Stress is one of those words that can mean a lot of things. In a basic sense, stress is s physiological process that happens in your body – sometimes as a result of ‘being stressed’, but also as a result of other stressors, like environmental toxins, lack of sleep or too much coffee.

One thing’s for sure – if you don’t learn to monitor and manage your stress it will affect your health. Stress causes more disease than smoking and alcohol combined (yes, it’s true) so we need to help keep it in check.

Now some stress is a good thing – mild stress helps keep our bodies working well, challenges us and keeps us focused. Stress becomes dangerous when it becomes more robust or goes on and on and on. You see our bodies aren’t really designed to have constant stress – our flight or fight response activates during stress and is meant to be around long enough to allow you to escape from that sabre tooth tiger. What happens to many of us is that our flight or fight response is activated in the background – which means your body cannot function in its normal relaxed state.

Stress is bad news for your nervous system, impairs your digestion (hello bloating) and messes with your hormones (PMT anyone?). The tricky things is that you might now even know you are stressed. Some people can feel stressed out -you can see it in them, their heads looking like they’re about to explode. For others, stress is something that they feel they are not affected by – and I often get reports that my patients are not stressed when their biochemistry would show otherwise.

Lucky for you I’m going to share a secret with you – your body will let you know that you’re stressed even if your mind does not. If you’ve got any other following going on I’m 99% sure that you’re stress affected.

  • Anxiety, worrying, nervousness
  • Difficulty falling asleep (longer than 10 minutes)
  • Not sleeping right through the night
  • Tiredness
  • Having a 3 pm slump
  • Needing coffee to pick you up
  • Sleeping less than 7 hours a night

Hmmm – sound like you? Well the good news is there is a solution.

Healing your adrenals
Your adrenal glands are the little guys that are helping you cope with stress day to day. When you’re busy doing your thing they are pumping out a hormone called cortisol which helps you deal with stress. The problem is that over time they can become depleted or downright erratic – secreting cortisol at random times (like when you’re trying to sleep) rather than mostly in the morning, when they should.

Nurturing your adrenals requires 2 things:

  • Rest or modification of behaviours
  • Herbal adrenal trophorestoratives and adapotgens

Tropho-what? Trophorestorative herbs help to restore your tired old adrenals so that they can do their job properly. Adaptogenic herbs actually help your body to deal with stress more effectively. For many of my clients with huge workloads like business owners and those in executive positions, these herbs help them to work though the huge amount of things they need to do without losing their energy or their sanity.

If we want to have longevity – energy, great sleep and graceful ageing than we need to look after our bodies. Thinking about nurturing your adrenal glands will help to prevent burnout and keep you functioning at your best.

For help with adrenal restoration, see a qualified Brisbane naturopath or herbalist that will be able to get you ‘the good stuff’ to keep you feeling great.

To make an appointment with Katherine or her team, call Shift at Brisbane Natural Health on 07 3367 0337.


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 suppress 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 help 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 bread, 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 your 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 a 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 actually 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 bushwalking 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!

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!

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 will still 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.

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

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 that does not make it a bad or 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 the 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 tablespoon 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.

Green smoothies are an excellent addition to a healthy diet. They are high in minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium which are more easily absorbed due to the blending process. Green smoothies are very easy to make – all you need is some green leafy veggies, fruit, water and ice. You can also make green smoothies with veggies and there are many superfoods that you can add to them to make them even more nutritious.

Fresh juicing is one of the best things that you can do for your health. When you juice fresh fruit and vegetables, you remove the fibre and are left with a concentrated form of nutrients. Without the fibre you are able to absorb the nutrients and phytochemicals from the juice much more easily.

Here are some of the most beneficial juices, and their properties:

Apple juice (cold-pressed) is a great source of bioflavonoid quercetin, which has potent anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Good for allergies, asthma, and inflammation.

Beetroot juice is wonderfully cleansing and nutrient-rich, it has been shown in studies to benefit the liver and is a great source of nitrites, which can help to keep blood pressure low in the body.  Great for liver cleansing, skin problems, and high blood pressure.

Broccoli juice is excellent for detoxifying excess oestrogen from the body. It helps to remove toxins like phthalates and BPA from your body. Juice the stem and drink for fertility, hormonal and endocrine problems.

Cabbage juice, particularly the out leaves, is a fantastic source of vitamins A and C. It is also great for detoxifying hormones due to the presence of indole complexes. Use this spicy juice sparingly to help with hormonal problems and liver function.

Celery juice is fantastic for detoxification through the kidneys. It contains compounds that have been found to be anti-cancer and are incredibly alkalizing, which makes it anti-inflammatory in the body. Be sure to juice the tops, which have a high nutritional value.  It is excellent for detoxing, arthritis, autoimmune disease, and gout.

Carrot juice is a rich source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A). Carrot juice helps to boost your immune system and can help improve your vision. It is great for those with visual or immune problems and is also needed for fertility.

Cucumber juice contains silica, which helps to improve skin and hair health. It is very cooling and can help to cleanse your kidneys. Great for congested skin, eczema, dermatitis, and antiaging.

Besides keeping away vampires, garlic juice can help to lower cholesterol, prevent infection, reduce inflammation and prevent bacterial imbalances in your gut. Use it for candida overgrowth, immune deficiency, high cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Grapefruit juice is high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. It also helps to enhance phase 2 detoxification in the liver, which helps remove toxins from the body. Drink for clear skin, liver detoxification, and for immune boosting.

Lemon juice is alkalizing and detoxifying. The sourness helps to stimulate the flow of bile through the liver, which helps clean out the liver and improve digestion.  Great for congested skin, liver problems, arthritis, poor digestion, and autoimmune disease.

Pineapple juice is a great source of vitamin C and Bromelain. Bromelain has been found in studies to have potent anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and immune regulating properties. It is great for allergies, immune problems, asthma, and arthritis. It is also a source of enzymes that can help you break down your food.

Spinach juice is a great source of chlorophyll, which helps to detoxify and cleanse the body. It is also a source of calcium, magnesium, and folate. Great for inflammatory conditions like autoimmune disease, asthma, and arthritis. Also good for iron deficiency.

Wheatgrass juice contains vitamins A, E, and K as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate. It is also high in chlorophyll, which helps to detoxify and build the blood. Great for anemia, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory conditions.

Watermelon contains lycopene, which helps to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. It also contains the amino acid citrulline, which also benefits the cardiovascular system.  Great for heart disease and prostate health.


Ginger Beat

1 beetroot
1 carrot
1 stick celery, with tops
ginger, to taste

Clear Skin

¼ grapefruit
1 cucumber
1 carrot
handful spinach or kale



½ cucumber
2 sticks of celery with tops
½ apple
½ lemon
handful spinach leaves
1 clove garlic (optional


Immune Booster

½ grapefruit
¼ pineapple
1 carrot
ginger, as much as you can handle
1 clove garlic


Green Warrior

1 cucumber
1 stick celery with tops
1 broccoli stem
2 handfuls spinach leaves
½ apple


Heart starter

1 cup watermelon
½ beetroot
1 stick celery, with tops
ginger, to taste

Additional info…

  • Juicing is not an exact art – play around with different combinations to see what you like best
  • Limit fruit juice intake, which is high in sugar. Use it to sweeten veggie juices
  • Juices from the cabbage family (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, radish) should be used cautiously in those with thyroid or suspected thyroid issues. If you are iodine deficient they can cause a goiter in susceptible individuals. Cooking abates this effect
  • Grapefruit needs to be taken with caution in those who are on medications as it can increase clearance of some

Cambridge University released the results of a study on saturated fat last month that has turned the mainstream health community on its head about the matter. Saturated fat has been given a bad wrap by the medical community for a very long time. It has been blamed for obesity and heart disease, with the promotion of low fat products being standard practice for years.

As those that are patients of mine will know, I have always been against the use of low fat products as a health tool – they have no health benefit and in fact are often unhealthier than their full fat counterparts.

Much of the information that has been propagated about saturated fat is without much scientific ground. In fact there is mounting evidence that low fat products are detrimental to our health. The nurse’s health study even found that a high intake of low fat dairy caused an increase in infertility.

This new study shows that saturated fat does not increase cholesterol or ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, event though this is what is what the heart foundation claims that is does.

Cutting out saturated fat from the diet poses several health issues – it can lead to a deficiency in the fat soluble vitamins A and D, which are found in butter and other full fat dairy products. When it is replaced with highly processed polyunsaturated fats such as margarine, it can cause increases in LDL cholesterol and lead to hardening of the arteries. Low fat products are also often high in sugar, which is the real culprit when it comes to obesity and heart disease.

Saturated fat is an important part of a healthy diet and should be included in meals in small amounts. Use butter instead of margarine and eat the skin off your chicken if it’s organic. Coconut oil is another very healthy saturated fat source that you can eat daily to improve your fat profile.

Check in with a qualified naturopath to get your diet analyzed to find the right balance of fats for you.

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