The 5 Star Health Rating Why You Should Avoid It Like Your Life Depends On It… Because It Kinda Does

Health Star Rating

Recently I’ve had an overwhelming number of clients bring up the 5 Star Health Rating as one of the tools they are using in an effort to getting their health on track.

Obesity and health are major problems in the western world, so kudos to the government for attempting to do something about it.
Unfortunately, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and may actually be preventing you from achieving your health goals.

Ok, so you’re probably wondering if I’m just being an uptight nutritionist who is high on kale, cacao and self importance, or if there’s really something to my claims. Let’s break it down.

The idea behind the star rating is pretty simple – the fewer stars, the worse it is for you, whereas 5 stars will have you glowing with health and smug satisfaction. Apparently.

Health Star Ratings are based on:

  • Total energy (kilojoules) of the product. An average Australian adult should consume around 8,700 kJ a day.
  • The saturated fat, sodium (salt) and sugar content. Consuming too much of these risk nutrients is linked to being overweight and obese, some cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • The fibre, protein, fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content. Increasing consumption of these healthy nutrients and ingredients is good for your health.  

This was pulled straight from the government site FAQ 

For those of you who have been reading my articles for a while now, you’ll know how passionate I am about fighting the war against fat and promoting it as a healthy part of our diet.  As I’ve referenced in these articles, good quality fat – including saturated fat – is an important part of our diet and promotes satiety and weight management, improved mental health, better quality sleep, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, increased cognitive function and much more. Saturated fat is the first thing on their watch list, yet is effective at reducing the risk of a number of risk factors mentioned in their brief.

Salt is also an essential part of our diet, especially for those of us living in tropical and subtropical climates.  It’s important to ensure that we are getting this from proper food sources such as sea salt and not processed foods or the nasty salt that seems to grace the tables of every food court in the world, but more on that another day.

Sugar. Well, at last I have found something I can agree with!  As people are becoming aware, sugar is responsible for weight gain, inflammation, promoting disease, hyperactivity, energy crashes, inability to focus and more. I was excited to see sugar on here and thought this might be a redeeming feature, but it doesn’t really seem to add up with the health ratings being doled out.

For example, did you know that Milo has a 4.5 health star rating?  While my inner 8 year old jumped for joy at reading that and had flashbacks to hiding in her Nanny’s pantry to secretly eat milo straight from the tin, the nutritionist in me couldn’t help but die a little inside.  At 27.3g of sugar per 100g, this is hardly a low sugar option, while Nutrigrain gets a 4 star rating and has a staggering 32g of sugar per 100g. Up & Go also comes in with a 4.5 star rating and while it is relatively low in sugar (3.3g per 100g), it has a whopping 67g per 100g of carbohydrates. A further issue is that Up & Go has 3.3 serves per unit, though most of us would consume the entire contents in one go.

Just like the Heart Foundation tick of approval that was thankfully discredited, this rating system doesn’t accurately demonstrate which foods are healthy, only how they stack up against other foods in their category.  “The system allows us to quickly compare the general nutritional profile of foods within the same category of packaged and processed goods. And it’s simple to understand and use.”   It’s one saving grace is that it’s not a rating that is bought, though it is left up to manufacturers to create their own rating in accordance with some very confusing and flexible guidelines.  So while it’s great that they’re comparing apples with apples, it seems they’ve forgotten to rate apples at all!

Sadly, unprocessed foods such as fresh meat, fruit and vegetables don’t get a star rating at all.  Yet isn’t this what should comprise the majority of our diet?

So, scrap the star rating, the heart foundation tick and any other gimmick they pitch at us and just get back to basics.  Shop the outside of the supermarket, eat predominantly fresh food and stick to items that are low in sugar and don’t have more than a handful of ingredients in them.  Simples!

Peace, love and wellness,
Mandah xo

The Truth About Cholesterol

The Truth About Cholesterol

My dad is pretty motivated when it comes to staying healthy and is often a great source of questions because of this (thanks Dad!).  One of the things he asked me about recently was cholesterol, because the misinformation surrounding this topic is something I often like to rant about.  I know, how unlike me!  Dad isn’t the only one with questions though. Cholesterol is a bit of a hot topic in my clinic at the moment, especially with my patients over 50, so I figured with all these questions coming at me I’d take some time to set the record straight.  It seems to be something that doctors love testing and medicating for, but what’s the truth behind cholesterol? 

It’s pretty standard these days for medical practitioners, the media and government sources to promote all the perils of elevated cholesterol, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.  We’re usually told that elevated cholesterol, particularly LDL, accumulates in blood vessel walls and over time will lead to clots, blockages, strokes and heart attacks.  We’re encouraged to focus on reducing our “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increasing our “good” cholesterol (HDL) to reduce our risk of these conditions. But is there any truth to this?

It might surprise you to learn that in truth, there’s no such thing as “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat that we not only consume from animal products, but create naturally within our body.  Every cell, with the exception of the gonads and adrenal cortex, has the ability to create cholesterol.  It is imperative for our cell health as it ensures that our cells maintain their fluidity.  Without this fluidity our cells lose the ability to regulate what passes in and out of our cells and will eventually lead to cell death (cue dramatic music).  Cholesterol also plays an essential role in transporting fat around our blood, creating new cells, producing and regulating our hormones, and aiding in food digestion.

Our body is pretty switched on, and is designed for homeostasis, which essentially means it regulates things within our body to maintain happy levels.  This includes cholesterol!  If we increase our dietary intake of foods rich in cholesterol, then our body naturally adjusts to produce less.  If we eat fewer cholesterol rich foods, our body will produce more!  So, this means that vegans and vegetarians will generally produce more cholesterol than meat eaters, simply because it isn’t part of their diets!

HDL are generally classed as good cholesterol due to the fact that they are smaller and their primary role is to collect fat molecules that have accumulated in blood vessels and transport them to the liver and other organs to be reused (talk about upcycling!).  But, what you may not know is that LDL are larger and transport fat molecules to the cells throughout our body so they can be utilised for hormone production, generating new cells, energy production and more.  That doesn’t sound so bad in reality, does it?

This paper from the British Medical Journal is just one of many that demonstrates that elevated LDL does NOT increase risk of mortality.  It links to 19 other research papers that collectively studied over 68,000 subjects, which ALL concluded that elevated LDL was associated with a DECREASED risk of death.

WHAAAAATTTTT???

When we experience prolonged or chronic inflammation, there is a breakdown of structural integrity in the blood vessels.  This results in thinning of the blood vessel walls, and in order to protect the damaged areas, they attract deposits of cholesterol.  Inflammation can be caused by things such as a diet rich in processed and high sugar foods, high carbs, high oxidised fats (this is where fats are broken down into smaller particles, which results in our body being unable to utilise them for energy), rich in grains, elevated blood sugar levels (BSL), insufficient antioxidants and many other factors.  Unfortunately, these can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, dementia and more.  If you want to truly reduce your risk of these conditions, it’s important to address the real causes of the inflammation.

If you have what is deemed to be high LDL cholesterol levels, it’s likely that you will have been prescribed statins by your GP in order to drop those levels back down.  The problem with statins is that they don’t treat the underlying cause and only succeed in masking the symptoms you are experiencing, as well as coming with a whole variety of nasty side effects such as liver damage, increased BSL resulting in risk of diabetes II, and muscle pain and weakness.  Studies have shown that “statins may be causative in coronary artery calcification and can function as mitochondrial toxins that impair muscle function in the heart and blood vessels through the depletion of CoQ10 and haem A and thereby ATP generation. Statins inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2, the cofactor for matrix Gla-protein activation, which in turn protects arteries from calcification. Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of selenium containing proteins, one of which is glutathione peroxidase serving to suppress per oxidative stress.”  But aren’t these the very things statins are trying to prevent?

There are literally thousands of in vitro clinical trials surrounding the safety and efficacy of statins, so how have they got it so wrong?  There is no contest that these studies have consistently demonstrated their ability to effectively reduce LDL, but what the study above has established (and the others have failed to examine) is that statins also deplete CoQ10.   This may not seem like a big deal until you realise that low levels of CoQ10 have been attributed to increased risk of HEART DISEASE, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, brain disorders, diabetes and cancer.  I’ll let that sit with you for a moment.

So if we take into account the fact that LDL isn’t the problem and we’re also depleting CoQ10 stores, what does this mean for our health?  In a nutshell, we are creating an environment that is perfect for the development of CVD, not the prevention!  Is it any wonder that those who experience benefits from taking statins are in the minority?

In keeping with the proven Hippocratic principle of “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, a variety of published studies demonstrate that dietary changes are significantly more likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease than statins.

So next time you’re prescribed any kind of medication, I’d encourage you to take the time to examine the research and and seek a second opinion. Pharmaceuticals aren’t the devil and definitely have their place, but they’re often not the miracles they’re purported to be and may not be the best option for you.

If you have questions about your health, book in to see your natural health practitioner.  Prevention is always better than the cure, and your health is the most valuable thing you have.

Peace, love and wellness,

Mandah xo

Ashy Bines – Modern Day Saviour, or Cult Leader?

Ashy Bines - Modern Day Saviour, or Cult Leader?

Now that I have your attention, I want to be clear that this isn’t a personal attack against Ashy Bines, but I do want to explore the reasons behind needing to understand how to read food labels so we don’t fall for common marketing ploys. As a culture we have a tendency to obsess over health, often elevating celebrities to cult-like status, but is what they’re promoting actually healthy, or are we blinded by the air-brushed bodies that appear in the distorted reality of social media photos?

So, let’s start with some background. My best friend has recently been making a huge effort to get healthy for a number of reasons and I’m super proud of her efforts.  Unfortunately, she’s fallen into the trap of buying into clever marketing rather than fully understanding how to read food labels objectively. She’s a bright, educated woman who is by no stretch a dummy, so it’s made me wonder who else has fallen prey to marketing tricks.

Let’s make this simple by using one of Ashy’s real products and analysing the nutrition panel for Chocolate Clean Treats (Real Treat Mix), as pictured above.

30.8g of sugar per 100g? That’s enormous! Sure, it’s not cane sugar, but your body still processes dates, vanilla powder and rice malt syrup the same way. To read more about how your body processes sugar, head to this link. In accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO), most experts would recommend that we consume no more than 25g (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day.  So just 1 of these balls (at 11.3g sugar per 29.5g serve) is HALF your daily intake!

Coming in at 42.7g per 100g serving, this “clean” treat is through the roof with its carb content. While the sugar accounts for part of the carbs, this is still an exorbitant amount of each and eating this product certainly isn’t going to do you any favours if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight or reduce inflammation.

While I’m all for rewarding yourself with a small treat every now and then, it’s important to recognise that these are still treats, or to quote Elmo, a sometimes food.

The use of words such as “clean”, “refined sugar free” and quotes like “lets keep the treats REAL clean and nutritious because healthy food is an act of self love and a healthy life style”, is incredibly misleading and is designed to trick people into forgetting that these are in fact a treat. These words are made even more effective when paired with a pretty face and photo-fit body that, let’s face it, most of us wish we had. But what we’re really buying into is a dream, not genuine health.  It’s so easy to convince ourselves that it’s ok to have more of these because they’re “healthy.

Products like the one we’ve looked at above are healthier in the sense that they don’t contain added colours, preservatives and other numbers, but when the first ingredient on the list is sugar (for which there are many names ), maybe think twice before including this in your diet. Don’t forget to also look at the nutrient panel to help you figure out if something is healthy or not, as other words for sugar are often used to confuse us. Marketing is designed to hook us in, but it’s up to us to take the time to read the labels and analyse them objectively. 

A good rule of thumb when it comes to nutrition is that fresh is best, with things becoming more complicated when we have ingredient lists to consider.  As far as that list is concerned, a wise person once taught me that if you don’t recognise an ingredient, the chances are that your body wont either, which is a guideline I have tried to live by. The next important step in analysing whether something is healthy or not is learning to understand your nutrient panel. Current science shows that following a LCHF way of eating can be beneficial for managing many health conditions, weight management and general wellbeing.  In accordance with this, it is recommended that on average we consume less than 50g of carbs per day and increase our good quality fat intake to around 70g per day and our protein to 45-60g daily*.  

With this in mind, the next time you reach for a treat I encourage you to take the time to look past the buzz words and assess things for yourself.

Peace, love and wellness,

Mandah xo

*Please note that these recommendations are intended as general information only. This site is unable to provide information tailored to each individual and is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional.  It is important to consult with your own treating practitioner for individual advice regarding your own specific circumstances, especially when considering major changes to diet or lifestyle.

Oils Ain’t Oils

doterra essential oils

Oils ain’t oils

Ahhhhh!  That’s me exhaling stress while surrounded in a fragrant cloud of relaxing oils from my diffuser.  I love essential oils and think they can be an amazing part of treatments, excellent for relaxation, a healthy alternative to perfume and a wonderfully natural way to clean the home. Oils help me think and provide mental clarity.  Oils are my go to whenever I have a cut or bite to treat.  I use oils instead of moisturiser.  I wear at least 4 different types of oils on a daily basis, so it would be safe to say that I LOVE OILS!!! BUT, I’m often asked what I think of certain brands and to be honest, many fall short. One brand in particular repeatedly comes up and though my opinion may be unpopular with those who are converts, I’m going to meet this head on.

DoTerra.  There, I said it.  Most of you have probably heard of it, may even sell it, use it or know someone who does.  So, as someone who is passionate about sharing my knowledge so that people can make informed choices, here are a few things you should be aware of.

Price – to be quite honest, there are better quality oils out there that won’t require selling your organs on the black market to purchase them.  Because of the way DoTerra and other Multi Level Marketing (MLM) brands are structured, their prices are highly inflated so that each person receives their piece of the pie.

A while back I attended a DoTerra party.  Just like a Tupperware party, but with more oils and fewer cocktails.  I was interested to learn about the brand and see what was on offer, but not without first doing some research of my own.  The party was pretty much what I expected, but there were a few things that were shared as fact that simply didn’t stack up.  Thanks to a mobile phone and Google, I was able to verify (debunk) some things on the spot.

Firstly, the consultant very proudly stated that DoTerra oils are “the purest on the market”, and that this had been verified by independent testing.  Well, unfortunately, this isn’t true. A simple Google search revealed that true independent testing showed DoTerra oils to be of poor quality, contain contaminants, often did not contain the ingredients claimed and in some cases were actually synthetic! It’s important to note that some of the impurities and contaminants are very small, but the fact is that they are still there and claims of purity are false and misleading.

Consultants are taught that DoTerra oils are “better than organic”.   Firstly, no! As the above outlines this is far from true, but secondly, what does that even mean? Better than organic? Certified Organic, which is a label that DoTerra hasn’t obtained, means that a product is not genetically modified, wasn’t sprayed with pesticides, soil has been tested to ensure it’s not contaminated with non-approved chemicals and is definitely not synthetic. So, not really stacking up so far, is it?

One point that greatly amuses me is the awards that DoTerra has received. While most of us are proud of any awards and achievements we attain, most of us don’t create and bestow those awards upon ourselves, yet this is exactly what DoTerra has done.  The awards they “won” were given to them by a company they created themselves.  And the real kicker? Nobody else was in the running!!!!! Ummmmmmm…

Another claim the consultant made is that all of their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG).  Just so you’re aware, this is a term coined by DoTerra, which they have subsequently trademarked. 

CPTG is NOT an FDA or TGA term and it’s important to understand that essential oils are NOT approved for ingestion/ internal use, no matter what your oil rep tells you. So while this term sounds very fancy and official, it means diddly squat.

So now you’re probably wondering why you’re being lied to? Don’t be angry at the rep, they are only repeating the information that they’ve been told and aren’t even aware that what they’re telling you is untrue.  Many of them are not practitioners and don’t have any formal training and therefore don’t know any better.  In addition, they should absolutely NOT be prescribing for anything.  Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe!  Without proper training and knowledge, treatments of any kind can do more harm than good.

I am currently treating a patient, let’s call her Miss X, who was selling DoTerra and with her permission I’d like to share how it has destroyed her health.  Miss X is a healthy woman in her early thirties who is physically active, has a good diet and no major health complaints.  Always looking for natural products to use around the home and being a lady who likes beautiful smelling things, Miss X decided to look into DoTerra after a few friends invited her to a party.  This is when she started to get excited, thinking she had found the golden ticket to guilt free health and cleaning!  So, embarking on the essential oil (EO) journey, Miss X bought the kits and invested thousands into her new found passion.  Sounds pretty great so far, right?  The only problem is that Miss X was “trained” by the person above her in the MLM food chain, who was trained by the person above them, and so on. Now, many businesses work this way and it’s not the issue per se, however, when unskilled people are dishing out health advice and prescribing things that they have no training in, it opens everyone up to danger, but more on that further down. So, Miss X has in good faith repeated the information she has been fed by her team leader, not stopping to question or research for herself.  There’s no judgement here, because while I love research and my career depends on it, it’s not something that motivates everyone, and that’s perfectly ok. Some of the advice passed down will inevitably have been completely harmless, but some has been truly detrimental. Miss X, excited and passionate about her EOs, decided that there was no better way to advocate the products than to be living, breathing proof that they promote great health.  Seems fair! With this in mind, Miss X started taking a variety of oils to cleanse and detox her body (also not a thing, but that’s an article for another day), support her immune system, improve digestion and more.  Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Except, that a number of the oils were not the magic elixir they claimed to be and actually contained oils that destroyed her gut health, completely stripping her gastrointestinal tract of it’s lovely flora, opening her up to inflammation and infection.  Miss X didn’t realise straight away what was happening until she started experiencing issues with digestion, irregular bowel motions and poor immune response, now catching every cold that went around, irritability, foggy brain and more. But aren’t these the very things the oils were supposed to prevent? Unfortunately, some of the oils were of poor quality, incorrectly “prescribed”, taken in high doses and incredibly harsh on a delicate gut biome. The harsh oils destroyed gut bacteria, not differentiating between the good guys and the bad guys.  It was only after extensive testing and finally seeing a gastroenterologist that Miss X managed to learn the cause of her new found ill health.

I have now been working with Miss X to rebuild her gut biome for 12 months, and she still has a long way to go in her efforts to rebuild her health, but is slowly getting there.  I’d like to say that this is an extreme case, but the truth of the matter is that I’m not sure if that’s true.  With so many unqualified people handing out advice, there could be many more out there whose health has been impacted negatively.

I would advise that you should never take health advice from someone who isn’t educated in treating your condition.  They should have a working knowledge of the human body, how different medications, supplements, foods and EOs interact and how to objectively read research so they can form a PROFESSIONAL opinion of a treatment.  Reading a handbook doesn’t make you an expert.  As I mentioned earlier, just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe.  For example, peppermint seems like a fairly innocuous thing to suggest, especially when it’s in things like toothpaste and confectionery.  In fact, while peppermint can indeed be phenomenal for aiding digestion and treating headaches etc., did you know that if peppermint oil is taken in conjunction with certain medications it can change the time it takes your liver to break them down, reducing their efficacy and significantly increasing the risk of side effects?!

So, while I’m not saying you should throw the baby out with the lavender bath water or that EOs should be avoided, I am definitely encouraging people to do research, have an understanding of their safety, how they work and whether the person “prescribing” them is qualified to do so. 

Peace, love and health,

Mandah xo

Have You Had A Tune Up Lately?

Have You Had A Tune Up Lately?

My partner often jokes that he’s been fortunate enough to own a Ferrari, Porsche and Maserati, but I’m his Lamborghini – because I have a heart that roars, a curvy rear end, will cost him his wallet and have stolen his heart and soul.

Now, I know it’s only a joke, but it got me thinking about how we treat beautiful things like fancy sports cars.  You don’t see Lamborghinis driving down the street covered in mud, shabby paint, thick smoke and fumes pouring out of the exhaust, because if you have such an amazing piece of machinery you’re going to want to look after it.  You would spare no expense on servicing, use only the best quality oil and fuel and ensure that she received the best treatment.  Your Lamborghini would be polished, and while you might floor it (it is a race car after all), you would still treat it with care.

So why is it that we treat our bodies with any less respect than we would give a Lamborghini?  Why do we expect to put nasty fuel into our body and then seem surprised when we don’t achieve peak performance?  Why do we wonder why things are starting to fall apart when we skimp on servicing?  Our bodies are some of the most amazing equipment, yet we so often treat them with enormous disrespect.  You are worth so much more than a $500k+ car, so here’s your reminder to start treating yourself like you’re a finely crafted Italian race car that’s just been driven off the showroom floor.

Vroom vroom xo

Peace, love and wellness,  Mandah xo

Fat Shaming – The Struggle of Food Addiction

Fat Shaming - The Struggle of Food Addiction

You’ve probably noticed a trend on social media where it seems ok to fat shame people. As a society we have come to view overweight people as greedy and lazy because if you’re overweight, it’s totally your fault, right?

Wrong! For a start, major corporations spend millions of dollars researching how to get us hooked on their products by targeting different areas of the brain and our chemical responses to various ingredients. As I’ve written about before, there are so many factors that contribute to weight, such as genetics, illness, culture, hormone imbalance, socio-economic status, education, psychological and emotional distress and more. The last 2 in particular can be some of the hardest to combat, with many people experiencing food addiction due to finding comfort in eating.

Like any addiction, it’s not as simple as “just stop doing it”. It’s an ADDICTION! 

I’m wondering how many people have considered that food addiction maybe be even harder to break than drugs or alcohol?

I know that may be hard to accept, but hear me out. Drug addicts struggle to give up drugs, they crave them, they use them as a form of escape, but they don’t physically need them to survive. They won’t die without them, though it may sometimes feel that way to them. The same applies to alcoholics. Yet people who are addicted to food are faced with the stone cold fact that the very thing they are addicted to is essential to their existence. They will literally die without it! They are faced with their addiction every single day! It’s not illegal or restricted, it’s advertised freely.

One of the biggest tools for recovery is for addicts to remove themselves from situations or people that may encourage them to relapse, so how is a food addict supposed to utilise this integral step?  Is there any hope for recovery?

Firstly, I’d like to let you know that if this is an area you’re struggling with, you’re not alone. You shouldn’t feel ashamed if you don’t seem to make any progress.  We all need help with things sometimes and it’s ok not to know how to do everything yourself.  So, how can you make changes? 

  • Identify the problem. With emotional eating, one of the best things you can do is acknowledge that this is your trigger. Once you have identified this, it will empower you to take ownership and slowly start to make changes. If you know what causes you to reach for comfort food, it makes it easier to put steps into place to combat that.
  • Seek help.  Doing things alone can be a real struggle.  Often we become disheartened, lose motivation or simply can’t find what works for us.  A good nutritionist will be able to help you identify problematic patterns, help you find feasible alternatives, prescribe supplements (that may be linked to your cravings) and provide you with support and encouragement along the way. Finding a counsellor or psychologist may help you identify and work through any psychological issues attached to your eating patterns, as well as providing you with added support.
  • Join a program.  There are many programs out there which are designed to help you lose weight without having to sign up for fancy shakes, products or gym memberships. One that I really love is the Eat Fat Get Fit Program, which I am actively part of and have seen many people achieve great results.  The program is designed to provide you with nutritional information based on solid science, meal plans, Q and A, exercise plans, interaction and support from other members, support from a Nutritionist, Exercise Physiologist, Dietitian and Personal Trainer who all want you to succeed!  One of the things I love most about this program is the private Facebook group where the members can talk abut anything, because there’s no such thing as a stupid question.  People are so great at encouraging each other and sharing information, that it’s a super positive community to be a part of.
  • Spring clean. Some people find that a really effective way to discourage poor eating habits is to simply not stock the fridge or pantry with the usual junk food culprits. Go through the fridge and pantry and ditch all the convenience foods.  Often we will think twice if we have to make a special trip to the shop for a treat, with junk becoming a less appealing choice if the only options in the house are healthy or something we have to prepare.
  • Restock. I’m the last person in the world to say no to chocolate! Treats and enjoyment of food are a wonderful thing, so in order to discourage bingeing, replace your treats with healthier options. Buy chocolate with a higher cacao content, as it will have less sugar. Switch out sweets for frozen berries, ice-cream for frozen natural yoghurt, and crisps for seed crackers and hummus.
  • Community.  One of the biggest struggles with addiction is feeling isolated, misunderstood and unsupported.  Joining groups of like minded people can provide a safe place to talk about your struggles, receive support, share ideas, discuss what has or hasn’t worked for you, share encouragement and motivation.  There are many groups for this type of thing both in the community and online. They will all have a slightly different approach, so explore your options and see what gels with you.
  • Take the First Step.  While getting the courage up to try again can be the hardest thing, you won’t make any progress if you don’t take the first step.
  • Believe in yourself.  You CAN do this! You may make mistakes along the way and struggle to keep going, but you CAN make changes, you CAN break the cycle and you CAN change your relationship with food.

Together, let’s change the attitude around body shaming and encourage people instead, as you never know what they may be struggling with.

Peace, love and wellness,

Mandah xo

Sugar and its many aliases

many names of sugar
  • Barley Malt
  • Cane Juice
  • Confectioner’s Sugar
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice
  • Evaporated Cane Sugar
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Golden Syrup
  • Invert Sugar
  • Malt Syrup
  • Non Diastatic Malt Powder
  • Refiner’s Sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Barbados Sugar
  • Cane Sugar
  • Carob Syrup
  • Demerara Sugar
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Galactose
  • Grape Sugar
  • Lactose
  • Mannitol
  • Panocha
  • Rice Malt Syrup
  • Sugar (Granulated)
  • Beet Sugar
  • Caramel
  • Caster Sugar
  • Dextran
  • Free Flowing Brown Sugar
  • Glucose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Malt
  • Maple Syrup
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Rice Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Brown Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Date Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose Solids
  • Honey
  • Maltodextrin
  • Molasses
  • Rapadura
  • Sorbitol
  • Turbinado
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Date Syrup
  • Diastase
  • Fruit Juice
  • Golden Sugar
  • Icing Sugar
  • Maltose
  • Muscovado
  • Raw Sugar
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Yellow Sugar

Bone broth V stocks

bone broth

Bone broth V stock made simple.

(Don’t worry vegans, I’ve catered for you here)

Gut health has become really popular of late, which is a wonderful thing, especially when you consider that our gut has as many receptors in it as our brain!  Isn’t that amazing!  Because of this, you may hear many practitioners refer to the gut as the “second brain”, with gut health also being a major focus in any natural health protocol. Coming into winter, gut health often becomes more important because of the role it plays in supporting our immune system.

One of the things that repeatedly crops up for gut health is bone broth. So, what is it exactly?  Is it the same as stock?  Well, sometimes the two are referred to interchangeably in cooking, though there is a huge difference when it comes to health.   To start with, both broth and stock are made on a base of bones (and sometimes meat), water, vegetables and seasoning, but this is where the similarities end.

Stock is simmered for a short period of time (slow cooked between 3 and 4 hours) and is a great way to flavour food and use the odds and ends in the fridge. Stock may yield a small amount of gelatin, depending on the bones used. Once you have finished cooking your stock, you should be able to lift out the bones.

Bone broth is a nutritional powerhouse and is made similarly to broth, though it is typically slow cooked for a much longer period of time (8-24 hours).  Because the purpose of bone broth is to extract beautiful fats, collagen and gelatin, it’s important to use the right bones.  Bones with large joints, chicken necks and feet etc. are all ideal for making bone broth. For a well rounded flavour to your bone broth, ensure that you rub the bones with salt and roast them for at least 30 minutes before adding to the slow cooker.  Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is also a really important ingredient due to the way it draws the nutrients out from the bones. Once the bone broth has finished cooking you will find that the bones will disintegrate easily when squeezed gently.  You should also be able to see a visible layer of fat and gelatine once the broth has cooled! I often have to crack mine apart with a knife so I can get to the broth underneath.  Because we are absorbing such concentrated levels of all the lovely nutrients bone broths provide us, it’s essential to buy the best quality bones you can afford.

For a simple bone broth recipe, click here

So, why is it good for us?

Bone broths are a rich source of minerals, protein, gelatin, collagen, healthy fat, glycine and proline.

Glycine is an amino acid that is used to support the natural detox processes, promotes digestion and gastric acid production, assists with the synthesis of bile salts, haemoglobin and other chemicals that occur naturally.  Glycine has even been used in the treatment of cancer, stroke and schizophrenia.

Proline is used for the production of collagen and cartilage, so is a great addition to the diet for those who want to remain youthful looking.  The effects of proline are particularly effective when coupled with vitamin C.

Gelatin is often used to facilitate good digestive health, and just like proline, is great for skin health. 

So, if you’re wanting to improve your overall wellness this winter, bone broth may be an option worth exploring.

Peace, love and wellness,

Mandah xo