Is healthy eating unhealthy?

My friend Kasey from My Health My Happiness shared this video with me last week. It’s a topic that has been discussed in the health coaching course I have been studying through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition but also something that is getting a fair bit of airtime on social media at the moment.

Orthorexia Nervosa

There has been so much publicity lately on the paleo diet, wellness diets, healthy eating and but a new focus is on the obsession of it all and how this can lead to unhealthy behavioural patterns. Sadly there is still so much misunderstanding with what is healthy and what is not. Also frustratingly, there are many diets and fads, both acceptable and ridiculous being lumped together in the same category. The myths and truths are so confusing, it becomes overwhelming for the average person trying to do what’s right.

Orthorexia nervosa is a term that has been around for a little while now. To break down the meaning of orthorexia nervosa:

  • Ortho – from orth meaning right, straight or correct
  • Rexia – from rexis meaning desire or appetite
  • Nervosa – nervous or fear

So someone who is striving to ensure their appetite (eating patterns) are correct.

Steven Bratman coined the term in 1997 in his book Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa – the Health Food Eating Disorder

The Real Issue

This issue is not as simple as it is being presented in the media at the moment. Many healthy ‘healthy’ eating habits are being brought together with unhealthy ‘healthy’ eating habits but under one heading of ‘obsessive eating’. This issue is not what food is being consumed if they are for example eating only paleo (which I will explain down below), only raw foods or eliminating sugar. The issue is actually the psychological reasons behind it. There is a big difference between eating to feel vitality and energy in everyday life, compared with eating healthy because you fear death, don’t want to weigh over 50 kilograms or so your friends don’t judge you for eating something ‘unhealthy’. All of these examples, plus many more, are real thoughts that patients have described when they have presented to me for NeuroEmotional Technique.

When it comes to diet and also exercise (which can be just as obsessive and often linked with different eating patterns) the underlying reason why that person is eating that way or exercising that much is far more important than what they are eating or where they sourced their information. There are many techniques, treatments and assistance available to investigate these behavioural patterns and the story behind them.

The term “fad diet” unfortunately at the moment is encompassing scientifically backed up diets, anecdotally supported diets and some diets that are just plain crazy, such as only eating bananas (see the girl featured in the video above).

The question shouldn’t be “Are they a fad?” The question should be, “Do they meet our nutritional requirements?”

Eating habits that meet our nutritional requirements include eating a range of real foods which provide a variety of vitamins and minerals known as micro-nutrients and a healthy ratio of macro-nutrients which are protein, fat and carbohydrates.

A Few Examples

(Obviously not an exhaustive list)

Low Sugar/No sugar

“Low-sugar” such as that prominently promoted by Sarah Wilson from I Quit Sugar, if integrated into a healthy lifestyle and providing all macro and micro nutrients are still being consumed, is a perfectly legitimate ‘diet’ and will reduce ones risk of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s and dementia, cancer and many other chronic but preventable diseases.

I Quit Sugar: My Simple 8-Week Program - DIGITAL

Raw/Vegetarian/Vegan

Raw, vegetarian, vegan and other similar eating patterns, can be harder to maintain but are also acceptable if nutrient intake is monitored and again micro- and macro-nutrients are provided. These diets do work for some people, but everyone must acknowledge and accept their own bio-individuality and just as importantly respect others’ choices. My amazing friend Alice Nguyen is thriving on a plant based diet and recently placed 4th in the International Natural Body Building Association. Her inspirational Instagram feed can be found here https://instagram.com/alicefreespirit/

Paleolithic Diet

Which leads me to the paleo diet. Ahhhh the paleo diet, the big news story of the year and another example of why I don’t watch news programs. The paleolithic diet, paleo diet or the caveman diet is based on the premise that we live healthier on a diet that mimics our pre-agricultural, hunter-gather ancestors. While there are slight variations in the guidelines of paleo, it basically eliminates refined sugars, processed foods, refined vegetable oils, potatoes and grains. These guidelines unfortunately remove the staples from many people’s everyday eating patterns. A common question is, “Well, what’s left?” My answer: Real food! Fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, eggs and nuts and seeds. What else do we really need?

What is the deal?

I can’t actually dispute what’s been on the news lately as I don’t watch it enough. I just know there’s a big hoo-hah about Pete Evans, paleo, clean eating, other “fads” and many people making many claims where background research obviously hasn’t been thorough. And that (not so) subtlety leads me to my issue with the video posted above, where the nutritionist claims, “If we were all paleo we’d all be dead at 40 or 30.” If Dr Loren Cordain, author of “The Paleo Diet Revised: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat” is anything to go by, I’m not sure this nutritionist has evidence to back this up.

Her other claims:

“There is exclusivity in diets.”

  • This is an issue of lack of respect and judgement, not what ‘fad diet’ someone is on.

“If you cut out entire food groups like dairy, carbohydrates, etcetera, you can miss out on important nutrients.”

  • Cutting out carbohydrates is not a good thing. As explained earlier carbohydrates are an important macro-nutrient and shouldn’t be cut completely from the diet.
  • The truth is that dairy is not a food group and some people actually do need to eliminate it from their diet. There is nothing is dairy provides that can’t be sourced through other foods and many people actually have real intolerances to dairy products, with both digestive and systemic consequences.
  • For more infomation on dairy see Kris Carr’s The Down & Dirty on Dairy-free Living

“We can’t control aging and death.”

  • We can control aging and to a certain extent death. While death can come anytime in any way, the highest cause of death in Australia is from coronary heart disease, a preventable illness. This is most often an associated cause of death of diabetes. Also preventable.
  • See Dr Andrew Weil’s article on Aging Gracefully.

“If you ate that every day, every year you’d probably die. Because you would be malnourished.”

  • I most definitely agree that eating only bananas would lead to malnourishment. It would also be silly.

My eating guidelines:

  • There is no such thing as a perfect diet
  • The closer to nature (the less processed) your food is the better
  • Vegetables should be the basis of the majority of your meals
  • Balance your protein, carb and fat ratios as your body requires
  • Everyone has their own bio-individuality and this needs to be acknowledged and respected
  • Eat a rainbow
  • Drink a litre of water per 30 kilograms of body weight
  • Be happy 🙂 and thankful for your food everyday

Range of Vegetables

References:

Orthorexia Nervosa: When Healthy Eating Goes Too Far – SBS The Feed

Orthorexia Nervosa PDF – Institute for Integrative Nutrition – Module 26

Sarah Wilson – I Quit Sugar

Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

Kris Carr – The Down & Dirty on Dairy-free Living

Dr Andrew Weil MD – Aging Gracefully

Multiple Causes of Death – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Deaths – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

 

 

For more details on how our emotions can affect our wellbeing, we recommend E-Motion the movie available for download here.

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Cashew and Coconut Biscuits

These low sugar cashew biscuits are so yummy that everyone who I’ve shared them with end up asking me for the recipe. They are similar to ANZAC biscuits but are made with cashews rather than oats. Despite being low in sugar they are very tasty.

I found the original recipe in a fastPaleo cookbook “Top 10 Cookies of 2013”. They referenced the recipe as being from Kate’s Healthy Cupboard, a website which is definitely worth a visit.

As they contain no flour, the biscuits are very soft and fragile when they come out of the oven. As long as you are gentle they will hold together and as they cool will harden up. Even if you do end up breaking one (they kinda just crumble) you have two options: eat it quickly! Or push it back together and it will set. Personally I would just eat it.

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews
  • 1 cup shredded or dessicated coconut
  • 1/3 cup rapadura sugar (or other unrefined sugar substitute)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (Honest to Goodness do an amazing vanilla powder)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk

(My cashews, coconut, rapadura, vanilla powder, Himalayan sea salt, coconut oil and coconut milk all came from Honest to Goodness. They have a huge range of organic pantry items. If you can get them wholesale or through a food co-op in your area they are great value for money too!)

What to do:

Process the cashews and coconut until it resembles somewhere between sand and gravel. The more times you make these biscuits (and it will be more than once!) you’ll get to know how course or fine you like them.

Add rapadura, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Process just until combined.

Pour in melted coconut oil and the coconut milk and mix until it becomes a dough.

Scoop into balls and place on baking paper on an oven tray. Again you can play with the shape and size. I use a big teaspoon worth of mixture. Flatten them down slightly.

Bake at 175 degrees for 10 minutes or until just brown.

Remove from the oven and slide baking paper off and onto a tray.

Wait until they have cooled to move onto a rack.

Store in an airtight container once they have cooled completely.

Share them around. Everyone will love them!

Cashews are high in the amino acid L-tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin, your happy hormone. They also contain magnesium which helps in many biochemcial pathways including relaxation of muscles but also energy pathways. So next time you’re feeling a bit down, reach for a handful of cashews and give yourself a natural boost!

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Holistic Health Care and the Triad of Health

Holistic Health Care

When it comes to the treatment of a health condition, a simple way of making sure a holistic approach is being applied is to your health, is to ensure the three sides of the Triad of Health are balanced.

This Triad of Health includes:

  • Structural or physical
  • Chemical or nutritional
  • Emotional or mental

If only one or two aspects of this triad are addressed you may not ever reach 100% healing success.

Holistic” and “holism” are words that are gaining in popularity in the world of health. The Macquarie Encyclopaedic Dictionary states that holistic medicine is “an approach which treats the whole person rather than just dealing with manifestations of a disease or symptoms.” I am proud to practice chiropractic techniques which allow me to fulfil this definition every day at Santosha.

If we use the simple example of a headache: This headache may be caused by your five-a-day coffee habit (chemical), stress over a recent relationship breakdown (emotional) combined with dysfunction in your neck (physical). But if only the neck dysfunction is treated by chiropractic adjustments or stretches, or you just kick your coffee habit, while the headaches may diminish they will not go completely until you take care of the emotional patterns you are also dealing with. In the same way, counselling may help you emotionally and reduce some headaches, if you are still consuming copious amounts of coffee, the problem will likely still persist.

On the other hand, dealing with your headache by chemical means, such as ‘pain killers’, while chemically altering your body to not feel the pain, still leaves the emotional and structural problems behind. These emotional and structural issues may then manifest as other health problems further down the track.

As I mentioned earlier, I am proud that my approach and qualifications allow me to address all three sides of the health triad:

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Banana, Coconut and Lime Ice Cream

Banana Coconut Lime Ice Cream

What you’ll need:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 6 tablespoons coconut cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Juice and zest of half a lime
  • Toasted coconut

Peel and freeze 3 bananas at least one day before.

Measure 6 tablespoons of coconut cream and freeze for about 30-60 minutes before you intend on mixing the ice-cream. I have learned that my ice cube trays are kindly 1 tablespoon in each cube, just in case you have the same ones. Also handy for freezing lemon juice for when lemons go out of season. I digress.

Add banana, coconut cream, cinnamon, lime juice and zest into a food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Serve into four bowls.

Garnish with toasted coconut.

This recipe originally came from Alexx Stuart from http://alexxstuart.com/ I have made various versions of this recipe but have stripped it back to basics here. If you are looking for many more delicious real food recipes, I definitely recommend Alexx’s wesbite!

The coconut cream will help with the metabolism of sugar by slowing down the process so you don’t get the sugar highs and lows (even though there is only minimal sugar in the banana in this recipe.)

The cinnamon will do the same.

Some people report being able to digest frozen bananas, better than fresh ones. I always freeze my bananas before adding them to my smoothies, except when I forget to. Then I don’t.

Toasted coconut is a great thing to have ready in the pantry. I used shredded coconut in my picture above, but you can also use coconut flakes. Lay the coconut flakes/shreds on a baking tray. Turn the oven onto grill. DON’T LEAVE the kitchen. I did once. Then I saw some towels that needed putting in the laundry. Then I saw there was a load of washing that needed to be folded. Then I smelt smoke as I folded the washing. My coconut was on fire! In my brand new oven. I repeat. Do NOT leave the kitchen while toasting coconut. Anyway, you may need to take it out and toss it around a bit while it is toasting. Toast (but don’t leave the kitchen) until your level of coconutty goldeness is reached. Wait until it has all cooled, place in an airtight container and store in the pantry.

The toasted flakes can be used as a garnish for ice creams, other desserts, stir fries, other Asian dishes and much more. I also eat them straight from the container as a snack.

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Book Review – Well-Adjusted Babies

Well-Adjusted Babies Book

Well-Adjusted Babies is a book I recommend to all parents of young children but especially pregnant women. It takes the reader on a well-informed journey from pre-conception, through the pregnancy, labour and birth and all the options that present, breastfeeding, through to first feeding solid foods, and more!

The information offered in the book is well-researched, evidenced-based and backed up by referenced studies, however this is all presented in an easy to read format (as opposed to some other dry and boring information based books).

Well-adjusted Babies has been endorsed by celebrities such as Miranda Kerr who reportedly continued to refer back to the book as her baby boy Flynn grew.

The best thing about this book is that you are basically getting about 10 books in one. Generally each stage of your child’s life requires another book and another lot of information. With Well-adjusted Babies you can find it all in the one place, with each stage flowing on from the last.

Claire, mother to Fergus who is 2 months old and blogger on White Blank Pages had this praise for Well-Adjusted Babies:

“Throughout my pregnancy and now with a newborn I refer to Well-adjusted Babies constantly.

“It guided me through my pregnancy, reassured me and made me feel like I was fully equipped in every scenario. Well-adjusted Babies was my one and only resource through my pregnancy. I especially referred to it in the final stages, when I needed it more than ever preparing me for labour and giving me the courage I needed.

“In the build up to labour, my partner even picked it up to read giving him a better understand as to what to expect.

“It is a fabulous resource from conception through to motherhood. I highly recommend it.”

Claire Colebeck | whiteblankpages.com.au

 

Well-Adjusted Babies is available from Santosha Health & Wellbeing Centre or online by clicking here.

 

 

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How to ensure optimal motor development in your children

Baby Crawling

Although each child develops at different rates, there is a correct sequence to this development. This sequence moves through parts of the brain in a very specific order. Unfortunately with all the mod-cons of today, this sequence is often disrupted.

Normal development

Babies are born with reflex movements only. This begins before birth and the ‘kicking’ felt from the baby is part of this development. No movement is purposeful. At around 16 weeks of age, the brain progresses into what is called homolateral activity, which is using one side of the body and either top or bottom at one time. This also includes visual and auditory senses (seeing and hearing) but due to each side working separately, location of sounds and depth perception doesn’t occur.

Between 6 months and one year of age is a very important time period developmentally speaking as this is when the body learns to use both sides of the body together. This movement pattern is called “cross-crawl” or “cross-patterning”. This is an important phase due to its relationship with moving into an upright position and ensuring the two hemispheres of the brain to work together. This development time frame also includes hand-eye coordination.

Between one and five years, this bilateral (both sides) development continues to progress and walking begins. Early in this stage the arms do not move in a cross-pattern with the legs, but rather they are used for balancing. Moving into this phase too early (i.e. when bilateral function is not sufficient) can retard normal development. It is not until 3 years of age that left or right sided dominance becomes prominent. Before this time it is important to develop both sides of the brain equally. Once dominance is established, it should be constant through-out the body. Hand dominance should be the same as eye, foot and ear. This stage will reach full development by around 5 to 8 years of age.

Examples that may cause disruption to this normal process

Bottle-feeding babies on one side
Breastfeeding naturally encourages development on both sides as each breast is used almost evenly. When feeding occurs, one eye, arm and leg are restricted and eye contact is made with the other side. When bottle-feeding, it is common for the parents to use their dominant side, however this means the body restriction on the child is consistent on one side, not allowing the often restricted side to develop fully. Swapping sides each bottle feed ensures each side of the baby’s body receives the same stimulation.

“Walking” babies (holding onto their hands while they “walk”)
As walking is a very complex task neurologically, it is imperative that the nervous system is developed sufficiently to cope with this activity. Proficient development of each hemisphere of the brain must be complete; otherwise it may be delayed or interfered with when encouraging a child to stand or walk too soon. Allowing children to develop at their own pace allows the normal sequence to occur naturally.

Using cutlery
The introduction of solid food for children is shifting earlier and earlier (this is a separate issue) but that also means the encouragement of utensils is also becoming earlier. The use of a fork or a spoon is a unilateral (one-sided) activity and may force a child into dominance before their brain is ready. Eating with their hands not only encourages a child to use both sides of their body (brain) before dominance at 3 years, it also gives them a lot of sensory feedback when they are able to touch, feel and move their food around. Sorry Mum, playing with your food is actually good!

These are just a few examples. Jolly jumpers, walkers, Bumbo seats and other contraptions are a contentious issue. The bottom line is that anything that pushes a child into an area of development that their nervous systems is not yet ready for, may be detrimental on the long term, whether used in moderation or not.

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See why my diet hasn’t always been perfect…and still isn’t

Catherine  (9)

When I speak to patients about their diet, there is often an assumption that my diet is perfect and that it must have always been like that. The truth is I started out where most of you are starting out in your health journey. I was lucky to have lots of positive influences around me to steer me in the right direction, just like I would love to do with each one of you!

While your diet and lifestyle will always be a work in progress, it’s sometimes good to take a look back and see how far you have come.

This is my story…

 

My childhood diet

When I was young, my standard diet was the accepted norm at the time: Corn Flakes or Weetbix for breakfast, a muesli bar and maybe a piece of fruit for morning tea, a sandwich made with white bread for lunch with either fritz and sauce or lettuce and cucumber, then boiled vegetables and a piece of meat for dinner.

As I got older

In my university days, when I could do the shopping and choose the food it changed a bit, for the worse! Breakfast would be a coffee or a Farmer’s Union iced coffee, white bread toast and promite or honey, or cereal which would usually be Froot Loops or Nutri-Grain, but when I was being “healthy” I would go back to my childhood and have Weetbix. The Weetbix tasted horrible so there was always one or two teaspoons of sugar on top, then a little bit poured down the side so I would get a little sweetness to finish. (I was a complete sugar addict…still recovering) Sometimes when I was splashing out I would buy croissants and have them with jam or ham and cheese.

Lunch was often leftovers from the night before. If I didn’t have anything leftover, sausage rolls with sauce were a favourite, a chicken schnitzel burger from the café at uni or sometimes flavoured rice cakes. Dinner was still vegetables and meat, stir fries with store-bought sauce (lots of added sugar), steaks and boiled vegies and often a big bowl of pasta with sauce from a jar (salt, sugar and preservatives). But too often there would be McDonalds’, KFC, hot chips from down the road and sometimes pizza.

I would go through litres and litres of milk a week just on my own, sometimes three or four litres. I would also go through litres of juice. Although I always drank plenty of water.

If that diet wasn’t bad enough, it was the things in between meals. I loved microwave popcorn. Chocolate has always been a favourite. A large packet of Arnott’s cream assorted was always in the cupboard. My favourite thing to bake was chocolate brownies. And they tasted best which big lumps of melted white chocolate. Did I say I was a sugar addict!

When was the moment I realised it wasn’t working for me?

There was no particular moment when I thought, “this isn’t working,” nor was there a health crisis that made me take a good, hard look at myself, but a series of small changes that happened over the years. I always knew fruit and vegies were important, but I didn’t realise how bad all the other stuff was. Two girls I shared a house with during uni actually didn’t consume any gluten or lactose. I thought that was because it would make them sick. I didn’t realise it was a choice.

In fifth year uni I saw a chiropractor (Hi Trev!) who gave me lots of little bits of information, which fats were best to cook with, why so many carbohydrates were bad for me and why my adrenal gland wasn’t working. I was tired all the time (something the GP put down to not enough exercise), I kept getting coughs and colds and worst of all, constant headaches and migraines.

In the following years, doing various extra courses after uni and speaking to different practitioners I have picked up other bits and pieces. I reduced my bread intake, I limited my sugar a little bit, I reduced my fast food, but still my diet was nowhere near perfect.

What are my diet philosophies/principles now?

Shireen, who I worked with in Adelaide, was a big influence in really cleaning up my diet. She introduced me to green smoothies about five years ago and particularly in summer, I start many mornings with different smoothie combinations. I avoid gluten which involved taking out bread, swapping oat porridge to quinoa porridge and reducing pasta, going for the gluten free pasta or even better, making zucchini pasta.

The only dairy I have now is in a bit of butter or in my coffee. I only have one or two coffees a week, which are always good quality, with well sourced beans. My sugar has been severely limited which includes limiting fruit, although the peaches this year have been amazing! When living in Adelaide our shopping was done at an organic fruit and veg shop (organic is something I’m yet to source consistently in the Riverland), a butcher for the meat and only a few things come from the supermarket. We are having more meat free days, instead getting our protein from more vegetables.

Coffee Green Smoothie Protein Slice

 

I don’t follow any particular diet or method. I have tinkered with Gluten free/Casein free, carbohydrate limiting diets, sugar free, raw food and paleo (caveman diet).

My personal philosophy is real food. Everything is made from scratch and in its most natural form. No packets, no jars, no boxes, no plastic. Just wholesome, healthy real food just as my great grandmother would recognise it.

As you can see, it has been a real gradual process. You can implement small changes over time, which will add up in the long run.

Share below in the comments one change that you can make today and commit to that will improve your health in the long run.

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Let’s all get back into broth

In the last couple of years, a staple in my freezer has been the old age remedy of bone broth. This is particularly good in winter time when most of us are craving warming foods such as soups and stews. But can also be used as a base for many recipes.
Grandma’s theory of broths and chicken soup for a cold definitely had some basis to it. Broths contain many essential vitamins and minerals. It is a nutrient-dense food source. Gelatin which is present in broth is gaining popularity for healing the digestive system. And with the high levels of food intolerances and digestive upsets, this is becoming increasingly important. Irritants to the digestive system such as gluten or parasites (worms) tend to make the gut ‘leaky’ which means proteins and substances move through the intestinal lining which they shouldn’t do as this causes the immune system to mount a response, which leads to further food intolerances and sensitivities. The digestive system also has been estimated to hold as much as 80% of our immune system.
Gelatin contains three amino acids (amino acids are essential to our health as they are the building blocks for protein) glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, these make connective tissue which can help to repair the ‘holes’ in the intestines. The gelatin is in the cartilage, tendons and ligaments of the bones which are cooked up into broth.

How to make broth

Buy some broth or marrow bones from your local butcher. They are quite cheap. I paid $5 for a large bone that also needed a hacksaw to fit it in my biggest saucepan. Alternatively, you can use leftover fish bones or a chicken carcass.

Bone Broth

Make sure the bones are covered completely by the water

Fill the pot with water and add a few tablespoons of vinegar. This is optional but recommended to draw the minerals from the bones.

After a few hours the fat will start rising to the top

After a few hours the fat will start rising to the top

Simmer very gently for a long time. This is where a big slow cooker comes in handy.

  • Fish only need around 2 hours.
  • Chicken around 6-8
  • Beef 12-24 hours

Skim off any of the scum that floats to the top.

When the broth is done, remove the bones and strain the mixture through a colander.

Allow to cool before putting into jars and into storage

Allow to cool before putting into jars and into storage

Place in a bowl to cool overnight. The fat will rise to the top and solidify.

Once cooled, the fat will solidify at the top

Once cooled, the fat will solidify at the top

Divide into jars for storage, firstly cooling to room temperature, then refrigerating, and then freezing if you would like. You can choose to keep the layer of fat on top and return to the liquid, or discard it. As the myth regarding the evils of fat has been busted, I recommend keeping it for flavour and sustained energy from the meal you eventually create with your broth

Once the fat has been taken away, you will see the jelly-like consistency of the broth

Once the fat has been taken away, you will see the jelly-like consistency of the broth

What to do with it

You can use your broth in place of stock in any recipe. It makes an excellent base for soups and stews. You can actually drink it on it’s own as well. I add a little bit to everything, even as a bit of extra liquid in stir fries.

Who would benefit from drinking bone broth?

The short answer is everyone!

But more specifically, anyone with any kind of digestive system complaint or immune system deficiency. Children who are fussy eaters would benefit greatly as they can choose their own vegetables and even if it is just carrot and peas added, you know that they’re getting a good dose of essential vitamins and minerals anyway.

It is also of benefit after any infection, particularly stomach bugs, as it will heal and repair the digestive system lining.

For general health and wellbeing it is a great way to add nutrients to your meals.

Why is Bone Broth so good

  1. Good for the immune system.
  2. Rich in minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals
  3. Great for arthritis and joint pain. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin which are often taken as supplements in the older population. These nutrients help restore and maintain arthritic joints.
  4. Helps restore your gut. Bone broths help to repair the intestinal mucosa (the lining of the digestive system). The mucosa is important in the integrity of the digestive system, which can stop conditions such as ‘leaky gut’ syndrome.
  5. Contains amino acids such as proline and glycine which make up proteins. Proline is a non-essential amino acid but is a precursor to collagen. Glycine is also non-essential but was shown in one Japanese study to improve sleep quality.
  6. Contains gelatin and collagen which are good for:
    • Bone and joint healing
    • Helps support health connective tissue
    • Strong fingernails and hair
    • May reduce stress induced stomach ulcers

 

 

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Spinach Crepes

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Like everything there are many conflicting stories about how to cook your vegetables.

  • They should be eaten raw to get maximum nutrients
  • They should be lightly steamed to get maximum nutrients
  • Boiling is fine as long as it’s not for too long
  • Greens should definitely be raw
  • Greens should definitely be cooked.

I’ll tell you what I know and with your own research and judgement, you can decide.

What makes green vegetables green is the chlorophyll component. This is also the part that takes the energy from the sun, to pass onto us through food. This chlorophyll is very similar to our blood. So similar that there is only one molecule of difference, which is, we have iron in the centre and plants have magnesium. This is one of main reasons green vegetables are so important.

Dr Joel Fuhrman presented a lecture for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and explained about the structure of the plant cell. Inside the cell wall is something called “myrosinase” and inside the actual cell is “glucosinolates”. When these two enzymes combine they have powerful anticancer properties, BUT they must be combined before heating, or the enzyme is denatured (doesn’t work!).

So how do they get combined? If you eat raw it is through chewing. The more you chew, the more they are mixed, the more powerful their effects. If you want to add your greens to soups and stews, the best option is to blend them first. Blending and breaking up of the cell wall releases these enzymes, allows them to combine, then you are free to cook them.

Myrosinase-Glucosinolate System

Image courtesy of Joel Fuhrman

 

Spinach Crepes

I came across this crepe recipe a while ago and thought it would be prefect with the Broccoli and Mango salad I had once on a 3 day raw food detox. (The detox was actually 21 days, I only lasted 3!) I was quite surprised how delicious raw broccoli and mango are together.

These crepes fit perfectly with the theory that blending your greens before eating is a great way to maximise their benefits. It’s also a good way to get more vegetables into the kids (this is called Vegie Smuggling, for more information see Vegie Smugglers website). Even more handy if your child’s favourite colour is green. I think I may try these with shredded beetroot too, for pink or red crepes.

These ratios should feed 2-3 people depending on how hungry you are!

For the crepes you will need:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 1/3 cup of milk (almond, soy, dairy)
  • 1 cup flour (I used spelt flour, but you can use wheat if you wish, or gluten free)

For the salad you will need

  • 1 Mango
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 small avocado
  • A few chopped dates (optional)

As I was cooking in a stainless steel frying pan, I began by filling pan with water and putting it on the stove on high. (More about this another day).

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping your food from sticking

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping food from sticking

In a high speed blender (Nutribullet works well), blend up the spinach and milk

Transfer to a bowl or jug and mix through the flour

I used spelt flour as it's easier to digest

I used spelt flour as it’s easier to digest

Pour the water from your frying pan and place on low heat. I used the smallest flame on the smallest

Coat the frying pan with your choice of oil: butter, ghee or coconut oil are my choices. I used butter. Because I love butter. Good quality, grass fed, organic butter

Pour in the mixture to cover half the bottom of the frying pan, then move the frying pan around to spread the crepe mixture so it is a thin crepe (not a fat pancake)

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Repeat for the remainder of the mixture

Finely chop the broccoli, slice the mango into cubes and chop the avocado in any way you wish. If you are using dates, finely chop them. Mix everything together in a bowl

Spinach Crepes Recipe (4)  Spinach Crepes Recipe (5)

Spinach Crepes Recipe (6)

When your all crepes are done, add a small amount of the salad and roll like a pancake

Best eaten fresh while the crepes are warm

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

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Plan Your Day the Body-clock Way

 

Autumn Leaves

Just like the trees follow a natural pattern and rhythm of changes, so does our body.

We have cycles in nature, they occur in humans, plants, animals, the sun, the moon, the tides, everywhere. The circadian rhythm is a 24 hour period where changes and responses occur in a regular pattern. As we move further and further away from being in touch with nature, our bodies have moved away from these patterns to the detriment of our health.

Understanding these natural rhythms of your body and of nature and following your day to suit as best you can, will help you to regain a little control over this natural phenomenon. Here are the natural cycles of our body and the day from the Chinese medicine point of view.

 

Things that disrupt our normal patterning

Plane Travel

One obvious example of moving away from our natural rhythms is jet lag. We move so quickly in a plane from one time zone to another, that our body doesn’t have a chance to catch up. This leaves us feeling tired and exhausted, with altered digestion and just a feeling of not-quite-right.

Lighting

We have sensors not just in our eyes but in our skin that are related to light. Too much light at the wrong time can disrupt our body clock. Televisions, phones, computers and other artificial light after sunset can stimulate the brain and affect melatonin secretion and therefore sleep patterns

Temperature

Our temperature peaks at 7pm and is at its lowest at 4:30am. Constantly being in temperature controlled environments such as that with air-conditioning or heating can disrupt these natural changes. The reason we have these changes in because certain bodily processes function at certain temperatures.

 

Chinese Medicine Clock

This describes what is happening in our body at different times of the day and how to utilise these functions to our advantage.

The organ system involved does not necessarily literally translate to the organ. For example, someone without a gall bladder may still have problems with the gall bladder meridian system.

1-3am Liver

The liver is responsible for detoxification and breaking down of hormones. It also holds a lot of anger and resentment emotionally speaking. If your liver has much to detoxify, you have hormone imbalances, or unresolved anger and resentment issues, you will find yourself waking up at this time. Chronic fatigue, anaemia, hormone imbalances, irregular cycles in women and headaches are all signs this time zone is out of balance. This is a time to dispel toxins.

3-5am Lung

Feelings of grief and sorrow occur at this time and are related to the lungs. Wheezing, coughing, asthma, or getting sick are signs there is imbalance. Distribute energy in the form of blood.

5-7am Large Intestine

Best time for a bowel movement. Letting go physically (doing a poo) or figuratively (letting go of things in life that no longer serve you, emotions, habits, people, thoughts)

Avoid caffeine at this time.

7-9am Stomach

Best time to eat breakfast. Best time for digestion and breaking down of foods. Reflux, indigestion, heart burn, bad breath and stomach ulcers are signs that you need to nurture this time

9-11am Spleen

This is the time for a warming tea or a small snack. Cinnamon dates and lentils are all helpful for the spleen. A good time to be thinking and working as the spleen does it’s thing. If you would like to lose weight, this is an optimum time for exercise.

11am-1pm Heart

This is a good time to relax, eat lunch, take it easy nap if you have time. Avoid anything strenuous or stimulating such as coffee, exercise, excessive heat or stressful situations. Palpitations, cold hands and feet and trouble sleeping are all signs this time needs balancing. Enjoy lunch with good friends.

1-3pm Small Intestine

The small intestine continues the digestive process so liquids are absorbed and more solid material moves through. At this time you will need to drink adequate water and may begin to feel the effects of dehydration. Dehydration, bloating and gas are common issues when this time is out of balance.

During this time Melatonin secretion also peaks which is why the more sleep before 2am the better.

A good time to be sorting and organising

3-5pm Bladder

Energy levels drop at this time if you are not well enough hydrated. Water, soups and broths are good to nourish and hydrate. Also a good time to be working or studying. Drinking extra water

5-7pm Kidney

This time is perfect for a meal, but only small meals in the evening. It is also a good time for love-making. The kidney and its energies are associated with reproduction, growth and development. If you would like to build muscle and strength this is a good time for the gym. A little wine is good to promote circulation. If adrenals are depleted, tiredness may set in. If adrenals are functioning well a ‘second wind’ may occur.

7-9pm Pericaridum

The pericardium is an accessory organ, as in it supports another. This time is good for relaxing activities such as gentle yoga or stretching, reading, cuddling, mediation or other activities to guide you into sleep. Soaking the feet in hot water is good for circulation and relaxation. Can also be a good time for socialising.

9-11pm Triple Warmer

This is also an accessory system.

This is a good time to go to bed and go to sleep. In Winter this should be in the earlier part and in summer it can be a little later. Deep sleep should be achieved before 11pm. Staying indoors (you should be sleeping anyway) is advised at this time period and the next. This is also a good time for lovemaking particularly for those wishing to conceive.

11pm-1am Gall Bladder

The gall bladder is responsible for digesting fats. It can cause you trouble if this is not balanced. This is the time for deep sleeping.

 

Other Body Rhythms

 

Infradian rhythm

This is longer than a day. Cycles such as human menstrual cycle, animal hibernation or migration, human Immune system cycle

Circaseptan

7 day cycle

Biorythyms – Physical, emotional and intellectual

23 days, 28 days and 33 days

Ultradian Rythyms

This is shorter than a day. Cycles such as 90 minute sleep cycle, 4 hour nasal cycle and 3 hour growth hormone cycle.

 

Time

Organ What you should be doing Signs of imbalance

Resolution

1am-3am Liver Sleeping Waking, insomnia, headaches, hormone imbalances Detoxification, letting go of any anger or resentment
3am-5am Lung Sleeping Coughing, asthma, sickness Let go
5am-7am Large Intestine Having a bowel motion Constipation, dryness Let go of concepts and ideas. Sit next to a sunny window and drink warm water
7am-9am Stomach Eating breakfast Ulcers, reflux, indigestion Apple cider vinegar
9am-11am Spleen Small snack bloating, low energy, craving sweets Cup of herbal tea or a light snack
11am-1pm Heart Relaxing and eating lunch Anxiety, palpitations, cold hands and feet Rest, nap, relax, enjoy lunch
1pm-3pm Small Intestine Drinking water Bloating or gas Drink more water
3pm-5pm Bladder Working or studying with a snack of broth or soup Burning or frequency with urination, yeast infections Drink more water
5pm-7pm Kidney Making love, exercising, eating a small evening meal Lower back pain, sexual dysfunction A little wine to activate circulation along with a small meal
7pm-9pm Pericardium Relaxing Depression, aversions, phobias Meditation, stretching, yoga, cuddling, reading
9pm-11pm Triple Warmer Going to sleep Difficulty digesting fats, poor judgement, anger or resentment issues Establish a night time routine and go to bed at the same time each night
11pm-1am Gall Bladder Sleeping Trouble digesting fats Ensure you’re asleep

 

For more information see:

http://www.yinyanghouse.com/practitioner_members/general-lifestyle/circadian-rhythms-chinese-clock-and-how-live-sync

http://www.naturopathicbynature.com/traditional-chinese-medicine-organ-times/

http://kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com/en/7Kaleidoscope10173.html

http://www.first30days.com/experts/marcella-vonn-harting

 

 

 

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