Michelle Blum Natural Health Solutions – Blog

It’s Spring ! Time for a detox ?

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Hello health seekers

Spring is here which means only one thing in the world of naturopathic medicine……..DETOX.

In my opinion partaking in a 6 week supervised detox program during the season of spring is the most holistic way to shed pounds just in time for summer as well as as have you feeling incredibly alive and energetic.

A supervised detox program usually involves following a wholesome sugar free, dairy free and gluten free diet. Non starchy vegetables should be the central focus at each meal with only small amounts of fresh protein such as fish, chicken, eggs etc and small amounts of gluten free whole grains such as quionoa, brown rice, millet, amaranth and buckwheat as well as good quality fats such as avocado, small amounts of coconut oil and raw nuts.

Taking specific nutrients and herbs that aid in the detoxification process are highly recommended however they should be prescribed by a qualified naturopath as they will vary from person to person depending on the presenting symptoms and current state of health.

For those wishing to access a list of foods recommended during a detox then I highly recommend downloading a copy of the metagenics detox allowable food list.

Some simple detox practices that can easily be followed at home include:

  • Drink a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 lemon) with recently boiled water first thing of a morning.

  • Follow this with a blended cocktail of vegetables including cucumber, kale, celery and half a green apple using a high speed blender. Alternatively you can add the lemon juice in with the health cocktail if you prefer.

  • If you don’t have access to a high speed blender then using a cold pressed slow juicer is also fine ensuring that sweet vegies such as carrot and beetroot are used sparingly. It would be advisable not to add fruit to a blended juice as this can be a little too sugary and hence will negate the detox effects.

  • Including a teaspoon of alkalising greens which contain spirulina, alfalfa, chlorella, barely and wheat grass to your vegetable smoothie or juice is also recommended as it will add more nutrients to your smoothie/juice, reduce inflammation as it balances the pH in the body and assists with detoxification further.

  • A mid morning snack on a detox may include a handful of activated raw nuts with a low GI pice of fruit such as an apple, pear or a half cup of organic berries which are packed full of anti-oxidants.

  • Another great snack would be a vegetable dip such as capsicum or eggplant or even an avocado dip with some chopped up vegies. Here is a link to some vegetable dip recipes that I like to make and eat. https://www.thehealthychef.com/2012/12/party-dips/

  • Salads make an ideal lunch during a detox if done in the warmer weather. Salad greens and a source of protein such as a hard boiled egg or a tin of sardines or a handful of grilled shredded chicken works well.

  • You can’t go past a vegetable soup made from pumpkin, spinach, broccoli, leek and fennel with some shredded beef or chicken for dinner whilst the evenings are still cool – great for detoxing and losing weight.

Other things you can add to your detox include:

  • Garlic and heaps of it as it is a great anti-parasitic and great for the digestive system.

  • Slippery elm powder as it contains glutamine which is repairing and restorative to the mucous membranes in the Gastro-Intestinal Tract and also feeds the probiotics that we often here about.

  • Taking a potent, broad spectrum, practitioner only probiotic would also be recommended.

  • Include plenty of filtered water and herbal teas such as dandelion root due to it’s action on the liver.

For those wanting further support and a thorough and tailored detox or weight loss plan, an appointment to see me can be arranged by either dropping me a line via email at: 
michelle@michelleblum.com.au or calling me direct on 0410642360.

Why going RAW or PALEO may not always be the best answer.

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So it seems that there has been a rather dramatic shift that has occurred particularly in places like Australia and the US where the general population is more concerned about eating healthily than ever before. There are raw and paleo cafes and restaurants opening up on every street corner, television shows like the Paleo way and Good Chef Bad Chef that are being targeted at a mainstream audience.

There is some great content on these shows and I am pleased to see that the general population is interested in eating healthy, wholesome, organic and home cooked meals instead of buying packaged frozen meals or opting for high fat, high kilojoule, low nutrient fast foods.

I also am fully on board with the idea of having organic and grass fed butter and beef and eating fermented vegetables as seen on Pete Evans’ The Paleo Way, however one thing that concerns me about the paleo and raw food diets is that they both include a large volume of nuts which are almost becoming their own separate food group !!

There seems to be a huge increase in the consumption of nut milks, nut butters, nut flours and nuts in general as a subsitute for dairy and grains.Now please don’t get me wrong I am not a fan of dairy nor gluten, however I think that it is ok to include grains such as rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet and amaranth (gluten free grains) which is where I deviate from the Paleo philosophy.

I attended a raw food demonstration a few years back and couldn’t believe the quantity of nuts that pretty much every recipe called for. I myself know that I can’t eat too many of them. The fact that nuts are found in nature with an often hard to crack shell suggests in itself that we aren’t meant to be eating too many of them. They can be difficult to digest particularly if they haven’t been soaked or activated before hand which means if they are eaten in excess they too can pose thier own adverse health consequences.

In my opinion nuts can be just as inflammatory as gluten containing grains and dairy as they are high in Omega 6’s which if eaten in excess can become pro-inflammatory. So the simple answer is that yes it is ok to eat nuts in their raw, unsalted and activated form but only in moderation ie a handful of nuts per day.

I always encourage my clients to favour the Omega 3’s over the 6’s as these aren’t consumed as readily. Omega 3’s are found in oily fish such as salmon however it is preferrable to opt for smaller oily fish such as sardines and anchovies as the larger fish will have a higher mercury content. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog which will discuss fish oils in more detail.

Though before I sign off another point that I would like to raise about the Raw Food diet in particular is that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the digestive system becomes weakened by cold and raw foods and instead prefers foods that are warm. This is particularly important in the winter time where intuitively most people prefer warm beverages and cooked meals over cold juices, smoothies and salads. As we head into a Brisbane summer however the digestive system can deal with cooler foods a little more easily though it is important that drinks are not overly cold or iced.

The modern day problem with Salmon – a rich source of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids.

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Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids comprise of two acids (EPA and DHA). Our body is unable to produce these compounds itself so it is important that we must obtain these fats from our diet. Salmon is one of the highest sources of these essential fatty acids, which are potent anti-inflammatory agents as well as vital compounds for our brain and nervous system.

I’ve always really enjoyed eating fresh salmon, though nowadays the salmon that is available in the supermarkets and at the fish mongers is mostly farmed, which presents some worrying sustainability concerns. Though what does this actually mean for us from a nutritional point of view ?

Firstly one of the biggest concerns around salmon farming is the large quantities of fish meal that is required to feed the salmon. It is said that 1.7 kg of wild fish is needed to produce around 1 kg of actual fish meal. This is no doubt becoming a bit of a problem so to get around it, salmon farmers are having to resort to poultry and vegetable protein as salmon feed instead.

So let’s see….. if the salmon we are buying and eating is no longer feeding on wild fish which are high in Omega 3’s and instead is feeding on poultry and protein vegetables which are low in Omega 3’s, then are we actually now getting the same level of Omega 3’ s we were once getting from eating wild caught salmon ? Sadly the answer is NO.

Further to this, over crowding in salmon sea pens is causing a negative impact on the water quality causing outbreaks of disease not only in the actual salmon pens but also in the wild and to counter these outbreaks, salmon farmers are having to use chemicals and antibiotics.

Oh dear !! Are you feeling worried now and turned off eating salmon for life. Rest assured, some health food shops and even market stall vendors are still able to source wild ocean salmon from Norway that tastes a whole lot better than the farmed variety. Though there is still one problem that exists from eating salmon regardless of whether it is found in the wild or not. Salmon has a very high mercury content, and this is said to be toxic to the central and peripheral nervous system.

So if you are going to eat salmon, firstly try to ensure that it is wild and secondly it is best to consume it in small quantities only i.e. no more than once a week.

This is why small fish such as sardines and anchovies are really the best source of Omega 3’s. Though if you are not a fan, then you may want to consider taking a premium quality Omega 3 supplement that has been tested by an independent third party for oxidation and heavy metals. The reason I mention this is that recently a study was carried out in New Zealand on several brands of Omega 3 supplements and the researchers discovered that many supplements contained much lower quantities of EPA and DHA than what was listed on the label.

There are two very reputable brands that I rely on within my clinic which have been independently tested and certified, so if you are browsing through a health food store ensure that you ask the friendly naturopath or nutritionist on duty for their recommendation or alternatively contact me at:

michelle@michelleblum.com.au
0410 642 360

Treating Hayfever with Acupuncture and other natural remedies.

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Now that it is spring time in Australia we begin to see more and more clients coming into natural therapy practices seeking relief for hayfever and seasonal allergies.

In recent times clinical trials have been carried out in Australia involving the use of acupuncture in the treatment of hayfever which includes symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes due to an inflammatory bodily response.

One study in Melbourne involving 175 patients found that the group of participants receiving acupuncture for hayfever over a 4 week period noticed significantly less severe symptoms than those who didn’t receive the treatment even four weeks after the trial ended. These same patients also reported a boost in their quality of life. One of the authors and professors involved in the study suggested that acupuncture most likely induced an anti-inflammatory response in the body.

As well as Acupuncture there are also other key remedies for treating hayfever naturally. These include:

  • Vitamin C – A natural anti-histamine and important nutrient for the immune system.

  • Quercetin – A bio-flavanoid which has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Omega 3 Fish Oils – Essential fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory actions.

  • Probiotics – Especially the Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain which can reduce the allergic response.

  • Tumeric– A potent anti-inflammatory herb

  • Boswellia, Chamomile and Baical Skullcap – These are herbs that possess anti- allergic and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Albizia lebbeck and Perilla frutescens – both of these herbs are involved in regulating histamine response

Please note however that before taking any natural medicines, it is always best to consult with a naturopath so that the most suitable remedy can be prescribed, contra-indications can be taken into account and the correct dosing can be determined for each individual.

Mediterranean Diet = Significant lowering of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease

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A huge study involving 4000 women aged between 60 and 80 years of age has established that those participants who followed a meditarranean diet had a much lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who followed a low fat diet at five year follow up.

In fact the reduction rate in the women who added a generous splash of olive oil to their mediterranean diet was as much as 68 % and those who added nuts to their mediterranean diet were 41% less likely to develop breast cancer as compared with those who were eating predominantly a low fat diet.

The mediterranean diet which includes fish, plant foods, extra-virgin olive oil and around about a 30gm helping of mixed nuts is also well known for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

More information:

JAMA Internal Medicine 2015; online.

Studies find that acupuncture cools hot flushes

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An article that I stumbled across this week in Medscape Medical News which is an online mainstream medical news publication discussed the findings of a study which demonstrated acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating hot flushes in women associated with cancer drug therapy.

There were 120 participants in the trial whereby either electro acupuncture, gabbapentin (an anti-epeleptic medication), sham acupuncture and placebo treatments were administered over an 8 week period. At the end of the 8 weeks and again later at 24 weeks the results showed acupuncture was the most effective at reducing the hot flushes and maintaining that reduction even 16 weeks after acupuncture treatments ceased.

Studies have also demonstrated that acupuncture can be helpful in reducing cancer treatment related nausea.

http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2015/08/21/JCO.2015.60.9412.abstract

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