Listen to your body: Dealing with the healing crisis

Hello Everyone.

It has been said that one does not always “see all that he looks at” or “listen to all that he hears”. As far as your body is concerned, the above statements are very appropriate. During the days, weeks, and months ahead, your system will be making many adjustments and changes. It is very important that you be aware of what can happen so you do not get caught by surprise.

Now the question comes, what are some of the things one might expect if they choose to follow the recommendations? We do not want to predispose you to experience things you might not ordinarily experience. Some people move on quite smoothly to increased vigour and health. Others find the road rockier. Some experience one thing and some experience another. A lot depends on the direct effects from one’s faith, their mental attitudes, determination, and their own individual physical make-up.

We will list a few things that some people have experienced so that, if any of these things might happen to you, you will know that it is not unexpected. As the body chemistry changes, it can affect your feelings.

adedb2b3f1a6eb460caa7048c1abdf20.jpg

The body has adjusted itself gradually, over a period of years, to its much less than ideal chemistry. As it begins to change back toward the more ideal, some unusual things sometimes happen. Some people do not understand, so they become frightened by how they are momentarily feeling and will stop the program. This only delays the changes that are good and necessary.

When the body starts taking up calcium some people get hives or break out with pimples and even cold sores. They might feel “funny”, or a bit strange, particularly in the area where energy has been lost. Old injuries of many years ago may flair up – sprained ankles or wrists, old surgeries, fingers hurt in basketball, leg injuries, back injuries, etc. They may hurt just as badly as they did originally and then suddenly it’s gone. This is the body doing its house cleaning. The liver activity is coming up, and the toxins that have accumulated in the body for years begin to be stirred up and cleansed from the body.

A person might get headaches, run a fever for a few days, become nauseated, feel like lying down, run completely out of energy all of a sudden – these are all typical experiences. In many of these cases – especially headache and fever, etc., the eliminative organs have not been able to keep up with the cleansing that is going on and an enema or colonic is the best and quickest relief to be had. Walking in the fresh air, with deep breathing, is also helpful to many. When the change is more severe, it is best to take a lot of rest to conserve all the body energy available for the body to make the changes necessary.

When one chooses to go on a lemon water fast for three days, at the suggestion of their counsellor in order to speed up the chemistry changes, often they will go through a very deep change, in which the liver reverses itself causing vomiting (even of bile) and great discomfort. It lasts but a short time and then the body makes a quick, big change, and the person feels a great deal better than before. This type of thing is very likely to happen to someone who is quite a bit overweight. This is because the fat in the body has stored up so many toxins that when the body starts mobilizing the fat it also frees the toxins. Thus, the individual can become very ill.

cIyxmuL

Despite any of these potential symptoms, one should stay right on the program. Don’t back away from it, go right through with it. You will only delay the process if you stop the program during the worst of the healing crises. You need not be frightened. Rather, you can know that healing is taking place and the crisis will pass.

When you sense that there is a critical change taking place – healing crises and you feel you need counsel, or just reassurance, get in touch with the persons you have been counselling with. Sometimes additional things need to be done to encourage the body in its chemistry changes. After a major chemistry change, it is usually necessary to adjust the program to the new chemistry pattern.

If that all sounds a bit gloomy, we certainly don’t want to frighten anyone. Be assured that many people feel better and better a majority of the time. However, everyone needs to understand that there will be down days along with the better ones, and they shouldn’t be bewildered by them.

Even when a healing crisis takes place long after the time it would be expected, don’t be surprised. Every day that you faithfully follow the program is a day closer to freedom from discomfort and difficulties. Every day you forget, or goof off, is a day lost – sometimes many days are lost, as it takes the body time to readjust again.

Some people forget how much better they are feeling until they go off the program for a few days. Suddenly, the old discomforts they had forgotten about come creeping back and take over once again. We suggest you not go off for a few days, just to see the difference. Going on and off the program can create a situation where the body may not respond later on. An on-again/off-again pattern can affect the body similarly to the way heat and cold temper metal. It hardens it. Likewise, a hardening or resisting effect can be produced in the body, so it may decide at a point in the future not to respond. Therefore, in order to gain the benefits you so desire, a real commitment needs to be made to stick with the program.

Face the future with confidence, with great anticipation, and don’t be disappointed when a little rain cloud muddies up your day.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

 

Advertisements

Recipe of The Week: Grain-Free Savoury Vegetable Muffins

Hello Everyone,

A delicious grain-free savoury muffins are full of vegetables, healing herbs, and nutrients to soothe the gut. Perfect for breakfast, snack or as a compliment to lunch/dinner. 

spinach-feta-muffins-21991-1.jpeg

Grain-Free Savoury Vegetable Muffins

Ingredients:

250g Almond Meal

100g Arrowroot

1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

1/2 tsp Baking soda

1 Tbsp Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

100g Parmesan cheese, grated

Small Bunch of Fresh Parsley

Handful of Spinach/Rocket Leaves

1 Zucchini, grated

2 tsp Sunflower Seeds

5 Free Range Organic Eggs

Baking Paper

Method:

Step 1: Preheat Oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. Line muffin tray with baking paper.

Step 2: In a Large mixing bowl, combine almond meal, arrowroot, salt, baking soda, parmesan, herbs, spinach/rocker, zucchini, and sunflower seeds. Mix until well combined.

Step 3: Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, add to dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 4: Pour mixture into a pre-prepared baking tin and bake in oven for around 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Step 5: Allow to cool on counter before freezing. Enjoy!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan-Nutrition Nourishment

Food Labels in Australia: Understanding nutritional ‘claims’ and Ingredients

Hello everyone,

Food labels can be very confusing and tricky to understand for many consumers. Often we don’t have the time to spend in the supermarket trying to work out what they mean and how we can use them. However, a few quick tips can make shopping for healthy food a whole lot easier and quicker. Knowing what nutritional information to look for can help make the best choice and avoid unnecessary saturated fats, added salts/sugars/kilojoules. A Variety of useful websites online such as Eat for Health, Food Standards Australia and The National Centre for Biotechnology Information (refer to references section), have great information on how to read the nutrition information panel, ingredients list, nutrition content/health claims and percentage daily intake.

However, as a practitioner it is part of our job to teach our clients how to make the best informed decisions on their food products that best fit with their lifestyle and diet plan. So I decided to create this blog to help you gain a better understanding on food labels, and how to make the best choices when it comes to food products.

In Australia, the law requires all manufactured foods to carry labels containing safety and nutrition information. This information helps you to make decisions about the food you buy and eat so you can follow a healthy diet.

australian-food-label

What information is on the food label?

The label will tell you:

  • the name of the product
  • the brand name
  • what ingredients it contains (listed in order from largest to smallest by weight)
  • nutritional information
  • use by date
  • details of the manufacturer
  • how much it weighs
  • information for people with food allergies
  • a list of food additives
  • storage instructions
  • the country where the food was produced.

Understanding nutrition claims

Some labels tell you what percentage of the recommended daily intake is provided by one serve of the product. This helps you to work out how the food fits into a balanced diet. Read more about recommended daily intakes for adults and here.recommended daily intakes for children

The label may make a number of nutrition claims such as ‘gluten free’, ‘low GI’, ‘low fat’, ‘reduced salt’ or ‘high fibre’. These mean the product meets strict criteria set by the government. More about those below.

But just because a product can make a nutrition claim doesn’t mean it is healthy. For example, a product that is ‘low fat’ may have more kilojoules than another similar product. Check the Nutrition Information Panel to see how the product compares.

Various claims on Food Products

Food products may have various claims on the package providing information on the food products and source. Some claims you may see in the supermarket include Free-range, organic, gluten-free, Whole-grain, good source of calcium, low energy, lactose free, good source of protein.

Some food label claims are more specific to a particular nutrient such as:

Sugar: No Added Sugar, Real fruit/fruit juice, unsweetened, % Sugar free

Sodium/Salt: Low in Salt, No added salt, unsalted

Fat: Low fat, Fat-free, Reduced Fat, % Fat-Free, Saturated Fat-free, contains less cholesterol, trans-fatty acid free

light or lite: One of the most confusing food packaging labels. This can refer to any number of characteristics of a product including colour, textures, salt, fat, or sugar content. The label must specify in what way the product is considered ‘light/lite’. If the information claims a nutrient, energy or salt of the product has to be at least 25% less than the regular version. However, if the product is normally very high, the ‘light/lite’ version can still be high energy, salt or fat.

low cholesterol: The food contains no more cholesterol then 10mg per 100ml for liquid food and 20mg per 100g for solid food.

Cholesterol is found in meat, chicken, dairy products and eggs and is linked to a higher incidence of heart disease. Therefore, products containing little or no animal fats can claim to be low cholesterol or cholesterol free. This, however, does not mean the product is necessary low in other fats such as vegetable oils. While most plant based fats are healthier than saturated or trans fats they can still contribute to weight gain. In the same way that fat free is used to disguise high sugar products, low cholesterol or cholesterol free are often used on high vegetable fat products. Potato chips, for example, often use the label, even though many contain in excess of 30% fat.

High fibre: for a good source of dietary fibre a serving of the food must contain at least 4g of dietary fibre. An excellent source of dietary fibre would include at least 7g of dietary fibre per serve.

Reduced salt: The food must contain at least 25% less salt than the regular version.

Low sugar: The food contains no more sugars then 2.5grams per 100ml for liquid food and 5g per 100g for solid food.

new_food_labels

How to read the Nutrition Information Panel

The Nutrition Information Panel tells you the size of a standard serving of the product and which nutrients are contained in that serving. You can use the label to compare the product with what’s in similar packaged foods.

Energy: A kilojoule is a measure of energy. To lose weight, you need to eat and drink fewer kilojoules than you use. You should limit your intake of foods that have more than 600kJ per serve.

  • Fat: Fat is higher in kilojoules than other nutrients, so you should limit the total amount you eat.
  • Saturated fat: There are different types of fats. Saturated fats are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol, so it is especially important to choose foods low in saturated fat.
  • Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates are found in all fruit and vegetables, all breads and grain products, and sugar and sugary foods. You need carbohydrates for energy.
  • Sugar: Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It is better to choose healthier carbohydrates and to limit foods that are high in added sugars.
  • Fibre: High fibre foods such as wholegrain bread and cereals improve digestion and help you to feel full.
  • Sodium: This tells you how much salt the product contains. Eating too much salt is linked to high blood pressure and can lead to heart disease, strokes and kidney disease.

Unknown

Ingredient lists

Ingredients must be listed in descending order (by ingoing weight). This means that when the food was manufactured, the first ingredient listed contributed the largest amount and the last ingredient listed contributed the least. For example, if sugar is listed near the start of the list the product contains a greater proportion of this ingredient.

If the product contains added water, it must be listed in the ingredient list according to its ingoing weight, with an allowance made for any water lost during processing, e.g. water lost as steam. The only exceptions are when the added water:

  • makes up less than 5% of the finished product, 

  • is part of a broth, brine or syrup that is listed in the ingredient list, or 

  • is used to reconstitute dehydrated ingredients.

Sometimes compound ingredients are used in a food. A compound ingredient is an ingredient made up of two or more ingredients e.g. canned spaghetti in tomato sauce, where the spaghetti is made up of flour, egg and water. All the ingredients which make up a compound ingredient must be declared in the ingredient list, except when the compound ingredient is used in amounts of less than 5% of the final food. An example of a compound ingredient that could be less than 5% of the final food is the tomato sauce (consisting of tomatoes, capsicum, onions, water and herbs) on a frozen pizza.

However, if an ingredient that makes up a compound ingredient is a known allergen it must be declared regardless of how much is used.

Percentage labelling

Most packaged foods have to carry labels which show the percentage of the key or characterizing ingredients or components in the food. This allows you to compare similar products.

The characterizing ingredient for strawberry yoghurt would be strawberries and the label would say, for example, 9% strawberries. An example of a component could be the cocoa solids in chocolate. Some foods, such as white bread or cheese, may have no characterizing ingredients or components.

For more information regarding food labelling laws, understanding claims, recommended dietary serves and serving sizes, please click the links below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the contact page

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan.

References:

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cutting-down-on-sugars

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-children-adolescents-and

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/shopping-cooking-meal-planning/food-labels

Lift your mood: 20 natural ways

Hello Everyone,

So many of us are waking up tired, moody and feeling low about life. Our lives are busier, more stress and sometimes very taxing. This can take a toll on your mental health – as well as your physical wellbeing!

Many health practitioners will tell you that mood disorders are the most prevalent condition in their practices, with a staggering number of clients suffering from depression, anxiety and other psychological stresses. I believe therapy can be incredibly helpful and recommend it to my community whenever they need. However, there are also a lot of natural mood boosters to try!

These are my favourite ways to improve your mood naturally…

However it is always important to be guided by a health practitioner to support your needs beyond this gentle advice.

Healthy-diet-plan

NUTRITION

  • Cut caffeine (coffee, sodas, energy drinks). The adrenaline from caffeine will effect your moods. If you’re stressed or feeling low, this can make things worse. Alternatively just stick to one coffee a day before 12pm- The Nutrition Nourishment Rule!
  • Cut processed and packaged foods. They are inflammatory in the body, which will inevitably have a negative effect on your moods, not to mention some negative long-term health effects.
  • Cut artificial sweeteners. Evidence shows that aspartame is linked to mood disorders.
  • While you’re at it, cut refined sugar too! Sugar is a huge energy zapper. You get a short boost of energy after consuming, but then you’ll crash harder than before making you tired and grumpy.
  • Add a portion of protein, good fats, and complex carbohydrates to your plate. These macronutrients help to keep our blood sugar levels stable. When our blood sugar levels drop, so does our mood! Good fats and complex carbs also help to make hormones and neurotransmitters in the body that help make you feel good- serotonin!
  • Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol is associated with mood disorders. Oh yes it is!
  • Cleanse. When our gut and liver are clogged from excess drinking, sugar, and an overall toxic load, our body struggles to make the feel-good hormones such as serotonin. Serotonin is actually made in the gut. So reduce your toxic load and give your body a break from the nasty chemicals with a seasonal cleanse.
  • Drink more water! Dehydration can cause fatigue and agitation.

untitled

LIFESTYLE

  • Exercise is a natural mood lifter! Move your body in your favourite ways!
  • Schedule some downtime. When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, our moods tend to be low. Dedicate a few minutes a day to you and REST. This will really lift you up!
  • Sleep 8 hours. Sleep = repair. When we feel rested, we’re happier people.
  • Acupuncture has been used to treat mood disorder. This may help!
  • Forgive. It’s not for the other person, forgiveness will benefit YOU!
  • Gratitude. Write down 5 things you’re grateful for everyday. When we remember what we DO have rather than what we don’t have, we instantly feel better.
  • Laugh more! Yes there is science behind this. Laughing is the easiest way to feel good.

schuessler-salts

SUPPLEMENTS

 (under the guidance of a health practitioner)

  • Go for the B! Research shows these Vitamin Bs—folate, B6, and B12—can assist with mood.
  • Vitamin D. Low vitamin D is correlated with depression. Most of the population is deficient in this essential micronutrient. All you need is 15-20 minutes a day of sunshine or supplement with Vitamin D (200 IU).
  • Fish oil. Opt for 2 to 3g a day
  • Get your daily probiotic. This will ensure healthy gut flora which assists with serotonin production.
  • Go the herbal route! Seek assistance from your naturopath – herbs can have mood elevating effects.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan-Nutrition Nourishment

Recipe of The Week: Cacao Oat Slice

Hello Everyone,

I have no words for these squares. I’ll have to go with letters instead. O.M.G. ! 🙂 All kidding aside, make these now. For real.

I love easy peasy bake treats and these fit the bill. Besides being easy and delicious, these delights are free of refined sugars, contain no dairy and are gluten free. I could keep going on and on but that would totally start cutting into your time to get busy making these.

Cacao Oat Slice

photo.jpg

Ingredients:

2 bananas (mashed)

2 Cup rolled Oats

½ Cup Cacao Powder

½ Cup Shredded Coconut

¼ Cup Rice Malt Syrup (or other alternative)

¼ Cup Olive Oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp cinnamon

 

Method:

Step 1: Mix dry ingredients-oats, cacao powder, coconut, cinnamon- together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients-banana, rice malt syrup, olive oil and vanilla.

Step 2: Mix all ingredients together until well combined.

Step 3: Line a shallow baking tray with baking paper, and spread mixture evenly.

Step 4: Bake for 15-30 minutes in oven set at 160 degrees celsius.

Step 5: Allow to cool before cutting into slices.

This slice can be frozen easily. Be sure to wrap in cling wrap or seal in an air-tight container. Grab as needed! 

FODMAPS Diet: Green Smoothies to Incorporate into your Fructan Diet

Hello Everyone,

The low-FODMAP diet is a treatment and management protocol for people suffering from irritable bowl syndrome or IBS. The acronym stands for:

Fermentable,
Oligosaccharides (Fructans and Galactans),
Disaccharides (Lactose),
Monosaccharides (Fructose) and
Polyols (Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

In susceptible individuals (usually those with IBS), these “FODMAP” carbohydrate molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. When they reach the large intestine, they feed bacteria and the fiber absorbs water resulting in bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, pain and other symptoms associated with IBS.

Are Green Smoothies Appropriate For People On The FODMAPS Diet (Or With IBS)?

Everybody is different. Ultimately, you should work directly with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to establish an appropriate dietary regimen to treat and manage your IBS. There are some variation in recommendations for people on a FODMAP-restricted diet. Certain “safe” foods might cause problems for you, so there is a bit of experimentation that you’ll need to do to find out what your ideal balance is.

When it comes to green smoothies, the primary offender is fructose, a natural sugar found in all fruit. However, this doesn’t mean that a low-FODMAP diet is a fruit-avoidance diet. There are certain fruits that are considered “low-FODMAP” and safe to use while other fruits and vegetables are “high-FODMAP” and should be avoided or restricted.

The key is portion size. If you have IBS and you are following a low-FODMAP diet plan, then you probably shouldn’t consume large smoothies with a bunch of different fruits in it. Keep your smoothie portions small – like 16 ounces or less and use fruits which are considered to be in the “low-FODMAP” category.

fodmap3

Which High-FODMAP Green Smoothie Foods Should I Avoid?

If you have IBS, avoid putting these ingredients in your green smoothies.

Fruits To Avoid:

– Apples
– Apricots
– Avocados
– Blackberries
– Cherries
– Mango
– Nectarines
– Peaches
– Pears
– Persimmons
– Plums and prunes
– Rambutan/Lychee
– Watermelon
– Never use canned or dried fruits in smoothies. Avoid using fruit juice as well due to excess fructose.

Green Smoothie Vegetables To Avoid:

Beet Greens
Broccoli
Cabbage
Dandelion Greens
Peas
Radiccio Lettuce
Sugar Snap and Snow Peas

Avoid Sweeteners: I don’t recommend ever adding sweeteners to green smoothies, but this becomes even more important if you have IBS and follow a low-FODMAPS diet. Avoid honey, agave and any other sweetener.

What Green Smoothie Foods Are Low-FODMAP?

Using these ingredients in moderation in green smoothies would fit within a low-FODMAP diet plan.

Low-FODMAP Fruits:

– Bananas
– Berries (Blueberries, Cranberries, Raspberries, Strawberries
– Citrus (Oranges, Grapefruits, Tangelos, Lemons, Limes)
– Durian
– Grapes
– Kiwi
– Melons (Cantaloupe, Honeydew)
– Passion Fruit
– Pineapple
– Star Fruit

Low-FODMAP Vegetables:

Leafy Greens (Bok choy, Lettuce*, Endive, Parsley, Silverbeet, Spinach)

– Alfalfa
– Broccoli*
– Carrots
– Celery
– Cucumber
– Ginger
– Pumpkin
– Tomato
– Zucchini*

* Foods marked with an asterisk might be problematic for some people with IBS, despite being in the low-FODMAPS category.

1e2dcb7447c4d6b6ac05e5de81efd952--pumpkin-smoothie-breakfast-smoothies

Low FODMAP Smoothie Recipes

If you would like to incorporate green smoothies into a FODMAP diet plan, then keep portions small (no giant meal-replacement smoothies) and use fruits and vegetables from the low-FODMAP category. Avoid using high-FODMAP fruits and vegetables.

Keep your smoothies simple. Use no more than two fruits and one vegetable or leafy green. Do not add protein powder, flax, chia, spirulina or any other additive. Avoid using dairy (due to the lactose) and avoid using store-bought non-dairy milks, especially if sugars have been added. Just use plain water.

Experiment with small smoothies using various foods from the “safe” category and see how your body reacts. Some of the safe foods might actually exacerbate your symptoms while some of the “unsafe” foods are tolerated well. Listen to your own body.

None of the recipes on this page (or on our website) are guaranteed to cause no problem for people with IBS. Use your own judgement. When in doubt, take a small amount of smoothie (rather than drinking the entire recipe) and wait to see how your body responds.

For all of the smoothies below, add the water to your blender first, then the fruit. Hit the “Pulse” button to mix up the fruit, then add the greens and blend on high for about 30-40 seconds, or until smooth.

Banana-Berry Smoothie

– 1 banana, peeled
– 1/2 cup strawberries or blueberries
– 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
– 4 ounces (about 120 milliliters) of water


Banana-Kiwi with Bok Choy

– 1 banana, peeled
– 1-2 kiwifruit (start with one, use two if you feel it’s appropriate for your body)
– 1-2 heads of baby bok choy (or two cups chopped bok choy leaves
– 4 ounces (about 120 milliliters) of water


Citrus Bok Choy Smoothie

– 2 oranges
– 1 head baby bok choy (or one cup chopped bok choy leaves)
– 1 stalk of celery
– Splash of water if needed

Alternate: Swap out one of the oranges for a grapefruit, tangelo or tangerine.


Blueberry Melon Smoothie

– 1 cup cantaloupe or honeydew melon
– 1/2 to 1 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen wild blueberries)
– 4 ounces (about 120 milliliters) of water
– Splash of lemon or lime (optional)


Pineapple-Ginger Smoothie

– 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into cubes
– 1 large stalk of celery
– 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (use only if ginger does not exacerbate your symptoms)
– 1/2 banana
– 4 ounces (about 120 milliliters) of water


Now that you know which fruits and vegetables are safe or unsafe to use on a low-FODMAP diet, feel free to get creative with your smoothie recipes!!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan- Nutrition Nourishment

Easter Special: The Sweet History of Chocolate

Hello Everyone,

Easter means chocolate! Once a year, we indulge ourselves on the sweet goodness. But do you know how chocolate was discovered? In today’s blog I’ll be discussing the history of how chocolate became an iconic sweet, the benefits of raw cacao and I’ll be sharing my favorite Health Hot Chocolate drink!

cacao-moxiemart.net_

History of Chocolate

Chocolate may be the “food of the gods,” but for most of its 4,000-year history, it was actually consumed as a bitter beverage rather than as a sweet edible treat. Anthropologists have found evidence that chocolate was produced by pre-Olmec cultures living in present-day Mexico as early as 1900 B.C. The ancient Mesoamericans who first cultivated cacao plants found in the tropical rainforests of Central America fermented, roasted and ground the cacao beans into a paste that they mixed with water, vanilla, honey, chili peppers and other spices to brew a frothy chocolate drink.

Olmec, Mayan and Aztec civilizations found chocolate to be an invigorating drink, mood enhancer and aphrodisiac, which led them to believe that it possessed mystical and spiritual qualities. The Mayans worshipped a god of cacao and reserved chocolate for rulers, warriors, priests and nobles at sacred ceremonies.

When the Aztecs began to dominate Mesoamerica in the 14th century, they craved cacao beans, which could not be grown in the dry highlands of central Mexico that were the heart of their civilization. The Aztecs traded with the Mayans for cocao beans, which were so coveted that they were used as currency. (In the 1500s, Aztecs could purchase a turkey hen for 100 beans.) By some accounts, the 16th-century Aztec emperor Montezuma drank three gallons of chocolate a day to increase his libido

In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors such as Hernán Cortés who sought gold and silver in Mexico returned instead with chocolate. Although the Spanish sweetened the bitter drink with cane sugar and cinnamon, one thing remained unchanged: chocolate was still a delectable symbol of luxury, wealth and power. Chocolate was sipped by royal lips, and only Spanish elites could afford the expensive import.

European Introduction

Spain managed to keep chocolate a savory secret for nearly a century, but when the daughter of Spanish King Philip III wed French King Louis XIII in 1615, she brought her love of chocolate with her to France. The popularity of chocolate quickly spread to other European courts, and aristocrats consumed it as a magic elixir with salubrious benefits. To slake their growing thirst for chocolate, European powers established colonial plantations in equatorial regions around the world to grow cacao and sugar. When diseases brought by the European explorers depleted the native Mesoamerican labor pool, African slaves were imported to work on the plantations and maintain the production of chocolate.

cacao

Chocolate remained an aristocratic nectar until Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten in 1828 invented the cocoa press, which revolutionized chocolate-making. The cocoa press could squeeze the fatty cocoa butter from roasted cacao beans, leaving behind a dry cake that could be pulverized into a fine powder that could be mixed with liquids and other ingredients, poured into molds and solidified into edible, easily digestible chocolate. The innovation by van Houten ushered in the modern era of chocolate by enabling it to be used as a confectionary ingredient, and the resulting drop in production costs made chocolate affordable to the masses.

Chocolate Industrialisation

In 1847, British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons created the first solid edible chocolate bar from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar. Rodolphe Lindt’s 1879 invention of the conching machine, which produced chocolate with a velvety texture and superior taste, and other advances allowed for the mass production of smooth, creamy milk chocolate on factory assembly lines. You don’t need to have a sweet tooth to recognize the familiar names of the family-owned companies such as Cadbury, Mars and Hershey that ushered in a chocolate boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s that has yet to abate. Today, the average American consumes 12 lbs. of chocolate each year, and more than $75 billion worldwide is spent on chocolate annually.

cacaoPod

Benefits of Cacao

Here are a couple of interesting points…

  • Cacao is chock-full of therapeutic benefits and could easily be considered one of nature’s best medicines.
  • Cacao is considered a ‘super-antioxidant’ because it has such a high ORAC score (a measure of antioxidant amounts).
  • The unprocessed raw cacao bean earns a higher ORAC score than acai berries, spinach or blueberries.
  • The high antioxidant activity helps protect the heart, prevent cellular damage, and keeps us looking – and feeling – younger (bonus!).
  • The super bean contains oleic acid, which has been linked to lower cholesterol.
  • Cacao is also a great source of magnesium, which helps with calcium absorption, metabolism, and protein synthesis. It may also be useful in the prevention of or treatment for congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and premenstrual syndrome.
  • Cacao also contains iron, copper, calcium, potassium, and zinc.

Spicy Cacao Hot Chocolate

Serves: serves 2
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups almond milk (or other milk)
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • pinch of cinnamon/clove/nutmeg/chilli (around 1/2-1tsp each depending on desired flavour)
  • tiny pinch of Himalayan sea salt
optional toppings:
  • coconut whip** (see homemade instructions below)
  • shaved dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. In a blender, mix the almond milk, cacao powder, spices, maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt. (You can also whisk this together by hand). Transfer to a medium saucepan and heat. Taste and adjust the sweetness if desired. If it’s too thick, add a little bit more almond milk.
  2. Serve with coconut whip and shaved dark chocolate, both optional.
 Homemade Coconut Whip:
  • solids from 1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • Few drops of vanilla extract

Method:

  • Make the coconut whip by combining the ingredients in a mixer and mix until whipped and fluffy.

Easter Special: Maintain your Health over the Easter Holiday

Hello Everyone,

With Easter just around the corner it’s difficult to avoid the obligatory binge: chocolate (anything), hot cross buns and, let’s be honest, everything in sight… especially if your family starts to pressure you into having ‘just one more’ slice or serving. While it can take three seconds to consume a 200g Easter egg, it can take a three-hour run to counteract the sugar content. A hot cross bun slathered in butter isn’t much better, sitting around the 350 calorie mark, and will take 40+ minutes of running to burn it off. Not ideal, right?

So, let’s get a grip this Easter with these healthy habits.

1. Portion control

You will eat chocolate, that’s a given… but just remember portion control. Ultimately, everything is fine in moderation.

Instead of eating large eggs at hourly intervals (which can be up to a third of your daily intake if you are trying to lose weight), buy individually wrapped mini eggs. The process of unwrapping each small egg is more time consuming and will make you more aware of the treats you are consuming. It’s a simple trick, but it works – and you’ll still get among the festivities.

chocolate bar

2. Quality control

Step away from the cheap foil-clad bunny and exchange it for some dark, good quality chocolate. Ideally something with at least 70 per cent dark cocoa which has the added bonus of antioxidants. The high levels of cocoa have also been shown to lower blood pressure.

If you want to take your health kick a step further over Easter, head to your local health food store and get yourself some Raw Organic Cacoa NIBS – these cocoa beans are straight from the source and is what all chocolate and cocoa products are produced from.

The nutritional benefits of raw cacao products include: being a source of beta-carotene, amino acids (protein), Omega-3 EFA’s, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulphur, potassium, and one of the best food sources of muscle relaxing and also stress relieving magnesium. Other good news is that it is only 92 calories and 0.54 grams of sugar per 15 grams serving!

You can also add raw nibs to your cooking (use instead of chocolate chips), add to your smoothies or grind with your coffee beans.

3. Feast

On breakfast that is! Make sure you start the day right with a protein-rich breakfast and filling fibre so you aren’t reaching for a chocolate an hour later. Never eat Easter eggs on an empty stomach as this will cause havoc on your blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.

Think veggie and protein-packed omelettes or a protein shake with berries, chai seeds and a handful of spinach leaves to get your day off to a nutritious start.

0NtktkqTURBXy9mMDlkY2M0ZmI3MmU5NzJmOWEwNmM5MDUxN2QyNGNiOS5qcGVnk5UDASPNA-XNAjCTBc0DFM0BvJUH2TIvcHVsc2Ntcy9NREFfLzE0MGIxY2ZlN2YwYWM1MmVkYzAxMGQ3MDk3OGU4NGJlLnBuZwDCAA

4. Think outside the box

Rethink the basket of eggs and swap it for a basket of beautiful local fruit. How about a pot of herbs for a gift that keeps giving? Get in the kitchen and whip up some homemade treats.

5. Snack regularly

Snack on something small and healthy every 3-4 hours you will help balance your blood sugar levels, which in turn will help avoid that nasty energy drop.

Foods that cause a spike in blood sugar are generally sugar and refined carbohydrates (aka chocolate and hot cross buns). They cause the body to produce insulin, which makes you crave food constantly, leading to weight gain and a variety of health conditions including diabetes.

They key to a balanced snack is to always included the 3 macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and good fats).

Options include:

  • Natural yogurt with berries and walnuts. Add a scoop of protein powder for an extra power punch.
  • Hummus with vegetable sticks.
  • A homemade meat pattie with a small side salad.
  • An apple with a teaspoon of almond butter and a drizzle of honey.
  • Bowl of vegetable and barley soup.
  • Shaved turkey, sliver of avocado wrapped in lettuce.
  • Banana smoothie with milk/nut milk, LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond mix), scoop of protein powder, cinnamon and ice.

6. Plan ahead

Make sure you stock the fridge so there are always healthy options on hand, have pre-made delicious options ready to go, and don’t space meals too far apart.

63-scientistsdi.jpg

7. Hydrate

Need another reason to drink water? Research has shown that by increasing water consumption by 1.5 liters a day, you can burn an extra 17,400 calories per year. Additionally, a study by Dr. Brenda Davy, an associate professor at Virginia Tech, found that people who drank water before a meal consumed an average of 75 fewer calories at that meal.

Another glass, anyone?

8. Burn off a bunny

To counterbalance the extra calorie intake over Easter it is important to exercise every day, whether it be a beach walk, sprint session, bike ride with the family, a game of cricket or a home workout – just move that body!

You don’t have to waste hours of your day either – chose intense interval training which will burn more in a shorter time frame – perfect!

Want to burn off a small 50g bunny (approx 275 calories)?

  • Power walk with the dog for 85 minutes
  • Dance up a storm for 56 minutes
  • Swim freestyle for 36 minutes
  • Jump on the crosstrainer for 33 minutes
  • Clean the house intensely for 70 minutes.

A medium 25g egg:

  • 30 minutes brisk walk
  • 15 minutes jogging/skipping/boxing

A large 100g egg

  • 2 hour brisk walking
  • 1 hour run/skipping/boxing

exercise.jpg

Healthiest Regards,

and a Happy Easter!

Tegan- Nutrition Nourishment

 

Healing Herb of the Week: Stinging Nettle

Hello Everyone,

Nettle (also known as Stinging Nettles) has been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms, particularly hayfever which is the most common allergy problem. It contains biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. Dr. Andrew Wiel M.D. author of Natural Health/ Natural Medicine says he knows of nothing more effective than nettle for allergy relief. And his statement is backed up by studies at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Herbs-Header-GB

Fact File

Botanical Name: Urtica Dioca

Parts used: roots and leaves 

Main Actions: Diuretic, anti-rheumatic, depurative, nutritive, styptic (homeostatic) and alternative. 

Indications: Allergic rhinitis, eczema, gout, Rheumatoid/ Osteo arthritis, haemorrhage, topical nose bleeds, burns, wounds, inflammation of mouth/throat, and hair/scalp tonic.

Health benefits

Fewer side effects than prescription medications

Decongestants, antihistamines, allergy shots and even prescription medications such as Allegra and Claritin treat only the symptoms of allergies and tend to lose effectiveness over a period of time. They can also cause drowsiness, dry sinuses, insomnia and high blood pressure. Nettle has none of these side effects. It can be used on a regular basis and has an impressive number of other benefits most notably as a treatment for prostate enlargement.

Safety: Fresh herb may cause irritation if handled without gloves.

Possible allergic reactions, sensitivity in digestive tract. 

Potential for treating disease

Nettle has been studied extensively and has shown promise in treating Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, bronchitis, bursitis, gingivitis, gout, hives, kidney stones, laryngitis, multiple sclerosis, PMS, prostate enlargement, sciatica, and tendinitis. Externally it has been used to improve the appearance of the hair, and is said to be a remedy against oily hair and dandruff.

Urticaceae

Healing properties

In Germany today stinging nettles are sold as an herbal drug for prostate diseases and as a diuretic. It is a common ingredient in other herbal drugs produced in Germany for rheumatic complaints and inflammatory conditions (especially for the lower urinary tract and prostate). In the United States many remarkable healing properties are attributed to nettle and the leaf is utilized for different problems than the root. The leaf is used here as a diuretic, for arthritis, prostatitis, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and allergic rhinitis. The root is recommended as a diuretic, for relief of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and other prostate problems, and as a natural remedy to treat or prevent baldness.

An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding. It is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, hemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, hemorrhoids and hair problems.

Reduces arthritis pain

Taken orally, products made from nettle’s aerial parts may interfere with the body’s production of prostaglandins and other inflammation-causing chemicals. Consequently, nettle may have an anti-inflammatory effect. It may also enhance responses of the immune system. Chemicals in nettle’s aerial parts are also thought to reduce the feeling of pain or interfere with the way that nerves send pain signals. All of these effects may reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis and other similar conditions.

Reduces allergy symptoms

In addition, nettle’s aerial parts may reduce the amount of histamine that is produced by the body in response to an allergen. An allergen is a substance such as pollen that may provoke an exaggerated immune response in individuals who are sensitive to it. Through this potential action, the aerial parts of nettle may help to reduce allergy symptoms. Results from one human study are promising, but more research is needed to be conclusive.

Relieve skin irritation and muscle pain

A solution of the extract may be applied to the skin to relieve joint pain and muscle aches. Astringent properties of nettle aerial parts may also help to lessen the swelling of hemorrhoids and stop bleeding from minor skin injuries such as razor nicks. An astringent shrinks and tightens the top layers of skin or mucous membranes, thereby reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness. It may also be used topically for dandruff and overly oily hair and scalp.

This herb should be used for a minimum of 30 days for full effects.

Final Thoughts:

Nettle is an incredible healing herb that, when used in as a food source, is unlikely to induce any unwanted side-effects. Nettle  can be used therapeutically in teas and topically in creams, It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain, along with treating allergic symptoms. 

Please be advised, if you are thinking of taking a nettle containing supplement, to first speak to a medical professional. As a whole food nutritionist, I would always advise adding these healing herbs to your daily diet to get the optimal benefit it can offer.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan

Intermittent Fasting: Metabolic Adaptations to Support Good Health

Hello everyone,

If you’ve read about intermittent fasting but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, the quick answer is: maybe. As a qualified nutritionist, I’ve been exploring intermittent fasting for quite some time—sifting through the science, watching patterns with the clients I’ve seen, and figuring out what really works and what doesn’t.

Simply put, intermittent fasting is a diet that alternates periods of eating with periods of not eating. There have been several research articles showing no improvements in IF, but there is some research showing to its ability to help blast through a weight loss plateau and help burn fat. But, before we go into the reported benefits of fasting, let’s first explore what actually happen in our bodies in a fasting state.

So what are the primary fuels used by the body in the first few hours of a fast?

In the first few hours of a fast, the liver glycogen is broken down and glucose is released into the bloodstream to maintain blood sugar level homeostasis, however, this supply is limited. Most body cells, including muscle cells, are able to switch to the use of fatty acids as fuel, conserving the remaining blood glucose for the brain and other cells that rely heavily on glucose as their main source of fuel. As the fasting state continues, ketone bodies accumulate as fatty-acid-derived acetyl CoA units are blocked from entering the TCA cycle.As the fating state becomes more prolonged, the process of gluconeogenesis increases in intensity. The glucose is synthesized from glucogenic amino acids and glycerol. These short-term adaptions will provide glucose and energy needed to meet the body’s needs for a few days.

What adaptations does the body make when it is in a fasting state?

Insulin levels start to fall causing the breakdown of glycogen into glucose for energy. Glycogen stores last for roughly 24 hours. After a day, gluconoegenesis process begins, where the liver manufactures new glucose from amino acids. After 2-3 days, low insulin levels reached during fasting stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy. The storage of fat, known as triglycerides, is broken into the glycerol backbone, and three fatty acid chains. The glycerol is used for gluconeogenesis. Ketone bodies are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, whereas the fatty acids are not. Protein conservation phase begins after 5 days, high levels of growth hormone maintain muscle mass and lean tissue. The energy for maintenance of basal metabolic rate is almost entirely met by the use of free fatty acids and ketones, causing an increase in norephinephrine to prevent a mass decreased in BMR.

fasting_infographic_3v2

Below are some other reported benefits shown in some scientific studies, and there is an impressive list of therapeutic benefits:

1. Protects your brain. Intermittent fasting combined with a ketogenic diet has shown an amazing combination that can make a huge difference in helping to heal the brain in cases of brain trauma and injury.

 

2. Slows aging. Intermittent fasting mimics caloric restriction. A Research paper explains “When you fast, it gives your cells the ability to detox and recycle, so your body can slow down aging and even prevent age-related diseases.”

 

3. Fights cancer. Studies have shown that fasting can prevent cancer and even slow or stop its progression! It can also kill cancer cells while boosting the immune system.

If the above aren’t enough to get you excited about the possibilities of intermittent fasting, here are some more benefits: It increases insulin sensitivity, decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, boosts energy, and enhances mental focus.

AN267-Clock-On-Plate-732x549-thumb

These are the different ways to fast.

When it comes to intermittent fasting, there are several options. Some people eat only during an eight-hour window. For example, you can eat from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., then fast from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. Or you can fast for 24 to 36 hours once or twice weekly. There are also several ways to deal with hunger cravings and stay hydrated. You can stick with just water or add some combination of coffee, green tea, and fiber. My good friend, Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, author of The Bone Broth Diet, recommends drinking bone broth during a fast. I’ve tried this fasting technique, and it’s my absolute favorite way to do it.

How to know if fasting is right for you.

In my experience, fasting isn’t for everyone. First, I will say that women need to be more regimented about when they eat. Whether it’s because we’re natural fat storers or because we have babies—women’s systems are just more complicated, so proceed with caution.

In general, pregnant women shouldn’t fast, and neither should women with infertility issues. Those who have adrenal problems (which also tend to primarily affect women), blood sugar imbalance, or diabetes should also pass on intermittent fasting. If none of the above issues apply to you, and you’ve cleared it with your doctor, then you get the green light to give it try!

The Pro’s of Fasting:

  • Increased energy and Enhanced mood
  • save money on food
  • Reduction of GIT issues (gas, bloating, irritation, constipation)
  • Can aid in reduction of High blood pressure
  • Provide clearer skin and healing of eczema and psoriasis
  • Weight loss (fat burning)
  • Decreased cravings for sugar and processed foods
  • Body and colon cleanse. The body works to rid of excess toxins
  • BMR will drop, the core body temp also drops and body is more efficient in using energy.

The Con’s of Fasting:

  • Fatigue, irritability, anxiety and muscle weakness
  • Mental confusion
  • Not recommended for pregnant/breastfeeding women, children, the elderly, people with a serious health condition such as heart disease, kidney disease or type 1 diabetes.
  • Water must be consumed to prevent dehydration
  • After fasting, you may find yourself overeating
  • nutrient deficiencies

6 common symptoms of starvation: Possible Side effects

  • Immune deficiency
  • Swelling of fluid under the skin
  • decreased sex drive
  • chronic diarrhoea
  • reduction in muscle mass and consequent weakness
  • irritability and difficulty with mental concentration

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan.