Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Pineapple Mint Cocktail (alcohol free)

  • 1 handful Peppermint leaves sliced and steeped in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tsp chamomile tea or 2 tea bags of chamomile tea steeped in 1/2 cup of hot water
  • Fresh pineapple juice 2 cups
  • Sparkling mineral water 1 cup
  • Ice cubes

Steep the peppermint and chamomile teas and leave to cool.  Juice fresh pineapple and chill in the refrigerator.  Mix all ingredients together and add ice cubes and a fresh slice of pineapple on the glass with some mint leaves to serve.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Goji Shape Up Balls

100g organic goji berries
30g organic chia seeds
20g ground almond
1 scoop Shape Up weight management powder
2-3 drops stevia (optional)

  1. Soak goji berries and chia seeds until water covers over the seeds and berries.  Soak for 1 hour.  The berries would plump up and chia seeds feel gel-like.
  2. Put both soaked goji and chia into a blender and blend using pulse.  There will be some leftover liquid in the bowl.  If you prefer the balls a little more moist, use the water in the balls. (There should not be a lot of water left over)
  3. Pour out into a bowl and add 1 scoop of Shape Up.  Mix well with a spoon.  Shape Up is our non-allergenic weight management protein with fat burners, herbs and minerals.
  4. Roll balls together with your hands.  This quantity makes about 8 balls.  They can be chilled in a covered container for 3 days or frozen for upto 2 weeks.
  5. This makes a good snack over the holiday season when you are travelling or camping or when you have to bring a plate of dessert to share.  Double or triple up the quantities if you have to serve more people.

How to stay on track this holiday season

As the silly season approaches and our social calendars are most likely the busiest compared to any other time of the year, it is important to maintain or improve your state of health that you have started your journey on.

Many people like to ask “Can I have this?”  This question almost always sparks a feeling of deprivation if the answer is ‘No’.  A better quality question to ask is, “Will this be beneficial for me?”  or “Does this move me forward or set me back?”

These strategies are useful to help you stay on track:

  1. Volunteer to bring something to the gathering you are attending – this allows you to bring and consume food that will be kind to your body even if everything else available at the function does not suit you.
  2. Keep eating normally during the day so that you are not starving during the day to allow some “space” or “caloric allowance” for the party.  Keeping your blood sugar balanced and eating adequate protein and vegetables during the day makes it less likely that you will overindulge at night.
  3. Tactfully decline food and alcohol pushers – you are probably familiar with this type of person at a party who gets you to eat or drink more.  In certain cultures, this social etiquette is required to make guests feel welcome.  Tactfully tell the food and alcohol pushers that you are there for the people, not the food or booze.
  4. Avoid / limit alcohol.  Alcohol is liquid sugar and provide empty calories.  Too much alcohol is also a burden on your liver which spirals you down.  Have some sparkling mineral water, limit your alcohol intake and have some lemon juice in water before your party.  You can make lovely cocktails that involve non-alcoholic beverages like chamomile tea, mint, pineapple and sparkling mineral water or fruit tea, lemon juice and soda water.
  5. Stay active and value quality time together rather than focusing on the food – this is a time to spend quality time staying active with younger family members or engaging in meaningful conversations with older people.  Trekking, walking on the beach, biking or other activities that interest you and the people you intend to spend the holiday season with can be very meaningful and helps you stay on track.
  6. Lastly, remember your goals.  Write them down in your diary, mobile phone or post it on your bathroom mirror.  

Friday, 11 November 2016

Alzheimer’s disease and what you can do to help yourself

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic debilitating disease that erodes the quality of life of a patient gradually as is with his/her sense of independence and freedom.  It is a growing epidemic.  Internationally recognised neurologist and researcher, Dr. Dale Bredesen, suggests that conventional treatment of Alzheimer’s have failed due to an incomplete understanding of the cause and the pathway of the disease condition.   

Bredesen’s research has shown that a holistic approach which addresses the causes of neurodegeneration can result in reversal of symptoms in patients with mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease.  The major metabolic insults are for Alzheimer’s are inflammation, insulin resistance, high homocysteine, loss of hormonal support e.g. testosterone or estrogen, exposure to toxins including heavy metals and gastrointestinal toxins.

Functional testing may be necessary to determine which is the cause of cognitive decline.  Each person is unique, so is his/her pathway to suboptimal health and disease.  From a natural medicine perspective, using herbs and nutrients to regulate blood sugar and insulin signalling, addressing the dietary intake and lifestyle to reduce the inflammatory and toxic load, use specific activated B vitamins and serine to address  high homocysteine, and working with the hormonal imbalance will help to reverse symptoms of mild cognitive impairment.   Keeping aerobic and strength exercise a part of your routine 5 times a week, 45-60 minutes each time, and maintaining good sleep hygiene is an important first step in helping reverse mild cognitive decline.   Keep your mind active, maintain social connections through community and family.  Engage in activities that jog your problem solving centre.  Increase your intake of turmeric and coconut oil, adding it to your main meals, or your omelette or even making a golden tea out of it.  I have shared a recipe for golden milk in the NutriActionz blog.  

Thursday, 10 November 2016

7 Reasons Why You May be Constantly Fatigued and How To Adddress the Problem

If you have slept through the night and still wake up exhausted, you have a fatigue problem.  Many people push through the day, in their tiredness, to fulfill their responsibilities for their work and families.  As fatigue is so common, many people deem it as normal.  What is common is not always normal!

Reasons why you may be constantly tired:
  1. You are not nourishing yourself properly.  Eating on the run, picking up take outs and processed foods that are nutrient deprived and calorie dense gives your blood sugar big waves of highs and lows.  This often leaves you tired and wanting more sugary or carbohydrate rich foods.  It may also be due to a lack of good fats in your intake from wanting to restrict calories.
  2. You have metabolic syndrome, are diabetic or prediabetic.  All these conditions result in disarrayed channelling of sugar into the cell for energy production.  Instead, sugar from the carbohydrates consumed is circulated in the bloodstream and causes oxidative stress, and an increase in abdominal fats from the resistance to insulin.  You should refrain from consuming high carbohydrate foods, and increase your intake of protein, good fats and vegetables.
  3. You have a detoxification problem.  You may not be moving your bowels at least once or twice a day.  Constipation and the reabsorption of toxins can cause fatigue.  Or you may be moving your bowel too often, especially watery diarrhea and you are losing key minerals involved in energy production.  Detoxification is not limited to the bowels.  The liver, kidneys, lymphatics and skin are also key detoxification organs.  Hence if you are tired and have other symptoms like nausea, constant skin breakouts, bloated all the time, headaches, etc.  it may indicate that you need some detoxification care.  Hemaview live blood screening allows you to look at some of these imbalances live on screen and treat appropriately!
  4. You have an undiagnosed thyroid problem.  There has been increasing detection of subclinical and clinical hypothyroidism as well as autoimmune hypothyroidism.  If you are tired and gaining weight for no reason, you could be having a thyroid problem that is undiagnosed.  The health system in New Zealand uses TSH as a measure of your thyroid health, which isn’t a true measure of the thyroid.  It measures the thyroid stimulating hormones which are produced in your hypothalamus, in the brain.  Having a number in range does not mean that you are converting and using the appropriate amount of thyroid hormones.  You could be having autoimmune thyroid issues which also results in fatigue.  At NutriActionz, we run complete Thyroid Profile in Australia to get a measure of 7 markers that can reflect the health of your thyroid.  We have seen numerous cases where TSH remains within range, but free T3 is low, or reverse T3 is high, or there are elevated thyroid antibodies causing the patient to be very fatigued.
  5. You have constant low grade infection, always feeling under the weather.  Your immune system could be fighting some form of infection, acute or chronic, using up the little energy you have, leaving you depleted!  Exploring this cause of fatigue some times leads to the discovery of some serious undetected illnesses, like cancer! 
  6. Your adrenals are exhausted from long term stress.  The depletion of your adrenals gives you a reverse energy production process, you wake up tired in the morning and have a lot more energy around bedtime at night.  Your cortisol and DHEA could be out of range.
  7. Your digestive system and mitochrondria are not functioning properly.  You are not absorbing nutrients from your food either through inability to break it down properly, or making energy from it.  If you have hypochlorhydria, SIBO, gut permeability or gut flora imbalance, you may not be absorbing what you eat.  Your gut has the biggest exposure to many different substances in a day.  An inability to process through appropriately can leave you tired, bloated with or without heartburn, belching and flatulent, and not supplying the nutrients for your energy production powerhouse, your mitochondria, to make energy appropriately.  At NutriActionz, we treat gastrointestinal problems at the source.  Do not suppress your symptoms, get to the root of it, with our tests available and regain your energy! 

These are not the only causes of fatigue but are the common causes we see in clinic.  If you are constantly battling to get more energy to live your life to the fullest, or even to get through your day, you deserve to feel better.  You may have identified where your problem is, if it is a bad food intake you are having, improve that.  However, if there are other deeper issues that need to be investigated functionally, make an appointment with our clinic so you can treat the cause and regain your energy again!  Enjoy summer, enjoy your family and friends, and enjoy life!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Autism is Reversible

Many people think that autism, is a genetic brain disorder which is rather disempowering.    Dr. Kenneth Bock, in the 2011 International Congress on Natural Medicine which I attended, presented the factors that set autism off and they arise from a combination of genetic predisposition combined with environmental insults or triggers.  The triggers include an impaired ability to detoxify, heavy metal burden, immune response and gut health.  So it is a biological rather than psychiatric disorder.  The Centre for Disease Control in the United States published that 1 in 150 children were diagnosed with autism in 2010 compared to 1 in 2500 in 1950!

Why do we have a sharp rise in the numbers?  We are living in more toxic environments and the systems of medicine that we are using are not treating the person as a whole.  If a child has got constant ear infections, bad bowel movements, bloated abdomen, lack concentration and verbal communication and cannot see you in the eye, these are not individual problems that render one drug for each condition.  The child has to be treated as a whole. The immune system, gut, detoxification profile, especially gluthathione, is struggling to make this child’s biology work!  Running a genetic test will reveal which genes are affected and using nutrigenomic principles support the shortfalls and take out the excesses!  In fact, for a child with constant ear infections and glutathione genetic polymorphism, giving paracetamol for ear infections will lower gluthathione further!

Impaired methylation and sulphation are important detoxification disorders present in autism.  As a result, the child is not able to excrete toxins and metals leading to an increase in body burden.

Gluten and dairy are common insults to the gut.  Removing these common allergens often reduce gut inflammation.  Helping the proper digestive process to take place and replenishing with a good probiotic is important to reduce inflammation in the gut.

Improving nutritional intake through increased minerals, a good, pure omega 3 fatty acid, and activated vitamins can help improve nutritional status and the genes to work better.

Every child’s cause for autism is slightly different.  You need to identify the causative factors and genetic polymorphisms with your child and you will be able to reverse his/her autism to a large degree!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Golden Turmeric Milk Recipe

Turmeric is amazing, but poorly absorbed. This delicious adaptation of the Ayurvedic recipe provides lots of turmeric and increases absorption with quality fat and a good dose of piperine from black pepper.

Make Turmeric Paste

Mix ½ cup turmeric powder to 1 cup of water and bring to a low simmer.  Add a tablespoon of coconut oil, ghee, or butter. Stir for 8-10 minutes and add extra water as required. The consistency should be a soft paste.This is your turmeric paste that you can keep in a glass container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Make Golden Milk

To make one cup of golden milk, put one teaspoon of the paste into a saucepan with a level teaspoon of cinnamon powder, half a teaspoon fresh or powdered ginger, one or two whole cloves, and about half a teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper. Mix well.

Pour in 1 cup of your choice of milk, I often use almond milk and bring to low simmer. Continue to stir for a few minutes. Dissolve in a teaspoon of honey to sweeten and then pour yourself a big mug of delicious golden milk.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Mold – how it is affecting your health and what you can do about it

You may be suffering a mold problem that you aren’t even aware of, realise or think about!  It is often insidious and not recognised by many healthcare professionals.  However, mold can play havoc in our lives.  With this winter being so wet, walking into the garden can have us stepping onto mouldy citrus fruits on the ground and mouldy fallen leaves that are lying on the ground.  Condensation can be a problem with temperature difference inside and outside the house and we can wake to a “sweating” window or ranchslider.  With doors and windows shut, this can be the perfect breeding ground for molds.

Mold is toxic, and can make you fatigue, out of breath, give you weak immunity, headaches and other respiratory or cognitive problems.  Toxic mold can occur in any colour but the most well-known is black mold.  It can grow in any humid or damp area and produce mycotoxins, which can enter our system through the air we breathe, spores on the food we eat and once it enters our system, can cause multiple or persistent symptoms in our health.

The first step to handling a mold problem is to get rid of it.  If an area of the house is affected, it should be cleaned out, if it is a small area, it can be cleaned with water, soap and a tea tree spray, and dried out.  If it is a large area, you may need an external party to help clear it.  Look out for water stains in the ceiling, wall and floor.  Remove any furniture or carpet that has been soaked in water for 48 hours.  Allow air to flow and keep a dehumidifier on.  Keep your shower and kitchen clean and dry.  Open the curtains and let the sun shine in!

When your immune system is regularly exposed to mold mycotoxins e.g. in a damp building, your immune system keeps firing and fighting in response to the exposure and this creates inflammation.  Mold disrupts our microbiome and creates an imbalance.  You also have to make your body a hostile terrain for the mold and that is by avoiding sugar, grains, processed food, mushrooms, cheese and alcohol. 

Increase your intake of garlic, ginger and turmeric to help with immunity and liver detoxification, and boost glutathione levels.  Increase your antioxidant intake like fresh fruits and vegetables to support your immunity.  I often prescribe herbs to remove and bind on to mold to kick start the healing process.  Each patient’s individual history is important to prescribe appropriately for personalised course of treatment.  Restoring the microbiome is also important to the whole healing process.

So if you have some persistent too hard to solve health issue, you could be battling with mold!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Causes of acid reflux and how to reverse it

Acid reflux is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in health clinics.  The allopathic approach to acid reflux is to neutralise acid by putting in an antacid or an inhibitor to the proton ions or hydrogen.  It does not deal with the cause or driver of the reflux.  It is symptom control, and just controlling symptoms without addressing the root cause can brew a serious problem underneath. The common problems from prolonged proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and antacids like losec, omeprazole, prilosec, nexium or gaviscon is the neutralising of the acid!  In order to perform its digestive function properly, the stomach needs to contain adequate Hydrochloric acid.  Neutralising the already compromised production of Hydrochloric acid will further worsen the state of health, leading to problems like impaired mineral and vitamin absorption, depression, memory problems, zinc deficiency and osteoporosis.

The common causes of acid reflux are:
  1. Stress – when we are stressed, the body places no importance on digestion.  The body focuses on ‘running from the saber tooth tiger’.  In this day and age, we can go through stress over prolonged periods of time and this means shutting down the digestive process.  This creates poor motility and digestion and the lactic acid produced in this delayed process can move in a perverse direction creating acid reflux.
  2. H.pylori infection – this is a common bacterial infection that can lead to reflux.
  3. Acid and spicy foods consumed – typically tomatoes, chillies, citrus and paprika fall into this category.
  4. Food sensitivities – consuming foods that do not agree with each individual can lead to acid reflux.
  5. Consuming meals less than 3 hours before bed time – consuming food too close to bed time, especially a big meal can create stress in the digestive system as the esophageal sphincter has a large pressure put on it from a full stomach.
  6. Yeast infections – these increase the fermentation of food and production of gas in the stomach which can lead to burping and reflux.

Here are some strategies you can use to reverse acid reflux:
  1. Change your diet – eliminate acidic, spicy and deep fried foods.
  2. Identify your food sensitivities – one man’s meat is another man’s poison.  Identify your friends and foe.  Aim for personalised nutrition and food intake.  Your neighbour’s solution may or may not suit you.
  3. Take stock of your lifestyle – finish eating at least 3 hours before bed.  Eliminate alcohol, caffeine and smoking.
  4. Manage your stress – before eating calm your mind down, focus on the eating process.  Take 5 deep breaths and relax before starting on your meal and set your intention to properly chew your food. 
  5. Check to see if H.pylori is the cause of your reflux.

If you have done all of the following and still suffer from reflux, you need to restore the normal functioning of your gastrointestinal tract.  I use a combination of nutraceuticals tailored to each individual, herbs as well as dietary modifications to help you.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

I am a Naturopath - This is What I Eat in a Typical Day

I am a naturopath and acupuncturist, have 2 children whom I am involved in chauffeuring around and a devoted wife.  To fit everything I do in a day, I make sure I feed my body with the right fuel.

In my current regime, I start off my day with some lemon or apple cider vinegar in warm water. I will put 2 eggs to soft boil and make some vegetable juice which I add Shape Up Protein Powder to or make a protein smoothie with berries, nuts and seeds.  What I have changes according to the seasons and what I need.   I would have my supplements with breakfast.  My current program includes O-Clear & P-Lift (to keep my hormones in balance), Hemagenics, MetaPure fish oil, thyroid supplements and Vitamin D.

At lunch, I often have leftover stewed/ roasted or stirfried chicken or fish or meat with some lightly steamed vegetables unless I decided to stirfry extra vegetables from dinner last night.

I typically have dinner before 7 p.m. Tonight’s menu is:
Panfried salmon served with seaweed
Steamed broccoli with maple walnuts and toasted sesame seeds
½ cup of brown basmati rice.

This meal is easy to prepare and tastes delicious.  As a busy working mum, I typically only have 30-45 mins each day to prepare meals, and it needs to be nourishing and tastes good, or else my children won’t eat much of it.

Here’s how I make my maple walnuts:
In a pan on low heat, put in raw walnuts (500g), a pinch of Himalayan salt, drop in a dollop of butter or coconut oil and 4 tablespoons of maple syrup.  Stir it well until it is mixed.  Spread coated walnuts onto a baking tray and put into oven at 50C for 20 minutes or until walnuts look dry.  Cool and store in an airtight container.

Toasted sesame seeds are simply just dry roasted on a pan on low heat.  It turns golden very quickly and needs to be removed from the pan.

Just before bed, I take my supplements for a good night’s sleep.

The Root Causes of Low Libido

Hormones play a big role in determining our sex drive, energy and mood.  Other confounding factors include communication, intimacy and emotional states.  Some research attribute 70% of hormonal imbalance to the food we consume.  Nutrition is a small hinge the swings big doors.

The hormones typically involved in libido are your thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, as well as sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. In Chinese Medicine, your kidney energy governs your libido and ability to maintain an erection. 

If you have sore breasts, are irritable, and having irregular cycles or more frequent cycles, your libido could drop.  These symptoms often indicate low progesterone.  Progesterone is the “connectivity” hormone.  Closeness with a partner has been shown to increase salivary progesterone levels.  Also getting good doses of vitamin C will help build this hormone.

Caffeine – whilst it gives you a boost to your short term energy production, is a stimulant that jolts your cortisol (stress hormone).  Some studies have shown caffeine to block progesterone from binding to its receptors.  Whilst it does not lower progesterone, it reduces the ability of the hormone to do its job by not being able to bind to the receptors.  Good substitutes for coffee are roasted dandelion root tea (which will also cleanse your liver), green tea or rooibos tea.

Alcohol consumption causes oxidative stress to the testicular leydig cells and leads to lower testosterone levels and it also increases estrogen levels, making a male more feminine.  In a man, high stress levels and poor eating habits can dampen kidney energy, hence causing an inability to maintain an erection.  Men need more zinc than women, so check those levels, and using herbs like damiana can also help with male libido. Using high antioxidant compounds like berries and herbs can help reduce oxidative stress.

Healthy communication, clean, good eating, de-stressing through prayers, meditation or yoga and regular exercise can be the answer to your low libido and bring you more fulfilling relationships.  Practising forgiveness and gratitude can only do you good.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

2016 Environmental Working Group Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published the produce with the most pesticides on them (also termed the Dirty Dozen) and the produce with the least pesticide residues on them (also known as the Clean Fifteen).  The lists are as follows:

Dirty Dozen:
  1. Strawberries
  2. Apples
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Sweet bell peppers
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers

Clean Fifteen:
  1. Avocado
  2. Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet Peas
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papaya
  10. Kiwifruit
  11. Eggplant
  12. Honeydew
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Cantaloupe
  15. Cauliflower
Buy organic produce in the Dirty Dozen to minimise pesticide intake to get the biggest bang for your money. Conventionally grown produce for the clean fifteen should be fine.