Detox

Festive Season Health

The festive season is now upon us and that generally means an increase in social engagements.   While for most of us this is a fun time of year, it can also result in health issues such as sluggishness, weight gain and fatigue.  So let’s look at what goes on and how we can stay healthy during the Christmas and New Year period.

Alcohol is certainly the first thing most people think of when they think of the ‘silly season’.  Most of us know that alcohol and our livers are not good friends.  In fact, alcohol consumption can affect many different systems not just the liver.  Alcohol directly damages the stomach wall causing inflammation and alcohol is also a nervous system depressant, which can lead to mood change, irritability and depression – especially over time or with excess consumption.

The amount of alcohol that a person can safely consume is highly individual, depending on age, sex, weight and family history.  So the festive message is to be mindful of the affects that alcohol has on your body and take it easy.  Pace yourself with drinks (no more than one per hour) and drink hydrating water in between alcoholic drinks to avoid dehydration which is the major cause of hangovers.   You can easily make festive non-alcoholic drinks with plain mineral water by adding lime, mint and berries. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed on an empty stomach, so be sure to always eat something when you are having a drink.  Women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant should completely avoid alcohol. Supplementing with a multivitamin that contains good amounts of B vitamins is also a good idea to support your health especially at this time of year.

With all the socialising that comes with the festive season, many people not only drink too much but often end up eating too much food and more of the wrong kinds of food.  Finger foods at functions are often high in refined flour products and sugar and may be cooked in trans fats.  Try to avoid foods with artificial flavours, colours and preservatives which stress the liver and kidneys. Choose where possible healthy options such as raw vegies with dips, cheese, wholemeal pitta breads, succhi, fruit platters and nuts.  Avoid over eating by not eating lots of nibbles before dinner.  When planning your menus think about choosing lighter alternatives such as fresh seafood, salads, fruit and cheese instead of a hot, traditional festive lunch or dinner.  Also try to keep up your exercise routine, and think of swimming when the weather is too hot for other exercise.

Many of my patients find the festive season very stressful emotionally.  Some people are not close or compatible with their family and find getting together very difficult.  While others might feel lonely spending Christmas miles away from their family.  Regardless of our situation, nearly everyone gets a bit overwhelmed with the sheer busyness of the festive season.  However, we can approach Christmas with a different attitude and take time out for ourselves to reflect on the year, our friends and family.  This is particularly helpful with children who can get too easily caught up with the commercialism of the season.

Remember what the underlying meaning of this time of year is and seek to be more peaceful and content with simple pleasures.  We are lucky enough to live in a beautiful natural environment – so connecting to nature through the sea or the bush can bring much needed peace.  Try not to fill the social calendar to capacity, allow some time for a quiet night or day. Lastly, it is essential to try and get good quality and sufficient sleep as this will help recharge your batteries.  This might even mean taking a siesta - something we shouldn’t feel guilty about at this time of year!

Garlic

garlic-picWe just harvested our garlic crop. It is always great to pull up the garlic heads after their six month gestation period over the cooler months. Organic garlic is a wonderful addition to both the kitchen and the medicine cabinet! 

Garlic is rich in a range of sulphur compounds, which are thought to be responsible for its flavor and aroma. One of the main medicinal agents from garlic is the substance known as allicin. But interestingly, allicin is not found in its natural state in garlic. Allicin is actually formed from the coming together of two compounds that garlic contains, called alliinase and alliin. When the enzyme allinase reacts with the compound alliin — which happens when garlic is chopped, minced or crushed  — they form the special compound known as allicin. The reaction happens very quickly and the allicin that is produced is what gives garlic it’s distinctive smell and flavour.

Allicin is a great therapeutic agent and has been found to be effective as a natural antibiotic and anticancer agent and it can also help cardiovascular health - in particular will help to lower cholesterol, reduce blood sugar and high blood pressure. I often prescribe garlic as an antimicrobial agent in my treatment of digestive issues, particularly SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and it is also great for colds, sinus and chest infections and as a natural antiseptic.

Unfortunately when garlic is cooked, the allicin is destroyed, so it is best to eat it raw, freshly crushed and left to sit for 10 mins or so to get the best medicine. The best way to simultaneously peel and crush garlic is to use a heavy knife blade and bash it hard. The garlic shell will easily come free and the garlic can be chopped or smashed with the back of the knife.

garlic-smash

garlic-crush

Crush garlic and leave for 5-10 mins to maximise the allicin content

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course garlic still tastes great in cooking when it is roasted or braised, we just don't get the medicinal benefit. You can crush some garlic and mix with herbs and butter to make a nice final addition to everything from steamed veggies to soups, pastas or served on top of a steak. Garlic can be added to pine nuts or cashew nuts and blended with basil and olive oil to make a delicious super food pesto dip.

For sore throats or cough crushed garlic can be mixed with honey and taken as a sweet syrup medicine.

Make sure you source organic garlic when buying garlic as much of the imported garlic comes from China and it is treated with bleaching agents, antifungals and other chemicals that prevent sprouting. Methyl bromide is one such chemical routinely used in garlic harvesting and production and this is a highly toxic agent that can impact on the respiratory and nervous systems. Imported garlic tends to have much less flavour as well!

parsley

Parsley is a great cure for garlic breath!

 

Lastly, what's an article on garlic if you don't mention garlic breath!?  There are many folk cures to help with garlic odour and garlic breath. I find using a lemon and bicarb soda is a good way to take the smell off the hands.  Some good cures for garlic breath include chewing on parsley or sucking a lemon wedge. However eating an apple or drinking green or peppermint tea can also be a good idea. These all contain substances called polyphenols which can inactivate the sulphur compounds that contribute to garlic's odour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wifi

Health Risks Wifi

wifi-marketingA significant new factor in our environment that has the potential to impact our health over the past decade is wireless technology and microwave frequency radiation.

This field has literally exploded in the past two decades and its use is growing at an alarming rate. Coupled with the massive increase in mobile phone usage, we have a major new health risk that has been rolled out with absolutely no public health testing before hand.

Despite this independent researchers are continually examining this technology and finding serious impacts on human health and wellbeing. Mobile phones and wifi are classified as low frequency microwave radiation. The original understanding of the negative potential of mobile phones was in relation to the thermal effects (or heating) of cell tissue, much like a microwave cooks food. These thermal effects were minimal for mobile phones in most normal usage.

However new understanding shows that microwave frequency radiation has the potential to disrupt cell signalling and cause changes in cell function which can lead to physical signs and symptoms. Free radical damage (also known as reactive oxygen species) is created by the low frequency radiation and can harm cells, cause DNA damage and dysfunction and promote cancer.

wifi

When reviewing this data in 2011 the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed microwave frequency radiation as a Class 2B 'possible' carcinogen. Many researchers believed this to be a bit conservative and really there was enough data to state that it was a 'known' carcinogen.

Research shows that significant increase in the occurrence of various tumours among long-term and users of cellular phones:

  • brain tumors
  • acoustic neuromas
  • tumors of parotid glands
  • testicular seminomas
  • melanomas
  • leukaemias
  • lymphomas

brain tumourSome of the other associated health impacts of MWR include the following:

  • Blurry vision & dizziness
  • Headaches, Neck Pain
  • Nausea
  • Impaired Brain Function
  • Memory Loss
  • Autism, ADHD
  • sperm count & quality
  • fertility and birth defects
  • Immune issues including autoimmunity and allergies.

listeningWhile many of these issues clearly have many different associated causes, one that may be overlooked due to lack of awareness is the microwave radiation issue.

One of the most important things to know is that children are at a much greater risk of damage, due to their smaller size, thinner skulls and ongoing development.

Avoiding or minimising your child's use of mobile phones, tablets, ipods and games is essential to avoid the potential harmful effects of these devices. Advocate to have wifi removed from your children's school. See Wifi In Schools Website for more information.

 

Watch my recent webinar Wifi Time Bomb to learn all about this topic:

YouTube Preview Image

I have also put together a Wifi & Mobile Safety Sheet which you can download to get more specific strategies.

See also below for specific research papers and websites for more technical information on this topic.

 

 

YOU TUBE CLIPS FOR MORE INFO ON WIFI & HEALTH

Ginger

gingerGinger is one of my favourite herbs and we are lucky to be able to grow it here in subtropical South East Queensland.  It sure loves the wet hot summers more than me!

Ginger is also known by the latin name, Zingiber officinale, and it is related to other species in the Zingiberaceae family including the well known turmeric and galangal.

The juicy roots and rhizomes are used in many cultures both as a medicinal plant and culinary favourite. Ginger adds a distinct, warm and spicy flavour to many different dishes and cuisines.  I like growing ginger because you can harvest the young juicy roots which are often hard to find in the grocery store. They are great to throw into vegetable and fruit smoothies to add some warmth and flavour!

Medicinally ginger is excellent for nausea and has been well studied with favourable results in particular for morning sickness and motion sickness. It is also good for other digestive disturbances, including bloating and wind. Some promising research has found that ginger may play a role in decreasing cancer growth.

Ginger is also excellent for improving the circulation and decreasing inflammation. You can add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to boiling water to make a tea that is helpful for colds and coughs. I like adding it to chicken broth for an Asian flavour and it is particularly good when feeling sick, along with garlic and a hint of chilli.  The dried spice can be used in baking and curries and is one of the important ingredient in ginger bread men and sweet baked goods.

 

gingercookieGrain Free Ginger Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup tapioca or arrowroot
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried cinnamon powder
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar or rapadura sugar
  • 125g butter
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (or molasses for a stronger flavour)

 

Method

  • Combine the first 6 dry ingredients together in large bowel and mix thoroughly.
  • Melt butter, add bicarb & water mixture, mix thoroughly with honey until well combined.
  • Mix this wet ingredient mix into dry until well combined.
  • Place dessertspoonfuls of the mixture onto greased baking trays with space between to allow for spreading. Flatten slightly with a fork.
  • Bake at 170C for about 15 mins or until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool on tray before removing.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

alcohol and cancer risk

Alcohol and Cancer Risk

Sit Up and Sober Up...

drinkingIf you need a good reason to quit or cut back on alcohol this new year, then maybe the new WHO (world health organisation) report on cancer will deliver some sobering facts. When it comes to alcohol and cancer risk, their statement is simple: "no amount of alcohol is safe."1

It is interesting how the idea that wine is good for us, gained popularity with the general public, when links were found between heart disease and red wine consumption. The findings that the French had lower heart disease were causally linked to light, regular alcohol intake (red wine especially). Seems like we were keen to have a reason to drink more wine: "It is good for our heart! Cheers!"

alcohol cancerHowever, alcohol was declared a carcinogen back in 1988, for its causal link to a host of cancers. More and more research over the past couple of decades has shown more links and stronger evidence for alcohol and cancer risk. The risk is dose-dependent, meaning the more alcoholic drinks you consume, the greater the risk of cancer. But even light drinking, which many consider safe, was directly associated with more than 5000 breast cancer deaths worldwide last year.

Alcoholic beverages can contain at least 15 carcinogenic compounds, including acetaldehyde, acrylamide, aflatoxins, arsenic, benzene, cadmium, ethanol, ethyl carbamate, formaldehyde, and lead. Several different causative pathways are implicated in alcohol-related cancer. Acetaldehyde has a direct toxic affect on many cells and alcohol can affect folate metabolism, change our DNA methylation and cause free radical damage.

less alcohol low riskResearchers are absolutely certain about the link between alcohol and specific cancers - especially those of the breast, mouth, oesophagus, liver, bowel and pancreas. Links have also been made between alcohol consumption and leukaemia, multiple myeloma, and cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and skin.

So when it comes to preventing cancers, once again, we have personal actions and habits that we can change to lower our risk. While we can't change our genetic inheritance, we can freely choose to avoid or limit alcohol as a positive lifestyle habit to lower our cancer risk.

If you would like help with reducing your alcohol intake or support to do a liver detox, please book in for a consult! Or you can check out my online detox programme here.

 

 

References:

Rehm J, Shield K. Alcohol consumption. In: Stewart BW, Wild CB, eds. World Cancer Report 2014. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014.

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Benefits of Earthing

 

 

Go Barefoot for Health with Earthing

Part of my strategy for healing my recent back injury and reducing inflammation has been to do earthing. I have been onto this wonderful ‘free’ health tool for a long time and was even instinctively doing it well before I knew the scientific benefits of earthing.

This technique, also called grounding, has become a popular way of improving health after researchers have discovered that contact with the earth through the feet brings many healing benefits. While this understanding may be new, there is nothing new in the earthing technique as we humans have lived close to the earth for aeons.

The difference is that today our modern life often put barriers between us and the earth, whether it be houses, offices, cars or shoes!  Natural surfaces such as timber floors and some tiles still have the ability to ground us, but many modern surfaces and the vast majority of shoes do not conduct the earth’s energy and leave us cut off from this free and abundant energy supply.

 

So how does earthing work?

The earth has an enormous and powerful magnetic energy field and humans and other living things also have their own mini energy field. These are comprised of a mixture of either positive or negative electrons.  So similar to a battery recharging, our body can get recharged or grounded from the bigger energy field of the earth.

Grounding is the process of removing the excess charge on any object by means of the transfer of electrons between it and another object of substantial size. When a charged object is grounded, the excess charge is balanced by the transfer of electrons between the charged object and the ground. Humans tend to accumulate a lot of positive electrons (which are akin to free radicals) from electricity and electromagnetic radiation that can damage our health unless they are regularly released.  The earth is our natural partner in this, offering the opposite polarity of a big negative field that can discharge the excess positive electrons.

Standing on grass barefoot or on dirt, stones, or sand or even hugging a tree can all conduct the earth’s electromagnetic energy field into our body and can help to discharge accumulated electrons and rebalance our energy. The beach is particularly good as it offers the combination of water and earth (via wet sand) for enhanced conductivity.  Spending at least 30-60 minutes everyday earthing will definitely improve your health. Aside from the known physiological benefits, most people (and all children!) recognise that it simply feels good to have their bare feet on the earth!

What if I live in the city?

There have been many new devices created to help us ground when we can’t be close to the earth.  This is especially good for city dwellers or those who live in apartments. These often utilise and hook up to the earth wiring in our homes. By plugging devices into the earth point in a power point we can conduct the energy of the earth into the device and transfer it to us. I use these when I am working on my computer to lower the electromagnetic toll on the body and I have also used a earthing blanket to improve sleeping – especially while my back has been sore!

While the devices are useful, remember that the best way to earth is the old fashioned way – standing on the ground barefoot. Being in nature and in green environments has also been shown to offer many other benefits on our emotions, moods and energy.  So there is no excuse not to get your feet just a little bit dirty!

 

Earthing devices can be purchased at Earthing Australia's site Barefoot Healing.

 

Check out this video if you would like to learn more from the founder of Earthing...

 

 

Environmental Chemicals in Hiding

 Chemicals in Hiding

So many environmental chemicals we are exposed to every day have never been tested for safety.

There is a bizarre law that allows things to be released under the guise of assumed safety.  So unless it can be proven unsafe, it is permitted to be used in industry with little testing.  Of course, this essentially means that the safety tests are conducted out in the open with us members of the public as the guinea pigs.  Once a chemical appears to be linked to a disorder, side effect or overt problem, it then gets banned from the market. This often takes years before it is proven to be dangerous or potentially risky - so in the mean time exposure continues to happen.  A good example of this is the plastic BPA (see my blog on BPA) and many developing countries continue to be the dumping ground for chemicals that have already been banned in the west.

The best way to deal with this issue is to be educated, get savvy and vote with your dollar by buying environmentally sound products and support the industries who do care!

While we can't avoid much of the pollution that is already there in our air and water, remember your home should be a sanctuary! Don't bring unsafe and potentially dangerous chemicals into your home.  Make informed choices - it is that simple.

There are many nasty chemicals found in everyday household products that have be shown to affect your hormones, brain function and can contribute to cancer.  They are found in so many things - from the obvious ones found in cleaning products, insect sprays and air fresheners to the less obvious ones in hair products, cosmetics and regular sunscreens. Try to buy organic food to avoid the hidden pesticides and herbicides used in conventional agriculture. Even many processed and packaged foods house synthetic chemicals, colours and preservatives that have been linked to a range of disorders.

So get savvy, be mindful and protect you and your family's health by making good choices!

 

Watch this great little clip with interviews by experts including some of the good folk at the Environmental Working Group.

 

 

 

 

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C - not just for colds!

When we think of Vitamin C we often think of it in relation to colds and immune health. But vitamin C is a vitamin with far reaching effects and benefits in the human body.

Did you know that humans are one of only a couple of species (including guinea pigs) who cannot manufacture their own vitamin C? Even plants make vitamin C!  The theory is that we lost the ability to produce it over time because our diets were rich in vitamin C and we no longer needed to make it.  However, most of us now have a diet that is rich in processed foods and we do not live as close to nature – so in most cases we do not get our foods straight from the garden and our vitamin C intake has been much reduced.  Vitamin C levels decline easily in foods once they are picked or processed, so that by the time we eat even so called ‘fresh’ foods thelevels are often very low.

Animals are known to increase their production of vitamin C when they are sick or stressed – sometimes to amazing levels.  Acting as a free radical scavenger (or antioxidant), vitamin C is able to protect the body against toxins and stress.  Scurvy is the classic sign of gross vitamin C deficiency – giving rise to easy bruising, skin lesions, bleeding gums, depression and fatigue. While most people consume enough vitamin C to prevent overt scurvy – which is about 50mg per day, there are also theories that many western people suffer from a more chronic kind of scurvy – due to insufficient vitamin C levels.  This has been implicated in a range of conditions from cardiovascular disease to cancer, skin conditions, premature ageing and diabetes.  It is an essential nutrient for adrenal health and when we are under stress we go through lots of vitamin C.  Anyone who smokes, will also use up around 5-10mg of vitamin C per cigarette, so there is another reason to quit!  Vitamin C also acts as a natural anti-histamine and is great for allergies and inflammation.

While focusing on a healthy diet rich in vitamin C foods is recommended , supplementing is also worthwhile – particularly if you suffer from stress, immune dysfunction or your diet is not always optimal.  Foods rich in vitamin C include most fruits and vegetables – particularly wild berries, rosehip, acerola cherry, guava, parsley, citrus, capsicum, tomatoes.

The native Australian fruit the Kakadu plum (pictured right) has the highest known source of vitamin C – giving around 1000-5000mg per 100g! Meats – especially liver also contain vitamin C.  Remember that cooking foods will reduce the vitamin C content by around 50%, so be sure to have some raw foods in your diet.

Supplements can be in powder or tablets and should really contain bioflavonoids for best effects, as this is how they occur in nature.  Massive doses of injectable vitamin C have also been used in modern medicine for treating cancer.  As a water soluble nutrient the risk of toxicity is minimal as it is readily excreted when consumed in excess.  The standard of bowel tolerance is often used when dosing vitamin C supplements. As loose stools are a transient sign of excess intake, we generally recommend dosage be scaled back if this occurs.

Please discuss this if you think you could benefit from vitamin C next time you visit the clinic, and we can look at the best one for you from the range of vitamin C supplements, I stock.

 

 

Spring is almost here…

 

Time to detox!

Spring is just around the corner and it is time to do a little spring cleaning.....inside and out.

But don't go grabbing the broom and cloths and start attacking your dusty shelves and corners just yet. I am meaning a little body cleanse is what is in order.

The seasons of spring and autumn are traditionally the best time to do detoxing, fasting and cleansing. These seasons are more gentle than the extremes of summer heat or the winter cold.  The body naturally shifts towards desiring a change in diet and lifestyle during these in between seasons.

In spring we tend to lighten up the diet with more salads, fruits and vegetables , while in autumn we often want warmth and denser foods to sustain us in the cold.  In previous times, when we lived closer to the land, the extremes of the seasons were more obvious. Nonetheless, our bodies still experience the seasonal shifts and it is great to work with this energy.

The shift from the cold towards the warmth of spring, brings with it a need to lighten up - both our food and our mood.

 

To assist you in giving yourself a little spring cleanse, energy boost and to help create a few good habits that will sustain you right through summer - I have created the Equinox Detox!  

Click here to learn more or register for the program.
To celebrate the launch of this new online group program, I am giving some lucky person a *free* registration.
Just comment below about why you might benefit from doing a detox.
  • Is it more energy?
  • Do you want to lose weight?
  • Would you like to feel younger?
  • Maybe you want to boost your immunity?
I will be selecting the lucky winner on 15th August, just in time to start the program on Monday 3rd September!

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

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To me Karen is an absolute angel! I highly recommend Karen to anyone who is going through the whole ‘roller coaster’ journey of IVF. It was so lovely to actually have someone that actually listened to me, it was in 2010 when we decided we would give IVF one last go before having a break. Karen put me on a super tonic which I call her ‘magic potion’ and after a few weeks in taking this my FSH levels dropped dramatically and this was my lucky month and my dream had finally came true. I always feel so positive every time I leave Karen’s rooms, I’m so glad that I found her I can never thank her enough for my positive out come!
Megan Wolarczuk
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