Naturopath and Nutritionist
Google sugar free snack ideas and you're likely to find pages and pages of sweet treats made with sugar ‘alternatives’ such as rice syrup, stevia, dates, maple syrup etc etc. You’ll find substitute recipes for all your usual favourites including slices, cakes, desserts, drinks and more.
To be honest, I can't help but feel we've lost the point of the whole ‘sugar is bad’ message. Instead of retraining our taste buds to prefer savoury over sweet - we are just perpetuating the cycle of craving sugary foods. As a society, we are so stuck on replacing our old eating habits with different versions of the same thing that we've forgotten there's a whole lot of other delicious foods out there to be enjoyed, many of which aren't sweet at all!
In very simplistic terms, basically when we eat sugar, or undertake in other activities that give us pleasure, our brain fires off dopamine. If you have been a sugar addict and are trying to conquer that addiction by using these sugar alternatives then I’m not sure it’s the right strategy. It’s like telling a gambler to recover from their gambling addiction by partaking only in online gambling games where no money changes hands. The reward centres in your brain still fire off dopamine every time you play the game, just like dopamine is fired off in your brain when you eat sugary food. And guess what? Your dopamine receptors have no idea if the sugar you ate came from rice malt syrup, maple syrup, raw honey, or cane sugar. Using white sugar alternatives also doesn't retrain our taste buds.
Up until 18 months ago I was one of these people posting delicious recipes made with 'better' sugar sources, but it all changed when I did a full sugar detox. During my four week experiment I eliminated ALL forms of sugar with the exception of fresh fruit This 4 week experiment changed my life. It completely reprogrammed my taste buds, and my mindset. No longer did I feel the need for a sweet treat after lunch every day, my moods were better, my skin was clearer and I had more energy than before.
After the 4 weeks were up, I found I no longer wanted to bring back the dates, the dried fruits, the maple syrup, the rice syrup, the rapadura sugar etc etc. These foods were no longer part of my usual diet, but instead reserved for special occasions or as the very occasional treat, and now I focus on sharing delicious savoury recipes instead!
I know many of you will be reading this thinking that life is for living, and this all sounds incredibly bland and boring, but I guess the point is that once you actually go without the sugary foods for a while, you will begin to enjoy savoury much more.
One of the notable absences from most Western diets is bitter foods. Because we are so sweet obsessed, bitter foods, which play a pivotal point in our digestive processes, have taken a very distant back seat.
Don't get me wrong….the sugar alternatives are definitely (mostly) healthier and definitely a step in the right direction… but bitter is better!
Naturopath & Nutritionist
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Chronic illness took a while to appear - if often started long before you noticed symptoms, so why is that we expect to get better in the space of days or weeks?
High cholesterol? Give me a statin....STAT.
Hypothyroidism? Quick give me thyroxine.
Anxiety? Xanax will fix that...
The problem with this approach is that while it may improve symptoms, or blood markers, in a short space of time (and don't get me wrong, sometimes that is exactly what we need to do in the short term), it doesn't fix any underlying issues, and it's these underlying issues that take a lot longer to resolve.
People have become very used to this symptom control style of healthcare, so now even in the natural medicine world, results are expected to be quick - but unfortunately that's not always possible. Reversing damage in the body can take time. Sure - sometimes there's a quick fix - particularly if your problem is a recent one, but for long standing health issues sometimes change can take anywhere from weeks to months to years - but generally with improvements occurring all the time along the way.
A Naturopath I used to see with my eldest daughter likened chronic health problems to peeling back the layers of an onion. Once you peel back the layer of those first symptoms and start to resolve them often you uncover other problems in the layers underneath. These aren't set backs, they are issues that have been there for a very long time - but they have been masked by the other layers of symptoms.
Naturopaths look holistically at health and work to uncover what's driving the symptoms you're experiencing. For example is your thyroid issue caused by nutrient imbalances? Is it due to excessive intake of goitregens?
Is it because you have Hashimoto's (an auto-immune disorder)? And if it is Hashimoto's, were their factors that may have initiated the condition?
In an initial appointment, we spend around an hour with you taking a full health history. While some of the questions we ask may seem irrelevant, the answers you provide give us clues as to what is happening inside your body which enables us to find the best way to help you. Sometimes that requires further testing, which may seem like another delay, and an unnecessary expense - but may be an essential part of helping you get well again.
So remember, the results you are looking for may not always be as quick as you would have liked, but making lasting health changes is worth the wait.
Naturopath & Nutritionist
The Natural Health & Wellness Clinic
Naturopath and Nutritionist
It saddens me to see kids (especially very young kids), guzzling down sports drinks because they, and their parents, are led to believe they're good for them.
Our kids are bombarded with a massive amount of exposure to these drinks. Their favourite athletes drink them, they sponsor MANY teams, they have signage all over sports stadiums, and they are repeatedly used to shower other players/coaches with after games. This huge amount of exposure begins to brainwash children from a very young age.
I remember when my son was about 6 he asked me for a bottle of Powerade 'Because it gives you the power to reach your goals'. That was the tag line from the Powerade ad at the time which was on constantly during the AFL games he would sit and watch. That was the first time I realised just how powerful advertising can be to young minds.
So let's have a closer look at these sports drinks and see if they are really something we want our kids to be drinking...........
I quit sugar almost a year ago today. And when I say sugar, I mean ALL SUGAR except for fresh fruit. I never really ate refined sugars anyway so for me quitting sugar involved cutting out dried fruit/date balls, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, rapadura sugar etc
If you've been walking around the supermarket lately wondering how some products received the Health Star Ratings they did, you wouldn't be alone!
While shopping on the weekend, and having the usual argument with my kids about why they're not allowed various breakfast cereals, I noticed something that I thought was a bit odd. The Sultana Bran Bud Cereal has a Health Star Rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Marketing people globally are always looking for those specific keywords that convince us to buy their products. Vitamin or Vita is one such word. It is designed to make us feel as if we are really doing something good for our health by purchasing the product, but most of the time we're not!
For what feels like millenia, people have been trying to ascertain what the best diet is for optimal health. The debates can get VERY heated, and many a person has been made to feel inferior for expressing their opinions.
So what is the answer? What is the Perfect Diet?
How many of you have kids that are ‘fussy eaters’. You spend hours every week lamenting the foods you’ve cooked that they just won’t try…….
I do! But if your house is like mine, most of the meals cooked are foods that WE (as the ever powerful parents) like. Not too many meals get served up in my house that require me to try a new food that I’m not comfortable with. And I certainly don’t ever serve myself a food that I ‘don’t like’ (although I have a lot shorter list of foods I don’t like than my kids do!).
Once upon a time when life wasn’t so hectic, I imagine that we were all much more in tune with our bodies. We listened to it’s signals. We knew instinctively what our body was trying to tell us. When we got sick, we stopped and let our bodies recuperate. For most people, that’s not the case anymore!
Let me give you a prime example.
Our ancient (and even not so ancient) ancestors spent a lot of time preparing and sourcing food for meals, but for some reason in the 21st century the general consensus is that food is something to be hastily brought, hastily prepared, and hastily eaten. The easier it is to access, and the quicker it is to prepare, the better. And if we can somehow consume it on the run - well, that’s the perfect trifecta right there!