Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Category: Nurture (page 1 of 3)

ACNEM 2017

Totally in my element over the weekend with all things Brain Health for Better Life Outcomes at the 7th Science of Nutrition in Medicine (ACNEM) Conference 2017 (except for the chilly Melbourne weather).

What is more important than a well functioning nervous system?

Prof Felice Jacka, Nutrition and brain health over the life course, discussed 10% of Australia adults and less than 50% of children eat according to dietary guidelines with a dose response to vegetable intake and health outcomes. Information of on what to eat has been muddied by industry with the productions of processed foods pushed out as healthy foods. Mental and substance disorders are the leading source of disability, there is a growing burden of dementia and cognitive disease, and an increase in prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders all linked to diet and lifestyle. Diet quality is linked to common mental health disorders, particularly depression, with either not enough good or too much bad, both are independent factors that increase a person’s risk independent of their socioeconomic status, education, health behaviours, weight and irrespective of the form the diet takes. Genetics and early life trauma are less modifiable than diet and pregnancy is linked to the childrens later mental health. The biological pathways of how diet influences mental health include inflammation and oxidative stress, cytokines, low grade activation of the immune system, brain plasticity and gut microbiome. 70% of our immune function is our gut, with the importance of fermenting foods and fibre. Biological dysregulation (see slide).

Prof Felice Jacka ACNEM 2017

A leaky gut is many things degrading the gut lining resulting in the transportation of these factors into the blood stream and mounting an immune response. Experimental evidence suggests exaggerated stress, blunted immune system and increase blood brain barrier permeability is similar to autism and that microbiota is essential for brain development. The sources of bacteria are transient and can help out e.g. probiotics can alter anxiety like behaviours. After 4 generations cannot resuce our microbiota except by facel transplant. We can improve our diet and our mental health. Find out more at the Food Mood Centre.

Prof Felice Jacka ACNEM 2017

Prof Michael Berk, The role of mitochondrial dysfunction in mental health and nutrient treatment options, was a fascinating talk on mitochondria in a range of disorders and is an essential feature of bipolar and resting energy phase dysregulation. Many factors including diet and inflammatory markers impact on mitochondria. In mitochondria the failure to up-regulate in the presence of demand and down-regulate when the demand goes. Treatment of hyperthermia increase mitochondria and reduces depression under red lights/sauna. The use of nutraceuticals as treatments are not benign, can worsen some disorders, everyone responds differently to the same foods (recommend viewing Eran Segal).

Prof Michael Berk ACNEM 2017

Dr Felice Gersh, Estrogen and Brain Health: Exploring estrogen’s vital role linking the brain, the gut microbiome, and the immune system, made me realise just how important our hormones are to our overall health. Dr Gersh explored the vital role estrogen plays in linking our brain, gut, microbiome and immune system. Females have three times the prevalence of dementia, rapid cognitive decline, more depression, bipolar, more brain issues due to estrogen. Menopause is the end of metabolic homoeostasis. Estrogen is neuroprotective, and has played an evolutionary role in survival, telling the body you are healthy and able to reproduce. Estrogen receptors affect many organs in the body and regulate mitochondrial production. In Pubmed estrogen replacement therapy is listed as an endrocrine disruptor! Estrogen promotes neural plasticity, cognitive function and is a glucose transporter for the brain. Estrogen controls our circadian rythym, it sets the beat, and controls out autonomic nervous system. Our microbiome is diurnal also influences our circadian rythym and disease susceptibility. Circadian dysfunction can cause leaky gut and our immune system is highly regulate by our circadian rhythm.

Dr Felice Gersh ACNEM 2017

Dr Denise Furness, Nutritional genomics and mood disorders, discussed how our genes give us a risk or predisposition not a diagnosis. We are so pro-inflammatory due to stress upregulation which from our evolutionary advatage was great for infections and wounds compared to now we have different types of stress (recommended viewing Julia Rucklidge).

Dr Denise Furness ACNEM 2017

Dr Felice Jacka, Dietary intervention for adults with major depression (The SMILES Trial), asked the question “If I improve my diet, will my mental health improve?” by carrying out a 12 week RCT with people with a poor diet quality, stable, not psychotic/bipolar, tended to be treatment resistant and not vegan/vegetarian. Patients had 7 sessions starting weekly then fortnightly with a modified Mediterranean diet. The study focused on sustainable changes and has various measures of dietary adherence. Patients received a food hamper to try new foods (see slide). It was challenge to recruit to the study, there were many limitations and in hindsight it would have been great to collect samples to test the microbiome. Results showed that those in the dietary intervention had greater reduction in depressive symptoms and one third were in remission. Read more on the SMILES Trial.

Prof Felice Jacka ACNEM 2017

Dr Natalie Parletta, Evidence and practical applications for improving diet in patients with mental disorders and impact of diet on mental health from the HELFIMED study, talked how people do not make the connection between diet and our health. Over 35% of our food are from discretionary foods. The HELFIMED was a 6 month RCT on dietary behaviour change and the Mediterranean diet, including teaching people cooking skills and encouraging to eat more whole foods with food hampers, healthy menu plans and cooking support. Results see slide.

Dr Natalie Parletta ACNEM 2017

A/Prof Ross Grant, Brain Inflammation – an ageing time bomb, discussed the brain inflammation with leaky gut stimulating inflammation in the body as well as the brain and cytokines may be stimulating our vagus nerve. The hippocampus is vulnerable to inflammation and is one of only 2 areas in the brain where neurogenesis is possible.

Dr Dave Jenkins, The Professor Dale Bredesen protocol for reversing early Alzheimer’s disease, was something new to me, how we optimise not just normalise metabolic perturbations, with a lot of behaviour change required, this protocol goes against the silver bullet mindset with a team approach and 50% diet. This integrative approach is based on diet, exercise, sleep, stress and core treatments turmeric, DHA and magnesium with the objective to remove factors that cause or exacerbate damage to the central nervous system and provide with elements to protect, repair and perform to stimulate the central nervous system. Read more on the protocol here.

Dr Dave Jenkins ACNEM 2017

Dr John Hart, Cognitive decline case study, was inspiring to see such a comprehensive treatment plans including light and circadian rhythm management

Dr John Hart ACNEM 2017

This ACNEM weekend continue to support just how important our nutrition is for our mental health. Looking for a simple holistic approach to health and nutrition and want to learn more? Study new online ‘Introduction to Nutrition’ Course at your own pace – 10 modules. Learn and implement new skills, allowing you to make sustainable changes in your health and diet.

 

Introduction to Nutrition Course

Let trauma go

Podcasts have been my way of learning and discovering as I heal and recover and this episode has been no exception. I had never heard of TRE so had no idea of size the rabbit hole I was about to fall into when I tuned into Let trauma go with TRE and Sharon Mullan.

Here are my highlights from this discussion with Alexx and Sharon.

  • TRE is trauma releasing exercises that trigger the natural mechanism within out body to release tension through a shake, tremor or sometimes a stretch; connective tissue in our body releasing tension.
  • The tremor is natural to the body; always been there but has been socialised out. Dr David Berceli the founder noticed every culture does this natural physical response.
  • Tremor is coming into safety, coming out of fright, not going into threat, body is regulating as threat has passed.
  • Not enough psychologists, psychotherapists etc. in the world to deal with the number of people who are traumatised.
  • Created in communities with a tight-knit culture where people can continue to cry or continue the effects of the release had culture to look after each other, which is different to the Western culture
  • Creating safety, people don’t tremor unless they are safe, tremor comes when the body regulating back down to be able to be social engaged and calm. For people to truly heal it’s really important that people go home to a loving and safe environment.
  • Trauma is mostly physiological, only 10% cognitive, its in our body. Trauma creates an immobility and lessens their range of capability.
  • Our body chose TRE, our body is trying to guide us
  • Panic attacks are often the body releasing so fast that the mind can’t keep up so the mind blanks out, passes out

Our body has our true memory, not our mind

  • Polyvagal theory, based on safety, how do we make people safe. Introduced psychophysiology, that we don’t just have fight or flight, we don’t just have a sympathetic nervous system, we have parasympathetic nervous system where we are socially engaged or we are freezing or voluntarily being immobile e.g. meditation. When we are dissociative not have a choice, we have a traumatic reaction in our body, body has decided best for survival that we freeze, from full collapse to not saying anything, it is physiological response. Body decides it needs to go into fight or flight, it happens automatically, autonomic system. For us to survive, because we are designed to defend and survive, that it is best for fight or flight, when the threat is perceived to be too big to fight or too fast to run away then we go into the collapse, the freeze. After the traumatic experience, if did use flight or fight they are often not traumatised as they used up the energy, the freeze puts a lid on the energy. Tremor is releasing the lid, immobile to mobile, return to socially engaged.
  • Teach you to take care of yourself during the exercises, gentle, designed to make you tired
  • Trauma can be so severe that can go back into the freeze response if they talk about it. Why do I feel nothing? Because it is too scary, we are designed to not have to over-feel something again. Tremor is doing the physiological work of releasing tension, trauma and stress.
  • If we are traumatised, we are caught in the loop of our system is traumatised, through the vagus nerve we sending message to the brain and all is not well, stay on alert. Reducing the message, we are calming the system down. Calming the nervous down is for everyone.
  • Reducing tension in the body so the nervous system relaxes and the message to brain to rewire so don’t have to deal with level of constant hyper-arousal
  • All trauma has the capacity to be transformed into something more useful. It is not a disorder, it is you body doing what it does, a natural response.

Taking care of myself is within my control

  • Nurture the safe environments. It is ok to search for people and places where we feel it is ok to be ourselves
  • Trauma two biggies in childhood are neglect and parenting the parent. We are only as good as what we have been shown. Following the body, get to know ourselves, observation and kindness.

It is possible to free of your history

To find out more about TRE check out TRE Australia. Stay connected with me as I will be learning more in depth about TRE as part of my healing after my shaky start to becoming a mum.

Discover more about the Polyvagal Theory and all things stress on the upcoming Global Stress Summit with the creator of the Polyvagal Theory, Stephen Porges, discussing Developmental Stress and How to Re-Wire Neurological Safety. During The Global Stress Summit, researchers and thought leaders will teach you about the “new” science of stress, which shows that you can be in control of your experience! Don’t miss this event from April 24 – May 1, 2017, free and online!

Global Stress Summit

Marce Society Conference 2016

From being discharged from the local mental health ward 4 years ago from one day to the next day attending the 2016 International Marce Society Conference Frontiers in Perinatal Mental Health I was looking forward to connecting with others and learning more over in Melbourne.

It was an epic 3 days filled with plenary talks, symposiums and workshops of scientific and clinical knowledge on perinatal mental health. Absolutely loved my first Marcè conference connecting and working together to make a difference to reduce the impact, and to increase the awareness, treatment and prevention of maternal mental health.

Particularly loved connecting with consumer organisations Terri from PANDA, Viv from Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness, Jane from Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Action Institute, Prof Ian Jones from Bipolar Disorder Research Network and Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP), Emily & Alain from Maternal Mental Health Alliance UK, Vijay Roach and Catherine Knox from Gidget Foundation, and Kellie from Mindfulness 4Mothers.

The highlight for me was meeting and chatting with other mothers Deborah and Brenda who share a lived experience of postpartum psychosis. Another highlight was dining with the international researcher Professor Ian Jones who focuses on research in bipolar disorder and postpartum psychosis discussing my experiences. My vision is to create an Australian network for Postpartum Psychosis to support families with a lived experience of PP and to create awareness in our community about PP.

GAMMH

On Day 1 the Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (GAMMH) was launched by Dr Alain Gregoire uniting to improve the lives of mothers and their infants everywhere. If this were physical health it would be a national scandal, yet we allow it to carry on. It is critical to establish perinatal mental health as a global priority. We need to demand action, we have evidence of the individual and population needs and we know enough to do something everywhere. We need to broaden our approach, not just health care centred. GAMMH needs you. Aspire. Inspire. Locally, nationally, globally. TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

How to influence national policy and service provision: the experience of the UK MMHA and Everyone’s Business Campaign – Promoting awareness and service development in perinatal mental health – Dr Alain Gregoire and Emily Slater, International Marce Society Conference 2016.

It’s time to ACT! National accountability, engage community, training for health professionals. Australia it’s time to ACT, to follow the UK’s example and create an Australian Maternal Mental Health Alliance to bring together a diverse range of organisations to create a broad vision with a clear pathway to improve awareness and take responsibility.

At the end of this workshop we wrote down something we will do to initiate change. I wrote to create an Australian network for Postpartum Psychosis supporting mothers and their families and creating awareness in our community. Now is the time to ACT!

I was excited to learn that Louis-Victor Marce, the psychiatrist which the Marce Society was named after, published the first treatise entirely devoted to puerperal psychosis, illness and insanity in pregnancy in 1858. Postpartum psychosis is rare but not a new maternal mental health disorder.

World Maternal Mental Health Day – Dr Angela Bown and Dr Alfonso Gil-Sanchez, International Marcè Society Conference 2016.

Save the date! Wednesday May 3, 2017 is the next World Maternal Mental Health Day. The 2016 theme was #maternalMHmatters. What can you do to create awareness and support for maternal mental health? Check out wmmhday.postpartum.net for more details. The theme for 2017 has yet to be announced so stay tuned…

This conference was inspiring and motivating, I was filled with ideas and wanting to take action! So many aha moments which I will share!

The Wellness Summit 2016

The Wellness Couch thank you for a brilliant weekend filled with inspiring speakers and amazing exhibitors, bringing together so many like-minded people to create the change we wish to see in our world! There were even times with the conversations I had with friends over the weekend I thought some of the speakers had bugged our room. Such a powerful weekend!

summit-1

Wellness Summit 2016 Day 1

Back to basics, getting the small things right, simplify. Wellness Summit 2016 Day 1.
The Wellness Guys demonstrated poo to make us think about what sustains you, what goes into your body. Pick the keys moments to make the change.
Kim Morrison – you are here now from all the choices you have made, stay in your authentic self moment by moment. Self-awareness leads to self-discipline leads to self-control leads to self-respect leads to self-love.
Jo Whitton –  steps to healing from mental illness, and make time to talk to your kids. Counselling/fighting fears, chiropractic/natural therapies, supplementation, detoxing home/body, practicing gratitude, sleep, nature therapy, exercise/movement, and hobbies & interests. Support each other. Take the time to heal. Support yourself with like minded people.
Fouad –  part of experience is trust in life. Who is the I behind the concept?
Carren Smith –  if we don’t use challenges for what its purpose was we won’t grow and expand. What came first you or your thoughts, emotions, experiences? We all have to stand up and take responsibility for the way we live our lives from the inside out.

An Unexamined Life is a Life Not Worth Living – Socrates

Tim Robards your body is reflection of the environment you put yourself in, look after yourself first.

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Laurence Tham – Wellness Summit 2016

No one is coming to save us, it’s your life, take self-control, take self-responsibility, the world does not owe you a single thing.
There are times when you feel on a journey by yourself, others can’t identify, acknowledge the loneliness, don’t try to hide it.
Appreciate the process.
Don’t ignore the conversations with yourself.
Find your child within.
Swim your own race 🏊
Powerful words from Laurence Tham at The Wellness Summit 2016.
And in the words of LT’s gorgeous children Be brave, believe in yourself and never give up

summit-4-bh

Brett Hill – Wellness Summit 2016

It’s not about other people, it’s about you. It’s how you deal or struggle with stress, it’s not about the size, big or small it’s important to you.
How do you keep going? How do you do it? What’s the alternative? What’s my choice?
Focus first on loving yourself. You haven’t been doing things for yourself because of other people. Do things for yourself because you are worth it.
Make the change to get back on track and go be a better version of you with a clearer version of your why.
Stay curious.
Learn about yourself.
Life is a choice. Choose to believe it happened for a reason.
Challenges faced are a good thing, I am exactly where I need to be.
Recovery from rock bottom happens with one choice, gradually you make more choices because you love yourself.
Life challenges, you don’t know why, it doesn’t make sense, you never know what life has got planned for you.
Something comes along and changes your life in an instant.

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”. – Charlie Chaplin

As tears trickled down my cheek, it was like Brett Hill was talking just to me, not the other 900 people at The Wellness Summit. Thank you Brett for your courage and compassion in sharing your rock bottom with us all

summit-2

Wellness Summit 2016 Day 2

You have a choice! The Wellness Summit 2016 Day 2.
Damian Kristof – make what we do by having a gentle approach, have fun, make connections. What is the best we can get?
Cyndi O’Meara – we have a crisis. Unless you make a commitment to make a change you will be like the rest if people. It’s time for a paradigm shift

Paradigm Shift – A time when the usual and accepted way of doing or thing about something changes completely – Changing Habits

Hilbilby beer pong! Seeing the speakers have fun on stage and pull the fire tonic faces was such a laugh a minute!

summit-5-mp

Marcus Pearce – Wellness Summit 2016

We dampen our incredible life at the expense of others.
Put yourself first.
Use being selfish for positive.
Be mindful of your culture, love your culture, create your own culture, protect your culture.
Your peer group is your culture. Choose it wisely.
Your family is your greatest teacher.
Thank you Marcus Pearce for an incredible wrap up of The Wellness Summit 2016! 

MINDD 2016

The MINDD Foundation is committed to improving the lives of children and families by promoting a holistic approach to healthcare and living. After last years MINDD Forum changing the direction of my healing and recovery there was no way I was missing the MINDD Forum this year, especially with the key note speaker being Kelly Brogan.

Dr Nancy O’Hara was back again this year speaking about ‘It wasn’t me it was my germs’; love this concept! We are depleting our microbiome of the nutrients we need by the way we lead our lives. The majority of our immune system resides in our guts. Gut dysfunction is associated with germs including parasites and yeast. It was interesting to learn that a clostridia infection, a bacteria in our gut, has been found to associated with psychosis. The way to treat gut dysfunction is with nutrition as fresh, organic, unprocessed foods that are varied and rotated; probiotics to control inflammation and encourage gut movement; remove stressors;  and the best way to detox is a minimum of 1 stool per day.

There is no such things as junk food; it is either junk or food

– Nancy O’Hara

Great talk on effects of food on anxiety by Trudy Scott, eating real, whole, good quality foods is the foundation to maintaining optimal mental health. A lower risk of depression and anxiety was found with traditional diet of vegetables, fruit, fish, grass-fed meat, and whole grains when compared to western and modern diets in an Australian study by Jacka 2010.

Diet intervention

Trudy Scott

Food is Medicine but there is no “one size fits all” diet. Great talk on Using Bioindividual Nutrition to Personalize Therapeutic Diets. Julie Matthews spoke about how dietary intervention is at the foundation of healing. Individuals have specific dietary needs and diet needs to be bioindividually applied. Keep an open mind as you may need to use a particular diet in the short term or further restrict a diet or prioritize one diet over another or apply more than one dietary principle to improve function with the goal of the least restrictive, most varied diet possible.

no one size fits all

Julie Matthews

What an awesome way to spend a Friday with these inspiring wellness rock stars at the MINDD Forum Food is Medicine day. I loved the cooking demos learning from the best of the best Alexx Stuart, Jo and Isaac Whitton from Quirky Cooking, and Helen Padrin and Charlotte Carr. From digestive calm soup to lemon cheesecake panna cotta to best butter chicken ever to pantry essentials in an non-negotiable hour of power. Nourishing your family with quality, real food is simple, basic to basics home cooking. Change the way we do our shopping and change how we approach new ways of eating. Teach our kids real food, take time to spend with our kids, talk with our kids makes a difference when going through change.

Food is Medicine

Top: Alexx Middle: Isaac and Jo Bottom: Helen and Char

I had the honour of meeting Kelly Brogan MD. Kelly is such an inspiration to me and I am extremely grateful to Kelly for her focus on maternal mental health including postpartum psychosis and showing us that we do have ‪‎capacity to heal‬. Thank you MINDD Foundation for bringing Kelly to Sydney.

Kelly

Kelly Brogan and me!

Listening to Kelly Brogan speak about the root cause of depression and anxiety and the power of our food was awe inspiring. We need to stop looking at the symptoms and start asking WHY? The whys are sugar imbalance, gluten sensitivity, nutrient deficiencies, and thyroid autoimmunity. Depression is an inflammatory response, a symptom not a disease.

Medication is not better than doing nothing. We don’t know what medications are doing to our microbiome. We are passing the damaged microbiome onto the next generation. The principle mental health intervention needs to be dietary recommendations.

We have knowledge inside us how to interact with food in a healing way but it is hijacked early with processed foods. We have to get back to food as information for gene expression and our microbiome. We need to speak to our nervous system in a different way.

Your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe.

“Through the alchemy of my darkest nights I heal and thrive. Today I rise!”

A beautiful and moving video shared by Kelly Brogan at the end of her talk which had most of the room in tears. We as women will transform this world!

Today I rise

Kira Sutherland spoke about the basic principles of healthy living for optimal wellness are natures 7 healers, of which most of us manage to achieve 2-3. However, if we achieve exercise this cascades into other areas and we are almost always then able to achieve all 7 healers. Exercise helps us to be better adapted to stresss, strengthens our immune system, improves our gut flora, helps our organs to detox, has been shown to be just as good as anti-depressant medications but with positive side effects. 

Exercise

Kira Sutherland

Other speakers included Erica Peirson on hypothyroidism in children on how brain development and every cell is dependent on the thyroid horone, pregnancy is a stress test on the thyroid and how the microbiome should be nurtured as much as the newborn itself; Elizabeth Mumper spoke about the Management of Prenatal and Postnatal Risk Factors of Autism and that so many things have changed so quickly for our kids and the basic recommendations for pregnancy include a well-balanced, organics, non-GMO diet, green your home, reduce stress, get enough sleep, regular exercise and avoid toxins; and Annalies Corse on Maternal Health and the nutritional considerations for conception, pregnancy, birth recovery  and the 4th trimester, and that it can take greater than 6 weeks for recovery after birth as this transition can be very stressful both emotionally and physiologicaly which can then further deplete us of nutrients and energy, with a labour + c-section birth the hardest delivery from an emotional point of view.

The postpartum period is a time when women tend to be amenable to health counselling; this provides a tremendous opportunity for promoting lifelong healthy habits.

– Annalies Corse

Help the brain heal the gut. A major aha moment for me listening to Dr Carlo Rinaudo talk about the role of the vagus nerve. If the brain is not working properly you have reduced brain-gut activation affecting gut and immune health. The vagus nerve is our largest cranial nerve connected to many different organs in our body.

Low vagal nerve activation results in

  • reduced gut motility
  • reduced release of digestive enzymes
  • reduced blood flow which reduces repair and nutrient transport
  • leaky gut leading to inflammation and autoimmunity

The typical response for low vagal tone is a sympathetic dominant state: adrenal stress, anxiety, poor sleep, hormone imbalances and poor posture. The vagus nerve stimulation has used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, stress, anxiety and depression.

I had vasovagal syncope‬ (fainting) after the birth of my son in the weeks before developing postpartum psychosis. The pieces of my health puzzle are starting to come together.

Vagus Nerve

Dr Carlo Rinaudo

Right time, right place meeting Holly Bridges with a lovely long chat with Holly about the polyvagal theory and the 3 responses to stress: flight, fight and freeze. Our body goes into survival mode, into a state of safety, into a shut down response thanks to a weak control of the vagus nerve. With the help of neuroplasticity it is possible to reconnect the mind-body connection and re-engage the brain.

Holly has a fantastic, easy to read, easy to understand book explaining the polyvagal theory and how this impacts people with Autism. A huge piece of my health puzzle has been ‘reframed’. Thank you Holly!

Reframe Book

Holly Bridges

My books from the MINDD Forum 2016.  So grateful to get my copy A Mind of Your Own signed by Kelly Brogan MD. Finally got my hands on Bubba Yum Yum’s The Paleo Way and get it signed by Char and Helen.

books

Books from MINDD 2016

Save the date for the third weekend in May 2017 for next years MINDD Forum!

 

Functional Nutrition Course

 

ACNEM 2016

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates

What an amazing weekend of learning at the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) Nutrition in Medicine conference in the Sydney. So many awesome speakers with many gems of information on toxins in our environment, our microbiome, autoimmunity and genetic influences.

Cribb

Julian Cribb – ACNEM 2016

“If we do not have a ‘Right Not to Be Poisoned’, there will probably never again be a day when we are not.” – Julian Cribb Poisoned Planet 2014.

Brilliant presentation on the toxins in our environment. Most people have little notion of the contaminant spread and the impact on our bodies and minds, and the risks posed to human life now and for centuries to come. In our modern society we need to take responsibility, we alone have the power to correct, to take action and demand a new human right to eliminate toxins from the food chain.

Ecology

Emeritus Prof Mark Wahlqvist AO – ACNEM 2016

“To know where we come from is to know who we are and where we may go. We are ecological creatures.” Fantastic presentation by Emeritus Prof Mark Wahlqvist AO on “Health Care Systems for Ecological Creatures: the need to know who we are” ACNEM 2016. Food is an indicator of our ecological status and the eco-vulnerable are those who as most disconnected from their ecosystem. The rapid loss of our ecosystem is contributing to our health. The wholefoods system is being transferred by each generation to a people-less food system. We are losing our food biodiversity. We are missing our ecosystem with Nature Deficit disorder. We are ecosystem dependent creatures.

Bijlsma

Nicole Bijlsma – ACNEM 2016

Every 60 seconds 20 chemicals are registered on the Chemical Abstract Service Registry. That’s over 200,000 chemicals a week – Nicole Bijlsma – Environmental chemicals in the built environment: sources, health effects and avoidance strategies ACNEM 2016.

It takes years and generations to prove if these chemicals are safe or hazardous. Being evidence based is keeping us in the dark ages, when is sufficient evidence to act? The burden of proof is not on industry to prove safety of these chemicals. It is up to us as citizens to get involved to assess our chemical load. There are many ways we can reduce our toxic load including changing the food we eat, changing the personal care products we use and changing the way we clean our homes.

Prescott

Prof Susan Prescott – ACNEM 2016

“To change the world, you have to change the menu first” – Prof Susan Prescott.

Fantastic presentation on Early life solutions to the Modern Health Crisis. Our early environment influences our development and function. Bacteria are our foundation of life and as we have co-evolved with microbes they influence our physiology and behaviour. We don’t yet understand the effect on biology of food and we don’t even know what bacteria we have lost. Our disconnect from nature is another factor in our dysbiotic drift. The health of tomorrow will depend on what we do today. Everyone can make a difference by the choices we make!

Curriculum

Launch of the ACNEM Primary Care Curriculum

“As a nation we must do more”. The Federal Health Minister, The Hon Sussan Ley MP launched the ACNEM Primary Care Curriculum at the ACNEM Nutrition in Medicine conference. The greatest epidemic of all time is chronic disease. Changing our eating habits and emphasising the nutrition role in medicine is important in the prevention of disease and promotion of a healthy lifestyle, and as is providing doctors with this knowledge.

Nutrition and our environment play such an important role in our health, and after attending the ACNEM conference it certainly has made me think more about what is in my food and the toxins around my home. For anyone who is concerned about the foods they consume or may have any kind of health concerns a must watch is the upcoming What’s With Wheat Documentary.

This documentary investigates

  • what has changed in our wheat that is now causing a huge increase in cealiac and non-cealiac gluten sensitivity.
  • how modern agriculture has affected our wheat crops.
  • why we as a society are getting sicker and sicker, including a rise in autoimmune diseases.
  • what we can do to make change to not only improve our own health but the health of our children and future generations.

You don’t want to miss the FREE screening of What’s With Wheat Documentary available in June 2016.

What's With Wheat Documentary - opt-in page

Down to Earth

I finally got my very own copy of Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel. This has been my go to guide for everything simple living from housework to life stages to savings to finding your rhythm. I am so grateful for the numerous times I have borrowed this book from the library. This week I was looking forward to meeting Rhonda this week on The Simple Home book tour! She has been such an inspiration in the changes I have made in my life.

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Rhonda and I at the Library Talk

On Thursday I attended Rhonda’s library book talk at Kogarah Library talking about all things simple living. Rhonda chatted with us how she went from overwhelmed, stressed and burnt out to taking control of life, being self reliant, happy and content in her simple home. Rhonda stopped work and had to replace the income and reduce the cost of living so she started with her food budget. From trying different recipes, new ways of shopping, ways of storing food and not wanting to waste food, Rhonda made her food from scratch and found that it was easier, cheaper, tasted better and was fresher than store bought food. From her food Rhonda moved to reducing the chemicals that she was brining in her home. Rhonda was all about taking the good parts of the old ways and bringing them into the now, simple living with a focus on her home. We all have a busy life and we can pick and choose different possibilities of simple living, and once you are organised usually things are easy on a day to day level.

So many gems of wisdom

  • There are a wide range of things possible to a simple home
  • Being organised is important
  • Buying things we keep, like clothes, are assets and we should look after them
  • Money is a tool
  • Choose local over organic
  • Make your own laundry liquid
  • Many don’t look after themselves, be kind to you
  • Craft used to be part of housework

Check Down to Earth out in your local library or get a copy from Biome. You can also listen to Rhonda here at The Slow Home Podcast.

A big thank you to Rhonda for sharing her know-how and her new book The Simple Home with us. It was a pleasure to meet you and thank you for signing my copy of my book Down to Earth.

 

 

 

Strength to move forward

This week I lost my crazy, vivacious Aunty and though we were waiting for the phone call any day, any hour, it still was hard knowing it was her time to leave us so young. Knowing she is now at peace and no longer in pain gives me strength as I process this sad news.

As I received that phone call, with tears streaming down my face and the well of huge sobs about to burst from my chest I look up. ‘What’s the matter mum? Can we do some baking now mum?’. The words of a 3 year old snaps me back into reality. ‘Do you need a face cloth mum? Are you not feeling well mum?’ Toddlers are great reminders to be present in the moment. Hand in hand my son takes me to the bathroom to wipe my face. I look down at my little man fathoming how I need to be strong, not just for me but for him as well.

This moment is the first moment that has rocked my world since I became a mother. Dealing with grief and loss is a very different experience once you have young children around. In our family I see myself as the rock, the person that keeps it all together when times get tough. This mentality has lead to my downfall in the past as I have not taken good care of myself, taking on everyone else’s emotions. This time I have another little being who depends on me and I need to look after myself.

This week I have stepped my self-care rituals. Immune Boost vaporising constantly, being mindful of the state of mind I am in, taking time out just for me and being aware of not taking on others emotions. I strengthen myself with a spritz of Rose oil before I walk out the door and face the world. For me the best medicine is the laughter of my son. Husband took me out for lunch and time at the beach to slow down. I took a day off work as my body took the stress to the next level and I had a health expression telling me to slow down.

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Day at the beach

There were days I didn’t want to get up from bed, nights when I didn’t want to go to sleep, times I didn’t feel like eating and other times I emotionally ate things that didn’t respect my body. I am so grateful for having my rituals of self-care as part of being a mother to cope with challenges. Having my son around kept me in my daily rhythms and kept me focused on the present moment. Having my husband show his love and support gave me strength to move forward. Having my essential oils gives me the courage to face this dark time. My essential oils and the wisdom I have learnt on my journey of self-discovery so far is what is getting me through the second phone call in five days of another family loved one passing away.

Tomorrow as my family gathers to farewell my Aunty I will remember the happy times we had together, singing this song at the top of our lungs, you will always be glamorous in my eyes.

 

 

Digital Sabbatical

Yesterday, a Monday, I went to work to attend a work retreat day. Mondays are not my usual work day so I was out of my rhythm, particularly as I am still trying to find my groove again after being on holidays for 2 weeks. By the time I got on the train to work I reached into my bag to send hubby a text only to realise, shock horror, my phone was left at home.

However, I was not in a tizz about not having my phone connected to me for a day. I coped the whole day without worrying about if anyone had tried to call me (mum was the only missed call, nothing urgent), not having the urge to fill a spare moment by checking social media or even taking a photo to remember the moment (the view of the city from the work retreat was spectacular!). The my family coped without knowing the exact moment I was on my way home and didn’t even noticed that I had not sent a text to say I was ok.

I was not always this calm without being connected into technology. The difference was that I had just returned from my holiday which I had made into a 2 week digital sabbatical. I recently had listened to The Slow Home podcast with William Powers and not long before that had seen Brooke from Slow Your Home take a digital sabbatical in July for her family holiday. This had inspired me to disconnect and fully immerse myself to take time out for me and my family.

Do you feel the urge to constantly check your phone? Are you constantly glued to a screen? Do you feel anxious when you are not connected to technology? Just before my holiday I listened to a great conversation on One Minute Mindfulness Show about Digital Twitch. As a family we have the no technology at the dinner table with phones away and TV off, no phones to be gazed at whilst speaking with each other, no phone checking in the bedroom, and overall have slowed down our use of technology that is distracting us from living life. We are modelling to our son a better way to be mindful with technology.

We have had moments where we as parents have not been the best example, particularly when I was working heaps on the computer back in July and August on a couple of education courses. I got the reality check I needed when I was at the Twenty8 HLE graduation in Mooloolaba, watching my son wizz around Underwater World Aquarium pretending to use each of the display signs as a computer, typing away. When asked to stop and look at the fish around him my son remarked ‘I’m busy’. From this I made a conscious effort to be more mindful of how I was using technology around my son.

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Underwater World, Mooloolaba

In preparation for my digital sabbatical I turned off all Facebook notifications on my phone and removed the short cuts to social media from my home screen. I have heard some people even go the length of deleting the app entirely off their phone; I didn’t go this far. The first day of my holiday I picked up my phone out of habit, remembered my promise to myself and consequently put the phone back in my hand bag. The phone suddenly had no purpose in my present moment. I spent the next 2 weeks hardly touching my phone. There were a couple of moments when I was on the in presence of a group on my retreat where the conversation turned to everyone checking their phones. While everyone’s heads were down I was enjoying sitting on the pool deck soaking in the morning sunshine on my back.

Being on holidays and being fully disconnected was bliss. I was enjoying the company of others with much laughter and conversation with new friends at the retreat. I was taking photos for me, not with a view to share them with the world on social media. Even husband found himself checking social media hardly ever. Our second week we stayed high up in the Byron hinterland which was an enforced disconnection as there was extremely limited mobile coverage, no WI-FI and patchy TV reception. I thoroughly enjoyed the simple pleasures of spending time with my family, reading a book and many a time gazing out over the valley enjoying the ever changing vista that surrounded us.

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Vista from Toolond Plantation

Since our holiday I have chosen not to turn the notifications back on Facebook or to return social media back to my home screen. I have dramatically reduced my FOMO (fear of missing out) on social media. I have added a message on my lock screen “Be mindful”, which catches me when I find myself picking up my phone in a spare moment.

Have you thought about how connected you are to technology? Would you give a digital sabbatical a go?

 

 

Morning Ritual

My daily morning ritual is to wake up, open the blinds to let in the sunshine and open windows to let in fresh air. Turn off the bedroom diffuser from the night before as I use my diffuser on intermittent all through the night, generally with Instant Calm. I make the beds and spritz it with a few bursts of lavender to make the bed feel fresh (credit to Happy Mama with Amy for this wonderful idea).

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My bedroom diffuser

I walk into the living area and the first thing I always do is turn on my salt lamp diffuser and add my essential oil of the day for the home, generally Celebrate and Uplift. I prepare for the morning, fix breakfast, and tackle one big chore like hanging out the washing, washing up or a quick tidy up of a room putting things back to their homes.

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Energy in a bottle!

I have my shower followed by my body boost choosing a blend like Energy & Vitality if it is one of the days I work or go to the gym or Focus and Clarity on the days I go to work.

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Focus for the work day ahead

Husband can always tell if I having a flat day if the blinds are still closed and I am still in my PJs when he gets home from work. The simple act of opening the blinds, making the bed and having a shower all help to invigorate me to tackle the day, and these acts are made all the more powerful with the incorporation of Twenty8 essential oils into small and simple rituals.

What rituals help you to start your day?

 

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