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Amanda Bryce BPharm MPS AACPA ACNEM will co-host the FOOD IQ Wellbeing Series starting at Matters of Taste on Wednesday 1st June. Amanda discovered that studying Nutrition gave her answers enabling her to help many of her pharmacy customers who came to her for advice about their ailments, large or small.
Tracey asked a few questions to find out more about her story.
TRACEY: What made you research health from the perspective of food choices in addition to your medical training?
AMANDA: Two years ago I had a customer at work who I noticed had lost a lot of weight and looking fantastic. I knew she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a few months beforehand and her specialist advised a ‘caveman’ diet. I thought at the time, that it was very extreme, limiting and definitely not healthy as she was eliminating two essential food groups, dairy & carbohydrates. But she looked incredible and no longer had the markers of having diabetes, which as a pharmacist I had never heard of before. The seed had been planted.
A few months later I was cooking for a beautiful friend with cancer and the food I cooked needed to be low-FODMAP. I’d never even heard of this before. My fear was that my girlfriend was inadvertently missing out on some essential food groups (no wheat, onions, brassicas, night shades) so this time I started looking into what the consequences would be to her. After extensive methodical researching using my resources as a UWA lecturer, I came up with…nothing. I was astounded. As a foodie and nutrition junkie, this was a revelation. How could this be? I felt duped!
I learned what we really need and what we really don’t and decided to experiment on myself (and my loved ones). I eliminated grains, dairy and sugar gradually over a few weeks. I didn’t have any reason to do this other than to know for myself how I would feel. Losing 16kg was a very welcome side-effect which I had resigned was middle-aged spread! I had more energy, I slept better and didn’t crave something sweet in the afternoon. My blood pressure dropped from 134/90 to 110/70, and my cholesterol and random blood sugar levels reduced by a third. I wasn’t sick and all of my markers were within normal limits before I started, although I was overweight at 76kg.
Again, I didn’t have any major (or minor) health issues. I was just interested to see what would happen if I ate nutrient-dense food, with heaps of vegetables, lots of good fats and a moderate amount of well-sourced protein, all the time. I have been on this journey for 18 months now, don’t even think about portion control or calories and have maintained the same weight. For me, this is amazing!
TRACEY: How have you seen your philosophy of keeping your gut in tip top condition succeed in real life situations?
AMANDA: Gut problems would have to be the most common issue for my patients. Sometimes they are unaware of the connection. An asthmatic will often have reflux which makes their asthma worse. Or someone with anxiety presents with an irritable bowel. Or patients with Type 2 diabetes that have chronic diarrhoea. There is so much you can do to help yourself with these conditions, yet how often do health professionals talk about it?
At my work, we talk about poo a lot cause it’s so important! Not just the quantity but also the quality. How you can change this with the right amount of fibre and the difference between soluble and insoluble fibre. We discuss prebiotics as well as probiotics, which I know have had a bad rap recently but I’d love to discuss this further if you’re interested to hear the other side of the story.
Your gut is like a rainforest. It requires an amazing diversity of species to survive. Antibiotics and refined highly processed foods are like napalm – they decimate the rainforest, leaving an inhospitable environment that takes months to years to get back to normal.
Using probiotics after antibiotics is like planting an orchid after a bushfire. For anything to thrive you first have to prepare the ‘soil’ which is why prebiotic fibres are essential to a damaged gut before probiotics can thrive again. To reduce inflammation, bone broth is amazing for its healing properties. This is what we cover in the Wellbeing lectures and why it’s the cornerstone to a healthy gut. Our grandmothers were really into something as they fed us chicken soup when we were sick.
The more I learn, the more I believe that when you sort out your gut health, so many other issues fall into place.
If we are 90% bacteria, then we should be eating foods that nurture these bacteria. Foods full of preservatives are also affecting the bacteria in our gut. When our microbiome is disrupted, we know about it. Similarly when you eat foods that enrich your gut bacteria, such as prebiotic fibres, your gut feels wonderful.
There’s a good reason we have sayings like ‘follow your gut’ and ‘I’ve got a gut feeling’ because it’s your second brain. It’s also where our immune system comes from as well as where critical hormones like serotonin, the happy hormone, is made.
Gut health is critical to achieving overall health and this all begins by what we put in our mouth.
TRACEY: Why have you chosen these particular recipes for this series of classes?
AMANDA: The chosen recipes are some of my favourites. Tried and tested, they’re easy, affordable and taste delicious. Each one is power-packed with nutrients and can easily be adapted to accommodate food sensitivities. It is possible to eat amazing food on a daily basis without feeling that you’re missing out. I am so grateful for this journey and would love to help others on their journey too.
Take a look and book your place at the FOOD IQ Wellbeing Series details from this link. Join us for these exciting classes at Matters of Taste in Bicton.
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