Staying Present PLUS I’m taking a break

Hello lovelies,

If you have been following Olivia Louise Taylor dot com for a while then you know that I am pretty reliable to bring you weekly updates, as well as some pretty good content on Instagram and Facebook. 

Well… I was pretty reliable until March happened. March was the month were my brother came to visit and the reality of my extensive travel for 2017 was kicking in.

I was trying to balance doing the blog work (I’m a one woman show) and spending time with my brother. I was talking about all the things that I needed to do to him, to which he responded, “Are you even having fun with this? Why are you doing it?”

 

My first response was to be hurt. “Why am I doing this? Because I have a story to tell!” But in reality, he had hit a chord pretty hard with me because I had actually forgotten why I started the website in the beginning.

 

I wasn’t present in my life anymore. 

 

In fact, I would go as far to say that I didn’t even know what I liked personally anymore. I was working on the blog so much that my real life was a mystery to me, but my social media account looked great and I was getting more followers all the time. More followers equals more success… right?

 

Having this pointed out to my face make me feel pretty awful. I had lost touch with what I wanted for myself. So I just did the only thing that made sense to me, I took a step back. I stopped posting on Instagram twice a day, I stopped writing blog posts and I stopped checking my Facebook group as much. I stopped for one day, just to see how I would feel and after that one day, I couldn’t bring myself to even look at social media. I needed a break to become more present with my real life.

 

When you step away from social media, something funny happens.

You have SO much more time. And you realize how much time you have spent on social media (which was sickening for me.) Suddenly, I had more time for the things that I liked doing. I like reading. I like going on long aimless walks. I like cooking and I really like eating well so that I feel well. And the best thing, I had time to do it.

 

At the beginning, I was a bit stressed out. In my mind, I kept thinking that I “should” be doing something and keeping myself busy, like looking at my phone, but soon I realized that if I stopped for just a minute and took a real look at the world around me, it was much nicer to stop and look, rather than go, go, go! I took the time to sit outside, be present and watch the clouds, or just walk for the sake of being outside. I left my phone behind and enjoyed the freedom of being unreachable. I consciously made an effort to be more present. 

 

Even the clouds were loving the sun in Tofino yesterday . . Ps. It’s raining now ☔️

A post shared by Olivia Taylor (@olivialouisetaylor) on


Taking the time to do the things that I love also tied in perfectly with Alex and I about to leave Tofino. I made the time to go on lots of walks, meet up with friends and enjoy the chill life of living on the West Coast. Now we are just about to fly out to London in two days and although I mentioned in a post that I wanted to keep the blog posts coming while I was overseas, I now realize that I just want to have a holiday. In fact, I am not even bringing my computer over so no work for me at all! I want to be present for all of my trip and although there will be some photos posted on Instagram, it will only be so that my family can see where I am.

 

I’m signing off now for a couple of months, and I cannot wait! 

Have a great summer (or winter, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere) ,

Olivia Louise Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing Your Body After Antibiotics And Looking After Your Gut Flora

Hello lovelies,

I was lucky enough to have a wonderful question from one of my readers.

She wanted to know:

Hey Olivia!! I am curious, lately I have been super tired. Sleeping 15 hours or more. Now, I was on antibiotics for 10 days because I had impetigo and strep throat, could that be the reason? What can I do to get my energy back up?

 

This is actually a topic very dear to my heart because of my intense antibiotic regime to treat my helicobacter pylori that could have resulted in a stomach ulcer. I won’t go into full details but I have written about it before and you can read that post here and here.

Once I had finished my antibiotic treatment, I felt even sicker than before. In hindsight, my poor gut bacteria would have been wiped out but this was 2008, and the link between gut bacteria and health hadn’t come into mainstream media yet.

 

Did you know that 80% of your immune system comes from your intestines?

 

Within your intestines, mainly the large, there are roughly 100 trillion bacteria. These bacteria make up your gut flora or microbiome, which are an essential part of the immune system.

When we eat, we ingest bacteria. This is perfectly normal. It could be on our food, on our hands, from our kitchen bench. Bacteria is everywhere! But not all of it is good for us. Some pathogens also get ingested, and if they make it into the blood stream, we can get quite sick. This is where the gut flora come in.

How does our gut flora help with our immune system, and overall wellbeing?

Gut flora help with activating the defence mechanisms of the lining of the intestines. They also affect the pH of your insides, so it is harder to pathogens to survive.

Different beneficial bacteria produce antimicrobial compounds to fight off certain infectious bacteria. For example: One bacteria in the gut flora fights off E. Coli and Salmonella.

Your gut flora also helps to control inflammation. This is complicated but basically, the bacteria in your intestines helps stop your immune system from overreacting, which can help with autoimmune diseases.

Gut bacteria is also very important for maintaining our weight. It was found that mice which had fecel matter transplanted from a human that ate poorly (high fat/high sugar diet) were more likely to become overweight or obese within two weeks, compared to mice who had fecel matter transplanted from a human who ate a healthy diet (high fibre/low fat).

Gut microbes communicate with the nervous system using some of the same neurochemicals that relay messages in the brain. This can be found to increase or inhibit the amount of chemicals in the brain, like serotonin. This is why it is believed that the microbiome and mental health are closely related.  This article is great if you want to learn more.

Having healthy gut flora can also limit your risk of chronic disease. In studies done with mice, it was found that the mice without gut flora were more at risk of rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

 

What can you do to encourage healthy gut flora?

Eating probiotic rich foods

Probiotic foods are your fermented foods. These include yogurt, sauerkraut, pickled veggies, kombucha, kefir, miso, tempeh, and kimchi. Eating a variety of these foods in your diet will help to boost your probiotic levels but also introduce new strains into your microbiome.

 

Supplementing with bone broth/gelatin/collagen to heal the lining of the gut and strengthen the junctions of the cells.

The human intestine is only one cell thick. One layer of cells is protecting you from all the bacteria of the outside world! When our gut health is suffering, the connections between this cell wall can be compromised and gaps can form. This condition is called “leaky gut syndrome”, and has been found to cause issues as now larger molecules are passing into the bloodstream.

These molecules can be gluten, pathogens and undigested pieces of food. Because our body doesn’t normally have to deal with this molecules, it issues an immune response. If it has to deal with this for a long time, it will cause a lot of inflammation and stress within the body, leading to autoimmune diseases and increased sickness.

In order to heal the thin lining, a couple of things can help. These include making your own stock (also known as bone broth) from leftover bones, and supplementing your diet with collagen and/or gelatin. The collagen contains two amino acids, proline and glycine, which are essential for repairing the gut lining.

L-Glutamine, an amino acid which is needed for helping the gastrointestinal tract to replenish it’s cells, is also a supplement that can be used to help heal the junctions within the cell walls. The good news is, the human gut lining is completely renewed every 2 months so although you may have been dealing with gut issues for a long time, it can take a relatively short time to heal it under certain circumstances.

 

Eating a varied diet, rich in fruit and vegetables (AKA fibre)

Fibre is the home for your microbiome. It chills out in the bulk within your large intestine, helping to digest foods and communicating with the brain to let it know what is happening. If you have a diet that is low in fibre, apart from getting constipated, it is also limited the space where your gut bacteria can live.

One of the easiest way to increase your fibre intake is to eat a varied diet with at least 5 servings of veggies per day. I am pretty passionate about getting your veggies anyway, as found here, here and here, but if you are looking for an extra excuse to eat them, then here is your reason. Also, by having a varied selection of fruit and vegetables in your diet, you are also giving home to different bacteria within the gut. Pretty cool, eh?

 

Learn to manage your stress levels.

Stress is terrible for your body. As humans, we still don’t know the difference between the stress of getting chased by a tiger in the wild and having to deal with a tonne of paperwork.

Because of that, stress seriously affects our digestive system. If we were getting chased by a tiger, one of the first things that happens is we “dump”everything that is in our digestive system, hence why we might pee ourselves or vomit in extreme circumstance. We are purging the body, getting it into a state of alert so that we can divert the blood flow away from our digestive system and send it into the muscles so that we can run like hell. That was all well and good in the cave man ages, but in the modern day, this is an issue because a prolonged period of stress has been found to physically change the composition of the gut, as well as a range of digestive problems.

Studies in mice have found that subjects with a greater variety of bacteria in the gut have been able to deal with stressful situations better and they are currently in the process of conducting human trials to see if supplementing probiotics to people with mental illness will help with the symptoms. If you want to know a bit more about managing your stress, I wrote an article about it, that you can access here.

 

Want to learn more?

In researching this article, I happened to stumble across this gem of information. This is an interview done with someone who had her own gut health issues and ended up studying the gut flora and falling in love with it. She explains the mind gut connection is such a simple way, but makes you understand how important the role the gut bacteria is for the overall health of your body. The interview is funny and informing and if you have time, I really encourage you to have a listen. To listen to the interview, click below.

The powerful impact of gut health on our bodies and brains by Giulia Enders

 

And finally, here is a Facebook live video that I did a couple of weeks ago, that encompasses a lot of this topic.

This is my first time embedding it to my website, so hopefully it works because I don’t know if it works without a Facebook account. Let me know if it doesn’t….

 

Did you like this blog post? If so, make sure to sign up for my newsletter. You will be the first to know of new articles, as well as additional tidbits that I don’t share anywhere else.

Plus, you get access to my free Kickstarter program, a great way to heal your body and your mind.

References

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/02/digestive-system-gut-flora.aspx

https://paleoleap.com/importance-gut-flora-immune-system/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3337124/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2894525/

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/magazine/can-the-bacteria-in-your-gut-explain-your-mood.html?_r=0

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1856434/

https://chriskresser.com/the-high-price-of-antibiotic-use-can-our-guts-ever-fully-recover/

https://draxe.com/leaky-gut-supplements/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352289515300370

 

An Update On Life – February 2017

Olivia Louise Taylor

To My Darling Reader,

Hi, How are you doing?  I hope that you are well.

As you are reading this, I will be on my way to Seattle. The first of many trips this year!

I feel like I have been so caught up in bringing you content for the blog, that I have forgotten to check in, see how you are and let you know what I am up to as well.

The theme for 2017 for Alex and myself definitely seems to be travel!

After waiting 18 months for my permanent residency for Canada, we finally got it in December. It was such a relief, knowing that I didn’t have to worry about if I could stay in Canada, but also because it meant that I could now leave if I wanted to as well.

Alex and I sat down in December and we started planning out trips, so I will share them with you too!

Trip 1: Going to Seattle at the end of February to see Tash Sultana.

This is Alex’s first trip out of Canada so I am so excited! Yes, we are only going to the states but it’s a nice little taster of crossing borders, getting different currency and experiencing a different culture. We also get to see Tash Sultana who is my favourite artist! If you haven’t heard of her, I have a video below of one of her songs.

On the way back to Tofino, we are picking up my brother and he is coming to stay with us for 3 weeks! It’s going to be a bit cramped, as my place is tiny! But I am so excited to show him Tofino and Vancouver Island, plus get some skiing in.

Trip 2: The UK and Europe.

In mid April, Alex and I are moving our stuff into storage in Nanaimo, then jumping on a plane to England! My Mum is english so we are going to see some of my family, then roughly plan to spend a month in the UK, checking out Ireland and Scotland. Then plan to spend a month in Europe, mainly Germany and Sweden. That is the rough plan because really, we have no plans! We will just see how we are doing when we are over there. We have friends that we have met in Tofino, so want to catch up with them and see another part of the world.

If you are in that part of the world or have some tips, send me a message! I would love some tips and suggestions or potential meet ups 🙂

 

Trip 3: Taking The Summer Off.

Alex and I get back into Canada at the end of June, and then have to go to a wedding in Canmore. That is our only engagement for the summer. Because we both worked so hard last summer, we felt like we missed it! We never went camping, hardly went swimming and it just wasn’t that fun. So this time, we are going to enjoy the long days, camp a lot and spend a lot of time swimming. We will set up a base with Alex’s parents, and tour around a bit as well.

 

Trip 4: Australia!

Once we are out of money, Alex and I are going to fly to Australia. We have enough points to get the flights for free (well…$90) so that will be our next stop. We will likely arrive in August, which is the middle of winter in Australia. I figured winter would be better for Alex, so that he can work up his tolerance for the heat.

Once in Australia, we are going to live with my Mum and work a lot after having so much time off!

We are really excited about the Australian part, because after 3 years of being together, Alex is finally going to meet my parents!!! He will also get to see where I grew up and understand a bit more about my culture. I also want him to get picked on for how he talks (because he picks on me all the time!)

We are going to get him the 1 year working visa, and then see how we like it after that. Alex might love Australia, I might crave to come back to Canada, we don’t know. But at least we will both have a healthy dose of each others’ countries.

 

One of the few nice photos of Alex and I, usually one of us is pulling a funny face…

 

So where does this leave olivialouisetaylor.com?

Well the show must still go on! I created this space to bring you information about healthy eating, easy recipes and also have this as a platform for nutritional consults. And I created it to be online so that I could reach you from wherever I was.

Admittedly, I am a little worried how well I am going to go when travelling around Europe. The behind the scenes of this website takes up a lot of my time and I am also really good at getting distracted… oh look it’s sunny outside…..

But I plan to still keep content coming to you, plus I will keeping active on my Facebook group “Ask the Nutritionist with Olivia Louise Taylor” and my Instagram as well.

 

So I end this letter to you, hoping that you are well and I shall have some new content for you next week.

Have a great weekend (because I am definitely going to!)

Olivia Louise Taylor

 

 

Fending Off The Winter Blues – Guest Post

We are still well and truly in the thick of winter here in Canada and although I do prefer them to the Australian winters, sometimes they do get me down.

After getting really sick at the end of January, I have been craving long summer days, sleeping a lot and finding it harder to stay motivated for anything. All definite signs that I am experiencing some winter blues. Something that is perfectly normal for this time of the year. 

This article from Hélène Descoteaux is perfect for anyone who is feeling a little down at the moment, or knows someone who is being affected by the winter months. Hélène is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and the founder of Costal Roots Nutrition and Lifestyle. I am very excited for her guest post as she gives a beautiful explanation on why we experience the winter blues and what we can do to get ourselves feeling good again. Over to you Hélène….

Fending Off the Winter Blues

Fending Off The Winter Blues

I’ve always loved the seasonality of living in Canada, even though it is admittedly less pronounced out here on the coast of British Columbia.  The spring brings growth and expansion with all the flora and fauna following suit.  Summer is filled with memories of sun, surf, adventure, and never ending days.  With fall comes change, probably a relic of ‘back-to-school’ days, crisp leaves and a cool breeze.

Despite the unhurried pace and snow-capped stoke that winter evokes for some, many people living in the North can easily experience the winter blues.  Spoken about in medical terms as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the lack of light and changes in our routine can have a very real impact on our mood and overall mental wellbeing.

In the Northern Hemisphere, we experience shorter days, colder weather, more cloud cover (especially if you’re here on the west coast), scarcer availability of fresh produce, and changes in our routine.  Some key biochemical processes needed to optimize our brain functioning and mental health are affected by these seasonal changes.  Fortunately, there are many ways we can protect our brains and elevate our moods with proper nutrition and lifestyle – I describe just a few of my favourites below.

Exercise & Sleep

Exposure to light and exercise play a key role in boosting serotonin, an important neurotransmitter for elevating mood and an overall sense of well-being.

Though it can be difficult to control our light exposure with the shortened days and overcast skies of winter, exercise and maintaining an adequate and regular sleep schedule have been shown to help improve serotonin levels.  Getting outside to snowboard, snowshoe, skate, ski, or build snowmen are fantastic ways to get some light exposure AND exercise this winter.

When your schedule (or weather) doesn’t allow, there are several other activities such as yoga, swimming and dance that can be done indoors that allow you to keep moving and grooving this winter.  Get your friends and family involved by making your social outings active and you’ll have the added benefits of their company and motivation.  If you work indoors during daylight hours, try enjoying your coffee break outside, or go for a short walk during lunch.

Eat more healthy fats

Omega-3 fatty acids have been well established to play an integral role in mental health.  In fact, almost 60% of our brains are made of fat.  So, by supplying our brain with adequate amounts of healthy fats, we are giving ourselves the building blocks to make sure all our ‘happy signals’ are getting to where they need to go.

Omega-3, unlike Vitamin D, cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained by dietary sources.  Some dietary sources of Omega-3’s include fatty fish (especially wild salmon and sardines), seeds (ground flax, chia, and hemp), and nuts (pecans and walnuts).  Try incorporating wild, sustainably caught fish in to your diet 3-4 times a week.  Easily add nuts and seeds to salads, stir frys, and baking, or try this recipe for homemade granola bars.

Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin!  Aptly named because the majority of our Vitamin D comes from exposing our skin to sunlight.  In technical terms, Vitamin D is actually a hormone that we can amazingly produce ourselves with exposure to sunlight (or UVB rays to be exact).  Unfortunately, approximately 1/3 of Canadians have been found to have blood levels of Vitamin D below what is sufficient for optimal health with that number increasing in the winter months.

Vitamin D has been found to play an important role in maintaining bone health, the prevention of autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and cancers.  Further research is needed to determine the role of Vitamin D in Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression, however, both Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important in serotonin synthesis.

We are not able to get adequate Vitamin D from food sources alone, however, some dietary sources of Vitamin D include, fatty fish (especially wild salmon, snapper, mackerel), dairy products, and egg yolks (organic if possible).  I highly recommend taking a Vitamin D supplement, especially in the winter months.  High quality Vitamin D3 in an oil carrier can be easily found at local health food stores and is most easily absorbed by the body.

Your personal health is a continuous, ever-changing journey of nourishing the physical, mental, and spiritual self.  Seasons remind us to tune in to and re-evaluate what our individual needs are throughout the year and throughout our lives – what nourishes you?

 

*This article is intended as advice to support overall health and not as a prescriptive cure for depression.  If you are suffering with depression it is important to seek individualized help from a health care professional.*

Hélène Descoteaux is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Hélène Descoteaux is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Geography. She is presently living on the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island and following her passion of advocating for both human and environmental health.

 

Linked Sources and Further Reading:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/

http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15585788

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/011012p22.shtml

http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Fat/Food-Sources-of-Omega-3-Fats.aspx