Life Update: Why did I take a break? What is upcoming on this blog?

This will be my third time trying to find a way to type out what I’d like to say and include in this post. But considering I have not posted anything on this blog since September, I may be a bit rusty. Let’s just say, I have had a lot going on in the last few months that I needed to take a step back to collect my thoughts.

Over the last year since starting this blog, I have been having an ongoing struggle and mind battle of if anyone would want to hear what I have to say or write about, and in turn, this has deflated my confidence. What started all of this was honestly the engagement levels on all of my platforms, or lack there of I should say. Instagram’s forever changing algorithm has not only deflated my confidence but many other’s as well, like a blown up duck in a bathtub with an alligator. I was noticing my engagement going from amazing numbers to absolutely nothing in the matter of weeks, and I had changed nothing about my content or posting schedule. I feel I can go on and on about this, so I may save this for a blog post on it’s own. Long story short, I found myself lost in counting the numbers instead of trying to get information out into the world to help someone. This was the moment I knew I needed to take a step back from social media. So what have I been doing since September and why am I starting to write again you may ask? Well, let’s just say I have had some health conditions along with some “a-ha” moments that have encouraged me to step outside of my comfort levels and give this a go again.

As you may know from following me on instagram, YouTube or this blog, you will know I just passed my 4 year anniversary of being diagnosed with celiac disease. To this day, I am continuing to heal my gut from the damages of the disease in my small intestine. I will have symptoms pop up here and there but they are starting to not be as frequent (unless I get cross contaminated again). Some of the on going symptoms that I seem to be having is a faint sharp pain in my upper right abdomen and acid reflux, but not the burning kind, it is the annoying something is stuck in your throat all the time acid reflux. This seems to be triggered with certain foods I eat and what kind of stress I am under. What foods are those? I have a small idea but I’m not 100% sure. There are some smaller symptoms but those two are the most irritating at the moment. Back in September, I knew the answer to having a clear mind was to heal my gut so I could think straight about everything else. Therefore, this has been a top priority for me not just in the last 4 years but will be ongoing into my future as well.

Next, I have had old injuries come back with a vengeance. For the last 2-3 years, I have gone from working out 5 days a week to very quickly and drastically dropping to zero days a week (excluding a few hikes and hockey games once in a while). I did this truly because I had no energy from my body trying to heal my gut and have my body not be in an autoimmune flare 24/7. The last few months I have been focusing more on my body’s strength, mobility and flexibility equally. After all, I am a Certified Athletic Therapist and should probably start taking my own advice at some point. However, something I have taken a notice to, is I will feel better both gut and body wise but I’ll head to the gym and go through a program that I used to do on a regular basis and I’ll be knocked out sore and tired for 1-2 weeks after. In the last few months I have been constructing a treatment plan for myself to slowly get back to what I was able to accomplish in the past but better than before. This is something that I am excited to use myself as an experiment and share with you the findings and outcomes. I’d like to bring you along the journey to maybe spark some inspiration in yourself or someone you know who may be feeling the same way.

Back in September 2020 I decided to start working with a lovely woman by the name of Stella. She has been helping me organize my thoughts and what I’d like to work towards into the coming future. With her I have discovered that I would like to move my practice over to a more active caseload rather than all hands on treatment. The reason for this, is not only because my body is hurting from being a manual therapist but also because I know deep down that they real way to get people pain free is by teaching them how to move their bodies correctly. Having an equal balance of mobility, flexibility, pliability and strength is very important to maintaining a healthy body. I have been also going back and forth in my head about going back to school or not. I am feeling very grounded with the decision to not go back to school at this time and instead improve my treatment techniques at the clinic and start putting focus into this blog.

Stella and I have put together a purpose statement for myself, “I teach people how to care for their bodies through the science of movement, mindfulness and nutrition. With this blog, I plan to do just that.

Now, with that being said, I am going to be starting to make consistent weekly posts onto this blog. I’ll be writing and sharing my experience as a celiac and what I’ve learned, information on athletic therapy and the human body, health and wellness, exercises and fitness, lifestyle tips, and some of my own gluten free recipes that I have made and would love to share with you all. I may even throw in some random plant facts in there as well, because we all know how much I love my house plants. Basically I will be sharing everything I love to spend my time learning about and my journey back to being better than I was before my diagnosis of celiac disease.

Follow along and share this with anyone who may be interested, and I’ll see you here once a week. Until my next blog post, have the best week!

LEW xxx


Where To Eat Gluten Free In Melbourne

Melbourne has a very large hipster vibe with lots of little shops, boutiques and restaurants all over the inner city. Not only is Melbourne known for it’s wide range of graffiti and wall art but it is also very well known for it’s food. There is a huge variety of many different types of restaurants that you can choose from, ranging anywhere from Mexican to Greek, fancy bougie pubs, and bars that have a dark atmosphere but extremely fun rock and roll vibe. Depending on the experience you are feeling, Melbourne has it all.

If you have celiac disease or you are gluten intolerant, there are many options for gluten free within the city. I have to say that I am very impressed with everywhere I have been in Australia thus far for gluten free food. This is the first time I have been to restaurants and when I say I have celiac disease they understand that it is not just the ingredients of the food we are eating but it is also where and how it is prepared. Most restaurants will tell you honestly if there is a chance of cross contamination or if they have a separate cooking space, toaster, fryer, or oven. It feels like everywhere in Australia, they take celiac disease, food intolerances or allergies very seriously. However, keep in mind that regardless it is very important to speak to the chef, manager or your server about the details of your dietary requirements to be sure you will not become sick.

I wish I could have spent more time in Melbourne but here is a list of all the restaurants I ate as someone with celiac disease. Not one of the restaurants I have mentioned made me sick or caused a reaction.

1) Stalactites

This Greek restaurant, located downtown Melbourne, is highly recommended for those with celiac disease as it is accredited by the Australian Coeliac Association. This is the first time I have been to a restaurant that has the stamp of approval from the country’s coeliac association. There is a separate workspace for the chef’s in the kitchen to avoid cross contamination of gluten into any food, this includes chopping surfaces, oven’s, and anywhere to heat up the kebab’s and fryers for the fries/chips.

Mixed Kebab

Not only is it safe for a celiac to eat at, but the food is out of this world fantastic. This was the first time in over 3 years since my diagnosis that I have been able to safely eat a kebab. The food here is so good that I went three days in a row. The first 2 days I had the mixed souvlaki (kebab) and the final day I had the lamb fillet kebab. I believe there are vegetarian options as well along with other amazingly delicious looking gluten free dishes. However, I would highly recommend the kebab as you will not believe the pita bread is gluten free, so good that I want to figure out the recipe so I can make it at home.

Coeliac Certified Sticker

Each wrap I ordered came with a napkin that had the coeliac association sticker on it. This will both ease your mind that the wraps did not get mixed up, you know the chef knew that it had to be appropriate for a celiac with no cross contamination, but also, how cool is that?!

The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable about any dietary requirements you may have. The environment is welcoming and bright with a sit down and take out option, the food was also served pretty darn quick as well.

As I mentioned, I ate here 3 days in a row, all with kebab’s, and had no reactions to gluten at all. I would highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the area and looking for a celiac safe restaurant.

Location: 177/183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Phone Number:+61 3 9663 3316

Menu:

2) Roule Galette

This is a very sweet little French cafe located downtown Melbourne very close to the Flinders Street Railway Station and the City Library. This adorable cafe is located within the beautiful Flinders lane, mixed in with other boutiques, shops and restaurants. You will know you are down the right street when you see a pink painted mural on the back wall of the street of two kangaroos dressed up.

Chicken Avocado Crêpe

This restaurant has gluten free options suitable for a celiac along with vegan and vegetarian. They informed me that they have a separate gluten free crêpe maker to avoid cross contamination. The gluten free crêpes are fantastically delicious and have options of being both savoury and sweet. They were so good that I bought both a savoury and sweet crêpe in the same visit.

La Belle Normande Crêpe

I began with the avocado chicken crêpe, along with a French earl grey tea with almond milk and some of the best honey I have ever had. The crêpe is massive as it is the size of a standard dinner plate. The chicken was perfectly cooked, and was a perfect match with the avocado, tomato, emmental cheese, home- made basil pesto. Directly after this we ordered the La Belle Normande: Cinnamon poached apple, ice cream (can be vegan), homemade whipped cream, homemade salted caramel, my mouth was watering for hours after eating this.

The staff here are absolutely lovely, knowledgeable about dietary requirements and have some of the best French accents I have heard. The environment of the cafe will make you feel as though you have transported to France, the music is enjoyable and for over flow reasons, they have a small cafe on both sides of the cobblestone street. They offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and take away. I would highly recommend visiting this adorable French getaway for some of the best crêpes you will ever eat.

Location: Scott Alley, 237/241 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Phone Number:+61 3 9639 0307

Menu:

3) Bodega Underground

If you like Mexican food, this is the place for you. Everything in this restaurant is gluten free so there is no need for anyone with Celiac Disease to be nervous about cross contamination.

Totopos With Guacamole and Elote

We went with the ‘feed me’ option on the menu, and as fantastically good as this option was, I would not suggest it unless you are starving…it was a lot of food, hence the name. With this option you get the totopos with guacamole, papas, elote, charred cauliflower, lamb riblets, two taco servings: carnitas, tacos de frijoles and end with the churros con dulce de leche. All of this food will cost you $50 ASD per person, and is to serve two people. This is a great option at this restaurant to try almost everything on the menu.

Every single dish we ate at this restaurant, I would go back for. The nachos are perfectly crispy and a great pair with their authentic guacamole, the tacos are a perfect size and just the right amount of filling along with being jam packed with flavour. The street corn was out of this world, I never would have thought to put parmesan cheese on BBQ corn on the cob. The papas were soft and delicious potato bites, paired perfectly with their chipotle in adobo sauce. The charred cauliflower was a meal on it’s own and I would 100% go back for this one if you are a vegetarian, it is a perfectly cooked head of cauliflower covered with a delicious cheese sauce. The lamb riblets fall off the bone as you pick them up and melt in your mouth. Finally, ending with gluten free churros…I never thought I would see the day that I could eat a churros again, this was a dream come true for a celiac. They were crunchy, covered in sugar and cinnamon and the dulce de leche sauce, I wanted to drink out of the bowl.

The environment of this great restaurant is fantastic along with the staff as well, I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a gluten free option for Mexican food in downtown Melbourne.

Location: 55 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Phone Number:+61 3 9650 9979

Menu:

If you find yourself by Smith Street, seek out CIBI and Saba’s Ethiopian restaurant as they are both just a block or two away.

4) CIBI

This is a very sweet and down to earth restaurant serving Japanese cuisine. It is not just a restaurant, there is a beautiful plant store and Japanese pottery, knives and other special treasures you may not be able to find anywhere else. I truly wish I had more room in my travel bag to get some items back home.

The staff is lovely, and at first they were not too sure about cross contamination or food being 100% gluten free for a Celiac, however the chef pulled through and can I tell you how much I appreciated this! The food was very healthy, light but filling and exactly what I wanted to eat that day.

We both had chicken dishes from there that were both fantastic. My partner Chris had the lunch bowl which consisted of slow cooked chicken with green olives and herbs served with beets and daikon salad and grains. I had the chicken soboro which consisted of free range chicken mince, cooked with miso and ginger, a soy egg, greens and edamame, mizuna salad served with their CIBI rice blend. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the rice was cooked in a way that made it some of the best rice I have eaten in a long time. I did not feel bloated or as if I had eaten too much food after this meal, it is very nutritious and a perfect serving. I paired my meal with one of their in house made summer drinks. I would highly recommend checking this place out if you get the chance and you find yourself on Smith Street.

It is a great environment for doing some computer work, going in for a treat or tea/coffee, or for an early or later lunch.

Location: 33/39 Keele St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia

Phone Number:+61 481 398 686

Menu:


5) Saba’s Ethiopian Restaurant

Vegetarian Combination

This was my first time eating Ethiopian food and after the experience I had at this restaurant, it will surely not be my last! I found this restaurant wandering down Brunswick Street when I was very hungry, saw their menu in the window and told myself I had to give it a try. They have a celiac safe and vegan friendly menu, I was told their chef is celiac, so they know all about how to serve you safely! Music to my ears.

Injera Basket

All meals are to be eaten with your hands using the fantastic Injera bread, not using utensils, however, I did see a few people using utensils to eat so this may be an option if you prefer. I went with the vegetarian combination where you get to choose three of their delicious vegetarian dishes, and believe me when I tell you, if you are not vegetarian, you will not be disappointed. It comes in a beautiful Injera basket with a plate inside of your Injera bread, which is made of teff flour. After this you are served your three servings of the vegetarian dishes you chose. I went with the Ful, Shiro and Dinish dishes, all were very flavourful and had individual unique spices and ingredients used. The Ful is made with fava beans, spices, egg and feta cheese (this can be made vegan if preferred), the Shiro is a chickpea and berbere paste with garlic and ginger, and the Dinish is potatoes, cabbage and carrots cooked in turmeric and other spices. Every single one I want to eat again, this is a very filling and nutritious meal.

The staff is absolutely lovely and the environment is just the same with a few Injera baskets beautifully placed on the wall to admire. I cannot wait to go to this restaurant again when I am back in Melbourne.

Location: 328 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia

Phone Number:+61 3 8589 0442

Menu:


The Benefits of Collagen | Gut Health, Skin, Hair and Joints

There has been an increase in awareness and popularity with taking collagen supplements over recent years. Claims have been made that it can help with skin’s youthful appearance, increased bone density and decreased joint pain, along with other claims such as helping to heal your gut lining. For all of these reasons, it’s no surprise that collagen has become a widely sought-after ingredient in the wellness and beauty communities. But collagen’s efficacy is still pretty up in the air. Here’s what we know.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in the body. “Its fiber-like structure is used to make connective tissue. Like the name implies, this type of tissue connects other tissues and is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It helps to make tissues strong and resilient, able to withstand stretching.”1 As we age we naturally start to reduce our collagen production. This means that our bodies are not able to replace the collagen we are losing as quickly as it is breaking down. Starting in our 20s about 1 percent of our collagen production breaks down each year. External factors such as cigarette smoking (inhaling or second hand smoke), extended sun exposure, pollution, excess alcohol, lack of sleep and exercise increases the breakdown of collagen.

Collagen As A Supplement

The first appearance of collagen was as an ingredient in serums and creams. However, this topical application is not backed by science as collagen itself is not found on the skin’s surface but deep in the layers of the skin. The fibers in collagen are too large to penetrate through the skin’s layers, the same evidence goes for the shorter chains of collagen called peptides. So I wouldn’t suggest buying anything that claims the collagen in their creams will help with signs of aging.

Oral collagen on the other hand, in the form of pills, powders, and certain foods is starting to show some scientific evidence that it can be effectively absorbed by the body. As long as it is not the natural molecule of collagen. It needs to be broken down into smaller peptides as they can easily pass through our gut barrier and into our bloodstream. In theory the body can use the collagen peptides in areas that need repair the most.

Look out for collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen, as these are the two forms of broken down collagen that can be easily absorbed by the body. Collagen supplements contain amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. As additional nutrients, some supplements may also contain vitamin c, biotin or zinc. Also look out for any companies claiming their collagen as “plant based” as there is only animal based collagen to date, so this product will not contain any collagen. However, you can consume supplements that contain the primary amino acids that are involved in collagen synthesis – glycine, lycine, and proline.

What Does The Science Say? Does It Work?

The research is showing that taking collagen for many months can help with signs of aging on your skin, improve the health of your gut lining, and even increase the density in bone that are weakened naturally by age. However, most of the research being done is by companies who directly sell collagen themselves – so the information may be biased.

“Most research on collagen supplements is related to joint and skin health. Human studies are lacking but some randomized controlled trials have found that collagen supplements improve skin elasticity. [3,4] Other trials have found that the supplements can improve joint mobility and decrease joint pain such as with osteoarthritis or in athletes. [5] Collagen comprises about 60% of cartilage, a very firm tissue that surrounds bones and cushions them from the shock of high-impact movements; so a breakdown in collagen could lead to a loss of cartilage and joint problems.” 1

The scientific proof on collagen is starting to rise, and more and more research is being done to prove it’s benefits. The great news is all research that has been done has not been showing any negative side effects of taking collagen as a supplement. 1

There are more and more people starting to share their own personal experiences with taking the collagen supplement and the benefits they are experiencing from it. But do keep in mind, if you are going to give it a try, you need to take it every day for at least 1-3 months before you can really see and feel the benefits of it.

How Much Do You Need For It To Be Effective?

As of right now, health authorities have not provided any guidelines for how much collagen to take in a day. This will all depend on what type of collagen you are consuming. There are three types of collagen: hydrolyzed collagen, undenatured collagen, and gelatin.

Hydrolyzed Collagen

This type of collagen is derived from cattle, marine, poultry, pigs and other animal sources and has been broken down into a more digestible and easier to absorb peptide particle. It is the most common form of collagen supplement as it is in powder or capsule form and can be added to smoothies, hot and cold drinks, soups, baked goods and other forms of food.

A 2019 study has found that taking anywhere from 2.5-15g of collagen a day may be safe and effective.

2.5g per day: could benefit joint pain, skin health, and hydration 11, 12, 13
5g per day: can improve bone density 14, 15
15g per day: can help with muscle mass and body composition 16, 17

Undenatured Collagen

This is raw collagen derived from chicken cartilage, some human studies have suggested that taking daily doses of 10–40 mg of undenatured collagen per day may improve joint health. 18, 19

Gelatin

As all collagen is, this is derived from animal sources and is a form of cooked collagen. This type of collagen is not really sold as a supplement as it’s usually used as an ingredient in gelatinous desserts or foods. There is limited research showing daily serving sizes for gelatin, so it is best to refer to the packaging for the products recommended serving size.

Can you eat too much collagen?

It seems as of right now that collagen is a relatively safe product to consume without any side effects. However, always refer to the product packaging for recommended doses of that particular collagen as there has been reports of feeling overly full, unpleasant taste, and other stomach complaints. 20

Where Can Collagen Be Found?

Collagen is a type of protein and it can be found in your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, organs, skin, intestinal lining and other connective tissues. You can see why it is such an important component in our bodies as it helps to make tissues strong and resilient.

In food, naturally collagen is only found in animal flesh like meat and fish that contains connective tissue. However, there is a variety of both animal and plant foods that contain materials to help our bodies natural collagen production.

You can find easily digested forms of collagen in meat and seafood, supplements and even bone broth.

Lifestyle Habits That Can Help Collagen Production

Along with a well-balanced diet, here are some healthy habits that may help with protecting the collagen production in your body.

Reduce Stress: Chronically high cortisol levels in the body can decrease the production levels of collagen naturally in the body. So start mindful practices like meditation and breathing techniques to decrease the amount of stress you may have in your life.

Get A Good Amount Of Sleep: Among many other factors, sleep is extremely important for the human body. But not just any sleep, aiming for 7-9 hours a night of adequate sleep will help with many daily functions in the body.

Stop Smoking: There are many health concerns that we are aware of when it comes to a habit like smoking. But this also includes trying to avoid secondhand smoke whenever you can.

No Excessive Time In The Sun: Now this does not mean hiding from the sun. The sun provides the vital vitamin D that we need for many functions in the body including the immune system. So aim to get 10-20 min of daily direct sunlight 3-4 times a week, but the rest of the time be sure to use sunscreen or cover up with layers and hats.

Exercise Regularly: Exercise is hugely beneficial in so many ways, but some studies have found that exercise can slow down cell activity involved with aging.2

What Are The Benefits Of Collagen?

Helps with gut health

Collagen can play a key role in helping with the repair and strengthening of the gut lining in our digestive tract. This is due to the amino acids it contains, glycine and glutamine. There is research coming out showing the benefits of collagen on the gut and specifically leaky gut. However, do keep in mind all of the research as of right now is all based on animals, there has not been much if at all any human research on this subject.

Although this being said, a research paper published in 2017 has shown that among IBD patients, there was an imbalance between the formation and breakdown of collagen fibres, and this was connected to inflammation. An older study from 2003 showed that IBD patients do have a decreased amount of type 4 collagen. As we know, collagen is a part of connective tissue, and this makes up our colon and GI tract. Therefore, increasing your levels of collagen may be a supportive environment for your body to heal.

Even though there has not been much human research being done on collagen and its effects on the gut, there has been recent human research of l-glutamine on gut health! Since collagen contains glutamine, this could be a step in the right direction. It can help with inflammation, “Several lines of evidence indicate that glutamine has an anti-inflammatory property by influencing a number of inflammatory signalling pathways.”3 As promising as this is, more human research needs to be done to know its full potential.

It can help with what is naturally lost through aging

Your body starts to produce less collagen as we age starting in our twenties, and collagen peptides added to your diet may serve to replace what your body begins to lack as you age, and support your overall health.

Collagen is a good source of protein and is easily digestible

For some people digesting proteins like chicken or beef can cause digestive upset and may be hard on their body. Collagen supplements are hydrolyzed, meaning the collagen is broken down. This means that collagen supplements may potentially be a more comfortable way for your body to digest protein. The process of hydrolyzing also means that the collagen supplement can be easily dissolvable in water which then can be added to everyday foods like water or smoothies.

Collagen may help with skin’s signs of aging

This is by far the most researched when it comes to the benefits of collagen. In a 2019 systemic review, researchers analyzed 11 randomized, placebo-controlled studies of more than 800 patients who took up to 10 grams (g) per day of collagen with the goal of improving skin health. The results? “Preliminary results are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin aging. Oral collagen supplements also increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.”6

Collagen may help to decrease joint aches and pains

There is no doubt that when you have joint pain, exercise becomes a much harder habit to follow. A study from 2017 found that athletes with knee pain who took 5 g of collagen peptides daily for 12 weeks had less joint pain during exercise compared with a placebo group. Oral collagen may support cartilage repair and may also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to start taking collagen or not, don’t forget to also work on other collagen-depleting factors such as sleep, smoking, pollution, stress and exercise as mentioned in this blog post. Taking a supplement is exactly as the name suggests, you supplement with everyday lifestyle changes. Be diligent with quality control and do your research into the company you are sourcing your collagen from. Check to make sure the company is doing their part to source good quality collagen and following safe practices in how they manufacture their products. Also, be sure to follow the supplement’s recommended dietary requirements (RDA) to be sure you are not taking too much of it a day. Any supplement in high quantities over the RDA is not good for anyone, always follow the package directions when consuming supplements.

A Collagen Product I Recommend:

After my diagnosis of celiac disease I decided to try taking collagen to help the healing of my gut lining. Along with following a gluten free diet, I found taking collagen helped to improve my bowel movements, bloating, inflammation in the gut and in my joints and helped my hair and nails grow back stronger along with helping to heal the rashes I had on my skin.

Was it the gluten free diet or taking collagen that helped? I believe it was both, as I stopped taking collagen for a few years and recently just started taking it again. After a few days of taking it I’m starting to see a few improvements in my overall health again.

I am a proud affiliate with the Canadian company Organika, and I stand by their products as they are high quality, follow industry leading practices, they are backed by researched nutrition, mindful crafting and they really source out the best quality ingredients for their products.

They have won awards for Canada’s #1 collagen for a reason.

Follow this link to look through their wide selection of collagen to find the one that is right for you and be sure to use my code LEWSLIFE25 for 25% off site wide!

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.

References:

2) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acel.12341

3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5454963/

4) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464620305028

5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28174772/

6) https://jddonline.com/articles/oral-collagen-supplementation-a-systematic-review-of-dermatological-applications-S1545961619P0009X/

7) https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/10.1139/apnm-2016-0390#.X0v7bNNKjlw

8) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/apt.14092

9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14600124/

10) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31096622/

11) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31627309/

12) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24401291/

13) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22486722/

14) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25314004/

15) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29337906/

16) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26353786/

17) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31010031/

18) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24153020/

19) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19847319/

20) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22521757/


The Best Gluten-Free Places To Eat In Penticton | Celiac Friendly

Penticton is a fantastic small town full of outside adventure, wine touring, water sports, winter sports, mountain hiking and biking among many other amenities! It also has a few places to eat that are celiac safe within Penticton and just outside of it as well! Be sure to check the list of places below out if you are looking for gluten-free delicious eats made for someone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance!

Restaurants

Wild Scallion

Picture from my IG account of the Fiesta Bowl


The first restaurant on the list is one of my go-to restaurants as EVERYTHING in the restaurant is gluten-free. They have vegan and vegetarian options but you can also add chicken to most meals as well if you prefer, or add and subtract from plates depending on your food preferences. Everything is fresh and made with wholesome ingredients. As a celiac, I have never had any issues with cross-contamination or a flare-up of symptoms after eating at this restaurant.

My personal favourites:

Fiesta Bowl: Jam-packed with veg, beans, and flavour. I LOVE this bowl, as your mouth is exploding with different textures and flavours. You can easily add Teriyaki chicken to your bowl as well, as this is what I personally do.
Pad Thai: Another classic and great option, the peanut sauce is so good! I also add chicken to this plate as well for more protein.
Vegan Alfredo: Super creamy without the “cream.” Jam-packed with mushrooms, so if you do not like mushrooms you can substitute for chicken.
Salad Rolls: A nice easy and light meal for those who are not needing a bigger plate of food. The peanut sauce that comes with this plate is what I’m always craving from this restaurant (I’m pretty sure it’s the same sauce found on the pad thai). They are light and fresh and like everything else you can add chicken to the rolls if you find fit.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Hazelnut Square: UNREAL, so good especially if you really like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter!

I honestly feel like all of their meals are fantastic, but I have a hard time moving away from one of the 5 mentioned above as I’m always craving them. However, I have heard from friends that their curries are also wonderful.

All of the choices at Wild Scallion are super filling and can sometimes be good for 2-3 meals unless you are starving…then eat the whole plate, I’m not judging.

**I’ve just been informed that this restaurant will be under new ownership, I’m pretty sure they said they will be keeping it all gluten-free – be sure to ask when you get there :)** Notified Feb 2022.

The full menu can be found here.

Photo from my IG account of some of my favourite treats

Gratify


This restaurant is fully gluten-free and vegan. It has raw dessert options and has just started offering take and bake pizzas, wraps, cold and hot drinks, smoothies, and vegan ice cream. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough to anyone looking for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free wholesome food. Everything made with oats is made with gluten-free oats, as I went in and explained to them how celiacs cannot eat regular oats. The next day after our conversation they made the switch to gluten-free oats! Thank you for always listening and making the switch!

My personal favourites:

Peanut Butter Cups: Absolutely delicious, just the right amount of peanut butter to chocolate. The ingredients are Cocoa, Maple Syrup, Coconut Oil, Vanilla Extract, Natural Peanut Butter, Oats (certified GF), Coconut Sugar ($2.50 or 2 for $4.50).
Salted Caramel Pecan Bar: This one is like a turtle chocolate piece but in bar form and without the chocolate. The ingredients are Oat Flour, Pecans, Dates, Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil, Coconut Sugar, Pink Himalayan Salt, Vanilla Extract, Maple Syrup, Water ($3.59).
Nanaimo Bar (coffee): A lovely twist on the original Nanaimo bar as they add coffee, and I’m not a coffee fan, but it is perfect in this bar! They also have the original Nanaimo bar as well which is just as equally delicious. The ingredients are Almonds, Shredded Coconut, Cocoa, Dates, Cashews, Coconut Oil, Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Ground Coffee (Seis Cielo Coffee Roaster), Pink Himalayan Salt, Vanilla Extract ($4.75).
Cheesecake by the slice: Any of their cheesecakes are divine! I have not found one yet that I did not like, you cannot go wrong with any flavour that you get.
Soft Taco: If you are looking for a flavourful and light lunch, their wrap and soup combo are just for you! I personally really like the soft taco wrap, but all of them are a great choice. The soft taco is a gluten-free wrap, black bean spread & spinach, tangy taco “meat”, queso sauce, and pico de gallo – $9.95  (Small Soup Combo: $13.00, Medium Soup Combo: $14.75).
Take and Bake Pizza’s: This is a newer product at their location and I could not be happier! There is finally a good-sized pizza with a lot of toppings to take home for the celiacs in the community. I personally love how filling each piece is and how the toppings are basically overflowing off the pizzas. My personal favourite of the pizzas so far is the Mexican.

Gratify is a fantastic location for all things gluten-free and vegan. The owners are lovely as can be and it’s a fantastic local shop to check out!

Click here for their menu. And here for their website.

Photo is from my IG account of some of my favourite treats from Blissful Belly

Blissful Belly


This is a celiac-safe, gluten, dairy, and egg-free facility! The owner is celiac herself so you know every product in her shop will for sure be safe for anyone with celiac disease. They also have some products that are made without nuts in case there may be a nut allergy. I cannot explain enough how much I love this little bakeshop! The owner, Victoria, is an absolute gem and super friendly to speak with. She has a background as a whole food nutritionist so you know the food had some thought put into it.

My personal favourites:

“Just-Add-Water” Baking Mixes:
All of the mixes are delicious and super convenient for the days that you want to bake something up but you may not have all of the ingredients or you may be short of time. There are six mixes and you cannot go wrong with either one. She has Mocha Fudge Brownie Mix, Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie Mix, Chipotle Apple Cornbread Mix, Onion & Garlic Biscuit Mix, Gingerbread Scone/Cookie Mix (Seasonal), and Buckwheat Cinnamon Pancake/Waffle Mix.
Fresh Bake Shop Items: All her treats are delicious and are baked in-house with local and organic ingredients. You can have the choice from Biscotti Bites – Maple Ginger, Maple Walnut, Maple Chocolate, Macaroons – Lemon Maple, Cherry Lavender, Mocha Nib, Trail Bars – Peanut Butter Date and Cranberry Chocolate – 2/pkg, Cherry Date Oat Bars – 2/pkg, and Fudge Brownie – Turtle Caramel Pecan and Maple Walnut 2/pkg. I personally love her fudge brownie, peanut butter bars and cherry date oat bars.

This is definitely a shop you’ll want to check out and grab snacks for on the road or in your own home baking. She even has teas & hot cocao mixes! She sells her products in her Penticton shop but also has an online store where she will ship products across Canada.

You can find her website here. And menu and shop here.

This photo is from The Kitchen’s IG account

The Kitchen


This restaurant can be found at Da Silva Winery and is open from May 1 – Mid October, as they are only open seasonally, and open for lunch and dinner service Monday to Saturday. However, when they do open up, it’s one of the happiest days as this restaurant is beyond delicious. They have Portuguese tapas with a Mexican flare. I absolutely love this restaurant when I want to have multiple plates of food and cannot make up my mind. The tapas are smaller servings but they are jam-packed with flavour, and the best part is you leave the restaurant feeling satisfied but not overfull. If you are in Penticton I cannot recommend this restaurant enough, but be sure to call ahead and make a reservation as they book up fast!

My personal favourites:

Pork Belly Slow Braised In Port And Brandy: Extremely tender meat, and unreal flavouring.
Duck Leg Confit With Amarena Cherry Gastric: I never thought I would say that duck is good, but this was my first time trying it and I have to say, it was absolutely delicious!
Roasted Cauliflower, Dusted With Parmesan Cheese: I wanted to order this twice because of how good it was.

You really cannot go wrong with anything you choose off their menu as they have meat, seafood and vegetarian sections. You will also be dining with an amazing view of the winery and surrounding Penticton landscape. The restaurant is 99% gluten-free, the only reason it’s not 100% is due to the bread served before the meals arrive. However, when I told them I was celiac they assured me the chef cleaned down the preparation areas to be sure I did not get exposed. What are you waiting for? Book a reservation and experience The Kitchen for yourself!

Their website can be found here and their menu can be found here.

Ice cream sandwich
Burger

Poplar Grove


This is another restaurant at a winery in Penticton. It is a fancier restaurant, with an epic view and great staff and honestly even better food. I have personally eaten here a handful of times and every time I have had no reactions and the food I ate, I was craving more of. They do have gluten in their kitchen but they do work hard to decrease the amount of cross-contamination. I would just mention to the server that you have celiac disease and inform the chef.

My personal favourites:

I believe they change their menu every once in a while so just know that it may be different when you go.

Beef Burger:
I had this for lunch one day and they gave me a lettuce wrap to eat it with. It seems like a simple option on a menu, but it was delicious!
Ice cream sandwich:
UNREAL. It’s made with ice cream and the “sandwich” part is chocolate and puffed rice.
Risotto: I believe they special made this for me as they didn’t have anything on the dinner menu that was for sure gluten-free at the time. But I remember this dish being absolutely delicious!

If you want to go to Poplar Grove, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation as they book up FAST.

Lunch Menu | Dinner Menu | Website

This picture is from their website of the Dolmathes Avgolemono

Theo’s

An amazing wholesome family-run Greek restaurant. This is one of my go-to restaurants in Penticton all year round. If you are craving or just want to try authentic Greek food, this is definitely the place for you! They have a specialty vegetarian menu along with a gluten-free menu as well. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure one of the owner’s family members has celiac disease so they usually take extra care. When I have gone in to eat at the restaurant I have never had any issues, however, I did have one time with take-out that I didn’t feel too great after eating their food. So I would suggest going to eat in person instead of take-out if you are celiac. I’ve never had an issue when I have gone into the restaurant itself to eat.

My personal favourites:

Mediterranean Ribs: This is my go-to meal at Theo’s. You get a decent-sized rack of ribs with delicious herbs and spices on them cooked to perfection. Charbroiled pork back ribs glazed with oregano, lemon juice and fresh garlic. There is also a side of rice, veg and the best lemon potatoes.
Rack of Lamb: This is the next plate I go for. A fantastic cut of lamb with the best flavours. New Zeland rack of lamb crusted with Greek Vlahotiri cheese and baked in the oven with fresh herbs and a little garlic. It is also paired with rice, veg and lemon potatoes.
Dolmathes Avgolemono: If you are in the mood for an appetizer, guys, you need to get these. I crave these, it is hot stuffed grape leaves filled with rice and ground beef, fresh herbs and topped with a creamy avgolemono sauce. Also available as Vegan.
Souvlaki: A delicious lighter dinner or lunch. Undoubtedly the most famous Greek dish, bite-size pieces of beef, chicken or pork are seasoned in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and oregano then skewered with onion and green peppers and grilled to suit your taste. Also paired with veg, rice and lemon potatoes.
Moussaka: A classic Greek entree and a house favourite of Theo’s guests since 1976. Alternate layers of sliced roasted eggplant, potatoes, zucchini and ground beef spiced with cinnamon and herbs.  The topping itself, created by Mary Theodosakis, features Béchamel sauce enhanced with nutmeg and other distinctive islands of Crete spices. **BE SURE TO ASK FOR THIS TO BE GLUTEN-FREE IF CELIAC**
Ice Cream: They also have the best inhouse made ice cream that can be dairy-free if needed.

The lamb shoulder is unreal, however, I ate that one before I knew I was celiac and unfortunately it is NOT gluten-free. If you cannot tell from the list of my favourites above, I’ve gone and continue to go to this restaurant a lot. It’s by far a Penticton favourite, so be sure to call ahead for take-out (as they will only do it to a certain time), and if you want any reservations.

Website and Menu

The picture is taken from my IG stories of the GF fish and chips

Ships A-Hoy

This restaurant is not in Penticton, but I had to add it to the list. If you are looking for the BEST gluten-free fish and chips, you’ll want to drive out to Peachland. The owner’s daughter has celiac disease, so she has separate fryers and sections of her kitchen for gluten-free and non-gluten-free. I have NEVER had any issues eating at this restaurant and the fish and chips are honestly unreal.

Along with fish and chips, they also have ice cream and gluten-free waffle cones to boot!

Website

The high tea closest is gluten-free and the one furthest is not
A glimpse of the atmosphere here

Neverland Tea Cottage

If you are wanting to have gluten-free high tea, head on out to Naramata! I could not explain to you how excited I was to see a gluten-free high tea. Just be sure to call ahead and inform them that you are celiac and need the food to be prepared away from gluten in the kitchen. It’s a lovely restaurant with a stunning atmosphere, great tea, and delicious treats. They also have other food choices than high tea.

Website | Menu

If you are coming into Penticton and are celiac, be sure to check out the restaurants mentioned above!


Meditation Doesn’t Need To Be Complicated | 5 Practices To Try Out

When we think of meditation, I think we all envision a monk sitting calmly under a beautiful tree, sitting perfectly straight, possibly levitating, with his legs crossed and hands rested on his knees or in his lap. Even though this is the traditional way of a meditation practice, there are many different ways to practice mindfulness and meditation.

By definition, meditation is the action or practise of meditating. Therefore, meditation can be whatever you wish it to be.

I personally practice Transcendental Meditation (TM), where we are given a mantra specific to us and we meditate for 20 min, 2 times a day. This practice is meant to be effortless, you allow your thoughts to come and go as you repeat your mantra with your breath over and over again. The other part of this practice is you sit comfortably, if that is cross-legged and in a straight posture, great, but for myself, I will sit with my back rested against a wall or the back of a chair or couch with either my legs crossed or straight out in front of me.

This is the perfect practice for me, but for yourself, this may not work. Mindfulness is about finding what works for you and your individual needs. It’s paying attention to what gives you anxiety or upsets you through the day, but also finding out what calms you back down after those situations have passed. There is no sense in trying to force something that does not work for you, however, to know if it works or not, you need to first give it a try.

Here are 5 meditation practice methods you could give a try:

  1. Transcendental Meditation

    As I mentioned above, this is the practice I personally do every day. This is not paid advertising for TM, but my own personal experience with it and how much it has helped me through the years. This is a technique that you learn through a teacher and a course, but it is very understandable and does not take weeks or months to perfect. Once you learn it, you’re good to go and practice everyday. On their website they state, “In the TM course, you learn how to effortlessly transcend — go beyond the surface level of your awareness. This state of deep inner silence is typically unavailable from meditation apps and other techniques.” As I mentioned, you are given a mantra specific to you and you are to practice the technique 2 times a day, 20 min each time. If you want to learn more about TM, click here for their website and to find an instructor near you.

  2. Breathwork

    There is a lot of talk starting to arise all over the internet about breathwork. So what exactly is it? Breathwork is any type of breathing exercises or techniques. There are many different ways to practice this technique, all from sitting and being mindful of your ribcage rising and falling, to counting breathwork where there is a sequence of breaths in an order like 4-4-4 (inhale for 4 seconds – hold the breath for 4 seconds – slowly release for 4 seconds). This is an afordable (as you could learn this technique for free on the internet/in a book or through an instructor) and an available technique for everyone. As mentioned, one example of a breathwork technique is through a sequence of numbers. For example, 4-4-4, you want to slowly inhale your breath in paying attention to the expansion of your ribcage and through your nose for 4 seconds, then hold that breath for 4 seconds, and end by slowly releasing your breath for another 4 seconds. You can also play with these numbers as well to make it easier and more challenging by having your numbers as 3-3-3 or 10-10-10, or even 5-10-15.

    Another technique that is very effective is alternate-nostril breathing. This technique is one type of pranayama or breathing practice, also known as nadi shodhana. With this technique you want to sit comfortably, bring your right hand up to your nose and move your forefinger and middle finger out of the way. Place your thumb on your right nostril. With this nostril covered, close your eyes and exhale fully and slowly through your left nostril. Once you’ve exhaled completely, release your right nostril and put your ring finger on the left nostril. Breathe in deeply and slowly from the right side. Make sure your breath is smooth and continuous. Once you’ve inhaled completely, exhale through your right nostril. Release your ring finger and close your right nostril with your thumb again. Breathe in fully and exhale fully from your left nostril. Repeat the full process two or more times.

    As mentioned there are many types of breathwork techniques to explore and try to see which one works for you!

  3. Counting

    Another helpful practice is counting. This one ties in with breathing as while you are counting you will be paying attention to your breath. Sit comfortably, and inhale through your nose as much as you can while you count 1, then exhale. Inhale again saying 2 either outloud or to yourself, and exhale completely. Repeat this pattern until you count to 10, then start over again from 1. Try to sit doing this technique for around 5 minutes to start and slowly increase from there. The point of this exercise is to get you slowing your breath down and to pay attention to how you are breathing as well. Which brings me to my next point…

  4. Being Mindful

    Did you know being mindful of your everyday life and living in the moment can also be considered a form of meditation? When was the last time you went for a walk without headphones or a phone and payed attention to everything happening around you? This can be a form of active meditation or mindfulness. For example, go for a 10 minute walk and listen to all of the sounds around you, feel the sun or wind on your skin, pay attention to what you are seeing as you walk. Just by tuning into your senses for only 10 minutes to start, it can be a wonderful way to get a mindfulness practice in if you are not ready to try meditation just yet. You can do this with not just walking, but when you’re painting or drawing, playing a musical instrument, playing a video game, reading a book, etc.

    One more technique you could try, which ties into all types of mindfulness and meditation, is diaphragmic breathing. Laying on your back place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. You want your breath to start from your diaphragm, so the hand over your belly should move first and the next movement is your chest. Imagine as if you are blowing up a balloon from your stomach, as that balloon gets bigger there is a bit of movement into your chest and when you let that balloon go, the exhale will go from your chest back down to your stomach. Another way of thinking of it is you want to expand your ribcage from the front, side and into your back so you get the full surface area of your thoracic cavity (the area inside your ribcage where your lungs are located). This can be a bit frustrating at first, but keep at it and you will have it down in no time.

  5. Listening To a Recording

    This is another popular choice and for good reason. There are so many different apps you can download like Headspace or Calm, but they all have one thing in common, it’s an easy and affordable way to try out mindfullness and meditation. They typically have recordings on them that either take you through a story, help you be mindful of how you are feeling from head to toe, they will take you through a breathing technique or help you with counting a sequence. Most apps will have a free trial, but some eventually have you paying for the app as a one time fee or monthly fee. With technology as it is these days, almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet they can use to access these types of apps. They are a great place to start, but if you wanted to try something else or this type of meditation does not work for you, trying one of the other techniques mentioned above can be just what you are looking for!

You do not need fancy crystals or rocks, weighted blankets, or a cusion specifically for meditation to sit on. To try out meditation and build yourself a consistent practice that works best for you, all you need is yourself and somewhere to comfortably sit. Give one of the techniques mentioned above a try and let me know on here or on my Instagram which one works best for you!

Much love

LEW xo

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How To Become A Morning Person And Wake Up Early

Everyone is wired differently and not everyone considers themselves a “morning person.” Even if you are not one to wake up early, you can consciously build a morning routine that works for you to get yourself up and start your day off right. Through the process of becoming a morning bird, you should keep in mind to have compassion for yourself and be kind as this is a process. It takes time to build up to waking up earlier, but with that, you’ll need to switch up your sleeping schedule as well by going to bed earlier as well. This is a new habit you’re trying to build and it will take time to adjust to the new sleeping schedule, but over time and with patience, you’ll get there!

Important note: Trying something new is challenging already, so don’t feel like you need to do ALL of the suggested tips below. Start with one and go from there, try to not get overwhelmed by doing too much too soon.

  1. Consistency is key

    As with everything in life, you need to be consistent and stay with a sleeping schedule that works for you. What I mean by that is, you’ll want to pick a bed time and wake up time that will allow you to get enough sleep, around 8-10 hours. So if you are wanting to wake up at 5am, you’ll need to make your bed time around 9pm to get 8 hours of sleep. However, being consistent means that you also have that same bed time and wake up time on the weekends as well as during the week. The body’s circadian rhythm needs consistency, if you wake up at 5am during the week but wake up at 7am on weekends, you’ll be having a hard time getting out of bed come Monday morning.

  2. Change your mindset

    This can be a tough one, but changing how you think of mornings can make a huge difference. If you think negatively of something, it will make that particular habit or goal a lot harder to accomplish. So instead of saying, ” I have to get out of bed at 5am,” say, “I get to wake up early to have a good start to my day.” The way you think of something can completely shift how you feel about it. This will come with practice and time, but when a negative thought comes into your mind about the morning ahead of you, try and switch your words to help change your mindset. This will make getting out of bed a lot easier and worthwhile.

  3. Think about the delicious breakfast you’re about to have

    Following up my last point, getting out of bed will be easier if you are excited about what you’re going to eat! I know I’m personally motivated by food, but thinking about that warm cup of tea or coffee and the waffles or avo on toast you’re about to have just might give you enough fire and want to get out of bed. I find having this thought in your mind the night before can make it that much more enjoyable, something to look forward to the next morning.

  4. Don’t eat or drink too late into the evening

    For better digestion and rest, you want to stop eating and drinking anything 3 hours before bed. By doing this you will help your body get a better nights sleep as your digestion won’t be working overtime, and potentially disturbing your sleep by waking you up through the night. This can also help your body fully rest and recover from the day you’ve just had. Another point is caffeine, try to stop drinking or eating anything with caffeine in it by midday – I usually stop at 1-2pm. The reason for this is caffeine itself can stay in your system for up to 12 hours. At 6 hours, your body would have burned through half of the caffeine you have consumed. So if you stop drinking at 1-2pm by 9pm you would have given your body 7 hours to burn through the majority of the caffeine sitting in your system. This will allow for a better night’s sleep.

  5. Shift your schedule gradually

    If you wake up at 9am most days, changing your schedule to waking up at 5am the next day without giving your body anytime to adjust will end up with you hitting the snooze button until 9am. Instead, adjust your time by 30 min each day. If you wake up at 9am, the next day set your alarm for 8:30am, try that for a few days then once that becomes easy, adjust it again to waking up at 8am and let that new time settle for a few days. Repeat this process until you get to the new desired time you’d like to wake up at. Eventually over time you will be able to get up and out of bed without any issues at all, infact, you may actually wake up just before your alarm goes off!

  6. Get to bed earlier

    I hate to say it, but there is absolutely no way you will get out of bed at 5am if you are going to bed at 2am. Just like slowly adjusting your morning wake up time, slowly adjust your bedtime as well. If you are used to going to bed at 12pm, trying to get to bed at 9pm may be proven difficult. So, just as above, slowly adjust your bed time with the wake up time you are doing. Remember that you want to achieve getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, so schedule a bedtime and wake up time that works where you will be getting enough hours a night to sleep. Eventually over time, you will have your new sleep schedule and be able to sleep soundly through the night, as long as you work on what’s floating through your thoughts of course.

  7. Have a morning AND evening routine

    Everyone always talks about a morning routine, but ever so often a night time routine is never mentioned. Both routines are important for a better sleeping schedule. The morning routine can help you get out of bed thinking about the things you’re excited to start your day with and the night time routine can help to wind down your thoughts and body into a calm state for a restful sleep ahead. These routines do not need to be lengthy or complicated, find what is right for you and slowly start adding them into your everyday life.

  8. Have good sleep hygene

    What I mean when I say “sleep hygene” is habits like having the room cooler, blackout blinds, decrease light exposure at least an hour before bed, no technology an hour before bed, as I mentioned before – stop eating at least 3 hours before bed, maybe stretch or read before bed to signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and relax for a restful sleep ahead. I find if you have a busy brain like I do, journalling and breathing techniques before bed seems to help wonderfully for a good nights sleep.

  9. Morning light

    Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning in the winter months when it’s cold and dark out, but it’s a lot easier getting up in the summer months as the sun comes up much earlier? This has to do with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, when you see light your body knows it’s morning and time to wake up. This also triggers the body to drop melatonin levels and start producing cortisol and other hormones to wake you up. Try to walk outside first thing in the morning for about 5-10 min to kick start your body into the day ahead. I realize this may be difficult in the winter months as it’s dark, but once that light starts to rise try to go outside for a bit if you can. I promise you’ll feel a big difference doing this.

  10. Try to cut back on caffeine first thing in the morning

    Woah! Don’t kill the messanger, hear me out. I know some people live off caffeine, especially parents of young children. But try to go the first 1-2 hours of the day without any caffeine and let your body do what it naturally does without the assistance of that warm cuppa or cup of joe. By waiting a few hours in the morning you will be able to help your body take control and regulate your energy levels. Just think of how much better that cup will feel and taste after only a few hours extra before having it.

  11. Don’t snooze your morning away

    We have all been there, our alarm goes off and we shut it off right away and say to ourselves, “Five more minutes.” But in reality another hour or 2 goes by and then we finally get up. Instead of shutting it off right away, sit yourself up and then shut it off, this way you’re already up. Another trick is putting your phone or alarm that you use aross the room so you have to get up to shut it off. The hardest part is getting up out of bed, once you get past this point, you’re good to go. You can also try a light alarm if it’s the winter months that you have a hard time waking up in, these alarms slowly light up the room as if the sun is rising.

  12. The 5 second rule

    Another trick you can try is the 5 second rule. I’m not talking about the rule where you’ve dropped part of your breakfast on the ground and as long as you pick it up in 5 seconds, you can still eat it…you’d be lying if you said you haven’t done this. The author, Mel Robbins, wrote about a rule where you count down from 5 to 1 and just do it. This rule isn’t just for waking up in the morning but can also be used with pretty much anything else in life that you may be procrastinating on. So, when you wake up, count down from 5 to 1, and once you hit one, push yourself up out of bed and get your day rolling.

More and more research is starting to come out on the importance of sleep, but if you’re wanting to become a morning bird, above are just a few tips of how you can get yourself closer to your goal of getting up earlier. And remember, take it one step at a time, pick a few and work on those first, then start adding more. If you enjoy the process you will be more likely to continue it.

Keep being legends and thank you for reading my blog 🙂

LEW xo


The Symptoms Of ‘Glutening’ As A Celiac | And What To Do When It Happens

When you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you typically do everything in your power to not eat gluten. Unfortunately, sometimes this is inevitable and will happen at some point in your life, especially if you eat out.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the tissues in the small intestine in response to gluten. One crumb is sometimes all it takes to flare and cause symptoms in an individual who is celiac. However, how every individual person reacts to gluten when they have celiac disease differs in severity. Some may not feel any symptoms at all, others may get all of the symptoms associated with the disease and others it depends on how much they have consumed.

In my experience with the disease, it seems to be changing as time goes by and my gut continues to heal. When I was first diagnosed, a year later I was given 2 slices of gluten bread and I had awful symptoms that lasted about 8 months. However, now 5 years into my diagnosis, a week ago I was glutened again at a restaurant but this time I had stabbing sharp pains in my gut immediately after eating along with instant bloating. The pain lasted for about 3 hours and I was fatigued with my stomach feeling a bit off and bloated for about 3-7 days after and I seem to be back to my regular self again. Was it less gluten than before? Is it because my stomach has healed more that it did not hit me as hard or last as long? Only time and experience will tell me for sure as every individual reacts differently. However, listed below are some symptoms to look out for if you have eaten out or eaten something new and seem to be having a reaction.

How do I know if I have eaten gluten?

As mentioned above, depending on your severity and how long you are into your healing journey, what you will feel when you have been glutened will vary.

For myself, when I ate the two slices of bread a year after diagnosis at a restaurant, it was within 30-40 min after eating there I started getting symptoms. I felt like I was going to be sick, the typical signs and symptoms you get just before you’re going to throw up. I did throw up and immediately after I had sharp pains in my gut which feel as if I just swallowed a bunch of razor blades. That pain happened on and off, along with distended bloating. The pain was on and off for about a week, and the bloating lasted for about 2-3 months. However, the mental and physical symptoms I got (most of which are listed below) lasted for about 8 months. This exposure shot my TTG blood levels (anti-body blood test for celiac) back up to greater than 300. For those of you who do not know, this is very high and a good indication that I definitely ate a lot of gluten that day.

However, recently I believe I had just a smaller exposure at a restaurant and I had the sharp pains instantly after eating, this was my first sign. They progressively became worse as the night went and lasted for about 3 hours if I had to guess. I bloated instantly and was left feeling very fatigued that night. The next few days I had a few sharp pains when I ate anything but not like the night before, more just a reminder to take it easy on the food that day. My appetite was lower and my stomach felt sore and inflamed for about 3 days, but the bloating lasted for about 5-7 days along with some digestion upset. I did not have as much brain fog or mental health issues pop up, but I did have a few skin conditions pop up minorly. I had a very red sore pop up on my chin and small red bumps on my arms. But no dermatits herpetiformis on my hands like I usually get. Now, 2 weeks after, I’m seeing that it may have had an effect on my digestion just a bit longer than a week and it has thrown off my menstrual cycle as well. However, all of my symptoms did not last as long as the last time which is really encouraging. I was also told by my dietician that a once in a while exposure to gluten does not reverse all of the healing you have done in your gut, that will only happen when you have multiple exposures in a row (as if you are eating it on a regular basis).

Depending on how you individually react to gluten, one or more of the symptoms below can occur. Remember that everyone reacts differently, and it also depends where you are in your healing journey to know how you will react to gluten. It seems like the more your gut heals over time, the quicker you will heal when you are exposed to gluten. Hurray for our superhuman healing powers!

What are the symptoms of gluten exposure?

Listed below are just a few of the symptoms one can experience when they have celiac disease and have eaten gluten. Keep in mind that there are more than 300 known symptoms of celiac disease. So this is the short of the long list of them all.

  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Brain Fog
  • Irritability
  • Bloating or Gas
  • Sharp Abdomen Pain
  • Depression
  • Delayed Growth in Children
  • Diarrhea
  • Discoloured Teeth
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Infertility
  • Irregular periods
  • PMS
  • Itchy Skin Rash (Dermatitis Herpetiformis)
  • Joint Pain
  • Mouth Sores
  • Poor weight gain or loss
  • Thin bones
  • Neropathy suchs as tingling and numbness into the arms and legs
  • Vomiting
  • And so much more

What do I do if I think I have been glutened?

  1. Don’t Panic: First step is to not panic. The more you stress, the more your gut will become affected through the gut-brain axis. I’ve learned to sit with my symptoms for a bit and see what pops up, because it could be gluten, but it could also very well be something else.
  2. Wait it out: Continuing my point from above, it might be something else causing your symptoms. I’ve learned over the last 6 months working with a dietician that there are a wide range of reasons why you may be experiencing symptoms. Try to not think that it is always gluten that is out to get you, believe me, I know this is a hard mindset to get to. However, if your symptoms do become worse over time or more start to pop up, then I would either make an appointment with you doctor to see if they feel you need to be tested for gluten exposure, or ride it out and try the tips listed below.
  3. Listen to your body: Our bodies have an amazing way of letting us know what we need. If you feel you need to eat more plain food after a glutening, then go for it. Eat foods that are easier to digest to help your body out when it is already working hard. However, if you feel you need more food than you can do that too.
  4. Hydrate: Keeping yourself hydrated will help to flush out the gluten but also to help keep your systems running efficiently. Your body is already working hard to get everything back to equilibrium, give it a little help in return. For the first few days after the last glutening I had I was drinking elecrolytes once a day and about 10-12 cups of water a day along with some bone broth as well for the vitamins, minerals and collagen to further help my body out. But if you don’t have the others, plain old H2O is a fantastic help.
  5. Rest: This is probably one of the most important steps when you’ve been glutened. Your body is going through a lot when this happens, a full autoimmune reaction can occur which means all of your systems in your body is working in over drive. Help your body out and don’t put any unneccessary stress on it until you start to recover and feel better. You’ll most likely recover faster if you listen to your body and give it what it needs. Grab a book, relax with a nice tea and a blanket and relax.

Final thoughts

Don’t be hard on yourself, things happen and unfortunately, it’s almost inevitable to happen when you’re not eating in your own kitchen as a celiac. Take it easy and try the tips above for hopefully what will be a faster recovery. That way you can get back to doing what you love and enjoy in life.

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.


Stretches For Acute Lower Back Nerve Pain

There are a lot of stretches and exercises you can do to help loosen up your lower back. But when you have bad enough nerve pain that even putting on your socks or shoes is a real struggle, you’ll want to stay with more gentle exercises. My first tip is if your back pain is bad enough that it is lingering in your lower back or is potentially shooting down your leg, you need to consult an Athletic Therapist or Physiotherapist for in-person treatment. However, while you wait for your appointment with them, in this blog post I wrote up 10 exercises you can give a try when you have new (acute) and inflamed lower back nerve pain.

IMPORTANT: If you are suffering from sharp or shooting nerve pain in your lower back or going down your leg, this is your sciatic nerve. When a nerve is inflamed and in the acute stages of healing, the last thing you want to do is stretch that nerve even more as this may irritate the nerve. As you are doing any of these exercises, listen to your body and be mindful of how you feel while doing them. If there is any intense pain, you need to stop or not push as far into the stretch. Move slow when going into these stretches as any fast movement may pinch the nerve and cause pain. These should be PAIN-FREE when you are in the acute stages of your injury. Do not feel like you need to do all of the exercises listed, you can do a handful of them or all of them depending on how you feel until your pain subsides. With all of this in mind, let’s begin.

Wall Ball Glute Release: Take a lacrosse ball or tennis ball and place it into the meaty part of your buttocks (do not place it on your spine). Lean against a wall, and push your body weight into the ball. Roll the ball slowly from side to side and up and down until you hit a spot that is causing a minor amount of discomfort (this is a trigger point). You only want this discomfort to be a 5/10 on the pain scale (1 = no pain, 10 = the worst pain you have ever felt). Stay on this spot until the pain subsides to a 1-2/10, this should occur within 10 seconds. If it does not subside, stays at the 5/10 or gets worse let it go and move to a new spot. Continue this routine for 3-5 min to give you a good chance to find all of your trigger points. Repeat this on the other side.

Standing Hamstring Stretch: As I mentioned above, we do not want to stretch the nerve right now, so be sure you slowly move into this stretch and only go as far as you start to get a comfortable stretch into your hamstrings (the back of your leg). Step one leg forward and point the toes and foot of that leg up toward the sky. Be sure you are bending through your hips and not your lower back, and lean forward slowly until you start to feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Hold this stretch starting with 5 seconds, engage your core and glutes and stand back up. Repeat on the other side and work up to being able to hold this stretch for 10 seconds.

Pelvic Tilt: Laying on your back with both of your knees bent, tilt your pelvis backwards as if you are flattening your lower back to the ground. Only go so far into this tilt that it is pain-free, but try to tilt further each time if you can, but DO NOT push too far into it where you cause pain in your back. Remember, you want all of these exercises to be pain-free at this stage. Repeat this tilt 5 times and build up to being able to do it 10 times.

TA Activation: This exercise is to get a gentle contraction to your abdomen, this will help to strengthen your spine. When your spine is injured, it needs the support of the surrounding muscles. Laying on your back with both of your knees bent, contract your abdomen in towards your spine and slightly up towards your heart. If you are having trouble with this movement, take a deep breath into your belly, as you exhale, continue that exhale in towards your spine and push all of the air out of your lungs. Now hold that contraction but breathe normally at the same time. If you can, add a pelvic floor contraction at the same time by doing a kegel. Hold the contraction and do 5-10 breaths, let it go and repeat 3 times.

Supported Lying Butterfly Stretch: Laying on your back, place two pillows next to your hips. Bend both of your knees with your feet touching the ground. Allow both knees to drop to the side so that your legs are in an open position. Your knees will be rested on top of the pillows, allow your legs to relax and let gravity gently stretch the inside of your thighs. Hold this stretch for 5-10 seconds, and when you are ready to come out of the stretch use your hands to help guide your legs back up.

Knee To Chest: Laying on your back let one leg extend out straight, and slowly move your bent knee in towards your chest. Use your hands and arms to help support your leg into your chest. Only go so far as you feel a comfortable stretch and no pain. Hold this stretch for 5-10 seconds, and when you are finished slowly lower your bent leg back to the ground, bend your straight leg up and then extend the opposite leg and repeat on the other side.

Laying Figure 4: Laying on your back, bend both of your knees and rest your feet on the ground. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, and gently push the bent knee down until you feel a stretch. If you feel you can go further into the stretch, pull the leg with the ankle crossed over it up towards your chest. Be sure that this movement is slow and pain-free. Hold either stretch for 5-10 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Lumbar Rotations – Windshield Wipers: Laying on your back bend both of your knees and rest your feet on the ground. Slowly and with control, engage your core (the TA activation you did above) to support your spine, and let both knees drop to one side. Only go as far as your body will allow right now with no pain. Be sure your core is still engaged and bring both knees over to the other side. Repeat going back and forth 5-10 times with trying to drop your knees closer to the ground each time as long as your back allows it.

Side-lying Quad and Hip Flexor Stretch: Laying on your side, bending your bottom knee for extra support and straightening your top leg. Now, slow and controlled, bend your top knee so your foot is going towards the same side hand. Grab onto your foot with your same side hand, gently pelvic tilt (as we talked about above), and be sure your leg is in line with your hips and not bent forward. You should feel this stretch in the front of your hip and leg comfortably with no pain. Hold this stretch for 5-10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Go for a short walk: With any lower back, leg or hip pain, you want to avoid sitting for too long. The longer you sit the more the muscles will tighten up and push on the nerves causing pain. Set a timer for 20 min and stand up, walk around for a bit or go for a short 10 min walk to stretch your legs and loosen up the nerve. You don’t want to go too far in the acute stages of your back pain, as you don’t want to be stuck not being able to get back due to pain.

There are many stretches and exercises you can try to help alleviate your back pain during the beginning stages of your back injury. Above are a few of them, I would also suggest having a bath or applying heat to your back to help loosen the muscles even further. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to go and see a healthcare provider like an athletic therapist or physiotherapist to help you heal correctly from your back pain. However, in the meantime, you can try the exercises mentioned above. Above all else, know that this will take time to heal, be kind to yourself and listen to your body knowing that pain relief is just around the corner.


The Benefits Of Electrolytes And When To Have Them

You may have come across these bright coloured drinks in the store before that range from blue to green and every other colour in the rainbow. They all claim to help you with physical performance and recovery. You may have picked this drink up to help with muscle recovery after a workout or maybe you are getting over the flu or another health condition. The real question is, are electrolyte drinks beneficial and worth all of the hype?

Many dieticians whom I have spoken with and research papers I have read have all mentioned that there is a time and place for them, but they can be beneficial.

What Is An Electrolyte And When Should I Drink Them?

Electrolytes are natural minerals that are found within your body, and their job is to regulate and control the fluids within your body. The job of electrolytes is to keep your overall system functioning along with regulating blood pressure and muscle contractions. There are three big electrolytes in the body:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium

You need to have the right amount of electrolytes in your body to have optimal functioning and performance. You can actually make your own electrolyte drink at home, but more on that later.

You will need to consume electrolytes through diet when these minerals are diminished within your body due to intense exercising, sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. Any amount of excessive fluid lost in your body at one time will call for consuming more electrolytes. The reason for this is your body at this point will be dehydrated, which in turn can cause muscle spasms and cramping to occur (this is usually one of the major signs in your body that you are dehydrated, next to extreme thirst).

How Do I Know If I Am Dehydrated?

Regardless if you know it or not, we have all been dehydrated at some point in our lives. There are many symptoms of dehydration such as dry lips and tongue, headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea and cramps. However, the biggest teller of dehydration is thirst. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Depending on how much intensity, fitness level, weight, humidity, duration of exercise and how much you sweat will vary how many electrolytes you lose during activity. The main electrolyte lost is sodium, even though sodium sometimes gets a bad rep, it is essential to help us retain fluids. Any type of sweating regardless of whether it is from exercise or from being sick, if you lose enough fluids you will become dehydrated.

An easy way to know how hydrated or dehydrated you are is by paying attention to your urine colour when you go to the bathroom. Also, paying attention to how many times you do have to go to the bathroom in the day. Chances are if you only have to pee 1-2 times a day, you’re not getting enough fluids in. A typical person that is staying hydrated will have to pee at least 6-7 times a day, but can range from 4-10 times as well depending on the person and if they have any other underlying health conditions that may be effecting their frequency to go to the bathroom.

What colour should my urine be?

As I mentioned, another way to know if you are hydrated enough is by paying attention to your urine colour. “Normal urine colour ranges from pale yellow to deep amber — the result of a pigment called urochrome and how diluted or concentrated the urine is. Pigments and other compounds in certain foods and medications can change your urine colour. Beets, berries and fava beans are among the foods most likely to affect the colour.”1 When you’re healthy and hydrated, your urine should fall somewhere between colourless and the colour of light straw and honey. When you don’t consume enough fluids, your urine becomes more concentrated and turns a darker yellow or amber colour.

Use this chart to refer to in order to have a better idea if you are hydrated or not:

Remember, we are not camels, we are meant to go to the bathroom multiple times a day to urinate. Some may find they “don’t have time” to go to the bathroom multiple times a day and so they purposely to not drink enough fluids. I think the benefits of staying hydrated throughout the day outweighs the “inconvenience” of having to go to the bathroom. You will stay focused, your skin will be more clear, and your body will overall function at its highest optimal level if you stay consistently hydrated throughout the day. Humans are mostly water at an average of 60% but can range up to 75% of our body. Why wouldn’t you want to stay hydrated with all of the benefits it brings us?

What Electrolyte Drink Should I Get?

There are all kinds of electrolyte drink options on the market nowadays. Ones that are in tablet form, powder form and ones that are already mixed into drinks that are ready to go. Which one you decide to go with is really all about preference and convenience. It’s nice to have the tablet and powder forms to take with you to the gym or on a hike when you don’t know for sure if you will need them or not, but you also don’t want to carry the extra weight of the liquid outside of regular water. However, if you are short on time and need electrolytes mixed for you in a liquid form, such as when you are travelling, then the premade drinks are for you!

A word of caution though, not all of the electrolyte drinks are made equal. Therefore, you must first decide if and how much you need. If you are working out for an hour or less, regular H2O will do and there is no need for a substitute. But if you are exercising for upwards of 75 min or more, especially on a particularly hot day, then a drink with electrolytes is a great idea to have during or after your workout.

Usually, a typical 8-ounce electrolyte drink has approximately 14 grams of sugar, 100 milligrams of sodium and 30 milligrams of potassium. You can even find drinks that are specifically for high endurance or ultra-endurance athletes with a higher amount of potassium and sodium along with other minerals like magnesium and calcium. Do keep in mind that these drinks are really high in sugar usually, so if you are going to be having multiple of them a day, try to choose the ones that are low-calorie or zero sugar. You should also look out for the drinks claiming any added immunity or high vitamin claims as they usually do not contain any electrolytes so they will not help with hydration in particular.

What’s The Deal With Coconut Water?

You may have heard that coconut water is a good substitute for regular sports drinks. This is partially true as coconut water does have a nutrient composition similar to traditional sports drinks, but they do differ in significant ways. The key nutrients for longer workouts are carbohydrates and sodium, however, regular or unsweetened coconut water has a fewer amount of these nutrients. Coconut water is an all-natural electrolyte drink alternative to your regular tap water, but it does have more calories and if it is sweetened it will have a much higher amount of sugar. The recommendation for athletes who are working out for a long period of time is to stick with the regular sports drinks as it will ensure proper hydration for maximum performance and recovery. But again, if you are drinking more than one of these drinks a day, I would opt for the low-sugar version of these drinks as they do contain a high amount of sugar. Always read your nutrition labels and research which drink is best for you.

How To Make A Homemade Electrolyte Drink

If you want to save yourself a lot of cash, you can make your own electrolyte drink at home with a few simple ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup orange juice (you can do freshly squeezed or orange juice from the store, but be sure it is 100% oranges, nothing added)
  • 1/4 cup lime or lemon juice (same as the point above straight from the produce itself or 100% the juice and nothing else)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 tbsp of honey or maple syrup (this all depends on how sweet you like it)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

By adding the orange juice and the lemon or lime juice, you will also be adding the extra minerals of magnesium and calcium along with potassium as well.

If You Are Looking For A Store Bought Electrolyte Recommendation…

I would suggest the Organika Electroylytes And Enhanced Collagen. I am not suggesting this company because I am an affiliate, but because I know it works. This powder has the three main electrolyte ingredients you need to rehydrate – magnesium 60mg, potassium 175mg and sodium 440mg. It also has the added benefit of collagen, which contains protein, and you need protein to help with muscle recovery after activity. On the added benefit, it conains no sugar!

On a nutrition stand point this powder is great to rehydrate you with all of it’s electrolyte properties, but it is not a nutritional supplement for after a workout. It is low in carbohydrates and has 5g of protein, after a workout you will need at least 10-20g of protein depending on your body weight. So if you are looking for a great electrolyte drink, this is may be the one for you! And remember as mentioned above, you only need electrolytes on a really hot day, if you have been sweating a lot, after the flu, or with 75 min+ amount of physical activity.

I recently just had a glutening experience at a restaurant and because I am celiac this threw my immune system through a loop. Usually after an exposure like this, all we can do is stay hydrated and let it run its course. I have been drinking this supplement to help with recovery as I had extreme sharp pain and muscle contractions in my gut, and as mentioned above electrolytes help in rehydration. But I find with it’s added benefit of collagen, this may help with gut repair as collagen has been shown to help with gut healing.

If you are wanting to give it a try, I have a 25% off code! Click the link above and use LEWSLIFE25 at the checkout.

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.

References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urine-color/symptoms-causes/syc-20367333


A Book I Highly Recommend For Gut Health: Love Your Gut

I have to start off by saying if you have gut issues or even if you don’t but you are interested in learning more about gut health, this is the book for you! If you have been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I have celiac disease, you will also know that I’ve been struggling with ongoing gut and full-body symptoms even with following a strict gluten-free diet. This is the book that changed my mindset on gut health and had me start working with a registered dietician.

Dr. Megan Rossi is, “a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with a Ph.D. in gut health from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia. Megan’s Ph.D. was recognized for its contribution to science receiving the Dean’s Award for excellence. Megan leads research at King’s College London investigating nutrition-based therapies in gut health, including pre- & probiotics, dietary fibres, the low FODMAP diet and food additives.1″

She starts the book off by explaining about her grandma who was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and how when she started working in the hospital as a dietician she had a lot of patients with kidney disease who were complaining of gut issues. She then went on to work with Olympic athletes and company CEOs who got her thinking about the link between the gut and the brain (the gut-brain axis). From here she went into research to make a difference, but she found that even with the research that was being done and that was available, there were false and dangerous fad nutritional messages being passed to the public. She educates the public that restricting diets and taking expensive supplements can destroy people’s gut health. Her mission is to now spread true information about gut health and nutrition through evidence-based research. She also talks a lot about getting enough “plant points” in your diet every day by eating a wide range of plant-based foods.

When I say this book is jam-packed with exceptional information, I mean that I have post-it notes all over this book to the information I have referenced back to time and time again. The book is full of evidence-based information from the gut microbiota to food intolerances and irritable bowel syndrome, plus so much more. She explains the information in a way that anyone would understand and in a way that really sticks with you as well. She wrote the book in a way that as you are reading about the information given, you will also have the opportunity to take her assessment quizzes to find out the state of your individual gut health. By the end of the book, you may have a better understanding of what is going on in your own gut and have a better idea of what to do to correct it. It’s like having a dietician right there in your own home!

What made me pick up this book

For a short personal story, I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2017. I went on a gluten-free diet immediately after being diagnosed. After a few months of continual symptoms even with following a strict gluten-free diet, I started reaching out for help. The walk-in doctors were of no help as they kept telling me to continue eating a gluten-free diet and I would be fine. This is when I started reaching out for help from other healthcare providers like naturopaths, acupuncturists and nutritionists, all of which were helpful in their own way but something did not add up. I was placed on extreme elimination diets like the hypoallergenic diet and I was told through a muscle food intolerance test that I was intolerant to certain foods and needed to avoid them. I was not told that I could eventually reintroduce those foods back into my diet, like what Dr. Rossi explains in her book, but instead, I was told to eat restrictively and avoid those foods for the rest of my life. This was not the lifestyle I wanted for myself and I eventually started to develop anxiety over food. This past year I started wondering if the anxiety I felt over the foods I was told to avoid was contributing to my ongoing gut health issues. It turns out, I was right.

Fast forward to last year when I started reading Dr. Rossi’s book, Love Your Gut, after listening to her speak over many podcasts and on her social media platforms. After reading her book and completing the self-assessments, I decided to give working with a dietician a try. I cannot emphasize this enough, I wish I started working with one sooner, as I have noticed more difference in my gut over 6 months of working with one than in the 4 years with other healthcare providers. This is not to say other healthcare providers do not help, but be sure you are working with the right ones for your individual needs.

I feel like I could write a book-length reason why you should read this book. Definitely pick up a copy for yourself or a friend or family member you feel may need it, I’ve bought this book for many people in my life. She even has delicious recipes to try at the end of the book, they will definitely help you get your ‘plant points.’

I personally cannot wait for her next book, Eat More Live Well, to be available in Canada, but in the meantime check this one out!

Thank you Dr. Rossi for all that you do, you’ve helped to transform my life and I’m sure many others as well!

Click here for her Instagram page. Click here for her amazing blog.

This review was in no way sponsored – more a way to spread the word on a great book and human being!

References:

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/megan-rossi

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.


How To Level Your Hips At Home

Did you know that your hips can become unleveled? I’m not saying they are ‘out of place,’ because if they were you would be making a trip to the hospital as they would be dislocated at that point. What I’m talking about is how your hips can be tugged and pulled on by the muscles that attach to them causing the bones in your hips to rotate front to back. Usually, the culprit can be one quadriceps muscle or hip flexor that is really tight on one side and a hamstring muscle can be really tight on the other. Or the same situation but above the pelvis where your lower back muscles may be playing tug of war with your abdomen and adductor muscles. There is also a condition called, ‘lower cross syndrome’ that can also play a part.

Lower cross syndrome:

As referenced from Physiopedia, “The lower crossed syndrome (LCS) is the result of muscle strength imbalances in the lower segment. These imbalances can occur when muscles are constantly shortened or lengthened in relation to each other.“1 This in turn can potentially cause your hips to have a misalignment and rotate to the front and to the back. As shown in the photo to the right, usually this is caused by weak abdominal muscles and gluteal muscles, along with tight hip flexors and back extensors.

This can all be corrected with the right muscle strengthening, mobility and stretching for long-term benefits, however, there is a way to correct your hip alignment with a bit of PNF stretching. If you have not read any of my other posts, “Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is an advanced form of flexibility training, which involves both the stretching and contracting of the muscle group being targeted. PNF stretching is one of the most effective forms of stretching for improving flexibility and increasing range of motion.“2

How to do the exercise:

Hips level: Place your hands on your hips – where the top of your pelvic bones start, above it is soft tissue. Then rest your fingers down on a 45º angle to find the ASIS (boney ridge on the front of your hips that feels like it has a dip and shelf – shown in red to the right). Look at yourself in the mirror and see your two finger levels on the ASIS. If they are even and at the same level across your hips they are good. If there is one higher and one lower, your hips are rotated and need to be corrected before physical activity or a daily routine.

To correct the quad and hip flexor groups: The side that has the ASIS down (the finger that was lower than the other), you will be stretching that quad and hip flexor group. In a runner’s lunge, keep your chest up and pelvis tilted forward then lunge forward until you feel a stretch. Hold the stretch for 8-10 seconds then lightly contract your bent knee into the ground as if you are moving the limb into hip flexion. Hold the contraction for 5 seconds, stop the contraction and move further into the stretch and hold the stretch for another 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence 2-4 times. Stand back up and check your hip levels in the mirror, if they are still not level you must work on the opposite hamstring.

To correct the hamstring: Place your leg on a bench or chair with your leg straight. Bend forward through your hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold the stretch for 8-10 seconds then contract your heel into the bench or ground to contract the hamstrings. Hold the contraction for 5 seconds then stop the contraction and move forward into the stretch and hold the stretch for 10 more seconds. Repeat this sequence 2-4 times. Stand back up and check your hip levels in the mirror.

Another way of stretching the hamstrings I demonstrated in a previous blog post where you use a yoga strap on the ground following the same PNF pattern as above. That blog post can be found here.

The quick and dirty way of doing this:

An easier, quicker but not as precise way of correcting the hips goes as follows.

Hips Level on back: Laying on your back and legs up in the air, place your right hand on the front of the right knee and the left hand on the back of the left knee (into the hamstrings). Contract your right knee into your right hand and contract the left knee into your left hand. Your legs will be contracting into opposite directions. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds then switch hand positioning and repeat moving in the opposite direction as before and contract for another 10 seconds. Repeat 2-4 times per side.

Be sure to watch the video below from my Instagram account showing you how to level your hips.

References:

  1. https://www.physio-pedia.com/File:Crossed_syndrome.jpg
  2. https://stretchcoach.com/articles/pnf-stretching/

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.


5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Diagnosed With Celiac Disease

Today is my five-year anniversary of being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I look back on that day and think about how relieved I was to finally have an answer of why I was not feeling great and why I had the symptoms that I did. I left that doctor’s office and immediately started researching everything I could about Celiac Disease. However, now that I’m 5 years into my diagnosis, I’m going to write about 5 things I wish I was told when I was first diagnosed. This was a hard list to make, as there are hundreds of topics I wish I knew about, but that’s the simplest part of life, we need to take it one step at a time. All of the answers will come with experience and time. There is more to the disease than just going gluten-free. Celiac disease, for those who do not know, is an autoimmune disease of the small intestine, and gluten is its trigger.

First off, go gluten-free, right this second, if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease and DO NOT look back. I hate to tell you, but this is a life-long disease that will never go away, I’m just going to be straight with you. There is no cure for celiac disease as of yet, other than following a strict 100% gluten-free diet. I have met some people who “cheat” on their gluten-free diet even though they have been diagnosed with celiac disease. This is a hard no, just one crumb can cause an autoimmune reaction in your body and have you not feeling your best again. So just avoid the stuff as much as you physically can in your own home and out to eat.

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease I was told by the doctor to “just follow a gluten-free diet.” And even though he was technically correct with this statement, over the years I have learned there I so much more to healing your gut from celiac disease than ‘just going gluten-free.’ Here are 5 things I wish I was also told when I was first diagnosed.

  1. Give Yourself Time To Heal

    This is my first point for you because I did not realize just how long it takes the gut to heal from something like the damages of celiac disease. Depending on how long you have had symptoms and how long it took you to get diagnosed, there is damage in your gut that needs time to heal. Your doctor may have you do a TTG test every 3 or 6 months to see where your progress is, but do not get discouraged if it’s taking a bit longer than you thought to get your TTG levels to fully drop to a normal level. Typically it takes anywhere from 6-18 months to heal, however, if you have had the symptoms longer or had a high TTG test result (such as, greater than 300), it can take up to 5 years to get your TTG levels to fully drop. For example, when I was first diagnosed my TTG blood result was greater than 300. Now 5 years later my TTG result is now 17.5, and continues to drop with a diligent lifestyle. Nothing happens over night, so try to be patient and kind with yourself as sometimes there are things in life that we have no control over.
  2. Be Wary Of Cross-Contamination

    If you have on-going symptoms, cross contamination of gluten may be the cuplrit. I had no idea this was even a possibility when I was first diagnosed. This is an important point to make because as I have mentioned, it just takes one crumb to cause you symptoms and that one crumb can be hidden in the most sneaky places. I have written a whole blog post on cross contamination and celiac disease which you can find here, however here is the quick version of it.

    It is not just the act of eating wheat, barley, rye or oats that can cause your TTG levels to rise and cause you symptoms, but you can also get small contaminations of gluten that may not rise your TTG levels but can definitely still cause your on-going symptoms. Gluten can be hidden in ingredients, products, and kitchen equipment just to name a few. Now before I continue, this is not a fear mongering point, more one just to make you aware.

    Be sure to go through your kitchen equipment and replace what could have come into contact with gluten before your diagnosis. Equipment such as chopping boards, toasters, rolling pin and wooden spoons, pasta strainers, sifter, old plastic utensils, waffle irons, teflon pans that are heavily stratched, baking sheets, loaf pans and muffin tins are all objects that can conceal gluten in them. Even looking into your condements to be sure there is no ‘double dipping’ of a utensil from a slice of gluten bread into that condiment jar as it can leave behind gluten crumbs. Finally, products like toothpaste, lipchap, mouthwash, and dental floss should also be looked into.

    Getting little micro contamnations consistently can cause your symptoms to stick around and keep your TTG levels raised. So being sure you are reading food labels correctly and replacing what you need to in your home along with asking all of the right questions when you are out to eat can help you prevent getting glutened. This actally brings me to my next point…
  3. Start Working With The Right Healthcare Providers Right Away

    I cannot emphasis this point enough! Over the years I have worked with a list of different healthcare providers and there are two of which I would suggest to see.

    A Gastroenterologist

    I wish the doctor I saw at the walk in told me to go and see a gastroenterologist right away. I was not sent to see a gastroenterologist when I was first diagnosed as I was told it would take up to 2 years for me to even get in with one (that’s here in Canada). So I was not referred to one until I was given the wrong sandwich bread at a restaurant a year after my diagnosis and my now family doctor started the referral process to get me in with a specialist. When I did get in to see her a year later, she saw my first test results and said I should have seen her at that point, and not 2 years later. I’m also suggesting to see a gastroenterologist right away as the blood test alone is not the ‘solid’ diagnosis of celiac disease; you need to get a gastroscopy and biopsy completed to know for sure if you are 100% celiac. The reason for this is the blood test that can be a false positive or vice versa, and the only way to know for sure is testing your small intestine directly. Your specialist can also take a look at your test results and decide if any further testing needs to be done.

    A Dietician

    The second professional I highly suggest working with right away is a dietician. But not just any dietician, one that specializes in celiac disease. I started working with one that specializes in celiac disease because the first dietician I worked with did not, and she taught me the basics but did not continue to work with me to help me with my on-going symptoms. I am now working with a dietician that does specialize in celiac disease and it has made a world of a difference, so much so that I wish I had started to work with her sooner. They will be able to work with you and let you know if you are eating the correct foods, meal portion sizes, meal spacing, how to eat balanced meals, teach you how to read food labels correctly, and so much more. I personally have had on-going symptoms even with following a gluten free diet for the last 5 years, but she has taught me information I’m not sure I would have figured out without her help and guidance. And I’m happy to say I have less symptoms than I did when I first started working with her.
    This is not a promotion or plug in anyway, but if you’d like to work with the same dietician I am, she can be found here. She also has celiac disease and can relate with what you are going through.
  4. Continue To Live Your Life Without Fear And Speak Up For Yourself – Some tips on how to do this

    This doesn’t seem like a big one for most, and it didn’t seem like one for myself, but it’s a important part of the healing process. When you are first diagnosed it can be daunting to know that you have to avoid gluten for your physical and mental health, but it can be hard to avoid it when it is a main ingredient in a lot of products and foods. However, if you follow a few simple lifestyle changes, it will be smooth sailing. Here are a few examples:

    – Read labels of foods before you buy them and eat them to be sure they do not contain gluten
    – Ask the right questions when you are out to eat or at a friends place. Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself, this is afterall your health and you are the one who will suffer the consequences, so please do not feel embarassed to tell people what needs to be done to keep you safe. This is personally one I’m still working on myself but with time it will become easier and more natural.
    – Prepare for road trips and always carry a snack on you. This is something I learned the hard way, I’ve hit hangry Lauren way too many times but this can all be stopped by preparing ahead and being sure you always leave your home with a snack. Having bars, fruit or veg, nut and seed mixes, etc on you can be life changning when you cannot find somewhere safe to eat. This can also decrease the anxiety placed on yourself when you are hungry.
    – Along with the last point, travel your little heart out! Do not be afraid to travel, there are so many places you can go to eat safely now, and if there is not, bring snacks and prepare for the trip. You can also travel with health cards that are typed out in the language of the country that you are going to explaining your condition and what needs to be done to keep you safe. Go see the world!

    Just know that if you are doing your best and continuing to educate yourself, you’re already way ahead. I know it can be scary with a new condition, but take it from me, it’s livable and it can become your new adventure in life!
  5. The Mind-Gut Connection

    Okay last but certainly not least, the mind-gut connection. There is more and more research coming out showing how closely the mind and gut work together. Celiac disease does not just effect the gut, it affects every system in the body due to the fact that it damages our main organ that absorbes the nutrients from the food we eat, the small intestine. Therefore, it won’t just cause symptoms physically but also mentally. When the gut is damaged, it will cause a domino-effect throughout the rest of the body. All the same, if the brain is damaged it can do the same thing.

    The following is from the book, The Mind-Gut Connection: “We know today that 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is actually contained in specialized cells in the gut, and these serotonin-containing cells are influenced by what we eat, by chemicals released from certain species of gut microbes, and by signals that the brain sends to them, informing them about our emotional state.” Essentially, if our gut is unhappy, so will our brain be and vice versa.

    The reason I am bringing this point into view is due to my own struggles in this department over the last 5 years. I did not realize until 6 months ago just how anxious I was about my gut and just how much it was affecting my over all physical and mental state. If you are anxious, nervous, fatigued, or scared, your gut will act up. But if you make this chronic, over time more and more symptoms can occur. Those symptoms are very similar to a celiac eating gluten, in whichcase you may be thinking you are eating gluten when your stomach is upset but sometimes it might be due to your menal state causing those symptoms. Breathwork and meditation has been a saving grace for me, and thankfully in this day and age there are a lot of videos, tutorials, apps, books and people out there that can help you get started.

Those are the first 5 tips that I would give anyone who has just been diagnosed with celiac disease. All in all, know that you are a rockstar and this is an amazing opportunity for a lifestyle change that will better suit you. There are many positives to being celiac which I wrote about, and now there are so many amazing communities to be a part of as well. Know that you are never alone and there is always help out there.

As I have mentioned there is so much more that I would love to share with you, as I truly believe that experience is knowledge and knowledge is power. Stay tuned for more helpful tips coming in the near future on this blog and more!

Much love coming your way,

LEW oxox

If you are interested in reading my story here are some blog posts I wrote about my journey with celiac disease:

Part 1: The beginning of a positive lifestyle change

Part 2: The first year after diagnosis

Part 3: My first accidental exposure to gluten that lead to a gastroscopy

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.