3 Steps To End Your Body Burnout

Are you stuck on the “busy” cycle – over-doing, overwhelm, perfectionism, people pleasing – and now your body is feeling burrrrrrned-out?…Energy, mood, gut & other inflammatory issues?

Have you hit a roadblock with your GP?

Dr Google failing you?

Even the diets, supps & naturopathy protocols aren’t quite getting to the root?

Because…try as you might, your symptoms keep coming back & you can’t seem to relax?

Yep that was me too – a chronic over-doer, with a body that was screaming at me!

If this is you now – you’ll want to continue reading on to discover the missing steps you likely haven’t taken yet…

Step 1 – Test & Treat Body Systems

After working with over 2500+ burned-out clients in the past 15 years, the three main symptoms I see when a person is in a state of body burnout are energy, mood and gut issues. Other associated symptoms look like: hormonal imbalances, autoimmunity, skin issues, chronic body pain, low immunity, sleep issues, brain fog and headaches.

You might be ticking a bunch of these off in your head!

Now the thing is, you can’t have symptoms in the body without there being a body system imbalance, specifically in your neuroendocrine system (brain, adrenals, mitochondria, sex hormones), gastrointestinal system (pathogens, microbiome, digestive organs) and your detoxification system (detox pathways, methylation, inflammation, oxidative damage). These imbalances aren’t tested by regular GP’s or medical specialist, but they can absolutely cause symptoms and major dysfunctions in the way you feel, if they are out of whack.

So if you haven’t yet worked with a functional medicine practitioner to test these body systems, and therapeutically supported them, this is an important first step to heal from body burnout.

But it’s not the only step.

Step 2 – Heal Deeper “Metaphysical” Root-Causes

Step 2 involves looking at the deeper root-causes, that caused your body systems to burnout in the first place. This is where we start asking WHY? Why do you have adrenal fatigue? Why do you have leaky gut? Why do you have blocked detox pathways?

Yes, some of these things are related to your lifestyle and environment (we’ll get to this in Step 3), but even deeper – and more crucial than that – is looking at how you are BEING.

Stress is a major root-cause in people running “busy” patterns doing allll the things, and it also literally burns-out body systems – your adrenal glands, your neurotransmitters, your gut function, your immune system.

But the thing is – stress isn’t an “outside” thing. Stress is always internal, and how you are responding to your external world.

If there are hidden dysfunctional beliefs about yourself (I’m not good enough, I’m unworthy, I’m broken, I’m flawed), as well as hidden unprocessed trauma stuck in your body, triggering and heightening your stress response, this MUST be addressed in order to end your body burnout.

If you don’t, your nervous system will continue being dysregulated which will block your ability to heal your body systems, and/or you’ll continue running “busy”, overwhelm, stressed patterns that led to the health issues in the first place. This might look like over-working, eating sugar or drinking coffee to get through the day, doing things (even things like healing protocols) out of force and fear.

You will never get better. Period.

So, start looking deeper into why you’re sick in the first place. How have you been programmed? How can you rewire the deeper parts of yourself so that you can heal?

Step 3 – Nutraceuticals & Lifestyle Support

When the deepest part of yourself has been (or is in the process of being) rewired, you are now ABLE to heal. Step 3 to end your body burnout is to optimise your body systems and your lifestyle.

With lab tests back, you can now start therapeutically supporting imbalances in your body systems – with exactly what YOU need. There’s no guess-work anymore. We can see clearly where imbalances lie in your three main body systems, and can create a therapeutic nutraceutical protocol to rebalance and support your body.

And now you’ve reprogrammed deeper dysfunctional “busy, burnout” patterns, you can start dialling in your lifestyle to support the healing of your body and optimise your health long-term, with more ease and flow.

This looks like optimising your nutrition based on what your body needs to heal and thrive. For example, if labs showed up candida overgrowth, a low-carb diet will assist to reduce levels. Or, if you’re recovering from adrenal fatigue, eating regular macro-balanced meals will help stabilise blood-sugar levels, which will then support stress hormones.

Reseting your sleep-wake-cycle is also essential, as the majority of healing takes place while you sleep. Everyone is different in terms of their ideal bed time and wake up time. For example, I am definitely not in the 5am camp! My body much prefers a good solid 9 hours, from 10pm – 7am. The journey for you is learning how to listen to your body, to discover what YOU need to thrive.

Movement is also critical. If you’re in a state of body burnout, and you’re doing lots of exercise or feeling more crappy after exercise, you’ll want to reduce the intensity and load, as too much movement can put more stress on an already stressed out body. Pare it back to walks, yoga or stretching. And if you’re sedentary, start working on increasing steps, and adding in mini 2-minute movements into your day.

Keen To Go Deeper?

If you’re keen to dive deeper into how to implement these 3 steps into your life, so you can finally break-free from the body burnout cycle, I’d love to invite you to our (free) webinar: 3 Steps To End Your Body Burnout, held on Mon 28 May, 7-8pm AEST.  This event is being held in celebration of Natural Medicine Week!! 🙂

Stress, Burnout & Why Your Gut Protocol Isn’t Working

Are you feeling stressed, burned-out & now your gut is not happy?! You know…bloating, gut cramps, heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation?

Does your gut & other health issues flare up when you’re stressed?

Have you tried alllll the supps, diets, maybe even hypnotherapy, and still your gut is not right?

And now you’re stuck, not sure which way to turn to resolve your health issues?

I see you, I’ve been there too!

My Gut Issues Story

I struggled with chronic heartburn for a good 20 years. It sucked! I tried all the usual things. Apple cider vinegar before eating, ginger tabs, rubbing lemon essential oil on my chest after food, eating less, avoiding certain foods. These things helped, but they only ever “managed” the underlying issue.

I had periods where the gut issues were mild, and other periods (in times of high stress) where it was chronic, everyday, after every meal, and was also really affecting my skin, hormones and mental health.

I was feeling stuck, until I came across functional medicine.

Test Not Guess

At this point in time I had graduated as a Clinical Nutritionist. And when I started doing my own functional lab testing, I discovered I was riddled with pathogens – h.pylori (a common culprit for heartburn and other gut issues, but not always picked up on GP tests), parasites, candida overgrowth. All of these were massively contributing to my own gut issues, and no amount of healthy eating had rebalanced my microbiome.

I see this now in practice, so many clients having done so many diets, tried different supps recommended by Dr Google or the local health food store, yet no resolution to their issues.

So first up, I would always test the gut, to see what is actually happening inside of you.

Now, you might be thinking: but I did that big expensive stool test or SIBO test with my practitioner, I took the supps, yet my symptoms keep coming back!

This is very common, and will always happen if other body systems are out of whack. You see, the gut does not function in isolation. Other body systems like your adrenal glands, sex hormones, brain, nervous system and detox pathways also play a role in a healthy gut.

And if you’re running “busy” patterns (over-doing, perfectionism, people pleasing) and constantly feeling stressed and burned-out, then it’s highly likely these other body systems aren’t doing so well, and are preventing you from getting full resolution of your gut issues.

Is it time to run some additional functional medicine lab tests to see what’s happening?

But What’s The Root-Cause of Body System Imbalances?

Now you might’ve worked with a practitioner who has tested a bunch of body systems, you’ve done the protocols, but still your body is feeling burned-out. If this is the case, you haven’t yet identified deeper root-causes.

In my functional medicine practice, we go beyond just treating the physical body systems. We look deeper into WHY the gut & other body systems have burned-out. Leaky gut, pathogens, microbiome depletion, inflammation – these all lead to symptoms, but they are NOT the root-cause of your gut issues and other body burnout symptoms.

In our practice, we work off the presupposition that you are not broken. The results you are getting in every area of life – including your current state of health – are the exact results you’ve designed your system to create in order to try to protect yourself.

Sure you might hate your gut issues & other body burnout symptoms. Sure you might feel like your body is broken, like it is fighting against you. But actually, it’s fighting FOR you! It’s sending you strong pain signals to try to protect you and to help keep you safe.

This is where stress and burnout patterns come into play. Is your body screaming at you, trying to say: Stop! Enough is enough! Your way of being is sucking the life out of us!

Often we develop health issues, too, to keep us small, or as an excuse not live fully in life. This comes back to deeper unconscious core beliefs we have about ourselves – if there are hidden beliefs that you are not good, unworthy, weak, incapable, dumb, bad, broken, etc, then your body creates health issues to keep you safe from ever being found out.

If it’s the sick you showing up and you get rejected, it won’t hurt as much as if it were the healthy you showing up and getting rejected. Your unconscious mind is so clever at trying to protect us, even if rationally and consciously it doesn’t make sense because you HATE your health issues!

I actually had a major flare up of heartburn when COVID hit that went on for a whole year. This time no lab test or supps or diets could “fix it”. It wasn’t until I resolved these deeper metaphysical root-causes (for me, I had hidden beliefs of being weak and incapable which was causing major dysfunction in my body and stress in my life) that I could free myself from the heartburn.

Until you can get to the bottom of this & reprogram your WHOLE self, you’ll constantly be managing your health issues – or worse, they’ll end up screaming louder at you!

It Takes Healing The Physical & The Metaphysical

Your body isn’t just a physical body. It is also a mental-emotional body, a spiritual body, an energetic body, an unconscious body and a nervous system. When it comes to healing, you CAN NOT separate the bodies.

Which is why in my functional medicine practice we help our clients heal all parts of themselves, for long-term resolution. It’s fascinating how quickly and robustly it works when you stop treating your symptoms in a reductionist way.

I’ve had clients who have seen 10-20 practitioners (allopathic and natural), and have hodge-podge tried to treat different parts of themselves, with little long-term change. When they joined our award-winning 6-month healing accelerator program, finally we could get all parts of themselves talking to each other and on the same page. This is when healing happens!

Keen To Learn How?

If you’re keen to learn how to holistically heal your gut, and get out of stress, overwhelm and burnout, I’d love to invite you to our (free) 3-Day LIVE Coaching: Stress, Burnout & Why Your Gut Protocol Isn’t Working, held on 21, 22 & 24 April at 12-1pm AEST.  This event is being held in celebration of Natural Medicine Week!! 🙂

Energy, Mood and Gut Issues: Cracking the Code of Your Body’s Messages

Are you feeling a bit lost in the maze of your health issues? The fatigue, the brain fog, the anxiety, gut pain and autoimmune symptoms? It’s like you’ve been trying to solve a puzzle with missing pieces. You’ve tried everything under the sun – lab tests, supplements, diets, even yoga and breath-work – but still those annoying symptoms just won’t budge. Sound familiar?

Annoying, right?!

My Chronic Health Story

I was there once too. I have experienced chronic “weird” health issues THREE times. I struggled with a mix of anxiety, insomnia, gut issues, low immunity, body pain, female hormone issues, low energy, chemical sensitivity and histamine intolerance.

The first time was after my first baby and I resolved some of the issues with lifestyle changes – sleep, movement, wholefoods and low-tox living. It was GREAT, until baby number two came along, and all my symptoms flared back up, even though my lifestyle was dialled in. This is when I came across functional medicine, and started lab testing my own body systems and therapeutically supporting imbalances in my body with natural medicine supplements. This worked AMAZING, and I got on top of my symptoms. Until…COVID came along, and I was under a lot of stress, and all the same issues flared up again! I realised I still hadn’t addressed the deepest root-cause of my health issues, and that was the “baggage” stuck in my unconscious mind (dysfunctional unconscious core beliefs, deep-seated perfectionism, people pleasing and addictive-doing patterns, and unprocessed past distressing events), that were dysregulating my nervous system.

Each time my body flared up, I had to go deeper into discovering the root-cause – not just looking at the physical body, but also the unconscious mind, the nervous system & the brain, and how these other parts of the “body” greatly impact symptoms & one’s ability to heal.

The Missing Piece In Healthcare

What I’ve found in the health industry as a whole, is that the we have lost the ability to communicate with our bodies. You go to a GP or medical specialist and THEY are the expert dictating what tests to do, and what medications you need to be on. I even see this in natural medicine modalities, like functional medicine (which I practice), where the practitioner runs some labs and creates a protocol for the patient. This is great for therapeutic support, and something I do with clients, however, it is still promoting the message that OTHER’S KNOW BEST.

This is simply not true.

You Are The Expert of Your Body

I wholeheartedly believe that 95% of what you need to heal is already inside of you. Our bodies hold ancient wisdom, and you know inherently what is good for you, and what isn’t. The thing is, society as a whole has lost the ability to listen to and communicate with our bodies.

I’m here to change that! In our practice we work with clients to rebuild trust with self, to learn how THEIR body communicates to THEM, and to act on the messages.

When you act, magic happens! I have literally seen symptoms “switch off” in the moment when we listen to our bodies and act accordingly. For example, I spoke at a business women’s conference on the Gold Coast on the weekend, and took attendees through a process to communicate with their unconscious mind through the symptoms in their bodies. One lady stood up at the end and said her chronic headache that had been hanging around for days completely disappeared (she’d even taken 4 pain-killers that morning, which didn’t budge the headache!).

Oh my gosh?!?! How cool! I see this again and again for myself and with our clients, how quickly chronic health issues can be resolved when you deeply listen, connect, trust and love yourself.

I’ve seen:

  • Chronic fatigue disappear over months
  • Heartburn clear up in a moment
  • Anxiety ease
  • Chronic pain in the body switch off within days
  • Brain fog lift
  • Food sensitivities dissolve
  • Plus so much more!

It’s Not Woo-Woo – It’s Science

If you’re someone who needs the facts, let me tell you this way of holistic healing isn’t just “woo woo” or “magic”. It’s how we’re wired as human beings.

For example, let’s look at pain. Pain is not your enemy. As humans we have evolved for safety and survival. Pain is a primitive way our bodies have warned us of danger. You touch fire, you get burned, your brain creates a neural pathway to never to the fire again because it hurts!

The nervous system, too, is so important at sending you messages of safety or danger. It’s always trying to keep us safe and alive. So if it deems something unsafe – this could be your own beliefs about yourself, self-doubt, uncertainty, shame, guilt, frustration, or fears about eating certain foods, smelling perfumes, being around mould, etc – your system gets very good at creating symptoms to alert you of danger, which then leads to chronic health issues.

When you can create the space to ask: what is unsafe? What’s the story behind the symptom? And what do you need from me body to feel safe and loved and to heal? Then you can finally end your state of dysregulation and body burnout.

Want Some Help To Crack The Code Of Your Symptoms?

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering how exactly can I look beneath the hidden meanings of my symptoms, and unravel the riddle?

Great! I have created an interactive workshop for Natural Medicine Week where I’ll take you through how you can learn to listen to and communicate to your body, and take you through a beautiful body-mind process that you can use again and again to gather wisdom from your body.

To learn more, sign up for our interactive workshop: Communicating With Symptoms, held on Mon 13 May, 7pm AEST via Zoom.  This event is being held in celebration of Natural Medicine Week!! 🙂

Seed Cycling: Food as medicine for women’s hormone health

Choosing foods for their medicinal properties is a form of traditional medicine that has been practiced since the dawn of time. In the world that we live in today where we’re exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals and the standard Australian diet is lacking in fibre and other essential nutrients, it’s no wonder that the menstrual cycle, hormones, and fertility are being impacted. Seed cycling uses four types of seeds to support women’s hormones in each half of the menstrual cycle.

What is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling is the practice of consuming two different pairs of seeds in each half of your menstrual cycle. In the first half of your cycle – the follicular phase – you consume 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and 1 tablespoon of flax seeds each day for the first 2 weeks of your cycle, or until ovulation.

In the second half of your cycle – the luteal phase – you consume 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds each day, until your next bleed.

In a 28-day menstrual cycle, each phase lasts for 2 weeks, but realistically most women don’t have a perfect 28-day cycle. The follicular phase can be the most variable part of your cycle, but generally the luteal phase is roughly 14 days long.

If you have a regular cycle, or if you know when you ovulate via tracking cervical mucous or basal body temperature, continue with the phase 1 seeds until ovulation then proceed with the phase 2 seeds for the last two weeks of your cycle.

How do they work?

Each of the four seeds contain bioactive compounds which can help to maintain healthy hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle. In the first phase, pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrogens to support oestrogen levels in the lead up to ovulation, while flax seeds contain lignans and are high in fibre which support the healthy metabolism of oestrogen. In the second phase, sunflower seeds contain vitamin E and selenium, which are both antioxidants and can help reduce pain in the premenstrual phase and prevent excess oestrogen. Sesame seeds contain zinc which is needed as a building block for progesterone, the calming hormone, in the luteal phase.

How to use the seeds?

The seeds are able to work their best when ground into a fine meal consistency. This allows for better absorption of the nutrients and constituents in the seeds, especially for flax seeds which have a hard shell and will just pass through the digestive system if left whole. You can buy flax seeds already ground up as flax meal, but for the other seeds you may need to blend them up yourself.

That being said, for pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, if you prefer to eat them whole and this is going to increase the chances of you actually having them every day, the best way to eat them is the way you enjoy the most.

You can add your ground seeds into smoothies, oatmeal, salads, on top of curries or pasta dishes with some nutritional yeast, or you can add them into baking. The options are endless when it comes to ways to incorporate you seed blends into cooking!

Seed Cycling with irregular cycles or in perimenopause

Even if you don’t have a regular cycle, whether that’s due to a condition like PCOS or amenorrhea, if you’re breastfeeding, or going through perimenopause, you can still see some benefits from seed cycling. If you fall into this camp for any reason, there’s a few options for how you can use seed cycling.

Option 1: Best for if you have irregular cycles, but know when you ovulate

  • Begin phase 1 seeds at the start of your period, and switch to phase 2 after ovulation, which you can confirm via cervical mucous or basal body temperature.

Option 2: Best for those with long, irregular cycles or post-menopause

  • Seed cycling in sync with the moon. With the new moon, start phase 1 seeds, switching to phase 2 with the full moon. This is a beautiful way to connect with the cyclical nature of the earth.

Option 3: Best for those who want a no stress option

  • Mix all 4 seeds together in a jar, and have 2tb/day, every day. There is no “wrong” way to seed cycle, and no downsides to having the seeds at different times.

If you’re struggling with hormonal imbalances or PMS, seed cycling is a great way to use food as medicine to support your hormone levels in each phase of your cycle, and to connect to your cycle on a deeper level. Seed cycling is also just one of the many tools that we nutritionists have in our belt. Natural therapies and nutritional medicine are excellent for managing hormone health and women’s health naturally.

Fibromyalgia, the Science behind the Pain

If you’ve found your way to this blog, chances are you’re all too familiar with the relentless battle against fibromyalgia’s persistent pain and obstacles.

As a naturopath and nutritionist, I’ve seen first-hand the profound impact this condition has on individuals and their families. My own daughter struggles with it, which drives my personal commitment to understanding and addressing fibromyalgia underlying causes and discovering effective pain relief strategies.

For those who may be unfamiliar, let’s briefly touch on what fibromyalgia is.

It’s a chronic and often perplexing condition where a person will experience widespread pain, tenderness, and an increased sensitivity to touch, among other symptoms. Despite extensive research the exact cause of fibromyalgia remain elusive, with experts suggesting a complex mix of genetic predispositions, environmental factors, and lifestyle influences.

Essentially, fibromyalgia involves the body perceiving pain as more intense than it would for someone else, a condition known as hypersensitivity, due to faulty nervous system signalling. This phenomenon is referred to as Central Sensitisation, which I’ll delve into further below.

This heightened sensitivity can manifest in various ways, from making a gentle touch intensely uncomfortable and turning everyday activities to become significant challenges. Beyond physical pain, fibromyalgia can also lead to cognitive difficulties, such as memory issues and difficulty concentrating, as well as profound fatigue and sleep disturbances. The emotional toll of living with fibromyalgia cannot be overstated, as individuals often grapple with feelings of frustration, isolation, and anxiety due to the unpredictable nature of their symptoms.

The Science behind Fibromyalgia

Central Sensitisation is a process in the nervous system where there is and amplification of pain caused by a combination of pain pathways abnormalities and brain processing.

Abnormal pain pathway signally. Normally, when you experience pain, nerve signals travel from the site of the pain to your brain, which interprets them as pain sensations.

With central sensitisation, the nervous system becomes overly responsive, so even mild stimuli can trigger exaggerated pain responses. This heightened sensitivity can persist even after the initial injury or condition causing the pain has healed.

It involves changes in the way neurons in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) transmit and process pain signals.

Essentially, the nervous system becomes “sensitised” to pain, making people more susceptible to experiencing pain and discomfort from various stimuli, including those that wouldn’t typically cause pain.

Brain Processing: People with fibromyalgia often experience significant alterations in how their brains process pain signals. These changes are influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental triggers like trauma or infections, and heightened stress levels.

Research suggests that these alterations affect different areas of the brain responsible for pain processing, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. As a result, individuals may have heightened sensitivity to pain and struggle to regulate their pain responses effectively

Neurotransmitter Imbalances: (Brain Chemical Imbalances.) In fibromyalgia, there are noticeable disruptions in the levels of crucial neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

These neurotransmitters are like messengers in the brain, responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells. When there’s an imbalance in these chemicals, it can throw off the body’s ability to regulate pain signals properly.

For instance, serotonin is involved in mood regulation and sleep, while norepinephrine plays a role in alertness and stress responses. Dopamine, on the other hand, is associated with pleasure and reward pathways.

When these neurotransmitters are out of whack, it can exacerbate pain symptoms and lead to issues like fatigue, sleep disturbances, and mood disorders.

Pain Perception Neuropeptide: There’s a significant involvement of Substance P, a neuropeptide crucial for transmitting pain signals and regulating inflammation.

Neuropeptides are small protein-like molecules used by neurons to communicate with each other.

Substance P acts as a messenger, relaying information about pain to the brain and spinal cord, it is also involved in promoting inflammation. Elevated levels of Substance P are associated with heightened pain sensitivity, exacerbating the symptoms experienced by individuals with fibromyalgia.

Exploring the intricate mechanisms of Substance P offers promising avenues for developing innovative treatments aimed at managing pain and alleviating symptoms in fibromyalgia patients.

The Gut-Brain Connection:  Studies suggest that there is a connection between the health of our gut and fibromyalgia.

The gut microbiome—the community of bacteria living in our intestines—affects immune function, the production of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain), and overall health.

When there’s an imbalance in the gut microbiome, known as dysbiosis, it can lead to symptoms of fibromyalgia. Dysbiosis basically means there’s a disruption in the normal balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

This imbalance has been linked to symptoms of fibromyalgia, which shows how important gut health is when it comes to managing the condition. By making changes to our diet and adding probiotics (good bacteria), we might find relief from fibromyalgia symptoms.

Holistic Approaches to Fibromyalgia Management

Natural medicine offers a range of tools to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of fibromyalgia.

Lifestyle modifications, including stress management techniques, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, play a crucial role in symptom management.

Nutrition also plays a vital role in supporting overall health and well-being. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, antioxidants, and essential nutrients can help reduce pain and inflammation while supporting energy levels and mood stability.

While Natural Medicine Week provides a spotlight on alternative therapies, it’s important to seek guidance from natural health practitioners throughout the year, especially for managing fibromyalgia.

Embracing Natural Medicine Week

In celebration of Natural Medicine Week, I invite you to join me for a webinar on May 24th at 12:30 pm, where we will delve deeper into holistic approaches to managing fibromyalgia. Whether you are living with fibromyalgia or supporting a loved one on their journey, this webinar aims to empower you with knowledge and strategies to nurture wellness naturally.

Autoimmune Disease and how Toxins can Impact

Most health-conscious individuals are already aware of the presence of toxins in our environment, but despite our best efforts, we’re often limited in how effectively we can protect ourselves.

My qualifications as a naturopath and nutritionist have been able to give me the ability to unravelled some of the intricate relationship between toxins and health, particularly their profound impact on autoimmune conditions and helping others. Personally, I am affected by Autoimmune disease (Graves’ disease) and Rheumatoid arthritis and two of my family battle lupus.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage.

Despite their diversity, autoimmune diseases share common features:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Tissue damage
  • Dysfunction of the immune system.
  • Autoantibodies
  • Remission and Flares

While the exact cause of autoimmune diseases remains elusive, emerging research suggests that a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors, such as infections by bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens can stimulate the immune system and trigger an autoimmune reaction.

For others lifestyle choices and exposure to environmental toxins, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and pollutants, can disrupt immune function and contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases.

Essentially, toxins are substances that have the potential to cause harm to our bodies. They encompass a wide range of compounds, including heavy metals, pesticides, and synthetic chemicals commonly found in household cleaners and personal care products.

While our bodies possess natural detoxification mechanisms, the abundance of toxins we encounter daily can overwhelm these processes, leading to a detrimental build-up that compromises our health.

In recent years, ground breaking scientific research has brought to light the intricate relationship between toxins and autoimmune diseases. These studies have unearthed a profound connection, demonstrating how toxins can wreak havoc on the delicate balance of our immune system, ultimately exacerbating autoimmune conditions.

Toxins have been found to disrupt immune balance by activating immune cells, such as T cells and B cells, leading to an exaggerated immune response. This hyperactive immune response can result in inflammation and tissue damage, hallmark features of autoimmune diseases. Moreover, toxins have the ability to induce a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry.

Molecular mimicry occurs when toxins or foreign substances bear structural similarities to proteins in our own tissues. As a result, the immune system becomes confused and mistakenly identifies these self-proteins as foreign invaders. This confusion triggers an autoimmune response, where the immune system launches an attack against the body’s own tissues, leading to further inflammation and tissue damage.

The impact of toxins on autoimmune diseases is far-reaching, with various sources of toxins posing risks to immune health. Environmental toxins, such as heavy metals (mercury, lead), pesticides, and industrial chemicals (PCBs, dioxins), can infiltrate our bodies through inhalation, ingestion, and skin absorption. These toxins not only disrupt immune function but also contribute to chronic inflammation, a driving force behind autoimmune diseases.

Food toxins, including pesticides, herbicides, and additives found in processed foods, have also been implicated in autoimmune disorders. These substances can contaminate our food supply and burden our bodies with harmful chemicals, further exacerbating immune dysregulation.

Household toxins present another avenue through which toxins can impact autoimmune diseases. Common household products like cleaners, detergents, and personal care items often contain chemicals like phthalates and parabens, which disrupt hormonal balance and immune function, potentially triggering or worsening autoimmune conditions.

Plastics, ubiquitous in our modern world, contain chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which can leach into food and beverages, posing a risk to endocrine health and immune function. Additionally, heavy metals found in contaminated water, seafood, and dental fillings can accumulate in the body over time, contributing to chronic inflammation and autoimmune dysfunction.

Moulds and mycotoxins, commonly found in damp indoor environments, have also been linked to autoimmune diseases. Exposure to mold can cause chronic inflammation and trigger autoimmune responses, exacerbating symptoms in individuals with autoimmune conditions.

Finally, excessive sugar consumption has emerged as a significant factor in the development and progression of autoimmune diseases. Sugar intake can impact immune cells, particularly T helper 17 (Th17) lymphocytes, altering their metabolism and promoting inflammation, thereby increasing the risk of autoimmune disorders.

In conclusion, the influence of toxins on autoimmune diseases cannot be overstated. From environmental pollutants to food additives and household chemicals, toxins permeate our daily lives and pose significant risks to immune health. By understanding the mechanisms through which toxins impact autoimmune diseases, we can take proactive steps to minimise exposure and support immune function, ultimately empowering individuals to manage their autoimmune conditions more effectively.

To mitigate the impact of toxins on autoimmune diseases, several strategies can be adopted to reduce toxin exposure and support immune health. Prioritising organic and locally sourced foods, opting for natural household products, and incorporating regular detoxification practices can help minimise toxin accumulation in the body.

By making conscious choices to reduce toxin exposure and support immune health, individuals with autoimmune diseases can take proactive steps towards managing their condition and improving overall well-being.

Natural Medicine Week Webinar

Join us for a webinar during natural medicine week Monday May 20 at 7pm Eastern Australian Time, where we delve deeper into the link between toxins and autoimmune diseases, exploring practical strategies for reducing toxin exposure and supporting immune health.

What is a Paediatric Naturopath?

Children playing in a room together

Understanding Paediatric Naturopathy

In the world of natural medicine, paediatric naturopathy is emerging as a specialised field that embodies the principles of naturopathic medicine tailored specifically for infants, children, and adolescents.

Children commonly experience a range of unique health challenges not always seen in adults. As children grow and learn, they experience things for the first time, like an increase in food variety, new social situations, noises, sounds as well as some of the more complex skills to master such as expression of feelings and the processing of emotions. These call all be very new, and to some children very overwhelming.

Children also experience common childhood illnesses, can be more susceptible to colds, flu, as well as experience a range of digestive issues as their gut and immune systems are still maturing.

A paediatric naturopath works not only with the child, but also with the parents and carers of the child, emphasising the importance of individualised treatment, while addressing the underlying causes of the illness rather than merely alleviating symptoms.

Key approaches in paediatric naturopathy

The fundamentals of our adult health habits are formed in childhood. A key reason why focusing on health at an early age is so important. A paediatric naturopath treats a child using a range of fundamental philosophies:

  1. Holistic Approach: Paediatric naturopaths view the child as a whole, taking into account physical, mental, emotional, and environmental factors influencing their health.
  2. Functional Testing: It’s hard to know what to treat if you’re only guessing what could be the cause. Functional testing – such as testing for things like food allergies or intolerances, or more comprehensive testing like a child’s microbiome is an important part of the successful treatment of a child.
  3. Natural Remedies: Following proper assessment, treatment can include a range of things such as herbal medicine, nutritional therapy and lifestyle support and advice, allowing the body’s natural healing mechanisms to take over wherever possible.
  4. Prevention: Emphasis is placed on preventive strategies such as healthy diet, adequate sleep and regular physical activity to strengthen the child’s immune system and prevent illness. Natural remedies commonly feature as an added way to support preventative treatment.
  5. Educating parents and caregivers: At times, being a parent is an overwhelming job! Not only is a paediatric naturopath experienced in the specific health needs of children, but they are also ready and willing to share all of their knowledge by educating parents and carers about healthy lifestyle choices and natural remedies so they can actively participate in their child’s healthcare journey.

Integration with conventional care

A paediatric naturopath can add great value as an integrated part of a child’s conventional healthcare providers. Commonly, kids with more complicated health issues may be seeing a range of health professionals including paediatricians or other medical specialists not limited to occupational therapists or speech therapists. Each have a different approach, philosophy, and scope of practice but as a team work well to help provide long-term health solutions for a child.

A paediatric naturopath fits in well with a child’s overall health team, bringing to the party unique training, skills and knowledge specifically focussed around nutrition and natural remedies to assist with the common, on not-so-common, childhood health concerns.

Children’s diets shaping their health 

Diet alone is a key consideration with kids, as this is the place where they get their main vitamins, minerals and nutrients to grow.

A typical Australian child’s diet often includes a mix of various food groups, influenced by cultural, economic, and social factors. However, for some, particularly children who have any level of neurodivergence, diet is also all about sensory sensitivities and behavioural considerations so simply recommending a balanced diet is not always a viable solution.

Dietary behaviours in Australian children is in fact quite alarming. According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data, fruit and vegetable consumption in Australian children is declining, with fewer children aged 2–17 years meeting the fruit and vegetable recommendations compared to 2017–18[1].

Additionally, there’s a growing prevalence of excessive consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats among Australian children.

This dietary trend poses substantial health risks to children as they age. To address these challenges requires a multi-tiered approach that supports the great work paediatric naturopaths are doing, including public health initiatives, parent education, and even policy interventions to promote healthier eating habits.

The reward of working with children

Working with children is incredibly rewarding and an opportunity to improve long-term health outcomes.

Educating both a child, and their parents on the healing power of food and herbs helps to show the complementary side of healthcare. Building trust and rapport with both children and parents is paramount, tailoring treatments to each child’s unique needs. Whether addressing common ailments like colds and allergies or chronic conditions such as asthma or ADHD, gentle, non-invasive therapies are important in supporting their growing bodies and nurture their innate healing abilities. Working with kids requires patience, creativity, and a deep understanding of developmental stages.

Some children will have doctors and specialists as part of their healthcare plan into adulthood, so showing them the powerful healing side of what exists in nature is both rewarding and inspiring.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2022). Dietary behaviour. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/dietary-behaviour/latest-release.

Could your IBS actually be Diverticulitis?

This month inside my Tummy Rescue Hub membership, the masterclass and cheat sheet I shared with my members was all about Diverticulitis. So I thought I should share some of the information with you as IBS shares so many symptoms with Diverticulitis. If you have just been told you have IBS by your practitioner and no other conditions have been ruled out, then you need to consider this. While they share many symptoms, they are distinct disorders with different underlying causes and therefore different treatments. It’s crucial for individuals experiencing digestive issues to understand the differences and seek investigation to get answers so that your treatment can be chosen accordingly.

Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):

IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and changes in bowel habits. The diagnosis of IBS is typically based on a thorough medical history, symptom assessment, and the exclusion of other gastrointestinal disorders through various tests. It is considered a chronic condition, and you likely will be told by your GP that you need to put up with it. If you have had no testing done and been told you have IBS, I would suggest seeking further help. Also, know that you do not have to put up with IBS, there are many underlying causes I investigate with my patients, to help them resolve their symptoms.

Diverticulitis: A Potential Culprit for IBS symptoms:

Diverticulitis is a condition characterized by inflammation or infection of small pouches (diverticula) that can form in the walls of the colon. These pouches, known as diverticula, are more common in older adults,(although I am seeing it in younger patients in recent years). When they become inflamed or infected, it can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain (usually on the left side), fever, nausea, and changes in bowel habits.

While diverticulitis has its own set of symptoms, it’s worth noting that some people may experience mild or even no symptoms at all. This can make it challenging to distinguish diverticulitis from other gastrointestinal issues, by symptoms alone.

The Overlapping Symptoms:

One reason for the confusion between IBS and diverticulitis is the overlapping nature of their symptoms. Both conditions can cause abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, gas, bloating, and discomfort.

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the accurate diagnosis through proper evaluation, including imaging tests, blood tests, and, if necessary, a colonoscopy or other procedures. Misdiagnosing diverticulitis as IBS or vice versa can lead to delayed or inappropriate treatment, potentially worsening the condition.

Treatment Approaches:

As a Naturopath I can help patients with IBS and diverticulitis, but it is still important to know if we are dealing with Diverticulitis, as some very specific dietary, herbal, and monitoring approaches need to be taken.

While IBS and diverticulitis share some common symptoms, it is crucial to recognize the distinctions between these two gastrointestinal disorders. If you have been diagnosed with IBS but continue to experience persistent or worsening symptoms, it’s important to revisit your healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation. A proper diagnosis is key to developing an effective treatment plan and managing your digestive health. I help patients navigate the medical system and support them in advocating for thorough investigations.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Tummy Rescue Hub membership, or If you would like to Download my free E-book “5 ways to reduce your bloating pain & gas” please reach me at tummyrescue@gmail.com.

Leaky Gut – foods that hinder and foods that heal

Leaky Gut is a term we use to talk about hyperpermeable intestinal lining. Naturopaths have always believed that disease originates in the gut and have worked on the idea that gut lining can become damaged allowing for the passage of undigested food particles, bacteria, and other fragments through gut cells where it can interact with the immune system.

This triggers the immune system to believe there is a problem and triggers a cascade of inflammation. We believe this inflammation can act locally and cause gut symptoms to develop like heartburn, bloating, pain, and gas. And that this inflammation can also travel through the body and cause symptoms globally, like headaches, joint pain, and brain fog.

Some scientific research has shown that leaky gut may be associated with gut diseases including Coeliac Disease and Crohn’s Disease and also other conditions like Lupus, arthritis, allergies, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

When I work with patients, part of their treatment will always involve healing the intestinal gut lining. In patients who are experiencing a lot of gut symptoms, including bloating, pain, excess gas, reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, or even a mix of both, and/or reactions to foods or supplements they have tried, I will always work on leaky gut FIRST.

When you have a higher degree of “leakiness”, you will often react to foods, but find it very difficult to pinpoint which and you might have tried supplements available from your pharmacy or health food shop and felt like your symptoms worsened. This to me is a sign you definitely need to heal up the gut lining with care.

Possible symptoms of Leaky Gut

Gut based symptoms

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Pain
  • Reflux
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Large amounts of mucous- must see GP
  • Blood- must see GP

Body wide symptoms

  • Inflammation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes
  • Brain fog
  • Mood disorders

Foods that hinder good gut health

  • Preservatives Synthetic dietary emulsifiers polysorbate 80 (P80) and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) increase intestinal inflammation and alter microbiota (Mayo, chocolate, bread, spreads, creamy sauces)
  • Alcohol
  • Gluten
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Non-organic animal foods
  • Diet high in processed and refined foods

Foods that heal

  • Plant foods- as tolerated- provide fuel for the microbiome
  • Water- clean and plenty
  • Herbs and spices- cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, oregano
  • Bone broth

Natural medicine also offers many nutrients and herbs that reduce inflammation of the tissue, and help to restore & repair the health of the lining. These include glutamine, Vitamin A & D, Zinc, collagen peptides, and pre & probiotics. But you do need to select formulas carefully, as some may actually worsen your symptoms, especially if you have a very sensitive gut.

Want to know how I can help, please contact me at https://www.tummyrescue.com.au/contact-us