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

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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.

Chocolate

  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!

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.

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.

How to detox from a mould sensitivity

Removal of or a reduction in your exposure to mould is the first step to recovery. The majority of our mould exposure comes from poor indoor air quality, with exposure to water-damaged indoor environments being the largest contributor.

Here are some things you can do to minimise your indoor mould exposure:

  • Fix leaks as soon as possible.
  • Dry any damp materials affected by leaks as soon as possible.
  • Get rid of any carpets, tiles and any other absorbent or porous materials if they become mouldy.
  • Scrub mould off hard surfaces and make sure to dry the area completely.
  • Don’t paint over or cover up mouldy surfaces.
  • Ensure you have proper ventilation – avoid areas that are “stuffy”.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean.
  • Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
  • Use air filters and purifiers/sanitizers.
  • Ensure the ground slopes away from building foundations, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundations.

Once you have improved your indoor environment, you can start to remove the toxins that have accumulated in your body.

Steps you can take to detox include:

  • Take high quality supplements that promote detoxification such as benzene clay, activated charcoal, cholestyramine powder and other binders that bind internal mycotoxins.
  • Supplement with glutathione (which is often depleted in toxin-related illnesses).
  • Test and treat for candida overgrowth –mould can lead to candida overgrowth.
  • Supplement with vitamin B12, methyl-folate, B6 and riboflavin to support methylation.
  • Avoid common mycotoxin containing foods.
  • Use infrared saunas.

If you’re one of the 28% of people in the world who have a genetic susceptibility to mould, you may be unable to remove the toxins that have accumulated in your body. Unfortunately, this means that you can help to stop the build-up of these toxins in your body, but you will have difficulty removing them.

In our next article, we’ll talk about mouldy foods.

Mould sensitivity – Do you suffer from it?

This post is the second instalment in our mould toxicity series, read the first post here.

The problem with determining if you suffer from mould sensitivity is the fact that its symptoms are often similar to those of autoimmune diseases. Often, its things like mould exposure that trigger inflammation in the body, worsening autoimmune diseases.

The Environmental Health Center – Dallas has created a checklist to determine if you have been exposed to mould and suffer from mould sensitivity. This checklist includes:

• Do musty odours bother you?
• Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents were discoloured?
• Have you noticed water damage or discoloration on ceilings or elsewhere?
• Has your home been flooded?
• Have you had leaks in the roof?
• Do you experience shortness of breath?
• Do you experience recurring sinus infections?
• Do you experience recurring bronchial infections and coughing?
• Do you have flu-like symptoms?
• Do you notice an increase of symptoms on rainy days?
• Do you have frequent headaches?
• Are you fatigued and have a skin rash?

If you answered yes to these questions, there’s a high chance of mould toxicity. In our next post, we cover the actions you can take to reduce your mould exposure. If after this, you are still suffering and your symptoms have not improved, there are a number of lab tests that can be done. Surviving Mould has a list of these tests.

9 Reasons to Eat More Fat

Fat; what sort of chance does it have when it’s both the name of a macronutrient and a term to describe the nation’s ever increasing waistlines. Ever since we’ve been old enough to understand, we’ve been told by nutritional ‘experts’ and dietitians to decrease our fat intake (especially the dreaded saturated fat) and replace these fats with ‘heart healthy’ wholegrains, because, well, fat makes us fat. (Read the truth about fat and the food pyramid here).

Forget everything you know about fat!

In this post, we’re going to show you why you should be eating more saturated fat.

The Truth About Fat

1. Curb sugar cravings
Good quality saturated fat is more filling than carbs. Constant hunger, or cravings, is our body’s way of telling us that it is not being fed correctly. Consuming more saturated fat can help to fuel your body properly and provide you with an instant source of energy that, unlike sugar, won’t cause a spike in insulin and then an energy crash.

2. Reduce insulin spikes
Fat has the lowest impact on insulin level of all the macronutrients. Your body releases insulin in response to high blood sugar. When the body is continually required to do this, it can burn out, resulting in diabetes. Eating higher fat diets reduce the amount of insulin your pancreas has to pump out.

3. Control blood glucose levels
Fat helps to control your blood glucose level by slowing the absorption of carbs.

4. Helps with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins
Hard to believe, I know, but fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K need fat to be absorbed! Following a low fat diet reduces our ability to absorb these key vitamins.

5. Keeps you feeling fuller for longer
Fat is the most energy dense macronutrient. And because fat is filling, high-fat dieters often aren’t left feeling hungry (or grumpy like low-fat diets). On a high fat diet, appetite tends to be suppressed and dieters end up eating fewer calories without even trying.

detox copper eat meat

6. Weight loss
When you reduce your carb intake and replace it with fat, your body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, instead of using your glucose stores for energy, your body taps into its fats stores and burns those for energy instead. Studies have shown that people on low-carb/high-fat diets tend to lose more weight (and faster), than people on low-fat diets.

7. Reduce inflammation
When our bodies are placed under chronic stress from things such as elevated blood glucose levels, high triglycerides, low HDL levels, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, our bodies can’t react with a proper immune system response. This ultimately leads to inflammation in our body. A number of studies have shown that diets high in refined carbohydrates can lead to oxidative stress and high levels of inflammation.

8. Improves brain function
our brains are made up of 60% saturated fat and 25% of our cholesterol is found in our brain. Following low-fat diets that restrict saturated fat consumption and focus on lowering cholesterol starves our brains of the nutrients it needs to function. Saturated fat helps to form myelin, the substance that helps to connect brain cells to each other. Low-fat diets literally starve your brain!

9. Balance hormones
Saturated fat is an essential building block for a variety of hormones in our body. Hormones have a much larger impact on us than we give them credit for. In fact, hormones control all the metabolic processes in our body. The fat in our body is saturated fat, with only 3% of our fat made up of other types. This ratio is critical for our health. The more man-made chemical fats (such as canola and soybean oil) we eat, the more this ratio gets out of whack. The further this ratio gets imbalanced, the more our endocrine system is impacted and the further hormonal disturbances are exacerbated.

Read our post Keto Diet 101 for how to include more fat in your diet.

Fighting Adrenal Fatigue – The Impact of Mould

So you’ve cleaned up your diet, reduced work stress and switched HIIT for yoga…but your adrenal fatigue still hasn’t improved. It might be time to look at your living conditions.

A clear link exists between mould exposure and autoimmune diseases. It’s been estimated that approximately 50% of illnesses are caused by exposure to mould and the toxins it secretes – mycotoxins.

Exposure to the mycotoxins can have significant impacts on your health, triggering or worsening inflammation. Symptoms of toxic mould exposure can include:

• Fatigue and weakness
• Anxiety
• Brain fog
• Highly sensitive emotions
• Regular sinus problems
• Brain fog
• The feeling of being hung over all the time
• Headaches
• Light sensitivity
• Tingling and numbness of the skin
• Increased urination
• Vertigo
• Reduced memory function

If you’re one of the 28% of people in the world who have a genetic susceptibility to mould, the impact of exposure can be dangerous, often leading to chronic inflammation and ill health.

In our next post, we’ll cover how to tell if you suffer from mould sensitivity and exposure.

The Truth About Cholesterol (Part 2)

This post is the second article in our series The Truth About Cholesterol. Read about why we need cholesterol here.

In this post we’re going to discuss the fallacy of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol aka HDL and LDL.

Veg Oil

There is no such thing as good and bad cholesterol. In fact HDL and LDL are not even cholesterol but lipo-proteins which act as transport mechanisms for cholesterol.

The propaganda bus has created an irrational fear that LDL is ‘bad’. However, our bodies cannot function without LDL – it transports 25% of our total cholesterol to our brain (fun fact – our brain’s weight is 20% cholesterol) for neurons to use in the transmission of vital messages between receptors. (Number one side affect of cholesterol lowering statins is memory loss and brain fog!).

HDL, the so called ‘good’ cholesterol, is the lipo-protein which transports cholesterol from the bloodstream back to the liver for reprocessing.

The real problem isn’t the level of LDL, rather the type of LDL particles circulating in the bloodstream. LDL particles can range between small and large – and it’s the small ones that are the problem.

Small LDL particles are more susceptible to oxidisation. When these particles oxidise, they create inflammation in our arteries which supply blood to our organs. This can then lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

So the real question should be: “what is causing LDL to oxidize?”

When there is a high level of oxidation present in the body, there also tends to be free radical activity in the tissues. Consuming adequate amounts of antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E prevents oxidative free radical damage.vegetableoilpoison

Consuming artificial, partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) will not only cause LDL to oxidize, so will a diet high in refined sugars, alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Elevated levels of LDL also may be caused by chemical and heavy metal toxicity, liver toxicity and stress, hypothyroidism and kidney failure.

Calling LDL ‘bad’ is very misleading, especially if you are not identifying causation.

Low levels of HDL reflect a sedentary lifestyle. Doctors and others who push the misinformation about raising HDL as being a good thing, fail to address that HDL levels greater than 75 are actually correlative with autoimmune processes. This is a strong possibility especially if triglyceride levels are low (less than 40). Excess consumption of alcohol, drug use, hypothyroidism, and excess estrogen can also cause HDL levels to become too high.