Felicia McQueen is a Clinical Nutritionist and Exercise Physiologist. She holds a bachelor degree in Applied Science with majors in Nutrition and Dietetics as well as Exercise Science. She has completed postgraduate studies in motor control and neuroscience and was awarded First Class Honours for her research in this field. She has also completed a Diploma of Specialised Bowen Therapy. Prior to entering private practice, Felicia has worked as an Injury Management Advisor; a Research Assistant; and Health Sciences lecturer and tutor across Swinburne TAFE, QUT and Deakin universities.
Felicia adopts an integrated health approach to wellness, believing optimal health and wellness requires harmony of mind, body and spirit. She is passionate about helping her clients achieve their goals and achieves this through providing a multidisciplinary approach tailored to individual client needs. If you would like to work with Felicia to achieve your health goals, please contact us to arrange your appointment.
Eating beef liver can offer several benefits for mental health due to its rich nutrient profile. It contains various essential nutrients that can positively impact brain function and emotional well-being. Here are some of the benefits of consuming beef liver for mental health:
1. Rich in Vitamin B12: Beef liver is one of the best dietary sources of vitamin B12, a crucial nutrient for neurological health. Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in regulating mood and emotions. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
2. High in Folate (Vitamin B9): Folate is essential for brain function and the production of neurotransmitters. It is involved in the synthesis of serotonin, which helps regulate mood and sleep. Consuming beef liver can contribute to maintaining healthy levels of folate in the body, supporting mental well-being.
3. Excellent Source of Iron: Iron deficiency can lead to cognitive impairment, fatigue, and even mood disturbances. Beef liver is a highly concentrated source of iron, which is essential for transporting oxygen to the brain and body. Ensuring sufficient iron intake can help maintain mental alertness and overall cognitive function.
4. Abundance of Vitamin A: Vitamin A plays a role in maintaining the health of the nervous system and supporting vision. Proper nerve function is crucial for optimal brain health and mental clarity.
5. Provides Choline: Choline is a nutrient that supports brain health and is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in memory and cognitive function. Beef liver contains choline, contributing to cognitive support.
6. Nutrient-Dense Superfood: Beef liver is considered a nutrient-dense superfood as it contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals necessary for overall health. A well-nourished body is better equipped to handle stress and maintain emotional balance.
It’s important to note that while beef liver offers these mental health benefits, it should be consumed in moderation due to its high vitamin A content. Excessive vitamin A intake can lead to toxicity, so it’s best to enjoy beef liver as part of a varied and balanced diet.
As a general rule for adults, a 140gram serve of cooked beef liver eaten once a week as part of a balanced diet is considered as befificial and consumed in moderation.
As always, individual nutritional needs vary, and if you have specific health concerns or conditions, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine the most appropriate dietary choices for your mental and overall well-being.
Simple Recipe – Cooked Beef Liver
For best taste and texture, soak beef liver in milk for at least an hour, then rinse off and pat dry before cooking. Preparing beef liver in this manner removes the bitter taste, draws off any impurities and tenderises the meat.
300g Sliced grass-fed, organic beef liver
juice of 1-2 lemons or 3/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup unbleached flour (or gluten free flour)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 T olive oil
Marinate liver slices in lemon juice (or milk) for at least an hour, or overnight.
Rinse off, then pat the liver slices dry.
Dredge in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper.
Saute over high heat.
Transfer to a thermoserver or simliar to keep warm until ready to eat.
At Thrive Wellness, we firmly believe in the profound impact that nutrition can have on our emotional well-being. In this article, we’ll delve into the essential connection between what we eat and our mental health, uncovering the power of proper nutrition in nourishing not only our bodies but also our minds.
The Mind-Gut Connection
It is often said that the gut is our “second brain.” This is because of the intricate communication between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain axis. The foods we consume play a significant role in this connection, influencing our mood, emotions, and even cognitive function.
Key Nutrients for Mental Health
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and sardines), flaxseeds, and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health. They can help reduce inflammation in the brain and improve neurotransmitter function, potentially alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Antioxidants: Foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits (e.g., berries, oranges) and vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale), protect the brain from oxidative stress. Antioxidants help combat free radicals, which can contribute to mental health issues.
Probiotics: A healthy gut microbiome is vital for overall well-being. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables support gut health, potentially influencing brain function and reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Prebiotics: Prebiotics are dietary fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut, helping them thrive. Foods like garlic, onions, bananas, and asparagus are excellent sources of prebiotics. By promoting a diverse and healthy gut microbiome, prebiotics can positively impact mental health and emotional balance.
B Vitamins: B vitamins (B6, B9, B12) are crucial for brain health and the production of neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Sources include whole grains, leafy greens, eggs, and lean meats.
Magnesium: Magnesium is essential for relaxation and managing stress. Nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy greens are excellent sources of this mineral.
Complex Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates have a direct impact on serotonin production, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation. Opt for whole grains, legumes, and fruits to support stable blood sugar levels and mood.
The Impact of Processed Foods
While it’s essential to focus on nutrient-dense foods, it’s equally important to limit the consumption of processed and sugary foods. These can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes, impacting mood and energy levels negatively.
Personalised Nutrition and Mental Health
Each person’s nutritional needs are unique. Factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, and existing health conditions play a role in determining what diet is best for mental well-being. Consulting with a qualified healthcare professional can provide personalised guidance based on individual needs.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
Creating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods is key to promoting mental health. Remember to:
Incorporate a colorful array of fruits and vegetables into your meals.
Choose lean proteins like poultry, fish, and legumes.
Eat a serve of beef liver monthly.
Opt for whole grains over refined grains.
Stay hydrated with water and limit the consumption of sugary beverages.
Minimise alcohol and caffeine intake, as they can impact sleep and mood.
When shopping, where possible, choose pasture-raised meats, and no-spray or low-spray fruit, veges and grains.
Taking charge of your mental health begins with nurturing your body with the right nutrients. As you’ve learned, the mind-gut connection plays a vital role in influencing our mood and emotions. At Thrive Wellness, our Clinical Nutritionist is dedicated to supporting your well-being through specialised gut microbiome, nutrigenomic and other science based pathology investigations, and mental health nutrition consultations.
Good nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle. Engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, and seeking support from mental health professionals are all crucial aspects of maintaining a healthy mind.
If you’re ready to embark on a personalised journey towards a happier, more balanced life, we invite you to book an appointment with our Clinical Nutritionist. They will guide you through understanding your unique nutritional needs and how they can optimise your mental health.
We’re here to support you every step of the way. We invite you to work with us to nourish your mind and nurture your soul. Contact us to book your appointment and embark on a transformative path to a healthier, happier you.
Femininity is beautiful. Along with our curves, intuition, nurturing souls and strength, we are blessed to be bearers of the wombs from which all human life begins in this world. Every human alive today, begun life in the womb of their mother. Regardless of whether a woman bears children, or how many she bears in her lifetime, there is a special process her body goes through each month to prepare for this potential event. Each step in this process, signalled by hormones, ideally occurs without interrupting, or negatively impacting, a woman’s daily activities. Unfortunately, however, this is not the experience for all women. For some, menstruation is a heavy burden and the monthly reminder of this life-giving cycle is most un-welcomed.
Understanding the menstrual cycle…
The menstrual cycle can be divided into stages – the first stage, known as the ‘follicular phase’, orchestrates the release of the egg and begins preparing a cosy cushion of lining for the egg to take lodging in, should it become fertilised. The second stage, known as the ‘luteal phase’ continues building up the comfy cushion wall and watches for the signal a fertilised egg has arrived. If a fertilised egg arrives, a special glue sticks the egg to the cosy cushion lining, where it is nurtured and grows into a little person over the ensuing 9 months. If, however, a fertilised egg does not arrive, the cushion wall is deconstructed and the materials that formed it are removed from the body – this is known as menstruation, or a woman’s ‘period’.
Introducing PMS… when being a woman becomes unpleasant
Premenstrual symptoms are the changes in mood, behavioural and physical health that some women experience prior to menstruation. Common symptoms include breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, food cravings (how often have you reached for chocolate pre-menstruation!) depression, and anxiety. Symptoms diminish after menstruation but come back again the following month, as the woman’s body prepares itself yet again for the prospective arrival of a fertilised egg.
Commonly, 90% of women experience at least one premenstrual symptom at some stage during their childbearing years, and for most of these women, symptoms are minor, non-disruptive and nothing more than a quiet reminder of the life-giving process going on deep within their body.
And PMDD… most unpleasant ☹
Approximately 30% of women experience more than one premenstrual symptom, at an intensity or frequency that is unpleasant and somewhat disrupting to their daily lives.
Of these women, 5-8% experience moderate to severe symptoms that cause significant distress and functional impairment, interfering with their ability to go about their daily activities, and leading them to seek treatment.
Premenstrual Dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is what practitioners call this most severe form of PMS. It is a disorder classified in the DSM-5, and able to be diagnosed by Psychologists, who can also provide treatment to support reduction in symptoms and severity. You can see a Psychologist as a private patient or speak to your GP about getting a referral – it’s recommended you call and inquire after a Psychologist with experience seeing PMS/PMDD patients, as not all are.
At our practice, we recommend Psychologist Michelle Nolan.
If you would like additional diet, exercise and supplement support, our Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Nutritionist, Felicia McQueen can support you. You may choose to see one practitioner only, however if you choose to see both, we will work collaboratively with you as a team to address your concerns and help you achieve your goals.
Reducing your risk for developing PMS/PMDD
Although imbalances in the steroidal hormones progesterone and estrogen were once believed to be the cause of PMS/PMDD, hormone therapy has been shown to be ineffective for symptom resolution in many cases. Despite ongoing, rigorous research, scientists have not yet been able to identify the pathophysiological cause and effect of PMS & PMDD. They do however have several theories, and thus far have identified four proven risk factors associated with its development.
The four proven physical, environmental, and psychological riskfactors associated with the development of PMS/PMDD are:
Cigarette smoking – if you smoke or have previously smoked (especially if you began smoking during your teenage years), you have an elevated risk for moderate to severe PMS symptoms. Risk for developing PMS increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke.
Obesity – For every kg/m2 you are above a healthy BMI, your chance of getting PMS rises by 3%.
Past traumatic events – although the underlying mechanism is unknown, experiencing a traumatic event increases your risk for PMDD.
Anxiety – if you have a pre-existing anxiety disorder, you’re at increased risk for developing PMDD.
Reducing your existing PMS/PMDD symptoms…
Addressing the above risk factors has proven to be successful in reducing symptoms, improving function and restoring quality of life.
If you are overweight, our Clinical Nutritionist and Exercise Physiologist can review your dietary and lifestyle practices, help you develop a plan and provide support to achieve your weight loss goals.
Psychological interventions such as trauma-focused therapy, EMDR, CBT, ACT, are utilised by our Psychologists in an individually tailored course of therapy to reduce your anxiety and psychological symptoms, and improve your coping skills, mental health and wellbeing.
We invite you to contact us on 07 4637 9097 or email@example.com to discuss our professional services and how we can assist you to achieve your goals. Although we are based in Toowoomba, we provide support to women Australia-wide through video and telephone consultations.
When contacting us to book your appointment, we recommend you request a 50min appointment with Psychologist Michelle Nolan, and a separate appointment with Clinical Nutritionist & Exercise Physiologist, Felicia McQueen. Service provided and costs associated with these appointments are listed in the ‘Fees’ section of our website. You may also wish to discuss your concerns with your GP, and ask about your referral options and eligibility for Medicare’s Better Access Initiative, which provides partially funded Psychology appointments through Medicare. A valid GP Mental Health Care Plan referral is required for this.
What a heatwave!! (*pauses to wipe brow) Instinct has us reaching for water to quench our thirst, but for some of us, regardless of how much we drink, we remain thirsty. Why?
Did you know your body needs more than just water in order to hydrate? Specific minerals, called electrolytes – sodium, potassium and chloride especially – are necessary to hydration. While most people are aware their body is comprised 60% water, few realise the important role electrolytes (present in blood and other bodily fluids) play in enabling their body to hold onto and use the water they drink. Hydration is essential for healthy, happy cells, organs, hormones, brain health and absolutely everything!
So, in the midst of this heatwave, I thought I’d share this simple cocktail (and no, there’s no alcohol in this baby) to help you replenish lost sodium, potassium and chloride, as well as provide some wholefood Vitamin C, natural sugars and the plethora of nutrients, minerals and trace minerals found in oranges. This handy cocktail also serves as a balancing and restorative drink that supports your adrenals during times of stress, so feel free to mix up this delish cup of nourishment during the cooler months as well.
In terms of when to drink it, It’s best taken away from other food and drink. Ideally 10am and/or 2pm, but fit it in when you can. Please note that the cocktail is not a one-stop shop – meaning it’s absolutely not a replacement for water – you still need to drink plenty of quality, clean, mineral rich water throughout the day. The Electrolytes provided in this cocktail are only one part of the hydration puzzle – WATER still remains the major piece!
And of course, if you have any concerns about your health, or your Doctor has told you to restrict your sodium intake, please make an appointment to confirm this cocktail fits in with your specific health goals and wellness plan!
RECIPE VARIATIONS FOR ADRENAL COCKTAILS
Orange Juice recipe:
• 120ml fresh squeezed Orange Juice
• ¼ tsp cream of tartar
• ¼ tsp sea salt (unrefined)
• *provides approx: 62mg whole food Vit C + 372mg potassium and 485mg sodium chloride
Coconut water recipe:
• 1 cup coconut water (ensure 375mg potassium, each brand different amounts)
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 60mg wholefood vit c
Recipe for Travelling:
• ¾ tsp cream of tartar
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp wholefood vit c
• 120ml water
*All Adrenal Cocktails should provide approx 60mg wholefood vit C + 375mg potassium + 460mg sodium chloride.
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS & WHERE TO PURCHASE
Where Wholefood C is mentioned, I recommend Eden Healthfoods Wild C powder. Wild C contains a mixed blend of organic, wild berries and greens, dehydrated at low temperatures and ground into powder – using whole foods ensures necessary co-factors like bioflavonoids, and other vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are available, making it both non-toxic and more bioavailable compared to isolated Vit C.
I made a lot of phone call enquiries to companies marketing different brands of wholefood C products in Australia – I was surprised at how many admitted to knowing nothing about how the raw ingredients had been grown or processed, or whether they’d been heated or frozen along the way! They simple bought in various powders, mixed them together and marketed their product. In contrast, Eden Healthfoods are passionate about delivering quality wholefood supplements from nature to home and answered every question I asked in detail!
They’ve offered to give 10% discount to our readers. Use the code THRIVE at checkout, or click here for it to be automatically applied.
With regards to sea salt, choose unrefined Celtic Sea Salt (white-ish grey colour) or Himalayan salt (pink). ‘Salt of the Earth’ is a Celtic Sea Salt brand our family loves and can be purchased from most Organic Grocery stores and Health Food shops.
If juicing your own oranges, remove skin and pips and blend in food processor or similar. If buying orange juice, source WHOLEFOOD juices without additives or preservatives – eg. Nudie brand “Nothing But Oranges” available at supermarkets.
A recent New York Times article, What Really Makes Us Fat, highlights how scientific research may sometimes lead us to wrong conlusions.
In terms of diet and nutrition, as the results of research roll in, science is beginning to agree that the food behaviours humans had for thousands of years (higher fat & protein, lower carbohydrates) were better than the typical high carbohydrate (and fructose!) diets of the last 50 years – contradicting some of the advice that had come from earlier research.
One of the reasons you’re lucky to be living in Toowoomba is that there are so many opportunities in this area to be active. Here are a few ideas to get you started – 10 free and healthy things you can do in Toowoomba: Continue reading