Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Tag: Low-Tox (page 1 of 2)

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

Camp

Take me back to last weekend, the long weekend, the first weekend in a very long while our little family got to escape the city and go bush! As we were packing on autopilot and as we relaxed into a simpler rhythm of camping I reflected how things have changed for the better…

  • Camp meal planning no longer involves packet rice and packet pasta but a whole heap more vegetables and knowing your butcher
  • The night before camp now includes meal prep like this amazing roasted spicy capscium dip

Happy hour around the camp fire

  • Husband did the last minute camp shopping and was horrified when he reached for the some of the foods we used to pack only to turn it over to read the gazillion numbers and non-food ingredients. Safe to say they went back on the shelf.
  • Husband was so proud when he got home from shopping with the water pack being fluoride and additive free. Next time we will double the water as we all drink it in greater quantities than last camp trip.

Fresh water

  • Making quick green smoothies for breakfast on the go rather than drive through Maccas (I use banana instead of mango)
  • Pit stops for a toilet break at Maccas confuses Master 4 ‘Isn’t this yucky food?’
  • Snacks for the road trip are no longer bags of lollies but a box of bliss balls and some mixed nuts & seeds.
  • Energy for the long road trip is fuelled by the car diffuser wafting Energy and Vitality
  • I had massively over-catered as we no longer eat many snacks and our meal sizes are smaller as they are so much more nutrient-dense
  • Setting up the campsite Master 4 remarked ‘Where is the TV?’. We were only one of two groups camping on the unpowered sites, everyone else was connected to power either camping or in caravans.
  • I discovered not 1 but 4 packs of pain-killer tablets in our camping gear, I used to have a pack or two everywhere I went. Now I rarely need them and if I do get a headache or tummy ache I reach for my peppermint oil.
  • Everyone is happy with bacon and eggs for breakfast everyday
  • I found a jar of Vegemite and a pack of gravox in our camp cooler bag and husband and I both laughed as we no longer eat these! In the bin they went!!
  • Sharing amenities with other people is an assault on the senses with the toxic personal care products people use. Waiting for shower with a row of teenage girls washing I felt myself holding my breath.
  • Preparing much of our food at home cut down on the waste we threw away, with only a shopping bag of rubbish over the long weekend and a few plastic items to recycle (any cardboard got incinerated on the campfire!)
  • Master 4 got some nasty insect bites on his hand that turned into welts and I was able to soothe the sting with lavender oil. One night I tucked him into his sleeping bag and zipped up the tent to then hear a wail of ‘Mum, I NEED my lavender!’
  • How convenient we have set our lives to be and how little we move our bodies. Walking to the amenities or the camp kitchen or the kids activities multiple times a day you certainly feel exhausted at the end of the day. Go-karting takes the exhaustion to a whole new level!
  • Being outside all day and all night exposed to the sunlight and moonlight as well as the fluctuations in temperature is a great way to reset your circadian rhythms and recharge your mitochondria. I made a conscious effort not to wear my sunglasses all weekend!
  • Total disconnect from social media and reconnecting with family was the ultimate recharge I needed
  • The realisation how light saturated we have become when you go bush and gaze up into the clear night sky to see a spectacular sight of stars.

Starry, starry night!

Already planning the next camping trip…Do you have any tips for camping while keeping in tune with a healthy lifestyle?

 

Sunflower juice

Look mummy, sunflower juice! Ahh, not quite Master 4.

When we as a family first started to transition to a healthier way of life and as I became more aware of ingredients I made sure the foods we were eating did not contain vegetable or canola oil. Just think, how do you get oil from a vegetable? Same goes for rice bran oil!

Vegetable oils, including canola and sunflower oil, are highly processed, toxic & inflammatory to our body, and are found in almost every processed, packaged food.

I use good fats like coconut oil, olive oil, butter, ghee and lard. For products containing vegetable oil I either found alternative products or now make them myself.

Wondering what ingredients may be lurking in your kitchen pantry or bathroom cabinet? As a Health and Lifestyle Mentor I can assist you to reset your kitchen and bathroom starting with checking the ingredients. I also share with you some of the food and skincare with no nasty ingredients that you will find in my kitchen and bathroom on my Shopping List.

Further Information

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

Green shampoo

My girlfriend Katie (@John and Kate’s Plate) and I were recently chatting all things shampoo and it reminded me of my greenwash shampoo experience last year.

I have always had oily hair as long as I can remember. Every time I went to the hairdresser they would comment that my hair is oily, that I am using the wrong shampoo and that I should try this *insert sales pitch*. Personally I thought that my hair has improved since changing my lifestyle but still on the oily side.

Last year I went to the hairdresser and an older lady cut my hair (usually I get a one of the young ones). She looked at my hair and could tell how long it had been since I had hair cut just by the length, so I figured she knows what is talking about. I got the usual your hair is oily response and said that I washed my hair this morning (I don’t like getting my hair shampooed at the hairdresser with all those nasty products). Hairdresser wasn’t impressed.

Any way, she insisted on a complimentary shampoo to show me what my hair would be like with the right shampoo, that my hair would be ‘free-er’; in my head I kept thinking sales pitch. She was talking about a mint shampoo and that the mint stimulates the scalp to increase circulation and help with the production of oil, which I could understand from my understanding the properties of peppermint essential oil. Not knowing what the shampoo was until it was all finished I checked the shampoo. DNA Organics mintiscalp shampoo; I was totally green-washed.

Despite the organic ingredients and essential oils it contained top nasties like PEG and EDTA. On top of this she blow dried my hair which I dislike too (because of how it makes my hair feel dry) but I really didn’t want wet hair whilst shopping.

So how do I know what nasties are lurking in my shampoo? I refer to my Twenty8 Ingredients Card I keep in my wallet (Contact me if you would you like one for your wallet!). Other great resources are Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group SKIN DEEP online database allow us to search ingredients and products and make our home a safer place. This is one of the best places I trust to find out about the products you put on to your body and is designed to help fill the safety gaps left by the unregulated cosmetics industry. You can also listen to this The Wellness Guys podcast with Twenty8’s very own Kim Morrison talking about what is in our personal care products.

Shampoo RedList

From Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

After my greenwash my hair went whispy, felt less oily like squeaky clean, and I was not convinced that I liked the change in my hair. Husband came home and noticed my hair straight away and laughed at the difference at first then wasn’t happy, so definitely a difference that isn’t just in my head. So was my hair feeling like this because of the

a) using a more appropriate shampoo that I am not used to

b) using a shampoo with nasties that have stripped the natural oils from my hair

c) drying out my hair from the heat of the blow drier

or

d) need to investigate further?

I chose d) investigate further, so I asked the Twenty8 Health and Lifestyle Educators brains trust. Questions swirled around – how often do you wash your hair, how hot is the water, to do tie your hair up and have you tried ‘no-poo‘? Fellow HLE Sparkler Alix suggested:

The less you wash your hair, the better for its natural oils. Warm water, rather than hot, is much better for natural oil production. Under the water, before you shampoo it, comb your hair really slowly to help disperse the oils from your scalp to nourish the rest of the length of you hair. If you try and wash your hair once a week, shampoo twice and then only apply conditioner to your mid-lengths and ends. Obviously the more products you use in your hair, or ‘generic’ shampoo/conditioner, the more it strips your naturals oils so your scalp over produces.

– Track2Health

I tend to wash every 3 days or so and not overly hot showers. I only use shampoo and conditioner (which were not the greatest low-tox options at the time) and am not one for haircare styling products. I loved this tip from Alix of combing my hair before shampooing to disperse the oils, which worked for the next hair cut I had as no comments were made on how oily my hair was.  I don’t think I am ready for no-poo yet.

Many of the HLE Brains Trust recommended trying Everescents, so I made the switch. With the Everescents Organic Rose shampoo my hair has never looked so good, I have never used a shampoo that smells so divine, I get ringlets without even trying and many people make lovely comments about my hair. I love the philosophy behind Everescents:

  • Australian owned & made (even the bottles & labels!).
  • Plant based ingredients.
  • Transparent about the ingredients they choose and avoid
  • Contains pure Certified Organic ingredients.
  • Contains no Palm oil.
  • No animal testing.
  • 100% Renewable Energy.
  • Supports Camp Quality

What shampoo do you use? Do you know what is in your shampoo? Found a no nasties shampoo that works for you?

 

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.

 

 

 

Mrs Wishy Washy

Since first reading Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel I have wanted to give it a go in making my own laundry liquid. I thought it would be hard, time-consuming and fiddly. How wrong I was!

I made my first batch just before Christmas and this has lasted just under 3 months including many washes for night time toilet training. No longer washing day or night cloth nappies gave me a great opportunity to start to make my own laundry liquid. For laundry powder and liquids suitable for cloth nappies look here.

Laundry Liquid

Laundry Liquid Step by Step

There are only 3 ingredients to homemade laundry liquid, 4 if you count the water. Soap, washing soda, and borax. The recipe I started off with was Rhonda’s blog Down to Earth Have you tried homemade laundry liquid, and Homemade laundry liquid revisited. However I was not keen on the borax, as I think ant poison straight away and I am unclear of the environmental impact. Rhonda’s blog posts have some great comments and tips at the bottom from many of Rhonda’s readers.

The recipe I choose to use was Melissa from Frugal and Thriving, a borax free recipe. This week I made my second batch.

My product cost:

  • 7.95 soap
  • 3.99 washing soda 1kg
  • Half an hour of my time

Cost of Ingredients:

  • 7.95 1 bar of soap
  • 1.00 1 cup of washing soda

Total for 10 Litres = $8.95, that’s less than a $1 a litre!

Many of the recipes I found on how to make laundry liquid or powder recommended using any old soap, or sunlight soap, or lux flakes for ease of use. Soap ain’t soap!

  • Lux flakes Ingredients: Soap, Perfume.
  • Sunlight Soap: Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance, Etidronic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, CI 11680, CI 16255, Potassium Hydroxide.

Sure this may be the cheap, standard option but I want my laundry liquid to be safe to use with no nasties like fragrance, perfume or EDTA. I refer to my Twenty8 Additive card when I am out shopping to check what ingredients to avoid in my personal care products. You can also refer to Chemical Maze or Skin Deep to look up the ingredients and check for yourself what is safe for you and your family.

I went looking for soap and I choose Dr Bronners Pure Castile Unscented bar soap; safe ingredients but compromising on palm oil, sorry orang-utans.

I choose the unscented soap so that I can add my own essential oils and know the quality of the essential oils that are being used with my laundry. I choose what is safe for me and safe for the environment, nothing synthetic or adulterated. I add 3-5 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil to each load as a stain remover as well as its high anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antiseptic properties. Every few loads I will add 3-5 drops of Tea Tree essential oil to a load for its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties.

Tips

  • Use a pot just for soap making – just to be safe. I share my soap pot with my mum.
  • Best made when children are not around.
  • Washing soda can be found in most supermarkets, look on the top or bottom shelves.
  • Have enough containers handy to store more than 10L of liquid as you need space in container to shake before use.
  • The liquid is more like gel and will separate, it is still good to use.
  • Have a scoop to store with your liquid. I choose to re-purpose my plastic 1/3 measuring cup dedicated to laundry. (I have stainless steel measuring cups for cooking).
  • Have a smaller working container for everyday use and decant as needed out of the larger containers. I use a large 10L ice cream tub from my local cafe.
  • Any of the first aid oils would be a great choice to add to your laundry liquid and will give a beautiful and fresh aroma to you clothes and linen.

If you are more a powder than a liquid person, check out Stuart’s recipe.

If you are not keen on making your own laundry liquid, Jo from Down to Earth Mum has some great tips on how to choose the best laundry liquid or powder. My favourite store-bought eco-friendly laundry liquid is Kin Kin Naturals. Some other great laundry options can be found here and here.

Mrs Wishy Washy was a popular children’s book from my 1990s school days which I can still picture in my mind when I do the washing! Have you tried making your own laundry liquid?

A journey of healing and self-discovery

This week I am a guest blogger on Changing Habits. So excited and proud to see my first guest blog! The past three years has been a journey, and Changing Habits has been a huge part of my recovery. Check it out here A journey of healing and self-discovery by Sarah West.

Here is my story…

Journey of healing and self-discovery – Sarah West

Like so many of us it took a health crisis for me to awaken to a new way of eating and living. Three years ago in 2012, two weeks after the birth of my first child I developed Postpartum Psychosis. This is an acute mental illness that occurs after having a baby, a loss of contact with reality that includes mania, confusion, strange beliefs, hearing and seeing things, racing thoughts and is a psychiatric emergency. Despite having a background in Psychology and Brain and Mind Sciences, I had never heard of this postpartum mood disorder. Like many I only knew of Postpartum Depression, and I was struggling to comprehend what had happened to me, why did it happen and what triggered it. I was not only struggling to care for a newborn, I was also struggling to work out who I was as a new mother. I was struggling to work out how best to look after myself and heal from the darkness of my mental illness.

In times of unknown I seek out answers, I research and educate myself. In searching for a reason for Postpartum Psychosis happened to me I had a theory that it had something to being deficient in nutrients as the pregnancy had drained what little I had to begin with. I had ignored my body whispering Ketosis Pilaris to me for years, a fatty acid deficiency, which I knew from my university studies that Omega 3 plays a major role in mental health disorders. I have grown up on the Standard Australian Diet, a low-fat diet which I have now realise that is not compatible with a fatty acid deficiency, processed foods with all the chemicals that add toxins to my body, and lacking nourishment for my gut-health. Throughout childhood I was chubby, and as I got older I continued to put on weight, no matter what I seemed to do or try the weight kept creeping on into adulthood. The pregnancy and anti-psychotic medication tipped me to the heaviest weight I had been in my life.

2013-11-15 010 Damien

A year along in my journey of recovery I began to research to seek answers to my questions and as I researched I stumbled across the Changing Habits Website in November 2013. Everything I read made sense, and I began to realise that my nutrition and nourishing my body was key to my recovery and healing. With the expectation that I have nothing to lose I threw myself into Changing Habits. I began to listen to the Up For a Chat podcasts from the beginning which gave me huge support and motivation, many ahas along the way and three vivacious ladies who made me feel that I wasn’t alone on this journey of healing. I heard that Cyndi was doing a workshop in Sydney in March 2014 it was a glimmer of hope for me. I took mum and myself along to the workshop for a day packed with nutrition-focused information. From this workshop I came away feeling that I can change one small habit at a time, I began to work out what my body needed in order for it to heal. Meeting Cyndi at the end of workshop was a highlight, she was so genuine and down to earth, supportive, and happy to chat and listen. I still remember her advice to me was “You need to meet Mel”, as in Mel Kent, the Changing Habits Healthy Living Club Coach.

With the ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’ book in hand I devoured every chapter of knowledge and began implementing small changes into our family lifestyle. When weaning our son off bottles, we weaned our family onto full fat milk. I started to scrutinise the back of every pack, scanning the ingredients and reducing the numbers of additives. I began cooking and baking at home making food from scratch, starting with making our own bread. I began to reduce the amount of refined wheat and sugar our family were eating. The more changes I made the better I felt mentally, which gave me the resolve to take on another change, which the weight began to fall off giving me more energy to take on more changes. The biggest change I made was adding in the good fats, this was a huge change of headspace for me after growing up with the notion that fat is bad for your health. Instead of focusing on what I had to take out, I slowly added in the good, nourishing foods which crowded out the not-so-healthy foods that I had grown up with.

I heard that Up for A Chat was holding retreat on the Sunshine Coast, the Awaken the Change Within retreat in November 2014. Along with mum we jetted off to Mooloolaba for three action packed days with Cyndi, Kim from Twenty8 and Carren Smith. At this point of my journey I had released 15kgs since the Day with Cyndi in March and I was touched that Cyndi remembered me, though I did look different! I had many break downs and break throughs over the retreat but it gave me the strength to continue on my journey of healing. I picked up another key to my recovery: self-care. It was up to me to nurture myself physically, mentally and spiritually.

2014-11-21 011 Cyndi

In May 2015 I attended the MINDD Forum in Cyndi and caught up Cyndi, who once again did not recognise me. I looked different having released another 15kgs, a total of 30kgs in 14 months. In May I also attended the Day with Cyndi 2016 and was able to connect with others who were also on this journey of change. I love how Cyndi is always educating herself and sharing her research with her tribe. From attending the MINDD Forum to the Day with Cyndi workshop, Cyndi was passionately speaking about how we need to get back in the kitchen to feed our families to heal the nation. Being in the kitchen was instrumental in healing myself and I was seeing changes in not just my own health but also my husband and son’s health.

2015-05-23 002 Cyndi

Over the months I continued to seek out more knowledge and education. In 2015 I began the Twenty8 Health and Lifestyle Education Program with Kim Morrison, learning the power of essential oils and daily self-care rituals and how important they are in my journey of healing and self-discovery. I also heard that Changing Habits was starting an Education Course too, which I was so keen to be a part of. I got the opportunity in the July 2015 Intake of the Changing Habits Online Nutrition Course. I am empowered being a part of like-minded tribe of incredible souls, sharing knowledge together and working towards changing the world to be a better, more nourished and healthy place for us all.

People would ask ‘How did you lose the weight?” Nourish my body and nurture my mind. “Do you exercise more?” No, if anything I exercise less to reduce the stress on my body and allow it to heal. “Are you doing Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and the like?” No, I am changing my habits and biohacking what is right for my body. “So what do you eat?” I just eat real food. For those who were aware of Changing Habits, “Have you done the 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol?” No, I read the book ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’ and imagine what the possibilities are when I do start the protocol! I changed one small thing at a time; there are no quick fixes, no diets, no magic pills, just working towards being the best version of myself. To date, November 2015, I have released 38kgs over two years, I am discovering who I truly am and I am healthier than I have ever been in my life!

Inspiring you to nourish yourself towards healing and self-discovery!

Changing Habits

 

Take my breath away

Take my breath awaaaaay!

Lately I have found myself holding my breath from the chemical bombardment I have been encountering. The toxins in the air seem to be everywhere, there is no escape. People think that this continual bombardment is ok in small amounts but we are starting to discover the accumulation effect of these chemicals and that some people may be more sensitive than others. The more I travel down the low-tox lifestyle path, the more I find I can’t stand the smell of fake fragrances and the more sensitive I am becoming to chemicals.

Do you find that you purposely avoid the cleaning product aisle at the supermarket from the toxin fumes wafting from every product on the shelf? Do you dread when you actually need a product from this aisle and make a made dash to locate and retrieve the product of choice whilst leaving the child and trolley at the end of the aisle to spare them from the onslaught? I certainly do as the smell takes my breath away.

Recently my sunglasses broke and I set out to buy a new pair from Westfield. I walked through the cosmetic section of Myer to get to the Sunglasses Hut and I thought I was going to pass out, it was so strong. How do those shop attendants work in that environment every day selling these so called perfumes?

Last Friday my neighbour had their whole unit steam cleaned and put the steam unit in the common area. I was suffocating from the toxic fragrance wafting to my unit, even husband gagged when he got home from the stench, it was that strong. Despite how cold it is we had to open our balcony door to be able to breathe, I couldn’t even smell my vaporiser with my essential oils.

Each week I take my son to his kinder gym class during Term. During a class one of the fathers was with his child and the aftershave/deodorant stench knocked me sideways. I spent most of the class working out where this particular father was just so I didn’t have to encounter the bubble of synthetic fragrances that surrounded him.

On the way to work I walked up the street behind a man with pungent deodorant. I was forced to stop and wait till he walked further ahead just to allow me to breathe. Can people not smell how strong that stuff is that they put on themselves?

At a recent birthday celebration I was surrounded by fake smells within the household. Coconut & fig foaming hand wash I had no choice but to use to wash dirt off toddlers hands. The smell stuck to my hands for what seemed like forever. The toilet block that scents and cleans with every flush. The spray and wipe used to clean up the spills. I escaped outside just to get some fresh air any chance I got.

If a chemical is questionable let’s try to eliminate it or at best it avoid it as best you can.  While I may not be able to control the entire environment, I am able to make my home as close to nature as possible and reduce the toxic chemical load. Has anyone else developed a heightened sensitivity to fake smells since reducing the chemical load in their life?

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