The above video is 2:52 minutes long.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: I love this interview with Lee Holmes! In the above video, she tells us about her battle with an autoimmune disease. On diagnosis, the doctors heavily prescribed her pharmaceutical drugs and told her that nutrition played no part in her recovery (while she was fed stale white bread in hospital as part of her diet!).
Lee openly shares her journey and explains the steps she took to help overcome her disease.
“The gut sends more messages to the brain than the brain does to the gut, so what’s really in charge of our thoughts and feelings is our gut.”
― Lee Holmes, Holistic Nutritionist
About Lee Holmes: She is an holistic nutritionist, a qualified wholefoods chef and wellness coach. She is also the founder of Supercharged Food, which is a website that stemmed from a need to share easy and simple recipes after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease; fibromyalgia and changing her diet to help improve her symptoms.
Lee Holmes Full Interview: Ayurveda, Gut Health & Using Real Food to Beat My Autoimmune Disease
- Please share your journey and history with your autoimmune disease.
- What led you to investigate nutrition as a healing protocol and use food as medicine?
- What were the foods/food groups that you eliminated as part of your healing process?
- We’d love to talk about your Ayurvedic journey… first up – what is Ayurveda?
- If someone suspects their gut is not healthy, what three tips would you give them to start their own healing journey?
- And much much more…
Get More Of Lee Holmes:
Guy: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 and welcome to this week’s health sessions, where we cut through the confusion by connecting with leading global health and well experts to share the best of the latest science and thinking empowering people to turn their health and lives around. We’re doing it this week with our fantastic guest Lee Holmes, who is the co-founder of Supercharged Food. She has an amazing story to tell. She was diagnosed with an autoim-, get my words out, autoimmune disease probably, I think it was 5 or 6 years ago. When she went to the doctors they wanted to prescribe her medication, and told her that she could potentially go on it for the rest of her life. She had a big wake-up call and decided to take the more holistic route, and 5 to 6 years on she has been doing fantastically well and has been spreading the word of healthy nutrition, gut health, et cetera.
We tap into Lee’s wisdom today, if you like, on Ayurvedic journey as well, which was very fascinating in how that can apply to us, and the steps she took to also heal her own gut where she believes, and I believe too, that most of our health issues can come from as well. She also shares some great tips for anyone starting out on their own gut health journey … So how we can apply it into our today’s lives. So lots of great content in there, and I have no doubt you’re going to get a huge amount out of this. As always, as well, I’m going to ask if you wouldn’t mind leaving a review, subscribing to us and hitting the 5 star. Super important on iTunes, it basically helps us bring all this message on wellness to millions as we’ve made it our mission to turning lives around. And if you’re really enjoying the podcast and you do get something out of it, I’d be greatly appreciative. You just take 30 seconds to do that for us, and that will help reach other people too. So let’s go over to Lee Holmes, enjoy the episode. Thank you.
Stu:[inaudible 00:02:15] I’m just going to do the podcast like this. How’s that? Can you [inaudible 00:02:13] maybe I should just do it like that.
Guy:Yes, that’s better.
Lee:I prefer that.
Guy:All right, let’s go. Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cook, as always. Hey, Stu.
Guy:And our lovely guest today is Lee Holmes. Lee, welcome to the show.
Lee:Thanks for having me.
Guy:It’s great. I’ve been starting to follow you on social media, and judging by your posts you seem to be wizzing around the country a lot. You’re a very busy person.
Lee:I have been away a lot. I’ve been on tour because I released a couple of book. So I’ve been all around Australia, which has been so fun.
Guy:Yes, that’s incredible. I get worn out watching you. I understand, just for our listeners that might not be familiar with you and your work, now I understand you haven’t always worked in the health industry. You’ve been on a bit of a journey yourself.
Guy:Would you mind taking us back to what you used to do, what happened, and why you’ve ended up where you are today basically.
Lee:Yes, absolutely. For me, it started about 5 to 6 years ago. I was working at the ABC. I was working in the kids music department, looking after the Wiggles, Bananas in Pajamas, working with a lot of kids artists, doing their albums and TV shows and that kind of thing. It was really fun, super fun job. But I work out one day and I literally could not get out of bed. I just had no idea what was wrong, but I had chronic fatigue. And then I noticed that my hair started to fall out in clumps upon the pillow. Then I had hives covering my whole body. I literally looked like the elephant woman. I lost a lot of weight. In the space of a month, I lost 12 kilos.
Lee:I just couldn’t keep anything down. I had arthritis. I had gut-related symptoms. I was just so tired. But as you do as a parent, I kept on going into work until one day I had a monumental crash, and from there I went through what I found to be a really complex medical system. I went from doctor to doctor, scan to scan, more clumps of hair, lots of needles, lots of scans. I was put in the hospital in and out for about 3 months in St. Vincent’s Hospital. They diagnosed me with an autoimmune probably and fibromyalgia, which is an arthritic-type condition where you get lots of muscular pain and tissue pain.
From there, they put me on a cocktail of drugs. I was put on immunosuppressants, anti-inflammatories, anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics, you name it. Twenty pills a day I was taking. I guess for me, the real problem was that I couldn’t distinguish between the side effects of the drugs and the symptoms of the autoimmune issues. So for me, I was just in a blur. I was pretty much in a fog the whole time. I spoke to my doctors about it, and I said, “Do you think this could be food-related?” Because I do notice that when I eat certain foods, the symptoms really flare up. If I eat sugar, I notice that the hives come up. If I have too much gluten or dairy, I notice that I get lots of aches and pains. They said, “No, no. Nothing to do with that at all. Keep on eating this hospital food.” Which might I add was two pieces of stale white bread, some plastic cheese, plastic ham, revoking desserts.
Eventually after that, I didn’t deal with doctors and I said look. I had studied food and nutrition, and I’ve also been to cooking school, so I said look, if I change my diet I’ll still take my medication, but if I feel better can I ween myself off? They said, “Yes, knock yourself out. Go for it.” That’s what I did. I started changing my diet. I started to feel a lot better, and from there I was creating recipes and I would pop them up onto my blog, superchargedfood.com. That’s where it all began, five years ago.
Guy:Do you think you have to wait for the crash before you …
Guy:… To make the changes? Because I’m always fascinated by that in the way we live our lives, and sometimes we can ignore them. Symptoms … Were them symptoms there for a while before …
Lee:Yes. They were. I think it was a slow process of just getting more and more tired, lacking more energy. I think I wasn’t really listening to my body. You know how we have that inner intelligence? I was so busy, I was so distracted that I wasn’t really listening to my body. I had to have that crash in order for me to go, okay what’s the most important thing? The most important thing is health.
Stu:Why do you think … Was not just going to be food. You might eat the odd sandwich here and there, but that’s probably not going to lead you to crash unless you’re compounding that with lack of sleep, stress, poor food, alcohol, and environmental toxins. Things like that. Was it a combination of all of those things? Were there any particular triggers for you?
Lee:There were particular food and lifestyle triggers. Some of the food triggers were, as I mentioned before, gluten was one, sugar … At the time dairy. I’m okay with dairy now. Yeast as well was one. The lifestyle ones, obviously stress. I was stressed about being ill, and the stress of being ill just made me feel even more ill. I was caught in a cycle of having my body under surveillance, which is not a good place to be because you’re just eating things and you’re constantly thinking, is this going to make me ill? This is not good. I think it was definitely combination of things. Plus I was working full-time at the time, and I had a very busy, stressful job so I’m sure that that didn’t help the situation either.
Guy:Yes. All right. At one point do you specifically start looking at food? Was you hopeful at the time? You’ve hit rock bottom, you’re on these medications, and you’re like I’ve got to change something. Something needs to stick and work to pull yourself off it.
Lee:Yes. I felt like I guess at the time, I didn’t really have any other options. It was either stay on the medication for the rest of my life and be in a haze or do something about it, and I just thought to myself, as I had studied nutrition … Even though everything I learned in nutrition school was the opposite of how I really improved my health because I studied nutrition 28 years ago so it’s a long time ago. But at that time, I just thought if I supplement what I’m taking, the prescription medications, with a good diet, it’s not going to hurt me. It’s not going to be detrimental to me. That was my philosophy [inaudible 00:08:25]
Guy:How long ago was this Lee, and how do you feel …
Lee:About 6 years ago.
Guy:It was about 6 years ago, out of curiosity, how do you feel now?
Lee:Yes, I feel a lot better. I’m operating now at about 90 percent, so I feel really good. Lots of energy. Work full-time. Much, much better. I’m not on any medication which is good. I still do get aches and pains like arthritis when it gets cold and rainy, but I know how to really manage it and manage my symptoms. Yes, it’s good. I feel really good.
Stu:So for viewers that might be in a similar situation to where you used to be, and thinking about food as medicine … I know that food sensitivities and elimination diets can be tricky because sometimes we like to jump in and eliminate everything. Then as a consequence, we actually don’t know the foods that were holding us back. No way to really tell unless you perhaps go, well let’s pull gluten out. See how I feel, jot down a one week diary and then maybe move on to dairy and things like that. Did you pull everything out, and just go [gangbusters 00:09:31], or did you do it food group by food group?
Lee:I wish I had done it food group by food group, but at the time I was reacting to pretty much everything. My tummy was just not working at all. So for me, at the time, I had a very, very simple diet. I actually looked at my gut health, and I looked at … I have a program on my website called the Heal Your Gut program, which is what I actually did during that 4 week period where I really gave my tummy a rest. What the food that I was eating was more like soups, smoothies, things that are really easy to digest. It wasn’t like a juice cleanse or anything like that, but I was eating very natural foods. Nothing that was going to bother me, and very, very, very simple diet. And from there, I felt that since I’d given my symptoms a rest, my gut a rest, I started to heal the lining of my gut, did all of that. I felt that then I could reintroduce some of the foods back in.
So I did that, and I noticed that I started to get my energy. I introduced foods that were already better for me. Instead of eating Lean Cuisine, which is what I was living on before, I would have healthy smoothies with …
Guy:We love smoothies.
Lee:And lots of … So I’d noticed that instead of the drugs … Instead of taking, say the antibiotics, I would have more garlic. Instead of the anti-inflammatories, I would have more turmeric, which is really anti-inflammatory. They’re the kinds of things that I was doing. I was swapping out those powerful ingredients that I researched and studies and worked into recipes.
Guy:When you tackled this approach, eliminating foods and then bringing nourishing foods in, when did you start noticing the difference? Was it instantaneously? Was it weeks, months?
Lee:I think for me, when I did give my system a rest for that first four weeks, I did noticeably feel a lot different, especially in the way that my energy level started to improve. But with the hair growing back and the skin improving and those kinds of things, it took longer. So really, it took … Honestly, it took a year or two to really feel much, much better.
Guy:Yes, it takes a while to repair the gut.
Lee:It’s not an overnight thing. It definitely took time.
Guy:I’m interested to touch on the stress point as well because do you think you could have gone back to your job and carried on? Or do you think you needed to make the complete change?
Lee:I think that by the time I finished my job, I couldn’t go on any further, so I didn’t really have a choice. I could have gone back to work, but because I was so passionate about blogging and doing the recipes and doing all of that, then I made it all work around how I was feeling and the energy levels and that kind of thing. But I slowly came back to work, one day, then two days, and it took a while.
Guy:Build up your strength, and then you can tolerate the stress better.
Lee:Also with the stress, I am a yoga teacher, yoga and meditation heater. I found that yoga and meditation were perfect ways, or really, really, really good ways for me to look after the stress component of … Because a lot of autoimmune diseases, stress just makes them a lot worse.
Guy:Do you meditate daily?
Lee:Yes. I mediate, and nightly actually. So what I do is as well, I do my own yoga and meditation, but I love listening to meditation online so you can go in and Google meditation for whatever and they come up, there’s lots of them. I’ve got a few favorites.
Guy:I’m just curious because I meditate, has that been a fundamental part of your healing do you think?
Lee:I think so. Yes. I definitely … I really do think so. Also just coping with the inevitable ups and downs of life, I think it just gives you the tools in order for you to be calmer and also the mind-body connection is really strong as well. Having a positive mental attitude can really help, I believe.
Guy:So you respond to situations instead of react.
Guy:I know you’ve been obvious on the Food Matters Tour … We had John Gabriel on the podcast.
Guy:That guy got me into meditation. If there’s anyone ever that’s enthusiastic about something, it’s him.
Lee:He’s so good. At the Food Matters Tour, we did one on stage, like for every show we went around Australia. But he did his meditation, and his voice, what a voice, it’s amazing. We are so relaxed. He’s great.
Stu:I’m sitting here nodding yes, I love it. Love this meditation. I don’t meditate. I’ve tried it and failed miserably.
Lee:You can start slowly though. Even if you’re just starting for 5 minutes. You don’t have to sit there with your legs crossed and make it really uncomfortable. You can just … You don’t have to the thing …
Stu:I feel I did. I’ve gotten incense in my mouth as well trying to …
Lee:You can do it in traffic. All it is is making that connection between your breath and your body. Even if you’re just taking a big deep breath in into the belly, feeling your tummy as you come in, and then exhaling and feeling it contract as you exhale. Just a couple of big belly breaths is so good for you. That’s meditating.
Stu:I do that. I do nasal breaths, in slowly and deeply and that kind of stuff. That’s the extent … I’ve got a busy household, three kids, it’s manic here and I’m just trying to think if I’m sitting here like a guru in the lounge with an incense stick coming out my mouth, kids are just going to laugh. I do try. I do try. For me, again, other practices put me in a meditative state like ocean swimming and just getting out … Connecting with the elements.
Lee:Exactly. That’s a form of meditation. Beautiful.
Stu:There you go, you hear that, Guy?
Guy:Yes. No, I never bagged you, mate. I never bagged you.
Stu:Yes, all right. I do meditate.
I really wanted to talk to you about your Ayurvedic journey. There will be a whole head of people who haven’t got a clue what that is, but I was intrigued to read about your trip to India and how you connected with a whole history of really powerful protocols. Please discuss that, but first off, what is Ayurveda?
Lee:So Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old medical system that comes from India. I come from India too. My mother is Welsh, as we were chatting about before and my father is Indian, so it’s a really interesting combination. But I grew up in England. I had a very British upbringing because my father was in the British military. He was a colonel in the British army. We had a really British upbringing, but I always had this amazing, deep desire to go and go to India, and explore my heritage and my culture.
Two years ago, with my friend Erica who’s Indian, we traveled over to Kerala in South India and we did a course. We studied Ayurvedic nutrition. Ayurvedic nutrion, cooking, yoga, and Ayurvedic medicine with a doctor over there. It was fantastic. In the morning we would get up, we would do a little big of yoga. We would do study, and then after study we would do practical cooking classes. Then after that, we would eat the food and we would do yoga in the afternoon. It was really, really fun. We really got a great handle on Ayurveda.
It’s a very, very complicated subject and so what I’ve tried to do in my book Eat Right With Your Shape is is distill all that information down, and bring it into a palatable form, because it is quite … There’s a lot of things that you have to remember. But it doesn’t really have to be complicated because when you think about it, we are doing Ayurveda every day. Eating seasonally is Ayurveda. Doing yoga and meditation is Ayurveda. All of that … Eating simply, just a few ingredients … That’s Ayurveda as well.
A little bit more about Ayurveda, it’s based on three Doshas. Doshas are energies that circulate around your body. They govern your philological activity, they govern your character even, your personality. There are three of them. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata … Hands up if you think you’re a Vata. Vata are people who are … Like tall, long limbs, quite flighty, quite nervous energy. You’ve got your hand up there.
Stu:My hand is up. My hand is up.
Lee:I’m a Vata too. Then there’s Pitta. Hot blooded, overheated, make good leaders, very strong kind of people. Pitta are quite muscular … What did you think you’re Pitta?
Stu:I’m thinking Guy, that’s not you.
Lee:The third one is Kapha. Kapha is more of a heavier set kind of build, very slow moving, need to eat foods that really boost and speed up their metabolism … Things like chili, paprika, cayenne, those kinds of things. Vata, because we’re quite flighty, sort of nervous disposition, we have to eat more grounding, slow-cooked grounding foods. Pitta, because they’re quite overheated, eating cooling foods … Smoothies, cucumbers, those kinds of foods are really, really good.
What Ayurveda is, it’s really about your one … You’re a bit of all of those doshas, but one of them goes out of balance. What it is is about bringing that one back into balance, because Ayurveda says like increases like.
Guy:I was going to say can you be a mix? Because there’s …
Lee:Yes, you can be a mix. I would say you look like that you’re a mix of Kapha Pitta or Pitta Kapha.
Guy:Yes, sounds about right.
Lee:Yes, that’s kind of what it’s about. In the book, there’s 120 recipes and they’re all into seasons as well, but you can eat all of the recipes in the book. You just switch a couple of ingredients based on your dosha. It’s quite interesting. And then the other … There are four healing modalities in Ayurveda. The first one is eating a good balanced diet. Then there’s yoga and meditation. Then there’s cleansing and detoxing as well, which is a big part of it as well … And herbs. And oil massages, so there’s four all together.
Those things together … I guess what Ayurveda is is you know how in Western medicine, we look at a disease and we tackle that disease head on?
Lee:Ayurveda looks at the person as a whole and it brings the whole body back into balance. It’s a holistic thing. It doesn’t target a specific disease, it tackles the whole person. I think that’s really interesting. [crosstalk 00:20:19]
Stu:If I could then … I’ve determined that I am Vata, and it’s a very complex system. We all live such busy lives nowadays. If you could give me one top tip, to say … Well you’re Vata, you really should just be concentrating on this. If you could get this nailed down, then you’d be well on your way to feeling better.
Lee:I’ll give you a couple of things. The first thing is to eat a really beautiful grounding dinner. If you feel that you’ve been travelling a lot or you’ve been out and about a lot, eat something like slow-cooked lamb if you eat meat. Something really warm and nourishing for the body. The second thing I would say to you is do some forward bends. Just stand up and bring your head below your knees if you can, and that really helps clear your mind and it helps to ground you as well. So just those two things, if you could do those … [crosstalk 00:21:14]
Stu:What if I can’t get my head below my knees because that sounds …
Lee:Just hang your neck down.
Stu:You might hear a snapping sound if I tried that.
Lee:You can do a forward bend on the floor, so you can have your legs out in front of you and you can do a forward bend that way because that kind of helps to ground you as well.
Guy:I think you should do that often, Stu.
Stu:Absolutely. Well I tell you, if I did try to do that I would certainly be grounded. I would be on the ground. I think I would fall over. But that’s excellent.
Guy:Have you incorporated 100% into your lifestyle? [crosstalk 00:21:47] Or is it bit by bit.
Lee:Yes. Bit by bit. I don’t think that … I think it’s difficult to be able to do it all the time, especially when you’re travelling a lot. But I think just, even if you do one meal a week, or what I do is I do the Vata plan and when I’m feeling I’m i, because I’m Vata-Pitta, I will have a nice smoothie, those kinds of things like that. It doesn’t have to be difficult. You have this plan, and then you have to do this, and then you have to do that. Really it’s just about listening to your body and going okay, how do I feel today. Is my Pitta a bit high? Am I feeling a bit hyped up? And then just …
Guy:Have you found it to be very effective, obviously you’re writing a book about it, on your healing journey?
Lee:Absolutely. Absolutely. I found, it’s really funny isn’t it? Because I’ve written all of these books. I’ve written Eat Your Way to Good Health. I’ve written Eat Yourself Beautiful. Eat Clean, Green, and Vegetarian; Heal Your Gut; Supercharge Food for Kids. Now I’m back where I came from in India with the Ayurvedic thing. It’s almost like I have come full circle.
Guy:Here’s a question to help our listeners. If they are back where you were starting, stressed at work, they got symptoms coming. They’ve been building for years. They’re in a dialogue [inaudible 00:23:01] to tell them you need to make some change, the resistance to the changes. What would be three tips you would tell that person, with everything you’ve learned, all these books, on where to start from that point?
Lee:I would say … The very first thing I would say is try and listen to your body. Try and make some time to, if you can, just have one healthy meal a day. I know that is quite difficult for some people when they’re working full-time, but even if it’s a smoothie in the morning, but something nourishing … Something that’s going to really nourish and heal the body. I would say that. I would say take up some kind of yoga or meditation or something where you’re connecting the mind to the body. I think that’s really important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t have to go and do a yoga class. Like I said, you can do one yoga pose in the morning, a forward bend. That’s all you need to do. You will really start to clear your mind. If, as you said, they’re working full-time, I recommend one of the best things to do when you come home from work is write everything down that you have to do for the next day and then put it away. I think that’s one of the most important things, because then you can just clear it. Clear it out of your mind.
Guy:I wanted just to pull back on that smoothie as well because that is a really quick way of starting the day in the right way. You’re the Supercharged chef. What would the Supercharged chef put in her morning smoothie if you want to really [crosstalk 00:24:31]
Lee:Actually I just made one. Do you want to know what I put in it?
Lee:Like really authentic and all, but I did just make one. I made it. I’ve got one of these, what is it? Breville box things, and it’s got the actual container … It’s really easy to make. What I do is I had two cups of spinach actually, you don’t have to go that far, you can just put one cup of spinach in. I did have some [inaudible 00:24:52] protein, so I threw that in there as well. I had some coconut milk, I put that in there. What else did I use? I used half a banana. I put half a banana in there. It was really simple actually. I put a little bit of vanilla. I’ve got a herb wall at the back of my place, so I did throw in a few leaves of mint and that was it. That’s what I did this morning.
Stu:Bingo. Okay. Can I tell you what I did for my morning smoothie because I would like to get your analysis because you’re the boss. A third of a cucumber, a huge handful of spinach, a half an avocado … We’ve got a vegan super-food blend, so it’s got lots of nuts and seasoned things mixed in, so a couple of scoops of that, I put in half a can of coconut cream, a spoonful of cinnamon, and I blitzed it up.
Lee:Nice. That sounds really good.
Stu:Right okay, because …
Lee:The other thing that you can do to that, because I have [inaudible 00:25:50] similar, is put some cacao leaves. Just stir them in at the end so when you’re drinking it, you get the crunch of that cacao. It’s really yummy. Then you’re going to get your magnesium in there as well. You’re going to get a bit of a buzz from it as well, so eat cacao leaves.
Guy:That’s excellent on a cake.
Stu:Who would have thought that something that tasty would be such an amazing way to start the day as well?
Guy:Now, [crosstalk 00:26:12]
Lee:Oh, sorry. I was going to say you’ve got your fiber in there with your grains, which is really good [inaudible 00:26:18]. You’ve got your coconut cream with your good fats which helps the assimilation of the nutrients from those grains. So that’s pretty much a power-packed smoothie. It’s a good one.
Guy:My two-sense with that, because I have green smoothies all the time as well … If somebody is listening to this, there’s a diet high in sugar, maybe processed foods, not really making that connection yet … Solo putting greens in a smoothie could be like a million miles away. You’re going oh that’s disgusting. In your judgment, would you say it tastes amazing and it’s worth doing or do the tastes change to adopt to the smoothies [crosstalk 00:26:54]
Lee:Yes. Do you know what? I would probably start with a berry and banana smoothie. I’d make it really simple. Milk, whatever kind of milk works for you, half cup of berries, a banana or half a banana, a bit of cinnamon or vanilla, and that’s all you need to do to start with, just to start with. Then you can put a couple of leaves in next time.
Guy:I was going to say … Yes.
Lee:I wouldn’t use kale because kale is really bitter in a smoothie. I don’t like kale in a smoothie.
Guy:I hate kale.
Lee:Yes. I’m not a big fan. I like kale in an omelet or kale …
Lee:… In the oven with a bit of sea salt and garlic, it’s really nice. But in a smoothie, it just … And it’s a bit hard on the gut as well. If you really want to have something nurturing and yummy, I would say a beautiful banana and berry smoothie just to start with. Then a coup-, add a few leaves and see how it goes.
Guy:Perfect. Yes, I find spinach leaves non-offensive. I can just throw them in, and …
Lee:Yes. Exactly. Spinach leaves. Herbs are really fun as well. If you’ve got some mint or you’ve got anything, you can even put basil in a smoothie. That’s fine.
Stu:You know what? It’s funny you should say that. I put one up on Instagram on Saturday. I went out and bought a whole heap of fresh herbs and I had mint, coriander, basil, and I threw some parsley int here as well. I couldn’t really taste it that much apart from the basil, which is more potent. But it’s great. Really nice. Just another way of getting your greens there, which I think is excellent. I love the diversity. We never know what these nutrients and combinations will do for us, and little combinations of nutrients, photo-nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, the more the better. Give it a go.
Lee:Absolutely. One of my favorite drinks to have from [inaudible 00:28:37] I love it, I’ll just quickly talk you through it because I love it. It’s my anti-inflammatory [inaudible 00:28:43], it’s really delicious. What I do is on the stove top, cook that milk or almond milk, whatever milk, cashew milk is really nice … One teaspoon of turmeric, a whole cinnamon stick, throw it in there, nutmeg, some chai spices, cardamine, cardamine [inaudible 00:29:01] throw them in there too. Just give it a stir, and then turn it off and just let it brew for about 10 minutes. Strain it, and it’s just the most beautiful, warming, anti-inflammatory drink. Really good for the gut, really great for the system, and it helps you sleep so that’s a beautiful one, anti-inflammatory [inaudible 00:29:16].
Stu:Right, okay. Bingo. I was just going to say …
Lee:I’ll send you guys the video for that.
Guy:Please do. That sounds amazing.
Stu:Yes, please do because I was going to say, does it help you sleep? Because again, if we’re not dialed into our sleep then … House of cards which is our health just falls apart.
Lee:I absolutely agree with that. I do this sleep called sleep cycle. I don’t’ know if you guys do that.
Lee:But it’s so good. It analyzes how you sleep, the percentage of sleep you get, whether you get into deep sleep or light sleep and it gives you a percentage. You’re right, it’s amazing.
Stu:Look, it’s very good. It’s really good to track that stuff as well because it just gives you a set point, and you think, right I can work to better this. So you try different things and then you’re halfway there.
I wanted to take you back to gut health because you’ve written a book about it and I think it’s critical to be aware of what we need to be doing, what could potentially be going wrong. It just seems to be connected to so many health issues moving forward, because of the prevalence of antibiotics, stress, poor sleep, all of these things, so my question to you is: If someone suspects their gut isn’t healthy, where would you start? What would you do?
Lee:You can go and get tested. It just depends really on the symptoms, whether you have bloating, whether you’re not digesting your food properly, if you have constipation, diarrhea, you can even get things like tiredness from a gut that’s not working properly. You can get hives as well and skin irritations, so it really depends on the symptoms that you have, but looking at the gut … I’ve got a four phase gut healing, so a protocol that I followed when I was really healing myself. The four steps for me were looking at the gut, changing your diet to a really simple diet, doing those easily digestible meals … Smoothies, soups, [inaudible 00:31:08], those kinds of things. Then after that, once my gut had healed the lining, then it’s about cleansing and detoxing the body. And you can do that through a clean diet, a healthy diet. You can do that through adding in things like garlic, oil of oregano, there are a few microbials, those kinds of things that you can do. Then once you’ve done that, it’s really about putting the good bacteria back into your gut.
If you think you’ve got a bad gut and you just start eating fermented foods, you’re not doing it in the right order. You’ve got to really rest the gut first, then you’ve got to cleanse the gut, then you can repopulate with good food … Kimchi, [inaudible 00:31:42], those kind of things. Probiotic rich foods. For some people who have a histamine intolerance, fermented foods are not going to work. They just really upset your stomach, so it’s really just about finding those things. You can take probiotics if you wanted to, you can take it one step further and get it all analyzed and find out which strains you need for … In your body.
Then the fourth step to a gut, to a healthy gut, for me, is really about the gut-brain connection, through the Vagus nerve. It’s really about … It’s interesting, you know? The gut sends more messages to the brain than the brain does to the gut, so what’s really in charge of our thoughts and feelings is our gut. We have another immune system that sits right here. Eighty percent of serotonin is manufactured there, so the way that we feel is really connected to having a healthy gut. So the fourth part of it is really looking at your life, like you said before, looking at your life. Am I in a happy job? Am I living somewhere I want to live? Looking at it holistically and going, okay, maybe I need to make some changes.
Guy:I always think about stress as well, and the feelings of anxiety and anxiousness that you put on your gut everyday.
Lee:Yes, exactly. And that’s going into that immune system, and you want those immune tissues in your gut, that settles there. You want them to be functioning optimally so you can absorb the nutrients from your food, so you can digest your food better.
Guy:Yes, exactly. It’s interesting as well because I know a lot of people will take a probiotic, and they’ll even do detoxes. But they haven’t even addressed the gut in the first place, and one of the greatest steps I was told a long, long time ago is whatever you do, address your gut first before you do a detox. Otherwise you’ve got dysbiosis.
Guy:You’re actually making the liver and everything release all these toxins and then that’s going into a leaky gut, which is actually inflaming the issue.
Lee:I agree with that.
Guy:See, I know my stuffs too.
Lee:You know your stuff.
Stu:He does. He knows everything that I’ve taught him. That’s what he knows. Do you supplement at all for gut health? Because I know there are a couple of little key supplements out there that really do help to nourish. I wonder what you do.
Lee:Yes, I use supplements. I take zinc and B6, and I also take probiotics. Before I went to India, I did take quite a lot of probiotics and I didn’t get sick at all when I was in India so I thought that was really cool. Sometimes I take magnesium, but that’s all I take. I try and get it from my food, but if I feel like I’ve been flying around a lot, doing a lot of things, and I feel like I’ve got low energy, then I will take some zinc, magnesium … They’re the main ones that I use, and probiotics. I think probiotics are good. But you want to switch them around a little bit, because you don’t want to have too much of the one strain.
Guy:Great tip. Do you ever re-test your gut or do you just go as how I feel now? It’s great, or is there a protocol every couple of years or … What are your thoughts on that?
Lee:I haven’t, although I think if you do have IBD or something like that, you should get it tested every couple of years to see how you’re going with it. If you have Inflammatory Bowels Disease or Chrone’s or Syliacs, I think that’s a good idea. Personally, I just listen to my body and I know that … For me, two days a week I still do my Heal Your Gut program myself. I just do liquid, beautiful soups, smoothies and things like that just to give my body a rest. I find the day after that, I feel like I’ve got so much energy. It’s good to sort of give your tummy a rest that way. That’s the way I do it. I just listen to my body these days.
Guy:Fantastic. The question we have here as well, I know for parents, being a mom yourself, how much have you incorporated this lifestyle in the children? And has there been an impact made on them too? Have you seen any noticeable changes if you have?
Lee:Yes. It’s really interesting with my daughter. She’s 20 now, she’s nearly 21. I’ve always got something really yummy and tasty and healthy at home that she will eat. But growing up and going to school, she wasn’t 100% healthy. When you’re a kid, you want to just enjoy certain treats and certain foods and things like that, so I think it’s really important to have that balance, especially with kids. But my daughter has just got a new boyfriend, well he’s about a year into the relationship now, and he’s really into going into the gym and getting really healthy and that kind of thing. He’s influenced her as well that way. She always had it in her, but now she’s more interested in getting fit and adopting, yes.
Guy:Would you have any tips for any parents with young children? Because I know it can be a fear, especially as they … They’re getting so much different information. Stuart probably obviously can speak … Because I don’t’ have children yet. But there’s so much information out there. They’re concerned about antibiotics in all the foods that they have and so forth. How would you give a parent a tip to maybe incorporate, I guess, healthier foods that can help at least nourish the gut or support it as they’re growing up.
Lee:I think for me, I do have a book Supercharged Food for Kids, and in that I talk about all different thing. I talk about how to be your own role model to your children, so having healthy options at home in the fridge if you can is also really good, because they learn … They’re very much influenced by you. If you’ve got the right food available for them then that’s good. Other things, if you can at least cook a healthy dinner and eat together as a family. There’s research that shows eating together as a family creates less cravings in children, and I think we’ve really lost the art of sitting together at night at the table as a family, because we’re all busy. Either we’re on the phone or something is going on. We’re very distracted, so even just planning one day a week where you sit down and have a meal together is really good.
I’ve got a section in the book about how to sneak super foods into kids’ meals, and that’s really interesting. There’s things like if you’re making a marinara sauce, I blend up veggies or blend up some celeries and carrot in there. If I’m making a smoothie, I’ll put a couple of spinach leaves in. If I’m making muffins, I’ll throw in some chia seeds. Obviously, kids need a lot of vitamins and minerals. Their recommended daily allowances are just very broad based. Different kids need different things. If you’re getting the right amount of, obviously, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, B vitamins for mental … For them going to school. They need obviously energy production as well, so trying to sneak those foods in is one way that parents can do it as well.
Stu:Top tips, I would say. Absolutely.
Stu:Supercharged chef, now you look vibrant, you look like you’ve got heaps of energy, your skin is glowing. Everybody will want to know what’s your daily routine? What are you non-negotiables? What do you do everyday, things that you just have to do to dial into the way you look now and the way you feel?
Lee:One thing that I really have to do is take my dog for a walk because my dog, she’s … Her name is Maple. She’s a cavoodle, and she runs the house. She demands that I take her out to … I live in Bondi Junction, so we walk over to Centennial Park, and we walk around the park so that gets me out about and doing a bit of exercise. I teach yoga as well. A couple of days a week I’ll be teaching as well, so that’s good. What are the non-negotiables? The two days a week I do do the really easy-to-digest foods. That’s kind of a non-negotiable. For me, it makes me feel so much better, and just incorporating a little bit of meditation at night into my day is really good as well. They’re the kind of things that I do.
Guy:Fantastic. We always have a couple on the show. One is, and I was almost going to ask for a comparison, “what did you eat yesterday” is one of the questions, but I’d be interested to know how your diet used to look in a typical day when you were at the ABC, and then what you ate yesterday.
Lee:Yes, so at the ABC I would have some type of cereal or toast with something on it. Then I’d just rush into work, and then for work I’d have Lean Cuisine or Sirena Tuna with inflammatory sunflower oil and salad. I would have a salad. Then for dinner, it would be like Lean Cuisine or something from a packet. It wasn’t that great. It was just something instant, really quick.
Yesterday, I had the same smoothie actually that I had today, yesterday in the morning. Then for lunch, I actually just got a piece of salmon and I put into some broth. Actually I just poached it on the stove top. I took it off, it was just a quick meal. I put some sheets of seaweed on top, and then some sesame seeds. It was really, really, really easy and beautiful.
Then at about 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, I just slow-cooked two lamb shanks. I had those in lamb broth. I just put them into the pan. Actually what I did first was I chopped up some carrot and celery and I threw that into the pan, sort of browned it off. Then with the lamb shanks, I browned those off as well. Threw them all into the slow cooker with some bone broth, threw that in as well. I used some coconut aminos in it yesterday. I just wanted to have a simple kind of thing, and I added herbs from the garden. We had it last night and it was so yummy. I did it with a cauliflower mash, and I just … I’ve got Thermomix, so I threw in some cauliflower. It was really easy. I boiled it in the Thermomix for 20 minutes, turned it off. Then I whipped in some lactose-free yogurt and some tahini, just one spoon of tahini and some sea salt. Whipped it all up so it was so light, put that into the bowl, put the lamb shanks on top with all the juice and carrot and the herbs. It was really yummy. Actually I didn’t take a photo of it, but I should have.
Stu:That sounds good, and there will be listeners out there thinking, oh that’s too much bother. I can’t do that.
Lee:No, but it was easy. The lunch took 7 minutes. It takes 7 minutes poach salmon. That took 7 minutes. The breakfast took 5 minutes, because it was a smoothie. And the slow cooking, I probably fiddled around for 10 minutes, just getting the carrots done and that, and then I put it in the slow cooker and I left. And [inaudible 00:42:14] mash did take about 20 minutes to do, but by the time I was hungry and I was ready for it.
Stu:You’re ravenous. I was going to say the slow cooker is a really, really easy solution because it’s meat, veg, switch it on, go to work. And it’s … We probably have two slow cooked meals a week and it’s so easy.
Lee:That’s good. And do you feel your Vata is really settled after those slow cooked meals?
Stu:I do. I do. Because the meat cooks and the juices and the fat comes out. It’s so tender. I guess being more tender will help, will aid digestion so less work.
Lee:The bone broth is really good too because it heals and seals the lining of your digestive system, so that’s a really good one. I thought last night I made a really beautiful-gut-feeling meal.
Guy:Just to add to all that, looking at your comparisons of what you used to eat … Because we’ve all been there. I used to eat like that. For the doctors that turn around and say, “Don’t even bother looking at food.” But when you look at them comparisons, it’s incredible.
Guy:I think if anyone is listening to this that could be going, “Oh, shit. That’s me.” Right now, like you said, even if it’s just one meal a day you can start with … Because this has been a big journey for you, right? It’s not like you turned it out overnight.
Lee:Yes, it sure has. I think one of the interesting things, two interesting things about that, is that the taste of the food I’m eating now is so much better. That’s the first thing, it just tastes so good. I’m so used to eating beautiful food, like gorgeous food. Then the second thing is in what I’m eating now, there’s so many more nutrients even though it’s quite simple. You’re getting your omega 3 and fatty acids. You’re getting all of the things that you need to build a great, healthy body.
Guy:Awesome, awesome. We’ve got one more question that we ask everyone on the show and it’s what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Lee:Actually, it was about public speaking. I was doing a rugby league tournament. I had to go and give the trophy to a team up in, up North. This aboriginal lady came up to me, because it was probably the first time I had to really public speak and I was really nervous. She had the big wiry hair, she had no teeth. She was a great lady, a real character, and she said to me, “Just speak from the heartache.” That’s what she said to me. I just, every time I do a talk or have to go and do something, I hear her voice saying, “Just speak from the heartache.” I thought that was the best piece of advice. It was really lovely.
Guy:Awesome. You can carry that into daily life as well. The food … Just before we wrap it up, were you nervous on the Food Matters Tour? Or would you just speak from the heart and get on stage?
Lee:Yes, I just spoke from the heart. I love cooking so for me it was great. The people were absolutely lovely. Everyone on the tour was fantastic, James and [inaudible 00:45:09] and James … Sorry and John Gabriel and Dr. [inaudible 00:45:13], they were all absolutely lovely. It was so much … It was a really fun tour actually. It was nice getting to know them. Yes, it was fantastic.
Guy:[inaudible 00:45:25] Fantastic. And last … What’s next for Lee Holmes?
Lee:So next, it’s quite exciting. I’m writing my next book at the moment so I’m going to go into lock-down soon. I’ve written the intro, I’m just working on some of the recipes. Then in October, my Heal Your Gut book is being released in America so I’m going over to America to talk about my book over there, which will be really, super fun. Then my Heal Your Gut program continues to run as well, so I’m just building that and making that even bigger and better.
Guy:Brilliant. For anyone listening to us, where’s the best place for them to go … Which website if they want to check our more?
Lee:Superchargedfood.com is my website.
Guy:Easy. We’re linked to all the [inaudible 00:46:07], so everyone can check it out when it goes live.
Lee:Thank you. Thanks guys.
Stu:Thank you so much for sharing all of that knowledge. It is unbelievable, and it looks … There are a few little gems in there that I’m going to try myself. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Guy:Awesome, thanks guys.
Stu:Thank you. Bye-bye.