FOOD IS MEDICINE

No Fuss Breakfast Topper

Gluten free. Nut free. Refined-sugar free.

My main advice to patients about choosing a healthy breakfast is to pick or create something low in sugar, high in fibre, with adequate protein and loaded with healthy fats.

The typical go to is eggs and veggies. But not everyone has the time for a cooked breakfast each day. Eggs can get boring after a while and some can’t eat them due to an allergy. Likewise with nuts, which also features regularly in my breakfast recommendations.

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So I have been inspired to create a recipe that is super convenient for busy folk, ticks all the macronutrient requirements and is suitable for those who have food allergies and intolerances. Say hello to my omega-packed, protein dense seed blend, which can be made in bulk and conveniently added to fruits in the morning for a kick-arse breakfast.

You could purchase a pre-made one from the health food store, or you could make your own and save a tonne of money. Plus, this way, you can be guaranteed you aren’t consuming sneaky added sugars, which is in almost ALL pre-made nut and seed breakfast blends.  

I recommend visiting your local bulk food store to purchase the appropriate quantities of each of the ingredients below. A batch should be made fresh every 2-4 weeks to minimise damage to the oil rich seeds and prevent eating stale puffs (yuck!)


Recipe

Makes 10-20 serves

Appropriate serving size is ¼ - ½ cup

For the batch above, I used raisins and puffed quinoa.

For the batch above, I used raisins and puffed quinoa.

Combine the following:                                                                      

¼ cup chia seeds

¼ cup hemp seeds (optional)

½ cup pumpkin seeds

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup linseeds

½ cup raisins or dried cranberries. Omit for a completely sugar free option.

1 cup buckwheat kernals

1 cup puffed quinoa, millet or amaranth

 

Store in an airtight container in a cool place.


By Naturopath Lucy Mason 

Chia Pudding 3 Ways

Gluten Free.  Dairy Free. Quick and easy!

Chia pudding is the ultimate healthy breakfast option for busy people. They can be quickly thrown together before bed (with minimal mess), left to set overnight and topped with extras in the morning for crunch and flavour. Having the same thing for breakfast each day can get a bit boring, plus variety is better for your gut! So to keep breakfast exciting, mix it up between these 3 different chia puddings or let them inspire you to create your own flavour combination! 

 

STEP 1: Create the base (the night before)

  1. In a small and shallow glass jar or container, combine 2 tbsp of chia seeds (white or black, whole or ground) with approximately 200mL (1/3 cup) liquid of choice.

  2. Stir to ensure all the seeds are coated with liquid, put on the lid and place in the fridge to set overnight.

  3. Tip: the pudding base will store in the fridge for up to 3 days, so you can make a few puddings bases in advance.

 

STEP 2: Choose or create your flavour

In the morning, give the chia pudding a stir before adding your toppings. See below for ideas!


CHOCOLATE, RASPBERRY & WALNUT

Use coconut milk from a carton or can as the liquid base.

Stir into the pudding (night before) 1 heaped tsp of cacao powder.

To top:

  • 1 Tbsp chopped walnuts

  • 1 Tbsp shredded or flaked coconut

  • 1-2 Tbsp raspberries – fresh or defrosted from frozen

Tip: if you plan on using frozen raspberries, you can add them to your pudding the night before and by morning they will be defrosted and ready to eat.  


COCONUT, MANGO & PASSIONFRUIT

Use coconut milk from a carton or can as the liquid base.

Using a stick blender, puree half a fresh mango or a handful of defrosted mango pieces if using frozen (in the morning). Stir mango puree into the pudding.  

To top:

  • 1 Tbsp shredded or flaked coconut

  • Pulp from 1 fresh passion fruit

  • 1 tsp hemp seeds


APPLE, ALMOND & SPICE

Use almond milk as the liquid base.

Stir into the pudding (night before) 1 tsp of cinnamon, a sprinkle of nutmeg and (if you like) 1 tsp of honey.

To top:

  • 1 Tbsp chopped almonds

  • ½ grated apple and/or ½ a sliced banana


Nutritional information:

Low carbohydrate diets have become increasingly popular in recent years for weight loss, improvement in metabolic disease (such as diabetes and PCOS) and optimal brain function. However, one problem with low carbohydrate diets is the potential lack of soluble fibres, which can adversely affect the ecosystem in the gut if followed medium to long term. For the same reason, low carbohydrate diets can also lead to constipation!

With the right combination of ingredients, chia puddings are lower in carbohydrates than other typical breakfast foods and rich in soluble fibre for your gut bugs. Chia itself is high in soluble fibre and low in absorbable carbohydrate. The addition of nuts, seeds and low-sugar fruits also boosts up the fibre content.

By Lucy Mason, Naturopath

Fish patties with yoghurt and fresh herbs

Gluten free. Omega-3 rich.

Fish is easily digested and is packed full of healthy fats and protein. Regular consumption (2-3 times per week) can help support a healthy mood by providing amino acids (proteins) that are the building blocks of neurotransmitters, the compounds responsible for transferring messages in the brain and lifting the mood.

 

Fish is also the primary dietary source of omega-3, a fat that has a potent anti-inflammatory action in the brain and other organs. Your body can not make omega-3, so it’s important you get enough through your diet.

 

Inflammation in the brain, termed ‘neuroinflammation’, is a common contributing factor in mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. In some circumstances, your practitioner may recommend a fish oil supplement to supply a therapeutic dose of omega-3, which is hard to achieve through diet alone. Getting into the habit of regular fish consumption is still a good idea even if you are taking a supplement, to ensure you continue to meet your nutritional needs after you have stopped supplementing.

Not all fish contains the same level of omega-3 per serve. Those higher in this healthy fat include salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines. A fresh, high quality fish that’s been cooked at low heat will prevent damage to the omega-3 within.

The smaller sea fish such as sardines and mackerel also contain lower quantities of mercury, a compound that is toxic to the brain. I often recommend sardines to patients, but many are unsure how to incorporate this little fish into their diet. This simple recipe can be made for lunch or dinner and disguises the fish within. It’s perfect for kids and fussy eaters!

Ingredients

2 tins of whole sardines, in olive oil or freshwater, drained

4 small potatoes, peeled and diced

3 eggs

Up to 1 cup of gluten free breadcrumbs

3 tsp smoked paprika

1-2 tsp salt, to taste

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 spring onions, chopped

½ bunch coriander, chopped, stems and leaves

Corn kernels from 1 fresh corn

Olive oil for cooking

Natural or greek pot set yoghurt for serving

Salad for serving

 

Method

1.     Boil the potatoes until soft.

2.     Drain and mash the potatoes, leaving them slightly chunky.

3.     Drain excess liquid off the sardines and using a fork, mash the sardines in their tin. Add mashed sardines to the potatoes.

Note: Don’t worry about mashing the bones up in these little fish - they are soft enough to eat.

4.     Add salt, paprika, lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh corn, coriander, spring onion and eggs to the potato mixture. Stir it all together with a large spoon.

5.     Finally add the breadcrumbs, bit by bit until the potato mixture is dry enough to handle.

6.     Heat 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan on medium heat.

7.     With your hands form balls using 1 heaped dessertspoon of the mixture. Place the ball in the hot oil and press down to form a patty.

8.     Cook the patties on each side for 3-5 minutes, until golden.

9.     Serve with salad and a dollop of yoghurt with your favourite fresh herbs mixed through.

 

These patties can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen and reheated at low-medium heat.

By Naturopath Lucy Mason.

Veggie broth your thyroid will love

This recipe is a simple and effective way to get in some of the key thyroid minerals into your diet. In particular this broth is full of iodine and selenium, which can be found in kombu, an iodine rich seaweed vegetable(1), and shiitake mushrooms, a great source of selenium(2). As modern day Australian soils tend to lack in these minerals, it's important to looking further abroad and incorporate some 'exotic' foods into your diet to keep these minerals in check(3).*

This mineral rich veggie broth is perfect for the cooler months and can be enjoyed by itself or as a wholesome base to any soup or risotto.

* If you aren’t sure what state of health your thyroid is in, or if you are already supplementing to support your thyroid, check with your practitioner before trying this recipe.

Image courtesy of Pommes Pommes

Image courtesy of Pommes Pommes

Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 2 (2-inch width) pieces kombu
  • 1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, , sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 stick celery, diced
  • 3cm knob ginger, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3cm knob of turmeric, sliced
  • 1 whole brown onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 Method

  1. Combine the water and kombu in a larger saucepan and soak the kombu for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Add in the vegetables, turmeric, ginger and garlic and place the saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer and then remove the kombu from the water just before it comes to a full boil.
  3. Add the shiitake mushrooms, and continue simmering for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the saucepan from heat and let the shiitake mushrooms steep in the broth for 5 minutes more.
  5. Remove the shiitake mushrooms and vegetables from the broth and pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste

Created by Naturopath Rachel Larsson

The top 5 questions I get asked about gluten

Due to the abundance of information available and our habit of asking Dr Google for answers, there is a lot of confusion around gluten and if it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you. I’d like to give you some evidence-based information that may help you decide the role of gluten in your diet by answering five of the most frequently asked questions I receive. 

1. What is gluten and where is it found?

Gluten is a structure that is made up of hundreds of proteins, notably gliadin and glutenin, and is found in grains like barley, durum, semolina, wheat, farina, kamut, rye and spelt grains(1). Many of these grains are used to make breads, pasta, cakes, pastries, and biscuits to give them their fluffy or stretchy texture. Gluten is used as an additive in processed foods to improve texture, flavour and moisture retention. Some foods where gluten may be hiding include vegetarian meat substitutes, confectionary, ice -cream, butter, seasonings, sauces, marinades and dressings(2). All in all, gluten plays a large role in the standard Australia diet and is delicious!

2.What’s the difference between Coeliac Disease and Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)?

Coeliac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease in genetically susceptible individuals that is caused by eating gluten(3). Classic symptoms include diarrhoea and failure to thrive within the first couple of years of life. You may experience other symptoms or no symptoms at all and can still have CD. CD is diagnosed through a biopsy of the small intestine but may be detected in blood tests that look for specific immune markers(4).

Non-coeliac Gluten sensitivity (NCGS) occurs in people who are not affected by CD or a wheat allergy. The biggest difference between NCGS and CD is that there is a different immune response to gluten and there isn't the complete destruction of your gut villi (finger like projections important for nutrient absorption)(5,6). NCGS symptoms occur hours to days after eating gluten and can disappear when gluten is removed. Classic symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, bowel habit abnormalities, foggy head, headache, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, dermatitis, depression and anaemia(7). Clinically we see increased intestinal permeability aka ‘leaky gut’ confirmed on blood or urine testing underlying NCGS.

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3.Does gluten cause leaky gut?

In short, yes.

In susceptible individuals, when you eat gluten, the tight junctions (gate-like structures in your gut wall) are told to open-up as a result of an increased release of zonulin. Zonulin acts as a signal that says ‘open up please!’ to your gut wall. When gluten is removed from the diet, zonulin levels decrease which causes the immune system to calm down and healing to begin. It’s very important when healing leaky gut to follow a strict gluten-free diet, as the smallest amount of gluten will trigger a zonulin release(8).

4. What are some gluten-free alternatives?

There are many grains that are gluten-free including amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, rice, sesame, sorghum and teff. Products like arrowroot, lentils, rice and tapioca can produce gluten-free flour and thus to some extent replace wheat flour(1). Luckily in 2018 there is much more awareness around the need, desire or demand for gluten-free products so there are many delicious alternatives available. It is worth noting that there is great variation the quality of the gluten-free alternatives in regards to nutrient, protein and fat content and glycaemic index (how much they impact your blood sugar levels)(9). My advice is to go wholegrain where you can or at the very least, have them with nutrient dense, protein and fat rich toppings, fillings or sauces.

5.What about oats are they gluten free and can I have them?

Gluten is a complex mixture of hundreds of proteins (called prolamins), notably gliadin and glutenin. Similar prolamins exist as secalin in rye, hordein in barley, and avenins in oats and are collectively referred to as “gluten”(10).

Avenin in oats contain a smaller amount of an amino acid called proline, which is higher in some of the other proteins mentioned in wheat, barly and rye. Lower proline content may be why oats are less immune reactive compared to wheat, but may still be a problem in large quantities. Oats may still activate specific immune cells in 10% of CD patients so it may be wise to avoid oats as part of your gluten free diet (11).

Furthermore, it is common for oats to be farmed and milled with wheat and are therefore contaminated with gluten. It is possible that pure, uncontaminated oats, can be made into products that contain less than 20mg of gluten per kg, making it potentially safe in a gluten free diet (12).  One commonly recommended brans of gluten-free oats is Bob’s Red Mill.

Final thoughts

There is so much more to be said about gluten and how it may affect your health, so if you still feel unsure about gluten in your diet, please reach out to us at Narayani Wellness to receive some personalised guidance. Our support can help a potentially confusing path be more simple and accurate for you!

By Rachel Larsson, Naturopath

Breakfast Hacks – Your keys to creating a balanced breakfast in 5 minutes

This month we are talking about how to create a healthy habit that has longevity. Therefore this month’s recipe is not so much a recipe but more of a breakfast ‘hack’…

How many of us run out the house in the morning without having a proper meal? Or perhaps we’re just not feeling hungry, in a rush and instead have a coffee and reach for something sugary by mid-morning? Starting up your day with a good breakfast habit is one of the fundamental ways to optimising your health, and will set you up for the day – balancing blood sugar (avoiding fatigue slumps, sugar cravings and brain fog), and also provides us with the energy and nutrients to make the most out of your day.

The key is to a balanced breakfast is including all the macronutrients – protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates; plus micronutrients in the form of phytochemicals vitamins and minerals found in fresh food.

Here’s how to get it done in 5 minutes per day*

*…Ok, ok caveat here – It takes 20 minutes of prep a week to achieve a 5 minute daily assemble – but totally worth it!

Breakfast Hack Photo.jpg

STEP 1
PREP your meals. Essentially this means pre-cooking the necessities:
Allocate 20 minutes a week to cook up your greens/proteins and grains; then every morning all you need is 5 minutes to assemble – and voila! If you are not hungry take to work in a Tupperware and instead have the juice of half a lemon in 1 cup warm water – this will get those digestive juices flowing!

STEP 2
Assemble: Choose one or more from each food category:

1. CHOOSE YOUR PROTEIN:

  • Once a week, boil or scramble 5 eggs, or
  • Whole smoked trout (about $12) and slide the fatty fish flesh off the bone, or
  • (V) Make your own baked beans – cannellini beans cooked in tomato sauce

Place in a container in the fridge.

2. CHOOSE YOUR GRAIN (We recommend gluten-free such as):

  • Cook up a pot of quinoa or
  • Rice or
  • Gluten free bread

Place in a container in the fridge.

3. DON’T FORGET THE GREENS

One a week cook up a couple of bunches of your favourite greens – like rainbow chard, silverbeet, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach (try to use organic greens as they are heavily sprayed with pesticides).

  • Cut them up, add to a large pan with a 1/4 cup water (By adding just enough water so they don’t burn water the greens kindof steam/fry, locking in nutrients).
  • Add garlic, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper if desired.
  • Cook until soft.
  • Add 1 tsp. grass fed butter (add after you have taken off the heat)

4. DRIZZLE ON THOSE GOOD FATS

Slather on your favourite healthy fat:

  • Avocado oil
  • Cashew cheese
  • Hemp oil
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Chia oil

Every morning – assemble some of the above before you run out the door and pat yourself on the back for being organised as you enjoy a hearty breakfast in 5 minutes. Research says is takes 21 days to cement a new habit – go on try it! Your body and your microbiome will love you for it.

By Karen Saunders

Prebiotics for health

The exciting possibilities of prebiotics for a variety of digestive, immune and mood related complaints are only just being discovered. Prebiotics are receiving more attention with the increasing understanding of the human microbiota (all of the bacteria, viruses and fungi that live on and in us), as the two together can have an incredible impact on our health.

 

What are prebiotics?

Essentially, prebiotics are ingredients found in whole, unprocessed vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds which are not digestible to us, but provide the perfect food for beneficial gut bugs living within us(1). These ingredients are broken down by the microorganisms in the digestive tract into compounds that have a beneficial effect in multiple areas of the human body, which can include altering the activity of the same bugs that created them! Most prebiotics are carbohydrate fibres, and it’s the knock-on effect of eating them that makes them so special.

 

How do they relate to probiotics?

I often hear prebiotics being confused with probiotics. While they act very similarly in the gut, they are in fact different. Probiotics are live organisms that we take in supplement form, where the species of bacteria are known and measured(2) Much like the gut bugs that have been living in us since the first few days of life (our microbiota), probiotics also love to munch on prebiotics. You will often find probiotics and prebiotics in combination in a supplement to enhance the products therapeutic quality. A lot of the research around prebiotics looks at how they interact with two of the most common probiotics, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria(3).

 

What’s the difference between fibre and prebiotics?

Most prebiotics are fibre, however not all fibres are prebiotic. Fibre is often classified as insoluble or soluble, which also provides a good basis for distinguishing which ones are prebiotic.

Insoluble fibres do not get broken down by us or by our gut bugs, however they do bulk out the stool, helping to keep us regular(4). These are the stringy fibres that give a lot of foods their rough texture, such as the skin of nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

Soluble fibre, found in a variety of whole foods, cannot be broken down by us, but are easily fermented by bacteria. Those that exert a proven beneficial effect on us are termed prebiotics.

 

Types of prebiotics

Here is a little bit of extra information for the science lovers out there. A clear cut catagorisation of what is and what isn’t a prebiotic has not yet been established as it is still a young area of science. If we consider what has the potential for prebiotic activity, the following fibres and their respective foods are included:

  • Non-starch polysaccharides such as beta-glucans (mushrooms), pectins (pear, apple, plum, citrus), gums (guar gum, xanthum gum), hemicellulose (psyllium husk) and cellulose (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower).
  • Non-digestible oligosaccharides such as galactans (legumes) and fructans, primarily inulin (onion, garlic, artichoke, asparagus, leek, chicory root, banana).
  • The disaccharide lactulose (only found in supplement form).
  • Sugar alcohols including sorbitol (pears, plums, dried fruits) and mannitol (button mushrooms).
  • Resistant starch, which is starch that resists digestion in the small intestine, making it available in the large intestine for fermentation (potatoes, legumes, whole grains).
Prebiotic gut health

How do prebiotics improve our health?

Prebiotics selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria that are indigenous to our guts, including the well-studied Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli species. These bacteria, when thriving, help to seal the barrier between the intestine and bloodstream, improve our immunity and keep potential bad bacteria/fungi (such as clostridia and candida) to a minimum.(3). With a healthy microbiota, improvements are noted in mood, skin, allergies and autoimmune conditions, just to name a few.

In addition, bacteria create short chain fatty acids (e.g. butyrate, propionate and acetate) from prebiotic fibres, which have beneficial effects throughout the body. For example, butyrate, made by Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae bacteria, is a major energy source for the cells that make up our colon. Propionate acts at the liver to suppress cholesterol synthesis and acetate is utilised by the heart, brain, kidneys and muscles(1).

 

When prebiotics can be problematic

For people that have certain intestinal issues, such as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eating the wrong types of prebiotics can make symptoms worse. For example, fructans and sugar alcohols (which are both considered FODMAP foods) are known to cause bloating, flatulence and discomfort in certain people(5). However, complete avoidance of prebiotics deprives healthy gut bugs of food and can make the situation worse in the long run. If you fall into the SIBO or IBS, or are unsure, an appointment with us can help minimise symptoms while still making sure your good bugs are fed! 

By Lucy Mason

BHSc (Naturopathy)

Join us in finding the right diet for you - food chemical sensitivity and healing leaking gut

Hi there,
I’m excited to announce that we are launching our first ever comprehensive food intolerance & gut healing program to help you, our patients, to truly find the right diet for your unique circumstance.

For some of you green smoothies or blueberry treats, and many other foods that we think are healthy for us, could actually be making things worse.

Spinach, cacao and sweet potato can be causing you to feel lousy.

Confused?
Yep. I get it. Up until recently I was too.

Many of you know snippets about my son Jarvis and his health concerns that we’ve been faced with over the past 12 months. It’s been a challenging time for my husband, Jarvis and myself. We have trialed many different diets, spent a lot of money on testing, therapies and supplements, had some wins and made some errors, not to mention had many sleepless nights and invested a tonne of energy to make sense of it all.

But like all good challenges, it has brought forward something truly magical.

This program has come about through my personal experience to help others navigate food chemical sensitivities and healing leaky gut. My aim with this program is that we find what food chemicals may be problematic in a structured way to provide symptom relief and simultaneously focus on our gut bugs & treating the underlying cause.

What is food chemical sensitivity?
In our foods there are many natural chemicals that vary in concentration. Some serve to protect the plant against insects and others come about through protein degradation. In many circumstances these chemicals are of benefit – they are antioxidants and act against cancer, inflammation and chronic disease. But for some people, they can reap havoc and be the cause of your symptoms.
Think fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, insomnia, depression, anxiety, irritability or skin rashes. Or hay fever, hives, foggy head, weight gain, hair loss… the list goes on!
The RPAH elimination diet or FAILsafe diet is a wonderful diet that helps people navigate salicylate and histamine intolerance. You can read more about this on www.fedup.com.au
However missing from this diet is oxalate intolerance. Oxalates are high in chocolate, nuts, spinach and sweet potato. They are crystals that normally are digested by our gut bugs, but if we have a problem there, they then accumulate and can cause prostatitis, vaginitis, thrush, painful red or itchy bottom, painful sex, Fibromyalgia, CFS and more.

Why not just follow the RPAH elimination diet?
This diet gets results for many people. It looks not only at food chemicals but also avoiding preservatives in our foods and other products that may be causing us problems.
Yet the suggested foods are high in sugar and well, in my mind, a bit crappy overall.
It doesn’t take into account oxalates, the gut microbiome (the world of bacteria) and supplements that can support the food chemical intolerances.  
It is a case of eliminating the troublesome food, and living this way ongoing.

Why not GAPS diet?
Again the GAPs diet has helped countless of people around the world, especially children suffering from behavioural issues.
But for us it didn’t work. In the end we were on a gluten free, dairy free, low salicylate, low oxalate, low histamine, low FODMAP, GAPs diet. Which really equates to living on air! And dealing with a huge amount of overwhelm.
My experience with the GAPS diet left me asking “what parts of the GAPs diet is beneficial?” Clearly it works and I’ve been sifting through the different principles to see what is essential and what is well, based on a “gut feeling” rather than evidence.

Introducing our program….
This program incorporates the RPAH elimination diet, selective  principles behind the GAPS diet, and the low oxalate diet.
There are three phases to the program:

  1. Preparation (3 weeks)
  2. Elimination (3 weeks)
  3. Challenge (4 weeks)

The preparation phase is essential for the success of the elimination diet. The challenge phase is structured so that you have the best chance of determining what category of foods you are reacting to. It helps us to make sense of what we need to avoid while we are working on the underlying cause, which is where this program leads you.
It recognises that whilst we may feel better on a restricted diet, we are at risk of starving our good bugs. For instance, a high fat diet can help us to feel better with less bloating (as our bugs can’t ferment fat) however our good bugs start to decline in numbers and can even become extinct. Once they’re gone it becomes very difficult to re-establish a healthy gut microbiome.
This program also challenges many assumptions about gut healing and what foods we should & shouldn’t have, using evidence to back up our recommendations.
We hope to identify what your main issues are in relating to food and gut health. Following the program, you then work with our naturopaths or myself to then focus on these, with initiation of specific supplements. It is important to follow these steps to minimise any adverse effects from the treatments. For instance, if you are salicylate intolerant, you cannot tolerate certain herbs and we can modify our approach to better help you.

Who are we looking for?
You are motivated and committed to finding answers.
You have symptoms (unexplained or listed above) and are concerned they may relate to your diet/gut.
You are willing to share this experience with others (small group) in a similar circumstance.
You are a type A personality – you like to be on time, thorough with your note taking and following instructions and are reliable.
You are happy to share what you learn with us. For instance, we will be providing recipes but hope to get your input in tweaking these or creating something new, so that our resources expand to benefit others.
You understand that nothing is guaranteed and take responsibility for your own health. 
You can attend all sessions - if a class is missed, you are happy to have a quick 1:1 consult with our naturopaths to ‘catch up’.
You can afford testing for leaky gut, +/- SIBO +/- stool culture.

A little more detail about the program: 
We have only 8 spaces available (6 are already filled) and want our first time to be as successful & enjoyable as it can be.
Starts: 17th May, runs for 10 weeks (ends 19th July).
Time: 0900-1100 every Wednesday morning.
It will be run by myself and you will also have the support of Rachel and Lucy (my naturopaths)
Each structured session will allow us to address your specific concerns as they relate to the diet and related symptoms.
You will be provided with resources, recipes, meal plans, shopping lists and strategies to help with the entire process. I am sharing everything I have learnt with you.
It will not cover 1:1 consultations required to address your other health complaints or more detailed assessment if anything unexpected arises.
Cost: 
For 10 weeks I will be running a 2 hour session to support you every step of the way.
As this is our first time running the program, I have allocated the money that Narayani Wellness tithes (yes, we normally tithe 5% profits to charity) to subsidise this.
The out of pocket fee is $50 each session, totalling $500 for the 10 week program. This will need to be paid up front to confirm your position.
Interested? 
We have two positions left to fill so get in touch with us by this Friday 5th May to let us know your interested. Lucy or Rachel will schedule a call with me so we can have a chat about your suitability.
 

Leaky Gut. Do you have it and what to do about it?

Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is linked to a whole bunch of common health complaints that we tend to just put up with or accept as being normal for my body. It has been linked to food intolerance's, acne and skin conditions, allergies and hay fever, asthma, fatigue and thyroid conditions. In addition to this, it can be associated with digestive symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome(1). Clearly, it is very possible that you, or someone close to you, is suffering from leaky gut.

How is this possible?

To understand how leaky gut may be at the root of your symptoms, you need to know a bit about the gut. Our gut has many roles including digestion and nutrient absorption, and is an important protective barrier that monitors our internal and external environment. It also plays a massive part in the function of our immune system. For example, did you know that about 75% of our immune cells live there(2)? It also has an intimate relationship with our nervous system. Have your ever noticed that when you feel stressed or anxious, you may experience a change in bowel movements? Nervous tummy anyone?

Why do we get leaky gut?

In a healthy gut, our gut wall cells are triggered to open up and absorb good things like nutrients and keep our bad bugs and toxins out. Our digestive system is always getting triggered to open up and close but can usually keep a happy balance and recover from any minor insults. When the gut is in contact with nasty triggers like medications, parasites, chemicals and certain foods, it’s ability to close up starts to struggle. If exposure is for a short time, the barrier can return to normal, however if these stressors continue, this barrier is strained. Then the immune system, which lies beneath the gut lining, becomes overwhelmed. It loses sense of what is self and what is a potential allergen, toxin or baddie. This dysfunction starts to cause trouble to the point of developing autoimmune conditions. Remember all the conditions mentioned at the start? Yes, the gut connection is real(3)!

Nutrient diet about leaky gut

What can I do about leaky gut?

Gut health and gut healing can be a tricky, especially if other conditions are present. A great place start would be:

1.     Probiotics

Probiotics help with leaky gut because of their beneficial role in supporting the immune system in the gut wall. This is evidence of their support in a vast array of health conditions. It’s so important to understand that not all probiotics are the same and this is where clinical expertise can really help. If you react to fermented foods (a good source of probiotics) or probiotic supplements something else maybe going on including histamine intolerance. This is why it is helpful to work with someone experienced in treating gut issues(4).  

2.     High fibre foods

After putting in all the good bugs into our system, we need to feed them. High fibre foods really means a vegetable rich diet. Great fermentable foods include sweet potato, lentils, pumpkin leek, garlic, asparagus, onion. Think high FODMAP foods. Delicious(5)!

3.     Reduce aggravating factors

We don’t want to keep giving our gut triggers that upset inflammation and immune function. Our body needs the time and environment to heal. This means limit alcohol, gluten, eat organic where possible and get rid of refined carbohydrates and sugar… put down the donut(6)

4.     Manage stress – yes this can be the hardest thing to do.

We live a lifestyle that fuels the fight and flight response and neglects our rest and digest nervous system – which is hugely important for our digestive ability.  Ever experience diarrhoea when you feel anxious or constipation when feeling stressed? Whether it is journalling, deep breathing, yoga or walking, it is important to find a way to manage your emotional and mental health(7).

5.     Eat a colourful, nutrient rich diet.

For our body to function at its best, it needs good sources of nutrients from a wide range of fresh, unprocessed foods. Fill your diet with good quality protein sources, a colourful variety of vegetables and fruits and you are on your way from getting all the nutrients and antioxidants you need for a healthy gut. We give a special shout out to amino acids like glutamine and nutrients like zinc and vitamin A, which the gut just loves.

How can I find out if I have leaky gut?

If you or someone you know suffer from the above mentioned conditions, then you should be considering the health of your gut and determining if you have leaky gut. As a practitioner who just loves all things gut health related, one of the first steps I take with my patients is testing for leaky gut. My inner nerd is thrilled by this test as it a brilliant way to measure how much healing needs to be done and can be tested again to assess progress. Once we identify if you have leaky gut, it is important to determine how to treat it holistically. Not only can you experience a positive shift in your current symptoms, but also prevent complications such as autoimmunity and chronic disease in the future. Isn’t that great?

If you are interested in finding out more about this or would like to be assessed, please get in touch. Let's get to the bottom of this!

Rachel Larsson

BHSc (Naturopathy), BPH (Nutrition)

Fermented Beet Kvass

One of our favourite gut loving recipes is beet kvass. Beet kvass is type of fermented drink, you know, similar to kefir or kombucha. Kvass has so many health benefits and is great for your gut. Due to it's fermentation process it is a wonderful source of probiotics which can help the health of your gut and immune system, it is also rich in antioxidants with is excellent for your liver. Using beetroot is traditionally known for it's blood cleansing properties, in addition to being a great source of nutrients.

Kvass typically has a tangy, salty flavour which can be an acquired taste. Using beetroot also gives it a wonderful earthy flavour. If beetroot isn't your thing, you can use other foods to ferment like fruits (strawberries and raisins) and herbs (mint). 

 Ingredients        

  • 2-4 organic beetroot
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Filtered water
  • A few tablespoons whey, dripped from yoghurt or milk kefir (optional)
  • 1-1.5 litre glass jar

Directions

1. Wash unpeeled beets and chop into large cubes

2. Place beets in a jar and add salt and optional whey (if not using whey add an extra tsp of salt)

3. Fill jar with filtered water, you want to cover the beetroot by at least two inches

4. Seal with lid and leave on the counter at room temperature for 4-7 days to ferment (4-5 days in summer)

5. Transfer to fridge

6. Have about ¼ cup daily on own or dilute with water

Image: Courtesy of CERES Fair Food.

Image: Courtesy of CERES Fair Food.