Why Self Love Is Critical For Your Health

Do you love yourself?

Self love is a bit like money. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t.  Sometimes you’ll do some work to develop self love and give yourself a big top up, but if there’s no maintenance the supply slowly dwindles until it dips back into the negative, and it takes double the work to get levels back up into the black.

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However, unlike money, no one can give you self love. 

If you don’t love yourself, you’ll likely:

  • Not believe compliments

  • Brush off achievements as luck

  • Not engage in self care because of a belief that you don’t deserve it

  • Identify as being a perfectionist

  • Not stand up for yourself

When you don’t have self love, it doesn’t matter what your life looks like, you’ll never be able to enjoy it because you won’t see the beauty in it.  You won’t see all that you have already, you’ll only see all the areas and pieces of yourself that you perceive you lack.

Self love isn’t one of those things that once you have it, you always have it.  Some people are like that.  But if it doesn’t come naturally to you, you will need to do things every day to keep your levels topped up and prevent that harsh self-talk from creeping back in and becoming overpowering.

This is important because these thoughts keep us in sympathetic nervous system dominance or ‘flight or fight’ mode.  This was demonstrated by a study by The University of Exetor and the University of Oxford which revealed that kind thoughts actually switch off this part of the nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system – the ‘rest and digest’ state.

The consequences of being in flight or fight mode include digestion being shut down leading to poor nutrient absorption and IBS issues, hormonal disruptions, weight gain and constantly feeling anxious and stressed.

So how do we get self love?

It has to come from within, and a great place to start is by becoming aware of what your thoughts towards yourself actually are.

Catch

Recognise your self talk, thoughts and behaviour patterns.  Do you criticise yourself harshly?  Do you push yourself?  Do you feel like you can’t take a break because you don’t deserve it?  Do you beat yourself up for little things like dropping a glass?

Challenge

Now challenge these thoughts with objective evidence.  Where is the evidence that dropping a glass makes you a failure?  Where is the evidence that you need to push yourself because you don’t deserve love?  Objective evidence is key here – look at the situation like you would if you were speaking with a close friend.  Would you tell your best friend they don’t deserve love?  So where is the objective evidence that this is true for you?

Change

Flip those negative thoughts into positive.  ‘I’m failing’ could become ‘I’m learning and growing’.  ‘My body is broken’ could become ‘my body is growing stronger every day’.  Affirmations can be really helpful here.

Then you need to have a system in place to maintain this, because no one can top up your self-love account for you. 

Choose 3 things that you will do each day to nurture yourself.  This could be something as simple as doing a 5 minute meditation each morning, going for a walk, playing some soothing music or eating a nourishing breakfast.

If you think you don’t have time, this comes back to that lack of self worth.  Is a clean floor really more important than your mental health?  When you look back on your life will you remember how clean the floor was or how much love you felt? 

No one should go through life feeling like they are a failure when in fact they are such an amazing, kind, caring and incredible person who is loved by so many. 

If you need support, my Modern Day Gut Wellness Program gives you everything you need to feel yourself again – more grounded, centred and whole.  Contact me today to find out more.

Gut Issues as an Identity

Do you ever feel a bit lost?

When we’re dealing with gut issues, it can almost feel like we lose our identity.  We become so limited in what we can eat and do because often our gut problems prevent us from being able to work to our full capacity, travel, see friends or even leave the house.  We seem to react to so many foods and we are so exhausted, self-conscious and just over it!

We can become like a shell in a sense that we feel isolated, moody and unlike ourselves in our thoughts and language patterns.  It impacts our relationships with others, and with ourselves. 

It’s like there’s a spark that’s gone out, a part of you that wants to express itself but can’t.  The part of you that wants to express love, joy and compassion but feels buried under all the pain, exhaustion and irritability.

It’s quite difficult to get out of this space, because how do you feel better when your body feels broken?  So, we naturally try to find the answer by asking ourselves questions like:

What should I do?

Should I try this new diet / these supplements / this latest craze everyone is raving about? 

Why am I like this?

It’s like there’s something that’s missing, something right in front of you that you can’t quite see, something you need to do which is the answer to everything.

It’s a bit like needing glasses.  You can see, but not clearly.  You need a lens to bring is all into focus so that you can see the way forward.

If you’re feeling lost, the most important thing is to get out of your own head, because you will inevitably go around and around in circles wondering what the answer is.  The brain will try to give you an answer, but if it doesn’t know what to do, it will do nothing.

The most effective way to do this is to bring the attention back into the body.  The brain is always rushing at a million miles an hour, but the body is always present.  Body work calms the nervous system and quietens the brain.  Ironically, it’s usually as soon as we stop thinking that we suddenly get the insight and know exactly what we need to do.

Body work doesn’t have to be time consuming.  It can simply be closing your eyes and taking 10 deep belly breaths with the exhales longer than the inhale.  Personally, I practice qi gong from YoQi on YouTube, meditate using Insight Timer and do yoga from Yoga with Adriene or Yoga with Kassandra on YouTube.  You don’t need to go on weekend long retreats to reap the benefits!

Also, what can you do that will make you feel more you?  Can you put on a song that you like and dance around the kitchen?  Can you catch up with a friend, start reading a new book, start the day with a fresh morning ritual?

These are the things that bring us back into the present, create that calm and inner peace and allow us to be the bright, energetic and cheerful people that we truly are underneath it all.

Why Does Gut Health Matter Today?

We hear about the importance of gut health a lot these days, but why does it really matter?  Why is this something that we need to make sure that we take care of now and prioritise it amongst everything else in our life that needs to be prioritised?

Aside from the impact that gut issues have on your life in the short term, there are also long-term consequences to leaving things until ‘the right time’.

If you have a gut problem, right now I’m willing to bet you’re putting up with a lot of things – fatigue, stomach upsets, bloating, pain, embarrassing symptoms, missing out on things, fear of eating out – all these things that happen when you’ve got an unhappy gut.

You’ve probably been to various doctors and tried many different tactics but haven’t found a solution.  Maybe you’ve realised by this point that you’re going to have to look outside the conventional medical system to get answers, but if you’re someone who is used to putting yourself last, this is going to bring up all sorts of resistance.

We all know that prevention is better than cure, but when it comes to our health it often takes a catalyst to act. 

Historically, if I need a doctor’s appointment, supplements or even a restorative yoga class I’ll procrastinate for weeks until things get ridiculous and I have no choice but to book it in, and in the meantime things are simmering away in the background getting worse and I’ve been feeling awful! 

However, if I’m worried about my dogs, I’ll rush straight to the vet and spend whatever is needed, no questions asked.

Gut issues aren’t an imminent threat to your life, so they often get pushed to the back of the list.  However, the reality is that there are long-term consequences to neglecting gut health. 

Dysregulation

The gut is lined with a complex intestinal barrier, and this is what keeps the gut bacteria and food particles inside the gut, where they should stay.  The balance of gut bacteria affects this intestinal barrier.  An overgrowth of bad bacteria and low levels of the good is called dysbiosis. 

Dysbiosis means that there has been a change in the gut bacteria that is causing harmful effects and is caused by many factors including poor diet, alcohol and stress. 

Dysbiosis is the root cause of many chronic disease states, and it also creates gaps in the intestinal barrier, causing bacteria and toxins to leak out into the blood stream.

Dysfunction

When the intestinal barrier is compromised, it is called intestinal permeability or more commonly, leaky gut.  The bacteria that leak out induce systemic inflammation in the body and damage body tissues and organs. 

It’s a bit like the cane toad problem in Australia – cane toads are useful in their natural habitat, but when they were brought to Australia, they attacked all the native animals, disrupted the ecosystem and have changed the face of the environment.

Disease

The correlation between leaky gut and autoimmune disease (AD) is an area of research which is advancing very rapidly. 

AD occurs when the body no longer recognises the difference between itself and invaders and attacks itself.  This is as a result of genetic and environmental factors, and the research indicates that leaky gut is also a cause of AD, rather than a consequence.

Research specifically links leaky gut with type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and SLE, amongst others.  The exact mechanism is unclear, but it is thought to be a combination of inflammation, overstimulation of the immune system and alterations to cellular signalling (resulting in confusion between body cells and invader cells).

My work is all about making sure things never get to this point.  I help you to fix your gut now and set you up so that you know what you need to do long term to feel healthy, happy and whole within yourself, and make sure that you live a long and independent life. 

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If you need support then reach out if you are ready, a chat costs nothing and if I can’t help you, I’ll be able to point you in the right direction!

References:

Abdelhamid, L., & Luo, X. M. (2018). Retinoic Acid, Leaky Gut, and Autoimmune Diseases. Nutrients10(8), 1016. doi:10.3390/nu10081016

Mu, Q., Kirby, J., Reilly, C. M., & Luo, X. M. (2017). Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases. Frontiers in immunology8, 598. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00598

Campbell A. W. (2014). Autoimmunity and the gut. Autoimmune diseases2014, 152428. doi:10.1155/2014/152428

Breaking the cycle to use food to heal

Have you ever wondered why junk food tastes so good?  Or why you get cravings for things like Maccas, chocolate, cake, chips etc?

It’s in our DNA.  Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar, salt and fat because these are a concentrated source of energy, and our bodies need energy to perform all their functions like keeping your heart beating, blood moving, breathing and all the rest of it.  Historically, food was scarce and so we needed to crave these substances because it motivated us to keep finding food and keep us alive.

Things have rapidly changed, and we now have an excessive amount of food available to us.  However, our bodies aren’t aware of this abundance and still operate as though there is a famine coming.

The big food corporations are very aware of this genetic driver.  They have spent thousands of dollars or maybe even more in identifying the exact combinations of sugar, fat and salt to use in their products that will keep us coming back for more.  We literally get addicted to these foods, and we know that the brain reacts similarly to sugar as it does to cocaine. 

Even if we try to eat healthy, labelling is confusing and the marketing plays on our weaknesses. I’ve seen things like rice crackers with added ‘vegetables’. They are still rice crackers!

The saying ‘you are what you eat’ has been around forever - and we can see the truth of this in the myriad of chronic health problems we are now facing. High fat, high sugar diets, chemicals and antibiotics kill off good bacteria and we end up with digestive issues and things like leaky gut. This is very common, with 50% of Australians complain about some form of digestive disorder within a 12 month period.

So how do we break the cycle?

It comes back to how we view food, because our dollar drives the food industry. If you see it as a source of nourishment and healing, then that’s what you will use it as.  But if food is viewed as something that must be cheap first and good for us second, then that’s how it will be.

Importantly though, it’s also about the value that you place on yourself.  When you value yourself, you’re more likely to make healthier food choices for yourself.

Yes, organic food is more expensive.  But it represents the true cost of producing food and the hard work that goes into it.  It’s much better for your body and mind, and when you feel good, you are able to enjoy life more and do all of those things that you really want to, whether that’s simple things like being present with your family.  The food you eat goes directly to the gut, so it has the biggest impact on what happens with your gut health.

It’s a gradual process – start small. There’s a great website ewg.org which has a list of the top twelve foods that contain pesticide residue, so you could start there.  Investigate your local farmer’s market options and become conscious of where your food is coming from.

I realise that we all have a lot on our plate and to think about food can feel overwhelming.  But is it more overwhelming than the thought of still having the same gut issues a year from now?  It’s a case of making an investment into your health now, so that you can get back more time and freedom for your future. 

If you want to fix the problem, it must be corrected at its source.  And the source is the food that we eat.

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Using food to heal

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The Essential Step in the Gut Healing Journey

There’s two big pieces in the gut healing journey that need to be addressed for you to be successful.

Firstly, it’s getting the diet right - for you. Even healthy foods are not healthy for everyone, so it’s really important that we work out exactly what is causing a reaction in your unique body. It’s about giving your body the food it needs to help you achieve your health goals - for example, reduce bloating. It’s like a personal trainer writing you up a training regime to help you reach a fitness goal that you would like to achieve.

The next part is all about what you choose to do with the information.

I want you to know that there is no judgement here.  I’m bringing this up because this is where I fall down.  I’ve done plenty of testing on myself, experimented many different diets and supplements, and I know all the things I need to do.  Do I do them?  Not if I don’t feel like it!

But this is a big reason that it took me so long to heal from my gut issues. I didn’t follow through on the advice I was getting, or listen to the messages that my body was giving me. If you can do both of these things, you’ll accelerate your healing.

So why don’t we do the things we know we should do?

It comes back to our belief systems.  You may not even consciously know that you hold these beliefs, but, for example, you might subconsciously believe that you don’t deserve to be happy because of something you haven’t forgiven yourself for in the past. Or maybe you believe that you will always have gut issues, because this is what the evidence has shown you so far.

Our beliefs then determine our actions, and this will affect your outcomes. So, at the end of the day, if you believe it will always be a problem – it will be.

The gut healing journey begins with you.  It begins by exploring your belief systems, getting clear on what you really want for your gut health and being honest about how you might self-sabotage yourself in the process.

I read a quote once that said ‘If you want a better outcome, tell a better story’.  I can’t remember where I saw it.  But it’s true.  What stories are you telling yourself about you and your health, and what do you want to start telling yourself instead?

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The Three Key Aspects to Overcoming Gut Issues

I’ve been thinking lately about the gut healing journey. I’ve been thinking about my own experience, the experiences my clients have been having, and the experiences I’m sure that many of you are having.

From what I can tell, there are three pivotal moments in the journey to overcoming gut issues.

Firstly - you start gathering information. You might get the information from a professional, friend or family member, or you jump on Google and find out everything you can about your situation. You gather information about diet, lifestyle, different symptoms and what they mean, gut healing supplements and all the rest of it. You could probably write a book you’ve gathered so much information!

Once you have all this information, you can start experimenting with different things and testing out what works for you. This is where you start to get some insights. The insights might be positive, and you find something that works, or they might be negative, and you keep finding things that don’t work. Either way, your understanding starts to increase. However, what often happens is that you keep hitting a dead end or reach a plateau, which is very frustrating. Many people get stuck here.

The final point of the gut healing journey is when you are able to develop intuition around what’s happening in your body and why, and what your body needs from you to be able to heal.

It took me a long time to get to this point. For me, as Mrs Independent, I wanted to do everything on my own, and I thought that because I had studied then I didn’t need help. But we simply can’t see all aspects of what’s going on unless we have someone to help us reach those crucial moments of insight. We really need someone to look from the outside in to get those breakthrough moments that eventually lead us to being able to intuitively feel out what’s going on, and what we need to do about it.

So wherever you are on your journey, know that there is always a brighter future awaiting you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help - we are here on this planet together to help each other, and you deserve to create the freedom and happiness you need to be able to have the experiences you really want from life.

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The Quickest Way to Transform Your Gut Health

Often, we can get stuck in a rut with our gut symptoms because we aren’t doing the thing we know we need to (or stop doing).

We’ve all got things going on, and when our gut symptoms aren’t life threatening I think we can often just put up with it. Or, we find excuses not to take action (time, money etc). But, the quickest way to transform your gut health is really to take action in the area that your brain keeps directing you to.

Maybe you’re continually eating something you know doesn’t agree with you but it’s just easier in a time management sense to eat that way, maybe you eat even when you are not hungry and then feel sick later, maybe you know you should go to the doctor about an issue but don’t.

Then, we might feel guilty, beat ourselves up and perhaps also question why we can’t stop or start something which often leads to harsh self-talk. And because life is so busy, things will keep going on and suddenly it’s been three months and you haven’t taken action on the thing you know you should. And so the cycle continues.

So how do we break the cycle?

Everything we do comes from a belief that we have about ourselves or about life. Most of the time we don’t even know what those beliefs are. The important thing though, is to work out where you aren’t taking the aligned action, and why.

Here are some journal prompts for you:

What is one thing I am doing, or not doing, that I know I should?

What is preventing me from taking the action I know is right?

If these challenges didn’t exist, what would I do?

What support will I get to help me take this step?

Then take action straight away, no matter how small, otherwise this will remain an activity with no real outcome.

This exercise brings awareness to the areas of your health you need to tend to, and how you can move forward in this area. You can create new cycles by breaking the old one, which will help you to be more kind to yourself, listen to your intuition and stay motivated to look after yourself in the way you really want to.

How to go from confusion to clarity

Do you feel continually held back by the state of your gut health? Click on the image below to download your free copy of my Ultimate Guide to Alleviating Gut Grief and get a system to help you get more free time, more choice and more certainty.

 
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How to Transform Gut Confusion into Clarity

So you want to improve your gut health, and you’ve started down that path.  Fantastic!

Let say, for example, you’re trying out some dietary changes which have been recommended to you.  You implement most of them, and things are going really well!  You’ve got more energy, your symptoms have settled down and you’re feeling good.  But then one day you wake up and feel awful, have an upset stomach, maybe you feel nauseous and exhausted.

How frustrating to have started to see improvements and then have a huge setback like this.  It can feel like things will never get better, so why bother trying? 

Let’s explore this a bit further.

The gut is very sensitive to food, emotions and environment, and the reality is that things will be up and down.  It’s important not to view these setbacks as failures or disasters, because that is not what they are. 

They mean that either something you are doing is not working, or you might be under stress and your body has reacted to it.

Or, perhaps it was out of your control and it might have been something that you ate which was prepared by someone else.  It might have even been something in the water.  There’s so many reasons that we can have flare ups.

The point is, we need to keep these things in perspective. 

Just like there are ups and downs in life, so too there will be ups and downs in gut healing. 

There will be some trial and error to find what works for you.  So this is where it’s really important for you to feel empowered to intuitively sense what feels right.

A professional will help you uncover what is most likely causing your symptoms and guide you through the healing process. 

You can use this guidance to apply what you are learning, but at the end of the day it’s YOUR body, and you will need to take care of it going forwards. So it’s your inner connection with yourself that matters the most.

If you can honour the process, regularly tune in and get curious about flare ups, rather than frustrated, you’ll gain much greater insight into what your body is really trying to tell you. 

You’ll also be much more gentle on yourself which accelerates the healing process. 

The next time you have a flare up or set back, I encourage you to actually ask your body what happened. Meditate or do whatever you need to do to deepen inwards, ask the question and then listen deeply for the answer. The answer might come with words, feelings or just a sense of knowing. Keep an open mind and you might just be surprised.

Regularly tune in and sense what feels true for you. This will allow you to continue on into the future with the knowledge of how to best look after your own individual body and listen to it. 

This is how you get long-term improvements, and it’s what gut healing is really all about.

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The Reality of Gut Issues

Let’s face it - gut issues are messy (figuratively and literally), and things can be very up and down.

Perhaps you’ve had a few good days and are feeling awesome, but then suddenly your stomach is terrible and you’re exhausted.

Sometimes you might know what caused it, but if you don’t, then naturally you might be feeling confused and frustrated. Maybe even a bit depressed or anxious.

This creates a disconnect in the body and makes it difficult to move forwards.

When you’re having a bad day, the best things you can do is reach out for support. Whether that’s a friend, family member, your wellness practitioner or even a support group that you’re part of, it’s so important to remember that you’re not alone.

It’s also helpful to keep a journal and at the end of each day, write down what went well. Then on a bad day, you can look back at all the wins you’ve had and focus on those.

The power of the mind is amazing - when you focus on the things you want, you’ll attract more of this in life.

Another powerful thing to do is to get a clear vision on what you do want your digestion and life to look like.

Ask yourself ‘if I had a magic wand, how would I change things?’

Get clear on this, and then set yourself small weekly goals to move you towards that vision. This will help keep you motivated on those tough days.

You should also have a look at what’s happening in your life right now. What have you eaten lately? Are things hectic at work? Are there family problems? Do you feel repressed or frustrated with a particular situation? Are you using a new washing liquid or face wash?

These are all things that contribute to the state of your gut health. Examining these areas will help you get some insight into why things might be difficult for you at the moment.

Awareness inspires action.

The most important thing to remember is that there are going to be ebbs and flows with gut healing. There will be good days and bad, just like there are good days and bad in life. As I once heard ‘resistance to the flow creates stress. Going with the flow generates effortless power’.

How can you accept the bad, along with the good, and go with the flow of life more?


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When ‘Nothing’ Is Wrong

Do you feel like your digestive symptoms are just going to have to be a part of life forever?

Maybe you’ve been to several specialists or medical professionals but you haven’t been able to find an answer for what is happening. You might have even had procedures done which haven’t revealed anything. You’ve probably had other tests too but the results don’t show that there is anything wrong.

But there IS something wrong, because you’re still feeling unwell and are getting digestive symptoms.

You might at this point be thinking that you are ‘that’ person. You’re the one with the health issues that no one seems to be able to work out. So of course, you start to look for answers on your own.

I get it - I have always felt like this person.

I saw many different GP’s over several years before testing for coeliac disease was even thought of. Then after the diagnosis and cutting out gluten, I was still having symptoms. I did the low FODMAP diet and saw a couple of practitioners, but I didn’t feel like I connected with them so I went ahead and did things on my own.

Did things improve? Yes, they did. Was my gut health where it should be? Definitely not.

Once I started studying I understood all this far better and was able to get ahead more. But our perspective of ourselves is different to others. We might not pick up on things or make connections that others do. And there is always someone with more experience who is able to give you advice that you just would not have thought of on your own.

I finally accepted that I needed help, and sought it out. And guess what… it helped!

The point of me telling you this story is to show that there are always others out there who can help. Even if you feel like you’ve tried every kind of practitioner and had every sort of investigation - there’s always someone with a new perspective and new information.

It’s far better to get answers and see improvements than continuing to struggle on your own.

Ask questions in support groups, stalk social media and blogs of experts in the field until you find someone you connect with. There is a practitioner for everyone, and you’ll find yours.


Looking for symptom relief? Download my free 7 Day Gut Relief Plan - with a meal plan, recipes, diet diary and loads of information, you’ll be well on your way to symptom management.

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Self Care for Gut Health - It's Not Always Easy

Preventative health and self care are two things that definitely fall behind when we’ve got lots going on.

With all the craziness and juggling of life’s demands, our own health often falls behind. It tends to go way down the priority list, and only becomes a priority when things go wrong.

I am certainly guilty of this, which is why I got into such a state a few years ago. You would think I leaned from that, but I have to make a really conscious effort to pay attention to self care and schedule dedicated time in for it.

When I say preventative health and self care, they are really the same thing. Self care isn’t necessarily having nice long bath and going to yoga retreats (although these are very nice). Self care is eating a healthy diet, moving each day, making time for daily breath work, watching the negative self talk and resting when we need to.

So how is this relevant to gut health?

Digestive symptoms aren’t often life threatening, until things progress. They otherwise can become a part of life, and we don’t even realise how tired we are or how much they are affecting us, because we get used to it. We get used to having to stay on a restricted diet, skipping meals or missing out on exercise. This can all feel low priority compared to everything else that is happening in life.

However, these symptoms are warning signs. They will not get better by ignoring them, and in fact things will usually only get worse.

There is always going to be things happening - it’s life. But what if one day you had to be hospitalised because of your gut? Or what if things became so bad, you were missing out on days of work? Who would look after things then?

Things may not get to this point of course. However, the other part of this is your current quality of life.

Imagine if you were able to feel joy in eating again, instead of being nervous? If you weren’t scared to leave the house because of your stomach, if you weren’t weighed down by bloating and pain, or if you had enough energy to charge through the day? How would that change things, for you and your loved ones?

Investing your energy into improving your gut health might seem unfeasible with everything else that’s going on. However, if you delay it, there can be consequences, and you also have this hanging over your head all the time.

By improving your gut health, you will get more time back because you’ll have more energy and be more productive. You won’t be wasting hours worrying about what to eat or researching new ideas. Your overall health improves and life becomes easier.

Here’s a final question for you - how would YOUR life change if it wasn’t dictated by your digestion?

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Coeliac Disease - A Gluten Free Diet Isn't Enough

This post is about a topic very close to my heart - coeliac disease.

What I’ve found over the course of my journey with this condition is that, while knowledge has greatly improved, there are still many misunderstandings.

From speaking to others with coeliac disease, a common theme seems to be that when they are diagnosed, they are simply told to follow a strict gluten free diet and directed to some resources. It is often up to them to do their own research and work things out on their own. I was lucky to have quite a good specialist who told me that I had to stop eating gluten so that I didn’t die. That certainly made me see the seriousness of it!

However, there were so many things I didn’t understand, and I don’t think that these things are communicated well enough. While eating a strict gluten free diet and being strict with cross-contamination will greatly improve symptoms and is non-negotiable, there are other things that also need to be done.

If a gluten free diet was enough, why are people with coeliac disease still often tired and getting irritable bowel type symptoms? Why are things still so up and down? This is very confusing for someone who is dealing with this.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition where gluten causes the body to attack its own cells in the small intestine, causing issues with absorption. Over-stimulation of the immune system also has consequences - you can develop other allergies, contract infections or even develop another autoimmune condition. As 80% of the immune system is in the gut, gut health must be specifically addressed along with the gluten free diet. I’ll go into this a bit more.

As coeliac disease is a malabsorptive disorder, you have been absorbing very little nutrition from your food up until the time of your diagnosis.

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

All those years, your body has not been getting what it needs from food. These stores take time to replenish and supplementation is almost always needed, at least in the beginning.

On top of this, it means that you have poor digestive function, and this doesn’t go away. You’ll have to be conscious of this and work on improving digestion by mindful eating, stimulating stomach juices with things like lemon water or bitters (such as rocket leaves) and considering using digestive enzymes.

Inflammation and dysbiosis (an imbalance in gut bacteria causing harmful effects) as a result of eating gluten can cause leaky gut, which is where the walls of the cell lining move apart instead of being tightly pressed together.

Toxins leak out and into the bloodstream which cause a myriad of problems. There will also usually be other food sensitivities while the gut is in this state. The leaky gut must be addressed through gut healing protocols, and part of this is removing other inflammatory foods until things calm down.

It’s also important to be aware of the concept of cross-reactivity. This is where the body doesn’t recognise the difference between gluten and non-gluten grains because they are so structurally similar. There’s more research coming out around this, but I have seen several incidences of coeliacs reacting to white rice or quinoa.

Personally, I wasn’t able to lift the brain fog until I limited my intake of rice, and I really notice it if I ever do eat rice or rice flour products now (because it’s very hard to always avoid rice!)

It’s so important to have a thorough understanding of coeliac disease to be able to heal from it. Knowledge is power - once you have clarity around what is going on then you are able to become more aware of what your symptoms might be caused by and this is how you learn to listen to your body. Your body is your greatest teacher and if you understand it, you’ll know how to give it what it needs.

While coeliac disease is a life-long condition and will always be something that you have to accommodate, going through this healing process will make things so much better overall.

do you have coeliac disease?

If you’re newly diagnosed or even a few years into it but still feel unwell, I’d love to help you understand what’s happening for you.

Book in your free Gut Health Assessment and Strategy Call and let’s work out what’s holding you back.

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free gut health assessment and strategy session

Gut Health: Information Overload

Are you a serial researcher?

We have endless information available to us now on the Internet. Particularly when it comes to nutrition, there’s been articles written on every topic you could imagine.

If you’re having digestive issues, or any health issue really, Google is probably the first place you are turning to. Perhaps you’ve been told you have IBS, and you’ve found information on doing a low FODMAP diet. Maybe you’re going to try going gluten free, vegan or paleo.

Here’s the trouble with doing this alone.

It may not work. You might spend hours upon hours doing all the research and getting organised, sticking to this new diet for weeks but not seeing any changes. OR you might be stuck in the elimination phase for far too long because whenever you reintroduce a food, your symptoms return.

Information on the Internet isn’t regulated, and everyone has their own opinion. People will often find something that works for them and rave about it, but just because it worked for them does not mean it will work for you.

We are all unique, especially when it comes to the gut.

Even if you do find good quality information from a reputable source, you are still having to do all of this alone, and you have SUCH a steep learning curve ahead of you.

Meanwhile, in doing all this research and trying new things, you’re missing out on what’s really important to you, whether that’s family time, friends, exercise, playing with your dog or whatever else you love doing.

So, yes, you could continue to keep going on your own, trying new things and hoping that it will work. There certainly is no shortage of information.

OR you could get this time back and hand over the leg work to a specialist in the area who already understand how gut healing works, the role of nutrition and the lifestyle factors that may be preventing you from moving forward with your health. Someone who will personally investigate your situation and give you recommendations based on their knowledge and on YOU as an individual.

This will accelerate your gut health, remove restrictions and give you back your highly valuable time.

Put those research skills to good use and find a gut health practitioner who resonates with you!

If you’re looking for symptom relief, I have a 7 Day Gut Relief Plan available which you can download for free. It includes a meal plan, recipes, diet and symptom diary, implementation tips and more on the impact of lifestyle. Click the button below to claim yours!

The Impact of Stress on Digestion (and what to do about it)

Could your digestive symptoms be mostly due to stress, rather than food?

More and more research is coming out to demonstrate the impact of mental health on digestion, although this concept is not new.  The first official probiotic treatment for depression was implemented in 1910!

So how does this work?

The gut has its own nervous system, the enteric nervous system, and it communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve.  The vagus nerve is the longest nerve stemming from the brain, and this nerve is connected to several parts of the gut.

The function of the vagus nerve extends far beyond the gut, but this is what I’ll focus on for this article.

The vagus nerve promotes contractions to move food through the GI tract and stimulates secretion of gastric juices to digest food. It also stimulates appetite and regulates mood.

When you are stressed, anxious or depressed, this puts the body into sympathetic nervous system dominance - the ‘flight or fight’ response. This response essentially shuts off the vagus nerve from carrying out it’s normal role in digestion.

So how do we care for this vagus nerve to improve digestion?

The answer is to relax! This allows the body to activate the parasympathetic arm of the nervous system, also called the ‘rest and digest’ state. Obviously this is ideal for when you are eating, but more importantly, it allows the vagus nerve to properly regulate appetite, stimulate GI tract contractions and release gastric juices to break down the food.

Relaxing is far easier said than done, but if you eat from a more relaxed place it stimulates the vagus nerve and improves digestion, which reduces bloating, pain, gas, reflux and stomach upsets.

Here are some ways to relax and improve your digestion:

  • Mindful eating - focus on the food, bring it to the forefront of your mind to signal to the brain that we are eating now. Avoid technology and other distractions during meals

  • Sing! Yes, really - it’s such a stress reliever. Bonus points if you dance too. Put on some music and dance around the kitchen in the mornings, no one has to know ;)

  • Smile and laugh as much as possible. How can you find the joy in the little things? Or maybe you can get some laughs out of hilarious memes, I certainly do!

  • Do some nice breath-based activities like yoga, qi gong or meditation, and bring awareness to the way you breathe generally. Deep belly breathing is the fastest way to relive stress.

  • Acupuncture can also be really helpful to get healthy energy flowing, and improve digestion.

If you’d like to go further, I have a free 7 Day Gut Relief Plan which gives you a meal plan, meal prep hacks, stress management activities, diet and symptom diary and much more. Download the plan to improve your digestion today.

The Impact of Poor Digestion on Your Energy

Is your energy zapped? Your digestion might be to blame.

Fatigue and digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome commonly go hand-in-hand. In fact, any digestive issues will generally bring on fatigue.

Feeling tired and drained makes life difficult. These sorts of things can happen:

  • Coffee might perk you up but it doesn’t last

  • You are doing everything you need to, but with less enthusiasm or even struggling

  • You feel unmotivated, irritable and less switched

  • You lose productivity and miss out on exercising

  • Then if you are anything like me, you also beat yourself up over this

This state is linked to your gut health

As you heal the gut and learn which foods your body loves, a surge of energy follows. As your energy increases, you feel more motivated to keep going. You have the energy to work, run the household, exercise and even socialise in the same day.

Start by improving your digestion.

Chewing thoroughly, eating small meals frequently, avoiding water with meals and focusing on what you are eating will all help your digestive system to break down the food properly.

Then become aware of what you are eating and when your symptoms come on. Keeping a diet/symptom diary for a week is the most effective way to do this.

If you go one step further and incorporate a daily stress management practice, your energy will soar.

When the nervous system is constantly in a state of stimulation your body is running on stress hormones. You feel wired, anxious or wound up - but the body cannot maintain this state forever and so you crash. Maintaining a calm, sedated nervous system most of the time (except when there is an urgent situation obviously!) is key to more energy and productivity.

Keeping a gratitude journal, meditating or starting a yoga or qi gong practice are all wonderful ways to reduce the stress and calm the nervous system. Even just taking deep breaths regularly and having a nice wind-down routine at night will help, as it all adds up.

Looking after the diet and the emotions improves your digestive condition and in turn, your energy.


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