Understanding The Gut-Brain Connection and Behaviours.

Each food you eat either fuels your body and benefits your cells healing and reproducing new healthy cells. Or it harms your body causing inflammation and deficiencies and thus behavioral issues like Depression, Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and Bi-Polar Disorder, or inflammation illness like; Arthritis, Diabetes, ME, MS, Heart Conditions, Crohn’s, Eczema, psoriasis, Asthma, Epilepsy and Auto-immune diseases. It’s vital to understand eating the right foods and living in the right environment for your body so it can heal itself and do what it is designed to do without medication and intervention.

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The “Mind-Gut Connection”

The trillions of microbes that inhabit the human body, collectively called the microbiome, are estimated to weigh two to six pounds. Up to twice the weight of the average human brain (No wonder we call the Gut the second Brain) Most of them live in the gut and intestines, where they help us to digest food, synthesize vitamins and ward off infection. Studies have linked the gut microbiome to a range of complex behaviours, such as mood and emotion, appetite, and even learning and memory. Not only does the gut microbiome appear to help maintain brain function, but it may also influence the risk of psychiatric and neurological disorders, including anxiety, depression and autism.

  • Gut microbiota help break down certain nutrients.
  • Gut microbiota produce brain chemicals such as,
  • GABA, tryptophan, serotonin, histamine and
  • Dopamine (all needed to function and stay happy and balanced)
  • 70-80% of your brain chemicals are made in the gut!

Disruption of the gut barrier:

  • Dysbiosis “leaky gut” – toxicity
  • Parasites and over-growths of yeast
  • Inflammatory bowel disorders

Microbiota Disturbance

There are many things that can upset this delicate balance, from family genes passed on from blood lines, to environment, toxins and of course most important is the food you nourish your body with.

  • Environment – pesticides, herbicides, synthetic hormones and pollutions.
  • Foods – intolerances, processed foods, white sugar, trans fat, wheat, gluten and food chemicals, preservatives and additives. (Gluten can cause opening of the cell junctions, open it up to toxins and bacteria entering the blood stream causing Leaky Gut)
  • Under-active digestion (low stomach acid)
  • Stress and emotional trauma. (Causing diarrhoea or constipation, bloating, wind, reflux, low stomach acid, ulcers in the digestive tract, disruption in motility, bacterial imbalance, when stressed there are tendencies to eat more sugar and refined carbohydrates when under pressure)
  • Medication -painkillers, sleeping tablets, thrush treatments, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory e.g. Nurofen, Cortisone, Voltaren.

Many factors come in to play to stop our cells from talking to each other and growing healthily or reproducing:

  • Inflammation
  • Food sensitivities – e.g. gluten intolerance
  • Oxidative Stress (toxicity of cells)
  • Hormones – e.g. Cortisol (stress)
  • Leaky gut

What is “Leaky Gut”?

The lining of our digestive tract acts as a barrier with tiny holes that should only allow small, harmless particles to pass through while preventing waste particles and undigested food from escaping. However, if this lining becomes compromised or more porous than normal, undigested food particles and waste products can get through and enter the bloodstream. When undigested food particles and waste seep into the bloodstream, the immune system responds with inflammation throughout the body, leading to leaky gut syndrome (coined my Naturopaths). Inflammation can then lead to symptoms like bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, rashes, achy joints, allergies, and more. These symptoms, in addition to chemicals produced during this immune response, are contributing factors for kids who struggle with behavior, focus, and learning difficulties. Kids with leaky gut syndrome may also experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to poor absorption, which can further exacerbate learning or behavioral struggles. While it is widely accepted that people with Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) often experience leaky gut syndrome, the idea that kids with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Autism and Dyslexia and other neuro-developmental disorders may also be affected is gaining traction thanks to Dr Natasha Mc Bride ‘The GAPS Diet’.

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Hannah’s Gut Healing Protocol.

Hormones

Hormones play such an important role in your body and its healing ability, if one is out or low or too high it can cause many long-term health issues. If your lacking in any of these hormones or your body is imbalanced you can get symptoms of depression, learning difficulties or leaky gut. Here I break down each one and the importance of them:

Neurotransmitters

These act as messengers for the brain and nervous system:

  • They either “excite” or “inhibit”
  • Keep you in a “fight or flight response”

Noradrenaline

Helps with:

  • Alertness, concentration, memory and mood:
  • Overproduction can result in high stress – panic attacks or anxiety and not being able to switch off at night

Acetyl Choline

Helps with memory and learning, signs and symptoms of a deficiency include:

  • Poor concentration
  • Light sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Highly reactive to stress

Serotonin

Helps with regulating sleep, mood and eating behaviours. Signs and symptoms of a deficiency include:

  • 95% of serotonin in the body is in the GUT! – Gluten effects serotonin production
  • Aggressiveness
  • Bad temper
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks

(so if your guts not right your not going to feel happy)

Dopamine

Helps with motivation, mood regulation, memory and movement. Signs and symptoms of a deficiency include:

  • Restless legs (Fibromyalgia)
  • Low libido
  • Depression/low mood
  • Dull boring dreams or no memory of dreams

GABA

Helps with sleep maintenance and our main inhibitory brain chemical “stops excitatory brain chemicals” signs and symptoms of deficiency include:

  • Anxiety/panic attacks
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Insomnia or struggles to fall asleep/waking during the night with a rushing mind

Cortisol.

Too much elevated Cortisol levels can interfere with every aspect of your health. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Learning and memory difficulties
  • Lowered immune function
  • Bone density
  • Increase weight gain or unable to loose weight even when under eating and exercising
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Keeps you in chronic stress
  • Increase risk for depression
  • Mental illness
  • Lower life expectancy
  • Inflammation in the body
  • Burn out your Adrenal Glands

Histamine

Helps with your immune system, proper digestion, and your central nervous system. As a neurotransmitter, it communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a component of stomach acid, which is what helps you break down food in your stomach. Too much Histamine can cause:

  • Leaky Gut
  • DEO deficiencies
  • GI bleeding

Too little Histamine can cause:

  •       Arousal and wakefulness
  •       Loss of appetite
  •       Low stomach acid
  •       Food allergies
  •       Binge eating and cravings
  •       Dry skin allergies
  •       Tissue swelling
  •       Difficulty regulating temperature
  •       Fatigue
  •       Cramping around menstruation
  •       Anxiety
  •       Nasal congestion, sneezing,          difficulty breathing
  •     Vertigo or dizziness
  •       Arrhythmia, or accelerated heart rate

Parasites

Parasites can cause many issues when untreated and stop the healing process. The body becomes Malnutritioned and they can cause Leaky Gut and Fat Malabsorption, meaning the body doesn’t get the nutrients from the food you are eating as they take it all first. This then affects the Gut Flora and Microbiome and other deficiencies accrue. We all have parasites to some level but some are able to expel them natural without it causing them harm whilst others need medical help. Parasite can be picked up through:

  • Travel to other countries – e.g. “Bali Belly”
  • Weakened immune system
  • Pets and animals
  • Lack of hygiene

Signs and symptoms of them include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Wind
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain or weight loss

Parasites can be passed through salvia and bodily fluids and from changing nappies so if one family member has them you all have them. Testing can be hard but worth persisting to find out which ones you have and the right treatment for them. Treatment can take up to 1 year and there are foods to help with expelling them as well as natural cleansers.

Candidia Yeast Overgrowths and Sibo

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (or SIBO) is a chronic bacterial (and/or yeast) infection of the small intestine, where excessive number and/or abnormal type of bacteria (and yeasts) growing in a part of the gastrointestinal tract that normal contains relatively few microorganisms.  These bacteria can cause a variety of problems by interfering with digestion and absorption of nutrients and by damaging the lining of the gut, causing a “Leaky Gut” Symptoms of bacterial overgrowth include abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, gas, belching, flatulence, chronic diarrhoea, and chronic constipation.  These symptoms are due to the large volume of bacteria the digestive tract (alive and dead, as they read the end of their lifecycle) and the large amount of gas and metabolic waste that they produce.  Many more symptoms of SIBO are a direct effect of nutrient mal-absorption (the body being starved even though you are eating). This arises either from the bacteria metabolizing those nutrients before we can absorb them or by the bacteria causing enough inflammation in the lining of the gut that it the gut can’t work properly anymore. The bacteria preferentially consume iron and vitamin B12, causing anemia.  The bacteria decrease fat absorption by de-conjugating bile, leading to deficiencies of vitamins A & D and causing fatty floating pale stools.  As the gut lining becomes increasingly inflamed and leaky, larger and not fully digested food particles enter the body, causing an immune reaction, which leads to food allergies and food sensitivities.  Bacteria themselves can enter the blood stream causing systemic inflammation and immune reactions that can lead to autoantibody formation and autoimmune diseases. The truth about fruit . . .

Read about my gut healing protocol here; Hannah’s Gut Healing Protocol.

Knowing you have to make changes, but your feeling scared and overwhelmed?

Are you looking for the answer to better health in your self and your family?

Especially if you have a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

But don’t know where to start or why there is the need for such dramatic changes?

That’s completely understandable, it can mean a massive change to your lifestyle. And if autism is in your family, you’ll know exactly how challenging change can be. or maybe you have become unwell your self and your life is centred around how sick your feel.

A simple guide to understanding Nutrition and the part it plays on your body, and how to heal your own body!

But, if your family is impacted by autism or health issues, you’ll also understand that it’s often the things that make our children (and us) feel the most uncomfortable that bring about the biggest gains in the long run. Nothing that is right is easy.

Take their therapies for example. By challenging our kids, bit-by-bit, they start to make inroads and soon we’ve shifted to a new normal – a better normal that, at the start, we didn’t think possible.

The same goes for our changing your family’s diet. And, perhaps the key to making the change is to think that starting a raw vegan diet as just another necessary therapy needed on your path to better outcomes for your child, allowing all the therapies to work better and give you your lives back, as it did mine.

For our family, starting changes in our nutrition didn’t feel like a choice, it felt much more like a necessity. Does it feel like that to you?

WHY RAW LIVING FOODS! For Healing Diseases and Autism. . .

Our eldest child’s behaviours had been challenging, even when he was tiny and long before his ASD diagnosis. And it was early on that we began to realise that foods were impacting on his little body and his behaviour.

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I had worked in the organic health food industry prior to having children, so I felt I had great knowledge about foods. But even foods that I had previously considered healthy, like carrots, were causes obvious tummy upsets, and I was at my wits end.

It was only after months of research and trying different approaches at home did we land into the world of the GAPS Diet and then moved to Raw Vegan where we found most of our gains and continue to thrive getting cleaner and healthier each month. We had already removed gluten and dairy and seen great improvements in William’s health and behaviour, but still we faced the daily tummy upsets, as well as challenging behaviour. Raw vegan lifestyle gave us our sons health back. And mine!

Autism needs advanced nutrition and full focus to heal. It is not an easy road nor short but you will be rewarded beyond your dreams, if you work hard on their nutrition, your mindset and create a clean, chemical free healthy environment.

But when we came across dietary changes and learned more about the ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, it all started making sense. We then made a choice, and for our family, and it has been the best choice we could have made.

Choosing a positive mindset

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But – I know for some it may seem too hard, too restrictive and too much work. Let me reassure you, the first weeks are tough, but once you discover your routine – both preparation and tastebud wise – it gets much, much easier. Theres is no cooking and it is so easy!

And you don’t have to go cold turkey. You can start by ‘crowding out’ the unhealthy foods and replacing them with healthier options. That way, you can make the change little by littlest using the right food combinations. Food combining and why is it essential for health!-chart.

So before you put the ‘Raw Living Vegan Diet’ in the too hard basket. Think about the possible outcomes – healthier children and who begin to calm as the diet starts to heal the gut and toxins are eliminated from their bodies. Healthier parents, happy family?

What is a ‘Health Coach’ and how can they help you achieve your goals?

And isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t that what you’re looking for? A healthy child that has the emotional space to live, learn and experience life?

That’s what I was searching for, and I’m proud to say that’s where we’re headed now.

I am here to help you achieve this x x

Trusting your Instincts and how it can help you find your path to health.

As a new parent you’re bombarded with information and advice about the ‘best’ way or the ‘right’ way of looking after your child.

But what do you do if that advice conflicts with your instincts? What do you do, if you know in your gut, that following all the ‘good’ advice is not what’s best for your family?

Society seems to want to condition us to conform to a ‘normal’ way of parenting, a ‘normal’ way of eating and a ‘normal’ way of thinking. But how can we be normal when everyone has their own brand of ‘normal’.

You need to feel confident in trusting your instincts, even if your instincts lead you beyond what you already know.

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For me, I learned the value of trusting my instincts in finding the path to better health, nutrition and wellbeing when I began to look for answers to ease physical, behavioral and digestive symptoms being experienced by our then-toddler son William, who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism at aged two years old.

In those early days I had applied my own brand of ‘normal’ to transitioning William to solid food, and I was quite certain I had it right. After all, I had worked in the organic food industry, food was my passion and being healthy was a conscious goal.

But, as I applied my knowledge to feeding my child, my gut, my instinct as a mother, told me that something was not right.

I had always fed William organic home-cooked foods that I thought to be healthy but the more I read and saw others’ journeys, the more I realised that was far from what I was doing. At one point he was eating three or four safe foods and a carrot or tomato was causing him skin reactions, tummy pain, behavioral issues and sleepless night. How could this be!

Instinctively I knew that there were more answers to be found.

So we followed our instincts and started working with a Biomedical Doctor who guided us thorough the midfield that is food sensitivity, intolerances and food allergies. We used supplements to build up what his body was lacking. And the results were clear, our gut instincts had taken us on the right path and we were beginning to see results.

That’s when we moved from working instinctively to purposefully seeking answers.

Soon we came across the GAPS Diet and, after the initial hard Intro stage and changing our mindset about grains and dairy and lots of detox, we started seeing massive improvements cognitively and behaviorally with William, and our younger son Edward.

Our instincts were right. Our instincts have taken us down the right path for now and have led to happier, healthier life for my family, and a way of eating that has seen William’s stress levels within his body ease, giving him the space to make the most of early childhood intervention therapies. But then my instincts kicked in again and I could see this Gaps Diet was masking and suppressing not healing. So we started searching and I went on as many Nutrition courses studying over 100 diets and cultures,  and we found the RAW Vegan- high carb, low fat way of eating based upon the 80 10 10 philosophy from Dr Dough Graham. This lifestyle took us to further healing and to a lifestyle we adore and that fills us with joy and is easy and fun. I have then studied Natural Hygienics which is based upon the work from Dr Herbert Shelton this is a true understanding of what the body needs from a physical, mental and energetic level and be cohesive to the planet. My instincts also showed me the path away from mainstream schooling to our blessed Steiner School where the boys can be held and celebrated for all there quirks differences and needs.

But best of all, easing the stress within William has given him the opportunity to see beyond the anxiety that autism brings, and has made him calmer so he can now embrace emotionally family, friends and is thriving at school. All of this from a boy, who we were told would never feel empathy, be social or be able to love. We are blessed and my instincts led us there . . .

Thank goodness I trusted my instincts!

If you need help to start this path to health for your children please contact me for a consultation in your mindset and how to get your family started on this natural lifestyle.

hannah@nourishtohealth.com.au

0414967763

How your thoughts can heal your body.

Your mindset can heal your body beyond what food and supplements can do. It has taken me a long time to really connect to this thought but i have seen it over and over with clients. We often put a lot of effort into taking the right supplements, green juices and organic foods that is what our bodies need for fuel and to heal. But with every negative thought or judgment of yourself or others you counteract all that good work you’ve done. Don’t get me wrong eating junk and loving your self is not the road to health but eating well and not looking after your mind allowing ‘chatter’, doubt and self criticism that arises daily is not the answer either.

I use to think it was ok to talk to myself and beat myself up in my head. Tell myself I’m not pretty enough, slim enough, talented enough i’ve done it my whole life – hey we all do it, we are all stressed its normal right? . . . but it is not ok and we all do it and we all think the other person has an easier life clear of stress and negative thoughts. Well ladies we all have insecurities and we all think we are not good enough! WHY?

In my dream world we would all celebrate each other, support each other’s dreams and love our differences. We would not look at the girl across the street and think I wish I had her car or her hair or I wish my legs looked like hers or my job was as well paid full of envy and jealosy.

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But we have all heard this before right? Well did you know that every negative thought about you or someone else surges Cortisol through your body and it can take up to 1 hour to process that and disperse it out of the body. It uses up vital minerals and nutrients and stops your body using your fat cells for energy and it therefore runs off of glucose instead which is needed for healthy brain. Meaning it keeps you in that “fight or flight’ state we hear so much about. The mind looks to the past for happy memories to release happy hormones making the future an anxiety fueled place to be. So ladies don’t do it. Live in the now!

Stop that ’chatter’ in your head and stop the negative banter and worry especially what others think of you. Live from your heart not your head, be truthful to yourself and your loved ones. We are all in a vulnerable state and need love. If you have someone in your life who judges you and does not give you what you need . . . maybe now is the time to shed yourself of him or her. You don’t need that in your life so only surround your self with those who make you feel great, support your life and when you come away from them feel secure in that relationship. You need to be surrounded by loved ones who get you without judgment and need things in return. It sound tough but in the long run of your life it is best for you.

Choosing your mindset is as easy as dropping guilt for an action you did in the past – hey you can’t change it and you can’t re-do it, so let it go . . . . I personally held that over myself for years, flogging myself with guilt, self hate, blame and hating the decisions I’d made. But at the time I just did my best with what knowledge I had. A big part of my healing was to forgive others and myself and ‘let it go!’

You choose your actions, mindset and path not your parents, lovers or friends so stop blaming them for your life. Yes others actions and your environment may have influenced you, but you have the choice of how you act or respond to life situations. You can either turn a bad situation in to a positive or let that toxic situation eat you up and make you unwell. Been there done that – no thanks!

When William was diagnosed I fell in to deep depression after struggling to cope for 2 years it was enough to break me. After hitting rock bottom and I mean rock bottom, with the amazing support of my husband a few great friends I worked my way back up and saw all the positives that can come out of out of our new life path. Like a chance to learn and grow and change, to clean up our lives from chemicals and toxins, eat cleanly, live within our means with joy and simplicity. Not to take material things for granted and to stop climbing ladders and striving for goals that are unreachable and unimportant and to share my journey and help others. I had to go through an element of grieving for the life I thought I’d have but now every decision we make or step we take we ask ourselves is this best for the boys our family and in line with our values. This has led us to set up our businesses and we have met some truly beautiful friends on our journey to health who have shown us what’s important.

We are told often to ‘let it go’ and my dearest girl friend and I often laugh at what that means when you’re stressed, up to your eyeballs and exhausted. But over time we have both learnt it means to forgive ourselves, to be kind to ourselves and to let the small things, like a clean floor or perfect makeup or being on time go. These things are all surface things. The true importance is love, health and wellness of mind and compassion for each and every person. The rest you can ‘let go’ really you can let it go and that comes from a control freak with OCD for a clean house haha, you should see my house now!

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A few things that have helped me and still help when I fall off the mindset train of living from love and when I go back to my head and live in fear and with ‘chatter’ are:

Mediation: there is a common misbelief that to meditate you must have a totally blank mind. If you can achieve that, then that’s amazing. But you still get the benefits if you just slow down . . . breath deep belly breaths -In from your nose belly expand and out from your nose belly falls. Even 10 deep breaths will calm your nervous system down. If you find clearing your mind difficult focus on one thing like a candle flame or a tree and hold that thought for a long as you can. If stuff enters your mind sweep it away with a big brush and start again. Laugh at your thoughts and keep trying. Your ego wants to be “chatting” all the time. Don’t let it take over who you are. We use apps on our smart phones to start our mediation off each evening and they are handy if you are in the car before school pick up or a big work meeting. Yoga can help with this too and walking in nature daily.

Mickel Therapy: which is talking based therapy about taking action when an emotion arises and moving through it fast to clear you physical symptoms.

www.mickeltherapy.com/what-is-mickel-therapy/

Homeopathy: which works on lowering your level of stress building your nervous system and supporting you whilst you heal. I have used Dhanvanatari Collage and also more recently Michael Higginson in Geelong to support me.

http://www.geelonghomeopathic.com.au/about.html

http://dhanvantaricollegeofhomeopathy.com.au

A gratitude diary: I write 3 things I am grateful for each night in my phone. This helps me see the positives in the day, even if there were more negatives. So that last thing I think about are positives. We do this with the boys each night too, we talk about their day and pick 3 great things that happened and not dwell on what they may have done wrong or if they were upset.

Debt Clearing: no matter how hard it is if there is something upsetting me or someone had said something that has hurt my feelings I clear the debt by talking it through and not going to bed on it. This means setting boundaries and protecting myself first. It does not mean confrontation or stomping back in to a shop because someone was rude to me. Just simple clearing the air so it does not fester and become a physical symptom.

Happy list: each week I look at my dairy and decide if the tasks in it are + or – and if I have more – than + I plan a trip to the movies, yoga or catch up with a friends or get my nails done to balance up the week. This is putting joy into my life. Making sure I don’t get bogged down with the task of mother hood and running a house or running a business and not going without joy and fun for my being. Its unrealistic to think I can spend my time just in the + zone but if I have a few to look forward to it keeps me from feeling a lack of joy. The body is amazing it likes joy and fun and if it doesn’t get enough it makes you go back in the mind to find it. So feed it joy and fun and show it love and it will keep you in the now and physically strong.

So . . .

When you feel you’re self ‘chatting’ in your head STOP be aware – take action – and practice – clear your mind and start again.

When you have a week of – plan some + joy and fun!

Write down your gratitude list each evening.

Debt clear every night and set boundaries so your not being hurt.

Put yourself first and remember to love yourself and do your self care daily be that a new nail polish, a cup of tea in peace or a day in a spa to unwind or talking to your best friend.

As woman we put our children, partners or bosses first . . . please stop that we come first!

I find as i’m a visual learner I write positive athermations on my walls, mirrors and on postie notes in my car and keep them on my phone to remind me how to think and act. If you are a kinetic learner maybe you could listen to self help books. Find what works for you. . . and roll with it!

The only person that can heal you is YOU! The only person that can truly make you happy is YOU!

Choose to be happy and to live in the now, not the past or future, as that is where anxiety and fear is bred from.

Namaste beautiful ladies x x x