Boosting Your Immune System with Hydrotherapy

As the season changes to colder weather, it is even more important to support our immune systems. Hydrotherapy is a fantastic and easily accessible way of doing this.

Hydrotherapy is the application of water in any form for the treatment of disease and the maintenance of health.  You have probably heard of using warm water to ease tight muscles or an ice pack to limit the circulation around a sprained ankle.  But hydrotherapy does so much more than this.

Hydrotherapy can enhance blood flow thereby improving the function of the organs of elimination including the skin, liver, kidneys, and bowels.  It can optimize the quality of the blood and improve the efficiency of blood circulation.  All of this can result in a better functioning immune system, improved sleep, improved digestion, and increased energy.

One great and easy hydrotherapy treatment that everyone can do at home are hot and cold showers.  You can do this in the morning to improve energy or in the evening to improve sleep.  The increase in circulation will also help decrease your sensitivity to the cold weather.

For improved energy in the morning, after finishing your regular shower routine, do 20 seconds of cold and 1 minute of hot. Alternate 2-3 times, ending with cold.  

In the evening, make each hot and cold cycle longer to promote sleep.  Do 5 minutes of hot and 1 minute of cold.  Still always ending on cold.

Try to make the water as hot as you can, making sure you are not scalded, and as cold as you can stand for the strongest effect. If you are extremely fatigued and drained, you might need to start with less drastic temperatures.

Try this daily to improve sleep, increase circulation, increase metabolism, and improve energy.  It is especially important to make hydrotherapy part of your routine when the seasons are changing to help your immune system function at its best.

If you have any questions about hydrotherapy or boosting your immune system, give me a call and we can chat: www.natactive.com.au

Join the Ultimate BeHealthy Program Today!

There are 7 modules in the program to teach you all the basics about a healthy lifestyle.  They are:

  1. Goal Setting & Mindfulness
  2. Water & Protein
  3. Exercise
  4. Good & Bad Fats
  5. Carbohydrates & Sweeteners
  6. Gut Microbiome & Pesticides and Preservatives
  7. Sleep

As I said in the video, we will take 3 weeks to go through each topic. This gives you time to learn what you need to learn, ask any questions you have, and really put an effort into changing that habit in your life. I will be there the whole time to help and encourage you!

The cost for the whole 21 week program is only $297 AUD.

The next course starts 23 May 2022 so don’t wait to sign up!

What is Your Risk of Type II Diabetes?

Did you know that untreated type II diabetes can lead to all sorts of problems including, heart attack, stroke, foot problems leading to amputation, gum disease, some cancers, and eye problems?

This can sound scary, but the good news is that it is never too late to change your lifestyle and reverse or at least delay the onset of these symptoms.

Exercise and diet are key here but there are also many supplements that can help. 

Find out what your risk of developing type II diabetes is with my quiz:

https://www.tryinteract.com/share/quiz/60deb3c7edde290017caf243

If you have any questions about diabetes or how to decrease your risk, please check out my website www.natactive.com.au to book an appointment.

Are you living with an Irritable Bowel?

Have you been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS? Have you been told you have to live with your symptoms? IBS is what is called a diagnosis of exclusion.  This means that people are given this diagnosis when other reasons for their symptoms can’t be found. There are no tests specifically for IBS. They are basically saying ‘we don’t know why your digestion is so bad, so we’ll call it IBS’. 

Common symptoms are constipation or diarrhoea, urgency to have a bowel movement, a small volume of stool or pain in the abdomen all while appearing otherwise healthy.  

Once you have been given this diagnosis, problems such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, parasitic, fungal and viral infections or cancer should have been ruled out. At this point you may have been told that you just need to live with your symptoms, which can be disheartening.

But poor digestion is not something that you should live with. If you are not digesting your food properly, you are not getting the nutrients you need. The toxins that your body is trying to expel are sitting there for longer than they should.  This can lead to any number of problems including cancer, arthritis, fatigue, migraines, and depression.  Many symptoms will get better by improving your digestion, so it is very important to make sure that your gut is working properly. 

There are in fact many causes of IBS.  There can be a hormonal connection, a lack or imbalance of bacteria in the gut or overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine called SIBO.  IBS can also be caused by a high stress lifestyle, a generally poor diet, or a sedentary lifestyle. The most common reason I find is an imbalance of bacteria going along with food intolerances.

In addition to the IBS symptoms, food intolerances can also present themselves as headaches, fatigue, depression, arthritis, chronic respiratory problems, weight problems, anxiety, insomnia, and migraines. 

Food intolerances develop when there is inflammation in the lining of the gut allowing small particles of food to cross where they are not meant to.  The body does not like them there, and so reacts to them.  Reactions can be delayed and can last for days to weeks, so they are difficult to diagnose.  The best way to diagnose and treat food intolerances is to do an elimination diet.  This usually gives a very clear picture of what foods an individual is intolerant to and which ones they can eat.  Common foods are wheat, dairy, soy, tomatoes, bananas, and sugar, but everyone is different and so the foods will be different for everyone.

There are several supplements that can help with IBS depending on a person’s specific symptoms, but a probiotic is almost always recommended.  Talk to your naturopath to make sure you get a good quality one as some of the ones in the stores do not have a very high bacteria count and so are a waste of money.

If you think you might have IBS, talk to your doctor to rule out any other nastier problems.  If you know you have IBS, all is not lost.  There are several treatments options to try. No one should live with poor digestion.

Chickpea Bruschetta Recipe

I have to admit I do love a good chickpea recipe.  Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are delicious and also contain protein, fibre, folate, manganese, and even some iron, phosphorus and copper.  If you love chickpeas, then this is a great recipe and a delicious and easy alternative to hummus.

Serves 2
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins

What You Need:

•2 slices bread, toasted

•1 cup (165g) chickpeas, drained

•1 tbsp. tahini

•½ cup (75g) cherry tomatoes, quartered

•1 tbsp. parsley, chopped 

*1 tbsp. olive oil

*1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

*salt and pepper 

What You Need to Do:

Toast the bread on both sides.

Place the chickpeas in a small bowl with the vinegar and tahini. Mash with a fork and, season with salt and pepper.

Combine the tomatoes, parsley and olive oil in a small bowl. Spread the chickpea mixture over the toasted bread. Top with the tomatoes and serve immediately.

Optional: Squeeze a lemon wedge over to taste

Pesto Pasta Salad

My family loves a good pesto pasta salad as a side to any main meal.  If you have ever been to my house for dinner, or I’ve brought food to yours, then you have probably had a pesto pasta salad.  Its easy to make and super delicious.  Experiment with what you add.  Other options include chopped tomatoes, broccoli, peas or a colour mix of peppers to add lots of colour.  Veggies can be cooked or raw for a different taste and texture. Add some chicken to make it a meal.  So many options, but always so delicious! 

Serves 4

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 20 mins

What you need:

•11 oz. (320g) whole wheat pasta

•13 oz. (360g) roasted peppers, drained, sliced

•6 tbsp. basil pesto

•1 mozzarella ball, chopped (125g)

•4 oz. (120g) rocket

*salt and pepper to taste

What you need to do:

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold running water until cooled.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta and the remaining ingredients together until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Alternatively, place in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Cheaters Healthy Spaghetti Recipe

My kids love spaghetti.  It is one of the few dinners where everyone is excited and there are never any complaints.  To be honest though, I really don’t have time to make my own sauce.  Would it be healthier if I made my own?  For sure! Will that ever happen?  Unlikely! Sometimes we have to make compromises that result in healthier options for everyone.  

My sauce is loaded with vegetables.  There is loads of colour in there that everyone happily eats.  Then I add a couple jars of Macro organic pasta sauce.  It contains all real ingredients with no chemicals.  I can read every single word in the ingredients list! I’m sure I could make this slightly healthier myself with a bit less sugar, but there really isn’t much in this sauce and given that everyone happily eats a couple servings of vegetables for dinner, I consider this a win.  

To make it even healthier you could use zucchini noodles instead of pasta.  I haven’t personally tried this, but others say it is great.  

Making home-made dinners doesn’t always have to be hard and time consuming.  Some store-bought sauces contain all-natural ingredients and will ensure that everyone is getting the benefits of super nutritious vegetables.  If this is something that is holding you back from making home-made dinners, don’t stress.  Buy some sauce and mix it with a load of vegetables.  You are definitely winning.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 large clove garlic (cut fine)

½ large onion

2 large carrots

1 large zucchini

1 head of broccoli

1 red capsicum (pepper)

500g Organic beef mince (ground beef)

2 jars Macro organic tomato, garlic and basil chunky pasta sauce

Method

  1. Cut up the vegetables to bite sized pieces
  2. Put the coconut oil in the pan with the vegetables and cook for a few minutes
  3. Add the beef and cook until meat is browned, and the vegetables are cooked through
  4. Add the sauce and heat until warmed through
  5. Put over wheat spaghetti or zucchini pasta as desired
  6. Enjoy!

*These are my preferred vegetables, but really any will do.  Just load it up with lots of colour.

Healthy Chia Pudding

Super Easy Chia Pudding

Chis Pudding Ingredients

My daughter loves to eat this for breakfast but it can be used as a treat during the day as well.  Chia seeds are mostly known for their great omega-3 content, but they also contain protein, fibre, iron and calcium. This recipe is sweet but contains no sugar.  So enjoy!

½ cup chia seeds

¾ cup coconut cream

1 ¼ cups Lyke Milk (or other milk alternative such as almond, oat or macadamia)

Mix together all the ingredients and stir for about 30 seconds to make sure the chia seeds are mixed around.  If you don’t mix right away, then they clump together and don’t soak up the liquid. Leave in a sealed container overnight on the counter or in the fridge (definitely the fridge if you have used cow milk).

In the morning, it can be eaten as is or mixed with berries or muesli.  We like to make a chocolate version by adding:

1/3 cup cacao powder

1-2 ripe bananas mashed well

Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

I make this recipe dairy free, but you could use cow’s milk if you wish.  

Let me know what you mix with your chia pudding in the comments!

Vitamin D!

It seems like everyday there is more research coming out about the importance of Vitamin D. With it’s influence on our immune system, now is an important time to make sure you have sufficient Vitamin D levels.

How do we make vitamin D?

Sunshine is how we make vitamin D. When you are exposed to UVB rays, our bodies make cholecalciferol (D3) from cholesterol in our skin.  It is then converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the liver.  This is what is measured in a vitamin D blood test.  From here it gets converted to its active form, calcitriol, either in the kidneys or by the immune system and then released into circulation for the body to use.

Sunscreen blocks UV light, so if you are conscientious about applying it, you may not be making enough vitamin D in your body.  In the winter months, even in Australia, the days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky resulting in less UV rays getting to us.  So even in Australia many people are vitamin D deficient.

What happens if we don’t get enough vitamin D?

We need vitamin D to absorb calcium from our diet.  So if we don’t get enough the body takes calcium out of the bones to use for muscle and nerve functioning as well as blood clotting.  This can result in softening of the bones called rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.  

We have known that vitamin D was important for bone health for many years, but only recently have we realised that it affects other parts of the body as well.  We need it for a proper functioning immune system so that we can effectively fight off infections.  Vitamin D also decreases inflammation and low levels have a particular effect on the symptoms of asthma and arthritis.  Low levels of vitamin D are also associated with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

How do we get enough vitamin D?

Ideally we get it from the sun as this is the most effective way.  But we still want to be careful of getting burned. Depending on your location and the time of year, it is generally recommended to get outside before 10am or after 4pm for about 20mins with as much skin showing as possible.  Although winters in Australia are far from cold and snowy in most parts, we still don’t get much sunshine with shorter days and the sun being low in the sky.  My family doesn’t wear any sunscreen in the winter.

Some people may need to take a supplement.  If you have darker skin you won’t make vitamin D as efficiently.  Also menopausal women may need to supplement due to hormonal changes.  Anyone who diligently wears sunscreen or covers most of his or her skin with clothing should also consider a supplement.  The American paediatric association also recommends supplementing infants.  Breastfed infants are most likely deficient because their mothers are deficient and they are rarely left out in the sun.  

So try to get outside everyday if possible.  This is especially important with winter coming along as our days get shorter.  And if you think you may be deficient, talk to your naturopath about getting it tested.