All Health begins in your Gut

All health begins in your Gut.

You may think this is a bold statement but I believe it’s very true. We have been told countless times that ‘you are what you eat’, and it’s pretty obvious that if you eat lots of processed, sugary foods, you will gain weight, increase inflammation in your body and are at an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

However I am talking about the importance of your Gut for overall health, not just from the food we eat. The Gut is actually the most important part of our Immune System. All health begins in our Gut. Our Small and Large intestines total approximately 6 metres in length and along the walls of the intestines are huge amounts of immune cells.

Did you know that 70-80% of all the immune cells in the body are located in the intestinal walls? The Gut contains large amounts of lymphoid tissue, which in turn contains many immune cells such as T-cells, plasma cells and macrophages which all fight disease. Certain cells in the gut lining spend all their time releasing huge amounts of antibodies into the gut. The immune cells within the intestines don’t just stay there. They can leave and travel to areas where they are needed.

Our immune system is the body’s defence system against infections and foreign substances. It is believed that the reason for the large concentration of immune cells in the gut, is because our intestines are the main route of contact with our outside environment. This may be in the form of viruses, bacteria or even the food we eat.

We also have a lymphatic system that filters the blood and lymph nodes, which are found throughout the body, and produce white blood cells. The largest concentration of lymph nodes in the body is found along the Superior Mesenteric Artery, (a blood vessel that supplies the gut) where the head of the pancreas meets the duodenum. All within the gut.

Organs such as the Spleen, Bone Marrow, Thymus Gland, Liver and Adrenal glands also perform important functions in our immune response.

A lot has been said about the Gut-Brain connection and it has been found that a two-way communication occurs between the gut and the brain. There are actually more nerve cells in the gut than in the whole spinal cord. These nerve cells produce neurotransmitters, such as Dopamine and Serotonin in large quantities. These chemical messengers affect not only our mood, but also the motility of the gut, regulation of blood flow, absorption of nutrients and the gut’s immune system.

We are all familiar with having a ‘gut feeling’ about something or ‘butterflies’ in the stomach before a new job or exam, but research has shown that this is due to a communication between the gut and the brain in what is known as the Enteric Nervous system. The Gut has the ability to make decisions independently of the brain eg. Digestion occurs irrespective of the brain, and many of our emotions are influenced by the nerves in our gut.

Obviously factors such as lifestyle, genetics and our environment influence our health and it’s very easy to underestimate the importance of the gut in relation to our health. In Reflexology the gut is always addressed. It covers a large area on the foot and reflexes can be stimulated to increase nerve supply and circulation and stimulate an immune response. In Facial Reflexology, the immune system and hormones within the gut are also treated.

So next time you sit down for a meal, consider the food you are about to eat and how relaxed your meal times are. Every thing we put into our bodies, be it food or negative emotions, all have an impact, because ultimately, all health begins in your Gut.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

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.

References:,,,,, Gut and Immunity Webinar by Touchpoint Reflexology with Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund Frandsen.

The Benefits of Reflexology in the treatment of Diabetes.

Did you know that Reflexology is of huge benefit in the treatment of Diabetes?

Diabetes is now recognised as the world’s fastest growing chronic condition. In Australia 280 people develop diabetes every day and the International Diabetes Federation estimates that by 2040, one adult in ten will have diabetes. China has the highest proportion of diabetes in the world, followed by India and the USA.

So what is Diabetes? It is a condition where insulin is not produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the cells of the Pancreas, to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert glucose into energy. If blood sugar levels are unregulated and remain high, serious complications can occur to the body’s systems, especially to nerves and blood vessels.

There are three main types of diabetes.

In Type 1 Diabetes, there is a loss of production or insufficient production of insulin by the Pancreas. It usually occurs in childhood, may be auto-immune or of unknown cause. It can however occur after the age of 30. It requires treatment by daily injections of insulin and changes to diet and lifestyle.

Type 2 Diabetes mainly occurs in adults and is the result of the inability of the body’s cells to respond to insulin effectively or where enough insulin is not produced. Most people diagnosed with diabetes have Type 2. However it is becoming increasingly common in adolescents and young adults. It usually occurs as a result of lifestyle factors such as stress, diet, lack of exercise and being overweight. It has a strong genetic link so you are more at risk if there is a family history, but lifestyle strongly influences this. It is managed by diet, lifestyle changes, weight loss and medication and is preventable.

Type 3 Diabetes is also known as Gestational Diabetes as it occurs during pregnancy when a woman without diabetes, develops high blood glucose levels. These usually return to normal after the pregnancy but there may be an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Over time, Diabetes may damage the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, eyes and nerves and cause fertility problems. This is where Reflexology comes in.

As you may know, Stress is one of the biggest factors in our health today. It depletes the immune system and raises glucose levels. Constant stress effects the ability of a person with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. Reflexology is deeply relaxing and reduces the stress response.

It also boosts the immune system, increases circulation and nerve supply, balances the hormones and glands, including the Pancreas and all other glands and helps detox the body. Research has shown that Reflexology reduces peripheral neuropathy (pins and needles) in people with Diabetes, increases their circulation so that kidney and eye health are improved, often enables people to reduce their medication and stimulates the pancreas and liver to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Diabetes is not an easy condition to live with but it can be successfully managed. A healthy diet, exercise, adequate water to avoid dehydration, stress reduction and weight loss will all help.

Reflexology is a powerful complimentary therapy that will benefit all types of Diabetes and should be included in all management plans.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: Treatment of the Diabetic patient – Lone Sorensen course,,,,,,,

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.

Juices and Smoothies…..Are they worth the effort?

Juices and Smoothies are known to have many benefits but are they worth the effort?

They take time to make, can use quite a number of ingredients and leave a lot of mess to clean up afterwards. I have alternated between having them daily, then not having one for months, and have decided to revisit the whole topic.

Juices and Smoothies. What are they and why are they healthy for you? Are they really that good for you? And are they worth the effort involved?

Firstly, Juices are a mixture of fruit and vegetables that are put through a machine, a juicer, to extract the juice and leave the fibrous pulp behind. It separates the two. Some juicer models allow you to regulate how much pulp or fibre is left in your glass for you to drink.

A Smoothie is also made up of a mixture of fruit and vegetables but uses a blender, so that all of the fruit and vegetables are mixed together and you consume the whole of the pulp or fibre. Juices can of course, be made in a blender but you will be left with all the pulp and it won’t be separated.

Dietary fibre is the part  of plants that your body can’t absorb or digest. Fibre can be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and can help lower cholesterol and glucose levels. It also feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Insoluble fibre promotes the movement of food through your digestive system and increases bulk in stools, so it can be of benefit for those who have problems with constipation. Fibre is also important to help maintain a healthy weight as it helps you to feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Fibre does need to be increased gradually. If large amounts are eaten too quickly, it can cause intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase it slowly over a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.

You may think that the lack of fibre in Juices makes them less advantageous than Smoothies, however this isn’t the case. Juices deliver a lot more nutrients per serve as all of the nutrients in the plant’s juice, ie. the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients fill our bodies in one go. Juices are also very beneficial for those with sensitive guts, where too much fibre can cause problems. Some people also prefer the texture of juices, as smoothies can be a bit lumpy.

Smoothies on the other hand are full of fibre. If you are concerned about your blood sugars, the added fibre helps sugar to be absorbed more slowly into your bloodstream. It also enables you to use foods that a juicer doesn’t tolerate. Nut butters and superfood powders can help increase your energy but can’t be juiced. Instead they need to be blended so you can enjoy their benefits. Smoothies can be filled with lots of nutrient packed ingredients so can replace a meal and they help you to feel fuller for longer.

Both Juices and Smoothies are an amazing way of incorporating really healthy foods such as greens, vegetables and fruits into your diet. Juices give you maximum nutrimental uptake in one hit, while Smoothies allow you to use more ingredients that include fibre, proteins and health fats.

Some further benefits are listed below.

Many fruits and vegetables have cholesterol reducing properties, so including blueberries, avocados, carrots and grapes in your drinks, may help lower cholesterol levels.

Oranges, broccoli, blueberries and spinach are among the top anti-aging fruits and vegetables around, and including them in your juices or smoothies may help fight the signs of ageing. Oranges, blueberries, and broccoli are full of Vitamin C, while broccoli and spinach contain coenzyme Q10, which has been shown to be effective in treating wrinkles.

Fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, and lemons contain very high levels of vitamin C so are beneficial in boosting your immunity.

Most vegetables and fruits are high in potassium and will help maintain a healthy heart. They also help boost your energy. Others such as limes, grapefruits, and oranges contain folate and manganese, which are beneficial for bone strength. Fruits including blackberries, raspberries and cranberries, can decrease inflammation.

Why not incorporate both Juices and Smoothies into your meals? Yes there is some preparation involved and yes, there is some cleaning up afterwards, but the health benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.

Below is are two easy and tasty recipes to get you started.


Warmest Wishes,

Judy xxx

Immune Me

(Makes two servings)

8 romaine leaves
4 cucumbers
2 green apples
1-inch piece of ginger
1 lemon, peeled and quartered

Juice and serve.

Brain Booster Smoothie

  • 1/2 banana, frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries or mixed berries, frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk or nondairy milk of choice. I use coconut milk.
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped or can substitute with 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds.
  • 1 cup kale, leaves only, tightly packed or spinach, if preferred.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

1. Wash and prep all ingredients.

2. Blend and serve. If needed, add 1-2 tablespoons water at a time if the consistency is too thick.

Choose your fruits carefully so that you are not consuming too much sugar. Berries, canteloupe and papaya are good choices but go easy on the bananas. Add protein and healthy fats through nut butters and avocado and a few handfuls of spinach, kale or silverbeet with a dash of lime or lemon will reduce any bitterness.

Juices are best drunk fresh but can be kept in the fridge overnight in an airtight container or even for a day depending on the type of juicer used. Smoothies will last a day or two as well, in an airtight container and both juices and smoothies can be frozen for up to 10 days.



References: Recipes from

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.

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

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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,,,, 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.