Are you a sugar addict?


With Easter looming around the corner, and at risk of ruining your sugar induced coma’s from all the Cadbury Crème eggs, we thought you deserve to know how sugar really affects your body!

On average, we consume 22 teaspoons of sugar each, per day! This number skyrockets at this time of year and we can see and feel the effects with our patients each day. I am constantly finding hyperactive pancreatic reflexes (part of the body that initially responds to blood sugar increases), as well as liver and adrenal overload following the Easter weekend! Many patients also report feeling inflamed and sluggish after a sugar binge.

Here are some not–so-fun facts about sugar:

  • It is the most addictive substance in the world, even more so than cocaine and other street drugs. Sugar lights up the pleasure centres in the brain and releases dopamine, the feel-good and reward chemical!
  • By any definition, sugar is a toxin. The calories in sugar are different to those from any other source and can affect the liver in a similar way to alcohol
  • Certain types of sugar triggers your liver to store fat more quickly
  • It can interfere with your body’s signals that tell your brain you’re full (leptin), making you feel ravenous even after a substantial meal. Have you ever wondered why you go searching for that piece of chocolate after dinner?
  • Just like drug withdrawals, quitting sugar can cause detoxification symptoms such as headaches, nausea, shaking, disorientation, fatigue, disturbed sleep, nightmares and severe cravings for up to seven days!
  • Try not to go reaching for the chocolate bar when you’re tired and needing energy. It takes about 30 minutes for the spike of energy from your chocolate bar to wear off which will leave you crashing and searching for even more sugar to regain that ‘high’
  • Just one can of soft drink per day can increase your risk of heart disease by 30% because of the high liquid sugar content!
  • Sugar also increases inflammation in the body, making you retain fluid, feel sluggish and can exacerbate many chronic inflammatory conditions.
  • The brain pumps out insulin even in response to the thought of something sweet!

Do you think your sweet tooth is a problem?

Here are 5 signs you are addicted to sugar:

  1. You make excuses for your sugar “it’s okay, it’s organic” or “it’s been a tough day”
  2. You make special trips to the café or supermarket to satisfy your sweet tooth
  3. For motivation, you reward yourself with something sweet
  4. You have a secret stash of sugary treats, or you binge when you’re alone
  5. You have tried to quit sugar but gave up

If this sounds like you, then you might need to start kicking the sugar addiction for good.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Sugar by any other name… Read the labels, even if it doesn’t read ‘sugar’ it may be hidden behind the following names:
    • Agave nectar
    • Brown rice syrup
    • Fructose
    • High-fructose corn syrup
    • Dextrose
    • Maltodextrin
    • Evaporated cane juice
    • Glucose
    • Lactose
    • Malt syrup
    • Sucrose
  1. Be prepared! Ensure your diet is rich with healthy proteins and fats that will often help to curb cravings
  2. Get outside! Exercise, even gentle walking, can help restore blood sugar levels and promotes positive rewards from the brain, similar to that of a sugar binge without the side effects!
  3. Get adjusted! This will help manage your blood sugar levels and ensures the ‘messages’ between your brain, pancreas and digestive system are working optimally.
  4. Recognise your triggers! Do you often reward yourself for a job well done with dessert or feel like you need chocolate after a stressful day? Try and prepare for these in advance by committing to more positive rewards for your hard work that don’t involve food!

~ Dr Andrea

P.S. And remember, you can still enjoy Easter with delicious treats that won’t leave your blood sugar levels crashing and your body inflammed. Check out the ‘healthy’ Easter Egg recipe in our latest edition of ‘The Openmind’!


Want to be stronger, fitter, sleep better, and have a body that moves and functions optimally?!


To kick off the New Year and hopefully inspire you to make 2015 the best year yet we thought we would share some of our own personal secrets to maintaining our optimal health and vitality! You may noticed some uniform clad, extremely fit looking individuals in our reception over the last few months and I’d love to introduce the team from Box 33 to you.

Box 33 is a boutique gym like no other that specializes in functional training, meaning exercises that optimize your body’s natural movements rather than isolating specific muscles groups. The trainers there are the absolute experts at human movement, fitness, rehabilitation and strength. They walk their talk and are some of the most skilled and knowledgeable trainers I’ve come across, which is why I have recruited Tim and the team at Box 33 to assist me with many patients to improve their health.

Personally, I love training there. With our busy schedules I love that I don’t need to think about exercise or movement and each time I arrive at the gym they tell me what I need to do, how to do it and every day is different. Initially I had to learn a new language with words like ‘Turkish getups, primal burpees, kettlebell swings and snatches” and have never crawled so much in my life but I am amazed at what I have achieved and am always motivated by the other clients there, doing incredible things with their bodies everyday! Since beginning training at Box 33 I’m certainly stronger, fitter, I sleep better, my days are easier and my body moves and functions better.

Being the hormone expert, I also know that regular exercise, particularly weight bearing, resistance training, that Box 33 specialises in, not only improves strength and cardiovascular health but also aids to maintain peak hormonal function for both men and women as well as minimizing insulin resistance and appropriate blood sugar metabolism!

We often hear our patients wanting to lose weight, be stronger, be fitter and more flexible and these are usually on the top of their New Years Resolution lists therefore we’re going to invite the team from Box 33 to meet our Openspace Community and take us all through our paces! Are you in?

~Dr Andrea

Why take Maca??!

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root plant consumed as a food and for medicinal purposes. Maca is also known as “Peruvian ginseng” (even though it is not a member of the ginseng family), because it is used as a folk remedy to increase stamina, energy, and sexual function. It is typically taken as a pill or liquid extract or as powdered maca root.

Health Benefits of Maca

1) Sexual Function

Maca’s ability to improve sexual function in men and women is highly debated. A 2010 report published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found in two studies the evidence suggests that maca may have positive effects on sexual dysfunction or sexual desire in healthy menopausal women or healthy adult men. However, the other two trials found that maca failed to produce any positive effects on sexual function.

In a 2008 study from CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, researchers found that maca may help decrease sexual dysfunction caused by use of selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors which are commonly used for the management of depression. The study involved 20 people with depression, all of whom were experiencing SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. Results revealed that maca may also help improve libido.

2) Fertility

One small study looked at the effect of 4 months of treatment with maca tablets on semen quality in nine adult men. Treatment with maca resulted in increased semen volume, sperm count, and sperm motility. Serum levels of testosterone and estradiol were not affected.

There are different types of maca, including yellow, black, and red maca. Black maca appears to have the greatest effect on sperm count, followed by yellow maca, which has moderate effects.

.3) Mood in Menopause

A study from the journal Menopause in 2008 suggested that maca may help ease anxiety and depression in postmenopausal women. For the study, 14 postmenopausal women took 3.5 grams of powdered maca for six weeks and then took a matching placebo for another six weeks. Study results showed that maca helped reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve sexual function. 

4) Energy

Preliminary findings from animal-based studies indicate that maca may help improve endurance, however to date no human studies have been done.

Other Common Uses for Maca

Proponents claim that maca can also benefit:

  • depression
  • erectile dysfunction
  • libido
  • promote hair growth
  • PCOS
  • thyroid conditions
  • promote weight loss

Side Effects

There have been no reports of any adverse reactions from taking Maca over short or long term periods. Maca should not be used by people with high blood pressure or by those with hormone-dependent cancers such as breast or prostate cancer. 

How to Use the Root Powder

Maca root powder can be added to smoothies, juice, and shakes. Maca is also available as a nutritional supplement, in liquid, capsule or pill form, or in coffee, chocolate or oil products.



Balick MJ, Lee R. “Maca: from traditional food crop to energy and libido stimulant.” Altern Ther Health Med. 2002 Mar-Apr;8(2):96-8.

Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. “Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content.” Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-62.

Dording CM, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. “A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.” CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91.

Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Gonzales C, Chung A, Vega K, Villena A. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian Journal of Andology. 3.4 (2001):301-3.

Gonzales GF, Gonzales C, Gonzales-Castañeda C. “Lepidium meyenii (Maca): a plant from the highlands of Peru–from tradition to science.” Forsch Komplementmed. 2009 Dec;16(6):373-80.

Shin BC, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim HS, Ernst E. “Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review.” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Aug 6;10:44.

Valentova K et al. The in vitro biological activity of Lepidium meyenii extracts. Cell Biology and Toxicology. (2006) 22.2:91-9.



 Serves: 10


  • 1 cup organic coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 pinch coarse sea salt
  • Extra cacao powder for top, optional


  1. Melt coconut oil and mix with cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract, maca powder, and shredded coconut.
  2. Line small baking dish or glass container with parchment paper and pour mixture into dish.
  3. Sprinkle sea salt and additional cacao powder (if using) over the top.
  4. Refrigerate about 1 hour, or until solid, then slice and serve.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until eating and use within 5 days.


– For a low-sugar version, reduce maple syrup and use only 2 tablespoons, or substitute with stevia as needed.
– Please know that cacao powder is slightly different than cocoa powder, but cocoa powder can also be used in this recipe.
– The smaller the baking dish or glass container, the thicker and denser these will be. (I used a 6×6 glass dish.)

I’ve quit sugar, too!

shutterstock_8795659Earlier this year our lovely Lauren, Wellness Co-ordinator and front desk extraordinaire, quit sugar for 8 weeks. She made it look easy! I too, gave up lollies completely about 18 months ago (excluding chocolate though, I’m not a crazy person!) because my lolly addiction was a bit out of control and I needed to go cold turkey! Giving up lollies was easy, I could happily compensate with chocolate, dried fruit, sorbet and any other sugar packed goodies I could find.
However, after paying attention to my struggling body and for the sake of my health, I’ve decided I needed to give up the sugar completely.

Even though my diet was exceptional, I avoided processed foods, wheat, gluten and dairy and ate organically as much as I could, my meals were beautifully balanced with fresh protein, great choice carbs like salads and veggies and plenty of good quality fats, I would insist on following each meal with copious amounts of sugar and chocolate and my mid mornings were laden with horrendous amounts of caffeine. Gradually, I noticed that my skin was changing, my digestive system wasn’t working, I felt bloated and would regularly fall into metaphorical sugar-induced comas following a chocolate binge!

Three weeks ago, after waking up with red, itchy, puffy skin and feeling completely toxic, in direct correlation to the amount of sugar I ate the day before, I decided I needed to try and curb the habit!

We all know sugar is addictive, comparable to the addictive qualities of cocaine, so I needed to prepare myself for the withdrawals and cravings that would follow and make sure I was proactive with balancing my diet in order to curb these. This is what I’ve done in the last three weeks:

  • Read I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson and Sweet Poison by David Gillespie (highly recommended)
  • Avoided any form of processed sugar
  • I’m still eating fruit, sparingly. I absolutely love fruit and knew that I wouldn’t be able to succeed if I cut fruit out initially
  • I’m avoiding grains, especially wheat, gluten, rice etc as this essentially breaks down to sugar in my system
  • Increased my good quality fat intake, especially avocado, coconut oil and oily fish
  • Increased my vitamin b intake to assist with energy levels, cravings and stress
  • Get adjusted – I know as soon as I begin to crave sugar I need to get my spine checked and, as I expected, my mid back, around T6, is subluxated (out of alignment) these nerves go to the pancreas which controls blood sugar levels! I have no hope in succeeding on my sugar free path if my brain can’t tell my body how to control the sugar cravings!

So far I have noticed:

  • My energy levels have increased and are more stable, I’m not crashing mid afternoon
  • My sugar cravings have certainly curbed
  • My digestive system is functioning better
  • My brain is less foggy!
  • I’m less reliant on caffeine

Wish me luck and stay tuned!

Dr Andrea Huddleston

Chiropractor and former sugar addict!

Having Trouble Sleeping?


Having trouble sleeping, feeling unrefreshed?

Try some of these healthy sleeping habits.

Please speak to your practitioner about your sleeping challenges and we will be able to work with you to create some goals.  

Routine – Its important to have a regular, healthy sleeping routine that includes the following. We all have sleeping cues/routines that are formed early on which help us to achieve sleep. The more you create your habits around the following activities the higher quality of sleep you will be able to achieve.

Posture – your sleeping posture is so important. Replace your mattress after 7yr of age and make sure you use one pillow which supports the natural curves and alignment of your spine.  Regularly rotate and flip your bed (if possible) every three months. If sleeping on back you can place a pillow underneath knees and if on your side then place a pillow between you legs to support your low back.

Timing – Our body clocks are set with going to bed with the setting and rising of the sun. That is not possible for most people, however the earlier you go to bed the better your sleep. An hour before 12pm is equivalent to 2 hours after 12pm. Ideally we need 6-8hrs/night of good quality sleep (no waking or tossing and turning). 

Setting the mood – It will be impossible for you to get to sleep if your mind is still switched on. Remove anything from you bedroom that emits unnatural light and connects you to the external world (phone/TV/laptop etc). Make sure that the only thing your bedroom is used for is sleeping and lovemaking J A hot bath, banana (potassium), warm water/herbal tea, reading a fiction book (do not fire your brain up with work books) are some things that can help. 

Waking up – Be gentle with yourself when you wake up. Jumping out of bed and switching the light on jolts your system. Set some nice music to wake you up, do your stretches and roll onto your side to get out of bed. Take some time to set your intentions for the day. How you start your day will set the mood for the rest of the day.  

You are what you eat – Your body will only perform as well as you treat it! We cannot emphasise this enough. Make sure you are well hydrated throughout the day and eat foods that will nourish your body. To stay hydrated we need to drink at least 1 glass of water for every 10kg of body weight, plus 750ml for every 30min of exercise. If you are in a heated/cooled environment (air-conditioning) you need to drink more. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. Our body works harder if we do not eat foods that are easy for it to digest. Making sure your diet mainly consists of fresh and raw when possible will help digestion. This includes: green leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts and whole grains (ie. Quinoa, brown rice, lentils etc).  

Exercise – As human animals, our bodies are designed to walk miles per day, climb and forage. Therefore daily routines such as sitting at a computer or in a car all day will significantly reduce your quality of sleep. Make sure you increase your heart rate at least 3-4x/wk with exercise that makes you sweat. Swimming, cycling, running, tennis, football, martial arts, gym…whatever you like! The more fun and sociable the activity, the more likely this will become a healthy habit for you.

Meditate – We know how important exercise is for your body, however we neglect the mind. How many thoughts does your mind have per day? We are constantly problem solving and live in a very high paced, stressful world. Meditation is like taking the garbage out and clearing out your subconscious, so you can have more clarity, focus and a greater sense of wellbeing. Take control of your mind, don’t let your mind control you! Anywhere from 5-60 minutes of meditation a day is wonderful. The true benefit is felt with daily practice and we encourage you to build it into your routine. The best time to meditate is first thing in the morning and last thing at night.       


Meditation made easy

  • Find a quiet comfortable space where you will not be disturbed
  • Sit with your legs crossed, if this is uncomfortable you can sit in a chair with your feet on the ground.
  • Place a blanket underneath your tailbone to keep your spine straight if needed
  • Pretend like a string is pulling your spine straight, lightly tuck the chin in to elongate the back of your neck
  • Either rest your hands on your knees or in your lap. You can also use Gyan Mudra, touching the tips of your index fingers to your thumbs (this activates meridian lines – energy pathways, in your body, to enhance the effects of the meditation)
  • Commence long deep breathing – breathe into your belly and all the way into your chest, then fully exhale in the reverse direction. Expand your ribcage in all directions. Your breathing should be equal. Try 5 counts in and 5 counts out. Ultimately you can build up to the 1 minute breath.
  • Focus your concentration on your third eye (the spot inbetween your eyebrows)


Your mind will wander, that is normal, just bring your attention back to your breathing and keep your focus at the third eye.

Openspace Official Open Day!

The BIG day has finally come…drum roll please…

you are cordially invited to our official open day!

Sunday April 14th from 2-5pm!

Everyone is welcome, bring your neighbours, family and friends…the more the merrier! Take this opportunity to view the clinic, meet the staff and enjoy a variety of fun filled events.

On the day expect signings and appearances from some Fremantle Dockers favourites Aaron Sandilands and Shaun McManus, the official cutting of the tape by mayor Brad Pettitt at 3pm, door prizes packed full of local Fremantle goodies, catering by Aubergine, live raw cooking demonstrations, free face painting, balloons for the kids, juicing samples, Yoga demos from Mala yoga, Acuenergetic demonstrations, cake and more!

Kids and friendly dogs are more than welcome 🙂

We are very excited about this momentous event and look forward to seeing you all there!

The Openspace Team (Dr Andy, Dr Caitlan, Dr Clay, Jenni, Wendy and Marjolyn) x



Happy Thursday everyone 🙂

We hope everyone is feeling great, however life is not designed to be peachy everyday!

Today is R U OK day. If you feel like you need someone to talk to, or need a hug, just ask. That is what we are here for 🙂

Love and blessings,

Openspace XxImage



Openspace Healing – Genesis 01

It is a glorious week for Openspace as we begin our construction! 4 months and a council meeting later we have broken earth! The team is really excited, we are very busy finalising details to make Openspace ready for business on the 15th of May.

Watch this space!

We look forward to providing our readers with current information in the field of natural health care. Which includes however is not limited to: updates on workshops and classes at Openspace; delicious recipes; latest scientific articles; tips and advice; exercises and much much more! Anything to help you live an abundant, healthy and inspired life!