Langley Building , Kington Park, Chippenham, SN15 5PZ

 

Katherine:

email: [email protected]

tel: 07908 442211

 

Lotus:

email: [email protected]

tel: 07835 555142

 

Healthy Gut Clinic FB

By Katherine Brooke-MacKenzie, Jul 8 2019 04:00AM

I was giving a talk recently and was asked, as I often am in these situations, what is an optimum diet. I don't believe that such a thing exists and feel strongly that we all must do our own research to find out what works for us and what doesn't, but this sounds like an unhelpful response to a commonly posed question. Our bodies will always give us feedback, but oftentimes it is difficult to interpret the information, and of course nearly impossible when looking at diet, to isolate one food item from another when we're looking for the causative culprit to any presenting symptom.


Our microbiome, the bacterial environment of our bodies, is unique to each and everyone of us, so it really is impossible to accurately pin point any single dietary regime that will suit all people optimally and equally. The most important thing that you can do to support a healthy microbiome is to eat a diverse and varied range of foods. It seems many of us have ingrained habits when it comes to food choices and meal planning, and we can easily become stuck in a rut.


This was highlighted to me very recently in a chat with my own father. He is not very well and has several health problems, many of which might be alleviated if he made some different choices. I tried introducing the idea that food can either harm us or heal us but, much as he grasps the broad principle of that, he wasn't about to take on board any specifics! For example, I suggested he try a different breakfast - something like scrambled eggs or porridge - but this was his response. "I've had two Weetabix with milk and sugar everyday for the past 50 years and it's never done me any harm." Hmmm... and yet his body is riddled with inflammation and pain. I'm not looking to make Weetabix and milk the root of all evil here. I seek only to highlight that sometimes our dogged adherence to a plan which we once believed was a good one, can often be a part of the problem.


I've understood from many sources that wheat is one of the most inflammatory foods in our modern diet, so the fact that my dad has eaten a bowl full of it every day for 50 years might very well be the cause of some of his problems. You see, if we persistently ingest something that damages us, we never give ourselves the time to heal, and the damage will worsen as our health weakens, which unfortunately becomes a vicious circle. With the knowledge that our bodies know how to heal given the right environment, a little of a "bad" thing now and again won't be a problem, but on a daily basis, it probably will.


Many of us lead busy lives and the thought of investing extra time in sourcing new recipes, shopping for ingredients and then finding the time to bring the meal to the table can be enough of a deterrent to keep us repeating old patterns and choosing the same old same old. Why not make a commitment to introduce a new dish once a fortnight so it's not an overwhelming prospect. Your microbiome will love you for it, you'll probably poo better and your immune system will be doing a merry dance - so many reasons to implement a small change.


By Katherine Brooke-MacKenzie, Jul 1 2019 04:16PM

If you're a regular reader of our newsletters you'll know that I've stopped accepting new clients for a while as I focus on writing content for a gut health workshop, a new book and of course, my exciting adventure into the world of public speaking... it really is the ultimate cure for constipation! This has led to me research information to support what I already believe and have witnessed in the clinic around the complexity of our gut function. It's so much more than a physical pipe of poop.


Recently I was reading up about the gut brain, or the enteric nervous system as it is also known. Back in 2014, I completed a course about a new coaching style called mBIT, which stands for multiple Brain Integration Techniques. This enables the recipient to enjoy the benefits of integrating the wisdom of the head brain, heart brain and gut brain - it was fascinating stuff. You see, each of these brains has a contribution to make that works best when it is in alignment with the others. The highest expression of the head, heart and gut brains is creativity, compassion and courage respectively.


Who among us doesn't have a friend who is full of great ideas about how they're going to change the world, but never actually mobilises to action. I love enthusiasm and as an idealist I'm a sucker for an inspirational notion, but action is what makes the real difference. This is the domain of the gut brain.


I feel strongly that a gut instinct - intuition if you like - is an extraordinary gift that we all possess but that very few use. Let's imagine it is like a Guardian Angel who lives in your tummy and is there to guide, protect and support you through your life. It's not interested in public opinion and cares not for joining the behaviours of the masses. It matters only that it directs you to the fullest expression of your highest self; the person that you have come to be on this planet at this time. It's a powerful thought no? Let's also imagine then, that despite its best efforts to impart its pearls of wisdom to you, you're not listening and it's getting bored trying to get your attention!


How does it feel to be ignored? How does it feel to not be valued for the best you have to offer... yeah.. pretty disappointing right? If you were ignored every time you had something to contribute, over time you'd either get really uppity or just resign yourself and no longer bother to try. What if this is happening to our gut brains? What if this phenomenal resource is screaming to be heard through the symptoms of IBS, anxiety and constipation because it's "sick" of being ignored?


We have around 200 million neurons (nerve cells) in our gut brain. It is the equivalent of an entire cat's brain. That is a whole load of intelligence at our disposal from which we're potentially not benefitting. In our modern society, we have come to favour the head brain which enjoys the illusions of certainty from the tried and tested, the scientifically proven, the evidenced studies... all constructed through the analysis of groups of things, or people. Things or people that are not us, that don't have our experience, our psychology, our purpose and our individual gifts. So when it comes to us making an important decision in our lives that feels risky and scary, instead of trusting our gut instinct that has all that information about us in its arsenal, we defer to an external model which tells us what it has found is best, based on things that happened to other people that were nothing to do with us!


If we can just find the courage to follow our gut instincts, we will enjoy a higher level of engagement in our own life. I find it's like living with magic but it takes some tuning in to and if you've never done it before, it's going to feel really scary at first. When we start getting that gut feedback it actually becomes a physical experience in our body as well as an unshakeable belief in our minds. Of course, when we start to follow our hearts in our own unique direction, we initially receive disapproving looks and discouraging comments from those to whom our actions don't make sense but we must stay true to our course. We all, ultimately, want to be loved and accepted. But being loved and accepted for who we truly are is much more rewarding than being appreciated for being a person that just fits the mould of someone else's belief system.


It actually feels a bit scary for me to offer up my thoughts on this subject, but according to my own gut feelings, these words needed to be shared, so do let me know if the message resonates with you too.



By Katherine Brooke-MacKenzie, Feb 6 2019 08:00AM

This little tale recently came up as a memory on my Facebook timeline, and it struck me as significant at the time, and one of those things that we might want to look at more deeply, and hope to change.

We often refer to people who are brave as "having guts", and conversely, those who we perceive as cowardly as being a "yellow belly". According to sources*, the gut brain's highest expression is Courage, so maybe it's not so surprising to hear this digestive organ linked with bravery, or the absence of it.


This goes back about five years when I was working from the Equilibrium Natural Health Centre. I had just finished with a colonic client and was making my way through reception to show her out, when my attention was grabbed by the receptionist. She had a very perturbed look about her, and told me that she had just received a phone call from my daughter’s school. Edie had had an accident and had cut her head open. In a split second, my mind filled in the gaps. Was she dead? Was she in hospital? How long would it take me to get to her? I could feel that dull grip of impending paralysis, fighting with the need to be super practical and spring into action. The latter won me over. My daughter’s needs were greater and within as few as five minutes, I was running across the school playground to the school's reception area.


There she sat with her bandaged head, looking like a miniature tennis player with one of those sweat bands, cuddled up between the headmistress of the school (bless her) and the teaching assistant from her class. She was pleased to see me, but didn’t really move. Her body was slumped, her pupils wide and when she spoke to me, her voice was not the same. It was like her voice but robotic. And all I heard, over and over from the teachers, hoping to praise her, was this, “She is so brave, so brave. She hasn’t cried once; not a single tear. She’s so brave. She’s amazing.” Now, being her mother I am not about to disagree with the last comment, but I was struggling with everything that had gone before. Whilst I was grateful for the loving, tactile and amazing support she had been given by her wonderful teachers, I had alarm bells ringing in my head about the reinforcement of bravery being associated with not crying. I wasn’t about to venture further into that at the time, because I wanted to get my girl to the hospital to get her properly checked over and have this gaping wound at the back of her head glued back together.


Throughout all of this, my daughter was continuing to “be brave” and when I got her home I kept my eye on her. I knew she wasn’t right, and it was more than a bang on the head. She had internalised the event and it needed to come out. Thankfully (and I love how the Universe works) she dropped a glass of juice on the floor, and the noise and the mess, and the threat of being told off by me was enough to connect her to her fear and shock and she wailed, screamed and cried her little heart out for fully ten minutes. I just sat with her, didn’t shush her up because I knew it had to come out. Afterwards, I asked her if she had wanted to cry before she dropped the glass, and she said she had wanted to, but then everyone would think she wasn’t brave anymore. So we had a big, long chat about it.


So what does it mean to be brave? Not showing our feelings to anyone, pretending that we are super cool and in control of everything? This is what we are brought up believing by others who were uncomfortable in their vulnerability. Isn’t it time we broke that duff pattern?


The thing is, when we are not given the space, the time, the support and the understanding to process these feelings, we internalise them and they never get dealt with. And when this happens, they show up as some kind of problem or symptom further along the lifeline of the person in question.


I see this all the time in the clinic. I have worked with countless clients whose gut problems have manifested as a result of unexpressed frustrations, grief, shame, guilt, and even joy in some instances. But when they connect to the emotions, associate to the event or origin of the problem, they feel it and they heal it. Previously they had just been “holding on” and “controlling” themselves. It is part of our society's belief system that we always look to food as the culprit of our gut issues, but more often than not, it is emotions unexpressed.


It is part of our culture in this country to “batten down the hatches” and “pull ourselves together” and “knuckle down” etc, but if we want to see change in our world, and I believe most of us would prefer to live in a kinder, more compassionate world, then we need to start with us. Let’s try and be a bit more honest about our feelings; a little more compassionate as we firstly relate to our selves, and then to the world outside of us.


If you want to be really brave, be vulnerable. There is such beauty in vulnerability. It is wonderfully irresistible and your healing will be inevitable, but you have to dig deep and find the courage.


*mbraining.com



By Katherine Brooke-MacKenzie, Jan 30 2019 01:59PM

This post is all about traffic. Have you noticed how congested our road networks are becoming? Recently, I had to endure one and half hours in the car to travel three miles, but it got me to thinking about something so I thought I would write about it. Don't worry, this isn't really about cars and roads as that would be a bit boring and I prefer to talk about poop, but there is a connection.


I hope you don't mind me sharing a bit of my personal life here, but it is relevant. I have, over the past two years, gained about two stone in weight. It's an insidious business as it kind of crept on gradually, almost without me noticing, and I didn't quite believe how much I had changed until I saw myself in a photograph recently. It was a shock. I'm told it's because I'm content (which I am), and that it also might be my hormones (I'm at that time in my life you see...) but it might also be that I persistently overload my body with unnecessary food. Yes I eat pretty cleanly, and I would proffer that I'm quite healthy in my choices, but I'm darned sure that I could manage on a lot less! Of course, I went into denial and struggled with myself for many weeks, thinking that I can accept my new size and it's inevitable given my age etc etc, but I was also harbouring a big dollop of fear about how out of control I felt with it, and big dollop of guilt because I felt a bit of a glutton at times, and maybe a little bit of shame too (see later fraud comment). It was not just the external image of myself that was hard to take, but also the aching joints, the breathlessness climbing stairs, the unsightly skin tags that seemed to be popping up all over the place and the fact that I didn't feel comfortable anywhere at anytime. Add that to the idea that I'm in the business of health, and I began to feel a bit of a fraud.


My body had become sluggish. My system was so overloaded that it scarcely had the time to process one meal, before the next was on its way down. My digestive tract was under persistent stress. I like to work with pictures in my mind so I imagined my gut was like an overworked secretary responsible for supporting an entire department. She just couldn't ever get on top of her workload because as soon as she cleared a pile of files, someone would arrive with another two. Before she knew it, she was swamped, with poor quality work emerging that only got re-presented again later, no sense of order or priority, and a feeling of overwhelm and inefficiency. There was a fear that she might literally pop a gasket!


And my body was reflecting this. I was nearly always bloated, bowels functioning but not in an efficient way, some indigestion by way of belching with a touch of acid reflux here and there, and overall a feeling that nothing was really moving at an appropriate speed. I needed to lock the door to her office so that the secretary in my gut could get a handle on her workload, prioritise what needed to be processed first and then quietly get on with her work.


With some guidance from a reliable source (my husband was a personal trainer and lifestyle consultant for years), I've now been intermittent fasting for about two weeks. I've been reducing my eating window every day so that I only eat between 12 noon and 8pm. I've eaten my usual types of food within this window and have drunk plenty of water, and I've been mindful to eliminate anything that's not necessary (like the odd piece of chocolate, or slice of cake). Surprise, surprise I feel lots better and everything is moving freely. I've also lost about half a stone in weight so far, and my clothes are becoming more comfortable. It's not visible yet, but I know, and that's what really matters.


I'm not suggesting that everyone should be fasting (if you're considering this, I'd recommend you take the usual sensible precautions by seeking professional advice), but I just wanted to share my experience with you. I don't especially understand the science behind it because I'm more of an experiential learner, but from the simplest view it really does make sense.


If you're feeling a bit thick around the middle, and find your system is slowing down, why not try giving it a break. Let your digestive secretary catch up on the workload before giving him/her something else to do. It's not just about food actually. If you're a regular drinker of alcohol, just taking a break from that for a week will give you massive benefits. Your liver, which is a HUGE part of your digestive process, will certainly be giving you a high five!


And if you fancy making this process even more effective, why not book yourself in for a colonic, so while you take care not to overload the top, we can take care of your bottom!




By Katherine Brooke-MacKenzie, Jan 25 2019 04:25PM

Here we are again at the start of another year and I wonder whether you have managed to keep on top of any resolutions you set for yourself. I confess mine have fallen by the wayside, though I generally tend not to get bent out of shape with these things. After all, every day is a new beginning and if you're determined to make changes, you can do that on any day of any month of any year.


We've been very busy already this year with clients eager to cleanse themselves of their respective indulgences over the festive period. I'm looking forward to my next treatment with Lotus in a few week's time. Despite offering this service I am always blown away by just how fabulous it can make you feel. It cleanses not just your body, but your mind too. In fact, after my last treatment, I remember feeling a sense of spaciousness, ease and positivity in my thinking, which matched the new found freedom in my joints. And my ever present lower back pain disappeared for a good few weeks too. All wins! It makes me realise that despite being better informed on the subject of bowel function than the average person on the street, there is so, so much that I have yet to understand on this subject. But since I love learning, this feels like a delight to me more than a burden.


The greatest challenge in this business is encouraging people to experience a treatment. When you mention Colon Hydrotherapy to anyone it's likely they have an idea of what it is all about and conclude that it's something of benefit only to those with existing bowel problems, but this is not the case. In my thirteen years as a practitioner I've heard a range of feedback from clients, sharing healing experiences that might seem far beyond the reach of my colonic hose! Here are a few:


• Reduces frequency and severity of migraines

• Relieves breast tenderness

• Eases menstrual cramping and PMS symptoms

• Promotes deeper sleep

• Relieves acid reflux, belching and indigestion

• Reduces and often clears problem skin areas

• Increases energy

• Aids mindfulness and meditative practice

• Increases libido

• Supports weight loss

• Reduces and often eliminates flatulence

• Promotes healthy, regular bowel movements


This a pretty impressive list but the thing that excites me the most is when a person reports that as a result of their treatment they have improved the quality of their life. They engage with their surroundings, their relationships, their sense of purpose. So many times I've heard stories of clients going home and sorting out the crap from their lives; be that tidying up their garage and throwing away a load of rubbish, or finalising an unsatisfying relationship, or walking away from a job where they have felt marginalised and unappreciated. Helping people to realise their potential and having the honour of walking a little of the way with them on their journey is the stuff of dreams for me. Do you ever wonder what potential lies hidden within you?



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