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Shampoo and Conditioner Alternatives

no pooFor many years now I have tried to eliminate unnecessary chemicals in my life, this included switching to natural alternatives for shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturiser, deodorant, body wash, make up and tooth paste. Some of these products have been great and worked really well, and others have had a less than average effect on my skin or hair.

Now that I am pregnant, it’s even more important to me to be avoiding as many harsh chemicals as possible.

Over the next few months I will be writing about my experiences with different beauty regimes.


This month – hair!

I have always had fairly oily hair and moving to natural shampoos didn’t help that at all. In recent years I have also had pimples in my scalp, which can be rather painful and uncomfortable. So I was getting a bit frustrated with frequent washing of my hair, having thick and long hair it would take all day to dry naturally.

So after some internet browsing I found a possible solution that gave me a little hope. It’s called the “no poo” method, and no it’s not constipation. It involves using baking soda as a shampoo alternative and for the conditioner an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse.

This method is not only beneficial for oily hair, but also dry, curly and frizzy hair.

The idea is that the more you wash your hair, the more the natural oils are removed, so your scalp over produces extra oils and you need to wash your hair more. It’s great for shampoo sales but not so great for your scalp. Our ancestors certainly didn’t wash their hair every day or 2, and over the last hundred years the washing has become more and more frequent.

A brief how to;

  • Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with a cup of water for the shampoo
  • Mix 1 tablespoon ACV with a cup of water for the conditioning rinse
  • Brush your hair daily with a bristle brush to distribute hairs away from the scalp
  • Try to extend your hair washing day by 1 each wash so the oils have a chance to rebalance

There are alternatives you can use, such as egg for the shampoo and lemon juice, honey and tea for the conditioner. I did find the honey made my hair oily though so I am sticking with ACV.

My experience has been mostly positive, with a few headband/scarf days when I was at day 4-5. It’s a bit tough at
the time as I hate the feeling of dirty hair, but if you can get through these days it is supposed to make a big difference.

I had been going for about a month and was up to hair washing on day 5 or 6, then went to the (organic) hair dresser for a trim and didn’t want to miss out on the lovely scalp massage so also had shampoo and conditioner. I took a big step backwards after that and feel like I had to retrain my scalp! I think next time I will just be upfront with the hairdresser and ask them just to wet it for the cut. After the hairdresser I am now back to every 5 to 6 days, and interested to see if I can push it further. Some “no poo-ers” get to the point that they don’t even use the baking soda rinse anymore and might just rinse with water a few times a year.

I know many males that never shampoo their hair, and might just rinse it with water every few weeks. I have never noticed oily hair on them, even with all the gel they use.

So all in all I would say this has been a successful experiment, I am washing my hair half as often, I no longer have pimples in my scalp and my hair feels softer and cleaner (for the first few days anyway). It does get a bit stinky on Day 5-6, but hopefully this will get less and less.

For more information refer to;


Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular DiseaseCardiovascular disease is a scary disease as it’s also known as the “silent killer” and often presents with no symptoms, it is just in routine check ups that a problem may become apparent. It is something we all need to be aware of, as it is the number one killer in Australia, with 45,600 deaths in 2011. Heart disease is more common in men in the earlier years, however once a woman has gone through menopause and she doesn’t have the protective effects of oestrogen, her risk for cardiovascular disease increases.

It’s never too early to start looking after your cardiovascular health as atherosclerotic plaque has been found in children’s arteries! This definitely should not be happening, so it’s important to ensure you are educating your children on the importance of a healthful diet and exercise, as well as leading by example.


Risk Factors.

  • Smoking
  • Stress, anger, depression and anxiety
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diet high in trans fats and sugar
  • Obesity
  • Social isolation
  • Hypertension
  • Abnormal lipids and/or homocysteine
  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • Insomnia, sleep deprivation and sleep apnoea

A lot of these risk factors are preventable, so you can make positive changes by adjusting your diet and lifestyle accordingly. Cardiovascular disease risks may be higher in certain families due to genetics, this doesn’t mean you are destined to have heart disease, but it’s imperative you make the positive changes in your life. If you are not seeing positive results it may be worth talking to your Doctor/Naturopath about medication/supplementation.


What can you do that’s good for your heart?

  • Quit smoking. Now
  • Manage stress and mood disorders with meditation, exercise and/or herbal remedies
  • Minimum of 30 minutes exercise most days, with a mix of cardio, strength and stretching
  • Cut out all trans fats from your diet and minimise sugar or find sugar alternatives
  • Consume lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats
  • Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise, if this doesn’t work you may need to look at other reasons for weight gain (your Naturopath can help you with this)
  • Work on your social relationships and interact with people other than immediate family on a regular basis
  • Have routine check ups with your Doctor
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption

If you have tried these methods and not had any success, or would like a little guidance then it might be time to consult a Naturopath.  A Naturopath with talk in detail about your current health and future health goals, and support you in making the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes with appropriate herbal and/or nutritional supplementation.


Children’s Health

naturopathy for kidsNaturopathy works very well with children’s ailments, as it is gentle and effective, with few side effects.  In fact Naturopathic care can start as early as preconception, to ensure optimum health of Mum and Dad prior to conceiving, throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, and of course breastfeeding.

Some dietary tips for encouraging healthy children are as follows;

  • Ensure your children are eating a healthy breakfast every day as the brain needs fuel to work efficiently. This will be giving your child the best start to a good day, and ensure optimum learning and concentration
  • Ensure there is protein with each meal as proteins are essential for growth, repair and maintenance of all body tissues. They act as building blocks for hormones, antibodies, immune compounds, enzymes and neurotransmitters. Examples are meat, chicken, seafood, nuts, seeds and pulses.
  • Adequate fibre is essential for digestive health, cleaning the digestive tract, lowering risk for many diseases, binding toxins and removing them from the body. Fibre is found in fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and cereals.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – there are water-soluble (vitamin B’s and C) and fat soluble (vitamins A, D, E, K), it’s important to include healthy fats in the diet to ensure fat-soluble vitamins are being absorbed. Most of these nutrients can be found in a healthful diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) – the body does not make it’s own EFA’s, so these must be obtained through diet. They are important for many functions in the body such as a healthy immune system, reducing cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation, building hormones and promoting a healthy nervous system and brain function. Examples of these foods are cold-water fish, dried legumes and raw nuts and seeds.
  • Probiotic foods such as yoghurt, fermented vegetables and miso. These foods are also an important part of your child’s diet as they have been proven to be beneficial for the immune system, as well as so many other illnesses as a healthy gut is an important factor for long term health.

Naturopathy can help with many conditions that affect children such as asthma, colds and flu, constipation, recurrent ear infections, eczema, hyperactivity, impetigo, sleeplessness, insomnia and many more. Treatment is very individualised based on the symptoms that the child is presenting with. Your Naturopath will help guide you through making the necessary dietary changes, as well as supplementing with herbs or nutrients if needed to get a result faster. If you’re not sure, get in touch to see if we can help!


Tips for staying well this Winter

naturopathy cold fluIt’s always a sad time of year for me when the days start to get shorter and colder! It can also be a difficult time with people that are prone to cold and flu symptoms such as coughs, sore throats, headaches, sneezing and blocked noses, and muscular aches.

If you or your family dread this time of year as you seem to be afflicted with illness, it might be a good time to reassess your diet and lifestyle, and possibly go that step further and see a qualified Naturopath to help you whilst coming in to those colder months.


Include these to help boost your Immune System.

  • Zinc – this mineral is found in most protein containing foods, eg chicken, beef, fish, nuts, seeds (pumpkin seeds are an excellent source). Zinc deficiency can be one of many reasons for repetitive illness, poor wound healing, skin disorders and white spots on your nails. Zinc and Copper are competing minerals, so if one is low then the other may be high, which can then drive the deficiency down further. Another problem can be low stomach acid, which means you are not breaking down proteins efficiently and therefore not absorbing the zinc.
  • Vitamin C – this vitamin is important in preventing illness as well as speeding up recovery times, as it increases the activity of infection fighting white blood cells. Good sources of vitamin C are berries, oranges, kiwifruit, guava, tomatoes, capsicum, dark green leafy vegetables and broccoli.
  • Mushrooms – are also an excellent food source for improving the function the immune system, the best varieties are shiitake, maitake and reishi so add as many of these as possible.
  • Add lots of ginger, garlic and onion to your diet – they have great pathogen fighting properties and are very beneficial to the immune system.
  • Probiotic foods – such as yoghurt (if tolerated), miso, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables. A big part of the immune system is in the gut, so ensuring sufficient good bacteria is another way to maximise your immune function.
  • Get outside more – part of the problem with the colder months is that we stay inside to keep warm. By doing this we are missing out on the benefits of sunshine and fresh air, and allowing exposure to harmful pathogens that others in the room may have.


Avoid these if you are prone to infections.

Sugar – it is very important to minimise or eliminate sugar from your diet, as it reduces the capacity of your white blood cells to engulf invading pathogens. This effect has been proven to last for up to 5 hours after eating a high sugar food.

Mucus forming foods – especially if you are prone to congestion and phlegm, the foods to avoid are mostly dairy, sugar and refined foods.


Avoiding illness this winter.

The best thing you can do is to prevent infection. However if you have made all of the mentioned changes to your diet and lifestyle and are still getting sick, it may be time to see a Naturopath that can investigate further and prescribe a herbal remedy and/or appropriate supplementation.



chocolate heartYou have probably heard or read that chocolate can be beneficial for your health. In pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, chocolate was considered a “food for the gods”, was used in religious rituals and cacao beans were such a previous commodity that they were even used as a form of currency.

Today we are fortunate that chocolate is readily available, but the big problem is that a lot of commercial chocolate you buy is full of things that are best avoided… such as hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives, colours, flavour, powdered milk solids, and much more.

There is a lot of exciting research coming to light about raw cacao, and the benefits of the cacao bean and dark chocolate. These benefits extend to the heart, vascular system, brain, aging, mood and energy. This is in some part due to the fact that raw cacao is abundant in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and many unique properties. Cacao contains twice the antioxidant content of red wine, and up to three times that of green tea. These antioxidants can improve cognitive impairment and produce nitric oxide with some great cardiovascular benefits.

The ORAC Score measures the benefits of antioxidants. Here is a comparison of the ORAC score per 100 grams for some common foods known to have a high antioxidant level, listed in descending order.

  • Dark Chocolate – ORAC 13,120
  • Milk Chocolate – ORAC 6,740
  • Prunes – 5,770
  • Raisins – 2,830
  • Blueberries – 2,400
  • Blackberries – 2036
  • Kale – 1,770
  • Strawberries – 1540
  • Spinach – 1260
  • Raspberries – 1220
  • Brussel Sprouts – 980
  • Broccoli – 890

Another important nutrient found in cacao is theobromine (a chemical related to caffeine). Theobromine was discovered in cacao and a few other plants in the 19th century, by 1916 it had been extracted from the bean and was being used in medical treatment for oedema and angina. In modern medicine the compound theobromine is used as a vasodilator, this means it can dilate smooth muscle such as the blood vessels, bronchial tubes, large intestine. It is also used as a diuretic and heart stimulant. Recent research shows the effects of how theobromine can lower blood pressure as well as help with asthma.

Unlike caffeine, theobromine does not have an addictive nature or have the same strong affects as caffeine has on the nervous system. The cacao bean can have up to 10% of its weight made up of theobromine, the effects of the theobromine on the body can be up to 6 – 10 hours after consumption.

Importantly, as many of you will attest, chocolate enhances the mood and boosts energy.

So what is the best way to obtain the benefits of chocolate without the nasty hydrogenated fats and processed sugars? Raw cacao powder is now readily available in health food stores, along with raw cacao chocolate bars in an amazing variety of flavours.

Or experiment and make your own raw chocolate truffles. These make great Christmas presenters and look great packaged up in a pretty box or cellophane wrap and ribbon.


Raw Chocolate Truffles


  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds (or any other seeds you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or any other nuts you have on hand – cashews are wonderful too)
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder


  1. Process the nuts in the food processor. Keep processing them until you can’t see the nuts anymore, but stop processing before they get too soft looking.
  2. Add the dates, sea salt and cacao powder. Process again until everything is well mixed and clumped together.
  3. Roll the balls in your hand and form balls. You may also like to roll the completed truffles in goji berries, coconut, cacao powder, etc.

These keep well in the fridge.