As a naturopath I am always going on about the importance of Vitamin D with my patients. Vitamin D is needed to strengthen bone health, to balance the immune system, to help mental health issues especially depression, to reduce inflammation and improve intestinal lining health and is also essential for male and female fertility and pregnancy.
The reason it is so essential to fertility and getting pregnant is because it is needed to help the body create sex hormones. The correct amount of sex hormones in your body is vital to your overall well-being, otherwise you may suffer PMS, PCOS, and sadly, infertility.
Regulating cell growth is another key function of Vitamin D.
Yale University School of Medicine conducted a study of 67 infertile women, where it was discovered that a mere 7% had normal Vitamin D levels. The remainder of the women either had insufficient levels of Vitamin D or they had clinical deficiency of Vitamin D in their bodies.
Tips for Optimizing your Vitamin D Levels
Get 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure daily while the sun is at its highest, between 11 and 3. Even weak sunscreens will block the ability of your skin to manufacture vitamin D. Note that you do not make Vitamin D when sitting behind a glass window.
Gradually build up your exposure. Start early in the year (spring), or early in the morning before the sun is strongest and slowly build up the amount of time you spend in the sun. Regular short exposures have been found to be much more effective and safer than infrequent, long ones.
The best places to absorb Vitamin D are your inner arms and thighs.
After your 15 minutes of unprotected time in the sun, apply sunscreen or wear a hat and light clothing to protect yourself. Opt for sunscreens with fewer added chemicals, look in your local health store.
Always avoid sunburn. It is sunburn, not healthy sun exposure that causes problems.
Showering: Vitamin D3, an oil-soluble vitamin, is on the surface of your skin and it apparently takes up to two full days before you can absorb this vitamin into your bloodstream. So avoid washing with soap for 48 days after sun exposure. Wash your armpits and groin area with soap but the rest of your body with pure water.
Increase your anti-oxidants and omega 3 intake. These nutrients help to protect your skin from sun damage. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits daily, eggs and oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, anchovies and herrings) at least twice a week.
You can ask your GP to check your Vitamin D levels or there home kits that you can buy. I generally recommend to my patients to supplement Vitamin D3, I find that liquid drops are best in 1000iu. The dosage would be dependent on what was going on with the patient. Contact me if you would like further info on this.
Are always curious about Acupuncture? Never got round to making an appointment? Have lots of questions about the therapy, will it hurt? can it help me? what will I experience?
Well this is for you… To coincide with the UK & Ireland Acupuncture awareness week from the 3rd – 10th March I am offering FREE Acupuncture sessions to new patients. The sessions will be at limited times and one session per person on a 1st come basis. This will be a 45 mins taster session where you will get a treatment and I will discuss how Acupuncture would help you.
As a natural form of healing, acupuncture has the following benefits:
1. provides drug-free pain relief
2. effectively treats a wide range of acute and chronic ailments
3. treats the underlying cause of disease and illness as well as the symptoms
4. provides an holistic approach to the treatment of disease and illness, treating the body, mind and spirit.
5. assists in the prevention of disease and the maintenance of general well-being
If you are interested on availing of a FREE session, please contact me on 086-8163130 or fill in the form below and I will get back to you ASAP.
Some Acupuncture info…
Acupuncture is a complex medical system that is used to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well being. It originated in China more than 3,000 years ago and due to it’s proven effectiveness has been embraced throughout the world. It involves the insertion of extremely fine pre-sterilised needles at predetermined points on the body’s surface to restore health.
Acupuncture can be used alone or combined with Western Medicine or with other forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) such as Herbal Medicine, Moxibustion (Heat Treatment), Cupping, Qigong, (Theraputic Exercise) and Tui-na (Chinese massage).
Commonly Treated Conditions:
The World Health Organization recognizes Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine as a viable means of treatment for a wide range of conditions. Some of the most commonly seen complaints in the acupuncture clinic are as follows:
Infections: Colds, Flu, Viral Infections.
Ear, Nose and Throat Conditions: Sinusitis, Hay fever, Rhinitis, Catarrh.
Genitourinary/ Gynaecology: Pregnancy, Male and Female Fertility, Impotence, Premenstrual Syndrome, Menstrual Problems, Menopause, Cystitis, PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Miscarriage.
A typical Acupuncture Session
The practitioner will spend some time discussing your condition and a detailed case history is taken. Your tongue and pulse may also be examined. Total confidentiality is assured at all times.
Number of Treatments
Since each person is unique the number of treatments needed, will vary. Chronic long term conditions will take longer to treat than acute conditions that have just occurred. If the patient is in good health recovery may be quicker.
Also the frequency of treatment prescribed will have an impact. Initially treatments may be administered close together and then become less frequent as the condition improves.The adherence of the patient to the instructions provided can also influence the speed of recovery. Helena will discuss the treatment plan with the patient.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment. Helena uses pre-sterilized, disposable needles. Helena is a fully licensed Acupuncturist and a member of the Acupuncture Foundation Professional Association of Ireland (AFPA) and as such fully complys with association’s code of ethics and best practice.
If you are pregnant or trying for a baby it is important you let your Helena know as the treatment will need to be modified as Acupuncture is used extensively for fertility and pregnancy issues.
Menopause should be a time to embrace the changes in the female body, not a time of dred, the word alone can send cold chills (or hot flushes) down the spine of many women! But does it really have to be that way? Is there anyway to maneuver through menopause and maintain one’s sanity? Acupuncture and Naturopathy can have a positive impact in this transitional time.
Although by definition the date of a woman’s last menstrual period; the term menopause commonly refers to the period of change, when the egg supply becomes exhausted and the levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone fall. Ovulation and menstruation become less frequent and eventually stop. This usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age and constitutes a major transition period for most women. It can also happen at a younger age.
The Symptoms of Menopause
Symptoms in the transitional period may be felt for a short period or for several years depending on the body’s ability to adapt. They may include:
a change in the frequency or volume of blood flow of periods
emotional swings, irritability, depression
hot flushes and night sweats
loss of sex drive, vaginal dryness and recurrent vaginal infections
weight changes, reduction in breast tissue
bone loss of calcium may also occur.
However, many of these symptoms are also the natural side effects of ageing.
Hot Flushes and Night Sweats
Hot flushes and night sweats are experienced by more than 85% of menopausal women with varying degree of severity up to ten years after their last period. They occur because the brain decides that the body is overheated and responds by increasing the blood flow through the skin. The heated skin reddens and begins to perspire. The symptoms rise to a peak over about 4 minutes and then decline during the next 15 minutes accompanied by cold chills. Hot flushes are often accompanied by an increased heart rate and palpitations. Although harmless they can be very uncomfortable and distressing. Night sweats often cause frequent interruption of sleep, contributing to fatigue.
Menopause and Bone Health
The repair and maintenance system of bones is mainly controlled by hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone. As levels of these hormones fall, bones begin to deteriorate and loose density. Osteoporosis literally means: “bone that has holes”. It leads to an increased risk of fracture especially of the spine and long bones of arms and legs (hip fractures). It may cause pain, especially in the lower back, loss of stature, and various deformities (Dowager’s hump). Osteoporosis is a complex condition which also involves lifestyle and nutritional factors, and prevention is much better than cure.
Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms – The Naturopathic Approach
Long term poor diet, emotional stress, and lack of exercise may lead to an increase in menopausal symptoms.
Diet(Food, drink and drugs)
Eat a wholesome diet predominantly based on fresh organic foods. Prepare your own meals whenever possible.
Foods to eliminate or reduce
Sugar, cakes and other refined carbohydrates
Processed ready meals
Animal fat from meat and dairy
Coffee, tea and alcohol
Increase beneficial foods
Plenty of fruit and vegetables
Brown rice and whole meal bread
Lentils and beans
Nuts and seeds
Organic poultry and fish and eggs
A non-dairy milk source – Coconut, rice, almond etc…
Cold pressed oils (olive, linseed etc.)
Cooling foods and foods rich in natural oestrogens (see below)
In Chinese medicine, the consumption of cooling foods is recommended. Such foods are wheat germ and its oil, mung beans, mung bean sprouts, string beans, seaweed, spirulina, millet, black beans, tofu, kidney beans, barley, black sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds, saffron and cold sage tea.
Increase plant foods high in natural oestrogens (phytoestrogens). These include: soya products (don’t over-consume), flaxseed oil, flax seeds, nuts, whole grains (such as brown rice), apples, fennel, celery, parsley, and alfalfa. Maca powder has been proven to help reduce menopause symptoms and has been named the natural HRT.
Blood sugar control is also very important for hormone balance.
Drinking plenty of water keeps the body vital and young. Increase amounts gradually to about 1.5 to 2 liters per day.
For more advice of foods to eliminate and increase please contact me.
Endorphins arethe body’s own mood-elevating and pain-relieving compounds. They are also thought to relief hot flushes. Regular exercise enhances endorphins and has many benefits on health of bone and the cardiovascular system. It reduces stress, boosts the metabolism, increases energy levels and assists in achieving and maintaining normal body weight. In addition exercise may also help mobilise some stored estrogen, which may make for an easier transition.
Exercise in average 3 – 4 hours per week; Combine aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming with toning and strengthening exercise such as Yoga and Pilates.
Learn to adopt less aggressive attitudes. A relaxed, un-stressful life will greatly help overcome menopausal symptoms.
Supplementation & Herbs
Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to a good general supplement programme (multivitamins & minerals, fish oil) the following vitamins and minerals may help relieve menopausal symptoms:
Vitamins E and C – For hot flushes, night sweats, irritability and vaginal dryness
B-Vitamins, especially B6 – For hormone balance, energy production and a healthy nervous system
Vitamin D & Calcium – For protection against osteoporosis, and for hot flushes
Magnesium – For night sweats and irritability
Evening Primrose Oil – For hot flushes & breast pain
Much of the effect of herbal medicine is thought to be a result of phytooestrogens in the plants and the plants’ ability to improve blood flow.
Dong Quai (Angelica Sinensis): has a mild oestrogenic effect and stabilises blood vessels
Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): mild oestrogenic effect and raises progesterone levels
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): relieves hot flushes, depression, vaginal atrophy
Chaste berry (Vitex Agnus-Castus): Balances secretion of certain hormones
Gingko Biloba: Improves blood flow to the extremeties and to the brain.
Red Clover and Korean Ginseng may also help because of their oestrogenic effects.
Combining all of the above is thought to produce greater effect.
For advice on recommended amounts please contact me.
Other useful tips
Menopause can often be a time of lowered energy. Get adequate sleep and even take a nap when feeling tired. If hot flushes and night sweats are your main problems:
Keep a record of your hot flushes and see if there is a pattern developing.
Wear loose clothing, made of natural fabrics, with short sleeves and V-necks
Use a battery operated fan and keep a flask of iced water near by
Relaxing during a hot flush can diminish its intensity.
Keep your bedroom cool
Use night clothes and bed linen made of natural fabrics
Keep a sponge and a bowl of water near your bedside to cool yourself down easily.
Acupuncture & Menopause
Acupuncture can help women suffering from the most common symptoms of menopause, it is claimed. A study suggests that Acupuncture can curb the severity of hot flushes and also relieve mood swings among women receiving it regularly.
Hot flushes can suddenly produce an uncomfortable feeling of intense heat, while frequent flushes at night can disrupt sleep. The symptoms are caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the skin and are linked to hormone imbalances, but they are still not fully understood.
Medication proven to combat flushes includes Hormone Replacement Therapy and some antidepressants, which appear to damp down the body’s blood vessel system.
In the study, which was published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, Turkish researchers looked at 53 menopausal women. Twenty seven received acupuncture twice a week for ten weeks. This involved placing needles at certain points on the body to boost energy and release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
The remaining volunteers were given ‘dummy’ acupuncture with blunted needles.
At the end of the trial, those receiving genuine treatment had lower scores for the intensity of the hot flushes and mood swings they experienced – which progressively improved over the treatment period – compared with those given dummy needles.
The researchers said the effect on endorphins might curb flushes by stabilising the body’s temperature controls, but they were unable to say how long the effect lasted after treatment finished.
The researchers admit the trial was small but claim that Acupuncture is worth trying for menopausal women unable or unwilling to use HRT.
Please contact if you would like any further information or to see how I can help you.
Delighted to have an article published in the Summer edition of the Rude Health magazine. It explains the basic ideas behind Acupuncture and how it can help male & female fertility to help couples conceive.
It also includes a testimonial from one of my male fertility patients on how Acupuncture and Naturopathy helped him and his partner get pregnant.
No one should have to live with depression, unfortunately powerful prescription drugs such as Prozac can be almost as intolerable, not to mention expensive. Happily, nature has provided a whole range of gentler antidepressants such as St. John’s Wort, 5-hydroxytryptophan, S-adenosylmenthionine, tyrosine, phenylalanine and folic acid, among many others.
Considerable research indicates that these herbs, biochemicals and nutrients can often counteract clinical depression as efficiently and effectively as prescription drugs, but with fewer side effects and a more modest price tag. Unfortunatly there are restrictions on many of these natural remedys depending on where you live in the world, this is where acupuncture alongside basic naturopathic principles such as the correct diet and lifestyle advice comes in and can have a profound effect on your mental well-being.
In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neuro-chemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Studies indicate that acupuncture can have a specific positive effect on depression by altering the brain’s mood chemistry, increasing production of serotonin (Sprott 1998) and endorphins (Wang 2010). Acupuncture may also benefit depression by acting through other neurochemical pathways, including those involving dopamine (Scott 1997), noradrenaline (Han 1986), cortisol (Han 2004) and neuropeptide Y (Pohl 2002).
Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain which is responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010). Stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry may be reversed (Kim 2009).
If you would like to discuss with me how Acupuncture and Naturopathy can help, please feel free to contact me.
Everyone knows that seasonal allergies are painful and uncomfortable causing runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain, fatigue, watery eyes, and other debilitating symptoms. Allergies also affect your productivity at work and school and may be linked to depression, insomnia, and anxiety.(1)
Acupuncture offers an effective drug free treatment so you can smell the flowers. Acupuncture is different than taking a pill, it helps to reduce pain and inflammation. But rather than adding a medication that will temporarily block a receptor, histamine in the case of allergies, acupuncture works to regulate the body’s functioning. The goals is for long term improvement from the acupuncture treatment.
The idea is that acupuncture helps to reset the body and remind it how to be healthy. As balance is achieved, your body is able to maintain the healthy state without medications. So instead of simply suppressing the body’s reaction, it works to correct the root cause of the problem.
Acupuncture’s Understanding of Allergies
Acupuncture has its own view of the body and health. Acupuncturists look for an imbalance that is causing of allergies.
Qi is the body’s vital energy, it gives you the power to work, study, exercise, and fight illness. In acupuncture, the cause of allergies is often a qi imbalance. There are two major qi imbalances. The most common one for allergies is when there is too little qi, we call this a qi vacuity. When your qi is vacuous, you feel tired, can get colds easily, may have poor digestion, coughing, wheezing, and possibly asthma. The acupuncture works to boost up your qi, giving you more energy and protecting you from allergies.
The second imbalance is called qi stagnation. This is when your qi does not circulate well. This is often caused by stress, and can cause pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, and in some cases, bring on asthma attacks.
Inflammation is a cause of allergies and chronic sinus pain. In acupuncture, this is often related to an imbalance called heat. Heat can cause dryness, irritation, and pain. This is often common in chronic sinusitis.
The Acupuncture Treatment
An effective acupuncture treatment is based upon a specific and accurate diagnosis of the imbalance and by targeting the exact root of the condition leads to the most successful treatment.
I combine acupressure with the acupuncture to create greater results and a stronger sense of relaxation. Usually people will feel some relief after only a visits.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Acupuncture also helps to regulate the brain to reduce pain, so it is also possible that is another way it works to help regulate the immune response to allergies (2).
1. Marcus MB. Seasonal allergies could spark depression, fatigue. USA Today. 3/18/2008.2. Napadow V, Ahn A, Longhurst J, et.al. The Status and Future of Acupuncture Mechanism Research. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 September; 14(7): 861–869.
6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle Naturopathic programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.
Well done, I know I need a pat on the back for completing the last 6 weeks. Eliminating some of those foods groups was tough, now complete the programme with the 2/3 day juice fast.
As I have said before Spring is the perfect time to cleanse for overall health and well-being! According to traditional Chinese medicine, Spring is when your liver is particularly activated. Like any irrigation system, things build up, and the system can tire under strain. Ours is no different. When this organ functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. By eliminating alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy, wheat/gluten & sugar you have done a lot of the hard work. The reason for doing the elimination over a long period of 6 weeks is so that you have gently cleansed your body and hopefully you won’t have a major healing crisis/reaction to the fasting. You can expect some on the normal fasting side effects, headaches, feeling cold, tired etc… Try not to do too much over the 2/3 days. You may have some side effects because the toxins in your body are being dumped into your blood stream and they will take 24 – 72 hours to clear through your system (Kidneys mainly). You can do gentle exercise, yoga and walking is OK but make sure you keep warm.
Juicing is the key to radiant skin and health. Also referred to as “cellular cleansing,” juicing is preparing and drinking fruit and vegetable juices. A juice fast is great way to nurture your body, rebuild your immune system and restore yourself to a healthy way of living. Raw fruit and vegetable juice contains many cleansing elements such as minerals, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants to heal and detoxify the body safely.
Little energy is used by your digestive system during the cleanse, allowing the body to focus on rebuilding, renewing, and healing. You might be surprised by how much energy you have. The many health benefits of juicing far exceed those of eating solid fruits and vegetables.
At the most basic level, juicing gives us the opportunity to add far more vegetables to our daily diet. Juicing allows us to up the amount of raw food we consume which gives the body energy and boosts the immune system and the body’s cleansing process. Green juices contain lots of chlorophyll which is significantly effective in detoxifying our bodies. Chlorophyll can help make our bodies strong by detoxifying the liver. This detoxification will purify and help to rebuild our blood cells, remove mold, parasites and toxins from the body.
It is necessary to strain the juices to ensure that solid pieces are not consumed. Solid food will encourage the digestive process to begin again and will make you hungry. This is not desirable. If you feel like you need more juice, more calories, or are a little low in blood sugar, you can repeat any of the juices during the same time period of any given day, I would recommend 3-5 juices per day. Most juices contain about 100-200 calories and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Also allow yourself to drink non-caffeinated Herbal teas.
Earlier in the week I recommended this great value juicer, you can get almost anything through it as long as harder fruits and vegetables are chopped into smaller pieces. If you do not have a juicer you can use a blender and strain out the pulp.
Fruits are the cleansers and being very alkaline are good to do first thing in the morning and vegetables are the builders and good to do in the evenings. Avocados and Bananas do not juice well. Remember you can use herbs; mint and parsley are great in juices, also ginger.
Have 3 – 5 8oz glasses (large glasses) of juice per day plus 1.5 – 2 litres of clean filtered water
Please feel free to make up your own juices, more veg than fruit and try not to mix fruit and veg together as they impair digestion, exceptions to this are carrots (which break down simple sugars very quickly) and apples, which can comfortably be mixed with vegetables because of the higher starch content.
If you are hungry, eat raw veg such as peppers
NO Salad dressing, Salt & Pepper
If you blood sugar is low have a piece of fruit
Both fruit and veg are high in Potassium and Magnesium so even though you may find this hard you are doing your body the world of good.
1. 1 Carrot grated, ½ Cucumber, 2 medium Beetroot, handful of Spinach or Kale & 2 Celery sticks and add Ginger and the juice of a lime to taste.
2. ½ Cucumber, 1 Apple, 2 Celery sticks, 1 Carrot grated – this mixes really well together
3. 1 Apple, Grapes and a Lemon – great in the morning
4. 1 Pear, Grapes, ½ Lemon & ½ Watermelon
5. Handful of Spinach & Kale, handful of chopped Broccoli, 2 Celery sticks and ½ Cucumber – surprisingly sweet because of the Kale
6. ½ Pineapple, ½ Cucumber & Lemon or Lime
Please feel free to make up your own and remember to dilute all juices with equal parts of clean filtered water.
When you have competed the 2 days, please ease yourself gently back into the world. Lots of soups and stews, nothing processed and see how much you can keep eliminated from your diet. If your ever feeling like you have slipped back into your old routine you can just do a 2 day juice fast but watch out for the side effects!!
6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle Naturopathic programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.
Well done, week 6 already, I don’t know about you but I feel great, my skin is clearer, I’ve lost a few pounds but the main thing is I feel alive. It has been tough but the good thing about this Detox is that it has been slow and hopefully some of the lifestyle changes you have made during this programme will become permanent. I know that is the case for me.
Anyway it’s not quiet over yet, this week we need to quit Sugar then this is followed by a 2 day juice detox. Sounds hard yes? But it should be easy, you have already eliminated from your diet a huge proportion of where sugars, mainly hidden sugars lie – up to now you have eliminated Alcohol (full of hidden Sugars), Caffeine (you will have not had any Chocolate), Meat (processed meats contain Sugars), Dairy (again full of hidden Sugars, especially Yogurts & Cheeses and ‘low-fat’ options) and Wheat/Gluten (full of Sugars especially processed sauces and pastries). So if you think about it this week should not be as hard as you think as you have eliminated all of the above & hopefully processed foods. You are a Vegetarian eating mainly veg, fruits, fish, eggs, beans & lentils – easy. Plus your sugar cravings should have of diminished some what as you have not been eating cakes, pastries, chocolate etc…
Now it’s time to ditch the fizzy drinks, any processed cereals and bars (the added sugars in some of the ‘healthy’ bars is phenomenal), sweets (these must go!), concentrated juices and squash, dried fruits and jams and many high sugar fruits such as Apples and Bananas.
Five Sugar traps to avoid
These foods are health-food shop favourites and are filled to the brim with sugar:
Low Fat Yogurt/Dairy – When manufacturers take the fat out of dairy they have to replace the taste and texture with something – that something is sugar. A ‘natural’ low-fat individual tub of yogurt can contain six teaspoons of sugar! ‘Low-fat’, ‘sugar free’ and ‘no added sugar’ labels are in fact full of sugar (fructose) and are highly fat creating; the ‘full-fat’ option is by far the healthiest!
Agave – This is a fashionable sugar-substitute and is made from a South American plant and marked as ‘low-GI’ and healthy. Beware; this is 70-90% fructose.
Muesli – Some muesli’s promoted at low-fat and healthy have recently been found to contain more sugar than Coco Pops – up to 44% sugar.
Dried Fruits, Dates & Goji Berries – Any product containing a lot of dried fruit is going to be full of fructose. When you take the water out of fruit your left with a lot of sugar – about 50-70%, Dates are the worst culprits.
Fruit Juice – A 375ml glass of Apple juice contains the same amount of sugar as the same glass of Coca-Cola – about 10 teaspoons. Some Vegetable juices such as Carrot and Beetroot are also high in Sugar. Eat your vegetables and fruits whole, Apples and Bananas are the worst culprits and Berries and Kiwis are the best.
Some Sugar facts…
Sugar comes in two halves – normal table sugar comprises of 50% glucose – which is safe (in moderation) and is easily metabolised by our bodies – and 50% fructose. Fructose is the issue. So when we say “sugar”, we are referring to the fructose component.
There is good sugar and bad sugar?
There’s safe and unsafe sugar. Glucose and lactose (in milk) are safe – they contain no fructose. They occur naturally in a lot of foods. Fructose, however, is, always bad. And fructose is fructose, whether it’s consumed in “healthy” forms or not – the body reads it the same way.
Honey is 40% fructose, agave is 70 – 90% fructose… these are often labelled as “good” or healthy sugars when they’re clearly not.
Fruit contains a lot of fructose too, but if consumed whole, the water and fibre content offsets things a little (although studies show we really should only be eating one to two pieces of low-fructose fruits each day).
What are some of the negative effects of too much sugar?
Weight gain is an immediate one. Fructose goes straight to the liver as fat. The issues spin off from there, primarily metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes, cholesterol issues and heart disease. Studies now link sugar to all these “modern” diseases, all of which have risen at the same rate as our sugar consumption.
My main aim of this detox programme is to quit sugar for good; there is an article in the Observer today titled ‘Is Sugar the new Tobacco?’ This is so true, look at the obesity epidemic that is apparent everywhere you look and especially with Children, re-education is needed to reduce our sugar intake and take charge of our health.
Eliminating Sugar will not only help you lose weight, lift your energy levels and get glowing skin it will have huge health benefits and help prevent against diseases such as Diabetes and Cancer’s.
I have discovered this woman in Australia called Sarah Wilson, she has an amazing book called ‘I Quit Sugar’, it really is amazing makes you realise the tasty things that you can create without sugar.
So good luck with this week, there will be updates throughout the week and on how to prepare for the 2 day juice detox.
6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle Naturopathic programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.
OK, so this is where it get’s tough for me. I love bread, I eat it every day and I crave it so eliminating Wheat & Gluten is going to be the toughest week yet. We are 2/3 rd’s of the way through the Detox programme, come on stick with it!
As a nation we eat so much Wheat and grains, it’s like with the dairy, we are constantly being told that bread/wheat is good for us and is a source of complex carbohydrates, minerals, dietary fibre and protein, however the processes that wheat and grains go through to make our beloved breads and cakes involves alot of processes mainly grinding, milling and crushing, this allows air and light to penetrate the sensitive interior of the grain and therefor the loss of nutrients occurs. The shelf life for most flours for optimum nutrition is 10-12 days.
Grains contain albumen, or the protein gluten. It is found in varying amounts amongst the grains with wheat, rye, oats, and barley. Wheat has the highest content, whereas millet, quinoa and buckwheat do not contain gluten.
Wheat consists of several varieties and three basic types:
Hard red spring or winter wheat has a high gluten level and is used to make breads (bread flour)
Soft red winter wheat (lower gluten content) is used as pastry flour to make sweet bakery products such as cookies, biscuits etc…
Durum and red durum wheat is made into pastas such as spaghetti and noodles
The milling of wheat into refined white flour removes 40% of the Chromium, 86% of the Manganese, 76% of the Cobolt, 68% of Copper, 78% of Zinc, 48% of Molybdenum – these are all the trace elements that are essential for health!
In addition, 60% of the Calcium, 71% of the Phosphorus, 85% of the Magnesium, 77% of the Potassium and 78% of the Sodium is removed.This is crazy!
Gluten is a composite protein that is most often found in foods processed from wheat, barley or rye. Its “stickiness” gives dough its elasticity, helps it rise, maintain its shape and provides it with that “chewy” texture. Gluten is also an inexpensive and widely accessible source of protein that can be consumed directly from wheat products or as an additive to increase the protein value of processed or modified foods. Most supermarkets have a small gluten free section of packaged foods, these are not necessarily the best choice as they are highly processed and expensive, but if you are craving that slice of toast like I will be, go for it, a few slices wont harm.
Sensitivity & Disease
Eating wheat-free is particularly important for those with gluten sensitivities and for those with Celiac disease. When those sensitive to gluten or those with Celiac disease are exposed to gluten, the immune system cross-reacts with intestinal tissue causing an inflammatory response, which can interfere with nutrient absorption. This is obviously not ideal because inefficient nutrient absorption can lead to malnutrition and a variety of health concerns like anemia, osteoporosis, fatigue, stunted growth, the inability to “thrive” and can eventually lead to intestinal and bowel cancer. Common symptoms of gluten sensitivity or intolerance include: diarrhea, weight loss, stomach pain, fatigue and anemia, however its not uncommon to display no symptoms at all with such tremendous potential to harm.
There is no doubt that a gluten-free diet is extremely beneficial to those with Celiac disease or who exhibit sensitivities to gluten, but how about for the rest of us that have sluggish bowels, bloated, are tired, find it difficult to loose weight etc.. Well, by adopting a gluten-free diet in an effort to improve health may be misguided because gluten free products can be just as unhealthy as those containing wheat.
For those with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, a diet free of wheat and its relatives is the best way to prevent intestinal discomfort and the risk of health concerns. For those simply wishing to lose weight or regain health, Gluten-free is certainly an option if it encourages you to be more conscientious of your dietary decisions.
So here are some easy tips on replacing gluten in your diet, delicious and nutritious!
1. Smoothies: Chuck the bagel or toast breakfast and instead make a healthy smoothie/shake! Here’s a quick recipe:
1 cup berries (or other fruit)
1 big handful of spinach (kale is good, too, but spinach is more easily blended)
1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
1-2 scoops plant protein powder (I got Jarrow Formulas Optimal Plant Proteins from www.iherb.com) – not essential
purified water or coconut water to get the consistency you like
2. Quinoa: It’s your new best friend! Quinoa is a complete protein (balanced amino acids) and is perfect for replacing white rice at dinner, putting in stirfries, or even having for breakfast in place of oatmeal. Delicious breakfast/lunch:
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup berries
1 apple, chopped
1 tsp natural honey
small handful of mixed seeds – Pumpkin and Sunflower
coconut milk or coconut water to mix to your desired consistency
3. Lettuce Wraps: Simply switch the wheat wrap for a big leaf of lettuce and you can still make delicious lunches. Try spreading hummus on the lettuce, filling with Tuna, Spinach, Alfalfa sprouts, and avocado and finishing with fresh squeezed lemon juice, a little sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. YUM!!
4. New way to snack:
1 apple with 1 tbsp almond butter
Carrots and celery with hummus
If you’re dying for something crunchy there are gluten-free crackers in the supermarkets you could pair with hummus
Even a homemade green juice will totally keep you full until dinner
Going gluten-free seems like its going to be tough, I’m a total bread-lover and it’s going to be a challenge but I know that the health benefits are massive, if you can’t seem to get rid of that extra layer of fat or generally just feel bloated or low energy, eliminating gluten for even a couple weeks will really help you discover what’s right for your body!