mindd business

Well I just sat down to look at my blog and I realised it has been a while since I’ve churned out anything! wow!

Which means life has been full and busy! Phew… I havn’t even kept up with the 52 Project! My problem was my camera cord went missing and I couldn’t load any photos!

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In the meantime, I attended the Mindd Foundation Practitioner training which was truly mind blowing.  So many inspirational health professionals under one roof, and all talking my language (well sometimes it went right over my head, but I tried my hardest to keep up!)

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Rafael popped by for a visit

I learned all about gut health and how it is such an integral part to disease processes, ways which we can heal the gut and improve our health.  In the practitioner training we were part of the Medical Academy of Paediatric Special Needs (MAPS), where the focus was to “provide education and long-term support for practitioners, ensuring the quality and consistency of medical care for children with autism and related chronic conditions.”  Learning all about gastrointestinal health, the microbiome, methylation, toxicity, environmental health, mitochondrial health and how to apply this knowledge to the success in recovering children from Autism.  For me the rockstar of the weekend was discussing nutritional medicine.  I constantly think ‘how can we implement this in mainstream healthcare’, and often feel I just can’t get the ball rolling.photo (4)photo (6)Meeting Dr Leila Masson

So through Mindd, I am starting with my colleagues.  Nurses.

Here is a piece I wrote for the Mindd Foundation to try encourage nurses to start considering nutritional medicine:

Nutritional medicine is part of the foundation of good health. As nurses, it is often overlooked in our practice as we race around and tick off our daily planners, who has time to stop and think about what has been delivered on a child’s meal tray when there is obs to do! It is time it became important, there is so much more to food than calories, carbohydrates and protein. If we begin to look at it from a scientific point of view, and apply our biochemistry knowledge to the pathophysiology of human diseases, we will begin to truly understand.   Understand why it is important that the liver works properly to dispose of old neurotransmitters, hormones and other by-products of normal metabolism, understand that gut flora is one of the biggest players in neurological and psychiatric conditions (Campbell-McBride, 2010), and finally understand how nutritional medicine brings it all together.

What drives the biochemical processes in the body? The simple answer is nutrients. Essentially it is micronutrients that our bodies depend on to maintain proper functioning of all the biochemical pathways. For instance it takes iron to carry oxygen in our blood and deliver to cells throughout the body. Selenium and iodine are required to assist with the healthy function of the thyroid gland. Vitamin D is vital for maintaining normal blood levels of calcium and phosphate, which in turn are required for mineralisation of the bones. Everything that we eat can impact on these biochemical processes, and nutritional medicine is essential when treating symptoms or diseases. Understanding nutritional medicine enables nurses to treat the cause and support the body in healing by pulling back the layers of the presenting symptoms, and discovering they are often the result of poor nutritional factors.

Nutritional Medicine encompasses nourishing the body with many different nutrients; ensuring there is adequate digestion and absorption of these nutrients and taking into consideration the environmental factors that contribute to the quality of the nutrients.

Currently our environment is very toxin heavy. From the crops harvested to feed us fresh vegetables, to the cows reared to supply us with meat, the environment plays a major role in providing optimal quality of nutrients for bodies to digest and absorb and utilize on a daily basis.

The statistics of childhood disease trends in Australia are frightening*

  •  Up to 70% of Australian children are low in iodine, which adversely impacts on IQ.
  •  Today allergies affect 1 in 3 Australian children, Asthma 1 in 4, ADHD 1 in 10 and Autism 1 in 90.
  •  Childhood cancer, diabetes, obesity and depression have each well more than doubled over the past 2 decades.*

*Visit mindd.org/donations for research references

These statistics can be dramatically changed, if health care professionals, such as nurses, begin to understand the importance of nutritional medicine, and learn to how to apply in practice throughout the broad range of nursing modalities. Educating parents is a start, explaining how nutritional deficiencies have a damaging effect on digestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids (Campbell-McBride, 2010). Encouraging families to become interested in how nutritional medicine can help their child with asthma, ease their child’s itchy eczema skin and begin to recover their child from autism.

Nurses skills are needed, because we already understand how the body works and how disease can manifest. Paediatric nurses have direct access to families, and as seen every day in a hospital, these families rely on nurses to have up to date, scientific, peer-reviewed, evidence based information. These families deserve an integrative approach to their children’s health care.

Skills that nurses can offer:

-Good listeners, parents respond well to nurses that listen and offer solutions. Nurses become particularly good at this on a day-to-day basis, as seen by building good rapport with patients and families

-Excellent knowledge of body systems and functions

-Ability to multi-task

-Empathy to families

-Excellent communication skills within a multi-disciplinary team

-Ability to cope under pressure

-Nutritional advice, once given the proper training, nurses can implement this into their health care and plant seeds for families to grow their knowledge

– Developing a network to promote effective integrative healthcare, the more nurses who learn about nutritional medicine the bigger the community and the more we can address some of these serious health issues and concerns

What you can learn:

Tens of thousands of children worldwide are in need of well-trained integrative and biomedical practitioners who can effectively treat the core cause of neurobiological and auto-immune disorders such as Autism, ADHD, allergies and asthma.

MAPS training (The Medical Academy of Paediatric Special Needs) is a structured to provide a clinic-focused, evidence based training in the field of complex paediatric conditions.

Learning objectives: —Environmental Medicine ACM

Achievement of educational objectives, given the allotted time for each presentation:

  • Review normal detoxification pathways
  • Examine the role of environmental toxicology in childhood disorders
  • Evaluate various laboratory assessments and biomarkers as they relate to toxicology
  • Distinguish between acute and chronic toxicity
  • Understand the concept of body burden as related to toxicity
  • Examine the impact of environmental toxicants in children with autism, ADHD and related childhood disorders
  • Identify and review various methods of detoxification
  • Identify ways to implement toxicological related treatments into clinical practice
  • Review actual case histories of patients with autism and other neurodevelopmental problems to understand appropriate testing, workup and treatments as related to toxicology

Learning objectives: —Gastrointestinal ACM

Achievement of educational objectives, given the allotted time for each presentation:

  • Recognize the role that various diets have on autistic behaviours and symptoms and understand how to implement these diets
  • Describe the appropriate testing and workup for nutritional abnormalities found in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Evaluate various laboratory assessments and biomarkers as they relate to the gastrointestinal micro biota and abnormalities
  • Review the role that dysbiosis plays in childhood disorders and treatments for dysbiosis
  • Identify the role that gastrointestinal abnormalities play in children with autism
  • Identify ways to implement gastrointestinal related treatments into practice
  • Review actual case histories of patients with autism and other neurodevelopmental problems to understand appropriate testing, workup and treatments of gastrointestinal-related problems

References:

Campbell-Mcbride N 2010, Gut And Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD,, Dyslexia, A.D.H.D, Depression Schizophrenia, Medinform Pub, Cambridge, UK

7/52

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A portrait of my child once a week, every week for 2015

Rafael rolls around on my bed giggling to himself.  I love how content and happy with life he is.  It continues to blow my mind that he is exclusively breast fed and grows so strong and healthy every day.  We are heading into ‘real food’ territory and I look forward to exploring this and applying my nutrition passion to his growing needs

Im enjoying Practicing Simplicity’s beautiful blog and being part of The 52 Project

the sunny vitamin

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Nature is incredible.  I love how when autumn starts, we are provided with fresh oranges and mandarins to ensure our Vitamin C intake.  When spring begins, the hours of daylight become longer, indicating that winter has come to end and it is time to get our hibernating bodies out into the sunshine.  Why is it important that we do this?  Because our Vitamin D levels are low and need to be replenished.  And lucky for us, mother nature provides a great source for Vitamin D to be made in our skin for us direct from the sun.  We also can access great vitamin D from food and supplement sources.  We are slowly heading in Autumn, so we all need to ensure good vitamin D levels and continue to build them.

BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D

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We need it…recent research is showing it is one of the most beneficial vitamins for our health.  It is very important to make sure your muscles, heart, lungs and brain can work well, and incredibly vitamin D contributes to this.   A one stop shop for building stronger bones, protecting against disease, enhancing our immune systems, treating numerous disorders and ensuring optimal health and well-being.

As explained at The vitamin D Council :The vitamin D that you get in your skin from sunlight, and the vitamin D from supplements, has to be changed by your body a number of times before it can be used. Once it’s ready, your body uses it to manage the amount of calcium in your blood, bones and gut and to help cells all over your body to communicate properly.

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY CHILD GETS ENOUGH VITAMIN D?vitamin-d3-sun

Our clever bodies make vitamin D when our bare skin is exposed to sunlight, and it happens in less time than it take to make our skin go pink (we do not want our skin to go pink!).  Best time for this to happen is the morning time, between 8am and 10am, before harmful UV rays begin to be at dangerous levels.  The more skin you can expose the better.  It won’t happen if you put sunscreen or moisturiser on your skin beforehand either, the skin needs to be completely bare.

It’s pretty scary exposing your childs precious skin to direct sunlight, it’s so new and perfect!  It has been drilled into us to avoid the sun at all cost, cover up, slip slop slap.  Follow your instinct, if you feel a small amount of sunlight for a short amount of time will benefit your child, go for it.  Gradual exposure is better than hard-hitting them when the summer months come.  I found this great article explaining about getting vitamin d from the sun.

Food glorious food.  We have food that is fortified with vitamin D, but we can’t guarantee the source, the quality and the quantity of vitamin D.  Butter naturally contains high levels of vitamin d, especially pasture/grass feed cows in New Zealand (so go organic NZ butter!).  Eggs are another natural source with good levels a vitamin d, again choose organic, free range or even better biodynamic farmed eggs.  Happy chickens lay better eggs!  Fresh oily fish, not farmed (once again avoiding grain fed fish) provide a good source of vitamin d.  Organ meats contain great levels of vitamin D, and kids love pate (truly they do) and here is a great recipe from Bubbayumyum.

Some other food sources of vitamin D

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Supplements.  A good quality, trusted supplement can go a long way in ensuring your children really get a good dose of vitamin D.  You can start as early as birth, even if breast-feeding.  Although breast milk does supply some vitamin D, depending on your stores, often this is not enough.  You can get your blood level of vitamin D tested by your GP, be mindful this is at a cost.  Visit your local health store for a good quality vitamin D supplement, and ask for specific dosing for your child.  Remember to get some for yourself too.  I do recommend Bioceuticals Vitamin D3 drops Forte.

Photos curtesy of google images, permission not granted from artists as unable to find them

eat like a breast feeding mama

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The constant worry that plays on a new mothers mind, ‘is my baby getting enough?’.  There is so much information out there, midwives saying one thing, obstetrician saying another.  The unfortunate reality is that our medical teams are so poorly trained in nutrition, sometimes they do not even give it a second thought.

Lucky for you though, I am obsessed!  I love the ins & outs (literally) of food.  The little biochemical pathways that make up the human body, and the teeny tiny nutrients that makes every cell work.  They make our hearts beat, our lungs breathe, and our mammary glands produce milk.  Insane.  We don’t even have to tell our breasts to secrete milk, it just happens (of course you have to of had a baby for this magical process to be kick started).

It starts with the production of colostrum, liquid gold.  The first few days after a woman gives birth, this magical substance helps to nourish our baby.  The amount actually produced is so small, and it’s because the baby has the tiniest stomach.  About the size of a 5cent coin, not very big at all.  But boy is it a powerhouse of nutrients.  Completely rich with protein, carbohydrates, fat, antibodies, vitamins and minerals, it is yellowish in colour and kick-start a newborns digestive system, providing the baby with life saving properties.  It’s usually secreted for the first 72 hours until the ‘milk comes in’.  A baby can survive quite nicely on it until the milk is ready.

Then comes the milk.  The unfamiliar feeling for a first time mum of your breasts filling up, becoming swollen and feeling quite different.  Our bodies know what to do and our babies instinctively know what to do too.  It’s mind-blowing that the milk we make in our breasts, grows a small baby.  It nurtures development, grows hair and nails, repairs skin, keeps the heart beating and the feet kicking.  And it comes from us mums.  Unbelievable.  The body just does it, in the mammary tissue, without us telling it to.  I’ve read some very scientific articles about the process, but it’s really confusing and you really have to know your biology to understand it!

A babies gut is brand new, so brand new it is sterile just before a baby is born.  What helps a baby’s gut to get ready for the big wide world is being born vaginally, this way the baby comes into contact with the micro bacteria needed to colonise their gut and jump-start them into a world of ‘good gut bacteria’.  This is also helped by skin to skin contact with a newborn, from both the mama and the papa.  Mums breast milk also helps to pass beneficial bacteria to help the infants gut.

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So I believe what WE eat, is what our baby eats.  The food we nourish ourselves with eventually is converted to breast milk, all those nutrients, all those minerals and vitamins we don’t even realise we are consuming.  It’s obvious this is what happens as you can see certain outbreaks of intolerance in babies when mum consumes certain foods, for eg eczema on a breastfed baby can be linked to mum having dairy in her diet.

Let’s eat well then!  Let’s truly nourish ourselves to nourish our babies, helping them to not just grow, but to thrive.

What helps our milk production?

The key is food! and lots of it.  Good, wholesome, nutrient dense food.  You want to be consuming enough so that your stores are not depleted to provide your infant with the necessary nutrients.  If your intake is inadequate, then the reserves your body stores will be used.  Key nutrients to consume are iodine, selenium, folate, omega 3, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B, B5, B6, B and B12, and vitamin K

Also adequate sleep is important (yeah right, I have a newborn!).  So the old saying ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ is gold.  It’s true.  Nothing is more important than your sanity and your baby’s food.  So give your partner the crying baby and catch some shut-eye.

Drink PLENTY of filtered water.  Guzzle it!  Have a special drink bottle constantly filled, and have it handy to your when you feed.  Of course it’s important to get the ok from your midwife that you are able to drink plenty, I had issues with bladder control and had to limit my intake to 1 glass per hour until I could manage my bladder.

Breastfeed often: the more you feed the more you will produce.

Quantities you ask?  Well considering you are burning over 600calories a day just producing milk, you are able to eat to your heart’s content.  I’m not about numbers and measures, and I don’t find you have to be too sensible when you are EATING WELL and NOURISHING yourself.  Don’t feel guilty.  Don’t let people tell you what to do.  You follow your instinct and you will feel just fine.  It is more important that you eat, less important to worry about the scales.

Accept help for cooking!  Ask  your mother to make you food, say YES to the neighbour offering to feed you!

Food to help nourish YOU & grow your baby:

Oats do the job! Good old-fashioned porridge.  Brewers yeast! A funky tasting substance that really enhances our milk production.  And some clever person has made yummy cookies that contain some awesome ingredients to help stimulate breast milk production: you can grab a recipe here http://www.bellybelly.com.au/breastfeeding/lactation-cookies#.VLnwUWSUe1Q

There is also a small selection of herbs that are beneficial to milk production, commonly used is fenugreek, chaste tree and fennel seeds.  See a qualified naturopath or herbalist to prescribe the correct dose for you.

Breakfast Recipe:

3/4 cup oats

1 cup almond milk

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mesquite powder

1/2 cup of frozen berries

Mix the oats with the almond milk and heat in a saucepan on stove top.  Should thicken up, you can always add more milk and keep stirring until its thick and creamy.  Add cinnamon, mesquite and frozen berries.  Once mixed well take off heat.  I always add some more almond milk and a sprinkle of coconut sugar! This is totally optional!  If you want more, then add more oats and almond milk.  I usually have a massive bowl to keep me going all morning.

It’s also a good time to add a smoothie to your breakfast, and you can power pack that with green leafy veggies to boost nutrient intake, and let YOUR body benefit from the endless health bonuses greens give us.

My basic Green Smoothie Recipe:                 IMG_0218

1 Banana

1 Pear

1 handful of spinach (sometimes i slightly steam it, otherwise it can be hard on our thyroid)

1 Cup of filtered water.

Throw it all in the blender, and presto! yum yum!

You can add anything to this base…berries, powders, coconut, avocado, cucumber, lemon…tailor it to your taste!

Lunch and Dinner ideas?

Salads, slow cooked casseroles, meat loaf, potatoes, soups, sourdough, pate, bone broths, sauerkraut (add that baby to every meal), eggs (finally you can enjoy them runny again!),

Stock up on food in the house so you have plenty to grab.  Breastfeeding takes time, having a newborn takes time.  You really don’t want to be fussing around making fancy meals for yourself!

I can sing a rainbow…eat a rainbow of food to maximise your nutrients and get the benefits from coloured foods (antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients)

Ramp up the Red: Strawberries, tomatoes, capsicums, beetroot, raspberries,

Go Green: lettuce (cos, iceberg), rocket, spinach, kale, avocado, cucumber, capsicum,

Mellow Yellow: capsicum, lemons, corn, mango

Mix and match your food, throw in mango on a chicken salad.  Make the salad huge!  Sprinkle with nuts and seeds and always always always dress a salad with good quality olive oil…some of those nutrients need fat to be absorbed!

A great way to get prepared is to start freezing meals in the weeks that lead up to birth.  Then they are there, ready to eat

EAT FAT! and lots of it.  Your baby needs the benefits from fats to grow their brains.  Fish oil, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil.  Don’t be shy.  Fat is the new skinny, and there is plenty of research out there showing us that we needn’t be scared of fat anymore, that is WHAT OUR BODIES NEED!
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MEAT: I love grass feed, organic meat, but I know it’s pricey.  You can get around this by buying it on special, freeze it!  The reason is what the animals eat, becomes what we eat, and what we eat our babies eat.  Try organ meats for truly boosting your B vitamin intake, and the awesome iron content.

BONE BROTH:  my all time favourite ingredient.  Ok I love sauerkraut equally.  But you can cook everything in bone broth (Stock) to boost the micronutrient content of anyfood…think rice, chicken, quinoa.  Here Bubbayumyum gives us any easy home-made broth recipe: if anyone asks you if you need anything..tell them YES make me this! http://www.bubbayumyum.com/?offset=1398682345809

SAUERKRAUT: The guts friend.  Eat it to boost your healthy gut bacteria, and improve your immune system on the way!  Good gut health is just the be all and end all of a healthy body.  http://nourishedkitchen.com/homemade-sauerkraut/

AVOID:

Processed foods.  Ever heard the rule about shopping around the perimeter of a supermarket?  This is a good rule!  It’s because it’s where all the real food, and we like real food.  The aisles are full of boxes of so-called food.  Sure you can grab your dried herbs and rice, but the nutrient dense goodies aren’t in the aisles. I’m sure I don’t need to harp on how full of sugar, salt and ingredients we can’t even pronounce the aisles are.  Just AVOID.  For your baby’s sake.

Keep track of your baby’s body, and if anything seems to be amiss, track it back to the food you are eating.  Keep a symptom and food diary to pin point any culprits.

Smoking

Excessive levels of alcohol (I’m all for the well-timed cheeky glass of vino)

So hopefully this gets you started, this makes you excited and this makes you think about nourishment.

Burger Time: http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/pete-evans-renovates-classic-aussie-recipes-20140120-313qo.html

Extra Green Fritata: http://www.drlibby.com/recipe/extra-green-frittata/

Something Sweet, something easy: http://www.drlibby.com/recipe/brain-balls/

Quick & easy: https://www.thehealthychef.com/2012/04/chilli-con-carne/

Make your own milk: https://www.thehealthychef.com/2011/07/almond-milk/

Good health and nourishment

Renee

(please feel free to contact me for nutrient specific queries)

REFERENCES: 

Hechtman. L (2012) Clinical naturopathic medicine. Elsevier, Australia.

Breast Awareness Smoothie

Today I had my first breast screening, as per protocol for having radiation to my mantle 9 years ago.
I sat there contemplating what I am going through, thinking about my breasts and how I truly believe they will always be ok, surrounding myself with white light. I wondered how many women are seen in clinic and have mammograms, receiving a small amount of radiation but never told they can help reverse the damage they may receive throughout their visits.

Home I went to make myself a smoothie to help my body cope
1 punett blueberries
I frozen banana
1 handful of kale
1/2 lemon squeezed
1 cup of water

Mix all in blender except banana, when mixed thoroughly add banana and mix again till smooth.

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