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Interview – Liezel Barnard Naturopath at Weleda Australia

Liezel Barnard

I’m so excited to bring this interview to you!  I chat all things skin with Weleda Australia’s Naturopath Liezel Barnard.

A large proportion of my community have some sort of skin ailment, are you able to talk us through what the main conditions people suffer from and why you think this is?

Most people who suffer from skin ailments have an underlying genetic susceptibility or weakness which has been triggered into disease manifestation by environmental and lifestyle factors. The three skin ailments I get approached about the most are eczema, psoriasis and acne.

Eczema

A typical western diet with high amounts of sugar and polyunsaturated fatty acids (particularly omega 6), antibiotic exposure during pregnancy and infancy, small family size, urban living and low humidity and sunlight exposure are all contributing factors to eczema. On the other hand, when babies have had exposure to non-pathogenic (harmless) microorganisms from living in rural areas, having older siblings or having pet dogs, their risk of developing eczema decreased. It is thought that a healthy and diverse gut microbiome trains a baby’s immune system to become more tolerant and less allergic.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is another chronic inflammatory skin condition that can be triggered by obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, infections, injury to the skin and severe psychological stress.

Acne

The consumption of dairy (natural hormones in dairy), sugar and omega 6 fatty acids all increase the risk of developing acne.

To summarise, it seems that a typical western diet and lifestyle can increase the risk of immune system dysfunction and inflammation in the skin.

What would be the first thing you’d recommend to a parent who notices a patch of eczema popping up on their child’s skin?

Treat the eczema immediately with an anti-inflammatory cream or ointment. Eczema is usually very itchy and your child will want to scratch the eczema which will cause further inflammation and result in more damage to the skin and the skin barrier.

And the second consideration is to establish what has triggered the eczema and then to try and remove or avoid the trigger.

The most common triggers for eczema in children are:

  • Dry skin
  • Scratching
  • Contact with pollen, mould, dust mites or animals
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Temperature changes such as overly heated rooms
  • Exposure to water, soap, perfumes, washing detergents or other chemicals
  • Swimming in chlorinated swimming pools
  • Playing in sand and particularly sandpits
  • Sitting directly on carpets or grass
  • Woollen or synthetic fabrics
  • Psychological stress
  • Food allergies

Take note that you don’t have to avoid all the triggers listed, only the triggers that are relevant to your child.

Can you recommend some of your favourite go to Weleda products you would recommend for supporting a child’s skin?

The Weleda White Mallow Body Lotion is one of my favourite products for children because we get such great feedback on it from our customers. We use the gel from the white mallow root (also called marshmallow) which helps to relieve itchy skin. The product also contain plant oils rich in precious fatty acids that will absorb into the deeper skin layers and soften and soothe skin. In addition, we add ingredients that will form a protective layer on top of the skin and slow down moisture evaporation such as beeswax, coconut oil and cacao butter.

The Weleda Skin Food is another go-to product for children with dry and sensitive skin. This a very thick cream, closer to an ointment really. It contains extracts of calendula, chamomile and pansy to help soothe inflammation and strengthen the skin’s natural functions. One of the other key ingredients is hypoallergenic lanolin, which has this wonderful ability to trap moisture in the skin, with long-lasting results.

What would be your top tips for parents to help reduce the risk of their child/children developing over sensitive skin?
Moisturise, moisturise and moisturise!

Protect and maintain your child’s natural oily skin barrier. The skin barrier prevents irritants and allergens from penetrating the skin and causing inflammation in the skin. It also slows down moisture from escaping from the skin thus keeping the skin moist and supple.

A randomised controlled trial have shown a 50% reduction in the risk of developing eczema in high-risk babies (with one parent or sibling having eczema, asthma or hayfever) when their whole bodies were moisturised once a day for the first 6 months of life. (i)

For children who already suffer from dry skin or eczema, it is advisable to moisturise their skin as frequently as possible (2-3 times per day) and always after a shower or bath.  Parents often underestimate the amount of moisturiser needed for children with dry or eczema-prone skin. Experts recommend using at least 250g of moisturiser per week on children with eczema! (ii)

Avoid products and activities that will dry out or irritate the skin

Soap and bubble baths damage and dry out the skin, with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) being one of the main culprits. Use soap-free washes or oils when bathing your child to keep the skin barrier intact. And babies and small children don’t need to be bathed every day as they don’t secrete much sweat or sebum yet. Just wipe their little faces and hands and feet when needed.

I’ve read that you’ve suffered from your own skin issues in the past, do you mind telling us about your own journey?

I have been suffering from blepharitis (inflammation of the eye lids) since I was 16 years old. My eyes are also very dry and sensitive. I visited a quite few eye specialists and tried their suggestions, including washing the eye lids with baby shampoo, taking long-term oral antibiotics and also cortisone eye drops. I experimented with countless herbal and nutritional supplements, herbal eye baths, exclusion diets and homeopathy. My condition started improving about 10 years ago when I weaned myself off cortisone eye drops and I was also taking a double dose of grapeseed extract at the time. These days my eyes seem to be coping well if I stay away from any triggers such as eye make-up, contact lenses and chlorinated and sea water.

I also have acne rosacea and generally a dry and sensitive skin which I manage to keep happy with our beautiful Weleda products.

What’s your thoughts on the connection between eczema and food allergies? And how can diet affect our skin?

Food allergies play a role in about 30% of cases where there is an early and severe onset of eczema in babies, however it has a much smaller role to play in mildly affected babies or older children and adults. Aside from food allergies, what you eat can either encourage inflammatory or anti-inflammatory pathways in your body which will ultimately affect the health of your skin.

We talk increasingly about the need to encourage and maintain good gut flora but can you tell us more about skin flora?

Just like gut flora, everyone’s population of skin flora is unique. The beneficial or harmless microorganisms compete for space on the skin with the more harmful microorganisms, so it’s a good idea to keep the skin flora healthy by not harming them with excessive washing or harsh soaps and chemicals. We also know that eczema sufferers have a less diverse skin microbiome, with a relative abundance of Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph) compared to those with healthy skin.

I’ve read that genetics can play a role in certain skin issues developing, what are your thoughts around this?

Yes, the strongest risk factor for developing eczema is a family history of eczema, asthma or hayfever. The strongest known genetic risk factor is a mutation in the filaggrin gene which causes a reduced barrier function in the skin making it prone to dryness and hypersensitivity.

Genetics have some role to play in other skin issues such as psoriasis and acne, but not as decisively as compared to eczema.

Footnotes:

(i) Simpson EL, Chalmers JR, Hanifin JM, Thomas KS, Cork MJ, McLean WH. Emollient enhancement of the skin barrier from birth offers effective atopic dermatitis prevention. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Oct;134(4):818-23.

(ii) Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). ASCIA Action Plan for Eczema. 2013.

 

You can find out more about Weleda and their wonderful products here

Lifestyle

Biome Eco Stores – Tracey Bailey Interview

You may have seen me mention Biome Eco Stores before over on my social media channels, the wonderful eco-friendly store with heart.

I recently connected with Tracey Bailey the founder of Biome Eco Stores to find out more about herself and her wonderful store.

How did Biome come about?

Various factors influenced the launch of Biome from my simple upbringing in a small mining town in north Queensland, to my passion and consideration for animals and the environment. Growing up, I spent most of my time outdoors, camping, riding my bike and bush walking with my family. I became a vegetarian as a teenager and then later pursued a career in corporate communications working nationally and abroad with multinational companies. It was during this time I began questioning businesses ethical and sustainable responsibilities, and started to become more sceptical of consumer product marketing.

In 1996, I ventured deep in the Tanjung Puting National Park on Kalimantan, Indonesia, where I experienced a personal encounter with orangutans. This fuelled my passion to do more, and in 2003 I launched Biome, Australia’s first online eco store selling a carefully curated selection of environmentally and socially responsible products.

The purpose of Biome is to be part of the solution to the world’s environmental problems.  I want people to feel empowered about their actions and contributions to the planet no matter how big or small.

What’s your process for choosing what products you choose to stock?

Every brand and product sold at Biome is rigorously assessed to ensure it meets our strict standards before it is offered to our customers. I want our customers to shop with us knowing they are selecting from a range that performs well without sacrificing their health or impacting the planet. Each supplier is verified for truth in labelling, safe ingredients and zero harm to people and animals. This gives our customers peace of mind when shopping at Biome.

Our suppliers meet stringent requirements and are screened for:

  • Organic ingredients
  • Local / Australian made
  • BPA-free Plastic products
  • Palm Oil free
  • Sustainable practises
  • Fair trade
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Cradle to Cradle (End of life) programs
  • Recyclable components or packaging
  • Compostable components or packaging
  • Verified for all claims

You received an International B Corporation Certificate, can you tell us what that is?

B Corporation® certification recognises purpose-driven businesses that run with the highest level of transparency and accountability, and are committed to improving social and environmental conditions for all. B Corporations have one shared vision – to create a global movement using the power of business to drive positive change. They are driven by the value they add to the wider community, not profits, and operate at a higher social and environmental level, considering business impacts and being responsible for them.

Since launching 14 years ago, we have strived to build a sustainable and transparent business that supports employees, suppliers, community and the environment. We spend countless hours questioning other businesses and suppliers about their environmentally and socially responsible practices and values, and I wanted to show our customers we operate by the same principles we set.  I’m proud Biome has passed the rigorous assessment and joins the ranks of world changing brands that work towards creating a global movement using the power of business to drive positive change.

What are your top 3 favourite product picks?

KeepCup – my favourite product pick is my reusable coffee cup. I purchase an average of 1.5 cups of takeaway coffee every day of the year, which means I save over 500 single use disposable coffee cups annually. We recently calculated the waste the Biome community has save over 12 months. By simply using their reusable coffee cups, our community has saved over 2 million single use disposable coffee cups. It’s a simple change that prevents lots of waste. Click here to view the range of KeepCups

DIY skin care ingredients – Making your own natural skin care ingredients is best way to know exactly what you are putting on your skin. We have sourced the highest quality naturally occurring ingredients including activated charcoal, pink clay, bentonite clay and coconut oil. I love whipping up my own range of natural beauty products including toothpaste, deodorant and lip balm. It’s easy, fun and you can tailor the ingredients to suit your personal preference. Click here to view the range of DIY skin care ingredients

Konjac Sponge – Konjac Sponges offer a gentle zero waste way to cleanse your face without the use of additional products. Made from konjac root vegetable, this product is beautiful to use and can be composted at the end of its life. I have used this product for many years and absolutely love it.  Click here to view the range of Konjac Sponges

What inspires you?

I’m constantly inspired by the opportunity to make a positive change in the world, the Biome team, and Biome’s community of conscious consumers. I recently calculated and published Biome’s 12-month purchase and usage figures of reusable water bottles, coffee cups, straws, shopping bags and produce bags.  I uncovered in the last 12 months the Biome community saved over 6.7 million single use plastic items from production and waste. This has not only saved precious non-renewable resources and reduced landfill waste, but has helped our customers understand the true impact of their individual daily actions. I have always believed individual actions have the collective power to create significant change.

What exciting things are you working on at the moment?

As an environmentally friendly store with a strong zero-waste focus, I want Biome customers to be able to reduce their environmental impact as much as possible by offering recycling options they can’t access elsewhere. Currently there is a problem that most skin care, cosmetics and toothpaste plastic containers cannot be recycled through household Council recycling bins. I have just launched a complimentary in store ‘end of life’ recycling program to accept all used product packaging and beauty and cleaning containers, which I will then send to be responsibly recycled through the TerraCycle program.  This program will help to maintain and improve Biome’s and its customer’s environmental impact.

Please note this blog contains affiliate links, this means following these links earns me a small commission but you pay the same amount.

Lifestyle

Healing Eczema – A Nutritionalist view point

Healing eczema from a nutritionalist view point.

Hi there my name is Kim Holmes and I am a mum and Nutritionist. I have 2 children, my little B’s, hence the name of my business; The Healthy Little B. My eldest, daughter Billie has had in the past, only mild eczema, but a little patch on her face – it needed to go! If it were behind her knees or in the cracks of her elbows (where likely spots can be) – I wouldn’t have cared as much. In addition, she also had dust mite allergies, irritability and sensitivities – I knew I had to heal her internally as there was definitely a hypersensitivity going on. And by internally I mean treating her gut, reducing inflammation, performing food sensitivity tests and altering her diet.

Of course the food intolerance test showed up the ‘usual suspects’ – gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs. My kids don’t really have any gluten or much dairy but I was a little sad that eggs came up – a great nutritional powerhouse! Spelt, pineapple and almonds also were present. Perhaps I was over-dosing with almond milk!

Anyway, cutting a long story short, we removed the culprits, began our rotation diet and developed (with also the help of a fab Naturopath), a great supplement regime.

Here is what works with healing our eczema:

  1. Probiotics – there are many strains out there but the probiotic strain Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (LGG) is specific for its use in healing eczema.
  2. Other gut-healing nutrients – such as glutamine is a lovely nutrient to really heal any inflammation that may be present in the gut.
  3. Omega 3 – the ultimate in reducing inflammation and hydrating the dry eczema patches.
  4. Vitamin A – is needed for the health of the lining of our digestive system.
  5. Vitamin D – studies continue to show that vitamin D is needed for skin health and plays a role in allergy reduction. Don’t be afraid to get your little ones out in the lovely winter sun!
  6. Hydration – dry winter weather, heated air-conditioners don’t help with eczema. Drink loads of filtered water and research natural + organic topical creams to aid the healing.

(PS – after doing this for a while, we re-tested her intolerances. Pineapple, almonds and spelt had no reaction – yay! There was even a better tolerance to goat’s cheese).

Whilst it is great to have a diet rich in the above nutrients such as oily fish, flaxseeds, fermented foods etc – in order to really get a hold on eczema – it is good to invest in high quality supplements and in therapeutic doses to get any effect, just for a set amount of time.

This really worked for us. My daughter hasn’t had any patches for a while now. I believe a diet rich in wholefoods, low or nil gluten, sugar and dairy really does help. Not only for eczema but also for bloated little bellies, behaviour, attention and sleep.

Be sure to contact myself or another qualified health professional before you embark on a supplement regime.

About Kim

Kim is mother to two gorgeous children and a qualified nutritionalist based in Sydney, Australia.  She also holds a Bachelor of Health Science as well as a certificate in paediatric nutrition. Kim’s passion is to share her knowledge with other families and to help them reach their potential in terms of living a healthy nourished life through private consults, cooking workshops, education and more.

Find Kim here:

www.thehealthylittleb.com.au

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Lifestyle

The Wholesome Child – Interview with Mandy Sacher

Mandy Sacher

Mandy Sacher is the creator of Wholesome Child, she’s a Paediatric Nutritionist and SOS Feeding Consultant and mother of two based in Sydney, Australia.  Through her private clinical practice and seminars she has helped thousands of families improve their health and wellbeing.  She’s launched her first book ‘The Wholesome Child Nutrition Guide and Recipe Book’ which is available now.

I recently caught up with Mandy to find out more about herself and her new fantastic new book.

Fun question to start with!  What couldn’t you live without in your pantry?

The Wholesome Child Gluten Free Mix is my staple!!  It is used to prepare all the gluten-free recipes in the Wholesome Child Book.

What does a day on your plate look like?

  • Breakfast: Shakshuka with chia seeds and goat cheese, Snack: Turmeric and Ginger Smoothie
  • Lunch : Big mixed salad with either salmon or poached chicken with extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar Mid afternoon: Wholesome Child Flaxseed crackers with cashew cheese
  • Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie with parsnip and cauliflower mash, steamed vegetables and garden salad.

What’s your top 3 tips for parents with fussy eaters?

  1. Family meals. Have family meals together and make it a goal to have as many meals together as often as possible.
  2. Desensitisation. Encourage your little ones to touch, smell and engage with their food. This starts right from shopping for groceries. Can they help take items off the shelves? Encourage them to pick up a carrot, an apple or a zucchini from the shelf and place it in the basket or trolley themselves – this begins the engagement with the new food. Can they put the dish or new veggie onto the table for the family? Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat the new food the first time it’s offered – stay positive, freeze what is not eaten and offer it again.
  3. Repetition: Make new foods familiar by repeatedly offering them in a calm, familial environment. A child will not go to a stranger the first time they meet them, but after a few visits they generally feel more comfortable to sit with them. The same goes for new foods. Repeated exposure aids the process of engaging with new tastes and flavours. You can also try offering these same foods in different ways – cut into fun shapes, laid out in colour patterns, steamed veggies rather than raw.

What’s your opinion on introducing solids earlier to babies to help prevent allergies?

I am all for introducing solids earlier and there is plenty of research which shows that it may help to prevent allergies. Allergenic foods can be introduced at 4-6 months of age to all infants, the basis for this new recommendation is that there is no evidence for delaying the introduction of allergenic foods beyond 4-6 months.   However, each parent has to follow their instinct and introduce solids when they are ready and when their child is ready.  Some babies are not ready at 4 months but are far more interested and equipped with the necessary skills closer to 5.5 or 6 months.  I see many mothers feeling pressurised to introduce solids at exactly 4 months and this is counter-productive as babies feed off their mother’s emotions. When it comes to offering a baby their first experience of solid foods it needs to be in a relaxed and calm environment.

What’s your children’s favourite meal?

Home-made fish nuggets with home-made wedges.

You’ve just launched your first book which is very exciting!  What drove you to create this book?

I wrote Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook  to provide answers to the many questions parents have around kids’ nutrition, while offering strategies that really work.  My philosophy is simple: encourage children to enjoy nutritionally beneficial foods from a young age to ensure optimal development and establish lifelong healthy eating behaviours. The book incorporates lessons I have learned over the past 22 years in the health and wellness industry – plus my  own hands-on experiences feeding my two young children.  The book provides meaningful answers and proven solutions to the questions and challenges that are raised time and time again in my workshops, in parenting forums and by my clients and friends. The book also contains over 140 simple and delicious nutrient packed recipes that the whole family can enjoy. My goals for the book is to provide parents with an invaluable companion that will help support their family’s health journey while bringing the fun and enjoyment back to meal times.

For more information about Wholesome Child go here

Mandy has kindly shared with us her delicious Shepherds Pie below.

 

Wholesome Child's Shepherd's pie

SHEPHERDS PIE

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients

  • For the mash:
  • 3 cups cauliflower (about 500-600g), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup white sweet potato (about 250-300g), peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsnip (about 100-150g), peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbs coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/2 tbs arrowroot powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • For the mince:
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 500g beef or lamb mince
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tbs mixed herbs
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs tamari sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock

Instructions

1

Fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil. Add cauliflower, sweet potato and parsnip and cook vegetables for about 10-15 mins or until they are soft. Drain, rinse and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place all vegetables and coconut oil into a food processor and process until smooth. Add arrowroot powder and salt and process for another minute. Set aside.

2

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large pan and cook onion, leek, garlic, carrot and celery for 3 mins or until they are soft. Transfer into a measurement jar or bowl and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Set aside.

3

In the same pan, cook the mince for 5-10 mins, or until browned.

4

Add vegetable mix, cumin, herbs, salt, tomato paste, tamari sauce and beef stock and let simmer for another 10 mins.

5

Preheat oven to 180oC.

6

Place the mince mixture into a deep baking dish, then top with the cauliflower mash and bake for 20 minutes (it won’t brown on top).

Notes

Serving and storing leftovers: Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Tip: If your children don’t mind chunky meals, you can leave out the step where you blend the onion, leek, garlic, carrot and celery and simply add them to the browned beef. You can also replace vegetable mash with potato or a combination of potato and cauliflower.

Lifestyle

Clearing Gracie’s Eczema

Eczema cured without steroid creams.

 

So I’ve recently created a Support and Chat group as an offshoot to my Instagram and Facebook pages as I wanted to create a comfortable and safe place for parents or carers to discuss what they’re currently going through and share knowledge with others going through similar.  I would love for you to join and for us to connect so we can share more of these stories.

Since creating this group I keep getting asked how I cleared Gracie’s eczema and I realised that I haven’t written a more clear and detailed outline on what we did and what worked for us.  Obviously every child is different and I’m not a medical professional, I’m just a Mum who did her research out of desperation to help her daughter.

You can read more about the beginning of our story here

Eczema is a sign that there is inflammation within the body, once you get your head around this you can move forward in working out the causes and helping your child heal.  Unfortunately creams just mask the problems and don’t get to the root cause (believe me I’ve been there!).

One of the main causes of Eczema is ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome‘ which Gracie was diagnosed as having.  This is when the lining of the gut becomes thin and small food particles leak through the gut wall and cause inflammation and food sensitivities.  Gluten and dairy are the biggest food causes for causing eczema, for us it was dairy.  Gracie would consume milk and within hours break out in hives and then eczema all over her body.

Now I understand there can be other triggers for eczema such as environmental rather than food but either way it all comes down to inflammation and the gut plays a major factor.

So how did we tackle it?

  1. We worked out what her triggers were
  2. We eliminated the triggers for quite sometime to give her gut time to rest
  3. We introduced gut healing food
  4. Reintroduction

Working out the triggers

So how did we work out the triggers?  At the beginning of our journey it was quite obvious that dairy was causing a lot of issues. Grace would have milk and with within hours be breaking out in hives and then eczema patches.  She had IgE testing and it all came back negative for the common food allergies and nothing else showed up in other blood work testing.

I decided to get her tested for food intolerances, IgG testing.  If you’re in Australia (Sydney) and interested in Food Intolerance testing I highly recommend Australian Biologics where I took Grace.  Otherwise an Integrative Doctor or even a good Naturopath should be able to assist you with this.

Food Intolerance testing is done via a painless finger prick test and they have a finer paediatric needle for children – Grace didn’t even flinch when she had hers done, which was a relief!  What I like about Australian biologics is that there testing seems to be way more comprehensive than any other tests I’ve seen on the market within Australia.

If you’re finding working out the triggers to be unclear, gluten and dairy are normally the two main food offenders for causing eczema and I would also recommend keeping a food diary to see if you work out a pattern.

Gut rest

Once we worked out the suspected triggers we eliminated them.   I had suspected dairy all along, it wasn’t until we saw Gracie’s Integrative Paediatrician who used her IgG test results as a guide that she just advised us to just stop completely which was overwhelming at first.  One of the main reasons I had sat on the fence for a bit, was my concern for her calcium intake  and how I would make this up without her consuming any form of  dairy.

As well as eliminating these foods I basically ditched anything that was from a packet or even remotely processed.

It took around a three months for Gracie’s eczema to clear completely, the early days are frustrating as you think nothing is happening but slowly and surely her skin cleared and it’s remained clear with no flare ups!

Healing Foods

During this time we rested Gracie’s gut, along with her supplements we tried to introduce as many healing foods as we could.

  • Bone broth – if you’re going to make anything make this!  It’s super easy to make and can be drunk as is, base of a soup and used for cooking casseroles etc
  • As well as taking a good probiotic, I try and make sure Gracie has foods that have Prebiotic properties – so foods that help the existing good flora within the gut.  So think banana flour, onions, leeks and garlic (she’s not keen yet on Sauerkraut ha!)

Reintroduction

Using her IgG test results as a guide, I have very slowly over time tested and reintroduced some foods that showed a lesser reaction successfully.  This is something that we continue to work on in conjunction with her chronic constipation issues (so far she’s never had an eczema flare up!)  The idea being if the gut is healed then these foods should be ok to reintroduce, but this is a process that requires testing and we still have some foods that we have yet to reintroduce on the advice of her doctor because her other issue is yet to be resolved.

I would like to thank Dr Ana-Maria Temple of Family Wellness Tips for allowing me to share some of her wonderful and informative videos that I think you will find really helpful connected to this subject.  Dr Temple is a Paediatrician currently practising in New Zealand, Wife and Mum to 3 beautiful children. Make sure you follow her on Instagram to watch her fantastic 1 minute Paediatric advice videos and wellness tips.

Dr Temple

Videos:

Gut Healing

Leaky Gut

Eczema

Dairy

Dairy Alternatives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I cured my daughters eczema without steroid creams.

Lifestyle

Gracie’s Birthday Party

Cupcakes - Gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Great for the school lunchbox to.

We recently celebrated Gracie’s 3rd birthday on Friday and had a lovely party at home.  Gracie had the best time and Mummy and Daddy were exhausted! I’ve had a few people contact me since and ask what kind of food we ended up making, so I’ve popped the low down here.

Banana cake, gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free.

Apple Donuts

No Birthday, would be complete without a Birthday Cake.  I decided to turn one of Gracie’s favourite recipes from Live Love Nourish into a cake.  I doubled the ratio of Casey-Lee’s delicious banana bread and then frosted it following her Coconut Frosting recipe (I coloured it with Beetroot powder) – it was a big hit!

I also baked Paleo Carrot Cakes , ever since I started making these Gracie goes mad for them!  They’re absolutely delicious and with 4 cups of carrots used this in the recipe, I’d say that’s a win!  I also made Chocolate Zucchini Muffins , you would never know these had zucchini in them and no refined sugar, they’re so easy to make and really delicious. And finally, I baked Apple and Cinnamon Donuts packed full of apple and can be made gluten-free, these were a huge hit!

What else:

  • Chopped cucumber and carrots with hummus
  • Fruit Platters
  • Souvlaki sticks
  • Frittata
  • Spelt Sandwiches
  • Zucchini Fritters

If you’re looking for more children’s food party ideas, check out the recent guest post by Little Foodies.

I had a lot of people messaging me, asking what the favours were at Gracie’s party.  I was gifted them from Sticker Me Team.  Sticker Me Team  are offering a 3 Month subscription for the price of 2 to all my followers – just use the promo code “healinggraciesgut” when you check out. One use per customer and valid until 31st July 2017 and only open to Australian residents. Check our their Facebook & Instagram profiles.

Lifestyle

Keep Calm & Carry On

Keep Calm & Carry On

Last week was finally the week we saw Gracie’s Integrative Paedritician Dr Leila Masson.  We had a big gap between her last appointment as she had to relocate back overseas, but she’s returned to Australia for a few weeks to see patients and to be a speaker at the International MINDD conference for practitioners.

As I mentioned in previous posts, the past several weeks have been tough with Gracie’s chronic constipation getting to the point where it was very hard to manage (and very stressful).  We pinpointed the change in her gut from a bad 24 hour Gastro bug she had which seems to have completely upset her system.

What I love about seeing an Integrative Doctor is the difference in how they look and treat their patients.  Dr Masson examined Gracie feeling her tummy, checking her skin, nails etc and the outcome of these examinations build up a picture and part of her treatment plan.

Because of the current blip and her severe constipation we have had to swap Gracie over to a stronger laxative (not happy!), so the plan is to increase her supplements a bit more and to try and work on weaning her back down on the laxative.

Dr Masson also recommended Gracie have a Faecal Microbial Analysis test (FMA), which is done via a stool sample and looks at the microflora of your intestinal tract – it is different to the standard stool tests you have done at your local GP.  The lab culture, identify and quantify faecal bacteria, including aerobes, anaerobes, and yeasts.  Luckily I had only recently done a FMA test myself for my own health issues and Dr Masson was happy to use my results as a guide in treating Gracie (a child’s gut flora is similar to their mother’s), so we are now sharing a Probiotic called ‘Mutaflor’ for different reasons.  Mutaflor is meant to be a very effective probiotic for treating chronic constipation. However, if  we don’t see any improvement after three months we are to going to get Gracie’s own FMA test done to see if it sheds any further light into what’s going on within her gut.

As we were discussing Gracie, Dr Masson made a really good point that Gracie is most likely picking up on all my nervous tension around her situation and that I basically need to back off a bit (which I find hard to do!).  All the way home I was thinking about it and realise how very uptight I’ve become about this whole situation and that I do need to try and back off as Grace is of the age that she understands and is picking up on everything and I definitely don’t want to do anything that is going to impede her.

When I look back I realise that we have come a super long way in our journey.  We’ve managed to completely clear up her eczema, which has never reappeared and also managed to reintroduce some foods that now don’t seem to be an issue.  Sometimes you get so caught up with the daily things you don’t realise just how far you have come.

So that’s where we are today – I’m hoping the Mutaflor plus all the other things we are doing will help to resolve her issues and I’m going to try and remain more calm about things (hmmm that might be the hardest part!)

If anyone is interested Dr Leila Masson has written a wonderful book called ‘Children’s Health A to Z for New Zealand Parents‘ it’s not just for New Zealand parents,  it’s for any parent who is interested in a natural approach to common ailments.  I have purchased it and its such a handy book! 

On a side note I also wanted to share that I’ve created a Facebook Support and Chat group  for parents who are going through similar issues and it would be great to connect with you all over there.

 

‘Healing Gracie’s Gut’ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Lifestyle

Allergy Families Interview

Vivian is a Doctor originally from the UK and has recently relocated with her family to the States.  Both Vivian’s children have suffered from severe allergies which has lead to the creation of her fantastic Blog ‘Allergy Families‘ which is an amazing resource for families who have allergies and food intolerances.

I recently caught up with Vivian to find out more about herself and her blog.

What made you start your blog?

I’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time now…. but just never found the time juggling being a GP and mum to two young kids.

It is incredible how unaware the general public and medical professionals can be with allergy. They don’t take it seriously and many medical professionals miss the diagnosis because symptoms can be so subtle and there are just no good tests for some allergies. My daughter was hospitalised and tube fed at 8 weeks of age because no doctor (including myself) recognised her symptoms as being caused by milk allergy. People thought she had reflux, then behavioural issues, because she just stopped feeding. She would cry with hunger, drink a little bit of milk then push the bottle away, arch her back and turn her head. She cried all the time and I was desperate and sleep deprived. It wasn’t until I did my own research and found a dietician with expertise in the area that she got the help she needed. Thankfully it is probably more widely recognised now, but if it was so hard for a doctor to help her own children with allergies, I can’t imagine what it is like for non-health professionals.

Since I started researching and learning about allergies, I have been able to be an advocate for my patients, friends whose children have blaringly obvious food allergies (to me anyway) but undiagnosed by their own doctors.

That’s why I started my blog – I didn’t want my help to be restricted to those who knew me. I knew that if I started a blog my reach could be much wider, and I would be able to help more people. I wanted to share my journey, tips and useful medical information I learnt along the way.

There are many things which I found out that are helpful for kids with allergies which my allergists never told me. Things like probiotics – which a lot of allergists still insist has no good evidence but I believe gut health is key to children outgrowing allergies.

Do you think being a Doctor made the process to get a diagnoses and treatment plan easier?

Yes and No. To this day I still have massive mother guilt for missing the diagnosis in my own daughter. But I had access to a network of top healthcare professionals and I’m sure my daughter’s diagnosis would be even more delayed had it not for my own contacts.

Treatment plan is another matter – I was in desperate search for things that would help my daughter outgrow her allergies. Maybe I was in denial, maybe I just did not want to spend the rest of my life constantly worrying about accidental ingestion and walking on eggshells. This was where I felt like I was up against a brick wall. No one gave me any answers. Everyone told me to just avoid the food and hope they outgrew their allergies. But I did not want to do that. So I did my own research and reading, attended all the allergy lectures to gain a better understanding. In a way, being a doctor has helped because I knew where to look for reliable information, and I had access to all the allergy training events.

What advice would you give parents who suspect their child has a food allergy or intolerance?

Trust your gut instincts – you really do know your child best. Read my blog post on subtle symptoms of allergy (http://allergyfamilies.com/food-allergies/how-to-know-my-child-has-a-food-allergy/) – it is not all lip swelling/rash/wheezing. The symptoms can be so subtle: constipation, abdominal pains, aversive feeding, diarrhoea. If you suspect your child might have an allergy – don’t stop looking for a doctor who takes you seriously! Western tests are good at picking up IgE mediated allergies (but these are really easy to spot anyway, you don’t need a test when someone’s lips swell up after eating something). But it is the non IgE allergies which are being missed all the time and it is a shame that children and their parents are suffering unnecessarily because doctors are not trained to spot these. Just because a skin prick test or blood test is negative, does not mean your child is not allergic to a food. Elimination is actually the gold standard but this should not be done without consulting a healthcare professional first.

How are your children now?

My daughter is 8 and she was allergic to milk, egg and peanut. She has outgrown all these now. My son is 6, and was allergic to milk, egg, wheat, kiwi, peanut, walnut, pecan, cod, lemons and now ‘just’ allergic to milk, peanut, walnut, pecans.  He is currently on the milk ladder where I am introducing boiled milk at small increments to see if he can tolerate it, and he appears to be starting to grow out of his milk allergy too (touch wood)!

What’s been your biggest learning curve?

Broadening my mind and horizon to what I didn’t know. Before my kids, I was a pretty narrow minded doctor who would laugh at anything holistic or complementary (e.g. homeopathy) because the scientific evidence for these are weak. However, mainstream medicine failed me when I needed it. I was not able to help my daughter and it was so frustrating for me as a doctor. The more I read, the more I realised that the gut is central to a lot of diseases. And actually, focusing on ‘allergy’ without assessing gut health is treating surface symptoms without the root cause, I became more open minded through my own research and reading; I realised that, actually, integrative medicine is the best way to practise medicine. Now I use nutrition and natural remedies in combination with mainstream medicine.

What are you favourite gut boosting foods?

  • Fermented foods because they contain enzymes to help us digest the food, probiotics and prebiotics
  • Probiotics supplement
  • Bone broth – there is a reason why this gem is found in culinary traditions around the world – it contains amino acids and collagen which is healing for the gut.
  • Fibre – a high fibre diet supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, and if probiotic supplement is not supported by a high fibre intake, the expensive bacteria wouldn’t survive in your gut anyway. Children do need calories to grow, however, so be careful to balance this as most high fibre foods are not calorific.

Find out more about Vivian and her blog here (sign-up to her newsletter to receive her weekly tips): www.allergyfamilies.com

 

A doctor and allergy mum's journey to help her severely allergic children grow out of their allergies. If you're interested in functional medicine this is a must read.

Viv's Healing Bone Broth

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 lb (1.3Kg) marrow bones (grass fed beef preferably)
  • 18 cups water
  • 5 pieces of cloves
  • 2 pieces of star anise
  • 1 piece of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn
  • 1 whole onion
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic
  • 1 inch segment of ginger

Instructions

1

In an oven or over a grill, char the onion, bulb of garlic and ginger - I normally put it on a top rack in the oven and put on full heat grill. The onion and garlic will char first - remove these, and let the ginger char slightly. Let it cool down, and remove the completely burnt bits.

2

In a pan, roast the cloves, star anise, cinnamon, black peppercorns - low heat, this brings out their flavor. When cooled, place into a spice bag (you can get these in asian supermarkets, or make them yourself from muslin/cheese cloth. If you don't mind the odd bit of peppercorn in your soup, you can also just drop these loose into the pan.

3

Parboil the bones - in a pan, put the bones in and cover with just enough water, and bring to boil with lid on. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and wash all the impurities that have come out in the boil with water.

4

Put parboiled, cleaned bones back in the pan, put in 18 cups of water. add the spice bag (or just drop the spices in loose).

5

Bring back to boil. Then switch to low heat and leave on stove for at least 8 but up to 24 hours ( I normally do 10, by that time you really start to see the broth turning cloudy which indicates all the amino acids, collagen being boiled into the soup).

Notes

You can make bone broth using any vegetables but I like to add herbs that are good for the digestion/gut to give it even more goodness: Cloves - great for digestion, and rich in antioxidants (fights tissue and free radical damage) Black peppercorn - again fabulous for digestion and also increases bioavailability of lots of nutrients, helping the body to absorb them Star anise - anti fungal, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant Cinnamon - anti-inflammatory (helps body repair any inflamed or damaged tissue), improves insulin sensitivity, reduces heart disease

Lifestyle

Live Love Nourish Interview

Casey-Lee is a qualified Nutritionist, Naturopath and mother to another little Gracie,  based in Brisbane, Australia.  I just love her outlook to food and we adore her delicious recipes.  All Casey-Lee’s recipes are Gluten, Dairy and refined sugar-free which makes them a fantastic resource for families who have food allergies and/or intolerances and are looking to transition to a more wholesome way of eating.

I recently caught up with Casey-Lee to find out more about herself and Live Love Nourish.

How has becoming a mother affected your outlook on food?

As a Nutritionist and Naturopath my outlook on food has always been of an understanding and respect for how much food can impact our health and the way we feel on a daily basis. Now as a mum I have an even greater respect (and real experience) for the influence food has on our children’s development, behaviour and ability to thrive. Becoming a mother has also made me become much more time-efficient in the kitchen with a great appreciation for making recipes that are not only kid-friendly but time-friendly too as well as embracing a messy kitchen!

What lead you to become a qualified nutritionist and naturopath?

Growing up I always had an interest in natural health and was lucky enough to be surrounded by a family interested in healthy living also. Becoming qualified meant I could share my passion for helping others to live a healthier and happier life.

Why are all your recipes Gluten, Dairy and refined-sugar free?

I really believe in the benefits of eating a whole-foods diet (avoiding processed and packaged food as much as possible). When you stick to fresh and whole food you naturally eliminate the processed sources of gluten, dairy and sugar and instead begin to cook with real food ingredients that love your body back. As I teach in my 8 week online program, I also believe in tuning in to your body to find a diet that best works for you and your body’s unique needs. For me that means cutting out gluten, dairy and refined sugar. My recipes are all 100% free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar catering for anyone looking to embrace a whole-foods way of eating as well as to support anyone with food sensitivities and special dietary requirements.

Can you tell us a bit about Live Love Nourish and the philosophy behind it?

Live Love Nourish is an online health website that specialises in sharing healthy, simple and real food recipes (all free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar) as well as practical nutrition and lifestyle advice and the Live Love Nourish signature 8 week program. I believe health requires a holistic approach and we feel our best when we live true to ourselves, have love for ourself and others and nourish our body. Hence, the philosophy behind LLN is to “live the real you, love truly and deeply and nourish from the inside out”.

What’s your favourite family meal?

This changes week-to- week! At the moment, I’m loving my healthy version of “fish and chips;” crispy skin salmon with homemade sweet potato chips seasoned with spices and served with an avocado dipping sauce. My toddler Gracie loves this too.

What advice would you give to families navigating special dietary requirements?

Navigating special dietary requirements can be a little challenging at first but here are some tips I hope help you along your way to better health:

Keep it simple. Use simple ingredients.

  • Stick to whole and real foods, as close to their natural state as possible
  • Avoid packaged food as much as possible (this is what can often complicate the process with having to read and interpret labels)
  • Stick for fresh food as much as you can
  • Try new recipes and ingredients you haven’t cooked with before
  • Get your kids involved in the kitchen. The more involvement they have with food, the better their relationship with food will become and the more willing they will be to trying new foods
  • Start with a well-stocked pantry and fridge. Having healthy options on hand makes meal time easier
  • Plan ahead. Plan your week of meals on the weekend prior. This will help to reduce food stress at meal times
  • Be kind on yourself. Allow a little extra time and space at first. Seek support where you can.

If you are looking for help with what to stock in a healthy, gluten, dairy and sugar free kitchen, the Live Love Nourish Pantry Detox e-book is currently on sale for AU$5. The e-book includes an extensive list of ingredients to stock, healthy swaps and alternatives and money-saving tips.

As a friend of Healing Gracie’s Gut receive a $50 discount off The Live Love Nourish 8 Week Online Program using the code NOURISH at the checkout. The program is an online guide to help you live a healthier and happier life and includes 8 weeks of meal plans all done for you, (all free from gluten, dairy and sugar) shoppings lists, nutritional guides and support to develop a healthy relationship with food.

For more simple and healthy recipes (free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar) please visit: www.livelovenourish.com.au

After hearing how much Gracie loved the Live Love Nourish ‘free from’ banana bread Casey-Lee is kindly sharing this amazing recipe.  The Live Love Nourish Banana Bread is free from gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, eggs  and sugar!

Live Love Nourish Banana Bread

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe bananas (500g peeled), cut into pieces (+ 1 extra to decorate)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup (110g) buckwheat flour*
  • 3/4 cup (60g) organic desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp gf baking powder
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla powder

Instructions

1

Pre-heat fan-forced oven to 180°C.

2

In a blender or food processor blend banana and melted coconut oil until smooth (be careful not to over blend*)

3

In a medium mixing bowl combine buckwheat, coconut, baking powder and vanilla.

4

Add banana and coconut oil mixture and combine well.

5

Pour batter into a lined loaf tin.

6

Bake in oven for 55-60 minutes or until cooked through.

7

Allow to cool on a baking before slicing.

Lifestyle

Julia Simmonds – Itchy Baby Co Interview

 

Julia Simmonds is a mother to the gorgeous Christian and Sofia, a registered pharmacist and founder of Itchy Baby Co.  Itchy Baby Co produce natural products for parents of children who suffer from eczema and sensitive skin.

I recently interviewed Julia to find out more about herself and her fantastic products.

Fun question to start with!  What did you have for breakfast this morning?

This morning, like every morning, I felt my way to my coffee machine and drew a very long black. Made the kids breakfast and then blended a spinach, banana, ginger, cinnamon and oat smoothie. I really like this for breakfast because I can sip it on the go.

Why did you create Itchy Baby Co?

Itchy baby co. was born from a really dark place. I was struggling to manage my little boy Christian’s eczema and desperate to try anything which would give him some relief physically and me some relief emotionally. Finally I stumbled across the wonder of colloidal oatmeal and it grew from there.

What was the turning point in your son’s recovery?

I would love to say it was only using natural itchy baby co. products and the sticking to our bathtime and moisturising routine every day, and no doubt this has been a huge part of it. Other changes I have made is trying to keep what we eat and any products used in our home as natural, organic, unprocessed and chemical free as possible.

What’s your opinion on the link between food allergies/intolerances and eczema?

With eczema we are always looking for something which can bring our little ones relief, and eliminating certain foods from your child’s diet is really tempting. In some children with severe eczema taking away certain foods from their diet can help manage their eczema. It’s important to remember that foods can be a trigger for eczema but eating a particular food does not cause eczema. So, taking away a food from your child’s diet might improve their skin, but will not cure their eczema.

What’s your advice to parents whose children have eczema?

Stay strong. You are doing the best you can. Not everything you do will get results and often it’s a combination of different things you try which can help your child.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

Moisturising, moisturising, bath time and then more moisturising. In between that I spend time connecting with parents who are living with the challenge of managing their child’s eczema by email, facebook, insta and writing my blog. On really special days I’m testing new itchy baby co. products on my Christian and Sofia and many of their friends.

How do you try and keep a healthy, balanced life?

Mentally I always try to look ahead and keep focused on my mission to help young families struggling with eczema. Physically I keep an exercise mat in my home office and try to make regular contact with it. Emotionally I cuddle my children as often as they’ll let me.

 

(please note I receive no commission from any sales of this product, I just highly rate it!)

 

Itchy Baby Co Interview. Julia Simmonds is a mother (and registered pharmacist) to a child who had severe eczema so she created a product to help ease his condition.