Lieke Bliekendaal

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So far Lieke Bliekendaal has created 7 blog entries.

The medicinal properties of Pomegranate

There has been an explosion of interest in pomegranate in recent years and over the past decade, significant progress has been made in establishing the individual constituents and pomegranate’s pharmacological activity. Extracts of all parts of the fruit appear to have therapeutic properties (Lansky, 2007)


Pomegranate is a wonderful antioxidant having 2-3 times the antioxidant capacity of either red wine or green tea (Gil 2000). Its ability to scavenge free radicals and reduce macrophage oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation has multiple benefits in cardiovascular health, diabetes, cancer, and dental health.

It has become one of my favourite herbal extracts to aid the reduction of blood pressure and the prevention of arteriosclerosis when combined with other cardiovascular herbs such as Hawthorn and Motherwort.

There is much to be said for drinking pure pomegranate juice, feel the health benefits of pomegranate juice by consuming just a small glass everyday



Why I Love Rosemary

Rosemary is one of those herbs with a thousand uses. It’s extremely hardy and therefore easy to grow and maintain inside or out.  It is prepared as a dried whole herb or a dried powdered extract, useful as a tea and magic as a medicinal herbal liquid extract for increasing alertness, reducing tension headaches and increasing phase II liver metabolism. But my interest lies with rosemary’s ursolic acid content.

Rosemary is rich in ursolic acid (U.A) also found and in the wax-like coatings of apples, pears and prunes. In Shanmugam et al., (2013) review, they investigated the many possible pathways that U.A has proven to be anti-carcinogenic. All studies mentioned in the review are in vitro and in vivo, but success in multiple types of cancers including lung, colorectal, skin, leukemia, reproductive, hepatic and pancreatic are documented.

Considering an estimation that 1/3 of all cancer related deaths in the USA can be prevented through dietary modification (Venugopal & Lui 2012), the consumption of phytochemicals such as rosemary and ursolic acid containing fruits can create ample hope in the reduction and prevention of world-wide cancer rates – how cool is that!

Breakfast For Raising Champions!

A Breakfast to combat environmental toxins –  Leafy greens such as spinach, eggs, on organic wholemeal bread is a breakfast for raising champions especially for pregnant mothers.  Environmental toxins such as Bisphenol A (BPA) are commonly ingested and it is affecting our gene expression!

BPA is found in many consumer products, including water bottles and tin cans. Reports questioning the safety of BPA came out in 2008, prompting some manufacturers to stop using the chemical but it is still widely found in our environment.

Prenatal exposure to BPA changes our baby’s epigenome responsible for activating or silencing certain genes and so it has been found that BPA exposure increases the risk of obesity and diabetes later in life. But just as toxins can negatively affect gene expression we can also positively counteract this commonly found environmental toxin by eating foods rich in folic acid, B12, choline and betaine.

Foods such as leafy greens, egg yolk, sunflower seeds, beets, Tofu (organic and non-GMO of course) and animal protein sources, are high in methyl donating nutrients which positively effect healthy gene expression and in this case, help our future generation grow into healthy strong individuals.


Dandelion Secret – Resolving The Need For A Holiday After The Holiday

Dandelions may well be the world’s most famous weed, whether you love him or love him not these simple and effective recipes may just be the trick to soothing digestive disturbances and supporting liver function.  So if you’ve given your body a bit of a hard time over the last few weeks …. and in need of a holiday after your holiday, then prepare these simple recipes below to revitalise and get your core body systems working effectively …

Dandelion Tea Recipe

Commonly used by the Native north American people to treat heartburn, constipation, stomach ache and as a general stomach tonic;

Boil a handful of flowers until the water turns yellow, leave it to steep overnight, and have first thing in the morning; continue treatment for one month.
Dandelion vinegar recipe

The aim of this vinegar is to make a bitter tonic that will stimulate digestive organs to produce more hydrochloric acid when taken 30 minutes before meals. being full of minerals, enzymes and amino acids, it will improve overall digestion, reduce bloating, flatulence and nausea after eating.


 – Large jar with lid

 – As many dandelions (root and leaves) as will fit in the jar. If available you may also add globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) leaves, ginger slices and a stem of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ).

 – Organic raw cider vinegar


 – Thoroughly wash the dandelion leaves, and scrub the dandelion roots, then chop both into medium size pieces.

 – Stuff a large jar with as much dandelion as you can get in, or have to hand.

 – Next simply pour cold organic cider vinegar until the dandelions are covered.

 – Shake well, and leave in a cupboard for six weeks.

– You can leave it longer if you wish, then strain through an unbleached coffee filter into clean, sterilised jar/s.


5 Home Remedies To Balance The Indulgence Season

We all know that it’s good to ‘let our hair down’ every now & then and its definitely this time of year that we tend to let loose. Sneaky little indulgences creep onto our plates and into our glasses. If you’ve over done it then listed below are some powerful, ‘natural’ little ANTIDOTES, that can off set indulgence season.

Today we are going to concentrate on 5 spices that have a long historical background in Ayurvedic medicine:








Antidote to alcohol – chew ¼ cumin seeds or 1-2 cardamom seeds. As a daily routine add plenty of turmeric to the diet. Fresh turmeric is widely available in health food and organic shops, blend into smoothies, utilise in soups, stews and bone broths. Alternatively use powdered turmeric, by adding a few pinches into a glass of morning water. Turmeric negates the negative effects of alcohol on liver cells.

Antidote to black tea – ginger

Antidote to caffeine – nutmeg powder with cardamom, cardamom with cinnamon and ginger. However if this doesn’t work, then homeopathic Coffea Cruda is what is needed on the bedside table.

Antidote to chocolate – cardamom or cumin. The main culprit in chocolate is the milk solids so the darker the better for this little sneaky indulgence! Simmer cardamon pods in water, and drink as a tea. Cardamon will also settle the stomach after heavy ‘cheese’ dishes and other rich desserts.

Antidote  to car travel / motion sickness / nausea – Fresh Ginger. Take 1/4 teaspoon with a little lemon juice & pinch of salt every few hours. * For kids / adults who don’t like it fresh, you can use ‘Crystalised Ginger’, but don’t over do it with the ginger as ginger is heating!

NZ’s Red Admiral Butterfly And The Nettle Connection:

Vitonix Urtica dioicavitonix admiral butterfly








The kahukura, is endemic to New Zealand and it turns out the nettle spines (yes the stingy kind) are absolutely essential for these butterflies to propagate their caterpillars on.

Because of its nasty sting, the native nettle and other introduced species have been heavily sprayed over the years. This has seen the nitrogen soil loving plants dwindle substantially in both the countryside and around gardens. As it has disappeared, so have the native red and yellow admiral butterflies that lay their eggs on them.

Other than the countless medicinal uses for the glorious nettle here’s just one other reason to keep a pot of nettles in the garden.

Brain Fog

Start of the work year brain blues

Now that you’re back to work, looking out the window at the glorious day, reminiscing about campsites, beach days and deckchairs, you may be experiencing back to work brain blues. Brain fatigue can be described as burnout, feeling tired, depression or simply getting old. It can present itself as momentary blips, simply needing a break, sugar imbalances or the (h)angry state, to more severe, life-altering neurodegenerative disorders.

The 3 main causes of brain blues are

  • oxyagenation –  Make sure you are getting plenty of vitamins and minerals from your food iron, zinc, vitamin C, copper, B12, folic acid & B6 are really important here. Anaemia (low iron or B12 levels, low/high blood pressure, heart health, lung and how we are breathing all effect oxygen levels flowing to the brain. Remember to take deep belly breaths
  • Regulation of bood sugar –  Is important in regards to brain blues. Dietary imbalances to concerns with insulin & leptin resistance affect blood sugar function. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of health promoting fats, vegetables, leafy greens, fruit, lean protein will aid blood sugar regulation. Skipping meals, low protein, low fat/no fat diets can be a concern, if you need help deciding the best dietary advice for you, book in for a free 15 minute nutritional consultation at Vitonix to learn how nutrition and naturopathy can help you.
  • Stimulation/Activity – is there too much or too little stimulation present?
    In this 21st century we are constantly exposed to stimuli. For example constant exposure to technology and occupations that deal with all kinds of intense stimuli i.e. sounds, vibration & odours, provides chronic stimulation & stress. However it may not be our job or environment that causes stimulation it may be related to foods, chemicals, medications or addictions. Food intolerances like gluten, MSG, caffeine, nicotine, energy drinks, lack of sleep or insomnia contributes to excess stimulation and be a major contributor to brain blues. Practice good sleep hygiene techniques and find out what your food sensitivities are to start feeling and thinking with energy and clarity.

On the other hand, having a sedentary lifestyle, no physical activity and little mental activity, also causes the brain to become stressed. It is important there is balance with stimulation for the brain to thrive & operate at its best.

If this article has raised questions around your mental clarity and would like more solid advice on how to lift the cloud feel free to contact and leave a message in the contact box to schedule in a free 10 minute consultation on what Vitonix does and we could help you.

Initial Protocols

Tips for the months to come:

  • Spend time outdoors – Our brain loves nature. Many simple outdoor activities change our brain waves and give our brain some positive balance and a pleasant stimulation.
  • Meditate – Taking time out to simply listen and breathe can bring awareness and re-energize us.
  • Breathe – Many studies have shown breathing in fresh outdoor air can help relax the nervous system and re-energize the brain, improving focus and creativity.
  • Memory, like muscular strength, requires us to “use it or lose it.” The more we work out our brain, the better we’ll be able to process and remember information. 
  • Eating whole foods will best support our mental & physical health.
  • Coconut oil – Contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) – a primary source of ketone bodies. Ketone bodies have been found to feed the brain, prevent brain atrophy and may even restore and renew neuron and nerve function.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids in fish, especially DHA keeps the lining of brain cells flexible so memory messages can pass easily between cells. They also reduce inflammation and prevent the hardening of arteries in the brain. Nordic Naturals ProDHA or Arctic Cod Liver Oil are exceptional products. (avoid supermarket brands as they may be rancid)
  • Reduce sugar & grain consumption as these are the driving factors behind insulin resistance and brain fog.
  • Sugar also suppresses brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is important for proper memory function.
  • Avoid all artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, for example, which is an excitotoxin negatively influencing brain cells.

Feel like you need a health check up, contact Lieke at Vitonix and receive 20% off your initial consultation in February