Restoring Digestive Health and Boosting Well-being

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Ever since I started working as a Nutritional Therapist, I was staggered by the number of people, both young and old, who suffered from gastrointestinal issues. Digestive complaints are amongst the most common reasons for individuals seeking medical help. There are more than 200 over-the-counter remedies for digestive disorders, many of which create additional digestive problems in their place. Once we have a compromised digestive system, it can play out over our entire bodies, leading to allergies, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, acne, chronic fatigue, poor mood, intolerances, pain and more. Having a healthy gut is absolutely central to our entire health. Helping clients with chronic health issues always starts with fixing their gut.

Our digestive system is responsible for breaking down and absorbing all the food we eat, and then subsequently delivering nutrients to your body’s cells. Over a lifetime, the average person ingests more than 25 tons of food; however, as well as providing nutrients, this food may also contain damaging bacteria, viruses, and toxins. The gut wall – or mucosal layer – has the unique role of absorbing health-promoting nutrients and molecules, while also providing protection to the body by preventing the entry of toxins or pathogens into the blood stream.

 

It is important to remember that digestion starts in the mouth. We need saliva and the enzymes it contains to help break down proteins, fat and carbohydrates. Chewing the food properly is key to kick-start the digestion process correctly. If we wolf down our food we might end up with digestive complains such as bloating.

 

In the stomach, the food mixes with more enzymes and hydrochloric acid (HCL). Sometimes clients are convinced that some of their digestive issues are related to having too much stomach acid, however a small test often reveals that the opposite is the case. Many people suffer from low amounts of HCL, often caused by poor diet, stress, alcohol, some medication, age, illness, poor sleep and more. Adequate HCL is necessary to break down proteins, activate digestive enzymes, protect us from pathogens and foreign organisms, and help us to absorb the nutrients in the food.

 

If food has not been broken down properly by now, on its way to the small intestine the food molecules can start to ferment or irritate the lining of the gut wall. They can also result in an overgrowth of bacteria, which can lead to bloating, abdominal pain and/or diarrhoea.

 

We have trillions of bacteria living inside us, and we have quite a ‘symbiotic’ relationship with them – we actually depend on each other. The good bacteria, often called probiotic, or beneficial bacteria need a place to live, eat and reproduce, and in turn their metabolic activity supports our own health in multiple ways. In fact, we literally could not live without them. It’s about getting the balance right, support the ‘good’ bacteria and keep the ‘bad’ bacteria out.

 

Beneficial bacteria in the gut act as the housekeepers for the digestive tract. They coat the entire surface of the gut, providing another layer of protection from invaders and toxins by providing a natural barrier, and producing a lot of anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal substances.

Did you know that approximately 75% of our immune system is located in the gut? One more reason to look after our gut health. Our immune system is our first line of defence. It is constantly bombarded with foods, toxins, microbes, and partly undigested food, that might cause irritation, an allergic reaction, and poor immunity, all ofwhich results in poor health.

 

Many factors can damage the beneficial gut flora and knock out digestive system out of balance, among them stress, lack of nutrients, poor diet, chronic inflammation, and many over the counter medications. Fortunately, some simple dietary and lifestyle changes can restore balance and digestive health.

 

If you are suffering from digestive issues, such as chronic diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, reflux, cramps, abdominal pain, gas, IBS and Autoimmune Disease, please give me a call or meet me for a free 15 minute mini-consultation to discuss your health issues and learn what Nutritional Therapy has to offer.

 

By applying the patient-centered approach used in Functional Medicine I seek to identify and address the root cause of ill health. After a thorough case history taking and possibly functional testing I can show you what has been causing your symptoms and create a tailored programme to restore your health and wellbeing.

 

Yours in health,

Doris Rabe Dip Nutritional Therapist mNTOI

Phone 085 1543354 and 071 9153828

Essential Marathon Supplements

There’s no substitution for a healthy balanced diet, but every runner needs a little boost now and again. The following are a couple of supplements to consider to help hydrate your body, reduce stress, protect your joints and boost your immune system.

Sports Electrolyte Fix is an electrolyte liquid containing sodium, magnesium, chloride and potassium as well as other trace and ultra-trace elements. Electrolytes are mineral salts that dissolve in the body’s blood and fluid. They carry an electric charge and therefore can affect the blood’s pH and muscle function.

Exercise increases fluid loss through sweat. If this fluid is not replaced then dehydration will occur. Dehydration impairs performance as blood volume decreases and body temperature increases; extra strain will be put on the heart and lungs. Supplementing water with electrolytes can help minimise carrying excessive weight and possibly reduce fatigue during extended exercise.

Ashwaganda has been used for years to rejuvenate and strengthen the mind and body.

It’s valued as a nerve tonic to help reduce stress and research also supports its adoptogenic properties allowing the body to perform better under both mental and physical stress. For this reason it has been of great interest for improving physical performance in athletes.

Experimental studies have identified a wide array of therapeutic properties including anti-arthritic, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, immune-regulatory, cardio-protective, anti-anxiety and neuro-protective effects.

MSM Glucosamine Complex is a supplement which contains a complementary blend of ingredients which offer support for the joints. MSM is important for maintaining joint health as it contains a large amount of sulphur, one of the most important elements in the connective tissues and joint cartilage. Sulphur holds the tissue and cartilage together, so a deficiency can lead to their weakened strength. Glucosamine offers similar benefits as it can reduce the rate of collagen degradation, increasing the life span of the joints. This is most relevant to athletes but can be beneficial to everyone regardless of exercise levels. Glucosamine can also offer some relief from the symptoms of osteoarthritis in some people.

Turmeric is a powerful supplement which can offer you many important health benefits.The leading use for turmeric is for joint care, as the active ingredient in it, curcumin, has a long history of use for joints.

Curcumin is both a natural anti-inflammatory and a natural antioxidant. The anti-inflammatory gets to work by targeting the triggers which have caused the inflammation, stopping it from occurring rather than just treating the pain. This is most useful in the joints, where mobility can suffer from inflammation. But curcumin can also help with digestive problems, improving digestion and reducing symptoms like bloating. The antioxidant effects of curcumin are also important for joint health, as it can protect them from free radical damage, one of the leading causes of premature aging.

Ester-C 950mg capsules are a powerful, high strength Vitamin C supplement.

Adequate intake of vitamin C can help to support optimum immune health, healthy skin and provide antioxidant protection. Ester-C is a highly effective, highly absorbable and non-acidic form of Vitamin C. The non-acidic properties of this form of vitamin C allows for better absorption, while also reducing the risk of stomach upset. It is buffered to make it gentler on the stomach, especially when large amounts are consumed. This vitamin may help to reduce the duration and severity of colds and flus. Vitamin C may also aid the production of collagen which is necessary for the formation of healthy skin, gums, bones and teeth.

 

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Open Day at St. Michael’s

Open Day-3On Saturday the 4th of February Sligo Wellness Centre will have a fundraising open day at St. Michael’s Family Life Centre. Come along to hear talks on health issues, nutritional demonstrations, and free mini treatments. This is a great opportunity to try out some of the treatments we offer at Sligo Wellness Centre.

Try out different kinds of massage including Tuina, Shiatsu, Biodynamic and Aromatherapy massage. You can also try Reiki, get a spinal check, watch a cookery demonstration and more. There will be talks throughout the day on nutritional health, lower back pain, and Biodynamic therapies. Hope to see you there!

Date: Saturday 4th February

Time: 10.30am to 4pm

Admission: €10 (all proceeds go to St. Michael’s)

Location: St. Michael’s Family Life Centre, Church Hill, Sligo

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Seven Day Detox

Before the detox

January is a great time to embark on little clear out/cleanse/detox whatever you like to call it. I’m sure like most of us you probably over indulged over the Christmas holiday period. Lots of nights out, mince pies, Christmas cake and mulled wine not to mention tucking into the box of celebrations. Now you’re feeling a bit sluggish, have you put on a few extra pounds or maybe your skin broken out?

Why not join us for a 7 day detox to get you back on track.

We will be supporting you all week with ideas, recipes and encouragement to keep you on track.

Preparation day

For all you brave soul’s joining us for our 7 day Detox starting Monday here we go. First of all, you’ll need to do some preparation for the 7 day detox.

  • Clear out your cupboards of any temptations, especially crisps, chocolate, biscuits etc. Check labels and follow and choose foods that are low in sugar – less than 10g/100g, have only a small amount of ingredients and as minimally processed as possible.
  • Stock up on your 5 a day – lot’s of vegetables and 1-2 pieces of fruit per day. Choose good quality protein (meat, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, legumes), wholegrains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet), good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil).
  • Ditch the breakfast cereals for healthy alternatives – oats, chia seeds, granola e.g. Lizi’s, muesli (remember low sugar less than 10g per 100g).
  • Why not try some herbal tea instead of regular tea or barley cup instead of your coffee (I know it’s not the same as your cup of java, but hey it’s only for 7 days!).
  • It you are worried about cravings especially sugar, try Patrick Holford’s cinnachrome Biocare’s Sucroguard or Viridians 7 Day Detox Kit.
  • Vogels milk thistle is a great herbal complex to help support the body’s natural detoxification systems.

Day 1

Planning ahead is critical to keep you on track for the detox, how you start you day is important to set you up for a healthy day and week ahead.

Why not start with some apple cider vinegar or the juice of ½ a lemon in warm water + ½ tsp MSM. Not only is this a refreshing way to start the day and rehydrate after a night’s sleep, it also helps stimulate the digestive juices and so is great before meals. MSM contains sulphur which is required for the detoxification pathways in the liver.

Freshly pressed juices are also great to hydrate and add easily absorbable vitamins and minerals to your diet. Juices can be too cooling for some people this time of year so add lot’s of warming spices including ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Try to use organic produce when juicing to minimise your exposure to any potential nasties.

Here’s one of my favourites:

1 green apple

1 lemon peeled

1 stick celery

Bunch of kale

2-3 carrots

1” knob of root ginger

Day 2

How’s it going for you? How did you start your day, what did you have for breakfast?

What are you struggling with or is it a breeze so far?

I’ve already given some breakfast ideas, here’s one of my favourites, Chia porridge

¼ cup chia seeds

1 cup coconut/almond milk

1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients (make sure they are well mixed) and soak overnight. Chia seeds go very thick so if it’s too thick you can add more milk. Warm gently or have cold. Top with in season berries. Yummy!

Day 3

Your body is detoxing all the time through your liver, skin, lungs and kidneys. It is essential these detoxification organs are working optimally as eliminating these toxins from the body is important otherwise they will be reabsorbed and may contribute to poor health.

The liver is one of your detoxification organs and the herbs like milk thistle, dandelion and artichoke are known to help support liver functions and the body’s natural detoxification systems.

Regular bowel motions are important so that you are removing waste products from detoxification. If you are prone to constipation you need to look at increasing your water intake, and adding more soluble and insoluble fibre in the form of soaked flaxseeds/chia seeds, prunes and vegetables.

Consuming water is also important to hydrate the body including the skin and to help your kidneys flush out wastes products. If your urine is dark yellow, then you may be dehydrated and need more water.

If you are struggling with cravings especially sugar, try Patrick Holford’s cinnachrome, Biocare’s Sucroguard or Viridians 7 day sugar detox kit.

Exercise is also important to improve bowel motility and it also causes you to sweat, which is another great way to eliminate toxins.

As the skin is another elimination organ, dry skin brushing helps stimulate the lymphatic system to remove waste products.

Day 4

Did you get seduced by unhealthy snacking?

Here are some great snack ideas to have between meals.

  • Oat cakes with almond butter
  • Carrot/celery sticks with hoummous
  • Small handful berries with walnuts
  • Smoothie
  • ½ avocado with oat cakes

Remember to keep fruit to a minimum especially high sugar fruit, instead choose more vegetables or lower sugar fruits including berries, pears and apples. Sugar, like highly processed food can put a strain on the body so it’s best keep it to a minimum. Also use this time as an opportunity to help decrease your desire for sweet foods.

If you are prone to the 3 O’Clock slump or something sweet after dinner, be prepared and have a healthy snack on hand. Remember protein and good fats help balance blood sugar and so in turn helps keep cravings at bay.

Here’s a nice smoothie to try.

1 kiwifruit

1 cup almond milk

1 tbsp flax oil

1 heaped tbsp plant based protein (hemp, pea, rice)

1 tbsp milled chia/flaxseed

1 tsp supergreens/spirulina/barley grass/ cholella

Blend until smooth. Great for breakfast or to take to work as a snack.

Day 5

So how’s it going? You’ve got to day 5, have you fallen off the wagon or are you flying through?

If you are you may want to ditch the caffeine (tea, coffee, soft drinks) and alcohol for the remaining days if you haven’t already done so.  Try switching to herbal tea, water (with mint, sliced lemon or cucumber if you don’t like plain water), kombucha (also a great source of good gut bacteria), coconut water or barley cup, a great coffee alternative.

My favourite herbal tea at the moment is pukka tea especially Rooibos & Honeybush and 3 Tulsi (or holy basil as it’s called in India). It’s a great tea to lift you up and is reported to support the adrenals glands, so a nice little stress soother.

Day 6

Day 6 already! Have you found it hard giving up processed food or do you get cravings you can’t resist? If so why do you crave these unhealthy foods, are you an emotional eater or are you truly hungry.

How do you know if you’re hungry or trying to numb and emotion you don’t want to deal with.

Are you bored, anxious, sad, lonely, angry, nervous, are you eating to avoid these emotions?

If you are truly hungry you will be open to eating different foods and you can wait a while to eat. If it’s emotional hunger you need food now and it’s usually only one food you want and often if you eat it you are still not satisfied.

Keep a food and mood diary, if you feel it’s emotional hunger, have a glass of water, go for a walk, read a good book, if after 20 minutes you are still hungry choose a healthy snack instead.

Day 7

You made it, not so hard was it. Of course, you can keep going if you like or now you can try re introducing the foods you removed one at a time, just don’t go back to lot’s of processed food after all your hard work.

Just remember to load up with lot’s of vegetables, good quality protein and healthy carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables or wholegrains and of course don’t forget the good fats. Keep highly processed food to a minimum and of course watch the sugar,

The sugar recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) is less than 10% total calories or:

  • Less than 9 teaspoons (38 grams) per day for men
  • Less than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women
  • Less than 3-6 teaspoons (12 – 25 grams) per day for children

When you are reading labels on food, 4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon.

To calculate how many teaspoons of sugar per serving, divide the grams of sugar per serve by 4 .

The average bar of chocolate can contain 6 teaspoons, so watch out!

If you’d like to do an all in one detox then we have some great options in store.

NHP D-Tox support is a fantastic cleanse designed by Dr Marilyn Glenville, and contains specific ingredients to help support the digestive tract, herbs for liver function and probiotics. Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens is another fantastic choice.

You can also look at detoxing from social media, leave electronics out of the bedroom to have a restful sleep and allow the body repair at night.

Well done folks, see you soon for the next group detox.

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Reflexology , much more than a Foot Massage!

Some of the benefits of reflexology include its ability to stimulate nerve function, increases energy, boosts circulation, induces a deep state of relaxation, eliminates toxins, stimulates the central nervous system, prevents migraines, cleans up urinary tract conditions, speeds recovery after injury or surgery, helps relieve sleep disorders, reduces depression, and relieves pain. Furthermore, it can help ease the treatment of various cancer and even helps to soothe the pains of pregnancy, even those occurring after the baby is born.

Many of us work on our feet all day. Whether you work in an office, a factory, a field, a hospital, or anything in between, there is a good chance that you put a lot of weight and stress on your feet every day. However that stress can also manifest itself in the other parts of our body.reflexologyinfo

It is a similar situation to back pain. People get massages for back pain, so it makes sense that there should also be foot massages, right? Reflexology is much more than a foot massage, but at its foundation, that’s the easiest way to describe the process.

It involves the reflexologist applying pressure to specific areas in the hands, feet, and ears that affect certain reflex areas of the body. Imagine that there is a connection between zones of your feet and hands that represent certain areas of your body that can be adjusted or managed through these zones.

A lot of the theory behind reflexology has to do with aligning your qi, but even for those who normally don’t invest much in this discipline of health, there are plenty of scientific studies that have supported the claims of reflexologists.

For more information on this call 071 9153828 or drop in to the Wellness Centre, 3 Quay St, Sligo.

 

Reflexology , much more than a Foot Massage!

Some of the benefits of reflexology include its ability to stimulate nerve function, increases energy, boosts circulation, induces a deep state of relaxation, eliminates toxins, stimulates the central nervous system, prevents migraines, cleans up urinary tract conditions, speeds recovery after injury or surgery, helps relieve sleep disorders, reduces depression, and relieves pain. Furthermore, it can help ease the treatment of various cancer and even helps to soothe the pains of pregnancy, even those occurring after the baby is born.

Many of us work on our feet all day. Whether you work in an office, a factory, a field, a hospital, or anything in between, there is a good chance that you put a lot of weight and stress on your feet every day. However that stress can also manifest itself in the other parts of our body.reflexologyinfo

It is a similar situation to back pain. People get massages for back pain, so it makes sense that there should also be foot massages, right? Reflexology is much more than a foot massage, but at its foundation, that’s the easiest way to describe the process.

It involves the reflexologist applying pressure to specific areas in the hands, feet, and ears that affect certain reflex areas of the body. Imagine that there is a connection between zones of your feet and hands that represent certain areas of your body that can be adjusted or managed through these zones.

A lot of the theory behind reflexology has to do with aligning your qi, but even for those who normally don’t invest much in this discipline of health, there are plenty of scientific studies that have supported the claims of reflexologists.

For more information on this call 071 9153828 or drop in to the Wellness Centre, 3 Quay St, Sligo.

A review of Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a physical therapy that supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. It works on the whole person – not just with the physical body, but also with the psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of being.

Shiatsu originated in Japan from traditional Chinese medicine, with influences from more recent Western therapies.

Although shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese, in practice a practitioner uses touch, comfortable pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust the body’s physical structure and balance its energy flow.

It is a deeply relaxing experience and regular treatments can alleviate stress and illness and maintain health and well-being.

Call 071 9153828 to make an appointment or drop in to see how a treatment of Shiatsu can really make a difference to your health.