It’s Coeliac Awareness Week!

word map for coeliac awareness week | goodMix

It’s Coeliac Awareness week so I wanted to share my experience and how it has changed over the years. When I was going through my naturopathy training, gluten was not much of a thing. Most of us health freaks ate it without a second thought, because we knew there were only a handful of people who needed to worry about it – the people with Coeliac disease (which was rare) & unless you had that, gluten was totally fine. Happy days, pass the organic wholegrain sourdough please!

For years I was sceptical about the growing ‘trend’ of gluten-free foods, they started popping up everywhere on menus & in healthfood stores! I thought it was unnecessary & that all these super-sensitive people just needed to look after their gut a bit better so they could tolerate it like the rest of us (except of course for that handful of Coeliacs who genuinely reacted severely). Plus all the GF foods were just so expensive, but full of unhealthy fake / non-food ingredients & refined carbs, sugars etc. I totally shunned gluten free foods, even laughed at non-coeliac people who chose to eat them!

Fast forward to now, after spending a massive chunk of my life chatting to people face to face about their health – specifically their gut issues & poo problems, & researching plenty – I cannot stress enough to people with any gut symptoms (& even other seemingly unrelated symptoms) ‘GET TESTED FOR COELIAC DISEASE’.  I am also no longer sceptical about non-coeliac gluten avoidance – I actually do it myself, as do many naturopaths (it’s often the first dietary modification we make, as part of a treatment plan – cut out gluten (& often dairy) for a few months & see if you notice a change).

The info below is taken directly from the Coeliac Australia website:

“The symptoms of coeliac disease vary considerably. Some people experience severe symptoms while others are asymptomatic (they have no obvious symptoms at all).

Symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • gastrointestinal symptoms e.g. diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, steatorrhea
  • fatigue, weakness and lethargy
  • iron deficiency anaemia and/or other vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • failure to thrive or delayed puberty in children
  • weight loss (although some people may gain weight)
  • bone and joint pains
  • recurrent mouth ulcers and/or swelling of mouth or tongue
  • altered mental alertness and irritability
  • skin rashes such as dermatitis herpetiformis
  • easy bruising of the skin

People who experience any of the following should also be screened for coeliac disease

  • early onset osteoporosis
  • unexplained infertility
  • family history of coeliac disease
  • liver disease
  • autoimmune disease e.g. type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid condition

Importantly, treatment with a strict gluten-free diet leads to small bowel healing, resolution of symptoms and a reduction in the long-term risk of these complications.

Although symptoms can vary considerably in coeliac disease, everybody with the condition is at risk of complications if they do not adhere strictly to treatment with a gluten-free diet. There is no correlation between symptoms and bowel damage so even if you are asymptomatic (you have no obvious symptoms), damage to the small bowel can still occur if gluten is ingested. This means everybody with coeliac disease, irrespective of the severity of their symptoms, needs to adhere strictly to a gluten free diet.”

You need to be tested for Coeliac disease before beginning a gluten-free diet, otherwise, the test will not be worth doing, it will be negative as you’re not reacting to something you’re not eating. So if you have health issues & haven’t ruled it out – get tested before you go off gluten.

You can be an asymptomatic coeliac. Yep – you can have massive gut issues brewing inside with zero symptoms. After seeing the massive rise in Coeliac awareness & diagnosis over the past 10 yrs, I think everyone should be tested for Coeliac disease before puberty (regardless of health status / symptoms). There are many many undiagnosed Coeliacs in Aus, & then there are many more who are not Coeliac, but who notice huge changes to the way they feel & function when they eat gluten. These people are not just ‘super-sensitive’ like I used to think – they have non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (it can sometimes be other things like FODMAP sensitivity or wheat allergy, but gluten does not just affect Coeliacs).

There’s heaps of info now regarding Coeliac disease, gluten, FODMAPs etc online now, for further research, & awareness is growing rapidly among Drs. So as it’s coeliac awareness week, get yourself & family tested – & whether the results show up Coeliac or not, here are some awesome easy gluten free recipes with no fake food ingredients, that are full of nutrients too!

Shoot me an email anytime if you have specific questions :-)
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Maintaining Your Gut Health On A Keto Diet

person eating a keto dessert bowl | keto diet for weight loss and gut health | goodMix

Maintaining and Improving Your Gut Health Whilst on A Keto Diet for Weight Loss:

The keto diet (very low carb, high fat & moderate protein) works really well for many people wanting to lose weight quickly. When you lose the constant stream of blood sugar from carbs to fuel your body, you are forced to ‘switch gear’ & adapt to burning fat for fuel instead. This sounds so simple – ditch the carbs, start burning fat & get skinny, hallelujah!  Like anything that sounds this great, it is too good to be true. Well – it is true, you’ll definitely burn fat for fuel – but the keto diet for weight loss can have some negative effects on your gut if not treated with respect.

I personally have spoken to many people who love the diet, have lost a heap of weight, feel good on it (not hungry & craving sweets; stable blood sugar & energy levels; not needing to eat so often etc & even those who have reversed insulin resistance / borderline type 2 diabetes). BUT – I have also spoken to people who’ve noticed negative gut & metabolic side effects, ongoing after switching back to a diet with more carbs (also plenty of research to back the downside of poorly managed keto diets for weight loss). Never sacrifice your long term health for a quick weight loss result. I think keto diets can be a very effective & safe tool, but I worry that a lot of people embark on this type of diet without doing their research / getting support from someone who has. Keto is a powerful tool, capable of creating drastic changes – so needs to be treated with respect.

Points to remember:

Any big dietary change will alter your gut microbiome, which is a pretty powerful thing & can work for you or against you. Consider this with all dietary changes. Don’t embark on ANY diet without considering or researching the likely impact on your microbes & gut lining. Consult a professional if in doubt / for advice specific to you.

The typical western diet (high in sugar, refined carbs, poor quality fats & not enough polyphenols or fermentable fibre) is pretty much guaranteed to wreck your gut health & your metabolism, so almost any change away from that will be a positive!

Just because your neighbour, aunty, teacher or partner has had great results on a particular diet – doesn’t mean that you will. And vice versa. Don’t just follow what the crowd is doing & definitely don’t try to force your new fave diet down someone else’s throat. Nobody knows what the ideal human diet is – the best we can do is try a few of the sensible ones (ask a professional, not your aunty), find one that works well & be open to changing when it feels necessary.

A diverse gut microbiome is a healthy microbiome, lots of different microbes, keeping each other in check, producing mostly useful / non-harmful substances. Diverse fermentable fibre & polyphenols support microbial diversity (eat the ‘plant rainbow’)!

Most of your super-healthy gut microbes require fermentable fibre as their food source (plant cell walls).

In nature, fermentable fibre & polyphenols usually come packaged with carbohydrates (ie in veggies, fruit, grains, legumes – ok & red wine & dark chocolate)!

A high-fat diet with minimal fermentable fibre can unbalance your gut microbiome, causing your gut to become populated with too many ’bile-loving microbes’. These guys produce things which can make your gut lining become ‘leakier’ – which can contribute to inflammation & insulin resistance (both big drivers of weight gain / metabolic dysfunction).

When you’re following a strict keto diet, make sure you’re not starving your healthy gut microbes out, make sure that your daily carb intake is rich in fermentable fibre to support gut microbial fermentation. Don’t blow it on a donut!!

Different gut microbes produce different by-products. Some of these substances are great for us, some are not. Sometimes our health issues can be related to the substances our gut bugs are producing.

How To Maintain a Healthy Gut On The Keto Diet:

  • Use plenty of plant proteins so that you’re not over-doing the animal (i.e., pea protein, hemp protein, nuts & seeds, nut butters).
  • Eat ‘Blend11’ daily (shameless product plug, but it is an awesome option to help you keep the carbs really low & the fermentable fibre really high)! You need options to make any diet plan sustainable – Blend11 with unsweetened coconut yoghurt is a great option to help make keto healthier & ensure your gut bugs don’t starve. (We also love Pure n Free Natural Coconut Yoghurt with a few raspberries & some cinnamon for a keto-friendly breakfast, snack or dessert).
  • Eat fermented food, drink fermented beverages (yoghurt, water / milk kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, other fermented vegetables).
  • Use prebiotics & specific probiotics as directed by a practitioner.
  • Increase intake of omega 3 fats, decrease your omega 6. (Fish, walnut, chia, flaxseed).
  • Use good quality fats & oils like oily fish, extra virgin olive, avocado, macadamia nut, hemp, nuts, seeds.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners & processed food.
  • Make veggies an absolute priority.
  • Include a variety of anti-oxidant rich berries (ie blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, goji berries, açai berries).
  • Use raw cacao powder for supporting bifido bacteria.
  • Many people find shorter periods ‘cycling’ keto with a more plant-heavy diet works well for them.
  • Work with a practitioner.
  • Monitor the impact on your microbiome with a test prior to starting & again at 1 month in. You can order microbiome tests in Aus through Microba. This link allows you to arrange a test and get results sent to both you & me (always keen to have a sticky beak at your microbiome & happy to help with personalised dietary recommendations)
    https://order.microba.com/?ref=REFJM6DXMN6

Constipation – Natural Tips to Get Regular (Aside from Blend11!)

For any health practitioner, constipation is one of the most common complaints. Here are some tried & tested natural tips for when you are feeling blocked up, if increasing fibre doesn’t seem to be helping & you don’t want to rely on laxatives.

Diet:

Work with a dietitian, nutritionist or naturopath trained in the Low FODMAP diet, sometimes FODMAPs are the culprit in constipation (though they are more frequently associated with bloating, discomfort & diarrhoea). FODMAP’s can however provide fermentable fibre to promote microbial hydrogen production & then the consequent rise in constipating methane, produced by the methane-producing hydrogen-consuming gut bugs. So a low FODMAP fibre source can be really helpful here (ie Blend11).

Try removing gluten & dairy for a few weeks, see if there’s any improvement (have spoken to many people over the years who are constipated when eating one or both of these, & can almost instantly improve when they’re removed). It can also be other food sensitivities but gluten & dairy are the most common.

Meat can really slow things up for a lot of folks, try substituting lentils, beans & chickpeas, or just dilute meat using these mixed through (if legumes are tolerated). Also ancient grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc.

Veggies almost always need to be increased. Very few people actually get the amount of veg they need daily, despite them telling you they eat salad every day.

A daily green smoothie helps many with constipation (great way to help with the above too!)

Introduce fermented foods like sauerkraut & kimchee, just a teaspoon or 2 on the side of your plate is easy to get used to, then you can increase from there.

Intermittent fasting / 5 hours between eating. Helps many with IBS / SIBO. Gives the digestive system the essential ‘space’ needed to ‘clean up’ after digesting.

Probiotic foods, capsules or powders: 

If you’re trying a probiotic for constipation, my suggestion is normally to take a capsule 2 or 3 x daily (you can go over the dose recommended on the bottle, that’s totally fine). Here’s one I like, that should be well tolerated by most: TERRA Flora PROBIOTIC (great customer & practitioner reviews).

Digestive bitters / liver herbs:

Things like gentian, swedish bitters, butternut, andrographis, St Mary’s Thistle – all the bitter liver herbs can really help get things moving & many also have antimicrobial effects (there are many causes of constipation & microbial imbalance is often involved – microbial fermentation creates gases that can actually alter the way your bowels move – your gut bugs controlling their environment)!  Not recommended for long term use, but great as a liver & bowel kickstart. Gentler digestive herbs for everyday use could be green tea, chamomile, peppermint or liquorice teas (all great for gut & liver support). Get advice from your pharmacist regarding interactions with any medications you may be taking prior to using concentrated herbal supplements. 

Poo Position:

The ’Squatty Potty’ or similar home made device (ie a couple of bricks, pile of books, DIY wooden step) – anything to get you squatting. The terrible poo position encouraged by the western loo can be an aggravator for many with constipation. Squatting with the knees above the hip level is the way to open up the bowels properly. If you’ve never watched their now famous ad, you should – great marketing for a tricky product, they’ve nailed it!

Hydration: 

Seems obvious, but pays to mention as it’s often forgotten. Take a water bottle with you everywhere, & fill it often. 

Exercise: 

If you are not moving, neither is your digestive system! Adequate movement / exercise is one of THE most important factors in maintaining healthy digestive function. Even gut microbes change for the better with increased activity – sedentary people have unhealthy gut bugs….& are often chronically constipated. There is no getting around it – find something active you don’t hate & do it regularly. Even if you hate all kinds of exercise – choose what you hate the least, make yourself do it until you hate it less (it will happen). And so will good poos. And life just gets better from there. Just do it, & just poo it. Sorry. 

Stress management:

If you’re a stress-head, you’ll not be spending much time in your parasympathetic (rest & digest) mode because your sympathetic nervous system will always be switched on (fight or flight). You generally won’t feel like a poo when you’re in a stressful situation. But remember – a stressful situation is something that can vary greatly, depending on your attitude, interpretation & response to what is happening. Something that can completely destabilise one person, can have little to no impact on the next person. So – if you are a stressy type, you will need to find stress management techniques in order to get your digestion happening. Massage, yoga, meditation, exercise, catching up with mates, laughing more (funny shows / movies etc), making time to do what you love….stress needs to be addressed at the same time as gut for optimal results. 

Magnesium: 

Many with chronic constipation (esp the stress head types) can find relief through magnesium supplementation, & often a quick laxative effect using a magnesium oxide powder (ie Colon Cleanse). Or try Magnesium Citrate or Sulphate (epsom salts). Magnesium is such a common deficiency, so definitely worth a try – it can really help to loosen things up, with added bonus chill out & sleep better effects, plus often more energy / better muscle recovery. 

Structural Help:

Some swear by an appointment with a chiropractor or an osteopath when severely constipated. Definitely recommend this for kids / babies & adults – especially if there are also structural issues ie back problems, nerve injury etc. Even some core-twisting yoga poses can be very helpful for some.

Massage: 

Start on the right hand side & work your way up & around & down (google images colon should show you but all be guided by touch & feel as we don’t all have a colon that looks like the one on google)! Better still, book in with a professional to do the first one & teach you. Post massage do a few jumps / hijack the kids trampoline or go for a brisk walk / jog / do some twisty core yoga poses. 

Stomach acid: 

Apple cider vinegar, digestive bitters or betaine HCL before meals can help improve digestion. Not suitable for those with stomach ulceration or damage to their oesophagus, but many with either constipation, SIBO, diarrhoea, IBS, bloating etc – can be helped by addressing the stomach acid (most commonly it’s not acidic enough, yet so many people are put on PPI medications or antacids, which are known to cause IBS / SIBO as a ‘side effect’). They may help initially with the GERD symptoms, but they are guaranteed to throw everything out of whack further down the GIT & create more digestive problems in the long term. Last resort & only meant for short term use. 

Colonics:

I’m in 2 minds about colonics, my ‘gut feel’ is don’t go there unless your gut is really in a bad way, but definitely worth exploring as an option for those with a history of chronic constipation who’ve tried everything else! Some people swear by it & the procedure has apparently improved a lot since the days when you would read scary / negative reviews about it. 

Enemas:

For some people, it helps to just loosen things up at the exit point, to open the doors to freedom for the rest of the bowel. Get a professional to do it first, then the DIY kits can be used in emergencies at home. 

FMT (Fecal Microbe Transplant): 

If you’ve tried EVERYTHING & are at your wits end, definitely consider discussing an FMT (faecal microbe transplant) with a professional & experienced team (the Sydney Centre for Digestive Disease are pioneers of this treatment in Australia). They apparently have achieved excellent results using this method with chronically constipated patients (as well as many other gut problems). It makes perfect sense, as it’s like literally ‘wiping the microbial slate clean’ & starting again – replacing a dysfunctional microbial ecosystem with a functional one. Ensure good diet is adhered to following this procedure, plenty of diverse prebiotic fibre to keep the new microbial guests well-fed & happy – or the old nasties will just grow back.

Gentler Laxatives: 

Castor Oil – mild stimulant, not for long term use. Can make a pack for external use (apply heat or massage) or take internally with care (get professional advice). 

PHGG – type of fibre (partially hydrogenated guar gum) that increases bifido & lactobacillus & SCFA’s, usually well tolerated by those with IBS C & D, helpful with bloating etc, safe long term. Found in many gut / fibre / prebiotic formulas. 

Inulin – prebiotic fibre, highly fermentable & often poorly tolerated by those with IBS (FODMAP), found in many formulas or as a powder. 

Lactulose – osmotic (pulls fluid into bowel & help soften) Can use to get going then decrease dose as bowel improves (also increases lactobacilli & acts as stool softener). 

Motion Potion – a great gentle herb & fibre blend to help become / stay regular. 

*If you are already kinda addicted to laxatives, relying on them to go each day, never try to just stop cold turkey. Much more likely to have success if you wean yourself off them more gradually. Ie try 2 days on, 1 day off, then every 2nd day, then as needed (whilst supporting digestive health  / bowel function in every other way at the same time). 

Super – Pooper Shopping List: 

  • pear / pear juice
  • apple
  • kiwi fruit
  • prunes / prune juice
  • figs
  • linseed / linseed meal
  • chia
  • nuts & seeds
  • coconut / coconut oil
  • oats
  • legumes
  • brown rice
  • barley
  • green leafy veg
  • green smoothies
  • molasses
  • beetroot
  • ginger
  • beet greens
  • bitter salad greens
  • licorice tea
  • dandelion & chicory root coffee
  • regular coffee

Still not pooing & tried it all? Send me an email and I’ll see if there’s something or someone I can refer you to!

Jeanie
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

 

The Best Natural Hangover Tips

Team goodMix had a great time at the Good Food & Wine Show In Brisbane last weekend (probably not as good as the rest of the crowd, but it was fun to get amongst the party vibe!) If you’re looking at how to treat a hangover naturally now you’ve enjoyed all that wine – read on! We thought these hangover tips might come in handy – especially now that the Spring / Summer party season is coming up & everyone is stocked up on wine post event!

We have 7 things to help you prevent OR recover from a hangover naturally, plus 13 supplements to see you through the party season!

Obviously, from a naturopathic perspective – avoiding excessive alcohol is optimal. There is some evidence that small amounts of alcohol are ok / can be beneficial (the picks are red wine, white wine, & even whiskey), but going overboard will do damage. This is what it typically feels like – & some reasons why:

Hangover Symptoms: 

  • Headache (blood vessel dilation, toxicity & dehydration…possibly also sleeping a bit twisted on the floor / couch / garden / driveway).
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, decreased appetite, cravings for greasy foods (gastric irritation & excess secretion of stomach acid)
  • Weakness, lethargy, lack of co-ordination, trembling (drastically depleted blood sugar as alcohol makes you pee out all your glycogen stores. Your energy tank =  totally drained to empty).
  • Depression / anxiety / moodiness / inability to think & focus properly / poor memory (extreme blood sugar lows, lack of quality REM sleep, liver toxicity, remembering dumb stuff you said / did).

What Is A Hangover?

When alcohol gets to your liver, an enzyme (alcohol dehydrogenase) breaks it down into acetaldehyde, which is loads more toxic to your body than alcohol (like 20 to 30 times more toxic). Then it has to break that down with another enzyme & glutathione (awesome antioxidant we produce ourselves from amino acids – protein is critical for effective liver detox). That is why we feel so crappy after the alcohol – it’s the toxic metabolites that really poison us, more so than the alcohol itself (which also does some damage on it’s way through). 

Too much alcohol means your glutathione levels get used up, so the acetaldehyde (toxic metabolite of alcohol breakdown) builds up in your system, creating that ‘poisoned’ feeling. Women cop it worse, as we produce less of the enzyme that breaks down the acetaldehyde – so our glutathione is super important to top up during party season.  The best way to reduce your hangover’s effects is to decrease the amount of toxic acetaldehyde floating around in your system. 

Then there’s the effects of the alcohol itself – it blocks our antidiuretic hormone, so we just pee out all the water that we’d normally reabsorb back into our blood stream when it passes through the kidneys (along with some vital electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, & glucose). Might not sound like a big drama – but if you unbalance electrolytes & deprive them of glucose – every single cell in your body will have severely compromised function. Meaning you as a human will be highly dysfunctional as a result. Sick day totally warranted. So let’s look at how to treat a hangover naturally…

How To Treat A Hangover Naturally

These tips are just from a friend who is a naturopath & also likes the odd night out (not me, I am the perfect health freak & would never consider drinking anything except a green tea, herbal tonic or smoothie). Well ok, some might be things I swear by…remember I attended naturopath college from age 18-22 when I was a bit of a party girl!…I learnt a few things about detoxing during the week, which I put into practice on weekends!

  1. Hydration = critical. BEFORE you fall asleep after a big night, ensure you have at least 2-3 good sized glasses of water. If you forget before bed, it’s gotta be priority upon waking (drink slowly in the morning). You can use plain water, water with bubbles, fresh juices…THE ABSOLUTE BEST THING TO DO, PREVENTION-WISE, IS DRINK A GLASS OF WATER FOR EVERY ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE YOU DRINK, topping up & flushing out as you go. 
  2. Eat something substantial ie a meal with fat fibre & protein (remember, protein = essential for liver detox) before you start partying & also just prior to bed. Keep your digestive system moving, keep your gut & liver busy & the alcohol well diluted with other things.
  3. Sleep. Plan to get some extra both before & after to compensate for the inevitable party losses.
  4. Don’t use sugary or caffeinated mixers – these greatly contribute to the dehydration & stress on your body. Use sparkling mineral water, fresh juices Etc…steer well clear of the rum & coke & Vodka Red Bulls! Combat dehydration with electrolyte solution (or coconut water slushies with fresh fruit) in the morning – or better still, before you go to bed.
  5. Exercise in the morning (?? for real??) If you can possibly manage some movement, it will get your digestive system, lymphatic system & circulation, cranking – which means faster removal of all the toxic by-products of your night. Good idea also to prepare for a night out with a workout (nothing too challenging, just to ensure everything is flowing nicely before the toxicity hits.
  6. What to eat in the morning?….Fat of course! Grease is the traditional cure / craving for seedy folks, so I recommend go with your cravings here (within reason). Always, always opt for quality grease – ie free range, nitrate free / organic bacon, eggs, organic butter & mushrooms…maybe some bone broth…salt is fine (you’ll have peed out heaps) & always ensure that you have some fibre & greens too to assist with detox & getting your digestive system back to normal. A fresh icy juice or smoothie with fruit & veg is also awesome (I would include celery & grapefruit & definitley a greens powder).
  7. Poo. You have to get that shit out of your system, literally! Do whatever you need to make it happen ASAP after a big night out, you’ll feel so much better from that moment onwards. Tip – make sure you’re eating your Blend11 often & you should have no issues here! If you have some fluid, eat some breakfast, & do a little exercise – even just a walk or some gentle yoga / stretches, this should help immensely. Can also try a magnesium powder if that works well for you.

How To Treat A Hangover Naturally: 13 Supplements for people who love to party!

A basic hangover first aid kit should include: 

  1. Nux Vomica (classic homeopathic hangover / liver / overindulgence remedy). Perfect for those who suffer with nausea & headache.  Get a 30c potency from the health store or local homeopath, take 1 dose before bed & one first thing in the morning, then another later if required. (Don’t take more once improvement is noticed unless you start to fade again).
  2. NAC / glutathione (to break down the toxic by-products, ask in your local health store)
  3. Glutamine, aloe vera, slippery elm (your gut-lining will need these to repair)
  4. Zinc (always take with food or it can make you feel nauseous, not what you need)!
  5. Selenium (co-factor needed for glutathione antioxidant)
  6. B vitamins (energy pick up, do use a better quality supplement than berocca though!)
  7. Vitamin C (helps with detox & healing)
  8. Magnesium bath soak / spray (replace lost mg, you’re probably deficient anyway – most of us are)
  9. Electrolytes (you can get the ice blocks from the chemist, or coconut water)
  10. Probiotics – especially SB yeast (you’ll have killed off a heap of your ‘good guys’ & made way for your candida to flourish with no doubt too much sugar). Alcohol = really common cause / contributing factor to gut dysbiosis, thrush, candida overgrowth.
  11. Fibre (soaks up all the crap & gets it moving swiftly towards the exit, provides food to nourish the surviving good bacteria & get them back to a decent population. They also produce short-chain-fatty acids from the fibre breakdown, which are very healing substances for the bowel lining & act as anti-inflammatories throughout your entire body). Blend11 = great here.
  12. Greens (liver & gut love is much needed, greens are great for both). Greens Plus Aloe is perfect, esp with the Aloe vera for healing & soothing your gut, & for blood sugar regulation.
  13. Liver herbs (St Mary’s / Milk Thistle = best liver loving antioxidant. Helps prevent glutathione depletion in your liver. Turmeric is also excellent. If you like to party, invest in a quality liver supplement with both of these, & take it daily throughout the season). Cumin (the spice) is also apparently great for improving your glutathione levels, & whey protein, asparagus & barley grass would be great dietary inclusions too.

So there are our top tips for how to treat a hangover naturally!

***IF YOU SUFFER FROM GUT ISSUES (REMEMBER PRETTY MUCH ALL HEALTH ISSUES HAVE A STRONG GUT COMPONENT), & YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT GETTING YOUR  HEALTH BACK ON TRACK – DON’T EVEN GO THERE WITH EXCESS ALCOHOL. 

Even a single episode of heavy drinking can cause the lining of your stomach to become inflamed and bleed. Your gut flora & mucous membranes will be severely messed with, it will increase leaky gut severity…just not worth it.  I have actually heard from several people over the years about the sudden & mysterious onset of food allergies following a big weekend. Stick to nutritious mocktails made with kombucha / fresh fruit / ice / coconut yoghurt etc, & just laugh at the antics of your friends / family. And then laugh at them some more when you’re up & at ‘em enjoying life the next day & they are comatose & coping with their hangovers!!

Love to hear about your remedies for how to treat a hangover naturally too!

Jeanie
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Natural Ways to Help Teens With Anxiety

Anxious teens will often ‘self-medicate’ with pharmaceuticals, illegal drugs, alcohol, comfort food or engage in other forms of escapism to help them deal with the complex emotions they have going on inside. 

To prevent this, there are loads of easy ways we can support their mental health during a time when their bodies are demanding so much physically & life can be tricky emotionally.

1. Protein:

Helps keep blood sugar & energy levels stable (blood sugar fluctuations can aggravate / cause moodiness – know anyone who gets ‘hangry’ when they have to wait too long for food?). Amino acids from protein also supply the building blocks our body needs to make many of our neurotransmitters, ie serotonin, dopamine, GABA. These chemicals strongly influence moods. Lack of protein will definitely contribute to anxiety, so make sure this box is ticked for healthy growth, strong immunity & stable moods in your teen.

2. Good fats:

Typical teens tend to consume a LOT of nasty inflammatory fats (fried foods, fast foods, crisps, pastries, bakery foods etc), so we really need to ensure there’s plenty of good fats coming in to compensate. Every cell membrane in our bodies requires fat as a major component. If your cell walls are made mostly from ‘cheeseburger & fries fats’, their function will be sub-optimal. Cell membranes let things in & out of our cells, so good fats are essential for the most basic foundations of how our body works. Brains are especially fat hungry, they are actually made up of approx 60% fat. Oily fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts & seeds (especially chia & flax), grass fed animal fats, coconut….include these often in your teens diet.  Add extra good fats to salads, smoothies, desserts, dips…everything. Good fat won’t make them get fat, it’s excess refined carbs / lollies / soft drinks / sugars & inflammatory foods that are the real culprits.

3. Fibre:

Teens tend to reach for the ‘white’ foods for a quick energy boost & minimal chewing (refined carbs with all the fibre removed – ie white bread, white sugar, pasta, cakes, pastries, buns etc). This leaves the good ‘fibre-eating’ gut bugs starving & supports an over abundance of the nasty ones (who just demand more sugar & carbs, keeping that blood sugar roller coaster going with all the mental highs & lows that come along with it!) When we add more fibre into an excessively ‘white’ diet, it helps decrease the rate that sugars are absorbed & it also helps ensure our gut microbial balance stays somewhat intact. Get fibre into teens wherever possible

4. Magnesium:

Such a common deficiency, & teens need lots of it, especially if they are very active / sporty or stressed with a heavy study workload. You can supplement with a powder or pilll, or have them add to bath / spray & rub directly onto skin. Especially great for teens with cramps or tight muscles. Sometimes tension headaches can be relieved by magnesium supplementation, & often constipation. 

5. Amino acids:

Found in protein, but also available in supplement form. Specific amino acids can be used in supplement form to support specific brain chemicals (work with a naturopath on this). Your teen may not need a prescribed pharmaceutical medication, it’s often possible to de-stress them using high dose specific nutrients instead. 

6. Sleep:

Between devices / social media / gaming & partying (hopefully some study as well) many teens are chronically sleep deprived. Sleep is when our brains ‘reset & reorganise’ themselves. Brains trying to function on little sleep will produce unstable moods & if poor sleep is ongoing, often chronic anxiety. Some great help here can be – hot bath or shower before bed, read a book until sleepy, no devices for the 1 hour prior to sleep, get to bed at the same time each night & wake at the same time, exercise every day – first thing in the morning, essential oils like lavender rubbed into temples or on pillow at sleep time, take passionflower (herbal tincture) 20 drops at bedtime, magnesium with dinner. Obviously no caffeine / minimise – esp after midday. 

7. Exercise:

Crucial for everyone wanting to take care of their mental state, it just has to be added into a teens schedule regularly. Find something they are interested in or at least don’t hate – & make it non-negotiable. In this sedentary world, exercise MUST be a part of life somehow, our bodies are just not designed to be as motionless as we are today! Especially when we are young. 

8. Massage:

Treat them to a professional massage once in a while, or as often as you can afford it. Even if you can massage ok yourself – do swaps, feet / shoulders / back / head…nothing better than a massage when you’re feeling stressed or exhausted. Teens may really crave physical touch,  they often miss out. 

9. Laughter:

Funny movies, fun games, inviting fun-loving family / friends around…laughing is such a great (& free) antidote to anxiety. 

10. Downtime:

Some teens have schedules so full that anxiety would be a logical side effect!! Although it’s great to ‘keep them busy / out of trouble’, they do need some downtime just like adults. Even if you thrive in a fast-paced environment, that doesn’t mean that your kids necessarily do. Their natural requirement for chill time may be more than yours. 

11. Herbs:

So many great herbs to help with anxiety. Ask a naturopath or herbalist, but look into withania, the ginsengs, rhodiola, passionflower, valerian etc. Also CBD oil (the non-psychoactive component of marijuana – this is not readily available in Aus yet, but should be soon).

12. Organising / prioritising weekly tasks:

Sometimes a lack of planning & a habit of procrastinating can lead to ‘overwhelm anxiety’ when it all just seems too much to deal with! Help your teen stay ‘on top’ of their essential tasks by sharing tips on prioritising, to do lists, time management & organisation apps…& allocating some time to check in regularly & help them organise their schedule.

13. Yoga & Meditation:

There are some great classes / retreats that teens can attend, or there are apps / you tubers to follow along with. So helpful. Even just showing them how deep breathing can help in stressful situations. 

15. Caffeine:

Many many teens are consuming huge amounts of caffeine daily without realising what it does to them (can cause insomnia, heighten anxiety, cause jitters, palpitations  etc). Energy drinks, cola beverages, iced coffee drinks, regular coffee & tea, chocolate, cold & flu medications – everyone has a different level of tolerance to caffeine, so just because it may have little impact on you, don’t assume this is also the case with your teen. 

16. Your own stress levels:

When you are stressed, that impacts your kids. If you are under too much pressure, not coping well, suffering from anxiety yourself, you absolutely need to sort yourself out as this will be impacting your kids for sure. All of the tips in this article can be applied to adults as well! Especially the last one – below. 

17. The Gut-brain connection:

IBS often first develops during the teenage years, & its onset can frequently be traced back to a highly stressful or anxious period. More & more evidence is being uncovered about how our emotions are impacted by what’s happening in our gut & vice versa. The gut & the brain function as a team, they are very connected! Anything we can do to support & nurture the gut will help support & stabilise the brain. Teens dealing with IBS absolutely need help with the mental / emotional side of things – I’m a firm believer in treating the gut & the brain simultaneously for best results in both areas.

18. See a professional:

Sometimes all the tips in the world are just not enough, you need real help. You may need to book in & see a professional to unravel the root cause/s (always best to go straight to the cause if possible!). A few visits to a skilled counsellor during the younger years could save a lifetime of anxiety / deeper mental health issues down the track! Find a professional who specialises in teens or comes with great reviews (ask the school counsellor /  other parents / look in online support groups). And work with a gut health specialist as well if there are gut symptoms intertwined with the anxiety (there almost always will be)! 

I’d love to hear about your teenager’s anxiety. Maybe something not listed here has helped?

Jeanie
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Blend11 CSIRO Research Findings

What Did We Find Out? 

A lot of you have been asking at the markets, so here are the results!

Blend11 was readily fermentable by bowel microbes during the ‘in vitro fermentation trial’ & subsequently raised production of the beneficial short chain fatty acid ‘butyrate’. Levels rose very quickly, significantly & stayed high for a much longer period than with both of the control fibres (psyllium & cellulose – see graph below). This is very exciting news, especially as research into butyrate continues to reveal more benefits!

What Is Butyrate?:

Butyrate is a well researched short chain fatty acid (SCFA). It is a by-product of fibre fermentation by certain gut microbes, and is the reason for all the buzz around ‘resistant starch’ (eating more resistant starch leads to an increase in gut microbial butyrate production).

Butyrate benefits:

  • it is the preferred fuel source for the cells lining the colon
  • it helps to nourish cells & support repair of damage to the bowel wall
  • it helps maintain gut barrier integrity & thus regulate gut immunity & inflammation
  • it helps to ‘switch off’ abnormally proliferating cells in the bowel ie polyps / precancerous lesions
  • it lowers the pH of the colon (makes it more acidic), which helps stop pathogens (bad bugs) taking hold & also helps with mineral absorption into the bloodstream.
  • it helps us feel full & satisfied & stabilise blood sugar / improve insulin sensitivity (particularly important for diabetics, those battling with insulin resistance or abdominal fat).
  • it helps normalise muscular contractions & movement of the bowel (relevant to those with IBS, constipation, diarrhoea or irregular movements).

Buy Blend11 Here >>

What Conditions Is Microbial Butyrate Production Important For?

From what we know about butyrate so far, it’s important to have high levels to help with:

  • constipation / irregular movements
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • leaky gut
  • autoimmune issues
  • any condition where gut integrity is compromised
  • bowel cancer prevention diet / polyps
  • prevention of travel bugs / overgrowth of gut pathogens
  • diabetes
  • insulin resistance
  • abdominal fat
  • PCOS
  • osteoporosis prevention
  • bone & teeth strength
  • general health (through better mineral absorption)

…there are many other butyrate benefits & uses – this list is just the tip of the iceberg! But we know it’s a good thing for our gut microbes to be continually producing for us, & we now know that Blend11 is useful to help support that process :)

Buy Blend11 Here >>

Soaking / Activating: Do I Really Have to Soak it?

Common question, one we really hoped to find the answer to!

Interestingly – soaking overnight had minimal impact on fermentation & microbial butyrate production! Dry mix was found to create a similar increase in butyrate production, nutrient levels weren’t impacted & FODMAP’s were decreased only by a little.

So it seems that from a fermentation perspective, soaking may not be important / useful! It does however, help with gut issues (anecdotally). We speak to customers every week (for the past 6.5 years) who find Blend11 useful to help manage their gut symptoms, & there is definitely a difference (almost always better results when used soaked vs dry). There is other research suggesting that consumption of pre-soaked seeds helps with absorption of micronutrients (even though similar levels may be present in dry vs soaked seed, absorption is what counts). Also – the enzyme activity in soaked seeds may provide further nutritional / digestive benefits.

To Soak or Not to Soak?

In the absence of any firm data…we encourage you to experiment on yourself! See if you notice any difference when eating Blend11 soaked vs dry:

  • digestive comfort (how does your tummy feel throughout the day when you eat soaked vs dry Blend11)?
  • best poos ever effect (does it create the same results for you soaked vs dry – is there a difference in your bowel function?)
  • energy levels (any changes?)
  • mood
  • general wellness
  • performance
  • immunity
  • inflammation / swellings / aches & pains
  • weight
  • specific illnesses

Please let us know what your findings are!

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Next Stage:

We are now looking to move into the next phase of testing (a clinical trial with IBS patients). This will cost A LOT (for a small business – usually it’s only pharmaceutical companies who can afford these!) We’re eligible to use some government grants, but nowhere near enough to cover the entire project. So now we’re looking for help raising funds / an investor. With results from a trial of this nature, we’ll have scientific evidence that this food can act medicinally!

Your testimonials have played a huge role in getting the initial research done, we are now asking for anyone willing to come forward with their story, who would be happy to share it with the CSIRO gut research team, possibly even in a television interview (your face / name can remain anonymous, just an interview to tell your story. Any test results you may have will help, or if you have a health professional / Dr who can confirm results.

This is important for us to progress – so please, shoot me a reply with your contact details & a brief rundown of your story if you are keen to help out / think your story would be of interest! Even if you aren’t keen to get deeply involved, but you have a story or quick comment we can add to the collection, that would be very much appreciated too!

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Natural Support for Endometriosis

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis or ‘Endo’ (as it’s affectionately known), is a nightmare that affects more than 10% of Aussie females (& even the occasional male) at some painful point, usually starting in teenage years with progressively more uncomfortable menstrual pain & other pain associated with hormonal fluctuations.

It involves tissue like the uterine lining (endometrial) tissue growing outside of the uterus (ie the abdominal cavity, bowel, bladder, ovaries etc). This tissue responds to hormonal fluctuations throughout the month, building up & shedding like regular endometrial tissue, causing pain from recurrent irritation, inflammation & scarring.

What Are The Symptoms of Endometriosis?

  • Extreme period pain (and often pain at other times, can be daily)
  • Very heavy periods
  • Spotting before periods
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination
  • Bloating, abdominal discomfort
  • Lower back pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

What is Endometriosis Pain Like?

Endo pain can range from ‘please excuse Jenny from swimming today as she has period pain’  to ‘take me to the hospital I need a general anaesthetic’ or ‘just kill me now’ kinda pain’.

It can be extremely frustrating, excruciating, crippling, totally life-interrupting & can hinder education, career, relationships, fertility & sanity. Pain is normally (but not exclusively) in the pelvic region, & may mean intercourse, work, school, socialising and exercising are off the menu a lot of the time. Endo pain has been described by some mothers as worse than the pain of childbirth, so nothing to be sneezed at.

How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

Despite the severity of symptoms, for most young women it goes undiagnosed for many years (often 10 or more), which allows the situation to worsen. Because of under-diagnosis, the actual percentage of females suffering with endo may be much higher than the currently recognised 10-ish percent. To get a definitive diagnosis involves laparoscopic surgery under general anaesthetic – not simple. Most try to get by with anti-inflammatory meds, increasing until they just won’t cut it anymore, then maybe something stronger & / or the Oral Contraceptive Pill.  These are the normal treatment approaches until surgery is required to remove tissue – which can provide huge relief (until it grows back).

Severely Painful Periods Are Not Normal. They Are a Sign That Your Body Needs Help!

Please – if there are any teen girls in your life suffering with painful periods, urge them / their parents to get it looked into properly ASAP. Very painful periods are not normal, and early diagnosis and smart treatment can make a massive difference for endo progression, if that is found to be the cause.

Many a suffering teen girl will think ‘I must be just a sook’ and try to push through the monthly pain and ‘handle it’ thinking that they’re weak because everyone else seems to cope ok with their periods. This is compounded when well-meaning friends and family tell them to ’toughen up’ / get on with life. These girls can end up depressed and anxious, fearful to embrace opportunities they know pain will interfere with, and simply dreading ‘that time of the month’.  

Heart-breaking for young souls to live with such severe, recurring pain and feel like they are somehow inferior for not coping with what they assume is the norm.

The Endometriosis Gut Connection

Is endometriosis really connected to your gut health? Yep – surprise surprise, like so many other ’diseases’, endometriosis symptoms are strongly impacted by what is happening in your gut.

IBS pain and cramping can be very similar to endometriosis pain and cramping – the two are often confused, or can be found together. Around 16% of all teens are thought to experience IBS (most are female). Both endo and IBS can cause severe abdominal pain, uncomfortable bloating and painful or difficult bowel movements. Many women have both IBS and endo (jackpot!!) If your IBS gets a lot worse during your periods, you should look into endometriosis as a possible cause or contributing factor.

In one recent study, the Low FODMAP diet (known to help in most IBS cases) was found to significantly improve endometriosis symptoms, so if you do have both endo & IBS (or suspect you may), Low FODMAP is definitely worth a trial – do it seriously with help from an experienced nutritionist / naturopath to help you navigate through and find your triggers .

Often a person will have some low level of ‘dis-ease’ happening in their gut, which may not be that noticeable (gut seems to function normally / no problems), but which may form the foundation for another set of symptoms they have going on – like endo.  Endo is one of those chronic conditions you can ‘attack’ from the gut, because it’s an inflammatory disease, with immune dysfunction and hormonal sensitivity. Changing the gut environment can effectively decrease inflammation and help normalise immune function and hormonal balance.

When we have a harmonious gut microbiome we’re more likely to have an immune system that ‘knows when it’s needed’ and when to just chill. This is because – if your gut barrier is functioning nicely (supported by a healthy gut microbiome), it will only allow certain things out of the gut and into the bloodstream where the immune system is on high alert. Conversely, when the gut barrier is compromised (often due to / aggravated by microbial issues), a heavier load of inflammatory substances will end up in your bloodstream,  your immune system goes into ‘freak-out’ mode, becoming trigger-happy and reacting to all kinds of things that shouldn’t bother it. This makes any inflammatory-immune issues you may have flare up, whether it’s eczema, psoriasis, asthma, arthritis, hayfever…or endo.

Calm the gut  = calm the immune system = decrease the inflammation = decrease the pain.  Focus on your gut, don’t just reach for the painkillers – you’ll get way better results in the long term. And to help calm the gut, mental / emotional support is paramount too. 

Why Painkillers Can Make Endometriosis Pain Worse

Using NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like nurofen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen etc) for endometriosis will reduce inflammation & pain in the short term but with continued use they will INCREASE inflammation by damaging the all-important gut lining. Inflammation leads to pain, leads to pain relief meds, leads to leaky gut, leads to more inflammation, more pain…and so on…not a cycle with a happy ending (except if you’re selling the pills)! Anti-Inflammatory drugs are not an effective solution to a chronic inflammatory disease. Great to use for one off / occasional acute painful inflammations, but not for long term stuff if there’s another approach available (and there is a naturopathic approach for endo)!

Codeine type painkillers pose a real risk of addiction, often not communicated when first prescribed – especially important for young teens who may be struggling with depression. They also cause constipation / bowel dysfunction & as a result can increase oestrogen load.  Gut microbes are heavily involved in oestrogen metabolism and excretion, and when the bowel is sluggish and lacking in microbial diversity, more oestrogen is reabsorbed back into circulation rather than being excreted. These oestrogen-influencing gut microbes are known as the ‘oestrobolome’.   Good to know that if we modify gut microbes and gut function, we can modify blood oestrogen levels – which can obviously have a huge impact on endometriosis flares, as it is an oestrogen-fuelled condition.

The Pill For Endometriosis

The OCP may slow / stop the disease from worsening, by blocking the monthly oestrogen-induced flares, but once ladies decide they do want to be fertile, & go off the pill – their reproductive communication system has some serious catching up to do!

During teenage years, the menstrual cycle is getting established – this requires communication between the brain & ovaries. Taking the pill stops this communication, stops the cycle from developing, so instead of a natural rhythm forming, you just get a fake period with no ovulation. No natural cycles happening, interrupted reproductive development. The pill hormones are not identical to the ones we make naturally, there is a list of benefits we miss out on, & a list of side effects that can come with taking the pill:

Common Side Effects of The Pill

  • nausea
  • spotting
  • bloating
  • fluid retention
  • weight gain
  • headaches
  • tender breasts
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • impaired bone density
  • decreased libido

Heavy / irregular periods are common and to be expected in teen girls, it’s part of their reproductive development that should be allowed to happen naturally. Obviously if there’s danger of pregnancy – contraception is vital, but otherwise I would run a mile from the pill, definitely give preference to non-hormonal contraceptives.  Endo progression will likely be slower with the right OCP, but there are much better ways to address it (without the list of side effects)! Other drugs (Lupron and Synarel) are commonly used to suppress oestrogen and decrease growth of stray endometrial tissue, these can absolutely help sufferers, but also have a long list of side-effects and do not allow a natural female cycle to occur. They are mostly used post surgery to slow down the regrowth of tissue.

Natural Endometriosis Support

Best to get help from a professional (ie a naturopath or integrative GP specialising in women’s health), but here are a few things to look into:

  • awareness that painful periods need attention (not just drugs to mask the pain!)
  • optimise oestrogen metabolism (support bowel and liver with regular diverse fibre, probiotics, herbs to ensure regular bowel movements)
  • trial a Low FODMAP diet (can help identify triggers and influence gut function)
  • anti-inflammatory diet (more detail below)
  • get off gluten, dairy, sugar & alcohol for a min of 8 weeks – see how your symptoms go.
  • bone broth (organic bones)
  • test for and remove any other possible food intolerances
  • decrease saturated fats & red meat, decrease animal protein (more plant based diet)
  • find a gut-repair type product (look for l-glutamine, zinc, aloe vera, slippery elm etc, or ask a naturopath)
  • decrease / eliminate poor quality ‘junk food’ with its inflammatory fats, sugars, refined carbs.
  • eat / juice use loads of turmeric, though a high strength capsule will be best for quick pain relief
  • eat / juice / use loads of ginger
  • fermented foods – sauerkraut, beet kvass, kimchi, kefir, kombucha.
  • proper regular exercise (when not in pain, make the most of it and be active)
  • get plenty of sunshine (vit D)
  • magnesium (can be rubbed into skin, bathe in mag salts or take as a supplement)
  • oily fish eaten often, or cod liver oil supplement
  • flaxseed (whole soaked seed, or ground seed – not just the oil)
  • fibre support for the gut – crucial to move bowels regularly
  • liver herbs (naturopath / herbalist can help)
  • veggie juices
  • treat complications / secondary stuff ie check iron & B12 (often low due to heavy bleeding)
  • mental emotional support (stress management, meditation training, deep breathing, counselling, massage, relationship support, reconnection with good friends, joining support groups, etc).

Being gluten free, Low FODMAP and supportive to gut integrity and microbial production of anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids, both Blend11 & PondWater fit nicely into an endometriosis support diet. We have received great feedback from several women using these with the IBS-Endo double!

Let me know if you have found your endo responsive to anything not mentioned above!

jeanie@goodmix.com.au

IBS and Food Intolerances – Some Common Causes

foods that are common causes of IBS and food intolerance | goodMix Superfoods

I LOVE talking to people about their gut health problems, finding out how they came about & hopefully being able to help fix them. The best bit is that I learn so much from everyone I speak to. I learn what started their issues, what helps them most, what they can & can’t eat now, what else they do to support their health….everyone becomes a bit of an expert on their own gut & I love to find out as much as I can from each person. Some of my special interests are the development of IBS, food allergies & intolerances. While working in healthfood stores & pharmacies I would always ask ‘when did it start, what was happening around that time’ & often there are some pretty interesting lead ups that can turn a previously non-reactive person into someone who really has to watch what they eat. So what are some of the common causes of IBS and food intolerance?

some eg’s:

Medications:

‘I went on a medication & now I react to X / Y/ Z’. When you throw a chemical into an ecosystem, there will be changes. That is what you do when introducing new medications, you make changes to your gut ecosystem, & that can change how your body works and can be one of the most common causes of IBS. Some of the most commonly used meds can really upset our guts – think ibuprofen, which people start feeding to their kids for all kinds of minor ailments FROM 3 months old! If overused (like for most kids), it actually has potential to create serious long term issues by letting stuff out through the gut lining (ibuprofen makes the gut leaky) into the bloodstream that should never get in there – think eczema, asthma, allergies, arthritis, hay fever, auto-immune problems, food intolerances…ibuprofen is not as harmless as we’re all lead to believe. And there are countless other ‘every day’ meds that disrupt the way your gut works too – antibiotics are obvious, but the list is long – & includes antidepressants, opioids & reflux medications (3 of Australia’s most commonly prescribed). 

Are you one of those people who pressures your Dr into a prescription every time you go in to their clinic? Drs often feel pressured / obligated to prescribe when they know it’s totally unnecessary / potentially going to make a situation worse! Don’t be that patient / parent (it’s often parents)! So many people start taking meds unnecessarily – either because they trusted the advice of their prescription-happy Dr…who was just matching a medicine to a symptom as per their training – or because they ‘demanded’ a medication to fix their symptom (which their Dr probably knew could be ‘cured’ with a few days rest, or some better lifestyle choices, but just couldn’t be bothered arguing about)! Meds have a place, definitely some are needed, they can be life-saving & I am grateful we have access to them. BUT, there are many, many cases where the best long term treatment plan involves diet & lifestyle changes, & maybe some nutritional / herbal supplements that are less likely to mess up the all important gut balance!

(HINT: Save pharmaceutical meds for when you are really ill, as a last resort. One drug so often leads to another, & remember – pharmaceutical companies (very sneakily) train & use Drs & pharmacy staff as their ‘sales reps’ to ensure company profits. Break the chemical meds cycle, get help from a naturopath or holistic GP so you aren’t ‘drug dependant’ or teaching your kids to be.

 

 

Dieting:

‘I was on X diet that meant I had to eat loads of eggs, now I’m intolerant to eggs!’ (HINT: don’t keep forcing a food down your throat when you are sick of it just because your diet book says ‘you need to eat X food for X meal’) When you are getting ‘sick’ of eating something, your body is sending you a fairly clear message to eat something different / avoid that food for a while! You may (literally) be getting sick from it! Listen to your body, or you may actually become sick! Keto dieters beware – if you’re over the cheese + almond meal ‘bread’, stop eating it (or it may become no longer an option for you!) If you just can’t stomach another day of green juice with kale & spinach, for goodness sake put the juicer away! 

Cutting Out Foods Without Addressing An Underlying Gut Issue:

‘Now I’m reacting to the foods I replaced my food intolerances with!” Cutting something out which seems to not work so well for you & then all of a sudden eating loads of another food to replace it can backfire. (Ie replace dairy with soy milk & you develop an soy intolerance – it happens).  This makes you realise the food wasn’t the issue, it was the compromised gut / immune system reacting inappropriately! If your gut is out of whack, ultra sensitive & reacting crazily to something other people tolerate ok, it can start reacting crazily to other foods too. (HINT: If you think you have a food intolerance, don’t just cut out the offending foods & carry on with life thinking everything is fine, take your reactive state as a clue that your gut-immune axis really needs some attention. Unless you do something to help fix  / change the gut environment & gut lining, you may just have to keep cutting foods out. If you are reacting to something all of a sudden, chances are, your gut just needs some love). Book in to see a naturopath or holistic / integrative GP who can help support the gut, calm the immune system, & order any relevant tests. 

Excess Alcohol:

‘I had a huge weekend & then after that I had intolerances / my old gut problems all came back’. Yup – it seems that you can inflict food intolerances upon yourself & bring back previously resolved gut issues if you destroy your gut  enough on a bender! (HINT: Alcohol in excess is bad news for your gut lining & your microbiome, keep it to a minimum, especially if you already have a sensitive tummy – one weekend of partying hard can really take the freedom & fun out of life when you can’t eat what you want & no longer feel like going out)! If you are reading this after a huge weekend – don’t despair, just make yourself a big pot of bone broth (or buy it concentrated), pick up some ‘gut repair’ type supplements from a naturopath / local health store or pharmacy, & eat really well (loads of prebiotic fibre & minimal sugar), at least until the next big weekend! 

Gastro Infections:

‘I got sick with a gastro bug & my gut has been different ever since’ I hear this a lot too, bad gastro infections are like a war in your guts, & even after your good bugs ‘win’ the aftermath can be devastating. (HINT: When you have a bout of gastro, invest in some after care / gut recovery products & eat really mindfully until you’re back on track again – don’t just jump straight back into normal eating, have a few days on soups / broths to ease your system back into the hard job of dealing with food 24-7. Get some recovery advice from a naturopath / healthfood store).  

Traveller’s Tummy:

‘I went overseas & got sick, I’ve never been the same in my gut since’. So so common – the food, the water, the climate, the broken routines & loss of sleep, the change in timezones, coming into contact with people & microbes from all over the planet within hours, airport & plane food….Travelling can take its toll on your gut-immune system! (HINT: When you travel, it’s great if you can pack a quality prebiotic supplement (shameless Blend11 plug), some shelf-stable probiotic support, a natural antimicrobial / anti-parasitic formula, & stick to filtered / safe water, be careful with ice / salads & wash your hands vigilantly. But – there are huge potential gut benefits of travel too, imagine the microbial diversity you’ll develop compared to non-travellers! Just take precautions & if you do end up going down with the dreaded traveller’s tummy, be sure to treat it with respect as you could end up with an unwanted ‘souvenir’ for life! If you are currently battling with symptoms, do get tested for parasitic infection that could still be present, & try Blend11 & PondWater together (we have had some amazing feedback on this combo for people with travel acquired ‘IBS’).

Read here: https://www.goodmix.com.au/good-poos-the-forgotten-travel-essential/

Extreme / Prolonged Stress:

‘I went through a really stressful period & since then have been reactive to X / Y / Z foods’. You went through an awful break-up & then had to break-up with some of your fave foods, double sob!!! No more wallowing in cheesecake to numb the pain (made a gluten free, dairy free, nut free, low FODMAP version??)

Stress can upset your tummy big time, it can even make it become leaky. So many people get nervous diarrhoea or become constipated when stressed & busy, or just start to eat poorly / not look after themselves in general – which creates tummy issues.  (HINT: when you know you have a stressful period coming up – ie exams / new job / moving house etc, ensure you’re getting plenty of prebiotic fibre daily to keep your good protective gut bugs winning, & make it easier to eat well by prioritising food prep / sourcing time, or paying to outsource that job until you’re able to take it over again. If stress hits you out of the blue, remind yourself that your gut is going to be your ally in getting through this rough patch, it will look after you if you pay attention & look after it)! Definitely worth making the effort to avoid trouble down the track. 

Athletes / Over-Training:

‘I overtrained for an event / went too hard in a comp & my gut hasn’t been the same since.’ Athletes can be the worst at self abuse! Sacrificing health by pushing past your limits to achieve goals = great short term plan for sporting success, not so great for long-term health & happiness! When you train hard, know that your gut requires TLC before, during & after to avoid damage that can sideline you for days / weeks / months / forever. (HINT: If you are serious about getting the most from your body for as long as you can & still have a life after sport, search for a coach who understands how nutrition, training & your gut all play together – many are pretty clueless. Better still, educate yourself – really learn how your body functions).

Helpful read: https://www.goodmix.com.au/gut-health-athletes/

Inherited:

‘I think I was born with a dodgy gut’ or ’My mum has always had problems, now my gut seems to be doing similar things’. Both are possible, & both totally make sense, because you probably have a similar gut microbial ecosystem to your mum. If you were born vaginally, you would have picked up mum’s microbiome on the way through the birth canal (also conveniently located next door to where poos & their resident microbes exit!) If your mum had gut issues due to a microbial imbalance, your gut may be kinda similar – it might cause you trouble literally from birth, or it might not cause you any major symptoms until later in life.

We can also pick up gut microbes from people we share living environments with, humans (& other animals) sharing spaces closely can ‘share’ microbes (choose your flatmates carefully)! (HINT: If you inherited a dodgy microbiome or feel like you’ve picked one up along the way somehow, don’t despair. Ask your mum / dad what works for them, try it yourself, & if there’s nothing that helps, find a replacement microbiome (yes, you can really do that – if your gut problems are severe enough, you should look into getting an FMT – fecal microbiota transplant. Yes it is exactly what it sounds like, someone else’s poo, being ‘transplanted’ into your bowel! With the right preparation & after care, it can really help reset your microbiome. Use a specialist clinic, & make sure donors have been well screened (or you may go from the gut microbial frying pan into the fire, as there are still a lot of unknowns about what else can change when you change your gut microbes).

I’ve covered some of the more common causes of IBS and food intolerance in this post. You might also find this a helpful read: https://www.goodmix.com.au/new-medicine-literally-load-crap/ 

I would love to hear the story of how your gut issues started, please feel free to share in the comments!

Jeanie
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

The Blend11 nutritional panel is incorrect! Yay!!

We have an exciting update from the CSIRO gut researchers! Our nutritional panel calculations for Blend11 are incorrectbut it’s in a good way!

WATCH THIS VIDEO !

The full nutritional analysis is not complete yet, but we do know that we had the sugar & fibre count completely wrong – sorry! Details are below:

WRONG

Sugar (grams per hundred) listed on current labels: 6.1g

Fibre (grams per hundred) listed on current labels: 15.75g

CORRECT 

Actual Sugar (grams per hundred) as verified by CSIRO analysis: 2.1g

Actual Fibre (grams per hundred) as verified by CSIRO analysis: 18.4g

More Blend11 FAQ’s

This means that for 6 years, we’ve been selling our product with a label stating 3x the sugar content it actually contains, & the fibre content is significantly higher than we’ve listed too! (Yes, we feel really, really clever).  

It was so long ago that Brad & I can’t remember who’s mistake it was (I say it was him, he says it was me), but either way…it was a pretty huge error & is great news for anyone needing to decrease sugar & carb intake, (that’s pretty much all of us), but especially diabetics, those battling with insulin resistance, abdominal fat, PCOS, & keto dieters.  

The news came in from CSIRO via email just hours after a big box of new Blend11 labels had arrived from the printers, wouldn’t you know it! So for now, all we can do is let everyone know that the current panel is inaccurate (in a good way), & we’ll be sending out some correction strips / replacement labels ASAP.  And – we can now eat 3x the amount we normally would, carb-guilt free!

Buy Blend11 NOW and take advantage of our limited offer of 15% off PLUS free shipping on any Blend11 400g, 800g & 1.3kg orders. Simply apply the coupon word at the checkout: label

Is Blend11 Keto Friendly?

The keto diet (high fat, moderate protein & very low carbs) was trendy for weightloss in natural health circles approx 20 yrs ago & it seems that everyone is trying keto again – this time in a big way due to quick & easy spread of info & recipes through social media etc, plus more scientific research into the benefits & safety. This is great from a weightloss & insulin sensitivity perspective (it can really help), & the perfect pendulum swing to combat the low fat damage done over the past few decades!

But, going keto is not for everyone, & can be a little worrying from a gut microbiome perspective if the dieter isn’t aware of some possible pitfalls. It can help starve out SIBO / decrease numbers of some of the nasty gut organisms, but with less types of plant food coming into the bowel, you’ll potentially be sacrificing some of your helpful bugs also. The concern is that when we tip the dietary balance too far towards fat & neglect to include plenty of fibre & resistant starch, the poor little gut bugs get so hungry that they’re forced to munch into the protective mucous lining of the gut. Not a good situation to bring on! (Hello leaky gut). One of the keys to ‘gut-healthy keto’ is getting plenty of fibre-rich plant food, supporting a diverse microbiome to keep the fermentation of fibre into short chain fatty acids happening & maintain the all important gut lining – not to mention the equally important regular bowel movements! Both constipation & loose stools can be an issue whilst adjusting to a fat-heavy keto diet, & many new-to-keto people will experience both if not mindful of their fibre intake. Overall though – you can really help support gut health with a careful keto period, because you’ll be cutting out sugar, refined carb & gluten-heavy foods (just watch over consumption of dairy as that can do bad things for many people’s gut)!

Gut-Friendly Keto breakfast ideas:

Pure N Free Natural unsweetened coconut yoghurt, activated Blend11 (goji berries picked out if you want to be super strict) with a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra flavour & blood sugar benefits. Click fo more on this Pre n Pro combo 

Activated Blend11 sprinkled over a plate of eggs, raw spinach, plus mushrooms & herbs sautéed in olive oil, coconut oil or butter. Asparagus sauteed in butter / oil, plus sea salt  & garlic also make a great keto friendly & prebiotic rich breakfast side too, esp this time of year with asparagus being cheap & plentiful!

Activated Blend11 plus Pure n Free unsweetened coconut yoghurt, a few frozen berries & a little water into a smoothie.  You can also try coffee instead of berries to flavour.

Testimonial:

This testimonial came in from my brother Andy in the USA, who’s been doing a great job spreading the seeds over there! Please keep letting all of your USA friends & family know that Blend11 can be purchased through amazon prime in the States. 

“The seeds have really helped changed my life Andrew. I found out I had diabetes last year and completely changed my diet and quit smoking. Started making healthy shakes with your seeds in them each morning along with keto diet and I lost 40 lbs and never been so happy or healthy in all my life. I will be a loyal customer just as long as you provide these great products. Expect my payment soon. Thank you so much for your kindness and courtesy. I really appreciate it.”

CLICK & READ HUNDREDS OF CUSTOMER REVIEWS

*LIMITED OFFER

Buy Blend11 now and apply coupon word at the checkout: label

You’ll get FREE SHIPPING on any Blend11 400g, 800g & 1.3kg orders , PLUS 15% OFF.  Help us clear out the old labels!!!

Blend11 – The FAQ’s

Here’s a list of the most frequently asked questions we get at markets about Blend11! Hopefully if you have a burning question, it’s covered – if not, feel free to send it in & I’ll do my best!

FAQ’S:

Q:What does Low FODMAP mean? And why should I should know or care?

A: Low FODMAP foods contain low levels of the rapidly fermentable carbohydrates known to trigger IBS symptoms. Researchers from the Monash University in Melbourne developed a diet keeping FODMAP’s low (The Low FODMAP Diet) that can really help people with IBS or other gut issues to better control their symptoms (& get back to living a normal life!) It is becoming recognised globally as one of the first ‘prescriptions’ to try for those with medically diagnosed IBS. It helps approx 75% of IBS people to gain control & lessen symptoms.  

The acronym stands for: 

F………Fermentable (broken down by your gut microbes)

O……..Oligosaccharides (fructans & galacto-oligosaccharides)

D……..Disaccharides (lactose)

M…….Monosaccharides (fructose – in excess of glucose)

A……..and

P……..Polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol & maltitol). 

The diet is NOT a diet that we should all start following, it’s really just people with IBS, SIBO, bloating, pain, bowel irregularity or IBD who should be aware of this – to help understand & get control of their symptoms. Low FODMAP eating is not intended as a long-term healthy diet (many really healthy foods are high in FODMAP’s). But it’s just handy to know what foods can make you feel a bit funny in the tummy if you eat too many. For me (no IBS), I notice apples (more than 1 a day) & other fruits can make me a bit uncomfortable…but small amounts are totally fine. By far the most common FODMAP reactions I hear about at markets are to onions & garlic, wheat & milk products. Legumes are right up there too. 

Q: What is a ‘best poo ever?’ 

A: No 4 on The Bristol Stool Chart! The ’smooth sausage’ – the holy grail of poos! We should all aim for mostly number 4’s (variation is normal & ok, but as long as you usually see number 4’s, you’re doing well!) PRINT OUT THE CHART FOR YOUR TOILET DOOR. Good gut = good poos. 

CLICK TO WATCH ACTIVATION

Q:Why do you have to soak Blend11? That’s annoying / time consuming / weird / I like it better crunchy…

A: When seeds absorb water they think ‘yay, it’s rained – now is our time to start growing!’ They are stimulated to release enzymes, which start to break down the stored nutrients (meant to nourish the seed & support growth before roots & leaves have developed. Enzymes are great for us, plus we can then get more nutritional benefits from the Blend. 

If you think about it, seeds are designed to pass through the digestive system of whatever animal eats them so that they can then start growing in a nice pile of manure once they come out the other end! They are designed to withstand digestion. When we pre-soak them, we ‘trick them’ into coming out of their dormant, protected state. Soaking / activating makes them much easier to digest, the protein content increases & the nutrients become more bioavailable. This process (soaking seeds / grains) is also being introduced in the farming industry to achieve better feed efficiencies etc for livestock, (there’s a lot of research & evidence behind it, not just some crazy market soggy-seed-sellers)! 

Q: How many days can you keep the wet mixture in the fridge? 

A: Soaked Blend11 is fine in a sealed container for up to 3 days in the fridge. This is something we’ll know more about once the CSIRO research has been completed (we’ll let you know how long is the optimal soak time). We have been recommending 3 days for the past 6 years with good results. 

Q: It looks like muesli, but is way more expensive??!!

A: The price question is always there when you have quality food, simply because we are now surrounded by so much poor quality food! We have become used to expecting cheap food products because food manufacturers develop products with emphasis on price point & not enough care factor about nutrition & health. In most cases, you get what you pay for! Most seed blend / muesli manufacturers will fill their packets up with the cheaper ingredients like sunflower seeds (just look at the first few listed ingredients to see what the main proportion of a product is). I could have made Blend11 much cheaper but I don’t like the fatty acid profile of sunflower seeds to be eating them every day (really high in omega 6 which we get plenty of).  I preferred to make the product much heavier in anti inflammatory omega 3’s, coconut & monounsaturated) as sunflower oil is used in so many processed foods etc – most people get too much. And everything in Blend11 is certified organic (except the almond flakes), so that obviously adds to cost (but also to benfits – gut microbes & human bodies both hate chemicals). 

Blend11 has some pretty awesome therapeutic actions, so our ingredients cannot be compromised (the effects may change, & we would have A LOT of cranky customers!). We’ve actually tried to make a cheaper formula, but it didn’t give the same results when we tested it on a few ‘regular’ customers! Plus we often get feedback from people trying another brand that it’s ‘just not the same!’ Second or third best poos –  if you’re lucky!

Q:Can I eat this if I have diverticulitis? 

A: Yes, but you always should soak the mix at least overnight & even smoothie it if you’re still worried. Most people over the age of 60 have some diverticular pockets, & many will never have any problems / acute attacks even though they continue to enjoy nuts & seeds. Many people with pockets are just fine with eating whole seeds, drs are starting to become aware of this (the gastroenterologist I do a bit of work with is on the same page). Listen to your body on this one though, most people are fine with soaked seeds, almost all will be fine with soaked & then blended. It would be highly unlikely to get any adverse effect from a smoothie with soaked seeds, this is exactly what people with a sluggish bowel & diverticular disease really need, to keep the good bugs well fed & the baddies away, keep the bowel moving easily with no pressure build up, as well as keeping the bowel lining healthy & nourished with loads of short chain fatty acids (amazing anti-inflammatory by-products of fibre fermentation). 

Q:This is really high in fat?? Surely it’s not healthy then, it’ll make me fat!!?? 

A: OMG, this question comes at me still, mostly from 55-75 yr old ladies who are often overweight due to insulin resistance brought on from a decades of low fat eating (with the compensatory carb overload!) 

Eating fat does not make us get fat. Fat makes us feel full, keeps us looking great, esp skin & hair, it supports fat burning ability, & will decrease hunger / cravings for sugars & carbs thus preventing insulin resistance, the main cause of obesity! Most people feel really good on a diet high in healthy fats, this blend contains a great balance of omega 3, 6 & 9, as well as monounsaturates & mct’s. Blend11 is almost 40% fat, compare the nutritional panel to other muesli type products (& look at the sugar & carbs line too!). The carb content is mostly fibre & the sugars are very low (& their absorption is also slowed by the fat fibre protein hit). 

Q:I can’t eat grains. Blend11 contains millet, buckwheat & amaranth! 

A: These grains are – gluten free, low reactive, high protein, soaked overnight to improve digestibility / decrease reactivity, & the millet & amaranth are cooked. Buckwheat is technically a seed, not a grain. Most people are totally fine with a little soaked buckwheat, & a few puffs of millet & amaranth (millet & amaranth are only 2.5% of the mix by weight, they just look like more as they’re full of air – so actually Blend11 has very minimal grain content).

Q:Fibre makes me fart. Do I really need more?

A: Your gut is like a fermentation tank. Farts mean there is a lot of fermentation happening. Fermentation is good! Our butthole is the release valve – like you’d want to loosely cover anything that you’re fermenting so it doesn’t explode! We would explode too if our butt couldn’t let gas build-up escape when it needs to! By-products of fibre fermentation (& fart production) are SCFA’s ’Short Chain Fatty Acids’. These act as anti-inflammatories & are extremely beneficial to the gut lining as well as the rest of the body. They actually pass through your bowel lining & into your bloodstream, so think about this – if your’e farting it means you’re fermenting. Surely a few extra farts is worth it to get your gut producing plenty of these amazing systemic anti-inflammatories! Any increase in fibre can temporarily make you a little more gassy, but it should settle right down as your microbes adjust. But yes, fibre does make you fart, & farting is a healthy thing!

Q:That bag is tiny, I’d be finished that in 2 days!

A: This is not a regular muesli. It’s used more like a ‘topper’. You only really need 50g daily (2 heaped tablespoons or 1/3 of a cup) to see the digestive benefits. Some people find that they only need to use it every second day or a few times a week, so the bags last much longer than you would expect. You mix it into something else, like fruit / yoghurt / smoothies / porridge / bircher etc. 

Q:Can my baby have this? 

A: If your baby is eating plenty of solids & there is no known reaction to any of the Blend11 ingredients, they can try it for sure. Always soaked, start with small quantities & observe response. 

Q:Can I have this during pregnancy? 

A: Yes!! Pregnancy is one of the most important times to focus on getting your gut microbes right because your baby will (all going to plan) get covered in them during the birth process!  A healthy gut microbiome passed on to bubs will mean less chance of eczema, allergies, hayfever, obesity, diabetes, anxiety & depression in later life. Feeding your good microbes with diverse fibre during pregnancy will help build your baby one of the foundations for a healthy start in life, a diverse microbiome. Added bonus is, pregnancy constipation / sluggishness is relieved! We get really great feedback from pregnant mums & a Blend11 smoothie is awesome as a ‘one handed’ quick & nutritious breakfast option while breastfeeding too!

Q:Why are there so many ‘gut health’ gurus, books & products now?

A: Because drs & scientists are finally taking notice of us crazy poo-obsessed naturopaths & began researching, only to find out (surprise surprise) that your gut health can heavily influence so many health issues! Of course every manufacturer is now using that knowledge to sell more gut friendly food & gut health supplements.  Research will continue to uncover more about our gut as technology improves & more funding is allocated. We only know the tip of the iceberg now, the next few years will be very interesting (& will see a flood of even more gut support products come on to the market). We’ve been talking about it & collecting feedback from you guys for 6 years now in markets, & the shift in general consumer awareness during that time has been massive. We used to get blank looks when saying ‘it’s good for your gut’. Now we get knowing nods from most people – but also some skepticism because ‘everything is good for your gut health these days.’ Guess you can’t win!

Q:Is this a probiotic food? I already take them after I have antibiotics. And I eat kimchi & kefir. 

A: No – it’s not a probiotic. It contains PREbiotic fibres to support your probiotic population. Prebiotics are things that support the growth & encourage good balance of gut bugs. Blend11 contains a very diverse range of ‘microbe accessible carbohydrates’ to ensure that gut microbial fermentation occurs along the entire length of the colon.  Gut microbial fermentation keeps your bowel lining healthy, helps decrease inflammation both in the bowel & also systemically throughout the entire body. 

Q. I don’t think I need this stuff, my gut is fine…I think…

Hmm – in this day & age, it’s unlikely that your gut is fine. Our gut microbial balance is not very healthy, for a few reasons…Crappy processed food choices, chemicals in our food & environment, high levels of stress & 3 generations of too many antibiotics & other chemical medications (whilst sometimes essential & life saving), are a big reason for that.  It can take months or even years for people to get their guts back on track after a course of antibiotics – some support with pre & probiotics / fermented foods is essential here, & eating plenty of diverse, fermentable fibres (like Blend11) can really help make sure you’re feeding the good guys so they can start to repopulate nicely. Even if you have no gut symptoms, a daily dose of diverse fibre can be a great preventative gut (& whole body) tonic.  

If you have a question that is not answered above, just shoot me an email or comment below.

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

p.s. If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’d like to try some Blend11, or are interested to find out more….so here’s a BONUS – try Blend11 (no shipping charge) by using this coupon at the checkout: tryme – limited number of coupons offered, so if it does not trigger free shipping then you’ll just need to get to one of our markets or stockist.

CSIRO Gut Health Research – Blend11

csiro gut health booklet and blend11 | goodMix Superfoods

BLEND11 is undergoing CSIRO gut health scientific testing!

We have received so many great stories and such positive feedback from you, our customers highlighting the huge impact Blend11 has made to their gut health, we’ve decided to get scientists at CSIRO to do some research on the product.

The project commencing this month (October 2018) will use a model of the human digestive system to see how Blend11 is fermented by the human microbiome. The findings will be compared with a commonly consumed fibre rich product, psyllium husk.

As we continue to get customer feedback of enhanced gut health benefits when Blend11 has been soaked in water prior to consumption, the project will also study how the nutrients in Blend11 change when it is soaked for up to 3 days and what effect this has on nutrient levels and fermentation by human microbes. We will be looking to see whether Blend11 when soaked causes the microbes to produce more of the products (short chain fatty acids) that are linked with a healthier gut environment.

Previous studies suggest that soaking of seeds and grains could increase the bioavailability of some nutrients. This study will assess whether the levels of a range of nutrients change following soaking. For instance, by closely measuring Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAP), we will be able to accurately guide our customers with sensitivity to FODMAPs as to how these levels may change with soaking. Some of the key seed phytochemicals (antioxidants) will also measured to see whether levels also change with soaking.    

To conduct this project, we were successful in obtaining a CSIRO Kick-Start grant that provides Australian start-ups and small to medium enterprises with funding support, and access to CSIRO’s research expertise and facilities.

CSIRO Kick-Start offers eligible businesses access to dollar-matched funding vouchers of between AUD$10,000-$50,000 and access to CSIRO expertise and facilities to undertake research into a new idea with commercial potential, develop a novel or improved product or process, or test a novel product or material developed by the business.

We look forward to sharing with you the outcomes of this study, expected to be completed early in 2019.

Anyone interested in specifics of the research project, or wanting to share their own story to add to the testimonial bank, please contact me directly:

e: jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Those interested in the latest general gut health research from CSIRO, grab a copy of their new book here: buy CSIRO book

Microbes – They’re Not All Friendly!

I often find myself bleating on about how wonderful microbes are – & that we should all embrace them & live in harmony with them, like one big happy family.

That’s mostly true, the vast majority of microbes that live on, inside & around us pose no major problem to us humans, & many are often super-helpful. But crikey – there are some seriously scary microbes out there too, here’s a reminder of just a few devastating human diseases caused by some of the nastiest microbes! I’ve just scoured through some statistics & medical history sites to find this info, the death numbers & years do vary a little from site to site, but as unbelievable as they sound – these should all be pretty close.

Worse than man flu?:

VIRUS: Spanish Flu – This flu is estimated to have killed approx 50 million people worldwide, from 1918-19. This massive outbreak occurred 100 short years ago & killed many, many healthy young adults (strangely, you were more likely to survive this one as a baby / child or elderly person – typically more vulnerable due to their underdeveloped or compromised immunity). The flu actually killed more of the American army in world war one than were killed in battle. The ‘Spanish flu’ was called that because during war time, news of the spread was suppressed by warring countries, but neutral Spain reported freely – creating an illusion that it was worst affected.  

Just imagine next years’ flu outbreak killing 50 million people! If it occurred in this day & age, a virus this virulent could potentially kill many millions more, because it would spread much faster & wider, given the ease & frequency of international travel. Our improved modern day communication, sanitation & medical care would mean that we’d have more chance of containing, treating & controlling it, though we’re nowhere near as good at controlling viruses as we are bacteria. This type of pandemic could absolutely happen again, all it takes is a viral mutation & a few travellers to get it going.   

Rats, fleas, microbes…disease:

BACTERIA: The Bubonic Plague Epidemic of the 14th century. Again – estimated to have killed approx 50 million people, which was at the time around 60% of Europe’s population! This was caused by a bacteria (Yersinia pestis) that was transmitted to humans by rat-flea bites. Starving fleas would jump onto humans when their rat hosts died from the disease. This microbe still infects people today, & infection is most prevalent in Africa. The disease thrives in warmer seasons (as fleas do), & during the pandemic, European winters slowed the spread considerably, until the next Spring / Summer outbreaks.

Big Pox:

VIRUS: Smallpox – The Variola virus is thought to have killed around 300 million people between 10,000 BC & 1979. It’s now been completely eradicated by mass vaccination since 1979 (the only human disease considered to be completely wiped out this way). Smallpox was a massive killer worldwide but proved particularly devastating to native aboriginal populations in countries like Australia & the USA. When Europeans first settled these areas, they brought the disease that they had some level of immunity to with them, the natives had no previous exposure & no immunity whatsoever. Up to 70% of the aboriginal population living in the Sydney area & beyond, are thought to have died from smallpox, not long after the arrival of English settlers. There is some controversy around how the illness started its spread among the Australian natives.

Born in the 80’s:

VIRUS: HIV/ AIDS – From 1981 to the present day, approx 40 million are estimated to have died, while over 35 million still live with the disease. Africa is thought to be where AIDS originated & is worst affected. The disease itself isn’t what kills people, it is the compromised immune system that results which allows other illnesses like TB & pneumonia to take hold & become lethal. Treatment of HIV with antiretroviral medications slows the progression of disease but there are some unpleasant side effects. Life expectancy of those living with HIV has risen dramatically with advances in treatment, though not all have access to this.

Get Your Vitamin A:

VIRUS: Measles – 700BC present day. According to the WHO, measles is thought to have killed upwards of 200 million in this time, it was actually still killing 100,000 people annually until 2016 (when fatalities dropped below this figure for the first time). It remains one of the biggest killers of young children worldwide, though rates of infection have dropped drastically since 1963 when a vaccine was introduced & mass vaccination campaigns were started. Before the vaccine, almost 100% of children would get measles before their 18th birthday, & parents would often choose to expose children when at an optimum age. Today, children most at risk of serious measles infection are those under 5yrs, who are malnourished & living in poverty. Vitamin A status is particularly important for children & timely supplementation can apparently decrease death rate by around 50%. The disease is very rare in Australia now, probably due to a combination of widespread vaccination & better nutrition, hygiene, general health, living conditions & overall immunity. Vaccine safety & efficacy is controversial in Australia (& in many other developed countries), where measles poses minimal threat.

TBContinued:

BACTERIA: – Mycobacterium tuberculosis is thought to have killed over 1 billion people in the past 200yrs. TB is the clear infectious disease ‘winner’ when it comes to total human deaths & survival into the modern age. Approx 25% of the current world population is infected, but not all will become ill – the bacterium can be latent, & mainly becomes ‘active TB’ in the immunocompromised (it kills many with HIV). TB thrives & spreads where people are living in poverty, with stress, poor sanitation, overcrowding, poor housing, lack of nutrition & other illnesses all contributing to vulnerability & spread. Indonesia, China, The Phillipines, Pakistan, Nigeria & South Africa are all hotspots. According to the WHO website, it still kills 4,500 people every day, & there are now multi-drug resistant strains emerging, meaning previous antibiotic treatments are becoming ineffective.

So…microbes – they ain’t all friendly! It’s amazing to think how powerful these teeny tiny creatures can be, & humbling to think that with all of our scientific advances & tech developments, a simple microbial life form still has the potential to wipe out a massive chunk of our human population (or maybe all of us) one day. We’ll always be vulnerable to these little guys that we share earth with, they never stop evolving & changing. Looming antibiotic resistance is a huge concern facing our medical system, with fears that we’ll end up almost ‘back where we started’ before their invention.  

Man vs microbe…

‘Powerful earth-cleansing microbes, proven to kill up to 99.5% of harmful human beings’…Could microbes one day act like our most popular kitchen & bathroom cleaners!!?? Scary thought, but totally possible….

Reading about these deadly microbes makes you wonder what our next major microbial challenge might be? Obviously there’s no point stressing out & losing sleep over it (that will just compromise your resistance), the best thing you can really do is look after your immune system & maintain your health to the highest level possible, so you are robust enough to have a fighting chance to fight whatever comes your way.  

Microbes (friendly & otherwise) constantly enter into our system via the mouth / digestive tract, some are injected directly into the bloodstream (by insects or animal bites) & some get in via the respiratory tract – so maintaining awareness of these ‘common entry portals’ is a great idea always, especially when travelling to higher risk areas. If ever you feel unwell or develop any symptoms of illness after a trip or spending time living / working in high risk areas, don’t hesitate to go for a full check up & be sure to let your practitioner know where you have been. This is especially true if you have a gut issue that first started not long after a trip away – many cases of so-called-IBS can be due to parasites picked up overseas or from drinking dodgy water (even from Australia). This blog has some travel tips for avoiding gut issues when on holidays: https://www.goodmix.com.au/good-poos-the-forgotten-travel-essential/