childrens health Archives - Awaken Your Health
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5 ideas to boost your daily vegetable intake

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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 boost of 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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The Gut Microbiome: 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.

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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 of 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 heroes.

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I was lucky enough to see Dr Philip Landrigan speak about exposures to toxins 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.

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The proliferation of  Wifi  (Electromagnetic Radiation) with wide-spread phone / gadget use and the 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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Winter Wellness for our Children By Tabitha McIntosh

Winter is the peak cold and flu period and prevention is the most important strategy for our littlies, however – particularly when Kindy or Pre-school are involved – some infections are almost inevitable. These simple strategies will help protect against winter infections and speed recovery if a cold or flu takes hold.

Good Hygiene
The first line of defence is to keep germs at bay and stopping spread. Encourage hand washing with a gentle soap, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, and always have a chemical-free hand-sanitiser gel handy.

Encourage Vitamin C and Betacarotene rich foods plus garlic
Encourage foods such as red capsicum, citrus fruits, papaya, parsley, kiwi fruits, dried apricots, berries, broccoli, pumpkin, spinach and tomatoes. Garlic has antimicrobial and immune support properties. Mashed sweet potato with garlic and parsley is a winner with my kids when they are sick.

Boost Vitamin C and Zinc
Best taken as low, divided doses throughout the day – see your healthcare provider for specific formulas, as children always need their dose individually assessed based on height, weight and age.

Minimise hidden sugar in your child’s diet
Sugar reduces the immune response and lowers our ability to fight a bug. Eliminate lollies, juices, honey, jams, boxed cereals, sultanas, flavoured milks, sweetened yoghurts for the best chance at recovery.

Be informed about Vitamin D
Research has identified Vitamin D as a key factor in promoting healthy immune response, and supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of flu infection by half1. Ensure your children get regular safe and smart sunscreen-free exposure to the sun; and include Vitamin D rich foods like oily fish, eggs and fortified milk.

Probiotics and immunity
Probiotics have demonstrated effectiveness in providing kids’ protection against infections such as colds and flu’s2. In fact, over 70 percent of your child’s immune tissue surrounds their gut. Remember the effects of Probiotics are strain-specific, so speak to your health care professional.

Rest rest rest
Getting adequate sleep is essential to prevent and manage infection. Lack of sleep reduces our immune response and makes us more susceptible to catching bugs.

Other tips
Essential oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and lemon are natural decongestants. A couple of drops into a vaporiser while sleeping or in the bath can break down mucous and improve breathing. Chest rubs with pure paw paw and calendula calm (Petroleum-free) can soothe dry and chapped skin around the nose.

Remember
Always speak with a health professional before giving your children any supplements, or if symptoms worsen or persist. Also, delay immunisation appointments if your child has an acute infection, a runny nose or seems not themselves.

References:
1. Urashima M et al. Randomised trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza-A in school children. Am J Clinical Nutrition 2010 May; 91(5):1255-1260.

2. Leyer GJ et al. Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children. Pediatrics 2009 Aug; 124(2):e172-179.

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