Over the years as a naturopath I have heard some gruesome detox stories from straight water fasts, to the lemon/maple syrup diet, to the grape diet, in which you guessed it, all that is eaten is grapes. The reason I call them gruesome is that more often than not these protocols stress the body rather than supporting it. And when it comes to detox, support is the key. Lets face it, we are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis, from sugary, processed foods full of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives to environmental pollutants, household cleaning agents, off-gassing plastics, modern technology and more (the thought of all those toxins is toxic!). These factors are stressful on the body’s pathways of elimination. To top this with an extreme detox, well it is no wonder people feel awful.
From a naturopathic perspective, the primary aim of a detox is to promote elimination by reducing the toxic load and supporting the organs involved so the body works more efficiently and is able to clear the toxic backlog more effectively. Stressing the body doesn’t make the job of elimination any easier. Giving the body a break does, particularly if done in a gentle, supportive way.
The key systems of elimination are the digestive system (poo!), urinary system (urine), skin (sweat), lymphatic system (blood and lymph) and the liver. We can, through diet, exercise and some well chosen nutrients and herbs support these systems. Some examples of gentle detox practices include:
Detoxes can be a simple as above or incorporate more specific aims (these are generally put together with your naturopath) and the benefits are many including feeling healthier, sheding a few excess kilos, and ultimately help your body process and systems of elimination work more effectively.
As a naturopath there are topics that I am asked about regularly and one of those is what oils to use when cooking. Well this can be quite confusing because a number of factors have to be taken into account:
Click on the image below to take you to Balanced Bites for an easy printout of what to use and what to avoid:
Our skin needs and indeed thrives on good sources of fat. In fact one of the big issues associated with low calorie diets and dieting in general is that it tends to be low in fat. Long-term diets low in good fats can lead to dry, dehydrated skin and premature aging.
Good fat sources include polyunsaturated omega 3 sources and omega 6 (in moderation) and grass feed or plant sources of saturated fat (yes – its true, saturated fat is not all bad!!!). Now just to clarify the saturated fat issue, we so need some in our diet. Among other functions it provides structure to our cell walls however, too much in general particularly too much of the wrong source of saturated fat is not good. To be specific, the wrong kind of saturated fat comes from processed foods including margarine, packaged meals, processed food and grain fed animals. Ideally, our diets need to be free of excess commercially produced saturated fats and all trans fatty acids. The right kind of saturated fat comes from sources such as organic butter, ghee, coconut oil and grass fed animals.
Where is the evidence for this? Well eating saturated fat didn’t kill our ancestors and there is no solid evidence that low fat diets are beneficial for our health. In fact, during the recent trend for low fat diets and food, rates of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease have soared. One of the big issues with a low fat diet is that we tend to replace fat with sugar because something has to make the food taste good…and lets be real, fat tastes GOOD. Apart from the increase in sugar consumption (which is converted to stored, but not useable fat by the body) most of what we consume in a Standard Australian Diet (SAD) consists of “long-chain” saturated fats, trans fats and an overabundance of omega 6 fatty acids compared to omega 3, all of which can and do have inflammatory effects in the body.
By contrast plant-based medium-chain saturated fatty acids tend to be digested and used rather than stored by the body, producing energy and stimulating the metabolism. Coconut oil is a great example of this and research has shown that the medium-chain triglycerides from Coconut oil tend to resist being stored or used to make larger fat molecules, which means it is a great source of energy and nutrition for the body.
Eating plenty of good fats such as omega 3 and good saturated fats will support skin by reducing inflammation and indeed overall health. The anti-inflammatory effect will reduce the likelihood of free radical damage in the skin and reduce moisture loss by promoting the protective oil barrier.
Monounsaturated fats from avocado and most nut oils are also good for you as they help to maintain the water level in the skin and supply the ceramides and fats that keep the basic structure of the skin intact.
To tip the balance in favour of anti-inflammatory fats instead of inflammatory fats, choose foods rich in omega 3 such as deep-sea fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies), green leafy vegetables, flax oil, chia seeds, fish oils and even grass fed meats in moderation. Also consume foods rich in short and medium chain fatty acids such as organic butter and coconut oil. A diet rich in these foods will help to stabilise the plasma membrane of the skin cells, reducing oxidative damage and therefore inflammation. Use avocado and nut oils for dressings and salads.Twitter It!
Signs of vitamin deficiencies show up firstly in the skin, hair and nails. The reason this occurs is due to the fact that in times of stress or low intake the body preferentially provides nutrition to the critical organs such as the heart, lungs and brain rather than the skin. So irritating skin issues such as cracks in the corners of the mouth or peri oral dermatitis may actually be signalling a nutrient deficiency rather than a disease state or skin condition.
Underlying causes for nutrient deficiencies are many and various but often come back to reduced intake or excess demand. Inadequate intake of water-soluble vitamins such as the B group and vitamin C is more common due to the fact that our body doesn’t store these vitamins. Any excess passes out on a daily basis. It makes sense then that an inadequate intake of B group and vitamin C rich foods could eventually lead to signs of deficiency. Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, E, D and K are slower to show up as deficiency sigs as our body stores these nutrients in some cases for long fairly long periods. However, lack of dietary intake (or sunshine) will eventually use up stored resources and again eventually lead to lower levels.
The other factor that may lead to skin signs of deficiency is placing excess demands on our vitamin resources. Stress, environmental toxins, dietary excesses and ill health will all use vitamins up, sometimes faster than we are taking them in. Again the net result is lower levels.
A good dietary intake of both water and fat-soluble vitamins will help to maintain healthy and vibrant skin. For specific skin signs, the nutrient association and the food sources see the table below.
|Nutrient||Possible Skin Sign||Food Sources|
|Vitamin A||Rough, dry and scaly skin – particularly on the back of arms, thighs and buttocks. The carotenoid form of vitamin A will also help to improve skin colour i.e. give you a healthy glow.||Liver, cod liver oil, yellow, orange and red vegetables (plant source is carotenoids)|
|Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)||Bleeding gums, rough skin and easy bruising, poor wound healing, pinpoint broken capillaries particularly where extensive sun exposure has occurred e.g. face, neck and chest||Kiwi fruit, green capsicum, citrus fruits, paw paw, strawberries, berries, broccoli, sprouts|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||Inflamed eyelids, cracks and redness at the corner of the mouth (caution, this may also related to low iron so get your iron levels checked if B group supplementation doesn’t improve within 2 weeks), facial skin lesions with greasy scales, peri-oral dermatitis||Almonds, salmon, spinach, milk & milk products, eggs, oats, whole grains|
|Pantothenic Acid (B5)||Excessive sebum production particularly associated with acne||Avocado, mushrooms, lentils, milk & milk products, eggs, almonds|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||Scaly dermatitis, peri-oral dermatitis, cracks and redness in the corners of the mouth.||Bananas, tuna, avocado, spinach, mackerel, brown rice, Brussels Sprouts|
|Folates (B9)||Peri-oral dermatitis, cracks and redness in the corners of the mouth.||Lentils, spinach, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, paw paw, yellow corn|
|Vitamin D||Worsening of inflammatory skin conditions due to imbalanced immune function e.g. eczema and dermatitis||Cod liver oil, salmon, oysters, whole milk, egg yolk|
It is important to note that because fat soluble vitamins build up in the body, it is advisable to speak to a health care professional such as your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist before taking supplemental forms.
Please comment if you have any questions.Twitter It!
This blog is actually Jenni from Coconut Magic’s work. I just love coconut oil and use it for many things. In one of my recent posts I mention that a teaspoon in porridge in the morning adds to the creamy deliciousness of this dish. In any case, here are Jenni’s 6 clever ways to use Coconut Oil:
Coconut Magic is great for all these purposes because it has quite a neutral taste and smell. I have tried a teaspoon in a cup of black tea and it didn’t significantly change the flavour and that is saying something. I really don’t like the “toasted” smell of old coconut much but love this as it is mild smelling which is because it is from young coconuts – can’t really say enough good about this product!
Now if you want an oil that is more specifically used for cosmetic purposes Remedica’s Monoi Blue is coconut oil infused with Gardenia flowers. Only genuine Monoi oil such as Remedica is manufactured in Tahiti from pure Tahitian coconut oil and Tiare (Gardenia) flowers. It is just divine for skin and hair.
Love it. Please do tell if you have any other clever uses for Coconut Oil
We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy…and that most of us should probably consume more than we do. Interestingly a new study takes this even further finding that eating more from this food group can actually change your appearance in as little as 6 weeks. The key to this change is the phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that give the fruit and vegetables colour can also help give us colour as well.
The study revealed that fewer than four portions a day (1 piece of fruit or half a cup of vegetables equals one serve) increased skin redness and yellowness both of which are associated with the perception of increased attractiveness and improved health. In particular it is the carotenoids which are the yellow, orange and red pigments in plant foods that actually cause these perceptible changes in our skin colour and tone.
In addition to changing skin tone carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that improve many aspects of skin health by reducing oxidative stress. These benefits include the reduction in UV light sensitivity and therefore long term sun damage. Eaten in high enough quantities, carotenoids can promote a healthy glow that rivals a tan!
Plant foods that are rich in carotenoids include carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens and red capsicum. Dark green vegetables are included as they contain carotenoids (yellow) and chlorophyll (green) so overall appear green. As always the message is Eat Your Greens…and Yellows and Oranges and Reds!
1. Whitehead RD, Re D, Xiao D, Ozakinci G, Perrett DI. You are what you eat: within-subject increases in fruit and vegetable consumption confer beneficial skin-color changes. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32988.
It has been said that intimacy breeds contempt. Certainly the high divorce rate would have us believe that.
In your own world, how often have you felt devastated because you and your partner are not seeing eye-to-eye, or you feel that the love has transformed into a power struggle, or long tedious road into boredom?
Do you find that you are continually arguing and sparring and can’t seem to return to that glorious place you experienced early in your relationship when you felt bathed in the warm glow of love and felt so deeply connected to your partner?
Perhaps in your despair you have sought for that seemingly elusive and disappearing love outside of your partnership – in an affair, a flirtation, being totally immersed in your work, losing yourself to a cause, or involving yourself in your children’s lives so deeply that you have no time to let the pain of lost love rise to your conscious mind.
Or perhaps your close same-sex friendships assume such an importance that they somehow replace the sense of hopelessness that you feel deep down that you are not good enough to deserve a loving relationship?
How do we reconcile the disappointments in our relationship and navigate the rocky parts so that we enter smooth waters and come to a place of harmony, love and peace based on mutual respect, gratitude and celebration of the differences?
In truth, relationships are more about ourselves that the other. They just show us to ourselves.
We teach people how to love and accept us in the way that we love and accept ourselves.
For example, blame and criticism is the No. 1 reason why relationships fail. Most couples split up, family members stop talking or business partnerships fail because one or other of the parties gets tired of being blamed and criticized.
Think about how it felt last time you were blamed or criticized.
If in the moment when a critical thought is forming or a blaming statement about the other is on your tongue, you can instead make a “Mmmmmmm” sound. What this does is it shifts you out of your “critical” brain into your “wonder” brain.
Then, you can say to yourself, “Hmmm… I wonder what I could learn from this.” Or “Hmmm… I wonder how I’m contributing to this situation”.
When you do this from a place of sincere wonder, then an immediate change takes place in your connection with the person you were previously blaming or criticizing.
Try this the next time you have a critical thought, and watch real miracles open up in your relationships!
When we are critical and blaming it is truly more about us, and our relationship with ourselves, that we are expressing and that gets reflected back.
We attract the people who will allow us to grow, who will invite us to grow, who will ask us to step up and into our highest self-expression.
This doesn’t always happen consciously or pleasantly…..it just happens.
Enjoy the opportunity to let others know how much you love yourself and miracles will happen!!
The Spirit of Woman Australian Wild Flower Essence Relationship range assists you to have that essential love affair with yourself, so that you can fully love and accept your partner and appreciate the deep love you will receive in return.
Visit Annie Meredith’s websiteTwitter It!
This is a great article from Deanne Bromham, our Vitale Life naturopath. When I decided to focus on writing and research, Deanne stepped into the fold and now treats many patients with skin conditions…with great results. She is patient and encouraging and her treatment are very effective. Below is what Deanne thinks the key issues are with skin problems including acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and skin pigmentation:
On the exterior skin conditions or damaged skin can be red, inflamed, cystic, rough, blotchy, painful, unbearably itchy, scaly and plaque like, lacking vibrancy, damaged, dry and wrinkling. Anyone who has a skin condition will quickly confide that it can destroy one’s self-confidence. After all, skin is the outer layer we present to the world. Skin problems affect the body’s surface physically as well as emotionally but we don’t always realise just how deep they run. This is why it is important to find a long-term solution that treats the cause of the problem and one that really works.
Skin problems are related to a dysfunction occurring deep within the body and this is the level they should be treated; a satisfactory solution means treating from the inside and outside. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked and strong anti-inflammatory creams are prescribed or in the case of acne retail creams and liquids that dry and strip the skin, only offering temporary relief.
It’s a little like looking into a pool of water, what you see on the surface is a true indication of what’s going on underneath. What is happening at the bottom and in the middle area of the water will ruminate to the surface, making it visually known what the general state of the deeper water is like. A client’s skin is an important factor I assess no matter why they have come to see me; it tells me a lot about the person’s overall health.
There are a few major players that affect how our skin looks:
Skin in very much affected by hormones; the finetuning of the stress hormone; cortisol, the blood sugar hormone; insulin and the reproductive hormones – oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone cannot be underestimated in their affect on the skin.
Diet plays a massive part in all problem skin and this can be the simplest way of getting quick improvement.
There is a big connection between skin and digestive health or the health of our intestinal tract. If the bacteria within our intestinal system are out of balance this will affect our skin. It is well understood that the bacteria at the centre of the body, the intestinal tract, set the status of bacteria in the skin. To correct the bacteria in the skin it is necessary to correct the bacterial status inside first and then the skin will reflect this.
The skin along with the lungs, bowel, liver, and kidney are all organs that assist the body in getting rid of waste products. They are well known as the 5 organs of elimination. When the development of a skin condition or even poor unhealthy looking skin has occurred it may be that one or more of the other organs of elimination are being overloaded and/or are under functioning. If the liver and bowel are unable to get rid of toxins the toxins will begin to find another route out of the body and this can be via the skin. A pleasant side effect of a professional gut repair and detoxification program is the noticeable difference in the appearance of the skin. One of the most common things clients say while on a gut repair and detoxification program is that all their friends have notice how good their skin is looking. If you’re going to clean the pool of water you will need to scrape leaves and scum off the top but you will also need to get the filter working continuously to clean out what’s in the middle and at the bottom.
One of the most important things to understand about getting your skin clear and beautiful is that the body is designed to heal itself. It is totally unnecessary for anyone to accept that this is a skin problem they have to learn to live with. The body in its natural rhythm is absolutely able to work so that we look and feel great. Anything other than this is a sign that a particular area of the body is not functioning as well as it should be or it is out of balance. Naturopathic assistance works on our insides to make our bodies, inside and outside, look and feel great. The body responds very well to this, easily lapping it up as it falls back into harmony.
Deanne, an experienced and skilled naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and iridologist says “As a clinician I assess each person’s skin on an individual basis while taking into consideration the rest of their health and the connection between the two. The use of iridology gives greater insight to their health weaknesses and constitution”. A treatment plan is given that shows what each individual’s skin requires. Results are usually seen as early as 2 weeks.
As I write this I am suffering from swollen glands, a split lip and mouth ulcer and a headache radiating down one side of my face and head. No don’t worry this isn’t a “poor me” blog (well maybe just a bit). I am telling you this because a. Roechelle forced me to and b. I cannot believe all of this pain stemmed from squeezing one little pimple! Yes that’s right folks – last Monday I had a rather large pimple come up on my lip and instead of leave it alone (which is hard when it is so obvious) I squeezed the heck out of it, so much so that I damaged my lip and it swelled leading to my current symptoms. Can you believe it! I call this the paper cut principle – how one little pimple can lead to such OTT symptoms reminds me of much a tiny paper cut can hurt so badly. Maybe I just have a low pain tolerance…
If I had a cold sore I would take Lysine, cut out chocolate and nuts (makes it worse) and apply a good cold sore cream or oil that contains Melissa officinalis (an anti-viral herb). As it isn’t a cold sore, I can’t do much but apply Paw Paw Ointment to my lip and hope that it clears up quickly. Until then I think I might go to bed!Twitter It!
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just released its guide to safer shopping. They looked at pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables and have come up with the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. A little statistic from them makes one realise how big an impact choosing “cleaner” food can make. From EWG: Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day from the Clean 15 list rather than from the Dirty Dozen can lower your pesticide intake by up to 92 percent! What a huge impact.
This link outlines the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/
There are other ways to reduce your pesticide intake (please comment and add any ideas you have as well):
Please comment if you have any other ideas for reducing pesticide intake from foods.Twitter It!
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