15 Ways to stay sane & well during lockdown

It can  be challenging to be in lock down. To be isolated. We understand why it’s important, but how can we do it without losing our minds or our physical health? Whether you’re working from home or not. It’s all too easy and tempting to hit the sugar-rich comfort food. Or the alcohol. Whatever your pleasure.

.. But staying well can be done. And that’s exactly what you need to do during this time. Stay as well as you possibly can. We all know now how to avoid our exposure to COVID-19. But what about the bigger picture? How do we not gain weight? How do we avoid being consumed by COVID news & memes..? How can we boost our immune system? Here’s some ideas:

  1. Swap your commute time (if you don’t do it anymore) for a health promoting activity that you enjoy. ie. meditation/ yoga/ exercise / stretch.
  2. Wake up early at sunrise or soon after & get exposure to sunlight. Your melatonin and cortisol levels will thank you for it.
  3. Have a siesta if possible in your household. 20 minutes has been shown to be the optimal time for ultimate refreshment:)
  4. Limit screen time. This is a big one. Most of us know that screen time has a negative impact on our mental health. But there’s so much to read right now hey? I suggest you set limits. Schedule yourself non-screen time doing something else pleasurable. The phone screen time reminders are all too easy to discard. Try an alarm on your phone that is more annoying perhaps. Or simply decide your going to put the screen down 1-2 hours before bedtime. And stick to it.
  5. Then choose your screen time wisely. Excluding any work, I suggest that other screen time is best focused on giving you a sense of community. Connecting with groups of like-minded people. Chatting to friends and family. Rising above the physical barriers of isolation.

  1. 6. Avoid increasing your food intake or bad food intake. It’s all too easy and can be a slippery slope. Before you know it you’ve gained 2 kg, then might feel depressed about it, emotional eat and gain more. It’s a common scenario. Understandable in these times. But, in these times we need to be as well as possible. Gaining weight or eating poorly is going to hinder your health. Most of us have a unique opportunity at the moment to give more time to our health. More time to food planning, trying new recipes, exercising. Embrace that as much as you can.

7. Plan at least a few meals per week. It reduces fresh food waste and gives you some structure. Try at least 1 new recipe a week.

8. Find a new daily rhythm as soon as you can. Including waking time, meal times, work & play. The new rhythm will shorten the period of transitional stress that most of us are facing right now. The stress of adapting to a big change.

9. Open your windows to let fresh air circulate through the house every day.

10. Consider buying an air purifier. One with a HEPA filter which eliminates bacteria and viruses from the air.

11. Gargle with salt water. Coronavirus cells have been found to accumulate in the throat before causing an infection. Wash those nasties out! Gargling every night before bed is simple and inexpensive.

 

12. Maybe set a health goal for the next 4 weeks. Only if it doesn’t cause major stress. Make it a SMART goal. An achievable one. It might be as simple as flossing your teeth every day. Eating dark leafy greens every day. Or doing some muscle building exercises. Or meditating for 5 mins daily.

13. Do something you’ve always wanted to do but never found the time. Painting on canvas? Growing some herbs or vegetables? Learning a language maybe. Knitting? Whatever your heart desires..

14. Laugh it up. Can laughter really boost your immune system? Results of some studies suggest it can. In a study of healthy males, watching a funny movie boosted natural killer cell activity while watching an emotionally neutral movie did not. Belly laughs feel great. They can’t hurt and they might help boost your immune system and reduce the likelihood of illness.

15. Focus on what you can do rather than what you cannot. Remember that it’s only temporary. Try to see the opportunity to live differently.

 

 

Written by Dr. Elaine Hickman

 

 

Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China.  She has over 20 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

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
Call (03) 9486 5966

Grain Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

 

Grain-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Grain-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo friendly. These muffins are tender, chocolaty, and perfect for breakfast or snack.

PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 22 minutes
REST TIME 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME 37 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 2 cups almond flour (or almond meal)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (or oil of choice)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (I used Chia Gel and it worked well)
  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free, dairy-free dark chocolate chips (I omitted these for a lower sugar option and they still tasted great)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk almond flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk coconut oil, maple syrup, and eggs.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Stir in the shredded zucchini.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon batter evenly into your paper liners.
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the center is set.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  10. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

 

Recipe source: https://www.glutenfreepalate.com/

Open Room Acupuncture update

To give more people access to low cost Acupuncture AND keep our sessions hygienic &  allow for physical distancing we’ve changed the Open Room/ Community Acupuncture schedule as follows:

 

  1. We’ve changed the schedule to allow 3 people max per hour and metres apart to adhere to social distancing requirements.
  2.  The sessions now start 15 mins apart. That is, 1 person is booked at say 2pm and the next at 2.15, 2.30 and so on..

This change has changed the way you can book online slightly. Now you book via the appointments tab, not the group sessions tab. Scroll down the appointment types until you see Open Room Follow Up and select. Then choose your day/ time.

And we’re now offering sessions on Mondays nights with Heather. In addition to the Wednesday, Friday & Saturday sessions.

Click here to book

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

 

Sugar Free Chunky Ice Cream

Made from the stevia plant, Natvia is a 100% natural and healthy alternative to refined, processed sugar.

Recipe by California Country Gal

Ingredients

4-5 each medium/large just ripe bananas
2 cups/500ml/1 lb heavy cream or coconut milk
1/4 cup Natvia
1/8 tsp Natvia
2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Guar gum (1/2 tsp if using coconut milk)
Stir In:
2/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Serves 2

Directions

Blend everything in your blender for about a minute. The mixture should become thick and creamy.
Add the stir in ingredients.
Pour into a container that has been brushed with Coconut Oil and freeze for several hours.
– See more recipes at: www.sweeterlifeclub.com

Banana bread- gluten, dairy & sugar free

Love banana bread? Try this gluten, dairy and sugar free recipe out!

Ingredients:
1.5 cups almond meal
3 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons of coconut nectar or sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 170 degrees
Mash or blend bananas and then combine all ingredients together
Bake for 35 minutes or until slightly brown on top

18 Ways to Look & Feel Healthier

HappyAs the days begin to get warmer and longer we all want to look and feel our best for summer. Some of us may want to get lighter body too. At this time of year we naturally feel the need to swap our warm cosy clothing for lighter, brighter items. This is also the time to be swapping the warm comforting foods like thick soups, casseroles, bread and pasta for much lighter meals. Such as fresh salads with lightly cooked fish, chicken and meats. And to also enjoy the abundance of delicious summer fruits.

Here are 18 Tips on Looking and Feeling Healthy for the Summer Months:

1. Include fresh raw salad vegetables with every meal

2. Add nuts and seeds to salads for an extra protein boost

3. Add beans and legumes to salads to make them more hearty and healthy

4. Steam or poach fish and chicken and lightly cook red meats

5. Steam or lightly cook greens such as spinach and Asian greens with some garlic and drizzle with lemon juice

6. Eat your fill of fresh vegetables – they will not cause weight gain – in fact the additional fibre in vegetables will help you lose weight by increasing the excretion of built up toxins in your system and improve your gut health

Vegetables

7. Enjoy the seasonal summer fruits – a wide variety of fruits are available throughout the summer months – make the most of them

8. If you are worried about the sugar content of fruit, include tart fruits such as lemons, limes, pineapple, grapefruits, kiwi, blueberries, raspberries and granny smith apples in your diet – these foods are naturally lower in sugars than the sweeter fruits

9. Tart fruits are also beneficial to the liver and gallbladder and the most detoxifying of fruits

10. Add fruit to natural yoghurt with some added chia or nuts and seeds for crunch as a yummy desert – the protein in the yoghurt will help balance the sugar from the fruit

11. Throw all kinds of fruits and vegetables into your smoothie – a mix of both will balance out the sugar and add many more nutrients to your diet

12. Remember that we don’t need to eat bread with every meal – or even every day

13. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume – enjoy a wine or beer if you like to – just not every day

Liquid Food14. Move more – aim for at least a 20-30 minute walk most days of the week – the more you move the better you will feel – both physically and emotionally

15. As the days get longer a 30 minute walk after dinner will help the digestion of your meal

16. Get some sunshine to increase your Vitamin D levels after winter – aim for 15-20 minutes sun exposure on your arms or chest every day if possible – avoid the hottest part of the day and be careful not to get burnt

17. Vitamin D will help you feel good emotionally and aids the absorption of nutrients such as calcium

18. Drink lots and lots of water to keep hydrated and help detoxify your system – your body will thank you for it and your skin will look great

At Freedom Chinese Medicine we don’t follow a one size fits all approach. We tailor an individualised health plan to you, in achievable steps so you can get more well and stay that way. And we will be honest with you, setting realistic health goals that you can achieve and maintain with your current state of health & lifestyle.

Please give us a call on 03 9486 5966 to book in for a pre summer consult  if you would like some additional help with feeling great this summer..

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 neverending. 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, Massage or Qi Gong Class 🙂 Don’t have time? Even calling into our clinic is a relaxing experience, come for 5 minutes, sit down & enjoy a cup of tea. Pick up some calming herbal remedies. Do your Christmas shopping at the same time! Yes, we have gift vouchers, lovely herbal teas, bath salts, organic skin care products and detox patches which make wonderful gifts.

Healthy Chocolate Christmas Balls

I love this recipe, it is a great snack for when I am craving something sweet and since it is sugar free it is great for my health. I also find that they fill me up, so I don’t have to eat heaps of them to satisfy that craving.

I make these for family and friends as Christmas gifts and after all the indulgent food they have eaten, they are thankful for something healthy and yummy at the same time. They look fantastic inside a small colourful bowl, wrapped in cellophane and tied with Christmas ribbon. I usually double the recipe so there is enough for everyone. Makes about 30 small balls.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups (225g) Whole Almonds (and or Walnuts, Cashews – whatever nuts you have handy!)
  • 15 Medjool Dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Cacao Powder/Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • Zest of 1 Orange

Method:

  1. Place the nuts into a food processor and blend until they are finely ground.
  2. Add the dates, chia seeds, cocoa powder, coconut oil and orange zest and blend until the mixture is completely combined and holds together when you press a chunk together.
  3. Roll into large teaspoon sized balls using your hands, then place in the fridge to cool for 30 mins-1 hour.

I store these in the fridge in an airtight container and they last for a week or so.

Walnuts are great for the kidneys and if you are trying to conceive, they are especially beneficial for men!

 

Written by:

Dr Kate Howden

Acupuncturist

Dr. Kate Howden is an empathetic and caring practitioner, with over a decade of nursing experience, in both general and psychiatric nursing. And now years of experience as a Chinese Medicine practitioner. She takes a holistic approach to client care and loves seeing people feel better about themselves.

Kate has a particular passion for women’s health. She is a mother with her own children and stepchildren and understands the many challenges women face. Kate also has experience in treating withdrawal from drug and alcohol addiction.

She enjoys regular games of netball and long walks with her partner.

11 tips to promote an Overdue Labour.. Naturally

Having a reluctant labour? That is.. a baby that’s taking their sweet time to arrive? Medico’s talking about induction dates? It can be a stressful time. I understand, I’ve been there 🙂  Now looking back, I think of it as a lovely time.

There are so many things one can do to enjoy this time & help promote labour. Here are my top 12 tips:

 

  • Cook and freeze healthy meals and snacks. You’ll need them soon. Lots of food. Food that’s convenient, highly nutritious, middle of the night snack friendly. I even bought an extra (2nd hand) freezer for a few months:) Then sold it at the same price!

  • Express and freeze colostrum. Otherwise known as liquid gold for your baby. Nutritional and medicinal. Really helpful for those few days after the birth until your milk comes in and feeding is established. Learning how to hand express is also a handy skill to have. And expressing can encourage labour!

I started at week 36 as recommended by my midwife. Within minutes I had uterine contractions. Freaked out and stopped as I didn’t want the baby to arrive early! So I waited until I was ready, about 39 weeks. And expressed every day until she arrived, finally at 41w+6 ! Here’s some more info about Antenatal expression of colostrum.

  • Go for long walks. Stress relieving and labour encouraging. Include some steps if you can. The hip movement/ position can encourage optimal baby position.
  • Go swimming and do exercises to encourage optimal baby position. As baby’s position is key to your child-birthing experience. And now you have (relatively more) time to do it. Check out spinningbabies.com for exercises.
  • Have sex! It can encourage labour and your recommended not to do it for a period of time soon. So.. make the most of it now:)
  • Eat out! It won’t be as easy or relaxing to do soon. With one (additional perhaps) big distraction. So now’s the opportunity:)

 

  • Eat spicy food. If you like to 🙂  Is recommended to encourage labour. And it’s not recommended during early breastfeeding. So now is the perfect time to hit the chilli.

 

 

  • Acupuncture to encourage labour has a long history of safe use. However, current evidence is not sufficient to claim the benefits of Acupuncture for labour induction in our advertising according to our Health Regulators.
  • Learn about breastfeeding.  Now is the best time if you haven’t already, even if you’ve done it before. Most Mum’s need memory joggers. Read my Top 11 Breastfeeding Tips here.

 

Written by Dr. 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 20 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

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
Call (03) 9486 5966

Acupressure for Labour Induction

How to do Acupressure:

  • Use deep firm pressure to massage every point.
  • Usually acupressure points are more sensitive than surrounding area.
  • The points are bilateral (the same on both sides of body).
  • Apply the acupressure for as little or as long as you like.
  • You do not need to massage all active points included below. Some active points produce stronger effect than others. You may choose to limit the exercise to massaging these high potency points only.
  • You can repeat active points massage as often as you want. There is no limit on number of exercises per day.
  • When applying deep pressure the active point is expected hurt initially. In this case reduce the pressure to a “comfortably” painful level and persist with massaging the active point. Increase the pressure as the initial painful sensation begins to subside. Continue the massage until a feeling is produced
  • When massaging acupressure points sit comfortably or lie down, close your eyes and breath deeply.
  • It is not necessary to massage points on your own, you can ask somebody else to massage your active points.

 

Which Acupressure points to Induce Labour?:

Colon 4

Point Colon 4 is located between thumb and index finger, in the centre of fleshy part of webbing. Apply firm deep pressure. It’s usually tender.

 

 

 

Spleen 6

Located 3 finger-breadths up from inner ankle bone, as indicated in the picture..

 

 

Gall Bladder 21

 

Located at mid-point on top of shoulder muscle:

 

 

 

 

Urinary Bladder 31 & 32     

Urinary Bladder points 31 and 32 are found in the

 

1st & 2nd depression in sacrum (bony plate at base of spine)

 

 

 

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