The thought of ‘starving myself’ is unappealing. I’m sure you feel the same. However with all the discussion about intermittent fasting (IF) I’ve been excitedly drawn to the idea and in the past week have been experimenting (while doing my gentle cleanse). ‘What’s taken me SO long?’ I hear you say.
Hmmm thoughts like, how do I do it? I’d starve myself! I’ll get it wrong, It’s not for me etc etc!
Yet across the world in different cultures, some form of fasting has been practiced for spiritual and religious reasons for centuries. Touted as a way to refocus the mind and body, sometimes lasting 24 hours or more. Then go back a few hundred thousand years and fasting was a part of our day to day existence. It’s in our DNA.
An ancient practice or way of life that’s become the ‘new thing’ and in our world of abundance and over consumption of food perhaps for good reason.
If you have or you’ve been interested like me, here’s what I’ve discovered, but first… what exactly is it and what is autophagy?!
Traditionally a fast is not eating food for consecutive days or even weeks. Intermittent fasting however, involves not eating food for just 12 to 16 hours a day and reducing the window of time you eat to an 8 to 12 hour period. That’s it.
The ideal timeframe for health benefits seems to be 16 hours.
The benefits to be gained are when fasting happens consistently over a longer period of time i.e. no quick fix (sorry)!
• promotes healthy weight
• improves blood sugar
• helps a healthy heart
• reduces inflammation
• reduces appetite
• protects cognitive (brain) health
• helps fight stress-induced cravings
“Intermittent fasting is hypothesised to influence metabolic regulation via effects on (a) circadian biology, (b) the gut microbiome, and (c) modifiable lifestyle behaviours, such as sleep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28715993
It simplifies a healthy lifestyle by reducing the food choices we need to make every day. As a Mum this is especially attractive!
Abstaining from food for longer than normal means we give the body a break from constant digestion, more time for rest and repair.
It’s easy. Intermittent fasting is straightforward. It doesn’t require any extra thought to menu planning or long shopping lists.
It kickstarts ketosis. A state that happens when we no longer have glucose to use as a fuel and we resort to burning fat for fuel so ‘retraining’ our systems to burn fat stores for fuel – our natural state. (as Naomi Whittle, Author & CEO says – “it is nature’s reset button”)
How it works.
One of the most exciting ways is a process called autophagy.
If you haven’t come across this term, in Greek auto means ‘self’ and phagy means ‘to eat’. Autophagy refers to a self-eating process within our cells that encourages the proliferation of new, healthy cells.
‘Fasting is a crucial component that ultimately controls inflammation in the body and activates autophagy’ ~ Yoshinori Ohsumi, 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Imagine, as our bodies aren’t working on digesting so much food, they get the chance to tend to cellular functions. Functions that include removing waste and toxins from the body. It gives our digestive system and body a chance to rest and repair. In doing this it takes ‘stress’ off the bodies important functions.
Without food, insulin levels in the blood decrease and can keep the body sensitive to insulin, which gives better blood sugar control. With blood sugars being managed better, and the stress on the body reduced, the body can then start to burn fat.
Hence it’s easy to see how IF helps with;
• Weight management and consequently
• Better sleep (and all that goes along with these improvements)!
Note: enjoying nutrient rich drinks in the fasting timeframe, especially mineral rich drinks and some healthy fats, such as bone broth may assist the fasting benefits.
It may not be for everyone.
It seems that if our hormones need some love and attention or there are other imbalances, fasting may backfire e.g. I’ve worked with clients who fast and after losing weight initially their energy and weight can plateau. As soon as they introduce smaller more regular meals, their energy increases and sleep improves.
Support your liver and kidneys well before fasting. This is important. If our detox pathways are clogged, not detoxing efficiently we don’t want toxins recirculating throughout the body causing unwanted trouble.
And if you have trouble metabolising fats then it may be important to start very gently e.g. a 12-hour window of fasting rather than 16 hours and see how you feel.
We are all bio-individual and while something may work for one it may not work for another at a particular time and place. Listen to your body and do what’s right for you and always consult with your health practitioner.
One more thing, food and the preparation of food in our homes has magical qualities in how it brings us together and nourishes us. It’s important we always continue enjoying food in this way and the love, thought and preparation that goes into sharing it with those around us.
It takes time. While the lure of immediate weight loss is attractive, it’s not healthy. Far better to do it gradually and IF seems to have the good results when done over a longer period of time and while still enjoying a nutrient rich, real food diet, without ‘empty’ calories.
Personally, at the end of the week I’ve enjoyed a renewed energy, clarity of thought and calmness. I love my gentle cleanse and do it a couple of times a year. This time I did it with my hubby which was a really great experience and more enjoyable. Just until this Sunday the 13th of February, 2019 you can download the cleanse manual for free here and join me on a LIVE call as I walk you through it for even better outcomes.
And now I’m looking forward to experimenting more with IF and seeing how it works best for me. If you’ve fasted before or done my cleanse let me know how it went? I’d love to hear.
https://www.naomiwhittel.com, ‘Glow 15’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bAkvnvX0W8 Yoshinori Ohsumi
According to the WHO ‘Methylmercury (a form of mercury) is the major source of body burden in children worldwide’. All forms of mercury are toxic.
It’s with personal experience and frustrations that I’ve discovered just how invasive and damaging Heavy Metals (HM) can be, especially Mercury.
HM are ubiquitous i.e. everywhere and most of us are carrying them in some shape or form. Mercury, Aluminium, Lead, Arsenic, uranium, cadmium, a few of the common ones.
Let’s focus on Mercury. It’s one of the most common and one I’ve had most experience with and researched.
It’s a topic that’s close to my heart, as it’s something each member of our family has dealt with, in particular our eldest child and has had a defining part to play in their developmental challenges.
This is often an overlooked topic and trigger to illness and as Dr Chris Shade, one of the worlds leading expert in mercury and glutathione says,
‘Overall, mercury has a very strong ability to upset our entire system, which is part of the reason why toxicity symptoms are so difficult to pin down to mercury’
Mercury toxicity is far more common than we realise and has devastating consequences, especially on our neurology (brain) and immunity. There IS good news though, because with the right tools and fuels – we CAN – ship it out.
Importantly, if we don’t detox, it can lead to issues later on in life as stress takes hold or as our bodies age. And of even greater consequence is that these toxins accumulate in our bodies as they are passed on from one generation to the next, crescendoing the impact on the vitality of future generations. Watch the video here.
We need to detox heavy metals, not only for our own health, but for the health of future generations.
A snapshot of what Mercury does in the body;
Overall, mercury has a very strong ability to upset our entire system, which is part of the reason why toxicity symptoms are so difficult to pin down to mercury.
Not to alarm but to be aware. If you are struggling with an illness or issue you can’t get to the bottom of and haven’t considered toxicity, it might be worth considering.
It was certainly the case for us.
I am a great believer the body and the mind together can naturally deal with toxins, including heavy metals, it’s incredibly clever, and it has the mechanisms to do it. In a healthy, strong body.
BUT the reality is most of us do not live in a way that our stressors are low enough (busyness, relationships, emotions get in the way daily) or that our energy is clear enough to be able to do this naturally.
And until we are there, which can take a lifetime, I think it’s important we support our bodies with small steps to daily detoxify, feel better and continue our evolving progress of wellbeing.
Unless we detoxify from these metals, they continue to accumulate and pass on from generation to generation, causing devastating neurological and immune problems along the way.
Has to do with all of us, but in particular our children.
We have had a frustrating and challenging time over the years trying to get to the bottom of their development. As a 5 year old development within their body stopped when they were 5 years old. It’s fine now, development progressing and they are by all means a super healthy, happy child.
It wasn’t always this way and we have definitely had our challenges. A longer story for another time.
I discovered there were 4 key elements at the heart of the issue inhibiting development.
They had it all going on. How did I discover this. I listened to my gut instinct and we did testing. I knew there had to be a cause for the challenges that presented, and despite being told there was nothing that could be done. I found answers. The testing we did Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and stool testing and working with a good health practitioner.
Let’s focus on Mercury. When we first tested, it was barely negligible and under the ref. range of her hair tissue analysis.
Fortunately we were with a Naturopath that understood it’s not OK and there is no room for heavy metals.
We started a detox protocol and the metals started to come out. Over the space of a year her levels for mercury, lead, arsenic, rose. Mercury was incredibly high, thankfully now we are almost there.
As mentioned, Mercury is a potent neurotoxin.
At the same time, despite their good diet, their nutritional profile for key nutrients was very low. Heavy metals (along with the imbalance of bugs) can rob the body of these nutrients.
WHO 3 Key facts;
Sources of Mercury.
Different types of mercury, affects the body differently
All forms of mercury are more or less toxic to humans, because it is widely distributed in the body and many systems are affected.
The toxic effects of mercury vary according to:
The fetal brain is the most sensitive human tissue to damage from this powerful neurodevelopmental toxin. Certainly explains some of the challenges we had to deal with.
Not going into detail re some of the effects, but you can imagine.
What is more concerning is if there is NO heavy metals detected as it may mean the body isn’t detoxing well and pathways are compromised.
5 things I wish I’d known.
You have to have all parts of this going and working well.
I wish I had known a few of these things first up, it would’ve saved us a lot of time and money.
11 things we can do.
Other things to do.
If you do suspect heavy metals and want to investigate it further, find a good health practioner experienced in the area.
Detox needs to be done carefully, gently and properly as can go onto cause further damage.
Be patient, it takes time and be comforted knowing food and lifestyle choices can heal.
If you want to talk to me about my experience and next steps, I am very happy to share. I would love to help you save costly and unnecessary time and money. Pop some time in our diaries here or email me for a 30 minute consultation on email@example.com.
‘Everything is poison, there is poison in everything. Only the dose makes a thing not a poison’ ~ Paracelsus, 1493 – 1541, ‘The Father of Toxicology
It’s a different story today…
In todays world we’re likely to have inherited a generous toxic dose from our parents and our bodies are being bombarded daily with toxic chemicals, some we may not be aware of;
This is just a snippet of what we are exposing ourselves to and need to prevent from clogging up our unsuspecting organs especially our kidneys, livers, brain and skin.
It’s a silent and gradual bombardment on our organs, our chemistry and immune systems. And this is without including the dose of heavy metals and other inorganic chemicals we’ve got tucked away in our cells slowly accumulating and with the potential to wreak havoc.
It’s a gloomy intro. I know… and there is good news! Before we get to that though let’s recognise these invasions so we CAN and WANT to take action rather than continuing speeding along lifes super highway, expecting our bodies to soldier on, until we … crash.
Before a crash… here are 14 signs our bodies need help.
Many of us are suffering from ongoing ailments and illnesses we just can’t get on top of no matter how well we eat or live our lives. Or, we are functioning well but there are little clues that have quietly snuck into our being;
The body is infinitely clever and with the right tools and fuels it can eliminate toxins effectively on its own as long as our systems’ and elimination organs are in good shape and we take time to regularly rest and digest and tend and befriend.
Today our bodies must contend with insidious man made toxins that can be invisible and menacing in their design.
14 simple things we can do.
Here’s a reminder and if you’re not already doing them just choose one or two;
There are 2 clear strategies I work on to boost immunity.
1. Nurture your good bugs.
When this natural symbiotic relationship is strong and you have a healthy army of bugs, you have a great chance of keeping pathogenic infections at bay and therefore strengthening your immunity, naturally. You’ll know things are going well because digestion will be happy and regular and immunity good.
2. Nourish your cells.
It’s easier than you might think. Let’s assume you’re enjoying some wonderful nourishing foods. The other important question to consider is, ‘How well are you (and the children) absorbing all those wonderful nutrients those foods are providing you…?’
VERY simply when these two functions are going well – we are well.
The difficulty is there are many factors in our environment that can work against these two most natural immune building functions. And we may not even realise we have these factors working against us until we realise we’re not as healthy as we thought we were or our kids are ALWAYS sick.
27 tips to nurture your good bugs and nourish your cells. A checklist.
Whatever you’re not already doing, choose one or two ideas that make sense for you and begin, and importantly, have fun along the way;
1. Vitamin D. The sunshine & happiness vitamin. And instrumental for a healthy immune system. Enjoy a healthy dose of sunshine whenever you can. Cover up only when you need to. We need the sun.
2. Sleep. Approximately 10 – 14 hours for kids, depending on their age. 7 – 9 refreshing hours for adults.
3. Stress Less. Rest your nervous system. Allow for down time (schedule it in), play, have fun, get outdoors, be creative, let the kids get dirty, mediate, rest, do more of what you love and love what you do.
4. Fresh Air & Physical Activity. Keep your body, your systems and your cells moving and communicating.
5. Water. 1 – 2L filtered good quality water a day. Preferably mineralised.
6. Reduce or eliminate sugar, dairy and gluten. Especially dairy for sinus, colds or mucous generating infections. These foods can hamper immunity and feed pathogens. Avoid them when the bugs abound and reduce them as necessary.
7. Reduce processed, packaged foods. These too hamper immunity and disrupt strong digestion.
8. Evaluate simple carbohydrates, (including fruit). No more than 2 pieces of fruit a day.
9. Greens, glorious greens. Lots of them any which way you can. They’re cleansing, full of nutrients, feed the good bugs (act as a prebiotic) and are energising. A simple green smoothie is the best or something more medicinal like this medicinal spring smoothie.
10. Good fats & protein. Help to keep blood sugars stable. Including bone stocks regularly is a perfect food to be adding in these two macro nutrients, coconut oil or milk, organic ghee, eggs etc.
11. Whole foods. Especially herbs and spices. For example garlic, ginger, lemon, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme etc. Add your preferred herbs and spices to a cup, add warm water and allow to steep for a few minutes before drinking for a perfect immuni-TEA.
12. Eliminate trans fats. Baked goods, chips, margarines, cooking with vegetable oils.
13. Check toxin exposure or anything hampering optimum health. Personal and home cleaning products, radiation, EMF & chemical exposure, cookware, plastics, heavy metals, microbial infections etc. can all work at disrupting your immune system and more.
14. Fermented foods. Add them in regularly e.g. kefir, home made yoghurt or an authentic, sugar free brand, sauerkraut, miso paste, olives, capers etc.. And if you’re buying them, preferably buy unpasteurized.
15. Enjoy a good breakfast & lunch or afternoon tea / dinner and keep your blood sugars stable.
16. Own a pet. Research shows pet owners naturally have a stronger immune system.
17. Laugh often.
18. Detox or cleanse e.g. do a gentle cleanse, use an infrared sauna, keep your fascia and your lymphatic system moving, remove inflammatory foods and allow your body to rest and digest.
Supplement if you need a boost e.g;
19. Good quality cod liver oil or fish oil.
20. Probiotic (if you’re not fermenting foods).
21. Prebiotic e.g. inulin, psyllium husk, green vegetables (fibre), herbs preferably home grown.
22. Vitamin C, kakadu plum (gubinge), lemon myrtle or camu camu.
23. Zinc and Magnesium.
24. Responsibility. Take back control. Your health and your families health is in your hands.
25. Be consistent & patient. There is no quick fix.
26. Try therapeutic grade essential oils if they feel right for you. They smell amazing and are a perfect way to stimulate the senses. When we feel we heal.
27. If your or your families immunity is low work with your health practitioner to give it a boost. Within a matter of weeks you can notice a difference.
Kate’s immunity building resources:
Now you’re ready for your healthiest season yet!
What’s your favourite way to boost immunity? I’d love to hear.
I’ve been experimenting with different cleanses in the past year or so and am sharing my thoughts and why (if at all), you’d consider doing it.
7 things I’ve learnt cleansing;
I highly recommend cleansing to give our overworked digestive systems a much needed holiday. It creates an opportunity to really listen to our bodies and understand what food and lifestyle choices work for us as an individuals. For example, I realise how easy it is to over eat, and how my ‘mean girl’ thoughts can be tamed! Our mean thoughts are the thoughts we have that try to sabotage all the good work we’re building on to be better people and live our best lives! It’s our ancestral brains basic form of protection. Taming those thoughts are key to achieving our goals and building the life we’re meant for.
A cleanse can be taxing on our bodies both physically and mentally. To achieve our goals with as much ease and enjoyment as possible, I highly recommend being prepared and doing the research as to the type of cleanse that suits you as an individual both mentally and physically. It’s not for everyone.
The body is wonderfully designed to cleanse or detox naturally, the reality is today we are daily exposed to many different toxins and we need to support our bodies either with a regular cleanse or eating ‘more cleanly’ daily.
Three cleanses I’ve tried in the past year:
1. The Hungry for Change 3 day cleanse is a great introductory cleanse. I didn’t really feel hungry on it and it was easy to prepare for.
2. The pure glow 3 day juice cleanse. Set up by two gorgeous young girls in WA who make it super easy for you by delivering 3 days worth of juice to your door. This one you don’t need to be so organised for but… it’s a bit more hard core, so if you’re interested, definately block out your diary.
3. The Vitality Cleanse (5 days). Created by fellow Health Coach and ‘Health Fest-er‘, Anita Fredericks and her friend. It is in the pilot stage and due to be launched in November. I participated in the pilot that was run this week and really enjoyed it. It provides lots of support along the way, with a range of easy, nutritious recipes to get you through and keep you going. (I’ll forward details as the launch approaches).
And then try ‘eating clean’…
4. Eating Clean for 3 or 5 days (and perhaps for up to 2 weeks), takes well known ‘antagonists’ out of our diets e.g.
This is a gentle way to ‘cleanse’. See how you feel and then reintroduce the foods you’ve eliminated one at a time to see if there are any in particular you’re more sensitive too or have trouble digesting.
Pressed Earth. I recently found out about this company. Another convenient 3 day juice cleanse (which I haven’t tried yet), but have to mention as they are local and I spoke to one of the people involved and love the sound of it. Two young guys who distribute fresh cold pressed juices to your door, made locally here in Mosman Park. They are starting to deliver fresh juices to cafes in the area too. Watch out for this wonderful service and product. To find out more visit them on Facebook too.
And for a brief summary on cleansing refer to this post from last year.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on cleansing?
I used to question why we should cleanse or detox. Don’t we have this amazing body with organs dedicated to the cause? The fact is in this day and age, in most of us, these organs are working extremely hard, trying to digest, absorb and eliminate particles that aren’t fully digested or are foreign to our bodies. These undigested or foreign particles can build up in our organs preventing or reducing their function and can make us less energetic, more anxious, or generally more susceptible to illness etc…
For me personally, after doing the Colorado Cleanse earlier in the year, I’m not into a full-on restrictive detox. Our bodies will detox well when fed good food, aided with a few tricks, so here they are (& there are bound to be more), this is a good start:
1. Get plenty of sleep with an early and smaller evening meal: our bodies detox through the night and work better if not having to digest too much.
2. Alkalise: foods like meat, sugar, caffeine, wheat, processed foods are very acidic – try eliminating some of these during a cleanse. All fruit and vegetables are alkalising, especially try liver cleansing foods like beetroot and milkthistle. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are very alkalising. Lemon juice in warm water first thing in the morning is a great way to alkalise.
3. Go greener: Greens are such an important part of our daily diet, and particularly if you’re cleansing. Kale, chard, spinach, brocolli, celery, and herbs like coriander and basil, whatever you can find in your garden or that’s local and in season.
4. Enjoy ginger: I love this plant! enjoy it raw or which way you prefer. Inlcude other great digestives like turmeric and cayenne pepper, also very alkalising. (Enjoy it while there’s still some local ginger available).
5. 3 meals a day: by eating 3 times a day, it helps burn off the food you eat and if weight is an issue you can start to burn through it.
6. Organic: if we’re trying to ‘lighten the load’ on our organs, it’s a good idea to reduce exposure to chemicals and toxins where you can.
7. Chlorella: This gets a special mention due to all it’s medicinal properties. Chlorella is a green algae with a high protein content and also rich in betacarotene, B complex vitamins, zinc and iron. It’s also high in nucleic acids, responsible for growth and repair of tissue. It helps cleanse the blood stream, liver and kidneys. It can promote the production of gut flora and is very alkalising.
8. Move: while cleansing it’s a good idea to exercise, do yoga, or get a massage – whatever suits you best. As toxins are released it’s important to keep your body moving to assist their elimination.
9. Water: Drink lots of it, it will help flush out toxins as they’re released. Or try sipping warm water every ten minutes through the day. This is an ayurvedic remedy that helps flush out the lymphatic system.
10. Time: Spring and Autumn are particularly good times of the year for cleansing. Whenever you decide to cleanse, the important thing is to have time to nurture your body and thereby support your immune system eg good sleep and having time to take it a bit slower… school holidays might work well for some! 3 days may be enough while 7 may work better for others. Listen to your body and do what works best for you.
At the end of the day – enjoy beautiful nutrient rich wholefoods and you won’t go wrong.
(This post was first published in October, 2011)