Thursday, 7 September 2017

My 3 day juice fast


I was very excited to try doing a juice fast. I have met several people who have done extended (7 days and more) juice fasts who have spoken to me about how amazing they felt-The clarity, the energy, the flat stomach. They all swear by them.

I have also been doing some research into the benefits of fasting and that we humans are designed to go through periods of fasting. It gives our digestive system a break so it can repair and heal and the latest study I read was about how your whole immune system can be rebuilt after fasting for just 3 days.

I love trying new things and experimenting on myself when it comes to health. I never feel comfortable recommending anything to my clients unless it is something I personally have tried. So I thought it cant hurt, I may as well give it a go. Worst case scenario I waste 3 days and maybe lose some weight.

After a big vegetable shop (my organic grocer sure did love me this week), and convincing my mum to join me on the adventure I was ready to begin.

Each day consisted of 5 juices. I had a template I was following but really just made up my own combos using the template as a guide. I also made sure to drink plenty of water and herbal teas. Lets just say I couldn’t venture too fat from the toilet for the 3 days. Lucky I chose a week where I didn’t have too much on.

The daily routine:

7.30am Glass of warm water with the juice of ½ lemon
8am breakfast juice
9am Green tea
10.30am morning tea juice
1pm Lunch juice
2pm Green tea
3.30pm afternoon tea juice
6.30pm Dinner juice
8pm Chamomile tea

To be honest it wasn’t as hard as I expected. After reading several blogs where people found it very challenging I was expecting the worst. I didn’t suffer from any extreme symptoms. My head was a bit groggy, especially the first day but it never developed into a headache. The second and third day I did have a bit of a stomach-ache but it certainly wasn’t present the whole time. I felt a bit hungry at times but the juices were so big and I felt so full of fluid that the hunger was short lived. I also expected to not sleep very well as in the past I have never slept well on an empty stomach but I was feeling quite exhausted and really had no trouble in the sleeping department. The chamomile tea and Epsom salt baths I was having before dinner probably aided too.

I think I felt the best on the second day, which may have been because I was busy and distracted that day. I felt quite energetic and positive. The third day I was feeling a little irritable but certainly not as bad as I expected.

What I found the most challenging was my thoughts. The fact that I couldn’t eat food meant that I was constantly thinking about it. Although I wasn’t that hungry, food was always on my mind. It certainly didn’t help that my husband decided to enjoy food that we don’t normally have at home and bring home a pizza for dinner. I think the mind games we play with ourselves are always our biggest challenges.

The other challenge was all the preparation. It took about half an hour to cut the veggies, make the juices and wash the juicer. Doing this 5 times a day became a bit tedious. By the third day I had simply had enough of the juicing!

I didn’t quite experience the huge positive effects others had spoken to me about but I think 3 days probably wasn’t long enough to really feel light, free and clear. It was just long enough to give my body a nice break and recharge. It will be interesting to see how I feel over the next few days but today I still feel a bit tired. I definitely do feel lighter in my stomach (I lost about 1.5kgs) and not as foggy in the head. I am truly glad I gave it a go, especially since it is spring. A little internal spring-cleaning J. I could see myself doing it again and possibly for even longer next time!

I certainly do advocate doing some for of detoxification at least once a year and think spring is the perfect time. The juice fast is just one of many ways to aid the body’s natural detoxification pathway which is so important in our society where we are constantly bombarded with toxins and pollutants.

If you would like more information on what type of detoxification might be best for you feel free to contact me.

I would also love to hear your juice fasting experiences!




Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Boosting your immune system this winter naturally!



We are currently in the heart of winter. Daily we are experiencing frosty morning, dark nights and sniffles galore. It’s the time of year when people start to feel a bit down in the dumps, have lower energy and are much more prone to getting sick. I have detailed below my top 10 tips for kicking your immune systems butt this winter so you can avoid that annoying cold or flu. These tips will equally help keep you feeling more positive during these chilly months until the warm sun rays of spring appear.

1.     Keep hydrated! This is a big one. Often during winter we forget to drink enough water due to the cold weather. However, being inside in the heating can be very drying. Hydration is so important for pretty much every body function. It will make you feel more energetic and improve your immune function. Aim for at least 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
2.     Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables contain so many essential vitamins and minerals to keep your body functioning properly. Vitamin C found in citrus fruit and berries is particularly important during these winter months. A balanced diet of 3 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit daily will ensure you are obtaining adequate nutrition to stimulate your immune system so you can fight off any nasty viruses you come into contact with. Remember variety is key so aim to have a plate that looks like a rainbow with as many different coloured fruit and vegetables as possible.
3.     Sleep- In order to have a properly functioning immune system we need to have adequate rest. During sleep our bodies have the opportunity to rest and restore themselves. Different people require different amounts of sleep so I advise you to listen to your body. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and if you are having trouble falling asleep or waking during the night ask your health practitioner how they can help. Poor sleep is one reason people feel fatigued, sad or constantly have a low immune system.
4.     Get outside and absorb some sunlight or get on a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is one of the most important Vitamins for both the immune system and mood. It can be difficult to get enough Vitamin D during winter. Aim for 20 minutes direct sunlight mid morning or mid afternoon for best absorption. Increasing egg yolks, butter or ghee and fish can also help boost your vitamin D intake. If your blood test shows you are low in Vitamin D (as so many of us are) make sure to take a supplement throughout winter.
5.     Exercise! Exercise has been shown to be one of the best ways to boost your immune system as well as to boost mood. It can be hard getting motivated in these winter months but once you get moving you will certainly feel better. You can even exercise at home if it’s too cold and dark to go out. Check out some HIIT training videos on YouTube, pick up a skipping rope or do some jumping jacks. Anything that gets your heart pumping is great. Doing a class at the gym with friends is also a great way to increase your social interaction, which is so important for boosting mood. Aim for at least 20 minutes high intensity exercise three times a week.
6.     Use immune boosting herbs and spices such as onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Herbs and spices used in cooking are an excellent way to add immune boosting properties to your food. Check out my immune boosting quinoa recipe as an example: http://dionne-healthnaturally.blogspot.com.au/2017/06/immune-boosting-turmeric-quinoa.html
7.     Ensure adequate protein intake. Protein is so important as it is what your immune system is actually made up of. It also contains zinc, an important mineral for the immune system. Your neurotransmitters for positive mood are also made up of protein. To be fair amino acids from protein are the building blocks of our body so it is needed for all functions. Protein should be included in all meals and can be in the form of meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes and dairy.
8.     Drink herbal teas. This will first of all help with hydration, will keep you warm and you can choose certain teas that have immune boosting properties. Try green tea for its antioxidants, lemongrass and ginger tea or cinnamon tea for its warming and immune enhancing ability.
9.     Start your day with a glass of warm water and the juice of ½ a lemon (you can add a dash of honey too). This is a great way to add some vitamin C into your diet. It will also help with digestion so you can better absorb all your nutrients. Did you know that the majority of your immune system is found in your gut? Therefore, keeping your digestive system healthy will help you have a better functioning immune system.
10.  Practice relaxation daily. Stress is one of the biggest contributors to lowered immune function. We have all been there, after a stressful even when we can finally relax we get sick. Make sure you are listening to your body and treating it with love. Some of my favourite forms of relaxation include meditation, deep breathing, yoga, walking, a warm bath or using essential oils. Just 5 minutes a day can make all the difference :)

Immune Boosting Turmeric Quinoa

This recipe is great as it tastes delicious, is beautiful and yellow in colour and is amazing during winter to boost the immune system. Adding the black pepper and coconut oil will help with the absorption of the turmeric and all its amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients: 
1 brown onion
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons ginger
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 large carrots
1 cup quinoa
1 ¾ cup vegetable or chicken stock (or water)
Salt and pepper to taste

Turmeric Quinoa

Method:

Finely slice or grate onion, garlic, ginger and carrots. Fry in a saucepan with the coconut oil until soft. Add the quinoa, turmeric and stock/water. Allow liquid to come to boil and then reduce heat to simmer fro about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy as an accompaniment to meat/fish/chicken/tofu and vegetables.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The benefits of deep breathing for reducing stress, anxiety and so much more!


I often talk about the importance of deep breathing. How slowing down your breath and focusing on your breathing can have such a phenomenal affect on our overall health and well-being.

You may be thinking, we all breath all day, everyday so what exactly is the difference between regular breathing and deep breathing?

Most of us are shallow breathers. What does this mean? It means that when we breath we are actually only engaging 1/3 of our lungs. We breathing into the top/ chest section of our lungs rather than all the way down into our abdomen.
Now why is this bad? Well first of all our lungs are one of our organs of elimination and each time we breathe out we expel stale air and toxins. If we don’t breath all the way to the bottom of our lungs then there is stale air stagnating there that is never being expelled.
Also we are not flooding our body with as much oxygen as possible. The more oxygen we inhale, the more it can cleanse our blood and flood to our organs. This in turn helps all our organs function better, helps us with concentration and focus and is so beneficial for relaxation too.


Some of the benefits of deep breathing?
·       It makes you calmer and more relaxed.
·       Helps the body detoxify.
·       Can help relieve pain.
·       Boosts mood
·       Improves posture.
·       Stimulated the lymphatic system.
·       Increases cardiovascular system.
·       Gives you energy.
·       Improves digestion.
·       Strengthens major organs.
·       Helps regulate weight.
·       According to yogic philosophy it helps to extend your life, as it is believed that we are born with a certain number of breaths and once we have completed these breaths our time is up. So by slowing down your breathing you can extend your life.
If you want to improve any of the areas of your health listened above then I want you to try something. For the next week spend 4 minutes a day practicing deep breathing. Two minutes upon waking and 2 before going to sleep. No matter how busy your life is you have time for 2 minutes upon waking and 2 before you go to sleep. No excuses!

You can click on the link to watch my demonstration of how to take a proper deep breath: http://dionne-healthnaturally.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/deep-breathing-vlog.html

At the end of the week comment on how the deep breathing made you feel? Did you sleep any differently? Was your energy improved? Did you feel less anxious? Any other changes noticed?

I would love to hear how you found the experience. Continuing this ritual for 30 days will help you ingrain this type of breath into your daily life. Make it a daily habit :)

Monday, 15 May 2017

Guilt and gluten free banana bread


Healthy Banana Bread

Ingredients:
 
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup coconut flour

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

In a blender/thermomix or electric mixer mash up bananas. Add cinnamon, bicarb of soda and stevia. Add in coconut oil and eggs and mix until well combines.
Add coconut flour, almond meal and baking powder until folded in and batter is smooth.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Spread with honey or maple syrup for extra sweetness, top with almond butter or regular butter or enjoy as is.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Crunchy nutty chocolate snacks bites

What I love about this recipe is that it full of so much goodness all packed into a delicious snack bite. There are many vitamins and minerals from the nuts and seeds as well as being a high protein snack. It is crunchy, healthy and you still feel like you are eating chocolate.

Chocolate and nut snack

Ingredients:

1 cup mixed nuts and seeds
½ cup buckinis
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup cacao powder
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons stevia

In a saucepan melt the coconut oil. Add in cacao, tahini, cinnamon and stevia and mix until all blended through.  Combine with the remaining ingredients and mix until all nuts and seeds are evenly covered with liquid chocolate mixture.

Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate overnight and cut into chunks.

Even the men will love this one!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Wanting to conceive in the near future? A detox may be in order!

Preconception care is extremely important when it comes to the health and development of the foetus. It is often an area that is overlooked and many people are unaware of how important it is to prepare the body before even beginning to attempt to fall pregnant.


By preparing the body for pregnancy we are giving the baby the best chance possible for not just health in utero but we are giving them the opportunity to be as healthy as possible for the rest of their lives. You are also giving yourself the best opportunity to fall pregnant, have a safe and healthy pregnancy and birthing process.


Detoxification is one thing that is particularly important when it comes to preconception care. Living in this modern world we are bombarded with chemicals and toxins on a daily basis. They are literally impossible to avoid from EMR from phones, computers and all things technological, to petrol’s and fumes in our environment, to chemicals and pesticides in our food, chemicals in our skin care, make up, cleaning agents and even in our plastic containers, water bottles are receipts.

 Now you may wonder what happens to all these chemicals that we inhale, consume and lather onto our skin? Our bodies naturally excrete some but our eliminatory system is not able to keep up with the burden and the majority are stored in our cells. So what does this mean for our babies? Did you know that our babies are born already polluted with a much too high toxic load for their tiny bodies? An American study found that a total of 232 toxic chemicals in umbilical cord blood; another found 287 different industrial chemicals and pollutants—180 of which are known to cause cancer in humans and 217 of which are toxic to the brain and nervous system. There has been a huge increase in many health conditions such as asthma, eczema, autoimmune disease and autism in children and all these have been linked to high toxin exposure.


Not only are these toxins unhealthy for the developing bub but high levels of toxins and heavy metals are one reason many people are having difficulty falling pregnant in the first place.

In my daily life I encourage a detoxifying lifestyle but I also encourage everyone to do a detoxifying program at least once a year to help flush out those unavoidable chemicals present in all of us. These are particularly important for men and women thinking about trying to conceive in the near future.


However, I must stress that if you are currently trying to conceive or thinking about starting in the next couple of months a detoxification program is not appropriate. This is because during detoxification, many toxins are released from the cells and are flowing freely through out the body. This means that they will flow right into the foetus giving them a much larger toxic burden and being counter productive. This is why I encourage people to begin their preconception care are least 6 months prior to actually attempting to conceive. By this time they should have a clean slate.
What can and should be done by those trying to conceive is to live what I call a ‘detoxifying’ or ‘clean’ lifestyle. To be honest this is actually what I encourage for all people all (well at least the majority) of the time.


Living a detoxifying or clean lifestyle:


1. Eat organic where possible. Certain foods are more important than others when it comes to organic. The toxic load from chemicals in our food only takes a few days to leave the body.
2. Use all natural skin care. This includes ANYTHING you are putting on your skin from deodorant, to moisturisers to make up.
3. Drink filtered water.
4. Swap to natural household cleaners.
5. Store food products in glass not plastic containers.
6. Eliminate processed, high sugar, high trans fat and highly refined food from the diet.
7. Be active daily.
8. Get outside and get some fresh air and vitamin D for 20 minutes a day.
9. Incorporate massage or skin brushing into your routine.
10. Be sure to be detoxifying your mind too. Negative thought patterns, stress and emotional issues all contribute to inflammation and need to be worked though constantly.


If you are 6 months away from tying to conceive then I encourage incorporating some more intense detoxifying strategies. These include:


1. Consume foods that aid in detoxification such as cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, bitter vegetables such as rocket and radicchio as well as increasing your fibre intake (fresh fruit and vegetables, linseeds and chia seeds).
2. Use herbal medicine to support your body’s natural detoxification pathways. The main herb used to liver support is St Mary’s thistle. There are many other wonderful liver herbs including dandelion, globe artichoke, turmeric and Schisandra.
3. If you have high heavy metals then doing a chelation program with your practitioner.


These are the major detoxification principles I employ and encourage anyone thinking about having children in the near future to begin now. Our children deserve the best opportunity at life possible and it is your responsibility to give them that chance.

If you have any health conditions please discuss this with your health care practitioner prior to commencing.


Wishing you and your family all the best for this exciting journey xx