Healthy digestion happy you
Here are my 7 Top Tips for a Happy and Healthy Digestive System!
1 Upon rising, drink a large glass of water (room temperate or warm is best!). Drinking water first thing in the morning helps to wake you and your digestive system up! If you want to add a little something extra to your water try a squeeze of lemon or lime, some ginger and honey or some fresh mint leaves to freshen it up!
2 Fill your plate with plenty of fruit and vegetables! Each meal should be based around fruit and veggies to provide your digestive system the fibre it needs to keep you regular and eliminate toxins and wastes!
3 Eat in a relaxed state, free from any distractions! Sit down and take a few moments to relax and enjoy your food. If you are stressed your digestive system cannot function effectively as your body shunts blood away from the digestive system to the nervous system. When this occurs the body cannot digest your food properly.
4 Eat at regular times throughout the day! Our bodies and digestive systems love routine, so finding time to eat at about the same time each day helps keep your bowels regular and your tummy happy!
5 Ensure you are consuming adequate good quality protein. Most protein sources also contain zinc, both are vital for stomach acid production, so choose some red meat and nuts and seeds to add to your next meal!
6 Adding a pinch of good quality pink Himalayan salt to your meals will provide an abundance of minerals as well as chloride essential for hydrochloric (stomach) acid production.
7 Try adding some fermented foods to your day! Eating fermented foods will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help create a healthy environment for the good bacteria to thrive. Probiotics found in fermented foods have been shown to improve bowel health, aid digestion and improve immunity!
A healthy gut is the foundation for a healthy body and mind! x
The importance of a good nights slumber...
Short and long term sleep deprivation has been linked to anxiety, depression, mood swings and irritability. Lack of sleep can also lead to a sluggish metabolism, overeating and weight gain, forgetfulness, foggy thinking, lethargy, inflammation, oxidative stress, premature ageing, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, alzheimer’s disease and compromised immunity.
Poor sleep can reduce your body’s production of vital hormones such as human growth hormone, thyroid hormones and melatonin, plus it encourages the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can have a negative impact on your health and overall wellbeing.
During sleep our body protects and repairs damage from oxidation by mopping up free radicals. Our bodies also detoxify our organs and metabolise toxic wastes during this time of rest.
As you can see its so important to get adequate rest!
Most of us need at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
If you feel like you don’t have time for sleep, think about what you have to gain!
Research shows that people who sleep more enjoy better moods, energy, mental agility, attention spans, memory, gross motor skills and faster reaction times. They also have more balanced hormones and are less likely to overeat and gain weight. Plus good sleep is vital for healthy skin and strong immunity!
Try these suggestions for healthy sleep hygiene!
- turn the TV, computer, phone or any other electronic device off or to sleep mode 1 hour before you intend to go to sleep
- read a book or magazine in bed instead of a screen for half an hour before turning the lights out
- take a warm bath in dim light, do some gentle yoga stretches or spend 10 minutes with your legs up against the wall
- make sure your bedroom is a dark, quiet and relaxing environment for you to rest peacefully
- try writing in a journal or meditating to calm your body and mind
- burn some essential oils - lavender, rosemary and bergamot are soothing and relaxing oils designed to help you unwind and enhance sleep
Sleep is something I have been struggling with myself lately so its about time I practiced what I preach! If you too are having trouble getting a sound nights sleep and find its affecting your day to day life I can support you and your body on the way to a deep and restful slumber! x
We are ALL SO different! Don't worry about what others are doing around you, do YOU, be unapologetically YOU! Find what resinates with you, what makes you feel joy! There is freedom in trusting your intuition and letting it guide you in every aspect of your life! Rather than looking to external sources for answers choose to acknowledge your inner guru. Our body sends us little messages all the time, tune into those, they are there to empower you to make wiser decisions about what feels good for your body and for YOU! Have the courage to tune in and adjust as your needs and choices change and evolve physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for YOU. If lifting weights at the gym or running on a treadmill doesn't energise and empower you, don't do it! If eating a vegan diet or low carb or fasting doesn't suit you, don't struggle and suffer through something that doesn't allow you to feel healthy, strong and vibrant! Don't put people up on a pedestal and feel you must do everything they do or everything they say to be or look a certain way! You need to find the right thing for you, be it exercise, food, a hobby or a job, find something your body and mind enjoy, something you LOVE that fits in with your lifestyle! We all have different circumstances and there are countless ways to be healthy, don't choose something that doesn't feel right for you just because it feels right for someone else, this will rob you of your happiness and weaken your intuition! Trust yourself, trust your intuition, let it guide you to make choices that are going to fill you up make you feel fabulous inside and out! Healthy looks different on EVERY BODY!
Trusting your intuition...easier said then done I know! We are constantly bombarded with images and theories on social media about which exercise and diet will change your life and make you live forever, but I'm here to help you make sense of all of that and discover what fits for you! As a Naturopath I will guide, support and nurture you on your journey, I'm not here to give you answers but simply to create a space where you can explore possibilities to discover your own answers and your own ways to thrive!
To learn ways you can honour your unique self and explore what foods, exercise and lifestyle tools will suit you get in touch! x
Winter is here and it's time to give our Immune Systems some tender love and care! Our immune systems are seriously sophisticated and work very hard on a daily basis to keep us well! When our immune system becomes compromised, our usual defences are weakened and let their guards down, leaving us more susceptible to a plethora of pathogens that can cause infections! Try some of these nourishing foods to strengthen your defences!
- Medicinal Mushrooms - medicinal mushrooms are potent immune boosters. The Shiitake, Reishi, Changa and Maitake mushroom stimulate the immune system and build up our resistance to viruses! Medicinal mushrooms contain important vitamins, minerals and enzymes which bolster the immune system by increasing certain types of white blood cells, which are vital for healthy immune function!
- Vitamin C - increasing your Vitamin C intake is one of the easiest ways to boost immune function. Low levels of C are linked to infection and disease. Papayas, lemons, kiwi fruit, berries, beetroots, carrots and pumpkins are all bursting with Vitamin C, so add these foods into your life!
- Chicken Soup - Chicken soup is such a nourishing tradition that boosts your immune system as well as your spirit! There is a reason why this is a go-to for cold and flu season, the chicken provides cysteine an amino acid that breaks up congestion, while the warm soup can strengthen the movement of white blood cells and the broth is ultra hydrating. Any combination of bone in chicken and broth slow cooked with celery, onion, carrot, and herbs is all it takes!
- Protein - protein is essential for immune function, research suggests a deficiency of high-quality protein can result in depletion of immune cells, inability of the body to make antibodies, and other immune-related problems. If the immune system is not receiving sufficient protein, problems may occur with T-cell function (immune cells)giving rise to infection. It’s best to choose complete proteins, such as organic meats, eggs, cheese, chicken, wild fish, whole pea protein powder, whey powder, fermented tofu, or properly combined foods, such as grains with legumes. One of the most important essential amino acids is arginine, which boosts T-cell function and is of particular benefit post-operatively to repair cells and minimise infection risk. The best sources of arginine are turkey, chicken, pork loin, pumpkin seeds, soy beans, peanuts, spirulina, chickpeas, dairy and lentils.
- Garlic - Garlic increases disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses. Whole garlic contains allin, and when garlic is crushed or chewed, this compound turns into allicin, the main active ingredient, which helps fight infections and improve immune function. Garlic also contains sulfuric acid! This compound in garlic, is what gives it the strong, pungent flavour, it's strong enough to eliminate bacteria and infections.
- Probiotic Rich Foods - Aside from their nutritional properties, fermented foods also play a key role in balancing our immune systems. As our immune system resides in the gut its vital that we provide it as much nourishment as we can! Feeding our good gut bugs with probiotic foods will strengthen our defenses against opportunistic pathogens!
- Eat cooked foods as much as possible - aside from warming us up from the inside out, cooked foods are much easier for us to digest, especially during Winter when our digestive system slows down. Indulge in slow cooked meals, nourishing vegetables and warming elixirs such as herbal teas, bulletproof coffee, turmeric lattes and hot cacoa!
There are an abundance of nutrients and herbs that are potent immune boosters too! Some of my favourites include Zinc, Vitamins A, C and D, Liquorice, Echinacea, Thyme, Andrographis, Marshmallow, Olive leaf and Elderberry. To learn more about how to support and nourish your Immune System this Winter get in touch x
Your skin keeps no secrets. As our largest organ, your skin can reveal so much about the health of your insides, as well as hydration and stress levels, quality of sleep, digestion and gut health. If you nourish and nurture yourself, your skin will reward you with a radiant and glowing complexion. If you don't nourish yourself, however, your skin will show it with dull, congested, laclustre appearance. To make matters worse for your skin, if you're not getting enough nutrients from your diet or suffering with digestive issues, or long term stress, your body will divert any available vitamins and minerals to your vital organs, which in turn means your skin will suffer. Your skin, as well as your insides, love to be nourished with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables of all colours! Healthy fats and good quality proteins and of course probiotic foods too, are all equally essential to creating a healthy glow. Creating beautiful skin starts within... x
why should is a dirty word
I truly believe the word ‘should’ yields unnecessary pressure and stress. Should is such a harsh and rigid word, it has no softness. Our minds are always racing a million miles and hour and then some..I should do this, I should do that, I should be here, I should be there! Ladies in particular, I’m talking to you! We compare ourselves to others, whether its our closest friends or someone who pops up on our feed. I should do this because they are, I should wear this because its ‘in’, I should eat this way because they said so and it worked wonders for them. The more we use the word should in any area of our lives we are denying ourselves the right to be our authentic selves. What if you erased the word should from your vocabulary and instead did those things that light you up and give you purpose. Wear the clothes that make you feel like a goddess, eat the foods that nourish your body and soul, move your body in a way that empowers you. You are the creator of your reality, do those things that fill you up not what you feel you ‘should’! Bring some awareness into your thoughts and see if you can catch yourself ‘shoulding’ allow yourself to soften and then just let it go! x
What causes bloating?
Why the bloat?
Bloating is a condition where your belly feels full and tight and there is often discomfort and pain present too. Kind of looks like you just ate a big lunch..but ALL the time!
There are a myriad of reasons why bloating occurs, however most are connected to the function of our digestive system or lack there of! Essentially the key to preventing bloating is understanding its cause…easier said than done right!
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often characterised by an unpleasant bloated feeling or gurgling sensation in the abdomen, along with a susceptibility to diarrhoea or constipation. IBS is probably the most common, researched cause of bloating, however there are a few more culprits to place the blame on!
Patients who complain of bloating are often found to have an increase in sympathetic nervous system function. To put it simply they are stressed and then some! Such a state is vital for running from a grizzly bear or reacting in a hazardous situation whilst driving a car. As a permanent state of being, however, this can very taxing. The gut lends the brain a large amount of energy in order to deal with stress. When the brain senses an emergency situation it steals all the energy from the rest of the body, mainly the gut, to help deal. As accomodating as it is the gut saves energy on digestion, producing less secretions and enzymes and reducing blood supply to digestive organs. As intelligent as this all sounds it is not designed for a long term arrangement! If the brain is constantly lead to believe it is in an emergency situation or fight and flight, which lets face it most of us are eternally in these days, the digestive system begins shutting down. Cue bloating! The lack of acid secretions and enzymes needed to break down and digest our food lead to partially digested food to hang out in your gut and make your belly blow up like a balloon!
An overgrowth of bacteria or Candida may be to blame for the constant bloating! Your own bacteria, as well as bacteria that are starting to grow from a food source or a pathogenic overgrowth can begin to ferment like a delicious bubbly kombucha.
H pylori in the stomach, for example, feeds off hydrogen and enzymes that are vital to make hydrochloric acid, which acts like a knife, cutting our food into smaller, easier to digest particles. If hydrochloric acid is absent and digestion is weak, due to lets say stress, food is not properly broken down at the beginning of the digestive process and it ferments in the stomach. When this happens more bacteria are created, which can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria, you already have your good dudes there, you don't need anymore! This is why it is so vital to have the balance just right!
Certain foods can also cause bloating and these include fruits and vegetables, say what?!
FODMAPS or Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols for long, are a collection of short chain carbohydrates that are sometimes not absorbed properly in the small intestine. When this happens they pass into the large intestine where they are fermented by bacteria and produce gas and bloating. And sure eliminating some of these foods can help reduce bloating in the short term but really they are a short term symptom fix and not a solution! You have to be a detective and ask why they are not being properly broken down and absorbed in the small intestine in the first place!
Allergies and intolerances are not to be forgotten about either. If we fail to break down proteins in the small intestine, tiny fragments of it will remain. Now usually this wouldn't be too much of an issue, however our lymphatic system may think otherwise. Those tiny undigested particles enter the lymphatic system and our immune cells mount an attack on what they deem a foreign substance. The next time this occurs the immune cells are much better equiped to deal with it and their attack is much more aggressive. Each time this onslaught occurs the lining of our digestive system becomes weaker and inflammation becomes rampant leading to increased intestinal permeability or as its more commonly known as ‘leaky gut’. The release of inflammatory mediators causes vasodilation, exudation, smooth muscle contraction and mucous section, largely due to histamine. This cocktail of inflammatory reactions and the release of histamine causes swelling and puffiness similar to when a mosquito bites, but when this is going on the gut the swelling and puffiness equals bloating!
It would take an entire international news station to report on all of the events constantly unfolding in just one persons microbiome. There are countless processes and inconspicuous goings on in the gut its tricky to identify just one culprit! Symptoms such as bloating do not occur for no reason and nobody should be expected to just accept it as ‘normal’ or ‘one of those things’. Thats why testing, not guessing is so important to figuring out exactly what is going on and getting to the core of the issue, what is causing the bloat? x
how stress affects the whole body…
Stress manifests so differently for each individual and we all perceive stress in our own unique way. Occasional worry and situational stress is a normal human experience its when worry becomes self perpetuating and uncontrollable that issues start to arise!
When we are challenged and overwhelmed we feel stressed, it is more than just an emotion. There are a plethora of biochemical reactions taking place when we perceive, sense and feel stress. Stress is advantageous but when activated for too long or too often your primitive fight and flight response not only alters your brain chemistry but also damages other organs and cells. In a response to a stressor the adrenal glands release the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine. As these hormones surge through your bloodstream at a rapid rate, they travel to your heart. Adrenaline causes your heart to beat faster and can make you feel jittery and out of sorts. These hormones also raises your blood pressure, which overtime can lead to hypertension.
Cortisol can also cause the endothelium or inner lining of blood vessels to function abnormally. Research has found that this is an early step in triggering the process of atherosclerosis also known as cholesterol plaque build up in your arteries! Adrenaline also increases blood glucose for the necessary burst of energy you need to fight or flee. Considering the link between high cortisol and blood sugar dysregulation, glucose can stay elevated, predisposing a person to type 2 diabetes. Thanks but no thanks to all of the above!
When your brain senses stress alarm bells sound activating your autonomic nervous system. Through this network of nerve connections your main brain communicates stress to your enteric or intestinal brain and nervous system. Aside from causing butterflies in your stomach this brain-gut connection can disturb the natural rhythmic contractions that move food through your gut leading to irritable bowel syndrome and can increase your guts sensitivity to acid, making you more likely to feel heart burn. Via the guts nervous system stress can also change the composition and function of your gut bacteria, which as we know not only affects our digestive health but our overall health too! It may well be the case that it is not always so important whether the state of stress is reported by the gut or the brain. Both organs are able to use the nervous system and messenger substances in the blood to stimulate the adrenal glands. Yes your body is that sophisticated, although not exactly the fireworks you want to bring to the party everyday!
As if things weren't already bad enough, stress can also make you gain weight! Seriously?! Heres how. Stress of any kind annoys our insulin and cortisol and when they're not happy, they store weight as a protective mechanism! Cortisol affects your appetite, it tells your body to replenish your energy stores with energy dense foods such as carbohydrates and sugar causing you to crave more of these comfort foods. Sure these guys comfort you in the short term but in the long term not so much, when you're trying with all your might to burn them off at the gym, you won't be having comforting thoughts! High levels of cortisol can also cause you to put on fat as visceral fat, the worst kind of all! This type of fat doesn't just make it hard for you to button your pants, it is an organ that actively releases hormones and immune based chemicals called cytokines that can increase your risk of developing chronic diseasesStress affects immune cells in a myriad of ways. Initially they help to fight invaders and heal after injury, however chronic stress can dampen the function of some immune cells making the body more susceptible to infections and slow the rate you heal. Stress also increases your pH, making it more acidic, which in turn creates more waste and toxins for your body to deal with. While your nervous system is essentially governing what is going on the body as it prepares to fight off the big scary monster or run away from said monster, your liver and kidneys cannot work efficiently to filter the blood and remove wastes and toxins. Your blood supply has been hijacked by your extremities in an effort to survive. Now with an abundance of waste and toxins circulating in the body this places further stress on the body to eliminate them, there really is no escape!
No matter how nice our lives may be, we will all have stressors from time to time. Those who tend to react to such catastrophes by dwelling on their problems will find that our modern world has plenty of quirks and problems to weigh you down! If we engage in it enough, dwelling over problems that we cannot control or change can result in feelings of stress. It becomes increasingly difficult to see anything beyond our own problems, in turn creating more stress. And before you know it you're caught up in a vicious cycle!
Want to have a long, happy existence? You have to curb your chronic stress! Life will always be filled with stressful situations, but what matters most to your brain and the rest of your body is how you respond to that stress! If you can view challenges that present as obstacles you can overcome and master, rather than threats that pose a life or death situation, you will not only stay sane in the short term but you will be much healthier in the long term too! x
curb your sugar cravings
Sugar cravings are essentially your body and mind engaging in a strong desire for carbs or sugars, that has you dreaming of chocolate, doughnuts, pasta, bread, I could go on all day!
So when do they pop up for you? 10am? 3pm? After lunch or dinner? Before your period? After a long day?
All of the above perhaps! Whilst it’s common for many people to experience sugar cravings, they aren't normal, and you don't have to live with them taking you on a daily blood-sugar rollercoaster, or hampering your efforts to eat a healthy diet.
A very useful and proactive way to look at sugar cravings is that they are a message from your body telling you that a metabolic imbalance is present. Deficiencies in nutrients could also be a factor or perhaps your diet may not be optimal for balanced and healthy blood sugar control. Or is it that an addiction to sugar has firmly rooted itself within your brain pathways?
Recent evidence suggests that gut microbes could also play a significant role in influencing cravings. Given that microbes have been with us since conception and are dependent on the nutrients or lack thereof that we provide for their own sustenance, it’s not really all that crazy to think that they are able to dictate our cravings, desires and choices of food to improve their own chances of survival!
But whatever the cause, please don't think caving to sugar means you simply lack willpower or motivation - there is something much bigger at play here!
Firstly lets dive in and have a look at what exactly could be to blame for the monster that has a tight grip on your food cravings and choices!
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUGAR & CARBOHYDRATES
Carbohydrates: found in grains, legumes and starchy vegetables, and are complex molecules that are broken into glucose (sugar) by the body for energy.
Sugar, therefore, is the simplest form of carbohydrate, and can come in three different ways:
1 Glucose – the main energy source in the body, found in carbohydrate-containing foods and makes up 50% of white table sugar.
2 Fructose – the sugar found in fruit. It is difficult for the body to metabolise and is classically found in fruits but also makes up the other 50% of white table sugar.
3 Lactose – the sugar component of milk.
Therefore, sugars and carbohydrates can be labelled either High GI or Low GI depending on the effect they have on your blood sugar levels.
So once we’ve consumed carbohydrate rich food (which we now know includes sugars), the body metabolises them into simple sugars and passes them into the bloodstream. This signals the hormone insulin to be excreted, so it can come and examine the sugar level of the blood.
Insulin is the gatekeeper that decides where these sugars will go. It’ll shuttle some into cells to be used for energy, however, if there is an excess beyond what the cells need, insulin triggers the conversion of the glucose into fat for storage. If we can balance this out with an optimal diet and exercise, this isn't necessarily an issue at all. However, if we continue to eat a diet rich in carbohydrates and sugar, you can see why we may not be calling on those stores anytime soon, and instead just continue to add to our waistline!
Plot twist!!! Once the sugar has left the blood to be stored, and we haven't eaten in a little while, our blood sugar levels drop below normal levels.The body, wanting to keep things stable and balanced, sets off a massive alarm bell that tells you that it's low in sugar and it’s time to ingest some more.This quite often takes the form of an intense sugar craving so the body can get a quick hit and equalise it’s blood sugar levels once more.
And so the cycle continues…
SUGAR CRAVING =
SUGAR CONSUMPTION =
BLOOD SUGAR SPIKE =
SUGAR/CARBS STORED AS FAT =
BLOOD SUGAR CRASH =
So, now we know that regardless of what carbohydrate or sugar you’re eating, they're going to be spiking our blood sugar levels, which inevitably leads to them crashing and well you know the rest!
If you often feel wiped out and sapped of energy from riding this perpetual sugar/carbohydrate rollercoaster, day in day out, its because this is a massive stress on the body and is a huge double-edged sword: once we’re stressed we crave sugar and carbs for quick energy to burn!
Instead of sending your blood sugar through the roof, protein and good fats take longer to be digested, which means they are broken down and enter your bloodstream slower. On top of this, as they don't contain sugars, they don't increase your blood sugar levels! Win win!
These two facets combine to mean that protein and healthy fats help to balance your blood sugar levels and provide you with a nourishing and long-lasting energy source.It's like stepping off the rollercoaster and instead riding a bicycle on a long and flat path - calming and consistent!
So its time to take back control over your cravings and loosen the grip that monster has on you. Being prepared is vital and stocking your fridge, then loading your plate with healthy proteins and fats saves you another day of riding a roller coaster of sugar cravings and feel flat from eating sugary or carb jacked foods. x
Why i love liquid herbals…
“Nature is both perfectly balanced and organised intelligently to create, maintain, repair and destroy matter synchronistically”.
Herbs are often referred to as a Nature Cure, simple but true! A herb grows in the ground, gets energy from sunlight and water, has interactions with insects and animals, is exposed to the elements of the weather. It is alive, it has life force and energy! Herbs can raise your life force, your energy, your vitality because like us humans they are alive!
Liquid herbs contain hundreds of chemical constituents, some are more pharmacologically active than others. The therapeutic actions of herbal medicines are due to these active components in the plant. Constituents can be classified by their chemical structure, and each class of compounds have their own individual therapeutic actions. When liquid herbs are properly prepared, there is minimal processing needed during their manufacture, thereby they truly reflect the chemical spectrum of the original herb, thus resulting in the purest form of medicine!
Western herbal medicine uses the plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark or flowers for medicinal purposes and can treat an array of conditions such as digestive disorders, hormonal imbalance, allergies, skin conditions and neurological conditions. Plants have an innate intelligence, for example some herbs contain volatile oils that they use to protect themselves from insects and predators. These volatile oils can be extremely beneficial for us when they are ingested. Peppermint, for example contains a volatile oil, menthol which has a relaxing effect on the digestive organs, lessening spasms, cramping and bloating.
Liquid herbals are just that, they are herbs or plants from the earth. They have not been synthetically manufactured in a lab or been tampered with. Unlike pharmaceuticals, herbs do not have one targeted action or one specific area on the body that they are attacking or treating, they are holistically treating the whole body and the whole being on an energetic level as well as a physical level. A beautiful example of this is Thymus vulgaris (Thyme) it is anti-microbial and antibacterial, it is also nourishing and supportive of the immune system and it’s a warming herb too so can assist with circulation issues! Amazing isn't it, that one herb can support so many systems in the bodyOur bodies are designed to absorb and metabolise nutrients from these herbs, much the same as fruits and veggies, as opposed to a pharmaceutical drug that is designed to block or suppress mechanisms and processes in the body. Which in turn produces more stress on the body as its trying so hard to detoxify this foreign substance! Furthermore, research has shown that antibiotics not only kill off the bad bugs, but they also destroy our good dudes too. Herbs on the other hand support your body to eliminate these pathogens without disturbing the good guys! Woohoo!
Doesn’t quite make sense then does it, to put something into your body that you probably cannot even pronounce over something that has come from Mother Nature brimming with vitality and energy to make your cells dance and promote your bodies innate healing process. I know which one I’d chose!
Research has demonstrated that a relationship exists between the rate and degree of dissolution of the phytochemical in a herbal liquid preparation and their absorption in the bloodstream. The advantage of herbal liquids is that the vital and active phytochemical constituents are already in that solution!!
Extracting the magical healing powers of plants…Ethanol or alcohol has been used for hundreds or years to prepare herbal liquid formulations. This method has been found to be quite efficient for the extraction of the wide variety of phytochemicals found in medicinal plants and herbs. It also ensures that no part of the herb and its pharmacological actions are destroyed.
I know some of you are thinking what on earth?? Alcohol! How can that be good for me?Well a 5ml dose of herbal extract contains about as much ethanol as does approximately one sixth of a standard glass of beer or wine. The liver rapidly metabolises such a small amount of alcohol, thus its effect on the blood alcohol level might not even be measurable. Only the metabolising capacity of the liver is effected when much higher doses of ethanol are consumed. Furthermore, the body is capable of metabolising small doses of ethanol from ripe fruit and the natural fermentation of food. Plus with all those amazing detox tools you are using on a daily basis and the beloved coffee enema you’ll be flushing out all of that alcohol with all those other nasties! Sigh!
The sum of all plant aspects or elements is vital in restoring balance.
We all know and love turmeric for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties! Curcumin is the active constituent that is found in turmeric and has been isolated for use in supplements. These supplements are usually formulated to include black pepper or piperine to help with the absorption of the curcumin. If however, you were to ingest fresh or dried turmeric you wouldn’t need to add anything else to help with absorption as the constituents and compounds that make up the whole plant work in synergy together to elicit the desired effect. Herbs and plants are meant to be consumed as a whole entity, not with parts removed or isolated and other bits and pieces added in, thats not the way nature intended us to consume them. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts….this could not be more true when it comes to herbal medicine!
But how will Herbal Liquids benefit me?
The goals of Western Herbal Liquids for the individual are to:
Raise vitality, which is central to the individuals capacity to resist disease
Neutralise the sustaining causes that maintain the disease process. Chronic inflammation for example can be a sustaining cause
Promote and nourish the healthy functioning of bodily tissues, organs and systems
You can see why I just love the healing and nutritive benefits that plants exhibit!
Quality over quantity!
Not all herbal liquids are created equally! Environmental factors such as climate (temperature, rainfall, exposure to sunlight) and soil quality affect levels of naturally occurring chemical constituents of herbs as does the process of harvesting, drying and preparing the plant material. This is why at From the Source Naturopathy we only use the purest, most potent and highest quality liquid herbs we can source! Our Naturopaths prepare each individual herbal tonic with the utmost love and care to support and nurture you on your healing journey!
So now you know a little more about these incredible gifts from nature, that do so much to promote vitality, wellbeing and equilibrium in our bodies you can embrace and incorporate them into your life! x
Could Histamine Intolerance be to blame for your symptoms?
Do you get a rosy glow when you drink red wine? Do you suffer from unexplainable head aches or migraines? Perhaps you get an itchy tongue or eyes or suffer from flu like symptoms after you eat certain foods?
If any of the above having you nodding your head and saying ‘thats me’, you may have histamine intolerance.
Hold on a minute, what even is histamine?
Histamine is a chemical compound involved in the immune response, digestion and the central nervous system. Histamine is involved in:
• Fighting off foreign invaders (even mild allergic reactions)
• Acting as a neurotransmitter
• Regulating stomach acid production, muscle contraction, brain function, sleep wake cycle and much more.
You may have heard of histamine before in relation to seasonal allergies or you may have been prescribed antihistamine medication to combat the symptoms.
This is due to histamines role in activating the big guns of the immune system and producing an immediate inflammatory response. Your immune system senses there is a potential threat and histamines role is to to cause blood vessels to dilate, so that white bloods cells can infiltrate the area and attack the predator. As histamine begins to gather in the area symptoms begin to appear, such as flushing of the face, headaches, itchy and irritated skin, or watery eyes and nose, leaving you looking and feeling less than ordinary!
This is all a completely natural response masterminded by your immune system, however if histamine is left to linger and isn't metabolised properly, histamine intolerance can occur. In most cases, excess histamine is broken down in the body by specialised enzymes. In the central nervous system this is know as histamine-N-methyltransferase (HMT), while in the gut the enzyme is called diamine oxidase (DAO) which is responsible for metabolising foods containing histamine.
Histamine is naturally produced by the body, however it can also be obtained from the diet. The following food sources can be responsible for one of three things:
1 They can naturally contain histamine
2 They can block the enzyme responsible for breaking down histamine
3 They can stimulate the release of histamine
Foods high in histamine
• Alcohol (red wine in particular)
• Fermented beverages such as kombucha
• Fermented foods: vinegar, soy sauce, sauerkraut, & yoghurt
• Aged cheeses and other dairy products
• Vinegar containing foods such as olives, mayonnaise & pickles
• Processed meat (i.e. bacon, salami etc)
• Dried fruits
• Some nuts
• Night shade vegetables (potato, capsicum, chili, eggplant ,tomatoes)
• Some spices - cinnamon, anise, chilli, nutmeg, cayenne & cloves
• Leftover meat (this is because the bacteria that begins to grow on it produces histamine. For this reason it is advised to eat freshly cooked meat and store properly)
• Coffee, cacao, green tea & matcha
• Smoked fish
Histamine can also wreak havoc on the gut micro biome. The enzyme DAO, which was mentioned above, that breaks down histamine in the gut, is produced and stored within the cell walls of the small intestine and colon. When food is consumed this enzyme is released to metabolise any histamine floating about.
When there is structural damage to the intestinal walls due to inflammation, disease, the presence of pathogens or microbial imbalance, DAO cannot be produced or stored, resulting in a deficiency and thus the inability to be activated. Gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, Crohn's disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and dysbiosis are all characterised by an imbalance of "good" and "bad" gut bacteria. It is the “bad”guys that are responsible for producing histamine and causing inflammation which can damage the intestinal lining. If this inflammation persists leaky gut can result.
Its not enough to just treat the symptoms of histamine intolerance alone, the underlying cause needs to be identified and addressed. Implementing a low histamine diet can be extremely helpful while treating the underlying cause. This involves removal of the foods listed above, focusing on foods low in histamine. This is usually for a period of time (anywhere from 1-4 months), at which point foods may be reintroduced into the diet one at a time to assess for any reactions.
Essentially it all circles back to the health and function of the gut! In order to build up histamine tolerance once again, it is vitally important to repair the lining of the gut, reducing intestinal inflammation, and rebalancing the ‘good guys’, your beneficial bacteria. x
Seed cycling is a method of using certain seeds to support female hormones during the different phases of their menstrual cycle. Seed cycling can support women suffering from absent periods, PMS, infertility, cramping, heavy flows and perimenopause symptoms as well as providing healing support for chronic conditions like amenorrhea, PCOS and endometriosis. Seed cycling embodies ‘food as medicine’ to support the intricate hormonal dance that occurs in a woman’s body in a wonderfully inexpensive, non-invasive and easy way.
During the first stage of your cycle, the follicular phase, you consume 1 tablespoon each of both flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds and continue this every day for 14 days. After this, you will switch over to 1 tablespoon each of sesame and sunflower seeds, again every day for 14 days during your luteal phase. If its possible to consume the seeds ground fresh, this is the best way to get all the goodness from them. The way I love to do my seed cycling is in my morning smoothie. This is the easiest way to get them into my diet and get a nutrient dense delicious smoothie too, after all food IS medicine!
THE FIRST PHASE (DAYS 1-14)
Day one of the follicular phase is your first day of bleeding in your cycle. During the follicular phase, estrogen should rise. Estrogen is needed to stimulate the endometrial lining to thicken in preparation for a fertilised egg to implant. Without fertilisation this lining will shed, bleeding will occur and that is what is a woman’s period. Estrogen is also needed to peak for ovulation to occur, and this should ideally happen between days 12-15.
Flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens, phytoestrogens are a plant-based source of estrogen that adapt to the body’s own estrogen levels and help to balance them accordingly. They increase estrogen levels where needed, yet they also can decrease excess estrogen. This is thanks to the lignans they contain, which bind to estrogen receptors and help to modulate estrogen production.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, zinc nourishes the ovarian follicles (the eggs) and promotes ovulation to occur. Ovulation is important as it establishes regular cycles and provides a balanced supply of estrogen and progesterone.
THE SECOND PHASE (DAYS 15-28)
Around day 14 ovulation should occur, this is when you will enter the luteal phase. The luteal phase should last at least ten days, any less may indicate low progesterone levels and possible issues with fertility. During this phase, estrogen should drop and progesterone will rise. Progesterone is needed to enhance the endometrium (uterine lining) and to facilitate egg implantation. Estrogen levels may increase again during this phase but when they rise too high they can trigger symptoms of PMS, so the key here is balance. Ideally, progesterone and estrogen should be within a specific ratio. So during this phase, to keep progesterone levels high and maintain hormonal balance the focus is on seeds rich in omega 6 fatty acids that convert over to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) within the body.
Sesame seeds are rich in lignans which effectively balance estrogen and progesterone levels within the body. They are also abundant in omega 6, which is converted to GLA in the body. GLA is anti-inflammatory and helps modulate female reproductive hormones.
Sunflower seeds are rich in the mineral selenium and antioxidant Vitamin E, which both support liver function and the detoxification of hormones. Without the appropriate elimination of hormones, they can be reabsorbed and enter back into the bloodstream, creating toxicities imbalances.
As with anything hormone related, its important to keep in mind that to see change and improvements it takes time. You most likely won't see results with a day, or a week, but rather over a 2-3 month period. Don't be disheartened by this, the endocrine (hormonal) system is complex and delicate. The time it takes will also be influenced by your current hormonal health and general health history. For those who have been on hormonal birth control for some time it will take a little longer than someone who may have only had minor hormonal imbalances. Seek out guidance from a practitioner (like myself) if you need support navigating the complexities of the hormonal system x
Legumes, beans, pulses, whatever you wish to call them have suffered their fair share of negative chatter, often deemed reactive and indigestible. Legumes are often thought of as a vegetarian or vegan option and don’t tend to be a mainstay of the modern day diet. They also often get a bad wrap for causing digestive upset, bloating, wind and pain. I hope this article will help you turn that around with not only some really great reasons to include them and why they are essential for our gut health.
What are legumes?
Legumes, also known as pulses, are a family of plants including chickpeas, beans like fava, kidney, black, soy and navy beans, peas, lupins, lentils and peanuts (yes they are actually a legume, not a nut!)
Legumes are incredibly nutrient dense, they are a fantastic source of plant protein, dietary fibre and prebiotics, essential for a healthy, thriving micro biome. Some of the research being dished up about legumes denotes they are:
- Good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus
- Fantastic source of plant protein
- Great source of dietary fibre
- Low glycemic index meaning a slow and steady release of carbohydrates
- Naturally low in fat
- Help assist in regularity of bowel motions
- Associated with reduced risk colon cancer and type 2 diabetes
- Associated with improved blood sugar levels and cholesterol markers
Legumes and Gut Health
Due to digestive issues myself, I wasn't able to tolerate legumes for a little while, which was heart breaking as I love them and know how nutritious they are! When is comes to gut health, legumes are not only incredibly beneficial due to their high fibre content and plant based protein, but they are also a natural prebiotic.
Our microbiome feeds on prebiotic rich foods, think of probiotics as food and fuel for probiotics. This in turn creates a thriving and diverse microbial community in the gut. A diverse and robust microbiome is known to be associated with many aspects of health including immunity, digestive health, disease risk and even mental health and mood. So its not only your digestive tract that will benefit from enjoying legumes in your diet!
But I’m not sure if I can tolerate them - this is something that comes up a lot with clients or that they cause lots of bloating and wind, which can be true for some but often its because there is something deeper going on. Its important not to just avoid them altogether as often when we remove large amounts of food from our diets we narrow the fermentable food available for our beneficial bacteria. Its no secret that our gut is comprised of a huge array of bacteria that have been proven to support our digestion, immune system and mental health. This is where individualised treatment and support comes in, what is healthy for my microbiota may not be ideal for yours.
Providing different types of food for our microbiome tends to encourage the growth of different species. Therefore, when we limit or restrict certain foods we are effectively starving certain strains of bacteria and encouraging the growth of others. Sometimes when you eat something a little different to what you may usually you may experience symptoms such as bloating, cramps or gas, it can trigger feelings of distress and frustration and you retreat back to foods you deem ‘safe’ and tend to narrow the diet once again. Our goal is always to be able to include a broad variety and diversity of foods and continue to build on that as the gut becomes stronger, healthier and more robust. x