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Nutritional

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.

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?

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.

5 kitchen hacks that save you time and energy

By | Health, Metabolic Balance, Nutritional, Whole food
5 kitchen hacks that save you time and energy

Does it feel like you’re spending waaaaaay too much time in the kitchen and when you’re not in the kitchen you’re thinking about what to cook? Feeding ourselves and our family can take up a lot of brain power and add to our mental load significantly but with a few strategic habits you can cut that time and mental load in half.

1. Stop snacking

Plan three nutritious and filling meals per day. The only exception is if you’re an athlete, child or are pregnant or breastfeeding. The snacking mindset has you going back to the kitchen every couple of hours checking the fridge, checking the pantry, checking the fridge again. Instead, plan three main meals around a protein source and be amazed as you don’t even think about food for a few hours. This is a key concept that my Metabolic Balance clients work through and gain big results from, too.

2. Meal plan

As mentioned before, the brain power and mental load it takes to actually think about what to have for dinner every day can really suck the joy out of being in the kitchen. Leaving meal planning to the few hours before you’re to eat can lend the process to be rushed, stressful and actually push us into that sympathetic nervous system state (fight or flight). If we are in this state, we are not absorbing and metabolising our food as we should be.

HINT: create two or three different weeks of meals, and rotate them. You’re still getting the variety but without having to meal plan every single week once you’re in this habit.

3. Shop once weekly

Have a plan, then execute. If we spend time writing out the meal plan, don’t drop the ball when it comes to collecting what is needed to follow through. One big weekly shop will save you so much more time and energy (and money, trust me!) than smaller shops throughout the week.

4. Batch cook

Lentil curry one night, lentil curry pies with GF pastry the next yummmm.
Or spaghetti bolognaise morphing into a shepherds pie for the next day.
And a super versatile one: leftover roast vegetables being used for lunch the next day, simply paired with some goats cheese and fresh greens.

This hack is a favourite time saver of mine. So much so that I’ve created a mini batch cooking recipe book – you can grab it for free here.

5.  Keep it simple! 

We seem to way over complicate our evening meals, but in reality you can create a healthy meal that is super simple and quick. In summer we are lucky to be able to get away with a lot more raw and fresh foods so dinner can be as simple as a piece of grilled meat alongside a salad with dressing.

Just make sure that your meal structure contains these key aspects: protein, good fats, complex carbs, vegetables and colour.

Hint: Have quick proteins ready to base your meal around, tinned tuna, salmon or sardines, pre-cooked chicken breast, boiled eggs, goats cheese, yoghurt, legumes, etc. I posted recently about getting a roast chook and making a salad. Nothin’ wrong with that!

We often don’t do these things because we think we don’t have time to be that organised, but in reality you can’t afford NOT to be this organised! And as you can see, with a little conscious thought and preparation, these hacks are super simple and easily integrated into your life.

I would love to hear how you’re putting these kitchen hacks into action! Please hit reply (I absolutely love reading your responses!) or tag me on Instagram and Facebook.

‘Burning it off’ is a myth

By | Health, Metabolic Balance, Nutritional

‘Burning it off’ is a myth.

It really grates on me when I hear about people flogging themselves in the high intensity cardio, pump until you vomit, HIIT and F45 kind of way. It puts the body under enormous stress. It has the opposite to our desired outcome and actually increases our insulin which keeps us in fat storage mode.

I know, right.

Can I also mention that if we add kids, a stressful career and/or a ton of responsibilities onto that, then this kind of exercise will just drive up your already elevated stress response.

Further to this, if we don’t have a disposable few hours a day to spend toning our bodies (not to mention the time drain of compromised health) then this way of approaching our health goals just won’t work.

So I say this with love, but that New Years-fuelled gym membership is not going to give you the results you want.

But stay with me here, because there is an alternative to losing that weight and it does not start (or end) in the gym.

Actually, it begins in the kitchen.

It’s more important to get your food right, master that, and THEN incorporate some movement that nourishes rather than ravages your nervous system to support your overall health – including weight loss.

In fact, the notion that you can’t maintain a healthy weight without hours of punishing daily exercise is quite outdated and doesn’t take into account how smart our bodies actually are.

Using Metabolic Balance and my system, you are actually required to rest for the first few weeks. That’s right, no gruelling exercise regimes alongside MB at all. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Those first few weeks, when the focus is on resting and nourishing and gently resetting the body, is when a lot of people release most of their excess weight.

Sounds amazing, right?

With MB we start with a comprehensive health assessment and blood test panel. And we use that information to formulate a plan individualised to your nutritional needs.

This is the key to dropping excess weight.

Because once we get your food right, your insulin levels stabilise, and then by incorporating smart movement into this we switch on our fat burning mode.

Now, I want to show you some interesting stats.

Have you ever heard people say that weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise? That actually comes from a large meta-analysis of 493 studies on weight loss methods.

They found that:

  • The first group changed their diet lost 10.7kg in 16 weeks.
  • The second group didn’t change their diet but embarked upon an exercise regime and lost 2.9kg in 16 weeks.
  • The third group changed both diet & movement patterns and lost 11kg in 16 weeks.

So with this we can see that diet is the ultimate tool for releasing excess weight.

BUT we don’t avoid movement altogether as it is so important for physical and mental health.

Instead, in combination with my system using MB, I encourage my clients to move in a way that feels good for them, is enjoyable, and that also builds muscle (as having more muscle raises your metabolic rate, meaning you burn more fat at rest). Bonus points if this movement is done outside in nature (you get extra stress-busting points for that!!).

So let’s tackle your health goals together this year, pop that gym membership away for now and allow your body to relax into the MB way of eating and moving. You can book your free info chat here.

My 5 tips to enjoy Christmas feasting

By | Digestion, Health, Metabolic Balance, Nutritional

Christmas Greetings!

I just want to take 2 minutes to talk to you about the silly season, it’s well & truly arrived. I was walking through the city this week and even on a Wednesday night it was clear that many a Christmas party was occurring in every restaurant & bar we walked past.

We don’t have a lot to celebrate as Australians, a few sporting events, Australia Day and the highly anticipated Christmas holidays. After the year we’ve had, I say grab it by the horns and party! Eat the amazing food, have a drink (or two) and laugh with your loved ones & colleagues.

Can I tell you one of my biggest bugbears? This ‘I’ll start eating healthy again on the 1st of January’ malarky. This stems from the deeply rooted diet culture we have in the west.

Can I challenge you to think about it differently?

Christmas & New Years are two days in the calendar, throw in a secondary family do, a work do and maybe a friend do and you’re looking at 5-6 events tops. What if you were to attend the events, enjoy the feasting and then come home and continue to nourish your body at the next meal? Do you really need to write off 6 or so weeks? When you get yourself into the all or nothing mindset you can do some real damage to your relationship with food and your health.

I teach my Metabolic Balance clients to approach food mindfully as an adult, not with our child-like or judgmental parent selves. The adult understands the consequences and can make rational decisions whereas the child or authoritarian parent want you to either binge until you’re sick or bring on the guilt for even daring to consider eating the trifle. This perpetuates the diet mentality and keeps you stuck in an immature relationship with food, continually frustrated with your health & inability to maintain a healthy weight.

Here are a couple of tips if you want to feel good during and after Christmas parties:

  • Listen to your body & stop when you are full.
  • Chew slowly and pay attention to the taste on your tongue.
  • If it’s a grazing dinner, fill a plate with the amount of food you know you need and stop there, there is nothing worse than lying in bed clutching your stomach late at night.
  • If possible, select a protein as the base of your meal and add the trimmings; vegetables, complex carbohydrates & good quality oils. This is a principle you can always apply to your meals whether they are home cooked, a la carte or a shared grazing platter.
  • Enjoy the dessert, drink the wine and don’t deprive yourself.

I invite you to employ these simple steps to help you feel not only happy and festive on the outside, but inside your body too!

If you’d like some support in this area, you can book a discovery call at anytime or gift yourself my Metabolic Balance program for Christmas or as a kickstart into 2022 (only a couple of spots left!).

Have you lost your cooking mojo?! Here are six tips to rev it up again.

By | Health, Nutritional, Whole food

Have you lost your cooking mojo?! Here are six tips to rev it up again.

Whether you’re in lockdown or not, it can happen to the best of us. And if you are in lockdown it can feel quite monotonous so I wanted to share some ideas for getting your cooking mojo back, because there’s no faster pathway to health than a good dose of amazing wholefoods three times a day!

Tip #1
Attend a live cooking class. Imagine having a professional chef guiding you through the process? We attended 2 Sri Lankan cooking classes with Kirsty at Journeys Rediscovered and absolutely loved it. Now we are making Sri Lankan food most weekends – way better than takeaway! Some places like Class Bento or Otao Kitchen even send you a cooking kit so the shopping is taken care of!

Tip #2
Sign up for a meal subscription service. I personally used Hello Fresh, especially last year in lockdown. They are super helpful if you’re busy and it exposes you to different ways of cooking and ingredients that you may not have used before. Make sure you keep the recipe cards too as they are great to reuse over and over again.

Tip #3
Get a new kitchen gadget! I have been wanting an air fryer for ages, and am treating myself to a stainless steel one this week. A new gadget or appliance can really get you excited again about trying new things in the kitchen.

Tip #4
Dust off the old recipe books, or check out some new food bloggers. Some of my favourites are Feed me Phoebe (a fellow Hashimoto’s and SIBO warrior who happens to be a chef), Teresa Cutter The Healthy Chef, Jamie Oliver and Quirky Cooking (and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter as I often send out my own recipes too). Also try googling your favourite protein or herb or veggie and seeing what recipes pop up to whet your appetite.

Tip #5
Create a weekly meal plan. This one is super important for both efficiency and your budget! Get your family involved in the planning too and discuss what everyone feels like eating for the week ahead, cook something special on Friday night and create a meal you can look forward to all week.

Tip #6
Cook with others. Get your family involved in the preparation and the cooking. If you live alone then jump onto a Zoom with mates and cook together, or as mentioned in tip #1, join an online cooking class!

If you need a little extra help, jump onto my website and download the Bye Bye Bloat four day meal plan or head over to my online shop and grab my Six Days of Digestion Recipe Book for just $10. Make sure to tag me in any cooking posts too, I would love to see!

My Autoimmune Metabolic Balance Journey

By | Client Results, Health, Metabolic Balance, Nutritional, Thyroid Health, Whole food

As promised, an update on how I am going with Metabolic Balance….

Was it trauma from my past?

Was it the house fire?

Was it the 10 month long cancer scare?

Was it my overachieving ‘I can do it all” personality?

Did the gut issues lead to the autoimmune issues, or did the autoimmune issues lead to the gut issues?

I’ll never know… but by my 30th birthday I knew something was seriously wrong.

I’d fought and won the war against SIBO, my gut was pretty good but my fatigue was next level. In fact my 15 years of gut issues were starting to look like a walk in the park compared to this. My skin was sooo dry, I was still getting hormonal acne (in my 30s?! No fair!), my fingernails couldn’t grow, my hair was thin and my periods were a mess and dominated the calendar month.

To top it all off I was pretty sure I had rosacea and my PMS was getting so bad that I was starting to worry about the effect of my moods on my kids. I was getting this chronic cough & sore chest whenever I burned the candle at both ends. I had also put on 5kg and just couldn’t shift it, I had to watch everything I ate or my clothes would keep getting tighter & tighter. Good sleep was very hard to come by and let’s just say my moods were such that I wasn’t easy to live with, my poor family.

My cup was so very, very empty. 

The kicker? I was about to graduate as a Nutritionist! I was meant to be the picture of health! My diet was pretty schmick but the things I had done in the past were not working any more.

I went to my regular GP and said something was wrong, either my iron was low or something was up with my thyroid. I had remembered years ago that an integrative GP had made a comment about my thyroid being ‘sluggish’.

He checked my iron and it was fine. My TSH came back ‘within range’ but my new Nutritionist training had taught me that TSH above 2 was not ideal and indicated thyroid function was declining. I stamped my foot and insisted that he check my other thyroid markers. I had to pay privately, but I got it done.

My hunch had been right, none of this was normal! These symptoms were not just my lot as a mother & student.

I had Hashimoto’s disease.   

I went on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), started seeing an amazing Naturopath who specialised in thyroid autoimmunity and I felt soooo much better. Stress would derail me but I was working on my meditation & mindfulness. Maintaining my weight still felt like an uphill battle and I was tired of eating so well yet always having to be vigilant. My menstrual health came & went but my sleep was never amazing, I awoke unrefreshed every. single. morning.

Then 2020 hit. The stress of having to shut my clinic, support my family and feeling the collective weight of fear around Victoria and the world completely undid all my hard work and threw me back into the haze of Hashimoto’s disease. 6+ months of hard lockdowns and the fear of an unknown future took their toll. My clients were all struggling, the stress was seriously impacting their health. And it was the same with me. Some of the less desirable symptoms of autoimmune disease flared up big time, the painful joints, inflammation, poor cognition and fatigue were preventing me from being the mum, wife & boss lady I knew I could be. My periods went haywire and I was diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. The anxiety was so bad that I was barely sleeping and when I did I often woke during the night with panic attacks.

I was in the middle of a serious autoimmune flare and I couldn’t seem to crawl out of the pit I had fallen into. 

The thing about autoimmunity and thyroid dysfunction is that you don’t tolerate stress well. We’ve got to remain pretty zen just to maintain a regular level of health.

I had heard some colleagues talking about something called Metabolic Balance. They were losing stubborn weight, sleeping well and most importantly they had more energy than they had enjoyed in years. In their photos they looked somehow sparkly & full of joy (no BS). Their clients were experiencing the same incredible benefits. I heard story after story of effortless weight loss, reduced inflammation, awakened libidos (hello!) and 20-something-year-old energy levels. I wanted a piece of that! And it was all based on your individual blood chemistry. No fad diets or calorie counting, no supplements, just individualised, whole food, nutrition.

I contacted the head of Metabolic Balance in Australia & New Zealand and fast tracked my training. I knew that as part of my training I would receive my own individualised nutrition plan and I couldn’t wait to start.

The first week was a bit of a rude awakening, I had headaches & my bowel motions were allllll over the place. I wasn’t used to my plan and had a few failure meals. I had doubts and my brain was coming up with every excuse as to why this was a bad idea. It was also Easter which did not help one bit!

The second week I got a few pimples, the headaches improved and it was like a switch was flicked and I was able to sleep deeply all night. I woke up in the same position that I went to sleep in and couldn’t remember anything but a few vague dreams. Whoah! I even measured myself and hooley dooley I had lost 4 of the 8cm I was hoping to shed off my butt. In ten days! You’ve got to understand that I have a wardrobe (or two) full of vintage pieces I have been collecting over the past 15 years, and I desperately wanted to fit back into them! What’s more, I was maid of honour on the Friday night of that week and was not fitting into my dress that had been custom made for me the year before for a COVID-cancelled wedding.

Well guess what?! I fit into the dress! Only 10 days after starting MB!

By week three I was experiencing the 10/10 energy that I had heard so much about. I honestly asked myself, ‘what Hashimotos? I feel great!’

It’s now been six weeks and I’m honestly feeling amazing. My sleep & energy are superb. The weight loss is a nice side effect and I feel like I could happily keep this up for the rest of my life. My personalised food list has become an old friend and I’m super confident with creating satiating & tasty meals now. I’ve lost all the lockdown weight and I’m reacquainting myself with some of my wardrobe favourites.

Here I am in a 1930s dress I bought at the beginning of lock down, you know, to cheer myself up. By the time it arrived months later I couldn’t get it over my hips! Now I have to wear a belt because it’s too big on my waist!

    

After years of feeling frustrated with my own health but also feeling like I didn’t have the best tool to help my clients with sustainable weight loss, I can finally say with confidence that I have found that tool.

Can you tell I’m just a little bit excited about Metabolic Balance?! My books are now open for MB, I suggest you book a free health discussion with me here to see if MB is suitable for you.

I cannot wait to see the transformation in my clients. I want everyone to know, you don’t have to accept feeling crap all the time, transformation is possible!

Tessa

 

Can you think of anyone who might need to hear this? Please share this with them.

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.