Weekly Hot Nutrition Tip: Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is not only one of the healthiest, but also one of the most delicious and versatile vegetables to include in your diet.

butternut squash

One portion of butternut squash provides high quantities of Vitamin A, which gives your immune system a real boost. It also contains 50% of your daily Vitamin C requirements.

This vegetable’s beautiful, bright orange colour means that it’s full of carotenoids – these are antioxidants which can reduce inflammation in your body, which is the cause of many chronic health conditions.

Some people get put off by butternut squash’s tough skin, but if you chop it up and add it to other vegetables, such as peppers, courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes, and slow roast it, you can eat the skin. Simply add olive oil and a few herbs and any other seasonings you enjoy.

If you want to peel it, try peeling with a potato peeler, or if you find this a struggle, simply cut it in two lengthwise and slow roast in the oven on a low/medium temperature for 45 minutes until the flesh is soft. You can then scoop it out and make it into soup, or mash with some olive oil as an alternative to mashed potato.

Do you want to learn more about the medicinal and wellbeing benefits of food such as butternut squash? Sign up to our Food for Wellbeing course here!

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PCIM Chief Executive: January 2017

These are exciting times for the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine coming into 2017.

We are delighted to be delivering a Mindfulness course for people who have struggled with recurrent depression. We are delivering this into the Greenway Centre led by Dr Julia Wallond, our Mindfulness Lead. With charitable funding from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre we are able to offer the course to participants at very low cost. We have been connecting to local healthcare professionals to let them know the course is happening.

We are also delivering the second in a year of pilot Mindfulness courses for cancer patients. We have been working with Penny Brohn UK to deliver this course and it has proved very popular. The idea behind the course has been to deliver in different settings at different times of day to try and meet the needs of the many cancer patients across Bristol. Delivering charitable services into areas where holistic approaches are needed is exactly what the Portland Centre is all about.

Join our Mindfulness mailing list to hear about upcoming courses.

We also have courses where people pay and we are launching a Food for Wellbeing six week course at Bakesmiths on the Whiteladies where along with practical tips on how to cook healthy meals, participants can also meet with Holistic Doctors, Psychologists and Nutritionists.

Follow Food for Wellbeing on Facebook.

With many of our courses we try and evaluate any improvements in wellbeing and linking new services with evaluation and research is an important part of our vision. We have had cutbacks to the NHS Homoeopathic Service that PCIM deliver but people can still be referred by healthcare professionals using a prior approval policy that is on our website. The NHS homoeopathic service has been around for nearly 70 years and we regard it as a precious part of all the difference holistic approaches that we connect to. The private homoeopathic clinics are growing and we have plans to deliver low-cost homoeopathy along with private clinics into Bath.

Don’t forget the Creative Writing for Wellbeing course run by Fiona Hamilton from the Orchard Foundation which have been hugely popular. The next course starts end of March.

Add our next Creative Writing for Wellbeing Course to your Facebook diary.

We would love to connect to people who are interested in whole person care and from 11th February 2017 on a Saturday afternoon at Clifton library we will be having the first of the Friends for Wellbeing public engagement lectures – do come along to these free events and contribute to the discussion. I will be talking about Integrative Medicine and how all of us can look after ourselves by connecting to natural approaches.

I hope in my next update to be telling you more about some of the new services we are planning to launch March and April. We are grateful to all of you who have become a Friend of the Portland Centre and those that follow us on Facebook and Twitter. I hope that you find ways to support your health and well-being during 2017.

Weekly Hot Nutrition Tip: Ginger

For those of you who are struggling with winter colds and flu, it’s a good idea to include ginger in your diet.


Not only is ginger a potent anti-oxidant which can support immune health, recent research has reported potential benefits of eating it with a number of chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. In the study, daily consumption was strongly associated with a lower risk of hypertension and coronary heart disease.

It’s beautifully warming and tastes delicious when used in a hot lemon drink. Simply chop approx a centimetre cubed piece of root and steep in hot water for 5 mins. Add fresh lemon to taste.

Do you want to learn more about the medicinal and wellbeing benefits of food such as ginger? Sign up to our Food for Wellbeing course here!

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Weekly Hot Nutrition Tip: Garlic

If you’re trying to keep colds or the flu at bay, or even if symptoms have started, one of the best things you can include in your diet is garlic.


Studies have shown it can reduce cold symptoms and positively enhance the immune system. It’s also beneficial for heart health.

When crushed or chopped it releases allicin (the substance in garlic which contains the health properties). Israeli researchers have recently discovered that it is heat sensitive, but if prepared and left aside for 10 minutes the beneficial properties are preserved – even when cooked. Simply get into the habit of preparing garlic first when you are cooking with it before you prepare the other ingredients in a meal.

Aim for 1- 2 cloves a day.

Some people with sensitive digestions may find it doesn’t agree with them, so go gently if you are one of these people.

Do you want to learn more about the medicinal and wellbeing benefits of eating food such as garlic? Sign up to our Food for Wellbeing course here!

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PCIM Chief Executive: July 2016

Portland Centre portraits

The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine continues to have a busy time setting up new services, which meet our vision to offer holistic care, to create choice in healthcare, and to deliver services across different communities.

We are delighted to have won an Oxford Mindfulness Accessibility fund which will allow us to deliver a Mindfulness course for people who have suffered with depression. We will be working directly with general practitioners, practice nurses, and the social prescribing coordinator for Southmead to let people know about the Mindfulness course delivered directly into the Greenway Centre. We have had a successful course delivered from Litfield Medical Centre to support people with stress and that course has drawn people from all different avenues with a range of problems in their life. The next Mindfulness course for stress reduction will be delivered in The Vassal Centre in Fishponds, again with the idea to try and deliver care in a range of places where people need them.

Add our next Mindfulness (MBSR) Course to your Facebook diary.

Following on from the very successful Creative Writing for Wellbeing course led by Fiona Hamilton, the arts in healthcare lead for the Portland Centre, we are delivering another course in Redland beginning in October, but are also working towards delivering a tailor made course for older people who mind find themselves isolated. We are again working with the Greenway Centre on this collaboration.

Add our next Creative Writing for Wellbeing Course to your Facebook diary.

We’re delighted that we’re still able to deliver the NHS Homeopathic service, which was transferred to us from its previous home in South Bristol Community Hospital. The Homeopathic service has been delivered within the NHS since the NHS began in 1948. You might want to join us at an Open Doors Day event on 10th September, where we will tell the story of the history of Homeopathy in Bristol from the late 18th Century.

Don’t forget that you can become a Friend for the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine to support this new and exciting organisation, and our Open Doors Day is the first in a new public engagement series where people can come to our venue in Clifton Village and find out more about a range of Holistic approaches. We have a taster session for the Creative Writing for later life coming up at Clifton Library, and would love to see as many of you as possible there.

Add our Open Doors Day event to your Facebook diary.

You may be interested to know that as well as delivering NHS Homeopathy, we also deliver a private Homeopathic clinic so that those people who cannot access NHS funding can still access high quality medical Homeopathy.

Over the course of the last 18 months, the Portland Centre has also been leading on the delivery of Kitchen on Prescription, of a vision of delivering a pan-Bristol Kitchen on Prescription service. In recent years, the idea of Doctors and nurses being able to prescribe activities rather than drugs has been gaining momentum within the health service. We would love Kitchen on Prescription to be available to healthcare practitioners, so that people can be prescribed a course of cooking from scratch with nutritional and psychological input. The money from Bristol Green Capital 2016 allowed us to run a number of pilots with existing community food educators, and to develop a network and a curriculum for those courses to be delivered in the future. We will keep you updated on the progress with this venture.

Finally, we are aware that many of you really want to access Holistic approaches within mainstream healthcare, so we are also working with healthcare professionals to deliver a new diploma in Integrative Medicine which will allow clinicians to learn more about how Holistic approaches might work in every day practice. If you are a healthcare professional interested to join the first wave of students in January 2017, please click here for more information.

– Dr Elizabeth Thompson, CEO of the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine

Watch Andy Weil speak in Bristol

Did you miss out on the fun when Andy Weil came to speak about integrative medicine and wholeness in the 21st Century last month?

The Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine specialist turned a lot of heads when he visited Bristol on a pit-stop tour of the UK, to talk about the state of healthcare in the modern world and how integrative medicine offers a sustainable alternative.

Andy Weil

Working in conjuncture with a whole host of partners including Happy City, BHMA, Penny Brohn and Bristol Green Capital, the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine presented the event in testiment to the rising interest in integrative medicine.

Fortunately for those who missed the event, a team of technical wizards we were on hand to document the conference through our Twitter account, @PCIMHealthcare.

Catch up with our live stream of Andy Weil in Bristol under #AndyWeilBristol on Twitter and watch a 39-minute edit of the conference here.

PCIM Chief Executive: May 2016

We look forward to the start of the Creative Writing in Later Life course that begins in the Redland Quaker Meeting House – May 11th. This course is led by Fiona Hamilton our Arts in Healthcare Lead. As this is the first of courses that we are hoping to deliver regularly in the future, participants will be able to actively contribute to the design of the course and aspects that they feel are particularly important when supporting health and wellbeing.

Creative Writing 2016

Our Mindfulness course continues with Dr Julia Wallond, this course is designed to support people with stress and anxiety. In October, we will be delivering a Mindfulness course for people who have experienced depression, if any readers are interested in this course, please contact us using the contact form. 

We continue to develop the DIPLOMA in INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE for healthcare professionals, with a launch date of January 2017.

The Portland Centre is very excited to be co-hosting a talk by Andy Weil who created the Arizona centre for integrative medicine.  This talk is presently sold out with 180 individuals signed up. We are now moving the event to a larger venue to enable more tickets to be released. Please sign up to the waiting list by clicking here as we hope to accommodate larger numbers shortly.  It is great to see so many people interested in the growing field of INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE.

This month we have new team members joining us. Patti to join us as an Administrator in our main centre, work along side Terri. Tiffany will joining us shortly as Executive Assistant due to the continual growth of the organisation.

We are delighted that so many people have booked onto the new master class sessions in Glasgow, where Geoff Johnson, one of our lead Tutors will be delivering the teaching day. For further information on our Educational offering, please click here. 

Do remember, if you are someone that would like to receive NHS Homeopathy or come to a private clinic, view the referral page here to tell you more about the process.

Andy Weil to discuss Integrative Medicine in the UK

PCIM are working in partnership with Penny Brohn to hold an information evening and open discussion around Integrative Medicine and how wider knowledge of wellbeing and disease could lead to more sustainable health and healthcare.

7.30-9.00pm Tuesday 7th June 2016 @ Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol,

Andy Weil

Is the current healthcare crisis going to be solved by more hospitals, drugs and surgery, or by changing our approach?

Are doctors taught enough about nutrition and other lifestyle approaches to treating illness?

How can conventional and complementary medicine work together to support health and wellbeing?

Should physical and psychological complaints be managed by different specialists and unconnected treatment approaches?

How can people become equal partners in their own healthcare team?

How can we ensure medicine is delivered in a way which values people as much as protocols?

These and many other questions will be addressed in a fascinating discussion with Dr Weil, Director of the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health at the University of Arizona, and a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine.

This talk is for anyone interested in how broader views of wellbeing and disease could lead to better and more sustainable health and healthcare.

Integrative Medicine is a healing-orientated approach to healthcare, which encompasses body, mind, and spirit, transforming health care to incorporate a range of different healthcare approaches, including nutrition, physical activity, psychological and spiritual interventions as well as biomedicine and complementary therapies, to prevent and treat disease, and improve health and wellbeing.

The event is free but there will be a retiring collection in aid of Penny Brohn UK.

To book your place, go to: http://bristolgreencapital.org/events/integrative-medicine-whole-person-medicine-for-the-21st-century/

PCIM Update: April 2016

Here at the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine (PCIM) we are excited with the start of our new mindfulness course which commences on the 11th April to support individuals with stress and anxiety.

Dr Elizabeth Thompson, Lead Clinician at PCIM said “Managing levels of stress and anxiety on a day to day basis can be a real challenge. My own personal experience and those of my patients using mindfulness courses can make all the difference to one’s daily’s experience of the world around us.

It is good to know that an experienced mindfulness teacher and GP, Dr Julia Wallond, will be running our next mindfulness course.”

With our team of 7 Medical Homeopaths, PCIM continue to see over 50 patients a week. Many patients are referred to the Bristol NHS Homeopathic Service (previously known as the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital) by their GP.

Patients that are not able to access NHS Homeopathic Services can contact the centre for a private appointment with a Homeopathic Doctor.

Dr Thompson comments on the future development of the organisation.

“Work continues on the development of a new education offer for Healthcare Professionals with the launch of a Diploma of Integrative Medicine, January 2017.

We are also very excited to be developing an Arts in Healthcare offer for people in later life. This links to medical undergraduate training that the Portland Centre was involved with, looking at OPTIMUM HEALTH IN LATER LIFE. Creating a wide range of approaches to support people in maintaining health and wellbeing or supporting someone with a long term condition connects strongly to the vision of the Portland Centre.

We continue to support the development of the Bristol Kitchen on Prescription Alliance(KOP), which is a pan-Bristol Network of organisations all committed to making food a mainstream health offer.  In a few weeks we will launch a feasibility study to investigate how KOP might help children and families who have come across problems with their weight.

I had a great meeting with Liz Zeidler from Happy City who are also committed to evaluating positive change for individuals in communities in relation to health and wellbeing.”

For further information about the Portland Centre and how we can help increase your health and wellbeing or if you are a Medical Professional looking for further information on our education offering, please contact the team in Bristol – enquiries@portlandcentrehealthcare.co.uk .

Replanting Humanity: Where is the Care in our Healthcare?

The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine is working in partnership with the British Holistic Medical Association for the official launch of Dr David Zigmond’s collection of writiings.

His work revolves around the central question: “Where’s the care in our healthcare? Have we lost sight of the patient in the midst of technology and commodification?”

It’ll be a chance to hear a fascinating writer, thinker and speaker put his ideas across as well as a chance to hear more about the exciting work of the BHMA, PCIM and to meet like-minded people from the South-West.

Dr David Zigmond is a GP, hospital psychiatrist, a psychotherapist in private practice, one of the founder members of the British Holistic Medical Association. Most importantly, he is an original thinker and word-smith who likes to speak truth to power.

We welcome healthcare professionals, holistic practitioners and anyone who takes an active approach to their own health. Join with us and David Zigmond to celebrate the art, heart, soul, wisdom, wit and philosophy of healthcare.

Find out more about the event here.

Date: Thursday 14th April 2016 at 7.30pm.
Location: Watershed, Bristol, BS1 5TX

For further information or to book tickets, please click here for the information leaflet.