Gut Health and Happiness – Is there a link?

Gut Health and Happiness – Is there a link?

You better believe it! There’s a strong link between gut health and happiness.

As you’re juggle life’s challenges big and small, while keeping all the balls of family, work, relationships and your health all balanced in the air. You may have overlooked an essential piece of your overall well being and happiness – your microbiome.

Did you know you have more bacteria in your body than cells in your body?

Scary isn’t it!! Well, these bacteria live in your gut, in your mouth, on your skin, in fact all over. Now they can be your friend or foe depending on the balance. You ideally want loads of the good guys that help to make your nutrients, decrease inflammation, help to digest your food and enable you to feel happy, energised and clear headed.

A healthy gut microbiome controls your ability to deal with stress, and that starts in your gut. If you have messed-up digestion, you’ll have a diminished ability to deal with stressful situations. And without the ability to release stress and get to a happy mind space, you end up building a higher and higher threshold for stress.

Your gut health is about way more than just digestion.

 

Let’s find out how gut health and happiness are linked.

 

Creates healthy immune system.

Did you know 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut? Right where the bulk of your microbiome lives. So protecting your gut barrier, crowding out and killing bad bacteria and infections and allergies all help your immune system play it’s A game.

What does this mean for you? Well, when your immune system is humming along, protecting you from bad guys and welcoming friends in, you can put the pedal to the metal and go after your dreams. Fewer sick days and more time to enjoy life and be productive.

 

Natural energy boost.

I’m sure no one would say no to more real energy – it’s the fuel of life. Helping you to blitz through jam-packed schedules, endless deadlines, and often having little time to relax in today’s on-the-go culture. So, many people rely on caffeine and energy drinks to stay ahead of the game. Did you know your good gut bacteria can help you maintain your day-to-day energy levels naturally? No sugar and caffeine required.

How does it work? Well your microbiome helps to break down and digest all the food you eat so you can up take the nutrients you need to feel great. It also produces energy boosting B vitamins and keeps your blood sugar balanced, so no more mid-afternoon humps.

Your good bacteria cranks up your sleep quality so you are recharged and at your best producing and regulating important neurotransmitters and amino acids, like serotonin and tryptophan.

 

Helps you find and maintain your ideal weight.

Not being at your ideal weight can affect your energy levels, your mood, your hormones, your cognitive function, and even your immunity.

Where does your microbiome fit in? Well, it supports your metabolism and a healthy weight by producing enzymes that help digest food and absorb nutrients. So, no more overeating yet being malnourished, wavering blood sugar levels so you’re constantly searching for that next sugar fix and plenty of hormones that tell your brain when you’re full.

If you can get to that weight that is perfect for your frame, you’ll be on track to enjoying all the benefits of a performance-ready body and mind that are ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

 

Sharpens your focus.

Say goodbye to brain fog. Think of all the energy you’ll save when your clarity is dialled up. Did you know your gut is your second brain?

You see your microbiome communicates with your brain via the vagus nerve, where good bacteria send mind-boosting chemicals and messages to the brain that improve your memory and cognitive function.

A gut that doesn’t have billions of good bacteria can get out of balance and overrun with yeast and bad bacteria, producing chemicals and by-products that are toxic to the brain—leading to brain fog and memory problems.

This is also where your warrior gut barrier is so important. If you don’t have enough of the good guys standing guard, the barrier can become “leaky” and allow toxins into your bloodstream that negatively affect your brain. Focusing on the health of your gut microbiome can help ensure that your brain is getting all the communication it needs to support you.

 

Boosts and balances your mood

Your gut and brain are inextricably linked, so a disruption in either one has the capacity to seriously affect the other. Your gut bacteria produces more than 90% of all the serotonin, the “happy” chemical that plays a role in everything from mood and appetite to sleep in your body. Your gut microbiome also lowers cortisol (the “stress” hormone) levels, turns down anxiety, decreases depression and lowers inflammation that can cause loads of emotional and physical health challenges.

When it comes to living your happiest life, staying positive may just be the key to realizing all your goals. A healthy population of good gut bacteria will keep your mood balanced and high.

 

Glowing skin

Your skin can be the first sign that your gut isn’t going well – breakouts, infection, dullness. When your gut is absorbing nutrients—thanks to your good bacteria—and getting rid of toxins and chemicals, your whole body is better for it and your skin glows it!

When fungus, yeast, and bad bacteria overrun your microbiome, it leads to chronic, systemwide inflammation that shows up as acne, redness, irritation, dry patches, fine lines, and even premature aging.

Your skin also has its own unique microbiome that plays a huge role in a healthy complexion. Not only do good bacteria in your dermal layers discourage the growth of nasty bacteria that can cause problems, but they produce substances like hyaluronic acid that plumps and moisturizes skin, and ceramide that strengthens and firms the skin barrier.

Healthy skin and a glowing complexion really do start from the inside out!

 

Radiant smile.

Did you know that your mouth has a microbiome as well? Beneficial bacteria in your oral cavity are your immune system’s first line of defence and have an enormous effect on the health of your teeth, gums, and even your breath. Harmful bacteria often cause tooth cavities and gum disease that can affect your radiant smile.

Research shows that smiling can improve your mood, lower your stress response, increase your productivity, and make you more creative—and make you seem more approachable and trustworthy to others. Now that’s a win-win!

One of the biggest issues with having an unhealthy gut is that it leads to leaky gut syndrome, which in turn leads to toxins entering the circulatory system and eventually the brain. This causes lower levels of happiness, mood disorders, and disease.

Need help getting your microbiome in tip top shape? Click here to book online.

Hoping this article helped you understand your body a little better. Know anyone who would benefit from it as well, please pass it on.

Loads of gut health and happiness, Julie xo

Intermittent Fasting – Why and How?

Intermittent Fasting – Why and How?

Intermittent fasting is the latest buzz word in the health and wellness industry….which can immediately make you roll your eyes and dismiss it as just a craze. But, before you do, I’ve seen fantabulous results from intermittent fasting, particularly in clients that have been doing all the right things but still can’t shift the weight or were inflamed, had high blood sugars or poor liver function test results.

Fasting has been practiced by many cultures for thousands of years, whether as part of a religious practice, to conserve food supplies or as part of a healing treatment.

In today’s world, we’re literally eating ourselves to death. Food is a comfort tool, social connector, reward, celebratory tool and much more.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting means eating in a compressed feeding window, so your digestive system gets a rest for a specific period of time. During the fasting phase you can drink water or clear non-caffeine herbal teas with no sweeteners, such as lemongrass and ginger, chamomile, or peppermint tea, if desired.

Why intermittent fasting works

Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a break and uses that excess energy to clean, repair and rebuild your body. Digesting and absorbing your food can take up to 5 hours after eating and during that time your insulin levels are high, so your body can’t easily burn fat for energy.

When you’re in the post digestive phase, that takes place 8-12 hours after your last meal and your insulin levels are lower, you can easily burn fat.

When in the fasting state, your body naturally finds ways to extend your life. It’s kind of like a survival mechanism, where when faced with the possibility of starvation, your body will do everything in its power to heal and keep you alive.

Health benefits of intermittent fasting

Weight Loss

In my clinic I’ve seen huge success with 16:8 intermittent fasting for losing weight, especially if clients are already eating well but were lacking the results.  For instance, they were eating cleanly, hydrating, de-stressing, doing a mix of strength and cardio exercise, sleeping well – yet their body still holds onto those extra kilos. It’s very frustrating for those people, but also comforting to know they’d do well if starving in the desert!

16:8 intermittent fasting practised daily dropped off the weight consistently and quite quickly.

Initially there will be hunger pangs but if you use herbal teas and lemon water in this period and ride them out, they will reduce over the days to follow.

For best results exercise at the end of a fast then eat. If you’re a morning exerciser, that means eat after training. Eg, Exercise 6am, feeding window 7am to 3pm, fasting 3pm to 7am.

You’ll get results with intermittent fasting even if you can’t manage the exercise at the end of a fast because you’re an evening exerciser.

 

Gut Health

Giving your gut a break frees up energy for detoxifying, cleaning, repair and building, and also resets and lowers your appetite.

Intermittent fasting also improves gut microbiota, increasing the ratio of beneficial gut flora. This is a by-product from the positive changes of reducing inflammation, losing weight and normalising blood sugar levels.

 

Blood Sugar Levels

Intermittent fasting keeps blood sugar levels more stable and prevents the constant spiking and crashing of insulin levels that can have you craving sugars and chasing caffeine fixes all day long. It’s very helpful for those with diabetes or those struggling with fatty liver.

 

Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury, toxicity and disease. Chronic inflammation is at the heart of many chronic degenerative diseases and ageing, as well as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and much more.

Intermittent fasting also enhances your body’s natural resistance to oxidative stress which reduce inflammation throughout your body.

Longevity

If you’ve ever seen an interview with a centurion, most talk of eating less, often one meal a day, and having gone through extended periods of fasting, whether their choice or not, in their life.

There’s an old saying “The less you eat, the longer you’ll live” and I’d have to agree with it.

 

Brain Health

Intermittent fasting prevents cognitive function decline and decreasing memory and learning as we age. And the anti-inflammatory effect can slow the progression of neuro-degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Heart Health

Intermittent fasting can improve your heart health by helping to lower the following common risk factors that contribute to heart dis-ease:

  • Blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation
  • Cholesterol

Perfect for those with a looming family history of by-passes, stents, strokes, heart-attacks and more.

 

Ways to intermittent fast

There are three ways:
16:8 Method

Most popular and easiest method, involves you eating in an 8 hour window and fasting for 16 hours. This can look like first meal of day at 11am and last meal of the day at 7pm or 7am to 3pm. Set your own window to suit your life.

You can do this every day, only weekdays or a few times a week depending on the results you want and what works into your schedule.

Remember you can start anywhere and improve over time. It’s better than not starting at all. You learn by doing.

5:2 Diet

This involves eating a maximum of 600 calories two days a week. I liken it to whole food fasting. Make sure your diet on those days is of quality wholefoods like vegetables, fruit, nuts, etc.

24 hour

This method requires you to fast for 24 hours, ideally from dinner one day to the following day, once to twice a week.

 

Intermittent fasting is definitely worth trialling to set yourself up to remain healthy, energetic and disease-free.

Love to hear if you’ve tried it and what results you’ve gotten? Or if you need help to get started?

 

Julie XX (Feeling Great Naturopath, Mount Martha)

 

Bring Back Your Spark – Naturopathic Medicine Case Study

Bring Back Your Spark – Naturopathic Medicine Case Study

Are you sick of feeling flat, exhausted and overwhelmed? Want to bring back your spark?

As a naturopath, I treat people from all walks of life – young, old, all shapes and sizes. Lack of energy, zip, mojo (whatever you want to call it) is the most common problem by far. They’ve lost their spark – their ‘get up’n go’. If that sound like you or someone you know read on. I’ll show you how a combo of naturopathic medicine and life coaching can bring back your spark ASAP.

Most come to see me for the tip of the iceberg, exhaustion, overwhelmed by life, often living on carbs, sugar or caffeine to give them energy for life. As a naturopath, pharmacist and life coach I delve below the surface to find what’s driving the show.

To find out where the problem lies I assess a few things. Number one is your base layer – your patterns of eating, thinking, moving, drinking, sleeping, recharging, these reveal a lot about how you’re showing up every day and have a huge impact on your health. Small things done often tend to do that, which is an “ah-ah” moment in itself.

As we grow older it’s only natural to get a bit comfortable with where we are in life, but with that often comes a sense that we have to be responsible now so we can live a little later. Life is happening right now and while it might be smart to have a nest egg for the future, that doesn’t mean you can’t live a little (or a lot) right now. Stop making excuses about why you can’t go on that big trip, volunteer in another country, or do that seemingly crazy thing you’ve always wanted to try. Life is a journey to be enjoyed, embraced, and explored and what good is it to wait to do all of those amazing things if you are too old to enjoy it? Don’t wait, do it now. – Huffpost

“Change your patterns, change your life” – Julie Smethurst

Once you’ve addressed your foundations you look for imbalances in your body. Signs, symptoms, testing, intuition and experience help me to dig these up. This where my 28 years of experience in health industry kicks in (yes I started when I was 5yo!). Here you may find a variety of problems ranging from digestive issues, gut infections, nutrient deficiencies, food intolerances, autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue and the list goes on.

Now, it’s time to step back and construct a masterplan to suit you. This means knowing how different systems affect each other and seeing the big picture of what needs to be done and in what order. The art is in assessing where you are now and knowing the path to get to where you want to go. I guide you along step by step coaching and teaching you what needs to be done.

Ultimately my job is to empower you by teaching and guiding you along a path tailored to your needs, so you arrive at your desired destination. From here, amazing things will happen. I’ve seen people finally take that job, go out on that date, declutter what’s not working in their life and bring in what does.

It makes me smile all over every time I see a transformation from hopelessness to hope, with a spring their step and a sparkle in their eye. All I know is the world needs more people who’ve come alive.

They live longer happier lives. Having their spark back allows them to love bigger, live brighter and contribute more to making the world a better place. Who could ask for more than that!

Bring Back Your Spark Case Study – Treating Symptoms of Low Energy and Weight Loss Through Naturopathic Medicine

Here’s Lisa’s case study:

  • 44 year old female
  • Presented with low energy 3/10 and couldn’t lose weight even on a restrictive 1200 cal/day.
  • Poor stamina, weak muscles, could only manage walking once a week for exercise.
  • Bad PMS symptoms, heavy, clotted, cramping periods
  • Bloating after every meal and prone to constipation
  • Had an itchy rash that comes and goes on her forearms
  • History of glandular fever as a child that took 12 months to recover from
  • Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 10 years ago and was on thyroid medication prescribed by her doctor.
  • Family history of autoimmune disease Lupus
  • Presents as exhausted, dark circles under eyes, dragging herself along…lost her spark
  • Goals – lose 13kg, increase energy

 

Initial treatment:

  • Ran a new set of blood tests at GP
  • Tested for food intolerances
  • Salivary hormone testing
  • Increased water intake to 2.5L/day
  • Reduced caffeine drinks to ideally 1 per day
  • Green smoothie 1/day
  • Reduced alcohol to maximum 2 drinks on weekend
  • Daily deep abdominal breathing 2 minutes
  • Gave nutrients to maximise energy production

 

Second visit:

  • Blood tests from GP revealed low iron, B12, MTHFR (needing activated B’s)
  • Food intolerance results revealed problem digesting dairy, eggs, some grains
  • Started detox & gut/ liver reset programme
  • Salivary hormone results revealed extremely high cortisol on waking & extremely low after midday, explaining the energy crash after lunch and treated with nutrients, herbs and lifestyle recommendations
  • Low progesterone, high oestrogen detected via salivary testing and treated with nutrients & herbs. Addressing liver/gut and adrenals makes huge positive impact here.

 

Third visit:

  • Continued with anti-inflammatory diet
  • Swapped to sublingual bioidentical thyroid medication and titrated to most effective dose, now Lisa’s able to exercise daily without muscle soreness and has loads of stamina.
  • Spark is totally back in her eyes, dark circles have gone.
  • Periods are lighter, no PMS and sugar cravings, feeling emotionally more balanced
  • Fluid retention has gone, feeling energised and alert
  • Lost 5kg to date

 

Now Lisa’s body has been rebalanced by addressing her gut and hormonal imbalances (adrenals, thyroid, sex hormones, blood sugar) she is all set to repeat the new skills I’ve taught her often. Super easy now her energy’s back and she has great patterns of eating, drinking, moving, thinking, recharging and being.

Bring Back Your Spark – Mission accomplished! And I’m still around if she needs a reset or tune-up.

Is it time to bring back your spark? You only get one go in this body so you may as well make the most of it. CLICK HERE to book online to get started today. Appointments available in person or skype.

Julie xx (Naturopath, Life Coach, Pharmacist) Feeling Great Health Solutions, Mt Martha Ph: 0438 593523

3 Ways to Kick Your Sugar Cravings or Addiction for Good

3 Ways to Kick Your Sugar Cravings or Addiction for Good

Struggling with sugar cravings or is it an all-out sugar addiction? You’ve decided it’s time to slay the sugar monster.

I see it often, gorgeous people like yourself, deciding to take the stand to dial the sugar meter down and the health meter up. After all, you want to enjoy your life and retirement, not have your wings cut by health issues and crazy travel insurance premiums from ill health.

What does being 65, look like for you? I do know you can’t buy your health back. Time to put a preventative framework in place.

Ok….now you’ve made the declaration, “I’m not eating sugar anymore”! Almost instantly you can’t get sugar out of your head and you’re sabotaging yourself all over the place….petrol station, supermarket, coffee catch up..

How did this happen? Firstly, your brain, god and your subconscious doesn’t hear don’t. All they hear is what you say after it.

Never, ever make a declaration in the negative. Like, ‘I won’t eat sugar anymore’. Instead, say ‘I will eat mostly vegetables, fruit, meat, nuts and seeds for the next 30 days’. Ahhh….that feels better already! Not even a sniff of the word sugar in that declaration. It sounds doable and sustainable……and dripping with success.

Now you’re focused on vegetables, meat, fruit, nuts and seeds. Time to clear the house out of everything that isn’t in those food groups, such as lollies, chocolate, soft drink, alcohol (yes it’s a sugar) and refined grain products, such as bread, cakes, doughnuts, pasta.

Now here are 3 hot tips to kicking sugar cravings and addictions for good: (more…)

Antidepressant Dilemma. Do I go there? What are my options?

Antidepressant Dilemma. Do I go there? What are my options?

Losing your shit? Swinging from depressed to anxious to moody and generally can’t think clearly?

Not sure what to do? Or you’ve visited your local doctor out of desperation, now you’ve got a piece of paper with an antidepressant written on it.

I worked for 20 years dispensing those anti-depressants and people weren’t getting any happier. That’s why I jumped the counter and now I’m offer empowering, long term solutions as a naturopath, that clean up at the beginning and not the end.

Consider this concept before you go any further…..did you know your gut affects your mood? Ever heard of the gut-brain connection?

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