food is medicine

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 

FOOD INTOLERANCE: Why you might not be stuck with it for life!

FOOD INTOLERANCE: Why you might not be stuck with it for life!

For some people, foods considered ‘healthy’ can trigger an adverse response in the body. A reaction to wholesome foods such as fruits and vegetables should ring alarm bells – it’s your body’s way of communicating to you that something isn’t right inside. Food intolerances are typically treatable if the cause is identified. But first, let’s take a look at the difference between food allergy and intolerance, and become familiar with the symptoms of each.

Defining food allergy

Food allergy occurs when a susceptible individual has an immune reaction to a food, causing the release of immunoglobulins (antibodies) and other chemicals into the bloodstream. These immune chemicals can cause the lips, mouth and tongue to swell, an itchy rash (hives) to develop, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramping and respiratory difficulties. Generally only a small amount of the food is needed to cause an immune response, and in severe cases, the food only needs to be touched or particles inhaled for a reaction to occur.

Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, egg, wheat, soy, milk, mustard and sesame. Allergies are usually identified in childhood, however they can develop at any age. Many childhood allergies are outgrown as the immune system develops. Some allergies, such as shellfish and peanut, typically persist into adulthood.  

Food allergy vs. food intolerance

A food allergy can lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis and strict avoidance of the allergen follows diagnosis. Food intolerance is not life threatening and diagnosis or management may involve a food challenge i.e. bringing the food back into the diet. Due to these differences, the distinction between allergy and intolerance is important in individuals who suspect their symptoms (or their child’s symptoms) relate to food.

How to spot food intolerance

Many people live with the symptoms of food intolerance without realising that food is the culprit, as reactions can vary greatly in type and severity between individuals, so it is not easily recognisable. Some people experience food intolerance predominantly as digestive symptoms such as bloating, nausea or diarrhoea, while others may feel lethargic, get headaches, acne or skin rash.

For some, symptoms come on quite quickly after eating, making the troublesome food easier to spot. However for many others, the symptoms can be delayed or inconsistent from day to day. Intolerances are usually dose dependent, which means the more you eat of the offending food (or food group), the worse the reaction.

The bottom line – identifying food intolerance can be complicated. Some diagnostic testing is available through a practitioner, though it is costly and limited. Keeping a food diary that clearly documents foods eaten and the timing of symptoms can help uncover which foods make you unwell.  A health practitioner who is familiar with food intolerance can help step you through an elimination and challenge diet, to better determine problematic foods and your threshold for reactions to that food.

The Common Culprits

As a naturopath, I’ve seen some wacky reactions to unexpected foods in clinic, however there are particular foods that are commonly problematic:

·      Gluten – an umbrella term for the proteins found in wheat, rye barley and oats. The symptoms of gluten intolerance (also referred to as non- coeliac gluten sensitivity) typically appear hours or the day following gluten consumption. Headache, fatigue, brain fog and achiness are among the most common symptoms.

·      Lactose – the sugar found in dairy products. Foods particularly high lactose includes milk, cream, soft cheeses, commercial yoghurts and ice cream. The intolerance is usually caused by lack of the digestive enzyme lactase, leading to symptoms of abdominal cramping, bloating and diarrhoea, which appear quite quickly after eating lactose.

·      Histamine – an amine that occurs naturally in many aged and processed foods including wine, cheese, pate, meat broth and fish. The common symptoms of food histamine intolerance include flushed, itchy skin, nasal irritation, nausea, reflux, headache and irritability.  

·      Salicylates – found naturally in colourful fruits and vegetables, salicylate intolerance is often one that is overlooked. In children, salicylate intolerance often appears as a red rash around the mouth and behavioral issues. In adults symptoms can range greatly, from digestive discomfort to mood issues.

·      Fructose – the sugar found naturally occurring in fruits, as well as a common sugar additive. Fructose malabsorption is a genetically inherited inability to absorb fructose. Free fructose in the intestine causes water to flood into the space, leading to diarrhoea. Fermentation of the sugar by bacteria and yeasts can also lead to gas and bloating.

·      FODMAPS – a group of carbohydrate fibres found in many fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts. The symptoms of FODMAP intolerance resemble those of irritable bowel syndrome e.g. bloating, burping, cramping, diarrhoea and/or constipation. A common underlying cause for FODMAP intolerance is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

·      Food additives such as flavours, colours or preservatives can affect mood, digestion, respiration and the skin. Some examples include MSG, sulphites, nitrates, benzoates and the artificial sweetener aspartame.

What all food intolerances have in common

All food intolerances have their origin in the gut, whether it is in the small intestines, liver or colon. Some common reasons why intolerances develop include:

·      Lack of liver or intestinal enzymes to break down the particular food, which can be due to a range of nutritional and genetic factors.

·      An imbalance of bacteria in the gut (termed dysbiosis) or bacteria overgrowing in the small intestine (SIBO), causing the improper processing of foods (typically sugars and carbohydrates such as fructose, lactose and other FODMAPs)

·      Having a leaky gut, which exposes food particles to the immune system which otherwise would not make contact.

Given there is generally an underlying reason why intolerance has developed, it stands to reason that if the causal gut issue is corrected, the intolerance will resolve. My experience as a health practitioner has seen many patients’ reintroduce problematic foods after years of restrictive diets. Healing the gut completely by identifying unique issues to the individual is the key to successfully reversing food intolerance. It is often a tricky and involved process, which requires patience and perseverance. With the right attitude and right practitioner guiding you, you don’t have to be stuck with food intolerance for life.

Lucy

BHSc (Naturopathy) with Distinction

Low FODMAP Winter Warming Soup

You have just discovered the low FODMAP diet and your tummy is feeling much better for it, but traditional Winter food feels so bland without onion and garlic! It doesn’t have to. This delicious soup uses ginger, chilli and high quality chicken stock to give it some serious flavour. These warming ingredients are perfect for cold Winter nights, and the mix of fresh veggies makes it light, healthy and refreshing.

Not only will low FODMAP be gentle on your tummy, but the gelatin in the chicken stock may aid the healing of a leaky gut, which often accompanies FODMAP issues. At Narayani Wellness we encourage the use of high quality organic chicken broth, as pesticides accumulate in connective tissue and are therefore often found in high quantities in non-organic meat broths. You can make your own organic broth or buy it ready made from most health food stores. For a vegan/vegetarian variation of this soup, substitute chicken stock with a homemade veggie stock. Tofu, tempeh or boiled eggs could be used instead of poached meat.

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Serves 3-4. Preparation and cook time 30-40 minutes.

Gluten free, dairy free. Vegan/vegetarian option.

Ingredients:

  • Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • One fresh chilli finely chopped (seeds removed)
  • 1 tbsp oil (we like olive, coconut or ghee)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 large zucchini, seeds removed and grated
  • ½ large capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 4 stalks/1 cup broccolini, chopped
  • 500g organic meat of your choice (I used chicken drumsticks) (optional)
  • 1.5 L organic chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh coriander to serve

 Method

  1. In a large pot, saute the chilli and ginger in oil for 2 minutes on medium-high heat
  2. Add the chicken stock.
  3. If using meat, add it now to poach in the stock
  4. Remove the meat with tongs once cooked through and place on a cutting board to cool
  5. Turn pot down to a simmer, add the vegetables and cook until just soft
  6. Meanwhile, shred the cooked meat with a couple of forks or chop into small pieces
  7. Add the meat back to the pot
  8. Serve into bowls, salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh coriander!

Created by Lucy Mason

BHSc (Naturopathy)

Are prebiotics good or bad in SIBO?

Since my previous blog about IBS and SIBO I have had so many questions from my patients wanting to know more about SIBO. What stands out to me the most is a confusion around what to eat, with the most common questions surrounding prebiotic, fibre rich foods and if they help or hinder SIBO.

 

What is a prebiotic food and what does our gut do to it?

A prebiotic is a non-digestible food ingredient that it is not broken down or absorbed in the higher parts of our gastrointestinal tract(1). There are a lot of foods with prebiotic properties including chickpeas, legumes, leeks, rye bread, garlic and cashews(2). They play a special role in our health - they act as food to our gut's good bacteria, increasing their numbers (lactobacilli and bifidobacteria(3)) and improving our overall health(1).  

 

Why do these healthy foods cause discomfort?

In SIBO, the overgrowth of bacteria causes inflammation and hurts your gut wall affecting your ability to breakdown and digest food. The bugs themselves play havoc with your own enzymes and body processes. For example there is loss/decrease in an enzyme called disaccharideses, which is important for breaking down carbohydrates and sugars. This means that any food, like a prebiotic food that contains fructose, lactose and sorbitol, may not be digested properly, resulting in those uncomfortable symptoms you experience(4).

 

Treating SIBO… with prebiotics?!

You may notice that some of the foods that cause your discomfort are also considered to be high FODMAP foods. FODMAP describes a group of of short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols comprising of fructose, lactose, fructo- and galactooligosaccharides (fructans, and galactans), and polyols(5).

To provide symptom relief from SIBO we may suggest avoiding these high FODMAP prebiotics foods (looking at you apples, onions and garlic!) for a short period of time. It is really important to know that excluding these foods long term is not the answer and will not fix SIBO(6). A healthy gut is dependant on you eating a fibre rich, highly diversified diet so restricting these foods for a long period of time will only worsen your situation and increase your sensitivity to more foods(7). It's not uncommon that we see patients tolerating only a handful of foods and it's best to avoid this! 

Garlic, a wonderful prebiotic food.

Garlic, a wonderful prebiotic food.

As part of our treatment for SIBO we use certain types of prebiotics in combination with probiotics and specific antimicrobials (bug killers). These types of prebiotics have beneficial roles in our gut health that are important for restoring your gut health.

The following are four common prebiotic supplements on the market, three of which we use regularly in the treatment of SIBO. The fourth is not advised!

1. Lactulose

Lactulose is made up of two sugars, galactose and fructose, which is not broken down or absorbed in our small intestine. Lactulose increases our good bugs like bifidobacteria(8) and decreases the bad ones like clostridia(9). It is generally well tolerated, however you can take too much of it and end up with loose bowels(8)

2. Partically Hydrolysed Guar Gum (PHGG)

PHGG is a natural water soluble fibre that has been broken down by an enzyme to make it smaller and to decrease the amount of galactomannon (10). PHGG increases the good bugs Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species and decreases nasty waste products such as ammonia(11). PHGG can also give softer stools to assist constipation(12). Studies also show that PHGG in combination with an antibiotic to treat SIBO was more useful in eradicating SIBO compared with the antibiotics alone(13), how amazing!

3. Galacto-oligosaccarrides (GOS)

GOS is formed by breaking down lactose, a common sugar found in dairy. GOS is known to increase the good bugs bifidobacteria and reduce the bad bugs, clostridia and bacteroides. Another benefit of GOS alone or in combination with a probiotic is that it can support our immune system. GOS used in its recommended dosage range is well tolerated. Again, too much of a good thing can lead to problems; abdominal discomfort, cramping, flatulence and diarrhoea(14)

4. Inulin

Inulin is beneficial to out gut because it supports our good bugs bifidobacteria. However, because it is made up fructans(15), it can be really uncomfortable to consume if you have SIBO. Studies have found inulin increases flatulence, rumbling, stomach and gut cramps, and bloating(16). So best to avoid this one! 

Take home messages

Prebiotics are very powerful and beneficial for SIBO. But remember, not all prebiotics are the same.

If certain foods are causing you pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea, this is your body communicating to you that your digestion system is struggling. Ironically the foods that cause discomfort are the same foods that are important to your health. Instead of excluding these foods, we need to improve your digestive system so you can tolerate these and improve your health in the long run. This can be impossible to navigate by yourself so get a professional on board to help correct your bugs, restore your gut wall and find the diet and fibre that is right for you.

After this, you may even be able to handle eating delicious lentils, onion, garlic and apples!

By Rachel Larsson

BHSc (Naturopathy), BPH (Nutrition)

Warm sweet potato and lentil salad

This gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian friendly recipe, developed by our naturopath Rachel, is the perfect meal or side dish to your favourite protein. 

There are so many elements to this salad that nurture and support your gut health with our favourite being fibre!

Adequate intake of fibre for men is 30g/day and women is 25g/day (1), which most Australian's fail to meet (2). High fibre intake is proven to have health-protective effects and disease-reversal benefits including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases (3). Resistant carbohydrates and dietary fibre, from sources like sweet potato and lentils, influences the variety and number of bacteria we have in our gut, as well as their bacteria's metabolic abilities (4), which influences so many aspects of our health, including mood and immune function. So dig in to this delicious recipe and feed your gut some fibre.

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Serves 4-5. Preparation and cook time 1-hour 20min

Ingredients

  • 800g sweet potato cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 ½ C bite sized broccoli florets
  • 150g snow peas, cut into thirds
  • 1 can (400g) brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 handfuls of rocket
  • Coconut oil 
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 2 tsp seeded mustard
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Feta or parmesan (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Add sweet potato to a lined baking tray and coat in coconut oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place baking tray in oven and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.
  3. In a large bowl add snow peas, rocket and lentils. Sit this aside.
  4. To make the salad dressing, in a small bowl add lemon, mustard, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir until combined and pour into the large bowl.
  5. After the sweet potato has been in the oven for 45 minutes, add the broccoli florets to the bake try and bake for the remaining 15 minutes.
  6. After the baked vegetables are done, add them to the large bowl and mix well.
  7. Serve in your favourite plate or bowl with the option of adding your favourite parmesan or feta.

Dish created by Rachel Larsson

Fermented Beet Kvass

One of our favourite gut loving recipes is beet kvass. Beet kvass is type of fermented drink, you know, similar to kefir or kombucha. Kvass has so many health benefits and is great for your gut. Due to it's fermentation process it is a wonderful source of probiotics which can help the health of your gut and immune system, it is also rich in antioxidants with is excellent for your liver. Using beetroot is traditionally known for it's blood cleansing properties, in addition to being a great source of nutrients.

Kvass typically has a tangy, salty flavour which can be an acquired taste. Using beetroot also gives it a wonderful earthy flavour. If beetroot isn't your thing, you can use other foods to ferment like fruits (strawberries and raisins) and herbs (mint). 

 Ingredients        

  • 2-4 organic beetroot
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Filtered water
  • A few tablespoons whey, dripped from yoghurt or milk kefir (optional)
  • 1-1.5 litre glass jar

Directions

1. Wash unpeeled beets and chop into large cubes

2. Place beets in a jar and add salt and optional whey (if not using whey add an extra tsp of salt)

3. Fill jar with filtered water, you want to cover the beetroot by at least two inches

4. Seal with lid and leave on the counter at room temperature for 4-7 days to ferment (4-5 days in summer)

5. Transfer to fridge

6. Have about ¼ cup daily on own or dilute with water

Image: Courtesy of CERES Fair Food.

Image: Courtesy of CERES Fair Food.

How your gut is connected to hay fever and allergies

I bet you are wondering, ‘how can my water eyes, running nose and sneezing be connected to my gut?’. As you may have noticed today, there are studies coming out linking all sorts of conditions and diseases to the health of your gut. Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is no different. 

For starters our digestive system plays a huge role in the balance of our immune system. Almost 70% of our entire immune system is located in our gut(1). For hay fever and other allergic diseases the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ was thought to have a role in the increase in allergies, with the lack of exposure to microbes in early life increasing the risk of allergies in later life(2). Now something called the 'microbiota hypothesis' is thought to play a role, meaning a change in our gut bugs influence the development of our immune system(3). Although allergies are also influenced by genetics, some of the environmental and lifestyle factors that change your gut bacteria and increase your risk for allergies include infant use of antibiotics, formula feeding and being born by caesarean section(4,5). Oppositely, growing up with pets(6), growing up on a farm(7), being born through vaginal delivery and being breast fed has been linked to positively influencing your gut’s flora to include more ‘protective strains’(4,5).

What your body does in an allergic reaction

For an allergy to exist, allergen sensitisation must first occur. Special immune cells present in the mucosal surfaces of the body such as nose, lungs and gastrointestinal tract, detect the allergen. One type of immune cells comes into contact with the allergen which are then displayed on the cell's surface. This cell then lets other immune cells know to produce antibodies (IgE) specific to the allergen. From then on, if you are exposed to that allergen, an allergic response is triggered. The allergen is identified by antibodies (IgE) causing immune cells to release inflammatory mediators, such as histamine (8). Histamine is responsible for the itchy nose and runny nose, red watery eyes and dry cough.

The gut-lung connection

The lining of your gut is structurally very similar to lining of your lungs. If you are someone with allergies, inflammation will tend to happen in both areas, as it is thought that leaky gut may have a role in 'leaky lungs'. Our gut flora are also likely have a major impact on the integrity of the lung tissue(9).

Histamine and your gut

You may think histamine is the bad guy because it is linked to your allergies, but in fact is extremely important for mood, stomach acid, blood vessels, and muscle functions (10). The problem with histamine is for some people they can be suffering from histamine intolerance. This means they produce excess histamine and/or have a deficiency in the enzyme that breaks it down. When it comes to our gut, some of our microbes are capable of producing histamine. These microbes produce an enzyme, which converts histidine into histamine. The more of these microbes you have, and the more histidine you consume, the higher the amount of histamine you can produce. Histamine can be then be absorbed and taken around the body, exacerbating allergic symptoms (11).

Balance Immune System

How to improve your allergy symptoms

1. Heal your gut. Gut health and healing isn't straight forward and may require a professional to guide you. There may be other gut issues at play, like Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO) driving gut inflammation and increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), which will also need to be addressed.

2. Balancing gut flora can balance your immune system. This means probiotics from capsules or fermented foods. Be careful with fermented foods if you are histamine sensitive though, as they are a source of histamine. If you feel worse on bone broths or foods like sauerkraut then get in touch with a trained professional to help you refine your diet and introduce these gut healing foods slowly. Some strains that can help reduce histamine include Bifidobacteria infantis and Lactobacillus plantarum (12, 13).

3. Eat fermentable fibre. Eat a diet full of complex, fermentable fibre as it helps intestinal microbiota make short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs help regulate the immune system and decrease allergic airway inflammation (14). 

4. Try eating low-histamine diet. Following a low-histamine diet can help reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. Foods to avoids that are high in histamines include canned and ready meals, fermented foods, aged and matured foods like cheese, fish, shellfish, avocados, spinach, cocoa and leftover meat (15).

5. Eat foods high in quercetin or take a supplement. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and can be found in foods like grapefruit, onions, apples, black tea, leafy green vegetables and beans. Some herbs like Ginkgo biloba and Sambucus spp. are also sources.

6. Zinc. Zinc is a key nutrient involved in maintaining a healthy immune system. It is also necessary in healing and maintaining a healthy gut wall. Supplementing with zinc could significantly help in the healing of leaky gut(16). To find out your zinc levels and get the safest, and get most appropriate zinc supplement, see one of our professionals. Eating foods rich in zinc can also help including grass-fed beef, oysters, lamb, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, cashews, chicken, spinach and mushrooms.

7. Eat local, raw honey. Raw honey contains both beneficial bacteria and trace amounts of pollen picked up by the bees from local plants. By eating raw honey, you can 'educate' your immune system to tolerate these local pollens (16). By local we mean the neighbouring suburbs, postcode or city. Australian honey isn't considered 'local' as the plants in Perth are very different to that in Melbourne, for example. 

8. For symptom relief try clearing your nasal passage using a neti pot. If any allergens are stuck in the passage this can clear them out and give some temporary relief.

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!