Author Archives: Merril

The Patient Dilemma

Picture this….you’ve just been to the GP and you blood test results show high cholesterol,
high blood glucose levels and borderline high blood pressure.

It was made it clear that you really should lose some weight and that without prescription
drugs you are at risk of a heart attack or stroke and type II diabetes in the near future.

What to do!

Mortified by the onslaught of major disease you walk away with a prescription for a
cholesterol lowering drug (the most commonly prescribed class of drug in Australia) and a
blood pressure lowering drug (you will probably end up on 2 of these as they seldom work
well on their own) and a drug to lower your blood sugar levels. There all fixed!

This constellation of symptoms gives rise to a condition known as Metabolic Syndrome X all
caused by insulin resistance. Addressing all of the main drivers of disease is considered best
practice in the medical community.

So you diligently begin taking all of your prescribed medicines and overtime your blood test
results show some improvement. However, you start to wonder if making some dietary
adjustments will help you to lose weight and then maybe you can reduce or eliminate some of
the drugs you’re taking….because the side-effects are not really what you signed up for.

Your GP refers you to a Dietician who’s covered by Medicare to help with getting your weight
under control. They help you to understand more about foods and the way they interact with
your body. They may even give you a standard meal plan for Type II Diabetes to follow or
send you off to a Diabetes Educator.

Every practitioner here is doing their very best to help you get your health back on track. But
you still wonder if there is more that you can do to help yourself. If there is any other way to
treat these conditions without the need for drugs and to reduce weight and boost energy at
the same time.

To get to the crux of this patient’s dilemma you need to understand that as a Naturopathic
Nutritionist I am going to view your diet, health concerns and medications in a very different
way to any other health professional that you’ll see.

I’ll be looking for nutritional deficiencies that may arise from the drugs that you are taking and
genetic issues that mean that you need extra nutrients to prevent health conditions just like
this. I will also assess your diet to check for foods/drinks that may be exacerbating your
condition and work with your to reduce or eliminate them. I will also make dietary suggestions
tailored specifically to you and your general wellbeing.

I can think of about several nutrients that are crucial for the prevention and treatment of this
condition and they are seldom ever discussed in a medical setting. (That’s because it’s not a
part of a medical treatment plan.) If you’re ready to take the next step in your health journey
book online today.

Ageing is Optional

We all have entrenched ideas about what ‘ageing’ looks like.

As we grow older we expect to see irreversible changes in our eyesight, hearing, weight, mobility, drive, memory, aches and pains and independence.

It’s a depressing outlook.

Comments such as ‘men mellow with age’ are commonplace.
In reality, many of these changes are just a refection that the hormones that once made men assertive and dynamic have dropped.

Andropause or male menopause is just androgen (testosterone) deficiency. This takes place from the 40’s onwards (occasionally earlier) and it redefines many of the characteristics that we associate with a healthy, virile male.

Declining testosterone levels affect a man’s stamina and endurance, memory, muscle mass, fat mass, mental health, libido and overall sense of motivation, confidence and drive.

Many men no longer recognize themselves in the mirror.

For women, it’s the deficiency of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone during Menopause from the late forties to early fifties (and the changes that happen throughout Perimenopause) that creates an overwhelming feeling that their youthfulness is gone.

Once shapely legs are now laced with varicose veins, cellulite and bruises as the skin thins and loses its muscle tone.

Random aches and pains in the muscles and joints often replace a fit and agile former self. Fat mass accumulates in the abdominal region and can prove very hard to shift.

Libido drops due to a decrease in desire and thinning/dryness of the vaginal tissue is a further blow to her femininity.

An increase in hair grow on the face in addition to more wrinkles and sagginess in the breasts paints a very sad picture.

However, we live in an age when anything is possible. Ageing is optional.

Natural anti-ageing strategies are here to help so you can enjoy your best life possible.

Through a combination of diet, lifestyle, exercise and nutritional supplementation, it is possible to look and feel years younger.

Why Women Get Tired

Why women are always Constantly Tired and how you can Prevent it from happening to you.

Why women get tiredIn this short article we look at two often overlooked Nutritional Causes for Women who experience Constant Tiredness.

Most women assume their constant tiredness is caused by having a busy work load and family life, insufficient sleep or stress. But as demanding as the modern woman’s life is, there are many other underlying factors that cause tiredness too.

Chief among them is Iron deficiency. Women are at risk of iron deficiency from puberty to menopause, the child baring years. Heavy periods, fibroids and cysts all contribute to significant iron loss on a monthly basis. This may cause a lack of stamina, breathlessness on exertion, dizziness, trouble concentrating, pale skin, headaches, chest pain and more.

Many iron supplements are full of elemental Iron which is difficult to absorb and causes constipation and nausea. Therefore, maintaining the treatment can create even more problems! A natural iron supplement with the right cofactors (nutrients to help the Iron be absorbed) is the best choice to improve iron levels and energy.

Diet is also essential to increasing Iron levels. It’s best to discuss your diet with a Nutritionist so they can advise you on ways of combining foods to maximise your Iron absorption and the best foods to eat. Without this information, all the Iron supplements in the world could still leave you tired.

And whist we are on the subject of diet….certain foods contain ’empty calories’ which means they give you loads of energy but have no nutritional value. This causes a quick spike in your blood sugar so you’ll feel a short boost of energy followed by a slump once the sugar wears off. Overtime, this can lead to hypoglycaemia and diabetes.

You can recognise these foods by their colour ‘white’. These refined foods are otherwise known as simple carbohydrates. They include sugar, white flour, white bread, white biscuits, etc. It has been said that “we’ve never been so well fed and yet so undernourished”.

So if your diet is full of these types of energy sapping foods, you need to learn how to replace or minimise these foods and make better choices to achieve sustained energy.

Nutritional information can be conflicting and confusing. Taking the time to discuss your unique dietary habits and health can make a world of difference to your life.

Is Weight Loss a Misnomer?

Everyone likes to talk about weight loss but what type of weight are people actually losing? In this article, you’ll discover the truth about the term collectively known as weight loss.

In 2003 I attended a seminar entitled “Fat Loss not Weight Loss” as part of my Naturopathic training. Early in the day the lecturer made a comment that I have never forgotten. “You can lose weight just by going to the toilet!” Although Mr. Eddy ND was stating the obvious; it wasn’t until that moment that it dawned on me just how misleading the term weight loss can be. Losing excess fat, fluid, waste or toxins, should be the goal of any healthy weight reduction program. However, for most people, the success of a weight loss program is measured simply by a decrease in kilograms on the scales.

So when “Anita” weighs herself on the scales and she’s 2 kg lighter, she assumes that this is healthy and what she is doing is working. And of course this is understandable given that the generalized notion of weight loss, is all anybody ever talks about! But what if that 2 kg weight loss came at the expense of a reduction in muscle and bone mass? Muscle mass is heavier than fat mass so when it is lost it has a dramatic effect on the scales. The irony is that muscle mass drives metabolism and enables you to burn fat more effectively. So while losing muscle mass might look good on the scales, it actually weakens your overall physique and body structure, decreases your immunity and slows fat loss.

Therefore, as any of my clients can attest, it is essential that you know what type of weight you are actually losing. There have been instances among my male clientele where their overall weight has increased but their physique has improved substantially. This is because their increased weight came from muscle mass which enabled them to burn more fat. It should also be remembered that muscle mass also adds tone to the body and improves its overall appearance. It also produces increased stamina, strength and energy.

Overall physique is a very important consideration when attempting to reduce body weight. Many people have large frames with a high degree of muscle and bone mass. This can weigh quite heavily on the scales but it is very important for the body to have a strong structural framework. The body’s bone mass peaks at 20 years of age but according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 5 to 7 years after menopause bone mass declines by a whopping 20%.

This is because women lose the protective effects of estrogen after menopause which predisposes them to developing Osteoporosis (porous bones) which fracture and break easily. Therefore, maintaining a healthy amount of bone mass is essential to offset this hormonal change.

My advice to anyone undertaking a weight loss program is to make sure that they monitor and manage their progress with regular Body Composition Assessments (BCA) to ensure that muscle and bone mass is not being sacrificed in an effort to weigh less on the scales. Ideally BCA’s need to be done every three weeks as bone and muscle loss can occur with surprising speed.

On a final note I believe it’s unrealistic to compare one person’s weight loss success with another because there are so many variables. Among my clients there are examples of people who weigh lighter simply because they have a smaller frame. There are also examples of people who are heavier yet healthier than others, simply because they have more muscle and less fat mass overall.

Having conducted countless Body Composition Assessments, I can assure readers that there are definitely risks associated with weight loss if it is not monitored and managed correctly. Bathroom scales are next to useless because they do not give you the full picture. Be fully informed about your weight loss program and the type of weight you are losing to avoid serious health issues down the track.

Keeping Colds and Flu Away

How to keep Colds and Flu away and achieve Winter Wellness.

Protect Yourself Naturally this Winter with 12 Hints to Boost Your Winter Immunity

1. Viruses such as colds and flu are most easily transmitted when large numbers of people are gathered in confined spaces. Therefore, avoidance of these situations is recommended as much as possible during winter.

2. If you do find you yourself in this situation, staying well hydrated is the best way to avoid a contracting a virus. In winter the mucous membranes of the nose and throat can dry out as people gather indoors in heated rooms. Without adequate moisture (via water intake) these membranes are unable to effectively capture the virus in mucous to be blown out. Drinking up to 8 glasses of water per day can significantly reduce your chances of contracting a cold or flu.

3. Similarly, keep heaters at temperatures at or below 20 C to avoid drying out the atmosphere. If possible open a window slightly to let in some fresh air and use layered clothing to obtain a comfortable level of warmth.

4. Use a tissue to blow your nose or cough into, then dispose of it in the bin and wash your hands with warm soapy water. It may sound simple but this is a powerful way to avoid reinfecting yourself or infecting others. (Handkerchiefs are very unhygienic. They need to be disinfected and washed between every use.)

5. Getting adequate sleep/rest is essential to retain your immunity throughout winter. If you are rundown and sleep deprived you become a primary candidate for an infection, cold or flu to take hold.

6. Keep stress and sugary foods/drinks to a minimum. Both of these will reduce your immunity and leave you susceptible to colds and flu.

7. Keep alcohol to a minimum also as this depletes your body of essential nutrients needed for your immunity to keep you healthy.

8. Reduce or eliminate cigarettes from your life. Smoking damages lung tissue and the respiratory system in general. Therefore, smoking prolongs recovery from colds and flu and worsens the symptoms and severity of bronchial infections, leaving you open to developing bronchitis, pneumonia and pleurisy.

9. Maintaining an exercise regime throughout winter can be extremely powerful for preventing viral infections such as colds and flu. Just be sure to avoid heated swimming pools or any activity which is overly strenuous.

10. Eat fresh, unprocessed foods and avoid mucous forming foods. Your body’s natural response to infection is to reduce your appetite, as the energy required to digest your food is redirected to the immune response to fight the infection. Therefore, eating heavy/fatty foods slows down the healing process. The lymphatic system which works in conjunction the immune system also transports fatty acids around the body. So eating a meal of fish and chips will make the lymph flow even more sluggish which prolongs the healing effort. (The lymphatic system drains and filters toxins, dead infectious organisms, etc. from the cells. The flow of lymphatic fluid is enhanced with exercise.)

11. At the first sign of an infection, cold or flu make a cup of hot brewed tea/filtered coffee. Both tea and coffee contain antioxidant and antiviral properties. You can also add fresh ginger to tea to increase its healing properties. Peppermint tea and green tea are also good choices.

12. Load up on Vitamin C (otherwise known as Ascorbic Acid). My personal favourite is powdered Vitamin C which can be taken in water every hour. It does wonders for fighting an infection. Many studies have confirmed Vitamin C’s ability to reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu. During an acute infection the body will need many grams of Vitamin C a day to perform this function. Vitamin C is not stored in the body so it must be obtained from the diet or supplements. NB if you experience diarrhoea you have reached bowel tolerance so back off slightly until the bowel returns to normal.

This list contains just a few things you can do achieve Winter Wellness this winter, to boost your immunity and keep colds and flu at bay.

Natural Medicine, Why it’s for YOU

Recent research has shown that 75% of those surveyed had tried Natural Medicine in the last 12 months. As a Naturopath this comes as no surprise. My clinical experience has shown that my clients typically fit into one of four categories, especially if you’re over the age of 30.

1. The first group of clients are those who are passionate about healing themselves through natural medicine supplementation, improved nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. They prefer to use natural medicine in preference to pharmaceutical drugs to treat their health conditions.

2. The second group are those clients that know that their diet is not healthy and they are experiencing health concerns such as weight gain, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, etc. but feel sure they can get on top of it, given the right information. Many of my clients who come for weight loss are already doing an exercise program but are just not getting the results that they desire because they don’t have all the information they need from a dietary or nutritional perspective to put it all together. There are also other things that affect a person’s ability to lose weight such as hormonal changes in the body (i.e. menopause, andropause, high cortisol levels, adrenal and thyroid issues), toxins, stress, inflammation, infection and allergies). Only by addressing all of these health concerns through natural medicine and diet, can real progress be made.

3. Another type of client that I regularly see are those using pharmaceutical drugs and experiencing lots of side-effects such as weight gain, reduced libido, reduced energy, etc. These clients are looking for a natural alternative to address their health concerns safely and without side-effects. A Naturopath is focused on treating the root cause of the illness rather than simply masking the symptoms. For example, instead of using antihistamines for Hay fever and affecting no real change, the Naturopathic approach would be to rebalance their immune system and supplement their diet with nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium and zinc.

4. Finally, I see an increasing number of clients who have done the rounds of doctors and specialists and have completed untold numbers of tests, only to be given a complete bill of health. All the while these clients know in themselves that they are not well. In this instance the Naturopath is seen as someone who can explain why their body is producing the symptoms that it is and give them a holistic treatment plan incorporating natural medicine.

So did any of these client categories sound familiar to you?

Natural medicine focuses on changes to the diet, nutritional supplementation and herbal medicine. The treatment plan may also take into account environmental and emotional aspects of your health. For instance, what toxins have you been exposed to and what are your relationships like? Do you enjoy your work and how stressful is your life? Only by looking at the whole picture can potential explanations be given as to why your health has reached the state that it has. What is your body trying to tell you? What changes need to be made to ensure you have optimal health in the future?

Being the practitioner of last resort is not a glamorous title but it is an important one. When clients come to see me they’re frustrated, overwhelmed and at their wits end. They cannot understand why no-one can tell them what’s wrong with them let alone how to fix it. While these people are among my most challenging clients, they are also incredibly rewarding to work with, as each naturopathic consultation brings new information and improvements to their health.

As a Naturopath I get an unbelievable buzz out of helping people to help themselves. There is nothing better than providing an alternative to people who have tried everything else with little success. So if you fall into one of the above categories, you now know that Natural Medicine can help you to improve your health, not only for now but also well into the future.

Phone 9217 6410 for an appointment today.

Thyroid Imbalance

Overweight,Tired, Depressed?

Maybe your thyroid is to blame.

Among my clients, a thyroid imbalance can often be the culprit responsible for unwanted weight gain, fatigue and depression. It’s not uncommon for my clients to present with blood test results which indicate that their Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is within the normal range.

Therefore, any notion that the thyroid is out of balance is dismissed by their GP’s. However, there is now much evidence to support the notion of subclinical hypothryoidism. In other words, if your TSH blood tests show that you are on the lower end of the range, there’s a good chance that your thyroid may not be functioning as well as it could.

The thyroid is also significantly affected by stress and infection. Both of which can produce thyroid abnormalities. Women who experience PMS and peri-menopausal symptoms may also be suffering from thyroid imbalances. Interestingly, thyroid function fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle. It’s generally, more sluggish in the premenstrual and menstrual phases and more efficient during the remainder of the cycle.

Balancing the thyroid through targeted supplementation has worked wonders for many of my clients. Not only for weight loss but also for increasing energy and alleviating feelings of depression.

If you feel the cold, experience fatigue, depression, weight gain, dry skin or a horse voice, it’s worth investigating a possible thyroid link, regardless of your TSH results.

Phone 8618 6872 today and get the body you deserve.


Overcoming Food Addictions

You might be surprised to learn that food can be addictive and act like a drug in your body, but it’s true.

Some of the most troublesome food addictions include:

Sugar cravings (chocolate, cakes, lollies, biscuits, pastries), carbohydrate cravings (bread & pasta).

Refined sugar has very little to recommend it. Once consumed it rapidly goes about increasing your blood glucose and insulin levels and giving you a short lived energy burst. Sadly, when it’s effects wear off you are dumped back down again. In the meanwhile unstable blood glucose levels can create headaches, irritability, tiredness, an inability to concentrate and feelings of being faint or shaky. Even worse high sugar diets can predispose you to Type II Diabetes Mellitus.

You may wonder then why we crave sugar in the first place? Isn’t glucose meant to be good for us? Don’t we need it for our brains and to power our muscles during exercise?

The answer is Yes and No.

All carbohydrates break down to glucose. That includes all grains, fruits and produce made from sugar. Clearly there are good and bad carbohydrates. The difference is the rate they covert to glucose. Refined carbohydrates such as added sugar or cakes, biscutes, white bread, white rice, etc., have a high GI Factor. This means that they are coverted to glucose very rapidly. Therefore, the side-effects mentioned above are far more likely to occur with these types of sugar products.

Complex carbohydrates have a low GI Factor which mean that they covert to glucose much slower. This gives you sustained energy without the sugar highs and lows. This group includes wholegrains, vegetables and fruit.

If you want to exercise effectively, eating complex carbohydrates in conjunction with protein is optimal for energy.

We used to think that the brain needed glucose to function. In recent years we’ve learnt that the brain is more than happy to run on ketones which are made from the breakdown of fats. Energy converted from fat is almost double that of carbohydrates and proteins. Good fats are those of the omega 3 and 6 variety found in fish, nuts, seeds and advocados, olive oil and eggs.

Craving sugary foods for a quick fix is usually a sign of an underlying health condition such as: fatigue, mineral/vitamin deficiencies, yeast infections, low iron levels, hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), Type II Diabetes or emotional problems ie anxiety or depression. Often it presents during the later phase of the menstrual cycle. Craving carbohydrates and sugars to ward of PMS is a common finding among women. This is a form of self-medication to help offset the estrogen deficiency and balance moods, energy and emotions.

Sometimes its just a habit that once formed is difficult to break. Often its a lack of real food in the diet to sustain your appetite between meals.

Whatever the cause it’s worth having it checked out if it becomes more of a persistent craving.

Phone 0409 352 478 for an appointment today.


Make the most of your Health Insurance

Are you making the most of your Health Insurance?

Here’s 3 reasons why seeing a Naturopath can save you Time and Money

  1. Some Health Insurance funds provide rebates on Naturopathic Weight Loss Consultations (using the Shake-It Professional Weight Loss Program) over and above your existing level of extras cover. This can provide a significant saving for you. For a full list of Health Insurance funds currently offering this service please go to the Weight Loss page on this website.
  2. Finding time for our health isn’t always easy. Competing pressures of work, family and day to day chores, makes scheduling appointments for check-ups a near impossibility. Prioritizing our health when our lives are so chaotic can be a real challenge but those that do, are amply rewarded. At GWN we offer after hours and weekend appointments to help accommodate our busiest clients. Making the most of your health insurance cover can save you time and money by reducing the amount of appointments you need to attend with other health providers who can only offer acute or symptomatic relief. This is because a Naturopath fixes the root cause of your health problem. By teaching you strategies to improve or eliminate your health condition, a Naturopath puts you on the right track and enables you to maintain your health in the future. Over time this knowledge can save you a bundle on consultations and frees up more of your valuable time.
  3. If you have private health cover and have not seen a Naturopath, you could be missing out on vital information that could make a world of difference to your health and wellbeing. Even if you think that your health ailments are minor, you might be surprised to learn that nutritional deficiencies can often turn up in a range of signs and symptoms. A Naturopath can join the dots and make health connections that can improve your vitality and help you to get more out of life. Naturopathic consultations are a fantastic means of preventative medicine. If you have private health cover you owe it to yourself to experience a Naturopathic check-up. We guarantee you it will be the best time and money you’ve ever spent.

Phone 0409 352 478 for an appointment today.


Naturopathic Weight Loss

What makes Naturopathic Weight Loss is so popular and successful?

When you come to GWN for weight loss, be excited, because what you’re about to learn explains why so many people struggle to lose weight and keep it off.

You’ll also learn why so many factors have contributed to the frustration and heartache that so many people experience when their weight loss attempts are two steps forward and one step backwards.

Many people get a couple of things right but their efforts can be thwarted completely, by the one or two things that they didn’t know to do.

Working with a GWN can give you a significant edge in your weight loss efforts. When you get your biochemistry right and all the other factors sorted, there’s absolutely no reason why you won’t achieve your goal weight.

Society seems to treat being overweight as normal. Many people expect to gain weight as they get older or have children. Men wear a beer belly as if it is an inevitable part of aging.

But if you’re carrying extra weight, you need to approach it as a serious health issue. Weight gain is a sign that there is inflammation in the body, a build up of toxins, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal dysregulation and a myraid of other medical concerns.

If walking up a flight of stairs leaves you puffing and sweating, now is the time to take action. Your heart and circulation are not coping with the small demands you’re placing on them. So what’s liable to happen when you get a bigger stressor in your life? A heart attack, a stroke? What if you’re only in your 30’s or 40’s and you have a young family who depend on you?

Do you’re muscles, back or joints hurt if you’re bend down or you’re legs for too long?

Is you blood pressure dangerously high? Is your cholesterol high, blood glucose levels high?

Gaining weight is not healthy. It’s not normal and it’s no joke.

The consequences are dire.

The question is: Are you ready to learn why GWN Naturopathic Weight Loss is so successful?

There’s no less than 26 factors that a GWN takes into consideration when assessing your weight concerns.

And let me tell you. No other professional will assess all of these things for you. A gym or GP can only assist with a fraction of these issues.

So if you’re not getting the results you need right now, why not experience Naturopathic Weight Loss and find out the keys to successful weight loss.

Be the exception. Call today and show your family & friends how it’s done. Call 0409 352 478 today.