What Medicines are hiding in your spice rack?

How Did My Health End Up Like This?

The BIGGEST QUESTION i’ve been asked in clinic since the BEGINNING.

As a gut health expert, I thought I had it all figured out. Yet, after the birth of my son, Harvey, I realised just how much we might be missing. Many adults are shocked by their symptoms when they come to see me in clinic. These range from:

  • Eczema
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog,
  • Weight gain,
  • Bloating and other digestive symptoms
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Thyroid symptoms
  • And that’s just to name a few.

Now, I understand why and how they might have all started. In clinical practise I often suspected it begun as babies but I often didn’t have the evidence. I was always looking for an event that triggered it for my adult clients, i/e taking a trip to a third world county and getting food poisoning or asthma as a child, or maybe they were just in poor health as a baby! I would often ask if they were formula feed or breast feed. (Little did I know that when it came to breast feed it wasn’t that SIMPLE!)

One of the biggest risks for millennials and beyond is our overconfidence in gut health knowledge. I’ve given countless talks, written articles, and provided advice on gut health, all rooted in solid information. However, the landscape has changed, and like the term “stress,” “gut health” has become oversimplified.

Working with experts and reflecting on my own clinical experiences, I see that gut health begins at birth and requires more than a DIY approach. The question I hear most often is,

“Why do I have these symptoms?”

The answer is complex, but it often starts with an imbalance in gut bacteria from birth.

There is a lot of judgment among mums about birth methods and feeding choices. I’ve faced criticism for having a C-section, but the real issue isn’t how the baby is born or fed. Whether a baby is born via C-section or vaginally, and whether they are breastfed or formula-fed, gut health is crucial. Breastfeeding doesn’t guarantee optimal gut health, if the baby can’t digest the milk properly. LITTLE humans DO NOT digest breast milk properly if they don’t have enough “good gut” bacteria at birth.

Without them, they risk weak immune systems, frequent illnesses, skin conditions, low energy, and potential overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This imbalance can lead to yeast infections, candida overgrowth, or parasitic infections and a whole host of other conditions.

In Harvey’s case, despite being exclusively breastfed and him having no outward symptoms (ie/ eczema, rashes, constipation, allergies, bloating, dark rings under his eyes, reflux, craddle cap, getting sick, lifelessness, missing development milestones) his gut test showed a lack of essential “good gut” bacteria needed to digest breast milk. This revelation was eye-opening—breastfeeding alone isn’t enough if the baby can’t process and absorb the nutrients from the milk. I was really shocked by Harvey’s stool test results full stop! I was amazed at how little good gut bacteria he was born with and the conditions this could lead to in his early years of life. At birth he already had a candida over growth, the hospital environment had wiped out a lot of his good gut bugs and he had a lot of commensal gut bacteria (these ones are the ones to watch in my adult client stool tests as well!)

Gut health also requires mums to eat the right foods, especially during breastfeeding. Spices and nutrient-rich foods are essential for both mum and baby. As children grow, introducing them to a variety of spices can significantly improve their gut health and increase their “good gut bacteria”, while it’s not going to be as effective for us adults in terms of a significant shift in our bacteria it is REALLY important we are also eating herbs and spices daily in our meals or drinks, especially if we are thinking of planning a family or breastfeeding. .

It is my FIRM belief we must look beyond surface solutions and understand the deeper needs of our gut health. It is not as simple as take any supermarket probiotic when our children take antibiotics, or haphazardly eating fermented foods sometimes. If we are going to have thriving children that grow into adults that don’t rely on the health care system we need to approach gut health from a new angle. It’s time to move past judgment and focus on providing the right support and education for women so WOMEN can first thrive and then birth health optimised babies. This is essential for our children’s health and the generations beyond.

Make sure you are spicing up your health with the colours of your kitchen.

Some essential herbs and spices to start cooking with and adding into yours and your children’s diets to set them up to have the BEST gut health:

  • Daily fermented foods and drinks
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamon
  • Clove
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Lemon and lime skin
  • Stewed apples
  • As many colourful veggies as possible
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Organic Apple cider vinegar
  • Omega 3 supplement or lots of organic salmon and fish

Please note this list isn’t for every health condition but with a focus on gut health for our children. For adults often you will need to be on a supplement protocol to support parasite cleanses, candida, fungus, mould and re balancing your microbiome. The longer you have had symptoms and the more chronic your health conditions the more likely diet alone isn’t enough to heal your symptoms. (on a personal note, I am not just using diet alone to heal Harvey’s gut. I am using targeted supplement support as well, as I want him to thrive as fast as possible and turn his stool results around so we can start optimising his body and his introduction to solid foods so he doesn’t end up REACTING to a RANGE of foods and create health conditions and symptoms.)

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