Wellplan ‘Dear Janella’ column

27th November, 2014

A Letter To My 30 Year Old Self.

Have you ever considered writing a letter to your younger self? ‘Imagine’…if you had the wisdom you have now back then. Here is mine. It’s kinda personal, but hey – we are all in this together.


Janella Age 23

My First Media Gig – Community Radio 2 RES in Sydney, age 23


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24th November, 2014

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Mushroom Week: Antioxidant Content.

15th October, 2014

Steak 047

Fresh mushrooms contain a powerful antioxidant called L-ergothioneine. Ergothioneine is found in both raw and cooked mushrooms. Portabella and crimini mushrooms have the most, followed by white button mushrooms. I’ll post pics of the different mushies throughout the week.


Lifestream AstaJoint Launches to Coincide with International Arthritis Day, October 12

10th October, 2014

Naturopath Janella Purcell’s Top Tips for Treating Arthritis Naturally


Arthritis affects 3.3 million Australians*, often having a detrimental impact on every day living. International Arthritis Day this Sunday, October 12 brings awareness to the condition, which symptoms may include inflamed joints, stiffness, disability and deformity.

While many sufferers rely on pharmaceutical medication to ease the pain, a NEW natural product is giving the 17.7% of women and 11.8% of men who have the condition new hope. Lifestream AstaJoint, with its four-ingredient, potent combination** of antioxidant superfood astaxanthin, vegetarian glucosamine, boswellia and flaxseed oil, delivers temporary relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis while also assisting with its management to increase joint mobility, reduce inflammation and swelling.

With a loyal following in New Zealand, where AstaJoint has been available since 2009, this popular vegetarian arthritis supplement is now available in Australia.

Naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist Janella Purcell recommends Lifestream AstaJoint and shares her expertise for managing and lessening the pain associated with arthritic conditions:

1. Alkalise Your Diet

There is so much food out there that we are only just starting to explore. This also means that we’ve been eating too much of the same food for far too long now. And it’s been mainly highly processed and refined food with a long shelf life that creates acidity. Acidity can increase the inflammation in joints creating pain and stiffness. Introduce sprouts, cereal grasses and sea veggies to bring your body into an alkaline state.

2. Take an All-Natural Supplement 

Taking a vegetarian, all-natural supplement to help support the body to subside pain naturally is essential for fast relief. AstaJoint helps to maintain joint flexibility, mobility and function, while providing antioxidant protection against the damaging effects of free radicals.

3. Add in Turmeric

Turmeric is a wonderful spice to add into your daily life along with its cousin, ginger. Either grate them into your smoothie or add either or both to your casseroles, grains, soups or roast vegies – perhaps add some garlic for it’s strong medicinal qualities also.

4. Take Aloe Vera

The pulp from this wonderful plant has ‘mucilaginous’ qualities, which means it will help to build up cartilage. For best results, drink Lifestream Aloe Vera juice on an empty stomach.

5. Supplement with Micro Greens

Micro greens, such as barley, wheatgrass and spirulina, are wonderful for not only their ‘cooling’ effect, but also due to their mineral and enzyme-dense nature, plus they’re also alkalising. Look no further than Lifestream for quality, wholefood micro greens.

Lifestream AstaJoint is available at selected health food stores and pharmacies. Or online at www.planethealth.com.au 120c RRP $84.95. 

—- ENDS —-

* Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Health Survey 2011/12 

Arthritis is a musculoskeletal condition in which a person’s joints become inflamed, which may result in pain, stiffness, disability and deformity. The symptoms often have a significant impact on everyday life. 

In 2011-12, 14.8% of Australians (or around 3.3 million people) had arthritis, with prevalence higher amongst women than men (17.7% compared with 11.8%). 

Of persons with arthritis, more than half (55.9%) had osteoarthritis, 13.6% had rheumatoid arthritis, and 37.3% had an unspecified type of arthritis. Note that as it is possible to have more than one type of arthritis, proportions add to more than 100%.

The prevalence of arthritis increased with age, from less than 1% of people aged under 25 years to 52.1% of people aged 75 years and over. Women aged 45 years and over were considerably more likely to have arthritis than men. In particular, at ages 75 years and over, 59.9% of women had arthritis compared with 42.3% of men. 

** 4 Potent, Natural Ingredients to Target Arthritis with Lifestream AstaJoint

Glucosamine assists in building and maintaining healthy cartilage, which is essential for healthy function of the joints. It also plays a role in the formation of tendons, ligaments and synovial fluid. This vegetarian formula is great for those allergic to shellfish or who choose ethical sourcing.

Astaxanthin is the most powerful antioxidant known and a Dr. Oz favourite for good reason. Astaxanthin helps to reduce the risk of cellular damage at the joints and assists in protecting the body from the damaging effects of free radicals.  No other joint formula contains this amazing superfood.

Boswellia acids are the active components in Boswellia that act as a natural anti inflammatory without any side effects. Boswellia can be safely used long term for joint support.

Flaxseed oil contains high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is a beneficial omega 3 fatty acid  that plays a role in healthy functioning of the joints, skin, healthy  heart and immune function.

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, gluten free, with no artificial additives, fillers, preservatives, colours or flavours. Contains no fish, shellfish or gelatin. 


Women’s Health Week: Polycystic Ovarian Disease/Syndrome (PCOD/S).

9th October, 2014


Like other menstrual disorders PCOD is on the rise in pre-menopausal women. It is estimated that between 6 and 10 per cent of women are affected, but it’s likely to be higher.

PCOD occurs when high insulin levels cause the ovaries to produce excessive amounts of testosterone due to an increased production of leutinising hormone by the pituitary gland. The result is a number of follicles rather than one dominant follicle trying to mature at once. Lack of ovulation may result in infertility. There is also an increased risk of osteoporosis in women who have PCOD, due to decreased amounts of progesterone and ovulation. The increased amounts of testosterone may cause male pattern baldness, facial hair, acne, aggression and excessive amounts of insulin.

Carrying extra weight makes everything worse, and there is subsequently a greater risk of high cholesterol and blood pressure and seven times the risk of developing adult onset diabetes. Conventional medicinal treatment is the contraceptive pill, which aims at regulating the menstrual cycle. This may cause weight gain and interfere with insulin resistance, and does not address the root of the disease. Naturally and preferably the whole body must be addressed, and diet and lifestyle changes are imperative. Follow the same dietary guidelines as for any menstrual dysfunction.


Herbal medicine

  • chaste tree will regulate the cycle and decrease androgen levels, which are too high in PCOD
  • phyto-oestrogens herbs, such as false unicorn root, black cohosh, dong quai and paoenia, which is specific in treating PCOD as it has a normalising effect on the ovaries
  • Gymnema to balance sugar cravings so will reduce associated sugar cravings
  • Rhodiola for adrenal fatigue (increasing energy)
  • for related nervous tension, use withania, Siberian ginseng, licorice and motherwort.


  • essential fatty acids from fish, flax, chia and hemp seeds, and evening primrose oils
  • B vitamins for nervous tension.


  • reduce insulin levels by following a regular exercise regimen and correcting diet
  • deal with underlying stress
  • Yoga is very helpful
  • PCOD/S is often associated with a thyroid imbalance. Have yours checked
  • Avoid chemicals – they interfere with our oestrogen balance. (Especially in chicken – unless organic, not juts free-range – and toxic cleaning and body products.)



1 comment

Women’s Health Week: Nails.

9th October, 2014


Our nails are made up mostly of a type of protein called Keratin. They are there to protect the sensitive nerves at the tips of our toes and fingers. Your nails should be pink, due to proper blood supply. Any problems are usually indicative of a nutrient deficiency, liver issues or an emotional or physical trauma. The health of our nails tells us a lot about our general health.

Symptom Problem
White nails Liver or kidney problems or anaemia
Yellow nails Liver, respiratory or lymphatic problems, or diabetes (before other symptoms appear)
Dry and brittle Vitamin A and/or calcium deficiency
Round or dark nail tips B12 deficiency
Horizontal or vertical ridges B vitamin deficiency, severe stress or a tendency to develop arthritis
Thick nails Poor circulation; thyroid disease
Wide, square nails Hormonal imbalance
Blue moons at base of nail Lung problems or heavy metal poisoning
Splitting Reduced hydrochloric acid production
Fungus under nail Candida
White spots Zinc deficiency
Concave or vertical ridges Iron deficiency or poor general health
Inflammation around nail bed Vitamin C deficiency or arthritis
Pitted Tendency to hair loss or baldness
No moons Over-active thyroid
Blue moons on nails Rheumatoid Arthritis
Brittle nails Thyroid problems, iron deficiency or poor circulation
Cut and cracked nails Dehydration, drink more water


- Silica or the herb Horsetail for its high silicon content, needed for strong hair, bones and nails

– Calcium and mag for nail growth

– Iron supplement, liquid is best

– Essential fatty acids from flaxseed oil, soy products, royal jelly, parsley or pumpkin seeds for healthy hair, skin and nails

– Use coconut or olive oil to push back your cuticles, don’t cut them as this is harsh and irritating and may cause an infection

– Rub aloe vera into your cuticles and/or under nails for fungal infections

– Foods high in protein from legumes, grains, nuts and seeds

– Sea vegetables are helpful

– Broccoli, fish and onions are high in silicon and sulphur, which helps with nail health

– Carrot juice is very high in calcium and phosphorus, which strengthens nails

– Avoid chemicals on your hands, this dries them out, causes nail problems and may lead to contact dermatitis

– Use a natural hand and nail cream almost daily

– Avoid ‘buffing’ your nails. This really weakens them

– Avoid false nails. These are very damaging to your nails and overall health. (Even being in the salon is toxic enough)

– Use a natural nail polish – there are a few now, thank goodness. Leave the polish off occasionally so your nails can breathe.

– Cut your nails with clippers, avoiding a nail file. Filing will weaken your nails. Keeping them fairly short.


Women’s Health Week: Pre- Menstrual Tension (PMT).

7th October, 2014


Symptoms of pre-menstrual tension (PMT) occur when our hormones are out of balance. This is often caused by dietary factors &/or liver issue.

Excessive amounts of prostaglandin PGE2 from too many animal products in our diets is one way our hormones become imbalanced. Omega 3 and GLA oils control PGE2. Another cause for symptoms is what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) refers to as liver qi stagnation. All this means is that the energy (qi) is ‘stuck (stagnant) in the liver. There are many reasons both emotionally and physically, for this happening.

Balanced nutrition along with a medicinal herb called Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste Tree) is essential for overcoming PMS.


Symptoms of PMT are categorised as follows –

A-anxiety; B-bloating, (abdomen and breasts); C-cravings; D-depression.

But can also include lower backache, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, food allergies and water retention. Not to mention wild mood swings.

Most women experience at least one of the above symptoms, but many experience more or all. PMT symptoms usually occur in the 7 days before menstruation, but can start to present themselves up to 14 days before.


Foods to Avoid          

 - Those high in PGE2 fatty acids like animal products (especially non-organic), dairy, eggs and peanuts

– Alcohol, tobacco, coffee, refined sugar and its products

– Refined vegetable oils & margarine.


Foods to Include            

-Those high inomega 3. These include sustainabledeep-sea, cold- water fish like cod, sustainably-caught (not farmed) salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies; seaweed, walnuts, macadamias, olive oil and avocado’s and hemp, chia and flax oils.

– Alpha-linolenic acid also contains omega 3. Plant sources are flax, hemp and chia seed oil, pumpkin seeds and organic soy products like tempeh (fermented soy product), organic tofu, tempeh and soymilk. Dark green leafy vegies are also a good source.

– GLA oils. Sources include spirulina, evening primrose oil, walnuts and black currant.

– Foods high in Vitamin E such as all  nuts and seeds and their oils, wheat-germ, spinach, sprouts, sunflower seeds, broccoli, cabbage, olive oil and mint. Vitamin E keeps the blood ‘slippery’ and helps with sore breasts, nervous tension, irritability and depression.

– Vitamins B6 found in green leafy vegies reduce water retention and restores deficient oestrogen levels, (one cause of PMT).


– Vitamin B12 found in shitaake mushrooms and tempeh.

– Vitamin A found in dark green leafy vegies, yellow fruit & vegies like kale, carrots, sweet potato and mangoes.

– Zinc & magnesium found in whole grains, legumes and seeds. Oysters are especially high in zinc, as are pumpkin seeds. Good sources of calcium include chia seeds, legumes, almonds, broccoli and seaweeds and green leafy vegies.

– Vitamin C helps relieve the pain associated with swollen, tender breasts.



– Check for thyroid imbalance

– Exercise regularly

– Drink 2 litres of clean water daily

– Stabilise blood sugar levels by avoiding refined grains and sugars. Miso and chia seeds helps balance blood sugar

– Try to avoid alcohol, tobacco and coffee especially in the week before menstruation

– Check for Candida. (Symptoms include thrush, food intolerance, fatigue and bloating.)

– Be kind to your liver. Try to realise sources of anger or resentment, as these are some of the emotions stored in the liver and will contribute greatly to PMT.


Herbal Medicine           

– Vitex agnus-castus. Dose is 2 1/2 ml first thing in the morning. A ‘practitioner-only’ liquid or tablet is best.



Women’s Health Week: Endometriosis

6th October, 2014

Once thought to affect only women above 30, and those who hadn’t hadn’t children – not anymore. It is now thought to affect 10-20% of women, but it likely to be higher. Some women with Endometriosis may be symptom free.

Endometriosis, we now know can affect women of any age after onset of menstruation. The recommendation was ‘have a baby’ or a ‘hysterectomy’. Both suggestions to a 14 year old seems ludicrous to me. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis at age 18, but am certain I had it from the time of my first menses. (I’m pretty sure my mother and paternal aunty had it too, but in those days they didn’t have a name for it. Since writing this book in 2003, my sister has been diagnosed also and given birth naturally.) I have been mostly symptom free for over 10 years now and subsequent procedures have confirmed no evidence of endometriosis. (I have to add that when I go off my herbs for 6 months or so the symptoms start to return. Once back on my herbs for a month, the symptoms went.)  I was told that there is no cure. That’s just not true.


Endo’, as it is commonly referred to, is a condition that results when the cells of the endometrium, (lining of the uterus) grows in parts of the body where it shouldn’t. These tissues may be found in or around the ovaries, bowel, bladder, pelvic floor, fallopian tubes or even in the nasal cavity’s. These misplaced tissues also respond to hormonal changes that are responsible for menstruation. Because they aren’t where they should be, that is in the uterus, there is now way they can be shed from the body, instead they are absorbed in the surrounding tissues – a painful and slow process. As each month passes, these implants grow, causing scar tissue and adhesions. This causes the organs to stick together.

The cause of Endo’ is still unknown, but one thing is for sure, the pain is debilitating and so are the associated mental symptoms.

Diagnosis is made through a laparoscope usually under a general anaesthetic. Orthodox treatment involves halting menstruation by use of the contraceptive pill, after burning off the lesions. This seems to be effective in some cases, for about 5 years at most. But it dos leave scar tissue, that can be almost as painful.

Diet is so important, as is exercise and stress management.


– Pain in the uterus, lower back and pelvis. Pain before and during menstruation

– Painful intercourse

– Breakthrough bleeding

– Bleeding with intercourse

– Pain intermittently throughout cycle

– Large clots during menstruation

– Nausea, vomiting and/or constipation during menstruation

– Infertility

- Mood swings and/or depression

– Iron deficiency due to a heavy flow

– Ovualtion pain


Who’s affected           

Women whose menstrual cycles are regularly shorter than 27 days

– It seems to be genetic.


Foods to Include           

– It is really important to eat a diet free of processed oils and carbohydrates. Include some whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds

– Alfalfa and kale containing Vitamin K promotes normal blood clotting

– Sea vegies contain iodine, which will aid in proper thyroid function

– Lots of green leafy vegetables

– Omega 3 oils from hemp, chia, flax, walnuts and seaweeds; and sustainably -caught seafood


Foods to Avoid                       

– Animal meat and dairy

– Refined fats and oils

– Fried and junk foods

– Additives of any kind

– Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners


Herbal Medicine                       

– Dan Shen for stagnant (stuck) blood

– Dong Quai for its hormonal activity and as a general reproductive tonic. Other herbs used to balance hormones are Burdock and Raspberry leaf

– Dang gui (in the West we use Angelica archangelica, as a substitute) is often taken alone in the East for menstrual difficulties

– Vitex is important here as it will regulate your cycle and balance your hormones

– Gingko increases and stimulates circulation to the reproductive organs. It will also help with scar tissue

– Turmeric is a good anti-inflammatory, liver tonic and estrogenic

– Calendula helps to keep lymphatics in good order, which seems to be a problem with Endo’

– Golden Seal and Barberry is good for reducing inflammation in mucous membranes

– Chen Pi (mandarin peel) is great for improving digestion and reducing ‘damp’ conditions

– St. John’s Wort is a good anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory

– Liver herbs are really important – Dandelion Root, Schisandra and St. Mary’s Thistle




– Vitamin E aids hormonal balance and keeps blood flowing smoothly, thereby reducing stagnation and clotting. It is destroyed by tap water and the contraceptive pill.

– Essential Fatty Acids like Evening Primrose and Flax oil help with cell rejuvenation and are anti-inflammatory

– Iron if anaemia is present

– Vitamin C for immunity and healing, also anti-inflammatory

– Zinc for tissue repair and its immune enhancing activity

– Kelp for its mineral content and its role in thyroid function

– Magnesium for the pain involved with menstruation. Take it all month, and preferably with calcium



– Warming your body during menstruation is important. Take long baths with essential oils like Lavender, black Pepper and Bergamot. A water bottle is your best friend for period pain

– Liver ‘stagnation’ is usually associated with Endo’. Keep your liver functioning well.

– Taking the contraceptive pill is only ‘hiding’ symptoms. Apart from that, it will cause Candida, which is not easy to control

– Avoid using tampons, as they may make Endo’ worse by preventing a good flow. (Make them organic if you do use them.) ‘Rad Pads’ are great, but somewhat impractical and messy. Try them

– Exercise is really important. Walking, yoga, qi gong and swimming are great. It must be regular

– If you suffer with painful menstruation, see a Gynaecologist. Severe period pain is not normal

– Strive for emotional clarity. Stress definitely makes the symptoms worse

– During menstruation, avoid physical, mental and emotional stress

– Read ‘The Red Tent’ by Anita Diamond

– Keep warm when menstruating. Avoid ‘cold’ foods

– Abstain from sex during menstruation. Let it flow!

– Avoid commercially produced chicken and poultry. There are too many hormones and antibiotics used in producing poultry. Buy organic if you eat chicken

– Drink only pure water. Fluoridated water destroys vitamin E which is an essential nutrient in Endo’

– Include warming herbs like dill, marjoram, black pepper and ginger in your cooking

– Check for Hypothyroidism

– Period pain may contribute to the spread of endometrial tissue, so take steps to reduce the pain. Don’t endure it!

– Don’t put off having a baby if you’re in the position to do so.




Green Leafy Veggie Week: Spinach.

3rd October, 2014

Bunch Of Spinach

Among the greens, spinach contains the most folate, and according to a recent ‘American Journal of Epidemiology’ study, eating more of this B vitamin helps protect against the development of breast cancer, likely because folate is needed for proper cell division.

Add some foods that contain Vitamin C for better absorption of the non-heme iron spinach contains – broccoli, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and citrus juices.


Spinach is also high in potassium, which is necessary for our muscles and to keep blood pressure healthy. A daily serving of leafy green vegetables may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent, according to a recent study in the ‘British Medical Journal’. Plus it’s the anti-oxidant beta-carotene has been shown to prevent many other cancers. It’s also a pretty great source of vitamin A – yep that means for glowing skin and boosting immunity. In general, the deeper the green the more of a nutritional punch the leaves contain.


Sauteed Spinach with Garlic and Coconut

Put about 2 tsp coconut oil in a pretty hot pan, the add a few cloves of sliced garlic. Dont let it brown. Toss in the washed and wet spinach and toss around for a few seconds until the leaves start to wilt. Splash in about a tsp of tamari and a few drops of sesame oil. Toss again, turn the heat off and put a lid on. Done.



– You can use lemon juice instead of the tamari.

– Adding a handful of toasted cashews will add a hit of protein. Finish with a sprinkling of Canadian hemp seeds for even more.

– Try adding in a handful of organic dried cranberries and toasted pine nuts, (above).

– Keep it raw as a salad and drizzle with a dressing of olive, flax or walnut oil, balsamic or apple cider vinegar and dijon or seeded mustard. Season with Himalayan salt and cracked pepper.

– Toss in some seeds like chia, hemp, sunflower, pepita’s and sesame.

– Add in some grated lemon zest.





Green Leafy Veggie week: Rocket, (or roquette or arugula)

2nd October, 2014


Rocket, (or roquette or arugula) is worth eating, often. It’s peppery taste lends itself wonderfully to so many partners including pear and walnuts with a balsamic and olive oil dressing, mangoes, veggies, avocado, tomatoes…. It’s properties and benefits include – anti bacterial, anti viral, bone health, anti oxidant, eye health, cancer prevention, heart health, immune booster, blood circulation, wound healing and loaded with minerals, calcium, vitamin K, magnesium and iron. AND, it’s alkalining to your body.


Toss some seeds in the soil now in Spring and you’ll have enough rocket for your neighbourhood. Add some to you smoothies, or to pretty much any meal you make – but add it at the last minute, keeping it still a bit fresh, keeping it nutrients in tact. #GreenLeafyVeggieWeek
Below – rocket rossed through roasted sweet potato, cashews and wild rice. Drizzle with an oil like flax, hemp, chia, olive or walnut and some vinegar like apple cider or balsamic. Season with unrefined salt and pepper.