Mandarin Heaven

I’m in Mandarin Heaven at the moment. There is an abundance of them in the shops (being mid-winter here), they’re sweet, juicy and ridiculously cheap! What’s not to love.

It’s amazing how nature provides us with what we need at just the right time.

You see, mandarins are in season early winter to early spring – the same time that cold and flu season hits. Just one Mandarin provides 90% of your Vitamin C daily requirements.

While Vitamin C does not stop a cold, research suggests that taking high doses can support the immune system and reduce the duration of cold symptoms. And if you don’t have a cold, don’t worry as your body has lots of uses for Vitamin C as it’s essential for…

  • Muscle function.
  • Assisting in iron absorption.
  • Maintenance of connective tissue of bone, muscle, joints etc.
  • For the release of energy from fatty acids.
  • Absorption of iron in the intestines.
  • The metabolism of cholesterol and folic acid.
  • Development of thyroid hormone.
  • Protecting cells from free radical damage.
  • Reducing the formation of nitrosamines1 in the stomach.
  • Involved in the formation and breakdown of noradrenaline2 and serotonin3

As a Naturopath I’m often asked, “Should I take a Vitamin C supplement?”

My answer, “Why would you when you can eat a few delicious Mandarins and get nearly your daily Vitamin C requirements plus some fibre, vitamin A and other trace minerals.”  One average Mandarin contains 25 mg of Vit C. The Recommended Daily Allowance: Males/Females 45-60mg, Pregnancy & Lactation 65-85mg per day. Children, 40mg.

In fact, if you eat some of these on a daily basis — lemon, kiwi fruit, capsicum, broccoli, strawberries, green vegetables and tomatoes – you will get OVER 400 mg of Vitamin C . Any more than that gets excreted in your urine. For a more detailed look into exact amounts scroll to the bottom of the page.

Takeaway… Invest in eating a lot more fruit and vegetables.

Tip…The benefits of vitamin C come from having it every day, not just at the start of a cold or flu. Also, look for Satsuma mandarins as they are high in the phytochemical synephrine – a natural decongestant!

Click HERE for my Almond Mandarin Muffin Recipe

Let me know how you like it. Nat 💚

A 100% loss of Vitamin C can occur when cooking so this should be taken into account when preparing meals. Being sensitive to light, oxygen and heat fruits and vegetables should be fresh and kept in the dark.

Vegetables Vitamin C  per 100g   Fruits Vitamin C

per 100g

Red/Green Chilli peppers 242 mg Guavas 228 mg
Thyme (fresh) 164 mg Blackcurrants 100 mg
Parsley (fresh) 133 mg Kiwi 93 mg
Kale 120 mg Papaya 62 mg
Green capsicums 100 mg Oranges/Mandarins 59 mg
Broccoli 89 mg Strawberries 59 mg
Brussels sprouts 35 mg Lemon juice 57 mg
Cauliflower 20 mg  
Cabbage 20 mg  
Spinach 20 mg  

 References:

  1. NORADRENALINE is responsible for the body’s reaction to stressful situations.
  2. SEROTONIN influences a number of psychological and other body functions. Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin.
  3. NITROSAMINES: produced from nitrites and secondary amines, which often occur in the form of proteins in meats, processed foods.

Wahlqvist, M. L. (2011). Food and Nutrition: Food and Health Systems in Australia and New Zealand 3rd Edition. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

 

TOXIC CHEMICALS IN YOUR HOME

What started out as a casual conversation with a friend about the dangers of many household products turned into an investigation on their effects on the body – YOUR body, YOUR health, YOUR family’s health and the creation of a Safe Non-toxic Alternative.

My research uncovered that using everyday household cleaners, air fresheners and bug repellents can result in a multitude of health problems, some that you may be blaming on ‘pet, dust or seasonal’ allergies.

The first thing I found astonishing is that cleaning product companies do NOT have to list their ingredients on the label, they just give their website. Visiting their website, I found it nebulous, vague and unclear. Searching for the ingredients list was like searching for a needle in a hay stack. Eventually I found the ingredients, NOT on their website, but by googling Safety Data Sheets for the product.

I warn you, this may take you 20-mins to read, but I am going so far as to say it’s ESSENTIAL reading, your health depends on it. And I’m not being dramatic just for effect! Which I’ve been known to do 😉

You see, over time, the chemicals in your daily household products can build up in the body, in your tissues, organs and even whole-body systems e.g. Nervous system. Just using these products ‘sometimes’ can trigger an immunological reaction resulting in headaches, skin rashes, sneezing, red watery itchy eyes, sore itchy throat, congestion, sinus problems, tightness in the chest and even difficulty breathing, and that’s just to name a few.

Here is what I uncovered: the COMMON INGREDIENTS found in your everyday cleaning products

SODIUM DODECYLBENZENE SULPHONATE can be absorbed into the body by inhalation, irritating the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Long term exposure may result in dermatitis.  Found in kitchen and bathroom cleaning sprays and liquid cleaning agents.

SODIUM TETRABORATE DECAHYDRATE is basically borax. Commonly used in air-fresheners and cleaners. The jury is still out on borax. Good or bad? There is conflicting information out there. But inhalation may result in …shortness of breath, sore throat, coughs and nose bleeds. In America, the FDA banned borax as an additive in foods. The European Chemicals Agency has named it as being ‘of very high concern’. I’ll leave it to you to decide.

FRAGRANCE is added to nearly all cleaners and air-fresheners so things can smell ‘clean’. What does ‘clean’ really smell like, I wonder…?? Anyway, companies do NOT have to list the source. Mind-boggling, hey? Something we use in our homes, day in and day out and there is no mention of what’s in it! Let’s look at what the research says. A 2007 study in the ‘American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care’ revealed that frequent use of household cleaning sprays is a risk factor for asthma as fragrances were found to linger in the air1. Another 2009 study conducted at the ‘University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’ showed long-term use of cleaning products is recognized as a common cause of new-onset and aggravated occupational asthma2.

DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL BUTYL ETHER also found in Mace spray and brake fluid; and your household cleaning products – eek! The compounds can be absorbed into the body by inhalation and can result in irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and symptoms such as dizziness and headaches. Long term use targets the respiratory and central nervous system.

PROPYLENE GLYCOL can affect the…” Integumentary system (Skin), Urinary system (Kidneys) and Respiratory system (From Nose to the Lungs)”. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry3. And knowing all of that, it is still approved for sale. Crazy?? YES!! According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry… Propylene glycol breaks down in the body in about 48 hours. However, studies of people and animals show that if you have repeated eye, skin, nasal, or oral exposures to propylene glycol for a short time, you may develop some irritation”. I wonder what their definition of ‘Short-time’ is?  Day in and day out??

SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES) a detergent and surfactant causes eye or skin irritation in experiments conducted on animals and humans”4. You can find this ingredient in your home spray cleaners, toilet cleaners, shower cleaners etc.

AMMONIUM CHLORIDE used in glass cleaning and bench cleaning sprays produces strong fumes that are potentially damaging to mucous membranes such as eyes, nose and airways.

HYDROCHLORIC ACID is found in toilet and shower screen/tile cleaners. It’s corrosive and its fumes can result in asthma like symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness5. Skin contact can blister and burn skin.

TRICLOSAN is a common ingredient in antibacterial cleaners and hand sanitisers. Apparently, an individual can only absorb a small amount of triclosan through the skin or the mouth. However, in a 2004 study of participants aged 6yrs and older, Triclosan was detected in the urine of nearly 75% of the people tested6. So, on one hand they say it is only absorbed in small amounts, but it is found in urine of nearly 75% of people. Wtf? Other research indicates that, “There is some concern that widespread use of triclosan and other biocides can alter antibiotic resistance in bacteria”7. Amazing hey, the very thing meant to keep pathogenic bacteria at bay may make it stronger!

BENZISOTHIAZOLINONE is used as a preservative and antimicrobial in room air-fresheners. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates it as a HIGH concern due to its irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs. A 2013 study8 showed that when combined with Citral and Triclosan (also used in cleaning products) had a negative effect on lung epithelial cells, inhibiting cell growth. The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (EU) says due to a lack of data it should not be used in personal care items. But apparently it is ok to spray around the home and inhale it?? Seriously??

Also, Formaldehyde can be used in small concentrations as a preservative in cleaning products and air fresheners. It can interfere with the ability to smell by coating nasal passages with an oily film.

I really could go on and on. There was a heap more ingredients, but you get the picture, right?

And the effects of these chemicals on the Gut Microbiome have not even been researched yet but knowing its detrimental effects on the body it’s hard to imagine it doesn’t affect the microbiome, considering we are more bacteria than cells.

So, what to do?

BIN all your cleaning products – you and your family’s health is paramount here.

What to use instead?

You can try plain white vinegar and bicarb of soda, with a splash of lemon juice or essential oil. It’s simple, cheap and effective.

However, I used the bicarb/vinegar method for a couple of years but found it wasn’t suitable for all surfaces e.g. wood, leather; and boy it can be messy!

So, I set off to work in the Voi Lab to develop an alternative.

My aim was to develop an Organic Cleaning Do-it-all to replace the shelf of products used in most homes. Something safe, non-toxic and highly effective on ALL surfaces.

After one-year with multiple testing participants the result was… OCD Spray.

As the name implies… OCD Spray really DOES IT ALL, from pillows to floors. It can be used as a cleaner, air-freshener and naturally deters pests. It is sold as a concentrate reducing waste. A 50ml bottle of concentrate makes 15 x 500ml bottles making it cost effective at $5.20 a bottle.

OCD Spray ingredients….

CLOVE an antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral oil. It kills mould rather than just bleaching it.  Clove oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on the respiratory system and can help clear the nasal passages. It is used as an expectorant (promotes the secretion phlegm) and has been used for centuries to treat various respiratory disorders. As a bonus, it’s an excellent natural Insect Repellent as its vapour is too potent for the olfactory senses of many insects.

EUCALYPTUS is another oil excellent for relieving respiratory problem symptoms such as cough, sore throat, running nose, nasal congestion, bronchitis, and sinusitis. This wonderful oil – sourced right here in Australia – has antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It has been shown to kill bacterial germs in the air keeping rooms clean and sterilized naturally. A 2013 study showed that in just 4-days patients treated with Cineole (Eucalyptus oil contains 60% cineole) “showed significantly more improvements of the bronchitis-sum-score than those of the placebo group” 9.

LEMON has natural anti-infection, antiseptic, antifungal and disinfectant properties. One of the most popular fruits in the world it is used to relieve symptoms of colds and flus and gives desserts a beautiful taste and aroma. Lemon essential oil can be used on any surface as an all-purpose disinfectant.

TEA TREE OIL (TTO) is sourced here in Australia (Melaleuca). It has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, and insecticide properties. And if you’ve ever had a whiff of it you’d know why! Potent little bugger! Pathogenic bacteria and microbes lurking in your home don’t stand a chance against this oil. Making it an excellent oil for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. As a bonus Tea tree oil is a great insect deterrent. A 2011 study10 concluded that TTO was effective as a deterrent to the different stages of the Australian sheep blowfly larvae. Not that you have larvae hanging around the home but you do have flies that lay larvae! The study showed that TTO aroma stimulated larvae to leave the wound, and its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties aided in wound healing.

ROSEMARY is touted as one of the most popular essential oils. Apart from its ability to boost mental activity, I am in love with its ability to help relieve stress. A Japanese 200511 study showed that it can decrease cortisol levels in saliva. Cortisol, our ‘flight or fight’ response to stress wreaks havoc on the body over time. So, by using the OCD Spray in your home you will probably feel a lot calmer 😉 But Rosemary’s wonderful effects don’t stop there. It works extremely well to remove bad odours (keep an OCD Spray in the toilet!!). Its inhalation has shown to improve the body’s immune response can increase the strength of the immune system and help and can help to ease symptoms of chest and nasal congestion, allergies, colds and flu.

LAVENDER oil has superior antibacterial and antiviral properties but I think the stand out for this oil is its ability to calm the nervous system. Excellent for those of you that are frazzled from working or day, or from the kids. And for all you women who find it hard to sleep – good news – use your OCD Spray to clean surfaces in the bedroom because a 2011 study12 showed that inhalation of lavender oil showed a significant decrease in mean heart rate (HR) which means the nervous system is significantly calmed by the inhalation of lavender which equals better sleep. Further studies show that many essential oils, such as lavender, can bypass the blood-brain barrier and deliver therapeutic agents to the brain13 exerting positive benefits on the nervous system. As an added bonus mosquitoes don’t like the smell so no more ‘mozzies’ flying around your ears at night keeping you up 😉

SAGE is one of my favourite oils for cleaning. I love the aroma, maybe because it reminds me of Italian food. It has amazing properties… antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal. A 2007 Study 14 tested the antimicrobial activity against 13 bacterial strains and 6 fungi. It revealed that both Sage, and Rosemary, had important antibacterial activity against bacteria’s such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, S. enteritidis, and Shigella sonei. Making it an excellent addition to the OCD Spray. Also, its inhalation can help relieve congestion caused from colds and flu.

THYME another oil I am obsessed with. Maybe food related too?? It has superior antiseptic, antibacterial and insecticide properties. But probably why I love this oil is because of its ability to inhibit bacterial growth. Thyme essential oil is a wonderful expectorant helping to ease congestion. Much like lavender it is also used in aromatherapy due to its stress-relieving abilities. As an insecticide, it targets moths that tend to overtake your pantry. Use OCD Spray to wipe down pantry shelves and keep the moths away.

Finally, there is a Solubiliser in the mix. Solubiliser is necessary as it combines the essential oils and the water you add, without it would separate and you’d get oil globs on surfaces. I use a Natural Solubiliser made from fatty alcohols and glucose from vegetable origin and is ECOCERT Certified, preservative free and free of impurities.

Please CLICK one of the Social Media Links below and SHARE this important information with your friends and family.

  1. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (2007). http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200612-1793OC
  2. (2009). Evaluation of cleaning activities on respiratory symptoms in asthmatic female homemakers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19205284
  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov
  4. Final report on the safety assessment of sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. 2(5): 1–34.  doi:10.3109/10915818309140713.
  5. Medical Management Guidelines for Hydrogen Chloride. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR). Atlanta, GA. (2014) Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014: chap 153.
  6. Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (Fourth Report. (2003–2004). 2009 Report https://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/fourthreport.pdf
  7. Aiello A.E, Larson E.L, Levy S.B. (2007). Consumer antibacterial soaps: effective or just risky? Clin Infect Dis 2007;45 Suppl 2:S137-S147.
  8. Kwon, et al. (2013) Cytotoxic effects of air freshener biocides in lung epithelial cells. Environmental Health Research Department, National Institute of Environmental Research, Korea.
  9. Efficacy of cineole in patients suffering from acute bronchitis: a placebo-controlled double-blind trial. (2013). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3842692/
  10. J.T, James. P.J. (2011). Insecticidal and repellent effects of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil against Lucilia cuprina. Veterinary Parasitology. Volume 184, Issues 2–4, 23 March 2012, Pages 271-278.
  11. T. (2005). Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva. Department of Oral Physiology, Meikai University, School of Dentistry, Japan. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2005.12.012
  12. L.W., Cheng.S.L., Liu. C.F. (2012). The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy on Autonomic Nervous System in Midlife Women with Insomnia. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Article ID 740813 http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/740813
  13. E. Perry. N. (2003). Aromatherapy in the Management of Psychiatric Disorders. Clinical and Neuropharmacological Perspectives. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00023210-200620040-00001
  14. Bozin, B et al. (2007). Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Properties of Rosemary and Sage (Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Salvia Officinalis L., Lamiaceae) Essential Oils. Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacy and Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Novi Sad, Serbia. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2007, 55 (19), pp 7879–7885. DOI: 10.1021/jf0715323
  15. Other sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC twenty-four seven. Saving Lives, Protecting People. https://www.cdc.gov/

TO PICK OR NOT TO PICK – THAT IS THE QUESTION

To pick, or not to pick - that is the Question (1)THE ANSWER…

Pick if it’s ready, BUT pick it properly!!

FIRST establish if it’s ready

If it’s a flaming red mass with no head, it isn’t ready. And if you push, prod and pick at it you are going to end up with either a crater on your face, a pimple the size of Mt Everest with a localised infection. So, be patient, apply a warm compress to the area and let it either come to a head or go away – let’s face it either way is a win!

If it is ready, then follow these simple steps…

  1. Cleanse your face. Never start picking (although tempting) on an uncleansed face as the bacteria present on the skin spread and you’ll get 5 more pimples to replace the one you are about to pop!
  2. Get a warm flannel or cotton pad and hold it on the pimple for about 2-3 minutes. This opens up the pore (like opening the door to push it out!)
  3. Gently pull the skin in an outwards direction (yes out, not pushing in) and see if the pimple pops this way. This is the BEST way as it stops bacteria from spreading under the skin.
  4. If the pimple doesn’t pop this way but you feel it is SO NEAR, then get a couple of cotton buds (Q-tips) and gently push the skin around the pimple – this should pop it.
  5. If you have tried the above and it hasn’t popped, it’s not ready! So stop and come back to it later when it may be ready. Don’t keep pushing as you will end up with a scar! 6. Cleanse the face again and then apply the REPAIR and RESTORE TREATMENT SERUM for to speed up healing.

PREBIOTIC SALAD

prebiotic-saladPREPARATION TIME: 20-30 minutes

SERVINGS: 8 X 300g servings

NUTRITIONAL VALUE (300g serving size – large bowl)

110 calories, Protein 7.5g, Fat 0.7g, Sat Fat 0g, Carbohydrates 12g, Fibre 11g

How can a salad be a PREBIOTIC? And what is a PREBIOTIC? Well PREBIOTICS are essentially fermentable fibres (carbohydrates) namely oligosaccharides and inulin which pass through the gastrointestinal tract intact (resisting digestion in the small intestine) and end up in the large intestine (colon) providing a food source for beneficial bacteria. Simply put; they are fertiliser for beneficial bacteria helping them to grow and flourish [Symbol]

PREBIOTICS DO AMAZING THINGS FOR OUR HEALTH…

  • Feed our gut microbiota (the good bugs)
  • Ensure better regularity
  • Improve immune function
  • Assist with vitamin production
  • Help heal intestinal permeability
  • Ensure calcium absorption
  • Improve bone density
  • Are anti-inflammatory in nature
  • Reduce cravings
  • Reduce appetite
  • Assist with weight loss
  • Improve the integrity of the skin

PREBIOTIC SALAD

This recipe makes a huge container – 8 meals – the RAW CABBAGE keeps everything from wilting or going mushy. Make this at the beginning of the week so it is easy to fill your lunch box for work or school, top with the nut ‘n’ seed mix (optional), a can of tuna or a boiled egg, and put your omega salad dressing, in a small bottle to add when serving. The most perfect meal packed with live enzymes, prebiotic fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Why spend money on a vitamin supplement when you can have this!!

NOTE: feel free to add more of your favourite vegetables. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups mixed greens (chicory leaves, spinach, rocket, chard etc.)
  • 1 can Artichoke hearts (in brine) – cut into quarters
  • 1-2 bunches of asparagus (steam to soften)
  • 1 fennel bulb (cook first, see below)
  • ½ large red cabbage, or 1 small.
  • 5 sticks celery
  • 2 carrots (grated or spiralised)
  • 200g crunchy combo spouts (or make you own – recipe here)
  • 1 red capsicum

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut fennel bulb into small pieces, put in a loaf pan, drizzle with olive oil and cook for 45mins at 175ᵒC. Put in fridge afterwards to cool.
  2. Cut the woody ends off Asparagus and then steam until tender. Put in fridge afterwards to cool.
  3. Put mixed greens into a large container (with lid), add finely cut red cabbage, artichoke hearts halved or quartered, sliced capsicum, diced celery, grated or spiralised carrot and sprouts.
  4. When fennel bulb and asparagus are cool mix in.
  5. When serving, top with nut ‘n’ seed mix ,or a boiled egg for a protein hit, and top with Omega rich omega salad dressing
  6. Keep in fridge, lasts 4-5 days. However check when serving that nothing has gone slimy!!

NUT ‘N’ SEED MIX

This is the perfect mix to sprinkle over salads, roast vegetables or soup. Packed full of Vitamin E, a fat soluble antioxidant, that protects us against toxins that damage cells. It also is a great immunity booster and helps to lower cholesterol.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
SERVINGS: 12
NUTRITIONAL VALUE (1 heaped tbsp.)

212 calories, Protein 8g, Fat 18, Saturated Fat 2.4g, Carbohydrates 2g, Fibre 3g

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup (50g) slivered almonds
  • ½ cup (60g) sesame seeds
  • ½ cup (70g) pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup (70g) sunflower seeds

METHOD

  1. Put in all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. OPTION: Dry roast in a fry pan. Turn to high and keep stirring mix until slightly brown.
  3. Let cool, then keep in fridge in a sealed container.

OAT MILK

Oat-MilkPREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
SERVINGS: 8 X 100ml servings

NUTRITIONAL VALUE (100ml serving size)
48 calories, Protein 1.3g, Fat 1g, Sat Fat 0.1g, Carbohydrates 7.6g, Fibre 1.2g

INGREDIENTS

  • 100g Raw Wholemeal Oats (not quick oats)
  • 750 mls filtered water
  • Pinch Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. organic vanilla essence

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put oats in a large bowl and cover with filtered water. Soak for 15 minutes.
  2. With a sieve, drain the oats (throw away the water).
  3. Put oats in Thermomix. This can also be done in a high-speed blender.
  4. Add 750mls filtered water, pinch of salt and vanilla essence.
  5. TM Speed 8, 1 minute. Or blend on high in blender.
  6. Pour oat milk through a fine mesh sieve or a nut-milk bag.
  7. Squeeze well to get all the liquid out.
  8. Keep in fridge, lasts 4-5days.

SPROUT SALAD

Sprouts are a fantastic source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and provide 100 times more enzymes than fruits and vegetables – as they are a LIVE food.  In addition, they are a great source of the amino acid Lysine which helps maintain a healthy immune system. Also packed with fibre and a providing a potent hit of Vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E you’re really doing your health a BIG favour by eating this!

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
SERVINGS: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Broccoli sprouts
  • 1 cup Sunflower sprouts
  • 1 cup Crunchy Combo sprouts
  • 1 cup Snow pea shoots
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. EV olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • OPTIONAL: Hemp seeds

Directions

  1. In a small jar (with lid) combine garlic, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put on the lid and shake until mixed.
  2. Combine the sprouts and snow pea shoots into single serving bowls and mix well.
  3. Top with sliced avocado and sprinkle with optional hemp seeds
  4. Shake the dressing and pour over the salad.

TABOULI (Tabbouleh)

tabboulehThis is a no-grain version of the traditional Middle Eastern salad – Tabouli. This super delicious salad is rich in dietary fibre (22%) which nourishes our good bacteria and helps it grow – building a healthy microbiome. Not only that, it is packed full of vitamins A, B, C & K, phytonutrients, antioxidants and a variety of minerals that support good health.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

SERVINGS: 5 servings

NUTRITIONAL VALUE (90g serving size)

24 calories, Protein 1.5g, Fat 0.2g, Sat Fat 0g, Carbohydrates 2.5g, Fibre 2.7g

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups finely diced Italian parsley
  • 1 cup finely diced mint
  • 1 cup finely diced tomato
  • ½ cup finely diced red onion (or more if you like onion!)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 clove crushed garlic

OPTIONAL: 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl then chill for at least 30 minutes and serve on either lettuce leaves or Japanese Nori (seaweed) sheets that are rolled into pouches.

SEED CYCLING

seed cyclingDo you have issues with your menstrual cycle? Cramps, Back aches, PMS, Low energy, Irregular cycles, Low mood, Skin breakouts, Digestive Issues?

Hormonal imbalances can play a very big role in these symptoms; in particular an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.

SEED CYCLING

The good news is that hormonal imbalances can often be helped with seed cycling. Seed cycling works to help with the regularity and health of the entire cycle by supporting hormone production, binding and metabolism.

Different seeds contain different types and amounts of lignans and essential fatty acids. Lignans help our body bind up excess hormones and fatty acids help with hormone production. Together they work on balancing hormones throughout the entire menstrual cycle.

But first a little about what may be going on. The recipe for seed cycling is at the end of this article.

MENSTRUAL CYCLE HORMONE BALANCE

seedThe female reproductive cycle involves an interplay of hormones that normally results in cyclical changes in the ovaries and uterus. Each cycle takes anywhere from 20 – 35 days, with the average being 28 days, to complete and involves the development and release of an egg from the ovaries and the preparation of the uterus to receive a fertilized egg.

If fertilization doesn’t occur, the endometrial (uterine) lining is lost through menstruation (day 1). Estrogen and progesterone are two of the key hormones that regulate this cycle. Estrogen levels increase during the first part of the cycle; whereas, progesterone levels increase while estrogen levels slowly decrease during the last part of the cycle. It is the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone throughout the cycle that contributes to the symptoms of PMS, menstrual cramps and irregular cycles.

THERE ARE TWO MAIN PHASES OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE

From the time menstruation starts until ovulation is Phase 1. The production of estrogen is essential during this phase. Phase 1 begins on the first day of menstruation and lasts until you ovulate, which is around 14 days.

From ovulation until menstruating is Phase 2. Progesterone is being made and utilized during this 2nd phase. Phase 2 is from when you ovulate, day 14 until the say your menstruation starts.

HOW TO SEED CYCLE

You’ll need

  • 1 cup Flaxseeds
  • 1 cup Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup Sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup Sesame seeds

Method

  • In a blender or coffee mill grind the Flaxseeds and Pumpkin seeds. Combine, put in a jar and keep in fridge.
  • In a blender or coffee mill grind the Sunflower and Sesame seeds. Combine, put in a jar and keep in fridge.

HOW TO TAKE AND SERVE

  1. Day 1 to 14: Take 1 tablespoon daily of your ground flax and pumpkin seed mix.
  2. Day 15 to menses: Take 1 tablespoon of your ground sunflower and sesame seed mix.

The easiest way to have your ground seeds is to add to salads, with your coconut yoghurt, granola or in a smoothie. Understanding that the raw aspect is so important and taking them daily equally as important.

It usually takes about 3 months before you will start noticing the improvement in your menstrual related symptoms. So no instant miracle 😉

SO WHY ARE THESE SEEDS SO GOOD??

  • Flax and sesame seeds are full of lignans, which block excess estrogens.
  • Sunflower seeds are high in selenium, a trace mineral essential for liver detoxification.
  • Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which supports progesterone release.

Try it out, it’s real food, real safe and you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain 🙂

It’s a good idea to keep a diary so you can track your cycle and see if there is a difference.

Let me know how it worked for you by commenting below 👇👇

Nat 💚

RAW CHOCOLATE NUT ‘N’ SEED SLICE

The yummiest Vitamin & Mineral supplement you’ll ever eat! Packed full of Vitamins A, B, C, E, Folate and minerals – Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron and Zinc. Only 10 minutes to make in a bowl with no cooking required. It’d take more time to go to the shop and get a bottle of multi-vitamins!

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
SERVINGS: 12 long pieces, 24 squares

NUTRITIONAL VALUE (28g serving size)
130 calories, Protein 4g, Fat 11g, Sat Fat 4g, Carbohydrates 1.6g, Fibre 1.5g

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups raw nuts – almonds, cashews or hazelnuts
  • 1 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs

Once blended

  • 40g (melted) organic coconut oil (or more if required)

METHOD

  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Slowly add the melted coconut oil and mix with a large spoon.
  • Line a shallow container (that has a lid) with baking paper (enough so it can be folded over on top to cover).
  • Press the mix into the container, about 2cm high.
  • Fold over the baking paper, and then push down hard until flat.
  • Keep in the fridge. Will take an hour to set.
  • Cut into slices when hard.

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