Latest Event Updates

Healthy Eating For Kids

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                                  Don’t miss out, places are booking up!

Arranged Vegetables Creating a Face

If you would like to join us for the first in a series of workshops about what to feed your kids, or grand-kids, that isn’t straight out of a packet and is full of nutrients rather than colours, flavourings and preservatives, then give Sophie a call on 0409 506 477 or email to sophieshieldsbrown@gmail.com to book your place.

If you have any questions about the workshop, feel free to call or email.

Healthy Eating For Kids Workshop

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Do you struggle to find healthy, interesting and enticing ideas for kids meals?

paprika-cheese-basil snacks

Do you think your kids (or grand-kids) eat more packaged foods than living food, but don’t know how to break the habit?Why not join us for the first of a series of Healthy eating For Kids Workshops on Thursday 29th?

We will cover topics such as; why a healthy diet is so important, breaking the packaged and take-away food habit, choosing healthier options, getting a balanced diet with all food groups, meal suggestions including; breakfast, lunch box ideas, afternoon tea and dinner.

healthy gluten-free school lunch

This first workshop will run from 10 until 12 with light refreshments take home notes and recipe ideas.

Cost will be $30.

Please phone Sophie on;0409 506 477,or email her at; sophieshieldsbrown@gmail.com to book your place. Places are limited, so please book in early to avoid disappointment.

Sugar content of “Healthy” cereals!

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We’re on holiday at the moment and of course, shopping with the girls usually means pester power wins over! In this case it was a seemingly innocuous breakfast  porridge by “Be Natural”. It contains 3 grains and honey. Not too bad, I thought!!

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my glasses on at the time so it wasn’t until I got it home and opened it, the sweet smell was so strong, I immediately put on the glasses and read the nutrition panel.

 

Imagine my surprise when I realised the sugar content was a whopping 20%!!! Then there was another 2% for the honey! That’s outrageous!

English: Raw (unrefined, unbleached) sugar, bo...

When you think about porridge, you would likely think: “healthy, low sugar, high in fibre, oats are calming for the nerves, honey is a better alternative to sugar, etc, etc”. WRONG!! Unless it’s pure, unadulterated rolled oats, it’s not a good breakfast choice.

How wrong I was. The sugar content would negate any of the nutritious benefits of the oats and in fact would create an acidic environment and put a lot of stress on the adrenal glands haviung the opposite effect you would expect from beautifully calming oats!

Lesson learnt; ignore pester power (!) and stick with food that is closest to its natural state.

Porridge oats with blueberries and cinnamon. T...
Porridge oats with blueberries and cinnamon. The photo was taken just after I threw in the blueberries to cook in with the porridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Winter flu

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Influenza virus
Influenza virus (Photo credit: Sanofi Pasteur)

After about 5 years of avoiding getting sick, my body finally decided it was time to have a dose of the flu, recently.

Being sick can be annoying, not to mention inconvenient, but it is a really important way for the body to boost it’s immunity. The viruses that cause the flu are always changing and the best way to form a resistance is to actually get sick!

Having said that, we don’t want to go down for days. But the key is to rest when you feel you’re getting sick. Don’t soldier on, or at least try reducing the usual massive daily to-do list and get some rest. When our body is constantly on the go, it just makes it have to fight harder to keep in balance and this gives the virus a stronger hold on us and the symptoms worsen.

There are many herbs and foods that help minimise the extent to which our body’s succumb to the symptoms.

Garlic and chilli

Garlic, onions and chilli are all fabulous foods to have when you feel you’re getting sick. Chicken soup (home-made of course) made with plenty of veggies will also help keep nutrients available in a form the body can cope with most easily while sick.

Herbal teas drunk regularly throughout the day as well as plenty of water (hot with lemon or lime juice and honey) help flush the toxins out.

Lime and blossom growing in Valencia, south Sp...

Herbs are also very potent at fighting viruses and can be combined to treat the specific symptoms the virus is creating in each individual. if you’re sick, call me with your symptom profile and I’ll make you up a mix that is tailor made for you.

Large doses of vitamin C and zinc are also important. Call me for practitioner only brand of these.

So as much as I prefer to feel well, I know my body has benefited from a boost to its immunity, not to mention a thorough cleansing! I also had all I needed on hand to keep the symptoms in check.

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Book a place for the “Grow Your Own Health” Workshop

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Butterfly DiscoveryOkay everyone, I’ve started taking bookings for the Grow Your Own Health.

There is no better time to get enthusiastic about growing your own food. By nurturing the soil now, it will be all ready to go when it’s time for spring planting.

We will be testing the pH of the soil in your garden (you will need to bring a sample) and I will show you how to improve the soil and feed it with the wonderful nutrients that your future food will then absorb.

You will also learn about how to make a compost, what to feed a worm farm, how to make natural plant fertilisers and soil improver’s, plant Table of wholesome foodspositioning and companion planting!

Included in all that, Greg is planning a delicious menu for our morning tea.

Places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment!

Pyroluria; a zinc and B6 deficiency that may be linked to autism, ADHD and other behavioural abnormalities

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Pyroluria
Pyroluria, (previously known as malvaria) and also known as kryptopyrroluria, is a chemical imbalance involving an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis. People who have this condition produce too much of a by-product of haemoglobin synthesis called kryptopyrrole (KP).Kryptopyrroles bind to pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and zinc and make these very important nutrients unavailable for physiological and chemical functions including working as co-factors for metabolic enzymes.  These essential nutrients when bound to kryptopyrrole are removed from the bloodstream and excreted into the urine as pyrroles.The effect of pyroluria and the deficiency of zinc and B6 can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the severity of the imbalance. Symptoms may include: inability to deal with stress, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, severe inner tension, episodic anger, poor short-term memory and depression.
little boy crying
It’s onset often doesn’t manifest until teenage years, with a traumatic incident or stress, but it may be starting to show symptoms with behavioural issues in younger children. Depending on the degree of the disorder there may be severe depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism, autism, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) or on rare occasions, DID (dissociative identity disorder more commonly known as multiple personalities). All of these are different manifestations of pyroluria.Unfortunately pyroluria is not a recognized condition by many mental health practitioners or general practitioners but the following tables shows a significance in many mental disorders.
Disorder  % with Pyroluria
Autism                         50%
Alcoholism                   40%
Depression                  70%
ADD/ADHD                 30%
Bipolar                        18%
Schizophrenia             40%
General Population     11%Diagnosis
Pyroluria is diagnosed by a simple urine test which detects KPU in urine. Most people have less than 10 mcg/dL of KP. Persons with 10-20 mcg/dL are considered to have “borderline” pyroluria and can benefit from treatment. People with levels above 20 mcg/dL are considered to have pyroluria, especially if the following emotional and physical characteristics are present as well as signs of autism, depression, ADD and ADHD and other maladies already spoken about.
Sometimes it is necessary to repeat the urine test to properly determine the level of KP being excreted. For the initial diagnosis, no vitamins or minerals should be taken for two days before the urine is collected (This is to avoid false negative results).
A repeat test after treatment to determine if the condition has been improved will be helpful.
Common emotional and physical characteristics of pyroluria.
•    Poor morning appetite and/or tendency to skip breakfast
•    Morning nausea
•    Pale skin, poor tanning or easily burnt by the sun
•    Sensitivity to bright light
•    Hypersensitive to loud noises
•    Reading difficulties (e.g. dyslexia)
•    Histrionic (dramatic)
•    Argumentative/enjoy argument
•    Mood swings or temper outbursts
•    Much higher capability & alertness in the evening, compared to mornings
•    Anxiousness
•    Preference for spicy or heavily flavoured foods
•    Abnormal body fat distribution
•    Significant growth after the age of 16
•    White spots on finger nails
•    Little or no dream recall
Treatment 

Pyroluria is managed in part by restoring vitamin B6 and zinc.  The type of replacement therapy is very important as zinc must be provided in an efficiently absorbed form. Vitamin B6 is also available in several forms. Other nutrients may assist include niacinamide, pantothenic acid, manganese, vitamins C and E. Food sources and nutritional supplements containing copper and red/yellow food dyes should be avoided.People with mild-moderate pyroluria usually have a fairly rapid response to treatment if no other chemical imbalances are present. People with severe pyroluria usually require several weeks before progress is seen and improvement may be gradual over 3 – 12 months. Features of pyroluria usually recur within 2 – 4 weeks if the nutritional program is stopped.  Therefore, the need for treatment is indefinite.Diet of course is also extremely important. A diet filled with real foods including green leafy vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, fruit, nuts, seeds, eggs, and good quality dairy. I would stay away for the most part from many grains and cereals as they may bind with the zinc.Food sources high in zinc are most meats, chicken, fish, turkey, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt and cashews but the highest form of zinc is oysters.Food sources high in B6 are; tuna, salmon, beef liver, chicken, potatoes. banana, red pepper, pumpkin, shitake mushroom, chickpeas (cooked) and spinach, to name a few.

Though pyroluria was identified over 40 years ago, it has only been recognised as a medical condition for as little as 10 years and many mental health practitioners are not taught about it at university. People with pyroluria don’t respond well to common anti-depressants such as SSRIs and are often suicidal.  And the sad truth is that most people with pyroluria go undiagnosed.  Sadder is that many mental health and general practitioners do not think that diet has much to do with these conditions that are expressed with pyroluria.

Do I Have Pyroluria?
Some questions to ask yourself or loves ones, but this does not determine whether you have Pyroluria it merely indicates that a test for it may be wise.

1.   Do you tend to skip breakfast or have morning nausea?
2.   Do you tend to be anxious?
3.   Do you have other members in your immediate or extended family with schizophrenia?
4.   Are there members of your immediate or extended family who have committed suicide?
5.   Do you have white spots on your nails?
6.   Did you get a “stitch” in your side when you ran as a child?
7.   Did you have moderate to severe acne as a teenager?
8.   Do you have pain or creaking in your knees?
9.   Do you have cold hands and feet?
10. Do you have stretch marks as an adolescent or adult even without a large weight gain or loss?
11. Are your teeth or were your teeth before orthodontic treatment crowded with teeth growing over teeth?
12. Did puberty start a little later for you than others?
13. Are you easily tired?
14. Do you tend toward apathy?
15. Do you have a tendency toward iron-deficiency anemia or test borderline?
16. Do you have eczema or psoriasis?
17. Do you have tingling sensations or even tremors in your arms or legs?
18. Do you tend to have paler skin than other family members?
19. Do you tend to get overwhelmed in stressful situations?
20. Do you have trouble remembering your dreams?
21. Are you now or have you been a vegetarian?
22. Are you now or have you before been an alcoholic?
23. Do you find yourself socially withdrawn and dependent fairly strongly on one person?

If you answer yes to 12 or more of these questions, then you may have pyroluria and should consider getting a urine test done.

Grow Your Own Health

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Here are some more details about the Grow Your Own Health Workshop that I’m holding here on June 15th.

If you’ve ever wanted to grow your own fruit and veggies and don’t know where to start, this is the perfect workshop for you!

Topics include;

  • What you need to get an organic garden happening
  • Composting & worm farms
  • Soil management and the importance of soil pH testing (bring a small sample of soil, from 5cm below surface, for testing)
  • Companion planting
  • Home made plant fertilisers and soil improver’s
  • Plant positioning

No matter whether your garden is large or small or if you have a balcony with pots, you can grow your own food.

Inline image 2

You might be thinking why have a garden workshop in winter and not in spring, but the reason I am holding it now, is to show you how to grow the best garden from a soil full of wonderful nutrients which will be ready to plant in late winter, early spring and will be producing later in spring and into early summer.

The workshop will run from 10.00 until 1.00 and will include something delicious to eat as Greg Higgs, chef from Momo’s Cafe at Organic feast in east Maitland, will be there to cook for us!

The cost is $80 which includes the workshop, delicious food and soil pH testing.

Places are limited, so book and pay now to avoid disappointment.

Looking forward to showing how much fun gardening is!

Sophie

Dark Chocolate Really Is Good for You!

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Chocolate Strawberry

Dark chocolate contains healthy fats.

Cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cacao bean and incorporated into most reputable dark chocolate bars, is mostly monounsaturated and saturated fat, with very little polyunsaturated fat. And because most of that saturated fat is stearic acid, widely known for having neutral effects on LDL cholesterol.

Dark chocolate contains lots of polyphenols, particularly flavanols.

When it comes to polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity, cacao outweighs antioxidant rich acai, pomegranate, cranberry and blueberry. The most studied polyphenol in cacao is epicatechin, a flavanol.

Dark chocolate and blood pressure.

Epidemiological studies show that dark chocolate consumption may help to lower blood pressure. Cocoa consumption also associated with a possible improvement to arterial flow in smokers. Dark chocolate rich in flavanols may improve endothelial function and induce vasodilation.

Chocolate Heart

Dark chocolate and cardiovascular disease.

Having cocoa powder mixed with hot water or milk has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and raise HDL cholesterol levels (the good one).

Dark chocolate and insulin resistance.

A study of hypertensive, glucose-intolerant patients received either 100 grams daily of high-polyphenol dark chocolate or 100 grams daily of zero-polyphenol white chocolate, for fifteen days. The group fed the dark chocolate had improved beta cell function (insulin secreting cells in the pancreas), increased insulin sensitivity, lowered blood pressure and improved endothelial function, while white chocolate did none of those things.

Dark chocolate and fatty liver.

It is thought that cocoa may have therapeutic value in individuals with early stages of fatty liver disease that hasn’t become severe.

Dark chocolate and UV damage.

One study found that feeding high levels of dark chocolate to healthy people over twelve weeks doubled their resistance to UV damage.

Similarly, another study found that a group fed cacao with a high flavanol content had greater resistance to a given UV dosage than a group who were fed cacao with a low flavanol content (who actually saw no benefit at all) over a six and twelve-week period.

WHICH CHOCOLATE IS BEST?

Seeing as how most of chocolate’s benefits stem from the polyphenol content, and most of the studies that saw large effects used “high-flavanol” dark chocolate, you should be looking for chocolate with high polyphenol counts. Dutch processed, or alkalised, chocolate lightens the colour, removes some of the bitter compounds, and gives it a milder taste. Those “bitter compounds,” you see, are the flavanols. Without the bitterness you’re missing most of the beneficial polyphenols.

One of my favourites is “Loving Earth” chocolate, with 62% organic and raw cacao. They use agave syrup instead of sugar, so that makes it even better for you. It’s not as high as some of the brands you find in the supermarket, but it’s raw and organic, so there will be more antioxidants as a result. You can buy it at Organic Feast or other good Organic Shops.

They also make a high quality raw cacao powder (raw – Hot Chocolatewhich is actually fermented – or roasted, but never Dutch processed), try making coconut cacao milk. Mix half a can or carton of coconut milk with a couple tablespoons of cacao powder. Heat on the stove until almost simmering. Add sweetener (raw honey, maple syrup or stevia) to taste and, if you’re adventurous, a bit of cayenne, cinnamon and turmeric! Yummo!

Grow Your Own Health Workshop Saturday June 15th

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Ever wanted to be able to walk out into your own garden and pick some fresh organic veggies, herbs or even fruit, but didn’t know where to start?

Gardening

I’m holding a workshop on Saturday the 15th of June that will show you how easy it is to do just that.

We will talk about what you will need to get an organic garden happening, how to make compost, worm farming, soil management, natural plant fertilisers and soil improver’s, plant positioning and companion planting.

Flowers and veggies

Topics will include:

  • What is organic gardening?
  • Composting & worm farms
  • Importance of soil pH testing (bring a small sample of soil, from 5cm below surface, for testing)
  • Companion planting
  • Home made plant fertilisers and soil improver’s

ID-10092100, lavender flower

Greg Higgs, chef from Momo’s cafe at Organic Feast (who is also my darling husband), will be cooking  something yummy for us on the day.

Food

I will post more details soon.

Please let me know if you are interested in doing this workshop.

How to help reduce colds and flu’s this winter

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The weather is starting to get that lovely chill during the night. Great for a better night’s sleep, but a sign of the colder weather that’s not too far away! And with colder weather comes cold and flu season.

Icicles and Falling Snow

There are a number of ways to prevent a cold or flu, or if it’s too late, reduce the severity of it.

Keeping the body constantly supplied with the right nutrients and minimising the stressful effects of poor dietary and lifestyle choices is the best way to boost the immune system and build a strong resistance to any pathogen it encounters.

Natural Cold and Flu Prevention Natural Illness Prevention & Treatment   Beat the Cold, Flu and Fever Faster

Other ways we can help our body’s to avoid having a compromised immune system are;

  • Optimise vitamin D
  • Feed the body lots of quality nutrients. Lots of fruit and veggies. Think chicken soup!
  • Avoid white flours, processed foods, sugar, flavourings and sweeteners. There are no nutrients in these, they just deplete the body further and suppress the immune system.
  • Avoid dairy to reduce mucous production
  • Get enough quality sleep
  • Regular, moderate exercise
  • Add garlic to your diet, the more everyone eats, the less we’ll smell it on others! It’s antibacterial, antiviral, antibiotic and anti-fungal!
  • Plenty of hot, herbal teas. Honey and lemon, nettle, thyme, ginger, chamomile, peppermint and elderflower
  • Use cinnamon in your diet. It’s blood sugar stabilising as well as antiviral and antibiotic
  • The good old fashioned steam bowl with a drop of eucalyptus or tea tree oil and a towel over your head
  • Diced onion steeped in honey for a few hours, then a teaspoon of the liquid regularly to help with a chesty cough. Add garlic for a more potent effect.
  • Herbal mixtures, vitamins and minerals are also available to help fight colds and flu’s. These can be customised to suit your particular symptoms. Call me for further information
  • 0409 506 477

Yellow poppies