Posts

4 things you must do after a course of antibiotics

4 things you must do after a course of antibiotics

Antibiotics are a touchy subject. There is a lot of overuse (you hear all the time about doctors prescribing them straight away, without even being sure what the issue is) and resistance is becoming a real problem.

4 things you must do after a course of antibiotics

Whilst I’d love to say I’d never take them, there are certain situations where antibiotics truly are a modern miracle. In fact, I took them not so long ago when I found out I was host to an unwelcome parasite. The problem with antibiotics, is that as well as killing off the infection, they also kill off all of the good bacteria in our gut.

With diminished good bacterial colonies in the gut, this can significantly reduce your immune system and mess with your hormone balance. But it doesn’t have to be permanent. Here are some steps you can take to help your gut to repair as soon as you’ve finished the course of antibiotics.

1. Eat strict paleo

So perhaps you’re clean eating had lapsed slightly before your antibiotics – but now is the time to get back on the wagon. Ditch anything processed and eat real, whole foods, keeping sugar (from natural sources) and carbohydrates low whilst you’re healing.

2. Eat fermented foods everyday

Have some kombucha, sauerkraut, yoghurt or kimchi ready to go. Fermented foods will help to re-introduce probiotics to your gut – so make sure to mix up your fermented foods and eat them regularly. You can also look at probiotic supplements.

3. You’ve taken care of probiotics – don’t forget prebiotics

Soluble fibre such as that provided from root vegetables and peeled fruit is a great way to feed the good bacteria you need to re-establish.

4. Eat bone broth

Said to be able to resurrect the dead, bone broth is the ideal nourishment after your course of antibiotics. It will help support your liver and digestive system –so make sure you have a big batch ready to go.

What’s your approach to antibiotics? Have you taken many courses?

 

 

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood bone broth paleo primal nutrition healthy-min

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood

Forget Goji Berries, Spirulina and Peruvian Maca Root, there is one ‘Superfood’ that you can guarantee your ancestors would have consumed in abundance that you’re probably not getting enough of now – Gelatin. As conventional wisdom has seen us spurn traditional cuts in favour of lean muscle meat, our intake of gelatin has dropped to almost zero. However, the body still craves it – and here’s why.




Found in the connective tissue, bones and cartilage of animals, gelatin is extremely nourishing in a number of ways. It is the best source of dietary collagen, which has been proven to increase the elasticity of the skin and therefore keep you looking young. In fact, the amino acid profile of gelatin, in combination with its high levels of collagen make for great support for healthy skin, hair and nails. It contains 6 grams of protein per tablespoon – and whilst not a complete protein in itself, it helps create a more balanced amino acid profile when taken with other proteins and therefore optimise assimilation. Maybe that’s why roast beef and gravy taste so good!

Gelatin is also fantastic for anyone who suffers from digestive problems. It is unique in the way in which it attracts water molecules during digestion, consequently improving the rate in which food moves through the digestive tract. What’s more, gelatin has been proved to carry gut healing properties, and has been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing a food allergy or intolerance. Strongly anti-inflammatory, Gelatin has also shown to play a significant part in healing Asthma, Chron’s and Colitis.

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood bone broth paleo primal nutrition healthy-min

How to increase your intake

The obvious way to increase your intake of gelatin is by making your own home made stock and bone broth. Pay a visit to your local butchers, and pick up any gelatin rich cuts you can lay your hands on – chicken and pigs feet, ox tail, or even any leftover bones they have out the back. Simmer them very gently for at least 24 hours in a stock pot with hot water, herbs and veggies, and you’ll have plenty of nourishing broth to see you through the week. Drink it as it is, or use it as a base for soups, sauces and gravies.

If time and logistics are against you making your own bone broth, consider taking a high quality gelatin supplement. You can add this by the spoonful to smoothies, or make your own Paleo approved gummies by using gelatin and fruit juice!

paleo diet gut health probotics-min

It’s not just about you…

It may be a little strange to think of, but the body you inhabit isn’t strictly your own. In fact, you’re sharing it with approximately 100 trillion bacteria that colonise your gut – your own unique army of micro-organisms. But it’s not as scary as it sounds, as these tiny creatures control your health in a variety of ways. Firstly, they extract energy from food; the greater the diversity of your gut bacteria, the more effectively you are able to digest nutrients. Gut bacteria break down carbohydrates, and prevent them from being stored as fat – hence the reason there is a direct correlation between insufficient gut bacteria and obesity. They also build your immune system, and are directly linked with your emotional health; restoring gut flora has been shown to boost mood and fight depression.

In the right conditions, you can live in harmony with your gut flora and co-exist very happily. Look after them, and in turn, they look after you. But, create a troublesome environment for them (through inflammation, stress, or antibiotic use amongst other things) and they will be compromised, and in turn, so will your health. Here are a few things you may wish to consider in order to care for your gut flora.

paleo diet gut health probotics-min

Consider a high quality probiotic

The first (and most obvious) thing you can do to support your healthy gut flora is to supplement with a high quality probiotic. This will help to repopulate your digestive tract with beneficial bacteria. Opt for a probiotic with a number of different strains of bacteria, and consider rotating your supplements over time to maintain greater diversity.

If you’re wondering how our ancestors maintained healthy gut flora long before probiotic supplements hit the shelves (or the shelves were even invented) then consider the point below!

Eat Organic Produce

Thousands of years ago, our ancestors’ gastrointestinal tracts would have been teeming with a huge diversity of bacteria, taken directly from the untouched soil in which their produce grew. They wouldn’t have worried about washing their hands after digging for them, let alone washing the produce itself. Modern day agricultural methods and non-organic farming have seen our soils stripped of this bacteria; unfortunately, conventionally grown plants grow in soil that is virtually sterile. The solution? Buy organic, preferably local – and don’t worry about thoroughly washing scrubbing every vegetable. A bit of dirt will only be beneficial.

Eat Fermented Foods

Fermented foods play a large part in the diet of almost all traditional cultures, and would have further supplemented their gut biomes. Fermented foods like Kombucha, Sauerkraut and Kimchi are rich in beneficial bacteria; and they’re delicious, too. Consider making your own fermented foods, or if you have to buy them, make sure they are unpasteurised so the bacteria remains.

Eat food rich in prebiotics

Just like you, your gut bacteria need to be fed. Feed them the right foods, and they will thrive. Prebiotics are found in foods such as Chicory, Jerusalem Artichoke, Onions, Leeks and Garlic – and they stimulate and nourish the good bacteria in your gut.

Try resistant starch

Much like prebiotics, resistant starch provides optimum fuel for your gut bacteria. Resistant starch is starch that passes through the colon undigested, thus giving the bacteria an excellent food source. Paleo friendly sources of resistant starch include cooked and cooled tubers – especially arrowroot and cassava.

Avoid sugars and high GI Carbohydrates

On the other side of the coin, if you eat a diet high in sugar and other high GI carbohydrates, you are providing optimum fuel for the bad bacteria in your gut (such as Candida). Who knew there were any further reasons to give up the sugar and grains!?

Don’t Stress

Finally, the most important thing you can do to support your gut bacteria is to reduce the inflammation that makes their living environment hellish to live in. Along with a poor diet, stress causes excessive inflammation within the body. Take time to relax, exercise, perhaps meditate – so that your gut bacteria can do the same.

Paleo Diet Primal Gut Health Flora Healthy Probiotics-min

How Is Your Gut Health?

After the stress and perhaps over indulgences of the festive season – how is your gut health?

Our ancestors were surrounded by dirt – and certainly won’t have washed their hands in antibacterial soap before touching everything! Today, everyone is terrified of germs and dirt. Children aren’t allowed to get dirty – people can’t even make food without wearing those horrible blue plastic gloves – yuck!

Paleo Diet Primal Gut Health Flora Healthy Probiotics-min

So many factors in our modern lifestyle are stacked against maintaining good gut flora. The antibiotics given out by so many doctors kill off most bacteria (good as well as bad). Stress hormones also do a good job of killing of gut flora. It’s probably therefore little wonder that so many of us don’t have good gut health.

Having good gut health promotes a good immune system, which is why some people never seem to catch the germs going around the office. Healthy gut bacteria is also essential in proper, good digestion. Healthy gut flora enable you to properly absorb the nutrients in the food you’re eating (after all, we are what we absorb, rather than what we eat)

Whilst yoghurts with live cultures have become extremely popular as a method of improving gut health, they don’t appear to be the best solution, given that many people don’t tolerate dairy – and of course the pasteurisation has an significant impact on the amount of live culture left in the finished product. A lot of these yoghurts also have a lot of sugar added.

One of the better options to improve your gut health is taking probiotic supplements. When you compare the ingredients, you’ll notice huge variations between the different brands. For this reason, I like Primal Flora, as it’s been created with an ancestral diet in mind.
Primal Flora
What do you do to improve your gut health? Do you take probiotics? Please share, in the comments below!

16 reasons you should eat more bone broth stock-min

16 Reasons You Should Eat More Bone Broth!

Bone broth (or stock), put simply, is made by boiling up animal bones. You can add in some veggies and herbs – but the most important thing is that the bones are from healthy animals (or fish) that were raised organically, humanely on a pasture, or in the wild; i.e. from grass fed cattle, pastured poultry or wild caught fish. Using some apple cider vinegar when making the broth helps draw the mineral s and nutrients from the bones – and make sure you break of crack the bones, to ensure you can access all of the nutrients and minerals contained in the marrow inside.

Whilst you can buy it, you definitely want to make your own to be sure it’s from good quality animals – without any nasty added extras. You can try beef, bison, fish, chicken, lamb or even venison broth.

16 reasons you should eat more bone broth stock-min

1. It is really cheap to make (your butcher or local farmer may even give you bones for free – or save the bones from your own cooking)

2. If you’re sick with no appetite, bone broth is easy to drink and will replenish much needed nutrients in your body – whilst the gelatin content will help to neutralise a virus.

3. Bone broth is high in a very usable form of calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulphur and phosphorous – not to mention lots of other trace nutrients

4. Broth is a great way to use up parts of the animal you wouldn’t know what to do with – try adding in heads, feet, necks and skin!

5. Broth is a great base for many meals such as soups, stews – and a delicious home-made gravy

6. It virtually cooks itself – leave it in your slow cooker and come home to an almost ready bone broth

7. The high collagen content is great for your joints, hair, skin and nails.

8. It is even cheaper to make if you use bones of less expensive meat such as lamb and goat

Bone Broth Recipe Book Chicken Beef Stock

9. The connective tissue in ligaments and joints are kept healthy thanks to the high concentration of the amino acids proline and glycine in bone broth.

10. You can make up a huge batch of broth and freeze it in individual portions – giving you a meal base on hand whenever you need it.

11. By encouraging smooth connective tissue, bone broth is said to be a natural cure for cellulite

12. Damaged gut lining is healed by the gelatin – which offers relief to gastrointestinal issues such as IBS, Crohn’s disease as well as constipation, diarrhea, food sensitivities and of course leaky gut.

13. The gelatin content helps aid digestion

14. The amino acid glycine (found in high concentrations in bone broth) is great to help detoxify the liver

15. Chondroitin Sulfate, found in bone broth, has not only be found to help with joint pain from osteoarthritis, it also helps to lower atherosclerosis.

16. It tastes good!

If you want to know even more about bone broth – and get lots of great recipes to make your own – check out Bone Broth: A Recipe For Health which is packed with recipes, information, tips and tricks.

How often do you make bone broth? I’d love to hear your tricks, tips and favourite recipes in the comments below.

Probiotics and the paleo diet-min

Should You Take Probiotics?

Probiotics are constantly being advertised, but what are they, exactly? And if you follow a good, healthy Paleo diet, should you consider taking them?

Probiotics are, for the most part, live organisms such as bacteria that people consume in order to gain several health benefits. But how is this possible? After all, people often take antibiotics to deal with bacteria inside their bodies that are causing problems. Well, the thing is that there is a distinction to be made between good bacteria and bad bacteria. In normal circumstances, the body has a pretty good balance between the two so the bad bacteria cannot do any damage. However, there are situations such as being ill where this balance is lost. Therefore, taking probiotic supplements allows you to regain the balance and prevent a lot of further medical complications.

Probiotics and the paleo diet-min

There are many different kinds of bacteria found in probiotics supplements and they all come with various health benefits. One of the most common genera is lactobacillus, which contains over 50 species of bacteria used in probiotics. These species can also be found in yoghurt and are usually effective at preventing certain infections as well as diarrhoea and skin disorders.

The genus of bacteria that makes up for almost 90% of all good bacteria found in the human body is bifidobacteria, which contains around 30 different species. They are immediately present in our bodies since birth and can help with various problems such as dental cavities, abdominal pains, bloating and bowel problems.

There are four other major bacteria genera found in the body: saccharomyces boulardii, streptococcus thermophilus, enterococcus faecium and leuconostoc. Each of them contains various species that have a positive effect on the human body, in one way or another.

For the most part, the healthy benefits that come from taking probiotic supplements impact two major areas: our digestive tract and our immune system. They affect our digestive tract because, as mentioned previously, they restore the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria which can shift due to stress, bad diet, lack of sleep, drug usage etc. Their goal is to not let the bad bacteria grow in large amounts as this can lead to problems, but they also do not eliminate it completely since our bodies do have certain uses for it. Probiotics also help by eliminating toxins, chemicals and other harmful substances from our digestive tract while also helping absorb nutrients and delivering them to the cells that require them.

Probiotic supplements also have an impact on our immune system. They do not necessarily make it stronger, but by keeping the balance they ensure that the immune system is operating at maximum efficiency. Whenever this does not happen we are prone to being attacked by germs and this can lead to bad medical complications in some people. Allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders and infections are common results of this problem.

Therefore, taking probiotic supplements can have quite a positive effect on our bodies. However, they require the same care and attention as normal supplements, making sure that the brand is reputable (i.e. Paleo compliant) and that you take the recommended dosage.

Do you take any type of Probiotic alongside following the Paleo diet? And if so, which brand do you use?

Recipe The Paleo Diet Kimchi Korean fermented-min

Recipe: Paleo Kimchi

I hadn’t had Kimchi until I moved to Australia and ventured to some Korean barbeque restaurants. Not only does it taste amazing, as a fermented food, Kimchi is really good for gut health – a great inclusion in a Paleo diet.

One of my New Years resolutions this year was to eat more fermented food, so after coming up with a good Kombucha recipe – it was time to get experimenting with Kimchi.

This is how I made my batch of Kimchi. I’d love to hear how you make yours – and what other fermented food you include in your diet. Let me know in the comments below!

Kimchi Ingredients

  • 1 large Chinese cabbage
  • 4 litres (1 gallon) of water
  • 100g (1/2 cup) of Celtic sea salt (though any salt would be fine)
  • One clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • One 6cm (2 inch) strip of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 100ml (1/2 cup) Korean chilli powder (I found this in an Asian supermarket)
  • Dash of coconut aminos
  • Small bunch of spring onions, cut into strips
  • 1 radish, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (this is needed to get the fermentation going – and the duration of the fermentation determines how much sugar remains in the end product)

How To Make Kimchi

Chop the cabbage into rough pieces, discarding the tough stem.

In a large bowl or stock pot, fully dissolve the salt in the water. Once dissolved, immerse the cabbage pieces in the water, using a plate to keep them submerged. Keep the cabbage underwater for two hours.

In another mixing bowl, mix together all of the other ingredients.

Once the cabbage has been underwater for two hours, remove it, drain it, rinse the salt water off and dry it thoroughly.

Now, mix all of the ingredients together.

Spoon the Kimchi into a clean glass jar and cover it firmly. Keeping the jar in a cool dry place, leave it alone for two days.

After a day or two, check the Kimchi. If it is bubbling, it is ready and can be eaten – or stored in the fridge. If not, it’s not quite ready, so leave it for another day and check again.

When it’s ready make sure you store it in the fridge. I’m sure there won’t be any left after a few days – but it’s best to eat it within two or three weeks before it becomes “too” fermented!

Recipe The Paleo Diet Kimchi Korean fermented-min

Enjoy!

FODMAPS & Paleo diet Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols-min

FODMAPS & Paleo

FODMAP is a term that seems to be associated more and more frequently with the Paleo diet. Some people chose to minimise FOMAP’s, in alongside their Paleo diet to help resolve gut issues. In particular a low FODMAPS diet seems to help resolve gut issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) it appears Crohn’s Disease too.

Whilst removing grains, dairy and legumes in a Paleo diet often marks significant improvement, going one step further and undertaking a low FODMAP diet can make all the difference in Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders

So, what exactly are FODMAPS?

“FODMAP” is an abbreviation standing for: Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are all types of carbohydrate which Dr Sue Shepherd’s research identified as being poorly absorbed by susceptible individuals, causing gut issues.

How does a Low FODMAPS diet fit with a Paleo diet?

FODMAPS & Paleo diet Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols-min

Fuctose

Fructose is already considered on a Paleo diet, so avoiding high fructose fruit such as apples and pears is not too difficult. Berries are a far better choice, with the added benefit of antioxidants.

Fructans

Fructans are high in fruit such as watermelons and vegetables such as cabbage, leeks and particularly onions; so these should be avoided in favour of vegetables such as carrots, parsnip and pumpkin. Wheat and other grains are high in Fructans, so on a Paleo diet, these are already avoided.

Polyols

High levels of Polyols are contained in fruit like avocados and peaches and vegetables like mushrooms and cauliflower.

Galactans

Legumes such as beans and soy are high in Galactans – so by following a Paleo diet these are already eliminated.

Lactose

By avoiding dairy a Paleo diet already cuts out Lactose.

How To Start

If you have any unresolved issues (such as gut issues) on a Paleo diet, it is worth trying a low FODMAP’s diet for a 30 day elimination period. After the 30 days, much like a Whole 30, you can slowly reintroduce foods back in to pinpoint exactly which foods are an issue for you. Everyone is different, so it’s important you find out exactly which foods you don’t tolerate well and remove those from your diet. Fortunately your Paleo diet has already removed the bulk of the high FODMAP foods – so identifying the foods you don’t tolerate will be much easier.

Have you tried a low FODMAP’s diet? Did it help? Let me know in the comments below.

Nightshades and paleo diet alkaloids inflammation sensitivity-min

Nightshades and Paleo

Perhaps you avoid nightshades yourself, or have noticed a lot of people do?  Is there any reason for avoiding them?

Nightshades are in the Solanaceae family, which comprises 2,800 types of plant.  The common nightshades include potatoes (which aren’t consumed on a Paleo regime, so I won’t be talking about them), tomatoes, all types of peppers/ capsicum, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, paprika and cayenne.   Sweet potatoes are related, but belong to the Convolvulaceae family, so aren’t classed as a nightshade.  Similarly black pepper is not classed as a nightshade as it belongs to the Piperaceae family.

Nightshades contain alkaloids, which the plant produces as a defence mechanism.  Some alkaloids have been shown to interact with nerve activity and inflammation, which may impact conditions such as arthritis and gout, as well as gut irritation.  Many people have no sensitivities to Nightshades, but those that do may find avoidance very beneficial.  Cooking decreases the alkaloid content by up to 50%, so for those with border line sensitivity, this can be a good option.

If you think you may have a sensitivity, eliminating nightshades for 30 days before reintroducing should give a clear indication as to the effect these plant have on you.  If you find you do have a sensitivity, you might chose to avoid them on a more permanent basis.

Do you eat Nightshades?  Do you have a sensitivity to them?

Nightshades and paleo diet alkaloids inflammation sensitivity-min