Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
There’s no doubt about it, the paleo diet certainly has divided opinion (especially if you listen to the media)! We ask Marlies Hobbs, what are the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the world of paleo. Can you guess what they are?
If you like inspirational stories, then this one is for you, as we have on todays show Marlies, who is the co-founder of the Paleo Café along with her husband, Jai. She had a great career in law and threw it all in to start the Paleo Café.
After the birth of her dairy-intolerant son Troy, she had a new outlook on life and a sincere appreciation for the effects of food on our physical (and mental) health. After making massive changes in their own life when it come to the foods they ate and the direct impact it had on their health, what follows is a fantastic journey of courage and commitment as they set out to create a paleo cafe lifestyle revolution! Enjoy… Guy
Full Interview with Marlies Hobbs: Why I Risked It All To Start The Paleo Cafe
In this episode we talk about:
Why she quit her secure job in law to start a cafe revolution
The greatest lessons she’s learned about the paleo diet
How she handles her hashimoto disease through food
Why gut health is a main priority
The Food Strategies she uses for her children
How she lost 8kg in weight by making simple dietary changes
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.
Today, I’m sitting in the Paleo Café in Bondi Junction, Sydney, and this is place where myself and Stu like to try and have our business meetings so we can rely upon the food. But it’s also very relevant to today’s guest.
Now, I do wonder if people get the feeling, you know, sometimes their career is not serving them what they want to do or they’re trying to have more purpose and meaning to it all, I guess. What they’re trying to do with their life, even, in general. I know I certainly had that before starting 180 Nutrition and wanted to make a difference.
And, you know, today’s guest is no exception. So, if you like inspirational stories, this one’s for you, because we have on the show today Marlies Hobbs, who is the co-founder of the Paleo Café along with her husband, Jai. And she decided one day to give it up; all her job security. She had a great career in law and threw it all in to start the Paleo Café.
And so why did she do this? You know, it takes massive courage and dedication, that’s for sure. And obviously a lot of passion. But in a nutshell, they’d just had a newborn son, Troy, and when he was born he was suffering acid reflux for many, many months. He was vomiting a lot and it was causing multiple problems, obviously, to them and they were very worried about him. And they realized that; eventually they found out that he was dairy intolerant, and then they started looking into other foods that might be causing problems, not only to their son Troy but to their own health as well.
And she stumbled across the book The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and started applying the principles for that. Within five weeks, she’d dropped 8 kilos. Her digestive problems improved and Jai also lost a lot of weight as well and realized they wanted to make a difference in the food industry. And in 2012, the first Paleo Café was born. And it’s now 2015, as I’m saying this, and I think there’s 14 or 15 Paleo Cafes now across Australia, which are awesome. So if you’re in the neighborhood certainly check them out.
I don’t know about you, but if you are needing be inspired and motivated to make change, you’ll get a lot out of this episode today with Marlies. She explains it all, and of course her own health journey as well. It was fantastic to have her on the show.
We also get a lot of emails as well with people asking us, “How do I drop the last five kilos? How do I lose weight? How do I get around bloating?” You know there’s a lot of misinformation out there. So, obviously, with these podcasts and everything that we do, we get comments coming back every week, so we’ve put a quiz together. It’s very simple. You just go in and answer the multiple choice surveys and from that we can then give you content regarding what your answers were.
And some of the biggest roadblocks that we find are, you know, misinformation, people can’t lose the last five kilograms, and also they struggle sticking to their diet in general. So we’ve addressed all these issues and put them into some great information. All you need to do is go back to 180nutrition.com.au and take the quiz and go from there, basically.
But also give us some feedback on what you think of the videos. We’d love to hear from them. And everyone’s that been leaving reviews on iTunes over the last few weeks, really appreciate it. Keep them coming, if you haven’t. It only takes two minutes to do. It gives us good feedback, it helps with our rankings, and it helps us reach more people and it allows us to continue to get awesome guests so we can share them with you and you can listen to them on the podcast. So, head over to iTunes, five-star it, subscribe, leave a review, and it’s always appreciated and we love getting the feedback and thanks again for people who have left them; it’s greatly appreciated.
Anyway, I’m gonna start talking. Let’s go over to Marlies Hobbs. Enjoy.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stuart.
Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Marlies Hobbs. Marlies, welcome to the show.
Marlies Hobbs: Thank you for having me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, no, fantastic. We’ve got some awesome things to cover today. Everything paleo and the Paleo Café. But before we start any of that, would you mind sharing us a little bit about yourself and your journey prior to moving into the Paleo Café world?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, sure. So, basically, I grew up in Cairns, went to law school, and was practicing as a planning and environment lawyer until I had my first son Troy. And he was born really sick with a dairy intolerance. And it was through that experience that I really learned the profound effects of food on the body as well as the mind.
And at the time I was suffering from acne, digestion problems, fluid retention. Having issues with XXbloating?? 0:04:48.000XX. And I certainly didn’t wake refreshed. So, I had some health issues which I had just accepted as normal, but I guess being awoken to the impact of food on the body.
I had a bit of curiosity there, and Jai, my husband, was actually enjoying his CrossFit and his CrossFit coach told him about the paleo diet and Jai was really keen to give that a go.
And at the time, I was very skeptical. I had just gone through hell and back with my son. He was basically; he screamed for the first four and a half months of his life. You know, he was vomited and pooing blood. It was, like, a very traumatic time. He woke every hour throughout the night. I basically didn’t sleep.
And so, as we were coming out of that struggle, and Troy had been prescribed a dairy-free formula, because basically I had lost my milk because of the stress that that had put on my body and whatnot.
I guess I was really not in a position to want to try any new diets. I just really wanted to, I guess, rejuvenate. But he brought home The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and I read the first chapter and it suggested all these possibilities to actually heal myself from many of the health complaints that I was experiencing. So, it was at that point that I was prepared to give it a go. And we, as a family, gave it a go. Jai lose 10 kilos. I lost eight kilos. My skin cleared up in about six weeks. My digestion problems went away after about three. And we had energy. We had learned about a new way of looking at life. You know, getting out in the park and how great that is for us as a family. And actually stopping and laying there on the grass and appreciating all the gifts that Mother Nature has for us.
So, it was through that experience with Troy, and my health issues and Jai’s performance and fitness goals, that led us to the paleo diet. And it just completely changed our lives.
Guy Lawrence: Was that the first time you ever considered nutrition as therapeutical for the body, as well, as a healing? Because, you know, you see so many people out there that completely overlook what they put in their mouths daily, or they don’t have that connection yet. So, was that the first time for you?
Marlies Hobbs: Absolutely. Up until that point in time, I had really thought that I was healthy, you know. I didn’t eat fast food too often and I mostly cooked at home. It was spaghetti bolognaise and, you know, curries with rice. And I was healthy! I had XXmilo? Merlot? 0:07:30.000XX and milk and whatnot.
But I thought that I was really healthy. I’d have a muesli bar XXtechnical glitch 0:07:45.000XX and all these healthy things, they weren’t XXtechnical glitch 0:07:45.000XX until I actually became healthy.
Stuart Cooke: Just thinking about your transition to the paleo diet, and it’s amazing to see that you do change your diet and you can really make some amazing changes to your health, but what triggered that spark in you to say, “I’m gonna take this to as many people as I can. I’m gonna set up my own chain of Paleo Cafés”?
Marlies Hobbs: So, it was basically; I remember the moment. One day I walked in the house with a bag full of groceries and products and literally I had been out for a few hours just to get a few things, because I had to jump from health food store to supermarket to health food store asking everyone, every shop, “I need coconut oil. I need XXflax seed? 0:08:41.000XX, I need this.” And they all looked at me like I was crazy. And I was XXyou’re never gonna ??XXX. You know?
And I said to Jai, “Oh, wouldn’t it be good if there was just one place where you could go and get all your products in one place, get a meal, you know, still socialize and have a meal out with your friends without feeling like a crazy person asking for every ingredient in every dish and then basically not being able to eat anything. So, you know it was quite isolating.
And then I figure out, also, we were gonna have a XXtype? 0:09:13.000XX I was a lawyer and I’m going back to work as a lawyer and Jai had his own XXbuyer?? businessXX. We had no time to always prepare every meal every night. But takeaway just wasn’t an option, unless it was a hot chook that we had to prepare ourselves, which is pretty easy. But otherwise there just really was no takeaway convenient meal option for us.
And there’s where the ready-made meal idea came in, where you could pack and it’s ready-made there, so that you could grab them on your way home and enjoy those without compromising your health.
So, that’s sort of where I was thinking wouldn’t it be great to have this type of business. And he goes, “Well, that would be quite a good idea.” And the next day he registered the business name. Paleo Café just seemed to make sense. We didn’t give it too much thought. It just made sense to us at that time.
And I was so intrigued by the whole idea and I still worked as a lawyer until three weeks before opening the first café. Every night before I would go to bed I would research supplies, research products, research recipes and develop menus. I was recruiting people from all over the world, which ended up being a bit of a mistake, but that’s another story.
You know, I was absolutely making this happen. And franchising as such wasn’t in mind in the beginning. It was just a concept, and it was something that we wanted for ourselves that we continued to employ this lifestyle. And I had planned to keep working as a lawyer, but it wasn’t until everyone became so intrigued and so much inquiring, so much interaction, I couldn’t keep up with that as well as managing staff and having a job and having a baby.
So, I cried my last day at work, the whole day I cried, because I was like, “What have I done? I’ve worked there and I was working my way up the chain.” And, “Oh she threw this away to open a café.” People literally said they thought I was absolutely crazy.
It just sort of happened, I suppose.
Guy Lawrence: That’s so inspiring. That’s awesome. So, how long did it take you from when you registered the name Paleo Café; you know, Jai got; you guys got inspired to your first Paleo Café opening. How long was that period of time?
Marlies Hobbs: We registered the business name in around April 2012 and we opened the first café in October.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
Marlies Hobbs: So, the end of October 2012.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s fantastic. That’s amazing.
Stuart Cooke: Wow, that’s quick. That’s super quick.
Marlies Hobbs: And people had no idea. My only hospitality job was a pub when I was teen. It was just passion and determination and vision.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, exactly. Go on, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: I was just gonna ask what the biggest challenges were that you faced during that setup period.
Marlies Hobbs: Probably finding the right staff. And I guess my lack of hospitality experience sort of led my down paths sometimes that may not have been the right path. And I know I believe that there’s no such thing as a mistake. You know? You have to learn your lessons in life to keep striding ahead. So, but basically, I sort of had this misconception that you had to have paleo-experienced chefs and whatnot to run an effective Paleo Café. So, I recruited someone from XXIslands?? Irons? 0:12:57.000XX. And that came with a lot of expense and challenges. And, yeah, that’s a whole ’nother story. But it didn’t quite work out.
And so as far as getting the right staff, but without; as a leader, you have paleo recipes and it’s got to be run like a business and you’re the passion. And so I guess making sure that you have the right staff with the right amount of hospitality experience and they share you vision. You know, that was probably the biggest challenge was getting everyone on board. I guess there was probably a lot of lack of confidence in us in the beginning, by our staff. “These people are crazy!” You know. “XXWhere’s their experience in business? 0:13:42.000XX What do they know about food? And there they are telling me to make these crazy recipes and serve these drinks and know we’re bucking every rule and trend in our café environment.” I think they just thought we were nuts.
And certainly the business went gangbusters initially and then one the XX????XX went through a bit of a lull, and it was then that we learnt, I guess, the hardest lessons and the best lessons. And so we had to obviously change staff and change the way that we looked at our business and the way that we. . . yeah. Viewed customer demands when it came to the interaction. We sort of really grew. So, we re-recruited. We had a very clear strategy from that point in time. And so we launched from there.
But obviously there’s some supplier complications, you know. Sometimes things are easier to source than others and freight to Cairns was challenging. But I suppose, yeah, the biggest challenge, and I think it’s common for any business, is having the right people on the bus and getting the wrong people off the bus is probably one of the biggest challenges. And then the next one obviously goes to the roots of our business, which is making sure that people understand what work they’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why XXit’s important 0:15:05.000XX. You know, XXaudio glitchXX.
Guy Lawrence: I’m sorry it just stopped on you slightly on the end there. But how many Paleo Cafes do you have now, Marlies?
Marlies Hobbs: So, there is currently 14 open and we have a 15th café opening in Canberra in the next couple of months.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. Fantastic. So, the next question that rings a bell is, and it’s almost a tongue-twister: How does the Paleo Café define paleo?
Marlies Hobbs: I try and explain to people that fundamentally it’s living and eating as Mother Nature intended, which means a good variety of seafood, meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries. And avoiding dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar and preservatives.
But we also try and make people appreciate that it’s just; it’s even more simple than that. It’s just eating real food, unprocessed food, avoiding chemicals. And it’s just a matter of really listening to your body, your individual body, and working out exactly what works for you.
For Jai, he can tolerate some amounts of dairy and whey, whereas for my that’s what causes my adult acne. So, you just have to appreciate that everybody is unique and you have to, I guess, really invest your energy in understanding your body fully and getting whatever tests you need to to make sure that you’re nourishing your body the way that it needs to be nourished to, I guess, experience optimal health.
Stuart Cooke: And what do you think the biggest misconceptions are out there at the moment about paleo? Because it’s a term that we’re seeing quite a lot in the press lately as well, you know. So many people gravitate and embrace it, but you also get the other side as well. So, what are those misconceptions that you hear predominantly?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, there’s quite a few misconceptions. The common ones are that it’s like a meat, protein heavy diet. That it’s hard. That it’s unsustainable. That it doesn’t taste great, you know. I mean, like it’s super-healthy, you’re eating rabbit food, so to speak.
And I find with all those misconceptions, just to touch of some of the answers, and a lot are being by XX??? 0:17:39.000XX before me that in terms of it being difficult, it’s just cooking simple ingredients. So you can make it as difficult or as easy as you like. Your traditional barbecue steak or salad and XXroast with baked potato?? 0:17:54.000XX. It’s perfectly paleo. And likewise you could make the make fabulous raw desserts or slow-cooked meals full of herbs and spices.
So, you can really make it as hard or simple as you like. In terms of the “expensive” argument, when you eat paleo, your body very much self-regulates, as you guys would know. And so, you know, you don’t find yourself snacking. And so whilst you’re buying premium ingredients, you’re barely eating three meals a day, generally. Some people even sustain themselves on two, depending on if they’re doing intermittent fasting or whatever is working for them based on their level of activity and their, I guess, own individual body.
But essentially, you’re buying a lot less food but you’re consuming quality ingredients. You’re feeling satisfied for longer. So you’re nourishing; you’re putting the right fuel into your body rather than empty fillers that really just make you fat and make you hungry; make you eat more.
So, in terms of, in regard to the expense, and certainly, I can’t see how anyone could imagine that eating beautiful, fresh, seasonal produce and premium meat and healthy fats with lovely herbs and spices where you can even concede that you would be sacrificing on taste. Like, nothing tastes better. And I think once you wean yourself off the traditional foods and the sugar and salt-laden foods, your taste buds adjust and you really appreciate the quality of the food that you’re eating.
And fruit and vegetables have never tasted better to you once you’ve adjusted in that way.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That is massive. Especially the sugar thing. People don’t appreciate that. If you’ve got sugar in your diet and you’ve had it; so many people have had sugar in their diet their whole life and have never had a life without sugar. And until you get off that, you can’t really taste the appreciation of good food. You know?
And, yeah, I always remember many, many years ago when I sort of changed all my health journey. And my flatmate at the time, this is going back seven or eight years, he had the biggest sugar tooth. And he accidentally tried my full-cream natural yogurt by mistake thinking it was like his sugar vanilla loaded. And he almost spat it out. He said, “Oh, my God, that’s disgusting! What’s going on?” And that was just a classic example.
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose with the meat question, certainly, that comes up a lot, too. And, you know, that’s a misconception I suppose. Plant foods should be the greatest source of food that you’re consuming. Your food should predominantly be coming from plant foods. Then animal foods and then herbs and spices to bring it all together. And your healthy fats are incorporated into plant foods and animal foods.
So, it’s trying to eat a nice, balanced meal, you know. Eat some proteins and carbohydrates and some healthy fats. So, it’s definitely not a plate full of ribs, you know?
Guy Lawrence: And that’s another thing, Stu even stressed this as well, we have vegetables with every meal. Even when I make a smoothie, like if I’m rushing out the door and I’m throwing in some 180, I’ll always put spinach or cucumber or just something green in there as well to bring that in, you know, if you’ve got two minutes.
Marlies Hobbs: Absolutely. And I think that’s what; people are so stuck in their ways about this is typical breakfast meal, this is a typical lunch meal, and this is a typical dinner meal. It’s all just fuel. And so you basically have a fridge full of fresh, beautiful ingredients, paleo-friendly ingredients, and you’d be surprised what goes in what.
This morning I felt like chocolate mousse for breakfast. So I had banana, cacao, and a little bit of coconut milk, avocado, and blended it all together and topped it with some raspberries and blueberries. And who would have thought you could have a healthy chocolate mousse for breakfast?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s beautiful.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I had a whole bowl of steamed green vegetables covered in olive oil, salt, and pepper, topped with a huge can of sardines. So, you know, who would ever want to eat that for breakfast? But I gravitate to that kind of stuff. I love it. Because, to me, those vibrant colours, that green. I mean, that just says “life.” And irrespective of the paleo naysayers, you cannot argue that eliminating crappy food from your diet is anything but a great idea.
Marlies Hobbs: Definitely.
Guy Lawrence: On your journey, Marlies, which foods do you find have caused more problems for you in the past?
Marlies Hobbs: I have recently learned that Hashimoto’s Disease runs in my family, and I just recently, after the Thr1ve conference that I saw you guys at, I went and flew back down and saw Dr. John Hart from Elevate Health Clinic.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, did you?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. He is amazing.
Stuart Cooke: He’s awesome, isn’t he?
Marlies Hobbs: He’s a genius. And I took my mum along who has already been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. And sadly it was confirmed that I also have Hashimoto’s Disease. And it’s a very hereditary thing and it’s a thing that is more common in women than men. And I suppose it didn’t come as a huge shock and it’s probably something that triggered my health issues all those years ago before I found paleo. And certainly paleo put a lot of my symptoms in remission. So, I’m lucky that I found paleo when I did. And it’s actually sustained my hormone levels to a fairly healthy level.
So, for me, paleo is my diet for life. And certainly gluten is a huge factor for people with Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease. And from what I understand, in America alone, there’s 50 million and growing people with autoimmune disease. So, so many people have autoimmune disease and they don’t even realize it. They just accept their symptoms as normal and they’re completely not. They don’t know what it feels like to feel great.
And most illnesses start in the gut, due to leaky gut. And diet and lifestyle factors including stress, the predominant cause is a leaky gut, which lead to things like autoimmune disease, and autoimmune disease then can lead to more chronic disease and cancer and whatnot.
So, it’s very much; I think gluten is a huge problem, right along with sugar. Dairy, for people that can’t tolerate it, so I’ve just had all my food intolerance testing done and I’m just waiting for my results to come back. And John gives you this great report which basically gives you a column of all the foods that your body can tolerate. All the foods that you’re mildly intolerant to. And foods that you’re severely intolerant to.
So, there might be some foods within paleo, because of my Hashimoto’s condition, that I actually should be avoiding. So, it’s just; I guess investing the money to understand your body to the best extent possible so that you can really create a diet and lifestyle to suit your individual body.
Because, at the end of the day, what’s anything worth if you’re not living an optimal life with health and happiness?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
I’ll just add to that as well. We had John Hart on the podcast and so anyone listening to this, check him out, he’s an amazing guy. And, like you said, he’s worth flying from anywhere in the country to go and see him in Sydney. He’s that good.
But I would add to that as well, even if the price or whatever scares people, to get these tests done originally, just try cutting out these trigger foods for a month and see how you feel. See what happens. You know, that’s the basic way.
Stuart Cooke: Just thinking about, like, the food sensitivity, if I’m curious about your; the Paleo Café, I don’t really know a great deal about the paleo diet, but I do love my milky teas and things like that. Can I wander into the Paleo Café and get a nice cup of tea with cow’s milk in it?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, you can. And it was a difficult decision when we opened. But obviously paleo-primal. Paleo is, obviously, avoids dairy. Primal, a lot of people are happy to have some dairy in their diets.
And so, like I said, Jai can tolerate it. For me, I have to listen to my body. And we serve almond and coconut milk for people that are like myself. And that can be difficult to find, but for the people that can tolerate dairy and are looking for that, then we do have dairy options. But all our food is dairy-free.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
And I think it’s a great thing, even if a normal cup of tea and you’ve got dairy and it brings someone in off the street and puts them in this environment for the first time. And they’re looking at the menus, looking at their other options, that’s awesome. That’s the thumbs up because you’re creating a new way of thinking for these people that come in as well. And, yeah, I’m all for that. Definitely.
Marlies Hobbs: I think that XXaudio glitch 0:27:30.000XX certainly XXaudio glitchXX a lot of awareness around paleo at all when we very first opened the first Paleo Café. It sort of all happened collectively in the last sort of couple of years. And we just; we wouldn’t have been able to have a sustainable business at all if we limited our market any more than what we already had.
So; and, you know, if you are OK with dairy and you know that you’re OK with dairy, then, like Mark Sisson said at the conference, see what you can get away with.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right.
Guy Lawrence: But there are so many options. We have our business meetings in Bondi Junction all the time in the Paleo Café, and it’s a great choice. But I generally gravitate to the Bulletproof coffee myself. There’s a bit of dairy in that but it sits with me fine.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, and, look, a lot of people are fine. And I think that if you’ve got a very healthy gut, flora and whatnot, and you’re not experiencing any leaky gut, you know, there’s plenty of people that are OK with it. I think it’s just a matter of, you know, it takes a lot of effort to get yourself to that really healthy point and making sure that you don’t have leaky gut.
And when you get there, then you can experiment. But until you get there, I think it’s really important to take your health seriously. And you will have to sacrifice and avoid some things to get your body functioning as it should be. And then you can play around with those.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Yeah. No, it is right, and it brings me back to that food sensitivity testing. You know, that’s so vital. You may not know that you have got a sensitivity or an allergy or an intolerance to a certain food that you’re including every single day. And that might just be pushing you into weight issues, sleep, energy, you know: allergies. All of the above.
And these tests, you know, they’re inexpensive, they’re quick, but I think so worthwhile. I absolutely. . . You know, I live by the results of mine or our food sensitivity tests and it’s great. I feel so much better for it.
Marlies Hobbs: What testing did you guys get, just as a matter of interest?
Stuart Cooke: Food Detective. It’s called a Food Detective test and it was a prick of blood from the finger and then it gets shaken into a vial, wait for 20 minutes, pour it over in this little tray with a series of dots, and each dot represents a food type. So, you’ve got, like, a tray with dots and then you have a card and all those dots are numbered, so 1 might be dairy, 2 might be wheat. And when you pour the liquid over that is mixed with your blood, that has sat for 20 minutes, those dots will darken the more sensitive you are to a food. So, you know, in literally 30 minutes’ time I knew that I had issues to kind of three or four things. And so I pulled back on those and I noticed radical health changes.
Marlies Hobbs: Do you mind sharing what they were?
Stuart Cooke: Eggs.
Guy Lawrence: Eggs is a big one for you.
Stuart Cooke: Eggs was huge. And I, you know, I was eating four eggs a day and loving it, but just something wasn’t right with me and it was wrecking my skin and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was.
Shellfish came up, strangely enough. Yeah, shellfish, eggs. Walnuts were in there as another one. I used to have a handful of walnuts. So I changed to pecans now. Great. No problems whatsoever. And mild wheat.
Guy Lawrence: I mean, you avoid gluten anyway, really.
Stuart Cooke: I do. But, you know what, 30 minutes, and I just culled eggs completely for six months. And I feel so much better now. And every now and again I’ll have the odd one, but I won’t go gangbusters like I was before. Crikey, I ate huge amounts of eggs each week, because I thought, well, it’s a superfood.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, absolutely. And they are great, but if there is an underlying issue that you need to heal, then certainly I understand that I will have to go onto the paleo protocol, the autoimmune protocol, shortly. And eggs go for awhile. So, yeah, and it’s not because eggs aren’t great. It’s just that our; there are certain proteins that if you have leaky gut, or if you experience an issue, to let that leaky gut heal, you need to refrain from eating certain foods.
And, I mean, we haven’t really gone into detail about sugar and grains and gluten and chemicals. But I think we’re all fairly savvy enough now to know that they’re not good for us and why. But, you know, just making that awareness that it’s even beyond the foods that you’ll find in the paleo food pyramid, it’s a matter of really understanding your body and making sure that you have got perfect gut health, or as close to it as possible. Because, you know, the whole gut-brain connection. And certainly something I experienced, you know, when my gut flora is compromised, it causes me a lot of challenges academically and to function. Like, my productivity really drops. My creativity drops. I get fatigue.
So, it’s all connected, you know. Gut health and brain health is very much. I’ve definitely experienced first-hand the connection there. And it’s so fundamental to get your gut health right if you want to feel happy, feel healthy, and have energy and longevity.
You know, like, I’m determined; I look at John and he’s a real inspiration, you know. He is gonna just XX??? 0:33:32.000XXX by the look of him. XX????XXX. And that’s what you want. You want to be functioning and fun of vitality until the end.
And that’s why, I guess, my goal for myself and also to teach that to my children. I don’t want them to accept the way things were going. You know? That basically obesity, diabetes, heart disease, all just part of life. That is not part of life. That is not what was intended for us. And you have the choice to shape your future, your health, and your longevity and how much quality of life you have for your entire life.
Stuart Cooke: You completely do. And I love the fact that we have such a powerful medium in the forms of food. You know, nutrition, as a strategy for health moving forward. And for all of those people that are, you know, on the fence with the paleo, the primal, the whole-food diet, I just remember that, you know, when I started out on this journey, I thought, “God, this is so hard. What am I gonna eat? I can’t eat my sandwiches. Can’t eat pasta. Can’t eat any of these things.” Walking around the supermarket and going, “Oh, I can’t eat any of that.”
It took about a month and then you realize that there’s so much to each. But it’s just the good stuff. And then I look at the central aisles at the supermarket. It’s like cat food. Why would I ever gravitate to any of that rubbish? Because I know how it will make me feel.
And there’s so much wonderful stuff. So, sure, you’re meals aren’t conventional anymore, but I look it as, you know, food is information. Food is fuel. And what do I want to do today? Right? I’m going to be a bit more active, well I might mix up a few more carbs, but every single food or meal for me is about getting as many nutrients into my body as I can, because I’m thinking, “What is my body gonna do with those nutrients?” And whether it’s herbs and spices, fats and oils, beautiful fruits and vegetables, all these wonderful meats. You know, it is an opportunity to refuel, rebuild, repair. And I love that kind of stuff.
And now, like I said, I wander around the supermarket and I’m so sad for the people that don’t understand, because they could feel amazing. We have the tools.
Guy Lawrence: And, again, for anyone listening to this, that might seem completely overwhelming because you can look at it all as too much information and you just shut down and go, “You know what? I’ll figure it out next month. I’m too busy.”
But even just try changing one meal a day to something. And just start from that and just point yourself in the right direction and walk forward with it.
Marlies Hobbs: Jai and I fell on and off the wagon quite a few times when we first adopted the lifestyle. We were fairly strict for sort of like six weeks. And then my skin cleared up and I was like, “Yeah!” Then I’d have a little sip of that milkshake that I missed. Oh, my skin would just break out. And I would literally feel the fluid just stick to me in an instant. And then you’re like, “Yeah. That didn’t really work great.” And then you don’t do it again for awhile. And then you feel really brave and good and you have another little go of something.
And your body tells you. So I think if you give yourself the chance to eliminate in whatever XXextreme sense? 0:37:07.000XX that you go with, you know, if you’re really listening to your body and you persist with it, and you take small steps or a big one if you’re prepared to do like a Whole30 challenge or whatnot, it’s just a matter of moving in the right direction, however fast you can do that. You know?
And common sense tells us the answer. There’s some people who are too stressed, they’re too depressed, maybe they’re under financial difficulties, they have kids that just got bad habits to eating and their arguments just aren’t worth it to them. You know? So people have lots of reasons not to do this. But no one can really sensibly argue with the philosophy, I don’t think.
Especially if you take the view that we all have to be just very much educated about our own bodies and listen to our bodies. And they tell a lot more than what people realize when they start listening. You know, like being depressed or having financial issues or having kids stuck with bad habits, I know, and believe me I understand, I’ve got two children myself, and even Troy who has been brought up on a paleo diet, he still challenges me because he’s surrounded by kids that eat candy or everyone else has vegemite sandwiches and why does have; today he’s got pork chop and broccoli and sweet potato chips. And he’s just; he’s really going through a troublesome phase at the moment, because he’s looking at the muesli bars and the sandwiches and he’s like, “Why am I getting this?” But I just explained to him, and yes, it won’t be easy in the beginning, but if you understand where you’re going with it and why you’re doing it, you know, you break habits with children if you eliminate the bad foods and you always offer them the good foods and you get them involved and you get them helping. You know, Troy was pretty happy about having chocolate mousse for breakfast this morning. Get them involved and you make them understand where food comes from, that it comes from nature, not from a box, and you get them in there cooking and make it a bit interactive. Yes, it takes effort, but it’s better than obesity or diabetes.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. It’s worth it in the long run. And, you know, I’ve got three young girls and if I ever hear any issues from them where food is concerned, I’ll give them a couple of options. “Do you want healthy option one or healthy option two?” And they’ll always gravitate to one. And they think they’ve won.
Marlies Hobbs: That’s great. Good. Exactly. I do the same thing with Troy, and that’s exactly right. And, you know, you always just have to keep improvising and trying to educate subtly along the way. And like depression, there’s a huge link between depression and gut health and whatnot as well. So, you know, personal body image and all that type of thing.
So, people don’t appreciate, I don’t think, how powerful changing your diet and lifestyle. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s about a new lifestyle. It’s about a new appreciation of your body. Self-love. And a whole healthy relationship with yourself and food.
And that’s very empowering. You feel free. You know, so many people are currently addicted to so many foods, they are under the spell of some foods. And that’s not an enjoyable place to be. And I know, I didn’t realize until I came out of it, how bad it was. And so empowering to look at it, like you said, walk past those aisles in the supermarket and go, “Ugh, those poor people that are putting that horrible stuff into their bodies. They just don’t understand.” And it’s very empowering. It’s not a chore. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle, and you feel so much better for it.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I was, just to get back to your son, and we mentioned a little bit of food there as well. Now, I don’t know how old your boys are, but our girls get invited to lots of parties. You know, every weekend: “Come to the party. Come to the party.” There will be a whole table full of crap, sweets and lollies and sodas and stuff like that.
Now, I have a strategy that I use when I take them to the parties prior to that. But I wondered what your thoughts were. Is there anything that you do for your boys before you get to the party, or do you just let them go gangbusters on whatever they want?
Marlies Hobbs: It’s a hard thing, and I’m just trying to feel my way all the time. You know, obviously there’s no bad foods at our house. So, Troy predominantly eats paleo. So, if, on occasion, he has something outside of that space and whatnot, I’m not gonna have a meltdown over it. Because it’s just not worth it, you know. And I think the more of an issue you make it, the more they sort of resent and resist you. But I basically try and make sure that he’s fairly full before we go to a party. So, he’s not going there starving. And often he doesn’t; he likes playing. He likes being out and about.
When he was younger, he used to just: hand in icing, sugar, cake. It was a big joke. Everyone would be like, “Oh, watch out for Troy! He’s been unleashed. There’s the sugar!” And he would just literally go for that cake.
And it was a bit embarrassing, because everyone would have their snicker, “Oh, those parents. He never has sugar and when he gets to a party. . .”
Stuart Cooke: He makes up for it.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. If you can’t find him, he’s probably looking for the lolly bowl, you know. But he’s really come out of that phase. And now he really; and our friends are very accommodating with us, too. And I’ve seen a really healthy shift. We will go parties, they’ll have some unhealthy food option, but Troy just doesn’t really go for them anymore.
And, yeah, they have barbecues or roast meat and veggies and stuff. We’re very lucky. We have very considerate family and friends. I guess they’re probably moving in that direction themselves anyway. But when they know we’re coming, they sort of do allow for us a bit. And we just try not to put a big emphasis on food. So many people live from meal to meal like it’s the highlight of their day. To me, it’s just fuel. You’re a bit hungry, you’ve got to get energy, you eat some good food, and then you move on to doing some fun stuff. Like, some people just sit around all day, “Oh, what are we gonna do? Where are we gonna go next for a meal?” And they sit and eat and they sit around and hibernate until the next meal and it’s a sure way to health issues, I suppose.
Guy Lawrence: How old is Troy, Marlies?
Marlies Hobbs: So, Troy will be turning 4 in June. And Zac’s 8 months.
Guy Lawrence: Right. OK. Because I don’t have kids yet, but I imagine it’s much easier to bring them up with this lifestyle than you converting yourself and then having a 10-year-old you’re trying to convert. Maybe get off the sugar and lollies that they’re eating all the time.
Marlies Hobbs: It would be very hard. And it would take very much a lot of determination, I think, and very much getting rid of everything in the house and really having a really well-explained approach to what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Get them involved and get them involved with the cooking.
You know, there will be different approaches for different families. You know, maybe a gentle approach they don’t notice, and other families it might be like a pretty cold turkey approach, you know.
And I think you just have to work out what can you handle? What is manageable for you as a family? And I think sometimes the stress can be worse than some of the bad foods so you need to balance it out. And do it in a way that’s not going to cause too much stress on you and your family.
Guy Lawrence: Like World War III.
Stuart Cooke: And I think that, you know, kids are so impressionable, too. You know, they look at their parents and they want to emulate what their parents are doing. So if their parents have got healthy habits, then it’s gonna rub off on the kids anyway, which is a good thing.
Marlies Hobbs: Definitely.
Guy Lawrence: Why do you think kids’ menus in cafés. . . You know, being a café owner, why do you think the kids’ menus in cafés and restaurants are so poor in general?
Guy Lawrence: Every time I eat out, I always look.
Stuart Cooke: Fish and chips. Schnitzel and chips. XXBagel?? 0:45:49.000XX and chips.
Guy Lawrence: Ice cream and soda.
Marlies Hobbs: And the thing is, I think my observation, anyway, with Troy especially, is that they are very impressionable and their taste buds are; those foods are as addictive to them as they are for us. Probably more so addictive to them. Because they don’t understand the difference between. . . Like, I try to educate Troy about, you know, a treat or “good food” and “bad food,” we talk about a lot.
And they don’t; he understands that and we talk about that a lot and he; they don’t understand the adverse effects on their health, I suppose, of the bad foods. They just taste good. They trigger all sorts of emotions and addictions in them. And so when they’ve had them once, their, like, radar is going. So if you go to a restaurant and they’re like, “Oh, you can have steak and vegetables or you can fish and chips.” Pretty much you will rarely find a kid that hasn’t been under the spell once they’ve tasted the saltiness of those fish and chips. It’s very difficult to make them choose the healthy option.
So, I think that’s probably why the menus are the way they are. Because they’re trying to please. And they’re the only foods that the kids will be ordering. And the parents are out for dinner; they just want to have a pleasant meal and they don’t feel like arguing and having a tantrum at the table because they’re trying to order steak and vegetables, if that’s even on option, than the fish and chips. So, for ease and also it’s price. It costs nothing to deep fry some disgusting, processed nuggets and chips. But it costs money to put a nice piece of steak or meat and some vegetables on a plate. It’s all fresh and it’s prepared by the chef. Whereas they’re not just dumped into a deep fryer and slapped on a plate.
So, there are the reasons. And it’s devastating, really. And I think the only real answer. . . Like, for us, when we go out, we don’t tell Troy if there’s a kids’ menus. We often just order either another meal for him or we order something that’s too big for me to eat and he eats; we get another plate and he eats what I eat.
And on occasion when we have allowed him; there’s been times where a family member is gonna have fish and chips and he loves it, like any other kid, he loves it, but he actually feels really sick afterwards. The oil from the batter, from the deep fryer, often he’ll vomit because he’s just so nut familiar with having that in his stomach.
So, yeah, I guess that’s my real take on it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: No, absolutely. There’s some great pointers there as well. Like, you can you always order a meal and split it. That’s kind of what we do. We order an adult meal and we order a couple of extra plates and we divvy it up that way for the kids. And there’s generally more options as well for them, as opposed to this little miniscule XXparty 0:49:11.000XX menu, which is never gonna be great in the first place.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, like when you order a meal and then you order a side of vegetables or a side of vegetables and a salad and then you share it amongst yourselves, it’s pretty much not too much more expensive than ordering a kids’ meal when you do it that way. And everyone ends up happy and healthy. But it definitely does take effort to make sure that you have foresight. Because as soon as they spot that kids’ menu with all of those chips and stuff, it’s over. It’s over for you.
Stuart Cooke: Game over.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. Game over. Game over. So, you really have to have a strategy.
Guy Lawrence: Would you, because I know you have a book as well, Marlies, and is there any kids’ menus in that? I haven’t seen the book. But would that be an option for parents?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. I’ve got a kids’ section in there, a Paleo for Families section in there. And it gives some great tips about things we’ve spoken about. About parties and whatnot. And also has some great little meals and treats and whatnot, and even ones that you can get the kids involved in. Even the chocolate mousse recipe that Troy loves.
Stuart Cooke: Got is. So, is it predominantly a cookbook or have you got a whole heap of other stuff in there as well?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, it’s a Paleo Café lifestyle and cookbook, so the first sections are about the diet and the lifestyle. Just a very nice, simple, gentle introduction. You know: It’s not only technical and complicated so it’s very much a nice; like, people have always complimented us on the information. It’s what you need to know without it feeling too daunting, I suppose. And then it’s got over 130 recipes in there.
Yeah. And we get great feedback all the time on the recipes. Because they’ve been created, obviously, in our cafes and had to be produced at quite a large scale in pretty short time frames. Everything’s very economical, generally, in terms of cost and time to prepare. So, there’s some really great practical recipes. You don’t see these two page long lists of ingredients and whatnot. It’s fairly practical in that sense.
Guy Lawrence: Sounds like my kind of book.
Stuart Cooke: And if I didn’t live near a Paleo Café, where could I grab that book?
Marlies Hobbs: You can get it online from our website, www.Paleo-Cafe.com.au.
Guy Lawrence: We can link to that. I’m just curious: What’s your favorite dish in there?
Marlies Hobbs: My favorite dish in the cookbook. I absolutely love, and obviously I’m from Cairns and mangos are beautiful here; we have a delicious mango avocado macadamia nut salad, which I really love. It’s a favorite. It’s been on the menu a few times at the Paleo Café. It’s just actually gone out because mangoes have gone out of season. But that’s probably one of my favorites. And it was on the menu when the café very first opened here in Cairns.
Stuart Cooke: In the next edition, perhaps you can get my sardine breakfast surprise in there.
Marlies Hobbs: Yes. Yes. I’m going to have to taste test it first.
Guy Lawrence: You need to put that right on the back page, hidden somewhere.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Save the best to last.
Marlies Hobbs: I’m gonna have to give it a go.
Guy Lawrence: I can’t. I can’t do sardines.
Stuart Cooke: Just got a couple more questions, Marlies. Where are you going to take the Paleo Café brand? How big is this going to be?
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose the sky is the limit when it comes to the paleo café brand. And we definitely have a few different things that we’re looking at at the moment, you know, to try and. . . I guess our primary goal is to spread the message about the benefits of the paleo lifestyle to as many people as possible. And that’s through the cafés, through collaborations, through our website, through our publications. And hopefully in the near future a recipe app which is nice and simple for people to access right off their phones.
We XXaudio glitch 0:53:27.000XX so we can basically gauge the market and move in the directions that we need to move, I suppose, to do the best we can in the environment that we have.
And definitely XXaudio glitch 0:53:38.000XX making sure we can reach the masses and making sure that we can educate people why they are coming to Paleo Café as opposed to another café. And there are things that we are sort of trying to achieve through education online and obviously it’s great to have opportunities like this one to share our message as well.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: It’s exciting times!
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. There’s a lot going on.
So, Marlies, we always finish with a wrap-up question, the same one every week. It’s one of my favorites. And that is: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose it’s a very broad application but basically everyone just needs to believe in the beauty of your dreams, whether that’s in relation to your own personal health. Some type of, I guess, performance goal or even in business. You know: Believe in the beauty of your dreams and if you’re passionate about something, just go for it.
And the other thing would be definitely to look after your body because it’s the only place that you have to life.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. It’s true.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s so true. We spread that message every week ourselves. Yeah. Fantastic.
And if anyone listening to this, I guess the website would be the best place to get more of you guys and the Paleo Café to find out if they’re in their local area and more about the book, right?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. The books on there and all the local cafés are listed there as well on the website. And we obviously have Facebook pages as well for the respective cafés as well the head office business.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant. Well, we’ll XXlink to all that 0:55:19.000XX when the podcast goes out anyway. And then, yeah, that was fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Marlies. We really appreciate your time.
Marlies Hobbs: Thank you so much.
Stuart Cooke: It was great. So much information. I think people will get so much out of this as well. Thank you again.
Marlies Hobbs: I really appreciate it. I always love chatting to you both.
Have you ever wondered if food intolerances are actually preventing you from reaching your true health/fitness potential?
Learn how getting rid of the foods that disagree with you can shed the kilos, reclaim your youth, energy, sleep, exercise recovery and watch your body transform for the better!
This is the full interview with Naturopath Tania Flack. Tania Flack is a leading Naturopath and Nutritionist, with a special interest in hormonal, reproductive health and cancer support; she believes in an integrated approach to healthcare, including the use of evidence based natural medicine.
In this weeks episode:-
What’s the difference between food intolerances & allergies [002:20]
How you can become intolerant to food [006:20]
How we can get tested, & if we can’t what we should we do [007:15]
Why you may be intolerant to eggs [009:53]
Why food intolerances could be effecting your weight loss plans [018:40]
How it can be effecting your exercise recovery [021:10]
Did you enjoy the interview with Tania Flack? Do you have any stories to share? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Food Intolerance’s: The transcript
Guy Lawrence: Hey this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition and welcome to Podcast #17. In today’s episode we welcome back naturopath Tania Flack and we are pretty much covering the topics of food intolerances and it’s a fascinating topic and these are the things that could be certainly holding you back from some of the results you want; whether it be weight loss, exercise recovery, even how it affects our mood and sleep. And I want you to know what things you need to eliminate from your diet. It can have a massive effect on your wellbeing altogether and, so, super-interesting shows. Lots, lots to learn from in this and, yeah, if you enjoy it, please share us on Facebook and if you’re listening to this through iTunes, a review in the review section would be awesome. Until the next time, enjoy. Cheers.
Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with no other than Mr. Stuart Cooke, as always, and our lovely guest today is Tania Flack. Welcome back Tania. Thank you for having us.
Tania Flack: Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me.
Guy Lawrence: So, just in case anybody hasn’t seen our old episode on the DNA, could you give us a quick rundown on who you are and what you do?
Tania Flack: Sure, sure. I’m a naturopath and nutritionist and I practice in Sydney. I’ve got a special interest in hormone health, metabolic health and particularly DNA, which is the DNA testing and personalized health care programs, which is a new area for me and today I think we’re talking about food intolerances.
Guy Lawrence: We are, yes. So….
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. We certainly been harassing you along the DNA and then we’ve moved over to food allergies and intolerances. So, and we thought the best place to start, because it’s something I was learning as well is: Can you tell us if there’s a difference between a food allergy, a food intolerance and food sensitivities?
Tania Flack: Yeah. There’s a very big difference between a proper food allergy and a food intolerance. With food allergies it’s, they’re really not as common as we think they are, although we see a lot more these days, the prevalence of a proper food allergy in children with an allergic; being allergic to things like peanuts and ground nuts, shellfish, it’s becoming more and more common. But ultimately it’s about 2.5 percent of the population will have a proper food allergy.
And intensive food intolerances, they’re much more common and people are less likely to realize that they’ve got a food intolerance, really, and this, the difference between the two is with a food allergy it’s a different part of the immune system and the reactions that they have are fairly immediate and they’re very severe inflammatory reactions based on histamine release and we see people with a sudden swelling, redness, swelling, hives; that type of thing and it can be quite life-threatening.
What we’ve seen in intolerances, it’s a slower reaction and people are less likely to pin down the symptoms they’re having to the food that they’ve eaten because it can happen over a longer period of time. So, if you ate something yesterday, you might be feeling unwell the day after, it can literally be that time delay.
Guy Lawrence: So, the testing that we did to Stuart, turned up eggs?
Tania Flack: Yes. Sorry Stu.
Stuart Cooke: I used to love eggs.
Guy Lawrence: So, that’s a food intolerance, right? Not a food allergy.
Tania Flack: No. That’s right. The testing that we do in Clinic; we’re lucky to have access to this testing, we can just do a blood sample from the end of the finger in Clinic and then we go through a certain process and mix that with different reagents, and that’s an IGG; food intolerance test. So, it’s very, very different to food allergy testing, which is something that would be done entirely separately to these.
Guy Lawrence: So, somebody listening to this and they might be suspicious that they have an intolerance to food, what would be the classic symptoms?
Tania Flack: The thing with the food intolerances is everybody is a little bit different and the symptoms can be quite broad. I mean, some people typically have IBS-type symptoms. That’s things like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, feeling unwell. Fatigue is a big part of food intolerance; skin problems, migraines, asthma, the list goes on. Everybody has their own particular manifestation of food intolerance.
But, ultimately it can lead to people feeling very unwell and because those symptoms are delayed, I think that’s just the way they are, they can’t quite work out why they’re feeling so poorly and flat and having these types of symptoms and it can really just be due to the foods that they’re eating.
Guy Lawrence: You mentioned before about nuts and shellfish. What would be the most common trigger foods be perhaps outside of those two that people might not aware that they are sensitive to?
Tania Flack: Yeah. Nuts, the ground nuts and the shellfish are two of the most common triggers for a proper allergic reaction, an allergy reaction. In terms of food intolerance, there’s any number of foods that people can react to, really, and we’re looking at the proteins in foods that people react to.
So, the tests that we do, test for 59 foods and it covers things like: eggs, fish, dairy, different fruits and vegetables people can be reacting to, so it’s a broader range of foods that people can react to with food intolerance.
Guy Lawrence: How do you become intolerant of food? Is it; can you do it by eating too much of the same thing?
Tania Flack: That’s a really good question. Generally there’s a leaky gut aspect in there somewhere and a dysbiosis which basically means an overgrowth or an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. And what that can cause is an opening of the gut membranes and as we eat these foods our bodies, more likely our immune system is more likely to react to those because we’re absorbing food that’s not broken down properly because our gut membranes are a little bit more open, if that makes sense.
Guy Lawrence: Right, yeah, cause I’m just looking here, we have a question on leaky gut and … So, essentially if you have a leaky gut, then the chance of food intolerance is going to greatly increase.
Tania Flack: Yes. Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. Okay, Regarding testing, there’s another one, cause obviously we went in with you and tested; is this something most Naturopaths would be able to test accurately? And if we can’t test, then what can we do?
Tania Flack: Most Naturopaths, we all have access to either pathology testing, which is involves you having blood test and then we have a wait for your results, but they’re very accurate. Or we can do a test that we do in Clinic, and that tests for 59 foods and we get results back from in 40 minutes and that’s very accurate as well. If that were to ….
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And I guess, and if somebody has an access to be able to test….
Tania Flack: Yeah. If you’re not able to go in and see someone and have these things tested, you can do an elimination diet. An elimination diet is cutting out a majority of the foods that people are intolerant to and over a period of time having a good break from those foods and over a period of time reintroducing foods that you think might be your trigger foods and observing your symptoms over a few days and if you have no symptoms after you reintroduce that food, then you move on to the next food. So, look at, it’s quite a lengthily process and realistically it can take around six months of being very disciplined with your diet to do this. So, this is why we prefer to use the testing methods, because they can give people information on the spot. Now if they, like Stu, prove to be intolerant to certain foods, then we cut those foods out of the diet completely for three months and we make sure that we address any dysbiosis or leaky gut during that time, let the immune system settle right down, heal the gut and then we slowly and carefully reintroduce and retest those foods.
Guy Lawrence: So, you’re using Stuart as an example and he could end up eating eggs again, but just not at the moment.
Tania Flack: Yeah, not at the moment. I would imagine that …..
Guy Lawrence: I enjoy raising that every time.
Tania Flack: It’s not as strong reaction with Stu. We might need to give him a longer period of time before we attempt to re-introduce those.
But hopefully we can make a good impact and some people they’re best to just continue to avoid those foods. And this the beauty of being able to pinpoint exactly what it is, because then we can do that trial and error later on down the track when things settle down to see if you can tolerate them.
Stuart Cooke: Sure, and I guess for everybody at home who thinks, “Oh boy, he can’t eat eggs.” I never used to have a problem with eggs until they because much more of a staple of my daily diet and I was consuming a minimum of three eggs a day and they were organic and they were free-range so they were pretty much as good as I can get. But then I just found out that I was, yeah, my sleep was declining, I was bloating, my skin was starting to break out and then, yeah, I got the really dark blue dot on the eggs, of which we’ll overlay this graphic as well, so at least we could see what we were talking about. So, yeah I guess it is too much of a good thing.
Tania Flack: Yeah, look at, it’s a bit devastating, really. I was very sad to see that I cannot cook eggs for you, because to me they’re the perfect protein. However, it could have been that you had other food intolerances, which we’re fairly sure of, and then you had this potential for a dysbiosis or a little bit of leaky gut in there because we hadn’t done that before with you. So, you got this going on in the background and then all of a sudden you increased your intake of eggs and now they’re a constant for you. So, I’m assuming over time that this intolerance is just developed for you.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and I guess the one thing I have found as well is, you know, once you sort of go on this journey and you want to eliminate sugar, and gluten, and grains and whatever that may be, you almost, I mean I’ve certainly found, especially in the beginning, I was eating the same bloody foods every day, because I was in this place where I was like, “Oh well, I don’t want to eat that ’cause I know that’s something to have with that.” So then obviously the foods increase. So when I went in for the gut test; not the gut test, the tolerance test, I was bracing myself expecting to be same as Stewie with the eggs, but fortunately I wasn’t, so I’m still eating them.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you, Guy.
Tania Flack: And I think this is a very important point. Some people that, you know, I see people in clinic and they have got a big history of significant health issues and really significant digestive issues and they’ve been put on an eliminating diet or they’ve been put on a very restricted diet and to the point of where they ultimately, they don’t know what to eat. It can be can be overwhelming because they’re on a very limited diet and some people actually end up with nutritional deficiencies because it’s not being pinpointed within the specific foods that they are intolerant to.
So, it’s the beauty of knowing exactly, because otherwise people on long-term elimination diets, they can ultimately end with nutritional deficiencies, because they’ve cut out huge range of foods from their diet that they are not actually reacting to and so this is why I always prefer to have that information in front of me, so then you can really work with people, so they get a broad range of foods, there’s always a broad range of foods, even if you’ve got multiple intolerances there’s lots of things we can choose from and it’s just educating people about how to eat well while they’re cutting those things out of their diet.
So, if for example, Stu, I know eggs have been such a big part of your diet, that you’ve managed to come up with all this fabulous creative breakfasts that are really different to what you were having, so yeah exactly and it’s not like your life is over because you can’t have eggs. You know it’s all a matter of having that background in nutrition that you can make those good choices. But some people they just aren’t certain, so they narrow it down to nothing and then this can cause problems in and of itself.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Well, we’ve been doing featured blog posts of food diaries of certain different people. Like we did Angeline’s, she’s a sports model, what she eats. We’re just about to do Ruth, a CrossFit athlete. We need to do Stu; you know a day in the life of what Stu eats. Because it is absolutely with so much precision it blows me away.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I’ve created a seven-day plan that alternates all the different food groups and mixes it up and I’ve looked at the healing foods, especially for gut and I’ve made sure that I’ve got “X” amount of these throughout the day and I’m lovin’ it. I’m embracing sardines too.
Tania Flack: I know. I think that’s fabulous. Sardines are wonderful. You know it just goes to show that you should never get to a point where there’s nothing you can eat.
Stuart Cooke: No.
Tania Flack: You just have to really open up your dietary choices a little bit more and in that way you’re actually getting really good variety, which is perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I think so and I really, I love to look at food as information, you know. Some people say, “Well, food’s all calories,” and I look at as information and what information is it going to provide my body with. Will it store fat? Will it burn fat? Will it assist healing? Will it help me sleep? Mental focus. Energy. All of these different things and it’s not until you really look into what these food groups are comprised of that you think, “Wow, I can put all of these things in my daily diet,” and it makes a huge difference. I’ve up my grains and veg intake radically and oily fish and I feel much better for it.; so much better for it
Tania Flack: Yeah. It’s wonderful, isn’t it. So, the alkaline and anti-inflammatory diet that you have.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. I’ll pass it on to you Guy.
Guy Lawrence: I can’t wait to follow your food plan ….
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s right. Mr. Omelet over there. I’ve got a question about moderation and we often hear the term “every thing in moderation.” Is this good advice for allergy and intolerances? Do we have to completely omit the particular trigger food or can we have just a little, every now and again?
Tania Flack: Well, in terms of allergies, yes. There is no choice. People with a proper allergic reaction they must avoid those foods. There’s no getting around that. That answers that. But, in terms of intolerance, the system that we use is when, for example, you’ve shown up to be intolerant to eggs, so you avoid those for three months and during that time yes, it’s important to avoid those as much as possible. Because we want to let your immune system settle down, we want to give your gut a chance to heal and everything to settle down and then we have a more controlled approach to a challenge period with those, after three to six months.
So, yeah, I think for those with really strong reactions that have shown up in your test, then yes it’s important to avoid those. However, if after that period of time, we’ve done all that work and we do that challenge period and things are a lot less or minimal, then I would say, we’ll have a period where you reintroduce that food, with a long break in between and just see how you go with that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, just testing.
Tania Flack: Absolutes shouldn’t mean that you can never eat another egg, but means it means that you have to respect it for the time being and let everything settle down and do that appropriate wait before you start get back into your own omelets.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I’m on the hunt for ostrich eggs, so I’ll see how it goes for me. I’ll make the mother of all omelets and I guess, on a serious note we probably should be mindful of other foods that do contain that trigger food. For instance, mayonnaise, dressings, things like that.
Tania Flack: Absolutely. You really have to watch out for all of those things though, particularly something like eggs, it’s used in so many pre-prepared foods, which we know you don’t have a lot of, and you know my policy is to eat fresh wherever you can. So, it you can chop it up and cook it from its natural state then at least you know what you’re eating. But, when you have a diet high in processed food there will be eggs in a lot of that.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. So, if you have a high intolerance to something like eggs, like Stu, and then you’re out and you’ve order a salad and it’s got a little bit of mayonnaise in it and you think, “ah that’ll be all right, it’s just a couple of teaspoons,” was that enough to really affect you?
Tania Flack: Well, I think it certainly has some kind of return of those symptoms that you had been having. Yeah. If it was anywhere in the next 3 months it would probably just reconfirm for you that, “yes, they’re not good for me right now.”
Guy Lawrence: Do food intolerances affect weight gain and/or weight loss? So, people that when they get to their fighting weight and need to drop a few pounds and it’s an intolerance of food that they’re eating and could that be prevented regardless of what they do?
Tania Flack: Yeah. Absolutely. Look, I think there’s quite a few aspects involved in that and I think with food intolerance you’ve got to understand that it’s an activation of the immune system and even though that’s a low-grade activation of the immune system, but it’s still there. So, in and of itself it is an inflammatory condition and I think that can really hamper metabolism. Often it’s related to dysbiosis and leaky gut and we know dysbiosis or an overgrowth bacteria in the gut interferes with insulin signaling and there’s some really fantastic evidence that’s coming out and has for the last couple of years that shows that this virus is directly linked to obesity and Type 2 diabetes, that type of thing. So I think, in terms of food intolerance, often they go hand-in-hand.
Guy Lawrence: Right. It always keeps coming back to the gut doesn’t it almost?
Tania Flack: Yeah. Absolutely. So much of it is about how it’s based around the gut. Because if you think about it, we’ve got this enormous long tube and around that digestive system is our immune system and they’re like standing on guard, like border patrol, waiting for things to get through that shouldn’t be there and dealing with those. And so it’s an amazing machine, the digestive system, but when we react with the digestive system because it’s such an important organ in the body it can have so many bigger effects across the system it affects.
Guy Lawrence: So, with food intolerances it also then affects sleep and mood.
Tania Flack: Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: It must affect mood because Stewie has lightened up lately, he’s just been great the last couple of weeks.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve lightened up because you’re leaving the country at the weekend. It had nothing to do with food.
Tania Flack: It definitely does affect mood. I mean; I think Stu can attest to these, because once you’ve removed a food that your intolerant to, your energy levels leaped, you feel fresher and brighter, you have a bit better mental clarity, you just feel a lot fresher, so I think that counts for a lot.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and another question, while we’re on this sort of area, is of course, exercise recovery and food intolerances. Will it hamper recovery and slow it up?
Tania Flack: Absolutely and again that all goes down to this activation of the immune system and low-grade inflammation. Low-grade inflammation hampers exercise recovery. It absolutely hampers exercise recovery, because your body’s, it’s dealing with this low-grade inflammation and it’s returning fluid, so you’re having a imbalance there. If you’ve got this perpetual irritation of the immune system through food intolerances, so by clearing that you’ll feel that your energy levels will improve and that exercise recovery will certainly improve.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Stuart Cooke: A little bit of a kind of crazy question, but irrespective to allergies, are there any foods that you’d recommend that we absolutely do not eat?
Tania Flack: Well, all processed foods. I mean, in a perfect world, again it comes back to if you can chop it up from its natural state and cook it and eat it, then that’s the ideal for me. So, processed foods in general, if you can avoid them, because we just don’t know. We eat things in our processed foods that we would never willing choose to eat otherwise. But apart from processed foods, things that I think people should avoid in general; gluten, I think ultimately that’s a really; wheat can be really irritating grain. It’s a prime inflammatory gain. It doesn’t suit a lot of people. So, I would minimize it in the diet and I tell my patients, even if they’re in good health, to try and minimize that. I think our western diets are far too skewed towards that type of food in the diet and grains.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Strangely addictive, too, and you almost don’t realize that wheat, in all of its forms, has a hold over you until you eliminate it.
Tania Flack: There’s a theory around that foods that I read you can cause a little bit of an endorphin release as your body tries to deal with those, so you can start to become really reliant on that. Like, sometimes you can be attracted to the foods that suit you least.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. That’s interesting and I guess probably ….
Guy Lawrence: Like chocolate.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Tania Flack: That’s entirely different.
Stuart Cooke: A shift, also perhaps to pasture-fed and raised animals as well. Because I guess if you try to eliminate grains and you’re eating a lot of grain-fed steak, then it’s going to come through that way as well, isn’t it? Or, if you try to eliminate corn and you’ve got corn-fed animals.
Tania Flack: Yeah and not to forget too and that’s a fairly unnatural food source for those animals. So, yeah. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s kind of we are what we eat. We’re also what our animals have eaten as well.
Tania Flack: Yeah. It’s all part of the food chain, isn’t it?
Stuart Cooke: It is. It will end up somewhere.
Guy Lawrence: So, what foods would you recommend that we eat to the help heal the gut during the phase of trying to rebuild ourselves?
Tania Flack: If you been trying to have a dysbiosis or leaky gut, along with food intolerances and generally it all goes hand in hand and we test for that in Clinic. Looking at foods that, you know, depending on the level of that, we try to aim for slow-cooked foods and foods in their most natural source so your body can utilize those nutrients as easily as possible. Foods that are high in zinc. We also use supplementation things like: Aloe Vera, glutamine, zinc, that type of thing. The healing and calming for the gut.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Okay and you spoke before about process or at least a time before you can reintroduce and that’s around the three-month mark.
Tania Flack: Yes. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. So, yeah, I was just looking at the supplementation to assist, speed up the healing process, but I guess we kind of covered that a little bit which they kind of go in hand. A great topic and I threw it out on Facebook and I haven’t checked since. What are your thoughts on soy? Especially where weight, hormones and skin are involved.
Tania Flack: Well, you know it’s interesting, of the traditional use of soy, nutritionists saying a lot of the Asian cultures, is it would be included in small amounts in the diet and that diet would be really well balanced with other nutrients and it would be an appropriate source of fiber estrogen, so those. Lots of benefits of soy taken in a diet like that. So, as a whole, however, unfortunately in the west we tend to do this, we’ve taken that concept and completely blown it out of all proportion and the soy that we use these days, it’s genetically modified, which I’m absolutely against. I think we can’t know what’s going to happen with that in years to come, so to avoid all genetically modified foods is a really good thing too, it’s a good policy to adopt.
So, a lot of our soy is that type of soy and unfortunately people think that they’re adding soy to the diet, which is things like soy milk; now soy milk is a highly processed food, there is no way that you can make a soy bean taste like soy milk without putting it through the ringer in terms of chemical intervention. So, people think that soy is healthy for you and in that traditional Asian well balanced diet; it does have its benefits. However, the way we look at it in the West, and we take this food and we tamper with it to the point that it’s unrecognizable and then it’s genetically modified as well, and then we have a lot of it and its not balanced with all the other good foods in a diet, I think ultimately soy like that is a bad idea. And then because people might be drinking gallons and gallons of soy milk, then it can cause problems in terms of its affect on hormones. So, ultimately soy in that way, I absolutely think it’s best to avoid it.
Guy Lawrence: So, that’s what they also add, sweeteners to the soy milk as well just to make it taste ….
Tania Flack: This is right. This is right and then they also add thickeners and colors and that type of thing as well and some of the thickeners that they add, you both know my particular bug bearer is, carrageenan, as a thickener in these milk substitutes. You know ultimately that’s been linked to inflammatory bowel disease and even though it’s natural, it’s not something you’d want to be having a lot of either. So, I just think any of those foods that are highly processed, you just; there’re things in there that you wouldn’t choose yourself if you knew. So, I think those need to be avoided, if you can. And certainly I think foods like that can contribute to an unhealthy gut.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. Getting back to wheat and people trying to eliminate wheat and of course the big one is bread; are gluten-free products, bread for example; gluten-free bread, are they a healthily alternative?
Tania Flack: Well, generally speaking for most and often I have said to people we have to eliminate gluten from their diet and people just about burst into tears. They are, “what will I have for breakfast? If I can’t have my Weet-Bix or my toast, then I will starve to death.” So for people like that I guess a gluten-free bread is a softer alternative, however, ultimately they can be quite processed as well. So, I’m not saying don’t eat any bread ever, gluten-free bread is your better option. But ultimately, again, it’s a processed food, so in a perfect world we would eliminate a majority of the intake of that type of food. So, gluten-free is a better alternative, but ultimately . . .
Guy Lawrence: You could almost use it as a stepping stone to get off the bread all together, couldn’t you?
Tania Flack: That’s right and I think that once people realize that there is not over and they can have toast and Vegemite or whatever it is, then they start to get a little more creative and then they realize when they cut a lot of that out of their diet, they actually feel a little bit better and then it’s a slow journey for some people, but it’s really worthwhile.
Stuart Cook: Okay. Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Good question.
Stuart Cook: Elimination of diary. Okay, so, lots of people are reactive. If we strip the dairy out of our diet, how worried would we be about lack of calcium, brittle bones and everything else that accompanies that?
Tania Flack: Yeah. That’s actually a question I get a lot in clinic and it’s a valid question and it’s interesting because we think that dairy is the only source of calcium and ultimately if somebody’s coming in, they’ve come to see a nutritionist or naturopath, and they’ve been shown to be intolerant to dairy, we would never say, “cut that out” and let them walk the door without information on how adequately address their calcium needs in their diet.
And you can get calcium from a lot of sources and you’ve got to remember that there’s a lot of cultures that they really don’t have dairy. So, they probably have a better bone density then we do. And the other thing to think about with that is that if we got a highly acidic diet, which is what a typical western diet is, then we have a greater requirement for minerals like calcium, because they alkalize everything and we have a very narrow window of pH that we can operate in.
So, in a typical western diet, we have a greater need for calcium because we’ve got all of these low-grade acidic type foods in the diet. So, if you alkalize the diet and if you have a really good quality sources, board sources, that give us our mineral such as calcium, then there shouldn’t be a problem if it’s managed well.
Guy Lawrence: What would be a couple of good alternatives if you couldn’t have dairy? What could bring in for instance?
Tania Flack: Things like nuts and seeds. I mean, Stu’s got the perfect, perfect calcium source there; it’s sardines with bones in it. You just can’t get a better calcium source, green leafy vegetables. We’d probably find if we did an analysis of Stu’s diet that his calcium sources are perfect, so, without having diary in it. So, there’s definitely ways that you can get around that.
Guy Lawrence: So like you said, you have to eliminate the stresses from the body as well and at the same time bring in the foods, outside of dairy, to do that.
Tania Flack: Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Well, while we’ve got time we’ve got a couple of questions for you that we always ask everyone. If you could offer one single piece of advice for optimum health and wellness, what would it be?
Tania Flack: I’d have to say that the one thing that I think makes huge difference to everybody is just to eat fresh. Just handle foods as close to the natural state as you can. Cut them up and cook them and eat that. Try to stick with what your grandparents ate. Try to avoid processed foods and eat as close to the natural source as you can. I think that stands people in really good stead if they can continue doing that throughout their lives.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Which it seems hard at first, but it’s actually not that hard once you ….
Tania Flack: No, it takes just a little bit of change of mindset and I think it’s a slow process for some people, but ultimately your health is your most precious commodity. So, it takes a little bit of effort and if that effort is shopping for fresh food and chopping it up and cooking and eating that; if that’s the main effort that you’ve got to do, I think that’s a low price to pay for something so precious.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. I think it’s just a little bit of a kind of shift in the way that you do things and if you need an extra five minutes to prepare breakfast, then just make that happen and the dividends will pay off for sure.
Guy Lawrence: Nicely put.
Tania Flack: Yeah and it’s also giving people the confidence to be able to do that. Just making good food choices and once people have got that, then they generally are on a good path.
Stuart Cooke: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: And if people want to find out more about food intolerances, just contact you through the website, Tania?
Tania Flack: Absolutely. Contact me through the website. I’m happy to give people advice and as I’ve said, we’ve got that test available now; we can give good results within 40 minutes. So, we can give them a really clear plan within an hours’ appointment and that gives them somewhere to go and it can make big differences to how they feel.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic and for anyone outside of Sydney, is there something that you can get done by mail? Post off? Or is it something you search ….
Tania Flack: We can do the blood test by post; so I can send them out a pathology request form just to have the blood test done by post.
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Tania Flack: So they can take it into their local collection center and we can discuss the results on line. So, yes, everybody should be able to have access to it.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent. Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: That was awesome.
Stuart Cooke: Excellent. Yeah, no look that’s great. Just super-interested to spread the word because once you realize what these little triggers are, that are kind of niggling at you sleep and your energy levels and your skin and gut health, you just feel so much better; so fantastic.
Tania Flack: And I’m also glad, I’ve got to thank you for bringing this issue up Stu, because I know that you’ve been wondering about that for a while and it’s great to get the word out there because it can make a big difference and it can just be something as simple as cutting out 1 or 2 foods and having a slight change in diet can make you feel so much better. Thank you for bringing it out.
Stuart Cooke: You’re welcome.
Guy Lawrence: That’s great.
Stuart Cooke: All right, thanks for your time and yeah, we’ll get this up on the blog as soon as we can.