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Posts from the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Guest of the Month: How to be your most fertile self, by Dr. Nat Kringoudis (plus a Super Fertile Slice recipe!)

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Hormones can do crazy things to the best of us ladies – one minute we’re as cute as pie/butter wouldn’t melt in our mouths, the next we’re full of irrational arguments (come on ladies, be honest), banging headaches, tender breasts and abdominal pains. Now it’s no secret that I’m (currently) childless but that doesn’t mean fertility should be any less important to me, or those of us who are not currently looking to make babies. Being fertile is a whole lot more than kids – it’s about being at your optimum health.

Six or so months ago, I made the executive decision to discount the advice I had been given by my gynecologist (the advice was that the contraceptive pill was my ONLY option in terms of sorting out my hormone issues long term) and booked in to see Dr. Nat Kingroudis of The Pagoda Tree. Within a couple of months of seeing Nat my hormones rectified themselves and my body reached a happy equilibrium, the natural way and the pharmaceutical company lost it’s monthly sale. Now I’m not saying the pill isn’t for everyone, but please be your own healthcare advocate. Make sure you know what you’re taking and why you’re taking it and whether or not it is the most suitable option for your own personal needs. Western medicine can often be very one eyed, I’m simply encouraging you to broaden your view.

Without further ado, I am so very excited to introduce Dr. Nat Kingroudis to you all today.

How to be your most fertile self.

Tell us about what you do.
Where do I start!?  Ok well, I’m a Dr of Chinese Medicine (Herbalist and Acupuncturist), a natural fertility educator, speaker and author.  I’m also the producer and co-host of Healthtalks, the web health series.  I am the owner of The Pagoda Tree, Melbourne’s home of alternative therapies for fertility and health!  Oh and I’m a mum and wife!!

What are the top 2 misconceptions in your industry?
The fertility industry is riddled with misconceptions.  My mission is to change the way people view the word ‘fertility.’  Fertility isn’t just about babies, but having a thriving reproductive system free from issues like PCOS and Endometriosis or other hormone imbalances.

One of the two big misconceptions is that if you have such conditions (PCOS/Endo etc) that you will have issues falling pregnant.

The other is that the pill is entirely safe – so many women have troubles whilst on and then after coming off the pill, it’s insane but we’re living at a time where these a pill for this and a pill for that and women seem to find comfort in that.  Unfortunately that isn’t necessarily a safety net!  So helping women be well informed and understand their own health better is my goal.

What can you offer someone who is not geared towards making babies?
Everything!  I created my Debunking Ovulation ecourse by default.  But what I realised is that I needed to reach out to young women to help them understand their bodies better and to help create awareness around alternatives to treatment of gynecological problems.  Band-aid approaches that the current medical models use, just don’t work!

How does Traditional Chinese Medicine differ from western medicine in terms of what it offers for fertility?
Much of what western medicine offers around fertility is an approach of fixing symptoms and not the root cause.  They know only to use the pill or invasive surgery as the solution for almost all gynecological issues.  Reality is, the pill isn’t actually solving anything but rather putting a big band-aid over the problem and of course when problems are left untreated, they manifest and only become bigger problems once the blanket is lifted.

Understanding the root cause of illness is key.  Symptoms are just signs, nothing more – in fact I often find symptoms more useful than blood tests!  If we can figure out what our bodies are actually telling us, then we can treat the root cause – which is most often gut health.  i.e acne, period pain, irregular menstrual cycles, PMS etc are all signs the bodies hormones are imbalanced.  The pill will never ‘rebalance’ hormones but rather, do the complete opposite.  We know that if a woman has had hormone imbalance before taking the pill, the imbalance will be far worse when she stops taking it.  This is treatable in most instances and the key to solving help problems long term.

What are your top 3 health tips?
1.  Be in bed by 11pm – the body rejuvenates most before midnight.
2.  Stress less – work out exactly what’s worth stressing about and why.  Chances are, it’s not worth the bother.
3.  Eat for wellness.  Let food be thy medicine!

What is an ideal ‘day on your plate’ for optimum fertility?
I’m an egg woman.  Breakfast generally revolves around eggs in some form.
Lunch is very often a soup or stew or some fish with greens and fermented foods thrown in for good measure.
Dinner is mostly fish with veggies or roast veggies with organic grass fed meat.

My principles are:
+ Protein and therapeutic fats at every meal
+ Always organic where possible
+ If it doesn’t serve me, I go without!
+ I limit grains and avoid gluten at all costs.  Both place a lot of load on the gut.
+ Keep sugars to a minimum.

maca slice


Favourite “fertile” recipe?
So basic and so delish, not to mention all the maca is there to balance hormones!

The Super Fertile Slice

Makes 1 small slice tray

2 cups of medjool dates
1 cup of buckinis
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
½ cup goji berries
1 tbs maca

For the topping
The darkest rawest chocolate you can find.  I love the blackout variety.

In a food processor or thermomix, combine dates and coconut.  Once combined, add in buckinis and goji berries and only blitz a few times to mix through.  The base is best rough.

Press into a small baking dish or loaf tin lined with baking paper and allow to set in the fridge.

Melt the chocolate using a double boiler until runny.  Pour over the top of the slice and allow to set.

Note: Loving Earth is a great place to look for buckinis and maca.

What are your thoughts on the effect of stress on our bodies?
This is the modern day illness.  Stress is a huge factor in regulating hormone function.  It affects how the thyroid and adrenals work.  Typically our adrenals are designed to release cortisol in short bursts when stressed.  But stress wasn’t supposed to be a constant run in the background type of daily occurrence – our bodies are set up to cope with stress like “there’s a freakin’ huge grizzly bear over there so run for your life” kinda thing and the response is that the body shuts down, the blood gets rapidly sent to your arms and legs (away from your internals) and you can run like the wind.  But when we are in a constant state of stress, the adrenals go into over drive – producing much more cortisol which affects progesterone since both cortisol and progesterone compete for the same receptor sites in the body and cortisol will always win.  The end result of this is high oestrogen levels, which go on to cause all kinds of issues like infertility, menstrual irregularities, amenorrhea and hormone disruption.  It’s especially important for women to understand how this affects them and their long-term health – right through to menopause!

So you see – stress is a disaster!

When life gets hectic, what do you do to help yourself relax?
Getting out into the sunshine with my family is one of my most favorite things to do!  I also really enjoy being social – so to relax I might have a dinner party!  Might sound like I’ve gone mad when I say such things but I find it super relaxing!

Tell us about your gentle body cleanse, and why it is so important. How does it differ from other cleanses out there?
Ha!  I’m glad you asked!  I never intended my gentle body cleanse to go as crazy as it has!  It’s a vegan cleanse which I don’t generally advocate for a long term vegan diet simply because there are key elements in meat that aren’t found in anything else necessary to balance hormones – but it can be good to give the digestive system some down time so it’s focused around several elements.;

Cleansing the liver and the gut via supplements, probiotics, a cleansing drink and eating very easily digested foods.  It is literally like a good old chimney sweep for the gut!  What I find is on the back of the cleanse, peoples gut function is improved, they feel great, have more energy and continue to maintain a new level of wellness.  It’s super!

What is one thing you do for your health every single day without fail?
Eat for wellness.  We are in control of what we eat – nobody else can perform this task.  I aim to constantly fuel my body for wellness.  And the other thing I do everyday – kiss my kids.  Does wonders for the soul!

How to Detoxify Your Life + tickets now on sale for our “Detox Your Pantry” event in February!

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It’s that time of year – many of us are slowly coming back to ‘reality’ post festive breaks, having hurled ourselves to the close of 2013 and popped out the ‘other side’ full of the best intentions for the year that will surpass all others. For many I realise, this can be a daunting place. With notebooks full of resolutions and steadfast, (albeit often wavering) determination our intentions can soon become an overwhelming prospect.

It is for that reason I want to share with you an article I wrote for the wonderful Aritsan online magazine last year, to help remove any overwhelm you may feel around resolutions associated with ‘detoxifying your life’. I am also very excited to announce the release of tickets to the first in our series of Detox Your Life’ events. ‘Detox Your Pantry’, launches Thursday 13th February in Melbourne. The below article provides an overview of our coming events. Thank you for the overwhelming interest so far – you can pop on over to learn all about our coming event and purchase a ticket right here.

Detox Your Life.

For many of us it takes a rude reality check to get our health and our lives in order. There we are, screaming through life at an increasingly hectic pace, desperately chasing the bottom of our ‘to do’ lists, trying to keep up with a technology fuelled world that has both improved efficiencies and removed simplicity from our lives. We’re consuming foods conveniently processed and packaged to suit our ‘grab and go’ lifestyles, foods marketed by huge brands as health promoting, disease fighting and energy enhancing. We’re juggling everything. At breakfast we’re watching TV, checking social media feeds, glancing at newspapers. Squeezing in time to exercise we’re deafening the experience by ‘plugging in’- to iPhones, iPods and iTouches. The modern world, with all of its advances, is making many of us very sick. For many, it can only be considered a blessing when that reality check strikes.

Three years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, an illness so debilitating that I was forced to close a business and move interstate to live with my parents. There were off the Richter scale toxicity readings – lead, petrochemicals, mercury and pesticides. Battling with unimaginable fatigue and brain fog, life, as I knew it, came to a halt. I needed to make some serious changes.

I moved to an almost entirely unprocessed and organic whole foods diet, a diet as close to nature as possible, free of refined sugar, gluten and hidden additives. As far as possible, I removed all toxicity from my environment and I embraced activities such as meditation and yoga, activities that would serve to restore my energy and bring stillness and balance into my life.

So what exactly are whole foods?
These are foods that are unrefined and unprocessed, as close to nature as possible. Most significantly whole foods serve to decrease our reliance on supplements. They include fresh fruit and vegetables, unpolished grains, legumes, nuts and seeds – foods full to the brim with fibre, nutrients and disease fighting phytochemicals (often referred to as antioxidants) protecting us from chronic disease. Now I’m not about to sit down and eat a whole cow so an eye fillet is not, strictly speaking a ‘whole food’ but you get the drift (significantly, it is not processed meat, such as sausage). Whole foods also include health promoting good fats such as butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Not included are low fat alternatives (devoid of most of their nutrient content), refined sugar (a substance considered poison by our bodies) and packaged store bought foods such as biscuits, cakes, most breads and fizzy drinks – most of which are laden with preservatives and additives, none of which are doing us any good.

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It is for this reason it’s best to spend less time in supermarkets and more time at markets, buying farm fresh, locally sourced, unadulterated produce. Whole food meals consist predominantly of a protein source (such as chicken, lamb, beef, eggs or fish) and cooked or raw vegetables. For the vegans or vegetarians amongst us, there are quality protein options such as quinoa, legumes or tempeh. Healthy treats can be made from scratch with combinations of nuts, seeds, spices, and natural sweeteners. An exception to my whole foods ‘way’ is 100% whey protein powder, a pure protein source allowing more variety at snack time, such as in my ‘Pretty in Pink’ Beetroot Smoothie.

Detoxifying your life. 
Once you begin to understand the hidden dangers lurking in your bathroom and kitchen cupboards (and on your food) it’s a joy to remove them. Too many of us are ingesting poisonous substances through the food we eat and the washing up liquid we use; we’re lathering them on our skin and in our hair; we’re painting our nails and cleaning our teeth with them. Why choose to clean your kitchen benches and bathrooms with products labelled as poisonous? To commence a toxicity cleanse in your home, simply start in one room and work your way around. Read the back of the products; where there is a harmful warning sign, replace that product with a naturally derived product. If your body cream lists a multitude of ingredients you’ve never heard of it, throw it. The same goes with the food you purchase. Where possible buy fresh, organic, locally sourced food that has not been sprayed to the hilt with pesticides.

Restoring energy and balance.
Finding stillness was one of the biggest blessings for me of all. Slowing down enough to meditate and to feel the benefits in my body and energy levels. Commencing a yoga practise that would gently build my strength and bring my awareness back to my breath. ‘Mindfulness’, ‘living in the now’ or ‘being present’ are words and phrases we hear bantered around more and more and for many these seem unattainable, even baffling. This is simply about doing one thing at a time (like eating, washing the dishes, talking to a friend). When we multi task we invite clutter in and this clutter serves to wear us out. By slowing down, finding stillness and therefore bringing more rest into your life, you will conserve and restore your energy.

Cleaning up your life and your diet is not a project that should happen over night. Start simply by gradually ‘crowding out’ the lesser quality food choices, visiting health food stores and markets over supermarkets, noticing the warning signs on labels. Try hopping out of bed just 15 minutes earlier to sit in stillness and commence a meditation practise. Turn off the TV during dinner and enjoy conversation with your loved ones, whilst you chew your food and appreciate its flavours and textures. Change just one small thing and every single thing changes.

 

Feeling the festive excess? Here’s 7 naturally liver cleansing foods.

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Okay troops – let’s play an honesty game:

  • Who overindulged over the festive period? (Amy: just a little. Oh ok Mum, you’re right, a bit more than a little).
  • Who’s feeling sluggish? (Amy: me and I need to clean up my act).
  • Who’s jeans shrunk? (Amy: mine. Damn that washing machine ;-))
  • Who’s going to miss their afternoon siestas? (Amy: me, I fell asleep every afternoon with a book. Non-liver related but worth a mention. Damn I’m going to miss that siesta today!).

So, in light of my honest responses, know there is no judgement here! But read on… your liver will love us again I promise.

The primary way in which your body expels toxins is via the liver, which detoxifies and cleanses your body by continuously filtering the blood of poisons that enter it through the digestive tract, the skin, and the respiratory system. But when your liver becomes overworked as a result of stress or excessive exposure to toxins (insert festive excess here), your entire system can be thrown off balance, and in turn your health affected for the worse.

Without a well-functioning liver, your body will be unable to cleanse itself and absorb nutrients, which is a recipe for a health disaster. Dr Karl Maret MD writes about the importance of effective liver function:

“The thousands of enzyme systems that are responsible for virtually every body activity are constructed in the liver, the proper functioning of the eyes, the heart, the brain, the gonads, the joints, and the kidneys, are all dependent on good liver activity. If the liver is impaired from constructing even one of the thousands of enzyme systems the body requires, there is an impairment in overall body function and a resultant greater metabolic stress on the individual.”

So, given a hefty portion of us need to show our livers a little more love right now, we list below seven important foods (and our recipes to inspire you) that you may want to consider incorporating into your diet to get you back on your way to a healthy liver.

7 Naturally Liver Cleansing Foods

1. Garlic.
Garlic contains sulfur-containing compounds that activate the liver enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins from the body. Garlic also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from toxic damage, and aid it in the detoxification process.

2. Grapefruit
Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, grapefruit contains compounds that boost the production of liver detoxification enzymes. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it.

3. Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with catechins, a type of plant antioxidant that has been shown in studies to eliminate liver fat accumulation and promote proper liver function. This powerful herbal beverage also protects the liver against toxins that would otherwise accumulate and cause serious damage.

4. Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables such as arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body, and spur the creation and flow of cleansing bile. Add some extra greens to your diet by juicing them into the ‘softer’ green juice, but be sure to allow the juice to come to room temperature (or at least don’t drink straight from the fridge) to allow for optimum digestion and nutrient absorption.

5. Avocado
Rich in glutathione-producing compounds, avocados actively promote liver health by protecting it against toxic overload, and boosting its cleansing power. Here’s our Overnight Avocado, Coconut & Lemon Cheesecake

6. Walnuts
Walnuts, which contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood, and extracts from their hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas. Why not make yourself a Walnut Brownie Breakfast Mousse for breakfast, a great way to prep yourself for an alert and energised day.

7. Turmeric
Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage, and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ. Why not add turmeric to your morning omelette, a THI fave!

Ten tips for healthy christmas living.

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How many of us come back from our Christmas festivities cursing ourselves for splurging like we did, vowing “I’ll never eat again!” or “It’s just not worth it, I feel so awful, that’s it! Tomorrow I start afresh!” Guaranteed the majority of you have said something with words to that effect.  Well I’m hoping to offer a little assistance this year (for me AND you) to help preempt our discomfort by offer some simple solutions.

10 tips to help us feel (and not look) jolly throughout the holidays.

1. Begin your day as any regular day; prepare a nourishing and satiating breakfast to ensure you’re not ravenous by the time Christmas lunch is served. Don’t skip meals to save calories!

2. Eat a protein-packed snack an hour before your holiday meal. Why not pre-prepare some protein bliss balls to serve, or to take with you as a gift to the host. Your fellow guests will appreciate your effort and you’ll ensure you have a healthy snack to keep your eyes off the inevitable sugar laden treats that abound.

3. Don’t think of the holidays as an excuse to gorge on unhealthy food. Plan in advance to make sure there are options available that you can enjoy.

4. Scan the spread before putting anything on your plate. Choose wisely! Opt for good quality protein and salads without the rich, creamy dressings.

5. Set an intention for a healthy day. Visualize how you would like to feel after the meal and hold yourself accountable by sharing with a close friend or family member.

6. Start the meal with a soup, fresh vegetables, or a salad, and avoid any refined flour pastries or sweet appetizers to prevent the cycle of craving.

7. Drink a glass of water with lemon before the meal. Add apple cider vinegar for a digestive boost.

8. Plan an activity to look forward to after the meal—a group walk, visiting with other friends or family, a group game, or playing with younger family members. Or try offering to clean up and help your host!

9. Eat Mindfully:
• Take a few deep breaths before your meal.
• Sit next to someone you genuinely find interesting and engage in some good chat.
• Appreciate the colours and smells of your food.
• Chew thoroughly and slowly.
• Put your fork down between bites.
• Breathe in through your nose while you eat.
• Express gratitude with others before the meal.

10. Most importantly, take time to enjoy healthy, wholesome meals with your friends and family and remember that you can heal your body and mind with each forkful of delicious food you enjoy.

Much love and happiness to you all this Christmas. x

Guest of the month: Catie Gett from The Staple Store shares her top tips on ‘Functional Eating’.

my choice 1

“Functional eating for us, in our house is routine, it is a short checklist that makes sure our meal covers all of our body’s requirements. Meal planning shouldn’t be an alchemy or a complicated science; all you have to do is follow a few simple steps and you can have complete nutrient profiles that satisfy the criteria for optimal health.” (Catie Gett).

A huge welcome to our very special ‘Guest of the Month’, Catie Gett, owner of the much talked about, visited and coveted store, The Staple Store. It’s a very good thing (for Catie..and my bank account) that I live over the other side of town because I’d be loitering in and around it every second day, given the choice. Not only is Catie hugely passionate about functional food but she cares a LOT – about the environment, about sustainability, about Fair Trade, about making a difference in every life that she touches – and that becomes very, very evident once you’ve been lucky enough to steal some of her precious and increasingly sought after time.

Here’s a little snapshot about Catie, from her bio*, which pretty much sums up my aforementioned sentiment:

“I believe that every person has the basic right to knowledge about where their food comes from and how to nourish themselves.  I work every minute of everyday fighting for those rights”.

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Enough from me and straight on over to Catie. Thank you for gracing my website my love, I am blessed to call you my friend x

Functional Eating, by Catie Gett.

My key job as a naturopath is to help you make simple and easy choices that enable you to reach optimal health, in a way that is sustainable and accessible every day.

Functional eating for us, in our house is routine, it is a short check list that makes sure our meal covers all of our body’s requirements. Meal planning shouldn’t be an alchemy or a complicated science; all you have to do is follow a few simple steps and you can have complete nutrient profiles that satisfy the criteria for optimal health.

Think colours. Thinking of a bit of red, a bit of yellow or a bit of green, or even all three. Eating coloured fruits and vegetables with every meal will increase the nutrient density, considerably. Meaning you are consuming an excellent nutrient to calorie ratio. Colours add vitamins including A, B, C and K, phytochemicals such as alpha-lypoic acid, beta-carotenes, proanthocyanidins, chlorophyll and lycopene. These nutrients support numerous biochemical processes, reduce inflammation, limit free radical stress and prevent disease. So chopping up the capsicum, throwing on some berries or cherry tomatoes, adding a handful of spinach all seems worth the while.

Think vital. I am not an advocate of all raw food diets for most individuals, what I am an advocate for, is adding a raw element to every meal. Adding raw foods to each meal improves the nutrient profile, improves the bioavailability of a variety of nutrients and supports enzymatic digestion. And it’s really simple to do. Throw a handful of sprouts on your soup or into your smoothie, grate beetroot on to your toast or add a raw tomato salsa to lentils. ‘Thinking alive’ freshens up the plate and the palate.

Think fermented. Being a gut specialist, this is my favourite element, it’s simple and adds so much flavour to a meal. Promoting the addition of beneficial microbes with each meal optimizes digestion and nutrient assimilation. And is as simple as adding a small cup of miso, a glass of kumbucha, a dollop of plain yoghurt or cottage cheese, a spoonful of sauerkraut or kim chi, a slice of tempeh or non-pasteurised apple cider vinegar.

Think protein. Great protein sources include: tofu, tempeh, fish, eggs, red meat, poultry, dairy, beans and lentils. Serving sizes for protein is the size of your palm (one palm for animal protein and two for plant based). The best part of using palm measurements for protein is that the serving is dependant on the size of the hand, the little ones have little palms the big guys that need a heap of protein have bigger ones.

Think good fats. I like at least one tablespoon one of these on my plate each meal: coconut oil, tahini, raw nuts, raw seeds, nut butters, salmon, avocado or homemade guacamole. Eating like this is super easy, requires nominal cooking skills, is cheap and just so healthy.

So here are some simple 5 minute functional meal ideas:

Breakfast smoothies: spinach, nut milk, berries and yoghurt
Sandwich: A protein, sprouts, grated carrot, sauerkraut and avocado
Miso: with chopped tofu, seaweed, sesame oil and a dollop of kim chi
Salad: beetroot, sprouts, herbs, crushed nuts and an apple cider vinaigrette
Lentils: with tomato salsa, yoghurt, fresh herbs and vinegar (picture below)

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*Catie Gett, 2013

  • Clinical Naturopath
  • Owner of The Staple Store, Ripponlea Melbourne
  • Soon to be owner of A Staple Space: Wellness Centre CBD Melbourne
  • Backyard Super Food advocate
  • Previous Chef
  • Current Food lover
  • Consistent Multi-tasker

Spicy Yoghurt Marinated Roast Cauliflower.

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I have become a little obsessed with cauliflower over the last couple of years as a fantastic alternative to starchy root vegetables. My two favourite recipes are cauliflower rice (you can find my broccoli/cauliflower rice recipe here) and the most delicious cauliflower puree of all time (yep, I love it that much) which resides in my eBook, A Nourishing Kitchen.

Here’s a few other reasons why you should be loving cauliflower too:

Antioxidant
An excellent source of vitamin C and manganese (as well as a broad range of phytonutrients), cauliflower provides two core conventional antioxidants, which help lower the risk of oxidative stress on our cells.

As per this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Chronic oxidative stress, meaning the chronic presence over overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and the subsequent damage to our cells by these molecules—is a risk factor for development of most cancer types. By providing us with such a great array of antioxidant nutrients, cauliflower helps lower our cancer risk by helping us avoid chronic and unwanted oxidative stress.

Anti-inflammation
As an excellent source of vitamin K, cauliflower provides us with one of the key anti-inflammatory nutrients. Vitamin K acts as a direct regulator of our inflammatory response. Like chronic oxidative stress, chronic unwanted inflammation can significantly increase our risk of cancers and other diseases (especially cardiovascular diseases).

Cardiovascular
By virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower consumption is protective against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. This is particularly noticed where there is inflammation of blood vessels/decreased blood flow to organs, such as in artheroslecerosis. By decreasing chronic inflammation, cauliflower is able to maintain the patency of the blood vessels and keeps excellent blood flow to essential organs of the body.

Digestive
The fiber content of cauliflower, nearly 12 grams in every 100 calories, makes this cruciferous vegetable a great choice for digestive system support. (steadyhealth.com)

Nutritional
Cauliflower also contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid). It serves as a good source of proteins, phosphorus and potassium.

Spicy Yoghurt Marinated Roast Cauliflower.

This recipe was inspired by the talented Sarah Britton from the My New Roots website. Not only is it super easy to prepare but it looks absolutely stunning on the table! Personally I feel it will be a welcome addition to the Christmas table this year. Feel free to play around with the spices. Here’s a handy tip: if you are short on time, simply grab a jar of tandoori paste, or any curry paste you choose, and stir a heaped tablespoon in with the yoghurt. A marinade ready to go in two minutes and really very tasty indeed. 

1 full cauliflower, leaves removed, stem chopped down to base (so that it sits flat).

Marinade:
1/2 cup greek (or other thick) yoghurt
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaped teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Good pinch of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients then fully coat the entire cauliflower, including underneath. Pop into the oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your cauliflower. Drizzle with lots of lemon juice to serve.

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Natural remedies for hay fever.

Summer white flower camomile

Spring is in the air! But for some it’s not all flowers and freshly cut grass…

Hay fever, or seasonal rhinitis is a very common health condition, with over 3 million Australians reporting symptoms, especially at this time of year. Interestingly, Kleenex tells us that hay fever is most prevalent in the 25-34 years age bracket, and slightly more females are sufferers. We are not sure why exactly, so if you know do please share

Hay fever is typically a reaction to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds that makes the immune system believe pollen is a harmful invader, triggering production of the antibody immunoglobulin E. This stimulates release of histamine, causing inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, along with excessive mucus production and other symptoms such as sneezing, itching nose and throat, watery eyes and a clear, runny nose (read: really bloody annoying).

Here in Victoria pollen numbers are higher, due to the prevailing winds from the north which carry pollen from the northerly grasslands. This means that the incidence of hay fever for we Melburnians is higher than the national average, with 17, 500 per 100, 000 people affected (visualising Kleenex rubbing their hands with glee at this time of the year).

Am I making you itchy with all of this hayfever speak? Well before you reach for those antihistamine drugs, I’ve some good news for you. As it happens, there are a number of natural remedies, found in foods, nutrients and herbs, that are extremely beneficial for alleviating hay fever symptoms.

(Sorry Priceline but today my intention is to reduce your antihistamine drug sales).

Fruits & Vegetables

Kiwifruit. Kiwis contain exceptional quantities of Vitamin C which is a natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. It also protects against secondary respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma) that may arise from the excess pollen in the air. The bioflavenoids and antioxidants present within Kiwifruit are also potent anti-histamines.

Other good food sources of vitamin C and bioflavanoids include citrus fruits, strawberries, red capsicums, broccoli, papaya, guava and mango.

Pineapple. A rich source of bromelain, an enzyme that produces strong anti-inflammatory effects, Pineapples assist with decreasing nasal congestion and inflammation of mucous linings.

Onion. Packed with the flavanoid quercetin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine. Onions are best eaten raw, to receive the beneficial anti hay fever effect. Why not toss a red onion through a summer salad?

Quercetin is also found in apples, kale, red grapes, berries, cherries and parsley.

All Orange fruits & Vegetables. The vibrant colour of carrots, pumpkin, apricots, mango and papaya indicates high levels of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin ensures mucous membranes are kept healthy, reducing inflammation and preventing secondary respiratory infections.

Herbal tea of chamomile flowers

Teas

Nettle tea. May help relieve inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease nasal congestion, sneezing and itching.

Licorice tea. Licorice root has a soothing effect and helps to reduce irritation of the respiratory system.

Spices

Turmeric. This spice contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that are comparable to steroidal and nonsteroidal drugs. Curcumin has also been found to have anti-allergy properties, which inhibit the release of histamine.

Why not get into my Turmeric Om?

Ginger. A powerful natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce nasal swelling and associated hay fever symptoms. Ginger tea and raw honey is a great option, working to break up chest congestion and loosen phlegm. It strengthens the immune system and acts as a natural antihistamine.

Horseradish and garlic. These beauties will also assist you during your hayfever struggles, acting as a decongestant to clear nasal passages.

Foods to avoid

It is also important to note which foods exacerbate the effects of hayfever. Be sure to limit or avoid cow’s milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and increase hay fever nasal congestion. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.
Consult your Naturopath or homeopath for additional herbal remedies that may assist.
Do you have any of your own tips to help reduce the impact of hay fever season?
*Credit to Kleenex and Blackmores for some information in this post.