Berries, we love you
Thank you berry much, spring time, for you have given us the most delicious fruits: Berries. These fruits are full of important anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Berries are versatile. Hurray, it’s berry time…
Berries come in varieties galore but the most popular are strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. All these are in season now, so enjoy! Berries are guaranteed to give you flavour, joy and excellent nutrient content all at once. How good is that!
Berries: full of goodness
There are a lot of varieties, but the most common and popular are strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Foods with red colours, like the raspberry and strawberry are full of ellagic acid. This is a is a strong anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. These berries are also good for the heart, and help with circulatory disease. They even slow age-related decline
The deep blue purple of blueberries indicates they are full of a different type anti-oxidant. these berries contain so-called proanthocyanidins. A long word for a fantastic nutrient with clinical evidence backing it as a cancer-preventative. Blueberries, together with its mates, provide an instant mouthful of the best nutrients possible. First of all, thanks to the anti-oxidants, they are anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory. This also means they are good for the circulation and heart health. Lastly, berries help slowing down the ageing process. That’s pretty awesome for something that tastes so great!
Thank you berry much
You can do a lot with berries. Firstly, always wash them, and check the fruit. Eating them fresh is convenient, easy and requires no tools. Furthermore, you can put berries in a smoothie, together with natural yogurt and your favourite type of milk. You can sprinkle berries on home-cooked buckwheat pancakes. Add a dollop of yogurt on the side for extra deliciousness. You can decorate cakes and ice-cream with berries. Berries are also great for cooking them into a coulis or jam. Berries are versatile, easy and full of goodness. Enjoy them while the season is here.
Did you know that a tomato is actually classified as a berry too? At the same time, a strawberry is not a real berry as it carries its seeds on the outside…Berry funny
What is Moon Cycle Living?
Moon cycle living is a way of life that is influenced by the moon. Obviously! Moon cycle living takes into account the stages of the moon, and the energies that each stage brings and represents. This intergalactic beacon in your night sky has a lot of meaning, now and throughout history. Let’s see…
The moon’s meanings
The moon has intrigued people since the start of humanity. Potentially a remnant of an extreme impact between space objects, the moon is the only astronomical body that orbits the earth permanently, and the two travel in synchronicity. The name itself immediately shows two aspects: Firstly, Moon as in Meh (to measure), Meno or Mona in ancient classical European languages. Luna is the Latin equivalent, and linked to modern-day use such as “lunar missions”, but also, throughout the years as in the word Lunatic, literally meaning “impacted by the moon” (Luna – moon, tic – impact). Meno, on the other hand, is a reflection of the month’s moon cycle of 28 days, as in the female menstrual cycle, also 28 days. Clearly, its link is self-explanatory in menopause: meno (month) and pause (to stop).
Moon cycle phases and their uses
The moon goes through cycles of growing (waxing), being full (Lunatic time!), decreasing (waning), and then a the new moon. Ancient tribes, as well as modern-day esoteric farmers work with moon cycles and the various stages to bring benefit to growth of plants. Others will use the moon cycle pattern for energetic and emotional purposes for self-actualisation.
The first part of a moon cycle is the waxing, the growing, the energy part. A moon-grower will plant his seeds or seedlings at this time, for optimal benefit of the New Moon’s energy. Not only does this stage of the moon impact the tides of the seas, but also draws more groundwater to the surface of the earth. It’s all linked to gravity, and the “pull” of the moon on the earth. More water means dampness can reach seedling better, so improved outcomes are the result. Many a book is available on this topic, and it is an underlying principle of gardening methods such as permaculture. At Full Moon, the moon reaches maximum energy, and “pull”, and then, in its waning stages that energy (and “pull”) declines, taking with it its water levels. That’s the downward end of the cycle.
The moon cycle for human benefits
Just like plants seem to thrive better when planted in the first part of the moon cycle, the waxing period is where we can build up on energy. It is a great time to start new projects, refresh old ideas, bring life to your garden. Out with the old, in with the new, also for your thinking and behaviour. Use this time to form new, better habits and fresh inspirations. At Full Moon, you reflect on how these new ideas, projects and thoughts are working for you. The next stage of the moon cycle, the waning part is time to slow down, “reap” the rewards of whatever you have sown, figuratively and literally.
Tap into this magical moon cycle energy and work with it; you will find that it has impact over time. You bring balance to your work and life around this energy pattern, and potentially increase positive and growing energy into a project that is started at the beginning of each new moon cycle. At the same time, the final part of that moon cycle is a great time to reflect and enjoy what you started, to observe if it needs improving or changing. That, you can do in the next moon cycle!
A ten-minute meal, from three basic ingredients. How easy is that? This colourful, vegan beetroot mash with shallots is delicious, healthy and quick.
Peel 4 medium sized cream potatoes, and cut into quarts and boil. Meanwhile, cut up 4 – 5 cooked baby beetroots (freshly cooked, or from pre-pack or can) into small pieces. Save some liquid. Also, peel 2 – 3 shallots and dice small. Drain potatoes. Mash with a coarse masher, add 1/5 tbs. rice bran oil (neutral taste) and 1 tbs. of beetroot juice. Add the beetroot, and mash further to a slightly chunky consistency. Add salt, pepper and the shallots, and serve hot. Serves 2 – 3 people generously.
Goes well with a vegan lentil burger, or for carnivores, with slow-cooked beef or homemade meatballs.
Beetroot has good fibre, vitamin C and folate, iron, potassium and manganese, and is shown to increase oxygen delivery to the brain and cells in sports people. Not only that, purple food is full of antioxidants too.
Edible food packaging is closer than you think. Sounds crazy? It does, but it’s not a science fiction thing…
Edible food packaging: closer than you think
Food companies constantly need to come up with new things to keep customers interested. This is hard. At the end of the day, there are only that many things you can do with something as simple as, for instance, oats. From our old-fashioned porridge, eaten in winter, it became muesli; then, it was turned into snack bars. Furthermore, it makes up part of many a smoothie, in the form of oat milk.
Manufacturers have to be creative, especially in a world that’s choking on its own waste. So, the next step is to look at packaging. By perfecting convenience, portion control and limiting waste, edible packaging is something we will all be seeing sooner than later. At present, there are already pre-portioned protein products in the form of dissolvable pouches. Grab a pre-measured pouch and drop it, wrapper an all, into your liquid of choice. It dissolves, and you have a no-mess instant protein shake.
Where to next…edible oats packaging
Our humble oats are in the firing line. Now, pre-packaged portions come in paper sachets, often used to measure the milk or water. The next step, of course, is to replace that paper sachet with an edible, dissolvable, no-waste wrapper. Other foods in the picture for this novel edible food packaging process are coffee portions, pasta and rice. Even better, spices come pre-dosed to always deliver the same amount and taste. Protein powders and drink mixes are also keen forefront foods for this innovation
What are we eating or drinking here?
Sounds good, doesn’t it. No mess, instant results, exact measurements, that’s perfect for your busy life. But, hold on…what exactly is this stuff made off? Well, the scientific name is Polyvinyl Alcohol, or PVOH. It is a type of vinyl which dissolves during preparation. You probably already have the stuff in your house. Dishwasher detergent, or laundry capsules are the non-food version. Pop the product directly into the machine; the controlled portions dissolves with added water. Now, a version exists for food and drink portions. How do you feel about that?
Digestible plastic is classified as GRAS, which stands for Generally Regarded As Safe by American (and world) Food Standard norms. A product with GRAS status causes no harm to people, or no harm can be proven. However, many research papers show that plastics have oestrogenic-mimetic properties; this means they mimic the behaviour of hormones, especially oestrogen. No direct link has yet been made, but plastic is suspected of excess oestrogen in our bodies. With that comes a risk for other health problems. So, considering the novelty status of this GRAS product, how keen will you be to try the convenience of dissolvable plastic, and willingly ingest it? Me, I’m going to give this new trend a miss…
If you want sensible advice on what to eat, and how to use food as medicine, make an appointment with Danielle: visit the clinic booking calendar at https://awealthofhealth.com.au/book-appointment/
Nature gives us edible food pods in the form of beans, peppers, capsicum and so forth…should you to add plastic pods to that?
Tricking your brain is easier than you think. You’re smart enough to see through so-called “influencers” and reality shows. But, tricking your brain on other levels is easier than you may expect…
Tricking your brain…
There is a large volume of research out that is especially used by marketing companies. Mostly, this research looks at ways to tricking your brain into making extra purchases. That’s the stuff you didn’t plan for. Furthermore, it looks into creating sensations that influence your behaviour. Really, this is fascinating stuff, and also shows that it’s easier to fall for deception than you realise. So how do they do it…?
The tricks, the basics…our senses
The human senses are easily fooled. The eyes connect to the brain, so how stuff looks often influences how we feel about it. Let’s have a look (pun intended!)…
Firstly, there’s the research that evaluates appearance : It showed than thin sliced beef and fanned-out avocado slices were perceived as tasting better!
Not only the way it’s served matters, but even colour comes into play. Things that are pink are regarded as more sweet, even if they contain up to 10% less sugar! Even more baffling is the fact that drinks served in blue glassware were regarded as more refreshing than the same drinks served in a red glass. How’s that for tricking the brain…
Secondly, it was shown that 88% of people respond to aromas. Obviously, smell is another major one of our senses. You may notice that shops use nice smells to make you stay longer (and thus spend more), and we all know that when you have an open-for-inspection for your house, you should have the smell of freshly baked cookies to entice the prospective buyer!
Of course, hearing is part of our senses too. High-pitched music enhances sweet and sour flavours, while low-pitched sounds enhance the bitter flavours. This seems to be especially important in cocktail bar environments, where your cocktail will taste different depending on the music played. Mind-blowing, right?
Ever been to a restaurant that used elaborate and detailed descriptions on its menu? Regional names and rustic wording are appealing, but these chef-tricks don’t dazzle anymore. UK research shows this; the same foods, presented in two different menu styles, one elaborate and descriptive, the other plain and simple, proved that more than 60% of guests chose to go for the simpler descriptions.
Price is another influencer. For instance, when expensive wine and cheap wines had their labels swapped, 86% of people did not detect it and vouched that the more expensive one was the better wine! So, next time you have guests, you know what to do…
To finish off all this hilarious wisdom, research looked at the environment, and found that whiskey tasted best in a wood-panelled room… so, does that mean chilled vodka should be drunk in an igloo?
The final word on marketing
The final word on smart marketing sits with the supermarkets. Have you noticed how the things you really don’t need, such as special offers on chocolate and biscuits, are often found at the top end of the isle? And, have you noticed how many supermarkets have rounded end-of-isle blocks? This makes you slow down, and turn around the slight bend at just the right speed so that these eye-catching “savers” (that were never on your grocery list) will end up in your trolley!
Now that you know all these tricks, you’ll be well equipped to “steel yourself” and not let “tricking your brain” cost you extra when you shop or go out!
Busy day? Rushing home? Here’s a 10 Minute Meal that’s quick, easy and healthy, and only requires five basic ingredients and one pot. It doesn’t get much better than that!
10 Minute Meal ingredients
Fresh fettucine, 1 pack of 375 grams, a little olive oil, 1 tub of herb and garlic cream cheese, 250 grams washed baby spinach, and 1 can of salmon 410 grams (or tuna, whatever you like best).
How to make this 10 Minute Meal
First of all, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Then, drop in the fettucine and cook for around 3 minutes, or until al dente, as per your preference. Next, drain the water. Toss the pasta with a little olive oil. After that, place the cream cheese on top of the pasta, and place spinach on top of that as well. Just for good measure, add 2 tbs. of water and stir. Now, put the lid on pot and set on lowest heat possible.
Meanwhile, clean the can of salmon by draining the liquid, and removing dark skin and bones. However, if using tuna, just drain the liquid. Use a fork to cut the canned fish into smaller pieces, but don’t mash it. Mix the fish through the pasta. By now, your spinach will have wilted and the cream cheese will have melted. Stir everything through well, and use some salt and pepper to finish off.
There you go, your 10 Minute Meal is now ready to be enjoyed!
You can make it more fancy by adding some cut smoked salmon through the pasta as well, or using more tuna (add an extra can).
Enjoy your 10 Minute Meal: Quick, Easy, Healthy
SAD or ‘the winter blues’
Let’s be real…summer is over. Winter woolies are out and we embrace the cold. Hearty stews, wild weather walks and crackling fires all have charm. However, there’s a little catch this season… Don’t be SAD this winter.
Globally, around 10% of people suffer from SAD. This is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a form of (seasonal) depression. SAD is also know as “winter depression” or “winter blues”. It seems linked to a lack of sunshine. With SAD, symptoms start to develop in autumn. Then, they gradually worsen as winter progresses. So, get equipped so you won’t be SAD this winter
Winter’s subtle changes: Cravings and doonas
Winter changes our needs and bodies. You’ll want more sweet and starchy foods. Gaining weight is not uncommon. Sleeping becomes more important; all you want to do is snuggle up under your doona. Science thinks this dates back to how our ancestors hibernated in winter. After all, this was a season of hardship in ‘Caveman’ times. Of course, you conserve energy by sleeping when foods is scarce. More weight and more sleep reduced the need for hunting and gathering. Now, we don’t have to worry about lean times. However, that ingrained, ancient pattern of behaviour stays.
Don’t be SAD this winter
Apart from wanting to stay “in your cave”, you may feel unmotivated, lethargic and more tired than usual. You may not understand why, and neither does your doctor. SAD is under- or misdiagnosed, potentially even more so in Australia. After all, we’re “the country where the sun always shines.” In northern areas of Europe, the United States and Canada, SAD affects an estimated 5-23% of the population.
Sunlight, where are you?
In Australia, data about affected people is unknown. However, it may well match these numbers. This is especially likely for the southern states. The amount of winter sunlight in Victoria and Tasmania is amazingly low. It can be as little as 3.8 hours per day. Not as bad as the United Kingdom, but still… There, from December to February an average of 2.1 hours of sunlight is common. But still, just over 3 hours isn’t much. Imagine you’re stuck indoors at work during those few hours. You’ll get no direct sunlight at all, perhaps for days on end.
Old knowledge, backed up by modern-day research
Hippocrates, the forefather of modern medicine, was smart. He mentioned lack of sunlight as a cause for lethargy, back in 400 BC. Before him, the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs practiced “sun worship,”. South American Incas did the same. Without research, they recognized the importance of sunlight.
In modern medicine, SAD was first and formally recognized in 1984, by Norman Rosenthal. This professor at the American National Institute of Mental Health suffered his own ‘winter blues’. Miraculously, he found that Light Therapy helped. Further research was done in ‘cold’ countries. There, grey skies are dominant for six months of the year.
It’s all in the science of sunlight
First of all, lack of sunlight contributes to SAD. The pineal gland, located behind the forehead, reacts to sunlight. It is responsible for the production and release of hormones such as melatonin. This hormone is produced and released under the influence of light: made during the day, and released when darkness surrounds us – this hormone facilitates sleep.
Secondly, biochemical pathways convert melatonin to serotonin. Serotonin makes us feel good and levels are closely linked to mood changes. This is why antidepressants such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are sometimes used for SAD patients. These prescription medicines curb depression and SAD by keeping serotonin levels balanced.
Sun, sun, oh glorious sun
Finally, sunlight also assists with the formation of vitamin D in the body. Low exposure to sunlight encourages low vitamin D levels. Science proves a link between low levels of vitamin D and forms of depression. Modern-day lifestyles may not enable outdoor activities, especially in winter. Low vitamin D can also occur when dietary intake is inadequate.
Don’t be SAD this winter
The medical world often treats SAD with anti-depressants. As mentioned, light therapy is effective. Want to be pro-active to avoid these winter blues? Firstly, eat plenty oily fish or take cod liver oil. Both will provide vitamin D. Even better, make an appointment https://awealthofhealth.com.au/book-appointment/ and get your needs assessed properly. That way, you avoid the need for chemical antidepressants. After all, these may destabilise overall health. Vitamin D and other specific nutrients can be more effective, without side effects. On a final note, be relieved to know that symptoms of SAD disappear in most people once spring starts. Book now, and don’t be SAD this winter https://awealthofhealth.com.au/book-appointment/
Get ready for ASMR, or the latest onslaught on your senses…
ASMR , or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is slowly becoming mainstream. ASMR you say…what on earth is that? In plain English, this means that you get a tingling sensation after exposure to something particular. Food and drink for instance. That sensation starts on the scalp and makes its way down the neck and spine. It is a feeling generally experienced as pleasurable. It plays on your senses of hearing, feeling, seeing, smelling or touching, and impacts your mood. It’s a response far more powerful that you know.
Tingle like a Pringle
For starters, we get a sense of ASMR when we get something to eat. Those chips you’re eating have just the right crunch to them. That chocolate has just the right density and bite to it. The cellophane wrapper crinkles in just the right way to get you exited about what you will shortly eat. The pop on the beer bottle is just loud enough. And so forth…
With fresh food, it is no different. Just like the chips, your fresh apple is crunchy, and juicy, and that’s what you like about it. If that apple sits in the fruit bowl for three weeks, it loses its crunch, and at best, you will cook with it, or perhaps compost it. It’s lost its appeal, it has lost its ASMR.
ASMR and Marketing
Do you think those chips have that crunch by coincidence? No way! As a matter of fact, deep science has gone into every manufactured food or drink product that is not essential to your survival. That means snack foods, impulse foods, fast foods. Teams of sensory experts and psychologists work on this behind-the-scenes, to create tempting experiences for foods and drinks you don’t need. Now, however, it is coming to the forefront as shown by the many You Tube videos available. Furthermore, the first ASMR TV ad went viral when it was played during the USA Super Bowl 2019. If you missed it, have a look herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXmlN9BAddg
ASMR in overall life
In reality, ASMR is used far more than you may realise. There are tricks such as the way certain shops light their fitting rooms, even the curvature of the mirror, right down to scents and music. All these tricks ensure that you linger longer in a retail space. The sensory experience is what counts. It’s even often age-appropriate; shops that sell clothes for young people have a totally different atmosphere than shops that cater to upmarket older clientele. Two extremes, but you get it.
Furthermore, another angle for ASMR use is the “whispering” audio and videos available online. You Tube has thousands of them. Some have a very calming effect, with soft whispering voices, and sounds of water, rain and so forth. As a result, some people find these effective for relaxation and sleep. Other offers are slightly weird (eating sounds only) or creepy (there’s a nurse doing ASMR head lice checks!). No matter what, the sense of ‘inclusion’ is really stimulated, and it’s easy to get dragged into the sensation. Have a look for yourself if this phenomena interests you; plenty on offer online. Please note that these videos may not all have appropriate content.
ASMR and the future
No doubt, ASMR is going to grow in the future. For example, your next TV will come with AI, or Artificial Intelligence, so it will know what you like. Potentially, it may be so smart, it will offer you targeted ASMR advertisements. You’ll have bigger screens with incredible pixilation. ASMR will ensure that all your senses are engaged when you watch an ad on your 8K supersize 92 inch screen. See how that Super Bowl beer would look on that! Of course, it’s all in the name of progress, and of course, it drives your consumer dollar into the right hands: the large multi-global juggernauts who can afford a team of specialists to tempt you beyond your wildest dreams.
Meanwhile, ASMR can be an exciting new experience, and lead to discovery of new-found sensations. It can help you relax, it can make you laugh, or it can just get to you, without you being aware. Now you know!
ASMR is exciting and stimulating, but the greatest ASMR trigger is nature itself
The latest trend is Charcoal…
In the world of natural health, there is always a new trend, a “new kid on the block”. In this case, it’s actually an old kid, but rebranded and well marketed… the latest trend is Charcoal. What is it, why would you use it and what does it do? Read on and find out.
Charcoal: the basics
Once used as fuel for heaters, or for artists as a drawing tool, now charcoal is popular for different reasons. Charcoal is the end product of solid fuel burns. That can be things like wood or coconut husks. Technically, this is a slow process, done in the absence of oxygen, in a contained environment. No air means the very slow burning of wood allows charcoal to form. Uniquely, the slow-burn process means that water and gases are removed from the wood. This so-called “activated charcoal” is now porous, like a sponge with millions of tiny holes in it. These pores can capture, bind and remove toxins, heavy metals, and poisons.
Of course, having a natural “toxin sponge” that is relatively cheap to produce, and is widely available, leads to commercial exploration of such a product. Until now, charcoal was used mostly by savvy travellers who had heard about its ability to help with travel bugs such as “Bali Belly”. A few days of charcoal caps usually solves the problem efficiently, without harmful effects. As such, charcoal has been used for decades, and this is not a new find. Yet now, charcoal is the latest trend in self-medication for health and beauty…
What you need to know about charcoal
Charcoal is natural. That’s great. In gastric upsets, it binds the toxin or bug, and removes it naturally. However, charcoal also binds essential minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Therefore, charcoal intake should be limited to a maximum of 3-4 days at the most, at any given time. Unfortunately, the current new products come to market as Detoxifiers, a magic buzz word that sells products really well! Charcoal is a magnificent detoxifier, but only in the gut. Charcoal will do nothing for toxins circulating in the body, or trapped in organs such as the liver, lungs, kidneys and brain. So, that claim makes it a hype.
Moreover, even though these commercial health products may have a small printed warning about extensive use, you may not notice this. If you buy it in a supermarket, nobody will tell you, and if you buy it in a pharmacy, it all depends on whether someone advises you on the harm of using charcoal long-term.
The latest trend is charcoal…
To be honest, charcoal is really useful. You’ll find it in facial and body washes or masks, to purify the skin. You can buy charcoal toothpaste, for whiter teeth (claim unsubstantiated). It is great for a few days use for upset stomachs, bloating and travel bugs. But now, according to advertisements, you can use it in capsule form for detoxifying and beauty from within…and those claims makes it both a trend and a hype! So, beware of this, and use it sensibly. If you are after a total body detox, contact the clinic for a proper treatment plan at https://awealthofhealth.com.au/book-appointment/
Don’t add charcoal to smoothies, as it will prevent the absorption of the nutrients of that smoothie. Same goes for juices; if you make you own, don’t add charcoal, now matter how trendy it is. Research shows commercial apple juice with added charcoal has a reduced vitamin C, B1, B2 and B5 content. Adding charcoal to health foods is a waste of time and money, and reduces absorption of those magnificent nutrients in that health food you just spent a fortune on. Be wise, use charcoal only when needed!