Kate Barnes is a certified holistic health coach, she has a Bachelor of Science, a post grad diploma in Business and she runs a thriving wellness practice. She is also a mother and is passionate about helping women and mums to achieve health and happiness for themselves and their families.
Kate joined me to discuss strategies for detoxing from an unhealthy lifestyle to enable us to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. If you prefer, the transcript for the interview can be found below (this post is a collaboration between Wholehearted Family Health & Kate Barnes Health Coaching.)
Today we’re going to chat about toxins and your approach to creating a healthy lifestyle. What are some of the physical, emotional and lifestyle factors that can cause us to be sluggish and prevent us from living our healthiest life?
There are many! The main ones I’ll break into physical and emotional factors.
Physical being the ones that we have inherited, and there is a lot of research now showing the amount of chemicals and toxins that we pass onto our kids unfortunately, through the placenta and through breastmilk, because toxins can be stored in fat tissue.
So, that is one way. The other one is environmental. There are thousands of new chemicals on the market each year in cleaning products, personal hygiene, paint, clothes that we buy, EMF exposures (electromagnetic frequencies), daily we can be bombarded by them, but if we are aware of them there are many that we can control and reduce our exposure.
That is the physical, but then the emotional component is the thoughts and the beliefs, the mind chatter that we have each day. That can actually change the chemistry within our body; whether it goes to the flight and fight – the stress response within the body – or more of the rest and digest where the parasympathetic system is stimulated, we are calmer and it is better for our wellbeing most of the time. Some of our subconscious beliefs affect our emotional toxicity, for example some of the things we have taken on as kids and don’t even realise are running in the background.
Yes there are so many factors aren’t there! One of the things that I can think of that may apply to our Wholehearted audience is BPA in plastics and some of the research has found that it does pass into breastmilk and it does cross the placenta as well, so that is just one example of an environmental toxin that can build up and there is still ongoing research about the effect on the fetus and the baby but it is something where, we don’t need to wait for the research, we just know if we can avoid it or reduce it then that is a good thing.
Yes and one that I see a lot in my practice is heavy metal toxicity, that is a big one because it disrupts our absorption of mineral and key nutrients in the body but again, once we add in the good stuff we can handle the toxins much better.
Sure, that leads us on to what are some strategies for detoxing from an unhealthy lifestyle to a place where we can be our healthiest self?
I’ll try and keep this as practical as possible because there are lots of things we can do daily to help our bodies to naturally detox some of the stuff that we have inherited or been exposed to.
One of the ways is a passive sweat. One of the best ways we can detox some of these things is through the skin, because if we have compromised detox pathways – our liver and kidneys aren’t functioning as well – then we are going to have trouble excreting some of the toxins. So sweating is a great way to expel some of the toxins, movement and a bit of gentle exercise is always really good.
Things like a green smoothie everyday. Where we are adding in dark, leafy greens and bitter foods that can help stimulate production of bile and support our liver and getting that moving along. It is also really energising, particularly at this time of year. For kids keep it really simple; just a handful of greens and some low sugar fruit. That really tastes good – you want it to taste good even though it looks green!
Also some key foods that we can add in; some healthy fats, coconut oil is a good one because if we have got absorption issues it is more readily absorbed, and can help pull out those toxins, and the other good one is mineral-rich food because we need key minerals such as zinc, selenium, calcium and things like that to help protect the cell from toxins. So when we add in those mineral-rich foods we’re helping protect ourselves from those toxins as well.
Yes, so we’re optimising our body’s functioning, to do its job! You have an upcoming program called ‘A Gentle Cleanse,’ which has been described by one previous participant as a ‘mini retreat in my own home!’ It sounds lovely! Can you tell us what is involved?
I call it ‘A Gentle Cleanse’ because the goal is to enjoy it as much as possible. So I invite people to block out their diaries – the cleanse starts on the 26th February 2018- and as much as we can, say ‘no’ or ‘no thank you’ to certain things that we have on and it is almost like the perfect activity/excuse to practice saying ‘no’ to things, because as women and as mums we just soldier on and try to do it all, so we’ve got this great excuse, because when we’re busy we don’t detox as well, if there is stress in our bodies we don’t detox as well.
Since someone made that comment, I refer to it as a ‘mini retreat’, so at the end of the week take a massage, really take it easy, some gentle movement and meditation, listen to some music, take some time to do things that really pacify our nervous system and allow our body to detox, as we flood it with really beautiful food and nutrition. A smoothie in the morning, a fresh seasonal salad in the afternoon, then a soup; foods that are really easy on our digestion, easy to absorb, and allow our body to do its thing. So we can sleep a little better, improve our energy and identify certain foods or choices that we make on a daily basis that could be causing some inflammation and irritation in the body and aren’t serving us and are just slowing us down.
I love the holistic approach that you are taking where you are encouraging people to look at their nutrition, their sleep, what’s going on in their mind and trying to get their mindset right, those are the principles for a healthy life, it really sounds good.
It really gives people a good snapshot of how good they can feel when they take out some of these irritating and inflaming choices that we get used to and don’t realise we are making until we take them out.
What are some of the benefits your attendees might see?
Most people do let go of a bit of weight, their energy improves and the main one people report is the increase in mental clarity, and the energy that they feel at the end of the day, during that crazy time. The first two days are the hardest; I think there is that little bit in our own minds – questioning why are we doing it and adjusting to the change in food and lifestyle, but after that it seems to get easier and people enjoy it a lot more.
They also get to identify some of the foods that are causing inflammation. One year, because I have been running these for four years now, one lady identified this sensitivity to cacao, which she was having in a smoothie every day. It was triggering a headache and lethargy, so through the cleanse she identified that and she changed it. So things like that are really invaluable.
It is more about the lifestyle and food choices that help us to feel better, we do it in a simple way and there is really a lot of support. We have a private Facebook group so when you are feeling bad or when you are feeling great you can share all of it.
It is a choice of three or five days, so Monday to Wednesday or Monday to Friday. Most people do choose to go through to the Friday but it depends on what you’ve got on and what you prefer. The pre-cleanse starts on Monday the 20th and is quite important, it is optional but I recommend it as we start to take out some of those foods that are known to cause problems like gluten, dairy and coffee, and when we start to do that it makes the cleanse easier and we tend to see better results.
Where can people find out more?
Please note: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding ‘A Gentle Cleanse’ is not for you at this time. This information is just one part of a balanced lifestyle that covers a wide range of health fields and professional advice. If you are ill or sick with a treatable medical illness then continue to see a conventional medical practitioner. This information complements conventional medicine but is not designed to replace individualised medical advice by your doctor.