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Categories WEIGHT LOSS

Finding a Healthy Weight Range

Here at The Balanced Nutritionist, we see a variety of clients with many different health conditions. These range from conditions characterized by pain and inflammation, digestive disorders, mental health conditions, fatigue, and of course, reaching a healthy weight. Whilst many of our clients will come in and see us with a multitude of symptoms that they would like to see improve, the one that most place the most weight on (pardon the pun)… is their actual WEIGHT. In fact, even when there is a multitude of other symptoms that are having a very negative effect on quality of life… it still comes back to that one number on the scales….

Our Goal

Nicole and I, as the nutritionists here at The Balanced Nutritionist have spoken about the issue of ‘weight’ and what we, as a society, think it means, at length. Working in weight loss is hard…. Its like walking on a tightrope. We want to make it clear that our goal at The Balanced Nutritionist is to help people be as healthy and as happy as they can possibly be by choosing great, healthy whole foods that are good for their body most of the time. However, because some of what we do comes down to weight AND because it’s a big issue to many of our clients, we want to make it clear that: 

  1. We do not want to create or contribute to any fear that may surround food. 
  2. We do not want people to think that perfection, when it comes to food is the only path moving forward because this is certainly not what we advocate
  3. And we certainly don’t want people to have an unhealthy relationship with their bodies. 

For us, the weight conversation can be a tricky one. What we really want to help people with is ‘reaching a healthy weight range’, and this is a term that we often use during clinical consultations. We are NOT about having that thigh gap… or that six pack. In fact, its common for us to ask clients to remove influences that promote this thinking from their lives… as it can be unhelpful. We are however aware that weight and health are intricately linked. You can not ignore one and acknowledge the other. 

Sometimes clients sit across from us and tell us that they need to lose weight or that they feel uncomfortable with their bodies. From a professional perspective, we know that in all honesty, their weight isn’t a problem at all. They may already be at a healthy weight range.. But fixated on becoming a particular shape or size, that perhaps they just aren’t meant to be. Sometimes, we focus on a magic number that perhaps just isn’t right for our own bodies. Some of us will naturally be leaner than others and that is ok. Sometimes, reaching the ‘magic number’ might actually cause ill health. Sometimes, it would require such rigid and unreasonable eating / exercise habits that it would be extremely detrimental. So for us, we always come back to the ‘healthy weight range’ and focus our support on helping our clients reach and accept this. It is the place where health will be good… both physical and mental! 

What IS a ‘healthy weight range’

  • It is NOT about being a size eight, with 20% body fat, or having visible abs, a thigh gap or fitting into a little black dress. 
  • It IS a place where you minimize your risk factors for certain metabolic conditions. 
  • It IS where can move freely without pain and exercise without struggling
  • It IS a place where you feel comfortable in your own skin
  • It IS a place that you can maintain by choosing good, healthy wholefoods, eaten consciously with the occasional treat without guilt. 

Our preferred tool to assist clients to achieve a healthy weight is the Metabolic Balance® program.

We really need to change the conversation and make sure that we are striving for a healthy weight range as opposed to the so-called “perfect body” that is sometimes portrayed as ideal. Let me tell you that the so-called “perfect body” that is portrayed at times is FAR from perfect. There is, as we talk about without clients such a thing as being too lean. 

If you reduce your body fat too much:

  • You will compromise your hormonal health
  • You may compromise your aspects like your fertility
  • You may even compromise your muscle mass and your bone density particularly later in life. 
  • And it’s likely mentally, that you won’t be in a good place. 

It is so important to us that our clients have a balanced relationship with food. That eating healthy doesn’t become stressful or mean there is no room for variation or occasional indulgences. 

When the motivation or the mechanism to become healthy becomes too stressful, then the benefits are outweighed by the additional stress that this causes. 

Sometimes people come into our clinic, thinking that we will help them attain the perfect body. Or build the ideal booty. This is NOT what we are about. Having developed quite a reputation as a ‘weight loss clinic’ (even though we have never labelled ourselves as this) we walk a delicate line…. We believe that health is absolutely linked to a healthy weight… but that the concept of a healthy weight needs to be redefined.

Thanks for reading. It’s difficult to express our thoughts clearly on this topic, but we feel it’s critical we communicate our stance on this issue. And its critical everyone knows…. you are so much more than a number of a scale!

Categories Gut Health, Gut Health

All I Want For Christmas Is… A Good Poop!

We just could not resist a Christmas countdown post…. But, seriously… constipation is no laughing matter. And we know for many, a good reliable poop is the stuff of dreams. 

Constipation is the inability to pass stools regularly or empty your bowels completely. Some people who suffer from constipation may pass stools less than three times per week, they may be hard or dry stools, there may be straining, a feeling of incomplete evacuation or complete inability to pass at all.

Pooing at least once per day up to 3 times per day is normal.

You’ll be relieved to know that most cases of constipation can be successfully resolved by eating a diet high in fibre, drinking more fluids and exercising daily.

Here are our top tips for keeping things moving… and achieving a good reliable poop. ⠀

  • Eat a whole food diet with a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Many people hear this advice, but simply do not know how to put it into practice – this is where we come in. Book your appointment here
  • Increase your fibre intake – add chia or flax seeds, leafy green vegetables, and fruits like pears, kiwi, prunes and apple. (Tip – do this slowly… and pay attention to the next point below).
  • Keep hydrated – drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Minimum. When did we all forget about water? 
  • Exercise daily. Go for a walk. A light jog if you can. These things can help stimulate ‘movement’ down there…. Ask any runner, and one of the benefits they may cite is ‘it also keeps me regular.’ 
  • Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge – don’t wait! Psychologically, you will keep telling your brain this over and over and over again until… it will do all of the holding for you! 
  • Use a footstool or ‘squatty potty’ to elevate your feet when on the toilet. Other cultures don’t sit to poop. And to be honest, squatting is an easier position to eliminate from. Squatty potties are much more common these days.
  • Give yourself an abdominal massage. 

Tried all of these things? Embarrassed about it? Still not getting a good reliable poop? LOTS of people have problems down there, Nicole has even shared her story about this very topic. Read it HERE.

Maybe you aren’t sure where to start? Give us a shout at The Balanced Nutritionist so we can gradually help you ease the discomfort through your nutrition and appropriate gut supplementation if necessary. 

Categories Health, Uncategorized

Breaking news: research confirms ‘processed food’ is bad for us

So. Breaking News…. “ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS CAUSE OVEREATING AND WEIGHT GAIN

Ok. In all seriousness, our initial response was ‘seriously, did we really need a study to prove this but….’

The really interesting thing about the research here was that the subjects receiving the ultra processed foods versus those receiving the minimally processed foods, received the exact SAME number of calories and macronutrients… initially.

Participants were instructed to consume until they were satisfied and what the research found was that those receiving minimally processed foods simply ate less. Those receiving the ultra processed foods ate more – carbohydrates and fat in particular. The ultra processed group gained weight, whilst those receiving minimally processed foods lost it.

Take home points:

-processed food is completely unsatisfying for the body. Its nutrient devoid; you will go looking for more because the body is simply not getting what it needs. We discuss this with clients. All. The. Time. You have to get off the bandwagon of addictive snacks, sauces, sugary cereals and drinks.

-processed food completely highjacks the appetite. You will have not appetite control on a diet of ultraprocessed foods. You will not stop. You know… the pringles saying? Its the truth!

-eat whole foods… good thing happen.

-Finally, in the same week, we have also heard that Weight Watchers have released a new app for kids in the US for kids to track their food intake, weight ad physical activity. Oh no. No no no. From someone who also deals with adolescents with eating conditions this is NOT good news.

Doesn’t this research prove that resources would be better directed at removing said processed food from kids’ diets because that is a major underlying cause of the childhood obesity crisis. Instead of allowing another generation of humans with eating disorders to evolve?

We are PASSIONATE about simply moving people to a wholefoods program here at The Balanced Nutritionist because even THAT can see some magic happen.

If you are struggling with too much ‘packet’ convenience food creeping in to your diet, feeling sluggish, heavy and yuck as a result book online here because our Back to Basics wholefoods program is perfect for you.

Anyhow, what we would like to see from here in the research world:

-we would have loved to see the result if both groups had to consume exactly the same amount of calories but in 2 different forms still – ultra processed and minimally processed. This would prove the point that its beyond calories and macros. Processed food interferes with the body on a cellular level. It results in vastly different hormonal and neurotransmitter reactions and that is how the damage is done…. providing excess energy is only half the problem.

These principles are exactly why our current wholefoods program is working well – the Back to Basics protocol I mentioned above.

Its a ‘no counting,’ ‘eat to your own appetite’ ‘wholefoods’ based 4 – 8 week program which just takes it back to basics, supporting you with the structure and accountability to do so.

Guess what happens as a result? You gain energy, clarity, happiness, health and released unwanted weight. Without math. Without stress. Without packets. Genius.

Categories GENERAL HEALTH, WEIGHT LOSS

Why Am I Gaining Weight but Barely Eating?

Firstly. Let’s just say that writing a blog that is so blatantly about ‘weight loss’ isn’t really our cup of tea. We prefer to focus on ‘health’ because weight release will naturally follow ‘health’ but this precise question is quite literally coming at us from many new clients of late.
The answer is probably going to vary from person to person, but here are a few things to consider in the journey to a healthy weight.
Firstly, weight loss is not easy. Please don’t be fooled by reality television shows that make us believe losing weight just ‘happens’ overnight because it doesn’t.
Second, you need to change your thinking. Stop. Re read the third line of this post again. Know that ‘health’ comes before ‘weight.’ You just can’t have a long list of symptoms and health concerns but only want to ‘lose weight.’ You have to tackle the whole package. A healthy body will find its natural, healthy weight. And maintain it. Is a ‘starving body’ a healthy body? Unlikely.
In addition to not eating much food, some or all of the following might be part of the problem.
1. You could be incredibly stressed. Which could mean very high levels of stress hormones and not a lot of sleep. Both of these are going to make releasing weight a lot more difficult.
2. You are possibly drinking a lot coffee… and / or not a lot of water. This is a recipe for dehydration. The metabolic process of ‘burning fat’  (lipolysis) is much harder for a dehydrated body. In addition, dehydration puts extra strain on the kidneys, which means its harder for the kidneys to do their job – essentially, too eliminate waste. And weight loss is essentially… the elimination of a lot of waste. So you really want your elimination pathways to be working really well.
3. Not eating enough food=probably not getting enough fibre from plant based sources like whole fruits and vegies. This, along with dehydration will probably block the pipes… not the water pipes, the other ones! Then you’ve got a situation where all that ‘solid’ waste hasn’t got anywhere to go either. Translation: healthy poos help with weight release.
4. Less ‘excretion’ of waste products as well as less fibre means those friendlies in your gut are going to suffer. We’ve linked just about everything to the health of our guts and guess what? That includes weight! Having a healthy gut is part of the picture when it comes to finding a healthy weight range. This does not mean you should go out and buy a probiotic and all of your problems will be fixed by the way… its just part of the picture and it can be altered without a pill.
5. Food is so much more than just macronutrients. The micronutrients i.e. vitamins and minerals that are found in healthy foods are critical for so many processes in our bodies. Like enzyme production for digestion, maintaining the thyroid health, neurotransmitter synthesis for happy, balanced moods and building our hormones… and lots more. So good food keeps… all of the parts of our bodies working really well. This leads to health which leads to a healthy weight.
6. When you are eating… the choices might not be great. Food is confusing right now. Far more confusing than it should be. And our addiction to ‘diets’ leads to some pretty crazy eating styles. Like only eating meat or fat but no vegetables… or going for something really processed like a ‘diet bar.’ Sorry. But we just don’t believe in that rubbish. Have you looked at the ingredients on those things? If you can’t pronounce it… your body ain’t going to know what to do with it, we guarantee!
7. Starving all day but then eating anything and everything by the afternoon. Because you are just. so. hungry. Wouldn’t it be easier to just eat well, giving your body

what it needs from the morning onwards… and watch as things fall into place over time?

We could go on… but this is a blog not a book. We just like to help people get healthy, reduce their requirements for medication, eat without stress, learn to love healthy nutritious foods, get comfortable preparing quick, wholefood meals…. and feel great as a result for a lifetime. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.
Our favourite tool to use to achieve the former is personalised nutrition using the Metabolic Balance® program. It means we work with our client long term, they get to know the foods that will nourish not punish their bodies and we have the best chance of long term success.
Book online if you need us in your life. 🙂
Categories GENERAL HEALTH

Welcome Nicole

Hello, I’m Nicole. I’m a Clinical Nutritionist, certified Metabolic Balance® Coach, and lover of avocado, coffee, chocolate and the beach and I started here at the Balanced Nutritionist in early July 2019.

My food philosophy is simple: eating nutritious, whole, real foods will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to be healthy and vibrant.

I also believe that healthy eating is not about deprivation. It’s important to give ourselves permission to indulge in the foods we love, without guilt, because good nutrition and good health is also about having a healthy relationship with food.

My Story

I’ve had tummy troubles for as long as I can remember. My gut has always been unpredictable and a bit ‘sluggish’. As a child, I remember going days without, you know, going and taking a book to the toilet (because I’d be sitting there for a while!). As I got older my symptoms got worse – bloating almost every day, abdominal pain (which sometimes felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach), and difficulty going to the toilet alternating with diarrhoea.

My digestive issues were compounded by overseas travel and several bouts of ‘Bali Belly’ (in Bali, as well as Africa, Turkey, Bosnia and Fiji), taking the OCP (oral contraceptive pill) for 10 years (which I now know can impact on your gut microbiome and increase your risk of gastrointestinal conditions, such as IBS and IBD), poor dietary choices and a stressful job.

In my mid-twenties, desperate to get to the bottom (excuse the pun) of my digestive issues, I visited numerous doctors and specialists, only to be told that I “probably” had IBS.

No one tested me for food intolerances, talked to me about how stress can affect our digestion, considered that the pill may be contributing to my digestive woes or recommended that I make dietary changes. That was until I went to see a Natural Health Practitioner for a different health concern. She suggested that I make some dietary changes and I felt better, almost immediately!

While that wasn’t the end of my journey (it took years of self-discovery to restore my digestive balance), it was the start of my journey to becoming a Nutritionist.

Fast forward to today, and my tummy is much happier – I seldom experience stomach aches or bloating (unless I choose to eat something that I know won’t agree with me) and I go to the toilet easily, every day. My overall health has also greatly improved – my weight has stabilised without me even trying (or worrying about how many calories I’m consuming), I now have more energy, consistently throughout the day and, most importantly, I feel really good both physically and emotionally. This lead me to want to help other people to feel better too!

Helping clients to optimise their health, sort out their digestive issues, improve their skin and release unwanted weight is a real passion of mine. And, thanks to my own health journey, I have a genuine appreciation of the struggles that many of you are living with day in, day out.

Before life as a Nutritionist, I worked in a demanding corporate job, so I know that it can be difficult to prioritise your health and eat ‘right’ when you lead a busy lifestyle, juggling work and family commitments. My goal is to provide you with individualised nutrition strategies that fit you, your lifestyle and your health goals.

A few more things about me

I live with my husband, Greg and fur-child, Billy the Westie.

I was born in Sydney, but my family moved to Brisbane when I was 2. I have two younger sisters and four beautiful nieces, a handsome nephew, and another niece or nephew on the way.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am slightly obsessed with my dog (Billy). He’s treated like a human in our house, my personal Instagram account is mostly photos of him and I usually greet him before my husband when I get home. I’ve always loved animals and once wanted to become a vet when I grew up.

I am a multi-tasker. I am usually doing multiple things at once and always have numerous tabs open on every device. 

I look forward to going to the farmer’s markets on a Sunday morning to pick up fresh produce for the week ahead.

I love pouring through home magazines and buying homewares.

My go-to outfit is jeans and a blue and white striped top (I have at least 10 in my wardrobe).

I am a self-confessed neat-freak and actual enjoy organising things, especially my pantry. 

I start every day with a cup of tea.

Categories Uncategorized, WEIGHT LOSS

Do You Eat Consciously? Or on Autopilot?

We’ve all been there … you walk past the communal lolly jar at work and dip your hand in without thinking, automatically grab a few biscuits from the lunch room while making a cup of tea, or mindlessly eat from the cheese platter at a party.

It’s easy to consume less healthy food when we give in to impulsive eating, by pushing aside conscious decisions and automatically saying “yes” to food, without stopping to consider what we’re actually eating.

On the other hand, when we make deliberate and conscious decisions about food, we’re more likely to choose real, whole foods that nourish our body and make us feel great. This is conscious eating.

“Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body.”

Conscious eating is the practice of thinking about what you put in your body, before you eat it.

Do you eat consciously or on autopilot?

Try this: Whenever you are presented with the option of a less healthy food, give yourself the space to stop and make a conscious decision about whether to eat the food or not.

Before you mindlessly shove it into your mouth, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really want to eat this food right now?
  • Is it especially delicious?
  • Will this food nourish me (my body or my soul)?
  • How will I feel after eating this food?

When we stop to make a conscious decision about food, often we realise that the food we’re about to eat isn’t particularly special or delicious, we’re not really hungry or we don’t really want it right now, and it won’t make us feel great.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t choose to enjoy less healthy foods that we really love on occassion.

When you do choose to indulge, savour the food and enjoy it fully. Don’t eat too fast – really taste what you’re eating. And, be kind to yourself – don’t deprive yourself and don’t feel guilty for enjoying less healthy foods in moderation.

Because when you consciously chose to enjoy less healthy foods occasionally, and you really enjoy it, you are choosing to nourish your soul.

Written by Nicole Bence. You can book with Nicole here

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

A Day at Cobram Estate Olive Oil

Wow, what a day. If you follow me over on Instagram and Facebook, you would know that yesterday I was privileged enough to be flown in a private plane with 8 other Brisbane health professionals, to the Cobram Estate olive oil farm in Cobram, Victoria.

 

First. Let me tell you about the plane. It was tiny. Plush… but tiny. The pilot, Neil, who I will be grateful to forever for getting us down and back safely, informed us that the each of the (8) seats was worth almost $50,000. So, I’d like to call it a mini version of Air Force One. But real, real mini. And to make matters slightly more terrifying, as we did our last toilet stop before boarding on the private airstrip at Archerfield, the weather report said…. ‘severe warnings for Victoria. Strong, gustily winds forecasted.’

Gulp. Ok. So, I did hold the hand of a stranger as we descended. And I did count forwards and backwards from 10 as we sunk through the very bumpy clouds on the way down. But 3 and a half hours later… with both feet shakily on the red dirt runway, the adventure began.

I love paddock to plate experiences. I love knowing where my food has come from. You tell me it’s made with care, love, the best quality ingredients, integrity, passion… that is something money cannot buy. And I will support it. And once you read this, you like me, will never buy another brand of olive oil outside of the Cobram Estate label, ever again.

So let me tell you a little about what we learnt. Our day was mostly led by the incredibly kind hearted, friendly and passionate man behind the brand, Rob McGavin. It turns out that Rob and his uni mate Paul planted the first olive tree around 20 years ago on what is now Cobram Estate, with the view to give olive oil making a crack. So… it started with 2 guys and a tree. And they’ve certainly made history since then.

Here are some of the astounding things we learnt about Cobram Estate the brand:

  • The company has about 2.5 million olive trees and what they do to one they do to all of them. All of their trees receive the same love, attention, care and consideration
  • The estate at Cobram stretches for about 21km one way… hello, what a great venue for a marathon (#justsaying…. #planting the seed). There is a second estate near Bort, also Victoria.
  • They grow about 35 varieties of olive trees and each tree produces about 45kg of fruit per year of which approximately 20% becomes olive oil.
  • The absolute maximum time between picking and pressing is 4 hours. And we witnessed the procedures that guarantee this. No stale, rancid olive oil in a Cobram Estate product. Only the freshest and highest in antioxidants, that I can say with conviction.
  • An olive used for olive oil never touches the ground…. It is picked fresh from the tree and then transported to the plant. I’ll put some videos and photos in my stories over coming weeks featuring some of the amazing technology that enables this.

As far as their corporate social responsibility….

  • Cobram Estate are leaders in research. They have produced 17 peer reviewed research studies about olives and olive oil. This is an incredible contribution to the scientific community.
  • About 40% of the land they own is essentially left in its natural state, it’s not even ploughed.
  • Cobram Estate have dedicated a great deal of thought and research into reducing the waste products from their manufacturing efforts. These efforts include using as much from the tree as possible. They are now producing an incredibly high quality olive leaf tea and olive leaf extract; you may find this in your supermarket under the label ‘Wellgrove.’ It took 5 years to develop and they have a TGA approved laboratory. They also recycle some of the ‘seed’ from the olives to power their boilers. They are stockpiling the rest of the seed waste, for future use and thinking of innovative ways this could be recycled. We saw piles of seed on our travels around the estate, awaiting its final destiny.
  • They remove the squalene from some of their reject olives which is highly beneficial for skin, This is sold back to cosmetic companies. The only 2 places squalene is found in commercial doses is in olives and in shark’s livers… so by doing this, the lives of more sharks are spared.

The manufacturing process was incredible to witness….

  • Olives are picked and then received for pressing within 4 hours.
  • They are washed first… they look beautiful in action when this happens (see my stories archive over coming weeks).
  • Then the entire olive, seed and all undergoes some brutal bashing with a mallet and its turned into this kind of tapenade. It smells incredible. It would be nice to dip a cracker in this. This process goes on for about 30 minutes.
  • It then undergoes centrifugal force to separate the oil from the rest of the fruit. We got to taste it basically straight after this process!
  • There is no filtering process once its separated because further processing would only destroy more of the health benefits. Instead, the oil is left to settle for about 3 weeks and some of the cloudy bits (for want of a better term) are drained away and what is left is bottled. How pure!

A few fascinating facts about olives you may not have known….

  • They are all green to begin with. The black ones have just been picked later and they are riper.
  • Generally, the more robust the olive oil is in flavour, the more antioxidants it has.
  • Olive oil is completely safe, even beneficial to heat and use in cooking. See the Olive Wellness Institute for the latest research around this.
  • Olives have amazing survival tactics…. The olive tree can suck lots of moisture from its fruit if necessary. Then, once water is no longer scarce, the fruit can regain its hydration really quickly. I found this irrigation system quite fascinating.
  • You should endeavour to use your olive oil within 4 to 6 weeks of opening so that the antioxidant content has not declined greatly.

The best thing about the day…

  • The food… of course. The food was kind of amazing. We enjoyed this incredible lunch thanks to Chef Kevin O’Connor who prepared us homemade Chapa bread with spelt flour for dipping with the First Harvest Olive oil, a beautiful side dish of beetroot and caviar, plus carrots and pesto and finally an amazing medley of mushrooms and slow cooked meats on a bed of ancient grains along with a turmeric slow baked eggplant. Much of the food was baked slowly over this incredible outside stove and olive oil alongside fresh herbs made the dishes sing. We finished off with dark chocolate and olive oil bark and olive oil carrot cake. It was served with local wines. It was amazing. Please close your mouth I see you drooling.

Something I’ve really come to realise in the last year or so is that ‘big’ and ‘successful’ doesn’t mean that the value system is watered down. I used to be quite adamant on supporting small, local businesses and yes I certainly am still this way inclined. But experiences like this remind us that just because a company is really successful, doesn’t mean that they have necessary lost sight of their value system. I can relate to this myself. I’ve built my business to a level I didn’t think possible and shortly I’ll have 2 staff working alongside me. And who knows where it could from there. But have my values been watered down? No. If anything, they are stronger than ever because I need those values to ripple further and further. Likewise, Cobram Estate’s values are as visible and obvious as ever. And their business is massive! I honestly cannot see myself supporting another olive oil brand ever, now that I know the integrity behind each and every bottle they produce. It’s also really important to remember that you and I as consumers do have a lot of power and influence when it comes to how we spend our money. Sure, individually it may not seem much. But collectively we can make a real difference. Put your money where your mouth is and spend your dollars supporting businesses that have values that align with yours. Each time you go to the supermarket or even a café, is an opportunity to demand transparency, quality and the best ingredients in your food. Know where your food comes from. This is a topic we spend so much time talking about over on the podcast too.

Anyhow. I am writing this on the flight home, whilst the knowledge and experience is still fresh. This leg of the journey is much less terrifying thanks to a red or two over lunch…. And it’s time for a nap!

Thanks to Rob, Abby, Chef, Tris, Jacqui and the team for such a memorable experience.

Oh and a final comment… ‘lite’ olive oil…. well, when have I ever suggested you buy ‘lite’ anything? We don’t need to dwell on the negatives… but let’s just say you definitely do not want that stuff in your life!

*All attempts have been made to ensure any facts made in this article are indeed as correct as possible, but there may be minor errors in a few of the details as it gets difficult to take notes after one has enjoyed a long lunch and a couple of glasses of red wine. I’d safely say this blog is 98% accurate, but some names / figures may be ever so slightly wrong. Thank you for your understanding.

Categories Uncategorized

What’s Coeliac Disease?

As we close off this week, we say goodbye to the end of Coeliac Awareness Week in Australia so I thought it was fitting to right a post about this misunderstood condition.

According to the Coeliac Australia website, 1 in 70 Australians have coeliac disease… but 4 out of 5 of them are walking around undiagnosed. So far in clinic just this year to date, I’ve have 7 of my clients tested privately for coeliac disease (a cost of about $60) and 6 of these have come back with positive antibodies. You could say I have a good hit rate when spotting this condition and its signs!

Coeliac Disease is an extremely serious condition and early diagnosis is ideal as it can have serious consequences if left untreated.  It is very different from gluten intolerance because it is autoimmune in nature, meaning that its a condition where the body essentially turns on itself. In the case of coeliac disease, the body begins attacking its own villi, which are tiny projections lining the small intestine allowing us to absorb nutrients from our food. When these start being destroyed, absorption is severely compromised. For this reason, early signs include a lack of energy (because fuel can’t be extracted efficiently from food), unexplained low iron levels, low B12 levels, depression and a visible lack of vitality. In some cases, bumps or rashes on the body may be present because having coeliac disease is a bit like being allergic to gluten. Gastrointestinal symptoms may range from generalized bloating, to ‘constant pins and needles’ in the gut, to full blown cramps and pain in the belly particularly after ingesting gluten. IBS like bowel motions may also be present. When its left untreated for a long time, the gut can simply become overactive to lots of different foods  because its so inflamed.

Coeliac disease can also be silent (symptomless), making it even more tricky to spot!

Long term, if left undiagnosed, we know that bone health will be affected (due to impaired nutrient absorption) and this condition has also been linked with infertility.

Coeliac disease does have a genetic component so anyone who relates to this symptom list who also has a relative with an autoimmune condition should discuss the possibility of coeliac disease with their health professional or book an appointment here.

Gluten free eating has become incredibly trendy in recent years and in part, I do believe this has contributed to less people being properly tested for coeliac disease. Firstly, some people simply remove gluten from their diet without being properly tested. I believe in the importance of diagnosis by your GP / a specialist because it generally equates for a much stricter approach to ‘gluten free’ plus you need to warn relatives as they may also need to be tested.

Secondly, i believe some people aren’t being tested because some health professionals  may be a little frustrated with everything being blamed on dairy or gluten! This is sometimes the feedback i get from clients anyway, when they have requested testing. I do think its important we ‘screen’ with lots of symptoms and test genuinely likely cases. I find it fairly easy with a few leading questions to determine if there may be a real problem with gluten or if its simply being avoided for other reasons.

Finally, we all need take ownership over our health by booking in with a health professional to thoroughly discuss any changes in symptoms as opposed to simply relying on Googling  information.

There are cases where testing for coeliac disease does come back negative but a person’s health may improve when they remain off gluten and this is typically coined as ‘non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.’

There are also cases when the dietary culprit for health problems, particularly gastrointestinal have nothing to do with gluten at all so again, its critical to seek professional health.

Gluten is not always the devil, but when it is, it can be the stuff of nightmares.

Think you may have a problem with gluten, be a coeliac or just have a really reactive gut and no idea why? Drop me a line and we can organise a time to sort it out.

 

Categories Advice, Health

Business and Health…. Same Same?

I was asked just the other week to write down the top 3 things that have assisted me to build a successful nutrition practice and after I wrote them down I realized the same principles can be applied to getting healthy. So business and health… not that different after all!

This should come as no surprise. When I’ve met highly successful business people in the past (I mean, ones with much bigger businesses than my own) many of them have a really healthy and balanced lifestyle. They KNOW that eating well, moving regularly and looking after their mental health as well, has a profound effect on the way they can perform in their businesses. Now let’s look at some of the principles to apply to business and health.

1. Consistency: forget about starting a health kick for a week or a month or because you want to look a particular way for an event and instead focus on making it a lifestyle, because you will realise that ‘choosing health’ will benefit your life every minute of every day. If your health journey encompasses weight loss, this point is crucial as i will help you to enjoy the entire process of change. This is a much better way to track your journey than simply watching the kilos drop on the scales (because they may not drop each week!).

In business, this applies too because you have to consistently show up and be present to your clients; you have to consistently work on your own education to better your product or service and you have to consistently produce great content to attract your clients and customers.

On an important, side not, consistency is different from perfection. Hail those who never drink, never have sugar, never eat anything bad… that is so not me and that’s OK (see point 3 below!). Consistency means making good choices most of the time AND even more importantly, getting back up, dusting off the icing sugar (😂) and reverting to a healthy routine when you do fall off the bandwagon. And as far as business is concerned… well, we all have those days when we convince ourselves we are going bankrupt!

2. Caring: I really care about my clients and anyone who wants to make consistently healthy choices needs to care about themselves. This is far from selfish, because the more you look after you, the better shape you will be in to care for others. I also ask people to care about the food they put in their mouth and the people that have provided it to us. Too much of what is eaten is mindlessly consumed. How often do we stop to be grateful to the farmers and primary producers that produce all of the lovely food that makes it into our kitchen each week?

In business, you have to care for the product or service you are creating and you have to belief that it fulfills a need. I’d even go so far to say that you really need to be governed by a ‘higher purpose’ to really visualize and subsequently create a great business.

3. Being ‘me’ or in this case being ‘you’: in health, this means that 2 people can eat differently, exercise differently, relax differently, respond different to certain foods, like or dislike different things etc. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other – it just means we are all individuals. Whilst there are some key principles to ‘health’ there are certainly differences that will also set us apart. For example, I can eat gluten and dairy is a regular part of my diet, but for many of my clients this can not be the case. 

In business, this means that your message or your product or your service may be different from others in a similar field but it works for you, because you are showing up as your authentic self and offering something that is different from everything else out there. 

METABOLIC BALANCE
Categories GENERAL HEALTH, HORMONES

Asthma, Metabolic Balance and One Women’s Journey

Case Report: Asthma, Metabolic Balance and One Women’s Journey

This is a synopsis of the journey of a 41 year old, mother of 2, lifetime asthma sufferer who began her Metabolic Balance journey in November 2018.

The purpose of this report is to draw attention to the power of individualized dietary interventions in the presence of chronic, debilitating symptoms. This client presented with very low energy, severe asthma that had her relying on a puffer multiple times per day, recurring chest infections and an inability to lose weight. In just 10 weeks following her individualised Metabolic Balance program this client has regained energy, is no longer tied to her preventer medication and as a result has released over 10% of her body weight. In this synopsis the client will be referred to as ‘P’ for privacy reasons.

Presenting Concerns at initial consultation (November 2018): P has suffered from debilitating asthma since the age of 21. In the last 12 months, possibly as a result of significant stress, her asthma symptoms had become even worst. Without a puffer literally within arm’s reach, P would feel panicked and stressed. Her breathing struggles meant a good night’s sleep was impossible. Her condition added to the physical stress on her body and she felt exhausted all day long, everyday. Her asthma meant she was fearful to exercise too much because she was left so breathless. Despite trying multiple dietary changes, including the elimination of all dairy and gluten at times, her asthma symptoms had not improved in the past. Despite trying lots of different interventions, P had also struggled to maintain a healthy weight range for most of her adult life. P suffered from multiple chest infections a year and some mild bloating as well.

Based on initial, comprehensive blood work and measurements, health conditions and symptoms an individualised Metabolic Balance program was formulated, which P began in early November. In contrast to some of the popular trends that are emerging now P’s plan:

-Did not exclude all dairy! Although no cow’s milk products featured on her personalised program.

-Did not exclude bread! A small amount of non-wheat bread was actually recommended with each meal.

-Did not exclude coffee or tea, although this was to be drunk sans milk and sugar and in sensible quantities (maximum 3 per day)

-Did not exclude white potatoes!

-Did not exclude legumes.

-Did not exclude fruit, with 2 fruits allowed per day with meals (although the types of fruit were individually determined to suit)

Did:

-Ensure adequate hydration (individually based on body weight)

-Ensure 3 quality meals were consumed daily featuring protein / carbs as vegetables, fruit and starch / healthy fats

-Not allow snacking. Outside of the 3 nutritious meals, there was nothing else. Does the average, sedentary Aussie really need to graze constantly?

Follow-up and Outcomes:

Just 1 week into the program, all digestive discomfort including bloating had resolved. The biggest struggle was remaining hydrated with adequate water, having not been consistent with water intake in the past.

By 5 weeks into the program, P described her asthma symptoms as noticeable less severe despite some significantly wild, hot, dry weather, which would normally worsen symptoms. At this point, a 10kg total weight loss had also been noted. Hydration levels were good.

At 8 weeks into the program, P reported the program being a part of her routine. Despite Christmas and a family holiday, P had followed the main principles of the plan easily, no longer having issues with cravings and motivated because the way she felt. Easy to hit water intake; feeling like the body needed it and thirsty if she starts to slacken off.

At 10 weeks into the program, P was not experiencing any breathing difficulties at all and had not used any medication to manage asthma for weeks. With the burden of this condition off her shoulders, P was looking to bring in a regular exercise routine. Total weight released at this point was over 14kg, more than 7% of P’s total body weight.

P, for the most part, has felt satisfied on her program, only struggling with hunger sporadically.

P is now at the 11 week mark in her Metabolic Balance journey and has just completed her first week of consistent exercise, with 4 brisk walking sessions accomplished! Unfortunately, her asthma symptoms did return during her exercise sessions. However, she will persevere with these sessions consistently over the next 3 weeks. As her fitness improves, it’s likely the asthma will be less of a problem. Having literally always dreamed of being able to run, stepping the intensity up will be the next step on the journey after this first month of focusing on brisk walking sessions.

This synopsis of P’s journey has been written based on the CARE case report guidelines to ensure the synopsis is as objective as possible. This summary was prepared in consultation with clinical notes taken during consultations. P has read this report in full and confirms it’s accuracy as well as providing consent for it to be published.

The take home points for the reader include:

  • Comprehensive and individualised nutritional prescriptions are a truly powerful solution to chronic and debilitating health conditions
  • Food groups don’t necessarily have to be excluded. Exclusions of any whole foods should be based on an individual’s reaction to them – not on a societal level.
  • When underlying health issues are resolved, the physical body is less stressed and inflamed, and true weight release occurs
  • This was a supported journey and it wasn’t just about food. Long term health changes will only come when someone’s thoughts and feelings around food are also changed. New habits, a new lifestyle and new goals have been created which are only possible as a result of these health improvements.

The next information evening about the Metabolic Balance program is this Thursday the 7th of February, from 6pm here at the clinic. Please phone or email to register your attendance.

Read more about Metabolic Balance here.

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