Festive Pavlova


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  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tblsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tblsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (pulverized to a fine consistency)
  • whipped coconut cream (see “Strawberry Santas” for instructions)
  • fresh seasonal fruit and berries to top
  • mint leaves (optional – to garnish)
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt


1. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

2. Line your baking tray with baking paper.

3. Combine ground coconut sugar and arrowroot starch in a bowl.

4. Using a stand mixer, whip the egg whites and salt together on low speed until they start

to foam.

5. Add the apple cider vinegar, slowly increasing the speed to high, continue to whip until soft peaks form.

6. Turn the mixer back to medium and add the sugar and arrowroot, one tablespoon at a time, until all added.

7. Turn the mixer back up to high, until stiff peaks form.

8. Pipe or spoon mixture onto baking tray (you can also make small meringues- just adjust cooking time to suit). Try to make the edges higher to get a little bit of a bowl shape.

9. Place in oven and bake for approximately 1 hour or until the outside is completely dry to touch.

10. When cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before topping with whipped coconut cream and seasonal fruits/berries of choice.




This recipe was originally sighted on www.bioconcepts.com.au  

Q&A with Maya Butti – Mr Vitamins Nutritionist & Yoga Teacher

Yoga Teacher and Mr Vitamins’s Nutritionist, Maya Butti shares her eating philosophy, gym bag essentials, motivation to live a healthy lifestyle and her top health tips. 

Maya’s health journey began as she quit her corporate job to travel the world, undertook training to become a yoga teacher and live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Upon her return, Maya completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Medicine and now endeavors to help others experience their own version of optimal health, both physically and emotionally.

1. Name and role:

I’m Maya Butti. I am a degree qualified nutritionist and yoga teacher. I practice holistic health- diet, lifestyle, mind and movement therapy.

2. 3 foods you can’t live without:
Miso! Being half Japanese, I grew up drinking miso for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Now I use it in salad dressings, in marinades and as a flavour enhancer. Miso is alive- rich in probiotics and great for digestive health!
Cauliflower- steam it, bake it, pop a frozen floret into your smoothie, or make rice! What can’t cauliflower do! I especially love cauliflower as it is nutrient and fibre dense, making it a versatile superfood!
Berries- I almost once ate a kilo in one go (note- I wouldn’t recommend this!)! Not only are berries delicious, they are low in sugar and high in anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants. Blueberries can improve cognitive function within hours of consumption- that is real food as medicine.

3. What’s your favourite way to move?
Yoga! My yoga practice is a key part of my wellbeing- physical, mental and emotional. Yoga gives me internal space to clear my mind and process emotions. The mobility and flexibility aspect balances out my weight training, and keeps me agile. I practice one vinyasa 3 times a week and balance with one yin class.

4. Why did you decide to be a Nutritionist and what’s your eating philosophy?
I decided to become a nutritionist because I am passionate about natural health, and the body’s innate ability to heal itself. I truly believe that the body can heal itself when we nourish it adequately and give it the right environment for health. In fact, I have seen this happen over and over in my clinic! I love helping people discover their best health and nothing makes me happier than seeing my patients radiate!

My food (and everything) philosophy is balance. I promote an 80-20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time and the remaining 20% is for soul food- enjoying a night out with friends and family is as important for our health as healthy eating! I belive that there is no one-size fits all when it comes to nutrition- constitution, heritage, environmental factors and lifestyle all play large roles in determining what is the best way for each person to eat and live healthy.

5. What are the top 2 healthy essentials we could find in your handbag/gym bag?
A stainless steel/ glass water bottle. I am big on hydration and make sure I drink 2L of filtered water per day. I carry my bottle everywhere so I can keep up my water intake and so I don’t have to consume water from plastic water bottles (a big no-no for health and the environment in my opinion!).

Juniper Rose Otto Hydrating mist. I love this product because it keeps my skin fresh and hydrated during the day. Being passionate about natural skincare and anti-aging, I choose products which are free from harmful chemicals.

6. What motivates you to live a healthy life?
Feeling good and having the energy to enjoy life! Movement and good food is the best combination for a high vitality!

7. If you could give only one tip to improve the health of others, what would it be? (this can be reworded differently!)
My biggest health tip is to be realistic. I see so many people go from 0 to 100 with their health, only to become disappointed when the changes are too difficult to maintain. I think small incremental changes are key to building long-term sustainable health, bearing in mind that we are all human and need to enjoy a chocolate brownie every once in a while! I remind my clients to celebrate every small improvement, as it sets the foundation for lasting health!




Connect with Maya

Book in for a one on one consultation at Mr Vitamins Wellbeing Clinic: Book Now

Instagram: @balancedbymaya

Facebook: Balanced by Maya

Website: balancedbymaya.com 


Leaky gut and Cardiovascular Disease

Leaky Gut & Cardiovascular Disease

A few years ago I attended a conference where the keynote speaker was the world-renowned cardiologist from the USA Dr Mark Houston, who is regarded as a leading hypertension (high blood pressure) and vascular health physician.  I was inspired. 

Cardiovascular Disease prevalence

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia for both females and males. This link from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that gives details of cardiovascular disease statistics in Australia. Of note among these statistics are:

  • Almost 1 in 3 deaths in Australia in 2015 were due to cardiovascular disease.
  • An estimated 4.2 million (22%) Australian adults aged 18 years and over had 1 or more cardiovascular diseases in 2014–15, based on self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014–2015

So the importance of understanding the driving forces behind the development of cardiovascular disease cannot be overstated.

Closing the Gate

During one of Dr Houston’s lectures, he spoke about the importance of “closing the gate” to reduce the risk of heart disease.  By “closing the gate”, Dr Houston is referring to repairing a “leaky gut”.  “All diseases begin in the Gut”– Hippocrates (460BC – 370BC)  Yes, this includes cardiovascular disease. 

Hippocrates is often referred to as the father of medicine. So the gut was at least suspected as being involved in disease 2500 years ago!

What is “Leaky Gut”?

Although it may sound like a bike tyre with holes in it, “Leaky Gut” is simply a reduction in efficiency of the gut wall’s barrier function.  In addition to cardiovascular disease, leaky gut has been linked to a host of other chronic disease states too numerous to mention in this article.

Functions of the gut wall

A few of the functions of the gut wall include:

  • Absorption of nutrients
  • Preventing absorption of substances in the gut that should not be absorbed into circulation (I refer to this as the gut’s “barrier function”)
  • Complex roles in immune system regulation

When the barrier function of the gut is compromised (that is, when the gut is leaky), increased amounts of the following substances pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream:

  • Undigested food particles,
  • Waste products and
  • Bacterial cells (which contain the highly inflammatory material Lipopolysaccharide or LPS)

In other words substances that should remain within the gut pass through the gut wall and enter our circulatory system.

What causes a Leaky Gut?

  • Stress
  • Antibiotics
  • Other Medications
  • Environmental chemical exposure
  • Gluten
  • Lectins
  • Junk food
  • Other dietary factors
  • Genetics
  • Gut infections such as parasitic infections
  • Gut bacterial imbalances with the intestines
  • How well you are digesting your food

What are the effects of having a Leaky Gut?

As a result of this increasing internally derived toxic burden, levels of oxidative stress increase throughout the body.

Increased levels of oxidative stress cause increased levels of tissue damage throughout the body.

When tissue damage occurs, the immune system and natural tissue repair processes become involved leading to increased levels inflammation throughout the body as the immune system tries to deal with “foreign” particles getting into circulation. So the immune system is not dysfunctional – it is responding normally to an abnormal set of circumstances.

Main Drivers of Cardiovascular Disease

According to Dr Houston, the following three factors drive cardiovascular disease:

  • Oxidative stress,
  • Inflammation and
  • immune dysfunction

Oxidative stress can be defined as an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract their harmful effects through their neutralization by our body’s antioxidant systems.  Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation lead to chronic immune dysfunction.  Immune dysfunction that arises from increased oxidative stress is what initiates cardiovascular disease through tissue damage to the endothelium.

What is meant by “Immune Dysfunction”?

The term “Immune dysfunction” implies that the immune system is not working properly.

In cardiovascular disease, this is not true – the term “Immune dysfunction” is actually a misnomer.  The immune system is actually doing what it is meant to do – scanning for threats and dealing with invaders that should not be there.  So the immune system is not dysfunctional.

So the immune system is not dysfunctional – it is responding normally to an abnormal set of circumstances.

The problem in cardiovascular disease is that due to abnormal goings on within the arteries due to oxidative stress, the “teflon” like inner most lining of the artery wall is injured and breached which leads to immune system intervention which results in inflammation and the initiation of vascular disease.

The Endothelium

The endothelium is the inner most lining of our arteries. It is considered to be an organ of the body – in fact it is the largest organ in the human body. The skin is the second largest organ.  The endothelium is the interface between circulating blood and the rest of the artery wall.  Atherosclerosis is phenomenon involving formation of plaques within the wall of the arteries.

The cells of the endothelium are involved in many aspects of vascular function including acting as a selective barrier between the contents of the blood stream and the surrounding tissue.  

So oxidative damage and inflammation of the endothelium, along with the
resulting immune system intervention, set the stage for cardiovascular disease.

How do I know if I have a Leaky Gut?

There is a useful and non-invasive pathology urine test that I have been using for over 15 years to detect leaky gut.  It is an intestinal permeability test urine test that also tests for how well your gut is absorbing your nutrients.  It can be assumed that most of us have a degree of leaky gut – but the question is HOW leaky? Knowing how leaky the gut is can help determine how long you may have to work on “healing and sealing” the gut lining. 

Healing a Leaky Gut

To heal a leaky gut, identifying and addressing the causative factors listed above will help to heal a leaky gut.

Also, there are many nutrients and supplements that can be taken to accelerate gut healing including:

  • Slippery elm
  • Aloe Vera
  • Glutamine
  • Zinc carnosine
  • DG Licorice
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Flavonoids
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Collagen supplements and collagen forming amino acids (eg lysine, proline)

Why did Dr Houston’s lectures inspire me?

  • I’m now hearing a top cardiologist mention leaky gut as one of the major contributing factors in the worlds biggest killer, cardiovascular disease.
  • Naturopaths have been talking about leaky gut s as a major contributing factor to many disease states for decades
  • Leaky gut is almost never considered as a cause of chronic disease in standard medical practice. In fact the suggestion that “leaky gut” can play a role in any disease state is still dismissed and often ridiculed in orthodox medical practice.

Acceptance is needed

To reduce the alarming rates of cardiovascular disease world wide, it is important to identify, accept and address the driving forces behind this pandemic. The contribution of leaky gut as a major driving force behind cardiovascular disease is solidly embedded in science. Identifying and healing leaky gut should become an integral part of orthodox medical practice if rates of cardiovascular disease are to be reduced. The impact of gut wall integrity on a person’s cardiovascular health should no longer be ignored. 

But first it has to be accepted as one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease.

Hippocrates again! “Healing is a matter of time, but also a matter of opportunity”

The key word in this quote is “opportunity”.

Lets give people the best opportunity possible of avoiding the world’s biggest killer – cardiovascular disease by:

  • Accepting the pivotal role that gut wall health plays in cardiovascular disease
  • Testing for leaky gut
  • Making the treatment of leaky gut an important part of cardiovascular health treatment protocols


Peter Radi is a fully qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist with 17 years clinical experience. After gaining his qualifications in Naturopathy, Nutrition and Herbal Medicine at Nature Care College in Sydney he went on to earn a Bachelor of Health Science Degree in Complimentary Medicine from Charles Sturt University. Peter’s detailed naturopathic knowledge, together with his ability to find the root cause of a person’s symptoms, inspires and supports his clients to achieve the health and vitality they seek.

Book an appointment with Peter

Christmas Plum Pudding

Christmas Pudding, Fruit Cake

750g raisins, chopped
500g sultanas
250g currants
125g mixed peel
2-3 glace fruits, chopped (you could use
apricots, figs, whatever you like)
2 tblsp crystalised ginger
1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
3 tblsp spirit of choice (rum or brandy)
250g organic, grass fed butter
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 Rind of a orange
1 Rind of a lemon
1 cooking apple – peeled, cored and
finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
4 eggs
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
1/3 tsp grated nutmeg
2 cups soft breadcrumbs
The day before you begin, prepare the fruits by soaking them in whatever spirit you are using. Remember you can vary the fruits, and the amounts, the more fruit you put in, the richer the pudding will be, and the bigger the yield.
1. Grease a 10 – cup pudding basin with butter, and line the bottom with buttered
greaseproof paper. Cut a disc of the same greaseproof paper for the top of the basin.
2. In a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar with orange and lemon rind, and
grated apple.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly between additions.
4. In a large bowl, sift flour, allspice, cinnamon, ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg.
5. Add the breadcrumbs to the dry ingredient’s mixture.
6. Alternate between adding the dry ingredient’s mixture and the prepared fruits and grated carrot into the butter mixture, ensuring to mix well as you go.
7. Spoon mixture into the prepared pudding basin and top with previously prepared disc of greaseproof paper.
8. If your pudding basin has a lid, secure it over the mixture, or if it doesn’t have a lid, cover with alfoil.
9. Steam the pudding in a large saucepan of boiling water, covered, for 5-6 hours
checking at regular intervals that there is enough water in the pan to come up to
halfway up the pudding basin.
10. Remove from the pan, and store in the fridge until Christmas Day, re-steaming 2 hours before serving.
This recipe was originally sighted on www.bioconcepts.com.au

Natural Makeup

 Natural Makeup

The use of makeup dates back to as early as 4000 B.C. Egyptian women and men would use natural minerals such as galena and malachite for decorative eye makeup and naturally tinted clay for blush or lip colour. Not only was it used for beautification, but also provided medicinal and spiritual properties.

Fast forward to 2018 and the application of makeup is still a daily practice for many. The only change is the types of ingredients used in the thousands of products that are on offer. Mainstream brands use an excessive number of ingredients, most which are synthetic, man-made chemicals that do not provide any medicinal properties to the skin and can cause irritations, amongst other health concerns.

Some common chemicals you may find in everyday makeup items include:

  • Preservatives such as parabens and butylated compounds
  • Phthalates
  • Synthetic fragrances
  • Nanoparticles
  • Mineral oils such as isoparrafin
  • Heavy metals such as lead

Some synthetic preservatives are petroleum based which can irritate and damage the skin contributing to eczema and allergies. Synthetic fragrances or parfum are a combination of thousands of man-made chemicals that are added as aromas or scents. Many may be phthalates, which are linked to obesity and may disrupt normal endocrine function. Nanoparticles are being used in products without sufficient safety testing and have been linked to adverse reactions to the immune system. Mineral oils are a by-product of petroleum and are known to be contaminated with carcinogens. Present amongst a variety of products including eye-makeup, it can contribute to allergies and autoimmune disorders.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are many synthetic chemicals that we are unaware of its effects on the human body. As a result, it only makes sense to be applying ingredients that are of a natural source, especially if we are doing it everyday. After all, we absorb majority of what we apply to our skin, so why not use ingredients that will nourish and repair the skin while enhancing your natural beauty.

Natural Makeup

So what options are available? Below are my three favourite natural makeup brands:

  • Ere Perez is an Australian owned company that use ingredients such as oils, plant extracts and minerals, blended with antioxidants which are gentle, highly effective and suit every skin type and skin tone. They have an extensive range including powder or liquid foundation, concealers, blush highlighters, eyeliners, mascara, eye shadow, lipstick and more. Each product has a unique ‘star ingredient’ to enhance the skins natural condition, e.g. ‘calendula powder foundation’ and ‘avocado waterproof mascara’.
  • Eco Minerals is an Australian company, made in Byron Bay, which are 100% pure, natural, cruelty free and vegan. The minerals used in the foundations, bronzer and blush provide natural sun protection and a SPF of 24+. All products are lightweight, long-wearing, breathable and suited to all skin types including sensitive skin. They also supply mineral eye colour, brow powder, mascara and eyeliner.
  • Eye of Horus is again, a Byron Bay company with a range of eye makeup based on formulas from the Ancient Egyptians with sacred ingredients such as organic moringa oil. The products are wax and oil based, paraben free, great for sensitive eyes, smudge and waterproof and not tested on animals. The range includes mascara, brow definers, eyeliners and eye shadows in a variety of shades and now a new range of lipsticks.

If you are unsure of an ingredient, it is worthwhile investigating and making an informed decision whether you want to apply that to your skin! There are websites and apps such as ‘Safe Cosmetics Australia’, ‘Skin Deep’, ‘Good Guide’ and ‘Think Dirty’ that can assist. You’re skin and body will love you for it.

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Bianca 150x150 - Natural Skincare -What are we putting on our skin?Bianca Falvo Nutritionist

Bianca is a degree qualified Nutritionist whose mission is to promote, educate and support individuals live their healthiest life; focusing on simplicity and balance. Recommendations are individualised and based on evidence-based research which entails the use of ‘food as medicine’, dietary and lifestyle modifications and when appropriate, nutritional supplementation.

‘Transform your health through individulised nutrition’. Book an appointment