Iron Rich Foods

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Are you low in iron and want to know the best food sources?

Red Blood Cells

First of all, what is iron and why is it important?

It helps to transport oxygen around the body, and as our cells and tissues all require oxygen, iron is essential for life.

It is also important for producing energy, as iron is used in the Citric Acid Cycle which releases stored energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

It is also necessary for optimal immune function, enzyme production, growth and storing oxygen in our muscles (this is what gives muscles their red colour!).


Symptoms of iron deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Learning issues
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Headache
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness/dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Brittle nails
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Low stomach acid
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Strange cravings for ice or dirt, known as pica
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tingling or a crawling-feeling in the legs

Rich Food Sources of Iron;


Red meat is the best known source of iron, but it’s not the only source. Iron from animal sources is known as heme and plant based iron sources are known as non-heme

  • All meat, such as lamb, pork, chicken, and beef
  • Fish and seafood, such as; salmon, sardines, prawns and oysters
  • Eggs
  • Pulses and beans, such as; lentils and soybeans (see note below about iron absorption and pulses)
  • Tofu
  • Seeds including; sunflowers and pepitas
  • Nuts such as; almonds
  • Dark leafy greens, such as parsley, spinach, kale and watercress
  • Dried fruits such as apricots and raisins
  • Avocados
  • Seaweed
  • Grains such as rice ((see note below about iron absorption and grains)

Vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron you eat. Foods high in vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits, such as oranges, mandarines, lemons, limes and grapefruit,
  • Other fruits such as; strawberries, kiwis, guava, papaya, pineapple, melons, and mangoes
  • Broccoli
  • Red and green capsicum
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Dark leafy greens

Vegetarians and vegans should make sure they’re eating enough beans, tofu, dried fruits, spinach, and other dark vegetables.

Vegetarians may need nearly twice as much iron on a daily basis as people who eat animal products. This is because iron from plant foods may not be absorbed as easily or completely as iron found in animal products, such as meat.

Rusty pots

Cooking your food in iron rich pans, particularly acid based foods such as tomato sauces, can be a good source of iron!!


  • Calcium, especially in the form of dairy, at the same time as taking an iron supplement or eating a meal rich in iron, as it competes for absorption with iron. Have calcium rich foods or supplements at other times of the day
  • Zinc, copper, manganese and possibly magnesium, take these as supplements and food sources at separate times.
  • Tea or coffee as the tannic acid in tea and coffee reduce absorption.
  • Peppermint and chamomile
  • Phytic acid found in grains, pulses and other plant foods can reduce absorption by up to 80%, but having vitamin C at the same time counteracts that effect.


Don’t take iron when there’s an infection present as bacteria need iron for growth. The body will hide iron in the liver and other storage areas to starve the bacteria, so supllemening at this time only feeds the bacteria.

Image courtesy of yodiyim at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Raw Protein Balls

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  • 350 g raw whole almonds, macadamias or walnuts (or a combination of all)
  • 20 fresh dates, pitted
  • 1 x tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped sulphur free apricots (optional)
  • 3 generous tablespoons of raw cacao powder or carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground  cinnamon
  • Zest and juice from half an orange
  • Dessicated Coconut, Goji berry, Cacao, Crushed Nuts for rolling


  1. Process nuts with cinnamon, some orange zest and raw cacao or carob powder
  2. Add in the dates, vanilla extract and process until mixture starts to come together
  3. Add orange juice if needed (only a little at a time), enough to make the mix soft and easily forms balls
  4. Form into roughly 15 balls (depending on the size you want them)
  5. Coat in dessicated coconut, Goji berries, raw cacao powder or crushed nuts.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks

To make a yummy protein packed smoothie, blend 2 balls with 1 cup of milk of your choice (coconut is particularly delicious for this!) and banana, berries mango or papaya.





Stress, adrenal fatigue & the HPA axis

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Stress leads to adrenal fatigue (or eventually burnout) by affecting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA).


Here’s how;

The hypothalamus produces vasopressin and corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH). The hypothalamus is also responsible for the body’s circadian rhythm, internal temperature and energy levels.

Vasopressin and CRH are peptides that stimulate the pituitary gland (known as the master gland of the body) to produce and release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The pituitary gland is also responsible for producing and releasing other vital hormones such as; growth hormone, anti-diuretic hormone and luteinizing hormone.

ACTH in turn stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol which is the hormone that releases glucose into your bloodstream which is preparing your body for the high-energy ‘fight-or-flight’ response that it is expecting. Your adrenals also release adrenaline, which raises your heart rate and increases your blood pressure, all physiological responses in preparation for ‘fight or flight’. Other physiological effects of ‘fight or flight’ include; diverting blood from your gastro-intestinal tract and brain to your hands and feet, suppressing your immune system and increasing your blood’s clotting ability.


Normally, when enough hormones have been produced, a message is sent back to the hypothalamus and pituitary to stop producing more hormones.

The more stress the body is exposed to, the less effective the negative feedback loop becomes.The adrenal glands start to show signs of overuse such as the feeling of wired but tired. The glands themselves may be starting to thicken as a way of attempting to produce more hormones. The adrenal glands are still pumping out cortisol and adrenaline, but they’re struggling. Becoming more reliant on coffee to get you up and going or staying awake later in the day is a classic sign that your adrenal glands are starting to suffer.


After repeated, ongoing exposure to stress, the return negative feedback loop, doesn’t swtich off the hormone release from the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, yet the adrenal glands are really struggling to produce hormones and other hormones such as pregnenolone (precursor to sex hormones as well as cortisol), DHEA and testosterone are affected. Pregnenolone is stolen for the production of cortisol at the expense of producing sex hormones. The rest of the endocrine system start to try to compensate for the weakened adrenals, but this only leads to lower hormone and neurotransmitter levels elsewhere. Typical symptoms, at this stage, may include ongoing fatigue, a lack of motivation, lowered immune system (and therefore more risk of infections) and a lower sex drive. The adrenal glands may be starting to shrivel. This stage can go on for several months or even years.


If stress continues, unabated, you will enter the final stage of adrenal fatigue, known as adrenal burnout. The body simply runs out of ways to manufacture stress hormones, and cortisol levels finally begin to drop. Now, the levels of both the sex hormones and the stress hormones are low. Levels of neurotransmitters are often also low. You may suffer from extreme fatigue continuously as well as a total lack of sex drive, irritability, depression, anxiety, weight loss, complete lack of motivation and apathy in hobbies and interests that previously  brought joy. By this stage, the lack of  hormones has major implications for almost every part of the body. Recovering from this stage needs considerable time, patience and often a total change in diet and lifestyle.


If you feel you’re suffering from any of these stages of adrenal fatigue, please come and see me, it’s much easier to resolve in the earlier stages than putting off until you’ve reached burnout.



Goitrogens – how they affect the Thyroid

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What is a goitrogen?

Goitrogens are substances that cause the thryoid to enlarge forming a “goitre”. They may be foods, pharmaceutical drugs (eg, lithium) or chemicals in environmental pollution.

How do they affect the Thyroid?

They can affect the thyroid’s ability to produce metabolism regulating hormones, by interfering with iodine metabolism. This causes the pituitary gland to release thyroid stimulating hormone which may cause the thyroid to eventually lay down more cells in an effort to increase its production of hormones, leading to an enlarged thyroid or “goitre”.

Should we stop eating Goitrogens?

While it could be a good idea to minimise goitrogens in those who have a thyroid condition it’s not necessary to avoid all of them all of the time. Keeping the foods that are high in goitrogens to a minimum, and also eating them cooked, steamed or fermented, will help reduce exposure to goitrogens.

Also getting enough iodine by eating plenty of iodine rich foods such as; seafood, seaweed, yoghurt, cow’s milk and eggs, will help reduce the impact goitrogens will have on thyroid function.

There are so many wonderful nutrients in these foods, that I wouldn’t advocate cutting them out altogether.

Foods that have a high Goitrogenic effect on the thyroid;

  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage (including sauerkraut and kimchi)
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard and Mustard greens
  • Radishes
  • Swedes
  • Soy (soy isolates, soy milk and tofu)
  • Turnips

Foods with lower amounts Goitrogenic effect on the thyroid;

  • Almonds (raw)
  • Asparagus
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Cashews (raw)
  • Flaxseeds (linseeds)
  • Peaches
  • Peanuts (raw)
  • Pears
  • Pine Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Walnuts (raw)

Steaming, cooking and fermenting all of these foods reduces goitrogenic substances considerably.

Paleo Naan Bread-Linseeds and Coconut Flour

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  • 2.5 Tablespoons of ground linseeds (flaxseeds)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or thick coconut milk
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Coconut oil or ghee for cooking


  1. Mix all ingredients in a food processor until combined well. It won’t be quite a dough consistency but it’s also not going to be quite as runny as pancake batter.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon or so, of ghee or coconut oil in a frypan over medium high heat.
  3. Drop about two to three large tablespoons of batter into the hot pan.
  4. Wet your finger with water and tap down the batter to help spread it into a circle shape.
  5. Cook about 2 minutes per side or until golden


This makes about 4 fairly large Naan Breads.

Individualised Group Detox for a fabulous “Spring Clean” starting on October 8th!

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Are you always feeling tired, not sleeping or struggling to get up each day?
Does your body ache and are your joints are stiff?
Do you often get headaches, suffer from allergies or skin conditions?
Does your hair or skin lack lustre and vibrancy?
Is your immune system letting you down?
Struggling to give up sugar or other addictions?
Finding it harder to lose those extra kg’s?

Sounds like it’s time to DETOX!

Why not join a 4 Week Individualised Group Detox starting on October 8th at Morpeth?

Free green smoothie

Spring usually brings with it a sense of waking up from hibernation over winter and with that in mind I’m running an individualised, group detox in October. This is a great way to wake up your body, refresh and revitalise it with a “Spring clean”.
The 4 week detox includes an individualised program specifically designed to accommodate your needs, whether it be; detoxifying the system from toxins, weight loss, removing sugar from your diet, disease prevention, reduce premature ageing,  or enhancing immune function, or a combination of some or all of the above.

This is an individualised detox programme in a group setting. I will design an individual detox program to suit your specific needs. Being in a group environment provides support, encouragement and accountability.

By gently and effectively removing exposure to toxins from your diet and lifestyle, clearing your digestive tract and improving your gut and liver function you’re giving your body the best chance to digest foods more effectively, produce more energy, break the addiction pattern, remove excess weight and regain overall health. Did you know that it’s virtually impossible to lose weight if your liver function is compromised?

Price Includes;

  • Individualised 4 week Detox in a group setting with lots of recipe ideas and comprehensive notes
  • 3 x group consultations held over the 4 weeks
  • Individualised herbal mixes and supplements to assist the body to detox more efficiently and help repair any existing damage to the liver and GI tract.
  • Phone and email support throughout the 4 weeks.

Places are limited so phone Sophie on; 0409 506 477 to book your place!

Early Bird Special;

Book and pay your deposit before the 28th of September and save $15!