MCT Oil

MCT stands for ‘Medium Chain Trigylerides’, another term for ‘triglycerides’ is fatty acids. Recently, athletes, bodybuilders, and diet gurus have jumped on the MCT bandwagon, embracing its fat burning and energy sustaining powers, let’s look at why.

MCTs work directly in cells to provide energy and maximise performance. They are readily oxidised in the liver leading to greater energy expenditure that is quicker and more efficient resulting in less body fat storage. MCT’s commonly feature in ketogenic diets and low carbohydrate/high fat diets where 50-70% of energy is in this form. As part of these diets MCTs show evidence of improved cognitive function, disease progression delay, greater memory performance and reduced seizure frequency in childhood epilepsy.

Other benefits of MCT’s include increased satiety (fullness) and nutrient absorption and improved blood chemistry through maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels (LDL vs HDL). It offers immune protection by aiding the control of harmful bacteria, viruses & fungi inside the body and serves as a stable building block to maintain healthy cell membranes.

Improved cognition is another great benefit as MCTs provide an alternative fuel for the brain, assisting treatment of neurological conditions with impaired brain energy metabolism, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, affective disorders, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and HIV-associated dementia.

There is some confusion about the difference between MCT oil & coconut oil. Coconut oil contains 50% lauric acid and the three capra acids (caproic, caprylic & capric) along with a few other longer chained fatty acids. MCT oil is manufactured using a process of ‘fractionation’, which is used to extract only the capra fatty acids.

As with anything in life, balance is essential therefore MCT should not solely replace other healthy fats in the diet but should be consumed as part of a “healthy” balance of fats such as organic coconut oil, grass fed ghee and butter, avocado, nuts and seeds and marbled grass feed beef and fish. It may also be taken straight as a supplemental form or added to food & cooking.

Autism

The program for children with Autism and ADD/ADHD was developed from my passion to assist the children and families who desperately seek answers to this multi-facetted and complex condition and to support these children and families with the heightened challenges ahead.

With an increasing epidemic of childhood conditions such as Autism and ADD/ADHD there is an urgent need for an integrative and holistic approach to address the influencing biochemical, genetic, environmental and nutritional factors that contribute to the development of these conditions and the impact these conditions have on individuals, families and the wider community.

Multifactorial conditions like Autism are complex and considerations must account for the many and individual variations we see in Autism. There is no single cause to the development of these conditions as many factors act together to influence their development. As our understanding of these conditions changes and scientists unravel the possible causative factors for these conditions, treatment should reflect relevant and evidence base protocols.

In addressing Autism and ADD/ADHD there is increasing evidence on the pre-disposing factors that play a role in the development of childhood conditions. Recent research is alluding to the role of the gastrointestinal microbiome, the influence of methylation and genetic factors including those of pyrrole disorder and MTHFR SNPS, neurological inflammation, oxidative stress, total allosteric heavy metal and environmental burden influencing the development of these conditions in childhood and more recently the development of adult conditions in neurological disease such as Alzheimer’s and autoimmune conditions.

The role of neurological inflammation in childhood conditions such as Autism and ADD/ADHD as a result of the over-excitation of nerve pathways in the nervous system and brain, contributes to misfiring, exhaustion and ultimately death of neurons. This results in a cascade of neuronal inflammation; poor nerve signalling and altered immunity as also observed in conditions such Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, ADD/ADHD, Autism and sensory processing disorder.

The same underlying factors that contribute and influence the development of Autism may also be influencing the development of autoimmune conditions, chronic fatigue, mitochondrial dysfunction, fibromyalgia and the complexity of these modern ailments that frequently present in adult conditions.

Current Association Memberships and Certification:

Mindd Foundation MAPS Certificate 2013; 2015 and ACNEM (Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine) Foundation Member, Primary Course in NEM, Childhood Conditions, Gastrointestinal Conditions, A-Z of NEM.

Roasted Cauliflower and Almond Soup

Cauliflower, the often forgotten Crucifer, is abundant in antioxidant & anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals. This detoxifying soup is the perfect dish to warm up a cool evening.

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets¾ cup activated* almonds

4 tablespoons ghee**, melted

¼ cup flaked almonds

1 large brown onion, chopped

2 leeks, white part only, rinsed and chopped

6 large garlic gloves, chopped

6 cups organic chicken*** stock

juice & zest of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut 1 cup of cauliflower into very small florets and set aside.Place the remaining cauliflower florets and almonds on a lined baking tray. Coat with 1 tablespoon of the melted ghee and season well with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until the almonds are golden and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the remaining cauliflower and then the flaked almonds and cook until golden. Transfer to a paper towel and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek and garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until soft. Add the roasted cauliflower and almonds, also add stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 20 mins. Add the lemon zest and juice, and any remaining salt and pepper. Using a food processor or stick blender mix to form a soup.

Divide the soup among bowls and sprinkle with the fried cauliflower florets, flaked almonds and thyme.

SERVES 6

* May use blanched almonds as an alternative

** Ghee may be substituted for butter or coconut oil

*** May substitute with vegetable stock

Basic Bone Broth

For hundreds of years, people have been making broth from the bones and leftover parts of animals. When vinegar is added, the broth becomes medicinal as the acid releases minerals and proteins from within the bones and cartilage that are readily absorbable. This virtual liquid vitamin is especially beneficial for healing and nourishing the gastrointestinal tract. 

Ingredients

Bones—poultry, beef, lamb, fish or shellfish. Grass fed or Organic where possible. You dont need to use the chicken feet! 

  • Raw bones, with or without skin and meat (raw bones and meat may be browned first in the oven, or in the bottom of the stockpot to enhance flavour and colour)
  •  Use a whole carcass or just parts (good choices include feet, ribs, necks and knuckles)

Vegetables—peelings, ends, tops and skins or entire vegetables may be used

  • Celery, carrots, onions, garlic and parsley are most traditional, but any will do
  • If added towards the end of cooking, mineral content of vegetables will be higher

Vinegar—Apple Cider Vinegar with “the mother”, 2 tablespoons per 1 litre water

Water—cold, filtered water to cover both bones and vegetables

Combine all ingredients in a large stainless steel pot or pressure cooker. Bring to a boil and remove any scum that has risen to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 6–24 hours (3-12 hours if using a pressure cooker). To reduce cooking time, smash or cut bones into small pieces before cooking. If desired, add vegetables in last half hour of cooking. Strain through a colander or sieve lined with cheesecloth for a clearer broth. If uncooked meat was used to start with, reserve the meat for soup or salads.

If you wish to remove the fat, use a gravy separator while the broth is warm or skim the fat off the top once refrigerated. Cold broth will gel when sufficient gelatin is present; ensure you stir this back into the stock. Broth may be frozen for months or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Uses

  • As a base for making soups. 
  • Use broth in place of water to cook grains, beans and rice.
  • Simply add Celtic or Himalayan salt and sip broth like tea. This is especially nice in the winter or if you’re feeling sick.

Adapted by Cassandra Hilton from

Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease by Allison Siebecker (The Townsend Letter, February/March 2005)

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (New Trends, 1999)

Detox: Why undergo a detox

Our bodies are well equipped for adequate detoxification processes, so why undergo a detox?

Whilst our bodies are equipped to cope with natural detoxification pathways, many can not maintain adequate detoxification processes at the speed required to effectively off set negative dietary and lifestyle choices of which we continue to burden our bodies with at an alarming rate leading to ill health and disease. This is evident in the increasing rate of non-communicable disease states such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes that are caused through poor dietary and lifestyle factors.

As our world continues to develop in agricultural practices so do the levels of environmental toxins. Environmental toxins accumulate through food chains and include things like heavy metals, the use of agricultural pesticides on our food sources, synthetic chemicals, genetically modified foods, hormone enhanced foods, food additives and preservatives all of which influence the nutritional quality of the food that we consume and place increasing burden on detoxification pathways.

Toxins can also be generated internally within the digestive tract through the over growth of ‘bad’ bacteria, opportunistic yeasts and parasites and through a lack of fermentable fibers and plant foods in our diet. These internally generated toxins are then absorbed into your bloodstream as a result of inflammation and impaired gut integrity, ultimately affecting your health and vitality.

Lifestyle factors also play a contributing role to toxic accumulation. Reduced physical activity, increased alcohol consumption and smoking also impair digestive functioning and deplete the body of its ability to absorb and receive adequate intake of nutrients required for health and leave us feeling fatigued and lethargic. Our metabolism and energy pathways slow down and we feel clogged and bloated as we then frequently turn to quick dietary fixes such as caffeine stimulants, soft drinks and energy drinks or high glycemic foods such as processed and refined sugars to combat the fatigue and to enable us to get through the day placing increased burden on our bodies and organ systems.

The process of detoxification involves dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce the intake of toxins and improve the clearance of toxins from the body by neutralizing these toxins through the liver and facilitating their removal via the gastrointestinal tract, urinary system and the skin. Think of it as an annual spring clean of the house that has years of accumulation. Initially the task can seem overwhelming or daunting but it is empowering once you make the decision to start.

A detox provides you an opportunity to consciously focus on your health for a period of time whether that is for two weeks or a more comprehensive program. It enables you to form new dietary and lifestyle habits that are more aligned to well being and to experience optimal health. Our aim is to empower you with the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake your detox but also to maintain a healthy diet for life.

Poached Pears in Red Wine

Poached Pears in Red Wine is an elegant but classic dessert to prepare. The red wine sauce is so muscatel sweet that you will find yourself savouring every last drip and licking the sauce off your fingers! Ensure your pears are firm but not hard. Beurre Bosc or Corella pears are perfect for this dish. A good quality red wine is essential for this recipe and there will be an extra glass or two for you to enjoy while you are waiting for your pears to poach. Red wine in moderation is beneficial for your health with the main constituents polyphenolic compounds in red wine, such as flavonoids and resveratrol lowering your risk of developing atherosclerosis by as much as 30% through antioxidant activity, reductions in inflammation, increases in HDL good cholesterol and reductions in the formation of fatty plaques. While research indicates cardiovascular health benefits this does not advocate that you begin drinking to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease! There are more healthier ways to lower your risk of developing heart disease by maintaining a healthy body weight, the cessation of smoking, exercising, consuming a healthy balanced diet with lean proteins, leafy greens, fruits, whole grains and monosaturated fats.

Poached Pears in Red Wine

4-6 large beurre bosc or 8 small corella pears, firm

2.5 cups of red wine (shiraz, merlot)

1 1/3 cup of castor sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 inch piece of orange peel or zest

2 inch piece of lemon zest

Thick cream or vanilla bean yogurt to serve

Place the red wine, castor sugar, cinnamon sticks and zests into the saucepan that fit the pears snug. Slowly bring to the boil and dissolve all the sugar, stirring occasionally until boiling. Reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile peel the pears and ensure your remove all the skin as this will not colour. Trim around the stalks so this is a clean and neat finish.

Trim the bottom of the pear so that it sits straight up right on the plate.

Add the pears to the saucepan and cook gently turning three or four times during cooking.

Cooking time depends on how big your pears are but allow 15-25 mins.

Remove the pears from the liquid once cooked and soft to pierce into the centre.

Reduce the remaining syrup for 5-10 minutes until thick and syrupy.

Place the pear onto the plate and serve with some thick cream or vanilla bean yogurt.

Gently pour the syrupy red wine sauce over the top of the pear.

Enjoy