Nutrition 101


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Today is all about the basics of what we eat and why we need it.

What are protein, carbohydrates and fats and why do we need them? The more you understand the basics of food components, the more you understand why certain foods are good or bad for you.

Protein is found in Meats, Legumes, Nuts and seeds, Chicken, Fish, Eggs, Protein Powders, some wholegrains i.e. quinoa, amaranth, Spirulina, Yoghurt, Kefir (similar to yoghurt, only more beneficial), Tempeh, Miso and vegetables.

When protein is eaten, the body breaks it down into single amino acids. There are 20 amino acids in our protein foods, and many more that make up the structure of our body. Amino acids make up 75% of the human body! There are 8 essential and 12 non-essential amino acids. Non-essential doesn’t mean we don’t need them, (because nature is kind of smart like that in that it doesn’t just make things that don’t have a use) it means that we don’t need to ingest them as they can be made in the body by combining essential amino acids. Essential means we MUST ingest them for our body to function properly. Each amino acid has different uses in the body.

It is needed for:

  • Growth and Repair of EVERY cell
  • Immune System Function
  • Muscle/Connective Tissue Growth and regeneration
  • Nervous System
  • Balancing blood sugar levels
  • Sources contain fat soluble vitamins
  • Hair, Nail and Skin health

If you don’t have enough protein in your diet it can cause:

  • Muscle Wastage
  • Poor Immune System
  • Poor Digestive Integrity
  • Imbalance of blood sugar levels
  • Poor skin, hair and nail health
  • Muscular cramps and spasms
  • Poor connective tissue strength

Carbohydrates are found in Fruits and Vegetables, Whole Grains, Rice, Fresh Herbs, Raw Honey, Dried Fruits, Sprouts, Nuts and Seeds

POOR Carbohydrate sources are bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits, cereals, potato chips, lollies, sugar, alcoholic drinks e.g. Beer

We all know about the poor sources above, and think of them as being carbohydrates in whole, but we must remember about the good sources that are very important.

We need them for:

  • A source of Fuel/energy
  • Bowel regularity
  • Cell Communication
  • A source of minerals

If we don’t have enough it can cause:

  • Low energy
  • Poor digestive health
  • Constipation
  • Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies

Fats are found in dairy, nuts and seeds and derivatives of e.g. Oils (Flaxseed, Hempseed, Olive, Coconut, Evening Primrose, etc), avocado, fish, meat, chicken.

Fats are needed for a HUGE amount of things in our bodies:

  • Brain and Nervous System Function
  • Outside of every cell made of fat
  • Hormone production
  • Help lower cholesterol (“good’ fats)
  • Energy source for heart muscle
  • Insulation
  • Bodily Secretions
  • Cardiovascular Protectant (‘Good fats”)
  • Inflammatory responses

Deficiency causes:

  • Loss of cognitive function
  • Low hormone production
  • Nervous System weakness
  • Dryness throughout whole body (e.g. dry eyes, constipation, vaginal dryness, dry skin)

I hope this now makes you see the importance of a truly balanced diet and moderation of everything is the key. We need ALL of these components to be a fully functioning human being and this is why restrictive low fat, low carbs or low protein diets DO NOT WORK.

 

We must look at the quality of the protein, carbohydrate or fat source as well…. But that’s for another day!

Chocolate Treats YUM!

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Here’s a recipe for a lovely little treat, particularly good when you feel like something you really shouldn’t be having, this will satisfy your craving, without nasty ingredients.

It is also:

Dairy free, gluten free, egg free, can be nut free, vegan, sugar free, but definitely not taste free!

12 dates diced finely

¼- ½ cup coconut oil

3-4 tbsp raw cacao powder

Small handful goji berries

¼- ½ cup Puffed millet/quinoa

1 tbsp dried fruit of choice (blueberries, cranberries, diced apricots, etc)

1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

¼ cup desiccated coconut

2 tbsp chopped macadamia nuts

2 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 tbsp chopped pepitas

1 tbsp hemp seeds

1 dsp chia seeds

 

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl except for coconut oil and cacao powder

2. Melt coconut oil and combine with cacao powder

3. Slowly add cacao mix into fruit and nut mix and stir well

4. Press mix into a dish or container lined with baking paper to make it around 3-5cm high. Press it in flat and sprinkle with desiccated coconut

5. Place in fridge or freezer to harden

6. Once hard, cut into 3-5cm squares and keep in the fridge or freezer to keep firm

 

Any mix of different nuts and seeds can be used to your liking.

Delicious!

Bone Broth for bone health and gut health


Here’s a little about bone broths and why they’re so great, and how to make them:

Meat and fish stocks contain gelatine and other healing substances, which is used for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining to repair and regenerate and it has a soothing effect on inflammation in the gut. That is why they aid digestion and have been known for centuries as healing folk remedies for the digestive tract.
To make good meat stock you need joints, bones, a piece of meat on the bone, a whole chicken, giblets from chicken, goose or duck, whole pigeons, pheasants or other inexpensive meats. It is essential to use bones and joints, as they provide the healing substances, not so much the muscle meats. Ask the butcher to cut in half the large tubular bones, so you can get the bone marrow out of them after cooking.
Put all the meat and bones into a large pan and fill it with water, add natural unprocessed salt (I prefer Himalayan salt) and a splash of apple cider vinegar (this helps draw the goodness out of the bones) at the beginning of cooking, about a teaspoon of black peppercorns, roughly crushed, some veggie scraps (I use carrots, celery, broccoli stalks, etc) and an onion. Bring to boil, cover and simmer on a very low heat for about 48 hours for meat broths and 24 hours for chicken, or alternatively use a slow cooker on a low temperature for the same times. I always use a slow cooker as it is much easier. You can make fish stock the same way using a whole fish or fish fins, bones and heads. After cooking, take the bones and meats out and sieve the stock to remove small bones, peppercorns and veggies.
Extract the bone marrow out of large tubular bones while they are still warm: to do that bang the bone on a thick wooden chopping board, or use a spoon to scoop it out.
The meat or fish stock will keep in the fridge for at least 7 days or it can be frozen. Do not use microwaves for warming up the stock, use conventional stove (microwaves destroy food). It is very important to eat all the fat in the stock and off the bones as these fats are essential for the healing process.
You can drink it as is, or use it as a base to make a soup. Enjoy!

Fertility – What can you do to help it?

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Did you know 1 in 6 couples in Australia have difficulty conceiving. The rate increases to 1 in 3 in women over 35. These rates are also on the increase.

In 40% of cases the male is the issue, 40% the female, in 10% of cases it’s both and 10% have an unknown cause. 

What are some of the reasons?

Women

Ovulation disorders

Poor thyroid function

Fallopian tube damage

Endometriosis

Immunological dysfunction

Polycystic Ovaries

Ageing

Men

Sperm defects

Immunological dysfunction

Ejaculation disorders

Ageing

 

Many couples are not truly infertile, they are sub-fertile. True infertility is the inability to fall pregnant permanently, whereas sub-fertility means that couple are having difficulty falling pregnant, but it may be corrected.

Natural Therapies has a great reputation for being able to help with sub-fertility or difficulty falling pregnant. Many herbs and nutrients can be used to increase sperm health and numbers, balance hormones, regulate the immune system, counter the ageing effects, regulate ovulation patterns and increase the health generally so the body is strong and well enough to gain and hold onto a pregnancy.

Nutritionally, some great measures to take are:

Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Carnitine, CoQ10, Vitamin E and Calcium all may help to increase sperm count and/or motility

Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, PABA, Arginine, and a multivitamin formula may all increase the chance of falling pregnant in women.

There are also many herbs used for the specific issue with great results, e.g. Vitex, Ginseng, Paeonia and Propolis.

Now let’s look at a few simple lifestyle steps that can be taken.

Caffeine

In a study, women who consumed more than one cup of coffee per day had a 50% reduction in fertility, compared to women who drank less. But don’t think just switching to decaf is enough – one study has shown that consuming 2 cups of decaf per day was associated with increased risk of spontaneous abortion.

Alcohol

In another study, women who drank alcohol had a greater than 50% reduction in the probability of conception in that menstrual cycle.

It also seems that caffeine increases the negative effects of alcohol. Women who abstained from alcohol and consumed less than 1 cup of caffeine per day were more than twice as likely to conceive (26.9% compared to 10.5%).

Cigarettes

Not only does smoking cause damage to you and causes difficulty conceiving, women whose mothers smoked during their pregnancy are less likely to conceive compared with those whose mothers were non-smokers. So remember smoking while pregnant doesn’t just harm yourself, it harms your unborn child, AND could possibly prevent them from having children of their own when the time comes. Your actions affect more than just yourself.

Chemicals

In 1 study, farmers that were growing organic crops, not spraying, had fertility levels twice that of standard farmers using pesticides. Although this was only a small study, I find it very interesting there is such a huge difference. Pesticides and Herbicides are Xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic oestrogen in the body, causing all kinds of problems, including hormonal issues in women (such as breast cancers, menopausal and menstrual issues). Limiting your exposure as much as possible will go a long way to helping the cause.

Diet is always specific for the couple depending on their health issues, although there are the basics of limiting certain fats and carbohydrates, decreasing/eliminating sugars, increasing vegetables, having quality protein sources, having good intake of ‘healthy’ fats.

Babies born using assisted technologies (e.g. IVF) rates have nearly doubled in 4 years to well over 10,000 per year. Many of these babies could have been naturally conceived through simple dietary lifestyle and supplement changes.

I have had the pleasure of helping couples conceive naturally, sometimes after many years of trying without success. It is one part of my job that I take great honour in being able to do, helping a couple fall pregnant and bring a beautiful new life into the world. Especially the ones that have tried for a long time and had so much heart ache at the thought of never getting that baby to love.

Don’t make diet and lifestyle change your last resort, make it your first.

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