The Complete Guide to Fasting

The Complete Guide to Fasting – Jason Fung MD, Jimmy Moore
(Buy from Amazon; Buy from The Book Depository)

Thousands of books have been written about the latest and greatest diets that will help people lose weight and improve health. But a key element in any successful nutritional health program is a tried-and-true method that most people haven’t thought about—yet it could be revolutionary for taking health to the next level. This ancient secret is fasting.

Fasting is not about starving oneself. When done right, it’s an incredibly effective therapeutic approach that produces amazing results regardless of diet plan. In fact, Toronto-based nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung has used a variety of fasting protocols with more than 1,000 patients, with fantastic success. In The Complete Guide to Fasting, he has teamed up with international bestselling author and veteran health podcaster Jimmy Moore to explain what fasting is really about, why it’s so important, and how to fast in a way that improves health. Together, they make fasting as a therapeutic approach both practical and easy to understand.

The Complete Guide to Fasting explains:

• why fasting is actually good for health
• who can benefit from fasting (and who won’t)
• the history of fasting
• the various ways to fast: intermittent, alternate-day, and extended fasting
• what to expect when starting to fast
• how to track progress while fasting
• the weight loss effects of fasting
• how to ward off potential negative effects from fasting

The book also provides tools to help readers get started and get through their fasts, including a 7-Day Kick-Start Fasting Plan and healing liquid recipes.

 

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links that may provide monetary compensation to help support the Whole Guidance Vision of Creating a Happy and Healthy Planet should you make a purchase. We very much appreciate and thank you for your support.

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WGP 041: Juicing vs Blending – Which is Best for Healing?

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Juicing and Blending:

  • I’ll explain why consuming juices and smoothies are important for happiness and health
  • I’ll talk about the differences and the pros and cons between juicing and blending vegetables and fruits
  • Finally, I’ll share tips on how to turn your juices and smoothies into a healing elixir


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU LEAN

Everyone knows that vegetables and fruits are packed-full of phytonutrients, plant chemicals that have powerful medicinal and healing effects in your body. Plant power fuels and nourishes animal life on this planet. Without the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune-boosting benefits you get from consuming plant matter it becomes very difficult, but not impossible, just hard to give your body the nutritional, energetical, and informational support it needs to thrive.

Unless you live in the North and South poles where you’re exposed to cold with its own unique healing powers and are consuming a lot of nutritionally dense rich blubberous animal fats and their offal then plant foods are going to be a necessity in your diet.

Juicing and blending your vegetables and fruits into juices and smoothies are an excellent and simple way to get more plant medicine into your diet.

When you juice you’re making juices and when you blend you’re making smoothies. Juicing is very different to blending, which makes juices very different to smoothies.

Plants are made up of mostly water much like your own body and also a carbohydrate known as fibre. Fibre is indigestible by your body’s digestive system. This fibre though it is the perfect food for the trillions of microorganisms that live in your gut, in your digestive tract and your gut microbiome plays a huge role in your digestion and in keeping your immune system running optimally.

Fibre is the difference between juicing vegetables and fruits into juices verses blending them into smoothies. When you juice, using a juicer obviously, what you’re doing is separating the fibrous plant material from the water and this water contains a majority of the phytonutrients. This leaves you with a very watery drink and a lot of fibre leftover. When you blend, using a blender obviously, what you’re doing here is pulverising, chopping, mashing 100% of the plant material fibre and all leaving you with a thick drink.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both juicing and blending.

The primary benefit to having juices and smoothies is that they are a very simple, nutritious and delicious way to increase your consumption of vegetables. Not everyone can manage to eat 3 to 9 cups of vegetables a day, but you can easily get 3 cups of a variety of vegetables in one juice or smoothie.

For example in my green smoothie that I have for dinner most nights I put in a quarter cup of parsley. You have probably seen a tiny pinch of parsley used mainly as a garnish and sure that tiny amount tastes okay, but can you imagine eating 4 tablespoons worth of chopped parsley? Maybe spread out evenly over a day, but for me I like getting my parsley dose in one hit and it’s so much easier and tastier mixed into a smoothie.

Now the main benefit to juicing and drinking juices is that they are an easily digested and quickly absorbed source of nutrition and energy. For people with digestive issues, energy issues, and for those who are severely malnourished drinking green juices will be easier on your body allowing your body to absorb more of the nutrients in that juice. It takes about 20 minutes for a juice to be fully digested and absorbed compared to a few hours for a full-blown meal.

Also because your body doesn’t need to spend a lot of energy digesting your juice it will have more energy that can be used elsewhere such as for repairing damaged tissues, increasing detoxification processes, and producing more neurotransmitters and sex hormones.

The thing is the main benefit to juicing, easy digestion and quick absorption, is also one of its drawbacks. But this all depends on what you’re actually juicing. Fruit juices are not healing drinks like green juices are. This is because of the high amount of fruit sugars present in fruits. Remember juicing extracts the water and the nutrients and separates them from the fibre and fibre helps slow down the release of sugar from your gut into your bloodstream. Without the fibre in the juice that sugar is going to hit your system very quick and very hard causing a massive insulin response which is something you don’t want to happen on a regular basis. Listen to the previous podcast I did on the blood sugar rollercoaster for more info on that.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, but it’s natural sugar from real food. Whether sugar is found naturally in real food or refined and added by the spoonful once sugar hits your digestive tract your body doesn’t know the difference. Sugar is sugar. Except if there’s fibre present then your body and your gut microorganisms will deal with that sugar differently. Not just fibre, but fats and acids help with this as well, but I’ll talk more about those later. This is why eating fruits in their whole intact form is a lot better for you than fruit juices and it doesn’t matter if the juices are bought from the shop or made fresh at home. Sugar without fibre is processed sugar to your body.

The other downside to drinking juices is that you cannot extract all the water and nutrients bound to the fibre. Even with the slowest spinning masticating juicers you will always be missing out on nutrients when you juice.

Final drawback to juicing I’ll mention is when you’re using a centrifugal juicer, one that spins at high-speed in the thousands of RPMs or revolutions per minute, a centrifugal juicer will suck in more oxygen which creates more oxidation or damage to the nutrients. Not only do high-speed juicers cause damage, but they also do not extract as much juice as slow masticating juicers do. Even if you do use a masticating juicer that can spin as low as 65 RPMs, as I talked about before you will not be able to extract all the water and nutrients from the fibre.

Moving onto smoothies.

The good thing about smoothies, besides being a simple way to increase your vegetable consumption, is that you are eating the whole food, the entire vegetable and fruit meaning you get the fibre, the nutrients, the water, the whole deal. You are not missing out on anything that may be lost when you juice. This means that even if you do add some fruit to your blended smoothies the release of sugar into your bloodstream will be a lot slower than fruit that’s been juiced.

There is a similar drawback to blending just as there is in juicing if your smoothie is made up mostly or 100% of fruit. For people with metabolic disorders meaning they are unable to digest and metabolise sugar properly due to hormonal imbalances, a fruit smoothie will be doing more harm than healing and can be just as bad as a fruit juice.

Last downside to blending again similar to juicing is that these blenders spin at super high speeds that will cause damage both physically by the blades and oxidatively by sucking in more oxygen.

Alright so how do you make healing juices and smoothies?

First things first – you got to reduce the sugar hit. When designing a juice or smoothie for healing, obviously you don’t want to add any additional sweeteners artificial or natural including maple syrup and honey due to sugars ability to upset your hormonal rhythms and to suppress your immune system.

When it comes to juices you want to be drinking healing green juices with little to no fruit added. I like using kale, cucumber, celery, and some ginger as a base for all my green juices. From here you can add whatever else you like. I recommend adding in some herbs as pound for pound herbs are more nutritionally dense than their larger plant cousins.

The only fruits I recommend for juicing are lemons, limes, kiwifruit, and a green apple. The acidity in lemon and lime help with your digestion and blood sugar balance. The gelatinous nature and compounds in kiwi also help with digestion and green apples are a bit of a compromise when it comes to taste. If you find green juices too bitter then adding one green apple including the apple seeds, especially the apple seeds, can help make the juice sweeter without being too heavy in fruit sugars, with the added bonus of having the low dose of cyanide that come from the apple seeds. No this cyanide isn’t going to kill you, but it’s a great cancer regulator. By that I mean cancer cells love sugar. So when you eat your juice (yes I said eat, not drink) a lot of the sugars will be picked up by cancer cells. The cyanide will piggyback on this metabolism and will also be taken up by those cancerous cells causing them to do what mainstream medicine fails to do – the cyanide causes cancerous cells to die.

Okay other vegetables to improve on taste while at the same time improve healing are carrots, beetroot, and orange kumara or orange sweet potato. The cool thing about the sweet potato is not only does it give you a bunch of beta-carotene and a touch of sweetness, but it also gives the juice a creamy texture. If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then a bit of lemon juice and sweet potato helps the green juice go down, no doubt about it.

To help lower the glycaemic response, the rate at which sugar gets released into your bloodstream, you can mix in some raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother. This means apple cider vinegar that hasn’t been pasteurised and that looks murky. The bottle should not be clear looking. You should see the mother, which is a collection of friendly bacteria and other beneficial compounds, you should see the mother at the bottom of the bottle so be sure to shake it up before mixing into your juice.

Another thing you want to do when consuming green juices is to eat some fat with your juice. I recommend eating a spoonful of coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil right before or right after your juice. There are a lot of fat-soluble micronutrients in vegetables and they need fat to be absorbed during digestion. So by eating some fat with your juice you can increase the amount of nutrients your body absorbs and assimilates.

Final tip for designing a very healing juice is that you must use a slow masticating horizontal juicer. A high-speed juicer is destroying a majority of the nutrients wasting a lot of that precious plant medicine. A vertical masticating juicer is much better and does more than just juice. It can make nut milks and sorbets as well. The difference between a vertical and horizontal juicer is that while the vertical is better for getting more juice out of fruits it doesn’t do a good job of extracting water and nutrients from non-starchy vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. Now a horizontal masticating juicer can also make nut milks and sorbets like the vertical one and it is the best juicer for healing as it gets more medicine out of vegetables. If you have the cash go for a juicer with twin juicing abilities to get more out of your vegetables. Or you can simply put the fibre or leftover pulp back into your juicer a second time to get even more medicine out of the plants.

I do have a tip relating to juicing, but not to do with the juice itself. The pulp, the fibre that’s leftover, don’t toss this in the trash. Use it in your compost for your garden or dehydrate the fibre to make healthy crackers.

Remember the base of the green juice I mentioned earlier and play around and make your own recipes from there.

When it comes to healing green smoothies similar guidelines apply.

I use as a liquid base for all my green smoothies one cup of water, a pinch of sea salt, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, and a tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil. You can use any healthful animal or fruit fat you like and any liquid you like so long as there’s no added sweeteners and chemicals.

Coconut milk and unsweetened almond milk are okay substitutes for water, but even better than water (yes better than water if you can tolerate dairy that is) is raw yoghurt, specifically raw milk kefir. This gives your body more beneficial microorganisms or probiotics. But wait there’s more and something even better than water and kefir for healing (if you tolerate monosodium glutamate or MSG that is) and that’s bone broth made from bones from happy and healthy animals free to roam outdoors and eating their natural species appropriate diet.

“A good broth can raise the dead”

Is a South American proverb and by using bone broth in your healing green smoothie you will increase your body’s innate ability to heal exponentially. If you don’t have any bone broth handy you can always add a tablespoon or two of gelatine or collagen which have similar health benefits to bone broth including repairing your gut and improving joint and skin health.

You can add whatever non-starchy green-leafy cruciferous coloured sulphurous vegetables you want to your smoothie, but when it comes to fruit I would stick to berries and the juice of lemons or limes to keep your smoothie a healing drink. Celery I include as a base in all of my green smoothies. Celery helps normalise blood pressure and aids with digestion. Adding in herbs and spices is a must for the best tasting and healing green smoothie. Parsley and cinnamon are my go to herb and spice. Parsley is a great blood purifier and it reduces body odour and cinnamon will improve overall flavour and help stabilise blood sugar levels.

Oh and when I say green here, in terms of green juice or green smoothie, I don’t just mean literally green, I also mean a high vegetable low fruit drink. So even if your juice or smoothie isn’t the colour green it’s green in my book if there’s not high amounts of fruit and sugar in it.

A couple of taste and healing combinations I’ve found too good to be true when it comes to smoothies are avocado, a tiny amount of red onion, and coriander aka cilantro aka Chinese parsley. Think a guacamole drink. Also raw cacao powder with mint leaves. Yep a mint chocolate drink and when you add in an avocado to your mint chocolate you get a mint chocolate mousse. Mmm hmm, tasty!

Another taste enhancer, well really a texture enhancer is to add cacao nibs or coconut flakes to your smoothie near the end of blending to give it some crunch or sprinkle some crushed nuts or seeds on top of your drink after blending. And by the way peanuts are legumes, not nuts.

One final blending tip is to add a quarter to half a teaspoon of powdered vitamin C to your smoothie. This acts as an antioxidant and protects against oxidative damage that happens when you blend at high-speeds. Also it gives a little bit of tang to your smoothie.

If you really cannot do without fruits or starchy vegetables in your green drinks then you can still make these healing drinks by consuming them post workout. Your muscle cells are more sensitive to insulin after intense exercise so by timing the intake of your sweet green drink after a workout you reduce the impact the sugar will have on your body.

Final overall tip and this is an absolute requirement when it comes to turning a typical green drink into a healing elixir and I mentioned this earlier and that is you must eat your juice or smoothie, not drink it. Meaning you must chew the watery or thick liquid in your mouth for a few seconds, get your digestive enzyme containing saliva all up in that drink before you swallow. Chewing is one of the early stages of digestion, which I talked about back in episode 9, and without this crucial step you’re literally wasting most of the beneficial plant medicine in your drink as your body will quickly eliminate whatever isn’t covered in your digestive enzymes when it hits your digestive tract. Chewing your green drink will turn it into a more potent healing elixir. So no straws please. Drink it straight from the mug or cup.

I’ll put a couple of links to a juicer and blender I recommend in the blog post for this episode.

Look there’s no limits to how you make your juice or smoothie really. It’s up to you. Whatever floats your boat and makes your taste buds sing. However, there are limits to making your green drink a healing drink.

So remember keep the sugar low, add in some animal or fruit fats, move before you eat, and above all else listen to your body.

“If your green drink makes you feel stink or look green or pink, it’s time to rethink your green drink.”

Okay so which is better for healing? Juicing or blending? Well it depends on what you put in your drink, and also how and when you eat it.

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WGP 037: Are Your Health Issues Caused by Food Sensitivities?

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Food Sensitivities:

  • I’ll explain the difference between food allergies, food intolerances, and food sensitivities
  • I’ll talk about the many many health issues associated with food sensitivities
  • Finally, I’ll share 5 ways you can identify foods your body is most sensitive to


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU LEAN

Most people have heard about food allergies, like a peanut allergy and food intolerances, like lactose intolerance. But not many people know about food sensitivities.

Let me explain the difference between the three of these.

Now a food allergy is a dramatic and immediate reaction by your body’s immune system to a particular food that you’ve eaten. Allergic reactions include immediate swelling and itchiness and also anaphylactic shock which can be fatal. The top eight allergenic foods are:

  1. Peanuts
  2. Tree nuts
  3. Wheat
  4. Shellfish
  5. Soy
  6. Milk
  7. Eggs and
  8. Fish

 

Food intolerance on the other hand is a more subtle, minor delayed reaction. We’re talking a few minutes to a few hours here before you experience symptoms. Food intolerances do not involve your immune system and are actually caused by your body not having the right enzymes or not having enough enzyme activity to breakdown the compounds that are in real food or in the chemicals added to fake pretend food-like products. Common food substances that people are intolerant to and do not have the enzymes to fully breakdown include:

  • Gluten in grains
  • Lactose in dairy
  • Biogenic amines like histamine, tyramine, and arginine
  • Preservatives and
  • Additives

 
Alright food sensitivities. Now food sensitivities are similar to intolerances in that they provoke a small delayed reaction in your body. When I say delayed I mean delayed. Reaction times to a food your body is sensitive to can vary from hours to weeks.  Food sensitivities are similar to allergies in that your immune system is the cause for the reaction, but a different branch of your immune system, which is why instead of an immediate allergic reaction you get a delayed smaller reaction. So a food sensitivity is your body’s immune system having a reaction to the food you eat or the compounds added to or found on the food you eat and these immune reactions are small and can take a while to show up as a visible and noticeable symptom.

Common foods and substances found in food that people are most sensitive to include what I mentioned earlier for allergies and intolerances, but also the following:

  • Sugar and sugar alcohols
  • Industrial seed oils more commonly known as vegetable oils
  • Corn
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Grains whether they contain gluten or not
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cacao
  • Nightshade vegetables
  • Citrus fruits
  • Agricultural chemical sprays
  • Genetically modified organisms and
  • Mould toxins like aflatoxin and ochratoxin most commonly found in peanuts and instant coffee

 
As you can see when you add up all three food categories together that makes quite the list of food and food compounds that can cause food sensitivities. Keep in mind that these foods and compounds are the most common sensitivities found in people who are experiencing health issues, but you can actually be sensitive to any food. No food is off-limits when it comes to causing negative reactions in your body. Whether it’s seaweed, beef, pork, broccoli, or even beautifully roasted sweet potatoes, food sensitivities can occur with any food.

Let me list (yes another list) the many health issues and symptoms that a food sensitivity can cause:

  • Brain fog
  • Inability to focus
  • Food cravings
  • Low energy
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Need to clear your throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Water retention
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Obesity
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Skin issues like rash, itchiness, and acne
  • Many autoimmune diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions

 
The list just goes on to be honest.

Isn’t it fascinating how all of these health issues and symptoms could be caused just by you eating a single food that your body doesn’t agree with?

Well I think it’s fascinating anyway, because for me I found that the chronic health issues that I had growing up including depression, skin issues, digestive upset, headaches, poor memory, mood swings, a majority of these were caused solely by sensitivities my body had to the foods that I was eating. While the rest of my health problems were a mix of food sensitivities and unhealthy lifestyle factors like the use of toxic personal care products and being in toxic relationships and I figured this out by what I’m about to share with you now.

Here are 5 ways you can identify the foods that your body’s immune system is reacting to.

First method of investigation is by lab testing. In the functional medical health space there are many lab tests you can run, based on blood samples that you give, that will give you a list of foods that your body’s immune system is having a severe, moderate, low or no reaction to. Examples of labs you can use for food sensitivity testing include:

  • Cyrex Laboratories Array 3, Array 4, and Array 10
  • Oxford Biomedical Technologies MRT or Mediator Release blood test
  • Great Plains Laboratory IgG Food Test + Candida and the
  • Antigen Leukocyte Antibody Test or ALCAT food test


There are pros and cons to lab testing food sensitivities. The con is they are not 100% accurate
, meaning you could be eliminating a food from your diet for no reason at all and you could still be eating a food that your body is having a reaction to based on these tests. The pro is these labs provide a stepping stone in the right direction to eliminating foods that your body is reacting to and it can give certain stubborn individuals who are resistant to change the black and white evidence that they need to take some action even if that evidence isn’t 100% correct. So while these lab tests will not give you all the answers you were hoping for they can give you the motivation you need to change.

Second method to find your food sensitivities is to use your heart rate. When your body has a reaction to something you eat your heart rate will increase. Fifteen minutes before you eat a particular food measure your heart rate for 60 seconds and use this as your baseline. Fifteen minutes after eating measure your heart rate again. If you see a rise of 5 beats or more your body is reacting to that food and that food should be eliminated.

The third method is pretty simple, but you are not going to like what it means. It involves keeping a food log for 7-14 days where you write down everything you eat and also write down any food cravings you have and give into. After a week or two go back over your logs. Look for the most common foods you eat at every meal or every day. For example if you had an entry that read cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner then that day was full of wheat, grain and glutenous foods. If a week reads bacon and eggs for breakfast for 7 days then that week was full of egg, pork, and preservative foods. Also note down your cravings and which cravings you could not resist.

Why is all this important?

Well because:

“the foods you eat the most and the foods you crave and give into the most are almost always the foods your body is sensitive to the most.”

So if you just cannot do without your bread, your cheese or ice cream, your morning cup of coffee, or chocolate then your body’s immune system is most likely reacting to the wheat or gluten in bread, to the casein or lactose in dairy, to the caffeine or mould toxins in coffee, and to the arginine or phenethylamine in cacao. I told you you wouldn’t like this method. It may be simple to follow, but can be extremely difficult to execute on because it means removing your most favourite foods.

Muscle testing is another thing you can try to find out which foods your body doesn’t agree with. I talked about this already in podcast 28 – One Diet To Rule Them All. Muscle testing is also known as applied kinesiology and is a form of energy testing where you’re testing the alignment or harmony between your body’s energy signature and that of the food you’re testing. If you find that your muscles become weaker when holding a particular food then your body is sensitive to that food and that food must be eliminated.

The fifth, final, and by far the gold standard for working out your food sensitivities is an elimination diet. Also known as an elimination provocation or elimination challenge diet. This method may be the best most accurate way to find your food sensitivities, but it’s also the most hardest to stick to. It’s the most difficult to implement and follow through on purely because it takes time, patience, and a very acute awareness of your body language.

With an elimination diet you start in the elimination phase where you remove the most highly allergenic, intolerant and sensitive foods from your diet for a period ranging from one month to 12 months depending on how sick you really are. After the elimination phase comes the provocation or challenge phase where one by one you introduce a new food into your diet over a period of 3-4 days and log any reactions your body has after eating that food. If you do notice a reaction you leave that food out of your diet for another 3 months before reintroducing it again. If no reaction you can keep that food in your diet and move onto the next new food to test.

Yes this means it’ll take some time and a lot of patience using an elimination diet to find your food sensitivities, but think of the lessons you will learn about how your body works and think of how much better you will feel and even look.

As an African proverb says:

“Wisdom does not come overnight.”

Your health issues may have taken years before fully developing so it’s going to take at least months before those health issues will minimise and hopefully disappear entirely.

When undergoing an elimination diet it helps to work with a health practitioner for support and guidance and if you need me you know where to find me. But I do have a couple of elimination diets that have their own support networks that I highly recommend.

One is the Whole30 program which uses a paleo template as a guide to help you kick health issues as well as bad food habits by eating real food for 30 days and then introducing suspect foods afterwards. Another is The 21 Day Sugar Detox with the goal of breaking free of sugar and carb cravings. Both of these programs have proven track records and have helped thousands of people get over chronic health conditions with some receiving the added side-effect of reducing their waistline.

I also recommend reading The Elimination Diet by Tom Malterre and Alissa Segersten for more detailed information on how to heal using an elimination diet.

So are your health issues caused by food sensitivities? You won’t know the answer to this until you begin to eliminate foods from your diet for a certain amount of time and then seeing how you feel. By using 1 or all 5 of these food sensitivity testing methods you will find the answer you’re looking for and I suggest you get ready to feel awesome!

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A Mind of Your Own

A Mind of Your Own – Kelly Brogan, MD
(Buy from Amazon; Buy from The Book Depository)

New York Times bestseller

Named one of the top health and wellness books for 2016 by MindBodyGreen

Depression is not a disease. It is a symptom.

Recent years have seen a shocking increase in antidepressant use the world over, with 1 in 4 women starting their day with medication. These drugs have steadily become the panacea for everything from grief, irritability, panic attacks, to insomnia, PMS, and stress.  But the truth is, what women really need can’t be found at a pharmacy.

According to Dr. Kelly Brogan, antidepressants not only overpromise and underdeliver, but their use may permanently disable the body’s self-healing potential. We need a new paradigm: The best way to heal the mind is to heal the whole body.

In this groundbreaking, science-based and holistic approach, Dr. Brogan shatters the mythology conventional medicine has built around the causes and treatment of depression. Based on her expert interpretation of published medical findings, combined with years of experience from her clinical practice, Dr. Brogan illuminates the true cause of depression: it is not simply a chemical imbalance, but a lifestyle crisis that demands a reset. It is a signal that the interconnected systems in the body are out of balance – from blood sugar, to gut health, to thyroid function– and inflammation is at the root.

A Mind of Your Own offers an achievable, step-by-step 30-day action plan—including powerful dietary interventions, targeted nutrient support, detoxification, sleep, and stress reframing techniques—women can use to heal their bodies, alleviate inflammation, and feel like themselves again without a single prescription.

Bold, brave, and revolutionary, A Mind of Your Own takes readers on a journey of self-empowerment for radical transformation that goes far beyond symptom relief.

 

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links that may provide monetary compensation to help support the Whole Guidance Vision of Creating a Happy and Healthy Planet should you make a purchase. We very much appreciate and thank you for your support.

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WGP 035: The Dark Side to Plant Nutrition – Anti-nutrients

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Food Anti-Nutrients:

  • I’ll explain what anti-nutrients are
  • I’ll talk about how anti-nutrients affect your body and how they affect the absorption of other nutrients
  • I’ll list foods that are thought to be extremely nutritious, but really are extremely anti-nutritious
  • Finally, I’ll share how to best prepare foods to lower their anti-nutrient content


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU LEAN

Everyone knows what a nutrient is – a substance that nourishes the mind, body, and soul. But have you heard of anti-nutrients? Anti-nutrients are plant compounds that prevent you, the plant predator, from stealing or absorbing nutrients from the plant.

Believe it or not plants and other living creatures were not put on this planet for the sole purpose of feeding the human race. Plants are sentient life forms, like you and me. They have their own life purpose with the dream of the continuation of their own species and since they don’t have legs to run away or claws to fight off predators they use chemicals to protect themselves. By using biological phytochemical warfare in the form of these anti-nutrients plants increase the chances of their own survival and the survival of their offspring. While at the same time causing a lot of health issues for their predators. So anti-nutrients are a plants innate defence mechanism. These anti-nutrients can negatively affect your health.

Examples of anti-nutrients used by plants include:

  • Lectins
  • Saponins
  • Gluten
  • Phytic acid or phytates and
  • Enzyme inhibitors


Lectins have been shown to bind to insulin receptors on the walls of your cells.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for putting nutrients into your cells and if you’ve had a carb rich meal high in lectins then all that sugar that’s now flowing in your bloodstream cannot be absorbed into your cells because lectin is blocking insulin from attaching to the cell. When sugar is blocked from getting into your cells it’s left to roam in your bloodstream and when it lingers there for far too long this causes damage and inflammation to your cells. Think of your arteries, think of your brain neurons, think of any part of your body where sugar attaches itself to the cells, it becomes glycated, glued to the cell and it causes malfunction and damage. We’ve all heard of diabetes and this is what happens when sugar is left to linger in your bloodstream.

Gluten, saponins and lectins can also cause irritation to your gut, to your intestines. Remember your gut is where most of your nutrient absorption takes place, but if your gut is stressed, inflamed, or compromised then you don’t absorb as much nutrition as you should. Your gut wall is like a net, like a mosquito net where it keeps the pesky bugs out, while letting the proper nutrients in. The problem is lectins, saponins and gluten they’re like mosquitos with little katana blades that cut through the net creating tiny little holes that allow them and other molecules such as undigested food particles and disease causing microorganisms, pathogens, to get into your body.

When you get undigested and unprocessed food particles, pathogens, and other foreign materials in your bloodstream your body mounts an immune response and this leads to inflammation and stress. Now if this stress is chronic and goes on for a long time, if your body has to fight off these pathogens and foreign material that shouldn’t be there day after day because your gut has become leaky this is how you get really sick and get diagnosed with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s, psoriasis, diabetes, and coeliac disease, just to name a few.

When it comes to phytic acid this will bind to minerals meaning that if a food is high in say zinc like pumpkin seeds, but that food is also high in phytic acid then when you eat pumpkin seeds for example you only absorb a small amount of zinc or a small amount of that mineral. This is due to most of the mineral being bound to the phytic acid creating a phytate molecule. So it doesn’t matter the nutrient content of a food if it has high phytic acid content, because that high phytic acid will reduce the amount of minerals you actually get to absorb.

Enzyme inhibitors are substances that stop digestive enzymes from doing their job of breaking down the food you eat. In the case of a trypsin inhibitor it is a protease inhibitor meaning it prevents the breakdown of protein. So if you were to eat a nice chicken salad with green leafy vegetables and pumpkin seeds you may be thinking you’re getting a lot of protein from the chicken and vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. But the trypsin inhibitors and phytates that come from the plant foods will actually bind up a lot of those minerals and they will prevent you from fully digesting and breaking down that protein. Plus the saponins, lectins, and gluten, if it had croutons in the salad, will be tearing up your gut making even less nutrition available for absorption while allowing bad stuff to get directly into your bloodstream. You are getting less nutrition than you think because of these anti-nutrients.

But can you blame plants for these anti-nutrients? If I was a plant I’d make sure predators suffered the consequences too.

I’ll list the main types of foods that are full of nutrients so are thought to be very nutritious and good for you, but actually are also jammed packed and full of anti-nutrients and so turn out to be not that healthy at all. This includes:

  • Grains (both gluten-free like rice and corn and gluten containing grains)
  • Legumes (beans including soy and peanuts)
  • Nuts and
  • Seeds

 
What do all of these have in common, these 4 food groups? Technically these are all seeds of plants. They are the next generation and they will not go down without a fight hence the high anti-nutrient content of these foods. Yes you can still find anti-nutrients in whole vegetables and fruits, but seeds have the highest amounts.

It is true that seeds are full of nutrients and they need to be because within this one seed is an entire plant, but these nutrients are not highly available or absorbable, another way to say it is bioavailable due to the high anti-nutrient content. Remember theses seeds need a way to protect themselves. So even though for 100 g of pumpkin seeds you will see 7.5 mg of zinc in the nutrition profile, you may only get 50% or even less of that zinc because it’s bound to the phytic acid in the pumpkin seed. Same with whole grains and legumes which are full of vitamins and minerals. But they’re also full of gluten, saponins, and lectins and a lot of sugar and starch and excessive intake of all of these will cause gut irritation leading to low vitamin and mineral uptake.

So these nutritious seeds turn out to be more unhealthy than healthy and not just because you absorb less, but also because they cause gut inflammation and stress throughout your entire body.

So how do you make the nutrients in these seeds more bioavailable and also reduce the anti-nutrients and the stress and the inflammation they cause? By using ancestral traditional food preparation methods, that’s how. Yes you have to go back in time in order to improve your future.

Our human ancestors through trial and error figured out that by soaking and sprouting and fermenting grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds they could reduce the anti-nutrient content while at the same time increase the bioavailability of other nutrients. Not only that, but soaking and sprouting and fermenting seeds reduces gut stress by making them a lot more digestible and easier on your stomach.

General soaking and fermenting guidelines are to use filtered water with some natural salt or whey depending on what you’re soaking and letting grains and legumes soak or ferment for 12 to 24 hours and nuts and seeds to soak from 4-144 hours. After soaking you can then dehydrate, lightly roast dry, or cook the seeds. Seeds left to soak for a long time will eventually begin to sprout releasing all that stored up nutrition to feed the growing embryo. Each seed (grains, legumes, nuts) has a different preparation method, so I’m not going to explain every single method in this podcast, but I will put a bunch of links to more information on how to soak and sprout seeds and ferment seeds in the blog post for this episode.

A very awesome book about real food nutrition and traditional cooking methods is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. Here’s a passage from that book:

“Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and, in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestion process in our own kitchen.”

So you can buy sprouted and fermented breads in the store by looking for sprouted or sourdough breads. Nuts and seeds that have been soaked or sprouted are also called activated nuts and seeds, because this process activates the germination process for growth so look for soaked, sprouted, or activated nuts and seeds on labels. Of course the best grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are raw seeds that you’ve activated at home yourself.

Yes anti-nutrients have their bad side, but they do have a few benefits as well. So the goal isn’t to eat an anti-nutrient ever. The goal is to eat more nutrients compared to anti-nutrients and you do this by properly preparing seeds before you eat them.

Here’s to seed activation.

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The Fourfold Path to Healing

The Fourfold Path to Healing – Thomas S. Cowan MD, Sally Fallon, Jaimen McMillan
(Buy from Amazon; Buy from The Book Depository)

The Fourfold Path to Healing merges the wisdom of traditional societies, the most modern findings of western medicine and the esoteric teaching of the ancients. The fourfold approach includes: Nutrition using nutrient-dense traditional foods; therapeutics through a wide range of nontoxic remedies; Movement to heal and strengthen the emotions; and meditation to develop your powers of objective thought.

 

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links that may provide monetary compensation to help support the Whole Guidance Vision of Creating a Happy and Healthy Planet should you make a purchase. We very much appreciate and thank you for your support.

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WGP 030: Want the Good Life? These 7 Holistic Health Principles Will Guide You There

In this podcast I’ll be exploring the 7 Principles of Holistic Health:

  1. I’ll explain the importance of having a holistic perspective on health
  2. I’ll talk about each of the 7 Holistic Health Principles
  3. Finally I’ll share a few resources on how to integrate these principles into your life


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU LEAN

Modern western culture would have you believe that your health issues are not related to your lifestyle and that there’s a single pill for every single ill. Meaning if you want to get rid of your health symptoms then you must take a specific type of pharmaceutical drug or medication that targets that specific symptom. This is a reductionist approach meaning it reduces your body and health issues to isolated parts and disconnected organs where the focus is on treating the symptom and disease wherever it shows up.

Now there are many problems with this kind of thinking. First of all it misses the wholeness of your entire body, which is an integrated interconnected system of systems. Your body is not a collection of parts strung together, your body are the parts that make up the whole. Your back, for example, includes your back muscles that cover your spine and are covered by your skin and your back muscles are also connected to nerves that are connected to internal organs. So when you experience back pain all of these your muscle, bone, skin, organs, and your central nervous system all of these together create the sensation of pain. Now how exactly one could isolate back pain to be caused by one single thing is beyond me, which brings us to another problem with a reductionist view that focuses only on treating symptoms – it misses the root cause of the problem.

Symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your health issues and a collection of symptoms create larger and larger tips called diseases. Now one symptom or disease could be caused by many different factors, hidden from your view. Let’s say you had a headache. Is your headache caused by a lack of sleep, exposure to a toxin, a stressful relationship, poor breathing patterns, being dehydrated, too much sitting, food sensitivities, eating too much sugar, not eating enough fibre, high perceived stress levels, having no clear direction in life, or just not enough sunshine? It could be any of these. Or, if western medicine and pharmaceutical companies would have you believe, is your headache due to a pain medication deficiency? I mean is your body missing out on its daily dose of a pharmaceutical drug? I don’t think so.

This is exactly why so many people who follow the western medical model don’t heal in the long-term. For example those with cancer who undergo surgery, radiation, or chemo, all of which will do a good job of removing all signs of cancerous tissue, these people will inevitably get diagnosed with cancer once again later on in life and this second cancer is usually more aggressive than the first and it can show up in a totally different area of the body.

Because treating the symptom or disease only focuses on the tip of the iceberg. You must look beneath the water to see what’s really going on and what’s at the root cause of the problem and you can do this by looking at your health through a holistic lens or framework.

The 7 Holistic Health Principles I’m about to go through is a framework that you can follow in order to not only treat sickness and disease, but to also prevent serious chronic health issues from showing up in the first place. By using these seven principles as your health guides you will realise a happy and healthy life of purpose, no doubt about it.

The 7 Holistic Health Principles are:

  1. Moon
  2. Ether
  3. Air
  4. Water
  5. Fire
  6. Earth, and
  7. Sun

 
So let me explain a bit more about each one.

The Moon principle refers to rest and recovery. Now all of these principles are critically important to living a happy and healthy life, but there is a reason for the order I’m giving you here and the Moon principle will give you the biggest results bang for your effort buck when it comes to improving all areas of your health and your life. Rest includes, but is not limited to, sleep, relaxation, getting a soothing massage, meditation, anything that calms your body and clears your mind and that connects you to your true self and brings you back to your fully energised and awesome way of being is part of the Moon principle.

The Ether principle refers to space and is all about your environment or a better way to put it your habitat. This includes your home, your bedroom, your workplace, your commute and how you travel to all of these areas as well as your social circle of influence. The idea behind the Ether principle is to find out how a space is affecting and influencing your bodymind, so focusing on how toxic an environment is and how toxic social influencers are like people, marketing, news and media.

The Air principle is about breath and getting enough clean, filtered natural oxygen into your cells to nourish and energise you, and you do this by making sure your space is clear of pollutants as you practise proper breathing technique.

The Water principle is similar to the Air principle in terms of making sure that you’re getting clean, filtered natural water and drinking enough of it often to meet your needs. Remember your body is about 70% water so you want to source and drink the best water available to you as much as possible.

The Fire principle refers to movement. I’m not just talking about exercise here where you plan to do specific movement patterns, but also non-exercise unplanned movement activities with walking being the best and simplest form of movement. Look at a fire and it dances and moves and shifts and never looks the same twice, so the main point of this principle is to break up long periods of being in a fixed position and changing your body position in space as often as possible and having at least one formal weight and one formal cardio exercise training routine per week.

Ahh the Earth principle, my favourite one, because it’s about nutrition, food, and digestion. You want to be eating organic foods high in nutrition and easy on your digestion. Organic here simply means food from Mother Nature’s bounty. It is natural, real, wholesome, living, energised, nutritionally dense, life-affirming, and loved. Eat whole single ingredient high quality foods as close to their natural state as possible. Then personally process, refine, preserve, store, cook, or add anything organic you would like to your food.

The final Holistic Health Principle is the most important one of all. Yes I saved the best for last. The Sun principle is about loving and living life. It’s about your mindset and how you see things. The main focus of the Sun principle is connection and how you connect with your self, to other people, and to Mother Nature as well as every other living and non-living thing in the universe. This principle is based around the meme or the idea “I-We-All” where you learn to love your self first, the ‘I’, which then allows you to open up more and to love others and have better relationships, the ‘We’, and then finally waking you up to loving everything in the universe, the ‘All’. May sound a bit intense for some, but it’s not really. I find this principle the most exciting and interesting one of them all. This principle is the perfect guide for those of you that are lost or confused, you don’t know your purpose or why you’re here.

So those are the 7 Holistic Health Principles that will guide you toward a life of happiness, health, and purpose.

Now in the Whole Guidance podcast archives you will find episodes dedicated to each of these principles.

Regarding the Moon principle listen to episode 5 on how to get quality restorative sleep.

For the Ether principle I recommend listening to episode 12 on detoxification and how to swap out toxic chemical products for natural organic ones.

Episode 4 is all about breathing and will help you with the Air principle.

Episode 6 is all about water and will help you with the Water principle.

I talk about nutritious movement which relates to the Fire principle in episode 10 so check that one out.

For the Earth principle I dedicated three podcasts to nutrition, food, and digestion respectively and those are episodes 7, 8, and 9.

Now for the Sun principle there’s actually a few Whole Guidance podcast episodes you can checkout as it’s quite a big and important principle to grasp. The big main five episodes I recommend for help with the Sun principle are episodes 2 about gratitude, 3 about perceived stress, 11 about connection, 14 an extremely vital and essential episode about dream building, and episode 15 about seeking balance in your life. Other episodes worth listening to include episodes 20, 25, and 26 all about choice, anger, happiness, and fear.

Of course if you’ve listened to all of these already then congratulate yourself you’re ahead of the game.

As a society we have lost our way and become disconnected from who we are. You have been told for far too long by the media and by other people in your life that your natural instincts are wrong and that you should be doing things a certain way. This can make these 7 Holistic Health Principles seem like a lot to take in and a lot of work to do, but I assure you they will come as second nature to you over time.

I’ll summarise each of the 7 Holistic Health Principles in a few words:

  1. Get quality sleep
  2. Remove toxins from your space
  3. Breathe correctly
  4. Keep hydrated
  5. Stay active throughout the day
  6. Eat real food
  7. Connect with, relate to, and love all things, especially your self


When your body receives all of the above it will heal naturally without the need for medication, drugs, and other pharmaceutical interventions.

I’ll leave you with this thought. Think about who are you, what type of person are you without your health?

This quote from Herophilus an ancient Greek doctor says it all for me.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.”

So let these 7 principles guide you toward health, wisdom, art, strength, wealth, and intelligence.

There is one book that incorporates all of these principles pretty nicely and that book is by Holistic Health Practitioner Paul Chek and it’s called How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! I highly recommend it. If you were to follow this book and these 7 principles for 12 months, one year, it will set you up for happiness and health for the rest of your life.

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WGP 023: The Calorie Myth and Hormonal Harmony – The Truth to Reducing Body Fat

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Calories and Hormones:

  • I’ll explain what calories are and how counting calories won’t do much for your health
  • I’ll talk about hormones and how they affect your health a lot more than calories
  • Finally I’ll give a few tips on how to balance your hormones naturally to turn you into a fat-burning machine


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU LEAN

Calories are all people talk about when it comes to dieting and changing body composition. Funny thing is most people have no clue what a calorie actually is.

Well a calorie is a unit of heat energy where 1 calorie equals the amount of energy needed to heat 1 gram of water 1 degree Centigrade.

The way calories are measured is to burn the dry weight of the object you want to find the calorie value of and then measure how much heat is given off. So if you wanted to find out the number of calories in a banana, for example, you would first dehydrate it and then burn it and by measuring the amount of heat it gives off you will be able to work out the amount of calories it contained.

Now this is all fine and dandy when measuring calories using a calorimeter in a stale, stable, stagnant setting like a scientific laboratory, but when you’re talking about measuring the burning of foods in the human body or the metabolic-effect of how food calories are utilised by human physiology then Houston… we have a problem.

You see if you were to ask an aboriginal tribe in a South American jungle or African bushland or Australian outback who are excellent specimens of optimal human health whether they weighed, measured, and counted the amount of calories or energy or foods they ate on a regular basis, they would just look at you sideways, show off their bright-white teeth with a wide grin, and then they’d start laughing their bottoms off. They have a lot more important things to be concerned with than calories like maintaining shelters, hunting and gathering food, and getting back to telling stories and playing around all day. Sounds like the life right?

Your ancestors as far back as 100 years ago were not concerned with counting calories and obesity wasn’t even an issue back then. Today, however, it seems like the more calories we count as a society the more obese we seem to be getting. What’s up with that?

The reason is human beings are not calorimeters. You are not a simple input and output device. Your body is one of the most complex biological machines in the universe. Your body is an interconnected system of trillions of inputs and outputs.

For someone to say that they know exactly what happens to the hundred calories they eat from food or say that they know exactly how much calories they burned during exercise is human hubris at it again, meaning we think we know better than Mother Nature. It is impossible to know the exact amount of fuel energy you get from food and how much energy you burn from movement.

Another thing is that not all calories are created equal. 2000 calories of sugar water, for example, if you were to compare this to 2000 calories of coloured vegetables, yes they are the same amount of energy, exactly the same amount of energy, but when your body begins to digest, absorb, assimilate and metabolise and make use of the macro and micronutrients you will see a totally different effect in how your body looks, in how you think and feel, and how you act in life. A human body made up of sugar water compared to one made up of vegetables would be the same as comparing a house made up of straw and one made up of brick and mortar. One is weak and full of holes (tumours) whereas the other is strong and solid (healthy).

Ask yourself are the calories that you’re currently consuming on a regular basis turning you into a person of straw or into a solid piece of human awesomeness?

There are a number of ways the foods you eat and the movements you perform affect your biology way beyond calories and energy expenditure. You need to stop focusing on calories when it comes to happiness and health because there’s more to your wellbeing than just energy in and energy out.

The foods you eat and the movements you perform will absolutely determine the physical structure and functionality of your organs, they will determine your mood, and food and movement have a huge impact on your hormones.

Speaking of hormones these are molecules that your body uses to communicate between the many different organs, glands, and tissues. Hormones affect your body’s metabolism, immune function, growth and repair, your mood, your stress levels, and your body composition.

The major hormones you need to know about are:

  • Insulin
  • Cortisol
  • Melatonin
  • Leptin
  • Ghrelin
  • Oestrogen and testosterone and
  • Thyroid hormones


Insulin is an anabolic or growth hormone
released by your pancreas and helps transport nutrients from your bloodstream into your cells. Excessive amounts of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream leads to the transformation of most of this glucose into fatty acids and high levels of nutrients in your blood causes your pancreas to release large amounts of insulin. Once insulin gets into your bloodstream it then does its job of storing all those nutrients into your cells as well as putting any leftover fatty acids into your fat cells, so insulin plays a major role in fat accumulation.

Cortisol known as the stress hormone is catabolic meaning it breaks things down and it is released by your adrenal glands in response to physical or perceived stress, low blood sugar levels, or low leptin levels. When your blood sugar levels get too low this will cause a cortisol spike. This sudden increase in cortisol then raises your blood sugar levels and when blood glucose gets too high insulin will need to be released to bring it back to a healthy low level and if your blood glucose drops too far then cortisol comes out to play again and this sugar and hormonal rollercoaster continues on and on making for a fatter and heavier you.

Melatonin is your antioxidant, anti-tumour, circadian clock time for bed hormone. Melatonin needs to be low in the morning and high in the evening for the best sleep and recovery as well as for the most growth hormone release during sleep, which helps you burn fat as you dream. This is the opposite rhythm to cortisol. Cortisol needs to be high in the morning and low in the evening. So if you don’t get enough daylight exposure during the day, you’re exposed to too much blue and bright lights after sundown, and if your cortisol rhythm is not normal, this will cause your melatonin levels to be low making it difficult for you to fall asleep and to get a full nights rest.

Leptin is a satiety hormone meaning it signals to your brain when you have enough energy in your body and is released by your fat cells. The more fat you have the more leptin your fat cells release signalling to your brain that you have plenty of energy on board and you don’t need to eat. The less fat you have the less leptin gets released signalling to your brain that you don’t have enough energy on board and that it’s time to eat. The problem for obese individuals is something called leptin resistance where you have so many fat cells releasing a lot of leptin that your brain just can’t take the excessive amounts of communication anymore and just stops listening. So even though your fat cells are signalling non-stop to your brain that your body has more than enough energy on board and that you don’t need to eat, your brain ignores these signals and still thinks you’re low on leptin and therefore low on energy and fat stores. Chronically low leptin levels as perceived by your brain will cause an increased release of the stress hormone cortisol and high cortisol levels keep your leptin levels low.

Ghrelin is a hunger hormone and works opposite to leptin. Low levels of leptin usually mean you are low on energy reserves and this causes a release of ghrelin which then increases your appetite. Once your appetite is satisfied and enough leptin hormone reaches your brain telling it you have enough energy on board then ghrelin hormone reduces which also lowers your appetite. Now if you have high levels of cortisol in your body this will cause leptin levels to be low meaning ghrelin will increase giving you an appetite. So the more stress you have the hungrier you get.

Oestrogen and testosterone are sex hormones used for growth and for reproduction. Women have slightly higher levels of oestrogen hormones compared to men and men have a lot more testosterone than women. Chronically high levels of insulin in your bloodstream (due to a high sugar diet for example) leads to an increase of testosterone in women and a decrease of testosterone in men as well as an increase of oestrogen in men. When cortisol is low testosterone and insulin are high, but when cortisol is high testosterone and insulin are low making cortisol a muscle wasting hormone. Chronically high levels of cortisol interferes with the normal production of your sex hormones, so too much stress overtime leads to low libido or sex drive, infertility, and the end of sexy times in the bedroom.

Last group of major hormones you really need to know about are your thyroid hormones. Your thyroid hormones are responsible for your body’s overall metabolism, meaning your cells ability to process energy. The two main thyroid hormones are T4 and T3. T4 is the inactive thyroid hormone and this is produced by your thyroid gland. The conversion of T4 to the active form T3 takes place primarily in your liver and in your gut. If your thyroid, liver, or gut are unhealthy and unable to do the work that they should then the production of T4 and T3 hormones will be dramatically impacted. Your body will either produce too much thyroid hormones leading to hyperthyroidism or having a very fast metabolic rate where you feel nervous or anxious a lot of the time, have irregular heartbeats, trouble sleeping, dry skin, excessive weight reduction, and excessive bowel movements. Or your body won’t produce enough thyroid hormones leading to hypothyroidism or having a very slow rate of metabolism where you feel depressed and irritable, experience hair loss and memory loss, feel tired and weak a lot of the time, find it difficult to reduce weight or have a dramatic increase in weight, have muscle cramps, feel cold a lot, have brittle nails, and constipation. High levels of perceived stress interferes with the production of T4 and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol interferes with the conversion of T4 to T3 causing abnormal metabolic function throughout your entire body.

Okay so that was a lot of information to take in about your major hormones. Now I’m not sure if you noticed, but there was one constant between them all. There was one hormone that popped up time and again and it has an impact on all the other hormones. Do you know the hormone I’m talking about? Yes, the stress hormone cortisol. That’s the hormone I’m talking about.

High cortisol leads to the increase of glucose in your bloodstream eventually causing a spike in insulin and this high insulin release causes fat storage and an increase in fat cell number and fat cell size.

High cortisol at night prevents melatonin from rising leading to trouble with sleep, less growth hormone release, less fat burning, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of cancer.

High cortisol levels equal low leptin and high ghrelin levels meaning even if you’re obese or if you’ve eaten a big enough meal that normally would have satisfied you in the past, you will still have an appetite and feel hungry and will want to keep eating and you may never feel satiated.

High production of cortisol equals low production of your growth and sex hormones. More cortisol means less growth and more stress means less sex.

Finally high stress and rich cortisol production equals poor thyroid hormone production causing an abnormal rate of metabolism, either too high or too low. The majority of thyroid issues deal with a very slow rate of metabolism leading to difficulty reducing fat cell number and fat cell size.

So the big takeaway from all this hormone talk is that if you can control your cortisol you can control the rest of your hormones and you can determine the overall health of your body.

Not only that, but by taking control of your cortisol levels and the levels of all your other major hormones you can determine the amount of muscle and fat that your body synthesises and burns… without the need for counting calories.

Imagine that your hormones are an orchestra and that when they play in perfect harmony you get to hear wonderful music a beautiful symphony being played. However, when you have disharmony in the orchestra, when there’s a group or single instrument out of tune, out of sync, out of beat and rhythm then you’re left listening to something that would probably even make the walking dead turn and run in the other direction.

Homeostasis is a term that means a system is in balance and functioning as it should. When your many hormones are in harmony and playing sweet beautiful music together then you can consider your body to be in a homeostatic state. When your body is in homeostasis, where you’ve achieved hormonal harmony, then your body’s ability to burn fat and maintain or build health and muscle will be easy peasy lemon squeezy.

However, if your hormones are not in harmony with each other well then your ability to reduce fat and maintain or build health and muscle go right out the window. It doesn’t matter how many calories you count or restrict and no matter how hard you push yourself in the gym because if your cortisol and other hormone levels are not in healthy ranges then your body has bigger issues to deal with than worrying about energy in and energy out.

What I’m ultimately saying is that when your hormones are in balance with each other you’re a lean, mean, and very keen playful, happy, and healthy human being. But when your hormones are ‘out of whack’ (yes that’s a scientific term where I’m from) when your hormones are out of balance then oops-a-daisy you become flabby, fat, and lazy.

So what causes hormone imbalances?

High levels of stress and inflammation and stress and inflammation are caused by unhealthy relationships, disconnection from Mother Nature, exposure to toxic compounds, improper sleep, too much not enough exercise, eating inflammatory foods, not drinking enough quality water, and incorrect breathing patterns.

To get your hormones in a happy and healthy harmonious state you need to reduce your stress levels and lower the amount of inflammation in your body and you can do this by living a holistic healthy lifestyle. If you listen to episodes 2-15 of the Whole Guidance Podcast I go into detail about how to do this, but I will share a few quick and easy tips here on how to keep cortisol your stress hormone in check which will reduce the amount of stress and inflammation in your body.

First tip is to remove sugars and grains from your diet. Pasteurised dairy too if you’re really serious about keeping your cortisol levels balanced. Sugars and grains and highly treated dairy products are pro-inflammatory causing a lot of fire in your belly and in your body and also cause a lot of insulin to be secreted by your pancreas. By removing these foods from your diet for 21 days you can then try reintroducing them again to see how you feel and I bet you’ll notice a difference. With less insulin in your bloodstream your body’s metabolism will gradually shift from burning sugar and storing fat to not needing sugar and burning fat. Replace the sugars, grains, and dairy with more animal and fruit fats and oils.

Second tip is to get quality sleep. Now I said quality, not quantity and this means consistently going to bed before 11p and getting up around 6 or 7a for at least 21 days. This will reset your circadian clock and help restore your melatonin to its correct levels, low in the morning and high in the evening.

Third tip is to breathe deep diaphragmatic belly breaths through your nose. This helps keep your body in a rest, digest, calm, and connect state and so reduces your cortisol and increases your fat burning potential as well as your growth and sex hormone levels. Listen to episode 4 on how to practise proper breathing technique.

Fourth tip is to sprint more and cardio less. What I mean is that instead of doing 30 minute, 60 minute, or 2 hour long duration cardio sessions, why not try 4 minutes of high intensity interval training. H I I T or HIIT is where you go all out at 80-100% effort for 30 seconds and then rest for 90 seconds and repeat this seven more times. Timing isn’t set in concrete so you can go hard for 60 seconds and rest for 60-240 seconds if you wanted to. There’s no set rules. Find what works for you. You can do HIIT on a spin bike, sprinting up hills, or by performing exercises like burpees. Sprint training burns fewer calories during the exercise than long duration cardio does, but it produces a healthier hormonal profile after the exercise is completed meaning cortisol levels don’t stay elevated for long periods after a sprint session and your metabolism remains higher for longer periods after HIIT as well.

Fifth tip is to support your liver and gut health to ensure optimal conversion of your inactive T4 hormone into the more active T3 hormone making you a metabolism beast. Easiest way to support your liver is to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals in your environment. You can do this by swapping out commercial home and personal care products for organic plant-based ones. Easiest way to support your digestive system is to eat real food. Real food is from Mother Nature. Anything from Father Industry I consider fake pretend food-like products and these will only create inflammation in your gut.

As Michael Pollan an author who writes about real food says:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Sixth tip is to manage your self when it comes to stress. I did a whole podcast on how stress affects your health and how to identify and reframe your perspective on the stressors in your life so listen to that for more details. Also meditation and practising mindfulness and awareness is another way to move away from past regrets and future failures and to just be in the present moment. The more you can be ‘in the now man’ then the less you will be stressing about stuff in your head.

My seventh and final tip for reducing stress and inflammation and on how to best balance cortisol and all your other hormones is to get some smart sun exposure. Vitamin D is a powerful hormone that regulates over 1000 genes in your body and today about 70% of people living in western society are deficient in vitamin D and do not have enough of this health building hormone. You need to be exposing your skin to the sun on a regular basis to get the right amount of vitamin D, but of course you don’t want to get too much sun as too much of a good thing will burn you on the outside and cause fire and inflammation on the inside. I’ll talk more about smart sun exposure and vitamin D in the next podcast.

I’ll leave you with this final thought.

Throughout human history calories were never counted or measured in order to be healthy. Building muscle, reducing fat, achieving a happy mindset, all of these were and still are easily accessible to anyone living with balanced hormones without the need for calorie counting.

When you focus on the quantity of calories this will cause an imbalance in the quantity and quality of your hormones. So at the end of the day if you want quality hormones you must focus on quality calories.

To learn more about how calories really don’t matter read The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor. This book lays out the science on how hormones beat out calories time and again for achieving the best health ever.

“Health is not a math equation.”

When your body is healthy, whole, and complete you’ll never have to think about calories ever again because health has always and will always be instinctively and innately and naturally easy.

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WGP 016: Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity – to Be or Not to Be Gluten-Free

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity or NCGS and living Free of Gluten:

  • I’ll explain what gluten is and how it can negatively impact your health
  • I’ll talk about the differences between coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity
  • I’ll also talk about the single biggest mistake people make when shifting to a gluten-free diet
  • Finally I’ll share some simple and effective tips on how to make gluten-free a part of your lifestyle


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU LEAN

So what exactly is gluten?

Gluten is a complex protein found in some grains. This includes all wheat varieties such as:

  • Spelt
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Durum and
  • Khorasan aka Kamut

 
And also includes the grains barley and rye.

Oats don’t have the same gluten proteins, but the way that most of the oats are processed and stored today means that they do contain high amounts of gluten simply by being exposed to the same facilities and transport vehicles that are used for gluten-containing grains. So there’s a lot of cross-contamination that occurs with oats.

Gluten is made up of two different proteins gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin gives gluten its gluey stickiness and glutenin gives gluten its flexibility and stretchiness. This is why gluten-containing grains are perfect for baking and for manufacturing pretend fake food-like products. This viscosity and elasticity provides you the consumer with a delectable and delightful eating experience.

The problem with gluten today though is that it isn’t the same gluten our agricultural ancestors ate. The wheat you’re eating today is nowhere near the same wheat that is associated with biblical times commonly referred to as the staff of life.

In the past 60 years man has taken it upon himself to modify wheat into a more versatile and robust crop. Why would we do this? World hunger. There was a time in the mid 20th century where the main focus of society was on starving populations.

How times have changed eh. Today the main focus is on the war on terror or as I call it the submission to fear, but anyhoo… back to gluten.

In order to feed the world scientists and farmers hybridised different wheat varieties resulting in a wheat crop that was more resistant to temperature changes and drought and that would also grow more grains in less time. Specific wheat varieties were also chosen for their increased gluten content making for a better cooking ingredient.

And thus today we have modern wheat which is the third highest produced crop in the world behind corn and rice.

This wheat not only has higher amounts of proteins including gluten, but also has higher amounts of starch and sugar compared to ancient grains. Sure modern wheat has awesome baking characteristics and tastes nice and sweet, but unfortunately more gluten and more sugar make for more fat, more inflammation, more obesity, more diabetes, more heart disease, more cancer… and you get the idea.

So how does gluten contribute to making you fat, sick, and nearly dead? In more ways than one unfortunately.

First gluten damages your gut. You have this protective barrier lining your gut like a giant fortress wall and along the wall every now and then there are little gateways that open and close allowing certain nutrients in. Gluten actually causes these gateways to open allowing anything and everything to slip through into your body. This is known as intestinal hyperpermeability or leaky gut syndrome. When your gut becomes leaky you can get a whole cascade of health problems manifest as a result because now your immune system needs to go on high alert and has to battle all these foreign materials that should not be in your bloodstream. This heightened immune response creates stress and inflammation and chronic stress and chronic inflammation together are the main causes for all chronic degenerative diseases today.

Not only that, but any undigested food particles that leak through into your bloodstream will be targeted by your immune system and then out of nowhere you become sensitive to certain foods, foods that you’ve eaten your whole entire life and eat on a regular basis you will no longer be able to handle. So if a big piece of beef or broccoli or egg gets through a leaky gut the immune system will tag it for elimination and new immune cells are created specifically to get rid of that food molecule.

So let’s say a piece of undigested chicken got through your leaky gut wall. Your immune system sees it in the body and creates an antibody for it. An antibody is like an assassin that shoots to kill only specific targets, and you have many different antibodies each created for different kinds of threats. For example if you’ve ever had measles or chickenpox or had a vaccination for a specific disease your immune system would have created specific antibodies for them. So if you were to ever get measles or chickenpox those antibodies can quickly get to work and kill off the disease.

Coming back to the undigested chicken particles now that your immune system has seen it and created specific antibodies for it, anytime you eat chicken the immune cells, the chicken antibodies, the chicken assassin that has just been hanging around waiting for an excuse to fire off its weapon starts firing away causing inflammation. Your genetic weak link will determine where most of that inflammation and damage will occur so it could be in your skin, your brain, your heart, your muscles, your bones, your joints or even your gut it all depends.

So gluten activates the genes for intestinal hyperpermeability aka leaky gut and a leaky gut causes immune activation, inflammation, and food sensitivities all of which open the door for the development of autoimmune diseases.

Humans cannot fully digest gluten and because of this gluten alone can excite your immune system creating inflammation. Protein molecules like gluten are made up of polypeptides or long chains of amino acids. So as an analogy think of a protein molecule as a pearl necklace and an amino acid as an individual pearl. Through the process of digestion in your mouth, your stomach, and small intestines these pearl necklaces are broken down into single pearls allowing them to be absorbed and assimilated through your protective gut wall.

However, the human digestive system cannot digest and break down gluten into individual pearls. Gluten has a very unique and strange sequence of pearls, of amino acids that your gut enzymes do not recognise. So while your body will break up the long gluten necklace into smaller peptides or into smaller groups of pearls it will never be able to turn gluten into easily digestible single pearls. So just as I said before when you have a leaky gut and these larger chunks of gluten get into your bloodstream they will create havoc and mayhem and inflammation as your immune system becomes activated and goes about its business of wiping them out.

What makes matters worse is that the order of the pearls in the gluten necklaces, the sequence of amino acids that make up these undigested gluten molecules they look very similar to the amino acid sequence of organs and tissues in your body. This is known as molecular mimicry where foreign protein molecules are similar in structure to human tissue. So now your immune system which has created antibodies to these invading gluten proteins gets confused and instead of just taking out the gluten your antibodies, your assassins they begin attacking your gut leading to coeliac or Crohn’s or inflammatory bowel disease preventing you from fully digesting and absorbing the nutrients from the food you eat. Your immune cells will attack your thyroid causing hypothyroidism slowing down your metabolism making you feel slow and tired. Your skin is your largest organ and this can get attacked as well causing a whole range of skin disorders and even your brain tissue gets damaged by your own immune system leading to ataxia, multiple sclerosis, autism, depression, headaches, and giving you a foggy mind. Talk about a case of mistaken identity.

When your immune system reacts to your own body this is called an autoimmune disease.

Gluten can also disrupt the microbiota in your gut causing a reduction in probiotics the good population of microorganisms and an increase in pathogens the bad population. This imbalance is known as dysbiosis. This is due to the toxic chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) used in the production of gluten-containing grains. These foreign compounds kill off the probiotics and allow the pathogens to thrive. The more bad guys you have in your gut the more immune system activation you will have and the more inflammation your body will experience and the more stress you will have in your life.

One final and fascinating part (well I think its fascinating) to how gluten negatively impacts your health is how it affects your brain.

When your body attempts to break down gluten new pearl necklaces are created, new proteins and one of these new protein molecules is called gluteomorphin. Gluteomorphins activate opioid receptors in your body meaning your brain thinks it’s getting a dose of opium. Usually your body’s own endorphin chemicals stimulate your opioid receptors making you feel good and also reduce your perception to pain. But gluten as well as dairy (in the case of dairy these opioid and morphine-like proteins are called casomorphins) so gluten and dairy stimulate your opioid receptors giving you a bit of a high making you feel super awesome. Any wonder now why people fight tooth and nail when trying to give up bread and milk? It is rare, but some people actually do suffer severe withdrawal symptoms when coming off gluten due to the opioid drug-like effect that these gluteomorphins have on the nervous system.

Okay so if gluten contributes to gut damage, inflammation, and affects your neurology why is it that not everyone is keeling over in abdominal pain or experiencing depression right after eating gluten?

Three reasons: first one is genetics and epigenetics. Maybe you don’t have the genes that make you more easily affected by gluten. Awesome, good for you. That would put you in the estimated 50% of people who have been clinically shown to not be affected by gluten even though it does cause a few gaps in your gut wall.

Now even if you do have the gluten causing inflammatory genes remember epigenetics which is about how your environment and lifestyle determine which genes get switched on and expressed and which genes remain in the off position. So you have the genes, but your environment is helping to keep those genes switched off.

Second reason that people aren’t experiencing obvious gluten reactions is symptomatology. Diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s can take many years to manifest and express as a symptom. You could be experiencing hidden chronic stress and hidden chronic inflammation due to the consumption of gluten right now without even knowing it. Of all the people diagnosed with full-blown coeliac disease only around 15% of them express gastrointestinal symptoms, gut symptoms. The rest of people with coeliac express extraintestinal symptoms meaning they have issues in their skin, brain, joints, muscles, bones, anywhere but the gut. So just because you don’t feel the fire due to gluten doesn’t mean it’s not affecting you.

Last reason deals with time and immune tolerance. Some people suffer from an illness right out of the womb at childbirth; whereas it can take 60 years before somebody else will experience that same disease. This is due to your immune system’s ability to respond when needed and when your immune system becomes unresponsive this is known as a loss of immune tolerance. For example it has been shown that some people can go their entire life eating gluten without problem, but once they reached their 70s they developed coeliac disease because their immune system lost the ability to respond to gluten. So while you may not have coeliac disease or sensitivity to gluten now if you have the genes and you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle it is only a matter of time before that small amount of gluten in that delicious caramel slice acts like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back leaving you with an upset gut, crappy skin, and bad moods.

Okay so what exactly is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition where your immune system reacts to gluten attacking your own body causing inflammation and damage to your gut and other tissues in your body. As previously mentioned this can include gut symptoms in about 15% of coeliac patients such as:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Cramping and
  • Vomiting

 
Most other people with coeliac disease, however, express extraintestinal symptoms such as:

  • Excessive weight loss
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis and other skin issues
  • Iron-deficient anaemia
  • Arthritis
  • Neurological and psychiatric disorders
  • Infertility issues

 
It’s estimated that about 3% of the population have coeliac disease. If you have a family member diagnosed with coeliac disease than your chance of having coeliac disease jumps to 20%.

Now why do the rest of us have to worry about gluten? Well the fact that no human can fully digest gluten and realising that nothing in life is neither black nor white, but different shades of grey should make you think that even though you may not be on the extreme end of coeliac perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle of that spectrum or if you’re lucky may be you’re on the other extreme end where you tolerate gluten pretty well.

This is where the condition known as Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity or NCGS comes in. NCGS like coeliac disease is where your immune system reacts to gluten causing inflammation and damage to your gut and other tissues in your body. But NCGS is not an autoimmune condition so your immune system isn’t attacking your body, but can become overactive leading to the development of an autoimmune disease later in life. People with NCGS experience the same symptoms as people with coeliac disease plus the following:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Obesity
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ataxia
  • Depression
  • Parkinson’s
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Asperger’s
  • Autism
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Diabetes and
  • Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism

 
It’s estimated that about 10% of the population has NCGS, but due to the fact that testing for NCGS is still a new field of study with technology just catching up this number isn’t reliable. It has been shown in clinical practice where doctors work with patients that about 30-60% of sick people who change to a gluten-free lifestyle no longer show any signs and symptoms of disease. So it could be said that 1 in 2 people are sensitive to gluten.

Now there are many lab tests that you can pay for and take to find out if you have coeliac disease and if you’re experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms this would be a good idea. There are also other lab tests you can take to find out if you have NCGS, but as I said this form of testing is new and cannot be relied on 100%.

The best test for NCGS to find out if you’re sensitive to gluten is one you can do at home. It’s a gluten elimination and challenge test that involves the removal of gluten from your diet for 91 days, that’s 3 months followed by a gluten challenge. If you experience any symptoms after the challenge you’re most likely sensitive to gluten.

Okay so let’s say you do a lab test or the gluten elimination and challenge test and find out you’re gluten sensitive whether it be full-blown coeliac disease or NCGS well now what do you do?

Well whatever you do, DON’T DO THIS! The single biggest mistake that most people make when first switching to a gluten-free diet is to swap out all gluten-containing foods with processed and packaged gluten-free foods thinking they’re living healthier than before.

Processed and packaged foods whether they are gluten-free or not are still fake pretend food-like products lacking nutrition as well as having no energy and screwed up information. Swapping out gluten-containing pasta, cookies, rice crackers, for gluten-free versions does not eliminate the rancid oxidised and damaged industrial seed oils aka vegetables oils and does not eliminate processed and refined sugars and also does not eliminate the chemical additives and preservatives like colourings, thickeners, and MSG. Gluten-free junk food is still junk food. You eat junk, you feel like junk, and you produce junk in your life.

Now the other issue with processed and packaged foods labelled gluten-free is that labelling standards state that any manufactured food with a gluten content of up to 20 parts per million can be legally labelled as gluten-free. Why this number? Because gluten containing foods that are 20 ppm or less have been shown to not cause further gut damage when talking about coeliac disease, but what about damage to your skin, your bones, your heart, and your brain? If you end up eating a lot of these gluten-free foods even in the parts per million you’re still getting a few milligrams of gluten and Dr Aristo Vojdani a world renowned Immunologist says that only 1/1000th of a gram which is 1 milligram is enough to activate your immune system and produce anti-gliadin antibodies or gluten assassins.

So the bottom line is it only takes a little bit of gluten about the size of a kernel of wheat for it to activate your genes for leaky gut, for it to excite your immune system, and for it to produce antibodies that will start killing off both gluten proteins as well as your own body tissue and this goes on for a minimum of 3 months and up to around 6 months.

Dr Rodney Ford a paediatrician, gastroenterologist, and allergist with over 30 years experience uses the term Gluten-Zero which I like. Zero means just that. No gluten whatsoever. Just as you cannot be a little bit pregnant you cannot have just a little bit of gluten. You’re either on the spectrum of gluten sensitivity or not.

Right about now you’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘That sounds like too much work, that’s too hard, how exactly do I go gluten-free?’ and the first and best tip I can give you is to find a why. Find a big enough reason that’s going to surpass any challenges and obstacles that will most definitely come your way. What is your dream when it comes to living a gluten-free lifestyle? By having a dream you will make your health and being gluten-free the priority.

As part of the dream building process you can reframe how you see this new way of being.

Now it probably looks like a lot of work and a big hassle and stress that you just don’t have the time to deal with right now. Perhaps you can change your perspective to one of appreciation. How?

Appreciate the fact that you are like a canary in the coal mine and that you have heightened senses about what makes you feel bad. You are the lucky one. You have an obvious symptom teaching you to change so you won’t get a debilitating disease in the future.

Around 50% of the rest of population will continue to eat gluten without any obvious symptoms or are not mindful and aware enough of their own body language to know it’s talking to them daily and so these asymptomatic folk will eventually present with an illness and a disease later on in their life. The people that don’t know that they are sensitive to gluten will have an increased risk of death and will get colon cancer and Alzheimer’s and skin issues as well as gluten ataxia, congestive heart failure etc. Count yourself lucky that you do know that you’re sensitive to gluten and now that you know better you can do better!

Also please do not label yourself as the disease or condition. You are not a coeliac. You are not sensitive to gluten. Your body has a disease called coeliac disease. Your body has a condition called NCGS. You are not your body just as you are not your big toe, your hair, or your love handles. You have all these things, but are not these things.

As part of the dream building process communicate to all the people in your life who may be affected by and may also affect you in your gluten-free lifestyle. This can include family, friends, workmates, teammates, waiters and managers in restaurants anyone who will have a direct influence on your ability to live gluten-free. Communicate to them let them know what your dream is and what it is you need and how they can support you.

Go back and listen to the podcast I did on dream building to find out how you can better set yourself up for success when switching to a gluten-free way of living.

Next tip is to do the research and become an expert in gluten. Learn what foods contain gluten. Learn how gluten directly affects you and do not trust food labels. Research suspect food products by calling up the manufacturer. Get the word from the horses mouth.

Now is the time to clear out your house of all gluten-containing products. Could be food, personal care products, home care products anything that has gluten in it. You will replace all of these with gluten-free and non-toxic alternatives.

With regards to food you can replace tasteless and nutritionless pasta with delicious nutritious zucchini or courgette or butternut squash or spaghetti squash pasta. Actually any vegetable you can spiralise and peel will do the pasta trick.

For salad dressings make your own with extra-virgin olive oil mixed with some acid like fresh lemon or lime juice or apple cider vinegar.

Instead of wheat-based soy sauces use gluten-free tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos as alternatives.

Want to do some gluten-free baking? Swap out the grain flours for coconut flour, almond flour, linseed or flaxseed meal, and for something a bit more sugary and sweet use a mixture of white rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch.

People always complain about not knowing what to have for breakfast when going gluten-free. Try a bowl of chia seeds soaked in a liquid with some nuts to act as a cereal replacement. Why not have the classic free range bacon and eggs or leftovers from dinner? In reality there is no such thing as a breakfast, lunch or dinner food. Real food is nutritious, energising and informative no matter when you eat it. As always though listen to your body and learn what portion sizes and times of the day your body prefers meals.

Want a snack? How about a piece of fruit with some raw nuts or some vegetables dipped in nut butters. You can always have a tin of salmon or sardines, a couple hardboiled eggs or some real beef jerky and biltong.

Still wanting some bread eh? Try some plantains and eggs mixed and fried in butter or ghee or how about frying up some sliced round flat pieces of a root vegetable like potatoes, these can replace burger buns.

There’s always real food pancakes as well made with banana, eggs, coconut flour and some cinnamon.

Trust me you’ll find that there’s even more flavour, taste, and deliciousness and definitely nutrition when you live gluten-free.

Finally, you’ll want to start living not just gluten-free, but living holistically as well. Gluten is just one part of a bigger picture when determining how happy and healthy you feel.

  • Manage yourself when it comes to stress
  • Get quality restorative sleep
  • Breathe deep belly breaths
  • Eat real food and drink real water
  • Move often
  • Give gratitude
  • Connect with nature and with other people and
  • Lower your environmental toxin exposure.

 
Now above all else KEEP CALM.

It’s not the end of the world. The sky is not falling just because you can no longer have your toast, croissant, bagel or cereal for breakfast. Take a deep breath and remember to take this journey one step at a time. Patience and cool headedness are your allies on your path to health and happiness.

And if you’re really struggling hire a Holistic Lifestyle Coach. Professional sports teams, top CEOs these guys have sport coaches, business coaches. You want the best health for yourself? Hire a health coach.

Aim to live gluten-zero and you’ll at least get to living gluten-free where you’ll be exposed to gluten every now and then. It’s impossible to be 100% perfect in any way of being, but by shooting for the stars you’ll at least hit the moon.

Remember all we can ever do is take each day as it comes.

As Lao Tzu reminds us in the classic Chinese text called the Tao Te Ching:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Alright here are a few resources you can use to learn more about gluten and living gluten-free. I will put links for these in the show notes for this episode.

Check out the books Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis and Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter to find out more about the perils of gluten, wheat, grains, and sugar. Also download and watch the awesome online seminar series The Gluten Summit created by gluten expert Dr Tom O’Bryan to learn more about gluten, wheat, and how to live a gluten-free lifestyle.

A few awesome grain-free and gluten-free cookbooks I recommend are:

 
I own all of these books. I use them all the time. These will help anyone from the experienced chef to the kitchen newbie.

Links and Resources

 
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WGP 013: Inflammation – Can You Feel the Heat?

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Inflammation:

  • I’ll explain how inflammation can be both beneficial and harmful to your health and wellbeing
  • I’ll talk about some of the different causes of chronic low-level inflammation
  • Finally, I’ll review the best ways to reduce inflammation in your body


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU LEAN

Inflammation is your immune system in action and what a beautiful natural act of Mother Nature it is. Your body has the innate intelligence to heal itself and works best when you feed it real food, water, sleep, movement, breath, and healthy relationships.

You have seen inflammation in action when you’ve had a cut or a bruise or had an infection. That part of your body gets red, it swells up, heats up, and sometimes there’s pain. If you can support your body’s innate healing process with natural healing therapies and then get out of its way and not interfere too much then overtime the injured area gets better and heals.

Inflammation is key to healing. Without it your immune system would never be called into action and you would never heal. However, there is a dark side to inflammation.

Acute inflammation is obvious to spot and simple to manage. With acute inflammation the inflammatory reaction is massive like a Hollywood movie explosion. Chronic ongoing inflammation on the other hand is hidden and difficult to deal with. With chronic inflammation the inflammatory response is more like a small match lighting up. No big ‘hey look at me!’ as with acute inflammation, but still a calling card for your immune system to wake up and to get into action. So your immune system reacts the exact same way whether you have acute or chronic inflammation.

Now there’s nothing wrong with your immune system doing it’s job, but there is an issue with the amount of work your immune system has to do. Acute inflammation comes and goes — job done. Chronic inflammation comes over like an unwanted family member who overstays their welcome and your immune system does everything it can to heal and so reduce and remove the inflammation, but that stubborn chronic guy just won’t leave. The more your immune system is active the more energy and nutrition it will use leaving you tired and without the proper building blocks to support other areas of your body.

Now as a result of your immune system being overworked and frustrated another more serious problem arises. The quality of the work that your immune system does starts to go down. Meaning your immune system that includes white blood cells, T cells, and B cells starts to confuse your own body tissue with foreign and infectious objects. So now your immune system begins to attack you causing damage to whatever part of the body is being mistakenly attacked. This is what an autoimmune disease is. The body reacting to and attacking itself. Examples of autoimmune diseases include:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Vasculitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Coeliac disease

By the way if you are dealing with an autoimmune condition I highly recommend the book The Wahls Protocol by Dr Terry Wahls. Dr Wahls has MS multiple sclerosis, but by following an ancestral evolutionary diet and lifestyle was able to get herself out of a wheelchair and onto a bicycle. A truly inspiring story and individual.

Anyhoo… Not only does chronic inflammation send inflammatory signals throughout your body causing the breakdown of bone, nervous tissue, and organs, but it also sends out fat-storing signals and interferes with normal hormone communication.

It is this chronic low-level inflammation that is barely detectable by you and your health practitioner that is at the root of almost every single disease not just autoimmunity.

Another thing with chronic inflammation is because it acts on such a low level throughout your entire body and remember that inflammation causes redness, swelling, hotness, and pain so if you are dealing with skin issues, are holding onto extra weight that just won’t leave, have areas of your body that are hotter than they should be or you’re dealing with pain realise that all of these are huge symptoms of being inflamed.

Okay so what causes chronic inflammation?

Well a pro-inflammatory diet made up of fake pretend food-like products would be number one on the list. Remember 80% of your immune system lives in your gut because it has to deal to all the foreign stuff that comes through your gastrointestinal tract. So if you’re eating highly inflammatory foods your immune system will go into overdrive. Hello inflammation and hello disease.

The biggest fake food culprit of them all is industrial seed oils aka vegetable oils. These oils are full of trans fats as well as oxidised rancid damaged fats. When your fat-burning enzymes attach to a trans fat to metabolise it they can’t. It’s not a real fat. But now they’re stuck to this trans fat molecule stopping them from burning other fats. This can lead to an increase in your waistline.

Your cell membranes are made up of fat. If these trans fats get integrated into your cell walls then their integrity and stability begins to weaken leading to a damaged dysfunctional cell. Also, the cell receptors on the surface of the cell will be morphed into unnatural shapes preventing them from receiving nutrition and eliminating waste in and out of the cell. Trans fats are deadly to the cell and deadly to your body.

These seed oils are mostly made up of fragile omega-6 fats that get easily damaged when exposed to heat, light, and will go rancid after very short periods of time. When eaten these fats create damaging free radicals in your body and without enough antioxidants these free radicals will cause a whole host of diseases.

Second biggest baddie when it comes to chronic inflammation and food is processed and refined sugar and grains like flour and products made with them. When you eat any processed grain like bread, doughnuts, cooked corn even these metabolise in the body and turn in an instant into sugar. So there’s literally no difference between eating a piece of wholemeal bread or a cookie and eating a few teaspoons of sugar. Same goes with fizzy drinks and fruit juices. These are all sugar when they hit your mouth, your gut, and your liver.

A diet high in sugar leads to too much sugar being left in the blood causing the sugar molecules to stick to cells in the bloodstream. This process is called glycation and the new molecule that forms is called an Advanced Glycation Endproduct or AGE. AGEs block immune cells from getting into damaged tissues in need of repair stopping the reduction of inflammation.

Excess sugar consumption also raises insulin levels. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone and when this is high fat-burning is switched off. Insulin also triggers the release of interleukin-6 or IL-6 which is an inflammatory and anti-inflammatory molecule, but tends to create more inflammation in your body.

Wheat, pasteurised milk, table salt, instant coffee and any other processed and packaged industrialised fake food-like product are pro-inflammatory to your body. So if you love fast food, cheap food, and don’t know the difference between a spinach leaf and a cabbage leaf you my friend are probably full of inflammation.

Another cause of chronic inflammation is having the omega-6 and omega-3 ratio of fats in your diet out of balance. These two fats are essential to health and essential here literally means your body cannot make these fats therefore you must eat them. Now omega-6 is a pro-inflammatory fat, whereas omega-3 is anti-inflammatory. Our ancestors had the perfect 1:1 ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in their diet. Today western societies have been estimated to be eating a ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s of 20:1 or more!

Going back to the seed oils and grains these are mostly omega-6 fats. Any wonder now why we live in an inflammation nation!

Stress of all types physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual cause the release of stress hormones in the body that can have an anti-inflammatory effect by suppressing your immune system. However, chronic stress with stress hormones left to linger in the body for long periods of time makes for a weakened immune system and creates more inflammation. Stress can cause damage to the mucosal barriers in your body making them more permeable and porous than they should be. So stress can cause your skin as well as your gut to become leaky leading to skin and gut inflammation and disease.

Sleep deprivation can make you as insulin resistant as a diabetic. Insulin resistance means your cells no longer pay attention to insulin leaving a lot of insulin and sugar in your bloodstream. So with insulin resistance comes more inflammation due to high levels of insulin and sugar.

Being overweight and obese is also inflammatory. Fat isn’t just a grouping of cells sitting around waiting for you to burn it as energy. Fat is actually an endocrine organ meaning it produces hormones. Adiponectin is a fat hormone used to control the metabolism of fats and sugars. It also makes you more insulin sensitive.

Another hormone that fat produces is called leptin. Leptin has been called the master hormone because not only does it tell you when you’re full it also looks controls other glands and hormones in your body. Problem with leptin is if you have too much leptin you will have a lot of inflammation to go with it. This is because leptin is also an inflammatory signalling molecule. So the more fat you are holding onto the more leptin you will have and the more inflammation you will get.

One last thing about food. Even if you’re eating organic and naturally raised real food you still may be causing yourself more harm than good if you’re eating foods you are allergic or have a sensitivity to. A food allergy is an immediate reaction to a food that you’ve eaten. A food sensitivity or intolerance could take hours, days or even up to a week before you get a reaction from that particular food. Food allergies and sensitivities are serious business when it comes to causing stress and inflammation in your body. These foods can cause inflammation in the gut making it leaky. If these foods were to get into your bloodstream further inflammation would go on in your body.

Being exposed to toxins industrial or natural makes for more inflammation in your body in more ways than one. The toxins alone cause inflammation and an immune response. Along with this though any toxins that are not metabolised properly by your liver get stored in your fat cells. The more toxins your body cannot eliminate the fatter you get (it’s not just about the calories people, in fact it hardly ever is). Anyhoo, remember with more fat there’s more leptin and more inflammation.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) cause a buildup of positive electrons in your body that act as free radicals damaging you from the inside out creating more inflammation.

All this fake food, stress, and toxin exposure also creates an imbalance of the microorganisms in your gut. A healthy gut will have a ratio of 85% probiotics (the good guys) to 15% pathogens (the bad guys). People with unhealthy diets and lifestyles have been shown to have a ratio of 15% good to 85% bad microorganisms. This imbalance is called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis causes many issues in your gut including malnutrition, leaky gut syndrome, and inflammation. Pathogens create endotoxins in your gut that will create inflammation and if these endotoxins get through a leaky gut into your bloodstream then inflammation will occur in other areas of your body.

Alrighty then let’s get into how you can reduce the heat in your life and be more cool like a cucumber, i.e. reduce your inflammation.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.

As an old English proverb says:

“Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.”

By eating foods that are less pro and more anti-inflammatory you will dramatically reduce the immune response in your system. Stick to real foods organically and naturally raised that give more life force than they take. My free e-book describing the top superfoods in the world is a good guide for this. You can get it for free simply by signing up to the Whole Guidance newsletter at wholeguidance.com.

If you have some excess weight you’d like to let go of maybe a lower carbohydrate diet would be a path you can try walking down just for a month or two. By reducing your sugar intake not only will you reduce the inflammation and your risk of disease by reducing your insulin production, you may just find your body composition begin to normalise back into a healthy range reducing your leptin production.

Eat for a better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. A healthy ratio of these essential fats would be 4:1 omega-6s to omega-3s with 1:1 being the ideal. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean get more omega-3 and drop the omega-6 because you don’t want to go to the opposite extreme as well. Take a good hard look at your diet and try and calculate how much more omega-6 fat foods are you eating compared to omega-3 fat foods. Are you eating a lot of seed oils or foods made and cooked with them?Are you eating too many baked food products made with flours? Cut back on these high omega-6 pro-inflammatory foods. Instead focus on omega-3 sources of food the best being cold water oily fish like wild-caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Even chia seeds and flax seeds can provide a little omega-3 nutrition and by little I do mean very little, but I tells ya’ I love me some chia cacao vanilla cinnamon pudding way better compared to a gooey glop of porridge.

Eat for gut health. So don’t just eat for you, but also eat for your gut microbiome. Your probiotics need to eat just as much as you do and they love soluble fibre and resistant starch. So basically eat plenty of fibrous vegetables. Grains have too high of a fibre to nutrition ratio so even if you did go with some whole grains you’d want to limit them. If you’re wondering about fruit sure eat plenty of fruit as long as you don’t have any weight and metabolic issues such as diabetes or heart disease.

Taking a probiotic with many different strains of bacteria and with high potency meaning it has a high number of them per serving is also a great way to support your gut health.

Obviously the best way to support your gut health is by eating fermented foods. Sauerkraut and kefir are my favourite. You can learn more about fermented foods in my free e-book.

Drink quality natural spring and artesian water or water that has been filtered. The best solution for pollution is dilution and seeing as inflammation is your body on fire some nice cooling water will be exactly what the holistic doctor ordered.

Get quality restorative sleep. Your body runs on a circadian cycle that follows the cycles of the sun and the moon. As a general guideline you want to be in bed by 10p and up around 6a. Listen to episode 5 on sleep for more info.

Manage your ability to handle stress. There are many different ways to improve your stress resiliency including meditation and mindfulness practises. I explained how I personally reduce my perception of stress back in episode 3 so you might want to listen to that.

Finally, reduce your toxic and EMF exposure. You will never ever be able to live a toxic and EMF free life, but you can dramatically reduce how much exposure you get to these pro-inflammatory materials everyday. Check out the previous Whole Guidance podcast episode I did on how to detox your life for more information.

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