Melbourne healthy eats

It’s been a while between blog posts but I’m happy to be back. I just completed my first semester studying nutrition, it’s been full on, but I’m loving learning about how food can help us to heal our body.

Recently I took a trip to Melbourne to visit friends and family. I lived in Melbourne, Australia for my entire life up until a year ago so I have a strong connection to the city. Melbourne is blessed with a diverse culture and as a result it has a unique and inspiring food scene, which includes healthy eateries. During my visit I was so inspired by the food being served I thought it was worth sharing. If you happen to find yourself in this beautiful place anytime soon and are in need of a healthy and delicious feed, give one of these eateries a go:

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  • Coin Laundry Cafe – located in the charming inner city suburb of Armadale, it is a cute corner cafe and a local favourite, it has a friendly vibe and serves up delicious food including excellent gluten free bread (yes, gluten free bread that actually tastes great).
  • Transformer – posh sister of veggie bar in Fitzroy, this restaurant serves up inspiring vegetarian food in a sophisticated atmosphere.
  • Walk Don’t Run – another cute cafe in Armadale serving up organic, locally sourced produce with a menu that allows it’s healthy and tasty ingredients to shine through. 
  • Serotonin Dealer – located in Richmond, this cafe is all about boosting your happiness via your tummy, which makes a lot of sense really when you consider that most of your serotonin (a neurotransmitter responsible for mood balance) is produced in your gut.
  • Heal Thy Self Co this was my regular when I lived in Melbourne. The delicious seasonal menu is built on bio-availability, eastern medicine and high performance psychology.
  • Tahina – Simple, healthy Israeli street food in Northcote. Try the green shakshuka!
  • MOM cafeif you have gut issues, this is your place. The menu was built by nutritionists, doctors, naturopaths and chefs and it caters for pretty much every dietary requirement you can think of.

If you visit any of these places or can recommend any other healthy cafes then drop me a note below!

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

 

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Tackling fatigue

Fatigue is something everyone can relate to, we all get tired and run-down at one point or another in our lives. What happens though when it takes over your life? Constant fatigue, brain fog, lethargy, aching muscles, to the point where even the most simple tasks become difficult. When it doesn’t go away, even with a good nights sleep, you know there’s a problem. This is what I’ve been dealing with for the last 6 months. It’s been so overwhelming that I haven’t been able to work or function normally.

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My naturopath believes I have adrenal fatigue, this condition is where the adrenal glands don’t function properly and below the necessary level. It is believed to be caused by prolonged levels of intense stress and poor health that result in strain on the body. For me personally I have been dealing with severe endometriosis, gut issues (SIBO) causing nutritional deficiencies, I had 2 surgeries last year, moved interstate and my husband has also been tackling his own health issues; when you look at all these factors, it’s no wonder I’m exhausted.

On a positive note, this week after 6 long months I feel like I’m starting to improve, I’m trying not to get too excited and tread carefully because I know I’m still not completely well. So, what has helped? The first step has been listening to my body and resting when I need to; the biggest lesson for me was when I took on a full time job after moving interstate to Brisbane, I struggled from day one and when I could hardly make it up the stairs at work I knew something was wrong, after 2 weeks I quit. Now, about 3 months later I’m starting to feel a little better, so I thought I’d share with you my tips for tackling chronic fatigue:

  • Rest, whenever you feel you need to, sit down for 10-15 minutes (don’t sleep during the day though) and sip a cup of herbal tea or water.
  • Try incorporating meditation and deep slow breathing, or breath regulation and lengthening (a technique in yoga called pranayama), it is a wonderful experience for your body and mind.
  • Cut out caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants. If you’re working, try taking a week or two off, schedule a holiday to get through the worst part of the caffeine withdrawal and help recharge your body.
  • Light exercise every day is important, try yoga – restorative or yin yoga, they are superb for fatigue. Walking is great too, try 15-20 minutes of light walking in the morning and/or evening. Don’t push yourself beyond this though.
  • Get outdoors and get some sunlight, (not excessive amounts of course) it does wonders for your state of mind, along with being the best source of vitamin D which is essential for assisting in the absorption of vitamins and for maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Talk to your doctor to get an overall health check and get a blood test. I was deficient in iron and B vitamins so taking quality supplements has helped enormously.
  • Eat a healthful diet and drink plenty of water, reduce your intake of sugar and eat home made meals made from unprocessed ingredients, including plenty of vegetables. All of this sounds obvious, but in our fast paced world it can be difficult to maintain, organisation and preparation is key.
  • Aim for 8-9 hours sleep a night and get to bed before 10pm. Try taking magnesium – I was waking during the night cramping (a sign of being deficient in magnesium), since taking a supplement powder I sleep like a baby.

 

Do you suffer from chronic fatigue? Are there any other tips that work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

Endo awareness month

March marks endometriosis awareness month. Endometriosis affects approximately 1 out of every 10 women, it is a chronic illness with no cure, it can cause debilitating pain, chronic fatigue, anaemia, infertility to name a few. It can have serious psychological and social impacts on a woman’s life.

About 1 year ago I had major excision surgery to remove endometriosis, it involved 7 hour surgery which removed 90% of my endo that had stuck all of my lower organs together including my bowel and following surgery was a stint in intensive care.

A year on so much has happened, but my health is still a work in progress. The moment I forget about my health, don’t eat the right food, allow excess stress and anxiety to creep in I feel it; the symptoms flare up which include pain, ‘endo-belly’ which is bloating usually associated with period pain and digestive problems. It just confirms for me the importance of nurturing your body and mind. My surgery was mostly successful, but there is no cure for endo, but by embracing self-care strategies it can make all the difference to your quality of life.

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This month, March 2016 there are plenty of awareness events happening around the world. I will be attending a high-tea organised by Endometriosis Australia to recognise endometriosis awareness month. By attending these events we can create awareness and end the silence.

Meredith x

 

 

A year of recovery and growth

The first day of 2016. How are you feeling? Personally, I’m ready for a fresh start; I feel as though last year was a culmination of the last 7 years of poor health. Yep 2015 was a doozy with 2 major surgeries due to endometriosis which included a bowel resection and re-implantation of a ureter to save one of my kidneys. Along with this I was diagnosed with SIBO which as with endometriosis, took years to diagnose.

So was my endometriosis excision a success? Has eating a healthful diet improved my condition? What are the key factors for improving health when dealing with a chronic illness such as endo? I’ll try and answer these questions for you.

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The first surgery this year was endometriosis excision which had covered my entire pelvis, all my lower organs were stuck together, including part of my bowel. In preparation for the surgery I was eating well but taking the new ‘wonder-drug’ for endo called Visanne. For me personally I felt little relief on the drug and continued to experience breakthrough bleeding. During surgery I lost a lot of blood which my surgeon believes could be because of Visanne, as a result I ended up in intensive care and had multiple blood transfusions. For those of you taking Visanne, if it’s working for you then great, but if you’re preparing for surgery then talk to your doctor, I would recommend to stop taking it pre-surgery.

Since my operation I have had a new endometrioma on my left ovary, I believe this happened about 4 weeks after surgery when I started taking a new pill Norimin and I experienced some breakthrough bleeding. There are also some adhesions and scarring which occured from the surgery which are unavoidable. The second surgery to save my left kidney was a success which I am happy to say. Unfortunately there is no cure from endometriosis and I still experience some dull aching and pain on my left side, but being on the continuous pill (so no periods) has been a relief. If I need surgery again my doctor believes a full hysterectomy is the only option for me due to the severity of my case. On the fertility route (which I started exploring about 4 years ago)  IVF is considered too risky now and my chances of getting pregnant through an egg donor are less than 30%. Not the best news but I’m learning to deal with my situation and move forward in a positive way.

How has diet helped? Eating a balanced wholefoods diet and drinking plenty of H20 has helped in many ways; reduced bloating, better digestion and improved energy levels, are all improvements that I have seen. After being diagnosed with SIBO I have recently just finished a course of antibiotics and have just started a new diet to treat this, the diet is a phased approach the first is very restrictive. I’ll share my learnings and experiences with this as I progress through the journey. I am focused now on healing my gut, as I believe it is the basis for good health.

Another factor that I believe has a huge impact on overall health is excess stress, so do what you can to remove it from your life. This will be a key focus for me this year, to remove negative energy and excess stress and continue to focus my energy on the positive aspects of life.

The last year has been full-on, along with my health struggles, my husband also went through brain surgery which was hugely stressful (as you can imagine). With 2015 now complete, it’s time to move forward; after everything we’ve been through my husband and I decided to sell our house, leave the city we’ve both lived in our whole lives and make a fresh start in Brisbane, as I write this my house is filled with packing boxes, I’ll admit it is stressful, but without action there is no change.

The last year has taught me how strong I actually am and it’s also given me a deeper sense of empathy and compassion. 2015 has instilled my love of nutritional medicine and yoga and I will continue on my journey in 2016 to find health, peace and love. Wherever you are at on your journey, I hope you find happiness and health in 2016.

Yours in health,

 

Meredith x

Evening rituals for a good night’s sleep

Getting a restful sleep is important, from personal experience if I sleep too much or not enough it can affect me physically, mentally and emotionally.

Incorporating rituals into your evening can help your mind and body relax and fall asleep more easily.

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My first suggestion is to keep the lights to a minimum, especially after your evening meal, keep only the necessary lights on and try lighting some candles to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Try not to eat a large meal at night and avoid eating after 8pm – if your body is busy digesting food it will prevent you from sleeping well. Alcohol and caffeine both disrupt sleep so try drinking herbal tea instead.

If you watch TV, turn it off at around 9pm (same goes for the computer/tablet) and begin your wind down, try some gentle stretches, restorative yoga or meditation, you only need to put aside 10 minutes, you will find your breathing slows and as you practice your mind will slow down too. Another ritual to try is yogic breathing or pranayama, if you’ve never tried this before, here is a simple sequence:

Close your eyes and sit down in a comfortable position. Slowly breathe in for 1,2,3 counts, hold your breath in, then breathe out for 1,2,3 counts, then exhale again for 2 more counts. Repeat this process very slowly about 3-4 times. This breathing technique is lovely at any time of the day if you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

When you’re ready for bed, turn the main light off and just keep a lamp on. Avoid watching TV, or looking at your phone, keep electronic devices away from you with the sound turned down.

For those of you dealing with pain I’d suggest investing in a lavender heat bag, you can heat it in the microwave then pop it in bed with you.

Try rubbing a few drops of lavender essential oil on your hands, neck and then slowly breathe in the scent, it is very relaxing, I do this every night.

I would suggest setting a alarm for the same time everyday, even weekends, this may seem overkill but getting a good night’s sleep is also about waking at the same time to set a pattern for your body, over time you won’t need an alarm but while you’re having trouble it may be worthwhile. Another tip is to get up as soon as you wake up, if you wake at 5am instead of your usual 6am, your body is telling you it’s time to get up, sleeping longer can make you feel tired and groggy.

Happy zzz’s!

Yours in health,

Meredith