Miscarriage and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a long history of treating and preventing miscarriages.  While some miscarriages are inevitable, it is reassuring to know that there are treatment options available, especially in cases of threatened miscarriage.  According to TCM, one of the most common causes of miscarriage is a deficiency of Spleen and Kidney energy leading to deficiency of qi and blood.

These deficiencies result in the uterus not getting enough blood supply to support sufficient growth and nourishment of the foetus, resulting in miscarriage.  In order to prevent miscarriage, women should ensure that their body is balanced even before planning a pregnancy. This can take time, and in some instances some fairly drastic lifestyle changes are required.

Work and family commitments should be re-arranged where necessary to avoid overdoing it and depleting the qi.  Working long hours depletes the qi, there is no way around it.

Ask for help where necessary.  If you are looking after young children and are exhausted, ask your partner/family/friends for some help, be specific, chances are they have no idea how run down you are and would love to help if only they knew how.  Exercise should be kept to a minimum, and only at a low intensity, walking is perfect.

If you have a previous history of miscarriage, it is important to take some time to allow your body to recover and replenish qi and blood before attempting to fall pregnant again.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be of great benefit here. If you are currently pregnant, have a history of miscarriage and feel that you have not fully replenished your energy, don’t panic! Slow down, relax and make an appointment to see a local TCM practitioner. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs can be prescribed to prevent threatened miscarriage and are very effective. There is no effective conventional (Western) medical treatment for threatened miscarriage to date, however any vaginal bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to your doctor.

The following is a very popular congee (rice porridge) dish in China that has been used for many years as a preventive measure for miscarriage.  This dish can be eaten three times a week, before or during pregnancy.  Lotus seeds are a medicinal food in Chinese Medicine and can be used to strengthen the Spleen and Kidney energies to prevent miscarriage.  Red dates are nutrient rich, a good source of fibre and iron, and act to tonify the blood.  Red dates and lotus seeds are available from Asian grocers.

Red Date Lotus Seed Congee

1 Handful of white rice
15 Lotus seeds
10 Chinese red dates, rinsed
500ml-800ml (approx. 2-3 cups) of water
Soak Lotus Seeds for 2-3 hours before cooking
Cook rice and lotus seeds in 500ml-800ml water on simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice softens.
NB Do not eat Lotus seeds if suffering from a cold or flu or have a fever.

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

 

Detoxification: Part One - Who needs it?

Are you chronically tired?
Do you wake up feeling exhausted?
Do you feel like you can’t get through your day without a fix?
Do you have dark circles in your eyes?
Do you suffer from headaches or migraines?
Do you have bad breath or bad body odour?
Do feel achey or sore?
Do you experience hay fever, sinusitis, or sniffling when you wake up in the morning?
Do you have a hard time losing weight?
Do you have difficulty concentrating?
Have you noticed you have poor memory?
Do you suffer from recurrent infections?
Do you suffer from an autoimmune disease?
Do you have allergies or food intolerances?
Are you sensitive to perfume or chemicals?
Do you suffer from depression, anxiety, or mood swings?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need a detox.

Detoxification is a word we always come across in this day and age.  Detox diets, detox drinks, detox this and that.  But what does detoxification really mean?

Detoxification is the process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins from the body.  It is cleaning out the body of harmful pathogens and toxins that have accumulated due to what we have eaten, drank, or even what the body has been exposed to.  The wrong diet, the wrong lifestyle choices, pollution, chemicals around us, all expose us to toxins that our body has to get rid of.  

Toxins are substances that can interfere with the normal processes of the body.  Toxins that remain in our body can cause blockages in our receptor sites, transport mechanisms, and in our body’s nutrient absorption.  They can cause oxidative damage and are a major source of most digestive problems people suffer from these days.   Because of these, unless we detoxify our body, it will not be able to function optimally, and we will not have the energy that we need or the health that we want.

Some factors that may contribute to the need for a detox program include:

  • Pharmaceutical medications and antibiotics;
  • Processed foods, fatty foods, alcohol, coffee, soft drinks;
  • Cigarettes, 2nd hand smoke, pollution;
  • Insecticides, herbicides, and cleaning solvents;
  • Heavy metals;
  • Mould, pollen, and algae;
  • And many more.

If you have ticked yes to the first list and you have been exposed to the second list above, then it is time to do a detox.  It is time to rid your body of toxins, rebalance your nutrient levels, and reboot your health.  There are various ways of doing a detox, but one program does not work for all.  We are all individual beings and have our own unique constitution.  The best thing to do in order to do a proper and complete detoxification is to go to your practitioner and let them create a program specific to your needs.

Next week…How to Detox! 

Here is a green smoothie recipe to try out:

  • 1 handful of Baby Spinach
  • 1 apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwi fruit
  • 1 ½ cup Coconut juice or Filtered Water

Blend together til smooth and drink :)

Delicious and Simple Chia Seed Pudding

A great little breakfast, snack or dessert. Super easy to whip up, and is a hit with kids and adults alike!

Why they’re so good

These little guys are nutritional powerhouses packed full of healthy, nourishing omega fatty acids, amino acids (protein), fibre and trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, manganese. And are rich in antioxidants, giving us a good dose of anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing nutrients… On their own, chia seeds have a low impact on  glycaemic load (that means they don’t mess with the blood sugars too much), however suffice it to say, adding sweeteners (as mentioned below) will alter the effect on blood glucose levels). They’re also gluten-free.

Tip: They are a nutritious addition to lots of different dishes and are a common extra in smoothies, cereal and yoghurt.

Ingredients for the basic pudding:

  • 1/3 cup of Chia seeds –any colour (available from your local supermarket, healthfood store or online)
  • 1 and-a-half cups or about 400ml of your choice of milk (Almond milk; Oat milk, Rice milk…); but for this recipe I’m going with Coconut milk, as it just gives it such a wonderful flavour…

Serves: Roughly 2 decent-sized serves or about 4 smaller serves, depending…

Time: Takes less than 5 minutes to prep, then leave in the fridge for a few hours for the seeds to get their absorbing boots on... (you will see them enlarge and have a jelly-like quality to them when they're ready)

Sweeten with: ¼ of a cup (or to taste) of:  Mayple syrup/Raw honey/Agave/Rice syrup; Soaked, chopped or blended (with a splash of water) dates; Vanilla (real) paste or bean –YUM!; Cinnamon; Berries…

Method:

  • Pour chia seeds into a medium-sized serving bowl
  • Stir in milk
  • Add sweetener
  • Mix in any extras
  • Cover and leave in fridge for a few hours… The seeds soak up the fluid from the milk and expand, becoming gelatinous –but still have a crunch when you chew them, which I recommend, to break the seeds open before digesting so your body can access the amazing nutrients inside…
  • Garnish with some desiccated coconut and/or a light sprinkle of ground cardamom.

Et VOILA!

  • It’s also storable in the fridge for a few days when kept in an airtight container, making it a perfect go-to that’s easy to prepare ahead.

Once you’ve got your coconut chia pudding down pat, go ahead and have a play and mix things up with some optionals and alternatives to treat yourself and your loved ones with... Like:

  • Cardamom (highly recommended with the coconut milk pudding!!)
  • Fresh berries
  • Coconut bits
  • Banana   

ENJOY!

Shanna

Shanna Choudhary is Live Well's naturopath and resident nutrition guru! She loves nothing more than inspiring you to eat well and feel fantastic. For questions about nutrition, healthy digestion and hormone balance she is your 'go to' girl.

FERTILITY BOOSTING RECIPE – PINTO BEAN SOUP WITH RED CHILLIES

As we start heading into the colder months of the year it is important to keep warm with delicious, nourishing meals. Beans are considered one of the healthiest foods to eat when trying to fall pregnant. The rich fibre content is at the centre of the fantastic nutritional support provided by this soup recipe.


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 2 tsp cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp coriander, ground
  • 3 dried red chillies, cleaned (all seeds and veins removed)
  • Salt to taste (sea salt or Himalayan pink salt are best)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbls sliced spring onions
  • 3 tbls chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse beans and pick out any rocks or debris
  2. Pour oil in a pressure cooker and heat
  3. Add garlic, onions, cumin, coriander, red chillies and oregano to oil
  4. Stir well then add pinto beans
  5. Pour 12 cups water and salt into the pressure cooker.
  6. Place lid on pressure cooker and seal
  7. Heat pressure cooker to high and allow to cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Release pressure from the pot
  9. Remove two cups of the pinto beans and puree
  10. Remove red chillies and puree until smooth
  11. Return puree to pot and whisk in
  12. Cook for 10 additional minutes to thicken
  13. Season as needed before serving over brown rice topped with cheese

Recipe from http://www.babymed.com/recipes/healthy-recipes-fertility

 

Do you skip breakfast? Here's why you should reconsider...

Are you a Breakfast-skipper? You’re not the only one! Approximately 15% of Australians tend to skip breakfast on a regular basis. Did you know that people who regularly skip breakfast are 450% more likely to become obese than people who regularly eat breakfast! According  to research, not eating breakfast can lead to weight gain, high cholesterol and other health problems as if you skip breakfast you tend to eat more towards the end of the day.

Eating breakfast helps:

  • reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes

  • reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

  • proper blood sugar production and regulation

  • help protect the heart, vital organs, digestive system, and brain from damage

  • promote longevity

Not all food is good for you. Eating fast food for breakfast was found to have similar health risks as not eating any breakfast at all.

Here are 6 reasons why you should eat HEALTHY breakfast:

1.Better blood sugar and energy balance:By the time breakfast rolls around, you’ll probably have gone 10 or more hours without food. Postpone eating until lunchtime, and you’re potentially looking at closer to 16 hours – so it’s no wonder you’ll feel prone to energy slumps. A breakfast containing whole grains and protein is ideal as it helps sustain steady blood glucose and energy levels.

2.Better appetite control and better body weight:One of the benefits of your blood sugar being more stable is that you’re less likely to get hungry later in the morning. This means you won’t be as tempted to reach for sugary, starchy or fatty snacks. This may sound odd, but eating breakfast may therefore actually help you avoid putting weight on. If you are looking to lose weight or maintain the trimmer figure you’ve already worked so hard for, eating breakfast can help there too!

3.A more nutritious diet:People who eat breakfast are more likely to get all their required nutrients and food groups every day. For example, it’s much easier to fit your recommended servings of dairy foods and fruit into your diet if you’re having cereal with milkfirst thing in the morning. Overall, the diets of people who eat breakfast tend to be lower in fat and higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals than the diets of people who skip breakfast.

4.A healthier future:Over the long term, routinely going without breakfast may increase your risk of developing chronic health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you are a smoker and you skip breakfast you further increase the tendency to develop diabetes.

5.Improved stress coping:We are more likely to skip breakfast when we’re feeling stressed, but going without breakfast may actually increase your stress responses and make you more emotionally volatile and prone to mood swings. On the other hand, people who eat breakfast every day are less likely to report feeling depressed or distressed, and tend to perceive themselves as having lower stress levels than those who don’t eat breakfast.

6.Better concentration:Research suggests that eating breakfast is associated with improved mental performance later in the morning. If you have kids, get them into good habits now, because it has been proven children who eat breakfast regularly have better school performance and learning skills than their non-breakfast eating friends.

When people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they are not joking. So get your brekky on and start the day with a nutritious healthy meal.

To get you started we have found some delicious recipes for you to try.

breakfast1.jpg

Quinoa Oat Porridge

  • 1/3 cup quinoa, soaked overnight in filtered water

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats, rinsed

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • pinch sea salt

  • pinch cinnamon

Drain and rinse quinoa. Place in a pot with oats, add boiling water, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a boil lower heat, cover, crack lid a little so that oatmeal doesn’t boil over. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes.

Top with berries, warm almond milk and toasted seeds or nuts.

Chia Porridge w/Seeds, Nuts & Berries

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 cup organic almond milk

  • 2 tbsp dried unsulphured organic cranberries

  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp all spice

  • 1/8 tsp cardamon

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 3 drops liquid stevia

  • diced strawberries, raspberries & blueberries for toppings

  • raw almonds, cashews & sunflower seeds for toppings (preferably soaked over night)

  • fresh mint as garnish or topping

Method

Place almond milk in a bowl and sprinkle chia seeds in and stir immediately for a minute or so to avoid clumping.  Add cranberries & spices as you stir along with 3 drops of stevia and the vanilla.  Allow to stand for 30-40 mins to thicken, or covered in the fridge over night.  Add berries, nuts and seeds as you may and a sprig of mint.

 (from: http://www.alkalinesisters.com/seeds-nuts-berries-yummiest-chia-breakfast-porridge/3360)

Berrylicious Goodness

Berries are one of the many divine things that Nature provides us. They are one of the most versatile fruits and many people use them to make jams, cakes, desserts or just eaten on their own. Of course the best place to get them is either your own backyard or local farmers market so you know they are fresh and oozing with high quality deliciousness.

Berries are low in calories, high in fibre and they contain an enormous amount of vitamins and minerals to completely treat and nourish your body…and taste buds. For example only 1 cup of strawberries contains a tad more Vitamin C than 1 cup of orange juice. Vitamin C is important for immune function and strong connective tissue. They also contain calcium, magnesium, folate and potassium.

The pigments that give berries their vibrant blue and red hues are excellent for your health. They contain phytochemicals and flavonoids that may help to prevent some cancers. Cranberries and blueberries also contain a substance that may prevent bladder infections. While raspberries and blueberries contain lutein which is important for healthy vision.

We all know that blueberries, strawberries, cranberries and raspberries contain high amounts of antioxidants. However, recent research has shown that blackberries trump all other berries in regards to antioxidant content. In fact they contain more than double the antioxidants of blueberries and raspberries.

So how can you incorporate all the goodness of these amazing berries into your diet? Well here is an incredible smoothie recipe by Dr Ben Kim which among many other things promotes longevity:

 

Berry Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Large handful of ripe blackberries
  • 1 cup of pomegranate arils
  • 2 bananas, room temperature or frozen, in chunks
  • 1 cup of almond or any other unsweetened, non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a strong blender and blend until smooth.

Add a few ripe blackberries on top as a garnish.

This smoothie is best enjoyed without a straw, as pomegranate arils tend to get caught up in average size straws. Adding a few blackberries as a garnish only improves the experience of gobbling this up straight from your cup.

Of course you can also use any type of berries you want and mix it up. Coming into a hot summer, what better way to cool off them a lovely refreshing, nourishing, ice cold berry smoothie.

DELICIOUS FERTILITY BOOSTING SMOOTHIE

This smoothie makes a delicious liquid snack and provides essential nutrients that support fertility. It's packed with protein and containing beneficial omega 3 fats and minerals and its easy to prepare.

Simply blend and serve:

  • 1 teaspoon honey (1 teaspoon is approx. 5g)
  • 1 teaspoon lecithin powder
  • 1 teaspoon LSA powder (blend of linseed (flaxseed), sunflower seed and almonds in a finely ground powder)
  • 1 teaspoon wheat germ (oil or powder)
  • 1 teaspoon acidophilus cultured yoghurt
  • 1 raw egg (medium sized organic, max 3 per week)
  • ½ medium sized banana (alternatively 1/2 cup of strawberries, blueberries or mango pieces can be used)
  • 250 ml milk 

Nuts, seeds and pulses contain plant chemicals called phytosterols, which are known to promote testosterone production.  Nuts also contain magnesium, which balances levels of the hormone prolactin, which can compete with testosterone.  

Almonds are regarded as one of the most nutrient rich nuts, high in nutrients known to be beneficial to reproductive health including zinc and L-arginine.  Linseeds are a good source of omega 3 oils and sunflower seeds are also considered to be one of the most nutrient rich seeds.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Until next time

Sally Nourse