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Gut Health Mythbusting 101 with IQS Expert + Naturopath Rachel Larsson

Find your concerns being brushed off by doctors as normal? From bloating to period pain, food intolerances and constipation, many of us face strange and alarming symptoms that go undiagnosed. IQS Gut Rebalance Program expert Rachel Larsson joins the Unprocessed podcast to share what you can do about it, along with busting a few myths that plague the wellness industry.

Melbourne-based gut health guru Rachel is a naturopath, nutritionist and qualified SIBO practitioner who is all about holistic care – a refreshing antidote to the tunnel vision of many a doctor. She reveals how our symptoms don’t exist in a vacuum – from eczema to low mood, it can all be tied in to your gut. That’s why band-aid fixes just don’t do the trick, rather, a whole-body approach is needed.

“The medical system which I was working through and not really finding any answers and not really being seen as this holistic complex individual, which we all are,” Rachel says.

The expert has 4 questions for you:

  1. Are you stressed?
  2. Are you chewing your food properly?
  3. Are you eating too late?
  4. What are you eating?

The answers can give great insight into what’s going on in your gut – but here’s where it gets tricky. Some of us struggle to answer these questions in the first place – here’s Rachel’s tips for figuring it all out, while busting a few myths around gut health.

Fibre isn’t always the answer


You’ve probably heard time and time again how important fibre is to improving bowel movement regulation, digestion and overall gut health. But Rachel says it can exacerbate existing issues, and, for those of you who find yourself bloating up after eating high-fibre foods – think veggies and whole grains – it’s vital to address the cause first.

“For many people that can be high fibre foods and really healthy foods, and the reason for that – which again sounds you're just like, ‘I thought I was doing the right thing by eating more good foods’ – it can often be that there's a bit of over fermentation in the gut as a result of bacterial or fungal imbalances or that there is digestive enzyme or acid imbalances, which makes sometimes those harder, high fibre foods harder to break down.”

Alternative testing methods

Ever heard of the SIBO breath test? Neither had we. This simple breath test offers a simple, stress-free way to get a look into whether there’s a bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine. While many of you might be familiar with breath tests used to check for intolerances to things like lactose or fructose, Rachel reveals this lesser-known test which can give insight into our gut.

“What people may not know is that there's a type of breath test called a SIBO breath test, which is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth,” she says. “We're looking for a particular condition or imbalance in the gut, which is where your small intestine has got too much bacteria.

“But these are types of breath testing where in that breath sample, they're looking for signs of over fermentation.”

Leaky gut medication isn’t enough


“So leaky gut is when we're talking about the lining of our gut,” Rachel says. “We're really talking about majority our small intestine but also a little bit of our large intestine, but our small intestine is... the smallest of small barriers, but it has the most important function of keeping things inside the digestive lumen or where all the blood vessels and the lymphatic system and that kind of stuff are.

“So, when we're talking about a leaky gut, this single cell wall is too leaky.”

Take a look at some of the common contributors to leaky gut:

  • Poor diet
  • Alcohol
  • Antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Infections

But Rachel says that certain nutrients and lifestyle changes can improve the integrity of the gut wall, sharing that some of the common medications may not be enough to make lasting change, especially when we haven’t treated the source of the condition.

“If we're not actually understanding what caused the leaky gut, you could have those powders and tablets forever and a day and it won't make as much difference as what it would if you were to really understand what, what caused the leaky gut in the first place,” Rachel says. “So, it has to be a pronged approach, otherwise you're not going to get the results you want because this invisible fire is still burning and there's just not enough powders and healing stuff that can really make a difference.”

Advocating for yourself

So, you’ve got a feeling something’s brewing in your gut – how can you make sure you get the diagnosis you need? Rachel says self-advocation is vital to get the answers, though it can be a tumultuous journey to find someone to listen.

“I know the saying trust your gut can feel a bit like ironic when we're talking about gut health issues,” Rachel says. “Advocate if you're like, ‘something is wrong with me, this isn't right, I don’t think I need to be on this long-term restrictive diet’, then you’re probably right.

“I know what it's like to have plenty of terrible appointments with people – keep going and you will find the answer.”

Keen to learn more about simple ways to advocate for your gut health, identify your symptoms and get to the source of the issue? Check out the full episode with all of Rachel’s techniques in the latest episode of the Unprocessed podcast.

You can find Rachel’s website HERE to learn all about bloating, holistic treatment and nutrition.  

If you're ready to put your gut woes behind you and learn how to heal your body from the inside out, the IQS team have something special for you. Our ALL NEW 21-Day Gut Rebalance Program kicks off soon with delicious, nourishing recipes and exclusive expert content to support you on your way to better health. Whether it's constipation, bloating or even stress that's got you down, it could be your gut warning you that you're missing out on the gut-nourishing foods that help us thrive. We'll show you the ins and outs of healing, from the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics to the inflammation-busting foods you should be eating. Take a look at some of the exciting new recipes on the program:

  • Pork Kimchi Dumplings
  • Homemade Sourdough Bread
  • Miso-Baked Salmon
  • Tempeh Satay
  • Chinese Beef + Broccoli
  • Chocolate Chia Smoothie Bowl

And that's not even scratching the surface! We're selling out fast so don't wait, sign up now!

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