Answer me this, out of Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca Cola, which one do you think is the healthiest option?
A study released in April this year examined whether sugar or artificially sweetened beverage consumption was associated with an increased risk of stroke, dementia & Alzheimer disease. Their beverage intake was examined using food questionnaires and they were observed for a total of ten years. What the results showed might come as a shock to you…
Artificially sweetened soft drink consumption was associated with a higher risk of stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Sugar sweetened beverages such as fruit juice nor sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption like Coca-cola was not.
Does this finding change your answer to the question?
Shocking right? What's more shocking is that the risk of stroke in those drinking one or more artificially sweetened soft drinks a day was almost tripled! The finding for Alzheimer’s risk was very similar.
This particular study caught my eye because I see so many clients that consume these toxic chemicals on a daily bases and think it's ok because it’s sugar free. I used to be one of those people, addicted to Coke Zero. I have some clients that were drinking up to 3 cans a day before they came to see me. Would you like a stroke with that diet coke?
Other common dietary behaviours of my clients relating to artificial sweeteners include adding Splenda or Equal to their coffee, eating sugar-free lollies or consuming a protein powder that contains Sucralose.
Many of these clients not surprisingly come to me for weight loss however I say to them I don’t care if you don’t lose weight for the next month, your number one focus before anything else is cutting the artificial sweeteners and this study is just one of the reasons why. Ironically, other studies have shown that artificial sweeteners dramatically increase your risk for obesity and diabetes, despite name ‘diet’ or ‘light’ included in the branding. The power of marketing.
The take-away isn’t to switch from Diet Coke to Coca-Cola but to recognise that substituting sugar with ‘fake sugar’ DOES NOT make it a healthier option and in the case of stroke and dementia can be worse. Despite the common perception that 'diet' is better for you. A little bit of sugar here or there won't kill you but too much of ether one may.
The scary truth is that artificial sweeteners have snuck their way into so many products these days so that businesses can keep the sugar content and calorie per serve down on the nutrition panel.
Here is a shortlist of some key words to watch out for on product packages and ingredient lists that are linked to or are a from of artificial sweeteners:
- Sugar free
- Low calorie
- Acesulfame potassium
Inflammation is at the root of nearly all modern diseases, including diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disease, allergies, depression and accelerated aging.
The key to good lasting health is preventing inflammation.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body defend itself from harm and then heal and repair itself. For example, when we get stung by a bee, the swelling and pain is the result of blood rushing to the site of the wound with immune fighting cells to protect us from further damage and to heal the sore spot. This is called acute inflammation. The response is supposed to be short and targeted because during the process of defending, some further damage is done to the body before it starts the repair process.
Sometimes however inflammation can become chronic. This is a scary form of inflammation because it's often silent and occurs inside the body without any noticeable symptoms. As a result, it's easily left unchecked causing ongoing damage to the cells.
Certain lifestyle factors can promote inflammation, especially when they occur on a regular basis like a poor diet high in processed foods, sugar and industrial seed oils, high stress, lack of sleep, food intolerances and environmental toxins such as pesticides.
What we choose to eat can either drive this inflammatory process or offset it. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet not only helps protect against certain diseases, but it also slows the aging process and reduces weight gain by stabilising blood sugar levels and increasing your metabolism.
Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods To Include
- Wild Salmon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower)
- Organic small wild blueberries
- Green Tea
- Raw cacao
- Grass fed beef
Top 10 Inflammatory Foods To Avoid
- Trans fats
- Refined grains (white flour)
- Omega-6 industrial seed/vegetable oils (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, etc.
- Fried / charred foods
- Processed Meats (salami, hot dogs)
- Artificial sweeteners
- Gluten (If intolerant or sensitive)
- Soft drinks
Protein is the building block of our body. It provides the structural components for our muscles, organs, skin and blood. A complete protein is made up of 20 amino acids, nine of which we cannot make in our body and thus need to get through food. These are called ‘essential’ amino acids.
Sources of complete proteins are mostly foods in animal derived foods such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs. It’s possible to meet your protein requirements without eating meat or animal proteins, however it requires a more planning, to ensure you are getting all the right proportions of amino acids to make up complete protein.
Our bodies are able to combine different amino acids over the course of 1-2 days. The is that you include a good variety of different plant foods in your diet so that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
Although combining your plant proteins within a 48-hour period is sufficient for the body to put them together, combining in the one meal is easier for you to remember and it can increased protein usability by 30%. Many traditional protein combinations have been staples in cultures with vegetarian diets, such as rice and lentils, bean & tortillas. Here are some more suggestions.
- Chickpea hummus on rye cracker
- Bean & Lentil salad
- Stir-fry or steamed veg with rice noodles & cashew nuts
- 4 bean mix + brown rice
- Oats with almonds or tahini
How much protein should I consume in a day?
This varies from person to person but as a general rule, aim for approximately your own body weight in grams each day. E.g. If a woman weighs 65kg, she should aim to consume 65g of protein every day.
Check out my article on the Protein Content of Foods to understand the different protein content of foods.
B12: Vegetarians are known to be more deficient than meat eaters as the majority and highest sources are animal based proteins.
Sources: Cheese - camembert, brie, Swiss cheese, Egg – yolk, milk, nutritional yeast
IRON: The bioavailability (ability to absorb) of the iron in plant foods is much lower than in animal foods. Plant-based forms of iron are also inhibited by other commonly consumed substances, such as coffee, tea, dairy products, supplemental fiber and supplemental calcium.
Sources: Nuts (Almonds, cashews, hazelnut, pine, Sesame seeds Tahini), Eggs, Cocoa powder, Coriander, fresh Watercress Spinach, chili - red & green Basil, fresh Tomato, Soy flour Miso Tempeh Tofu, Beans, chickpeas & lentils.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: Poor conversion into the active form of EPA & DHA from plant based sources.
Sources: Sea vegetables, chia seeds, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, hempseeds, hempseed oil and walnuts
One of the fun things about my job is you get pretty intimate with your clients and talk dirty. Talking to my clients regularly about their toilet habits and the details of their stools (poos) is an important part of my consulting practice.
Our stools or lack thereof tell us A LOT about our health. They can tell us if there’s inflammation (blood or mucus in the stool), if we aren't properly digesting our foods (whether they float, swim or if there’s undigested food particles), and if there could potentially be a pesky bug that’s causing all that bloating and socially unacceptable gas.
Getting the conversation started can be a little weird and awkward so to make this process a little easier during my consultations I use a poo chart, more professionally termed a Bristol Stool Chart.
Today is your lucky day because I am going to share it with you. Why? Because it’s important that you get well acquainted with your stools and what could potentially be signs of impaired digestive function and have it checked out if there are any.
So let’s get graphic and see which one best describes you.
Whilst you might find you are a combination of a few, many people that come to see me are sitting on either end of the spectrum…which does not reflect a healthy digestive system.
As you might have guessed by the middle guy who’s loving life, Type 4 is what a healthy poo should look like. Think tooth paste… same consistency and well formed. Sorry if thats what you now think of whilst brushing your teeth.
A little more detail…
Type 1 Small hard lumps, like nuts: Often due to lack of fibre, fluids and good bacteria. Causes you to overstrain and you run the risk of tearing the gut lining and haemorrhoids. Might go to the toilet once ever 4-7 days. As a lot of the toxins are eliminated through our stools, not going to the toilet means these harmful toxins sit there for long periods of time and get reabsorbed back into the body. Not healthy.
Type 2 Sausage-like but lumpy: Also causes extreme straining and potentially damages the lining, resulting in blood in the stool. Might go to the toilet every 3-4 days.
Type 3 Like a sausage but with cracks on the surface: Just like type 2 except more frequent; every 2nd or 3rd day. More water and fibre should do the trick.
Type 4 Like toothpaste…smooth, soft and well formed: Lots of fibre, fluids and takes a little swim before it sink. Happens daily. Happy, healthy and loving life.
Type 6 Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy texture: You have a very active colon, little too active that might come on very suddenly. Can indicate stress and nervous tension, too many spices, impaired digestion of fats or drinking water with a high mineral content or bacterial imbalances.
Type 6 Watery, no solid pieces aka diarrhea: Passes through the system super fast which means you don’t have time to absorb all the nourishing nutrients in time. This is dangerous long term as it can cause nutrient deficiencies. Might be a sign of stress and anxiety, gut infections or other serious health conditions and should be investigated if it happens frequently
Now lets talk colour.
Normal colour ranges for brown to yellowish brown, no matter what you’ve eaten.
If yours seems a little too yellowish, this could be due to a harmless disorder called Gilbert’s syndrome or problems with the bacteria in the gut.
Light brown to grey could be a sign of impaired liver or a blockage from the liver to the gut affecting the pigments from the blood from getting to the stools.
Black or red indicates blood in the stools. Black is a sign of dried blood and comes from higher up the digestive tract and red is fresh blood lower down near the exit. Fresh blood is less of a concern and is common with hemorrhoids however if you notice black then consult your doctor immediately.
Taking a look every now and then to make sure everything is in check is an important part of maintaining your health. If you think something is off, more than just the smell, speak to your health adviser about it for effective solutions to restore a normal bowl function.
Laxatives are NOT a healthy solution!
Pinch and a punch for the first day of the month! This also means it's the first day of febfast…Who’s taking on the challenge?
For those of you that don’t know what febfast is, it’s a fundraiser that asks you to ‘pause for a cause’. You hit pause on alcohol, sugar, fast food or something of your choice for the month of Feb and your supportive friends and family sponsor you on your journey to better health.
The money raised funds youth workers who dedicate their time to support young Australians aged 12-25, who are experiencing hardships such as mental health issues, abuse, neglect, and drug abuse. For every $36 dollars raised, a young disadvantaged Australian can access one hour of support!!
Whilst most of us want to hit the start button on feeling better, more energised, productive, lighter and healthier overall…often we just don’t know how or where to begin.
If you can relate, then Undivided Food Co.’s 21-Day Reset or 7-Day Kick Starter cleanse and weight loss programs might be the perfect way for you to get involved in febfast and help you kick some BIG health goals whilst being guided every step of the way.
I worked alongside the company to create both programs as I am a big fan of GOOD BONES Organic Bone Broth. Bone broth has been around for centuries, often fed to us by grandma when we were sick due to its powerful healing properties. Learn more about why bone broth is so good for you here.
Both programs combine gut healing bone broth, intermittent fasting and a balanced ‘real food’ diet to heal, detox and achieve healthy weight loss…the healthy way.
The program guides you every step of the way with a meal structure and healthy eating plan, a comprehensive list of foods to enjoy, foods to avoid, liver friendly focus foods and additional lifestyle recommendations to boost the benefits.
Another reason why you should Reset during febfast….
For every cleanse program that's purchased during the month of February, Undivided Food Co. will donate 10% of proceeds to febfast!
Taking part in this wonderful cause will help you stay on track throughout February whilst also giving back.
It's not too late to get involved! Register for febfast and purchase a 21-Day Reset or 7-Day Kick Starter cleanse from the Undivided Food Co. website today. If you want to learn more, feel free to contact me.
Make sure you use the code smnutrition to get a discount on both programs & FREE75 for free delivery if you purchase the 21-Day Reset upon checkout.
Sorry I’m not referring to white bread, pasta, processed cereals or cookies here. The type of foods I’m talking about are nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, spices, seeds and whole grains that are good for our health. These foods contain compounds with strong anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity. Certain foods in this category also contain compounds that are great for liver and our hormones.
Being that fruits are mostly vibrant in colour, the list is limited but includes the non-skin part of apples as well as coconuts, dates, lychees, and pears. Lychees and pears are delicious particularly added to a summer salad, although if you are trying to lose weight these aren’t recommended due to their high sugar content.
This category of vegetables are my absolute favourite! Maybe it's because I know how good they are for our health on a number of different levels. Some of my favorites include cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onion, sauerkraut, and leeks. These are all rich in sulfur compounds (hence their strong odors) and are super supportive for the liver in detoxification as well as protecting against cardiovascular, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. They are also great for gut health! Mushrooms such as shiitake, button, portabello, crimini, and chanterelle have great immune boosting effects, more so than your average white mushroom.
Beans & legumes are my preferred forms of complex carbohydrates over grains due to their high fibre and protein content. These include chickpeas, hummus, black beans, cannelloni beans, peas and lentils. Whole grains however are much better than your processed grains. Gluten free grains include quinoa, rice and buckwheat and gluten containing grains are wheat, rye, barley and spelt.
Nuts, nut butters, seeds and seed pastes are also a wonderful source of neutral coloured compounds and a great source of healthy fats!
Saving the best for last… chocolate, dark of course. The phytonutrients in cocoa help keep the blood vessels wide and open so that there’s a healthy blood flow, particularly to the brain and heart. Make sure that your choice of chocolate isn’t high in sugar or contains unnecessary preservatives. The higher the cocoa percentage the better. Try to always choose 70% or more!
- Legumes (chickpeas, dried beans or peas, hummus,lentils, peanuts, beans)
- Nuts (almonds, brazil, pecans, walnuts)
- Onion, shallots, leek
- Seeds (flax, hemp,pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
- Tea (black, white)
- Whole grains (barley, brown rice, oat, quinoa, rye, spelt, wheat)
- Allyl sulfides
- Cellulose (fiber)
- Cell protection
- Gastrointestinal health
- Heart health
- Hormone balance
- Liver health
Allicin is one of the special compounds found in garlic that may contribute to its anti-cancer, blood pressure-lowering effects. To maximize the the allicin content, crush or chop the garlic and let it sit there for 5-10 minutes before cooking it or adding anything to it. This allows it to activate. This compound is what makes garlic a potent antibacterial and anti-viral food. .
Add some cocoa powder to your smoothies or mixed into yoghurt with some chia seeds for a mouse like dessert
Sprinkle cinnamon over your apples and finish with a drizzle of tahini or some nut butter for a delicious snack
Add brown spices such as clove and allspice to your cooking and baking.
Use dates instead of refined sweeteners to sweeten desserts and other dishes
Add a dollop of hummus to your salads or eat with some cut raw veggies for a healthy protein containing snack
Sprinkle nuts and seeds sesame seeds over your salads or proteins which gives it a nice texture and crunch
Coat your chicken in almond meal instead of breadcrumbs and bake in the oven instead of frying for a healthy schnitzel
Phytonutrients are a group of compounds found in plant foods that are responsible for their distinct colour, flavour and smell.
These compounds act as the plants defense mechanism, protecting them against environmental stressors and pests. To humans however, they have powerful disease fighting capabilities. Really it should be spelt, fightonutrients.
Scientists estimate that there are over 4000 types of phytonutrients, each offering different health benefits. When you combine them together, they have an even stronger synergistic effect. That is why it's important to always have a rainbow of colour on your plate. People that eat a diet rich in phytonutrients have lower disease risk particularly in regards to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Whilst all of these phytonutrients are yet to be studied, the ones that have are shown to be present in plants that are rich in colour. Colour is therefore an easy way to identify these phytonutrients.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you the different phytonutrients found in foods based on colour and tips on how to increase them in your diet. To kick this series off, i am going to start with the colour RED!
There's a wide range of red foods you can boost your diet with. One of my favorites is pomegranate which is extra special due to the ellagic acid, an important component for your liver to aid in the removal of toxins. Strawberries, grapes, and apples contain the compound fisetin, which has anti-cancer, antiaging, and anti-inflammatory properties. Watermelon and pink grapefruit are two excellent sources of lycopene, but cooked tomatoes seem to have the highest content!
- Beans (Adzuki, Kidney,
- Bell pepper
- Blood oranges
- Grapefruit (pink)
- Goji berries
- Sweet red peppers
- Rooibos tea
- Ellagic Acid
- Cell protection
- DNA health
- Immune health
- Prostate health
- Vascular health
01: Cook your tomatoes to increase the lycopene content
02: Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over your salads for burst of sweet flavor, crunch, and colour
03: Add goji berries to a trail mix or sprinkle over yoghurt, oats or muesli
04: Keeping the skin on red-skinned foods, like apples, onions, and potatoes however it’s best to buy organic if eating the skin
RED FOOD RECIPES
Our bodies are extremely complex and sometimes weight gain isn't as simple as eating too much of the wrong type of foods. Here are 5 big drivers of weight gain that aren't so well known.
Your liver is sluggish
Our liver plays a vital role in our overall health, weight included. It carries out a number of important functions such as removing toxins from the body, aids in digestion, regulates blood sugar and insulin levels and produces bile needed break down fats. However, if your liver is overloaded with toxins (alcohol, medications, food additives) and struggling to keep up, these functions are compromised and fat starts to build up in the liver (fatty liver) as well as other areas of the body driving weight gain.
When we are stressed, our adrenals pump out the stress hormone, cortisol. The role of cortisol is to help us get ready for action against a threat, making us feel more alert. Our blood sugar levels rise, our blood vessels dilate and our heart beat increases ensuring the sugar in the blood is effectively transported to all the cells to use as fuel. We’re set up to handle short-term, acute stress very well, which is great when we need to run away from something life threatening. Unfortunately in today’s day and age, most people are faced with ongoing (chronic) stress caused by everyday worries. This coupled with an increasing sedentary lifestyle results in increased fat storage that favours the belly region. This belly fat can be incredibly tough to get rid of unless you learn to manage your stress. If you are interested in having your cortisol levels tested, get in touch.
Your thyroid is underactive (Hypothyroidism)
Thyroid disorders are becoming increasingly common and the scary fact being that most people don’t even know they have one. The most common medical test used by GP’s to detect thyroid disorders falls a step short. Many people have issues converting their thyroid hormone into its active form, which this test doesn't detect. Our thyroid is responsible for regulating our metabolism and one of the key signs of an underactive thyroid is weight gain as well as fatigue, constipation, cold sensitivity, muscle aches and weakness, hormone imbalances and poor mood. Thyroid function can be impaired for a number of reason such as high stress, nutrient deficiencies, poor diet and impaired liver function. If you are interested in having a comprehenisve thyroid hormone profile test done, get in touch.
Your gut bacteria is out of balance
The 100 trillion of bacteria that live in our gut alter the way we store fat, break down and absorb our nutrients, regulate our blood sugar levels, produce serotonin and appetite regulating hormones that make us feel hungry or full. These little guys also have the power to manipulate our food choices, the bad bugs driving bad food cravings and the good bugs influencing us to make heather food choices that will support their survival. The wrong mix of microbes can put you on the path to obesity and diabetes from the moment of birth. Our inner ecosystem is first established as we exited our mums vaginal canal. Studies have shown that both formula-fed babies and infants delivered by cesarean section have a higher risk for obesity and diabetes than those who are breast-fed or delivered vaginally. Antibiotics are one of the biggest disruptors to our gut flora, but the good news is diet is the single most important factor in shaping the gut ecosystem and can be shifted to favour bacteria that will support weight loss. Learn more.
You're not eating enough good fats
So many people fear that fat will make you fat but the truth is it’s the lack of good fats in the diet that is driving the obesity epidemic. Having the right type of fats in the diet such as avocado, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and fatty fish such as salmon not only keep us satisfied and feeling fuller for longer reducing overall caloric intake, they don’t cause an insulin response which is the hormone responsible for storing fat.
Alzheimer’s is a huge existing and growing health problem. It’s the 2nd leading cause of death in Australia, with a greater prevalence in females than males. After the age of 65, the chance of getting the disease doubles every five years.
Once upon a time Alzheimer’s was believed to be an untreatable, irreversible genetic disease however we are now learning that this disease is very much driven by diet and lifestyle factors and for the most part preventable and in some cases reversible.
FACT: 50% OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE CASES ARE PREVENTABLE
That means that your diet and lifestyle choices now could be putting you at risk for developing Alzheimer’s later on.
Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and changes in thinking and other brain functions. It usually develops slowly and gradually gets worse over time, as your brain function declines and brain cells eventually die.
There are 2 key factors that cause this damage and cell death:
- Lack of blood flow to the brain: Without sufficient blood flow to the brain, your brain cells don’t get the energy (glucose), healthy fats and oxygen they need to function. When you starve your brain cells, they become stressed. When brain cells are stressed, they release a chemical called cytokines which triggers;
- Inflammation: Inflammation in the brain causes more stress and damage to the cells till eventually they die.
We are all aware of the Type 2 Diabetes epidemic however did you know that there is another type; Type 3 Diabetes which is associated with the brain and one of the biggest drivers of Alzheimer’s. This is just like Type 2 Diabetes where insulin resistance affects your ability to effectively convert glucose into energy, however this is in the brain.
Starved brain cells > stressed brain cells > inflammation > damaged cells > Loss of function
So to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s later on in life, its crucial that you feed your brain cells by increasing blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation and prevent insulin resistance. The best news is this can all be done naturally through diet, lifestyle and some key brain boosting supplements.
Here are some tips.
- Sleep! Sleep deprivation damages your brain cells
- Eat healthy fats such as omega-3 rich fish, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, grass fed meat
- Prevent insulin resistance by minimising sugar and carbohydrates in the diet, choosing the right carbs that are low GI and high in fibre!
- Ensure you are getting sufficient protein in the diet
- Eat lots of colourful antioxidant rich vegetables to nourish and reduce inflammation
- Boost your Vitamin D levels and get out in the sunshine
- Support your brain health with supplements such as N-acetyl cysteine, CoQ10, Alpha lipoic acid and more.
Want to learn more? Check out this interview with Neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter on how to prevent Alzheimer's through diet.
Feel like you've lost your mojo? If the answer is yes then you could be lacking in some of the important nutrients needed for a healthy libido. When you aren't getting the right amount of these nutrients, the production of your sex hormones particularly testosterone and certain neurotransmitters that ignite your pleasure centres are compromised, killing your sex drive.
Loading your plate up with some of the sex boosting foods below might be just what you need to help get you in the mood.
Zinc: Zinc is one of the most important minerals for a healthy sex drive due to its direct effect on testosterone levels. Low testosterone is associated with a low sex drive in both males and females and low testosterone is commonly linked with a zinc deficiency. Support healthy testosterone levels and a heathy sexual appetite by eating zinc rich foods such as beef, mussels, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and whole grains.
Tyrosine: Tyrosine has shown to influence libido by increasing not just testosterone but also the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine acts on the nervous system by boosting arousal and sexual desire. Foods rich in tyrosine include almonds, avocado, dairy, chicken and fish.
B6: B6 is not only important in energy production, a key factor in getting you in the mood but it also helps to control prolactin which is a hormone that decreases sexual desire by inhibiting the production testosterone. B6 rich foods include wild tuna, salmon, bananas, hazelnuts, chicken breast, legumes, egg yolk and spinach.
Good fats: Good fats are essential for the healthy production of testosterone. Good types of fats include mono and polyunsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado and extra virgin olive oil as well as smaller amounts of saturated fats such as grass fed organic beef, dairy and coconut oil.
A new approach to cleansing combining gut healing bone broth, intermittent fasting and a balanced diet for boosted benefits
As you know I am very focused on gut health. More and more research is emerging on how the gut is linked to a large number of chronic health conditions. Two of the biggest gut related determinants in disease prevention and progression are the composition of bacteria that live in your gut and intestinal permeability, more commonly known as ‘leaky gut’.
A Leaky gut is when the lining of your intestines becomes damaged allowing harmful toxins, bacteria and other foreign materials to leak through and enter the bloodstream. This is becoming a growing issue and subsequently gaining more and more attention in the health and medical world, largely a product of our diet and lifestyle. The main drivers of leaky gut are stress, environmental toxins, processed diets, alcohol and medications which so many of us are exposed to on a daily basis. Harvard Researchers also found gluten to be a big driver of a leaky gut, not just limited to people with celiac disease but anyone consuming it. Unless you are STRICTLY gluten free which most people aren’t, myself included, you're likely causing some sort of damage to your gut lining.
Detoxing has become a very popular health trend and most of us have done one or attempted to do one at some point in our lives. A detox is beneficial every now and then to give your liver some love and care and to reduce the toxic burden. My biggest concern however when it comes to detoxing is that many people are doing one with a leaky gut. This is a problem as detoxing with a ‘leaky gut’ means that the harmful toxins being eliminated from the liver via the digestive tract can leak back into the body, only further exacerbating your internal toxic environment.
Bone broth is something I recommend to many of my clients for a wide range of health benefits, gut healing in particular. My personal belief and love for bone broth lead me to meeting the wonderful team at Undivided Food Co and working alongside them to deliver consumers with the ultimate fast food product, for health and convenience.
One of the proud projects I have recently completed for Undivided Food Co is a broth-based cleanse program using their GOOD BONES 100% Certified Organic Bone Broth. I am really proud about this program for one because it’s something I put a lot of time, energy and brain power into completing and secondly because I wholeheartedly believe in its benefits.
Here is why..
Bone broth is like a premium stock, made from bones and veggies simmered on low heat over many many hours. This low and slow cooking process draws all the nourishing nutrients out of the bones, the final product being a think flavourful broth packed with vitamins, minerals and the star player, Gelatin. Gelatin is derived from the broken down collagen in the bones and provides the necessary structural components for healing and sealing the digestive tract, so that it's no longer leaky. The liquid collagen is also great for your skin, hair, nails, joints and reducing inflammation among other things.
What sets this detox program apart from all the other cleanse and juice programs on the market, is that it addresses the importance of gut healing in detoxification. Most cleanses focus solely on supporting the liver however it’s just as important, if not more so that you support the digestive tract concurrently, otherwise you could end up more toxic than you were before you started the cleanse.
The program also takes it one step further by combining the scientifically-backed benefits of intermittent fasting and eating nutrient dense whole foods in an all-in-one, easy to follow customisable program. Yes you can eat food on this cleanse! Intermittent fasting or the 5:2 diet has also been associated with a number of health benefits such as detoxification, weight loss and longevity but the biggest challenge for those fasting is knowing what to eat on the fast days. On this program, I guide you every step of the way, using the bone broth to create low calorie veggie soups to get you through your ‘fast days’ without feeling like you could chew your arm off.
However the true benefit in this program is that I educate you on how to eat a healthy balanced diet, empowering you with the knowledge so it can be followed beyond the 7 or 21 days for long term reward and health benefits.
Spring has sprung and the perfect time for a cleanse so if you were thinking about doing one this just might be the one for you. You have two options; a 21-Day Reset or 7-Day Kick Starter depending on your health goals and both can be purchased online. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the cleanse programs, feel free to get in touch with me!
Optimum health is achieved when your body is in a state of balance. When it comes to your mood, having a balanced production of neurotransmitters is essential for a healthy and happy mood. Certain foods play a key role in the production and regulation of neurotransmitters and below are five of my favs.
DARK CHOCOLATE: Bet you are happy to see this one made the cut. Chocolate contains a special compound called anandamide which triggers ‘feel good’ feelings by increasing the production of dopamine. To make things even better, dark chocolate also contains other beneficial compounds that slow the breakdown of anandamide therefore prolonging the effects of these ‘feel good’ compounds. Enjoy 1-2 pieces of good quality dark chocolate to treat the taste buds and your mood. The darker the better!
GREEN TEA: Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine which is the the main component responsible for its taste. Whilst this might seem contradictory as green tea can have a stimulating effect from the caffeine, the L-theanine stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to that of which is achieved through meditation. L- theanine also increases the neurotransmitter GABA which reduces neural excitation associated with feelings of anxiety. If you experience anxiety, substituting your morning coffee with a green tea can have more favourable effects.
FERMENTED FOODS: The gut is referred to as our second brain but in fact the gut sends a lot more information to the brain than the brain sends to your gut. This is because the gut has its own nervous system, involving a complex network of 100 million neurons that are embedded in the gut wall. This nervous system, known as the ‘enteric nervous system’ is largely regulated by the trillions of gut bacteria that reside in our digestive tract. These bugs influence the production of neurotransmitters, serotonin in particular 95% of which is produced in our intestines. A healthy production of serotonin and other mood regulating neurotransmitters requires a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Increasing probiotic rich foods such as kefir, yoghurt (Vaalia), sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha help keep the good bugs in check and thus your mood also in check.
DARK LEAFY GREENS: This includes spinach, rocket and watercress which are a rich source of folate, an important b-vitamin necessary for the production of mood regulating neurotransmitters. Folate is easily destroyed by heat therefore eating a big green leafy salad for lunch or adding a big handful of baby spinach to your green smoothies is a great way to ensure adequate folate levels in the diet.
BLUEBERRIES: Blueberries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin’s which is responsible for giving them their deep blue colour. This particular antioxidant helps the brain produce dopamine which mediates pleasure in the brain and is particularly important in helping us stay focused.
When it comes to nutrient content and taste, locality and seasonality of fruit and vegetables is key. This ultimately comes down to where it's sourced from and the time it's taken to get from the farm and onto your plate.
Most fruits and vegetables are at their peak when harvested. The longer they are consumed past this point, the more nutrients that are lost and the less flavoursome they become. Produce sourced from overseas means they have longer transit and storage time. Not only does this result in nutrient depletion but the farmers further account for this by harvesting them before they have fully ripened to avoid rotting. Not allowing the produce to fully develop means that they don't reach their full nutrient and antioxidant capacity.
Studies have shown that some crops can have up to three times more nutrients when grown in season. Furthermore, eating foods locally produced but out of season means that they aren't being grown in an environment that supports their natural growth. As a consequence, they often require the assistance of genetic modification and chemical additives which are toxic and harmful to your health.
To find out what's in season this winter, I asked one of the best in the biz, Chris Antico. Chris and his family have been in the fruit and veggie business for over 70 years. Three generations on and the Antico name remains synonymous with fresh, flavoursome Australian produce.
For Chris, quality means flavour and freshness. This often means choosing produce from the smaller growers around NSW and the Sydney Basin area. Another BIG benefit of eating locally and seasonally is that it esnures we are supporting our Aussie farmers and the sustainability of our environment.
Here are Chris's top fruit and veggie picks this Winter.
- Brussel Sprouts
- Rapini (Winter Vegetable)
- Tuscan cabbage
- Navel Oranges
- Kiwifruit (from NZ)
Chris services the Eastern Suburbs, North Shore, Northern Beaches and the Inner West delivering hand-prepared boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables straight to the doors of his clients.
To learn more about Chris and his nutritious and super convenient fruit and veggie boxes head over to his website
Order online today and use the code NEWCUSTOMER to receive 15% off your first delivery!
Allergy related conditions are on the rise, particularly in Australia which has one of the highest allergy prevalence rates in the world. The most common food related offenders are milk, eggs, nuts, soy, shellfish and the biggest one, peanuts. Allergies have become so widespread that some schools have implemented a nut free policy to ensure the health safety of those experiencing a true allergy to nuts. However, the term ‘allergy’ is often used incorrectly when in most instances it should be referred to as an ‘intolerance' or ‘sensitivity'. What’s the difference?
A food ‘allergy’ is when an individual’s immune system responds to something that might be harmless to someone else. Somewhat like a ‘false alarm’. If you experience a ‘true’ food allergy (IgE antibody mediated) you most likely know about it because you will have an immediate reaction to the offending food and probably experienced this since childhood.
Because this type of antibody is located in the lungs and on the skin and mucous membranes the symptoms are usually swelling, difficulty breathing, asthma, eczema or in more serious cases cause an anaphylactic shock. Because the allergic reaction is immediate, it's easy to identify which foods you are allergic to. For example, you eat a nut and you immediately experience difficulty breathing or have an asthma attack.
However more commonly people are experiencing food intolerances and sensitivities (IgG antibody mediated) with the most common reactions arising from milk, eggs, beans, nuts and grains. It is believed that food sensitivities affect a much larger percentage of the population and these start to develop later on in life. Common conditions associated with IgG related food sensitivities and intolerances include:
- Bloating and fluid retention
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Skin conditions
- Behavioural problems in children
- Autoimmune conditions
- Sleep disturbances
The gold standard for any food related reaction is an elimination diet whereby you eliminate the most common offenders for 3 weeks and then one by one slowly reintroduce them back into your diet to identify the foods you are sensitive to. Whilst this is effective, it is incredibly difficult. Particularly as it relates to food intolerances as reactions can be triggered by a number of foods and they can be delayed. The reactions might not show up until 3 days later making it hard to know what triggered it.
Food Intolerance Testing is a test I run in my clinic to help some clients identify if they have a food intolerance and which foods they are intolerant to. The great news about food sensitivities is many of them can be reversed. I believe the biggest trigger is related to impaired gut health and intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut.
By knowing which foods you are reacting to and removing them from your diet you reduce inflammation, reduce your symptoms and most importantly can start the gut healing and repair process. Once you have repaired the gut, more often than not clients are able to reintroduce those foods without any problems.
If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, this might be due to a food intolerance and a food intolerance testing might be a helpful tool in restoring and rebalancing your health.
Click Here to enquire about food intolerance testing at Stephanie Malouf Nutrition