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Monthly Archives

July 2020

Why I am not a fan of smoothies

By | Digestion, Gut Health
Why I am not a fan of smoothies

I break ranks with the rest of the nutrition world on this one. Smoothies are the darling of social media and wellness advocates everywhere (in fact we’ve all seen them on our feeds ad nauseam) but I will only recommend them in certain circumstances.

Smoothies are a popular breakfast choice for many people, but they may not be the best option during winter and particularly not for anyone with impaired digestion like those with Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism.

There are thyroid hormone receptors in the gut so when you aren’t getting enough of those hormones gut function can slow and decline. Thyroid antibodies can also bind to hydrochloric acid producing cells of the stomach lining decreasing stomach acid production.

The stomach environment is meant to be super acidic with a pH of 1-2.

You need plenty of digestive fire (acidity & lots of it) to properly break down food. If that isn’t the case then you can wind up with uncomfortable digestive symptoms like burping & bloating as food sits too long high up in the GI tract for too long. What do you think happens when you suddenly poor a tall glass of icy cold, wet liquid into a stomach with low acid?

Hisssss… (that’s the sound of you digestive fire being put out).

Pepsin, the fancy name for the enzyme that helps you absorb protein, needs a pH environment of under 3. Eeeeek! What’s happening to your fancy collagen protein powder now?!

In order to extract and absorb nutrients from the food we eat we need that digestive fire to take the first step and break our food down into a sludgy substance called chyme. If it can’t do that we are at risk of nutrient deficiencies. And guess what?! Stomach acid production relies on sufficient levels of several nutrients. Yep, it’s a nasty cycle.

My other bugbear with smoothies is their temperature. Hypothyroidism lowers the metabolic rate making you (literally) colder. This can make winter a pretty miserable time for those with slow thyroid function. Being cold all the time can make you grumpy & uncomfortable so why not give yourself a lovely hot & easy to digest breakfast that warms you up. Ancient medicinal practices like Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine promote the consumption of hot foods in winter with avoidance of cold drinks and it really makes sense doesn’t it?

Try these winter breakfast options:

  • An omelette with sautéed vegetables and goats cheese.
  • Porridge (if tolerated) with stewed apple, cinnamon and natural yoghurt.
  • Loaded toast is a favourite of mine, smashed avo, topped with pan fried chicken, sprinkled with cracked pepper, chilli and salt flakes if you like some kick with a side of sautéed spinach & mushrooms.

If you are still going to have smoothies, why not try warming them up and sipping on them slowly? I hear a warm banana smoothie bowl with cinnamon is sensational.

What’s your favourite winter breakfast?

 

Why you should get microbiome testing

By | Gut Health

Why you should get microbiome testing

(And make it part of your family health plan)

Have gut issues? Or maybe you just really want to optimise your health? Microbiome testing is something I do with pretty much all of my clients as the results are both actionable and measurable (and don’t worry, it’s also non-invasive and can be easily done at home!).

A microbiome test might be relevant if you:

  • Have chronic constipation or diarrhoea. Some bacteria cause a lot of Methane gas production which can slow down your digestion and cause wind, discomfort and constipation. Whereas other bacterial overgrowths produce a gas called hydrogen sulphide which is associated with diarrhoea, sulphur smelling wind and abdominal pain and inflammation.We need to know your bacteria profile so we can work with adapting your body to suppress or balance the gas-causers and then populate the ones who will give you long-term benefit and relief.
  • Experience pain in your abdomen. Always feeling sore or tender in the belly? We need to check if you have certain highly-inflammatory bacteria which is producing hydrogen sulphide gases, causing visceral hypersensitivity. And if so, we identify, action and eradicate!
  • Suffer from brain fog and fatigue. This is closely linked to dysbiosis and so by rebalancing the gut we can clear the fog and drive up energy.
  • Have depression or anxiety. The bacterial phylum that’s responsible for the production of neurotransmitters – like calming GABA – can be detected by a microbiome test, so by knowing what these levels are we’re able to work with the body to produce more neurotransmitters naturally.
  • Have troubled hormones. Heard of the estrogen-gut axis? If that’s out of whack then high-estrogen conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis or uncomfortable menstrual cycle symptoms could point to elevated beta-glucuronidase – which, you guessed it, is associated with certain bacterial overgrowths and can be detected via microbiome testing.
  • Experience chronic thrush or UTI’s. Get tested – it’s often caused by elevated E. coli levels and once we know what we’re working with, it can make a huge difference to your symptoms.

Want to get your own roadmap to your inner health? Let’s chat so we can explore your insides.

Tessa

 

What to eat for a healthy microbiome

By | Uncategorized

What to eat for a healthy microbiome

 

Today we will be exploring what you should be eating to feed your microbiome so they can thrive. In short, you need to be eating a super diverse diet with lots of plant foods – the key here is variety! We are after around 40 different types of plant food per week. Some strategies for increasing this are trying a different colour food than what you normally do (e.g., purple sweet potato instead of orange, or red grapes instead of green), and experimenting with different nuts, seeds and spices.

Make sure that a variety of the following are also included:

  • Prebiotics
    Food for your beneficial gut bacteria – legumes, onion, garlic, leek, fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, seaweed varieties, oats, most nuts & seeds
  • Resistant Starch
    Legumes, unripe bananas and plantains, cooked and cooled rice & potatoes
  • Polyphenols
    Red, blue & black berries and grapes, black beans, purple onion, cabbage, carrots & sweet potato, spices (especially cloves), red wine, cocoa, green and black tea, coffee and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Prebiotic Supplements
    Slippery Elm, flax seed meal, acacia, PHGG, pectin, Inulin, GOS, FOS.

Challenge: Across the week can you eat 40+ different types of plant foods?
To make it easier I’ve created a chart to help – contact me to get it in your hot little hands.

Tessa

7 things that are killing off your good gut bugs

By | Gut Health

7 things that are killing off your good gut bugs

(Some of them might surprise you!)

Today I’m talking about seven things that can kill off your good gut bacteria. Some may be obvious, and some may be things you have never even thought of!

  • Antibiotics. Whilst they’ve saved so many lives, they are also designed to kill all bacteria – the good guys included. Now, studies show that it takes about two years to recover from one round of antibiotics. And for those who have several round of antibiotics in a year? It can permanently alter your microbiome, with the good guys unable to return to previous population numbers or loss of important species altogether.
  • Preservatives. We know that preservatives are used in food to lengthen shelf life, right? They do this by killing off all the bacteria inside the packaged food, so what do you think happens when we also ingest those preservatives? They kill our bacteria too. This poses a problem if we are having processed and packaged foods daily.
  • Starvation…of your microbiome. These poor guys need to eat too! And their food source of choice is fibre. Sadly our SAD diet (Standard Australian/American Diet) often leaves our good gut bugs starving as it’s low in fibre and antioxidants (especially polyphenols).
  • Alcohol. High consumption of alcohol = low bacterial diversity, and we need diversity for our microbiome to thrive. It only takes 2-3 standard drinks per day for it to negatively affect our gut bacteria.
  • Too much exercise. Now movement is obviously very important for our wellbeing but interestingly, active people have less bacteria diversity than more sedentary people.
  • Sleep. Not getting enough sleep can not only impact your circadian rhythm and hormone production, but also reduce our good gut bugs too.
  • Stress. This one is super important as it has a cascade effect across your whole digestive system, but it really impacts our bacteria. Lessen your stress to give your bacteria a fighting chance.

So there you have it, you now know the top seven killers of your good gut army. Which ones do you need to focus on to help your microbiome flourish? If you need a little guidance, book your free 15 minute health discussion with me here.

Tessa