Bite-Sized Caprese Appetizers

So this recipe is hardly reinventing the wheel–if you haven’t eaten it, you’ve almost certainly seen it. But sometimes some things are so good and so seasonally perfect that you just need a little reminder.

24 grape tomatoes
24 fresh mini mozzarella balls
24 fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
24 toothpicks

Place a tomato, basil leaf, and mozzarella ball on each toothpick. Place on a serving plate or tray.
Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic and drizzle over the appetizers. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To eat, bite everything off the toothpick all at once.

Lamb Meatballs with Lemon-Cumin Yogurt

Fresh mint and cilantro pair with the classic Mediterranean spices of cinnamon, cumin, and coriander to liven up ground lamb and plain yogurt. To prepare these as a main course, form larger meatballs and serve with pita and couscous.


For the meatballs:

1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the yogurt:

7 ounces whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Zest of 1 medium lemon, minced


  1. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands.
  3. Form into 30 balls (about 2 teaspoons each) and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake until meatballs are no longer pink in the middle, about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine all yogurt ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well. Serve with the meatballs.


A classic energy ball recipe for you all! This is an easy, simplified version of my favourite snack – this time with just five ingredients. These little beauties are my go to when I need a pick me up and my fridge/freezer is always piled high them. You can add extra hemp powder if you want to boost the protein kick.



200g almonds (1 cup)

400g medjool dates (2 cups)

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

2 ½ tablespoons almond butter

2 tablespoons coconut oil


Begin by placing the almonds in the food processor and pulsing until they are nicely crushed.

Add the medjool dates and coconut oil and pulse until it’s fully mixed

Add the almond butter and cacao and then mix again in the food processor.

Take a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball. Continue doing this until the mixture has finished.

Place the rolled balls into the freezer for around 1 hour, then remove and store in an airtight container in the fridge.


6 things to look for in an Acupuncturist

japanese acupuncture

Not all Acupuncture/ Chinese Medicine practitioners are the same. Just like not all GP’s are the same. Some are much better than others. And with something as mysterious as Chinese Medicine, it’s not easy to know what to look out for. Here is a list to help you find the best Acupuncturist/ Chinese Medicine practitioner for you.


1. Qualifications

In Australia, a person can advertise themselves an an Acupuncturist only if they’ve completed a 4-5 year degree. Beware of Dry Needling! Practitioners use this term because they are underqualified to stick needles in you. Click here for more information.

2. You feel cared for and put at ease.

Actually this could be said for any health practitioner. From specialists to Reiki Healers. If they don’t demonstrate care, thoroughness and leave you feeling at ease or confident in their care, see someone else.

3. They get results.

You should feel a positive change in your health within 4 acupuncture sessions. No matter what your having treatment for. Sometimes it’s an improvement that you don’t expect like better sleep, digestion, periods or feeling more calm. Note: 4 sessions need to be no more than 2 weeks apart to be effective initially.

4. They teach you something

Your Acupuncturist/ Chinese Medicine Practitioner gives you advice or you learn something. Every great Chinese Med practitioner knows that prevention is better than cure. It’s their job to help you get better and stay better. Whether if be stretches, nutritional advice or stress management tips. You should be learning something from your Acupuncturist. Even if you don’t want to 🙂

5. They do’t use the same points in every session.

A great acupuncturist know that there are subtle changes happening in your body all the time, and how to work with these changes. Hence, they’ll use different acupuncture points accordingly.

6. They are healthy!

Your practitioner appears well and calm. Yes, we all have bad days but a great Chinese Medicine practitioner will have better health than most.


If the person sticking needles in you doesn’t tick all these boxes. I suggest you consider seeing a different practitioner. Don’t know where to look? Here is a directory of qualified Acupuncturists by locality. . And yes, I run a clinic in Ivanhoe, Inner North East Melbourne which has 5 excellent Acupuncture/ Chinese Medicine Practitioners. Click here to read more about us.


What is Shiatsu?

The Japanese word ‘Shiatsu’ means‘finger pressure’. Shiatsu is a form of hands-on bodywork that restores energy & balance throughout the body focusing on meridians and acupressure points. Shiatsu combines different techniques of pressures and assisted stretches designed to activate the body’s natural healing system.

Shiatsu is conducted with the client fully clothed lying on a futon mattress. So please wear loose comfortable clothing.

A comprehensive treatment usually lasts 1 to 1½ hours, and leaves you with a feeling of relief and relaxation.

Therapeutic exercises may be prescribed to assist you further. Simple dietary and lifestyle advice may also be given.

What to Expect

Each treatment is especially designed to meet your individual needs, taking into consideration your state of health, and any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Treatment will consist of a variety of shiatsu techniques using thumbs on acupressure points, palms of the hands, elbows and knees along with yoga-like stretches.  Moxa, cupping or spooning may also be used if required.

Benefits include:

Improved circulation
Sense of wellbeing
Increased energy
Improved sleep
Emotional stability
A profound effect on posture
Better digestive function

For Relief of

Neck & shoulder tension
Back pain
Headaches and migraines
Tiredness & fatigue
Mental health issues
Women’s health
Menstrual irregularities
Digestive difficulties Hypertension

By working on the meridians & acupuncture points using a variety
of techniques, balance is restored to
your body, mind & spirit, giving you a feeling of peace and relaxation.

Shiatsu available on Tuesdays & Thursdays at Freedom Chinese Medicine.

Call 9486 5966 or click here to book:


Flower Essences for Emotional Balance

AUSTRALIAN BUSH OR BACH FLOWER ESSENCES – restore the balance between the mind and body

The Indigenous people of Australia have been using flower essences to heal emotional imbalances and physical injuries for thousands of years while the earliest recorded European use of flower essences was in the 12th century.  We now know that cultures on all continents around the world have used this traditional method of healing for centuries.

Dr. Bach rediscovered and popularised the use of flower essences in UK in the 1900’s, while the use of Bush flower essences in Australian has never been forgotten by the indigenous people, it is only relatively recent that they have become used for health treatment by non-indigenous people.

Both Bach and Bush flower essences can be used to cast out negative emotions and help restore peace and wellbeing.

Our Naturopath Andrea Mallett is now offering 30 minute consults that will focus on providing you with a specialized blend of ‘Herbal Tea’ or a ‘Bush or Bach Flower’ remedy that is specific to your individual needs.


Call us on 9486 5966 or click here to book:

Healing Herbal Tea

Want simple solutions for stress, insomnia, colds, IBS or period pain? Do you prefer Natural Remedies? Did you know that Herbal Teas can provide many health benefits?

Some of the health benefits that can be gained from drinking herbal tea include:

• Relief from stress and anxiety, improved sleep, calming of nerves
• Improved immune health, quicker recovery from colds, nasal congestion and infections
• Relief from digestive issues IBS, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, gas and bloating
• Relief from pain associated with the menstrual cycle
• Assist in labor, childbirth, recovery and breast feeding
• Treatment of headaches and migraines

Our Naturopath Andrea Mallett is now offering 30 minute consults that will focus on providing you with a specialized blend of ‘Herbal Tea’ or a ‘Bush or Bach Flower’ remedy that is specific to your individual needs.


Call us on 9486 5966 or click here to book:

Healthy Pregnancy Help

Starting a family is an exciting time in people’s lives and we all want to do the best we can for our baby.

The body’s requirement and demands for specific nutrients increases during pregnancy for the health of both the growing baby and mother as well as post pregnancy recovery and breast feeding to ensure a good supply of milk.

But optimal nutritional intake and lifestyle changes are also required prior to conception for both partners. Ideally preconception care should start at least 4 months prior to conception.

The production of a bountiful, mobile supply of healthy sperm and a healthy follicle (egg) that result in successful conception and pregnancy requires an adequate intake of certain nutrients.

Changes to certain lifestyle factors that may be affecting the health of the sperm and egg such as smoking and excess alcohol consumption are also important.

Being under or overweight can affect conception as can a poor level of fitness.
Stress and environmental toxins such as household cleaners and cosmetics are other factors that may affect conception and pregnancy.

Our consultation with our Naturopath will include a thorough assessment of your diet and lifestyle and provide recommendations and advice for:
• Preconception health
• Pregnancy health for mother and baby
• Labour and birth
• Post birth care
• Breastfeeding care and support
• Different stages of your growing baby

Diet and lifestyle changes alone can make a huge difference to our health in most cases but sometimes additional help may be required in the form of herbal medicine and or supplements.

Find out how we can help regardless of what stage you are at.  Our Naturopath, Andrea Mallett will know what to do. $20 off initial consults with Andrea this January 2017 only. Call 9486 5966 today to book today.

Cosmetic Acupuncture

The Natural Link To Beauty!

If you are looking to enhance your looks with a natural and holistic approach, cosmetic acupuncture is for you.

Cosmetic Acupuncture Elle MacPhersonWhether you’re looking for improved complexion, smoothened facial lines, or healed scars and blemishes, cosmetic acupuncture lets you bring out the best in yourself, quickly and naturally.

Cosmetic Acupuncture is a holistic, natural, gentle way to rejuvenate your skin. Cosmetic acupuncture enhances your health and radiance by boosting the circulation of blood and lymph to the skin, face, and muscle, leaving you looking and feeling refreshed. It can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve the moisture, elasticity and tone of the skin and muscle.

More and more people are turning to acupuncture for rejuvenation techniques, to look and feel well, inside and out.

Cosmetic acupuncture is a fantastic way to rejuvenate and refresh your skin, face and body naturally. This wholistic anti-ageing therapy helps to improve beauty and radiance by addressing your inner and outer health. It was once employed by the ancient Chinese royalty to prolong youthfulness. It can now be used to compliment any modern beauty and anti-ageing regime.

Ageing can occur when the circulation of blood and lymph to the skin decreases, allowing the skin surface and underlying muscle to become deprived of essential nourishment. In turn the skin and muscle loses its moisture, firmness, elasticity and tone.

The Natural Choice for a Beauty Lift

Our focus is to look after you and your skin so you feel your best inside and out. Services are created for every one of all ages and all skin types. We achieve results by designing our treatments to suit your needs whilst soothing your mind, body and soul.

Cosmetic AcupunctureWhat is Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Also known as an acupuncture facelift, Cosmetic Acupuncture or Mai Zen, which means “beautiful person”, has been used for thousands of years by China’s powerful and wealthy.

Cosmetic acupuncture is the use of oriental techniques to improve the beauty and vitality of the face and body. It is more than a cosmetic procedure, rather it is a rejuvenation therapy designed to help the face and body look and feel younger. Cosmetic acupuncture is based on the philosophies of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Renew Skin, Restore Health, and Boost Confidence

Your skin will improve in texture, softness, clarity and firmness to reveal a healthier, more vibrant you.

Cosmetic Acupuncture is beneficial for:

– wrinkles – shadows
– fine lines – scarring
– discolouration – tone
– complexion – wellbeing
– blemishes – anti-ageing
– puffines

Cosmetic Acupuncture addresses the underlying physiological changes that lead to ageing. It promotes circulation, bringing blood and oxygen to the skin, muscles and underlying tissue. Thus facilitating healing, rejuvenation and replenishment.

Once a thorough understanding of your health status is made, a cosmetic acupuncture program is established to begin your journey of healing and rejuvenation.A combination of ancient and modern techniques may be used. Extremely tiny needles are inserted into the superficial layer of the skin to stimulate your own body to produce collagen and elastin, which are the key factors to filling in those fine lines, leveling out those wrinkles. Organic rose hip oil is then applied to your face to enhance the benefits of the treatment and to leave your skin fresh, hydrated and silky smooth.

All treatments are tailored to your needs on the day.

It involves no injections, chemicals or pain.

Cosmetic acupuncture is a less invasive, less risky and less costly alternative to many other rejuvenation techniques.

With this acupuncture, there’s no risk of scarring, no pain involved, no recovery time and in fact, you will leave feeling better than when you came in!

The length of time the results lasts is specific to each individual, their lifestyle and the problem treated. Your practitioner will be able to advise during your initial session.

How long has cosmetic acupuncture been used?

Thousands of years!

Can cosmetic acupuncture be combined with other products and procedures?

Yes. Just tell your acupuncturist which products or procedures you are using so that they can tailor your treatment for the best combined results.

Are there any side effects?

No adverse lasting side effects! Mild bruising or bleeding can occur during a treatment. Most people feel an intense sense of relaxation and well-being!

We have an excellent practitioner experienced in the art of Cosmetic Acupuncture, Dr. Daniel Gibbs.

All services are designed to provide maximum results in a minimum amount of time.

For best results we recommend a series of ten treatments.

Monthly maintenance sessions are highly recommended for longer lasting results, to keep you looking and feeling your best.

Initial session:

Includes full health history, diagnosis, goal setting, cosmetic acupuncture and holistic acupuncture, herbal prescription if required, diet and lifestyle guidance.

Investment: $135 Summer special 20% off* until Feb 28th 2017 only. Spaces limited so call us on 03 9486 5966 to book today.

*Not available with any other offer or package discount.

Subsequent sessions:

Includes cosmetic acupuncture and holistic acupuncture

Investment: $135 (on a casual basis) Summer special 20% off in December 2016 only. Spaces limited so call us on 03 9486 5966 to book today.

Introduction Course

Sample the experience and benefits at a discount! Includes 5 Cosmetic Acupuncture sessions with holistic acupuncture, herbal, diet and lifestyle advice if required.

Investment: $600

Rejuvenation Program

Includes 10 cosmetic acupuncture sessions with holistic acupuncture, herbal*, diet and lifestyle guidance. Essential for best results.

Investment: $1000 ($100/session for 10 sessions)

* Note: Herbal products, if required, are an additional small cost.

Maintenance Program*

Includes five monthly cosmetic acupuncture sessions, holistic acupuncture, modified herbal prescription if necessary, diet and lifestyle guidance.

Investment: $600

*Only available to those who have completed the Rejuvenation Program

Health rebates apply (if you’re covered for acupuncture).  Yes we have HICAPS! Please call us on 03 9486 5966 or if you want to book online, please click the Book Now below.

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Help with Quitting Smoking

Has your New Year’s resolution to quit smoking failed already? Feeling frustrated that you can’t seem to kick it on your own? Well, you’re not alone. And Dr. Daniel Gibbs can help you.

First of all, don’t give yourself a hard time. Most people find quitting smoking to be a difficult endeavour. It is common to resume smoking several times before the time is right. If you feel that 2017 is the right for you to quit, read on…’

Yes, you may have tried every method under the sun so far. You may have already tried acupuncture even. But have you had help from one of the most experienced acupuncturists in Australia for smoking cessation? Someone who also has a thorough understanding of psychology and neuro-chemistry?
Dr. Daniel Gibbs has this unique skill set and works here at Freedom Chinese Medicine in Ivanhoe, Melbourne. He talks about the fact that smoking can be a multifaceted and personalised habit often interwoven into various aspects of life such as socialisation, solitude, work breaks and stress/anxiety management. Although people can differ in regard to the reasons why they smoke, there are several principles and actions that usually provide for an easier quitting process. Here is one of them. Daniel says that:

Most people find that quitting is easier if they make a plan. Ideally it is best to choose a time that is not too stressful and that allows you to get away from your usual routines that involve smoking: If you don’t have this luxury then simply thinking of the typical times when you smoke and coming up with some strategies or alternative activities can go a long way.
An important thing to appreciate is that cigarettes and nicotine have key functions in people’s lives and these often need to be accounted for via some technique or replacement: For example brief periods of deep breathing or meditation can alter brain chemistry in a way that is similar to smoking when it is used to manage stress or anxiety, and similarly, any brief activity that you find pleasurable can be done routinely on your breaks from work or other key times.

How Acupuncture Can Help in Smoking Cessation

smokingAcupuncture assists people to quit by helping to regulate the actions of endorphin and other neurotransmitters that are thrown into disarray when one stops smoking; it is in this way that it can assist with lessening the frequency and duration of physical cravings; Generally acupuncture is given every 2-5 days, depending on the level of addiction, over the first 2 weeks after ceasing the consumption of nicotine. Dr. Daniel Gibbs has many years of experience in this arears and has helped hundreds of people to quit. Are you ready for some expert help to quit?

Flash special: Start a smoking cessation program by the 28th February 2017 for only $267*. Usual cost is $335.

*Includes 4 acupuncture sessions twice weekly and expert advice with Dr. Daniel Gibbs.

Can’t afford it? We also offer Open Room/ Community Acupuncture sessions for $40 (or $30 concession). You’d just need an initial session with Daniel first so he can make the best treatment plan for you. Please give us a call on 03 9486 5966. For private/ closed room sessions you can click the Book Now icon below:

Written by Dr. Daniel Gibbs

Carr, A. (1985) The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, London; Arcturus Publishing Limited
Deadman, P. et al (2007) A Manual of Acupuncture, 2nd ed., The Journal of Chinese Medicine, Hove;UK