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!

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.

Spring, Pregnancy and Acupuncture – Monica Seelig

pregnany1Spring is all about birth and growth, so it seemed appropriate that I should write and article about pregnancy and birth. If you can manage it, I can thoroughly recommend Spring as the best time to have a baby – I’d have to be a little biased of course, as my youngest turns 3 this month. I have had 2 wonderful pregnancies and births and want to let you know that there are many ways we can help women on their journey into motherhood. And being a practice of 5 women, we all just love anything to do with babies!
In my experience, I have often seen women coming to acupuncture for the first time with morning sickness as they are acutely aware of avoiding medications and any unwanted ill effects to their baby. They are pleasantly surprised that something so natural and painless can ease their symptoms and let them enjoy those early days of pregnancy. In Chinese medicine, we attribute morning sickness to the major changes taking place in the body during those first few months impacting on the energy meridians and causing changes to the way the Qi and Blood moves – e.g. it can get stuck, go up instead of down (you can guess what would happen here!), there might not be enough energy or it can generate heat. It can also be complicated by the pre-existing state of the woman’s digestive system.
Therefore, pre-conception care is also important. We all know you can’t beat good genes; it is without doubt the best gift you can give. Optimizingyour health before you conceive is beneficial for both yourself and your
baby if you are planning a pregnancy. The people we most often see in thiscategory are those who are having difficulty conceiving. An increasing number of women are using ARTs (Assisted Reproductive Technologies).
There have been some good studies published recently showing that combining acupuncture with egg pick up and transfer produced a statistically significant increase in the number of pregnancies. It’s great to
see acupuncture getting the limelight it deserves and an increasing number of gynecologists are now recommending acupuncture to their IVF patients. After the intensity of medical treatments, most women benefit
from the relaxation they receive from acupuncture.
If you are having difficulty conceiving, the focus of our treatment is often the regulation of the menstrual period. Too little or too much bleeding, too painful, too often, infrequent periods and PMT will all need to be
examined and regulated. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, a normal period should last between 4-6 days, should come every 26-32 days, should not be painful or cause any disruption to your everyday life.
Anything other than this is not “normal”. Because acupuncture is holistic, all other areas of your health are looked at. Women often report improvement in their sleep quality, energy and reduction of stress levels as major added benefits.

At the end of pregnancy, many of you may not realize that acupuncture and moxibustion are effective in turning breech babies. The optimal time to come in for treatment is 34 weeks as success rates are higher. Leaving it
to the last minute leaves no room to maneuver. Having baby in the “OA” positioning gives you the best chance of having a natural and quicker delivery.  Acupuncture can help with labour preparation and we have some
wonderful information on acupressure techniques that are great to use during labour.mother and baby
So if you or anyone you know is planning a pregnancy or is pregnant,
Alba Therapies offers a comprehensive and flexible approach to support
you through this wonderful journey.