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Eating your way to wellbeing

University of Canterbury Clinical Psychologist Prof Julia Rucklidge has long recognised the critical role of nutrition in mental health. She has spent more than a decade building a case for revolutionising the way we treat mental illness.



Later this month she is joining Sam Johnson and Ben Warren for ‘Building Blocks for Resilience’, a seminar which looks to share strategies to increase your personal resilience and manage stress.

Metropol caught up with Prof Rucklidge about supporting our mental wellbeing through nutrition.

How did you first become interested in the link between nutrition and mental wellbeing?

In short, it was because my PhD supervisor in Southern Alberta, Canada in the early 1990s was approached by some families who suggested we could treat very serious psychiatric disorders through nutrition. As a scientist, even if an idea seems wild and wacky and contravenes popular belief, then it’s our duty to explore whether there is any scientific validity and the fact is, not enough people are getting well with current treatments.

How critical is this connection?

What the research reveals is that we should all care about having a good nutritional foundation and if we can ensure everyone has a good nutritional foundation, some mental health struggles would probably disappear.

While poor nutrition is not the only cause of mental illness, it is a pretty big risk factor. Research points to a strong link between good nutrition and good brain health, and suggests some people are not getting enough nutrients from their food alone.

The ‘why’ is a complex issue, but one of the easiest things to point to is that our diet has changed massively in a short period of time and now consists of many ultra-processed foods which are calorie-rich but nutrient-poor.

About two-thirds of the supermarket products are ultra-processed foods which are simply not good for our health – physically or mentally.

What are some practical ways we can support our mental health through nutrition?

I think it’s fairly simple – eat whole foods; foods your grandma would recognise; fruit and vegetables; healthy fats; fish is definitely up there once or twice a week; eating grains; complex carbs – so things like black beans, lentils, quinoa; ensuring you get nuts, which are a very nutrient-dense food; so ensuring most of your diet is coming from these types of food, alongside reducing your consumption of ultra-processed foods, so potato chips, corn chips, processed cereals and some takeaways.

For some people however, all this is simply not adequate enough to provide for the nutrient needs of the brain, so supplementation can play a role.

Research is pretty clear on B vitamins; this is a simple way to become more resilient to chronic stress.

Stress is a nutrient depleter, so your need for nutrients goes up in times of stress and you need to match that with your intake of nutrients from food. Sleeping well, exercising, meditation, mindfulness, breathing – these types of things can also be really useful.

While medication can be beneficial for some people, we need to move away from it being the typical go-to.

The Building Blocks for Resilience will be held at the Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College, 12 Winchester Street, on Thursday 27 August, 7-9pm. Proceeds go towards supporting Prof Rucklidge’s lab, Te Puna Toiora, the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group.


Winter Skin School: Face Value

Winter is arguably the worst time of year for our skin; the combination of central heating plus the harsh weather conditions makes for dull, dry complexions. But it’s not all bad news – winter is the best time of year to try non-invasive skin treatments.



Face Value clients love the latest addition to the suite of services on offer; the Aquapure hydrafacial. A non-invasive dermabrasion treatment that delivers clearer, more hydrated, refreshed and younger-looking skin, Aquapure is ideal for all skin types as it targets uneven skin tone, oily/congested pores, dehydrated and dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and is the perfect companion treatment for other skin therapies.

Winter is also an ideal time to treat yourself to IPL and facial peels.

The reduced risk of sun exposure before and after such treatments optimises the outcome and is the perfect time to tackle pigment, tone and texture changes associated with sun damage.

Winter skin can look dull, so a professional treatment every three to four weeks is ideal – that’s how long it takes the skin to move through the full cycle of cell growth.

A superficial peel or exfoliating treatment will clear away dead skin and enable better absorption of active topical skincare. Regular facials will help to keep your skin clean, clear and hydrated.

Your everyday skincare regime may need tweaking during winter as the skin becomes drier and more sensitive.

Face Value offers a complementary skin consultation with a skin therapist to make sure you are doing all you can to achieve perfect skin health.

Book your complementary consultation now, phone 03 363 8810.


Taking care of you: CHCH Immigration Health

In the wake of this pandemic, it’s smart to seek out information from trusted health professionals. It can be easy to fall into the trap of listening to all of the media reports as they are coming to light, rather than waiting for all of the information to become available.



The team at Christchurch Immigration Health is offering Immigration medicals.

So, if this applies to you, the office is conveniently located in St George’s Hospital with excellent facilities and parking close to Merivale coffee shops and mall.

The team can cater to individuals, families and businesses, with the capacity to schedule your medical examination quickly, with the results ready and emailed to you, usually within 48 hours.

Christchurch Immigration Health General Practitioner Lisa Amin explains how to move forward in these uncertain times.

“Although we are hoping to run our clinics as per normal, please inform us if you have been symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or may have come into contact with a COVID-19 case. This will enable us to decide on when would be a suitable time for your appointment.

“Our top priority is to keep everyone safe, so please bear with us. We are looking forward to seeing our clients again.”

If you are unsure about whether you’re at risk or how to proceed, please phone Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number, 0800 358 545 or visit for the latest guidelines.

Find Christchurch Immigration Health at 249 Papanui Road, phone 021 334 110.


Benefits of pilates

It’s one of the hottest ways to exercise and for good reason. Check out how pilates benefits your body like no other workout.



1. Build strength
Pilates focuses on strengthening and toning the body from the core out – long, lean muscles are the name of the game here. Completely reshape your body through controlled and progressive movements.

2. Improve posture and flexibility
Through the use of movement fundamentals and mat and equipment exercises, Pilates strengthens and stabilises the core, while helping to maintain correct spinal and pelvic alignment. Joints are also moved through their full range of motion, easing tension and stiffness and encouraging full mobility.

3. Maintain good balance and coordination
Pilates requires a high level of concentration and forces you to use your mind and body simultaneously, increasing coordination. Many Pilates exercises challenge stability by focusing on improving both static and dynamic balance.


Liposuction & fat transfer

Tumescent liposuction is recognised as the safest form of liposuction. Dr Ken Macdonald from KM Surgical fills us in on the benefits of this popular technology.



Offering an unparalleled opportunity to improve body contours without general anaesthetic, tumescent liposuction improves your body’s shape by removing unwanted fat in a very careful manner with microcannulae.

Tumescent liposuction creates attractive body contours in a safe and comfortable way with a quick recovery to normal activities. Different people can benefit from this very safe type of liposuction if they have disproportionate fat collections and if they have already done their best with diet and exercise, but just cannot get the improvement they want.

Tumescent liposuction can be the best solution for many people and takes over where ultrasound and cryolypolisis can’t go.

As we age, our fat layers thin down and clump, and are also subject to gravity.

Fat grafting gives a permanent increase in volume to depleted sites. Exciting new advances with micro fat help fat cell survival and reduce recipient site inflammation and fat cell loss.

You can expect a quick recovery and long-lasting volume improvement, and you may also benefit from the adipose derived stem cell rejuvenation which can accompany these procedures.

For suitable patients, fat can be transferred from a donor site to a recipient site using small cannulas.

Fat transfer procedures are done using a local anaesthetic and with light sedation and can achieve excellent results for augmentation of facial, eyelid, and hand sites.

Fat transfer to breast and buttocks uses the tumescent liposuction technique to take fat from parts of your body with fat to spare, purifies it and injects it into fat depleted sites.

This can be an option for some women who are looking for a modest increase in breast size and shape and who prefer a natural result without an implant.

Fat transfer can also be used for scars and other conditions where there is fat loss.

Think about an appointment with KM Surgical – the liposuction Vaser™, Microaire™ PAL and fat grafting experts at Avenue Health.



An alternative to breast reduction: encore cosmetic clinic

Once upon a time there was only one way to reduce breast size. It involved a surgical procedure which could include a significant recovery period and possible complications. Only a small proportion of procedures were able to be carried out within the public system.




Fortunately, an alternative approach is now available right here in Christchurch.

The really excellent news is that Dr Grant Bellaney, founder of the Encoré Cosmetic Clinic performs a breast reduction procedure called tumescent liposuction, with extremely good results.

“If breast reduction is on your wish-list, please do come and see me for a consultation,” says Dr Bellaney, “Most breasts, particularly in women over the age of 40, consist of 40-60 percent fat, so the removal of fat can give a significant reduction in breast size.”

Breast reduction procedures using tumescent liposuction have been developed and practised by dermatological surgeons such as Dr Bellaney who are skin and fat specialists, since the 1980s and it has an outstanding safety record.

“The technique has huge advantages over the surgical form of breast reduction (called mammoplasty).

It is a form of ‘keyhole surgery’ so results in little or no scarring as the small incisions done during the procedure heal very quickly, usually without needing sutures.

It is simpler and less painful than mammoplasty and the recovery time is far quicker,” Dr Bellaney says.

It is also safer because it is performed under tumescent anaesthetic, which has fewer risks than surgery under general anaesthetic.

There are also fewer side effects. With traditional surgery about 10-25 percent of patients can experience a permanent loss of sensitivity around the nipples or an inability to breastfeed afterwards.

With tumescent liposuction, the risk reduces to less than one percent.

“It’s a day procedure, so women can go home afterwards and are usually back to their regular routine within a few days.”

The only specialist in the South Island performing this technique, Dr Bellaney has successfully performed the procedure on hundreds of women over the last 10 years. Phone the day surgery clinic at 248 Papanui Road in Merivale, 03 356 0214 or visit the website.


Eating for immunity

Great Greek Philosopher Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.


Science has found the proof is in the pudding and many of our tastiest foods are also immunity boosters, that are both affordable and versatile to boot.

A healthy habit is to have these superheroes as pantry staples. Whole, natural, colourful fruits and vegetables all have unique benefits, working in synergy with each other.

Kale was and still is king, and is rich in vitamin C. Its cousins in the brassica family, such as cabbage and cavolo nero, are also immunity-boosting powerhouses. Spinach has flavonoids which help ward off colds. Kumara is an antioxidant-rich satisfier, whereas berries such as blackcurrants and elderberries are renown beneficial flu fighters.

Onions and garlic offer allicin for immunity and are a great base for mineral-rich bone broths. Slow boil a chicken or cheap cuts of meat on the bone to extract the goodness – or buy the prepared version. Add in herbs and vegetables for more immune fuel.

Use the whole food. For example, grate the zest of a spray-free lemon, before you do the big squeeze – it’s an additional immunity boost. Beetroot leaves are delicious and nutritious in stir fries, salads or added to smoothies.

New Zealand harvests its own superfood spirulina – delicious with pineapple and banana in a Shrek-coloured smoothie. Also, our seaweeds, mussels and oysters are high in all-important flu-flighting zinc. And oily fish such as Tuna and Salmon have Vitamin D.

Add gelatinous all-round healthy chai seeds to desserts or soups. Ground flax seeds sprinkled onto breakfast or salads or smoothies add the anti-inflammatory Omega 3. Toss in the tempeh and mix in the miso to increase the immune system’s antibodies.

How lucky are we to live in the land of treasured manuka honey? An anti-viral, it supports the respiratory system, whereas too much sugar suppresses it. So swap to bee-made sweetness for toast and teas.

Hold the cheese overdose and pile a thin base generously with immunity enhancers like onions, broccoli, vitamin C-loaded red bell peppers, mushrooms for zinc, and top with olive oil and fresh herbs.

Use ginger for stir fries, pumpkin-soup pep, or medicinal hot drinks with honey and lemon. Superfood turmeric makes a warming latte or can be used to spice up your porridge, unless you prefer the flavours of cinnamon and nutmeg with their anti-inflammatory benefits..

Herbs are medicinal powerhouses. Thyme contains thymol – which is wonderful for the respiratory system. Oregano too, has anti-viral properties, so liberally add herbs for medicinal magic.

Healthful sauerkraut and kimchi are piquant sidekicks on the dinner plate. Immunity starts in the gut, so prepare an army of good bacteria.

Citrus fruits contain vitamin C, an essential micronutrient which contributes to the improved health of your immune system. Because our bodies cannot produce nor store vitamin C, it’s important we pack it into our diets wherever we can!


New smart screening technology

Delivering personalised healthcare and precision treatment.



The global coronavirus pandemic has already caused an enormous strain on healthcare resources around the world and it’s leading to a shift in how healthcare is offered.

Startup Marvel Health is debuting its global launch in New Zealand.

Having successfully operated its mother clinic MedB in Spain for the past seven years, which draws patients from all over Europe, Marvel Health is expanding a tech-focused smart health medical practise into locations across New Zealand, starting in Canterbury.

“What we are dealing with across the globe is an immune system crisis. The leading causes of that crisis are the environmental pollutants, food and chemical toxicity, and poor nutrition the modern human is exposed to,” co-founder Dr Machi Mannu says.

“We are focused on accurate diagnosis, followed by personalised science-based natural therapy that brings the body back into balance so it can do what it is designed to do, heal itself. People have forgotten the human body is designed for self-repair and to stay strong, when it is in a balanced state.”

Marvel Health’s primary differentiator is its focus on in-depth diagnostics, which leads to precise and individualised therapy that targets specific problems to achieve the fastest and best possible outcome.

The diagnosis is established with an in-person visit for a full body scan that records a vast number of readings.

From the data a personalised report is created and the online tele doctor reviews the reports in detail with the patient.

The scan reads over 10,000 pathological processes from the body and can detect many hidden causes of diseases, including viruses, bacteria, environmental toxins (lead, mercury, mycotoxins), food sensitivities and allergens, EMF sensitivities and micronutrient deficiencies.

These problems will eventually cause chronic inflammation which is the underlying cause of nearly all disease.

By detecting these hidden causes, patients can be provided with a complete therapy that includes in-depth nutritional and lifestyle recommendations to keep their systems healthy.

This approach provides a whole new level of remote care, over and above what’s typically defined as ‘telemedicine’, which generally amounts to little more than video calls with doctors.

Their approach includes educating patients to understand and take control of their health.

Patients can access all their reports from the Patient Portal as well as cutting edge education about their conditions and the therapy prescribed.

After the scan and analysis, Marvel Health emails the patient their personalised report and charts, so they can follow and understand them during their 45 minute consultation with the online/ tele doctor.

The scan is non-invasive and contactless.

The team follows strict clinical guidelines, uses disposable covers and sterilises all surfaces and contact points between appointments.

Only one patient is seen at a time and one metre distancing is maintained throughout the procedure.

In the coming month The Company is helping people stay healthy in this Covid-crisis by adding a free 10 minute immune system consultation to the main 45 minute consultation with the doctor. Unit 13/6 Cone Street, Rangiora and Level 1, Regus, Awly Building, 293 Durham St, Christchurch.

Phone 03 669 5410.


Keeping well for winter: Shields Pharmacy

As the seasons change, now is the time to think about flu protection and preventative medicine, to help ensure wellness throughout winter. “The flu can be a serious illness and could lead to hospitalisation, so it’s important to get protected with a yearly vaccination if you can,” says Shields Pharmacy owner/pharmacist Steve Thompson. “Vaccination, combined with preventative medicine can help protect people who are immune-compromised or allergic to the flu shot.”



Along with offering the flu vaccination – which is free for over-65s and pregnant women – there is a wide range of supplements to choose from at the pharmacy, including New Zealand brand Sandersons.

“While eating a healthy, balanced diet of fruit and vegetables is the easiest way to help support your immunity, supplements such as vitamin C, zinc and echinacea are excellent boosters.”

A popular Sandersons product is Viramax – a high strength complex of elderberry, echinacea, olive leaf and Andrographis – four of the best researched herbal extracts known to support the body’s immune response.

Another easy way to boost immunity is to include prebiotic foods in your diet to help grow healthy gut bacteria, such as asparagus, garlic, leeks, onions and Jerusalem artichokes, as well as probiotic foods, including dairy, cheese, pickles, sauerkraut, miso and tempeh.

Steve welcomes both new and existing customers back into the store, and online services such as e-prescriptions are available. Phone 03 352 9210 or visit the website for more information.


From figures to fitness

Super sporty but also great with numbers, a young accountant’s dream of running a fitness business proves living your true passion, really does add up.


“I always wanted to have a job that felt more like a hobby and never really saw my future as sitting at a desk all day,” says Olivia, a qualified Reformer Pilates instructor.

At the start of the year, the 28-year-old said goodbye to her corporate career and launched Grounded Pilates, upstairs in the lofty light-filled studio at 150 Office Road in Merivale.

A friend thought up the befitting name of Grounded Pilates, using Olivia’s unique surname Groundwater, which hails from Scotland’s Orkney Isles.

“I fell in love with pilates in 2017 when I was an Accountant at Covent Garden in London for a global media company. The highlight of my day was running across the street at lunchtime for a Reformer Pilates session. I just loved the atmosphere and the workout.”

Olivia then returned to Auckland from London. While continuing to work in the finance industry she also completed the STOTT Reformer Pilates course and frequented pilates studios.

Determined not to postpone her dream life, she hunted for the perfect space back in her hometown of Christchurch.

She grew up near Dunsandel, then as boarder at Christchurch Girls High, she played netball for Canterbury and loved volleyball, basketball and everything health and fitness.

“I always enjoyed the business side of things as well. My partner is a banker, so starting my own fitness business seemed right, and combines everything I know and love, and I hope to expand in the future. I’ve noticed since the rebuild, everyone is open to trying out new things here in Christchurch.”

She says Reformer Pilates is popular overseas and is gaining traction in Canterbury. Reformer Pilates helps us build a stronger core, improves posture, mood, body shape, muscle tone and increases flexibility. “It’s strength building of lean muscle with a workout that doesn’t leave you exhausted. It really works your core strength.”

Olivia has invested in high-quality machines made in USA and says they are amazing to work with.Pilates was founded by German physical trainer Joseph Pilates in the 1920s and incorporates the mind as well as the body.

“Your mind has to be fully engaged throughout the whole workout. It’s great for the brain and body co-ordination, and for all ages. So far the youngest is 18 and the oldest in her 70s.

“We spend so much time hunched over our phones, laptops and steering wheels these days; pilates is the perfect antidote to help us correct our postures and put our shoulders back!”

The upstairs studio is everything she envisioned – high ceilings, exposed beams, light painted brick, and fresh air, and a separate changing room.

“The regular class sizes are small, just six people. Classes are all run by me at this stage, so I am able to give them all my personal attention. Everyone has been so friendly – it really doesn’t feel like I’m at work!“

Metropol has five Grounded Pilates sessions to give away to a lucky reader. To enter head to the Metropol Facebook page.