We can grow our brain back – BDNF to the rescue!

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to think and remember more clearly, stave off depression and anxiety, change your stress response and get your brain working top notch? There is absolutely no doubt that prolonged stress shrinks your brain1, but the good news to share is:  “we can grow our brain back!”

The chemistry of the brain continues to be very complex and baffles scientists the world over, however there is emerging evidence about very important chemicals that can help improve the way the brain adapts to the stressors and challenges of life. One of these chemicals, called BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor),  has attracted much interest in recent years because it seems to function in achieving all of the goals listed above. Some liken BDNF to a ‘fertilizer for your brain’ because it helps to prevent the death of existing brain cells and stimulates the growth of new ones, supporting brain function in many ways. Low levels of BDNF are linked to anxiety, depression,2 obesity,3 Schizophrenia4 and Alzheimer’s Disease.5

While science delves into the microscopic detail of the roles of BDNF, the most solid evidence that has been uncovered is about the very simple ways that this chemical can be increased in the brain.

How to increase BDNF = Top Tips for Growing your brain back:

Exercise (the challenging type) – the most consistently reliable technique for increasing BDNF production. High Intensity Interval Training done regularly over a period of months will elevate BDNF significantly6 and therefore help you better adapt to everyday stress.

Sunlight – catch some rays every day, every bit helps. Locking yourself away in an office can work against you in terms of stress management and productivity. In a Norwegian study of 2851 people, levels of BDNF directly correlated with hours of sun exposure in both men and women, levels dropped when hours were reduced.7

Diet –  a whole food, Mediterranean style diet is beneficial. A diet high in fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, with the addition of ‘good fats’, while avoiding refined sugar, prepackaged and takeaway foods, has been shown to promote higher BDNF levels in the brain, compared to a standard Western style diet and even compared to low fat style diets.8 Results are noticed if these dietary changes are consistently followed for two months or more.  Poor response to sugars and high levels of inflammation seem to effect BDNF negatively, so this is the proposed reason why the Mediterranean style diet works well:9 ‘Good fats’ (from fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados) have anti-inflammatory properties, and natural sugars found in wholefoods (fruits, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, nuts and seeds) are processed more effectively by the body than refined sugars.

Food restriction / Intermittent fasting – Eating less will challenge our brain to produce more BDNF.10 A sensible way to achieve this is simply eating only during certain hours. For example, some people may choose to eat only between the hours of 8am and 4pm (effectively fasting for 16 hours overnight). It is most important though to consult your health practitioner to assess whether this eating style is appropriate for your health background.

Exposure to cold (brr…) – Strange, but true, exposure to bursts of cold stimulates BDNF production.11,12 For those of you that don’t fancy the idea of plunging into icy water or doing nudie runs in the snow, this may be partly achieved by turning the hot water off during showering for approximately 20-30 seconds on a regular basis.

Stress Less – Prolonged perceived stress is a huge inhibitor of BDNF production, which sets up a viscious cycle that is difficult to interrupt. Researchers are examining the effects of a variety of interventions to increase the plasticity of the brain so that individuals can adapt more effectively to stress.  “Enriching the environment” of a person’s life produces a positive effect on BDNF and improves stress resilience. Some examples of enrichment strategies are:

  • bevavioural therapies including CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), mindfulness and meditation techniques.
  • finding meaning and purpose in life
  • increasing social support and human connection
  • physical activity.13

Natural Compounds – Good evidence exists for the supplemental use of various nutritional and plant compounds for increasing BDNF levels and managing the drivers of BDNF depletion. Magnesium,14 Vitamin B12,15 Turmeric (Curcuma longa)16 and Saffron (Crocus sativus)17 are strong contenders as excellent choices for brain health in that they stimulate BDNF production and other similar growth factors. Please consult your professional Healthcare Practitioner for advice on the dosage and appropriate use of these supplements and always use in conjunction with sound medical advice.

Find out more!

The strategies listed in this blog are our top picks for stimulating new brain cell growth, however there are many more ideas on the subject that can be shared. Please see your qualified Healthcare Practitioner for more details and to tailor a treatment plan that suits your circumstances.

Written by Emily Grieger – Naturopath at Des Lardner’s Organic.

 


How menopause affects sleep (and so much more!) from Sleep Health Foundation

Important Things to Know About Menopause and Sleep

  • Hormonal changes affect the quality of sleep of many women.
  • There is a link between hot flushes, night sweats and not sleeping well.
  • Other issues may also affect sleep quality at this time of life (e.g. sleep apnoea and depression).
  • There is no evidence that hormone treatment helps sleep.

 

How does sleep change during the menopause?

 Many women report that it is more difficult to sleep well during the menopause. They say that it is not as easy to get to sleep or to stay asleep and they also tend to wake up earlier than planned. This may be due to less oestrogen in the body. After the menopause, sleep will improve. What about hot flushes, cold sweats and night sweats? During the menopause, the levels of hormones in the body change. This means that the body temperature is less stable and sometimes there are surges of adrenaline. When this happens, a hot flush is felt. All of these can happen during the day or at night. Women tend to wake up just before a hot flush occurs. Experts think that both the waking up and the hot flushes are caused by the same thing.

 

Our Naturopaths, Emily Grieger and Ebony Jordan are available for consultations to discuss symptoms that can interfere with your wellbeing.

 

Does this happen to all women as they go through menopause?

 Before menopause, about 30% of women say they have some type of problem sleeping more than three times a week. But for women in menopausal transition, this percentage goes up by two to three times. It can take a long time for sleep to settle down again for women after the menopause. We do know that women in menopausal transition who find it the hardest to get to sleep and stay asleep are also the ones who tend to have other problems, particularly hot flushes and sweats. Is poor sleep at this time of life always due to hormonal changes? It can be hard to know how much sleep difficulties are linked to hormonal changes rather than just getting older. We also know that women’s risk of depression is higher in menopause. Hormonal changes may not be the only reason for this.

 

Myth: Only Men Suffer from Sleep Apnoea – Sorry Ladies, you do to!

 Up to 5% of women have sleep apnoea and not aware of it! Menopausal hormonal changes may be linked with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, too. Hormonal changes around the time of menopause makes body fat move to different places. This increases the chances of snoring and having sleep apnoea. This leads to trouble breathing which can get in the way of your sleep and be bad for your health. The symptoms of sleep apnoea include:

  • Daytime Symptoms
  • Early morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability
  • Falling asleep during routine activities

Night time symptoms

  • Loud persistent snoring
  • Observed paused breathing
  • Choking or gasping for air
  • Restless sleep
  • Frequent urination

 

If you would like to find out more about Sleep Apnoea contact the store to discuss with our sleep therapist, Julie Rees.

 

For some women Restless Legs may affect their sleep. However it is not certain that this is linked with menopausal symptoms. What can help? There is a view that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may help with sleep during menopause, but there is no proof for this yet and the issue needs more study. Some studies have found HT is slightly helpful for sleep but others have shown no consistent benefit. If you are thinking of HT it is best to discuss this with your doctor and weigh up the pros and cons.

 

It can help if you sleep in a cool room where air can flow through freely (e.g. using a fan). Avoid heavy bedclothes or tight bedspreads. If you can put your feet outside the blankets, it will help cool down from a hot flush. Sleep in light sleep wear. Cotton is best. Make sure that you have good sleep routines. This will help you get the best sleep that you can.

 

Where can I get further information?  A variety of articles can be found at

https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/949-sleep-disturbance-and-the-menopause2

https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/sleep-disorders-sleep-menopause#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-and-insomnia#connection

https://sleephub.com.au/sleep-apnea-in-women/

https://www.resmed.com.au/blog/what-are-the-symptoms-of-sleep-apnea-in-women

https://www.resmed.com.au/blog/9-out-of-10-women-with-sleep-apnea-dont-know-they-have-it

https://www.resmed.com.au/blog/are-you-at-higher-risk-of-sleep-apnea-after-menopause

 


It’s That time of Year Already Exams! And Managing Stress

From Better Health Channel, June 2020 Victoria State Government.

About managing exam stress

Year 12 exams can be very stressful. Many students feel pressured to do well – to get into certain courses, or to please their family. On top of that, young people may be stressed about the uncertainty of what will happen once school ends.

You can’t study for your child, but the good news is there are some simple ways you can help your Year 12 manage the stress of their exams. Eating well, sleeping well and taking time to exercise and relax from study will all help your child to stay healthy as exams approach.

Managing exam stress with good nutrition

So, what’s the best way to nourish your child’s body to help them cope with exam time?

Protein

Eating enough protein can help with learning, memory and mood, and retaining information for the long term – just what your child needs.

This means including foods such as lean meat and fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans, dairy and whole grains in your child’s diet. This article in the Conversation has some great suggestions.

But remember, too much of anything is not healthy. Protein should make up about one fifth to one quarter of your child’s daily diet.

Carbohydrates

The brain also needs energy and nutrients to repair and maintain brain cells. Glucose is the brain’s main energy source, and it comes from carbohydrates. But carbohydrates come in different forms, so think about what you put on your child’s plate.

Complex carbohydrates – found in wholegrain cereals, breads and pastas, and in fruits and vegetables – are absorbed slowly in the bloodstream, which means energy is released and is available over a long period. Complex carbohydrates keep students more alert and able to concentrate better for longer.

Simple carbohydrates – found in foods such as cakes, biscuits, lollies, soft drinks and white bread – give a quick energy hit, but are followed by a tired and sluggish feeling.

Sugary foods and drinks can lower concentration levels and memory function – the last thing students need when they’re trying to study.

What about caffeine?

Caffeine causes the body to release adrenaline, which produces a ‘flight or fight’ response. Your hands get cold, your muscles grow tense, you feel excited and your heart beats faster.

And once the adrenaline wears off, you face fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Another dose of caffeine can get the adrenaline flowing again, but having the body in a state of emergency, jumpy and irritable all day, isn’t healthy.

For students, one coffee a day is plenty (though it’s better to have none at all). And having it earlier in the day is better.

The best drink for the brain is water. A good tip is to fill a 1.5 litre bottle at the start of each study session and sit it on the desk with a glass. Your child can then work through it as they study.

On the day of the exam…

Before they sit their exam, make sure your child has eaten a light, healthy meal. As throughout the study phase, protein and carbohydrates make a good combination. Think: baked beans on a wholemeal muffin with a sprinkle of grated cheese. Or try one of these suggestions:

  • a multigrain or wholemeal sandwich made with salad and your choice of egg, tuna, fresh turkey, chicken or ham
  • chicken and vegetable noodle soup
  • vegetable stir-fry with tofu and rice
  • grilled fish and salad with a small baked potato.

And for a snack, your child could try:

  • cereal with milk
  • fruit and yoghurt
  • cheese and wholemeal crackers
  • dried fruit and nuts
  • carrot sticks and hummus.

Exercise is great for managing stress too

We all know exercise is good for general health and fitness, but it gives the brain a boost too. Exercise can be energising and refreshing, and it will help keep your child alert during exams.

Encourage your child to exercise regularly, even if they have lots of study to do. They don’t have to run a marathon every day. A 15 minute walk can be enough to revitalise the mind.

While it may seem like an essential part of studying, sitting at a desk looking at books or a computer for a long time is not good for your child’s health. They will function better if they take regular breaks from study. They could use this time to walk around the block, shoot a few hoops or get out a yoga mat.

If your Year 12 is worried about missing out on study time, they could try to combine exercise with learning. Putting headphones on and listening to study notes that they have recorded or downloaded is one way. Or they could just listen to their favourite music – research shows music improves concentration and learning.

Rest and relaxation is necessary

When studying for exams, rest and relaxation is important for physical and mental health. It gives muscles a break, and it also relaxes the brain and aids concentration.

Here are some different relaxation techniques your child can try:

  • Mindfulness
  • Visualisation. Start by imagining a peaceful place. Then focus on relaxing different parts of the body, working down slowly from the top of the head to the tips of the toes.
  • Breathing. Place one hand on the chest and the other on the tummy. Take slow, deep breaths, so the tummy pushes against the hand. Then hold a breath for as long as is comfortable. Slowly exhale and repeat. (Your child could try Reach Out’s mobile app Breathe.)
  • Muscle relaxation. Slowly tense and release each muscle group. Start with the toes and finish with the head.
  • Or they might like to use ReachOut’s worry time app to help keep calm.

The importance of sleep

When your child is stressed and feels like they don’t have enough hours in their day, it’s easy for them to stay up late studying and cut back on sleep. But they will have a better chance of doing well in their exams if they get enough sleep.

A good night’s sleep improves concentration levels and brain power the next day. It is better for students to be rested and clear-headed than exhausted and foggy.

If your Year 12 is having trouble sleeping, suggest some of the relaxation techniques mentioned on this page.

Friends can help with study

Year 12 exams are guaranteed to bring stress. And a little stress can be a good thing. But you don’t want your child to feel overwhelmed.

If they are having trouble coping, they might like to talk about it with their friends. Most will understand the situation and will be happy to chat. Talking things through brings lots of benefits. It can clear your child’s head and calm them down, and may even help them solve tricky study questions.

Your Year 12 might like to find a ‘study buddy’ or two, or set up a study group. Small groups (up to six people) can work well, and help keep your child motivated and engaged. Study groups can be an opportunity for extra discussion, a chance to test each other, or a reward for study time spent. Study sessions can be before or after school, and about an hour is good.

If your child prefers to study silently, a study buddy can help keep them accountable. They can tell each other what they want to achieve that session, and check in with each other at the end.

Using a study timetable is a good idea

It’s important your child doesn’t feel weighed down by their workload. One way to do this is to prepare a study timetable for all their subjects well before exams start. (ReachOut has a great example.) They should decide how much study time they need for each subject, thinking about how much work they have to do and when each exam is scheduled.

A useful strategy is to assign each subject a colour, so the timetable is easy to read. Each subject can be broken down into the topic areas that need to be covered, and then under each of those topics goes a list of precisely what needs to be studied.

It’s a good idea if your child starts filling in one subject at a time, and then spreads the topic areas out evenly over the timetable. Allocating a mix of subjects each day will help them avoid getting bored.

Make sure they factor in plenty of time at the end of the period to revise and do some practice exams. If they leave their revision to the day before the exam, they won’t have enough time to work on the problem areas.

It’s okay for your child to be flexible with their timetable – it’s likely to change as they go along and understand more of what they need to do.
Your Year 12 might like to check out this sample of preparing an exam study timetable.

Take breaks regularly

Your Year 12 should take breaks regularly. Many people find the 45/15 rule works well – study for 45 minutes and break for 15 minutes.

In that 15 minute break, your child could walk around the block, make a smoothie, do some yoga, play a video game, plan a holiday or take a power nap. After that, their next 45 minutes of study is more likely to be focused and efficient.

Encourage your child to remove distractions, and study in an area that is separate to where they relax. That way they won’t be tempted to chill out when they’re meant to be studying.

Suggest they put their phone and laptop out of reach. If they need their computer for study, they could consider disconnecting it from the internet.

Top tips for tests

Know yourself. Your child needs to find what different methods of study work best for them, and what times of day they are sharpest.

  • Work on critical thinking skills. This is all about connecting what your child is learning with what they already know. It takes time, but understanding what they are learning can make exams a whole lot easier.
  • Practise exam techniques. Doing past papers within the allocated time frame is a great way to prepare for exams.
  • Prepare well the night before. It is important your child eats well and has a good sleep the night before an exam. They should have a healthy breakfast, and get to the venue early. Once there it is a good idea to relax, revise a little and keep away from stress-heads.
  • Don’t cram. Cramming will only stress your child. Encourage them to take a deep breath and have confidence in what they know. If they combine this with some common sense, and they think things through logically, chances are they will be fine.
  • Get back to basics. When your Year 12 gets stuck on an exam question, they need to think about the important concepts and key topics.

Other Information to Help – Great resources here:

Free, Fact Sheet from Des Lardner’s Organic ‘School & Study Tips’ by Ebony Jordan

24-hour Mental Health Triage         1300 661 323

Headspace Horsham (12-25 years) 5381 1543; general information about motivation https://headspace.org.au/blog/how-to-get-motivated-when-youre-not-feeling-it/

Grampians Community Health       53587400

LOCAL Rural Outreach                     1300 688 732

Sexual Assault & Family Violence 1800 806 292

GP Helpline                                        18000 022 222

BeyondBlue                                       1300 224 636

Kids Help Line (5-25 years)            1800 551 800

Suicide Helpline                              1300 651 251

Lifeline                                              131 114

Life after learning

And don’t forget to remind your child there is life after Year 12 exams! Whatever your child wants to do with their life, there’s always a way for them to achieve their dreams. If they have determination and a positive attitude, and are willing to do whatever it takes, they can always get where they want to go – they might just have to take a different route to get there From Better Health Channel, June 2020 Victoria State Government.

 


Results of DLO customer survey 2020

Thank you to the participants who provided opinions about our business which will be used continually to improve our service to best meet your needs.

 

About Des Lardner’s Organic Result

2018

Result

2019

Result

2020

Q1 Opportunity of contacting the store by telephone when necessary 89.6 87 94
Q2 General appearance of the store (cleanliness) 93.7 100 98
Q3 Availability of privacy where you could speak without being overheard, if needed) 87.5 99 98
Q4 Extent to which your personal information is kept confidential by staff 89.4 99 92

 

About the Staff (whom you just saw) Result

2018

Result

2019

Result

2020

 
Q5 Overall satisfaction with my discussion with the staff was…. 94.1 100 96  
Q6 The initial greeting by the staff was… 98.7 100 96  
Q7 On this visit I would rate the staff’s ability to really listen to me as.. 93.8 99 96  
Q8 The staff’s explanations of things to me were… 89 99 96  
Q9 The extent to which I trust this person is… 94 94 98  
Q10 The opportunity the staff gave me to express my concerns or fears was… 90 98 93  
Q11 My confidence in this staff member’s knowledge of medicine and health products is… 90.3 98 98  
Q12 The respect shown to me by this person was… 93.3 100 90  
                Other Issues Result

2018

Result

2019

Result

2020

Q13 The information provided by this store about how to prevent illness and healthy (skin care, health risks, weight loss, diet habits) was… 86.3 100 97

Finally

Q14 My overall satisfaction with this business 92.3 99 94

 

How old are you? Are you: How often do you visit the store?
Under 30  3%         Female   77%            Less than 5 times      13%
          30-59       58%         Male       23%           5-10 times                   38%
         60 plus     45%             More than 10 times  49%

 


About Hayfever and Allergies

 

Spring is just around the corner and with days lengthening rapidly and temperatures promised to increase, it’s a great time of the year for most of us. However, growing numbers of allergy patients however, don’t look forward to spring at all. For those with individuals with allergies, the increase in pollens and flower scents in the wind only add to their misery: Symptoms like runny noses, itchy roof of the mouth and weeping, red, bloodshot eyes, tell us the sadder side of spring. If you are one of those who suffer during spring then now is the time to act, before spring symptoms start in earnest. Our naturopaths experience is that allergy is best treated early, so book an appointment with our naturopaths Emily or Ebony today, before the full  hayfever season hits in earnest.

An inflammatory response is responsible for common hay fever symptoms including:

  • Itchy eyes and nose,
  • Nasal congestion,
  • Sneezing,
  • Watery eyes,
  • Dark circles of puffy eyes,
  • Itchy throat or ears,
  • Ear congestion,
  • Postnasal drip,
  • Headaches,
  • Wheezing or coughing and
  • Hives or itchy skin

 

 

Treatments for Hay Fever        

Our treatment includes products like Flavoblend, a powder containing Bromelain, an ingredient from pineapple, that breaks down allergenic substances in the stomach to prevent these substances causing allergies, Flavoblend also contains Vitamin C which stablilizes mast cells, a major cause of allergy. Fusion allergy is also helpful, it’s a 400 year old Chinese remedy for allergies.

Conventional treatments for hay fever include cortisone nasal sprays and antihistamine medications (which block the effects of histamine), these treatments simply suppress your immune response and your symptoms will return once you stop taking the medication.

An approach which aims to address the underlying cause of immune system hyperactivity, and builds immune tolerance, is most effective for managing hay fever and ensuring long term relief from symptoms.

Immune tolerance can be improved by supporting the functioning of the immune system and boosting your body’s production of immune cells (called T regulatory cells). Research indicates there is a connection between the gut microbiome and immune reactivity, therefore treatment which addresses gut health is also important. Stress also plays a key role in immune system health. Findings ways to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins and manage stress is crucial for building immune tolerance.

 

What can I do?

Our top tips for managing hay fever naturally:

  1. Once you have Hay fever symptoms ensure you are COVID-19 tested , if you have no further symptoms during the season no need to be retested. However if symptoms increase or change ensure you are retested.
  2. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet including fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wild-caught fish and organic, free-range meat, and gluten-free grains (e.g. quinoa, buckwheat, millet).
  3. Avoid histamine foods such as tomato, pickled foods (e.g. kimchi, sauerkraut), and fruits high in histamines such as papaya, kiwi fruit, grapes and plums.
  4. Consume immune-building and gut repairing medicinal mushrooms such as reishi and shiitake, and medicinal herbs such as baical skullcap and perilla.
  5. Find useful ways to manage stress (e.g. exercise, walks in nature, listening to music, breathing techniques, or mindfulness meditation).
  6. Download ‘Melbourne Pollen Count’ app to help monitor days where your symptoms may be worse than others due to high amounts of pollen in the air.

 

How we can help                     

If you’d like a customised, holistic treatment plan to help improve your immune tolerance and manage hay fever naturally, call 0353827766 and book a consultation with our Naturopaths.

Our naturopaths are amongst the best in their field.  They use cutting edge research, technology and testing to guide there patients to improved health.  To ensure the best results, our approach is personalised and integrates diet, lifestyle and nutritional advice.  For more information on personalising a treatment plan to treat your hay fever contact us today.


Where Did My Motivation Go? Reflections on major social change and isolation

As a health professional operating throughout the covid-19 pandemic, I had the chance to make some interesting and perplexing observations of both myself and my clients. I found the advent of social isolation and restrictions a fascinating study in human behaviour. For example: How many people have done the opposite to what they thought they would do, given more time away from work and other people’s influences, especially with health goals? How many have reverted to old habits or even established new ones that didn’t exist before e.g. having a sneaky drink every night to unwind or eating foods that they would normally avoid? From my observations, I would say the answer is ‘oodles of people’. One of the consequences we have seen is a surge of weight gain in the population, we even cheekily refer to it as the dreaded ‘covid-kilos.’ These reflections are not a judgement, but simply a prompt for further questions on why this is the case for so many people.

On pondering these questions, I have come up with two likely explanations:

  1. The lack of opportunity to forward plan and set goals undermines our capacity to stay focussed and on track. When our ‘goal posts’ are taken away, it begs the questions what do we aim for? What is the point if there is no measurable outcome or achievement to gauge the end point? Also, and possibly most importantly, why do it if I don’t need to, who will hold me accountable, who will even see me or notice? This leaves us with the proverbial ‘if a tree falls in the forest’ scenario, if there is no one there to perceive what has happened, it makes us question whether it really matters what choices we make for ourselves.
  2. Stress overrides all. The biological process of our stress response can have us going into survival mode for self-preservation and the protection of loved ones. The choices we make under these circumstances are often far different from ones that we would make in a privileged situation where we are purely aiming for optimal health. Furthermore, the psychological and mindset obstacles that exist within us will inevitably trip us up and hijack our efforts under stressful circumstances, if left unaddressed.

In an earlier blog, I outlined the many obstacles to weight loss. As we have noticed the ‘covid-kilos’ creep on, I thought it was a great time to expand the discussion on the psychological and mindset obstacles.

“Self-limiting thoughts, catastrophic thinking, emotional or situational triggers, lack of accurate education and lack of support to implement solutions are all very real obstacles to weight loss.”1,2

Self -limiting thoughts, could also be described as self-sabotage and putting mental restrictions around what you think you can achieve. Some examples of internal stories that people tell them themselves could be that: you are “destined to fail”, you “haven’t been able to maintain motivation before”, “nothing has worked in the past”, your health “is too complex”, you are “too far gone” or “in the too hard basket”, you are “not worthwhile focussing on”, you “do not have the time / resources / will to focus on your own health” and the story of “nurturer” who is so busy focussing on supporting everyone else rather than themselves.

Catastrophic thinking is the old chestnut that everyone has likely experienced, whereby if you make a poor choice for your own health, you’ll continue doing it (and worse) because you figure that you’ve ‘blown it’ anyway. This thought process might sound something like, “I have mucked up already, might as well make the most out of it and write off the rest of the day” (or week…or month). This catastrophic thinking could be in relation to food choices, but also other habits including alcohol consumption, smoking and other recreational drugs.

Emotional or situational triggers can often correlate with eating problems. Note that when I say ‘eating problems’ this includes eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, but also includes disordered eating behaviours like deliberately skipping meals, lack of control over eating, binge eating, emotionally compensating with food and obsessive thoughts around food and exercise.3 Common triggers might be boredom, sadness, perceived stress, hormonal mood changes, certain times of the day, financial stress, family stress, trauma related stress, non-supportive people, but also social pressures like wanting to fit in with the group during celebrations, gatherings or eating times. People that have diagnosable mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and addiction disorders are likely to have additional challenges in implementing weight loss strategies.4,5 World renowned researcher, author and public speaker Doctor Pamela Peeke (MD) has stated that women that have had perceived trauma in their past have a 90% increased risk of an addictive eating pattern6,7 This is an extraordinary and compelling statement to contemplate. It is also backed by research studies that show people who present with disordered eating report a history of traumatic event/s in 80- 98% of cases8,9 , the likelihood of an eating disorder in adulthood also increases with the number of traumas a young person is exposed to.10 We seriously need to consider the impact of sexual abuse, physical abuse and/or the abuse of a close role model when assessing the difficulties and obstacles to achieving optimum health in both women and men. Also, to not discount the death of a significant person, dysfunctional family environments involving drug abuse, incarcerations, separation and divorce in people’s histories as a driving factor for dysfunctional eating behaviours. None of these traumatic events are easily overcome or dismissed. Self-destructive eating behaviours may only be the tip of the iceberg, symptomatic of a more significant underlying cause, requiring much greater support and acknowledgement than just the implementation lifestyle changes.11

If some of these psychological and mindset obstacles are starting to ring a bell for you, maybe it is worth considering that there is more to your issues than meets the eye. The psychological barriers are the ones that we often must overcome and keep working on over a lifetime to maintain any positive results that we have gained and not keep rebounding into old negative habits. Over my twenty plus years of being a Naturopath with a special and personal interest in weight maintenance, I have observed that the psychological aspects of people have been key contributors in compounding weight issues.

So how do we set health goals in the context of stress, lingering restrictions and future uncertainty? Sometimes it is just by putting one foot in front of the other and making some short-term goals as they appear, however small they are. Additionally, by inviting some routine back into life using gateway behaviours like exercising and establishing regular sleeping, eating and relaxation times, you would be opening up the pathway for better health outcomes. It is useful to support that process as needed with detailed professional advice and coaching, and of course mental and emotional assistance by health professionals that are qualified to do so. Getting the additional professional support that you require is a key to success because it:

  • provides a way to gain clear information and guidelines, plus external acknowledgement, accountability and feedback for you to define your particular issues and aims
  • helps to monitor your progress in achieving short-term and longer-term goals through standardised assessments
  • helps refer you to other services that are more specialised for your needs
  • helps you to reassess your goals along the way using realistic timeframes, so you can continue to do well.

While motivation and focus may have waned across the board recently, now is the time to reflect, take stock and edge towards a healthier version of yourself. Remembering to be kind to yourself and seek help through that process.

Written by Emily Grieger – Naturopath.

References

1.Fuemmeler BF, Dedert E, McClernon FJ, Beckham JC. Adverse childhood events are associated with obesity and disordered eating: results from a U.S. population-based survey of young adults. J Trauma Stress. 2009;22(4):329-333.

2.Kelley CP, Sbrocco G, Sbrocco T. Behavioural modification for the management of obesity. Primary Care. 2016;43(1):159-175.

3.Grieger E. Obstacles to Weight Loss. Des Lardner’s Organic Natural Health Clinic. 2020 Mar 4. https://deslardnerorganic.com.au/obstacles-to-weight-loss/

4.Rajan T, Menon V. Psychiatric disorders and obesity: A review of association studies. J Postgrad Med. 2017;63(3):182-190.

5.Grieger E. Obstacles to Weight Loss. Des Lardner’s Organic Natural Health Clinic. 2020 Mar 4. https://deslardnerorganic.com.au/obstacles-to-weight-loss/

6.Peeke P. Obesity: Science and Challenges. Presentation at the 2018 International Congress of Natural Medicine, Pullman and Mercure Melbourne, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. 2018 Jun 9.

7.Mason SM, Flint AJ, Field AE, Austin SB, Rich-Edwards JW. Abuse victimization in childhood or adolescence and risk of food addiction in adult women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013;21(12):E775-E781.

8.Mitchell KS, Mazzeo SE, Schlesinger MR, Brewerton TD, Smith BN. Comorbidity of partial and subthreshold ptsd among men and women with eating disorders in the national comorbidity survey-replication study. Int J Eat Disord. 2012;45(3):307-315.

9.Tagay S, Schlottbohm E, Reyes-Rodriguez ML, Repic N, Senf W. Eating disorders, trauma, PTSD, and psychosocial resources. Eat Disord. 2014;22(1):33-49.

10.Hemingsson E, Johansson K, Reynisdottir S. Effects of childhood abuse on adult obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2014 Nov;15(11):882-93.

11.Breland JY, Donalson R, Dinh JV, Maguen S. Trauma exposure and disordered eating: A qualitative study. Women Health. 2018;58(2):160-174.


5 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep And Faster Recovery During a Cold or Flu…

 

No. 1. Try a CPAP Humidifier

When you have a cold, the air blown into your nostrils by your CPAP machine can be unbearable.

A heated humidifier helps relieve dryness and congestion by heating the water in your machine. Even without a cold, your CPAP therapy may be enhanced by using a heated humidifier. Many CPAP machines now come with a built-in humidifier. You can also use humidifiers that attach to your machine or a stand-alone humidifier in your room may provide relief.

 

No. 2. Use a Full-Face Mask

Using a nasal mask during a cold may be uncomfortable. Especially if your nose is blocked, you’re more likely to breathe through your mouth which will affect your CPAP therapy.

A full face mask allows you to breathe through either your nose or mouth and is more comfortable during a cold compared to a nasal mask or nasal pillows.

If you suffer from allergies or regular colds having the option of a full-face mask is worth the investment.

Important to know also when to replace your mask and this is generally 6 to 12 months and headgear just as often, there are 5 signs to tell when your CPAP mask needs replacing:

  1. Not feeling as refreshed as you would normally or your therapy results are decreasing;
  2. The mask’s seal, which covers your nose and mouth, is originally clear and strong however with regular use becomes discoloured and does not provide a sufficient seal.
  3. Waking up with a dry mouth sometimes can be a sign that your mask needs replacing as air leaks cause a fluctuation in the mask’s air pressure and your mouth opens to compensate.
  4. If the mask becomes loose, because of overtightening and the pressure may leave temporary grooves or irritation on your skin.
  5. If the elastic is torn, worn out or lost shape which occurs overtime due to sweating, movement, tightening and cleaning. Replace your mask.

 

 

 

No. 3. Change Your Sleeping Position

Raise your head with extra pillows or a wedge pillow will assist you greatly especially if you have postnasal drip that can build up and make your throat sore. If it’s comfortable to do so, try sleeping on your side if your nose is blocked.

Sinus pressure improves when your head is higher than your body.

 

No. 4. Try Decongestants or Nasal Sprays

Cold and flu tablets or nasal sprays can help keep your nasal passages clear.

There are lots of over the counter cold and flu tablets. Make sure your symptoms match what is listed on the box.

It’s best to ask your GP/pharmacist about the right medication to relieve your symptoms. Here at Des Lardner’s Organic we can also provide a range of products that may assist.

 

 

 

No. 5. Change Your Air Pressure

You may need additional air pressure as part of your CPAP therapy if you have a blocked nose.

An easy way to do this is to use an auto-adjusting CPAP machine.

Traditional CPAP machines blow a single flow of air whereas an auto CPAP machine uses algorithms to blow pressure at automatically regulated intervals.

Auto CPAP machines only blow the minimum pressure needed to keep your airway open while you sleep.

 If you suffer from colds regularly or you have seasonal allergies it may be worth investing in an auto CPAP machine for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

You may be tempted to take a break from CPAP when you have a cold. The good news is that you don’t have to. Following these simple tips not only helps you endure your CPAP therapy with a cold, it will also help you recover more quickly. Remember to clean your CPAP machine thoroughly during and after your cold.

If you require assistance during this phase don’t hesitate to call Sleep Therapist, Julie Rees or Des Lardner, on ph: 03 53 827 766.

 


Probiotics and Immunity

Up to 70% of your immune system is located within your gut, therefore taking probiotics can directly influence your immune system and strengthen your defenses against cold and flu.

Studies show probiotics confer protection against bacterial, viral and pathogenic infections in a number of ways:

  • By managing inflammation,
  • By directly killing or neutralising pathogens,
  • By managing the overgrowth of pathogenics or opportunistic bacteria by competing for space,
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM®) strain interacts with specific immune cells which help to module the immune response,
  • Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (HN019™) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001™) both improve natural killer cell activity; natural killer cells recognise and kill the cells in someone’s body that have been infected by viruses or tumours.
  • Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (HN019™), Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001™) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-07) improve the activity of phagocytes, such as neutrophils and monocytes, which are like Pac-Man and protect the body by engulfing bacteria and dead or dying cells.

Not all probiotics are the same.

Probiotics have long names to identify exactly what type of organism is in your supplement. The first name is called the genus of the bacterium, and is most commonly Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. The second name is called the species (e.g. acidophilus), the species narrows down the bacterium class but clinically doesn’t give you enough information. The most important part of the name is the strain; the letters and/or numbers at the end of the name (e.g. NCFM®). This tells us exactly which probiotic was used in clinical studies, and ensures you have that exact same strain in your supplement to mimic a similar treatment outcome. Probiotics can help to manage a number of different conditions such as allergies, mood, diarrhoea, constipation, leaky gut, cardiovascular disease and infections. Therefore, it is essential that you choose the correct strain for you and the health condition you are aiming to treat.

In combination with a strain-specific probiotic we recommend a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets containing a large variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grain fibres every day ensures you are consuming a diverse range of prebiotic foods to feed your probiotics and support a healthy microbiome. Other microbiome enhancing foods include cultured and fermented foods such as yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir. In a consultation we may also prescribe the additional prebiotic herbal medicines high in polysaccharides like Slippery Elm, Guar Gum, Astragalus and Codonopsis.

To find out which strain-specific probiotic supplement is right for you to support your immune system this Winter, contact our staff or book a personal consultation with one of our qualified practitioners.

 

Written by Ebony Jordan, Naturopath

 

 


Move your body, Calm your mind – Part 2

So how did you go? Was it easy to delve through the clutter of your life and decide what you want moving forward?

One way that we have been doing this at Evoke Kinesiology is through movement and meditation. Two groups of people have joined forces and every day they are active in some way and take time to meditate. Each person has an accountability partner and what has been born is something so beautiful. A group of people – bettering themselves. No judgement, no pressure, just commitment to themselves and THEIR one precious life.

These groups were created to encourage and support people in being the best version of themselves. Because to make the best decisions for our lives – we need to be the best version of ourselves. And we cannot be the best version of ourselves when we are living life for others, not moving, living in mind chaos and are knee deep in addictions, conflict and unhealthy habits.

It’s simple. Our minds don’t work properly if we don’t look after our bodies that house them! So we need to do habitual practices that support our mental and physical health – which in turn will support all other aspects of our lives.

And in the groups the results have been astounding.

‘I’m making time for me’

‘I feel whole again’

‘I can breathe again’

‘I consider myself as a person’

‘I feel safe to be me’

‘I feel connected’

‘It’s ok to be vulnerable’

‘I deserve to love my life’

‘My body loves to move – and my head loves me more for loving my body too’

‘I unconditionally matter’.

 

Wow. And these are your everyday people you see walking down the street. That had lost that they too were important.

It’s allowed everyone to decide what they are taking with them in their backpacks.

‘No more ‘busyness’’

‘The importance of taking ‘time out for me’

‘Connecting to others’

‘Saying no’

An understanding in the strength of having a community of raw, honest, genuine and true people

‘A decision to leave the ‘fixing’ and ‘dragging’ of others behind’

‘I’m slowing my mind post Corona’

‘Put effort into making REAL friendships’

 

At the beginning, these practices brought up all sorts of fears, judgements and excuses. But each person kept delving, kept moving, kept meditating. Because they trusted that it was the road to being the best version of themselves. The countless academic papers and research on the positive benefits of movement and meditation can’t all be wrong? Can they?

And when you work on yourself, some cool stuff will happen. Some people around you will be inspired and jump on board, others will drift off into the distance – because they don’t vibe with you anymore, and others will find their way into your life and birth relationships you could never have dreamt of. But it will all feel right, and it will flow. The ‘heaviness’ and torment out of decisions will go.

We are souls in a human body. We have to look after our human body. It is a vehicle for movement. It is the key to a healthy mind.

So please. Do what you have to do to ensure a healthy mind and body. Spend the money you need to spend. Take the time you need to take. Because I assure you – you will find a reward no greater than that of a life lived for you. That is probably one of the most important aspects of mental health – looking after you.

Arnna Pickering


Move your body, Calm your mind – Part 1

Move your body, Calm your mind – Part 1

Last week I wrote about Self Sabotage and provided some suggestions of how you can support others going through this. But what about you? What do you need?

On April 16, I wrote a post on my Facebook business page (Evoke Kinesiology) asking everyone to take time to stop, think and decide what they want to take into their world post – Corona. Have a read:

And now we sit. And we wait.

In a portal.

Where we get to decide.

We get to decide what we take with us. Into our new life post virus.

We entered this portal with so much baggage. Unhelpful, life hindering, mentally draining baggage.

The world was going too fast.
The “busyness”
The lost connection with our inner sanctum – within our homes.
External happiness and Internal anguish.
Always “doing” and forgetting to “be”.
Old programming and new “must haves”
Ineffective communication. Anger and fear in our voice.
Ancestral trauma and Mental illness.
Physical illness and Stress. Oh so much stress.
Toxic relationships and Emotional manipulation.
Procrastination. So much procrastination. Avoidance and. Disconnection.
Life dissatisfaction.

We forgot what really mattered. Became clouded with our own crap.

For some – it feels like their world is imploding. For others – it’s a chance to stop. Either way we are being called to sort our crap.

What an amazing opportunity.

So now beautiful human you get to choose what’s going into your backpack? What are you taking forward?

Are you going to keep communicating the same as you’ve always done? Even though it ends in frustration, tears and pain? Or are you going to finally work through why you have this as your automated setting?

What toxic relationships do you need to lovingly say goodbye too?
What relationships do you need to embrace and been thankful every day for?
Which friends have shown their true colours and been with you through this challenging time? Is there room for them?
What family patterns/trauma are you ready to rid yourself of?
What passion do you keep putting off? Is it time to reconnect?
What are your new and heart felt priorities for you and your little family?

We get a chance amazing souls – to start again. Walk through to our new normal with fresh eyes and a fresh start.

So sit in this portal with purpose. Break down your walls. Deal with your crap. And just like Dora, pack your bag with what matters most and how you want to this one precious life to be.”

 

So how did you go? Did you feel uncomfortable whilst reading any of that? Did any thing or person pop into your mind as you read the reflection questions?

Through this pandemic we have been gifted a golden opportunity to slow and work out what we want moving forward.

Time to: De-schedule. Delve. Decide.

Wipe the calendar clean. Sit in the clutter of our lives. And decide what we want to take with us.

Next week, I’ll share with you what we have been doing at Evoke Kinesiology to help determine what we want moving forward. But in the meantime – sit down with a pen and paper and answer the questions above. What do YOU want for you? No one else. Not your family, not your kids – Just you. Remember – if we base our life on doing life solely for others – we breed resentment.

So go on. Sit. Delve. And Decide.