Reflux Relief for People in a Hurry

GERD

Many people suffer from a condition called GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and are often prescribed medication for high stomach acidity. But is this treating the real cause and is it the best treatment?

Stomach pH

It is a well-documented fact that as we age we produce less hydrochloric acid in our stomach. This acid environment is the natural environment for our stomach so that proteins and other nutrients can be largely digested before passing into the small intestine. If we make less of it as we age, why are so many elderly people being increasingly prescribed more medications to lower stomach acid levels, when they are already low? Reflux medications are one of the highest selling medications to the elderly.

An interesting point to note is that these medications can temporarily mask some symptoms (of low stomach acidity), but once the medication is stopped, the symptoms often return and can be a lot worse than before. 

Causes of reflux

When reflux occurs, a burning sensation or bitter, acid taste can be felt in the throat and mouth. This is largely as a result of a faulty esophageal sphincter valve, which is no longer separating the stomach from the esophagus effectively, thus allowing acid to move upwards. Whether stomach acid levels are normal or low, this will still occur if the valve is faulty. 

Reasons for faulty valves

The main reason for malfunction of this sphincter valve is intra-abdominal pressure. This can occur due to:

  • overeating
  • being overweight
  • consuming too many refined, processed carbohydrates
  • bending over or lying down too soon after a meal
  • eating too many spicy, fatty foods
  • a bacterial overgrowth

How to treat reflux

  1. Reducing intra-abdominal pressure will help improve the integrity of the sphincter valve.
  2. Reducing intake of refined, processed carbohydrates
  3. Avoiding overeating 
  4. Losing weight
  5. Avoiding lying down after meals. 
  6. Avoiding spicy, fatty foods.
  7. Providing enzymes & digestives to promote better digestion if stomach acid levels are low.
  8. Being treated for bacterial overgrowth with herbs that knock out the pathogens.

Food for thought.

Want To Live Longer, Live Healthier? Who Doesn’t!

… Start by looking after your “telomeres”. These are the tiny end units of our DNA strands, which prevent the DNA from unraveling. (… Think of a shoelace which has it’s ends bound tightly.)  As our cells replicate our telomeres shorten. Longer telomeres lead to longevity. So how do we lengthen them?

Lengthen your telomeres, live longer & healthier with a few simple lifestyle adjustments:
  1. Improve your quality of sleep each night.
  2. Reduce stress with regular meditation and relaxation. 
  3. Exercise regularly and include HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) one to two times a week.
  4. Eat the right fats.  Include a small amount of good fats at each meal and snack, eg. nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, olives, deep-sea fish, fish oils.
  5. Keep vitamin D levels adequate.  Include deep-sea fish, eggs, mushrooms (grown in sunlight). Expose skin daily to sunlight to boost your own production of Vitamin D. In Summer you’ll need less time in the sun because of the higher UV Index. This varies a little depending on location and season of the year.
  6. Reduce levels of inflammation by avoiding or greatly reducing refined processed carbohydrates, deep-fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, added sugars including artificial sweeteners. Choose green leafy vegetables, quality protein, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruit & vegetables, free-range eggs, herbs.
  7. Reduce risk factors – quit smoking & recreational drugs, reduce alcohol intake, include daily movement and exercise.         … Does any of this sound familiar? 

How To Lose Belly Fat

No amount of daily sit-ups will help you lose belly fat. Some lifestyle, exercise and dietary adjustments are necessary. Incorporate a few changes at a time so you are not overwhelmed. 

Exercise adjustments:

  1. Include HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) one to two times a week, for about 20 mins a session. Muscle tissue burns 3-5 times more energy than fat tissue. So as you gain muscle your metabolic rate increases, allowing you to burn more calories even while sleeping. Note: workout for short bursts of maximum intensity (eg. 30 sec) and rest in between these spurts for a similar time.
  2. Include weight (resistance) training. Perform your sets using the correct technique and at a slightly slower pace, squeezing & holding the abdominals taut during each set. Rest in between. Core-strengthening exercises like “planking” engages a wide group of muscles to improve overall strength. Push-ups are a great exercise to perform in sets of 20 throughout the day. We all need a break from sitting!

Dietary recommendations:

  1. Incorporate more protein in your diet if it is currently low, especially if you are doing weights regularly. We need good levels of quality protein to build more muscle.  Also protein has a higher Thermic Effect of Food. Protein burns about 5 times more calories than carbohydrates or fats.  So including extra protein and less carbs, means you will expend more energy & burn more body fat.
  2. Choose more organic, raw wholefoods containing fibre. This is better for the bowels and will help you feel fuller for longer.
  3. Cut out or reduce processed refined foods that deplete the body of energy.
  4. Add small serves of good fats throughout the day, eg. avocado, nuts & seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, green leafy veg, fish, fish oils. Avoid trans fats.
  5. Greatly reduce alcohol or avoid altogether.
  6. Add probiotics daily to make your tummy balanced, healthy and happy.
  7. Add a serve of fermented foods daily: eg. yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, lassi. Anything that makes the tummy balanced and happy will help reduce bloat and fluid retention.
  8. Add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to a 1/2 glass of water once a day to increase your satiety and restore gut health.

Lifestyle suggestions:

  1. Reduce stress: cortisol is a fat-storing hormone that is produced in higher amounts under stress. Incorporate some daily relaxation or meditation (10-15 mins) to improve your sleep and recover your energy.
  2. Get some sunlight exposure each day and feel more grounded. This helps us sleep better at night. Take a walk outside during your lunch break.
  3. At night after dinner, dim the lights and reduce your exposure to blue lights and electronic devices an hour or so before bed. Both of these disrupt your natural melatonin production. This is the hormone that helps us wind down and sleep at night. If you’re wired, you’ll get tired! 

Reduce High Blood Pressure Naturally

We have all experienced a rapid heart rate as a response to a stressor at some time. Whether it is being late for work or school, not meeting a deadline or almost getting hit by a car when crossing the road, the stress will generally result in shallow, fast breathing that activates a release of cortisol, adrenalin and other stress hormones. 

On the other hand, controlled, deep-breathing activates the relaxation response and calms the nervous system. This not only slows our heart rate, pulse and blood pressure, but also our digestive system, while at the same time promotes a state of calm.

Try my simple Yoga-breathing Exercise and feel the difference:

  • Lie flat on floor or bed, arms down by your sides, palms facing up, feet falling out (called Dead Man’s Pose)
  • Close your eyes
  • Focus on your breath – take 2-3 slow deep breaths, through the nose, breathe out through the nose (quietly)
  • This time, breathe in for 1 second and out for two seconds. Repeat.
  • Continue this breathing pattern. Place one hand on your stomach. As you breathe in, make the stomach rise. As you breathe out, make the stomach fall.
  • Now, as you are in a more relaxed state, change the breathing pattern. Breathe in for 2 counts and out for 4 counts. Keep your hand on your stomach, to check that your stomach is rising and falling as you breathe.
  • Return hand to your side and continue this pattern. Focus on the count as you breathe.
  • 10 to 20 minutes per day is highly recommended to reduce stress significantly.
  • When your session is complete, stretch and open your eyes slowly. Become aware of your surroundings, before you get up.

… There now, don’t you feel a little calmer? Have a lovely day.

Weight Loss in Adelaide

We are very fortunate to live in a city that is world renown for it’s fantastic restaurants and nearby wineries in Mc Laren Vale and the Barossa Valley. The downside is that with all this high quality, easy to access food and wine, many of us find ourselves a few kilos above our balanced weight. 

This is not just a South Australian problem, but a National problem with over 63% of the population now over-weight or obese (Australian Bureau of Statistics). If you are in this over-weight or obese category, you are part of the majority. If you have tried everything you can think of to lose weight to no avail, you may need some help.

Imagine your car won’t start. You know it has a new battery, a full tank of fuel and new spark plugs, but you can’t get it going. What do you do? Take it to a mechanic who diagnoses the problem and fixes it.

Many individuals are unable to budge body fat despite eating well and exercising regularly. A professional weight loss expert can help. I use a scientific test that provides an overview of your health, to help identify reasons for slow weight loss. This test allows me to target strategies for improvement and provides a means to track your progress.

As with any indulgence in life, in moderation, we can sample the goodness and enjoy the experience of great food and wine that our state has to offer. 

Lost your Drive & Motivation?

You may be dopamine deficient.

Dopamine is one of a 100 neurotransmitters in our brain. It is sometimes called the ‘motivation molecule’. People low in dopamine tend to: feel fatigued, forgetful, unmotivated to finish things and moody; they may crave sugar and have difficulty concentrating.

Boost your dopamine production naturally with foods that contain tyrosine, such as: fish, chicken, almonds, avocado, eggs, beans & bananas.

You can feel better today!

Why Sitting is Bad for You!

Just as exercise can’t counteract the effects of smoking, it can not counteract the effects of sitting for lengthy periods of the day.

Here’s why:

  1. After 1 hour of being seated – electrical activity in our muscles and our ability to burn calories both reduce significantly.
  2. After 3 hours – our arteries reduce in diameter by about half, which decreases blood flow everywhere in our body.
  3. After 6 hours – insulin becomes less effective at clearing blood sugar.
  4. After 2 weeks of sitting about 6 hours per day – LDL’s (bad fats) accumulate in our blood; enzymes that help breakdown fat, take a dive and muscles begin to breakdown.
  5. After 1 year of this continued sedentary lifestyle – there is a marked reduction in bone density and our brain function slows as significantly less blood is being pumped around the body.
  6. After 10 or more years of this – our quality of life becomes severely impacted which may lead to a reduction in lifespan of quite a number of years  … Worth contemplating, while standing of course!

7 Ways to Ease Migraine Pain & Reduce Your Risk

Migraine headaches can be debilitating. Follow these 7 steps to help prevent future attacks and reduce the pain when you have a migraine:

  1. Avoid processed foods containing nitrates – these are found in cured & processed meats, canned vegetables, packaged seafood, hotdogs, etc.
  2. Reduce or avoid common food triggers – gluten or yeast products, dark chocolate, kale, onions, honey, processed sugar, aged cheeses, red wine, MSG, pickled or cured fish.
  3. Develop a strong gut microflora – eat fermented foods regularly (yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chee), or take a high quality probiotic to boost your immunity.
  4. Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
  5. Use relaxation techniques to reduce pain – meditation, yoga, deep breathing, visualisations.
  6. Turn down the blue light –  many digital devices and LED light sources emit mostly blue light. Migraine sufferers can be photosensitive to this light.
  7. Use essential oils to soothe tension – effective oils include peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, frankincense & rosemary. Apply in small drops to your temples or neck to reduce tension.

Is Anxiety Getting the Better of You?

Most of us have felt the unsettling symptoms of anxiety at some point.
Here are some daily tips to support better overall wellbeing and to help manage stress and anxiety:
 
1) Connect with friends – keeping in touch with friends maintains our support network.
2) Exercise (ideally outdoors) – our ‘feel-good’ hormones (endorphins) we produce with regular exercise have been shown to improve mood and reduce feelings of stress.
3) Choose healthy foods – choose protein at each meal and avoid refined, sugary products. This helps balance blood sugar levels, reduce mood imbalances and lessen anxiety.
4) Avoid caffeine – stimulants like coffee can exacerbate anxiety.
5) Breathe – this may seem obvious, but if you feel panicky, focus on some slow, purposeful deep breaths, to help to return to a state of calm. Meditation for 10-15 mins a day, can be a valuable way to instill calm. There are many free, very good meditation Apps on your phone.
… Peace and calm can prevail again!

5 Easy Steps to Stop Eating Processed Foods!

Processed foods may be convenient and sometimes cheaper, but don’t underestimate how they can damage our health in the long-run.

Try these 5 easy steps, to wean yourself off refined, processed foods:

  1. Read labels carefully – look for real ingredients; no additives, colours or artificial anything; if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it.
  2. Enjoy genuine flavours – avoid foods with high amounts of added fats, sugar and salt. They can be addictive, especially sugar-based foods.
  3. Relish what is on your plate – cook clean foods (from fresh raw ingredients) and take the time to savour the flavour! Many of us rush through our meals and neither appreciate what we are eating, nor digest it properly.
  4. Allow your palate time to change – when you eat less processed foods, you will gradually lose your taste for very sweet or salty foods.
  5. Treat yourself by not skipping meals – try some tasty home-made snacks (eg. Cashew Nut Protein Balls, Seeded Crackers with Parmesan) and enjoy a nibble on them between your nourishing meals.