NATURAL BEAUTY

Written By: Brittani Kolasinski (BHSc Nut, Adv Dip Nut Med)

This is the extensive list of ‘beauty products’ I use personally.

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Over the years I have simplified my own beauty regime immensely, I was the girl who wouldn’t leave the house with a full face of makeup, spray tan on and sporting a scalp bleach hair that’s been over-toned to the point of being silver-grey-blue rather than blonde. Coming from that to the present where makeup is minimal, its worn 1-2 times during the week, I don’t spray tan and colour my hair with half head of foils 3 times per year was not an overnight thing. The first time I turned up to work makeup-free I was asked if I was sick. I felt totally naked and ashamed.

It’s a confronting thing to strip back the many cosmetic layers that many of us are masked by, completely unaware of how much of our confidence comes through this.

But, like anything, you adapt. You push through and you allow your own natural beauty to shine and see the light (finally – my face was crying out for some much-needed vitamin D). I started to swap things out, once something ran out I would purchase something of better quality, using natural ingredients and products that aligned with my values.

The Function of Your Skin

Our skin is the largest organ we have, it’s part of our immune system, detoxification, elimination, and nutrient absorption. When it comes to caring for this incredible organ it's so much more than just skin deep.

The Skin and Our Microbiome

Our skin is covered with beneficial bacteria in an intricate balance that supports our own pH – anti-bacterial lotions, cosmetics and cleaning products can disrupt their habitat and lead to imbalances in our acid-alkaline state as well as sebum and oil production. With oily skin types its best to avoid cleansers and products that strip and dry the skin out, this signals to the body that we are lacking these oils for the skin and triggers a response to produce even more – leaving you in a vicious cycle of forever having an excessively oily complexion.

Imbalances within the microbiome impacts on the health of our skin and may present as conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Acne as an example is linked to gut health. Substance P is a molecule that’s produced within the gut from altered bacteria strains and this leads to the development of acne on the skin topically.

Do You really Need Deodorant?

Our skin expels and eliminates waste products from the body primarily through sweat. Foul body odour is a sign of ill health, and using antiperspirant deodorants inhibits the body’s ability to eliminate. Naturally, we will give off a scent, but when it’s to the point of needing to mask it with fragrances and deodorants is a sure-tell sign that there’s something out of balance for you, this could be food intolerances, excessive caffeine, sugar or alcohol intake or an imbalance in bacteria. I have now been deodorant free for more than 2 years and can tell you this – there are no complaints about how I smell to other people.

Impact on Vitamin D

Then there’s the matter of vitamin D, an essential nutrient we take in from the sun. It comes into contact with our skin and is converted to a form that the body uses to help with immune function, brain health, hormone production and to allow for the absorption of calcium into the bones. Cosmetic products containing sulphate laureate actually strips the skin of the compounds needed to convert vitamin D over to its active form to be used, leaving us vulnerable to the effects of vitamin D deficiency which is ironically wide-spread throughout this sunburnt country. You can read more here about the function of vitamin D.

My Personal Skin Care Routine

So, for me, my beauty regime looks a little like this

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• Makeup I use Eco Minerals Foundation, an Australian based company providing cruelty-free, vegan mineral makeup. It’s a beautiful light coverage with a matte finish.

• For mascara, I use Ere Perez, a completely natural mascara that’s been selling for over 13 years. It contains almond oil to strengthen and lengthen lashes while stimulating their growth. Its smudge-proof and water resistant.

• And lastly, as a moisturiser and makeup remover I use My Hemple hemp-seed oil. Hemp oil contains essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body. I keep one bottle in the fridge for use with food and cooking and another bottle in the bathroom to use topically to moisturise my skin and give off a beautiful glow. These essential fatty acids linolenic and oleic acids that are found in hemp oil play a role in skin health and anti-aging and are important nutrients to add to the diet. Use the code BRITTANI20 upon checking out to receive 20% off your order.

Simplifying in all areas of my life, including my skin care is so freeing. I give credit to the health of my own skin really to what I’m putting into my body, nourishing every single cell, keeping my gut bacteria in balance and inflammation at bay. To do this I eat real, living foods of plants, pasture-raised animals, seafood and eggs. I also supplement with organic whole-food capsules that flood my body with all the essential nutrients, polyphenols and antioxidants with added probiotics and digestive enzymes (to find out more about these products, get in touch)

If skin health is a concern for you I’d love to chat more about it and tailor a nutrient plan to suit your skin type and your concerns. Conditions like psoriasis, acne, eczema, and dermatitis are all signs that there is something out of balance within your body and a focus on internal health is key here rather than topical ‘band-aid’ applications.

Please do get in touch.

Yours in Health,

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Q&A WITH JORDAN PIE

It was such a delight to get to chat with Jordan Pie. This blond beauty is someone I gravitate towards and connected easily with over social media. I have been following along intently ever since, constantly being inspired, educated and encouraged. I love her food philosophy and approach to nutrition as well as her simplicity in her self care advice - definitely worth the read!

You can find out more about Jordan and connect with her through her instagram and her website - where you can also grab a copy of her incredible cook book Gutalicious.

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Q: Tell us about what you do, what is at the heart of it?

A: I’m a Qualified Nutritionist, GAPS Practitioner, freelance food stylist and photographer, recipe developer, a health and wellness blogger, oh and a cookbook author. I believe food can be used as medicine, so I help to educate people to see food in a brand new light by providing delicious, easy, gut friendly recipes.  

Q: What does health and wellness mean to you?

A: I believe it’s different for each individual. However, my food philosophy never changes;

  • Eat food your great grandmother would recognise

  • Less is more when it comes to ingredients

  • Include a wide variety of vegetables—you can always add more

  • Just because the ingredients change, doesn’t mean the menu has to. There is always a healthier alternative to your favourite foods

  • Eat to be well, not to be thin

Q: What is your number one health tip for general well-being?

A: Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or time consuming, and you don’t need a million and one things on your plate to make it tasty. It’s simple: Eat real food (preferably spray free/ organic). I truly believe that the worst thing you can put into your mouth is ‘guilt’. Because if you’re constantly stressed about what you eat or drink, it’s actually going to cause more weight gain, more hormonal imbalances, more digestive distress, and more sensitivities to healthy foods. This is why it’s so important to tune into your body, understand what YOU need, and ditch dieting all together!

Q: You’re a recipe developer and make the most amazing creations – what inspires you in the kitchen and how did you get such skills?

A: Cooking, creating new recipes, styling and photography is my creative outlet. If I wasn’t able to do this as part of my job, I think I would go a little cuckoo haha. I’m inspired by in-season produce and what I find at my local farmers market. I also get inspired by having only 4 or 5 ingredients in the fridge because I love the challenge of trying to create something incredibly delicious with only a handful of basic ingredients.

Q: You, like myself, do a lot of work from home and a vast variety of tasks, what are some of your hot tips for keeping on track with it all – do you have a routine or practice that ensures you get things done but also stay balanced and grounded?

A: As an entrepreneur, and someone running and growing my own small business, I find it so incredibly hard to stop myself and take a break sometimes. In the past I’ve definitely had the bad habit of working Monday-Saturday, slacking on taking my supplements, not leaving the house for 2 days and burning the candle at both ends. I can sometimes feel guilty if I take a break (even if it’s well earned). It’s taken (still taking) a lot of effort to put myself first. But the truth is, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not taking care of anything. So each week I try to remind myself to fill my own cup up first, and that I do have permission to rest. I’m not responsible for fixing everything and I don’t have to make everyone happy. This is challenging for me as I’m the classic nurturer - aka used to putting everyone else first. I have found planning out my days or week in advance super helpful because I schedule in research, meetings, one-on-one consultations, free-lance work, recipe days as well as down time and catching up with my loved ones.

Q: As a health practitioner it can be hard to remember to give back to yourself, and to keep your own health as a priority, tell us how you implement self-care:

A: I think a lot of people can get overwhelmed by the notion of what self care/ love is and may think they’re not doing enough. But self care can be as small as flossing your teeth. Or saving money for your future. Booking that holiday you’ve been dreaming of all year. Self care is saying no to a party you know you’re too tired to attend. It’s going to bed 30 mins earlier. It’s letting yourself eat your favourite chocolate or applying a face mask while you make yourself a cup of tea. I think self care and self love looks different to everyone, but the sentiment remains the same. We practice it so we can work on being the best version of ourselves. My favourite self care practice is to get out into nature, I find it so grounding, energising and it helps to re-set my body and mind. But I also love taking an epsom salt bath or making myself a cup of bone broth to drink or sometimes it may be as simple as watching a really good movie. 

Please comment below your key takeaway from this, I know I will be taking on board the self care practices and keeping things really simple.

Yours in health,

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CHOCOLATE FOR GUT HEALTH

Written By: Brittani Kolasinski (BHSc Nut, AdvDip NutMed) 

There’s no typo in this heading – chocolate can benefit our gut health, and the below article is a basic summary of recent evidence that supports this. Links to the paper will be attached at the end for further reading.

Firstly, to clarify, when I say chocolate – I’m not referring to Cadbury. No, that is confectionary – a very different thing. Chocolate is cocoa, or cacao. The real deal!

The benefits that chocolate has on the gut is due to the influence it has on our microbiota. The large number of beneficial bacteria that live within our intestines, predominantly within our colon – the furthest part of the intestine.

The microbes are referred to as ‘probiotics’, whereas prebiotics are components of foods, such as specific fibres, that act as a food source for the probiotics. The bacteria feed off these prebiotics, in doing so they cause a fermentation to occur which produces substances that play a beneficial and protective role for the body. These prebiotics play a role in changing the human gut microbiota, in a positive way. There is a direct correlation and association between changes to the microbiota and development of human diseases including ageing, oxidative stress, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health disorders and even cancer.  

Chocolate acts as a prebiotic. It is also is a rich source of antioxidant containing polyphenols including procyanidins, catechin and epicatechin oligomers - similar to those found within green tea. Chocolate has been shown to affect the same aforementioned human disorders that are linked with alterations to gut microbiota.

As an example, a double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial compared microbial diversity and quantity between individuals given either a high-cocoa flavonol drink or a low cocoa flavonol drink. It was observed that there was a significant increase in probiotic strains Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, with a significant decrease in Clostridia (Tzounis et al, 2010).

Clostridia is needed in small amounts and may help protect against food allergies, however its classed as a Firmicutes which is associated in the literature with increased BMI and obesity, where as having lower levels of firmicutes and higher levels of Bacteroidetes can be seen in lean individuals, or even when weight-loss occurs in obese subjects

(Koliada et al, 2017)

Also to note were the additional changes reported, including decreases in C-Reactive protein (an inflammatory marker).

Further studies have indicated that lower numbers of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli with an increase in Clostridia can be seen within patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with consideration of the aforementioned clinical trial outcomes, it is possible that chocolate might be considered as part of a treatment plan for IBS sufferers (Roberfroid et al, 2010).

What's more is that the action of the polyphenols creates a hormetic effect, also referred to hormesis [Hormesis boosts the expression of antioxidant genes through exposing yourself to something that would otherwise be toxic - which is the action of these catechins and polyphenols that are found within chocolate]. 

Now do we really need an excuse to eat chocolate? I think not!

Yours in (gut) health,

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References

Koliada, A., Syzenko, G., Moseiko, V., Budovska, L., Puchkov, K., Perederiy, V., … Vaiserman, A. (2017). Association between body mass index and Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in an adult Ukrainian population. BMC Microbiology17, 120. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12866-017-1027-1

Roberfroid, M., Gibson, G. R., Hoyles, L., McCartney, A. L., Rastall, R., Rowland, I., ... & Guarner, F. (2010). Prebiotic effects: metabolic and health benefits. British Journal of Nutrition104(S2), S1-S63.

Tzounis, X., Rodriguez-Mateos, A., Vulevic, J., Gibson, G. R., Kwik-Uribe, C., & Spencer, J. P. (2010). Prebiotic evaluation of cocoa-derived flavanols in healthy humans by using a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover intervention study–. The American journal of clinical nutrition93(1), 62-72.

 

THE MARVEL OF OUR MICROBIOTA

Written By: Brittani Kolasinski (BHSc Nut, Adv.Dip NutMed) 

Our microbiome is the home of many different strains, a colony if you will of many types of bacteria. The largest amount of these are found within our guts, more specifically within our colons (the farthest part of the gastrointestinal tract). It may or may not surprise you to know that we are in fact more bacteria cells than we are human cells! Even our genes are out-numbered, in comparison to the vast number of bacterial cells that we host. These tiny bacteria friends of ours can be in excess of 1 trillion. With this in mind it is now redefining how we view our own human bodies and with the research being conducted we are still only just scratching the surface on what we know about their functions and effects on human health. What we know so far will be highlighted in this article, with some practical tips on how to maintain and optimise your microbiome… Prepare to be amazed and simply marvel at the wonders of your microbiota!

Whole body effects

Our microbiomes are the dictators of so much of our biology, closely linked with our metabolism, immune system, our brains and so much more! Referred to as our gut-brain axis is the link between the microbiome and our nervous system. It is known to effect our moods, behaviours, even playing a role in the development of neuro-degenerative conditions such as autism, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Immune health

If I were to ask you where you think the largest number of immune cells lived would your first guess be the gut? Maybe not, but that is the honest truth. The gut houses the largest number of immune cells. There is a complex interaction between bacteria cells and immune cells. They communicate with each other, creating harmony. They can impact respiratory function, how we respond to vaccines and even the progression of autoimmune diseases.

Gut bacteria can increase the number of T-regulatory cells, these are immune cells which help to attenuate inflammation as well as display calming effects on the immune system.

Gut-brain Axis

Communicating by way of the vagus nerve, either from the brain to the gut, or from the gut back to the brain and gives us a bit of an explanation as to why we experience the fluttering in our stomach when nervous, or the nausea we experience when stressed or anxious. When we perceive stress however it also effects our digestive capacity, making nutrient absorption somewhat limited. Our hydrochloric acid is also reduced in the stomach making the breakdown of proteins and other food products more difficult which can result in IBS type symptoms – altered bowel habits, bloating and discomfort as well as impaired cognition - that ‘foggy headed’ feeling coupled with fatigue & lethargy. On top of that, serotonin, responsible for feelings of happiness and which also impacts on bowel motility is predominantly produced in our guts, by our microbiome. In fact a whopping 95% or so is produced in the gut!

Fibre – ‘The Forgotten Nutrient’

Our microbiota are directly influenced by what we feed ourselves, as it will in turn result in feeding them. So, although our microbiome may be dictators of our biology, we ultimately hold the reigns with how we supply the fuel for them to flourish.

Fibre is ideally what they require, it is recommended that we consume 28g of dietary fibre, however with our western diets, a high majority of us are only getting about half of this.

Fibre is somewhat of a forgotten nutrient, although it doesn’t provide much in the way of caloric energy for the body, it does provide our microbiome with the energy it needs to produce the positive effects within the body. The bacteria ferment the fibre we eat, providing short chain fatty acids, as well as other immune-modulating compounds.

A lack of fibre can promote inflammation due to the impact on the immune system, meaning that our bodies may be kept in a hyper-inflamed state. Inflammation is the driver of almost ALL disease states, from asthma, arthritis, obesity, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and depression making it vital that we incorporate a high majority of anti-inflammatory foods in the diet and restrict the inflammatory ones (more on this in a later blog post…).

Not only does it promote inflammation but a low fibre diet will also starve the bacteria in the gut, which then results in these bacteria feeding of the carbohydrates in the mucin which lines our gastrointestinal tract, gradually weakening this barrier and allowing particles that are to be eliminated be reabsorbed into the blood stream, further wreaking havoc. This is what is known as ‘leaky gut’.

A typical western diet is rich in carbohydrates and fats which are absorbed further up in the GI tract, mainly in the small intestine. Due to their simple nature and lack of fibre makes them more readily absorbed, meaning that they will not reach the colon where our microbiome lives. By consuming complex carbohydrates and a variety of fibres from wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and lentils, we can ensure that the fibrous parts of the plants will reach our gut bugs and give them the sustenance they need to thrive.

Of course, like with most things; variety is key! Eating seasonally is an easy way to achieve this diversity. Including different vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, wholegrains (whole wheat, oats, rice, quinoa, millet, barley, rye etc) meaning across the year you will be filling yourself with all types of fibre. This ensures a variety of different strains of bacteria, all of which will provide a different effect and benefit for the body

Yes, fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains are carbohydrates, but they are not to be feared! However, with the mounting research coming out about the negative effects of processed carbohydrates; sugars & packaged foods, it’s understandable that we than associate ALL carbs with this group of ‘bad guys’ and avoid them. But in reality, it is about educating ourselves on which types of carbohydrates are of benefit to us and which are to restrict. This is where visits with a nutritionist can be of great benefit, to provide you with an individualised diet suitable to you, to educate you on what to eat, when to eat it and how to prepare it and how exactly it will benefit you. To empower you and work alongside you to enhance your health and wellbeing.

Consultations are available with myself and can be booked online

Yours in health,



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