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Dear Friend,

Like so many, I have been caught in a whirlwind of shocking news and difficult decisions. I am only just beginning to get the measure of what is happening to me personally and to the rest of the world collectively.

Relentless fires, massive storms, droughts and dying polar bears had failed to call us into action; millions of displaced people massing at borders, running away from oppression, wars and cruelty had failed to shame us into sharing. Instead, what is shaking the world and forcing unprecedented changes is FEAR! No matter the privileges or ideologies, clear, present and invisible danger is dwelling amongst us all. Nothing else could have forced the ultimate sacrifice of renouncing individualistic choices and accepting lock-down, despite the cost and consequences.

I am writing this newsletter from Paris. I arrived over a week ago as France was slowly coming to terms with its nationwide “confinement”. I responded to my mother’s plight and volunteered to become her full time carer while she is nursing a broken arm. She lives alone with irreparable grief and Parkinson’s disease. It’s tough to accompany her on her solitary journey.

I observed how the now locked-down French people were strangely mirroring my own struggles to accept the repudiation of my personal liberties together with the loss of reliable gratification for the sake of safety (and the illusion of stability).
Routine sends us to sleep.

“Beware of the settee!” exhorts Pope Francis.

If both predictability and comfort are the enemies of self-actualisation, enforced self-sacrifice is a quick way out of complacency. Resistance is futile!

Giving up My Life to care for my mother is challenging. Doing it without a timeline makes me question if I will ever be able to gather my old life back to safety. Day by day, I grieve a little less and forgive a little more. Along with the other 67 million people forcibly locked-down in France, I am pushed into the moment.

Competition is only really possible when the environment is not uniformly and immediately threatening. In the current ubiquitous health threat, it is a luxury we can’t afford to indulge in. The menace spares no-one. The virus might spare us but the possibility of imminent demise is made universal by the exponential death-toll our governments intone at the end of each day.

Whatever our views on the handling of the health crisis, it has precipitated a paradigm shift from individualistic behaviour to mutualistic strategies. For better or worse, we are forced to stay at home and give up our pleasures for the sake of others.

It took me days to understand that lock-down was an act of civic engagement; that I was not taking care of my-self by (loosely) following the rules but taking care of my community (including my mother) by sticking to the rules. Initially, frequent trips outside for fresh air seemed a good idea but by the time we entered the second week, measures became more drastic: cycling was proscribed, exercise reduced to 1 hour (or 1 kilometre) of jogging around the block. Supermarkets had to enforce queues outside to limit the number of customers at any one time, while shopping with someone else (even if you were locked down together) was forbidden. I was incensed at the infringement of my liberties. Hard-earned freedom was being quashed! The police were given permission to assign increasingly punishing measures for infringements. The pain drove deep; nonetheless, I had to relent: rebelling wasn’t revolutionary, it was plain selfish.

All this altruistic surrendering doesn’t come cheap; in just two weeks the social dance of civilised interactions has been shattered into a confused and silent hustle of masked beings battling it out at the supermarket while laboriously respecting the prescribed two metres distance!

France is now entering its third week of social suspicion and fear-driven exclusions. I feel sure the consequences on human relationships will take longer to heal than perfecting a vaccine against Covid-19.

Social distancing could well leave deep scars in our collective consciousness. Fear may be what has brought the world to its senses but it is our individual responsibility not to let fear be our guiding force as we rebuild our communities. I hope that lessons will have been learnt and that we can create a future based more on respect, friendship, kindness and the willingness to share than competition. I believe our survival actually depends on it.

I will update you when I have a better idea of my whereabouts.
Rest assured I am more than ever committed to serving and supporting my community: initially, by sharing useful and relevant information; later by offering remote consultations.

I hope to be able to re-open the Whole Health Centre and my colonic practice as soon as the government allows it. Until then I am preparing myself by keeping abreast of research and working on a strict sanitation protocol to enforce between treatments to ensure that we are all kept safe and well.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with your comments or questions.

With my best wishes,


eat like kings

Too late, no use pretending...
Temptation is all around; whether in the name of celebration or simply to keep boredom at bay, traditional Christmas foods are calling us with the promise of guaranteed pleasure.
High fat, high sugar and a texture to die for... literally!
From Belgian chocolates and Christmas puddings to roast potatoes, variations on the theme abound this time of year.
And just to make sure that all restraints are eradicated, alcohol is kept flowing!

So what can we do to reduce the impact on our health...

1) It is not just about over-eating but the quality of the food we eat

This is no surprise; over-eating makes you fat and if you do it long enough it will make you sick… but not all over-eating has the same effect.

Research shows that after six days of high-sugar, high-fat, low-protein foods, fat deposits in the liver and muscles are more likely to appear regardless of the number of calories. But of course, it is rather difficult not to over-eat those kinds of foods as well and just seven days of overfeeding reduces whole body insulin sensitivity and primes you for the slippery slope of a pre-diabetic state.
However, protein has less impact on fat or weight gain compared to carbohydrate or fat overfeeding.
Protein has more neutral metabolic and body composition effects. Protein digestion takes up more energy and even boosts calorie expenditure by day, and sleep. Protein also reduces cravings, and loading up on turkey this Christmas will mean less room for stuffing, potatoes and Christmas pudding!

2) Drink apple cider vinegar before your carbohydrates

Apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve glucose tolerance and consequently reduce postprandial hyperglycaemia. The best timing for this is 30 minutes before eating the carb-rich foods. Traditionally the French start their meals with a salad and vinaigrette dressing.

3) Keep moving and exercise
Even a simple 30 minutes’ walk straight after your meal will reduce insulin resistance and speed up gastric emptying. It is also the time your stomach needs to send all the required messages to your brain about enough foods. It will be easier to resist cravings on your return.
Exercise has been shown to counteract the short term negative (epigenetic) effects of overfeeding seen in the adipose tissue. The best time to exercise is immediately after eating. Although this may sound counter-intuitive with a belly full of food, the study used several sets of push-ups, squats, lunges, and sit-ups to do the trick. Perhaps a good ball game with the kids would suffice and prevent the rest of the family from thinking that you have finally lost the plot!

4) Get out into the cold, have cold showers and keep your heating down

If you can keep room temperature at no more than 18°C for 2.5 hours—it will be enough to increase energy expenditure without increasing hunger or subsequent food intake. Cold exposure (shower or dip) exercises brown fat and uses a lot of (surplus) energy. It contributes to dopamine release and alertness while improving circulation. Start with your legs and hips only if you are not used to cold showers.

5) Drink (green) tea after your meal

Tea has been shown to speed up digestion and improve liver function. Always a plus when dealing with excessive food and alcohol intakes.

6) Accept your heavy excessive meal as a positive experience

Overeating induces oxidative stress enough to trigger the release of antioxidant compounds. As with all challenges that are occasional and positively assimilated (hormetic), they make you stronger. 

Overeating happens. Humans like to feast, make merry and eat big to ring in the good times. However, a feast is no longer a feast if you just keep eating …

7) Have a colonic and move on

Although I would never associate colonics with purging, I have found that the feeling of cleansing achieved can help reconnect with self-care.
Colonics' impact on the enteric nervous system also means reduced cravings, a greater sense of well-being and a lighter mind… all the ingredients needed to move on and re-commit.


 start your colonic nowYou may think that Colonic Irrigation is just a way to purge. It has its place and it may be useful for constipation, managing the side effects of medications or simply giving relief to a lazy bowel, but there is so much more to it than that!

A Colonic Hydrotherapy Treatment works on the physical level and does provide relief from accumulated waste, poisons and hormones, but it also works on the nervous system and provides a unique balancing effect on that which controls healing and homeostasis (the parasympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system). Research on the vagus nerve (the main portion of the parasympathetic nervous system) is only just starting to demonstrate how powerfully potent its stimulation is to healing. It provides direct access to our subconscious and is often deregulated when we are faced with deep trauma. A lot of studies on trauma work have shown the necessity to reconnect with the parasympathetic in order to unlock the trauma we hold in our muscles and tissues. This may explain how colonic hydrotherapy can sometimes stimulate powerful emotional reactions and often brings a sense of profound wellness.

Aside from the physical effect from the water on the nervous system and the purging outcome, a colonic therapist also actively participates in the manipulation of viscera and abdominal tissues to help realign,relax and soften the tendons and ligaments that maintain organs in place. Abdominal tension, poor posture and poor breathing technique all conspire to reduce function of the organ and of the gut in particular. To work on the tissues, re-educate breathing and facilitate core stability is also part of an experienced colonic therapist's skills.

A Colonic Irrigation is also a unique and gentle tool to assess a number of useful markers of bowel health such as:

  • Bowel Function (hyper-mobile; hypo-mobile; spastic). The way the bowel responds to the introduction of warm water at very low pressure can give accurate clues on bowel movements
  • Stool consistency (dry, pellet, soft, mush, etc.). Stool consistency is a direct product of hydration levels and diet quality
  • Gut flora (from visible gas, undigested foods and fat content). Gut microbes are responsible for more than 50% of our digestion 
  • Chewing habits. It is not rare to observe whole mushrooms or whole vitamin tablets passing through during a colonic irrigation

All those observations give useful clues to a professional and experienced therapist for a more individualised approach to diet and lifestyle.

The Colonic Therapists at the Whole Health Centre are all trained to the highest standards.

Anne-Lise Miller at The Institute of Professional Colon Hydrotherapy (IPCH) also offers professional training for therapists 

 What is histamine?

Histamine is a vital compound found in nearly all human cells. It acts as a signalling molecule and neurotransmitter with a wide-acting effect on the smooth muscles, digestion, gastric secretions, heart and circulation. It is an important component of the immune system and is involved in the process of inflammation. In excess histamine causes a variety of symptoms depending on where it is released and what receptors it binds to. The most common symptoms caused by excessive histamine in the body are

  • Hives
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Redness and tissue swelling 
  • Abdominal cramps and period cramps

What is histamine intolerance?

The actual mechanism of histamine intolerance (HIT) is under investigation but is thought to be related to a build up of histamine. In a healthy individual, histamine is broken down on a regular basis by two enzymes: DAO and HNMT. The mechanism of HIT is proposed to be a genetic or acquired impairment in one of these two enzymes. DAO is produced in the intestine, so if intestinal function is compromised there may not be enough DAO to degrade histamine normally.

When build up occurs, so do symptoms. Decreased DAO  (enzyme) production may be why HIT seems more common in persons with gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, celiac and SIBO. DAO activity can also be inhibited by certain medications.

Some physicians question the existence of histamine intolerance as a disease. HIT is more widely accepted in Europe as a true condition and was recognized in 2012 by the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology as a true disease for which the pathophysiology has yet to be determined.

What are some of the symptoms of histamine intolerance?

  • Diarrhea 
  • Headache 
  • Flushing
  • Rash/Urticaria (hives)/eczema
  • Arrhythmia ( irregular heart beat)
  • Low blood pressure-due to vasodilation caused by the histamine
  • Wheeezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Angioedema-swelling of face/hands/lips
  • Heartburn-due to increased acid production
  • Itching- typically of eyes and skin
  • PMS- Headaches around the menstrual cycle or painful cramps due to histamine induced contractions in relation to hormone levels

Histamine intolerance appears to be more prevalent when there is underlying gastrointestinal dysfunction such as in inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, IBS etc. Given the minimal data on actual incidence of histamine intolerance, data on its correlation with other health issues is scant. In alternative medicine circles it is thought to occur more commonly with dysbiosis, Small Intestinal Bacterila Overgrowth (SIBO) and leaky gut.

It’s not the same as a food allergy

With histamine intolerance, symptoms can be triggered by certain foods, but the mechanism is different than a food allergy. Some of the symptoms mimic a true allergic reaction, but HIT is not mediated by IgE, so skin testing and blood allergy tests will be negative. HIT is thought to be due to a cumulative build up of histamine rather than an over-release of histamine. Because of this, the symptoms may not be immediate. Symptoms may be triggered any time your “threshold” is reached and it may be difficult to pinpoint a particular food as the culprit.

For example, you may have consumed histamine rich foods in the morning and in the afternoon consumed a low histamine meal. But, the afternoon food was enough to put you over your level of tolerance, so symptoms would occur in the afternoon. You would think your symptoms were due to the afternoon food but in reality your morning foods were a more important factor.

What to do if you think histamine may be a problem for you

If you think you may have histamine intolerance, speak to your physician to evaluate other possible “look-alike” conditions such as true allergies, mast cell disorders or underlying digestive disorders. Once these possibilities have been evaluated and addressed, an elimination diet may be initiated to see if symptoms improve. A food diary is essential. Underlying issues must be corrected first to optimize improvement. Because the diet is restrictive, especially if added onto an already restricted eating plan, please consult a professional to ensure proper nutritional intake.

How histamine intolerance is diagnosed

At this time there are no proven tests to diagnose histamine intolerance short of an elimination diet. While it is possible to measure blood DAO activity (one of the enzymes listed above), as well as histamine levels in the blood and urine, these results do not seem to correlate significantly with symptoms. Typical blood allergy tests or skin testing will not be positive, as HIT is not IgE mediated (like true allergies).

It is important to remember that while considering HIT as a cause of symptoms you must evaluate for related disorders such as true allergies, mast cell disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, fructose malabsorption, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, colitis etc.

After evaluation for related disorders, a diet eliminating high histamine foods may be pursued. If symptoms improve when histamine is lowered or eliminated from the diet you may be histamine intolerant.

Treatment for histamine intolerance

It isn’t just diet! Treat any underlying disorder first, as this may improve histamine tolerance.

I generally like to focus on dietary treatments because I prefer to do as much as possible with diet in lieu of medication. But, histamine intolerance truly requires an integrative approach, as it often occurs in conjunction with other disorders that need to be addressed beyond dietary modifications.

Diet: A low histamine diet is the treatment of choice (food lists are below).This can be challenging if someone is already on a restricted diet such as a gluten-free or low FODMAP diet and should be done under the care of a health care practitioner so that proper nutritional intake is maintained. The tolerance to histamine varies from person to person and the amount of histamine tolerated must be deduced by trial and error. Some people can only tolerate very small amounts and others can be more liberal.

What is important to note is that tolerance to histamine seems to improve once underlying issues are addressed. For example; if IBS or SIBO are treated, reactions to histamine often decrease. It is imperative to treat the underlying disorder in conjunction with dietary changes. Once the elimination diet is completed one must individually assess tolerance to particular foods and liberalize the diet as tolerated so that optimum nutrition and lifestyle are attained.

Foods high in histamines

This is controversial as histamine content of food varies depending on duration of storage, ripeness or maturity, cooking and processing. Certain foods may also not be high in histamine yet are high in compounds known as histamine liberators which can trigger similar symptoms by increasing histamine levels.  The list below contains commonly accepted high histamine foods/histamine liberators, but this list is by no means exhaustive.  Available lists vary and consistent data is hard to find on histamine content of foods. What does seem to be agreed upon is that fermented and aged foods do tend to be some of the biggest culprits.

  • Alcohol: Champagne, red wine, beer, white wine,
  • Fermented or smoked Meats/Fish: Sardine, mackeral, herring, tuna,salami
  • Pickeled or canned foods: Sauerkraut, pickles, relishes, soy sauce
  • Fermented milk products: Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk
  • Aged cheeses: Parmesan, Gouda, Swiss, cheddar
  • Fruit: Dried fruit, strawberries, citrus
  • Vegetables: Tomatoes and tomato products, spinach
  • Legumes: Chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts
  • Other: Cinnamon, chocolate
  • Grains: Wheat

Histamine releasers: Citrus, papaya, pineapple, nuts, strawberries, egg white, additives

DAO blockers: alcohol, black and green tea

Relaxation: The benefits of relaxation techniques cannot be emphasized enough. Breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation are easy, portable and free. Yoga and meditation are great as well. Relaxation for you may also be reading, enjoying time with friends or playing music.

Medications: Antihistamines, topical steroids/creams, oral steroids, topical homeopathic or plant-based creams and lotions for rashes.

Supplements: Vit C, B6, Zn, Cu, Magnesium, Mangosteen, Quercetin, DAO promoters and supplements, topical creams. Please use any supplement under the guidance of a practitioner.

Histamine content app

Symptom tracker app

Medications to use with caution if HIT is an issue

These medications inhibit the DAO enzyme:

  • Acetylcysteine
  • Aspirin
  • Ambroxol
  • Aminophylline
  • Amiloride
  • Amitryptiline
  • Cefuroxime
  • Cefotiam
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Contrast Media
  • Docein
  • Haldol
  • Metamizol
  • Metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Narcotics-Thiopental (IV med. for surgery)
  • Noscapene
  • Pancuronium
  • Prilocaine
  • Verapamil


The Gut Microbiome refers to the multitude of micro-organisms that live in our gut. It is made up of bacteria, ancient bacteria called archaea, fungi, viruses and other more obscure microbes.

A microbiome is an ecosystem characterised by the fact that its members entertain complex relationships with each other thus maintaining an organised equilibrium. For instance some bacteria will live off the waste of other bacteria that feed off the food we eat.

Microbes are most abundant in the colon but generally populate every nook and cranny along our digestive system.

For some, a colonic irrigation might be comparable to a kind of tsunami inflicted upon our delicate and vitally important gut flora. However, as with all ecosystems, balance is only but a constant and dynamic adjustment of imbalances. Although gut microbes maintain a tight equilibrium amongst themselves, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it works in our favour. Modern living has put an enormous strain on the rather complex and subtle relationships that have evolved between our gut microbiome and our immune system. This is evidenced in the alarming numbers of modern/chronic diseases that are rooted in a dysfunctional/inflamed immune system from Alzheimer and autism to diabetes and arthritis.

 In this context, Colonic is simply a window of opportunity to influence the dynamic in our favour.

The window is relatively short. The effect on gut flora lasts about two weeks. Unlike antibiotics, it doesn’t kill anything; it merely removes and reduces individuals. Unlike laxatives, it doesn’t irritate; it stimulates natural peristalsis (bowel movements) and releases dysfunctional spasms.

Get the best from your colonic by supporting a healthy gut flora following your treatment:  

shutterstock 273958184 600x400

  • Avoid alcohol, chlorine, herbicides, pesticides and some medications (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, antacids and many more all have detrimental effects on gut flora)
  • Eat fibre rich foods (especially water soluble fibres) such as flax seeds, chia seeds, oat bran, root vegetables and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
  • Eat berries and foods that are rich in polyphenols (dates, red grapes, etc.) which have an antimicrobial and antioxidative effect. The combination of blueberries and probiotics has been shown to reduced inflammation-inducing bacteria while increasing health-promoting lactobacilla in the intestins, 
  • Encourage a diverse gut flora by eating  fermented vegetable (such as sauerkraut etc.)kefir, soft cheeses (such as brie, Roquefort, feta, etc.) fermented soya (such as Tempeh) and by taking a quality probiotic supplement
  • Take care of yourself; lack of sleep, anger/stress; lack of exercise; lack of sunlight all have been shown to be detrimental to a healthy gut flora through the complex and interactive relationships that exist between our gut, brain, hormones and our highly sensitive gut microbiome.

Come and join me for a workshop on the use of probiotics for different issues and fermented vegetables 


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