I love an old fashioned remedy I can make from the pantry! I grew up know that steaming your head to alleviate a stuffy nose or even a cough was useful but we rarely did it and always just with water.
This takes it a step further!
Add some salt, crushed garlic and thyme (fresh or dried) and you have yourself a great little anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant. All traditionally uses for thyme and garlic. The salt helps moisturise mucous membranes and as well as being a great cleanser.
Do you need quantities?
one clove of garlic
one tablespoon dried thyme or a bunch of fresh
1-2 teaspoons of sea salt (pink is fine but sea is preferable)
1-2 cups of boiling water
add all ingredient to a large bowl.
Grab a towel and cover your head over the bowl creating a mini steam room and stay like that for as long as necessary or as long as you can.
NB be very careful not to burn your face as steam can be deceptively hot! Take it slow and start with your face far away and slowly move closer to the water until you are comfortably warm- not burning!
Blue skies, sun shining, cool nights and warm days-perfection is currently available on the Tablelands! With all this sunshine it’s the ideal time to top up the old vitamin D levels. Vitamin D, aka the ‘Sunshine vitamin’, is incredibly important to us. It’s synthesised on the skin by sunlight but there are only a few foods that contain the sunshine vitamin and not in great enough quantities to ignore the action of sunlight. The sunshine vitamin is necessary for the absorption of calcium so it’s indispensable to our bones. Rickets is not as common as it once was, but it is a prolonged vitamin D deficiency that causes it. Vitamin D deficiency has been named and shamed as contributing to a variety of conditions including osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, diabetes, weight gain, asthma and low immunity…that’s quite a list!
I’m sure that’s brought up plenty of questions so here come some answers! You’re more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency if you are vegan (more on that in a minute), have limited exposure to sun, impaired digestive function, have darker skin or the frail and/or elderly. That’s the short list but you get the idea.
As mentioned, there are some foods that contain vitamin D. These are butter, milk, egg yolks, cod liver oil and sprouted seeds. This is why vegans are at a greater risk of vitamin D deficiency. But vegans don’t need to miss out! Plant based sources include mushrooms and tofu. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D. There are also supplements. And of course, sunlight! Sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D.
And the big question is always how to get enough sunlight without risking skin cancer. I consulted the Cancer Council for this, and it turns out that we only need a few minutes of sunlight a day up here on the FNQ tablelands. Opt for times outside peak UV levels which are usually before 10am and after 3pm. Take your shirt off! The skin is a massive organ and the more you expose to sunlight the more vitamin D is made.
So, grab your morning cuppa, show some skin and bask in the morning sun to warm up and strengthen your bones the passive, lizard-inspired way!
½ cup rapadura sugar
½ cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil/coconut oil
1tbls raw honey
¼ tsp vanilla essence
2 vitamin E capsules (optional)
Mix it all together in a bowel and spoon into a jar. Use on just moist skin to get the best exfoliant effect.
I always wanted to add coffee grounds to this so if you do please let me know how it goes!
Don’t stress about which sugar to use. Plain old brown will do but the rapadura and coconut are less refined and also a bit more exfoliating than ordinary sugars.
While sugar isn’t great for our internal bodies it’s actually great for our skin. The raw honey has antibacterial properties which is awesome for skin in the tropics.
The toilet paper and pasta are disappearing off the shelves and we find ourselves dealing with viral panic and hysteria on top of the threat of the virus ‘who must not be named’. We’re in a great position up here with open spaces, fresh air and sunshine! Obviously, hygiene and social distancing are paramount in preventing the spread of any infection. But what about our own immune systems? Keep them in tip top condition and we have another defence.
I’m not pretending to have the answers or the solution. I can’t guarantee you won’t get sick or you won’t have complications but give yourself a flying chance! Below is good, solid, general immune support advice. Be aware and ready but don’t panic! We’ve got this!
Without further adieu…
Vitamin D- the sunshine vitamin is the first cab off the rank! It is essential for a healthy, well-functioning immune system. I am always surprised at the number of people in FNQ who test with low vitamin D. It’s a reflection of the times with screens providing our light more frequently than sunshine. Also, the ever-present fear of melanoma keeps us covered and sunscreened. Let’s compromise! Early morning sunshine is gold. Get out there before or after the peak times for just a few minutes a day. The Cancer Council says a few minutes a day is plenty. You need to get as naked as you can without upsetting the neighbours so the maximum amount of skin is exposed.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that actually starts as another substance but is converted to vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin. The sunlight needs to be direct. You can’t bathe in the sunlight through the window. The window bends the rays and they don’t do the job. You need direct sunlight to convert to vitamin D.
Prebiotics and probiotics- regular readers will groan! Sorry but these are absolutely imperative to keep immunity strong. Prebiotics are fibre that feed our good bacteria and with about 80% of our immunity in our gut…lets feed it well!
Onions, garlic, asparagus and artichokes provide great pre-biotics but oat bran, green banana starch and apples are awesome too. Think all kinds of fibre and you’ll be helping the wee beasties in your gut.
A brilliant source of both pre and pro-biotics are fermented foods like sauerkraut. Make your own or check out the range at Foodworks. Sauerkraut is a favourite as it’s also high in vitamin C which I will mention later. Fermented garlic is beautiful too as well as garlic being a wonderful anti-bacterial and ant-viral!
Antioxidants- we talk about this a lot but does anyone actually know why they’re important? They are like a mop up crew for damaged (oxidised) cells. A damaged cell roams free to attach to healthy cells but antioxidants step in to take them away. Incredibly important and really easy to get.
‘Eat a rainbow’ has become a cliched catch phrase but that’s where your antioxidants are. Get as many colours on your plate as you can. You want a great range of these little babies!
Also in things like green tea which is surprisingly good for anxiety. More about that in a minute.
Chicken Bone broth- if you eat meat then bone broth is a brilliant way to support your immune system. Not only does it soothe the gut, but it also provides vital nutrients for cells. And there are studies to support the ‘Jewish Penicillin’ nickname it’s been given over the years (for the record I’m not in any way suggesting you use this instead of antibiotics if you need them).
If making it is too hard then check out the Foodworks organic powders. Either are easy to use in soups and stews or as a drink.
Sleep- Who would like more sleep? This is not a want- it’s a need. The body needs sleep and plenty of it. We need down time to process and heal. Our immune system needs a chance to function and replenish.
That’s not happening if we’re tossing and turning or scanning Facebook or trying to put another load of washing on. Prioritise your sleep and the other stuff becomes a lot easier. Basic sleep hygiene includes regular bedtimes and wake ups, no screens an hour before bed, a cup of chamomile or other sleepy-time tea in that hour, low lights before bed and quiet music or silence to allow the mind to calm down. That’s the basics. If you have chronic insomnia, please seek help!
Stress less- alright, easier said than done I realise! But give it a go. Stress inhibits our immune system. We need it at full ball right now not supressed by stress.
Breathing is a great start. Breathe in through your nose for the count of 4, hold for 7 and breathe out through lips making a loose cats bum for the count of 8. Repeat 10 times. Your cells will grateful for the oxygen! When we’re stressed and anxious our breathing is shallow. This is the easiest way I know to instantly drop stress levels if only temporarily. Awesome to get you off to sleep as well!
Once you’ve got the breathing exercise down pat try meditation. Smiling Minds is a wonderful app that’s free and has loads of different meditations for all ages and applications. Give it a go!
Vitamin C-if you want an extra boost for your immune system then grab some vitamin C. This is available everywhere! It’s a really powerful antioxidant. Plain sodium ascorbate is fine. Others have blends of different kinds to increase the likelihood of absorption. Both are fine!
Finally, follow all the handwashing advice, keep a distance of 1.5m between yourselves if possible, try not to touch your face, use the hand sanitiser, cough into elbows and stay home and rest if you are sick. That last one is important, so I’ll repeat it -stay home and rest if you are sick!
So folks, congratulations for getting this far! Get some sunshine, eat well, sleep well, stress less and use appropriate hygiene practices. Much love as we navigate these strange times!
The information given here is general in nature and not intended as a diagnosis nor should it be taken as such. It is in no way intended to take the place of advice from your chosen healthcare professional or specialist. If symptoms persist, or you have further concerns, please see your chosen health care provider.
And just like that it’s winter in the tropics with the arrival being marked by the sound of….coughing! This year in clinic I’m seeing more and more coughs that simply won’t give up. Keeping us awake, our family awake and making the neighbour’s dog bark in the middle of the night.
There’s plenty that can done but I really want to highlight a fruit we have in plentiful supply up here that is not only tasty but has the ability to help with our coughs. The pineapple, prickly and crowned with spikes, is the tastiest way I know to beat a cough!
Here’s how! Pineapple contains bromelain. In fact, it’s one of the richest sources of bromelain. Bromelain is a protein digesting enzyme that research shows to be an anti-inflammatory. This makes it perfect for those persistent coughs as well as sinus and hay-fever. Because it also has immune modulating properties and some anti-bacterial properties it is incredibly useful to support the immune system in its time of need. It even has the added benefit of increasing the absorption of anti-biotics should you need them.
Some of you will have noticed that I said anti inflammatory and straight away be thinking ‘what else is it good for?’. And indeed, you should as studies show it is also useful in cases of arthritis. I’m starting to feel like the Danos direct guy because truly…wait…there’s more! Post surgery ask for some pineapple because bromelian has been shown to reduce the number of days you experience post-surgical pain and inflammation. And bromelain can be useful for bout so diarrhoea as well.
Finally, pineapple contains an awesome amount of vitamin C making it a super anti-oxidant to mop up any free radicals in the body looking for cells to cause trouble with. It’s also the clean up crew!
The only question left is…when can you get some?!
If you can’t shift the weight or feel like your middle is getting bigger no matter how much you try take a look at your stress levels. It’s not your imagination. If you’ve been under stress for quite some time it is very likely that elevated cortisol levels are contributing to your increasing waist-line. Cortisol is one of the adrenal hormones produced in times of stress. It was developed in a time when we got chased by bears and other predators. Even though the stress is not usually life threatening our brain perceives the threat in the same way.
Cortisol is quite the hormone. In a perfect world it’s the hormone that gets us up and outta bed in the mornings. Mornings are when it should be highest. As the day goes on it is meant to decrease and be at its lowest in the middle of the night. It also ensures we remain on alert when danger is near. It sharpens our memory and our responses, it mobilises glucose for the brain to use and it shuts down non-essential things like digestion and muscle repair. Basically it preps the body to run from a bear! It’s really useful!
Once the danger has passed cortisol is meant to decrease to regular levels so our body can chill, digest, sleep and repair itself. But, in chronic stress it simply doesn’t get the chance. It stays in high alert levels for the majority of the time leaving us tired and wired, finding digestion not what it should be and craving sugar and carbs.
Craving sugar and carbs? This is where things get complicated as long term heightened cortisol levels results in cells that are insulin resistance. The cortisol increases blood sugar levels but the muscle and fat cells refuse to take the insulin in a bid to stop the enormous flow of glucose and redirect it to the brain. Insulin is needed for glucose to enter muscle and fat cells but not brain cells however. The excess insulin makes you want to eat more but the excess glucose that isn’t being used gets turned to fat. Whoa! Complicated hey?
Belly fat? It gets better! Why the middle fat? Cortisol also encourages more fat around the middle as this visceral fat is better able to make cortisol and also has more receptors. This means not only are the adrenals pumping out cortisol but now you have extra being made in your belly fat! Super! Can you hear the sarcasm?
It may also be because while your body is in fight or flight it ain’t digesting food well at all. Part of that belly could be bloating from poor digestion.
Can’t sleep? Lack of sleep comes into play here too. High cortisol levels means we are tired and wired. By the time we relax enough to sleep, it’s time to wake up. Only our cortisol has only just reduced. We struggle to get out of bed, reach for coffee, more coffee and then a side of coffee with that coffee. But by night our cortisol is back up to danger speed and off we go again. And what happens when we’re tired? Our body craves food for energy. Enter more weight gain!
Emotional eating?. We often turn to comfort food in times of stress. Comfort food is usually high carb or sugar or both. But cortisol is causing insulin resistance so all the excess glucose gets turned to…you guessed it! Fat!
What does this all mean for my weight? In a nut-shell the longer you are under stress the longer you are experiencing on going high cortisol levels. The longer this goes on the more belly fat gets made, the more insulin resistant the cells become, the more you crave energy rich (not necessarily nutrient dense) food, the less quality sleep you get and the less your body is properly digesting leaving you bloated. As cortisol also constricts the arteries it raises blood pressure. Not ideal!
If you want to know how you can nourish your adrenals check out next week’s blog!
Stress is not the only cause of weight gain, but it is a significant contributor. If you are experiencing unexplained weight gain get in contact with your preferred health care provider because it may be something else but if you are experiencing on going high levels of stress it could just be that this is causing your pants to tighten.
Tears, meltdowns, clinginess…and that’s just the parents! Jokes aside this is a really tough time for lots of little ones. There is a million things you can do but one basic one that gets frequently missed is sleep. Super basic and incredibly important for our ability to emotionally regulate. Any sleep deprived parent will be able to tell of heightened emotions of some sort. Our little ones are absolutely no different. The only difference is they don’t have the maturity to know that one influences the other…plenty of time to work that out!
A number of studies have linked a lack of sleep to anxiety and mood disorders. As science discovers more we have explanations for so many things- sleep loss and irritablilty, teariness, inability to control anger, depression…the list goes on. Some of it is chicken and egg stuff but a good night’s sleep will help regardless.
Here’s a basic idea of how much sleep kids need:
Age Recommend hours of sleep
2-5 years 10-13 hours
6-13 years 9-11 hours
14-17 years 8-10 hours
That is a LOT of sleep! If your 5 year old goes to bed at 8pm then the earliest they should wake is 6 or 7am. Your 8 year old for example, goes to bed at 8.30am and they will be waking at around 6.30am. Don’t forget to account for time to get to sleep. Not all kids fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. I know I’m not the only one with kids that go to the loo 4 times after getting into bed and get up for at least one drink! That can go on for more than an hour…
I’m not telling you this to make you feel guilty. I ask my clients to ditch the mother guilt at the door. This is about knowledge because once we know we can do something about it. Lots of these tips apply to parents as well so pay attention- sleep can become a family project!
Sweet slumber tips:
Weirdly, sleep begets sleep. That is the more good quality sleep you have the more you will get. And lots of sleep helps our wee ones regulate their emotions that much better…I’m not going to guarantee no tears but giving your kids the best opportunity to sleep you possibly can is giving them a stable base for the day.
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.
Information is generally in nature and nothing said on this website is intended as a diagnosis and should not be taken as such.
Always seek medical advice in emergencies.
And here we are again...expected to come up with so many ideas on how to create the perfect lunch box. Only who has time? Chuck out the glossy magazines with pretty pinwheeled sandwiches.
I'm a mother of 4 school aged kids, a business and I'm still studying to be the best I can for my clients. Time is valuable in my world and fiddly little lunch box items don't make the cut!
Here's my favourite 3 tips that really did rock my world! Lunch boxes don't need to be complicated. They need to be nutritious and they need to be eaten. That's it!
Australia is burning and I feel utterly useless sitting up here in FNQ. What can we do beyond donations and thoughts? And then I realised that I have a bucket load of knowledge that might actually benefit someone suffering from smoke inhalation, grief, exhaustion, emotions…so I did a facebook live which you can see below. And now I’m backing it up with a blog. Easy reference and you don’t have to listen to me haha!
This is going to be of more benefit to those already familiar with homeopathy but my offer stands of free consults and remedies to those in the fire affected areas or fighting fires. I’ve also started a FB group and have about 10 other homeopaths with the same offer! Head to https://www.facebook.com/groups/457092981885348/ if you need some help or just want to support us!
All the remedies here I’d give in a 30c 3-4 times daily. Just one pillule straight from the cap to under your tongue to dissolve. This is very basic acute prescribing. You give it until the symptoms start to get better and then stop. That’s it. Nothing too tricky there.
Rescue remedy- every home needs this to take the edge off their anxiety and fear and heightened emotions generally. You can give either 2 drops under the tongue or 4 drops in a bottle of water that you sip at all day. This is my preferred method for chronic anxiety. No limit to how much to use other than it’s preserved in alcohol. I see it in most chemists and definitely health food stores.
Ignatia- our best known grief remedy! We need this collectively as a nation right now. Teariness, sleepless with grief, reactions that aren’t appropriate like laughing at something sad or crying at something funny and yawning which can be a sign of needing more oxygen- definitely if you have fires burning nearby. There can also be a hoarseness and loss of voice with the grief. Again, this is likely with all the smoke.
Aconite- this is traditionally used as a shock remedy particularly when the person has suffered a near death experience or felt like they were going to die. I’m sure there are plenty of you! Also great for that croupy cough kids (and adults) get which come on in the middle of the night.
Euphrasia- perfect for too much smoke! Traditionally used for a collection of symptoms including watery burning eyes, runny nose worse in the morning and a cough. Sound like too much smoke? I think so too.
Arsenicum album- burning is the thing to remember here. There will be things like a burning throat and/or burning eyes. The throat will fee constricted with a dry cough that will be better for small sips of water and warm drinks. And restlessness! It’s a very restless remedy. It’s a bit similar to aconite as it also has that fear of death in its picture.
And some tissue salts that might help:
Ferrum phos- perfect for any kind of inflammation. It’s also great for iron and therefore getting more oxygen around the body.
Nat mur- lovely to help dry mucous membranes and redistribute that water in the body.
Kali phos- for the utterly depleted and defeated. An excellent, traditional nerve tonic.
These are really easy to get from the chemist. Ask for Scheussleur salts.
A few other really simple things are:
I don’t know if this is helpful. I really feel totally ineffectual right now so if someone gets even a tiny amount of help from this then wonderful! I’ve helped someone.
Much love to everyone!
Wow! We’re at that end of the year already! Everywhere you turn there is another bring-a-plate, have-a-drink or let’s-celebrate. It’s impossible to avoid. And let’s face it- we love it! Seeing all our friends and family we’ve barely had time to check in with all year, the chocolates and mince pies, the extra drinks and so many nibblies. There is a reason Santa is so jolly! And jolly large!
I’m not giving anyone the green light to eat, drink and be merry with abandon but cut yourself some slack. There is a lot of benefit to sharing food with people. By eating together, we feel more satisfied with our lives, we laugh more and are more engaged with our community. Eating together is extremely important even if that only happens at Christmas.
Of course, group eating can also lead to the inevitable over-eating and drinking as well! There are tonnes of articles out there on how to moderate your drinking during the silly season, how to make a healthy Christmas meal or minimise the damage done to our waistline. Read those. Use those tips but I’m going to focus on January. When the pants are tight, your face is puffy and you can’t seem to stop the carb cravings. I’m dreading it already!
Once the parties are done and we’re into January but still feeling blah, pull up this blog and have a look at some of these tips to get yourself back on track.
Fasting- this may come as a surprise because I’m not usually one to suggest this! But drastic times call for drastic measures! For just one day drink purified water with a bit of lemon. Just one day. No coffee, tea, food. Just water. It’s a very fast way to get you back on track. Of course, if you have medical conditions this may not be suitable for you so check in with your GP first.
Vegetable days- If the idea of fasting totally for a day makes you a nervous wreck try this more subtle, but effective, approach. For 2 days eat just lightly cooked or raw veg. No extra sauce or stocks just veg. You can make a big veg soup or eat tonnes of salad but keep it uber clean for 2 days.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate- the best way to detox is water. Drink lots of water. At least 2L but you may need more than that. It’s about 35ml per kilo of body weight if you want to calculate it out. Each cup of tea and coffee attracts a tax of 125ml of water extra!
Back to routine- get back to your usually routine A.S.A.P.! If you felt good before Christmas think about what you were doing. Maybe it needs tweaking but it’s a start.
Alcohol free- take a week off the booze. And drink more water. The Christmas hangover can last for weeks…this is like a reset for the body regarding alcohol. Break the habit of a drink at night or after a hard day quickly.
Move it, move it baby- get moving! Movement moves lymph which carries toxins out of the body. Such a cool system and all we have to do is move. Take a walk or go for a swim.
Take a well-earned break over Christmas and New Year! Enjoy your family and friends. Eat and drink in moderation and when you wake up one January morning ready to welcome the New Year feeling great…take a look at the tips above!
Merry Christmas and seasonal greetings all! And a happy, healthy New Year!
Hello, hello! Welcome to my blog. I'm Sarah the creator of Simply Healing.
10/13 Therwine St, Kuranda, Qld, 4881
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