Superfood Insight with Elly

Although sometimes packaged and sold as a ‘grain’, Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa or Kin-wa) is actually a pseudo-cereal, meaning unlike grains and cereals it is not a member of the grass family. This means that among other things, Quinoa is gluten-free and generally fantastic for people who have any allergies with regards to foods like wheat, barley or corn. This grain is positively fantastic for vegetarians and vegans, being a complete protein and containing massive doses of magnesium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. It’s also a little powerhouse filled with fibre, too. Being a pseudo cereal also means it can be ground into flour, you can do this at home with mortar/pestle or blender.

You can prepare Quinoa by boiling like rice, or can even put in cold water for 2-4 hours to toss through cold foods like salads. This will make the nutritional value much higher and adds a delicious fluffy bite to any salads. The seed itself is covered in a high level saponin, so even though it is prepared and washed before being sold (mostly) in Australia it’s still a good idea to give it a quick rinse before use.
Eating the grain can be compared to cous cous or cooked barley. There is a slight crunch or ‘pop’ and then a soft almost creamy texture. Although hard to explain, it’s almost like brown rice – but less ‘hard’. The flavour is very slightly nutty, but almost like rice. Quinoa can also be found flattened or puffed like corn or as previously stated in flour form.

Whilst researching this article I was amazed to find the additional health benefits of quinoa. Migraine sufferers can benefit from the high levels of Riboflavin (Vitamin b12) which is said to reduce the frequency of headaches. Not only is it jam packed with high levels of much needed nutrients, but it is said that the high levels of magnesium can help reduce migraines too. This works by relaxing blood vessels, preventing constriction and rebound dilation that is commonly associated with headaches. Increased magnesium intake can also reduce the frequency of headache episodes. Not only does this relaxing of the blood vessels help migraine sufferers but is also fantastic for our cardiovascular system.

These couple of benefits merely scratch the surface of the many, many health related boosts you can get from quinoa. It is said to reduce the risk of certain cancers, help with blood pressure and drastically lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, to name a few. There is a reason quinoa is sometimes referred to as “Incan gold”. As usual, the Mayans had it right and quinoa was served to its warriors. In fact, it is said to be one of the most important dietary supplements, second only to potatoes and more important than maize.

I could talk about quinoa all day, and I sincerely recommend you jump online and check out some of the many interesting articles on the stuff. There is a lot of information out there, and a lot more coming through now than there was even a little while ago. Try some out today, grab a recipe booklet I’ve put together from recipes found online – or try your own search!

Menstrual cups : A review

The lunette menstrual cup: a review

With your favourite receptionist, Elly.

 

If you have indeed had what I can only assume is the immense pleasure of chatting to me recently, you may be aware that I have found a product that I am raving about: The Lunette menstrual cup. If the thought of this is too much for you, I ask you to hold your opinion a little while longer, as I myself turned up my nose upon first hearing the words “Menstrual cup” uttered. How glad I am that I kept an open mind!

We’ll start by describing just what a menstrual cup is. Made as early as the 1930’s, Menstrual cups have been popular in the US and Europe for many decades. The cup itself is made from medical grade silicon, and because it is not porous (like a tampon); it works with the natural anti-bacterial environment of your vagina to keep clean. It will not promote bacterial growth the way a tampon does, so the risk of TSS (toxic Shock Syndrome) is greatly reduced. In fact, there has never been a reported case of TSS being linked to a menstrual cup.  You can wear the cup up to 12 hours, if your flow permits.

It is thought that the push for a reusable, earth friendly cup has not been popular due to the obvious lack of profit to be made – I’ve read blogs from women who have had their cup 10 years. What tampon or menstrual pad company wants you to buy a product once and not 16 products every period?

And this brings us to one of the biggest selling points of the cup: You only need one. Cups will set you back in the region of $60, and I can tell you that being a sufferer of abnormal, heavy, and long periods it has already made its money back, and then some. I haven’t had to purchase bulky, uncomfortable pads in 3 cycles, and I cannot explain how happy this has made me. Because you only need one, your impact on the earth is so much less than using disposable, one use cotton (or other substances) products. There is no packaging, no plastic coatings, no plastic backing, no strips to pull off that get stuck to your shoe or cling to your skirt (we’ve all had that happen at work, right? A nice little piece of paper basically saying “I CAME FROM A PAD!” statically clinging to our thigh?). No strings. No wings. No discomfort.

 

I should also add in here that a lot of menstrual products come complete with a nice helping of chemicals like bleach. And we put these in one of the most sensitive and permeable areas of our body. Treated cotton tampons, full of plastic are sold without much in the way of testing as to levels of chemical absorption. Medical grade silicone, used in the cups, is the same material they make various surgical implants out of (pacemakers, heart valves etc) and can stay in your body pretty much forever without being broken down.

So, how do you use a cup? Imagine what it’s like to put in a tampon, and you’re pretty close. There are a variety of videos on YouTube showing how to fold your cup for insertion: the method will depend on the individual. Personally, I fold down two sides in on itself to create a kind of point – feel free to ask and I will show you on the display models in store (The ‘push down’ fold in the diagram). Because the material is so pliable, you essentially fold it down to the size of about a super tampon or so. You fold it, insert it, wait for the ‘opening’ feeling (One of the only negatives about the cup I can say is sometimes it opens as you’re trying to insert. Annoying!) And you’re good to go! After a few hours (this will vary depending on the heaviness of your flow:  I tend to change it every 4 at my heaviest and about 7 or 8 at my lightest) you use your pelvic muscles to gently push down until you can feel the bottom of the cup: Pinch and pull. You then empty your cup, rinse, and re-insert. Too easy!

Some people may be grossed out by the fact that you can see your blood in the cup. I have to say that I was a bit dubious about how this would feel, after reading on blogs that it made some people feel so much more connected with their bodies, their cycles, and empowered their femininity. I would totally agree now. The cup is less ‘gross’ than a tampon – if any clots are present they are discreetly captured with the rest of the blood, not stuck on the outside of the tampon or pad. There is no mess in public restrooms, no reaching for the sanitary bin and no blood spatters on the inside of the toilet bowl or bin. I find that seeing the amount you are bleeding is a really good indication of how your cycle is going – You know exactly how much blood you’re losing, and it gives you a much more personal feel for your menses. (Although that sounds strange, it is actually somewhat comforting.)

The cups are also perfect for women trying to conceive or are having gynaecological problems. Because the cup is smooth sided and doesn’t suck any of the precious moisture from your vagina, you can wear it when you’re not bleeding – so women who need to measure other vaginal secretions can use the cup without any discomfort. In this same way it’s also fine toward the end of your period, while you may start to bleed less or spot. If you wear the cup whilst spotting then you will never leak or spot on yourself when you think you’ve got nothing left. This reason right here is why I personally cannot live without my cup.

You may be a bit worried about having to put a cup all the way in the way you would a tampon. Truth is, the cup sits so much lower in your vagina it’s nothing like inserting a tampon. I personally hate tampons, I find them uncomfortable and all ‘round icky – the mere thought of them is like nails on a chalkboard. The cup, however, is nothing like a tampon on insertion. If you want to demonstrate to yourself where the cup sits, make an “o” with your thumb and second finger. This is your vaginal opening. Now, from the bottom put your other index finger into the hole. This is generally how far up you need to push a tampon. Now, imagine the cup sitting right at the opening of the hole. See the difference? Instead of  pushing in as far as your uterus, extending from the top of the finger, the cup sits comfortably just over the opening of the vagina. I’ll show you some pictures to help illustrate.

(pictures won’t work in the blog: Contact us on Facebook to ask for the article)

 

I think I’ve covered most of the basics here, and as you can see, every point I make is another reason I love my cup. Not only do I feel I’m doing the environment a favour, but I’m doing myself a favour too. ONE NOTE OF CAUTION: Don’t wash your cup in anti-bacterial wash. Don’t do it. You’ll get thrush. I learned the hard way, and I even made sure to rinse what I thought was any trace of any wash off. Best thing is to rinse it between insertion and re-insertion and boil it for a few minutes between your cycles. I’ve read blogs of women who have been using their cup for 10 years or more; if you look after it, it will surely last a while. If you don’t feel that you want to use a cup for 10 years, changing it every 1-3 years will still save you a bucket load of cash, not to mention the earth.

Do yourself a favour. I promise you won’t regret it.

For any other questions, tips or tricks please don’t hesitate to ask Elly at reception at anytime. You can reach me by email if you like, at Rosalba@albatherapies.com.au – just put “for Elly” in the title. There is also HEAPS of information on the net – blogs, product websites and youtube videos.

Superfoods at Alba Therapies, with your favourite receptionist – Elly!

Recently, after finding an awesome supplier, Alba Therapies has begun to stock an ever widening range of health care products, mineral and vitamin supplements, female products, baby items, organic products and last but not least; ‘Super Foods’. Super foods (functional foods, superfoods, superberries) are defined as foods that either contain high phyto-nutrient content or contain more health-benefitting substances then simple nutrients given by ‘normal’ foods. They are generally associated with having benefit to health and wellbeing, prolonged life, containing high levels of antioxidants, being anti-cancer, and more. In many cases, they contain the right levels of nutrients, vitamins and amino acids to be complete- that is, they do not need to be used with another food item to give you your entire recommended intake. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) for example, is known as a ‘complete protein’ and classed as a superfood due to the very high protein content, as well as containing a perfectly balanced set of amino acids fit for humans.

Among our newest products we find an assortment of (drool) chocolate. We are stocking pure cacao powder (also known as cocoa, cacao implies Mayan produce- thought to be the original and most ‘pure’) which is fair trade. Our chocolate bars are (delicious) dark chocolate with the addition of either nibs (crushed cocoa bean), Quinoa (mentioned earlier) or Almonds. These are organic, free trade and carbon offset. How good can you get?! Apart from being full of flavour, I was surprised today to learn just how good Chocolate can be for you. Now, let me clarify; the addition of fats, sugar and milk generally negates the health benefits – this is NOT about milk or white chocolate. Hot cocoa/chocolate can be no good if you add milk (even skim); but I have sacrificed myself for you all and found that a teaspoon or two of the powder with a teaspoon of sugar or honey is simply delicious. You don’t miss the milk with chocolate or cocoa this good. For those of you who like dark chocolate, you wouldn’t need the sweetener at all.

I always knew that cocoa contained high levels of antioxidants; even more so when raw (as the powder is) but I was unaware of the cardiovascular and circulatory boost. Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate two to three times a week in patients after a heart attack can reduce the risk of death by up to three times that of patients who did not consume dark chocolate. The only major point I have to bring up here is that any food will add to the risk of weight gain/obesity if the energy is not burned off. So eating a few pieces of dark chocolate in the morning before starting your day (or a hot chocolate with breakfast) is a perfect way to start.

Although controversial, studies are also being conducted into the use of a form of cocoa being used to halter brain decline in aging people. Antioxidants have been known for a long time to improve longevity, but specific research is being conducted into the use of cocoa and degenerative brain disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Another much argued point is that of muscle recovery; it has been said that eating dark chocolate in the two hour period after exercise can help to regenerate muscle tissue. If you want to know more about other health benefits or see the cited studies, search Wikipedia.org for “health benefits of chocolate”.

Another addition to our Superfoods is Chia Seeds. This is a name that has been popping up more and more recently, and I thought it was a bit of a fad thing – until I opened the glorious box of wonder the other day and found these marvellous seeds. Tiny, black and white speckles not unlike sesame seeds, but smaller, Chia are the perfect vegan food and a must have supplement with everyone’s diet. They don’t really taste of much so can be added to pretty much any meal. “So why would I use them?” you might ask: ‘Cause these little guys are SUPER. They contain a huge helping of vitamin C (7 times that of an orange) which is not only beneficial to the immune system but is also needed in the use of absorbing iron (I found that out recently! You can eat as much steak as you want and still be anaemic if you don’t have a high enough Vitamin C intake) They contain 3 times the amount of iron as spinach, twice the potassium as bananas, 6 times more fibre than oat bran (both soluble and insoluble fibre – fantastic!) a whopping five times more calcium than milk, and 4 times higher ORAC* value than blueberries (which are known as a superberry for having such a high ORAC value)

I know sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the suggested additions to your meals, but I think Chia seeds are one you can keep around and know you’re getting a pretty good helping of some great nutrients. Chia are the highest known plant source of Omega 3, being 8 times higher than Salmon. They also contain Vitamins A and B12, which is why they are perfect for vegans. Chia seeds are a complete protein, just like Quinoa, and can be ground to a meal and hidden in food for little ones with no one the wiser. If you soak Chia in water they become almost a gel, not dissimilar from frog’s eggs, which I am told can be used on tired eyes to soothe them or for conjunctivitis.

If you’ve been living under a rock on the world’s smallest island in the middle of the ocean then you still wouldn’t be forgiven for not having heard about Goji Berries and the associated health benefits. These are most well known for their antioxidant properties, and for improving the length and quality of life of the Chinese and Mongolian people for centuries. Although blueberries were once hailed as the highest antioxidant berry amongst the western world, Goji berries have since taken their place and even far exceeded the ORAC values of these. Goji berries carry high levels of Vitamin C, as well as Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and a host of amino acids, other vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides and dietary minerals, amongst many others. They also contain Iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and calcium. Goji berries also contain what is thought to be the highest plant found source of Zeaxanthin; a chemical found in the eye. Links have been made with consumption of Zeaxanthin lowering the severity and chance of onset of age related macular degeneration and age related eye disease. Another very handy thing to keep in the cupboard or fridge, and dried can be stored for long periods of time. Teas can be made out of the delicious berry which tastes like a cross between a raisin and a cherry, or you can sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal, porridge, or add to trail mix. If you like a sweet treat in the afternoon, you could keep a stash at your work desk and nibble them in the afternoon with a handful of nuts.

In order to prevent this article becoming a book I’ll cut it short there. But please, if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to ask me, or if they are more in depth questions your practitioner should be able to help you.

* Oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a scalar value derived in the laboratory for comparing the antioxidant content of different foods or nutritional supplements

“It is not normal! We do not have to put up with it!” Period Pain or Dysmenorrhoea

Louise Bennett brings us some relief from the dreaded monthly “cramps”. As the titles suggests, we don’t need to let the suffering continue! See what Chinese medicine and acupuncture can do for you.

Pain that occurs in the lower abdomen or lower back region before, during or after a period is termed dysmenorrhoea by the medical profession. Primary or functional dysmenorrhoea occurs for no obvious reason and investigations reveal the presence of no other disease. Secondary dysmenorrhoea however, occurs with diseases such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.Menstruation depends on the smooth flow of qi (energy) and blood around the body. Anything which impedes the flow of qi and blood can cause dysmenorrhoea. Some of the usual suspects which impede the flow of qi and blood include emotional strain, exposure to cold, overwork, chronic illness and excessive sexual activity or too many childbirths close together.Many of you may have forgotten what a normal period (menstrual cycle) looks and feels like. Your cycle should last around 28 days, give or take a couple either way. The flow should last from 3 to 7 days and you should lose between 50 to 100 ml of blood. The colour of the flow should start off slightly dark red for a couple of days and then fade to a lighter red, with no clots, pain, or unusual odour.

To Chinese Medical practitioners, the menstrual cycle is an amazing diagnostic gift – giving us clues that reflect changes in the whole body. According to Giovanni Maciacia (2000) a well respected Acupuncturist and academic, Chinese Medicine can diagnose dysmenorrhoea in 8 different ways, depending on the presenting symptoms. Questions asked during the consultation to arrive at a diagnosis include:

  1. Pain*?
  2. How long is your cycle?
  3. What colour is your flow?
  4. How many days does your flow last?
  5. Do you have clots?
  6. Do you suffer headaches?
  7. Premenstrual tension?
  8. Constipation/diarrhoea with period?

During the period, treatment concentrates on relieving the symptom. However between cycles, the treatment is aimed at treating the root cause of the dysmenorrhoea. Regular treatments over a 3 month period with acupuncture and Chinese herbs are required to regulate the menstrual cycle. Primary dysmenorrhoea responds well to treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs over this time frame. There will be initial improvements in secondary dysmenorrhoea however significant changes will require a longer commitment to treatment.

Damp and Heat Explained

Marney Murray brings us an article explaining how Damp and Heat (two basic elements of Chinese Medicine) effect our bodies, and how to remedy them. damp and heat

With summer almost here, parties and Christmas feasts generally mean over indulging in rich foods, alcohol and hanging out by the pool. Sound like fun? Not for everyone… How does climate and diet affect us during summer?

During the Qing and Ming dynasties (1368 – 1911), famous Chinese physicians found damp and warm weather conditions during the long summer period exacerbated many uncomfortable symptoms in many patients. These symptoms were due to ‘Damp’ and ‘Heat’ already existing internally in their patients. This article will explain what damp and heat is in the digestion and how to reduce it to minimise the uncomfortable side effects mentioned in the column to the left.

Damp and Heat internally manifests as a sticky type of fluid or residue (collectively called Dampness) generated due to incomplete digestion. The Dampness has a tendency to slow us down energetically, hence the feelings of heaviness or dulled senses.

This tendency to clog or obstruct the body’s metabolic rate is one of the reasons excess heat can appear in the body. The heat generated is “pent up” due to the sticky fluids not allowing it to escape as normal – much like the steaming/fermenting process of a compost heap. Damp and Heat hinder the usual metabolism of fluid, leaving the digestion less available to process the last meal, contributing to further Damp and Heat generation in the body.

To eliminate Damp and Heat, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are used to promote the movement of Qi benefiting the digestion and energy.
Damp and Heat conditions are generally long standing, and have been getting worse over a period of time, so a contentious effort and commitment to results are required from both patient and practitioner.

One of the most effective ways you can begin to reduce Damp-Heat is through diet and eating habits.

Eating only until 50-60% full will ensure that the digestion is not over loaded and can process all the food eaten, even if you eat more frequently. Lower consumption of rich, sweet, greasy, raw or cold foods as they reduce the efficiency of our digestive organs, whilst taking care with spicy, hot foods and alcohol will prevent excess heat. Beginning to adjust the diet to a more neutral and cooling one before the indulgent Christmas period will make summer a more pleasant time of year for you.
See your practitioner for dietary advice and print outs of the above mentioned food categories.
Putting your health first!
marney@albatherapies.com.au

Vegetarian Christmas Recipes

Julie Constantine and Elly Kielly have helped put together this delicious vegetarian feast for Christmas. Try your hand at a few of these tasty recipes.

VEGETARIANS CHRISTMAS RECIPIES

Sweet potato & leek roulade with Xmas stuffing
Ingredients (serves 6)
• Roulade
• 20ml (1 tbs) olive oil
• 1 leek, finely chopped
• 60g butter
• 1/3 cup plain flour
• 300ml milk
• 4 eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan
• Stuffing
• 30g unsalted butter
• 1 brown onion, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
• 1 tbs chopped fresh sage
• 1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Filling
• 500g sweet potato, peeled, chopped
• 15g unsalted butter
• 100ml thin cream
• 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 39 x 26cm Swiss roll pan.
2. To make the roulade, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leek and cook gently for five minutes until soft. Remove leek from pan. Wipe pan, then add the butter. When it has melted, add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Start adding the milk, a little at a time, whisking until all the milk is combined and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat, beat in egg yolks, one at a time and season.
3. In a separate, clean bowl, beat the eggwhites until stiff. Add a quarter of the eggwhites to the roux, then gently fold in the remaining eggwhites. Fold in leeks and cheddar until just combined, then pour into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffed.
4. Meanwhile, to make stuffing, melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for five minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and breadcrumbs and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Stir in herbs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
5. For the filling, steam or boil the sweet potato until tender. Drain and mash with the butter, cream and nutmeg. Season well and set aside.
6. When the roulade is cooked, place a clean tea towel on your workbench and sprinkle with the parmesan. Turn the roulade out onto the tea towel and peel off the baking paper. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then spread the sweet potato over the roulade.
7. Sprinkle the stuffing over the sweet potato. Using the edge of the tea towel, carefully roll up the roulade from the longest side finishing with the seam-side down. Slice and serve warm with rocket salad and glazed eschallots (shallots)

Rocket salad with redcurrants and hazelnuts
Ingredients (serves 6)
• 1/2 cup hazelnuts
• 60ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
• 20ml (1 tbs) hazelnut oil (or, if not available, use EVO)
• 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 150g wild rocket
• 1/2 cup redcurrants (preferably fresh, or substitute defrosted, frozen redcurrants)
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for five minutes. Cool slightly, then slip off their skins by rubbing them together. Chop roughly and set aside.
2. Place vinegar, oils and garlic in a small bowl. Season and whisk to combine.
3. Place rocket, hazelnuts and redcurrants in a large bowl, drizzle over the dressing and toss to combine.

Glazed shallot & capsicum salad

Ingredients (serves 6)
• 24 shallots, peeled
• 40ml (2 tbs) olive oil
• 2 each red and yellow capsicums, roasted, peeled, cut into strips
• 2 tbs brown sugar
• 1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Method
1. Blanch the shallots in boiling water for five minutes. Drain. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
2. Add the shallots and fry, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until golden.
3. Add capsicums and sugar and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sugar caramelises. Stir through the parsley and serve, warm or cold.

Christmas Pudding Truffles
Ingredients
175g digestive biscuit crumbs (or other vegan biscuits)
50g chopped raisins
50g roasted hazelnuts, chopped
50g ground almonds
75g blackcurrant jam
1 orange, zest only, very finely chopped
dark rum or brandy
150g plain chocolate (vegan)
White marzipan, angelica and glace cherries
Method
1. Mix the biscuit crumbs, raisins, nuts, jam and orange zest together in a bowl. Add sufficient rum or brandy to make a fairly stiff mixture.
2. Form the mixture into walnut sized balls.
3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Coat each truffle individually and rest on a foil covered board until set.

Decorate the top of each truffle by taking small pieces of white marzipan and rolling it out into an uneven shape, then press onto the top of each truffle to resemble icing. Add bits of glace cherry to resemble berries and angelica to represent holly.

Crispy Spicy Toast
Ingredients
2 cloves garlic (or less)
1 tsp salt (or less)
1/3 cup Olive oil/2 teaspoon Olive Margarine
1 tsp paprika/garam masala (or less)
2 tsps cumin seed, finely crushed
2 tsps sesame seed, finely crushed
Some slices of bread
Method
Peel and crush garlic
Add all other ingredients into bowl and mix well
Spread it on bread and toast it in frying pan. Enjoy with dip or on it’s own.

Cannellini & Sundried Tomato Dip Recipe
Ingredients
1 can cannellini beans
1 C steamed eggplant
1/2 cup toasted almond meal (or LSA)
1 clove garlic
2 T sundried tomato paste
(or 7 sundried tomatoes)
5 kalamata olives
Generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Method
Toast the almond meal lightly over medium heat. Stir constantly. Be careful, it burns quickly.
Lightly steam the eggplant.
Process all ingredients in food processor or with a hand-held barmix.
Serve with veggie sticks (celery, cucumber, carrot, capsicum etc.)
and/or
soy and linseed toast (cut into melba squares).
Can also be used as a sandwich spread.

Chilled Melon Soup

This refreshing summer soup is a great starter for
dinner on the patio on a summer evening.
Try any variety of melon in this recipe.
Serve leftover soup with salad for lunch the next day.

Ingredients
• 6 cups cubed ripe melon
• 1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
• 6 tablespoons lime juice, divided, plus more to taste
• 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion green,
• 1 whole scallion, divided
• 1 jalapeño pepper, plus more to taste
• 1 cup cold water
• 1 2-by-1/2-inch strip orange zest
• 1/2 cup orange juice, plus more to taste
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, or mint for garnish
• 6 teaspoons plain yogurt, or crème fraîche for garnish
Method
1. Dice enough melon to measure 1 cup and combine in a small bowl with cucumber, 2 tablespoons lime juice and scallion green. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve the soup.
2. Place the remaining melon and 4 tablespoons lime juice in a blender. Chop the whole scallion and seed and chop jalapeño; add to the blender along with water, orange zest, orange juice, ginger and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more lime juice, jalapeño and/or orange juice, if desired.
3. Refrigerate the soup until chilled, 2 hours.
4. Stir the reserved diced melon mixture and divide among 4 soup bowls. Pour the soup into the bowls. Garnish each serving with cilantro (or mint) and yogurt (or crème fraîche), if using.

Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the melon mixture (Step 1) and soup (Step 2) in separate containers for up to 1 day. Finish with Step 4 just before serving.

Dying of Thirst

It’s that time of year again and every year seems to be getting hotter. Hydration (drinking water) at this time is very important. At a seminar recently, I heard that to cleanse the body properly each day we need to drink 4 glasses (1 litre) of water per 22 kilos of body weight. So for a 66 kg person, 3 litres of water must be drunk. That’s pure water – not juice, tea or coffee.

If you drink soft drinks you should drink even more water; they may be cooling but they are actually dehydrating and acidic. Soft drinks also serve to leach calcium from our bones. What about mineral water you ask? Well, there’s natural mineral water and there’s carbonated mineral water. The bubbles in natural mineral water are from the bicarbonate in the water which makes them slightly alkaline – Good! ‘Carbonated’ or ‘Lightly carbonated’ usually means that they have added carbon dioxide (acidic) – not good. The body’s normal pH is about 7.4 (slightly alkaline), normal urine pH is 6.0 (due to acidic waste products) and normal saliva pH ranges from 6.0 to 7.4 (depending on what you’re eating). Soft drinks as well as the carbon dioxide have phosphoric acid in them making them one acidic drink! The body tries to neutralize this by using minerals (from bones) – there goes the calcium, magnesium, silica etc. Non-fluoridated water (I’ll discuss this in the next article) like we supply in the Alba Therapies waiting room, is best.

We have a wide range of water filters from URwater (http://www.urwater.com.au) for sale at Alba Therapies. Ask Elly, our wonderful receptionist, about great tasting water in your home. So drink plenty of water this summer and have a happy and healthy festive season. Cheers!dragonfly_tap

Edible Skincare!

It’s coming to the time of year when everyone stops and breathes – for at least 10 minutes anyway. For those of you lucky enough to have a few minutes to yourselves (or better yet, the ability to share this time with good friends!), it’s time for an all-natural pampering. Rustle up some of your closest friends, a bottle of wine (remember : red is FULL of antioxidants) and a DVD or some peaceful music and raid your pantry. JULIE CONSTANTINE brings you these awesome home-made skin care recipes.

Basic Cleansing Oil Formula

The shelf life of this oil is pretty much as long as the oil doesn’t smell “off” (or rancid). It should keep a couple of months or longer if you use Olive oil, store in an airtight jar and keep in a dark place.

Combine:
6 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoons vegetable oil of choice
6 drops of Antibacterial essential oil, Such as lavender or rosemary

Add ingredients to a jar (with a lid that can be secured tightly) and shake to blend. Dab a little onto your fingertips and massage onto your face. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Adzuki bean and Rice flour Scrub

This facial scrub is a nice, gently way to exfoliate the skin. Ground shells like walnut or almond can be too abrasive or harsh on the skin, so the ground adzuki bean makes a much smoother supplement.

Soak the adzuki beans until tender, and grind with rice flower to make a pasty scrub. You can use this as a facial mask, or as a scrub – or add it in with your favourite cleanser to really exfoliate those dead skin cells!

Honey, Avocado and Oatmeal Nourishing Exfoliating Facial Mask

You will need one Avocado, some honey and oatmeal for this recipe. It couldn’t be simpler!
Blend the flesh of half an avocado (the rest can be used to snack on!) into a paste. Add in 3 tablespoons of raw, coarse oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of clear honey. Mix into a thick paste so that it does not drip. If the mixture is too thin or runny, add more oatmeal until it is thick.

Take 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture and apply to a damp face. Massage gently in circles, never pulling down on the face. Concentrate on problem areas, such as the T-zone. Once your face has warmed up, stop and leave for about 10 minutes. A perfect time to read that next chapter! Or munch on the other half of the avocado. When the mask is cool, rinse with warm water, massaging gently.

This mask is very rich and nourishing, PERFECT for that dry after winter skin. If you wish to use it more frequently, massage into the skin only once. This treatment is not suitable for oily or acne prone skin.

This should be the right amount for 3 uses, so keep the remaining mask in an airtight container in the fridge. This will last for about 10 days.

NATURAL EYE CARE

Cucumber Eye Mask

This would have to be the most well known and most widely used methods of eye nourishment. Place a thin slice of cold cucumber over each eye and relax for 15-20 minutes. This helps calm the eyes and reduce darks circles.

Tea Bag Eye Mask
The next time you make tea; don’t just bin the tea bags. Lightly squeeze out the remaining liquid and place the tea bag in a container in the refrigerator. Use on the eyes when they are tired, and revive them! Or use on bruised eyes – this works very well.

A Gentle Detox

Leading up to and after the ‘silly season’ is a GREAT time to cleanse our bodies of all the gunk of the past year – and will help us to process all the coming attributes of this time of year. Marney Murray has an easy way to cleanse your system – turning away from all these unhealthy quick fixes we see so often.

There are several benefits from a gentle cleanse, including: A feeling of lightness and more energy, More mental clarity and ease of getting up earlier (the sun and the birds are up earlier now too), Release of the stiffness felt as the liver clears acids from the tendons and ligaments, And a boosted immune function and prevention of minor complaints – like summer flu, sinusitis, sluggishness and winter weight gain.

How long will it take, and what is required?
This is designed to be a gentle cleanse, so to not disturb your body – it take 2 weeks. One week to shift your diet to a cleansing one, and one week of doing the same with more focus.

  • Enthusiasm at the fantastic results that await you!
  • A departure from alcohol
  • Abstinence from animal products, including dairy products.
  • A reduction or removal of tea and coffee
  • Abstinence from refined flour and sugar products i.e. Commercial breads and cakes.
  • You will require patience and gentleness with yourself. If you eat something that is not beneficial, don’t scold yourself. Acknowledge it and just keep going!
  • Also listening to your body and resting adequately.
  • You will find you have more energy if you do a gently walk, stretch, or both everyday.

Ingredients List

You will need: A bag of lemons, (one for each day). Spirulina, powder or tablet form (powder is preferred), Fresh fruits and vegetables (esp. Leafy greens and seasonal produce), Sprouts of any kind – snow pea, alfalfa, etc. (Sprouted bread is okay to eat during a cleanse), Beans (dried or tinned), tofu, tempeh, meat alternatives and Whole grains, such as brown rice, millet and pearl barley.

Method

  • Plan the dates of your cleanse so you can have your pantry and fridge stocked. Also it gives your time to become mentally prepared and enthusiastic about the results you will achieve. Begin whenever you like, I tend to shop on a Saturday and cook staples Sunday, then officially begin Monday.
  • Prepare some foods that will keep for a day or two, like bean and rice patties or zucchini fritters. Try things that may be new to your cooking repertoire, as these can be good to snack on or combine with main meals of fresh leafy greens and vegies prepared on the day.
  • Every morning, squeeze half to one lemon and have it in water before you eat or drink anything. This helps the liver to cleanse and the lemon becomes alkaline in the body, which is essential to help clear acids from the tendons and muscles and support your flexibility.
  • If you are getting a thick tongue coating in the morning, your digestive organs are cleansing themselves. You can scrape the coating off with a teaspoon and rinse your mouth with water. (You can do this before your lemon juice).
  • With tea and coffee, be gentle with yourself. Reduce slowly or you may get a detox headache. This is a very gentle cleanse, not a strong detox, so I would suggest reducing your intake ASAP and during the first week bring your consumption down to 1 cup per day, until you feel you no longer need it.
  • One or two teaspoons of Spirulina in juice or water per day. If you have never tried Spirulina start with half to one teaspoon, as it is very nutritious and a cellular cleanser in its own right. The Spirulina is essential for energy during ‘the cleanse’, especially if you are going to continue working. The protein in Spirulina has digestive absorption that is four times greater than in beef. A teaspoon of Spirulina is equivalent to 36 g of beef!(Available in most health food shops)
  • Leafy greens! Add them to most of your meals. Lettuce, Rocket, Baby Spinach, English spinach, Bok choi or Pak Choi, and herbs, like fresh parsley, basil, mint, oregano… yum! Seasonal vegies like asparagus, snow peas and beans are delicious right now! Crunch!!
  • Most foods can be lightly steamed, poached, boiled or baked. If you are particularly robust or have ‘heat’, you can eat more raw foods (see your practitioner to clarify ‘heat’)
  • If you are tired or are cleansing mucous from your system, eat lightly cooked foods and avoid dairy. Mucous can manifest as runny nose, sinusitis, asthma, allergies, Candida, excess weight and thick tongue coating.
  • Beans need to be soaked. If you are using dried beans, you will need to acidulate them (soak them in water with half a lemon for 8 hours). Do this in the morning before you go to work, drain them off and put fresh water in and cook for around 1 hour when you return home at night, or on the weekend. When soft, strain and put in an air tight container. Add to salads or other recipes. They also freeze well. By doing this you will increase the digestibility of beans and avoid uncomfortable gas!
  • You may continue with your standard multi vitamins or vitamin C. Flaxseed oil or fish oil supplement can also be continued as they are essential fatty acids. Colloidal Minerals are an excellent way to boost the minerals of the bones while you cleanse your organs and tissues.
  • Drink plenty of pure water, and experiment with herbs and teas to keep your fluid intake up. Green tea can be a gentle alternative to reducing your caffeine from tea and coffee as it also contains small amounts.
  • Enjoy the experience, experiment with new recipes, encourage your family and friends to eat some of your healthy new foods options!

If at any time you need any help or have any questions, make an appointment with your practitioner and we can help you work out a detox that’s right for you, and help with herbs and teas and information!. Don’t hesitate to call us! (07 3843 3555)

School Holidays coming up! ATTENTION TEACHERS AND SCHOOL WORKERS!!

Well, we may be scratching our heads and looking around for answers as to how and why – but another year has come flying past us. Scary how these things sneak up, isn’t it? In just a few weeks (depending on schools etc) the school holidays of 2009/10 will be upon us – giving all our teachers, aides, admin staff, groundsmen and teachers-to-be a well deserved break. It’s been a big year, and after all that end of year marking of report cards, exams and assignments they can finally breathe a deep sigh of relief. At Alba Therapies, we can hear you a mile away… So, we’ve got a special offer JUST FOR YOU!.

Teachers, aides, school staff etc can come in to Alba Therapies and receive 10% off an hour long treatment! Try a relaxing massage, or even a remedial massage that goes a little deeper to work out those knots that have been building up all year. If you want a full body overhaul, why not try some acupuncture combined with Chinese herbs? We can tone you and get your body in fighting form for the Christmas break!

Don’t spend your holidays just getting over the last year – Relax, rejuvenate and replenish with the Alba Therapies team. Send yourself back into the new year with high spirits! Wind down and let yourself recover from the hectic year – with a fresh mind and body to make the next one even greater!.

We’ve got your health on our minds, so check it out. Let all your teacher friends and school staff members know – Maybe even a gift certificate for your favourite teacher? (Remember – some of them were looking after your kids whilst you had your treatment!!)

So hopefully we’ll see you during this Christmas break, we’ll keep you informed of our opening hours around the festive season a little closer to the date.

Peace!

Elly, Your friendly receptionist

Alba Therapies.