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Health

Why do we constantly snack?

I’ve just been watching an episode of Celebrity Goggle Box. From Rylan and his mum munching on vegetable crisps, to the All Saints girls gorging on pizza, it seems that everyone was eating.

Before that, we had watched an episode of Mum. I don’t think there was one bit of this half hour where someone wasn’t snacking on something.

I’m now starving!

Why do we snack so much - A Free From Life

The problem is, I’m not snacking.

I’m sticking to my three meals a day, as per the Fast 800, which also includes eating within certain hours. I’ve been doing so well, I don’t want to give in to temptation just yet. But it’s so hard when everyone around you seems to be constantly eating.

I don’t know if it’s just me noticing this because I’ve changed the way I eat. It probably has a lot to do with it. I never really gave much thought to it before that either.

Now I’m calorie counting, I’ve begun to see how easy it is to over eat during the course of the day.

You might think it’s healthier to eat little and often, but I reckon that’s actually a dangerous way to overeat. When you think the recommended maximum calories a day for women is 2000 and for men, 2500, you don’t actually need to eat that much for it to add up.

Our takeaway dilemma really highlighted this for me.

I thought I’d treat myself, as I’ve been doing so well. And the kids fancied Wagamama food, which is healthy, right?

I love the duck donburi, but when I looked it up, found it was 1408kcal per serving. When you’re trying to stick to 800 per day, that completely blows it out of the water. It’s also more than half the recommended maximum in one meal. I kept looking, and in the end went for the mini chicken ramen (371kcal) but took out the noodles so it would have been less than this. That’s a children’s meal. Minus some.

It’s not that I’m trying to freak people out, but I noticed a particular cake in Costa today that was around 500 calories per slice. Combine this with a medium latte made with semi skimmed milk, at 103 calories, and you’re well on your way to reaching your total in just your morning coffee, or elevenses.

Once upon a time, it was frowned upon to eat between meals and considered crass to eat on the go. Mealtimes were a sit down occasion, savoured and shared.

The snacking industry changed all this, when it gave us products that told our parents it was a good idea to give us. Anyone remember the words to the Fudge Advert? “A finger of Fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat. A finger of Fudge is just enough until it’s time to eat. It’s full of Cadbury goodness…” and so it goes on. For me, this advert epitomises everything the snacking industry stands for. It gave us treats that would keep us going between meals, it gave us alternatives to breakfast, lunch and even dinner. It gave us the convenience to eat anywhere and everywhere, and as a result, we are now a nation that can not stop eating.

Have you tried not eating between meals? It’s hard.

I think that’s partly out of habit more than anything else. And also, like I said at the beginning, because you are surrounded, constantly, by other people eating.

When it comes down to it, you put food in your mouth, and you burn off that food to use energy. In most cases, the input does not equal the output, not even close and it’s no wonder we all struggle with our weight.

Health

Fast 800 Diet – Week 2

I am into my third week of the Fast 800 diet now and I can’t believe the difference.

If you read my previous post, you’ll know why I started this diet. Unable to shift the post 40 weight, I was determined to do something about it. What I’ve found, as the book says, is some rapid weight loss and at the time of writing this, have lost 7lbs. My goal was to lose eight, so for the time being, I’m sticking to the 800 calories a day.

I felt poorly the first week, unfortunately, and I wasn’t sure if it was due, in part, to the change of diet. However, it seems we’ve had a bit of a run of illness in the family, so I’m not sure it was. I’m over that now and I feel generally much brighter all round, less sluggish and not subject to the sugar highs and lows and the energy slumps that these bring.

As luck would have it, I’ve started this regime right at the time when the new cook book to accompany the diet has been launched.

There aren’t many recipes in the original book, as it’s more about the science behind it and the research. However, the few recipes that there are, are great. I haven’t come across one that I don’t like.

It’s great to have the variety though. In general, as the chief cook of the house, I find I get stuck with what to make for dinner. It’s always difficult to please everybody, and in addition to the moans I often get, I actually get bored of cooking sometimes.

At the moment, I’m really enjoying this newer way of eating and although there have been a couple of times when I’ve felt the need for something more – Friday night being one of them, as I would often sit with a glass of wine and a bowl of crisps – I’ve not been hungry between meals.

This diet has definitely forced me to think about portion size, as to reduce from a recommended max of 2000 calories per day to just 800 has been an eye-opener in terms of how much food we generally put on our plate. Take this as an example. My kids requested a Wagamma takeaway at the weekend, and I looked at the website to find out what I could have. Most of the full size meals are around 2000 calories and you’d think they’d be healthy wouldn’t you? The portion sizes are enormous though and I ended up choosing a mini chicken Ramen and removing the noodles!

Whether you eat meat, are veggie or vegan, the Fast 800 Cookbook seems to cater for all. There are some delicious looking recipes in there and what I really like, is the fact that they don’t seem to involve lots of fancy ingredients and nothing takes too long to prepare.

The whole family are currently eating this way. I don’t prepare different dinners for different members. The only thing the rest of them get that I currently don’t are carbs such as rice, potatoes and pasta.

Fast 800 diet - week 2 - A Free From Life

Health

Weight loss post 40 with the Fast 800 Diet

Post 40 weight loss - A Free From Life

Having never had to worry about my weight, I’ve found, post 40, that it’s begun to creep up and I’m struggling to keep it off.

I had time off exercise before Christmas due to an injury, and the weight I put on during that time has stuck with me. Since then, I’ve tried Dry January, No Sugar February and a low carb approach to eating.

Since I don’t drink masses of alcohol and have very little sugar, not surprisingly, those approaches didn’t work. The low carb option wasn’t having much of an effect either.

It was when it came to picking out an outfit for a recent party that it really hit home that I needed to do something about my weight. I couldn’t fit into any of my dresses! Okay, so it was an excuse to buy a new one, but I wasn’t at all comfortable with that.

After speaking to a few people, I got myself a copy of the Fast 800 book by Dr Michael Moseley.

Immediately, this approach made sense to me. You drop your calorie intake down to 800 per day for at least the first two weeks. Also, during this time, you eat between a window of 10 or 12 hours and fast for the rest. This puts your body into ketosis, where you burn stored fat and it has dramatic results.

This is certainly true for me, as I only started it at the beginning of this week. Here we are, on Thursday, and I’ve already lost 2lbs.

The idea is, you move on to a 5:2 approach, which means eating normally for five days and doing the fasting (800 calories) on the other two. I think this is manageable and from what I’ve read, seems a sensible, healthy approach to eating, in general.

My time-restricted eating (TRE) at the moment is between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. but in reality, I finish eating at around 6, so the fasting period is actually longer than this.

I don’t feel hungry though. The meals are more than filling me up and I haven’t felt the need to snack in between. Part of this comes down to motivation, as I’m already seeing the results.

How do I feel? Well, on Tuesday night I started with a sore throat and yesterday felt rough. Last night, I woke up with stomach pains, similar to how I’ve felt with food poisoning. And today, I feel like I might actually be physically sick. I’m guessing this is kind of a detox feeling my body is going through and I’ll hopefully come out of the other side feeling much healthier.

Let’s hope so. I will keep you informed.

Health

How to cope with mealtimes when you have little ones or fussy eaters

When you’re a parent, you soon learn how stressful mealtimes can be.

Fussy eaters, kids refusing to sit at the table, it can be a stressful time of day and all you really want is to be able to feed your children a healthy meal.

What to do for the best – let them get on with it, only feed them what you know they will eat, force the issue, let them go hungry? It’s always a tough call and believe me I know. When my son was little, he was often sick at mealtimes and every time, it was after that ‘one more mouthful’ plea.

I don’t know why I didn’t learn, but I was concerned he wasn’t eating enough, so would encourage him to eat what I served. It was through a lot of trial and error and hair pulling that I eventually got to the bottom of what was really happening, but I remember the stress of mealtimes along the way.

Today, I have Alex Thurman from Feed the Brood, here to offer a few tried and tested tips for coping with mealtimes-stress.

Food Blogger, Alex, creates recipes and provides meal planning advice for parents to help them cope with fussy eaters. A parent herself, Alex is no stranger to mealtime struggles, but she’s very kindly provided me with some great tips to share with you that will help make mealtimes an enjoyable affair for all involved.

Tips for coping with mealtime stress and fussy eaters - A Free From Life

“I don’t like it!”

The predictable 5 p.m. chorus echoes around my dining table. My three young children usually rock up with the expectation that they’ll hate what’s on offer. It’s not surprising; I write my own family-friendly recipes and blog about fussy eating, so there’s rarely a day that they recognise what I’ve cooked. I try very hard not to let their cries of rejection dampen my own enthusiasm for my meal, take a deep breath and practise what I preach:

STAY ZEN – I don’t want my children to remember me as a crotchety old lady, I want to have a happy relationship with them, so I stay ridiculously chilled. The more chilled I am, the quicker they chill.

EAT TOGETHER – Studies show that children from families who eat together have greater emotional wellbeing. With this in mind, eating together is a top priority for us as a family, and we honestly do make our happiest memories at the table. We talk about our days and often have silly talk. Another bonus is that when my head is in my own food (because what I’ve cooked is so delicious…), I’m less focused on what or how much the kids are eating, so it’s less tempting to helicopter.

ONE FAMILY MEAL – I meal plan one meal that will suit us all. Meals usually consist of multiple bowls and I serve before I combine. Each person gets to select what they want on their plate, which makes for a more conducive atmosphere at the table and allows each person to feel a sense of control. This approach also helps integrate allergies and intolerances into your family vernacular – which can only be a good thing when you’re dealing with allergies with little ones.

BRING PLENTY OF ‘STUFF’ TO THE TABLE – I always bring condiments aplenty, I have all the options for everybody’s preferences or allergies. I pop them all on the table before the meal starts and we enjoy the ritual of spooning things out or squeezing farty bottles. And I allow everyone to try everything (allergies excluded). My middle son is dairy intolerant, so we bring dairy-free cheese and yoghurt to the table regularly, but most other offerings are dairy free versions for the whole family.

BRING ALL THE FUN – I don’t want to be a bore, so I bring fun to the table. The kids will want to join me at the table if they associate having a good time whenever they’re there. Imagine how hard they’ll laugh if they see me accidentally snort milk out of my nose?! Being a grown up doesn’t mean I have to be stiff – that’s how I play it, anyway.

PLAY THEIR FAVOURITE MUSIC – we’ve built a family playlist of our favourite songs – there’s Top Gun, Elton John and George Ezra on there – you know, all the kids’ usual faves 🙂 I allow them the choice of music, or we take it in turns choosing an album. This all adds to the ritual of fun and it feels like we’re building a bank of memories up associated with the songs, so we now have music that defines us as a family.

RESPECT THEIR DECISIONS – from birth, humans can regulate their own appetite. My job is to provide the food and a suitable environment to eat it in, I have to relinquish control at that point and allow the kids to listen to their own hunger and fullness cues. If they don’t want to eat, fair enough.

NO RESCUE MEALS – I don’t make alternatives. Cooking alternatives will never break the cycle of fussy eating, in fact, it will worsen it. Food is regularly rejected in our house, so I keep the rejected food in the fridge and offer it again later when hunger strikes before bed. I’m not mean about it, I gently explain how it’s going to work. To be honest, this has only happened a couple of times – I think the process of offering the food at bedtime is a good way of nipping hunger whingeing in the bud.

FRUIT AND YOGHURT ARE ON OFFER – my kids have planned healthy snacks at mid-morning and mid-afternoon, so I know they’ll never starve. And there is always fruit and natural yoghurt available before or after the main meal if they want it.

So, when it all kicks off at your dining table, take a few deep breaths, think about how to make the whole experience more enjoyable and find a way to make your kids want to come back to the table time after time! You can do it!

Follow Alex on Instagram @feedthebrood, or join her Facebook Group for mealtime ideas and support from other parents.

Health

How Paleo can you go?

The Paleo diet takes its name from the term ‘Paleolithic’ and the principle of this diet, in its simplest of terms is ‘to eat like a caveman’.

How Paleo can you go? - A Free From Life
Paleo Shepherds Pie
Image courtesy of Jules/Flickr

The idea behind the diet is that our ancestors ate what they caught or foraged and our digestive systems developed to cope with this way of eating.

Since man began to farm and grow food, resulting in being able to process grains to make flour, turn milk into cheese, add sugar to products etc, our health has suffered because our digestive systems are not able to deal with it. That’s the theory anyway.

Many would argue we have evolved to deal with modern processed food, for example, our ability to produce lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose found in dairy products. In fact, we are nothing like our Paleolithic ancestors.

There have also been findings of popcorn and other processed grains, dating back to these times, including a type of bread made without yeast. This suggests perhaps our cavemen did in fact eat some processed grains.

Then there is the question of what you can and can’t eat if you follow the Paleo lifestyle. Without a definitive list, it can be confusing. I’ve heard people say they eat Paleo when they actually include rice in their diet. Surely that’s a processed grain?

Another thing that makes the term ‘Paleo’ feel wrong as a way to describe a lifestyle, is the amount of exotic produce we have access to nowadays that simply wouldn’t have existed back then. Most of these have been cultivated by man.

Aside from the tenuous link to our ancestors, what the Paleo diet does have in its favour is its natural, unprocessed approach to eating.

Processed grains, such as bread, rice or pasta, especially if eaten in their ‘white’ form, are quickly broken down by the digestive system and turned into glucose, which raises blood sugar levels and causes the body to release insulin. This brings the blood sugar levels back down again, but it is this constant yo-yoing of blood sugar that puts unnecessary stress on the body and leads to ill health. In addition, any unused glucose ends up stored as fat. In this sedentary lifestyle that many people lead, we simply don’t need that amount of energy.

This makes the Paleo principle similar to that of a low GI diet, or one followed by a diabetic. It’s a common sense approach to eating that cuts down on carbs and sugar and considers food that is more natural or in its ‘whole’ form.

For our family, Paleo has its place because we have a gluten and dairy intolerant member of our tribe. This can make providing suitable food difficult, as gluten free diets don’t always accommodate dairy intolerance and vegan diets don’t consider issues with gluten. The fact we eat meat too means Paleo ticks all the boxes. The only thing I personally draw the line at is cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles. They leave me cold just thinking about them!

Our approach is one of common sense. I get what I need from a Paleo cookbook whilst adapting the recipes to suit our needs.

For example, I discovered a lovely ‘cream’ sauce substitute made from cashews and I’ve also experimented with grain free cookies and treats.

I may not wholly sign up to the Paleo approach, but I do feel it has its place in the arena of healthy eating, particularly given how ‘addicted’ we seem to be to a high carb, high sugar lifestyle.

Health

Some headaches are a pain in the neck

Treating headaches caused by neck pain

Headaches caused by neck pain - what causes them and how to treat - A Free From Life

I’ve been suffering from headaches for a while now and it’s reached the point where I need to find out what’s causing them, rather than just trying to ignore the issue and hope it goes away.

I’ve had my eyes checked already. This was my first thought actually, as I’m in my forties and as much as I don’t like to admit it, things don’t work like they used to. Luckily, my eyes were fine, more than fine for my age, so I was told. I won’t go into how smug that made me, but let’s just say, I was happy to cross that one off the list.

A number of different things working together can cause headaches. This can make the root cause difficult to diagnose.

An obvious thought was could it be migraines? I’ve never suffered from them, so I can’t imagine just how debilitating migraines can be when they come on. My headaches can feel severe at times and the pain presses down on my forehead like a vice. Sometimes, it can make focusing difficult, but I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was akin to a migraine. I suspected not because I was still able to function, I didn’t shy away from bright light or feel nauseous. There had to be another reason.

I get a lot of pain in the back of my neck and in my shoulders. Whatever I do, I can’t seem to stop this area of my body from tightening. It stems from an injury, 14 years ago, that was enough to damage my shoulder ligaments and put my left side at a disadvantage to my right even to this day.

It made sense to me that this old injury could the source of all my aches and pains, going one way, up into my neck and the other way, down into my middle back. I exercise with specialists who know about this injury and my limitations because of it and as much as this helps keep my body from seizing up completely, it doesn’t stop my headaches. In fact, sometimes, it can make them worse.

The type of headaches I suffer from are known as cervicogenic headaches, the source of which is a combination of the neck and shoulder blades becoming knotted or in spasm.

The upper three joints of the neck, C1, C2 and C3 share a pain nucleus with the trigeminal nerve. This trigeminal nerve is the main sensory nerve that carries messages from your face to your brain. When the neck and scalp muscles become tense, or equally, if they move around too much (hypermobile), pain radiates from the back of the head to the front causing a dull, vice-like pain. This can sometimes feel like pressure on the head. The top of the neck and base of the skull can feel tender and it can be painful around the temples, side of the face, or behind the eyes.

Many people suffer from tension headaches caused by physical or emotional stress, excess alcohol or caffeine, eyestrain or fatigue. Cervicogenic headaches, however, are much less common, with an estimated 0.4-2.5% of the population suffering from them. According to the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, the mean age of patients presenting with cervicogenic headaches is 42.9 years and they are four times more prevalent in women. Studies show cervicogenic headaches affect physical functioning of patients to a greater extent than other headache disorders.

I can certainly identify with this and when my headaches began to affect my everyday life, I knew it was time to do something about the problem.

I’m not the sort of person to rely on medication, BUT I will reach for the paracetamol if it gets bad enough. This only treats the symptoms though and I wanted to get to the root of my pain and sort out my headaches once and for all.

Massage can help, particularly when you massage the base of the scalp, but although this does alleviate the pain to an extent, I felt I needed more intervention. Time to call in the professionals!

Osteopathic treatment, combined with an exercise programme can be an effective treatment for headaches caused by neck pain. Studies also show the effectiveness of spinal manipulation and/or mobilisation to help.

Osteopath, Vladimir Levachyov has been interested in treating headaches ever since he saw his first headache patient in student clinic. When treating a patient, his first task (primarily based on the case history) is to ascertain whether the headache is primary or secondary, followed by diagnosing (or at least classifying) the headache type. To help with this, Vladimir regularly makes use of the ICHD-3 (The International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd edition).

“There are various factors that affect headaches, especially cervicogenic headaches. The common/close neurological link is one contributing mechanism, another is when the range of motion in the upper thoracic spine (the top of the ribcage) is decreased. The neck compensates by developing increased range of motion and when this happens, the ligaments around the joints can become slightly strained.

As a result, the muscles around the joints tighten up to protect the neck from further (perceived or otherwise) damage. The suboccipitals muscles (where the neck meets the skull), when overly tight, will press on whole nerves or branches of nerves that travel underneath these muscles; such as the greater auricular nerve (innervating the skin above the ear and the forehead) and the greater occipital nerve (innervating the skin at the back of the skull).”

The rationale for osteopathic treatment in the case of cervicogenic headaches is:
• To decrease the muscle tone (tightness) in the suboccipital and other neck muscles and hence relieve pressure on the nerves. This can be done in a number of ways, from soft tissue massage techniques, to using dry needling techniques with acupuncture needles, and of course home advice to stretch the suboccipital (and other appropriately chosen) muscles.
• To increase the range of motion of the thoracic spine; as this is increased the range of motion of the neck will normalise, meaning that the muscle tone should normalise, too.

Once you’ve embarked on an initial course of treatment for your cervicogenic headaches, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent them from re-occurring.

Your osteopath will give you lifestyle advice to help avoid the muscles getting tight.

• Check your everyday posture – excessive forward neck motion (such as bringing your head close to your phone or other screen) for extended periods will undoubtedly contribute to hypertonicity (tightness) of the suboccipital muscles.
• Invest in a good pillow and mattress.
• Invest time in daily neck and shoulder stretches
• Don’t sleep on your front

Treating and managing cervicogenic headaches is an on-going process and one I will have to pay close attention to in order to make sure I’m consistent with my exercises and that I re-visit an osteopath for regular check-ups. It’s not something I expect to cure overnight, but I’m relieved to have a professional diagnosis and a plan of action for tackling them.

Health

The allergy scene in the new Peter Rabbit movie is causing a stir

Sony Pictures has apologised following outrage over a scene in the new Peter Rabbit movie that depicts bullying towards someone with a food allergy.

Showing the rabbit characters repeatedly pelting a man with blackberries, knowing he is allergic to them, until he is forced to use an Epipen has been branded as unacceptable by the food allergy community, leading to a #BoycottPeterRabbit hashtag on Twitter.

My eleven year old daughter is allergic to blackberries and found this scene both offensive and cruel when I spoke to her about it. Not that it is about being allergic to blackberries in particular, but using an allergy against a person in such a way is clearly unacceptable.

Having an allergy is no joke. In my daughter’s case it’s not debilitating to her life. Blackberries are easy enough to avoid and as long as you stay clear of things that have forest fruits in them, for example, you’re generally ok.

On the two occasions she’s had reactions though, we’ve seen head to toe urticaria plus swollen joints in her fingers and hands. As with all allergies, it is not something to be taken lightly.

All we parents of children with food allergies and intolerances seem to do is campaign tirelessly to raise awareness of the issues. The only good thing to come out of this Peter Rabbit movie faux pas is that it’s put food allergies at the forefront, despite that not being the intention of Sony Pictures when they made the film.

Health

What is leaky gut syndrome?

“Leaky gut syndrome” is a term used to describe symptoms and conditions caused by the immune system reacting to particles, toxins or other substances that have been absorbed into the bloodstream via a porous (“leaky”) bowel (source: NHS).

What is leaky gut syndrome? - A Free From Life
Image courtesy of Vimeo

The digestive system not only breaks down food and absorbs nutrients, it plays an important role in protecting the body from harmful substances. The walls of the intestine act as a barrier to control what enters the bloodstream for transportation to the organs.

Small gaps in the intestinal wall, known as tight junctions, allow water and nutrients to pass through, while blocking the passage of harmful substances. When these tight junctions become loose, the gut becomes more permeable, which may allow bacteria and toxins to pass from the gut into the bloodstream.

In a healthy gut, the layers of cells that line the intestinal wall act as a protective barrier that absorbs particles from food, toxins, and other microorganisms. Any damage to these cells can cause them to become porous or leaky. This is what we commonly term as a ‘leaky gut’.

When the intestine becomes permeable, particles from food, toxins, and other microorganisms are able to make their way into the bloodstream, undigested. This triggers an immune response, whereby the particles are treated as foreign bodies.

“Intestinal permeability, also termed leaky gut, can be responsible for a very long list of symptoms,” says Nutritionist, Caroline Gilmartin of Nutraclin.

“Digestive system issues are on the increase (GP’s and Natural Practitioners will both agree) and in my opinion, the integrity of our digestive system is becoming weaker and weaker. This is linked to many auto immune conditions, but also many sub-clinical conditions which have not yet received a medical diagnosis.”

Leaky gut is linked to inflammatory conditions like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or inflammatory bowel disease, where inflammation causes the gut to become porous.

Other factors thought to have an impact include:

• Excessive sugar intake: a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, particularly fructose, can harm the barrier function of the intestinal wall.
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): long-term use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen can increase intestinal permeability.
• Excessive alcohol intake
• Nutrient deficiencies: particularly in vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc have each been implicated in increased intestinal permeability.
• Stress: chronic stress is a contributing factor to multiple gastrointestinal disorders, including leaky gut.
• Dysbiosis: the imbalance of the good and bad bacteria, which is disrupted by all the above factors, as well as by antibiotics.

Some health practitioners claim this can lead to symptoms such as bloating, gas, and cramps, as well as psoriasis, eczema, and allergies, fatigue and an inability to absorb nutrients, including vitamins B and D, magnesium and certain amino acids.

“Logically, if your body’s ability to absorb nutrients is compromised, how can there not be a long list of symptoms which can be linked to leaky gut,” says Caroline.

“Everyone has their own genetic susceptibilities and therefore different people will be affected in different ways. For one person, it may manifest as allergies, for others it could be severe fatigue of arthritis.”

However, whilst gastroenterologists acknowledge gut permeability, many disagree these undigested particles cause such symptoms, claiming they aren’t irritating enough. Whilst leaky gut syndrome is a distinct medical condition claimed by nutritionists and alternative medicine physicians, the wider medical community rarely acknowledge its existence.

Very few scientific studies mention leaky gut syndrome and according to the NHS, there is currently little evidence to support the theory that a porous bowel is the direct cause of any significant, widespread problems.

There is also little evidence that the “treatments” some people claim help to reduce bowel “leakiness”, such as nutritional supplements and herbal remedies, have any beneficial effect for most of the conditions they supposedly help.

However, there are medical studies that cite intestinal permeability and leading expert on gluten sensitivity, Dr Fasano, conducted some interesting research on the effects of gluten and gut bacteria on the small intestine, along with the effects of gliadin amongst coeliacs.

“In my clinic, there are many ways to ascertain whether or not the likelihood of leaky gut is causing an issue. There are lab tests which can be done privately, but I also use iridology, muscle response testing and case history,” Caroline says.

“These tests are not available on the NHS and if they were, there is no pharmaceutical drug which can cure. The only way I know to help leaky gut, is an individualised nutritional programme. One of the biggest lessons I have learned as a new practitioner, is that clients who have leaky gut do NOT necessarily have severe digestive system issues of IBS. The range of symptoms I have seen with Leaky Gut Syndrome is very far reaching, from rheumatoid arthritis, to chronic fatigue”.

Caroline Gilmartin is a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist who practices in Kent, Manchester and London. She owns and runs Nutraclin and is a full member of the Naturopathic Nutrition Association (NNA) and an associate member of the General Naturopathic Council.