fbpx
was successfully added to your cart.

Cart

Category

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.

Hashimoto’s reflection prompts for a New Year

By | Health, Mindset

Humans aren’t great at sticking to resolutions because when the reward is too distant in the future or too vague, most of us choose the immediate reward now because the pull of instant gratification is too strong. This has given New Years resolutions a bad rap but are they complete BS? Everyone seems to have an opinion on it. If you are like me and feel contemplative over the New Year then check out my reflection prompts below.

I don’t do New Years resolutions but I do think it’s a fitting time of year to reflect on what was and what may be.

This time of year feels fresh and full of potential, the weather is sweet, the days are long, we’re often holidaying and it’s easier to feel hopeful and excited about the future. So I say, why not harness that feeling for positive action & reflection?!

After working with many women who need to make changes in order to make their Hashimoto’s health dreams a reality I realised that goal setting was THE all important first step. One of the first things you do in The Thrive Method is learn how to craft well formed goals. I teach that we need to reverse engineer our goals by crafting them in a way that they are do-able and can be broken down into chunks that are behaviour based. This means that instead of setting a goal like, ‘I want to get healthier in 2023’ or, ‘lose weight’, you might download an app that tracks how much water you drink each day and commit to a weekly meal planning date with yourself instead.

Just a little reminder, when you create goals, make them do-able and execute them, you are literally retraining your brain and building new neural pathways. It’s a big deal so well done and a pat on the back! However, it does not happen with one big initial decision in the New Year and then relying on motivation and self discipline to see you through to the end. It just doesn’t work like that, you need to make many small and consistent choices throughout your day, week, month and year to find yourself achieving & maintaining your goals long term. And you also need to cut yourself some slack on the days or meals when you don’t act in alignment with your goals and look at the big picture instead. You don’t have to get it perfect every time, 80% or 90% of the time is plenty to reach your goals. When you view it like this you are much less likely to throw in the towel by mid-Feb.

I take a long term view and I use these times in the year – birthdays are another good one – to reflect on what I’m doing well, where I want to be in the future and what habits I need to build into my day and week to get me there. I know I want to grow old with my mental faculties still in tact and I never want to be hospitalised with an illness again. The hidden reason behind these goals is that I want to be the kind of matriarch that has energy, loves to have fun, hold hands with my husband as we travel the world, hang out with kids & grandkids and whose presence feels like a warm hug.

Whoah you might be thinking! Slow down, you’re still only in your thirties! I know, I’ve always been a planner and I believe that when you decide on a destination it sets the path before you. So this year I know I need to work on building muscle to support my skeletal health (severe osteoporosis runs in our family). I’ve researched some ways I can do this and stumbled across something called rucking that builds muscle while you walk (which I already do & love). It’s just walking with a lightly weighted back pack. Perfect! I can do my usual bush walks and optimise the impact with a weight in my back pack. Box ticked!

Last year I committed to growing more of my own food and being grateful for my home and garden – even if we are renting – by creating a vegetable patch and native flower garden for bees. The behaviour I had to implement to make that a reality was keeping most Saturdays free to spend time in the garden and get into the habit of pulling a few weeds during my lunch break. I started identifying as a gardener and learning everything I could. A year later I have more than halved my greengrocer bill during Spring, Summer & Autumn. We are eating organic home grown vegetables most days and boy it feels good! There is zero will power needed now because I look forward to my time in the garden.

Have you had a moment to stop and reflect on 2022 yet?

Here are some questions you can use to prompt reflections through journalling or meditation.

  1. My biggest thyroid health challenge in 2022 was…
  2. What held me back in 2022?
  3. In 2022 I served myself well by doing the following…
  4. What health & wellbeing goals do I hold for the next year?
  5. What daily habits do I need to build to make this happen?

Now, create a plan and stick to it. Studies have shown that on average it takes 66 days for new habits to become effortless. I’ve always got the goods for you so I’ve attached one of my Thrive Method handouts to help you out. You can download it here.

Why you aren’t getting long term results

By | Health, Metabolic Balance, Mindset

I knew about 10 minutes in that I was in trouble.

10km wasn’t far, I had done 5, 6, 7km often. The difference was in the pack I was carrying. It wasn’t until we were loading up at the car that I realised the all important strap that causes your hips to take most of the weight was broken. Add to that our heavy & impractical blow up mattress (many of you will have heard all about THAT saga) and the fact that we had to carry enough water for all four of us for 24 hours in warm QLD conditions while we sweated our way from one end of the Carnarvon Gorge to the other, and I was in struggle town. From behind I looked like a hiking pack with legs, I know this because unbeknownst to me, Theo took a rather unflattering photo of me from behind while I tried in vain to secure the hip strap.

After about 45 minutes I moved ahead of Nick and the boys so I could give myself a little pep talk.
Tessa, this is going to be much harder than you thought, but you can’t give up, the boys are watching, and you want to do more of these hikes in the future, you’ve got to push on.

My knees already felt like they wanted to drop out of my body and slink way to die in the bushes and I was only about a fifth of the way.

In my mind I was chanting encouraging words and recalculating how much further we had to go at every signpost we passed. It wasn’t that unlike childbirth now I think about it.

Every few minutes we would pass hikers coming the other way and while it was nice to have eye contact with strangers (this does not happen in Frankston!) they all had something to say about our clearly under-equipped life choices.

‘Are you camping overnight?!’ They would often ask with a smug smile. These goody-two-shoes had obviously got up at the crack of dawn, hiked there and back and were heading back to the lodge where a glass of shiraz, cheese board and running water was waiting for them.

I passed one elderly couple resting on a bench with walking sticks and felt immensely better, if they could do it surely I could too. By this stage I was determined but so red and puffed out that all I could manage was a nod in their direction.

The leader of the next group of people stopped for a chat, they were impressed and curious about our family and couldn’t believe we were planning to camp at the other end. They asked a few questions, told us we were in for a treat and then wished us luck. I was elated, I had never actually met anyone who had done this hike and hearing about the wonders ahead that we would probably have to explore all to ourselves was spurring me on. This was going to be the experience I had planned for my family for months now. My pack felt lighter, my pace quickened, I could do this! The next 45 minutes was a breeze, I only stopped for a moment to let a family of kangaroos pass in front of me, a joey peeking out from his mothers pouch.

‘You’ve got a long way to go!’, called out a man as we passed, ‘At least another four hours.’
I heard the boys groan behind me. Instantly, my pack felt impossibly heavy, the enchantment of the forest, the gorge walls (which were glowing in the afternoon light) and the river song was broken. The pain in my knees came back 10 fold and a black wave of doubt filled my mind.

I can’t do this, I have weak ankles, I’ll injure myself, we’re too far from help if anything happens, we’ll run out of water, the boys are going to get bitten by a snake and die a painful, slow death, this is irresponsible.

It’s amazing the ways in which your mind can craft falsehoods in an effort to turn you away from discomfort. My thoughts and perceptions about my situation were shaping my physical reality, literally causing me pain.

For many people the war that rages on in their mind daily is with their relationship with food. They may win some small campaigns but ultimately, they always seem to end up defeated with no long term results. We all have a vision for ourselves and values about who we want to be and how we want to interact with food but somehow we never seem to gain victory long term.

The reason you aren’t winning the war is because you aren’t equipped. You need strategies, information about the inner workings of the terrain and a powerful battle cry – ok I’m taking the metaphor a little too far now I know. But you get my point right?

Food Freedom is the solution I created to educate while also challenge and equip you to win this battle, get the results and start living out the values you hold for your future self. It’s part Yoda, part Samwise Gamgee and part Fairy Godmother. It’s also the most cost effective way of working with me if 1:1 is beyond reach at the moment.

Topics I cover include goal setting for powerful habit mastery, emotional eating, hunger & cravings, self sabotage and how exactly your body works and wants to be fed so that is is nourished well and able to release any extra weight with ease. I also go over the basics like portions sizes, what foods should make up most of your daily eating and my helpful meal formula. There’s a lot of value!

If you join The Thrive Method you get access to Food Freedom as a gift (that’s one generous $397 gift) but you can also enrol for Food Freedom now and start today.

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

Tried everything & still exhausted?

By | Client Results, Health, Thyroid Health

So often I hear the words, ‘No matter what I try, I’m always exhausted’.

Fatigue associated with Hashimoto’s disease is unrelenting, all-encompassing and usually comes with a hefty dose of brain fog and mental confusion, sometimes dizziness and frequently, low moods. It doesn’t tend to improve with sleep or any of the usual strategies. It’s common for Hashimoto’s sufferers to wake unrefreshed even after 8-10 hours of sleep.

Low thyroid hormone circulating in your system due to hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s disease causes a deficiency throughout the body meaning that all the systems that contain thyroid hormone receptors will not be able to do their jobs properly. Systems including your brain, central nervous system, heart, liver, stomach and intestines slow and are affected, causing chronic fatigue.

I remember telling my husband that I was convinced someone was slipping a sleeping tablet in my morning coffee back when my Hashimoto’s was poorly managed.

Most of my clients come to me for weight loss – and they do lose weight which they are pleased as punch about (obviously!) – but it’s saying goodbye to afternoon naps and constantly feeling lacklustre that eclipse the delight over weight loss.

Without vitality & energy it can feel like you are trapped in a black and white world while everyone else lives in technicolour.

Fingers crossed, I’m yet to have a client not experience a huge increase in energy. Most of my clients initially report energy levels at 2-6/10 and walk away with energy levels between 7-10/10.

In fact, just this morning my 10am client Alison told me she is feeling amazing and rated her energy at 10/10. That’s up from 6/10 at her first appointment only 4 weeks ago. After many years of Hashimoto’s associated fatigue, joint pain and digestive woes she has also lost 8kg in the last four weeks.

“It’s just so easy!” She gushed about following her personalised food plan. And you can see why she feels that way with results like that!

So what is it that gets these amazing results so fast?

A combination of lowered inflammation, regulated blood sugar, nourishing food and personalised nutrition. That is, eating fresh whole foods that are right for you and your health conditions, at the right time, in the right portion sizes and balanced in a way that provides your body with all the nutrients it needs to keep your energy stabilised throughout the day. Drinking enough water to stay well hydrated also plays a part.

It’s all pretty simple really but as I was explaining to Alison this morning, in the West our inner compass is so broken when it comes to food. Factory made flavours and foods that make no sense in nature, diet culture, in addition to a lack of cultural food tradition has done a lot of damage to our relationship with food. The majority of us – Hashi’s or not – are walking around in a daze, with no idea of how good you can really feel.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything then I have a solution for you that is based on common sense principles and really works. Just ask my clients!

If you have loved ones who are trapped in the misery of Hashimoto’s or Hypothyroidism please forward them this blog.

How this Hashi’s Thriver turned her symptoms around with personalised nutrition…

By | Client Results, Health, Metabolic Balance, Thyroid Health

Initially Kara was not sure she wanted to work with me or do Metabolic Balance. She was extremely doubtful it was going to work.

I knew I would be able to help her but after our chat I didn’t hear from her for a few weeks.

After 8 years as a vegetarian and 2 as a vegan following the advice of the Medical Medium, Kara was nervous to try animal proteins again, fearing it would make her antibodies soar.

But she was also frustrated with her extremely low energy levels and the stubborn tummy weight so in the end she decided to give it a go.

This is what Kara had to say about how she felt initially…


“I was hesitant coming from a vegan lifestyle for 2+ years and vegetarian lifestyle for 8+ years. Changing my diet was extremely unnerving 
to me as I had seen improvements in my health however I still had lingering concerns which didn’t change no matter what I tried.”
Kara

As a working mum to a two year old, Kara’s sleep and energy were of major concern to her.

She reported her energy at a low 5/10. She was particularly exhausted by 3pm (the blood sugar hour as I like to call it) but felt tired throughout the day.

Her brain fog was severe enough it affected her ability to function.

Kara was familiar with the benefits of a whole food diet and ate plenty of healthy and wholesome foods in her vegan diet but they were not right for her or her healing journey.

She claimed she was ‘always hungry’.

I knew that personlised nutrition was going to be a game changer for her.

Kara had a very pale pallor to her complexion and not surprisingly her pathology revealed she was very low in iron. Hormonally, Kara reported mild PMS with heavy bleeding day 1 with some cramping discomfort.

Kara had trouble conceiving in the past due to Hashimoto’s and she wanted to prepare her body for a successful pregnancy in the future.

Kara wanted to manage her thyroid function better and with fewer or no supplements (she had 9 different supplements she took on & off).

She was also hoping to get her autoimmunity into remission eventually.


“I was also heavily supplementing which was also something I wanted to reduce as much as possible and find something that would heal my body through food only. It took me almost 3 months before I was ready to commit and start the program. Mostly changing my mind set around “healthy eating”.
Kara 

Kara is a very petite woman, weight gain had not been a major issue for her and was not her main motivation for working with me.

She stated that it would be a bonus if she could release her stubborn abdominal weight gain on her belly which she estimated to be around 4kg of extra weight based on her history.

Her starting weight was 58kg and her goal was 54kg. Kara experienced a few food intolerances and digestive issues and was already on a strictly gluten free diet.

Kara had her initial health consult at the end of March and started her program with me at the beginning of April 2022. We had her last consultation in mid-July 2022 so we worked together for a total of 3 ½ months.

We stopped all her supplements as she wanted to see what just food could do for her health. I recommended some selenium drops and Kara agreed to take the drops only throughout the program.

In 7 days

  • 2.5kg released. This was very much a fluid & inflammation picture that was sitting on her belly due to the unsuitable dietary patterns Kara had before starting her program
  • Energy had already jumped up to 8/10
  • Sleep had improved

14 days

  • 4kg released, down to goal weight with abdominal weight gain released
  • Energy stable at 8/10
  • Enjoying food options

28 days

  • First period since starting MB is lighter & more comfortable
  • Libido has also significantly increased
  • Sleep has improved to 7/10

2 months

  • Energy 8/10
  • Sleep 8/10
  • Brain fog is gone
  • Maintaining new weight
  • Very confident with food choices
  • Period is lighter with a shorter bleed, no pain

3 ½ months

  • Sleep 8/10
  • Energy 9/10
  • Upon retesting TPO antibodies have decreased from 470 to 424
  • Ferritin and iron have increased
  • Kara’s complexion has improved drastically, she looks healthier, more pink in her complexion with eyes more alert & clear.
  • Has advised she is definitely ovulating and is feeling more optimistic about her fertility. To be continued I guess!
  • The weight has stayed off her abdomen effortlessly despite having been in maintenance phase for about six weeks.
  • Kara’s thyroid function has normalised since she first started her plan, all her blood levels are now in the optimal range and her TSH has decreased from 3.3 (subclinical hypothyroidism) to 1.7 (optimal) and her symptoms have resolved.

Kara is now super confident with which foods are right for her, her portion sizes and how to balance a meal to keep her blood sugar regulated, keep inflammation at bay and energy high.

She still enjoys food while on holidays and at special occasions. She is effortlessly maintaining her energy levels, hormonal health and healthy weight.


“Within the first week there was no question in my mind that I had made the right choice to start this. I instantly felt energized and inflammation had reduced greatly already! In the end my results have been amazing and I’m so happy with where I’m at with my health, in terms of how I’m feeling but also with my Hashimoto’s & Thyroid blood work. This is now just a lifestyle that works best for me, my blood type and blood results for my condition (which is basically gone now). So so happy. Thank you very much! Forever grateful!” Kara

The Thrive Method for women with Hashimoto’s & Hypothyroidism will be available very soon.

Reply to this email with YES (‘heck yeah’ is also acceptable) if you want me to put you on my in-the-know wait list for The Thrive Method.

Late night snacking, a help or hindrance?

By | Digestion, Health, Nutritional

Got a cuppa? Let’s discuss the controversial topic of late night snacking.

I see a lot of messaging on social media saying you should be eating supper before bed, it’s good for you they say!

Can I give you my two cents?

Have you noticed that a lot of what I share with you is really just simple tips to keep your blood sugar regulated?

I believe that our ancestors knew this knowledge inherently due to generations of food traditions and habits but somehow we’ve lost our way when it comes to these common sense customs.

The Industrial Age brought many changes, some beneficial, others not so much. Like the humble light bulb which means we can stay up past sunset to party, work, relax and… eat!

So let’s say you have a big night out and find yourself enjoying a kebab at midnight. What’s the big deal?

Well, studies show that your body responds very differently to a kebab at midnight than to a kebab at midday.

It turns out that food eaten at night has a much higher glucose response to the exact same meals consumed during daylight hours.

We are biologically wired to be awake & active with the sun and sleeping or restful with the moon and that includes eating.

One study linked the high diabetes levels of shift workers to the fact that they were required to eat at night during their shifts and the high glucose response to those meals. They replicated those meals during the day and low and behold, their glucose response was slower, lower and didn’t last as long.

And guess what? The same was true for their lipid metabolism, explaining why an increased risk of cardiovascular disease is also associated with late night meals.

And just to recap, high glucose equals high insulin (your fat storage hormone).

So whenever your blood sugar is too high and poorly regulated, as is the case when you eat late at night, you are in fat storage mode.

So the habit of eating late will hinder your ability to maintain a healthy weight.

So when should you finish eating for the day?

Officially I say 8pm, mostly because it’s a sensible time for most Australians and families.

But you don’t have to put an exact time on it, these are guides not rules, there is no prison warden coming to lock up the fridge & turn off the lights at 8pm exactly.

I can just imagine someone bent over their meal, eyes darting to the clock on the dining room wall as they panic trying to finish their meal before 8pm. That is definitely not necessary! In your day to day life, just try to plan dinner at around 7:00-7:30 at the latest.

We have kids so we tend to eat at about 6pm. I won’t eat again until around 7am the next day.

Don’t you get hungry? I hear you ask.

Well actually no, I don’t even think about food to be honest unless maybe it’s a Friday night and our family makes a special treat or have a hot chocolate in front of a movie.

Dinner is always balanced with plenty of protein, vegetables, healthy fats & complex carbs so I am satisfied.

Do I make dinner bookings at 6pm? Gosh no, I don’t worry about finishing a meal by 8pm when I am out.

What time do you eat dinner?

Is Self Sabotage robbing you of thyroid healing?

By | Health, Mindset
Let’s get down and dirty with self sabotage

Self sabotage can do a doozy on us when it comes to food & health goals, and thyroid recovery requires a lot of self commitment.

So how can you tackle self sabotage?

I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t experienced that little voice convincing them to abandon their commitment to their health.

You might find yourself eating the birthday cake at the office party when you’ve committed to not eating gluten for autoimmunity.

Or eating a whole bag of corn chips when all you really needed was a handful.

Maybe you are a chronic Monday-morning-er, forever putting off your own health needs for another day.

Why do we do it to ourselves?

1. Fear of the Unfamiliar
Each one of us have 3 basic needs (once food, water and shelter are taken care of!). They are:

  • Love
  • Safety
  • Belonging.

When our subconscious mind realises that we are making changes, it freaks out and worries that one of these needs will be compromised.

Self-sabotaging behaviours stem from the concern that if you change, one of these needs will no longer be met. It’s the fear of the unfamiliar, which is a very human fear.

2. Food FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
We fear that we’ll never be able to eat the food that tickle our tastebuds ever again.

I think we all know that this simply isn’t true and in many ways this becomes a scapegoat mask with one of the other two base fears above hiding behind it.

When you apply a balanced approach, you can and will enjoy celebratory foods at special occasions without sabotaging your results.

I’ve said it hundreds of times but I’ll say it again, you do not have to be a food nun to get extraordinary results.

This thinking really stems from a deprivation & dieting approach where food is bland and you have to stick to it forever or you reverse your results (thanks weight watchers!).

You also learn to luxuriate in the flavours that nature provides.

One of my incredible clients was telling me recently how the sweet & sour pork that was always her favourite take away is no longer appealing, her palate has changed.

Another client said this about my Metabolic Balance coaching…

“Everything feels balanced so that when you want to have a treat with your kids or with your friends, you can! I’ve been describing it as the easiest, simplest way that I’ve ever lost weight or improved my health since I was probably 25.”
– Rachael

3. Fear of Success
No, that’s not a typo!

Fear of success is another very real (arguably the most common) reason we sabotage our efforts.

What will you have to face or do differently if you finally succeed? Will your relationships change? Will you have to do that thing you’ve been forever afraid of?

When we up level one area of our life & wellbeing we can feel pressure and fear the consequences in other areas too.

For some, poor health has become a subconscious victim badge they are reluctant to part with.

For others, their weight gain is an unconscious protective mechanism against romantic or sexual attention.

So, what can you do about it?

  • Awareness. Bring a gentle awareness & curiosity when these thoughts pop up.
  • Analyse, what is really going on? With a dose of self awareness you can unmask those fears. Bring them out of the darkness into the light and pull them apart, turn them over, analyse every nook & cranny. Are they really true?
  • Rewrite the story. Once you have teased apart the fears and removed their power you can craft an affirmation to combat them next time they rear their ugly heads.
    Self sabotaging thought: ‘If I regain my energy then I’ll have no excuse to not start that business I’ve been talking about for years & make it a wild success. If that happens I’ll be exhausted and too busy to spend time with my family. I’ll finally be able to afford that dream car and then my friends will think I’m a snob and won’t like me anymore.’
    Your affirmation might be: ‘I am committed to eating in a way that reignites my energy so I can be present for my family, fulfil my dreams and have no regrets’.

If you want to get down and dirty with your self-sabotage then the two books I recommend are The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks & The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Hendricks refers to it as the ‘upper limit problem’ and Pressfield as ‘resistance’, but essentially what they are referring to is self sabotage, holding ourselves back from growth.

Self-sabotage is such an issue with my clients that I have a whole step dedicated to it in Food Freedom.

Did you know that all my Thrive Method clients get Food Freedom as a gift to help them create powerful habit change and long term success? It’s important to me that all the incredible women I work with are equipped with strategies so they can finally get the incredible results they desire for good.

You can book a free health chat here if you want to talk more.

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

The four stages of transformation

By | Health, Metabolic Balance, Nutritional, Whole food

The four stages of transformation

When we set health goals, we often focus on a measurement aspect.

I want to lose 10 kilos.

I need to lose 8cm off my belly.

I want to fit into size 12 clothing.

But we often forget about the other positive changes that really should become a focus!

Things like a positive mindset towards food, craving control, energy levels, confidence, and improved moods.

Of creating habits that act as an ally to great health.

But as you know, we don’t just jump from where we are currently at to where we want to be.

It’s a process.

And there are four distinct stages: Tension, Transition, Tantrums and Transformation.

Tension – you know something is wrong but you aren’t sure how to fix it.

Transition – you are ready to start taking action and invest resources into resolving the problem you are facing. This is usually when someone first books in with me, they know they need help and they are seeking expert guidance.

Tantrums – This is the self sabotage phase when you either push through or give up. This is complicated and I cover it extensively in my Food Freedom program.

Transformation – You have your result and maintaining it is effortless as you’ve mastered new habits with no desire to go back to how you used to feel.

A couple of weeks ago I had the final consult of the Metabolic Balance 12 week package with one of my clients.

Yes she had reached her goal of losing 10.5kg and was managing a chronic health condition really well but she was more excited to tell me about her new mindset toward food.

How easy she was finding it to navigate eating out and making everyday choices that was making her health transformation easily maintainable.

She now craves good, fresh whole foods and has learnt to listen to her body.

Food has become her ally and it was a joyful part of her life rather than a source of confusion or guilt.

This is how you know that you have moved through the four stages into Transformation.

I cover these four stages in more detail in my Food Freedom course, which is available now (let’s chat).

My focus is to have you flow through each of the four stages so that at the end, maintenance of the new you is effortless.