Month: September 2015

Me with my eldest son Oliver
Taken a few years ago with my son Oli.

 

It was approximately 18 months ago that I made a shift in my way of eating, to facilitate a healthier functioning of my hormones. Prior to this I was vegetarian and thanks to my naturopathic training, I was very conscious of everything I ate. My diet was mostly organic, and contained a wide variety of foods that were, for the most part, seasonal. My diet primarily consisted of vegetables and fruit, but also contained large quantities of grains and pulses. I made my own bread, so we ate plenty of that, and meals often consisted of homemade pasta sauces, brimming with fresh vegetables, poured over a healthy serving of wholemeal pasta, or a big cook up of beans and veg or lentils and rice. Oh, and whilst I never subscribed to ‘low fat’ products, I certainly avoided fat. Breakfast would be a large bowl of porridge, made from oats that had been soaked overnight, and a good slurp of soy milk. Mid-morning I would be hungry again, so in would go some rice crackers, dips, and maybe fruit. Lunch, hungry again, so a big salad roll but only with wholemeal bread thank you. Mid-afternoon, more snacks needed, and then a lovely big wholemeal carb rich, veggie rich dinner. Healthy right?

Frustratingly I still struggled with excess weight and unending fatigue. There was always something to blame this on however…. I had been overweight since I was a teenager, it was just my build, I was a single mum with four children, busy, busy, busy. Plenty of excuses and reasons for being the way I was. Who wouldn’t be stressed, tired and endlessly hungry in my position?? One of my often heard catch phrases was “My full button is broken”. When others would say “oh my goodness, I am stuffed from that meal”, I would groan along and agree, however in my head I was thinking “Really? I could eat that much all over again”. I was clearly leptin resistant. ( To understand more about Leptin see my blog post – http://eudaimonia.com.au/2015/08/the-single-most-important-hormone/ )

Cyndi and I on a road trip in August 2015
Cyndi and I on a road trip in August 2015

Fortuitously, having followed Cyndi O’Meara for years, I came across her 4 Phase Fat Elimination Diet, and having such trust in Cyndi alongside the confidence from doing my own research, I gave it a go. Through doing this protocol I lost around 15kg and have kept it off, but best of all I learnt what foods work best for me, and after 20 years as a vegetarian, I discovered that meat was one of them. Oh and my ‘full button’ was fixed, hello Leptin!

So for the past year and a half I have followed a different eating regime. This is a diet that is still primarily made up of a variety of seasonal organic vegetables; however instead of filling up on carbohydrates, I now have good quality protein and a lot more natural fat. Breakfast only works for me if it is high in protein. I mostly rely on eggs and veggies, and occasionally it will be left over dinner. I have noticed that with the protein and fat content significantly increased, I only need to eat about half as much food in a day, thus keeping my ghrelin levels in check. (Ghrelin is the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage.) A big protein rich breakfast at around 7am will see me through to 1 or 2 in the afternoon. At that time I usually only need a top up, maybe a handful of nuts and some fruit or a chia pudding. Then dinner is again a vegetable rich plate with a serving of protein and some fat. This eating regime is working to keep my friendly hormones, leptin, ghrelin and insulin, all in balance.

I would love to say that I am now ship shape and 100% healthy, and whilst I am vastly improved on the version of me that existed 18 months ago, I still have a way to go on my journey to wellness. I know that exercise is my next mountain to conquer. Onwards and upwards!

Edwina Murphy

Genetic and Epigenetic factors in energy balance and body weight.

An individual’s predisposition to a healthy energy balance and body weight is determined by a variety of influences, both genetic and epigenetic. In addition to the instructions laid down in an individual’s genetic blueprint, environmental influences (epigenetics) during both critical developmental periods, and further on into adult life, are instrumental in determining the outcome of those instructions.

Natural selection is the process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring. And energy availability is the most important environmental factor for sustainable reproduction [1]. This is a fundamental part of the puzzle when considering why our bodies lay down fat stores when energy (food) input is high.

This is where epigenetics steps in.

Never before have we as a species had access to such an unfailing abundance of food. Unfortunately our evolutionary blueprint has yet to catch up with this knowledge, so continues to store for leaner times ahead, a time that simply never arrives. Adding to this genetic predisposition, it would appear that obese mothers tend to have significantly more children than their lean counterparts; obesity is therefore likely to increase from generation to generation for purely genetic reasons [2]. And apparently ‘the exquisite system for regulation of energy balance is established just once in each individual’s life’ [3].

So whilst genetics can certainly lay down the blueprint for obesity it is our epigenetic influences that are the greatest determiner of outcome. In the context of energy balance we have to look at the simple fact that in our society we see an alarming increase in daily energy intake, alongside this phenomenon we also see that energy expenditure has been dramatically decreasing, predominantly due to advances in technology and the ever increasing nature of sedentary work practices. However the popularly touted ‘energy in’ versus ‘energy out’ theory is only part of the puzzle.

For the purposes of this article I will look at what I consider to be two of the most influential factors predisposing individuals to problems with energy balance and body weight; they are Leptin and Hedonic Hunger.

Leptin is our master hormone and is amongst other things, responsible for telling our brain we have had enough energy in take, stop eating! Unfortunately leptin is susceptible to negative epigenetic influences which lead to leptin resistance. These influences are varied; however they include poor food choices, electron availability in our environment, triglyceride levels and even energy expenditure. To put simply what Leptin resistance is, it is when the body is producing leptin but the brain can’t see it, therefore the brain thinks you are starving. As a result your body will increase energy storage (store fat), and conserve energy use (feel lethargic). The obvious consequences are imbalanced energy and body weight.

Hedonic Hunger is a term used to describe cravings associated with food addiction. It is now recognised that highly palatable foods activate the mesocorticolimbic reward circuits of the brain by the release of dopamine, as well as other neurotransmitters and hormones like the endogenous opiates. [4] In simpler terms ‘as food became more processed and altered by the manufacturing industry, they began to take on more and more properties of addictive drugs, largely because of the ingredients that were added to enhance the taste of food [5].

Even with this brief look at energy balance and the effect on body weight we can see that both genetic and epigenetic influences make up a very complex and possibly overwhelming picture considering the obesity epidemic we, as a developed country, are facing. However I would argue that knowledge is power, and being empowered to change the epigenetic influences that we now know are so causative in this picture, we are equipped to make important changes to benefit the lives of many.

 

Edwina Murphy-Droomer

 

 

References

[1]          http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/435027/

[2]          http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=241085

[3]          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24850387

[4]          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2714382/

[5]          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21999688

The further from the truth

IT IS YOUR BODIES MOST PRESSING DESIRE TO KEEP YOU HEALTHY AND ALIVE ........ IT IS YOUR DIVINE PURPOSE to support it in doing this.

The uncomfortable truth is that the Agricultural and Pharmaceutical companies are the biggest, most profitable, and therefore the most powerful industries in the world today. These are the companies that are slowly but surely destroying not only our health, but the health of our planet.

To make truly educated decisions you must look further than mainstream media. Australian media ownership has been described as one of the most concentrated in the world. For example, 11 of the 12 capital city daily papers are owned by either News Corp Australia or Fairfax Media. (http://newscorp.com/business/news-corp-australia/)

Did you know that companies pay to get the 'healthy tick of approval' on their products? And that The Australian Dieticians Association is heavily sponsored by several massive food companies, with a vested interest in promoting their own agenda, e.g. Nestle. This explains their vile attacks on people like Chef Pete Evans, who's only real agenda is to get people eating vital, unprocessed, real food.

Any companies that vigilantly promote immune destructive forces such glyphosate, GMO's, and mass vaccinations (regardless of the immune status of the individual), should be viewed with enormous scepticism.

The agricultural industry designed the Food Pyramid that has been responsible for untold damage to the health of our society for generations. (Death by Food Pyramid ).Even until 2015, these lies were still being taught to our children in schools.

We are all being bombarded with endlessly conflicting information, which I know can be truly overwhelming when trying to do the best thing, by not only our own health, but also by the health of our families. To cut through the confusion look to what nature provides. We have evolved to eat what our planet provides us, not to eat products scientifically engineered to look like food.

Our bodies are innately intelligent, and if fed the right foods we have the ability to be vitally healthy, without the need for pharmaceutical intervention. The discovery of antibiotics was indeed an enormous success story, they have been responsible for saving countess lives. However due to relentless promotion by pharmaceutical companies to Dr's, and the perks that came with selling vast quantities of these drugs, we are now facing a situation where antibiotics are often no longer doing the job that they were intended for. The same situation is happening with diseases that we vaccinate against, these viruses are simply adapting and becoming more virulent. Lets use the medically industry as it was intended, and that is for crisis care, and just in case there is any doubt, for the VAST MAJORITY the flu is not a crisis! It is uncomfortable, it is inconvenient, but it is OK. You will get over it if your body is fed what it needs to do its job .....

IT IS YOUR BODIES MOST PRESSING DESIRE TO KEEP YOU HEALTHY AND ALIVE ........ IT IS YOUR DIVINE PURPOSE to support it in doing this. Feed it vital, real, unprocessed, chemical free foods. Move your body. Give yourself time in nature. You will be rewarded.

20150904_122459

Ingredients

1 Potato per person
Capsicum - diced
Carrot - grated
Celery - finely chopped
Beetroot - grated
Cheese - grated
Sour Cream

Method

Scrub your potatoes until cleaned, but don't peel them. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C. Simple place the potatoes on the wire racks for about an hour until the skins are lovely and crisp. Taking the spuds out of the oven you simple place them in a bowl and slice open. Pop a serving of each vegetable, all piled on top of each other, on top of the steaming potato, finally topping with some cheese and sour cream if desired. This dish looks beautiful and so appealing with all the colour, it is sure to be a big hit.

 

Further thoughts .....

I have been doing a hot lunch for a group of grade 2 children, and this was our latest success. There is often a challenge to get some children to try different things. Children who at home are not exposed to a variety of foods, beyond white bread and vegemite, often struggle to believe they will like new things. This exercise has proved very successful and this particular meal was a big hit.