Could in-activity or over-activity be affecting your gut health?

digestive health and exercise

Most of us are well aware of the benefits of exercise and movement for heart, mental, bone and muscle health. There is also no disputing its benefits in maintaining a healthy weight. What most of us are oblivious to, is the impact exercise can have on gut health, in a positive or negative way. Especially if you suffer from some of the most common gut health complaints that I see in clinic, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), IBS or reflux.

What are the BENEFITS of regular exercise for digestion?

  • Your gut microbiome (the healthy guys that live in her gut) rely on good and consistent circulation to the stomach to perform their duties, such as immune support, mood, metabolism, the creation of hormones and to regulate the digestion of food.
  • Exercise also alters the diversity (variety) of our gut friends, to ensure the good ones outnumber and are stronger than the bad ones.
  • Sure, we know about the importance of building the muscles that we can see from the outside. But the gut also has particularly important muscles along the digestive tract. These muscles also need to be toned and strengthened by exercise to perform digestive functions.
  • These same muscles are required to twist, churn, and push leftover food and metabolic waste through the digestive tract to be eliminated. Imagine if you did not have those important muscles you use to do number two! Moving makes sure your bowels also keep moving.

It is best to clear it with your doctor to make sure that the level of exercise is safe for you, but whatever you do, just get moving. Walking, jogging, riding, bushwalking, hiking, Pilates, yoga, gym classes are all great options and can be tailored to your fitness and mobility levels.

What about the flip side, how might my symptoms worsen with exercise?

  • Exercising too quickly after food may increase reflux.
  • Eating heavy foods before exercise may increase flatulence, bloating, reflux and abdominal discomfort due to the bodies ability to switch off digestive function to activate its “fight or flight” response in exercise.
  • While adequate exercise can be effective at reducing inflammation in the long term, over exercising is inflammatory and can stress the body. This causes an increase in a hormone called cortisol, which can lead to digestive complaints and fatigue.  
  • It is important to incorporate recovery days or low impact and gentle exercise into your regime to reduce inflammatory damage and digestive disturbances.
  • High intensity exercise is great for keeping your heart in shape but overdoing it can contribute to diarrhea, especially in those susceptible to loose bowel motions (e.g. IBS). Why? When we run, the flow of blood is diverted to the legs and digestive organs are being thrown around creating disorder in the gut and bowels. 

So, while food can absolutely be a major contributing factor to digestive discomfort, other lifestyle factors such as exercise and sleep can also play an important role.

If you are newly taking up exercise, start slow, set small, achievable goals such as a 10 minute walk for the first week and slowly increase from there, but be CONSISTENT.

Or, enlist the support of an Exercise Physiologist or other exercise specialist along with your Nutritionist to build a holistic, supportive and motivating approach to your gut health goals.

Happy and safe exercising!

Danielle x

COLLAGEN – The gut and skin wonder nutrient


The collagen market has hit the health and wellness industry by storm. Everyone wants a piece of the beauty pie. Claims of increasing skin elasticity, firming up sagging skin, healing damaged skin and on a less vein level, supporting joints and healing the gut have people scrambling at local health food stores, pharmacies and beauty houses for all things collagen. Now I have suggested here that the vanity side of things might be completely separate from the gut, but in reality, the gut and skin are very closely connected.

We all begin life as just one lonely little cell, in the comfy and warm womb of our mothers. From here, we very rapidly divide into many cells and develop until we become a fully grown baby. As we continue this growth some of our original cells and remain linked together. Our gut, skin and brain are connected closely by our original tissues.

This has led research to identify a clear link between the gut, skin and associated skin conditions.

Did you know the skin is our body’s largest organ?

As a structural organ, the skin plays a very important part in maintaining a healthy body from:

  • UV damage (from the sun)
  • Dietary and environmental factors that cause free radical damage
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Physical stress placed on the skin

Other factors may affect the health of our skin including:

  • Hormone imbalances
  • A poor diet
  • Alcohol
  • Dehydration
  • The dysfunction of other organs such as the liver and gut

So, what about collagen then?

Collagen is found naturally in the structural makeup of our skin. It plays a large role in skin elasticity, ensuring that our skin does not sag and wrinkle, which is why the beauty industry has made a fortune out of topical collagen products. Collagen is also found in the gut lining playing a similar healing and protective role, but on a deeper level that we cannot see. Although, those with gut problems such as leaky gut will soon discover the benefits after taking collagen supplements or increasing collagen naturally with food.

PLUS Vitamin C

Collagen is heavily reliant on the incredibly famous antioxidant known as Vitamin C for production in the body. Including several sources of Vitamin C rich foods in the diet daily can boost your chances of producing enough collagen to achieve that beautiful, firm glow you have been searching for, as well as do some fabulous healing work in the gut. Because both organs are so connected and so vital to overall health, it is important to work on both the skin and gut.

Here are some vitamin C rich food sources:

  • Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower
  • Capsicums
  • Chillis
  • Leafy greens (spinach, cabbage, kale etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes, pumpkins
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • All berries
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Lemons, oranges, grapefruit

Sources of Collagen

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef
  • Citrus fruits
  • Egg white
  • Garlic
  • Berries
  • Cashews
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Soy products
  • Tomatoes
  • Capsicum

The road to healthy skin

The diet plays a key role in the health of our skin. The skin relies on essential nutrients to preserve its integrity and elasticity. Eating nutrient-rich foods often can ensure we are getting the variety of nutrients require for that all-important glow and youthfulness.

Enjoy Your Fruit & Veggies Plentifully

Fruit and vegetables are a given, we all know it, but we sometimes need to be reminded of this in these times of fast food and time-poor lifestyles. The antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant chemicals and nutrients) found in our fruits and vegetables help to maintain skin elasticity and integrity below the surface of the skin, as well as what we can see in the mirror. Fruit and vegetables also offer the gut the nutrients it requires to produce collagen and stressless hormones.

Eat Seasonally

Eating seasonally increases the nutritional profile of fruits and vegetables meaning you will get the most out of them!

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are important in helping to build cell membranes and hydrate and plump the skin. Omega-3, omega-6 and monounsaturated fatty acids are the best of the fats.

Sources of healthy fats include:

  • Avocado
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Oily fish (salmon, tuna, cod, sardines)
  • Olive oil
  • Olives

Prebiotics – Improve the health of your friendly gut bacteria

Our colon (the large bowel) has an enormously diverse number of healthy bacteria. Like us, they are living and these very live and operating healthy bacteria require fuel, much the same as we require fuel (food) to live.

What do they eat?

The preferred fuel source of our healthy friends are called indigestible carbohydrates known as pre-biotic fibres to undertake the vast array and very important roles they play in our health.

What do they do for us?

Our healthy bacteria are responsible for regulating the immune system, metabolism, energy production and much more.

It is important to ensure we are consuming enough pre-biotic fibres from our food to sustain our friendly colonic bacteria. Because, let’s face it, without them and their health, we would be sick, tired and lethargic and that is just the beginning. Unfortunately, many of those who presented to clinic have already reached the sick, tired, and lethargic stage and require supportive treatments to reorganise, rebuild and repopulate their healthy bacteria.

Why are pre-biotics considered indigestible?

  • They are resistant to the acid and enzymes found in our stomach
  • They are fermented by our healthy bacteria (as their food and energy source)
  • They become a source of fuel to help the healthy bacteria grow and produce the materials required to keep us healthy and happy.

What is Guar Gum?

Guar gum is a pre-biotic fibre that is popular in many packaged food items and baked goods. In these food forms, guar gum may not offer its full nutritional potential. However, on its own guar gum is seen as a gut friendly ingredient that feeds our little gut ‘besties’.

What are the benefits of Guar Gum?

This gum is tasteless, odourless and helps to improve toileting habits by increasing the bulk of the stool, drawing in water and reducing the straining that often accompanies constipation.  Guar gum has been praised for its positive effects in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive complaints such as gas, bloating and discomfort.

Some popular dietary fibres have demonstrated risks for nutrient absorption. Guar gum however, has not shown the same risks and is therefore suitable for those suffering from iron, zinc and calcium deficiencies under the care of a health professional.

Simple use tips

You can add Guar gum to smoothies or protein shakes to make them like thick shakes or play around with the quantities to blend protein powder and water into a mousse. You may also like to thicken home-made soups, stir fry sauces or salad dressings.

4 Pantry Makeover Tips + Pantry Staples List

You’ve seen those perfectly set out pantries with the fancy labelled glass jars and perfectly arranged herbs and spices, the satisfaction it gives you by just looking at it, longing for the fairies to arrive and present you with the same perfect pantry with the wave of a wand.

You open your pantry, but the fairies still haven’t been. It’s chaos, mayhem, anxiety boiling over and all you feel like reaching for is those chips and biscuits you shouldn’t have because you can’t possibly see all of the healthier possibilities beyond that mess! It’s a proven fact that disorganisation and chaos present us with nothing less than anxiety and in a pantries case, bad decisions. Even the shopping becomes a disorganised mess of unnecessary food items that sit in half opened packets, littering your otherwise beautiful pantry.

How do you fix it?

With these 4 simple tips

Tip 1 ~ Ditch the crap!

I’m sorry to be so blunt but it must be said… In the bin go the unhealthy chips, biscuits, lollies, chocolates, cakes sugary cereals, vegetables oils, cordials, cokes and soft drink. You know them well and they are no good!

Tip 2 ~ Waste not

Open your fridge and take a look at the half-used or near empty condiment, curry or sauce jars that have been sitting in there for months! Get creative and use them up or throw out the out of date contents. Glam them up by washing them in the dishwasher or sink and removing their sticky label with nail polish remover. Gather any empty coffee jars and do the same. Voila! You have perfectly beautiful glass jars to store loose pantry items in an airtight container. You can also buy new jars on the cheap for Kmart if you do not have enough.

Tip 3 ~ Get organised

Start making that pantry a place to be proud of. Pretty it up with those nice glass jars you just recycled. Tip any opened bags of oats, rice, pasta, dried lentils, nuts and seeds into the jars and place them onto one shelf – this will become your grains, nuts and seeds shelf.

Kmart also stock some lovely baskets to arrange snacks, unopened packet foods such as taco seasonings and root vegetables into their own respective baskets.

By doing this you will know exactly where everything is when you want to access it and the pantry will begin to look pleasantly neat and tidy, making it easier to create healthy meal ideas for the family.

Tip 4 ~ Plan ahead of your shopping trip

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Begin your shopping trip at home by creating a shopping list of healthy pantry staples. In my home, I have a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge that we write on as soon as someone uses up the last of one of our staples. The list gets added to so we know in the next shop we must get it and we never run out! To get you started here is a list of pantry staples that encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Pantry Staples

Grains & Pastas
  • Brown rice
  • Wholemeal pasta
  • Quinoa (technically a seed)
  • Dried lentils
  • Oats
  • Wholemeal or spelt flour
  • Flaxseed meal
  • LSA
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Bicarb soda
  • Aluminium free baking powder
Canned Foods
  • Organic canned tomatoes
  • Organic canned kidney beans
  • Organic canned chickpeas
  • Organic canned cannellini beans
  • Organic coconut milks and creams
  • Canned tuna
Cooking oils & Sauces
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Organic broths
  • Coconut aminos or GMO free soy sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar  
Nuts, Seeds & Nut Butters
  • Unsalted, natural nuts (walnuts, almonds, brazil, pine, cashews etc.)
  • Unsalted natural seeds (chia, pepitas, hemp, sunflower etc.)
  • Pure peanut butter – I also like Mayver’s
  • Almond butter
Herbs & Spices
  • A nice collection of herbs and spices (turmeric, curry powder, cumin, thyme, rosemary, ginger, chili, Italian seasoning, cayenne, paprika, nutmeg, bay leaves, kefir lime leaves, oregano, caraway, coriander)
  • Himalayan salt
  • Black pepper corns
  • Ground cinnamon
Root Vegetables
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sweetpotato
Naturally Sweet Additives
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Natural honey
  • Xylitol or stevia
  • Rapadura sugar
  • 70%+ dark chocolate
  • Eggs (if they haven’t been kept in the fridge where you have purchased them)
  • Long life almond milk
  • Pure natural vanilla
  • Plant based protein powder

Happy organising! Nutritionist Danielle x


Be Nice To Your Gut & Yourself This Festive Season

Christmas parties and family feasts are an exciting time for social interaction and for treating your taste buds. It is lovely to sit around the table with friends and loved ones chatting and enjoying each other’s company, telling stories of the year that has passed.

But the indulgent meals and snacks that hit the Christmas table can cause your tummy to do backflips and cartwheels, for some, even by just looking at it. Your eyes and taste buds are saying “oh goody yes, yes Christmas food!”. But your gut is saying “nooooo don’t do this to me!”. Then, come the New Year celebrations not long after. Where is the time to rest and digest?

Here are some tips and tricks to guide you through the silly season.

Stress is enough to churn your gut

Preparing large meals for a big group of people can be stressful. By doing the majority of the prep work the day or night before, you will reduce your stress levels, make your gut happy for Christmas day and be able to enjoy yourself as you should.

Christmas lunch/dinner doesn’t have to be unhealthy

Turkey is a fantastic source of tryptophan, which helps us make our happy hormones serotonin and melatonin, both helping you to feel more relaxed and happier. Also, a lean source of vitamins B and protein, turkey is a great way to fill you up and give you energy for the socialising ahead. Remember to remove the skin to reduce the saturated fat you eat for the day. Fill your plate with mostly vegetables to fill your tummy with goodness and leave less room for dessert and nibbles that are not so tummy friendly.

You booze you lose

Well kind of. Its okay to have a drink or two with loved ones to celebrate gathering together but take care of the types of alcoholic beverages you choose. Reduce your champagne, wine and beer intake to just 1 and opt for vodka or gin and soda. These carry less calories and little sugar to disrupt your friendly little guys in the gut. Alcohol in general is enough to aggravate some gut conditions so know your limits.  Stay hydrated between alcoholic beverages.

Get ahead of the dreaded post feast bloat

Stick to one smaller size plate with half vegetables and some protein. Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Teas can be beneficial in reducing any bloating and nausea post meal, including ginger and peppermint tea.

Get your move on or your groove on

Exercise in the form of walking, pre-event gym or dancing with some Christmas music can help your body to prepare, process and digest food. It will also help you to burn off some of those extra calories.

Have fun, be merry and enjoy your Christmas.

Danielle x

European Holiday Recap

After a few days of social media detox and recovery time from a slight bought of jetlag, I am now refreshed and ready to reflect on my amazing European escape. As Aussies, who live so far from the rest of the world, we are very lucky to have the opportunity to fly long distances and to experience new cultures. My time in Europe will remain, in my mind, as one of the most treasured and eye-opening experiences I have ever been blessed with. If you can save up your pennies, get to Europe and see for yourself. You will return a different person, for the better, I promise.

Here is a little brief of each place I visited.

Amsterdam, Netherlands – beautiful canal passages, interesting homes, loads of healthy food options and many places to walk, exercise and explore with ease (the city of bikes). For the most part these lovely people take care of their health naturally. Supermarkets boast opportunities to nourish, daily markets offer fresh produce and the odd sweet treat to enjoy. Small canal cruises are a must, there is no better place to see Amsterdam than from the water. You can sit back and enjoy some local nibbles while sipping on Champagne or a local beer. Cheese is a staple in Amsterdam, much of the cheese you will find around Europe is goat’s or sheep’s which is fabulous, however, even the cows cheese seems to be easier to digest than our heavily processed cheeses here in Australia.

Paris, France – The city of love. This gorgeous city lives up to its expectation. Take a walk to the Eiffel Tower and you will be surrounded by the love of family, friends and couples, all enjoying the sights, photos and lunch on the grass in front of the iconic structure. Take a river cruise at sunset and see the city from a different perspective. The French are renowned for their decadent pastries and baguettes. Enjoy a taste of everything and choose darker varieties when it comes to baguettes, explore the city on foot and you will remain in good health and as petite as the lovely French people. If you do your research you will come across some magnificent healthfood stores with multi-levels, places I could get lost in for hours! Oh, and remember to try the ‘Nicoise Salad’, a salad of tuna, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, anchovies, and dressed with olive oil. Learn a few phrases in French as a courtesy for being in their country and they will come to the party with a happy smile speaking in English, they are a clever bunch! Take care in crowded places as pick-pockets are notorious in most of Europe but we found the worst to be Paris, so what your belongings and pockets.

Munich (aka Munchen), Germany – Yes, Germany is a place for beer and pork knuckle. However, do not underestimate the Germans access to healthy food options. One of the largest beer gardens in Munich is also home to an enormous fresh food market, overflowing with vibrant fruits, vegetables, juice bars and delis, offering the finest olives, sundried tomatoes, pickles garlics and more. Looking for a nice bread on your travels. The German’s have it right! Whole grain rye bread (Katenbrot), Whole grain rye bread (Vollkornbrot), Three Seed Bread (Dreikornbrot), sunflower Seed Bread (Sonnenblumenbrot), Pumpernickel (Pumpernickel) are all favoured by the Germans, even on their trains, yum! All amazing as toast or as a sandwich with some salmon and avocado! Aside from food, journey out to Neuschwanstein Castle and take in the beautiful mountains on the way. Have a spare day? Take an eye-opening, heart wrenching tour to Dachau, to see the history that is pivotal in the regions and much of Europe’s modern history.

Innsbruck, Austria – An absolute MUST DO. I had never considered travelling to Austria, but I am glad I did. This city in the mountains is breathtaking. Standing in awe in the city you, simply by looking around you you’ll be in amazement of the hundreds of snowy mountain peaks. Jump on the gondola and look down at the city and out to the mountains for a truly overwhelmingly beautiful experience. Come down the mountain a short distance and enjoy a visit to the Alpine Zoo where you will learn about the many animals that live in the snowy region’s mountains. Take a tour out of town to Swarovski to snap up some crystals and be amazed by the wonderland they create with their world-renowned crystals. Austrian food is similar to German food, if you snap up a good air BnB with cooking facilities, you can prepare some great healthy meals at home for next to nothing.  

Zurich, Switzerland – EXPENSIVE! Beautiful, but yes, very expensive. I would suggest to either say just one night here or stay just outside of Zurich. There are gorgeous little towns around Switzerland that sit within the mountains and are a little less expensive. My favourite place in Zurich was by far the river (The Limmat). The water is pristine and a lovely swimming spot in Summer. Here we chose to eat from the supermarkets because it was cheaper than eating at restaurants, but we still managed to eat well, enjoying pre-prepared salads and taking sandwiches with us to the river.

Florence, Italy – What more can you say about Italy than WOW! The people, the food, the history, the buildings, everything is just fantastic. The Italians do love their carbs so remember to get your walking shoes on and explore the city on foot to burn them up. The pasta is made by hand and seems to have less of an impact on digestive function than our packaged pastas here in Australia. The tomatoes in Italy are like no other. They are rich, juicy, flavoursome and are perfect in a caprese salad. The seafood in Italy is also fresh and perfectly cooked, don’t miss it on your way through. Seafood is of course a healthy option on most menus and will give you a reprieve from high carbohydrate meals. Florence is bursting at the seams with historical museums and cathedrals, no two are the same so get around to as many as possible.  

Ibiza, Spain – Known by most Australians as the ultimate party island, Ibiza is this and so much more! Crystal clear beaches and reefs sweep the entire coastline of the island and its surrounding lesser known islands. A tropical escape populated by people with seemingly no worries or judgement. The summer is a busy time in Ibiza and is practically their only season for making money. This makes the cost of almost everything increases with demand and need for income from locals and businesses. However, I suggest if you are budget savvy on the rest of your trip and you are to treat yourself in one place, make it Ibiza. Indulge in the paella, swim, enjoy some tapas, dance and swim some more and you will be as fit and fabulous as the rest of the partygoers on the island. As an island of Spain, Ibiza adopts its Spanish heritage, which is healthy, tasty and designed to share so order up a few tasting plates with your mates and enjoy the view. I suggest you find a nice restaurant on the Sant Antoni side of the island to enjoy the sunset, although there really is no bad spot for a good view on the island.

Barcelona, Spain – Barcelona is a big city beaming with big culture. Don’t be fooled by the daunting hustle and bustle of La Rambla, the most famous street in Barcelona. Take a step outside of this touristy area and you will find a wonderful world of tapas bars and restaurants, local markets and a beautiful stretch of beach. Take a tapas tour to get an honest idea of what and where the locals like to eat and hang out. On the tour we did, we discovered that the locals rarely drink Sangria, how shocked we were! Yet walk into any touristy venue and they will serve up a tasty sweet jug of Sangria for you. Tapas is Spain is not like the Australian versions we know. Very little is deep fried, you will experience an array of fresh seafood prepared various ways and many vegetables such peppers, artichokes, mushrooms and more to tantalise your tastebuds. Paella isn’t like anything we have here in Australia either. The Spanish really do have the special touch on their local food that cannot be replicated to its tasty extent by any other who tries. The ‘true’ Spanish cuisine was quite possibly my favourite of the whole trip.

Despite the magic of travelling, meeting new people, getting involved in other cultures and marvelling at some breathtaking views and history, there really is no place like home. It is great to be back home in beautiful Australia, where we are spoilt in so many ways. It is also refreshing to be back into a routine and ready to see clients!

Whether you live near or far I am here to help you with nutritional support and to work with you to achieve your health goals.

Contact me or 0413 119 161