Changing Habits Healthy Eating Programs & Food Education Sun, 30 Apr 2017 14:22:17 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 Changing Habits 32 32 A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:08:48 +0000

What Exactly is a Ketogenic Diet?

Ketogenic diets seem to be the latest diet trend at the moment. But what exactly is a ketogenic diet? It’s a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet with moderate amounts of protein. It involves drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with quality fat. The reduction in carbohydrates puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

What Does Ketosis Do To My Body?

The ‘keto’ in a ketogenic comes from the fact that it makes the body produce small fuel molecules called ‘ketones’. Ketones are an alternative source of fuel for the body and they’re used when glucose is in short supply. These ketones are produced in the liver from fat when you eat very little carbs. The ketones are then used as fuel throughout the body, including the brain.

When you change to a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Many researchers and health professionals say it can be a great diet to eat if you’re looking to lose some weight. Other benefits of a ketogenic diet include stabilised blood sugar levels, improved mental focus; you will experience less hunger by staying satiated longer and have sustained energy levels.

Photo source from Ask Dr Matthew

In Simple Terms

A Ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat diet that shifts the body’s metabolism away from using carbs (glucose) as fuel, towards fat and ketones. Your body will become fat-adapted.  

Watch this video for a visual explanation of Ketosis by Dr. Axe;

What Do I Eat on a Ketogenic Diet?

Ideally, the fewer carbohydrates you eat, the better. Many people aim to keep their carbs under 50g per day and some aim to consume as little as 20g per day. A rough guideline that a lot of people like to follow is 10% energy from carbohydrates, 15-25% protein and 70% from quality fats.

Foods to Avoid on a Ketogenic Diet

Here is a list of foods that need to be dramatically reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:

  • High sugary foods: cake, cookies, ice cream, lollies, fruit juice, soft drinks etc
  • Alcohol
  • Wheat and wheat based products: cereals, pasta, bread etc
  • Starchy vegetables: sweet potato, potato, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, beetroot etc
  • Grains: rice, corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, oats etc
  • Fruit: All fresh and dried fruit except small amounts of berries
  • Legumes: chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, peas etc
  • Low fat diet products
  • Refined vegetable fats and oils
  • Processed, packaged and refined foods

Foods to Consume on a Ketogenic Diet

Here is a list of foods that can be enjoyed on a ketogenic diet:

  • Leafy greens: vegtables: cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli etc
  • Other vegetables: zucchini, asparagus, green beans, onion, garlic, squash, celeriac, avocado, tomato etc
  • Fresh and dried herbs: basil, oregano, dill, rosemary, thyme etc
  • Spices: cinnamon, chilli, garam masala etc
  • Quality grass-fed and free-range meats: turkey, duck, chicken, beef, lamb etc
  • Seafood: fats: duck fat, lard, tallow, butter, ghee etc
  • Other fats: olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil, coconut oil etc
  • Others: Chia seeds, nuts, seeds, coconut cream/milk/yoghurt etc
  • Fruit: Berries (preferably organic)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy: (if tolerated) high quality sources of cream, cheese and butter/ghee
  • Condiments: cashew cheese, guacamole, homemade mayonnaise, tomato sauce and other homemade sugar-free dips/sauces
  • Fermented foods: kimchi, coconut yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut etc.

Photo source from ‘Diet Doctor’

As a general rule of thumb, stick to fresh, whole foods from nature. You should be aiming to eat foods naturally high in quality fats. This includes fatty cuts of meat, avocadoes, coconut products, nuts, seeds, eggs, olive oil, butter, salmon and so on, alongside your allowed vegetables and leafy greens.

But Isn’t Fat Bad For You?

Let’s clear up the myth that fat is bad for you. In fact, humans need fat to be healthy. There are good quality fats from nature that we can enjoy in abundance, and then there are manipulated, refined and highly processed fats and oils that should be completely avoided.

The fats and oils that should be avoided include vegetable oils and fats. There are a few reasons for this; they contain high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, many of them are genetically modified, promote inflammation within our bodies and they have a very lengthy refining process they have to go through.

You can read in detail the process these fats and oils have to go through and which are the ones you should be avoiding in my blog ‘Why I Never Consume Vegetable Oils’.

If you are still questioning whether you can consume such a high amount of fats, lets go through some of the facts.

  1. Every membrane of every cell and every organelle inside cells is made up of fats
  2. Healthy bile release requires fat
  3. Vitamins A, D, E & K are all fat-soluble vitamins, this means they need fat to be absorbed properly
  4. Cholesterol balance requires plenty of fat. This is one HUGE area of confusion. I recommend you read the ‘Cholesterol’ chapter in Changing Habits Changing Lives and Changing Habits Cholesterol report so you can begin to educate yourself and learn the truth.
  5. Blood sugar balance requires fat
  6. Hormone balances requires fat
  7. Quality fats have been found to enhance our immunity
  8. Detox requires fat
  9. Weight loss and weight management require fat
  10. Eating saturated fats DOESN’T cause heart disease.

You can read in more detail why it’s so important for us to consume quality fats in my blogs ‘The Many Benefits of Fat’ and ‘Real Butter is Good For You’.

What About Exogenous Ketone Supplements – Can I Just Take Those Instead?

Another factor to consider when trying out a ketogenic diet is Exogenous Ketone Supplements. What is this you ask?

Exogenous Ketones have become an increasingly popular supplement since they were introduced on the market in 2014. Exogenous Ketones bodies are just ketone bodies that are ingested through a supplement. However, like any processed supplement there is often a lot of misinformation surrounding these products, so always do your own research on the ingredients and how they were processed.

While taking an exogenous ketone supplement may be a short-term fix for some people, it’s really not the answer for long-term health. It’s also very expensive; the price can range anywhere from $100 – $300 per month depending on the amount you take.

Additionally, it is not recommended to simply just take these ‘magic’ supplements while still maintaining a diet that may be full of refined, processed foods full of sugar, vegetable oils, preservatives, flavours and additives.

These supplements are not sustainable for the health of your body or for the environment. If you have more questions about these Keto supplements, want to learn what the ingredients are and how they can affect your body, then I highly recommend you read Cyndi’s blog ‘Ketosis Can We Achieve It In A Pill?’. You can also read more about Exogenous Ketone Supplements HERE.

What questions do you have about Ketosis that you want us to answer for you?

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Nutritionist

]]> 0
Help Your Body Heal Naturally After Surgery Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:53:47 +0000

If you missed Part 1 to this blog series, click here to read all about how I prepared my body for surgery. Recently I had emergency surgery to remove all four of my wisdom teeth. The surgery I had required me to have general anaesthetic which renders you unconscious, so you’re relaxed and unable to feel pain. It also shuts down your ‘body systems’ for hours, so it takes a while for those systems to return to normal. Fortunately for me, I’m in the right profession so I know exactly what I needed to do in order to begin nourishing my body and healing my gut again after the damage caused from the stress and drugs my body had received.  

As I was leaving the hospital, the nurse handed me a bag full of a concoction of pain killers, antibiotics and different medications. I personally opted not to take any of them because of the additional damage it would have caused to my already compromised gut flora. Those types of drugs would have stripped my body of its natural ability to fight infection and ward off illness. Yes, pharmaceuticals can have their place, but I believe they shouldn’t be taken unless you absolutely have to. Take a look at this article by Chris Kresser, explaining how even just one round of antibiotics can be lethal to our flora and may permanently alter it.

Due to the amount of stress and drugs my body endured during surgery, I made sure I was prepared to fight for a speedy recovery using real food as my medicine. I truly believe that you are designed to heal yourself in most cases. The following information is how I managed to heal and nourish my own body quickly after surgery and avoid infection.

This is what my diet looked like to help me to recover quickly

Since I know that digestion is the corner stone of health and immunity, it’s extremely important that I consumed food that was easy to digest, incredibly nourishing and rich in fibre, probiotics and enzymes.

My usual diet is free from all inflammatory foods such as gluten, wheat, dairy (except grass-fed butter/ghee), eggs (as I cannot tolerate them), sugar, vegetable oils and grains. It sounds like I don’t eat much, but in fact it’s the opposite. My everyday diet consists of real, whole, fresh foods from nature, quality fats, organic meats, organ meats, seafood and lots of naturally probiotic rich foods.

As I knew I wouldn’t be able to chew for at least 7-10 days, I prepared lots of nourishing, pureed foods, including:

  • Bone Broth: The gelatin contained in bone broth helps to heal, seal and soothe the gut lining and in doing so, can be very helpful for reducing intestinal inflammation, reversing leaky gut and other digestive problems. It also aids with sleep, boosts immunity and nutrient absorption, aids detoxification, supports adrenal health as well as skin, nails, hair and teeth health. I used bone broth as the base of all my soups and purees, and would drink a cup of warm broth with turmeric, lemon juice and pepper mixed into it each morning.

  • Soups and Purees: When you puree food, this takes an enormous amount of stress off your pancreas and other digestive organs because the food is partially pre-digested. It is absorbed and assimilated very easily, with minimal symptoms of incomplete or poor digestion such as bloating, gas and food remaining in the digestive tract for long periods of time. The nutrients from the food are much more readily available when food is pureed. My go-to soup/puree was this ‘Cauliflower & Herb Detox Soup’. I added in a lot more grass-fed butter because it’s a fantastic source of minerals, vitamins, choline, butyric acid, healthy fatty acids and has so many health promoting properties which you can read more about here and here.

  • Smoothies: I made my ‘Keto Green Detox Smoothy’ quite a lot because it’s loaded with greens, live enzymes, probiotics, vitamins, minerals and other high quality healing fats. I also froze a lot of my smoothies into ice-blocks so it would help to soothe my sore gums.

  • Fermented Juices: I created lots of different fermented drink concoctions. One of them was my ‘Pineapple, Turmeric & Ginger Juice’ which was a beautiful way to combat inflammation, boost immunity and get my daily dose of probiotics and enzymes. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which is associated with the prevention of infection and injury, aids in speeding up wound healing and supports digestion. Another fermented juice I created was my ‘Beetroot Liver Tonic’. It’s very easy for our livers to get overburdened, so I had this concoction daily because of its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which has a great effect on the various detoxification pathways of our body, especially the liver.
    Drinking fermented smoothies and juices will ensure you’re getting all the good stuff from fruit and vegetables while allowing your digestive tract to take a rest.

  • Liver Pate: After my surgery, for a few days I was completely exhausted. I had no energy whatsoever and I was constantly on the verge of feeling like I was going to faint. Sometimes you just need a real food nutrient boost, especially when faced with certain health challenges. Liver is a great food to add to your diet if you are anaemic, low on energy or fatigued. In order for me to regain my energy levels back, I had liver pate twice a day for 10 days in a row because that’s what my body needed. Liver plays a key role in rebuilding nutritional deficiencies; it contains anti-fatigue factors and all the B Vitamins, particularly rich in B12 and iron. I knew when my body no longer needed that amount of liver because my cravings for it stopped and I even struggled to eat even just 1 tablespoon of pate. It’s amazing how our bodies send us signals and signs!

  • Fermented Foods: I could only eat my fermented smoothies/juices/tonics and the Kultured Wellness Coconut Yoghurt & Kefir. I made sure I had these every few hours throughout the day to ensure I was rinsing my mouth with loads of beneficial bacteria. These types of homemade fermented foods are not only teeming with beneficial pre and probiotics that aid in repopulating the good bacteria in our guts and reducing the harmful bacteria that can cause indigestion; they also decrease inflammation, aid hormone balance and digestion, increase immunity, fight bacterial infections, viruses and prevent them from spreading, aid in detoxification and increase the absorption of nutrients and minerals. I was even using the Kultured Wellness Coconut Yoghurt as a face moisturiser to reduce the swelling of my jaw/ face and to improve and nourish my skins microbiome. It honestly worked wonders!

Here is a look at some of the supplements I took to speed up my healing and recovery after surgery and to act as natural pain relief.


  • CBD Oil: CBD is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant and is sold legally (for now) because it does not produce the ‘high’ that THC does. CBD Hemp oil is regarded as one of the richest concentrations of cannabidol (CBD) on the market. It provides therapeutic benefits such as; reducing nausea and vomiting, combats inflammation, anxiety, depression, acts as pain relief and aids with sleep. As I wasn’t taking pharmaceutical pain killers, I chose to take this instead which really helped with my sleep when the pain was almost unbearable.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric has been playing a big role in my life of late because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s even argued to be the most powerful herb on the planet. In fact, a number of studies have even reported that utilising this herb is more beneficial than anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical medications. Turmeric aids with liver detoxification, contains antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties, is a natural pain reliever, is rich in antioxidants and more. As well as adding turmeric to my fermented juices, soups, purees and broth, I wanted to make sure my doses were quite high to ensure a speedy recovery, so I also took this turmeric and ginger supplement.

Nature’s antibiotics

Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV can help to disinfect and sterilise because it contains antibiotic and antiseptic properties. Most germs can’t survive in the acidic environment that the vinegar creates. Because I was trying to prevent my teeth getting infected, I would swish some around in my mouth every few hours.

Coconut oil: There are many benefits of coconut oil. It has naturally occurring anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-microbial properties and is packed with antioxidants. You can use it to boost your immune system and blood sugar levels, as well as improving your brain function.

Herbs and spices: I tried to include a variety of herbs and spices in my diet; thyme, cinnamon, basil, rosemary, turmeric, cayenne pepper, chili, cloves, anise, garlic, ginger, mustard seed and fennel. If you have a high temperature and feel a cold coming on, fenugreek tea will help to break the fever and cause sweating. Garlic is a superb antiseptic and helps to protect against infections. Sage, thyme and rosemary tea infusions can be used as a gargle for sore throats due to its antiseptic properties.

Oregano oil: is considered antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antiviral and antifungal. It can be used internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, respiratory problems, digestive upset, and even the common cold. The oil also helps to heal and strengthen the immune system.

My natural detox remedies

  • Fats: This one may seem strange; however I made sure I included lots of good quality fats in my meals to ensure stable blood sugar levels and satiation. They are essential for healthy detoxification processes. I included coconut oil, avocado, animal fats, grass-fed butter/ghee and inca inchi oil.

  • Epsom salt baths: encourages a gentle sweat to release toxins through the skin. I also went to The Float Space for float therapy which aids detoxification, stress-relief, enhances healing, rejuvenation and recovery, manages pain, boosts immunity and magnesium absorption.
  • Activated Coconut Charcoal: is a highly absorbent material with millions of tiny pores that can capture, bind, and remove up to 100 times the charcoal’s own weight in toxins. I took this to help to alleviate some of the negative side effects from the drugs and to mop up all the toxins. 
  • Essential oils: I also diffused lots of different essential oils. Eucalyptus is powerful; it offers antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It’s often used as a decongestant for fever, flu, coughs, sinus and disinfecting rooms. Lavender is favoured for its antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties. Lemon has astringent and antiseptic properties; it’s great for clearing the head, energising an aching body and boosting circulation. Tea-tree is a household all-rounder as it holds antiseptic, antifungal, antibiotic and antiviral properties.
  • Rest: this might go without saying, but rest is perhaps the single most important part of recovery.

  • Being around loved ones: It’s known that having loved ones present and actively encouraging recovery can make a profound difference to your health and healing.

I will attest to the fact that a diet of nourishing, wholefoods should be the priority when considering healing after surgery. When we rest up, de-stress and feed the gut good, clean, healthy fuel it is of course more likely to function better and heal faster. For anyone who may be seeking a little bit of support following surgery, I suggest starting with some of the above information, monitoring your progress and moving further if and when you are advised by your health care professional.

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Nutritionist

]]> 0
How to Naturally Prepare Your Body for Surgery so it Recovers FAST Tue, 18 Apr 2017 03:49:55 +0000

In less than 24 hours I went from planning my weekend to planning emergency surgery… well, not quite ‘emergency surgery’ as I was lucky enough to have five days to prepare my body for it. But out of nowhere, one of my wisdom teeth got infected and started to cause me angst! What’s worse is that after having x-rays, it was evident that the tooth that was giving me issues was sitting up against one of my nerves. Hmmm no wonder I was in agony.

After seeing a few different dentists, it was pretty clear that I couldn’t just get my wisdom tooth extracted in the chair under local anaesthetic; the risk of paraesthesia (possibly permanent altered sensation of the lip, tongue, facial skin and mouth as a result of nerve trauma) was too high. No way did I want to have half of my face paralysed!

After having a consultation with my surgeon, I was booked into to have all four of my wisdom teeth extracted surgically in five days’ time. Another stressful aspect of this situation was that I HAD to have intravenous antibiotics. I was told ‘it’s just standard procedure’.

I asked my surgeon if I could be an exception and I even asked my holistic doctor for a medical exemption. I was so adamant I didn’t want to have any form of antibiotics (let alone intravenous antibiotics) near or in my body, especially as I have spent the last three years rebuilding and repairing my gut health.

Unfortunately I had no luck because as my wisdom tooth was infected, it would have made the operation quite risky, resulting in septicaemia or osteomyelitis. I felt pretty devastated hearing this news, however I knew I had five days to prepare my body for the surgery, so I went to work … and as always, I turned to real foods to use as my medicine.

I’ve put together some tips that will make not only your lead up to surgery smoother but your recovery a whole lot easier, enabling you to return to health quicker.

As every surgery is different depending on the specific health issue, you might choose to adapt some of these tips and recommendations based on your own individual health situation.

6 Ways To Prepare Your Body for Surgery


1. Turmeric

There are currently over 7,000 studies researching the efficacy of turmeric and its active (anti-inflammatory) component curcumin. Turmeric is also antibacterial, is a natural pain killer as it reduces inflammation, boosts immunity, aids liver detoxification, aids your body to deal with stress, its antioxidant rich, aids digestion and contains many more health benefits.

The day I realised I had a tooth infection, I started drinking a Turmeric shot.

  • 1tsp of Turmeric with a pinch of black pepper
  • Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp of Kultured Wellness coconut yoghurt (for the high quality fats and probiotics)

All of these ingredients ensured that the curcumin component in the turmeric was absorbed more effectively. I did this 3 or 4 times a day for two days in a row. The results spoke for themselves, the very next day the pain was almost completely gone and the inflammation had subsided considerably.

Unfortunately I couldn’t continue taking the turmeric leading up to the surgery as I later found out I had to avoid all blood thinners, even natural ones such as turmeric, ginger, garlic and olive leaf. As soon as I got home from surgery, I continued to have my daily turmeric shots.

  • Disclaimer: thin blood can be dangerous during surgery since it may not clot properly. It’s important you talk to your doctor or surgeon so you know which medications, supplements and real foods will need to be avoided and for how long.

2. Coconut Oil Pulling

This was another one of my saving graces. Oil pulling is a fantastic oral detoxification practice. You simply swish a few teaspoons of coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. I opted to add in a few drops of the highly potent oregano oil for maximum antiseptic and antifungal properties, as oregano oil is also a natural antibiotic and aids in the treatment of infections. I did this three times a day, as it helped to manage my pain levels and reduce the inflammation surrounding my tooth. Another added benefit was that my teeth got whiter and brighter each time.

3. Probiotics

Anyone who knows me will know how much of an advocate I am for gut health. Like Hippocrates, I truly believe that ‘all disease begins in the gut’ – click here for 6 easy ways to support your gut health.  So I made sure I did everything I possibly could to prepare my gut and body the best way I could for the unavoidable antibiotics and drugs. My probiotics of choice are the coconut yoghurt and coconut water kefir cultures from Kultured Wellness. I use them because of their therapeutic grade probiotic potency. The Kultured Wellness coconut water kefir contains 27 billion CFU per cup, and the coconut yoghurt contains 42 billion CFU per cup. These cultures are one of my favourite foods ever as there are so many benefits. They help to balance hormones, boost immunity, increase energy, fight infection due to their antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, increase antibodies, contains enzymes and a variety of beneficial probiotic strains, help to remove toxins from the body aiding in restoring a healthy flora within the body.

Due to my sore mouth and painful and infected tooth, I was on a liquid diet because chewing was just too painful. These are just a few of the recipes I made that incorporated a whole host of nourishing, nutrient dense real foods. 

Probiotic Drinks I Consumed:

  • I also juiced celery, parsley, lemon, lime, cucumber and basil – a great tonic for the kidneys
  • Lemon & Beetroot Detox Kefir (mine was fermented for 24-36hrs)

  • I also made a Berry Protein Smoothie made of: organic berries fermented in Kultured Wellness coconut yoghurt and kefir, chia seeds, vanilla, lime juice, camu camu powder, stevia, avocado, collagen and ice.

For a break from juices and smoothies, I would make up a small batch of them and add them into ice-block moulds so I had something cold and soothing for my mouth and gums.

4. Bone Broth – Gelatin – Collagen

All three of these foods provide a bioavailable form of minerals, trace minerals, calcium, magnesium and amino acids which are essential for healing of the digestive tract, hormonal balance, digestion, sleep, liver detox, skin and hair, nails and TEETH health. Additionally, the amino acids found in these foods promote probiotic balance and growth. This is how I used all three foods.

  • Bone broth: I sipped on this throughout the day and used it as the base of my soups/purees
  • Gelatin: I added in extra gelatin to the bone broth I drunk throughout the day
  • Collagen: Unlike gelatin, collagen doesn’t ‘gel’ or ‘set’ so it can be easily stirred into juices, dips, smoothies and soups. I also used it as my nutrient dense ‘protein powder’ in smoothies. This kept me feeling satisfied, not heavy or too full.

5. Loading up on Veggies

It would have been really easy for me to just stick to sipping on bone broth, smoothies and juices leading up to my surgery. But the downside to that is that my body wouldn’t have been receiving enough nutrient dense vegetables and fibre. Fibre is really important for balancing blood sugar levels, aiding detoxification, promoting a healthy gut microbiome and decreasing inflammation. So the high fibre vegetables I ate were:

  • Avocado – which I added to every smoothie I drank
  • Berries and figs – I fermented these and added them to my berry smoothie
  • Onions, garlic and leek – I added these to my pureed soups
  • Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli – These were the base of my pureed soups
  • Chia seeds – I added these into my smoothies.

I made my Cauliflower Puree in many different ways by adding in different ingredients to keep changing up the flavour profile. Sometimes I would add in:

  • dehydrated broth, collagen and/or coconut oil
  • fresh herbs – dill, thyme or oregano
  • vegetables – zucchini, broccoli, garlic, onion, leek, bokchoy
  • spices – chilli, cumin, coriander or curry powder
  • extra bone broth if I wanted it more ‘soupy’ and less thick.

If I felt like I hadn’t had enough protein and fats I would add in extra gut healing grass-fed butter or ghee along with slow cooked chicken meat or fish, both pureed nicely into these soups/ purees.

6. Stress Management

Stress adds so much havoc to your body, as it suppresses the immune system, decreases nutrient absorption, slows down the blood flow to the digestive system and turns off or turns down our body’s healing processes.

We know how important stress management is, however sometimes it’s a lot easier said than done and is a constant work in process. However, if stress is not managed, it weakens the immune system over time which doesn’t allow the body to fight off bad bacteria and viruses, resulting in systemic inflammation and leaky gut.

This is not something I wanted to happen to me, I needed my body to work to the best of its ability so I could have a speedy recovery. To decrease my stress levels, I:

  • had magnesium salt baths with lavender oil before bedtime
  • walked along the beach for relaxation and to connect with the earth
  • meditated at least once a day (even if for just 15 minutes)
  • watched a funny movie or TV series to allow my body to release more tension.

There were many other things I also implemented or changed in my diet and lifestyle leading up to my surgery; however the ones above had the most dramatic and positive effect on MY body.

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Nutritionist

Disclaimer: the goal of this blog post was to share my own personal experience and information as I seek to use nutrition and a natural lifestyle to improve my own health. All the information in this blog post is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult your physician or qualified health care practitioner on any serious matters regarding your health.


]]> 0
Epigenetics and the Influence of Our Genes Wed, 12 Apr 2017 05:37:53 +0000

epigenetics, genes, generations

“Genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.” Caldwell Esselstyn

Do our genes have an influence on our health?

You might have heard many people around you say, ’My Mum’s overweight, so that’s why I’m heavy too, it’s in my genes’ or ‘My dad had a heart attack at 45, so now I’m prone to heart disease too.’

Is this really what’s happening or is there something much bigger at stake? Let’s start off by looking at our genetics. Our cells are the working units of our bodies which receive instructions to carry out activities from our DNA, which is made up of over 3 billion nucleotide bases. Within the 3 billion bases, there are over 20,000 genes. Our genes are specific sequences of these bases that provide instructions within our bodies to make important proteins that carry out our bodily and life functions.

So what is epigenetics and what does it mean for us?

 ‘Epigenetics is a mechanism for regulating gene activity independent of DNA sequence that determines which genes are turned ‘on’ or ‘off’ either in a particular cell type, in different disease states or in response to a physiological stimulus’ 1.

epigenetics, switching off genesPut simply epigenetics affects how our genes are read by our cells. They can literally become dormant ‘turned off’, like flicking off an electricity switch, or become active ‘turned on’.

Certain circumstance in life can literally cause genes to be expressed or silenced over time. Our environment and lifestyle plays a massive role in effecting our genes. What you eat, where you live, who you interact with, when you sleep, how you exercise, your work and stress levels in your life.

All of these factors affect our genes, the relevant proteins that being made in our bodies, and how we perform and feel.  When the body is dramatically out of balance and in a ‘disease state’ such as cancer, Alzheimer’s heart disease or an auto immune disease, the genes will be switched into that  state that represents that particular disease in the body, and away from the natural healthy state.

Another analogy is to think of your body like a Christmas tree, and at a flick of a switch you might have flashing white lights, or a sequence of other colours.

In this insightful TEDx talk, Cortney Griffins provides an explanation about epigenetics, the importance of your environment, your diet and your emotional states and how we develop as human beings.


For example, our bodies have certain genes called tumour suppressor genes. The job of these genes is to protect cells from becoming cancerous. If they aren’t working effectively they are ‘turned off’ resulting in cancerous cells. Scientists are now making progress to reverse toxin epigenetic markers within the body and restoring cells to their original nature.

Genes play a part but in fact it’s how our genetic information interfaces with our environment that is vital. In other words, the choices that we make determine how our genetic story unfolds. Our choices really do matter.

The main factors that define how nature and nurture relate to one another are:

  • food and nutrition
  • hydration
  • relationships
  • stress
  • emotions
  • pollution and environmental influences
  • our upbringing
  • a purposeful and fulfilling life

You can positively influence your epigenome by eating healthier food, exercise daily, avoid stress factors etc.

This video also explains epigenetics in a nutshell,

Epigenetics ends the separation of mind and body and understands that there is an on-going subtle relationship where one is always influencing the other. What we are doing to our bodies is influencing our minds and what we are thinking in our minds is influencing our bodies.

Think well, eat well, and exercise daily, and your body won’t break down and need new parts. If you’d like to learn more about epigenetics and preventative health, Cyndi is hosting an educational video series at the end of the month. It’s completely free to register, you will find the form just below.

Additional Resources;



]]> 0
The Importance of Prevention in Health Care Thu, 06 Apr 2017 02:57:38 +0000

Prevention what does that even mean?

The definition of ‘prevention’ is to keep from occurring, avert, hinder or stall.

Let’s first look at the state of our health, then look at what has caused this instability of health and what do we do to change habits in order to avert, hinder or stall modern lifestyle disease.

I was bought up in the 60’s and 70’s; since then I’ve seen an exponential downward change in the health of our children, parents and the ageing population.  I’ve been a nutritionist for 33 years, so I’ve seen three decades of this, with a dramatic increased number of people who have a decline in their health.

When I was born I had many sets of grandparents including great grandparents, most of them lived into their 90’s and beyond.  None of them had Alzheimer’s, dementia and for that matter were on any or many medications.

Today the scenario is very different. If people do live to an old age they are plagued with illnesses requiring a concoction of medications, with dementia, crippling physical and mental conditions being the accepted norm.  In fact the average Westerner will consume up to 46,000 pills in their lifetime.

50% of children with lifetime illnesses

In Australia, we have nearly 50% of children with lifetime illnesses. Beyond childhood, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmunity plagues many people, with some unknowingly living with these conditions and preconditions until their health reaches crisis point and they receive a diagnosis for one of these diseases.

Each year, millions of people die from preventative deaths. In fact, according to World Health Organisation (WHO), about 55 million people died worldwide in 2011; two thirds of this group died from non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, chronic cardiovascular and lung disease. Poor lifestyle, nutrition choices and habits have led to the global obesity crisis we see today. (39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014 and 13% were obese. WHO )

On 1 February 2017, Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull reiterated the importance of preventative health by saying ‘the government will focus on preventative health to give people the right tools and information to live active and healthy lives.’

The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) President, David Templeman commented ‘a new focus is needed, particularly on the key drivers of increasing chronic disease in our society and start tackling the causes before people require major treatment interventions and hospitalisation.’

When we talk about preventing ill health, we want to stop the body from becoming ill with a chronic condition.  Before modern food and our modern lifestyle, the biggest cause of death was communicable diseases, eg getting a bug from somewhere or someone and falling ill, like the plague.  However, nowadays people die from a lifestyle disease (self-inflicted) rather than a communicable disease. Daniel Liebermann from Harvard University coined the term ‘Dysevolution’, this is when cultural evolution moves much faster than biological evolution…health deteriorates when cultural evolution becomes the driver. 

In other words, the habits that insured the subsistence of the human species have changed and now we have habits that are not conducive to our health.  Food, exercise, sleep, sunlight, connection, customs, culture and traditions were all part of how we survived.

What has developed as a result is that people now believe shelf stable packaged foods filled with additives, preservatives and flavourings are healthy options – think ‘Lean Cuisine’. Exercise is downgraded in our lives due to energy saving devices, sunlight is frowned upon, television (blue light) and other blue screens change our sleep patterns and hormones, social media changes how we interact on a human level and chemicals in the environment change our hormones.

In order to prevent the downward spiral of lifestyle diseases, we must look at what our evolutionary bodies required in the past to live healthily for over 1000’s of generations, without the knowledge of science.  Fortunately we still have cultures that exist today that give us a glimpse into our past.  This does not mean we have to live as cave men but rather in this modern world, let the body think it is still living as our ancestors lived.

Most people wait for a health crisis, trauma or loss before they take action and start to improve their health. WHY wait for a crisis before you start to put your health first?

How do you treat your car?

Consider this: You have just paid $25,000 for the car of your dreams with a two year warranty. It is the sleekest car you have ever owned, it requires unleaded fuel to run at peak performance, maintenance checkups every 10,000 kilometres and oil changes.

As you have paid so much for the car, you are diligent about the fuel you use, maintaining it regularly, cleaning it both inside and out and generally looking after it better than anything you have ever owned. It is possible to update the car after two years if you so desire; in fact, you could buy yourself a new car every year if you wanted to, as long as you’re financially able to.

After a couple of years of owning your new car, you make a mistake and put diesel fuel in the tank, you fail to maintain it on the 40,000km service and because you cannot afford top quality oil, you use poor quality graded oil. The car begins to splutter, cough and not perform as well as it should.

Now consider your body: you pay nothing for it, the fuel you need to make it run at peak performance is food from nature, food that we have evoloved to eat for 1000’s of generations, maintenance checks should be daily as you listen to your body and you have a life time warranty as long as you look after it – approximately 100 years. There is one hitch though: you can only have one body and there are no updates.

As you haven’t paid anything for your body you tend to take it for granted, fail to maintain it and feed it ‘diesel’ fuel instead of premium ‘unleaded’ fuel. The products you buy for the maintenance of your body are usually low grade, food like substances that the body cannot use for healthy function and, like a car that is not looked after, it will begin to breakdown. It becomes sluggish, lethargic and parts of it will not work as efficiently. Joints start to stiffen and your neck isn’t turning as freely as it used to. The annual cold turns into one long winter cold which lasts for three months, turning into flu and before you know it, you have bronchitis, arthritis, an autoimmune disease, heart disease, diabetes and/or cancer. 

Instead of looking at what the root cause of the problem is, you may go to your doctor and be given a medication to dull the symptom, which is a lot like turning the music up in the car so that you can’t here the noise anymore.  The scenarios of the body and the car are similar as ‘dulling the symptom’ with a medication doesn’t solve the real issue and so the body function decreases even more. 

Cocktail of medications

Many people as they age are on a cocktail of medications, which leads to a life with less energy.

What amazes me is that the body is similar to a car, just more complicated; it must have the right fuel and it must be maintained and used (exercised) in order to keep it in tip top condition. We can have as many cars in our lives as we want, but we only get one body, yet most people take better care of their cars than they do of their body.

Amazingly, people believe that having a cold or flu during the winter months is just part of winter, that having regular headaches is just something you have to put up with, that pre-menstrual tension is a part of a woman’s life, the aches in the morning are just something one has to contend with when they get older, the belief that cancer, heart disease, being overweight, autoimmune disease etc runs in the family, so ‘I’m bound to get it too as you’re lucky to be born with good genes or not’.

The body is like an intricate machine that if it is fed the right fuel and used efficiently, it can serve its purpose, similar to a high grade vehicle for you to get around in. Sadly, we have lost touch with how to look after this superior vehicle and most people don’t even know anymore what it is like to feel healthy and full of energy.

The health system has taught us to wait until there is something wrong, then go and visit a doctor to fix it. Imagine if you did that with a car. More often than not, we haven’t got time to visit a doctor so we take an anti-inflammatory, headache tablet or cold-relieving pill to get us through the day.

By taking this course of action we are, in effect, ‘turning the music up’ in our bodies, much like you would turn the music up in your car in order to stop hearing the tapping noise in the motor. The problem doesn’t go away, you are merely avoiding hearing the warning sounds – aches, pains, colds and flus are warning signs that something is out of balance in your body.

Prevent your body from becoming sick

It is easier to prevent a body becoming sick and tired than it is to cure it of the problem. Although the body is resilient, more so than a motor car, there is a point of no return and once you reach that point, it is downhill for the rest of your life.

  • Why wait to get to that point, until you start to look after your life?
  • Why feed the body the wrong fuel, abuse it with substances like alcohol and smoking?
  • Why spend your time as a ‘couch potato’ and feed your mind with negative thoughts transmitted through various electronic boxes?

All too often, watching television, videos, DVDs and spending time on social media is to me like watching someone else live their life instead of living your own.

It is possible to get through a winter without a cold, to never have another headache and to wake up in the morning free from any aches and pains.

It is possible to jump out of bed ready for an exciting day ahead, but in order for this to happen you have to start looking after your body as though you had paid a million dollars for it.

Treat it with respect, give it the right fuel, and use it by exercising regularly.


Give your body a test

This winter when the beginning of a cold is upon you, try not using any antibiotics. Instead, give your body a challenge, get it used to fighting its own fights instead of using a substance to fight for it. Eat fruit for breakfast, salad or soup for lunch, fish or rice and vegetables for dinner, drink lots of filtered water and throw a few garlic cloves into your soup.

Do this for about two days without eating anything else and see how quickly your own body’s immune system is able to fend off a cold. Instead of the cold lingering for weeks, your body will fight and dismiss the offending virus or bacteria within 48 hours. But don’t stop the healthy eating then, continue to eat well as outlined in my book Changing Habits Changing Lives and see what a difference healthy food can make to an ailing body.

Symptoms (colds, headaches, aches and pains) are the body’s way of indicating that something is wrong. It could be that you are working too hard. You might be stressed over something (remember stress is merely the difference between the way the world is, compared to the way you demand it to be) and/or perhaps you are not getting enough rest or exercise.

If you listen to your body, it can be your guide as it can tell you whether you need more sleep, rest and/or better nutritious food. If you don’t listen to it and attend to your needs, then your body will become your enemy. It will become a vehicle you are stuck in for the rest of your life, with no way out but death.

Take action now. Don’t wait till your next birthday, a social occasion, next week or the next new year; instead begin to look after the only body you have, NOW.

7 habits to change

  1. Eat a diet of real foods, made from single ingredients, including fermented foods, slow cooked meats, fowl, fish, leafy green vegetables, nuts, organic eggs, seeds, legumes, whole grains (soaked and cooked or sprouted), spices, fresh herbs, root vegetables, fruit. For more information read Changing Habits Changing Lives
  2. Move your body everyday – do something you love such as swim, run, walk or yoga
  3. Decrease the amount of chemicals in your home – declutter your home of chemicals. For more suggestions click here
  4. Create a habit for sleep
  5. Turn screens off at least 1 hour before you go to bed, or turn to f.lux or night vision
  6. Have regular family and/or friend dinners
  7. Take time out of your day to enjoy nature – go bare foot on the grass.

Free Education Series – Register Today

I’ll be hosting a free educational video series on the topic of prevention at the end of the month. Register now to receive my health report “Create Health Now to Avoid Illness Later” for free and gain access to the videos once they’re live.

Good luck with these changes, remember to take it step by step, habit by habit.

Happy changing habits.

Cyndi O’Meara
Nutritionist and founder of Changing Habits

]]> 3
6 Ingredients to Add to Your Coffee to Boost Flavour and Health Benefits Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:33:18 +0000

Most people love their coffee; and it’s not surprising considering the growing trend of cafés and specialty coffee shops popping up in most towns and cities around the world. If you want to find out how you can make your coffee even healthier, you can read more here.

If you’re looking to upgrade your coffee flavour even more, below are 6 REAL food ingredients that not only boost the flavour, but provide additional health benefits too.

1. Vanilla

Vanilla is a staple ingredient in my pantry, I’m not sure I could live without it to be honest. Everyone knows vanilla adds an incredible flavour and aroma to baked goods, but did you know that it also has many health promoting properties?

Vanilla contains B Vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. It supports enzyme synthesis, nervous system function, regulation of metabolism, aids with blood pressure and heart rate and is rich in antioxidants. Next time you have a coffee, blend some vanilla powder into it to provide an amazing taste and it will smell heavenly too.

2. Cinnamon

A great way to add more antioxidants into your coffee and control your blood sugar is to add a pinch of cinnamon. Cinnamon has been used as medicine for centuries because of its numerous health benefits. One of the main benefits of cinnamon is its ability to lower blood glucose levels after a meal and improves your lipid profile.

3. Cacao Melts

Are you a lover of mochas or hot chocolate? Most of us probably have wonderful memories of consuming this sugary hot drink in winter. However you can add in cacao without the usual additives of pre-packaged chocolate. Cacao has numerous health benefits, including; it’s a mood booster, contains lots of antioxidants, aids hormone balance and tastes divine. If you want to learn more about the health benefits of cacao, you can read more here. Just a tip, when you try adding in the cacao melts to your coffee, don’t go overboard – you only need 2 or 3 melts per cup of coffee.  

4. Coconut Milk

Do you react to eating dairy or are you simply trying to avoid it? As a result, are you turning to processed soy or almond milk to add to your coffee? This can get quite expensive, not to mention that these types of products can contain additives and preservatives. Coconut milk or cream is a great alternative to use, it’s best blended into the coffee to ensure the fats don’t separate from the coconut milk or cream and float to the top. If you think the coconut milk has too strong a flavour, you can combine the following ingredients (cacao, vanilla and cinnamon) to help overpower the coconut taste/aroma.

5. Gelatin

You may be thinking that this is the weirdest ingredient ever to add to your coffee. Why add gelatin to coffee? Well, it’s a great source of dietary collagen, supports joints, muscles, skin, hair, nails and teeth health. It also aids digestion and liver detox, boosts your mood and keeps you satiated for longer.

Simply mix ½ – 1 Tbsp of gelatin in 2 Tbsp of water and set it aside to bloom (thicken). Then you can pour boiling water and your coffee to dissolve the gelatin. If you want to create a frothy and super creamy coffee, add your coffee and dissolved gelatin to a blender, and blitz it for 30 seconds. Pour into a mug and enjoy. You can also add in any of the above ingredients for additional flavour and health benefits.

6. Butter and Coconut Oil – Bulletproof Coffee

The popularity of the Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey is undeniable. What started the craze was the world-famous Bulletproof Coffee. You simply blend grass-fed butter and coconut oil into organic black coffee to create a beautiful creamy, fatty, brain-boosting latte/coffee drink.

There are many reasons why Dave recommends adding these quality fats into coffee, but one of them is that coconut oil is loaded with healthy fats, specifically medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs have been linked to improved weight loss, cognitive function, reducing cravings and getting rid of brain fog.

It’s best to use grass-fed butter or ghee when making your bullet proof coffee, as it’s much richer in Vitamin K2 which is incredibly important for calcium distribution in the body, but it’s also rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids. But the most amazing thing about quality butter is that it’s a fantastic source of butyrate, which is a food source for the beneficial bacteria in our guts.

You can read more information about why I think butter is a superfood here and why coconut oil is just as amazing here. By blending these two beautiful fats into your coffee, it also allows the caffeine to be slowly released throughout the day so you don’t get the usual ‘coffee high and crash’ like you would from drinking regular coffee.

Remember, coffee from popular coffee/cafe chains can be loaded with hidden sugars and many other artificial ingredients. The healthiest option is to choose organic black coffee, or make your own coffee with any of the variations above.

You can still get your caffeine fix and it doesn’t have to be boring.

Here are a few different brain-boosting coffee recipes to try:

  1. Supercharged Bulletproof Coffee
  2. For a non-coffee option – Choc Chai Latte
  3. Pepita Mocha
  4. Changing Habits Coffee

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Nutritionist

]]> 0
How to Read a Food Label Tue, 21 Mar 2017 02:59:08 +0000

When I was studying to become a nutritionist, we were taught to always refer to the nutrition panel on food. This is the table that lists the amount of fat, salt, sugar, carbohydrates and protein in the food. So, I began to do this and became obsessed by it.

I knew how many kilojoules/calories were in the food product but my health only continued to decline.  How could this be? The media and food companies also promote the benefits of reading the ‘nutritional information’ on food packaging as it will let you know the nutritional content of the food you’re eating.

Well, thank heavens I learnt better, as I began to discover the real truth of what’s actually contained in food. By reading the ingredient list of the food and NOT the nutritional panel, you will get the complete picture as to what the food has been made of.

Why shouldn’t you care about the nutrition panel?

‘Okay, so thank you but no thank you for letting us know how much fat, salt, sugar, carbs and protein is in the product. But sorry, it is practically useless’. It is absolutely crucial to discover EXACTLY where these food groups are coming from.

For example, one fat certainly does not equal another fat – where is the fat coming from? Is it coming from butter – produced from grass fed organic cows, or is it coming from hydrogenated vegetable oils like margarine? Butter will provide an array of vital nutrients and quality saturated fats that the body can use, opposed to margarine which needs to be fortified with synthetic nutrients, which will destroy cell to cell communication resulting in weight gain and many other health problems.

When the nutrition panel may be helpful…

The only thing I will ever use a nutrition panel for is to demonstrate to someone how many sugars can be found in the food. This is because a product may add numerous types of sugars into the product, hidden by an endless list of names including sugar, glucose syrup, fructose, corn syrup, maltose, dextrose etc etc.

However – we don’t necessarily know exactly HOW much of that particular product they have added. Did you know that 1 tsp of sugar = 4g of sugar

For example, a yogurt branded as ‘healthy and low-fat’ can in fact be just like having a bowl of ice-cream for breakfast. In a single serve 170g pot of yogurt, there is 19.8g of sugar. Therefore, in this example that individual would be consuming close to 5 tsp of sugar.

The World Health Organisation recommends adults consume a maximum of 25 grams (6 teaspoons) a day. So in this instance, you’ve almost reached your daily intake recommendation of sugar by consuming one snack or part of a breakfast.  

What to look out for:

It is important to know what you are looking for, so consider the following:

  • ALWAYS look at the ingredients list first.
  • Watch out for products that say ‘low fat’, ‘no sugar’, ‘low calories/kilojoules’, ‘low carb’, ‘high protein’, or any claim alike.
  • Ensure the food groups come from high quality natural foods. For example, the sugar should come from dates, or the protein should come from grass fed beef, or the fat should come from coconut oil and the salt should come from Himalayan mineral rich salt.
  • If you can’t recognise the ingredient, then it is likely that your body won’t either, so it is best to avoid it.
  • Avoid ingredients such as: gluten, wheat, additives, numbers, preservatives, thickeners, flavours, flavour enhancers, vegetable oils, vegetable fats, dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin to name but a few.
  • The first ingredient in the ingredients list is what is contained most in the product, the last is what it contains the least of.

So remember to read the ingredient list first, when looking at a product. Where possible, prepare meals yourself using ‘real’ foods. If you are buying pre-packaged foods, then endeavor to go for products that only contain a few real food ingredients.

This change cannot be underestimated. Become educated, make changes step by step and you will reap the benefits of long-term health and vitality.

Happy real food shopping!

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Nutritionist


]]> 1
What to Eat if You’ve had Gallstones or Gallbladder Removal Tue, 14 Mar 2017 06:31:00 +0000

There seems to be a common trend that ‘if you suffer from gallstones then the solution is to remove your gallbladder.’ Why?

Every organ within our body has its own function and is vital for your body to perform optimally. If the organ wasn’t serving a purpose, why would we be born with it?

The gallbladder certainly is worthwhile nurturing and keeping if you can. The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ that stores bile and is located just beneath the right lobe of the liver. The role of the gallbladder is to reserve bile when it is not being used for the digestion of fats. When food is ingested and enters the small intestine, a hormone known as cholecystokinin signals the gallbladder to contract and secrete bile to begin the breakdown of fats.

One of the most common surgeries to be performed is gallbladder removal, which is known as a cholecystectomy. This is usually carried out to remove gallstones. To me, the removal of the gallbladder is just another ‘Band-Aid’ solution, as we haven’t discovered WHY gallstones formed in the first place. Instead we’ve just masked the problem by removing the complete gallbladder. The original cause of the problem will still be there, it just won’t eventuate into gallstones anymore, instead it will manifest as something else in the future.

Foods to avoid if you have gallstones:

  • Gluten – including wheat, rye, spelt, oats and barley
  • Soy – particularly if it has not been fermented. Organic tamari may be well tolerated
  • Corn – particularly if it is not organic
  • Refined vegetable oils, though cold pressed and organic oils are fine such as olive oil and coconut oil
  • Foreign additives such as preservatives, flavours and colours and so on. Avoid anything you do not recognise the name of
  • Unactivated nuts and seeds

Foods to eat if you have gallstones:

  • Fermented foods – provides beneficial bacteria to aid digestion and aid in eliminating toxins
  • Turmeric – reduces inflammation, pain and aids in liver health
  • Dandelion root – aids in liver and gallbladder function
  • Milk thistle – aids in liver health
  • Activated charcoal – to aid in the elimination of toxins
  • Plenty of green vegetables and fresh herbs such as coriander, thyme, oregano and basil
  • Pastured, free range meats
  • Wild caught fish
  • Activated nuts and seeds
  • Soaked and/or fermented organic grains like rice, quinoa and buckwheat if tolerated
  • Apple cider vinegar to aid digestion through increasing the stomachs acidity and enzyme production. It has been known to reduce the severity of the gallstones and their pain. Mix 1-2 tbsp. of raw and organic apple cider vinegar into water and drink this daily.
  • Quality fats such as grass fed butter or ghee and cold pressed coconut oil, olive oil and Inca Inchi oil

What to eat if you’ve had your gallbladder removed?

If you have had to have your gallbladder removed, it is important to not return back to the diet and lifestyle you had that caused your gallstones to form. It is important to consider WHY they occurred, and discover what you can do differently.

The common bile duct still remains after the gallbladder is removed, which allows an individual to ‘survive well’ without it. There is in fact very little evidence showing that a low fat diet improves the symptoms in individuals that have just had their gallbladder removed.

  • Do not go on a low fat diet. In short, fats are crucial for your health to:
    • Absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K.
    • Hormone production
    • Cell to cell communication
    • Brain health
    • For their antimicrobial properties for your immune system


  • Ox bile – I recommend this to everyone who has had their gallbladder removed as it just seems to help. It is simply the ‘replacement method’. It gives you the ability to break down fats more efficiently if your liver is not producing the amount of bile needed to digest the fat that you are eating.
  • Consume fermented foods. These are pre-digested by bacteria and therefore make these foods easier to digest. Nutrients are also enhanced when the food is fermented, and they are incredibly rich in enzymes that will assist in the digestion of your food, as well as provide essential beneficial bacteria that may be altered during your surgery.
  • Coconut oil is a great fat for those with no gallbladder as it doesn’t need bile acids for absorption, so it is absorbed in the small intestine.
  • Look after your liver. If you had your gallbladder out, then there is a high chance it began with liver problems, so consider seeking advice to support your liver.
  • Dandelion root is fabulous to support the common bile duct to aid in the digestion of fats. It helps with bile synthesis. Dandelion root is also fabulous for liver health.
  • Ginger can also help breakdown fat, and calm down any nausea you may experience.
  • Avoid canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and all hydrogenated vegetable oils including margarine, vegetable fat and so on.
  • Avoid foods that are difficult to digest such as processed, refined foods. This will ensure you are getting the most out of your food.

If you have had your gallbladder removed, there is no reason to stress! Of course it is best to keep your gallbladder where it belongs, although you now have the tools, tips and tricks to ensure you continue living a long, happy life with a diet that is smothered in good fats with no problems.

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Nutritionist

]]> 13
Signs You Are Emotionally Addicted to Food and How to Deal With It Wed, 08 Mar 2017 01:38:25 +0000

After a tiring and frustrating day at work or even after a great day, you find yourself in front of the fridge or pantry reaching unconsciously for the things you know you shouldn’t eat, but you just can’t help it.

Instead, you might say to yourself:

  • Oh I’ve had such a long exhausting day, I deserve it
  • Just one won’t hurt, as I did go to the gym
  • I will work harder at the gym tomorrow to make up for it
  • I’ve been so good all week, a little bit won’t hurt
  • I’ll get back on track on Monday
  • I always feel better after eating chocolate
  • What’s the point, I’m already fat anyway so who cares.

Can you relate to any of these, or do you say something else to yourself?

You might find that you feel so stressed, you don’t even realise that you’re ‘munching away’ unconsciously, eating something and working at the same time. It’s not until you’ve finished the whole packet of biscuits, chips or savoury food that you’ve realised what you just did.

We often eat and drink because of our emotions, such as when we are feeling sad, depressed, lonely, guilty, angry, frustrated, stressed, anxious or nervous as well as when we’re happy and celebrate certain events. Food has become our emotional saviour; it can bring so much pleasure in the moment, as well as masking the pain and negative emotion we’re feeling.

However, this is not the purpose of food, as the pleasure, energy lift or distraction it provides is only short lived. I believe we need to begin uncovering the REAL reason behind these feelings in order to effectively stop the cycles of emotional eating, binge eating or disordered eating episodes and patterns.

Do you feel guilty?

I truly believe that feelings of guilt (emotional stress) destroy our health more than any ‘bad food’.

Feeling guilty, ‘beating yourself up’ about it, putting yourself down, convincing yourself you’re not worthy or good enough and then overeating/binge eating to try and mask your pain/feelings is a cycle that puts tremendous emotional stress on your body.

As a result, your digestive system begins to shut down and cortisol (stress hormone) increases, leading to hormonal havoc within your body, resulting in cascading health issues over time.

7 strategies you can implement to help disrupt these often vicious and harmful emotional eating cycles


1. Talk to someone, consult a counsellor or psychologist

A professional will help you uncover the emotional baggage or pain behind your emotional eating episodes. It will change your life. If you’re not ready to talk to a professional, talk to someone you love. Chat with your parents, partner or your best friend so you have a way to release your feelings, you may find that it’s just the distance you need to prevent it.

2. Keep a Journal

Write how you are feeling before or after the emotional eating episode and reflect on it. Just releasing the emotions beforehand can help prevent or at least delay an episode. Writing gets you in touch with how you are feeling and which feelings cause your emotional eating episodes.

3. Breathe deeply

Practise big, deep belly breathing as this will help to ground you and bring you back to the present moment. It will help to focus your mind, enabling you to ‘look inside’ to identify what it is you really need.

4. Give up dieting, restricting and deprivation

This is critical, especially if it is a trigger for binge eating/drinking or disordered eating patterns. Give yourself permission to have food and enjoy it. When you truly are hungry, ask yourself these questions:

  • What food can I eat that will nourish my body?
  • Am I craving a certain food, and will that nourish me or not?

This takes practice, but you’ll be amazed at how wise your body truly is.

5. Eat enough protein and quality fats

Be sure you eat enough protein and quality fat with every meal. This will keep your blood sugar levels stable, help prevent overeating as you will be satisfied for longer and it will also reduce carbohydrate or sugar cravings later that day.

6. Eat Mindfully

Pay attention to what you’re eating and thank your food for nourishing your body. Don’t multi-task when you eat such as talking or texting on your phone, watching TV or working on your computer.

Instead stop and focus on the taste, smell and texture of the food you’re eating and enjoy it.

7. Practise SELF-LOVE

The relationship you have with your body is one of the biggest factors in emotional eating. Negativity, shame and hatred won’t inspire you to make long-lasting healthier choices and changes.

I hear many times from my clients that they will ‘stop hating their body’ and start to appreciate it after they reach their ideal weight. However you have to first appreciate your body to break your emotional eating cycle.

I highly recommend the book  ‘Mastering Your Mean Girl’ by Melissa Ambrossini if you need more guidance in this area.

Overcoming emotional eating isn’t as easy as simply deciding to do it. However by making the choice to change, becoming aware of what you’re thinking moment to moment and being conscious of what you’re eating and drinking, you’ll be making progress in starting to break your emotional eating cycles.

You might slip back into your old eating habits, however remind yourself of the reason WHY you wanted to change in the first place.

You have to commit to dealing with your feelings and not using food to numb, comfort or distract you from them. Over time, as you develop new habits, you’ll find that you no longer automatically go to the fridge or pantry, reaching for food when you’re upset, angry or lonely.

If you have dealt with emotional eating issues, disordered eating patterns or binge eating, what helped you the most to overcome this? Please share below your tips to help others in the same position you once were.

Happy changing habits.

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Consulting Nutritionist

]]> 1
Signs You Might Have Candida and What You Can Do About It Tue, 28 Feb 2017 01:47:45 +0000

Yes, I have been there. I had a number of symptoms of a candida overgrowth for years before I even realised it. Eventually my body wouldn’t allow me to ignore the symptoms anymore. I researched my symptoms and was positive I had candida, which was confirmed when I had a live blood analysis.

What is it?

Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungus that everyone has at all times. In a healthy gut, this fungus is kept tightly under control to ensure it does not grow out of control.

A compromised gut flora, most commonly from the overuse of antibiotics and/or high sugar diets, causes candida albicans to grow out of control rapidly. It causes numerous problems, as it proliferates around and in your organs, most commonly your digestive system. 

Without the beneficial bacteria in our guts, candida turns from its harmless one cell state to extremely invasive long, stringy hyphae that penetrate through tissues in the body as roots. The most common place is the digestive system, though it can occur in other organs. This causes a host of problems as candida produces numerous toxic substances such as acetyl aldehyde and alcohol. Today’s ‘modern’ western diet supports their growth, through the consumption of a highly processed, carbohydrate rich diet, which literally feeds the candida.


  • Allergies
  • Digestion problems (refer to Bristol stools chart –
  • Bloating, flatulence, pain
  • Frequent colds
  • Susceptible to catching the ‘flu that is going around’
  • Eczema, psoriasis, hives, rashes or other skin problems
  • Irritability, mood swings, depression
  • Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease
  • Strong carbohydrate/sugar cravings
  • ‘Foggy’ mind, lack of clarity
  • Constant fatigue
  • Oral thrush
  • Reoccurring vaginal infections including thrush, urinary tract infection, rectal itching or vaginal itching.


  • Various medications such as contraceptive pills, antibiotics, tetracyclines (most ‘cyclines’), penicillin.
  • High carbohydrate diet and highly processed diet
  • Children born via a cesarean birth (more susceptible)
  • Lack of gut flora of mother (more susceptible)
  • Living a highly stressful lifestyle
  • Regular consumption of high doses of alcohol.

What do I do now?

This all depends on the level of overgrowth and your symptoms, which can be determined by visiting a qualified practitioner or through a live blood analysis. Some individuals can make a few small changes for the candida to settle down and go back into balance. Clients with severe candida overgrowth require a very strict protocol with particular supplements to bring it back into balance. However, below are a few simple things you can start today:

  1. Remove all gluten from your diet.
  2. Remove other potentially inflammatory foods such as dairy, soy, corn, vegetable oils and vegetable fats and all grains.
  3. Decrease all sugars, including rapadura sugar, honey, dates, maple syrup and high sugar fruits and vegetables. Berries are your best choice whilst calming down the overgrowth.
  4. Introduce high quality probiotics into your diet. You may need a stool test to determine what is best for you. Some suggestions to consider are the Changing Habits Probiotics and the Kultured Wellness cultures.
  5. Consume plenty of foods with antifungal properties such as garlic, coconut oil, oregano, pau d’arco tea and ginger.
  6. Increase your consumption of green vegetables, aiming to have them with every meal. They will aid detoxification, as they don’t contain a high level of carbohydrates.
  7. Seek personalised advice from a professional practitioner.
  8. Book a health review with either Jordan or myself, Changing Habits consulting nutritionists.

I can happily say that it has been years since I have experienced any symptoms. Be strong, because you know your body more than anyone else does.

Happy changing habits.

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Consulting Nutritionist

]]> 4
5 Easy Ways to Make Your Coffee Healthier Tue, 21 Feb 2017 03:38:45 +0000

Coffee doesn’t just give you a boost in the morning by keeping you alert; it also helps to improve cognitive function, mood, reaction time, memory and raises the metabolism. Coffee also appears to lower the risk of liver cancer. There are also many nutrients found in coffee beans such as Vitamin B5, B1, B2, B3, potassium and magnesium, as well as plenty of antioxidants. If anything, coffee may actually benefit your health (for those who tolerate it well).

1. Avoid Sweeteners

This one may seem obvious to some people, but you would be shocked to learn just how many people still add artificial sweeteners or refined sugars to their tea and coffee. Besides worsening insulin sensitivity and promoting weight gain, artificial sweeteners promote health problems associated with excessive sugar consumption, including Alzheimer’s, stroke and cardiovascular disease 1 . Popular branded coffee can also be loaded with hidden sugars and other artificial ingredients (eg mocha, chai latte or frappes etc).

2. Avoid Artificial Creamers

Artificial creamers are everywhere in Europe, however they are also making their way over to Australia too. Most of these ‘creamers’ are full of unnatural ingredients. They can consist of high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils, natural flavours (which can consist of up to 48 different chemical ingredients), stabilisers like dipotassium phosphate, thickening agents like sodium caseinate, additives/ emulsifiers such as sodium stearoyl lactylate or synthetic mono or diglycerides.

If you want to improve the taste of your coffee, add REAL cream, one that’s organic and grass-fed. REAL cream has a rich amount of Vitamin K2 and also contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). If you are intolerant to dairy try blending some pure coconut cream or milk into your coffee which makes a delicious and creamy alternative.

3. Use Filtered Water

Coffee is mostly water. Many of us don’t even consider the quality of the water we use when brewing a coffee. So start with the highest quality filtered water to ensure you get the best possible tasting cup of coffee, one that’s actually good for you too!

4. Buy Organic Coffee (it’s a must!)

Did you know that conventional coffee is one of the most heavily chemically treated foods in the world? It can be steeped in synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides which often give coffee that bitter after taste. In the case of organic coffee beans, most are grown naturally without synthetic fertilisers or chemicals being used in the growing or production stages. This means the beans are richer in antioxidants and taste so much better. One of the notions about organic coffee is that it’s just too expensive, and as a result non-organic coffee is consumed instead.  However, if you start brewing it yourself (French press or cold drip coffee) the cost will decrease and as a bonus you will minimise the damage to your body; preventing cancer and inflammation as well.

5. Add Ceylon Cinnamon to Coffee

Do you want an antioxidant rich coffee to help balance your blood sugars levels? Just add a good pinch of Ceylon Cinnamon to your next coffee. Not only will it improve the overall health benefits, it will provide an amazing aroma and flavour too.

If you wanted to try something a little different to a regular long black, why not try Cyndi’s delicious ‘Habit Changing Coffee’ for your morning pick-me-up.

Happy changing habits.

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Nutritionist and G.A.P.S Practitioner


  2. Shimazu, T et al; 2005. ‘Coffee consumption and the risk of primary liver cancer: pooled analysis of two prospective studies in Japan. 116(1); 150-154.
  3. Ruxton, C. 2008. ‘The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. 33(1); 15-25.


]]> 0
How to Encourage Your Loved One to Adopt Healthy Habits Sun, 12 Feb 2017 23:00:56 +0000

Whether it’s a friend, family member, or significant other, many of us have someone close to us who may need a (rather large) nudge in the right direction when it comes to their health. Maybe it’s someone who could get off the couch more often, or add more green vegetables to their diet. Perhaps drink a little less alcohol or give up an addiction to those cheeky Cadbury chocolate blocks?

As you’ve probably learned over the years, there are right ways and wrong ways to encourage other people to adopt healthier habits. To make matters worse, too often some people can perceive your encouragement as judgement. The main question you need to ask when you’re in this situation is:

How do you support a loved one’s journey to adopt healthier habits without them feeling criticised?

If you want to help someone in your life make some positive changes this year, here are some helpful tips you can use.

1.  Take Shame Off the Table

Making someone feel bad for failing in any effort to make healthier choices (eg lose weight, stop drinking as much, quit smoking or choosing a sweet treat over fruit) is the worst course of action if you really want to help.

Fat shaming for instance, has actually been shown to make people gain more weight, not less. If a person feels like they are being picked on, or they feel as though someone is being condescending towards them, that’s when the changes are not sustainable and the person slips back into their old habits.

Try changing your approach and perhaps ask your partner, friend or family member why they are having issues making healthier choices. It might be a good opportunity for you to come up with a solution for the underlying issue together.

2. Point Out the Positives

What’s obvious to you isn’t always obvious to someone else. Don’t just assume that your friend/family member recognises the benefits. You need to point out the positives in a way that they understand. Encouragement always goes a lot further than criticism. Do this (nicely) by commenting on all the amazing health benefits of cutting back on sugar for example, that have nothing to do with losing weight.

Try not to constantly ask about how much weight someone has lost. You don’t want the scale to be the only way they monitor their progress. Instead, ask them how they feel, or point out they look more confident, they seem to be bursting with energy and so on. Be patient and supportive as the process of adopting a healthier lifestyle will not happen overnight, it can take time. Instead, just try to offer them the space to learn, adapt and grow into this new way of living.

3.  Clear Up Misconceptions

Brussel sprouts definitely don’t have to be bland and soggy, and a healthier diet doesn’t mean you’re limited to egg white omelettes and boring, tasteless chicken breast. As a nutritionist, I’m always telling my clients that just because the ingredients may change, it doesn’t mean the menu has to.

Since your diet is a huge component of your success in achieving and maintaining a healthier lifestyle, it’s imperative you make food fun. It’s about getting back to basics, playing around with food and recipes in the kitchen to ensure it tastes good. Also look to see where you can make healthier food swaps.  

4.  Practice What You Preach

Some of my clients have told me that they often have to bug their husbands to drink more water and less alcohol, eat healthier and exercise more. Pushing a message that people don’t want to hear can cause them to dig their heels in even further, fighting harder to preserve their way of life. This often results in adding strain in the relationship.

You can lead a horse to water, however you can’t make it drink.

No matter how badly you may want to help, a person has to want to change and cannot be forced.

You are much better off to continually lead by positive example and continue to offer unconditional love. If your partner, friend or family member can see you making the effort to adopt healthy habits, know that you are there to support them no matter what, then they will be more willing to try it out for themselves.

Happy changing habits.

Jordan Pie 
Changing Habits Nutritionist


]]> 0
Soy – Is It As Healthy As You Think? Wed, 08 Feb 2017 04:00:15 +0000

Today, it’s really easy to become a vegetarian or vegan as the soy industry has created numerous products for vegetarians and vegans to get their daily protein needs. From the humble soy bean we have soy flour, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, vegetable oil, miso, soy cheese, soy burgers, sausages and fillets, soy mayonnaise, soy ice-cream, custards and soy.

Sometimes, we naively believe that the foods, cosmetics, personal care products and cleaning products on our shelves are all completely safe. However, this is not always the case and I encourage anyone consuming soy products to find out what they can about soy, it’s by products and the ingredients that are used in some of the packaged soy foods.

Let’s take a look at some very common foods containing soy that are found in our supermarkets.

  • Honey & Soy Marinade Sauce
    Water, Sugar, Soy Sauce 9% (Water, Salt, Vegetable Protein Extract (Contains Soy), Sugar), Garlic 8%, Thickener (Modified Corn starch, Xanthan Gum (Contains Soy)), Salt, Golden Syrup, Food Acid (Acetic), Clove, Star Anise, Honey 0.5%.
  • Regular Long Life Soy Milk
    Filtered Water, Soy Protein (3.5%), Corn Maltodextrin, Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Canola)[Contains Antioxidants (Tocopherols)(Contains Soy)], Cane Sugar, Minerals (Phosphates of Calcium And Potassium), Potassium and Magnesium), Acidity Regulator (332), antioxidant (ascorbic acid), Vitamins (A, B12, B2, B1), Natural Flavour. (All Ingredients are Non-animal Origin.)
  • Vegan Soy Cheese
    Water, Vegetable Oil, Soybeans (21%), Thickener (1401,1450), Tapioca, Flavours, Vegetable Gums (410,415), Yeast Extract, Salt, Food Acids (270,260), Natural Colour (Annatto), Mineral Salt (511).
  • Veggie Delights Soy Fillets
    : Water, Vegetable Protein (15%) [Soy Protein, Soybean Meal, Wheat Gluten], Canola Oil, Flavours (Contain Wheat and Soy), Free Range Egg White, Wheat Starch, Whey Protein (from Milk) (Non-Rennet), Sugar, Vegetable Gums (Carrageenan, Locust Bean), Yeast Extract, Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Ferrous Gluconate), Flavour Enhancer (Disodium Ribonucleotide), Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Spices, Vitamin B12.
  • Soy BBQ Sausages
    Water, Vegetable Protein (25%) (Wheat Gluten, Soy Protein), Canola Oil, Flavours (Contain Wheat, Barley And Soy), Onion, Wheat Breadcrumbs, Sugar, Soy Fibre, Salt, Yeast Extract, Mineral Salt (Potassium Chloride), Vegetable Gums (Guar, Locust Bean), Yeast, Flavour Enhancer (Disodium Ribonucleotide), Garlic, Colour (Caramel), Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Fermented Rice, Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Ferrous Gluconate), Spices, Vitamin B12.
  • Soy Vanilla Yoghurt
    Water, Sugar, Soy Protein, Maize Thickeners (1422,1442), Dextrose, Maltodextrin (From Tapioca), Inulin (Dietary Fibre), Canola Oil, Vegetable Gums (440,412), Mineral Salts (452, 341), Food Acids (331,296), Flavours, Natural Colour (160b), Live Yoghurt Cultures, Vitamin D.
  • Protein Bombs
    Ingredients: Protein Blend 33% (Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein Nuggets [Isolated Soy Protein, Tapioca Starch, Salt]), Protein Compound Choc Coating 24% (Maltitol, Vegetable Fat, Cocoa 2%, Soy Protein, Emulsifiers [Soy Lecithin, E476], Flavour), Humectant (Glycerol), Polydextrose, Water, Maltitol, Sugar Free Mint Chips (3%), Vegetable Oil, Chia Seeds (2.5%), Rice Puffs, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Flavour, Salt, Vanilla Flavour, Stevia Extract, Glazing Agent (Gum Arabic). Protein compound Choc Coating contains Cocoa Solids 12% minimum.

As you can see from the ingredient lists above, these foods contain many chemicals, preservatives and additives which can harm a person’s health. As an example, let’s focus on the very first ingredient listed in ‘Protein Bomb’ – Soy Protein Isolate.

Soy Protein Isolate – is also known as Mono-diglyceride, Soya, Yuba, Lecithin, MSG (yeast extract), Texture vegetable protein or Textured Soy Protein.

How is Soy Protein Isolate made?

After removing the fibre with an alkaline solution, the soy beans are then put into large aluminium tanks with an acid wash. The acid wash actually makes the soy beans absorb the aluminium, which remains in the end product. Aluminium has been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and many other diseases.

The aluminium washed soy beans are then treated with more chemicals including nitrates (which have been linked to cancer development). The end product is a tasteless, fat free powder which is added to up to 60% of processed foods.

As you can see in the above lists of food ingredients, soy protein isolate (or the other names for it) can be found in common processed foods. It can be also be found in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, bottled fruit drinks, soups and sauces, baked goods, breakfast cereals and some dietary supplements.

Is there a problem with that? Let’s have a look at some of the facts.

What is wrong with soy?

Remember that when you’re reading studies showing the effects of consuming soy, some studies have been sponsored by the soy industry, or the authors may have some kind of financial ties to the soy industry. This is a major conflict of interest.

1. Soy is a Goitrogen

Soy is a natural goitrogen. This means it has the ability to impair iodine absorption and reduce thyroid function.

2. Contains Phyto Acids

Soy has a high concentration of phytates. Phytates have the ability to bind minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc and prevent them from being absorbed in the body.

3. Most soy is GMO

There is a lot of imported GM food coming into Australia, mostly from the Americas. These foods are added to Australian made and imported products that are found in our supermarkets as well as being fed to our animals.

Did you know that more than 90% of world soy production is genetically modified to be resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup?  Concerning levels of glyphosphate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is found on Roundup Ready crops such as soy. Glyphosphate is linked to a number of serious health problems as well – see below.

4. Affects the Microbiome

Our bacteria within the body outnumber our own cells 10:1. So for every 1 human cell, there are 10 bacteria, microbes of various sorts. All of these bacteria have the shikimate pathway which is extremely disrupted by glyphosate.

Glyphosate disrupts the beneficial bacteria in our microbiome which allow the pathogens to over grow. These pathogens produce toxins that lead to gut permeability, gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhoea, colitis and Crohn’s disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and many other diseases.

In the video ‘The Health Dangers of Roundup (glyphosate) Herbicide. By Jeffrey Smith & Stephanie Seneff’, Stephanie Seneff talks about how genetically modified organism (GMO) crops such as soy can cause a significant change in the composition of the gut microbiome.

5. Hormonal, Infertility and Miscarriage Issues

It has been found that those who consume GMO soy can have severe hormonal disruptions including an overabundance of estrogen and damage to the pituitary gland. Studies have found that glyphosate can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance of the female reproductive cycle and can lead to abnormally heavy or a longer menstrual period, or the opposite – no menstrual cycle.

Glyphosate is also toxic to the placenta, which is responsible for delivering vital nutrients from mother to child, and eliminating waste products. Once the placenta has been damaged or destroyed, the result can be miscarriage. In those children born to mothers who have been exposed to even a small amount of glyphosate, serious birth defects can result.

If you want to learn more about the dangers of soy read Cyndi’s report titled ‘Soy – The Hormone Disrupter’.

What Should You Do Now?

It’s easy, avoid soy and stick to foods that come from nature. Healthy eating can be simplified into four words: JUST EAT REAL FOOD.

However, sometimes this is easier said than done when we are bombarded with food companies’ marketing claims about ‘all natural’ health foods, or when there are many different names for soy and soy derivatives.

Here are five questions that I suggest you use to ask yourself if an item is real food:

  1. Is it a product or is it a food?
  2. Is it made with ingredients that humans have used for thousands of years?
  3. Is this something that your great-grandmother would recognise as food?
  4. Can you make it in your kitchen yourself?
  5. Is it advertised on TV?

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Nutritionist & GAPS Practitioner

Reference List

]]> 8
10 Vegetarian Protein Options That Won’t Destroy Your Gut Tue, 31 Jan 2017 02:37:34 +0000

Protein is important to our health because it is one of the building blocks for our body. Without it, we wouldn’t function at our best and our bodies wouldn’t be able to support us in the long-term. When most people think about protein, they think of meat, fish, cheese and eggs.

People who choose to be either a vegetarian or vegan decide against eating these types of foods as it doesn’t fall within their belief system.

In theory, most vegetarians and vegans replace animal products with lots of whole foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and some whole grains. The reality however, can often be quite different.

What Can Go Wrong in a Vegetarian and Vegan Diet?

Switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet doesn’t mean people suddenly become immune to all the food temptations out there. People can still binge on dairy-free chocolate, fake meats and cheeses, alternative ice-cream and chips. Often, these foods are loaded with preservatives, colours, flavours, refined salt and sugar, gluten and wheat. Unless the product is explicitly labelled non-GMO, you can be sure you’re getting a dose of chemicals with your food.

Additionally, vegetarians and vegans commonly eat a lot of soy. Many of my clients ask me ‘Is soy bad for you?’. Yes it is, as it increases estrogen production.

In women, this increases the risk of certain cancers and hormone imbalance-related disorders, and with the amount of soy that mock meat and cheese products contain, this is a real concern. If you want to know more information, you can read about the dangers or soy here and here.

While vegetarian or vegan friendly processed foods might sound more nutritious, don’t be fooled. Reading the nutrition panel on a food product can often be a waste of time, not because they can be complicated, but rather they don’t tell you if the food is real. Instead read the ingredient list to determine if the food is REAL or if it contains a number of chemicals, preservatives and additives.

You may be now thinking ‘What are some real-food plant based protein options?’ Did you know every whole food contains protein? From nuts to bananas to salads, finding plants packed with protein is so easy to do.

10 Healthy Vegetarian and Vegan Options Rich in Protein

Did you know that the following plant based foods contain protein?


1. Chia Seeds

By weight chia seeds are 14% protein and have a good balance of essential amino acids which allows our bodies to utilise the protein easily.

Chai seeds decrease appetite and cravings because of the high amounts of fibre they contain. One of the benefits of this is that the fibre feeds the good bacteria in the intestine, which keeps your microbiome fed resulting in optimal health. You can read more about the benefits of chia seeds here.

2. Sunflower Seeds

Just 100g of sunflower seeds contains 21g of protein. They’re also rich in Vitamin E, copper, selenium, thiamine and essential fatty acids. They make a fantastic alternative to nuts.

3. Spirulina

Spirulina is a great source of protein, in 100g it contains 57g of protein (or 1-2 tsp contains 6-10g of protein). It’s also rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin B12 and copper. If you are looking to increase the number of ‘greens’ into your daily diet then the Changing Habits Supreme Green Powder is a perfect solution. It contains spirulina, chlorella, broccoli sprout powder, kelp powder, barley grass and stevia to sweeten. These green super foods are the perfect way to supply your body with plant based vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and amino acids in a convenient manner, which are easily digested, absorbed and utilised by your body.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli probably isn’t the first food you think of when you’re searching for healthy plant based protein option, but it does contain roughly 3g per cup. The health benefits of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are extensive. Their bioactive compounds are implicated in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing the risk of various cancers, immune regulation and nervous system protection.

5. Avocado

Avocados are a great source of Vitamins A, D, E, K and B6, along with fibre, potassium and 18 essential amino acids which are all necessary for the body to form complete protein. They are very versatile as they can be used in desserts like raw cheesecakes, chocolate mousse, guacamole, dips, salads, sushi or simply enjoy plain with salt and pepper on top. 

6. Figs

I love it when fresh figs are in season, they taste divine.  They’re rich in fibre, magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, Vitamins K and B6. You may be surprised to learn that even figs contain a small amount of protein.

7. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are another great source of protein. There are 18g in every 100g. They also contain copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, fibre, selenium and phosphorous. They are very versatile as they can be sprinkled over soups and salads, added to homemade breads and muffins, make them into a sesame seed paste/butter (tahini butter) or create different kinds of alternative dips and sauces.

8. Asparagus

Eight spears of asparagus contain 3g of protein. They contain Vitamin A, C and K, potassium, glutathione, antioxidants and also aid to reduce water retention.

9. Nuts

Nuts such as almonds are a great snack and roughly 25 almonds contain 6g of protein. They are also a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, niacin, manganese, riboflavin and Vitamin E which is great for the skin. Another protein packed nut is the Brazil nut. 100g of Brazil nuts contain 15g of protein, plus they are a great source of the mineral selenium, which we need to produce the active thyroid hormone. Selenium also supports immunity and helps wounds to heal.

10. Inca Inchi Protein Powder

Inca Inchi Protein Powder is a natural, gluten-free, chemical-free source of protein, essential and non-essential amino acids, Omega’s, vitamins and minerals. It’s a great option for vegans and vegetarians that need the plant protein; fantastic for families who are ‘on the run’ to supplement the daily diet; and a ‘must have’ for the gym junkies and body builders to replace the chemical-based whey proteins.

Inca Inchi Seeds and Inca Inchi protein powder are considered a low allergenic, all natural single ingredient food and provide a good substitute for people who develop sensitivity to whey protein and other highly processed protein powders.

Inca Inchi Protein Powder has the highest concentration of protein in our list, as it contains 60g of protein per 100g. You can use it in any of the following recipes:

So there you have it, 10 healthy vegan and vegetarian plant-based protein options. Enjoy!

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Nutritionist

]]> 0
Travelling Abroad the Healthy Way Tue, 24 Jan 2017 01:19:04 +0000

I’ve recently just come home from a 3 week holiday in the South Island of New Zealand. Anyone that loves hiking, adventures and hates the humidity as much as I do would understand why I wanted to stay there forever, it was glorious. People often ask me how I managed to continue eating healthy while I was away without compromising my health. To be honest, it’s as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it.  Eating real food is a choice and you can always search on the internet to help you plan and research where to eat.

The good news is, whether you’re travelling for work or for a holiday there are some simple yet effective strategies that will help you continue to eat healthy while travelling, in order to maintain balance and reduce stress around your food choices.

Through much trial and error, I’ve figured out what needs to be done before leaving, how to prepare and what to do during the trip to make eating healthy, simple and easy. I know exactly what can and can’t make it through airport security and what non-negotiables are helpful to pack.

Your travel plans may look different depending on your chosen destination, so you might choose to adapt these strategies for eating healthy food while travelling based on whether you’ll be flying, road tripping, taking the bus, camping, glamping, staying in Airbnb or hotel accommodation.

How to Eat Healthy While Travelling

What To Bring

It’s easy take a variety of perishable and non-perishable items when you travel. If you’re driving they can be packed in an esky or cooler bag. If you’re travelling by plane, food can be packed in your suitcase and/or in your carry-on bag through security and onto the plane.

Perishable Foods

These are some of the travel-friendly foods and snacks we took with us on the plane:

  • Vegetable sticks such as carrots, celery or cucumber with a side of pesto, guacamole, cashew cheese or nut butter
  • Hard boiled eggs (pre-peeled!) and sprinkled with salt
  • Pre-cooked roasted chunks of sweet potato or pumpkin
  • Meats like chicken or beef pre-cut into strips, or leftover sausages or meatballs
  • A mixture of Changing Habits Inca Inca Seeds, macadamias and cashews or another homemade trail mix
  • Small pots of chia pudding
  • Pre-made salad (with or without dressing)
  • An empty water bottle, preferably with a filter in it, allowing you to fill it up after you’ve gone through security
  • Homemade Sushi
  • Homemade Turmeric Seedy Crackers
  • Berry Gummies

Non-perishable Foods

Foods that don’t need immediate refrigeration make great emergency meals and snacks, especially when you’re spending time overseas or working long hours away from your accommodation. You can pack large stashes of these foods in your suitcase and take what you’d like in your carry-on for immediate use. The good thing about taking these foods is that you will probably use them all, so your suitcase will be a lot lighter on the way home.

These are just some of the items I packed in my suitcase to last my partner and I for 3 weeks.

  • Nuts and seeds (or pre-made trail mixes) I took Changing Habits Inca Inchi Seeds, organic macadamias and cashews (for snacks)
  • Changing Habits Coconut Oil (for cooking and a moisturiser)
  • Changing Habits Turmeric (for the anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Changing Habits Inca Inchi Oil (for the anti-inflammatory properties, drizzling over salads/ meals and a moisturiser)
  • I also took a jar of grass-fed ghee with me (I used this in my bulletproof coffee and in cooking)
  • Changing Habits Dehydrated Broth (for gut health- drink on its own or add to meals)
  • Changing Habits Camu Camu Powder (to boost the immune system)
  • Changing Habits Supreme Green Blend (to boost energy levels and to make sure you get enough greens into your diet) or chlorella tablets (also great to aid with detoxing)
  • Changing Habits Probiotics (for gut health)
  • Activated Coconut Charcoal (in case of food poisoning or reactions to food such as diarrhoea etc. It also is great for aiding with detoxification)
  • Cans of sardines, tuna or mackerel (sustainable)
  • Tea bags (green and herbal)
  • A small salt shaker with Changing Habits Seaweed Salt

Other options include:

  • Nut, seed or coconut butter (in sealed jars)
  • Quality paleo muesli/protein bars, paleo jerky etc (great for emergency snacks)
  • You can even try dehydrating certain foods and storing it in vacuum sealed bags (this is a great option for those who want to go on 2-7 day hiking trails)
  • Organic coffee
  • Essential oils
  • Magnesium spray (this can come in handy if you do a lot walking – rub onto sore muscles to help recover and repair faster) or a quality supplement
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Just a little sustainability tip: I recommend taking your own reusable water bottle with a filter built in (so you don’t have to worry about parasites, bacteria or chemicals in your drinking water) and a coffee travel mug to use throughout your trip. This will eliminate the cost and waste of endless amounts of plastic water bottles and cups that can add up while traveling.

Grocery Shop When You Arrive

Make sure to do your research and find grocery shops or health food shops that are in the vicinity of your accommodation. I always select accommodation that has a kitchen, so I can easily prepare healthy meals. As I bring many of my pantry staple items with me, my shopping list is small and I generally only need to get fresh produce and meat.

Eating Out at Restaurants and Cafés

It’s very easy to enjoy healthy food while eating out by following a few simple suggestions:

  • If picking your own restaurants/cafe, search directly in Google or Trip Advisor for keywords like ‘grass-fed’, ‘gluten-free’, ‘farm to table’ along with ‘restaurant’ and the name of city you’re visiting.
  • Before eating out, you can always look on the restaurant’s online menu to see if there is anything suitable for you to eat. Alternatively you can call them directly to see if they can cater to your needs.
  • When you arrive at a restaurant or cafe, tell the waiter the foods you want to avoid eg gluten-free, dairy-free etc and would appreciate their help in making substitutions. Most of the time, they’ll make immediate recommendations and let the chef know your specific food sensitivity.
  • When ordering salads, simply ask to substitute the dressing for a side of olive oil. Ask them to remove any croutons or cheeses if you’re choosing to avoid gluten and processed dairy.
  • If you’re trying to avoid vegetable oils, ask if there is an option to have your meat or vegetables cooked in butter instead of the typical canola oil; sometimes it’s not always possible but there is no harm in asking.
  • You can order any entrée dish that includes meats like steak, fish, or chicken and ask for ‘double the veggies’ as your side dish.
  • Always be polite. If you are travelling to a country that relies on tips say something like; ‘I know I’m a high maintenance customer with my food allergies, but I’m a good tipper’. Therefore you’re pretty much guaranteed great service.
  • Bonus tip! Take your own quality salt in a small shaker bottle so you don’t have to use the processed salts provided.

Eating With Others

If you’re visiting friends and family, you can always let them know in advance that you’ll be preparing most of your own meals. This may be especially important if you are on a restricted diet or have loads of food sensitivities/allergies. This way, you can still have the pleasure of eating with others although you’ll be eating different foods to them. When you sit down at the table, the others will begin to see what types of real food you’re eating. They may ask questions, you can answer them but try not to pressure them into eating the way you do. When people are ready for advice or help, they’ll let you know. You can be a quiet role model, it’s much more powerful.

Let the Guilt Go

While all of these tips can help you eat healthy food while travelling, the most important thing you can do throughout your trip is to not stress about food imperfection because we can’t always control our environment, especially if you’re travelling to a foreign country. One of the number one causes of digestive distress is STRESS.

You could be eating the most nutrient-dense food, however if you’re feeling stressed, you’re impairing the breakdown and absorption of your food, suppressing your immune system and increasing your likelihood of experiencing a reaction to a gut pathogen or food toxin. So relax, do the best that you possibly can in each situation you’re in and accept that you’re not going to be perfect.

I hope you enjoy my travel tips to ensure you’re able to eat healthy food while you’re next on holiday.

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Consulting Nutritionist


]]> 2
14 Delicious Dinners to Make When it is too Hot to Turn on an Oven Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:00:40 +0000

As the summer heat is now upon us in the Southern Hemisphere, the last thing you want to be doing is eating hot soups, stews and slaving away in a hot kitchen, cooking over the stove and/or with the oven on.

We have a solution for you with our 14 favourite summery, nutritious meals and recipes that are easy to make.

1. San Choy Bau

This is a classic Chinese dish, which is traditionally made from chicken or pork mince and placed in iceberg lettuce cups.

2. Pumpkin & Herb Broth Fritters

These fritters are the perfect nourishing meal to make in advance, keeping them in your fridge until you need them. They are full of gut healing ingredients and good fats so they will keep you satiated for longer. They are perfect on their own or you can serve them with fresh avocado and a side salad.

3. Simple Sushi

Sushi is really easy to make and you can experiment with different fillings and flavours.

4. Bacon Quiche with Hidden Vegetables

Quiches are another delicious, quick and easy meal to make that can be enjoyed hot or cold. It’s a perfect opportunity to include extra vegetables in your family’s diet by making a quiche, as well as using up ‘older’ vegetables in your fridge.

5. Real Food Taco’s Vs Nacho’s – Why Not Have Both?

Most people love Tacos and Nachos and when you follow this simple recipe, there will never be a need to buy the packaged or takeaway versions that are full of additives and preservatives. You can experiment with different toppings and base ingredients to suit your taste buds.

6. Pesto Snapper with Salad & Green Beans

If you love fish, then you will love this delicious, light option that is perfect for a dinner party as it’s all cooked in 20 minutes.

7. Cauliflower Rice with Chilli & Lime Chicken

Cauliflower Rice is a super quick, tasty, nutritious, grain-free alternative to rice and perfect for those following either the Changing Habits Hunter Gatherer or the 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol.

You can use this Cauliflower Rice to make Fried Rice, add it to soups, curries, salads and even make a pizza base from it. You can add different flavours to the rice such as chopped fresh herbs, kale, spices, onion, garlic, lemon or lime juice, chilli and other grated vegetables such as zucchini or carrot.

8. Garlic & Chilli Beans

This is a great side dish which is full of flavour. You can mix through some salad and serve it with roasted vegetables, meat or fish. It’s also a great accompaniment to pork or lamb chops and sweet potato mash.

9. Tropical Rocket & Mango Salad

This is a perfect simple salad to combine with fresh grilled fish and lightly steamed beans.

10. Prawn & Veggie Rice Paper Rolls

These rice paper rolls are perfect as a snack or as lunch. You can also experiment with different flavours.

11. Easy Thai Fish Cakes

This is another perfect dish for a weekday dinner or lunchbox idea for your children.

12. Turmeric Veggie Patties

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, these patties are perfect to make in advance and store in your fridge when you need them.

13. Roast Pumpkin, Avocado & Fetta Salad

The walnuts in this recipe will help your brain function and the avocado can help prevent cervical cancer as well as provide your body with lots of quality fats.

14. Simple Summery Lime & Zoodle Salad

This zesty tasting zoodle salad can be eaten on its own or tossed with some protein of your choice.

We hope you like some of these lighter, fresher nutritious summery dishes as much as we do.

Jordan Pie
Changing Habits Nutritionist

]]> 4
Ketosis – can we achieve it in a pill? Thu, 12 Jan 2017 23:57:09 +0000

oval pills spilling from a pill bottle

The body’s ability to be healthy is not hard. It just needs clean air, clean water, real foods, movement, a sense of purpose and meaningful human connection.

Science has changed all this:- funding, interests, poor design, poor hypothesis, non-replicable research have lead us down a path, that has not necessarily been correct when it comes to the health of humans.  Having said that the 10% of science that is correct, which is determined by the other 90%, leads us to our greatest discoveries.

The proof is in the pudding, that what we are currently doing is not working.  The ‘modern’ day diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, resistant infections, autoimmune diseases and metabolic disease are now more the norm than the unusual.

We are told that today’s modern food cannot give us the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need and so we must supplement as individuals.  Foods are fortified, with vitamins and minerals, and new diets are founded nearly every day, manipulating the macro nutrients (fat, carbohydrates and protein). New ‘foods’ manufacturing where dubious ingredients are added to make something that doesn’t taste good to be something that everyone enjoys.

Multi level marketing supplement companies create products that every day people sell to their friends and family without any knowledge of exactly what is in these products or how they are made. Instead they are sold a spin of propaganda and hype.

Since beginning my nutrition studies in the early 1980’s, I’ve been approached by many supplement companies (my friends selling the latest ‘new beaut; supplement) to sell their product.

Where to start?

The first thing I do when I’m approached is I research the product. 

  • What are the ingredients?
  • How are the ingredients made?
  • What research is behind what they are selling?

It doesn’t take me long to know whether I think the product is worthwhile or not.

If I go on the website and the ingredients are easy to find and not a wild goose chase then I usually find a list of ingredients that I’m pretty happy with, although this is not always the case.  

However when the ingredients are not obvious it makes me suspicious immediately, and when I hear “proprietary blend”, I go straight to the patents and find out what is in the proprietary blend.  Often what is on the label is just the ‘main name’ and not the other additives or ingredients in the proprietary blend.  A quick research of patents will soon reveal the real story.

I also want to know who is making the individual ingredients, what is the original source and the method they use?  This isn’t easy, sometimes I find myself on yet another wild goose chase and then I don’t get all the answers.  I then call the company for more information.  Most customer service lines can’t give me the answer to my questions, so they say they will call or email me back.  Seldom does this happen as my questions are deemed too hard for customer service to answer.

Herbalife, Isagenix, Nutriway, Juice Plus, Usana are examples of these companies.   These companies have supplements, protein powders and tonics that claim many benefits from weight loss to improved memory.  But there is now emerging a new generation of MLM supplement products and products found on the market that are promoting ketogenesis in a pill.  Let me explain this concept.

If we look at diet trends, we have seen some major changes in the last decade.  From the low fat high carbohydrate diet, that needed supplementing with vitamins and minerals, we are now seeing the emergence of the exact opposite; LCHF (low carb, high fat).  A diet very low in carbohydrates can create a change in the fuel the body uses. 

Glucose is the main source of energy the body uses in a high carbohydrate diet whereas in a low carbohydrate diet the liver makes ketones which our cells and brain use as an alternative energy source.  The person is said to be fat adapted.  In order to get to this state the diet is strictly fats, nuts, seeds, small amounts of proteins and non-starchy vegetables.   Many people claim it is too hard to do or stick to.  Enter the non-diet quick solution.  Ketogenic pills, powders, potions and liquids.

You might be introduced to these products by a professional, family, friend, acquaintance as it promises ketogenesis without having to do the diet.

How to decipher science, new ideas, new products and new foods?

I apply two main principles. The first is an historical perspective (anthropology, culture and tradition) and the second is a philosophical prospective – vitalism (wholism)

We still have a glimpse into the way our ancestors ate by studying people who have adhered to their old cultures and traditions and who still exist today. Tribes like the Hadza’s of Tanzania, Kidava’s of PNG, Himba’s of Namibia, Kyrgyz of Pamir, Inuit’s of Greenland to name a few.  We can see how food and diet dictated much of their lives.

Traditionally when food was plentiful, there were carbohydrates available and consumed.  This signalled to the body to store fat, the fat in turn released a master hormone called leptin.  This hormone was like a petrol gauge it told the body what was available and this in turn created fertility or if there was no leptin then infertility, especially in the female population.  This was important for the survival and perpetuation of the species.

If food was not plentiful, it was usually carbohydrates that were scarce and proteins and fats (animals and their products) were more available.  Glucose was not plentiful so ketones were made from fatty acids we consumed or had previously stored (adiposity), which the body used for energy.

Such a smart system!  There was an ebb and flow with the seasons and the years.

Prolonged lack of carbohydrates created more leanness and less fat storage, therefore less leptin and resulting in a survival infertility.

Ketones were never ingested; it was a product the body made for energy and survival from the fats we stored or consumed.

We are a pill popping society, wanting the one pill wonder and here it comes again with the pill of ketones to save the day.

Let’s look at the vitalistic side of this equation.  Many of the products I’m seeing on the market are not vitalistic, most of the ingredients do not have a country of origin, which means they are being manufactured in a laboratory.  The ketone being marketed for the most part is Beta Hydroxybutyrate (BHB), it’s manufactured in China by Brunswick laboratories.  

As far as I can figure out this ketone BHB was once produced commercially by a bacteria called Alcaligenes eutrophus.  The bacteria biologically produces poly (3-hydroxybuyrate) PHB which then by acid hydrolysis produces BHB (the ketone).  It’s delivered to companies as a white powder 

Interesting to note that beta-hyroxybutyric acid is the precursor to polyesters (biodegradable plastics).

But with the invention of genetic modification it is now a genetically transformed E coli with genes from alcaligenes eutrophus which code the PHB biosynthetic pathway.  E. coli are a far better vehicle for producing PHB than alcalignes eutrophus since more is known about handling the bacteria, E. coli, is more easily controlled and manipulated.  The transformed E. coli are able to produce PHB in relatively large quantities and as the market demand increases the more of this product needs to be produced.    This precursor PHB is not only required to make the ketone BHB, but it’s use in biodegradable plastics is growing.

Apparently the ingredient BHB, tastes revolting and so other things need to be added to it in order to be something people want to take daily if not on a three hourly basis (this is required as ketones will only stay in the blood for about 3 hours); things like flavours (natural of course), containing up to 48 ingredients. For more information about the truth behind food labels click here

Other additives are artificial sweeteners, isolated amino acids, gums, citric acid (made from GM mould), ascorbic acid (made from wheat or corn could be GM), MCT powder – to be instant it will have canola oil and soya lecithin added.  This is just a sample of what I’ve seen. 

So the vitalistic aspect of this supplement is more mechanistic, once again delivering ingredients or substances that are not derived or found in their original form.

Exogenous ketones (those you eat) vs endogenous ketones (the ones the liver makes when carbohydrates are not available) are worth asking some questions about.

Foods do not contain ketones therefore how do we know what these chemically made exogenous ketones are doing to the gastrointestinal tract and its components? 

Is it a one size fits all?  

  • Could some people have more tolerance to these ketones as opposed to others?
  • Could it be the people who are fat adapted be more likely to use these ketones as opposed to those that are on the SAD (standard Australian diet)?
  • What if you continue to consume ketones but don’t change to a low carbohydrate diet?
  • What are the long-term effects of taking this shiny new supplement?

Other things to consider that may also be effected 

  • The microbiome
  • Acid stomach
  • Osmotic pressure
  • Minerals
  • Acid/alkaline balance
  • Kidney load
  • Digestive enzymes
  • The single cell lining of the GUT
  • Bile duct and bile salts

Diet for me has never just been about more energy and being lean.  While I know these are important for many I think it’s time to think more about the big picture. 

  • How is our food made?
  • What chemicals are being sprayed in agriculture?
  • What effect do these chemicals have on the health of the planet, animals, bacteria, micro-organisms, plants and everything else that resides here?

We must ponder the choices that we are making today with regard to affecting the future of clean food, air and water

While taking a pill may be a short-term fix, it’s not the answer for the long-term health of our future generations.   If you think that by taking a supplement or keto supplement and remaining on a diet filled with foods that are not sustainable for you or the planet then you are delusional in thinking that this is the answer.  It’s merely another gimmick for most of the population.

I also think that it’s important to highlight mistakes we’ve made with supplementation.  One that stands out at the moment is the campaign to mandatory fortify certain foods (mainly grains, and grain products) with folic acid and prescribe supplements to pregnant women with folic acid. 

This was done to reduce the incidence of spina bifidia but now what we’re seeing is that a percentage of the population does not have the ability to convert folic acid into it’s active forms, therefore there is emerging science showing that the synthetic folic acid may be behind the rise in babies born with tongue tie and lip tie. 

It’s not certain yet, but it’s worth contemplating that when we take a mechanistic approach as opposed to a vitalistic approach we really don’t know the consequences of our actions.  Creating a population with more tongue and lip tie has it’s consequences, mainly the infant having trouble breast feeding, and that creates angst for the mother and baby.

Do I think through anecdotal evidence and some individual research there is a benefit to this supplement?

Elite Athletes Already Fat Adapted Athletes on running track

We know that an athlete on the ketogenic diet performs better for the most part than one on a high carbohydrate diet, especially for endurance.  Therefore the use of these supplements before a race and during a race may improve performance.  There have been studies done on this and there seems to be some benefit.

Reduction in Seizures 

It’s been long established that a ketogenic diet helps with reducing seizures in people with epilepsy where all drugs have failed.  Perhaps exogenous ketones may be of benefit, more research needed.


Diabetes profiles are improved on a ketogenic diet, so with a change in diet and the intake of ketones, this may improve glucose profiles.

Brain HealthBrain small

Improved cognition and reduction in inflammation can also be helped through the ketogenic diet.  Therefore extra doses of ketones with a change in diet for prevention of dementia or early onset dementia may have benefit.

I’ve never been opposed to supplements for therapeutic purposes, what I disagree with is the free reign marketing that happens to the unsuspecting, uneducated public, that are told that a pill will solve their problems and they don’t need to do anything else. 

Now that you have the information you can make an informed choice to choose to take them or not. If you are going to take them then a diet change is also important, please read the ingredients and find one with the least amount of additives.

What To Do? 

If you are low in energy, have put on some weight, have a few aches and pains as well as feel your brain and cognition isn’t as sharp as it could be then I suggest, coming clean with food.  What do I mean by that?

Beginning with a program or a protocol that can kick-start you in the right direction is step 1, this must also include tools to teach you what your body thrives on.  The 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol, may help some people get into ketosis to burn stored fat (low joules, fasting at night), as well as teaches you about the foods that work well for you. 

If that is not something you want to do then following a simple high fat, small protein, leafy green and non carbohydrate regime will also be a winner. 

Our nutritionists, Sheridan and Jordan can also help you make the right decision for your individual situation during a 15 minute health review. Click here for more information and to book. 

It’s not as easy as popping a pill but it is definitely a step in a direction that is good for you, the environment and the planet.

Coconut OilIf you want to take a food which will help your body make its own ketones, and is not made from genetically modified bacteria and added dubious ingredients, then I suggest the daily ingestion of coconut oil as the first step. 

Going one step past whole coconut oil and into a more refined coconut product is MCT oil, which is usually fractionated or solvent extracted.   Another proven product, caprylic acid, converts into ketones once in the liver.

Caprylic acid, when consumed increases ketone body production significantly despite the presence of blood glucose (when you’ve been eating carbohydrates or higher amounts of protein).  I’ve given you further reading on this topic in the references and further reading list.  It’s important to be aware that you may not be able to find a caprylic acid derived from coconut oil, it may be from non sustainable palm oil.

This brings us full circle back to eating real seasonal foods, derived from organic or biodynamic farming practices, such as Changing Habits Coconut Oil, instead of foods that contain dubious ingredients.

Just Eat Real Food #JERFSalad

KETO Products I’ve found on the market and their Ingredients.

Beta Hydroxybutyrate (Patent Pending), Erythritol, L-Taurine, Fermented L-Leucine, Natural Flavor, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Stevia, Xanthan Gum, Caffeine‡.

INGREDIENTS: Beta Hydroxybutyrate, Amino Acid Blend (L-taurine, L-tyrosine, L-arginine, L-leucine), Natural Flavors, Inulin (Chicory Root), Potassium Citrate, Stevia, Caffeine, Ascorbic Acid, Butyrate. Dairy Free; Gluten Free.

Beta Hydroxybutyrate, MCT Powder, Natural Flavor, Malic Acid, Stevia, Caffeine, Ascorbic Acid. Contains Milk Ingredients, Gluten Free.

MCT Powder, Coconut Shortening Powder (C8, C10 and C12), Ceylon cinnamon and Stevia. CONTAINS MILK INGREDIENTS, GLUTEN FREE.

[MCT powder is a powdered form of medium-chain triglycerides. The production process is like that in which protein powders are made – a process called spray drying. Saturated fatty acids like MCTs are naturally liquids at room temperature}

I did find an exogenous ketone with fewer additives;

Water, betahydroxybutyrate, citric acid and/or sodium hydroxide.  This would be taken in combination with coconut oil or fractionated MCT oil.

I’m not advocating these supplements; I’m merely giving you the facts and my interpretation of this new trend.

Happy changing habits

Cyndi O’Meara


References, Further Reading and Listening

  1. Mark Sissons – Is Contant Ketosis Necessary – or even desirable?
  2. Eating Academy Ketosis 101 by Peter Attia MD
  3. A Deep Dive Into Ketosis: How Navy Seals, Extreme Athletes & Busy Executives Can Enhance Physical and Mental Performance With The Secret Weapon of Ketone Fuel with Dr Dominic A’Agastino
  4. Patent by Dr Dominic D’Agastino
  5. Patent for making poly hydrxoybutyrate the precursor of beta hydroxybutyrate
  6. Cloning and expression in Escherichia coli of the Alcaligenes eutrophus H16 poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate biosynthetic pathway.
  7. How Folic Acid is Making Us Sick
  8. Caprylic Acid (C8): Impact On Blood Ketone Levels And Evaluating Current C8 Products
]]> 0
8 Signs Your Body Is Inflamed and What You Can Do About It Mon, 09 Jan 2017 23:10:51 +0000

Inflammation in your body is absolutely crucial. When your body perceives something as a threat, it protects itself and this process is called an inflammatory response.

Many chemical signals are produced in the body which defend it from triggers such as consuming certain foods, synthetic chemicals, food additives, viruses, bacteria, parasites, stress and lack of sleep. Symptoms are simply a little whisper from your body, trying to tell you to make a change. If we ignore those symptoms, then they can go from whispers into screams.

If these screams aren’t listened to, it can result in a diagnosis of a disease, typically an autoimmune disease (AD). Autoimmune diseases occur when a person’s immune system mistakenly believes it is under threat and starts to attack its healthy cells. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Some examples include multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, diabetes and Graves’ disease.

The number of people being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease has more than tripled in the last 50 years. In fact, the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) states that over 50 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease. It is much more difficult to calm down inflammation once there is a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease, however it is still possible.

I urge you to scan your body from the top of your head down to the tip of your toes, and ask yourself:

  • What symptoms am I experiencing?
  • What is causing these symptoms?

Almost all symptoms you are experiencing in your body start from inflammation. I’ve listed below 8 signs that your body is inflamed. I have seen all of the below symptoms disappear in many of my clients, when they make changes to their diet and lifestyle.

8 Signs of Inflammation in the Body

1. Headaches

Of course, there are a number of types and causes of headaches. However, it is known that a headache can be a symptom of a future diagnosis of an autoimmune disease (AD). AD’s stem from inflammation and therefore if a person is experiencing frequent headaches, it is important to find the cause of the inflammation.

Exhausted young woman working at office desk touching her temples, she is having a bad headache, stressful life and illness concept

2. Skin issues

Acne, rashes and psoriasis are all signs that your body is trying to signal to you that something you’re being exposed to must be removed. There are many autoimmune illnesses that affect the skin such as psoriasis. Moreover, acne is intricately linked with the health of our gut. When our gut health is altered, inflammation is heightened.

3. Brain fog

This is a symptom that people do not even realise they have until it is gone. Once this feeling is gone, you’re left with a sense of clarity, feel more energetic and are alert. Brain fog has been linked to inflammation of the brain after the exposure of something inflammatory.

4. Weight gain

When inflammatory foods and chemicals are removed from our diets and our lives, our body tends to lose weight. Here is a study proving that inflammatory cytokines are associated with future weight gain. 

5. Fatigue

This symptom can progress into other illnesses, particularly AD’s, as it has been associated with many inflammatory conditions.

6. Sinus issues

Remember, this is just a symptom that you need to listen to. Your body is communicating with you, letting you know that something it has been exposed to needs to be avoided. Keep in mind that sinuses can take more than 12 weeks to calm down. So it is crucial to remove anything inflammatory for at least 12 weeks to notice an improvement.

Young woman with sinus pressure pain

7. Weight fluctuations

When you see your body weight on the scales increase by 400g or more overnight, it may be because your body is inflamed. Scales can be a fantastic tool to allow you to find what may be causing inflammation. However, keep in mind that there are many other factors that could cause a temporary weight gain such as menstrual cycles, lack of sleep, stress and other lifestyle factors.

8. Joint pain

Most forms of arthritis stem from inflammation. If you have joint pain, it is essential that you find the cause of the inflammation in your body, so the joint pain can be reduced and potentially prevents a future diagnosis of arthritis.

Male athlete suffering from pain in leg while exercising outdoor

I have suffered in the past with many of the above symptoms including sinus, fatigue, skin rashes and acne, brain fog, weight fluctuations which were all a part of my daily life. After healing my gut by constantly avoiding inflammatory foods, connecting with nature regularly and reducing my stress levels, I no longer experience these symptoms.

If I did expose myself to anything inflammatory, I may get one of those symptoms back although I know exactly what to do to return to the best version of me.

Make it your goal to remove all inflammation in your body, taking note that it can take time to heal from the damage that has been done.

For a more indepth look into inflammation and what causes it, click here.

What You Can Do About It

Anti-inflammatory diets have become very popular over the past few years. If you want to eat for long-term health, then lowering inflammation in your body is essential for improving your health.

For a list of inflammatory foods to avoid and 20 inflammatory fighting foods click here.


If you’re looking for more individualised support and you don’t know where to start, you can book a 15 minute health review with either Jordan or myself, the Changing Habits Nutritionists.

We’re here to help you achieve your health goals.

It is worth your while to reduce any inflammation in your body and your symptoms, which in turn will improve your quality of life.

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Nutritionist

]]> 4