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This is an excellent way to enjoy a super healthy, high-protein, vegan, gluten-free meal, whilst using optimal plant-based ingredients.
This version is pleasantly moist on the inside with a lovely soft crisp on the outside; so that you can enjoy it with OR without the addition of a sauce. It works wonders with a salad or potato wedges; or in a bap with salad/sauce toppings…
Recipe type: Burger
Serves: 4
  • 240g (9oz) chickpeas (about 1 tin drained weight)
  • 2 level tablespoons gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 75g tasty mushrooms (small handful)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • Half teaspoon sea salt
  • Half medium sized apple
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • Crush garlic, dice onion and chop the mushrooms into small pieces; saute together in a pan for a few minutes.
  • Roughly mash chickpeas in a large mixing bowl with a potato masher or fork. This involves a bit of work to really get in there! The mash doesn’t have to be totally smooth, although you do need to give it a good pressing through so that a lot of it is quite mushy. It’s fine to leave a few rustic looking pieces.
  • Grate the half apple (including skin).
  • Add the gram flour, tahini, salt and apple and mix all together using the back of a metal spoon (to press down and help support the binding process).
  • Finely chop the rosemary and chop tomato into small pieces.
  • Add the sauteed items along with all remaining ingredients into bowl, pressing down and mixing thoroughly with a metal spoon.
  • Divide into 4 and firmly shape and mould into patties.
  • Place onto a grill tray and heat under a medium grill for approximately 8 minutes on each side (or until nicely tanned).

~ Author: Trinity Bourne

Our foods these days are filled with many added chemicals called intentional additives.

These may be artificial sweeteners,preservatives, colourants, flavourants, flavour enhancers etc. Some of these additives have been linked to health problems (such as cancer, asthma and hyperactivity) and have been banned in other countries. However, they are still allowed in our foods in South Africa.

Some of the more dangerous chemical additives to be aware of include:

Flavourants or flavour enhancers have been linked to asthma attacks, gout, hyperactivity, and allergies. The most well-known flavourant is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG is found in chips, soups, cold meats, Bovril, Soya products, pasta-and sauces,stock powders and many other savoury foods. MSG has been linked to hyperactivity. It can kill nerve cells, resulting in diseases such as Huntington's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Pregnant women, children and those with heart disease must be especially careful of MSG. MSG can sometimes be hidden under the name hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP). Wherever possible buy foods that have natural flavours.

Artificial sweeteners are found in many so-called “diet” products as well as in children’s fruit squashes, sweets, jellies, ice-creams and fizzy drinks. There are four commonly used sweeteners. Of these, cyclamate, saccharin and acesulfame may cause cancer. Aspartame may lead to mental retardation.

Many people have reported dizziness, headaches, epileptic-like seizures, and menstrual problems after ingesting aspartame. Artificial colourants are used in most children’s sweets, in fruit squashes, jellies,breakfast cereals, chips, jams, cheeses, cold meats (e.g. polony) and many convenience foods. All certified food colours in use today are of a class of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are suspected to cause cancer.

A well-known colourant which dyes food yellow (tartrazine), has been linked to cancer, asthma attacks, nettle rash in children, tumours, chromosomal damage and hyperactivity. It has been banned in some European countries. Whenever possible choose foods with natural colourants.

Preservatives are added to foods to make them last longer. Some of the preservatives to be aware of include:

 Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate which are used to preserve meat and are commonly found in cold processed meats, such as polony, ham, vienna sausages etc. They may cause stomach cancer. A number of studies have found that, if pregnant women eat a lot of meat which contains nitrates/nitrites, their children have a higher chance of developing brain tumours. There is also a link between nitrates/nitrites and childhood leukaemia.

 Sulphites are used to keep fruits and vegetables looking fresh.

They are used in dried fruits and in some fruit squashes (under the name sulphur dioxide). In America sulphites have been banned from most fruits and vegetables after at least 12 people died from having an asthma attack after eating food preserved with sulphites.

 BHA & BHT are added to oil-containing foods to prevent oxidation and retard rancidity.

According to the World Health Organization BHA may cause cancer.

 Carboxymethylcellulose is a stabilizer, used in ice cream, salad dressing, cheese spreads and chocolate milk. It has produced cancer in 80% of rats in an experiment on laboratory animals.

There are natural preservatives that can be used instead. Examples are vinegar, salt, sugar,rosemary, listeria and honey. Potassium sorbate can be used to inhibit mould growth. Lactic acid bacteria kill pathogenic bacteria.

Caffeine is found naturally in tea, coffee, and cocoa. It is also added to many soft drinks. It is a stimulant, raises blood pressure, may cause nervousness and insomnia (difficulty sleeping). It may also cause birth defects such as cleft palates, missing fingers and toes, and skull malformations. It is addictive.

Pesticides, although not an intentional additive, are found in much of our foods. DDT, which is still used in South Africa, has been linked to breast cancer. Try and buy foods which are labelled “pesticide free’ or “organic”. Wash fruit and vegetables well before eating - some pesticides are made not to wash off in the rain!

Spray & Cook and similar aerosol coating products contain propellants, which are known to cause damage to the nervous system and brain.

Food Packaging

Experiments have shown that when food is wrapped in plastic wrap, the chemicals in the plasticwrap are absorbed by the food. Some of these chemicals may cause hormonal problems, such as lowering the sperm count in men.

Bisphenol A is a chemical found in the plastic lining of some food cans. This chemical may leach from the can into the food inside the can. This chemical is a "reproductive toxicant" meaning it can affect the unborn foetus. Male laboratory animals exposed to LOW levels of bisphenol-A in the womb had enlarged prostate weight as adults, shrunken epididymides (sperm-carrying ducts), and reduced sperm counts.

Some tin cans are sealed with lead solder (lead-soldered cans have a thick, wide seam on the outside). Lead damages the kidneys and the reproductive system and can lead to Attention DeficitDisorder (ADD) in children and adults. Empty such cans immediately once you’ve opened them.

Buying Tips

Read labels! Buy products that are labelled “Preservative free”, “MSG free”, “Tartrazine free”,

“Pesticide free”, “Organic’ etc. (And while you are at it, why not also buy products which are “GMO free”, “cruelty free”, “hormone free” as well as “free range” animal products too?)

Wherever possible, buy organically grown food. Besides being free of chemicals, these foods have been shown to have a higher nutritional value

Try to use the alternatives to plastic products whenever possible. For example, buy food in glass, paper or cardboard containers. At home, avoid heating food in plastic containers, or storing fatty foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap and avoid all PVC and styrene products.

Be especially vigilant when buying products for pregnant woman, children and people with already weakened immune systems (especially those who are HIV positive). The first 20 years of life are believed to be the most crucial in terms of preventing on contracting serious illnesses associated with chemical exposure.

Wherever possible avoid buying the following products:

 pesticides,

 foods which primarily contain flavourants, colourants and preservatives (such as some fruit

squashes, fizzy drinks, polony, most sweets & chips)

 air fresheners (unless they are free of propellants, formaldehyde and artificial fragrances)

 benzene

 leaded paint

 hair spray

 firelighters

 jeyes fluid

 spot removers

 Aerosol products (deodorants, hair sprays, furniture polish, Spray ‘n Cook etc), unless they

are pump action and do not contain propellant

 PVC toys, teethers, dummies or teat

 Perfumed products (for example, perfumed bleach or detergents, scented furniture polish,

perfumed lotions and face creams etc).

How to Make Tater Tots
How to Make Homemade Tater Tots
To keep things easy and healthier, we bake the tots instead of frying them. A microwave and food processor makes quick work of the potatoes. Shaping the mixture is a little tricky — but with a bowl of cold water next to you, you’ll quickly get the hang of it (see our notes in the recipe).
These tots can be made in advance!
Check out our tips below for how.
Yield: 24 tater tots
You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil, like canola
  • 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks (about 2 potatoes)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley, optional
  • 1 ounce sharp white cheddar cheese, finely grated (1/3 cup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Prepare Oven and Baking Sheet: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with half of the oil.
  2. Prepare Potatoes: Place potatoes in a bowl of cold water and agitate for 10 to 15 seconds. Drain.
  3. Transfer 1/2 of the potatoes to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken down into rough 1/4 to 1/8th inch pieces, about twenty-five 1-second pulses. Transfer to a clean dish towel and repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  4. A+J’s Tip: Be careful not to over process potatoes or they will become gummy. If a few large chunks of potatoes remain, remove them and chop into small pieces with a knife.
  5. Wrap dish towel around processed potatoes and squeeze well to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard liquid and transfer potatoes to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and then microwave for 1 more minute.
  6. Stir potatoes — they might be a little sticky then let cool for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the salt, onion powder, cornstarch, parsley, cheese, and black pepper to taste over the potatoes. Gently mix in to combine. (The mixture will be sticky, a rubber spatula or fork work well).
  7. Shape the tots: Shape potatoes into cylinders about 3/4-inch wide and 1-inch long. Place shaped tater tots onto oiled baking sheet.
  8. A+J’s tip: Keep a small bowl of water close by. Occasionally wetting your fingers keeps the mixture from sticking to your fingers and makes shaping easier. Pressing the potatoes into a tablespoon measure helps to portion out each tater tot.
  9. Bake Tots: Drizzle tops of tater tots with remaining oil then bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Carefully flip each tater tot — using two forks helps to wiggle any tots that are more stuck to the foil than others — then bake until the second side is golden brown, another 10 minutes.
  10. Make-Ahead: To freeze the tots, follow the recipe through shaping then continue to baking. Instead of baking until both sides are golden brown, under bake them just slightly. Transfer to a large plate in a single layer and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Transfer the frozen tots to a freezer-safe bag and store for up to 3 months. To reheat, heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake until golden brown and heated through.
Notes and Tips
Microwave Alternative: If you do not have a microwave, simply bake the potatoes in a 400 degree F oven just until tender (not mushy or soft) then let them cool. Once cooled, chop into 1-inch chunks then add them to a food processor and pulse until broken down into rough 1/4 to 1/8th inch pieces, about eight 1-second pulses. Continue with our recipe as written.Food Processor Alternative: If you do not have a food processor, simply use a box grater to grate the potatoes then continue with our recipe as written. The texture will be slightly different inside the tots, but they will still taste great!A note about salt: We use kosher salt in our recipes. It’s much easier to pick up with our fingers and gives us better control of our seasoning. Use what you have, but keep in mind that kosher salt has larger flakes compared to table or fine sea salt. If using a finer salt, you will need to reduce the amount of salt called for in our recipe by 25% to 50%.

10 Tips For A Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Many people may realise that they have a sensitivity to gluten, as whenever they eat a food containing it, they experience; aches, pains, headaches, lethargy, irritability, acne, digestive discomforts such as bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhoea and much more.

So you have to ask the questions:
“Am I prepared to put up with these health issues or quit gluten all together?”
“Do I want health and vitality, and am I really prepared to do what it takes in order to get it?”

Changing to a gluten-free lifestyle can seem overwhelming to some people. But if you’re ready to make the commitment to your health and cut gluten out of your life completely to give you clarity of mind, better health and energy so you can do the things you love, become motivated and optimistic about life again, we have come up with 10 of our top suggestions.

1. Roast, Grill or Slow Cook Meats To Have On Hand Throughout The Week

Grilled, slow-cooked or roasted meats are perfect to always have on hand in the fridge, pre-cooked and chopped up so you can quickly whip up a salad for the kids lunch and for work too.

2. Have Plenty Of Fresh Fruits And Vegetables On Hand

Go to your local markets on the weekend and stock your fridge with fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. You can pre-cut vegetables and store in containers, wrap them with a moist tea towel to extend the freshness. Or if you have excess produce, quickly blanch them in hot water and freeze for a later use. Excess fruit can be easily chopped and frozen in small zip lock bags to be added to smoothies, later on, cooked and stewed, made into puree’s, jams or added to baked goods or chia puddings.

3. Make Extras

When you’re making meals like soups, stews, stocks and broths, muffins, slices, bliss balls etc, double it and freeze them so you always have healthy options available that you can just grab out of the freezer and de-frostfor a quick, healthy, pre-made meal or snack.

4. Utilise Your Oven And Slow Cooker

Roasted meats and veggies are one of the simplest meals to do, as you only have to place everything onto a roasting tray and whack it in the oven. A slow cooker can be so handy when you have little to no time to make dinner after work as you can put your meat, veggies and stock into the slow cooker and leave it on while you’re at work and you get to come home to dinner that only needs to be plated up. The leftovers can be eaten for breakfast or taken to work the next day.

5. Use Gluten Free Flour Alternative

Keep these ingredients readily on hand so you can do an impromptu bake, such as; nut and seed flours (almond, hazelnut, sunflower seed meals etc) and store these in the freezer to extend the shelf life and deter them from going rancid. You can also use coconut, buckwheat, arrowroot, tapioca and banana flours.

6. Shop Smarter

Learn to navigate the supermarket isles and aim to shop in mainly the perimeter where all the fresh foods are kept. Also, beware of supermarket and marketing ploys by educating yourself.

7. Become A Label Reading Expert

Avoid refined and processed packaged foods and stick to whole, fresh and seasonal food. If you do purchase something in a packet, avoid anything with an ingredient lists miles long that looks like a chemical laboratory. Dubious ingredients you don’t recognise, more often than not, will contain gluten.

8. Vary Your Diet

When you first begin you may be scared to branch out and try new things. Don’t be afraid to have fun and get creative in the kitchen. We love the quote ‘Just because the ingredients change, doesn’t mean the menu has to’. There is a wide world web out there and numerous amazing healthy cookbooks for you to take your healthy gluten-free meal, snack and drink inspiration from.

9. Stock Your Kitchen Well

Make sure you have your pantry stocked with the basics, such as; turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, pepper, a quality Himalayan salt, other spices and dried herbs, coconut oil, ghee, quality olive and nut oils, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and coconut, rice, quinoa and buckwheat. Make sure you fridge is packed and ready with basics like homemade mayonnaise and pesto which can be added to plain meats, eggs and salads for extra flavour. Keep cold cuts and left overs, pre-roasted veggies and plenty of fresh eggs, fruit, vegetables, yoghurt, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut on hand to make your meal prep easier. Stock your freezer with frozen berries and other pre-chopped fruits for quick additions to smoothies and add chopped veggies to stir-fry’s, curries, soups and stews. Lastly, try growing a garden or a small patch where you can plant your own leafy greens and herbs. By having a one ingredient pantry fully stocked with real foods means you can use fewer total ingredients and reduce your work in the kitchen. That’s something we can all benefit from!

10. Become Informed

If you’re a parent, you have a very challenging, yet important job to educate your children (and perhaps those few around you who will listen) about wholesome real foods and why it is important for them not to consume food which has been manipulated, refined and overly processed. Become informed and educated about food and don’t be cajoled by advertising and marketing, it is merely there to sell a product is not necessarily the truth.

We hope our top 10 tips help you easily live a gluten free, sustainable lifestyle so you can get vibrant health and be nourished from the inside out.
What are your tips?



Gluten can inflame your gut and your brain.

What many people don’t know about their mental health is that diet and the inner landscape — or, ecosystem — of the gut are deciding factors in how good or how bad you feel.


Dr. Michael Gershon, chairman of the department of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia University, helped to reveal that the gut and the brain are an interconnected network of nerve tissue. Together, they form the gut-brain axis.

The gut contains over 100 million neurons and more nerve tissue than the brain.3 This is one reason why Gershon calls the digestive tract your “second brain.” It turns out that in emergency situations, your “second brain” can give out orders to your digestive tract, as well as the brain that belongs to your central nervous system.

There are other connections that the gut and the brain share. For example, while serotonin is mostly known as a brain chemical, cells lining the gut wall secrete large quantities of serotonin. Your digestive tract stores as much as 90 percent of your body’s total serotonin.

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of confidence, wellbeing, and a sense of belonging. Serotonin also regulates movement in the intestines: Too little serotonin can slow down transit time and lead to constipation, while too much serotonin can speed up transit time and result in loose, watery stools. This is one reason why common antidepressants are often used to treat signs of irritable bowel syndrome.

The gut-brain connection goes even deeper.

Following on the heels of Dr. Gershon’s groundbreaking discovery, Duke University researchers mapped the science of “gut feelings” in 2015. Plotting the newly understood cell-to-cell connection between the gut and the nervous system, researchers tracked in real-time the point when the brain recognizes it is full once food hits the gut. Based on this relationship, researchers from The Kavli Foundation suggested that gut microbes could be used to treat brain disorders, including anxiety, depression, and autism.Through the gut-brain axis, researchers have even linked poor microbial diversity in the digestive system to symptoms of anorexia nervosa.


You might remember the anti-drug campaign from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America that played on television years ago. It went something like this: “This is your brain,” and you see an egg. “This is your brain on drugs,” and you see an egg sizzling in a frying pan.

Maybe one day there will be a campaign that tells us, “This is your brain on gluten,” and we see an egg go up in flames. Because the reality is that gluten inflames the gut, and the inflammatory cascade doesn’t end there.For many people, inflammation in the gut translates to inflammation in the brain. This is one reason why inflammatory gut disorders are frequently accompanied by brain fog and migraine headaches.

Another sign of “fire in the brain” is behavioral and mood disorders, including depression.

In 2007, researchers in Finland published a paper looking into the relationship between dietary gluten and psychiatric disorders. While celiac disease and depression often occur together, a wide spectrum of people without celiac disease have developed an immune response to gluten. The question that researchers asked: Is this population more susceptible to things like cognitive impairment, depression, and anxiety?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. Those with celiac disease have an immune system that attacks the cells in their small intestine, destroying them. The trigger? Different proteins found in wheat and its relatives, and usually wheat gluten. There are no drugs to effectively treat celiac disease, but physicians do recommend a gluten-free diet. Further confirming how gluten can affect the gut and the brain in sequence, a 2014 study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeuticsconfirmed that a gluten-free diet could help to relieve brain fog, a common symptom in patients with celiac disease.


Those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have not been diagnosed with celiac disease — but their immune system does mount a response in the presence of gluten or other molecules found in wheat.  Indeed, an immune response to gluten and inflammation in the small intestine has been linked to depression in previous research.

In other words, gluten can inflame your gut and your brain.

The microbes living in your digestive tract affect their local terrain. Like farmers tilling the soil, they either bring the ground to life or devastate it with toxic messages. Studies show that “good” probiotic microbes can stop inflammation in the gut, whereas “bad” pathogenic microbes can ignite inflammation, destroying tissue.

Because the gut and the brain are connected along the gut-brain axis, the effect of gastrointestinal microbes is far-reaching. Scientists at Acadia University suggest that “good” probiotic microbes may help manage signs of depression, anxiety, and other common mental health disorders.16

Zoe Hunter, lead author of the study, explains that, “There’s actual stress receptors in your gut…That’s the hypothesis; the probiotics actually change those receptors.” As far as the benefits of probiotic foods, Hunter says that, “Anxiety and depression, it goes along with so many issues. If you can give those individuals a natural product to go in place of a medication, it’s just more beneficial to take one less pill.”

In 2011, Dr. Javier Bravo and Professor John Cryan at the University College Cork, Ireland, showed in animal studies that probiotic bacteria reduce signs of depression and anxiety.17 Researchers also found that those on a probiotic diet had less of the stress hormone — corticosterone — floating around in their bloodstream.

Professor Cryan says that, “These findings highlight the important role that gut bacteria play in the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, the gut-brain axis.” He speculates that in the future, physicians may recommend probiotics to address stress-related disorders, like anxiety and depression.


Just how probiotic microbes benefit the brain is still unclear. Each year, scientists unearth new mechanisms behind the gut-brain axis. But, some things are clear:

Probiotics uplift the mood, while gluten drags it down.

If you struggle with depression, we recommend nurturing the digestive tract with a probiotic-rich diet that is gluten-free, sugar-free, and initially casein-free.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Your diet and your inner ecosystem have a direct impact on your mental health. Because of the gut-brain axis, the digestive tract is often referred to as the "second brain." It should come as no surprise that the gut contains up to 90 percent of the body's serotonin, a brain chemical that controls well-being, confidence, and feelings of belonging. Serotonin further regulates intestinal movement; serotonin imbalances can lead to constipation or loose stool.

Celiac disease has been linked to depression. Even without celiac disease, it's common to develop an immune response to gluten, which has also been linked to depression. Gluten has the potential to inflame the gut and the brain.

The silver lining is this: Since the gut and the brain are connected, research supports beneficial probiotic bacteria to manage anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Probiotics affect mood for the better, while gluten may affect mood for the worse.

Learn more:

Serves: Makes 12 muffins
  • 1 ¼ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ½ cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners. (If using liners, the muffins must be completely cooled before eating or they will stick to the liner.)
  2. In a small bowl combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.
  3. In your mixer bowl, beat together the eggs, honey, banana, and vanilla, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the carrot and mix to incorporate.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
  6. Spoon into prepared muffin tin and bake at 350° about 20 minutes or until done in the center.

These healthy carrot muffins are easy to make, moist, and flavorful. We love them for an easy breakfast or snack. They're gluten and dairy free and paleo!

Author: Linda Etherton

Besides garnering attention as a a veritable fountain of youth, cancer tamer and fibromyalgia remedy, turmeric has proven itself to be a formidable weight loss superfood as well.

Easing inflammation is just one benefit of this golden beauty. It also mitigates insulin resistance and balances blood glucose levels while helping to prevent the spread of fat tissue — providing a powerful tool in the battle of the bulge. A staple in Asian cultures for centuries, turmeric is a safe, flavorful and nutrient-packed addition to any diet or weight loss plan.

Colorful fat fighter

Research at Tufts University in Boston discovered that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) reduced weight gain and total body fat in mice that consumed the compound.

Eighteen mice divided into three groups were fed either a low fat, high fat or curcumin enhanced high fat diet. At the end of the study, body weight of the mice and fat distribution were measured. For those that ingested the diet with curcumin, both total body fat and weight gain were reduced — even though food intake was not restricted. Blood glucose, cholesterol, fatty acid, triglyceride and liver fat were lower as well.

Another study at Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine in China also found turmeric intake to be beneficial for weight loss.

As stated by Anthony Gucciardi of Natural Society:

“… curcumin (once again, a compound within turmeric found in extracts and the food itself) consumption directly decreased levels of insulin resistance and leptin resistance – two factors heavily linked to fat gain. In the conclusion of the research, study authors state:

“By diminishing the sediment of fat, relaxing the lymphatic return, and refraining the apoptosis of beta cells, the curcumin might significantly decrease the level of insulin resistance and leptin resistance caused by the high fat diet.”

Similar findings were observed at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, Columbia University. Dr. Drew Tortoriello M.D., an endocrinologist and research scientist, found that “turmeric-fed obese mice showed significantly reduced inflammation in fat tissue and liver compared to controls.” He suspects “the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant ingredient in turmeric, lessens insulin resistance and prevents type 2 diabetes in these mouse models by dampening the inflammatory response provoked by obesity,” according to Science Daily.

Happily, researchers believe these results can be applied to humans too. With such a profusion of healthy benefits, all you really have to lose by enjoying this vibrant spice is excess weight.

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Sources for this article include:

Who says you need all the breading to make a great-tasting eggplant parmesan?

Cut the eggplant in thick slices, which makes for a delicious casserole with an Italian flair.

8 slices eggplant, cut in ¾ inch pieces
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
15 oz. can tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cup tomatoes, crushed
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, shredded

Brush eggplant with 2 teaspoons olive oil, sprinkle with half salt and pepper, bake in pans at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until eggplant softens, let cool.
Sautee onion, mushrooms and garlic in remaining oil. Add tomatoes, chopped and crushed. Also add remaining salt and pepper, oregano, granulated onion and sugar.
Place eggplant in 8” by 8” pan. Layer it if necessary. Place ricotta in small blobs on top of eggplant. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Top with layer of tomato mixture.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned, about ½ hour.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.
Serves: 4

Total cooking time: 1 Hour

It was once thought that fat and cholesterol were the biggest dietary contributors of heart disease. But with today’s modern research, scientists are finding that sugar and carbs may actually be playing a bigger role in heart disease than fat and cholesterol. For example, Mark Hyman, M.D., cites several studies in his book, The Blood Sugar Solution:The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!, that indicate high blood sugar is linked to heart disease.

So what foods are considered “heart healthy” these days?

Heart-healthy foods include foods on the Mediterranean diet: healthy fats like olive oil, olives, avocados, coconut oil, and nuts; salmon and other cold-water fatty fish; all vegetables and whole fruits (but not fruit juice which has a high natural sugar content); and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or oats in moderation.

Here is a delicious recipe for a heart-healthy day:

Turmeric Lentil Soup

High in fiber, lentils help regulate blood sugar which in turn helps to protect the heart from inflammation. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to lower cholesterol, while tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks.


  • 1½ cups lentils, rinsed and soaked for 2 hours
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1-inch piece of turmeric, finely grated (or 1 tablespoon ground turmeric)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 box crushed tomatoes
  • 2½ cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley


Rinse and soak lentils for 2 hours, drain.

Heat the olive oil and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft.

Add all herbs and spices except the parsley, and sauté.

Add the lentils and sauté a few minutes, until coated with the herb mixture.

Add the vegetable broth and tomatoes, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 4 servings

Your heart will thank you for this cardiovascular-boosting day of lunch or dinner. Eating a diet full of heart-healthy foods will help protect your heart, and may even reverse some elements of heart disease. Note: Consult your cardiologist before changing your diet if you are currently being treated for heart disease.

~ by: Heidi Hackler


Disrupting The Microbiome Has Far-Reaching Consequencese Has Far-Reaching Consequences

I consider the genetic modification of our food to be one of the most disturbing developments of the last few decades. Genetic modification began when the Monsanto corporation, developed a weed-killing herbicide known as Roundup. The only problem was that Roundup tended to kill the crops as well as the weeds.

So Monsanto invented a genetically modified soy that was able to resist the herbicidal poison—the so-called "Roundup-ready" soybean. Farmers began to shower their crops with vast quantities of Monsanto herbicides, with potentially disastrous consequences for the neighboring soil and water, as well as for any livestock or humans who might consume the soy.

Genetic modifications developed quickly. Right now, a number of crops are grown almost exclusively in genetically modified form, including soy, corn, sugar beets, rapeseed (used in canola oil), and cotton (used in cottonseed oil).

I’d love to be able to tell you exactly what effect this has on our health, or on the health of the livestock fed with these crops. Unfortunately nobody knows yet.

We’ve only been doing this to our food supply for a relatively short time period and therefore we don’t have a comprehensive picture of how it affects us.

However, a number of disturbing pieces of information have come to light that suggest a need for caution.

Danish pigs, German cows, and other European livestock have suffered from various gut problems and digestive issues since the introduction of Roundup-ready soy into their diet. In some cases, the problems might be caused by the ways the soy damages the beneficial gut bacteria of the animals. In other cases, problems seem to result from the ways that Roundup, the herbicide used in conjunction with GMO crops, destroys beneficial bacteria while leaving intact the deadly bacteria that cause E.coli and botulism - which are reaching epidemic levels among European livestock.

Some evidence suggests that Roundup and similar herbicides destroy beneficial microbes that live in the soil, affecting the soil's fertility and perhaps also affecting the nutrient content of plants grown in that soil.

In 2010, Monsanto registered glyphosate as an antibiotic, so when we eat these foods, we are consuming antibiotics.

Why is your microbiome the key to your overall health?

Each of us contains a whole inner ecosystem composed of trillions of microbes. These bacteria outnumber our human cells by a factor of 10 to 1.

We begin developing our microbiome in the womb, as our mothers pass on bacteria to us during pregnancy. As we grow, we continue to acquire more bacteria – from our food and water, but also from our environment and from other people. These bacteria can be friendly, unfriendly, or a mix of the two.

We need the microbiome to keep our gut healthy because the gut is so vital to our overall health. Besides its role in digestion, it also helps us to process thought and emotion – so much so that it is often referred to as “the second brain.” When your microbiome is in good shape, your serotonin and other neurochemical levels are more likely to be optimal. As a result, you feel calm, balanced, optimistic, and confident and you are likely to sleep well.

The study of GMOs and of the microbiome itself is in it's infancy and we simply don't know enough. However, more and more evidence is pointing to the fact that keeping a healthy, balanced microbiome is key to overall health. Disrupting it by consuming GMOs, and conventionally or factory farmed meats, almost certainly involves some risk. When combined with other disruptors such as antibiotics and junk food, it is little wonder that very few of us reach adulthood with our microbiome in good shape.

However, there are steps you can take to repair the delicate balance. Here are a few places to start.

If you can avoid GMOs do so. A full list of GMOs can be found here.

Avoid junk food and processed food, almost all of which contains trans fats, GMO corn, GMO soy, or industrial seed oils.

Whenever possible, avoid antibiotics.

Add water filters to your home taps and drink filtered water whenever possible.

Take a daily probiotic, a capsule or powder containing friendly bacteria that can replenish your own microbiome, especially if you have recently taken antibiotics.

Eat fermented foods - saukraut, kefir (fermented milk), kimchi or other fermented vegetables - these contatin natural bacteria that also protects your microbiome.

Incorporate prebiotics into your diet: foods that contain the fiber on which friendly bacteria feed. Examples are; tomatoes, garlic, onions, radishes,leeks, asparagus and artichokes.

Common ailments such as weight gain, fatigue, aches and pains, illnesses and memory loss typically associated with growing older are by no means inevitable.

If you can bring your microbiome back into optimum balance, many if not all of these should be alleviated or even disappear.

by Frank Lipman, M.D.






2 cauliflowers
1 tbsp ghee or butter
2 red onions or 2 bunches of spring onions, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, diced
3 large handfuls of fresh parsley, finely chopped
a large handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

Chopped radishes, nuts or seeds such as almonds, pistachios or sunflower seeds (preferably ‘crispy’ activated) to garnish.

Remove the cauliflower leaves and the tough end of the stalk. Grate the cauliflower into rice-sized pieces using the slicing attachment of a food processor or the coarse side of a hand-held grater.

Steam the grated cauliflower in a saucepan, lid on, with a couple of tablespoons of water and the ghee or butter. Over a medium heat, it should take roughly 4 minutes for the cauliflower to cook (not too soft!). Check that there is enough water at the bottom of the pan so that the cauliflower doesn’t burn. Drain any excess water and tip the steamed cauliflower into a large serving bowl.

While the cauliflower cools, chop up the rest of the tabbouleh ingredients, then combine everything together. Taste for seasoning.

12 Reasons Why Sweet Potato Is So Good For You

This bright orange tuber is a superstar in the root vegetable world. It's featured all over health bloggers Instagrams, on the menus of healthy cafe's and restaurants. But why is it so good for you?

We did some digging and found these 12 great reasons to eat sweet potato:

1.  Helps To Keep Disease At Bay

Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin B6. A vitamin which helps to reduce the chemical homocysteine in your body. High homocysteine levels have been linked to degenerative diseases including heart attacks.

2. They Are A Good Source of Vitamin C

That orange color isn't just for show! These brightly colored spuds are packed with vitamin C, offering support for your immune system, bones and teeth, digestion and blood cell formation. It also helps to accelerate wound healing and improves the appearance of your skin by producing collagen.

3.  Supports Your Bones

It's not something we'd typically assume, but sweet potatoes contain small amounts of Vitamin D. A nutrient that helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, as well as support the thyroid gland. 100g of sweet potato also contains 33mg of calcium, a critical component of a healthy skeletal system!


4.  Boosts Your Energy

A source of slow-releasing carbohydrates, sweet potatoes provide us with sustained energy. But they also contain iron! You may be aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.

5.  De-Stress With These Sweet Spuds

A good source of magnesium, sweet potatoes can help you to relax and de-stress. It's also necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function. Yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral!

6.  Supports Your Heart And Kidneys

This tuber contains potassium, an essential electrolyte that helps to regulate your heartbeat and nerve signaling, whilst supporting healthy blood pressure. Potassium also helps to relax muscle contractions, reduce swelling, and protect and control the activity of your kidneys.

7. They Won't Spike Your Blood Sugar

Unlike refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, candy and other sweets. Sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index, slowly releasing their natural sugars into the blood stream. So you won't go on a sugar-induced rollercoaster. This helps to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy for the body, reducing fatigue during the day and excessive hunger pangs.

8. They're Loaded With Antioxidants

That rich orange color is a sign that they're high in carotenoids, a type of antioxidant, that are the precursors to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, a boosted immunity, and protects you against the effects of aging. They're also powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer! Studies at Harvard Universityof more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence. So impressive!

9.  You Can Eat Them In Many Ways

They're one of the simplest foods to cook and incredibly versatile. You can roast them, puree them, steam, bake or grill them. Add them to stews, soups, salads, and even desserts! Regardless of how you have them, add a little fat/oil to get the most nutrients.

10. They're Anti-Inflammatory

Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are equally valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits.

11. They Support Healthy Wound Healing

The plant nutrients in sweet potato impact fibrinogen in the body. Fibrinogen is one of the key glycoproteins in the body that is required for successful blood clotting. With the help of a coagulation factor called thrombin, fibrinogen gets converted into fibrin during the blood clotting process. Balanced amounts of fibrinogen, thrombin and fibrin are a key part of the body's health and its ability to close off wounds and stop loss of blood!

12. Spuds With Anti-Bacterial Properties!

In sweet potatoes, researchers have long been aware of one group of resin glycosides called batatins (including batatin I and batatin II). But only recently have researchers discovered a related group of glycosides in sweet potato called batatosides (including batatodide III, batatoside IV, and batatoside V). In lab studies, most of these sweet potato glycosides have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cool, right?! We're excited to see what else this line of research discovers about this impressive yet humble root vegetable!

Did you know about these benefits of sweet potato? There's always so much to learn when it comes to nutrition and the health benefits of what you eat. Fresh, wholesome food continues to amaze us!

Corn fritters are dime-a-dozen. For a good reason! They are super simple, versatile (breakfast for dinner anyone?), they are colorful, vegetarian, free from gluten and super filling when paired with a beautiful salad.

To stay a little different from the rest, because we like to mix things up, we've added some extra veg along with lemongrass and fresh chili for a Thai-inspired taste bud tantalizer!

Makes 8-10 Fritters & the salad will feed 4


  • 1 cup corn kernels (1 cooked sweet corn, kernels removed)
  • 1 zucchini grated
  • ½ cup almond meal or another GF flour  (brown rice or quinoa flour works well)
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 long red chili, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped or 1 tsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • coconut oil for cooking


  1. In a bowl combine the flour, corn, zucchini, ginger, chili, lemongrass, baking powder, coconut milk, egg, and cilantro. Mix well.
  2. Heat a frypan to high heat and add a little coconut oil. Using a spoon, scoop about ¼ cup of the mixture for 1 fritter into the frypan, apply a little pressure with the back of the spatula to flatten the fritter. Cook on each side for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Remove and set aside on a plate, repeating until all fritters are cooked.


  • 1 cup kale, finely shredded
  • 1 green apple, finely sliced
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 cup mint, roughly chopped


  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Combine all slaw ingredients in a large salad bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients and pour over the slaw. Mix well to coat.
  3. Serve alongside your fritters with a fresh squeeze of lime.


Fill your plate with tasty and healthy foods from the main food groups, and cut back on less healthy foods and drinks

Cutting back on sugar

Sugar adds extra calories to food that we don't need. Because it doesn't fill us up, it's easy to have too much of it, and that can make us put on weight. It also has a small effect on raising cholesterol levels and blood pressure. While the natural sugars already present in foods aren't a problem, there can be a lot of extra sugar added to foods and drinks.

What can you do to cut down on added sugars?  First look at:

  • What you drink - water is the best drink and it's free. Your taste buds might need a bit of re-educating if you're used to only drinking sweet drinks, but they do get used to the change.  For something a bit more exciting than tap water, you could try bubbly water and add some hints of flavour eg. lemon or lime slices, mint leaves, or chopped up fruit.
  • The extra foods you eat that are high in added sugar eg. cakes, biscuits, sweet bakery items, lollies, and muffins. Try cutting back on these and replacing them with healthier options like fruit, yoghurt, nuts, or check out our recipes for healthier baked options.
  • The everyday foods you eat - check the sugar content on food labels, and choose options with less sugar in them.

Sugar that is naturally present in whole fruit, plain milk and plain yoghurt is not a problem, and these are still healthy foods to eat.

Cutting back on salt

Most of us eat far too much salt – in fact, one and a half times the recommended maximum intake. Back in hunter-gatherer days, salt wasn’t added to food. Enough salt was obtained from the small amounts naturally occurring in foods, and still would be today. It is in the last few thousand years that use of salt has increased, driven by the need to preserve food.  Over this time, our tastebuds have become used to being inundated with salty flavours. The good news is that it doesn’t take long for our tastebuds to get used to less, and to like less salty foods again.

So try taking a lighter hand to the salt shaker, or better still, ditch the salt altogether. Even more importantly, check food labels for the salt content (salt is listed as sodium on labels), and go for lower sodium options.

Three tips to ditch the salt:

  1. Read food labels and choose lower sodium options – three-quarters of the salt we eat is from processed foods
  2. Eat less of foods that are high in salt or sodium
  3. Use herbs and spices for flavour instead of salt

Using herbs and spices:

  • Beef tastes great panfried with a choice of mustard powder, sage, thyme, rosemary, garlic, curry powder, bay leaf, or nutmeg
  • Lamb roasts well with garlic, curry powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, or served with mint jelly
  • Chicken tastes fantastic pan- or stir-fried with a choice of lemon or lime, garlic, ginger, rosemary, paprika, parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram, basil or tarragon
  • Fish works perfectly baked, steamed or panfried with bay leaf, curry powder, mustard, lemon, paprika, dill, lemongrass or ginger
  • Pork can be braised or stewed with onion, sage, thyme, oregano, black pepper or served with applesauce
  • Scrambled eggs get extra flavour from chopped chives, parsley or black pepper
  • Potato gets a fresh twist from onion, garlic, parsley, dill, chives or a sprinkle of paprika
  • Stir fry veges get an Asian touch with onion, garlic, fresh ginger, chilli, and sesame oil or sesame seeds
  • Cabbage stirfries well with caraway seeds and allspice; or lime juice,and fresh coriander

Cutting back on saturated and trans fats

The healthy fats are unsaturated fats found in higher amounts in plant foods like nuts, seeds, plant oils, and avocado, as well as in oily fish.  Eating these in place of animal fats is one part of a heart healthy way of eating that improves cholesterol levels and reduces risk of heart disease.

It can be harder to know how to cut back on trans fats as they are not listed on food labels. However, they are often found in foods that we recommend cutting back on anyway such as pastry products and creamy style pasta dishes, as well as popcorn, doughnuts and take away style fish products,

Did you know that fresh juicing can be one of the best ways to keep your organs healthy? You’ll find that there are many awesome fruits and veggies that will do wonders for your body, and drinking them in a colourful juice is a great way to enjoy your raw food intake.

Here are some of the best fruits and veggies to juice for your organ health:

Carrots — Carrots are amazing for your skin (the largest organ in the human body), as the beta-carotene will help to prevent sun damage. Plus, carrots are excellent for your eye health, so it’s worth adding a few more to your juices!

Avocados –– These fatty fruits are amazing for reproductive organ health, but they also help to improve digestion and balance your metabolism. Adding them into a lemonade makes it thick and creamy, as well as filling. It’s the perfect drink to fight cravings!

Ginger –– Want to make your juice tangy and tart? Add a bit of ginger into the juicer, and see how much better your stomach feels once you’ve finished the cup! Ginger is one of the best things to give an upset stomach, and it can speed up digestion, deal with stomach acid, and cure nausea.

Celery –– For your bones, it doesn’t get much better than celery! The crunchy green sticks are loaded with silicon, which gives your bones strength. Plus all the fibre in celery helps to clean out your stomach, detoxify your body, and aid in the elimination of wastes.

Apples –– An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but how about three or four? Apples are loaded with a type hunger-fighting fibre named pectin, which actually helps to promote weight loss while detoxifying your body. Green apples can stop your hunger pangs with their smell alone!

Beets –– There are few veggies as powerful for your organ health as purple beets. They’re loaded with flavonoids and other powerful antioxidants, which will flush out your body, heal your liver, and promote healthy kidney function. Purple juice is the way to go!

Citrus –– Lemons and oranges are both loaded with Vitamin C, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. Not only will it deal with toxins, but you can boost your immune system as well. Add grapefruit to the mix, and you’ve got a metabolism-boosting, calorie-burning drink!

Tomatoes –– Men should drink more tomato juice, both for the high fibre content and the high dosage of lycopene it contains. Lycopene is an important antioxidant that plays a huge role in prostate health.

Parsley — There are few better sources of chlorophyll, which can aid digestive problems, detoxify your body of carcinogens, help your body to absorb calcium and other minerals, and even give your immune system a boost.

These are just a few of the veggies and fruits you add into your fresh juices, and yet they’re loaded with SO MANY benefits! You can easily see why fresh juicing is one of the best ways to give your body a healthy nutrient boost.

An easy, delicious vegan fudge recipe using creamed coconut, cacao, maple syrup and vanilla. Naturally dairy-free and vegan, without refined sugar.
only 4 ingredients, dairy-free, vegan
Recipe type: dessert, sweet treat
Cuisine: dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, sugar free
Serves: 12 squares
  • 100g (creamed coconut) or coconut butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Desiccated coconut (optional

Author: Trinity Bourne

Leaky gut syndrome is a rapidly growing condition that millions of people are struggling with and don’t even know it. From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut syndrome only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can lead to many other health conditions.

According to research, the cause of your food allergies, low energy, joint pain, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions and slow metabolism could be leaky gut symptoms progression.

In this article, I will outline specifically how you can heal leaky gut syndrome and break through the health problems you’ve been struggling with.

What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through. Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system.

leaky gut cycle chart

When someone has leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability), the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop in your net, so things that normally can’t pass through, are now be able to.

Some of the things that can now pass through include proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested foods particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream causing an immune reaction.

leaky gut progression chart

Leaky Gut Symptoms and Progression

This leads to inflammation throughout your system and can cause symptoms, such as:

  • Bloating
  • Food sensitivities
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Skin issues like rosacea and acne
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain
  • Syndrome X

leaky gut syndrome symptoms diagram


One of the biggest warning signs that you may have leaky gut — I recommend that you take a leaky gut test — can be that you’re experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining, making their way into your bloodstream and causing an allergic response.

This allergic response doesn’t mean you’ll break out in a rash all over your body, but it can lead to one of the symptoms I’ve mentioned above. If left un-repaired, it can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

According to the Journal of Diabetes, there is a strong body of evidence pointing to leaky gut syndrome as a major cause of autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes.

Another problem with leaky gut is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients including zinciron and vitamin B12.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

There are four main causes of leaky gut which include:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Toxin overload
  • Bacterial imbalance

The most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are the proteins found in un-sprouted grains, sugar, GMO’s and conventional dairy.

The problem with un-sprouted grains is that they contain large amounts of antinutrients or nutrient blockers called phytates and lectins. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that act as a natural defense system for plants that protect them from outside invaders like mold and parasites.

This is good news for plants but bad news for your body. Your digestive lining is covered with sugar-containing cells that help break down your food. Lectins gravitate toward this area and when they attach to your digestive lining, it damages your gut and causes inflammation.


Causes of leaky gut diagram

Lectins and Foods that Cause Leaky Gut

Lectins are found in many foods, not just grains, and consumed in smaller amounts, your body will do just fine with them. But foods that have large amounts of lectins are more problematic. Some of the lectins and foods that cause leaky gut include wheat, rice, spelt and soy.

Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces phytates and lectins, making these foods easier to digest. GMO and hybridized foods tend to be the highest in lectins since they have been modified to fight off bugs. Also, gluten–containing grains will damage your intestinal lining and cause leaky gut syndrome.

So while you are working to heal leaky gut and cure autoimmune disease, stay away from all grains, especially ones that contain gluten like wheat. Once your gut is healthy, you can add back in grains that have been fermented and sprouted to eat occasionally.

Conventional cows milk is another food that can cause leaky gut. The component of dairy that will harm your gut is the protein A1 casein. Also, the pasteurization process will destroy vital enzymes, making sugars like lactose very difficult to digest. For this reason, I only recommend buying dairy that is raw and from A2 cows, goats, sheep, or buffalo.

Sugar is another substance that will wreak havoc on your digestive system. Sugar will feed the growth of yeast, candida and bad bacteria, which will further damage your gut. Bad bacteria actually creates toxins called exotoxins that damage healthy cells and can eat a hole into your intestinal wall.

Other Factors that Cause Leaky Gut

Chronic stress: It weakens your immune system over time, which cripples your ability to fight off foreign invaders like bad bacteria and viruses, leading to inflammation and leaky gut. To reduce stress, I recommend getting more sleep, schedule fun into your week, rest one day a week, meditate on scripture, and hang out with positive, uplifting people.

Toxins: We come into contact with over 80,000 chemicals and toxins every single year, but the worst offenders for causing leaky gut include antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin and NSAIDS. I recommend buying a high-quality water filter to eliminate chlorine and fluoride and look to natural plant-based herbs to reduce inflammation in your body.

Dysbiosis: Finally, one of the leading causes of leaky gut is a condition called dysbiosis,which means an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species of bacteria in your gut. For many, this imbalance can begin at birth because of a C-section or because the mother didn’t have a healthy gut herself. The overuse of prescription antibiotic drugs, tap water with chlorine and fluoride, and the lack of probiotic-rich foods contribute to this imbalance of good and bad bacteria.

Leaky Gut and the Brain

headache, migraine, physical health and the brain

Another topic I want to quickly discuss is how leaky gut can affect the brain. If you’ve ever seen a child with autism experience a mood swing, this can be caused by intestinal permeability. Gluten-free and casein-free diets have proven effective for many children with autism because these proteins can leak through the gut and then recirculate and act on the brain similarly to an opioid drug.

This is also why leaky gut syndrome has been linked to other psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. So, in many cases, if you can heal the gut, you can heal the brain.

The 4-Step Plan to Heal Leaky Gut

The good news is there’s a solution to healing leaky gut. There is a four-step process that includes:

  1. REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut

  2. REPLACE with healing foods

  3. REPAIR with specific supplements

  4. REBALANCE with probiotics

Here’s the protocol I have used with my patients over the years that has helped them see incredible results.

Remember, the top foods to remove that cause leaky gut are sugar, grains, conventional meat, conventional dairy and GMO foods. The top toxic exposures to eliminate are tap water, pesticides, NSAIDS and antibiotics — but remember to always consult with your physician if he or she has prescribed these for you.

The Leaky Gut Diet and 5 Healing Foods

If you suffer from leaky gut syndrome, you’re overdue to consider adopting a leaky gut diet. Here are the five foods and supplements to heal your leaky gut.

#1 Bone Broth – broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. I’ve had many of my patients do a bone broth fast for three days to help heal leaky gut and cure autoimmune disease.

#2 Raw Cultured Dairy – contains both probiotics and SCFA’s that can help heal the gut.  Pastured kefir, yogurt, amasai, butter and raw cheese are some of the best.

#3 Fermented Vegetables – contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass are excellent sources.

#4 Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut. The MCFA’s in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so they work well for leaky gut. Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.

#5 Sprouted Seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds that have been sprouted are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria. But if you have severe leaky gut, you may need to start out getting your fiber from steamed vegetables and fruit.

Also, consuming foods that have omega-3 fats are beneficial — anti-inflammatory foods like grass-fed beef, lamb and wild-caught fish like salmon.

Top 5 Supplements for Healing Leaky Gut

There are many supplements that support your digestive health, but I believe the most beneficial leaky gut supplements are l-glutamine, probiotics, digestive enzymes, aloe vera juice, quercetin, NAG and licorice root.

#1 Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria. I recommend getting probiotics in both food and supplement form. I see people all the time only follow part of the protocol in healing their leaky gut syndrome by removing the damaging irritants. But the part they often leave out is re-inoculating their gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay.

So load up on BOTH probiotic-rich foods and take AT LEAST 50 billion units of probiotics daily from a high-quality brand.

#2 Digestive enzymes (one or two capsules at the beginning of each meal) ensure that foods are fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested foods particles and proteins are damaging your gut wall.

#3 L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine powder is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants. Take 2–5 grams twice daily.

#4 Licorice Root (DGL) is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. DGL supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress. Take 500 milligrams twice daily.

#5 Quercetin has also been shown to improve gut barrier function by sealing the gut because it supports creation of tight junction proteins. It also stabilizes mast cells and reduces the release of histamine, which is common in food intolerance. New studies have also shown its effectiveness in healing ulcerative colitis. Take 500 milligrams three times daily with meals.

If you can follow the above protocol, you are well on your way to healing your gut for good.