Nutritionist: gut feeling really does matter for health
CHANGING Habits consulting nutritionist Sheridan Williamson said when it comes to physical health, it's all about the gut.
"The chemical revolution has brought us processed foods that are full of pesticides and herbicides which are designed to kill bacteria," she said.
"There are a lot of good bacteria in our gut and killing that off is a huge issue."
Ms Williamson said the majority of her clients had presented with symptoms of an imbalanced gut.
"Autoimmune disease has tripled in the last 50 years and those diseases are popping up everywhere," she said.
"Over 80% of the serotonin is produced in the gut and this can affect your mood, how you feel and your energy and motivation."
While there are a number of pharmaceutical probiotics on the market, Ms Williamson said you could not beat natural probiotics from fermented food.
"Nature provides everything in a perfect way, it is designed perfectly for us to live a good life, we have just altered that a lot," she said.
Ms Williamson found her passion for food and the important role it plays in our lives after living in a Welsh boarding school as an assistant teacher.
"We had to eat what the children were eating and they often had processed foods that were full of fillers, additives and preservatives so they could feed everyone on the cheap," she said.
"I progressively became so exhausted and overweight and ended up unwell with recurring chest infections."
Ms Williamson said shell foods - those that looked like food but had no substance or nutrition - were finding their way onto too many plates.
The 23-year-old has been helping dozens of people of all ages from young children to clients in their 70s each week make wiser choices.
In her two years at Changing Habits, Ms Williamson has discovered the key to taking that initial step was self-respect.
"Before someone can have the ability and motivation to be organised and stick to a plan, they need to be emotionally ready to make that change," she said.