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Bloating: Are Your Eating Habits To Blame

Bloating: Are Your Eating Habits To Blame

BLOATING: ARE YOUR EATING HABITS TO BLAME?

Do you eat on the run? Do you chuck your food down? Are you multitasking while you gobble your food down? Answer YES to any of those? Then your bloating may very well be because of your eating habits.
We need to be in a parasympathetic state when we eat. Rest and digest.
This means you’re calm, blood flow is being directed to your gut and your digestive enzymes are being produced and secreted at an excellent rate, ready to digest all the food thrown its way. This needs to happen so that you can properly digest all of your food and absorb all the liberated nutrients – your body relies on them to function, otherwise your body is scrounging up what it can and does the best with the minimal tools it has at its disposal. It’s excellent at making do short term to keep you functioning like an apparent well-oiled machine. Long term though all those short cuts are not doing you any favours and that’s when chronic disease creep in. Unfortunately these days, we eat on the run or eat while attempting to multi-task. Although this is time saving, you aren’t getting the most out of your food.
This is because you’re in the opposite mode – sympathetic state: fight, flight or freeze.
  During a sympathetic response, blood is shunted from your gut and sent to your heart and muscles so they’re ready to run, your breathing and heart rate increases, and digestive enzyme production is shut down – because hey, eating isn’t a priority right now, running away from that scary monster is. These factors are brilliant when it comes to running away from a tiger. Just not when you want to eat. The problem is, your body gets a one-stop stress response. Meaning it produces the same stress response no matter if the stimuli is you running late for work or if a lion is chasing you. Stress is stress – cortisol gets produced and it has the same physiological action on the body every time it gets spewed out by your adrenals – it doesn’t care if food is just sluggishly sitting in your bowels being left to ferment and fester.
When you are chucking down your food, or watching TV and not paying attention to eating, you are bypassing that first vital step: turning off the sympathetic switch and turning on your parasympathetic mode.

No parasympathetic mode: no digestive enzyme production.

  Without the necessary digestive enzymes to break down your food, your still intact food happily carries on throughout your digestive tract, passing your stomach undigested and your small intestines undigested and reaches your happy little gut microbes sitting in your large intestine. With a properly functioning gut, only resistant starches found in fibrous food should reach your large bowels and feed your happy little microbes. So when these other food particles that should have been broken down way back in the small intestine reach your gut microbes, your gut microbes go crazy and thank you for their feast by munching away on all this foreign food and produce a by-product such as hydrogen gas.
The problem with hydrogen gas?
For starters it is a large molecule so it takes up a lot of room in your bowels. It’s healthy to produce some (when your gut microbes eat their normal fibrous foods) but if they keep producing more and more, your bowel has to expand and ta-da! You now have bloating. Hydrogen also has a propensity to speed up your transit time, so this means you may need to be rushing to the toilet to empty your bowels 3+ times per day. More prone to sluggish stools? Well you may have an excess of methane-producing bacteria. They gobble up four hydrogen molecules to make a much smaller methane molecule. This may seem great when they’re gobbling up all those extra hydrogen molecules from your poorly digested food, and help to create more room in your gut and effectively reduce your bloating….but methane does have a propensity to reduce your stool transit time, ultimately clogging you up.
And clogged bowels can also then lead to bloating.
  Your gut bugs are pretty fussy eaters and primarily only want fibrous food, so when all this non-fibrous food reaches your large intestines, the wrong type of bacteria end up having the feast and proliferating instead. This then potentially leads to a dysbiotic gut, which is a story for another day. Long term, this can start to produce ongoing gut issues and the poor absorption of all your nutrients ends up impacting energy and neurotransmitter production (happiness, calmness and motivation) leading to depression, anxiety and low drive, and essential nutrients for glowing skin and hair aren’t there, let alone every other enzymatic reaction in your body. Now this isn’t all doom and gloom, there are super simple ways to promote that parasympathetic state, switch on digestion and get those foods fully digested so you can reap all the nutritional benefit and feel amazing long term!  
So if you are guilty of eating on the run, shoveling your food down or basically multitasking while food is going in your gob – then try these 4 easy hacks to getting those digestive juices flowing!
 

1. EAT MINDFULLY

This is as simple as sitting down with your food and being mindfully aware of every spoonful going into your mouth. The taste, the texture and chew thoughtfully. You will be amazed at how much more you can taste and as a bonus all your digestive enzymes start flowing!

 

2. SMELL YOUR FOOD

That’s right, take a big waft of those delicious aromas. Have you ever found you can smell something delicious and suddenly your mouth is watering in saliva? That’s because the receptors in your nose pick up the scent from food and kick start your digestive enzymes, ready for the feast it’s about to consume.

 

3. MUNCH SOMETHING BITTER

This may make you scrunch up your nose, but bitter receptors on your tongue are like the golden key to getting those digestive enzymes flowing. This is why some people feel less indigestion with apple cider vinegar before meals. You can simply munch on dark leafy green prior to a big meal which activates the same pathways. Or grab some of that super tasty bitter herbals from your naturopath if you’re feeling lazy or need to kickstart your own digestive enzymes again – but don’t say I didn’t warn you! At the very least those around you will get a kick out of watching your face scrunch up in disgust.

 

4. SING

That’s right, I’m giving you full permission to bellow out a tune. Singing has been found to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the main nerve responsible for receiving the stimuli that its time to eat and sending out a signal to your digestive tract to start pumping out all of your digestive enzymes. But you need to be reaching different pitches: so go smooth with a low baritone before hitting that high note.

  If you are someone who often gets to the end of their meal and then struggles to remember what they ate or how they even got there, than start to include some of the above tips into your daily eating routine. The long term benefit of digesting all of your food and reaping off the nutritional benefits out of them won’t just help with your bloating and indigestion, but with the optimal function of your body too. Still being haunted by your gut? The gut can be a mysterious and wondrous thing, with many avenues for dysfunction to occur – it does hold 2kg of microbes after all which are all doing very specific and important tasks to keep your body tip-top! A Naturopath may be what you need to provide you with an individualised gut plan to rid you of your bloating, control your bowels, and get you feeling pretty fabulous!
How to Conquer the Acne Monster

How to Conquer the Acne Monster

HOW TO CONQUER THE ACNE MONSTER

Acne affects 85% of teenagers, but did you know that it will continue to haunt nearly half of men and women all the way into their third decade of life.

Acne is such a common condition yet is somehow so poorly understood in society.
Today’s acne treatments focus on ‘strip away all that excess oil’ or ‘tighten those pores’ and even scrubs that feel like they peel away an entire layer (or 5) of skin cells. But do any of these ‘acne solutions’ ever have long lasting effects?

The answer is usually no.

The problem is, most treatment companies don’t tell you what acne is or how it’s even formed. And how are you expected to successfully treat your acne when you don’t even know how it started or why it keeps coming back?

Especially when some of these products can potentially be causing more harm than good in the long run.

 

SO WHAT IS ACNE?

Acne is a condition where the pores in your skin get blocked (often by extra skin cells or debris). Blocked pores can be a normal part of your skins process, and in a lot of people the simple act of regularly washing your face keeps these areas healthy and acne-free.

In acne-prone people, you unfortunately have an increased amount of sebum (oily substance) which starts to weaken your pores and allows a perfect entryway for the treacherous Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) to enter. For imagination purposes: think of your pores like a strong castle fortress – when the stone walls are being continuously pummeled by extra rain (your sebum in this case), the walls start to weaken and form holes and perfect entry points for invaders to get in. Not ideal.

Before we go any further I want you to be aware that you have your own unique skin microflora (unique blend of micro-organisms such as bacteria that live on your skin and work to protect your skin from nasty organisms that cause infections). Like any microflora, we often have a symbiotic relationship with these organisms (where we both benefit from each other) but it’s when they get access to somewhere they shouldn’t be that they can suddenly turn detrimental. Your P. acnes is one of those guys for your skin.

When these P. acnes get into your pore, they love this protected little pocket in your skin that is filled with extra oil and ultimately decide to set up shop and set up a community there – effectively colonising in your pores. Unfortunately these P. acnes end up triggering an inflammatory reaction in your pore which catalyses a ‘healing response’ by your body in response to this ‘invader’.

This healing response means your skin cells start to replicate at a faster rate and extra sebum is produced as a way to protect your cells from further damage.

Can you see the problem here? This inflammatory reaction/healing response causes your skin cells and sebum to continuously be produced, which piles up over your pore and compacts upon themselves forming a snug little plug, blocking the opening of your pore to the outside world.

Tada!

You now have a blackhead.

It’s this ongoing inflammatory reaction which brings certain white blood cells to the party, and they produce pus as a by-product while engaging in the war against P. acnes. As this pus accumulates, you get rewarded with a tender, large, pussy pimple.

Guess what the response by your body is?
Continue with it’s inflammatory/healing response to try and neutralise and destroy this invader to restore harmony and peace to your pores – little does your body understand that this is feeding the invaders every wish and the cycle continues.

 

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Treating the ongoing war topically with creams and washes is still very important, but it’s finding out your root cause is that will produce those everlasting acne-free results.

To find your root cause, I want you to remember the two main points that were the cornerstone moments influencing the production of acne:

  1. Extra oil production
  2. Inflammatory reaction

When you get on top of these two points, you’ll be amazed by how much your acne starts to reign itself in.
And just for you, I’ve listed my top 5 methods I use to control that extra sebum production, inhibit the inflammation and conquer the elusive P. acnes.

 

1. NOURISH THE SKIN

There are three techniques I want you to follow:

Moisturise: Now I know the idea of putting extra oil onto your skin seems preposterous but I promise I’m not encouraging a full on break out. When your skin is dry, you will actually produce extra sebum to compensate. So applying daily and nightly moisturiser to your face with a natural, light moisturiser or oil will send feedback to your skin cells to reduce their own production of oil, leaving you in complete control.

Don’t pick or scrub: I know the temptation is hard to ignore but every time you exfoliate your acne-prone areas, or squeeze that pimple, you are breaking the skin and forming a little wound. Like any wound on your body, a healing response occurs resulting in inflammation and increased sebum production as a way to protect the damaged areas. As a result: extra acne!

Cleanse: I’m sure this seems like the obvious one – and it is! Research shows washing your face twice a day with a cleanser that has a skin-friendly pH and mix of ingredients that help promote regular oil production, healthy pores and luscious skin, was the best way to regain control of that acne.
I particularly love mixes that have a range of essentials oils like tea tree and geranium, herbs like aloe vera, gotu kola or calendula, and nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin B3.

 

2. REGULATE YOUR HORMONES

Testosterone makes your pores ‘sticky’ making them easier to clog and increases sebum production while oestrogen actually reduces it.

So getting your hormones checked out can go a long way to reducing the problem. And while testosterone is a big player (and I’ll explain the influencing factors controlling testosterone production in the sections below) xeno-oestrogens are becoming even bigger players in today’s world.

The problem with xeno-oestrogens? They inhibit your own natural oestrogen.
Xeno-oestrogens are exogenous oestrogens found in the environment which don’t have the amazing benefits of your own naturally produced oestrogen but actually block your oestrogen from exerting all its benefits on your body. Including inhibiting oestrogens wonderful sebum reducing effect.

Xeno-oestrogens are found in plastics, perfumes, cosmetics, etc, and although their levels are small in individual doses, they will accumulate over time and start affecting all oestrogen pathways. – resulting in unbalanced testosterone and minimal beneficial oestrogen, meaning acne can go crazty

So use glass containers, natural essential oils and cosmetics free of all the nasties – refer to my toxin free resource on the freebies page.

 

3. STABILISE BLOOD SUGAR

High blood sugar triggers a cascade of unfortunate events that eventually results in increased testosterone.

And as stated above, testosterone drives sebum production, leaving you with an oily face and clogged pores…and eventually acne.

The common culprits that cause a blood sugar spike are your refined sugars in desserts, sweets, soft drinks, etc and general sugar.

Reduce your intake of overall sugar and when eating food high in carbohydrates, combine with a source of fat or protein such as avocado, hummus, nuts or seeds, to reduce the rise in blood sugar.

Another culprit is dairy, specifically A1 casein. Casein causes a blood sugar spike and triggers mTOR which is associated with increased sebum production. Reduce dairy intake or switch to A2 dairy.

 

4. OPTIMISE ELIMINATION

If you’re not going to the toilet regularly to poo or pee out the waste your body has accumulated, then it has to find the next available exit.

Unfortunately your third main elimination organ is your skin.

Make sure you are drinking 2L+ of water a day and enhance your liver’s detoxification & elimination ability through cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, dandelion root & leaves, burdock root) – this will ensure appropriate removal of any toxins that may cause inflammation in the skin and worsen your acne.

 

5. DE-STRESS

Chronic stress will worsen your acne in two ways:

1. Elevates cortisol: when your body goes into stress mode (whether that be a tiger chasing you or simply feeling swamped under your to-do list) your stress hormone cortisol is released.
Cortisol does amazing things to pump your body up for fight or flight mode and one of those things is elevate your blood sugar level so you have plenty of fuel available to supply a prolonged energy high (brilliant if you need to run a long distance away from that tiger or stay awake to finish an assignment before a looming deadline).
Unfortunately this spike in blood sugar will also drive increased testosterone production and – you got it – increased sebum production. Hello oily face and acne.

2. Stimulates sebum follicle: stress has this nifty trick that is also super annoying – stress activates the receptors within your sebum follicle (your oil gland) to increase skin cell replication (hello clogged pores), sebum production (hello oily face), and promotes inflammation in your pores (hello acne) This all leads to the formation of your blackheads and whiteheads.

Find your perfect way to wind down and de-stress. This can be anything from meditation, walking the dog, getting out in nature, reading a book or even watching your favourite Netflix show. Reigning your cortisol back into a healthy rhythm will go a long way to not only help your acne but many other aspects of your health!

 

 

There are many potential causes of acne and ways that it continues to flourish, and my above explanation covers only the most common ones. So hopefully adapting my top 5 recommendations can put you on the right path to having skin you are super proud of.

If you find you are struggling to control your unruly acne, I have an arsenal of amazing herbs and nutrients specifically indicated to help get that acne under control. Feel free to inquire about a consultation today, so that your skin may glow and you can feel amazing too!

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