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Can Elderberry Help Fight Colds And Flu?

Can Elderberry Help Fight Colds And Flu?

Megan Garner | May 17, 2020

 

If you’ve tried a lot of different cold and flu remedies, elderberry is one of the ingredients that you’ve probably come across. This herbal remedy has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes and is very anti-inflammatory. Elderberries contain more flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries and goji berries and this has a lot to do with their immune-supporting powers.

 According to research, it may be a good choice for treating colds and flu. So much so that it can potentially help symptoms on their way in just a couple of days.

 Elderberry has been commonly studied as a cold and flu remedy and the results have been super promising. It seems that elderberry has powerful effects for immunity, which is great news if you’re suffering from the flu. Two studies confirmed that it can halve the average length of a flu bout and start to tackle symptoms in 48 hours. This is more likely if elderberry extract is taken within 48 hours of flu symptoms coming on.

 Is it Proven?

A 2016 study looking at colds picked up during air travel found that elderberry extract can cut the length of a cold and make symptoms less severe. There was one catch though … elderberry was taken for up to 10 days before getting on a plane and for up to 5 days after arriving at the destination. Elderberry didn’t stop a cold from occurring but it did reduce the length of time that it lasted for. For most people, their cold was 2 days shorter and symptoms were milder.

How to Consume Elderberry

If you’re eating elderberries, don’t eat the raw seeds. These can potentially make you sick. Fresh or dried elderberries are great choices.

Pre-made elderberry syrups are readily available but you could try making your own version. Dried elderberries are perfect for this as they have a pretty good shelf life. You can just grab a handful when cold or flu strikes. Team dried elderberries with ginger, cinnamon and cloves for a super effective immunity-supporting syrup. Simmer the ingredients in water for around 30 minutes, mash up the elderberries, strain out the liquid and leave to cool. Once it’s at room temperature, put it in the refrigerator, it’ll last for a couple of months.

Is it OK for Kids to Use?

Elderberry is great for kids as its nice and sweet and can be added to other herbs in a herbal tincture to make the taste more palatable for kids.  I recommend taking elderberry with echinacea on a daily basis over winter when kids are more susceptible to illness (like when they are around sick kids at daycare) and before going on planes and travelling.

Contact me if you would like to book in a one on one consult or would like to order an elderberry tincture for your child (postage can be arranged Australia wide).

 

Make Your Own Organic Turmeric Latte Powder

Make Your Own Organic Turmeric Latte Powder

Megan Garner | March 29, 2020

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family & has been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, and is considered by Ayurvedic practitioners to be an auspicious herb, a key medicine.

It’s important to purchase organic turmeric and turmeric supplements from a trusted source, as compounds of synthetic curcumin are known to be present on the market.

Mixed with milk it is thought, in Ayurvedic practice, to calm the mind. And don’t we all need that right now?

This recipe makes 12 serves of turmeric latter powder.

Ingredients

6 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp ginger powder
12 cracks black pepper

Method

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well.

To make a latte

Add 1 tsp  of the powder blend with 1 cup of hot soy milk and stir well.

Thermomix instructions

1 cup of soy milk 3 mins/90 deg/speed 1

Add 1 tsp turmeric latte powder 30 sec/heat off/ speed 4

 

Tip

To increase the absorption of turmeric serve with nuts or seeds like bliss balls or raw dessert.

Game Changing Plant Based Diets

Game Changing Plant Based Diets

Megan Garner | February 1, 2020

With all the buzz surrounding The Game Changers movie. Many people are questioning consuming meat and dairy and adopting plant based diets in the name of health. With this in mind let’s take a closer look into plant based diets and see if they are as healthy as The Game Changers make them out to be. In case you haven’t seen it yet, the Game Changers movie is available to watch on Netflix.

What IS a Plant-Based Diet? 

A plant based diet avoids animal products and foods made from animal products.

People have many reasons for choosing to follow a plant-based diet. Some reasons include health, allergies, the environment and animal welfare. I recommend a whole foods plant based diet, which means eating whole foods in their natural state.

Is a plant based diet nutritionally adequate? 

Research that has assessed the overall dietary intakes and nutritional status of plant based diets provides reassurance that well-planned vegan diets supply adequate nutrition (Davis & Melina, 2014). 

Generally, they contain greater amounts of iron, folate, thiamine, magnesium, potassium, manganese, fibre, beta-carotene, and vitamins B6, C and E than non-plant based diets (Davis & Melina, 2014).

However, they may contain lower amounts of zinc, iodine, calcium, selenium, riboflavin, and vitamins B12 and D. It is important that people following a plant based diet include reliable sources of these nutrients (Davis & Melina, 2014).

The bottom line is that animal products aren’t necessary for healthful and nutritionally adequate diets.

Can kids survive on a plant based diet? 

Yes, they can survive and thrive! 

Plant based diets have been approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who state “appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes” (Melina, Craig & Levin, 2016).

Your plant based diet should be based on whole foods 

Consuming whole foods in their natural state ensures you obtain more nutrients. For example an olive contains fibre, vitamins and minerals. Compared to olive oil which has been processed and had most of its nutrients stripped from it and is virtually 100% fat. 

A whole foods plant based diet also avoids the hidden nasties that manufacturers put in our foods. Including nasty additives, preservatives, artificial ingredients (the ones you can’t pronounce), sugar and sodium.

Not all processed foods are created equally. If you’re doing the processing at home – chopping, blending and cooking. You still know what is going into your food as opposed to commercially processed foods.

How to live optimally on plant based whole foods

Increase your intake of

    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • legumes – lentils, chickpeas, beans
    • wholegrains
    • nuts and seeds
    • spices
    • herbs

Avoid the following

    • meat
    • fish
    • dairy
    • eggs
    • honey
    • animal fats, butter
    • sugar
    • oils, including olive, corn, flaxseed, canola, coconut
    • processed and packaged food, except for ones containing only ingredients in increase list
    • limit salt

Focussing on adding more whole foods into your diet rather than focussing on eliminating foods from your diet will help you to transition towards this new lifestyle positively. The intent is to crowd out the processed foods with loads of goodness!

The health benefits of a whole food plant based diet

According to the 2010 WHO Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases, the four primary causes of chronic diseases (63% of global deaths) are an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption (WHO, 2018). In other words majority of deaths are self inflicted and can be prevented.

Large studies in England and Germany showed that people who avoid meat were about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters (Thorogood et al, 1994; Chang-Claude et al, 1992; Chang-Claude et al, 1993).

The World Health Organization has classified processed meats as a Group 1 carcinogen, which means that there is strong evidence that they cause cancer. Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork has been classified as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer (International Agency for Research on Cancer – World Health Organisation, 2015).

Clinical research shows that dairy products have little or no benefit for bones. A 2005 review showed that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children (Lanou, 2005).

A WFPB diet has many health benefits and is the only diet that has been proven to reverse coronary heart disease and research has found a plant-based diet to be successful in treating type 2 diabetes. 

In summary, a balanced and varied vegan diet is safe and healthful, as long as energy needs are met as you follow a whole foods plant based diet you will have many health benefits.

If you are following or changing to a plant based diet, I recommend getting advice from a qualified Plant Based Nutritionist to ensure that your diet is nutritionally adequate and to prevent deficiencies. 

References

Chang-Claude, J., Frentzel-Beyme, R., & Eilber, U. (1992). Mortality Pattern of German Vegetarians after 11 Years of Follow-up. Epidemiology, 3(5), 395-401. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199209000-00003

CHANG-CLAUDE, J., & FRENTZEL-BEYME, R. (1993). Dietary and Lifestyle Determinants of Mortality among German Vegetarians. International Journal Of Epidemiology, 22(2), 228-236. doi: 10.1093/ije/22.2.228

Davis, B., & Melina, V. (2014). Becoming vegan. Summertown, Tenn.: Book Publishing.

International Agency for Research on Cancer – World Health Organization. (2015). IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat [Ebook]. Retrieved from https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf

Lanou, A. (2005). Calcium, Dairy Products, and Bone Health in Children and Young Adults: A Reevaluation of the Evidence. PEDIATRICS, 115(3), 736-743. doi: 10.1542/peds.2004-0548

Thorogood, M., Mann, J., Appleby, P., & McPherson, K. (1994). Risk of death from cancer and ischaemic heart disease in meat and non-meat eaters. BMJ, 308(6945), 1667-1670. doi: 10.1136/bmj.308.6945.1667

WHO | 2. Background. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/2_background/en/

Herbal Healing Vegan Fruit Gummies

Herbal Healing Vegan Fruit Gummies

Megan Garner | January 6, 2020

Making fruit gummies is a great way to make natural, herbal tinctures palatable to kids who might be reluctant to take them. Tinctures can be used for boosting immunity, relieving an upset stomach, and healing coughs or colds. 

This recipe makes 20 gummies with a dose of herbal tincture at 1ml per dose. If you’re changing the quantity of gummies made, you should adjust the dosage accordingly.

Ingredients

250 ml (1 cup) of juice, choose a variety without added sugar
1 tbsp agar agar powder
20 ml of herbal tincture (if using alcohol based herbal tincture add 10 ml of boiling water to remove alcohol)
60 ml (¼ cup) cold water

Method

1. In a small pan (or Thermomix) bring the juice to a simmer.

2. Place the agar agar into a ¼ cup of cold water and stir until dissolved.

3. Stir the agar agar mix into the juice.

4. Bring to a simmer whilst continually stirring and remove from heat.

5. Pour the herbal tincture into the mixture and mix well.

6. Pour the liquid into moulds, ice cube tray or tupperware lined with baking paper.

7. Leave at room temperature for 20 minutes to set. Then put in the refrigerator and let sit for another 20 minutes.

8. Store in fridge, will last most of the day in a lunch box without melting.

5 Ways to Cut Your Salt Intake & Help Your Heart

5 Ways to Cut Your Salt Intake & Help Your Heart

Megan Garner | October 19, 2019

 

No doubt you know that salt isn’t great for your family’s health. It’s true that we need a little bit of it to keep blood pressure stable and help nerve and muscle impulses to travel properly but too much can have very negative effects on the body. For kids, it can set the scene for health problems later on in life and can even be a factor in childhood asthma.  

With salt added to so many processed foods, it’s no great surprise that the average child eats a lot more of it than they should and that’s without adding it to meals ourselves. Cutting your family’s salt intake may mean that you need to make some changes to the way that you eat but it’s not as hard as you might think to eat less salt. 

But should all salt be avoided? Unrefined salt like Himalayan Salt and Celtic Sea Salt is a vital substance our bodies require to function optimally. The issue is that most processed foods contain refined salt which does not contain minerals and it leads to the depletion of minerals in the body. Refined salt is harmful and needs to be avoided.  

Here are some top tips for making sure that your kids eat less refined salt, including some of the less obvious sources of hidden salt. 

Salt and Spices Header

1. Cook meals from scratch

It might be more effort but cooking from scratch is one of the best ways to control how much salt your family consumes. According to research, kids take in a good chunk of their salt during lunch and dinner and this is often due to the salt levels in processed foods. 

Making your own meals means you can decide what goes in your family’s food, rather than being dependent on what has been added. You can get your kids involved in this and help them to learn about the health impact of too much salt and choose unrefined salt in small amounts. 

Salt Spoon

2. Reduce salt gradually 

For kids that are already used to the taste of salt and like it, you can replace it with unrefined salt and you may need to reduce salt gradually rather than suddenly cut the amount of salt in their diet. 

If their salt intake is decreased slowly, it’s likely that they won’t even notice the difference in salt and you can work towards the ultimate goal of drastically cutting the amount of salt your family eats. 

Fast Food

3. Be wary of fast foods

Pizza contains a lot of salt, some pizzas can contain as much as 10g of salt. When you think that children aged 1 to 3 years are advised to have under 2.5g, 4 to 8 years 3.5g and 9 to 13 years under 5g of salt per day, you can see how bad this is! 

It’s a lot simpler than you might think to create a pizza from scratch and you can make it super healthy by making your own tomato sauce for the base and veggies for the topping. Cheese can be part of the problem where salt is concerned so use sparingly; go without, or you could even make your own cheese sauce from cashews or even potatoes. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even try creating a really nutritious pizza base from cauliflower to cut down on salt even further. 

Other processed foods that may also contain a lot of salt include savory snacks (potato chips and pretzels in particular), burgers, deli meats, pasta based ready meals, and even bread. 

Swap salt heavy processed foods for lower salt alternatives or remove them from your family’s diet altogether and replace them with something healthy. 

Potato chips can be swapped for roasted sweet potato chips and pasta can be made healthier by making your own veg based sauces, for example. 

Cereal Bowl

4. Be Aware of Hidden Salt

Some of the foods that contain salt can be a bit more surprising. Breakfast cereals can fall into this category. They may not seem very salty but they can often contain an average of 0.3g of sodium per serving and some cereals can have over 1g of salt in just one serving. 

Sauces are another big candidate for salt and it’s usually much better to make your own. Cheese based sauces are often high in hidden salt but tomato based sauces can also contain a surprising amount of salt. 

Even milkshakes can contain 0.5g of sodium – pretty surprising for something so sweet! On top of everything else your family may be eating, this can add up. If your kids are milkshake fans, try making healthy milkshake type smoothies instead to avoid the added salt. 

 

5. Don’t forget about snacks

A lot of snacks are salty too, especially the processed kind. Cheese and ham lunchbox snacks are an example of this and can contain almost 3g of salt. That’s a huge part of the recommended daily intake for kids before they have even eaten anything else. Swap these kind of convenience snacks for healthier options such as raw veg, fruit or homemade healthy bakes.

 

In summary not all salt needs to be avoided, we need unrefined salt to achieve optimal health. At home use unrefined salt and reduce refined salt intake as much as possible.

 

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