Who Wins The Fat War: Butter or Margarine?

Every now and then a new research paper comes along and exposes the fault lines between conventional and holistic thinking on what is good for you.

A couple of weeks ago, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a report titled “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease” which championed the view that saturated fats like butter and coconut oil were, in fact, bad for you. The card carrying members of the Dieticians Association of Australia reading this news over their morning bowl of oat bran and skim milk didn’t bat an eyelid but the paleo loving hipsters however, were spitting out their bullet proof coffees in disgust.

So who’s side are you on?

It comes down to whether you spread margarine or butter on your toast. Margarine, for me, always conjures up images of 1980’s Peter Russell-Clarke and his parody of a bionic cow, imploring us to eat the real thing.

You might imagine that as we get a better understanding of the importance of replacing processed foods with whole foods that margarine would be tossed on the scrap heap of failed food fads. Not so, as any trip to the supermarket will attest. Manufacturers of processed foods are massive corporations who will naturally protect their commercial interests and there are many who pointedly suggest the AHA is beholden to the “big food” lobbyists.

Each side of the debate accuses the other of cherry picking the data to suit their own arguments so if you’re hoping for a consensus you could be waiting a long time.

For me, I would rather consume quality unprocessed fats, including saturated fats like butter and coconut oil as part of a nutrient rich diet rather than think I can eat refined fats like margarine with impunity. I’m also a sucker for the flavour of butter so my tastebuds probably have more sway that I’d like to admit.

Concerns about saturated fat are founded on the belief the prevailing belief that they are a key contributor to high cholesterol and heart disease, however there is a counter argument that diets high in sugar and refined foods are to blame. Whatever you choose to believe, keep an eye on your cholesterol and if you have any concerns see a healthcare professional of your choice.

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression

Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.

Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about Wes

Make an appointment to see Wes.

A Gut Feeling

You may have already heard the term “leaky” gut floating around. Also known as Increased Intestinal Permeability, “leaky” gut is a term used to describe a condition whereby the integrity of the tight junctions and cells of the intestinal wall, and thus its functions (particularly the containment of materials and toxins) have been compromised. So the gut ends up “leaking” undigested proteins, particles, microbes, toxins, and waste metabolites into the bloodstream where they freely circulate (and shouldn’t be!). This can impact many aspects of our health, and can even affect the brain.

Why a gut tune-up is important:

The condition and functioning of the gut is not only important for digestive health, such as the ability to break down, absorb and utilise nutrients from our food, or mitigation of digestive conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It also feeds into, and has implications for other less obvious conditions.

Interestingly, the gut is also thought of as the ‘second brain’. This is mainly due to the fact that it relies upon the same neurons and neurotransmitters (such as serotonin) that are found in, and communicate with the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). This helps us to understand the link between gut health and mental health, and how they feed into each other. And suffice it to say, how psychological, emotional and physical stress can cause digestive troubles.

Signs to look out for, include:

       Nutrient malabsorption -the inability to absorb essential nutrients

       Fatigue

       Chronic inflammatory conditions, such as: Asthma, Eczema, Heart disease, Dementia, Fibromyalgia, Pancreatitis, Gall bladder disease, Obesity, Autism, Depression, Lupus, Bleeding gums and Dental caries.

       Candida or Thrush infections

       Immune system function -susceptibility to, and ability to ward off infection; sensitivities and allergies; and autoimmune conditions such Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Type I Diabetes.

       Cognitive function: for example, clear vs foggy thinking, and memory decline.

       Mental health: poor mood (or moodiness and irritability), depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder

       Hormonal imbalances, for example PMS or PCOS.

       Skin conditions: eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea

       Thyroid disorders

       Joint pain

       Weight gain

       ‘Syndrome X’ (metabolic condition)

       Toxic build up

       Headaches and migraines

Factors that contribute to poor gut health and function, and “leaky” gut include:

       Stress! Stress has a major impact on the gut (among other things!), and I see this in clinic, time and time again… The gut is a sensitive organism, that is highly vulnerable to the ill-effects of stress. From the tension held in the nerve plexus that feeds into the gut (the vagus nerve), changes to appetite, decreased digestive capacity (the ability to break down, absorb and utilise nutrients from our food), ulcers, reflux, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea and IBS, to lowered immunity, increased susceptibility to infections, and the development of neurodegenerative and autoimmune conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

       Poor Diet -The SAD (Standard Australian Diet), which is laden with nutrient poor, processed, sugary, and fried foods. The SAD burdens the body with rubbish, and typically lacks essential nutrients found in a nutrient-dense fresh produce, and a chemically-reduced (Organic, where possible) wholefood diet that the body requires to maintain good health and functioning.

       Foods that commonly contribute towards and aggravate poor gut health include: sugar, gluten and unsprouted grains, dairy (although the A2 variety appears to be less so), caffeine, alcohol, processed/packaged and foods.

       Medications: particularly antibiotics, due to the fact that they tend to wipe out the good bacteria colonising the digestive tract, destroying the ecological balance; the oral contraceptive pill; paracetamol and ibuprofen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) being most common.

You can take back control of your gut health today by:

       Remove common culprits from the diet, like gluten, dairy, and sugar. This can be challenging to think about, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated or hard. The ability to collate the right resources and support, and make a plan goes a long way in making any dietary transitions like this smooth.

       Take your time to eat. Even if it is just 5 minutes, undistracted.

       Chew well. It may sound silly, but by paying attention to chewing each mouthful more completely, we’re actually helping the mechanical breakdown of our digestive process, which takes a burden off our digestion, and makes it noticeably smoother. Digestive disturbances are reduced, and nutrient absorption is enhanced.

       Get serious about minimising your stress levels -see my articles on 6 Ways to Beat Stress Fast, and Little things you can do to Unplug for a few good pointers.

       Eating more leafy greens, which feed and encourage good bacteria growth in the gut, and help physically sweep toxic waste out from the bowel. They’re also rich in stress-busting nutrients.

       Trying a gut-healing Bone Broth. You can find good recipes for how to make a bone broth all over the net. It is a nutrient-rich, mineralising broth that helps restore the mucosal lining of the gut, aids digestion and the immune system.

       Seeking professional help for a proper assessment, and treatment.

 

The magic of Nigella seeds!

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Nigella seeds are produced by the Nigella sativa plant, a flowering annual of the buttercup family, native to the Middle East. The seeds are high in essential fatty acids and can be pressed produce an oil.

Nigella seeds are also known as black cumin or black onion seeds and are one of five spices that make up the classical Indian ‘panch phoran’ mix used to flavour dhal and curries, delivering a peppery and decidedly aromatic tang.

Over the centuries Nigella seeds have earned both considerable renown and some legendary advocates. Galen, the famous Roman physician recommended Nigella seeds as a failsafe cure for colds, whilst the Islamic prophet Mohammed went further, proclaiming nigella as “good for all ailments except death”. Perhaps as a result, nigella seeds are commonly used throughout the Middle East and Asia both as a food and medicinal herb.

Nigella’s status in the West may have remained unchanged as culinary obscurity except for the growing weight of research that indicates nigella seeds have an extraordinary array of beneficial properties. There are over 600 peer reviewed studies referencing the benefits of nigella in a wide range of conditions including:

Type 2 diabetes: by reducing fasting glucose and insulin resistance.

Stomach ulcers: by treating helicobacter pylori bacteria.

Epilepsy: by reducing seizures especially where standard medications have failed and

High blood pressure: especially in cases of mild hypertension.

here are also promising results suggesting that nigella seeds may be helpful in tackling golden staph or MRSA Infection, reduce the symptoms of asthma and prevent colon cancer.

What stands out about nigella is the breadth of conditions it seems to influence. Traditional herbal folklore describes the action of nigella as an immune ‘normaliser’ with the unusual ability to treat both overactive inflammatory type conditions as well as conditions where there is immune weakness and lack of inflammatory response.

Whether in the hands of an expert herbalist, sprinkled onto a flatbread, or thrown into a curry, Nigella is another of nature's magical gifts to be cherished.

Make an appointment to see Live Well's Herbalist!

Beat the bloat and feel better (for Summer)

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You know that uncomfortable feeling when your tummy feels swollen and bloated. You may notice it happens after eating too quickly or having something you know doesn’t sit well with you… Maybe it happens after a certain meal, or perhaps it’s even become kind of normal.

That constant uncomfortable feeling and tightness around the waistband; self-consciousness from feeling like you must look 6 months pregnant or closely resemble Santa; skipping meals to avoid blowing up or not being able to “stomach” certain foods at certain times; sporting a classic muffin top and daydreaming about being able to slip back your comfy pants can really suck the joy out of your day. Especially when it starts to become more of a “norm”.

But did you know that it’s not just “normal”?

A bloated tummy can be caused by a number of factors, and usually a little combination of them, such as:
• Diet and reactive foods/drinks such as that toast or cereal you had for breakfast, the latte midmorning, or perhaps the wine at the end of the day
• Not chewing food properly
• Inadequate enzymes and gastric secretions
•Stress (a major culprit, going hand-in-hand with dietary causes) –and can be situational, everyday stuff or accumulative, and includes aspects like rushing around, feeling time poor, eating-on- the-run, and particularly mental or emotional upsets. Deadlines, places to be, something pressing or on your mind?
• Permeability of the gut wall (is it letting toxins leak into the bloodstream?) from certain foods (especially processed, sugary, wheat or dairy based foods), medications -including oral contraceptive pill, antibiotics and over the counter stuff like paracetamol, hayfever meds; alcohol; parasitic infections; chemotherapy; and stress.

Did you know…

The gut, digestive system, our thoughts and emotions are inextricably linked…This is via the nervous system which keeps them highly attuned to one another, which we know often at a more intuitive level which we articulate through the language we use when we refer to having a gut feeling; or having the guts to do something; getting the (insert appropriate proverbial that starts with ‘sh’ and ends with ‘s’) with someone or something; when something doesn’t “digest” or “go down” well; feeling sick in the guts or sick to the stomach about something…

So how healthy is your gut? Is there an imbalance of harmful (unhealthy and disease causing) bacteria (badies) vs beneficial bacteria (the good guys) in the gut, compromising its delicate ecosystem?

This can manifest with a number of digestive and non-digestive related symptoms, with bloating being high on the list…

If you experience regular bouts of bloating, it’s likely there is more to the story and probably not just “something you ate”.

But the good news is, you don’t have to put up with it and you can beat the bloat this Summer by following some simple principles and practices.

Left unchecked, an imbalance ofharmful bacteria (aka bacterial dysbiosis) can be responsible for a whole gamut of unfriendly symptoms, butcan lead to more serious conditions such asinflammation of the bowel and autoimmune activity.

Here is a common cluster of symptoms that often accompany bloating, and may be indicative of something more going on:

  • Brain fog: impaired clarity of thought, poor concentration and memory –for example, with word recall or forgetting what you came into the room for or what you were going to do next…
  • Mood disturbances such as depression and irritability
  • Fatigue/Chronic fatigue
  • Seemingly uncontrollable cravings for sweet, surgary foods (candida feeds on sugar)
  • Poor immune function e.g. more susceptible to infections going around such as colds/flus
  • Autoimmune activation as seen in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple sclerosis…
  • White coating on tongue
  • Belching
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive need to pass wind
  • Sensation of food sitting in the stomach after eating
  • IBS and Inflamed bowel
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Joint pain
  • Poor stool quality
  • Insomnia
  • Rashes
  • Easily broken nails
  • Itchy skin, ears, nose, throat, vagina, penis, “jock itch”,perianal region, feet(Althlete’s foot)
  • Cystitis
  • Weight gain
  • and last but certainly not least, Bloating!

If you'd like to get your digestion back on track and end the discomfort of bloating then come and see me, I'd love to help.

Shanna Choudhary, Live Well Naturopath

Shanna is a qualified Naturopath and EFT Practitioner, and member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA). 

Shanna's interest in natural medicine came about through her own health challenges. She has a special interest in helping people with natural fertility, hormone balance, stressanxietydepression, fatigue and general wellbeing. 

Learn more about Shanna
Make an appointment to see Shanna

 

Junk Food Hurts More Than Your Hip Pocket

Do your best intentions crumble when Tim Tams go on sale?

Apparently, we start out well. A recent survey of 2000 Australians by LiveLighter found that most of us have planned our meals and go to the supermarket armed with a list of healthy items. Nevertheless, our good intentions are thwarted by clever promotions and canny product placement that sees 3 in 5 of us being sucked in to buy cheap junk food and sugary drinks on special. The upshot is that our trolley fills with unhealthy items that we hadn’t planned to get.

According to Heart Foundation ACT Chief Executive Tony Stubbs, “Junk food like chips, chocolate, and sugary drinks are often cheap to buy and heavily promoted in the supermarket, making them seem like a smart financial choice. But in the long run, these foods could come at a cost to your health.”

Sadly, we know that cost can be incredibly high. Poor nutrition is the cause of much illness and premature death in Australia by way of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and many types of cancer and the truth is we are yet to really fully comprehend the broader impact of diet on things like depression and anxiety, arthritis and many other illnesses.

Apart from the cost to our health, junk food isn’t always a smart family budget choice either according to Tony. “If you need more convincing, consider how junk food prices compare to healthier foods. One example is potato chips – they cost around $20 per kg, but bananas will only set you back around $3.50 per kg and are a great alternative if you’re on the go.”

So what can we do to support our goal of eating well and being healthy?

According to LiveLighter ACT Campaign Manager Bernadette Cording, the best ways to avoid buying tempting treats is to visit the supermarket less often and when you do go, stick to the outer aisles. The LiveLighter research also showed that people who make more frequent trips to the supermarket are more likely to buy junk food items on special. So planning your meals ahead and doing a weekly shop is one small step. Additionally, Bernadette suggests “Consider shopping at local markets, greengrocers or butchers where you are less likely to find sales and promotions on processed, high kilojoule food and drinks.”

Sounds like great advice to me. Given our exceptional range of great fresh food markets and farmers markets in Canberra and the warmer spring weather, we have no excuse to eat well.

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about Wes
Make an appointment with Wes

Are You Magnesium Deficient?

Did you know that magnesium levels in the body are depleted by stress as well as regular intake of refined sugar and caffeine. It’s no wonder that some health experts estimate that magnesium deficiency is a silent epidemic potentially affecting up to 90% of the population. 

Magnesium is crucial for wellbeing. It’s involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is vital for healthy muscle and nerve function, maintaining normal blood pressure and heart rhythm as well as optimal metabolism and immune function. 

What are the sign of deficiency? 

Magnesium deficiency can impact on the following areas: 

Muscles
Cramps and spasms, tics and twitches are clear signs that your body needs more magnesium. 

Mental Health
Anxiety and depression are both linked to inadequate magnesium. Whilst more research is needed magnesium seems to have a protective effect on mood. 

Insomnia
Magnesium helps both the body and mind to relax which contributes to restful sleep. Additionally magnesium is required for the ‘off switch’ or GABA receptors in the brain to be triggered. 

Fatigue
Magnesium is crucial in the production of cellular energy, meaning inadequate levels can show up as fatigue and low energy levels. 

High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure you definitely should be looking at your magnesium intake. 

How to replenish your magnesium level

You can boost your magnesium levels through dietary rich sources including: spinach, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt, almonds, black beans, avocados, bananas, figs and dark chocolate. 

Topical applications, like epsom salt baths and magnesium oils and sprays (which you can find at your health food store) are an easy way for your body to absorb and replenish magnesium. 

You can also take magnesium tablets and solutions however I would always recommend consulting with our naturopath Shanna Choudhary so you get the right kind of magnesium and the right dose for your needs. 

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about Wes
Make an appointment to see Wes

How to live seasonally for winter health with Traditional Chinese medicine

As we move into winter it's time to rug up, keep warm and pay particular attention to our health.  According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), winter is the season associated with the Kidneys, the energy system which holds our body’s most basic and fundamental energy. It is also believed that by harmonising oneself with the seasons you can stay healthier and prevent disease, so winter is a good time to strengthen the kidneys. It is also a good time to look inward, reflecting on ourselves with meditation, writing, or other inward practices such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. These practices help us to connect to our inner selves and help to support kidney energy. They are very helpful to relax the mind, calm our emotions and raise the spirit. 

The body part associated with the kidneys are the bones, so it is important to pay close attention to the bones in the winter months making sure to tonify and heal any problems in this area. This is also why winter is a time when Chinese medicine prescribes bone broths as nutritional therapy, as they are warming, nourishing and especially good for the bones and kidney energy. Bone broths are also powerful Jing tonics, as Jing is produced by the bones. Jing is depleted by activities such as extreme and prolonged stress, lack of quality sleep, working long hours and excess consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs. Winter is the best time to supplement the body’s Jing supply, and bone broth is ideal to do just that.

There are many foods that are beneficial for us to eat during winter. These foods are the ones that naturally grow in this season - pumpkin, potatoes, root vegetables, winter greens, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, apples and pears. In winter, our bodies need warming foods like soups made with hearty vegetables, and rich stocks cooked with animal bones are best. Foods that specifically nourish and warm the kidneys are: black beans, kidney beans, broths cooked with bones, lamb, chicken, walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds and dark leafy greens.

A small amount of unrefined sea salt is also helpful as the taste associated with the kidneys organ is salty, but remember, moderation in all things is important and too much salt can damage the kidneys. Cooking should be for longer periods with low heat and less water. This infuses foods with heat that helps to keep the body warm in the cold winter months. Hearty soups, whole grains and roasted nuts are good on cold days and offer nourishment to feed the body and tonify the kidneys in cold winter months.

The principle of harmony between what we eat and the season we eat it in is based on hundreds of years of practical experience. Chinese nutritional therapy is an important component of Chinese medicine and there is a long held understanding that food that we consume has a profound effect on the body, affecting our health and wellbeing. 

Sally Nourse

Sally has a special interest in working with couples to overcome fertility challenges as well as continuing to support women throughout pregnancy and beyond. 

Sally has a Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine) from the University of Technology Sydney and a Diploma of Health Science in Eastern Massage therapy (Shiatsu and Tuina) from the Canberra Institute of Technology.

To find out more about acupuncture and how it can help with infertilityendometriosisstressanxietyback pain and throughout pregnancy please click on the links. 

Learn more about Sally
Make an appointment with Sally

 

Seed Cycling: Using the nourishment of seeds to help bring your hormones (and menstrual cycle) back into balance

Seed Cycling is a practice of eating a combination of specific seeds throughout the different phases of the menstrual cycle to promote hormonal harmony. The nutritional content of which, help support, regulate, and clear our hormones (specifically Oestrogen and Progesterone) throughout the cycle.

If your cycle is out of rhythm and your hormones feel out of balance, introducing seed cycling is a way of providing your system with bi-phasic (covering both phase 1 and 2) menstrual cycle support, and is a beautiful way to help your hormones recalibrate.

If we think about it, seeds are in fact, nutrient-rich powerhouses, brimming with essential nutrients (containing all the stuff necessary for the growth of a plant). Why wouldn’t we want to take advantage of their nourishment?

An orchestra of hormones

The female endocrine system is orchestrated by an intricate composition of hormones (chemical messengers). When our hormones are in balance, this will translate to a regular, 28 day menstrual cycle that runs smoothly, with little disturbance. This would typically be characterised by an absence of (or very minimal) menstrual cycle symptoms.

Generally speaking, when oestrogen and progesterone (which act as key influencers in the menstrual cycle) are out of whack -for example, if we’re producing too little or too much of either, or having metabolic or clearance issues -our natural rhythms can go awry.  

With too little oestrogen, we may find the endometrial lining is too thin, and we can wind up not actually ovulating. On the other hand, when we have oestrogen in excess, we may be prone to erratic periods, mood disorders, and conditions such as Endometriosis and Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which are all too common.

Progesterone is an antagonist of oestrogen, so it keeps oestrogen in-check. It also acts as a building block for the synthesis of other hormones. A deficiency in progesterone (often due to excess oestrogen in the system!) can lead to late and irregular cycles, infertility, PMS (especially mood disturbances and sore breasts), low libido, and more.

Our endocrine system is highly sensitive. So our stress levels, quality of sleep, physical activity, blood glucose regulation, nutrition and nutrient deficiencies or excesses, levels of toxicity, and ability to detoxify -can have either a positive and stabilising influence on our hormonal health, or a disruptive one.

When our hormones are not in balance, we can experience an array of psychological, emotional and physical symptoms. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is a common term used to label these changes, and can typically summarise anything from: fatigue, anxiety, decreased stress tolerance, low mood/depression, irritability, food cravings, digestive disturbances, an irregular cycle or amenorrhoea (absence of menstrual period), sore/lumpy breasts, feeling “emotional” or emotionally unstable, foggy thinking, food cravings, digestive disturbances, abdominal pain, back pain, migraines, and the list goes on…

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle

Our menstrual cycle is made up of two phases.

Phase 1 (the ‘follicular’ phase): spans from the time of your last period to ovulation (approx. the first 14 days or two weeks of the month), and is when oestrogen in the system is building up to encourage the uterine lining to plump up in preparation for possible implantation.

Phase 2 (the ‘luteal’ phase): is the time between ovulation and menstruation (days 15-28, or the second half of the month), when progesterone surges to increase libido around ovulation, maintain the uterine lining (endometrium), and ultimately, to support a developing embryo.

Here’s how Seed Cycling works…

The nutrients in the seed combinations encourage oestrogen production needed for the follicular phase; promote progesterone release in the luteal phase; and support healthy hormonal metabolism and detoxification from the system.

Do allow a good 3-4 cycles or months to begin seeing and feeling results. You may find it helpful to track your hormones by taking a daily note of your symptoms, along with their severity (rating them from 1-10, for example).

In a Nutshell…

All of these seeds share common properties. Perhaps most important, is their ability to help regulate our endocrine system. They are all also rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are necessary for hormonal production and regulation, and have an anti-inflammatory influence in the body. They are a beautiful plant-source of protein, which is needed for hormonal synthesis, and also blood glucose regulation (blood glucose dysregulation is a feature of many hormonal, mood, and stress-related conditions). They are also a great source of soluble and insoluble fibre -which is important for gut health (also mood) and for the elimination of toxins and excess hormones, which can be a major driving factor in hormonal imbalances.

Linseeds + Pumpkin seeds are used to promote phase 1

 ·      Linseeds: contain high levels of essential fatty acids (EFAs), anti-oxidants (protective) and lignans -which are fibre-like compounds that act to moderate oestogen production, and prevent oestrogen excess.

Interestingly, linseeds can also exert a phyto-oestrogenic effect, which supports oestrogen levels in the system. This is a beautiful example of how balancing wholefoods really are.

 ·      Pumpkin seeds: are high in the mineral zinc, which amongst many other functions, promotes the release of progesterone. They also have phyto-oestrogenic properties + enzyme alpha-5 reductase, which helps to modulate androgen levels (good also inPCOS) + phytosterols.

Sunflower seeds + Sesame seeds are used to promote phase 2:

 ·      Sunflower seeds: provide the mineral selenium, which is a potent antioxidant that helps the liver in detoxification processes and protects reproductive tissues and cells. They also contain phytosterols + fibre, and promote progesterone.

 ·      Sesame seeds: are high in lignans + antioxidants + EFAs + phytosterols (which aid in managing cholesterol by reducing the body’s absorption of unhealthy fats, and are a good cardiovascular and brain nutrient) + nourishing minerals

Daily dosing of seeds:

·      During the Follicular phase (first day of bleed – ovulation): Take 1 tbs of freshly ground Linseeds + 1 tbs of freshly ground Pumpkin seeds, daily.

·      During the Luteal phase (day 15 - menses): Take 1 tbs of freshly ground Sesame seeds + 1 tbs of freshly ground Sunflower seeds, daily.

Why do I need grind the seeds fresh, daily?

The seeds need to be ground in order to ensure the bioavailablity (how readily absorbed and well-utilised) of their nutrients. Which is why having the seeds whole is not recommended therapeutically.

The nutritional content of these seeds (essential fatty acids, in particular) are vulnerable to being damaged (oxidised) when they are exposed to air, light or heat. This is why storing your seeds in airtight containers, away from light and heat (e.g. sun), and grinding them fresh each day is important.

It is also important for their digestion and absorption, to chew them well.

You can add the seeds to a daily smoothie, your breakfast bowl, coconut yoghurt (it’s good to avoid dairy where possible, in hormonal and inflammation-driven conditions)

Let the moon lead the way

The best way to begin seed cycling and find your way back to your natural rhythm, is to follow the 28 day lunar (moon) cycle. In this way, phase one is the time between the new moon and full moon; and phase two is from full moon to new moon.

Shanna is a qualified Naturopath and EFT Practitioner, and member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA). 

Shanna's interest in natural medicine came about through her own health challenges. She has a special interest in helping people with natural fertility, hormone balance, stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue and general wellbeing. 

Learn more about Shanna
Make an appointment to see Shanna

Unleash the Sour Power

Kombucha, kimchi and kefir are just a few stars of the ‘so hot right now’ fermented food
resurgence. Long a staple of traditional diets fermented foods had until recent times become rare
in most Western diets. Now, they’re back in favour, and getting serious kudos for their ability to
promote healthy digestion and boost wellbeing.

What are fermented foods?

Fermented foods are foods that have gone through a process of lactofermentation, in which natural bacteria break down sugars and starches to produce lactic acid. In the process, the foods become nutrient powerhouses: easier to digest and dense with beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids.

What’s all the buzz all about?

Having a healthy balance of gut flora is re-emerging as a vital core of wellbeing and fermented foods are the ultimate food based source of these essential probiotics. To get the most benefit, it’s recommended you eat a variety of types of fermented foods to ensure you’re getting a broad
spectrum of bacteria your gut needs.

Heathy Gut, Healthy Mind

The more we understand the link between the gut and the brain the more links between mental
illness and gut health are being established. Whilst still an emerging area of medicine theresearch is very promising and could lead to gut health being a standard treatment for anxiety, depression and mood disorders.

Immune Boost

With around 70% of your immune system being found in the gut, it makes sense that a healthy
digestion is the key to a vibrant immune system. What you may not have realised is that allergies,
arthritis, autoimmune conditions, autism, cancer and may other diseases can be linked to gut
health.

So where can you get your hands on these magical fermented foods? Pop down to your local
health food store or organic vegie shop for the best quality products. Alternatively, you can make
your own.

Easy Sauerkraut Recipe:

Home made sauerkraut is a great source of beneficial bacteria and is really easy to make.
Remove the outer leaves from one medium cabbage (1.5kg is roughly the equivalent of one green
or two red cabbages). Shred the cabbage and then rub in one tbs of fine sea salt by hand until the cabbage starts to wilt and release its juices (around 5 minutes)

Pack the cabbage (including juices) as tightly as possible into a large jar to squeeze out all the air
bubbles, leaving a layer of juices on top. Finish by inserting a smaller jar filed with weights to create a steady downward pressure which will continue to squeeze the liquid out of the cabbage.
Cover with a piece of cloth secured by string or an elastic band and store in a cool place (not the
fridge and away from direct sunlight)

Sauerkraut will be ready to eat in 3 -10 days, with the flavour getting stronger the longer you leave it. Once you’re happy with the flavour pop it in the fridge where it can be stored for up to 2 months.

Wes Smith

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Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

When Green Tea Met It’s Matcha

Superfoods are like the boy bands of the wellness industry, after their 5 minutes of fame they are shuffled off to obscurity as soon as the next big thing arrives. 

It wasn't long ago that spinach was crowned a superfood only for kale to come along steal it’s glory. Come 2016 and, I’m not making this up, kalettes (a hybrid kale and brussel sprout fusion) is poised to wrest leafy green supremacy. 

So spare a thought for humble green tea, in it’s halcyon days it was hailed for its low caffeine and high flavonoids and catechins. Then matcha tea came along boasting 137 times higher antioxidant levels and suddenly it was the tea being invited to New York fashion week. I say this as a friend green tea, it’s time to move on before you become the nutritional equivalent of the Backstreet Boys. 

To its credit, matcha does have an intriguing backstory. It’s comes from the same humble Camellia sinensis bush as green (and black) tea but matcha has lead a more rarefied life. First it was grown under shade to protect it’s delicate flavour and texture, then hand picked whist still young and packed with nutrient vigour and then delicately steamed, stemmed and stone ground into a fine powder ready for you and me to enjoy. 

The thing that strikes you about matcha is its intensely vibrant green colour which is a clue to all those ‘show offy’ nutrients. Traditionally a teaspoon of the powder is whisked with a bamboo brush into half a cup of not quite boiled water until a foam is created. This health promoting elixir is said to aid weight loss, improve concentration, reduce stress, detoxify your liver and boost your energy levels. Remarkably it also tastes pretty good.

So, by all means, keep drinking green tea just be sure to do it in your Led Zeppelin t-shirt and Ray Ban aviators to complete the retro ensemble. However, if you want to capture the 2016 wellness zeitgeist then don’t be seen with anything but a bowl of foaming matcha. 

Words by Wes Smith

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

To find out more about Wes
To make an appointment with Wes