Cleanse time!

It’s cleanse time!

I’ve blogged about detox a lot here and here but in this post I want to share with you what I’m planning to do this month for a bit of a cleanse.

On a personal note, it hasn’t been the best year for me. I separated from my husband at the beginning of the year. Met someone recently and had a brief relationship which ended in well, a bit of a train wreck really. Needless to say, my emotional state hasn’t been the greatest, and consequently I haven’t been looking after myself as much as I used to. This translates to more wine, more eating out and more wheat and dairy creeping into my diet. Yes, naturopaths are human too and although I wouldn’t say my diet has been terrible it certainly isn’t what it was 12 months ago.

Anyhow, I’ve done some healing and am beginning to move on to the next phase of my life. What better time than now to do a one month cleanse to reclaim my health and get my life back in order.

I’m telling you this because we all need a reset from time to time and a cleanse is a great way to create focus and nourish your body, while removing substances that supress our emotions and leave us depleted of vitality (I’m talking sugar, coffee and alcohol here). And to also suggest that doing a physical cleanse is also a good opportunity to do an emotional cleanse as well, so I’ll talk about how I’m intending to do that.

There are many different ways that you can cleanse but the idea is that we’re ‘cleaning up’ the diet, removing foods that are heavy and burdening on the body. And including all the things which helps our body to thrive.

Here’s my cleanse plan for the next 30 days:


Gluten – this means no bread (I’m not a fan of gluten free breads, they’re usually very processed and I’d rather avoid it altogether) and being a label detective. Gluten is hidden in things like sauces and flavourings so you need to watch out for that.

Dairy – My body doesn’t love dairy, and to be honest not many people’s bodies do. Dairy contains lactose which most people find hard to digest as well as casein which is a large protein that yoru immune system and gut are not fond of. Goodbye cheese.

Sugar – I’m talking added sugar and overt sweets too. I’m also avoiding coconut sugar and nectar so I stay off the raw chocolate. I’ll include some raw honey or maple syrup from time to time.

Coffee and caffeinated tea – I’m actually quite caffeine sensitive so don’t have coffee much anyway. I’m going to go caffeine free to give my adrenals the break they deserve.

Alcohol – no booze for me. I haven’t done a month wine free since 2016 and I’m acturally looking forward to it!



2+ litres of filtered water every day. I just bought a Minwell+ filter for my apartment from Brisbane Natural Health so perfect timing.

Weekly acupuncture – to help to balance, realign and move stuck emotions (yes acupuncture can do this!)

Greens every day – lots of spinach, kale, silverbeet and anything else I can get my hands on.

More vego meals and less meat – soups and legume based dishes yum yum. I’ll post them on Instagram for you J

Apple cider vinegar (with the mother) – 20ml on rising in some warm water to get my digestion going.

Dry skin brushing – once a day, before showering to stimulate lymphatic flow (and fro smooth skin)

Movement – 2 x runs a week minimum and 2 x either yoga or bush walking up Mt Cootha. Sweating is so important to detox and healing.

Meditation – 10min minimum after exercising. I use an app for this or Kate Reardon’s meditations.

Gratitude journal – Fill in 5 things that I’m grateful for before bed each night.

Laughter and Joy – this is something that I really want to focus on this month. Watching comedy and funny movies, joking with friends, hanging out with my 5 year old daughter and goofing around. Consciously creating joy.

Juice – in particular green juice. Organic celery, cucumber, beetroot, lemon, grapefruit and cabbage are my fave detox juices.

I’ve done this type of cleanse many times before (I aim for twice a year) so I’m really looking forward to the rewards of more energy and increased vitality. See you on the other side!

Greens are alkalising and detoxifying – the perfect cleansing food.









Focus on Food – Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts originate from the South American rainforests, especially abundant in the amazon. Brazil nut trees can live to be more than 500 years old, and require the presence of a specific orchid that attracts the particular bee that is needed to pollinate the flowers. Unable to be farmed, Brazil nuts are harvested from wild […]

Are Brazil Nuts Healthy?


Nuts are an essential addition to any diet – but Brazil nuts are particularly good for us, being a rich source of selenium. Watch the video below to find out more!

Cacao vs Cocoa

The difference between cacao and cocoa

It’s a question asked by my patients all the time.

To simplify things, cacao and cocoa are actually the same things. They both come from the same plant originally – the cocoa bean. The production of each of the powders is what differentiates them. With traditional cocoa they take the beans and roast them at a pretty high temperature,then they grind them up into cocoa powder.

What happens with cacao is the raw bean is ground up into powder,so any type of cooking and processing actually reduces the nutritional content of foods. In the case of cacao vs. cocoa, the cacao is superior because it has a higher amount of antioxidants,vitamins and minerals because it’s in its natural state.

Now in saying that, cocoa isn’t bad for you – it still contains some antioxidants. So if you eat something likedark chocolate, you willstill get some antioxidants ,but it is just not as amazing as having cacao.

So, I don’t think cocoa particularly needs to be avoided, but if you have a choice and you’re using it in smoothies etc., I would really go for cacao just because you’ll get that little bit more bang of, vitamins and minerals.

Wheat-Free vs Gluten-Free (video)

Transcript: Wheat Free vs Gluten Free – 2 Minutes to Health

In this episode I’m going to talk about wheat free versus gluten free.

Hi, I am naturopath Katherine Maslen, welcome to Two Minutes to Health. In today’s episode I’m going to be talking about wheat free versus gluten free. So the deal is that if something is gluten-free it’s also wheat free. However if something is wheat free it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is gluten-free because there is a lot of other grains that contain gluten as well, as wheat containing gluten there is also rye, spelt or kamut or khorasan which is another name for it. There’s also barley and triticale.

All of those grain also contain gluten but they are wheat free essentially. The difference is that if you’re eating a wheat free product it might not actually be gluten-free but it might actually be okay on your digestive system because the gluten in this product is a little different than it is in wheat. Wheat contains a lot of gluten, the gluten protein molecules are quite big whereas the proteins in spelt, Kamut and rye are actually a lot more digestible. A lot of people find that if they eliminate wheat rather than gluten, their digestive system is okay.

On the other hand there are people who just can’t tolerate gluten whatsoever. So if you can’t have gluten you can’t have any of those grains and it has to be gluten-free. Your gluten-free grains are going to be things like rice, corn, millet, amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat. They are the kind of gluten-free grains that you’re looking for. So remembering that wheat free doesn’t necessarily mean gluten-free. If it is gluten-free it is not going to have any wheat or gluten in it.

I am naturopath Katherine Maslen this has been Two Minutes to Health. Please subscribe to my channel and if you do have a question, please leave it in the box below and I will be happy to answer it.

Vitamin D and Health

Vitamin D is so important for health. In this episode of 2 Minutes to Health you’ll learn why.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil


In this episode of 2 Minutes to Health, I explain why coconut oil is so healthy and how you can use it in your diet to improve health.

Video Transcript is below:

In Today’s video I’m going to be talking about coconut oil and what kinds of health benefits it has.

Hi, I’m naturopath Katherine Maslen, welcome to two minutes to health.

In today’s video I’m going to be talking about coconut oil.

Coconut oil is one of my favorite health foods and the reason is that it has a really excellent fat balance. So there is a little bit of a myth out there how coconut oil is high in saturated fats so it’s bad. To be honest, it does have saturated fat in it but it but that does not make it bad or an unhealthy food.

In fact, coconut oil has a really good amount of what we call medium chain triglycerides which are really, really essential for energy production in the body and for your general health. So I do actually recommend coconut oil as a really good and healthy or that you can consume every day.

The other thing that coconut has is a thing called Lauric Acid and Lauric acid has been shown to be really antifungal and antimicrobial so it’s really good for kind of helping to keep down bad gut bacteria too. You can also use it as an antifungal on the skin for any type of fungus or candida, that kind of thing; so fantastic food.

Now coconut oil is very stable and it’s really good for cooking and in fact, it’s one of the few oils that I do recommend for cooking. Coconut oil can be used for frying, it can be used in baking, it can be used just raw, you can put it in smoothies, you can mix it into porridge and things so it is really actually versatile and it’s easy to get around a table spoon a day into your diet and I think that’s a good way to go.

I’m naturopath Katherine Maslen, this has been Two Minutes to Health, thanks for joining me.

Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2014

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’m passionate about organic food. Eating 100% organic is not always possible – for reasons like budget constraints or unavailability.

Every year a study is conducted to evaluate the levels of pesticides and herbicides in conventional fruit and vegetables in the US. In Australia our farming practices are similar to that of the US so this can be used as a general guide when buying conventional produce to avoid the most chemical laden foods.

The fruit and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticides are called the ‘dirty dozen’. The foods with the least amount of pesticide residue are called the ‘clean fifteen’. Here is a summary of this years report:

The Dirty Dozen

Avoid these foods if possible – or buy organic.

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Red capsicum
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Potatoes
  • Chili
  • Kale/collard greens

The report noted in particular:

Every nectarine sample and 99% of apple samples tested positive to at least one pesticide residue.

The average potato had more pesticides than any other food, by weight.

A single grape contained 15 pesticides.

Single samples of celery, cherry tomato, sugar snap peas and strawberries had 13 different pesticides in them.

The Clean Fifteen

These foods contain little residues of pesticides and rarely contain more than 1 pesticide.

  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Peas (frozen)
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Rockmelon  (cantaloupe)
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potato

The report noted that:

Avocados were cleanest – only 1% of avocado samples had any detectable pesticides.

89% of pineapples, 82% of kiwi fruit, 80% of papayas, 88% of mangoes and 61% of rockmelons had no residues.

No single fruit from the clean 15 tested positive for more than 4 different pesticides.

Only 5.5% of the clean fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

So what does this mean?

Eating organic is always the safest way to go – but if you simply can’t avoiding fruit and vegetables in the dirty dozen is a good place to start to reduce your intake of pesticides.

To view the full report – visit the environmental working group website.

Bacterial Biofilms and Chronic Disease

There is a lot of mounting evidence for the role of bacterial biofilms in the persistence of chronic infections and the associated conditions that they cause or exacerbate. Bacteria are becoming increasing resistant to antibiotics and attack by your immune system. The reason for this is that bacteria are evolving to thwart efforts to kill them.

Many bacteria will lose their cell membranes – making them impermeable to certain antibiotics. Perhaps an even more effective defense is that of biofilms – where the bacteria group together, sometimes with other types of bacteria and create a natural biofilm – a cover made from proteins that very effectively protect the bacteria from attack.

Within this biofilm, bacteria are safe from attack from your immune system and any herbal or medical antibiotic therapy. This can lead to very slow progress for the patient and a long drawn out treatment time, if they are able to get on top of it at all.

What conditions are biofilms associated with?

This is nor a complete list – nearly any bacterial infection has the potential for biofilm creation.

Lyme Disease – The spiral bacteria Borellia is difficult to eradicate due to the presence of biofilms.

Chronic Sinusitis – some studies have shown up to 80% of patients with surgery due to chronic sinusitis have evidence of bacteria within biofilms.

Mouth and teeth problems – plaque is a biofilm, harboring bacteria, which can lead to cavities and gingivitis

Chronic wounds – bacterial biofilms in wounds can prevent wounds from healing.

Cystic fibrosis – Individuals with cystic fibrosis have bacteria colonizing in the lungs from a young age. Early on Staphylococcus aureus and Hemophilus influenza can form biofilms but in later stages Pseudomonas aeruginosa is more virulent. P. aeruginosa is associated with mortality in cystic fibrosis.

Recurring urinary tract infections – recurring UTIs may be due to the presence of biofilm on the bladder wall, preventing effective treatment of the infection.

Chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia – CFS  and FM can be associated with many different bacterial infections, many of which can remain virulent with biofilms.

 How do you treat biofilms?

Treatment to breakdown biofilms is essential in and disease which involves chronic infection. In my patients I use a biofilm breakdown protocol which can involve the use of specific enzyme therapy to ‘digest’ the film, along with specific herbs which have been shown to be effective in targeting biofilms.

Fortunately, herbal antibacterials and antifungals do not have the same problems as antibiotics around bacterial resistance, and a targeted biofilm attack protocol along with specific antibacterial or antifungal treatments is usually very effective in bringing down levels of overgrown or infectious pathogens.

If you’d like to know if Katherine can help with your particular condition, ask her a question or call 07 3367 0337.


This is a great video about biofilms with some imagery on how they work…


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Cholesterol Lowering Diet

What is a cholesterol lowering diet?

A cholesterol lowering diet is aimed at assisting the body to reduce cholesterol using cholesterol lowering foods and avoiding foods which increase cholesterol levels. This is very different to traditional low cholesterol diets, which aim on reducing cholesterol intake in a bid to reduce cholesterol levels. Only a small amount of our endogenous cholesterol levels are from ingestion of cholesterol, the rest is made by our body. High cholesterol can be a result of the wrong dietary choices over a period of time, an inflammatory disease process, a hypothyroid condition or even allergies! The following dietary advice is aimed at helping to lower your cholesterol levels.

The following foods are associated with cholesterol lowering properties:

  • Garlic
  • Tumeric
  • Onion
  • Artichoke
  • Rocket
  • Oats
  • Eggplant
  • Tomato
  • Lentils
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Chickpeas
  • Linseeds
  • Linseed Oil
  • Ginger
  • Kale
  • Mustard Green


Fibre helps to lower cholesterol by binding to bile, which is made from cholesterol, and carrying through the bowel for excretion. This means that the bile is not reabsorbed and needs to be produced by the liver again from cholesterol, lowering endogenous levels.

The following foods are high in beneficial fibre which increases the excretion of cholesterol:

  • Oats
  • Slippery Elm
  • Psyllium Husk
  • Asparagus
  • Wholegrain products
  • Parsnips
  • Linseed Meal
  • Brown Rice
  • Legumes
  • Barley
  • Black Rice

Another aspect of cholesterol to look at is the high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) ratio. HDL cholesterol is beneficial as it bounces off the blood vessel walls, cleaning up excess cholesterol and fats that have stuck to the walls and carrying them back to the liver for metabolism. In contrast, LDL cholesterol is damaging to its low density as it bounces against the blood vessel walls and leaves splats of bad cholesterol particles that stick to the blood vessel walls. It is these particles which are the predisposing factor to atherosclerosis as they make it easy for calcification to occur, leading to blockages which cause heart failure and strokes.

Foods which increase HDL and decrease LDL are:

  • Nuts and their cold pressed oils – almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts
  • Seeds and their cold pressed oils – sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds
  • Globe artichoke
  • Linseeds and linseed oil
  • Chickpeas
  • Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • Lentils
  • Apples with ski
  • Ginger
  • Linseeds / Linseeds oil
  • Brown and black rice
  • Tomato
  • Fish – mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, blue eyed cod


Cholesterol actually serves an antioxidant role in the body, so when antioxidant status is low it can cause an increase in cholesterol levels. Increasing antioxidant foods in the diet can therefore help to lower cholesterol by decreasing oxidative stress but will also have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system, preventing atherosclerosis and heart disease.

The following foods are good source of antioxidants:

  • Blueberries
  • Black Olives
  • White Tea
  • Blackberries
  • Wheat Grass
  • Rocket
  • Red Grapes
  • Slilverbeet
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Berries
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mangos
  • Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Beetroot
  • Papaya
  • Red Wine
  • Lemons
  • Cocoa
  • Garlic
  • Green Tea
  • Rasberries
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Tumeric
  • Grapefruit
  • Kale
  • Goji

What increases my cholesterol?

Now that we’ve covered all the beneficial foods you should be including in your diet, it’s time to discuss what kind of factors will have an unfavourable effect on your cholesterol levels, and should therefore be avoided.

Trans-fatty acids

Trans-fats are created by oxidation of the fat molecule, which causes it to change from its natural cis formation to a trans formation. This form is not easily digested or metabolised by the body, and studies have shown that trans-fatty acid intake is associated with inflammation, increased oxidative stress and poor cholesterol and fat parameters.

The main sources of trans-fats that should be avoided are:

  • Margarine
  • Spreadable Butter
  • Deep Fried Foods
  • Oil which is not cold pressed
  • Biscuts
  • Cakes
  • Cooking Spray Oils
  • Lard
  • Chips
  • Donuts

Sugar and simple carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source for the body, so when our diet is high in simple carbohydrates the body uses this excess energy to convert to fat which then can increase our cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Simple carbohydrate sources which should be avoided include:

  • Sugar
  • White Bread
  • Pasta
  • White Crackers
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Maltose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Jams and Spreads
  • Chocolate/Lollies
  • Canned Fruit/Veg with added sugar

Saturated fats

A high saturated fat intake has been associated with high cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is however beneficial, it should just be consumed in small amounts compared to the other fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet, which should be consumed more frequently.

Limiting the amount of the following will ensure you are not consuming too much saturated fat:

  • Excess Fat on Meat
  • Chicken Skin
  • Hard Cheese
  • Lard
  • Confit
  • Fatty Meats
  • Milk
  • Cream

Low fat products

Low fat products generally tend to be high in sugar, and as mentioned above this can lead to increased cholesterol levels. Low fat dairy products usually contain milk solids to make them creamier. Milk solids are in fact milk powder and are high in oxidised cholesterol due to the high heat process by which they are made. It is in fact better to have full fat products in moderation than it is to ingest these oxidated cholesterol containing foods.

The following low fat products should be avoided:

  • Skim/Trim/Low fat/No fat milk – if you insist on low fat milk try Mungali Creek organic low fat, TRIM or you’ll love coles skim milk as these do not contain milk solids
  • Low fat cream, yogurt, cheese, ice-cream or other dairy products
  • Other products that claim to be low in fat but are high in added sugar (Check labels)

So how do I put these dietary changes into action?

Making changes to your diet can be difficult, which is why it is important to take things slowly, changing one or two things at a time. Your practitioner will assist you in choosing which dietary changes are best to try first and will give you practical dietary advice along with recipes.

There are many options available to you as substitutions for foods that you enjoy in your daily diet – try using xylitol (a natural fruit sugar found in health food shops) instead of sugar, or substituting low fat milk for rice or oat milk.

What other things can I do to reduce my cholesterol?


Regular exercise is an integral part of cholesterol reduction as it helps to increase metabolism and increase cholesterol excretion. Aim for 40 minutes three times a week. Try to have a mix of cardio which increases your heart rate, and strength exercises which help to reduce fatty tissue and build muscle mass.


Dehydration increases oxidative stress so be sure to drink at least 1.5 litres of filtered water a day, more if exercising or on a hot day.