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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: Omega-3 EFA’s

Spring-2014

When we think hormones, we think healthy fats. But not all fats are created equal!
Omega 3 is the therapeutic King, which is why we’d like to shine some
light on it now for you. Omega 3 fatty acids EPA & DHA are both found in small oily
fish, and each have their own unique role in our body’s. One of EPA’s
primary roles in the body is to dampen inflammatory process, while DHA
is considered a major structural component of brain, eyes and nervous
system. This combined action of EPA & DHA omega 3s works to reduce the inflammatory
stress that our bodies are continually challenged by (from pollution, caffeine,
fried foods, alcohol, stress, excess weight etc.), whilst also providing
structural integrity for optimal hormonal production and receptor function.

Read more here: Omega-3

fish
Clinically, we see fish oil work it’s magic every day, reducing PMS,
skin breakouts, improving skin barrier function, dampening period pain
or ovulation pain, and promoting more regular ovulation.

Increasing your consumption of oily fish to 3-4 serves per week has some gentle
therapeutic potential. Small oily fish such as sardines, herring, blue mackerel,
anchovies, blue eyed cod, salmon (wild caught), flathead and snapper are
recommended as they are both low in mercury and contain a number of other fertility
enhancing nutrients such as protein, iodine, calcium, and zinc. Supplementation
is also a simple and effective way to ensure you are reaching the therapeutic
level of EPA & DHA.

Book in for a consultation or speak to us when choosing
a brand of fish oil, to ensure you are receiving a therapeutic dpse spelling dose
for your particular situation, as well as a purchasing a pure
and sustainably sourced product.

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

 
Click here to read more

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Fertility Friday

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Weight Control

 
 

avocado

Being both underweight and overweight can have a significant impact on
hormone balance and consequently menstrual cycle rhythm. 
Clinically, in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) whom
are also overweight, research and clinical practice both show that just a
drop of 5% of body weight can result in more regular ovulation.

 

On the other hand however, being underweight and having low intake
of healthy dietary fats can compromise hormone production, and can
be a significant contributor to  menstrual irregularities. This is common
to amenorrhea (absence of periods) and also irregular ovulation.

 

Ensuring regular intake of clean healthy fats and adequate body
fat levels 0f between 19-26% will therefore assist in balancing hormones
and regulating your menstrual cycle. If you feel you’d like some input
and advice with your diet and how it can support menstrual regularity,
 

 

 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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 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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Fertility Friday

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tummy

Something we see all the time at awaken your health is women experiencing
irregular menstrual cycles. Whether they’re just coming off the oral contraceptive
pill, are trying to conceive, or are wanting to reduce bothersome symptoms of
hormonal fluctuations such as pre-menstrual anxiety, mood swings and
weight gain (sound familiar?); we see it all.

 

Most women agree that the feel their best with a regular and balanced
menstrual cycle. Whilst it’s crucial to uncover the underlying cause
of menstrual irregularities through particular investigations and thorough
case taking of corresponding symptoms,there are some simple baseline
steps that can be taken to promote a regular and problem-free cycle.
Over the next 5 weeks we will explore these steps and share a weekly
tip on how to get some harmony into your hormones creating a
balanced and regular menstrual cycle. Hurrah!

 

Using a period App to track your cycle- this daily ritual of checking
in with your body -which takes no more that 2 minutes –  allows
you to assess what’s happening in your body. You may wish
to take note of symptoms such as breast tenderness, food cravings,
changes to appetite, moodiness, brown spotting before your
menstrual flow, the heaviness of your bleed, and so on.
Cultivating this body awareness by keeping a record of your cycle
provides valuable information to share with us to your next consultation,
and helps you mentally work towards your intention of having a regular cycle.
It may also be interesting to note where you are in relation to the moon’s cycle.
While the theory is largely founded on traditional beliefs, it is believed
that women are more likely to ovulate on the full moon and menstruate on
the new moon, due to the impact of changing moon light on your
ovulation timing. I for one, also have a moon / lunar app on my
iPhone which helps me be aware of where I am at in relation to the moon’s cycle.

moon

 

Luckily, technology makes recording these symptoms and changes
so simple. Using a menstrual tracking app allows you to quickly
enter in this information, which is stored conveniently on your phone,
tied in with your iCal.  A good app will chart your cycles, predict fertile
windows and inform you when you are due to menstruate.
Sound convenient? We think so too!
Some apps to check out include:

 

 

For more information on tracking your cycle and understanding your
menstrual patterns book in for a consultation.

 

Wishing you all peace & happiness. 
Yours in good health,
Tabitha x
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 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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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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Autumn 2013

autumn newsletter 2013

 

Upcoming Community health work outlined, Silent Source Meditation, Benefits of Probiotics  & a delicious Sri Lankan Curry

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Spring 2012 Newsletter

enews spring 2012

The awakenyourhealth Spring 2012 newsletter is now available featuring:

Announcement: Nutrition and the Yoga of Eating, with Tabitha McIntosh
Natural Sugar Alternative Chart
In Season Fruits and Vegetables
Two Recipes: Raw Cacao Pudding and Green Pea Spring Soup

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