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Gut Health

Gluten, should you be eating it?

By | Digestion, Gut Health, Health, Nutritional

I am not dogmatic about food, I’ve never been the kind of nutritionist who told allll my clients they had to stop eating dairy/gluten and feast on a diet of sunlight and rainbows. After spending most of my 20s on either the Paleo, low FODMAP, SIBO Biphasic, low Histamine and The Autoimmune Protocol diets in an attempt to feel human again I know a thing or two about how it feels to eat a seriously restrictive diet. It ain’t fun or free. Processed and less than ideal foods will find their way into your eating sometimes. I try to focus on building habits so that most of the time you are eating nutrient rich, anti-inflammatory and delicious foods rather than handing out lists of no-no foods.

Let’s settle the gluten debate for good. Stick with me here, as always an individual approach is required, there are no blanket rules which means I need to explain a few things first.

If you don’t have Hashimoto’s disease keep reading anyway, I know you’ll get something out of this discussion.

Wheat is the darling of the Australian diet, we eat it in our cereal & toast for breakfast, we make sandwiches & wraps for lunch and we eat pasta & pizza for dinner, not to mention cakes, muffins, focaccia, dumplings, pies, pancakes and snot block. It’s a staple.

So there are two things I need you to understand first…

ONE/ Wheat – you’ve changed, you aren’t what you used to be. Literally. The modern wheat we consume today has been modified and cultivated to contain more of some types of gluten and a larger yield per acre. This is to increase profitability and to give us that white fluffiness we’ve all come to associate with the word ‘bread’. Other factors include the additives in supermarket bread and the pesticides/insecticides/fungicides use in the farming of modern wheat which means that the bread hitting our stomach these days is vastly different from bread in the past.

TWO/ Another fact to consider is that broadly speaking our microbiome diversity is dwindling across the generations. Extreme hygiene practices, over use of antibiotics, unhealthy lifestyles and processed food has seen to that. If you’re thinking, hold up what the heck is the microbiome you can read about it here. But basically the gut microbiome is the bacteria that dwell inside our intestines and confer many health benefits. The lower the diversity the more opportunistic, pathogenic bacteria can overgrow. This causes inflammation in the cells that line our gut and a decline in digestive power, gut health and function. This leaves us prone to reacting to foods and developing food intolerances and is a significant part of the aetiology of autoimmune disease, including Hashimoto’s.

So, let’s get this straight. In Australia and most of the western world, you aren’t consuming the same wheat your great grandmother ate and your gut probably isn’t as healthy either. This might be why you feel like more and more people around you are discovering their digestion is a lot smoother when they avoid gluten and why celiac disease has been on the rise since the mid twentieth century. And yes, it’s definitely a bit of a fad too.

There are a few perfectly good whole foods that are higher allergens and more reactive for sensitive people with compromised gut health (most of us if you haven’t been paying attention). Gluten and dairy are at the top of the list that also features foods like soy, eggs and nuts. This is why so many people don’t tolerate them and why some practitioners and Integrative GP’s have come to the conclusion that NO ONE should be eating them. I think it’s a lot more nuanced than that.

Should I be eating gluten if I have Hashimoto’s Disease?
For starters you are at much higher risk of Celiac disease if you have Hashimoto’s and vice versa so it’s essential you at least see your GP to get celiac gene testing (HLA DQ) if you experiencing any digestive symptoms after consuming gluten or any other symptoms you can’t explain for that matter as celiac disease symptoms are broad. If that is positive then you can go from there with further testing.

Molecular Mimicry
Gluten is a protein with a similar molecular structure to thyroid tissue. The theory behind why those of us with Hashi’s feel so much better off gluten, why antibodies can go down and why thyroid function can improve drastically is that molecular mimicry is causing gluten proteins in our system to ramp up the autoimmune attack on our thyroid leading to thyroid inflammation, tissue destruction and stronger symptoms. My personal and clinical experience as well as medical studies suggest that a gluten free diet may improve your symptoms, thyroid function and reduce or stop the autoimmune attack. I find that my clients who adopt a gluten free diet have increased energy, less bloating, reflux and other digestive symptoms, healthier bowel motions, clearer heads, better moods and are able to lose weight much more easily. Because if gluten is keeping you in a state of inflammation then you’ll find weight loss extremely difficult.

Skeptical? Try removing gluten for as little as two weeks, that is enough time for you assess whether it is playing a role in your symptoms. Clinically, I’ve never had a Hashimoto’s client not improve when they go gluten free, to the point where they are convinced it is not for them and require no further encouragement to stay off it. If going gluten free feels impossible, I get it. I’ve been there and I cried a lot. Then when I found out my son was also gluten intolerant, I cried some more.

What should I do next?
My best advice is to look to protein as the basis of your meals to keep you satiated and don’t rely too heavily on gluten free breads and alternatives from the supermarket. I only eat GF Precinct bread because it’s wholegrain, low Glycemic load and won’t contribute to weight gain and fatigue due to disregulated blood sugar. So for example, if you normally eat a chicken & salad white bread sandwich for lunch, ditch the white bread, increase the chicken portion, keep the salad, add satiating fats like an olive oil dressing and have a slice of GF Precinct bread or a small serve of brown basmati rice on the side instead. It just requires a shift in perspective and I promise it gets easier with time. Check out my Healthy Weight Hashimoto’s free guide, it has a food list and meal planner that makes it easy to assemble a yummy, GF, Hashi’s-friendly meal. If you join my Thrive Method program your personalised meal plan will automatically be gluten free. My clients have remarked how easy it makes the transition when they have a plan to follow that they can trust is uniquely right for them.

Should I be eating gluten if I have Celiac disease?
I went to a beautiful bakery cafe for lunch recently that pride themselves on their three day sourdough fermentation process. The waitress informed me that the gluten content was so low that they have many celiac customers who eat is regularly – no, just no, and a hell no for good measure. If you have celiac disease you must avoid all gluten, traces of gluten and go so far as to remove it from your home entirely if possible. In the very least a seperate toaster for gluten containing bread is necessary and you must be very selective about where you eat out; a dedicated gluten free restaurant is safest. It is life threatening to continue to expose yourself to gluten if you are positive for celiac disease. If you have a family member with celiac disease or have an autoimmune disease (like Hashi’s) then you are more at risk of developing celiac disease.

Should I be eating gluten if I have non-celiac gluten intolerance or suspect I do?
The majority of Hashimoto’s gluten sensitivity falls under the non-celiac gluten intolerance umbrella which means that your immune system is most likely responding with IgG antibodies. This is not an allergy or a celiac response but a slower inflammatory response. Symptoms may take hours or the next day to develop and while it is very uncomfortable and inflammatory, it is not life threatening like a true anaphylaxis allergy. However, even if it is not life-threatening it will still be feeling the slow burn of inflammation and most likely exacerbating the autoimmune attack on your thyroid. The good news is that you don’t have to worry as much as the celiacs amongst us about things like sharing toasters or chopping boards.

It’s important to note that wheat is also high in FODMAP’s, particularly fructans. So in fact you could be struggling to digest the sugars in wheat rather than the proteins – gluten. You may suspect this if you have strong digestive symptoms shortly after eating like gas & bloating high up under your ribs, burping, reflux, urgent bowel motions and even constipation. If you have been breath tested and are malabsorbing fructose or you have tested positive for SIBO then decreasing wheat until you’re able to improve gut function and digestion will make your life a lot more pleasant. BTW you are at higher risk of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) with Hashi’s in which case the sugars and the proteins may be posing a problem for you.

Side note for those without Hashimoto’s
I would recommend temporarily removing gluten if you have identified it as a problem food for you. In the meantime you can work on your gut health and repair your gut lining to improve tolerance to foods like gluten. The GEMM protocol is my favourite method to do this. When you reintroduce wheat, stick to easy to digest, unmodified forms of gluten containing grains like spelt, khorasan, rye and einkorn. They are generally a lot easier to tolerate and often baked with traditional sourdough methods which breaks gluten down even further. Fun fact, rye contains one third the gluten than modern wheat varieties! And grains like spelt contain different gluten proteins that are known to be less inflammatory and less likely to cause gluten intolerance.

Signs you need to rethink your gluten intake:

  • If you have autoimmunity, particularly Hashimoto’ disease
  • Keratosis polaris (chicken skin), eczema, psoriasis and general skin rashes, dryness, bumps, acne and flaking can be red flags that gluten is not your friend
  • Any abnormal GI symptoms, particularly after gluten consumption of course! That includes bloating, excessive burping, reflux, gas, abdominal pain & cramping, disordered bowel motions (anything other than 1-3 smooth sausage painless bowel motions daily). Make sure you rule out celiac disease with your GP first, especially if you are higher risk due to Hashimoto’s
  • Low mood, mental confusion, brain fog, loss of hope, depression
  • Joint pain
  • Stubborn weight gain

If you know you need some help with what to eat with Hashimoto’s disease download my guide or book a free Thrive Method Health chat so we can see if I can help you mange you autoimmunity, shift stubborn weight and inflammation and reignite your energy.

Hay Fever and Autoimmunity

By | Gut Health, Health, Metabolic Balance

Let’s have a talk about hay fever.

It’s been on my mind lately because every second person is complaining about it and for the first time in 8 years, I’ve had nary a sniffle or an itch. You see, when my health imploded with Hashimoto’s disease I had the most horrific two years of gut issues. And severe hay fever was one of the seemingly unrelated issues that reared its ugly head at the same time…or was it unrelated?!

It was so sudden & severe that I relied on anti-histamines to stop myself from sneezing myself off the freeway or gouging my itchy eyeballs out.

When I look back it all makes sense, I had been through a period of trauma & high stress (fire, cancer scare, financial pressure, grief, family troubles, you name it), I was fasting frequently, eating restrictively and over exercising in an attempt to manage my hypothyroidism weight gain, running a business, studying full time and raising pre-schoolers. On top of that the house we were renting developed a leak and we had an indoor NGV style water wall every time it rained heavily but it wasn’t arty and chic, it was a mould nightmare.

My gut health plummeted, I was diagnosed with a nasty SIBO infection and allergies entered my world for the first time.

So what in the actual heck causes a seemingly perfectly healthy person to suddenly mount an immune response to harmless substances such as pollen or dust?

Research tells us that babies who are breastfed and kids who grow up with pets and play in the dirt are less likely to suffer with allergies, so what does that tell us? Allergies are related to the different types & breadth of variety of bacteria (or lack of) that we are exposed to. This is one of the reasons why I go all the way back to your birth in your Initial Health Assessment so I can look for red flags and start to identify the drivers of your autoimmunity and your constitutional weaknesses so we can make a plan to get you feeling human again.

Allergies and autoimmune disease both have something in common…the gut!

70-80% of immune function occurs in the gut and behind mucosal layers (think nostrils, lungs, gut lining) so when your gut modulated immune function is compromised & on high alert your immune cells can start to identify substances such as grasses as a threat. And when things are really dire your immune cells can mis-identify your self-cells as a threat, hello autoimmunity!

So yes, it’s really common for people with autoimmunity to also have allergies as it is one of the first signs that all is not well in the gut. But not everyone will express that way either. So do you have to have hay fever to have autoimmunity? No. But do you have to have gut issues in order to develop autoimmunity? Absolutely! For some people it’s been an issue since infancy and for others it’s an inflammatory response to a number of factors that are unique to their story but often involve periods of high stress, the wrong food choices, a deficiency of thyroid hormones, mould exposure and sometimes antibiotic or certain medication use.

When it comes to hay fever if this is one of the ways your body is expressing disordered immune function, there are some very helpful nutrients & foods that act like anti-histamines in your system I’ve shared below. But when it really boils down to it, your gut health needs to be addressed so your immune system & gut health can turn off those wailing red alerts and stop expecting a bogey man behind every dust mite or thyroid cell.

Strategies to battle hay fever symptoms…

  • Avoid exposure: wear sunglasses outdoors, not heading out if it’s windy, smearing lip balm on the inside of your nostrils to protect that mucosal lining, change your shirt when you come home
  • Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum
  • Ingest omega 3 fatty acids via regularly consumption of fatty fish or a supplement to drive down inflammation
  • Reduce consumption of inflammatory foods such as processed foods, excessive refined sugar containing foods, alcohol & vegetable oils
  • Take specific strains of probiotics that are allergy-specific (like LGG)
  • Consume nutrients that act like antihistamines (quercetin – caution it’s a goitrogen, zinc, vitamin C, ginger)
  • Focus on upping your vitamin D either through sun exposure and/or supplementation
  • Cooled chrysanthemum tea eye wash for allergic itchy eyes
  • Focus on microbiome restoration and gut health (a longer term option, but start now!).

Without improving gut function, lowering gut inflammation and improving your microbiome composition your gut will continue to drive autoimmunity. You may find that you continue to struggle with bloating, constipation and other uncomfortable GI complaints, allergies, food intolerances, fatigue, joint pain, low moods, brain fog, skin issues like eczema & dermatitis, nutrient deficiencies, frequent respiratory infections and your skin, hair and general health will never reach their full potential. Releasing weight becomes that much more difficult when an inflamed gut is causing internal stress on your system and dysbiosis (an imbalance of the good & bad bacteria in your gut) has been shown to impair glucose tolerance meaning that increased insulin will keep you in fat storage mode.

YES! Your gut health even affects your metabolic health!

This is precisely why I address digestive function and gut health with all my Hashimoto’s clients and why a gut healing protocol is one of the pillars of The Thrive Method. It’s just too essential to ignore and without it, it is kind of like trying to fix a leaky boat with a pad of post it notes. Implementing a gut healing protocol is often the first thing I do depending on my findings in your Initial Health Assessment and your pathology results. Not forgetting that the way I teach my clients to eat regulates their blood sugar which is one of the foundations of restoring gut function.

Has hay fever been part of your autoimmune journey? What about any of the other symptoms I’ve mentioned above?

Tessa

The link between Hydration & Weight Loss

By | Client Results, Digestion, Gut Health, Health, Nutritional

 

I bet you didn’t know this!

Water, it’s the elixir of life right?

But why do so many of us struggle to drink the amount we know we should?

What if I told you that hydration is an essential element to healthy weight loss and maintenance?

I’ve got your attention now! But first let me explain something.

When I start working with a client they undergo a huge transformation very rapidly and release excess weight quite quickly. I’ve had a few conversations with clients that go something like this:

Client: ’10kg in 12 weeks that won’t be possible for me!’
Me: ‘Try keep an open mind, give or take this is usually the results I witness when a client commits to themselves & their plan.’
Client: ‘No, it will take me closer to a year to shift that kind of weight!’
Me: ‘Ok, we’ll see how you go.’
(12 weeks later) Client: ‘I cannot believe it, you were right!’

This is a quote from an interview I did with one of my clients Rachael last year:

It’s been the best thing that I have ever done. I can’t believe in 12 weeks, you told me what would happen, and then it actually happened! It surprised me! I didn’t believe you!

I’ll get to the point…

When you are transforming your health and releasing weight those stored lipid cells in your body have been home to a number of different hormonal metabolites and other toxins. They will vary depending on what you have been exposed to over the time that weight has been stored on your body. It’s another way your body protects you, by storing toxins away in lipid cells where they can’t harm you. When you regulate your blood sugar and lower inflammation with nutrient rich whole foods your body starts to use up that stored energy. Guess what happens to those toxins? They get released back into circulation and your liver has to deal with them again.
Here’s the important bit, if you aren’t helping your liver out by remaining super hydrated it won’t be able to flush out a lot of those toxins through your kidneys. And even worse, dehydration will lead to constipation so they won’t be getting out of your system via a nice, healthy bowel motion daily either.
Here’s the kicker, when your body is dealing with a lot of toxins not only can you feel awful (headaches, join pain, pimples, low mood etc) but the stress can cause your body to go into survival mode. When your body is in survival mode it wants to hold on to those energy stores on the body which will make your healthy weight maintenance goal much more difficult to meet.

But dehydration has other draw backs too:

  • It causes the liver to release glucose into the blood stream, thereby increasing insulin your weight storage hormone.
  • It will make your lymphatic system sluggish, another toxin draining pathway.
  • It can cause you to overeat due to mixed thirst/hunger signals.
  • It causes low energy & poor cognition which impairs your ability to make healthy choices that will support your health goals.
  • I’ve already mentioned this but it’s so important, dehydration causes constipation which will leave you sluggish, inflamed and make weight loss much more difficult.

Have I convinced you yet?

You are probably asking yourself how much you should be drinking? Calculate your optimal daily intake by multiplying your weight in kg X 35ml of water. For example 80kg x 35ml = 2800ml or 2.8litres. More than you expected?

The good news is that herbal tea counts, the bad news is that alcohol consumption increases your need.

One of the easiest ways of tracking whether you are hydrated is simply to look at the colour of your urine, it should be quite clear with only a hint of yellow. So if your urine is yellow (unless you’ve taken a B vitamin) keep drinking until it’s closer to clear.

I’ve also attached a handy guide if you know you need to work on this aspect of your health. It’s also a colouring in sheet because who doesn’t love a colouring in (so satisfying!). Calculate your water and divide it by 8, I recommend tracking your water intake for a few days once a month until you know you’ve nailed this healthy habit.

Tessa

Six Days of Digestion is here!

By | Digestion, Gut Health

Six Days of Digestion is here!

It’s here!

My 6 Days of Digestion eCourse is now online and ready for you to start getting back to basics with your gut health, improve digestion and start eating consciously! Read all about it here.

This eCourse is full of tips to stoke your digestive fire, and today I am giving you another one – why the timing of your meals is super important.

Snacking all day is actually terrible for your gut health. It is a quick path towards bloating, constipation and sluggish digestion. Ideally we want to focus on three main meals a day with some long breaks in between. This is optimum as it increases stomach acid and enzyme activity to really prep your belly for efficiency.

I also want to introduce you to the Migrating Motor Complex – a fancy term for the muscles in the GIT lining that helps to move the food along your digestive tract so it can be processed and eliminated. Here’s the catch – it only works efficiently when your stomach is empty and you are in a fasted state (3+ hours between ingesting food). Which means that snacking prevents food from being digested, absorbed and eliminated as fast as it should be!

But won’t I get hungry? I hear you ask… Yes, a little! But the key is carefully constructing your meals – as I teach in my eCourse. The benefits far outweigh a few hunger pangs before your next meal.

So next time you reach for a snack at the first tiny sign of hunger, remember to practice flexing your Migrating Motor Complex muscles and take a pause before your next main meal. You can thank me later for improved digestion and a more healthy weight!

As always, if you know someone else who also needs to hear this, please share it along!

Healthy Meal Formula Part 2

By | Digestion, Gut Health, Nutritional

Assembling a Healthy Meal: herbs, condiments & additions

I have had so many responses from my last vlog on how to assemble a healthy meal that I needed to do a follow on!

So let’s unpack the herbs and garnishes component of your well-put-together meal. Grab a pen and paper and read on…


Herbs are little boosts of nutrition that also enhance the gut healing power of meals (and bonus that they make it taste even better!). They also pack a punch when it comes to antioxidant activity, as they are rich in polyphenols which are super important for gut health. Cloves, in particular, contain the highest antioxidant activity as per the ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity).
Do you have a herb garden at home? It is one of the best feelings to collect some fresh herbs from the garden whilst you are cooking and it also enhances your connection to your food as well. Use herbs to garnish everything! Yes – even coriander!
Hint: you can make any meal have a more Mediterranean feel by roasting a tray of veggies in the oven that are sprinkled with herbs like oregano.

Nuts and seeds are also often forgotten. Toast them up for added texture and crunch to your meals and snacks.
Need ideas? What about toasted pistachios or hazelnuts on desserts, slithers of almonds on fish or chicken or crushed peanuts in curries. You can also toast them with some olive oil and spices like turmeric for an added nutritional boost. And don’t forget about hemp seeds which can be added to pretty much anything – sweet or savoury!

Seaweed is another nutrient booster that people don’t often think about. Sprinkle it on savoury dishes and your good gut microbes will love you! Keep some dulse, nori or wakame on hand in your kitchen.

Good quality salt (like celtic sea salt) – all you need is a pinch to really bring out the flavour in your meal.

Bone broth is another addition that boosts gut health and can be added to so many things – marinades, salad dressings, soups, stews, you can even use it as part of chicken schnitzel seasoning!

Fermented foods for a probiotic boost – if you can tolerate histamines. All you need is between a teaspoon to a tablespoon of kimchi or sauerkraut added to your meal.

Using greek yoghurt as a sauce is another option for a probiotic boost – add a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper and some herbs – it is delicious!

If you don’t mind the cost, superfood powders pack another powerhouse punch. Think camu camu, acai, kakadu plum, spirulina – there are so many options!

Even though they can often be classed as unhealthy, certain condiments can be added to really enhance your food flavour and texture. My favourite…pesto! There is also guacamole, tahini, mustard, hommus, nut butters.

And lastly, don’t forget some basics like lemon, lime and orange zest, vinegars, avocado oil, olive oil,  high-quality grass-fed butter and ghee.


Wow, what a list! Remember, our aim is to ingest around 40 different plant foods per week and the good news is most of the above contribute to this! So just by adding different condiments, herbs and nutrient additions to each meal you are easily boosting the variety of plant foods in your diet which makes your gut very very happy.

I love receiving feedback and seeing what you are adding to your meals so please tag me on social media or leave a comment below.

My Simple Healthy Meal Formula Part 1

By | Digestion, Gut Health, Health, Nutritional

My formula for assembling a healthy meal

Today I’m talking about how we can really have an bio-individualistic approach to your diet, which takes into account your genes, your personal response to certain foods, your ethics and your values. I often like to ask my clients what their ancestors ate, or what their great-grandmother would consume.

Question: does your ancestral diet match the cultural diet that you have now?

Now there isn’t one perfect diet for everyone, even though there are some great diet protocols out there. Instead of placing you in a diet box or labelling how you eat, I have developed a process to transition you away from SAD (Standard Australian/American Diet), to a more balanced way of eating.

Actually, my two main rules when it comes to diet are Balance, and JERF (Just Eat Real Food). But I found that people really needed some guidelines that also were doable, flexible for those with food sensitivities, suited to different nationalities and values, and most importantly, it needed to be delicious, filling and make you feel amazing.

I call it The Ideal Plate. It’ll be covered in depth in my Six Days of Digestion mini ecourse, but let’s touch on the main principles today.

  • Half of your plate needs to contain green (or mostly green), non-starchy vegetables
  • A quarter of your plate contains the colourful and starchy vegetables, or plant-based foods such as legumes
  • The final quarter is divided into protein sources such as meat, poultry, fish, tempeh, etc, which ideally needs to be around the size of your palm, and fats such as olive oil, avocado, ghee, butter, and the like
  • Meal optimisation through herbs, spices, nuts, seeds and condiments to really boost flavour and nutrition.

Sounds simple, right? It is. Simple but highly effective, and exactly what goes in those ratios can be tailored to you as an individual.

Know someone who needs this? Please forward on this blog and help them to discover these guidelines that could make all the difference for them.

One simple step to better digestion

By | Digestion, Gut Health

One thing you can do today to make your digestive system happy

Want to know one of the simplest things you can do for your digestive system, right now?

It is actually something you’re already doing multiple times a day, but often can be done a lot better! Plus your stomach, gut, nutrient levels and inflammation will all thank you if you cultivate more awareness around this action….I’m talking about mastication!

Or put more simply, chewing your food properly.

As Australians, and most westerners in general, we have really become out of touch with the whole experience of eating. What to eat, when to eat, how to eat – it feels like a lost art! Instead we eat with constant distractions (in front of the TV, whilst using our smart phones) and we pretty much swallow without chewing – then realise why our digestion is not happy.

Did you know that the digestion process actually starts before you put that first forkful inside your mouth?!

The anticipation, smell and sensory input actually kickstarts the eating experience and actually revs up your digestive juices. So when we are being those multi-tasking superhumans, our bodies haven’t been able to start this important pre-work of upregulating saliva enzymes, stomach acid and bile production – which all help us to breakdown our food, absorb nutrients and really make our digestive process more efficient with less bloating and better poos.

Action step: focus on your food, slow down and chew really well – think of it as making a smoothie out of your mouthful before swallowing.

If you know someone else who needs to slowwww down and really give the act of eating the respect it deserves, please share this video with them! And if you want more conscious eating tips, stay tuned for my 6 Days of Digestion course coming soon.

My Simple Wrap Recipe

By | Digestion, Gut Health

My Simple Wrap Recipe

Today I’m filming from my kitchen to give you a how-to video of how I make my wraps. These will be a part of the wholefoods recipe book I am releasing as part of the launch of my 6 Days of Digestion mini eCourse in early December. The recipe book is full of meals that are easy on the digestive system.

When it comes to food choices I think there are three ways that those suffering with IBS can get themselves into strife.

  • Frankenfoods! Processed and lab made to look and taste like food, but they’re really just imitations. Processed foods like two minute noodles, many cereals and processed grains, vegetable oils and confectionary are so foreign to the human body that it has a lot of trouble digesting it and assimilating any nutrients. Aim for the 80/20 guide, whereby you consume whole foods 80% of the time.
  • Unbalanced meals. Eating foods rich in particular macro nutrients can cause a lot of trouble. The best example that comes to mind are pastries & deep fried food. Meat pies for example are very high in fat & carbohydrates and contain little fibre to help the body with digestion.
  • Food intolerances. Continuing to consume foods that are causing inflammation will keep you stuck on the merry ground of digestive misery.

All three of these mistakes can be contributing to IBS symptoms.

These wraps are an alternative to the packaged and processed ones, higher in protein, tastier (I think!) that treat your body a little better! Download the full recipe here. Fill them full of leftovers for lunches, use in Mexican dishes such as enchiladas (they also make good tortillas), savoury crepes or change it up with some vanilla paste to make a healthier sweet treat crepe dish.

If you give these a go make sure to tag me so I can see you enjoy these too!
And as always, please share this content with someone in your life who could also benefit from some super simple and easy food ideas! And please keep an eye out for my new eCourse.

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