an environmental management job where I got caught up in the system and got really stressed out. I was always trying to get more done than I ever humanly could, and I lost connection. In my endeavour to try and reconnect and live a more fulfilling life, I came back to nature.
I found that spending simply 20 minutes a day in nature turned my whole life around, and made me a much calmer, happier person. That insight is where all my work comes from now. I want everyone to know how beneficial it is to spend time in nature, because the more people understand what nature does for the mind, body, and spirit, the more people want to protect it themselves. It’s not about trying to make people selfless or to 'do the right thing' to help the environment; it’s more helping them to appreciate what it does for them, so that they understand first-hand and naturally want to do all they possibly can to protect it. You don’t need people like me preaching about how important it is to look after the environment. You need to witness yourself how life-changing and life-affirming it is, so you want to work to protect it yourself. There's your idea of connection again: to heal yourself, you need to heal the earth. Yes! We’re certainly not separate from the environment: if it’s unhealthy, we’re unhealthy. We’re very much part of the earth's cycles – food, water, carbon, the ecosystems … the human body itself is a complete ecosystem!
We’re part of nature, and we’re interacting with our environment all the time, there is no separation. If we’re not looking after ourselves, we’re not looking after the environment; and the reverse is also true - if we’re not looking after the environment, we’re not looking after ourselves. Let’s get really practical - what did you do to restart the connection? I ensured I made a commitment to physically connect with the earth every single day, either sitting in nature or standing in nature, and always barefoot. The things that worked for me were walking my dogs barefoot – I have a lovely area near my house where I can walk barefoot, so I was able to it that easily into my daily schedule. Depending on where you live, you could commit to going for a walk along a beach, around a lake, or in bushland, or to reading a book lying on the earth, or playing outdoors with your kids in bare feet. If you’re in an oice all day, go and sit in your local park. You can always ind a green area somewhere, even in the city, so go and spend your lunch-break sitting on the earth. Even if you have no time during daylight hours, you can spend time outdoors standing on the bare earth and looking at the stars at night-time. My recommendation is 20 minutes a day, to physically connect with the earth. What results have you seen from this? The biggest thing I notice in clients is how calm they become - that’s the most noticeable efect, and it can happen in the space of a mere 20 minutes. I used to come home from work feeling terribly stressed, and I would go down the end of the street to this beautiful green spot to sit - and it would change me completely. I would go down there being a complete bitch and really angry, and I’d come back a diferent person. It was like I had this split personality! Spending time barefoot in nature balances you out; it puts everything into perspective again. You might be feeling all caught up in a continuous loop of worry in your head, fretting about bills and all the things you’ve got to do, but as soon as you connect with nature, all that caught-up energy spreads out and disseminates – you quite literally become more grounded. You start to see that you really don’t need to worry about these things. There are more important things in life, and actually there are a whole lot of things to be happy about right this second. How does being physically connected to nature change our stress response? There are quite a few reasons. When we’re in that stressed state, not connecting with the earth, certain parts of the brain which are responsible for making us feel calm and happy are actually
❃ Healing the earth Here are some of Dr Mason’s ideas on how we can all help to heal the earth around us. The irst thing to understand is that the sort of things that we ‘eco warriors’ are presently doing to help the earth are all focused on reducing our impact on the environment. Yes, we’re using reusable coffee cups and reusable shopping bags, and investigating sources of renewable energy, and buying Fairtrade clothing, and recycling our paper and plastic. And yes, all those actions and habits that reduce our eco-footprints are very important, but we need to realise that they are only slowing down our rate of destruction of the earth – we are still destroying the earth, but just doing it at a slower rate. Instead, what we need to do is to continue do those eco-supportive actions – but then to take things a step further to actually reverse our impact as well. That’s the deinition of an Earth Healer: it is somebody who gives back to the earth, someone who reverses their impact, not just minimises it. This giving back can be as spiritual, or as practical and scientiic, or as physical in orientation as you like. For example, some simple ideas that you can do to give back physically are to start composting: to give some of your food waste and all of its nutrients back to the earth, instead of sending it to landill. Or you can also join a local green landcare or bushcare group, where you can offer time and energy to restore entire ecosystems. Or, gift a piece of land on your property back to the earth. Instead of maintaining it artiicially - mowing it, pruning it, or whatever - allow it to be
a space where Mother Earth can do whatever she might like to; let whatever wants to grow there, grow there, rather than imposing this human idea of what the environment should look like. Put habitat boxes in your backyard so that birds and animals can start coming back and using your place, because they used to live there before the houses were all built. Leave water out for animals, birds, and insects. Have habitat-friendly yards and fences, so that animals can cross between remnant bits of vegetation. Start up a miniature permaculture system, which basically means you include yourself in your own food cycle: you grow your own food, and you send your waste out as well, so it’s a cycle where you’re very much part of it. Metaphysically, there are many things you can do to give back energetically to the earth as well. You can do things like have a property healing. Or, you can place crystals around your place and activate them, because this will raise the property’s vibration. Fire is an important tool – of course I don’t mean a giant bonire, but a small contained ceremonial ire is a great way to cleanse and transmute energy, and to lift the property’s atmospheric vibration. Educate other people on the importance of reversing - not just reducing - our impact on the environment; education is, in itself, an energetic transfer. Have a ceremony where you honour the earth and give thanks for all it has provided you with over all these years. There are so many different things we can all do in order to act as Earth Healers.
switched of. Then when we go back into nature, that experience switches those parts of the brain back on, to remind us that we’re not in this ightor-light state. We evolved in nature, so it’s no surprise that, in order to function at optimum capacity, we need to be interacting with nature, taking in all of nature’s cues – the sights, the sounds, the smells – which help us to function the best we can. If we’re not spending time in nature and we’re not connected, we’re not getting that information, which shuts down those parts of the brain, sends cortisol levels through the roof, and keeps stress signals going the whole time.
natureandhealth.com.au | 17 | June-July 2018
natureandhealth.com.au | 18 | June-July 2018
Another reason is that, when we spend too much time indoors, and we’ve got shoes on all the time and we’re connected to electrical things - like our computers and phones, or watching TV on our many diferent screens – our bodies actually build up a positive electromagnetic charge. The earth naturally has a negative charge because it has negative ions, and when we physically connect with it, this negative charge is able to come through our body and neutralise our systems. Think of it as being like an antioxidant, being able to neutralise free radicals that damage cells; a negative ion charge similarly neutralises and takes away charges that act like toxins in the body. By connecting with the earth, we’re able to get rid of some of that positive charge that can make us feel anxious. That makes so much sense! Now - tell us about property healing: I’m an energetic healer; I grew up learning about reiki and shamanism, and I have done energetic healing, where I channel healing energy, for a long time. What people may not realise is that there are a lot of places on the earth, and probably in your home or workspace, that carry a denser energy. Everybody has experienced this energy, when they’ve walked into a house or a building and it just doesn't feel right or safe or comfortable. They can't figure out why it feels that way, but there's definitely something that’s off, and the place has a denser, heavier energy. Property healings remove and dissipate those denser pockets of energy, and raise the vibration of a place so it starts to feel happier, clearer, and lighter again. Two things that can often cause the negative energy that I work to heal are underground ley lines and electromagnetic radiation (EMFs). There can also be a problem with underground water channels, because they can carry emotional energy - it silently lows under most people’s houses, and they don’t even know. Then there’s built-up psychic energy - anyone who has ever been in your house in a bad mood, any arguments or trauma that have occurred there, it all leaves denser energy behind. Property healing is the process of healing all of those things and clearing them away, so that the property - and everything and everyone in or near it - can thrive. So on a simple level, yes, it will feel better and probably seem physically cleaner and clearer after a healing, but it's not just that, it frees and rebalances the property's energy - you can even see plants being able to grow better! I have also had clients say that they feel healthier and sleep better after a property healing has been done, because they have been impacted by these negative unseen inluences without even knowing it. Property healing can shift all sorts of things that you might think
are unrelated; for example, I have had clients say that they had been having trouble inding work, but after the property healing they found a job. Spending time in a place with dense, heavy energy has a profound impact on us. I hadn't realised the effects of what’s underneath or what runs through a property: You are not alone! When people talk about cleansing their homes, they're usually referring to the psychic level – practices like smudging, clapping bells, or sprinkling salt or herbs to purify and counter negative energy, for example. But there can be all these other factors underneath the property - from the land itself, and from the water that lows underneath the land - that actually have an even bigger impact. So, my property healings are a bit of a deeper cleanse than most people would be aware of.
I consider myself a voice for nature and animals – there are so many practical things we can all be doing every day to help Mother Earth. Do you feel positive about the way we’re headed? Yes, I actually do, because we’re at a point now where people can see for themselves how much things need to change. Climate change data means that we can see icebergs that are the size of entire countries melting; we have killed 50 percent of our ocean life in just the last 40 years; and then there's the heat - so many of us in Australia are seeing more days over 40 degrees. Now that people are learning about and experiencing these events for themselves, they are starting to take it seriously. I am optimistic that people are wanting to take action, and that makes me very positive for our future. It’s all about believing that you can make a difference … Yes, that’s absolutely right. No matter how small an action or a behaviour or a purchasing decision may be, it all does actually make a diference. Little changes, over time, equal big changes. As soon as you start doing one thing and make that one thing a habit, you’re ready to move onto another thing, and to then lock that in as a habit. It’s not like you have to do everything and make every change all at once. Just pick one thing, take it slowly, and, before you know it you’re doing a million things to help the environment.
natureandhealth.com.au | 19 | June-July 2018
Oh, my goddess! Every woman has an inner goddess born to shine, but we cover her with clouds of doubt. Free your feminine force to fulil your true potential.
OW good would you feel plugging into your power and purpose? To be proud of yourself and your place on this planet? To have the courage to dance to your own soul song? Oprah Winfrey says, “I was once afraid of people saying, ‘Who does she think she is?’ Now I have the courage to stand and say, 'This is who I am'." You don’t serve anyone by playing small. Tap into your inner treasure to be abundant and blessed. All will beneit from your blossoming being!
Awaken your goddess We catch glimpses of our goddess qualities when we’re connected with our authentic, empowered
energy; when we follow our intuition, believe in ourselves, and unconditionally love ourselves. We suppress our feminine force when we neglect our needs, spread negativity, and deny our deepest desires. Meditate on your goddess-self to manifest it. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself and bring out the best in your ever-evolving being. Try these 12 tips to grow your goddess wings – 1. List all your qualities and repeat them daily. 2. List qualities you admire in speciic women in your life. 3. Journal to listen to your inner voice. 4. Worship your body with healthy food, exercise, and wellness regimes.
natureandhealth.com.au | 20 | June-July 2018
❃ Divine inspirations Choose a goddess archetype that inspires you. Indian goddesses: • Lakshmi, for luck • Saraswati, for skill • Durga, for courage • Radha, for devotion • Kali, for power • Parvati, for nurturing • Astrology archetypes Air goddess: Iris is the rainbow messenger who assists you to explore (Gemini), analyse (Libran), and express (Aquarian). Fire goddess: Athena gives Aries strength, Leo stamina, and Sagittarius support in your mission. Earth goddess: Gaia nourishes Taurus, grounds Virgo, and gives Capricorns success. Water goddess: Venus quenches Cancer’s thirst for emotional acceptance, Scorpio’s search for depths, and Piscean’s esoteric explorations.
5. Dress and groom yourself like a goddess. 6. Share positive energy with others, with compliments and encouragement. 7. Listen to a goddess music mix. 8. Do a goddess-guided meditation. 9. Make a collage of inspiring women. 10. Have a goddess gathering by sharing, feasting, and dancing with friends. 11. Observe nature’s rhythms by sowing seeds of intention on the new moon, nurturing seeds at the waxing moon, appreciating fruits on full moon, and releasing things on the waning moon. 12. Do the following Goddess ritual: Collect ive lowers or shells. Preferably on a new moon or full moon evening, sit outside facing east or the ocean. Take three deep breaths. Imagine anything you want to release, reciting to yourself, “I let go and go with the low.” Throw each person, thing, belief,
“he world will change when every woman gets it - that we are all beautiful, powerful, and strong; that each one of us is a portion of a great and mighty Goddess self.” –Marianne Williamson
and behaviour that’s holding you back up into the air, as if you’re scattering ashes, the wind carrying them to the heavens to resolve. Feel a spaciousness that your Goddess can ill. Looking to the horizon or the moon, call your goddess spirit back. Sweeping your hands outwards then in towards your heart, say thrice, “Come Goddess (insert your name.)” Imagine all your fragments returning from people, places, beliefs that you lost yourself in. Tracing a love-heart shape on the ground around you, encircling your body, say thrice, “Fill me with love.” Close your eyes and smile to yourself. Feel complete. Visualise ive women who have helped you. Name them, thank them and ofer them a lower, shell or pebble which you place around the heart's outline. Say, “Thank you Goddesses, for granting me grace, guidance, abundance, attraction, health, wealth, happiness, power, purpose, peace, strength, security, calm, and contentment.” Imagine the sea, sky and soil is the goddess’s body, nurturing and protecting you. She envelops you in her empowering energy. Her shakti streams through your veins. Breathe in her blessings. Feel the goddess embracing you like angel wings.
Plug into your power. You will never fully experience your goddess energy unless you activate it. We can do endless rituals and airmations saying, “I am a goddess” - but continue to be used, abused, and unappreciated. You need to think and act like a goddess. As Picasso said, “There are only two types of women - goddesses and doormats.” Goddesses are clear about their boundaries and abilities, setting high standards for honouring themselves and others. So stop selling yourself short, don’t be a doormat, step into your glorious spotlight. Say you’re a goddess and show yourself you’re a goddess … with elevating action. Don’t spend a minute more in destructive or unconstructive patterns. Draining energy with deadend relationships, unhealthy habits, and negativity retards your goddess from growth. Nourish her with airmative action as well as airmations.
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❃ Goddess qualities Being a goddess is all about attitude, not appearance. It is about ‘being together’, not just appearing to be together. Women tend to look outside to validate themselves, but reaching inside is where a woman’s wonders are found. Looking for your goddess in make-up, clothes, beauty products, or diets is pointless if you don’t release her from within. Qualities that a goddess exudes include: • impenetrable self-acceptance • centred, conident, and content in herself • expresses her unique essence in all she does • trusts her intuition implicitly • follows her conscience above convention • owns her choices, accepts consequences, and never has a pity-party • lives, laughs, and loves vibrantly • sees everything as a valuable lesson, everyone as a teacher • always feels divinely protected and provided for • elevates and assists others • treats her body and environment like a temple • living example of grace, compassion, and conscious living • teaches people how to treat her with respect • shows love to herself and others Caroline Robertson is an author, naturopath, homeopath, and Ayurvedic practitioner. She offers courses, consultations, retreats and guided meditations. Contact 0430 092 601, www.carolinerobertson.com.au
health special report
natureandhealth.com.au | 22 | June-July 2018
health special report
Blood sugar blues Insulin resistance is a stealthy hormone imbalance that can rail-road metabolism and lead to serious health problems â€“ and it's on the rise, writes naturopath Tania Flack.
EELING lat and lethargic is a common problem; but imagine if this was happening every day and was only ever temporarily relieved when you gave into your ever-escalating sugar and carbohydrate cravings, only to return with a vengeance an hour later. Imagine if your weight steadily continued to increase, and no matter what you did belly fat stubbornly accumulated around your middle. These are just some of the warning signs of insulin resistance, a hormone imbalance that can lead to obesity and diabetes, and increase your risk of other serious health problems like cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Itâ€™s the silent epidemic in Australia that no one is talking about.
Hypoglycaemia vs insulin resistance There are two types of blood sugar imbalance. Hypoglycaemia is caused by a temporary drop in blood glucose, which can cause weakness, light-headedness, shakiness, fatigue and mood changes. This is usually corrected by eating a well-balanced meal and avoiding sugar and
reined carbs. People with hypoglycaemia have relex surges of insulin; people with insulin resistance, though, experience similar symptoms with constant elevations of insulin, an increase in weight and belly fat. It is diicult to get an accurate understanding of the prevalence of insulin resistance in Australia, because unlike its more dramatic cousin, type II diabetes, it is not considered a disease, more a contributing factor to other diseases, so statistics are not oicially recorded. A major sign of insulin resistance is stubborn belly fat and an increase in waist measurement, so if those igures are anything to go by then Australia is in the midst of a crisis. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in the 2011-2012 period 60.3% of men and 66.6% of women had an unhealthy waist measurement, which indicates an increased risk insulin resistance. Insulin is a key regulator of energy metabolism and is pivotal in inluencing how the body accumulates and stores fat. When we eat a meal, it is broken down in the stomach and absorbed through the small intestine. Fuel from carbohydrates is converted to glucose and
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health special report
❃ Herbal helpers Many herbs are beneicial in insulin resistance, including bitter melon, goat’s rue, and gymnema. A professional naturopath or herbalist should prescribe herbal medicine. Cinnamon Well known for its culinary uses, cinnamon has powerful effects on insulin and blood sugar control. A multitude of studies have found that it improves insulin receptor sensitivity. Even after a carbohydrate-rich meal, 3g of cinnamon leads to signiicant lowering of insulin. Doses between 3-10g are effective in the treatment of insulin resistance. Berberine-containing herbs Berberine is a constituent found in various plants, such as coptis, Oregon grape, barberry, and goldenseal. It has powerful and broad-ranging actions, being antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inlammatory, antidiabetic, and anti-obesity. Its beneits in blood sugar control have been extensively studied and it is known to enhance insulin sensitivity. One randomised, controlled clinical trial involving 89 women with PCOS and insulin resistance compared
berberine against the commonly used drug Metformin. Not only was it shown to be as effective as Metformin in lowering insulin, it had greater weight loss beneits and signiicantly lowered waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. Interestingly, animal experiments show that it can reduce appetite. While other studies show it increases endotoxin binding, which lowers the inlammation associated with an imbalanced gut microbiome, this may partly explain its beneicial effects in insulin resistance. Berberine needs to be prescribed by a naturopath or herbalist, because it can alter the diversity of the gut microbiome and shouldn’t be used for extended periods. Nigella sativa Sometimes known as black seed, nigella has been used in European, Middle Eastern and Ayurvedic traditional medicine and is well-known for its anti-diabetic activity. Nigella seeds, they oil they produce, and other extracts have been studied for their impact on insulin and glucose. Nigella enhances insulin sensitivity in both human and animal studies, an effect that is enhanced with the addition of alpha lipoic acid.
transported around the body in the bloodstream, and then delivered to cells to be used as fuel. A rise in blood sugar triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas, where it is produced. Insulin acts like a key: it locks onto receptor sites on the surface of cells, which then triggers various intracellular mechanisms that allow the passage of glucose into the cell so it can be used for energy.
Decoding causes When we eat, we absorb more fuel than we can immediately use, so insulin moves this extra fuel out of the bloodstream into storage, mainly in the liver, where it is stored as glycogen. This can be then be easily converted back to glucose when needed. However the liver only has limited storage, and excess glucose is converted to fat. Eating foods containing reined carbohydrates and sugar leads to a sharp increase in blood glucose, which causes an increase in fat deposition, predominantly in the intra peritoneal region, creating the dreaded ‘belly fat’. Insulin resistance also leads to abnormal fat being stored in the liver creating ‘fatty liver’, which comes with its own set of health risks. When we eat a meal high in reined carbohydrates or sugars we have big rush of glucose, which leads to an abnormally high level of insulin entering the system. Studies show the excessive amount of circulating insulin leads to a reduction in the sensitivity of the insulin receptor sites on the cell. Insulin resistance occurs when these receptors stop working as well, so while insulin may be readily available it can’t lock onto the receptors as efectively to trigger the transport of glucose into the cell. People start to feel tired and foggy which triggers sugar cravings, as the cells cry out for more fuel. However, more fuel is not the answer - better transport of the existing fuel is. This is where the ever-increasing sugar cravings start and the inner war begins: willpower versus the body’s need for energy. It can lead to dreadful anguish, as despite all eforts weight increases and people feel they are losing control of their metabolism. Genetics play a role in insulin resistance and some people are more likely to develop it than others. However, there are other factors, and often a perfect storm needs to occur for people to develop insulin resistance: he stress connection Stress can be a driving factor when it comes to insulin resistance, which explains why some people with relatively healthy diets can develop the condition. When we are stressed our body releases a hormone called cortisol, which triggers the release of stored fuel (glycogen) so we have enough energy to ight or lee from danger. This is a vital survival response when we are in actual physical danger. However, cortisol can be triggered by general stress of living in a busy modern world, inlammation, parasitic infection, food allergies, even over-training - the
natureandhealth.com.au | 24 | June-July 2018
health special report
list is endless. So the vicious cycle of stress, increased fuel released into the system, increased insulin, and ultimately insulin resistance begins. he gut microbiome The impact of imbalanced gut bacteria on metabolism is profound and the subject of extensive research. We know that a high sugar and processed carbohydrate diet leads to an overgrowth in gut bacteria, which is called 'dysbiosis’. Some of these opportunistic bugs release chemicals, called endotoxins, into the system and these have a low-grade inlammatory efect. This inlammation is thought to directly impact the receptor sites on the cells, making them less eicient and also triggering the release of cortisol, which contributes to insulin resistance via other mechanisms. So addressing gut health can be a crucial step in treating insulin resistance. Diet This is the cornerstone of treatment when it comes to insulin resistance: a carefully planned diet not only signiicantly reduces insulin levels but also encourages healthy habits to prevent insulin resistance in the future. A low glycaemic index diet is a good place to start and all processed carbohydrates and sugary foods should be avoided. Meal timing Interestingly, when we eat is also important in insulin resistance. Six small meals per day was once common advice to anyone wanting to lose weight and balance their blood sugar; however, nothing could be further from the truth. We now know that constantly drip-feeding fuel into our system throughout the day will lead to constant elevations of insulin, which only drives insulin resistance and fuels obesity. We are supposed to rest between meals and have at least one extended fast (overnight) in order to let our body fully process our fuel, store what it can’t use, and reset fully before our next meal. The number one rule in insulin resistance is to eat less frequently!
Natural solutions Extended overnight fasting This is probably the fastest way to reverse insulin resistance as it lowers circulating insulin for extended periods each day, allowing the cells receptors to re-sensitise. It's ideal for people who need to lose weight, lower inlammation, and rest their digestive system. This lexible model of fasting works on a sliding time scale. In any one 24-hour period, people fast for 16 hours and can eat two nourishing, well-balanced meals and one healthy snack in the remaining 8 hours. Usually people start their fast at 8 p.m. and end it at noon the following day. This is ideal for busy people who usually eat on the run in the mornings anyway. Sadly the average Australian breakfast is high in carbohydrates and sugar and low in nutrients, so missing out is no great loss. It also promotes a mindful approach to food, as people are more likely to plan their two main meals in advance, and it's a user-friendly way of accessing the beneits of fasting.
Chromium is a mineral found in trace amounts in many vegetables, whole grains, seafood and meat. Several studies have demonstrated its ability to improve insulin resistance by enhancing the sensitivity of insulin receptor sites. One double blind, randomised, controlled trial investigated the efects of chromium supplementation on insulin resistance in 85 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women who received 1000mcg chromium picolinate daily for six months had signiicant improvements in insulin levels and reduction in weight. It’s important to note that results only became evident after ive months; so longer-term supplementation is needed to get results.
Measure up! According to National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines, a waist measurement of 80cm or more (for women) indicates increased risk of insulin resistance. Magnesium This is critical for a range of functions in the body - it supports the nervous system and hormone health, and plays an important role in metabolic health. Nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and leafy greens are good sources of magnesium, however deiciency is common in Australia. People with low magnesium are more likely to have insulin resistance and supplementing can reverse this. Best results are seen with regular supplements over a three-month period. Alpha-lipoic acid This is a powerful antioxidant nutrient that has a number of benefits in insulin resistance, not least of which is its ability to improve insulin sensitivity. A clinical trial on a group of type II diabetic patients showed that 600mg of ALA daily, for four weeks, significantly improved insulin sensitivity. Inositol Much like chromium, inositol has been shown to have signiicant insulinsensitising efects. One randomised controlled study involving 44 women with PCOS found that 1200mg per day over six weeks led to a signiicant improvement in insulin sensitivity. So if you are losing the blood sugar battle, see your health practitioner. Testing for insulin resistance is easy, and natural medicine, along with the right diet, can really make a diference. Tania Flack is a leading and highly respected Australian naturopath, specialising in women's health and hormonal disorders. www.tanialack.com
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❃ Are you at risk? Signs and symptoms of insulin resistance include: • Weight gain • Increased belly fat • Fatigue after meals • Hunger and cravings • Skin tags • Skin pigmentation around armpits, groin and neck • Menstrual irregularity • Hirsutism • Increased thirst • Frequent urination
health Natureâ€™s medicines
SOS for PMS Herbalist Toni Green looks at how these precious green medicines can tame the monthly terror of premenstrual syndrome.
(Taraxacum officinale) A potent diuretic, this eliminates excess luid, and so reduces the bloating and water weight gain so common in PMS. Bonus: Dandelion leaf is rich in natural potassium, so it doesn't strip the body's stores of potassium like synthetic diuretics do. Dandelion greens can be easily added to soups and salad. Caution: Do not use dandelion in conjunction with lithium.
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)
This is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which inhibits the body's production of prostaglandins. Elevated prostaglandin levels are linked to mastitis, breast cysts, and pre-eclampsia. Evening primrose oil (EPO) is particularly helpful for the cyclic breast pain, luid retention, and mood swings associated with PMS, as well as for other hormone-driven symptoms, such as menopausal hot lushes and period pain. Studies also show EPO has positive efects on depression, PCOS, and PMS-related anxiety. Caution: EPO is contraindicated in cases where drugs used to treat schizophrenia are taken.
St John's wort
â?ƒ D-I-Y with Toni: PMS tea Combine 1 teaspoon each of inely chopped raspberry leaf and dandelion leaf with a thinly sliced 1-inch piece of ginger root. Pour over 1 cup of boiling water, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, add a dash of honey, and drink 2-3 cups daily.
Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) Also known as chasteberry, this nourishes the pituitary gland and lengthens the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, which boosts levels of luteinising hormone and blocks the release of follicle-stimulating hormone: this efectively balances a woman's oestrogen:progesterone ratio by lowering oestrogen levels, and it is elevated oestrogen that worsens PMS symptoms. Vitex eases PMS symptoms of breast tenderness, constipation, irritability, depression, and mood changes. It is also efective in slowing excessive bleeding caused by uterine ibroids, and symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). One study, published in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, showed that a combination of vitex and St John's wort eased PMS-related anxiety, bloating, and cravings.
Widely used to treat mild to moderate depression, insomnia, seasonal afective disorder (SAD), and mood swings associated with both PMS and menopause, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology reveals St John's wort is not only signiicantly more efective than the drug Prozac, but safe and well-tolerated, too. This herb works in three ways: one, it blocks reuptake of serotonin (a major neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation); two, it slows clearance of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are needed for cognitive function; and three, it increases the activity of liver enzymes, speeding the breakdown of oestrogen and oestradiol This is particularly signiicant in treating PMS, as elevated oestrogen worsens symptoms by interacting with brain transmitters that trigger mood swings. Caution: St John's wort can interfere with the Pill, making it less efective; it is also contraindicated with pharmaceutical antidepressants, lithium, and 5-HTP.
Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) This antispasmodic and relaxant herb is helpful for all muscle cramps and tension, but especially for the smooth muscle found in the uterus. It also provides an astringent efect, which helps to control heavy menstrual bleeding. Toni Green is a Tasmania-based naturopath, herbalist, and iridologist. www.naturalhealthsolutions.net.au
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The Feldenkrais MethodÂŽ Practical applications of Neuroplasticity, to help you and your clients get more out of life. General interest workshops, professional development and practitioner training programs are offered in cities across Australia. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 9737 9945 to enquire or be added to our mailing list. Look at www.feldenkraisinstitute.com.au/events/list to see whatâ€™s on near you.
health Clinic Q+A
Foil a headache Typical triggers for headaches include muscular tension, diet, nutritional deiciencies and hormonal imbalances. Fortunately, natural medicine ofers helpful options.
EADACHES are extremely common: according to Headache Australia (www. headacheaustralia.org.au), 20-30 percent of the population sufer from them regularly. A critical part of deciding on optimal treatment is to identify the underlying triggers and then work with an appropriate therapy. Typical triggers for headaches include muscular tension, diet, nutritional deiciencies and hormonal imbalances.
Muscle pain and tension Headaches that develop after extended sessions on a computer or hunching over a smart phone (also known as “text neck”), are more likely to be associated with muscle pain and tension. In this instance, a physical therapy such as osteopathy or remedial massage may be the best option. Remedial massage focuses on reducing muscle tension in the neck and surrounding muscles. Osteopathy combines soft tissue work similar to remedial massage with techniques to activate muscles, along with structural adjustment if necessary. An osteopath may also suggest exercises to strengthen or stretch the area to improve the underlying function.
Food intolerances or sensitivities Most of us are familiar with the type of headache that comes on after a night of a little too much wine, and we know the best treatment is rest and hydration. However, we can all have diferent triggers and working with a nutritionist or naturopath to identify and remove reactive foods will often assist. The practitioner may use an elimination diet to isolate triggers, plus blood tests to determine whether you’re reacting to certain foods. Ensure the food being tested is included in the diet before you undertake the blood tests, because often if a food hasn't been eaten for a few months the tests won't pick up whether you are reactive to it.
Nutritional deficiencies Nutritional deiciencies can contribute to headaches and working with a naturopath or nutritionist can identify them. The practitioner can work with you to improve your diet or prescribe appropriate supplements to assist in reducing headache frequency. One of the common deiciencies is magnesium; however, in other cases it can be related to B vitamins, including B6 and B12. Electrolyte imbalances may be another cause, so ensure you stay hydrated by sipping water across the day, obtain adequate vitamin D, and eat a healthy diet. Some prescription medications can also upset electrolyte balance, so check with your doctor.
he most common culprits are foods containing high levels of amines, such as chocolate, cheese and wine – all the indulgences we love! Hormonal changes These can have a big impact when it comes to headaches. Elevated cortisol is often associated with long-term stress and can cause changes in luid balance, which may render you more susceptible to headaches. Women may ind they’re more prone to headaches before or during menstruation, which is due to changes in the levels of circulating hormones, particularly a decline in oestrogen. Acupuncture, which involves the insertion of ine needles into relevant points in the body, can be very helpful in balancing hormones as well as assisting with liver function to ensure adequate clearance of hormones. Christine Pope (AdvDipHom, AdvDipNutMed, BHSc) is a member and treasurer of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS). www.atms.com.au
natureandhealth.com.au | 28 | June-July 2018
health expert advice
Fertility fixes Around one in six couples have trouble conceiving. Charmaine Yabsley asks top holistic health experts for their advice on improving your chances of falling pregnant. 1. Check his AND her health “Parents-to-be often skip the most important part of baby-making - their own health. Genetic studies show that paternal and maternal health dictate the healthy or otherwise outcomes for their yet-to-be conceived child,” says naturopath Nicky Woods. “Many health issues impact on fertility, such as iodine deiciency, a high toxin load, or even something as 'healthy' as losing ive kilos. Miscarriages can be attributed to sperm health and the lack of certain nutrients - co enzyme Q 10, essential fatty acids and zinc - so this should be a consideration for all men. The principles of natural fertility management lie in removing toxic 'road blocks', reversing nutritional deiciencies, and managing stress and hormones via herbal medicine and meditation.”
2. Upgrade your eating habits “Ditch low-fat dairy,” urges naturopath Katherine Maslen. “One study of over 18,000 women found that those with a high intake of low-fat dairy had a greater incidence of ovulatory infertility, including conditions like PCOS. Conversely, the study also found that full-fat dairy may actually enhance fertility. Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium, which protects both sperm and egg cells; three to four nuts daily is a therapeutic dose. Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and magnesium, and research shows that eating 2 tablespoons a day will modulate oestrogen levels in the body, which is good news for fertility and cancer prevention. There is evidence that the higher your pesticide intake, the more likely you'll experience fertility issues. Switching to organic food is the easiest way to reduce endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Can't get organic? Go to www.ewg.org to see which are highest in pesticides.”
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health expert advice
3. Go chemical-free “Conventional tampons contain endocrine-disrupting chemical residues from pesticides and bleach, which are easily absorbed through the vaginal walls,” adds Maslen. “Organic tampons are better; but all tampons can stop natural menstrual low and cause local inlammation. Opt for organic pads or use a silicone menstrual cup for optimum fertility. Many plastics contain endocrine-disrupting bisphenol chemicals like BPA, and women with high levels of BPA tend to have adverse outcomes during IVF cycles, such as lower fertilisation rates. But beware of BPA-free products: they usually contain other bisphenol chemicals which are equal to or even worse than BPA. Synthetic fragrances are one of the worst things for your fertility as they contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates which have a toxic efect on the reproductive system. As well as skipping conventional perfume, look for anything with 'fragrance' on the label - washing powder, dish liquid, hand wash, shampoo, cleaning products, scented candles, and air fresheners.”
4. Get hot under the collar! “The most natural form of male fertility enhancement is often overlooked,” advises Maslen. “Studies show that ejaculating every couple of days improves all sperm parameters,
including counts, motility and morphology (that is, how awesome they are!). Another tip for men is to be aware that sperm do not like heat, which is why your testicles are located outside your body. Avoid tightitting underwear, riding bikes and motorbikes (especially in tight-itting gear) and hot tubs.”
5. Think holistically “Zinc, selenium, and vitamins B5 and E can improve men’s sperm quality in as little as three months,” says naturopath Marta Browne. “Women - especially those with irregular hormonal cycles - can beneit from the herbs black cohosh, chaste tree, dong quai, liquorice, peonia, and wild yam. Men usually beneit most from Korean ginseng and withania, while both sexes can beneit from shatavari and tribulus. Herbs should only be taken under guidance of a qualiied health professional.”
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health expert advice
6. Fake it till you make it “Couples preparing to have a baby should 'act pregnant' sooner rather than later, in order to actually get pregnant and inally take home a healthy baby,” says fertility specialist Gabriela Rosa. “The egg takes a minimum of 120 to 240 days to mature and sperm takes around 100 days to form, so it can take two to three sperm cycles for lifestyle interventions to take efect. 'Eat the rainbow' and base your meals on (ideally) certiied organic vegetables and protein with good quality iltered water stored in glass bottles. Quit smoking, cofee, alcohol, commercial cleaning products, and conventional pest control. Drop excess weight, avoid excess sugar, trans fats, and junk food.”
7. Try acupuncture “Acupuncture has been scientiically shown to improve fertility in both men and women,” says Dr Irene Prantalos. “It regulates hormones and promotes thickening of the uterine lining and regular ovulation of mature eggs. In men, it improves sperm quality.”
“Reproductive technology is overused. here is so much you can do naturally to enhance fertility. Technology should only be a last resort.” – Dr Christiane Northrup, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom 8. Follow the TCM way “In traditional Chinese medicine, we believe we can encourage healthier sperm and eggs in people inding it hard to fall pregnant with foods that nourish Jing, or life essence,” adds Prantalos. “These include: eggs, caviar (ish eggs), seeds (sunlower, sesame, pumpkin), nuts (walnuts, almonds), animal brains and kidneys, oysters, seaweed/algae, artichokes, leafy vegetables, oats, and avocado. Avoid alcohol, spicy hot foods, cold or raw foods, fatty foods, high calorie/ low nutrient-type foods, sugar, dairy, and other inlammatory foods.”
9. Know your cycle “Women need to become familiar with the patterns of their menstrual cycles,” explains TCM doctor Shura Ford. “In Chinese medicine, a woman's cycle relects what is happening to the energy low in her whole body. Discussing your observations will allow your practitioner to
assess the pattern of disharmony that needs to be addressed, using acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine. Understanding when a woman is likely to ovulate is also crucial for optimising fertility, and by taking note of subtle observations a woman will gain more clarity about her peak fertile time.”
10. Lower your load “Conventional skincare, make-up and household cleaning products can contain hundreds of toxins, most of which disrupt hormones,” warns Amy Fox. “When I see men with 'man boobs' and 'love handles', this tells me that their oestrogen levels are out of balance. Toxins like phthalates, parabens, and phenoxyethanol are proven to cause hormone disruption, which leads to oestrogen dominance in both men and women, negatively impacting their fertility.”
11. Assess your lifestyle “Nutrition and lifestyle are paramount in falling pregnant,” says naturopath Jess Blair. “Eat well: choose organic, and ensure you're getting enough protein and iron. Ditch the endocrine-disrupters, including conventional home cleaning products and make-up. Keep gut health on track by taking a quality probiotic. Stress, pesticides, and herbicides all afect gut lora, which can afect conception chances too.”
12. Support the swimmers “Zinc (from oysters), selenium (Brazil nuts), and vitamin A (red capsicum) all support a healthy sperm count and sperm mobility,” says naturopath Joseph Ostojic. “The herb tribulus increases libido and improves duration and frequency of erections. And eat plenty of pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc and arginine, which improves blood low.”
13. Balance your hormones “For women, vitex normalises hormones involved with the menstrual cycle, and shatavari works as a nourishing tonic for reproductive organs, speciically the ovaries,” adds Ostojic. “Add red maca powder to regulate the menstrual cycle and improve ovulation, and spirulina, a nutrient-dense food that replenishes any deiciencies that may be present.”
14. Communicate! “It sounds obvious, but to make a baby you need a sperm and an egg - the man has just as much of a role to play as the woman,” says naturopath Shonelle Siegmann. “In fact, miscarriages are more likely to be due to a male issue - such as chromosomal issues stemming from sperm quality - than a female one. So if you’re on board with your pre-conception plan, but your partner isn’t it’s time to have a whole-hearted discussion.”
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health expert advice
15. Go low-GI “People often don't realise that so-called 'healthy' foods, like fruit juices and muesli bars, are high in sugar which decreases fertility,” says Elizabeth Mucci. “Sugar triggers insulin production which encourages inlammation, and, over time, insulin resistance, causing weight gain, hormonal disruption, and a reduced ability to achieve pregnancy. In women with PCOS, this can stop or delay ovulation altogether. A low-GI diet is a simple way for couples to increase their odds of conception.”
16. Unwind, already “Stress increases cortisol levels and can compromise reproductive health: deadlines, long hours, poor sleep, frequent travel and a high intake of cafeine and alcohol all trigger the body’s 'ight or light' response, which jeopardises non-essential functions like fertility,” adds Mucci. “Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and practise 15 minutes of meditation daily. Exercise is important, but make it low-intensity – think: swimming, yoga, walking, or Pilates – not highintensity, which also promotes the ight-or-light response. Even simple things, like slow, deep breathing exercises and taking the time to chew food properly, signal to the brain and body that we are not under threat.”
17. Ask the experts “Choose a qualiied practitioner in acupuncture or Chinese medicine whose work focuses on treating infertility,” advises Dr Kirk Wilson. “Studies show that couples who use acupuncture during IVF have a higher success rate of a healthy and successful pregnancy.”
18. Coordinate calendars “Also, if you are using acupuncture to assist IVF therapy, agree with your practitioner that they will give you a 100 percent assurance of their availability when treatment is most crucial - this is rarely determined at the outset of treatment, and it should not be overlooked,” adds Wilson.
19. Restore balance “Chinese medicine and acupuncture have a long history of being used to restore balance in the body, which is the approach taken with improving fertility as well,” says Kim Gatenby. “By restoring balance between Yin and Yang during your menstrual cycle, you improve your odds of conception. Massaging the acupressure point Kidney 3 (between the inner ankle bone and Achilles tendon) is traditionally thought to support Yin and Yang deiciencies from various causes.”
20. Food is your medicine “Your nutritional status at the time of conception can impact the health of a developing embryo,
❃ Meet our experts Katherine Maslen is a naturopath and author of Get Well, Stay Well, www.katherinemaslen.com
Joseph Ostojic is a naturopath, www.formulahealth.com.au
Marta Browne is an integrative naturopath, www.martabrowne.com
Shonelle Siegmann is a naturopath and herbalist, www.withwellness.com.au
Gabriela Rosa is a fertility specialist, www.naturalfertilitybreakthrough. com
Elizabeth Mucci is a director and practitioner at Life on the Inside, www.lifeontheinside.com.au
Dr Irene Prantalos is the founder of Salubre Health Solutions, www.salubre.com.au
Dr Kirk Wilson, www.fertilityacupuncturesydney. com.au
Shura Ford is a Chinese medicine practitioner, www.fordwellnessgroup.com.au
Kim Gatenby is a doctor of Chinese Medicine, www.kimgatenby.com
Amy Fox, Low Tox Living expert and owner of The Low Tox Fox, www.thelowtoxfox.com.au
Kathy Fray is an author of books on birth and babies, www.kathyfray.com
Jess Blair is a naturopath, nutritionist and founder of Wellness by Blair, www.wellnessbyblair.com
which is why it’s vital to support your body prior to trying to conceive,” adds Gatenby. “Australian guidelines recommend taking a prenatal vitamin containing folate for three months prior to conception. Other supplements, like coenzyme Q10 for improving sperm and egg quality, should only be prescribed by a health practitioner. My antioxidantrich fertility smoothie recipe includes acai and maqui berry powders, plus plant-based protein powder, maca powder, and activated almond milk.”
21. Be prepared “I suggest a minimum of three months preparation before conception to boost fertility naturally, create enhanced glandular and libido balance for both mum and dad, and provide essential nutrients needed before pregnancy for the developing foetus,” says Kathy Fray. “Women need folic acid, calcium, iodine, magnesium and a non-constipating form of iron to ensure complete nutritional support. For men, zinc and selenium play a vital role in improving sperm quality and motility (movement). Everyone needs a boost to their glandular system and help with their libido, so targeting these areas before conception makes sense. I recommend extract from the Peruvian root maca, to boost sexual function and enhance fertility.”
natureandhealth.com.au | 33 | June-July 2018
health health check
Health check Pamela Allardice shares a warning about NSAIDs, a timely reminder about candlelit winters, and a good reason to get out of bed – yes, even on cold mornings!
Younger skin through exercise Exercise reverses skin ageing, according to researchers from McMaster University. They biopsied buttock skin samples from men and women who either exercised moderately for three hours per week or who were resolutely sedentary. The results showed that, after age 40, people who exercised frequently had skin much closer in composition to that of 20- and 30-year-olds than to the sedentary folks their own age. The scientists also found greatly augmented levels of myokines (substances that jump-start positive changes in cells) in the volunteers who exercised.
Expert Q+A: Anaemia Anaemia is characterised by a reduction in the number of red blood cells, or the amount of haemoglobin, in the blood. This results in a reduced capacity for the blood to carry oxygen. Symptoms include low energy, dizziness, a foggy mind, slow or poor wound healing, lowered immunity, loss of appetite, and overall pallor. Anaemia is a symptom of other diseases, whose identity should be determined for treatment. Low iron status is the most common cause. To boost iron levels: • Iron glycinate, equivalent to 25mg, taken with 100mg of vitamin C for increased absorption. • Eat iron-containing foods,such as red meat, liver, poultry, legumes, blackstrap molasses, dark green leafy vegetables, and dried sulphur-free apricots. • Ensure hydrochloric acid levels are suficient to digest protein (increase the absorption of iron from red meat). Naturopath and nutritionist Rhianna Smith is a practitioner and writer for Health and Simplicity. www.healthandsimplicity.com.au
In brief … • A study from University College London suggests that inositol, a vitamin-like nutrient that is usually categorised with the B vitamins, can reduce the risk of neural tube defects. • Your chance of sports injury rises during ovulation, 14 days into your cycle, says a University of Michigan study. Why? Oestrogen levels rise, making soft tissue like ligaments more prone to strain. • Men are three times less willing than women to try foods they haven’t tasted before, according to a study in the journal Appetite. Don’t be so fussy, guys!
Yikes! Common nonsteroidal anti-inlammatory painkillers like ibuprofen increase your risk of a heart attack by one-third, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal. “Allowing these drugs to be purchased without a prescription sends a message to the public that they must be safe,” says author Gunnar Gislason. “But the indings are a stark reminder that NSAIDs are not harmless.”
natureandhealth.com.au | 34 | June-July 2018
health health check
3 things you didn’t know about … pain-free driving A third of drivers feel stress and suffer muscular aches and pains behind the wheel - and women are affected more than men, according to a study from the UK’s Institute of Occupational Medicine. Before you set off: • Stand still and relax before getting in. Imagine your feet are softening on the ground. Raise your head to your full height and drop your shoulders. • Get into the car correctly. Ease in slowly without twisting your spine and swing both feet in last. • Adjust the seat so you can depress the pedals without stretching. Recline the seat back slightly, keeping head upright - this reduces the load on the back. Make sure you can reach the steering wheel without lexing your upper arms too far forward.
Keep it clean The wood-burning stoves and scented candles that are the darlings of the ‘hygge’ craze can release carbon particles and benzene, making indoor areas as polluted as city streets. Choose natural beeswax candles and ensure that lues and chimneys are cleaned before winter hits.
Get out of bed!
Pizza = passion!
Having a weekend lie-in can raise your risk of diabetes and heart disease, say University of Pittsburgh researchers. The study is the irst to link so-called ‘social jetlag’ – which is the mismatch between an individual’s biological circadian rhythm and their socially-imposed sleep schedules – to metabolic problems that can contribute to the development of disease.
84 percent of antibiotic prescriptions for sore throats were unnecessary, according to a study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the USA.
According to research from the University of Illinois, fresh pizza is sexually arousing. “Believe it or not, the smell of pizza increases blood circulation to the intimate parts of the body by 40 percent,” claims Dr Alan Hirsch, who led the study.
Want more natural health news? Visit www.natureandhealth.com.au and sign up for our FREE weekly e-news and healthy recipes, or like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! natureandhealth.com.au | 35 | June-July 2018
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To be eligible, your products must be free from: Parabens • Phthalates • Ammonia • Sulphates • Artiﬁcial colours • Artiﬁcial fragrances • Artiﬁcial ﬂavourings • Artiﬁcial preservatives • Animal testing
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winter wellness SPECIAL
Stay well all winter! Ease sore joints, get rid of a cold quicker, beat sluggishness, discover the musthave herbs to ight lu, try conscious writing and seasonal slow cooking, colour your world, get the sleep you need, and sample our favourite expert holistic health tips for winter.
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winter wellness SPECIAL best health tips
Winter wonders Vitamin C? Check. Garlic? Check. But what about some of the more unusual ways to stay well in winter? Charmaine Yabsley asks our experts.
E tend to get between two and four colds and bouts of lu during the colder months. Seven of the top holistic health wellness experts weigh in with their ideas on how to stay well all year round.
energy from ketones is both eicient and clean, a combination that will give you the ammunition to ight disease more efectively, and also leave you feeling amazingly energised.”
1. Consider keto
2. Balance your life
“Most of us would associate ‘going keto’ with losing weight, or, more specifically, losing body fat,” says Vicky Kuriel, dietitian and founder of Eat Play Thrive. “But having ketones present in your blood also has numerous other health benefits, many of which are only just now being uncovered. One example is that increased blood levels of ketones have been shown to control chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a mechanism our bodies use to deal with combating infections, repairing tissue, and the consequences of traumatic injury. Too much inf lammation is a problem many people face as a result of our environment and lifestyle. Ketones have anti-inflammatory properties and inhibit numerous inflammatory pathways within the body. “So - how do you increase ketone levels in your blood? A combination of a low carbohydrate diet with some intermittent fasting is the quickest and most efective way to boost ketone levels, because this combination forces your body to begin using fat as a main fuel source. When fat is broken down, ketone bodies in your blood increase. Production of
Health and lifestyle author Kylie Nation advises: “Cultivate a daily practice of gratitude: take the time to do something you love every single day, and make the most of those rainy days to appreciate your body. The body’s irst line of defence against germs is the skin and mucous membranes, along with immune cells called T cells and B cells that circulate in the bloodstream. Drink lots of water and make the most of nature’s best doctors - fresh air, movement, sunshine and rest - whenever you can. Colds and lu can creep up when we hold onto things that we don’t need any more, so if you feel ‘blocked’, don’t ight it. A little yoga goes a long way. Grab your pillow and allow yourself ive minutes on your mat to restore the body and simply be in the moment.
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With over 70 percent of the body’s immune system located in the digestive tract, keeping the gut healthy is vital for avoiding the lu.
winter wellness SPECIAL best health tips
“Cutting out reined sugar and eating fermented, nutrient- and probiotic-rich whole foods, like sauerkraut, yoghurt, and keir, both help your body heal and provide a great foundation for keeping the immune system strong. With over 70 percent of the body’s immune system located in the digestive tract, keeping the gut healthy is super-important. And warm up with tea. There are so many beautiful herbal blends that support the immune system. Try lemon and ginger, the ultimate detox combo, or peppermint, which is always soothing, or matcha or rooibos, for an antioxidant boost.”
3. Be your own trainer “I have spent my life researching ways to get and stay well,” says Amelia Phillips, nutritionist, trainer and co-founder of Voome. She suggests the following ideas: Dry skin brushing “This is an ancient Ayurvedic technique where a soft bristle brush is used on the skin in a stroking motion, directed towards the heart. It aids lymphatic drainage and helps prevent lymphatic congestion, which has been linked to inlammation and disease. It’s also a great skin exfoliator, boosts circulation and some say it reduces the appearance of cellulite.”
Great news! Having sex once or more per week boosts levels of immunoglobulin, which is the irst line of defence against colds and lu viruses. Sweat it out “Sweating eliminate toxins, such as alcohol, cholesterol and salt. It boosts circulation and metabolism, prevents skin blemishes, and lowers our risk for kidney stones. It also has antibacterial properties. In one study, researchers found that dermcidin, a natural substance in sweat, acts like an antibiotic on the skin and can prevent colds. Try Bikram (hot) yoga, regular saunas, or visit voome. com.au/programs. Get some sun An estimated four million Australians sufer from vitamin D deiciency. During winter, a person with moderately fair skin should aim for between seven to 40 minutes of sun exposure on the face, and leave their arms exposed. People with darker skin need three to six times more exposure. The further north you are, the less sun you need. Do some of your workouts outdoors, or schedule ‘moving meetings’ with co-workers. Turn up the humidity Flu viruses thrive where humidity is low. Using a humidiier in the bedroom may prevent them spreading. Add a few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil to clear blocked sinuses.
4. Eat real food “As the days get shorter and colder, inding the motivation to stay it can be diicult,” says Scott Gooding. “Often exercise is sacriiced for cosy evenings on the couch, munching on comfort foods. That can lay the foundation for a weakened immune system, as well as piling on unwanted kilos. The irst step to stay on track nutrition-wise in winter is to focus on real food rather than processed alternatives. Avoid sugar because it afects our hormones and is the mechanism for weight gain. The same goes for highly processed carbohydrates, so be mindful of the hidden traps of sugar in all shapes and forms. We humans are hard-wired for sugar and carbs as they trigger the neurotransmitter dopamine, making us feel warm and fuzzy. Try these supplementary tricks to clear brain and body fog, leaving you energised, alert and healthy:” Magnesium “Essential for the function of every organ in the body, plus taking a magnesium supplement is important today due to industrial farming methods and the decline in soil quality. Magnesium-rich foods include spinach, nuts, dark chocolate, and seeds. Aim for 400mg a day if using a supplement and look for the chelated form - those ending in -ate, like citrate, glycinate and taurate - which tend to be the best absorbed.” Turmeric “Can be taken in powder or capsule form, as can its active ingredient, curcumin. I recommend taking the complete version of the plant – that is, turmeric - as you’ll be getting valuable co-factors which support a multitude of enzyme processes and make the body work eiciently. Turmeric also promotes the use of BDNF, our brain's neural 'fertiliser'. Add collagen Meals that use joints of meat, such as osso bucco or lamb shoulder, will provide more collagen and gelatine than lean cuts. The more connective tissue in the meat, the more collagen and gelatin you will get. Bone broth, bought or home-made, is a rich source of both collagen and elastin, which are incredibly potent sources of complete amino acids and support healthy hair, nails, tendons, muscles and ligaments.”
5. Keep it natural “High stress levels compromise the immune system, so explore ways to reduce stress meditation, yoga, and taking time out,” says Fiona Tuck, author of The Forensic Nutritionist. “Eighty percent of our immune system stems from the gut, so healthy gut function is imperative. Reduce sugary drinks, alcohol, cafeine and processed foods. Focus on nutrientrich fresh wholefoods, home-made soups and broths. I also recommend these natural remedies:” Oil of oregano “Extracted from the oregano plant, this contains powerful antioxidant, anti-
natureandhealth.com.au | 42 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL best health tips
inlammatory, and antibacterial compounds. It can be used as an internal supplement to ward of colds and lu, as a gargle for a sore throat, in vaporisers for sinus congestion and chest infections, or applied topically to treat skin breakouts and infections, and cold sores. You can buy it from health food stores and pharmacies.” Orange and yellow produce “The antioxidant vitamins C and A play an important role in keeping the immune system strong, so eat plenty of citrus fruits, capsicums, tomatoes, berries, rhubarb, for vitamin C, and pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots, for beta carotene.” Garlic “Raw garlic contains allicin, which is released when the garlic is chopped or crushed. Allicin contains antimicrobial properties and may assist the immune system to ight colds and lu.” Onions “These alleviate sinus congestion and strengthen the immune system. The antioxidant and anti-inlammatory compounds quercetin and allicin found in raw onions help ight bacteria and viruses. They’re most powerful when eaten raw, so add raw onion to winter salads or cut up raw onion and add to soup just before serving.”
6. Tune into Ayurveda “Your digestion is stronger in winter, and in Ayurveda it is a time for eating well, resting, and building up immunity,” says TV chef and cookery writer Anjum Anand. “This is linked to the Ayurvedic belief that you build up good immunity from digesting your food well. So, winter is almost a time for us to ‘hibernate’, so we emerge stronger, for the rest of the year. “Eat like you are vata, which means eating one-pot meals, soups, curries, and porridge. These are easy to digest, nourishing, warming, and sustaining, but don’t eat too much, or it will make you sluggish. Eat food that is natural - vegetables, fruits, grains, and lentils. Also, fat is good in winter, because it’s moistening and grounding. Ayurveda's two favourites fats are ghee and unroasted sesame oil. Salads, raw foods, and cold foods and drinks should be avoided in winter because they will dampen your strong, digestive winter ire. “Eating in a calm space in a calm mood aids digestion. Stress, anger, irregular meals, late nights and a general lack of routine afects digestion. The body likes regularity and it functions best when you go to sleep early and wake up early. Treat yourself to oil massages: sesame oil is an Ayurvedic favourite for winter, as it is also warming. In India, they recommend a self-massage every morning to get your circulation going - it is our version of applying moisturising cream every morning. “If you do get sick, turmeric is your friend. Drink lots of luids, and eat little bits of easy-todigest food - a lentil or vegetable soup or khicheri,
a turmeric-tinted lentil and rice porridge, are favourites. I add a ¼ teaspoon of turmeric to a pan in which I have heated ½ a teaspoon of ghee and then add milk or nut milk and inish of the heat with a little honey and give that to my children every night when they have a cold. For best absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, it should be cooked in a little fat and black pepper. So really, a curry a day will keep the doctors at bay!”
7. Eat for immunity “The best defence against unwanted visitors is our immune system,” says nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullen. She suggests: Eat chicken soup for breakfast “Chicken and vegetable soup is a good source of protein, which the immune system relies on to ight pathogens, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric to your soup for additional antioxidants.” Drink garlic tea “In a heat-proof cup, place 1 chopped garlic clove and 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger, add 1 cup of boiling water, and steep for 2-3 minutes. Strain of garlic and ginger, add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and honey to taste. Drink this if you feel the start of a cold or lu or as a daily health tonic.” Say no more often “A sore throat, sniffle or feeling tired should not be ignored. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay home, say no to invitations and demands, get a good night's sleep and eat a very nourishing homecooked meal.” Eat more, and better “Without an adequate nutrient intake, the body does not get the energy it needs to fuel immune function. Count nutrients, not calories, and substitute any foods not serving your health with wholefoods.”
natureandhealth.com.au | 43 | June-July 2018
❃ Meet our experts Vicky Kuriel, dietitian and Founder of Eat Play Thrive, www. eatplaythrive.com.au Kylie Nation runs Nourish from The Inside Out Fermenting Classes, www. KylieNation.com Amelia Phillips, nutritionist, trainer and co-founder of Voome, www.voome.com.au Scott Gooding is a My Kitchen Rules semiinalist, and Whirlpool ambassador. Fiona Tuck is the author of the Forensic Nutritionist, www.ionatuck.com Anjum Anand is a TV chef and cookery writer, www. anjumanand.co.uk Zoe Bingley-Pullin is a celebrity chef and nutritionist, www. zoebingleypullin.com
winter wellness SPECIAL recipes
Winter warmers Celebrate winter with these warming root vegetable recipes from Caroline Griiths and Vicki Valsamis.
OST root vegetables are robust enough to handle quite a bit of cooking, making them the perfect centrepiece to a winter stew or hearty braise. Root vegetables are particularly well suited to longer, slower cooking methods as this allows the sugars to caramelise, bringing out their natural sweetness. Here, we give the perennially popular carrot its due, but we also share some of our other favourites as well. Parsnips have
the same roasting talents as carrots, but bring a subtle earthiness to the table. Lotus root has an incredible texture and brings remarkable visual appeal to any dish. When buying root vegetables, they should be nice and irm, and free from cracks or bruises. They're best stored in a cool, dark place. If you want to store them in the fridge, keep them in a paper bag in the crisper to stop them from going soft.
Roasted parsnips with hazelnuts and feta If you can't ind baby parsnips, larger parsnips cut lengthways into quarters will do the trick. The nuttiness of parsnips and hazelnuts pair very well together. • 600g baby parsnips, trimmed and scrubbed • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled, lightly bruised • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, roughly chopped • 1 tablespoon verjuice or lemon juice • 80g marinated soft feta Preheat oven to 200°C (fanforced). Line a roasting dish with baking paper. Spread parsnips and garlic in the roasting tin. Drizzle with the olive oil, toss to coat, then spread out in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the parsnips over and scatter with the hazelnuts. Return to the oven and roast for a further 10 minutes, or until parsnips are tender and browned. Serve immediately, drizzled with the verjuice or lemon juice and scattered with the feta.
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winter wellness SPECIAL recipes
Roasted carrot soup Roasting the carrots concentrates their lavour and brings out their inherent sweetness, highlighted by the Asian-inspired coriander and mint pesto. • • • • • • • • • •
Is there any better smell than onions frying gently in a pan, going soft in simmering butter? he pain of onion tears is quickly washed away with that elemental aroma.
800g carrots 1 large parsnip 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon peanut oil 2 teaspoons maple syrup 2 teaspoons ground cumin pinch of chilli lakes 1 litre vegetable stock coriander leaves, to garnish unsalted roasted peanuts, to serve
Coriander and mint pesto • 25g coriander leaves • 5g mint leaves • 1 small garlic clove, crushed • 2 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts • 1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste • 80ml peanut oil Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Trim carrots and parsnip. Scrub carrots, then cut in half lengthways. Peel and quarter parsnip lengthways. Spread carrot, parsnip and onion on trays. Drizzle with peanut oil and toss to coat, spreading them out in a single layer. Sprinkle with the maple syrup, cumin and chilli lakes, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and browned. Set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, for the pesto, whiz the coriander, mint, garlic and peanuts in a food processor until finely chopped. With the motor running, add the lime juice and peanut oil in a thin, steady stream until combined. Transfer to a bowl and season to taste. Transfer roasted vegetables and any sticky baking juices to a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large heavy-based saucepan and stir in the stock and enough water to bring to the desired consistency. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes, or until heated through. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle with pesto, coriander and peanuts, and serve immediately. natureandhealth.com.au | 45 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL recipes
Lotus root, water chestnut and edamame stir-fry Lotus root looks amazing and has a fantastic texture. This stir-fry is delicious with steamed brown rice and steamed Asian greens, such as choy sum, Chinese broccoli, or mustard greens. • • • • • • • • • •
2 spring onions 80ml rice wine or dry sherry 1 tablespoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar 1 tablespoon peanut oil 2 red Asian shallots, inely sliced 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and julienned 2 garlic cloves, inely sliced 400g section of fresh lotus root, peeled and sliced • 150g tinned water chestnuts, drained and sliced • 140g frozen podded edamame, thawed Cut white section of the spring onions into 4cm lengths, and the green sections thinly on the diagonal. Soak the green bits in a small bowl of cold water until needed. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Set aside. Heat the peanut oil in a wok over mediumhigh heat until smoking. Stir-fry the shallot, ginger, garlic and white spring onion lengths for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add sliced lotus root and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the edamame and toss for 1 minute. Add rice wine mixture and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately, scattered with the drained spring onion greens.
Warm carrot salad with kaffir coconut dressing In the cooler months, beautiful earthy heirloom carrots make a lovely warm salad, coupled with a zesty Asian-inspired dressing. • • • • • • • •
500g tri-colour heirloom baby carrots 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 1 teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon ground coriander ½ teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon sea salt 30g slivered almonds, toasted coriander springs, to garnish
Kair coconut dressing • 125 ml coconut cream • 2 teaspoons kair lime juice • 1 teaspoon kair lime zest • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar • ¼ teaspoon inely chopped garlic • 1 tablespoon ish sauce • ½ teaspoon inely chopped red chilli
Preheat oven to 180°C (fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Trim leafy tops of the carrots, leaving 2cm of the stalks attached. Wash and scrub carrots well, then place in a large bowl. Add coconut oil, cumin, coriander, ginger, and salt, tossing thoroughly with your hands until coated. Transfer the carrots and any excess coating to the baking tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside. Arrange the roasted carrots on a serving platter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle dressing over carrots, scatter with almonds and coriander, and serve immediately. natureandhealth.com.au | 46 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL recipes
❃ In praise of vegies Vegetables, in all their different forms, too often play second iddle in a meal. They’re used as an adjunct or a side, something to complement the ‘main attraction’ on your plate. Yet vegetables present a staggering array of tastes, textures, and culinary opportunities, and there’s no reason that good quality produce shouldn’t be the star of its own show. Our top tip? Buy local and in season where you can. There are certainly plenty of environmental reasons for this, but the simplest reason is that your produce will be fresher and it will taste better. While it’s convenient to be able to buy practically any vegetable at any time of year from a supermarket, if you’re buying vegetables out of season, it means they’re travelling long distances to get to those shelves. Fresh produce typically contains higher levels of nutrients at harvest, and the longer those veggies sit in transit, the fewer vitamins and nutrients they retain. And produce meant for long transit is generally not allowed to fully ripen before harvest, resulting in vegetables that taste bland and uninspiring. Go to a farmers’ market or your local greengrocer and have a chat to the person selling the produce. They’ll be able to tell you what’s good. Buying in season is more cost-effective as well, as anything that’s in abundance will be cheaper.
Edited extract from The Vegetable by Vicki Valsamis and Caroline Grifiths. Published by Smith Street Books. RRP $49.99. Out now. Photographs: © Chris Middleton
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winter wellness SPECIAL therapies
Got the winter glums? Want to curl up and sleep for a week? An energy-boosting therapy may restore the spring in your step, writes Laura Greaves. Aromatherapy Catherine Cervasio discovered the power of scent early on: growing up with Italian parents, the strong scents of fresh herbs were a constant presence in the family home. “I’ve always had a strong sense of olfactory ‘emotion’ and memory,” she says. “Using rose petals to make an infusion brings me back to when I was young and I loved smelling different varieties to find the most aromatic.” But it wasn’t until she began developing her own aromatherapy skincare business, Aromababy, that Cervasio discovered the therapeutic beneits of scent. Aromatherapy - the practice of using plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils to improve physical and psychological wellbeing - is particularly useful for boosting energy, promoting relaxation, and reducing stress. Aromatherapy can be administered via aerial difusers, direct inhalation or topical application, such as massage. While there’s no real scientiic evidence that scent prevents or cures disease, studies show that it can inluence the limbic system, the part of the brain that supports emotion, behaviour, motivation, and memory. Certain essential oils contain constituents that uplift and revitalise, Cervasio says. “A good example are oils in the citrus family. Clary sage is another oil that promotes clarity, focus, and wellbeing - though it’s not suitable during pregnancy, it’s often used during labour and postnatally, when hormonal luctuation is at an all-time high.” A key advantage of aromatherapy is that it’s portable, meaning a quick energy boost is never far away. “Aromatherapy can be easily implemented into everyday life,” Cervasio says. “The small bottles of pure oils can be taken on holiday, to business meetings, and kept in your desk drawer for a perfect pick-me-up.”
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winter wellness SPECIAL therapies
There are side efects associated with the use of some essential oils, so seek advice from a qualiied and experienced aromatherapy practitioner. For more information: www.aromababy.com
Naturopathy Complementary health practitioners often discover their therapy of choice when seeking remedies for their own health concerns; this was certainly true for Sydney naturopath Kate Johnston. “I'd been to many medical doctors and specialists, but kept being told, ‘You’re ine.’ It was only when a colleague had great success with a naturopath that I found out what naturopathy was,” she says. According to the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association, naturopathy is a blend of modalities underpinned by key principles, including the healing power of nature, and inding and treating the cause of illness or dysfunction, not just symptoms. Practitioners may use a mix of nutrition and dietary changes, herbal supplements, mindfulness techniques, and functional testing. Perhaps unsurprisingly in the increasingly frenetic 21st century, fatigue and low energy are among the most common reasons that people seek a naturopath's help. “Naturopathy can boost energy in many ways,” explains Jonston. “Identifying gaps in people’s nutrition can be a huge factor, or determining speciic food intolerances. Herbal medicine works incredibly well to support energy, and you'd be surprised how many people aren’t sleeping enough or integrating down time and relaxation in their busy lives.” She stresses that people shouldn’t expect to feel instantly superhuman after their irst consultation. “Commit to making a change and trusting the process, but know that even if it doesn't happen overnight, it will be so worth it in the long run.” For more information: www.korewellbeing.com.au
Chakradance dynamic meditation If your mind whirls at a mile-a-minute, sitting quietly can feel like torture, yet the health beneits of regular meditation - reducing stress, and improving concentration, mental clarity and energy - are widely established. For those who prefer a little more movement with their mindfulness, Chakradance is a form of dynamic meditation created for the idgets among us. It was developed by Natalie Southgate and inspired by her studies of chakras - the seven energy centres in the body through which prana, or life force, lows - in the Ayurvedic tradition. “Discovering the map of the chakras was literally life-changing,” says
Southgate. “As I was ‘waking up’ on my chakra journey, I also found that I was drawn back to my childhood passion for dance. When our chakras are blocked, we experience muscular tension, tiredness and lethargy: it can feel like we're living in a fog. Chakradance helps us let go of this fog and release blocked energy, so we reconnect with the more vibrant, radiant part of ourselves.” Classes are held in a candlelit room and are set to music that resonates speciically with each chakra. For more information: www.chakradance.com
Kinesiology Maintaining optimal energy low through the body is the fundamental principle of many complementary therapies. Practitioners of energetic healing modalities say the body has an innate healing energy, but any interruption to or blockage of its low can cause dysfunction and disease. Kinesiologist Marney Perna saw this irsthand when her husband sought alternative treatment for a bulging disc after exhausting the orthodox medical options. “A friend suggested that, before we decided on surgery, we go see this kinesiologist,” she recalls. “The appointment seemed strange to me, but it wasn't long before I realised that the therapist's rather random questions and my husband’s answers were connected to how his muscles were responding.”
As classes are held in a darkened room, it doesn’t matter what you look like, or how you move. Even if you're selfconscious, Chakradance classes feel safe. Kinesiology uses muscle monitoring to access information about a person’s wellbeing. Muscle monitoring identiies states of ‘lock’ and ‘unlock’ in muscles. The unlocked state is said to be due to insuicient neurological low between the muscle and the central nervous system, caused by physical, emotional and/or mental stresses. Marney says it is ideal for boosting energy levels. “If you're unwell or run down, the energy that your body has to operate with is reduced. Kinesiology techniques may enhance natural defence mechanisms, lower stress levels, and increase life energy,” she explains. “A kinesiologist doesn't treat or diagnose named diseases, but instead facilitates health and harmony by ensuring the body systems perform better.” For more information: www.kinique.com
natureandhealth.com.au | 49 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL beat a cold
Colds, begone! F
Got that irst tell-tale tickle in your throat or a runny nose? Naturopath Teresa Mitchell-Paterson shows you how to stop it getting a hold on you.
ROM the early days of humankind (as far back as 4000BC), we’ve used plants and food as medicine to ward of and cure illness, including colds and lu. Scientiic research is validating the eicacy of many of these ancient medicines. Also, bear in mind that although research reports make statements like ‘may reduce the severity and/or symptoms by a few days’, the medications zanamivir (Relenza) or oseltamivir (Tamilu) prescribed to treat and prevent inluenza caused by the inluenza A and B viruses, can only reduce the duration of the virus for about one day – and only provided they’re administered within 48 hours of the illness commencing. Natural therapies can not only compete with the outcome of these drugs, but are sometimes more efective.
winter wellness SPECIAL beat a cold
1. Alkaline diet One in vitro study suggests an alkaline diet or alkaline drinks might have antiviral properties due to an inhibitory action on the replication of respiratory viruses. Loading up on green leafy vegetables and vegetable juices and avoiding processed foods can alkalise the body, so during the cold and lu season, consider having regular vegetarian or vegan days.
2. Fruit and vegetables Diets loaded with coloured plant foods are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. In a large study of women spanning six months, it was found those who ate up to eight serves a day demonstrated a moderate reduction in the risk of upper respiratory infection. This reduction in risk also applies to pregnant women. In Australia, another general population study suggests those with a frequent intake of both fruit and vegetables report a lesser occurrence of respiratory infection. Australian dietary guidelines recommend ive servings of vegetables and two of fruit per day.
3. Earthing Earthing may have a natural anti-inlammatory efect. It’s known that an overwhelming inlammatory response occurs during a viral episode, and this is the main cause of fatality from avian H5N1 inluenza infection. Earthing accelerates immune activation, reduces cortisol levels, causes a demonstrated decrease in white blood cell levels following an inlammatory response such as a cold or a lu, and may indicate a shorter recovery time. While there is no exact prescription for the time you need to spend, being in nature as often as possible has a very signiicant rationale for a health-boosting efect.
4. Herbs Herbal remedies may assist in the stimulation of interferon-gamma. Produced by T-cells, this chemical adapts the immune system to ight infection and exerts a potent anti-inlammatory efect, reducing the pain of illness. Always check with a qualiied herbalist or naturopath to ensure you choose the right herb for you. • Echinacea needs to be taken every day to reduce the risk and duration of colds and lu. The species angustifolia could potentially be used in conjunction with a lu vaccine to increase its potency. Check with your healthcare professional before taking echinacea as it can interact with immune suppressing medications. • Turmeric has high levels of antioxidants, lavonoids, and phenols that ight the oxidative stress seen in many inlammatory diseases, including respiratory disease, and may be
useful when taken at the irst sign of a cold or lu. Turmeric has been used traditionally to treat throat infections, the common cold, wounds, and skin sores. A great way to consume turmeric is either in curry or a turmeric latte with a little honey or stevia.
5. Vitamins and minerals Vitamin D Multiple receptors for vitamin D exist throughout the body. Large studies suggest there’s a marked beneit in higher vitamin D levels and the reduction of viral and upper respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D deiciency is common in Australia, and sunshine may not be suicient to raise levels, especially in winter, so talk to a natural health professional about suitable supplements. Zinc If taken within 24 hours of the irst signs of infection, zinc can shorten the duration of a cold or lu. It does this by arresting viral duplication and can also assist in reducing inlammation caused by the infection. At the onset of a cold, zinc is best taken as a lozenge. Do not exceed 100mg of zinc a day and take it after food as it can cause nausea or changes in taste and smell.
Taking echinacea daily over the cooler months – from around March to October – positively reduces the occurrence of upper respiratory infections. 6. Probiotics Research demonstrates that supplementing with a probiotic can boost the immune system and may prevent the common cold. Trials conducted on the elderly, children and athletes suggest that probiotics can prevent upper respiratory tract infections. The theory behind this indicates the beneicial bacteria in probiotics keep the gut and intestinal tract low in disease-promoting infections. Food sources with live cultures, such as keir, kombucha, and fermented foods, also help.
7. Sleep In a study of healthy men and women aged 21-55, sleep quality was tracked to see if it might be a predictor of a healthy resistance to colds and lu. The results showed that men and women with poor sleep habits and shorter sleep duration prior to being exposed to a virus were less likely to be resistant to the infection than those who slept well. Ensure you get a good eight hours sleep and follow the basic sleep hygiene rules: no screen time for two hours before bed and no stimulants (tea, cofee or alcohol).
natureandhealth.com.au | 51 | June-July 2018
Teresa Mitchell-Paterson BHSc(CompSci); MHSc (HumNut) is a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS). www.atms.com.au
winter wellness SPECIAL arthritis pain
Ease sore joints
Naturopath Amina EasthamHillier suggests ive all-natural approaches to reduce arthritis pain.
ORE joints can be extremely debilitating especially if left untreated, which leads to more pain. Here are ive steps to help.
1. Identify causes There are many reasons why we sufer from sore joints. Osteoarthritic joint pain can be due to wear and tear, or trauma from an old injury. Rheumatoid arthritis-associated joint pain may be an autoimmune dysfunction if the person is susceptible to a particular gene variation. Stealth (that is, undetected) pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, tend to migrate to joint and collagenous tissues in knees, shoulders, neck, hips and elbows as well as to the spinal cord, and bacteria often congregate in scar tissue.
Joints become painful when cartilage and tendons are damaged or diminishing, so generating new tissue and lubrication is a major priority. 2. Remove triggers
Amina Eastham-Hillier BHSc is a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. www.atms.com.au, www.amina.com.au
Joint pain - as with any other pain - is primarily caused by inlammation, so removing inlammationcausing foods from the diet is imperative, both for ongoing pain relief and to guard against further degeneration. The worst culprits are cofee, dairy, alcohol, sugar, and preservatives. If joints are sore due to wear and tear, dietary changes may assist, but it may also be necessary to lose weight, as excess kilos put strain on joints, and also to adjust exercise regimes, and even reassess occupations.
3. Use food and herbs Celery Excellent for sore joints as it’s alkalising, anti-rheumatic and anti-inlammatory. Ginger Clinical trials show signiicant pain and disability reduction in osteoarthritis patients treated with ginger. Turmeric Patients report signiicant relief of arthritic joint pain due to its anti-inlammatory and antioxidant properties. Gelatine Proven to show structural improvement. Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) My patients report positive feedback in terms of pain relief. Oleogum resin is the part used from the boswellia plant, so it’s best taken as tablets. Frankincense oil is extracted from the same plant, and one study showed a signiicant increase in pain threshold and pain tolerance in patients using it. Other research conirms boswellia’s anti-inlammatory efects on joints, thanks to its ability to inhibit pro-inlammatory cytokines. Boswellia works well with turmeric in tablet form. Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) Traditionally used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, myalgia, and lower back pain. I often combine it with celery seed extract for an added alkalising efect. Studies show it to have potential analgesic efects in cases of acute postoperative pain and chronic neuropathic pain, and antioxidant properties, another important action needed to relieve joint pain. Sarsaparilla (Smilax ornata, Smilax glabra) Studies show sarsaparilla has an efect on adjuvant arthritis (an experimental model of arthritis in rodents, induced by injection of a foreign substance, that is used to study new agents for human arthritis treatment) through down-regulating over-activated macrophages and up-regulating the dysfunctional T lymphocytes during the later phase of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Regenerate tissue Glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulphate Protect due to their proteoglycan properties, with studies showing they assist in management of osteoarthritis. Omega 3 essential fatty acids Play a signiicant role in reducing inlammation and restoring tissue around joints. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and zinc, all reduce inlammation. Nutrients for bone health include manganese, borax, selenium and silica, and vitamin D.
5. Support surrounding tissues External treatments such as acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy and yoga are highly beneicial for easing pain and strengthening surrounding tissues.
natureandhealth.com.au | 52 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL sleep soundly
Get the sleep you need Sleep is natureâ€™s nurse, renewing us for another round the next day. Naturopath Caroline Robertson shows you how to get enough shut-eye to boost beauty, brain health, and longevity.
HY do we spend around a third of our life sleeping? We need sleep to recharge, retain information, perform tasks, develop insights, process emotions, re-pattern neurological pathways, and modulate hormones for growth, repair, and balance. Insuicient sleep is linked to cancer, diabetes, heart attack, hypertension, obesity, relux, respiratory diseases, stroke, and failure to thrive. Without enough sleep, the brain raises the appetite stimulant ghrelin, increases insulin, and decreases restorative growth hormone. A sleep debt epidemic afects 45% of Australian adults, according to a 2016 Sleep Health Survey - this has serious health, social and economic costs. Less sleep makes us moody, uncoordinated, unintelligent, unattractive, overweight, lethargic, accident-prone, forgetful, tense, confused, depressed, delusional, and
natureandhealth.com.au | 54 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL sleep soundly
sick. Fatigue lowers libido, stamina, memory, concentration, and creativity. Sleep deprivation can be deadly. Studies show sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of early death by about 12%. Alarmingly, 20% of participants in the 2016 Australian Sleep Health Survey admitted to dozing of while driving and 5% had had an accident in the past year because they nodded of.
Snooze or lose Any sunken-eyed new parent or shift worker knows: sleep scarcity is hell. Sleep deiciency comes in many frustrating forms. It may be due to taking ages to fall asleep, or to frequent waking, rousing early, inability to return to sleep, and poor quality sleep. Factors foiling slumber include illness, a bad sleep routine, sleep apnoea, restless legs, pain, hot lushes, anxiety, use of technological devices, drugs, cafeine, and energy drinks. External inluences can be electromagnetic energy, fumes, bedding, bugs, noise, light, animals or people. Perfect sleep is the product of a clear mind, healthy body, moderate exercise, and a sleep-supportive environment. Try the following for a siesta iesta.
sleep. A light dinner at least three hours before bed lets the stomach settle. Avoid alcohol before bed as it inhibits deep sleep and is a diuretic. Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed for the l-tryptophan, which is a precursor to sleepinducing melatonin and serotonin. Foods high in tryptophan include milk, potatoes, sunlower seeds, tomatoes, roasted pumpkin, and turnips. Reduce cafeine, sugar, nicotine, chocolate, cola, amphetamine drugs, alcohol and high-tyramine foods, such as smoked meats, chocolate, spinach, eggplant, wine, and cheese.
Design a snooze zone Clear sinuses with steam inhalation, nasal irrigation, and minimal mucus-forming foods. Invest in a comfortable mattress, pillow, and bedding. The best bed is irm, yet springy enough to support movement during sleep. A pocketspring mattress on a dense base lets your spine decompress and the discs plump up. Ensure your pillow supports the gap between your head and neck. Pain can be eased with an underlay of eggshell foam, wool, magnets, or a grounded carbon ibre mattress. The room and bedding shouldn’t be too hot, as sleep and melatonin
Sleep deprivation drains our brains, leaving us functionally impaired, as if drunk; it also increases pain and inlammation. Create a better routine Ayurveda advises arising at sunrise and sleeping before energy surges after 10pm. The initial nonREM sleep phase is the most restorative because cortisol decreases, memory is consolidated, learning is integrated, and parasympathetic rest/digest rules. Avoid exercise, disturbing discussions, work and screen time close to bedtime, as they stimulate the nervous system. Early morning tends to be light, dream-infused REM sleep, where our nervous system is more active and the body restless. Go to bed and wake at the same time. Before bed, airm you’ll get out of bed at a certain time. Choose an alarm that simulates nature sounds and the gradual light of dawn. Get straight out of bed and splash cold water on your face to avoid drifting back.
Fight insomnia with your fork Have a moderate breakfast, large lunch, and early small dinner of easily digestible foods. A heavy dinner takes energy to digest, which disturbs
production is interrupted when the temperature climbs above 22°C. The room should be quiet, aerated, dark, and comfortable, with the head of the bed facing any direction except north and away from power points. Create an EMF-free zone by eliminating devices and pulling the circuit breaker pre-bed. Use an eye mask and earplugs if there is disturbing stimuli. Sleep in separate rooms or beds if your pet or partner disturbs your sleep. Make the bedroom a stressfree sanctuary with sedating scents, sounds, and a salt lamp. Enjoy ‘unwind time’ at least an hour before bed: organise yourself for tomorrow, dim lights, close curtains, have a shower or lavender bath, sip a soothing tea, listen to mellow music, watch something non-stimulating, brush teeth, stretch, infuse essential oils, meditate, massage your feet, and snuggle into your happy place. Caroline Robertson is a Sydney-based naturopath and irst aid trainer. For consultations or retreats contact www.carolinerobertson.com.au, 0430 092 601
natureandhealth.com.au | 55 | June-July 2018
❃ Pillow prescriptions As Charlotte Bronte said, “A rufled mind makes a restless pillow.” Studies show that insomniacs have elevated cortisol in the middle of the night, when cortisol should be at its lowest. Resolve stresses before bed with journalling, counselling, leisure, exercise, meditation, and relaxing remedies, such as activated B vitamins, magnesium, adaptogenic ashwagandha, ginseng, rhodiola, and liquorice. If the mind mulls over the same thing, try Bach Flower White Chestnut, which quietens repetitive thoughts. Herbal dream remedies are California poppy, chamomile, hops, hypericum, kava kava, lady’s slipper, lavender, lemon balm, oats, passion lower, skullcap, tulsi, valerian, vervain and zizyphus. Lulling essential oils are bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, lavender, mandarin, Roman chamomile, sandalwood, ylang ylang, valerian root and vetiver. To boost low energy, try cordyceps mushroom, ginseng, withania, and coenzyme Q10. For chronic insomnia, consider consulting a sleep clinic or receiving shirodhara, an Ayurvedic treatment that balances hormones and creates calm.
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winter wellness SPECIAL yoga to go within
Winter meditation According to yoga tradition, we are made up of ive layers (kosha) of increasingly iner energy. Yoga master Amy Landry guides you on a meditation from the external to the internal. 1. Annamaya kosha Through the physical body, which is the most tangible aspect of ourselves, we begin to get a more reined sense of what is going on inside ourselves. Lie on your back, palms open and eyes closed. Relax and release your body into stillness. Begin to scan your upper body, one part at a time â€“ eyebrow centre, back of the throat, right shoulder, elbow, wrist, palm, and each inger. Now scan the left hand upper side. Then your spiritual heart centre, behind the sternum, and down to your solar plexus, between diaphragm and navel, and the Svadisthana Chakra, below the navel. Scan the right hand lower side: hip, knee, ankle, foot. Now scan the left hand lower side. Come back up to the space below the navel, above the navel, your heart centre, base of throat, and space between the eyebrows. When youâ€™re ready, roll to the right side, and slowly rise to seated.
Bliss is your true nature. Be patient, for this may feel unfamiliar - the bliss body takes time to reveal itself due to the layers that we have built up around it. 2. Pranayama kosha The pranic body is essentially an organisational ield that holds your physical body together. This ield is your life energy. Sit comfortably, chest open and lifted, with support under the hips. Close your eyes. Begin with a few cycles of slow deep breathing through your nose. Repeat, adding a brief pause at the top of the inhalation, then return to your natural breath rhythm. Notice the breath at the tip of your nose, the temperature of your breath, the sensation of the air passing within the nose. When the mind wanders, bring it back to this anchor, the sensation of breath. Complete in your own time, open your eyes gently, and move slowly on with your day. natureandhealth.com.au | 57 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL yoga to go within
3. Manomaya kosha Now we move deeper: this is the layer that comprises our passing thoughts, emotions, and perceptions - like waves in the ocean. You may like to set a 5-minute timer. Sit comfortably, with support under the hips. Choose a simple mantra like OM to repeat in your mind - OM is relective of the ininite nature of the universe. Close your eyes. Withdraw, relax your breath, and repeat the sound of your mantra in your mind at a pace that feels good. If thoughts arise, do not resist them; when the mind wanders, simply come back to the mantra. Trust that, over time, this experience is reining your attention, enabling the mind to turn inward. When the timer goes of, allow yourself another few minutes in stillness.
4. Vijnanamaya kosha The word Vijnana means ‘knowing’. It is the sheath of true wisdom underneath the thinking aspect of the mind, and is associated with the higher intellect, real discernment, and reasoning. Sit, with eyes closed. Inhale deeply into the belly, up into the chest, pause at the top, and exhale. Repeat. Then return to your natural breath. Notice that something within you can observe your physical body, but that observer is not the body. Can you, as the observer, be aware of your thoughts? Your mood? How your body feels? The observer knows all of this, without having to get involved in it. The observer is objective, simply witnessing, without being attached to any meaning or outcome. Can you recognise, in this state of stillness, that you are not your reactions, thoughts, or habitual ingrained behaviour? And that these are all layers that you have built up around your deepest sense of self to get by in the world? Rest upon the peacefulness of your deeper wisdom and knowing. Bring your awareness back to the breath and body, resting in stillness, observing. When you’re ready, open your eyes and move the body gently.
5. Anandamaya kosha Ananda means bliss. It is the most hidden layer, surrounding the eternal centre of our consciousness, and is perhaps the hardest to experience. The bliss referred to is diferent from that experienced in the mind: it is a state of deep peace and love, beyond the mind, independent of external inluences. It is a stepping away from the ego and even our deepest intellect. Sit, and allow the body to fall into deep rest, the mind to quieten. Relect on the feelings of joy, love, tenderness, and peace without association to any external stimulus. Bring your awareness into the centre of the chest behind the sternum. Feel the energy of deep, unconditional love, a state of peace resonating from this centre, illing the rest of your body. Imagine this energy, radiating from your spiritual heart, is a soft golden colour, like the rising sun. Visualise this golden light moving outward from your heart centre, through your skin, ingertips, toes, shoulders, neck, and around your head. Now allow the light to draw slowly back inward to your spiritual heart and rest there, as a reminder of your true nature. Allow yourself the next few moments to enjoy resting in this beautiful state. When you feel ready, open your eyes, and move gently. natureandhealth.com.au | 58 | June-July 2018
FOOD FOR THE MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT
THE ENDOCRINE GLANDS AND YOUR HEALTH By Dr. Paul Dupont The endocrine glands determine the physical and psychic functions of our being. This book looks at the role of each endocrine gland and how it is linked with your health. It outlines how you can recognise if your glands’ secretions are deﬁcient or excessive and how to rectify them. Paperback 180 pages $31.95 Published by Rosicrucian Books.
SACRED FORMS AND NUMBERS By Louis Gross FRC For the ancient philosophers, the simple geometrical forms and corresponding numbers were the crystallisation of divine thought. They represented the principles of creation. This well-illustrated book will show you how to understand the symbolical and philosophical value of numbers and sacred geometry. It will help you discover the fundamental laws of the universe. Paperback 230 pages $34.95 Published by Rosicrucian Books. R+C BOOKS Suite 2, 111 Moore St Leichardt NSW 2040 (02) 9518 3444. Books may also be bought online: www.amorc.org.au To find out more about the Rosicrucian Order AMORC go to the Website www.amorc.org.au or for the free, no-obligation booklet Mastery Of Life, Phone 1300 88 1135 or Email email@example.com
winter wellness SPECIAL must-have botanicals
Fight back! Naturopath Amina Eastham-Hillier shares her favourite immune-boosting winter herbs.
MMUNE-SUPPORT herbal medicines can be immune-enhancing, and also immunemodulating, meaning they balance an underactive immune system, as evidenced by frequent colds. Always seek professional advice.
Echinacea root (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea) Actions: Immune-enhancing, immunemodulating, anti-inlammatory, depurative (soothes mucous membranes), lymphatic (assists detoxiication), vulnerary (wound healing), and anti-anxiety. Echinacea can be used in any condition where the immune system needs to heal, balance and restore optimal recovery. Traditionally Native Americans used both types of echinacea, because they work in synergy: each contains diferent alkylamides and the combination is more beneicial. Currently over 1000 publications in PubMed are about echinacea, with many studies proving its value. Echinacea beneits acute and chronic bacterial, viral or parasitic infections. It’s helpful for patients with swollen lymphatic glands, sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, lu, sinusitis, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, ear infections and asthma, as well as skin infections like dermatitis, ulcers, abscesses and boils. Patients taking immunosuppressive medications should use echinacea with caution.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) Actions: Adaptogenic (supports adrenal glands), immune-enhancing, tonic, cardio-tonic and hypotensive (lowers high blood pressure). Studies show astragalus balances the T-helper cells in chronic autoimmune diseases. It’s also useful for chronic immune deiciency, fatigue, debility, night sweats and leukopenia (low white blood cells). I often use astragalus with echinacea to support immune modulation and function.
Cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) Actions: Immune-enhancing and antioxidant. Valuable for treating chronic stealth infections which play a causal role in various chronic illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and motor neurone diseases, it’s helpful for those with poor immunity and a tendency to infections. From my clinical experience, it can have profound efects in killing of bacteria and destroying bioilms, such as Borrelia in Lyme disease. One study showed cat’s claw protected against gastritis and prevented TNF alpha mRNA expression (an inlammation-causing cytokine), via its antioxidant and anti-inlammatory actions. Another study showed a cat’s claw extract induced apoptosis (natural cell death that prevents illness, such as cancer). Cat's claw also beneits patients with advanced cancer by improving their quality of life and reducing fatigue. Caution is needed due to the high doses used initially in treating chronic illnesses.
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) Actions: Adaptogenic, immune-modulating. I use this to support the immune system and protect the adrenals with initial infections. Traditionally it was used to improve physical performance, relieve fatigue, help cope with stress, and enhance focus and concentration.
Ashwagandha is my irst choice for patients with immunity deiciencies. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Actions: Adaptogenic, immune-modulating, anti-anaemic and thyroid-supportive. High in iron, ashwagandha can build the blood of patients with anaemia, which is common in immune deiciencies and also menstruating women or those with chronic parasitic infections. It may assist in raising low white blood cells in leukopenia and in balancing cortisol levels and increasing the adrenal hormone DHEA, which is often depleted after longterm stress and in those with chronic fatigue. I ind it invaluable for treating anxiety and stress symptoms: the adaptogenic actions of withanolides enable patients to deal with stress much more efectively. Studies show withania increases T4 thyroid levels when the thyroid may be underactive. Amina Eastham-Hillier (BHSc) is a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. www.atms.com.au, www.amina.com.au
natureandhealth.com.au | 60 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL mind matters
What is conscious writing? Counsellor Nichola Marsonet shows you how this practice can deepen your selfknowledge and enhance relationships.
know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it until it begins to shine.” When American poet Emily Dickinson wrote this, she had likely been struggling for the right words, as we all do at times: stumbling on just the right way to articulate our emotional world is a precious gift, and a tool to unite human minds. While certain techniques and routines can help get words down onto page or screen, just as important is to be able to weave real feelings into those words. “Writer's block” - the failure to link soul and text, and to therefore connect in an authentic way – breaks that magical link between a writer and reader. And it doesn't just afect professional writers: have you struggled with composing a letter to a loved one, or even a work email, that doesn't capture what you really want to say? Conscious writing could be the answer.
Searching the soul Founder Julia McCutchen developed the conscious writing practice after a serious incident threatened her life. Formerly working in publishing, she now teaches the process of moving a busy life aside to discover how the depth of a writer’s soul-searching should be expressed. Here are her tips to ind truly conscious expression: • Clear your mind A cluttered mind is too ‘noisy’ for you to ind your passion, much less express it. To clear a path, jot down your ‘todo’ lists and any worries you have. Now, put all these thoughts aside. • Find the perfect place Creative writing specialists urge colleagues with writer’s block to change their environment. Where we sit to tap into our feelings largely determines our
success in expressing them. For some, it might be inspiring to sit next to a window with a beautiful view; for others, it might be the warmth and bustle of a busy cafe. Find your perfect writing place. • Step into insight If the words aren’t lowing, go for a walk. A Stanford University experiment found that a brisk walk increases divergent thinking and productivity. How? The physical activity releases feel-good hormones and energy that drive the brain to be more creative.
Conscious writing is all about bringing our true self to the creation of communication. • Cull criticism McCutchen’s conscious writing method urges a writer to be authentic. One way to allow this is to hush the constant inner critic that can take up residence in the mind. Write free-form, without trying to analyse the words. As Professor James C Kaufman notes in his book, The Psychology of Creative Writing, it’s much easier to edit than to write! • Collaborate on creativity Inspiration comes not just from lovely surroundings, but also from those people around you. Learn to really listen to others and how they express their thoughts and feelings. This doesn't mean copying them, as doing that loses authenticity. What it does mean is using others' words and ideas to inspire the translation of your soulsearching into your own words.
natureandhealth.com.au | 61 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL colour your world
True colours Colour is a universal language. If you’re feeling of-colour, use healing hues to stimulate and inspire your desires.
ONSIDER a colour makeover to paint your life into a mindful masterpiece, by absorbing beneicial beams through art, clothes, décor, drink, food, LED light, make-up, nature, and possessions. Tired? Wear red. Looking for love? Choose pale pink bedding. Communication issues? Cue blue. Somewhere over the rainbow there’s a colour to suit you.
Black Black says, “I’m independent, deep, and potentially dangerous.” It absorbs all colours, digging an inky pool of possibilities. Technically a tone, black has sinister associations – think: blackmail, black rage, blacklist, and black sheep - and is linked to death and denial. An excess can depress, but black isn’t all dark: it’s slimming and sophisticated to wear, black suits and religious attire set an authoritative tone, and black cars and décor signal classic taste. Black can be used to banish people and to protect yourself. Black is the colour for Yin, Saturdays, and solemn ceremonies.
Red Red attracts attention: red lags, red lights, ire engines, stop signs, and red carpets stand out. Red is the lowest and longest light frequency, therefore it's aligned with the root chakra and our base material needs - our drive for food, shelter, reproduction, and security is ruled by red. Absorb or adorn red to increase alertness, appetite, energy, libido, and passion, to stimulate circulation, create heat, motivate, and be brave. Like a red rag to a bull, red gets things going, with South Carolina 's Research Service Center showing that using red plastic sheeting under tomato and cotton plants produced a 15-20% natureandhealth.com.au | 62 | June-July 2018
winter wellness SPECIAL colour your world
higher yield than plants grown over traditional black or clear plastic. Red can shift sluggish states, like anaemia, arthritis, bursitis, and dull skin. Beware of red's stimulating efect, as it can increase anxiety, heat, blushing, lushing, inlammation, anger, sex addiction, blood pressure, and stress. When using red externally, temper it with cooling white, silver, or lilac.
Yellow It’s hard to feel down when you’re looking at a yellow buttercup or a golden sunrise. Yellow is nature’s Prozac, the colour of positivity, enthusiasm, energy, wealth, health, happiness, optimism, curiosity, and conidence. Yellow is worn by Buddhists to represent untarnished golden teachings. If you’re feeling stuck, inhale yellow for inspiration, insight, and intellect. Yellow is connected with Sundays, the solar plexus chakra, the spleen, stomach, pancreas, and lymph. Harness this solar energy to ire up digestion, motivation, and self-esteem. Lie under the sun or a yellow LED light for constipation, depression, diabetes, wind, liver troubles, skin issues, and adrenal exhaustion.
Orange Cheerful orange encourages expression, connection, digestion, and transmutation of sexual energy. Orange increases our appetite for eating and living, and is an energising, extrovert colour that stimulates the sacral chakra and the gastrointestinal tract.
Green “Green is the prime colour of the world … from which its loveliness arises,” wrote Pedro Calderon de la Barca. Gazing at ields and forests unites us with nature. Green is a healing and balancing colour, and is connected with Wednesdays, the liver, and the heart chakra. Use green to harbour harmonious connections, cleanse the blood, calm the heart, and rejuvenate. Green is good for immunity in conditions such as cancer. It soothes the eyes, headaches, nerves, and balances blood pressure. To increase peace, prosperity and tranquillity, decorate with indoor plants. Light greens are good for turning over a new leaf, and deep greens for connecting with Gaia. Green LED therapy is wonderful for capillaries, sagging, inlammation, and pigmentation.
Blue The blue sky and sea are universal tonics. Blue creates a calm, clear, cooling feeling that soothes stress and inlammation. Dr Edwin Babbitt wrote in The Principles of Light and Color, "The Blue Ray is one of the greatest antiseptics
in the world," and it is used for infections, particularly of the throat. Dark blue conveys conventional reliability and light blue creates a sense of spacious liberation. Blue enhances expression and communication – one study discovered people exposed to blue were better able to explore their creative sides. The sedating hue can decrease blood pressure, respiration rate, fever, and insomnia, but is contraindicated in cold conditions, like pneumonia. Blue LED therapy is efective for acne, hyperactivity, pain, and bleeding. Staring at mobile and computer screens excessively damages the eyes, so blue-blocking glasses or ilters are protective.
“he purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.” – John Ruskin Purple Just as a Purple Heart is not for the fainthearted, purple is for those who stand by their beliefs. As purple is a blend of red and blue, it bestows a balance between stimulation and sedation. Lavender afects the third eye chakra and can be used for increasing insight, intuition, and intelligence. Darker purple creates a regal, decadent, and esoteric air. Purple can provide relief from epilepsy, headaches, rheumatism, and mental confusion. Mystics use purple for sacred rituals to contact subtle realms and purify energy.
White White radiates peace, purity, spirituality, and healing. White is the colour for Mondays, the crown chakra, the lungs,and new beginnings. It’s often worn by ascetics, healers, brides, and mourners in Asia, as it denotes divine energy. Health is associated with white teeth, white eyes, and immune-boosting white blood cells. A transparent innocence is represented by the white lag of surrender, the white dove of peace, white lies, the white dress of communion, and sacred white light. It can increase ego and aloofness saying, “I’m cold, superior, untouchable” - this extends to white cars which have less accidents, according to Monash University research. White is the vibration of pure consciousness; hence it is used for healing, protection and transcendence. Shower a waterfall of white light over yourself and others for health and happiness. Summon white’s high-beam beneits by wearing it, moongazing, and using ivory candles.
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Caroline Robertson has a colourful life, which includes consulting as a naturopath, teaching irst aid and playing with her artistic daughter. www.carolinerobertson.com.au
winter wellness SPECIAL go with the slow
❃ Top tips • Trim fat off meat so you don’t create pools of melted oil in the pot. • Add liquid sparingly, because it doesn’t evaporate. It should just cover the meat and/or vegetables. • Leave the slow cooker to do its magic. If you’re at home, resist the urge to take the lid off to check it because that releases some of the heat. • Don’t add frozen ingredients. Their icy state will put you in the danger zone for food poisoning. • Cut food into uniform-sized pieces, and place irm root vegetables at the bottom and the meat and less irm vegetables on top.
Slowly does it Retro has been on-trend for a while so why not try the fast food of yesterday – seasonal slow cooking? Jane Carstens reports.
OT only is slow cooking nutritious and easy, but you can also experiment with diferent foods and combinations that might surprise you. Slow cooking needs a slow cooker or (retro alert) a crockpot for the ultimate ‘set and forget’ beneit. These appliances use moist heat to cook food at a low temperature for between four and 10 hours. This means the ingredients can be prepared in the morning or the night before, and put in the fridge until you’re ready to hit the ‘on’ switch. Here’s the best bit. Your one-pot wonder will be ready for dinner that night. You just have to walk in the door, perhaps toss in a few last-minute ingredients, and dish it up.
What foods can you use? Leanne Elliston, accredited practising dietitian and program manager for Nutrition Australia (ACT Division), says slow cooking is a great way to incorporate root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots and swedes, and to explore wider options. “Root vegetables deliver lots of ibre and vitamins, especially if you incorporate diferentcoloured varieties, such as sweet potatoes which are high in vitamin A,” she explains. Slow cooking also helps root vegetables retain minerals, especially potassium, which is good for nerve and heart function. In some cases, slow cooking even
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winter wellness SPECIAL go with the slow
Slow cooking increases the food’s lavour, reduces the need to use oftenunhealthy sauces, and makes the most of budget ingredients, especially seasonal produce.
delivers more antioxidants because the cooking process makes these more available for the body to absorb. And it's a great way to increase your intake of vegetables and non-meat protein, such as beans, split peas and lentils – dried varieties are better suited to slow cooking. Canned vegetables are also good to use, especially canned tomatoes, because the cooking process increases the availability of the antioxidant lycopene. “To complete the meal, you can add grainbased foods like rice and pasta, or if you want to use meat, the cheaper sinewy cuts are the best: chuck steak, goat and chicken thighs are great options because they stand up to the longer cooking process and become very tender as well. However, foods high in water-soluble vitamins don’t fare as well during slow cooking. For example, foods high in vitamin C, such as green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, aren't ideal because the longer cooking process breaks down the vitamin C content. So toss these in right at the end, just before serving.”
Nutritional superstar We live in a society where we can buy strawberries and watermelon in winter, and broad beans, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts in summer. But that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Out-of-season
food has usually been stored for a long time, or transported from a diferent time zone – with huge travel miles attached - for your dining convenience. When you eat seasonal produce you avoid these downsides, plus it’s easier on the hip pocket, and the food is fresher and more nutritious. “Seasonal food is in peak condition, usually locally-grown, meaning it has less food miles, and it's cheaper. In fact, the ultimate seasonal produce is the crop you grow yourself,” explains Elliston. “Seasonal slow cooking reconnects us to the harvest cycle. It connects us to a slower way of life where food bubbled in a pot all day until the work was done and it was time to dish up a hearty stew or soup. It provides an opportunity for even novice cooks to produce a lavoursome nutritious meal, and it ofers a healthy and economical alternative to takeaway options at the end of a long day.
❃ Beef goulash (from Nutrition Australia) Serves 6 • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil • 1 brown onion, chopped • 1.5 kg beef chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 3cm pieces • 2 tablespoons tomato paste • 2 tablespoons paprika • 2 red capsicums, cut into 2cm pieces • 425g can diced tomatoes • 500g mushrooms, sliced • 800g cooked pasta • reduced fat natural yoghurt, to serve • fresh parsley, chopped, to serve Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
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Heat remaining oil in the pan over medium/high heat. Cook beef, in batches, for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned. Return all beef to the pan. Add tomato paste and paprika. Cook for 1 minute or until beef is coated. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add capsicum and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Cook on high for 4 hours or slow for 8 hours. Add mushrooms in the last 30 minutes of cooking time. Serve with dollops of yoghurt, parsley, and a side of pasta.
winter wellness SPECIAL east west
Boost winter qi he principles of traditional Chinese medicineencourage synchronicity with nature, which is even more important in winter, writes Dr Shura Ford.
CCORDING to Chinese medicine philosophy, winter is yin: it is traditionally the season of hibernation, as plants and animals move into a dormant phase. In winter the predominant energy is cold, even in Australia's milder climate; there is darkness and a contraction of environmental energies. The same process occurs in the body, with the body's qi naturally moving deeper within to nourish and repair the interior and protect against penetration of cold energy. To boost qi in winter, we must consider the predominant energies in the environment and adapt to them. Here's how:
Align with winter energetics During winter, be mindful of the energy that you expend day to day: get plenty of rest, avoid staying up late, and rise with or after the sunrise. Keep balance in your life between the energy you use and the energy you cultivate. If your life is rushed, your body's adrenal activity increases and may cause exhaustion â€“ and if this happens, the body becomes easily vulnerable to cold energy entering and disturbing the qi.
Keep warm It is important to stay warm, to keep cold out of the body. When cold penetrates the body it may cause stifness and stagnation or contraction, and limit movement of qi and blood. Pathogenic cold energy enters through the pores, so keep skin covered and use scarves and beanies. Signs of cold in the body may display as coldness on palpation of the abdomen, back or hips, a white tongue, a sense of coldness, or just an inability to warm up.
Seek support If you know that winter is diicult for you, seek support to warm the body in preparation. Chinese medicine can be used preventively to promote wellness and boost qi as well as to treat signs of existing coldness. Acupuncture points can address patterns of imbalance along with cupping to remove cold. Moxibustion is another likely addition to treatments: this heating therapy warms the body and channels and promotes movement of and building of the qi and blood. Herbal prescriptions can warm the body and enhance the protective elements.
Eat seasonally As with all seasons, eating locally-grown seasonal whole foods is encouraged, as these foods will align most closely with the energy of a person's environment. To boost qi in winter, have warming meals that have been cooked at low temperatures for a long time, like hearty soups, stocks, broths, stews, and curries. Warming spices - cloves, peppercorns, ginger, and cinnamon - are a good addition.
Maintain activities Even though winter is a yin time, we should continue physical activity to maintain lexibility, cultivate qi, promote circulation, and create internal warmth. Movement from activities such as Qi Gong, yoga or Pilates are particularly appropriate. Keep skin pores covered when exercising in open air, particularly the neck and lower back. Minimise activities that encourage opening the pores and sweating, as these will leave you vulnerable to cold penetration; if you do high-activity exercise, ensure you keep warm afterwards. Shura Ford is a doctor of Chinese medicine. Contact her at Ford Wellness Group, www.fordwellnessgroup.com.au
Winter is a time of stillness and quiet; a time to move slowly, rest, meditate, and be more introspective.
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winter wellness SPECIAL in the news
Vitamin D deiciency Despite Australia’s abundant sunshine, onethird of us are deicient in vitamin D, a nutrient that is essential for strong bones.
HY? Number one: we’re so great at slipslop-slapping. Using sunscreen and covering up prevents sun from reaching skin, where it converts 7-dehydrocholesterol (the vitamin D precursor produced in the skin) into vitamin D3, which then travels to the liver and kidneys to be transformed into its active form. Conversion can also be hampered by the use of personal-care products containing sodium lauryl sulphate, which washes away 7-dehydrocholesterol. Additionally, vitamin D may not convert in people who take medications or who have a liver or kidney malfunction. Then there is lack of intake. Oily ish, ish roe, dairy foods, and eggs are the best sources, but you need a generous serving of each every single day to come close to the recommended intake. Some foods are fortiied with vitamin D, notably breakfast cereals, orange juice, yoghurt, margarine, and soy drink. As well as bones, vitamin D is essential for muscle movement, nerve health, immune function, and to both reduce the risk of certain cancers and improve the prognosis of cancer patients: in other words, if cancer patients are replete in vitamin D before diagnosis, they have a better prognosis. MS is another condition afected by vitamin D, as it is more prevalent in patients with low vitamin D. I believe everybody should be tested because clinically, I ind a wide variety of people fall far beneath the lower end of desirable serum vitamin D levels. It’s good practice for breast-feeding mothers to supplement with vitamin D if they’re not getting enough sunlight. Older adults beneit as their skin may not be exposed to sunlight; their kidneys are also less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, and they may be on drugs that disrupt the conversion of vitamin D. People who
have digestive or pancreatic disorders may have lowered vitamin D intake, as these conditions hamper fat absorption. So do people with dark skin, mainly because they need to be exposed to sunlight for possibly four times as long as those with fair skin. And - while this is a little controversial - obese people as well, because their body fat binds to vitamin D molecules and stops them from entering the bloodstream. The dosage for vitamin D depends on how low the levels are, and how quickly a person needs to return to the ideal blood level. The recommended intake for an adult over age 70 is 800IU per day; for younger adults, and pregnant and breast-feeding women, it’s 600IU per day. However, this is in people with adequate vitamin D - in clinical trials of institutionalised elderly people, doses above 10,000IU were given over three months and these only just edged them into range. Supplementation needs to be supervised by monitoring blood samples, and also by a nutritionist or a naturopath to ensure the right supplement is prescribed at the right dose. Teresa Mitchell-Paterson (BHSc CompMed, MHSc HumNut, AdvDipNat) is a member of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society. www.atms.com.au
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❃ Are you at risk? People with very low vitamin D levels are more prone to low mood, high blood pressure, migraine, some types of seizures, inlammation, musculoskeletal pain, low-back pain, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. In clinical trials when people suffering these conditions began taking vitamin D, there was a direct relationship between improvement in their symptoms and their intake of supplements.
food + nutrition Spice world
he spice is so nice Ananta Ripa Ajmera shares the magical healing world of these key Ayurvedic spices.
ECAUSE digestion is the key to great overall health according to Ayurveda, itâ€™s essential to keep the digestive fire strong inside your body. These primary healing spices help strengthen your digestion, thereby contributing to your overall health. Armed with these medicinal spices, you can find relief from issues ranging from menstrual pain to the common cold. Their mere presence in my kitchen inspires me to manifest radiant health each day. I invite you to avail yourself of the magical powers of these humble, but mighty, Ayurvedic spice friends in the preparations and recipes that follow.
Turmeric for health, inside and out Turmeric is a friend that can help you on the inside (when you cook with it) and outside (when applied on your skin). It is also called sri kamya, which means â€œthe one who bestows happiness and prosperity.â€? As health is a type of wealth, physical wellbeing attracts inancial health. Turmeric is a great spice to boost your immunity. When used regularly in cooking, turmeric supports your digestive system by making your food more appetising. Its cleansing efect helps free you from toxicity while ighting excess fat and ulcers. After it is digested, it puriies your
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food + nutrition Spice world
blood. Small, regular doses of turmeric, therefore, are of real beneit if you sufer from anaemia or any other blood-based disease. It also has a fabulous anti-inlammatory efect. Any time you need a makeover, turmeric is there to help. This spice is known for enhancing your complexion and is widely used in cosmetics to minimise dark spots and blemishes. It’s great for combating acne and wrinkles, too.
Cumin, to improve digestion I can’t think of a single savoury Ayurvedic dish that doesn’t have cumin in it. Cumin is a powerful ally to call upon for digestive health. It is no coincidence that one of the many synonyms for this Ayurvedic spice is jarana, or “that which brings about digestion.” My teacher put it so aptly when she shared, “Cumin is like a matchstick that ignites ire in your body in case your internal stove-top isn’t working.” This pungent, heating herb can help you digest any savoury food.
Its taste is subtle enough that you can add cumin powder to dishes ranging from Italian pastas to fried rice. And, unlike other heating herbs, which are best restricted to winter and spring, you can use cumin any time of the year. Cumin is an excellent spice to use any time you need an appetite boost. Roasting cumin seeds on a dry fry-pan until they become slightly darker, but not black, adds more dryness and heat, which helps increase cumin’s potency to crank up your digestion. Just the fragrant smell of freshly roasted cumin seeds is enough to immediately ignite my appetite. To combat nausea, simply sprinkle some cumin seeds or powder onto a lemon slice and lick it sporadically for quick relief. For diarrhoea, drink warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of cumin powder. For women with menstrual spotting, irregular cycles, or clotting, this spice is your friend. Cumin also reduces inlammation, helps prevent problems like endometriosis, and is extremely beneicial for post-pregnancy women. It’s an excellent spice for healthy breast milk.
You can create a powerful pain-relieving paste by grinding cumin seeds into powder and applying them with a little bit of water to any sore or swollen areas. Coriander: for emotional support One of coriander’s synonyms in Sanskrit is hrdaya, which means “heart.” Coriander helps both your physical and emotional heart. The mere smell of coriander comforts your heart and uplifts your spirit. I remember feeling pleasantly surprised when my teacher suggested growing a big patch of coriander and even lying down in it to receive its heartening beneits. I love brightening up my food with a garnish of coriander leaves. Unlike most spices that boost your digestive ire, coriander simultaneously boosts your digestion while cooling your body. When the weather is hot I like to boil water with coriander seeds and drink this cooling tonic periodically throughout the day. This tonic is especially soothing if you have any heat-related conditions, such as heartburn, acid relux, haemorrhoids, or heat-related headaches. To make another wonderful digestive tonic, mix 1 teaspoon of cumin powder with 1 teaspoon of coriander powder in twice the amount of water you’d like to drink. Boil and reduce the water by half, then drink when cool. This helps relieve wind, bloating, colic pain, and constipation. Excerpted from The Ayurveda Way, © by Ananta Ripa Ajmera, used with permission from Storey Publishing. natureandhealth.com.au | 69 | June-July 2018
❃ Meet the fiery fivesome Ajwain seeds, fresh and dry ginger, black pepper, mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds are excellent heating spices for igniting your digestive ire. You can freely enjoy them in winter and spring. They are also a great crew to call upon for help in digesting heavier foods, like meat, as well as for weight loss. Also called bishop’s weed seeds, ajwain seeds look like cumin but smell and taste more like thyme. These highly fragrant seeds are particularly helpful for bloating and pain relief. I love boiling them in water and drinking ajwain tea on the rare occasions I feel abdominal pain. Ginger is called a great medicine (maha aushadhi) in Ayurveda. The dry form of ginger is a powerful force to ight against spring aflictions like colds, asthma, sore throats, runny nose, and diarrhoea. Any time I feel a cold coming on or need to stop a runny nose, I apply a paste made of dry ginger powder and water on my nose and under my eyes for as long as comfortable. To stop diarrhoea, add a pinch of dry ginger to warm water and drink. Cooking with fresh ginger, mustard seeds, and black pepper is an excellent way to prevent and reduce respiratory challenges and seasonal allergies. In addition to being part of the iery ivesome for boosting digestive ire, fenugreek seeds (and leaves) are also a pregnant woman’s best friend, as they relieve breast tenderness and promote healthy breast milk.
food + nutrition allergies and intolerances
Should you skip wheat and dairy? Wheat and dairy are the two most common food intolerances, and most people, whether they realise it or not, experience some symptoms when eating them, says Diana Robinson.
OR some people, eating reactive foods can cause mild to moderate digestive discomfort, a change in bowel habits, or debilitating symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Others may develop a skin allergy - dry, red and itchy skin (eczema) is commonly triggered by wheat and dairy intolerance. So, what's in these foods that is making everyone sick? Letâ€™s start with wheat. Depending on your genetics, you may be sensitive to gluten, which means you may experience discomfort from
all gluten-containing foods (the most common being spelt, rye, barley, bulgur and wheat). Now hereâ€™s the thing: you could be absolutely ine with gluten, but experience symptoms only when you eat wheat speciically. This is due to how drastically the wheat grain has been genetically modiied over the last 100 years for the sake of higher crop yields, to the point that it no longer contains the same number of chromosomes that it did when our ancestors irst cultivated it. The plant is now literally a diferent species, and as such, causes inlammatory conditions afecting the gut, skin, and brain. Have you ever heard friends talk about how they ate pasta and bread while holidaying in Europe, and never felt ill? This is because their wheat grain is not as heavily genetically modiied as that of Western countries. And when modern wheat is digested and metabolised, it up-regulates inlammatory pathways. The result is abdominal bloating, caused by inlammation and excess luid, and increased systemic inlammation, which worsens arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, and brain fog.
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❃ Getting started • Don’t simply replace wheat-based meals with gluten-free alternatives. Many gluten-free breads in supermarkets are high in potato starch, canola oil, and sugar. The most nutritious gluten-free breads are at health food stores or organic grocers, and should be comprised mainly of seeds and gluten-free lours like teff, buckwheat, coconut, or sorghum. • Swap bread and pasta for vegetable alternatives, such as zoodles (zucchini noodles), steamed and sliced eggplant for lasagna sheets, and wraps made from collard greens. This boosts your ibre and antioxidant intake as well as signiicantly cutting calories. • The best milk alternatives are almond, rice, coconut, or organic and non-GM soy. Check ingredients to make sure you are not choosing one that is packed with sugar.
The dairy dilemma With dairy, the issue is threefold. Your ability to digest lactose (the naturally-occurring sugar found in milk) depends on your age and genetic origin. For example, Asian cultures are naturally deicient in lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Another factor is that we are born with very high lactase activity, which declines as we get older when we no longer need to drink breast milk. On top of this lactase deiciency, many people are also intolerant to casein (the protein in dairy). Dairy
• Coconut yoghurt is now readily available in supermarkets. You’ll need to boost your protein intake if using coconut yoghurt, as it doesn’t contain the same protein ratio as dairy. I recommend mixing in nuts and seeds, or a little vegan protein powder. • Swap to coconut ice cream, and cheese alternatives like almond or cashew cheese or tofu cheese. Avoid fake cheese products with processed ingredients. Stay as natural as possible. You’re better off eating dairy cheese occasionally, than processed cheese daily. • Dairy chocolate can be easily substituted with a vegan coconut ‘mylk’ alternative. If you’ve never tried vegan chocolate, I recommend starting with one of the more creamy style mylk chocolates, as these most closely resemble conventional chocolate.
highest prevalence of osteoporosis! Why? The answer is the acid/alkaline balance. The Western diet is typically acidic, emphasising wheat, dairy and meat, an eating pattern that not only increases inlammation, but also raises blood pH. When blood becomes too acidic, the body withdraws calcium from the bones to lower pH. Calcium is a natural bufer (and is the primary ingredient used in acid relux medications), so you can see what happens when you continue eating an acidic diet: you deplete your calcium stores,
Wheat has been genetically modiied over the last century to the point that it no longer contains the same number of chromosomes as when our ancestors cultivated it. intolerance is strongly associated with childhood eczema, and is not recommended in anyone with a history of eczema or asthma because, as with wheat, it promotes an inlammatory response. But what about calcium? This is the most common question I hear when patients are told to remove dairy, particularly from mums with young children. Contrary to what the dairy industry has led us to believe, you can maintain healthy calcium levels without dairy. In fact, higher calcium levels have been studied in Asian populations that eat little to no dairy, and it is the Western cultures with the highest dairy consumption have the
and no matter how much calcium you eat, if your blood remains acidic, your body will take it out of your bones. To maintain good calcium levels in bones, eat an alkaline diet rich in vegetables, omega-3s and a moderate level of quality protein, and avoid sugary foods and soft drinks. There are plenty of non-dairy sources of calcium; however, if you still want to eat a little cheese (and I don’t blame you!), goat's milk and cheese is generally better tolerated than cow's. Diana Robinson is a Melbourne based clinical nutritionist. www.dianarobinsonnutrition.com
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food + nutrition wellness foods
Eat to beat inflammation he modern Western diet promotes inlammatory conditions, such as arthritis and colitis. Naturopath Teresa Mitchell-Paterson shows you how to ight back with your fork.
HRONIC inlammation is associated with diseases that end with ‘-itis’, such as nephritis, arthritis, tendonitis, bronchitis, and colitis. While these conditions tend to be long-standing and may need to be medically managed, natural therapies can sit alongside medication, and diet plays an important role in reducing symptoms. With inflammatory conditions, the body has a response that creates increased blood flow and heat: the immune system’s white blood cells move to the area and release chemicals such as cytokines that create pain, thereby signalling to the body that there’s an issue in the area. Foods that are high in fat, sugar and white flour - cakes, soft drinks, biscuits, chips, pizza and creamy pasta dishes - tend to provoke an inflammatory response. Inflammation-reducing foods, on the other hand, are generally whole or unprocessed foods, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
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food + nutrition wellness foods
These foods protect the gut, and a healthy gut ‘talks’ to the entire body system, which means gut health is essential to reduce inflammation. Evidence increasingly suggests gut microbes significantly influence inflammatory disease by modifying the body’s response to pathogens. Without doubt, diets that are higher in polyphenols and fibre help to create a healthy gut and reduce the inflammatory process. While acute inlammation can generally resolve itself with rest, treatment is necessary with chronic disease. Ageing is a risk factor for the development of inlammatory diseases. Two key drivers in age-related inlammatory processes are the cytokines (cell-signalling molecules) interleukin 1.6 and interleukin-18, although other natural body chemicals may also be implicated. Some fascinating studies suggest that moderating these chemicals can reduce the risk of age-related inlammation in diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, infections and heart disease.
Whole grains, and particularly 'ancient' grains like faro, rye and tef, help reduce inlammation.
ancient wheat grains such as faro. Higher ibre in the diet and whole ancient grains signiicantly reduce inlammation. Even 30 grams of psyllium ibre a day can help to reduce inlammation.
Fats Saturated fats are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 fats reduce the risk of inflammation. In one study, an increase in interleukin-6 TNF-alpha was noted following a meal high in saturated fat, but the markers were lowered after ingesting omega-3 fatty acids. High levels of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can reduce arachidonic acid in the tissues, thereby reducing pro-inflammatory eicosanoids such as leukotrienes. Eating fish a few times a week may not be enough, and supplements may work more effectively. Additionally, the monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil, with its high level of polyphenols, can reduce inflammation in many disease states. So use high-quality cold-pressed extra virgin oil on your salads and vegetables, Jamie Oliver-style. Refined olive oil does not have the same effect.
Protein Many diets involve reducing meat intake and increasing plant-based proteins. The Mediterranean diet is widely recognised as an anti-inlammatory diet: it contains little meat – maybe once a week, eggs and cheese, but plenty of ish, pulses and legumes as protein sources.
Shedding excess kilos is particularly important during our later years, as gerobesity – as obesity in the elderly is termed – is linked to higher inflammatory states. A high correlation exists between being overweight and increased systemic inflammation as fat cells make their own pro-inflammatory chemicals, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor that are often seen in osteoarthritis and joint inflammatory conditions. Maintaining body weight within the recommended BMI of 18-25 can reduce the pain of inflammation. Certain fats, and micronutrients such as plant chemicals, vitamins and minerals, all modulate or potentiate inflammation. A large multinational study suggests the following guidelines to reduce inflammation:
The epigallocatechin-3 gallate present in green tea reduces interleukin-1, which degrades collagen and cartilage. Three to four cups a day can help to reduce the pain of inlammation.
Carbohydrates Diets high in white potatoes and processed oats and wheat increase the glycaemic load and raise CRP levels. To reduce the glycaemic load, eat potatoes cold with the skin on, and choose rolled or steel-cut oats rather than minute oats, and
Probiotics These are known immune modulators and have been deemed useful to reduce allergic inlammation and certain inlammatory diseases by balancing T1 anti-inlammatory cell activation. Human trials, while limited and generally of short duration, are promising. Species used in one trial suggests Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, and Biidobacterium animalis lactis – strains that can be purchased commercially – are efective. Over a threeweek period, lower levels of CRP were visible: CRP is often elevated in chronic inlammatory conditions. A note of caution: these strains are beneicial in children and adults, but potentially more inlammatory in some infants. Teresa Mitchell-Paterson BHSc(CompSci), MHSc(HumNut) is a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. www.atms.com.au
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❃ Pick a herb Certain herbs reduce inlammation, but it’s important to seek the advice of a qualiied herbalist or naturopath to ensure you use the right one for you. White willow bark (Salix alba) Traditionally used in Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Indian traditional medicine, this herb works similarly to aspirin and blocks inlammation. However, it’s not to be used by people with gastric conditions, or by children. Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata) Another traditional herb, this time from Somalia, Ethiopia, and India, boswellia is analgesic, anti-arthritic, and antiinlammatory. Beneits in inlammatory conditions have been seen after eight weeks at a small dose of 333mg, three times a day. Clinically, I ind the capsules more effective than the liquid form. Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) This is my absolute favourite. It reduces nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) by up to 65-85 percent. Because there are potential side effects, the dose should only be prescribed by a professional who can give educated advice on your speciic condition.
food + nutrition In the news
Unless we’re eating seafood – seaweed, shellish or ish – every single day, exactly where do we get our iodine from?
Something missing in your life? It was once thought iodine’s only role was to ensure correct thyroid function. Now we know that it is required for so much more – and deiciency is increasing.
ACH of our cells needs iodine to function optimally, and insuicient dietary iodine causes many health problems. The World Health Organisation (WHO) established the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for iodine at 150μg in 1924. However, this allowance has not been reassessed since, and unfortunately it does not relect modern indings. In his book, Iodine - Why You Need It. Why You Can’t Live Without It, David Brownstein, MD says that not only are we not eating enough iodine, but that the toxic halides we eat and absorb from our environment inhibit iodine uptake by body tissues. Brownstein adds around 96 percent of the population test poorly for iodine suiciency; we therefore have a problem of epidemic portions. In 2017, we know a lot more about this mineral and how the body uses it. Soil and animal products (eggs, dairy, meat) lack iodine unless the farmer speciically adds it to his land or to animal feed.) We are now exposed to halides, environmental toxins (chlorine, luoride, bromide) and other goitrogens, such as the Brassica vegetables that
interfere with the binding of iodine in the body when eaten raw. While there has been mandatory iodine fortiication of bread in Australia since 2009, many people avoid grains to minimise digestive, immune, and weight issues. Iodised salt is available, but this is primarily a reined, devitalised product which is not good for our general health, so we have reduced or eliminated it, or replaced it with rock or sea salt - which are low in iodine. In short, we are operating on an unrealistic iodine budget which makes us feel generally sluggish more alarmingly, it increases our risk of getting hormone-sensitive cancers (thyroid, breast, ovarian, endometrial, and prostate).
Supplementation to the rescue! Unless we eat a diet plentiful in fresh seafood (farmed salmon excluded), and ensure we steam our Brassica veggies before eating them, then supplementing with iodine is the only practical option. This mineral is vital for correct thyroid functioning and helping to protect us from certain types of cancer, and it is also used to correct a whole plethora of seemingly unrelated health conditions, like ibromyalgia, migraines, and sex-hormone imbalance. Iodine is particularly helpful for women’s health in the following areas: breast health, natural fertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), irregular and heavy periods, vaginal infections, and low sex drive. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced heath practitioner to irstly establish an iodine insuiciency through the gold-standard testing procedure (an iodine-loading test). If you’re not careful or if you’re inexperienced in the use of supplemental iodine, you could exacerbate a current health condition, or induce a detoxiication reaction (headaches, fatigue, muscle aches), or experience distress in your body (sweating, feeling nervous, heart palpitations). Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualiied, experienced and registered naturopath and medical herbalist who runs her own practice, OOMPH, in Grey Lynn, Auckland, NZ. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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food + nutrition the stinking rose
he glories of garlic Yes, it's a must-have for foiling lu and winter bugs, but garlic's powers don't end there, writes naturopath Teresa Mitchell-Paterson.
ARLIC (Allium sativum) has long been used as food and medicine - it was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, some 5,000 years ago. Hippocrates (c.460-370 BC), the father of Western medicine, prescribed it for respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue. Currently, garlic is widely used to prevent colorectal, lung, prostate, breast, and stomach cancers, and for atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, and coronary heart disease.
Cancer promise According to the National Cancer Institute (US), studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers (stomach, colon, oesophagus, pancreas, breast), while a seven-year study found that eating raw garlic at least twice a week equated to a 44 percent lower risk of developing the disease.
Heart health The 2006 review 'Garlic and Cardiovascular Disease' notes an inverse correlation between garlic consumption and progression of cardiovascular (CV) disease. Multiple factors are associated with CV disease, including raised serum total cholesterol, raised LDL cholesterol, increased LDL oxidation, increased platelet aggregation, hypertension, and smoking. Numerous lab and clinical studies conirm garlic's ability to reduce these parameters, and also to reduce blood pressure and increase antioxidant status. Forty-four percent of clinical trials from 1993 to the review date indicate a reduction in total cholesterol, with the most profound efect observed in garlic's power to reduce the ability of platelets to aggregate. Mixed results were obtained with blood pressure
and oxidative-stress reduction, but few trials have addressed these issues, and itâ€™s thought the negative results obtained in some clinical trials may have resulted from using diferent garlic preparations. Subsequently, a study at the University of Adelaide found the beneit of aged garlic extract on high blood pressure is comparable to that of frontline prescription medications. Results show that systolic blood pressure signiicantly dropped in participants who took two capsules of aged garlic extract daily, similar to the efect of common anti-hypertensive drugs. Aged garlic has fewer side efects than fresh garlic and allows better standardisation of dosage. Aged garlic extract may also reverse build-up of arterial plaque and guard against the progression of heart disease, a 2016 study revealed. Participants were screened initially, and then a year later after taking 2400 mg of aged garlic extract daily. The later screening revealed the extract slowed total plaque accumulation by 80 percent. So enjoy fresh garlic daily, ideally raw and crushed to maximise those valuable volatile compounds. To use garlic therapeutically for a medical condition, seek the professional guidance.
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Teresa Mitchell-Paterson BHSc(CompSci) MHSc(HumNut) is a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. www.atms.com.au
â?ƒ Easing arthritis Women who eat plenty of allium vegetables (garlic, onions, shallots, spring onions, leeks) appear to have less incidence of hip osteoarthritis, according to a long-term 2010 study from Kingâ€™s College London. The researchers found a compound called diallyl disulphide limits levels of cartilage-damaging enzymes when introduced to a human cartilage cell-line in the laboratory.
food + nutrition nutrition notes
Nutrition notes Pamela Allardice test-drives home-fermenting, discovers great news for onion lovers, a fab new idea for breakfast, and some fun facts about sweet potatoes.
In br ef • Peopl a rgic to dust and pollen are signiicantly more likely to have fewer species of beneicial gut bacteria, and for those species present to be imbalanced anyway, says an EbioMed study. • Psyllium ibre is well known for its ability to ease constipation and lower cholesterol; now a study from Duke University has shown that it also stabilises fasting blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. • A standardised extract of curcumin reduces levels of two markers of muscle inlammation – creatine kinase and cytokines – in people undertaking leg presses, says BBA Clinical Journal.
3 things you didn’t know about sweet potatoes • They are actually tubers, a type of root vegetable that’s quite different from regular potatoes. • Lung function can be enhanced with a steady intake of vitamin C and betacarotene – and sweet potatoes have both in abundance. • The carotenoids in sweet potatoes are instrumental in warding off adult-onset diabetes by regulating blood glucose.
Seeing red The next time you shop for onions, reach for the red ones. University of Guelph researchers have found that all onions are not created equal, with the Ruby Ring red variety having signiicantly higher quantities of quercetin, a potent anti-carcinogenic lavonoid.
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“No one has presented rice in a delicious and easy breakfast form yet, so we created Brekky Rice, a black rice and coconut pudding that is NASAAcertiied, dairy- and gluten-free,” says Marcus Brown, founder of Forbidden Foods. We love it! www.forbiddenfoods.com.au
Make mine Mediterranean Among 6,000 older adults in the US Health and Retirement Study, those who consistently stuck to the Mediterranean diet enjoyed a 35 percent lower risk of dementia. They also exhibited less brain inlammation, which is associated with smaller brain volume.
food + nutrition nutrition notes
Expert Q+A: Artisanal salts One of the more enduring artisanal salts is pink Himalayan salt: popular now for well over a decade, many chefs and recipes specify this pretty salt. The dowdy grey Celtic Sea Salt® is another that has endured – and for much longer. And there’s good reason for the salts’ survival in the ingredient popularity stakes: both are unreined, and so they retain their rich lode of trace minerals. High-quality sea salts such as Celtic also contain some 60 trace minerals, while pink Himalayan salt is said to contain more than 80. Ordinary table salt originates from salt-water bodies, but the intense reining processes it undergoes strip away the trace minerals, leaving sodium chloride as the main ingredient along with a little added iodine and some less appealing additives, such as anti-caking substances. So always choose unreined salts: Himalayan, Celtic, or the many other sea salts available in specialty food stores. Just avoid sea salts that list sodium chloride as the main ingredient as this means the product is as reined as table salt. And use in moderation. Rosemary Ann Ogilvie is a health writer, gifted cook, and self-suficiency expert.
In a ferment You would have had to have been living under a rock to have missed all the good news about fermented veggies, and making your own probiotic-rich sauerkraut just got a whole lot easier with Mad Millie’s petite ceramic crock with traditional clay weights and a clever airlock design to ensure no oxidation or contamination. www.imake.pro
Must-try this month: Feta, roast tomato and spiced bean bow • Gently fry ¼ teaspoon each of black onion and coriander seeds in 1½ tablespoons olive oil. Add these to 55g cubed feta, along with the frying oil, and stir well. Marinate in the refrigerator, overnight if possible. • Preheat oven to 200°C. Put a string of cherry tomatoes on the vine onto a tray and roast until just bursting, about 15 minutes. • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan with ½ teaspoon inely grated lemon zest, add 1 chopped spring onion and cook until softened. Add 55g canned, rinsed chickpeas and 40g canned, rinsed borlotti beans, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin and a pinch of chilli lakes. Warm through and taste for seasoning. • Remove woody stalks from a handful of cavolo nero leaves, shred leaves, and massage in some apple cider vinegar to soften. • Add the spiced beans, cavolo nero, and roast tomatoes to your bowl, crumble in the feta, and inish with a squeeze of lemon juice. This is an edited extract from Nourish Bowls published by Quadrille $24.99 and is available in stores nationally.
Get active, naturally Activated Nutrients Daily Superfood contains 55 plant and herbal ingredients to deliver a potent mix of pre- and probiotics, red and green superfoods, digestive enzymes, and nonsynthetic vitamins. www.activatednutrients.com
Want more food and nutrition news? Visit www.natureandhealth.com.au and sign up for our FREE weekly e-news and healthy recipes, or like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! natureandhealth.com.au | 77 | June-July 2018
mind + spirit inner self
Heal your broken heart Whether your heart aches due to lost love, illness, or basic disappointment in life, meditation teacher Lodro Rinzler has the wisdom you need.
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mind + spirit inner self
HE Zen master Suzuki Roshi was once asked by a student to summarise all of Buddhism in one phrase. He looked up and bluntly said, “Everything changes.” Then he moved on to the next question.
The good This pain you feel? It’s not always going to be like it is right now. I promise you. It will shift and change and likely dull in a big way. While writing my book Love Hurts, I met with a woman who spoke about her heartbreak over the death of her father. “The pain will change I know,” she said. “Time and talking. Those are the two things that help.” We all have heard this though, right? That time heals all wounds? I’m not going to say that to you. Here is what I have found, particularly having lost major loves of my life, familial, romantic, and otherwise: time changes our wounds. Some may heal entirely. Others we may continue to relect on daily or weekly and wish they would eing heal already, but don’t. They remain, but we don’t become as devastated by them each time we relect. Eventually we may notice that wound and think, “Oh, that old scar? I got it in my divorce/ the death of my dad/the irst time I was cheated on,” and almost smile. Almost.
The bad Another thing Suzuki Roshi once said was, “Life is like stepping into a boat that is about to sail out to sea and sink.” All aspects of our life, including our relationships, are like that, and for that I am sorry. Me saying that Buddhists believe that everything is impermanent is a bit like me saying Buddhists believe that water is wet. It is simply the truth. If you disagree, I invite you to go out and ind one thing (one thing!) that does not change in any way. The seasons change. Our work changes. Our bodies change. In fact, it’s said that all of the cells in our bodies die and are replaced gradually over seven-year cycles so that every seven years we’re a whole new being. Day in, day out, you know you change. You know more than you did a few years ago. You’ve had diferent experiences. You have new weird eccentricities you didn’t have before. To think that you are this one, unchanging being would be a fallacy. Here’s the messed up thing: most of us take our ever-changing self and partner it to another ever-changing being, entering into an ever-changing romantic relationship, and think that all three of those things are supposed to come together in a way that is permanent and stable. It’s like multiplying impermanence times three and thinking we’re going to ind everlasting happiness. In some sense, it’s foolish of us to think that we will go out and meet “the one” and will live happily ever after, based on how much everything morphs over time.
I believe you will heal. I really do. You have everything in you to do so. While you may not feel it today, you’re basically whole already; you just have to discover that. Here are the three main ways relationships end: breakups, divorce (that is, advanced-level breakup), and death (that is, master-level breakup). This impermanence isn’t just a romantic thing this can be mapped to friends, family members, cherished pets, and more. As soon as we enter into a relationship with another being we are boarding a ship that will, eventually, sink. Again, I’m sorry.
The ugly Knowing how painful these endings can be, here is what I wish for you: you enter into a large number of beautiful relationships that you cherish for years. I wish that they only end when you all are separately on planes with no mobile service and sufer very quick and painless deaths not knowing that your loved ones are also dying at the same time. That way you don’t know that they are dying and you are spared that pain, while they too are spared the pain of knowing you died. This is as good as I can hope for you, but given our options it’s not too bad. Did I mention I’m sorry?
From Love Hurts, © 2016 by Lodro Rinzler. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.shambhala.
❃ 4 questions to ask yourself When people met with me for heartbreak appointments, I would sit with them but only ask four questions. Sometimes I would only ask the irst one and that would take the full 20 minutes we had together. Often I only got to ask the irst two. That was still enough for the person I was sitting with in terms of them moving past the intellectual understanding of heartbreak and getting to the core of what they were experiencing, which thankfully can be cathartic. When given the opportunity to speak and know that they would be fully seen and heard, people didn’t need much encouragement; they could go on at length, ultimately moving into their own wisdom around their experience of heartbreak. I encourage you to go on at length with these same four questions. Start by grabbing a pen and paper, opening up your computer, or (if you prefer) just speaking the answers to these questions aloud. You can focus on the answer to the irst
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question for longer than the others. Tell your full story, or stories, as much as you would like. It is helpful to declare and thus own our stories. No one else needs to see your answer. In fact, I recommend not showing it to anyone. That way you are writing (or speaking) just for your beneit, without the concern of wondering whether it will sound good to anyone else. After the irst question, put the pen down, close the laptop, or just stop speaking. Sit up straight. Raise your gaze to the horizon. Rest your mind for a moment. Then engage the second question. Repeat this process for the inal two questions as well. 1. What is your experience of heartbreak? 2. How are you feeling … right now? 3. What can you do to take care of yourself in the midst of heartbreak? 4. What is one thing you can do today to take care of yourself?
mind + spirit mood management
A mind of your own It’s widely accepted that ‘a chemical imbalance' causes depression – but according to expert Dr Kelly Brogan, nothing could be further from the truth. Tara horne reports.
UE to pharmaceutical propaganda, many people believe that the antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by correcting a chemical imbalance in the brain, speciically by increasing serotonin. But this multi-billion dollar industry loats on a falsity, because there is absolutely no evidence to support the theory that depression is due to serotonin deiciency. The theory behind SSRIs is that they work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. This hypothesis, known as the monoamine hypothesis, grew out of research performed in the 1950s and 60s. Monoamines are the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. However, since this initial research was done, more research has debunked the monoamine hypothesis of depression: in fact, there’s not a single peer-reviewed scientiic paper that proves serotonin deiciency is implicated in any mental health disorder - and there are many that actually prove the opposite! In her international bestseller, A Mind of Your Own, Dr Kelly Brogan states there has never been a human study that successfully links low serotonin levels and depression, and that the serotonin theory of depression is a total myth. Elliot Valenstein PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Michigan University, also points out in his book Blaming the Brain that some depressed patients have low levels of serotonin but the majority do not. He adds that a reasonable average from several studies indicates that only
about 25 percent of depressed patients actually have low levels of these monoamine metabolites and that antidepressants produce many diferent efects, (other than increasing monoamine activity) that have not been accounted for when considering their efect on depression.
Seeking the cause If a chemical imbalance isn’t to blame – what is? What mounting research shows is that depression is not a disease in and of itself, but a symptom of another underlying issue. A new theory, the Immune Cytokine Model of Depression, suggests that depression is a multifaceted sign of chronic immune system activation, meaning that depression
Inlammation might actually be the trigger of depression, rather than a response to it. might actually be a symptom of chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a helpful process in the body, but too much is harmful. For example, brain inflammation can shunt tryptophan away from producing serotonin towards producing anxiety-provoking chemicals, such as quinolinate, which in turn produces symptoms that medical professionals categorise into a syndrome called 'sickness syndrome' - and many of these symptoms overlap depressive symptoms, such as lethargy, sleep disturbance, decreased social activity, libido, and learning issues, anorexia, and andhedonia, (the inability to feel pleasure). The brain lacks pain receptors, so if the brain is inlamed there’s no way for us to feel it. However, measuring cytokines – inlammatory molecules – tells us inlammation is occurring and cytokines are elevated in those with depression. Cytokine markers of inlammation include C-reactive protein, interleukins 1 and 6,
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mind + spirit mood management
❃ What you can do
and tumour necrosis factor alpha, and elevation of these markers in the blood is predictive of depression, indicating that inlammation might actually be the trigger of, rather than a response to, depression. Indeed, researchers have observed that people with higher levels of these inlammatory markers are more likely to respond to anti-inlammatories than to antidepressants. Curcumin, the active component in turmeric, is especially efective for those sufering from depression, likely due to its powerful antiinlammatory efects.
The gut-brain connection So what’s causing that inflammation? Something called a leaky gut is largely to blame. Also known as intestinal permeability, this is an integral player in the development of inflammation in the body. A leaky gut occurs when the tight junctions of the gut lining have pulled apart and opened up more
than they are supposed to. The role of the tight junctions is to keep toxins, bacteria and proteins out of the bloodstream and only allow select material in - but with a leaky gut, certain things that should never escape from the gut are able to pass through the gut lining and into the bloodstream where they contribute to a chaotic cascade of inflammatory events. One such biological agent that can escape into our bloodstream are lipopolysaccharides (LPSs). LPSs, a combination of fats and sugars, are usually found on the outer membrane of certain bacteria that naturally occur in the gut. LPSs aren’t supposed to travel beyond the gut interior, but in a leaky gut, they do. Once outside the gut, LPSs invoke violent inflammatory responses in the body. Researchers are now looking at the role LPSs play in depression, as they have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier thus bringing inlammatory messages directly to the brain.
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When it comes to treating depression, there’s an entire spectrum of natural health remedies we can try before turning to drugs. Here’s how: • Eat an anti-inlammatory diet. Eliminate reined sugar, processed foods, wheat, dairy and any other food sensitivities. An elimination diet can be a great way to determine sensitivities to foods that might be producing inlammation. • Heal your gut! Avoid gluten, which has been shown to cause a leaky gut. Reduce stress, eat fermented foods, whole foods, bone broth, and probiotics, and avoid processed and reined foods. Take zinc and glutamine supplements, as both reduce intestinal permeability. Zinc also supports cell signalling and brain health. • Get your C-reactive protein (CRP) levels checked. CRP is a protein made by the liver when there is inlammation in the body. You want a CRP number under 1.0 mg/L. • Consume healthy fats avocado, MCT oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, ghee, salmon, grass-fed meat, eggs, and olive oil. Our brains are 60 percent fat and require this vital nutrient for optimal functioning. Tara Thorne is a clinical nutritionist. Her practice focuses on helping busy women navigate the overwhelm and confusion, and live healthfully in a hectic world. www.tarathornenutrition. com. To learn more, visit www.kellybroganmd.com
mind + spirit connections
Connections Pamela Allardice learns how to prevent brain drain, why you should bring back the Sabbath, and an interesting new tip on getting a good night's sleep. In brief … Purposeful sleep Searching for a solid night of sleep? Consider what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning. A Sleep Science and Practice study shows that people with a strong sense of purpose in life reported having fewer dificulties with sleep, such as restless legs syndrome. The assessment prompted volunteers to answer statements like, “I feel good when I think of what I hope to do in the future.” People who had a greater sense of purpose also reported getting better sleep quality in general.
Bring back the Sabbath “Make it a priority to stop spending your physical and mental energy, day after day, without a break,” says life coach Honor Salt. “You need one day a week to recharge your batteries - an energysaving day, as opposed to all the other days when you spend your energy. Consider reintroducing the ancient and extremely sane idea of the sabbath. It comes from the Jewish word shabbat, which means ‘the seventh’. Everyone needs one, whether you’re Jewish, Buddhist or atheist. Nor does it have to be Sunday - it could be Monday or Tuesday if you work on weekends, or spend them ferrying children to various activities. Or, as a minimum, you could make Saturday afternoons a special time for quiet contemplation and spiritual nourishment, through reading, prayer or meditation. Whatever time you select, do not let duties and responsibilities intrude on your sabbath. Make it a time of rest that will sustain you through the whole of the coming week.” natureandhealth.com.au | 82 | June-July 2018
• A University of Toronto study says that running a great deal in youth is linked to having a better memory in old age – at least in rats. “We found that, for the test animals, exercise was a strong stimulus for the formation of new neurons in the adult brain,” says study author Martin Wojtowicz. • Feeling bad about feeling bad can make you feel – well, worse, says a UC Berkeley study. “People who habitually accept their negative emotions and moods, rather than deny them, have better psychological health,” says study author Iris Moss. • Don’t forget your vitamin D – research published in the Journal of Nutrition & Dietetics shows that low levels are strongly linked to accelerated cognitive decline and memory loss.
mind + spirit natural beauty
Happiness tip: Be more Amelie Say goodbye to guilt
In the movie Amelie, the shy waitress inds an old metal box of childhood memorabilia that has been hidden by a boy who lives in her apartment decades earlier. Amelie inds the boy – now a grown man – and returns the box to him. She promises herself that, if it makes him happy, she will devote her life to bringing happiness to others. The man is moved to tears, an Amelie embarks on her new mission. She starts a romance between people. She persuades a father to follow his dream of touring the world. She escorts a blind man to the metro station, giving a rich description of the street scenes they pass. I think the world needs more Amelies. What if we all became secret superheroes of kindness? Meik Wiking is the author of The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People (Penguin Random House).
“Unresolved guilt can undermine your mental and physical health,” warns aromatherapist Jenna Price. “Whether the feelings are justiied or not, you need to let them go. Place 2 drops each of rose and grapefruit essential oils on a tissue or handkerchief, inhale deeply, and then spend a few minutes praying or meditating on a way to leave these feelings in the past and move forward.”
What is … AcroYoga? An awful lot of fun, that’s what! A fusion of gentle and supported acrobatics, Thai massage, and yoga – ind a class at www.AcroYoga.com.au
Sex on the brain! According to a study published in Age and Ageing, there is a strong correlation between sexual activity and better cognitive ability in men and women over 50 years of age. Which gives a whole new range of meaning to ‘use it or lose it’ …!
Taking B-group vitamins can slash the rate of brain shrinkage by over 50 percent, says a study in PLoS One. Researchers gave folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 to people with mild memory problems for two years, and used MRI scans to track their effect. This study is one of the irst to show positive results in people, not animals. Study co-leader, Professor David Smith, adds, “It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease in many people.” Want more mental and spiritual health news? Visit www.natureandhealth. com.au and sign up for our FREE weekly e-news and healthy recipes, or like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! natureandhealth.com.au | 83 | June-July 2018
Green your routine
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natural beauty eco beauty tips
How can you tell if your beauty products are ecofriendly? Beauty editor Lisa Tristram has done the research for you.
T a recent industry event, Priceline Pharmacy announced that sales of natural and organic shampoos increased by 38 percent in 2017, a direct result of consumers wanting brands with clean and green ingredients. Priceline was quoted as saying, “Clean and green is far from a passing fad – it's more of an expected choice in pharmacies and supermarkets.” Nor is the trend conined to retail; it's also redeining the spa market. Michelle Reeve of Waterlily and Spaceuticals uses a host of efective and natural botanical actives and nutritive ingredients, such as vitamins B3 and A and pure essential oils and cold-pressed oils, which are proven to keep skin healthy and are not toxic to the environment.
and to sell products that are BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free, as well as avoiding synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and palm oil,” says Bailey. “With every range ofered at Biome, we assess not just ingredient safety and transparency, but the whole story behind the brand and manufacturer.” An example is Australian skincare and make-up brand Evohe: founder Meg Forrester created these products following a personal journey through loss and illness, which brought home to her the importance of using ingredients that do not harm our bodies or our ecosystem. “We have a conscious living checklist, which includes being vegan and cruelty-free, as well as using certiied organic and Fairtrade ingredients,” explains Forrester. Interestingly, haircare is one of the most diicult areas to change to green credentials, given that so many conventional products rely on synthetic ingredients like silicone to smooth frizz and protect hair from heat-styling, and sodium lauryl sulphate surfactants to create lather, and synthetic dyes and fragrances. A great green haircare brand is Everescents: founders and creators Julia and Luke Charters ensure that their products are of the highest professional quality, and as natural as possible. “To ensure minimal impact on the environment, we follow a full-circle approach, including raw ingredients supply, manufacturing processes, and post-use practice by our customers,” explains Luke. “We source certiied organic ingredients, manufacture in small batches, harness green energy from solar, and use 100% recyclable packaging manufactured locally from post-consumer waste.” Even mainstream players like Sephora are jumping on the green beauty bandwagon, adding gems like Youth To the People to their oferings. Founded by cousins Joe Cloyes and Greg Gonzales, YTTP “blends the power of superfoods with the structure of science” and their products are free from fragrance, parabens, and synthetic colours. Then there is Ecotan, a brand inspired by nature on the deepest level. Founder Sonya Driver created a chemical-free self-tanner after her sister was diagnosed with melanoma at age 30. “My mantra is 'the truth is always visible',” says Driver. “I just kept looking for the most ethical and sustainable choices.” Eco by Sonya Driver has now moved into skincare, with her Face Compost Mask harnessing the power of organic vegetables, superfruits, and seeds.
Vote with your wallet – we want ingredients which heal and repair skin and hair, without damaging the environment in any way. Her latest range is built around the indigenous Australian plant ingredient Lime Caviar, which is very high in vitamin C. “Transparent business practices and sustainable production methods are paramount when it comes to staying ahead in the green beauty movement,” Reeve says.
Avoid 'greenwashing' Nor is it enough to simply claim that a product is green or eco-friendly – consumers want to know the why and the how behind such claims. Tracey Bailey, founder of Biome, is a pioneer of the green beauty movement. She has produced 'Biome's Dirty Thirty', a list of 30+ harmful ingredients, to educate people about what they are putting on their bodies. “We're proud to have been the irst store in Australia to require truth in labelling,
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❃ Beauty editor’s picks Everescents Cinnamon & Patchouli Deep Treatment for Dry Hair ($28.50, www.everescents.com.au) Youth to the People Age Prevention Cleanser ($47.00, www.sephora.com.au) Eco by Sonya Driver Face Compost ($39.95, www.ecotan.com.au) Spaceuticals Lime Caviar Body Balm ($48.00, www. waterlilyskinbodyspa.com.au) Evohe Mineral Powder ($54.95, www.biome.com.au) Glow Lab Facial Moisturiser ($15.99, www.priceline.com.au) Skin by Ecostore Multi-nutrient Facial Oil ($27.99, www.skinbyecostore.com.au) Lisa Tristram, aka The Natural Skin Expert, is an aromatherapist and mentor, writer and speaker in the natural spa, beauty, and wellness industry. www.lisatristram.com
natural beauty the skin you’re in
Preventing the problem Consulting a natural medicine practitioner is recommended for anyone with insulin resistance. The best medicine is prevention and normalising metabolic imbalances before disease takes hold. For patients with insulin sensitivity, I recommend a dietary regime based on required weight loss, reined carbohydrate and sugar control, inlammation reduction, and digestion support, plus maintaining good sleep patterns and increasing exercise. Avoiding
Try topical applications of tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar or fresh garlic juice to the skin tag overnight until it drops of.
Skin tags hese pesky little lumpy bumpy bits aren't just unsightly – they might signal pre-diabetes, says naturopath Ann Vlass.
OMMONLY found on the neck, groin and eyelids, skin tags are little growths of excess skin attached by a stalk (peduncle) that rise above the surrounding skin area. These benign lesions range from smooth to irregular and may be leshcoloured or dark. Sometimes they appear due to friction in skin creases. Extreme hormone changes during pregnancy and lactation may also cause them, and they drop off once hormones settle. However, a sudden outbreak may indicate an insulin problem: natural medicine practitioners often regard them as a pre-diabetic body sign, because they're associated with diabetes mellitus, obesity, insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and atherosclerosis. When insulin metabolism goes wrong, it throws off everything else. Insulin resistance means the pancreas is producing insulin, but the cells are not responding. If cells are insulin-resistant, glucose cannot enter; instead, it accumulates in the blood, and this creates the risk factor for diabetes, and possibly skin tags.
processed, high-sugar, high-sodium foods and drinks is especially important for PCOS suferers. A diet consisting primarily of lean organic meats and other proteins, high-ibre grains, leafy greens, vegetables, legumes and fruit substantially aids the body’s ability to balance insulin. I often prescribe mung bean soup with speciic spice remedies and a special bitter gourd juice recipe. For patients who are already insulin-resistant, I recommend a wholefood, low-inlammation meal plan. Each meal should have no more than a palm-sized portion of carbohydrate in the form of coloured vegetables and fruit, with some lean protein and lots of herbs and spices. Also important are healthy fats, or those rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs), found in avocadoes, cold-water ish such as wild salmon, soaked laxseed, and eggs. EFAs may also be taken in supplement form. I also recommend a pharmaceutical-grade nutritional supplement that helps decrease carbohydrate and sugar cravings and normalise hormonal function. This may include alpha lipoic acid (an antioxidant that helps turn glucose into fuel for the body), magnesium, chromium, cinnamon, and herbal medicines, such as goat’s rue. A minimum 30 minutes’ exercise three to ive days a week is also beneicial for regulating metabolic function and hormonal balance. Decreasing stress and reducing the burden on the adrenal glands will result in better overall health and help keep control insulin levels. Meditation, yoga nidra, and pranayama breathing are all recommended. Stopping smoking, moderating alcohol intake, and developing good sleeping habits further alleviates insulin and hormonal imbalances. In my experience, the tags drop of once the underlying causes of the imbalance are addressed. Ann Vlass BHSc(Nat) Bsc(Hons) is a natural medicine practitioner, research scientist, and member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. www.atms.com.au
natureandhealth.com.au | 86 | June-July 2018
natural beauty gorgeous picks
Natural beauty Beauty editor Lisa Tristram picks her favourite eyecare essentials and winter make-up colours, and chats to Rebecca Powner, found of Awe Cosmeceuticals.
Mindful beauty spot Sometimes when you feel down on yourself, it’s tempting to think the solution is a new dress or hairdo. However, non-acceptance of self stems from your thoughts, not your appearance, so changing how you look isn’t the answer. Caring for and about how you look is an important part of self-care, but for positive self-image and conidence, you irst need to change how you think about yourself. Leigh-Ann Comarmond is the creator of Mindful Beauty Therapy™. www.enthrallingbeauty.com.au
S is for shea butter Shea butter is incredibly nourishing for skin and is great for stretch marks, wound healing, dry or thinning ageing skin; it even has a natural SPF of around 5. Deluxe Shea Butter sources its A-grade ‘nkuto butter’ directly from African female co-operatives – brilliant for dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, scars, and wrinkles. www.deluxesheabutter.com
Winter colour palette
Road test: Sonia Orts Alchemic Facial Sonia Orts’ D-I-Y home facial is based on ancient beliefs about the alchemic power of nature, precious stones, and the moon’s phases. It combines the four elements - Earth, Fire, Wind and Water - in four carefully crafted products which are made from natural and organic ingredients. First the exfoliating Powdered Floral Cleanser (earth) is mixed to a paste with water, and massaged into the skin. Then the retexturising, nurturing Purifying Powdered Radiance Mask (ire) is mixed with rosewater, and applied as a paste. This is followed by the antioxidantrich Aqua Serum Elixir (water) to calm and hydrate skin and prepare it for the deeply moisturising Whipped Hydrating Cream (air), which literally melted into my skin. A beautiful self care ritual to spoil yourself with! (full size pack $279.00 or trial kit $79.00, www.soniaorts.net)
natureandhealth.com.au | 88 | June-July 2018
Cold, dark days call for rich, warm make-up colours to brighten your appearance and mood. Try: Luk Beautifoods Lip Nourish in Cherry Plum ($29.95, www.lukbeautifood. com); Eco Minerals Blush in Uluru ($36.00, www. ecominerals.com.au); and Zuii Certiied Organic Quad Eyeshadow Palette in Passion ($49.50, www.zuiiorganic.com)
natural beauty gorgeous picks
Lip treats Cracked, chapped winter lips, begone! Get your kisser ready quicker than you can say “Christmas in July mistletoe”, by bufing away laky skin with a gentle exfoliant, nourishing with a rich conditioning treatment, and then protecting with a tinted lip balm. Try: Zen Botanics Lip Scrub in Pink Grapefruit and Guava ($10.95, www.zenbotanics.com.au); Kylie’s Professional Mineral Goddess Lip Conditioner ($28.00, www. Kylies. com.au); and Weleda Tinted Lip Balms ($15.95, www.weleda.com.au)
Handy to know Hands have a hard time in winter, with cold winds and overheated interiors. Try: Bee Natural Gentle Scrub and Hand Cream, with 100 percent Australian Beechworth honey (www.beechworthhoney.com.au).
Eyecare essentials Sparse lashes? Castor and jojoba oils strengthen lashes and help regrow over-plucked brows; try: Aqua Vida Lash Balm ($24.00, www.aquadevida.com.au). The herb brahmi stimulates lymphatic low and microcirculation to reduce under-eye dark circles; try: Phyts Refreshing Eye Mask ($58.00, www. phyts.com.au). Soothe tired eyes with eyebright, chamomile and black tea extract; try: Dr Hauschka Eye Revive ($56.00).
Star ingredient: Ashwagandha A star of ancient Ayurvedic medicine, this adaptogenic herb has many positive beneits on the brain and nervous system, and is used for treating adrenal exhaustion, depression, and fatigue; it also has potent antioxidant, anti-inlammatory and stimulant properties. Try: Om Veda Brahmi Hair Tonic ($34.00, www.omveda.com.au)
Green queen Rebecca Powne, creator of Awe Cosmeceuticals (www.awecosmeceuticals. com.au) What is the core philosophy of AWE Cosmeceuticals? We use traditional Ayurvedic practices and ingredients blended with modern science for a more personalised skin health routine, which is both active and effective. We avoid known irritants and are fully opposed to animal testing.
What do you believe in when it comes to beauty? I believe in a holistic view of beauty which stems from following a balanced and healthy lifestyle, according to Ayurvedic principles. Beauty is about loving, nurturing, and giving - both to ourselves and to others. Describe your morning beauty routine: I wash my face with Vimala Gentle Cleanser, and then apply a facial serum. I use a copper tongue scraper and drink some water. I typically eat about an hour and a half after getting up. Then it’s moisturiser time: my favourite is our Indiraa Age Recharge Moisturiser applied after my eye cream.
Lisa Tristram, aka The Natural Skin Expert, is an aromatherapist and mentor, writer and speaker in the natural spa, beauty and wellness industry. www.lisatristram.com natureandhealth.com.au | 89 | June-July 2018
organic living clean and green
Detox your home
Detoxing should be about more than going on a juice fast: it should include checking your home for nasties that could afect your health. Jane Carstens reports.
Synthetic fragrances These are found in a huge range of products, including air fresheners, shampoos, soaps, face creams, detergents, and surface sprays. Most synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals - benzene derivatives, aldehydes and phthalates - which are linked to cancer, birth defects, nervous system disorders, and allergies; they also emit hazardous air pollutants, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. “Many products are heavily perfumed, and the amount matters,” explains Becky Thompson, chemist and co-founder of Simply Clean. “Exposure to synthetic fragrances in high doses and over a long period can cause sensitivities and irritation to skin and lungs, triggering rashes, coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. They also exacerbate existing lung conditions, such as asthma.” he detox solution: Educate yourself about diferent types of fragrances. Use products
that are fragrance-free or fragranced only with wholly natural fragrances, such as essential oils. “Even some eco brands supplement the natural fragrance with a synthetic one,” says Thompson.
Chlorine bleach and acidic cleaners Chlorine bleach, also typically known as bleach or household bleach, is found in some disinfectants and almost all mould removal sprays. Acidic cleaners, including vinegar, are found in most bathroom cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, some glass and window cleaners, drain cleaners, lime, calcium and rust removal products, and some brick and concrete cleaners. While these are not the greenest of cleaners on the best of days – with the exception of vinegar –mixing chlorine bleach and acidic cleaners together is dangerous. “Chlorine is a very reactive alkaline chemical, and when it is mixed with an acid cleaner it
natureandhealth.com.au | 90 | June-July 2018
organic living clean and green
❃ Reduce your body’s burden 1. Be smarter about electronics “Don’t let personal devices harm your body,” says Lyn McLean, Director of EMR Australia. “Use wired devices wherever possible and wear singlets made from shielding fabric when using wireless devices.” 2. Mind your thoughts Dorota Pomagalska (PhD), mental health coach from Mind Detox, says clearing your mind of negative thoughts, beliefs and habits can empower your life. “The past and future don’t exist, all we have is the present. Make choices in the present moment that empower you in your life.” 3. Support your personal detox factories Your liver and kidneys do the heavy lifting, so help them do their job by looking after their wellbeing. Exercise, limit fructose and salt intake, and make water your go-to drink. 4. Reassess relationships “If you want relationships that nourish and strengthen you, consider a relationship detox,” advises coach and retreat facilitator Liz Tilley, from Liz Tilley Coaching. “Foster relationships that feed your soul and build you up, and step away from those that don’t, even if they are with family or close friends.” 5. Ditch junk food Detoxing doesn’t have to mean extreme diets. It can be as simple as cutting out junk foods and drinks
produces chlorine gas, which is poisonous,” adds Thompson. “These products are often used together in small spaces like the bathroom or toilet, and the resulting fumes can cause shortness of breath, headaches and coughing. Bleach alone gives of fumes that are irritating to many people, making them unwell.” The detox solution: Thompson recommends replacing bleach with hydrogen peroxide-based acidic cleaners for killing germs and mould. “Hydrogen peroxide is safe, doesn’t produce dangerous fumes, and breaks down to oxygen and water,” she explains. “They can also be used for cleaning, and they work on scale and rust, too.”
Electromagnetic pollution Almost everyone is exposed to electromagnetic pollution from sources in and around their home, including Wi-Fi, mobile and cordless phones, baby monitors, computers and tablet devices,
because of their proven toxic effect on health, including being linked to cancer. Challenge yourself to a one-month junk food detox and feel the difference. 6. Monitor your non-food diet “We can easily forget the importance of a healthy diet for the mind and spirit, especially our consumption of television and social media,” says Tilley. “Violent movies or other digital habits that make you feel anxious or hyper-vigilant may need to be changed. Be conscious and selective about what media you watch and engage with.” 7. Harness the power of nature “Nature is an antidote to not only electromagnetic stress, but the overall stresses of life,” says McLean. “Strolling barefoot through the park or along the beach, swimming in the ocean or gardening all recharge the batteries and detoxify the body, mind and spirit. Leave your devices at home or switch them off while you let nature switch you back on.” 8. Create sacred spaces “A spiritual detox means saying ‘yes’ to activities that nurture your soul,” says Tilley. “This could be as simple as committing to a yoga class or making time for meditation. Create a sacred space in your home and ill it with images and words that inspire you, or simply light a naturally scented candle and be still.”
power lines, phone towers, and meter boxes. Lyn McLean, Director of EMR Australia and the author of 'Wireless-Wise Families', says possible efects on our health from this exposure include changes to cell proliferation, genes and hormones, oxidative stress, and possibly cancer and brain tumours. “Children are more vulnerable than adults, and we don’t yet know the efects of long-term exposure to this type of pollution,” she warns. “Electromagnetic ields have now been classiied as possible carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.” he detox solution: McLean says it’s important to ind and measure what electromagnetic ields are present in the home, and rectify them with targeted solutions. “You can measure these ields with a home test kit from EMR Australia. It’s important not to assume where your exposure is from, but to measure and ind the sources irst. Lots of solutions are possible, such as shielding paints, window fabrics
natureandhealth.com.au | 91 | June-July 2018
clean and green
reproduction capacity and promote some cancers. It’s not clear if these results translate to humans, but there is a possible link between PFASs exposure and increased blood cholesterol. he detox solution: Source cookware that is PFAS-free, such as stainless steel or non-stick brands known to be safe (e.g. Scanpan, Mercola or GreenLife). Beware of fast food or packaged food containers that contain PFASs. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to tell if they do. Take the food out of the packaging sooner rather than later, or ask for it to be served in plain paper packaging or wrapping.
Indoor air pollution This is actually ranked among the top ive environmental risks to public health. Steve Brown, senior scientist at CSIRO Building Construction and Engineering, says we could be constantly breathing in a cocktail of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by building materials, paint, carpets, furnishings and consumer products, as well as gaseous and particulate pollutants from indoor sources. “The type and concentration of these pollutants varies according to the age of the building, the materials used in its construction, and the type of equipment working there,” says Brown. “Two common pollutants are formaldehyde, emitted by certain particleboards and plywoods, and nitrogen dioxide emitted from unlued heaters. Another is the dust mite allergen, that accumulates in carpets, furniture and bedding. These pollutants commonly occur at much higher levels indoors than outside, so people are far more heavily exposed for much more of their time. Symptoms of indoor air pollution include sore throats and eye irritation, nausea, headaches and a feeling of general discomfort. Illnesses attributed to the high levels of polluted air range from asthma to lung cancer. he detox solution: Identify sources of air pollution and attend to them through cleaning, better product selection and design, and ventilation. Place green leafy indoor plants throughout your house. Research shows volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are 'eaten' by bacteria living in the soil near the roots of plants, while the leaves absorb chemicals through their pores. However, 80 percent of the detox work is done by the bacteria, so the bigger the pot, the better. How many plants do you need? A ruleof-thumb is about 1 medium-sized plant per 2.2 square metres.
Forget sitting, cleaning is the new smoking – regular use of conventional cleaning sprays is comparable with smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, in terms of impact on lung health. and bed canopies, but it might also be as simple as turning all your devices of when they’re not in use. If we stop polluting our homes, we efectively stop polluting the planet.”
Poly and per-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) PFASs are a group of man-made chemicals used in common household products, including some non-stick cookware, food packaging, fabrics, and furniture, and some stain protection products. PFASs are under increasing scrutiny as a health hazard. They can travel long distances through soil and water, iniltrate groundwater, don’t break down in the environment, and accumulate in animals and humans. Animal studies indicate PFASs afect the immune system, liver,
natureandhealth.com.au | 92 | June-July 2018
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organic living eco style
Pass it on! More and more businesses are understanding the importance of giving back to people and the planet. Katie Roberts looks at labels that share.
TOMS The One for One business model was born when founder Blake Mycoskie saw irsthand the hardships of Argentinian children with no shoes. Today, each purchase of a pair of TOMS shoes sees another gifted to a needy child, and the label has also branched into bags, sunglasses, and apparel. www.toms.com/Australia
EcoBling Founder Katie Johnston creates unique jewellery from upcycled materials, like reclaimed wood and recycled glass beads - thereâ€™s even a Nepalese collection made from earthquake rubble that supports a community house rebuild. https://ecobling.org
Conscious Step This brand has harnessed the everyday purchase of socks for an extraordinary purpose: each pair of fun-looking, ethically-made organic cotton socks is matched back to a cause, such as planting a tree, providing a meal, and treating HIV. www.goodspender.com.au, https://consciousstep.com natureandhealth.com.au | 94 | June-July 2018
organic living eco style
STATE For every STATE bag purchased, one packed with school essentials is delivered to a child living in challenging or critical circumstances. https://www.statebags.com
Two minutes with â€Ś John Elliot, manager of TOMS Australia.
How does the One for OneÂŽ program work? TOMS is in business to improve lives. TOMS currently give shoes through shoes sales, restore sight with the purchase of eyewear, provide safe water with the sale of TOMS Roasting Co., support safe birth for people in need through bag sales, and the purchase of TOMS High Road Backpacks helps stop bullying through prevention and response services. To date, TOMS has helped give 75 million new pairs of shoes to children in need, restore sight to over 500,000 people, provide safe birth services to over 175,000 mothers, provide over 450,000 weeks of safe water, and serve more than 44,000 youth through bullying prevention and response programs. What's next? We will extend the One for One model to Australian children in need. TOMS is also collaborating with longtime giving partner Save The Children, to give shoes to children in need in Australian communities. Katie Roberts is an environmental scientist focused on sustainability education in the fashion industry. www.sustainabilityinstyle.com
Moeloco Moeloco thongs quite literally leave positive afirmations on the earth as you walk. Founder Kathy Wong was determined to make a difference, so for every pair sold, a pair of school shoes are given to a child in poverty. https://www.moeloco.com
natureandhealth.com.au | 95 | June-July 2018
organic living products we love
You, naturally Our pick of the best new and natural health and beauty products out this month.
Lavera Basis All Round Cream This rich cream enriched with organic almond and shea butter gives intensive moisture , protects dry skin and leaves it feeling soft and supple. For all skin types, vegan and all natural, the all-round cream will provide immediate care to all skin areas. Exists in mini travel size. $15.35; www.wholesomehome.com.au
Moringa This all-natural vegan and organic superfood is made with Australian Moringa oleifera, and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. It contains more potassium than bananas, more vitamin A than carrots, and more protein than yoghurt. www. skincarebymaringa.com, www.maringafarm.com
eKoo’s ‘Gentle Sunshine’ Lotion Containing the intelligence of zinc for UV protection, with nourishing and healing organic cold-pressed oils, hydrosols, extracts and essential oils. Enjoy eKoo’s 100% natural, 100% authentic, people and planet integrity - artisan-made here in Australia! 100ml, $35.00; 250ml, $62.00; 0404 0777 04, www.ekoo.com.au
Life Basics Sun Set Gel in Posie This vegan, 7-free nail polish is an elegant sheer pastel-pink, delivering the gloss and shine of traditional gel nail colour without the nasties. It’s fast-drying, long-lasting and chip-resistant, with no need for a UV lamp because it dries in natural light. $24.95, www.nourishedlife.com.au natureandhealth.com.au | 96 | June-July 2018
organic living products we love
Fiji Spice Queen
Soak up the beneits of DHA, sustainably, with Udo’s Oil™ DHA 3•6•9 Blend. It combines DHA-rich algae, from unreined, sustainably-sourced algae, rather than ish, with Udo’s unique oil blend of omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids in a balanced 2-to-1 ratio. Vegan, organic and non-GMO. www.udoshealthproducts.com.au
Fiji Spice Queen’s Coconut Body & Hair Oil leaves skin replenished and glowing. A renewing balance of natural oils - hydrating virgin coconut, healing dilo, macadamia for cell renewal, moringa the antioxidant, avocado to replenish dry skin, and papaya seed oil to soothe skin and scalp. www.ijispicequeen.com
Lovekins Camel Milk Baby Soap Lovekins Camel Milk Baby Soap is fragrance-, palm oil- and EDTA-free, and enriched with Australian superfoods: camel milk, Kakadu plum (richest source of vitamin C on earth) and quandong (wild peach). The luxurious texture gently cleanses, nourishes, and protects baby’s skin. $10.95; www.lovekins.com
Emu Tracks Ultra Mild Shampoo indiraa Age Recharge Moisturiser The indiraa Age Recharge Moisturiser is an innovative formula including AWE Cosmeceuticals’ very own Pro-Youth Complex™, an exclusive blend of the most advanced anti-ageing peptides. Combined with Ayurvedic ingredients of coconut water and Indian frankincense to promote cellular repair and hydration. Perfect for winter! $69.00; www.awecosmeceuticals.com.au
An award-winning shampoo specially created for sensitive and problem scalps formulated using the incredible healing properties of emu oil. Suitable for the whole family to provide gentle, non-irritating cleansing, particularly for those suffering red, itchy inlamed scalp conditions. Best combined with Ultra Mild Conditioner. www.emutracks.com
natureandhealth.com.au | 97 | June-July 2018
organic living protect your nest
Natural home Pamela Allardice picks the prettiest winter candles, and shares tips on how to save our bird species and be a food activist.
Feed the birds As winter sets in, spare a thought for our feathered friends. Natural foods like bugs and blossoms are less available, so putting out food can keep them healthy. We love this cheerful yellow birdfeeder from Julia Jacob Designs, too. www.JuliaJacobDesigns. etsy.com
Don’t hesitate – insulate!
Winter is the time to make your home feel cosy with candlelight – and what better way than with these handcrafted organic soy wax Rewined Candles? Bonus eco points for the recycled wine bottle casings. www.yellowoctopus.com.au
Simple changes, like sealing gaps around doors and windows and covering windows with thick curtains – will cut heating bills signiicantly.
natureandhealth.com.au | 98 | June-July 2018
Food, not bombs It is a scandal that there is hunger in today’s world. Hungry people include: single-parent families, low-waged employees, the unemployed, the elderly, and those unable to work through illness or disability. Before you eat the meal in front of you, your food has gone through a chain of farmers, distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. At every point, perfectly good food is discarded. Australia wastes 3.3 million tonnes of food a year (about 165kg per person). Food Not Bombs started over 35 years ago with two ideas: bombs, militarism, and war are bad, and no person should go hungry in today’s world. Food Not Bombs recover food that would otherwise be thrown out – fresh produce near the end of its shelf life – and turn it into hot vegetarian meals, served to anyone who wants it. Food Not Bombs also campaigns against war and poverty around the world. Food Not Bombs groups have been started in over 50 countries. Join or start a group near you: www. foodnotbombs.net. Many homeless projects also organise soup runs, where volunteers provide free meals for people on the streets: www.vinnies.org.au and www.salvos.org.au
As good as new There’s often no need to buy replacements for worn but otherwise useful items, and winter is a nice time to exercise your creative skills by reviving a favourite piece. • Try lengthening curtains by adding a border of a similar weight fabric. • Turn faded curtains into cushion covers, dyeing them to match your décor. • Make a cosy felted throw by putting wool jumpers from op shops in the washing machine and washing them on a hot cycle until the fabric shrinks and felts. Cut equalsized squares from this fabric (the wool ibres are now matted, so the edges will not unravel) and stitch them together.
organic living top tips and great ideas
Bag it up
is the month to...
Get on your bike!
The OMG views in 50 Places to Bike Before You Die (www pus. p com.au), which features detailed explorations of the world’s best cycling routes, will keep any lycra-wearing person happy.
We can’t think of a prettier scarf for the morning commute than this Bird of Paradise design, lovingly handmade by Fairtrade artisans with traditional techniques like applique and cutwork. www.iansnow.com
Reusable, eficient, AND the Flip & Tumble Drawstring Backpack makes for easy storage space when it’s not in use! Perfect for travelling or tiny living areas. www.upcyclestudio. com.au
“Little by little, one walks far.” – Persian proverb
Add a pinch of salt To your bath, that is, especially if it’s Dindi Naturals’ soothing combo of Himalayan sea salt, magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts), natural MSM, skin-soothing tapioca starch, and lavender, mandarin and bergamot oils. www. dindinaturals. com.au
Go, go (green) gadget
Stay cosy while you’re curled up on the couch reading a book with this softas-butter premium organic wool blanket, straight off the backs of New Zealand’s inest locks. www.habitathomecollection.com.au
Cute shower timers, energy-eficient light bulbs, solar-powered garden lights and seeded paper - you’ll ind plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint at The Design Gift Shop’s online store. www. thedesigngiftshop.com
Sniff summery scents Shake up your make-up This handmade, Fairtrade make-up bag,which is made from intelligently upcycled clothing and saris, is so lovely it could double up as a clutch purse. a s o co www.iansnow.com
On a cold evening, it’s nice to remind yourself that summer will be coming back soon, by lighting a Mojo Watermelon & Lemonade candle; handpoured using natural soy wax and reclaimed wine bottles, it ticks the eco-friendly box, too. www.upcyclestudio.com.au
Deck your neck This beautiful jute twine necklace is Fairtrade and handmade from all-natural materials, including natural, AZOfree dyes; plus, 2% of company proits are ploughed into community development. www.iansnow.com
For more great natural health and lifestyle ideas, visit www.natureandhealth.com.au Like us on Facebook, and be in the running for our fabulous weekly Freebie Friday giveaways, www.facebook.com/NatureAndHealth! natureandhealth.com.au | 99 | June-July 2018
What you have to say about self-nurturing time, cold sore cures, mercury in ish oil, and safer shower curtains.