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

Gestational Diabetes: a Naturopathic Perspective

One of the things I’m most proud of in my practice is the remarkably low rates of gestational diabetes among my patient group. Pregnancy-related diabetes, like type 2 diabetes, is a growing concern in Australia and its diagnosis is increasing at a rate of about 5% per year. It is often dismissed as being a result of the hormones of pregnancy, but the reality is that almost all women, even those with an increased risk, will avoid developing gestational diabetes if they are given the right information and make the best choices before and during pregnancy.

An area of concern for us at Fertile Ground are the recommendations given to women once they are diagnosed with poor glucose control, usually in their 28th week of pregnancy. A standard list of recommended foods we regularly see include foods known to be high in sugar, as well as generally being very carbohydrate-heavy in their recommendations, with little regard for quality proteins, vegetables and good fats.

From our combined clinical practice, as well as from a multitude of scientific literature, we understand that the best way to avoid gestational diabetes as well as the best way to minimise its impact when it has been diagnosed, is to eat a low GI diet of quality proteins (e.g. eggs, meat, fish, chicken, full-fat yoghurt, tofu and especially nuts & seeds), good fats (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts butters), alongside genuinely complex carbohydrates (vegetables, beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, barley, whole oats & barley are best). Breads, pastas, rice and crackers are just not necessary, and I often see women come in with poor blood glucose results baffled & upset, only to identify a meal the previous night heavy in carbs and low in protein and good fats.

As naturopaths we are fortunate to have at hand a number of safe & effective herbal & nutritional medicines to assist with blood sugar regulation, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and (potentially most importantly!) to help reducing sugar & carb cravings. We recommend all our patients follow a healthy diet during their pregnancy, and consult with one of our naturopaths at regular intervals to ensure they are achieving optimal nutrition for their baby’s specific stage of development. We also highly recommended a consultation if a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, as this consistently leads to significantly better outcomes, including the minimisation of the need for insulin injections and further intervention.

As we come up to the holiday season, this is something worth keeping in mind. While we do understand most of you will be likely to take a day or two off from your usual healthy lifestyles (which you’ve all adopted by now right!?), we all want to put our health & fertility first! As I say about the holiday season, minimise the drawbacks; maximize the benefits! So make sure you’re eating a wide variety of the good foods, you’ve hopefully come to love with our help, and keep the treats to be just what they were intended for: the occasional indulgence!

 

L9999600Rhiannon Hardingham, FGHG Naturopath & Nutritionist

Underpinning Rhiannon’s work is a passion for health and a belief that every child deserves the best start in life. Thorough and approachable, Rhiannon’s commitment to understanding each person as an individual is much appreciated by her patients. Rhiannon is committed to the successful integration of natural and conventional medicine, and believes ideal outcomes are achieved for patients when all their health care providers are working together. She incorporates the use of lifestyle counselling, nutritional supplementation and herbal medicine to achieve optimum results for each individual patient.

How to find calm amid the chaos

Meditation with Gina

Is now the right time to develop a calm meditation practice? I think it is and I want to help in these tricky times, so I’ve decided to offer FREE group meditation sessions on zoom.  Hopefully you’ve been able to join the first two and I’d love it if you would join me on the final session on Wednesday 6th May at 8.30am.

The Benefits of Meditation

I’m sure you’ve already heard much about the benefits of meditation.  So I’m not going to rave on about the benefits (much).  If you haven’t yet heard meditation can help you with an incredibly diverse range of things such as providing immense relief from your anxiety and stress, resetting your circadian rhythms, regulating a daily practice of deep rest, facilitating repair in your body, encouraging a deeper sense of connection and wholeness – the list is endless. These are just some of the top few that are relevant to our current circumstances.

This may be your opportunity to include meditation within your daily ritual so that you can use these crazy COVID-19 days to hone a skill that can serve you in other challenges that will inevitably come over the years (to all of us).  Life brings us all shades of circumstance – some we perceive as brilliant, others perceive as not so. We know that there will always be more challenges. Thankfully, adopting meditation as a daily practice can really help you rise to any occasion and keep calm amidst it. Through meditation you can enhance your resilience, your capacity and your ability to think clearly.

What can we do?

This current situation isn’t something we can run away from, it is our life. The only thing we can be certain of right now is that the current lockdown will continue for some time. So we can choose how we wish to show up each day over the next number of weeks and what practical things we want to do each day to support our own health and to help others.  

I have taught people meditation for a number of years now and I hear common questions about obstacles to meditation – I’d like to share a few insights with you.

Common Questions

My mind is so busy I just can’t settle and meditate

I have news for you, everyone’s mind is busy.  That is what minds are built for – to think and be busy and look out for us.  This isn’t a hindrance to meditation and we’re not trying to empty the mind of thoughts – that’s a bit like saying we can stop getting older….  we can’t and we don’t want to stop our thoughts.  So yes everyone can meditate.

I don’t know what meditation style to follow

There are many ways to meditate and you can place your attention on various objects like breathing,  sounds, a candle, or you can count or recite a mantra.  There’s no right or wrong and it’s a matter of finding a style that suits you.  You can also use different objects on different days.  Following the breath is the most universal and this is the style that I’ll teach over the free sessions.

Will meditation make me too relaxed so that I’m not motivated to do anything?

In fact meditation can help you to do the opposite.  It’s helping to train the mind to focus on an object of awareness and this in turn helps us to know when our mind wanders.  It can do wonders for our ability to focus on a job and not on distractions and to use our time more effectively.

How can I find time to meditate in my busy life?

Hopefully now many of you are at home or working from home this may be easier to find some time whether it’s 10 minutes or longer.  Once you develop a routine it’s much easier to incorporate once our lives open up again.  It really is a matter of prioritising our health above other things like netflix!

Can I meditate on a chair or lying down rather than sitting on a cushion cross legged?

Yes you can meditate sitting on the floor on a cushion or on a chair or even standing or walking meditation.  Although you can meditate lying down this might be best to do as a relaxation before bed as you may well fall asleep.

Calm on

Spending time regularly sitting and being with ourselves and listening to ourselves is highly productive.  If you would like some support in making meditation part of your daily routine I am offering a final meditation session this week.  Simply sign up and we’ll send you a zoom link. I will lead some meditation sessions followed by a question and answer session.  The session is 30 minutes and the date is Wednesday 6th May 2020 at 8.30am.

Gina Fox

Naturopath & Fertility Educator

Are you looking for support with your fertility, health, or mindset? You’re welcome to book in with Gina Fox.

Lockdown Lentil Patties

Lockdown Lentil Patties

Lentil Patty Life Savers

Have you been struggling for lunch ideas while in lockdown? Lost for inspiration amongst preparing all your own food? These lentil patties have been a life saver for me. With the weather getting colder, I’m sure most of use feel like a warm meal for lunch but want something that is quick, tasty and healthy. These patties are all of those things.

Lentils are a good source of minerals and B-vitamins, plus protein and fibre to keep you full and satisfied well into the afternoon and balance your blood sugar. The nuts, seeds and eggs in this recipe up the protein content further and provide further minerals and Bs. The other ingredients give plenty of flavour but I like to top my patties with some chilli hummus, babaganoush, or avocado and goats cheese for extra deliciousness. Plus, don’t forget the green leaves.

I make the mixture up on a Sunday, shape into patties and freeze. Then, I take them out in the morning as needed to thaw and cook at lockdown lunchtime. Here is how.

 Ingredients
  • 2 ½ cups cooked green lentils – also referred to as brown lentils (soak overnight and cook or use organic canned lentils), half whole and half blended to a paste
  • 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, ground
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, ground
  • 1 cup rolled oats, ground
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup wholemeal spelt flour (use chickpea flour for gluten-free)
  • polenta for coating
  • olive oil for cooking
Method

Use a food processor to prepare all your ingredients in a flash, process each on separately and add to a large mixing bowl as you go. I usually grind my walnuts, then sunflower seeds, then oats, then chop the wetter stuff like onion, garlic and carrot, and lastly blend half my lentils.

Once these are all in the bowl add the eggs, tomato paste, Worcestershire, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Then add the flour, starting with a 1/4 cup. Try rolling a 2-inch ball with the mixture, if it is too wet, add the rest of the flour.

Roll into 2 inch balls, coating each ball gently in polenta (spread your polenta out on a plate to do this) and then flattening onto a baking tray lined with baking paper to form discs about 1.5-2cm thick.

Pop your tray/s in the freezer for an hour or so until patties are frozen and enough to handle and then stack them in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.

Cooking

Take out your patties a few hours before you want to eat them and let thaw in the fridge.

Cook for a few minutes on each side in hot olive oil until crispy and warmed through.

Go crazy with healthy toppings, e.g.
  • try tomato, cheese, onion, rocket and organic tomato sauce
  • chipotle hummus, sliced cucumber and spinach
  • babaganoush, avocado and tomato
  • beetroot relish and cheese
  • a fried egg and rocket

Josephine Cabrall

Naturopath

BHSc (Nat)

Recipe modified from Classic Lentil Burgers by https://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/

Are you looking for a Naturopath to help hone your health and diet during the various stages of lockdown? You’re welcome to book in with Josephine.

Improve your fertility during lockdown

Stress management

The current COVID-19 pandemic has bought about a number of significant changes in day to day life for all of us, let alone for those of you focusing on your fertility.

Many people are working from home and may have additional challenges negotiating this new work/life space. Whilst there are certainly pros and cons of being in lockdown, there are many things that you can be doing now to help improve your chances of conceiving. 

Focus on what you can do now

Whilst there may be an overwhelming feeling of lack of control in the current circumstances, try to focus on what you can control and what factors you can change that may help improve your fertility. 

Diet & Exercise

If you are not in the healthy weight range, aim to change your diet and exercise levels to help achieve this.

We know that being overweight or underweight can impact your fertility negatively and can also reduce your chances of success with IVF. Now is the time to address this. 

Start with calculating your BMI and your waist measurement. Look online or in our book (Create a Fertile Life) for details around calculating your BMI and waist measurements correctly. 

If your BMI is less than 18.5 or greater than 25, or your waist measurement is greater than 94cm (for men) or 80cm (for women), then you may need support in achieving a healthy weight to improve your fertility.

Make a time to speak to your naturopath about what changes are necessary to help you achieve a healthier more fertile weight. They will also be able to assess whether there are likely to be any other contributing factors that may be affecting your ability to maintain and/or achieve a healthy weight. 

Exercise regularly

Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise every day. Along with benefits to your fertility, exercise helps to improve your mood, blood sugar and hormone balance, circulation, energy and assist in weight management.   

It’s probably never been more important than now to be exercising regularly. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to negatively affect our mental health. Impacts can come in the form of financial stress, job insecurity, isolation and less social connections. This may also affect our fertility by increasing our stress and anxiety and exacerbating any previous mental health issues.

Exercising regularly is a wonderful positive change you can make to help improve your body’s ability to manage stress and resilience. Start with doing something and build up from there. Use that extra time in your day that you may have spent travelling to/from work to lock in a daily exercise routine and stick to it. Book it in at a specific time each day.  I have been doing Yoga or Pilates classes at 4pm every day which has been a lovely way to wind down and also work out (see below for some free online classes). Try to find something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good after completing. 

Make your diet more fertile!

Now is the time to focus on making those changes to your diet that you may not have had time to do so before. Use this time productively to nourish yourself with healthy meals. For example, cook up big batches of healthy soups or broths and freeze these in smaller portions so that they are readily available for a meal when needed.

Treat yourself to a daily nutrient-dense smoothie, make some chia seed puddings or your own wholegrain bread. Now is also the perfect time to cut out the caffeine and alcohol which may be easier due to the lack of social functions. Speak to your naturopath, or look at our website for recipe ideas or to the Chapters in our book, Create a Fertile Life, for more inspiration. 

Utilise healthy stress management techniques

Stress affects all aspects of male and female fertility. Fortunately, stress reduction programs can significantly improve your chances of having a baby. This is now the perfect time to be introducing daily deep breathing techniques, visualisation and/or meditation.

There are many apps e.g. Smiling Minds, Headspace, Stop Breath Think etc that you can use to begin with. There are also specific fertility-related meditations that you can download made by our very own naturopaths Charmaine Dennis and Gina Fox. Give them a go.

Try to make meditation a daily practice. It can create powerful change in your life.

Now is the time to focus on what positive steps you can make during lockdown to help improve your fertility.  We know that whilst a woman’s eggs are present from birth, they take 3-4 months to mature in the ovaries before they are ovulated. Sperm are manufactured from scratch over the same time frame. This preconception period of 3-4 months is a wonderful time to focus on supporting the growth and development of both the eggs and sperm so that they are likely to be a lot healthier and thus, improve your chances of conceiving.

More helpful action taking resources for you

Free Yoga class  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epsvORtTVk0

Free Pilates class https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-750Jo8CUU

Tina Jenkins
Naturopath
B.Nat., Masters of Reproductive Medicine (MRMed), B.A., Cert Nat Fert Mgt.
Member FSA, NHAA, ATMS

Looking for a Naturopath to support you? Book in with Tina here.

The best recipe for breast milk

There are times in everyone’s life when circumstances demand more from the body and it is vitally important that we prepare and adjust our nutrition by ensuring we not only have adequate fuel for our task, but nutrient dense fuel to sustain our health and thrive in times of high demand. Breastfeeding is one of these times and it is about ensuring that both mother and baby are given the best possible nutritional status to grow, thrive and enjoy these precious early years and beyond.

Is there a recipe for the best breast milk? Well we like to think that there is a basic recipe you can follow that can be adapted according to mother and baby’s needs. It doesn’t need to be complex if you already have a good diet but what is a good diet? Read on for some guidelines for you to consider when making your food and lifestyle choices during breastfeeding.

Lifestyle Factors

It may be a little ironic, but breast milk production is often compromised by sleep deprivation & exhaustion. Obviously, this is largely dictated by your circumstances, but try to get as much rest and sleep as you can and aim for 8 hours in every 24 hours. If your baby is particularly restless or difficult to calm, there may be some deficiencies or aggravating factors in the milk itself. If you are concerned at all seek advice from your naturopath who can assess your nutritional status and supplement where necessary.

It may be difficult to find time to exercise, but a good walk every day or two can really improve your mood, energy levels, sleep quality, stress adaptation, and therefore breast milk quality & production.

The more relaxed you are the better your breast milk will flow. To help you settle we recommend listening to the Be Fertile Guided Relaxation for breastfeeding while you’re feeding. Start to do this in the hospital and continue at least once daily until a routine has been well established.

What should I be eating?

Breast milk is enriched by a mother’s diet. A healthy, well balanced maternal diet will ensure that all the necessary nutrients are present to facilitate growth and well-being in your baby. Breast feeding definitely increases your appetite and you need to make sure you are getting enough good quality, nutrient rich food to support yourself and your baby.

It is also important to keep your blood sugar and energy levels balanced. We recommend plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates, as your milk supply and baby require both! Try to eat organic produce as much as possible, as pesticides, hormones and drug metabolites can be passed through breast milk and into baby.

Eat Plenty:

  • Protein – ensure you eat protein at every meal (such as red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, coconut, legumes including chickpeas, beans & lentils, yoghurt, goat or sheep milk dairy, tofu).
  • Healthy snacks – eat at least two snacks each day. Nuts and seeds are full of protein, fibre and essential fatty acids and are a great quick and easy snack for during the day. Have a bag sitting next to you while you’re feeding bub.
  • Calcium – eat plenty of calcium containing foods such as salmon & sardines with bones, broccoli, buckwheat, eggs, figs, green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, natural yoghurt, soy beans, tofu. Most women also benefit from supplementing with calcium during breastfeeding  (talk to your naturopath about your requirements).
  • Iron – eat plenty of iron-containing foods, including red meat, eggs, lentils, white beans, brown rice and dried apricots.
  • Good fats – eat plenty of foods containing essential fats (including sardines, mackerel, salmon, nuts & seeds, avocados, cold-pressed nut oils, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, organic butter) which are essential for babies’ brain and nervous system development. Most women & bubs benefit from supplementing with omega 3 oils during breastfeeding.
  • Complex carbohydrates – eat plenty of whole grains especially brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, oats & brown rice.
  • Fresh fruit & vegetables – we recommend 2 pieces of fruit per day & 5 or more serves of vegetables (1 serve = 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked veg) for fibre and a wide range of vitamins. You may also want to juice your vegetables or make smoothies.
  • Garlic – as long as your child doesn’t suffer from colic, garlic is very good for promoting lactation and the mother & babies health. It helps to reduce bacterial & fungal infection and promotes good gut health, potentially reducing the incidence of mastitis & thrush infections.
  • Hydration – Drink plenty of water (3 litres daily) and always have water available while breast feeding – the oxytocin release with letdown can make you thirsty. Herbal teas, fresh fruit & vegetable juice and soup broths are also excellent for breastfeeding mum’s hydration requirements. Slow-cooked bone broths are wonderful if you have lost a lot of blood during the birth.
  • Milk promotion – some culinary herbs and spices can be useful for lactation. These include- caraway, fennel, dill, aniseed, cumin, coriander & fenugreek. Warm porridges and thick, grain-based soups are used traditionally to support milk production.

Avoid:

  • Sugary & refined carbohydrate foods- yes they do give you short bursts of energy when you are feeling exhausted from lack of sleep, but consuming sugar and processed carbohydrates decreases your protein consumption, increases the likelihood that you will have hypoglycaemic episodes, and also increases the risk of nipple thrush & mastitis (as the sugar directly feeds the bacteria). And they reduce post-natal weight loss! Ever wondered why some women lose the weight easily and others not so much?? Sugar is usually the answer….
  • Caffeine – caffeine affects babies, even at low levels. In adults the half-life of coffee is 4 hours. In infants it is 19 hours. It only takes 1 coffee a day to cause caffeine to be in your babies system ALL OF THE TIME! This of course affects their sleep, mood, weight gain and stress adaptation.  Caffeine also increases the excretion of nutrients from your body, leading to increased deficiencies.
  • Alcohol – ideally we recommend no alcohol during the bubs first 6 months of breast feeding. After this time no more than 2 drinks per week and wait at least 2-3 hours before the next feed to ensure the alcohol is clear from your blood stream and the breast milk. Alcohol causes babies to become drowsy and they are unable to feed properly when affected. It also affects milk production by compromising oxytocin levels along with increased risk of possible neural and liver damage to bub.
  • Any foods that you may be allergic to (see section below for further information)

Supplements

  • We recommend nutritional supplements for breastfeeding mums, as nutritional requirements increase for both you & your baby after the pregnancy (amazing!). For example, iron deficiency can cause poor milk supply and lead to anaemic babies (causing sleep issues & developmental delays). Consult with your naturopath after your birth and ensure you maintain your supplement regime, despite your tiredness and focus on bub. It is our goal to support you as best we can so you can do the same for your baby.

Colic or restless baby

If your child is prone to colic or restlessness, you can try to minimise or avoid certain foods that can be irritating to baby.  It is also advisable to seek professional advice before eliminating whole food groups to ensure you replace these foods with nutritionally equivalent foods.

Avoid or minimise:

  • Onions, garlic
  • Spicy foods
  • Dairy – including cow’s milk, cheese, ice cream, cream, yoghurt etc.
  • Wheat and gluten-containing foods (e.g. bread, cereal, pasta, biscuits etc.)
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Brassica family of foods: cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, turnips, radishes, kale
  • Capsicums, eggplants, beans, lentils, chickpeas

A baby may react to only one or two foods from the above list. Some babies may have no issue with any of the foods.

Allergies

If your baby is intolerant or allergic to certain foods, baby will react to them via your milk. This may cause your baby:

  • Skin rashes e.g. eczema
  • Digestive upset e.g. colic, constipation, diarrhoea, explosive bowel movements
  • Red ring around the anus (this is a classic sign of a food reaction)
  • Runny nose, frequent blocked/snotty nose
  • Irritability, difficulty settling

Removing the offending food from your diet will help reduce your baby’s exposure to the problem food and often results in an improvement in their symptoms (however, please note it is also possible the above list of symptoms may not be related to allergies or intolerances). If you are uncertain you should always check with your health care provider or naturopath.

How long should I cut out the suspect food?

If you suspect a food is causing problems for your baby, then discuss this with your naturopath. It is important to make sure that your diet is nutritionally adequate particularly if you are removing a large food group (e.g. wheat or dairy). It is often the case that you need to remove the offending food for 2-3 weeks to ascertain if it is contributing to problems like eczema. However, removing foods that are causing colic for your baby often provides results within 1-2 days.

If you need further support we recommend a consultation with your naturopath for nutrition, digestive upset or suspected allergy issues.  Our osteopath Pria Schwall-Kearney is a certified breastfeeding counsellor and can counsel you through any tough times with positioning, postural considerations and attachment issues. Other helpful resources include the Australian Breastfeeding Association or an appointment with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who can offer expert advice.

The basic health needs of a child – help them grow strong

by Sarah Harris, FGHG Paediatric and Family Naturopath

Your special little person is trying to find their way in a hectic world; undergoing stress, having emotions, all within a dynamic group – be it family, childcare, or school – whilst simultaneously enduring an often multitude of dietary variations. So to ensure your child is ready for the year ahead – let’s focus on some key elements.

Building blocks for growing and developing requires an optimal intake of nutrients – essential for a healthy brain and nervous system. With many children not consuming the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamins and minerals during critical stages of development – growth may be adversely affected. Nutritional deficiencies interfere with neurological development and cognition in children. Optimal maturation is supported with vitamins B6, B12, and D and minerals zinc, magnesium, iron, iodine, selenium and folate. Dietary sources are key, though often a well absorbed, prescribed multivitamin may be needed to ensure intake and utilisation of these key nutrients.

Oil the kids with DHA (sourced mainly from fish oil); whilst it’s most abundant in our brain, childhood development requires the highest amounts for normal, healthy functioning of the brain, eyes, and nervous system. Essential for cells to function and communicate, fish oil from a high quality supplement and dietary sources may support healthy cognition and memory in children.

Good bugs are vitally important for digestion. From preconception – good gut flora assists the gastrointestinal health of the child, supporting baby’s behavioural and immune functions throughout life. Microbes, transferred from mother to newborn, initiate the establishment of the child’s own microbiome. A healthy gut and immune system is adversely affected by antibiotic therapy, stress and unhealthy food choices whilst probiotic therapy and dietary intake can help to promote beneficial bacteria numbers. Specific probiotic strains reduce the incidence and duration of tummy issues in infants; reduce the incidence of intestinal candidiasis; reduce atopic conditions such as allergy and eczema – all by supporting the development of a healthy microbiome balance early in life. Inclusion of probiotics, taken during pregnancy and throughout childhood, may also assist in minimising behavioural complaints in later childhood.

By prioritising optimal nutrition and healthy microbiome development during the early stage of life we can enhance the health of our growing people. Dietary and lifestyle advice with supplements to support their development or medicines to treat a wide range of childhood conditions can bring out the very best – from preconception, through childhood and beyond!

 

 

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.

WTF is MTHFR?

By Gina Fox (FGHG naturopath) and Joanne Sharkey (FGHG acupuncturist)

We are thrilled to announce the latest in our informative podcast series WTF is MTHFR – an interview by Joanne Sharkey with Gina Fox on the ins and outs of MTHFR.

Have you heard of MTHFR? What is it? Why is everybody talking about it? Could it be affecting your chances of conceiving a healthy baby? Implicated in miscarriage, sperm defects, neural tube defects like spinabifida, and even chromosomal issues like down syndrome, MTHFR needs attention in a practice like ours with a special focus on fertility and helping people conceive healthy babies.

What if you do have it? Can it be treated? Will treatment actually help? Is there a bigger picture than this reductionist approach?

There are so many questions when it comes to MTHFR. Get all of your answers here on this fabulous and comprehensive podcast with FGHG acupuncturist Joanne Sharkey interviewing FGHG fertility naturopath Gina Fox

Listen to the podcast now

Let’s talk about sex, baby!

By Charmaine Dennis, Naturopath and Co-director

 

It can be so easy to get caught up in the dos and don’ts of trying to conceive – don’t drink alcohol, go to your GP for testing, give up the cigarettes, exercise more … that we can forget to talk about the most important thing about getting pregnant – SEX!

When you first start consciously trying to conceive, sex with your partner may be the most potent love making you have experienced. To come together to make a baby is ultimately what it is all about – a culmination of your love together resulting in the formation of another human being whose every cell is made up of your union. Amazing times!

But it seems that it can quickly turn to stressful thinking, especially as we often assume that it will happen quickly and easily for us. We tried so hard for most of our reproductive lives to not get pregnant with intercourse, so it is easy to assume that it should happen on the first attempt without contraception. Right?

Continue reading Let’s talk about sex, baby!

Time for a mini-detox?

written by Gina Fox, Naturopath

Get ready for an internal Spring clean!

After a cold winter with lazy time on the couch the kilos can creep on.  Even if your weight’s the same this is a good time for a mini-detox to re-boot your body and feel energised and ready for more activity as the weather starts to warm up.

The concept of detoxing seems to get a lot of negative press.  Mainly this is due to a lack of understanding of what most detox programs hope to achieve.  Most of the negatives focus on the fact that our bodies can detox themselves through normal elimination pathways so further efforts in detoxing are not required.  There also seems to be a need to criticise the notion of “toxins” in our bodies.  So, we’d like to clear a few things up and show you why a detox can be a fantastic thing – if done correctly.  There are all manner of detox approaches out there from the sensible to the ridiculous.  We’re talking about eating clean, simple and wholesome foods that our bodies will thrive on. Here are our tips on getting it right and keeping it sensible, real and achievable.

A detox basically involves some kind of elimination – usually things commonly known to make us feel less than amazing in one way or another (fatique, bloating, mood and blood sugar swings, dehydration, etc.).  Common exclusions are refined sugar, soft drinks, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, wheat, dairy, red meat, processed foods, fried foods and baked goods.  Eliminating these things means that while you are detoxing, your diet remains light, fresh, wholesome and very healthy and your body has less heavy processing to do on a day to day basis.

Am I likely to feel worse before I feel better?

Let’s face it, the adjustment period may be challenging to get through (cravings, headaches, nausea, fatigue, constipation or diarrhoea etc. usually kicks in on day 1-3 and usually lasts no longer than 3 days) but it will be worth it.  And once you break the habits and addiction cycle of some of these foods and substances, you will most likely find the cravings all but disappear as your body adjusts and begins to enjoy all the benefits of your hard work and perseverance. Cleaning up your diet and lifestyle with a detox is only challenging in the short term. Your body will thank you for it and reward you with a healthier, more vibrant and energetic you.

And to top it all off…..

The truth is, a few days, weeks or even a month of a detox program, restricting your diet and some lifestyle choices can make huge inroads to a healthier you.  The real goal is taking the pressure off: just giving your body time and resources to rest, recover, heal and make time for all the other things it is capable of doing – like making babies or running or healing your skin problems.  When your body is overloaded, these things get shunted down the hierarchy while it deals with more pressing issues. Restricting certain foods  whilst choosing to eat only fresh, whole, organic foods during your detox enables and boosts your natural detoxification and elimination pathways and lets your body heal long standing problems that it hasn’t had time to get to because it is so busy processing the things that don’t work for it.  After a short period of adjusting most people notice improvements in metabolism, immune system, energy levels, sleep, general bodily comfort, weight loss, appearance – particularly brighter skin and eyes, fresher breath and most importantly, smoother, easier, formed and satisfying bowel movements!

Finally, we believe one of the best things that can happen as a consequence of a detox, is that you notice or learn something that really works for you: a new recipe or food that you love, or you might notice how much you like plain water with lime instead of coke, or you might discover how tired alcohol is really making you and without it, you don’t need so much coffee either!  And then maybe one or two of these things become incorporated into your daily life – not just the detox period.  If you do a detox 2 or 3 times a year, that adds up to a continuous improvement process that really adds up over time and leads to an exponentially healthier you.

For help with a specific detox program book in with one of our FGHG naturopaths.

 

Gina-Fox3

Gina Fox, Naturopath, FGHG

Gina 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.