MTHFR – it’s not our abbreviation for a swear word! MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene. But since the scientists who discovered this gene didn’t think that was confusing enough, they went on to label both the gene and the enzyme the gene produces MTHFR.


What is MTHFR?

Really simply, we have two MTHFR genes – one from our mum and the other from our dad. MTHFR is a gene that produces the MTHFR enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for regulating our methyl cycle – the biochemical pathway that helps our body detoxify, produce energy, balance our mood, control inflammation, manage our immune function and maintain our DNA.

When the MTHFR gene is healthy, it produces sufficient, highly functioning amounts of the MTHFR enzyme. However when the gene is mutated, the enzyme isn’t produced correctly. Since we have two MTHFR genes, none, either one or both can be mutated.

Why does it matter if the MTHFR gene is mutated?

If both MTHFR genes are healthy it doesn’t matter. However mutated MTHFR genes can cause a range of health problems. Common health problems include:

  • Autism
  • Addictions
  • Miscarriages
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Chemical Sensitivity
  • Bipolar
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Low HDL
  • High homocysteine
  • Asthma

For a more detailed list of medical conditions relating to the MTHFR gene mutations, check out


Mouldy Foods

Typically, when we think of mould and food we picture mould covered bread, or that fuzzy green stuff that covers fruit and veg when it has gone off. When we talk about mouldy foods here, it is not these gross, fuzzy mould covered foods, but rather foods that are sources or binders of mycotoxins.

Unfortunately, mouldy foods are very common. Because of the way we treat our soils when farming, we’ve created an environment perfect for the cultivation of mycotoxins. Farming chemicals such as glyphosate/RoundUp significantly increase the amount of toxins fungi in the soil disperse. The strongest moulds survive pesticide spray and antifungal treatment and in response to being sprayed, the moulds that don’t survive release more toxins.

Moreover, destructive factory farming methods – such as disrupting the animals’ hormones right before slaughter to gain more weight by feeding them mouldy feed – have further increased the level of mycotoxins in our food.


Platter of mouldy food

What’s troubling is that farmers will ensure their animals aren’t fed mouldy food until the days right before their slaughter. Mouldy feed makes cows extremely sick and can even lead to pregnant cows having miscarriages. Agricultural companies are spending ridiculous amounts of money to make sure their animals’ health isn’t impacted by mouldy food.

The scary thing is, these farms produce the conventional food that we see in the supermarket, buy and eat.

To reduce our exposure to mould, via our diet, we should be eating foods that are organic and rich in antioxidants, grass-fed protein, contain high-quality fats, responsibly sourced foods and those that are low in sugar.

Foods that are high in mould and should be avoided include:

• Corn
• Wheat
• Barley
• Rye
• Peanuts
• Sorghum
• Cottonseed
• Cheeses, including stilton and blue cheese
• Sour dairy products such as buttermilk and sour cream
• Alcoholic drinks such as wine, beer, rum, gin, brandy, whisky and cider
• Oats
• Fungi (mushrooms and truffles)
• Processed meats
• Fruit juice (and any other product that contains fast releasing sugars)
• Rice
• Nuts such as pistachios and brazil nuts
• Oil seeds
• Black pepper
• Dried fruits
• Figs
• Most coffee

Chocolate? Yes Please

Did you know, good quality chocolate (the stuff with minimal sugar, toxic oils and a high percentage of cacao) can actually be beneficial for gut bacteria? Chocolate, once thought of as a food of the gods, actually has a range of health benefits.


  1. Chocolate acts as a probiotic

Good quality dark chocolate can help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. Interestingly, the benefits are greatest when the chocolate is eaten before the meal!

  1. It can help reduce inflammation

AI diseases are characterised by inflammation. Chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce and even prevent our body’s inflammatory responses. Epicatechin and other flavanols found in cacao inhibit the actions of leukotrienes, the body’s inflammatory messengers.

  1. Chocolate as an antidepressant

You know that happy feeling you get when you eat chocolate? That’s actually the chocolate stimulating the release of the feel good chemicals serotonin, dopamine and phenylethylamine. Cacao beans also contain the amino acid tryptophan and monoamine oxidase inhibitors which allow serotonin and dopamine to circulate in the bloodstream longer. It is this effect that helps alleviate depression and promote feelings of wellbeing.

  1. Eating chocolate can prevent weight gain

Yes, you read that right, eating chocolate can help prevent weight gain! The antioxidant oligomeric procyandins found in cacao effectively improves our body’s glucose tolerance, lowering blood sugar levels and preventing weight gain.

  1. Chocolate as a stress buster

A study recently found that dark chocolate can dull the body’s reaction to the brain’s stress signals. In particular, the response of the adrenal gland and its production of cortisol, was significantly less in the participants who consumed dark chocolate before being placed in the stressful situation.

Good quality dark chocolate is also beneficial at reducing blood pressure, your risk of stroke and heart disease and can protect your nervous system and cells from damage.

And that is why, here at Healed by Bacon, we like to have a piece of dark chocolate with every meal!


Zucchini Cheese

Zucchini Cheese Recipe

If you have never tried this magical hippy dust called nutritional yeast, hold on tight, because you are about to get hooked on it!

Nutritional yeast contains high levels of glutathione which helps to enhance immunity and reduce inflammation. Added bonus – this magical hippy dust is a great way to add extra protein to meals and snacks. Just 2 tablespoons of it contains 9 grams of protein.

This recipe for zucchini cheese is perfect for anyone following healing diets such as a Paleo diet, Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and a low-FODMAP diet. Whilst it doesn’t contain any dairy, the nutritional yeast adds a nutty, cheesy flavour that is very satisfying. ZuCheese

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Testing for Adrenal Fatigue

Are you tired, run down, gaining weight and feeling less than optimal? If you answered yes, you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is becoming increasingly common as a result of the stressful western lifestyle; we are constantly stressed from study, work, family, money and never take the time to de-stress, relax and heal our bodies.

Adrenal Fatigue is when your adrenals become fatigued. Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, is a lot more complex and debilitating than it sounds (as we’re sure you know if you are reading this)!

What is Adrenal Fatigue

For more information on the complexities of Adrenal Fatigue, read our post The 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue here.

We always find that the New Year is a great time to get ourselves in check. Our most import tests that we like to run can be found here. One of these tests is an Adrenal Cortisol level test.

Adrenal Cortisol levels (read more about them here) should be tested via a 24 hour saliva test, NOT blood, in order to determine if your cortisol production follows the diurnal curve that it should. Our highest levels of cortisol are required in the morning in order for us to carry on with our normal activities and then fall progressively towards night so that we can sleep.

Unfortunately, doctors tend to recommend a one-time blood test, which measures both your bound and unbound cortisol–not how much cortisol is produced at different times of the day. Ideally, you will need to be off all cortisol containing supplements for two weeks before testing.


Tests results for optimum health should look like these numbers below:

  • 8 am: At the literal top of the range
  • 11 am-noon: In the upper quarter, and often about a quarter below the top
  • 4-5 pm: Mid-range
  • 11 pm to midnight: At the very bottom

We’ve written a number of posts on Adrenal Fatigue. For more information on the symptoms of the 4 different stages of Adrenal Fatigue (we know, 4 stages!!), read our post The 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue here.

We’ve also put together a post on our recovery plan which you can read here.

When recovering from AF it is important to remember that it will take some time – we didn’t get to this stage overnight. It is common for AF recovery to take 3 – 6 months, and even longer for those in the later stages of the illness (or for those suffering from other illnesses). Be patient – and if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, just think, these months of recovery is time for you to focus on yourself and put yourself first.

Here’s to a healthy 2018!!


Meal Prep Monday

Sticking to a paleo/AIP diet when you are busy with work, family and anything else you are trying to balance, can be difficult. That’s where planning ahead is so important.

When you are first starting out, it is especially important to plan your meals. By prepping your meals ahead of time, you remove all temptation to choose the most convenient meal or snack at hand. With meal prep you have your meals ready at hand, all measured out so hunger (or boredom, or any other emotional eating control) will not dictate what goes into your body. mealprepmonday Meal prepping can seem like a daunting task – how are you going to cook all your food for 7 days, in one afternoon? But follow these simple steps and you will become a meal prepping pro!

  1. Plan – What are you going to eat at each meal?

Spend some time researching paleo recipes (why not try some of our recipes?) and work out what you will want to eat. But make sure you…

  1. Keep it simple

Make sure the meals you choose are both tasty and easy to prep. Trust us, you won’t feel like prepping some crazy Adriano Zumbo, 8 page recipe each week. We like to stick to the formula: Meal = Protein + Fat + Veg. Choose a protein (brisket, steak, chicken, pork ribs), add a fat (coconut oil, butter, lard, pork crackling) and add some veg.

  1. Stick to your shopping list

Once you have worked out what meals you will be prepping, go shopping – but only buy the ingredients you need for your meals! Don’t be tempted by ‘convenient’ snacks (as you continue on your healing path, you will find these temptations will no longer tempt you).

  1. Prep!

Lay out your Tupperware (make sure they are BPA free) for each meal and start prepping. Cook your protein option in your fat option (unless it is pork crackling, then just cook the pork crackling!), let it cool and then add it to your containers. If you a prepping a long time ahead (sometimes we will cook a month’s worth of protein options), work out what needs to be frozen and whether or not your veg option could be frozen too. Otherwise, add your veg option to your protein and fat options and viola, your meals are prepped!

Check out our recipes for some ideas to get you started – happy prepping!


Why I Love…MCT Oil

Fat is probably the most important nutrient for weight loss, healthy cholesterol, brain function and overall health!

Including more healthy fat in your diet is a great start to improving your health.

However, some people find it difficult to increase the amount of fat they’re eating a day (if you’re following a keto diet, fat should make up 60% to 75% of your diet).

That’s where MCT oil comes in.

MCT oil is oil made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides. Medium Chain Triglycerides are healthy, easily digestible fats that are metabolized in our liver (as opposed to other foods which are metabolized through digestion). There are 4 types of MCTs and the shorter the chain of carbon molecules in them, the faster the transformation to ketones for energy.

Here are 5 reasons why you should incorporate MCT oil into your diet.Why I love MCT Oil1

1. Hormone Support
If you’ve read our posts on fat and cholesterol you will know that fat is required for the production and balance of hormones. As MCT oil is so easily metabolised and used by the body, it can assist with maintaining a healthy level of hormones in our body.

2. Energy
MCT oil is metabolised in our liver which means they are absorbed faster and used by the body quicker (as they don’t need to be processed through our digestive system). MCT oils help with the production of ketones (read our Keto 101 post here). When we convert fat into ketones, our body has access to a more stable energy source. But also, when we use this as energy, it doesn’t create the same blood sugar and insulin spike as when we use carbs as energy.

3. Healthy Immune System
Healthy fats are required for proper immune function. The antiviral and antibacterial properties of MCT oil make it a great support for a healthy immune system.

4. Gut Health Support
MCT oil helps to give our digestive system a break because they are easily metabolised by our body. MCTs also have antibacterial properties which can help to balance gut bacteria. Just be careful with how much you take…take too much and you could be running to the toilet!!

5. Brain Health
MCT oil provides significant neurological benefits. Consumption of MCTs can delay brain aging by providing easily accessible energy to repair brain cell damage, increasing mental performance and slowing the aging of brain cells.


Why I Love…Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (a.k.a ACV) – cook with it, drink it, even clean with it…but whatever you do, make sure ACV is a staple in your pantry.

ACV has numerous benefits, not only for those of us suffering from AI diseases, but also for overall health.ACV

However, it is important that you use organic ACV in its most raw form. Only raw organic ACV has the “mother of vinegar” in it. The “mother” is made up of living nutrients and bacteria and is what makes ACV so beneficial for our health. You will know if your ACV has the “mother” in it as you will actually see it settled at the bottom.

Here at Healed by Bacon we like to use Bragg’s ACV. We even keep a bottle of it on our desk at work and add a splash of it to our water and meals (despite weird looks from colleagues!).

But what does ACV actually do? Well…

  1. ACV aids in digestion

Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s and other AI diseases can cause low stomach acid, making it hard to fully digest the food we eat (you’ll know if you are suffering from this – think bloating, gas and general IBS symptoms). ACV can help with the digestive process and restore the acid/alkaline balance.

Take one teaspoon of ACV with water about half an hour before each meal.

  1. ACV can be used as a chemical free cleaner

It is important when healing from an illness to be aware of what chemicals you are coming in contact with. Many household cleaners are filled with chemicals that we really shouldn’t be using on a day-to-day basis (that eye-watering feeling when you use bleach to clean the toilet – probably not optimal for our health, right?). The main stuff in vinegar is acetic acid and can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. ACV actually has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.

Use one part vinegar to two parts water, plus a few drops of tea tree oil for its antibacterial qualities as an all-purpose cleaner.

  1. ACV can be used as a chemical free toothpaste

Ok, so this one might be a tad extreme for some, but when your body is extremely sensitive it is important to remove as many toxins as possible. Along with its antibacterial properties, ACV can help remove stains and residue.

To make a chemical free toothpaste, mix one part ACV with two parts coconut oil.

  1. ACV can help with the detox process

With is antibacterial and pH balancing properties, ACV can help in the detox process. Drinking ACV with warm water, first thing in the morning (before you eat or drink anything) can help remove excess toxins and sludge and in turn, improve the immune system.

Add 2 tablespoons of ACV to 250 mL of warm water and drink.

  1. ACV can aid in weight loss

ACV can improve insulin sensitivity and help to lower blood sugar responses after meals. Since ACV lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help with weight loss. Quite a few human studies show that ACV can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and even lead to actual weight lost on the scale. In these studies, those who consumed ACV ate 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.

To help with satiety you can, add 1 tablespoon of ACV to water before each meal, use as a salad dressing or even add it to stocks, stews and marinades.


ACV has quite a number more benefits that what we have covered in this blog post including improved immunity, helping to eliminate skin impurities and help in dealing with muscle fatigue.

However, just make sure you do not drink ACV straight as, when it has not been diluted, it can sometimes burn your oesophagus!


Hypothyroidism and Low Stomach Acid

Stomach acid – let’s face it, its not really something you give much thought to. Yet stomach acid is actually one of the most important aspects of our digestive system.

Stomach acid (or gastric acid) is made by the cells that line our stomachs, on demand when we eat. Adequate levels of stomach acid are required to absorb the nutrients in the foods we eat and to protect our stomach from bad bacteria and becoming inflamed.

You know how hypothyroidism can dry out your skin, hair and nails? Well hypothyroidism can also ‘dry out’ our stomach acid.

Hypothyroidism can affect both the ability and the amount of gastric juice producing cells in our stomach. Consequently, our bodies are not able to effectively absorb all of the nutrients in our food, leading to malabsorption. In particular, low stomach acid and hypothyroidism can result in non-optimal levels of iron, vitamin D and B12.

As with all autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism can be characterised by inflammation. Low levels of stomach acid means the body can’t protect itself against bad forms of bacteria which can cause inflammation in our stomach.

When our stomachs become inflamed from not enough stomach acid, food can just sit in there, without being digested properly. And when food isn’t digested properly we get those bloated, gassy and funny poo symptoms!

How do I know if I have low stomach acid?

Acid reflux, indigestion and heart burn – all symptoms of high levels of stomach acid right? Nope, wrong! It is actually low levels of stomach acid that cause these issues!

Unfortunately, many GPs put us on medications that further suppress stomach acid, making the condition even worse.

Ok, so how do I treat low stomach acid?

When you Google “low stomach acid and hypothyroidism” many sites say the best way to improve your levels of stomach acid is to heal your hypothyroidism – but as we know all too well, that’s easier said than done!

Correcting cortisol, aldosterone and thyroid hormone levels are important in getting stomach acid back to normal levels. However this can be a tricky process and in the interim we need to aid digestion to help heal.

Home remedies can also assist in the process of returning our stomach acid back to optimal levels. Here at Healed by Bacon we like to use apple cider vinegar – we mix one tablespoon of unfiltered, unpasteurised and unheated apple cider vinegar (we like to use Braggs) with a cup of water, about 10 minutes before a meal. We also like to use a probiotic on an empty stomach, morning or night.

But just be aware – (1) don’t drink apple cider vinegar by itself as it can burn your oesophagus, (2) if you have high levels of potassium it can be more productive to use lemon juice in water instead and (3) if you suffer from peptic ulcers it is important to treat that first.

The Baking Soda Test – A simple, homemade test for low stomach acid

This is a quick and easy test that you can do in the comfort of your own home, to see if your stomach acid levels are below optimal. But remember, it is just an indication.

  1. After you wake, before eating or drinking, mix 1/4 tsp of baking soda in a cup of water and drink.
  2. Take note to see if you burp within the next 2-3 minutes.
  3. If you don’t burp – you have low stomach acid (as optimal levels of stomach acid will react with the baking soda to form carbon dioxide gas).
  4. Repeat this for the next couple of days, to make sure your reaction was not a once off.

Crispy Chicken Wings with Raw Asian Salad

Who doesn’t love a good chicken wing? This recipe is great for when you want something quick and easy to cook for dinner. Make extra and meal prep it for breakfast or lunch the next day!

Crispy Chicken Wing Salad

Makes 2

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