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We all know Vitamin C is important for the body. It has to come from our diet as it is not a nutriet we can make and it has so many functions its difficult to know where to start! It is used to treat so many conditions and the research and anecdotal evidence behind it as a nutrient is vast. As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist I  look at all of my clients individual needs before prescribing any supplement or food changes. It is recommended that you consult a professional Naturopath or Nutritional therapist before making any changes yourself.

What Does it Do?

The C stands for many things

Citrus (from where it is known mostly to be found),

Coughs, Colds and Cancer (it is central to stimulating the immune system and production of immune cells. Along with its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties it may help to prevent and heal many illnesses)

Collagen (of which it is a main co-factor in producing),

Controversy (over which form to take, how much to take and whether it works against cancer etc),

Contained in most fresh foods (it is water-soluble  so is sometimes lost when the food is cooked),

Co-factor (from collagen, connective tissue, red blood cell, bone, teeth and gums, immune cell to energy production vitamin C is found in most chemical reactions withing the body),

Cholesterol (it regulates cholesterol breakdown ),

Cell (maintains health of cell membranes so reduces tumour spreading, is a powerful anti-oxidant and helps in wound healing)

Calm (supports the adrenal’s and ovaries)

Clear (may detox many toxic metabolites and helps to excrete heavy metals. It may also protects against nitrate digestion)

Cognitive (Helps regulate brain function and messages to and from the central nervous system)

 

Where is it Found?

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Mainly found from plant sources. Generally in fruits and vegetables that are vividly coloured. Especially orange and yellow, green (leafy veg) and blues (blueberries and blackcurrants). Most plants will contain vitamin C to protect their cell membranes and produce energy. It is very susceptible to heat, light and movement. The vitamin C content is diminished by these factors. So the fresher the produce the better. The fruit with the highest levels is the  Kakadu plum from Australia closely followed by Camu Camu a plant with berries a little like cherry’s that contain high levels (normally found dried or in powdered form (Vitamin C is water soluble) then Sea Buckthorn (a berry) and Arcola cherry. Then the fruit and vegetables are all much lower. Interestingly until fairly recently we were consuming enough Vitamin C through diet alone. Consuming less fresh and more industrialised and processed food has great increased our need and decreased our intake of Vitamin C.

Factors that deplete it (increasing demand)

Smoking (it is a cell membrane protector and anti-oxidant), stress, acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, heavy metal toxicity, exercise, diabetes, wounds, burns (including sun burn) and high blood sugar.

 

Supplementation advice

Ascorbic acid is the most widely available form of vitamin C- it is very acidic on the body. Better to supplement with the buffered Sodium ascorbate which is easier for the body to absorb and use. Beware however most vitamin c is derived from corn and mostly GMO corn. Try to source non- GMO corn sources for supplementation. Contact your practitioner (Nutritionist or Naturopath) for dosage advice.

 

 

 

 

 

I loved school. I loved the friendships, the learning process , the sports and the arts. I pick up things pretty quickly and  have always cruised through life. I was not bothered with grades so much, just passing with minimal effort! I was lucky it suited me. My brother is way more intelligent than his grades used to show him as. He changed schools loads of times and had real problems with some teachers.  I don’t think people appreciate just how brilliant his mind is. He also wasn’t prepared to conform for others. I think my daughter is similar. She knows her own mind and is not afraid to express it. She is 3. Her current kindergarten suits her- it is open plan, classrooms and classmates are not restrictive and if she doesn’t like what’s going on in her class she is free to roam and join in somewhere else. She is thriving. What is going to happen in a couple of years when she goes to Primary school?

She is a challenger, she pushes limits, she is independent, intelligent and very very funny.  She is physical, she has a short attention span (mostly because she has worked it out and wants to move on) and she can get frustrated very quickly.  In other ways she needs to let concepts sit with her, pushing them makes her push back. She will surprise me with her memory everyday and the detail she remembers is astounding sometimes. She is awesome and while at times a challenge to parent, I wouldn’t have her any other way. I worry about her future in school and I never want her to have a teacher set upon crushing her spirit like my brother encountered. I saw this today;

Hackschooling

and I loved it and I think it may be sending me on a path I am very scared to go on.

Why am I scared? Because it relies on me to provide everything myself. When will I work? I love my job it is a vocation, a need to fill. When will I have my time- isn’t when they are at school when you get to do all the other stuff like the shopping, cleaning, washing, reading, resting? I need space to recharge when will I get that? Homeschooling will consume everything I have. I get excited about it and sick with dread at the same time. What I do know is it is not allowed in HK, people do it I know but it seems to be a very closed shop. I know right now she is thriving, there is no point in worrying about what might happen. She has a great teacher right now and she may continue to have teachers who love and inspire her throughout her schooling- as I did. I am making sure I am helping her to recognise emotions and be able to talk about how she feels and to communicate what she wants and needs and constantly working on my own reasons for finding her so challenging. But this morning I was inspired and saw a whole different life ahead and I was compelled to share!

Really keen to hear feedback about what you have done in this situation!

Cacao Beans

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I love chocolate.  So does my daughter. Finding foods that our kids will love that will also love them is tough. They are going to come across a whole range of foods in their social lives and we want to equip them to make good choices.

You will have heard that chocolate is very good for you and its health benefits are numerous. This is true but sadly no-one is talking about the milk chocolate, Kit Kats or things we grab on the go from our convenience stores. Raw cacao (in butter, nibs which are the bits of the bean before they are ground and powder form) is where the goodness lies. Cacao is chocolate in its bean form, before it is roasted, extracted and processed then mixed with sugar, milk, preservatives and other fillers and flavours. It contains antioxidants and minerals and its benefits amongst others are;

  • weight loss due to its chromium content which in turn also
  • Regulate blood sugar along with the magnesium content
  • Prevent cavities in your teeth (the caffeine content in cacao contains theobromine which can help kill bacteria in your mouth that causes tooth decay- it is lost in the process to milk chocolate.)
  • Helps alkaline your body (conventional chocolate is acid forming because of its sugar content)
  • Helps detoxification and contains powerful anti-oxidants.
  • Gives a gentle euphoric feeling without the sugar crash afterwards.

It’s what we do to the cacao and add to it that give “chocolate” the opposite list of effects.  Raw Cacao is incredibly bitter to those more used to even dark chocolate so start by replacing milk chocolate with 70% dark chocolate and work your way towards using the raw cacao powder as your hot chocolate.

Eva's Hot Cacao

If you find nibs pair them with a Goji berry or a raisin and you are close to ‘chocolate’ flavour as we know it. Try it yourself and with your kids. 10 tries are enough to convince your taste buds!

Pairing coconut with chocolate is a match made in taste and nutrient heaven- healthy Bounty bars!. Coconuts are anti bacterial, anti microbial, naturally sweet, packed with vitamins, essential fats and amino acids and minerals too. This recipe is a massive favourite in our house- a brilliant way to be able to say yes guilt free and isn’t that what we all want?  I hope it will be in yours too. My friend came up with it so it is named for her!

Other Chocolate Recipes

Beetroot Brownies

Chocolate Truffels

Homemade Raw Twix

Iced Mocha

Chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Chip cookies

This article was written for The Hub

Here’s some good reading;

Coconut Cures- Bruce Fife http://www.amazon.com/Coconut-Cures-Preventing-Treating-Problems/dp/0941599604

http://www.wellnesswa.com.au/2012/11/eat-your-way-to-good-health-raw-cacao-powder-a-deliciously-simple-home-made-chocolate-recipe/

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-numerous-health-benefits-of-coconuts-2.html

http://www.secrets-of-longevity-in-humans.com/raw-cacao-benefits.html

dream bookshelves

Many of you have asked me for some book recommendations here are some if my absolute favourites. This is by no means a definitive list there are many more amazing books- please help me by letting me know if I have missed any of yours!

Enlightening:
The Gentle Art of Blessing- Pierre Pradervand

Ask and it is Given- Esther and Jerry Hicks

Think and Grow Rich- Napoleon Hill

The Journey- Brandon Bays (also comes with an audio cd)

You Can Heal Your Life- Louise Hays (Louise has loads of great books and audio cd’s- she also has an inspiring website and facebook page)

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life- Byron Katie

The Power of Now- Eckhart Tolle

Dying to be me- Anita Moorjani

Nutrition
The Nutrient Bible- Henry Osiecki

Staying Healthy with Nutrition- Elson M. Haas

Healing with Whole Foods- Paul Pitchford

Nurturing Traditions- Sally Fallon

Coconut Cures- Bruce Fife

Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: A Revolutionary Natural Way to Prevent Illness and Restore Good Health by F. Batmanghelidj

The PH Miracle- Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health- Dr Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young

Cure Tooth Decay: Remineralize Cavities and Repair Your Teeth Naturally with Good Food [Second Edition] by D.D.S. Timothy Gallagher and Ramiel Nagel

Fast Food Nation- Eric Schlosser

Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser

Naturopathic books

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom- Dr Christiane Northrup

Dr Schussler’s Biochemic Tissue Salts- A Gateway to Physical and Psychological Health-  Richard Kellenberger and Friedrich Kopsche

Cancer is Not a Disease- Andreas Moritz

Emperor of All Maladies- Siddhartha Mukherjee

An Introduction and Guide to Flower Remedies- Wigmore

Bach Flower Therapy The Complete Approach- Scheffer

Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Your Baby’s First Year- Miranda Castro

Natural Healing Wisdom and Know How- Useful Practices, Recipes and Formula’s for a Lifetime of Health- Compiled by Amy Rost

The Secret Teachings of Plants- Stephen Harrod Buhner

Women Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle R Trickey

Natural Fertility Management- Francesca  Nash

Birth and Beyond- Gordon Yehudi

The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils-  Julia Lawless

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy- Valarie Ann Wormwood

Parenting Books;

The Wonder Weeks- Hetty van de Rijt Ph.D. and Frans Plooij Ph.D

The no-cry sleep solution and

The no-cry potty training solution- Both by Elizabeth Pantley

Baby Led Weaning-Gill Rapely and Tracey Murkett

Baby Bliss (The happiest Baby on the Block) Dr Harvey Karp

Mother-Daughter Wisdom- Dr Christiane Northrup

Raising Happy Brothers and Sisters- Jan Parker and Jan Stimpson

Raising Boys- Steve Biddulph

Unconditional Parenting- Alfie Kohn

How To Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk- Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Healing Our Children- Ramiel Nagel

Let me know your favourites- there are also loads of blogs, podcasts, websites, you tube videos etc. but I still always return to my books.