Do You Have the Guts?

Our gastrointestinal tract (GIT) or gut is essentially a complex ‘tube’ that runs from our mouth right through the body to the colon. It is responsible for a multitude of functions: digestion, hydration, maintaining immunity, nutrient absorption and eliminating toxins. If it is not functioning properly, not only can you experience a host of uncomfortable symptoms, like bloat, wind & constipation, but also it can compromise your mood, hormonal balance, energy and immunity.

Here are 3 Hot Tips for Restoring Great Gut Health:

  1. Refocus on food – increase your intake of bitter foods (lemons, limes, apple cider vinegar) to stimulate the secretion of digestive juices and ensure proper breakdown & absorption of food. Include pre-biotic foods such as bananas, leeks, garlic, onions & wholegrains – these all support the growth of good gut bacteria. Fresh garlic is a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic that can ward off unwanted pathogens.
  2. Go GREEN! – Include a daily handful or two of your favourite greens eg. spinach, watercress, kale, rocket etc. These all contain chlorophyll which alkalise the blood (reduce acidity & inflammation). Slippery elm powder, a natural fibre with no additives, can be added to your daily smoothie, to boost fibre and soothe & heal the digestive tract. 
  3. Add fermented foods – by including fermented foods daily, such as yogurt, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir, you will be increasing your supply of probiotics to boost your good gut bacteria. 

 

To Defeat Stress, Eat What’s Best!

Here are 5 great foods to help you de-stress:

  1. Avocado – rich in glutathione which blocks your gut from absorbing bad fats, that cause oxidative damage. Also high in folate, good fats and potassium to help stabilise blood pressure.
  2. Berries – contain high levels of a particular antioxidant (anthocyanin) which helps improve cognition and slows ageing.
  3. Red capsicum – contains almost double the amount of vitamin C, of an orange. This vitamin helps people recover from stress and heal more readily.
  4. Salmon – the omega-3’s in this fish help to reduce levels of anxiety quite significantly.
  5. Spinach – contains high amounts of magnesium. Low levels of magnesium increase our risk of depression. Magnesium and folate in spinach will help you keep your head on straight when stressors come knocking!

Tips to Turbo-charge Your Metabolism

Genetics do play a role in our metabolic make-up, but our metabolism is also strongly influenced by our body composition, diet and lifestyle.

These tips will help boost your metabolism into overdrive:

  1. Lift weights – build muscle with weight-bearing exercise. This increased muscle mass means we burn more calories even at rest.
  2. Choose clean food – avoid processed, refined, devitalised food that leaves you flat and low in energy. Fresh is best as it is wholesome, sustaining and nourishing and provides loads of unlimited energy!
  3. Add some spice – garlic, capsicum, ginger, turmeric and fresh herbs naturally boost satiety (a feeling of fullness) and thermogenesis (fat-burning). These natural flavour enhancers also stimulate digestion.
  4. Never skip meals – if you go for long periods of time without eating, your body will try to conserve energy by burning fewer calories. It can also make you hungry, leading to binge eating.
  5. Drink up – being dehydrated slows the metabolism.
  6. Switch to green tea – the catechins in green tea naturally increase metabolism.
  7. Eat good quality protein – this feeds your muscle growth and stimulates satiety. You will feel fuller for longer.
  8. Choose good fats – healthy fats promote lipolysis (breakdown of body fat). Good choices are nuts, seeds, deep-sea fish, avocado, olive oil, etc.
  9. Get your beauty sleep – 7 hours of quality sleep per night are just as important as eating well. We recover, repair (muscles grow) and recuperate while sleeping soundly. 

 

Cholesterol-Lowering Foods

Cholesterol is a white, insoluble, waxy substance that is manufactured in your liver. 

Your body needs cholesterol for many vital metabolic processes, such as making hormones, producing vitamin D, producing bile acids to help digest fat, etc. When people regularly consume foods high in saturated fats (Salami, sausages, processed meats, deep-fried foods, etc), their livers manufacture more cholesterol. This impacts upon their total blood cholesterol levels and throws out their ratio of good to bad cholesterol. LDL’s (low density lipoproteins) represents bad cholesterol, which can result in hardening of the arteries. HDL’s (high density lipoproteins) is good cholesterol which helps remove excess cholesterol out of the cells and arteries.

Many foods can help to lower cholesterol:

  1. Fresh fruit & vegetables – provide soluble fibre that blocks the absorption of dietary cholesterol from the intestine. Good choices are bananas, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, artichokes, carrots, apples, alfalfa sprouts.
  2. Fish & fish oil – contain dietary fats that lower triglycerides in the blood and reduce blood pressure, while boosting the levels of HDL’s.
  3. Beans & legumes  – contain a water-soluble fibre (pectin) that binds cholesterol and shifts it out of the body. Good choices are kidney, lima, & soybeans, peas, chickpeas & lentils.
  4. Oats – provide soluble fibre that reduces the absorption of cholesterol. Brown rice, quinoa & barley have a similar effect, to a lesser extent.
  5. Soy products – contain isoflavones, and fibre that lower total cholesterol. Good choices are soymilk, tofu, edamame.
  6. Tannins in tea and compounds in green tea (catechins) lower LDL’s and stop the build up of cholesterol on artery walls.

Preventing Panic Attacks

Millions of people suffer way too much anxiety. They can spend time predicting the worst, trying to avoid conflict, being wracked by nervousness and chronic muscle tension. It’s as if their “idle” is set too high and they frequently experience self-doubt, fear and panic.

The good news is you can take control of your symptoms with a 4 Step Plan …

Step 1: Breathe – when people begin to experience anxiety, their breathing becomes shallow, erratic and rapid. By taking slow, deep breaths you’ll boost oxygen to your brain and start to regain control over how you feel.

How to breathe from the diaphragm:

a) Lie on your back & place a small book on your stomach. 

b) Slowly inhale through your nose & make the book rise. Hold your breath at the top of the inhalation for 2 seconds.

c) As you exhale, make the book go down and hold your breath for 2 seconds before inhaling again.

d) Aim to repeat 10 times and see how much more relaxed you feel.

Step 2: Don’t leave – unless the situation is life-threatening, don’t leave. Determine what is causing your panic and try to face your fear. You may need assistance with this, by way of a friend, someone you can share this with or an expert to assist with various therapies.

Step 3: Write down your thoughts – often panicked thoughts are distorted and need to be challenged. Record your negative thoughts and see if they make sense. If they do seem distorted, write down a more realistic version of the same thought and take notice of this.

Step 4: Supplemental support – many people with anxiety are found to be deficient in certain nutrients and can benefit from some of the following; B vitamins, magnesium, turmeric, vitamin D, quality fish oils and herbs such as withania, chamomile and valerian. 

Speak to me for the nutrients you may need and follow the simple steps to regain control over your panic and anxiety!

Is A Good Night’s Sleep Only a Dream?

Sleep deprivation is hazardous to our health! Major health risks include: weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, ADHD, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, stroke, etc.

Millions of Australians have trouble sleeping and it is progressively getting worse with an ever increasing number of electronic gadgets and bad habits. When you fail to get enough sleep, there is decreased blood flow to the brain, which disrupts thinking, memory and concentration.

Healthy sleep is essential to healthy brain function. Sleep rejuvenates all the cells in your body, gives brain cells time to repair, helps to wash away toxins that build up through the day, and allows activation of neuronal connections (cells that transmit nerve impulses), that otherwise deteriorate due to inactivity.

Strategies for improving sleep … (Try some of these until you find something that works for you!):

  1. Set a regular sleep time – get up & go to bed at around the same time each day, even on weekends.
  2. Create a restful bedroom – control temperature so it’s not too hot or cold, keep the room as dark as possible.
  3. Develop a soothing bedtime routine – use relaxing music or nature sounds, meditate, stretch, do some relaxation breathing, have a warm bath or a massage.
  4. Avoid daytime naps, if you’re having trouble sleeping – this can disrupt your sleep cycle.
  5. Stay away from stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or sugar – at least 4-6 hours before bed.
  6. Avoid a full stomach – don’t eat for 2-3 hours before bed.
  7. Regular exercise – this is highly beneficial, but not within a few hours of going to bed.

Turn your dreams into a reality and sleep well again … zzzzz

 

 

Close to Tears Often?

We can learn to build emotional resilience, to help negate the effects of stress.

Here are 5 tips to get you there:

  1. Practice abdominal breathing and lengthen your out-breath to calm your nervous system, ie. breathe in for 4 counts and out for 8.
  2. Accept that adversity is part of life and be prepared to experience some difficult emotions from time to time, rather than struggling against them.
  3. Ask yourself “Is the problem solvable?” If yes, solve it. If not, accept it and let go.
  4. Do some relaxation or meditation daily, even if it’s only for a few minutes. The accumulative, overall affect is what counts.
  5. Develop quality connections with others.We gain strength from our relationships.

Is Your Extra Weight Gain … water or body fat?

Have you ever experienced a huge weight gain over the weekend, from a blown-out Saturday night on the town, with food and drinks aplenty? On the scales it may look like over 2 kgs or more.

Relax. More than likely this does include an increase in water retention, although a small portion may also be fat. So how do you know how much is water? A Cell Health Test is the best way to monitor fluctuations in fluid (which are very common) in the body. For example, premenstrually pelvic & abdominal fluid does increase (so the waist appears bigger); in hot weather we can retain extra fluid; people with elevated blood pressure, often retain excess fluid, etc.

Some people on a weight loss plan often mistake gains on the scales as extra fat, but this is not always the case, especially if they have tidied up their food intake. 

  • Contact me today on 0438 577 351, for your Cell Health Test & discover your body fat, muscle mass & water composition. I can tailor a food plan for you to improve your health outcomes!

Best & Worst Foods for your Skin

The 5 WORST foods for good skin health are:

  1. Sugar: eating excess sugar causes elevated insulin levels, stimulating sebum production, which can result in acne breakouts. On average, Australians consume over 20 teas per day of sugar. Excess sugar also binds with collagen & elastin in the skin, resulting in wrinkles.
  2. Dairy: these are pro-inflammatory foods, which contain natural growth hormones & natural steroids (to help calves grow). Milk also has a high sugar content (lactose) which is not ideal as said before.
  3. Processed: processing at high temperatures causes oils to oxidise. Good oils are great for our skin, bad oils are terrible as they increase inflammation & oxidative damage (contain toxins which harm membranes).
  4. BBQ or overcooked: cooking meat at high temperatures is associated with increased collagen breakdown and accelerated ageing.
  5. Fried: as for BBQ foods, high temperature heating causes oils to oxidise. This can lead to free radical damage which is associated with accelerated ageing (fine lines, dry skin, wrinkles).

The 5 BEST foods for great skin health are: (Eat these often!)

  1. Avocado
  2. Wild Salmon
  3. Fermented foods
  4. Broccoli
  5. Bone broth  …. Eat these 5 and watch your skin glow!

Sugar Tax or Fix the Sugar Cravings?

Australian teenage boys now consume on average more than 38 tsp of sugar per day. Over half of the Australian population consumes more sugar than the daily recommendation of the World Health Organisation, which is less than 13 tsp of sugar per day.  Most of it is coming from sugary drinks and processed food.

Public health campaigners are calling for the introduction of a sugar tax, beginning with a 20% tax on soft drinks.

My question is … why don’t we fix the sugar cravings? This will create a snowball effect in reducing waistlines & body fat, while at the same time reducing the risk of diabetes.

Here are my 6 EASY STEPS TO STOP SUGAR CRAVINGS:

  1. Eat more protein throughout the day, combined with some low GI carbohydrates & good fats
  2. Reduce intake of processed refined carbohydrates, eg. cakes, biscuits, bread, pasta, rice, sweets, chocolate, soft drinks, artificial & natural sweeteners, alcohol 
  3. Choose nourishing & sustaining foods most of the time, eg. lean protein, fruit & vegetables, nuts & seeds, legumes & lentils/beans
  4. Cook with herbs & spices
  5. A sour taste can reduce cravings: half an hour before a meal, mix some lemon juice with chia seeds and glutamine powder. Drink.
  6. Nutritional supplements containing chromium and/or gymnema can help dampen and reduce cravings quickly.

Prevention is better than cure. Don’t let sugar cravings control your life and bite into your pocket if the sugar tax comes in!