This has got to be the number one thing that pops up in the clinic regardless of what they come in for. I rarely get someone say 'I sleep really well! Solid 8hrs every night- wake feeling great!'. It's an elusive dream for most. I can't give you a miracle cure but I can share a tip that I recently came across. Gelatin. Hang in there! Let me explain.
Gelatin contains lots of amino acids that make up proteins. Some our bodies can make, some it can't. Gycine is made by our bodies but that doesn't mean we can't give it a boost when times are tough. Amongst a host of uses, glycine increases seratonin which is one of those lovely hormones that regulates sleep and mood.
Like all the whacky stuff I suggest to clients, I trial it on myself. Some works, some...let's just say I don't pass on everything I try! But so far this one is a keeper! Not only is it relatively cheap and ridiculously easy, there are a host of other reasons to eat gelatin. It's great for the gut! It soothes inflammation and seals the gut. It's a great source of protein and all those amino acids can go toward repairing muscle, tendon, ligament and cartilage damage. There's research to show it helps build lean muscle and supports the liver. You can't loose!
Here's the detail. The research uses 3g of glycine which is roughly 15g of gelatin. Try and source an organic, grass fed gelatin to avoid anything extra that may leach out of the bones or cartilage during the making of the gelatin.
The down side is...it's rather a lot of gelatin you need to consume before bed. About one hour before bed stir about 1.5-2 tablespoons of gelatin into hot tea. That gives you approximately the 3g of glycine you need. A nice sleepy time or chamomile tea is lovely. It does have a slight earthy flavour be warned! And don't let it go cold or you'll be eating sleepy jelly.
Other than that....Eat, drink, sleep...Good night!
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something most people don’t realise. Getting winter sniffles and coughs is normal. It’s normal (and useful) to have a fever when you’re sick. And it is healthy to come down with something every now and again.
What’s not healthy or normal is not being able to throw the sickness off or lurching from one virus to the next with barely a chance to dry your nose. This is when we need to be concerned and start to seek further advice from the health professionals of your choice.
Colds and flu give us an opportunity to rest and nurture our bodies. They put the brake on us before anything more dire happens. It is the message we get to slow down! Listen to it. Stop. Take time off work (your colleagues will be grateful you keep the bugs to yourself). And rest, rest, rest! Nothing can ever beat good old-fashioned rest and good food.
Here’s a few tips and ideas to keep your immune system at its best during the chilly season. You may not be able to completely prevent a cold but you can make sure you throw it off quickly and easily.
Vit C- a powerful anti oxidant that is absolutely necessary for the immune system to function at it’s best. Increase your intake of citrus fruit, berries, broccoli, cabbage and sweet potato to name a few- basically fresh fruit and veg!
Antioxidants- you hear nutritionists bang on all the time about eating a rainbow…This is why! Antioxidants destroy free radicals that would otherwise damage our cells and tissues. Get plenty of green veg in, plenty of red and all the colours in between!
Probiotics- Our gut is intrinsically linked to our immune system. The healthier our gut the stronger our immune system. For natural probiotics- fermented foods folks! Be sensible about the amount you eat but do eat some every day! Sauerkraut has both pre and probiotics so is an excellent choice. It's also high in vit so so you win all round!
Prebiotics- These are the food of the probiotics. They’re a special kind of fibre that feed the good bacteria in our gut keeping it healthy. Winter stews are chock full of prebiotics as onions and garlic are rich in prebiotics. Also, asparagus, cabbage and beetroot. Oats and apples are up there too. Get making that porridge and add some grated apple. Eat up!
Vitamin D- Absolutely vital for good, strong immune responses. We get this mainly through sunlight which is trickier in the winter months but not impossible for most places. See that winter sun streaming through the window? Get your shirt off and bask in it for 20min. Your torso is the best place to expose as it has a large surface area.
Homeopathics are an excellent option to keep that immune system finely honed. Homeopaths are well versed in physical and emotional triggers that can cause illness.
Homeopathy is a highly individualised modality and each person needs to be assessed according to individual need. A consult to attain a constitutional is the perfect place to start. Discuss your options with your homeopath as they are a wealth of knowledge!
If cold or flu symptoms set in there is literally hundreds of remedies that may help! Either try one out of your first aid kit or book an acute consult with your homeopath.
Some other ideas
excercise- yes, you've heard it before so here it is again! Fill those lungs with fresh air, move that circulation (warm up those cold hands and feet) and go for a walk. No need to get silly about it but if you do a little everyday, say a 20min walk or 30min of yoga it really adds up and you'll reap the benefits. If you're outside you're also increasing vit D. And addressing stress- see my next point!
reduce stress- I can already hear the collective groans! However stress weakens the immune system. It messes with everything from sleep to digestion. Life is unavoidable stressful but there is a lot we can do to make sure we are able to cope. Here's one most don't think about- homeopathy. So get yourself an appointment and cope better. Then there's the ones we know about but don't do- meditation and excercise (there it is again- time to get on your bike and join the run). Don't take my word for it. Try it for more than 1 session. More than one week. More than a month. Nothing here is a quick fix as they don't exist when we are talking immunity. So get started now!
Disclaimer: Homeopathy is a traditional medicine.The TGA considers Homeopathy a low risk medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist.
Information given here is in no way intended to take the place of advice from your chosen healthcare professional or specialist. Any examples given from the authors life do not indicate that the remedy in question will work for everyone in every instance. They are used solely to illustrate the use the medicine in a practical situation.
Nothing said on this website is intended as a diagnosis and should not be taken as such.
Always seek medical advice in emergencies.
Pain in the head, pain in the joints, pain from injury, pain in the ar**...maybe we need to talk about the last one in a separate blog!
Why do we have pain? What is the purpose?
It's not just annoying or inconvenient. Pain is our bodies way of bringing awareness to certain areas so we can nurture them and protect them. Pain is important but our response to it can either help or hinder it.
15yrs ago I was unglamourously knocked off my bike (the pedal type) by a great big bus in London. Sadly not a double decker! The pain was intense and my understanding very low. A friend of my mother's suggested I 'embrace the pain and enjoy it'! Back then it was all a little to 50 Shades for me but I get it now!
I'm not suggesting that excruciating pain is 'OK' or that we should all 'shut up and put up'. Not at all! There are ways of dealing with pain in a physical and mental level that don't involve conventional pain killers. Conventional pain killers have a place but right alongside other modalities that allow us to cope with the pain. The less conventional pain killers we need to take the better! Seminars on chronic pain management often refer to meditation and mental strategies to cope with the pain as it is well understood that pain killers come with a host of unwanted side effects and can seriously effect other organs (usually liver and kidneys).
While the ultimate goal may seemingly be to alleviate the pain maybe we need to re-think that and consider 'How can we better cope with the pain as we heal?'.
Pain is a massive area in Homeopathy. There are literally thousands of remedies indicated for all types of pain in all types of places...chronic pain must be dealt with by a trained Homeopath. If you want results with chronic pain make an appointment!
Homeopathy may help with the physical pain as well as your ability to cope with it. Once the mind is settled we can cope with pain a lot better.
Here's a few acute remedies I ALWAYS have in the house! This is a taste of what is available. There are so many more...
Arnica: for bumps and bruises this is my go to. It may also address the shock of the fall. Often these injuries lead the victim to pushing help away saying 'I'm fine, there's nothing wrong.'
Chamomilla: the bomb for teething pain! Grumpy kids that can't be pleased (or grumpy pre-menstrual women).
Cantharis: for the pain of minor burns (including sunburn) this may be just what you need.
Rhus tox: may be what that rolled ankle needs if you find they are stiff in the morning and better for a bit of gentle movement. Another cranky remedy. Pain makes us crotchety!
Belladonna: had a day at the beach and now have a thumping headache? Belladonna to the rescue! And a big glass of water! You won't be up for company and you'll be a little glassy eyed. Any movement of the bed will have you snapping at the person responsible and yelling for the blinds to be closed.
The remedies listed above are traditionally used in Homeopathic medicine to support the body to move through the symptoms listed next to them. Please see your doctor if the pain persists or becomes worse.
,As with Homeopathy this is a modality that works on both the body and mind. Physical relief combined with the action on your nervous system means relief!
The small but meaningful movements over the muscle, fascia, tendons and ligaments bring the mind's awareness to those areas. In turn, it is able to set about working on that area to bring it as close as possible to its factory setting.
As the Bowen brings the body down out of 'fight or flight' and into 'rest and repair' mode the body benefits physically and mentally. The mind quiets and true healing begins.
Ahhhhh...you didn't see that coming did you?
Good nutrition is the corner stone of everything! Pop as many pills as you like but if you aren't feeding your body the right foods you are working against it.
Awesome foods to eat:
oily fish: Excellent anti-inflammatory food! Wonderful for the joints as well. Full of Omega 3. You can't go wrong.
pepitas and linseeds: great source of plant based omega 3 which are anti-inflammatory
walnuts: more omega 3's
avocado: packed full of good fats to keep inflammation at bay.
lots of fresh veg: load up on fresh fruit and veg. Fantastic anti-oxidants that means less inflammation meaning less pain.
The basic inflammatory foods are:
Sugar: get rid of sugar and watch the pain ebb. This is a big one so pay attention! Sugar contributes to systemic inflammation in the body. Get rid of it and see what happens.
Coffee:Sorry, This needs to go. Yes I get it...it's your only vice...you only have 1 or 2 cups a day but that is enough to contribute to the pain.
Alcohol: Yes, yes. As for coffee. Not much is too much. Skip it and you may not need the coffee. Also contains sugar.
Gluten: Who'd I lose? Bread, pasta, sauce thickeners etc are all contributing to inflammation which = pain so ditch it and feel the benefits. Combined with sugar this stuff is addictive.
Dairy: You can do this! No coffee means no milk in it. Pop some seeds in your salad instead of cheese. The decrease in pain is worth it!
Disclaimer: Homeopathy is a traditional medicine.The TGA considers Homeopathy a low risk medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Information given here is in no way intended to take the place of advice from your chosen healthcare professional or specialist. Any examples given from the authors life do not indicate that the remedy in question will work for everyone in every instance. They are used solely to illustrate the use the medicine in a practical situation.
Always seek medical advice in emergencies.
Bet you thought I'd gone mad...or had a really bad day...I promise neither is the case! I'm totally sane (self diagnosed of course) and I"m having a great day back in the arms of my family.
I've spent the last week in the city of Brisbane with a bunch of other wonderful people doing prac for nutrition- almost there! It's called an intensive and for good reason! The people were fantastic but the atmosphere intense. All of us strangers in the beginning, on a learning curve that was vertical, pushed so far out of our comfort zones they weren't even on the horizon anymore.
Add being away from loved ones and our regular routines, diets and beds and stress levels rose and rose...what depletes faster than a bottle of red at a priests convention? Magnesium! What helps with stress? Magnesium!
Dare I add that coffee and alcohol also deplete magnesium? And yes, after a dry January I had a couple of beers and a few coffees...
After a late flight and an early morning to cuddle my wee babes I was really starting to feel like some comfort food! I've pretty much kicked the sugar but a bit of dark chocolate is still the ultimate comfort food for me. But instead of reaching for a commercial block I'd prefer to have a treat that's nutrient dense. I'm not kidding myself that this is super, amazingly good for me like a big plate of salad and a piece of fish but it's got a lot more goodness in it than a pre-wrapped block. In fact, I'd say it packs quite a punch!
Let's start with the raw cocao which is a great source of dietary magnesium (as well as a host of other minerals) along with the almonds. Coconut oil is a bit of an indulgence but the fat means a small piece is uber satisfying! The nuts are awesome protein that, again, are satisfying and will keep you feeling full for a while as well as adding good fat to the diet to help with stress in general. A small amount of raw honey is a great alternative to sugar that supports the immune system. Small amounts though! Don't forget it's still sugar. Sprinkle over cocao nibs for more magnesium and an extra chocolately treat. Add a few goji berries and away you go!
I've adapted this from The Merry Maker Sisters who I admire greatly! They have some fantastic recipes that lean toward Paleo but aren't pedantic about. Go wild!
1/2 cup of extra virgin coconut butter/oil
1/3 cup raw cocoa
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (any nut butter will be great)
1 tbs-1/4 cup of honey according to taste
1tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
a handful of raw almonds (feel free to use activated if you have them)
a few goji berries
some cocao nibs
Pop the oil, cocao, nut butter, honey and vanilla in the food processor and blitz until well combined.
Pour it all into a tin lined with baking paper or glad wrap.
The larger the base the thinner the chocolate. I use an ordinary round cake tin about 22cm diameter.
Then liberally sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over the top and stick it into the freezer to set!
Pop the kettle on, cut or break into chunks, sit back and enjoy with your favourite (non caffeinated) cuppa!
Osiecki, H. (2010). The nutrient bible (1st ed.). Eagle Farm, Qld.: Bio Concepts Publishing.