Is milk good for my child?

nutrition milkMilk has had a lot of bad press in recent years and many parents are left confused as to whether they should be giving their children dairy products or steering well clear of them.

The nutritional benefits of cow’s milk
On the positive side, cow’s milk is an excellent source of calcium (essential for growing strong bones and teeth) and a good source of protein (essential for growth); it also contains good levels of Thiamin (Vitamin B1) and Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) both of which are needed for energy production and a healthy nervous system.  Cow’s milk is also an excellent source of B12 needed for red blood cell production and a healthy nervous system.

Full fat milk also contains some vitamin A which is essential for eye health and the immune system.  Semi-skimmed and skimmed milk contain much lower levels of vitamin A because it is found in the fatty part of the milk.

Possible problems with cow’s milk
On the negative side, many people with Asian, African or Chinese heritage may find that they are lactose intolerant – that is, that they lack adequate quantities of the enzyme needed to digest the lactose (sugar) milk naturally contains.  Symptoms of lactose intolerance are usually bloating, diarrhoea, wind and tummy ache.  The more northern European your heritage, the less likely you are to be lactose intolerant.  Many people find they can tolerate cow’s milk in small amounts as they have some lactose digesting enzymes but larger quantities cause symptoms to develop.

The other portion of cow’s milk which may cause problems is the protein.  Cow’s milk contains mainly A1 proteins which some people have trouble digesting and develop symptoms similar to those of lactose intolerance.  In fact, many people who think they have lactose intolerance may instead be intolerant to the proteins in cow’s milk.

For some people cow’s milk can also worsen allergy symptoms such as excessive mucous production, eczema, asthma and hay fever.

What are the alternatives?
If you think your child is reacting badly to cow’s milk you could try goat’s milk as an alternative.  Goat’s milk is rich in calcium, protein and some vitamins, so you are still getting most of the good stuff cow’s milk provides.  However, goat’s milk contains A2 proteins which are much easier to digest than the A1 protein found in cow’s milk.  It also has less lactose and shorter chain fats which may make it easier to digest.

If your child can’t tolerate cow or goat milk then you will have to move them on to a non-dairy alternative such as almond milk or oat milk.  Be sure to read the ingredients list as many non-dairy milks contain added sugar.  I would avoid soya milk for children because it contains high levels of phytates which reduce mineral absorption.

If your child can’t tolerate cow milk they may be OK with yogurt and cheese because the bacteria found in these products makes the sugar and proteins in them easier to digest.  Keeping some dairy in the diet is a good idea as it is such a good source of calcium and building strong bones and teeth is so important.  If you can’t include any dairy in their diet, be sure they eat lots of other calcium rich foods such as tinned mackerel and sardines, almonds, sesame seeds and dark green leafy vegetables.

If you would like support with your child’s health and diet book an appointment today
at my Low Cost Children’s Clinic in Enfield chase.

Appointments for just £15*

Telephone: 07949463288 or Email: ellie@hollyhealthcare.co.uk

                                                   *Limited number of appointments available each week.

Gluten free pecan and chocolate banana cake – super easy to make!

I devised this recipe last night and it came out really well.  It is gluten free and it contains no added sugar.  The sweetness comes from the bananas, dark chocolate and cranberries.  A little xyllitol has been added to give it a sweetness boost – it is a cake after all!

Xyllitol is a new sweetener which is made from the bark of the birch tree.  It contains 40% less calories than sugar and has a glycaemic index of 7 meaning that it doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike.  It is even good for our teeth!  Xyllitol is sold as ‘Total sweet’ in big supermarkets.

This cake can be cut into slices and frozen and then you can pack a frozen slice in a lunchbox and it will be perfect for eating at lunchtime!

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas, mashed (peeled weight 185g)
55g xyllitol
200 g gluten free plain flour
130g butter or coconut fat
60g dark chocolate, chopped small – the darker the healthier but it’s up to you!
30g dried cranberries
45g pecans, chopped
1 medium egg
1 heaped tsp baking powder
Few drops vanilla essence

Delicious!

Delicious!

Method:

  • Preheat the oven at 150 degrees and grease a loaf tin.
  • Combine the xyllitol, flour and butter in a food processor or bowl and mix well.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients and mix again.
  • Transfer to the loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes until a knife comes out clean from the cake.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Anaemia – more than just a bit tired?

sleeping in flowersI spoke to a friend today who mentioned she is ‘always’ anaemic.  Anaemia is usually caused by iron deficiency or B12 deficiency (pernicious anaemia) which results in less oxygen being delivered to the cells of the body.  Most people are aware that anaemia causes tiredness and shortness of breath.  However, being anaemic also increases the rate of free radical damage to the cells of the body and this results in accelerated aging – something all of us want to avoid!  Being low in iron or B12 also impacts on your immune system making you more vulnerable to all infections.  Even mild anaemia can make you feel low in mood.  Added to this anaemia may lead to hair loss, mouth ulcers, sore tongue and headaches.

Who is at risk of anaemia?

  • Women with heavy periods
  • Pregnant women and women post-birth who lost a lot of blood during delivery.
  • Anyone with heavy blood loss e.g. from surgery or bleeding in the digestive tract from an ulcer or haemorrhoids
  • Vegans or vegetarians

Those with poor digestion and the elderly who are more likely to have difficulty absorbing the B12 found naturally in food.

How is anaemia diagnosed?
Anaemia is usually diagnosed by a blood test assessing the body’s levels of B12 and haemoglobin (the iron containing pigment in red blood cells).  If you are worried about anaemia it is also worth asking to have your ferritin levels checked.  This will show how much iron you have stored in the body.  Some people have normal haemoglobin levels but very low ferritin (iron stores).  Low ferritin may cause you to have some of the symptoms of anaemia such as decreased energy, reduced immunity to infection, hair loss and low mood.  The normal reference range for ferritin is from 12 to 150ng/ml for women and 12 to 300ng/ml for men.  This is a huge reference range!  Many nutritionists believe that a ferritin level below 50ng/ml is not ideal for optimum health and that dietary changes or supplements to bring your iron stores up above 50ng/ml will improve health and wellbeing.

Food sources for iron and vitamin B12
Best food sources for iron include liver, beef or lamb, pork, and the darker meat on poultry.  Vegetarian sources of iron include dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits such as raisins and apricots and dark chocolate.  Absorption of iron from vegetarian foods is improved when vitamin C rich foods are eaten at the same time.

B12 is found in all animal products – meat, fish, poultry and dairy products.  B12 is added in to some foods such as marmite and breakfast cereals.  B12, like iron, can be stored in the body and it may take some time before deficiency symptoms appear even if intake or absorption of B12 is low.

Iron supplements
Iron supplements are often prescribed in the form of ferrous sulphate which commonly cause digestive problems such as constipation.  Iron citrate is a form of iron which is much gentler on the tummy and less likely to cause side effects.  A dose of 14mg of iron citrate a day for a couple of months maybe enough to rectify any iron deficiency anaemia.

It is important not to take iron supplements unless your ferritin or haemoglobin levels are low.  So if you take supplements be sure to get your ferritin and haemoglobin levels re tested after three months to see how much you have improved.  You cannot overdose from the iron found in foods.  Finally, iron supplements are very poisonous to children!  As few as five iron tablets could kill a child under 5 so it is very important to keep them away from kids.

If you have any questions about anaemia or another health issue feel free to call or email me to arrange a free 10 minute telephone consultation.  Alternatively, book in for a full appointment.

What is cognitive hypnotherapy? By Muriel Bouvier

Trance or hypnosis is an everyday occurrence. In fact, most of our behaviour is done in a trance (about 90%). Anything you do automatically is done in a trance. Or if you think of someone because you’ve walked passed someone else with the same perfume, you are also in a trance. Sometimes, trance is part of what you would like to change. Do you sometimes behave against your will? Do you get scared when you know that what you are scared of is not really dangerous? A friend of mine is scared of Spain. Or do you wish you could resist something that seems irresistible?

When you work with a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, this is the kind of trance that is used – a very light one. This is the work I do on a daily basis. I help people make the changes they want in their life. And often, I need to de-hypnotise my clients from the trance that makes them behave in a way they’d rather not experience and move to what they choose instead.

I believe that all behaviour has a purpose. So anything that is labelled as a negative behaviour is in fact the wrong action with a positive intention. Sometimes, especially as children, we make mistakes in learning what to do or what to avoid.  Fortunately, the brain is able to change. It’s what scientists call brain plasticity. We always learn and change.  This is what I help my clients do. They change and take the journey to becoming the person they want to be, the person they want to look back on when they become old. Be proud of their journey. It’s like doing a software update.

And we are all different. Most hypnotherapists treat the symptoms. Cognitive hypnotherapists don’t. I believe that the work I need to do with my clients is finding out what the purpose of their behaviour is. This leads me to tailor my work to my client’s way of thinking, to design a bespoke treatment using many different techniques such as NLP, Gestalt, positive psychology, cognitive behavioural therapy as well as hypnosis.  And the work is enhanced by a unique way of creating suggestions called Wordweaving™ which accelerates the rate of improvement towards a permanent change.

The biggest difference between Quest-trained Cognitive Hypnotherapists and other hypnotherapists is that our clients are always in control of the change, helped to find ways to reach the future they want while being taught how to make that journey themselves. I rely on my clients wanting to make the change rather than having their problem taken away from them. I believe this is more empowering and also gives my clients the tools they need to finish the work by themselves.

I work with clients who want to get pregnant and are having difficulties, want to stop smoking, reduce anxiety or depressive behaviours in their lives, free themselves from phobias, reduce pain they experience, and many other issues.  If you would like to find out more, or if you are interested in experiencing this change, you can get in touch or visit my websites www.MurielBouvier.com and www.PregnancyMatters.co.uk.   I offer a free no-obligation 20-30 minute consultation in East Finchley.

Struggling to find healthy snacks you like?

A client following a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet was upset when I said she shouldn’t be eating crisps because they are so very bad for you – high in refined carbohydrates, high in the worst kinds of damaged fats, and contain acrylamides – carcinogenic chemicals produced when you heat starchy foods to high temperatures.

I suggested she dry fry at low temperature some sunflower seeds, being careful not to burn them.  They only need to be cooked for a few minutes.  Add a little good quality salt if you like and then store in an air tight container – a healthy ‘crunchy’ snack rich in healthy fats and minerals such as magnesium which help you to relax and also lower high blood pressure.

Weight loss plateau?

Today I was asked by a chap called Angelo what he could do to continue losing weight.  He has successfully lost two stone through dietary changes and exercise but has now plateaued.  I suggested:
Cutting out all carbs in the evening i.e. dinner to be protein (fish, meat, beans|pulses)  and lots of non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, peas, courgette etc.  You will probably have to make your protein portion a bit bigger than you normally have and make half your plate green veg to feel full (and also to give you lots of metabolism enhancing vitamins and minerals.)
At the gym start with a quick burst of cardio to get your heart rate up and then do plenty of weights to build up muscle.  (The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn even when you are sitting around doing nothing as maintaining muscle uses up much more energy than maintaining body fat.)

 

Did you know Bergamot essential oil reduces anxiety and feelings of depression in anxious people?

Many people are aware there is good evidence to suggest aromatherapy essential oils such as Lavender and Chamomile may have a positive effect on the nervous system.  However, research has now been carried out in Taiwan on school teachers which showed simply breathing a spray of bergamot essential oil is significantly relaxing.  School teachers were chosen because they are considered to be in a high stress job in Taiwan.  The participants with moderate to severe anxiety received the most benefit in reduction of measures of stress e.g. reduced blood pressure and heart rate.  It is thought this group received the most benefit because essential oils encourage the nervous system to return to a balanced state, whereas less effect was seen in those with only low stress levels.

It is amazing to think these results were achieved simply by two ten minute aromatherapy sprays a week apart!

What is Bergamot essential oil?

The Bergamot tree grows in Northern Italy and the essential oil comes from squeezing the rind of the fruit which looks like a very small orange.  It has a wonderful citrusy smell and is used to scent Earl Grey tea.  The active constituents include linalyl acetate, limonene and linalool.

Bergamot oil is used by aromatherapists to treat depression and anxiety, for skin care and urinary infections like cystitis.

Bergamot oil is thought to have an uplifting effect on mood and to calm nervous tension and anxiety.  It can be used in a diffuser so it’s scent fills the room or, even better, combined with a base oil and massaged into the body.

For urinary infections the essential oil should be added to the bath water or diluted and used in a wash for the genital area.  The patient should also drink lots of water or chamomile tea, rest, keep warm, and avoid sugar and alcohol.  If fever develops or symptoms persist it is important to seek professional advice – feel free to call or email me for further help and advice in treating urinary infections.

Bergamot essential oil is also anti-inflammatory and cleansing to the skin and can be used in facial washes or added to creams as part of a skin care regime for acne or oily skin and infected skin conditions.

Dosages:

For baths: add three drops of bergamot oil to each teaspoon of carrier oil (e.g. almond oil) and then add to the bath water.

For Massage: add two drops of bergamot essential oil to each teaspoon of carrier oil

For skin care: add 1 drop of the essential oil to each teaspoon of cream or product you are using.  For very sensitive skin, add one drop essential oil to two drops of cream/product

Caution: Bergamot causes sensitivity to the sun and increased risk of sunburn.  Do not use it on skin which will later be exposed to bright sunshine.

To see the full research paper: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2011/946537/abs/

 

Making ointments

Ointments are easy to make and are very helpful for treating a wide range of conditions from dry, chapped skin and lips, to fungal infections like athlete’s foot and deeper ailments like osteoarthritis and aching muscles.

Ointments differ from creams in that they are not made with any water, only oils or fats. The recipe below uses beeswax and olive oil although you could use almond oil or another good quality vegetable oil instead if you prefer.

You can enhance the healing properties of your ointment by making an infused oil using medicinal herbs first and combining this with the beeswax. Here is a recipe for Juniper and Rosemary ointment, which is great for stiff aching muscles or joints. It is a warming ointment which will improve the circulation to the area it is applied to thereby improving the delivery of nutrients and oxygen and speeding up the removal of waste products. Rosemary applied topically is a great anti-spasmodic, relaxing tight muscles and tissues especially when a little time is spent rubbing it in to the affected area. Juniper is also warming and thought to be strongly cleansing, helpful in arthritic conditions where waste products often accumulate around a damaged joint.

Rosemary and Juniper Ointment

Ingredients:

100ml olive oil

10g beeswax

Handful rosemary leaves

A few juniper berries or 20 drops juniper berry essential oil

Method:

  • Heat the oil gently in a bowl suspended above a pan of simmering water (the way you would melt chocolate)
  • Chop up the rosemary and add it to the oil along with the juniper berries; leave to gently infuse for two to three hours
  • Strain the oil carefully, pushing down on the herb/oil mix to extract as much infused oil as possible.
  • If using juniper berry essential oil instead of the berries, add this now.
  • In a separate pan gently melt the beeswax; once it is melted stir in the infused oil.
  • Pour the mixture into clean glass jars and allow to cool completely before adding the lid.
  • Label and date your ointment.

These quantities should make two or three 30ml jars of ointment. Beeswax can be bought from health shops.

January Facebook Competition

Throughout January anyone who liked and followed my facebook page got my free nutrition and health tips throughout the month and was also entered into a prize draw to win £70 worth of nutrition/herbal consultations and treatment.

I’m delighted to announce the winner is Julia Bradley – please get in touch Julia so you can arrange your nutrition consultation with me!