BEAT THE BLOAT: MOVEMENTS TO AID DIGESTION

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Given the standard diet, lack of physical activity and stress level of the general population, feelings of being bloated or constipated are an increasingly common complaint. It is so important that you visit the bathroom (for number twos!) at least once a day – ideally after each meal. If this isn’t the case and you’ve already worked on the obvious areas – taken out all processed food from your diet, increased your exercise, reduced your stress levels and optimised your sleep – then add these 5 easy movement patterns into your daily routine.

How these movements help digestion:

  • They stimulate fluid flow around the whole body, but in particular the gut. This helps stagnant food waste move speedily through your large intestine, meaning your stool won’t be dry and dehydrated from waiting in your bowel for so long
  • They encourage you to breathe! Increasing the depth of your breath and properly utilising all respiratory muscles regulates peristalsis or the wavelike movement that propels food through the gut. This means better nutrient absorption and quicker evacuation of digestive waste
  • They rebalance irregular tissue tension. Releasing tension in a tight lower back and the back of the legs allows the abdominal tissue to more readily engage which releases intra-abdomial pressure; addressing hunched shoulders and a compressed chest opens up the front of the body giving the gut far better space to go more smoothly about its business

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1) BELLY BREATHS

INSTRUCTIONS: Breathe in through the nose allowing the belly to fill, breathe out through the mouth allowing the belly to soften back towards the spine.

CUES: On the inhale, visualise filling your whole body with fresh, clean air; on the exhale sigh out old stale air and any emotions that are no longer serving you. Imagine breathing into the back, front and sides of the body – making space and releasing tension in every joint.

Breathe in for 5 counts, pause for 5 counts, breathe out for 5 counts – repeat for 1 minute.

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2) TWIST

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INSTRUCTIONS: Lie on your back with your legs bent and ‘glued’ to each other – beginners keep your feet on the floor, others take them up in the air, arms wide out to the sides. Exhale – take legs to one side and head to the opposite side, inhale – bring your legs and head back to centre, exhale – go to the opposite side.

CUES: Every time you exhale make sure you gently sink, wrap and lift your abdominals – your shirt should get baggier! Gently massage the spine into the floor as you go from side to side (i.e. no arching the back).

Take the legs from side to side for 1 full minute.

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3) PILATES SCISSORS

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Lie on your back, stretch both legs up in the air, curl upper body forward, exhale – pull one leg towards you and stretch the other one away, exhale – swap to other side, repeat.

CUES:

Really emphasise the exhale – you should hear the breath being blown out through your mouth and see your belly sinking back towards your spine. Keep shoulders soft and collarbones wide. Feel the middle to lower spine gently massaging into the floor, stretch open through the back of the leg that is pulled towards you and the front of the hip of the leg stretching away. Think of the reaching the crown of your head and your toes up to the ceiling – always think of making space throughout every joint, avoid compressing and tensing.

Scissor the legs for 30-60 seconds

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4) YOGA COBRA

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Lie on your front, forehead resting on the floor, arms bent hands at shoulder height, palms down. On an exhale gently roll your shoulders back, press lightly through your hands and pull your breast bone forward so that you lift your upper body away from the floor. Inhale to bring the spine back to the floor. Repeat.

CUES: Keep your abdominals drawn gently up towards your spine. Use your lower abs to gently tuck the pelvis under to avoid compressing into your lower back – do not squeeze your butt! This movement is about opening the chest wide and getting your upper back to move; you shouldn’t feel any discomfort in the lower back. 

Cobra for 30- 60 seconds

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5) THE MARVELLOUS MOVING CAT

All cues and tips here!

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EXTRA HELPFUL TIPS

  • Sit upright when you’re eating! How can you expect your food to move through your system if you’re hunched forward over your plate squashing the life out of your guts? Sit tall, give your belly some space!
  • Wait an hour after eating to do these movements as you want your blood to go into your belly to get those intestinal contractions going, rather than into your heart and muscles
  • Avoid drinking at the same time as eating – save your sips for 30 minutes before, or an hour after eating to avoid diluting the digestive enzymes needed to help break down your food
  • Take probiotics after a meal or eat fermented foods with your meal to help balance out gut bacteria and encourage better breaking down and absorption of your food
  • Consider these emotional connections to constipation – “where are you holding on in your life and what would happen if you let go? What might happen to your work or relationships if you released control and let things happen spontaneously? What is needed for you to have a greater trust in the unknown?” Read more about the emotional / digestive connections in Deb Shapiro‘s Your Body Speaks Your Mind
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WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET GLUTEN-ED

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Those of us with food allergies know all too well the side effects from accidentally consuming foods that don’t agree with us.

Despite loathing the instant painful feedback my stomach gives me after consuming something that does not agree with me, I am grateful as many other symptoms people experience require a bit more awareness or detective work. Some people can experience eczema, asthma, brain fog, acne, depression, all of which you wouldn’t immediately associate with what you’ve eaten. This is why it is so important to cultivate body and self awareness and to make changes slowly: my action plan below will help kick start your healing and better direct you towards what is and isn’t working.

THE ACTION PLAN

FOODS TO OMIT

All the obvious ones – gluten, dairy, soya and sugar. Also omit onion, garlic, leeks, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit and dried fruit.

FOODS TO CONSUME

SUPPLEMENTS

DRINK

  • Filtered water – consume plenty of fresh water to help clean out
  • Organic nettle tea- drink throughout the day

MOVEMENT

Belly massage – massage clockwise in a circular motion around your belly 5 times. Then massage in downward strokes from between your front ribs to your belly button, 5 times. Then massage in downward strokes from underneath your the right side of your ribs (liver)to your belly button, 5 times, Then massage in downward strokes from underneath the left side of your ribs (stomach) to your belly button, 5 times. Then repeat the whole cycle twice more.

Breathing with deep squeezing exhales – Breathe in through the nose allowing the belly to rise, breathe out through the mouth allowing the belly to soften down towards the spine, blow every last bit of air out of your mouth so you can feel your abdominals naturally tightening and your ribs gently squeezing inwards and breast bone dropping. On the inhale visualise the six pack (rectus abdominis) rising, on the exhale visualise the length of the six pack sinking, the deep corset muscle wrapping from the back around your sides and knitting together at the front (like wrapping a dressing gown around your middle) and feel your lower abs drawing upwards fro behind your pubic bone to up out through the crown of your head.

Stretching and twisting – It is especially useful to stretch and massage down the inside and outside of your thigh muscles. This stimulates the blood flow (and therefore healing) to your belly. Using a foam roller is best, but a tennis ball or spiky ball is also great.

Twist, scissors and cobra are three great exercises to help bring healing to your system – find all the cues and descriptions here.

MEDITATION / MINDFULNESS for 1-5 minutes daily

Sit with crossed legs and a long spine, or lie on your back with legs long and arms beside you with palms facing upwards. Simply follow your breath in and out – don’t change your breath pattern, just watch it. Let stillness and calm wash over you by taking your attention inwards. When your mind wanders, when thoughts, emotions, sounds, or physical feelings occur just acknowledge them and let them pass without getting involved and come back to your breath.

 

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MINDFUL EATING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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Not only are the holidays a lovely time to celebrate and have a change of scenery, they also provide the opportunity to have a shift in gear. As I outlined in my previous post, this is a time of year when emotions run high, so it really is worth taking a moment to decide how you’d like things to unfold. Make sure you look after and nourish your body, as well as your mind along the way.

Looking after yourself does not mean you have to behave like a saint – what it means is avoiding any opportunities to beat yourself up, to feel guilty, anxious, unwell or regretful. Because so many people punish themselves by either over-indulging, or over-restricting during this period, I’ve dedicated this post to helping choose the best way to eat and drink for you.

SIX TIPS

1. Get clear about how and what you want to eat and drink, and if you want to consume alcohol or not. If you adhere to a specific diet for health reasons decide if you want to stick to it, or if you’re happy to deviate. Be honest and make these decisions from a place of love and compassion, rather than fear and control.

2. Commit to your intentions. Once you’re clear about what you want to consume, then commit to that decision. Associate good feelings with your decision and remind yourself of these regularly. If you decide to stick to your dietary needs then the next two points are key:

3. Research and take time to find out what’s on the menu, be it at someone’s house or at a restaurant.

4. Communicate your dietary requirements before the event – I spent years needlessly suffering for fear of upsetting people and being polite. If people make you feel uncomfortable about your needs that is definitely their problem. Do not make your decisions based on what will make other people happy, this will never turn out well – lies, pain, resentment and irritability will likely ensue. You owe it to yourself and to your host to communicate clearly what exactly it is you need so as to not upset any plans on the day.

My food choice suggestions:

  • Fill up on the vegetables and proteins. If you’re a meat eater choose meat close to the bone. Skip the gravy unless it’s gluten-free. If you’re wanting a sweet treat for dessert then choose fresh fruit, dark chocolate or cheese. If you opt to skip dessert then you can go straight to the coffee or green tea to help aid digestion and curb the sugar cravings
  • My beverage suggestions: drink a decent amount of still water with a squeeze of lemon before and after your meal. If you’re not drinking alcohol then honour your decision and stick to it! (any peer pressure to drink comes from insecurity and selfishness). Sparkling water, green tea or freshly brewed black coffee can be good options for a booze free buzz.

5. Avoid the post-booze blues by following my tips on this blog. The main points:

  • Never drink to forget, to hurt, to manipulate, to cope. It’s a better idea to take a sip after you’ve tuned in and found something to smile about and celebrate
  • Choose gluten and sugar-free drink options
  • Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink
  • Eat nutrient dense food before and after

6. Supplement to support your digestive, immune and detoxification systems. Here are my recommendations

Bonus tip: MOVE!

One of the best things we can do for our bodies is to MOVE. When we move we stimulate and pump the fluids around our body that manage, feed and clean our organs, muscles, skin, nerves, hormones and bones. However you are feeling, go for a walk, do a few stretches, put on your favourite music and dance! Choose whatever you most enjoy – sometimes that’s all you need to do to perk up.

To help you along your way here are 5 exercises to help beat the bloat!

And for a daily and weekly movement guide read more here.

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I hope these tips hold you in good stead over the holiday period. Please take note and put your needs first! Happy holidays! 🙂

 

Photo credit Matthew Valdr

BE AT BUCKLEY’S MENU! 7/10/14

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Be at Buckley’s is back by popular demand! Find the fabulous new menu below for the next Tasha/Be and Mr. Buckley’s collaborative night!

Be At Buckley’s is a one-night, monthly dining event with a three-course menu that emphasizes the importance of eating seasonal, local and organic produce that is served in a modern and healthful manner.

Once agin the menu is curated by myself, and masterfully prepared by head chef Daryll Wilson. Expect organic grass-fed meats, wild fish, organic vegetables, fresh salads and inventive desserts that are free from refined sugars, pasteurised dairy and grains.

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As I’m sure you all know, I’m extremely passionate about this healthful and healing way of eating, and have seen first-hand the amazingly positive effects it has had on myself and numerous clients.

If you suffer with food allergies, or often leave a meal out feeling bloated/wired/tired, or feel ratty the following day, then this night is a must. Of course for those already super fit, healthy and well, your bellies will simply love our nutrient dense, organic, local and seasonal fare!

Bookings: Mr. Buckley’s 020 3664 0033

277 Hackney Rd, London E2 8NA, United Kingdom

Press Enquiries: press@luxandnoah.com

In keeping with the grain-free, pre-industrial or paleolithic influence of the Be At Buckley’s menu, I wanted to highlight an earlier post of mine on the benefits of this way of eating. Get the full scoop, and if you’re not already eating this way, try slowly incorporating aspects of it into your everyday diet: LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE

WINE AS IT SHOULD BE

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I wanted to dedicate this post to explaining the difference between good and bad wines – what ingredients/additives are lurking in conventionally produced bottles, and why it’s so much better to choose organic, bio-dynamic varieties. Those of you who have read my blog on alcohol will already have a heads up on this, but I wanted to expound upon wine, particularly as many people have been asking about the many tasty varieties that are being served at the Be At Buckley’s evenings…

Just as there is a huge variance in the quality of meat you can buy (force-fed, chemically-laden, or free to roam on green, organic pastures) there is a huge range in the quality of wine you can buy too. The unnatural, sped-up nature of the industrialized food system is the cause so much of this bad practice – disregarding the important sowing, growing and fermenting processes that are vital to making natural and environmentally respectful wine. Most of us still think wine is made from grapes that are then fermented in a big barrel, with maybe a few preservatives added. However, if wine makers had to list the ingredients in their wine I think a lot of you would think twice…

Ingredients added to fast-made wine:

  • Fast-activating yeast (similar to what is added to bread and which makes our bellies bloat)
  • Manmade chemicals – pesticides, herbicides, fungicides
  • Sulphites/preservative #220-226 – these have been proven to cause most of the allergies experienced by wine drinkers. This chemical also gives off similar histamine reactions to seasonal allergies
  • High levels of tannins from the oak and wooden barrels – tannins are the natural astringent found in plants that are there to repel insects and grazing animals. Although natural, tannins do have strong chemical properties that affect those people who suffer from allergies.
  • The corks used to seal bottles of wine have been found to have absorbed chlorine-based pesticides (DDT, chlordane, and heptachlor). Although corks are traditional, it really is better health-wise that wines are bottled with screw tops – these offer a perfect seal and mean less sulphites added to your wine
  • Cane sugar – do we really need any more of this drug?
  • Also note: grapes are not washed before being made into wine – this means all the chemicals sprayed on the vines and on the soil also end up in your glass!

Why vintage/organic/biodynamic/natural wines are best:

  • No fast-activating yeast allowed! What allows the grapes to ferment is the naturally occurring yeast in the skin of the grape – this process takes much longer but means the quality of the wine is far richer. Your gut won’t be upset nor your immune system compromised.
  • The use of synthetic fungicides, herbicides and fertilisers is prohibited – this means we are less likely to suffer such horrendous hangovers, or even be hungover at all(!). Instead of using these man-made fertilisers the grower prefers to cultivate a healthy vine that is capable of defending itself naturally from anything that might harm it
  • The taste of the wine is authentic year after year as the timing of planting, fertilising and harvesting are governed not only by mother nature, but also by the lunar and cosmic cycles.
  • Biodiversity and producing wine this way means the land is respected. Allowing the population of worms and bacteria to build up in the ground promotes healthy soil and improves mineral absorption to the grapevine. This of course also improves the quality and taste of the wine.
  • The growers and viticulturists keep the art and passion of traditional wine making techniques alive
  • Interested? Learn more here

I hope this has cleared up any confusion you may have over the production of wine, and just why it’s important to spend a little bit more on quality – for your health, the environment and to support the creative passionate grower.

BE AT BUCKLEY’S

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I’m extremely excited to finally share the upcoming menu for a new adventure I’m embarking upon with one of my favourite London eateries, Mr. Buckley’s. Be At Buckley’s is a one-night, monthly dining event with a three-course menu that emphasizes the importance of eating seasonal, local and organic produce that is served in a modern and healthful manner.

Each month the menu will be curated by me, and masterfully prepared by Mr. Buckley’s head chef Daryll Wilson. Expect organic grass-fed meats, wild fish, organic vegetables, fresh salads and inventive desserts that are free from refined sugars, pasteurised dairy and grains. As I’m sure you all know, I’m extremely passionate about this healthful and healing way of eating, and have seen first-hand the amazingly positive effects it has had on myself and numerous clients.

If you suffer with food allergies, or often leave a meal out feeling bloated/wired/tired, or feel ratty the following day, then this night is a must (especially as I’ll also be leaving you with some Tasha/Be feel-better tips!). Of course for those already super fit, healthy and well, your bellies will simply love our nutrient dense, organic, local and seasonal fare! Please join in and share Be At Buckley’s so we can make this a permanent, monthly night out!

Bookings are now open for the inaugural event. There are limited spaces still available for our two-date launch April 15th and 22nd so book quick! Otherwise join us on the very first night that we welcome the public on Tuesday 6th May.

Bookings: Mr. Buckley’s 020 3664 0033

277 Hackney Rd, London E2 8NA, United Kingdom

Press Enquiries: press@luxandnoah.com

In keeping with the grain-free, pre-industrial or paleolithic influence of the Be At Buckley’s menu, I wanted to highlight an earlier post of mine on the benefits of this way of eating. Get the full scoop, and if you’re not already eating this way, try slowly incorporating aspects of it into your everyday diet: LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE

 

Recipe: SEASONS CHANGING SALAD! (gluten, grain, dairy & sugar free, vegetarian)

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It’s a transitional time for us all at the moment – whether shifting into Spring or Autumn/Fall, this half-cooked / half-raw salad should help ease into whatever the weather is bringing for you next. What I love about this salad is the combination of protein, fats and fresh greens. During seasonal changes some people can really struggle to digest raw vegetables and others can find fats and starchy root vegetables to cause bloating and gas. So striking a balance between ingredients and the manner in which they are prepared can make all the difference.

In this salad coconut and olive oils will provide high quality fats; protein from the egg will satiate, nourish and provide a strong source of building blocks; the greens will boost your nutrient and vitamin count, and their fibre will help clear out your gut on their way through; and the apple cider vinegar and sauerkraut provide excellent probiotics to help the full digestive cycle (breaking the food down, absorbing the goodness, cleaning the gut walls and eliminating waste).

This salad is free from any starchy vegetables so should feel very gentle on the tummy – perfect for those suffering from hormonal imbalances where digestion and energy levels are negatively affected.

  • Cold-pressed coconut oil: helps heal the gut, is anti-fungal, antibacterial and an amazing energy source. Read more from me here.
  • Cold-pressed olive oil: packed full of antioxidants it boosts the immune system and helps fight off all sorts of nasties
  • Organic broccoli, spinach, rocket: help to detox and cleanse the gut, curbing sugar cravings and fighting off candida
  • Apple cider vinegar: the best salad dressing! Amongst a whole host of other benefits, I love ACV as it stimulates stomach acids, so acts as an incredible digestive aid
  • Sauerkraut: just a little bit goes a long way in helping to balance your gut flora. Read more from me here.

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 pinch of pink / rock / sea salt
  • 1 organic egg
  • 8 stalks of tender-stem broccoli
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach
  • 1 large handful of rocket
  • 1-2 tbsps sauerkraut
  • 1 tbsp cold-pressed organic olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (with the mother)

Preparation:

Heat the coconut oil in a small pan on a low heat

Bring a small pot of water to boil

Set aside a large salad bowl

Directions:

Finely chop the celery and add it to the fry pan along with the cumin and salt. Cook on low for 5 minutes.

Add the broccoli to the pot of water. Cover and turn the heat down. Steam for 5 minutes.

In the large salad bowl add the baby spinach, rocket, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar and olive oil and mix well.

Once cooked add the celery and broccoli and mix well.

Lightly fry or poach your egg – keep the yolk runny for the best health benefits and yummiest flavour!

Top the salad with the egg and consume!

Egg substitutions:

Vegan – add some lightly fried tempeh (avoid tofu if you can)

Pescetarians – pan-fry or grill a piece of wild salmon or makarel

Omnivores – chop a chicken breast or bacon strips into small pieces and pan fry or grill in coconut oil / butter /ghee/ lard

COFFEE… WHAT’S THE DEAL?

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These are the best times to drink coffee.

Image Credit: I Love Coffee

That’s because we’re all guided by a 24-hour biological cycle, known as the circadian clock. When you first wake up your brain is already flooded with cortisol, a natural chemical that helps to keep you alert. So although you might feel like a coffee, you don’t actually need one. Best to wait until cortisol levels drop later in the day.

 

Like alcohol, coffee is yet another touchy dietary subject with a plethora of for-and-against campaigns. For me, these arguments really come down to the quality of the bean and how it is grown, processed, produced, poured and sipped! Depending on where the beans are sourced, how they’re treated and processed and what you add to your cuppa, is the difference between feeling anxious, wired, bloated and headachy, or clear-headed, sharp and satisfied. Bad coffee is absolutely terrible for your health, good coffee can bring a host of health benefits.

However, I’m not wanting to advocate coffee as a health food in this post! Obviously coffee is a very pervasively addictive drink, so if you have to drink it, do it this way. If you have energy/hormone/sleep issues I definitely recommend you should cut it out. Furthermore, caffeine-dependency is not good in any way. I would never recommend drinking coffee to “get you through the day” – I drink it to enhance my performance. If my energy is lacking then the first thing I look to is getting more sleep and looking to my diet – more fresh plant produce, increased good quality fats and proteins, reduced sugar.

My rules:

  • Freshly ground and filtered black espresso with a teaspoon of grass-fed butter and/or high quality coconut oil / MCT oil
  • Only ever drink coffee before 1pm and when I know I’m exercising afterwards (be it a weights session in the gym, a yoga / pilates / gyrotonic / dance class, or a long walk in the park)
  • No more than one coffee per day
  • Never have coffee 7 days of the week – I’m a control freak and never want to be dependant on anything!

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Follow these 5 steps to get the most from coffee

1. QUALITY – organic,  spray-free whole un-ground beans, free from mycotoxins (moulds). Look for coffee houses that offer single-origin coffee and do not rely on blended coffee – ideally they roast their own beans!

Avoid – instant coffee, pre-ground beans and ‘blends’ of coffee beans – these cannot survive even a week before becoming rancid and growing toxic moulds.

2. BREWING – freshly grind the beans, filter through an espresso machine or French press – these ensure the coffee oils that turn off brain inflammation are preserved.

Avoid – bleached filters if you’re using a “drip” coffee maker – bright white filters are bleached with chlorine and some of this chlorine will be extracted from the filter during the brewing process.

3. MIXERS – drink coffee black or with a teaspoon of good quality coconut oil / MCT oil and/or good quality grass-fed butter (Anchor, Kerry Gold, Yeo Valley, Rachel’s Organic). Adding these fats slows down the impact the caffeine has on your blood-sugar levels (I also always carry a small jar of coconut oil around with me!)

Avoid – any form of pasteurised cows/nut/grain/soya milk and any form of sugar – these completely change the chemistry of the coffee! They can spike your insulin, cause insulin resistance and contribute to unhealthy fat storage.

4. VESSEL – ideally sip your coffee from a glass or ceramic cup, or BPA free takeaway cups or cups made from plant starch.

Avoid – styrofoam and plastic cups made from BPA as the plastic will migrate into your blood.

5. TIME-FRAME – drink within ten minutes and you will soak up the best of the antioxidants.

Avoid – sipping on long awaited cold coffee, and avoid drinking coffee after 1pm – the latter part of the day is for slowing down and preparing for restful sleep.

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The benefits after following these 5 steps:

  • Antioxidants which contribute to anti-aging – coffee can trigger a mechanism in your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) – basically this means more brain cells are produced which allows your brain to stay young.
  • Better memory and brain function – “Research has shown that both whole cocoa beans and coffee have remarkable neuroprotective properties. There is emerging evidence that South American societies who drink freshly ground coffee from whole coffee beans have the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.” Ori Hofmekler
  • Increased metabolism and healthy fat loss – coffee is a potent thermogenic which means it can increase your metabolism by up to 20 percent
  • Improved physical performance – caffeine can increase your power output as it is an ergogenic aid. Stimulating  BDNF also helps reduce age related muscle tissue atrophy. These results are optimised when coffee is drunk on an empty stomach before working out
  • Reduced sugar cravings – sensible coffee drinking can improve insulin sensitivity, so not only can it reduce your craving for sweets but long term can also lower your risk of stroke and diabetes. “If you are addicted to sugar…and you really want to train your body gradually get rid of this addiction…Train yourself to drink black coffee. Drink it sugarless on an empty stomach and you will see how, gradually, the cravings will dissipate.” Ori Hofmekler

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When not to drink coffee:

  • If you’re pregnant – coffee can cause iron deficiency in mothers and babies
  • After working out – mucks with your muscle building potential
  • If you suffer from major hormonal imbalances, sleep difficulties or a depressed immune system – coffee stimulates the hormones adrenaline and cortisol which are often already too high in these cases
  • If you have an issue with decreased adrenal function – perhaps it’s time to allow yourself to rest, nourish and reset
  • If you’re feeling stressed or anxious –  prioritise your values and face your problems rather than racing past them
  • If you need coffee to function – you’re addicted and need to trust you have all you need within you already!
  • If it’s with sugar, milk or if it’s decaffeinated – you don’t love coffee, you’re addicted to sugar!

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So, if you drink coffee, just make sure it’s of top quality and is for the right reasons! Not everyone responds to, and metabolises caffeine in the same way, so tune in before and after you sip. Follow the 5 steps above to optimise your cuppa and after time why not try a day, or week without coffee!

Read more here, from the incredible Dave Asprey

CUT THE GLUTEN & REGAIN YOUR HEALTH

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These days most people are familiar with the term “gluten-free”, and many will have a vague understanding of what a gluten-free diet consists of. For many, gluten is assumed to only be a problem for people who have celiac disease; a strong physical reaction to gluten, and that gluten is fine (or even good) for everyone else. After all, we’ve been eating it for years and seem fine, our grandparents and great grandparents probably still eat it, and it’s promoted by mainstream health practitioners – how can we possibly not eat it?!

In this post I hope to inform you of the effect gluten has on both celiac and non-celiac individuals through the way it damages the gut, which can switch on a host of (often non-digestive) physical and mental illnesses. I’m not wanting to scaremonger nor to place judgement, I simply wish to inform, encourage enquiry and promote the idea that what you eat powerfully impacts your current and future health. Taking gluten out of your diet is not just a fad associated with certain “types” of health-conscious people. A gluten-free diet for many unwell adults and children is critical – the vital key to unlocking better health and a happier more vibrant life.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, bran, farina and kamut.

What foods contain the protein gluten?

  • Flour
  • Bread
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Oats milled with wheat products
  • Couscous

And also the following products where flour can be used as an ingredient:

  • Baked goods – cookies, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, waffles, pancakes
  • Sauces/dressings – soya sauce, can be used to thicken soups, gravies, salad dressings, marinades, curries, Japanese sushi rolls, Chinese dishes
  • Batter/crumbs/crusts – pizza, fishcakes, burger patties, tempura, fritters, pies, sausage rolls, samosas, hot chips/wedges
  • Snacks – breakfast cereals, cereal bars, crackers, croutons, processed lunch meats, imitation meat, pretzels, liquorice
  • Drinks – beer, some ciders, sake, gin and whiskey
  • Beauty products – toothpaste, lip balm, lipstick, make-up
  • Medication and vitamins

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What’s so wrong with gluten?

The composition of gluten’s two amino acid sequence (gliadin and glutenin) is still too new and too tricky for our digestive systems to properly deal with.

Gluten is not digestable by ANYONE on the planet” – Dr. David Perlmutter.

We need to appreciate that we did not evolve to deal with these proteins. As a matter of fact, for almost 99.9% of humankind’s evolution our ancestors have been gluten-free” – Dr. Alessio Fasano.

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What does this mean?

When we eat gluten it breaks down the protective lining of our gut. Despite the gut having an incredible ability to heal itself, it really struggles to when it’s constantly bombarded with pollutants such as antibiotics, painkillers, pharmaceutical medications, a poor diet, stress, chemical toxins in the air and household products, the contraceptive pill and so on. Our gut lining houses virtually our entire immune system, and it has more neurons than our brain, so if we break this lining down we essentially lessen our ability to fight off the many bugs and emotional stresses that we are exposed to. This could mean that we become more susceptible to:

  • Catching colds, flus, viruses, wheezing, cough, tummy bugs; less resilience to food poisoning
  • Developing allergies to animals, grasses, moulds, cosmetics; dermatitis, rashes, eczema, athsma
  • Developing allergies to different foods; feeling bloated; having intestinal pain, bad wind, diarrhea, constipation
  • Feeling tired or wired, irritable, sad, anxious; having “brain fog”; difficulty concentrating and remembering things
  • Low or no sex drive; acne; weight gain/loss; sleep and menstrual cycle irregularity

…to name a few

When we consume gluten regularly our gut lining becomes so thin that undigested food particles break through our gut wall and get into our bloodstream – this is known as leaky gut syndrome. Our poor immune system gets so messed up with all this floating debris that it confuses what is good and bad and starts attacking our own system, creating autoimmune disorders and switching on genetic disorders you may have inherited from your parents that have otherwise been lying dormant.

By the time the gluten protein reaches the brain its chemical structure has changed to one similar to addictive opiates such as morphine and heroin. These opiates act to block off certain areas of the brain causing inflammation and triggering any number of mental health-related disorders.

So our guts and brains are on fire and the rest of the body is smoldering – was that cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner really worth this? Most people eat these things and have no idea of the havoc they are wreaking until major illnesses show up and can’t be ignored. Some of these illnesses include:

  • Psychological problems – seizures, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, autism, schizophrenia
  • Blood sugar and cardiovasular disorders – Diabetes Types I,  II, and III / Alzheimers, asthma, cardiovasular disease
  • Autoimmune diseases – Hashimoto’s, Alopecia, Graves’ disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis
  • Cancer
  • Gut diseases – Chron’s disease, celiac, leaky gut syndrome
  • Muscular skeletal diseases/disorders – rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cerebella ataxia, Ankylosing Spondylolisthesis
  • Hormonal disturbances – PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, miscarriage or still births

What is so profound is that this is a mechanism that happens in all humans, not just the 30% or more of us who have blood tests that show that we are sensitive to gluten. This is all comers. It’s all of us who mount an increased permeability of the gut when exposed to this perverse protein called gluten

Dr. David Perlmutter. Hello Paleo.

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How can we put the fire out and not just fan the flames with various medications?

Removing the fuel that’s feeding the fire, i.e. gluten, will stop the damage so the healing process can begin. Even small amounts of gluten can halt the healing process and begin damaging tissue again, so you must be gluten zero. Of course some people can slowly reintroduce gluten once their gut is healed, but many simply choose to remain gluten-free after feeling so well without it.

Supplementing with probiotics, gelatin from organic grass-fed animals or bone broth, colostrum from grass-fed organic cows, and fish oils are fabulous ways to help heal and seal the gut.

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Why don’t our doctors tell us this? Why isn’t it more common place?

Translational research is research that changes the way doctors think and the way they practise. Now, it sounds utterly preposterous, but it is sadly true, that it will take around 17 years for mainstream doctors to act from this new information. This is an average, not an exception.

It was 21 years ago (in 1992) that Professor Michael Marsh authored a research paper that connected gluten consumption with celiac disease. How is it that still SO many people out there, including doctors, do not either know about or value the importance of a gluten-free diet when it comes to health and well-being? It was only 2 years ago that research about non-celiac gluten sensitivity came out – we cannot wait another 15 years until this vital information becomes mainstream.

What this research tells us is that there are MANY more people who are sensitive to gluten but do not have celiac disease. For every 1 person that has a problem in the gut after eating gluten (bloating, pain, constipation and so on) there are 8 people that have problems somewhere else in their body which they don’t directly connect with eating gluten (brain fog, depression, anxiety, arthritis, psoriasis, ADHD).

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Seeking guidance

If you are suffering from any kind of ailment that your doctor has been unable to help you with, and he or she has not asked you about your diet, then I URGE you to go out and find a Functional Medicine Practitioner. A FMP is someone who practises mainstream medicine but also has the view that you can regenerate anything in your body depending on the environment you give it – be that with relation to food, exercise, sleep and so on. They will not send you off with a prescription or make the conclusion that you are just a ‘sickly’ person or that your child is just naughty.

If you want gain a deeper understanding follow the links here to hear 29 of the world’s experts and opinion leaders on the topics of gluten-related disorders, nutrition and healthy living.

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Try it out

  • Mainly eat: vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, butter, animal fats
  • Moderately eat: fruit, coconut, nuts, seeds, rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, gluten-free oats, organic corn.
  • Become a label reader. Choose good quality gluten-free labelled products – you should be able to pronounce and recognise every ingredient on the label. Avoid all chemical additives and preservatives – no numbers!
  • Follow my recipes (all gluten-free), or google gluten-free recipes, or buy a recipe book –  there are loads out there!

* If you have gut-related disturbances you may want to also cut out all dairy products or at least replace them with raw dairy from a trusted source.

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If our bodies are expending less energy to deal with this tough protein, they have more energy for other more productive processes. Our liver, digestive and immune systems will get back to properly cleansing, nourishing, energising and strengthening us. We will feel happy vibrant and ourselves again.

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“The fate of your health, including that of the brain, is a choice,

not a destiny dictated by your genes”  

 – Dr David Perlmutter

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