1. Every year, around this time, I see the same pattern.  Things get noticeably busier – in business to tidy things up before the end of the year, in social life to catch up with everyone before the end of the year, in families to sort everything out for the kids school break (and christmas parties), and to start planning Christmas – trying to keep all sides of the family happy, deciding on the food, the presents, juggling the finances etc etc.  Does this sound familiar to you?

    We put ourselves into over drive, we rev our engine to keep going and then … low and behold come Christmas break, we break.  We get a cold, we feel like we could sleep for a few days, we get more bloated and digestive discomfort (and not just from eating too much on Christmas day), hayfever is worse, and for women your period is a nightmare.   

    So lets make this year different.  Why not put yourself, your wellbeing as a priority this year.  To be honest, its the best gift you could give yourself (and your loved ones).  There are so many factors that being stressed will influence.  It has a profound effect on fertility, menstrual regularity, energy, inflammation, immune health, food intolerances, mental wellbeing, and many more.  So why give yourself that line up when we can avoid it.

    Here are my suggestions to put in place NOW, don’t wait until December as I assure you it will be here before you know it.

    • Write a list – a  list of things you NEED to get done, not just the things you WANT to get done.  Are there people that you can wait until the New Year to see? Are there Christmas functions you don’t need to attend? 
    • Write a list for presents.  It can be easy to go overboard or buy on impulse, have a think now about a gift and it doesn’t have to be monetary, but stick to that gift.  Don’t go around in circles and buy things for the sake of giving, as lets fact it, they end up in the landfill sooner rather than later and that is helping NO ONE.  Give a gift that you know will be appreciated from the recipient.  As I said, this can be not of monetary value but a gesture, and these are the most appreciated ones of all.
    • Keep your regular routines.  It is easy to get carried away in the world of overwhelm and then drop our exercise or eating habits, which then ultimately leads to worse health.  Despite the extra commitments, commit to your exercise, commit to making those healthy meals.  The more you fill your life with the positive influences (or positive, healthy food) the less room you will have for the less positive things (or poor food choices). This will also help to keep your energy levels up which in turn will help you to attack those extra commitments with vigour.
    • On the note of food, make sure you are consuming LOADS of vegetables or salads.  There is inevitably more alcohol/treats consumed so try to counterbalance this by providing your body with the good stuff.  The more greens we consume, the more this helps to alkalanise our system which therefore assists in detoxification, energy production, and overall cell health.
    • If you tend to be an emotional eater, try to start good habits now not buckle when it gets busy.  Prepare some healthy snacks to have on hand for when you want to eat something you know you shouldn’t, drink lots of water, find your distractions, go for a walk etc.  If you do succumb to your craving, DO NOT beat yourself up over it.  Just make better choices going forward.  Nothing will be gained from the guilty feelings, and all this will do will accentuate the ill effects of stress.
    • Keep hydrated.  When you are stressed you can forget to consume the water you need to.  You also tend to lose your essential electrolytes critical for hydration and energy.  So … keep drinking your water.
    • Make sure to get early nights at least 4/7 nights per week.  Sleep is the MOST fundamental thing towards good health and stress management.  Late nights and early mornings do not help this.  Limit your screen time, and make sure you get at least 8 hours + per night.
    • If you don’t already, start some regular breathing exercises.  By getting deep belly breaths, you alert your body that you are no longer in “fight or flight mode” and are in fact relaxed and able to reset your stress hormones more efficiently.  Breathing in for 4 and out for 6 whilst focusing on the breath expanding your belly not your chest is a great way of doing this.  Even for 5 minutes per day will make profound changes to your health.
    • Get out into nature.  Getting to the beach or a forest is such a great way to help us reset.  The increased oxygen from the trees, the energy from the tides all make a big difference to us and just the fresh air alone helps to clear your mind and allow you to tackle you day/s ahead.
    • Be kind to yourself, we place  A LOT of pressure on ourselves at this time of year, so take a load of it off and just don’t sweat the small stuff.
    • If you are reading this and already feeling overwhelmed and anxious, you could probably do with some natural assistance over the coming months to support your nervous system and adrenals.  There are many great products specific for certain types of stress so please don’t hesitate to contact me to order something to help you through.  (

    Christmas should be “the most wonderful time of the year” don’t make it hard on yourself and others around you each year due to your stress.  I have been there, the full Christmas grinch when I went through adrenal burnout, and luckily on the other end of it I now cannot wait and love all the festivities.  Embrace all the fun, the love and the hype of Christmas, but do it in your way – the way that best enhances your health and your vitality.


    Tarryn x

  2. Fermented Foods

    July 11, 2017

    This is certainly not a new fad that is doing the health rounds.  Yes it has become more popular more recently, but fermentation of foods has been done for centuries in many different cultures, and thankfully it is one very beneficial food source to sink your teeth into.  

    What on earth is fermentation you ask? It is the process of food preservation or “lactofermentation” where bacteria thrive off the sugars and starches in the food and create lactic acid which preserves the food.  Through this process, it then creates an invaluable amount of enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, and some b vitamins.  All this also improves the way we digest our food.  

    The benefits of eating these fermented foods include a great improvement in gut health due to the improved absorption of foods as well as the supply of probiotics to create a healthier gut flora.  Particularly with this time of the year where there are so many bugs around and everyone is catching colds and flus, this is a great cost effective way to support your immune system as 80% of your immunity is derived from you gut. Due to the probiotics it can be very helpful for those that suffer from digestive discomfort, it can however cause more bloating and discomfort initially as your body copes with the change of flora.  If you have digestive issues and fermented foods don’t help make sure to contact your health care provider to get on top of it.

    Fermented foods are very cost effective, there are so many options out there now for sale and due to only needing a small amount with your meals they last a long time.  It is also way more cost effective to make your own, and this generally leads to more potent probiotics as well as you being able to tweak the taste to be just how you like it.

    Its also a great way to preserve your vegies.  When things start to go a bit sad looking in the fridge, and you aren’t likely to use it in your cooking or smoothies, then fermenting them is a great alternative to save waste as well as provide yourself with a nutrient dense food to use later on.

    There are a ton of recipes online to make your own ferments, these are my favourite ferments that I often have in my fridge.

    • Sauerkraut – Fermented cabbage, which can be made as simply as just cabbage, salt and water.  Adding extra spices and herbs gives it a bit of a flavour kick.
    • Kimchi – Sauerkrauts asian cousin – this is similar to Sauerkraut but with added spices and pickles and has a real kick to it.
    • Miso – Fermented rice, soybeans or barley.  Can be used as a paste, made into a soup, or for cooking.  Has the umami flavour which we often neglect and is super important for digestion.
    • Pickles – any type of vegies are great for this.
    • Kombucha – a fermented tea with a fizz.  This is not one to over do, and I will say the probiotic benefit of Kombucha is short lived however it is a great alternative to any other sugary drinks.  Making your own is definitely a bonus due to some of the more commericially available products are higher in sugar.

    If you tolerate dairy then using 

    • kefir (which is essentially a drinkable tart yogurt)
    • yogurt (not a sweet fruity one!) 

    You can also use coconut for both of these if you want a dairy free alternative.

    Try some ferments this week with your meals, great as a side dish to accompany your meals and really aid in that digestion and immune health!

  3. Period Pain

    May 31, 2017

    Lately in the media there has been a lot of discussion about allowing women 1 day a month off work for period pain.  Although I am all for women’s rights and making life more comfortable at a not so comfortable time, my thoughts are shouldn’t we be spending the money on better preventative health care and education to prevent this pain in the first place? 
    Period pain is extremely common but that doesn’t mean that it is “normal” to have it.  In an ideal world, women should get their period every 28-32 days. bleed lightly for 3-5 days without any other uncomfortable symptoms.  Unfortunately this isn’t the case for most females and the list of symptoms for that time of the month can be cravings, moodiness/heightened emotions, back pain, uterine cramps, sore breasts, lumps in the breasts, headaches, and fatigue.  This is not to mention that the actual period can also have a lot of clots, very heavy flow, dizziness, and bowel irritability.  Most women will experience some of these symptoms with some women experiencing them all. 

    It is important to get checked out to ensure that you do not have endometriosis or fibroids or any other structural issues.  Depending on the severity of the symptoms there is a lot that can be controlled and managed through simple changes in your diet and lifestyle.

    A lot of the time, these hormonal issues are caused by an imbalance of your estrogen and progesterone.  Whether it is a matter of your estrogen levels actually being too high or more so that your progesterone is too low, it is still a matter of relative estrogen excess.  As much as estrogen is essential for healthy bone density, healthy skin, balancing cortisol levels and overall hormonal health, when we have an excess of estrogen (usually from an excess of estrogen like substances) it causes excess cell growth (cue endometriosis, fibroids, uterine linings – therefore heavy periods, cancerous cells, fat storage – particularly around the butt and thighs) as well as moodiness, liver congestion and acne.  It is essential to tame this beast to tame these monthly symptoms. So how to do this:

    • Support liver clearance – through the use of leafy green vegetables and particularly cruciferous vegies such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale.
    • Cut out or limit any use of plastics.  Plastics contain many oestrogen like substances that leach into our system which bind to our oestrogen receptors as they have a similar make up.  These in particular are things that contain PCBS, BPA and phthalates.
    • Consume turmeric and ginger each day to assist your body in decreasing levels of inflammation as well as increasing overall circulation.
    • Consume adequate levels of good quality plant fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut, olives as these are essential for healthy hormone balance and inflammation.
    • Consume a mostly plant based diet.  Many studies have shown diets high in animal meat has an adverse effect on hormonal health.  This is not to say that cutting out all meat is essential by any means, but ensuring that you are consuming red meat no more than 2 x week, and your eggs and chicken are organic.  Your plate should be full of seasonal vegetables with a small portion of meat, not the other way around.
    • Cut out sugar, gluten and dairy (and other foods you may be intolerant to) to reduce the overall systemic inflammation in your body.
    • A diet high in fibre (from your vegetables) is a diet that will assist in clearance of excess estrogen.
    • Drink adequate amounts of water each day to assist with your body to clear excess hormones.
    • De – stress.  Stress will cause a huge imbalance of your hormones, so if you cannot eliminate your stresses then ensure to manage that stress.  Things like meditation, yoga, walking, hiking, laughing, reading, etc.  Anything where your heart rate is slow and your breathing is slow and you feel relaxed and happy. 
    • Do not do any high intensity training on the first day of your period.  This will increase your inflammatory processes, increase chance of retrograde bleeding and will zap your energy that is needed for your body at the most crucial time of the month.

    Of course there are also many helpful supplements and herbs that help with specific symptoms and the direct cause of the problem.  This is best to seek help from a healthcare practitioner as you don’t want to go and take herbs or nutrients that may not be appropriate for your unique hormonal issue.  

    So sure, if the day off is offered, take it, embrace the rest from our fast paced life and give your body that delicious down time it needs, but don’t settle for pain and discomfort as part of your monthly pattern.  There are too many months in the year and too many years to put up with that.  Try the advice above to change your pattern and if there is still no improvement seek help from a Naturopath to help get your hormones happy again 🙂


  4. Foundations of Health

    May 22, 2017

    In life we can get carried away with minor details, following the latest trends, keeping up with the Jones’ and just ultimately trying to achieve greater results and successes.  However … it is all about the foundations.  If we don’t start with great foundations then nothing will last, nothing will work longterm, and inevitably will negatively impact your life.  Nutrition is one of these things.  There are so many food trends, fads that come and go, crazes that are in the media and it is easy to want to try to stay on top of it all.  However, the question I ask is have you got the fundamentals of your nutrition right?

    It is crucial for our health to get a good balance of your macronutrients, to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, keep energy up, support your microbiotica, provide your cells with nutrients to perform their thousands of functions and promote overall longevity.

    What are these macronutrients? 

    Many people think that this category is made up of all grain products such as breads, rice, pasta, cereals etc.  This is certainly true, however it expands to all vegetables, fruits and simple sugars such as sweet treats.  Essentially all carbohydrates break down into a form of sugar which is then ultimately broken down and utilised as energy, and what isn’t used is then stored for energy later in on the form of fat.  

    For quality carbohydrate consumption it should be plant based products ie vegetables and fruit.  Anything that has had to be stripped/processed/baked/manufactured for our consumption should be eliminated and is generally too high in carbohydrate leading us to blood sugar imbalances and excess fat storage.

    Protein is in most foods but is high in mostly animal products and eggs.  It is also available for vegetarians from legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds and some grains like quinoa.  Protein is broken down into amino acids and is the basis for all building blocks in our system, from immune cells to muscle to hormones to hair and skin cells.  

    For optimal protein consumption choose good quality ideally organic or at least pasture raised meat, organic eggs, sustainable fish and ensure to soak legumes before consumption.  I tend to not recommend soy products due to the variability in its quality and due to its estrogenic compounds it can have negative hormonal effects for some people.

    Fat is derived from plant foods such as avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut, olives, as well as oily fish – salmon, tuna, mackerel and also animal fats from meat and dairy.  Fats are essential for maintenance of healthy hormones, nervous system function, brain tissue, blood sugar balance and overall cellular integrity and communication.  Your fat consumption should ideally come from your plant fats – avocado, nuts and seeds, good quality oils.  You certainly can consume good quality animal fat as well but just not as high amounts, and you definitely want to avoid any processed fats such as margarine, hyrogenated oils, processed oils such as canola and safflower oil as these have had many negative health effects in our body.

    Your food should be in its most pure form, from what nature intended.  Nothing that has had to be manufactured for your consumption.  Not only do we need your macronutrients but Micronutrients are essential.  This is your vitamins and minerals and are in their most absorbable form in their whole parts ie the whole plant.  Consuming processed foods with fortified nutrients is never a good way to consume your nutrition.  For example, all macronutrients although they essentially break down to similar parts are not equal.  Consuming your carbohydrates from either broccoli or white bread – one provides a heap of minerals, phytonutrients, detoxifying compounds and fibre and the other, well, strips your body of nutrients due to its acidic nature, causes constipation from its lack of fibre, high carbohydrate load leading to fat storage and energy depletion.

    When shopping you want to shop ideally from a farmers market and butchery to ensure fresh produce (and support local suppliers) or if in a supermarket the outside aisles.  

    Your diet should be plant based with adequate protein.  There should always be an abundance of colour from a variety of vegetables/salad/fruit and should be in season ie eating salad in winter goes against the grain and your body does not respond to eating cold food in cold weather.  

    Everyone has different requirements when it comes to their ratios of each macro profile. For a basic idea though, and the average person for good health should be having – Carbohydrates (vegetables/salads/fruit) should be about the size of your hand, Protein (meat/legumes) should be about your palm size and thickness, and Fat (avocado, oils, nuts and seeds) should be 3 fingers worth.  If you are wanting to trim down, bulk up, are an athlete, child, elderly or have any health disorders these ratios may need to change to give you the right breakdown to work best with where you are at.  

    If you are looking to change your health and diet and looking to follow the latest fad, please get your nutritional basics first.  Just Eat Real Food. From there you can tweek it further and experiment but please don’t try fit the fancy trimmings on the house before you have the foundations of it laid solidly.  Find the right balance to suit you and if you need help to adjust it for your needs seek help from myself or another health professional to tailor it for you as google often doesn’t get it right.

    For some ideas of different types of meals using real foods, please flick through the recipes section on our blog for some inspiration.


  5. I think it is safe to say that the warmer weather is well and truly behind us and we are heading into the colder darker months.  Personally I find this change of season quite refreshing as it encourages us to stop being as busy, to rest more, go to bed earlier and generally slow things down a few gears.  However, what comes with the change of season, and also the slowing down is our immune system likes to show its head as we tend to battle through with colds and flus. Getting 1-2 colds per year is actually healthy as it gives your body a chance to renew your White Blood cells and clear out a lot of waste, and kick your immune system into gear a bit but … any more than a mild 1 or 2 colds and its time to support your immune system.

    Here are my gold tips to start boosting your immune system to keep you and your family strong this winter:

    • Slow down.  Give your body a chance to rest and recuperate after a busy summer.  Allow your cortisol to regulate out, which then allows your immune system to function at its best.  When we are stressed out our immune system is suppressed.  Also going to bed earlier and allowing your body to follow its natural circadian rhythm will allow for more healing, detoxification and supportive functions of all organs.
    • Eat for the season.  More warming nourishing foods such as casseroles, slow cooked meats, soups, bone broths etc.  Not only will your slow cooked meats render more minerals and immune boosting collagen from the slow cooking process, but the soft food makes it a lot easier for your digestive system to break down allowing your body to focus on all other functions not just a struggling digestion.  
    • Support your digestion with prebiotics (asparagus, onion, garlic, leeks, unripe bananas) to feed your good bacteria, probiotics (supplementation is best, but food such as sauerkraut,  kimchi, kombucha, kefir are also good options).  Your gut is 80% of your immune system.  If you have a dysbiotic or imbalanced digestive microbiotica this will greatly effect your immunity.  
    • Check for food sensitivities or intolerances.  Low grade intolerances will cause a constant level of inflammation in your system.  Often these foods aren’t just the common foods such as gluten or dairy but can be random specific foods that you are consuming on a daily basis.  This constant inflammation will down regulate your immune system leaving you open to more infection.
    • Supplement with key nutrients if you are susceptible to getting sick.  The key nutrients I suggest are Vitamin D, Zinc and C.  If you are exposed to a lot of bugs (ie school teacher) then I also suggest immune boosting herbs such as Echinacea, Andrographis, Astragalus, Elderberry and if stress is involved Rhodiola and Withania.  (talk to me or your health care provider to get you a specific mix that will suit your needs).
    • Add some spices into your diet to boost your system such as Turmeric, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon which all help to reduce inflammation and increase circulation.
    • Get out and exercise regularly. Exercise is one of the most efficient ways to boost your immune system, clear out old cellular debri, boost your cellular energy, decrease inflammation and increase overall mental health which goes a long way in keeping your body healthy.
    • Last but not least, surround yourself with happy people.  There has been a lot of research to show the effect on cellular health with those in a positive state compared to those who are in a negative frame of mind.  If your mind is feeling low, chances are your body will soon follow. 

    Embrace the colder months for a chance of hibernation.  Keep warm and nourish your body.  Remember too, that getting sick is often a warning signal that we are rundown, stressed out, not looking after ourselves physically or mentally.  Take note of it and make the necessary changes to boost yourself up x

  6. Energy – we all want more of this right?? 

    There are many different causes to having low energy, the main ones listed below.  Addressing the specific cause is key to getting the best results with your energy.  You may read through some of these and get that “AHA” moment and know that sounds like you, or there are many tests that can be run to find the determining factor. 

    Adrenal Fatigue 

    Unlike what the name suggests, your adrenal glands are not actually fatigued.  It is actually more a communication error between your brain and adrenals due to your signalling pathways being over used.  Much like a track in a bush that becomes boggy due to it being the most used path from A to B.  When this occurs, our reactions to stress change.  It may be that we are in the tired but wired stage where we are producing a lot of cortisol to keep us going, and sometimes this peak of energy at night time can stop us from sleeping.  Sometimes we have passed this point without noticing it and have gone straight to fatigue where as a protection mechanism our cortisol levels are very low and therefore feel like we are trying to drive a car without any fuel.  Typical symptoms may look like:

    Slow recovery after training
    Lack of stamina during training
    Poor immune system – catching anything that goes around
    A second wind around 9pm after being tired all day
    Struggling to get up in the morning and needing that coffee hit
    Lack of appetite
    Lack of sleep wipes you out
    Inability to cope with small stresses
    Craves salty food
    Easily crash after sugary foods

    Sluggish Thyroid

    This is generally linked with adrenal health as well as other hormonal issues as it comes from the same HPA axis from the brain.  Our thyroid is part of our bodies engine, and can also burn out. Typical thyroid symptoms include:

    Low body temperature
    Inability to lose weight
    Thinning hair and eyebrows
    Dry skin
    Skin pigmentation
    Brain fog

    Blood sugar irregularities

    This one tends to hit around the 2.30/3pm when total brain fog occurs, and the want to fall asleep under your desk is strong.   The cravings for sugar are high at this point and the cookie jar at work tends to call your name.  This is when you need to assess what you have eaten for the day and how balanced your meals have been.  For most people if you haven’t eaten sufficient protein or fats for the day your blood sugars will crash out and your energy systems are just not functioning at optimal.  If all you have consumed is processed foods you haven’t fed your body any nutrients and it is after energy with sugar being the fastest route.  

     Food intolerances

    When we are consuming foods that for some reason don’t respond well in our body, it causes a low level of inflammation which will lead to fatigue.  This doesn’t just come from the common dairy and gluten.  It can be specific foods such as cashews, chicken, eggs, broccoli etc which we usually deem as healthy for us, and unfortunately with continual consumption can cause a constant low grade inflammatory response until a) the food is eliminated and b) the gut has been worked on to heal up and reduce this intolerance.  

     Gut dysbiosis

    This is simply an imbalance with our microbiome.  This can mean too many of our pathogens such as funghi, yeast, bacteria, parasites or simply too many of specific types of “good” bacteria and not enough of the others.  Each different type of bacteria has a purpose and therefore without the correct balance can cause chaos.  Much like too many politicians and not enough doctors.  With any gut issues whether its dysbiosis or inflammation it is often likely that you won’t be absorbing your nutrients and driving up the inflammatory process even further so working on the gut and healing it up is crucial.  Symptoms of an unhappy gut are:

    Bloating either directly after meals, or inbetween meals
    Reflux or indigestion
    Pain after eating
    Foul smelling stools
    Brain fog
    Poor skin
    Skin issues

     Nutrient deficiency

    There are so many nutrients that are key to our energy and consuming them from our diet and through supplements will go a long way to alleviating fatigue.  Nutrients such as B vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Iodine,  Zinc, Co Q 10, carnitine, vitamin C, and Iron.  Be careful though on supplementing with products you are not sure about the sourcing of nutrients as many will be cheap products with very low bioavailability so always get advice on what is suitable for you personally.  Also taking supplements because you have read on google they should be good for you is never a good idea as your biochemistry is totally different to the next person and your need for different nutrients will differ.


    This can be from so many different types of pathogens.  Chronic infection can linger in your system and often are so cunning that are buried so deeply within your matrix that won’t clear unless there is a very intensive specific protocol.  These tend to be the causes of the issues of the “I haven’t felt right since ….” whether it was a travel bug, whether it was glandular fever as a kid etc

     Mitochondrial dysfunction

    Our mitochondria are the little energy systems in our cells. They are in highest number in our muscle tissue and are regenerated by exercise.  They are damaged by oxidative stress – environmental stress, mental stress, poor nutrient intake, lack of exercise etc.  These little guys are key to keeping our energy up and the foundation of boosting energy regardless of the other causes.  A great way to determine whether your fatigue is simply from mitochondrial dysfunction is by determining whether post exercise you feel good or not.  If you feel better after exercise it is likely that it is your mitochondria that need support, if you feel tired or worse then it is likely stress or one of the other causes listed above.

    Work with your health care provider to get on top of your energy, every person is different and their needs and protocols are all going to differ.  If you have been suffering from fatigue and are “sick and tired” of it, I would love to see you and help you out.

    If you want to make a booking click here to see me at either Mt Eden or Kumeu.

    Tarryn x 

  7. Spring is in the air, the birds are singing and the sun is starting to shine. Finally! For some people this may be enough to kick-start the battery pack and get their spring glow on. But for the rest of us, the toll of the cold winter months may still be hanging around. If you are feeling like your body is need a little TLC right now, you are certainly not alone.  At this time of year some of the most common reasons people come to see me for are their skin health, weight, and energy levels – all of which have usually taken a turn for the worse over the winter period.

    The ongoing lack of sunshine, overindulgences, and  less than optimal exercise so often associated with the colder months can have such a profound influence on the way that we look and feel, that by the time spring arrives we are ready for change.

    In traditional Naturopathic philosophy, the seat of good health lies in attaining a healthy balance within our body systems. This includes our endocrine (or hormone) system, digestive system, and detoxification system, as well as our external environment and perception of this. Any imbalance in one area can have a knock on effect in other areas, which over time can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.  And from this perspective, getting to the root cause of the issue is the only way to really overcome it.

    Take for example, our skin health. Spots can be a sign of hormonal disturbances, often associated with excess testosterone levels or problems with the body’s ability to breakdown and clear oestrogen. Unwanted hair growth or acne that worsens premenstrually are both indicators that the breakouts  may be caused by a hormonal problem. Spots can also be linked with poor gut health and detoxification issues and these types of blemishes tend to appear on the forehead and cheeks. Naturopathically we would look for clues such as digestive disturbances and poor detoxification. These may include poor diet, excessive flatulence, bloating and heartburn amongst others. Simple functional tests to check for bacterial overgrowth (or undergrowth) can also be useful.

    Your weight may be as simple as the result of the food you are eating. But the majority of the time, the issues are more complex than simply equating to calories in equals calories out.  If you have tried every diet under the sun but still can’t lose weight, then there are likely some underlying imbalances that will be contributing.  Investigating other areas such as digestive health, hormonal or blood sugar imbalances, thyroid dysfunction or cortisol disturbances caused by ongoing stress will shed more light on your situation. Clues that one or a combination of these may be a problem for you include having digestive symptoms,  PMS, low energy, cold hands and feet, poor concentration and memory, shakiness that improves with eating, or feeling wired and tired, or just feeling down-right tired all the time.

    Low energy is often attributed to late nights and a heavy work load. Provided this is not an ongoing problem, the body can cope with the intermittent stresses and strains of day-to-day life. However, chronic, unrelenting stress can have a long-term impact on your body. When the body undergoes long periods of stress it puts a heavy strain on your adrenal glands, a little like pressing accelerate on your car without ever stopping. The adrenal glands are responsible for producing your stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which are important hormones for managing your get up and go. However, if overworked, the production of these can become out of balance and eventually lead to adrenal burn out, also known as adrenal fatigue. Stage 1 of adrenal burn out causes abnormal fluctuations in cortisol levels affecting sleep patterns and causing energy fluctuations throughout the day – a feeling often coined as “wired but tired”. Clues that you may be experiencing the early stages of adrenal burnout include, feeling energetic in the morning with a slump in the afternoon, and then a second wind at night, with difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep, you may crave coffee but it tends to make you feel worse, and you often rely on sweet or carbohydrate foods to get you through the day. Despite your greatest efforts weight begins to gather around your abdomen, and the dreaded muffin top begins to appear. Stage 2 is when the engine is quite simply running out of gas, causing exhaustion that doesn’t improve – even getting yourself out of bed in the morning is an achievement in itself. Coffee and sugar may be the only thing that keeps you going, and weight may start piling on despite not having a huge appetite.  Alongside these clues, salivary cortisol testing is an excellent tool to help identify adrenal fatigue. At the same time it is essential to rule out other potential and often associated causes of low energy such as impaired thyroid function, poor digestive health, low iron, B12 or folate.

    The following questionnaires are great tools for you to assess whether digestive or hormonal imbalances may be at the root of your health challenges.  If you can identify with any (or many) or the symptoms above then I encourage you to take 10 minutes to complete the questionnaires and see what information comes to light. You may just be surprised!


    To get that Spring back in your step, click here to book in to see Andrea:

  8. Hormonal Balance Questionnaire

    Do you have or have you experienced in the past 6 months?…

    PART A

    • A feeling you’re constantly racing from one task to the next?
    • Feeling tired yet wired?
    • A struggle calming down before bedtime or a second wind that keeps you up late?
    • Difficulty falling asleep or disrupted sleep?
    • A feeling of anxiety or nervousness – can’t stop worrying about things beyond your control?
    • A quickness to feel anger or rage – frequent screaming or yelling?
    • Memory lapses or feeling distracted?
    • Sugar cravings (you need a “little something” after each meal, usually of the chocolate variety)?
    • Increased abdominal circumference, greater than 35 inches (the dreaded abdominal fat or “muffin top” – not bloating)?
    • Skin conditions such as eczema or thin skin?
    • Bone loss (osteopenia or osteoporosis)?
    • High blood pressure or rapid heart beat?
    • High blood sugar (prediabetes, diabetes or insulin resistance)? Or shakiness between meals (blood sugar instability)?
    • Indigestion, ulcers or GERD?
    • More difficulty recovering from physical injury than in the past?
    • Unexplained pink to purple stretch marks on your belly or back?
    • Irregular menstrual cycles?
    • Decreased fertility?

    PART B

    • Fatigue or burnout (you rely on caffeine to boost your energy or fall asleep while reading or watching a movie)?
    • Loss of stamina, particularly in the afternoon, from 2-5pm?
    • An atypical addiction to a negative point of view?
    • Crying bouts for no reason?
    • Decreased problem-solving ability?
    • Feeling stressed most of the time (everything seems harder than before and you have trouble coping)? Decreased stress tolerance?
    • Insomnia or difficulty staying asleep, especially between one and four in the morning?
    • Low blood pressure?
    • Postural hypotension (you stand up from lying down and feel dizzy)?
    • Difficulty fighting infection (you catch every virus you meet, particulary respiratory)?
    • Difficulty recovering from illness or surgery or healing wounds?
    • Asthma? Bronchitis? Chronic cough? Allergies?
    • Low or unstable blood sugar?
    • Salt cravings?
    • Excess sweating?
    • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea? Or loose stool alternating with constipation?
    • Muscle weakness, especially around the knee? Muscle or joint pain?
    • Hemorrhoids or varicose veins?
    • Your blood seems to pool easily or your skin bruises easily?
    • A thyroid problem that has been treated, you feel better and suddenly you feel palpitations or have rapid or irregular heartbeats (a sign of low cortisol/low thyroid combo)?

    PART C

    • Agitation or PMS?
    • Cyclical headaches (particularly menstrual or hormonal migraines)?
    • Painful and/or swollen breasts?
    • Irregular menstrual cycles or cycles becoming more frequent as you age?
    • Heavy or painful periods (heavy: going through a superpad or tampon every 2 hours or less; painful: you can’t function without ibuprofen)?
    • Bloating, particularly in the ankles and belly and/or fluid retention (in other words, you gain 3-5 lbs before your period)?
    • Ovarian cysts, breast cysts, endometrial cysts (polyps)?
    • Easily disrupted sleep?
    • Itchy or restless legs, especially at night?
    • Increased clumsiness or poor coordination?
    • Infertility or subfertility?
    • Miscarriage in the first trimester?

    PART D

    • Bloating, puffiness or water retention?
    • Abnormal Pap smears?
    • Heavy bleeding or postmenopausal bleeding?
    • Rapid weight gain, particularly in the hips and butt?
    • Increased bra-cup size or breast tenderness?
    • Fibroids?
    • Endometriosis or painful periods?
    • Mood swings, PMS, depression or just irritability?
    • Weepiness, sometimes over ridiculous things?
    • Mini breakdowns? Anxiety?
    • Migraines or other headaches?
    • Insomnia?
    • Brain fog?
    • A red flush on your face (or diagnosis of rosacea)?
    • Gallbladder problems (or removal)?

    PART E

    • Poor memory (you walk into a room to do something, then wonder what it was or draw a blank midsentence)?
    • Emotional fragility, especially compared to how you felt 10 years ago?
    • Depression, perhaps with anxiety or lethargy (or more commonly, dysthymia: low-grade
      depression that lasts more than 2 weeks)?
    • Wrinkles?
    • Night sweats or hot flashes?
    • Trouble sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night?
    • A leaky or overactive bladder?
    • Bladder infections?
    • Droopy breasts or breasts lessening in volume?
    • Sun damage more obvious on chest, face and shoulders?
    • Achy joints?
    • Recent injuries particularly to wrists, shoulders, lower back or knees?
    • Loss of interest in exercise?
    • Bone loss?
    • Vaginal dryness, irritation or loss of feeling?
    • Dry eyes, skin?
    • Low libido?
    • Painful sex?

    PART F

    • Excess hair on your face, chest or arms?
    • Acne?
    • Greasy skin and/or hair?
    • Thinning head hair?
    • Discoloration of your armpits (darker and thicker than your normal skin)?
    • Skin tags, especially on your neck and upper torso?
    • Hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia and/or unstable blood sugar?
    • Reactivity and/or irritability or excessively aggressive or authoritarian episodes?
    • Depression? Anxiety?
    • Menstrual cycles occurring more than every 35 days?
    • Ovarian cysts?
    • Midcycle pain?
    • Infertility or subfertility?
    • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

    PART G

    • Hair loss, including of the outer third of your eyebrows and/or eyelashes?
    • Dry skin?
    • Dry, straw-like hair that tangles easily?
    • Thin, brittle fingernails?
    • Fluid retention or swollen ankles?
    • An additional few lbs or 20 that you just can’t lose?
    • High cholesterol?
    • Bowel movements less often than once a day or you feel you don’t completely evacuate?
    • Recurrent headaches?
    • Decreased sweating?
    • Muscle or joint aches or poor muscle tone?
    • Tingling in your hands and feet?
    • Cold hands and feet? Cold intolerance? Heat intolerance?
    • A sensitivity to cold (you shiver more easily than others and are always wearing layers)?
    • Slow speech, perhaps with a hoarse or halting voice?
    • A slow heart rate or bradycardia (fewer than 60 bpm and not because you’re an elite athlete)?  Lethargy?
    • Fatigue, particularly in the morning?
    • Slow brain, slow thoughts? Difficulty concentrating?
    • Sluggish reflexes, diminished reaction time?
    • Low sex drive and you’re not sure why?
    • Depression or moodiness?
    • A prescription for an antidepressant but you’re still not feeling like yourself?
    • Heavy periods or other menstrual problems?
    • Inferilty or miscarriage? Preterm birth?
    • An enlarged thyroid/goiter? Difficulty swallowing? Enlarged tongue?
    • A family history of thyroid problems?

    PART A: High Cortisol

    This is by far the most common hormone imbalance affecting modern women. 5+ symptoms: Chances are that you are high in cortisol.
    3-4: You may need to address this hormone imbalance.
    <3 or unsure: Consider testing your cortisol level.

    PART B: Low Cortisol

    You can have both high and low cortisol—even on the same day, within a twenty-four-hour period. 5+ symptoms: You are likely low in cortisol.
    <5: Consider checking your cortisol level.

    PART C: Low Progesterone

    Low progesterone is the second most common hormone imbalance experienced by women over 35. 5+ symptoms: You are probably low in progesterone.
    3-4: You may need to address this hormone imbalance.
    <3 or unsure: Consider testing progesterone level on day 21 of your cycle

    PART D: Excess Estrogen

    Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you should become more aware of your possible exposure to xenoestrogens.

    5+ symptoms: Probably high in estrogen. Estrogen dominance affects 80% of women over 35. 3+ symptoms: High estrogen is a significant possibility.

    PART E: Low Estrogen

    Most women don’t notice a significant drop in estrogen until their forties or even fifties. 5+ symptoms: You are probably low in estrogen.
    3+: There’s a good chance you are low in estrogen.

    PART F: Excess Androgens

    This is the most common hormonal reason for infertility in women.
    5+ symptoms: You are very likely high in androgens.
    3-4: You might have excess androgens and this hormone imbalance should be addressed. <3 or unsure: Consider testing free testosterone level.

    PART G: Low Thyroid

    5+ symptoms: You likely have a thyroid problem. Consider testing your thyroid hormones, particularly with the most sensitive tests that measure Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH), free triiodothyroxine (T3), and reverse T3.

    3-5: You might have a thyroid problem.

    – Adapted from Dr. Sara Gottfriend, MD


  9. Leaky Gut

    September 5, 2016

    Leaky gut, much like Adrenal Fatigue is a bit of a term that is thrown around a lot, but do you actually know what it means?

    Again a lot like Adrenal Fatigue, Leaky Gut is a term that encompasses many different symptoms of ill health.  The main symptoms that occur with Leaky gut are:

    • Fatigue
    • Bloating after meals
    • diarrhoea or irritable bowels
    • low immune system
    • bad skin
    • sensitive to many different foods
    • peeling, brittle nails/brittle hair
    • stubborn weight around the abdomen area
    • foggy brain



    There are believed to be many different causes of Leaky Gut, but mainly it is seen to be an immune response to inflammation.  This can be from continued exposure to foods that irritate your system, and can also be from chronic stress which causes an imbalance in our digestive abilities.

    Essentially Leaky Gut is what the term describes.  Our gut junctions should be sealed nice and tight as we digest and process our food and then pass it through our bowel, however what happens with this inflammation and immune response is that these tight junctions tend to separate.  This is obviously microscopic and wouldn’t be visible upon searching, because it is only microscopic particles that are then passed through our intestinal lining back into our blood stream.  Contrary to belief, it is not a whole pea or piece of steak that is passed through!  These tiny proteins that make their way back to our blood stream essentially alert our immune response that there are foreign bodies in our system in which the immune system creates antibodies for this.  Hence, the sensitivities to many different foods as the cycle continues.

    So many people have this issue going on and have just become accustomed to the irritability and don’t realise how much better they could feel on a daily basis! The key to getting on top of Leaky gut is first of all cleaning up and establishing a healthy diet ie eliminating the processed food likely to be further aggravating any inflammation.  This however is not enough as its important to actually “heal” up those gut junctions.  Consuming bone broth and gelatin are a fantastic way of helping this process as the gelatin in this helps the collagen formation and healing up of those junctions.  Alongside this fermented vegetables to assist with the gut bacteria.

    It is essential though, to really fix it up (which can take 6 months or more) to see a practitioner experienced in this so they can get you onto supplements that are specific for you. You may need to clear up any potential pathogens lurking in your gut which will hinder your health and healing, you may need enzymes to help with the digestive process, you may need some stress support to reduce inflammation and then you will need some specific gut formulations such as glutamine and probiotics and other specific herbs to get you on the right track.

    Book in to see us in clinic to do a urine test to assess your leaky gut status as well as a detox profile to see where your body is at.

    The longer you leave it, the more likely your immune system is to be over reactive to food 🙁

    Contact if you are in Auckland for an appointment, or if you require an online appointment.



  10. Why do we detox?

    August 29, 2016

    Your body has 5 different filters and elimination channels – Liver, Digestion, Kidneys, Lymphatic and skin.  Each of these systems work hard every second at trying to keep your body as pure as it can so that it can run efficiently and keep you healthy.  These elimination systems are put under a lot of stress to perform their role.  Some more than others depending on what is ingested and exposed ie if you smoke, drink alcohol excessively, take drugs (recreational or medication), drink fizzy drinks, eat processed foods, live or work in a highly polluted area, use chemical based skin care, highly stressed, have hormone imbalances.  That sounds like most people for at least some of those factors I’m sure.

    The thing is, most people have done this and carry on doing this without taking the time out to give your body a break.  Think of this as a bucket theory.  If you keep adding to the bucket, without allowing adequate filtration it will overflow.  This overflow is linked to health implications such as leaky gut (more on this to come), food intolerances, bloating, skin issues – acne, dryness, rashes, premature ageing, more colds and flus, less sleep, stubborn weight, bad periods and the list goes on.

    Unfortunately, in our day of abundance, we don’t give our bodies elimination and filtration systems a break.  They are worked hard EVERYDAY.  This as a result leads to that overflow and symptomatology.

    This is why we need to detox. We need to allow those systems a chance to catch up, to take a breather and to work on the stored toxins in our system without having the burden of new ones entering.  This not only assists with the efficiency of these systems so that they work more effectively towards any further exposure, but it means we can help work through years of damage helping to reverse some of the health issues that have risen with the “overflow”.

    This is why I recommend a detox every 6 months, whether it is a gentle 10 day cleanse like this, or a more thorough cleanse with supplements and lasting 6 weeks to really work on all the elimination channels.  A more thorough cleanse is recommended for those who have digestive issues, hormone issues or just generally feeling sluggish and need a reset.  If you feel this could be you, please click here to contact us for more info.