This effective morning digestive tonic stimulates the the production of Gastrin, a peptide hormone released in the stomach that stimulates the release of gastric acid. This gastric acid is responsible for breaking down your proteins, absorb your nutrients and reduces the gas producing substances that can later affect the lower intestines. This helps with weight, fluid and skin health.
This cleansing tonic is super quick to make and it takes little time to prepare when you have the ingredients handy straight from your kitchen
Upon waking, drink a 250mL glass of warm water with or one tablespoon of organic unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Not a fan of apple cider vinegar? Try using the juice of ¼ lemon.
Add a ¼ teaspoon of Organic Manuka Honey for a prebiotic boost
Add some freshly grated ginger or a stick of cinnamon to improve circulation and settle your stomach
Sip slowly, over 20 minutes.
Start having this health promoting drink daily for at least three weeks and feel and see the difference!
DO NOT USE Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar:
If you take a regular prescription medication called a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) such as Nexium, Losec or Omeprazole.
If you have severe heartburn or reflux
If you have been diagnosed with a gastric or duodenal ulcer.
If you have oesophageal dysplasia.
Instead, start with 250mL of warm water and one teaspoon of Slippery Elm Powder. When your condition has improved, you may begin this process of stimulating the stomach’s natural acid-producing ability with lemon or ACV.
When in doubt, contact your naturopath for further advice
When we think of gut bacteria, we think of our digestive system. Now research is teaching us that your gut dwellers can be affecting you in areas outside of your digestive tract. With our own cells out numbered 10 to 1, what strains we are housing can be the big decider of our health. An unhealthy balance of beneficial/good and pathogenic/bad bacteria, known as dysbiosis, it is not just your digestive system that can be affected.
So what disease are linked to dysbiosis?
Digestive Conditions Linked to Dysbiosis
Let’s start inside of your digestive system. Imbalances to your gut bacteria have been linked to:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
Non-Digestive Conditions Linked to Dysbiosis
Outside of your digestive system, your gut bacteria interacts with your immune and nerve systems to have an affect on every cell of your body.
Asthma & Eczema
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Diabetes Types I & II
Do you think your gut might be out of balance?
A Comprehensive Stool Analysis can test your levels of beneficial, harmful bacteria, yeast overgrowths as well as any parasites
Gut bacteria also referred to as gut flora or gut microbiota refers to the trillions of microbes that call your digestive tract home. In healthy individuals, beneficial strains far out number any troublesome neighbours, leading to longevity, protection against chronic diseases and a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately in today’s world of overuse in antibiotics, refined carbohydrate diets and a kitchen far far away from the farm in which food are grown, our inner bacteria is at risk of being overtaken by some less than ideal inhabitants. These harmful bacteria have been linked to so many different conditions including obesity, stomach ulcers, particular cancers, diabetes, eczema, impaired immune systems, ADHD, anxiety and depression.
Since we discovered the wonderful inner world of gut bacteria, we have been studying them intensely to see what bacteria is found in healthy people and which tend to be seen in people with a range of illnesses and diseases. This data has gone on to create a list of beneficial and harmful bacteria. This can be tested easily with a stool sample sent to the laboratory.
So how can we tell what bacteria we are housing?
An overgrowth of harmful bacteria leads to a range of changes and symptoms, but let’s go through some of the most obvious ones.
1. Digestive Changes
When harmful bacteria take over, one of the most obvious signs is a change in your normal digestive symptoms:
Constipation or diarrhoea
Perhaps you are running to the toilet more often, or going days before you need to. Reflux, heartburn and burping can begin due to the bacteria activity as well as gas from the other end. One of the most common is bloating, and that can be above the belly button in the small intestines or lower in the large intestines as the bacteria’s presence leads to rotting of dietary fibres and lots of stinky gas can be produced
2. Mental Health and Energy
That constant activity in your intestines leads to overly activated nerves that live along the intestinal wall. Add to this new research showing that the microbes in our gut contribute to our serotonin levels , and abnormal bacteria levels in those with mental health conditions and you are starting to see how these little critters can have such an impact on your mental health and energy levels. Gut bacteria over-growths have been linked to:
If you are experiencing these conditions, an investigation into your bacteria levels is wise
3. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Whilst digestive symptoms, mental health conditions and energy levels are hard to document, most vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. But what often happens is that the person presents with a lack of a particular vitamin or mineral, regardless of what they are eating. We often think that the food we eat, is now inside of us, but if it comes into contact with a battle ground of bacteria at the intestinal wall, it may not be absorbed. Alternatively, the bacteria that exists in the intestines can also eat the broke down vitamins and minerals before it gets a chance to cross over the intestinal wall into the blood stream. Common gut bacteria related deficiencies include:
If you’ve been told you are low on the above vitamin and minerals, maybe it is time to look at what’s happening in the gut
4. Antibiotic and Certain Medications
Many advances in medicine have saved millions of lives, and antibiotics is one of these. However, they are not designed to be used as a prevention of infections, nor are they suitable for viral infections such as a common cold. In fact the over use of antibiotics has been the suggested reason as to the rise in auto-immune diseases. As a general rule, keep antibiotics for use inside of hospitals
Whilst antibiotics are effective against nasty infections, they also wipe out the colonies of beneficial bacteria that live happily in our gut. Even just one round of antibiotics can leave you exposed to have other harmful bacteria take over, that’s why you should see your health practitioner or naturopath if you are taking antibiotics, so together we can replenish the happy populations.
5. Chronic Stress
Just as bacteria in the digestive system can negatively affect the nervous system, it can also go the other way, with stress causing changes in the gut that promotes harmful bacteria. There are many pathways that link your gut with your brain and vice versa, so they are in constant communication. But when the workload of the brain is high, communication because lost, leading to constipation and other gut issues. Stress reactions raise cortisol and adrenaline, both of which are pro-inflammation and encourage digestive issues.
6. Skin Issues
Our liver is our number #1 go to when it comes to detoxifying our bodies, working to breakdown by products from normal cellular function and eliminating these via the large intestines. What most don’t know, if this pathway is compromised by a bacterial overgrowth, the skin takes over the detox job, pushing toxins out via the skin. Skin conditions that are linked to gut bacteria include acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema. Your skin acts like a window, showing the effects of the external world as well as irritants on the other side of the glass – your gut. If your struggling with your skin, perhaps it’s time to look inside
7. Autoimmune Diseases
Your cells have little markers on their wall, letting our immune cells (white blood cells) know that we are part of the team. In auto-immune conditions, their is a communication meltdown, and white blood cells start attacking our own cells, thinking they are invading cells. Conditions that have this occurring are known as auto immune and include:
Some types of arthritis
Hair loss – alopecia
Diabetes – type 1
Changes in bacteria has been linked to abnormal digestion, perhaps because 70% of your immune system lives along the wall of the intestines, regulating what is coming in and out of the intestines and blood stream. Harmful bacteria over-growths in the intestines changes the function of the immune system and can lead to auto immune conditions and treatment should include gut bacteria
Think you may have a problem with your gut bacteria?
It can be difficult to get enough fresh vegetables in your diet but with this green smoothie you can start your day with 3.5-6 grams* of fibre to feed your colon bacteria. To make your morning easier, pop all the ingredients into the blender jar the night before and store in fridge for breakfast the next day so you just have to blend it in the morning
One of the most common practices I prescribe as a naturopath is bitter green vegetables. In addition to being one of those most nutrient rich foods, packed with
Vitamins A, C and K,
Minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium
Filled with folate
Gut loving fibre
Although the reason can be specific to the client, there is always a few fundamental benefits of increase those bitter green leafy veggies
Originally, we thought that consuming bitter foods activated the bitter taste buds that simultaneously stimulates enzyme production and bile flow. However recent research has revealed that bitter receptors aren’t confined to the taste buds and can be found in various locations along the digestive tract, regulating how much digestive power was required to break the food down to useable parts.
The extensive list of benefits range from
Decreasing abdominal discomfort and bloating
Healthy blood clotting function
Improved fat digestion
What all of these things have in common is the stomach and liver’s response to incoming food. By stimulating these receptors, enzymes required to break down those all important vitamins and mineral for absorption into the blood. More enzymes, more effective digestion, the more nutrients you are able to harness from less food.
Now they aren’t called Bitter Greens because they taste sweet, they all do have a degree of bitterness to them to hit that bitter receptor. But not all are as strong as others (Read: you can slowly adapt your tastes) and there is a way to lighten the bitterness by lightly sautéing them with a good quality olive oil in a pan for about 3-5 minutes. Experiment with the types you have available, raw, and cooked to expand your taste responses.
Many bitter greens vary in name, depending on nationality (Asian to British varieties) so they may not be listed as what is below. As we don’t shop for vegetables by a universal botanical name, a mustard green in one store will look very different to another store. When in doubt, google what the store is calling it and check for other common names. I’ve included some pictures, so you can identify them also by sight
Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides, And Polyols
These types of carbohydrates got their own team name based on the length of their carbohydrate chains and have been known to worsen the symptoms of some digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These short-chain carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, attract excess water to the intestine and as they sit around waiting to be processed, they rapidly ferment in the gut, which can lead to increased gas, distention, bloating, cramping, and diarrhoea.
Oligosaccharidesare unable to be digested as humans lack the digestive enzymes required to break them down. Foods that fit this category are artichokes, asparagus, beets, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, fennel, garlic, leeks, okra, onions, peas, shallots, wheat, rye, barley, legumes, lentils, chickpeas, apples, peaches, persimmon, watermelon, and pistachios
A disaccharide, Lactose is a made up of two sugar units. Lactose is only a FODMAP when there is an insufficient level of lactase, the enzyme required to break lactose down. Several factors can influence lactase production such as genetics, ethnicity (Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander), and other gut disorders. Common foods are milk, yogurt, ice cream, custard, and soft cheeses.
Fructose is a monosaccharide, a simple sugar and requires no digestion, however when fructose levels are greater than glucose, an alternative absorption method is used. This alternative method of absorption is impaired in some individuals, leading to fructose malabsorption. Common foods are apples, cherries, mangoes, pears, watermelon, asparagus, artichokes, sugar snap peas, honey, and high fructose corn syrup.
Fructans: Globe and Jerusalem artichokes, garlic (in large amounts), leek, onion (brown, white, Spanish, spring and onion powder), shallots, wheat (in large amounts), rye (in large amounts), barley (in large amounts), inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.
Polyols are a type of sugar alcohol that absorbs one third of what is consumed, and absorption is slow, fermenting in the intestinal tract. Common foods in this group are apples, apricots, cherries, pears, nectarines, peaches, plums, prunes, watermelon, avocado, cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas, and the artificial sweeteners sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, and xylitol.
Phase 1 The first phase of the Low FODMAP Diet generally involves the strict restriction of all high FODMAP foods for 4-6 weeks. Identify these foods and seek alternatives to ensure your diet is still nutritionally adequate, preferably with the supervision of a naturopath or nutritionist. The symptom response over this period should be noted, and a review appointment will then provide guidance on the second phase.
Phase 2 The second phase is where foods that were restricted in the first phase are reintroduced gradually and the diet is liberalised to suit the individual’s threshold. This is where the type and amount of FODMAPs that can be tolerated by the individual are identified so that their long-term diet can be established. It is very important to determine the level of FODMAPs that can be comfortably tolerated, so that the prebiotic effects of FODMAPs can be enjoyed and the diet is not overly restricted. The professional guidance during the reintroduction process can help to minimise symptoms and to ensure maximum variety is achieved in the diet.
The result should be a long-term diet that is lower in the problematic FODMAPs for the individual than were originally consumed, but is not as FODMAP-restricted as the first phase of the diet. This easier to manage dietary plan is tailored to the individual’s tolerance and continually increasing research has shown this approach decreases the occurrence and severity of gas, abdominal discomfort, bloating, craping and diarrhoea in IBS patients Note: This is a LOW FODMAP Diet, not a NO FODMAP Diet. Eliminating all FODMAP foods from the diet over the long term is not desirable or recommended. I strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional when making such changes to your diet
I first came across this recipe a few months ago, but it wasn’t until now that I had a chance to trial the recipe and see just how “Life Changing” it is. No idea what I’m on about? Let me start from the beginning
A quick google search of The Life-Changing Bread will give you the recipe from My New Roots, a qualified nutritionist in the US who coined the title. Why is it life-changing? She explains that taking steps to eating healthier led to a reduction in nutrition-less refined grains and consequently little to no bread. Enter: The Life Changing Bread. Made from nuts, seeds, some himalayan salt and the magical psyllium husks. Magical? Yes magical! It is one of those things that are kind of like food, kind of like a supplement and kinda like a medicine. A healthy poop needs enough water and enough binding agents as well as just the right amount of time in the intestines for it to eliminate toxins that are built up everyday. Anyone who hasn’t had a poop in a few days will tell you how awful it is and how important a healthy poop is to make you feel good.
With Fibre being the key to keeping your bowels in tip top shape, and aiding your body in getting rid of nasty toxins, it has been suggested that it could be the vitamin we are all missing out on. Spouting health benefits like lowering cholesterol, cleansing the intestines, binding stools together, picking up some of the detoxification process to give your liver a break and making you feel lighter, we could all do with more fibre. But how? Metamucil says take their sugar and chemical laden product, but it is essentially just made out of. You guessed it. Psyllium husks. See now how this bread can be so life changing!
So let’s get to it then
Ingredients: 1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds ½ cup / 90g flax seeds ½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds – I used hazelnuts as my Mum’s name was Hazel 😉 1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats 2 Tbsp. chia seeds 4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder) 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt) 1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia) I didn’t have any maple syrup and swapped it for honey, works just as well but only use 1 tsp as it is sweeter 3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee 1 ½ cups / 350ml water
Directions: 1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. I don’t trust baking with those plastic things but a $5 loaf pan from Coles did just the trick Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it. 2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. 3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important). 4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!
So the verdict? Unlike many other recipes I have tried and tested, my final resut looked remarkably like the recipe example above, even down to the perfectly in half hazelnuts. First I smeared beetroot dip all over 2 slices.
Soft on the inside, crusty on the outside. Solid to smudge hummus on, but not a solid brick that can’t be sliced into. I’m sold so far! Stand by to hear about my life-changing results, in the mean time, start throwing this gem together today
**some photos and recipe are courtesy of the owner’s
Although popular in culinary use, broths made from bones have been used across the globe throughout human history. Nearly every traditional society boiled bones of meat-giving animals to make a nutritive broth. Bone broths are remarkably inexpensive to make by using bones and vegetables saving you money on expensive supplements.
As the bones cook in water – especially if that water has been made slightly acidic by the inclusion of cider vinegar – minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water. The homemade broth becomes is rich in:
In this easily absorbed form, these nutrients can:
Support connective tissue
Improve gut health
Chicken Bone Broth
1-2 chicken carcasses (approx. 1kg of bones)
1 or 2 medium onions, unpeeled & quartered
1 head of garlic, unpeeled, finely chopped
2 celery ribs with the leaves on, diced
2 carrots, cut in 3 cm pieces
Any other vegetable scraps
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
5 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 teaspoons peppercorns
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 L water (enough to cover above ingredients)
Directions: Add all of the ingredients to a large slow cooker. Make sure it is not fuller than ¾. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. While still hot, pour through a wire mesh strainer to remove the solids.
FREEZE IT. Broth can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. For extended storage, it should be frozen. It’s convenient to freeze it in 1 or 2 cup portions for easy use in recipes. You can reduce it first by gently cooking it for some liquid to evaporate to save space in your freezer
Beef Bone Broth
1 ½ – 2 kg beef marrow and knuckle bones 1 Kg meaty beef neck or rib bones ½ cup apple cider vinegar 3 ½ – 4 L water 3 carrots, coarsely chopped 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped 3 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped Several sprigs of fresh thyme tied together 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon peppercorns 1/2 bunch fresh parsley (stems and all)
Directions: Place the knuckle and marrow bones in a very large pot with the vinegar and cover with water. Let stand for an hour. Meanwhile, place te meaty bones in a roasting dish and brown in oven at 180 degrees.
When the meat is well browned, add to pot along with all other ingredients, except bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley. Once the meaty bones have been added to the stock pot, pour the fat from the pan into the pot.
A significant amount of scum will come to the top, remove with a spoon. After skimming, reduce heat and add bay leaves and peppercorns.
Allow the broth to simmer for at least 24 and up to 72 hours. Remember to regularly check the stock and top up with a little water if needed.
Just before finishing, add parsley and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Once simmer is completed, remove bones with tongs and strain the stock into a large bowl. Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top. Use immediately or store as appropriate
Leading a happy life is often difficult when you aren’t feeling well. Since happiness is the foundation that health is built on, how do we achieve either without the other. This conundrum lead me to focus on what is known as The Gut Brain Connection, which has been revolutionising medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.
Researchers and doctors previously thought that stress contributed to gut problems such as constipation, upset stomach, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and bloating and impaired immune protection. But new research suggests that it is a two-way street, with the brain and gut in constant communication, each capable of altering the other’s state. A sluggish gut can cause mood changes just as stress can change your available energy.
Not only is our gut linked to our brain far more than we originally thought, we have also found that 70% of our immune system is located along the intestinal walls, monitoring microbes as they come in and out. Communicating with the gut bacteria, the immune cells are capable of coordinating a faster and more effective response to incoming threats. Without a healthy range of gut bacteria, the body can not respond as well to bacteria before it has a chance to take over.
Signs and Symptoms of Poor Gut Health
Digestive issues such as constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, upset stomach
Food allergies or sensitivities such as reacting to lactose or gluten
Anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability
Skin problems like eczema, acne, dryness
Autoimmune diseases such as thyroid imbalances, rheumatoid conditions and Crohns
Frequent Infections like UTIs, thrush, cold and flus
Poor memory and concentration, low or sluggish energy or hyperactivity
What can you do differently to be more HAPPY?
How can what you EAT change how susceptible you are to getting a cold or improve your energy?
How do you cultivate happiness AND reduce your risks of chronic conditions?
LIMIT gut damaging irritants such as sugar, alcohol, wheat, processed foods and excessive pain killer medications
INCREASE your water intake to 2 litres every day to encourage your body to flush out what it can
INTRODUCE fermented foods such as natural yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha into your diet to supply the digestive system with a variety of healthy bacteria
REPAIR the lining along the digestive system with cell repairing glutamine, healing turmeric and soothing aloe vera
FEED gut microbes with fibre such as slippery elm powder as well as 5-6 serves of fresh vegetables every day
Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods that our bodies need for optimal digestion.
There are two main types of fiber:
Soluble – Commonly found in fruit, oats, barley and legumes.
Insoluble – Commonly found in wheat bran, corn bran, wholegrain breads and cereals as well as vegetables.
Contributes to feelings of fullness, decreases appetite and reduces cravings
Slows the absorption of carbohydrates, which can reduce your blood sugar level
Helps to lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides
Facilitates the movement of food through the digestive tract, thus detoxifying the body
A recent article titled “The Fiber Gap and the Disappearing Gut Microbiome: Implications for Human Nutrition” (Deehan, E. C., & Walter, J., 2016) has reported the alarming impact of the modern diet, specifically the low fiber aspect, on gut microbes.
Immune-mediated pathologies related to”chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, allergies, other atopic diseases (including asthma), autism, and autoimmune diseases have all been linked to disrupted gut micro flora in animal studies.
Disruptions to the establishment of the gut microbiota early in life (such as caesarean sections, antibiotics, formula feeding), and pathologies are often associated with an abnormal micro flora.
Low fiber intake is a key driver in depleting gut microbe populations, as these indigestible dietary carbohydrates
A low-fiber diet provides insufficient nutrients for the gut microbes, leading to the reduction in particular and a reduction in the production of fermentation end products that have
Moving African Americans to a traditional South African diet with a daily dose of 55 g of dietary fiber was efficient to improve markers of colon cancer within 2 weeks.
Despite virtually all nutritional organizations encouraging consumption of dietary fiber the average fiber intake remains low
So how much do I need ?
Research has revealed that a daily intake of 30g of fibre is the minimum that we should be consuming, to feed our healthy gut bacteria, and prevent as many long term diseases as possible.
What does 30g of fibre look like?
Take the last day or so, and calculate how much fibre you had
How close did you get?
How can you improve that amount for today and tomorrow?
Deehan, E. C., & Walter, J. (2016). The Fiber Gap and the Disappearing Gut Microbiome: Implications for Human Nutrition. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 27(5), 239–242. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2016.03.001