healthy food

The Difference Between The Proper Way To Eat Versus Dieting

The word diet is often misused and people often use it in the context of weight loss and food restriction. In this latest post I talk about the difference between the word ‘Diet’, as in dieting, versus “Diet”- meaning the proper way to eat.

I also show people the wellness pyramid and explains what good nutrition is and that all carbs are not bad carbs. I also talk about waist size, body fat and the perception people have around weight and weight loss. Have a listen to my latest post to here this and so much more.

Bloating

Could Your Bloating Be Caused By Stress, Anxiety, or Your Busy Life?

Many people suffer from bloating very regularly and some suffer it daily as well. While the cause of bloating if often dietary or food related, many are unaware that stress, anxiety and their busy life can actually be causing their bloating too. In many cases, when food and dietary triggers have been ruled out, a big part of peoples bloating is actually stress and anxiety, or even being overly busy. For the sake of this post, I am going to put ‘busyness’ as the same category and stress and anxiety.

Stress, Anxiety and Busyness affects the whole body

Stress, anxiety and constant ‘busyness’ changes the body, not just the mind. Intense stress or anxiety can trigger stomach discomfort, including bloating. Some people may not realise that our mind and gut are linked. So with our busy, on-the-go lives, emotions we experience throughout the day, like stress, can affect our digestive system. As mentioned in a previous post, stress and anxiety can also cause and exacerbate pain in the entire body. (click here to read)

Stomach pain and bloating are more common in people who have stress as well as an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions such Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Bloating and abdominal pain is very common in women with endometriosis and is known as “Endo Belly”. This is very commonly exacerbated by stress and anxiety and also disruption to the microbiome.

While abdominal bloating is a widespread complaint, with many possible causes, unless the pain is intense or accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, it is usually safe to see if symptoms disappear on their own. But if you are ever worried, always consult with your healthcare practitioner as constant bloating can be a sign of serious health issues too.

How does stress and anxiety cause bloating?

There is now plenty of research and evidence that the brain and the gut communicate with each other via numerous systems (neural, hormonal and immunological) and do not function independently. Because of this interconnected relationship it means that if one system is ‘disturbed’, or ‘distressed ’it will result in the other system being ‘disturbed’ or ‘distressed also. In simplest terms if you have a busy day at work and it is stressful then mental stress at work = tummy upset. It really is that simple

When someone is feeling stressed and anxious, it may induce a variety of digestive issues and discomfort. Stress and anxiety produce an alteration in the contractility of the gut. This may then cause cramps or pain (increased contractility) and may influence bowel habits, which then causes constipation due to reduced GI contractions. This may then lead to someone being bloated. This could also lead to people also having loose bowels, or alternating bowel movements too.

Additionally bloating may occur without constipation and you could also experience increased heartburn as a result of your stress and anxiety. Decreased stomach emptying accompanied by increased oesophageal contractions may cause acid reflux. This increase stomach acid can then cause bloating and pain. It can also then lead to increase gut permeability and then further lead to leaky gut syndrome.

Reducing the effects of anxiety and stress on the gut

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to reduce the effects of anxiety and stress on your gut.  As I have often talked about, there is a direct link between our microbiota and our stress hormone system. Any alterations in our gut microbiota may lead to a heightened or suppressed hormonal response to stressful situations. I’ve talked about the effects of dysbiotic bacteria and bloating before. You can read one of my previous posts on this (click here)

This is why it is so important to do a proper microbiome restore, to not only to help with bloating and gastrointestinal issues, but to help with inflammation, the immune system and our emotions as well. Of course one still needs to look at their diet and what they are putting in their mouths too. Let’s not forget the impact of alcohol on our gut and digestive system too. I have done a post about this and to find out more (click here).

Identifying triggers

Besides a proper microbiome restore, the best approach would be to identify the ‘stress trigger’ or ‘anxiety trigger’ and try to remove it, or alter its impact, from your daily life, where possible. This can often be hard and will require the help of a qualified counsellor, or psychologist. It is important that people identify this and are real about needing help from a trained healthcare professional.

Use mindfulness and meditation practices

There are things people can do on their own to reduce stress and anxiety too. Mindfulness and meditation exercises can help to alleviate stress and anxiety and something people should practice daily.

Some examples could be the following. If you may get stressed by not being prepared for some activity at work like giving a presentation, just make sure that you allow plenty of time to adequately prepare and rehearse to prevent or reduce anxiety.

Another example could be that you might get stressed by travelling to work in overcrowded public transport. You could ride sharing to work, or give cycling to work a try.

If you feel yourself getting stressed out with any task make sure you take some time out from the activity. Go and sit quietly and just breathe and reassure yourself that everything is ok. You could make yourself a cup of tea, or listen to some soothing music. All these things can help but at the same time, may not always be applicable to all stressful scenario, or where you are anxious.

Final Word

There is more and more evidence now to suggest that many gut issues are affected by stress and anxiety. But, troubles with the gut can also cause stress and anxiety too. The gut-brain axis works both ways and we need for more people to know this.

This is why it is so important to look after our gut health more. We need to be managing our diets better, cut out inflammatory and refined foods, increasing pre and probiotics, managing allergies and intolerances, cutting back alcohol, managing stress and anxiety better, and avoiding foods that we know aggravate stomach issues and cause bloating and pain.

It is also important for people that experience bloating to realise that not all bloating issues are related to food, or their health condition. For many people, their daily bloating and pain is actually coming from either being overly busy, or from their high stress levels, or anxiety. It could be coming from all of these things combined too. If you do not know how to manage your bloating and stress and anxiety levels, it is best to book in a see a healthcare professional who can assist you deal with it properly.

If you do need assistance with bloating and abdominal pain, please call my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to assist you. You can also check out my posts on restoring the microbiome properly too. Something that could be very beneficial for all, especially after the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women and Men’s Health Expert

 

New Years Resolutions

Let’s be real and talk about your “New Year” resolutions

It is just about to be the end of a year, and also an end of a decade. With that comes a lot of memes about walking into the new year and new decade. Let’s face it, the last year was a bit of a shocker and many will be glad to see the end of it. But, is last year just the same as other years, and do we say the same thing every year?

Regardless of how the year ended and how the new decade is seen in, many are vowing to do better, or are wanting better for the year ahead.

But, in order for something to change, something needs to change, and that something is actually one’s self. If we want something to change, we need to change something. But are people really prepared to make the necessary changes, or are those posts and memes just empty words …. just like every other year?

If you are wanting change, and I mean true change, then what are you going to do to make those changes?

Let’s not make those posts and memes empty words. Let’s turn them into action and benefits from those words and actions for better health and a better life moving forward.

Have a listen to my video blog on this very topic

Regards

Andrew Orr

Christmas health tips

10 Health Tips for Surviving the Festive Season

Christmas and New Year is fast approach and while I was looking at how to survive and stay healthy during this period, I really should be looking at how to survive the lead up to Christmas as well. So instead I have done up 10 health tips for surviving the festive season.

It is such a busy time of year with schools finishing, Christmas shopping to get finish off, Christmas parties and lastly work is manic trying to finish off everything before Christmas. Sounds all a bit silly to have all that stress for just one day.

Every year people ask me how they can stay healthy during Christmas and New Year and every year I have to tell them the same thing.

Moderation is the key to staying healthy and also staying hydrated.

10 Health tips for surviving the festive season

So what can you do to survive the season and come out the other end actually feeling you have had a break, rather than feeling in desperate need of one?

I have compiled 10 top tips to ensure you get the most out of the festive season and make it through less stressed and maybe a little more healthier.

  1. Plan Ahead– Try and plan to have all your Christmas shopping and all your supplies for the silly season organised well in advance to save on the stress of doing things last minute. Pre-order foods online if you have to and get it delivered.
  2. Deflate the Expectations– Don’t try and make everything perfect because will only lead to stress and anxiety if things do not go to plan. The main thing is to have fun and enjoy the family and friends. Don’t get caught up in buying expensive gifts and trying to overdo everything as this can spoil all your fun and lead to disappointment. Remember it is the festive season, not the stress and disappointment season.
  3. Delegate– Don’t try and do everything yourself. On Christmas day or New Years Eve, get family or friends to bring a salad, or a dessert, or both. When people arrive if someone asks to help, let them. Many hands make light work. If nobody volunteers to help, make sure you ask. You deserve to enjoy yourself too. While you are preparing food a nice glass of wine will ease any stress.
  4. Don’t be on your own– Christmas is a time to be with loved ones, friends or people in your same situation. If you have nothing planned, plan a small party at your place, or go to a friends, or family members place. There is nothing worse than being on your own where depression can set in.
  5. Ditch the pasta and bread– Go with more Paleo/Primal eating for Christmas and eat healthy while enjoying good food. In Australia there is no need to use fillers like bread and pasta, when we have all this healthy beautiful food to fill up on. Replace the chips with nuts containing healthy oils. Go for pistachios etc that keep you busy shelling and they taste good too. Cut up veggie sticks to go in dips and have heaps of lean meats, prawns, salads and veggies to make Christmas healthy and enjoyable. Cut up heaps of fresh fruits for dessert. Lastly remember everything in moderation and the odd dessert isn’t going to kill you.
  6. Rehydrate before and after drinking– Most hang-over’s are caused by dehydration  and regularly hydrating while drinking will make your next day feel so much better on waking. Remember water alone will not keep you hydrated. You need to use electrolytes before and during your drinking session on Xmas and New Years Eve. You need to use a proper electrolyte because Gatorade and powerade are not electrolytes, they are cordials with a bit of salt. Getting some electrolytes into you before and after drinking alcohol will be the difference between waking up with a sore head or not. Have a read of my article on electrolytes
  7. Know your limit with alcohol– Let’s face it you don’t have to write yourself off and embarrass yourself to have a good time. Most people actually feel relaxed and jovial after only a few glasses of alcohol. After the first couple of glasses, limit your alcohol to one glass per hour and drink water and some electrolytes in between. Always eat food before drinking. You will feel better for spacing your drinks, eating food and staying hydrated.
  8. Detox and restore your microbiome after the festive season– After Christmas and New Year is over, your number one resolution should be detox and restore your microbiome with healthy bacteria. All that christmas cheer, over consumption of food, alcohol  and stress all reduce your good gut bacteria and increase your bad bacteria, so you need to restore your microbiome again. You can also find out more about my microbiome restore

Final Word

Christmas and New Year is all about having fun and not getting too stressed with everything. It’s about good food, good company and most importantly it’s about family and friends.  Make sure you enjoy yourself, share some love and remember that moderation is the key to anything to do with keeping healthy and safe during the festive season.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

Gluten Free

Are Gluten Free Products Healthier For Us?

Each day we are seeing more and more gluten free products lining the supermarket shelves. Today you can get everything from gluten-free bread, chips, pizza bases, cookies, cakes and other gluten-free products. But are there benefits to cutting out gluten, which is found in most of our grains such and wheat, oats etc?

While many consume gluten in many of the foods and products they are consuming daily and don’t realise the the affects on their health and digestive system. For many it is also a molecule that can wreak some serious havoc when consumed by the wrong person.

While many people look at gluten free products as now being a health food, the fact is that many of the gluten free products people are consuming, have more additives, have less vitamins and minerals, and contain more sugars than the gluten containing products.

Should we just be going grain free instead of trying to use gluten free products?

Are these gluten free products healthier for you?

With marketing focusing more and more on the sales of gluten free products and the high prices that are charged for these products, we really need to look at what are in these products and ask the question…… Are these products really healthier for us?

I would say no, but let me explain why.

What Are Grains and What Do They Do To Our Health?

The word “Grains” does cover many of the common foods we eat now. Grains include wheat, corn, rye, rice, barley, oats, amaranth, buckwheat, millet and sorghum – and many others. These grains are used in so many products these days and part of the reason we are having so many problems with health issues. Bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits, pastries, crackers and so many other refined products consumed by many of us are all made with these inflammatory grains.

Let’s not forget that we give grains to cattle and livestock to fatten them up, make them grow faster (due to the hormone response from insulin) and add more fats into the meat for extra flavour.

The grain is the reproductive part of plant; it therefore needs to protect itself to enable future generations. The big difference with fruit; which is designed to be eaten by humans, is that when digested seeds are consumed, they are then spread further to ensure future generations.

As part of this overall protective mechanism, grains contain anti-nutrients, such as phytates, lectins, and other incomplete proteins. This is our major problem with grains. Even when gluten is removed from food products, these other inflammatory agents remain and most people are complete unaware of this and how much they are causing problems with their health and disruption to their digestive systems.

Phytates bind to minerals, vitamins and enzymes preventing them from being absorbed in your body. The Lectins found in grains have a significant impact in the gut, resulting in inflammation and poor absorption of nutrients – as well as insulin & leptin resistance.

The inflammation that these anti-nutrients cause, is now known to be the cause of many modern diseases. But lets not forget that many of our grains that we consume daily are also genetically modified and this in itself is causing major disruption to our health and bodily functions. This alone could be a major factor in the increase of many disease states we are now seeing.

Refined grains are converted to sugar very quickly, which requires insulin to bring down the blood sugar level in the blood. High insulin levels cause the body to store fats and then stop the burning of fats. The high insulin also causes inflammation and insulin resistance – which is the cause of many of our health conditions.

It can be the underlying cause, or exacerbate chronic disease states such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Depression, Diabetes, Heart Disease and many other health issues in this modern day. Consuming such a high refined carbohydrate load with every meal results in unstable, fluctuating blood sugar levels and this then results in hunger that is satisfied by consuming another high carbohydrate meal.

There is also differences between what we term as “Carbs”. “Good carbs” are fresh fruits and vegetables and naturally growing foods in their normal form. “Bad Carbs” are basically anything that is refined – (Breads, cereals, flour products, sugar and most of our packet based foods)

So what is Gluten and why is it so bad for our health?

Gluten is another protein that causes a lot of problems and is found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats (other grains have similar, troublesome proteins). Gluten is the only protein in food that’s indigestible and those who suffer from celiac disease experience adverse side effects from consuming  and — in severe cases —  touching  gluten. Gluten can slip through the intestinal lining, causing chronic damage, inflammation, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting in these sufferers.

There’s also evidence suggesting that people without coeliac can have a sensitivity to gluten, which still causes complications and forces them to live on a strict gluten-free diet. Whilst a lot of people may test negative for the autoimmune disease Coeliac, there is evidence to suggest most people do not handle this incomplete protein well.

Gluten causes gut irritation and inflammation and many people will not even realise that their problems are caused by gluten. Gluten has been linked to many autoimmune and health conditions.

The problem with Gluten Free products is that they are still highly refined and they still cause inflammation, due to high insulin, even with the gluten removed. The inflammatory lectins and leptins are still there too.

Many gluten free products are also full of additives, fillers, binding agents and lots of sugar. Currently, there are no medications, treatments, or cures to successfully treat any form of gluten intolerance. But so long as they don’t consume any foods containing gluten molecules, both coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity sufferers can live a relatively normal and otherwise healthy life.

But the bottom line is that Gluten-free diets don’t necessarily mean you’ve chosen a healthier route, especially when you run the risk of losing out on essential nutrients.

This is why a grain free, not gluten free, is the best option. If you truly want to be gluten free, just don’t eat the wheat grain, or other gluten containing and inflammatory grains in the first place.

The best thing any person could do for their body, as the first step towards better health, would be to cut wheat grain from their diet completely. You will be much healthier for it in the long run. This is part of my healthy lifestyle and healthy eating called the “PACE diet” (Primal Ancestral Clean Eating Diet) 

If you do want to know more about how to follow a wheat free/grain free diet, then give my clinic staff a call and find out how I can assist you. 

Take care and stay healthy

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate