What's the cause of your IBS?

What's the cause of your IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a problem I see so often in clinic and it is problematic on many different levels. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you may well have been suffering with it for years and, while a diagnosis can – at first– offer comfort in finally having a recognised problem, the satisfaction is short lived because often that’s where all support ends, and you’re left no further forward in actually fixing what the problem is. 

The difficulty begins because IBS is essentially meaningless; it’s a catch-all term used to encompass a huge variety of digestive issues. If you’re serious about getting to the bottom of the problem (no pun intended), I’m happy to discuss your symptoms and help find a way forward. You can book a free IBS health check with me by clicking here

In my experience, it’s likely to be one of the following five conditions.

1 SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)

Around 60% of people with IBS will have SIBO. Though you might have heard about good (and bad) bacteria in the gut, really what experts are talking about is the balance of bacteria in the large intestine: the colon. The small intestine shouldn’t have any bacteria, and the each day the body should perform a flush to sweep bacteria from the small intestine and into the large intestine. This flush is called the ‘migrating motor complex’. For a huge variety of reasons (historic food poisoning being the most common, but also low levels of stomach acid or adhesions play a role, among others) the bacteria are not swept away. The trouble is that these bacteria can ferment the food in your small intestine, causing gas, belching, bloating, pain and a variety of other symptoms, including constipation and/or loose stools, and even anxiety. A breath test can establish which gases are present, and we can devise an action plan based on your results. 

2 Lactose intolerance

This is when your body is not able to tolerate lactose, a type of sugar found naturally in milk and other dairy products. Essentially, bacteria in your intestine feed on these milk sugars, leading to a host of IBS symptoms, like bloating and gas, nausea, constipation or diarrhoea. It can go hand in hand with other digestive complaints, such as coeliac disease or increased intestinal permeability (‘leaky gut’). Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed via a simple at-home breath test. 

3 Fructose malabsorption

The symptoms are very similar to lactose intolerance. Fructose (which is found in fruit, honey and many processed foods) is a sugar, which, like lactose, is digested in the small intestine. Some people cannot absorb fructose, and what is not absorbed is fermented by intestinal bacteria, causing bloating, cramping, gas and distension of the stomach. You might also experience brain fog and headaches. A breath test will diagnose the condition. 

4 Dysbiosis

This is an imbalance in the levels of beneficial (good) and pathogenic (bad) bacteria in the large intestine or colon. This is now common due to overuse of antibiotics and alcohol, an increase in high sugar diets, and stress. Symptoms can vary from a sluggish bowel or diarrhoea, pain, bloating and flatulence, to chronic bad breath, joint pain, fatigue and food sensitivities. Dysbiosis is also implicated in a variety of health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. A stool test can help establish whether your gut bacteria are out of balance, along with a host of other markers that might be useful in getting to the root of your digestive problems. 

5 Yeast overgrowth

Where the gut environment becomes out of balance (due to dysbiosis), yeast can thrive. Diets high in sugar feed the yeast – although if you think you might have a yeast overgrowth, it’s worth noting that long-term yeast problems can mean that the yeast cells are pathogenic or disease causing, and that the yeast has switched its metabolism to also be able to digest protein and fat. Symptoms of yeast overgrowth include recurring thrush, gas or bloating, fatigue, bad breath, cravings for sweet foods, joint pain and brain fog. 

A stool test can establish the presence of candida or other yeast overgrowth. 

Some people struggle with digestive problems for years. If you are ready to make fixing your gut health a priority, I would love to work with you. Please click the link here to book your free IBS health check now. 

 

 

Should you go meat free?

Should you go meat free?

Unless you’ve been living under a stone for the last year, it can’t have escaped your notice that being vegan, vegetarian or at least mostly meat free has been big news. But could you take the plunge, and should you, even if you could?  

Sleep like a baby

Sleep like a baby

So many people I see in clinic struggle with the effects of poor sleep. In fact, it's often worn like a badge of honour but it is so NOT good for your stress levels, your mood, your weight or for health in general. So, in aid of National Sleep Awareness Week this week, I want to talk to you about why a good sleep is so important and how you can go about getting it!

Sugar substitutes

Sugar substitutes

One of the things I am asked about most as a nutritional therapist and health coach is sugar substitutes. “Surely honey is healthy?” I am asked, so here’s the low down on some of those sugar replacements you might think are healthy (and some that definitely aren’t).

Managing Endometriosis

Managing Endometriosis

For many women, the monthly cycle is a minor inconvenience to an otherwise amazing life. For others, their period – and the run up to it – can feel like a living hell. Endometriosis is a long-term chronic condition that occurs when cells that are normally only found inside the uterus embed and grow outside the uterus, often on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, covering the top of the vagina or else on intestines.  Does this sound familiar?

 

Why health and happiness is all in your head

Why health and happiness is all in your head

Achieving long-term health and energy is a balancing act. Quite simply, what you put into your mind may have as much of an impact as the food and supplements you feed your body.

10 ways to beat colds and flu

10 ways to beat colds and flu

When the temperature drops, the chance of you coming down with a cold or the flu increases significantly. It’s widely accepted you’ll get sick more often in the winter. That’s because you’re likely to be inside more and the common cold thrives better in dry air than where there’s humidity. And, when you spend more time indoors, you’re exposed to more germs. Here's what to do about that ...

You won't find happiness in a packet of biscuits (so sorry)...

You won't find happiness in a packet of biscuits (so sorry)...

I was interviewed today by my local BBC radio station about claims in the new book by Great British Bake Off finalist Ruby Tandoh, Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want, that the diet industry is broken, and what did I think about it. She's totally right. Here's why....

 

        
  
   
  
    
  
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  A (belated) Happy New Year. I'm so excited to be back in your inbox. I avoided the temptation to jump in on January 1st with advice on how to change your life for the better. So sorry, I was still – like most people in the world – finishing off the last of the Christmas chocolates before Real Life could begin. But now the kids are back at school, I'd like to share how you can leap into 2018 with REAL resolutions – and make them stick.   Same old, same old... On 1 January across the world, millions of us make lofty promises to ourselves. We’ll get healthy, go to gym, drink less wine and eat more greens. We plan to be perfect.  By February, most resolutions are gathering dust as we shake off the holidays and wrestle with the reality of work, friendship, parenthood and bills. It doesn’t happen to me so much these days because I have the skills to coach myself out of it but is this your reality?  Why can’t you follow through?  According to psychologists, even though you might want fast results, you procrastinate. Sustained effort is key to success, so by wanting too much and therefore spreading yourself too thin, you end up at the starting line, feeling defeated already (and even less inclined to begin all over again if you need to).  Resolutions are a healthy way to reboot your life – but you need to keep them real. The secret is to fashion long-term, reachable goals that contribute towards what everybody wants, in the end: happiness. Here’s how:   1.     Your attitude determines your altitude. The way you get there is more important than the goal. It’s no use mentally committing to a 10-mile run three times a week if you’re going to think about it, rather than do it. Instead, stop plotting and start doing: get up, put on your trainers and just exit the front door. Less detail, more action.   2.     Baby steps. Taking one step forward is infinitely better than standing still. If your guest room looks shabby, clear out the clutter, as a start. You might dream of a décor overhaul this year, but why wait until you have enough money and time? Those crusty magazines and broken children’s toys aren’t going to move themselves.   3.     Focus on pleasure, not pain. Diets are a common New Year goal – but why turn your meal times into a prison sentence? Sustainable, health-boosting plans, such as the Low GL way of eating, are fun, affordable and delicious. Many people associate ‘eating healthily’ with deprivation, rather than delight. Turn those thoughts around – each healthy bite you’re choosing is a gift to yourself.   4.     If it ain’t broke…why fix it? Perhaps you’re feeling content with life ‘as is’ right now, so don’t fall into the trap of confusing ‘wants’ with ‘needs’. Modern society is aspirational – everything must be bigger and better. Sometimes, though, things are lovely just as they are. That’s where gratitude comes in. Be grateful for the most insignificant bits of your life. Each act or thought of gratitude eventually fills your happiness tank.   5.     Swap bad habits for good ones. You might not want to give up your Wednesday croissant and hot chocolate fix, but you can. Just replace it with an a healthier, alternative ‘treat’. Many of my clients say swapping out their tea and biscuits for two squares of 75% dark chocolate and a handful of raw cashew nuts was a lot easier than expected. Choose your habits wisely – don’t allow them to choose you.   6.     Tell a friend. Voicing the possibility for change makes it more likely to happen. If you can rope a friend into keeping you accountable, so much the better. Accountability is part of the role of a health coach; keeping you in action, motivated and moving towards whatever it is that you want for yourself and your life. Real goals aren’t like wishing on stars – you don’t have to keep them a secret. And having a team behind you makes winning that much easier.   7.     Ignore the news. While keeping abreast of current affairs is important to most, there’s no need to depress yourself. Being wired to the world is addictive. You’re far more inclined to feel out of control, unhappy and blue if you’re constantly bombarded with bad news. Have an information-free day a week (and yes, that includes browsing Facebook) will help you feel more spiritually rested.   8.     Record it. Seeing your resolutions in black and white increases your chances of sticking to them. Have them ‘in your face’, where you can read them daily. Don’t be fanciful – be practical. The fridge, your daily diary or the car are great spots.   9.     Respect yourself. The slightest improvement is worth a cheer. Be proud of and acknowledge what you’ve achieved, no matter how small. Drinking three extra glasses of water a day, or de-cluttering a corner of the living room, are as much steps in the right direction as clinching a directorship at work.   10.  Explore, expand, experiment. Perhaps you have no idea where you’re headed. That’s okay. Treat the New Year as a chance to work out what makes you happy – and how to get there. This might be a good time to bring out the bucket list and tick something off. You never know what’s out there (and inside you) until you give it a go!  If you’ve decided to make 2018 the year you’ll fix those niggling health issues or  make a commitment to losing weight, don’t forget I invite all prospective clients a free introductory call where you’ll get to explore what is going on for you and get some pointers on how you can take the next step to fix it. If that sounds like what you need,  click here .       

A (belated) Happy New Year. I'm so excited to be back in your inbox. I avoided the temptation to jump in on January 1st with advice on how to change your life for the better. So sorry, I was still – like most people in the world – finishing off the last of the Christmas chocolates before Real Life could begin. But now the kids are back at school, I'd like to share how you can leap into 2018 with REAL resolutions – and make them stick. 

What to put on your Christmas wishlist

What to put on your Christmas wishlist

15 must-have kitchen gadgets you’ll actually use

Are your cupboards full of cooking gadgets you never use? Hands up if you have a pasta maker getting dusty in the shed? Clients in clinic often ask me what they really need to make healthy eating a breeze so here are my favourite must-have kitchen gadgets that you’ll actually use! Just in time to ask Santa…

 

 

The (surprising) health benefits of coffee

The (surprising) health benefits of coffee

Coffee is a much-maligned drink, with the downside more frequently talked about than the many positives. But right here you’ll find all the ammunition you need to drink coffee without the guilt. It really CAN be good thing but, like all good things, you need to know when to stop...

Can you be too healthy?

Can you be too healthy?

Good health is all about balance. Extremes, whether too much or too little are a bad thing. Too little effort when it comes to eating well or else over-doing it can create an imbalance in your life, which impacts on your resilience. Moderation is not sexy but it is the best way of finding a plan that is achievable and practical in the long run.  Eating a diet full of sugar and white carbs should be avoided, as should smoking, too much booze and Here's how to find the balance.

8 Secrets to body confidence on the beach

8 Secrets to body confidence on the beach

Does the thought of getting into swimwear fill you with dread? Do you spend all your time on the beach covered up and feeling self conscious instead of relaxing and enjoying your time away? Want to know how to be part of the Body Appreciation Club and learn the secret to feeling happy in your own skin? 

Build the best-ever salad

Build the best-ever salad

Aren't we lucky, it's been hot, hot, hot. Hopefully this is the start of good things to come! That means it's now officially salad weather. I see so many people in clinic who are having great salads but they are putting absolutely everything they can think of on the thing, then eating the same salad day after day. However great it was to start with, it gets totally boring. If you need a little salad guidance, check out out my guide to creating your best-ever salad day after day. You can get it here: http://bit.ly/2qixkIo

How to have a happy, healthy Easter

How to have a happy, healthy Easter

I love this time of year, especially when the weather is good but, like Christmas, this is the time of year my clients fear most. Chocolate is all around; in every shop and TV commercial. It’s enough to melt away your good intentions and, with this much pressure, binging feels almost inevitable.  So let’s fix that.

Get your mojo back

Get your mojo back

Think back to a time when your mojo cup was full to the brim. You were bursting with energy, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, vivacious, unstoppable, invincible, utterly fabulous. What about now? Has your mojo cup sprung a leak? Are you peering in to find nothing but the dregs? Here's how to fix it. 

How to be happy, lucky and healthy

How to be happy, lucky and healthy

How is it that some people are so damn lucky? And happy. Nothing seems to go wrong for them. In fact, everything seems to go so right. All. The. Time. They’re never stressed by the ‘life stuff’ around them and just seem to be having a better time of it than anyone else. Annoying, right?  You could be that person – yes, REALLY – in a few weeks. Seriously. Science is absolutely behind me on this one; you really can change how happy you are. All it takes is a bit of a gamble on something you might think is a bit wacky, hippified or ‘out there’ and 5 minutes of your time every single day with no excuses. ‘What is it?’ I hear you cry.

30 sneaky ways to increase your veg

30 sneaky ways to increase your veg

It can be a challenge to eat five portions of fruit and veg each day even when you like the stuff. And now a new report suggests that eating 10 portions is what we need to stay healthy for longer. Most people don’t come nearly close to having enough, and I bet you’re wondering how the hell you’re going to manage that. I’m going to show you how.

Fertility foods to get pregnant

Fertility foods to get pregnant

There’s no doubt that good nutrition and fertility are inextricably intertwined so, when you’re trying to get pregnant, eating well REALLY matters. Eating the right things in the right amounts and the right time will boost your chances of seeing that BFP. Here’s how.