Building your own business can be confusing. Naturopath Laura Burton shares her tips for building a successful business. Today we talk about mindset.
“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
- 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
Wondering why your skin is feeling dry and itchy? We'll tell you why and what you can do about it.
It's time to set the record straight.
Sometimes people say things to me like "Laura! You're a Naturopath, you can't eat/drink/say/do that!" And it always shocks me when they do, because I feel like I'm pretty open about who I am and what I do. I purposely post photos of coffee, wine, chocolate etc on my Instagram and Facebook pages and I don't pretend to be a fanatical Naturopath.
My policy is that I will never ask a client to do something that I wouldn't be willing to do myself.
I think that's pretty fair.
I look after myself very well. My partner and I cook our meals from scratch, I drink at least 2 litres of water a day, I buy as much organic produce as I can, I eat lots of veggies and fruit and I'm very aware of what foods and drinks my body can't tolerate and I avoid them.
But sometimes I just want to eat malteasers! And sometimes I drink one too many wines and sometimes I eat takeaway. Yes, I am human.
Have you heard of the 80/20 principle?
I haven't always been a Naturopath. I was once a child who loved kingston biscuits, musk lifesavers and rainbow paddle pops. I was once a teenager who went to backyard parties and drank waaaay too many alco-pops, and I was once a twenty-something who spent too many nights at cargo bar drinking QF's and cowboys!
Yes, I'm a reformed sugar addict and binge drinker. And my health did suffer for it.
Now I like to do things in moderation (most of the time). And I like to subscribe to the guideline of 80% for the body and 20% for the soul. This means that while I mostly fill my body with nourishing, nurturing food and beverages, sometimes I'll have a treat.
This principle works really well and I know a lot of Naturopaths and health professionals who also follow this, or similar guidelines. And this is what I expect of my patients.
Having a balance of the foods that love your body and the foods that you love helps you to be happy and healthy in the body and the spirit.
Following the 80/20 rule means that you don't need to feel guilty about having a treat. Give it a go and let me know what you think.
And for the record, when people try to chastise me for having a treat, my usual answer is:
Are you uninspired and unenthused when it comes to breakfast? Read on because your world is about to be changed forever...
I used to hate breakfast. Even on the days when I was eating something nice, breakfast just didn't interest me. Growing up, my two favourite things to eat for breakfast were pancakes with lemon and sugar or porridge with brown sugar.. Notice a theme? Yep, massive sugar addict! It's no wonder I used to have hypoglycaemia!
Once I realised that these sugar loaded foods were no good for me I just became uninterested and in my early days of being a Naturopath my breakfast was usually a protein shake or a protein bar.
But now I love breakfast HURRAH!!
What changed? Maybe me... Or maybe I just discovered some really yummy breakfast options! In summer I love a smoothie, in winter its my hot breakfast bowl and on the days I know I'm going to in a manic rush its my pre-made chia pudding on the go. And the best thing about these 3 options is that you can change the ingredients every time you make it so that you don't have to have the exact same thing day in and day out. Perfection :)
Ohh and the pancakes? I now have the best pancake recipe in the world and i can eat as many as I want without feeling sick or guilty. Life is wonderful and breakfast is soooo fun!
So now you have 4 delicious breakfast recipes to try out and I really recommend that you do try them. A few of my friends and clients have given them a whirl and the feedback has been great so far. I only eat yummy food so I promise they are good!
But what if you haven't done the weekly shop, you have no chia seeds, no oats and no milk! How can we tart up your standard breakfast to make it that little bit more nutritious? Here are a few things you can do to improve the quality of the most important meal of the day:
Peanut butter on toast
I'm a little bit anti-peanut butter but to try and make this exercise realistic I would suggest going for a natural peanut butter rather than the highly processed scarily combined peanut butter that lots of people buy.. You want your peanut butter to be made from Peanuts. FULL STOP.
Here is the ingredients list from what I think is probably the most popular peanut butter brand in Australia : Roasted peanuts (65%), maltodextrin (from tapioca), sugar, vegetable oil (antioxidant (320)), salt, emulsifier (471)
65% Peanuts!! Seriously?! That is just wrong.. Next time you buy peanut butter please read the ingredietns list and buy one that has 100% peanuts.
My preferred option would be that you ditch the peanut butter and go for almond butter, cashew butter or the combo ABC which has almonds, brazil and cashew nuts. These options should be easy to find in the health food section of your supermarket.
The most important rule when you come to bread is absolutely no white bread. White bread is highly processed and refined, it breaks down into sugar in your body and it provides very little fibre. Have you ever noticed that when you chew white bread it turns into a paste in your mouth? Now imagine when you swallow this how it sticks to your digestive tract and clogs it up.. ewww... Now think about when you eat wholemeal or wholegrain bread, how it stays pretty rough in your mouth and when you swallow it, it moves through your digestive tract acting like a brush all the way through.
These are the little pictures I like to plant in peoples heads to help them make the right food choice ;)
No two muesli's are created equal. Again it all comes down to reading the packaging. What you want is for your ingredients list to only contain words that you understand and can pronounce. And you don't want any sugar on the ingredients list. With all of the dried fruit in muesli there is no need to add sugar to it.
Carman's fruit and nut muesli does not have added sugar and can be found at your supermarket. They also have fruit free and gluten free options as well as a bircher style.
I used to make my own muesli and while it was costly, it was the best muesli I have ever had. I would just buy oats, puffed rice, dried fruit, coconut, nuts and seeds and mix it up to my liking. This is the best way to go if you want to know exactly what's in your bowl.
For really good quality health-ful breakfast cereal that comes out of a packet, you can't go past forage. Forage was designed by Australian Naturopath Dr Damien Kristof and while it's fairly expensive at $17.90 for a 500g bag, it is very well balanced, high quality and tasty. Really, you're paying for the quality and health benefits of this one..
Lets face it, lots of you skip breakfast and just have a coffee.. And, from my experience in clinic, most of you know that this is not OK! Your body has just been shut down over night and when you wake up it is time to break the fast... Breakfast!
If you find it difficult to stomach breakky, just have a protein shake or my magic smoothie. Something is better than nothing and we want to get your metabolism started to fuel you through the day. Here is a blog post all about how to wake up your appetite in the morning
Here are some of the awesome breakfast photos my clients have sent me this week
Chia seeds are likely to help balance blood sugar, improve heart health, reduce inflammation, aid weight loss and improve digestive function. All fantastic reasons to include them in your diet!
I am a little bit obsessed with chia seeds at the moment. I add them to my oat bran of a morning, make puddings, put them in my banana muffins, choc mint brain power bites, smoothies, yoghurt, salads and pretty much anything else I can think of!
Here are 10 reasons why you should add
some chia seeds to your diet:
- They are high in fibre which improves digestive function and bulks up the stool to make bowels more regular
- Chia seeds contain all 8 of the essential amino acids making them a complete protein. Protein helps with muscle repair, blood sugar balancing and appetite regulation.
- They are high in antioxidants so they help to destroy disease causing free radicals.
- Chia contains good amounts of lots of essential nutrients including calcium, iron, vitamin c and potassium.
- They are mucilaginous which means they secrete a gel like substance that is nice and soothing and healing to the gut – put some chia seeds in a small amount of water and watch it turn to jelly. Now imagine this in your digestive system. So good!!
- Can be used to substitute egg. Yep! If you’re allergic to egg you can mix chia seeds with water so it goes all jelly-ish and use that in place of egg in your recipes! To make Chia gel mix 1 part Chia seed with 10 parts water, stir, then let it sit for around 10 minutes
- Chia is full of omega 3 ALA fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and good for cardiovascular health as well as arthritis sufferers. If you’re a vegetarian you can use chia seeds as one of your non-meat or fish sources of omega 3.
- Chia slows the digestion of carbohydrates to glucose which provides a slow release of energy to keep you going and going and going.
- Chia seeds have been shown to increase HDL cholesterol and lower Triglycerides as well as lower blood pressure all good news for heart health.
- Chia seeds are gluten free so can be enjoyed by coeliacs and those with gluten sensitivities.
If you are a naughty person who doesn't drink water, you will need to start if you are going to include chia seeds in your diet. A lack of water may result in constipation due to the high fibre content.
While chia seeds are an amazing superfood to include in your diet to boost overall health and nutrition, if you do have any medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, you still need to seek professional medical advice for your condition.
Giveaway - Closed, sorry!
The lovely people at The Chia Cohave given me one prize pack to give away to a lucky Burton Health friend :)
The pack includes:
- 1 x 150g black Chia
- 1 x 150g white Chia
- Jute bag with recipe card
Just head over to the Burton Health Naturopathy Facebook page to enter. You will need to 'Like' our page and comment on the competition picture to tell us how you will use your chia seeds if you win. Winner will be drawn on Monday 26th August. Good Luck xx
I recently answered a call out for an article that asked "What have you given up to make your life better?" My answer was about my journey to becoming the best version of myself and giving up worrying, shyness and fear in order to achieve this. The process to become my best self will never end. There will always be something to work and improve upon but when I look back at who I was 3, 4 or 5 years ago I see a completely different person and I love how much I have changed! This is not a physical change and its not something many people would notice. This change has been within me and it was a change that I wanted for so many years.
So, answering this call out got me thinking that I really should share this very personal story because being a Naturopath is much more than just advising on diet and supplements. For me, being a naturopath is about helping people to truly be themselves and I often share snippets of my story with clients who I think will benefit from hearing it, but this is the first time I have actually written it down and shared it properly. I really hope that it helps anyone who feels a little lost and out of touch with who they are or like me, if you know who you are but just have trouble expressing it and being comfortable in your own skin.
Who I was - Shy, self conscious, fearful, day dreamer, worrier, judgemental, insecure.
I was pretty good at keeping all of that negative stuff to myself. And I was still a nice person and happy and functional and normal! I just wasn't me. I knew who I was inside but I didn't feel like I was being that person on the outside. I haven't actually changed at all. It's just that now I have cleared a lot of the mental rubbish and I can allow myself to just be me without worrying if people are judging me.
I think judgement was my main issue. I knew that I judged other people and I just expected that everyone was judging me. I think this fear of being judged all started when we emigrated to Australia. I was 9 years old and I guess I didn't really like being teased about my accent or about saying words 'wrong'. I lost my English accent pretty quickly just to fit in and I suppose to stop nasty kids from telling me to go back to my own country. I can still vividly remember the day in year 5 when I did a topic talk and afterwards in the questions and comments time a girl in my class said "It was very good but its actually viiiitamin (Aussie pronunciation), not vitamin (English-ly pronounced)." Even though the teacher told her that there are two ways to pronounce vitamin I still felt silly knowing that all of the kids had been sitting there thinking I didn't know what I was talking about.
Its amazing that little things that happen when you're a child can so significantly impact your adult life. I used to be so self conscious and shy that talking to clients in the waiting room or being in social situations where people were listening to me talk would turn me bright red and nervous. As soon as I felt myself going red I'd try to end the conversation and pretty much run away. It got to the point that I'd be saying in my head "don't go red, don't go red, don't go red" instead of concentrating on what I was saying or doing.
I was fine around my close friends but when I came to meeting new people or mingling with my boyfriends friends I would be so nervous before hand and worried about what I would have to talk about that I would feel sick and really not want to go out at all. I felt embarrassed about starting conversations or about jumping in to a conversation that someone else was having so I would pretty much just not say anything unless someone specifically asked me a question.
I had a hundred and one fears including public speaking (obviously), the dark, bridges, tunnels, trucks, ships, pipes, lifts, cockroaches, apple stickers, going red, introducing myself in class, well anyway, I can't remember them all but you get the gist!
I would also worry about things that hadn't happend and find myself in deep day dreams about these negative scenarios (things like a loved one dying) and then feel so guilty that I'd even thought about it! I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I knew it was just a fear of those things happening that had me day dreaming about them but I just couldn't understand why I couldn't stop myself from doing it!
My transformational journey
When I started my naturopathic studies I also began a journey to improve myself and I decided a few years ago that I was on a mission to become the best version of myself.
My transformation started very slowly and has sped up significantly in the last three years. I tried a lot of different modalities to clear my clutter and if you're inspired to start a journey to clear your own clutter the best piece of advice I can give you is not to give up. If you try one thing a few times and don't see any changes, try something else. Everything I have used over the past few years has worked. And I actually think the combination of modalities has made the transformation stronger.
The first thing I noticed that made a significant change was Bach Flowers. We had to choose one to take for an assignment so I took mimulus for 'known fears'. After a few months I noticed that I no longer ran to my room after turning the lights off at night, all of a sudden one night I went 'hang on? something's different?!' and realised that the house was dark but I was WALKING to my room! Crazy! The other thing I noticed was that I was able to actually kill a cockroach instead of descending into a full on panic attack! I still hate cockroaches A LOT but its nice to know that if I'm home alone and one comes to visit, I can deal with it if I have to.
Then, as part of my studies I started using Homoeopathy and was seeing a great Homoeopath and Astrologer in Sydney, Michael Neil, who taught me a lot about myself and helped me calm down in public situations.
For a while I worked in a clinic with a Hypnotherapist. I think I had about 3 sessions with her and I found it quite amazing. She would get me to identify the negative thought patterns and replace them with positive or constructive versions. After the session I would know what we had worked on but I couldn't, for the life of me remember what the negative sentences or thought patterns were!
And of course I've used a lot of Herbal medicine and Nutritionals for my nervous system and adrenals. Magnesium, B vitamins, Withania, Codonopsis, Lavendar, Oats, Rehmannia, Liquorice, Passionflower, Magnolia, Rhodiola and so many more! Luckily for my clients, all of this experimenting on myself has lead me to find the stress and anxiety supplements that really work. So the same tablets, powders and liquids that I've taken are still available in my dispensary today.
The two things that have made the most significant change to my emotional wellbeing are Kinesiology and Energetic Healing.
First the Kinesiology with Barbara Smith helped me to stop worrying about being judged and this stopped me from turning red and going silent in social situations. I still blush from time to time and I'm still pretty reserved but I can now comfortably and confidently be myself and converse with people naturally.
Then the Energetic Healing with Sarah Binet has allowed me to let go of the unnessesary worrying and story creating and has freed up my mind for greater things! I don't get lost in elaborate day dreams, I don't worry all the time and I just feel so... me! I am going to be working with Sarah for quite a while I think as there are many more layers to get through but so far the changes have been amazing!
When I look back over the past couple of years I can see such a huge transformation in myself. I am happier, more comfortable in my own skin, open and accepting. I'm not a different person, I'm allowing my true self to shine through instead of worrying what people will think! I am a better person and a better practitioner because I have released my insecurities. And now I get to help other people on their path to find their truest self and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world
Laura Burton today - happy, content, true, present and still a work in progress!
A question that comes up a lot in my clinic is “can I still drink coffee?” or sometimes it can be a statement “Don’t tell me to give up coffee, because I won’t!”.
Coffee is something that ignites passion in
the hearts of many!
So what is the answer when it comes to your cappuccino, latte, macchiato, flat white, espresso etc? My standard answer is pretty much in line with my whole approach to health: everything in moderation.
It’s important to have balance in our lives and our diets and if coffee makes you happy I’d be reluctant to say you can never have it again. Having said that, there may be cases where I suggest that people do cut it out because it is making their condition worse, for example women suffering menopausal hot flushes, or someone with anxiety or migraines.
My general compromise for a person without these conditions is: 1 good quality coffee per day. What do I mean by good quality coffee? Coffee made by running water through ground coffee beans with an espresso machine, plunger etc. Instant coffee is not OK as it is high in a chemical called acrylamide which has been shown to cause nerve damage and some research suggests that it is carcinogenic (cancer causing).
Studies have shown that if you drink 1 cup of coffee daily your concentration improves. However, more than one coffee daily can reduce your ability to absorb nutrients so no more than one is the rule I impose. Personally, I can’t even drink that much. If I start having one coffee every day, after a few weeks I start to get heartburn and what I describe as a livery taste and smell on my breath. So for me, 2-3 per week is my limit.
Coffee really is a substance that can divide opinions because there are good sides to coffee or more specifically caffeine but there are also bad sides and in my opinion, the bad usually comes from over consumption. So let’s break it down to the good and the bad of that delicious black elixir.
- As stated above, one cup of coffee per day can help improve concentration and learning.
- Caffeine extracts are used in a lot of fat burning pills to increase metabolism. Studies suggest that caffeine does help with fat loss if used short term.
- Contains antioxidants
- Coffee consumption can result in deficiencies of vitamin B1 and other vital nutrients in the body
- Caffeine has been shown to contribute to insulin resistance therefore has the potential to hinder weight loss.
- Coffee can exacerbate anxiety, hot flushes, migraines and long term over use can lead to dysfunction of the adrenal gland.
- Coffee increases blood pressure
Now, you've probably noticed that I've missed one important point from my good list and the main reason why most people tell me they drink coffee; to wake up in the morning. The reason I haven’t added it to the list is because I don’t agree with it. I understand that it feels like coffee is the only thing that gets your brain started in the morning and you just can’t function until you've had a cup but you’re wrong.Caffeine is addictive and this is your addiction talking.
Out of the patients I’ve taken off coffee, whether it’s for a 6 week cleanse or because of a medical condition, 99% of them tell me that they feel better when they’re off coffee, once they’ve made it through the withdrawals of course. Their energy is better and lasts longer, their bowel function becomes more regular, solid and less urgent, their appetite is more balanced and their general feeling of well-being is improved. If you think you’re not addicted, why not stop for 2 weeks and see how you go?
Do you really like the taste of coffee but want to cut out the caffeine? Lots of decaffeinated coffees are made by using chemicals to strip out the caffeine which is not ideal. But you can get decaffeinated coffee that has had the caffeine removed using a Swiss method that is natural (the green beans are immersed in water until there is only 1% caffeine remaining). I recently came across Adelaide company Baristador coffee who make organic coffee in three levels of Swiss decaffeination 70%, 30% and 1% (Decaf). I have been trialing the 1% and 30%. Both are delicious and I have noticed that I am not left feeling dehydrated, jittery or “livery” - this is exciting!
So, you’ve decided your coffee intake is acceptable, you’re not addicted and you’re happy to just have one cup per day. The next question is when is the best time to drink your one cup of coffee per day? I recommend no coffee after midday.
If you are using coffee/caffeine to enhance your performance at the gym then the research points towards drinking coffee before you work out. This is supposed to increase your energy and make you burn more calories. As we know, coffee increases blood pressure as does intensive exercise so I would not recommend this practice for you if you have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, please speak to your health care practitioner before using coffee to enhance your work out.
I think, in the morning, with or after breakfast is a pretty reasonable time to have your coffee. On an empty stomach you may find that it makes you jittery so ensure you have something else in your belly. And my number one rule when it comes to drinking coffee – for every cup of coffee you must add an extra glass of water (in addition to your daily requirement) as coffee is dehydrating and must be processed by the body so let’s help it out by flushing the body with pure water to hydrate the cells and aid detoxification.
The info above is my general advice for fit and healthy people. If you have any medical conditions please speak to your Naturopath or health care provider to get a specific answer as to whether you should be drinking coffee or not.
Interview with Steve Davis from Baristador Coffee
1. Why did you decide to start making reduced caffeine coffee?
A few years ago, I went to a naturopath in Adelaide for a general check-up. At the end of the consultation she was telling me she wanted me to abstain from caffeine for six weeks. I knew my head was nodding as she spoke but inside I was shaking my head and thinking, there is no way I'm going to subject myself to vial, decaf coffee.
At that time, I had been perfecting an espresso blend for myself and decided to experiment with a new decaf bean my coffee supplier had obtained. It was much more pleasing than I had experienced previously but it wasn't until I met my current coffee roaster that we were able to extract its full flavour.
With friends 'pestering' me for my blend, I decided to start Baristador Coffee to make it available as a coffee service, rather than a full on coffee conglomerate!
2. What health benefits have you seen since you started drinking Baristador coffee?
I initially found that just going cold turkey from full caffeine coffee to decaf, led to hideous headaches and a really unwell feeling. But as I moved forward with my new health plan in conjunction with my exercise physiologist who encouraged me to move away from my carbohydrate-intense diet towards a more protein-forward diet, I found I 'needed' the caffeine hit less.
In fact, these days I never drink coffee for the caffeine, I drink it for the flavour.
At the same time, I know that fear of the withdrawal symptoms can stop some people from easing off their caffeine reliance, which is why I crafted the 30% less caffeine, 70% less caffeine and decaf options, to make it easier to 'come down'.
3. What is the difference between the decaffeination method of Baristador coffee compared to traditional methods?
A local Naturopath, Phil Sheldon, discussed Baristador Coffee with me on his radio show and was quite impressed by my decision to use a Swiss Water Method decaf coffee. Traditional decaf is made by using chemicals that Phil says are virtually identical to those used in dry cleaning! I couldn't think of anything worse; no wonder that style of decaf tastes awful.
In the Swiss Water Method, the beans are immersed in water releasing some of the oils and the caffeine. The caffeine is naturally removed from the water, and then the beans are resoaked to restore their original flavours before being dried, roasted, etc.
It is worth noting that this natural method does result in some trace elements of caffeine remaining, but I would much prefer that than dry cleaning fluid residue.
4. What is the key to making really good coffee?
This is a personal question, in many ways, because it comes down to your preferences and palate.
Some rules of thumb are:
- Use fresh coffee. Coffee that has been roasted, ground and stored in an airtight bag with a one-way valve for letting unwanted gases escape, can stay fresh, unopened for quite a few months - around 6 months, in my opinion. However, once opened, I suggest using it in 2-3 weeks at the most. Note that some of the coffee you see in supermarkets has already spent 3-12 months in storage and transit!
- Fill your container. Whatever coffee appliance you use, do not skimp on the coffee. Fill the coffee holder to its maximum height. Most appliances and makers have a specific capacity and to reduce the coffee you use can lead to too much extraction and lead to the coffee becoming bitter.
- Warm your utensils. It really does make a difference if you warm cups and makers before making coffee.
- Store in a cupboard. In a proper bag like we use at Baristador, keeping your coffee in a dark, cool cupboard is perfect. I recommend NOT using a fridge or freezer because the condensation that occurs every time to remove and replace your coffee can spoil your coffee very quickly.
Perhaps the best advice is to point you to my most popular blog post ever: Three reasons why your cup of coffee tastes bitter
5. Do you have an interesting coffee fact or quote you’d like to share?
Actually, I have a surprising book. It is called, The Various Flavors of Coffee: A Novel, which I picked up on impulse in an op shop. It is an exotic story about a man involved in the beginning of the organised coffee culture in the 1800s. I learned a few things about coffee, blushed during a few scenes and was quite moved in parts. Not what you expected, I'm sure.
I have been interested in the healing power of sleep for a long time. One of the first assignments I can remember doing for my Introduction to Naturopathy course was actually all about sleep.
I love to sleep and I rarely have problems in this area but on those few occasions where I find myself staring at the ceiling I am lucky that I have all this knowledge stored away in my brain to help undo the dreaded insomnia. I like to share my sleep knowledge as much as I can and my clients often leave the clinic with handouts explaining the importance of good quality sleep and how they can improve their sleep which in turn improves their health. Now I am spreading the love further and sharing some of my sleep tips with you :)
Insomnia, tossing and turning, watching the minutes tick by on the clock, thinking the same thoughts over and over, waking up every hour, nightmares, sleep talking, sleep walking, sleep eating, I'm exhausted just thinking about it all! If you wake up feeling tired and frustrated because you just can't get the good quality sleep that you used to, then read on and please put some of my tips into practice.
1. Good sleep hygiene is essential!
Do you like your bedroom? Is it pretty and peaceful and relaxing? If your bedroom is cluttered and dirty and ugly you're probably not going to enjoy being in it. So the first step in your sleep transformation is to create a sleep environment that you love. Get rid of any clutter in the bedroom and under the bed.
2. Use soft lamps
Instead of bright lights as a dark environment is essential for melatonin production which is the hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycles.
You can't realistically expect to come home from a crazy day at the office, scoff down your dinner, go for a run, watch the news and then fall into a peaceful slumber.
3. Eat your dinner at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
This gives your body time to digest your food before you go to sleep. If you're still trying to break down your dinner when you go to bed your body can't focus on rest and repair and you probably won't have a very sound sleep.
4. Try to exercise in the morning.
Some people find that exercising at night amps them up too much but exercising in the morning helps to give you energy to get through the day.
5. Take time to wind down before bed.
Watching the news and reading the paper are likely to stimulate your mind too much to be able to have a restful sleep so are best avoided in the evening. This rule also applies to work. If you must bring work home from the office, finish up one hour before bed time so that you can release all of the work clutter from your brain before you retire.
6. Try to spend the hour before bed relaxing.
Dim the lights, have a bath, meditate, do yoga, listen to calming music, write your journal (to get rid of those circling thoughts), and remember to breath deeply.
7. Go to bed at 10pm
or as close to 10pm as possible (this advice is for people who go to bed late. If you already go to bed at 9 or 9.30pm and have a great sleep, please continue!).
Studies have shown that the optimum sleep/wake times are sleep at 10pm, wake at 6am. Getting up early often allows you time to do your morning exercise, have a good breakfast and generally be more productive. Going to bed at 10pm allows your body enough time to get into the deep stages of sleep and repair and restore your body effectively. Did you know that your adrenal glad does its repair between 11pm and 1am? If you aren't deeply asleep between these hours your adrenal glad never gets a chance to restore itself which can lead to fatigue, anxiety and burn out.
Naturopathy for Insomnia
Naturopathic medicine such as herbal medicines, vitamins and minerals can help. These are best prescribed by your practitioner as there isn't one herb or nutrient that is guaranteed to be the answer so a trained naturopath is needed to determine what will work best for you. You may require magnesium to help relax your nervous system and muscles. Maybe you need a vitamin B complex in the day time or herbs for stress and anxiety. There is even a bach flower remedy specifically for 'unresolved circling thoughts' which I often put in my sleep mixes to help switch the worry off at night.
8. Drink herbal teas
to help relax your nervous system and induce a restful sleep. These may include Lavender, Passionflower, Chamomile and Lemon Balm. Try my TeaStress blend or Rest and Digest Blend, enjoy half an hour before bed.
Sleep is very important for mental and physical health. If you can get yourself into a healthy sleep routine you will feel more energetic, you will get sick less often and your days will be more productive.
Happy sleeping :)
ANZAC day is coming up fast so its time to start thinking about getting your ingredients together for your ANZAC cookies.
These cookies are a hit in my house, really easy to make and totally delicious!
You will need:
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 tablespoon water
- Combine almond meal, coconut, sugar and oats in a bowl.
- In a small saucepan slowly heat and stir the oil and honey until melted.
- Mix the bicarb soda and water in a small bowl, remove saucepan from heat and add the bicarb mixture to the saucepan. The mix will froth.
- Pour the liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients and combine well.
- I rolled mine into 20 cookies but could’ve made 2-3 more if my partner hadn’t been hovering around eating the raw mix!
- Place on a cookie tray or baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake on 150 degrees C for 13-15 minutes or until golden.
- Allow to cool
About the ingredients:
I've used Almond meal instead of flour to make these cookies a great wheat free option (please note they are not gluten-free due to the oats). It also makes them a fairly good protein snack - Yay!
Coconut oil is used instead of butter as it is high in medium chain fatty acids and will not raise blood cholesterol. In fact, it is good for heart health.
Coconut sugar has twice the iron, four times the magnesium and over ten times the zinc of brown sugar. It’s a great low GI alternative to cane sugar.
Honey is used instead of golden syrup. Golden syrup is made in the process of refining sugar cane juice into sugar, or by treatment of a sugar solution with acid. Honey is made by bees so is naturally a better choice and is full of antioxidants. I've used raw honey as its even more antibacterial and healthful!
These cookies are such a great Low GI, healthy oil, protein-full snack and they are very difficult to stop eating! Enjoy them on ANZAC day or any time of year!