Self Sabotage

Arnna Pickering

A born and bred Mallee girl, Arnna has worked within the health industry since she was 15 years old. With a Science, Nursing and Public Health background – Arnna specialised in child and youth mental health for ten years before becoming a Kinesiologist and opening her own practice, Evoke Kinesiology, after the birth of her son. As a Kinesiologist, Arnna guides you, in a non-intrusive way, to identify and help you work through all that is stopping you from living the life you want – from pain, to emotions and more. Arnna is real, raw and honest and is committed to taking the stigma out of mental health.

Talking about it – Part 1

For me, one of the biggest barriers towards people willingly talking about mental health – is the term itself.

In your mind say the two phrases ‘mental health’ and ‘physical health’. What do you feel when you say them both? What are your thoughts?

For the majority – the following exists:

Physical Health – is just that. Health and wellness for your physical body. It isn’t either good nor bad. It just is. These words don’t evoke any fear, anxiety or stigma.

But Mental Health – this phrase can be quite polarising. Still, today, the term mental gets attached to other words like ‘psycho’ and ‘mad’; and it is also used as a label for emotional outbursts – ‘oh my goodness, she just went mental’.


Maybe it’s because people can still recall the mental asylums that existed until the mid 1990’s. Places where those with mental illnesses were cared for. On the large, they weren’t warming and inviting environments and have been depicted in media as ‘clinical, cold and ghastly places, with corridors full of screaming and moaning inpatients’. Not at all a positive picture huh?

So for me, it makes sense that one of the reasons people avoid the topic of ‘mental health’ – is because of the stigma attached.

Now, couple that with the archaic cultural and societal belief that if you show any mental and/or emotional vulnerability then you must be weak and soft and not able to ‘handle’ life.

So, see why we have a boiling pot of mental ‘un’wellness.

Now be a bloke, it’s even harder for them. Because ‘boys don’t cry’, ‘just suck it up’ and ‘stop being a sook’. Get the drift?

Mental health is hard for people to talk about it. And there are many reasons why.

Whilst the ad campaigns, the ambassadors and the not for profit organisations are doing a phenomenal job in encouraging people to speak out – it just doesn’t seem to be reaching everyone.


Because sometimes, those people that need mental health support have internal programming that stops them from accessing it. Maybe they’ve been told as a young person ‘we don’t talk about family stuff out of the family’, or they’ve witnessed their Mother being taken away to hospital because she ‘lost her mind’, or the gender roles within their family have dictated that ‘at all costs you provide the income’. Additionally, there may be ancestral trauma, frozen emotions, sub-personalities, adrenal stress, co-dependency and let’s not forget fear; paralyzing fear.

The reason why someone won’t speak is very rarely because they are lazy – it’s because the fear of speaking out is greater than any perceived benefit gained from talking. And in Kinesiology terms, this is what is known as self sabotage: when despite the path that you need to take for your own health and wellness being crystal clear – you do the complete opposite – and it keeps happening time and time again. People sabotage themselves and their lives daily. And mostly without knowing. It can happen in all aspects of your life – from eating to relationships, communication and exercise – not just in regards to seeking help.

Want to know more about this – pop back next week for Part 2!

Obstacles to Weight Loss


The struggle is real for those grappling with weight issues. If I could have a penny for every time some ‘normal weight’ but well-meaning person has said “it’s simple to lose weight, all you have to do is eat a balanced diet and exercise”, well I’d be a millionaire by now. The reality is that it is not as simple as that for many people and there are so many obstacles to weight loss. Some of these obstacles are well known and others not so much. My motivation for writing about this topic is personal, in that I’d like to see that the myths and stigmas about weight management are dispelled. Additionally, I think that even commonly held knowledge about the topic requires some rethinking. For example, I don’t believe that the solution to weight loss is as simple as calorie restriction and this is confirmed by current research.1  I’d like to open the subject for discussion in the hope that it may help to offset the misunderstanding and judgement that being overweight is ‘your own fault’ and solely your responsibility to fix. This unhealthy and inaccurate mindset can become a deeply held belief in the psyche of those who are overweight that they are ‘guilty’, ‘lazy’, ‘helpless’ and ‘lack self-control’. These thoughts can become a soul-destroying, negative thought pattern that is absolutely counterproductive to the process of finding optimum wellbeing.2 There are such a variety of factors working against those individuals, internally and externally, many of which they have very little chance of controlling, especially if they do not have someone to help them identify and understand their own particular obstacles to weight loss.

Over my 22 years of practice I have heard so many people’s stories where they genuinely have tried so many methods for losing excess body weight without lasting success. In fact, some of the most self-disciplined and fit people I know carry extra weight and struggle with maintaining it. Unfortunately, this is a difficult for those without this predicament to accept and understand. When you stop to consider how complex this all is, it is no wonder that there is so much confusion around the topic.

If you are not yet convinced on the complexity of this problem, some key issues that can be obstacles to weight loss include, but are not limited to:

  • Carbohydrate intolerance / Insulin resistance – this may be experienced as fluctuating blood sugar and hunger levels, sleepiness after eating, weight gain particularly around the waistline, fatigue especially while exercising.3
  • High stress / Cortisol imbalance – this may present as feeling anxious or ‘on edge’, having higher blood pressure and poorer sleep.4
  • Poor thyroid gland function – some symptoms of low thyroid function include thinning hair and eyebrows, intolerance to cold, low libido, poor concentration, weight gain, difficulty losing weight despite efforts to do so, fatigue, dry skin and constipation.5
  • Female or male hormonal changes and imbalances – some instances when hormonal changes will negatively affect weight loss efforts include: testosterone deficiency in men and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.6,7
  • Poor sleep – long term poor sleep patterns can change the way your body uses sugars (decreases insulin sensitivity), can increase stress hormones and disrupt the Leptin cycle (important for appetite control)8,9
  • Toxicity – some types of chemical exposures have been linked with obesity and hormone disruption, they are collectively named “Obesogens”. Some examples of obesogens include: Persistent organic pollutants (chemical that have been used in agriculture such as organochlorine pesticides, DDT and PCBs), plastics and plasticisers (BisphenolA, phthalates) and flame retardants (Polybrominated diphenylethers) and there are many more.10
  • Gut and/or liver dysfunction – The liver is the organ that processes fats, waste products, toxins and therefore is critical for effective fat regulation. The state of your microbiome (gut bacteria and microflora) can influence your body weight. For instance, the presence of certain gut bacteria may influence what food choices you make, as shown in recent studies! A good variety of gut bacteria can improve insulin sensitivity, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions like metabolic syndrome which is often characterised by excess body fat.11,12,13,14
  • Inflammatory conditions and processes – inflammation can occur generally, as well as in specific areas of the body. If inflammation is ongoing, it can lead to changes that impact body weight regulation. This would include conditions like osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome, autoimmune conditions, type 2 diabetes and thyroiditis.15,16
  • Genetic factors – there have been certain gene variants that have been associated with an increased risk of being overweight or obese. There are also epigenetic factors (i.e. gene changes that have happened after conception and over the lifespan) that can modify genes to make a person more prone to weight issues.17
  • Physiological differences – there is an increasing amount of research evidence to indicate that there is a mechanism in many overweight individuals to preserve their own fat mass i.e. your body recognises a certain weight to be your ‘norm’ and will alter your responses to keep it there. This physiological mechanism will keep individuals at a high ‘set point’ for their weight and slow or stop them from losing extra body fat.18,19,20

We also must be aware that there are multiple psychological and mindset obstacles to weight loss. 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.21 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.22,23

Moving passed your obstacles can be tricky business, but the first step in this process is to find out what they are! It is important if you identify with any of the issues above that you get accurately assessed by your doctor and healthcare professionals. They will be able to guide you towards investigations and tests that may need to be performed for a proper diagnosis. Importantly, they will take into account your results, symptoms and health history and be able to interpret all of that information for you. Naturopaths may suggest further functional tests, alongside your medical assessment by your doctor. It is essential to get the help you require for identifying your weight loss obstacles and then to use that information to come up with a plan to address these obstacles. You may be suggested to consider specific prescription medications, dietary and lifestyle changes. It is useful to support that process as needed with detailed nutritional advice, herbal medicines, coaching, ongoing monitoring and emotional support. A key to success is having a plan with goals and time frames in mind, implementing these changes as you can, getting the additional professional support that you require for your specific obstacles and reassessing your goals as you reach them. Remember that there is no quick fix solution that will last a lifetime! In identifying your own obstacles to weight loss, there is an opportunity to seek individualised advice and to find realistic ways to get to your health goals.

written by Emily Grieger – Naturopath.

  1. Schwartz MW, Seeley RJ, Zeltser LM, Drewnowski A, Ravussin E, Redman LM, et al. Obesity pathogenesis: an Endocrine Society Scientific Statement.Endocr Rev. 2017 Aug 1;38(4):267-296.
  2. Hunger JM, Major B, Blodorn A, Miller CT. Weighed down by stigma: how weight-based social identity threat contributes to weight gain and poor health. Sc Personal Psychol Compass. 2015;9(6):255-268.
  3. Volek J. The Cardiometabolic benefits of a low carbohydrate/ketogenic eating plan. The 2015 International Congress on Natural Medicine. Melbourne, 06/06/2015.
  4. Ferris HA, Kahn CR. New mechanisms of glucocorticoid-induced insulin resistance: make no bones about it. J Clin Invest. 2012 Nov;122(11):3854-7.
  5. De Lange P, Cioffi F, Silvestri E, Moreno M, Goglia F, Lanni A. (Healthy) ageing: focus on iodothyronines. Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Jul 4;14(7):13873-92.
  6. Huhtaniemi IT. Andropause-lessons from the European Male Ageing Study. Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2014 May;75(2):128-31.
  7. Peeke,P. Obesity: Science and Challenges. The 2018 International Congress on Natural Medicine, Day 1. Metagenics. 2018 June 9;1:127.
  8. Brady EM, Bodicoat DH, Hall AP, Khunti K, Yates T, Edwardson C, et al. Sleep duration, obesity and insulin resistance in a multi-ethnic UK population at high risk of diabetes. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2018 May;139:195-202.
  9. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. 2004 Dec;1(3):e62.
  10. Darbre PD. Endocrine Disruptors and Obesity. Current Obesity Reports. 2017;6(1):18-27.
  11. Volk BM, et al. Effects of step-wise increases in dietary carbohydrates on circulating saturated Fatty Acids and palmitoleic Acid in adults with metabolic syndrome. PLoS One. 2014 Nov21;9(11):e113605.
  12. Alcock J, Maley CC, Aktipis CA. Is eating behaviour manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. Bioessays. 2014 Oct;36(10):940-9.
  13. Suez J, et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 2014 Oct9;514(7521):181-6.
  14. Andreasen AS, et al. Effects of Lactobacillus acidopholus NCFM on insulin sensitivity and the systemic inflammatory response in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2010 Dec;104(12):1831-8.
  15. Hotamisligil GS. Inflammation and metabolic disorders. Nature. 2006 Dec14;444(7121):860-7.
  16. Kim JA, Montagnani M, Koh KK, Quon MJ. Reciprocal relationships between insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction: molecular and pathophysiological mechanisms. Circulation. 2006 Apr 18;113(15):1888-904.
  17. Den Hoed M, Loos RJF. In: Bray GA, Bouchard C, Boca Raton FL eds. Handbook of Obesity. CRC Press. 2014;1(3rd ed):105-119.
  18. Schwartz et al. Ibid.
  19. Speakman JR, Levitsky DA, Allison DB, Bray MS, de Castro JM, Clegg DJ, et al. Set points, settling points and some alternative models: theoretical options to understand how genes and environments combine to regulate body adiposity. Dis Model Mech. 2011 Nov;4(6):733-45.
  20. Rosenbaum M, Leibel RL. Brain reorganization following weight loss. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2012;73:1-20.
  21. Kelley CP, Sbrocco G, Sbrocco T. Behavioural modification for the management of obesity. Primary Care. 2016;43(1):159-175.
  22. Rajan T, Menon V. Psychiatric disorders and obesity: A review of association studies. J Postgrad Med. 2017;63(3):182-190.
  23. 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.


The G-O with Keto- Myth Busting the Ketogenic diet

What is the ketogenic diet?


The ketogenic diet, commonly known as ‘keto’, is very-low carbohydrate, high-fat diet that encourages the body to metabolise fat for energy instead of glucose. When prescribing the keto diet to patients we recommend your daily energy intake from food to be consumed in specific ratios in order to achieve a state of fat metabolism, called ketosis. We recommend 50-60% of your daily energy intake (kilojoules) to come fat sources, 30% of your energy to come from proteins, and 10-20% of your energy intake to come from carbohydrates. When converting this to grams, the Standard Australian Diet (SAD) contains approximately 45% carbohydrates which equates to about 229 grams of carbohydrates daily. In comparison to the keto diet, which is restricted to as little as 50 grams of carbohydrates daily- a significant difference.

“Ketone bodies are produced as an alternative fuel source to glucose when sugars and carbohydrates are restricted from the diet. These ketone bodies can be measured via breath, blood or urine as an indicator of fat mobilization.”


This restriction of carbohydrates forces the mitochondria, the engines within your cells, to create energy from fat (in the form of ketone bodies) rather than from carbohydrates (glucose). Once your body begins to run efficiently in this fat burning state, it is called ketosis. The keto diet is one of the only diets that you can immediately scientifically measure if you are successfully achieving your goal- a state of ketosis. Urinary strips, breath tests and blood tests are available that can measure the amount of ketone bodies you are producing, so it is easier to get on track and stay on track than other popular diets. Additionally, ketosis can produce more energy per ketone body than per glucose molecule, therefore people of a keto diet often report feeling more energetic, less fatigued, and they find they feel fuller for longer.

What does the ketogenic diet look like on your plate?


I know what you are thinking, “Wow, 60% fat and 30% protein, that leaves no room for vegetables”. This is not the case. The ratios we use when we talk about the energy intake of each macronutrient doesn’t look the same on your plate…..

Below, is an example of what the keto diet looks like on your plate. Surprisingly, you can fit a large amount of non-starchy vegetables into this diet. The reason for this, is fat sources contain a lot of energy per gram, therefore your fat sources of food will look smaller on your plate, but weigh more. Compared to vegetable sources, which are often very low in energy per gram, particular non-starchy vegetables; non-starchy vegetables are typically watery vegetables grown above the ground, compared to starchy root vegetables grown under the ground. So you can still eat a good amount of vegetables on a keto diet and nutritionally receive more bang for your buck!

Visually your plate should still be made up of at least half non-starchy vegetables, a palm size of protein, and 2 sources of fats in the form of a dressing, sauce, side (like avocado or feta) or oily fish.


A keto diet is high in protein- MYTH

It is a common misconception that the keto diet is high in protein. The diet consists of a moderate amount of protein, approximately 30%, and a high amount of fat 50-60%. Too much protein can cause gut irritation and constipation in some people, and it can sometimes throw a patient out of ketosis. This is because proteins in the body can be converted to glucose for energy. Therefore if a patient overeats, it allows your cellular engines to utilise glucose for energy, rather than fat, pushing you back out of a ketogenic metabolic state.

The ketogenic diet is not safe- MYTH

A common concern our patients have about the ketogenic diet is that restricting an entire macronutrient food group could be unsafe for health. Clinically we have observed the opposite effect. We find that excessive sugar and carbohydrate consumption drives all sorts of inflammatory health conditions such as acne, IBS, anxiety, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Recent studies have shown the ketogenic diet to be safe, and even beneficial results in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • acne
  • autism and other spectrum disorders
  • autoimmune disorders
  • cancer
  • depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
  • epilepsy
  • metabolic disorders (including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes)
  • neurological and neurodegenerative disorders (including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease)
  • overweight and obesity

Side effects and complications are uncommon however, constipation, reflux, and dairy intolerance-type symptoms have been known. There is also mixed evidence in those with Type 1 diabetes, and we do not recommend in pregnancy and lactation. We recommend speaking to a health professional before pursuing a keto diet.

Everyone should be on a keto diet- MYTH

No diet is ‘one-size fits all’. Depending on your constitution, body type and health concerns it may or may not be the right diet for you. There are many factors that may influence how easily an individual’s body enters ketosis. Some of these factors include; individual tolerance of blood sugars, physical activity levels, variations in the body’s ability to metabolise and ulitise ketone bodies for energy, eating windows, and total kilojoule intake. In some cases, we may prescribe additional supplements to assist the ketosis transition such as ketone salt supplementation, medium-chained triglyceride oil (MCT oil), fish oils, glucose and carbohydrate metabolism support, and protein powders. Ask your practitioner for assistance with the ketogenic diet if you are measuring ketone bodies and find you are not entering a state of ketosis.

Eating fat will increase my cholesterol levels- MYTH

Clinically we have observed the opposite effect. We find that highly refined, processed carbohydrates and sugars impact cholesterol levels in a more negative way than a ketogenic diet.  Scientifically and clinically it has been observed that in some individuals their total cholesterol levels may rise temporarily, however, when monitored over time cholesterol levels appear to regulate and reduce to a healthier ratio, becoming more protective for health. Differences may be seen however depending on the food sources one may be consuming their dietary fats from i.e. ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ food choices.

You can eat as much fat as you want on a keto diet- MYTH

Yes, the keto diet is rich in fats, however it doesn’t give you a license to eat as much bacon, butter and diary as you wish without health consequences. As Naturopaths we see two different styles of the ketogenic diet, of which we consider a ‘Dirty Keto’ and a ‘Clean Keto’ diet. The ‘Dity Keto’ contains a large amount of saturated and trans fats like bacon, animal fat, sausages and dairy. We do not recommend this diet as studies show these foods can clog your arteries causing atherosclerosis, and increase risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke. We recommend a ‘Clean keto’ which incorporates healthier unsaturated and polyunsaturated fat contains foods like olive oil, avocadoes, rolled flaxseeds, nuts, and oil fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel.

If you are considering trying the ketogenic diet for weight loss or other health reasons, we recommend talking to a health professional first such as a general practitioner, naturopath or nutritionist. If you would like to know more information about the ketogenic diet or other weight loss programs we offer at Des Lardner’s Organic, please contact us on (03) 53827766.

Written by Ebony Jordan, Naturopath

Des Lardner’s Organic

  1. Paoli. A et al, 2014, ‘Nutrition and acne: therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets’, Skin, Pharmacology and Physiology.
  2. Freeman JM, Kossoff EH, Hartman AL. The ketogenic diet: one decade later. Pediatrics 2007;119(3);535-543.
  3. Weber. D et al, 2018, ‘Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy’, Aging (Albany NY), 2018; 10:164-165.
  4. Wloderak. D, 2019, ‘Role of Ketogenic Diets in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease)’, Nutrients, Vol 11, Issue 1, p 169.
  5. Boison. D, 2017, ‘New insights into the mechanisms of the ketogenic diet’, Current Opinion in Neurology. 30(2): pp 187–192.
  6. Samaha. F et al, 2003, ‘A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity’, The New England Journal of Medicine, 348, 2074-2081.

Are You Ready For 2020?

Many of our customers are expressing interest in “New Year Resolutions”, such as, keeping well and avoiding illness. The search for “New Year resolutions” is very commendable, so this month I’ll provide a few suggestions. Some of these come from my community talks, which we often title, “How to live to 120”. To which one elderly commented “If I’d known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself”.

In our clinic we stress three major areas. Good diet, good supplements and good exercise. No two persons will need exactly the same solution in each area. However, in general terms everyone should seek the best compromise, to meet their budget, in time, money and energy.

A good diet should include some “superfoods”. Super foods (or functional foods) we’d like everyone to use, every day, include: Green Tea, rolled flaxseeds, garlic, small fish, sea salt, turmeric, beef broth, red berries, yoghurt, apple cider vinegar, chia, quinoa, rice, beans and lentils, vegetables and fruit. On your food pyramid for the day, about 2/3 at least of your food should be vegetables and fruit for most people and 8 glasses of pure water should be included. We stress the need for organic food, and this is cheapest to achieve if you grow your own food, but this depends on your resources, and the size of your back yard. Ask our practitioners for our booklet “Your guide to Wellness” which gives more specific diet details.

Good supplements should be considered that are produced by ethical companies, with ingredients from sustainable sources. Good supplements will be formulated by experts, not by accountants, as so often happens with discount vitamins.

Good exercise should be exercise that’s easy to maintain wherever you are. Exercise should also contain a way to relax and have fun. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore, aim for 30 minutes fun activity most days a week. Some fun activities could include, helping a neighbour, playing with a pet, spending time in nature, playing sport in the park, going to a yoga class, watch a movie with a friend, see a comedy show, read a book, 10 minutes in the sun, or just deep breathing and meditation. All these activities add balance to our lives, reduce stress and achieve wellness. Ask our practitioners about our wellness wheel, which illustrates in diagram form, how to achieve balance in your life. That’s the key to a great New Year Resolution.

Our entire staff team wishes you good health in the New Year of 2020.


Gratitude – What are 3 Things you are Grateful for?

Adding gratefulness into your daily routine can achieve all of these health benefits.

  • Quality sleep
  • Life satisfaction
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Improved physical health
  • Enhanced mental health
  • Workplace positivity

Gratitude is something I encourage many of my clients to incorporate into their daily routine. It is a fantastic way to slow down and wind down in the evening after a busy day, and to get your mind and body in a positive, calm and relaxed state before bed. I encourage incorporating these moments of reflection by listing three things they are grateful for and discussing them with loved ones around the dinner table, reflecting on them over a cup of sleep promoting herbal tea, or to write about your reflections in a journal.

Practicing gratefulness is about the little things; the lady who smiled at you down the street, the welcoming “hello” from colleagues upon your arrival to work each morning, or the giggle from a child.

Studies have shown that practicing gratitude at least once a week for 10 weeks can have a positive impact on the following aspects of health:

  • Sleep- improves sleep quality, quantity and reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
  • Life satisfaction- increases optimism, quality of life and life satisfaction.
  • Heart rate- practicing gratitude can activate the automonic nervous system and reduce heart rate.
  • Physical health- shown to reduce pain scores, disease burden, and to have a positive impact on increasing daily physical activity and exercise.
  • Mental health- greater happiness, higher self-esteem, promotes positive emotive language, strengthens relationships.
  • Workplace- shown to build positive environments and relationships within the workplace.

Listing and reflecting on three things you are grateful for each day can enrich your health and life.


Kobau et al. 2011, ‘Mental Health Promotion in Public Health: Perspectives and Strategies From Positive Psychology’, Am J Public Health, 101(8)

Wood et al. 2009, ‘Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions’, J Psychosom Res, 66(1) 43-48.



How to Indulge Your Taste Buds – But Not Your Waistline!

Christmas is a time to be jolly, however we are ALL guilty of overeating…. Traditionally food is best shared with family and friends and eaten slowly over cheerful conversation. Today, it is trendy to catch up over a platter and a few drinks. Here are some healthy tips for the silly season that everyone can enjoy!

This platter contains HALF the amount of calories, and is TWICE THE SIZE than the popular platter choice of French onion dip and savoys.

Look at those colours! This platter doesn’t just look great, it is power-packed with super foods, including:

– Globe artichoke for liver health, digestion of dietary fats, cholesterol balance and blood sugar regulation.

– Berries are a low sugar fruit, and incredibly high in antioxidants called polyphenols that are fabulous for cellular repair, and preventing cellular damage and aging.

– Olives are a great source of anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids.

– Loving Earth dark chocolate is made from 72% raw cacao, meaning it contains a good mineral profile including magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese. It is low in sugar, vegan, dairy free and gluten free. It also contains a range of antioxidant polyphenols for cell repair.

For the Sweet Tooth…

Bliss balls are a great way to sneak nutrient dense whole foods into unassuming friends and family. Here are some healthy swaps:

  • DATES- Substitute the condensed milk traditionally used in rum balls for pitted medjool dates. The cooking properties of date are very similar to condensed milk in that they are sticky, hold dry mixture together, and have a sweet caramel flavour.
  • NUTS & SEEDS- Nuts and seeds can be blended in a food processor as an alternative to biscuits. Nuts and seeds have a large mineral complex, and also contain a good amount of fatty acids for brain, eye and skin health.
  • ORGANIC COCONUT- Shredded coconut can go through up to four stages of refining before it hits your supermarket shelf- conventional degumming, neutralization, bleaching, and deodorization. For this reason we recommend going organic.
  • RAW CACAO- Opting for raw cacao over traditional coco means you will receive more nutrients like magnesium through your diet, magnesium helps with relaxation, and makes you feel better about eating chocolate 😉


Makes approx. 16 balls

  • 6-8 fresh pitted Medjool dates (or 12 soaked packet dates)
  • 1 cups shredded coconut
  • 3 level tbsp raw cacao
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/powder


  1. Blend dates first until they are chopped down into small pieces
  2. Then add other ingredients
  3. Remove from food processor and roll into balls
  4. Coat with shredded coconut

view cooking demonstration on Facebook:

Coping with the Stress of Christmas

Additional supplementation is sometimes necessary for our bodies and minds to thrive in this busy world. If you haven’t used nutritional or herbal support before; the Silly Season is a good time!

We recommend B vitamins and Magnesium.

When we are under pressure and stressed the demand for B vitamins by the body increases. Many of s are already deficient as drinking alcohol and some medications like the oral contraceptive pill (OPC) depletes B vitamin levels.

Approximately 80% of the Western population are magnesium deficient. Common signs of deficiency are muscle cramping, muscle twitching (e.g. eye lid twitch), insomnia and anxiety.

Don’t waste your money on grabbing just any product off the shelf. We offer 2-in-1 magnesium + B vitamin products specifically formulated for stress and energy. You can read more about the calming actions magnesium and B vitamins have on our good hormones in our Feel Good February Blog.

Did Santa eat too many cookies?

There is nothing worse that feeling bloated and uncomfortable at Christmas, especially when you have been working so hard to fit into that dress at the work Christmas party!

‘Sometimes’ foods turn into ‘often’ foods, with all the social outings squeezed into the Silly Season calendar.  All of a sudden your belly is swollen like a balloon, and you can’t quite work out if it was the bread, dairy or garlic in that cob loaf that caused it…

If this sounds like you, read our Beat the Bloat blog to find out how you can look and feel good again this Christmas.

Link to this post

Move Towards the New Year – Exercise is Your Hero!

Wouldn’t it be great to breeze through the festive season with a stack of energy, minimal stress outs and mood plunges with great recovery from social events? One simple key to achieving this is to keep your body moving aka EXERCISING. Don’t feel tempted to let your activity level slide just because you are busy. Exercise may just be your best friend at the end of the year because it has so many great outcomes, especially when you are under pressure.

The human body is designed to move. Indisputable evidence shows that exercise improves:

  • Mental health – for control of depression, anxiety, mood swings and stress response
  • Energy production – better energy through the day and better sleep at night
  • Brain function – clearer thinking and decision making, better memory and adaptation to everyday stress
  • Gut health – helping you to recover better from overindulgence
  • Immunity – to keep those annoying colds and flus away right when you don’t need them
  • Wellbeing all year round – reducing your risk of chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart and Alzheimer’s diseases.
  • Weight management – keeping you in a healthier body composition at the end of festivities
  • Outlook – keeping you focussed on making better, more positive choices that are helpful to you. Often describe as a “gateway behaviour” i.e. exercise is a behaviour that makes you feel like making other great changes in behaviour for your health.

Keep Moving Every Day – 10 ideas

  1. Schedule in your exercise, so it is not an option to skip it! Prioritise exercise and schedule the rest of your day around it, so that it happens.
  2. Walk and talk – catch up with friends, family or work colleagues can be done while getting some fresh air and movement
  3. Family sports – swim, play a ball game, throw a frisbee
  4. Pet care – walk your dog, play fetch
  5. Dance the night away – get active at Christmas gatherings
  6. Explore nature – be adventurous during your holidays by walking, hiking, bike riding, canoeing
  7. Take the long way – use the stairs instead of a lift, park the car further away and walk to your destinations
  8. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to move at least every hour, whether that be to get away from your desk and do a lap around the office or take an active break while watching TV / being on the computer or phone.
  9. Get your exercise clothes out – set out your exercise clothes and sneakers etc before you go to bed, one less excuse for not doing it. Take your sneakers to work too!
  10. Ask Santa for a Fitbit – if you don’t already have one, look into purchasing a device that measures your heart rate and how many steps you are doing, so that you can track and achieve a daily target (better yet – put it on your Christmas wish list). There are also plenty of fitness and exercise apps that you can access on your digital devices to help you experiment and keep track of your movement efforts for the day.

Remember to seek professional advice from a trained fitness expert to tailor a fitness program for you, especially if you have mobility issues or chronic health complaints.


Mind Your Liver

This time of year, and day 4 of 12 days of Christmas, I’d like to remind everyone of the huge job our livers do, processing and storing the food and drink we eat. In addition our livers also do the job of breaking down toxic and allergenic products in our diet and on our skins. Too much food and too much Alcohol is well known as a challenge to the liver, but I’ll list a few other surprise challenges to the liver.  Also I’d like to give you some advice on getting your liver in better order……………………

Moderation in food and alcohol are of course first in my advice list, to help your liver. Not everyone is good at moderation, but a few skipped meals, or delayed meals can be easier to cope with. Recent studies in animals show that restricting eating to a narrower window of the day, greatly improves health and reduces weight gains that would occur if the food were extended over the usual 24 hour timetable. Michael Moseley’s 8/16 diet is one I would recommend, and you can read about it on his website. He suggests restricting eating to 8 day-light hours only and try and do “non-eating” for a further 16 hours, which means the rest of the day. This gives your entire body system a 16 hour rest, and in particular perhaps your tired old liver.

The best tonic for the liver is a combination of tonic liver herbs, such as my Des Lardner Liver tonic (needs consult) or Fusion Liver Tonic tablets. Also Dandelion coffee too is available in store. Use 1-2 cups prior to meals or between meals for improved digestion.  Bitter herbs/foods are the simplest liver tonic and include: vinegar, lemons, olives, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and turmeric. Less common tonics are globe artichoke, rhubarb and dandelion plants, occasionally used in cooking in the kitchen.

Signs your liver is stressed, include weight changes, digestive disorders and tiredness, along with headache, muscle aches, memory loss, allergies, mood disorders, poor skin, trouble digesting alcohol, pale stools, dark urine, dark circles under the eyes and around 25 other symptoms. Any of these would suggest a more thorough questioning and testing would be wise, preferably from a natural therapists like our naturopaths. The liver generally responds well to tonic therapy and can heal itself, once the cause of the problem is located and the right repair started.

Foods to avoid or cut back after Christmas include sugar and sugary drinks, especially with Fructose, also short chain proteins that occur in some muscle building supplements, caffeine, excess alcohol as above, high fat foods, and exposure to modern chemicals. In the meantime relax and enjoy those Yuletide feasts.