Healthy Relationship with Alcohol


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


Notice the Moments

Too often we go through days with little attention to the details. The moments. The stillness in the business. I was standing near some people overhearing their conversation. The themes were all about not noticing. People were saying things like “how did this happen. I can’t believe my child is at school already” Or “I never noticed that…” Or “the day started, then it ended”.  When our heads are busy, we miss what is happening in THIS moment. It’s so easy to do. Plan for the day, remind yourself of things to do, go over conversations, listen to negative thoughts and the list goes on and on. Our minds constantly chatter and in listening to the chatter, we miss vital moments in the here and now. The paying attention to moments, mindfully is an important skill that many psychologists now try to teach clients. It’s the moment-to-moment awareness that helps reduce mood and other problems. It sounds simple but it’s incredibly difficult to do. The urge is to ‘think’ and our minds are great at constantly ‘thinking’, ‘planning’, ‘worrying’. By taking a moment to notice what is around you and what is going on in present, we learn to pay less attention to our thoughts. This allows us to enjoy what is happening in a mindful and engaged way. Psychologists claim that developing skills in mindfulness practice can go along way to increasing our sense of a rich and meaningful life and reduce stress and anxiety. Give it a go…try and notice something new today that perhaps you’ve never noticed. Pay attention to the chatter of the mind but focus on what is happening in the here and now.  Ask yourself, “am I going to trust my mind or my experience?”.

Hita Mistry

Clinical & Forensic Psychologist

The Winter Blues

It’s a common saying these days… “I’ve got the winter blues” but what does it mean and why do we experience this phenomenon? The term blues has become synonymous with sadness and depression since the 16th Century. Blueswas shortened from ‘blue devils’ from 1616 and during the 18th Century, it was further shortened to ‘blues’. Towards the end of the 19th Century we saw the rise of the blues music – a type of melancholic jazz music that derived from the sadness of funeral songs of slavery and oppression.

There is much written about feeling blue or sad during the winter months and psychologically, this is a diagnosable condition. The essential features of this is the feeling of low mood, flatness, melancholic or depressed. In addition, people may notice problems with sleep, concentration, feeling agitated, poor motivation and energy levels or changes in appetite. The onset of this is typically when the season changes to winter. There are a number of possible explanations for why this occurs. The first is related to light. We all know that daylight is important for mood so in the winter months, when there is less sunshine and daylight, people may experience changes in mood. The lack of light affects our body and sleep rhythm and can even create hormonal imbalances. Also during winter, our outdoor options may be limited where we are unable to do as much of the usual things with nature that make us feel connected and grounded.

It is important to be aware of how the winter months affect your mood. Do you notice changes in yourself over winter? Do you dread winter? Do you stop doing things that you would normally do? Have others commented on how your mood changes over winter? Checking in with ourselves and noticing either subtle or big changes is the first step. If you are impacted by seasonal change, the second step is to change your winter routine. Just like you have a summer and winter wardrobe with clothes, see if you can extend this to a lifestyle change. Plan for winter activities such as visiting the snow. Mindfully notice the beautiful changes in nature as trees change colour and shed their leaves. Prepare wholesome winter recipes that keep you warm on a cold winter day. Stock up on fun family activities such as board games so you can enjoy indoor space together. The aim here is to embrace the winter months as an opportunity to do things you wouldn’t get to do in the summer.

For some, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious and problematic mental health concern and so, if you become significantly depressed during winter, it may be important to consult with a psychologist for a more comprehensive assessment and support. Psychologists can help you develop strategies that manage symptoms of depression and some basic changes can yield long-term, positive outcomes.
The take home message is that winter doesn’t have to be blue…

Hita Mistry

Principal Clinical & Forensic Psychologisy

Time for YOU

Don’t underestimate the importance of a little time for yourself everyday. For some, this statement alone will evoke instant thoughts of “I’d love to but I can’t”, “I don’t have time”, “I’m too busy with work and family”. There is always something more important than YOU. Why is this? In my work with clients, common themes that people talk about are a sense of guilt for doing something for themselves, or unworthiness that somehow their wellbeing isn’t as important as others. Some describe hectic days where they physically can’t find half hour in and others have been so busy with work or raising a family that they have forgotten what they enjoy. So, despite all these obstacles, why is it important to still try and find time for you? The irony is that when people are stressed, overloaded, overwhelmed and busy they are often less present, less available and enjoy life less. Life can start to feel like you’re on autopilot – just getting through each day like you’re on a hamster wheel. I liken it to the analogy of being on a treadmill with the speed set slightly faster than your legs can manage but not being able to get off! I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to this!

By taking some time for yourself each day, you may feel more present, feel less stressed, more tolerant and enjoy more things in life. Try it as a test – set aside as little as 10 minutes to do something you enjoy. This could be reading a book, going for a short walk, having a bath, listening to music, sitting in peace and quiet, meditating and the list goes on. Do the activity in a ‘mindful’ way meaning being very present as you do it and not thinking about what you have already done or what you need to do later! At the end, notice how you feel. And notice what difference it makes to the rest of your day. Time for YOU is not really time for YOU – by taking time for you, you’re able to give more of YOU to those you love and the things you care about so think of time for YOU as time for LIFE.

By Hita Mistry

Clinical & Forensic Psychologist

Find the Right Mental Health Service for you

Find the Right Mental Health Service for you

Mental Health services can be complex, changeable, and it can be a challenge to find just the right options for a person in a specific situation.

As a result of our lockdown experiences we are seeing an increased demand for mental health services across a range of services, and waiting lists for psychologists have hit record lengths. Consider the range of services that are available to find the services that are the best fit for you. Here are some options to consider while figuring this out, or waiting for the right service to become available.

It’s worth persisting to find out what your needs are and what people, services, or interventions can be helpful to you.  Sometimes identifying what the problem is, or what is the change you want, can be an important step towards finding a solution, and is often something that a psychologist can assist with.

When to seek out mental health services?

……for yourself

 At times of crisis, when you have severely depressed mood, harmful behaviours, or thoughts of ending your life.

 When you are experiencing big changes in behaviours or distressing experiences.

 When difficulties are persistent over weeks or months and are disrupting your ability to do your normal work, family, or recreational roles and activities.

 When you are not thriving and not satisfied.  It’s a good idea to seek mental health or personal development support when you want to be functioning better.  You don’t need to be in crisis to benefit from gaining self-awareness and skills that help you to be the person you want to be.   

 …….for others

 When you have a loved on or someone in your care that is showing signs of crisis, risky behaviour, or unusual changes in their behaviour, it is a good idea to support them to seek assistance if you can, or otherwise consult with a healthcare professional to better understand what can be done.  In an emergency you can contact crisis services, or consult specialist services for information and guidance.

 ……..for friends, family, carers

 Those providing caring to a person with mental health needs can experience considerable stress themselves, and carers services can be helpful.

 Carers Victoria has a phone line as well as links to practical and counselling resources.

 Consider the right match for you, including:


Do you prefer face to face or online services.  How far might you need to travel, how often will you need to attend and how much of your time might a mental health intervention require? 


There is a range of public and private services with a mix of costs and funding options.  There are many  low or no cost options, however they may also have a waiting period, or limits on their services.  Private services may cost more, however you may have a much broader choice to select a preferred service provider.  Funding for services are often available from medicare, private health insurance, TAC, Workcover, Employee Assistance Programs and NDIS.

Quality of practice

Consider what quality of care you are looking for, and whether treatments are in accordance with evidence based practice and treatment guidelines for specific conditions.

 You may like to consider what accreditation, qualifications, or experience a mental health practitioner might have, the may be registered practitioners with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency, they may belong to an association, or may be practitioners without a regulating body.

Some other considerations that ethical practitioners keep in mind are to practice within their area of expertise and experience and place your best interests as a priority.  They are happy to consider referral to others services that might be a better match for you, and provide realistic expectations, so they don’t promise unrealistically quick and simple cures.

Relationship with health care provider

The quality of a relationship with a therapist providing mental health interventions, or therapeutic alliance, has been found to be a significant factor in the effectiveness of treatment, and about as important as they type of interventions that are being provided.  It is important that you feel comfortable, listened to and respected, that the goals of therapy are developed together, and that review and feedback about how the treatment is sought regularly.  It can also be important to have an idea of how long the treatment is estimated to take.   

 Ask your GP for a recommendation, or other trusted people.

 If the first provider is not right for you, don’t give up, try another.

 What local face to face services are available?

 Community Health Centers

These centers provide a range of helpful physical and mental health services, at low or no cost, by experienced professionals, such as counselling for children, families and adults, physiotherapy, dieticians, podiatry, and diabetes specialists.

 Inspiro (Belgrave and Lilydale) 03 9028 0153

 EACH Upper Ferntree Gully)  1300 003 224

 Monash Health (Pakenham, Cockatoo and Berwick)  1300 342 273

 Public Mental Health Services

Important for mental health crisis, severe or complex disorders.  Referral via 24 hour Psychiatric Triage phone line.

 Eastern Health 1300 721 927

 Monash Health 1300 369 012

Private Psychologists and other mental health practitioners

See your GP for a mental health plan for medicare subsidised sessions.  Funding can also be available for psychological services for TAC, Workcover, Employee Assistance Programs, Victims of Crime, NDIS

Youth mental health service:

(locations in Pakenham and Narre Warren)

What specialist services are available? 

(many are now online)

Trauma – Centers against Sexual Assault

 Domestic Violence – 1800 RESPECT

Relationship Services:

(locations in Berwick, Cranbourne, and Cranbourne North)

Substance Use

 SECADA (South East Drug and Alcohol Services) 1800 142 536

 Not for profit associations that specialise in particular mental health difficulties and disorders can provide specialised supports. There are many of these association, some examples:



Eating Disorders Victoria:

Bereavement from death of a child

Borderline Personality Disorder:

Mental Health Support:

 Lived experience and peer educators can be valuable supports.  It can be helpful and hopeful to hear from others that have had similar difficult experiences.

SANE Australia is an organisation that provides links to lived experienced stories and services.

When you need someone to talk to now…….

 If risk of harm is significant please consider whether emergency or crisis services are needed:

 Calling ambulance or attending the local Emergency Department

Local psychiatric triage 24-hour phone services:

Eastern Health 1300 721 927

Monash Health 1300 369 012

Gippsland 1300 363 322

Domestic Violence 24 hours phone line 1800 737 732

Consider online and phone services that are available to provide professional mental health support, some are staffed 24 hours, and some also have online chats and other useful information.

Lifeline 131 114

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Suicide Call back line 1300 659 467

Mens Line Australia 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

When you have to wait for a service……

 While it is important to receive the individual professional service that you need, please see this list of resources and strategies that may be useful at when there is a delay accessing this.

Reducing your stress and demands by taking time of work or asking for help from family or friends.  Your GP is likely to assist you with a medical certificate to take sick leave from work if needed. 

 Make an additional time to check in with existing supports, helpful friends and family, existing services, or your GP.

 Consider online courses from evidence-based providers, such as:

Katerina Volny, Emerald Psychology Practice