Sunday, 29 April 2012

detoxify the mind clutter!

A friend and I have embarked on a detoxification program which I like to do at the start of a new season, to symbolise a fresh start and a clean slate. We all have varying degrees of toxicity in our life - both physically and mentally. We can't expect our body's to get rid of unwanted waste and toxins if we don't engage in some kind of psychological expulsion of negative thought patterns, stress and mind chatter.

A key part of my own personal detoxification program is to mentally expel my stress and speak out my positive affirmations. For example, closing down your mind for just 10 minutes per day and imagining with every breath, you are breathing out negativity, stress, anger, etc. One positive affirmation may be that you will be more patient with people today and be an active listener.

So in addition to the dietary restrictions and chugging down various powders, liquids and tablets, any detoxification should always have an element of addressing the mental aspect. The benefits of this are endless and you will feel more connected to your body, more grounded and it allows your physical body to do what you want it to.     

Thursday, 26 April 2012

forgetful? fatigued? low mood? think B12..

Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient for DNA synthesis, red blood cell production, neurotransmitter release and maintenence of the myelin sheaths of nerve cells. Deficiency has been linked to depression and anxiety, higher risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, cardiovascular disease risk and more. This essential B vitamin is unique to the others as it is stored in the body, however it is also one of the hardest for our body to absorb as it can have interferring factors. This includes medications such as proton-pump inhibitors (oesophageal reflux medication), low stomach acid production, a vegan or diet low in animal foods, suffer from bowel inflammation such as Coeliac's disease, Crohn's disease or Ulcerative colitis.

Tips on avoiding a low vitamin B12 levels:

  • Include quality animal foods into your diet such as lean meats (grain-fed and organic preferably), organic eggs, probiotic yoghurt (cow's, goat's or sheep's milk). My personal preference is to avoid cow's milk and hard cheeses as it is very mucous forming to the body.

  • Include fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso soup and sauerkraut (a fermented cabbage product) - although alone they aren't a sufficient source of bioavailable B12 but still contribute to your levels. Other vegetarian foods that may be a source include seaweeds such as dulse and spirulina as well as nutritional yeast.

  • Again include fermented foods or supplement with a probiotic powder or capsule due to the beneficial bacteria which may contribute to intestinal cellular uptake (absorption) of B12.

  • Ensure sufficient stomach acidity during meals by not consuming large amounts of fluids before/during your meal. Stomach acid should be a pH of around 2 (highly acidic!) in order for pepsin (an enzyme) to breakdown protein-bound vitamin B12 and continue a cascade of events that lead to vitamin B12 absorption.

  • See your practitioner to address any inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders such as gastritis, Coeliac's disease, ulceration or inflammatory bowel disease in order to reduce malnutrition of B12 or any other nutrients. Additionally, a strategy (working alongside your general practitioner) to avoid taking medications that may inhibit your B12 absorption is encouraged.

  • If choosing to supplement, 1000mcg is a recommended daily dose however this depends on your B12 status. Sublingual tablets are available which are chewed or sucked and are absorbed via the vessels under the tongue therefore bypass poor intestinal absorption. Injections are also another method however be aware of preservatives and potential heavy metals that may be within the injectable fluid, individuals often want to avoid putting that directly into the bloodstream.

If you are concerned with your vitamin B12 status, before supplementation a simple blood test that assessing B12 deficiency can be arranged through your Naturopath or doctor. However the standard test (serum B12) is not a definitive marker, a newly discovered carrier of B12 is more accurate at ascertaining the levels and can be organised through the appropriate pathology lab.  If you require a consultation, ph. 0421323888 or email


Monday, 23 April 2012

functional gastrointestinal disorders

Bloating, discomfort, abdominal distention, pain, flatulence, irregular bowel motions, increased bowel frequency and nausea are all symptoms that are indicative of an underlying gastrointestinal issue however this doesn't always mean it is a physical one. It is common for individuals to experience these symptoms for years without getting a proper diagnosis and this may be because it is associated with an underlying nervous system component. This includes psychological stress, anxiety, depression and may stem from a past traumatic incident. I cannot emphasise the importance of preserving and nurturing your mental wellbeing as manifestations of stress can cause tremendous grief on a day to day basis, especially in regards to gastrointestinal conditions. Everyone should have a stress management program that suits them such as gentle exercise, meditation, holidaying! or maybe professional help such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from an appropriate specialist. Incorporating simple measures to address the physical symptoms such as drinking fennel or chamomile tea or a herbal preparation such as Iberogast drops can make life alot easier. Nutrients and herbs for the nervous system can be prescribed by your Naturopath :-) discussing these issues with a healthcare professional is extremely beneficial to work out a tailored program to suit you.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Black bean chocolate cake

Not your typical chocolate cake however it has a dense texture and is a healthy alternative, it is gluten and dairy free and because you're using the whole cooked bean, it is high in soluble fibre and minerals. 


  • 450g cooked black beans (AKA turtle beans, can use canned)
  • 1 banana
  • 3 eggs (free range, organic preferred)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3 tbs of ricebran or grapeseed oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt (preferably Himalayan sea salt)
  • 1 1/2 tsp each of baking powder and baking soda
  • 1/3 cup rapadura sugar or organic honey


This is the easy part.. just whizz everything in a food processor until smooth consistency and pour into a greased/lined rectangular pan.

Bake on 180C until cooked through (about 20-30 mins) - test by pressing and seeing if it bounces back.

I also choose to put an icing on consisting of 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 tbsp cacao powder and stevia - melt in a pan and pour over the cake in the tin, it keeps the cake moist.

Laura's San Choy Bao

(serves 4)

• 8 lettuce leaves (trimmed into cups)
• 1 finely chopped onion
• 2 finely diced carrots
• 1 red chilli finely diced (leave seeds for extra spice)
• 2 tsps minced garlic
• 1 tbsp minced ginger
• 3 Tbsp Tamari**
• 3 Tbsp Oyster Sauce (gluten and preservative free)
• 300g lean organic chicken or pork mince
• 100g vermicelli rice noodles
• 1 tbsp Spring onion finely sliced
• 1 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
• Lime wedges (optional)
• 2 tbsp fresh dry roasted peanuts, crushed
• Black pepper
• Coconut oil (to fry)

1. Prepare lettuce – peel each leaf off slowly to leave bowl shape, trim the ragged edges and put aside (keep them in the fridge while preparing other ingredients to keep crisp).

2. In a bowl, poor boiling water over vermicelli noodles, put a plate over the bowl and stand until noodles are cooked (should only take a few minutes), drain away water and put aside.

3. Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a pan, add onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and mince and stir fry until meat has changed colour – about a minute.

4. Add tamari and oyster sauces, pepper, carrot and 1 tbsp water. Cover and cook for two minutes.

5. Turn the heat low and toss through the vermicelli noodles until all coated with sauce.

6. Put a small amount of the meat and noodle mix into eat lettuce cup, top with coriander, peanuts and lime. Enjoy!

**Tamari is gluten-free soy sauce, cooked in the traditional way. It has a very similar taste to soy and adds saltiness to the dish.
**Also works well with tofu as a vegetarian option, bean sprouts can be added for extra freshness and crunch

Adzuki Bean and Pumpkin patties


1 cup dried adzuki beans, soaked for at least 8 hours
1/4 kent pumpkin, roasted with skin on
1 tbsp chives
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp minced garlic
coconut flour (as much required to soak up excess moisture)

1. Rinse adzuki beans well after soaking, place in large pot covered with twice as much water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the beans are soft. Let them cool.

2. Place cool roasted pumpkin and all other ingredients (beside coconut flour) into a large mixing bowel, I use a potato masher to mix everything in together. Drain the adzuki beans well and add to the pumpkin mixture, it might be easier to add them in batches and use the potato masher again to squish it altogether.

3. At this stage, the consistency should be similar to mashed potato (perhaps a little chunker), coconut flour can be sprinkled to ensure the mixture can be easily formed into patties.

4. Use around two tablespoons of mixture per patty, put the patties on a tray with baking paper and leave in the fridge for half an hour.

5. Dry fry or in a little coconut oil the patties until slightly brown on each side then finish off in 180C oven for 10-15 minutes.

Tastes yum served with salad and some spicy sauce.. enjoy!

Thai pumpkin soup recipe

Apart from being tasty, this soup has nutritional benefits such as a great source of betacarotene for immune and eye health, enjoy!

·         One small Jap or Kent pumpkin, chopped into 4cm cubes (skin on but washed thoroughly)
·         2 cloves of garlic
·         2 carrots, finely diced
·         1 brown onion finely diced
·         2 stalks of celery finely diced
·         1 tsp  each of ground cumin, ground coriander
·         2 tsp of ground turmeric
·         1 tbsp of red curry paste
·         1 large can of coconut cream
·         Filtered water (enough to cover the pumpkin)
·         Fresh coriander leaves to serve

1. Fry the curry paste, onion, garlic, carrots, onion and celery with the spices in a heavy based pot on a medium heat with a small amount of coconut oil.
2. After the onions are slightly softened and the spices are fragrant, add the pumpkin and coat with the mixture, heat for a couple of minutes.
3. Cover with filtered water and bring the boil, then turn the heat down low to a gentle simmer and cover.
4. Check in about 20 minutes, the pumpkin should have softened. Use a whisk wand to puree the soup to a consistency of your liking, smooth is ideal. Stir through the coconut cream and garnish with coriander.