Updated: Sep 29, 2019
(Podcast #6 Transcript)
I mentioned in a couple of the earlier episodes about the role of food and how this can effect us. How that often it’s the ‘healthy’ things we are told to eat and drink every day that are allegedly good for us, could actually be changing the ways our cells communicate, and not in a good way. And then beyond how they communicate with one another, actually how they “speak” with the organisms that make up our microbiome; the bacteria and other things that keep our immune and digestive systems functioning properly.
This can have a significant effect on our brain function, our weight, our energy. AND our mental health.
Remember, the majority of neurotransmitters are produced in the gut eg around 90% of serotonin is believed to be produced in our gut system, and so the gut needs to be healthy in order to produce these
In this episode we are moving beyond just food as you’ll learn 8 key things to be aware of which may be wreaking silent havoc on your physical and mental health, and in turn hold you back from being your most awesome self and performing at your best.
All of these things are as a result of changes to our lifestyles over the last 50 years so which has resulted in a bit of a shock to our natural operating system. So it’s firstly important that we are aware of these things so we can at least start to do something about them.
Ok let's dive in.....
DISRUPTOR 1: ANTIBIOTICS
Antibiotics are a double-edged sword. There’s definitely a place for them in medicine, and targeted antibiotics can save lives e.g when we have a severe or life threatening infection
But, there’s a big problem with antibiotics … they literally carpet-bomb infections without pointing out which bacterium is the culprit. So when we take antibiotics, it’s like dropping a nuclear bomb in a thriving rainforest (with the rainforest being our gut microbiome). So we kill most of the microbes in our gut. And in some cases, it can take years for them to return and repopulating the gut is not as easy as just taking some probiotics.
Gut health is priority because it can have a serious knock on effect on the functioning of your body and mind. So unless you are seriously ill avoid them. Allow your body to overcome less severe illness naturally and this also in turn strengthens the immune system longer term
Another thing you may not know is that industrially produced meat can also contain a lot of antibiotics. remember you are what you eat ate (and then ultimately what you digest).
So how is it that antibiotics (oh and hormones too) end up in your food?
Some time ago, the food and farming industries discovered these antibiotics (and hormones) actually make pigs, chickens, and cattle grow faster, larger, and fatter. So, farmers began pumping their livestock with them.And if the effect they have on animals is to make them fatter then it’s no surprise they do the same to us.
These animals are also fed all sorts of crap they aren’t designed to eat and the antibiotics help to stop them getting sick because of their crap diet and the conditions they are kept in
There is now a routine use of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease worldwide in farming. Did you know 80% of antibiotics are used by the farming industry and only 20% by humans. And The World Health Organization (WHO) caution that farmers must stop using antibiotics on animals reared for food due to the serious human health risks. Yet it still continues.
So what action can we take?
Wherever possible opt for organic food and when it comes to animal produce go for animals that have been reared as nature intended - this means grass fed and without antibiotics & hormones.
DISRUPTOR 2: NON-STEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS
And because its such a mouth full its abbreviated to NSAIDs. They are everywhere. Brands you might recognise such as Advil, Diclofenac, Neurofen/Ibuprofen and others. NSAIDs damage the mucosal barrier in the small intestine, allowing things to pass through the intestinal wall into our bloodstream which should not be there and this then creates widespread inflammation in the body. Which is quite ironic considering they are anti inflammatory drugs.
The action to take here is just avoid NSAIDs as much as possible. And remember pain is not a “painkiller deficiency”.All pain has a root cause. So look to address the root cause of general pains (which is inflammation) avoiding things that cause inflammation and doing things that reduce it e.g. meditation, breathwork, anti-inflammatory foods, and looking for more natural means of pain relief. For example I find that high strength curcumin capsules - which is the active anti inflammatory compound in turmeric - work really well for mild pain. In fact I've used them for period pains and headaches and they seen to work pretty well for me and I know they work for others too, so perhaps something for you to investigate.
DISRUPTOR 3: STOMACH-ACID BLOCKERS
These are things like Zantac, Nexium and Rennie and Gavison (and I know theres different brands in different countries). Most of these drugs are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and they reduce stomach acid. However, the thing with stomach acid is as long as it stays where it belongs, it serves a really essential function, assisting in the breaking down of proteins.
Even more importantly, stomach acid is very powerful so only a few super-important bacteria can actually survive it. So, most bad bacteria we swallow can’t stay alive in that enviroment. Our stomach acid also helps break down and digest food AND actually protects us. Without stomach acid to kill them, disease-causing bacteria can overgrow and also creep into our small intestines, where they do not belong. It's here, that they disrupt the gut barrier and cause Leaky Gut Syndrome or stimulate our immune systems and create more inflammation!
This also a side effect of a low alkaline diet and I know theres a lot of confusion around this, but just know that alkalinity of the stomach gets confused with alkalinity of the blood. We do not want an alkaline stomach, we need that acid to be healthy.
What action can we take here? Most people with acid reflux and heartburn seem to benefit from changing what they’re eating to natural foods and avoiding all the processed stuff because that’s what often causes the problem in the first place, and then start taking HCL (hydrochloric acid tablets) & digestive enzymes. Yes MORE acid. I suffered for years with heartburn and acid reflux and yet within a week of doing this I suffered no more. It was a game changer for me and I know it has been for many other people. So if you’re suffering with this kind of thing, so you could give it a try and see what happens.
DISRUPTOR 4: ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
Hands up if you’ve ever heard that diet soda is healthier, or because its zero calories it's good for you? This is one of the biggest diet lies ever told. Products like sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, and other non-nutritive artificial sweeteners can be just as bad for your health as sugar. In fact they can be worse.
They change the gut microbiome, not just by killing good bacteria, but also by allowing the bad ones to thrive.
Also in addition to damaging your gut, whilst the artificial sweeteners were created in order to help you lose weight, the truth is they actually encourage the opposite.
If we look at our ancestors and our natural human design …. the taste of sweetness was only around during the summer – we had to wait for fruit to ripen in order to get it. This was the signal our body needed to store fat for the winter.But our bodies can’t tell the difference between sugar or calorie-free sweeteners. So, when we eat artificial sweeteners, the calories actual glucose don’t arrive in our bloodstreams, so then our brains feel cheated. Because we tasted sugar, but then it never came, so our brains get upset and then prompt us to want to get more. And then we go in search of sweet foods and have those sweet cravings. It can also really mess with our metabolism.
So what action to take? Avoid them like the plague. You want to minimise sugar of course because that’s not great in high doses but really avoid the artificial sweeteners. These are things like aspartame and things that are touted as healthy like "Splenda". Also, steer clear of soft drinks, sports drinks, and protein bars that containing these sweeteners. Trust me theyre everywhere. Just look at the labels. Instead, try small amounts of whole fruit, raw honey, or Stevia, because unlike other sugar substitutes, this sweetener comes from plants and is the one that most Functional Medicine Practitioners recommend.
DISRUPTOR 5: HORMONE DISRUPTORS
These are also known as endocrine disruptors. They are low-dose, estrogen-like chemicals that may interfere with our endocrine systems and cause negative developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune issues. They are bad news.Most of these hormone disruptors are man-made and are found in everyday products. And they are everywhere for example in plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, toys, cosmetics, toiletries, fragrances, pesticides, the list goes on.
When our hormones become disrupted it causes problems in our whole internal system and then ultimately results in a variety of symptoms which longer term may cause serious disease.
It also turns out, many of these chemicals are also used in processed foods – including so-called ‘healthy’ whole-grain products. To keep the products from spoiling, food companies put stabilizing agents like BPA in bread and other products. This is also used in plastic water bottles and teething toys. Also foods such as unfermented soy products can be hormonal disruptors (this is why i avoid soy). Its also one of these reasons some people struggle with their heath on a vegan diet.
These powerful endocrine disruptors are in countless products. So what action can we take?
Well, basically avoid things that have these hormone disruptors in them.
Avoid commercial baked goods, processed food and unfermented soy products.
Throw out Teflon and other nonstick coats cookware, and Aluminium as well to avoid that getting in your system! Instead, use conventional cookware such as stainless steel and cast iron, or if you really want to go non stick look for ceramic coating certified to contain no PTFE or PFOA.
Throw out containers made of plastic eg classic tupperwear. Instead, use glass or stainless steel containers. ad get rid of plastic wrap and plastic bags.
And especially dont heat up food or put hot food in plastic containers - the toxicity literally leaches out into food. So putting food in a plastic container and whacking it in the microwave is pretty deadly. Please don’t do it.
Avoid unnatural antibacterials eg hand sanitizers are really bad - and things with Triclosan in, and all antibacterial soaps.
And look at cosmetics and toiletries. If you’re adding this stiff to your skin ever day it does go into the blood stream and can cause issues with hormones. theres actually an app called Think Dirty and I highly highly recommend it. Its an app which you can use to check all products that you’re abut to buy or ones you already have (toiletries etc ) and it will give you the toxicity rating and a breakdown of that, so you know how toxic it is to your body. Its brilliant. Link in show notes
DISRUPTOR 6: PESTICIDES, HERBICIDES, INSECTICIDES
These are more dangerous than you may think. The suffix “cide” literally means “to kill.” Of course, farmers want pests to stay away from their crops. but when we ingest herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides they damage us too. These poisons find their way into our bodies, through our intestinal tracts and or our skin, and they activate certain genes within our cells, fundamentally changing the signalling within our bodies.
So the action is to avoid and go for organic where possible. I mentioned in a previous episode I mentioned the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen in a previous episode to help you prioritise. Also peel where possible because most of the toxicity is in the skin. And when washing fruit and veg a trick is one tablespoon of baking soda with 2 litres of water in a bowl, soak the fruit and veg for a few mins then rinse off. It helps to get rid of the nasty chemicals.
DISRUPTOR 7: BLUE LIGHT
In relation to sleep theres many other things that effect sleep we’ll explore in future episode). but blue light is a really bigone. Sleep deprivation has been shown to cause subtle changes to the gut flora and increased the abundance of bacteria associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and fat metabolism.
Humans are designed to live by sunlight and its seasonal changes. Our ancestors would wake up when it was light and start to feel sleepy when the sun had gone down - we had no artificial blue light only moonlight and fire. And before artificial light, longer days caused us to eat as much as we could to store fat for winter. On the flip side, shorter days gave us less time to hunt, so we had to burn the fat we stored in summer as fuel.
But, modern life is dominated by blue light from computer screens, TV, mobile phones, lightbulbs etc. They emit blue light, and this messes with our circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. It suppresses melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy.
Blue light also effects the “hunger” and “awake” hormones. So because we associate blue light with daytime, we’re tricking our bodies into thinking it’s forever summer. Our bodies think it’s always time to be looking for food in preparation for a time of scarcity – but in the modern world, that scarcity never comes.
There are several ways to minimize blue light. Easy ones are getting blue light blocking glasses and / or download apps that change the amount of blue or use “Night Shift” mode on phones to change the light emitted from the screen. Also avoid screens completely a couple of hours before bed. Now I know this is a massive challenge for most people. And actually the reasons for it can go quite deep so that’s something ll tackle another time .
Just do everything you can to avoid the blue light. It will really really help your sleep and your hormone balance.
So in terms of the first 7 disruptors, really just do everything you can to avoid them. It may be too tough to tackle them all at once, and if some go this stuff is new to you it may feel overwleming, so pick one at a time. Decide: I’m going to ditch sweeteners and then when that’s done move on to the next thing.
The final thing I wanted to mention is an 8th disruptor which is:
DISRUPTOR 8: TRAUMA & PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS
This is a big one. It negatively effects our gut and our cells and our genes. It's also one of the root causes for us eating shitty food that doesn’t nourish and energise us (along with biological addiction) and all other unhelpful things and behaviours. You can avoid all the other stuff and that will help, but if you don’t address this, if you don’t address psychological stress or past traumas then your body and brain function will suffer. Unfortunately theres no quick and easy way to deal with this and its very individual. I just mention it to make you aware. Often I see people who are making all the physical changes, they’re perfecting the diet, perfecting their environment etc but haven’t dealt with the emotional stuff and I find that can be the root of so many things.
Ok so that’s the 8 disruptors . I really hoe this episode has been enlightening or helpful and valuable for you in some way. If so please do share or leave a review on itunes. And if you’d like to connect with me please do so on the website www.laurajanebolton.com or on social media
Thank you for listening and have a vibrant day