Vitamin D the Sun Vitamin 

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Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, made by your body when your skin is exposed to the sun. So it’s often referred to as the sun vitamin.

It’s most known for it’s role in calcium absorption and keeping our bones strong, but more recently research shows it’s also important for the immune system, for muscles, the heart and lungs, it has anti-cancer effects and is important for brain development and mood.

Vitamin D deficiency is a huge problem around the world. In New Zealand  48% of adults and 57% of children are deficient in vitamin D.

The most common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include a poor immune system, fatigue and tiredness, bone, muscle & back pain, hair loss, bone loss, poor wound healing and depression.  Fatigue, anxiety and panic attacks can often be improved by having optimal vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is necessary for creating serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters that help with feeling calm and happy.   Depression and other mental health conditions can be caused by inflammation of the brain. Vitamin D helps dampen down the fire of inflammation to healthy levels. It also stimulates brain repair.

Aim to get 20 mins of sun exposure daily without sunscreen.  Avoid getting burnt, but get just enough to slowly tan.

Encourage little ones to play outside whenever possible.  For adults make an effort to work outside as much as possible, eat your lunch in the sun daily or play outside with your kids to soak up those healing rays.

Collecting enough vitamin D in summer to last all year is very important. Those with darker skins need more time in the sun than those with fairer skin.

Try to use sunscreen minimally.  When using opt for natural sunscreens with a zinc base.  Avoid chemical based sunscreens. Your local organic shop will have lots of options to choose from.

Being sensible in the sun is important but so is collecting plenty of vitamin D.  Find a balance that works for your own family and get in the sun and surf this summer.

Abby Soares
Registered Nurse | Nutritionist | Health Coach
Nourish Holistic Health & Nutrition Ltd

What is your body trying to tell you? 

Are you listening to your body

Annoying symptoms irking you?
These aliments are a form of communication from our body. It doesn’t have a voice, but uses symptoms such as digestive complaints, headaches, joint pain, poor sleep, skin irritations and such to communicate with us.  Instead of feeling resentful and frustrated with your body, start listening to it, the body will guide you on the food/drinks/lifestyle that it likes and dislikes.
Keeping a food and symptom diary can be a very helpful way of learning to connect into your body’s messages again.  You can analyse how you feel after each meal and start to see patterns.  For example every time you eat bread you feel bloated and suffer gas.  This is your body staying it is having trouble breaking down processed wheat.  You could try changing to paleo bread, a good quality gluten free bread or cutting it out completely and notice how your body responds.
Foods like wheat and other glutenous grains take a full 4 weeks to come out of your system, dairy taking a full two weeks.  Bearing this in mind, you may have to do a longer trial for symptoms such as headaches, PMS and joint pain.
Apply the same to drinks such as alcohol or caffeine.  Do they affect your sleep? Cause hot flushes? Make you anxious? Your body is talking to you!
Open up your communication with your body and consider what it might be asking you to change, the body can guide you to optimal health, you just need to listen!
Abby Soares
Registered Nurse | Nutritionist | Health Coach
Nourish Holistic Health & Nutrition Ltd

Gorgeous skin and happy hormones


When it comes to your skin and your shine, one of the first places to look at addressing is your liver health.  If the liver is congested and full of liver loaders (see below) then the body has to utilize another detoxification process.  When the liver is overloaded the next port of call is generally to push toxicity out via the skin, our largest organ.

LIVER LOADERS

  • Coffee

  • Glutenous grains

  • Dairy

  • Alcohol

  • Trans fats

  • Refined sugars

  • Synthetic substances (for example medications, non organic skin care products, pesticides from foods)

  • Infection (for example viruses such as glandular fever)

When the liver is full of these liver loaders the body sends the products that would usually be excreted out though the liver, out via our skin instead.   This causes symptoms such as eczema, rosacea, acne, pimples and rashes.   Liver over loaders can lead to non-skin related conditions too such as PMS, heavy and clotty periods, overheating and hot flushes, poor sleep and cellulite to name a few.

High hormone levels occur when hormones get recycled back into the system rather than leaving the body via the liver.  When the liver is over loaded, it uses a recycling system to with hormones (and cholesterol) dropping them back into our system rather than removing the hormones as it should.   This causes an increased amount of hormones circulating in the body.  This hormone load causes worsening of PMS symptoms, heavy bleeding, clotting and skin related hormone conditions.

Cleaning up our liver by eating a nourishing diet is the first step to improving our skin, mood, sleep and menstruation issues.

Follow the rules of liver loving to improve your liver health.

LIVER LOVERS

  • Eliminating liver loaders

  • Greens, greens and more greens (your body loves them and so does your liver, resulting in gorgeous skin) double your intake of greens

  • Vegetables of all types and colours, double your intake of vegetables.

  • Fruit in the morning only, avoid after lunch

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Juicing (fresh pressed veggie juice) on an empty stomach first thing in the morning or afternoon

  • Water between meals

  • Yoga, walking and exercise daily

  • Diaphragmatic breathing

For most of the women I work with they are either addicted to sugar, coffee, dairy or alcohol.  You will know in your heart which one of these liver loaders is stealing your shine.  Try cutting one of these out for at least two weeks and see how you feel, notice the benefits and note them down.  Then try the next one on the list.

Never underestimate the impact of real food (Food grown in nature in its whole form)  Avoid processed foods, these not only fill your body with toxins and congest your liver, but they steal nutrients away from your body due to their acidity.

Vegetables and plant foods are alkaline; the body loves these foods and knows what to do with them.

Amp up your greens and your veggies by eating more smoothies, veggie juices and salads.

Change your breakfast cereal with milk to this delicious smoothie (recipe below) and lunch to a big salad with left over meat/eggs/beans and roast vegetables from dinner.

GORGEOUS GREEN SMOOTHIE

  • 1/2 cup cashews, almonds or pumpkin seeds

  • 1 cup frozen frozen berries

  • 1 lemon (not essential but the taste is wonderful)
  • 1 teaspoon of spirulina or powdered greens (optional but amazing)
  • 1 double handful of spinach or cos lettuce

  • 2 bananas

  • 750 ml filtered water

  • Blend and serve

  • Makes 2 large smoothies (one for morning and afternoon tea)

  • Variations: different nuts/seeds i.e. cashews, macadamia’s, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.Vary greens; add dandelion leaves, mint, parsley, cucumber, use dates or pineapple instead of bananas.

  • Add in super foods such as spirulina or cacao powder

When you avoid liver loaders and nourish yourself with whole foods, you will find your liver starts to function optimally again.   You body will be able to use your liver to remove hormones and toxicity optimally.  The body will no longer have to push toxicity and hormones out via your skin and your skin will start to look radiant and glowing again.

Abby Soares
Registered Nurse | Nutritionist | Health Coach
Nourish Holistic Health & Nutrition Ltd

Are you low in magnesium?

 

The answer is likely “Yes” that you are deficient in Magnesium

Magnesium is the eighth most abundant mineral on earth, and the third most abundant in sea water. More importantly, it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and it is necessary in over 300 functions within the body.

Magnesium isn’t just abundant in the body, but vitally important too.

Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency. Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body include the brain and the heart—two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.

Proper magnesium ratios are important for the body to correctly use calcium in the cells. Even a small deficiency can lead to a dangerous calcium imbalance and lead to problems like calcification and cell death. This manifests itself with symptoms like heart trouble, migraine headaches, muscle cramps and premenstrual cramping.

Where Has All The Magnesium Gone?

Unfortunately, most modern farming processes tax the soil, depleting it of its natural magnesium. On top of that, many hybrids are selectively bred to survive low levels of magnesium and most conventional fertilizers use nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, and do nothing to replenish magnesium levels.

Water was once a good source of magnesium, but now:

Fluoride in drinking water binds with magnesium, creating a nearly insoluble mineral compound that ends up deposited in the bones, where its brittleness increases the risk of fractures. Water, in fact, could be an excellent source of magnesium—if it comes from deep wells that have magnesium at their source, or from mineral-rich glacial runoff. Urban sources of drinking water are usually from surface water, such as rivers and streams, which are low in magnesium. Even many bottled mineral waters are quite low in magnesium, or have a very high concentration of calcium, or both.

These additional dietary factors can also deplete magnesium:

  • Consumption of caffeine
  • Consumption of sugar (It takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolize a single glucose molecule!)
  • Consumption of processed food
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Consumption of produce from depleted soil
  • Consumption of foods high in phytic acid

Additionally, drugs like birth control pills, hypertension medicine, diuretics, insulin, and certain antibiotics (among others) deplete magnesium levels. Sweating often from exercise or other causes can also deplete magnesium.

What Does Magnesium DO?

Magnesium is necessary for hundreds of functions within the body, but is especially important for:

  • Gives rigidity AND flexibility to your bones (more important than Calcium in many cases)
  • Increases bioavailability of calcium
  • Regulates and normalizes blood pressure
  • Prevents and reverses kidney stone formation
  • Promotes restful sleep
  • Helps prevent congestive heart failure
  • Eases muscle cramps and spasms
  • Lowers serum cholesterol levels and triglycerides
  • Decreases insulin resistance
  • Can prevent atherosclerosis and stroke
  • End cluster and migraine headaches
  • Enhances circulation
  • Relieves fibromyalgia and chronic pain
  • Treats asthma and emphysema
  • Helps make proteins
  • Encourages proper elimination
  • Prevents osteoporosis
  • Proper Vitamin D absorption
  • protection from radiation
  • To aid weight loss
  • Lessen or remove ADD or ADHD in children
  • in proper digestion of carbohydrates
  • emerging evidence is showing a preventative role in many cancers

Even though magnesium deficiency is rarely addressed in medical settings, the National Institutes of Health websit states that:

Some observational surveys have associated higher blood levels of magnesium with lower risk of coronary heart disease [50-51]. In addition, some dietary surveys have suggested that a higher magnesium intake may reduce the risk of having a stroke [52]. There is also evidence that low body stores of magnesium increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which may increase the risk of complications after a heart attack [4]. These studies suggest that consuming recommended amounts of magnesium may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system.

Are You Deficient?

As I said above, the answer is likely ‘yes’ in today’s world, as over 80% of tested adults are. Unfortunately, blood tests are relatively ineffective in gauging magnesium levels as less than 1% of magnesium is in the blood.

Low magnesium levels are often diagnosed by symptoms alone, and the following symptoms can point to low magnesium levels:

  • Inability to sleep or insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Mental disturbances
  • Anxiety, depression or restlessness
  • Muscle soreness or spasms
  • Infertility or PMS
  • High levels of stress
  • Headaches
  • Heart “flutters” or palpitations
  • Fatigue or unusual tiredness
  • Coldness in extremities
  • Fuzzy brain or difficulty concentrating
  • Allergies and sensitivities
  • Lack of appetite
  • Back pain
  • Body odor
  • Bad short term memory
  • Poor coordination
  • Insulin resistance
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Constipation
  • Frequent cavities or poor dental health
  • Gut disorders
  • Kidney stones
  • Thyroid problems

If you have more than one of the above symptoms and especially if you have more than five, it is highly likely that you could benefit from magnesium supplementation.

Unfortunately, magnesium is often not well absorbed by the digestive track, and is even more difficult to absorb if you are deficient or are low in vitamin D, have poor gut bacteria or suffer from a number of other conditions.

On top of that, most foods are depleted of their natural magnesium levels and the water supply is lacking also. For this reason, I often recommend magnesium supplementation to clients who struggle with the above symptoms.

There are several ways to supplement, and a mixture of more than one type of magnesium supplementation seems to be most effective. It is important to start slow and work up, as high doses will not be completely absorbed at first and most will be wasted.

Leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, kelp, and especially nettle are good dietary sources of magnesium, though if you have a deficiency, it will be difficult to raise your levels enough through diet alone.

The best ways to supplement with magnesium are:

  • In powder form such as magnesium citrate so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly.
  • In ionic liquid form so that it can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly.
  • In Magnesium oil applied to skin. This is often the most effective option for those with damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency.

I’d actually advise at least two of the above forms, including transdermal supplementation especially if you show multiple symptoms. The easiest way to gauge your dose is to start at half of the recommended dose and work up (even above it) until you experience loose stools and then back off slightly. From this dose, you should be able to gradually increase your dose until your symptoms disappear.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, or if you are on a no grain diet or consume any processed or conventionally produced food, I’d definitely encourage at least trying magnesium supplementation to see if it can improve your symptoms.  If you’d like to learn more about the importance of magnesium and its various actions in the body, I’d suggest the book The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean.

 

By Abby Soares

Registered Nurse | Nutritionist | Health Coach
Nourish Holistic Health & Nutrition Ltd

Healthy Halloween

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With three little boys I know how much kids ADORE halloween and who wouldn’t! Dressing up in scary costumes, trick or treating and seeing all the other kids in the neighbourhood doing the same is a super fun.

Because our family eats such a nutrient dense diet with only natural sugars from honey and fruit my kids feel quite horrible when they do eat sugar.  The colours, flavours, high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar puts too much toxicity into their little systems and they know this makes them feel horrible.

Often we think lollies as treats occasionally are ok and generally that is true, if 90% of what you eat is really healthy then your body can usually cope with 10% of your diet that isn’t.  However with my work as a nurse and a health coach I see time and time again the impact that even ‘treat’ foods have on our health.   The toxins from the lollies don’t just go in  and come out.  Our bodies are bombarded with so much toxicity these days, from the water we drink to the sprays on our food and in the environment, that our bodies have a hard time keeping up and getting them out.    These toxins congest our brains and organs and get stuck in our fat cells often staying in our bodies for years.

healthy-halloween-treats

So what can we do to protect our kids health and still enjoy festivals like Halloween?

  1. I make sure everyone is really well feed before trick or treating.   When your hungry its impossible to resist eating the junk!
  2. If they have healthy sweet things to munch on along the way they won’t feel like they are missing out. So arm them with plenty of real food options such as…
    • annies fruit strips
    • ceres seaweed sheets
    • ceres raw bars
    • bliss balls
    • organic chocolate
    • kombucha or pure fruit juice drinks

    These are definitely not every day foods for my boys so they adore them when they’re on offer.

  3. We don’t eat the lollies we trick or treat for but we have another use for them.  My boys trick or treat and collect all the lollies as usual, but instead of eating them they cash them in to me for
    • money
    • raisins
    • toys
    • or a special trip like going to the movies

    They think this is really cool, they still get to have fun, eat heaps and be with their friends but instead of a headache and a sore tummy they get to trade their lollies for a bounty of cash or an exciting trip out instead!!!

This may sound hard out but it works well for my family and you might find it works for yours.

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Yes as a parent this is a lot more work and more expensive but when you’ve had sick kids and they become well again you never want to go back there so your willing to go the extra mile!

I often throw a little halloween party with lots of fun games that don’t revolve around food and the kids have an absolute blast.

Summary of surviving a healthy Halloween!

  • Feed them up with a good dinner before going trick or treating
  • Negotiate to cash in their lollies for something else such as money, a trip to the movies or toys
  • Give them refined sugar free treats so they can still feel like they’re having fun and are not being deprived of the sweetness (refined sugar free means natural sugars such as fruit or honey, NOT sugar free sweeteners!)
  • Make it a great social night with likeminded friends

So there you go…a few tips to make your Halloween a little bit healthier

Enjoy

from

Abby

x x x

32864-Healthy-Halloween-Treats

Soaking your nuts, seeds, grains and legumes | Why you need to do it

Soaking nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes 
Nature has set it up so that the nut, grain and seed may survive until proper growing conditions are present. Nature’s defense mechanism includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that can be removed naturally when there is enough precipitation to sustain a new plant after the nut, grain or seed germinates. When it rains the nut, grain or seed gets wet and can then germinate to produce a plant. So we are mimicking nature when we soak our nuts, grains and seeds.

Nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances found in nuts grains and seed can be minimized or eliminated by soaking. These inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.

What are Enzyme inhibitors?
There are digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. Digestive enzymes help break down food. Metabolic enzymes help every biological process the body does. Enzyme inhibitors will clog, warp or denature an active site of an enzyme. They may also bind to the enzyme, which will prevent the intended molecule from binding. “Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess.”

What are Phytates?
“All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.”

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?

  • 1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
  • 2. To remove or reduce tannins.
  • 3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
  • 4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • 5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
  • 6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
  • 7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
  • 8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • 9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
  • 10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

“Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.”

What can be used to soak nuts, grains and seeds?
I have found many references to soaking nuts, grains, and seeds in water, salt water, or a warm water mixture with something acidic like yogurt, apple cider vinegar, whey or lemon juice. It seems within 7 to 24 hours the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the anti-nutrients are broken down regardless of the method you choose. There is evidence that the process works when you see sprouting begin.

How long does the soaking process take?
“As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.” “Flour products should be soaked at room temperature for at least twelve hours but better results may be obtained with a twenty-four hour soaking.”

Are the nuts, grains and seeds used wet?

I have enjoyed almonds wet. If you choose to try consuming anything in the soaked state, make little batches and store them in the refrigerator. Usually everything that is soaked is dried in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest possible setting for 24 – 48 hours to remove all moisture.

Wheat berries can be soaked whole for 8 to 22 hours, then drained and rinsed. Some recipes use the whole berries while they are wet, such as cracker dough ground right in the food processor. You can also dry sprouted wheat berries in a low-temperature oven or dehydrator, and then grind them in your grain mill and use the flour in a variety of recipes.Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes can be ground up to use as flour in many recipes after they have been dried.

Any advice on what to do with legumes?

I recommend soaking any beans or legumes in water and vinegar for at least twelve hours before cooking. Soaked and dried beans may be ground up and used as flour for thickening and baking. This is helpful for those on a gluten free diet.

One recommendation includes placing soaked kombu or kelp seaweed in the bottom of the pot when soaking legumes. Add one part seaweed to six or more parts legumes. This is for improved flavor and digestion, more nutrients, and faster cooking. “Soak legumes for twelve hours or overnight in four parts water to one part legume. For best results, change the water once or twice. Lentils and whole dried peas require shorter soaking, while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer. Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard the soak water. After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard foam. Continue to boil for twenty minutes without lid at beginning of cooking to let steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes).”