Free 10 minute Introduction Consults

Free 10 minute introduction consults, Fertile Ground Health Group, The Melbourne Apothecary

We believe that bodies and minds thrive when given the right ingredients. We are dedicated to boosting our community wellbeing and this is why our brilliant team of practitioners offer free 10-minute introduction consults on rotation, so that you have access to expert care.

These sessions are designed as an introduction to what is possible whilst working with your chosen practitioner.  They are a great way to virtually meet and discus your needs to see how they can help your individual circumstances, fertility and health care needs. You will , of course, be referred if they think another practitioner will better suit your needs.

With health and fertility, there is endless possibility, multiple angles for fine tuning and a plethora of ways to start to feel better. We want to help you feel your radiant vitality shining through.

Click on each modality to find your practitioner

Acupuncture

Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner – Kiah McGowan

Coaching

Buteyko breath coach / Financial Health Coach – Carly Woods

Counselling

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor – Suzanne Hurley
Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker – Chanel Keane

Naturopathy

Senior Fertility Naturopath – Charmaine Dennis
Senior Fertility Naturopath – Gina Fox
Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist – Georgia Marrion
General health & Postpartum/Postnatal Naturopath – Shantini Iyngkaran
General health & Skin Health Naturopath – Lucy Moores

Register for your free 10 minute Introduction Consult

Simply head to our bookings page, navigate to Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Counselling, Coaching or Midwifery and choose ’10-minute Free Acupuncture/Naturopathy/Counselling/Coaching/Midwifery Introduction TELEHEALTH’

Note: If you are interested in fertility, IVF support or trying to conceive, please book with a Fertile Ground naturopath. For general health concerns and questions, please book with a Melbourne Apothecary naturopath or nutritionist.

ACUPUNCTURE

Kiah McGowan

Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner

 

Kiah McGowan, Fertile Ground Health Group, The Melbourne Apothecary, Cosmetic acupuncture, acupuncture

Kiah McGowan is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who completed studies at University of Technology, Sydney, as well as at the Chengdu University of TCM in China. In their 4 years of practice, Kiah has developed a deep understanding and respect for holistic health, and treating people as whole beings rather than just their symptoms. Their goal is to cultivate a space where you feel valued, heard, and supported in your journey toward balance.

Kiah has a personal passion for mental health – initially finding Chinese Medicine in their teenage years as relief for anxiety and insomnia, they now find it incredibly fulfilling to help those struggling with stress, depression, anxiety and sleep issues. Kiah quickly began to discover their fascination with female reproductive health early in to their studies, and enjoys seeing people along their journey through all aspects of hormonal health: from regulating hormones and cycles, promoting optimal fertility and conception, assisting during pregnancy, supporting mothers through the postnatal phase and the transition to menopause. Kiah also provides Cosmetic Acu-facials, having developed a signature combination of traditional Chinese facial tool massage and cosmetic acupuncture to enhance the skin’s natural radiance.

Kiah is your go-to general health acupuncturist, employing holistic approaches for all health concerns, including common conditions such as muscular pain or tension, fatigue, and digestive issues. Kiah has special interests in areas of hormonal health (from balancing cycles, to fertility, pregnancy and menopause), mental health (stress, anxiety, depression and sleep), and offering rejuvenating cosmetic acu-facials for radiant skin. Kiah is committed to nurturing a sense of understanding and self-awareness within all their clients, so that they may recognise the ways their body speaks to them through their symptoms.

Kiah loves to balance the ancient intricacies of Chinese Medicine with their love for modern science and research, and enjoys practicing in an evidence-based manner. Kiah believes in empowering individuals on their path to health, both inside and outside the acupuncture room. They do this through creating highly structured treatment plans which highlight weekly at-home self care tasks, so that patients can take an active role in their healing journey.

Ready to get your journey started and find out if acupuncture can help you? Book your free 10-minute Acupuncture introduction consult with Kiah by navigating to Acupuncture > 10-minute Free Acupuncture Introduction TELEHEALTH.

 

COACHING

Carly Woods

Buteyko breath coaching for total health / Financial health coaching for women

Carly Woods Buteyko Breath Coaching / Financial Health Coaching

Buteyko Breath Coaching with Carly for total health

Carly is passionate about teaching people simple and powerful ways to be able to regulate their nervous systems and enhance healing using Buteyko breathing therapy and Naturopathic lifestyle support, because these are foundational aspects that have been so profoundly transformative to her own health. Carly believes in making health fun, engaging, and practical. She loves to give you simple tools to help resolve your stress and anxiety, optimise your respiratory health, enhance your sleep and soothe your digestion.

Begin to experience the effects of healthier breathing ahead of time by accessing Carly’s Free Buteyko Breathing Starter Pack. Maximise your healthy life by rewiring the patterns of your respiratory tract, nourishing your nervous system, resting easy with better sleep and easing your digestion by using these simple Buteyko breathing techniques.

Financial Health & Business Coaching for women who want to take more control of their lives

Carly is co-director of Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary alongside her partner, Charmaine Dennis. To say that Carly is obsessed with empowering women financially and contributing to the uplift and wealth cultivation of women in our community for the betterment of the planet and all life on it, would be an understatement.

Carly helps women identify what stage they’re at, where they want to be, and develops strategies to help them get there. Carly coaches on everything from the foundations of money management (budgeting and assessment for present and future),  to options to grow your wealth leveraging the capacity of your money to make money on itself (and how to stop trading your time for money), to getting more out of your superannuation for long term security, money mindset (understanding your unconscious money behaviours and blocks), business growth techniques (marketing, engagement and evaluation), personal growth tools to help you polish your capacity for change, and even offers education about how to invest in the stock market according to your ethics and values for long term gain and asset diversification.

Carly wants to first empower women to satisfy their own financial needs then secondly, to help women make MUCH MORE MONEY so they can feel safe enough financially to take chances and bold action toward creating a better world in the ways they feel inspired to. Access Carly’s free 30 minute talk – “How to Make More Money

Read more about Carly and book in for a free 10-minute introduction consult with Buteyko breath coach / Financial health coach, Carly by navigating to Coaching  > 10-minute Free Coaching with Carly Introduction TELEHEALTH

COUNSELLING

Chanel Keane

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor

Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker

 

Chanel Keane Fertile Ground Health Group Counsellor

Chanel Keane is an accredited mental health social worker and counsellor with 23 years experience in private practice and a variety of community based and health care settings. She is passionate about being a counsellor – particularly the therapeutic benefits her clients experience of being heard and engaged in a human relationship that is respectful, safe, honest, and focused on their needs and resolution of their struggles.

Throughout Chanel’s counselling and social work career she has been dedicated to supporting women through many life challenges particular to women. This includes experiences with infertility, IVF, unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy loss and perinatal and postnatal mental health issues. She believes deeply in the importance of reproductive choice in a woman’s life and that women’s reproductive journeys are complex and can be fraught with challenges.  So often women can feel very alone and isolated in these experiences which in turn compounds some of the distress and suffering they feel.

Her engagement with clients is passionately grounded in a person centered, feminist counselling practice. Chanel respects that the lives of people are complex – your needs are diverse and always influenced by the broader social, political and economic realities in which you live. Her approach to supporting you is to listen to your experiences and needs in an open, non-judgemental and empathic way, providing counselling, information, options, advocacy and therapeutic interventions in partnership with you. She honours each person’s subjective experience of their struggles, and lived experience, exploring how these experiences intersect with their identity and sense of self.

Chanel has extensive experience  in working with people whose lives have been affected by childhood and adult trauma, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependence, sexual assault, and family violence. It is her hope that through therapy, you can develop a greater self-awareness of your emotions, thoughts, strengths and supports, and in so doing feel an improvement in your overall well-being, connection with yourself and with others.

Chanel  believes that you feelings and struggles are not signs of weakness or ill health, but are most often normal responses in trying to cope with challenging life experiences. She likes to encourage the use of diverse mediums such as creative writing or journal writing and other creative forms of expression to explore and  express your experiences.

Chanel’s employment experience includes roles at Adora Fertility, CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault), The Royal Women’s Hospital, Pregnancy Advisory Service (RWH), Marie Stopes Australia, Headspace, Sexual Assault Crisis Line, 1800 Respect.

Areas of counselling experience

  • Women’s mental health and well-being
  • Infertility and IVF
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy options
  • Reproductive loss
  • Parenting
  • Childhood and adult trauma
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship concerns
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Grief and loss

Chanel offers face to face, phone and zoom consultations.

Medicare rebates may apply for up to 10 sessions per year – this requires you are referred from your GP or medical practitioner with a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and have a valid medicare card. The rebate is $77.80 for Mental Health Accredited Social Workers. 

Private Health Rebates may also apply – please check with your health fund. The amount you can claim depends on your level of cover.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker, Chanel by navigating to Counselling > 10-minute Free Counselling Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Suzanne Hurley

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor

 

Suzanne Hurley Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Suzanne Hurley is a Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Supervisor & Dance/Movement Therapist. She attends to those who may be unhappy, distressed, afraid or otherwise impacted by fertility related events where additional support may be needed. She has an impressive level of expertise having worked with varying degrees of reproductive loss, including pregnancy options counsellinginfertility and IVF supportperinatal mental healthabortion counselling, parenting and with reproductive health issues. She has provided her clients with counselling, group support and presented to health professionals in various perinatal settings. Her expertise and understanding of the issues women, couples and families face when immersed in the perinatal period is highly specialised. She knows that when confronted by the unexpected you need someone by your side.

Suzanne brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience after having worked in multiple settings where perinatal mental health has been the focus of her work. This has included time on the PANDA Helpline (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia), at Carrington Health in the Community Outreach Perinatal Support Service. She spent 10yrs at The Women’s Hospital’s Pregnancy Advisory Service and other periods of time at Marie Stopes Australia National Counselling Service for unplanned pregnancy, Melbourne Pregnancy Counsellors and at Adora Fertility.

Suzanne also works at Austin Health Psychiatric Unit in the Parent Infant Program as a Dance/Movement/Play Therapist. She has also run groups Pregnant Pause and Moving Stories: explorations of the pregnant body, past present and future, through movement.

Suzanne provides clinical supervision to health professionals often working with perinatal mental health, reproductive loss, grief and infertility and in other areas of public health and community services.

In Counselling Suzanne can address:

Contemplating Pregnancy
  • Fear and worry about pregnancy, birth, baby.
  • Relationship issues including Family Violence
  • Infertility
  • IVF
  • Single women contemplating using donor sperm
  • Another baby after difficult perinatal experiences
  • Health issues
Unintended Pregnancy
  • Pro Choice, unbiased pregnancy options counselling
  • Unplanned/planned/IVF, wanted/unwanted, complexity in circumstances
  • Unplanned and unwanted with beliefs against abortion
  • Unplanned, wanted but am I sure?
  • Difficulties deciding
  • Pregnancy the result of sexual assault
  • Considering abortion later in pregnancy
  • Abortion support; pre and post
Pregnancy Support
  • Anxiety and or Depression
  • History of mental illness
  • Unhappy
  • Change of circumstances during pregnancy
  • Birth preparation
  • Foetal abnormalities
  • Harmony testing at 10wks
Life With Baby
  • Birth debriefs
  • Not enjoying your baby
  • Not feeling like yourself
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Family issues
  • Postnatal Anxiety and or Depression
  • Missing work or thinking of return to work
  • Who we are as a family?
  • Who am I as a mother/father?
  • Unexpected outcomes
  • Grief and Loss
End of Reproduction
  • Who am I if I am not a mother?
  • Childless not by choice
  • Health issues impacting fertility
  • Hysterectomy counselling
  • But I wanted more children

Suzanne’s approach to counselling:

What I believe…

I firmly believe compassionate, early counselling intervention for all reproductive trauma events, including unbiased abortion support, will establish parents both today and in the future with the best possible outcomes for managing the unexpected realities for if they do, when they do and during having their babies. This can be done alone, isolated and uncertain or accompanied with honour, good humour, and grace. You get to choose…Read more about Suzanne

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Suzanne by navigating to Counselling > 10-minute Free Counselling Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

 

NATUROPATHY

Charmaine Dennis

Senior Fertility and Oncology Naturopath 

 

Charmaine Dennis

Charmaine Dennis is a naturopath, fertility and health expert, mentor, writer, mother, and businesswoman with 20+ years of experience. She is the founding director of Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary, co-author of Create A Fertile Life and The Breakfast Project and co-creator of the Be Fertile relaxation CD series, among other health inspired projects. Her greatest gift and inspiration is making health, wellbeing, and passionate living accessible, inspiring and achievable for everyone. 

Through her own health crisis at 34 years old (a shocking and life-threatening diagnosis of acute leukaemia in 2010) Charmaine experienced first-hand immersion into the medical system.  This transformative, life-affirming, challenging time has refocused and reinvigorated her drive for good health and living life to its fullest. Undoubtedly this experience has deepened her passion for collaborative health care.

Charmaine’s naturopathic career has followed a special interest in working with people with fertility issues requiring IVF support since 1999.  She has assisted many in realising their dreams to conceive healthy, beautiful babies in collaboration with GPs and fertility specialists, acupuncturists and other health modalities. Since her own cancer experience, she can see the gaping need for more collaboration between natural and medical oncology approaches and enjoys working with people who need support for wellness and advocacy through their own cancer journey at any stage of treatment or recovery.

As well as mentoring and supervising students, naturopaths and other practitioners at Fertile Ground Health Group, Charmaine is running retreats, immersions and workshops for anyone to support their personal or business development.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Charmaine by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Gina Fox

Senior Fertility Naturopath

 

Free 10 minute introduction consults Gina Fox Fertile Ground

Gina Fox is a naturopath with over 20 years’ experience. She trained under Francesca Naish (author of Natural Fertility Management and Better Babies) and has a Masters in Reproductive Medicine. As well as being an experienced clinician she is a speaker, naturopathic lecturer and student clinic supervisor.

Gina is highly skilled in providing naturopathic care for women’s health issues, pre-conception health, infertility, IVF support, pregnancy care and through menopause. She treats a wide range of issues including recurrent miscarriage, thyroid, auto-immune antibodies and she has seen good results working with men to improve sperm quality. She also enjoys the post birth appointments with mother and baby, maximising wellness for the whole family and educating parents on how to manage many common childhood illnesses. Her professional approach involves working in collaboration with doctors and specialists to create an effective co-ordinated treatment.

Gina loves to help couples achieve full-term pregnancies and give birth to beautiful healthy babies. She excels at addressing underlying stressors while couples achieve their optimal fertility. Her own meditation practice led her to become a meditation instructor and co-develop the Be Fertile series of guided relaxation meditations for women around conception, IVF and pregnancy support, which is now available for free to everyone to access and download.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Gina by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Georgia Marrion

Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist

Georgia Marrion Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Georgia is a naturopath of 19 years’ experience with a Degree in Complementary Medicine and a Masters in Nutrition. Along with extensive clinical experience in reproductive health and fertility, Georgia is also an experienced writer and well regarded speaker.

Initially embarking on reproductive health as a clinical speciality following her own personal experience with sub-fertility and pregnancy complications, she has a strong curiosity and passion for supporting people who are experiencing reproductive challenges. Georgia specialises in supporting individuals and couples during their journey through preconception, conception, pregnancy and postpartum life stages.

Areas of focus  include menstrual cycle irregularities, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) , pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) and histamine issues as well as male fertility and sperm health issues.

With 2 children of her own in their primary school years, Georgia can help to expertly guide you through the early years of family health issues, and enjoys treating babies and children with recurrent infections, failure to thrive, digestive issues at all ages and any challenges that you need support with for your baby or child’s best health.

Georgia also enjoys treating women and individuals during the transition to menopause including peri-menopausal imbalances.

Her clinical approach involves supporting and guiding you to optimise your health physically, mentally and emotionally using an approach blending traditional and scientific knowledge. This is based on an integration of her many years of clinical experience with ongoing education to stay up to date with new research and treatment strategies. Along with gaining her Masters Degree, this includes post graduate mentoring and training with Rachel Arthur, Rhiannon Hardingham, Leah Hechtman, Dr Andrew Orr and The Fertility Mentoring Program (The Baby Maker Network) among others.

Georgia believes that a team approach gets the best outcomes for all. She works in close collaboration with her patients’ medical care team to ensure the most effective, appropriate evidence-based treatment plans for each individual.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Georgia by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Shantini Iyngkaran

General Health & Postpartum/Postnatal Naturopath

 

Shantini Iyngkaran Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Shantini Iyngkaran is a Naturopath whose practice focuses on maternal care including pre and postpartum experiences. She believes the vitality of a mother is the result of unconditional support, attuning the mother to her body and replenishing all her cups, emotionally, physically, and relationally.

She also has a special interest in gut and immune health. As someone who has struggled with her own health challenges in these areas, she approaches this with lived experience and compassion.

Shantini values time and presence in her consults as she learns about the individuals physical, spiritual, emotional, and home health. She discerns a variety of modalities, techniques, herbal, and nutritional knowledge to identify and support health needs.

Shantini brings insights to her work from her multifaceted career as a solicitor, entrepreneur, personal trainer and yoga teacher. Her multi-passionate approach to her career and life, allows her to provide a holistic and tailored naturopathic practice.

When she isn’t working at the Melbourne Apothecary, you will either find Shantini walking in nature, with her beloved pooch, Sir Waffles, creating in the kitchen, serving her local community, enjoying a matinee at the cinemas or relishing the company of her friends. She is a connoisseur of hugs, so if you feel like a warm embrace book in with her.

As someone who deeply values connection and community, Shantini is currently offering free Naturopathic 10-minute consults to help to get you started towards better health. These sessions are a chance for you to make sure the therapeutic relationship is a great fit and get clarity about what you want to achieve on your health journey.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Shantini by navigating to Naturopathy – Apothecary General Health > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Lucy Moores

General Health & Skin Health Naturopath

Lucy Moores, The Melbourne Apothecary, Skin Health, Naturopath, General Health, Nutrition

Book a free 10 minute introduction consult with Lucy Moores

Lucy Moores is a passionate nutritionist and naturopath dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health and wellness. She has a particular passion for helping her patients rejuvenate, protect and balance one of the largest and most exposed organs of their body – the skin. Lucy helps you not only with skin as it relates to restoring your natural healthy glow and addressing dermatological issues, but also as relates to immune health, your microbiome, your hormones and your vaginal health.

With her expertise in nutrition and naturopathy she can offer a unique perspective and comprehensive support to guide towards a balanced and vibrant life.

After dedicating 8 years of her life to studying and immersing herself in the field of natural healing, Lucy’s passion for this transformative approach to health burns brighter than ever.  As a qualified nutritionist, Lucy has a deep understanding of the vital role that proper nutrition plays in optimising well-being. Having personally experienced the challenges of autoimmune disease, she knows firsthand the impact this can have on quality of life. This personal journey ignited a passion for exploring the intricate connection between nutrition, autoimmunity and inflammation and she believes that food can be one of our most powerful medicines.

Additionally, as a qualified naturopath, Lucy combines the best of traditional healing with evidence-based natural therapies. As mentioned, Lucy has a special interest in all types of dermatological skin concerns as well as vaginal health, menstrual irregularities and general immune or inflammatory conditions.

She is passionate about collaborative health care and integrates functional testing alongside natural healing principles, enabling a comprehensive understanding of your body’s unique needs.

Lucy’s greatest joys come from witnessing transformations with her patients as they make positive changes in their lives. She provides compassionate guidance and unwavering support throughout your wellness journey, empowering you to take control and live your best life.

Lucy takes her passion beyond one on one consultations and educates and inspires the wider community through workshops and patient education. Her goal is to create awareness and empower you to gain a deeper understanding of your body and equip you with the tools to make positive changes that promote optimal health and radiant skin.

Embark on a transformative journey with Lucy to revitalise your quality of life, restore your skin from within, reclaim your vaginal and hormonal health and/or nourish your immunity!

Lucy is available via telehealth and in person.

Book a free 10 minute introduction consult with Lucy Moores by navigating to Naturopathy – Apothecary General Health > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Access more resources from Lucy Moores

Blogs

Change Seems To Have Been Knocking

Change Seems To Have Been Knocking

Hello 🙂

Change seems to have been knocking pretty loudly on the doors to our souls for the last few years. And as human beings we generally love familiarity and resist change. So how do we find a smooth path forwards amidst the intensity, knowing that change is one of the certainties of life?

Change is inevitable.

Growth is optional.

-John C. Maxwell.

I find inspiration in reflecting on the element of choice amidst change. Perhaps many of us feel like life is happening TO us. I prefer to think that life is happening FOR me and that I have the incredible privilege of choice in how I respond to anything that the winds of change serve up on my colourful life platter. 

Change brings with it a huge opportunity for choice and personal growth. Now, growth is a lovely sounding word HOWEVER in actuality the experience of growth is often downright painful. 

Growth is reaching into realms we don’t yet know (no familiarity). Growth is being a learner at something and not getting it right straight away. Growth is putting something out there, failing, learning from that failure and recalibrating to soar to new heights. Growth is extrication of patterns of thought, emotion and behaviour that have become embedded in the subconscious parts of our brains, and the stretching effort involved to movement beyond that to something that better serves us in our lives.

Growth is uncomfortable

Thankfully, discomfort is the currency of our dreams, so what an amazing gift!

Imagine moving from a state of resistance into a state of delight when met with change and growth. Imagine being so willing to feel the discomfort of growth that you’re constantly reaping the rewards on the other side of it. Imagine using constant external change in your environment to inspire you to push through the discomfort of personal growth in a way that catapults you into an incredible spectrum of human experience that you’ve not yet touched in your life…

The opportunities change brings are endless

And I wish you many beautiful moments of growth amidst it!

If you want support amidst big changes and the discomfort of growth in your life; if you want to steady your capacity as you step into the discomfort and choose to grow in ways that serve you; if you want a moment of spaciousness to breathe and let everything fall away to recalibrate yourself for the next step on your journey – know that we are here for you.

Find the practitioners you need here → www.fertileground.com.au/practitioners 

Your MA 💕

PS – we’re beginning to experience limited availability for many consult types, so we recommend booking in advance for your appointments.

Your Guide to IVF

Part 6 - Your Guide to IVF by Naturopath Sage King

What’s your Fertility Plan and are you considering IVF?

Welcome to this free 6-part article series designed to help you determine your fertility plan and understand the steps you can take to optimise your fertility outcomes. Below you’ll find Part 6 – “Your Guide to IVF” If you’ve already read articles 1 to 5 feel welcome to skip this intro and get stuck into part 6 below. If this is, however, your first time finding out about this series – please read on to learn what it’s about, how it can help you and what to expect over the coming weeks.

Over this free 6 week article series we are going to discuss all potential options for those of you who are:

  • single,
  • in same-sex relationships,
  • are gender non-conforming,
  • or are in a heterosexual relationship.

In these articles I will address information around:

  • trying to conceive,
  • options if you have been struggling to conceive,
  • considerations for those of you thinking about IVF,
  • considerations for those of you currently undergoing IVF treatment,
  • how beneficial naturopathy can be in optimising your fertility outcomes.

Opportunity to Ask Me Questions – LIVE

After each article release, you have the option to submit any questions you may have by 7pm Monday evening to the Create A Fertile Life Facebook group. If you’ve not yet joined that private group you are welcome to go there and request to join.

If you wish to submit your questions anonymously, you can private message the Fertile Ground Health Group Facebook page and admin will forward them to me.

Each Tuesday, I will be answering your questions live in this Create a Fertile Life Facebook group at 7pm AEDT, so we can all learn from each other. The first live session was Tuesday, June 8th at 7pm AEDT and these lives will run each Tuesday evening all the way through to Tuesday July 20th. Cut off for question submission is 7pm AEDT each Monday – the day before ‘live’ Tuesdays. You can always watch the recording if you miss the live, just jump onto the Create a Fertile Life facebook group and you’ll see it there.

Your Fertility Plan

Now, some of you may know exactly what your plan is, others may not have thought about it so concisely yet. Whatever stage you are at, I want you to provide you with the tools to determine what your fertility plan can look like and how you can optimise your outcomes with Naturopathy. Grab a pen and a piece of paper, or type in to a document on your phone/computer so that you can create the skeleton of the items that relate to YOUR individual journey and we will build on this each week over the 6 weeks of this series.

I am excited to be on this journey with you. If you’ve already registered for the whole free package, read on for part four below. If you’re just finding this free series now and would like access from part 1 all the way to part 6 – simply register here for your free access to the whole package

Part 6 – Your Guide to IVF

Did you know the first baby in Australia conceived using IVF was only born in 1980?1 The IVF process has developed quickly in the past 40 years, and has helped many individuals and couples successfully bring babies into this world. In some cases, the impact of IVF in achieving a successful live birth is undeniable, however IVF does not guarantee a successful live birth. One key and integral part of the fertility process that IVF can not do, is have the ability to positively influence the quality of the egg and sperm in order to optimise your outcomes. Even though IVF allows fertilisation to occur in a much more controlled environment, it can only work with the quality of egg and sperm you currently have. So if you begin the IVF process with suboptimal egg and sperm quality, which may very well be part of the reason as to why conception is not being successful for heterosexual couples for example, then you’re already starting the process on the back foot so to speak.

What is IVF?

In a nutshell, IVF is a process in which eggs and sperm are collected and placed together in a Petri dish to see if fertilisation occurs before transferring a successful embryo back into the uterus where hopefully a successful pregnancy occurs. But how do we get to that stage you may be wondering? IVF is a process that begins on the first day of your period (cycle day one) and involves hormonal stimulation to increase the amount of follicles (and therefore eggs) that your ovaries produce in one cycle, to try to maximise the chances of achieving fertilisation and successful pregnancy. For some individuals, this process may be omitted due to poor ovarian function and/or age, and involves the use of a donor egg in place of hormone stimulation.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? In some cases it is, in some cases it can be quite complex, and treatment may change from cycle to cycle depending on your results. However, no matter how straightforward or complex your case may be, there is always the opportunity to influence your egg and sperm quality, and endometrial health to support the transfer process to optimise your outcomes. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s break down the IVF process from start to finish and understand what it entails. Then we can continue our outcomes optimisation later (may favourite part!).

The IVF Process
Each IVF cycle takes approximately 4 weeks, starting with treatment on the first day of your period, Cycle Day One, and finishes with your pregnancy (hCG) test which is conducted two weeks after embryo transfer. Many IVF clinics say that step one begins at the initial specialist appointment, but I count step one as seeing your GP to get a referral in order to book your fertility specialist appointment. So keeping in mind that these steps may have slight variations depending on your case (using donor eggs or sperm) and IVF clinic, starting from step one all the way to step thirteen, let’s break it down…

Step 1
Book an appointment to see your GP
You will need to see your GP in order to get a referral to see a fertility specialist. If you have a fertility specialist in mind, great. If not, your GP will be able to point you in the right direction.

Step 2
Initial fertility specialist appointment
At this appointment, your fertility specialist will review your medical history, previous investigations, and treatments. They may refer you for further investigations based on your case.1

Step 3
Pre-treatment fertility specialist consultation
At this appointment, your fertility specialist will confirm your treatment plan.1

Step 4
Fertility nurse appointment
Your fertility nurse will explain your treatment cycle timeline, the medication you need, and will show you how to administer any self-administered medications including Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) injections.

Sign up below to read the next 13 steps. 

Want to keep reading? Sign up to get instant free access to Sage’s preconception article series and find out about the intricacies of egg freezing, your menstrual cycle, sperm donor considerations, intercourse, conception, egg quality, egg carrying considerations, assisted reproductive technology, home insemination, the answers to your questions and more.

Written by Fertile Ground fertility Naturopath, Sage King.

MA’s July 2021 love letter

July 2021 Love Letter

Welcome to MA’s July 2021 Love Letter. We’ve been receiving MA’s monthly love letters from The Melbourne Apothecary since the beginning of 2020. These letters contain links to a variety of life enhancing freebies that our fabulous practitioners are constantly creating to help you cope during COVID and beyond.

The letters are also a fantastic and charismatic resource that share all the goings on within both The MA and Fertile Ground. So we thought we’d best share them with you here so that you can join in and receive the monthly intel from our delightful and ever wisdomous MA. Please enjoy.

Hello hello,

I hope this July 2021 love letter finds you healthy, warm and feeling loved. Word on my MA vine is that there are 2 wonderful projects beginning to blossom in our town. I would love to invite you to be a part of either one in whatever capacity you like.

These projects really align with my desire to help to enrich our community, enhance collaboration, and support sustainability (because as I’m sure you’re aware, there is no Planet B).

Project 1 – Brilliantly Upcycled Beautiful Baby Apparel
(or BUBBA for short)

This is an initiative brought to you by the wonderful minds of the Fertile Ground Health Group team. The way it works is that everyone is welcome to bring in and donate any beautiful baby apparel that they no longer need (for newborns – apparel to suit up to 12 month old babies). This apparel will all then be available for any patients of Fertile Ground to take and use for their budding family.

This is an opportunity for you to either share apparel you no longer need, or receive lovely new baby apparel with and from people who not only share your health values but have also likely shared some similar struggles as you too.

By being a part of this initiative in any way you will be contributing not only to a circular economy (less waste), but also to rampant happiness on all sides.

If you would like to donate baby apparel, please drop it into the reception team at Fertile Ground when you’re next nearby. Feel free to write a little love note to accompany your clothes – we will be sure to pass it on.  And if you’d like to pick up free upcycled baby apparel for your growing family, please ask at Fertile Ground’s reception when you’re next in too.

Project 2 – Shared Holistic Health Library

You may have noticed the gorgeous library of health, fertility and self help books that lives on the wall of the upstairs waiting room at Fertile Ground. 

Did you know that it’s a shared library? Meaning – you are most welcome to take a book or two, read them and bring them back/keep them when you’re done. You’re also welcome to add any health / fertility / pregnancy / baby / self help related books you have at home that you wish to recirculate into the community. Take a wander through the Holistic Health Library next time you’re in.

Love & Snowflakes

Your MA 💕

What is IUI & do you Qualify?

Sage King_Preconception Series_Fertile Ground Health Group, IUI

What’s your Fertility Plan and do you qualify for IUI?

Welcome to this free 6-part article series designed to help you determine your fertility plan and understand the steps you can take to optimise your fertility outcomes. Below you’ll find Part 5 – “What is IUI & do you Qualify?” If you’ve already read articles 1 to 4, feel welcome to skip this intro and get stuck into part 5 below. If this is, however, your first time finding out about this series – please read on to learn what it’s about, how it can help you and what to expect over the coming weeks.

Over this free 6 week article series we are going to discuss all potential options for those of you who are:

  • single, 
  • in same-sex relationships, 
  • are gender non-conforming, 
  • or are in a heterosexual relationship.

In these articles I will address information around:

  • trying to conceive, 
  • options if you have been struggling to conceive, 
  • considerations for those of you thinking about IVF, 
  • considerations for those of you currently undergoing IVF treatment,
  • how beneficial naturopathy can be in optimising your fertility outcomes.

Opportunity to Ask Me Questions – LIVE

After each article release, you have the option to submit any questions you may have by 7pm Monday evening to the Create A Fertile Life Facebook group. If you’ve not yet joined that private group you are welcome to go there and request to join.

If you wish to submit your questions anonymously, you can private message the Fertile Ground Health Group Facebook page and admin will forward them to me. 

Each Tuesday, I will be answering your questions live in this Create a Fertile Life Facebook group at 7pm AEDT, so we can all learn from each other.

Your Fertility Plan

Now, some of you may know exactly what your plan is, others may not have thought about it so concisely yet. Whatever stage you are at, I want you to provide you with the tools to determine what your fertility plan can look like and how you can optimise your outcomes with Naturopathy. Grab a pen and a piece of paper, or type in to a document on your phone/computer so that you can create the skeleton of the items that relate to YOUR individual journey and we will build on this each week over the 6 weeks of this series. 

I am excited to be on this journey with you. If you’ve already registered for the whole free package, take a sneak peek at part four below and check your inbox for the arrival of your full comprehensive article for this week (week 5).

If you’re just finding this free series now and would like access from part 1 all the way to part 6 – simply register here for your free access to the whole package.

Part 5 – What is IUI & do you Qualify?

What is intrauterine insemination (IUI)?

IUI is also known as Assisted or Artificial Insemination (AI), as it is the process of assisting sperm to inseminate into the uterus at ovulation. The two key aspects of IUI include washing the sperm to find the best quality sperm, and timing the insemination procedure to coincide with when you’re ovulating. (2)

Firstly, the sperm sample (from either a partner or known/clinic recruited sperm donor) is washed to find the most active and virile sperm. It is then inserted through the cervix and into the cavity of the uterus via a catheter at ovulation. You could say that the IUI process gives the sperm an advantage in quality, combined with a head start by selecting the highest quality sperm from the sample provided; with insemination increasing the number of sperm that reaches the fallopian tubes. While the sperm still need to find their way to the egg on their own for fertilisation, the greater the quality and number of sperm that reach the tubes, the greater chance of fertilisation occurring. (1,2) 

Secondly, your cycle is monitored to determine if/when ovulation is occurring. To refresh your memory, ovulation occurs when an egg is released from one of your ovaries and must occur in order for conception to be successful. In the same way that timing intercourse during your fertile window is important for couples whom can provide both the egg and sperm, IUI is conducted at the time of ovulation by closely monitoring ovulation using blood tests and ultrasound to track the developing follicle to determine when insemination will go ahead. 

Sounds easy, right? Reproduction always seems so straight forward on paper. But unfortunately for some, and particularly in a world where sperm quality is on the decline due to today’s way of living and environmental factors, it’s a lot more complex. So if IUI assists to find the best quality sperm prior to insemination, what if the quality of sperm is poor to begin with? 

If the quality of the sperm sample is poor, then it’s like selecting the ‘best of a bad bunch’ so to speak. Now that it’s week five and I’ve spent all this time going on about the importance of preconception care, please bear with me while I repeat myself… this is why preconception care is so important! We want to be able to holistically assess all the contributing factors to sperm quality to be able to control and optimise those variables as much as possible. We want to have the best quality sperm sample to select from in the first place. We want the best of the best! But more on this and egg quality later…

What does IUI feel like?

The IUI process is described as similar to a pap smear in sensation. A speculum is inserted into the vagina so the cervix can be visualised. A thin catheter containing the selected sperm is then passed through the cervix and into the uterus. The process takes a few minutes to complete, usually with minimal discomfort. IUI does not require sedation. (3,4)

Is IUI for you?

For single cis-women, or individuals or couples assigned female at birth who require donor sperm, IUI is the ART method that is most commonly used. IUI may also be indicated in cases of mild suboptimal semen volume, sperm count, and/or sperm motility, mild Endometriosis, cervical scarring or other concerns that may reduce sperm penetration into the uterine cavity, poor or absent cervical mucous, for those who cannot have regular or penetrative sex, infertility of unknown cause, and for individuals for which ovulation is absent or irregular. (3)

IUI is not indicated for significant sperm quality issues where a good sperm sample cannot be achieved in the andrology laboratory, or for individuals with poor fallopian tube functioning or blockages – these need to be open and functioning for the sperm to be able to reach the egg. (4)

In mild cases of poor sperm quality, while IUI washes and selects the most viable sperm and gives sperm a bit of a helping hand in helping them get closer to where they need to go, it in no way improves sperm quality parameters on a cellular level. This is why focusing on improving all parameters of sperm quality where possible is such an important preconception consideration prior to undertaking IUI. 

For those of you using your partner’s or known donor sperm, I hope this gives you some encouragement to at least have a conversation with them about undertaking a semen analysis prior to giving their sample for IUI. Hopefully your partner is open to undertaking preconception care alongside you, and your donor may or may not be open to it. But it’s absolutely worth a discussion to optimise your outcomes and require less samples from them! Even better if your donor is open to 3 months (only 12 weeks) of preconception care to improve their sperm quality. If they need a little convincing, I highly recommend giving them a copy of our book, Create A Fertile Life. It is evidence-based, easy to read, and you can read from any chapter that is relevant to your circumstances. Purchase your copy and get a head start.

For those of you using clinic-recruited donor sperm, it emphasises the importance of undertaking your own preconception screening and individualised preconception care so that we can optimise egg quality and your endometrial lining to increase the chances of successful implantation.

So, you’ve determined IUI is for you or it has been recommended by your fertility specialist. Did you know that IUI can be performed with or without…

Want to keep reading? Sign up to get instant free access to Sage’s preconception article series and find out about the intricacies of egg freezing, your menstrual cycle, sperm donor considerations, intercourse, conception, egg quality, egg carrying considerations, assisted reproductive technology, home insemination, the answers to your questions and more.

Written by Fertile Ground fertility Naturopath, Sage King.

Is Egg Freezing for You?

Sage Preconception_is egg freezing for you?

What’s your Fertility Plan and is egg freezing for you?

Welcome to this free 6-part article series designed to help you determine your fertility plan and understand the steps you can take to optimise your fertility outcomes. Below you’ll find Part 4 – “Is Egg Freezing for You?” If you’ve already read article 1, 2 and 3, feel welcome to skip this intro and get stuck into part 4 below. If this is, however, your first time finding out about this series – please read on to learn what it’s about, how it can help you and what to expect over the coming weeks.

Over this free 6 week article series we are going to discuss all potential options for those of you who are:

  • single, 
  • in same-sex relationships, 
  • are gender non-conforming, 
  • or are in a heterosexual relationship.

In these articles I will address information around:

  • trying to conceive, 
  • options if you have been struggling to conceive, 
  • considerations for those of you thinking about IVF, 
  • considerations for those of you currently undergoing IVF treatment,
  • how beneficial naturopathy can be in optimising your fertility outcomes.

Opportunity to Ask Me Questions – LIVE

After each article release, you have the option to submit any questions you may have by 7pm Monday evening to the Create A Fertile Life Facebook group. If you’ve not yet joined that private group you are welcome to go there and request to join.

If you wish to submit your questions anonymously, you can private message the Fertile Ground Health Group Facebook page and admin will forward them to me. 

Each Tuesday, I will be answering your questions live in this Create a Fertile Life Facebook group at 7pm AEDT, so we can all learn from each other.

Your Fertility Plan

Now, some of you may know exactly what your plan is, others may not have thought about it so concisely yet. Whatever stage you are at, I want you to provide you with the tools to determine what your fertility plan can look like and how you can optimise your outcomes with Naturopathy. Grab a pen and a piece of paper, or type in to a document on your phone/computer so that you can create the skeleton of the items that relate to YOUR individual journey and we will build on this each week over the 6 weeks of this series. 

I am excited to be on this journey with you. If you’ve already registered for the whole free package, take a sneak peek at part four below and check your inbox for the arrival of your full comprehensive article for this week (week 4).

If you’re just finding this free series now and would like access from part 1 all the way to part 6 – simply register here for your free access to the whole package.

Part 4 – Is Egg Freezing for You?

Welcome to week 4! Now that you understand the importance of determining your fertility plan, undertaking thorough preconception screening, as well as individualised preconception care, this week we are going to begin to apply that new knowledge to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in the form of Elective Fertility Preservation, aka ‘Egg Freezing’, and how naturopathy can optimise your outcomes. 

Egg freezing may be a part of your fertility plan, but for some of you this may not have been something that you’ve thought about. Egg freezing is a method of storing unfertilised eggs as a way to preserve potential fertility in individuals, for any reason. Egg freezing may be a consideration for individuals that wish to reproduce, but may not be in the right place or circumstance to be able to conceive, or may need to freeze their eggs due to medical reasons. When or if the time is right, you can access your frozen eggs, which are thawed to be fertilised with sperm, in the hope to create a healthy embryo to transfer into the uterine wall for a successful pregnancy.

Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Fluidity and Elective Fertility Preservation (EFT)

EFT may be the insurance policy our wonderful transgender, non-binary, and gender-fluid, community that wish to undergo gender-affirming hormone replacement therapy (GAHRT), and/or gender affirmation surgery need for their family plan. For transgender men and individuals assigned female at birth, undertaking egg freezing prior to the commencement of GAHRT and surgical transition allows you to have the opportunity to have your own biological children should you wish to in the future.

If egg freezing wasn’t something you thought about prior to GAHRT and you have not had gender affirmation surgery affecting your reproductive organs, and is something you wish to pursue, then it may be possible to cease hormone treatment and begin to produce eggs again and either freeze them or try to conceive. For transgender women and individuals assigned male at birth, freezing your sperm prior to GAHRT and/or surgical transition gives you the ability to reproduce in the future also. If this is you, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of having this discussion with your Endocrinologist around your family plan and your goals as soon as possible, so they can carefully manage this process for you medically. It is also important to be aware of the emotional challenges that may arise in undergoing this process as it may require delaying GAHRT and/or gender affirmation surgery. (4)

Understanding The Egg Freezing Process

The goal of egg freezing is to obtain and freeze as many good quality eggs as possible. In order to do this, egg freezing requires a few key steps:

  1. Hormonal Stimulation 

This process occurs over 10-12 days, which aims to help the ovaries produce multiple eggs to mature in one cycle. There are a variety of different stimulation techniques and medications, and this will be determined by your fertility specialist. You’re responsible for administering your own medications during this period, which may include some or all of self-administered injections, oral tablets, pessaries, and topical patches. 

  1. Egg Collection/Egg Pick Up (EPU)

EPU sees egg retrieval from the ovaries via a fine needle that is passed through the vaginal wall into the ovary, and draws the fluid and eggs from the ovary. This procedure is conducted under a general anaesthetic, with the procedure taking approximately 10-15 minutes.

  1. Egg Freezing

The eggs collected undergo a freezing procedure in the IVF laboratory, which can be stored for many years and accessed at any time. The entire process from the beginning of hormonal stimulation to the time of egg freezing is approximately 14 days.  (1)

Age and Egg Freezing – What’s The Go?

Let’s take our minds back to our very first week. Statistics show a decline in egg quality, and therefore fertility from 35 years of age, with a further decrease after 40-42 years of age. (2,3) So while egg freezing is a great way to preserve your future fertility, ultimately, the younger you are when you freeze the eggs, the better. Egg freezing is discouraged for individuals 39 years of age or older, with the current average age of individuals undertaking egg freezing (in Victoria) being 37 years of age. (5)

So, what’s the chances of having a baby with frozen eggs?

It’s important to note that while there are no guarantees of having a baby in the future when undertaking egg freezing, there are three factors that will largely determine your chance:

  1. Your age when you freeze your eggs
  2. The number of eggs stored
  3. How many cycles you can afford (cost ranges from $4,000 – $10,000 per collection cycle)

Depending on your age and egg quality, a frozen egg has ~5-8% chance of becoming a baby. (6)

Let’s take a look at the graph below. It looks at the probability of having at least one live birth according to age at time of egg freezing and the number of eggs retrieved.

Sage King Preconception Statistics 1

Source: VARTA, 2021

To simplify it for you, for a 75% chance of a baby, individuals:

  • 35 years of age or less need 10 eggs
  • 36 years of age need 15 eggs
  • 37 years of age need 20 eggs
  • 38 years of age needs 25 eggs

As you can see, at 40 years of age, egg numbers required jump significantly to 40 eggs, and increases again at 42 years of age to 60 eggs, highlighting the importance that the earlier you can freeze your eggs, the better the chance that your fertility insurance policy will result in a healthy baby.

What is Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and why is it relevant?

Conducted as a simple blood test, Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is an indicator of ovarian reserve. Put simply, AMH provides insight into the remaining quantity of eggs you have. While it provides us with this information, it does not assess…

Want to keep reading? Sign up to get instant free access to Sage’s preconception article series and find out about the intricacies of egg freezing, your menstrual cycle, sperm donor considerations, intercourse, conception, egg quality, egg carrying considerations, assisted reproductive technology, home insemination, the answers to your questions and more.

Written by Fertile Ground fertility Naturopath, Sage King.

MA’s love letters – June 2021

MA Love Letter June 2021

We’ve been receiving MA’s monthly love letters from The Melbourne Apothecary since the beginning of 2020. These letters contain links to a variety of life enhancing freebies that our fabulous practitioners are constantly creating to help you cope during COVID and beyond.

The letters are also a fantastic and charismatic resource that share all the goings on within both The MA and Fertile Ground. So we thought we’d best share them with you here so that you can join in and receive the monthly intel from our delightful and ever wisdomous MA. Please enjoy.

Hello and a wonderful crisp sunny June to you!

I feel really thrilled to write to you this month (ahem – I feel thrilled every month actually because I just LOVE connecting with you about my favourite thing – health 🥳 ). I have 3 fabulous things to share.

Free preconception series
Firstly, this month Sage King, one of our expert fertility Naturopaths, has put together a 6 part article series designed to help you navigate your fertility journey and create your Fertility Plan. And what a wealth of information this is. I have had the privilege of sneak peeking a couple of Sage’s articles and I can tell you they are off ⚓️ the ⚓️ hook ⚓️ with information about options to proceed and succeed when creating your healthy family 💕

The way Sage writes is so comprehensive AND YET so digestible and clear. Find out more about what this series covers and then go ahead and register to receive all the freebies.

👉Sign up here for the Free Preconception series

World Environment Day
Saturday the 5th of June is World Environment Day 💕 🌏 💕 This day is designed to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment – which is SO glorious!🦚🐍🦧🦩🦥🕸🦜🐊🦓🦔🦙🐇🦕

I recently watched David Attenborough’s latest film, ‘A Life on This Planet’. It was completely motivating and deeply eye opening  👀  beyond the level that my plant farming, naturopathic, chemically free, environment loving eyes have been opened before…

The result? We started a Sustainability Action Group at Fertile Ground and The MA – SAG for short (because SAGging is what my heart ♥ does when I think of the health of our planet and what will happen if we, personally and as a community, don’t take greater responsibility for our daily actions that contribute to the devastation of this world).

Fertile Ground and The Melbourne Apothecary already have deep values of sustainability and supporting climate action ✨ 🌏 💓 however after watching this film📽we stirred into even greater action to identify all the ways that we must DO BETTER in the clinic – our revised mission being helping people to make healthy babies — AND a healthy planet for them to live on!

So please see our MA instagram posts to check out what we’re identifying and changing in the clinic to do better ourselves, and perhaps you’ll find some motivation and inspiration therefor things you can do at home to help healthify the planet even more too♥️

Food cravings?
The third thing I want to touch on is food cravings. It’s lockdown again here in Melbourne, and if you’re a person you are likely feeling emotions about that.😧😪😶😡😩🤨🧐🤯

Many of us use food as an emotional buffer🧀🌭🍕🥖🍔🥞🍫🍷

When things get a bit emotionally intense (hello the last 1+ years of COVID…)it’s a good idea to get some support around healthy eating ESPECIALLY if you know that you have a relationship with food that you’d like to change for the better, or one that becomes topsy turvy during stress.

Read this bang on article from Jane Holland, our MA holistic nutritionist, all about diving under the surface of food cravings. Remember that Jane is available for free 10 minute consults to you if you want to connect with her and find out how you can begin to create a healthier relationship with your food.

Read Food Cravings – what are you really craving? With Nutritionist, Jane Holland

Love & Wooly Jackets
Your MA💕

Food Cravings – what are you really craving?

Food cravings with Jane Holland

Food cravings come in all tastes and sizes. Have you ever walked past a bakery early in the morning and spied the rows of croissants in the window and found yourself thinking about nothing else but those buttery flaky pastries for rest of the day??

Or perhaps you’ve arrived at the end of a busy afternoon and found yourself thinking of nothing else but the moment when you can crack open the cupboard and dig your hand into a packet of salty crunchy crisp chips??

Or perhaps after dinner when you’re winding down, your mind becomes filled with the idea of biting into a delicious chunk of chocolate, that sweet goodness bringing you some kind of wild euphoria…

Chances are, if you are a human, you have experienced some form of food craving.

In fact, surveys suggest that up to 90% of women and 70% of men have experienced food cravings at some point during their life (Magee 2005).

Food cravings can be defined as an intense desire to consume a particular food, differentiating it from a feeling of hunger, which can be alleviated by consumption of any type of food (Muele 2020).

The Complexities

And it’s more complicated than you might think! We tend to think food cravings are driven by a primal instinct to stay alive, an evolutionary advantage embedded in our genes. And while that’s partly true, what is now also known, is that areas of the brain responsible for memory and sensing pleasure are also partially to blame (i.e. conditioned responses to stimuli), as well as a need to satisfy emotional states, such as calming stress and reducing anxiety. In other words, it’s complex.

When our needs are not being met – physiologically, emotionally, mentally, or energetically – our natural impulse is to rectify this. In other words, when we are ‘out of alignment’, we will find a way to bring ourselves ‘into’ alignment. Our brain can’t always differentiate between fulfilling needs in a resourceful versus unresourceful way, however, so if we are not aware of the ways we have learnt to ‘fulfil’ these needs (i.e. we have learnt to do something that brings relief but not necessarily long-term satisfaction), we will continue to repeat this behaviour over and over again, despite our seemingly ‘conscious’ desire to change it.

Mindfulness for Food Craving

Mindfulness, and self-awareness through sensation and the body, are some of the ways to bring us back into deep connection with our intuitive self. From here, we can respond to our needs in a more honest way, rather than a reactionary, automated way. But it’s tricky business. The parts of us that work to protect us (often formed during childhood or adolescence to ‘meet the needs’) might feel fear or hesitation or resistance to a different response, which can lead to more dissonance and contraction if we are not willing to listen and be ‘in relationship’ with them! Simply put, in order to understand our needs, we need to engage with them in a compassionate and honest way, to find out how we can support them (and ourselves) in a more resourceful way.

Stopping the Self-Punishment

As we bring more awareness to these needs and honour our deeper stirrings and get curious about the places where we are betraying ourselves, our physical body changes too. Instead of punishing or banishing the parts of us that crave chocolate after dinner, or eat a whole wheel of cheese at the party, or yearn for a hot cross bun smeared with butter, we start to notice that actually, those parts just wanted to feel safe in that moment, or connected, or loved.

Over time, as we integrate and listen to our different parts, our behaviour changes too. Learning to notice and feel what we are truly craving, fulfilling our needs and honouring our intuition leads to deep and lasting changes. It just requires deep compassion, radical honesty and a willingness to listen.

Written by Jane Holland, respected holistic Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary, renowned international retreat facilitator, adored Deep Sleep Yin Yoga teacher.

Book in with Jane to understand and reshape your food story, build a healthy relationship with your food and body, and create behaviours in your life that support your healthiest self. (Jane is currently offering free 10 minute Nutrition consults to help you take action – when booking navigate to heading Nutrition > Free 10 min consult > Jane Holland)

References

Meule, A. Twenty Years of the Food Cravings Questionnaires: a Comprehensive Review. Curr Addict Rep 7, 30–43 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-020-00294-z

Magee, E. The Facts About Food Cravings, WebMD (2005). https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-facts-about-food-cravings#1

What’s Your Fertility Plan?

Your Fertility Plan with Sage King from Fertile Ground Health Group

It can be quite overwhelming for any individual or couple to decide if their family plan includes children, let alone go one step further and reach out for support to optimise or facilitate fertility. These decisions can be even more complex for those who fall outside of the mainstream heteronormative, coupled, gender binary. 

Fertility plan – where to start?

Knowing when you want to have children is key to where you can choose to start on this journey. Does your family plan include children within the next 3-12 months? Did you know that preconception care takes a minimum of three months to positively influence reproductive health,  including egg quality? 

One of our expert fertility naturopaths, Sage King, has written a 6-part series to help individuals and couples of all gender identities and sexual orientations confidently navigate their fertility journey and create their own fertility plan. This series is inclusive of everything from preconception pathology screening, naturopathic preconception considerations, how to enhance your fertility naturally, to egg freezing, intrauterine insemination (IU) and In vitro fertilisation (IVF). Sage will be taking a deep-dive in how you can optimise your fertility outcomes.

What you’ll learn in this free 6-part article series

Part One: Identify Your Unique & Individual Needs

  • Individual considerations
  • Couple considerations
  • Sperm donor considerations

Part Two: Do You Need Preconception Screening?

  • Understanding your optimal preconception window
  • GP preconception screening
  • Your functional preconception assessment options
  • Naturopathic preconception considerations
  • PCOS, Endometriosis and the impacts on fertility

Part Three: Enhance Your Fertility Naturally

  • Eating for your fertility
  • Exercising for your fertility
  • Stress management
  • Enhancing sleep quality for your fertility
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals and why you should avoid them

Part Four: Is Egg Freezing for You?

  • Age and egg freezing – what’s the go?
  • Understanding the egg freezing process
  • How to access Naturopathic support for egg freezing

Part Five: What is IUI & do I qualify?

  • What is intrauterine insemination?
  • Is IUI for you?
  • Natural vs. medicated cycle
  • Importance of collaborative care
  • Naturopathic support options for IUI

Part Six: Your Guide to IVF

  • What is IVF?
  • Is IVF for you?
  • Importance of collaborative care
  • Naturopathic support options for IVF

Are you single? In a couple? Do you wish to use your own eggs, or do you want to carry using your partner’s eggs, or vice versa? Do you have a known sperm donor, or will you use clinic-recruited donor sperm? Perhaps a child is not in your short-term plans but you wish to freeze your eggs for peace of mind down the track – there is great information here for you too. 

Register to receive notification as each article in this 6 part series is released. Sage is dedicated to helping you identify your unique and individual needs, as well as to provide you with the information you need to feel more informed, more confident on how to best navigate your situation, and most importantly helping you feel fully supported on your fertility journey.

Bonus Preconception Q&As with Sage online

Get your questions answered by joining our closed Create a Fertile Life Facebook group. Submit your questions in this group and Sage will answer.

EMERGE – allow your natural buoyancy

Jane Holland from The Melbourne Apothecary talks adapting to COVID

How are you this week? I know a few of you reading this in Melbourne have just started yet another lockdown – and of course many of you overseas are still managing the restrictions and ongoing changes that COVID brings each week… We’re a pretty adaptable and resilient species really aren’t we? That’s not to say we’re always comfortable in the adaptations we are forces to make, but somehow we manage to find our way.

Which has got me thinking this week about how we will emerge from this period in history??

Emergence

I really love the concept of emergence – it suggests there is a natural buoyancy, an intrinsic ability to rise, that exists within us.

Interestingly the word EMERGE comes from the Latin root ’emergere’ meaning ‘bring to light.’ For me, it’s an innate sense of something bubbling up, a knowing that something wants to manifest. Sometimes we notice it, but often our own stories or narratives are in the way, intercepting the emergence of whatever idea or concept that is trying to rise.

This suggests then that it may be more important for us to remove the obstruction (stories, beliefs and conditioning) so we can ALLOW for the natural emergence, rather than placing all our attention on what we think SHOULD emerge. In other words, to bring our awareness to the ways in which we impede the natural buoyancy of ourselves, so we can simply ‘get out of the way’ and receive whatever it is in us that is naturally moving towards the light….

“Just as the acorn contains the mighty oak tree, the Self has everything it needs to fulfil its destiny. When the inner conditions are right, it naturally emerges”
~ Derek Rydall

What inner conditions  do you need to allow in order for your mighty oak seed to sprout?

Written by Jane Holland, respected holistic Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary, renowned international retreat facilitator, adored Deep Sleep Yin Yoga teacher.

Book in with Jane to understand and reshape your food story, create a healthy relationship with your food and body, and create behaviours in your life that support your healthiest self. (Jane is currently offering free 10 minute Nutrition consults to help you take action – when booking navigate to heading Nutrition > Free 10 min consult > Jane Holland)