Month: July 2015

beautiful belly

Is Leaky Gut Syndrome a real phenomenon?

To assess this hypothesis let’s first take a look at the anatomy of the gut and its role in health.

Lining our gut are cells called Epithelia, the role of these cells is to form a barrier that separates the internal environment from external influences. In addition to this role they also function to provide a controlled passageway to ions and molecules from and into the internal environment. In between each epithelial cell are complexes called Tight Junctions, Adherens Junctions, Desmonsomes and Gap Junctions. For the purpose of this article we will focus on Tight Junctions.

Tight Junctions perform two roles:

Firstly they play a role in the formation of barriers via cellular proliferation which is the growth and production of cells by multiplication, cell differentiation which is the process by which a cell becomes specialized in order to perform a specific function, and polarization which in cells, refers to the asymmetric organization of different aspects of the cell including the cell surface, intracellular organelles, and the cytoskeleton.

Secondly their role is to regulate the entry of nutrients, ions and water while restricting pathogen entry and thus regulating the barrier function of the epithelium [2].

Now we need to look at pathophysiological influences on Tight Junctions, of note are the bacterial, viral and dietary influences.

Although human cells have incorporated epithelial barriers to block organisms that covet access to deeper cell layers within tissues, certain pathogens have evolved to exploit, and thus control, tight junctions to alter this barrier [3]. Some pathogens use tight junction proteins as receptors for their attachment and subsequent internalization. Others destroy the junctions thereby providing a gateway to the underlying tissue [3]. Different bacteria’s such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori, and Clostridium perfringens have all been implicated, as have different viruses such as Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Reovirus, and Adenovirus. [3]

The effects of dietary components have also been implicated. Interactions between the dietary components and the microbiota are crucial in the regulation of barrier integrity [2]. For most autoimmune diseases there is little or no knowledge about the causing agent or genetic makeup underlying the disease [4]. Celiac disease represents a unique autoimmune disorder because the environmental trigger is known, the gliadin fraction of gluten containing grains. [4] Interestingly, recent data also suggest that gliadin is also involved in the pathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes.

It is hypothesised that since tight junctions allow this interaction, new therapeutic strategies aimed at re-establishing the intestinal barrier function offer innovative, unexplored approaches for the treatment of these devastating diseases. [4]

I will be posting information aimed at helping people to support their gut function but in the meantime the best resource I know of is the GAPS diet by Natasha Campbell-McBride. [5]











GMO plate

So what are GMO’s?

Genetic Modified Organism or Genetic Engineering (GE) is a form of biotechnology that allows scientists to move genes between different species. For example, scientists have put spider genes into goats in the hope that they can milk them and use the protein to make bullet proof vests [1]. Using various laboratory techniques, scientists can create life forms that could not occur naturally. The ability of scientists to mix and match across species and kingdoms is technology that defies the laws of nature.

Currently GMO’s are being used to produce two types of crops.

  • Firstly herbicide-tolerant crops which are genetically engineered to resist herbicides that farmers spray on the crop to kill weeds, namely glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup. These represent 80% of GE crops.

The World Health Organisation’s cancer agency has declared the world’s most widely used weedkiller – glyphosate – a “probable human carcinogen” in a move that will alarm the agrochemical industry and amateur gardeners. [2]

  • Secondly are BT crops, these are genetically engineered to produce their own pesticide to kill certain insect pests. These represent 20% of GE crops.

The latest research reveals that BT toxins are turning up in pregnant women and killing human embryo cells and unborn babies. Where did these toxins come from? The only possible explanation is that they came from man-manipulated genetically-modified BT crops. Nothing else in the world can spread them to humans. [3]

WOW …… surely scientist and government officials aren’t going to be releasing GE technologies without being sure it’s a good thing ….. are they?

There are a multitude of credible scientific studies that clearly demonstrate why GMOs should not be consumed, and more are emerging every year. There are also a number of scientists all around the world who oppose them [4]. There has been insufficient research to ensure the safety of GMO’s. GMO’s have been put in our food supply despite the fact that there is good research to show harmful side effects. This is why I cannot see any advantage to having GMO’s being grown anywhere in the world at this time.

The BT corn is a bacterium that kills insects by putting holes in their stomach, and has now been proven to do the same in the cells in humans. This has been linked to many diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disorders, leaky gut, and various autoimmune diseases.

The herbicide-tolerant crops are being heavily sprayed with Roundup, the main ingredient of which is glyphosate. Glyphosate, which is not only being spayed over crops, but is also being used as a ripening agent, has been shown to kill the beneficial bacteria in our gut, suppress digestive enzymes and effects the microvilli. This is just a small number of the verified side-effects of having this toxin in our food supply.



So how do we go about avoiding these foods?

Look for foods labelled non-GMO and familiarize yourself with companies that are choosing to avoid the use of GMO’s e.g. . Buying organic produce where ever possible is a great option. You can download a non-GMO shopping guide off the internet that will make it easier for you when in the supermarket e.g. .


Following is a Youtube video by David Suzuki who is a geneticist with unquestionable credibility. Please watch and share with others as this is a topic to important to ignore.










Pink salt

Salt is yet another substance we have been conditioned to fear, a little like cholesterol and sunlight. We need salt, however not all salts are equal.

The role of salt is to bind water and maintain intracellular and extracellular fluids in the right balance.

Salt is critical for nerve transmission, muscular contraction, and is a strong natural antihistamine. Among other things salt clears up catarrh and congestion in the sinuses, makes bones firm, regulates sleep, can prevent varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs and supplies the body with over 80 essential mineral elements.

The vast majority of salt consumed is highly refined, pearly white, table salt. So let’s look at the difference between refined and unrefined salt.

Unrefined salt

  • Obtained by simply letting the sun evaporate the water, this naturally preserves all the ingredients.
  • Contains more than 80 substances that we need to maintain electrolyte balance in our bodies

Refined salt

  • Treated with chemicals such as chlorine, sulphuric acid and caustic soda, which is used to remove potassium.
  • Water is evaporated using very high temperatures. This process changes the molecular structure of the salt. Following this process only the sodium and chloride is left.
  • Manufactures add an anticaking agent such as aluminium salicylate, so that the salt doesn’t clump and will pour easily. Also added is bleach so the salt looks pearly white, making it more attractive to consumers.
  • This process produces a product that increases the acidity in the body which leads to decreased immunity.
  • Increased blood pressure is another well-known side effect; this is due to the lack of potassium and higher saturation of sodium (around 40%).

So which salts should you choose?

Unrefined salts are sea salts, which should be grey in colour, and rock salts. There is now however, some concerns around sea salt due to the pollutants in our beautiful oceans. For this reason I tend to buy Himalayan pink rock salt which is readily available.

General guidelines for quantity seem to be around 1 tsp per day. Current consumption, for the majority, is much higher due to the addition of refined salt in processed foods.

I start my day with an 8th of a teaspoon of pink salt followed by about 600mls of water. The salt assures that I absorb the water, rather than it just passing straight through. The addition of a pinch of salt, followed by drinking water, generates alkaline properties and provides you with important minerals and trace elements.

Eggie Brekkie

- Kale, Silverbeet, Cabbage (red)
Bone Broth or Stock
Rock Salt

Coffee Beans
Coconut or Activated Almond Milk

Onion, Garlic, and Ginger - finely chopped and sautéed in ghee or butter
Mixed Greens - at the moment I have kale and silverbeet in my garden so about two handfuls per person, finely chopped. Toss into the frypan with the onion mix. In this mix I have also added some red cabbage, finely chopped, for added nutrition/fibre and colour.
Beef or Chicken Bone Broth or stock - approximately a 1/4 of a cup. Pour into the frypan.
Eggs - crack eggs on top of the mix and pop on a lid.

When the eggs are cooked, carefully ladle onto a plate. Add some beautiful salt, I use Himalayan Rock Salt, and a grinding of pepper if you like it.

Coffee - Freshly ground organic coffee beans in an espresso with coconut milk!

(The nutrition guru, Damian Kristof, says to wait two hours before having coffee as it can mess with the efficient digestion of food (I rarely manage this))

Question MarksThis is possibly the most divisive subject in the health care world at the moment. The fact that it incites such massive responses, from both sides of the debate, is a very strong indicator that there is a great deal of fear involved. Fear that is understandable, considering the coverage in the media, regarding herd immunity and the implications of the removal of choice from parents as to whether or not to vaccinate our children.

At this point I would like to be clear that my stance is very much in the camp of Pro-data, Pro-truth, and Pro-choice. This is not a purely black and white issue. What I am conscious of is the very biased coverage by mainstream media. Why this is should certainly be considered. I have been researching and debating this subject for the past 15 years, and in that time my opinions have ebbed and flowed and I can insure you, as a parent, I have at time agonised over decisions made. In the end the only advice I will give you is to trust your gut.

If we look at the health of our children it is not hard to see reason for alarm. The rise of disease has been extraordinary. Allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, ADHD, obesity, diabetes and autism are escalating at epidemic proportions.

We are seeing huge numbers of children being born with compromised immune systems, why? (This is another subject in itself). If when these children are born they are injected with strongly immune challenging vaccines it is no wonder we are seeing some devastating reactions. According to Dr Natasha Campbell-Mcbride “it is the state of our immune systems that are the problem, not so much the vaccines”. “Vaccinations, which saved the lives of millions of children world-wide in the last century, are becoming dangerous thanks to changes in our life styles. The number of immune-compromised children in developed countries is enormous and growing every day. It is time for the medical profession and governments to review their attitude to vaccinations. The rule to vaccinate everybody has to change.”[1] Dr McBride puts forward the suggestion that a comprehensive immunological survey should be performed on every baby before a decision about vaccination is made.

  1. A questionnaire to assess the health history of the parents and the infant.
  2. A comprehensive stool and urine analysis to assess any risk of gut dysbiosis in the baby.
  3. A test to assess the infant’s immune status.

There is also a strong argument to administer single vaccines only rather than combined vaccines. In immune compromised children the assault of receiving exposure to up to 3 immune stressors at one time is simply unmanageable and catastrophic life altering consequences result.

We have to remember that vaccines are commercial products that are making pharmaceutical companies vast profits.




In times gone by probiotics came in the form of fermented foods. During the Roman era, people consumed sauerkraut because of its taste and health benefits; in ancient India it was common to enjoy lassi, a pre-dinner yogurt drink. This traditional practice is anchored on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body. The Bulgarians are known for their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir, and for their high level of health. Ukrainians consumed probiotics from a fermented food list that included raw yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk, and various Asian cultures ate pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and consume these fermented treats until today.[1]

Our gut should contain thousands of different types of bacteria, which participate in everything from energy and vitamin production to the secretion of antibodies that fight infection. They aid in nutrient digestion and absorption, reduce allergic reactions and facilitate immune defence again pathogens.

Current dietary patterns have seen the complete demise of these foods, with disastrous consequences to our well-being. Added to this are the overconsumption of antibiotics and a prevalence of fear around germs which has encouraged behaviours which further kill off our much needed microbiome.

Science shows us that variety is key.

So what can you do to maximise the health of your gut?

  • Introduce fermented foods – vary the fermented and cultured foods you eat, you’ll get a much wider variety of beneficial bacteria than you could ever get from a supplement.
  • If you don’t enjoy the taste of fermented foods, taking a probiotic supplement can be your next best option.
  • Word of Warning: go slow. Start with a little and build up

                                                             We Can’t Thrive …..

                                                                …..  Unless ‘They’ Do


AvocadosDespite a long campaign to rid fat from our diets, we are fatter and sicker than ever before. Why?

Natural fats are incredibly important; following are some of the ways in which our bodies utilize healthy fats:

  • For brain development
  • For the development of the nervous system
  • It plays an important role in cushioning vital internal organs
  • It is a vital source of energy
  • It plays a role in insulating our bodies
  • Healthy fats in a meal increase the feeling of satiety, reducing to quantity of food you need to feel full.
  • In a meal it also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, as foods that contain fat, will slow down the rate in which glucose is released into the blood
  • It is vital for the transportation of fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E, and, K.
  • They are components of cell membranes
  • Fats also play a role in the regulation of genes and hormones

To keep it simple let’s look at fats as  natural or man-made and saturated or unsaturated.

Natural Saturated Fat is solid at room temperature and can be found in foods such as Butter, Coconut, Ghee and Meat. This type of fat is good for you, provided it is organically sourced; it is also the best to cook with as it is more stable. I say organically sourced because many toxins can be stored in the fat of animals that have been treated with chemicals.

Natural Unsaturated fat tends to be liquid at room temperature. These are either Mono-unsaturated or Poly-unsaturated.

Mono-unsaturated fats are found in foods like Olives, Avocados, Nuts, and Seeds. Also oils such as macadamia and olive oil. These are wonderfully nutrient dense foods.

Poly-unsaturated fats are most well known as  Omega 3 and Omega 6. These unsaturated fats can be found in flaxseed, walnuts, fatty fish and sunflower seeds and are essential to our diet as they can not be made by the body.

Man Made Fats are found in items (I refuse to call it food) such as Margarine, and most processed foods such as breads, cakes and biscuits. Trans-fat, although it can be found naturally occurring in some milk and meats; the primary dietary source is from the partially hydrogenated oils found in most processed foods. Trans-fats have been implicated in cognitive dysfunction, mental health disorders, coronary heart disease, diabetes, abnormal foetal growth rates, and cancer, to name but a few. In June of this year the FDA took a step to remove artificial trans-fat from the food supply in America. This step is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year. Now we just need Australia to come to the party! It is also important for you to be aware of Vegetable Oils. I am not sure why they are called vegetable oils as they are actually seed oils. The most common are rapeseed (canola oil), soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, and peanut. Unlike coconut oil or olive oil that can be extracted by pressing, these ‘vegetable’ oils have to be extracted in very unnatural ways, and have been shown to be very destructive to your health.

There is so much discussion to be had on this subject as for years we have been subjected to a fear campaign around the consumption of fat. There are many myths and much dogma that needs to be reversed. Please note: Fat does not make you fat. Natural Fat is not only good for you, it is essential to health. Low fat products are a marketing scam, avoid them. (When you take the fat out of a food, it tastes yuck, so they add in a load of cheap nasty processed sugar.)

Load up on nourishing fat from natural foods such as avocadoes, nuts, cold pressed oils, whole eggs, chia seeds, fatty fish (wild caught, not farmed), coconut, natural full fat yoghurt, and don’t forget dark chocolate!

A Rebel Mum on a Quest to Frikin Awesome Health
A Rebel Mum on a Quest to Frikin Awesome Health

As parents and carers we need to be seduced back into the kitchen where we can fulfil the absolute privilege of feeding our families gorgeous nutritious foods, that quite frankly, have the power to change a generation.

As mums we are going to have to become Rebels. Rebel Mum's Who Say "No Way"! "No way is my family going to end up falling into the complete pit that the current statistics are predicting".

More now than ever, this responsibility requires attention. In the world at the moment we are seeing an epidemic of failing health.

Current Statistics Paint a Bleak Picture ...... but ..... you don't have to be part of this prediction!

On the basis of present trends it is predicted that by the time our children reach the age of 20 they will have a shorter life expectancy than earlier generations simply because of obesity.

If weight gain continues at current levels, by 2025, close to 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese [1].

Diabetes Australia Victoria statistics show 27,000 Victorians were diagnosed with the disease last year, the equivalent of 74 cases a day.

The stimulant prescription rate for Australian children increased 34-fold in the past two decades.

In addition to this more than 40,000 Australian children are on antidepressants and antipsychotics, some for ADHD including Strattera. Strattera is an antidepressant marketed as an ADHD drug with the strongest warning that can be placed on a drug in Australia, a “Boxed Warning” to warn of suicidal behaviour [2].

The 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Careers, showed an estimated 115,400 Australians (0.5%) had autism. This was a 79% increase on the 64,400 people estimated to have the condition in 2009 [3].

The "allergy epidemic" is a major public health issue predominantly facing Western countries, including Australia. There has been a rapid increase over the past 30 years in the prevalence of allergic conditions such as asthma, eczema and food allergy [4].

My intention with this post is not to alarm but to EMPOWER and ENCOURAGE, so that we can make a choice, a choice to defy the predicted statistic, and become a REBEL MUM. As individuals, and as a community, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves and our children in the most vital area of nourishing our bodies. It truly is as simple as 'You Are What You Eat'. This being the case lets choose Vital, Alive, Fresh and Real, NOT Cheap, Fast, Lifeless and Fake!

Once-upon-a-time this knowledge was passed down from grandparents, to parents, to children. Sadly for the vast majority this wealth of knowledge was lost in the emergence of the agricultural revolution and the consequent advent of highly processed, cheap, convenient food.

Google has become a veritable wealth of  information, along with all other forms of media, unfortunately much of it is contradictory and sadly this leaves many feeling confused and dis-empowered  when it comes to this most basic of skills.

So how do we fulfil our sumptuous privilege of nourishing our families?

Who should you trust?

Where should you look for information?

There are many who have paved the way for us, and many who are worthy of imitation. In my estimation Cyndi O'Meara is one such person. I have learnt so much from this extraordinary woman, one of her pearls of wisdom is that "you must start with a philosophy, you can then use that as a base to guide you".

My philosophy has two parts: (And please feel free to steal them!)

  1. Eudaimonia is a moral philosophy that defines right action as that which leads to the "well-being' of the individual, thus holding "well-being" as having essential value and,
  2. Vitalism which sees that all life possesses its own innate intelligence, this allows us to live, grow, adapt, and heal. We are self-aware, self-organizing, and self-healing organisms, and in order to flourish we need to be in tune with our environment. This means, among other things, eating unadulterated, seasonal foods that nature provides.

With this post and upcoming course in April, I will share information I have garnered through my studies in Naturopathy and now as a Changing Habits Nutrition Graduate, but most importantly through my journey as a mother of 4 beautiful vibrant children who have thrived as my wonderful little human guinea pigs over the past 16 years. It would be a great honour to be part of your journey to wellness xo.