Healthy Halloween

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With three little boys I know how much kids ADORE halloween and who wouldn’t! Dressing up in scary costumes, trick or treating and seeing all the other kids in the neighbourhood doing the same is a super fun.

Because our family eats such a nutrient dense diet with only natural sugars from honey and fruit my kids feel quite horrible when they do eat sugar.  The colours, flavours, high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar puts too much toxicity into their little systems and they know this makes them feel horrible.

Often we think lollies as treats occasionally are ok and generally that is true, if 90% of what you eat is really healthy then your body can usually cope with 10% of your diet that isn’t.  However with my work as a nurse and a health coach I see time and time again the impact that even ‘treat’ foods have on our health.   The toxins from the lollies don’t just go in  and come out.  Our bodies are bombarded with so much toxicity these days, from the water we drink to the sprays on our food and in the environment, that our bodies have a hard time keeping up and getting them out.    These toxins congest our brains and organs and get stuck in our fat cells often staying in our bodies for years.

healthy-halloween-treats

So what can we do to protect our kids health and still enjoy festivals like Halloween?

  1. I make sure everyone is really well feed before trick or treating.   When your hungry its impossible to resist eating the junk!
  2. If they have healthy sweet things to munch on along the way they won’t feel like they are missing out. So arm them with plenty of real food options such as…
    • annies fruit strips
    • ceres seaweed sheets
    • ceres raw bars
    • bliss balls
    • organic chocolate
    • kombucha or pure fruit juice drinks

    These are definitely not every day foods for my boys so they adore them when they’re on offer.

  3. We don’t eat the lollies we trick or treat for but we have another use for them.  My boys trick or treat and collect all the lollies as usual, but instead of eating them they cash them in to me for
    • money
    • raisins
    • toys
    • or a special trip like going to the movies

    They think this is really cool, they still get to have fun, eat heaps and be with their friends but instead of a headache and a sore tummy they get to trade their lollies for a bounty of cash or an exciting trip out instead!!!

This may sound hard out but it works well for my family and you might find it works for yours.

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Yes as a parent this is a lot more work and more expensive but when you’ve had sick kids and they become well again you never want to go back there so your willing to go the extra mile!

I often throw a little halloween party with lots of fun games that don’t revolve around food and the kids have an absolute blast.

Summary of surviving a healthy Halloween!

  • Feed them up with a good dinner before going trick or treating
  • Negotiate to cash in their lollies for something else such as money, a trip to the movies or toys
  • Give them refined sugar free treats so they can still feel like they’re having fun and are not being deprived of the sweetness (refined sugar free means natural sugars such as fruit or honey, NOT sugar free sweeteners!)
  • Make it a great social night with likeminded friends

So there you go…a few tips to make your Halloween a little bit healthier

Enjoy

from

Abby

x x x

32864-Healthy-Halloween-Treats

Soaking your nuts, seeds, grains and legumes | Why you need to do it

Soaking nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes 
Nature has set it up so that the nut, grain and seed may survive until proper growing conditions are present. Nature’s defense mechanism includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that can be removed naturally when there is enough precipitation to sustain a new plant after the nut, grain or seed germinates. When it rains the nut, grain or seed gets wet and can then germinate to produce a plant. So we are mimicking nature when we soak our nuts, grains and seeds.

Nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances found in nuts grains and seed can be minimized or eliminated by soaking. These inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.

What are Enzyme inhibitors?
There are digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. Digestive enzymes help break down food. Metabolic enzymes help every biological process the body does. Enzyme inhibitors will clog, warp or denature an active site of an enzyme. They may also bind to the enzyme, which will prevent the intended molecule from binding. “Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess.”

What are Phytates?
“All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.”

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?

  • 1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
  • 2. To remove or reduce tannins.
  • 3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
  • 4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • 5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
  • 6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
  • 7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
  • 8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • 9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
  • 10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

“Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.”

What can be used to soak nuts, grains and seeds?
I have found many references to soaking nuts, grains, and seeds in water, salt water, or a warm water mixture with something acidic like yogurt, apple cider vinegar, whey or lemon juice. It seems within 7 to 24 hours the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the anti-nutrients are broken down regardless of the method you choose. There is evidence that the process works when you see sprouting begin.

How long does the soaking process take?
“As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.” “Flour products should be soaked at room temperature for at least twelve hours but better results may be obtained with a twenty-four hour soaking.”

Are the nuts, grains and seeds used wet?

I have enjoyed almonds wet. If you choose to try consuming anything in the soaked state, make little batches and store them in the refrigerator. Usually everything that is soaked is dried in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest possible setting for 24 – 48 hours to remove all moisture.

Wheat berries can be soaked whole for 8 to 22 hours, then drained and rinsed. Some recipes use the whole berries while they are wet, such as cracker dough ground right in the food processor. You can also dry sprouted wheat berries in a low-temperature oven or dehydrator, and then grind them in your grain mill and use the flour in a variety of recipes.Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes can be ground up to use as flour in many recipes after they have been dried.

Any advice on what to do with legumes?

I recommend soaking any beans or legumes in water and vinegar for at least twelve hours before cooking. Soaked and dried beans may be ground up and used as flour for thickening and baking. This is helpful for those on a gluten free diet.

One recommendation includes placing soaked kombu or kelp seaweed in the bottom of the pot when soaking legumes. Add one part seaweed to six or more parts legumes. This is for improved flavor and digestion, more nutrients, and faster cooking. “Soak legumes for twelve hours or overnight in four parts water to one part legume. For best results, change the water once or twice. Lentils and whole dried peas require shorter soaking, while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer. Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard the soak water. After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard foam. Continue to boil for twenty minutes without lid at beginning of cooking to let steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes).”

Leaky Gut

Leaky gut syndrome is a rapidly growing condition that millions of people are struggling with and don’t even know it.  From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut syndrome only affects the digestive system but in reality it can lead to many other health conditions.

According to research, leaky gut could be the cause of your food allergies, low energy, joint pain, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions and slow metabolism.

In this article I will outline specifically how you can heal leaky gut syndrome and breakthrough the health problems you’ve been struggling with.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through.  Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system.


Causes-of-Leaky-Gut-Syndrome-Leaky-Gut-Progression


When someone has leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability) the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop in your net, so things that normally can’t pass through, are now be able to.

Some of the things that can now pass through include proteins like glutenbad bacteria and undigested foods particlesToxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your blood stream causing an immune reaction.1



Leaky Gut Symptoms and Progression

This leads to inflammation throughout your system and can cause symptoms, such as:

  • Bloating
  • Food sensitivities
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Skin issues like rosacea and acne
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain
  • Syndrome X

 


One of the biggest warning signs that you may have leaky gut can be that you’re experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining making their way into your bloodstream which will cause an allergic response.

This allergic response doesn’t mean you’ll break out in a rash all over your body, but it can lead to one of the symptoms I’ve mentioned above.  And, if left un-repaired can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

According to the Journal of Diabetes there is a strong body of evidence pointing to leaky gut as a major cause of autoimmune diseases including Type 1 Diabetes.

Another problem with leaky gut is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients including zinc, iron and vitamin B12


What Causes Leaky Gut?

There are 4 main causes of leaky gut which include:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Toxin overload
  • Bacterial imbalance (this can be hereditary)

We’re about to cover some in-depth nutrition here.  Read carefully, and in a few sections I will outline the top 5 Foods and Supplements to heal your leaky gut…

The most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are the proteins found in un-sprouted grains, sugar, GMO’s, and conventional dairy.

The problem with unsprouted grains is they contain large amounts of nutrient blockers called phytates and lectins. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that act as a natural defense system for plants that protect them from outside invaders like mold and parasites.

This is good news for plants but bad news for your body.

Your digestive lining is covered with sugar containing cells that help break down your food.  Lectins gravitate toward this area and when they attach to your digestive lining it damages your gut, causing inflammation.

 

Lectins and Foods that Cause Leaky Gut

Lectins are found in many foods, not just grains, and consumed in smaller amounts your body will do just fine with them. But foods that have large amounts of lectins like wheatricespelt, and soy are more problematic.

Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces phytates and lectins, and makes these foods easier to digest.

GMO and hybridized foods tend to be the highest in lectins since they have been modified to fight off bugs.

Also, gluten containing grains will damage your intestinal lining causing leaky gut.  So while you are working to heal your system stay away from all grains especially ones that contain gluten like wheat.  Once your gut is healthy you can add back in grains that have been fermented and sprouted to eat occasionally.

Conventional cows milk is another food that can cause leaky gut. The component of dairy that will harm your gut is the protein A1 Casein.  Also, the pasteurisation  process will destroy vital enzymes making sugars like lactose very difficult to digest. For this reason, I only recommend buying dairy that is raw and from: A2 cows, goat’s, sheep, or buffalo.

Sugar is another substance that will wreak havoc on your digestive system.   Sugar will feed the growth of yeast, candida, and bad bacteria which will further damage your gut. Bad bacteria actually creates toxins called exotoxins that damage healthy cells and can eat a hole into your intestinal wall.


Other Factors that Cause Leaky Gut

Chronic stress weakens your immune system over time which cripples your ability to fight off foreign invaders like bad bacteria and viruses leading to inflammation and leaky gut.  To reduce stress I recommend getting more sleep, schedule fun into your week, rest one day a week, meditate on scripture, and hang out with positive uplifting people.

Toxins. We come into contact with over 80,000 chemicals and toxins every single year but the worst offenders for causing leaky gut include antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin, and NSAIDS.  I recommend buying a high quality water filter to eliminate chlorine and fluoride and look to natural plant based herbs to reduce inflammation in your body.

Dysbiosis. Finally, one of the leading causes of leaky gut is a condition called dysbiosis, which means an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species of bacteria in your gut. For many, this imbalance can begin at birth because of a C-section or because the mother didn’t have a healthy gut herself. The overuse of prescription antibiotic drugs, tap water with chlorine and fluoride, and the lack of probiotic rich foods contribute to this imbalance of good and bad bacteria.


Leaky Gut and the Brain

 

leaky gut and the brain

Another topic I want to quickly discuss is how leaky gut can affect the brain.  If you’ve ever seen a child with autism experience a mood swing, this can be caused by intestinal permeability. Gluten and Casein-Free Diet’s have proven effective for many children with autism because these proteins can leak through the gut and then recirculate and act on the brain similarly to an opioid drug.

This is also why leaky gut has been linked to other psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. So, in many cases, if you can heal the gut you can heal the brain.

The 4-Step Plan to Heal Leaky Gut

The good news is there’s a solution to healing leaky gut. There is a four step process that includes:

  1. REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut

  2. REPLACE with healing foods

  3. REPAIR with specific supplements

  4. REBALANCE with probiotics

Here’s the protocol I have use with my clients based on Dr Natasha Campbell Mcrbrides ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome’ or GAPS diet.

Remember, the top foods to remove that cause leaky gut are sugar, grains, conventional meat, conventional dairy and GMO foods.  The top toxic exposures to eliminate are tap water, pesticides, NSAIDS, and antibiotics but remember to always consult with your physician if he has prescribed these for you.


The Leaky Gut Diet and 5 Healing Foods

Bone Broth for Healing Leaky Gut

#1 Bone Broth – broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. I’ve  had many of my patients do a bone broth fast for 3 days to help rapidly repair leaky gut.

 


fermented vegetables - heal leaky gut#2 Fermented Vegetables – contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut.  Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Kvass are excellent sources.


coconut products to heal leaky gut#3Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut.  The MCFA’s in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so better for leaky gut.  Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.


seeds - leaky gut#4 Sprouted seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds that have been sprouted are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria. But if you have severe leaky gut, you may need to start out getting your fiber from steamed vegetables and fruit.

Also, consuming foods that have anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats are beneficial such as grass-fed beef, lamb, and wild caught fish like salmon.


Top 5 Supplements for Healing Leaky Gut

There are many supplements that support your digestive health but I believe the most beneficial are: L-Glutamine, Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, Aloe Vera Juice, Quercetin, NAG and Licorice Root.

#1 Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria.  I recommend getting probiotics in both food and supplement form. I see people all the time only follow part of the protocol in healing their gut by removing the damaging irritants. But the part they often leave out is re-inoculating their gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay.

So load up on BOTH probiotic rich foods and take AT LEAST 50 billion units of probiotics daily from a high quality brand.

#2 Digestive enzymes (one or two capsules at the beginning of each meal) ensure that foods are fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested foods particles and proteins from damaging your gut wall.

#3 L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut.  Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining.  L-glutamine acts a protector and coats your cell walls, acting as a repellent to irritants. Take 2-5 grams 2x daily.6

#4 Licorice Root (DGL) is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. DGL supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress. Take 500mg 2x daily.

#5 Quercetin has also been shown to improve gut barrier function by sealing the gut because it supports creation of tight junction proteins.  It also stabilizes mast cells and reduces the release of histamine which is common in food intolerance.  New studies have also shown it’s effectiveness in healing ulcerative colitis.  Take 500mg 3x daily with meals.

If you can follow the above protocol you are well on your way to healing your gut for good!

 

References:

Kiefer D, Ali-Akbarian L (2004). “A brief evidence-based review of two gastrointestinal illnesses: irritable bowel and leaky gut syndromes”. Alternative Therapy Health Medicine 10 (3): 22–30.

Pike, M. G.; Heddle, R. J.; Boulton, P.; Turner, M. W.; Atherton, D. J. (1986). “Increased Intestinal Permeability in Atopic Eczema”. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 86 (2): 101–104.

Humbert, P.; Bidet, A.; Treffel, P.; Drobacheff, C.; Agache, P. (1991). “Intestinal permeability in patients with psoriasis”. Journal of dermatological science 2(4): 324–326.

Vaarala O, Atkinson MA, Neu J (2008) ‘The “Perfect Storm” for Type 1 Diabetes The Complex Interplay Between Intestinal Microbiota, Gut Permeability, and Mucosal Immunity’, Diabetes Journal,  (57)10(2555-2562).

Z Liu, N Li, J Neu (2005) ‘Tight junctions, leaky intestines, and pediatric diseases’, Acta Paediatrica , 94(4), pp. 386-393.

Maes M, Leunis JC (2008) ‘Normalization of leaky gut in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is accompanied by a clinical improvement: effects of age, duration of illness and the translocation of LPS from gram-negative bacteria’, Journal of Neuro Endocrinology, 29(6), pp. 902-10.

 

Ear infections and Glue Ear what is the root cause?

glueear   Ear infections account for more than a third of all visits to GP’s.  Around two thirds of all children in the Western World have ear infections at some time every year, with one third having more than four ear infections a year. Why do we have this epidemic? Why do so many children end up with grommets after endless courses of antibiotics for acute ear infections? To understand this phenomenon we have to look at the structure of the ear (see above).

Ear infections happen in the middle ear, which is quite a small closed space. Its main function is to pass the sound from your eardrum to the inner ear, which it does every efficiently with the interconnected tiny bones called the hammer, anvil and stirrup.   Your middle ear is filled with air and is separated from the outer ear canal by the eardrum.  However it is connected to the outside world with a tube call the eustachian tube.  This tube is the most important player in ear infections and glue ear. The major function of this tube is to equalise pressure in the middle ear with the atmospheric pressure. The body guards the eustachian tube in several ways

  • The eustachian tube is guarded by the tube tonsils, they are part of the immune system and their function is to prevent infectious agents from the nose and throat entering the the eustachian tubes and your middle ear.
  • The mucus membranes of the eustachian tubes are covered with tiny hairs pointing away from the middle ear towards the nose to direct food debris or air trying to get into the middle ear away thus protecting it.
  • The mucus producing cells in the mucosa of the eustachian tubes are constantly cleaning the tubes with their secretions down into the back of your nose.
  • The lymphatic follicles of in the walls of the eustachian tube launch attack on any invaders which are able to penetrate the mucus

This combination of factors provides a pretty formidable defence for the middle ear.   In healthy children it works very well indeed.  Why don’t these defences work in so many children?  How does the infection get through all these barriers? Why do we have an epidemic of ear infections and glue ear? Here we come to a very important point.  The mouth, nose, throat, eustachian tubes and middle ear of a new born baby are sterile.  Soon after birth, they get populated by a varied mixture of microbes coming from the environment, Mum, Dad and anybody else who is in contact with the child.  Just as it happens with the gut many develop abnormal flora in this area. This will cause two things

  1. First the epithelium of the eustachian tubes will start producing too much mucus in order to protect and clean itself.
  2. Second the tube tonsils will be in a chronic state of inflammation, blocking the entrance into the tubes and not allowing the mucus to drain out.

Fairly quickly the middle ear fills up with mucus.  this situation is called glue ear.  The mucus which fills their middle ear would provide a good growing environment for any infection which may come along front he back of the nose .  When that happens the child gets typical symptoms of ear infection.  Pain and fever and antibiotics are usually prescribed.  Antibiotics clear away the infectious agent, but do not remove the glue ear. In fact, in the long run, they make the situation worse by altering the bacteria flora in the nose and throat even further.  So the middle ear still filled with mucus, predictably the ear infection happens again  and again. Having suffered many infections children finish up with little pipes called grommets, put through their ear drum in order to provide another channel for draining the mucus form the middle ear.  This operation treats the symptoms only, but usually resolves the problem of glue ear and stops the chain of constant ear infections.  So the epithelium of the middle ear and eustachian tube will still be producing a lot of mucus and the natural channel for draining this mucus will still be blocked, but the mucus will now drain through an artificial pipe – grommet – into the outside.  Grommets are a symptomatic measure and do not remove the real problem.  The real problem is the abnormal flow that has developed in the mouth, nose and throat. Practise shows that when the flora is normalised, the glue ear and the ear infections disappear. Two things have to be done to normalise bacterial flora in that area

  1. The diet should not provide food that abnormal bacteria can feed on i.e. sugars, milk and processed carbohydrates.  Its amazing how quickly glue ear resolves, when these foods are taken out
  2. Second a strong therapeutic probiotic should be added to the child’s regime.  The beneficial bacteria in the probiotic help to crowd out pathogenic flora and re-establish normal healthy flora in the mouth, nose and throat, which will keep the child clear from ear infections.

Putting probiotic powder on the child’s tongue last thing at night before bed, after the child has clean teeth and is not going to eat or drink anymore.  This way the probiotic bacteria will have a chance to reach the back of nose and throat where the tube tonsils are and deal with any pathogenic bacteria in that area.  As a result the inflammation will subside and the tube tonsils will resume their normal size and not block the eustachian tubes anymore, allowing mucus to drain from the middle ear.  This will resolve glue ear and the constant chain of ear infections.

Another common contributing factor to ear infections is food allergies, particularly allergy to milk.  It is helpful to remove cows milk as another measure to reduce inflammation. It takes time to change a child’s diet and to establish normal bacterial flora in the throat.  What do we do as an immediate response to an ear infection?

Natural remedies

  • Keep your child indoors and warm when they have an ear infection.     Put a knitted woollen hat on your child and a warm jumper, even whilst inside.
  • Give your child plenty of hot drinks.  Hot water with a slice of lemon and a spoon of honey.  Give probiotics after wards.  Remember probiotics contain live bacteria, which are damaged by heat.
  • Take 1-2 tablespoons of cold pressed olive oil and add in a crushed clove of garlic.  Leave it for 30mins, strain trough a sieve.  Put a few drops of this oil into your children ear every hour, particularly before bed.   Keep oil at room temp and warm it slightly before putting in ear (by warming a spoon in hot water then adding oil onto the warm spoon, test oil to ensure it is not too hot before applying to the ear).
  • The old onion remedy! Take a large white onion, chop it up finely and warp it in a piece of cotton cloth.  Put it into  the oven an warm it up to fairly hot but tolerable to touch.  Put it on your child’s ear and securely cover with a a warm hat. Keep it on until its starts cooling down.  Warm it up again and repeat the application.  This procedure is relaxing for the child and very good to do at bedtime.  Its a bit messy and makes your child smell of onion but it works amazingly!!!

All these measures should be applied as early as possible.  If after 2-3 days the pain and fever are not getting any better you have have to resort to antibiotics.  However in majority of cases these natural treatments work very well and the child recovers without medical help.   In the meantime it it is a good idea to start the long term intervention (diet and probiotics) as soon as possible. to prevent any further infections.