How to keep well in the face of climate catastrophe

The Amazon is burning.  The lungs of the earth are burning.  Alaska, Greenland, Norway and Russia are also experiencing wild fires.  The polar temperatures are the hottest this year than ever before.  Islands of plastic rubbish float in the Pacific & Atlantic Oceans and turtles are being strangled by micro-plastics.  Sea levels are rising as the ice melts and the biggest Hurricane ever seen has just flattened the Bahamas.  Thus, has been the evening news and social media posts from celebrities just in the last week.  The call to action……stop buying plastic, stop eating meat……..stop driving your car, stop turning on your lights….donate your hard-earned money to save-the-earth fund!

If modern life is not stressful enough, now it seems we are staring down the barrel of climate disaster and it’s a train wreck the average person feels powerless to stop.  This is not a blog about environmental issues, but rather a discussion on how we can cling on to hope despite all the bad news and not succumb to anxiety and depression. 

My teenage son looked at me after hearing one of these bulletins on the tv and said that he doesn’t think he’ll have children because the planet is doomed.  A devastating thought indeed.  I guess my generation (that is Generation X) at the same age, worried about World War III and a nuclear holocaust which wasn’t ideal either.  Nonetheless, post-millennial’s are worried about whether the Earth will sustain them and their children.

A bleak future is being painted and how much of it is accurate or otherwise is a big question, but whilst media outlets chase clicks, sensationalist headlines will remain the norm.  What can we do then to remain calm, proactive and support the younger generations to not lose hope?  With mental illness especially in children and teenagers on the rise, this is a critical issue which needs managing.  So if you have children, check in on them and see how they are feeling about this issue. From a natural medicine and lifestyle perspective, there are many tools available to improve our adaptation to stress and ameliorate our outlook. 

Never has it been more pertinent than ever, to look after ourselves than now.  After all, our internal and external realities reflect each other.   We can only be responsible for ourselves.

So what’s involved?  Here are some ideas:

1)       Start with cleaning up your own internal environment.  Detoxifying your body and emotions.  This will raise your awareness of making better food choices, decreasing your toxin exposure both in your food and your home, reducing harmful addictions and ultimately increasing your well-being and improving your relationship with yourself and others.

2)      Reducing anxiety by being present and mindful. 

Daily meditation practice may help you with this.  There are also herbs and nutrients to support your stress response if you are feeling overwhelmed.

3)      Creating hope by being proactive about conservation.  For example, reducing plastic waste by not buying over packaged goods, growing and cooking as much of our food as we can therefore reducing our reliance on food processing.  Helping in beach clean ups and other rubbish clean up initiatives and getting the whole family involved with these.  Creating sustainable packaging and manufacturing practices and increasing our use of sustainable energy.  If there ever was a time we needed new innovative ways to manufacture with less waste, package with less plastic and deliver by means using sustainable energy, it is now!  The aim is to stop worrying about the outcome and start getting busy in the effort to reduce our personal environmental impact. Let’s all pitch in and do what we can.

4)      Shift our consciousness to help the collective rather than pursue selfish interest.  Wouldn’t this be great!  However, in this context it means not worrying what the next person is doing, but focusing on doing the best you can do.  Hopefully it will catch on and others will be inspired to follow suit. The Ripple Effect is powerful and grows exponentially, so don’t be concerned that any change you make is just small in the bigger picture.

5)      Talk to someone. If you are finding it all a bit much, then seek out a friend, family member or a health professional you can talk to about it.  We are all in this together, so understanding how others are processing the information may be helpful. 

6)      Understand other points of view.  Despite what you believe, it’s important to respect how others are thinking and feeling.  Now is not the time for fighting each other on this issue but rather working together.  Don’t try and convince others, go about your efforts to reduce your footprint and give others time to catch on. 

Photo Credit: independent.co.uk

Photo Credit: independent.co.uk

Shed those Winter kilos – Summer is coming

Often Winter sees us snuggling at home with comforting high carbohydrate foods and Netflix and much less time is spent being active outdoors.  Invariably this can lead to weight gain and a general reduction in vitality over the Winter months.

Heading into Spring is a good time to think about how you can shed those unwanted kilos and improve health and vitality. Consequently, as the sun increases in warmth so does our energy begin to stir.  This is an excellent time to reset your health and throw off the Winter blues, especially if you haven’t been able to fly away to the Northern Hemisphere to escape the cold.

For some, it will mean a light Spring Clean, that is improving detoxification and your body’s elimination channels.  Namely, liver, kidney and bowels.  Our 2-4-week detoxification program (which includes a booklet explaining diet modifications) will improve the function of these organs and leave you feeling refreshed and vital once again.

Maybe your digestion is no good after all the Winter stodgy foods and you have noticed persistent bloating or inconsistent bowel motions.  Perhaps this has not been a pattern isolated to just this Winter but a long-term trial and error of food elimination and diet modification.  If this is you, a stool test which analyses your microbiome might give the information about what is missing or overgrown.  A restorative diet will feed beneficial gut bacteria and improve digestive symptoms.

Finally, you may just want to shift that spare tyre that has lodged around your waist.  Weight loss is about much more than just looking good, it is about feeling healthy and energetic.  Those unwanted kilos that creep on, year after year, can begin to cause and drive chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), Type 2 Diabetes, respiratory disorders, elevated blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. These lifestyle-driven diseases can be painful, restrict our movement, destroy our quality of life and even shorten it.

Research tells us that abdominal weight gain or obesity is a global epidemic, seeing a shift over the last 150 years of disease being driven by lifestyle factors.  The social disorganization of eating: a neglected determinant of the Australian epidemic of overweight/obesity. Bittman M1, Cleary E2, Wilkinson-Bibicos C3, Gershuny J4.

 The good news about weight gain and its side effects is that we can control this, change it and in many cases reverse the effects.  Short-term ketogenic diet programs like Ultra Lite together with a daily walking regimen, are ideal to reduce weight, inflammation and improve energy levels.  A 5-week program will shed between 7-10 kgs, a 10-week program over 15kgs and help reset your eating habits and have you reaching for all the right foods.

Naturopaths spend a large amount of their study focusing on nutrition and lifestyle in order to help their patients prevent chronic illness.  If you fall into any of the above categories then a visit to our clinic to embark on either Detox, Microbiome or Ultra Lite programs, may be a worthwhile investment to get yourself back on track.

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THE GLOVES ARE OFF!

If you don't enjoy political blogs then this is not for you.....but as QUALIFIED natural health practitioners, WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

We believe over the past several months there has been a deliberate, targeted attack towards our industry endeavouring to malign our professionalism and efficacy. Whether it be sweeping statements made on current affairs programs or the evening news regarding natural therapies and supplements (without a right of reply), or the removal of naturopathy and herbal medicine from private health insurance rebates; it appears the intention is to run us out of practice . Are we ready for our health choices to be narrowed to what is just in your GPs toolbox, that is pharmaceuticals?

Sometimes pharmaceuticals are the only choice. However why is there a push to discredit an industry which is self-funded and primarily supported by individuals who want to be proactive about their health and prefer to use preventative medicine at their own cost, rather than burden the already inundated public health care system?

Our rebuttal to all this negative press is that we have studied for 4 years to gain a degree in natural medicine and we practice evidence-based health care. Sure, there are charlatans within the wellness industry, just as there are charlatans in the mainstream medical profession. You will never stop opportunism and fraudulent activity.

The best ways to protect yourself from any dangers posed by the natural medicine industry are:

1) Don't believe everything you read on google or social media and self-prescribe; and

2) Seek the help of a QUALIFIED natural health practitioner and have them source the best quality supplement for you and check if it is suited for you or may interact with other medicines you are taking. Also this practitioner will assess whether you actually need it in the first place and track your progress and improvements.

3) Seek out a GP who supports your preventative health care measures as a true integrative approach between natural and medical health will provide the best health outcomes.

We do not practice sickness medicine like our medical counterparts who are trained in pharmaceutical outcomes but rather specialise in wellness medicine which uses long-term diet and lifestyle modifications to prevent chronic disease.


Zucchini & Hazelnut Loaf

Packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Our zucchini and hazelnut loaf is the perfect base for breakfast, lunch or a mid-meal snack. Top with avocado and an egg, or spread with hummus and sliced tomatoes, or add your favourite toppings!

Ingredients:
150g hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (not a fan of hazelnuts substitute for walnuts instead)
50g sunflower seeds
50g of ground almonds
500g zucchini
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
6 tablespoons of lemon juice
grated zest from 1 lemon
3/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
200g canned tomato (salt- free), chopped
75g rolled oats 
freshly ground pepper

1. Water fry the onion and garlic until translucent. Halve the zucchini and scoop out the seeds, then dice. 
2. Add to the onion mix and cook for a further 5 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, dry roast the hazelnuts and sunflower seeds in a frying pan, agitating so they do not burn. 
3. In a large bowl the nuts, ground almonds, vegetable mixture, lemon juice and rind, parsley, oats and tomato. Grind some pepper into the mixture. 
4. Turn into a loaf tin that is lined with grease proof paper that has been lightly greased with oil, placing the tin in a shallow tray of hot water. 
5. Cover and bake at 180 for an hour. Remove the cover 30 minutes before the end of cooking. Serve with salad or steamed veggies. Yum!

Cut and freeze for the week for an easy and quick breakfast or snack!

Please note: To make this recipe FODMAP friendly, remove the onion and garlic, replace the hazelnuts for walnuts or macadamias and reduce the zucchini by half with grated carrot.