Gluten-Free Vegan Christmas Pudding

This Gluten-Free Vegan Christmas Pudding is super moist, warmly spiced and really easy to make. It’s fruity, not too heavy or sweet, not gummy or doughy, and is healthier than the traditional version. It’s made in one bowl, is boiled/steamed in a pan so doesn’t require an oven, and is refined sugar free too.

Prep Time: 15minutes 

Cook Time: 2 hours 

Total Time: 2 hours 15minutes 

Servings: 8

Calories: 382kcal


  • 300 g (1 ½ cup) dried fruit , finely chopped (I used a mixture of dates, dried cranberries, dried figs, prunes and dried apricots, but you can use whatever dried fruit mix you like)
  • 1 tablespoon unwaxed orange zest (or sub 1 teaspoon orange extract)
  • 1 apple , grated
 – no need to peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (or sub a mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves)
  • Generous amount brandy or sherry (ensure vegan/gluten-free if necessary – or sub apple or orange juice)
  • 60 g (¼ cup) coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
  • 120 ml (½ cup) unsweetened almond milk (or any other plant-based milk)
  • 4 tablespoons date syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 g (1 ¼ cup) ground walnuts (or sub ground almonds/almond meal) *
  • 150 g (1 ¼ cup) gluten-free flour blend (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)


  • Place the dried fruit, orange zest, grated apple, ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice in a bowl and add a generous amount of brandy or sherry, until everything is roughly covered.
  • Keep covered in the fridge for around 24 hours, to allow the flavours to develop.
  • Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if using any other oil).
  • Once melted, add the milk to the same bowl along with the date syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, salt and ground walnuts.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add the dried fruit mixture (along with any residual brandy), adding a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking too dry.
  • Grease a medium-sized deep glass bowl or a pudding basin.
  • Transfer the pudding batter into it.
  • Place the bowl in a pan (make sure it’s bigger than the bowl) and fill up with cold water up to halfway up the bowl.
  • Cut out a circle of baking paper to place directly on top of the pudding batter so that it’s completely covered.
  • Use some tin foil to cover the top and fold around the sides of the bowl.
  • Place a lid on the pan and bring to the boil.
  • Turn down the heat and cook on a low heat for 2 hours.
  • Leave to cool slightly before taking out the bowl.
  • Carefully remove the tin foil and the baking paper.
  • Run a blunt knife around the edge of the bowl to let the pudding come away from the sides – this is easier to do once it’s cooled down.
  • Turn the bowl upside down on a plate and shake until the pudding pops out.
  • Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days – it’s great eaten hot or cold!

Sourced from: Gluten-Free Vegan Christmas Pudding – Rhian’s Recipes (rhiansrecipes.com)

Cough remedy: white radish + honey

People have used honey white radish to relieve cough and phlegm for centuries. Anyone can make it at home as long as you have honey and white radish. It’s a very simple recipe.

White radish is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, minerals, crude fiber. It can help synthesize both red and white blood cells in bone marrow. It also has anti-bacterial properties.

Honey is a popular health food. It has a sterilizing effect and can inhibit the growth of bacteria. In Asian countries, people believe that drinking a teaspoon of honey before going to bed can reduce coughing, and the effect is as good as cough suppressant.

Honey White Radish Syrup Recipe

1) Peel and dice white radish.
2) Put the diced white radish into a glass jar and pour honey, covering half of the white radish.
3) Leave it at room temperature overnight, and wait until the white radish is syrupy.
4) Mix one teaspoon of the honey white radish syrup with warm water, and drink it 4 to 5 times a day. The cough should get better the next day. If you don’t like water, you can also use hot water or black tea.

How can improving your stomach acid improve your health?

What is Hypochlorhydria? Hypochlorhydria is when you secrete less than an optimal amount of stomach acid. This means the body isn’t breaking down the proteins and foods you ingest. It also means you lose a line of defense against microbes, spores and viruses coming into the body via food1.  

People commonly think that stomach acid is bad. That it causes reflux and heartburn.  Actually, having the right amount of stomach acid is vital for health. A healthy person’s gastric acid should sit below a pH of 3. But some studies and claims show that up to 90% of the population may have low acid levels. Some of the symptoms may include: feeling full after regular meals; heartburn; undigested food in stools; bloating; constipation; diarrhea; gas and stomach cramps. 

How does low acid affect my health? 

Low gastric acid means we are unable to break down and absorb proteins and nutrients from the foods we eat. I often tell my patients that the expensive high quality foods and  supplements they buy are wasted unless we correct their stomach acid first. Over time low acid can lead to nutritional deficiencies like Vitamin B12 deficiency, digestive dysfunction such as small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), bloating, constipation, fatigue and h-pylori infection. 

How do you know if you have low acid levels?

Common tests include:

  • Betaine HCL challenge test: most reliable home test involving taking a HCL supplement to determine insufficiency.
  • Comprehensive gut testing: will reveal undigested food is in the stool as well as being able to identify other imbalances contributing to low levels.
  • Heidelberg pH test: pH test prescribed by a gastroenterologist. 

What can I do to improve my acid levels? 

  • Hydrochloric acid supplements such as betaine hydrochloride (hcl) and enzymes are used to restore the pH of your stomach. 
  • Zinc is a building block for stomach acid, so make sure you are getting enough in your diet  from foods like – oysters, crab and lobster, pumpkin seeds, chicken, kale and mushrooms,  and/or take a supplement.  
  • Medications like PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors) and antacids reduce the secretions of  stomach acid.  


According to Harvard Medical School stress can slow down or even stop the digestive  process. Relaxing with calming music, deep breaths and putting screens aside whilst you  eat are some effective ways to enhance gastrointestinal function and increase stomach  acid secretions. 

Chew your food slowly

We all know someone who literally inhales their dinner and are therefore bypassing the first phase of  the digestive process- chewing. Chewing generates saliva to signal parietal cells in the  gastric glands of the stomach to secrete hydrochloric acid (HCL). Smelling and tasting  your food heralds this acid secretion too. So next time you sit down for a meal, take time to bring your bowl close for a smell before savoring the tastes whilst chewing slowly and enjoying. 

Bitter is better

Bitter digestive herbs are used to stimulate stomach acid. Aperitifs contain herbs like bitter citrus leaves and gentian root to prepare the body for a meal. You can get a hold of a digestive formula and have a few drops before meals. Or nibble on some bitter greens like chicory or radicchio as salad before a big meal to stimulate more secretions.

How can we help you?

You can book in for a nutritional consult where we can assess your symptoms and provide further functional testing such as stool tests, SIBO breath test and food intolerance panels. We stock herbs and HCL capsules to test and boost your stomach acid. 

Click here to book: https://freedomchinesemedicine.com/booking/  

Click here to contact us:  (03) 9486 5966

By Dr Jessie Fayers (TCM)

Dr. Jessie Fayers has been practicing acupuncture and herbal medicine for over 15 years. She uses functional pathology testing with in depth case history to provide her patients with individualized treatment strategies to make sustained changes reach optimal health and vitality. Jessie’s special interests include digestion and women’s health and is available by appointment at Freedom Chinese Medicine on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays.


1. Hunt, R.H., Camilleri, M., Crowe, S.E., El-Omar, E.M., Fox, J.G., Kuipers, E.J.,  Malfertheiner, P., McColl, K.E.L., Pritchard, D.M., Rugge, M., Sonnenberg, A., Sugano, K.  and Tack, J. (2015). The stomach in health and disease. Gut, 64(10): 1650-1668

5 Ways to Prevent COVID After Exposure

hay fever reliefThere’s still plenty of COVID cases around, and we know how to minimise our risk of exposure, and transmission to others. But what if you’ve just found out your a close contact? If you’ve had a get together and one of you has come down with COVID since. Is there more you can do to prevent infection for yourself?


Here are 5 good options:

  1. Use a mouthwash containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC)

The virus that caused COVID is SARS-CoV-2. It enters our body via our mouth or nose. It quickly multiplies in either cavity before spreading further down our airways. Using a solution that can inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in these cavities has been shown to reduce the likelihood of COVID infection. Mouthwashes containing CPC currently available in major supermarkets and chemists (in no particular order) include:

  1. Oral-B Clinical Alcohol Free Fluoride Rinse Clean Mint Mouthwash
  2. Colgate Plax Antibacterial Mouthwash Freshmint Alcohol Free 500ml
  3. Colgate Plax Antibacterial Mouthwash Fresh Tea Alcohol Free 500ml
  4. Colgate Neutrafluor 220 Daily Fluoride Mouth Rinse Mint 473ml
  5. Colgate Plax Ice Fusion Antibacterial Mouthwash Cold Mint 500ml
  6. Colgate Plax Antibacterial Mouthwash Freshmint Alcohol Free 250ml
  7. Colgate Plax Antibacterial Mouthwash Peppermint Alcohol Free 500ml
  8. Colgate Plax Antibacterial Mouthwash Peppermint Alcohol Free 500ml
  9. Colgate Plax Antibacterial Mouthwash Freshmint Alcohol Free 1l
  10. Listerine Smart Rinse Mouthwash For Kids Berry 500ml
  11. Coles Pro Zero Mouthwash
  12. Coles Pro Teeth Defence Mouthwash

    2. Gargle Chlorhexidine. 

    Brand name is Savacol, available in pharmacies. Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial agent that has been shown to be effective in killing enveloped viruses, including SARS‐CoV‐2. The tricky part is gargling for 30 seconds, right at the back of your throat. It’s harder than it sounds. Certainly possible. Counting and pausing to breathe through your nose helps.

    3. Use a Nasal Spray. Numerous studies have confirmed that povidone-iodine (PI) inactivates many common respiratory viruses, including SARS. 10–20 ml 1% PVP-solution is placed into the nasal cavity.  Three recent studies identified a reduction in viral load in saliva after the use of mouthrinses with PI (up to three hours), chlorhexidine (up to four hours), or CPC-containing mouthwash (up to six hours). So use 15 ml 1% PVP-I as a swish and spit for 30 seconds or dilute betadine throat gargle by putting it into a saline nasal spray bottle (to a 1% PVP solution). Don’t forget to dilute it! I did once. Ouch. PVP-I functions as an antiseptic through several mechanisms and is considered to have the broadest spectrum of action compared to other common antiseptics such as chlorhexidine.  Through oxidation of cell surface receptors, PVP-I prevents the attachment of viruses to cellular receptors.

    4. Take Vitamin C. High-dose vitamin C has been shown to enhance immunity, reduce inflammation, improve oxygen support status, and reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients, all without causing any negative side effects. What is high dose? 2000mg daily, increasing by 1000mg each day, up to 5000mg daily, or until you get diarrhoea. Stop increasing the dose then. Sound unpleasant? Sure, but it’s cleaning your gut whilst preventing/ treating COVID.

    5. Take Quercetin. Quercetin displays a broad range of antiviral properties which can interfere at multiple steps of pathogen virulence -virus entry, virus replication, protein assembly. You can buy Quercetin in supplement form and dose according to the manufacturers instructions.  You can also eat Quercetin-rich foods, which are apples, honey, raspberries, onions, red grapes, cherries, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables.

You can hedge your bets and do all of the above! I certainly do after exposure.

Stay well!


Written by,

Dr Elaine Hickman sitting at clinic deskDr Elaine Hickman

B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)

Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China.  She has over 22 years experience in treating many health problems.  Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable.  Elaine has particular expertise in Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Family Medicine and Wellness promotion.

Elaine is available for consultations:

Monday & Tuesday
Call (03) 9486 5966



Dutta, Sanchari Sinha. (2021, August 09). Cetylpyridinium chloride-containing mouthwashes shown to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in oral cavity. News-Medical. Retrieved on January 09, 2023 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210809/Cetylpyridinium-chloride-containing-mouthwashes-shown-to-inhibit-SARS-CoV-2-in-oral-cavity.aspx.

Huang YH, Huang JT. Use of chlorhexidine to eradicate oropharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients. J Med Virol. 2021 Jul;93(7):4370-4373. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26954. Epub 2021 Apr 1. PMID: 33755218; PMCID: PMC8251493.

Colunga Biancatelli Ruben Manuel Luciano, Berrill Max, Catravas John D., Marik Paul E. Quercetin and Vitamin C: An Experimental, Synergistic Therapy for the Prevention and Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Related Disease (COVID-19). Frontiers in Immunology. VOLUME=11. YEAR=2020. URL=https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01451

Naqvi, S.H.S., Citardi, M.J., Cattano, D. et al. Povidone-iodine solution as SARS-CoV-2 prophylaxis for procedures of the upper aerodigestive tract a theoretical framework. J of Otolaryngol – Head & Neck Surg 49, 77 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40463-020-00474-x

Hernández-Vásquez, A., Barrenechea-Pulache, A., Comandé, D. et al. Mouthrinses and SARS-CoV-2 viral load in saliva: a living systematic review. Evid Based Dent (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41432-022-0253-z

Jhon Paul Iakov Mezarina Mendoza, Briggitte Patricia Trelles Ubillús, Gabriela Tazziana Salcedo Bolívar, Rosa Del Pilar Castañeda Palacios, Paulo Sergio Gilmar Herrera Lopez, David Alex Padilla Rodríguez, Karin Harumi Uchima Koecklin,
Antiviral effect of mouthwashes against SARS-COV-2: A systematic review,
The Saudi Dental Journal, Volume 34, Issue 3, 2022

Shahbaz U, Fatima N, Basharat S, Bibi A, Yu X, Hussain MI, Nasrullah M. Role of vitamin C in preventing of COVID-19 infection, progression and severity. AIMS Microbiol. 2022 Mar 30;8(1):108-124. doi: 10.3934/microbiol.2022010. PMID: 35496992; PMCID: PMC8995185.


5 ways to prepare for a Frozen Embryo Transfer

acupuncture and Chinese herbs for pregnancy supportIf you are trying to conceive via IVF, and your clinic advises freezing the embryo/s, what else can you do after egg retrieval to improve the odds of your frozen embryo implanting?

Here’s 5 natural things you can do:

1. Take a good prenatal. What’s a good prenatal?

– One that contains natural folate or methylfolate. This is preferred over poorly absorbed synthetic folic acid.

– One that contains active forms of Vitamin B6 and B12

– One that contains Iodine and Selenium. Minerals that are important for fertility and are not always included in prenatal supplements.

Or simply take a recommendation from your practitioner at Freedom Chinese Medicine. We stock 3 different quality prenatals in the clinic.

Having adequate levels of these vitamins right from the start of pregnancy is important for the health of the baby.

2. Take Vitamin D.

Refer to our supplement guide or your practitioner for dosing instructions.

Vitamin D is important for reducing the risk of miscarriage and preterm birth.

3. Take Vitamin E 600mg daily.

Studies have used 900IU, which is a fairly high dose. To get close to that level, you could take 2 capsules per day in the month before embryo transfer.

In 2019, a study of women with repeated implantation failure found that supplementing with Vitamin E significantly improved lining thickness. Vitamin E boosts blood cell numbers in the uterine lining and promotes the development of new blood vessels.

4. Take L-arginine 6g daily.

Not recommended before egg retrieval as it may compromise egg quality. It has been found that L-arginine can increase endometrial thickness at a dose of 6 grams per day, divided into 4 doses. To be taken after egg retrieval until the transfer.

L-arginine dilates blood vessels thereby improving blood flow.

acupuncture on pregnant woman

5. Have acupuncture!

Acupuncture is surprisingly relaxing. Research has consistently found that in women undergoing IVF, acupuncture reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol.

After transfer, you can stop the Vitamin E and L-arginine, but continue with Acupuncture, Vitamin D and your prenatal until you get a positive test.

If you are trying to conceive naturally, here is information on supplementation for you.

Written by Dr. Elaine Hickman

B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)

Dr. Elaine Hickman in clinicElaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China.  She has over 22 years experience in treating many health problems.  Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable.  Elaine has particular expertise in Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Family Medicine and Wellness promotion. She brings extra understanding and knowledge to the table having been through infertility herself.

Elaine is available in clinic in Ivanhoe, Melbourne or via Telehealth/ phone or video chat.

Book Your Appointment TODAY


1. Hashemi Z, Sharifi N, Khani B, Aghadavod E, Asemi Z. The effects of vitamin E supplementation on endometrial thickness, and gene expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and inflammatory cytokines among women with implantation failure. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2019 Jan;32(1):95-102. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2017.1372413. Epub 2017 Sep 12. Update in: J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2022 Dec;35(25):6841. PMID: 28847198.

2. Takasaki A, Tamura H, Miwa I, Taketani T, Shimamura K, Sugino N. Endometrial growth and uterine blood flow: a pilot study for improving endometrial thickness in the patients with a thin endometrium. Fertil Steril. 2010 Apr;93(6):1851-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.12.062. Epub 2009 Feb 6. PMID: 19200982.

3. So EW, Ng EH, Wong YY, Yeung WS, Ho PC. Acupuncture for frozen-thawed embryo transfer cycles: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Reprod Biomed Online. 2010 Jun;20(6):814-21. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2010.02.024. Epub 2010 Mar 4. PMID: 20382081.

Gluten-Free Quinoa Tabouli

Do you have an abundance of parsley in your garden this Spring? Here’s a yummy use for it!


2 cups water

 2 cups flat-leaf parsley loosely packed, very finely sliced

 ½ cup fresh mint leaves, finely sliced

 3 spring onions/scallions, finely sliced

 250 gm cherry tomatoes, quartered 

2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (or to taste)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 Recipe Measurements:

For accuracy, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.


  • Put the quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse well under cold, running water, swishing the quinoa with your hand. Drain the quinoa well.
  • Add 2 cups of water to a medium-size saucepan. Add the quinoa. Over medium-high heat bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes, until the seeds are tender. When they are cooked you will notice that they have little curly “tails”.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. Place a clean tea towel or 3 layers of paper towel over the saucepan.  Put the lid back on and set aside for 5 minutes. The tea towel/paper towel will absorb excess moisture.
  • Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then turn it into a bowl and leave to cool completely.
  • Add the finely sliced parsley, mint, spring onions/scallions and quartered tomatoes to the quinoa.
  • Add the olive oil and lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently toss the ingredients together.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper as required. The salad should have a bright, lemony flavour but adjust it to your personal taste.
  • Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Silly Season Survival Tips

Dr. Elaine’s top tips for stress relief

It’s that time of year when life can seem to speed up, get much busier. Do you feel more stressed this time of year? Here’s 8 things that you can do to help.

First, accept it; there is no need to fight with stress. It can be used as a creative energy. Accept the feeling, it is perfectly okay. Stress is simply an indication that the body is getting ready to fight with the situation. Enjoy the challenge! There is no need to be worried. Work it out, use the energy that is coming up: walk up and down, go for a run, go for a long walk. Plan what you want to do, what the mind wants to do. Rather than trying to relax, which is sometimes not possible. In fact if you have worked through the stress totally you will come to relaxation automatically; you can go on only so far, then the body automatically relaxes.

cat with hat

If you are overwhelmed, having trouble focusing on what you need to do to next to work through the stress, try these:

1. Stop & breathe, even for 30 seconds. Stop what you’re doing, focus on your breath, elongate your breath out, ideally make it twice as long as your breath in. Breathe through your nose if you can. This one of the quickest ways to decrease your sympathetic (excitatory) nervous system activity.

2. Be present. Focus on one thing at a time and give it your full focus. Let yourself be immersed in this one task, letting go of the feeling that you need to quickly rush through it, that you need to get on to the next task. There will always be a next task — the nature of task lists is that they’re never-ending. So let those other tasks come later.

3. Make space between appointments. Rushing is a common stress trigger so minimise rushing by allowing space between appointments. Allow time for the unexpected to come up, as it often does. Be a master of your time, not a slave to it.

4. Laugh. It’s one of the quickest ways to get those happy chemicals flowing. And it’s fun. Take 5 mins to watch a funny video. Ask the person next to you to tell you a joke. Try laughing at yourself or the ridiculously busy day you have planned. It can be liberating:)

5. Rest if you’re tired. Ah so simple but we often find this one challenging. “But I’ve got so much to do” says our programming. The simple truth is that you’ll be able to complete any task much more efficiently after you’ve had even a 5 minute rest.

6. Take a brief walk. When things are getting stressful, take two-three minutes to take a walk and clear your mind. A short walk does wonders.

7. Let go. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with tasks, work out what you can delegate or simply drop it for now. Ask yourself~ does it really matter right now?

8. Drop the sugar. Seriously. Sugar is a stimulant, will send your blood sugar high which will soon come back down, this can affect our mood and stress response.

You can also come in for a relaxing Acupuncture or  Massage session 🙂

How to Prevent Miscarriage, especially over 35yo

Wouldn’t it be great if all miscarriages could be prevented? So much pain and loss avoided. Unfortunately it cannot be so. But there are several things we can do to reduce the chances of miscarriage for ourselves. These things have been studied extensively. So where do we start?

  1. Aim to conceive before your over 35 years old. Miscarriage rates rise dramatically after this time. Most early miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities. Not always possible, I know, I met my partner later in life. There are other options you can focus on..
  2. Not smoking during pregnancy. Tobacco, marijuana or vaping.
  3. Avoid caffeine.  Unfortunately, caffeine can increase miscarriage risk. Even caffeine intake before pregnancy. Studies indicate that miscarriage risk begins to rise with just one cup of tea or less than half a cup of coffee per day.¹
  4. Eat a healthy, balanced diet with a large variety of vegetables.healthy food
  5. Supplements such as DHEA and CoQ10 (Ubiquinol), may help to reduce the chance of chromosomal abnormalities, if taken for several months before trying to conceive. Because most chromosomal errors in eggs occur 3-4 months before ovulation.woman holding her pregnant belly
  6. Avoid toxins such as BPA. BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1950s. BPA is a known endocrine disrupter. Which means that it messes with our hormones.  High levels of BPA are linked to higher miscarriage risk. It is important to keep in mind that it is the highest BPA levels that are linked. To increase your odds of conceiving and preventing miscarriage, the main goal is simply to get out of that highest range; to lower your overall exposure rather than to avoid all possible sources of BPA.  How to get out of the high range?

    – Get rid of your plastic drinking water bottle. Even if listed as BPA-free, other plastics probably contain other endocrine disrupters. We just don’t know about them yet. Best to go with glass or stainless steel.

    – Swap your plastic kettle for a stainless steel one.

    – Swap over your hard plastic food containers for glass or stainless steel ones. IKEA has some good glass ones with lids that don’t leak and stand the test of time.

    – Swapping plastic colanders for stainless steel ones.

    – Avoiding use of coffee machines with plastic components, using a stainless steel French press at home instead.

  7. Avoid alcohol. Numerous studies have indicated that drinking regularly during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage. However, low to moderate alcohol consumption ( 6 drinks per week or less) before you become pregnant is not an issue. The safest option is avoiding alcohol after ovulation, in case you become early pregnant without realising, or before testing.
  8.  Avoid refined sugar. High blood sugar and insulin levels are a big problem for fertility because it disrupts the balance of other hormones that regulate the reproductive system. And increase the risk of miscarriage².  So, we need to avoid sugary drinks³. Avoid refined sugar in all it’s forms. There is clear evidence that excess sugar consumption compromises fertility.³  Minimise all types of sweeteners, and foods with significant amounts of added sugar. Whole fruit is OK in moderation (2 serves daily). If you find yourself craving a sweet treat, and fruit won’t cut it, a small amount of dark chocolate is a good choice. Also keep in mind that it is long term daily habits that matter most. The occasional indulgence is not worth feeling guilty about.

  9. Avoid refined carbohydrates. The white flours, pastries, potatoes, white bread. Swap out for lower GI carbs such as brown rice, wild rice, steel-cut oats, quinoa or buckwheat. There are many pastas available these days made out of quinoa or buckwheat. This will help to balance your blood sugar and insulin levels.


Written by

Elaine Hickman pregnantDr Elaine Hickman

B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)

Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China.  She has over 22 years experience in treating many health problems.  Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable.  Elaine has particular expertise in Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Family Medicine and Wellness promotion. She brings extra understanding and knowledge to the table having been through infertility at an advanced age herself.





1 Chen LW, Wu Y, Neelakantan N, Chong MF, Pan A, van Dam RM. Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and risk of pregnancy loss: a categorical and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Public Health Nutr. 2016 May;19(7):1233-44. doi: 10.1017/S1368980015002463. Epub 2015 Sep 2. PMID: 26329421.

2 Tian L, Shen H, Lu Q, Norman RJ, Wang J. Insulin resistance increases the risk of spontaneous abortion after assisted reproduction technology treatment. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Apr;92(4):1430-3. doi: 10.1210/jc.2006-1123. Epub 2007 Jan 23. PMID: 17244790.

3 Machtinger R, Gaskins AJ, Mansur A, Adir M, Racowsky C, Baccarelli AA, Hauser R, Chavarro JE. Association between preconception maternal beverage intake and in vitro fertilization outcomes. Fertil Steril. 2017 Dec;108(6):1026-1033. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.09.007. Epub 2017 Oct 3. PMID: 28985907; PMCID: PMC5716855.


Preventing Miscarriage

Lemon & Dill Pesto Recipe

Prep:10 mins
Cook:0 mins
Total:10 mins
Servings:8 servings
Yield:2 cups


  • 5 tablespoons walnuts
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 6 ounces fresh dill, about 2 to 3 cups, roughly chopped
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup rapeseed oil, or canola oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Place 5 tablespoons walnuts and 5 cloves garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add fresh dill, lemon zest, and salt. Process into a thick paste.

  2. Continue to process (using the “pulse” feature if available), gradually pouring in rapeseed or canola oil until pesto is the consistency of a thick tomato sauce.

  3. Refrigerate lemon-dill pesto, covered, until ready to use.


Note: Due to the risk of botulism spores that can develop in garlic and oil combinations under anaerobic conditions, use the pesto right away, or within the next few hours, stored in a jar in the fridge. Otherwise it is best to freeze the pesto. Adding a little lemon juice helps the pesto keep its bright green color.

Parsley Pesto

I love this simple, easy, tasty pesto recipe. Especially this time of year when parsley is growing rampant in my garden.

  • Total: 5 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Yield: about 2 1/2 cups



  1. In a food processor place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Process until they form a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste adjust your seasoning if necessary. Great with pasta, poultry, vegetables and rice.
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