detox

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. 

The best non-toxic cleaning products for your home

So far, we have sorted you out with the best toxin-free products to put IN and ON your body, so it's only fitting that we share our favourite products to use AROUND your body. Here are our must-have cleaning brands, products and ingredients we use around our households that are free of all the hidden nasty stuff that can play havoc with your health.

Our #1 tip for successfully changing to a toxin-free home is to do it gradually. Next time you finish one of your current cleaning products, replace it with a healthier, safer alternative. Before you know it, your home and family will be chemical and toxin-free, without feeling a financial sting. 

These brands cover ALL your kitchen, laundry, floor, wall, glass and bathroom needs.

  • ecostore is a proudly owned New Zealand brand that has your health and the environment as their top priorities. They have all your cleaning needs sorted, from fabric softeners to dishwashing tablets and everything in between. 
  • abode natural cleaning products have a huge range to address all your household needs. They even offer products in bulk 5L and 5kg quantities which are really cost effective! We love their ginger and lemongrass range. 
  • Ecover can help you get your dishes clean, bathroom shining and clothes nice and fresh. They even have products to help deal with the big problems of cleaning; limescale and dirty ovens.
  • Speaking of tough problems, Cinderella also does a super effective, natural oven and BBQ cleaner.
  • We love Resparkle products because they are certified organic (big tick of approval). They even have a range for bubs and little ones and offer a Healthy Baby Home Care Pack. 
Non-Toxic cleaning products

Say goodbye to air fresheners aka chemical nightmares!

  • Try diffusing organic essential oils in an aroma diffuser by Lively Living. With an aroma diffuser, no candles are needed for your home to be filled with the scent of your choice! To add to your diffuser, we love the single or delicious blends from Sacred SelfPerfect Potion or Mt Retour
  • Thursday Plantation has lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus in a spray. Great for scenting the air and disinfecting all types of surfaces. 
  • Chemical free room spray's and soy candles from Vanessa Megan are delightful. We love the fresh, uplifting combination of mint and citrus. Yum!
  • Love the feel and ambience of a burning candle? Northern Light make beautiful beeswax candles, as does Australian Certified Organic Happy Flame

Cleaning utensils and products.

  • Microfibre products by ENJO allow you to clean your home just by adding water. The structure of the fibres allows dirt and grime to lift right off. Their Floorcleaner is their number one best seller, for good reason.
  • Full Circle offers the best cleaning utensils including wipes, scrubbing brushes and reusable bottles (for your DIY cleaning products).

Common DIY cleaning product recipe ingredients.

  • Look no further than Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap in scented and unscented varieties. 
  • Essential oils are mentioned a lot in DIY recipes, especially eucalyptus, lemon, tea tree and lavender. When you visit Sacred SelfPerfect Potion or Mt Retour to get your wonderful scents for your diffuser, you can also pick up your cleaning oils. 
  • Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda by Bob's Red Mill is our favourite because it is aluminium free. This is also our preferred bi-carb soda for any baking needs.
  • Soap berries/nuts are nature's cleaning product, not only are they chemical free, but they are 100% biodegradable!
  • Vinegar is also a common DIY ingredient. Organic white vinegar is preferred, but some recipes ask for apple cider vinegar, for which we love Bragg.

Where you can buy these products.

We love sharing tips, suggestions and products that can help you live a healthier, happier and cleaner life. Enjoy these amazing products and let us know your favourites!

The hidden toxins you clean your house with

Part three 'around'

You may not have realised that by ridding your home of unwanted dirt and mess, you could actually be filling it with another kind of mess – nasty chemicals and toxins. These nasties are hidden in your cleaning products, and when you start listing all the products you use in the laundry, kitchen and bathroom, the number adds up! Did you know that the ingredients in these products could be affecting your health? Think about it, our skin absorbs everything it comes into contacts with(1) and our lungs breath in anything that's in the air, including chemical fumes(2). To know exactly what they are doing to your health, we are tackling some of the common toxins used around your home. A quick hello needs to be made to the repeat offenders; fragrancesphthalates, triclosanformaldehyde and heavy metals, which are used AROUND our homes, as well as products we use IN and ON our bodies.

1. Perchloroethylene (PCE)

PCE is used in dry cleaning, textile processing, metal-cleaning(3). It is considered to be a cancer causing agent(3,4) and can irritate your skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract. Swallowing PCE isn't a good idea as it will cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea(5), not to mention it's toxic to many of our vital organs. Our nervous system is the most affected if exposed to PCE for long periods; even at low doses, as it can negatively impact our vision, memory, cognition and reaction time(3,6)

2. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs)

QACs are used in dishwashing liquids, hand soaps, window cleaners, “all-purpose” cleaners, floor products, baby-care products, disinfectant sprays and wipes and air fresheners(7). QACs can cause irritant and/or allergic contact dermatitis and can be bigger problem if you have open wounds, infections or eczema(8). Your skin can become dry, red, chapped and scaled or at worse it can swell, blister and chemically burn(9). Breathing in QACs is a problem as they are often used with fragrances and can cause asthma or trigger symptoms of existing asthma(8,10,11). Don't get this stuff in your eyes either as it can cause serious damage to your cornea(12,13).

3. 2-Butoxyethanol

2-Butoxyethanol is used in paints, paint thinners, glass-cleaning, surface-cleaning products, household cleaners, metal cleaners, spray lacquers, quick-dry lacquers, enamels, varnishes and varnish removers(14). Animal studies have shown that breathing in 2-Butoxyethanol increase some types of cancers(15). In humans it can cause difficulty breathing, runny nose, coughing, painful and tearing eyes and red, irritated dermatitis. It so toxic that our red blood cells can become fragile(16) and you can poisoned just through breathing it in(14)

4. Ammonia

Ammonia can be found in cleaning products for your car, windows, drains, toilet, bathroom, oven and stainless steel products(15,16). Just by cleaning your home with these products and using oven cleaning sprays you increase your risk for asthma(17). Ammonia's main toxic effects occur at the site of direct contact and effects depend on how much you are exposed to. For example, if you spill a product containing ammonia, the fumes may cause your eyes to water, but if you spill a bottle of concentrated ammonia your eyes could have serious vision loss(16). Mixing chlorine bleach with ammonia also creates a toxic gas that can cause short term or permanent breathing problems(18).

5. Chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is the most commonly used disinfecting and cleaning agent in the developed world(19) and is used in scouring powders, toilet cleaners, mould removers and laundry whiteners(20). Being around chlorine gas can cause your throat to burn, lungs, eye and nose irritation, asthma(21), chest tightness and coughing. It's not very nice for your skin either as direct contact can cause burning pain, inflammation and blisters (22).

6. Sodium Hydroxide aka Lye and Caustic Soda

Sodium hydroxide is found in aquarium products, drain cleaners, hair straighteners, metal polishes and oven cleaners(23). Sodium hydroxide is strongly irritating and corrosive and can cause severe burns and permanent damage to any tissue that it comes in contact with. Your eyes may burn and develop cataracts, glaucoma and blindness. If breathed in, it can result in asthma, a swollen voice box or persistent hoarseness(24). So really, its effects ain't pretty.

Home safer tips

Tips to make your home safer

Thankfully, we have some solid take home messages and safer alternatives to make cleaning your home a safer experience

1. Read the label. Just because a product says it's 'green' or 'environmentally friendly' doesn't necessarily mean it's safe for your health. Additionally, just because it includes lemon or bi-carbonate of soda as ingredients, they probably aren't the only ingredients in the product and may be added to chlorine bleach.

2. DIY cleaning recipes can be safer (and cheaper). Finding recipes that use ingredients like bi-carbonate of soda, lemon, salt, vinegar and essential oils are highly effective and safer for your family.

3. Use micro-fibre clothes and mops so you can clean with water and forget the chemicals.

4. Protect yourself by using gloves, face masks, eye masks to inhibit contact with any nasties.

5. Ventilation! If you have to or choose to continue using chemical cleaners make sure there is adequate airflow when you clean.

If you are wondering what brands are safe to buy, next week we will be sharing our absolute favourites we use to clean the bathroom, kitchen and laundry.  

 

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?