Feeling Stressed …………….. Could my diet be contributing?

Last month I spoke about the effect that stress can have on your body and how our thoughts can bring about actual chemical changes. But did you know that the food you eat can have an equally damaging effect?

Inflammation is a normal and beneficial process that occurs when your body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. We all need some level of inflammation in our body to stay healthy, however this inflammatory response can  get out of hand.

If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to excess inflammation in your body. Stress causes inflammation and chronic stress affects the bodies ability to regulate inflammation, leading to disease. Low-grade chronic inflammation has been implicated in a range of diseases such as arthritis, asthma, allergies, stroke, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression and autoimmune diseases.

If we live on a diet high in sugar and full of highly processed foods, chances are that you are increasing the inflammation in your body. Sugar triggers the release of inflammatory markers in your body. It isn’t only found in the obvious foods such as cakes, chocolate, fruit juices, soft drinks, ice cream and biscuits or the spoonful of sugar you put in your coffee, but may be disguised as fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, lactose, maltose, malt syrup or  glucose.

Trans fats are another culprit. They are found in fast foods, fried products, processed foods and most margarines. Oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, soy, peanut and vegetable oils, all trigger inflammation. Other foods that are just as guilty, include refined carbohydrates such as white bread, crackers, white rice, white potatoes and many cereals. These foods have a high glycemic index which means they raise your blood sugar very quickly. This stimulates the production of products in your body that increase inflammation.

Other inflammatory foods include alcohol, dairy, processed meats, refined grains and food additives such as MSG.

Instead include more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Try and eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, fatty fish such as wild salmon, fermented foods  such as kefir, garlic, blueberries, broccoli, sweet potato, coconut, extra virgin olive oil, green tea and spices such as clove, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and turmeric.

Remember inflammatory reactions in the body are NORMAL, and needed. Our bodies are designed to deal with some inflammation – we just don’t want to be inflamed all the time.  This is what happens when we eat a diet high in inflammatory foods.

So make sensible choices. Eat well, take time out for yourself and decrease the stress on your body.

You will feel so much better for it!

Take care,

Warm regards,

Judy xx

Ps. You can also like our page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/solevitalityreflexology/


References: www.sciencedaily.com/releases, www.thatsugarfilm.com/diet-and-inflammation, www.articles.mercola.com/sugar-side-effects, www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritisdiet/foods-to-avoid, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au, www.articles.mercola.com/anti-inflammatoyr-foods-herb-spices, www.wellnessforce.com/resource/top-10-anti-inflammatory-foods/

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

Sugar……………Do you have an Addiction?

sugar-485045_1280     cakes-489849_1280

There has been a huge amount in the media recently about the dangers of sugar. Is it really that bad and could you have an addiction?

Let’s take a look at what sugar really is and how it affects our bodies.

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that comes in many forms. Simple sugars or monosaccharides, consist of dextrose, fructose and glucose. Simple sugars can combine to form disaccharides such as sucrose, which is made up of glucose and fructose. The main difference between the sugars is the way in which the body metabolises them.

Every cell in our body uses glucose for energy. Sugars and starches are digested in the intestines to form glucose so that it can be converted in the cells for energy. The Pancreas secretes the hormone Insulin which controls the uptake of glucose by the cells. If all of this sugar is not needed by the cells, it is converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and muscle tissue.
Fructose however is a different molecule and is absorbed mainly in the small intestine and metabolised wholly in the liver. Any excess is converted into triglycerides and whatever is left is stored in the fat cells.

Fructose is found in fruits and vegetables but most fructose comes in the form of sucrose (glucose and fructose) which is found in cakes, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks and in the form of high fructose corn syrup which is added to many foods. Most processed foods contain sugar and it is often these ‘hidden’ sugars that present the most danger. In the 1990’s the trend was to eat ‘low fat’. As a consequence, food manufacturers reduced the amount of fat in foods and increased the sugar content to maintain taste.

Australians are said to be eating around 30 teaspoons of sugar a day on average, while in the USA the total has been said to be closer to 30 – 60 teaspoons. According to the World Health Organisation, the average should be closer to 12 teaspoons!!
Although we may think that we don’t actually ‘eat’ such large amounts, many people just aren’t aware of the sugars hidden in processed foods. If you’re eating processed foods you are eating unnecessary amounts of sugar.

Did you know that sugar is also very addictive. Endocrinologist Dr Robert Lustig from the University of California and researchers from the University of Bordeaux have discovered that refined sugar is four times more addictive than cocaine! Sugar acts on our neurotransmitters, the hormones that affect how we feel, amongst other things. Constant intake of sugar affects our levels of dopamine and serotonin which play a role in reward-motivated behaviour. Most types of reward affect the levels of dopamine and serotonin and override normal self control mechanisms, thus leading to addiction.

Most experts now believe that refined sugar is also leading to a worldwide obesity epidemic, which is contributing to deaths from heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Sugar has also been shown to decrease your immune system, upset the mineral and vitamin balance in your body, increase anxiety, affect the acidity in your digestive tract and hence overall digestion, cause premature ageing and a myriad of other negative responses in our bodies.

Now, I’m not saying that we should never eat sugar or sugar-containing sweets but moderation and awareness is the key here. Eat fresh, unprocessed food as much as possible and if you do want to add something in a packet or a tin, always read the label and choose the best option. When using sugar, go for natural sweeteners such as honey or rapadura sugar which is unrefined cane sugar that still contains the vitamins.

It has been said that 10% of life is made up of what happens to you but 90% is decided by how you react. We can have a huge amount of control over our reactions and the decisions we make. So when it comes to the food we put into our mouths, we can decide to choose wisely.


With love,



References: www.thehealthscienceacademy.or/is-sugar-an-addictive-drug, www.articles.mercola.com, www.nancyappleton.com, www.bupa.com.au/health-and-wellness, Primal body, Primal mind – Nora T. Gedgaudas, 90/10 Principle – Stephen Covey

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

What’s all the fuss about Gluten………is it really that bad?

Long wheat sheaf

Long wheat sheaf

We are constantly being told about which foods to avoid or what food we should be eating to achieve great health. There are a myriad of articles in the paper and on the internet, some more believable than others. However what is clear it that all health begins with the food we eat and the cause of most disease begins in the gut.

2,500 years ago, Hippocrates is said to have quoted, ” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. This is especially relevant today when the convenience of processed and fast food dominates our culture and our supermarkets. However if we want to be truly healthy, we need to be aware of what goes into the food we eat, how much sugar or salt it contains and if it is actually detrimental to our health. Not all things labelled ‘natural’ are good for us due to the many additives and preservatives. Science is proving that the less processed and more fresh food we eat, the healthier we will be.

One ingredient that has been mentioned a lot is Gluten. There are many gluten-free products around now which makes it easier for those who have Coeliac disease (an auto-immune condition where the small intestine is damaged due to gluten, resulting in a severe malabsorption of nutrients). But what exactly is gluten and should only coeliacs avoid it? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, semolina, spelt, kamut, rye and barley and is usually present in oats. It is often ‘hidden’ in foods such as wheaten cornflour, malt extract, some baking powders, some icing sugar mixes, malted milk, salad dressings, mustards, lollies, processed meats and small goods. The list goes on and on. It is used in so many products because it gives bread its elasticity and chewiness and provides a stabilising agent to processed foods.

Gluten is made up of two proteins – gliadin and glutenin. The proteins in our food are normally broken down by enzymes so that we are able to digest the food. However we do not have an enzyme to break down gluten. Grains containing gluten have only been a part of our diet for about 10,000 years since the advent of agriculture. This may sound like a long time but in the history of mankind, it is only a very brief period in our total evolution. We have therefore just not developed an enzyme to break down gluten. As wheat has become more hybridised and processed over the years, the content of gluten has increased and more sensitivity has developed.

Many people may cope with not digesting gluten and have no symptoms. But many others may develop a sensitivity to gluten as the body detects it as a foreign invader. As a result, the immune system is triggered and inflammation results. The ability of the gut to absorb nutrients and filter unwanted substances is decreased and chronic inflammation develops. This in turn can lead to multiple food allergies and autoimmune disorders. Gluten sensitivity has also been linked to ADHD, Adrenal Fatigue, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer.

This may sound very dramatic and you may think that it doesn’t apply to you. However if you have any autoimmune or inflammatory condition or suffer from constant headaches, fatigue or any digestive issues, take a look at gluten. There are many tests available to check if you are sensitive to it. At the very least, you could try eliminating it from your diet and see if you feel any better. There are many reports of symptoms disappearing on a gluten-free diet. Of course, with any disease process, there are many factors at play such as genetics and environment and gluten is only one part of this. However more and more evidence is emerging of the important part that gluten has to play in many diseases.

We so often put our health into the hands of others when we can make a huge difference on our own by looking at what we put into our mouths. The food we eat determines to a large extent, how ill or healthy we will be. Hippocrates certainly knew a thing or two and his advice though ancient, is even more relevant in today’s modern world.

May the food you eat nourish and enrich your life.

With love,



References: The Gluten Summit – Dr Alessio Fasano, Dr David Perlmutter, Primal Body, Primal Mind – Nora T. Gedgaudas
Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.