Why you should avoid certain foods in pregnancy

“We could eat whatever we wanted when I was pregnant!” This is one of the most annoying things I hear older women say to my pregnant friends (I’m not sure if my friends find it annoying, but I certainly do!).

 

What could have happened to change things from being able to eat and drink whatever you like during pregnancy, to now being given a long list of things you should avoid?

It’s called experience, learning, research and knowledge.

Yep, we’ve learnt a lot in the last 30 years!

But because our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, neighbours and well-meaning strangers like to contribute their two cents, a lot of women are now confused and overwhelmed when it comes to eating right during pregnancy.

The main thing to remember is that most of these dietary recommendations are given to protect you and your baby.  Avoiding certain foods during your pregnancy reduces your risk of harming or losing your baby.

Soft cheeses, for example, are known to be breeding grounds for the bacteria Listeria which causes symptoms such as fever headache and diarrhoea. In pregnant women it can cause miscarriage, still birth or premature labour. Pretty good reason to avoid soft cheese for nine months I reckon!

Deli meats, BBQ chooks,  pre-made salads (and pretty much cold, pre-made anything), raw eggs and poultry are other common culprits for listeria and food poisoning. These bugs are destroyed by heat so if food is properly cooked it does not pose a risk.

Alcohol is known to cause foetal alcohol syndrome which results in children having growth and learning difficulties. It is not known how much alcohol it takes to produce this syndrome, so alcohol, whether it’s one glass or one bottle is best avoided.

So you see, these recommendations have been put together with a prevention mindset and really, when you’re presented with a glass of champagne, piece of soft brie, or ham sandwich during your pregnancy all you need to do is think “OK I know the risks, is it worth the few moments of deliciousness?”

And when well-meaning women say “ohh they didn't stop you eating cheese in my day, it's ridiculous!” you can suggest that perhaps the reduction in stillbirth since then can be attributed to these recommendations. Or you can just ignore them and save yourself the debate!

Here’s the list of the foods that I give to my
clients to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Soft cheese e.g. brie, camembert, feta, ricotta
  • Precooked (cold) food e.g. BBQ chicken, deli meat, pate, smoked salmon
  • Raw meat and seafood e.g. sushi Shellfish
  • Raw egg including mousse, homemade mayo and ice cream
  • Fish likely to contain high levels of mercury e.g. shark, swordfish and tuna
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine e.g. coffee, energy drinks, soft drink
  • Junk food e.g. lollies, chips, fast food

Not quite at the pregnancy part yet?

If you're wondering what you need to do to start preparing for pregnancy, pick up a copy of the Holistic Fertility ebook written by acupuncturist Kim Gatenby.

Kim will step you through how to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy. Get It


Gluten Free Pesto chicken Pasta

I invented this one for my Burton Health Cleanse participants. Its dairy free, gluten free, quick to make, delicious and super healthy!

I use a Betti Bossi Veggie Twister to make my noodles but you can also do it with a julienne peeler, grater or normal veggie peeler for thick ribbons.

 

 

Ingredients:

  •  1 large chicken breast
  •   2 zucchinis
  •   ½ bunch basil leaves
  •   ¼ cup olive oil
  •   ¼ cup pine nuts or almonds
  •   1 clove garlic

Method:

1.       Place chicken in a pot of simmering water, simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat, cover and sit for 20mins

2.       Process/blitz basil, pine nuts, garlic and oil to make your pesto

3.       Make noodles out of raw zucchini using veggie twister, grater or julienne peeler

4.       Fry noodles in small amount of oil approx 2 mins

5.       Remove chicken from water and slice

6.       Mix sauce though noodles and allow to heat through, mix chicken through or place on top

7.       Can serve with a little goats feta if desired.

Introducing After Par-Tea!

After Par-Tea is the newest organic herbal tea in our online store. The ultimate recovery tea. Naturopathically blended from organic herbs to help you feel brand new.

This blend contains Dandelion root, Passionflower, Skullcap, Catnip, Rosehip granules and Ginger.

This is my go-to blend when I come home feeling like I might've had just a little bit too much fun and my body needs a helping hand to make me feel like my usual self!

Dandelion root has been traditionally used to assist liver detoxification, passionflower and catnip to reduce anxiety, skullcap to ease headaches, rosehip granuels for a boost of vitamin c and ginger to calm an unsettled stomach.

 


The Burton Health Tea Club is here!

 After months of planning and preparation I have opened the doors to the Burton Health Tea Club!

This club gets me so excited! I wanted to share the joy of organic herbal tea with as many people as I could. I thought that accessing and enjoying good quality tea should be as easy as possible and I wanted to help people to connect with the herbs in their cup.

I thought a Tea Club would be the perfect way to do this. I looked around and I couldn't find anything like it. Sure, there might be tea subscription sites but I could't find a club where the ritual of tea was honoured, all of the tea was certified organic, hand-blended by a Naturopath and then delivered straight to your door with extra surprises to brighten your day. So I created it for you!

Every time I think about this Tea Club I always end up saying "I want to be a part of this club!". This is my dream come true. I love receiving mail, I love herbal tea and I love surprises. I have combined all of the things I love and turned it into an exclusive club for you to enjoy.

Head to the Tea Club page to find out the finer details of the club or hop right on over to the store if you know that this is the club that you need to be part of.

I look forward to welcoming you to the club.

Laura x


Do Detox Diets work and do you need to do one?

 

 

The word ‘detox’ seems to cause such a stir in the media and online world.

You have one side making radical claims about their detox curing all sorts of ills and then you have the other side saying that the concept of detox is a load of rubbish and you shouldn’t waste your time and money.

 

I prefer to use the word ‘cleanse’ for my detox programs because I think it more accurately describes what we are trying to achieve. What we want to do with a detox is give your body a rest from processing anything that places a load on the major organs of elimination (the liver, the kidneys, the gut and the skin) and at the same time use supplements that assist these organs with their function.

As a naturopath, I always find myself frowning when people say that detox doesn’t work.

I just don’t understand this. Its like saying breathing doesn’t work. I think that when people say detox doesn’t work its because they have a skewed concept of what detox is. It feels like everyone these days is looking for a quick fix and an instant cure. Detox is not a miracle cure to all of your health issues.

Detox is a holiday for your body.

You know what it feels like when you’re due for a holiday; you’re exhausted, you might be snappy, emotional, moody, your body aches, you don’t want to get out of bed YOU JUST NEED A BREAK!

This is how I imagine the poor body when it needs a detox. Its screaming at you “come on! Stop putting so much pressure on me! I’m so sick of processing your caffeine, your alcohol, your processed foods, your cosmetics. Man I need a break!”

Four weeks of fresh, nutritious food, minimising exposure to toxins, nourishing the body and assisting elimination with naturopathic herbs and supplements is a pretty decent break for your tired body.

Some people argue that your body is already designed to detox itself. That’s why you’re born with a liver, kidneys, lymphatic system, intestines etc. Yep, that’s true. But I think we all expect more from these organs than they originally signed up for and helping them out with an annual or bi-annual rejuvenation can only help them to perform better.

 

At the end of my cleanse programs people usually report that they are sleeping better, they wake up in the morning feeling alert, their energy is consistent throughout the day, their skin is improved (I was once told that I was ‘glowing’ when I was midway through a detox), they are not feeling bloated, their bowels are working well and they just generally feel more vibrant.

I try to get my clients to continue using the principles and recipes they have learnt during detox for the rest of their lives. And a lot of them do. Detox is like a restart button, it gets you back into good habits and it reminds you how the body is meant to feel.

So, do you need to detox?

You may not NEED to. But i’m sure your body will thank you for it!

Is Fish Oil Making You Sick?

Don’t be silly Laura.

Fish oil is anti-inflammatory, prevents cardiovascular disease, reduces arthritic pain, improves brain function,  helps improve skin tone and appearance and is just generally good for you!

Well yes, that is all true. If you’re taking the right fish oil.

Do you get fishy burps after taking your fish oil?

If you do, I have two suggestions for you:

1)      Stop taking it with hot drinks and/or hot food

2)      Chuck it in the bin

It may seem a bit dramatic to tell you to throw away your fish oil supplement but sadly, some fish oil supplements sold in stores are doing you more harm than good.

Rancid fish oil causes disease.

If you get fishy burps after you take your fish oil capsules then chances are, the oil is off. Rancid oils are oxidised (opposite to anti-oxidants) and are very harmful for the body.

One of my reps recently encouraged me to chew one of his companies fish oil capsules. I was hesitant. I really didn’t want to be left with a fishy taste in my mouth all day.. And who wants to see a Naturopath with fish breath?!
He saw me turn up my nose and immediately popped a capsule in his mouth and started chewing. Well, I didn’t want to be a wimp, so I copied. To my amazement I could not taste one iota of fish! In fact I quite enjoyed my fish oil capsule, it was kind of like a lolly! And at no point in the rest of the day did I get any hint of fishy after taste.

The reason I could chew this fish oil capsule so easily is because the oil was clean, pure and fresh. During the manufacturing process it had not been left out in the open air being exposed to oxygen and going rancid.

I always tell my clients, “If there is only one supplement you are going to spend more money on it should be fish oil”. This is not a sales pitch. I’m not salesy at all. In fact, I mostly prescribe liquid fish oil because its a lot cheaper than capsules (and easier to take). This advice is simply because I want to help you improve your health, not make you sicker!

The other problem with bargain basement fish oil is Mercury. Cheap fish oil usually comes from large fish. Large fish are known to retain high levels of heavy metals. Hello toxic fish oil! This is particularly concerning when we are feeding nasty fish oil to kids (often in the form of equally worrisome chewy, coloured fishies). I hate to think that we are filling these little people with such toxic substances.

When you are buying fish oil, read the packaging. It should state on there somewhere that it is from a sustainable source and from small fish.

And for the record; Krill oil is not equivalent to 6 fish oil capsules in 1 (cleverly marketed) capsule. Fish oil is fish oil and no other oil, including krill oil, matches its supreme power.

OK, I got a little bit carried away with my creative writing at the end there. But seriously, don’t believe the hype. Krill oil has been proven to be great for cardiovascular disease. But fish oil has been proven to be amazing for so much more!

My Tea Story

 

With the recent construction of my online tea store, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my lifelong love affair with tea.

  

Being English, I feel like I was born with a teacup in my hand.

But I asked my mum, and she said I actually would have started drinking tea when I was five; we’d all sit up in bed on a Sunday morning and have a cup of tea before starting the day.
Mum also told me that when we were little, my sister and I took her and dad a cup of tea one day. We knew we weren’t allowed to use the kettle so we used the water from our hot water bottles! Needless to say they didn’t drink it. I don’t remember doing that, but I do remember the first cup of drinkable tea I ever made. It was for my Grandad and I did it to earn a badge at brownies.

An evolution of tea.

Tea has obviously made a big impact on my life! In the early days my cup of tea was weak with sugar. As I grew older and my tastes changed, I started adding less and less sugar until my favourite brew was a nice rosy colour with just a dash of milk.

Sadly (or in hindsight, gladly!) when I started Naturopathic college I discovered that traditional black tea was the cause of my long struggle with constipation. I had always dabbled in herbal teas but it was after this discovery that I stopped drinking black tea and switched mostly to Dandelion root. The change to my digestive function and overall health was remarkable!

When I was little, lolly shops were my favourite place to spend my pocket money. As an adult, lolly shops were replaced with tea shops (and stationery shops). When my friends come over for dinner, I stand at my tea cupboard and reel off a long list of tea options for them to choose from. The problem is, I don’t really like a lot of the tea blends that are on the market. Or, I get really annoyed when I try a delicious blend at the tea shop but when I read the ingredients, the blend contains sugar or flavouring.

Surely you don’t need to add flavouring to herbal tea?!

One day about a year ago, I had an epiphany!
As a Naturopath, I’m a trained herbalist, my knowledge of medicinal herbs is huge, I love the idea of herbal tea but I don’t like what is currently available… Why don’t I make my own organic herbal teas?
I think this is what is commonly known as a light bulb moment.

I have discovered that blending herbal teas is not as easy as it sounds. You can choose all of these beautiful herbs for their amazing actions but getting the right balance of flavour is not so easy. But, it can be done! Over the past few months I have tasted hundreds of cups of herbal tea and I will not release a blend until I am 100% happy with the flavour. So far I am absolutely addicted to every blend and I am determined to keep up this standard of tea perfection.

The future is looking beau-tea-ful.

My partner and I have become obsessed with thinking up new tea names. Any word that remotely sounds like “tea” will become a potential blend. Jonathan inspired the blend i’m working on at the moment when he looked at me the other day and said “after par-tea” BRILLIANCE!!!

I’m having so much fun with this new part of my business. The online store has been much busier than I ever anticipated and I am full of ideas for the future of Burton Health Tea! You can have a little poke around my store here and make sure you check back often as there will always be new blends being added to the family.

Laura

Is Dry Skin Driving You Mad?

I would guesstimate that 80% of my patients complain about dry skin in winter. Until I ask the question, a lot of them have never made the link that they only get dry, itchy skin during the colder months.

Why so dry in winter?

There are a few contributing factors.

The most obvious being our tendency to make our homes very warm. This dry, warm air sucks the moisture right out of our skin.

Next there are the hot showers we stand under once or twice a day. I am also guilty of this, stepping out of the shower with a bright red glow all over!

And lastly, a lot of people forget to drink their daily quota of water in winter.

How can you make it through winter with beautiful supple skin?

Lets hit the obvious ones first:

1. Turn the heat down and/or go a few hours without the heater on. Put on a jumper and some slippers and have a cup of warm tea.

2. Turn the shower down! I struggle with this one so I spend my shower time alternating between hot and warm water to minimise the drying effect.

3. Keep your fluids up. I don’t recommend drinking cold water at any time of year, but especially in winter, have your water room temperature or slightly warm. Aim for two litres of pure water daily. If you really struggle then add a pot of herbal tea to the mix (caffeine free of course) to help boost the h2o intake.

And a couple more skin saving tips:

4. Dry skin brush before you shower. This will help to remove dead skin cells and it also gets your lymphatic circulation moving to help with detoxification and immune function.

5. Takea good quality fish oil or eat low heavy metal, oily fish 3-4 times a week. Omega 3 fats help to keep skin cells plump and healthy and reduce inflammation.

6. Use natural or organic moisturiser to help nourish the skin topically. I use organic coconut oil at night all over my face and body to re-hydrate my epidermis.

And next winter, start doing all of these things as soon as the cooler weather hits and you’ll prevent dry skin completely.