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Health

Perimenopause: What’s going on in your body and how to support it

I get it, you felt like you finally knew and understood your body, but now everything that worked no longer works and you’re feeling super confused and a little out of control, drained, irritable, and exhausted.

Maybe you’re struggling with overwhelm, anxiety, scattered thoughts, lack focus, clarity, heart palpitations, poor sleep, brain fog, weight gain, loss of muscle and difficulty maintaining muscle, joint pain, stiffness, digestive issues, worsening PMS, irregular, painful heavy cycles, acne, hair loss, vaginal dryness, low libido, pelvic floor changes…

And you heard someone mention ‘perimenopause’ so you went to Google to find out more!

Welcome! Read on and let me help you!

If you want more actionable steps and answers to your questions, I have compiled the information I’ve gathered around perimenopause and menopause into an ebook.

In my FREE Complete Guide to Perimenopause you’ll uncover:

  • Perimenopause…Menopause…What’s the Difference?
  • What Happens to Our Hormones During Perimenopause?
  • How Do I Know if I’m Going Through Perimenopause?
  • Myths About Perimenopause
  • Where to Begin if You’re Not Feeling Your Best
  • Tests to Ask Your Doctor For
  • What to Ask/Look For in Your Health Professional
  • How Do I Support Myself Through Perimenopause?
  • Herbs That May be Helpful During Perimenopause
  • Why are We Prone to Weight Gain in Perimenopause?
  • Isn’t Intermittent Fasting and Black Coffee Good?
  • What’s the Best Way to Exercise in Perimenopause?
  • Why Do We Get Hot Sweats in Perimenopause?
  • Why Does Our Libido Drop During Perimenopause?
  • Why Does PMS Get Worse in Perimenopause?
  • Why are We More Prone to Hair Loss in Perimenopause?
  • Why Do We Struggle to Sleep at Night and Wake up in the Morning During Perimenopause?
  • Why Do We Get More Headaches/Migraines?
  • Why are We More Likely to Suffer from Depression?
  • Menopause is so Much More than No Longer Bleeding
  • Causes of Early Menopause
  • Chinese Medicine Perspective & Closing Remarks

This field still requires much exploration and understanding, and is a highly individual experience for each woman, despite many commonalities.

I encourage you to trust your own understanding of your body and intuition to determine what will best serve you, considering your unique body and life circumstances.

My hope is that this ebook empowers you with knowledge about your body, allowing you to expand on this information through your own experiences, so you can enjoy the second half of your life in glowing, radiant health.

Following are the first sections of the ebook as a teaser!…

PERIMENOPAUSE…MENOPAUSE…WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Many of us consider menopause is where we gain weight, have hot flashes, suffer with forgetfulness, have no sex drive, and experience crazy mood swings but it doesn’t have to be that way! It can be a beautiful part of our lives where our focus turns more to us caring for us and living life more on our terms versus the mothering role of serving others, we have likely played up to this point…but more on that later!

Menopause itself is literally just one day! The day a woman’s menstrual bleeds have been absent for 12 consecutive months. After this day she is considered post-menopausal.

Perimenopause, on the other hand, is the period of time taken to transition into this next phase of life as the woman begins to see changes to her hormone levels leading to physiological and psychological changes. This is largely evidenced by changes to the duration of her cycle with anovulatory bleeds (she is no longer releasing an egg each month).

Like adolescence this transition can take years, though on average takes 7.5 years, however, it can happen in just a couple of years or even as long as 12 years. Not all of perimenopause is symptomatic, it’s just a period when things are shifting.

The duration spent in perimenopause is dependent on various factors such as a woman’s lifestyle, stress levels, environment, nutrition, movement, sleep quality, digestion, and her body’s ability to detoxify. Additionally, gut and liver health, supplementation, adrenal and thyroid function, and the presence of any autoimmune conditions can play significant roles in this journey.

Perimenopause generally starts in a woman’s early 40s with the average age of menopause being 51 years but it can happen sooner (early menopause is classed as before 45 and late menopause is classed as after 55 years of age).

A hundred years ago, the average life expectancy for females was 50, meaning many women didn’t even go through menopause. With today’s average life expectancy around 78 years, menopause now demands significant attention and research.

Women today face unprecedented demands, managing careers, home life, parenting, relationships, and more. Stress levels have soared, encompassing not only emotional stressors but also chemical and physical ones encountered daily. I also wonder of the impact historical events like the Great Depression and wars had on our grandparents that likely influences our DNA, given we were eggs inside our grandmothers.

Research in this area is severely lacking, and there is much we need to understand. Menopause affects 50% of our population, yet female health remains underrepresented in research due to long-standing patriarchal biases. It’s time to end this suppression of feminine power and give it the attention it deserves.

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR HORMONES DURING PERIMENOPAUSE

Perimenopause typically starts in our 40’s and oestrogen levels begin to fluctuate wildly. Imagine a ketchup bottle where you’re banging the bottom, nothing is being released, then you get a tiny bit out, nothing again, then a great huge splodge, then nothing…this is analogous to what your oestrogen levels are doing.

Ovarian reserve declines as we age yet aging ovaries and follicles (where the egg comes from) continue to secrete oestradiol. Progesterone secretion, however, declines as ovulation becomes less predictable.

When the ovaries aren’t responding the same, the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary) turn up their signals by increasing release of FSH. We start to see heavier or lighter periods, longer or shorter periods, missed periods all together, and symptoms of either high or low oestrogen (swelling (juicy, plump), pain, migraines, and heightened emotions tend to be more high oestrogen, whereas dryness (brittle, wrinkles, droopy), joint pain, memory issues, and low libido tend to be more low).

Levels of DHEA, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, leptin, ghrelin all become impacted too, affecting your sleep, appetite, mood, metabolic function, and energy.

After menopause, when the ovaries no longer produce oestrogen and progesterone, the primary sites of hormone production shift within the body to the…

  1. Adrenal Glands: The adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, continue to produce hormones such as cortisol, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), and small amounts of oestrogen and testosterone. While the ovaries were the primary source of oestrogen production before menopause, the adrenal glands play a more significant role in oestrogen production post-menopause through a process called androstenedione conversion.

  2. Peripheral Tissues: Certain peripheral tissues, including fat cells (adipose tissue) and skin, also have the ability to convert adrenal-derived androgens (such as DHEA and androstenedione) into oestrogen through a process known as aromatization. This local oestrogen production can contribute to circulating oestrogen levels in post-menopausal women.

  3. Brain: Some oestrogen is also produced in small amounts within the brain, specifically in regions like the hypothalamus and hippocampus. This neurosteroid oestrogen plays a role in cognitive function, mood regulation, and other brain-related processes.

The ovaries do continue to produce testosterone, which may be aromatized into oestrogen.

These changes can have profound impacts on our life with a recent study published in 2023 in the journal of Occupational Medicine recording the responses of 407 women stating that the most common menopausal symptoms affecting employees greater than 50% of the time while at work were:

  • fatigue (54%),
  • difficulty sleeping (47%),
  • poor concentration (44%), and
  • poor memory (40%).

Work performance was impacted for 65% of respondents and 18% had taken sick leave. There was a significant association between symptom severity at work and reduced work performance, career development decisions and attendance. Manager awareness about menopause (29%) and flexible working times (29%) were selected as the most important workplace supports.

So, if you’re struggling, know that you are certainly not alone, but also know that I’m going to share plenty of things that you can do to support yourself through this transition.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M GOING THROUGH PERIMENOPAUSE

Maybe you’re struggling to get up in the morning, waking between 1am and 4am, needing coffee to get you through the day, crashing on the sofa, feeling unmotivated to do anything or socialise, essentially wanting to just rest. If so it’s time to pay attention and offer your body some support.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Hot flushes/night sweats
  • Sleep disturbances – less sleep, struggle getting to sleep or waking
  • Brain fog and memory issues/cognition
  • Genitourinary symptoms (painful sex, vaginal dryness, pain with urination, etc.)
  • Mood swings/depression/anxiety/tearful
  • Onset or worsening of PMS
  • Joint pain/musculoskeletal pain
  • Loss of muscle
  • Heart palpitations
  • Decreased libido
  • Skin issues – dry, itchy
  • Changes to hair – loss, dry, brittle
  • Vaginal and body odour changes
  • Cycle changes – length shorter (no ovulation and lower prog), breast tenderness now (oestrogen up to 3x higher), heavy bleeding, fluctuating symptoms
  • Increase is headaches/migraines
  • Not changed anything but putting weight on – usually around belly

It’s important to note that these symptoms don’t only result from the changes to oestrogen and progesterone in perimenopause. They may be induced due to prediabetes, thyroid issues, adrenal issues, nervous system imbalance, gut issues, blood sugar imbalance, stress and more, so it’s important not to write these off and see go to see a health professional.

These aren’t just things you need to ‘suck up and get on with’.

Your body is speaking up for a reason and there are plenty of ways you can support it.

Grab the guide and start feeling empowered about the how!

 

Best detox for when you’re fatigued

Is not to ‘detox’! Work on your minerals and drainage instead…

Forcing toxins out of storage in the body (with things like sauna, intermittent fasting, juice cleanses, or rapid weight loss) can be dangerous, especially if your drainage pathways (how these toxins leave the body) are clogged (which is super common if you’re struggling with fatigue).

Your body is super smart, always working to keep you functioning as well as possible. It’s working to eliminate wastes and toxins daily, so if your body chose to store those toxins instead of eliminate them, there’s gonna be a reason for it.

Our body needs minerals to function and act as cofactors for the enzymes responsible for various detoxification processes in the cells and in the organs of our body.

In depleted fatigued bodies we generally see the body sequesters (holds on to and stores) toxins. That’s because we need good body function; strong liver health, kidneys, adrenals, thyroid etc to be able to properly metabolise and eliminate waste and other toxins.

When the body isn’t strong enough in those areas (not enough energy to do the task), it will prioritise other tasks first and store the toxins until later (often this is in fat tissue but can also be in the liver, brain and other organs).

That’s why I instead encourage my clients to:

  1. Support your drainage pathways AKA how the wastes and toxins get excreted from your body, and
  2. Support your cells and organs to function at their best by increasing important minerals needed for the detoxification process.

I have a 30-day Energy & Drainage Boost Challenge that helps you do just this! Join HERE.

 

What exactly is drainage?

For our body’s detoxification to be efficient, and to avoid becoming congested, we need good drainage pathways. 

Watch this video for an introduction to drainage or scroll down and click the transcript if you prefer to read.

 

How do I know if my drainage pathways are clogged?

If you’re answering yes to the following, your drainage pathways need support:

  • Are you pooping less than 2-3 times a day?
  • Do you have chronic fatigue you can’t explain?
  • Do you barely sweat when exercising or in the sauna?
  • Do you have rashes, dark spots on your skin, and/or cellulite?
  • Do you have swollen glands and lymph?
  • Do you have tender breasts?
  • Do you have puffy eyes when you wake?
  • Do you have fatty yellowish lumps around your eyes?
  • Do you have liver or gallbladder pain or congestion (pain around the bottom of the rib cage)?
  • Do you have trouble digesting fatty foods?
  • Do you wake up between 1-4 am?
  • Do you have brain fog?
  • Do you retain water easily?
  • Do you have mood problems?
  • Do you have a suppressed Immune system?
  • Do you suffer with low blood sugar, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol?

 

Why you also need to support your cellular energy production with minerals…

Minerals are what we call the spark-plugs to the chemistry of life. They are literally required for life and for our bodies to function well. Yet for whatever reason they often get overlooked.

Watch this video to understand why you want to start working with minerals, or scroll down and click the transcript if you prefer to read.

 

Can you work on energy & drainage when pregnant or breastfeeding?

Can you detox when pregnant or breastfeeding? No
Can you support minerals and drainage pathways when pregnant or breastfeeding? Hell Yes!!!! You NEED to!

Watch this video for why, or scroll down and click the transcript if you prefer to read.

 

Are you ready to start your first Energy & Drainage Boost Challenge?

This 30-day challenge gives you the steps to help support your drainage pathways and boost your energy. Click below to join!

I’d love to know – did this resonate with you? What do you feel your biggest energy and drainage concerns are?

The reality behind your ‘iron deficiency’ anemia…

Many of us tired mums have been told that our fatigue is partially due to low iron. We feel guilty for letting ourselves get so depleted and grab the Floradix, Ferro-grad C, or maybe even go for an iron infusion.

These might even make us feel better initially, but often we get the same issues again and find ourselves in a vicious circle where we’re constantly feeling drained and exhausted.

Maybe we start to believe this is what mumlife feels like and there’s little hope for us.

Well, mumma stop right there! If you’ve been told you have low iron, or even super high iron (haemochromatosis) as often we can flip between the two (I’m one of those people!) then you need to read on.

Over the last 12 months I’ve been learning a lot of eye-opening information about iron. I’m not going to go into everything here, but I do want to highlight and summarise some of the key things I’ve discovered in the hope you’ll at least seek further testing before you agree to add more iron to your body.

If you can you relate to any of the following signs and symptoms, then you’ve got something going on with your iron (and the chances of that are high if you’re reading this blog!):

Iron can’t work alone

Our lifeforce and energy depends on iron, but not on its own. It needs its chaperone, copper, to be able to do its job.

Before I go any further, let me explain the terms ‘bio-available’ and ‘bio-unavailable’ as they’re kinda the key to getting what I’m talking about here.

Bio-available means that it’s useable by the body. Bio-unavailable means that, even though it’s there, maybe even in excess, the body doesn’t have what’s needed to use it. When things are bio-unavailable we may get symptoms of being deficient but in reality, it’s building up in our tissues, which can be very dangerous.  The body is essentially lacking the ability to use it, it’s not that there’s not enough of it.

Right so now you get that, you’ll get this…

We need bio-available (useable) copper for iron regulation. Copper changes the form of iron from ferric to ferrous and back again and is required to incorporate iron into haemoglobin and get that all important oxygen around the body. (Check out my copper blog and quiz HERE to see if this is an issue for you).

If you don’t have adequate bio-available copper, taking iron supplements could lead to iron overload as the body is unable to use it (bio-unavailable) and so we see symptoms of deficiency when there is really an overload.

As iron is a strong neurotoxin and carcinogen* this is of big concern when iron supplements and infusions are so readily dispensed to tired mums without (in my opinion) the proper testing.

Our life force and energy depend on bio-available iron and copper, if it’s not bio-available it builds up in the mitochondria and robs us of our energy production (I’ve heard it’s about 97% of energy production!).

Mitochondria are everywhere, there are 1-2 thousand per cell, 100K in an ovum – so you can see the potential for issues!

We’re not just talking how energetic you feel here either. Energy is needed by every cell in your body to perform its function. You literally need this process to work to survive.

*To read all about the many negative impacts of iron please source ‘Iron: the most toxic metal’ by Dr. Jym Moon

 

If you’d like to learn more, you can also grab my Overcoming Copper & Iron Imbalance Masterclass, which is taken from my self-paced online program, Radiant Mumma, where I teach you all the foundations to balancing your minerals, healing your hormones and gut, and cleansing your body of toxins.

Morning Ritual for Energy

I highly recommend having your own morning ritual for sooooo many reasons! These all essentially lead to a happier, more content you, but I wanted to give you some tips to help set you up for good energy throughout your day too.

Your morning routine/ritual doesn’t have to be some unattainable hours long sacred alone-time-thing but if you can carve out carve out at least 10 minutes or so for some time to ‘be’, before you embark on the day’s activities I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much it improves your day!

Your morning routine or ritual to yourself can be absolutely what the bloody hell you want it to be. I have however, given a few practical tips you may like to include to help set you up:

  1. Wash your mouth out with water and scrape tongue before you consume anything to remove the toxins that accumulate there overnight. Then look in the mirror and say some words of affection for yourself…”today is going to be a great day”, “today I’m going to pay attention to….”, “I can, I will, watch me”, “today all the doors are open to me”

  2. Sip 1 litre filtered, room-temperature or slightly warmed water with a pinch of sea salt, in the first hour of waking. Optional: add juice of ½ lemon and ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to cleanse your system, ready your stomach acid for breakfast and hydrate you…best to drink with a straw and rinse your mouth straight after drinking to avoid acid erosion of your teeth (can replace with herbal tea or bone broth).

  3. Dry body brush for 2 minutes (I do this whilst brushing my teeth!), this is great to stimulate circulation as well as the lymphatic system and helps to get rid of dead skin cells and detox.

  4. Do 100 jumps. I like to do these on my rebounder to activate my lymph but you can just as well do them on the floor. Just little heal raise jumps also help move the digestive system. I literally do mine as the ghee is melting in the pan before I pour the pancake batter in…it takes less than 2 minutes to do!

  5. Do 5 minutes of stretching and twisting. Especially think about mobilizing the spine and opening the hips. This is great not only for your mind but for circulation, posture, and emotions.

  6. Get 20 minutes of sunshine to help activate your Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) and help set your circadian rhythm in place (read more on that HERE). Have your breakfast outside in the sun or in a window.

  7. Give yourself some space to take in your life and find a couple of things that light you up to feel grateful for. Gratitude is powerful and a great way to start the day in a good mood! These can be as simple as admiring the art on your favourite mug, relishing in the messy hair do of your mini-me, watching the flowers blow in the breeze out your window.

  8. Eat a breakfast high in protein, fat and fibre. Try eggs and sautéed veggies and spices in coconut oil with avocado, or sausage with some fruit and a milky coffee.

Tired all day and wide awake at night?

As mum’s this can be a common struggle, especially with disrupted sleep from our kiddos, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.

If you’re super tired, maybe you’re even waking up tired although you’ve slept through the night…but when it comes to bedtime…bing! You become an energiser bunny doing all the things you couldn’t muster your zombie self to do all day, chances are you have what we call dysregulated cortisol and an out of whack circadian rhythm.

Let me explain…

Circadian rhythm is our body’s 24-hour clock that regulates our sleep and wake cycles. When this natural rhythm gets upset, our energy level and sleep quality go to pot.

Kid disturbances aside…back in the day we would wake and sleep with the sun rise and set. The sun was our light source in the day, candles, fire, and moon light at night. But with our modern way of life, we’re often shut indoors all day away from the sun under artificial fluorescent lighting, surrounded by computer screens and WiFi, and we are stimulated by TV screens, lighting, computers, and mobile phones in our evenings when we should be winding down.

Why is this such an issue?

Well, bright lights in the evening stimulate our suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and pineal gland affecting our melatonin production. Melatonin is our sleep hormone (it’s also produced in the gut so good gut health, in particular a healthy mucosal barrier, is also important for healthy melatonin production).

Melatonin is not only our sleep hormone, but it is also one of the body’s important antioxidants, way more powerful than acai and goji berries! Melatonin goes into our mitochondria (our energy powerhouses that pretty much run your bodily functions) and protects them from oxidative and nitrosative stress.

When we protect our circadian rhythm we protect our melatonin production, which in turn protects our mitochondria and therefore our energy.

Not only that but altered circadian rhythm also upsets autophagy. Autophagy is the cellular clean up mechanism where damaged cells get gobbled up and recycled as new healthy cells and mitochondria are formed. Autophagy takes place predominantly at night, so if you aren’t getting deep restful sleep, less autophagy occurs, which speeds up aging, and suppresses cellular and mitochondrial regeneration, again impacting your energy levels.

But it doesn’t stop there! Circadian rhythm upset also affects our neurotransmitter production, so we have less serotonin (mood, joy, pleasure), dopamine (pleasure, reward, motivation/drive and stress tolerance), GABA (relaxation and calm), and Orexin (energy and wakefulness). Which all leads to an unhappy, deflated, knackered, wired, stressed out, burnt out, sleep deprived…you get the picture…mumma!

Messed up hey?!

Ok, so I don’t expect you to be outdoors all day and basking in the moonlight at night…well not every day anyway! …so what are some things you can do to help protect your circadian rhythm?

 

1. Get bright sunlight in your mornings

Getting 20-30 mins of morning sun, ideally between 8am and 10am, helps to set your circadian rhythm in place right from the start of the day by stimulating your Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR), helping to energise and wake you up (our cortisol should be high in the morning then switch with melatonin in the evening when we’re wanting to slow down and sleep). So, as soon as you can, make enjoying a cuppa in your garden or in a sunny window your morning priority!

 

2. Work out in the morning

Working out in the morning also helps our CAR, setting us up for the day. If we workout in the evening there’s a chance we’ll raise our cortisol when it should be decreasing, ready to switch over with melatonin for our sleep time. Workouts should be after a balanced breakie of protein, fats, and carbs of course, to avoid slamming your adrenals. If you feel drained after a workout consider if you’re doing too much and pushing too hard. You may benefit from a slower more nourishing movement program such as walking, swimming, yoga, or simple stretching.

 

3. Avoid bright lights in the evenings

Avoid suppressing melatonin release by using lamps, dimmer switches, and red lights in the evenings. I like to use salt lamps for a low, warm light (and decreased fire hazard compared with candles!). I have red light bulbs in my bedside lamps so I can still enjoy reading my book before bed without supressing my melatonin production.

 

4. Turn off your electronics 2 hours before bed

The blue and green wavelengths of light emitted from these devices really disrupt your melatonin (sleep hormone levels). 2 hour may seem impossible so start with 30 minutes – anything is better than nothing – but aim for no devices after 8pm. This can be a nourishing time for you to enjoy with your partner or have some alone time reading a book or enjoying a hobby (I’m planning on trying some macrame next!).

5. Put your devices on night mode

Set your ipad/phone’s brightness to change automatically in the evenings – just a flash of blue light from your phone can reduce melatonin by up to 60%!

6. Get a pair of “blue blocker glasses”

If you absolutely and positively can’t in any way avoid being on screen devices and/or in bright lights up until bedtime as a matter of life or death, then, first ask if that really is true, then consider blue-blocker glasses during these hours.

Blue Blockers block blue (and green if you are hardcore like me) wavelengths of light (try TrueDark or SafetyBlue). My super sexy SafetyBlue Sleep Saviour Ultra wrap around glasses are the best, as these avoid light entering from the sides of the lens. Plus you look super sexy…right?!

7. Get blackout curtains or wear an eyemask

Ensure your bedroom is dark and there are no lights from clock radios, streetlights etc. Use light reducing stickers on electronics if needed (although these are best kept out of the bedroom due to the EMF they emit). I use a Dream Essentials Pure Mulberry Silk Side Sleeper Eye Mask.

8. Turn off WiFi router overnight as well as wireless devices

(and keep them well away from where you spend most of your time during the day).

Use a timer to do this automatically for you if you forget. The electromagnetic fields (EMFs) disrupt the quality of your sleep as well as the ability of your body’s immune system to do the cellular repair work it is supposed to do during the hours of sleep, which can lead to a range of health problems.

 

9. Get to bed before 10pm

This is when your cortisol and melatonin switch. Miss this and you may get a second wind and find it harder to wind down and fall asleep or get quality sleep. I’ve even had self-professed night owls tell me this has been the biggest game changer for them, and something they never thought was possible.

10. Keep your wake and sleep times the same everyday

This allows your body to get into a rhythm i.e. get up and go to bed at the same time on the weekend as weekdays.

 

Now obviously as mum’s this will go to shit at times but having any of these things in place will help you to regulate your sleep/wake cycle for more sustained energy throughout your day.

Pick just one and start there, I promise you can’t help but see improvements.

I’d love to hear how you go and how your energy improves!

Want to avoid dry skin, brittle nails and hair, achy joints, and the flu this winter!? You need these 2 things in your life!

Well, winter is finally here…and along with it…the seasonal cold and man flu epidemics, ouchy chapped lips, dry skin, flaky nails, and brittle hair! What’s a girl to do!?

There are many things I do regularly to maintain good health year round, and I could probably write a book about them all…however…I am sure you don’t have time to read a whole book right now, so I have picked my top 2 things, to help your immunity and skin, hair, and nails…and stay feeling good from your core, this winter!

I asked the Core Health Squad what they wanted to hear about this month, and amongst the great ideas, a couple came up more than once! These were dry skin, and seasonal health regimes.

So, being clever as I am (and modest!)…I linked the two topics together and came up with two hot things to include in your winter (but really everyday) life!

What are they already!?…

…wait for it!…

…drum roll please!…

…bone broth and a shower filter!

…OK, so I thought that might sound slightly grander…but nevertheless, hear me out…here’s why I chose these two things as the things you need in your life…

Winter calls for extra vitamins and minerals to help our bodies function and maintain temperature, and to support our immune system. We want to get the most out of our nutrition with wholesome slow-cooked warming foods, reserving the cooking juices where possible to avoid any nutrient loss, cooking for long durations to breakdown foods into more easily absorbable molecules, often upping the protein and fat content to maintain tissue and energy reserves (these foods are harder to digest than carbs so we also need to support digestion).

Our bodies and joints start to seize up and ache more, so we tend to pump up the heat in the bathroom with long hot showers or soaks in the bath…and we notice our skin get dry, our nails and hair go brittle, and our luscious lips turn into a chapped, scaly, sore, not so kissable version of themselves…

Enter top inclusion #1…..bone broth!…

…a vitamin and mineral packed, delectable drink, containing…well, lots of vitamins and minerals to support the bodily functions and immune system…but also collagen and elastin…which of course are great for all our connective tissues, skin, hair and nails.

I used to think bone broth was just glamorised stock…which it is essentially…but more an elixir than a stock! Each are made in pretty much the same way, but bone broth is cooked for a much longer period of time to extract the minerals and gelatin that make broth such a nutritious food.

Collagen and gelatin (what collagen breaks down into) found in bone broth, are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins…and proteins are the building blocks of life. They are what make your muscles fibres, organs, hair, nails, skin, and connective tissues, as well as your enzymes, which help your body function.

It should go without saying, therefore, that bone broth is an amazing immune boosting food that can help your gut integrity and digestion…as well as support healthy connective tissues, hair, skin etc.

How specifically? Because the amino acids in broth…

…restore and maintain a healthy gut lining, so impact your immune system, as 80% of your immune system is in your gut

…help your mood, thereby also help to protect against the ‘winter blues’, as about 90% of your feel good hormone, serotonin, is made in the gut

…aid that sweet, rejuvenating, amazing activity that I now crave so much as a new mum, sleep, as around 80% of your sleep hormone, melatonin, is made in the gut…plus broth contains the amino acid, glycine, which also aids sleep

…help avoid achy stiff joints, dry skin, brittle hair and nails, and help your body functions in general, especially over the colder months as they are essentially what make these tissues and the enzymes needed for the body to function.

Volia! Bone broth = seasonal and dry skin help!

Have your bone broth like a cup-a-soup, or add to your soups, stews or sauces. I like mine in a mug first thing in the morning, with half a lemon!

You can pay a pretty penny for store bought versions of collagen and gelatin…and bone broth for that matter…but it’s really cheap and easy to you make your own bone broth…plus you can play around with what you add to it to mix up the flavour, and homemade is always better for you ‘cos it’s made with love! The power of intention people!

I stock NES Proteins 100% Grass-fed and Finished Collagen (450g for $42), Gelatin (450g for $29), Chicken Bone Broth (100g for $26), and Beef Bone Broth (100g for $23) if you are interested in these, however, I really urge you to make your own! Here’s the recipe…

1-2 kg of organic bones from 100% pasture raised animals or wild caught fish (beef knuckles bones, marrow bones, or about 3 chicken carcasses for chicken broth)
5 chicken necks (give or take, it really doesn’t matter)
Couple of chicken feet if possible (extra jelly like broth with these but not essential)
4 litres of filtered water
Plenty of Himalayan, Celtic or Redmond Real Salt (can always add more later)
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Veggie scraps (collect your carrots ends, cauliflower leaves, celery hearts, potato skins etc in the freezer)
Bunch of parsley

You really want to make sure to get organic/wild bones to avoid extracting and concentrating too many toxins. Some people like to roast the bones first for 30 mins at 200 degrees Celsius, but I honestly have never been bothered! I am sure it would develop a nice flavour though! I cover the bones with water and apple cider vinegar for an hour (the acid starts to break down the bones), then add the veggies etc and bring to the boil before simmering on low for 8-48 hours depending on what the bones are (8 for fish, 24 for chicken, 48 for beef). Could also try adding ginger, turmeric, chilli…I dunno, get creative and share your wins with us at the Core Health Squad!

OK, so #1 down…so why #2, a shower filter you ask!? Well the key was in the long hot baths or showers we mentioned before.

Yes, the hotter temperature will impact your skin, hair and nails so do be sure to keep it sensible, that’s just science people! However! Tap water contains numerous toxins including fluoride, chlorine, chloramine (a secondary disinfectant in municipal water), VOCs (the result of chlorine reacting with organic matter) and THMs (by-product predominantly when chlorine is used to disinfect water for drinking), that burden our body and increase its toxic load, making us more at risk of diseases and gut issues. These especially get volatile and we breathe them in, in the hot water vapour of our bath or shower thereby impacting us even more.

Installing a filter to your shower water (or one for all water in the house) that removes at least the chlorine, not only smells a lot better (I feel so much better when I run the boys bath and can’t smell the chlorine in the water!), it can reduce those volatile nasties drastically, and result in improved respiratory health (particularly for asthma and bronchitis sufferers), increased energy, and overall greater health…and…it helps that dry winter skin, as the chlorine strips proteins from your skin and hair causing dry bodies, split ends, and aggravating irritated skin and scalp conditions…

Voila! Shower filter = immune and skin support too!

For more information about the nasties in our water see https://chriskresser.com/is-your-daily-shower-making-you-sick

We are selling our house soon, so I didn’t want to invest in a whole house filter, but I still felt strongly about not running a chemically smelly bath for the twins, plus I have two asthmatics in the house! I was therefore super excited to be able to source the ENVIRO PRODUCTS by NEW WAVE, DESIGNER SHOWER FILTER (CHROME). If you are interested in purchasing this from me, then hit me up! It also comes with an essential oil diffuser ring, so you can get an even bigger immune boost by adding some OnGuard and Frankincense doTERRA essential oil…and it’s patented NDF-55 media, unlike activated carbon, is effective in hot water and retains it’s power for up to a year! It also reduces algae, fungus, and hydrogen sulphide, as well as inhibits the growth of bacteria in the filter and shower-head, reducing the mildew. We have noticed that pink scrum we used to get in the shower totally disappear! The filters cost $69.95 and replacement cartridges are $49.95 (plus p&p),, which I considered a really cheap investment for a year of better health!

So! Get some bone broth and a shower filter this winter to support your immune system, avoid that crusty skin…and help you…feel good from your core!

On top of these great inclusions, it is, of course, incredibly important to maintain good gut health…in more ways than just drinking bone broth!…eat a clean balanced diet right for your metabolism, live a detox way of life, rest enough both physically and mentally, de-stress mentally, emotionally, physically and chemically, take the right supplements for your body, and move a little daily, to help your general core health and amazing feels…be sure to book in for a free 20 minute consultation if you would like any advice here.

What’s causing your lack of sleep and 15 ways to improve it

So we use the term “I slept like a baby” to mean we had a good nights sleep…ok so not my babies at the moment that’s for sure! We have gone through about three weeks of disturbed nights, I think due to the 4-month sleep regression and the onset of teething…yay!…but I really started to struggle with the lack of sleep I was getting…so what better time than to do an article all about sleep!?

Sleep is incredibly important as it is a time for your body, particularly your brain, to cleanse and repair. I am sure you notice how much better you feel, not to mention, how much nicer a person you are, after a good kip! I know nearly everything and everyone irritates me and I find myself crying in the shower if I don’t get my sleep…can you relate!?

At least 6-8 hours a night is recommended, as losing sleep ages you and decreases brain plasticity (the ability of your brain to adapt and change by making new neural connections), thereby causing cognitive impairment (difficultly remembering, learning, making decisions, concentrating etc).

Studies have shown that going 17-19 hours without sleep (5-7-hour sleep cycle in 24 hours) is equivalent to an alcohol breathalyser reading of 0.05, which is the legal limit to drive here in Australia!

So many of us, however, struggle to get enough quality sleep each night with the day-to-day stresses, commitments and obligations we must fulfil.

I appreciate, being a new mother of twins, that frequent waking’s in the night may also be unavoidable. As I mentioned, I have certainly experienced a decrease in cognition and heightened emotions these past few months with the birth of my boys.

As hard as it may be to think of yourself in these times, or when work deadlines and commitments are calling you, I truly believe this is THE most important time to take note and give yourself a break. I always say…”you can’t pour from an empty cup”…so make sure to keep topping yours up!

I know I am a better mother and wife, if I give myself 15 minutes for a bath before bed, with some candles and soft music…and my body feels so much better doing the odd few minutes of stretching and twisting of my spine throughout the day, after all the breastfeeding and baby carrying. Heck I even like myself more too!

If you don’t take the odd few minutes where you can, whether you are a busy mother, or a busy person for other reasons, then things just mount up to a point where your body won’t be able to sustain proper function. This could mean you get sick, or you may even experience a mental breakdown or burn yourself out. Should it get to this state, the choice will be taken away from you and you will be forced to rest…plus it will take you even longer to get your health back on track.

Keep pushing your limits and you put yourself at higher risk of Alzheimer’s, some cancers, heart problems, blood pressure issues, blood sugar issues, and stroke.

OK, so I have you convinced you need sleep, but how do you get that sleep and increase its quality!?

Well, most importantly…you cannot go from a stressful day, to being on social media or watching TV, then go to bed and expect your brain to be able to turn off and go to sleep.

If you have kids you know the importance of a bedtime routine, so why should it be any different for you?

I advise my clients to give themselves at least 30 mins to wind down before bed (ideally 60-90 minutes) and to develop a routine that they do each night in this time, so their body “gets programmed” into knowing its bedtime.

For example, my bedtime routine starts with putting on some calming tunes like Reiki Healing or similar, brushing my teeth, dry body brushing, having a shower or Epsom salt bath, self-massage applying my body lotion or doing my galvanic spa, and 5-10 minutes of stretching. Then I am all set to get into bed and do some mindful breathing exercises as I drift off to sleep.

What’s your routine going to be?

Here are my top 15 tips to a better nights sleep that may help you. You will also notice that what happens in your day and your environment, can impact your sleep too…

  1. Ensure you get bright sunlight in your mornings – this helps to set your circadian rhythm in place right from the start of the day (if you are a shift worker make sure you have all the lights on!)
  2. Limit caffeine intake during the day (particularly after about 2pm as it may affect your circadian rhythm by spiking cortisol) – I don’t recommend anymore than 2 coffees a day max – if you are a big coffee drinker and it no longer affects you, then maybe you need to consider weaning yourself off it. Caffeine blocks your adenosine receptors, which help slow neural activity and increase blood vessel dilation, thereby affecting oxygenation of the brain and sleep quality.
  3. Get some exercise – preferably outdoors in nature. Doesn’t have to be much, a 20-30 minute walk is fine, dance around the house whilst vacuuming or brushing your teeth, stretching in front of the TV…whatever floats your boat!…just get moving!
  4. Get a massage – this not only releases physical tensions and stresses but will help support your mental health, immunity and circulation
  5. Avoid bright lights in the evening – I like to use salt lamps for a low, warm light (and decreased fire hazard!)
  6. Avoid stimulating screen time (nothing that makes you want “just one more” episode!)
  7. Set your ipad/phone’s brightness to change automatically in the evening – just a flash of blue light from your phone reduces melatonin by 60%! Better still…make after 8pm a phone/device-free time!
  8. Consider investing in a pair of “blue blocker glasses” that block blue and green wavelengths of light (those from TrueDark or SafetyBlue block both these wavelengths – the “less-stylish” wrap around styles are the best, as these avoid light entering from the sides of the lens)
  9. Drink a calming bedtime tea (valerian, lemon balm, chamomile, passionflower) – if really struggling talk to your Herbologist about trying Kava.
  10. Consider a bed time snack of protein and fat, or carbohydrate and fat (experiment to see what works for you as different metabolisms benefit from different food sources – this could work if blood sugar is your issue – e.g. half green apple and peanut butter, hummus and celery with hemp seeds, chicken leg and avocado, raw cacao avocado mousse and Brazil nuts
  11. Diffuse some lavender and frankincense in your bedroom – I also love doTerra’s Lavender Peace, which helps to reduce anxiety …and Easy Air, which helps respiration and makes you feel calm and clear
  12. Play some 432Hz miracle frequency music whilst you are getting ready for bed
  13. Turn off your Wi-Fi router before bed, and remove all electronics from your room to reduce EMFs
  14. Turn your phone to aeroplane mode before you close your eyes for sleep
  15. Get blackout curtains and ensure there are no lights from clock radios etc in your bedroom – an eye mask can be used if on a budget or travelling

Done all the above and still struggling!? Then don’t waste any more time!

You more than likely know of the mental stress and active mind that may be keeping you up at night, but there are many other reasons why you aren’t getting enough ‘Z’s.

You may be struggling with any number of things, including:

  • Poor gut health leading to low melatonin (sleep hormone) production
  • Physical stress from aches and pains
  • Chemical stress from your environment or from imbalances in the body
  • Inflammation
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Parasites – these often get active in the early hours and release their waste products and toxins causing early waking
  • Mold toxicity
  • Poor neurotransmitter function e.g. low GABA
  • Copper toxicity (more info on this to come in an alternative blog, but if you have been on hormonal birth control at all it is incredibly likely you are copper toxic)
  • Low or bio-unavailable magnesium
  • Slow oxidation state

…all which impact your quality of shut eye.

So! Book in for an obligation free chat with me where I can go through your options and recommend some lab testing for you based on your personal struggles. Let’s investigate what’s happening on a deeper level with you!

We all neeeeeed sleep! …and I want you to get some great restorative sleep so that you can always …feel good from your core!

Stiff and sore?

Are you getting stiffer by the day…decreased range of motion and flexibility?

You likely need some fascial release, or more specifically myofascial release.

Fascia is fibrous connective tissue that forms between muscles and internal organs. Myofascia being that related specifically to muscles.

It’s quite similar to when you peel an orange…there is an outer skin, a fibrous white pith, and the juicy segments each separated by more fibrous tissue. It is this fibrous tissue that is like the fascia between our muscle fibres and the muscles themselves.

Each night when we sleep and the body repairs, new fibres are laid down between our muscles. If too many fibres build up over time this can prevent the glide between the muscles. It may also build up more in some areas than others and so have a distorting pull effect on the muscles.

This also happens if we remain in our poor postural positions, and/or do lots of repetitive movement; our fascia adapts and this becomes the new norm. The same is true if we become injured, hence why you can lose range of motion if you don’t keep working and stretching the site. If left this is when we develop trigger points…those sore spots that when active, refer pain to various regions of your body.

All this decreases our flexibility and range of motion, as well as increases pain and inflammation.

Morning stretch routines can help prevent this, as can frequent foam rolling sessions…if done right! Think slow and steady, stop and hold on any particular tight, sore bits, and take some deep breaths to help release. Better still, book a Remedial Massage with myofascial release.

Start and end your day with some stretches and mobilisations:

Circles with your shoulders,
Bring your shoulders all the way forward then retract them all the way back and repeat,
Turn your head from side to side, lower one ear at a time to the shoulder, look down to the floor and up at the sky,
Do circles with your hips and drop one hip down and then the other and repeat,
Bend forward and touch your toes, stretch out the hamstrings,
Rotate your torso keeping your hips straight,
Sit in a chair and put your foot on the opposite knee and push the elevated knee down then rotate your body to the same side,
Stretch out your pectorals in a doorway,
Do circular motions with your spine clockwise and counter-clockwise,
Some down dogs, and some cat cows.

AND book a regular massage!!! You should be having a massage at least every month! Especially in this modern world where we spend a lot of our time sitting in a similar position day and night.

This will not only help your fascia but will help boost your circulation, immune system, reduce stress and inflammation, and prevent pain and injury.

Book yours today!

 

Image source: http://www.remedybarre.com

Hormones and the Contraceptive Pill

When we have hormone imbalances, often we will get prescribed synthetic hormones to “level us out”

The problem is that by doing this the body thinks there is enough of that hormone and so it stops producing it, thereby causing an increased malfunction, which can lead to long-term negative effects and imbalances.

If we have difficulty metabolising or clearing our hormones effectively, then this effect can be even worse.

Often hormones are prescribed as creams. The doses of which are hard to monitor and much of the hormone actually gets stored in our fat deposits making us more toxic.

Synthetic hormones like those in the contraceptive pill also cause copper toxicity and affect the body’s levels of vitamin and minerals; namely zinc, B vitamins and magnesium. Ironically these nutrients are required to metabolise hormones properly…and so the problem escalates.

Unfortunately, what we are now seeing far too often, and what many of my clients present with, is a whole heap of hormone imbalance symptoms such as fertility issues, heavy, irregular, or painful menstrual cycles, PCOS, endometriosis, acne (and not always when we are just a teenager), indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, vaginal dryness, sore boobies, osteoporosis (brittle bones), hot flashes, night sweats, unexplained weight gain, anxiety, irritability, we might lose our sex drive, suffer from unexplained or excessive sweating, develop excess hair in areas we didn’t expect until our 90’s! Seriously! It’s not fun!

Many of us have been on contraceptive pills since we developed acne in our early teens, even before we were sexually active! They were prescribed as a medication to help clear the skin. We then stayed on them for over 15 years until our early 30’s when we finally found a decent guy, had our careers in place, and were ready to start a family. Then month after month goes by…still not pregnant…

Our bodies are totally out of balance, yet the medical professions answer is often to supply even more synthetic hormones.

When does it stop?

Why aren’t we trying to fix the lack of hormone production in the first place?

Our bodies are designed to keep us functioning at our very best. We have various mechanisms in place to help it do so, and keep it in a state of ease, or balance known as homeostasis. But the body can only work with what it has. If we don’t give it the right ingredients, have a congested liver, dysfunctional gut, and high toxic burden, then it is going to have to compensate somehow.

Some ideas are included below:

  1. Good nutrition:
    • First need a well functioning gut to be able to digest and assimilate the nutrients we eat
    • Eat wholefoods i.e. foods that are in their natural state
    • Eat good fats like cold-pressed organic avocado and extra-virgin olive oil, cold-pressed organic coconut oil (or expeller-pressed if you dislike the flavour), activated nuts and seeds, and oily wild-caught fish like sardines and red salmon – dietary fats, and cholesterol are in-fact cofactors for making your hormones, so these are incredibly important!
    • Eat quality grass-fed, pasture-raised animal protein
    • Avoid inflammatory foods like processed food, soy, regular dairy, gluten, refined carbs, sugar, alcohol, caffeine
    • Eat lots of veggies – think the rainbow. Best eaten blanched or steamed and with some good fats to better absorb the nutrients.
  1. Adequate rest:
    • 8 hours of undisturbed sleep
    • Bed before 10:30
    • Don’t over exert yourself i.e. listen to your body
  1. The right amount of exercise
    • At least 20-30 minutes daily where you are working hard enough you can’t maintain a conversation
    • Stretching to maintain flexibility and aid circulation
  1. Reducing toxins:
    • Eat organic where possible or wash fruits and veg in apple cider vinegar and water
    • Choose natural personal and cleaning products
    • Eat foods rich in antioxidants (blueberries, raspberries, spinach, kale, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, butternut squash)
  1. Reducing stress:
    • Mental – mindfulness and mediation
    • Physical – regular massage, chiro, physio, get those aches and pains sorted
    • Chemical – (see reducing toxins)

This is a brief overview.

If you need further guidance a great place to start is with my online Feel Good from Your Core Program, which is launching soon. To find out more email bookings@corehealthclinic.com with “Tell me about your program!” in the subject line.

If you want to know for sure what’s going on with your hormones then functional lab testing is a far more advanced method than the regular blood test you may get at your doctor.

Dried urine testing (DUTCH) can show us how you are using and metabolising your hormones, so we can actually see why you are suffering the way you are and develop more targeted treatments.

For more info book your free consultation here.

Rebellious Not-So-Rad Dudes AKA Free Radicals

So free radicals…

Are these some rebellious rad dudes you ask? …well kind of!

You know the green Marvel character Hulk? …he goes around ‘smash Hulk smash’ smashing everything in sight… well free radicals are similar but they’re like glass shards going through your body destroying cells, proteins, and enzymes.

Free radicals cause inflammation in the body i.e. pain, impair immunity, speed ageing, and can alter DNA codes.

We can see examples of free radicals at work in the outside world when we cut and apple open and it goes brown, or when a nail rusts.

Our body naturally makes free radicals as part of phase 1 detoxification, digestion, and metabolism, as well as when we are exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, X-rays, gamma rays from radioactive material, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and industrial fumes.

So how do we protect ourselves from these rebellious rad dudes!?…antioxidants!

We want a balance of free-radicals and antioxidants to prevent oxidative harm to our bodies and allow for proper physiological function…and we find antioxidants predominantly in our fruits and vegetables.

Unfortunately, our fruits and veggies aren’t what they used to be and our nutrient depleted soils have lead to nutrient depleted produce. I read the other day that it used to be an apple a day will keep the doctor away…now it’s 6 apples! …and I don’t recommend eating 6 apples a day either! This has lead to the supplement industry blooming. So many supplements, so much choice, but how do you know if they are any good or just full of fillers and forms of vitamins that your body simply doesn’t recognise?

I believe that generally it’s best to have supplements in the most natural form possible. A whole form that the body recognises. Like herbal supplements, vitamins and minerals all work synergistically, not in isolation from each other. Synthetic forms of supplement can also cause harm.

Take vitamin A. Now there’s lots of carotenoid forms of vitamin A in natural food but beta-carotene is taken as the one form that is used as a representative. Often natural food supplement companies just put the dose of beta-carotene on the label when there are actually others forms present. However, when synthetic beta-carotene is made, this is literally all you are getting…and that’s not always a good thing…

In a Finnish ATBC study of 29,000 male smokers, 20 mg beta-carotene supplements taken over six years were linked to lung cancer. In a U.S. CARET study of more than 18,000 male and female smokers and male asbestos workers, 30 mg beta-carotene supplements over four years were linked to a 28% higher risk of lung cancer and a 17% higher risk of deaths from all causes compared with smokers taking a placebo.

Something you are paying for with your hard-earned cash could be harming you. It’s therefore hugely important to do your research and buy good quality supplements. These likely aren’t the ones in your supermarket.

If you would like some guidance in this area, please book a free 15 min consultation via my website (Products Tab) and I can discuss your current diet and symptoms with you and give you some ideas about what could help you.

 

 

Some Reference Material

https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/news/20041130/death-stalks-smokers-in-beta-carotene-study#1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/