The above video is 4:57 minutes long.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: We were told recently that one in four woman show symptoms of an under-active thyroid! So we had no hesitation on focusing our short video above on low thyroid function and some action steps you can start straight away to help.
Today we welcome back to the show Michele Chevalley Hedge. Michele is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, (Adv. Dip of Nutritional Medicine, Australia Traditional Medicine Society) and the author of many health related articles. She also has proven strategies to incorporate good nutrition into a fast paced family, as the mother of three teenage children and her own busy practice. She can empathise with all types! A Healthy View recently has expanded Sydney operations to open in New York, with its new online family wellness program Low Sugar Lifestyle.
“Optimal health is not just about nutrition, it is a combination of Nutrition, Sleep & Exercise. It is without a shadow of a doubt a three-prong approach and without one of them it’s impossible to reach optimal wellness.”
― Michele Chevalley Hedge, Nutritional Medicine Practitioner
Michele Chevalley Hedge Interview: Hormones, Thyroid Function & Nourishing our Bodies
- How can our hormones influence our weight?
- What can we eat to nourish our hormones?
- What supplements are beneficial for hormone health?
- What are your thoughts on soy (milk/products) as it has been linked to hormone issues?
- If you wanted to break your hormones what would you do?
- And much much more…
Get More Of Michele Chevalley Hedge:
Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 nutrition and welcome to this week’s episode of “The Health Sessions.”
We welcome back today Michele Chevalley Hedge on the podcast and if you aren’t familiar with Michele and didn’t hear her podcast last year she is a nutritional medicine practitioner. She’s also author of “Beating Sugar Addictions for Dummies.” She’s been a contributor to the Huffington Post, Good Health Magazine, Women’s Fitness, The Sunday Telegraph, The Morning Herald, ABC Radio and Sunrise Channel Seven Weekend Breakfast Show to name a few. It’s actually much bigger than that.
She has a wealth of experience and we are very happy to get her back on the show today where we delve into the topic of hormones. Hormones we feel are a massive contributor to one’s health and how do we knock our hormones out of luck, how can we bring the back in, what influences it, what roles they play in the body.
Thyroids is a common issue, adrenals, cortisols, the list goes on, leptin, serotonin, melatonin. I’m just recapping the interview today but it was an awesome interview.
She shed so much light on the subject and if you are one of those people that is delving into health but are still trying to figure out getting a better night’s sleep, dropping a few kilos of weight and you doing things but still getting frustrated then this is definitely an area we encourage you to look at and as we share the strategies with you and tap into Michele’s wealth of experience today I have no doubt you are going to enjoy this episode.
If you do please leave us a review on iTunes, iAsk. It’s very simple to do, if you can hit the five stars, subscribe to our podcast and also leave the review that will help our rankings. More people can find us and tap into this great information that we love to put out there and share with you guys.
If you are struggling, most people have to do it from the phone. iTunes can be a little bit fiddly but when you open up the podcast app don’t go to your saved [00:02:00] episodes of 180, actually go to the search field, type in 180 nutrition, bring it up from there and then there’s a button where you can say write a review.
It takes two minutes to do and just tell us what’s been helping you, how you listen to the podcasts. We really truly love getting the feedback and love hearing from you guys and it’s more fugal to keep this out there because we’re reaching a lot of people and it’s definitely changing lives which is fantastic. Include the analysis as well.
Anyway let’s go over to Michelle and enjoy the show, cheers.
Stu:Let’s do it.
Guy:All right. His, this is Guy Lawrence, I’m joined with Stuart Cook as always, hi Stu?
Guy:And our lovely guest today Michele Chevalley Hedge, Michele welcome back to the show.
Michele:Hello Stu, hello Guy, hello everybody out here.
Guy:Great to have you back Michele, obviously we were just offline talking about the podcast and we’re picking up more and more listeners every week, new listeners so I’m pretty sure they’ll be a lot of guys out there that happened to hear the previous podcast when you came in last year. Can you just describe for everyone a little bit about yourself, what you do and why we’re super excited to have you back in the show?
Michele:Sure, thank you. Thank you for having me back. I’m a qualified nutritionist and sometimes some of the well-known health editors or even doing a little bit of television will introduce me as Michele Chevalley Hedge, the modern day nutritionist, the nutritionist that likes a little bit of coffee and a little bit of wine and that initially made me very upset. I was like, “Oh no,” and then it really made me real.
That’s a really big part of our philosophy at A Healthy View, my practice, is that we are qualified nutritionists but we really understand real busy people and we like to have a non-extreme approach.
So besides having a busy practice [00:04:00] we also write for many different publications, The Huffington Post, Body and Soul, I wrote a book last year called “Beating Sugar Addictions for Dummies.” Wiley publishing out of New York City commissioned me to write that and I said, “Why ask me to write this? Why aren’t you asking Sarah Wilson and David Gillespie?”
I said, “They’re fantastic in these spaces,” which they are and they said, “Michele the reality is you’re a qualified nutritionist who has been talking about sugar way before sugar was sexy.” That was a lot of fun to write.
We ran programs, we ran retreats, do lots of corporate presenting, do lots of school presenting and so our specialty, our area of specialty is always been talking about sugar but we treat patients for all sorts of reasons, from hormonal dysfunction to weight to ADHD to cognitive dysfunction.
I’m very big in the area of mental health and nutrition. I’ve been speaking a lot on that. Last year I spoke with the Dalai Lama “Happiness and Its Causes,” vitality, energy and serotonin which I want to talk about today.
Guy:Great. Thanks Michele.
Stu:Michele you mentioned hormones as well and that’s the topic that we really want to cover today because a lot of people aren’t aware that their hormones could be holding them back where health is concerned and it can be a culprit in weight loss, weight gain, fatigue, sleep issues, autoimmunity. I wondered if you could just tell us about our hormones. Our listeners right now, what are they and why do we need to support them as we grow older?
Michele:I was so [inaudible 00:05:43] when I got your email to have this podcast and to specialize and talk about hormones because it’s an area of great interest to me.
I’m writing a book about resetting your hormones. [00:06:00] I’m thinking about the tittle could be “It Could Be Your Hormones: Weight, Sleep, Autoimmune.”
Hormones are the special chemical messengers in our body that are incredibly powerful and they affect everything that we do. They affect our sleep, they affect our weight, they affect our energy levels, they affect our autoimmune system, they affect our moods, emotions.
Just on a funny note any woman who has premenstrual tension or any newly pregnant woman who will have hormones firing around their body or any woman going into menopause will immediately know the power of hormones.
I laugh about those things and try to make jokes about them but hormones are incredibly powerful. But some of the ones that we would know even if you’re not in the world of nutritional wellness, things like cortisol, things like leptin, things like melatonin, progesterone, these are all hormones that we really need that for optimal health we need to be safeguarding these type of hormones and how they function in our body.
Guy:Fair enough, I was wondering like when you say [inaudible 00:07:22] what’s the general perception and awareness? You’re in the firing line, you see a lot of people in your practice and your talking. Are people that tuned in or aware about hormones and how they can govern the body from different things?
We see a lot of people inquiring about weight loss especially as you can imagine and they just assume it’s going to be hitting the gym, exercising, cutting up the calories and away we go but obviously it’s a much more complex issue than that.
Michele:I think Guy that that’s a great question. What I think is that as people tend to get [00:08:00] more into nutrition and wellness, they start to look beneath the surface a little bit of just food and start to think, “Wait a minute, what else could be possibly going on in my body?”
So we always say, “Let’s look beneath the surface. Let’s look at what’s happening with your thyroid hormones. Let’s look at what’s happening with your blood sugar hormones. Let’s look at what’s happening with your cortisol hormones.”
Can we Segway and just go into cortisol just for a moment?
Michele:Great. Here’s the thing about cortisol, people will think that they possibly can be gaining weight from food and the reality is yes, poor food choices will lead to dis-regulation, blood sugar dis-regulation being one of our hormones we really want to safeguard.
What happens is people are thinking that that’s all about food and poor food choices. However stress and if we wake up in the morning and we are going and going and going and going and our adrenal glands are on fire, our adrenal glands pump out our cortisol, our cortisol pumps out glucose and this is a wonderful mechanism in the body.
Human nature is amazing because thousands of years ago the body was meant to see a sabre tooth tiger, our adrenals were meant to go on fire, our cortisol was meant to pump, our glucose was meant to pump out, kill the sabre tooth tiger, glucose goes down, cortisol goes down, adrenal goes back to resting and say, “Thank you very much.”
These days we pop out of bed, we go, “Make somebody breakfast, feed the dog, get to the gym, I better do this, I better do that [00:10:00], oh my goodness, I’ve got the 10:30 meeting,” so we’re going and we’re going and we’re going and we’re going all day long.
I’m not living in ivory tower because this is myself sometimes but I have a very big observation that what’s happening to people is they are creating excess glucose around their body all day long and creating hormone resistance just from stress.
Guy:I was just about to ask you that, can you create excess glucose and spike blood sugars just from stress?
Michele:Absolutely and I think that that is something that’s really significant that people have to realize because we have in our clinical practice where we see thousands of patients a week or talk to thousands of patients. We’ve got lots of slim people what I call slender rosters.
These people aren’t necessarily overweight or obese and then all of a sudden you do their blood pathology and you look at their hormones or you look at their fasting blood glucose and you say, “Wait a minute, what is going on with this person?”
They can be rusting or oxidizing on the inside purely because they’re running on adrenal glands and adrenal burn-out. Their cortisol is going constantly, their glucose is going constantly and what happens is these people end up in adrenal fatigue and their hormone resistance is just …
The good news about nutrition and wellness is that we can change that. Sure we’ll take a little bit of time to get the adrenal glands rested and re-nurtured but we can do this.
Guy:In your experience Michele first with adrenal fatigue how long does it take to recover? Because once they’re gone it can be quite a task, will that be fair to say?
Michele:Guy that is absolutely fair to say. Again this comes back to a term that I like to use quite often is bio individual, everybody’s biochemistry, metabolism is very much an individual thing. Some people that have adrenal fatigue or adrenal burn-out, you get them on a program for six weeks, you really nourish them, I love that word nourish, cleanse and nourish, don’t detox anybody. Cleanse them, nourish them.
You nourish them by wonderful, real, whole foods, beautiful protean powders like yours. You nourish them for six weeks, you get them nourished, exercising and sleep, boy you can have a new person in six weeks.
Some people depending on their level of fatigue and adrenal burn-out and their cortisol levels can take a whole year, some people can take a couple of years. I have a couple of very, very senior executive men who went through adrenal burn-out. They thought they had [inaudible 00:13:00] fever, they thought that they had some serious disease processes going on like cancer, chronic fatigue, Epstein–Barr, all those things when the reality is they just went into purely adrenal burn-out.
We see this more often with women particularly type A fast pace women having adrenal burn-out but we see it with men as well.
Stu:I don’t know whether you can see this Michele but I just pulled in, I’m just going to hold it up to the screen. Can you see that?
Michele:I can see.
Stu:That was my cortisol profile about 12 months ago and I was having issues sleeping and energy was wrong for me and come 10 o’clock at night, I felt like my whole body was my pulse, it was raging, [00:14:00] thump, thump, thump. I didn’t feel rested, I wasn’t ready for sleep. I had my hormone panels done and then I had a phone call from my nat path and she said, “Look. We really do need to sort your cortisol levels out because they are 10 times what they should be at 10 o’clock at night so it’s dis-regulated.”
So I know exactly what you’re talking about and it’s certainly doable and fixable.
It took me probably about eight months and it was paying attention to all of those things. My food was perfect anyway so that wasn’t an issue. My sleep had gone haywire because I was in fight or flight mode at 10 o-clock at night. I was waking up every two or three hours each night. It really was a re-organization of the way and the timing that I exercised being really mindful of stress reduction, all of these things and also nourishing the adrenals with certain adaptogen herbs and dietary intervention as well.
So yes, it took me about eight months but now you choke in cheese, [cross-talk 00:15:06].
Michele:That is so wonderful Stu, I think that that’s a really important message to the people that are listening to this podcast because the people that are listening to this podcast will have some sense of good health, right?
They might be good eaters but they might be thinking to themselves, “Wait a minute, I know something intuitively is not right. My sleep isn’t right, maybe my weight isn’t exactly what it should be. What else is driving these things?”
This is an interesting, wonderful study that Harvard’s done and I’ll just recap it briefly. But they did this study on 18-year olds that were all incredibly healthy, really good diets. They didn’t change anything with this group except their sleep over a six-week period.
They went from eight hours [00:16:00] good, wonderful sleepers and so the researchers went, “We’re going to take you down to seven hours, we’re going to take you to six hours, bring up to six and a half, bring it down to five,” over a six-week period.
They re-did their blood pathology, these kids were healthy specimens. Nothing else changed except their sleep. They re-did their blood pathology and their blood pathology, the glucose and they looked like they were at the age of 65.
Michele:Yes. So you look at the people that are shift workers, you look at people that are stressed, you look at people that are tired but wired, always talk about that person that goes to bed and has been dragging all day long, “I got iron deficiency, I got early menopause, I got this, I got that.”
Maybe none of these. You’re going into bed and you’re not recalibrating your hormones and your neural transmitters.
I think I am a firm believer that sleep is part of the whole wellness, optimal wellness equation. That’s such a good point Stu and I also think the other thing the people that are watching this podcast would be good exercisers as well.
But here’s the thing about exercise, exercise to an extreme can be just another stress on the body and again not coming from an ivory tower because I used to be a marathon runner and I still really like running but if you know you’re heading towards that adrenal fatigue and you intuitively know some things aren’t happening, step down on your exercise a little bit. Be kind to yourself.
Walking, paddle boarding, meditating, yoga can still be doing wonderful things for our body but not firing up those adrenal glands. We want to dampen the inflammation around the adrenals, around everything.
Stu:Exactly right and I think that is one of the things that tipped me over the edge as well. [00:18:00] I was going through a period of time when I was doing very, very high intensity work outs and I just screwed up the timing. I was doing a really heavy session on say Monday evening and then Tuesday morning I was back in there at 7:30 in the morning. There was no time for recovery and of course you know all of the recovery and repair and restorative processes happen when we sleep.
My sleep went through the window because I wasn’t allowing myself that valuable recovery time so absolutely agree with what you’re saying.
Michele:Yes, and the other thing is people don’t realize that our sleep hormone melatonin is also the precursor to serotonin which is really something I want to touch on because I love talking about serotonin, so important. Who doesn’t need more serotonin?
Melatonin is your precursor to serotonin. The body processes in so many unique, wonderful ways but people who have sleep deprivation also tend to get fat because their serotonin isn’t firing. There’s two key messages here that I think are important that everyone should know and that I intend to share with everybody is about serotonin.
In the past, 10 years ago there would have been a lot of thought processes, research, medical studies all about serotonin being the happy hormone in the brain. Is some of our serotonin made in the brain and outside the stomach? Yes, most of our serotonin is made in our gut. Some scientists will say 65 to 75% would be made in our gut.
What does that mean? That means if our gut is in a state of good health with good gut flora, that means [00:20:00] that often our serotonin is often firing.
When we have a dis-biosis in our gut, when we have things like thrash and candida or even if we’re experiencing IBD, IBS, crones, diarrhea, constipation, you look at people that are suffering digestive issues for more than six weeks, most of them will say that it is affecting them on a happiness level from anxiety, depression which is all about your serotonin. We clean up people’s guts and all of a sudden we’ve got a happy person.
This is interesting. As you both know I’m a practitioner that is absolutely not against modern medication. I embrace modern medication, I think that there’s a world for what you guys do, what I do where we bring nutrition and natural therapies and we combine it with modern medicine.
We have a lot of people coming in to our practice and they say, “We think we’re about to go on an anti-anxiety or an anti-depressant,” and I say, “That’s totally fine. However you’ve got to give me six to eight weeks. Just give me six to eight weeks, work with me, stay with me on this and then let’s see if you need that.”
I would say 90% of the time they go, “I’m all right, I got it back.” [Inaudible 00:21:24] when they even talk about it because it’s so powerful.
We see lots and lots of teenagers, these kids that are super stressed in year 11, year 12, see lots and lots of senior management business people super stressed, stress in the gut. The gut floor is going sideways. Sugar feeds candida like no tomorrow, like no tomorrow.
All of a sudden you got this messed up gut, you all of a sudden start to reduce eating sugars, I think some natural sugars, right? [00:22:00] Reduce sugars, start bringing in good proteins, good fats, good complex carbohydrates, you’ll see a new person.
Guy:I got a question for you regarding candida Michele. I read it somewhere but I just want to make sure that it is true or not that candida spreads and covers the gut lining which then prevents nutrients from actually being absorbed, is that correct?
Michele:That’s correct, that’s correct Guy and also people think that candida is just in the gut like we think, “We’ll take pro biotics and we’ll get rid of candida.” There’s several things that we want to do to get rid of candida. We can’t just be taking pro biotics. What we need to do is we need to stop feeding the candida. The best way to do that is we take away the sugar.
Even in some severe cases of candida for a little while we even take away natural sugars which is not our normal philosophy but in severe cases.
But here’s the thing Guy, candida just isn’t in the gut. People that have chronic sinusitis can have candida in their sinus cavities. People that have esophageal disorders can have candida in the esophagus. We’ve seen cases of candida in esophagus and some chronic sinusitis.
Guy:In the lungs as well, will that contribute to asthma?
Michele:There can be and in fact this is something that is quite sad. People that go through chemotherapy and go through cancer and stuff like that they can develop lots and lots of candida because their body just isn’t firing the way it should be. You see this often in cancer patients towards the end of lots of chemo.
Stu:Howe can we test for candida Michele?
Michele:There are proper tests that natural paths and some special [inaudible 00:23:59] the States [00:24:00] will test for and some good gastroenterologists will also test for those things. But I often think that if you’re seeing a good holistic practitioner, we’ll see signs and symptoms. We’ll look for are you the kind of person that wakes up in the morning with a flat tummy and all of a sudden two hours later you’ve got puffy tummy? What’s going on here?
What we often do is before people go to expensive testing we often say to them, “Let’s do a bit of a cleanse, a cleanse and nourish. I don’t like the word detox because that’s scary.
Let’s put in so much good into this person’s world that they forget about the crap that they’ve been eating. Let’s repopulate the gut with the good pro biotic if we need to, let’s get some good coconut fats, let’s get some good protein powders and a smoothie. Let’s nourish your body and then if we’re still seeing signs and symptoms yes we’ll send you off for some pathology to look at candida build up.
A lot of the medical community is now embracing, “Wow, this person’s got candida overgrowth.” To say that to a medical profession five years ago they go, “Here she is, the nerdy nutritionist.” Now we have a world of doctors embracing our world. I did a talk last week and more than 50% of the people in the audience were doctors.
Guy:Wow, it’s awesome.
Michele:Yes, I know it was so awesome.
Guy:Just to pull it back to hormones Michele, you were rattling off some symptoms earlier about why are they going to bed, they’re sluggish, the stress they’re going through the day and they listen into this and they go, “Oh my god, I got all the symptoms, what do I do?” If they came to see you what would be the first thing you would do them? What test? Would it be the gut? Would it be the cortisol or will it be a host of things?
I know it’s a bit diagnosis.
Michele:Of course I always go through the whole body, looking at the whole body and then we would run additional testing on hormones. We do a lot of salivary hormone testing.
I would often send people off particularly if it is hormonal perimenopausal, things like testosterone, progesterone and estrogen. If I see a woman who I think is having perimenopausal symptoms I’ll send them to a functional medicine doctor that I work with so we can have really good pathology that we’re looking at.
Sometimes I send them off for salivary but what I always do first is because I don’t want anybody to waste money is I say, “You know what? Let’s just get your eating right first then let’s look at what’s happening in six weeks’ time and then we could possibly add supplementation or we might have to go to some DHEA supplements or testosterone supplements,” what I call bio identical hormones.
I’ve got a really big interest in the area of bio identical hormones but let’s just Segway there for a moment and just talk about something that I see every single day.
This is for women mostly, we’ll go on to our sex hormones in a moment but thyroid hormone, we see one out of four women with a sub clinical thyroid condition. So a doctor might look at the pathology and go, “Gee, you THS, your thyroid stimulating hormone looks perfect,” but this person is sitting in front of me and their face is a bit puffy, their eyes are a bit puffy.
They may have lot one third of their eyebrow, they might have had changes in their hair texture. It’s like, “Michele used to have great hair, her hair’s gone kind of fuzzy.” They may not have any kind of gaudier [00:28:00] and they may just look puffy.
They’ll say, “Yes, I’ve gained maybe one or two kilos but for no specific reason, my energy levels aren’t right. You know what Michele?” This is what they’re saying to me, “I’ve got low iron or I must have perimenopause.”
So I go, “You know what? Let’s go back to eating right and let’s look further at your thyroid. Let’s not just look at your TSH, let’s look at your thyroid antibodies.”
“Let’s look at your T3, your T4. Let’s look at how your body is converting this, let’s look at this biggest single thing is your urinary iodine.” It’s a simple test, even it’s an inexpensive. Go to Hanley Mire, you go to the bathroom in a cup and you can see how much iodine the thyroid is taking up.
A lot of people’s body has a sluggish thyroid and it’s just because they don’t have enough iodine. It’s awesome when you see somebody having a sluggish thyroid to go, “No worries, you don’t need to go to an endocrinologist, you don’t need to get worked up. Let’s just start putting in some additional selenium-based foods, some additional iodine and all of a sudden your thyroid is going to start chugging along again.” Not always but we can underpin these hormones that are being really sluggish.
I work with one of this endocrinologist and she said, “Michele, if people walked into GP, women walked into GP 10 years ago, 20 years ago, they say here, go on an antidepressant, here, go on an anti-anxiety and they won’t even check the woman’s thyroid whereas this thyroid, once this blows out or gets sluggish, people feel like they are depressed. They feel like they’re in a constant state of brain fog.”
It’s an interesting statistic, [00:30:00] one out of four women have some type of sub clinical thyroid. It could be from pregnancy, it could be from a virus, it could be from a big stressor like death in the family or a divorce. Sometimes a thyroid can blow out and it can come back in. That’s what we call idiopathic thyroid but also we have autoimmune thyroid which is Hashimoto’s or Graves.
Guy:That’s interesting to say because one in four is a lot of people. I think about our podcast that we talked to Ron Ehrlich and he said the most common thing that he sees with the people coming through in his dentistry practice is a non-directive thyroid.
Michele:I would say 19 out of 20 women coming into our practice, we would see an underactive thyroid but I always say this to people they get so nervous, they get so scared. They think that they’re going to get fat, they think that they’re going to get depressed and it could go down that path.
However you start to clean up liver function. You start to clean up processes in the body, you start to underpin with iodine, tyrosine, selenium, boom, you can change that function. I’ve seen it thousands of times.
Stu:You mentioned supplementation as well in there Michele. If you didn’t know the state of your hormones first off would there be any particular supplementation protocol that you would recommend just to support everyone’s hormone health?
Michele:That’s a great question Stu, I always am a practitioner and everyone who works in our practice at A Healthy View, we always say food first. What we like to do is again just get somebody eating well, not extreme, just eating well, three meals a day, possibly an afternoon tea and a morning tea with a bit of protean because we know that that balances [00:32:00] blood sugar. We just get them eating right first then we look and we say, “Could this person possibly use a bit more magnesium?”
Magnesium we know is wonderful on hormone receptors, we know magnesium is wonderful for sleep, wonderful on so many levels. Can this person use a little bit more vitamin C? Could this person use a little bit more B? We take a look at everyone individually.
The majority of my patients or our patients at A Healthy View would be on official oil supplement because it’s hard to get the amount of fats that we want in our diet.
There’s amazing evidence-based research around essential fatty acids from brain function to hormonal balancing to skin and one of the first things that good neurologists are doing in the area of cognitive dysfunction, ADHD, ADD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, the first thing that they’re doing is giving them a good quality fish oil. So I’d say many of our patients would be on a good quality fish oil.
The next supplement that would probably be the most popular that we recommend is a good quality magnesium. If we were to test everybody in the world for magnesium there’s some researchers that would say that 90% of the population is deficient in magnesium.
One of the first things that our body depletes when we’re stressed people and we’re on the go is magnesium, one of the first things zaps out of our body not only from stress but from exercise. I like a bit of magnesium and these all different forms of magnesium. There’s magnesium citrate, there’s magnesium glycinate so make sure that you’re talking to your practitioner.
But the good news with magnesium is you know that you’re taking too much because I talk about you get to magnesium tolerance. [00:34:00] If you take a little bit too much you’re going to start to go the bathroom a little bit too much.
It’s just like taking a little bit too much vitamin C. The body is so smart, the body will send up a signal and go, “Hey, hey, hey, you’re over magnesium, you’re over vitamin C.” But I always say to patients or to anybody it’s always best to consult a practitioner around any kind of supplementation.
Guy:I want to touch on … Do you have any questions on supplements Stu or can I move on? You good?
Stu:No, I’m very good, it’s good to know. I will ask you a little bit later on Michele about your supplementation as well but carry on Guy.
Guy:It’s a question that we have to ask and I don’t think we’ve covered it on the podcast, is alcohol.
Michele:Yes, it’s a great question particularly for me who loves wine.
Guy:I love a glass of wine now and then, yes, absolutely but I’m interested to know how it affects our hormones and I think people are coming into the place while crisis or they could be in a healthy position and the two differentiators assuming alcohol, go on Stu.
Stu:I just want to touch in there as well because I have a number of friends and family as well who always like to have a couple of glasses of wine in the evening before bed because it calms them down and on the back of Guy’s question, does it calm them down? Is it good for their hormones? Does it help their body nourish and repair over the course of the night?
Michele:Excellent. Stu make sure that I respond to that question, it’s so important. I love this question, it’s awesome. Let’s just start with alcohol. The first thing that people will say is what is it doing to my liver? What is it doing to my hormones?
But before we even star with that what I want to say is alcohol in terms of sugar content, champagne will always be [00:36:00] your highest sugar. Your cocktails of course are not just a cocktail of the alcohol but they’re a cocktail of sugar so people are not only having the banged up effect on their liver but also they’re having a sugar hangover the next day if they’re having too many cocktail.
Cocktails and champagne are way out there then you will have your white wines then you will have your red wines.
What I always say to people is if you’re trying to choose your poison maybe one glass of red wine, maybe a vodka or a gin, a white [inaudible 00:36:38] with soda water with lots of lemon and lime and mints like that. That’s your lowest sugar poisons.
Here’s the thing about alcohol and liver. If you were to say to people years ago and I’m segwaying but there’s a lot of good information in this, if you were to say to somebody years ago cirrhosis of the liver people would automatically think what?
Michele:Alcohol. This is a liver of an alcoholic and this is called alcohol disease, it’s from alcohol disease. Now we’ve got the same exact looking liver, the same exact banged up liver and it’s called no-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. Both livers are super banged up. One is from alcohol, what do you think this one’s from?
Michele:Isn’t that crazy?
Michele:It just makes me crazy when I think about that. Here we go, let’s just go back to the liver and alcohol. What people don’t realize is that our liver and our cholesterol makes a lot of our sex hormones, makes our testosterone, our estrogen, our progesterone. When we are going on alcohol excess, we’re really at risk of messing up [00:38:00] those hormones and that hormonal balance Guy.
So many different things that we can talk about with regard to alcohol but the thing is our liver, if our liver is functioning really well our whole metabolic state is functioning really well, the way we process fatty acids, the way we process carbohydrates, the way we process everything, the way we manufacture cholesterol.
Again we know how much alcohol is changing the pathology of the liver and alcohol is also changing the way we have our cholesterol levels. People always used to think fat is creating cholesterol in our liver. No, no, no. We know now, medical research, evidence-based research says sugar and alcohol and stress will create cholesterol issues far greater than fat ever did. But here you go, you’ve got messed up cholesterol, you’ve got messed up liver, you’ve got messed up sex hormones.
Here’s an example of one of the things that we see often in our clinical practice.
We see young women coming to our practice and they’re going, “Can I talk to you about the fact that I’m slim and I tried for 10 years not to get pregnant and all of a sudden I had a blood test because my hormones were out and my doctor has said that I have high testosterone and I have polycystic ovary syndrome and they want me to go on a medication called metformin and possibly go to the IVF clinic?”
I sit there and I see this person all the time in our practice. It gives me the chills, makes the whole New Yorker in me come out and I say, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, let’s go back.” These people, these women [00:40:00] are often between the ages of 25 and 35. They’re hard workers, they’re often slender but they’ve been grab-and go-eaters. They’re binge drinkers on the weekend.
Monday through Thursday they’re great but they’re the weekend warriors, they’re having three cocktails, half a bottle of wine. We know these people, some of them are our friends. We don’t discriminate, we just give them facts.
This is what we’re seeing quite often. What’s happening is the way that their estrogen should be converting in their body is going sideways. There’s a lot to this process but I’m giving it in layman’s terms. Their estrogen is converting not down the pathway than it needs to be. It gets converted into testosterone.
When people have polycystic ovary syndrome 90% of the time it is not because of a dysfunction with the ovaries, 90% of the time these days it’s from a dysfunction of blood glucose and what’s going on metabolically in the body and in the liver. The liver is so incredibly important to be keeping that baby clean and healthy and alcohol …
So what is a moderate approach around alcohol? I absolutely suggest to people all the time at least two alcohol-free days a week and they should be consecutive. I say to people, women especially, one glass of wine on those non-alcohol free nights, one glass of wine maximum. When we’re doing a cleanse I say absolutely no alcohol. I say, “You’re investing in this, you’re here to see me, I don’t want to waste your time, don’t waste my time, let’s give your liver as break.”
The great news is about our body, is how [00:42:00] it can re-calibrate. We know that our live can re-generate itself, give your liver a break. But banging up your liver with alcohol is the same these days as banging up your liver with processed foods, high sugar, canned fat. I just think that that’s a remarkable analogy because people really get it when you say, “Cirrhosis of the liver? Gee, people die from that.”
Guess what? People also die from poor nutrition these days with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Guy:Look how many people are putting in the alcohol, putting in the sugar and the canned fats.
Michele:Correct Guy so take that space right there, just what you said, alcohol, sugar, all that. That’s going to really be messing up all these hormones. You couple that with high stress, boom, you got fire. It’s no wonder we have a world or an epidemic of dis-regulation. It’s no wonder we have a world of high cortisol. It’s no wonder we have a world of thyroid blow-out.
We’ve got a lot of issues on hand with our health that our parents or our grandparents never had. What about the state of mental health? That’s crazy what’s going on in that but the good news is there’s a change, there’s a change coming.
Guy:Yes. There’s more and more information. People can access podcasts like this and listen and educate themselves and go out there and make change.
Stu:It is fascinating as well because all of those aspects that you were talking about with the alcohol and the stress and the sleep and the weight issues as well.
A very, very common strategy to attack this is going to be exercise and I’m going to go hard out on exercise because I’m not feeling the best, I’m putting on some weight, I’m not sleeping right.
Well, I’m going to get up every single morning and I’m going to exercise my ass off time and time again. Interesting that really you should perhaps step back [00:44:00], look at from a holistic point of view what are you eating, how are you feeling, what’s your skin like, your energy level as you sleep and then perhaps address those pieces individually.
Michele:I could not agree more with you because like people who are following you guys or in the 180 nutrition vortex, it is the same people that are in my vortex. These people already have an awareness of health. They’re coming to us because they want more but what they don’t realize is excess exercise can just be possibly another stress.
I always use the terms you can’t exercise your way out of the bad dial, you just can’t. I used to be that person for years, probably from the age of 25 to 35, “Marathon, half marathon, [inaudible 00:44:56] I’ll do that, I’ll hike.” I was the person that was constantly chasing my weight with exercise but what was I doing? I was probably just burning out my adrenal glands.
One of the hormones that we maybe want to touch on briefly because I just think that this is such an interesting hormone that we’re going to hear a lot about this year is leptin and ghrelin. You mind if I just [cross-talk 00:45:22]?
Guy:Yes, please explain what they are and their roles for sure.
Michele:Good. There’s a lot of research being done around these two very strong hormones. Just in a layman’s language because I always like to put everything so it’s so simple.
Guy:It’s good for us as well.
Michele:Me too, we like leptin. We want to have a lot of leptin in our body because when we have leptin in our body, I put the “L” up like that, leptin and like, we like leptin because what it does is it sends a signal to our brain to say, [inaudible 00:45:57] we’ve had enough food, we feel [00:46:00] satisfied,” and when we start eating the way you guys recommend, the way I recommend fats, protein, complex carbohydrates in the area, beautiful, possibly non-glutinous grains like brown rice, [inaudible 00:46:17] sweet potatoes, vegetables.
When you start eating that way you are turning on that leptin signal so much more than when you’re eating grab-and-go, things that you thought were slightly healthy. I’m sure you guys have maybe even podcast with beautiful Damon Gameau who produced “That Sugar Film.” I was one of the sugar experts on his nutritional panel. I love that movie because it talks about all these healthy things that were full of hidden sugars.
When we start to move to seasonal, local, possibly organic but definitely whole food, we are increasing those leptin levels and we really, really like that, super important. You know how we test a lot or doctors and nurture paths and nutritionists? We test for hormone resistance of course because there’s an epidemic of hormone resistance which leads to pre-diabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, you name it. It’s all about blood dis-regulation.
There will be a lot of practitioners this year testing for leptin resistance because leptin can actually become resistant in the body from poor sleep, over-exercise, poor choices, different reasons. There’s lots and lots of reasons that’s going to come out around leptin this year and it will be interesting to watch that. But what do we know that can increase it? Good, clean diet, good, fair sleep.
Guy:So would it be fair to say then if the leptin is out and you’re not producing it you don’t turn off your [00:48:00] switch for when you’re eating foods, they can over-consume foods quite easily?
Michele:Absolutely. Years ago I worked with this amazing practitioner who was a doctor as well. She was a leader in this space and I remember her testing for leptin resistance particularly on people with eating disorders. I remember her trying to get leptin tested years and years ago and a lot of the doctors were like, “Gee, where did this one come from?”
Now of course we’re going to see a lot of this this coming year but that’s correct, absolutely correct Guy. People that are with bulimia and anorexia and lots of eating disorders, they really throw their leptin out.
Guy:Right, can you trick it as well to kick-start it to help people when they’re on the journey or is it really going to be through nourishing foods?
Michele:That’s a great question guy. Lots of our hormones, our leptin, and some of our other really important hormone that particularly calibrate our ways, there’s a lot of research around intermittent fasting recalibrating these. This is something that we’ve used.
I’m often in a presentation and I am always saying there’s no Five Two diet, there’s no Miami Beach diet, there’s no lemon detox diet that works the way whole real food works.
But the reality is we use in our practice intermittent fasting on a very mild level particularly when we see hormone resistance or we see tough weight loss because there is wonderful research and it dates back to many, many years ago, 50 years ago on how intermittent fasting occasionally in the diet would re-calibrate those receptors.
The way we [00:50:00] use it in our practice is we might get somebody going on a cleanse, getting them eating real food, going down to low sugar, just get them on that path of seven says then the following week we might say to them one night a week we’d ask that they don’t have dinner. They would have breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea but no dinner. They’re doing an intermittent fast until the next morning and they should be waking up feeling a little light and energized the following morning.
The first time someone does that, they’ll be texting me 2 o’clock in the morning saying, “Michele you pain in the ass, why did you do this to me?” But the second or third time people start to use intermittent fasting and for a lot of people they love it and it becomes something that they do once a week, once a month.
I don’t recommend people doing it a lot because what can happen is people can get really big weight loss in the beginning with intermittent fasting because it’s recalibrating that receptor.
What you don’t want to do as you guys would already know this but I’m just saying this to everybody listening is that what you don’t want to do is nobody wants to lose too much weight too quickly. Our bodies like to find that balance, there’s a lot of Harvard research around that balance point. So we say to people if using intermittent fasting makes you lose too much weight too quickly there’s often a rebound effect.
What will happen often is someone starts to use it in our practice once, they love it. They use it two times a week then they use it three times a week. What happens is by the time let’s say the third week comes they’ll have a couple of days where they start to go bananas and they start to eat just crazy stuff.
So I would prefer for people to use it with the guidance of some professionals one night a week, possibly two nights a week losing at the most a half a kilo a week.
The people that have lost more than 30 kilos in our practice and there’s lots of them were the kind of people that will have weight loss at a half a kilo a week and they are the people that consistently say, “Michele I have never eaten so much damn food and lost so much weight.” I love that, it’s so cool because the reality is we can be eating a lot of food, a lot of clean food, not going hungry and our bodies can be in a state of homeostasis where it belongs.
Guy:I’ll be suspicious as well of the people that drop weight really fast if they’re doing it too much that muscle atrophy would kick in as well if it’s going too quickly.
Guy:And you could almost say for some people cutting up the snacks in between meals is a form of intermittent fasting to start with.
Michele:Absolutely guy. When we ran these cleanse programs, we ran them all around the world but we also run them in house and the very first week we ask everybody to have morning tea and afternoon tea only because we have asked them to let go of bread and we’ve asked them to let go of lots of hidden sugars that they’re not really totally aware of just yet but as they start to detox they’re going, “Wow. I have a lot more sugar than I thought.”
But what we do that first week is we keep the morning tea and the afternoon tea so that we can keep their blood sugar very, very steady. The following week we’ll say to people, “When you go to morning tea after you had that beautiful protein-rich breakfast, did you feel like having morning tea?” Ninety percent of them will go, “No, I didn’t feel like having morning tea at all.”
I’ll say, “I hope you did because what I wanted to do is just keep your blood sugar really steady the first week.” Then next week, boom, take out the morning tea, boom, [00:54:00] take out the afternoon tea. We transition into these things slowly because if they’re slow and they’re doable and no one’s hungry then it’s sustainable and it becomes a lifetime habit.
If I did all the stuff at one time with everybody it will be too much, too much, too much. But if you keep their blood sugar steady that first week and they go, “I can’t believe how much food I’m eating but I’ve lost a half a kilo, this is crazy,” then you do as you said Guy, take out the morning tea, take out the afternoon tea, take out the afternoon tea because they’re eating nutrient-dense meal three times a day. They don’t need those.
Stu:Perfect. Michele, you mentioned eating plain whole foods and your analogy with slow foods, seasonal, local, organic whole foods, where do soy products fit into this? I also heard soy, supposed wonder food, lots of people who are switching over to healthy, whole, nourishing foods, are incorporating soy milk and other soy products.
But I have heard that they have been linked to hormonal issues, what are your thoughts on that?
Michele:There’s lots of great research around that Stu. There’s a couple of things, one is I’ve never like to discriminate against a food group, sometimes I don’t even like to discriminate against [inaudible 00:55:25].
But with soy this is what we need to know, if we are choosing the soy product, one we need to make sure it says GMO-free. GMO is a whole another discussion but while there’s a yellow flag waiting with GMO I say make sure that you choose GMO-free.
Second thing is if it’s soy it should be organic because we know a lot of soy crops can be heavily pesticide. There’s a lot of research looking at those pesticides and neurological issues. [00:56:00] If you’re going to choose it’s non-GMO and it’s organic.
I like soy in people’s diets if they can tolerate it in small doses because tofu can add another protein to let’s say a vegetarian’s diet. I like a little bit of soy milk because sometimes that could just change the flavor of a smoothie and when someone is getting bored with something.
So in its good form particularly its fermented form, things like tempeh, things like that can actually be very good for women who are going into perimenopause because it can get on the estrogen receptor and increase the amount of estrogen in our body or mimic the way the estrogen receptor works.
So there is some benefits to a modest amount of soy in the diet, one day a week having some tofu, one day a week having some tempeh, one day a week having some soy milk, fine.
However people should be absolutely steering clear of soy if there’s any type of thyroid dysfunction. Soy contains something called isothiocyanates, I think I remembered how to pronounce that correct.
What it does is it inhibits the iodine uptake in the thyroid and remember what I had said earlier, thyroid loves a bit of iodine. That’s why we have sea salt that’s full of iodine, that’s why we try to use dose flakes full of iodine. Just going back to soy, if there is suspected thyroid issue or of there is anybody in the family with thyroid because thyroid is very genetic, I would stay away from soy.
Fermented soy, there’s a lot of talk about tempeh to be [00:58:00] fine in the diet but I would just stay clear of soy all together if there is a thyroid issue.
Michele:What are your thoughts on soy?
Guy:I don’t need it basically. Like you said, there’s many arguments to and fro. I’m happy where my health is at, I don’t need it. I actually don’t enjoy it anyway to be honest with you so I haven’t ate it for years.
Stu:It’s a tricky one as well Michele because the high street have got numerous soy products out. Their soy milk is one of the biggest, a lot of people will experiment with and 85% of those soy milks are loaded with organic sugar and people think, “It’s organic sugar so that’s great for me,” but when you realize it’s just another … It’s one of those things that you’re adding more sugar in unbeknowingly to a diet that may contain too much sugar already.
Michele:I think that’s a great point Stu and that actually can also go for some almond milk that people are making. Yesterday I had to do a video on smoothies. I was saying to the audience, “You’ve got to be really careful about these almond milks. The majority of almond milks have added sugar to them.” So yes, really good point to bring up.
Guy:Excellent. I’m just aware of the time [cross-talk 00:59:31] so let’s summarize everything we spoke about. Can we do that? Maybe give out five points and there’s a question we got written here like what would you do to break your hormones if you had a month to do it in?
Michele:To re-calibrate them?
Guy:Both, maybe summaries it, these are the thing you need to do if you’re going to break your hormones and maybe these are the things you’re going to do if you actually want to recalibrate because I think today’s lifestyle certainly is breaking them.
Michele:I think one of the questions you asked me last time was something along the lines of what is the greatest message that someone ever gave to you and the answer to this is the answer to rebooting or resetting your hormones.
Optimal health is not just about nutrition, optimal health is a combination of nutrition, sleep and exercise. It is without a shadow of a doubt a three-prong approach and without it, without one of them it’s impossible to reach optimal wellness.
With that said to reboot your hormones doesn’t take that long surprisingly. In severe situations yes, longer and possibly nutraceuticals and supplements and things like that but number one just start eating clean, real, whole food. I don’t mean 75% of the time, put a stake in the ground and say, “You know what? For the next four weeks out I’m only going to eat something that is real and things that are not packaged or from manufacturing line.”
Start with breakfast, I want you to be thinking about three things, a bit of protean, a bit of fat and maybe a little bit of complex carbohydrates. Example smoothie, 180 smoothie, beautiful, almond milk, powder, some berries, maybe a splash of vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, whatever it might be, some additional flack seeds if we want to move our digestion but I know 180 already has it. So breakfast, thinking about those three macronutrients.
Morning tea, if you haven’t had a smoothie I think morning teas and afternoon teas are great places for smoothies but if not a handful of nuts. Keep it easy, keep it simple. Give yourself a guideline [01:02:00] for the next month of three things to have for breakfast, three things to have for morning tea, three things to have for lunch. Might be a little bit boring but give yourself four weeks of clean eating, breakfast, lunch and dinner. All of them should have a bit of protein, a bit of fat.
Now, complex carbohydrates, do we need to have that complex carbohydrates for the evening meal? No. Could we have some at breakfast and lunch? Yes.
What does a good complex carbohydrate do? It fills our brain and it fill our energy. But at night for weight loss, recalibrating hormones, those complex carbohydrates often break down to sugar.
Unless we’re dancing on a table or running a marathon we don’t need that complex carbohydrate at night. So keep your protein, keep your fat at night but just get rid of that complex carbohydrate, great way to be re-calibrating those receptors, those hormones at all levels.
Give yourself a break from alcohol. If you cannot put a stake in the ground and give yourself a break from alcohol then I will remind you of the story that I tell people often. In the early 1990s I worked for Microsoft and I got to work with Apple a lot and Steve Jobs. All the money in the world that man had and he couldn’t buy back his health.
So I say to people all the time, if you can’t take the time to say, “I’m going to come off alcohol for a little while and I’m going to live clean for a little while and I’m going to reboot my system,” then you need to re-assess your priorities because nourishing this, and some people think it’s being selfish to do this, is the single best thing that you can do for yourself as well as your family because all of a sudden then you create the butterfly effect when this gets right.
Michele:So clean eating, moderate amount of exercise, not too much, low alcohol, those three things will lead to or should lead to good quality sleep. These are things that I really encourage people just to try. If you need a little bit of help you guys have great recipes, we have great recipes. If you can’t do it alone then find a nutritionist or a natural path to help you with all these things. Find somebody to help nourish you.
Stu:That’s excellent advice and I guess on the flip side of that if you wanted to break your hormones you do the complete opposite and perhaps eat the way that 85% of us who are following the standard Australia diet are doing right now. Talks about the whole processed foods, just rubbish [cross-talk 01:04:56].
Michele:Absolutely. As you touched on earlier Stu if you let your sleep go out and you let it get away on you it can be all over [inaudible 01:05:04] and make a very cranky individual.
Guy:One last question for you Michele before you wrap up, what are your non-negotiable daily routines if you have any?
Michele:That’s a good question, non-negotiable for me would be I always have a bit of exercise. Some days it’s high intensity training but two days a week it could be just a gentle yoga or a gentle meditation, that’s non-negotiable. Me without exercise in some form is a cranky mom according to my children.
Non-negotiable would be for me not to eat clean. I’d rather eat nothing than to eat junk food. I just know [01:06:00] that, I think before I became a nutritionist you all should know I worked in corporate world. I was 100 miles an hour climbing the corporate ladder, eating a lot of grab-and-go, sweet little babies, husband travelling around the world. I was like most of you, busy.
Eating poorly really messed me up, messed me up more in my head, in brain fog, in clarity and I think for me when I feed myself well I’m able to be a giver and that’s an important part of my business. That’s non-negotiable, I’d rather not eat than to eat junk food.
Guy:I wish everyone could experience what it’s like if you make the transition and you eat clean and you move daily. Everything becomes great and it’s the sense of feeling that I generally think there’s a lot of people out there that have never reached that feeling and they don’t know that they’re actually missing out on and if they could just have that for a day or two they’ll become addicted to it and to me it makes common sense.
Michele:Absolutely guy. I have a mentor that I used to work with in the States. She’s in her 70s now and her and I would sit around and really [inaudible 01:07:19] and have cups of tea and we’d say wouldn’t the world be an amazing place if every politician just had a one week cleanse and they got to taste what good health feels like?
Stu:I like it and it’s also worth a slightly eschewed perspective as well because a lot of are lost, “Well, what am I going to eat for lunch today,” when perhaps you could ask, “I’ve got this opportunity now to eat, how can I nourish my body to the best of its potential? What can I do? How can I maximize the nutrients I’m going to get right now?” That might help you govern the choices that you make if you think about it a little bit differently as well.
Guy:I’m still here, my camera is off, it’s all right. [01:08:00] Fantastic. Michele to everyone listening to this and they want to check out and get more information from you where will be the best place for them to go? Which website Michele?
Michele:I would love them to come to ahealthyview.com. We have a new website up, I’m so excited about it so we’ve got about 500 recipes that don’t appear anywhere else except in our data base.
We’ve spent a lot of time re-calibrating our website, lots of recipes, lots of blog information. I’m going to get you guys on a podcast sometime this year and so doing and lots of months of fun, interesting things. We’re just about to on Monday have our low sugar lifestyle program which is a 28-day online program.
It’s not extreme except first step into somebody going, “I really need something easy, tasty and healthy but I’m not ready to go too extreme, I just want to get into this and start to feel what it’s all about.” That starts Monday but please join us for anything at A Healthy View.
Guy:Michele thank you so much for your time today, that was fantastic.
Michele:Thank you, any time guys, I’m always happy to come back.
Stu:Hips of knowledge as usual Michele, really appreciate it.