On Tuesday evening I attended the Integrative Health Mindd meet up at Bondi Pavilion in Sydney. These monthly Mindd meet-ups are presented by local Mindd-certified practitioners, and they're a great way to meet local, integrative practitioners and other people in the community who might have similar interests or need support in a particular field.
There were two key speakers, both of which generously donated their time to the cause of building awareness around wellness and integrative health. What I'd like to do with this blog post is give you a mini sneak peak, in layman terms, about what we discussed and learned over the two and half hours.
The first key note speaker was Dr James Read, a GP who specialises in children's health, gastrointestinal disorders, autism, ADHD, mental health and nutritional interventions for chronic disease.
The main focus of his lecture was on the Gut Brain Axis and the connection between food/ mood and the effects of outside factors like diet and stress on the human body.
Factors in Gut Brain Connection
The microbiome itself is composed of trillions of cells (in the gut alone) and can be altered by many factors, including:
How does the gut brain connection work?
The vagus nerve is the main connection between the gut and the brain. A great way to illustrate this connection is if you know anyone who has ever been really nervous and vomited as a result. In this instance, the vagus nerve transmitted physiological stress to the gut. Another example is patients with IBS, who under stress, can get an immediate increase in abdominal symptoms. The communication goes from the brain to the gut, and from the gut back to the brain.
Scientist have done studies on mice that have zero microbiome (born in a germ-free environment and born by c-section). Scientists have actually been able to change the lab mice's behaviors with "Poo-fusions" (fecal transplant). Taking poo from a mouse that has been programed to have anxiety and putting it inside a germ-free mouse will cause the bacteria free mouse to develop anxiety. Nuts!
Stress can cause leaky gut (I didn't know this!!). As the gut gets more leaky, inflammatory chemicals are released which can cause a leaky brain as well, causing numerable negative effects.
Autism is a gut disease as well as a brain disease. Kids with autism will often have symptoms of pain, bloating and diarrhea, and the severity of the autism correlates with the gut symptoms.
Other interesting facts we touched on:
The second speaker was Alexx Stuart, author of the hugely successful book, Low Tox Life. Alexx told everyone a bit about her personal journey and the catalyst for her new found health quest which began roughly 13 years ago.
When Alexx was in her late twenties, she was constantly sick with tonsillitis, suffering from the condition multiple times a year. She had taken so many rounds of antibiotics that they eventually stopped working all together. In too much pain to even swallow her own spit, she decided to meet with a naturopath. The naturopath told Alex what to eliminate from her diet, what to add to it and prescribed some funky odoured herbs as well. Within three days Alex was better. After years of pain and the reoccurring atomic bombs of antibiotics, she started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Alexx began to dig deeper, and most importantly, she started to read labels.
I didn’t start reading labels until recently myself. How idiotic, right? We assume “they” are looking out for us, so why check the labels? If there was anything really that bad in it, surely companies wouldn’t be able to add said ingredient to their shampoos, body lotions, tampons or frozen dinners….right? ... RIGHT?
Well, sadly…. wrong.
Alexx assured everyone life wasn’t all doom and gloom and that there are easy ways to set yourself up for success. If you're just starting out cleaning up your lifestyle, home, diet - break it down into bite size pieces to lead to increase your chances of success.
The Power of Three
Alexx asked us to think of the three most consumed items in the house (food category). It might be apples, bread, carrots…. (the answer obviously varies from family to family). When you've narrowed down your three top consumed items, just switch those out to organic. Nothing more, nothing less….start with those three for a quick win.
Alex also talked to us about mould poisoning, and has made a point to mention it in each speaking opportunity because her mould illness was undiagnosed for so many years and made her terribly ill. If you're interested in learning more about mould and how to keep your home clear of nasties, or want having testing done, look into ERMI or Hertsmi from Mould Lab.
A few quick and easy ways to clean up your life + home fast:
1. EMF's: (Electromagnetic field radiation)
Unplug/ Turn Off your wifi every night before bed. Also, consider using an ethernet cable if you work from home and don't need the wifi signal. People who leave their wifi on at night have a higher basal heart rate than those without it.
2. Elimante synthetic fragraces:
The worst air pollutant is fabric softener- go figure! The goal here is to ditch phthalates which lurk in unnatural air freshers and candles in your home. If you're worried about odours, leave some bi-carb soda behind the toilet in the bathroom and that will do the trick!
In America, a law of proprietary blending was passed in the 70's to help protect companies recipes. This is the reason a product can say "fragrance" but includes hundreds of synthetic, endocrine disruption ingredients under the umbrella of that one word, FRAGRANCE.
3. Get out and about:
Getting outside barefoot and getting your feet on the Earth. I loved this quote from Alexx, "Getting grounded is one of the best antidotes to our modern technology hungry lives." I think it is one of the reasons that I love teaching restorative yoga so much because you have no choice but to disconnect for 60/90 minutes and be with your own company.
I had such a wonderful time and I cant wait to attend Mindd's next event! Thank you again to Dr James Read and Alexx Stuart for the fantastic seminar.
Want to learn more?
Alexx’s book is out now, and as an ebook too of course.
Low Tox Life comes out in America on September 4th.
Alex recommeded a book called Healthy Home Healthy Families by Nicole Bijlsma
Documentaries worth watching: The Disappearing Male, The Human Experience and Toxic Baby
Follow the Mindd Foundation on Facebook to keep up to keep up to date with their upcoming events and excellent research
Defining the Human Microbiome : US National Library of Medicine
Recommended reading material: 10% HUMAN, by Alanna Collen
Listen to Dr. James Read chat with Dr. Suzie about how diets can cause, and treat, diseases here.
This little corner of the internet is for non-yoga topics like motherhood, low-tox living and green beauty products I love.