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 048: Obesity – It’s Your Hormones, Not the Calories

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Obesity:

  • I’ll explain why obesity is a disease and also a major hidden cause of other diseases
  • I’ll talk about the difference between being obese and being overweight
  • I’ll explain how obesity is caused by hormonal imbalances and not by eating too many calories
  • Finally, I’ll give you a few holistic lifestyle strategies to reduce obesity, regain health, and feel awesome in your own skin


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

It’s no secret. The world today has a lot more fat and sick people than there were 150 years ago. Seeing an obese person way back in the day meant having to visit a carnival or circus that’s how rare obesity was. Unfortunately today you just got to walk outside or turn on the tele and you’ll see excessively large people everywhere.

Since the 1980s obesity rates have doubled. Hmm, I wonder what happened in the 80s? Ah that’s right the low fat recommendation from the American health authorities. Good one guys. Today this misguided unscientific nonsensical low-fat strategy has lead to about 13% of the world’s adult population being categorised as obese and about 50 million kids worldwide under the age of 5 being defined as obese. That’s what gets me the most, seeing overweight and obese infants and children.

Now the World Health Organization has a list of the top 10 leading causes of death and smoking tobacco isn’t even on the list, but we all know that smoking causes many chronic diseases that eventually will lead to death. This is what the World Health Organisation says about smoking:

“Tobacco use is a major cause of many of the world’s top killer diseases – including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer. In total, tobacco use is responsible for the death of about 1 in 10 adults worldwide. Smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.”

Interesting right? In fact the World Health Organization label smoking as the number one killer, but they still don’t put it on the list. Instead you’ll see diseases relating to the heart, brain, lungs, and infections.

This is where obesity comes in. Even though it’s not listed, just like smoking as a leading cause of death, obesity is a major hidden cause of many of those on the list. The top 3 by the way are heart disease, stroke, and lung related diseases all of which are due to the obstruction in blood and oxygen flow to the heart, brain, and lungs.

The thing about obesity is that most people think it’s just a weight issue and obese people are eating too much and not exercising enough. While I agree that some of the health problems associated with obesity is due to the large amount of weight on the body causing physical dysfunction, obesity causes more harm through physiological and biochemical damage because of its ability to disrupt the function of other systems in your body.

You see your body isn’t stupid. It has specific feedback loops and safety mechanisms to prevent the excessive loss or accumulation of fat and it has to control the amount of fat on your body because your fat cells are actually another organ. So when your fat levels get out of balance the key functions that they perform will be disrupted.

One of the functions of fat is fat acts as a warehouse for toxins. When your body is unable to fully metabolise, process, and eliminate toxins it stores the toxins in fat cells. Fat also sends signals and hormones that can have a positive or negative effect on your immune system and your metabolism. Your fat cells send out immune signals controlling inflammation and stress in your body. Your fat cells also send out hormones telling you that you’re full and will increase fat metabolism, i.e. fat-burning.

But when you have too much fat this will increase the amount of pro-inflammatory signals called cytokines increasing the amount of inflammation and stress in your body putting it in a catabolic state or a state of breaking down. Too much fat will also cause your satiety hormone leptin to be produced in excessively large amounts and your brain will become leptin resistant because there’s too much to take in. Meaning you will still feel hungry even though your body may already be carrying a lot of fat. Plus leptin resistance reduces fat metabolism and the amount of fat you burn causing you to hold onto more fat.

So just as there is heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, kidney stones, thyroiditis, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune conditions and many other illnesses centred around particular organs and systems there is an illness, a disease of your fat cells and that my friend is called obesity and obesity is a disease that can cause further health issues in the future.

Now I don’t like to use the conventional classification system for defining whether someone is overweight or obese. Currently this is defined by your body mass index or BMI. BMI is supposed to calculate body fat based on your weight and height, but the calculation has a massive flaw. It doesn’t take into account lean muscle mass and bone mass and water weight. So you could have a fit athlete with 10% body fat, but a high BMI and have a very sick person with 30% body fat, but a medium BMI and the athlete would be categorised as obese and the sick person overweight, and this is not a good indicator of a healthy body.

So I define being overweight as holding on to a few extra kilos of fat and looking a bit soft and fluffy and chubby in the mirror, but still having normal healthy metabolic, hormonal, and immune function. This is very different to being obese, which is a person who is also carrying extra fat weight and has a broken metabolism and a weak immune system because their hormones are out of balance.

Okay so what causes obesity?

“Obesity is not caused by consuming too many calories.”

Yes you heard right. Obesity is not caused by consuming too many calories. It is true that you can become overweight by eating a huge amount of calories even those calories come from whole real food sources, but you would never become obese. Your hormonal system regulating hunger and appetite would kick in and prevent you from eating more then you need. Once you do become obese this is when you will be unable to control the amount of calories you take in and will begin to eat well beyond your body’s requirements.

What pushes you over the edge from being overweight to becoming obese isn’t the calories. It is an underlying hidden malfunction in your body’s hormonal system. When your sex hormones, growth hormones, hormones regulating metabolism and stress, when these are no longer playing the same song and in sync with each other a lot of things go wrong in your body including broken detox pathways, lowered immunity, decrease in muscle mass, increase in fat mass, and an increase in appetite for nutrient-poor foods.

So in this respect obesity turns out to be a symptom of other health issues that are already going on in your body.

The leading cause for your hormones going out of balance and for obesity in my book is eating a nutrient deficient diet. Your body is not a finite object, but an infinite process in constant flux and change. It’s constantly breaking itself down and building itself up. If you don’t consume enough nutrient dense foods then your body is left hanging without the right building blocks to build hormones, neurotransmitters, immune cells, bone, muscle, cartilage, ligaments, organs, blood, etc. Also after a meal your body will search for the nutrients it needs in that meal and if it doesn’t find it guess what happens? You get hungry again a lot sooner than you should and you eat more food. And while your body is craving nutrition you begin to crave less nutritious food.

So if all you eat is junk nutrient deficient fake pretend food-like products like commercial bread, biscuits, corn chips, French fries, candy, vegetable oils, soy milk, etc then you are setting your body up for hormonal havoc and mayhem and chronic hunger as it won’t have the necessary parts to make hormones and this will increase your chances of becoming obese. As you can see here it’s not how much you eat, but what you eat that matters most.

“You can be overfed, but so undernourished”

Which is the sad state for a third of westernised populations today.

Another cause for hormonal dysfunction deals with insulin sensitivity. When your cells are insulin sensitive nutrients are taken out of your bloodstream and absorbed. However, just as you can become leptin resistant due to excessive leptin production, excessive insulin production will cause your cells to become insulin resistant. This means that when there are nutrients in your blood, like glucose it will not be absorbed by your cells and this will cause damage to your tissues. So in order to prevent further damage from happening sugar in your blood will be turned into fat and stored away in your fat cells. Eating too many carbohydrates especially processed and refined sugar and fructose and not getting enough quality restorative sleep will cause high insulin production and insulin resistance.

Another cause for obesity is an underactive or hypoactive thyroid gland. Your thyroid produces thyroid hormones that regulate your metabolism and temperature and if your thyroid is hypoactive your metabolism slows right down making it very difficult for your body to burn stored fat as fuel. Here’s a list of things that can disrupt thyroid function:

  • Gluten
  • Stress
  • Too much exercise
  • Chemicals in tap water
  • Chemical compounds found in plastics and
  • Certain medications


Another underlying cause for hormonal mayhem and obesity is stress.
Whether it be physical, emotional, or mental any perceived stress if left to linger long enough becoming chronic will cause chronic inflammation upsetting your normal hormonal rhythm moving you from an anabolic and growing state to a catabolic and breakdown state and unfortunately in this catabolic state the one thing that does keep growing are your fat cells.

The health of your gut and gut microbiota will also determine the health of your hormonal system and your fat levels. If your gut is leaky, meaning it’s damaged, and if you have dysbiosis, meaning you have more harmful pathogens than beneficial probiotics living in your gut this will cause a rise in inflammatory signals, stress hormones and depending on your genetics and epigenetic expression this may lead to obesity. Plus a damaged gut will mean you won’t be digesting and absorbing the full amount of nutrients from your foods leaving your body in a nutrient deficient state, which I talked about earlier.

Probably the least known root cause for obesity are obesogens. Which is ironic because these obesogens are Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs and they are actually out in the open in plain sight for all to see. Obesogens are chemical compounds found in the environment that act as endocrine disrupters, meaning they screw up your hormonal system. They hijack it and create chemical chaos throughout your entire body. This hormonal havoc causes a whole wealth of health issues from cancer to autoimmune conditions and it also increases fat cell number and fat cell size. Obesogens can be found in:

  • Plastics
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Flame retardant materials (such as in clothing and furniture)
  • Treated wood and textiles (such as in building materials)
  • Additives used in paints
  • Non-stick cookware and even in certain
  • Pharmaceutical drugs

 
Let me put all these obesogens together into a pretty terrifying yet common scenario we see today. Let’s say you have a new born baby. You bring him home to your brand new house with building materials, furniture, paint, and new carpets all chemically treated, some of them containing flame retardant chemicals and all of this is off-gassing or releasing chemicals into the air, also known as that beautiful new house smell. You dress your beautiful boy in flame retardant pyjamas. You use a plastic bottle to feed him non-organic formula, which contains sprayed ingredients. And finally you put him to bed in a brand new non-organic chemically treated cot. This is just a chemical toxic soup that this poor kid is living in and he doesn’t stand a chance against growing up without becoming obese or at least experiencing other health issues.

Now along with obesogens I have to mention environmental toxins and toxic chemicals. Remember fat cells are used by your body as a storage unit for toxins. So if you’re chronically exposed to heavy metals, air pollution, and eating a lot of pesticide and herbicide sprayed foods and eating meat from sick toxic animals your liver, kidneys, your entire detoxification system will become overloaded and will be unable to process, breakdown, and eliminate the excessive amount of toxins. As a last resort, so your body doesn’t shut down and die due to toxic poisoning, all those toxins that are not eliminated will be shoved into your fat cells.

“Fat cells don’t just store energy they also store poison.”

This is also why a rapid and dramatic reduction in fat isn’t a good idea without proper supervision and guidance. A lot of obese people their health actually gets worse when burning a lot fat too quickly. Just keep in mind the saying slow and steady wins the race. If you lose fat too fast those toxins are going to be flooding your system and you do not want that.

So those are a few examples and there are more of how a person can become obese without eating a lot of calories. Obesity like every other disease is not caused by one thing, but many things related to your environment, your food, and how you perceive life.

It isn’t just a physical weight problem, but more a physiological, biochemical, and really a hormonal problem. Obesity is a symptom of an underlying hormonal issue in your body and is not caused by eating too many calories, but it will cause you to overeat.

Obesity is also a disease that gives rise to the top leading causes of death.

Alright let’s get into how to heal from and prevent obesity and how to get your hormones humming to a happy and healthy tune.

First up, watch what you eat. Watch it. Get off the inflammatory foods, the chemically sprayed foods, and the highly refined and processed junk fake pretend food-like products. No gluten, no sugars, no pasteurised dairy, no industrial seed oils, no junk. Watch out for the carbs especially as eating too many carbs will cause a lot of insulin to be produced and you want insulin and blood sugar to be in the Goldilocks zone, just right. Real food from Mother Nature communicates with your hormones on an informational level where they speak the same language. By just eating real food you’ll keep your hormones in balance and in harmony and this hormonal bliss will keep your body composition balanced and in check.

Next up, reduce your perceived stress. Practise relaxation techniques. Get a massage, meditate, breathe mindfully, and watch the amount of physical stress you’re under. If you don’t have a formal exercise routine get moving and start working out. If you do exercise regularly and religiously maybe you’re overdoing it and need to do less working out and more working in. If you’re obese then your body is already under enough physical stress as it is, so working out would just add to that stress so look at working in. Working in is where instead of expending energy with a workout you’re cultivating energy, building up your energy stores. Movement practises like:

  • Tai-chi
  • Qi-gong
  • Restorative yoga
  • Hatha yoga
  • Iyengar yoga

 
Are the perfect work in exercises.

Biggest thing you can do to prevent and heal from obesity is to clean up your environment. Remove the obesogens and toxic chemicals and clean up your habitat. Use glass and stainless steel drink bottles instead of plastic. Wear organic chemical-free clothing and buy organic chemical-free furniture and use chemical-free building materials. Cook with ceramic and stainless steel cookware. Actually there’s a lot more to this topic and you can find an entire podcast I did on this quite a while back about how to purify and clean up your environment and support your detoxification system. Look for episode 12.

Along with clean eating, clean thinking, and clean living there are other holistic lifestyle principles to consider in order to fully heal and to keep your bodymind in a happy and healthy state. Listen to episode 30 about the 7 Holistic Lifestyle Principles you can follow in order to live happy, healthy, whole, and complete.

An awesome book that covers everything from diet and exercise to cleaning up your environment and your thinking is How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! by holistic health practitioner Paul Chek. This book is my bible and really is a one-stop shop for holistic living.

I’ll leave you with this thought.

“Obesity isn’t about energy in and energy out.”

It’s about so much more.

If you’re fat or overweight, sure you may be eating more than you should.

But if you’re obese then it’s not about how much you eat, but what you eat and the environment you’re eating in. If you’re obese you are probably eating nutrient-poor and sugar-rich foods and you’re living in a very stressful and very toxic environment.

Remember your health is 100% your responsibility so make the choice to own your lifestyle and eat, drink, move, breathe, live, sleep better, and think and feel like you deserve a happy and healthy life. The only person who can save you is you. So don’t play the victim. Be the hero. Because you are awesome and very much worth it.

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WGP 046: What is Leaky Gut Syndrome and How to Heal It

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Leaky Gut Syndrome:

  • I’ll explain how a leaky gut can lead to chronic disease
  • I’ll talk about what causes a leaky gut
  • Finally, I’ll give you 5 steps to healing and sealing a leaky gut


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST HEALING FOODS FOR YOUR GUT

Hippocrates was an ancient Greek physician and considered the father of western medicine, although I’m sure he’d be quite upset at the current health-care system and medical model we use today, which is really a disease-care model, but anyways… Hippocrates said:

“All disease begins in the gut.”

And he is absolutely 100% correct and let me explain how. And by the way when I say gut I’m talking about the small and large intestines in your body.

Your entire alimentary canal, your entire digestive system is one long tube that begins in your mouth hole and ends in your south hole so anything you put in your mouth and swallow is still technically outside of your body. If it gets digested and absorbed into your bloodstream then it’s inside your body, but if what you swallow gets eliminated then it technically was never in your body. That’s not to say it won’t affect your body only that the effect will be minimal compared to if what you ate did get into your bloodstream.

Now your gut performs many functions in your body besides digestion and elimination and its primary role is to act as a barrier controlling what’s allowed in and what stays out of your body. Nutrients are allowed into your body and unwanted unknown foreign materials are kept outside of your body. So it’s similar to a mosquito net. It allows oxygen in while keeping mosquitoes out. When this barrier becomes compromised and unregulated or when this mosquito net gets punctured and has tears in it this is called leaky gut syndrome.

When you have a leaky gut unwanted unknown foreign materials get into your bloodstream and then all hell begins to break loose in other parts of your body. When undigested food particles, pathogens, toxins, and other irritants that usually get eliminated find their way into your body, into your bloodstream your immune system gets activated and this causes an inflammatory and stress response at whatever site the foreign material settles in. The longer this inflammation and stress goes on the higher your chance of getting a chronic disease.

For example, if you have had leaky gut for a while and unwanted material settles in your joints you may get rheumatoid arthritis. If they settle in your arteries your chance of having a heart attack or stroke skyrockets. If this foreign matter settles in your thyroid you may experience hyper or hypothyroid issues. If they settle under your skin you may get rashes, eczema, or acne. If they settle in your brain your ability to focus and think clearly may reduce dramatically giving you brain fog. If this foreign material stays in your gut you may experience digestive issues like bloating and foul-smelling gas that can eventually lead to Crohn’s or coeliac disease. And if these non-nutrient substances don’t settle anywhere in particular this chronic low-level inflammatory and stress response will cause your hormones and your neurotransmitters to get out of balance with either too much or not enough being produced causing body composition problems (fat gain or muscle loss), reproductive issues (infertility), energy imbalances (feeling tired or fatigued), and mood disorders (depression).

Not only does bad stuff get into your bloodstream with a leaky gut, but because your gut wall is damaged you’re no longer able to absorb the full amount of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins from the food that you’re eating and this leads to nutrient deficiencies. This malabsorption of nutrients causes your body to start cannibalising itself in order to meet its own nutrient requirements. So if you’re not absorbing enough calcium your bones will begin to breakdown. If you’re not absorbing enough protein your body will get this protein from your muscles. Not absorbing enough natural fats? Say goodbye to proper brain function. And if you’re not absorbing enough vitamin A your cells will no longer form and grow properly causing dysfunction of many of your bodily systems.

So having a leaky gut is a serious problem with serious health consequences and it’s not limited to your gut. Your entire body is fair game.

“If you’re experiencing health symptoms of any kind there’s a 99.9999% chance that your gut is leaky.”

Your skin is a dozen cell layers thick and you can see the layers of your skin when you get a cut or you scrape yourself. The mucous lining of your gut, also known as your gut wall, is only one cell thick or should I say one cell thin. The cells that make up your gut wall are called enterocytes. This single layer of enterocytes makes it easy to absorb and transport nutrients into your bloodstream, but this also makes your gut very easy to damage.

Your gut wall isn’t smooth, but is made up of very tiny finger-like projections called villi that stick out increasing the surface area of your digestive system and this makes it easier to break down food and absorb more nutrients. Villi are connected to each other at their base by tight junctions and these tight junctions can open slightly to let certain nutrients in, but they remain closed when there’s foreign material around like undigested food particles, toxins, and pathogens.

There are certain substances, however, that can cause these tight junctions to open even in the presence of foreign material. There are even more substances that can cause direct physical damage to your single-celled gut wall. The term leaky gut syndrome comes from the fact that these tight junctions are opened and your gut wall is damaged. The technical term for this is intestinal hyperpermeability.

The unwarranted opening of these junctions and damage to your gut wall is caused by many many things and a variety of factors including:

  • Anti-nutrients like gluten, lectins, saponins, and phytates
  • Industrial seed oils aka vegetable oils
  • Grains
  • Instant coffee
  • Pasteurised dairy
  • Processed and refined sugar
  • Foods your body is intolerant and sensitive to
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Inorganic foods raised with inorganic fertilisers and pesticides
  • Tap water and water that is deficient in minerals
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial colourings, preservatives, additives, thickeners, emulsifiers, bulking agents, flavourings, and texturants
  • Synthetic vitamins
  • Parasitic infections
  • Dysbiosis, which is not an infection, but simply having more pathogens than probiotics in your gut
  • Environmental toxins including personal and homecare products
  • Lack of exposure to the sun, to bare skin on the Earth, and to time in nature
  • Pharmaceutical drugs like antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, acid-blockers, and pain-killers
  • Caesarean birth or being born via C-section
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of quality restorative sleep
  • Chronic stress and
  • Chronic inflammation

 
So how do you seal and heal your leaky gut? How do you prevent those tight junctions between your villi from opening when they shouldn’t and how do you repair the damage to the enterocytes the cells of your gut wall?

Here are five steps to healing a leaky gut.

First things first – Redefine your dream for healing.

Without a big enough why, a big enough reason to keep you moving forward you will end up stressed out about the whole healing process. If you stress about how difficult it’s going to be for example to stop eating bread or cheese or having to buy plant-based organic deodorant and homecare products then forget about moving onto the next steps. This stress about changing and healing is just as bad as continuing to eat gluten or drink alcohol. You need to create a dream that matters, a dream that will inspire you to make change happen, to make change stick, and to make healing feel less of a burden and more of a passion, more of a right like you deserve this. Checkout episode 14 for more details about how to build your dream.

Second step – Remove all possible gut irritants.

This includes everything in the list I gave you earlier. Well as much of it as you can handle without stressing out about it. Hopefully your dream keeps your stress levels or your perception of stress in check. Even if you do find yourself feeling a bit stressed about this step you can always practise meditation and movement practises like Qi-gong to help reduce the amount of perceived stress you’re experiencing.

Step three – Refeed your body with holistic nutrition.

This isn’t just about eating real food. This also includes drinking natural water, moving often, breathing correctly, getting quality restorative sleep, and engaging in loving relationships. When it comes to food to heal your gut though you can’t go past:

  • Bone broth
  • Fermented foods like raw milk kefir and sauerkraut
  • Fatty fish like salmon and sardines, and
  • Eating more natural animal and fruit fats

 
Fourth step – Repair your gut with smart supplementation.

You could heal your gut naturally without the use of supplements, but strategic use of supplements will help support and boost your body’s own innate healing abilities increasing your chances for success. The enterocytes that make up your gut wall, these guys love to feed on an amino acid glutamine and you can get glutamine in real foods like bone broth, but you can also find it as a supplement powder called l-glutamine. Digestive enzymes are a fantastic way to supplement your body’s digestive system and will ensure the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Aloe vera juice and deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL are two very potent plant-based gut-healers. High quality fish and krill oil with their anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids will also help your gut heal. Lastly, a probiotic supplement preferably containing soil-based microorganisms will help bring your gut microbiome back into balance.

Fifth and final step – Remember to laugh.

There’s an age-old saying:

“Laughter is the best medicine.”

A real hard laugh boosts your immune system and lowers your levels of the stress hormone cortisol for at least a day so be sure to watch something funny, go to a comedy show, or do some laughing yoga. Yeah, you heard right, laughing yoga. I’ll put a link in the blog post for this episode to a video showing what laughing yoga is all about. It’s actually quite funny, obviously. Also I’ll put a link to the Chewbacca Mom viral video. It’s a video I’ve come across recently and it made me laugh pretty hard the first time I saw it.

Here are a couple of books to help you on your gut healing journey. How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! by Paul Chek covers how to heal holistically. Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride gives you the GAPs Protocol and this goes deeper into gut healing and is a great option for those with severely damaged guts.

I’ll leave you with this thought. Life is short. Don’t live life so seriously. The time it’s going to take to heal your gut will be long though. So take the time now to heal your gut so you can enjoy yourself later and have more fun before your time is up.

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WGP 045: How it Feels to be Depressed and Suicidal and What to do About it

In this podcast I’ll be exploring Depression and Suicidal Tendencies:

  • I’ll explain what depression is and what suicidal tendencies are including their symptoms
  • I’ll talk about from my experience what it feels like to be depressed and to have thoughts of suicide
  • I’ll talk about contributing factors that can cause depression and suicidal tendencies
  • Finally, I’ll give a few tips on how you can work your way out of a depressive and suicidal black hole


CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU IN BALANCE

Depression is a mood disorder in which you feel extreme sadness and grief, you’re uninterested about life, and you suffer chronic mental, emotional, and physical pain. Depression affects 350 million people worldwide and that’s only an estimate. Because depression is such a difficult thing to admit to having with for fear of ridicule and looking weak or looking like a lesser person in other people’s eyes I’d say that between half a billion to a billion people suffer from some form of depression.

There are different types of depression including major, melancholic, manic, and a few others all of these have similar symptoms including:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and grief
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, pessimistic and/or guilty
  • Feeling irritable and anxious
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Low self-esteem
  • Indecisiveness
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Eating or sleeping too little or too much
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Thoughts or attempts of self-harm
  • Thoughts or attempt of suicide
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment


Suicidal tendencies are thoughts that you have about death and killing yourself due to not being able to cope with chronic pain and the suffering you’re currently experiencing in your life. Being suicidal is another mood disorder and an advancement from self-harm where you cut or hurt yourself in order to cope with pain. Thoughts of suicide affect an unknown number of people, but over 800,000 people worldwide commit suicide every year with someone dying from suicide every 40 seconds. A lot more people attempt suicide, which makes thinking about suicide a major health issue.

Here are some symptoms and danger signs for suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or killing yourself
  • Researching and planning suicide
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Eating or sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawn or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Always thinking about death
  • Suddenly happier and at peace with things
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Making arrangements and setting your affairs in order
  • Giving things away, such as prized possessions

 
What I’m going to do now is to do my best to describe what it feels like to be in a state of depression and thinking about suicide. Now I lived with depression for two decades and had suicidal tendencies for a decade and a half, but even that doesn’t qualify me enough to say that this is exactly what the experience of depression and thinking about suicide feels like for everybody. Even after having talked with and researched other people who have dealt with these disorders all I can give you is a description of my own personal experience.

Describing a feeling or sensation is extremely difficult though. So what I’m going to do is use two analogies to give you a sense of what depression and suicidal tendencies feel like or felt like for me. If you’ve never had to deal with these disorders I hope this gives you a better picture of what it’s like to live with these two very disempowering ways of being. And if you have people in your life that you think may be dealing with depression and thoughts of suicide, but you’re finding it difficult to relate to them I’m hoping that this gives you a sense of what they’re struggling with and how you may be able to help and support them.

If you had or are currently dealing with depression and thoughts of suicide please let me know if what I describe here resonates with you and makes some sense. If you’re finding it difficult to reach out to people who may not understand what you’re going through, you can always contact me and use me as your first step toward getting a better understanding of what’s happening with you. I’d love to hear your story and share mine with you and support you on your health and happiness journey.

Alrighty first analogy. Think of negative emotions as having weight and feeling like a burden on your back, or on your shoulders, making you feel heavy, making you feel uncomfortable and in pain. The more upsetting and painful the emotion the more weight it has. Positive emotions would be weightless and make you feel as light as a feather. Now imagine an acute short-term pain like stubbing your toe. This feels like a couple of bowling balls on your back. Imagine now that you get angry for accidentally hitting your toe. Now you have a few more bowling balls pile up. Imagine getting in an argument or feeling upset over an expectation not being met. This would feel like a car or a bus on your shoulders. Breaking up with your lover or being disconnected from family and friends. This would feel like a whole city block was weighing you down. Experiencing the death of a loved one, someone you deeply cared about, this is huge and feels like the weight of the world, the entire planet is on your shoulders.

Now imagine this sadness and grief grows where another planet jumps on your back followed by another and then another, and then the sun followed by more stars, and different star systems until eventually you feel like the weight of the entire galaxy is on your back. If deep sadness and unbearable grief were the weight of planet Earth, depression feels like the weight of an entire galaxy of stars and planets.

The longer you have this galaxy on your back weighing you down the more painful your life becomes and the more difficult it is for you to move around. Without realising it another galaxy gets plonked on your back followed by another and another until0020like the theory of the Big Bang where everything rapidly expanded into existence, you have the size of the entire universe weighing you down. You feel like you’re about to lose it and be crushed by this massive burden. This huge infinite mass of the universe causes unimaginable pain and stops you in your tracks causing you to give up all hope of living because all you want is for this heaviness, this non-stop chronic persistent pain to just go away. All you want is to be free, free of this burden, free of this pain, free of this suffering. This is when you begin thinking that ending your life is the only viable option you have left.

That’s how my experience of depression and contemplating suicide was for me in terms of pain. I felt so small and so insignificant compared to the burden that I thought I was carrying. I felt absolutely weighed down by my thoughts and by my feelings and because of them I experienced unimaginable pain and suffering.

In this second analogy imagine standing on the edge of a cliff looking into a deep dark chasm, an abyss with no end in sight. A normal experience of sadness and grief is like tripping and falling into this abyss and feeling scared and alone in the darkness and reaching out for something to grab and hold onto to break your fall, but there’s nothing around that can save you and you’re just falling for what seems like an eternity until out of nowhere a safety net breaks your fall and you’re able to climb to the top of the cliff and find yourself back on solid ground relieved from your grief.

Depression feels like tripping and falling into this abyss and feeling scared and alone and trying as you might you cannot find anything to grab onto and you’re falling and falling in this absolutely pitch-black hole with no end in sight screaming out in fear of dying, in fear of being alone forever, in fear of never being saved. The thing with depression is the fall never ends and you lose track of time and space and of who you were and you begin to fear the dark, and you’re afraid of the unknown, afraid of being alone, afraid of never experiencing love again, and you fall and fall and fall forever. You become desperate and pretend that everything is okay. You put masks on to cover up your fears. You become religious. You become an atheist. You become a team player. You become a loner. You become frustrated. You become apathetic. You become an addict. You become whatever it is you think you need to be to survive the fall, but no matter what masks you put on you are still falling and the fall never ends. You’re afraid of hitting rock bottom, but have no idea how to stop from falling.

Having suicidal tendencies feels like tripping and falling into this abyss and just like depression this fall never ends and you live in constant fear until eventually you give in to the fear and give up all hope of being saved or of saving yourself and you stop reaching out and you stop pretending everything is okay, and you stop looking for ways to put on a brave face. You turn your body and you look straight down into the darkness waiting for the inevitable, expecting it, wanting the fall to end, wanting to hit rock bottom, wanting this fear of the dark, of feeling alone, of never feeling love to end. You’re still afraid of hitting rock bottom, but rock bottom is the only way you see this fall ending.

That’s how depression and suicidal thoughts felt for me in terms of fear. I felt absolutely out of control. I felt uncertain about myself, my life, other people, the whole world. I felt completely utterly hopeless and helpless and saw other people as my enemies and saw the world as a very dark, scary, and lonely place.

This is just my personal experience and everyone has their own perspective and I hope it gives you some insight and understanding about what it feels like to live with these disorders.

Let’s move onto the contributing factors that can lead to depression and suicidal tendencies. What causes these mood disorders?

Conventional medical thinking would tell you that an imbalance either too much or not enough of feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin are the cause of mood disorders. But what causes these hormones, these neurotransmitters in your brain to get out of balance?

As a holistic and functional practitioner I always want to get to the underlying root cause. Depression and thoughts of suicide are symptoms of a bigger problem. Yes these mood disorders are very destructive, but they are not the problem. They are the result of the problem. They are actually signs signalling to you that something in your life is out of balance.

The real problem for this imbalance and the root cause to 99.99% of disease, sickness, symptoms of ill health, and dysfunction in your body, in your mind, in your bodymind they are both one and the same, the root cause is chronic stress perceived or real, physical or metaphysical. This chronic stress then leads to chronic inflammation and this chronic inflammation causes your immune system to run out-of-control.

You have to realise that your bodymind is always in flux, in flow, and shifting between anabolism, which is growth, and catabolism, which is breaking down. When you sleep you’re predominantly anabolic and when you’re awake you’re mostly catabolic. When your bodymind lives in what I call a catabolic soup, which is when the big three persistent stress and inflammation and an unregulated immune system come together, your bodymind will shift into a catabolic state and stay there for a long time and anabolic processes will no longer be deemed necessary.

Meaning your bodymind will begin to break down more a lot more than it grows and it does this because it’s now in survival mode and not your normal thriving mode. Your bodymind will turn off non-vital processes such as growth, repair, reproduction, digestion, elimination, and shut down the production of mood-regulating hormones and neurotransmitters leading to mood disorders.

In this catabolic state your bodymind will also cannibalise itself and strip nutrients from bone to ensure the proper functioning of other vital organs (osteoporosis anyone?) and will become confused and attack your own organs such as your thyroid and joints and your gut and this creates autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Coeliac Disease all because of chronic stress, inflammation, and an unruly immune system.

So if this catabolic soup made up of stress and inflammation and your out-of-control immune system contributes to the cause of depression and suicidal tendencies what creates this catabolic soup? Why are you in chronic stress? Why is there chronic inflammation? Why is your immune system attacking your own body?

“Living a lifestyle out of balance with the seasons and the rhythms of Mother Nature.”

This is the ultimate cause to all diseases physical, sexual, emotional, and mental. Not living in accordance with the laws of nature. To reduce the symptoms and eventually remove your depressed state and suicidal tendencies you need to reconnect to the natural order of life.

Your bodymind was designed to be barefoot on the land, with skin exposed to the sun, connected and working intimately together with your tribe with a sole purpose, to sleep when the sun sets and to wake the sun rises, to live in a toxin-free environment, to breathe clean air, to move often throughout the day, to drink natural pure structured water, and to eat real food from Mother Nature.

This is called living a holistic lifestyle and connecting back to your roots, to your ancestry, to who you really truly are in this Universe. A holistic lifestyle will reduce your stress, the inflammation in your bodymind, and help calm and regulate your immune system.

I have already done many podcasts on how to live a holistic lifestyle and a good starting place would be to look up the episode I did on the 7 Holistic Health Principles to give you the good life. That is episode 30.

Looking back at my life I can definitely see how out of sync my lifestyle was compared to what my bodymind needed and was expecting. I ate a lot of highly inflammatory foods like sugars and grains and pasteurised dairy, and I drank a lot of tap water, and I didn’t move my body enough, and hardly ever did I ground my body to the earth, and I’d always cover myself when I went outside for fear of being burnt from the sun and getting skin cancer.

In terms of my mindset there was one thing that I wish someone had told me when I was a teenager and it’s a piece of advice I’d like to share with anyone out there feeling depressed and suicidal and that is:

“Don’t believe everything you think, everything you feel, everything you say, or do.”

And the same goes for believing other people. I was so much in my head as a teenager, as a child really, and I believed right up to my 30s that what I thought was absolutely real, it was 100% fact, and that the situation I was in was set in stone and there was no way of changing it. In hindsight I can see how wrong I was.

One way I let go of my depression and suicidal tendencies was to start questioning everything. I mean ever since I was young I have always been very curious about life and how things worked, but when my bodymind became stressed and inflamed my curiosity started to decrease until it faded away entirely. Then I like a sponge I soaked up everything around me the good, the bad, and the ugly and believed it to be the absolute truth.

So I shifted my mindset from being an adult that accepted everything to be more childlike and to be more curious.

If you’re feeling crushed under the weight of the universe and feel like you’re falling with no help in sight or if you have beliefs that are not serving you ask yourself this one question – is  it true?

Are your thoughts and feelings and sensations actually giving you the correct data or are they being twisted somehow? Really dig deep and investigate your human experience. I say human experience because my curiosity took me down a deep rabbit hole just like Alice in Alice in Wonderland I found myself in a different world that amazed and surprised me and in this world I discovered something.

I learnt that I am not only human, a creature of habit, but I am also a creature of choice. A creature who can choose is really a creator. I realised that I am the creator of all my human experiences. Actually a co-creator with other creatures.

I realised and I discovered:

“I am a spiritual being having a human experience.”

Once I began to live a holistic lifestyle and nourish my human experience I connected to my higher self, my spiritual self. All through curiosity. But of course that’s just my experience.

So be curious my friend. Question your perceived reality.

Martial artist and philosopher Bruce Lee said:

“Be water my friend.”

This means you need to adapt to the situation that you’re in. Easier said than done I know, but after making changes to your lifestyle and becoming more curious you will find adapting to your environment becomes a lot easier. So if you find yourself in a tight spot, loosen up. If you find yourself heating up, cool down. If you find yourself saying yes to everything, say no. If you find yourself feeling heavy, lighten up. If you find yourself alone, reach out. If you find yourself in a dark place, brighten up. And the major situation and change that I personally had to go through – if you find yourself stuck, move right along because spiritually and metaphysically and scientifically and quantum mechanically there’s really nothing to see here.

By living a holistic lifestyle and being curious you will clear your bodymind of stress and inflammation giving you more clarity about the present and what’s really happening right in front of you. And by being water you will be able to adapt and change and evolve and grow and flow with ease into the next moment. Hopefully feeling lighter and on solid ground.

For more information about how to heal from depression holistically and naturally read Dr Kelly Brogan’s awesome book A Mind of Your Own. Dr Kelly is a holistic psychiatrist who practices what she preaches and although it has women in the subtitle it is very much applicable to men and everyone else as well.

If you have suicidal tendencies please reach out to someone. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, but I ain’t talking about the light that takes you to the other side. If you have no one to talk to call your local suicide hotline. The people at the other end they’re not there to judge you, they are trained to understand what’s going on with your specific situation and they will give you unconditional support and guidance and it’s anonymous. I’ll put a link to a website showing all international suicide hotline numbers. Give them a call and you don’t even have to tell them that it’s for you. You can always say you’re calling on behalf of a friend.

One last thing. As I talked about in the previous podcast about selfless-connection remember you are never alone. There are millions of people out there dealing with the same stuff and they’re also struggling to find other people to share their experiences with.

Wherever you think you maybe and whatever you think is going to happen in the future remember that right now, you are here and you are now. You are always here and you are always now. Right here and now you can choose to keep moving forward, to let go of fate, and to create a new destiny and a new you.

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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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Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life – Daniel G. Amen MD
(Buy from Amazon; Buy from The Book Depository)

In this completely revised and updated edition of the breakthrough bestseller, you’ll see scientific evidence that your anxiety, depression, anger, obsessiveness, or impulsiveness could be related to how specific structures in your brain work. You’re not stuck with the brain you’re born with. Renowned neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen includes cutting-edge reseach and the latest surprising, effective “brain prescriptions” that can help heal your brain and change your life:

To quell anxiety and panic:
Use simple breathing techniques to immediately calm inner turmoil

To fight depression:
Learn how to kill ANTs (automatic negative thoughts)

To curb anger:
Follow the Amen anti-anger diet and learn the nutrients that calm rage

To conquer impulsiveness and learn to focus:
Develop total focus with the One-Page Miracle

To stop obsessive worrying:
Follow the “get unstuck” writing exercise and learn other problem-solving exercises

 

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 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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Holistic and Functional Health Practitioners

Holistic and Functional Health Practitioners such as myself do not treat symptoms or disease. We treat you, the person.

Symptoms and disease are the last expression of an underlying problem happening in your body.

As health detectives we dig deeper and investigate further to uncover the root cause of dysfunction in your body. Once we find the real issue, the root cause and restore function back to those weakened areas of your body the symptoms and disease will eventually heal.

Besides working with me you can locate other like-minded Holistic and Functional Health Practitioners at the following websites.

 

Picture: Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.net

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