Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coping with my Cold

To be honest, I actually think its worse than a Cold. But Im labeling it that, because it certainly isn't a bad flu. I usually get 1 cold each year. This is my second this year, and whilst I sit here wondering why, Im drawn to scratch my leg - Im drawn to the spider bite that appeared three days ago. So I wonder, is my body trying to fight the spider bite and my immunity is lower as a result? Perhaps.

Whatever the reason the reality is, my throat is sore, my head is sore and my brain hurts! So I thought I would share with you some of the things I have been doing to ease the symptoms. Im a firm believer that if the body is able and generally in good health, it will fight a cold and flu itself. We don't like to stop and rest when we are sick, and this is potentially why colds can get really nasty. So I have taken today off, to rest. Im not exactly how restful it was with both my husband and Olivia running about the place, but I did my best.

To treat my sore throat I have been making up herbal tea decoctions of lemon, honey and ginger. Don't underestimate these simple ingredients. I literally boil the kettle, squeeze lemon into a cup of piping hot water, add honey and ginger and let it brew for 5 minutes. Most citrus fruits will sooth a sore throat as they are acidic and the strong pH may help to kill germs present. Gargling with warm sea salted water does a similar thing for the same reason. The honey (good quality honey) is a natural antibiotic and the ginger aids to open up the pores and allow the body to sweat it out. This is a natural body response to illness. When we suppress this, it takes a lot longer for things to get better.

Lets not forget Garlic! My great grandma was known for her breakfasts of grated garlic on toast! She never got sick. Garlic has the ability to treat either a viral or bacterial sore throat. Even adding it to roasted veggies is an excellent way to eat it.

Making sure your diet is supporting your body when it isn't functioning properly is really necessary. Cutting out dairy certainly helps to lessen phlegm production and allows the gut to function well. This will in turn increase immunity and the bodies ability to get better quicker. We generally don't feel hungry when we are unwell, but eating is a must. The body needs fuel to work harder when you are ill. Be sure to include plenty of soups and stews. They will provide awesome nourishment to every part of your body.

Simple ideas like these can make big differences to the bodies natural healing process. There are many remedies out there that do amazing things for the body. At the very least be kind to yourself at this time and support your body as best you can. Every body system relies on it - especially your fertility!

More food! Food glorious food!

You guessed it... more food! Its cook-up Tuesday in this house. I like to bake things for Olivia for the week - that way I know she is getting the very best ingredients also. So today its:

Orange & Carrot Spiced Cakes
(great for the dairy intolerant, until you add the icing anyway!)

You will need:
1 orange (you will use the rind and the juice)
4 eggs
3/4 cup of oil
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of Self Raising Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Nutmeg
3 carrots grated
1 cup of chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
Combine in a jug the orange rind & juice and eggs & oil and whisk
In a bowl, add sugar, sifted flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, 3/4 of the walnuts and carrots.
Add the orange mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Divide mixture amongst 12 patty cases and cook in oven for 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean!

To frost I piped:
100gm of butter
125gm cream cheese
2tbs orange juice
and with electric beaters combined until well beaten. I then added 3/4 cup of icing sugar and continue to beat until desired consistency. Top frosting with remaining walnuts!

*I always use organic and best quality ingredients available.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I have a mouth Ulcer.. ouch!

There I said it. I have a mouth Ulcer. Its not a regular thing for me but whenever I hurt the inside of my mouth, the healing process almost always ends up disrupted and end result - it gets infected.
I know at the moment, Im doing a lot. I have a lot on my plate but I love life that way! I admit however, I haven't had any spinal care in over 4 weeks, I've been doing endless hours of work outside my regular span, mostly when Olivia is asleep and so taking care of me has taken a back seat. I blame this for the ulcer because really my body should have healed it by now. The theory is that there is less bacteria inside your mouth and so cuts should actually heal quicker in there.

Watermelon frost is an awesome product we stock in the clinic for the treatment of mouth ulcers and cold sores. Here's the thing - I lent mine to somebody! I hope their mouth is in a better state than mine.

If you do suffer from mouth ulcers there are a few things you can do.
~ stress can be a major contributor to mouth ulcers and especially healing. Taking some vitamin B6 may be useful. (hence why I went to visit my good friends at Masque Day Spa today in Albert Park ... ahhh it was bliss and my body is feeling awesome!)
~ wash the mouth out with warm salty water to assist in healing
~ use watermelon frost and don't lent it to friends! You never know when you might need it. Instead, next time you buy some, buy two to avoid this because right now, I wish I had!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sugar (only a little bit) & spice & all things nice!

Its been a home day today, and I must say that I look forward to these days very much. Its important for me have these days to potter around the house, walk to the shops and the park and most of all cook! I find juggling everything can be tricky sometimes, but when I have a day at home with Olivia to 'collect' myself, I feel so much better for it. I assume Im not alone. I think these days are really important for your overall sanity and health!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I had fun making it! I love making things up and sharing with you, and I love it even more when people bake my recipes! Have a go at this one, they are delicious!

Banana & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

175g softened butter (real butter - the fake stuff is REALLY bad for you)
80gm of raw organic sugar
3 organic free range eggs
1tsp of vanilla extract/essence
1 ripe and mashed banana
200g of dark lindt chocolate broken up into peices
1 1/2 cups of organic self raising flour

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
Line cupcake/muffin tin with paper pans.
With beaters, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. I have used much less sugar in this recipe as the banana helps to sweeten it. You could use honey however when beating the butter you would probably need to do it on its own and add the honey later.
Once pale and creamy, add three eggs and continue with beaters until all mixed in well.
Add vanilla, banana & chocolate (optional - maybe if making for small children you might choose to leave this out) and stir to combine.
Sift flour into the mixture and mix well.
Place batter into paper pans until just over 3/4 full and bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool.

These are delicious with or without frosting. I used an ordinary butter icing topped with fairy floss - probably not the healthiest of options but it looks awesome!

*Don't be afraid when baking to use much less sugar than suggested. At the very least, I usually half what a recipe tells me. You can always make up for it in other ways as I have with these cupcakes, but adding fruit or fruit juices.

Healthy eating is essential for good body function. If you don't already bake, get into the habit of doing so. Its therapeutic, you know exactly what is in your food and you are providing you and your family with great foundations for growth. You entire body relies on you making healthy choices. And if you don't yet have children, the fate of your fertility may also lie in your health. There really isn't an excuse for poor diet. Happy Baking!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Notice Served… baby its time to get out!

One of my most favorite treatments in the clinic is acupuncture for labour. It may seem odd, because lets face it, birth can be an icky topic! But you see, I have so much joy in hearing positive birthing stories. Many mothers who have pre-labour acupuncture, talk of a very positive birthing experience, no matter the outcome. Now, I can’t say that acupuncture is totally responsible, but many women have walked through my door at the clinic, and reported similar stories of quick and calmer labours, so I must be doing something right!

Pre-Labour acupuncture assists in preparing the body for birth. Research suggests that this alone shortens labour by up to 40%. That is good news to any birthing mothers ears! Treatment does several things. Over the course of 3-4 sessions, it slowly assists in ripening and gentle opening of the cervix, it helps relax muscles and tendons, opens the pelvic region and supports the overall function of the reproductive organs as they prepare for birth. Above all, it assists in supporting the mothers mind, which may be the most important aspect of all. In most women, these events should already be happening. By implementing acupuncture, the birthing mother can be certain that the body is being prepared. In some women, these essential pre labour steps may not be unfolding, and so it is even more important for treatment to be introduced.

Treatment usually takes place from 36 weeks and will continue weekly until the woman is full term. Using several weeks to complete this treatment means that its effects are gradual and accumulative. Pre-labour acupuncture will not force women into labour if she wasn’t already going to do so. I can confidently say this because treatments are it is mild but precise and differ greatly from *Induction acupuncture, where the intention and delivery of treatment is much stronger. Even better for her, is that it is very gentle and relaxing, and most importantly, reassuring that the body and mind will be as ready as possible for her beautiful arrival.

* Be sure to watch out for one of my next post on Induciton Acupuncture. It deserves an entry of its own!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Get ready for your 'Spring Cleaning!'

I’m quite grateful that winter is ticking over quite quickly. Not that it isn’t welcome. In actual fact, have enjoyed this winter so much more than any other year. I think I’m learning to embrace the season and enjoy winter for what it offers, and how it encourages me to slow down. As good as it is, I know Spring is coming and that makes me happy! Spring is such a beautiful time. We see the start of a new growth cycle, not just reflected in nature but in our bodies as well.

Spring is the perfect time to cleanse and prepare for the following year ahead. Much like we spring clean our homes, we can also be doing this to ourselves.

It can get confusing as to how to go about cleansing. There are so many ‘detox’ kits, cleansing formulas, programmes and potions, it can certainly deter the keenest of cleansers! What’s more, there are so many conflicting views. Some consider it to be dangerous – and I don’t disagree with this totally. Each and every individual should cleanse. However, it’s a matter of working out what is best for their bodies. If we embark on a program that isn’t suitable for the constitution of the person, it can certainly be damaging to the system.

You might wonder why it would be necessary to cleanse. It is true that your body does have its own way of detoxifying, unfortunately our lifestyles are far more toxic than our bodies can sometimes handle. Drugs, alcohol, water quality, stress and bad nutrition, all lead to build up of toxins in the body. When we cleanse, we allow our body to rid of these. If over time these are left sitting in our bodies, these toxins can lead to a host of issues including infertility, illness and disease.

So how does one decide what works best for them? If you are really serious about cleansing, it’s wise to speak to a health professional. Devising a cleanse that is specific to each patient is essential, given that no two people are the same.
In the clinic we run a ‘Spring Body Cleanse’ that does exactly this. It incorporates diet and lifestyle guidelines, specific to each patient as well as treatment and support throughout. We believe by implementing herbal medicine, acupuncture, clean eating and specific exercise, we can offer our patients a total body cleanse which is supportive as well as extremely effective – without compromise to the immune and other body systems.

If you're thinking of cleansing in the coming months, remember Spring is the perfect time. I get a little smile on my face knowing that my call to cleanse is coming. I can’t wait to feel new again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And just quickly before I sleep - Three Little Trees!

This might be a quick blog but I don't want it to go unnoticed. Jac and Kate of Three Little Trees are currently off to China. I wanted to share with you all because I find it so inspiring that these two wonderful women are taking time to deliver donations and presents to these less fortunate children at JinJiang Orphanage in China.

If you aren't familiar with Three Little Tree's you need to go and check out their blog http://threelittletreesclothing.blogspot.com and link yourself to somebody who stocks their highly sort after brand. (somewhere like Little Pinwheel http://www.littlepinwheel.com.au) Olivia & I are in love with their clothing!

Travel safe beautiful ladies, I feel so moved by what you are doing and trust that your time spent with these beautiful children will be so special. I can't wait hear about your time away. Much love xo

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HELP ME! I feel blah. I blame winter!

I hear this a lot lately. Truth is, winter is such an inward time, a real time of nurturing ourselves and reflecting. The real reason we prefer to stay in, eat a little bit more and comfort ourselves is because this is exactly what we should be doing. Our bodies know what they want; it’s our heads that run with the idea of needing to be out and about.

Winter can be hard going, because we make it that way. No season really should be more difficult to go through than the next, we just need to be mindful of where we fit in. We move slowly in winter, and for some, this can be difficult to surrender to. Slowing down the pace and spending time in is really good for you. Working our lives around the season and being careful not to overdo it is the key to surviving winter.

So, its time to listen to the notes that your body is humming! But how? First comes food. Its called ‘comfort food’ because it oozes soul, nourishes each and every part of us and makes us feel good. Warm wholesome food is really easy to cook. Often on a winter’s day, I raid the crisper and chop up anything I find. I brown it in a pot, add some protein, be it meat, beans or legumes, a tin of tomato’s, stock and let it cook; sometimes for hours. There is nothing better that wholesome, nourishing food.

On top of good food, you should sleep more. There is a reason that the days get shorter – it allows for more rest time. Having an extra hour or two to rest, equips your body with the essentials it needs to brave each chilly winter day.
Physical activity is still just as important as any other time of the year. Modifying the type of exercise you do, is the difference. Slower, less vigorous activity is best suited to winter. Specifically Yoga, Pilates and walking are great forms of movement. Adding these to your week will keep stress levels down and the blood flowing, making sure that all corners of your body are getting what they deserve.

And finally, think good thoughts! It’s really easy to get down and out in the colder months. Taking a walk outside when the sun is shining does wonderful things for you! A dose of Vitamin D from the sun can warm you right through. When you walk, see the beauty of nature at this time of the year. Even though some trees don’t have leaves, the colours are amazing. The air smells crisp and beautiful too.

Of course, if all this seems too hard because you don't eat well, or you can't sleep, it might be time for a tune up. When insomnia or poor digestion strikes, it is your bodies way of telling you something isn't working properly. A few sessions of treatment and you can be back on your path of wellness once again.

Winter doesn’t have to be awful. It can be beautiful, with the right amount of love and care that you deserve. You too can make this season awesome.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Making up for lost sleep

Postpartum sleep deprivation can increase stress and slow down the healing process. Implementing good nutrition and lifestyle habits early on, can only have a positive impact on the road ahead.

There are so many consequence to limited sleep. Some are more serious than others. Whilst general tiredness will not harm the body short term, long term, fatigue can lead to a host of health issues. So how do you get in front?

First and fore most, getting sleep in where you can is obviously the best way to keep on top of things. This means sleeping when your baby sleeps. I found this so hard because it was at these times, when baby was sleeping that I had time to catch up on house chores. Truth is, these things can wait and it is far more important that you are sane, than have a clean sink!

Adequate nutrition is the next most important thing on my list. If you have all the nutrients that your body requires, it will always run better. This is important not only to supply your body with what it needs but also to aid in recovery after birth. Pregnancy is consuming and postpartum, a mothers vitamin and mineral stores will be low. Lets also not forget that if you happen to be breast feeding, you are having much of the nutrients you take in, taken out just as fast! Either way, at this time, excellent nutrition is a must. This may mean supplementation also, to 'top up' what you can't get through your diet. Eat plenty of green leafy veggies which are rich in plant enzymes, fiber and nutrients. Have adequate portions of protein and limit foods which are of little or no value nutritionally.

Along with nutrition comes adequate hydration. Good amounts of purified tap water are also essential to good body function. By drinking plenty of healthy liquids, our bodies can also flush out toxins which built up. Each time you sit to feed your baby, have some water yourself. Its a good way to make sure you are getting plenty in.

Fish Oil may be one of my most favorite supplements. It is wonderful to assist in healing, is helps our minds and supplies the body with wonderful nutrients. It has been shown to assist in treatment of post natal depression and is safe to take whilst breast feeding. Adding a good quality fish oil to your routine will help in so many ways.

How we enter the postpartum period paves the way for how our bodies recover and respond to what is going on around you. Of course, sleep is the best way for your bodies to recover, however it is really important to be aware of keeping your body well nourished and nurtured. Asking for help is just as important, if you feel that things are becoming too difficult, delegate! Each mother is different, but if you can implement this into your routine early on, it may assist in you in keeping yourself sane and afloat rather than sinking.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coconut Vanilla Rice

Recently I have been adding pictures of things I have baked to my facebook page. It seems that so many of you are loving me sharing my ideas and cooking with you. Since starting our family, I have enjoyed cooking more than ever. I have always loved to cook, but recently I have taken things to a new place, modifying & making up my own recipes to make them healthier and more delicious for my family.

Good nutrition for me as a health care practitioner is of most importance. We can only ever expect out of our bodies what we put in. Its up to you, the individual to make sure that you are always choosing healthy options, never compromising on quality. People make silly excuses as to why they eat certain things, especially when they know that its not good for them! Thing is, it's their choice. Nobody else's. So there is no excuse. What's more, if you only have healthy ingredients in your cupboards, you will be inspired to use these and come up with new and exciting recipes. Be adventurous in the kitchen and Im certain you will surprise yourself!

Here's tonight's doing!

I opened the cupboard with the intention to bake. No eggs! So I stared in the cupboard and the coconut cream was screaming out to me to be used. What to do.... Coconut Vanilla Rice!

1 cup of brown rice
1 270ml coconut cream
1-2 cups of Bonsoy (depending on how your rice cooks)
1 tsp vanilla (I use the extract - very delicious)
1 tbs Organic Honey (or you could use maple syrup)

Combine ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer on stove until rice is cooked and it has a think consistency.

Perfect for a winter night!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lyla is here!

If you remember back to Wednesdays blog, I spoke of my beautiful friend who was attempting to have a natural birth following on from her previous cesarian. Well this morning she did it and I cannot tell you how proud I am of her and her lovely husband.

I received an sms this morning at 2 am saying that she was one hour into her labour, with contractions every 4 minutes! 4 MINTUES! I didn't actually see this sms until 4am, but I knew that at that time, she would most certainly be nearing closer to meeting her baby girl. I lied awake from 4 - 5am hoping to receive news. I was too excited to sleep! And then, at 6:45am, my phone beeped and sure enough the news came through that she was here and all was well! Another 5 hour labour.

Im so proud of both of my friends this week. I know both worked through various struggles both physically and mentally to fully prepare themselves for their pending births. Given that Belinda who gave birth today got her VBAC demonstrates to me that taking charge of your pregnancy and birth allows the mother to be in control. It is this control and mental focus that got both mothers through these births this week.

From word go, Belinda and I talked a lot about her birth, and it became apparent to her that it was very possible for her to attempt a VBAC. I made it my promise to her that I would do everything I could to make this happen for her. She had acupuncture weekly from 36 weeks, and last night we preformed induction acupuncture also.

So Im really tired, though lack of sleep from excitement. I wanted to share quickly and pop up a few pics of the two beautiful bundles I got to meet today! Enjoy.

Meet Kade - born 2nd June
Meet Lyla - born today! 4th June

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A new little life is here!

(beautiful images above of my sister Hollie & baby niece Harlow)

Im so very excited tonight - because today, a dear friend of mine gave birth to a healthy baby boy! How awesome is that?

I want to share briefly of her pregnancy journey, and I will keep it brief as I don't have her permission as of yet! BUT I was privileged enough to have the first phone call today from one very very proud mother sharing of her news.

This friend and patient's pregnancy was slightly complicated, and so after some discussion of her situation, I knew that I would be able to help. Can I just add - love my job! Im busting at the seams with joy since I found out of her birth! Anyway, back to the blog. So, after weekly acupuncture we were able to successfully treat the pregnancy and mother to full term. From 36 weeks gestation, we began preforming pre-labour acupuncture. This type of treatment really prepares the body for what lies ahead, and has been proven to decrease labour duration by 40%. The specific formula of points are used to assist the body in what it should already be doing. This is opening the pelvis, by assisting in relaxin (a hormone secreted by pregnant women that 'relaxes'), softening and relaxing muscles and tendons, ripening, softening and opening of the cervix, as well as supporting the woman's body in general. Midwives and acupuncturists all around the world use variations of acupuncture formula's to promote labour. For me, over the past 5 years, it has taken time, experience and some trial and error to find what works best.

When I saw her yesterday and I knew we were close. At this point, she was 40 + 2 days, and so we preformed 'induction acupuncture.' It differs somewhat to Pre Labour treatments as it is more intense and the location of the points change slightly, with a focus on stimulating the body to get things moving. Its important to understand the difference between the two type of treatments. One is more gentle and slow, the other is aiming to get things moving quickly.

An interesting thing happens as a woman's body begins to prepare for labour. She begins to go inward and may appear somewhat 'absent' to what is going on around her. My friend was like this yesterday. I could see she was so near, and when she asked me if I thought she would go into labour overnight, I confidently answered yes!

I awoke to a beeping phone around 6am this morning, with an sms reading "contractions 10 minutes apart" - it was game on! I assumed no news was good news and just before 11am, I got a phone call from one beaming mother. I could feel how elated she was that her birth was a positive experience, not to mention without complication and best of all swift! She was so delighted and grateful, I got to be the first person she called - to share her news and thank me! Words cannot explain how that made me feel. Im so proud to have had her under my care. Im even more proud of the effort she went to in educating herself, trusting her body as well as my treatment to assist in her birth being a positive experience.

The fun isn't over yet for me this week because one of my closest friends is nearing her due date also. Im surrounded! Her previous birthing experience was not ideal for her, and she will be the first to tell you that perhaps there is a chance, that things would have been different with empowerment. Im equally as proud of her, as she has turned her thoughts and beliefs of she was once afraid of into something she is excited and very able to do. She is no longer questioning her bodies ability. She will get her birth, and again, Im so privileged and proud to be part of her journey also.


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