Worry… it’s (was) in my bones.
When I was a child I worried about playing with the purple crystals in the chemistry set, going to bed thinking I was going to die because I’d spilt it on myself. Worrying about my horse, worrying about my parents and that the minor disagreement they had at dinner… they were splitting up for sure! Later stressing out that I’d upset my friends with a comment or I was going to fail my exams etc. You might relate. However none of this prepared me for one of my most stressful and worrying stages of life… i.e. being a Mother and Parent.
Wow, the worries I created in my head, especially when they were babies (& I’ve got still got teenage years ahead of me)! How would they survive the night ahead let alone a few hours without me right there with them? For the Mums reading this I’m sure you can relate.
I realise now, for me, these stressors weren’t real. Rather, a self imposed, newly evolved type of anarchy within my own mind.
Note: My reference to stress is in regard to any thing that seriously threatens our homeostasis, (balance).
Knowing what I know now I would’ve been a lot kinder on myself and probably a better mother. No regrets though.
‘When the student is ready the teacher appears’ (or the lesson is heard) ~ Zen Proverb
What I’ve questioned as I’ve got older (and a bit wiser) is ‘what have I ever gained from worrying?’ As hard as it is to not worry, how has it ever helped resolve the situation or the issue at hand? (A reminder to self).
Even though stress responses are an adaptive process, ongoing or persistent worry and stress can create dis-ease.
Disease in our body is a lot more complex but very simply – along with nourishing our bodies deeply and eliminating toxicity – emotional health and managing stress (i.e. a balanced nervous system) is THE most important thing we can do for our energy, longevity, graceful ageing and joie de vivre.
When stress is activated it affects pretty much every system in our body.
Stress has many, many different guises and many we wouldn’t consider a stressor. Each stressor can weaken our ability to handle stress e.g. we snap at the family, fly off the handle, don’t sleep well, overreact etc. OR it creates a physical reaction in our bodies e.g. headache, loose bowels, sweaty, don’t feel hungry, sugar cravings, increased heart rate etc.
Whatever it is and irrespective of the cause, the body uniformly activates the stress response in the same way.
Here’s what we need to know about the impact of stress on our body and 13 different guises of stress…
Stress and Our Body. What We Need To Know;
1. Stress hormones e.g. cortisol and adrenalin are produced by the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the HPA (hypothalamic, pituitary and adrenal axis) making energy available for the body to use immediately.
Note: the hypothalamus sits inside the brain and links the nervous system to the hormonal system via the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain, just below the hypothalamus, to which it is attached via nerve fibres. Our adrenals sit on top of our kidneys.
2. Energy is diverted to the tissues that become more active during stress i.e. the muscles and the brain. Less critical activities are put on hold e.g. digestion and the growth and sex hormones.
With the change in chemistry that comes with stress, eating, growth, and reproduction go into a form of ‘shut down’ mode to ensure survival.
When stress is a one-off it can be considered ‘a good thing’ i.e. eustress, however much of the stress we experience today is persistent with long term damaging consequences.
Causes of persistent stress and it’s many guises;
In addition to the above in isolation, with our constant exposure to pollutants and toxicity, less than ideal eating patterns and the busyness of our modern lives, most of us are not just dealing with one stressor, but many. Our bodies and our brains are not coping. We are experiencing low energy, overwhelm, disrupted sleep, digestive issues, mental illness, auto-immune issues, hormonal diseases and chronic illness.
We’re familiar with most of the causes listed above and we’re acting on it or them in some way. There are others however that we’re not familiar with and that are placing a constant stress on our bodies. Perhaps choose one or two that you know or you haven’t yet explored e.g. investigating heavy metal toxicity with hair tissue analysis or slowing down enough to discover your true purpose or work more on limiting beliefs with a qualified practitioner. Begin to make the preventative changes you need to make now before stress forces you to STOP & listen and manifests into something far more chronic and debilitating.
We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain and the best part is it’s in our control.
It’s a very big topic and we go into it in more detail at my next workshop ‘Redefining Stress’ this week on Thursday 25th of May. Jill Dare and I will be giving practical and simple ways to alleviate stress and improve energy, joy, longevity and overall wellbeing while looking at how to get to the core of stressful beliefs. If managing stress is something you know you need to do, join us for an engaging and practical session with simple ways to ‘Redefine Stress’, this Thursday 25th May, 9:30am – 11:00am.
And I’m excited to have Toni Everard, Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner and Life Coach joining me for my online workshop of ‘Redefining Stress’ the following Tuesday 30th of May at 7:00pm WA time! I did a short interview with Toni and Jill last week, chatting about what we’ll be sharing, find our videos on my Facebook page. Register for either workshop at https://www.katebarnes.com.au/workshops-events/
‘To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world’
~ Bill Wilson
A while ago I had a conversation with the kids while driving to school. I can’t remember the full context of it but we were running late and I had some work on I wanted to get to, when the kids grumpily said, ‘all you care about is your work’! It was a comment that made me stop mid flow. We pulled up at school and I looked at them and said… ‘my work is important to me but my most important job is being your Mum and it’s a job I take very seriously….’ I can’t remember what else I said, however the look from my youngest is etched in my mind… It was a look of adoration with a loving smile on his face. Nothing else had to be said and the conversation stopped.
I’d never said anything like that to them before so how would they know how much I value being their Mum?
It made me realise that one of the few ways our kids understand that being a parent, especially a primary caregiver, is an important role to have is by telling them and showing them. We teach them how to read, write, use their manners, the value of money, of getting a job etc. What about parenting and mothering?
One day it’s likely they’ll be parents and mothers, I’d like our kids to value their new role, to know the privilege and importance it bestows and that it’s something they can be very proud of and enjoy whole heartedly.
The statement, ‘I’m just a Mum’, is a real term alive and well in our homes and communities. I’ve said it myself! We all do and have done. Even if we don’t mean to marginalise the role of being a Mum, subconsciously it does.
I think the belief begins at home and it begins with us, as Mums. I’m not suggesting we add more responsibility to the heavy load we already carry, but rather to remember and be strong in the knowledge that shaping the lives of future generations and citizens IS an important job. It’s a tiring, thankless job at times yet there is no one that can do it better than we can or our family can. So that kind of makes it one of the best jobs in the world too!
I know it starts with me. If I’m not proud of the role I have or if I don’t value it how can my children?
Which is also why it’s so important to take time out to refuel and recharge, especially when children are little and we’re more tired from lack of sleep and we’re running on empty. If we’re not looking after ourselves and taking time to do more of what makes us happy, how can our children or our families be happy? And how can they look forward or prepare themselves for that most important job in the world, being a Mum?
For more inspiration to help navigate motherhood and reignite your joy of life, visit my 21 day vitality reset – Get up & Glow with Kate at https://www.katebarnes.com.au/getup&glowwithkate
‘We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home’ ~ Australian Aboriginal Proverb
Gubinge in the Nyul Nyul language of the Kimberley in Western Australia, has one of the highest known contents of Vitamin C on the planet! Incredibly good for our immunity.
Our native plants e.g. bush rosemary, desert lime, davidson plum, kadadu plum or gubinge commonly have an extraordinary amount of medicinal nutrients. Perhaps their evolution across predominantly harsh conditions and their high tolerance for heat, drought, salinity etc has equipped them with a unique intensity of nutrients, in particular antioxidants such as Vitamin C (that help fight cell damaging free radicals).
For example, let’s take a closer look at the kakadu plum or Gubinge…
Gubinge has been used by indigenous Australians for healing and strengthening for thousands of years. It is said they’d take it on long hunting expeditions as it was considered as medicine more than food. The sap and the bark was used to treat skin conditions, sores and as a tea for sickness.
It’s a small green fruit with a slightly sour taste that goes by many other names including, the bush plum, the billygoat plum, and murunga.
Gubinge truly is Natures Medicine.
1. Vitamin C. The incredible thing about Gubinge is it’s vitamin C content. At 1000-5000 mg of vitamin C per every 100 grams of the fruit, gubinge contains over 5% vitamin C by weight. This is about 50 times more vitamin C than an orange, making it a fabulous whole food, that includes all the additional cofactors (nutrients to help with absorption), to be adding into our diets and to help boost our immunity naturally. And check out this article for more great reasons to be including vitamin C in our diets.
Vitamin C is one of the first nutrients to go when undergoing stress, smoking, drinking alcohol, medications or engaging in any other stress inducing activities. When this happens, our immune systems are compromised. Taking vitamin C or foods high in Vitamin C helps give our immune systems a much needed boost.
2. Antioxidants and Phytonutrients. Gubinge contains even more antioxidants than blueberries, making it one of the most remarkably high-antioxidant foods available and we know of.
‘Edith Cowan University’s Foundation of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease explains that the Kakadu plum contains antioxidant properties possibly up to seven times greater than curcumin, which is what places turmeric so high on the list of superfoods. The foundation states that the Kakadu plum has a protective ability that may make it even more powerful than turmeric’ (Dr Joshua Axe).
That’s all well and good, but HOW do we source these wonderful foods and how do we use them?!
Gubinge is becoming more readily available and I’ll be sharing lots more about it and simple ways to use it, even for sensitive kids in my workshop next week. I’ve also shared a list of suppliers below.
As for other incredible foods to boost our immunity, most of them can be found in our local supermarket or farmers market, a much cheaper alternative to Doctors visits and medications. At my next workshop, ‘Building Strong Immunity in Little Bodies‘ I’m sharing what those key foods are, plus common, natural foods that can also feed illness unknowingly, loads of quick recipes and remedies, all packaged up into a neat mini book to take home with you and use straight away!
Come and join me at ‘Building strong immunity in little bodies‘ either online or sample some delicious, immune boosting produce at my morning tea! y u mmm. I hope you can join me.
FYI businesses supplying indigenous foods online include;
Australian Desert Lime. http://www.australiandesertlimes.com.au
Dandelion Eco Store. https://dandelionecostore.com.au
The Australian Superfood Company http://austsuperfoods.com.au
‘The food we eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison’.
~ Ann Wigmore.
HOW do we really know if WHAT we’re eating is either powerful medicine or a slow poison?
It’s incredibly difficult.
Take for example what came up for me this past week. You may have seen it too.
‘Low gluten diets linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes‘, was the attention grabbing headline.
The opening paragraph read,
‘Eating more gluten may be associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Sessions’.
It immediately got me questioning my long held beliefs around gluten. In all my research what have I missed?
And WHY question the findings of a well qualified research fellow, ‘Geng Zong, Ph.D., from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts’?
I read on, looking for the science behind the findings in the article and to understand the research myself. There wasn’t any.
Okay then how about the study itself? A quick search for the actual study was ‘fruitless’ (pun intended)! I didn’t find it.
After reviewing the article, I found the devil in the detail, and it made me furious. It again confirms the continuing deceit and misleading information we are fed and lead to believe by corrupt researchers and powerful profit hungry corporations.
So before breaking out the Weetbix and celebrating this ‘new’ research, here’s what I found when I took a closer look and dug a little deeper.
If you haven’t already, you might like to read the article first and form your own views, fyi there were many articles written on the study, this is just one.
The key points;
1. ‘Gluten free foods often have less dietary fibre and other micronutrients’.
While the article doesn’t define what the ‘gluten free foods’ are, it is most likely referring to packaged gluten free foods. It can’t be referring to fruits, vegetables and real food in it’s natural, whole form because they’re naturally packaged full of wonderful healing nutrients.
So the foods they must be referring to are not what I call ‘food’, in that they are highly refined and consequently need flavour added e.g. sugars and vegetable oils, additives and preservatives and yes, they are void of nutrients.
The assumption is that when study participants removed gluten, they removed important nutrients. In my experience however, most people adopting a healthier lifestyle will opt for more whole foods and less packaged foods i.e. adding in MORE nutrients not less. I assume the objective of the study wasn’t to look at HOW to improve health.
Which brings us to the next point…
2. ‘Those who ate the most gluten had lower Type 2 diabetes risk during thirty years of follow-up’.
For the study participants eating less gluten & with higher risk of T2 diabetes, what were they eating in place of gluten? Were they eating more healthy whole foods or more packaged and refined foods? The article doesn’t tell us this.
3. In the study of 199,794 participants, who all had some gluten in their diets ranging from 5.8 – 7.1g of gluten. fyi an average slice of whole wheat bread “contains around 4.8 grams of gluten” (source, coeliac.com), 15,947 cases of Type 2 diabetes were confirmed’. This equates to 12.5% of study participants who were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. What does this mean?
I checked the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In Australia one million people (4.4%) had Type 2 diabetes in 2014-15.
Either way, 12.5% of participants in the study diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is still high.
4. The study research was conducted over the time period 1984-1990 to 2010-2013, what happened in the gap of 10 years between studies?? We know illness isn’t something that happens over night. It takes years in the making. The missing data in those 10 years could be significant and have influenced the results. We don’t know.
5. Healthy lifestyle choices make a big difference to Type 2 diabetes. There is no reference to any level of lifestyle activity the study participants may have or may not have done.
6. The concluding paragraph in the article states, ‘Study participants reported their gluten consumption and the study was observational, therefore findings warrant confirmation by other investigations. Also, most of the participants took part in the study before gluten-free diets became popular, so there is no data from gluten abstainers’.
After all that, further confirmation is needed! And wouldn’t it be good to know the incidence of Type 2 diabetes is in those abstaining from gluten completely?
Another important consideration.
Who funded the study by Geng Zong, PhD? University research quite often requires funding from outside sources. I couldn’t find this out either.
The study was presented to the American Heart Association (AHA), similar to the Australian Heart Foundation, it’s sponsors are a the ‘who’s-who’ of corporate and industry giants. With links to big business, the AHA is hardly in a position to share information that upsets their lucrative financial relationships – are they? The AHA shares a list of sponsors here and here.
If I sound cynical, its because I am – with my personal experience and many years studying information such as this, I sense a snippet of data has been pulled from a large study to satisfy the business imperatives of large corporations who are maybe or maybe not, just a little concerned about the global shift to gluten free living.
This article raises more questions than answers for me, and despite the qualifications cited, is inconclusive in its findings.
On face value the article tells us low gluten diets are linked to diabetes, implying we’d better all start eating gluten to avoid diabetes. However when we take a moment to look more closely at the information and what’s being said or what is NOT being said then the research actually doesn’t tell us much and is flawed.
Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is butter simmered for a long time to remove the water and milk fats, leaving it with a high smoke point (i.e. it can be heated to a much higher temperature before going rancid i.e. butter has a smoke point of approx. 180 degrees celsius and ghee a smoke point of about 240 degrees celsius. A big difference and making ghee more versatile to cook with.
Ghee is rich in fat soluble vitamins A, D and E, which are important for our immunity and much more.
Other benefits of Ghee include;
And… it’s so easy to make! Check out the recipe here.
Enjoy ghee in baking, sautéing, cooking, melted over steamed veggies and so much more. As with all animal products, just make sure it’s organic.
I blissfully believed we’re uniquely designed to efficiently eliminate toxins. Our bodies, finely tuned machines that silently and almost miraculously metabolise, absorb, digest, detox and eliminate without question. And they are.
After having children my protective mama instinct kicked in and I started paying closer attention to what we were eating and exposing ourselves to. I researched, read and asked questions. I became curious.
What I learnt shocked me. While our bodies are brilliantly designed and miraculously efficient, they are carrying a very heavy toxic burden both physically (especially in our children), and emotionally.
How can this be?
We are exposed to far more toxins than we realise.
The two most common sources I’m aware of;
A gloomy picture? Not really. I share this reminder to create awareness, not alarm.
As they say, with knowledge comes power, but I believe when it comes to our health with knowledge comes freedom. Freedom from fear of illness.
‘When we nourish and detox our bodies deeply and quieten our overactive nervous systems, fear of illness can become a distant foe and freedom a welcomed friend’
Illness doesn’t happen overnight. There are silent clues our body gives us everyday – quietly telling us what it needs. But in our busy lives and disconnect from nature and her rhythms it can be hard to stop or slow down enough to actually tune in and listen.
14 signs we need to detox:
My top 7 simple and effective detox strategies;
If you’re not already doing these, try adding in one or two and start making them part of your day;
When I look after myself, I’m a happier person and every area of my life improves. And importantly for me, I’m a better role model to my children. However with children, work, running the home and life, it’s not always easy.
One way I get to do this is with my ‘Gentle Cleanse’. Which kicks off again on Monday the 26th of February, with the optional pre cleanse starting on Monday the 19th of February. If you’ve already done the cleanse with me, it’s a nominal amount, so no excuses.
Kelly says, “I’ve been to 3 health retreats on the east coast which were very expensive and I’ve found I’ve got the same results with Kate’s cleanse at a fraction of the cost!… It is extremely good value for money.”
Each time I do A Gentle Cleanse I learn more about what my body needs for optimum wellbeing, it’s the perfect kickstarter, we don’t go hungry and it’s easy to do.
As one cleanser shared, ‘it’s a mini retreat in my own home’!
In AGC we:
We are all very busy, but if we don’t have our health what do we have?
I’ve made sure that a gentle cleanse is easy. Doable. Great value for money and works, even for those of us working full time and are super busy.
Enjoy a taste of A Gentle Cleanse here
When asked if cleansers would do ‘A Gentle Cleanse’ again? 100% say ‘YES’!
We’re always more likely to achieve things when we do it with others. The accountability, encouragement is amazing and it’s more fun together. Most of my clients are already joining me, will you join us too? Register at https://www.katebarnes.com.au/a-gentle-cleanse-with-kate/
Note: If you’re suffering from a chronic illness, pregnant or breastfeeding, the cleanse is not for you at this time. If you have any questions contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stomach acid is our first line of defence in protecting our bodies against pathogens. It is fundamental for our overall wellbeing and often neglected.
Stomach acid has 3 critical functions. It helps with;
When HCL (hydrochloric acid) is low, the food in our stomach is not digested efficiently, and the food can linger longer than it is should, this can result in fermentation and the imbalance in acid. Or if you feel nausea after eating meat or discomfort or you have trouble digesting fats – it may be stomach acid is too low.
Low stomach acid is common, even in our children.
Low stomach acid can be common for people who have suffered infections of H.Pylori or who have been on antibiotics and other medications, experience chronic stress or are carrying a toxic load. Low stomach acid can then set the scene for damage to the delicate lining of the digestive tract which can then lead to the formation of leaky gut (a condition where the intestinal lining can become porous allowing larger, undigested food particles and / or toxins to flow freely into the blood stream and that normally aren’t allowed through).
As it’s our first line of defence, if it’s too low, it may leave our digestive systems open for microbial infections e.g. parasites. Read my post on how to cleanse parasites here.
Symptoms that can be associated with low stomach acid;
Some causes of low stomach acid;
These symptoms could also relate to other health conditions, stomach acid (HCL) is just one thing to consider and fortunately, there are many natural ways to increase HCL in the stomach – simply.
7 steps to improve low stomach acid.
1. Ginger Pickle
I love referring to the simple power of traditional wisdom and food. This is a recipe I came across from Christa Orrecio at the Whole Journey, with a nod to ayurvedic wisdom. Check it out below in ‘Kitchen Medicine’.
2. Ingest Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has a very low pH i.e. it’s very alkalising and can help balance the acidity in the stomach. Make sure it’s a good quality. We use the ‘Braggs’ brand. Use it before meals. As with anything use it in moderation. Just as we can be too acidic, we can also be too alkaline.
3. Enjoy garlic.
Garlic contains a substance called Allium that helps prevent ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (h. pylori) bacteria. It can also help with other microbial infections.
4. Decrease the amount of acidic type foods.
Foods such as coffee, tea, sugar, alcohol and hot sauces and fried foods can all deplete our levels of HCL and thin the gut lining.
5. Manage Stress!
This is so important as it’s so easy to carry stress in todays world – especially for busy Mums. Stress, especially chronic or ongoing stress can leave the body acidic. Meditation, breath work, yoga, massage, enjoying more time outdoors is great for calming the body and managing stress.
6. Chew food.
So often we are racing through life, and we don’t take time to chew our food. Be mindful and take time to really enjoy, savour and chew your food. It needs to be fully chewed before swallowing. And if you have little children around, they are awesome at this. Watch and learn from our littlest teachers.
7. Eat smaller meals especially in the evening.
If we’re eating very large meals, we’re not going to allow our body to heal and fully digest and absorb the food, especially in the evening. Try smaller meals if need be and a lighter meal in the evening to allow the body to rest and repair through the night rather than working on digesting.
8. Add in foods high in zinc.
Zinc is a trace mineral (a mineral needed in smaller amounts) that’s needed to help in the manufacture of stomach acid. If we are low in zinc, (which is common nowadays) then it could mean our stomach acid isn’t at the right levels. Foods high in zinc include; organic beef and lamb, oysters, yoghurt and dairy kefir, cashews, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, spinach, chicken, sesame seeds.
If you have a health condition you haven’t been able to get to the bottom of and you haven’t yet considered stomach acid, could it be the missing link? Please get in touch for a consult or with your health practitioner, especially if it’s autoimmune, thyroid or adrenal related.
‘why stomach acid is good for you’ Jonathan Wright, MD & Lane Lenard, PhD
Dr Michael Ruscio
‘Nothing will change unless you do’ ~ Maya Angelou
I recently hosted a workshop, ‘Simple Steps to Gluten Free Living’ and there were many great questions, however there were two questions that stood out in terms of the enthusiastic discussion they created. They apply not just to taking gluten out of our diets, they can apply to any new dietary or lifestyle choice we want (or need) to make.
Here are some thoughts. I hope it helps…
Qu. 1. How do I get my partner on board’?.
Having our partners support definitely accelerates results and makes things a whole lot easier. But if yours isn’t on board, don’t let it hold you back. We all find the answers we’re looking for in our own time. As the old saying goes, ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’. If you feel resistance from those close to you, just know they will find any answers they’re looking for when they’re ready and in their way.
In saying that a couple of things that really help show that perhaps there is another way include;
Sharing practical and deep knowledge. I love sharing inspiring documentaries and books and interviews with leading scientists and researchers – very compelling and hard to ignore. Great for ‘planting the seed’ and allowing them to discover new ideas and answers e.g. the two documentaries, “Hungry for Change” and “Food Matters” are great documentaries to start with. They’re both available on netflix or watch online at FMTV. ‘Cereal Killers’ is another one I recommend, especially for the physically active husbands and teenagers. Rent it online at http://cerealkillersmovie.com.
Strategies, recipes and tips that are practical, make sense and simple to implement are super important. Something I believe in and hope you find scattered throughout my work and website.
Getting results. This is the best way. Continue on your path with the choices you’re making e.g. more movement, giving up gluten, reducing dairy and sugar, more healthy fats, no processed foods, lots of green smoothies etc. Whatever it is, stay true to what you believe and when you release weight, sleep better, bounce out of bed or the kids are better behaved, sleep through the night, eat a wider variety of foods etc, they’ll begin to wonder what’s going on? And hopefully… take notice.
Qu. 2. My family and I don’t show any symptoms, in fact I feel great, do I need to change’?
This is such a good question. And the simple answer is No. Why should we when we don’t present with symptoms? However it’s not so clear cut. The symptoms / clues indicating we need to make a food or lifestyle change are wide and varied and often subtle – things that you may have even got used to as being normal. We may not think symptoms are related to the food we’re eating or the products we’re exposing our bodies to but until we experiment with removing these potentially inflammatory foods or toxins – you’ll be surprised …
And unless the symptom is addressed and the body either better nourished or cleansed, that innocuous symptom will manifest into another symptom or more and perhaps far more debilitating. So do you feel great, or are you used to a new norm. of feeling under par?
Symptoms we can brush off range from minor digestive complaints, a little eczema through to a bit less energy, headaches, stubborn weight loss or minor skin irritations. While seemingly unrelated, they can all potentially relate to food or lifestyle choices in some way.
For example in regard to gluten sensitivity a couple of things that we may not be aware of;
Change can be difficult, but as Bronwen Sciortino from She IQ Life, shared with me recently, ‘if our WHY is strong enough i.e. the reason we WANT or NEED to change, then that’s what we need to continually remind ourselves of’ and commit.
The other thing about change is the intention of the act is often worse than the action itself i.e. the thought of making change, connecting with old feelings or thoughts of what ‘might’ happen or how we ‘might’ feel stops us from taking action. Once we take the action it’s often far better than we imagined e.g. jumping into the cold ocean water. Yet it feels SO good afterwards or that going gluten free (or starting a cleanse) can actually taste delicious and FEEL good!
Wherever we’re at, start with one or two new choices at a time and perhaps think of it as an experiment. When it works and we intuitively know it’s the right thing to do, tune into our WHY (i.e. why we’re doing this) and commit 100% to reap the benefits of what we sow.
Next Tuesday the 14th of February, 2017 is my online workshops, ‘Simple Steps for Gluten Free Living’ register;
The human race has been evolving as one of the most successful species on the planet for approximately 6 million years. Our form today as Homo Sapiens has been around for only 200,000 years.
Research is showing that over the last 10,000 – 20,000 years our brains and our frames are shrinking. Brain size is usually relative to body size. While our European ancestors may have been smaller around 500 years ago, go back further and we were taller.
Evolution is ‘the gradual development of something’. If our brains are shrinking in size, they are not developing.
As a human species are we de-evolving?
How we ate and lived (lifestyle factors) had a major impact on developing our very large brains and our strong structures.
What’s happened in the past 10 – 20,000 years that could be changing our evolution?
With all these significant changes in the past 10,000 years in a very short period of time in our long evolution, have our physical and emotional bodies been able to keep up or adapt with the same relatively rapid pace? Perhaps not.
Each point above shares either an emotional or physical change to our environment, supporting the relatively new evolutionary theory of epigenetics. For anyone unfamiliar with this term, briefly, Epigenetics literally means “above” or “on top of” genetics. It refers to external modifications to our DNA that turns genes “on” or “off.” e.g. lifestyle factors, including physical and emotional. These factors do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells “read” genes. A theory that disrupts the popular Darwinian theory of evolution and that our genes are our destiny. We have more control over our wellbeing than we’ve been led to believe.
So here are a few simple suggestions to reconnect with our bodies evolutionary wisdom, nourish our bodies deeply and be well;
What small step or big step will you take to reconnect with your bodies inner wisdom and continue your most natural evolution?
note: the image above was found here.
How familiar are you with the word ‘microbiome’? …
Going back 5 years, it was a rare word and not one I’d come across. Fast forward to today, unless you’ve been on a deserted island, it’s likely you’ve heard of it and for good reason.
This ‘invisible organ’ is at the heart of our wellbeing and quite possibly shaping our evolution.
In my research I was struck by just how fundamentally important these microscopic bugs are to our existence. Let’s discover exactly WHAT the microbiome is and WHY we need to start paying it a lot more attention.
Together, these tiny bugs work extremely hard on our behalf and in all that I’m learning, deserve deep respect. So much so, I wonder if this microbiome of ours, has and is, quietly guiding our evolution?
1. We need their genes. While the genes of our microbes give them ‘life’, their genes also help us survive, e.g.
The genes of our microbiome outnumber the genes of our very own body by about 100 to 1.
Consequently, it’s like we have two sets of genes! The ones we inherited from our parents and the other acquired i.e. our microbiome.
Geneticist, Seth Bordenstein says, “Arguably, the microbiota are as important as genes.”
2. An ancient relationship. Animals and microbes have lived together for as long as animals have been in existence and long before humans walked the earth.
Almost every cell in our body has a form of bacterial ancestry.
3. It changes within 24 hours. Our gut flora (microbiome) changes day to day, depending on what we’re exposing it to. We need to keep feeding it daily to maintain its healthy integrity. Changing our diet can change the composition of the bugs in our gut within 24 hours!
4. Diversity is the key. Generally, a lower diversity or different types of bacteria in our microbiome relates to an increased risk of disease’, ‘Increasing diversity reduces chances of disease e.g. inflammation’. Dr Justin Sonnenberg, Scientist.
“We’ve discovered that there’s this class of chemicals in the mother’s milk that is there, not for the baby to digest, but for the microbiota to digest. The mother actually laces her milk with a kind of dietary fibre that’s a class of molecules you can’t find anywhere else on the planet. They’re not even present in cow’s milk.” ~ Dr Justin Sonnenburg, Scientist.
Right from birth our bodies intuitively know how important it is to not only nourish our babies, but our babies bugs, our microbiome. Showing just HOW fundamentally important our gut flora is.
With our modern lifestyles and choices the diversity of this ancient and mutually beneficial relationship is steadily diminishing – perhaps along with our natural evolution as a species.
“Throughout our lives, we help shape our own microbiomes — plus they adapt to changes in our environment. For example, the foods you eat, how you sleep, the amount of bacteria you’re exposed to on a daily basis and the level of stress you live with all help establish the state of your microbiota” ~ Dr Axe.
Years ago, my Dad piled up this heap of dirt at the farm, especially for the grandchildren to play on. They still have hours of fun on it, plus it’s the perfect way to nourish their bugs – just as nature intended.
Eliminates toxins. Certain benefical bacteria can prevent or inactivate toxins released by harmful bacteria, from entering our blood stream. Some may also inactivate toxic molecules that we ingest.
Digests food and helps with colon and gut health. The majority of our gut microbes live in the colon and some of them specialise in fermenting fiber e.g. in legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and the byproducts of this activity helps to nourish the cells lining our colon.
Some bacteria produce a chemical that provides an energy source for our cells. It also helps to strengthen the connections between the cells of our intestinal lining, reducing the likelihood of a leaky gut.
Supports immune health. This is one of our microbiomes most important roles. Our gut microbes can teach the immune system to recognise and attack harmful invaders. It can determine how quickly we fight off illness e.g. a respiratory infection or the flu.
Anti-inflammatory function. Some bacteria release compounds that have a calming effect, preventing inflammation and keeping the immune system from overreacting.
Supports brain health. Bacteria in the intestine make some of the same molecules that are known to transmit signals in the brain e.g. serotonin (our happy hormone) and melatonin (our sleep hormone) – effecting our mood, behaviour and our sleep.
Increasing evidence supports the primary role of the gut microbiome in influencing stress-response patterns, most notably cortisol (stress hormone) production and its regulation.
Supports metabolic health. Along with what people are choosing to eat, there is more and more research showing the link between obesity, metabolic disease and the microbiome. With the diversity of our microbiome having a direct affect on our metabolism – the lower the diversity, the lower the metabolic rate, the lower the energy levels experienced.
In summary, the gut is our home to optimum health and our microbiome appears to be the heart of that home.
1. Mothers own healthy microbiomes, natural births and breastfeeding set the scene for passing on a healthy microbiome to our babies.
2. Our food and lifestyle choices and exposures.
For many of us, this introduction to life for our babies isn’t always possible, that’s okay, (and it wasn’t for my babies either). The body is incredible and the microbiome can be repopulated, keep reading as I share how…
Then what disrupts this complex and intimate system?
Loving our microbes is a fundamental strategy for disease prevention and for kick-starting our wellbeing. Thankfully it’s not hard. Infact, it’s easy, start with one new choice at a time.
3. Control chemical and toxin exposure
4. Move more
5. Sleep well
Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT): If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic digestive complaint or one you cannot find a solution to, perhaps investigate the possibility of an FMT. A procedure in which your microbiome is replaced with a donors microbiome.
Perhaps there are no good or bad bacteria. That potentially harmful microbes become dangerous once they ‘overpopulate’ or start to outnumber the more beneficial bugs, which can happen when any of the above factors are out of balance. Also consider that there is research that shows some of our so called harmful bugs may in fact have a role in stimulating a healthy immune system and also have a part to play in our microbiome.
While much of the science on the microbiome is in its infancy, the important role it has to play in our wellbeing is not. The microbiome has provided a beneficial relationship to our species for eternity.
What we expose our gut and our microbiome to is going to directly impact our vitality and our ability to ward off chronic illness. And many of these environmental exposures we CAN control. Our health is very much in our own hands.
By improving our diet, eating plenty of bug-loving foods and probiotics, lowering our stress, and exercising regularly, we can support our body’s microbiome, simply. Going to war against ‘bugs’ is not the answer, we need to respect the intimate relationship that we have evolved with them.
Whatever we are exposing ourselves to daily, let’s consider not only how it protects our physical body, but also how it protects our microbial community. In doing this we will protect our childrens futures and the natural course of our evolution at the same time.
What can you start doing today to nourish your microbiome better? Is it more time outside, opening the windows, eating more fibre rich foods? What will it be? Choose one and start enjoying adding it into your routine.