COULD YOUR GUT HEALTH REALLY BE THE ANSWER TO YOUR OVER-ALL WELLBEING? HEALTH WORKS EXPLAINS.
13 November 2018
As you all know, I am a complete “junkie” for all things nutrition, so when Hello Joburg magazine asked me to partner with them on their #hellorecommends review campaign by trying out the services offered by HEALTH WORKS in Hyde Park Corner Jhb, naturally I jumped at the opportunity!
I have frequented Health Works a few times in the past, having purchased some speciality supplements from them, but I have never taken the time to look further into the services they offer. To my surprise, Health Works provides a fantastic assortment of health services from DNA analysis, live blood analysis, and nutritional counselling, to gut health and healing, aura mastery, and chakra balancing.
I am a big advocate of applying an integrative, holistic approach to health by drawing from eastern, western and ancient natural health practices – and Health Works does just that! Our health is far more than just healthy eating and exercise - it is multifaceted; and therefore in order to maximise our health, we need to address all aspects of our wellbeing.
I was warmly received by founder and owner Linda Weech, who started Health Works 21 years ago, with the idea of supporting people to take responsibility for their own health.
“For far too long people have been dumping their bodies and health on their doctors”, says Linda”. “Doctors either cure them or don’t without realizing that what they eat, drink, think and feel, the supplements, the quality of their sleep, all impact dramatically on how they feel!”.
I can really appreciate Linda’s philosophy here, because we DO rely too heavily on “experts” to navigate our health for us. We are quick to turn a blind eye to the role we play in managing our health. Personally I believe we have become lazy – we don’t want to take the time to educate ourselves about our health – and it’s not as if we don’t have access to the information, it’s that we don’t choose to prioritise it!
After a quick chat with Linda, I met with health practitioner Tandy McLeod who led me through a fascinating discussion about gut health and its imperative link to overall immune system support – more on this in a second, but first…about Tandy!
Tandy McLeod has been in the health industry since 1990. Her speciality is working with brain and mood related issues. She has long standing experience with the D'Adamo blood type diet approach, with a strong background in Chinese medicine theory. She is also conversant with the approach and products put forward by Dr Jonathan Wright.
I have met with many health professionals in my lifetime, but none have impressed me as much as did Tandy! She really knows her stuff, which put me at immediate ease. I often have trust issues when it comes to doctors or anyone in the medial field for that matter because you never know if they are in it for the money or if they genuinely want to help people; but with Tandy it was clear from the onset that she has an unquestionable passion for health and helping people. Her knowledge is endless! Given my interests, I know A LOT about health, but Tandy was able to teach me many new things I didn’t know.
“We have all the tools for self-healing at our fingertips, says Tandy. Unfortunately advertising leads us to believe otherwise. What should be our natural urge to take responsibility for our own health is exchanged for our willingness to hand that responsibility over to someone else. Perhaps that gives us an unspoken license to mistreat our bodies at will, as advertising would have it! It advocates bad food ,bad air, a bad liquid intake and suggests either over-training, extreme dieting, or overeating! We are raised thinking someone will be there to " fix " the problem with hypertensives, pain killers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiolytics and eventually even chemotherapy.”
“Remember the "Barefoot Doctors"? the wandering Chinese doctors whose responsibility was to keep the villages healthy, not really to wait for them to report their illness??"
Be your own Barefoot Doctor"! Evaluate your health, check your DNA, supplement, Eat Right , Question Everything!! If you don't know where to begin, look at your parents....the health conditions they have are potentially your weak spots. Wake up to the incredible and supportive nature of your body”.
Her words are music to my ears!! I really believe more and more of us need to acknowledge just how important it is to start taking control of our own health, because believe it or not, we REALLY DO have the ability heal ourselves…it just takes some effort!
During my discussion with Tandy we chatted about the importance of gut health, and just how essential it is for our overall wellbeing, particularly because it does in fact support the immune system!
A huge proportion of our immune system (as much as 80%) is actually in our GI tract, and this is interesting because on the flip side, most diseases start in the gut too! The immune system is inside the body, and the bacteria are outside the body. And yet they interact. For example, certain cells in the lining of the gut spend their lives excreting massive quantities of antibodies into the gut. What is important to understand is what types of antibodies are being made, and how is the body trying to control the interaction between ourselves and bacteria on the outside?.
And this is why WHAT we eat is SO FREAKING IMPORTANT!! What you put in is essentially what you get out.
“We are all way too casual with mainstream pharmaceauticals” says Tandy. The scary bit is, that anti-biotics, can kill of as much as 80% of the good bacteria in our gut, and this impact can last for as long as two years. Now think about that – so many of us take antibiotics as a quick fix for flu, sometimes two or even three times per year! And each time, we are killing off the good bacteria in our gut – essentially wiping out our entire gut microbiome! And then we still sit and wonder why we have digestive issues, or why we keep getting ill!
In her many years as a health practitioner, Tandy says that while each case has to be treated uniquely, most common gut related issues includes include Candida, IBS and constipation – and many people don’t even realise they have these ailments. Candida for example can go undetected for years, and is often times a big cause of depression!! So before you start popping anti-depressants, check for Candida. Candida is rife today because of the high sugar and grain diets that modern day society lives on. Candida feeds off sugars, so one of the best ways to address it, is to cut out all grains and sugars, focussing more on lean proteins and green veggies.
The above is a perfect example of how something like depression, can be treated through supplementation and diet rather than pharmaceuticals. And this is just one standing example, there are so many others!!
We went into plenty of technical detail about gut health, but these are some key take home points that I believe we can all benefit from:
- Turn to your diet first and foremost. Stick to the clean stuff. It’s not rocket science. Cut out sugars, don’t eat too much fruit (this is nature’s treat), and opt for leafy greens, legumes, lean proteins, and veggies. Grains in moderation. Remember, what you put in, you get out!
- By creating an alkaline environment in our bodies, we immediately begin to slow down and prevent disease. Our diet needs to support alkalinity through the consumption of loads of greens. Alkalising green powders such as Green Vibrance (available at Health Works), that also contain probiotics, are particularly effective in providing premium support to gut microbiome health and a strong immune system.
- The breath also has an incredible effect on the body’s PH. The body can regulate its PH levels through breath alone, therefore deep, mindful breathing is also vital in supporting overall health (hence why meditation plays such a pivotal role in wellbeing).
- Supplementation is necessary in today’s fast pace lifestyle, and also because the quality of our food, and the soil in which much of our food is grown in, is not what it used to be! High quality vitamins, a good digestive enzyme, and specific pre and pro biotics can work wonders to improve energy levels, mood and overall sense of wellbeing.
- Your gut can affect your mental health too! So don’t turn a blind eye to digestive issues – they may very well be the cause of more than just an upset tummy.
Tandy believes that many of us live in fear of illness – and its no wonder, because we have all been trained to put our faith straight into modern medicine. We believe we don’t know what is best, we don’t trust ourselves, and we don’t want to take a risk in trying alternative treatments, so instead we look to modern medicine for the answer. Modern medicine does have its place – there are certainly many advances that have helped us in leaps and bounds, but we have simultaneously turned away from nature as a source of healing.
I really believe it’s about finding middle ground here – yes, use those elements of modern medicine that have brought about positive advancement in the health and wellness space, but be sure to question! Don’t just believe everything at face value – educate yourself! There is so much information out there now, so there is no excuse! We need to be active in maintaining good health, and not just when things go wrong – it’s a constant work in progress. Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure.
I highly recommend paying Tandy and Linda a visit, if not for a consultation, just for a chat – trust me, you will learn plently! They both have a fortune of wisdom to impart!
For more info on Health Works, visit www.healthworks.co.za or pop in for a visit: 4 Lower Mall,Hyde Park Corner, cnr Jan Smuts & 6th Str, Hyde Park.
Yours in Health Always,