Is being alkaline key?

This year the theme for the seminar run with our association’s AGM was Pain and Inflammation. This slide really captured for me a surprising fact about pain and how intense it can be for people who are acidic. There were a few other surprises too in terms of alkalinity and how beneficial it can be for the body and your health. Overall the top three takeouts from this presentation were;

  1. People who are acidic experience more intense pain. Basically receptors are able to absorb more signals in an acidic environment thereby intensifying the experience.
  2. Each tissue requires a different type of Ph to do its job correctly however blood operates at a very narrow range and will pull calcium from bone to form calcium carbonate and alkalise. Acidity therefore aggravates conditions such as osteoporosis where bone density is already low.
  3. The body can excrete acidity but only about 60% of what most people produce.
  4. The major factor in whether you are alkaline or acidic is your diet!

Well the standard Australian diet also known as SAD creates more acidity than we can excrete. Typically foods such as grains are mildly acidic, meats are more acidic and vegetables are alkaline. A diet heavy in meat and grains is more acidic. For more information on the acidity and alkalinity of foods have a look at Acid base nutrition .

How do you compensate for a diet heavy in grains and protein – well if you are eating the SAD you need 12 serves of vegetables a day! That’s the equivilant of 6 cups of vegetables which is an awful lot for most people to eat.

Alkalising your diet can be as simple as having modest serves of protein (palm sized and thickness) plus 3 serves of vegetables with each serve. A moderate amount of grains possibly 2 serves a day plus good fats. Fats are neutral in this equation. In other words a healthy balanced Mediterranean style diet. No demonising one component like protein or fat just a diet loaded with vegetables, proteins, carbs and fat!!

Christine Pope is a practicing nutritionist and homeopath based at Elemental Health, St Ives. Phone for appointments on 80840081 or book online at Elemental Health

 

Are you reacting to your dinner ?

If you constantly have an upset stomach, headaches or skin problems chances are you have thought about whether something you were eating was triggering your symptoms. So what options are there for finding out whether a food is upsetting you ?

The medical testing for allergies consists of either skin prick testing to determine if a substance provokes a reaction or blood testing for antibodies to Immunoglobulin E known as RAST testing. Naturopathically there are a number of other options including an Elimination Diet,  Food Intolerance Panel or Bio Compatability Hair Testing. So what are the advantages of each of these forms of testing ?

Skin prick testing involves scratching the skin with a range of allergens to see what generates a reaction. Usually done by a specialist you do need to be under supervision if a topical reaction causes full on anaphylaxis to an allergen so that you can be treated appropriately. Understandably many parents are not enthusiastic about this option however it does accurately identify  true allergens. A blood test to detect antibodies can be done where the skin prick testing is too invasive. It detects antibodies to specific allergens such as dust, pollens and foods.

Another option for determining intolerances is to use an elimination diet. Basically you eat very simple plain foods for 7-10 days  and then gradually introduce new foods to determine if it provokes a reaction. The elimination diet generally takes up to 6 weeks but has the advantage of being focussed on real food. Ideally you would also exclude any of the foods below that triggered a reaction.

What you can eat on a food sensitivity elimination diet:

  • Vegetables, well-washed (preferably organic), eliminate nightshade vegetable (such as eggplant,tomato and capsicum) if you suspect they are a problem
  • Fruits, well-washed (preferably organic), start with berries initially
  • Meat and fish (preferably organic and free range meats and wild fish)
  • Fats and seasonings – Extra-virgin coconut oil for cooking, and extra-virgin olive oil for dressings and other low-temperature applications, sea salt, herbs
  • Drink: only water (filtered if possible)

Naturopaths often conduct a food intolerance panel which looks for an immunoglobulin G reaction. It’s useful but will usually only tell you about foods you have been eating in the past few months. So if you haven’t had wheat for a year it may not show up.

Recently I have also looked at Biocompatibility Hair Testing conducted by Naturopathic Services. It has the advantage of not requiring a blood test and covers 500 widely available foods including a significant list of health foods. The test is reasonably priced and far less invasive for young children. It also has the advantage of covering foods which the client isn’t currently consuming. Blood testing will only reveal antibodies to a food that you are currently eating.

Other practitioners I know who use the test advised that it was making a big difference in cases involving skin and irritable bowel syndrome, two conditions I see frequently in clinic. Certainly in the last few months I am already seeing some significant changes in symptoms simply from removing aggravating foods from the diet.

If you have any questions about testing for food intolerances email me at Christine@elementalhealth.net.au or you can make an appointment on 8084 0081.

 

 

 

 

 

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/test-ige.html

Travelling with a weak gut?

It can be quite tricky travelling when you have a range of food intolerances but even more so when you have a weak gut that is quite reactive. I have put a few tips together for supporting your gut whilst travelling however I would always recommend that you get it in the best shape possible before you go as the ideal way to prepare.

First up how do you just prepare for an extended trip? Make sure you are taking a good quality probiotic for up to two months before you travel to seed your gut with a good range of protective bacteria for your journey and then travel with a heat stable probiotic. If you have quite a few food intolerances ideally do a bit of a heal and seal protocol before travelling which should include high doses of glutamine. Better still a full detox would get your whole system working as well as possible to protect you on the journey.

What are some things you can do to acclimatise your gut when you get to your destination? On an extended journey start consuming the local fermented food – it could be kim chi, sauerkraut or yoghurt but it will help innoculate your bowel with the protective species of your local environment.

Feed the good gut bacteria a range of fruit and vegetables, just remember to stick to cooked or peeled as much as possible as salads which are washed in local water can be very problematic in some regions. Ideally aim for at least six serves of vegetables a day which will optimise your nutrition as well as keeping gut bacteria happy.

For gut protection and repair you can’t go past traditionally made bone broths or stocks. Whether its a miso soup in Japan or just a hearty home made soup, bone broth is a great source of nutrients as well as providing healing ingredients for the gut, such as gelatine. On the off chance that you do pick up a tummy bug the tips in my Stomach aches and pains blog for suitable homeopathic medicines would be helpful reading.

Christine Pope is a nutritionist and homeopath based at Elemental Health at St Ives. Appointments can be made on 8084 0081.

Ultimate stress management tool – Pokemon Go !

img_0519
Managing stress isn’t always easy but the latest tool assisting in my arsenal is a surprising one – Pokemon Go! So how does a kids game help manage stress?

First up most adults spend a lot of time on devices, checking emails, social media or the Internet. What we seem to have forgotten is how to use devices for fun. Imagine that instead of checking your emails you are checking which cute little Pokemon you can catch. Yep add a bit of fun to your day instead of more work.

Another area many of us forget when our work piles up is exercise but when you get rewarded for walking by hatching eggs with new Pokemon there is suddenly value in making sure you exercise frequently. Eggs need 2, 5 or even 10 km of walking to hatch and you get rarer Pokemon with higher value eggs. No surprise then that the first week with the game I probably upped my walking by 10 kilometers in the week and now try and walk every day instead of just a few days a week.

Many women are juggling a constant range of pickups and drop-offs. Many days I will have done two trips to the station before I head to my clinic in the morning. It used to get me quite irritable specially at night when I am cooking dinner and got constant interruptions. Now I am like excellent , I can top up on my poke balls at the poke stops at the station ( you use these to catch the Pokemon). So a source of irritation has now become an opportunity. Often reframing stressors can change our reaction.

img_0527Finally a few people when they get stressed withdraw from socialising and their community – well this game positively inspires social interaction. Yesterday I had a lively discussion with an eight year old boy at the park about the difficulty we were both having catching a Bulbasaur at the local poke-stop. Even in my clinic I have found this a great ice breaker with children who usually aren’t that happy to be dragged in to see a natural therapist.

Many of my colleagues commented that with the advent of this game teens are roaming the streets – that’s right instead of playing a game solo in their rooms they are outside interacting with nature and each other!! I am planning a trip to Circular Quay for Pokemon hunting with a group of friends next week. Anyone else want to join us???

Christine Pope is a practicing nutritionist and homeopath based at Elemental Health St Ives. Appointments are available Tuesdays and Wednesdays on 8084 0081 or you can book online at Elemental Health . She is currently at Level 24 on Pokemon and  has just caught a Pikachu in a Xmas hat.

 

Innovation in Healthcare

Last weekend I was at a conference where the topic was Innovation. It was an interesting area to consider as a Director and even more challenging was its application. How do you encourage and develop innovative thinking in your organisation?  It’s an even bigger challenge for most of the attendees as the organisations were largely associations and Not for Profit’s  who usually aren’t well funded and often run by volunteers. So what were some of the suggestions and how could this be applied in the healthcare space ?

Spend time brainstorming issues

Often with packed agenda’s in a meeting its hard to find time to solve problems creatively. Allowing time on every agenda to brainstorm a problem allows for discussion of other options and possibly new insights. It also creates an environment where people don’t feel they have to stick to the status quo – the dreaded “that’s the way we have always done it”!!

Encourage feedback from the quiet participants

Not everyone is happy to provide input quickly and succinctly in a meeting. Asking everyone around a table to express a viewpoint on a subject provides a forum to open up the discussion. Ideally don’t just start with the same person but mix it up.

img_0363Meet differently

Be open to having meetings in different locations or even bringing in external parties to present different views. The energy of meeting in a coffee bar can be a lot livelier than a set meeting room. Even changing rooms on a regular basis can be a good protocol just make sure everyone has enough space to be comfortable and can move around.

So how can we apply this in healthcare? Specifically how could I apply this in my practice?

Staying current with new developments is really critical and one of the reasons I am constantly looking at seminars or workshops. How can I get people better faster? For example I had always found treating Candida with a diet and specific homeopathics quite difficult and slow. Anti-candida diets are basically no wheat, no dairy, no yeast and no fun! On the basis of a recommendation at a workshop I tried using a berberiene based herbal product and found my results were significantly quicker and much easier for clients to maintain. My strategy is to look for the innovators and pick the eyes out of their treatment protocols.

In terms of meeting differently I would occasionally run workshops and I really enjoy the energy of working with a group and the networking that often results. This is now on my agenda with a permanent focus on education around existing programs but also continuing some of my successful workshops. Using this format is also a good way to keep costs down. A 2 hour workshop at $49 is a great addition to a treatment program and also keeps costs down and makes healthcare more affordable. Maybe another alternative is to start recording the sessions and make them available to clients as an easier way to work with me.

The reality of innovation is much more difficult to grasp than the concept. Often in practice I see clients who are stuck in a situation and think they have no options. As soon as you start to see stress levels come down its amazing how possibilities open up. For practitioners I think its a question of staying current and adopting strategies that work well for them and how they practice.

Christine Pope is based at Elemental Health at St Ives and is available for consultations on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Appointments can be made online (very innovative!!) at http://www.elementalhealth.net.au or by calling 02 8084 0081.

 

 

 

 

A new model for treating Alzheimer’s

Brain Function with gears and cogs.I spent my June long weekend at a naturopathic conference in Brisbane where the topic was Neurology and Psychiatry. One of the surprise standouts from the weekend was a US researcher who presented 3 reversed cases of Alzheimer’s , something which really isn’t supposed to be possible. Even more surprising was his holistic focus on the treatment and his view that the solution was in treating a wide range of factors rather than a simple “pill for an ill” model.

The current research in this area has identified amyloid plaque as the source of the damage to the brain and the focus is finding a drug which will break this down. Unfortunately this approach ignores the underlying reason for the formation of the plaque which is the presence of inflammation in the body. Dr Dale Bredesen and his team looked at what was driving the inflammation and have developed an approach to treating Alzheimer’s looking at those drivers.

What emerged was a very holistic treatment protocol looking at key drivers such as diet and lifestyle, hormonal factors, such as insulin resistance as well as oestrogen and testosterone levels as well as other risk factors such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. They also saw a need to look at other possible causes of inflammation such as heavy metal toxicity. For more detail on his training and studies have a look at the MPI Cognition site.

Health food ingredients in white porcelain bowls over papyrus baCurrently around 342,000 Australians are living with dementia and up to 70% of those suffer from Alzheimer’s and with an ageing population this is expected to increase signficantly. In terms of preventative care its clear from these presentations that its critical to ensure that we start reducing our risk by following these guidelines;

  1. Eat a whole food, plant based diet with small amounts of animal protein and reasonable amounts of good quality plant based fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil  and avocado.
  2. Exercise at reasonable intensity on a regular basis, at least three to five times a week.
  3. Manage stress effectively.
  4. Ensure good blood sugar regulation.
  5. Monitor hormone levels as “atrophic withdrawal” or the sudden decline in hormones post hysterectomy for example are associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s for example.
  6. Identify and minimise toxicity, particularly heavy metals but also consider the impact of long term low grade infections.
  7. Stay at a healthy weight range.

Fortunately as a natural medicine practitioner there are a number of areas where we can work with clients to reduce their risk factors. However I am also planning a trip to the States to attend the MPI Cognition 4 day training program for practitioners. Stay posted for further updates!!

Christine Pope is a practicing homeopath and nutritionist based at Elemental Health, St Ives and is available for appointments on 8084 0081.

 

Stomach Aches and Pains

Sick Woman On Bed Concept Of Stomachache, Headache, Hangover, Sl

Tummy bugs can be a real pain however its possible to manage them easily with homeopathic medicines and a few simple dietary strategies.

With any stomach upset it is important to keep up liquids to reduce symptoms from dehydration. Headaches in particular may indicate that the patient is not drinking enough or is losing too much fluid. Consistently heavy diarrhea and/or vomiting may lead to a dangerous change in a patient’s hydration and can require hospitalization.

The diet needs to be bland and food can be avoided for a couple of days if the patient cannot bear the thought of eating. Bland food can include rice, toast, clear soup or a banana. Avoid spicy or acidic foods until the stomach is settled.

Chronic recurring diarrhea or constipation can be a sign of food allergies or intolerances. An exclusion diet or allergy testing will help identify these foods and removal of the foods from the diet as well as treatment for the gut will minimise symptoms.

BacteriaWhen travelling I always take along a heat stable strain of sacchrymdes boulardi which is a prebiotic. It can be very helpful at reducing your symptoms if you do pick up a stomach bug but it can also assist by attaching to bad bugs and helping them move out of your system and in that way reducing the length of the episode.

A similar benefit can be obtained by eating the local fermented food if you are staying in the area for a few weeks.

My homeopathic first aid kit consists of the following medicines and remember when choosing a homeopathic you are looking for at least 2-3 symptoms which are similar to your patient.

Arsenicum

First remedy to think of for food poisoning or stomach flu. May not be able to bear the sight, smell or thought of food. Worse at midnight to 2am. Generally chilly and desiring frequent cold drinks. Patient may be very anxious and better for warm applications.

Lycopodium

Patient is full of gas with flatulence and belching. Weak digestion and may be satiated after a little food.  Can’t stand anything around  the waist. Usually worse between 4-8pm.

img_0047Mag Phos

Colic in children. Abdominal cramping better for warmth and pressure, often quite gassy and better for bending over.

Nux Vomica

Hangover remedy. Over indulgence in food and alcohol. Constipated or with heartburn made worse by spicy food. Grumpy irritable and workaholic people.

Better for rest or discharges.

Podophyllum

Good remedy for Bali Belly with explosive diarrhea. Also for constipation alternating with diarrhea. Worse for acid fruits or milk. Sour smelling vomit.

Thirst for large quantities of water.