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Top 10 Plant Proteins

posted 8 May 2015, 05:03 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 1 Sep 2015, 03:06 ]

By Sophie Pattihis

My top 10 plant proteins.

1. Quinoa: 11g Protein / Cup. A grain like seed, quinoa is a high protein alternative to rice or pasta, served alone or over vegetables and greens. It provides a good base for a veggie burger and is also a fantastic breakfast cereal when served cold with almond or coconut milk and berries.

2. Lentils: 17.9g Protein / Cup. Delicious, nutritious and super easy to prepare, adds bulk and body to meals.

3. Beans (Black, Kidney, Mung, Pinto): 12-15g Protein / Cupa great addition to most meals, adds flavour, richness and bulk.

4. Spirulina: 6g Protein / 10 grams. A blue-green algae, spirulina is a highly bioavailable complete protein containing all essential amino acids. At 60% protein (the highest of any natural food), it’s a plant-based protein powerhouse that finds it way into my Vitamix blends daily.

5. Chlorella algae is approximately 60% to 70% protein, and unlike other plant-based protein, algae's protein is complete and is thus ideal for humans. The reason it is said to be superior is, It contains 19 naturally occurring amino acids. Including all eight essentials: isoleucinc,leucine,methionine,phenylalanlne,threonine.tryptophan and valine. Making it a complete or superior protein. Amino acids are essential for tissue and cell regeneration, and with their co-factor vitamins and minerals, in the maintenance of our metabolic pathways. The only other source of complete protein, is meat and it is approximately 20% protein.

Ounce for ounce chlorella has three times more protein than meat. One tablespoon of chlorella powder contains as much food value as an ounce of steak Chlorella is a group of one-celled plants, containing no true root, stem or leaf. This particular fresh-water, single celled microscopic plant contains a host of health building nutrients. Algae is nature's method of cleaning up impure water. Chlorella does the same thing in the human body. Chlorella pulls out toxins and impurities while at the same time gives the body the nutrients which will help it heal itself.

6. Hemp Seeds: 16g Protein / 3 tbsp. With a perfect ration of omega-6 and omega-3 EFA’s, hemp seeds are another bioavailable complete protein rivaled only by spirulina. A simple and great addition to a multitude of dishes, from breakfast cereal to salads to smoothies to vegetables and rice.

7. Maca Power contains 14.6% protein. This is because the amino acid proteins have not been denatured at any stage of the processing.

8. Sprouts of all kinds

9. Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams

10. Bee pollen does not have the same composition as flower pollen. The substance sold as a supplement, is a blend that bees make by mixing the pollen they collect with nectar and their saliva. In general, 1 tsp. of bee pollen has 1.21 g of protein -- equal to around 2 percent of a man's daily intake.

Sophie Pattihis

Why I’m NOT Raw or Vegan

posted 8 May 2015, 05:02 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 06:21 ]

By Aimee DeFresne

Instead of sharing a recipe, I’m sharing a rant. And I’m sharing it with love in the hopes that if you are struggling at the moment, it helps you move confidently in the direction of your most vibrant, fulfilled life.

Beware: Controversy may ensue.

First of all, I want to clear up some confusion.

TRUE: I am a certified raw vegan chef.

FALSE: My diet is strictly raw, strictly vegan.

Let me be clear: MY DIET IS NOT 100% RAW VEGAN! Okay, that felt good. Even though I share that with people all the time, they rarely hear it.

TRUE: I eat A LOT of raw food, in the form of fruits and vegetables.

Wait a minute, Aimee! How can you eat cooked food when you are a raw food chef? How is that possible? Why would you do that?

This is a question I get A LOT! So let me share with you the answer.

I chose my specialized training for a few reasons:

After both my parents were diagnosed with cancer, I wanted to learn more about how the body can naturally detox and prevent disease through the foods we choose to eat.

Growing up on packaged processed foods along with burgers and fries from fast food joints, I had NO IDEA how to make simple fruits and vegetables taste good to me. As far as I knew, veggies were something overcooked and covered in cheese sauce.

Why am I sharing this with you? To clear up the confusion you may be having in your own diet and lifestyle. Here are some typical questions, comments, and pleas I get over and over again:

I really want to get healthy. I’ve been trying to get healthy for years. I just don’t have the motivation or quickly lose it.

I have a busy lifestyle I cannot change that prevents me from making healthy dietary choices.

I hate eating fruits and vegetables. Can you help me?

I keep trying to go raw vegan, but I keep going back to cooked foods. I know a raw vegan diet is the best diet but I can’t seem to manage it.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Okay….let me take each of these in turn:

I really want to get healthy. I’ve been trying to get healthy for years. I just don’t have the motivation or quickly lose it.

Does this sound like you? If so, I have some questions for you:

What does healthy mean to you? How do you define it?

What have you tried in the past? When did you stop? What else did you try? When did you lose motivation there? And the next thing you tried? Keep asking yourself these questions and you’ll start to see a pattern. The point is to break the pattern and start something new. Doing this on your own can be daunting and soon you find yourself giving up. This is where a coach comes in, to assist you in breaking through to the next level of your life.

I have a busy lifestyle I cannot change that prevents me from making healthy dietary choices.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” There are plenty of ways to incorporate better health into a hectic lifestyle, but you have to open your mind to them. If you start any journey with the belief that the destination is impossible to reach, you are doomed to failure.

Gaining greater health is not as like driving up to your favorite fast food joint and placing an order (Yeah, I’ll take a side of health with those fries!). If you are not experiencing the health you desire, you have to be willing to change something. Disease is a sign that something is not working. Think of it as your internal GPS system. Disease/illness and ailments are signs you are going in the wrong direction. Start changing your course to get back on the path to greater health and happiness. To continue going in the wrong direction will only steer you further and further from your desired destination. And to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the results to change is the definition of insanity.

I hate eating fruits and vegetables. Can you help me?

The real question is: Are you ready to help yourself? Are you ready to let go of the thought that you hate all fruits and vegetables? Have you tried every single fruit and vegetable? What is it you don’t like about eating them?

No, I can’t wave a magic wand and voila, you suddenly change all your beliefs and thus your lifestyle. But if you are ready and willing to make changes, I’m delighted to be a guide on your journey to greater health and happiness.

I keep trying to go raw vegan, but I keep going back to cooked foods. I know a raw vegan diet is the best diet but I can’t seem to manage it.

Who says a raw vegan diet is the best diet? Look around and you’ll see experts touting another diet to be the best, either now, in the past, or in years to come. Remember when doctors were telling you to smoke cigarettes as part of a healthy diet? Yeah, we all saw how that worked out.

Here’s a suggestion. Stop blindly following all those so-called experts in the media and start listening the true expert on your health and well-being: YOU. That’s right. YOU are the best expert when it comes to your body. Start listening to it. Yes, you can gain valuable information from the other experts, but remember YOU have the final say in what works for you. Quite empowering to know, right?

Wondering whether to be vegan, raw vegan, or paleo? Here’s a suggestion: Be YOU. Eat the foods that make you feel good, in body and in mind.

As one of my favourite Fearless Friday guests said, ‘It all falls back to love.’ He is absolutely right. It all falls back to love. Love for yourself. Love for your body. Love for those around you.

I love you and I wish you all the best in your journey. I wish you great health and happiness. If I can assist you on that journey, it is my absolute pleasure to do so.

So, stop neglecting your body. Stop hurtling insults at it and telling it it is not good enough. Instead, love it and listen. Your body has a lot to tell you.

Aimee DeFresne

Raw tips to keep warm!

posted 8 May 2015, 05:00 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:07 ]

By Sophie Pattihis

It may be spring, but we can still feel the chill in the air!So here are some helpful foody tips to help keep you warm till the sun comes back again!

1. Incorporate thermogenic foods.

Cinnamon. Turmeric. Ginger. Chilies. Garlic. Thermogenic foods help to raise your body temperature and burn fat by increasing circulation and metabolism. They are great for those who are feeling at a low ebb or feel they need an 'inner power' boost. These are warming for the body and we should all be having good amounts in our everyday meals. Try adding ginger to your morning smoothie or juice. Include chilies in your dehydrated nut burgers or even salads. Add some cinnamon to desserts or crush some garlic into salad dressings.

Make a thermogenic soup. For a warming vegetable soup, cut 1 whole swede, 2 whole butternut squash, 2 red onions, and a clove or two of garlic. Whizz in your high speed blender with the juice of 3 carrots, 2 courgettes, 2 apples and 1 lemon. warm 2 tspns of cumin, dried chili, coriander seed on the stove to bring their flavour to life. Add 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt and turmeric with these whole spices. Whizz up again for one minute until the mixture is fully blended. You can either warm this in your dehydrator (takes forever) or very gently on a low heat over the stove. Add some grated ginger and a pinch of cinnamon and fresh coriander on top, and a fresh grind of warming black pepper.

2. Eat cake

Raw cakes and desserts are filling, nourishing, grounding, whilst remaining indulgent and super tasty! It’s a perfect opportunity to be mind full about your snacking and goes great with a cup of warming herbal cinnamon or liquorice tea. My favourite combination is a raw cacao cheesecake with a sweet chili tea from 'Yogi' teas. Try incorporating some super foods into your 'baking' lacuma, maca, cacao to name but a few!

3. Incorporate good fats into your diet.

Essential, healthy fats give us energy, make our skin soft and radiant, keeping your immune system strong and elevate our moods. Avocados, nut butters, coconut oil, durian, flax seed and olives are some of the best healthy fats out there and really easy to add to your everyday diet. Mash a whole avocado and banana together with some maca, cacao, cacai butter and mint the make a Delicious pudding. substituting your everyday cooking oil with coconut oil is always a good idea. Cut up some crunchy celery and courgette sticks to dip in or spread on some nut and seed crackers for even more warming fat.You can also make raw nut butter balls (see recipe pages) for a high energy, warming snack to take with you whilst your on the move.

4. Eat green

Start your day off with a big green juice every morning. The power of green veg is enough to keep you warm, phyto nutrients generate super energy in the body, improving chi movement, lymphatic drainage and movement, thus maintaining the flow of toxins out of the system so your body can concentrate on keeping you energised and warm.

Juice 2 apples, 1 stick of celery, a cucumber, 1 beetroot, 1 carrot, and a big handful of kale and spinach and warming watercress, rocket and ginger. Instead of adding ice, try drinking it at room temperature. Your taste buds might need some adjusting but it will stop the shivers after each mouthful. If you can’t manage drinking it without ice, throw in a handful of frozen berries instead for an extra nutrient hit and to bring the temperature down of your smoothie or juice without adding extra water. Serve greens with every meal, too, a big salad or plate of veg on the side .

5. Eat chocolate

Raw chocolate that is! Cacao has a vast range of essential minerals and nutrients. I eat cacao everyday and its made a huge difference to my overall health. One of the main reasons people start to feel ill when the weather is so miserable is through lack of sunlight and light energy. A lack of stimulating energy that the body needs to keep the inner 'life force' or 'chi' alive and strong. Cacao has the nutritional power to elevate this inner chi, enabling us to assimilate any other nutrients we are obtaining from our diets even better, keeping our immunity strong and our energy alive!

6. Drink warmth

Other than tea, the obvious winter warmer for most is hot chocolate! so why not try warming chocolate smoothie teas! Use thick nut and seed milks as a base and add the herbal tea of your choice. Then add super foods, 1 tsp cacao powder, carob, lucuma, … add any super foods you like to your milky teas. Best enjoyed whilst snuggled under a blanket by the fire!

7. Eat burgers

This is a great excuse to whip out the dehydrator! Soak 1 cup pumpkin seeds and 1 cup almonds in water for a couple of hours. Rinse and discard the water. Pop in a food processor with 2 sundried tomatoes, 1 fresh tomato, fresh basil and oregano, half a red onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 carrots and 1 stick celery. Add the juice of 1 lemon and a pinch of pink salt. Process and then shape into small round patties. Put in the dehydrator overnight or for 24 hours if you want them to be crunchier and last longer. Serve with a raw salsa of freshly chopped tomatoes, chives, red onion, olive oil, agave, garlic and cloves and a fresh green salad with parsley, dill, cucumber, bok choy and spring onion.

8. Make room for the mushroom

The medicinal power of mushrooms is amazing! You can get so many varieties of mushrooms these days that are meaty, filling and packed full of antiviral, fungal, microbial and immune-boosting properties. The best, in my opinion that pack a real health-maintaining, medicinal punch are the shiitake, reishi, chaga, maitake, lion’s mane enoki.

Shiitake and enoki are great in salads and soups, or marinated in some olive oil and garlic!

To use the other mushrooms, add some of these as powder to soups, smoothies, pâtés and salad dressings. Add some chili, ginger and asian spices for true authentic taste.You can also make tea with them for even more warmth!

9. Hot lemons

Boil your kettle. Pour the water into a cup. Add 2 slices of lemon, 3 thin slices of ginger, a bit of a cinnamon stick and infuse. Drink several times a day but try to drink warm rather than piping hot because drinking/ eating hot substances causes an added and unnecessary immune response, demanding precious energy that your body needs to carry out other processes. Lemons are extremely good cleansers and keep you feeling 'cleaned' from the inside out! They help support immunity and healthy liver and blood function. Their colour reminds us that the sun is always shining even if it’s behind the clouds. Do this every day, even if it’s just lemon and warm water… and it’s a great way to end the day too. Just simple water, and lemon. Keep it warm. Keep it lovely.

10. Look after your liver

The liver is the master organ, and is the dominant organ for this time of year. Spring brings with it the colour green, the colour green, when considering nutrition is all about cleansing and detox, which is what the livers primary function is. So looking after your liver ensures that precious energy that would be better served elsewhere in the body isn't being misdirected to the liver for any excess clearing or detox it may be burdened with. So the best foods for the liver also happen to be warming too. Power spices, turmeric, ginger, dark bitter leafy veg, lemons, limes and grapefruit, cruciferous veg like cauliflower and brocolii, green tea, Olive oil, garlic, seeds, milk thistle, onions, spring onion and shallots, brazil nuts and globe artichoke. all easy to incorporate into your diets and all very tasty!

Additional tip

Placing a warm compress or hot water bottle on the lower back (kidney area) is very comforting and extremely warming. Another reason for ill health and fatigue is adrenal fatigue. Heating the area gently, is sure fire way to generate some inner heat too and keep you feeling comforted and secure.

Sophie Pattihis

Ayurveda & balancing your nervous system through food

posted 8 May 2015, 04:59 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:08 ]

By Marcus Felicetti

Ayurveda is the healing science that is very closely related to Yoga. Ancient Yogis who created Ayurveda evolved it over thousands of years through observation, experimentation, research and intuition in natural treatments and therapies. It’s main modalities are nutrition, massage, herbalism, sun bathing, and lifestyle changes. It often works in combination with Yogic meditation and postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama). Ayu means life, and veda means knowledge.

One particular characteristic of Ayurveda is the exploration and understanding of each individual’s body type. These are often called doshas – air (vata), fire (pitta), water (kapha). In the West we have a similar concept called this somatotype – ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. However in Ayurveda there are some other less known ways of understanding body types and various constitutional combinations. Two other categories are described according to their nervous system – ‘sympathetic’ and ‘parasympathetic’. With sympathetics their nervous system is agitated easily so there are certain foods that will calm their nervous system. Actually these foods calm all nervous systems! They are sweet foods, salty foods and to some extent sour foods. The second kind of nervous system, parasympathetics already have a calmer nervous system and they do not need these foods as much. So if they take sweet, sour or salty foods they tend to become lethargic are tired and languid. Personally, I am a parasympathetic. If take sweet or salty foods I feel more grounded but any more than a little bit and it will be like I’m on sedatives.

This one reason why people crave sweets when they’re upset. Because its very soothing. On the other hand, if you are a parasympathetic like me, we are much more suited to the other kinds of foods. If we take the bitter, the pungent, or the astringent foods, then our bodies and minds perform like a race car! Personally, when I am in balance I have RIDICULOUS amounts of energy.

Creating this harmony in your life through Yoga and Ayurvedic nutrition only requires two things: self knowledge about how YOUR own body works. And practicing this wisdom, integrating it with balance in your own life.

Marcus Felicetti

How to Alkalise your Body

posted 8 May 2015, 04:58 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:09 ]

By Marcus Julian Felicetti

I have recently submitted to MindBodyGreen an article on the benefits of alkalising your body. And here I will describe practical less well know and very important steps to take to achieve the ideal pH level.

The ideal pH level is 7.35. Most people are actually too acidic. The average people sits at 5.5 to 6.5. This has catastrophic effects on every system of your body.

Do these things persistently and consistently and you will increase the alkalinity and decrease acidity. The benefits will be incredible – both immediate (within a matter of days) and long term.

1. Cut out sugar altogether. Fruit is okay in moderation. But never ever eat any refined or processed sugars – no corn syrup, no agave, no maltose, no aspartame.

2. Eat raw organic fresh vegetable juices in the morning for breakfast. You can buy a juicer that squeezes the juices out of the vegetable, they’re much better. The centrifugal juicers oxidise the nutrients.

3. Practice Yoga with a highly skilled and caring Yoga teacher. The ideal is to work one on one with a teacher who is interested in you and can design the practice around your needs. The practice of Yoga cleanses the acids from the joints and organs through moving the body with love and intelligence, and breathing.

4. Avoid toxic fats like transfats. Fried foods that have not been cooked with coconut oil generally are acidic. So the only oil I recommend you cook with is coconut oil. The benefits of coconut oil are many fold.

5. Essential fragrant oils are highly alkalising. They are the plant essence. This means they have a special frequency that the body and mind recognise. Applied to the air or the body the electromagnetic vibration increase cell resonance. The most powerful fragrant oils for alkalising are 1. Myrrh, 2. Frankincense, 3. Spikenard, and 4. Sandalwood.

6. Sunbathing in the morning sun for fifteen minutes each day plays a very important role in maintaining alkalinity and pH balance. It is best to have a shower before and afterward. This helps to cleanse out heavy toxins in the body.

7. Stop using commercial soaps, shampoos, deodorants, creams, toothpastes and mouthwashes. Not only do the often have a massive chemical load that makes you acidic, but they also often suppress the body’s natural functions like sweating, which actually helps to eliminate acid, and pushes the acid back into the lymph nodes. This can increase the risk of cancer and weakens the immune system.

8. Stop drinking fluoridated tap water. Tap water is crap water. Buy a good quality water filter. Sodium fluoride is a toxic poison that is not fit for human consumption. Chlorine is likewise terrible for your gut and oxidises you.

9. It is a great discipline to twice a week skip your regular lunch meal and have something extremely alkalising instead. Here are some of the most highly alkalising foods you can eat for lunch:

Wheat Grass
Barely Grass
Alfalfa Grass
Kamut Grass
Oat Grass
Cucumber (best taken in the morning or lunch, not at night)

10. Cut right down on meat. Meat is very acidic. Especially red meat.

Marcus Julian Felicetti

Why Carb Diets Can Ruin Your Health

posted 8 May 2015, 04:55 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:21 ]

By Marcus Julian Felicetti

One night I was having dinner with a friend who is also a naturopath, and because we are both obsessed with good nutrition our conversation turned to the dialectic between two very different schools of thought–in the right corner the “Paleo” diet, which is low carb high quality nutrient dense fats and protein. And in the left corner the “80/10/10?, high carb low protein low fats diet. 80/10/10 is basically eighty percent carbs, ten percent protein, ten percent fats. Essentially it is a fruitarian diet.

Both my friend and I agreed we don’t consider it a fair contest between these two diets because huge volumes of research favor the Paleo – high quality nutrient dense fats and protein diet, low carbs approach. So as far as serious discussion goes there isn’t really much evidence for high carb diets except anecdote. And this is what I want to explore…. Why, with all this scientific research and data that shows high quality nutrient dense fats and protein and low carbs are the best diet suited to most people, why do some people still follow 80/10/10?

If you look closely at the language that high carb eaters use, they often promote it as a weight loss diet. This appeals to a lot of less informed people. The fact is they’re right, high fruit diets will help most people lose weight. But there is a reason for that, a dangerous caveat that escapes them, that no one warned them about.

When you eat a high caloric intake, assuming it is unrefined foods, then it will increase leptin levels. Leptin is the hormone that is responsible for weight loss. It increases the metabolism. You heard it correctly eat more unrefined unprocessed sugars and you will get slimmer. Are you surprised? The body is EXTREMELY intelligent and analyzes the food you put into your body, and if it is high calorie organic foods then your body will have excess energy to burn without increasing significantly toxicity. So it turns up the fire of your metabolism. Does this sound appealing? I hope not.

As a naturopath I can prescribe certain herbs and foods that will increase your leptin levels so quickly that the excess weight will tumble off faster than you can image. But I don’t recommend that as a long term strategy. Why not? Because it will lead to accelerated aging. Eventually your skin will become aged, your teeth will degenerate, your muscles will look sinuous and small, flesh around your face will look drawn, gaunt and haggard, you’ll need to sleep a lot. High caloric diets work as high octane fuel. But if you treat your body like a car eventually it will break down.

You have to remember that your metabolic rate is related to the pace at which your body clock is ticking. If I prescribed you certain herbs that raise your metabolism to a level where you can eat a massive amount of food an never put on a inch of body fat, have I done you a favor or disservice? In the long term if you value longevity and beauty, which myself and my other naturopath friends do, then a high leptin fast metabolism is a major disservice.

The huge volume of scientific data show that low leptin levels correlate with a long lifespan. This is why I always take a wholistic approach to my work as a naturopath and a Yoga teacher. 80/10/10 may solve one problem to create another, and therefore it’s a shortsightedness approach that leads to long term problems later down the track.

80/10/10 diet leads to an emaciated wasted body because they treat their body like a car and food as fuel

For longevity and weight loss I can highly recommend the high nutritional density fats and amino acids that come from:

  1. Fresh vegetables, like Kale, broccoli, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, spinach, arugula, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress, cauliflower.
  2. In moderation soaked nuts, like brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, apricot kernels, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts and macadamia.
  3. Seeds, like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, millet, flax seed, hemp seed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, quinoa, coconuts and coconut oil.
  4. Algae like spirulina, chlorella, AFA.
  5. Probiotic rich fermented foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut.
  6. Herbs like basil, parsley, ginger, oregano, cinnamon, cayenne, cloves, black pepper, neem, turmeric.
  7. Seaweeds, like Kelp, Nori, Kombu, Dulse, Wakame.
  8. Grasses, like wheat grass, barely grass, kamut grass, oat grass.
  9. Spouts, like mung bean, alfalfa, fenugreek, clover, radish seeds.

These food groups will make you lose excess weight and at the same time keep you young and beautiful. They do this by detoxifying and cleansing the body and giving you a massive amount of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants.

Fruits do have some of the benefits of the other foods I mentioned above, but the ratios of nutrients to calories is poor. Most fruits are high in fructose. And fructose is one of the last things you want to eat. If you take one thing away from this article it should be that low calorie and high nutrient density is the best ratio. It is all about the ratios. Your body needs more than just fuel. Your body is far more subtle, beautiful and amazing than a car. Your body needs to constantly build and rebuild muscle and bone and connective tissue. Whereas cars are inorganic metal that don’t constantly self-repair. That is why nutrient dense fats and proteins are essential. They are bone building, muscle building, connective tissue building. Regeneration happens through ‘building block’ nutrients known as amino acids that make up proteins, and essential fatty acids. A lack of amino acids and essential fatty acids slows the regeneration process and aging accelerates, eventually leading to degeneration and death.

Essential sugars

There is a broad category of exception amongst fruits, which do have an extreme high ration of nutrients to low calories. I am sure you can guess what they are… You guessed it, berries. Particularly raspberries, blue berries, black berries, cherries, cranberries, goji berries, açaí, maqui berry, bilberries, gubinge berries (kakadu plum), etc. Most of these do contain some small amount of fructose but actually they are sweetened from a much more beneficial sugar called xylose. Xylose is one of eight essential sugars. These are also known as monosaccharides or glyconutrients. They are: mannose, galactose, fucose, xylose, glucose, sialic acid, N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylgalactosamine. These are extremely complex sugars that are in most cases found in bitter, astringent and pungent foods like olives, aloe vera, medicinal mushrooms like shitake, sumac, echinacea, the stem and branches of astragalus, Undaria pinnatifida seaweed.

The bitter, pungent and astringent sugars in these foods join with certain proteins and fats on the surface of cells and play a critical roll in cell-to-cell communication. When these essential sugars combine with good fats and protein they are called glycoproteins and glycolipids and act as antennae, receiving chemical messages from other cells. They are also markers and identifiers that identify the cell to other cells, increasing cell to cell communication. This strengthens the immune system.

So you can see that the generic fruits are a poor source of essential sugars. This is partly because the fruits have been hybridize by the agribusiness industry for decades to deliver caloric volume, at the cost of nutrient quality and density. They are very far from their original wildcrafted form found in nature. Fruit has been bred to taste sweeter and grow bigger and bigger, satisfying and addicting tastebuds. They mainly contain fructose which is essentially a poison. It reacts badly with protein, creating toxins. The body tries to dispose of it through the liver, which damages the liver. It is not a good source of fuel because it will spike insulin levels and high insulin levels hardens arteries and hastens aging, and it impairs the mind by causing insulin resistance in the brain, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people do have a sluggish metabolism and in those rare cases they could benefit from raising their leptin levels slightly. But doing this through high fruit diets has many pitfalls. There are much more effective ways to raise leptin levels. I would do it through temporarily prescribing herbs and low impact exercise like Yoga and weightlifting. That way the blood sugar levels remains balanced and even, the metabolism lifts, excess fat drops away, and the body can build in wholistic health and strength.

It is all relative

If you could take away one more principle about nutrition then it should be the ‘law of diminishing returns’ which is also known as the concept of ‘declining marginal benefits’. Simply put, the more of one thing you eat the less it benefits you, and the more likely it is to become harmful. Basically, the greatest benefit comes from the first bit of any one kind of food. So if you eat thirty bananas a day, the lack of diversity and complexity in your diet eventually leads to zero benefit. The more variety in the foods you eat throughout the day the better. If you limit your diet to just eating sugary generic fruits then you’ll have less to choose from, therefore minimizing nutrients and increasing toxicity. This is why in nutrition always remember, less is more. Think economically–as quantity goes up, benefits decrease.

If you were to ask me in ernest, ‘Tell me, isn’t a fruit diet better than what some people eat – a junk habit of processed refined sugars, breads, dairy, meats filled with hormone laden pesticides, fungicides, antibiotics, preservatives, additives, artificial sweeteners, chemical coloring, and other things that could be created by the Joker?’ And without qualification I would agree and say ‘Yes’. When you compare anything to the lowest common denominator then it will seem a better option. The junk that some people choose to pollute their body with resembles nothing like food, and anything is better than that.

To eat meat, or not to eat meat

The idea of the Paleo diet is an excellent one – eat like our ancient ancestors. This is a wholistic approach. Done correctly it truly makes the body and mind strong, by:

  1. Detoxifying heavy metals and reducing toxicity
  2. Decreasing the bad bacteria, viral, fungal, and parasite load
  3. Nourishing at a deep cellular level

Most people who follow the Paleo diet eat meat. Having studied the literature it is clear to me that our ancient ancestors evolved in such a vast variety of environments and parts of the world with different food habits, and still each culture attained a degree of vitality that is extraordinary. I have been a vegetarian for many years, and when I am asked whether I recommend either including some meat eating or a pure vegetarian diet, I simply reply ‘It is totally your choice. See for yourself how your body feels. You cannot really know what works for your body until you’ve tried both. But definitely eat clean, whatever you do go organic!’

Know thy self

Experimentation is the final principle I want you to remember about nutrition. One of the greatest things you can do for your health is develop a curiosity and a deep intimacy and sensitivity with your body. Pay attention to what foods make you feel bloated, tired, increase mucus, slow elimination of wastes, cloud your thinking, make your body odor, etc. Then try cutting those foods out and see what happens.

I cannot tell you whether your body will work better including a small amount of high quality meat or as a complete vegetarian, only you can know that. Although many people will claim they know what works best for others, in reality they can only give you useful principles as guidelines. I personally see some disadvantages with meat eating and a few benefits. For me it is open to the individual to make a conscious and informed choice.

The life long journey of learning

When professional experts in the field of nutrition talk about food we are drawing from a depth of knowledge that most people cannot begin to conceive. It is a lifetime of learning and experimenting that we have dedicated ourselves to. I remember the first book my father ever read to me was a book on anatomy and physiology. As I sat up in bed listening to him and looking at the pages my eyes widened in awe and wonder at the genius and brilliance of God’s creation. I would interrupt to ask questions and even dream about what I learnt in the night, intuitive visions of the organs and their functioning appeared to me as an innocent child’s free imagination can do. I fell in love with health at a very young age. And this passion to constantly learn more about health only grew. As a teenager my best friend and I would study books on nutrition and have competitions who could know more, and in the process we enriched each others knowledge and exchanged a lot of wisdom.

As an adult I have made health my career and have been successful at using Yoga and nutrition and lifestyle changes to heal people of all kinds of terminal illnesses. When doctors sent people home to die and instead they came to me after everything else had failed, sometimes barely able to walk, then within months of working together I had them completely overcome their disease, journeying further and further into new levels of health by using my approaches. It demonstrated to me that God puts this fire and love for what we do in our hearts so that we can use it to serve.

The work of a naturopath is a deep one. It is our job to discover what the causes are at the source of the problem. If the cure to obesity was simply losing weight then the cure to depression would be popping a pill. The cure to anything is addressing the underlying issues. In the case of obesity it may be – digestion, metabolism, toxicity, emotional, lifestyle, etc. And through addressing the individuals unique picture the body naturally finds its own balance.

If there are any general recommendations for weight loss it is that people will lose weight by becoming healthy. Strengthening the vital force of the organs and detoxifying through Yoga and a wholistic approach to nutrition is a major piece of this puzzle. This is an intelligent long term approach. This will lead to true health, deep strength, radiant beauty, a long life, and inner peace.

Marcus Julian Felicetti

Mighty Magnesium

posted 8 May 2015, 04:52 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:27 ]

By Sophie Pattihis

Magnesium, the mighty mineral!

Most of us, when considering healthy minerals and nutrients, think about antioxidants, omega oils, calcium etc. Yet we man have overlooked an essential in our diets, magnesium.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, found in teeth, bones and red blood cells. About half is found in the bones and the rest in soft tissue, 1% is left in the blood, rendering blood tests notoriously difficult to test for magnesium deficiencies.

Magnesium is the most interactive mineral, it is essential for numerous biochemical reactions in the body (350, in fact, more than zinc and iron combined!!) Our bodies use magnesium to maintain and regulate normal nerve and muscle function, regulate heart beat, and keep bones and teeth strong.

Magnesium also plays a key role in preventing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Our bodies absorb magnesium through the small intestines and excretes excess through the kidneys. However our intestines are not very good at absorbing large quantities of magnesium, so taking large doses of magnesium supplement may result in diarrhoea. Absorption of magnesium is dramatically reduced with poor digestion, particularly as we age.

Magnesium chloride is the form favoured by our bodies for the most efficient absorption and assimilation. Magnesium chloride is the direct result of evaporation of sea water, so all natural! this form is pure and perfect for absorption through the skin!

Cardiff University carried out the first clinical trial demonstrating the efficiency of magnesium absorption through the skin.

An earlier trial in 2010 indicated that the body remineralised five times faster if magnesium was applied topically rather than oral (subligual) supplementation!!

There are several causes of magnesium deficiency.
  • excessive sweating
  • calcium supplements
  • soft water
  • prescription and over the counter medication
The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are almost identical to those found in old age.
  • low energy levels
  • irregular heartbeat
  • restlessness and irritability
  • clogged arteries
  • migraines and headaches
  • heavy metal build-up
  • high blood pressure
  • insulin resistance
People most at risk of magnesium deficiency include:
  • the elderly
  • diabetics
  • children
  • those on low calorie diets
  • those over-indulging on alcohol
  • those engages in heavy exercise
  • those who have stressful lifestyles
(Cinnamon supplements contain high levels of magnesium, another bio-form the body can readily use)

Modern western diets.
The question of 'what causes low magnesium?' in some ways is easier to answer by examining modern western diets. A visit to my local supermarket finds cashiers unable to identify basic green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard, mustard greens, all magnesium rich!

Feed your body food it can actually use!

Typical western diets are rich in fat, salt, sugar, supplemented vitamin D, phosphates, protein and supplemented calcium. These diets are not only deficient in magnesium but also increase the bodies need for magnesium!

High sat-fat diets: reduce magnesium absorption in the intestines

High sugar diets: increase excretion of magnesium through kidneys, adding to adrenal exhaustion.

Phosphates found in carbonated drinks such a dark coloured pops (cola): bind magnesium rendering it unstable and unsuitable for the body to assimilate.

Today, modern farming has depleted the soils. Artificial fertiliser favours some minerals over others. Over processing food, may increases shelf life, but depletes food of magnesium.

Whole grain wheat flour loses 80% of it magnesium when converted to white bread!

For millions of years our diets have included magnesium rich foods. But mass production and high demand means many rely on convenience rather than nutrients.

Diets rich in Magnesium include:
  • pumpkin seeds
  • seeds
  • nuts
  • whole grains
  • dark-green leafy veg
  • Cinnamon
Asian diets, contain dramatically lower levels of calcium than western diets, however they experience fewer incidences of osteoporosis because their magnesium intake is at least double that of western!

Magnesium deficiencies develop over time so we often miss the symptoms until they are exacerbated by old age, menopause or when the body is under stress. Symptoms include.

Low energy.
Magnesium is the key mineral involved in the enzymatic process of converting food to energy. Several studies indicate that individuals with low magnesium levels use more energy and tire quickly. Magnesium is also essential for both the synthesis and secretion of insulin,(diabetics are found to have low levels of magnesium).

PMS and Hormonal Imbalances.
low levels of magnesium are directly attributed to PMS and hormonal imbalances. Studies carried out by a Dr David Thomas showed how sufferers tend to share common dietary patterns, consuming only a quarter of their necessary magnesium, almost 80% more dairy and a staggering 275% more sugar!!

Poor sleep patterns and insomnia are strongly linked to magnesium deficiencies. Waking throughout the night, muscle spasms, cramps and restlessness are all symptomatic of low magnesium levels.

Bone health.
Although calcium is the most abundant skeletal mineral, it is very hard for the body to absorb it on its own. It requires a balance of hydrochloric acid, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D to be absorbed into bone. Calcification occurs when there are insufficient levels of these, calcium remains insoluble and is instead deposited throughout the body in soft tissue, joints, muscles, arteries as plaque.

Cramps and spasms.
Whilst calcium is responsible for the contraction phase of muscle movement, magnesium is responsible for the relaxation phase. Cramping at night and irritating twitches in and around the eyes are often signs of low magnesium. Restless leg syndrome (a poorly understood neurological disorder) responds wells to magnesium chloride rubbed into muscles.

Headaches can be a sign of many things going on, muscle tension, nerve problems, dehydration, straining of the eyes etc but many don't attribute low magnesium to headaches too. Many studies indicate there is a strong relationship between headaches, migraines and low levels of magnesium in the bloodstream. Magnesium allows blood vessels to relax and dilate, encouraging normal blood flow to the brain.

Anxiety, nerves, irritability.
Magnesium is tied very closely to adrenal processes and particularly the manufacturing of stress hormones. Insufficient levels of magnesium in the body can result in over-production of stress hormones such as cortisol, resulting in symptoms of anxiety and mood swings.

Kidney stones.
Kidney stones are a result of urinary deposits producing a hard mass of calcification, the most common containing calcium oxidate. Due to magnesium's effects on converting insoluble calcium into soluble, body friendly calcium in the urine, magnesium helps prevent the recurrence of calcium oxidtate kidney stones.

Skin problems.
Magnesium is one of the beauty minerals, helping to maintain skin elasticity and dermal protection. low levels can lead to skin problems, poor healing and complexion.

More magnesium.
So try incorporating more green leaves, nuts and seeds into your diet and if that isn't enough supplement and see how increasing your magnesium uptake makes you feel!

Sophie Pattihis

The benefits of self massage

posted 8 May 2015, 04:49 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:36 ]

By Sophie Pattihis

We all know how great it feels to receive a massage, it's a treat for your body, some time out…experience the benefits every day!

Massage doesn't have to be a rare treat, a guilty pleasure or a temporary fix for pain or injury. It can become part of your everyday routine, a lifestyle choice.

As a practising massage practitioner I’ve experienced, first hand the wonders of massage. The give and take between practitioner and client, the transfer of energy and the opportunity to connect with a another person on an intimate level.

Alongside the obvious benefits of massage:
  • calms the body/mind
  • pain relief
  • better muscle tone
  • promotes digestion
Massage is also proven to help promote circulation. Supporting immunity, processing and eliminating toxins, free radicals, carcinogens etc that we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Sometimes our bodies need a little help getting our blood and lymphatic system pumping, detoxifying, decalcifying, deoxidising.

A cleaner body leads to a cleaner mind, leaving you more likely to wake up feeling healthier, more positive and more likely to make better decisions and choices.

By incorporating massage into you daily routine you are slowing you whole system down, automatically stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest and digest. Hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin (feel good hormones) are released, giving you that feeling of tranquility and peace of mind.

The act of self massage, slows the mind and body, enhancing the mind-body connection and allowing time for reflection, clarity, peace.

Reflexology charts show the many systems stimulated by massage. Reflexology is an ancient healing therapy. The act of applying pressure to specific regions of the hands and feet, stimulating specific systems of the body.

Here are some basic bodywork movements that you can practise at home and help your body on its way to recovery.

Why not try incorporating some aromatherapy based oils and lotions to enhance the healing experience, here are a few:
  • lavender: promotes sleep and calms the nervous system
  • Bergamot: reduces fatigue/exhaustion
  • Lemon: refreshing and detoxifying
Experience what massage can do for you and enjoy!

(pictures from:

Sophie Pattihis

10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day

posted 8 May 2015, 04:23 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:40 ]

By Marcus Felicetti
Hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.

Research shows a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in these ways:
  1. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
  2. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
  3. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one's serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
  4. Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body's production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
  5. Hugging boosts self-esteem. From the time we're born our family's touch shows us that we're loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
  6. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
  7. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system - parasympathetic.
  8. Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
  9. Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart and your feelings and your breath.
  10. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it's synergistic, which means the whole is more than the sum of its parts: 1 + 1 = 3 or more! This synergy is more likely to result in win-win outcomes.
There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” Eight or more might seem quite high, but while researching and writing this article I asked my child, “How many hugs a day do you like?” She said, “I'm not going to tell you how many I like, but it's way more than eight.” That really made me smile and touched my heart. And, I realized how organic and deep the need for hugs is.

As a loving father, I get plenty of hugs from my little princess and her Mamma. And as a yoga therapist, I often give and receive them from my students at the end of a session. I find that love, is a miracle drug.

Marcus Felicetti

Grow your own Wheatgrass to juice

posted 8 May 2015, 04:22 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:41 ]

By Louise Jensen

Wheat-grass is an awesome living food. If I listed everything it contained and all the health benefits I would be way over my word count, but will point out it’s packed with over 90 minerals including high concentrations of potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium (the most alkaline of minerals), calcium and chlorophyll. There are 19 amino acids (the building blocks of protein) in wheatgrass and amazingly it contains twice the vitamin A as carrots and more Vitamin C than oranges. As well as removing toxic metals from your cells and cleaning your lymph system, this humble grass also nourishes the kidneys and liver, while the essential enzymes slow cellular aging. The anti-inflammatory properties make it anti-arthritic, a great side-effect free alternative to orthodox treatments.

Staggeringly a shot of freshly squeezed wheatgrass juice contains the nutritional equivalent to 1kg of leafy green vegetables thus it makes perfect sense (both health wise and economically) to start growing your own to juice into an organic, nutrient rich drink. A shot a day will cleanse and rejuvenate but be warned consuming more than this amount may have a laxative effect on your system.

To grow.
  • Soak one cup of whole organic wheat (many health food stores sell in bulk) in a sprouting jar overnight.
  • Rinse, drain well and leave to sprout for 24 hours.
  • Spread the sprouted wheat on top of organic, damp soil in a shallow container or plastic trays.
  • Cover with a thin layer of soil, gently pat down by hand and water.
  • Leave at room temperature, in semi shade (the grass will not do well in direct sunlight).
  • Water regularly so damp, but not too wet.
  • Harvest when ready (10-15 days) cutting just above the soil with scissors.
To juice you will need a machine specifically designed for grass. These specialist juicers work at a slow speed to extract the juice from each blade of wheatgrass. Extracting juice at a high speed in a traditional juicer would destroy or damage the nutritional enzymes and the high fibre content could jam the mechanism and clog up the filter. Wheat-grass juicers range from a manual, hand crank variety to electric models depending on your budget; it is well worth shopping around.

Louise Jensen

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