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Category Archives: GENERAL HEALTH

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

Are dairy products good for you?

I’m a dairy lover. I mean, not the nut milk kind, the real kind. I have no problems at all with a reasonable amount of full-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese in my diet.

Wow. Some of you are probably going to hit the ‘unfollow’ button now I’ve got that little number off my chest, BUT you know I’m not one for trends. In this post, I want to give you the ‘upside’ on real, animal-based dairy – are dairy products good for you and what might be a better dairy milk alternative. I also want to provide you with some ‘detective skills’ to determine if you can or can not truly tolerate dairy. And then, I want to give you some options you could consider ‘beyond the cow’ if dairy is proving to be problematic for you.

Please, let’s challenge ourselves to keep the conversation around this positive, given its perhaps the most controversial topic in the nutrition world today.

First, some pros for dairy:

  1. It’s a great source of calcium. Over 60% of Australians over the age of 50 have poor bone health. Getting enough calcium will help reduce this epidemic. K2 is another important ingredient for bone health – this is found in butter and cheese. Eat your breakfast on the porch in the sun? Well, you’ve got the whole recipe for beautiful bones thanks to the vitamin D you’ll absorb through your skin. (Note: For those converted nut milk drinkers, buy the best quality nut milk you can afford. Higher quality brands may have up to 300mg of calcium per serve, which is similar to the amount in dairy. The cheap stuff? It’s basically expensive, cloudy water. For more on bone health, see this post)
  2. It’s a source of protein that isn’t meat. This is a plus for the vegetarians out there. When I’m working with vegetarians, I want to minimise exclusions other than meat. A varied diet reduces our chances of nutrient deficiencies. Plus, it’s more interesting. Fancy being a vegetarian who didn’t eat dairy or soy? You’d have to be pretty devoted to legumes! On another note, having some non-meat meals for everyone, vegetarian or not, has health and environmental benefits.
  3. It provides us with options for snacks that are refined sugar-free. This is particularly important for kids who tend to require smaller meals more frequently. Some natural yoghurt sweetened with whole fruit or some full-fat cheese with some vegetable sticks or even some plain crackers is far better than most of the ‘stuff’ out there labelled as ‘snack food.’
  4. Yoghurt, in particular, is a great source of probiotics or good bacteria. Whilst fermented vegetables like kraut have seen a resurgence in recent times, it’s just not everyone’s cup of tea. Yoghurt is an easy, cheap, daily ‘probiotic.’
  5. Umm, it tastes damn delicious!

Now, let’s look at some of the genuine signs and symptoms that you may have an issue with dairy:

  1. You run to the bathroom straight after eating it. Could be lactose. Could simply be an issue with the ‘richness’ of the dairy selected. Maybe try one with a lower fat content before dismissing it altogether? Natural yoghurt, for example, is not as fatty as Greek in general.
  2. You are consistently congested through the sinus area and/or you suffer a lot of hayfever and/or you get headaches on a regular basis that feel like ‘pressure’ in the head and/or you have asthma. Whilst the asthma foundation continually denies the link between asthma or congestion in general with milk, I have seen countless cases where minimising cow’s dairy in the diet provides relief from the before mentioned symptoms.
  3. On the contrary, to point 1 above, you suffer from constipation. Could be casein, another type of protein in dairy.

In relation to the above, please work with a professional to determine if your symptom/s are linked to dairy as all of the above could be a response to something entirely different. It’s always better to get professional help, otherwise you run the risk of basically eliminating everything!

Moving on, maybe you’ve done the detective work and/or seen someone to confirm that dairy is indeed an issue. Maybe, you don’t have to dismiss it altogether? Perhaps, skipping out the cow’s milk products will see an improvement in your health, but before jumping on the nut milk bandwagon, did you ever think about dairy from a goat?

Here are some interesting facts about goat milk products:

  1. A 2010 study revealed that milk from a goat is actually higher in calcium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium than milk from a cow. So, switching to goat’s milk will not compromise your calcium intake, it might actually increase it.
  2. The structure and type of fat from goat milk is very different from cow’s milk. There are more fat globules, but they have a much smaller diameter. This makes it easier to digest. Goat milk also contains a higher proportion of short and medium chain fatty acids than cow’s dairy, as well as more medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fatty acids have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and also aid nutrient absorption. Furthermore, they have proven anti-inflammatory effects particularly in conditions that include irritable bowel disease and atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries).
  3. Specifically, the conjugated linoleic acid in goats milk has anti-allergenic properties.
  4. The form of casein protein in goats milk differs from the form in cow’s milk, making it gentler and easier to digest.
  5. There is more taurine in goat’s dairy. Interestingly, taurine assists with the formation of bile salts, which again help us to digest fat and fat-soluble vitamins. This is another reason why goat milk may be more tolerable.

I could seriously go on and on about reasons to consider goat’s dairy, as I have found this research into other dairy milks really fascinating. Two relatively easy reading research papers discussing the benefits of goats dairy can be found here and here for those of you who are interested. Both also discuss the anti carcinogenic properties of goat milk – wowzer, how cool is that?

In a nutshell, those who may benefit from considering goat’s milk over dairy from a cow include:

  • New Mum’s when weaning bubs off the breast as its more digestible than cow’s milk and closer to human breast milk in its composition.
  • People suffering from irritable bowel (IBS) like symptoms including constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and gas.
  • Those suffering from allergies, hayfever or asthma.
  • Those wanting to improve their cardiovascular health, particularly anyone who is at high risk of stroke due to a high calcium score (i.e. plaque built up in the arteries).
  • Honestly anyone. Even for those of us who do tolerate cow’s dairy, variety provides us with a wider nutrient intake so why not switcharoo from time to time?

It’s common for goat or sheep dairy (a topic for a future post) to come up as a recommended protein for my Metabolic Balancers. It might seem a little strange but, honestly, is getting milk from a goat any weirder than drinking it from a cow? It’s pretty common in European countries, it’s just a bit of a brain twist for us Aussies.

You will find both goat milk and goat yoghurt in your supermarket. Some feta cheeses are made from goat’s milk or a combination of goat and sheep. Many delis and IGAs provide a wide variety of speciality goat’s cheeses and even ALDI has a beautiful goat’s cheese log.

Gotta go. Off to fetch some goat’s milk.
Categories GENERAL HEALTH

What iron deficiency does to the body

I’ve had a string of iron-deficient women through the door in the last two weeks and at times I’ve been tearing my hair out with frustration. Not in frustration at these women…. more in frustration that we don’t educate enough around the seriousness of iron deficiency and what iron deficiency does to the body.

You see, most women believe that having low iron will just make you tired and, yes, this is one of the symptoms. This is due to the fact that iron is a major component of red blood cells, which carries oxygen around the body. However, as I continue to remind all of my clients, all of our ‘parts’ talk to each other and nutrients have more than one role within the body.

So, let’s take a closer look at iron and three of the major consequences of long-term iron deficiency:

  1. Iron is critical for immune function, specifically the formation of lymphocytes which fight infections. A chronic iron deficient presentation may include recurring sicknesses, for this reason.
  2. Iron is required for the formation of and proper functioning of thyroid hormones. So, long-term deficiency places a great deal of stress on the proper functioning of this sensitive little gland. In an individual who is genetically susceptible to thyroid problems, this could be enough to ‘flick the switch’ to a full-blown thyroid condition.
  3. The sheer exhaustion and fatigue that accompanies iron deficiency may lead to depressive symptoms. In fact, there are many nutrient deficiencies that may be treated with anti-depressants for symptomatic relief that are in fact caused by underlying deficiencies that may never be addressed (unless you see a Nutritionist of course!).

I’m not going to give you a list of symptoms of iron deficiency because that will inevitable lead to everyone deciding they have an issue with their iron levels, when in fact you MUST have your levels tested to confirm or deny an iron deficiency.

Now for the second part of this update, let’s talk about why it’s more challenging than many may think to maintain iron levels.

It’s actually not that difficult for men, however, most healthy women menstruate monthly which means, not only do we have to meet our daily needs for iron, we also must have good stores to allow for blood lost every 28 days.

The daily recommendation for iron intake, as per the Nutrition Australia website is 18mg or women. Now, a 200g steak, which is a decent serve for a woman, will give you less than half of this… And, I doubt your throwing two of these back a day right?

In fact, go to the website now and check out the iron content of some of the most iron-rich foods. What you will quickly find, and what I spend my days showing clients, is that its quite difficult to meet the RDI with food alone.

Therefore, supplementation of this little mineral that does so much for us is sometimes required (again, a deficiency must be confirmed by a blood test – don’t simply supplement it!). Vegetarians, vegans, pregnant and lactating women, super active women, those with IBS or coeliac disease (who aren’t absorbing much) and those with heavy periods are most likely to require supplemental iron.

In my view, it’s far better to top up on a nutrient from time to time, if you know you are susceptible to a deficiency, than wait until you face more serious consequences like those listed above.

I’d like to address another myth here too: You can not, I repeat, you can not treat an iron deficiency by ‘eating more spinach.’ This is another little one I’m hearing all too often. It’s not going to work guys – again go back and do the math yourself!

Ok, the final hurdle. Perhaps you’ve been told you have a definitive iron deficiency. You’ve made a few changes to your diet to assist with this long-term and short-term you’re taking an iron supplement… but man its yuck! Hello constipation and sore tummies! Don’t give up! You’ve been told to supplement for a reason (again, to avoid consequences listed above) and there are OTHER options that are gentle on the bowels and the tummy that will not cause major blockages in the pipes!

If you want to know more about iron, listen to our podcast dedicated to iron deficiency on The Nourished Wrap.

If you suspect this may be an issue for you, then book in to see us. We’ll run some tests, we’ll sort you out with the right treatment and correct your diet to prevent it from happening again.

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

WHAT THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT!?

This week in the news, we’ve seen:

  1. The couple who survive on a diet of fruit and fruit alone (and who do not brush their teeth just to sensationalize that a little more…)
  2. The new ‘satiety’ miracle pill that’s soon to be available through GPs and pharmacies (i.e. a miracle pill that stops you from eating so much because it makes you feel full…) and
  3. Why you can’t bite into a strawberry anymore without fearing for your life due to needle contamination.

Is it any wonder you are confused? I’ve had a handful of new clients this last few weeks who literally do not know what to eat anymore.

Firstly, let’s remember that what you read may… (truth bomb coming) not be the whole story. I know, crazy to thing that newspapers and magazines these days may not print the entire story, right?

Second, let’s remember that you are you. And there is no one else that is youer than you (thanks Dr Seuss). You may ‘do life’ a little differently to me. You may have have different circumstances, health considerations, ethical considerations, activity levels, intolerances, allergies and symptoms from me. So it’s ok if we all eat a little differently. Ok? Just because your friend is following some kind of program that’s making her feel amazing, doesn’t mean its going to work for you.

Third, let’s remember the basics. Real food. Get some protein on the plate. Anything green is ALWAYS a bonus and should be included in at least 2 of your main meals. Some carb – think fruit, starchy vegetables or wholegrains… not chips, lollies and chocolate.  And water. Lots of water. Mainly water… water and nothing else perhaps.

(Side note: Item 1 above, really doesn’t meet ‘the basics’ at all, so I don’t recommend you try that one at home. K?)

And if what to eat is still causing you stress than let’s navigate that together. Come on in. I’ll listen to your concerns. Work out what you need. And tweak it so you feel good. Contact me here for an appointment (I’m now available Mondays too!)

The ‘noise’ that seems to be causing the biggest issues include concepts like: ‘dairy is inflammatory,’ ‘red meat is bad for you,’ ‘gluten is the devil,’ ‘carbs are evil,’ ‘olive oil is out and coconut oil is in,’ ‘veganism is the way.’

Hmmm. Noise is not worth listening too or reading about. Get some professional help. At the end of the day, you could google ‘is broccoli bad for me’ and you’ll find plenty of reasons why it’s actually the devil! The great big world of Google may have solved some problems, but it sure has caused a fair few as well!

Oh… and wondering whether you should do a spring detox? Get onto to our latest episode of the Nourished Wrap and we’ll break that question down for you too!

Anyway. My wish for you today is that you simply sit down and eat. Don’t stress about it. Just have a couple  of good meals that include ‘the basics’ outlined above. And don’t overthink it.

If you can do that regularly, I can promise you will be healthier than 98% of the population. And if the other 98% of the population followed suit, I’d be out of business.

THE REAL ANSWER TO HEALTH AND WEIGHT LOSS
Categories GENERAL HEALTH, WEIGHT LOSS

What is the REAL answer to weight loss? Food!

You literally can not walk out your front door these days without the latest pill, potion, supplement, spray, exercise tool, exercise program, drug or surgery being pushed your way for ‘health’ or weight loss. But despite this, weight-related chronic health problems continue to climb, as do the statistics for obesity in Australia.

I’m starting to feel rather lonely over here in my own corner, because I’m not pushing the next miracle solution… instead, I still believe that the real answer to weight loss and overall health is food! Well specifically, nutrition.

With all of the products and programs now being marketed for weight loss and health, I’m genuinely scared that we are going to forget ‘food’ is the main part of the picture here.

When I see people who have digestive complaints, it may have taken decades for them to end up in my office. Sometimes they haven’t even considered that the food they put into their mouth is connected to the digestive symptoms that they are experiencing. Can we pause and consider the irony in this?

I’m not at all saying it’s their fault or they’re silly for not realising this… there’s a lot of noise out there that stops us from seeing the obvious. We are sadly becoming such a ‘band-aid’ society that having to pause and think that what we put into our mouth multiple times a day (which literally becomes part of us) is becoming somewhat of a low priority.

It’s honestly my hope that we don’t get this way with weight loss and health. That we don’t bury the importance of ‘the right food’ underneath all the other quick-fix options that are out there.

Let’s take weight loss surgery as an example. There is currently a lot of Government money going into this option as a solution for obesity. But as a stand-alone treatment, it’s not going to work. People still need to learn how to prepare healthy meals and choose the right foods for them and their families beyond surgical intervention. Otherwise:

  • Metabolic health will continue to worsen after surgery, so even though calories in may be restricted, rebound weight gain may result or weight loss may simply stall before a healthy range is reached
  • Nutrient deficiencies will prevail. Fact: Nutrient deficiencies can lead to depression, anxiety, fatigue, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. Drugs may resolve symptoms associated with these things, but they aren’t a solution. Aren’t we trying to solve the obesity crisis to further prevent chronic disease?
  • Digestion and absorption problems will either continue to prevail or become a major issue. Again, only eating the right foods and eating consciously will help to combat this.

That’s just three reasons, and I could go on about some of the other health ‘solutions’ and how we still have to bring the ‘food conversation’ into those as well. Like the fact that people are still being prescribed Duramine. This drug is also supposed to be co-prescribed with a nutritional and lifestyle program alongside it, as per all of the drug information that accompanies it, it in itself is not the solution.

Please don’t think I’m naive about the fact that changing your diet is really hard! Eating well and living a healthy lifestyle is not like flicking a switch. And it’s not like ‘healthy people’ make good choices every day. We ALL have up and down days… up and downtimes. But the important thing is that we all need to use as many tools as required in order to make good food and positive lifestyle choice as often as we can.

This is the only, true, long-term solution to living a happy, healthy life. And it’s common sense. I don’t know about you, but I’m NOT okay with surgery and injections being the new normal and what we eat continuing to be based on unconscious decisions with no thought for their consequences.

Note: Please read this article carefully and note that I’m not disagreeing that surgical or drug interventions may be a viable option for some people. However, it’s important that these options are accompanied by support and education around adopting an appropriate nutrition and lifestyle plan to support the intervention and to minimise long term side effects. It’s only then that the intervention becomes a true solution as opposed to a short-term fix.

If you have tried every diet under the sun to attain health and find a healthy weight, with no avail, Metabolic Balance® – our signature weight management program – is for you. Read more about Metabolic Balance® here

COELIAC, GLUTEN AND AUTOIMMUNE
Categories GENERAL HEALTH

Coeliac, gluten and autoimmunity

If you’ve been following me even for a short while, you should know I am not a ‘gluten is evil’ kind of nutritionist. However, early diagnosis of coeliac disease and recognising when someone may have a genuine issue with gluten is important for avoiding serious, long-term health consequences.

Here are 10 important considerations concerning coeliac and gluten generally:

  1.  If you have a first degree relative with coeliac, you have a much higher chance of having the condition yourself. You should always mention family history to your GP or any health professional, as it may help their ‘differential diagnosis’ (see note below). We always take a comprehensive family history during our initial fact-finding appointment.
  2. Coeliac disease seriously compromises your absorption of nutrients. Usually, one of the first issues to show up in pathology results is iron deficiency. Ongoing iron deficiency, despite supplementation and a balanced diet, in combination with other signs and symptoms may indicate the need for coeliac testing. A nutritionist can test for coeliac disease.
  3. Coeliac disease is not the same as being gluten intolerant. Please do not self diagnose yourself as coeliac, but not bother getting tested. You do need to know. And, if you are coeliac, you need to share this information with blood relatives because it’s important to know you have a genetic predisposition to certain conditions. See point 1 again.
  4. Coeliac is an autoimmune condition. Knowing you have an autoimmune condition, I believe, is important. Not only do you need to avoid gluten forever, but you do also really need to look after yourself. Look at your lifestyle, try to minimise stress and eat well to avoid ongoing nutrient deficiencies, as these are physically taxing to the body. Why? Because having one autoimmune condition increases your chance of others developing. It’s not a life sentence – but an awareness of your overall, holistic health is critical. In an ideal world, we should all think like this, but it’s even more important for those with coeliac and/or other autoimmune conditions.
  5. Newly diagnosed coeliacs benefit from nutritional counselling. There are many traps for new coeliacs – many foods contain trace amounts of gluten and cross-contamination can also be an issue. Being a coeliac = absolutely. No. Gluten. Ever. The end. (I’m sorry, ut you will thank me in the long run.)
  6. Gut work and supplements are often important initially in coeliacs, to correct deficiencies and assist with the healing of the ‘villi’. Villi are the finger-like projections of the small intestine that are responsible for the absorption of nutrients and are severely damaged in newly diagnosed coeliacs.
  7. If a coeliac is left undiagnosed for a long time, there can be all kinds of consequences… poor bone density, absence of periods, exhaustion and depression, infertility, dental issues. If you have any of these issues, it’s time to speak to a health professional even if it’s not related to gluten.
  8. Being gluten free has become somewhat trendy these days. Coeliac isn’t trendy. It is serious. In all honesty, I don’t really think that many people have serious issues with gluten – more have serious issues with wheat than gluten (which are different things – see point 9). However, coeliac disease is a serious issue. And it’s also seriously missed. Too often.
  9. Wheat and gluten are not the same. Gluten is in wheat, but gluten is also in other grains, including rye, oats and barley. Some people may be fine with rye, oats and barley, but not wheat. Others may be fine with all types. Please don’t judge your tolerance for gluten on how you felt after eating a Big Mac or even a cheap, white loaf of bread from the supermarket.
  10. I do believe that gluten intolerance is a thing. Research suggests that people who carry a gene for coeliac may be more sensitive to gluten without actually being coeliac. Some cases of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) do improve dramatically with gluten elimination. However, we are not all gluten intolerance. And you do not have to avoid gluten in order to be healthy.

*Differential Diagnosis: If someone presents with fatigue for example in the clinic, there’s a gazillion reasons why they might be feeling exhausted. They could have a virus, they could have blood sugar imbalances, maybe their thyroid is out, or perhaps it’s as simple as them not sleeping. The more facts we have about a person’s health history and the more details they can provide about their symptoms, their diet and their lifestyle, the more certain we can be about what is going on that might be making them feel so rotten. This is the process of differential diagnosis – taking someone with symptoms and narrowing it down to what is most likely may be caused by.

If you suspect you have an issue with gluten, or perhaps you are an overwhelmed, newly diagnosed coeliac wanting some guidance, please book an appointment to see us.

THE WEEK THAT WAS.
Categories GENERAL HEALTH

THE WEEK THAT WAS.

I think lots of people wonder what I actually do every day. I’m sitting here on Friday afternoon reflecting on the week that was and making sure I’ve finished off all the files that have been opened since Tuesday. Here’s a little peep of the action from the last few days:

  • A lovely young adolescent with a multitude of symptoms and an autoimmune condition has been with me for about a month now. We have resolved some digestive symptoms and we are working on managing some severe joint pain she’s experiencing.
  • I’ve been working with a new client for the last few weeks who has had a lifelong chronic skin condition. There are lots of foods that are aggravating this condition so we are doing some very specific gut work which will allow us to introduce more variety back into his diet over the weeks and months to come so that we can avoid any future nutrient deficiencies.
  • This week I’ve sent out half a dozen letter to General Practitioners. Quite a lot of my clients recently had have blood tests done privately (mostly to get started on Metabolic Balance) and if any result comes back out of range, I copy the GP into the tests with a forwarding letter. This means everyone’s in the loop and the GP can scope anything that might need urgently attending too.
  • Some clients send me a food and symptom diary each week. I’ll go through this and email back if required in between their appointments. This is not necessarily for weight loss – mostly its where someone is experiencing a lot of digestive discomfort. By logging it in a diary, we can see if its occurring after meals or all the time, what kind of pain it might be, when the symptoms are most severe, if bowel habits are regular etc. We can also start to see if there are any correlations with stress or certain foods. It’s most helpful in really painting the picture of what’s happening and potentially why.
  • I had 2 clients reach the end of their first week on Metabolic Balance® this week. Both have had good results with some good weight loss in the first week, but even more importantly symptoms like joint pain and sleep significantly improving.

That was a snippet of my ‘week that was’ and I’m back for more tomorrow. In the midst of this I was creating chaos in my kitchen working on Metabolic Balance® recipes. Some successful…. some not so successful admittedly (they won’t make the book!) How was your week? Anything I can help you with that might make your life healthier and happier?

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

THE METABOLIC BALANCE® RECIPE BOOK

There has been a lot of interest and support in my ‘little’ project to create a Metabolic Balance®  recipe book (the constant mess in my kitchen suggests this project ain’t that little…). All the support has been lovely, but I thought I’d clear up some of the confusion around what to expect. While many of the recipes may be tasty and easy for those of you simply looking for ‘healthy’ wholefood meals, the Metabolic Balance®   program is extremely specific. Here are some of the  hurdles that I have to account for in creating suitable meals and a taste of what to expect from the book….

1, Metabolic Balance®   is strictly food.  I mean… literally, food only. No sauces, no packets, nothing processed, not a drop of soy sauce here or a touch of mustard there. So flavor must come from basic spices, dried and fresh herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger and very clean broths only. On the upside, this is one of the reasons I do love Metabolic Balance®  – it teaches people to cook with real, basic ingredients. And one of the reasons why it works too – far too much of what we put in our mouths these days is not actually ‘food.’ Its chemicals – made in a lab. Not grown in a field. These fake foods are wreaking havoc with our hormones, our gut, our immune system, our metabolism, our health and as a result our LIVES.

2. It is completely individual. This is not a lie. There’s not say, 100 templates that exist and every person is ‘matched’ to one of them. No two plans are the same. Each individual receives a list of recommended proteins, fruits, vegetables and starches and from this list they create their meals. Each individual is also designated ‘quantities’ of each food group to consume. In general, the more complicated the case (i.e. someone with multiple medical conditions and / or ‘poor’ blood test results’) the more limited the food plan. While someone with less complicated pathology is likely to get a less restricted plan. So when writing a recipe book, this makes things rather hard… would you not agree? In putting the book together, I am trying to provide recipes based on all possible proteins that may exist on a plan and then build in a couple of different options  as accompaniments based around different vegetable combinations. I am also including substitutions wherever I can so that the recipes can be ‘adapted’ to suit most people’s plans. Further to this, each week I am pulling out a ‘different’ plan to base my culinary creations on for that week. My own personal Metabolic Balance®  plan had lots of options so if I wrote all the recipes based on that, the book wouldn’t be a very helpful resource to those with restricted options*.

3, Metabolic Balance®   is not a ‘dairy free’ ‘gluten free’ ‘soy free’ ‘egg free’ ‘grain free’ ‘fat free’ vegan program. See point 2 above. Some people… get milk on their list! Some people will be able to eat gluten on their plan! Some will have more vegetarian options, others will feature beef, some won’t have red meat. You get the point. I hope if you have been following me for a while you have ‘gotten the gyst’ that I am not a namer and shamer of food groups that are ‘bad.’ Personally, I take creamy cows milk in my coffee, I eat gluten everyday and sometimes I’ll take chickpeas over a steak but other days it just doesn’t cut it. I LOVE this point about Metabolic Balance®. Again, its about the individual. Not about the latest craze.  Further to this point, the blood tests on Metabolic Balance®  do NOT test for allergies, however these can be ascertained separately and then excluded from a plan. Many people I see in clinic are convinced they may have certain ‘intolerances.’ Intolerance testing is expensive and not always helpful and in my experience, signs of ‘intolerances’ tend to sort themselves out on a Metabolic Balance®  program.

4. Although not entirely relevant to the recipe book discussion, Metabolic Balance®   is a highly supported program. Anyone on a Metabolic Balance®  plan must be guided by a degree qualified Nutritionist consistently through the program. Its not a ‘quick fix’ program. Many of the people who embark on a Metabolic Balance®  may have had health issues for many years. Its a restoration process – back to good health. Sometimes it concerns me that people who have complex pathology will try short term fad diets or shake programs or be guided on the topic of their health and nutrition by someone with absolutely no professional qualifications. Having a serious medical condition and / or being overweight does require professional support. Its a physical, mental and emotional journey back from this state. And yet, we still search for the magic pill….

Enough now. I hope to have the first edition of the book out for current Metabolic Balance clients in about 5-6 weeks time. However, it will be at least 3 months before I properly publish and release it. If you are doing a Metabolic Balance® program then I hope it is an invaluable resource. If you are thinking of doing a Metabolic Balance®  program than it will be a great starting point to ‘feel’ the program. If you simply want to check out some really quick, clean, wholefood meal ideas then it may also be a bit of fun for you.

For more on Metabolic Balance check out this page here. Thanks for reading and keep up to date on the progress of the book via Facebook and Instagram.

*The more restricted plans are necessary for those with complex pathology that have a great deal of healing in front of them to restore health. Remember that Metabolic Balance®  is  designed by Medical Doctors and Nutritional Scientists, and accounts for complex conditions and medications – restricted plans are ‘checked off’ by a team and plans are ‘expanded’ on as a person’s health improves. Healing through food at its best.

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

Gut health: It’s not a new thing

Over the past few years, there has been increasing attention given to the importance of gut health for everything from mental health to weight management and everything in between. Whilst it’s great that this important topic is being given so much attention, some aspects of this attention cause frustrations for us nutritionists and other practitioners in the health sphere.

Firstly, I’d like to give you a brief history. People working in the nutrition and natural health sphere have been emphasising the importance of gut health for longer than I have been on this Earth. Actually, Hippocrates is the famous Greek physician who first raised the flag by stating, “all disease begins in the gut” over 2000 years ago. So, this is NOT a new concept, it’s simply made its way into mainstream media and, therefore, mainstream acceptance.

Since then, up until the last say 10 years, those who have emphasised gut health have, at times, been ridiculed, laughed at and disrespected. Hmmm, I wonder what other ‘quirky concepts’ we might come to accept in the next decade?! I acknowledge those practitioners who stood by this belief and say thanks, they were the real pioneers, and I can understand if they are slightly miffed by the total ‘about-face’ on this issue.

Secondly, if we’re going to accept gut health as ‘fact’ at last, there are some other principles we need to understand. The fundamentals of nutritional and natural medicine teach us that there’s no one magic pill. There is no quick fix. Health is a continual journey, involving physical, mental and even spiritual health, the latter of which will mean something different to everyone. And yet, I feel there is a misguided belief developing that you can ‘cure’ some serious ailments by simply popping a few probiotics or adding kombucha to your diet. Whilst this may help on some level, it’s not really that simple.

Your digestive system is a pretty delicate ecosystem. The ‘microbiome’ of our body is literally all around us – inside the bowel, on the skin, in the nasal cavities, under and over your nail bed. There’s literally billions of organisms making up that ecosystem and each one of them individually has over 100 times as many genes as a single human being. So, wanting to alter the entire expression of the gut to move towards health and away from disease is going to take more than a few days, weeks or even months.

Consider the Amazon rainforest… Think of the rates of deforestation occurring there. Then consider that a foreign weed has taken hold and has spread amongst the remaining environment. Imagine what kind of effort it would take to not only eradicate the weeds, but to replant and regrow the rainforest to its former glory. This is EXACTLY what our guts are like.

High stress, medications, antibiotics, processed foods, chemical exposure, lack of sleep, obesity, not enough fibre, food poisoning, foreign bugs, air travel and the list goes on… these are all little assaults to our overall gut health that may alter the balance of ‘forest’ to ‘weed’ and destroy the overall population.

But, while we can take steps to reduce our exposure to some of the above, they are all necessary evils at times, aren’t they? So hence, gut health and health in general will always be a work in progress.

If you want to start nurturing your digestive system and combating some of the daily assaults it may face, start with the basics before you brew your own kombucha or blow $50 on a probiotic that may or may not be therapeutically dosed (read more here).

Here are some ways to start nurturing your gut:

  • Eat your vegetables. That’s 4-5 cups a day. This means that for two meals each day you need to fill at least half of your plate when colourful stuff. Vegetables = fibre = fertiliser for your gut!
  • Drink water. Pure, filtered water. Not the sugary crap.
  • Sleep. If you can’t sleep, then get help.
  • Manage your stress. Get offline. Stop overthinking. Can’t? Find a strategy that works for you to enable this to happen.
  • Manage your weight.
  • Do all of the above so you stay healthy and won’t have to take medications or antibiotics.

Nurturing your gut health is a lifelong commitment. Just like being healthy. Those bugs co-inhabit your body alongside you and if you look after them, they will look after you!

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

CONFESSIONS OF A NUTRITIONIST….

I’m a garbage guts. For real. I mean, I literally eat, basically everything.

Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration.  What I really mean is that I eat from every food group and I eat lots of things that people may think would be ‘off my list.’ I have bread most days – so its dense, dark, usually sourdough but I still eat it most days. Every SINGLE day without fail I start off my morning (usually after exercise) with a full fat milk cappuccino, mug size in a cafe. Considering we now live 200m from one of Brisbane’s best cafes, keeping this to 1 a day is an ongoing battle ;). I’ve also never followed a gluten free diet, and 2 or 3 nights a week you can count on me sitting down with my other half and having a red wine with dinner. It would be rare for a week to go past where I don’t consume a glass of sparkling wine and I just can’t help this. It’s genetic. It’s called the ‘champagne gene’ and it’s very active in my family.

I honestly love nothing more than eating out. Nothing is off the list – we love Indian, Thai, all kinds of Asian cuisine, Japanese, Seafood, the occasional good old fish and chips… you get the gist. It still surprises me when I am out for a meal with people I don’t know well and they say ‘oh you’re a nutritionist?’ They then look down at their plate like I’m going to judge them. Or worst, they sit there waiting for me to analyse the menu and pick  the least exciting, lowest calorie option out of them all. Hmmm, you can’t rely on me for this I’m afraid.

But seriously, interspersed with the ‘fuzzy bits’ is a lot of goodness. Cheap take-away just doesn’t do it for me, my entire pantry and fridge is all wholesome, fresh ingredients and I’d prepare 18 out of 21 meals a week myself. These are generally packed full of vegetables and herbs, really good quality protein and balanced with slow release, tasty carbs. My cooking style is fresh and fast, but tasty (well I like to think so anyway, Carl may not agree….).

So I’m telling you all of this because the culture around exclusion is starting to drive me a little loopy. I completely respect and acknowledge that in order to ‘reach a health goal’ or manage a condition, this degree of relaxation may not be possible. I also agree that many people have genuine intolerances (see our recent podcaston this topic) or may need to exclude dairy or gluten in particular because they react adversely. But, it’s still my belief and something I say to my clients that a healthy gut should be able to tolerate a wide variety of food from a wide variety of food groups without too many issues. Please don’t think that healthy and exclusion are the same thing or that they must go together.  Also remember that nutrition can be very individual and will vary from person to person. Just because your friend tells you, you shouldn’t be eating cheese (for example) doesn’t mean they are right. Again, what’s right for one person may not be right for you.

Thankfully, we are moving towards a more wholefoods focus and away from a processed food society. Seriously, simply basing your nutrition around mostly minimally processed foods would solve many people’s problems! Rather than always looking for that one, single evil that’s causing all of your ailments look at the whole overall picture. Heaps of people I see have convinced themselves that ‘potato’ must be the reason they can’t lose weight or that ‘the gluten in the Big Mac’ made them feel sick…. step back, look at the entire picture. Be in control of your nutrition and your health but also allow yourself to meat each meal with joy. The psychology of food and how we sit down to a meal is equally as important as what’s on the plate itself. Always come from a place of nourishment and peace, as opposed to abuse and guilt. Those 1 or 2 meals I eat a week that aren’t perfect, I really enjoy them. I’ve worked hard on not beating myself up about it and I’d love for everyone to experience this. Eating is such a joyous ritual, a beautiful opportunity to bring people together and not to mention a blessing to have access to more than we need. The ‘stress’ we are creating around food is perhaps causing just as much harm as making poor food choices.

If nothing else, I hope this blog post served to show you that no one is perfect. The instagram world of #glutenfree, #soyfree, #nutfree, #fatfree, #dairyfree, #wheatfree, #meatfree, #sugarfree, #flavourfree #fatfree ‘perfection’ (what are you eating, air???)  is in my view far as far from perfect as possible. Think of me next time you allow yourself a little indulgence and I hope you can enjoy it, be kind to yourself and move on to the next moment in time without delay.

Happy Friday :).

P.S. Pictured is the Ruben sandwich I ate from The Coffee Nook for lunch at the top of our new hood in Secam Street. Rachel and Michael here have been banging on about these for weeks and they are so right…. ammmmaaazzzziiinnnggg! A corned meat toastie on beautiful rye bread with strong cheeses and pickles…. are you salivating yet? It was absolutely divine!

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

WHY WAIT?

It’s December. That means 2 things are inevitable. Firstly, people are getting positively pogged on Christmas food and drinks (pogged is currently my favourite word, I find it hilarious). Secondly, the inevitable ‘new year’s resolution’ discussions are going to flow shortly – amongst friends, families and of course the media.

Both of these particular things have something interesting in common. That is, they produce an instant feeling of euphoria which is inevitably followed up by intense disappointment. Take the former. Overindulging at a Christmas party on rich food and alcohol might be fun at the time… but it doesn’t feel so grand the next day. If it happens a couple of times this month and of course on Christmas day than I definitely think that’s fair enough. (I’m all about balance

Balancing coffee in 1 hand and champagne in the other at a Christmas breakfast on the weekend….

and reality as we know – proof to the right!). BUT it’s just an awful feeling when your healthy diet and lifestyle goes completely out the window for the ENTIRE Christmas season. Waking up sluggish, feeling inflamed, sore in the joints, bloated, low in energy, ‘fluidy’ and generally crap is not a good way to enjoy the holidays.

The New Year’s Resolution game generally follows a similar pattern. I found a number of articles written by psychologists on the very subject of ‘why new year’s resolutions don’t work’ available here and here. One reason given was that the act of stating a new year’s resolution requires basically no effort… so there’s no preparation that goes in to work out how to actually achieve it. Secondly, most new year’s resolutions tend to be quite grand and don’t take into account the importance of taking small steps towards a goal and changing habits sustainably.

Since both of these particular issues are related to health (well, most NY’s resolutions are at least) I definitely feel that I can offer a solution here. Firstly, I want you to consider what aspects of your health haven’t been optimal this year. Maybe you are constantly exhausted and sluggish, perhaps you have chronic IBS, maybe you have a skin condition or maybe you really need to lose weight in order to avoid some serious chronic diseases taking hold. Think about what it would mean to you, how you would feel and what kind of life you could lead if these things were better managed. Now, you have really tied some value to a goal and visualized what you want to achieve. Secondly, I want you to consider getting started on this new vision NOW. That’s right, NOW. In December. Scary thought isn’t it? But guess what? This takes care of the first conundrum of drinking and eating your way through the month feeling ‘pogged’ but not actually being present to the really important things this Christmas. Because it’s likely with me by your side you are less likely to ‘let it all go’ and simply enjoy the odd treat here and there without completely writing yourself off. In addition, you won’t really be setting yourself up for a failed new year’s resolution. You will have put far more time and effort into formulating a really important goal for your future and you will be working alongside someone to help you towards it one sustainable habit at a time.

And finally, a big congratulations for those new clients who have come in to see me in the last week and are still booking up for the next few weeks. And the ones that are ready and waiting to begin Metabolic Balance – the hormone balancing / health restoring / weight release program I am now offering. Again, a program that works over time – 3 to 4 months to be exact – requiring consistent commitment, attention to the individual and hard work. These are the types of clients I really like to work with. Thanks for making my December not so lonely :).

Here’s to a FUN, but BALANCED December and the healthiest 2018.