HEALTHY YOU

No Fuss Breakfast Topper

Gluten free. Nut free. Refined-sugar free.

My main advice to patients about choosing a healthy breakfast is to pick or create something low in sugar, high in fibre, with adequate protein and loaded with healthy fats.

The typical go to is eggs and veggies. But not everyone has the time for a cooked breakfast each day. Eggs can get boring after a while and some can’t eat them due to an allergy. Likewise with nuts, which also features regularly in my breakfast recommendations.

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So I have been inspired to create a recipe that is super convenient for busy folk, ticks all the macronutrient requirements and is suitable for those who have food allergies and intolerances. Say hello to my omega-packed, protein dense seed blend, which can be made in bulk and conveniently added to fruits in the morning for a kick-arse breakfast.

You could purchase a pre-made one from the health food store, or you could make your own and save a tonne of money. Plus, this way, you can be guaranteed you aren’t consuming sneaky added sugars, which is in almost ALL pre-made nut and seed breakfast blends.  

I recommend visiting your local bulk food store to purchase the appropriate quantities of each of the ingredients below. A batch should be made fresh every 2-4 weeks to minimise damage to the oil rich seeds and prevent eating stale puffs (yuck!)


Recipe

Makes 10-20 serves

Appropriate serving size is ¼ - ½ cup

For the batch above, I used raisins and puffed quinoa.

For the batch above, I used raisins and puffed quinoa.

Combine the following:                                                                      

¼ cup chia seeds

¼ cup hemp seeds (optional)

½ cup pumpkin seeds

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup linseeds

½ cup raisins or dried cranberries. Omit for a completely sugar free option.

1 cup buckwheat kernals

1 cup puffed quinoa, millet or amaranth

 

Store in an airtight container in a cool place.


By Naturopath Lucy Mason 

The Ins and Outs of Low Carbohydrate Eating

Low carbohydrate diets have increased in popularity in recent years with the promise of fast weight loss and increased mental stamina. While there is evidence to support these claims, a restrictive diet can be problematic if done incorrectly. If you are interested in trying a low carbohydrate diet but are unsure if it’s right for you, read below for further information.

 

What is a low carbohydrate diet?

There are three main diets that are considered low carbohydrate - the paleo diet, the ketogenic diet and the Atkins diet. Each has slightly different dietary restrictions, guidelines and purpose.

The ketogenic diet

The main goal is to switch from using glucose (carbohydrate) as a primary fuel source in the body to ketones, a by product of fatty acid (fat) metabolism. The diet emphasis a high intake of healthy fats, restricts dietary protein to 20-25% of total calorie intake and complex carbohydrates (i.e. leafy greens, berries, citrus and legumes) to less than 10% of total calorie intake.

 

The paleo diet

A way of eating that attempts to copy what our Paleolithic (hunter gatherer) ancestors would have eaten. The diet restricts food categories instead of specific macronutrients… no calorie counting in this diet! Foods not allowed on the paleo diet include all grains, dairy, refined sugars, legumes, potatoes and corn. These restrictions result in a naturally low carbohydrate and high protein intake.

 

The Atkins diet

Introduced in the 70s, the Atkins diet has largely been marketed for weight loss. It closely resembles the ketogenic diet in terms of total carbohydrate restriction and differs in that it does not place any restrictions on total protein intake. The diet is typically done in phases, the first being the most restrictive (20-25g of net carbohydrate per day). Carbohydrates are gradually added back in throughout the phases to determine the threshold at which weight loss plateaus.

What’s the appeal of low carbohydrate eating?

There a number of reasons people may choose to follow a low carbohydrate diet, the predominant reason being the desire to loose weight. Numerous studies and a plethora of online anecdotal evidence maintain that these diets are successful for weight loss in most individuals. The biggest question we now face is if these diets are sustainable long term for the maintenance of healthy weight.

The use of ketones as the brain’s primary fuel appeals to many for it’s purported benefits on cognition – improved concentration, clarity and memory. Athletes may also follow these diets to achieve their ideal body composition and to improve physical performance, although the evidence in this area is conflicting.

These diets inherently restrict inflammatory foods such as sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates. Reducing diet driven inflammation in the body can reverse disorders such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Reducing systemic inflammation can also benefit the body’s ability to function optimally and prevent future disease in healthy individuals.

Where things can go wrong

Trying to self-guide a new way of eating can be tricky to adjust to and result in giving up and feeling disappointed. For some, a low carbohydrate diet is easy to follow, but if done improperly, results in inadequate intake of nutrients. These diets can even be dangerous in some people e.g. diabetics who are dependent on insulin. 

Difficulty adjusting

During the switch to a new way of eating getting stuck for ideas on what to eat is common, especially if all your previously staple foods are now removed or restricted. A naturopath or nutritionist familiar with low carbohydrate diets can brainstorm ideas with you that are tailored to your budget, preferences and time available.

 

Difficulty adjusting can also refer to the physiological process of switching to a new way of metabolising macronutrients i.e. the ratio of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The ‘keto flu’ is a well know phenomenon that occurs in the first few days of the ketogenic diet. It mimics symptoms of a hangover (tired, headachy, sore, nauseas or constipated) and can last for days in some people.

A few tricks to avoid or reduce these side effects includes drinking more water, having more sea or pink salt (for trace minerals), eating more vegetables, taking apple cider vinegar and eating more healthy fats such as fish, olives, avocado or coconut products.  

Inadequate micronutrient intake

You’ll likely feel excited when you find something that you love to eat and it satisfies all the rules of the diet! So you’ll start to eat this food everyday and it will become a ‘core’ part of your eating habits. But one of the most important rules with any diet is to have variety in the foods you eat so you are sure to get a wide array of vitamins and minerals.

 

To avoid the risk of malnourishment, familiarise yourself with all the allowable foods of the diet and set yourself a goal to include as many of them as possible. This process sure can take some time, so be prepared to make extra time in your day for researching recipes, cooking and experimenting with new ingredients.

 

Inadequate fibre intake

With a restriction in carbohydrates also often comes a restriction in soluble and insoluble fibres. These are the nutrients that are needed to feed the ecosystem of your gut! If you restrict fibre, your beneficial bugs are not getting fed, which can result in changes to your digestive function (e.g. constipation, nausea and abdominal pain) as well as negatively impact your overall health in the long term. Opinions on the appropriateness of low carbohydrate diets long term are conflicting based on current limited knowledge of how these diets affect the microbiome in the long term.

To ensure you are supporting your gut’s ecosystem during a low carbohydrate diet, eat a wide variety of vegetables within the parameters of the carbohydrate restriction and consider supplementing with fibrous powders and foods such as LSA mix, psyllium husk, guar gum, slippery elm and konjac noodles.

 

The take home message

Low carbohydrate diets do offer benefit, however they are not suitable for everyone and do pose some long-term risks. If you are unsure if a low carbohydrate diet is right for you, get in contact with a health practitioner trained in nutrition and gut health to ensure you do it right!

By Lucy Mason, Naturopath

The top 5 questions I get asked about gluten

Due to the abundance of information available and our habit of asking Dr Google for answers, there is a lot of confusion around gluten and if it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you. I’d like to give you some evidence-based information that may help you decide the role of gluten in your diet by answering five of the most frequently asked questions I receive. 

1. What is gluten and where is it found?

Gluten is a structure that is made up of hundreds of proteins, notably gliadin and glutenin, and is found in grains like barley, durum, semolina, wheat, farina, kamut, rye and spelt grains(1). Many of these grains are used to make breads, pasta, cakes, pastries, and biscuits to give them their fluffy or stretchy texture. Gluten is used as an additive in processed foods to improve texture, flavour and moisture retention. Some foods where gluten may be hiding include vegetarian meat substitutes, confectionary, ice -cream, butter, seasonings, sauces, marinades and dressings(2). All in all, gluten plays a large role in the standard Australia diet and is delicious!

2.What’s the difference between Coeliac Disease and Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)?

Coeliac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease in genetically susceptible individuals that is caused by eating gluten(3). Classic symptoms include diarrhoea and failure to thrive within the first couple of years of life. You may experience other symptoms or no symptoms at all and can still have CD. CD is diagnosed through a biopsy of the small intestine but may be detected in blood tests that look for specific immune markers(4).

Non-coeliac Gluten sensitivity (NCGS) occurs in people who are not affected by CD or a wheat allergy. The biggest difference between NCGS and CD is that there is a different immune response to gluten and there isn't the complete destruction of your gut villi (finger like projections important for nutrient absorption)(5,6). NCGS symptoms occur hours to days after eating gluten and can disappear when gluten is removed. Classic symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, bowel habit abnormalities, foggy head, headache, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, dermatitis, depression and anaemia(7). Clinically we see increased intestinal permeability aka ‘leaky gut’ confirmed on blood or urine testing underlying NCGS.

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3.Does gluten cause leaky gut?

In short, yes.

In susceptible individuals, when you eat gluten, the tight junctions (gate-like structures in your gut wall) are told to open-up as a result of an increased release of zonulin. Zonulin acts as a signal that says ‘open up please!’ to your gut wall. When gluten is removed from the diet, zonulin levels decrease which causes the immune system to calm down and healing to begin. It’s very important when healing leaky gut to follow a strict gluten-free diet, as the smallest amount of gluten will trigger a zonulin release(8).

4. What are some gluten-free alternatives?

There are many grains that are gluten-free including amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, rice, sesame, sorghum and teff. Products like arrowroot, lentils, rice and tapioca can produce gluten-free flour and thus to some extent replace wheat flour(1). Luckily in 2018 there is much more awareness around the need, desire or demand for gluten-free products so there are many delicious alternatives available. It is worth noting that there is great variation the quality of the gluten-free alternatives in regards to nutrient, protein and fat content and glycaemic index (how much they impact your blood sugar levels)(9). My advice is to go wholegrain where you can or at the very least, have them with nutrient dense, protein and fat rich toppings, fillings or sauces.

5.What about oats are they gluten free and can I have them?

Gluten is a complex mixture of hundreds of proteins (called prolamins), notably gliadin and glutenin. Similar prolamins exist as secalin in rye, hordein in barley, and avenins in oats and are collectively referred to as “gluten”(10).

Avenin in oats contain a smaller amount of an amino acid called proline, which is higher in some of the other proteins mentioned in wheat, barly and rye. Lower proline content may be why oats are less immune reactive compared to wheat, but may still be a problem in large quantities. Oats may still activate specific immune cells in 10% of CD patients so it may be wise to avoid oats as part of your gluten free diet (11).

Furthermore, it is common for oats to be farmed and milled with wheat and are therefore contaminated with gluten. It is possible that pure, uncontaminated oats, can be made into products that contain less than 20mg of gluten per kg, making it potentially safe in a gluten free diet (12).  One commonly recommended brans of gluten-free oats is Bob’s Red Mill.

Final thoughts

There is so much more to be said about gluten and how it may affect your health, so if you still feel unsure about gluten in your diet, please reach out to us at Narayani Wellness to receive some personalised guidance. Our support can help a potentially confusing path be more simple and accurate for you!

By Rachel Larsson, Naturopath

Tips for Creating a Healthy Habit

What’s that one thing you’re doing (or not doing) that keeps sabotaging your health goals? For me, it’s not switching off screens early enough in the evening. Regardless of knowing how good it would be for me to make the change, knowledge alone is not enough to alter a behaviour. Making or breaking a habit takes hard work and dedication. Depending who you ask, it can take anywhere between 28 and 200 days of persevering with a behaviour before it becomes automatic. From talking to my clients and my own personal experience, here are my top tips to set you up for success.

Know your evil

Understanding WHY you fail to habitually do something is key to creating change.

Is it an issue of motivation? You may benefit from an accountability structure or a reward system to keep you on track. Is your goal unrealistic? Maybe your goal needs some refinement. Start with a smaller change and once you have that down pat, build on your goal. Are you impatient for results and quitting too soon? Change takes time. Acknowledge that it may take several attempts. Are you just forgetful? Set up a reminder.

These are just a few common examples of a ‘block’ to success. If you have a goal in mind, think about the possible problems you might encounter once you get started and have a plan to tackle them. If you have been trying for months to action your plan without success, spend some time reflecting on the reason for failure. When attempting something new, a troubleshoot plan that accounts for all possible issues that may arise will greatly improve the outcome.

Set a reminder

If your goal is something simple but a nuisance to remember, visual or auditory cues to remind yourself can be useful. This method works well for habits such as taking your supplements at the right time, drinking more water or doing a couple of minutes of mindful breathing throughout the day.

Use that smart phone you carry with you everywhere! Set a daily timed reminder for a time you know you will be undistracted. The feedback I have received from my clients - don’t schedule your reminder for a time you might be busy or you will switch it off and forget all about it!

If auditory prompts won’t work for you, the good old message on your mirror method works almost as well. Or a sticky note on the fridge, toilet door, steering wheel etc. Wherever you know you’ll look is where you leave your message. If you find yourself ignoring your message despite hearing/seeing it, forgetfulness is not the issue at play.

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Adopt an accountability buddy

Having someone on your side who will give you a boost on low days can go a long way. Pick someone who can relate to your circumstance or is supportive of your cause. Someone who you interact with regularly is ideal. Ask this person to do the activity with you, or at a minimum, remind you of your goal. Report your progress to one another.

Depending on your goal, there may also be organised groups out there to help you along. Say your goal is to exercise twice per week - joining a sporting team where teammates rely on your presence is a good example of how you can use accountability as a motivator.

Don’t give up after one attempt

You’ll have days where you fall off the wagon. That is OK. The research suggests that missing one day here and there will not undo the days/weeks prior where you have achieved your daily goal. Even if you fail day 1, remember that most habits take a minimum of 28 days to form. So keep at it.

So what are your health goals for the new year? We’d love to hear about them here at Narayani Wellness.

By Naturopath, Lucy Mason

Finding balance this Christmas

The magical month of December is here once again. I love the festive season. The days are filled with sunshine, social events and delicious food. But December isn’t here without its difficulties. The array of indulgent treats that cannot be avoided present a problem for many of my clients. So I’ve put together my thoughts on how to find balance this Christmas.

Be prepared

Say you have a specific health issue that you are trying to treat with dietary changes, such as leaky gut (no gluten) or candida overgrowth (low/no sugar). The key to getting through the Christmas season is planning ahead. Initiate an honest conversation with dinner hosts/restaurants about your dietary needs in advance or explain that you will be bringing something for yourself. 

Give yourself permission

While we must honour and nurture our physical bodies, we must also nourish our emotional self. Sharing a meal or a drink with friends and family brings joy into our lives. If you have been working on improving your diet, a day of indulging will not undo all that hard work. On these days, you can counter the negative effects of more sugar, fat and alcohol by adding in some additional digestive and liver support.  Letting go of the strict standards we put on ourselves is part of self-love and in itself can be immensely healing.

Support your digestion

Here are my top tips for optimising your body’s processing of dietary “bad guys”:

  • Drink fresh lemon/apple cider vinegar in warm water each morning to give your digestion a boost. It stimulates the vagus nerve, which is largely responsible for digestive secretions. If your tummy struggles with indigestion and reflux at the best of times, you may benefit from taking betaine hydrochloride and digestive enzymes to get you through.
  • Add in a liver support supplement over the Christmas period. St Mary’s Thistle, Globe Artichoke and Turmeric are among my favourite herbs to support bile acid production (breaks down fat), support detoxification and protect the liver against damage.
  • Take a daily probiotic such as Saccharomyces boulardii to help control gut bugs that are prone to growing out of control when we eat and dink more sugar.
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Support your mind

Stress levels can go up this time of year with more work pressures, increased busyness on the road/at the shops and less free time – which is exactly why we all need to prioritise finding time to calm the mind. Checking in with the breath each hour or a 15 minute morning meditation is enough to switch on your parasympathetic nervous system, the part of your nervous system which is responsible for “rest and digest” activities, such as producing stomach acid.

Don’t let guilt ruin Christmas

Perhaps the appeal of the Christmas spread was a little too good and you ate too much, leaving you feeling unwell and disappointed in yourself. What a perfect opportunity to turn that guilt into something positive and practice self-forgiveness. Holding onto negative feelings toward the self only exacerbates health issues. So let those feelings go and replace them with something positive, such as looking forward to the goals you’re going to kick in 2018!

Extra Resources

Looking for recipes that take into consideration your dietary needs? At Narayani Wellness we love online resources by Teressa Cutter “The Healthy Chef”, Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar and Deliciously Ella, Jamie Oliver and Lola Berry also offer some great ideas in their cookbooks.

By Lucy Mason, Naturopath

When to get help and when to do it alone.

We live in a wonderful time when we can access any information we want with just one easy click of the button.  For example, when I typed ‘gut health’ into Google I got a massive 133 MILLION hits! There is so much benefit to having access to this information, as you can get inspired, cultivate hope and discover some tools to help manage your health. However, having this much information has its down sides and can leave you feeling confused, overwhelmed or can even be dangerous.

In clinic I frequently hear my patients start a sentence with ‘I was reading about…’ or ‘I was Googling the other day and…’ Whilst I love hearing that they are taking an interest in their health, unfortunately the sentence usually ends with ‘now I’m confused’ or ‘I don’t know what to do’.

So, how do you know when you are out of your depth in addressing your health alone and when you need some professional help? To help you decide when you need to close the laptop and pick up the phone, ask yourself these five questions.

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1. Does your diet or supplement provide you with an immediate improvement and/or if you were to stop your treatment, would this effect be long-term?

If not, you have probably been providing yourself with Band-Aid support and not addressing the underlying issue. A great example I see a lot in clinic is constipation. Before coming to see me many patients have developed a dependency on strong coffee, laxatives or supplements to ensure a daily bowel motion. It needs to be understood that constipation is symptom of something else going on(1) and can be tricky to treat. There are many causes of constipation including an imbalance of your gut flora, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)(2) or nervous system issues, such as a side effect from a medication or low intestinal serotonin levels. Did you know 95% of the serotonin in our body is found in our gastrointestinal tract? Having enough serotonin is important because it signals the muscles along our digestive tract to contract and relax. This is called motility and it is necessary for regular bowel movements(3).

 

2. Do you feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious when thinking about your health?

If so, these emotions may be making your symptoms worse(4).  When your body experiences these emotions, it enters a state of fight or flight which causes our nervous system to tip into sympathetic nervous system dominance(5). Our sympathetic nervous system is necessary for our survival, as we use it when we need to escape danger or act quickly. However, this part of the nervous system inhibits our ability to rest and digest properly(6)(because who cares about digesting when you are running away danger). Experiencing daily stress, anxiety and overwhelm regarding your health may only be making you health worse. How ironic! A proven example of this relationship is stress and its ability to worsen or flare symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome(7). 

 

3. You have a sense that there is something else underlying the issue and are finding it difficult to get the big picture?

The perfect example of this is acne and congested skin. I meet many people that have ‘tried everything’; they have invested a lot of time and money into topical treatments, medications and diets without any improvement. Potentially this is because they are only treating one part of the problem.
Acne and skin congestion is considered a complex multi-system disease, rather a skin condition. Our skin is a huge organ and the health of it is a result of your diet, nutritional status, gut health and gut bugs, nervous system, hormones and immune system (8). So whilst the oral contraceptive pill or antibiotics may help manage your skin (9,10) if you stop these, your skin may go back to where it started. To make an effective long-lasting change in your skin, you need a holistic inside-out and outside-in approach.

 

4. Are you following advice that is supposed to help you and yet you feel worse?

You’ve starting eating healthier and have invested in cupboard full of supplements, yet you feel worse than ever with less energy, stomach pains, poor sleep and your mood has taken a turn. What could be going? It’s no surprise that we are all different - what works for someone may not work for you. A great example of this is if you have an underlying histamine issue. Histamine is a naturally occurring substance that we create in our body and is present in many foods. It is especially high in aged foods including bone broths, fermented foods, kombucha and kefir (11) and in some probiotics, which are readily promoted for gut healing (12). If you have tried any of these and feel worse, histamine sensitivity may be your issue. Perhaps you need the guidance from someone who acknowledges or understands the issue of histamine to help guide you back to health.

 

5. Is integrative medicine a better fit?

That is, are you required to take medications or are you under the care of practitioner who has limited understanding, interest or awareness of the role diet and gut healing plays in our wellbeing? If you answered ‘yes’ and you are trying to make supplement and dietary changes alone, you may be putting yourself in danger. Thyroxine (thyroid medication) is a great example of something that needs to be monitored closely. A change in supplements, medications and diet may alter the dosage needed to keep your thyroid in balance. If these interactions aren’t understood and accounted for, you may start to experience symptoms of thyroid imbalance (fatigue, shakiness, anxiety, gut issues)(13, 14). A practitioner that will consider these interactions is important in ensuring you a safe road to good health.

 

Closing Thoughts

Before you have lost all hope and motivation, spent years of your time and a mountain of money, reach out and get some professional support.  We love that you have taken the initiative in trying to help yourself and we want to be there for you to reach your health goals in a safe and effective way.   

By Rachel Larsson

BHSc (Naturopathy), BPH (Nutrition)            

Join us in finding the right diet for you - food chemical sensitivity and healing leaking gut

Hi there,
I’m excited to announce that we are launching our first ever comprehensive food intolerance & gut healing program to help you, our patients, to truly find the right diet for your unique circumstance.

For some of you green smoothies or blueberry treats, and many other foods that we think are healthy for us, could actually be making things worse.

Spinach, cacao and sweet potato can be causing you to feel lousy.

Confused?
Yep. I get it. Up until recently I was too.

Many of you know snippets about my son Jarvis and his health concerns that we’ve been faced with over the past 12 months. It’s been a challenging time for my husband, Jarvis and myself. We have trialed many different diets, spent a lot of money on testing, therapies and supplements, had some wins and made some errors, not to mention had many sleepless nights and invested a tonne of energy to make sense of it all.

But like all good challenges, it has brought forward something truly magical.

This program has come about through my personal experience to help others navigate food chemical sensitivities and healing leaky gut. My aim with this program is that we find what food chemicals may be problematic in a structured way to provide symptom relief and simultaneously focus on our gut bugs & treating the underlying cause.

What is food chemical sensitivity?
In our foods there are many natural chemicals that vary in concentration. Some serve to protect the plant against insects and others come about through protein degradation. In many circumstances these chemicals are of benefit – they are antioxidants and act against cancer, inflammation and chronic disease. But for some people, they can reap havoc and be the cause of your symptoms.
Think fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, insomnia, depression, anxiety, irritability or skin rashes. Or hay fever, hives, foggy head, weight gain, hair loss… the list goes on!
The RPAH elimination diet or FAILsafe diet is a wonderful diet that helps people navigate salicylate and histamine intolerance. You can read more about this on www.fedup.com.au
However missing from this diet is oxalate intolerance. Oxalates are high in chocolate, nuts, spinach and sweet potato. They are crystals that normally are digested by our gut bugs, but if we have a problem there, they then accumulate and can cause prostatitis, vaginitis, thrush, painful red or itchy bottom, painful sex, Fibromyalgia, CFS and more.

Why not just follow the RPAH elimination diet?
This diet gets results for many people. It looks not only at food chemicals but also avoiding preservatives in our foods and other products that may be causing us problems.
Yet the suggested foods are high in sugar and well, in my mind, a bit crappy overall.
It doesn’t take into account oxalates, the gut microbiome (the world of bacteria) and supplements that can support the food chemical intolerances.  
It is a case of eliminating the troublesome food, and living this way ongoing.

Why not GAPS diet?
Again the GAPs diet has helped countless of people around the world, especially children suffering from behavioural issues.
But for us it didn’t work. In the end we were on a gluten free, dairy free, low salicylate, low oxalate, low histamine, low FODMAP, GAPs diet. Which really equates to living on air! And dealing with a huge amount of overwhelm.
My experience with the GAPS diet left me asking “what parts of the GAPs diet is beneficial?” Clearly it works and I’ve been sifting through the different principles to see what is essential and what is well, based on a “gut feeling” rather than evidence.

Introducing our program….
This program incorporates the RPAH elimination diet, selective  principles behind the GAPS diet, and the low oxalate diet.
There are three phases to the program:

  1. Preparation (3 weeks)
  2. Elimination (3 weeks)
  3. Challenge (4 weeks)

The preparation phase is essential for the success of the elimination diet. The challenge phase is structured so that you have the best chance of determining what category of foods you are reacting to. It helps us to make sense of what we need to avoid while we are working on the underlying cause, which is where this program leads you.
It recognises that whilst we may feel better on a restricted diet, we are at risk of starving our good bugs. For instance, a high fat diet can help us to feel better with less bloating (as our bugs can’t ferment fat) however our good bugs start to decline in numbers and can even become extinct. Once they’re gone it becomes very difficult to re-establish a healthy gut microbiome.
This program also challenges many assumptions about gut healing and what foods we should & shouldn’t have, using evidence to back up our recommendations.
We hope to identify what your main issues are in relating to food and gut health. Following the program, you then work with our naturopaths or myself to then focus on these, with initiation of specific supplements. It is important to follow these steps to minimise any adverse effects from the treatments. For instance, if you are salicylate intolerant, you cannot tolerate certain herbs and we can modify our approach to better help you.

Who are we looking for?
You are motivated and committed to finding answers.
You have symptoms (unexplained or listed above) and are concerned they may relate to your diet/gut.
You are willing to share this experience with others (small group) in a similar circumstance.
You are a type A personality – you like to be on time, thorough with your note taking and following instructions and are reliable.
You are happy to share what you learn with us. For instance, we will be providing recipes but hope to get your input in tweaking these or creating something new, so that our resources expand to benefit others.
You understand that nothing is guaranteed and take responsibility for your own health. 
You can attend all sessions - if a class is missed, you are happy to have a quick 1:1 consult with our naturopaths to ‘catch up’.
You can afford testing for leaky gut, +/- SIBO +/- stool culture.

A little more detail about the program: 
We have only 8 spaces available (6 are already filled) and want our first time to be as successful & enjoyable as it can be.
Starts: 17th May, runs for 10 weeks (ends 19th July).
Time: 0900-1100 every Wednesday morning.
It will be run by myself and you will also have the support of Rachel and Lucy (my naturopaths)
Each structured session will allow us to address your specific concerns as they relate to the diet and related symptoms.
You will be provided with resources, recipes, meal plans, shopping lists and strategies to help with the entire process. I am sharing everything I have learnt with you.
It will not cover 1:1 consultations required to address your other health complaints or more detailed assessment if anything unexpected arises.
Cost: 
For 10 weeks I will be running a 2 hour session to support you every step of the way.
As this is our first time running the program, I have allocated the money that Narayani Wellness tithes (yes, we normally tithe 5% profits to charity) to subsidise this.
The out of pocket fee is $50 each session, totalling $500 for the 10 week program. This will need to be paid up front to confirm your position.
Interested? 
We have two positions left to fill so get in touch with us by this Friday 5th May to let us know your interested. Lucy or Rachel will schedule a call with me so we can have a chat about your suitability.
 

How seeing a naturopath can better your health.

As a naturopath, we often see patients that have suffered years of ongoing, unresolved complaints and have been searching for answers without any luck. You may have a feeling that 'something more can be done', looking for a natural approach or are sick of getting prescribed antibiotics for the common cold. What about a desire to understand your body or wanting to have optimal, thriving heath and not feeling like you are just surviving? Does any of that sound familiar? If so, naturopathy may be for you. 

Naturopath's have the exciting, complex and rewarding job of looking and treating you as a whole person. What does this actually mean? This means that when you come in with a concern, for example you feel tired all the time, we will look beyond how much sleep you are getting. We will also consider your personal health history, family history, blood tests, medications, stress levels, physical examination, diet, allergies and so much more. We do this because we want to understand your unique situation as we appreciate the many causes that contribute to you feeling this way. An understanding of who you are is so important in giving you the best treatment.

The beauty of naturopathy is that the therapies we use are well tolerated and can actually be a support to conventional medicine. Although our remedies have traditional beginnings, many of them have substantial scientific evidence that support there use and efficacy. Naturopathy is also wonderful and unique in that there is no 'one fix' approach to a problem. It has a broad scope of treatment and can use the following remedy options according to your circumstance. 

  • Herbal medicine as liquids, tablets and teas
  • Dietary advice to promote food as medicine and nutritional supplements
  • Lifestyle and environmental advice to promote mindfulness and wellbeing
  • Flower essences have an energetic basis and can enhance the emotional aspects of healing.   

Using the example above, if your 'feeling tired all the time' was caused by high levels of stress we could look at using one or a combination of diet modification, herbal medicine, nutrient supplementation and mindfulness techniques. Interestingly this means that if your friend were to need help because they also felt tired all the time due to stress, we may actually consider completely different herbs, nutrients and dietary advice because we would consider their unique circumstances.  

In essence, naturopathy is based on the principle that the body has an inherent ability to heal itself. We follow these six philosophies when treating you:  

  1. The healing power of nature  (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
  2. Identify and treat the cause (Tolle Causum) 
  3. Treat the whole person (Tolle Totum)
  4. Do not harm (Primum Non Nocere)
  5. Doctor as teacher (Docere)
  6. Prevention (Preventare)
Herbal Medicine in melbourne

At Narayani Wellness, your naturopathic experience is truly unique as we have a supportive community of passionate naturopaths and integrative doctors working together. We believe more can be achieved by having these two approaches as it has greater potency and efficacy than doing things separately. Our approach to patient care embraces the combination of traditional philosophy with functional testing, and we find we get better results with our patients with the addition of functional testing. Functional testing allows us to look at the finer processes that occur within our bodies. This includes looking at how our cells function, our energy production pathways, how we clear toxins, how we make our brain chemicals, hormone profiles and how we can achieve healthy bowel functions. Our focus is to put you first and we realise the best relationship is one built on trust. All of this keeps us on our toes which motivates us to do professional development and stay current with research to continually benefit you.

We realise that Spring is a time we focus on our health and 'recover' from Winter woes. For some, this means the annual struggle of hay fever or a time to address old health issues that flared up from a change in your diet and exercise. With Spring well and truly here and the excitement of warmer days coming, maybe this is the right time for you to see a naturopath and regain your health. 

Our top 23 recommendations to avoid the hidden toxins in your diet

We had such a great response to our part one blog series looking at the hidden toxins you may be putting IN your body. We left you with some healthier alternatives to help you reduce your exposure. The post had us all brainstorming, sharing and discussing what we do in our own homes that help keep our toxin consumption to a minimum. We were so excited about our new learnings that we thought "why not share this with everyone?!" So here you are. These are some of our favourite brands, products and places we shop that will help you get through this modern day chemical maze.  

1. Additive free foods. For a lot of us this is particularly hard to find alternatives in the snack department, as it's so easy to grab a packet of something and run out the door. Try these instead:

  • You have probably heard of bliss/energy/protein balls and have been handed several DIY recipes, but what if you don't have the time or creativity? Funch has made it so much easier. All you need to do is add one or two ingredients and you are done.
  • If you want the most delicious nuts and seeds, try 2die4. Based in Byron Bay, these guys have a wide range to choose from single types, mixed, paleo and tamari. Yum! 
  • Botanical Cuisine, a Melbourne company, has nailed the market of raw, vegan, preservative free dips that are perfect for veggie sticks. Some of their dips can also be used as a dressing, spread or added to scrambled eggs! 

2. Clean cooking with perfluorochemical free cookware.

  • Le Creuset has a massive range of cookware from pots, pans and bakeware in a variety of materials.
  • If you are after a slow cooker for soups, stews or bone broths try this one by Breville.

3. Glass containers and jars to store and reheat food.

  • Buying things in jars mean you have jars to re-use for storage. Looking in our pantries, we all laughed about the over-abundance of glass jars we have in our homes!
  • Alternatively, IKEA and Kmart have affordable options.

4. To avoid trans fat you need to throw out the margarine and anything called a 'vegetable spread', think Nuttelex and Flora. Store bought and packaged baked goods are also hidden sources. Alternative products include:

  • Butter from Organic Dairy Farmers as it is certified organic and supports local farmers. Other alternatives for spreads we love are avocado, Spiral's unhulled tahini, or Artisana's deliciously creamy cashew butter.
  • For those times you want to treat yourself, get inspired by one of the many margarine free recipes by The Healthy Chef!   

5. Healthy cooking oils we are a fan of:

  • SOL Ghee is made from 100% certified organic unsalted butter from Australian and New Zealand grass fed cows.
  • Coconut oil options are endless! You want to buy the least modified oil, look for these words on the packaging: certified organic, virgin, extra-virgin or unrefined, unbleached, expeller, centrifuge or cold pressed. We also prefer glass packaging to avoid BPA. Brands that tick all these boxes include Loving Earth and Niugini Organics.

6. Our go-to fish and sea vegetable products are:

  • This Fish is a health and environmentally conscious brand. They are organic and use sustainable source for their products. 
  • Power Super Foods have a great range organic sea vegetables including dulse, wakame and nori.
  • If you like making your own sushi Gold Mine have excellent nori sheets!

7.  The best organic whole food stores in Melbourne. They are stockists for so many of the products we have mentioned.

  • Visit Apples and Sage Organic Wholefoods, this is an amazing, certified organic, family owned business located in Balwyn. Known in the area as a friendly, affordable, one stop shop destination.
  • Terra Madre Organics is a local favourite and organic institution, known for its huge bulk range at bulk prices.
  • Wild Things in Fitzroy values everything we do; community, local, organics and the environment. 

BONUS TIPS

  • Looking for a great water filter? Southern Cross Pottery have filters of all shapes and sizes to remove some of the nasties in your water. Waters Co Bio Mineral offer great compact, portable water filter jugs too. 

If have any products, shops and brands you passionate about we would love you to share it with us!

The hidden toxins in your life and how to avoid them

With the arrival of Holistic Skin Naturopathy at Narayani Wellness, we have been thinking about all the products we commonly put on our skin. As holistic practitioners, we also start thinking about the bigger picture, and consider what we put in and around our bodies that affects not only our skin, but also our overall health. Due to the industrial age we live in, our exposure to toxins has increased exponentially over the past decades. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the chemicals present in air, water, soil, food, building materials and household products are toxicants that contribute to many chronic diseases we see in clinical practice (1).

Fortunately, you do have some say in the amount of toxins you are exposed to, especially within your home. To help you out and give your spring clean a bit of a kick-start we have broken this HUGE topic into a three part blog series: in, on and around.

 

Part one 'in'

Of the large list of things we could discuss, here are some common toxins you may be unknowingly putting IN your body. 

1. Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical product used in plastics and resins of food and drink packaging e.g. drink/water bottles and the lining of canned foods. BPA leaches toxins into our food and is worse when heated (2). It is an endocrine disruptor, which means it has a nasty effect on your hormone levels. For men it is linked to lower sexual function, semen quality (3), prostate disease and prostate cancer (4). In women it has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive difficulties (5). Exposure has also been associated with obesity, heart disease and behavioural problems (3,6)

2. Phalates are synthetic chemicals found in plastics commonly, and are additives for various other applications (7,8). The main concern with phalates is that they are endocrine disruptors that interfere with the hormones that regulate our reproductive and nervous system (9). Exposure during pregnancy is concerning, as it has been associated with shorter pregnancy duration, smaller babies and lower birth weight (10). Other negative effects include poor thyroid function and respiratory problems including asthma (11).

3. Perfluoro chemicals are used to make products stable and durable. They can be found in the coatings of cookware and in products where fats and oils are prevented from soaking through, such as popcorn bags and greaseproof paper (12). Animal studies suggest it is toxic to the immune system and liver, and has a negative impact on blood lipids, thyroid hormones and sex hormone production (13). Human exposure is connected to lower birth weight and birth length and obesity later in life. Like BPA, these chemicals impact our reproductive system and are linked to poor sperm quality in men, and problems with conceiving and irregular menstrual cycles for women (14).

4. Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat produced by vegetable oils being hydrogenated (combined with hydrogen). They are used to improve food texture and stability (15) in products like deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, packaged snack foods and margarines. Trans fats have a terrible effect on our blood lipids and cholesterol, inflammation and blood vessel health. It also increases the risk of many cardiovascular diseases as well as diabetes and insulin resistance (16).

5. Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements, however arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury are a concern as they have a high degree of toxicity. Heavy metals are everywhere, but become problematic when we consume contaminated water and food such as seafood, non-organic and canned foods. Health impacts, depend on many factors and include negative effects on our nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. They are also linked to kidney damage, diabetes, osteoporosis, mental illnesses like depression, hearing loss and various types of cancer. These metals can also interfere our metabolism of iron, calcium, copper and zinc (17).

6. Non-organic food deserves a whole discussion! However, to demonstrate our point, the following example is how only ONE chemical used on non-organic food can impact your health (brace yourselves).

Glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Roundup®, are the most widely used across the world (18, 19). Consuming non-organic foods is our main source of exposure (20). This herbicide negatively affects our gut flora and gut lining and is linked to irritable bowel disease. Its health effects are wide and varied as it is also linked to cancer, unhealthy liver function, obesity, anaemia, infertility, mental illnesses like depression, ADHD and autism, nervous system conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis (21)

7. Food additives are substances that are added into or onto food and to effect its keeping quality, texture, consistency, taste and colour (22). Processed and packaged foods (23) e.g. canned, jarred, boxed and wrapped, are commonly full of additives. Consumption has been linked to severe allergic reactions, asthma, eczema, dermatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, migraines, behavioural disorders and hyperactivity (24).

Hidden toxins

Safer alternatives

Thankfully, we have some solid take home messages and safer alternatives to get you through our modern day toxic maze.

1. Minimise / remove packaged and processed foods.

  • Simple changes like swapping a muesli/snack bar for a small handful of nuts or store bought salad dressing for extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

2. Invest in cookware that is ceramic, cast iron, stone, glass or stainless steel. If you are after non-stick ensure it is perfluorochemical free.

3. Use glass: glass jars and containers to store and reheat food.

4. Throw out the margarine and avoid store bought and packaged baked goods. Healthier options include butter or coconut oil for cooking and avocado, cashew butter or tahini as a spread.

5. When using fats or oils in cooking, opt for duck fat, ghee and coconut oil as they have higher temperature of resistance before they oxide and go rancid. The higher the saturated and monounsaturated fats are better. Avoid cooking with high polyunsaturated fats.

6. Eat deep-sea small fish to minimise heavy metal consumption. If you eat sea products like kelp and nori, ensure they are organic. 

  • Consume anchovies, cod, crab, flounder, haddock, hake, mackerel, perch, salmon, sardine, trout and whiting.
  • Avoid bluefish, bassa, grouper, marlin, shark, swordfish and tuna.

7. Eat organic foods when possible.

 

Until part two of this series, we will leave you with a final question. What changes will you implement this week?

Integrative GP’s - Helping you to restore balance

Have you ever wanted a knowledgeable, trustworthy GP who shares your desire to have your health treated holistically? Did you know that was even an option? Maybe you did. Perhaps you have noticed the options you have to address your health are evolving. The words ‘integrative’ and ‘holistic’ are used frequently these days, but what do they mean, especially when describing a GP? To help you understand how a GP can have an integrative approach, here are the answers to a few questions you may have floating around your head! 

 

What is integrative medicine?

Let's break it down. Medicine is not just a science, but it is also an art. Medical knowledge comprises the science. It is the skilful application of this knowledge to you, a unique individual, that is the art of medicine. Integrative medicine draws from both Western medicine and natural, complementary medicine. It marries the two to provide complete and holistic care, tailored specifically to you.  

Integrative medicine in melbourne

What is an integrative GP?

An integrative GP is a fully qualified general practitioner with additional expertise in areas including nutritional and environmental medicine, herbal medicine and mind-body medicine. The integrative GP is also supportive of various complementary therapies. We appreciate that these alternate forms of healing can be incorporated into a holistic model of care to support you in your journey to full health. Basically, you get the best of both worlds.

 

Dr. Fi and Dr. Elsa are integrative GPs… what is their philosophy?

We believe that the body instinctively wants to function the way nature intended it to - in balance and in harmony with itself and the world around it. When your body is out balance in some way, that is when illness occurs. Our aim is to pinpoint and address these imbalances, to return your body to its natural state of balance and thus health.

 

The Illness-Wellness Continuum:

There are degrees of wellness, just like there are degrees of illness. Wellness is not merely the absence of illness, and is a dynamic and continuous state. Another way to put it is that health is not black and white; rather we understand there are shades of grey in between. With this understanding, integrative GP’s are different in that we treat beyond a point of black and white, even if there is no medically recognisable “disease” present - we address the shades of grey. For example, you may complain of tiredness, but in the absence of an obvious disease, you are seen as “well” by your doctor and sent on your way. Yet you are still tired. Integrative GP’s recognise that you are indeed not “well”. We seek to help you achieve wellness by digging deeper into what might really be going on.

Wellness continuum.png

What can an integrative GP offer me?

If you are seeking a comprehensive and holistic analysis of your health from a caring, accepting and non-judgmental doctor, as well as a thorough, holistic explanation of your symptoms, then you will benefit from seeing an integrative GP. We aim to help you achieve optimal wellness by seeking to understand and address the root cause, or causes, of ill health. Effectively addressing the root cause of illness is crucial to sustained healing and full recovery. Close attention is always given to nutrition, exercise, sleep and your psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

 

What can I expect from seeing an integrative GP?

Unlike a standard 10-15 minute GP consultation, you can expect your first consultation to run for typically one hour. This allows a holistic assessment of your health including your symptoms, lifestyle and current health status. Additionally your integrative GP will discuss with you some likely causative factors leading to health concerns as well as what can be done about them. You may be referred for testing and investigations, which may include functional testing (for example, cell function, hormonal analysis or gut integrity and flora) to help us understand your unique situation and treat your most effectively. Your personalised, holistic management plan will then be developed, with a large focus on diet, exercise, sleep and stress. It may also include the prescription of medication, nutrients and herbs. It is important for you to realise that at all times, you are in control and remain central to your care – we are here to serve you.

 

My health issues are complex, will an integrative GP be able to help me?

You may feel like you have a very complex situation, with complex medical histories and multiple existing conditions. Luckily for you, we are very familiar with seeing these types of people. You may also have multiple symptoms, conditions and diseases that seem unrelated and have been seeing multiple specialists, who care for those individual body systems. One of our strengths of an integrative GP is our unique perspective – we tend to step back to look at your overall picture in a truly holistic manner. It is often the case that seemingly unrelated symptoms, conditions or diseases within you may actually be linked with a common cause.

 

Final word:

We recognise that the true champion in your wellness journey is you. Contact us today, and get the support you deserve.

 

Dr Elsa Gladigau

MBBS (HONS) BMedSci (HONS) DCH FRACGP