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Have you ever noticed something called ‘xanthan gum’ listed as an ingredient on the products you buy? It is found in foods such as ice cream, gluten-free baked goods, custard and even salad dressings.

But what is xanthan gum and should we eat it or avoid it? Here’s the lowdown.

What Exactly is Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan gum pronounced “zanthan gum”, is an indigestible carbohydrate that is used as a food additive as it improves the shelf life, texture, consistency, flavour and appearance of many foods.

How is Xanthan Gum Made?

It’s created by fermenting a sugar-containing medium that is often derived from either corn, soy, dairy, or wheat. That medium is then fermented by a bacteria called xanthomonas campestris. It’s the same bacteria that creates black spots (mould) on broccoli and cauliflower. The by-product of this bacterial fermentation is then refined, purified, dried and powdered, and sold as a white powder called xanthan gum.

Please note: I suggest people with an allergy to corn, soy, wheat, or dairy avoid xanthan gum entirely or contact the manufacturer directly to see what medium has been used and how it’s produced.

What Does Xanthan Gum Do?

Xanthan gum is used as a thickening and stabilising agent in food, medicines and toothpaste. It helps to blend ingredients more effectively in certain products like beverages. It also smooths the texture of sauces and gravies and prevents ice crystals from forming in ice cream. It’s a key ingredient in many gluten-free baked goods because it gives them a texture similar to wheat-based products.

Xanthan gum can also be used for lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes, as a bulking agent in laxatives, protein powders and some medications, and can also be used as a saliva substitute in people with dry mouth (Sjogren’s syndrome).

Where Can You Find Xanthan Gum?

  • Salad dressings
  • Cosmetics
  • Jams
  • Sauces and gravies
  • Bakery products
  • Fruit juices
  • Soups
  • Ice-cream
  • Syrups
  • Chewing gum
  • Gluten-free products
  • Low-fat foods
  • Toothpaste
  • Fungicides, herbicides and insecticides
  • Tile, grout, oven and toilet bowl cleaners
  • Paints
  • Protein powders
  • Adhesives like wallpaper glue.

Are There Any Safety Concerns?

It appears that there have been very few studies conducted on humans about the safety of xanthan gum according to the research provided by Chris Kresser. This study found that dietary emulsifiers can cause low-grade inflammation, as well as altered mouse gut bacteria promoting ulcerative colitis and metabolic syndrome. 

I also came across a warning here which suggests avoiding xanthan gum if you have any of these conditions: nausea, vomiting, appendicitis, hard stools that are difficult to expel (faecal impaction), narrowing or blockage of the intestine and undiagnosed stomach pain or if you are pregnant. 

Additionally, in many of my client’s cases I have observed that xanthan gum can cause side effects such as flatulence, bloating and stomach pain (probably from gas build up), diarrhoea and flu-like symptoms.

Whether or not you choose to avoid xanthum gum is completely up to you, but I hope you have found this blog useful. If there is a particular additive you would like me to look into for you, let me know in the comments below.


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In my blog Signs of Magnesium Deficiency & What You Can Do About It, I discussed how important magnesium is when it comes to your health.

Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body, such as regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Unfortunately there are many things that can deplete the body’s stores of magnesium including:

  • Overuse of medications and antibiotics;
  • Stress;
  • Consumption of processed and refined foods; and
  • The depletion of minerals like magnesium in our soils.

This is why I’m a huge advocate of Epsom salt baths, as they can play an important part in improving our magnesium stores and overall health.

What is Epsom salt?

Epsom salt is composed of tiny, colourless crystals that look a lot like table salt. However, Epsom salt is very different from traditional table salt because it’s actually a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate (this is why Epsom salt is also called ‘magnesium sulfate’). Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the associated health benefits.

What Are the Health Benefits of Using Epsom Salt?

  1. Relieves pain & muscle cramps

Epsom salt absorbed through the skin helps to relieve muscle tension, cramps, pain and inflammation in the joints. This is why I recommend Epsom salt baths for those who exercise a lot and for those who experience arthritis pain and swelling.

  1. Eases stress & relaxes the body

When the Epsom salt dissolves in warm water in a bath, it is easily absorbed through the skin. The magnesium ions break apart from Epsom salt molecules and begin to relieve stress by promoting the production of serotonin and reducing the effects of adrenaline.

  1. Makes insulin more effective

Both magnesium and sulfate help to improve the body’s ability to produce and use insulin. A regular intake of magnesium – either orally (through supplements) or transdermally (through Epsom salt baths) – may help to regulate blood sugar, lowering the risk of diabetes and improving your overall daily energy levels.

  1. Relieves constipation

Did you know that magnesium is a natural laxative? If you’re constipated, try having an Epsom salt bath each night before bed. Soak in the bathtub for 20 minutes with 1 cup of Epsom salt. If you haven’t seen any improvement with your constipation after having regular Epsom salt baths, then I recommend you read this blog Why You Could Be Constipated & 14 Tips on How to Relieve Constipation Naturally for more tips.

  1. Eliminates toxins from the body

The sulfates in Epsom salt help to flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. Try making our Lemon & Ginger Detox Bath Salts or our Lavender Bath Salts.

  1. Helps to relieve migraines and headaches

In some cases, headaches can be due to a magnesium deficiency. Aim to increase the amount of magnesium rich foods in your diet such as Changing Habits Cacao Melts, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish such as mackerel, avocado, figs and bananas. We also recommend using a magnesium spray or soaking in magnesium salt baths to begin restoring magnesium levels and helping to relieve migraines and headaches. If these tips don’t help to relieve your headaches or migraines, then read this blog 7 Common Reasons You Could Be Getting Headaches and Home Remedies for Headache & Migraine Relief for more tips.

  1. Wards off Insomnia

If you often have trouble falling asleep at night, Epsom salt baths (with a few drops of lavender essential oil) can help. They can relax your body, which in turn can relax your mind. Enjoy a 20-minute soak before bed and let go of the stresses of the day.

What Other Uses Does Epsom Salt Have?

If you want to learn more about how else you can use Epsom Salt – from facial washes to growing better veggies and relieving sunburn to using it as a grout cleaner – read this blog, Epsom Salt: 21 Surprising Uses & Benefits for Health, Beauty and Home.


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Greens – you’re probably thinking, “How boring!”. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want health and longevity, you should be eating your greens, so I will explain later how to make them seriously delicious and moreish (honest!).

But, first, let’s get to the nitty-gritty – why should you consume greens with every meal?

Green vegetables contain micronutrients that are essential to life. It is typical to believe that your ‘macros’ are the most important thing in your meal (our carbohydrates, proteins and fats). Whilst they are important nutrients, it is the beautiful micronutrients that are so densely found in green vegetables that promote energy, vitality, clarity, a well functioning immune system, glowing skin, happiness and more.

Greens are nature’s multivitamin and mineral pill. They contain an abundant source of nutrients like magnesium, folate, calcium, manganese, vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium, all of which allow your organs to function optimally. They also contain critical phytochemicals which each have their own beneficial properties, for example carotenoids, polyphenols and flavonoids, which mostly act as potent antioxidants in the body.

They also contain huge amounts of chlorophyll, which gives the vegetables their green colour. Chlorophyll fights against infections, has proven and potent anti-cancer properties, speeds wound healing, and greatly improves liver detoxification.

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, turnips, bok choy and Chinese cabbage, are a little more unique in that they are rich in sulfur-containing compounds, particularly glucosinolates, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, fight cancer and improve heart health. They have also been shown to neutralise toxic substances that would usually damage our cell membranes and DNA. Your mitochondria is the energy powerhouse of each cell, and therefore the energy powerhouse for your entire body. It needs to be kept well nourished with sulfur rich foods in particular, which include cruciferous vegetables. Other cruciferous vegetables include horseradish, radish, wasabi and watercress.

Green vegetables also contain nutrients that will help to alkalise the body. We require a balance of both acidic and alkalising foods in order to create a pH that suits the human body and promotes wonderful health. If you are consuming a meal with no greens, or very little vegetables, then you are consuming a meal that will likely be highly acidic. The nutrients that alkalise the body include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, manganese, selenium and zinc. All green vegetables are particularly high in these potent nutrients that will create an alkalised state in your body.

By increasing your green veggies, you will expose your gut to more fibre. An increase in dietary fibre has been shown to fight infections in the intestinal tract, mainly because beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium love plant fibre. So, by consuming plant fibre regularly, you are enhancing this beneficial bacteria which will in turn reduce pathogenic bacteria, enhance your immune system, improve your digestion, and improve your sleep and mood regulating hormones like serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline and melatonin. Nutrient dense vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and green beans are a great source of fibre.

As each cell requires an abundance of nutrients to function optimally, each meal should contain plenty of greens to ensure we are covering the bases. When you create a rule like ‘Have greens with every meal’, it quickly becomes a habit and without knowing it, you are consuming more nutrients than you ever have before. Your digestion will improve, your eyes will become brighter and you will be more energised.

How to Enjoy Your Greens!

Vegetables only became boring when we were told that we should stop consuming fat and salt roughly 50 years ago, as these are the two most important tools in making your vegetables taste moreish! Luckily, we now know that fat and salt are good for us and essential to creating wellbeing, so we can get back to using them on our vegetables – enabling you to enjoy your veggies with a smile! Don’t believe me? Try these delicious ways to have greens:

  • Roasted broccoli – roast or sauté with coconut oil, salt and pepper until crispy.
  • Grilled zucchini – slice into rounds and place them in a heated pan or on a hot plate with coconut oil, salt, pepper and any other spices you desire like garlic powder, dried thyme, rosemary or turmeric.
  • Broccoli mash – I love steaming broccoli on its own or with a little cauliflower and/or zucchini and then pureeing it with lots of ghee/butter, salt and pepper. It is a great side to your meal in place of the usual potato mash. 
  • Rocket or spinach – use these as an easy base of any meal. I love spinach wilted down in a pan in a little coconut oil.
  • Crispy Brussels sprouts – halve them and then place in a pan with lots of coconut oil, salt and pepper, and then fry them up until they are crispy and delicious. Try adding spices like turmeric, garlic or smoked paprika.
  • Green beans – fry them up with chili, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and tamari (a wheat-free soy sauce, preferably organic).
  • Pesto add this to meals like pasta or our delicious Honey Toasted Macadamia Nuts & Crispy Broccoli Salad, or have it as a snack with seed crackers and vegetable sticks.

If all else fails, or your kids are still refusing to touch their greens, try wilting them and adding them to soups, casseroles, curries, Bolognese sauces and more. You (and your kids) will hardly know that they are there.

And, if you still need some convincing, I find Dr Terry Wahl the most inspiring woman – every time I hear her I begin to crave a bowl of green vegetables! You can watch her video here.

You can also up your green intake by having just a teaspoon daily of our Changing Habits Supreme Green Blend powder. Try it in water or a smoothie. Keep in mind though that you still need to be consuming plenty of greens for fibre and cruciferous vegetables for sulfur.

Greens offer so many health benefits so be sure to add some to every meal – hopefully you’ll find this easier now we’ve given you some delicious ways to serve them! 

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The future looks bleak for the Australian health care system. If we fail to make major changes now, it will need an extra $57 billion of funding by 2040 to provide adequate care for our population.

The government already spends around $170 billion a year on health care – that’s $7,050 for every person, every year. Over a lifetime (say, 80 years) that’s $564,000. Considering that most of that money will probably be spent during the last few years of our lives, you may think we have enough in the budget. But this upward-spending trend cannot be sustained. 

We have a generation of children where just over 40% are sick or have life-long illnesses both physical and mental, including; autism, allergies, ADD, food sensitivities, OCD, asthma, obesity, gut issues, anxiety, autoimmune disease and depression to name a few. Add to this the number of adults with lifestyle diseases and we have a growing bubble of people who will need more health care than the previous generation.

By far the highest growth in spending is now on physical and mental health disabilities. Lifestyle diseases like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, mental health issues and cancer are the biggest problems we face.

Would it not be a novel idea to stop the insanity of doing the same thing and getting the same result?

The Problems with Ultra-Processed Food

A French study reveals that eating ultra-processed foods (“formulations made mostly or entirely from substances derived from foods and additives”) increases the risk of cancer. We’ve known for some time that these foods are responsible for rising obesity rates and all diseases associated with obesity, but now we see a direct link with cancer.

Considering that in the UK (and possibly the US and Australia as well) 50% of household food purchased is ultra-processed, it’s not surprising we are sick.

Preventing this would be our best solution. However, the system is currently rigged for sickness and then cure – we’re waiting until the horse has bolted and then closing the gate.

A Sickness in Our Hospitals

A recent study showed that in Australian hospitals, the chances of an injury due to a medical mistake is one in seven. If you stay overnight that figure rises to one in four. Our doctors and nurses are over worked and may have their own physical and mental issues. And if they eat the hospital food it just exacerbates the problem – many hospitals offer ultra-processed, unhealthy foods that send the wrong message to the community (that these kinds of foods are healthy!).

Healthy foods are taxed while cheap ingredients for junk foods are subsidised including: wheat, sugar and vegetable oil seeds like canola and soya. These foods in all sorts of combinations make up the bulk of ingredients in ultra-processed foods, which we see in pretty packages with false claims, on 75% of the grocery shelves of major supermarket and food stores. It’s not hard to see where the miserly food budget of $6.00 a day per person in our aged care facilities would be spent – unfortunately, it’s impossible to eat healthy at that price.

We also live in a time where the magic pill is the answer to all. Many aged care and hospital patients are on a poly-pharmacy cocktail of medications that have never been tested to be safe in combination. Many of these medications are government subsidised. Medical doctors have very little training in nutrition and won’t believe that food is medicine unless it has been through a double-blind study or is evidence based. How can we possibly put food on trial when food itself is not a single nutrient, either macro or micro, and the human body is not a predictable mechanical machine where the results are always the same?

 Rewarded for Being Sick

The food that we have been eating for thousands of generations is the food that was instrumental in the survival of cultures and thus humans. Food is not only about energy and nutrition needs: we now know through the science of nutrigenomics that food speaks to our DNA through signals, turning our genes on and off to express health and longevity or sickness depending on what food you eat. The gene is the loaded gun but our lifestyle, environment and food choices are the triggers. 

Never before have we eaten ultra-processed foods filled with additives, preservatives, flavourings, fillers, binders, starches, all made in a chemical laboratory. These foods are sending signals to our DNA and may be turning on genes that promote obesity, cancer, autoimmunity, diabetes and heart disease instead of health. It’s a poly-additive food fest where many of the additives have only been tested for GRAS (generally regarded as safe) as a single unit but never in combination. We’ve become the largest human experiment and the results are revealing.

Recently I went into a grocery store and bought 7 items, all made with seed oils, wheat and sugar and additives. Many of the additives are made from industrial foods like soy, wheat, corn, sugar and seed oils (all subsidised crops). I purchased a loaf of bread, a box of breakfast cereal, a packet of pasta, a box of crackers, a cake, some cookies and a breakfast muesli bar. I purposely chose the cheapest of these items. When I got to the checkout I handed over no more than $8.00 (this was in the US).

Australia is not much different. No wonder we have people choosing ultra-processed foods over real food – it’s an affordability issue, but with expensive outcomes in medical costs, mental health issues and productivity.

We are not encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle but rather we are rewarded when we are sick with free health care and prescribed drugs and medications.

I don’t use the current medical model. I eat real food (by no means do I follow the dietary guidelines), move every day and live as healthy a lifestyle as I can. I’m not a burden on the system but not once has the government decreased my Medicare levy. By my calculations, at the age of 57, if 10% of my annual health care budget was returned to me, the government would owe me a tidy sum of $46,710. Add my family into the mix and there would be a couple of hundred thousand in incentives.  That would be a nice bonus for staying healthy and not being a burden on the sickness budget. 

And don’t even think that I’m lucky…you should see my gene pool – it’s not hardy nor healthy! I work at staying healthy – I educate myself and I give the right signals to my DNA by living a healthy lifestyle and eating the food that my evolutionary body needs in order to thrive. 

A Tax on Ultra-Processed Foods, Not Our Health

So, what do I propose?

I propose a tax on all packaged ultra-processed foods including those from fast food places. How can you identify ultra-processed foods when you walk into a fast food place or grocery store? Just ask for a list of the ingredients or read the ingredients on the package and I can promise you they won’t sound or read like a food list.

Here is an example of the ingredients found in just the bun of a famous hamburger fast food restaurant. Note the three largest ingredients are wheat, seed oil and sugar – all subsidised crops:

Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sugar, Yeast, Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil, Contains 2% or Less: Salt, Wheat Gluten, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Ammonium Sulfate, Ammonium Chloride, Dough Conditioners (May Contain One or More of: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, DATEM, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Mono and Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Monoglycerides, Monocalcium Phosphate, Enzymes, Guar Gum, Calcium Peroxide), Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Calcium Propionate and/or Sodium Propionate (Preservatives), Soy Lecithin, Sesame Seed. 

In case you want to check out what is in the rest of the food from this fast food restaurant, follow this link (scroll toward the end): http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/usnutritionexchange/ingredientslist.pdf

The money that is collected from the tax of these ultra-processed foods should then go to help local producers bring local foods to the local market: seasonal, fresh, chemical free and without packaging. Farmers markets are becoming more popular; people are wanting this change and we should be working towards making these nutritious, real foods more affordable.

In this scenario, communities would thrive. People who have been replaced by big agricultural business and found out of work could be given land to work. They could grow healthy foods to help improve our soils, which in turn creates food that the human body has evolved to eat. It could improve the health of a community, a country and the world.

Instead, we have a medical system that doesn’t believe food is healing, and a subsidy on food-like substances and the medications (PBS) needed to treat people that get sick from eating these ultra-processed foods. 

What we are doing is not working. Something must change. But who has the gumption in parliament to stand up for our future generations?

I would love to see a Prime Minister who has less shares in the drug and chemical corporations and more shares in sustainable agriculture. One who is concerned about our health, the environment and our future. 

Now that would be a powerful leader.

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Is there no end to the wonders of turmeric? Recent research has found that curcumin, the active component of turmeric, can benefit those with memory problems, like Alzheimer’s.

The study, conducted by UCLA, involved 40 participants, aged 50 to 90 years, who had mild memory problems. Half were given 90mg of curcumin twice a day for 18 months and the other half were given a placebo over the same time period.

All the participants undertook a cognitive assessment at the start of the study and every six months for the duration of the study. They also had blood tests to monitor the level of curcumin in their blood at the start of the study and again at the end of the study.

Those who received the curcumin showed ‘significant improvements’ in their attention and memory skills (a 28% increase in memory ability over the 18 months). Those who received the placebo did not.

Three-quarters of participants also underwent PET scans at the start of the study and at the end of the study. Those who had taken the curcumin had lower levels of amyloid and tau signals (which are believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease) in the amygdala and hypothalamus regions of the brain compared with those participants on the placebo. The amygdala and hypothalamus control emotion and memory functions in the brain.

Curcumin and Depression

The researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study using a greater number of people, some of whom suffer from depression. Curcumin has been found effective in the treatment of people with major depression, although researchers don’t yet know exactly how it works:

“Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” said Dr Gary Small, first author of the report and director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA’s Longevity Center and of the geriatric psychiatry division at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

This study is just one of more than 11,000 researching the possible health benefits of turmeric and its active component curcumin. Turmeric has been found to prevent inflammation in the brain and produce a large range of antioxidants and detoxification enzymes. Turmeric is also antibacterial, helps digestion and cellular function, and its copper content helps the body to absorb iron. The potassium in turmeric also helps with fluid and electrolyte balance. Read more about turmeric and its amazing properties here.

How to Include Turmeric in Your Diet

There are many ways to add more turmeric into your diet – use it in smoothies, juices, teas and coffee (such as a turmeric latte), and add it to soups and stews or your sweet treats, like bliss balls and pancakes. Try these recipes to boost your turmeric intake:

Do you use turmeric on a regular basis? Tell us how you incorporate it into your diet below!


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Nothing screams health like glowing skin. Many of us are on the quest for it and the cosmetics and toiletries industry in Australia has capitalized on that fact – to the tune of $4 billion annually (and growing!).

But what if glowing skin didn’t come from the outside, but from the inside instead? And more specifically, the gut?

Research is now pointing more than ever to the connection between gut health and wellbeing, and to glowing skin! When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that our outsides are a reflection of what we have going on inside and that the true path to gorgeous, vibrant, clear skin is to nourish and glow from the inside out.

Our gut houses more than 80% of our immune system and our bodies are made up of 10 times more bacteria than human cells, with a large proportion of this bacteria in our digestive system. When our gut is compromised through modern lifestyle (diet, stress, etc) it is hard for our largest organ, the skin, to perform its job properly. The result could be acne, dull, dry skin, redness and even rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.

Fortunately there are steps we can take to get the glowing skin we’ve always wanted, as well as improve our overall vitality and immunity.

  1. Eat a varied diet of whole foods – avoid processed foods. Your body struggles to process these foods and your skin will suffer as you try to detox them. Eat plenty of vegetables including leafy greens and stock up on organic Changing Habits pantry staples to help nourish your system rather than burden it. You will soon find your tastebuds will crave these beautiful whole foods and your skin will thank you for it.
  2. Soothe your gut – heal and nourish your gut with organic Bone Broth. It will give your digestion a chance to renew, as well as provide easily assimilated nutrients. Bone broth is also a rich source of collagen which is much better to consume than to apply topically as the collagen molecule is too large to penetrate the skin. Collagen is responsible for strengthening, elasticity and dewy skin, so drink up!
  3. Feed your bugs – with so much bacteria in the body it is essential to have a healthy balance of good bacteria and less of the pathogenic ones. We can do this by consuming probiotic rich foods like fermented foods and drinks such as sauerkraut (above), kimchi, water kefir and coconut yoghurt. If you are buying it pre-made always look for an unpasturised variety to ensure the bacteria is still active. If you are keen on making your own, you can find a recipe for Simple Sauerkraut here. Or check out the Changing Habits Organic Probiotics powder which is rich in pro- and pre-biotics.
  4. Eat your fat – the healthy kinds of course! Good fats nourish the skin as well as satiate our systems. Look for whole sources such as avocados, seeds, nuts, Coconut Oil or Inca Inchi Oil to help keep your skin supple.
  5. Eliminate wheat – symptoms of common intolerances of wheat include skin issues and rashes. Wheat can also be very heavy on our digestive systems. Eliminating wheat can be a scary prospect for some, which is why the 6 Weeks No Wheat Program was created. It breaks the process down into a simple step-by-step approach. You can also check out the documentary What’s With Wheat to see why eliminating wheat could be one of the best decisions for your health, and skin!

We would love to know how you go with these tips! Leave us a comment so we can join you on your journey. In great health and great skin…

Blog lovingly provided by Glow With Nat Russell.

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The importance of iodine has not gone unrecognised. In 1924, iodised salt was introduced into the United States to correct deficiencies to avoid numerous diseases, with Australia following through with this idea not long after. Iodine was one of the first trace elements to be considered as essential, which means it must be supplied to the body for the body to function optimally.

Around 70-80% of the iodine in our body saturates our thyroid, whilst the rest is in our blood. Iodine is absolutely essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which are required for energy production, oxygen upkeep in cells which maintains our metabolic rate, for normal growth and development of our nervous system and much more. Deficiencies can lead to low immune system, dry skin, fatigue, memory problems, thinning hair and hair loss, constipation, sensitivity to the cold and hormonal problems. In more severe deficiencies it can lead to goitre (enlargement of the thyroid), Hashimotos, polycystic ovary syndrome, and in pregnant women it has been shown to have major effects on the foetus including stillbirth, physical abnormalities at birth, perinatal and/or infant mortality, neurological cretinism, mental problems and dwarfism.

So, it is safe to say that iodine is kind of a big deal.

Iodine Deficiency

There are many reasons why we may be iodine deficient: the health of our soil has declined and therefore contains very little iodine, we don’t eat enough iodine rich foods and we are surrounded by halogens that compete with iodine such as fluorine, bromine and chlorine. Iodine is in such high demand in the body that we need to support ourselves with sufficient amounts through diet in order to avoid becoming deficient.

When women are pregnant, they use a lot more iodine than usual to produce thyroid hormones for the growing baby, so it is easy to become deficient during this critical time. During pregnancy, iodine is essential for the energy and metabolism of the mother, as well as foetal brain development and normal growth.

Top Sources of Iodine in Order of Concentration:

  1. Sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp and wakame. These are some of the greatest sources of iodine (the levels of iodine vary depending on the vegetable). I love dulse sprinkled on salads and mixed in soups and pesto. Kelp noodles are a great pasta or noodle alternative (and don’t taste like seaweed!). Changing Habits has also created Seaweed Salt, which is Himalayan salt mixed with dulse flakes—voila! Naturally iodised salt. This is the salt I ALWAYS use, so I know I’ll be getting real food iodine with every pinch.
  2. Seafood, such as oysters and wild caught fish. Try having a serving of seafood two to three times a week. Oysters in particular are extremely high in iodine, so if you love these then you are doing your body a wonderful favour.
  3. Organic, grass fed yogurt. If you eat dairy, your dose of yogurt contains a good amount of iodine. Keep in mind, however, that this may not provide enough iodine on its own, so the above foods are still critical to enjoy.
  4. Pastured and free range eggs. Like yogurt, you are likely getting a reasonable dose of iodine by incorporating eggs in your diet. However, it is also crucial for you to enjoy sea vegetables and seafood to ensure you are getting sufficient amounts of iodine. Eggs alone are not likely to replenish your stores if you are deficient.

Selenium and iodine work hand in hand, so as you increase your iodine, try and increase your selenium. The easiest way to do this is by consuming 3-4 activated Brazil nuts a day to get all the selenium you need. Every so often, I make a beautiful Brazil nut cheese to ensure I am getting my dose of selenium. Here is a recipe for cashew cheese, where you could simply swap the cashews for Brazil nuts to boost your selenium intake. I also add Brazil nuts to pesto and smoothies or eat them just as they are.

If you walk on the beach daily, eat seaweed and seafood regularly, regulate stress levels well and avoid the things that compete with iodine absorption, then you may not need any more iodine. A urinary iodine test is a great way to find out if you are deficient, however speak with your practitioner to find the different testing methods that will be best for you. I love going through a company called NutriPATH with my clients to determine whether they require any additional iodine. In cases where clients are deficient, I may recommend liquid iodine to be placed on the clients skin daily or when needed, as this tends to be the best and safest way for supplementation to occur. Find out more about our consultations here.

Have you had any experiences with replenishing your iodine levels? How has it helped you? Or, have you never even considered how important iodine is? Let me know your experiences!

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Changing Habits by Sheridan Austin - 1w ago

It’s hot and you are trying to spend minimal time in the kitchen…but you fancy a treat! Why not whip up a batch of one of our favourite no-bake goodies? These recipes are great for a little pick-me-up or an afternoon treat for the kids as they’re getting back into the swing of a new school year.

Chocolate Muesli Slice

Changing Habits Muesli is packed with seeds, nuts, dates and coconut. Add some cacao and you have a delicious, healthy slice with a great chocolate hit. Get the recipe here.

Tumeric & Honey Golden Bliss Balls

Tumeric is so beneficial for our health, acting as an anti-inflammatory, aiding digestion and supporting eye and memory function among other things. You can read more about turmeric here – and then make a batch of these scrumptious bliss balls.

Chocolate & Peppermint Nutty Squares

Another great slice for chocolate lovers, but this time with a peppermint kick. These Chocolate & Peppermint Nutty Squares are so easy to prepare – simply blend all the ingredients together, press into a tin and leave to set in the fridge (always the hardest part!)

Vitamin C Bliss Balls

Changing Habits Camu Camu is a great source of vitamin C and has a wealth of beneficial properties that can help ease cold and flu, depression, chronic fatigue and headaches. Combined with fresh lemon, these Vitamin C Bliss Balls will leave your tastebuds singing.

Supreme Green Nice Cream

‘Mum! Can I have an ice cream?’ ‘Erm, yes!’ Treat the kids with this better-for-them ice cream that will nourish their bodies and help them cool down on a hot summer’s day. Our Supreme Green Nice Cream is made with banana, avocado, coconut cream and our Supreme Green Blend.

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut butter. Check. Fudge. Check. Four-ingredients?! Check! You probably have all you need to make this 4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge in your pantry right now…so what are you waiting for?!

3 Ingredient Energy Bars

If you thought 4 ingredients was one too many, how about these 3 Ingredient Energy Bars?! You can experiment with different mixtures of nuts, and try adding cinnamon or ginger for an added flavor kick.

What’s your favourite no-bake treat? Tell us in the comments below!

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We are faced with countless toxins in the world we live in – things like pesticides, heavy metals, food additives, skin care additives, black mould and more. But did you know that our bodies can also produce toxins?

If there is an imbalance of microbes in your gut, it means you have an overgrowth of one of the microbes, which produces a huge amount of toxins that your body needs to eliminate. An overgrowth like this can be a result of antibiotic exposure, a high sugar diet, stress and more, and a high toxin load can quickly become a problem.

To help rid your body of these toxins, it is important to support detoxification on a daily basis. Some symptoms that may suggest you require detox support include:

  • Skin problems like acne or rashes
  • Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhoea, gas and constipation
  • A foggy mind
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Mood issues
  • Bad breath
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Fatigue.

Getting sufficient amounts of sun, eating a real food diet rich in greenery, connecting with nature and drinking plenty of filtered water is enough to achieve detox for most people. However, below are a few more ways you can help support the elimination of toxins:

  1. Give Your Digestive System a Break

We have been taught to eat a big breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in between. Our digestive system is where we process and eliminate many toxins, so giving it some time to digest all our food can be highly beneficial. Plus, when we give our digestive system a break through ‘fasting’, after 14-18 hours (will vary with each person) we enter a state called ‘autophagy’. This is a state where your body uses your own cellular waste and turns it into efficient, beautiful, clean energy!

  1. Use Coconut Activated Charcoal

Charcoal is one of the most potent detoxifiers out there. It is used in hospitals when an individual is exposed to highly poisonous substances to quickly remove them from their system. Charcoal is therefore helpful in our day-to-day life when exposed to toxins. However, I recommend only to use it as needed, such as when undergoing a detox regime, gut healing protocol, or if you have been exposed to a food, drink or substance that you know you react to. There is a lot of hype about charcoal at the moment, and people are using it as an ingredient in things like homemade smoothies, breads or ice-cream. I strongly advise against this, as charcoal has the ability to strip us of nutrients while cleaning up other toxins – I suggest leaving at least an hour between using activated charcoal and ingesting any nutritious food, drinks or supplements. It has, however, been shown to be a positive treatment for digestive ailments like gas, pain and diarrhoea. Choose charcoal made from a natural source like coconut. Read more about activated charcoal here.

  1. Try Bentonite Clay

As the name suggests, it’s clay! It has been consumed for thousands of years to assist with detoxification of elements like heavy metals, for digestive issues, skin issues, exposure to toxic elements that cause food poisoning, and more. It is a little less potent that charcoal when it comes to how many toxins it can absorb, though it also contains beneficial minerals that support the body, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium. The minerals vary greatly, though, depending on where the clay is sourced. If you are using the clay internally, it is highly recommended to source food grade bentonite clay to ensure there are no contaminants. Similar to charcoal, I recommend leaving some time between using bentonite clay and consuming any food, drinks or supplements as it may also draw out ingested nutrients.

Note: Both bentonite clay and charcoal can also be applied externally, such as via facemasks or baths. This is still highly beneficial as it draws out toxins.

  1. Use Chlorella

Praise thy chlorella! Chlorella has been known to assist in detoxifying from pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals. It also contains a huge array of nutrients that support your body’s own detoxification system, and give you energy and vitality. The great thing about chlorella is that it will not draw out any nutrients – it simply nourishes you and allows you to detox from what you are being exposed to. The important thing to note, however, is that the cell wall of chlorella is indigestible by humans and cannot be broken down. So, when sourcing a chlorella supplement, you must ensure it has had the cell wall broken down for you to benefit from the vast range of health benefits it has.

  1. Enjoy Green Juices

Something as simple as a green juice can give your body nutrients that support detoxification, particularly when it includes foods such as lemon, celery, parsley, coriander and cucumber. Celery and cucumber contain minerals like potassium, which is beneficial on an empty stomach to support your kidneys and liver, and thus cleanse the blood stream. Read more here

  1. Eat Your Good Fats

Consuming fats like coconut oil, ghee, grass fed and free range animal fats, olive oil, avocado and so on are highly beneficial – so if you are on a low-fat diet then you are in trouble. Fats stimulate the gallbladder to produce new bile which can help flush out toxins from the liver. In addition to this, ghee in particular has been shown to stimulate a group of enzymes known as glutathione S-Transferases that are required for detoxification.

How I Incorporate These Detoxifiers Into My Day

Every morning, I have a Bullet Proof Coffee which is a blend of ghee, coconut oil and black coffee. This is often had on an empty stomach, and breakfast is not consumed until later in the day, which gives my body a rest from food and a chance to detox. I occasionally have bentonite clay and/or activated charcoal if I feel I require extra detox support, and I have chlorella each day for nutritional support and daily detox. A couple of times a week I will enjoy a beautiful green juice.

Although this isn’t by any means a complete list of all detoxification methods and supporting aids, it is certainly a great place to start. Just incorporating one of these things into your daily life is sure to have an impact.

Let me know in the comments below if you try one of the above, or anything else you have found to be beneficial for you!

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Vitamin D is different from other vitamins because our bodies can make most of what we need with enough exposure to sunlight. Australia is renowned for its sunny weather and outdoorsy, beach-loving lifestyle, yet research says that 23% – or 1 in 4 – of Australians are deficient in vitamin D. So, why is this? And why is vitamin D important for our health?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone that helps your body absorb the calcium required to maintain bone and muscle health. It also supports the immune and digestive system – without it, viruses, bacteria and parasites can take hold and we may become susceptible to allergies and autoimmune disorders. 

Unfortunately, many of us don’t get the amount of vitamin D our body needs. Here are some of the possible reasons why:

Common Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency:

  • Too much time indoors
  • Always using sunscreen or covering up when outdoors
  • Being elderly
  • Having dark skin
  • Not eating seafood or other vitamin D rich food
  • Smoking, alcohol and drug use

How Do You Know If You’re Deficient in Vitamin D?

Most people don’t realise that they are deficient, because the symptoms are usually subtle, even if they are having a significant negative effect on your quality of life. However, if you tick a few of the symptoms below, it might be a good idea to have your GP perform a blood test for you to identify whether you have a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D Deficiency signs include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Unexpected muscle weakness
  • Chronic pain or greater pain sensitivity
  • Low moods or extreme irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleepiness
  • Fatigue and low endurance
  • Getting sick often (low immune system)
  • Bone and back pain
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Hair loss
  • Poor sleep
  • Migraines and headaches

How Much Vitamin D Do We Need to Prevent These Symptoms?

The recommended daily intake is usually around 400-800 IU (international unit), but many experts say you should get even more than that. Correcting a vitamin D deficiency doesn’t have to be hard. You can begin by increasing your sun exposure and incorporating more of the following vitamin D rich foods.

Top 10 Vitamin D Rich Foods:

Fatty seafood such as –
100g = 175 IU (44% DV (daily value))

100g = 511 IU (128% DV)

100g = 400 IU (100% DV)

100g = 93 IU (23% DV) 

100g = 320 IU (80% DV)

Cod liver oil
1 tsp = 440 IU (100% DV)

Cow’s milk
120g = 98 IU (16% DV)

1 large = 41 IU (10% DV)

Mushrooms when exposed to ultraviolet light have the capacity to produce vitamin D
1 cup = up to 150 – 2300 IU (for some UV-treated varieties)

100g = 20-30 IU (5-6% DV)

Vitamin D, Sleep and Sunshine

There’s no more abundant source of vitamin D than the sun. It promotes synthesis of the vitamin from cholesterol in the skin. A sensible amount of sun will help give your body the boost it needs to maintain good health. We recommend getting 15-20 minutes daily.

Research has indicated that vitamin D levels also influence both sleep quality and sleep quantity. Unfortunately, some research has suggested that sleep disorders have reached epidemic proportions because so many people are deficient. Read our blog ‘Low Vitamin D May Not Be About Day Light, But Rather About Darkness’ for more information.

Getting adequate sunshine daily and eating enough of these vitamin D rich foods is a great way to top up your levels of this important nutrient, naturally.


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