Eating Baby Food Turned My Life Around

Good Scintillating Saturday to you!

Interesting title huh?

These were the words spoken to me by a patient whose digestive health had deteriorated so much she thought that eating baby food would be the only option she had left as all other foods were causing her so much pain and discomfort.

This was a patient who was not sleeping, had no energy, cried at the drop of a hat due to the pain she was in and the fear of 'Is this how my life is now at 47 years of age?'

She was in a terrible state of health from a naturopathic perspective not only because of the symptoms she presented with, but more so due to the lowered vitality she displayed - the air was literally let out of her.

It was the baby food stage however that turned her life around.  The moment she found herself making the decision that eating baby food was her only option was the moment she decided to look elsewhere for health advice.  After months of investigations and routine treatments, we got started.

Within just a few weeks of supporting her digestive system in what it was missing, this usually vibrant lady started to sleep again, began eating an ever increasing variety of adult foods, experienced much less pain and discomfort and is much happier, brighter and lively than she presented on her first day in clinic.  To say her awareness on what she chooses to eat and how she eats it has increased 10 fold.  In fact, her awareness on her entire health has amplified.

Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom to build a better more stable foundation for our health - after all - rock bottom can be a solid platform to start from.  Her diminished health was her solid platform - but now she knows she doesn't need to find rock bottom again in order to be more mindful of how she cares for her body - she has baby food to remind her.

Remember - you don't need to hit rock bottom in order to finally make a concerted effort to look after yourself - so why keep heading there?

 

Stress Shrinks Your Brain

Good Saturday to you!

I trust you're getting some relaxation in over the weekend so your brain can grow back to normal again.  Yes it is true - even acute or early stress actually causes parts of your brain that control emotional exaggeration, rationalisation, memory, decision making and emotional context.

In the same light, anxiety increases the size of a different part of the brain that creates worrying, circular thinking and aggression.

Interestingly though is the fact that the same areas of the brain are affected similarly in insomniacs and in some cases OCD.

To say that stress does not affect you is quite possibly the memory and impulse control parts of your brain being altered in size and function from the inflammation of the stress response and the further inflammation of your lifestyle choices you employ to 'manage' stress (alcohol, high sugar foods, low exercise participation).

Research is now quite compelling in the areas to support the provision of magnesium, GABA, turmeric, saffron, passionflower, marigold, zizyphus and kudzu along with omega 3 fatty acids, breathing techniques, dietary changes towards alkaline eating and zinc to remodel the nerve changes in your brain and return your thinking and feeling matter back to normal size and functions again.

So the next time your find it difficult to remember where your keys are, what time you had an appointment and when you had to pick up the kids from school when you're in a state of flux- try to employ some brain soothing chemistry to help you out!

Meet Your Internal Defence Force

 

Good Sunny Saturday!

I trust you are about to enjoy some healing sunshine and fresh air because there is plenty out there to enjoy!

Today I wanted to introduce you to the special forces team inside your body that are on a mission to combat anything that threatens your borders between great health and dis-ease.  These are your silent fighters whose main purpose is either to get in and destroy the enemy of your health or communicate a potential breach of your otherwise intact system.

Here is part of the crew inside you:

Natural Killer Cells - a white blood cell or lymphocyte that is able to bind to certain tumour cells and virus-infected cells without the stimulation of antigens, and kill them by the insertion of granules containing perforin.  Clever hey!  Simply put, if your immune system is not off doing something else - these guys are surveying for anything that fits the description mentioned.

Antigen Presenting Cells - an immune competent group of cells that mediate immune responses by processing and presenting antigens to the T-cell receptor. My favourite is the dendritic cell that often sits inside the digestive system and samples what is going on outside of the wall into the blood stream using a little projections from its body. Its kind of the dibber-dobber of your body and I am a big fan.

Cholesterol - whether your cholesterol is high or low, a healthy balance of this important fat is vital for human life.  Even too high 'good' cholesterol levels can be dangerous and would indicate is protecting itself from harm (inflammation).  Think of these as the medics in the defence line up - they are a sign your body is in protect and repair of damaged tissue mode when up and to reach for a lowering agent without addressing the dietary and non-dietary reasons why this is elevating would be like putting a blanket over a house on fire.

Amyloid plaque - this is the substance found in the brain of Alzheimer patients - and is a sign your body is in trauma protection processes.  Everyone produces this plaque when they experience stress, head injury and alcohol injury in some cases.  To know that you are producing this and that it could have detrimental mental affect on your body is important to note.  Given that we all make this - a simple gene test to determine if its presence also means a serious decline in your mental health down the track is a great investment.

Mucus - it's very presence means that your body is armouring itself from damage. Whether it is in the digestive system, respiratory system, reproductive system or elsewhere - this layer of white blood cells and mucoid film means that your body is trying to get rid of something foreign.  It is a white flag that your system is dealing with it - or trying to.  With the help of enzymes munching this stuff away, once it is gone - the mucus tap should be turned off by the immune system - if it isn't - more help is needed.

So these are 5 of my favourites little fighters for your health - there are many many more that your body deploys for your successful mission in life, but in my opinion - these are the best in the corps.

 

Not All Coughs Are Built the Same

A4 Wellness Event FlyerGood Morning and Happy Voting Saturday!

Before I launch into this week's piece, I wanted to touch on a topic that has been attracting a bit of attention in social but not so in main stream media.  There have been a lot of questions thrown in the circle this week from my patients about the possibility of the abolition of health care rebates on Natural Therapies as indicated by the Labor party if it gets in.  For the first time we may be facing a very real threat to our industry and it is expected that the Liberal party will do something similar.  It would pay to check this out when voting today if you want to keep your rebates going.  I am choosing to research a party that supports Natural Medicine as an integrative approach to mainstream medicine.

Now for the topic at hand.

Coughs this season have proven to be early and tenacious, with the first onset starting off in March this year.  As I do for each year, I keep a track on the patterns that coughs are taking in my patients as they often follow a very clear presentation when it comes to homeopathic prescribing.

Interestingly I have had a couple of whooping cough patients for example this past fortnight who have presented quite differently in some of their symptoms and similar in many others.  I wanted to tag a few features of homeopathic remedies that I have been using a lot in clinic to help alleviate the cough and move the patient into a phase of recovery their bodies can manage well.  Not all coughs are built the same, despite the same diagnosis, each person will present slightly differently and this will also depend on the stage of their condition.

Here are a few common cough remedies used this season so far to match their presenting symptoms:

Kali Bichromium (Kali Bich) - often used for a stringy choking mucus in the throat where a cough dislodges part of the phlegm but leaves another part behind, causing the patient to cough hard in the throat to continue moving it.  The patient can be irritable and have nasal mucus that is ropy and bland to green in colour.

Coccus Cacti - a classic second stage whooping cough remedy used to manage a more tenacious cough that causes the patient to have to lean forward to complete the cough cycle, with streaming eyes and a red congested face.  The cough is hard, persistent and not much mucus is initially coughed up but there is much felt in the chest.

Bryonia - a burning heavy  chest with a hard cough that brings chunky olive green or blood stained mucus often is the calling card for Bryonia.  The patient also often has dry lips and a burning thirst, and prefers to lie in a semi erect position.  Pains are relieved by warmth and deep pressure.

Ipecac - a cough that is quite wet and rolling in the chest with little expectoration calls for Ipecac.  In its non homeopathic form this medicine was also used to induce vomiting in poison cases, so homeopathically it can be well called for if the coughing is creating a vomiting picture.

Drosera - this cough is often dry and barking or hacking and almost always worse when lying down.  The patient gets a tickle in the throat that is excited by cold air and drinks and talking.  This is often an early stage whooping cough remedy in the dry phases.

So as you can see, not every cough needs the same approach, just like not every patient needs the same treatment program.  Don't suffer unnecessarily this Winter!

** Wellness In The Golden Years is on again this year - feel free to circulate this flyer.  Exhibitor spaces still available.

 

 

It’s Not Just All In Your Head

Good Weekend to You!

Well hasn't it been an up and down kind of week from weather to work?  I'm confident I am not the only one who has experienced this given the news reports, and if you think this year is passing us by fast-you're absolutely right.  Even my 12 year old notices this, and she first started taking note at the age of 9 - so its true - it is not all in your head!

Neither is mental illness in any form it may present.

The science on immunology, nutrition, patient/clinician effect, herbal medicine and the gut/brain balance offers us a compelling reason to start looking outside of the head in order to fully recover modern day illnesses in these areas.  This weekend, I am about to go underground into 3 days of intensive conference completely devoted to the health of the mind and the current science supporting it.  This has little to do with a deficiency of antidepressant medication or endless circular psychology-this is a foundational path of solutions that your body cannot simply hide from.

We are now so much more equipped than ever to understand the interaction between the bacteria in the colon and mood, between post viral syndrome, pain and vitality and the missing links in nutritional pathways that chemically bring us back to base.

Moods and happiness are no where near the head so it will seem.

Of my Top 5 Steps to Happiness, here are my favourites:

  1.  Get sun onto your body at least three times a week - even if it is just your legs! Vitamin D and the nourishing warmth of the sun is rejuvenating - 10 -15 min is often adequate.
  2. Eat foods that promote bacterial balance in your gut - coconut yoghurt, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, oregano, basil, garlic, thyme, vegetarian meals a couple of times a week, kefir, quark (a cottage cheese type food) and water soluble fibres (slippery elm, psyllium, guar gum, agar agar).
  3. Keep yourself on the move - avoid sedentary days.  Investigate ways to push against the wall, floor or bench tops. A quick 10 minute lounge room work out is better than non at all.
  4. Start and review frequently a gratitude list to keep you in touch with what matters the most.
  5. Test and correct nutritional imbalances that are known to escalate anxiety, irritability and sadness.  Some tests are not straight vitamin or mineral blood measures - but metabolic by products of body maintenance. Check out krytpopyrroles for example.

After the weekend of intensive study and research revelations are made - your next piece of literary communication from me will be jam packed full of new data on halting the deterioration of the mind and its wellbeing.

** COMING UP IN BRISBANE**

Wellness In The Golden Years  FREE health and wellbeing expo for retirees and seniors

30th August 2016

Royal International Convention Centre

For more information contact nicky@wisehealthyliving.com.au

When Winter Turns Wild, Turn Home into a Healthy Retreat

Holy Mother of Mayhem Batman - we are in for a snuggly couple of days indoors!

I hear the resounding cries of parents everywhere mixed with hopeful wishes of some valuable rest time on the lounge, unable to venture into the outdoors with their children to keep them entertained and exhausted, and restricted in any efforts to mow lawns and hang washing.    Ahhhh what to do!

If you have children who need entertaining during a weekend of wild weather, I have a few ideas below that could work in your favour.  It may not be the same as their usual expenditure of energy during their normal weekend pursuits, but it may take the edge off the crazy for a few hours...and that lounge is not too far away for you and your book!

Here are a couple of keep ém busy ideas:

  1.  If they are old enough (7+) get them involved in preparing a nourishing Winter immune building soup. They can peel carrots and parsnips, place chopped pieces into the pot, stir with supervision and add herbs for extra health benefits.
  2. If your child is under 7, get busy with them making some play dough (plenty of healthy recipes online) and line up your safe kitchen utensils for shape cutting.  To get some non toxic colours you could try adding drops of beetroot juice, strawberry juice, pulped and strained English spinach juice, blueberry juice and for orange, purple and yellow - carrots in those colours if you have them!
  3. Should your home have a lonely hall just waiting to be utilized - grab some crepe paper, old string, old stockings or something similar and set up a 'laser labyrinth' for them to make their way through without touching it.  Think any Bond Movie, Entrapment or similar spy movies to get to the 'treasure'(that could be their devices or food you have held back for treat purposes).
  4. Look up 7 minute workout on your browser and print out the chart - give one to each child.  Have them do the work out a few times over or get them to create their own (statues can be incorporated into this concept.
  5. With those unwashed bed linen and towels - get them to good use in fort building, scene creating for a mini movie and 'safe' stepping spots for adventurous lounge room activities.
  6. Put large pieces of paper together - secure them with tape. Get your children to lie on the paper and draw the outline of their body.  Google a chart of labeled human body parts and get them to label their body drawing with as many parts as they can.  Another version is to have pieces of food cut out and get them place the foods near or on the parts most likely to benefit from them.
  7. Home made spa treatments are a great way to keep them busy and relaxed!  Using household ingredients and only small quantities needed, coconut and oat scrubs, fruit facials, avocado masks and herbal tea baths become a fantastic passer of time! Make sure you put the soothing music on!

Remember - a healthy dose of fun can be had in the smallest of spaces!

Set Your Health Up For Success

Good Saturday morning to you!

I hope your week had some solid moments of achievement blended with a healthy dose of reflection on where your learning  opportunities were. After all we are never too old or experienced, skilled or affluent, depleted or over it to adapt and grow.

Much of my patient conversations are not just centred around what to eat, pop, swig or mix - most involve coaching, focusing, realignment and helping with getting back on track when the going feels tough.

I was having a chat along these lines earlier this week with one of my patients who is working on weight loss and turning around a type 2 diabetes diagnosis before Summer comes back (like it hasn't left yet!).

He is doing really well so far but something he said really stopped me mid consultation which changed the direction of the conversation.

He said, "I can't wait to get to my goal weight and glucose readings so I dont have to watch what I'm eating all the time." Wait, what?

It was then that I reminded him that it was this kind of lack of vigilance that has bought his health to the point he needed to implement such stringent strategies. I described it much like rotting timber on a house- if you know it's already diseased, would you remove it, replace it and protect it sooner or later? Is the job harder and bigger if you let it go for another 6 months? And if there was one lot of rot, could there not be more in other areas?

He quickly saw my reasoning and relevance to his own health.

I was on a roll so I suggested he adopted a new mindset that looked something like this:

Much like a renovation to a house, once you achieve a goal in the beautification and repairs department, set a new goal post. In fact, lets not call them goal posts, lets call them SUCCESS POSTS!

A success post differs from a goal post, when you reach a goal post we tend to think that's the end of the journey. When we set ourselves success posts, they are defined differently- they encompass a wider range of meaning.

What does success mean to you, look like to you, feel like to you? When you investigate this, you will find there are many levels of this and that having a youthful weight friendly body and living a life that is 'on purpose' is not a stop start process. It's a continuum.

After all, if we get to our last goal and then stop...

Setting your health up for success means having a handful of parameters over your life and ever changing ageing  process that you strive to maintain, not meet and cease.

Not sure how to get a start in this area? Let's sit down and do it together...

www.wisehealthyliving.com.au/bookings - select 'Success Posting Session'


 

Managing Blood Pressure without Medication

Good morning and sunny Saturday!

It is another beautiful weekend here on the Gold Coast and it won't surprise me to see to the beaches bustling with sun seekers as the weather defies the odds in terms of late Autumn temperatures!

Today I am preparing to hold a birthday party for my 12 year old and 20 of her lovely friends and family and with an excited pre teen hanging around during the last minute 'don't forgets' could be an opportunity for high blood pressure to set in!

As adults we face many circumstances where our blood pressure is under fire given the weight of responsibilities and concerns we have to deal with day in and out.  Yesterday I was visiting one of my corporate clients running blood pressure checks and preparing heart healthy foods for them to try.

One of the employees came in to have her pressure done, and her reading was expected to be elevated due to the obvious stress she was displaying and speaking of.  As predicted, it was high - 174/93 - dangerously high by medical standards.

I asked her to remain seated, close her eyes and breath gently (not deeply) and took her through a few minutes of visualization and relaxation techniques.  Whilst she was in this position, I re-took her pressure and once complete asked her to open her eyes.  To her astonishment (and her colleague who was watching the whole thing unfold) - her pressure dropped to 139/85!

To say the experiment was a powerful reminder to her that she is in control of how her body responds to stress and in particular her blood pressure - she left the room feeling quite determined to be mindful of her reactions to her circumstances.

Remember - elevated blood pressure does not result from a deficiency of beta blockers or loop diuretics - it is more likely all you need to take a moment and create some peace around you instead!

Two Tennis Balls and a Sock Relaxation Therapy

Happy Glorious Saturday to you!

 

What a stunning weekend to enjoy the great outdoors - I hope you are preparing to spend some time in the last few weeks of the warm sunshine before it fades along with your Vitamin D levels!

One of my favourite activities to do that brings me deep relaxation is catching a gentle sun doze when the rays aren't too hot.  I always feel thoroughly chilled out and ready to take on whatever the world wants to offer.

Relaxation techniques for the mind and body are grossly underestimated in medicine in my opinion - they simply aren't researched enough and therefore supported as serious options for patients when it comes to our usual spread of chronic diseases.  Putting it all into perspective,  the hormones your body produces under the stress response are extremely inflammatory to your body - all over.

Your muscles, tendons and ligaments are not immune to the stress hormones you can produce when under an adrenal and emotional pump.  Nor is your fascia.

What is fascia I hear you ask?  You know that thin sheath like material often found on the outside of legs of lamb and other animal flesh?  That is fascia and we have it too.  Imagine trying to run a smooth hand over your muscle but the lining on top is buckled up - this is commonly an issue with fascia tissue and can spell all kinds of painful trouble for the body - including headaches, calf tension and muscle pain.

When you release the fascia it can allow for a lot more flow in your body - including in your cranio-sacral fluid.  When your body experiences flow - it experiences deep relaxation.

Enter the 2 tennis balls and socks.  By knotting off the balls into a sock (lets face it we almost always have one floating around on its own) - you create the perfect apparatus for fascia release.

Starting at your feet - place your home made fascia roller under the arch and roll your feel over the two balls to start massaging your feet.  You can test the effects of a fascia release by doing a forward bend safely and noting where you get to.  Then roll your feet and try another forward bend.  You will be amazed at the difference.

Your fascia tissue runs from the base of your feet right up over to the front of your forehead.  By releasing from the feet your effecting the whole of your body.

Remember - you don't have to use fancy or expensive therapies to achieve full body relaxation - your body likes pretty much everything that is simple and effective.

Mustering the Madness of Menopause

Happy cloudy weekend to you!

I write yet again from another location - this time from North Stradbroke Island as I help my girl prepare for a surf comp.  There is something adventurous about being a surf mum and I love the spots we get to visit along with the wonderful people we also share these experiences with.

Its good to be part of something. I find that when you are actively involved in a community your level of well being and belonging increases markedly.  But there are times where even being involved in a community can still feel isolating.

I speak with a lot of women who are in the transition of their lives - menopause - where due to a cocktail of hormonal beasts shaking them against their otherwise capable will,  are speaking of feeling disconnected and wanting to 'run from it all'.

There are a number of obvious physical challenges she faces as well - not to harp on them, but in case you were wondering what may be happening, if this sounds like you or someone you know, these are a commonly felt 'side effects' of these hormonal changes:

  1. Surges of unruly emotions- seemingly unrelated to anything that is actually going on - these chemicals skew her perception and heightens her sensitivity
  2. Skin changes - many women will have a reoccurrence of acne and wonder what is the cause of this - shouldn't she be past all that?  The answer lies below.
  3. Cessation or changes in the flow, duration and consistency of her period - depending on the level of inflammation her body is experiencing generally and how poorly she processes toxins like alcohol - this can impact on her cycle quite substantially
  4. Fatigue, body aches, temperature changes, joint pain, changes in cravings for foods are also features of this time in her life
  5. Sleep disturbances are not uncommon in menopausal women (and andropausal men)
  6. Digestive bloating and changes to bowel habits

Wrangling these symptoms in to allow for a smoother transition takes patience and grace - a dose or two of the following may also be helpful and supportive:

Consistent exercise - it has been found that this alone can help combat the flushing to start with but can also help with toxin processing, increasing probiotic bacteria, pain and mood alterations.

Maintaining a diet where the intake of ecology altering foods are kept at a minimum with periods of tailored and supervised fasting can be very useful - a yeast managed diet is a good start.

Herbs like passionflower, zizyphus, chaste tree, shatavari, dong quai, rosemary, Jamaican dogwood  and astragalus offer a number of different actions across the above side effects.

Homeopathic remedies such as sepia, belladonna, sanguinaria, lachesis and pulsatilla all play a role in matching the presentation of each woman who has her own signature of menopausal symptoms.

Salivary hormone testing to check for clearance of stored chemistry is very useful information and equips us with a different understanding as to what your body could be struggling with moving.  Remember the return of acne?  This could be due to a surge in testosterone production and a poor clearance of this and oestrogen.

Meditation, yoga, dance, tai chi and pilates - anything that gently moves the body and stills the mind is perfect for a menopausal woman.

Remember - this is a transition phase - not a permanent one - go gently and be patient - you will emerge on the others side!