The Healthy Gut Podcast Episode 17

Kyrstie Barcak_POST

the healthy gut podcast episode 17

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sibo: growing for health

In this week’s Healthy Gut Podcast Rebecca talks to Kyrstie Barcak, founder of A Fresh Legacy, creator of The Kitchen Garden Box and a passionate recipe developer. A Fresh Legacy seeks to help and inspire adults and kids alike to create their own kitchen garden, teaching them to plant and grow food for the whole family to enjoy. Rebecca and Kyrstie chat about the joy of growing our own food, and why it is better for us. Kyrstie has experienced her own digestive issues from an early age that have continued throughout her life. She was diagnosed with Methane dominant SIBO last year, so we dig into her journey with this condition, how she managed a busy business and family along with the emotional aspects that come with chronic illness. She has also experimented with two different diet protocols and shares her experience with them.

in today’s episode

In Episode 17 of The Healthy Gut Podcast, we discuss:

✓ Finding the right diet protocol to suit your lifestyle and treat your SIBO

✓ How to get started with growing your own food even if you are restricted by space

✓ Why eating seasonally is better for you and the environment

✓ Getting the most nutritional value from your food by eating fresh

✓ How to encourage kids to get involved in planting and growing with you

✓ Adjusting your lifestyle to accommodate a new way of eating for the whole family

resources mentioned in today’s podcast

connect with kyrstie barcak

Kyrstie Barcak bio

Kyrstie Barcak is the founder of A Fresh Legacy and creator of the Kitchen Garden Box®. She inspires and helps families to start their own vegetable garden and experience the benefits of fresh food.She believes that anyone can grow at least one vegetable or herb at home and have a positive impact on family time and the creation of good food habits. Her first book, Grow Just One Thing-The first step in a fresh food journey, was published in March 2016. Kyrstie was disagnosed with SIBO in July 2016 and has modified her family vegetable garden to include more SIBO friendly vegetables that she can enjoy as part of her meals.

A Fresh Legacy website

Kyrstie Barcak_PINTEREST

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about the host

Rebecca Coomes

rebecca coomes

Rebecca Coomes is an author, entrepreneur, passionate foodie and intrepid traveller. She transformed her health after a lifetime of chronic illness, and today guides others on their own path to wellness. She is the founder of The Healthy Gut, a platform where people can learn about gut health and how it is important for a healthy mind and body and coaches people on how to live well with SIBO. Rebecca is the author of the world’s first cookbooks for people treating Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and the host of the SIBO cooking show and The Healthy Gut podcast.

Read more about Rebecca >>

podcast transcript

REBECCA: Welcome to the show Kyrstie Barcak it’s lovely to have you here.

KYRSTIE: Hi Rebecca thanks for having me.

REBECCA: That’s my pleasure, now I would love to just get straight into your story and we met each other, gosh, it’s over a year ago now and we did a business course together where we got the opportunity to meet. I just absolutely love your business so much it’s just such a gorgeous thing to do, helping people learn how to plant and grow their own veg and it was actually through our connection at this business course, KPI, that we did that you started to learn a little bit more about SIBO.  So over to you to tell me, or tell our listeners about your journey to date and your own personal experience with SIBO.

[00:01:01] KYRSTIE: Sure, ok it is that exactly right, I think if I hadn’t of met you I probably still be trying to work out what the heck was wrong with me. So I have had digestive issues for as long as I can remember so as a baby I was dairy intolerant and had eczema as well as a child quite severely. So from a young age my mum experimented with various non dairy milk for me and at a stage during my childhood I was able to re-introduce milk but then when I started working and was in a high pressure job I started to get all of digestive issues re-occurring and over the years I’ve worked out what the triggers were to some degree and have modified my diet accordingly. But just suffered on and off with bloating pains in stomach, eczema re-occurring and then this year I’ve also suffered from rosacea and really sore joints are some tingling in my arms and particularly that’s caused me a lot of problems.

So I’ve had multiple tests at doctors to try to find out what what different symptoms were related to and they always came back to say there’s nothing wrong with me and no issues with my health and I clearly knew there was something radically wrong.  For me things got worse after the birth of my second son, my health kind of suffered from that point on so I guess that reached a real critial point for me when I was doing and exhibiting my business at an event about 6 months ago and I was next to a stand that had some kombucha and herbal remedy drinks and I tried some of them and I also hade a lunch that was provided on the day which was really heavily grain-based and about half an hour later I started to get cold sweats and severe pains in the stomach and I almost threw up and because I was the only person at my stand and I had customers coming by trying to talk to me, that was just really distressing to have to kind of run off in the midst of this major event and try not to be sick. So I thought, oh no I can’t go on like this I need to work out what the heck’s wrong with me and I’d been talking or listening to your story I guess as part of the course that we were doing and hearing bits and pieces from you and I thought some of those things are what I’m experiencing so I started to do some reading on the SIBO website and I did the online test and all that came up saying that it was highly likely I could have SIBO and I should see a practitioner so I found a naturopath and went and had their SIBO breath test, completed in July, and that came back as positive with a high methane dominant result and I started off on the biphasic diet and I did that about 12 weeks and I just found it incredibly difficult to be so restricted in my diet because my whole life, my business, is around food and I’m a recipe developer so I’m constantly cooking and creating new things and this was. to me. was just like running into a massive brick wall. I just found it extraordinarily stressful. But I thought you, know what, our diet is overall really healthy we didn’t eat processed foods and our food is predominantly based on one of growing in a vegetable garden and I thought, you know, this is going to be quick and easy, I’ll just follow the rules do it people tell me to do and will will all be done and dusted really soon because I know I’m starting from a pretty good point. So I stayed by all the rules, I didn’t deviate once from the diet, I was really strict and re-tested in September and I was feeling much much better. My symptoms had dramatically reduce and I thought beauty this is fine I’m going to come up, it’s back to normal and life can go on.

[00:05:52] So I re-tested and it actually came back exactly the same so that was kind of devastating, really, to have put so much effort into being really strict and following the required diet and my treatment plan that my naturopath had set.   So I’ve stayed on the biphasic diet for a little while but I have now moved on to the the fast tract diet which I’m finding a little easier from a lifestyle perspective because I can incorporate more food that I enjoy. So for me at the moment, you know, things are kind of at a stable base. My symptoms are under control. I’m sticking to the diet, in that I don’t deviate and have anything with sugar or anything processed. I’m still avoiding grains and all those things that are recommended on both the diet plans that I’ve been on.

[00:06:57] So yeah I’m kind of the point now where the next point that’s been recommended for me is antibiotics so I’m thinking about how and if I want to go down that path.

[00:07:11] REBECCA: And that can often be a really big decision for a lot of people because for many of us, and I speak to a lot of people, the concept of taking antibiotics after quite often significant antibiotic use in the past, can be quite daunting.  Quite often people have made a decision, and I myself very much fall into this category of thinking, I don’t ever want to take antibiotics ever again unless my life depends on it.  So to then have the concept of oh gosh I might have to take antibiotics for this bacterial overgrowth, but did that cause my bacterial overgrowth in the first instance because I took so many antibiotics.  I can imagine you might be, you may well be in that position, is that how you feel around the concept of taking antibiotics?

[00:07:59] KYRSTIE: A little bit, I don’t particularly like to take any medication unless I really have to so, yeah, it is that.   The thing that I find most difficult with SIBO is that there are so many forums and there’s so much information and there’s so many people who want to give you advice and, you know, as well meaning advice and they’re doing it because they care about you. But I just, I find that really difficult to take on board everybody else’s information and feelings and experiences about it when it’s such an individual disorder for people that what might work for somebody else isn’t necessarily going to work for me so I’m really keen to just stay on the path that my naturopath is putting me on. I guess for me though the thing with antibiotics is just wondering whether that is going to be really the be all and end all, like, is that going to be the trigger that gets me clear of SIBO so I can move to the next phase of the treatment. So yeah I don’t know, I’m just unsure, I’m not exactly sure. It’s one of those it’s it’s just been such a bumpy ride from the beginning. But yeah, I’m just not convinced that that is going to work after, you know, getting to this point after so many months.

[00:09:34] REBECCA: Yeah, and I think it’s a really great point that you raised around it needing to be completely individual to one’s self and that we can use the diets and the treatment protocols as a guide, but we really need to play our own private investigator, and work out what has gone wrong in our own bodies to have caused SIBO to develop, because it doesn’t just occur in a healthy body, something must have become dysfunctional in order for that bacteria to grow in excess numbers, and also understand what we need as individuals in terms of treatment to help us get through it.  I know I talk about that quite a bit in episode 8 with Angela Pifer around really delving deeply into one’s personal history to understand what went wrong and to also get an idea of what could be done for treatment.

[00:10:32] I’d like to talk around just the emotional side of being on a journey with SIBO where you haven’t experienced perhaps the results you were hoping to, on the outset, can you talk a little bit about that journey for yourself?

[00:10:52] KYRSTIE: Sure, I guess for me I was just really convinced that it would be a short term thing for me, I kinda set myself aside to think you know we eat well and so this can’t be that bad for me. I really can’t have it severely is what I’m sure lots of people do because, you know, we follow a pretty good diet so I thought you know a few tweaks here and there and pretty quickly this thing will be under control and I can move on.

It’s been, really, it’s been something that’s raised a whole heap of emotion for me because my business is based around food and growing food, preparing food, and developing recipes with that food it’s been a thing of great frustration and and also real anger for me. It’s really raised all these emotions that I wasn’t expecting to come to come to the surface so it’s been a really rocky, bumpy ride, you know, because it’s impacted our lifestyle significantly just as one example, every Sunday afternoon our family has had snacks on the deck, we call it for the last number of years, so at 4 o’clock, no matter what everybody is doing, we all come together on the deck and we have cheese and we have rice crackers and I made dips and we might have some smoked trout if it’s a special weekend with something. But we get together and we chat about the week that’s coming and we just spend really nice afternoon, the rest of the day in the evening relaxing together and it’s all based around this beautiful food that we have out there. It might be nuts and dried fruits and whatever else we have around so when I was diagnosed with SIBO I couldn’t eat anything on that plate, not one single thing, and for the first two weeks, you know, my kids and my husband work outside as part of our regular Sunday on the deck, I could never go outside like I could not go and sit out there and watch them eat the beautiful snacks and I just didn’t feel like I could participate I just found it so stressful and, you know, just really upsetting. So that was a really hard time to have to, I guess, think about ways that I could adapt so that I could still participate in that special family time. So I did, given that recipe developing is something that I love to do I worked with some of the ingredients that we’re allowed to use as part of a diet and I made some dips and I worked out how I could still join in and eat a small amount and I found since I moved to the fast track diet that, and can incorporate cheese easily into my diet now, that that was a huge help.

[00:14:15] REBECCA: But cheese is such a food of love for so many people, I myself love cheese, and having to restrict cheese, it just feels like, you know,  you’re going to prison doesn’t it, it’s just awful.

[00:14:29] KYRSTIE: It is because, you know, when you go to people’s house and they get out the cheese and crackers and the dips it’s such a lovely food to have at the centre of a gathering. So yeah that was hard, but you know, it’s the same as everything you take your tiny steps and you keep moving forward and you get to a point where you work out a solution or, you know, a point in time where you can incorporate things.

[00:14:15] REBECCA: Yeah, definitely.  And I think it is really interesting to hear your own personal experience around finding a diet protocol that works for you, because I do hear from a lot of people that are following a protocol, and it’s just not working for them, they are still really, you know, quite painful and debilitating symptoms and perhaps their practitioner has said to them I recommend you follow a low FODMAP diet, but you know, it’s not right for them.  Can you talk to myself and the listeners around whether you noticed a symptomatic changes, so the symptoms you were experiencing, once you switched from the bi-phasic diet to the fast track diet? Did things change quite quickly for you?

[00:15:50] KYRSTIE:  Not hugely I don’t think, I think I really wanted to change from the biphasic diet because I found it so incredibly restrictive and I’d seen on the fast track that cheese was included, I was like, all I wanted to do was eat cheese, please just let me eat cheese. But what I found was that after going through the biphasic steps my eczema cleared up and healed but I have this one finger, my middle finger on my right hand, that is like an indicator now, it’s the most bizarre thing, but if I eat something that doesn’t agree with my body or my system, that finger gets incredibly itchy and sore. It get swollen and red and it still does it, it does it now, so I will know within half an hour of eating something whether or not it’s an issue for me. So the finger tells me, it’s really strange I know, but that’s kind of my guide to keep me on track and, you know, I just take notice and listen to my body and listen to what it’s telling me and make adjustments so I find that even if it’s a food that I can eat the issue for me I guess it’s more that for out family I love incorporating fresh produce from our garden into a diet and I use a lot, like, it’s not un-common to put 7 or 8 vegetables into a single meal for me. That’s the way I cook and I like my children to get a huge variety of different foods.

[00:17:36] So for me I had to completely change my mind set and take those things out so instead of me having on my plate that those 7 or 8 or whatever vegetables, I found that it was just too much for my body and even if they were considered to be ok to eat from the diet’s perspective in combination it was just too much. So I kind of pulled back to sticking with, you know, 3 or 4 and found that that helped so I think, you know, it’s very much trial and error and I found that the food diary that you shared with me was really helpful way for me to get a clear view and clear understanding of how different foods were working for me or not working for me because, you know, within the scheme of things, with everything that goes on in your day you food is a huge part  when you have something like SIBO because it’s constantly in your mind but that, so all the other things that happened in your day can make you forget that you did in fact have a handful of nuts, you know, as a snack and then you had something else and then you had something else so unless I wrote it down and gave myself a good way to look back and really study and think about the implications of those foods, especially at the start of my process. It’s easy to overlook what it is that’s causing the problem or you just think oh this is so hard I don’t know what that was it could have been the carrot, it could have been the radish, it could have been this, but if you’ve written it down you can follow your patterns and pretty quickly work it out.

[00:19:30] REBECCA: Exactly and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve developed the food and mood diary and anyone listening to the show can download a copy of that in the show notes, and it’s a really great way to just see patterns, to see what symptoms are occuring after eating certain foods and I know that you and I worked together in your early days of having SIBO around looking at those patterns.  I think a really great thing that you also, I love the fact that you have a finger that is your indicator, I think that’s brilliant, if only we all had a little, you know, one finger that just said hey not happy.  Only us SIBO people understand why that’s so wonderful.

[00:20:17] KYRSTIE:  It’s better than having a bloated belly anyway, so that’s…

[00:20:20] REBECCA: It is, it is, yeah definitely, I’d take a finger anyday over a bloated belly. But it’s really interesting how we become so much more attuned to our bodies.  For a period of time I had a neck, so you had a finger, I had a neck, and if I, as I was re-introducing foods, coming of the or going into a more relaxed version of the bi-phasic diet, the back of my neck was my indicator for foods that were perhaps just a little bit too much and I think often it was just the load so it was how much I was having rather than the food being problematic itself and I’d get a bit itchy on the back of my neck and be like, ok that food was, you know, yeah I went a bit crazy, I pushed the limits, I pushed the boundaries, I ate way too much than I should have, next time I’ll reduce it and then I’d reduce the quantity next time I ate it and my neck would tell whether that was suitable or not but I’m sure that there are many people listening that may have something that occurs on their body that is their indicator and I’d love to hear from the listeners, send us a message on any of our social media channels, and tell us what you experience as your little indicator because it would be really great to see how many necks and fingers and other parts of the body, I wonder if we’ve got toes or anything like that.

[00:21:53]Let’s talk about the way you, your food because one of the things I just loved when I first met you was your whole philosophy around growing produce and I just think it’s great, I think one of the things that is the downfall of the western world these days is we’ve become really detached from our produce, and from growing our own food and you’re really doing something about that so talk to myself and the listeners around your philosophy around your business and what you do with your produce.

[00:22:31] KYRSTIE: So it’s my dream really that every Australian family will grow at least one fresh food item at home and that that will allow them to experience the benefits of fresh food. So everything around my business, to my website to the content that I create there, to the free information I’ve supplied to people as well as my products, is all based around helping people to take that step to start their vegetable garden, to get their kids involved in the process and to start to develop some healthy exposure and understanding of food and how it grows and take and incorporate it easily into your life.

So, for us that started when my children were born and I’ve created a vegetable garden in a suburban home that now feed our family, on average about $240 worth of fresh veggies during the summer months and we collect fresh ingredients every single day for our family meals across the other months of the year, so one of the things that I did when I found out I had SIBO was going through the diet list, was trying to work out, well ok, what does this mean for our garden and what I grow and what I cook and how I feed my family because all our meals are based on what is seasonally available in the garden and I base my menu around what’s ready to harvest and that’s then incorporated into our meals that had to change slightly.

[00:24:19] I planted a SIBO garden, well I called it a SIBO garden because it was winter when I found, when I was diagnosed with SIBO so I creating a new section of the garden that was all of the foods that I knew I could eat so it had bok choy and kale and spring onions and lots of lettuces and things in it so it was a way for me to get my head into a nice space because for me the garden is a real place of peace and helps me relax it gets me away from my desk and writing and into the fresh air, it’s a connection time for our family because the kids been involved in the process means that they’re really connected to the food that we eat so the food that comes inside, they’ve help to grow and our meals are a celebration in one sense in that, you know we’re saying, we are eating the carrots tonight that my little boy grew so, you know, everyone’s excited about what we’re doing with those carrots tonight so creating that new space in the garden was I guess a mental thing for me to start to focus on how I would be changing what it was that was going into our meal slightly.

[00:25:50] REBECCA: I think it’s so wonderful having that celebration of food and celebrating eating the carrots that your son had grown because it’s just, you know, isn’t that glorious.

What’s your advice to anybody that’s listening that’s saying, well, that’s great you’ve got a garden, I don’t, how do I grow something when perhaps I live in an apartment or I don’t have access to a garden space.  How can people still get involved in growing something at least?

[00:26:19] KYRSTIE: I found at one of the early points in my diagnosis that gave me a great sense of relief, I guess you would call it, and satisfaction, was that herbs and spices could be included in whatever you were I’m cooking so they create the flavour as well as a huge amount of additional nutrients when their freshly collected so herbs or something that you can grow in a pot don’t need to have a garden, you most definitely don’t need a garden space to grow vegetables or herbs, you can use any container that you have on hand you don’t even need to go out and buy something, you know, the school garden I’ve seen them plant in a toaster of all things, but you know, an old toaster that didn’t work but you can plant in any sort of pot and put it at the back door put it on your window sill, so long as it gets 4-6 hours of sunlight and it’s in good soil, so you need to make sure you use a good soil from the nursery, and when I say good soil I mean one that’s been specifically designed for herbs and vegetables and in Australia, I’m not sure about the rest of the world, you can get, there is a mark on some of those packets that say that it is suited to organic gardening so they’re the ones I looked out for, so you don’t need a lot of space to grow. You really can start off small with just one thing and, you know, it’s amazing the nutrient as well as the flavour boost that you will get from the simple addition of a handful of herbs to your meal.

[00:28:01] REBECCA: Exactly. My partner and I live in an inner city apartment so we don’t have a garden, we’ve got a balcony, and we grow, we’ve got a big pot of herbs, which we grow there, and it probably gets just shy of maybe 4-5 hours of sunlight a day so we don’t get a huge amount of direct sun on the balcony.  But I really love just being able to pop out onto the balcony and snip some fresh coriander or cilantro, as it’s known in the States, and putting it into my meal, or parsley or anything like that. But something my partner is doing at the moment which I cannot wait for because it’s summertime here in Australia, at the moment is on his work balcony he has much longer sunlight hours there and he’s growing fresh tomatoes.

So we’re about to have this abundance of tomatoes, this huge tomato crop which I’m really excited about and then something just joyous around seeing something grow that you’ve grown with your own hands and I’d like to talk a little bit around, you mentioned before taking time out of a busy or stressful day and going and standing outside and reconnecting and looking at what you’re growing.

I think that’s really important and one of the five key pillars to health which I talk about in episode 1  of the podcast is around being mindful and also looking at your lifestyle and looking at how you can destress reconnect reconnect with your body, reconnect with nature, because when we’re chronically ill and in pain and feeling very sick we can very very easily focus on the negative things, the pain, the things we can’t do, and so I’d love for you just to talk to the listeners around the impact that going out and looking at your SIBO garden, what that had on you psychologically going through this treatment.

[00:30:04] KYRSTIE: Sure, I think for me one of the big challenges I realised was that my breakfast and my lunch were really quickly, really quick activities so I spend less time planning our family evening meals and making sure that as a family I was presenting something at the table that was really healthy and, you know, a beautiful way to get together at the end of the day but my lunch, particularly, was a complete another story. I would usually eat it really quickly probably at my computer or at 3 o’clock at the kitchen bench once I realised that oh my gosh I have to go get the kids in 15 minutes and I haven’t even had lunch yet. So one of the things the garden does for me now isI plan a plan to have lunch which is a new thing for me and I don’t sit at the computer anymore I choose a spot to sit so that’s often outside in the garden or at a table outside but I’ll go out to the garden first and I’ll collect the ingredients that I’m going to add to my my lunch and then I always have our lettuce growing in my garden all year round. We are lucky enought in our climate to be able to do that so usually lettuce is part of my lunch just because I always have it on hand so I go out to the garden, I’ll collect what I’m going to be using and then I’ll, because I’m doing that process I’m thinking about what I’m going to make and I’m not rushing that process any more whereas before I might have grabbed a piece of sourdough and chucked a bit of tomato on or a piece of  ham or is slice of cheese or something whereas now I’ll make a proper lunch or I’ll always make sure our dinner has leftovers that I can eat and then I can make a salad to accompany it.

So the garden is giving me a different process in changing the way my day structured now so that it’s more focused on that food process and eating and, you know, just sitting and enjoying that 5 minutes and savouring what it is that you’re about to eat and thinking about it and being thankful for it because you’ve watched it grow and I’ve looked after it and I’ve watched its progress.  I’ve planted my garden from seed so you know it’s not a short process it’s something that’s taken time and patience and care so it’s a nice process.

I was really concerned about time prior to all this happening and focusing on what I could possibly get done in those school hours in this limited time that I had to work but, you know I just had to take a step back and realise it was making me sick and I was not going to get better unless I started to really slow down, focus on my food and my digestion and let my body do it’s work rather than continuously just trying to drive forward, I guess, or cram in as much as I possibly could.  It wasn’t doing me any favours and things had to change so that’s one of the ways I’ve changed things.

[00:33:28] REBECCA: I’m am just so thrilled to hear you talk about this and talking in this way because I do remember when you first got your diagnosis and we spent many times chatting about it and one of the things you used to say is ‘but I’m too busy, I don’t have time to make time for myself for lunch Rebecca, you know I’ve got to eat on the go, I’ve got so much to do, I can’t fit everything into my day when the kids are at school so I got to be quick’ and it’s just so interesting for me to hear the journey that you’ve gone on around realising that sometimes you need to slow down to allow your body to heal and what a great metaphor around that growing your produce takes time and patience and so does regaining our health.

[00:34:16] KYRSTIE: Yeah thank you it has been it has been a challenge to let go of that busy mindset but you know I just had to stand back and say well if I have one less blog post up per week that’s something I’ve imposed on myself that I think I should have a certain amount of content available for people to have access to and things that I’m looking to achieve but you know realistically if I don’t have my health I’m not going to achieve anything and I really can’t help anybody particularly my family if I’m not well, so yeah, it was really important to refocus and let go.

[00:34:57] REBECCA: And I think sometimes, as women we can often be our own worst enemies we feel the need to often, not all women but, we feel the need to be doing everything and I often say to some of my clients who are Mum’s that if Mum in the house isn’t well then how can the house be well because we are still such a central point in the running of the house so I’m just so excited to hear that journey that you’ve gone on and kudos to you for making changes that you’ve needed to make to support your body to be on a path towards health and wellness, so yay for you!

[00:35:48] KYRSTIE: Thank you, I think mentally it’s a relief as well when you remove some pressure from yourself and you start to not only feel better in your health but also better in your well-being and in your mind and just feeling not so wound up and stressed is a really good thing for everybody.

[00:36:09] REBECCA: It is. One thing I remember we talked about in the early days was around the seasonality of food and one food that is on the biphasic diet that you can eat from the beginning is tomatoes and I remember having a conversation with you where you were like ‘no I don’t eat tomatoes in the winter they’re not a winter food there a summer food’.  Why is it important for us to be looking at the seasonality of our food and eating food when it’s in season rather than food that’s been sitting in a deep freeze somewhere or has come from the other side of the world?

[00:36:45] KYRSTIE: Predominantly for me it’s taste and it’s about having food that is, doesn’t have the food miles and doesn’t have all the excess that goes around those food miles, around the storage and around the transport but it’s also about the nutritional value of the food because studies have shown that tomatoes that are harvested green which is what happens when they have to be transported long distances and they have to have a shelf life in a store before the customer buys it and takes it home and sits it on their own bench for a week, they have to be harvested green, they have 31% less vitamin C than those that are allowed to ripen on the vine and it’s the same with all vegetables and all herbs. So green peas, for example, lose 51% of their Ascorbic acid within 48 hours of being harvested so for me some thing is in season when it’s in my garden and I’ve picked it and I eat it straight away that’s when it’s at its highest nutritional peak and it’s the most flavoursome at that time.  It’s supposed to grow then, that’s, you know, the conditions around that particular food are right for that food at that time so I prefer to, everything I try to teach my children is around supporting as well when we can’t produce enough of our own food it’s about supporting local producers and local farmers rather than buying something in from another country. I would like to support our own area and our own regions.

[00:38:36] So that’s a really important thing for me morally I’ve got strong feelings about that so when I found out I had SIBO and I could eat tomatoes I was like ok I love tomatoes that’s fantastic but how, like, I had to actually force myself to eat tomatoes and I did, I did have to get over that stumbling block because I thought well if I don’t eat tomato that’s out of season now, this was in the middle of winter for us, what am I going to eat. All the main food’s on the list that were suitable for eating were summer based foods so one of the reasons I planted the SIBO garden was obviously to incorporate some of the winter based foods as well but I kind of had to give up a little bit on my strong beliefs and say you know what you need to eat and just get over it you need to get some nutrients into your body whether they are coming at the right time, from the right place, you kind of need to eat more importantly. So that’s obviously my preference to have the food that is fresh out of our garden, at the right time, in the right season, but you also have to maintain your health and your energy and it can be tricky especially when you first get started on the sibo diets to work out what the heck you are going to eat. Especially for some people if it’s an extremely radical change from their current diets so I tried not to put my beliefs ahead of health.

[00:40:26] REBECCA: Yeah and I think that those early days, particularly, but when you’re trying to really grasp this new way of eating, I think applying or overlaying seasonality could just almost feel like you can’t do it and I think the first step is getting, eating the foods that are going to help you feel a bit better and help reduce your symptoms because the diet component really is used for symptom control and then looking at, like what you did, the foods that perhaps you could grow and you could connect with and then bringing that into your diet at a later point. It can be so overwhelming in those early days. What has your SIBO diagnosis and subsequent treatment had, what impact has that had on your family and your kids as well, has it changed the way you do things as a family or look at food or even the way in particular you’ve talked a little bit around how you’ve really worked on making time for yourself. Have there been any other positive impacts with this condition?

[00:41:42] KYRSTIE: The strange thing is that because I was unwell for so many years and nobody could tell me what the problem was, my son in the last year and a half, my eldest son, he’s 8, he has been complaining about having a sore stomach on and off so what I decided to do was try to investigate and we have already previously been to the doctors, had numerous tests, and they also all came back as his fine, he doesn’t have any issues or celiac indicators or anything like that, he’s ok. So I thought no, you know what, this is, I’m in my forties, my son is 8, there is no way on this Earth I’m going to make him go on the journey that I’ve been on and felt so unwell for so many years. So I took him to see the Naturopath that I’d started seeing and he had a blood test to look at him immune response to different foods and we found that he’s egg, dairy, and all wheats, and gluten intolerant. So it was a real relief for me to find out what it was that was causing his discomfort and to be able to immediately rectify it. So I am mentioning it because it was kind of easier at that point in time to incorporate all our food then under a mix of his requirements and my requirements.

[00:43:16] So yes, our family diet changed because we used to eat pasta once a fortnight and, you know, I would make a quiche or frittatas or, you know, baking for the kids everyday for their school lunches, and that would make, that was making my son unwell. So that test and my results have meant that, so I’m not making 3 meals, 3 variations of meals for my family every day for every meal, we have all changed the way we eat so we have pretty much removed most flowers and gluten and grains from our overall home. So I went through the pantry and I just took everything out and I just made these big boxes and sent them off to a friend’s house and said ‘here you go’ and it was all beautiful, organic, high quality flowers and grains and lentils and gorgeous things and it was just like nup, we are not having these in our house anymore, we don’t need to use them. So they all went out the door. So for us things have been simplified in if you want to cut it down to the basics we have gone back to just very plain simple foods that are based around the vegetables or ingredients that are available from the garden at the moment and it is usually a protein or a fish. We don’t tend to have so many vegetarian meals now because of the, our inability to have the egg for my son and also for me because I also have an issue with egg. So yes, it has changed but everybody has come on board because I don’t have time to make three meals a day for everybody.

[00:45:17] REBECCA: Fair enough, who does and what has been the reaction with your kids. How have they, what have they thought about this change to the way that the whole house is eating.

[00:45:34] KYRSTIE: My oldest son who was diagnosed with the intolerants, he has been really amazing. He has just quickly adapted and he is completely unfazed by it because he feels better, you know, he has no more pains in the stomach, he doesn’t come home looking washed out at the end of the day after school because she’s been concentrating so hard on trying to hear the teacher but not be distracted by his stomach pains so, you know, for him it’s been, it’s fantastic and he’s had the opportunity to test all these new treats and I’ve let him in the past I would have said, you know, don’t waste that food even if the kids didn’t like it I was more inclined to say no eat it, it’s good food and that’s what I’ve got for you to eat. We went through this whole process with him where he was allowed to just try all these new things and see if he liked them and if he didn’t like them he didn’t have to eat them and we wouldn’t use that as a substitute snack, or whatever it was we were trying to work out at the time so, you know, he found it quite exciting I think. The rest of the family, my husband has actually been surprisingly good with it. I thought that he would struggle with it more but he is saying that he actually feels much better without the, with the change in the slight modifications in the diet as well, you know, sometimes I’ll have eggs in the fridge so he can have egg on toast or whatever in the morning if he feels like it but the rest of the family kind of has their own thing. So yer, I think it has been a positive thing for everybody and my little boy, we haven’t bothered testing, but he has never wanted to eat egg, he’s always refused to eat egg so I’m assuming that he also has the same intolerance to egg. But he has always been clever enough to know that.  Always refused it so he just doesn’t get them now either so they just, you know, somethings just smooth out in the wash I guess.

[00:47:37] REBECCA: How interesting that, what a positive impact this has had on the whole family and it’s not just yourself who’s feeling better but your son is feeling better as well and that just, to me, makes me so happy and I think that if we can get our young people, our kids and our younger adults, getting well quicker, they are not likely like us older people who have been chronically unwell for a long time and then taking us some time to get over SIBO and other conditions that we have. In terms of knowing when the right season is for food how can people find out when food is in season and when they should be eating it?

[00:48:25] KYRSTIE: In terms of growing it, on my website you can find a free seasonal planting guide so it’s divided up by season. It tells you what you can plant for each season. So you can find that under the menu item ‘helpful resources’ and then on the home page there’s also a number of posts that talk about getting your garden started. So for me I know something is in season because it is ready to harvest in my garden. That’s my primary indicator. You can tell by what’s in season in the stores, in Australia stores need to label whether an ingredient has come from overseas or not, as in a fresh food produce item. There’s also a number of websites that are farmer’s market based that you can type in seasonal, if you Google ‘seasonal food Melbourne’ for example. That will bring up a list of the fruits and vegetables that are in season for the current period and you can change that away from Melbourne to other areas if you’re not in Melbourne obviously.

[00:49:43] REBECCA: And I’ve got those links in the show notes below and I believe that you’ve got, we’ve got the seasonal guide that we can link to all listeners. It is based on the Australian seasons so if you were you are in the Northern Hemisphere, I don’t know does your seasonal guide list it by month?

[00:50:01] KYRSTIE: No it doesn’t, it’s just by season so it just says…

[00:50:05] REBECCA: Ok, so it doesn’t matter where you are in the world because we have a lot of listeners in the Northern Hemisphere, then you can use just based on your seasons, and if people want to connect with you, you have given them your website, but how else can people connect with you?

[00:50:20] KYRSTIE: So you can find me on all social media as ‘A Fresh Legacy’. So Facebook, Instagram  is where I mostly hang out.  Probably Instagram is my favourite place but otherwise my email details you can find also via

[00:50:40] REBECCA: Wonderful and if anybody wants to see the beautiful produce coming out of your garden then Instagram is the place to go. I’m often looking at your Instagram feed thinking this looks so lovely I just need some space so I can grow a few more things.

[00:50:56] KYRSTIE: Well you are doing well, at least you have got your balcony going. That’s a great start.

[00:51:01] REBECCA: I can’t claim too much credit it’s really is my partner doing that, he is much more of a green thumb than I am but we have a little worm farm which takes all our green waste and, or our vegetable waste and we’ve got our little herbs. So we are doing what we can in a very small balcony space.

[00:51:18] REBECCA: That’s fantastic.

[00:51:20] REBECCA: Yeah, thank you so much for coming on the healthy gut podcast today and talking about your own personal journey with gut health and SIBO and I think it’s just great to hear a story of turning a condition like SIBO into a positive, growing your own food, reconnecting with making some time for yourself and I just thoroughly love the concept of celebrating food that you and your kids are growing and having that family time on a Sunday afternoon to sit down and just reconnect with each other and, you know what, I’m going to go and implement that myself. I think that is such just a great thing to do, turn the devices off, turn the laptop and the iPad off and sit down and actually have a conversation.  Thanks so much for sharing and for coming on the show.

[00:52:12] KYRSTIE: Thanks Rebecca, thanks for having me.

Kyrstie Barcak_POST

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