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Category Archives: Sustainability

When to choose organic foods?

Thanks Sarah for this simple, sound advice on choosing organic + resources to help us make the best decisions.

Sarah George Acupuncture and Natural Health

Dirty dozen foodsOrganic is the buzz word of the moment and everything from granny smith apples to tinned kidney beans to chicken breast fillets to cabernet sauvignon to body wash to tampons to cotton socks has an organic tag on it.

What does ‘organic’ really mean anyway?  (For anyone who remembers their grade 8 chemistry, ‘organic’ in a produce context refers to much more than the presence of carbon.)

According to Australian Organic, “organic produce is grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers, or GMOs with a focus on environmentally sustainable practices. Organic food is not just chemical-free. Organic farmers take a holistic approach to food production and handling, and the whole system is linked – Soil. Plants. Animals. Food. People. Environment. Health.”

As the term ‘organic’ is banded around by many companies to sell their wares, a savvy consumer will look for the term ‘certified organic’ to confirm…

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Real Food

I did a wonderful thing on the weekend. It was a real treat and I wish you all could have been there.

On Saturday I went to Town Hall and sat in on the Real Food Forum. US farmer, lecturer, author and all-round-excellent-individual Joel Salatin was the feature act. He spoke about sustainable farming (including the experience of his own ‘beyond organic’ family run farm), about respecting food production, the importance of connecting to it and how in fact to do that. It was awesome.

Informative, entertaining and completely inspiring.

Joel Salatin at RFF

Michael Croft from Mountain Creek Farm, just outside of Canberra, gave us an Australian perspective on providing nutrient-dense, ethically and sustainably farmed produce for the community. If I lived in Canberra, I would seek him out at the markets. If you do, you should.

All the proceeds from the day went to OzHarvest, a food rescue charity that takes excess unwanted food (from restaurants for example) and distributes it to charities supporting Australians in need. This is done at no cost to either donor or recipient and, Australia-wide, they deliver an average of 441, 500 meals per month – equating to 147 tonnes. That is INCREDIBLE! This is food that would otherwise be binned and ploughed into unusable landfill.

I feel very passionate about this topic and I’m often surprised when others aren’t. I know that’s my shtick – it’s the area I work in, so I should get a bit preachy about it. But it should be your shtick too!

It’s all too easy to forget the importance of good food – of real food – and where it comes from when you’re caught up in the whirlwind that is modern life… it happens to me too… but I’m telling you my friends, this is a really important thing to remember. Seriously now.


This is about our environment. Our community.

This is about our health. And, about the future we’re building for ourselves, our kids and the generations to come.


In case you don’t know who Joel Salatin is, you’ve not seen him speak before and/or couldn’t make it on the weekend, here’s a 15 minute snippet of inspiration just for you.

Nurture your adrenals: part 2

Here are my top 10 tips for nurturing your adrenals :

(if you’re thinking “WHAT are adrenals?” read this first)


1. Eat enough protein

Protein foods are made of amino acids, the ‘building blocks’ of life. You need these guys to stay in one piece. During busy patches and periods of stress it’s not uncommon to crave carbohydrate-dense food (hello, sugar!) at the expense of protein. Avoid that habit by keeping a wide range of high quality protein in your diet.

Examples of protein foods include good quality meat, poultry, eggs, fish, cultured dairy (e.g. natural yoghurt, cheese), legumes, tempeh, nuts, and seeds.

BTW when discussing the consumption of animal products, I feel strongly about choosing free-range, organic and non-grain-fed produce. In my opinion it’s the best choice for both individual and environmental health.

2. Also eat fat

Fat is an important source of energy for the body and plays a key role in nervous system function. A lot of people still feel worried about eating too much fat, but really, don’t be – fat doesn’t make you fat.

How can you up the fats in your diet? Here’s how: nuts (and nut butters), seeds (and seed butters), olive oil, coconut oil (and milk and cream), cold water fish (e.g. mackeral, salmon, tuna, sardines), eggs, avocado, grass-fed meats, organic butter, natural yoghurt… that’s a lot of options!


3. Get good sleep

Those hours spent watching the blanket show each night are also the ones our body uses to recover and repair from the events of the day. So, it stands to reason, the better your sleep the better you’ll heal.

The average ‘ideal’ amount of sleep for an adult is 7-9 hours / night, but you may need slightly more or less depending on your situation. Find some more information on how to get into the habit of good sleep here.

4. Move every day

Regular exercise keeps you fit and healthy. It is also one of the best ways to regulate up’n’down stress hormones. For this to be effective however, you need to be moving regularly, every day if you can.

While some people feel great doing high-intensity heart-thumping face-grimacing exercise, it’s preferable to focus on sustained, flowing, resistance-based movement when you’re stressed or rundown. This type of exercise is highly beneficial – and will still get your heart rate up – without inducing a cortisol spike (as intense exercise can) that’ll feed back into the stress cycle.

Some suggestions include: walking (bushwalking is even better), light jogging, cycling, dancing, swimming, surfing, yoga, weights training, pilates, and Qigong.

5. Be aware of your breath

Breathing, we all do it. Guess what? How you do it can impact your health. Who knew!

Mindfulness and meditation practices will almost always incorporate some breath awareness, as this helps to calm and focus our mind – a good skill in times of stress.

A lot of people, without realising, will breathe with short shallow breaths – particularly when stressed. This puts us into a mildly hypoxic state, which promotes inflammation and an inevitable cascade of health complaints. By learning how to breathe properly, and practicing this skill, much of that can be avoided.


6. Adrenal tonics

Adrenal herbs, as the name suggests, assist the adrenal glands to work more effectively. They are a tonic for the nervous system and help to restore normal physiological function.

Adrenal herbs, such as Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa) and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) are absolute gold during, or following, a period of prolonged stress and subsequent fatigue.

7. Adaptogenic herbs

Adaptogenic herbs increase the body’s nonspecific adaptation response to stress. They reduce your inflammatory response, balance immune function and help to stabilise the hormone fluctuation commonly association with stress and fatigue. They essentially act as a whole body tonic.

Some adaptogens I like to use include Withania (Withania somnifera), Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), Codonopsis (Codonopsis pilosula)and Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus). These will usually be combined in a liquid mix with other herbs that are specific to the individual.


8. Vitamin C

Vitamin C usually gets lumped in with snotty noses, coughs and colds (for which, I completely agree, it’s excellent). However, this nutrient is involved in much more than that. Us humans, unlike other animals, don’t synthesis our own vitamin C and tend to excrete extra-large amounts of it when we’re under pressure.

A decent supplemental dose will usually be in the vicinity of 1000 – 5000mg / day, but it’s important to adjust the dose according to each individual. I usually recommend dividing the dose, to encourage optimal absorption, rather than taking a large hit at once.

You will also find vitamin C in fruit and veg, especially broccoli, citrus fruits, kiwis, blackcurrants, mango, pineapple, guava and strawberries.

9. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzme Q10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant and key player in energy production. Fun fact, CoQ10 is also know as ubiquinone – as in ubiquitous: being, or seeming to be, everywhere at once. In other words, it’s used in and by all the bits of the body.

People with chronic health conditions or long-term stress are usually depleted of CoQ10 and significantly benefit from supplementation.

10. Magnesium

Magnesium, good old magnesium, we sweat this by the bucket load during times of stress. Physiologically, magnesium plays a role in the tension and relaxation of smooth muscle; it is also a co-factor in energy production and glucose regulation. Most of us could do with a dose.

You know those eye-twitches that annoyingly appear during the middle of an interview, or the jittery legs that you don’t even realise you have until someone points it out? Magnesium.

You will find magnesium in a number of food sources, especially eggs, cacao, almonds, cashews, kelp, wheatgerm and buckwheat.


So there you go: my top 10. There’s plenty more you can do for stress and fatigue, but that’s probably enough to get you going. Now, go forth and nurture!

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