Healthy Relationship with Alcohol

Mental Healht

Foster Healthy and Nutritious Habits around Alcohol


  1. Foster a healthy relationship with alcohol .
  2. ‘Food as medicine’ and ‘Food first’ approach.
  3. Promote nutritional interventions to assist natural detoxification and support liver function.


  1. Increase fibre, glutathione, brassicas and carotenoids for liver health
  2. Promote pre and probiotic microbiome enhancing foods
  3. Promote nutrient diversity to promote health


  1. Increase fibre, glutathione, brassicas and carotenoids for liver health
  2. Promote pre and probiotic microbiome enhancing foods
  3. Promote nutrient diversity to promote health

Carotenoid Rich Foods

Carotenoids are foods rich in yellow, orange and deep green pigments. While Vitamin A can be derived from carotenoid rich vegetables, it is found most abundantly in liver pates, eggs and oily fish like salmon and mackeral.

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mangoes
  • Sweet potato
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Butternut squash
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Pate
  • Legumes – black eyed
  • peas
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Ricotta cheese
  • 1 tub or wedge of ricotta
  • 1/2 cup organic dried apricots,
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 Tblspns hot water
  • Juice of two oranges
  • 1 tspn organic vanilla essence
  • Walnut halves, lightly toasted
  • Oven 180

Place ricotta into oven proof dish and break apart slightly – creating valley’s for the apricot sauce. Place hot water, juice and apricots into a pan and set over low on stovetop. Let apricots soften before mixing through honey and vanilla essence. Let simmer and reduce. Pour mix over ricotta. Place in oven and cook, letting ricotta turn golden before removing. Serve with toasted walnuts.


Glutathione Rich Foods

Glutathione is known as a master anti-oxidant, protecting cells from oxidative stress, protecting against toxins and assisting immune response. In the liver,
glutathione assists bilirubin production, protein and enzyme activity, promoting detoxification and increasing the health of the liver

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Mustard Greens
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Turnip Greens
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Sweet potato
  • Bok Choy
  • Green leafy herbs

Nuts and seeds are also a delicious way to encourage minerals and glutathione production.

  • Broccoli florets
  • Cauliflower florets
  • 6 Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • 1 Brown onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Coconut
  • Amino Acids – BBQ
    flavour OR BBQ sauce of choice
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Oven 180deg

Place all vegetables into a bowl. Mix the olive oil, Coconut amino acids (or
BBQ sauce of choice) and garlic , then coat vegetables with marinade. Place in baking dish Roast until caramelised – about 20 mins , covering in marinade often.. Serve with tzatziki, roasted potatoes and meat of choice These are also delicious in a pita pocket with falafel and tzatziki!


Functional Fluids

Encourage gut health with simple Functional Fluids

  • 1/4 cup pineapple pieces
  • 1 tetrapak coconut water
  • 4 Tblspns yoghurt of choice
  • Small handful baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tspn each
    Slippery elm
    Green Banana Resistant Starch
  • OPTIONAL: 1 kiwifruit

Place in Nutribullet and blend until smooth

  • 1 Mango
  • 1 tetrapak coconut water
  • 4 Tblspns yoghurt of choice
  • 1 Tblspn oats
  • 1 carrot, sliced and steamed to soften (refrigerate until ready to use)
  • 1 tspn each
    Slippery elm
    Green Banana Resistant Starch

Place in Nutribullet and blend until smooth. Add more coconut water or plain water if a lighter texture is desired


  • V8 Vegetable Juice Options
  • Coles brand smoothies
  • Flavored kefir with 1 banana

Liver and Gut Healing Soups

Ready-made and healthy? I am on it. Before pouring any beverages, create your snacks, promoting a healthy ‘food first’ philosophy.

  • 1 packet Chicken ready-made bone broth – or jar/packet to 1 ltr
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1 good handful baby spinach
  • half bunch parsley
  • Few leaves of kale – remove stalks and crush before adding to soup to cook
  • 1 block creamy feta
  • Olive oil

Add oil to pot set over medium heat and brown onion. Add stock to pot. Add all vegetables and simmer until softened. Remove from heat, blend slightly with
stick blender, add crumbled feta and blend until smooth. Place in bowl and add swirl of olive oil. Serve with sourdough toast.

  • 1 Ltr ready made chicken bone broth or jar/packet to 1 ltr
  • 1 400g crushed tomatoes
  • 1 packet Woolies ‘cook simmer’ veggie mix, add any other veggies you have in your fridge
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small tin 4 bean mix
  • 1/4 cup mini macaroni
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 lengths of chives and parsely to serve
  • Little butter or oil

Add butter or oil to soup pot and add crushed garlic, saute lightly then add bone broth, bay leaves, pasta and veggies. Boil veg and pasta until pasta is al dente. Remove bay leaves and add tomatoes and rinsed 4 bean mix. Taste and add little salt and sugar if needed. nSimmer to warm tomatoes Serve in wide bowls with sourdough toast. Make this a 1 dish wonder by adding pulled charcoal chicken Garnish with chopped chives and parsley.


Quick and Simple Snacks

Ready-made and healthy? I am on it. Before pouring any beverages, create your snacks, promoting a healthy ‘food first’ philosophy.

  • 1 ready-made pizza base – check out  Picasso’s cauliflower pizza base for
    added fiber
  • 1/2 sweet potato, cubed
  • Small handful rocket leaves
  • Red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 chili – optional
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • OPTIONAL EXTRAS: Grated parmesan or tasty cheese, olives, mushrooms,
    basil leaves

Turn oven onto 200deg Fry off sweet potato in a little olive oil, adding crushed garlic and chill (if using it)

Cook just to color – it will continue to cook in oven.

Spread base with pizza sauce and arrange vegetables – leave rocket off as this is to be added after pizza comes out of oven to maintain nutrients. Sprinkle over cheese if desired.

Cook until pizza base starts to color. Remove from oven and add rocket.

Serve with a big glass of flavored kombucha – it even comes in cola flavor!



Quick and Simple Dinners

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 capsicum – color of choice, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 brown or red onion
  • Baby spinach
  • 1/4 block feta
  • OPTIONAL: pumpkin, diced (small piece)
  • Extra tasty cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic – 3 cloves, crushed
  • Vegeta/powdered chicken stock/salt and pepper

In an over proof frypan set over medium, add oil, onion, potato, garlic and pumpkin (if using it). Fry until golden, add capsicum and soften

Mix eggs with milk – season to your liking, I love vegeta and powdered chicken stock, as it sets the veggie flavours off. Pour egg mix over veggies, add crumbled fetta and let frittata set over medium to low heat. Sprinkle tasty cheese on top, and add good handful baby spinach. Finish off under grill, cooking until cheese has turned golden. Serve with a side salad.

Nutrient diversity is easy to achieve with platters! Get creative and prepare a delicious easy, one dish meal, and as my goto for Friday night dining, platters are a healthy option to takeaway

Nutrient diversity is easy to achieve with platters! Get creative and prepare a delicious easy, one dish meal,
and as my goto for Friday night dining, platters are a healthy option to takeaway




Quick Links


Food to help Reduce Mild Anxiety and Depression

Mental Healht

Anxiety and depression can affect so many aspects of our well-being. Assist mood with calming foods and avoid those that may contribute to symptoms.

Foods to avoid/reduce

Trytophan, Serotonin and Melatonin

Serotonin and its precursor tryptophan assist with symptoms of anxiety and feeling ‘wired but tired’, with the final neurotransmitter in this cascade, melatonin, promoting sleep. Serotonin is implicated in mechanisms such as social interaction, nutritional status and immunity , while also being involved in controlling negative thoughts and stress response.

Enjoy the following foods to reduce anxiety and promote sleep:

Banana and Green banana resistant starch contain a nutrient called 5-HTP, a precursor to serotonin, a healthy, easy way to boost mood. 

Kiwifruit may assist in promoting sleep and shortening the time it takes to fall asleep.

Salmon contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor (building block) of serotonin.

Turkey also contains tryptophan, and is rumoured to be the reason for the snooze after Thanks Giving!

Tart Cherry promotes melatonin production [5] assisting the ability to fall asleep and calm the mind. Look for this in a concentrated sugar free syrup.

Nuts and seeds are a great sources of minerals, one of which, magnesium, assists in relaxing muscles and promoting calm. Nuts contain melatonin in differing amounts.


To produce dopamine, tyrosine (and phenylalanine) are required, with sources mainly obtained through protein in the diet. Low dopamine is associated with lack of motivation, depression and mental exhaustion . The following foods can assist with low mood, or at particularly stressful times such as during exams or a heavy work load.

Eggs are a great source of phenylalanine while also being a light healthy protein option.

Avocadoes, a rich source of tyrosine, make the perfect combination with eggs – think of having an egg/avo smash on sourdough for a mood boosting breakfast.

All proteins; lamb, beef, pork, chicken, turkey and salmon, along with dairy and soy are rich sources of tyrosine.

For vegetarians, legumes can offer a plant-based option, look to consume lima beans in particular. Sesame seeds also offer a rich source.

Cacao is a beautifully uplifting food, with trace amounts of zinc, manganese, calcium, copper, iron and potassium. Creating a cacao elixir before bed is a lovely way to switch off from the day,

Choc cherry latte
1 tspn cacao
1 Dessertspoon tart cherry syrup
1/2 tspn organic vanilla essence
1 cup Coconut or macadamia milk

Sweetener of choice

OPTIONAL: Vegan marshmallows, 3
Warm milk though and add all other ingredients, mixing until combined.

Pour into cup and add marshmallows.

Serve warm to hot.

Find space, still your mind and breath


GABA is a calming neurotransmitter, with symptoms of anxiety leading to mild panic attacks, insomnia – inability to fall and stay asleep – and constantly wanting to be busy, symptoms common at times when our mind wont allow us to rest. Taurine is a precursor, with intolerances to foods such as wheat and gluten reducing availability of GABA.

Shellfish are a rich source of taurine, so foods like scallops, mussels and crab, along with edible seaweeds and tuna are beneficial sources

Calming theanine, found in green tea and matcha, assists GABA, while not being a direct source, theanine enhances GABA production to calm the mind and help to promote sleep.

Calming Matcha Tea
1 tspn Matcha powder
1/2 tspn organic vanilla essence
1 cup coconut or macadamia milk

OPTIONAL: sprinkle of nutmeg Warm milk through and add matcha powder and vanilla.

Pour into cup and sprinkle with nutmeg.
Serve warm/hot

  1.  Effect of kiwifruit consumption on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems – PubMed ( , Hsiao-Han Lin 1, Pei-Shan Tsai, Su-Chen Fang, Jen-Fang Liu
  2.  Serotonin and stress, F Chaouloff 1, O Berton, P Mormède
  3.  Roles of brain monoamine neurotransmitters in agonistic behavior and stress reactions, with particular reference to fish. Comp Biochem Physiol Part C: Pharmacol, Toxicol Endocrinol106:597–614, Winberg S , Nilsson GE, 1993.
  4. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) for AnxietyAn effective and safe natural treatment of anxiety.Posted Oct 08, 2018, James Lake (MD)
  5.  Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms. American journal of therapeutics, 25(2), e194–e201, Losso, J. N., Finley, J. W., Karki, N., Liu, A. G., Prudente, A., Tipton, R., Yu, Y., & Greenway, F. L. (2018)
  6. file:///C:/Users/61409/Documents/AMINO%20ACID%20INDICATIONS%20DOSAGE%20CONTRA%20INDICATIONS/Neurotransmitter_Chart.p
  7. The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease – PubMed (

By SAM MURPHY,  Nutrition and Dietetic Medicine (BHSc)

Top 12 nature walks in and around the Dandenong Ranges for those experiencing mobility challenges

For those with low mobility, chronic pain or illness, a disability, or recovering from an injury, you can still enjoy the benefits of nature in this beautiful part of the world. Here is a guide to some

accessible places with descriptions of what to expect when you get there. Everyone deserves to enjoy nature.

Before you start, consider: What are your needs?

  • Ask your GP, Physiotherapist, Osteopath, or other relevant health professionals for guidance.
  • How far can I comfortably walk?Start with this, and gradually increase if you think that’s a good idea. It can be rewarding to come back to the same location another time and explore a little further.
  • Are you best on more even and relatively flat paths?– this guide will describe the nature of the paths you will encounter so you can plan a comfortable experience. If in doubt, just walk a short way and find a spot to take in the nature around you. See the mindfulness guide at the end of this article for some ideas.
  • You might benefit from support, and enjoy the company, of a friend, a personal trainer, or another support person.
  • Comfortable footwear can help a lot.For flat trails walking or sports shoes are fine. When you start trying steep, slippery. or rocky trails hiking shoes with a good grip are best. Hiking poles can provide additional stability, and they will take a bit of practice to get used to.
  • Clothing right for the weather forecast, sunscreen, snake awareness, water and food, and phone reception (can be a bit patchy in the Dandenong Ranges), are all important considerations to make your walk safe and enjoyable.
  • About snake awareness: In warmer months especially, walk where you can see the path ahead of you, stop if you see a snake, and let them go on their way.You might prefer to wear long pants and covered shoes for protection. If a person is bitten ensure they stop moving, call 000, and immobilise and bandage the limb (you can get snake bandages that show you how tightly to stretch the bandage).
  • A great little first aid guide from the red cross:
  • Did you know? Parks Victoria has a disability access program in the Sherbrooke Forest.Volunteers support all-terrain wheelchair access with specially designed chairs for the forest. For more information see the website:

Some top easy-access spots:

Emerald Lake Park – from main Car Park
Emerald Lake Road, Emerald

At this location, there is a flat path around the lake with beautiful views and plenty of birdlife, and it is also a station for the puffing billy steam train. Parking fees of $6 per day apply. Toilets are available, and dogs on the lead are allowed. This area is suitable for prams and wheelchairs. Additional paths can be explored. For a longer walk try the path near the bridge across the lake where there is a wide flat gently sloping gravel path through the ferns.

Emerald Museum area
Crichton Rd, Emerald

This area can be less busy than Emerald Lake Park. It has some heritage gardens to explore on a gentle slope, and at times the museum may also be open. For a longer walk of about 3kms return with a well-made path on a hill, there are several sloping gravel paths that lead down towards Emerald Lake Park. Take the one on the left as you head down for a less steep incline.

271 Mt Morton Rd, Belgrave Heights

For best accessibility park at the car park inside the park. From here you can take the trail past the notice board. A 1km loop will take you past one lake and to a view of another, stick to the left to get back to the car park. For a 2km loop go around the large lake as well, and enjoy the birdlife of Birsdland, which actually got its name after the original owners, the Birds family. Picnic facilities and toilets are available, and dogs are welcome on leads. The longer walk of about 2kms takes you around the second lake as well and leads you past a designated dog swimming area. The path is suitable for prams and wheelchairs.

Another option is to take the road that is heading past the car park, and then take the trail on your right. In a couple of hundred meters, there is a gate on your left to a wetland boardwalk – this is a peaceful place to listen to the frog songs. For a short but very steep uphill walk, take the path off to the left of this road and you will be rewarded with city views at the top.

Wrights Forest
Corner of Wright Rd and Dalziel Rd, Avonsleigh

There is a parking space on this corner with a mild slope, leading on to Wright track, a flat wide gravel path. You can walk up to about 3kms return on this path, or for a longer walk take paths to the left or right going up or down the hill. Dogs on leads are allowed.

Cardinia Reservoir
Cardinia Creek Road, Emerald

There are two easy-access options for this location. Go straight ahead from Cardinia Creek Road and park at the first car park at the top to have access to the flat walk with spectacular views along the dam walls. Sometimes you can spot kangaroos sunbathing down below. Continue past the first car park and then turn right to get to the bottom car park to access the parkland below with flat paths. Picnic areas and toilets are at this location. Kangaroos are often spotted here early or late in the day. If you would like to go further there is a hillside path between these two locations. Other hilly paths with reasonably well-made paths around the edge of this park totaling about a 7km loop.

Sherbrooke Forest
Grants Picnic Ground, Monbulk Rd, Kallista

This is a popular tourist spot with a cafe and toilets. To get to a peaceful spot with a flat path turn right upon entry to the picnic ground and head to the very end of the parking section. From here there is a beautiful relatively flat path with tall trees. Sometimes wildlife is seen here. There is also a flat path alongside the car park heading back to the cafe with information about local wildlife. Outside the shop, there is signage to show you another short but hilly walk on the other side of the cafe. The entire loop track of this section of Sherbrooke Forest includes steep hills and is about 8km long. You could also walk up to the Kallista main street from here and enjoy some beautiful shops and cafes.

Sherbrooke Forest
Conner Grantulla Rd and Neuman Track, Kallista

There are several parking spots that allow entry to the Sherbrooke Forest along Grantulla Rd. This one allows for relatively flat path walking in both directions, towards Kallista you will head towards the Cooks Corner tea rooms (about 1km), and away from Kallista, you will head towards a clear with dragons’ nests (about 1km).

The Tan, Sherbrooke
Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

There are several options for parking at the Ferny Creek Reserve (access from Clarkmont Rd), at The Piggery Cafe, or across the road from Alfred Nichols Gardens. This 2 to 3 km long trail follows along Sherbrooke Rd with views of the forest. It is quite flat and wide, and good for prams and wheelchairs, and dogs on leads. There is an option for a moderate hill-climb path from The Piggery Cafe that leads up the hill instead of along the road to the rear of Ferny Creek Reserve. There are options of visiting the beautifuyl Alfred Nichols and George Tindal Gardens as well as The Piggery Cafe.

Baluk Willam Nature Conservation Reserve
Corner of Courtney’s Road and Orchid Rd and Corner of Courtney’s Road ad Denham Rd, Belgrave South

This is a lovely quiet bushland park where you can spot a huge variety of tiny orchid flowers. Park at the Orchid Rd intersection car park for about 1km relatively flat walk with information about local orchids. Either walk back along the roadside path (a rugged uneven path with some slopes and puddles) or park at the corner of Denham Rd to enter another section of this reserve. Take the path into this reserve near the corner and stick to your left for an about 3km bushland path walk with some mild sloping sections.

Hamer Arboretum
10 Chalet Rd, Olinda

This spot has a great view from the car park. From there you will encounter some well-made gravel paths with hills. For a short walk of about 1km, you can head down the hill near the entrance to the car park and just until you see the beautiful pond on your left. It is also fun to wonder on the grassy hillside among the giant Christmas tree-like conifers that you can see from the car park, just stick to the places where the grass has been cut during warm weather to be able to steer clear of snakes.

(There is also an off-leash dog area with views at the old Olinda Public Golf Course nearby.)

One Tree Hill Picnic Ground
Lord Somers Rd, Tremont

Walk for a few hundred meters around the parkland grounds on relatively flat paths amongst tall trees and see Anzac memorials and monuments. Toilets and picnic facilities available. There are many trails with hills leading from this area. (It is near the top of the 1000 steps trail.) To walk a bit further on a gently sloping flat path, head down Ramu track as far as you are comfortable. You will find this track from the junction of Lord Somers Rd and One tree hill Rd, near the entrance to the picnic ground.

Just for you, enjoy mindfulness in nature…..

Be in the moment. Just notice yourself and your surroundings using your five senses. What is one thing you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch right now?

Notice your breath and allow it to settle into a regular rhythm with the pace of your steps. This rhythm might change with the demands of the trail or what is on your mind. Allow your breath to slow your pace with uphill inclines, or speed up your pace if you want more physical activation. Find a just-right pace for you.

Notice your thoughts. If you have thoughts about not being good enough, see if you can leave them by the side of the trail. Cultivate kindness towards yourself by congratulating yourself for choosing to be where you are right now and thank your body for taking you on this journey.

Be curious to see what comes up in your experience. What is happening in nature around you? Your attention may be divided between noticing the path and what is around you; plants, wildlife, the sky. What comes to your mind? Would you like to contemplate what is on your mind, or return your attention to your surroundings?