Category: Diet

Foods to Avoid During Cold Flu

As the temperatures change suddenly, Winter’s challenge is to stay away from colds and flus which many of us find hard to avoid. Most people don’t realise how important the right diet is to prevent and treat colds and how the wrong diet can prolong the cold longer than necessary. Less sick days means more productive days!

Many patients that have a cold or flu are eating the wrong foods. Here we discuss the foods to avoid when you are suffering from a cough, sore throat or flu. These are all different in nature and the foods we must stay clear of when we have a cough or flu.
In Chinese Medicine, foods are classified as either hot, cold or neutral in nature. This means it can cause inflammation and heat in the body, cause phlegm or essentially cool the body down chemically.

Here we discuss foods to avoid for different types of flus:

RUNNY NOSE – at the early onset of a runny nose or cold you can take ginger, garlic and some hot tea to prevent it getting worse. A warm bath and getting under the covers with plenty of blankets to sweat it out help.

SORE THROAT – if you are suffering from a sore throat, avoid anything spicy and sweet foods. This includes garlic, horseradish, fennel, onions and red meat. We should be eating more cooling foods like fresh green vegetables, lemon, honey, apples, pears, peppermint, fish etc. whilst drinking plenty of fluids, aim for 3L a day.

DRY COUGH – if you are already coughing, you must avoid anything spicy and sweet in nature. This includes garlic, ginger, onions, chilli, sugar, chocolate etc. This can cause the cough to be worse if we have anything spicy or sweet as well as fried foods. Drink plenty of fluids and soups.

PHLEGMY COUGH – if we have phlegm you should be avoiding all dairy, cold and sweet foods including ice cream, milk, cheese, chocolates, sweets, etc. This causes more phlegm and mucus to build up in the nose and throat.

Other Tips to Preventing Colds:
– Remember to dress warmly when outside and wear a scarf
– Get plenty of rest and sleep to regenerate and build up the immune system
– Minimise spread by washing your hands more.
– Eat warm cooked foods, avoid raw cold foods like Salads.
– Reduce dairy, alcohol and refined sugars

For a full list of foods to avoid please download this Food List pdf.

Excessive Sugar intake can Kill You

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that you should limit less than 10% of your daily calorie intake from sugar. This means that for an average adult it equates to 25g or less or around 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men. A can of coke consists of 39g of sugar! However we far exceed this amount recommended amount.

In the USA the average adult intakes around 27 teaspoons a day, that is almost 5 times the recommended daily intake recommended by WHO. So in the past when we thought FAT was bad, studies now show that sugar does more damage than fat!

So what happens to our bodies when we consume excess sugar? Too much can actually KILL US!

Here are the reasons why we should cut down on sugar now:

1. Insulin Resistance – Excess sugar can make you Insulin Resistance, which could eventually lead to metabolic syndrome or diabetes. Studies show excess sugar consumption is associated with insulin resistance, especially when it is consumed in large amounts. When glucose builds up in the blood, we can experience high blood pressure, tiredness, hunger and brain fog.

2. Diabetes – Type 2 Diabetes is becoming more prevalent. In Australia 280 people develop diabetes daily; over 100,000 Australians developed diabetes in the past year and it is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia according to Diabetes Australia. When we drink sugary beverages such as COKE we have an 83% increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes!

3. Zero Nutrition – Added sugar is the WORST ingredient in the modern-day diet. It has such harmful effects on our body and metabolism and causes many types of chronic illness in our bodies. Added sugars like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients. This is why it’s called ‘empty calories’. They contain no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals. Only PURE ENERGY. When we eat sugar it contributes to nutrient deficiencies in our bodies. So even though sugar contains a lot of calories it has no beneficial essential nutrients.

When people eat up to 10-20% of calories as sugar (or more), this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

4. Liver Overload – Eating too much added sugar will lead to liver overload which is high in fructose. When we have a small piece of fruit this is fine as it is stored in the liver, but if it’s overloaded it turns the fructose into fat and can lead to fatty liver and other serious health issues. You can’t overdose on fructose in fruit.

5. Inflammation – Sugar causes a lot of inflammation in our cells. Certain cells feed off sugar and in turn, grow and proliferate. Sugar is also a cause of ageing in the body.

6. Sugar is Highly Addictive – Sugar is as addictive as heroin and 8 times more addictive than cocaine! It is one of the most addictive and deadly narcotics out there yet it is readily available and legal. This is because it causes large amounts of dopamine to be released in the brain. This is why people become strongly addicted to sugar. In obese people, they need to consume even more sugar to get the same effect. Sugar is the MOST dangerous drug of the modern times which is still easily accessible everywhere!

7. Damages Organs – The damage from sugar in the body is a slow process, but very destructive, however since we take in such large quantities it can do widespread damage to our organs and body function. This can cause problems with our kidney function and can even lead to kidney failure.

8. Obesity – The hormones in our brain from excess sugar leads to fat gain as we lose control over the consumption. When we consume too much sugar we usually become overweight or obese. One daily serving of a sugary beverage leads to an increase of a 60% risk of obesity! If you want to lose weight, CUT DOWN on Sugar! Remove that soft drink from your diet.

9. Heart Disease – It’s no longer fat that is the number 1 cause of Heart Disease. Sugar is the culprit. This is because sugar affects our metabolism. Large amounts of fructose increases our triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol), raises blood glucose levels and insulin levels. Excess consumption of added sugars are the cause for diseases that kill millions of people each year.

10. Increases depression – when you have sugar and carbs your mood improves as it triggers your body to release the hormone serotonin. However, having excess sugar seems to reverse this effect. When you have a sugar-heavy diet you are more likely to have massive changes in your behaviour, your blood sugar levels go up very high but they also fall very low rather quickly. This yo-yo effects your metabolism and mood.

11. Reduces immunity – Your immune system defends your body against potential infections. When we eat too much sugar it can damage and compromise the function of your immune system to fight bacteria, virus and other parasites. When you consume sugar at every meal your immune system is essentially functioning at only 50%.

12. Increases yeast infectionsyeast grows by feeding off sugar. With every can of soft drink your body is the perfect breeding ground for yeast infections, both in the urinary tract and in your mouth (oral thrush). This is caused by the overgrowth of candida. When your immune system is working properly, bacteria does not get out of control, however if your blood sugar levels are too high, all the extra sugars in your saliva and urine provide the perfect environment for breeding bacteria.

13. Alzheimer and Dementiaexcess sugar can cause a decrease in cognitive brain function and lead to memory impairment.

We all know excess sugar is unhealthy for us and may lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and auto-immune disease. Sugar or high fructose corn syrup is found in almost any packaged food, soft drinks, fruit juice, baked goods and condiments.

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How to Avoid Sugar:

  1. Start reading the labels on food and drinks before you buy! Know what sugar content is in your food. Avoid high fructose corn syrup or glucose/fructose.
  2. Avoid everyday items like bread, salad dressings, canned tuna, canned vegetables, biscuits, sauces, yoghurt, sugary drinks such as coke, ice teas, energy drinks etc.
  3. Avoid processed packaged foods and start making your own. These are usually high in sugar, preservatives and salt.
  4. Avoid and cut down foods made from processed carbs or processed sugars.
  5. Bake your own cookies, chocolate, sweets and make your own dressings so you control exactly how much you put in.
  6. Have foods which don’t contain artificial colours and/or flavours.
  7. Switch from soft drinks to water or green tea. It will make you feel better and you will lose weight too.
  8. Avoid ‘sugar-free’ and ‘diet’ products. They usually contain aspartame which is highly dangerous for your health as it is a neuro-toxin if you consume too much.
  9. Drink warm lemon water every morning to change the acidity from too much sugar in your diet to a more alkaline environment.
  10. Switch the sugar to honey or stevia

Too much sugar is like POISON to our body and is slowly killing your body. So CUT out that extra sugar intake and start getting your body back to good health.

If you require help cutting down on your sugar intake or feel you are addicted to sugar, speak to us about how we may be able to help you.

Tip for a healthy body through Autumn

Autumn is upon us! In Chinese Medicine this seasonal change brings about changes to one’s health and we need to be careful so as not to get sick at this change of season. Chinese Medicine describes the nature’s seasonal changes with a big emphasis on energy. We need to make our own changes within our body and lifestyle as each season shifts so we can be as healthy as possible and not fall ill. As autumn sees a big increase in colds, coughs and allergies.

Each season the health challenge for us is to harmonise our energy and body with the greater energy of nature. Seasonal changes represents a move between yin and yang. Autumn is the yin energy replacing the big yang energy of summer. This energy is moving inward and downwards in autumn towards the earth, as opposed to out and up in summer. Therefore with the new season upon us we need to balance our health with the right diet and lifestyle. As summer is slowing down and autumn approaching our bodies are also going through a change in energy internally.

Autumn is related to the metal element. This means dryness, coolness and winds are more extreme. With autumn comes organs connected to the Lungs and Large Intestine, as the Lungs need oxygen from the air and the large intestines removes waste. Lung and skin issues are more prevalent at this time with dry skin, dry cough and constipation.
Metal relates to the emotion of grief and letting go. This is the time to let go of emotional baggage you have been carrying and remember to breathe (from the belly). Just like the trees of nature do not hold onto their leaves for next year. Be receptive to the new, eliminate what you no longer need!! Just like our large intestine function is to also enable us to let go of our waste products.

Foods to eat in autumn include cooked organic root vegetables such as beetroots, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, squash, yams, celeriac etc. Things that grow under the ground. Avoid raw and cold foods such as ice-cream, cold drinks, cold vegetables, juices, salads etc and op for foods that are warm soups, stews, bakes, braising and warm drinks. Foods that are warm and nourishing will be better for the health and the lungs.

Eat more foods that can moisten our lungs and digestion including pears and apples. You can also add onions, fresh ginger to the diet to assist with colds or allergies.

With exercise try to avoid heavy aerobics as it can drain your vital energy and weaken your immune system. Instead do more gently forms of exercise such as walking, tai chi and yoga.

Remember to go to bed early during autumn and rise early. In Chinese theory, one’s sleep habits should also adjust with the seasons. As the days get shorter in autumn, sleep earlier to avoid the cold nights and wake up to the early morning sun. As the weather cools more, remember to avoid the cold by wearing a scarf or light jacket when outside in the wind.

NOW is the time to come in for your acupuncture seasonal tune up.

Eating a balanced diet

What should we eat daily for a balanced diet?

What should we eat? What is too much and what is too little? What time should we eat? What should we eat for an everyday diet so that we can be healthy and live to be 100?

Should we go back to the old food pyramid or should we all be eating organic and gluten free foods now?

With so much contradicting evidence out there we are confused as to what diets and fads to follow. As practitioners in Chinese Medicine, we talk to our patient’s daily about good eating habits and healthy lifestyle. We find too many people out there eat excessive sweets and spicy and not enough bitter and sour flavours.

The typical Chinese diet usually consists or a variety of foods, meat, fish, vegetables and carbs. We should be eating a little from each food group and not only having excessive meats or carbs. We should also be having different flavours in our diets such as salty, sweet, spicy, bitter and sour, which is able to balance each organ and energy in our bodies.

My top tips to healthy eating are:
* Glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning
* Have a good breakfast to kick-start your metabolism
* Cut down on alcohol (1 wine night max), coffee (max 2) and too much caffeinated teas
* Have 1-2 portions of red meat a week
* At least 3 servings of fruit and vegetables daily
* Cover all 5 flavours of food in your diet
* Don’t eat too much complex carbs after dark
* Have at least 2-3 litres of warm water daily
* Have a few servings of fish a week
* Switch processed foods for raw organic foods where possible.
* Reduce dairy intake
* Reduce gluten intake
* Eliminate processed sugar