The Natural Way to Healthy Hormones – Event

Kasey Wilson Healthy Hormones

Tuesday September 27th at 7pm

Santosha Health & Wellbeing Centre
58 Renmark Avenue, Renmark

Investment: $20

Kasey Willson is a naturopath, nutritionist, writer and speaker who is passionate about educating women to live healthier, happier lives. Kasey runs a busy naturopath clinic in Adelaide, South Australia where she supports women to achieve their hormone health goals.

Kasey’s new book “Balanced – The Natural Way To Healthy Hormones” leaves no stone unturned in helping you tackle your hormone imbalances. As part of this launch she is making a special visit to the Riverland to have a chat about keeping your Hormones Healthy, naturally.

In this 45 minute session Kasey will cover topics such as:

  • How hormone imbalance can contribute to skin breakouts, period problems, low energy, mood swings and stubborn fat gain.
  • The important causes of hormone imbalance.
  • Steps to regain healthy hormones.
To secure your place call Santosha on 8586 4222
or click here to send an email.
Kasey incorporates both nutritional and herbal medicine in her patients individualised treatment plans and believes diet and lifestyle also play a fundamental role in reaching and maintaining optimal health.
Through her clinic, writing and speaking presentations, Kasey aims is to educate women about the innate healing power of the body.  She has a passion to guide women along the holistic path to reach hormonal balance and the benefits this brings to overall health and happiness.
For more information on Kasey visit her website My Health My Happiness.
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5 Ingredients In My Pantry

Sea salt, dulse and Nutritional Yeast

Sea salt, dulse and nutritional yeast

There’s a healthy eating secret that will help you lose weight, gain more energy, reduce digestive upsets and help you live longer. Seems too good to be true doesn’t it? It’s not.

Do you want to know the secret?

Eat real food. There’s an actual diet for that. It’s called the JERF diet. Just. Eat. Real. Food.

Here’s where people get confused though. You can only eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat and anything else that’s not packaged, processed or comes in a box. Confusing? “But if you don’t eat bread and cereal for breakfast, what do you have?” “But what do you have on your vegetables?” “Where does the flavour come from?” are some of the questions.

The problem with packaged and processed food is that it’s been enhanced, usually chemically. It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but big food companies do employ food scientists to make sure you eat lots of their food and you keep coming back for more. Often these foods will trigger parts of your brain that leave you wanting more, more, more! Because it “tastes” so good!

Switching to a real food diet, low in added sugar, salt, additives and preservatives can be hard. A big reason for this is because we’ve lost the art of flavouring our own food. Herbs and spices open up a whole new world when you begin to cook from scratch.

Now I could be here all day and just about fill an encyclopaedia (remember those big books before Google?) about all the herbs and spices and what to do with them. But for now I will share just 5 things that are in my pantry that I use to flavour my food.

These things do come in bottles and packets. However, I do try to source the most natural, most unprocessed forms.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

If you read Bragg’s book about apple cider vinegar, it cures everything. I’m not making that claim but it’s pretty versatile. You can also read about ACV here.

What is it?

ACV is fermented apple juice. The sugar in the apples in converted to alcohol through fermentation. It is then converted to vinegar through a second fermentation process.

It is important to purchase a vinegar with the ‘mother’. A murky, cobwebby substance, usually floating on the bottom. This means the ACV hasn’t been pasturized, which destroys all the good enzymes present from the fermentation process. The ‘mother’ maintains the function and effectiveness of the vinegar.

What I use it for:

  • Dressings on salads rather than straight vinegar and definitely in place of packaged salad dressing.
  • Drinking as a tea when I’m sick. Mixed with some ginger, lemon and juice and honey, this is my go to drink for when I’ve got a cold
  • Adding to stocks and broth. When making your own broth (from marrow bones or chicken) you need to something acidic to draw the minerals out of the bone. About a tablespoon (or a big splash) is all that’s needed.

What you can use it for:

Everything mentioned above. You can also add it to you bath for detoxing,

 

A good quality sea salt

I’ve used them all: Himalayan, Celtic, Peruvian, Murray River, and more. Lately I have been tending towards the Murrary River Pink salt. This is based on a few different factors but mostly ‘food miles’ which should be a big factor in any food you consume. ‘Food miles’ relate to the distance your food has travelled from its source to your plate. The costs involved in transporting food across the planet might work out well for large companies, but for the Earth it’s costly.

But back to the salt…

What is it?

Well we all know what salt is, but why are these different? Salt in its natural form contains many minerals essential for our health. Processed ‘table salt’ has had these natural minerals stripped. It’s often bleached and then has chemicals such as anti-caking agents added to make sure it stays nice in the packaging.

Traditionally salt is obviously used to flavour things and it’s also a great preservative. We have been warned against salt because of conditions such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease. Like sugar, highly processed diets are high in salt because so much is added to make the food taste ok. When preparing your own food, you are in control of how much you add, which means you won’t be consuming as much.

What I use it for:

  • I sprinkle a little to flavor my veggies
  • Any recipe that calls for salt
  • When exercising I will add a tiny amount to my water for extra electrolytes

What you can use it for:

The same thing as always: flavouring your food. Just remember to find a good quality unprocessed salt, use minimal amounts and experiment with other ways to flavour your food, such as herbs and spices and the next couple of products described below.

 

Dulse

This is something that’s been in my cupboard for years, but I’m really only just getting into it. It has been recommended to me for two reasons. Firstly because I am an O blood type and dulse is beneficial for Os. It’s neutral for all other types, so don’t worry if you don’t know what your type is. Also in Ayurvedic medicine is beneficial for those with a Vata dosha. There are many online ‘find your dosha’ quizzes. The best way is to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner. But if that’s not your thing here is the first website I ever used to find mine: https://store.chopra.com/dosha-quiz

Back to dulse…

What is it?

It’s a red seaweed. Like many of these flavourings I am suggesting, it’s packed full of minerals. Lots of B vitamins, Vitamin A, C and E and lots of minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Like other sea vegetables it contains iodine which is essential for thyroid and hormone health and lacking in many of our diets. Sea vegetables also contain more bioavailable minerals, meaning they are easier for our bodies to absorb. And dulse is highly alkaline, another important factor in our overall health. Who wouldn’t eat dulse with all those benefits!?

What I use it for:

As I said, I’m really only just getting into it now. I add it to all my soups, stews and casseroles.

What you can use it for:

All things savoury: soups, stews and casseroles, stir fries, miso soup and you can also use it like a ‘salt’ for flavouring dishes like pasta.

 

Nutritional Yeast

Another Bragg’s product, Nutritional Yeast has been condemned for being a ‘yeast’, thought by some to worsen symptoms such as yeast overgrowth (also known as candida) in our body. Good news is though; this is a totally different form.

What is it?

Nutritional Yeast is different from Brewer’s Yeast (a by-product from the brewing industry, but still high in B vitamins) and Torula Yeast (grown on wood pulp). Nutritional Yeast is grown on beet and cane molasses. The yeast is an organism that feeds on sugar. Through this process it manufactures its own amino acids (building blocks for protein) and vitamins, which is what makes it so healthy for us to consume. It is harvested, washed, cleaned, dried and packaged up.

Nutritional Yeast has a full spectrum of B vitamins which are essential in times of stress, for energy, brain function, digestion and many other roles in the body. It is also very high in protein, chromium which is essential for controlling blood sugars and rich source of phosphorus.

What I use it for:

Much the same as the dulse. I use it in all my soups, stews and casseroles as an addition to or instead of salt.

What you can use it for:

It’s a great replacement for salt, if that’s what you’re looking for. It can be used to flavour gravies and sauces, on salads, to ‘salt’ your popcorn or sprinkled on veggies. I’ve even seen it listed in recipes for smoothies!

 

Hemp Oil

*This information is only for those living outside Australia. Hemp products are not for human consumption in Australia. However, if you live anywhere but Australia it is perfectly fine. As shown on the Hemp Foods Australia Website:

Hemp Oil is another recent addition to my repertoire. It contains a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of 3:1 which is a healthier ratio than many processed foods which can 20:1. Omega 3 has been touted as the best oil, but that is because our diets have been so rich in Omega 6, we needed more 3 to balance it out. The truth is Omega 6 is also important. We need these ‘good fats’ for many functions in the body including for our immune system, cardiovascular system, the health of our cells, counteracting the signs of aging and for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Hemp Seed Oil is manufactured from cold-pressing hemp seeds. It is then bottled and sent around the world for consumption, except in Australia and New Zealand where it is only for cosmetic purposes.

What I use it for:

Cosmetic purposes of course, but say I lived in another country…

I would add it to my salads and vegetables for increased fat. We need fat in our diets for the reasons listed above, but also because that’s what sends messages to our brain that tells us we’re full. Fat is also used as slower burning ‘fuel’ for our bodies.

What you can use it for:

If you live outside Australia…

In much the same way olive oil is used. It can be added to pastas, salad dressings, smoothies, shakes and vegetables. It is not recommended for heating (just like olive oil) as the heating process destroys the properties of the oil. You can however, add it after foods have been cooked.

In Australia, Hemp Seed Oil is also good for massage oils, lip balms, soaps, moisturizer and hair conditioner.

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Chocolate Smoothie

Chocolate Smoothie


This chocolate smoothie, packed full of goodness went down really well with the kids. I saw a few sneaking back for a second serve. The first time I tried it was in the Thermomix. I made the full amount and it came out to over a litre of smoothie, so it will need to be scaled down if you’re not feeding a family. The second time I tried it, I did scale it down and used the Magic Bullet, not the thermie. It took a long time to blend and even then there were chunks of dates and some ice. The Thermomix is second to none when it comes to processing something as hard as ice, but it can be done if you’re patient and don’t mind chunks. Obviously I would recommend the Thermomix for all it’s other functions. If you’re interested in taking a look at the Thermomix and perhaps even hosting a no-obligation demo, send us an email and we’ll pass on Larissa’s details.

What you need:

  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 200g ice
  • 30g raw cacao powder
  • 200g frozen banana (about 2)
  • 200g avocado (about 2)
  • 120g baby spinach (this is a lot of baby spinach, but it blends down)
  • 600g water or coconut water
  • 100g activated almonds (if you don’t have activated, soak them overnight in filtered water)

What to do:

  1. Process the almonds, chia seeds and dates
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth
  3. Serve with a thick straw, this is a thick smoothie

Tips:

Larissa tells me ice breaks everything up and makes it smoother. I’m going to start doing this is more of my smoothies.

Bananas are apparently easier to digest once they’ve been frozen. I always have frozen bananas in my freezer. Once they start to turn a little bit black, peel them, pop them in a ziplock bag and they’ll always be ready.

Coconut water has a lot of sugar, natural sugar, but it’s still sweet. If your after a bit of sweetness use all coconut water, but gradually swap out the coconut for filtered water.

 

This recipe comes from Jo Whitton’s Quirky Cooking, a brilliant book to accompany your Thermomix. See more on her website.

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Vanilla Cupcakes – Gluten free, Dairy free

Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes

What you need

  • 2 ½ cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Seeds from two vanilla pods/1 tsp vanilla powder

What to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°
  2. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with patty pans
  3. Combine the almond flour, salt and baking powder
  4. In another bowl, combine the eggs, almond milk, honey and vanilla, then stir in the melted coconut oil
  5. Stir this mixture into almond flour mixture and combine well.
  6. Spoon the batter into the patty pans
  7. Bake for 20 mins until risen and firm to touch
  8. Trasnfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely

 

Icing

What you need:

  • 1 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours and drained
  • 1/8 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 ½ tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice
  • Seeds from one vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • Pinch of salt

What to do:

  1. Make the frosting a day before the cakes are to be served.
  2. Place all the ingredients except water in a blender/Thermomix and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the water, a tablespoon at the time until the filling is smooth and your desired texture
  4. Place the mix in a jar and store in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, place in a zip-lock bag. You can then cut a small hole in the corner to use as a piping bag when icing the cakes

 

Recipe courtesy of Paleo Grubs (http://paleogrubs.com/vanilla-cupcake-recipe)

Also see Elana’s Pantry (http://elanaspantry.com/paleo-vanilla-cupcakes)

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Chocolate Cupcakes – Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

What you need:

  • 125 g grass fed butter
  • 1 cup rapadura sugar (200g)
  • 100gms dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur (for the kids party we used Crio Bru roasted cacao beans)
  • ¾ cup gluten free plain flour
  • 2 tbsp gluten free SR flour
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder (20g)
  • 1 egg, beaten

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°c.
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with patty pans.
  3. In a saucepan combine butter, sugar, chocolate, water and liqueur.
  4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool for 10 mins.
  5. Sift flours and cocoa together.
  6. Fold into chocolate mixture and stir in egg.
  7. Spoon into patty pans until 2/3 full
  8. Bake for 25 mins until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  9. Cool in pan for 5 mins.
  10. Transfer to rack and cool completely
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Raw Chocolate – Dairy Free

What you need:

  • 200g raw cacao butter
  • 60g raw cacao powder
  • 100g raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, powder or natural extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

What to do:

  1. Chop cacao butter roughly into pieces. Place in Thermomix and mill 20 sec/Speed 8
  2. Once milled, melt cacao for 20mins/37°/speed 2. You will need to scrape down the sides and in some cases scrape down the blades as well, until all the cacao butter is melted.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking 10 mins/37°/speed 1.
  4. Thoroughly mix chocolate 20 sec/speed 4 to ensure honey or syrup is blended
  5. Pour onto a tray lined with baking paper or into moulds.
  6. Place in the freezer to set quickly, without separating.

You can add anything you please to the chocolate at step 5 or 6. Nuts, coconut, dried fruit, spices, pieces of gelatin jelly, dried berries, edible essential oils, anything your chocolate heart desires.

Full credit for this recipe goes to Quirky Cooking

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Santosha’s 1st Birthday Kid’s Party Wrap-up

Photos from Santosha's 1st Birthday

We were blessed with a beautiful Spring day, 27 degrees with a slight breeze, to celebrate one year of Santosha Health and Wellbeing Centre.

The purpose of the celebration (besides the milestone) was to throw a kids party and demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be all fairy bread and lolly bags. We wanted to create a party to present to parents and kids, that foods with a healthy twist can be yummy and there are many fun activities that are also educational. We were nourishing little minds and little bodies all under the guise of a party with balloons, cupcakes and bunting!

Fitting with the philosophies of Santosha, Health Living, Optimal Living, Sustainable Living, there was an emphasis on promoting businesses, particularly local, who also fit under these themes. We invited local businesses to participate by including their information in our goodie bags and if possible a take home sample. The result was amazing! We had home-made playdough, tomato plants, honey, body scrubs, apples, fish oil tablets and much more!

The celebrations started by congregating the children with Megan and then playing a game to organise them into youngest to eldest. After dividing the group into three based on age, the activities began.

Suzanne from Art Play by Zuska lead an art activity where everyone was encouraged to choose colours with their eyes closed based on how they felt. They were encouraged to not just draw with the materials on hand, but to run their fingers over the page and replace thinking about the drawing with feeling the drawing. This kind of activity allows children to create art not based on what ‘looks good’ but more an expression of themselves. Suzanne believes that art is beautiful and avoids encouragement based on how it appears, but rather how it felt while creating it. Children and adults alike LOVED this activity so much that Suzanne had actually run out of paper by the end of the party!

Larissa was demonstrating some simple recipes with the Thermomix. She started with the older children’s group and whipped up a delicious strawberry sorbet which was devoured by everyone there. Next she proved that healthy can be yummy by blending a chocolate and green smoothie. I witnessed many kids sneaking back for another cup. The nutella was also a hit with most.

The unfortunate thing about foods that we eat today is that anything processed generally has a lot of added sugar, whether its a ‘sweet’ food or not. This leaves many taste buds and palates narrowed to just sweet tasting food. Anything outside of this just will not taste good. This is not the time nor the place for a discussion on sugar and its impact on our health, only to say that it is a big problem and slowly but persistently swaying children away from the processed and store-bought foods, to home made varieties where you can control the ingredients and sugar levels will benefit them in the long term, in more ways than most people can imagine!

Megan, operating as her business “me. The Mindful Mother” held a very popular mindfulness and mediation class for all three groups. Speaking to a few parents after they had been in Megan’s room, they were pleasantly surprised at their children’s participation and ability to sit and be ‘mindful’, even the very young ones. In our busy, crazy, noisy world, learning to just sit and be is such an important skills for children to learn.

While all of this was happening, Georgia from Wellness Pilates and Massage generously gave a few lucky parents a seated massage.  Those I had the opportunity to speak to after their session were extremely pleased, very relaxed but all commented that they “had a few sore bits”.

Although the schedule of activities was a little lost by the end of the day, this allowed the children and their parents to gravitate towards areas that interested them. It was also a great opportunity to chat with like-minded people and also of course enjoy the sunshine.

The gluten-free cupcakes in chocolate and vanilla were gobbled up early. As were the Bliss Balls made with activated almonds and walnuts, kindly made and donated by Riverland Activated Nuts. It wasn’t until the very end that we realised we had forgotten to bring out the jelly! So those left had a special opportunity to taste test some home-made jelly cleverly made by Amy.

After months of planning, the day turned out well. We hope those who came along had a great day, enjoyed the activities and hopefully also learned something along the way.

Thanks to the following people for contributing on the day:

  • Amy Martinson for helping me plan and brainstorm ideas, help with recipes and keep me on track
  • Josh Kenyon, my husband and maintenance man, for cleaning up around the clinic, weeding, fixing, sweeping and bringing me food and everything I forget
  • Trisha Langford, AKA Mum, for baking the cakes while on nightshift, making the bliss balls, donating Riverland Activated Nuts to the goodie bags and forever doing my dishes
  • Megan Petersen for helping plan, put together the goodie bags and holding the Yoga and Mindfulness activity
  • Jemma Smith for ideas, organising goodie bag contents and setting up on the day
  • Suzanne Macphersen for bringing her unique art class
  • Larissa for the thermomix demonstration and patience while we tried to choose recipes
  • Georgia Tsanavaras for dedicating some of her day to massage
  • Tammy Spinks for taking photos on the day
  • Maarten Smits for beginning to help with balloons and for taking photos on the day
  • Diana Van Meel for blowing up and hanging balloons
  • Everyone who brought their kids along
  • Everyone who helped clean up
  • Anyone I have forgotten (I do apologise)
  • And lastly, all the businesses that contributed to our goodie bags which were filled to the brim. Please support these businesses where you can:
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All you Need to Know about Beans

Are you looking to reduce your meat consumption but would still like to keep your protein up? Or perhaps you just want to increase your protein to help reduce carbohydrates?

Whatever the reason, here is the information which is…

All you Need to Know about

Beans

Beans are loaded with a good source of protein. Although they don’t have as many amino acids as animal based foods, they do have more than other plant-based options. Beans have lots of iron, B group vitamins and fibre.

Protein is important as it is the building block of cells and tissues and important for many vital bodily functions. We should consume a range of protein sources to ensure we receive all essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones we can’t manufacture ourselves.

 

Preparing Beans

The best way to cook beans with minimal impact on your digestive system (I mean less farts) is to soak them overnight.

Drain and rinse the beans then place them in a pot with about twice the water.

Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer until soft.

You can add all sorts of herbs and spices depending on personal taste. I recommend adding a couple of bay leaves to the boiling pot.

A small amount of salt is also good.

Combine with any recipe that calls for beans.

Add to salads, soups, stews, as a side dish, with your morning eggs, the options are endless!

 

Cooking times for 1 cup of beans:

  • Cannellini 90-120 minutes
  • Chick peas 120-180
  • Kidney 60-90
  • Lentils 30-45
  • Navy 60-90
  • Split peas 45-60

 

Other tips for cooking beans:

Chew thoroughly, this also helps with digestion

Fennel and cumin can help reduce wind

Experiment with different beans and different flavours

Apple cider vinegar can also help to soften the beans and help with digestion. Add a couple of teaspoons during the cooking process.

 

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