Changes to health insurance rebates for naturopathy

By now you will have received notification from your private health insurer informing you that your rebates for naturopathy will no longer be available.  For the millions of people who have benefited from the very real and very powerful results of naturopathic care, this political decision is equally concerning and confusing.

While we are busy being politically active, speaking and writing to members of parliament and signing petitions to change this unfounded decision, it looks like it is still going ahead as of the 1st April, 2019.

You will still be able to take advantage of your rebates for naturopathy up until the 1st April and as far as we understand, all claims that need to be made online for past appointments must be submitted before the 1st of April as well. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to organise your receipts and make those claims.

We will keep fighting for this decision to be overturned and if you are benefiting from your work with our naturopaths, you can fight for it too. Give your local member a visit or call, write a letter using this template or sign this petition and help them to see how valuable our naturopathic services have been for your health and fertility outcomes.

There is SO MUCH EVIDENCE to support naturopathy and it’s not difficult to find the published research for the benefits of herbal, nutritional and lifestyle medicine.  In fact, we are about to launch a book with over 200 scientific references supporting naturopathic approaches just for preconception. This represents a mere drop in the ocean for research and evidence supporting naturopathic approaches in diet and lifestyle modification, herbal and nutritional medicine for fertility, general health, acute and chronic conditions.

Rest assured that FGHG naturopaths will continue to provide professional, evidence-based naturopathic support and you will still be able to claim for acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, osteopathy and remedial massage at Fertile Ground, so all is not lost! Besides, the benefits you receive from naturopathic support will continue well beyond any rebate you don’t receive!

If you would like to learn more, or do something about the decision to remove naturopathy from health insurance, we hope you find these links to information useful and insightful.

Petition – change.org
Have your say – template letter to the government
Letter to Minister from Your Health Your Choice – Formal request to Australia’s Health Minister, Greg Hunt to amend the Private Health Insurance  Rules 2018
Article – Article from Gill Stannard: You’ll soon be unable to claim for naturopathy and herbal medicince
Article – How did the Australian government conclude “There’s no evidence for naturopathy”
Article – Subsidies for natural therapies abolished 
Latest news – Your Health Your Choice Facebook Page
Listen to report – Discusses the flawed method of review in the decision to amend private health for naturopathy. Features Professor Stephen Myers, Southern Cross University

5 Steps to Take Before IVF

Written by Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath (This article was originally published on www.conceivebaby.com.au)

Trying to conceive takes time and once you’ve made the decision to have a baby frustration, impatience and sadness are just three of the emotions that can grow with each menstrual cycle that passes.  It’s worth reminding ourselves that we have a 20% chance of conceiving in any one cycle and that 80% of couples will be pregnant within 12 months.  Having that longer term view and doing things to improve your chances of conceiving can be a good focus while you wait.

This impatience for results and lack of understanding about timing is one of the reasons why many couples embark on IVF treatment before they really need to.  We find that many couples benefit from focusing on some key basics they do have control of.  Addressing these things increases the chance of conception within a reasonable time frame and allows women to exert some control over their ability to fall pregnant.

Here are 5 steps to take before IVF:

Have sex at the right time of the month

Know when your fertile window is so that you have sex on a day when you increase your chances of conception.  You only have at the very outside 6 days in your cycle that you may be able to become pregnant and that’s if the sperm lives for 5 days and the egg for 1 day.  The most likely days you will conceive are 2 days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation.  If you have sex on one of these days then your chances of becoming pregnant in that cycle dramatically increases to 27-33%.

The funny thing is that although 70% of women in a recent Australian study thought they knew when they were ovulating, only 13% accurately estimated their day of ovulation.

If you are relying on an app for this they can be grossly inaccurate. It’s much more accurate is to keep track of your vaginal mucus changes and recognise when your mucus is wetter and more stretchy.  Ovulation predictor kits can also help to more accurately pinpoint your fertile window.  For more information on this go to Your fertility website and watch the video by Kerry Hampton on pinpointing your ovulation (http://yourfertility.org.au/for-women/timing-and-conception/).

Check that your weight is in a healthy range

If you are overweight then you can improve your chances of conceiving by committing to healthy eating and exercising and reducing weight even by a little.  A common measure of whether you are over or under weight is the BMI calculator which you will easily find on line and by putting your height and weight into the calculator it will work out if you fall in the 18.5-25 healthy BMI range.

For women who are overweight and have PCOS reducing weight by as little as 5 % can significantly improve regular ovulation and your chance of conception.

Being underweight can also affect hormones and reduce fertility. Underweight women may be twice as likely to take over a year to conceive compared with healthy weight women.  A man’s weight is also a factor, so father’s-to-be also need to trim down to improve fertility.

Three tips to start off a healthy weight plan:

–  swap soft drinks and alcohol for water;

– make half you plate vegetables or salad at lunch and dinner with a palm size of lean protein such as meat, fish, eggs or pulses;

– get moving more by standing every 40 minutes from your desk, walking rather than taking the car to the shops and taking the stairs.

Have you stopped smoking and drinking?

Smoking affects egg and sperm development and can damage the DNA in both eggs and sperm.  Smoking not only reduces your chances of getting pregnant but also puts you and your baby at risk of pregnancy and birth complications and birth defects.

Even if a woman has never smoked, her partners smoking makes her up to 30% more likely to miscarry.

It’s much easier to quit smoking with your partner so make a plan to do it together and seek help from a counsellor or acupuncturist to give you extra support.

It’s known that drinking alcohol in large quantities reduces your chance of conceiving but low and moderate drinking may also have an impact.  For men alcohol can cause impotence, reduce libido and also reduces sperm quality and so reduces fertility.  Because of the known toxic effects on a baby’s development the National Health and Medical Research Council recommend that not drinking is the safest option for women who are planning to conceive or who are pregnant.

Clean up your environment

Reducing the levels of environmental toxins that have been shown to affect DNA cellular health can affect your Simple steps to take include:

  • increase your intake of organic food;
  • buy non chemical cleaners including laundry powder;
  • start to use natural face and body creams such as coconut or almond oil;
  • men keep your mobile phone away from the reproductive area by not carrying it in your trouser pocket and at night keep on flight mode if you have it by your bedside.
Optimum nutrition

Research shows that optimum nutrition in the pre-conception period three months prior to conception is associated with a lower rate of birth defects.  If you eat well your eggs and sperm will benefit from all the nutrients required for healthy DNA.  Eating for a healthy weight and to support the growth and development of sperm, eggs and healthy hormones we suggest referring to the Fertility Boosting Diet Summary on our Fertile Ground Health Group website (www.fertileground.com.au) and for more information and recipes read The Fertility Diet by Tasha Jennings and The Fertility Food Map by Petra Joly. Or if you feel like you could benefit from some more specific nutritional testing and advice, you could make an appointment with a Fertile Ground Health Group Naturopath.

By taking some control of your own health, most women and couples find they feel happier and healthier and regain a sense of control over their own fertility.

Of course expert help is not far away if you need further support to achieve your aims and make changes, or if you feel you have more complex issues to manage. For more information on support available for your fertility, explore our Trying to Conceive information and other related FGHG blog articles:

Fertility Charting Instructions

Marijuana and your fertility: Are my eggs / sperm stoned too?

Acupuncture to help you quit smoking

 

References

Hampton K, Mazza D; Fertility-awareness knowledge, attitudes and practices of women attending general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2015;44(11):840-5.

Your Fertility Website

 

 

 

 

 

Gina Fox

Gina Fox is a naturopath with over 15 years’ experience. She trained under Francesca Naish (author of 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.

Freekeh superfood salad with Persian feta

By Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath
– based on recipe from Oxfam website

Freekeh is a superfood. It is an ancient form of wheat made from young, whole-grain, green wheat kernels that have been roasted and sun-dried. This gives it a lovely nutty, slightly smokey flavour and because the wheat is so young when it’s harvested, it holds plenty of nutritional value. Freekeh is very high in protein and fibre, which helps you feel full and satisfied, whilst also being great for beneficial gut bugs, supporting healthy digestion and keeping you regular. It is also rich in minerals such as magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron – essential for good health.

Being packed with nutrition and flavour, this freekeh salad is sure to add health to any meal, without compromising on taste. It pairs well with roast meats, fish, roasted eggplant slices, roasted chickpeas, grilled haloumi cheese, lamb koftas or meatballs but it’s also filling enough to have a stand alone dish. What’s more, its super easy and can be made in a big batch to feed a group or help get you through the week. You can find Freekeh at most health food stores and supermarkets, in the grains section.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup barberries (optional)
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 bunch mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley or equivalent baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 100g Persian feta
Dressing
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbs preserved lemon, finely chopped
Method
  • Bring stock to the boil, add freekeh and cook until tender or the stock is absorbed, approximately 20 mins.
  • Remove freekeh and allow to cool.
  • In a bowl, combine freekeh (breaking up any lumps), pine nuts, currants, red onion, mint and parsley or baby spinach leaves.
  • Combine dressing ingredients and pour over.

MA’s October Love Letter

MA's October Love Letter

Welcome to MA’s October 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 my dear,

As I sit here writing to you the gentle rain is tumbling down on my tin roof. My teapot brews beside me and I find myself feeling rather reflective. My 2 young, silky bantam hens are perched in their house, sheltering from the sky and calmly preening their feathers. I watch them out there, simply accepting what is, whilst softly preparing themselves for when the sunshine inevitably bursts through the clouds again, at which point they’ll romp around yet again with adventurous energy. My insightful hens are reminding me that when what can appear like dreary circumstances set in for a while, it’s an opportunity for us to sit into the quiet spots of it and preen our own “feathers”, to prepare ourselves for the imminent shift to the opposite. Everything always changes – it is one of the certainties of life. Suffering and struggle is a feature of lack of acceptance of what is. By accepting what is, I don’t mean rolling over and not doing anything about changing our own circumstances. I mean more allowing a sense of serenity to descend, giving a frayed nervous system the chance to catch up and prepare for the next vault into the unknown.

And so in line with that – let’s preen our feathers shall we?

The 3 things I want to share with you are perfect for helping to bring you back to your centre, to nourish, to unwind, to prepare for the next phase of the beautiful unknowns of life.

#1 is a beautiful article, written by one of the Fertile Ground naturopaths, all about 10 foods to enhance fertility. As luck would have it, it is one of Fertile Ground’s best performing articles of all time (says google analytics). No doubt you might find something on there that tickles your foodie fancy.

#2 is a wonderful learning centre. Fertile Ground practitioners have created so many resources (free and paid ones) over the last 1.5 years of COVID that they’ve had to build a whole learning centre to house it all. You can now go there and download anything and everything to your heart’s content. You’ll find immunity resources, stress relief, meditations, healthy eating guides, movement classes and more.

#3 is a gorgeous online shop. Fertile Ground has been preening their digital feathers over the last few months and have come out with this lovely new online shop featuring all their recommended books, herbal teas, gift vouchers and lovely retail items (like Skintimacy cream and Yantra Botanicals facial oils – oh my goodness these skin care ranges are my favourite and a daily staple! Where would I be without them!!). Word on the grapevine is that there’s a new bespoke organic herbal tea range soon to be launched too, so keep your eyes peeled for that! Take a wander through Fertile Ground’s new online shop wares.

I hope you’re finding space to relax into a sustainable end of year pace darling.

Sending you all my love.

Your MA 💕

MA’s August Love Letter

Emily Macfarlane, Naturopath at The Melbourne Apothecary

Welcome to MA’s August 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.

 

I am thrilled to announce that Emily Macfarlane has officially joined The Melbourne Apothecary team to offer general health naturopathic consults to our wonderful community (yes, that’s you).

Here in the land of the MA we really believe in meeting you where you’re at to inspire healthy change. Everyday your wellness is your choice. Emily is a wonderful addition to our team because her focus is on exactly this → fine-tuning your foundational health and daily choices to help you magnify your capacity to enjoy life.

Emily loves to help you:
  • enhance your energy and vitality,
  • rectify sleep issues,
  • support your gut health and
  • optimise your hormonal, thyroid and metabolic health.

Do any of those strike a chord?

Is it time to take your self-care up a notch and prioritise nourishing your body? If your answer is a resounding, “YES YES that’s what I need!!!…But how exactly…?” then great! It’s just a matter of starting with small steps and letting your health momentum build.

Like an avalanche. Or a giant, rolling rock gathering speed. Or clouds amassing to collide in a vibrant electrical storm display of immense natural power…you get the picture. Momentum. Your body was built to thrive – all it needs is the right conditions to do so.  Learn what those conditions are to get a head start on your health.

Free 10min Naturopathic Consults

Emily is currently offering free Naturopathic 10 minute consults to help get you started towards better health. These sessions are a chance for you to make sure the therapeutic relationship is a great fit and to  get clarity about what you want to achieve.

This is also an opportunity for  you to start with simple, implementable lifestyle/diet changes and tailored supplemental support if required, as well as to initiate any referrals to specialists or blood testing that may be required before proceeding.

Book online →  www.bit.ly/myfree10 

Access your free 10 minute initial consultation with Emily by navigating to Naturopathy > Free 10 minute consult > Emily Macfarlane.

Spring is around the corner. Time to get that pep in your step.

Love MA

Choosing Your Obstetrician

Gina Fox (FGHG Naturopath) talks with Dr Sushen Naidoo (FGHG Obstetrician)

Want some help with deciding which Obstetrician to choose and how to go about getting an appointment?

What qualities do you want in your Obstetrician? What does a good relationship with your Obstetrician look like?

Have a listen to this podcast for a short discussion and get some questions answered before you decide.

Listen to the podcast here: Choosing Your Obstetrician

Char’s Mouth-watering Chocolate Health Cake

by Charmaine Dennis, FGHG Director and Naturopath

Impress your friends and loved ones with health cake.

Super easy, quick to make AND pretty. It’s nutrient dense, high in fibre, good fats, antioxidants, protein and energy as well as gluten, dairy and soy free and fine for vegans too.  Small pieces are satisfying so it is a good idea for afternoon treat compared with a chocolate bar – but if you need something like to get though your afternoon or crave something sweet after dinner, you should probably come have an appointment with one of us to help you sort out your blood sugar balance!

My favourite part is how the thick layer of chocolate on the top cracks when you cut it. Such a satisfying sound.

Ingredients
·       2 cups walnut halves (soaked for 4 hours or overnight, rinsed and dried)
·       ½ cup shredded coconut
·       1/3 cup rolled oats
·       ¼ cup chia seeds (white or black)
·       2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·       1 tablespoon raw cocao powder
·       pinch chilli
·       pinch sea salt flakes
·       18 medjool dates, fresh, pits removed
·       100g good quality dark chocolate, at least 75% and fair trade or organic
·       Raw cacao powder, sifted over to serve
(Organic ingredients where possible make it taste even better of course)
Instructions
1.     Process the walnuts, coconut, oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, cocoa, chilli and salt in a food processor until all the ingredients are chopped (not too finely) and mixed.
2.     With the blades spinning, add the dates a few pieces at a time, until all the dates are added and mixture is starting to come together. Stop the processer and spoon down the sides a couple of times to mix well.
3.     Press the mixture evenly into a 20cm cake tin, lined with baking paper (no need to grease) pressing and smoothing the surface down firmly with the back of a metal spoon.
4.     Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over boiling water and poor gently onto the top of the cake to cover completely to the sides
5.     Cover and refrigerate until required.
6.     To serve, dust with more cacao and cut into thin wedges

Notes
This recipe can also be turned into a slice or balls and rolled in cacao or coconut or dipped in the chocolate. If you are gifting the cake, it is nice to make a few balls to keep for yourself too.
Throw in what ever interesting ingredients you have – try other nuts like cashews or macadamias or seeds like sunflower or pipitas, nut butter, tahini, dry goji berries or other dry fruit, puffed quinoa or amaranth, matcha, bee pollen, maple syrup. You can experiment with different interesting tastes every time. Bit of this, bit of that, taste, taste, yum, yum.
It will keep in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Let us know if you make one – we would love to hear about your variations.

 

CharmaineDENNISC1Charmaine Dennis is a naturopath, fertility and health expert, mentor, writer, mother, and businesswoman. She is the founding director of Fertile Ground Health Group, co-creator of the Be Fertile relaxation CD series and co-author of The Breakfast Project, among other health inspired projects. Her greatest gift and inspiration is making health, wellbeing, and passionate living accessible, inspiring and achievable for everyone. Charmaine’s naturopathic career has followed a special interest in working with couples with infertility 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.

Boost your immunity to prevent winter illness

Now is the optimal time to take action on your winter immune prevention program instead of allowing a winter infection to put your life on hold. An effective winter immunity and prevention program offers you support to help protect you from the dreaded ‘winter lurgy’, minimising the impact that illness can have on your life.

The common cold is easily transmitted and responsible for most absences from work and school annually. Our aim in prevention is not merely to strengthen the immune system but to keep the body in a state of balance so that illness does not occur, or so that when it does, the illness is only mild because there is only a small imbalance to correct. This works best when we strengthen the whole person and the whole family alike, while simultaneously strengthening the immune system.

Good Bugs, good gut, good immune system

When it comes to boosting immunity to prevent cold and flu, surprisingly gut health is a key area of focus. The digestive tract is in close contact with the largest part of the immune system in the body – over 70%. It is also home to a plethora of bacteria known as our gut microbiota. Certain ‘good’ bacteria, naturally found living in a balanced relationship in the gut, have supportive benefits – stimulating the activity of the immune system and boosting our immune defences. It is essential to support gut function to help reduce your risk of developing a winter illness.

We can support these good bacteria by eating certain foods that cause them to increase in number. Food is a powerful tool for boosting gut health and can be used safely for children, the elderly and anyone with poor immunity. Here is what to include:

  • Eat a ‘rainbow of fruits and vegetables’ – colourful fruits and veggies contain polyphenols that are literally food for good bacteria. Purple are some of the strongest so think blueberries, blackberries, plums, grapes, purple cabbage, carrots, onion and potatoes – farmers markets are a good place to find these.

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  • Prebiotic foods – specific superfoods that good bacteria feed on include chicory root, dandelion greens, jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, barley, oats, apples, flaxseeds and seaweed (raw is better than cooked).
  • Probiotic foods – these contain live bacteria that are friends to your good gut bacteria and include coconut yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, pickled foods: fermented sauerkraut, kimchi.

Specific strains of probiotics are demonstrated to reduce the frequency, severity and duration of infection such as colds and influenza and can be prescribed by your naturopath where appropriate.

Vitamin D prevents the sneeze

Supporting immunity is one of vitamin D’s numerous roles, specifically in the defence against infections as it improves the antimicrobial properties of immune cells on exposure to microbes.

Research supports the use of vitamin D supplementation to reduce infections. One study showed that, over a three year period, women taking vitamin D were three times less likely to experience cold and flu symptoms compared to those who did not. The study highlighted, that a low dose of D3 drastically reduced the seasonality of reported colds and flu, whilst a moderate dose virtually eradicated all reports of upper respiratory tract infections.¹

Adequate sun exposure is vital for maintaining vitamin D levels. Back this up with dietary sources including eggs and fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Getting sun can be hard depending on your location and diet isn’t enough alone so vitamin D3 supplementation needs to form part of your winter immune prevention program to reduce the incidence of cold and flu.

Zinc prevents infections

Zinc has immune boosting benefits as it plays an integral role in the maintenance and functioning of the immune system. The most potent food sources include: oysters, red meat, chicken, eggs, nuts, sesame & pumpkin seeds, spinach, mushrooms. Higher doses of zinc in combination with vitamin C in the form of a supplement can be used to support the immune system and help reduce the incidence of infections.

What else? Prevention & treatment starts at home
  • Minimise dairy, sugar, white wheat flour, cold drinks and processed juices as these foods can generate excess mucous and support infectious conditions.
  • Maximise warming foods with ginger, onion, garlic, chilli, peppers, mustard seeds, sage, thyme, fennel and fenugreek to clear mucous and enhance immunity.
  • Keep warm, dry hair after washing and ensure any infections are treated with bed rest.
  • Immuni-tea (see recipe below)
Sarah’s immune boosting immuni-tea for two

aromatic-black-background-ceramic-cup-734983

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger – grated
  • 1 qtr lemon (skin on)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 6 cloves
  • ¼ tsp fresh chopped chilli
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 500ml water

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to the boil for at least 1 minute.

Strain the tea into your favourite cup and drink warm throughout the day.

 

 

By Sarah Harris,  FGHG Family and Paediatric Naturopath

sarahharris_edited_colourSarah is a qualified and experienced naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist with more than a decade of knowledge and practice in complementary medicine. As a mother of three children and highly skilled in providing  naturopathic care, Sarah has a special interest in treating children of all ages. Her empathetic and kind nature instills comfort and confidence when providing advice to parents about their child’s health and she works well with families and individuals to find solutions for health concerns.

 

References
  1. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and Natural Supplements. 2nd edn. Chatsworth, News South Wales: Churchill Livingstone, 2010; 701-710.

Food allergies and intolerances in children

by Sarah Harris, FGHG Naturopath

Allergy and immune diseases are among the fastest growing chronic diseases in Australia. In fact, 1 in 10 babies are born with an immediate allergy to food. The impact allergy can have on a child as they grow becomes even more apparent at school age. It can be a major reason for school absenteeism, whilst allergy symptoms and some medications used to treat those symptoms can lead to poor learning at school and may also be a risk factor for ADHD.

What are the symptoms of allergies or intolerances?

Symptoms of allergies and intolerances may be quite different to what you would expect. There may be the common and more obvious symptom of mucous congestion or there may be something less specific like restlessness. Here are some key signs to look out for:

  • Instead of feeling more energetic after a meal, a child may feel tired or out of balance in some way
  • Mucous congestion, often caused by difficulty digesting lactose, can lead to a constant runny nose, chronic cough, or even asthma
  • Children experiencing restlessness, ear tugging, hyperactivity, mood changes, unusually quiet, or bed wetting may be signs of reactivity
  • Symptoms can be worse at night, with mouth breathing and snoring, which interferes with sleep and leads to irritability
  • A child will often crave the very food that is worst for them…seen as a child showing a ‘love’ they show for nothing else!

Allergy and reactivity symptoms can vary significantly from person to person and even vary at different times of our lives depending on our state of health. Intolerance or sensitivity is different to, but can lead to allergy. Allergy reactivity can vary from a serious anaphylactic response to allergic conditions such as hay fever, allergic asthma, eczema (atopic dermatitis) or food allergies; extending to a diverse range of physical symptoms including respiratory symptoms (red itchy nose, sneezing, sinus pain), gut symptoms (cramping, bloating, flatulence) and/ or skin symptoms (red/ itchy skin or hives).

If you suspect that symptoms are related to a food – then you are most likely right!

Intolerance to certain foods can be a result of poor digestion caused by enzymes imbalances (such as in reactions to milk products) and reactivity to chemicals in foods (natural: histamine, salicylates; or food additives, often synthetic). These can lead to additional, less specific systemic symptoms such as headaches, poor concentration, mood changes and energy slumps. Food allergy is also a key factor for atopic conditions such as eczema, hay fever, asthma; whilst other causes may be early exposure to solid foods or formula and heavy exposure to environmental allergens.

Digestive health is the key.
Allergy and reactivity has multiple causes and contributing factors, including genetics and environment but often gut health is at the centre of the problem.

Poor digestive health plays a crucial role in the development of allergies and intolerances. With approximately 70 per cent of the immune system residing within the gastrointestinal tract there is a close connection between the immune system and integrity of the gut. Healthy gut flora (microbiome) plays an important role in enhancing immune tolerance; the resulting appropriate processing of proteins is fundamental to the prevention of allergy in children, whilst poor digestion can lead to intolerance and allergy over a lifetime. Use of antibiotics, although essential at times, can negatively affect digestive function and immunity.

What can be done about allergy and reactivity?
Essentially, get help to assist you to identify the real cause and navigate the maze of testing, elimination diets and improving gut health. Immune processes can be modified to help you or your family to become less reactive. Dietary changes can be helpful; such as eliminating wheat or dairy, although sometimes it feels like “where do I begin?” Short-term symptomatic relief is important in order to relieve physical and emotional consequences of allergy symptoms and can be gained by avoiding the allergen (trigger). However, nutritional deficiencies, especially in children, can result from highly restrictive diets that eliminate entire food groups. Focus on correcting the underlying processes that perpetuate symptoms, combined with therapeutic elimination and gradual re-introduction of appropriate foods, creates the potential to decrease the frequency and intensity of the symptoms experienced. Increasing tolerance to food and environmental factors can enable improved quality of life, both short and long-term, which is preferable to a long-term restrictive diet.

By understanding yours or your child’s aggravating food groups according to the symptoms you experience alongside optional testing of potential allergens, an individualised program can be recommended by your Naturopath. Resting from foods that you are sensitive to reduces the immune system load. Herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation improves immune tolerance, reducing allergic symptoms, and works at a deeper level, to support a more normal immune system function.

 

sarahharris_edited_colourSarah Harris is a qualified and experienced naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist with more than a decade of knowledge and practice in complementary medicine. As a mother of three children and highly skilled in providing  naturopathic care, Sarah has a special interest in treating children of all ages. Her empathetic and kind nature instills comfort and confidence when providing advice to parents about their child’s health and she works well with families and individuals to find solutions for health concerns.

Buddha Brekky Bowls

by Charmaine Dennis, FGHG Director and Naturopath

Variety is the spice of life – so good for getting a variety of micro, macro nutrients and phytochemicals, pre and probiotics for your microbiome, fibre for your digestive health, and keep you interested in breakfast! These Buddha Brekky bowls are super flexible. You can mix and match whatever little tasty bits you feel like on the day. Your kids will love it too!

What have I forgotten here? What else would you add?

1TBS of each… -ish… whatever you feel like on the day… all organic if you can. Soak the nuts and seeds overnight if you can… or buy already “ activated”.

  • Gluten Free muesli – buy a couple of varieties, or simply soak some oats if you need it as a base. You can get GF oats at the health food store if needed. Adding lots of other bits and pieces of wholefoods will reduce any sugar load in a commercial muesli – or delete the muesli altogether.
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Macadamias
  • Brazil nuts (try to get the ones grown in Brazil as they are much higher in selenium)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Linseeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chia Seeds – you can soak them in coconut or almond milk overnight for a few spoons of a tasty pudding – or just sprinkle them on, but they do love to get stuck in your teeth!
  • Nut butter – peanut, ABC, cashew etc
  • Dried Coconut
  • Cacao nibs
  • Goji Berries
  • Natural cow, goat, sheep or coconut yoghurt
  • Kefir
  • Fresh almond milk
  • Berries/mango/banana
  • Bee Pollen (small sprinkle)

Come and join us for breakfast! We’re over on our FB page sharing ideas, recipes, pics and inspiration as a community of breakfast lovers HERE.

For more nutritious and delicious breakfast recipes check out Charmaine and Milly’s “The Breakfast Project” e-book.

Breakfast Project Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CharmaineDENNISC1

Charmaine Dennis is a naturopath, fertility and health expert, mentor, writer, mother, and businesswoman. She is the founding director of Fertile Ground Health Group, co-creator of the Be Fertile relaxation CD series and co-author of The Breakfast Project, among other health inspired projects. Her greatest gift and inspiration is making health, wellbeing, and passionate living accessible, inspiring and achievable for everyone. Charmaine’s naturopathic career has followed a special interest in working with couples with infertility 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.