News - Awaken Your Health
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Histamine Intolerance – What is it?

Whilst histamine intolerance (HIT) is becoming more prevalent it is a condition that is still frequently overlooked in diagnosis, as the symptoms are so similar to a variety of other conditions. Someone with HIT may find that they experience several strange, ongoing symptoms, seemingly for no reason, which may include anxiety; brain fog, itching, chronic runny nose, headaches and fatigue just to name a few. HIT results when a build up of histamine occurs in the body, which can happen for several reasons and may include:

  • An imbalance in hormones, particularly oestrogen, which is possibly why many more women appear to be affected by it
  • Compromised gut health as a result of conditions such as autoimmune disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gut dysbiosis, or inflammatory bowel disease
  • High stress, which puts extremely high nutrient demands on the body and affects the gut
  • A deficiency of nutrients like copper, zinc, Vitamin B6 or Vitamin C
  • Dysfunction or a deficiency of the enzymes required to break histamine down. When the activity of these enzymes is compromised, the normal process of histamine breakdown is hindered resulting in excess histamines travelling through the blood stream that go on to produce the variety of symptoms mentioned ranging from mild to severe
  • Overabundance of nutrients such as histidine or protein in general
  • Taking medications that may block histamine-degrading enzymes from proper functioning or release excess histamine. These can include antacids, diuretics, antidepressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and some pain medications
  • Eating too many foods that are very high in histamines or that trigger histamine release
  • Some genetic variants or mutations, including Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) snp.
  • Pathogens being present in the digestive tract

 

What symptoms would I have with HIT?

Hands-cover-faceHIT is different for everyone however a reaction is often the cumulative result of histamine build up in the body due to one of the triggers outlined above, that leave you with an excess of histamine in the body.

It is important to note that symptoms do not always appear immediately, given the cumulative response, which can make the trigger difficult to pinpoint.

Symptoms are likely to occur across multiple systems in the body, with digestion, skin, the heart and the nervous system being the most commonly affected. Some of the most prominent symptoms of HIT include:

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Brain fog
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizzy spells
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Hives
  • High/Low blood pressure
  • IBS
  • Irritability
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Racing heart
  • Sinus problems
  • Wheezing

Having a ‘healthy diet’ doesn’t necessarily help HIT, as several natural and wholesome foods can be extremely high in histamines or liberate histamines and both need to be avoided when doing a histamine elimination diet. This is because consuming either produces much the same effect – excessive histamines traveling through the body causing you to become symptomatic.What foods would I need to avoid on a histamine elimination diet?

Examples of foods that contain histamines include:

  • Additives
  • Alcohol (mostly beer and wine)
  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Coffee, black/green tea
  • Cured and smoked meats as well as seafood
  • Dried fruits
  • Eggplant
  • Fermented foods
  • High protein foods
  • Preservatives
  • Vinegars
  • Vinegar containing foods (e.g. pickles and mustard)
  • Yeast
  • Yoghurt

Examples of foods that liberate histamines include:Food

 

 

 

  • Banana
  • Chocolate / cacao
  • Citrus fruits
  • Crustaceans
  • Egg white
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds (except macadamias)
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Pork
  • Pulses
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products

Long-term, the aim is always to get back onto a full and varied diet however while trying to address the core issue causing the HIT, it is best to stick to foods that are well tolerated, which includes fresh chicken, fish, and meats along with an abundance of vegetables and fruits (with the few outlined above as the exception).What foods can I eat on a low histamine diet?

How can I confirm I have HIT?

One of the most reliable ways to determine whether HIT may be causing your symptoms is to try a low histamine diet for a period of one month then slowly reintroduce medium to high histamine foods. If symptoms disappear during the elimination period, you are very likely to be histamine intolerant.

In addition, several tests are available to help confirm a HIT diagnosis and include:

  • Diamine oxidase (DAO) levels – This is one of the enzymes responsible for the breakdown of histamine, and any issues with it can now be confirmed via a simple blood test. This will help to identify any deficiency that may be contributing to symptom onset (Approx. $150)
  • Hormone levels – In both blood and saliva to determine whether a hormonal imbalance is a contributing factor (Approx. $125 for salivary hormone profile and bloods can be done at the GP)

Other detective work may include:

  • Stool analysis – Which will confirm whether the gut is functioning optimally and whether any pathogens may be present
  • Genetic testing – To help establish whether genetic defects (MTHFR) may be contributing

 

How can Gabby or Tabitha help?

Navigating HIT alone can be both isolating and confusing, particularly when undertaking an elimination diet. Working with a Naturopath can provide you with the necessary support to pinpoint the issue and work on correcting it. The naturopathic approach to managing HIT takes into consideration the many and varied contributing factors, with possible treatments including:

  • Addressing gut dysbiosis (one of the most important factors)
  • Trialling a low histamine elimination diet for two to four weeks
  • Herbal medicines, nutrient supplementation and specific strains of probiotics
  • Balancing hormones
  • Addressing conditions such as adrenal fatigue or high stress if present
  • Focusing on associated methylation issues, where genetic factors (e.g. MTHFR) are contributing, and amending or adding supplementation to better support this pathway

While excessive histamine intake can cause issues for some, histamine plays several important roles in the body. Histamine helps to modulate the immune system, support the nervous system, aids in the regulation of several gastrointestinal processes and it is also involved in the inflammatory response mechanism. With this in mind it is important to ensure it is functioning optimally in the body.

For more information on managing HIT or if you think you are experiencing symptoms of HIT book in for a consultation so we can tailor a treatment plan to your own unique needs and ensure the most successful outcome.

To book in your consultation, feel free to use the online systememail me directly at gabby@awakenyourhealth.com.au or call (02) 8007 4275.

Gabby x

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8 ways to Switch to Safer – One Bite at a Time

Have you ever thought about the cocktail of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis – that we directly apply to our skin and body, use to clean our homes, consume via our water and food sources, and are surrounded by in our homes, offices, gardens, playgrounds, and workplaces? Not to mention our toxins of choice – things like caffeine, alcohol, and artificial ingredients in processed and take-away foods. Have you taken a moment to wonder how these unrelenting, repeated exposures might affect your health?

person-girl-cute-young

Numerous food chemicals, personal care ingredients, and industrial chemicals have been detected in human blood, urine, hair, breast milk, and even umbilical cord blood. What’s more horrifying, is the thought that the vast majority of chemicals in circulation and use have not been adequately tested for their accumulative impacts on human health or development.

Rather than burying our heads in the sand about this enormous and daunting topic, it’s important to become educated so that we can make informed and conscious choices on a daily basis – to protect our own health, the health of the people we love, and the health of our precious Planet.

It’s empowering to know that small changes to our daily routine – literally switching to safer- can add up to have a significant impact on our body’s chemical burden. I have pulled together my top eight tips on helping you do just that – please read on to switch to safer!

  1. Living simply has been shown to reduce chemical body burdens. By eating unprocessed foods, avoiding canned foods, eating some of your own home-grown produce, choosing to walk or cycle over frequent car use, buying second hand, lending, borrowing, and filling your home with fresh air and furniture made from natural materials, you can have a significant impact on your and your family’s exposures. It’s all about adapting your way of living and coming back to nature at every opportunity.
  1. When you choose to buy organic, you significantly reduce your exposure to pesticides, GMOs and fertilisers. This especially applies to animal produce – meat, chicken, eggs, milk products – as these may contain higher levels of some persistent pollutants due to the fat content – it is within the fat of other animals that many fat-loving, long-life chemicals accumulate and magnify. For your fresh produce you may wish to make the EWG’s  a priority to buy organic, particularly for infants and young children. If you don’t have access to organic produce, consider eating fewer meat and high-fat dairy products, and stick to the EWG’s clean fifteen list of fruits and vegetables.
  1. Look to reduce your use of personal care products, makeups and perfumes. Simplifying your beauty regime can significantly reduce your accumulative daily exposures to synthetic chemicals. Specifically avoid face and body scrubs that use plastic micro-beads, foaming agents such as sodium laurel sulfate, and nasty preservatives such as parabens –opting for natural ingredients (that you recognise and can pronounce!). Become familiar with some of the wonderful natural make-up and essential oil perfume brands out there that lean on Nature’s bounty of plant-based ingredients. There are so many wonderful companies to there making conscious products that are nourishing to your skin without harming the environment.
  1. Minimise the number of household cleaners you use, and choose to only bring chemical-free cleaning products through your front door. Have a look at the cleaning options at health food stores or visit EWG’s DIY Cleaning Guide to make your own non-toxic cleaners using natural ingredients such as white vinegar, bi-carb soda, lemon juice, and essential oils. A little elbow grease goes a long way!
  1. Ditch the perfumes and artificial fragrances. Products such as air fresheners, fabric softeners, scented candles, and cheap incense contain synthetic fragrance ingredients called phthalates, which disrupt healthy hormone signaling pathways. Opt for fresh flowers, essential oils, and natural alternatives instead. If you must use a perfume, use it sparingly and spray on your clothes, rater than your skin.
  1. Move away from plastics, particularly when it comes to storing your food and drinks. Plastic containers, plastic food bags, water bottles, coffee cup lids and the like contain plasticiser chemicals such as phthalates and bisphenol-A, which can migrate into foods and liquids. Store your food in glass or steel containers whenever possible, as these are inert. In particular, don’t microwave in plastic or with cling film, as microwaves heat unevenly, creating hot spots where plastic is more likely to break down and leach into food. Choose glass or ceramic for heating instead and cover food with a paper towel rather than cling film.
  1. Avoid toxic cookware. Despite being in most Australian kitchens, non-stick cookware can off gas over high heat, creating toxic fumes. There are many new products on the market that are advertised as “green” or “not non-stick”, but companies are not required to release their safety data to the public. For safer cooking, try cast iron, steel, ceramic, and oven-safe glass.
  1. Run your tap water through a home filter, or drink spring water. Filters can reduce levels of common tap water pollutants. Reverse osmosis (RO) filters are the bees-knees, and highly effective at fluoride removal; but a good quality Carbon filter is still going to be effective in removing the majority of other impurities such a disinfection chemicals and their byproducts, particulates, and heavy metals.

The little decisions you make each day can add up to have significant impacts on your and your family’s accumulative chemical exposures. The key is to always be moving forward, no matter how slowly. It’s not a matter of striving for perfection, but rather striving for progress – one bite at a time.

If you found these tips helpful and would like to learn more, check out One Bite at a Time (co-authored by Tabitha McIntosh and Dr Sarah Lantz). One Bite at a Time is a must-have resource for those wishing to reduce their chemical burden and optimise their body’s resilience and health – whilst protecting the planet too.

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The Gut Microbiome & Good Digestive Health

 

microbiomeMicrobiome is a word more and more people are becoming familiar with and in case you haven’t heard it before, it is the collective colonies of bacteria living in our digestive tracts. Good bacteria guard the integrity of the delicate mucous membranes and not so good bacteria can wreak all kinds of havoc.

Bloating, diarrhea, indigestion and food intolerances can all be caused by an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria communities. Ever have brain fog? Could be the result of an overload of the bad guys!

 How does this happen and how can you protect yourself?

  • Antibiotics
  • StressIn_antibiotics
  • Chlorine in tap water
  • High gluten and dairy consumption
  • Processed sugar intake
  • Lack of dietary fibre
  • High protein diets
  • Oral contraceptive pill

All of the above contribute to an imbalance in favour of destructive bacteria. Once the thin mucous membrane has been penetrated by bacteria, and/or the contributing behaviour continues, a host of digestive disorders ensues.

More and more research is highlighting the link between poor gut microbiome and chronic health conditions such as allergic reactions, skin conditions, chronic inflammatory conditions, obesity, and mental health conditions including depression and anxiety.

 What Helps Gut Microbiome Flourish?

  • Implementing stress-management into your daily routine is key for optimal digestion. Simple techniques include taking a small walk on your lunch break, 10 minute tea break, or switching off from technology for 20 minutes a day.
  • Prebiotic foods stimulate the growth for beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Food sources include onions, garlic, leek, spring onion, wholegrains, legumes, asparagus, cabbage.
  • Ensure you have 3-5 cups of a variety of vegetables daily to promote regular bowel movements, decrease inflammation and digestive discomfort. Plant foods provide food and nourishment for microbes to flourish. Eat the rainbow!
  • Take a high quality, mutli-strain probiotic after a course of antibiotics. This restores a healthy balance of good bacteria that may have been depleted by antibiotics.

 

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Are Perfectionism & Guilt Preventing You From Achieving Health Goals?

image 1When embarking on a new health journey we can often develop the mentality that we have to do it ‘perfectly’ or else we fail. As a Naturopath, and working clinically as a Naturopathic practitioner, it is clear that the more closely guidelines are followed – the better the outcomes. However in today’s world of socialising, events & busy lifestyles, it is unrealistic to expect that you will change old habits overnight or follow your food goals 100% of the time without having slip-ups. Consistency is key – not perfection!

This is where our old friend guilt can show up. If we do slip-up, we often feel guilty, beat ourselves up and are more likely to overeat or binge on foods that are outside of food goals. The vicious negative cycle begins and suddenly eating becomes an emotional rollercoaster, stressful and unenjoyable. Its no wonder health can feel hard to some people.

Living a healthy & balanced lifestyle should bring a sense of joy, investment and self-love. Eating is one of life’s pleasurable activities and we are lucky enough to live in a country abundant in delicious, fresh produce. A crucial part of embarking on a health journey means embracing the positive changes you are making for your body, turning them into a lifestyle and allowing the space for slip-ups to occur – we are all human after all!

How can you move past guilt & perfectionism? 

If you do happen to fall off track, please don’t beat yourself up of feel guilty. Guilt does not serve you or your goals. Learn from it, look at your triggers and become aware of how things make your body feel. Direct your thoughts away from the guilty mental chatter and become aware of your body, this can help reduce any chance of binge eating. Do you feel lethargic, glum, uncomfortable, anxious, pain? Really become in tune with your body and make a choice to be friends with your body.

A slip-up certainly does not mean you have ruined your intention of becoming healthy. The best thing to do is to forgive yourself and recommit to eating well for the rest of the week.

Health is about progression – not perfection!

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Simple Tips to Combat Overindulging & Indigestion this Christmas

christmas tree

Christmas is a time to be with your loved ones, play backyard cricket, eat (too much) good food & laugh. No matter how much you tell yourself you won’t overeat – many of us will find ourselves lining up for second or third servings or collapsing on the couch with full bellies. To avoid indigestion or that overwhelming sense of fullness this festive season, I have put together my top tips so you can have your cake and eat it too!

  • Consuming large amounts of liquids with meals floods the digestive system, leading to bloating & discomfort. Carbonated drinks are particularly aggravating if you are susceptible to bloating. Keep liquids 15 minutes apart from meals, or if you plan to enjoy a nice beverage with your Christmas lunch, do sip it slowly.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or even some bitters to your water during the day to enhance digestion.
  • Take a gentle walk after a big meal to reduce bloating and indigestion.
  • Avoid indulging in heavy meals later in the evening. Going to bed with a full stomach can aggravate heartburn and led to an unsettling sleep. Particularly when combines with alcohol.
  • Herbal teateas are soothing and calming on the digestive tract after a day of indulging. Ginger, chamomile, fennel or peppermint to reduce bloating and relax spasm and cramps in the digestive tract.
  • If you know your going to eat more than usual, you may appreciate some extra herbal support such as Iberogast – a liquid herbal combination backed with plenty of scientific evidence and an excellent safety profile that you can easily fit into your handbag. Alternatively, try a good quality digestive enzyme capsule or tablet to optimise your chemical digestion and comfort.
  • Encompassing mindfulness & gratitude at meal times allows us to appreciate how lucky we are, it also helps us to feel aroused by the colors & smells of the meal before us. This effective tool stimulates the release of gastric secretions before food enters the stomach, and optimises chemical digestion to ensure maximum breakdown and absorption of nutrients.

Remember to have fun and enjoy the delicious festive foods with your loved ones. Christmas only comes around once per year so release the guilt and bring the joy back into eating!

bells

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Paleo Caramel Sauce Infused with Christmas Spices

Sauce 4

As the festive season comes along with many indulgent foods, it can be comforting to know there healthy alternatives to choose from. Our Naturopath Suzie, is sharing her passion for deliciousness with everyone – this sauce can be drizzled over ice cream,  christmas cake, pancakes, stewed fruit, caramelised bananas … or whatever you desire!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup full cream coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup organic maple syrup
  • 3 cinnamon quills or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 whole star anise
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Small pinch sea salt

Method

Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan, simmer oSauce 5ver a low heat for 5-10 minutes allowing the spices to infuse through the sauce. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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How to Enjoy the Festive Season with Food Allergies & Intolerances

Christmas food

We are well and truly into the festive season for 2015. With work parties, Christmas treats, social occasions filling up our calendars – it can be a stressful month for those suffering with food allergies and intolerances. More thought and planning ahead is required for this time of year, but don’t let it stop you from making the most of the festive season and having fun. We have shared our top tips to enjoy this joyful season with minimal stress.

Enhance digestion with enzymatic fruits

These enzymes aid in the breakdown of foods and help to reduce inflammation within the digestive tract. Try snacking on papaya, kiwi fruit, fresh pineapple or squeezing fresh lemon/lime into your water.

 It’s good to be bitter

Bitter foods increase gastric secretions and prepare the body for chemical digestion. This can be beneficial when there is the chance of overindulging. Start with a fresh rocket salad, have a shot of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in water before meals, add a good splash of good quality apple cider vinegar to dress your salads.

 Do your research

Always read the ingredients list and packaging thoroughly to ensure a product is safe from a particular allergen. Don’t forget to check for food chemicals (E-numbers) to ensure minimal artificial colours / preservatives / flavour enhancers or preservative – as these additives often trigger allergic type reactions.

 Avoid leaving it to the last minute

Communicate any known allergies or intolerances with guests ahead of time. Lists specifying special dietary requirements or acceptable foods are effective tools to share with guests/hosts for any special event. If you are traveling to someone else’s house, offer to prepare food for yourself or your child if you don’t want the host to alter their menu.

 Stock up on snacks

It may be a while before you came across appropriate food at a party or event, so pack appropriate snacks to allow you to indulge along with the rest of the guests. Fresh fruit, nuts, bliss balls or raw vegetables and a protein dip are easy to pack in small containers (we like steel and glass containers best). Hummus or a green-tahini are delicious dairy-free dips.

Don’t forget about drinks!

Many festive drinks such as eggnog or alcoholic beverages contain allergens including egg or yeast. Remember to bring along your delicious alternatives so you can enjoy the celebrations with the other guests. 

Recipe Suggestions & alternatives:

 

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The Key to Losing Weight & Maintaining it

weight loss

Embarking on a weight loss journey is an empowering time in a person’s life.  An opportunity to implement new, supportive practices that will eventually harden into habits. At Awaken Your Health, we know that making healthy and sustainable changes doesn’t have to be about deprivation, restriction, calorie counting, or fad diets. It’s about taking responsibility for your health, supporting your food relationship, knowing you deserve joy, and feeling your absolute best every single day!

Knowing the best methods to lose weight can be confusing. People can feel bombarded with information over-load baffled by fad diets, pills, potions and tricks – it’s no wonder it all feels ‘too hard’. So how do you know what’s right for you and the best way to achieve results? 

What’s Wrong with weight loss pills, tea’s & fad diets?

The main problem with fad diets is exactly that, they are a trend.  It is both unrealistic and unhealthy to maintain those diets (and their results) over the long term. Weight loss pills are another common approach taken to weight loss. They can be detrimental to your health and often even come with an array of nasty side effects such as heart palpations, insomnia and anxiety due to the high caffeine content. I’m sure many of you have seen weight loss teas advertised on social media and magazines? These too can be damaging to health due to their diuretic and/or laxative action that can lead to severe dehydration and dependence.

A Naturopathic Approach to Weight Loss

A naturopathic approach involves a full health assessment, where your current health status, diet and lifestyle are all taken into consideration. Health investigations may be suggested to identify hindering factors affecting your ability to lose weight. This holistic approach allows us to design an effective, tailored plan to suit your unique requirements. It provides you with the best possible chance of achieving your weight loss goals, and the right tools and education to maintain your amazing results!

THE KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS

Making small yet effective changes is the key to weight loss success. These 5 steps can benefit anyone looking to improve their health or lose weight. The best thing is that you can start them almost immediately.

Include 1 Healthy Fat with Each Meal

Good quality fats digests slowly, helping you feel fuller for longer and you eat less overall. Try including one of the following with each meal; olive oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil, nut butters, nuts and seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed/oil, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines).

Always Pack Your Snacks

This is a big one if find yourself reaching for a chocolate bar at 3pm. Being prepared with a healthy snack is the key to avoid overeating and making poor choices. Always keep a range of balanced snacks on hand or in the desk at work – raw nuts, bliss balls, dried figs or prunes, boiled eggs, chia puddings, hummus or tahini and carrot sticks, fresh fruit or yoghurt pots are all great options. Don’t have time to prepare snacks? The next tip will help.

Set a Prep Day

I am a huge fan of locking in a ‘prep day’ once a week. There’s no need to give up the whole day, even just 1 hour is sufficient (providing you have the ingredients available in the kitchen). Prepare snacks in bulk, put the slow cooker on and freeze a few meals for lunch, do a sufficient food shop and stock your pantry with clean wholesome food for the week ahead.

Switch on Fat Burning Mode (your metabolism)

Our body’s metabolism dictates how we burn fat and produce muscle. Stimulate your fat-burning power by increasing these food sources; chili, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, green tea and protein (eggs, lean meat, poultry, fish).

Increase NEAT 

NEAT stands for (non-exercising activity thermogenesis), it is the energy expended for all physical activities that is not sleeping, eating or sport-like exercise – think of it as moving more and sitting less! Increasing regular movements into your day has the ability to increase your metabolic rate and burn more fat. This step is crucial for those who spend long hours sedentary for work or traveling in the car. Examples include typing, walking to work, taking the stairs, carrying your groceries, fidgeting, dancing, gardening, cleaning, housework, try doing squats or calf raises whilst brushing your teeth – it all adds up!

Weight Loss Packa

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Bodhiya Method™ of Pilates – a gift to your body

pilatesI wanted to share with you something really cool that I have discovered this last 12 months – a very clever Pilates method developed by a friend of mine Scott. I interviewed Scott below to help you understand how he might be able to help you (as he has me), with those niggly little pains and imbalances that so many of us suffer with day to day.

So Scott, what is the Bodhiya Method™ of Pilates?

Bohdiya is revolutionary, cutting edge corrective exercise. It’s a non-equipment based whole body integrative corrective exercise routine that I have meticulously designed and developed over the past 8 years. It is my life’s work!

This individualised programme provides perfect toning and deep conditioning without the risk of haphazard or repetitive strain that can often be encountered in other exercise regimes. The aim is for the whole body to quickly become functionally strong yet supple, integrated, aligned and balanced.

Bohdiya streamlines my client’s exercise time and brings about athletic longevity and a healthy, better balanced musculoskeletal system. It enhances the body’s ability for natural, instinctual free flowing movement. It’s extremely gentle on the body though and achieves amazing and lasting results.

In every session almost every muscle is activated, lengthened, strengthened and toned. Over time it seems to recondition the body from the inside out making aches and pains a thing of the past. It’s a healthy and lasting movement education for life that is comprised of a 45min routine that once learned, and explored as your own, has the potential to add 10-20 years to a person’s athletic life.

Bohdiya offers a life time of physical benefits & sporting adaptations, excellent posture and a greater sense of self-confidence and wellbeing….

Refer to Scott’s website for more on the benefits of Bohdiya…

Injury Resolution
Sports Performance
Wellness

(you can also see a video on his home page, of me singing his praises after my third ten pack of visits with him in his Paddington Studio).

What do you see from your clients?

The shift I see in my clients is truly amazing as they progress through the program. Their confidence to get better increases, so does their determination to see it through as they experience more and more cumulative benefits.

I see major transformations in my clients within a few short weeks, many having come from disappointment of the past and concern for the future to an all new understanding of self-reliance.

They know it as a complete strength conditioning program that has you feeling better instead of worse and often claim that they’re ‘now feeling safe within their own body’.

It’s well known in the physical rehab and corrective exercise industry that people don’t seem to find time to do their exercises prescribed by their physical practitioners, so often our job satisfaction is caught up in how well we can help others to help themselves. We all know there’s probably real benefits in doing all of the exercises prescribed by our practitioners and we’d be looking and feeling amazing for it, though to find the time, let alone fastening the thinking cap and entering that zone whereby we’ll actually do it… it seems there’s always that gap and it hardly ever gets done, or done at all well.

Over the 8yrs that Bohdiya has evolved my body has honestly come to feeling 20yrs younger. My intention was to create a programme that felt good and eliminated any hurdles to actually doing it. Staring a session is made easy, it can simply be an inner knowing that speaks to our wellness intuition.

Bohdiya doesn’t require anything to get started, no equipment is necessary. It’s an enjoyable unfolding into movement, it’s time out for yourself well spent. Through the positions and the principles the method speaks clearly and precisely to anywhere that we’re carrying tension, injury or unrelenting emotion.

This really is a great opportunity for those who are ready to commit to themselves.

What I can promise my clients is that if they are ready for this rewarding journey into a lifetime of self-guided physical conditioning, then they’ll never look back.

Click here to speak with Scott or to book your first session, you’ll thank yourself for doing so 😉

http://www.pilatessydneycbd.com.au

http://www.pilatessydneycbd.com.au/contact-2/contact/

m: 0400 826 768

About Scott

Scott is a Californian trained, internationally certified Pilates teacher.

Scott Matthews completed his Diploma of Studio Pilates training in 1999. He also obtained a Diploma of Remedial Massage in 1995

Scott has designed programs for several of Sydney’s most respected corrective exercise specialists and has taught Pilates within some of Sydney’s best Pilates rehabilitation clinics.

While working with hundreds of students and achieving outstanding results, Scott’s own unique techniques developed resulting in this entirely new method, Bohdiya. He now runs specialist private Pilates and Bohdiya sessions from his Centennial Park studio.

Tabitha X

 

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Body talk

young woman meditation on sunset beach

With the pace of modern life, your body’s inner wisdom and intuition is incredibly easy to become disconnected from. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness, time in nature, and even being well rested can help us to still our minds and the noise of the world, just enough to hear our inner voice, and our body talk. Our intuition connects us to both our inner selves, and to something larger and beyond our own lives and ourselves.

Taking the time each day to tap into our own body’s inner wisdom, to gain a basic understanding of what our body may need for that particular day, is vital to fostering a sense of harmony and connection on the body, and providing it with what it truly needs.

When we explore the body, what we put in the body, and how it makes us feel, we cannot overlook our relationship with our body and with our food. Understanding that we all have a unique relationship with our food, stress, and our environment is a first vital step.

Thinking about what drives your food choices is always a good place to start. Is it about convenience? Cost? Are you an emotional eater? Is it about taste for you? Are you a follower of emerging trends for super foods? Whatever it may be, there is a sense of food and information overwhelm when it comes to Nutrition: I see it every day in private practice. And one of my pet hates – adopting highly restrictive eating regimes – can foster and add momentum to unhealthy relationships with food, turning eating a battle. Forgetting dietary labels, particularly when sticking to a particular way of eating is not serving our body’s needs, is courageous but necessary if we are to truly be intimate with ourselves. We can be so heavily influenced by the things around us. Allowing time each day to come back to yourself – unplugging, disconnecting from gadgets and social media, connecting with the earth and your body via an intuitive meditation /mindfulness/ yoga practice helps you find your true self.

“The way is not in the sky, the way is in our hearts”. Buddha.

Healthy eating is often simple eating. To reduce food complexity and to take the battle out of your food choices, the ancient sanskrit translation of Sthira and Sukha comes to mind. Applying both effort and steadiness, combined with lightness and ease to the way you nourish your body, to find the sweet spot for your way of eating, is a wonderful mantra: one I apply with clients daily.

 

Tabitha X

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5 ideas to boost your daily Vegetable intake

veggies

Start with breakfast

Breakfast is a fantastic way to knock off a few of your ‘daily serves’. Cook up 2 eggs
and serve them with 1-2 cups of vegetables. Our favourites are baby spinach, asparagus,
mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, avocado, green beans, and kale. You can cook them all up
in the same pan – easy!

Supercharge Your Smoothie

Smoothies are another easy option to increase your vegetables intake. We will be sharing
our favourite smoothie recipes in the upcoming Spring newsletter, they taste delicious
and are loaded with goodness! Remember if your adding leafy greens to your smoothie,
don’t forget to rotate them to ensure you get a variety of nutrients. Spirulina,
chlorella, wheat grass, barley grass, and even baby spinach & cucumber are other
options to increase your nutrient intake.

Snack on it

Chop up some vegetable sticks and enjoy them with a good quality dip such as
hummus, tatziki, or green tahini. You can mix your vegetables up with raw capsicum,
cucumber, carrot, celery, cauliflower and broccoli sticks.

Top it Off

Top of your meals with a generous handful of fresh herbs, they are still ‘green’s,
and add a boostof flavour to your meals. Parsley on your soup, coriander on your
curry, or rosemary on your roast veg (yum).

Juice it

Good old vegetable juices are an excellent way to increase your nutrient intake.
Remember the key here is for the juice to include mainly vegetables and 1-2
pieces of fruit max.

Mix it Up

Potato chips can easily be swapped for sweet potato or kale chips. Home roasted,
covered in a good oil like virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Think colour with your
roast or baked veg – the more colour, the higher the nutrient density!

 

For further help, please book in to see us for a consultation.

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Hirsutism—Excess hair in unwanted places.

If you are experiencing excessive amounts of hair growth in areas that
are typically characteristic of male patterns (e.g. face, chest, stomach,
upper lip and excessive leg and arm hair), you may have a condition called
hirsutism. Thick and excessive hair can be in part contributable to genetics,
however hirsutism is most likely caused by elevated levels of androgens
(male hormones), including testosterone. Androgens boost male pattern
hair growth and intensify the pigmentation of body hair, making it
look darker and more noticeable.

tea

While it is important to get professional advice to address the
underlying cause of hirsutism, here are 5 simple and effective
naturopathic interventions that can help reduce symptoms.

1. Spearmint tea
The consumption of spearmint tea has been shown to reduce hirsutism and
significantly decrease androgens in females with elevated levels. It
was also shown to increase sex hormone binding globulin levels and
consequently decrease circulating testosterone (source). For a
therapeutic effect, aim to drink 4 cups per day.

2. Low glycemic diet
Carbohydrates that have a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating are quickly
broken down by the body and result in a rapid spike in blood glucose
levels, which consequently triggers the pancreas to release large
amounts of insulin. In contrast, low-GI carbohydrates, which take
longer to digest and are generally higher in fibre, result in a slower,
steadier rise in the blood glucose, and a steadier insulin response.
While insulin is necessary to transport glucose from the blood into the cells,
spikes in insulin can drive spikes in androgens, resulting in that unwanted
hair, or hirsutism. Opt for low GI carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, barley
and rye: and aim to have a protein at every meal.

3. Cinnamon
Cinnamon is not only a delicious, warming spice perfect for winter
but it has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity (source).
This can play out to reduce excess androgens and help to treat
hirsutism particularly in women with PCOS and insulin sensitivity.

4. Licorice root
Now before you get excited, we are not talking about the delicious
black sweet, loaded with sugar but rather the straight herb found
in teas and herbal tinctures. Licorice root has been shown to
significantly reduce testosterone levels in women with elevated
levels (source), helping to reduce hirsutism. Speak to your
naturopath before supplementation.

5. Exercise
Regular exercise can significantly improve insulin sensitivity,
which as we now know, can help reduce androgens in the body.
Aim to move your body daily with high intensity exercise
incorporated 3-4 times per week.

For further support please book in to see us for a consultation.

Tabitha & Maddy x

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Cruciferous Vegetables: How to use them to help balance hormones

Cruciferous veggies are nutrient powerhouses! Those of you that have
been in recently have most probably heard me speak about the “Brassica”s
a lot, trying to sneak them in to staple recipes (Cauliflower mash on a
Shepherds pie; Broccolo and Almond soup, etc) to support hormone clearance.
The Brassicas are a family of vegetables that include broccoli, cabbage,
cauliflower, bok choy, rocket, brussel sprouts, kale, collards, watercress,
turnips, kohlrabi and horseradish. These vegetables are particularly
powerful thanks to their glucosinolate content, which gives them their
delicious peppery and slightly bitter taste. When glucosinolates are
broken down through chewing, chopping, blending and digestion, an enzyme
called mironase is activated that converts the glucosinolates to
indole-3-carbinol. It is indole-3-carbinol that gives cruciferous
vegetables their punchy hormone regulatory effect.

veggies

How does indol-3-carbinol impact hormone levels?

The liver plays an important role in manufacturing and clearing hormones
in the body. When the liver is not functioning optimally – rather than
being cleared out, hormones can recirculate through the body and lead
to hormonal excesses and imbalances. It is therefore essential that
when a client is experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalances such as
acne, PMS, menorrhagia, menstrual disorders, low energy, weight-gain
etc. that we restore optimal liver functioning.

This is where cruciferous vegetables and its powerful constituent
indol-3-carbinol come into play. Indole-3-carbinol supports the
liver’s detoxification process through stimulating the enzymes
required to remove toxins and hormones from the body. Indole-3-carbinol
has been shown to selectively bind to oestrogen receptors, which has
a regulatory effect on oestrogen levels in the body. This regulatory
‘balancing’ effect is therefore beneficial in both individuals with
low and high oestrogen.

How to use cruciferous vegetables therapeutically

It is important to first determine whether your symptoms are due hormonal
imbalances and if hormonal clearance and liver support is necessary.
Speak to your health care provider to determine if this is you.

For mild cases of hormonal imbalance, aim to eat 1-2 cups of cruciferous
vegetables daily, lightly cooked to reap it’s full benefits.

Examples include:
· Warm chicken and rocket salad with blanched asparagus
· Asian stir-fry with cabbage and broccoli
· Roasted Brussel sprouts tossed in garlic, lemon and olive oil
· Sourdough toast with smashed avocado and sauerkraut
· Slow cooked pork with a shredded cabbage slaw
· Broccolini frittata with a side of sauerkraut.

For more severe or longstanding conditions, supplementation may be necessary.
Again, this is best determined by your nutritionist or naturopath so
be sure to run it past them first.

A word of warning…

If you suffer from an underactive thyroid then be sure to slightly
cook your cruciferous vegetables. These veggies contain goitrogens,
which is a natural compound that inhibits the body’s ability to use iodine,
an essential element required for the formation of thyroid hormones.
Lightly cooking cruciferous vegetables will significantly reduce the
levels of goitrogens.

Enjoy!

A Brassica a day can certainly do wonders to keep the Doctor away 😉

Tabitha & Madeleine

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The Gut Microbiome: What is it and how it affects your baby’s health

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I recently had the pleasure of watching Dr Natasha Cambell McBride speak at
the Conscious Club and the MINDD Forum in Sydney. For those of
you who are not familiar with her work, Dr Natasha wrote the revered book,
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS).
Her book primarily focuses on the gut’s microbiome and how it profoundly
affects our mental and physical health. Dr Natasha mainly works with children
with autism and has had great success in improving and even reversing the
condition in many of her patients. For more information please visit her website.

preggy

So, what is the gut microbiome?

The gut microbiome is the body’s residential bacteria that are primarily found
in our large intestine—around 2kg of bacteria in total (see Catalyst for more information).
Think of your large intestine as a hollow tube and the bacteria as a barrier or coating
that lines the inside. As food passes through your intestine, this bacterial barrier has
many functions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Aiding in the breakdown of food, resulting in easily digestible and absorbed
    nutrients— this prevents larger, undigested food molecules from entering
    the blood stream
    that can result in inflammation and an immune response.
  • Synthesising nutrients including vitamin K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12,
    folic acid and various amino acids.
  • Protects the body from foreign pathogens and toxins by providing a
    physical barrier as well as producing various anti-bacterial, anti-viral and
    anti-fungal substances.
  • Strengthens the intestinal barrier—The bacteria increases mucin in
    the gut, which provides a protective coating for intestinal cells. The bacteria
    also tighten the gap junctions between the cells in the large intestines and prevent
    conditions such as leaky gut.

 

Symptoms and disorders that can result from altered gut flora or dysbiosis include:

-Bloating                                         -Low Energy                          -Autism
-Constipation                                  -Anxiety                                 -ADHD
-Cramping                                       -Depression                          -Dyslexia
-Diarrhea                                         -Bipolar                                 -Eczema
-Food intolerances                          -Schizophrenia                     -Auto-immune conditions
-Poor immune function                                                                 -Recurrent infections

 

Why should I care about my gut health when trying to
fall pregnant and how will
it affect my
child’s health?

As you can see, a healthy gut microbiome is very important. In fact, we cannot
live without it! An unborn baby has a sterile gut in the mother’s womb. The moment
the child passes through the mother’s birth canal, he or she ingests their first
dose of bacteria from the canal, which will provide the foundation for
the child’s gut microbiome. The child will continue to build and shape their gut
flora through their food intake (breast milk/ formula) and environment. The first
months of the child’s life are essential in creating a healthy gut microbiome,
which will consequently impact their health for the rest their lives.

It is therefore critical that the mother has a healthy gut flora as possible when giving
birth,as this will get passed onto the infant. Furthermore, the repeated use of antibiotics,
baby formulas, antibacterial soaps and cleaning products can alter the child’s
gut flora and contribute to a dysbiotic state, potentially resulting in
the conditions mentioned above.

Unfortunately, changing your gut flora is not as simple as taking a probiotic
and once lost, some strains of bacteria may never return. This is why it is
essential to get it right from the start!

What needs to be done?
Ideally, the mother and father need to address their gut health prior to the
birth of their child. This may involve testing for parasites and other infections,
investigating any food intolerances, determining if gut lining is damaged and
reviewing diet and other environmental exposures that may be harming the
gut microbiome.

Specific foods that are fantastic in promoting optimum gut health include:

· Bone broths
· Fermented vegetables
· Prebiotic rich foods: garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, asparagus, bananas
· Yoghurt
· Kefir
· Warming soups and stews
If you are planning on falling pregnant, are about to give birth or are experiencing any of the conditions mentioned above, be sure to book in for a consultation to address your gut health.

Wishing you all peace & happiness. 
Yours in good health,
Tabitha & Madeleine

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2015 Integrative Healthcare Symposium in NYC

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International HealthCare Symposium in New York, Feb 2015.

This Symposium was a privilege to attend, and a gathering of some of
the world’s leading integrative medicine practitioners and researchers.
It was truly uplifting, and I hoped to share with you a quick summary below of
some of the outstanding things I learned.

One of my standouts was Dr Phillip Landrigan, an extraordinarily accomplished
person (who’s Bio takes three days to read), is an American epidemiologist and
pediatrician and one of the world’s leading advocates of children’s health.
His pioneering work in the 1970’s led to removal of lead from gasoline
many years ago. His efforts were instrumental to a measurable and timely
reduction in blood lead levels in American children and public. He’s extremely
humble, accomplished, and one of my personal and professional hero’s.

IMG_8211

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Was lucky enough to see Dr Philip Landrigan speak about exposures to toxics
in paediatrics. The environment is a very big determinant in health for all
of us, but particularly in children. He discussed evidence behind environmental
causation in disease being strongest in asthma, and in neurodevelopment
disorders, and the major costs that this places on society. He passionately
discussed the complete failure of chemical regulation around the world,
and shared some take home messages about the necessity of identifying in
consultation with families, people high at risk to environmental chemical
exposures, to asbestos, lead, pesticides, plastics, and flouride. I have
implemented some of his specific questioning into my  work and his talk was
very aligned with the current Book project I am undertaking with Dr Sarah Lantz.
Hearing him speak was so consolidating to the work we have already invested.

I also heard inspiring speakers such as Aviva Romm (MD, Midwife and Herbalist)
Dr Lise Alschuler (Naturopathic Doctor and Naturopathic Oncologist) speak of the
adverse physiological and physical effects of stress, particularly on
overloaded women. “Allostatic load” is also a major driver of salt, fat
and sugar intake. Strategies to better manage our responses to stressors around
us were discussed, as well as the benefits of constantly trying to find your ‘sweet spot’
when it comes to balancing the stressors in your day, with breath, a nourishing diet,
tight blood sugar control, exercise, and biological support such as nutritional
supplementation and the use of adaptogenic herbal medicines. Strategies I find
myself discussing every day with my gorgeous clients.

hagry1

The proliferation of  Wifi  (Electromagnetic Radiation) with wide-spread phone /
gadget use and teh health effects was also discussed, and is a “newer’ area of
environmental health medicine that is building momentum as we understand more
about it. The term ‘distance is your friend’ was used to describe the importance
of keeping your phone when not in use on Aeroplane mode, or keeping it at least
off your body with an ear piece when you do take a call. I think we are going to
see a lot more about this in the future!

I hope you enjoyed some of that food for thought 😉

Wishing you all peace & happiness. 

Yours in good health,
Tabitha x

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Fertility Friday – Cinnamon

Spring-2014

Cinnamon

Cinnamon
The cooler weather calls for warming spices, of which cinnamon is our favourite.
Not only does this delicious spice impart a warm and slightly sweet dimension
to meals, but it is also a host of many amazing health benefits. The three
active chemical compounds found in cinnamon – cinnamaldehyde, cinnamlyl
alcohol and cinnamyl acetate – are responsible for its widely researched
therapeutic effect. At AYH, we frequently request patients to increase their
consumption of cinnamon as an aromatic digestive, as a warming circulatory
stimulant to promote blood flow to reproductive organs, and to support
balanced hormone responses. When it comes to fertility, here are our
top 4 fertility-enhancing effects of cinnamon:


1. Lowers blood glucose levels and increases insulin sensitivity
A  2007 study showed that the intake of 6g of cinnamon per day
(a heaped teaspoon) reduced blood glucose levels by improving the insulin
receptor function and consequently insulin sensitivity. This effect will therefore
help prevent pre-eclampsia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, all while regulating energy
levels, promoting regular ovulation and balancing reproductive hormones.
This is particularly beneficial for our patients with PCOS.
2. Improves circulation
The warming and blood thinning effect of cinnamon increases circulation
in the body. Good blood circulation ensures that ample oxygen and
nutrients are nourishing reproductive organs, enabling them to function
at their best.
3. Reduces inflammatory
Cinnamon is generous in it’s proanthocyanidin content, and this
antioxidant is particularly beneficial in dampening pain and inflammation
associated with experiencing endometriosis, period pain and ageing.
4. Anti-spasmodic
The antispasmodic effect of cinnamon makes in not only an excellent
spice to aid digestion and calm stomach cramps, but is also useful in
relaxing the uterus and easing period pain.


One teaspoon per day is recommended to reach a therapeutic effect.
Supplementation is also available for more sever cases. Book in for a
consultation to determine the dose necessary for you.


Simple ways to increase cinnamon consumption
  • Enjoy a warm cup of cinnamon tea (we love Pukka’a cinnamon and                                       licorice tea) or spice up your nut-milk hot chocolate as a treat!
  • Add a teaspoon to your morning porridge or smoothie
  • Sprinkle on top of natural yogurt with stewed apples / pears and                                            some nuts for an afternoon snack
  • Add to curries and casseroles
  • Coat sweet potato in coconut oil and cinnamon for a delicious side dish
  • Add to baking such as a almond meal cookies and quinoa flake &                                          coconut topped  apple crumble

 

Wishing you all peace & happiness. 
Yours in good health,
Tabitha x and Madeleine
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Fertility Friday – Maca!

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Maca

 

Maca

 

When it comes to fertility superfoods, Maca certainly stands out from the rest.
This Peruvian root is a member of the cruciferous family that resembles
a radish or a turnip. Maca is a rich plant source of calcium, magnesium,
selenium and iron as well as being relatively high fatty acids and protein.
This powerful superfood functions as an adaptogen—a natural substance
that produces an adaptive response to stress, supporting our handling
of life’s daily stressors. According to Peruvian biologist Gloria Chacon
de Popovici, PhD, maca stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary gland
to produce balanced levels of sex hormones including follicle stimulating
hormone, oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone, while also regulating
the adrenals and balancing stress levels. This is why Maca has been used
for centuries as a superfood to boost energy, resilience, vitality and libido,
while promoting fertility and overall well being.

 

Maca is great for individuals with menstrual irregularities, bothersome
pre-menstrual symptoms, endometriosis, acne and for reducing the
symptoms of menopause. At AYH we also recommend it to couples trying to
conceive. We advise taking about 1 tablespoon of the dried root daily.
Maca can be purchased at most health food stores and is a simple addition
to bliss balls, smoothies, natural yoghurt, oats and healthy baked muffins.
Enjoy this below recipe as well!

 

Magic Maca Warrior balls

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbs chia seeds
10 organic medjool dates, pits removed
3 tbs maca root powder
2 tbs water
2 tbs coconut oil (heated if solid)

 

Method

In a blender or food processor, blend all the ingredients aside from the
dates and water, until a course consistency is reached. Add dates
and continue to blend. Add water 1tbs at a time until a dough forms.
Roll into balls and store in fridge up to 2 weeks.

Wishing you all peace & happiness. 
Yours in good health,
Tabitha x and Madeleine

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Fertility Friday

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Introducing… Fertility Friday!

Fertility is not just about making babies, but rather a deeper reflection of
optimal health, nutrition,balance & vitality. Whilst there are infinite variations
on ‘normal’, for the ladies at least , it means experiencing a balanced
menstrual cycle, free of debilitating pain, mood-swings, skin breakouts,
weight fluctuations, and without drive to overeat.

Here at awaken your health, we love nothing more than
harmonised hormones and are dedicated to helping you achieve just that!
Each Friday, we will post recipes, tips,give examples of common
clinical presentations and the latest research
that will help you nurture your hormones and promote optimum fertility.

So, to kick off our first Fertility Friday and to celebrate the
last weeks of summer we are starting with our super simple and delicious

Balance-Banana Ice-Cream

If you haven’t tried making banana ice-cream before, then you are in for a treat!
This recipe is not only gluten, dairy and sugar-free but also contains
essential nutrients & ingredients that help balance hormones and
promote fertility including:

Maca– this South American root vegetable has been used for centuries to boost fertility.
It is a hormone balancing, libido & stamina enhancing superfood that is also
nutrient-rich.
Coconut butter– A rich source of mct saturated fat, which provides the building
blocks needed for hormone synthesis. Not enough fat in our diets can lead to
poor hormone production and hormonal disturbance.
Cinnamon– This super spice is fantastic for improving insulin sensitivity
and balancing blood sugar levels. It also promotes blood flow to the
reproductive organs. Balanced blood sugar levels are essential for
regular ovulation and healthy ormonal balance.
Banana– High in tryptophan, which converts to serotonin or our ‘happiness hormone’
and helps ward off postnatal depression. Bananas are also high in potassium,
an essential nutrient for regulating blood pressure and preventing pre-eclampsia.

Ingredients:
2x frozen bananas (peel, chop & freeze)
1tsp maca powder
1 tbs coconut butter or oil
¾ tsp ground cinnamon

Optional: chopped nuts or seeds of choice – pepitas or cashews are excellent
for their generous Zinc content.

Method
Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until
smooth and creamy. If bananas are too frozen, add 1 tablespoon of water.
Add chopped seeds or nuts!

Fertility Friday
Enjoy!

Wishing you all peace & happiness. 
Yours in good health,
Tabitha x

 Level 1, 101-103 Queen St, Woollahra NSW 2025  Phone: 0421 921 469
Consultations Available: Wednesday to Saturday 8.00 am – 5.00 pm
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The Important Link Between Body and Mind

In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, it can sometimes be difficult to keep yourself calm and collected in the face of stress. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to help your body naturally stay calm. Here at Awaken Your Health, we offer nutritionist services to our clients, helping you to make healthy choices to enable your body to perform at its optimal level. That includes reducing stress. Often people gloss over the link between stomach and brain, but here’s a glimpse into how you can prime your diet for greater mental health:

Eat the Rainbow

Eating a wide diversity of colourful plant foods, rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, can boost focus by protecting cellular function and optimising blood flow to the brain. Aim for five or more cups of plant foods daily, predominantly vegetables, and add value and flavour to your meals by including herbs and spices. Try to increase the number of colours on your plate at each meal time – diversity is the spice of life!

A Natural High

Whilst caffeine and other stimulants may give you a short-term boost of energy, relying on stimulants to function each day has an adverse effect on your blood sugar control, which may increase anxiety and irritability, not to mention impacting sleep quality. We often feel more exhausted than when we began as the effects of caffeine and other stimulants wear off. You are much better off relying on adequate hydration and a high quality diet to sustain a calm and focused mind. Replace coffee with a couple of cups of quality green tea. This has been shown to produce a better ability to focus attention, and to improve both speed and accuracy due to its l-theanine content.

Fishy Benefits

Omega-3-rich foods provide building block components that form a structural part of our brain matter. Including oily fish such as Australian sardines, wild salmon, ocean trout, oysters, mussels, and skipjack tuna aid mental performance and improve concentration and mood. Our founder, Tabitha McIntosh, recently contributed this last point to an article by Bupa Life Insurance: ‘How to Stay Calm: Wellness Experts Share Their Tips’ . Read it for more great advice on keeping calm throughout your day and life.

Take care of your diet and you’ll be doing wonders for your mind.

We are all about following a healthy diet, not just for the health benefits but for the mood benefits as well. Check out our latest feature in a Bupa Life Insurance article to learn all about how a balanced, nutritious diet can help you keep calm and reduce stress.

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Sunday habits to spring clean your health

_d8a5469Spring has sprung – time to take advantage of the longer days and the sunshine, to develop some positive, supportive habits. We’ve pulled together here four Sunday habits to spring clean your health and ensure a productive week ahead.

1. Invest an hour getting organised

Although spending time on a Sunday reviewing your calendar and prioritising your tasks for the week ahead doesn’t sound like the most sexy weekend ritual, research has shown that taking a few moments to do this simple planning can help clear the mind and reduce worry. Knocking off some simple tasks like this, as well as doing a load of laundry and organising your work clothes for the week ahead will help with a more efficient working week without eating into your relaxing time – freeing up the rest of your day for complete R&R.

 2. Fill your plate with healthy food

It’s all too easy to skip breakfast on a lazy Sunday, and to hit the wine or beer early afternoon…. We all know this impacts our food choices and vitality for the rest of the day. Consuming rich, heavy food and alcohol on a Sunday can sink you into a food coma that can carry over into your Monday, leaving you feeling lethargic. Staring your day with a warm lemon water, being sure to fill your plate (or smoothie) with greens, is a great way to keep well nourished and energised. Cooking a large batch of soup, vegetable curry or roast vegetables on a Sunday afternoon can set you up for a working week of healthy lunches if you’re feeling particularly time poor, tired or uninspired during the week. If you’re exceptionally pushed for time during the week, organic delivery boxes from local companies such as the below, can make your week that bit easier, and give you the confidence that you’re feeding your cells with clean, in–season, produce from natures bounty.

Here are some our favourites:_d8a5552

Bondi Food Collective

Oooby

Lettuce Deliver

Doorstep organics

Or you can visit our neighbours Wholefoods House on Queen St to pick up some seasonal, organic produce.

3. Add meaning

Doing something especially fulfilling & with purpose on a Sunday can make you approach Mondays with a much more positive outlook. We all have to get things done over the weekend, but scheduling a meaningful activity, such as a yoga class where you check in with yourself; connecting with a friend or family member to help them out with a task, or a walk in nature can recharge your mental and spiritual batteries so you can approach Monday feeling full of gratitude, inspired accomplished.

4. Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep

A good night’s rest on Sunday is the best way to ease into the madness of Monday; it will improve your stress resilience, give you in a more optimistic outlook, and leave you feeling alert, focussed and ready to tackle a productive week. To get the most out of your sleep, try to leave at least three hours between your dinner meal and going to bed. Keeping stimulants low, and minimise screen time from at least 2 hours prior to bed is also key to quality sleep. You’ll also notice an improvement in your sleep quality after a decent amount of exercise during the day; preferably in the morning.

If you have any concerns with your sleep onset, sleep maintenance or sleep quality; or even just need some recipe and meal-planning inspiration, we are here to help!
Feel free to call us for a consultation on 02 8007 4275, or to find a consultation time that suits on our booking page here.

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What role does your microbiome play in your overall health? By Tabitha McIntosh

What is the microbiome?

How does our microbiome impact our health?

And how can we best keep it nourished?

These are all very good questions!

microbiomeRachel Carson, ecologist and author of the game-changing book Silent Spring in 1962, was right in more ways than one when she said “In Nature, nothing exists alone”. We humans live in a symbiotic relationship with a massive number of microbes that dwell within us.

The trillions of microbes inhabit our intestines form a complex ecological ‘community’ that influences our normal body-functioning and susceptibility to disease. For decades, we humans have recognized that we are inhabited by a remarkably dense and diverse microbial ecosystem, yet we are only just beginning to understand and appreciate the many roles that these complex communities play in our health and development.

The human microbiome refers to the community of more than 1 trillion microscopic organisms living in and on us through our lifetime—10 times the number of our own cells[i]. These organisms and their genetic material, influence all manner of human physiology – certainly not limited to protecting our gut lining, impacting our digestion and bowel function.

Adult humans carry up to two kilograms of microbes in our gastrointestinal tract (this is weightier than our brain!) [i], [ii]. Our own personal gut ‘microbiota’, or microbial community, is immensely diverse, is unique to us, and can fluctuate over time — especially during disease and early development.[iii]

Recent advances in genomic sequencing technologies and analysis are providing a broader understanding of these resident microbes, and the tremendous expansion of information collected in recent years is a result of data generated through large-scale endeavours such as the NIH-funded Human Microbiome Project HMP. Scientific interest in how the microbiome might be manipulated through diet, supplements and lifestyle to improve health and treat disease has exploded in recent years.

The gut flora has been shown to influence brain development[iv], behavior[v], mood, immune system development[vi], cancer risk[vii], and cardiovascular disease[viii], as well as many factors that influence body weight such as insulin production[ix], appetite, metabolism[x], inflammation, and more.

 The development of the gut microbiota

To mirror the million dollar debate of “Nature vs Nurture”, as it turns out, both genetic and environmental factors shape our unique gut microbiota. To start from the start, for decades, doctors were taught that the womb environment was sterile — that the amniotic sac, and the fluid that surrounded the baby, was a uniquely pristine environment devoid of any bacteria in order to protect the growing baby, which still doesn’t have a fully developed immune system. The conventional wisdom was that the baby’s first exposure to bacteria began during birth, from the mother’s birth canal, and continued through the infant’s skin-to-skin contact with mom and from its new environment.

But in recent years, scientists have been able to detect small amounts of bacteria in the amniotic fluid and in the placenta, and even in the foetus’ intestines, supporting the idea that the baby’s microbiome actually gets established far earlier than thought, in the womb.

The infant microbiome is particularly impressionable. A baby’s gut microbiota, for example, can be influenced by style of delivery, by breastfeeding, by introduction of solids, diet, and by antibiotics exposures – all of these factors plus more can have an impact on their immune expression and health outcomes. Scientists continue to explore the still-mysterious world of microbes in the developing child – watch this space.

Signs of an unhappy microbiota

Bloating, diarrhea, indigestion and food intolerances can all be caused by an imbalance between the beneficial and detrimental bacteria colonies. Factors that can interfere with healthy adult microbiome include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Chronic stress
  • A highly processed, high protein diet [xi]
  • High sugar intake, high refined carbohydrates[xii]
  • Preservatives in foods, such as sulphates and sulphites[xiii]
  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Toxins of choice – alcohol[xiv] (alcohol produced a brief, but large increase in the microbe species that were pro-inflammatory, stimulating the immune system as if it were under attack and contributing to the general sick-feeling so typical of hangovers)
  • Some medications such as PPI’s prescribed for acid reflux.

All of the above contribute to an imbalance in favour of destructive bacteria. Once the thin mucous membrane has been penetrated by bacteria, and/or the contributing behaviour continues, a host of digestive disorders ensues.

 The more diverse our gut bacteria, the better

As they say, variety is the spice of life 😉 A diverse gut microbiome is key to good health. And harbouring a healthy ecosystem results in good gut integrity and immune resilience.

Reduced microbial diversity is associated with increased risk of allergies, obesity, insulin resistance, irritable bowel symptoms, inflammatory processes, and even chronic fatigue syndrome[xv].

Can we alter our gut microbiota?

Since the gut microbiome is influenced by the food we eat and the environment around us, it makes sense that there are ways to make it healthier.

We can protect and nurture our microbiome by using foods that establish and nourish a robust gut ecosystem. Foods known as prebiotics ‘fertilise’ the gut’s friendly microbes. Foods such as asparagus, artichoke, beans, garlic, leek, root vegetables, and other plant foods rich in fibre are prebiotics. Plant foods reign when it comes to keeping our internal communities strong. Enjoying towards five cups of a variety of vegetables daily not only promotes regular bowel movements, but also ensures a flourishing microbiome.

Limiting stress, and avoiding unnecessary use of pharmaceuticals is also critical to gut health. Use of a high quality, multi-strain probiotic after a course of antibiotics is a critical consideration to help you restore a healthy balance.

This is a very exciting time in the study of the microbiome. If this topic is of interest to you, and you feel you’d like some personalised support based on your unique circumstances, we at Awaken Your Health are only a phone call away.

Tabitha x

In celebration of these complex ecological ‘communities’ that live within us, I would like to remind you that there are many people writing on this topic. Here are just a few resources that you may find interesting:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 9.02.54 amEnders, Gulia. Gut – The Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ. 2014, Published by Scribe.

 

 

brain makerPerlmutter, David. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life. 2015, Published by Yello Kite.

 

 

The Guardian – June 2015 – Why is my Hangover so bad?

NY Times – Dec 2015 – The Diet Myth,’ ‘The Good Gut’ and ‘The Hidden Half of Nature’

Huffington Post – Dec 2015 – Why your Gut Microbiome could hold the key to solving the Obesity epidemic

References

[i] Palmer, C., Bik, E. M., DiGiulio, D. B., Relman, D. A., & Brown, P. O. (2007). Development of the Human Infant Intestinal Microbiota. PLoS Biology, 5(7), e177. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0050177

[ii] Johnson, C. L., & Versalovic, J. (2012). The Human Microbiome and Its Potential Importance to Pediatrics. Pediatrics, 129(5), 950–960. http://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-2736

[iii] Catherine A. Lozupone C, et al. (2012) Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota. Nature 489, 220–230.

[iv] Sampson TR, Mazmanian SK. Control of brain development, function, and behavior by the microbiome. Cell Host Microbe. 2015 May 13;17(5):565-76.

[v] Sampson TR, Mazmanian SK. Control of brain development, function, and behavior by the microbiome. Cell Host Microbe. 2015 May 13;17(5):565-76.

[vi] Kau, A. L., Ahern, P. P., et al. (2011). Human nutrition, the gut microbiome, and immune system: envisioning the future. Nature, 474(7351), 327–336.

[vii] Schwabe, R. F., & Jobin, C. (2013). The microbiome and cancer. Nature Reviews. Cancer, 13(11), 800–812.

[viii] Griffin JL, Wang X, Stanley E. Does our gut microbiome predict cardiovascular risk? A review of the evidence from metabolomics. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2015 Feb;8(1):187-91.

[ix] Okeke F, Roland BC, Mullin GE. The role of the gut microbiome in the pathogenesis and treatment of obesity. Glob Adv Health Med. 2014 May;3(3):44-57.

[x] Janssen AW, Kersten S. The role of the gut microbiota in metabolic health. FASEB J. 2015 Aug;29(8):3111-23.

[xi] S H Duncan, et al. Human colonic microbiota associated with diet, obesity and weight loss International Journal of Obesity (2008) 32, 1720–1724.

[xii] Hawrelak JA1, Myers SP. The causes of intestinal dysbiosis: a review. Altern Med Rev. 2004 Jun;9(2):180-97.

[xiii] Hawrelak JA1, Myers SP. The causes of intestinal dysbiosis: a review. Altern Med Rev. 2004 Jun;9(2):180-97.

[xiv] Bala S, Marcos M, Gattu A, Catalano D, Szabo G (2014) Acute Binge Drinking Increases Serum Endotoxin and Bacterial DNA Levels in Healthy Individuals. PLoS ONE 9(5): e96864. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096864

[xv] Ludovic Giloteaux, Julia K. Goodrich, et al. Reduced diversity and altered composition of the gut microbiome in individuals with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Microbiome20164:30

[i] Human Microbiome Project C A framework for human microbiome research. Nature. 2012 Jun 14;486(7402):215–21. PubMed PMID: 22699610. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3377744.

 

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